Briar Rose (band)

Briar Rose (band)

Infobox Musical artist
Name = Briar Rose

Img_capt = Briar Rose return at M4M5, 2007
Img_size =
Landscape = Yes
Background = group_or_band
Alias = B.R.
Origin = Swansea, Massachusetts US
Genre = Traditional heavy metal
Years_active = 1988–present
Label = SWP, Roaar Records
Associated_acts =
Current_members = Randy Blake II (vocals)
Rick D'Ambra (bass)
Mike Lepore (guitar)
Randy Allen Arruda (drums)
Past_members = Marcus Lorde (guitar)
Kevin DeMello (drums)
Michael Tylla (guitar)
Josh Simonin (bass)
Ken Sirois (drums)
Phil Richardson (bass)
Rodney Baker (guitar)
Ryan Rogers (guitar)
Chris Bourque (bass)
Chris Longo (drums)
Myles Lucier (guitar)
Chris Reed (guitar)

Briar Rose is a traditional heavy metal band from Swansea, Massachusetts.


Formed in 1988 by vocalist Randy Blake II and guitarist Marcus Lorde after the demise of Brideshead, the duo retained the services of Kevin DeMello on drums and Roger Dumas on bass and formed the beginning of Briar Rose. Dumas would soon be replaced by Michael Tylla who initially was the band’s bassist before moving to rhythm guitar with the arrival of new bassist Josh Simonin. In 1988 they recorded their demo / EP “Briar Rose” with producer Joe Moody in Swansea, MA. They were Moody’s first heavy metal band who went on to produce acts like Vital Remains.

1991 saw the release of the band’s debut album “Dark Tales of Optimism” that brought the band sales outside of the New England area and into the United Kingdom and Germany. The rock magazine Kerrang! reviewed their debut album. It noted in part, "The production has captured some of Briar Rose's hopes and aspirations with surprising clarity. The music is a surprisingly articulate grind core of early Iron Maiden with just a hint of Black Sabbath, and technically, mechanically there is nothing really on "Dark Tales Of Optimism" that would offend the likes of Battlezone or Mercyful Fate." [Watts, Chris (November 24, 1990), ""Dark Tales Of Optimism"- Full album review", Kerrang! (#317)]

A tour of the U.K. was planned but was postponed [Durand, Kathleen (28 February, 1992), "Briar Rose Anxious To Return To Europe", The Herald News: "Friday" magazine cover, page 6. Interview with Randy Blake II & Marcus Lorde] [Ryan, Debra (25 March, 1992), "Swansea's Briar Rose To Perform At Venus", The Spectator: 23. Interview with Randy Blake II, Rodney Baker & Phil Richardson.] as DeMello, Tylla & Simonin left the band to pursue other musical interests. The Blake II & Lorde followed through with the tour using hired musicians. Upon their return they acquired drummer Ken Sirois. They recruited bassist Phil Richardson and guitarist Rodney Baker from their own road crew and set about writing and recording their second album “Win if You Can, Lose if You Must but Always Cheat”, originally titled “Backstabbed” after a song that would appear on the album. With Joe Moody again at the helm they began recording the album in Rhode Island but had to abandon the recording due to the health of Lorde.

At this time, Sirois and Richardson departed as did Lorde who was no longer able to continue with the band. New members were acquired as Baker assumed Lorde’s position as lead guitarist and rhythm for the recording of the second album with Chris Bourque taking the bass position and Chris Longo behind the drums. The album was finished and distributed to many overseas labels who showed an interest in signing the band as well as Elektra Records showing a somewhat renewed interest from a previously offered development deal. Ryan Rogers was brought in as the new rhythm guitarist.

The U.S soon fell under the spell of Grunge and this took its toll on the band. With the exception of Blake II all the members of the band departed to chase the new genre in 1994. Within that time, Blake II pursued musical styles in his Celtic music heritage along the lines of folk rock and began a magazine publishing venture. It was through his working with overseas editors in 2000 that he learned the band had acquired a cult status and both albums were widely bootlegged. He also learned that that the band were represented in books and databases in other countries.

