Zandelle, Zandelle (1996, demo)
Black cover, logo, skull, deep shadows. Textbook! He’s certainly angry looking, with the faint red glow in his sockets and the blood dripping from his teeth (fangs?) onto his chin. He looks like he was painted without reference material, just from the memory of other big dumb skulls. Seriously tr00. And for as crappy as this skull is, the band actually recycled it for their 2011 release Shadows of the Past, which featured re-recorded versions of songs from this and other early demos. That cover repeats the skull several times, though, disqualifying it for inclusion in the Skullection.
In the mid 90s, there weren’t many bands in the States playing old fashioned melodic heavy metal. One of those was Gothic Knights, and when their singer (George Tsalikis) left after releasing one album with the band, he jumped into Zandelle. Neither band was ever very good, sounding like bands that weren’t quite good enough to make Metal Massacre 8, but their hearts were in the right place, I guess. The riffing is dull, the drumming bland, and the songs cliche, but at least the singer was actually singing, and not just trying to out-aggro Rob Flynn, as was the fashion in those days. This sort of too-true-for-school stuff is just too backwards looking for me most of the time, and Zandelle is no exception, but this does take me back to those days when any metal song with a melody line was enough to perk the ears.
— Friar Johnsen