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Drain S.T.H.
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The all-female hard rock/heavy metal band Drain S.T.H. was formed in 1993 in Stockholm, Sweden (hence the S.T.H., added to avoid confusion with a similarly named American band), and featured singer Maria Sjöholm, guitarist Flavia Canel, bassist Anna Kjellberg, and drummer/vocalist Martina Axén. Displaying an unabashed worship of Alice in Chains, their independent 1996 debut, Horror Wrestling, was dominated by uncompromising grinds of slow, down-tuned guitars, which were then topped with Sjöholm and Axén’s beautifully chilling vocal harmonies. Coupled with the band’s impressive live performances and supermodel looks, this soon drew the attention of Mercury Records subsidiary The Enclave, which repackaged and re-released the album worldwide two years later with an additional three tracks (including a quarter-speed remake of Motörhead’s “Ace of Spades”). The far more accessible follow-up, 1999’s Freaks of Nature, managed to shed much of the band’s excessive Alice in Chains influences of old and flirted with traces of programmed percussion and even rap, thereby forging a more distinctive sonic identity. (Track 3 “Simon Say’s” is produced by old friend Max Martin, probably more well known as producer of, among others, Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears…)
But despite extensive touring both in Europe and America (including a lengthy jaunt with that year’s Ozzfest) and attaining decent radio airplay in support, Drain S.T.H. never managed to break out of the metal underground, perhaps because they were simply too drop-dead gorgeous to be taken seriously by the notoriously chauvinistic metal masses. A major restructuring at Mercury Records later that year spelled the final disaster for Drain S.T.H., who were dropped in early 2000 and subsequently decided to call it a day. Following the group’s breakup, singer Sjöholm became Mrs. Iommi (Black Sabbath, Iommi), amazingly enough, while the remaining members went off in seperate directions. Martina Axén has now replaced Tobey Torres as vocalist for Snake River Conspiracy, while Flavia Canel now plays bass for Blowsight. (
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