Skullflower, one of the most important and influential British noise bands, formed in 1988. They are eternally led by Matthew Bower (later of Total, Sunroof!, Hototogisu, Mirag), the current lineup featuring Lee 'Culver' Stokoe and Samantha Davies. Recent studio recordings and concerts have featured original drummer / vocalist Stuart Dennison. The band originally evolved from a group of occasional, floating players working under various guises, which became Skullflower prior to the release of the debut "Birthdeath" EP on Broken Flag records in 1988.
The band originally evolved from a group of occasional, floating players working under various guises, which became Skullflower prior to the release of the debut "Birthdeath" EP on Broken Flag records in 1988. This first record featured the following line-up: Stefan Jaworzyn, Gary Mundy (of the seminal Ramleh), Matthew Bower and Stuart Dennison.
The first full-length Skullflower album "Form Destroyer" (released on Broken Flag records in 1989, re-released with extra tracks as "Ruins" on Shock records in 1990) featured the same central line up alongside additional musicians including Anthony Di Franco (Ramleh, Ax, Novatron) on bass and Stephen Thrower (Coil) on drums (2 tracks).
The follow-up album "Xaman" was released on Stefan Jaworzyn's Shock imprint in 1990.
featured Mathew Bower (Guitar/Bass) Stuart Dennison (Drums /Vocals) Stefan Jaworzyn's (Guitar) and Alex Binnie international Tatto guru (Bass). However, creative tensions within the band soon lead to Jaworzyn leaving following it's release.
In 1991 Skullflower entered the studio to record the "Third Gatekeeper" album, the line-up this time featuring Matthew Bower (Guitar), Stuart Dennison (Drums, Vocal, Piano, Guitar) and Anthony Di Franco (Bass). The album was released in 1992 on HeadDirt, and re-released in 2007 on Crucial Blast records. Shortly after this Lp, Anthony Di Franco was replaced by Russell Smith (Guitars, ex Terminal Cheesecake, God, A.R.Kane) for the following releases.
Over the years the group's style has changed considerably. Their earlier releases drew influence from industrial and psychedelic scenes, forming a minimalist wall of guitar squall, distorted vocals and tribal drumming. They later evolved into a free form noise/jazz/improv outfit, abandoning traditional song structure and including instruments like chinese horns. In 1996 Bower and Dennison ended Skullflower. Bower got involved with other bands (mostly noise projects) whilst Dennison continued to play with Ramleh until it's 1997/8 dissolution.
In 2002 Matthew Bower brought Skullflower out of retirement and released several new recordings. Styles range from early Skullflower (Exquisite Fucking Boredom) to drone-noise (Orange Canyon Mind and Tribulation).
The more recent recordings 'Desire for a Holy War', 'Pure Imperial Reform' and triple cd 'Circulus Vitiosus Deus' are blackened noisescapes situated between Wagnerian pomp and lofi blackmetal buzz dronemetal, but without the bass heavy drones a la Sunn O))) / Earth.
May 2009 - The new Skullflower album "Malediction" (studio recording) featuring the
line-up of Matthew Bower, Samantha Davies (Voltigeurs), Lee Stokoe (Culver) and Stuart Dennison (Ramleh, original Skullflower) back on drums and vocals, has just been released (on Second Layer records). Three long tracks of blackened guitar wall. No one is making music that sounds like this.