Flames is a thrash metal band, formed by Chris Kirk in 1984. Since then they have released many albums and they have participated in many live shows as headliners or guests often next to great bands.
The band resides between Athens, Greece and Munich, Germany and since 1984, the band’s lineup was changed several times but always with the Kirk brothers as the core.
In the very first year of the band’s life, Flames managed to record and release two albums, “Made in Hell” and “Merciless Slaughter”.
– “Made in Hell” was the first album. Recorded during the summer of 1985 from Chris (guitars), Nigel (guitars/vocals), Ted (bass) and later Andy Kirk (also on bass). Since the studio capabilities were limited, the result considering the conditions was…epic. The album was released in 1985 in Greece from FM Records for Greece and from Babylon Records for Germany and introduced Flames to the European metal audience.
– “Merciless Slaughter”, just like “Made in Hell” was recorded in very short time just after the first album, in the same studio as before. At this time though, the band had more experience and better songs. The lineup was Nigel (guitar/vocals), Chris Kirk (guitars), Andy Kirk (bass) and Gus Collias (drums). Right after the recordings Gus for personal reasons left the band and for the needs of the upcoming live shows in this year, George Andrian (Andreakos) joined Flames as the new drummer. The music here is more aggressive pointing the way which later Chris would lead the band and the songs are a mix of power and speed/thrash metal. The LP was released in 1986, once again from FM Records for Greece and from Magic Music Records for Germany.
The LP front cover was a choice from FM Records. It’s a brutal pic of a wax head with an antiwar message… After this LP, Flames changed their singer and the Alex Ossek joined the band.
Flames during the following years worked hard for many live shows and the band’s next albums:
– “Live in the Slaughter House” (1987) is as the title says a live EP and it’s a live performance with four songs featuring the ex-singer Nigel.
– “Greatest Hits” (1988), released from FM Records
With the album “Summon the Dead” a very successful era begins for Flames, with new songs and sound and the band considers this album as a new beginning. The band sounds more aggressive now performs pure thrash metal and also plays many live shows. The album was released in 1988 internationally by the French label Black Dragon and made the band worldwide known. Flames were the first metal band in their home country, with an international release by a foreign label! This movement promotes the Greek metal scene out of the country and after that many thrash metal live shows began taking place in Greece. During this album and for needs of the live shows, Athan Schitsos joined in rhythm guitars for a short period of time.
Only one year after “Summon The Dead”, Flames released their next album, “Last Prophecy” (distributed by FM Records. The band still plays fast, aggressive and also a bit of progressive thrash metal. The music compositions are more mature, the songs more elaborate, well thought and a bit more complex and left their music mark for the band. The production is the best that Flames ever had up to date, making the band competitive to the international thrash scene. With this album the band continues their live shows making thrash metal scene to grow in their country. During this year, the new singer (and guitarist), Tom Trampouras, joined the band.
After many live shows between 1989 and 1991, the band, (Chris , Andy, Tom, and George), entered the studio to record a new album. The album titled in Latin “Nomen Illi Mors” (His Name is Death), is very hard to find, because it was released in a very limited number of copies. Originally intended to be a demo, ended up to be released in limited copies only in Greece and became kind of legendary, due to the band’s live shows. After the album was released, Andy and George joined the Army so Ilias Pavlioglou (bass) and George Papageorgiou (drums) joined the band for the upcoming live shows.
The album was recorded by the band as a rehearsal promo just to experiment for their new album with the new singer, Tom. Flames initially did not include this material in their official discography since the recordings were taken from the studio before the final mixing and was released prematurely, without the awareness of the band from an independent producer. This time period was also very active regarding the band’s live shows.
After a short brake since 1991, the original band members Chris Kirk (guitars and now also on vocals) and Andy Kirk (bass) are together again, since both moved in Germany. Together, they completed the band’s lineup, with the singer Flo Gebhardt, guitarist Tassos Spiliotopoulos and the drummer Angelos Asimakopoulos.
After some very successful live shows, the band went in the studio once again, to record the next album, titled “In Agony Rise”, which was released during the same year, by the independent label Poco Records and was produced by the band itself. With this album, Flames officially introduced an old friend and now a member of the band, the German singer Flo Gebhardt who performed the vocals. After the album’s release, the band promoted it with live shows as well.
The band participates among many other local bands in a new compilation album titled “A Tribute to Bathory” with the song “The Return of Darkness and Evil” adding their personal style to the song. This compilation was released by the Metal Invader zine, of course as a tribute to Bathory.
Later this year in the summer Flames for the needs of their public relations participated in person and gave many interviews in Pop Com in Köln, Germany as a band of the record company Black Markt (based in Berlin), as they were close for a record contract with this label.
This time period Tassos left the band and went on to have a successful career on his personal music style on guitar. Chris, Andy, Flo and Angelos continued playing music together.
Flames, celebrating the 25th Anniversary with music from all of their history, performed some live shows once again.
The band returns to the studio to remaster some of their old songs and the compilation album “Legacy”, is released on 11-11-2011, including 20 of the best songs from the history of Flames. After many years in Flames (since 1994) Flo gave up his place on vocals but still since then, he remained an honored member and a brother.
Chris and Andy are joined by Tom, once again an older member returning to handle guitar and vocals and the new drummer Nick. Together they are working on the upcoming album.
The new 7th album is ready and during this year the label will announce the release date as well as the formats that will be available regarding this album. Moreover, the band will focus on playing some live shows whenever it is possible.
From us FLAMES : Chris (R.B. Lee) Kirk, Andy Kirk, Tom Trambouras, Nick Yngve, thank you all for your support!
“ YOU KEEP THE FLAMES BURNING”
FLAMES would like to thank all the ex-members who participated in this music journey since 1984.
Nigel Foxxe (1985-86)
Flo Gebhardt (1993 – .... our brother and eternal honored member of the band)
Athan Skitsos (1987-88)
Tassos Spiliotopoulos (1996-97)
Gus Kollias + (1984-1985)
George Andreakos (1985-eternity)
Aggelos Asimakopoulos (1996-1997)
Also the great friends and musicians we met on stage in so many live shows.
Ted Pope + bass (1985), Hlias Pavlioglou bass and George Papageorgiou drums (1991-1992), Aggelis Georgiopoulos vocals and Michael Vazeos drums (2000-2002), Alex K. drums (2010-1012)