United


United
Yoshifumi Yoshida (Guitar), Akira (Drums), Singo Otani (Guitar), Akihiro Yokoyama (Bass), Nobu (Vocals)

Biography: UNITED was formed in 1981, named after a song from the album "British Steel" by none other than the Metal Gods - JUDAS PRIEST.

They were originally a cover band playing songs of JUDAS PRIEST and BLACK SABBATH, but when YOKO (b) joined the band in 1983 they began to write their original materials. It was in 1985 that their 1st EP "Destroy Metal" came out, surprisingly on a punk label Hold Up.

In 1986 UNITED took part in a compilation "Devil Must Be Driven Out With Devil". Their sound was described as Melodic Power Metal around this time up to the release of their 2nd EP "Beast Dominate" in December 1986, which proved their evolution into a genuine Thrash Metal band.

With the worldwide Thrash Metal movement, UNITED was gaining its popularity. Now having one of the best guitar duos in the scene, HALLY and SINGO on board, UNITED released their 1st album "BLOODY BUT UNBOWED" in 1990, as the first-ever release on Howling Bull Records. Despite the decline of the predominated Thrash Metal movement, UNITED continued to expand its fan base.

In 1992, they released 2 albums - "Beast Dominates '92" and "Human Zoo", the former of which was re-recorded version of the "Beast Dominate" EP, including newly recorded cover tracks to make a mini album. The latter was their 2nd studio full length.

1995 saw the release of their 3rd full length album "N.O.I.Q" on Victor Entertainment (JVC), and they also signed a management deal with Rick Sales (SLAYER). Meanwhile, they were continuously playing gigs, sharing the stage with SLAYER, EXODUS, SODOM, MACHINE HEAD, THE EXPLOITED etc.. Their first-ever show abroad took place in LA, at the metal festival "FOUNDATIONS FORUM" in September 1995.

A deal was also signed there with Metal Blade Records for a release of "N.O.I.Q" in North America. In the mid '90s, the music scene saw a big change especially in the US, and the emergence of young bands with new interpretations of "heaviness" become a stimulating inspiration for UNITED.

The band then met the world's renowned producer/engineer Vincent Wojno (MACHINE HEAD, TESTAMENT, etc.), who would work with UNITED up to their 6th album "Infectious Hazard" (2001). Their 4th album "Reload" (1997), mini album "Burst" (1997) and the 5th album "Distorted Vision" (1998) demonstrated the results of fusing their new influences with their brand of Thrash Metal. In 2000 UNITED recorded what was to be their 6th album, but with their vocalist INAZOO leaving the band upon completion, the rest of the guys had mixed feelings about releasing the songs with his vocals on, and they decided to put the release on hold.

UNITED then welcomed ex-DEATH FILE singer YUASA to replace him, who re-recorded the vocal tracks entirely, but then they had to face another bitter experience of YOKO's illness. After overcoming all those troubles, "Infectious Hazard" was released in 2001 as mentioned above.

This album, which Vincent Wojno plus Andy Sneep (EXODUS, TESTAMENT, ARCH ENEMY, etc.) worked behind the board, was full of speed and intensity as a good Thrash record should be, and the band members refer to the album as their masterpiece still to this day. In August, UNITED had the opportunity to play the biggest Metal festival ever in Japan, "BEAST FEAST 2001", where SLAYER and PANTERA headlined each day. Following the release of their 7th album "Core" in 2002, they launched a package tour of their own entitled "Hell Breaks Loose Tour 2002", and toured extensively with SUNS OWL and BASSAIUM in support of the release.

And in December 2002 they performed at "BEAST FEAST 2002" where SLAYER and SOULFLY headlined this time. Having supported THE HAUNTED in March 2003, again they went out on an extensive "Hell Breaks Loose Tour 2003" with WHEEL OF DOOM and DEFAME. The drummer left at the end of the year, but was soon replaced by AKIRA (ex- VACUUM) in April 2004.

In September, UNITED joined the "Return of the Crunch Heads Tour" together with COCOBAT, headlined by EXODUS. During this time, they felt they were carrying everything before them.

YOKO said "we had a feeling that we could even draw attention of those who aren't into Thrash Metal". Their highly regarded live performance of this time owed largely to YUASA's improvement as a singer and a frontman, so when he ended up having to leave the band at the end of the year for personal reasons, YOKO couldn't help but feeling empty with his departure... However, within just a half year, UNITED was back with a new singer NOB (ex-DEFAME), and they participated in "Metal Blade Tour in Japan" in December 2005 with IMPIOUS and THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER.

Shortly after this tour, their 8th album "Nine" was released at the end of the year. In 2006, they embarked on a lengthy tour of 36 dates throughout Japan, followed by another 36-date tour, this time including appearances at festivals like "LOUD PARK 06", "Independence-D", as well as a big festival in Korea. From 2007 and on, UNITED started a new challenge to share the stage with bands of other genres such as J-Rock, Punk, Rap Metal, Hard Core etc., in an effort to get them known to a wider audience.

While this was certainly bearing fruit, NOB decided to leave at the end of 2008 for personal reasons, again leaving the band on a search for a singer. SINGO however had a definite candidate in his mind - Kuwait-born KEN-SHIN. He had seen him sing in a few bands in Japan before he finished his studies and returned to Kuwait.

An e-mail was sent but there was no reply for 2 months, so the band was obliged to start an open audition. They had narrowed down to 3 candidates by the summer, when SINGO received a phone call from KEN-SHIN, who enthusiastically explained how much he wanted to sing in UNITED.

An audition was set up and KEN-SHIN flew over to Japan, and within 2 hours this 2m tall trilingual guy became a new member of the band. 2010 saw the re-start of the songwriting, while KEN-SHIN would take 20-hour flights to Japan whenever they played any gig. The chemistry between him and the rest of the band began to become so eminent that they even won over fans of leading bands of other genres.

In October, UNITED finally begin recording the new album, while in November they (minus KEN-SHIN) supported the former IRON MAIDEN singer Paul Di'Anno as his backing band, and impressed him with their highly-acclaimed live performance. In 2011, the year of their 30th anniversary, UNITED will be releasing their 9th album "Tear Of Illusions" on SPIRITUAL BEAST. Meanwhile, to celebrate the anniversary, a box set, history DVD and some other interesting releases are being worked on, as well as their well-known extensive touring..


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