After requests for new material from overseas fans, he released “Detention”, a bootlegged styled recording of the band’s benefit show for a guitarist who passed on before his first rehearsal with them. Sales were good and Blake II continued with his publishing but the band would not take a back seat easily. He continued to get requests for new material and performances.

In 2007 he began reforming the band re-acquiring drummer Chris Longo and adding bassist Rick D’Ambra and borrowing guitarist Chris Reed and drummer Myles Lucier from Reflections Of Mortallity. Lucier would for a short time fill the rhythm guitar slot to be replaced by Mike Lepore. On June 23rd, 2007 the band returned to the stage at the Music For Middlesex 5 festival that had previously featured acts such as Aerosmith, Boston, New England (band) and The Fools. It was a success and the reformed Briar Rose began work on a new CD minus Chris Reed who returned to his own band. [Kenney, Jason (2008), ""'Rock 'n' roll is here to stay,' in Swansea"", The SCENE Journal: page. Interview with Randy Blake II, founding band member on brief history, return and recording and touring in future.]

The first release from the band was a Halloween novelty track called “Devil on a Cell Phone”. In November that same year they released their first “proper” song in 15 years in the form of “Hairy Eyeball”. Longo found himself unable to commit further to the band and in 2008 was replaced by Randy Allen Arruda on drums and the band added Kevin MacIntyre as their lead guitarist. Arruda was at one time also a crew member and provided backing vocals on the band’s first album and was originally slated to be the new album's drummer but opted out to make the position available Longo. [Garash, Joseph (Fall, 2006), ""War Of The Roses"- Article", VAULT (Issue 8)] MacIntyre never made a full commitment to the band and was released. The remaining members continued on working on new material for a November 2008 recording session with Grammy nominated producer Chris Tsangarides.

2008 also saw the release of two more singles from the band in the form of "Holy Fubar" on May 20th and "Imprisioned In Flesh" on June 22nd. The version of "Holy Fubar" that was released is an alternate take from the "Win If You Can, Lose If You Must But Always Cheat" sessions but does not contain the "toasterized digital surface noise" effect found on the original album version. "Imprisoned In Flesh" is a 46 second A cappella cover of a track originally found on Cathedral (band)'s album "The Ethereal Mirror". The track was released for download with virtually no mention by the band.

On August 23rd, the band released an EP to its fan base called "Party Favor" that collected the previously released singles since 2007 and two new tracks. "Cry For Dawn" in an unfinished demo version and "I Call That True Love", a strange lo-fi rendition of a track previously recorded by Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show from their 1971 album "Doctor Hook and the Medicine Show".

Rock producer Chris Tsangarides described the reborn group as, "... [A] real band with some heavy duty tunes will be here for the recording of their new album during November." [ [|Tsangarides, Tsangarides, Chris. "Briar Rose: a real band with some heavy duty tunes." Retrieved on 28 August 2008.] ]

The Name

The band's name is taken from the title of the variant story of Sleeping Beauty by the Brothers Grimm, "Briar Rose". The idea of hiding beauty in darkness to protect it from a greater darkness appealed to the band.


tudio albums


* Citation
author-link=Andy Smith
title="Singalong With Satan"
newspaper=Providence Journal
pages= E1 & E9 Interview with Randy Blake II. In response to a full page advertisement by an area jewelry firm stating Heavy metal music was harmful to young listeners. A member of Briar Rose & Legend were asked to respond to the ad as both bands were mentioned in the article as being prominent bands in the genre in the area.
date=4 November, 1990

* Citation
last1 = Shapre-Young | first1 = Gary
last2 = Odermatt | first2 = Horst
title = The Ultimate Hard Rock Guide, Vol.1 (Band listing and discography.)
publisher =
date =
year =
isbn =

* cite web
last = Shapre-Young
first = Gary
title = "Briar Rose: Rockdetector Biography"
accessdate = 2008-08-28

External links

* [ Briar Rose] at MusicMight formerly Rockdetector
* [ Briar Rose] at Rate Your Music

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