Necromandus

Billy Branch, Dennis McCarten, Baz Dunnery and Frank Hall

The story of Necromandus begins in 1968 with the breakup of two West Cumbrian bands Jug and Heaven.

Two ex-members of each of the bands - Barry (Baz) Dunnery (guitar) and Bill Branch (vocals) from Jug and Dennis McCarten (bass) and Frank Hall (drums) from Heaven - combined to form a band which went through a spate of name changes including Heavy Hand, Urinal, Hot Spring Water and Taurus before deciding on Necromandus.

 

Heaven had supported Earth (soon to become Black Sabbath) at the Towbar club at Nethertown and had become friendly with them.

Black Sabbath had a lot of their early success in Cumbria and after Necromandus had supported them several times Tony Iommi became so impressed with them he became their manager and took them under the wing of his Birmingham based Tramp agency which was created to help Necromandus and other up and coming bands (like Judas Priest who played Workington College in 1971) to get established.

In 1972 the lads moved down to Birmingham to be nearer the action than up in Cumbria. There they played the club circuit and were hailed as a second Sabbath.

Later in the year a recording session was arranged in the Zella studios in Edgbaston. Tony Iommi was the producer and a single "Judy Green Rocket" was the outcome.

In early 1973 Necromandus cut their first album in Morgan's Studio in London, with Tony Iommi again producing and contributing some licks as well. He chose Vertigo as the record company to release their album "Orexis of Death" as they had previously issued several Sabbath albums.


After the completion of their album Necromandus were chosen to be one of the support acts on a major U.K. Black Sabbath tour. They followed this with their own tour during which their performance at the Casino in Blackpool was privately recorded. This recording became available for the first time 32 years later!

In August 1973 Necromandus appeared at the Kendal Rock Festival. Another local band Olly Alcock's England were also on the bill which was headed by the Groundhogs.

They also sold out Whitehaven Civic Hall filling 400 seats with as many again standing at the back and sides.

Unfortunately for Necromandus, Sabbath were at their peak at this time and spent much of their time in the USA. This meant that Tony was not around to push for their album to be released and the date kept getting put back.

Towards the end of 1973 Baz Dunnery decided to leave the band which took away an important component of their sound. This caused Vertigo to shelve the album which finally saw the light of day over 20 years later.

An album of alternate versions and a live track was also released recently called "Necrothology"

All three Necromandus CDs are available from specialist dealers.

 

The band finally split after their last gig in the Slypt Disc in Workington.

As a postscript to their career the three remaining members were remembered by Ozzy Osborne when he temporarily left Sabbath and he invited them to back him in rehearsals of new material which would eventually become "Blizzard of Ozz", but he eventually rejoined Sabbath.

NEW!!!!

From
Rise Above Records

This Die-hard heavyweight black vinyl edition is limited to 300 copies only. Comes in deluxe gatefold sleeve with exclusive new artwork from Arik Roper. Includes 8 page album sized booklet with previously unseen photographs and new sleevenotes. Also included in this special edition is an exact replica of the acetate only Judy Geen Rocket one sided single. A true collectors piece.

Orexis of Death is a true lost treasure of British underground progressive hard rock. The skills of musicianship and structure were very progressive for the time, especially in the jazz-influenced guitar technique of Barry (Baz) Dunnery. Apparently even Steve Howe scratched his head when he witnessed some Dunnery wizardry.

Regarded as cult classic for many years,
http://www.riseaboverecords.com/products/view/301/
is pleased to announce this newly mastered edition. Also included here is an extremely rare (first time on vinyl) live recording of the band performing in front of a Blackpool audience back in 1973.


Baz Dunnery went on to play in Violinsky with John Marcangelo (formerly with the Invaders) and played on their hit single "Clog Dance"

Frank Hall and Baz Dunnery were reunited for a time in Cumbrian band Nerves.

Bill Branch, Dennis McCarten and Baz Dunnery have now passed away.

Many thanks to John O'Brien for providing most of the above information.