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The History

Warlord is the brainchild of guitarist/songwriter Bill Tsamis and drummer Mark Zonder, who had made their way down from San Jose, California to Los Angeles.

The new band caught the attention of fledgling record company owner, Brian Slagel, whose label, Metal Blade Records, had recently issued Metal Massacre, a compilation featuring up and coming local metal bands such as Malice, Steeler, Ratt, and Metallica.

An aficionado of the new wave of British heavy metal and admirer of the European metal aesthetic, Slagel was impressed by Warlord's semi-progressive style inspired by such diverse acts as Rainbow, Angel Witch, and Jethro Tull. Slagel decided to offer the band a spot on his next compilation and Warlord would make their vinyl debut with "Lucifer's Hammer" on 1982's Metal Massacre II.

Earning rave reviews, Warlord made a repeat appearance with "Mrs. Victoria" on Metal Massacre III and were signed to Metal Blade for their 1983 "Deliver Us" 6-song mini-album which got the band featured in important metal publications such as Kerrang!.

Warlord 80s

Adding further intrigue to the growing Warlord mystique was the band members' use of pseudonyms such as 'Destroyer' (Tsamis), 'Thunderchild' (Zonder), 'Damien King' (vocalist Jack Rucker), and 'Sentinel' (keyboardist Diane Kornarens) as well as Warlord's refusal to become just another LA club act, opting to present themselves on a grander scale instead.

To that end, the band rented The Raymond Theatre to stage what would turn out to be the only classic era Warlord live performance.
It was filmed and recorded - without an audience present - for the group's first full-length release, "And the Cannons of Destruction Have Begun...", issued in October 1984 and accompanied by a VHS home video release of the same name (now on DVD). The album featured 2 brand new tracks, "Soliloquy" and "MCMLXXXIV", as well as both cuts from the "Lost And Lonely Days" / "Aliens" 12" single released earlier that same year.
Tsamis, Zonder, and Kornarens were joined by bassist Dave Watry ('Archangel') and a new vocalist Rick Cunningham ('Damien King II').

A third vocalist worked shortly with the band: Rick Anderson, also known as "Damien King III".

And The Cannons Of Destruction Have Begun... Promo

Post-Warlord activities

The inability to retain a working line-up, that is the difficulty in procuring a sure-fire vocalist led to inner tensions and despair, thus Warlord finally ground to a halt in 1986, with Tsamis moving from California to Florida and eventually undergoing a spiritual conversion. The band's label, Metal Blade, would issue "Thy Kingdom Come", a quasi Best Of, in December of that same year. An extended version, including the whole Deliver Us EP, followed in 1989, titled "Best of Warlord". It was the first time the band's music had been issued on compact disc.

Tsamis initially recorded an acoustic demo under the name "Lordian Winds" and worked for years on a project called "My Name Is Man" (a 75-minute music video concept): an epic story based on John Milton's "Paradise Lost" and similar to Homer's "Iliad" and "Odyssey".

Hopes of turning it into a proper movie never came to fruition as no producer could be found to take on the project. Tsamis next formed a new Christian apocalyptic-themed venture called Lordian Guard with his wife, Vidonne Sayre Riemenschneider, serving as lead vocalist.Lordian Guard issued two albums, Lordian Guard (1995) and Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God (1997) through Germany's Hellion Records. Many of the songs, especially those on the self-titled record, had originally been planned for inclusion on the unreleased My Name Is Man album or a second Warlord full-length. A third album, titled The Holy Empire, was planned but never materialized as the project was disbanded.

Following Warlord's demise, drummer Mark Zonder would retain the band's practice facility in the San Fernando Valley, expanding and building it into one of the top rehearsal spots in the Northern Los Angeles area over the next several years.
He also kept busy as a studio drum consultant and in-demand session player, including a stint with Animotion offshoot Plane English, and eventually joined Metal Blade recording artists, Fates Warning, in time for 1989's Perfect Symmetry. Zonder's association with Fates would last a decade and a half covering a total of six studio and two live albums. In 2004, Zonder announced that FWX would be his last album with the band and he left the following year. He began to collaborate with fellow San Diego, CA-based multi-instrumentalist Wayne Findlay (Michael Schenker Group, Vinnie Moore) in a new band called Temple Within who released their eponymous debut album under the name Slavior in 2007 on Inside Out Music.

Retaining a considerable underground following as a much beloved cult band over the years, Warlord reformed in 2002. Original members Tsamis and Zonder were joined by Hammerfall vocalist Joacim Cans, a long-time Warlord admirer whose band had in fact covered the Deliver Us classic 'Child of the Damned' on their debut album, Glory to the Brave, in 1997. In 2002, Warlord reunited to record "Rising Out of the Ashes", with Joacim Cans of Hammerfall on lead vocals, via Italian Athreia Records (which in turn sub-licensed it to German Drakkar Records), re-recording several tracks that had previously appeared on the Lordian Guard albums, however with the traditional heavier sound of Warlord.  That year also saw them play their first two live gigs at the Wacken Festival in Germany in front of 40,000 fans; a testimony to the enduring legacy of their 80s heyday that still reverberates today with the tens of thousands of Warlord disciples around the globe that have kept the music alive with fans clubs, websites and the continued proliferation of the band’s songs.The continued demand for Warlord has been evidenced by numerous invitations to play concerts in Germany, Italy and Greece, most importantly to headline the summer 2009 festival Headbangers Open Air in Hamburg; however, Tsamis and Zonder declined for various reasons. Nevertheless, the musical legacy of 'Warlord' continued to live through its cult following in Europe despite the passing of years.

Second Reunion 2011 - Present

In late 2011 Bill Tsamis announced in the band's fan page on Facebook (The Warlord Battle Choir) that the band was once again in the studio. Subsequently, a snippet of an upcoming song was released by Mark Zonder on YouTube. At that time Tsamis declined to reveal the name of the vocalist that would be used. On March 12, 2012, on the eve of his 51st birthday, Tsamis surprised Warlord fans with the first Warlord song in 10 years, called "Night of the Fury". It was then also revealed that vocalist duties were once again handled by Rick Anderson (Damien King III) along with guest vocalist Giles Lavery.

Warlord Live in Greece

In August 2012, Now fronted by Lavery, Warlord announced its first ever tour in spring 2013, that included sold out headlining shows, a live worldwide TV appearance, countless interviews and magazine covers and a recorded concert (to be released in early 2014 on BluRay Disc / DVD and double CD). 2013, apart from the Warlord shows and live recordings, also saw the birth of Sons Of A Dream Music LLC, a joint venture by Mark & Bill that gives finally a “home” to the music of Warlord.

In March 2013 Warlord released “The Holy Empire” that was received with rave reviews from press and fans alike.

In 2014 Warlord performed in Germany, Greece and Spain with vocalist Nicholas Leptos known for his works with Arrayan Path.

William J Tsamis & Mark Zonder, founders of Warlord

In May 2021 guitarist, composer and founder of Warlord, William J Tsamis died.

April the 10th 2023: Warlord announced they had reformed with a line-up featuring Mark Zonder (drums),

the returning Giles Lavery (vocals), Philip Bynoe (bass), and Jimmy Waldo (keys) with the guitarist positions filled by Eric Juris and Diego Pires.


On May the 10th 2024 the band released their new album "Free Spirit Soar" containing 10 new songs all based on musical song ideas started by Bill Tsamis.


Warlord are scheduled to appear at numerous European festivals and tour globally in 2024 and beyond.

In Memoriam

Bill Tsamis

William J Tsamis

1961 - 2021

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