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Realm was formed in 1985 by guitarists Paul Laganowski and Takis Kinis following the dissolution of their previous project, Fallout, which featured singer Mark Antoni. The search started immediately for musicians to form a new band. Takis answered an ad in a local newspaper for a band (Bloodhunt) looking for a guitarist. Takis set up an audition and Paul came along and ended up jamming too. Paul and Takis joined forces with Bloodhunt gang and quickly changed the name of the band to Realm. How was the name Realm chosen? Each member got to pick a name for the band. Each name was written on a piece of paper and placed in a hat and Realm was drawn. It was later learned that Paul rigged the drawing so that his choice was the winner, good thing in retrospect.

The band set out with a clear objective to create music that was heavy, futuristic sounding, and complicated in a simple sort of way. A goal that was clearly acheived. Despite fitting into a heavy metal category, Realm pursued a style that often did not directly fit with many of their contemporaries, although certainly was heavy and fast. Some consider Realm to be a pioneer in progressive metal, arguably helping to create a fusion between heaviness and musicality, which often lacked with other metal bands.

Shortly after forming, Realm had composed 5 orignal tracks and quickly set out to get them recorded, resulting in the Perceptive Incentive demo (1985). This quickly garnered them radio play world wide, some great shows (including opening for Megadeth), and caught the attention of Roadrunner Records founder Cess Wessels.

As the months progressed, with a few shows under their belts, it was decided that the original rythym section needed to be replaced with more technically proficient and similarly-minded musicians. Takis had met bassist Steve Post at a basement party, where Takis was playing bass with some friends, Impaler (Takis only having played the bass for about a week, mind you.) Steve approached Takis and they started talking bass stuff -- Steve showing Takis the right way to play the Mericful Fate riffs. After seeing Steve perform live with a local fave "Onslaught", he was asked to join Realm. Steve suggested that his drummer, Mike Olson, come along for the tryout, and the rest is history. The creation of new material quickly ensued. Live shows soon followed. For the most part, Realm played original material, but occasionally threw in covers of obscure metal bands. Many times people believed these obscure songs to be originals.

To hear Realm play a cover of a Trouble song, CLICK HERE => Live version of Bastards will Pay with Doug Parker on vocals. Recorded with a live mic August 15, 1986 at the Jabberwocky in West Allis, WI. Live and Raw (maybe a little drunk too)!

Once a good core of new songs had been created, Realm set out to record their second demo, the hugely popular Final Solution. After tracking was complete, rough mixes were made and found to be lacking something. David Rose, friend/fan/later-to-be-guitar tech extrodinaire, was quoted as saying, this sounds "awful." Paul's friend and former band-mate, Jim Bartz, was allowed to take the master reels to Royal Recorders where he was interning as a studio engineer. During off hours, Jim mixed the tracks in the same world class facility that produced Guns and Roses' Appetite for Destruction and Bon Jovi's first album amongst many notable others. After hearing those mixes, Dave Rose was then quoted as saying that it was amazing and that he should from now on be called "infected colon" for how stupid he felt for ridiculing the rough mixes. Fans agreed. Final Solution was hugely successful as demos go. Thousands of copies were sold, mostly by word of mouth and the tape trading underground, an amazing feat in the pre-Internet era.

After numerous shows with Doug Parker, it became apparent that a new vocalist was needed. A search was immediately begun. When asked by their soon-to-be manager, Eric Greif, who is your ideal choice? Mark Antoni quickly came to mind. Since Paul and Takis already had a working rapport with Mark, it seemed like a good fit. At that point in time, Mark was playing in Firing Squad. After a few jam sessions, Mark joined the band.

Before too long Mark had learned many of the old Realm favorites and many of the newer unreleased tracks. Eric Greif, now manager, urged the band to record a new demo, featuring Mark. It was felt that this would help to shop for a label. The band set out to Gurnee, Illinois to record a demo which included, Endless War, Slay the Oppressor, Knee Deep in Blood, Shadows Without Substance, Echoes of the Future (pre-cursor of LaFlemme's Theory) and the track that eventually got them signed, Eleanor Rigby -- the Beatles ballad turned speed metal. Despite some cool moments and a mix by Jim Bartz, the band was not very happy with this demo, and thus never released it for public consumption. Why? Some of the vocal harmonies (brainchild of Eric Greif) were thought a little "not metal enough" and the mix was deemed less than perfect. Thought was given to remixing but by the time this was considered, Roadrunner Records was knocking on Realm's door.

Ironically, it was the two original demos that gained the label's attention. Then just an intern, Monte Conner, a fan and college radio station DJ prior, brought the tapes to the attention of Roadrunner in New York. The label was interested and wanted to hear more, but something that included new vocalist, Mark. The Gurnee Tapes were sent along with footage from a video shot at one of the Jabberwocky gigs proving the band's live prowess and audience enthusiasm. Ultimately, it was Eleanor Rigby that was the selling point, and soon Realm had inked a deal.

Realm then set out to begin recording their first album, Endless War, during August and early September of 1988. Working with a minimal recording budget, the band began tracking at Breezeway Studios in Waukesha, Wisconsin, with engineer/producer Jim Bartz at the helm (same studio that Final Solution was recrded at). Since Jim bartz lived at the Realm rehearsal spot (Paul's house) on Milwaukee northwest side (42nd & Silver Spring), he knew the music well (he didn't have much choice given the practice volume). Extensive experitmentation and diligent long hours (sometimes 18 hours per day) were spent over the next 2 1/2 weeks to complete the tracking. Mixing was completed at RB's Sonic Art Studio in northern Illinois, during a marathon 10 day session with little sleep. But the results were stunning for such a low budget project. The album was released just a couple of months later and was met with glowing reviews by the press, radio, and the fans.

Realm then set out on their first US tour in the spring of 1989, riding the heels of the press and radio play they were receiving. Teamed up with Acrophet (Tirple X Records), another local band under Eric Greif's management, a coast-to-coast tour ensued.

This is a work in progress. More to follow soon . . .

 

 

 
All content copyright Realm, Inc.; Strap, Grease, Slap Publishing; Roadrunner Records; and others as listed.