Created in the northern most section of the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, Shaolin Death Squad claims residency in Denton, Tx. Prior to their official birth in late 2002, the members of SDS have played in various music projects throughout the state. With an interest in theatrical arts, Shaolin Death Squad offers a unique live performance which often leaves their audience intrigued and eager for more. Along with their image, a variety of influences aid in the unique, yet oddly familiar sounds of SDS. The music consistently continues to be distinct and creative as well as commercially appealing, as the band seeks to be profitable in the market place while retaining musical/artistic integrity. Shaolin Death Squad's unique sound and image has attracted the attention of several labels, including The End, Equilibre (France), and Do For It Records. Having shared the stage with groups such as the Dillinger Escape Plan, Fair to Midland, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Estradasphere and Therion, SDS successfully entertains audiences with a wide variety of musical taste. Continuing with their musical creations, Shaolin Death Squad has recently released their third endeavor which included a song cycle inspired by the Shaw Brothers film "5 Deadly Venoms."
Often compared to such artists/projects as Mr. Bungle, Oingo Boingo, System of a Down, Cirque du Soleil, Dimmu Borgir, and ELO, the music of Shaolin Death Squad is both melodically exciting and rhythmically aggressive. Infectious melodies and harmonies are often punctuated with bursts of intense rhythmic furor. Formal musical and technical training has given the members of SDS the ability to play a broad range of challenging musical styles, and it has instilled in them a high level of professionalism in all aspects of music production.
Androo O'Hearn (the White Swan) - Vocals, synthesizers
David O'Hearn (Red Dragon) - guitars
Matt Thompson (Black Ninja) - the drums
Gary Thorne (Preying Mantis) - Bass Guitar
Kelsey Sharpe (the Wise One) - keyboards, Percussion, Violin, & Vocals.
Kenny Lovern (Blue Scorpion) - guitars, and Vocals.
Shaolin Death Squad (self-titled) 2004
Intelligent Design 2006
Do For It Records Sampler 2008
Five Deadly Venoms 2010
Do For It Records Sampler 2010
Intelligent Design Review
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SHAOLIN DEATH SQUAD, an American group nobody knows about, has delivered in a grandiose way with the...SHAOLIN DEATH SQUAD, an American group nobody knows about, has delivered in a grandiose way with their 2006 album Intelligent Design, a brilliant album full of great musicianship, innovation, creativity, and entertainment.
We can call this music progressive-metal, but not your typical DT-style prog-metal. We hear some elements of traditional bands, but mostly we hear an eclectic mixture of all kind of different influences, which combine to create a distinct, unique sound. We hear avant-garde elements, we hear some tech- metal touches here and there, we can detect musical passages that sound like DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA but also moments when we're reminded of ARCTURUS. There's some thrash metal in here, too, with many fast riffs and pounding rhythms. Some alternative rock has managed to infiltrate the music as well. As you can see, a complete blend of many colors in the metal spectrum. But the influences we could say are the most important in SDS's sound are definitely two: PAIN OF SALVATION, but even more, FAITH NO MORE. Yes, SDS's sounds owes a lot to both Gildenlow's outfit and to Patton's deceased group.
A very important element in SDS's music is the quality of the musicians and specially of their singer. All the instrumentalists are more than capable, showing their skills but never falling for the easy show-off. But it's "The White Swan" who steals the show. Here we have a vocalist capable of switching styles with ease and tremendous creativity. He can go from a melodic, clean voice to a black-metal styled, high- pitched growling in a matter of seconds, in both cases managing to deliver a very compelling vocal performance. Again, his main influences are the same as in the overall sound of the band: Gildenlow, but mostly, Patton. It's his way of phrasing the words, the rhythms, and sometimes also the tone that remind us of that great singer of FAITH NO MORE and MR BUNGLE fame. "The White Swan" doesn't stop here though; he can also sound a little grungy (we can detect a hint of ALICE IN CHAINS in one of the songs) and, in the last track, he evokes Jonathan Davis, of much-maligned nu-metal band KORN. Yes, the guy has quite a range of possibilities in his voice.
The music goes from the burlesque to the violent, from the atmospheric to the grotesque, from the cold mountains of China to the exaggerated joke of a circus; there's anger and insanity, there's laughter and even some light; we travel from the traditional to the modern, from progressive-metal to thrash metal to space-rock to avant-garde.
An unquestionable 5-star rating, if there ever has been one. One of the best cds of 2006, a year when many lost gems like this album or DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA got buried underneath a pile of over- hyped records. It's a shame that this disc has been self-released. Let's hope SHAOLIN DEATH SQUAD is allowed to give us their talents in a second effort in the future, with a label that can guarantee that more people will be exposed to great music like this.
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“I have a new favorite band that I can’t wait to see live.” --the Venue Magazine “it’s unlike...“I have a new favorite band that I can’t wait to see live.”
--the Venue Magazine
“it’s unlike anything you’ve ever heard before, but what your pathetic life’s been missing since birth.”
--Fort Worth Weekly
“…local musicians will probably wanna give up music altogether after hearing this.”
--Fort Worth Weekly
“Shaolin Death Squad is one of the best bands I’ve seen in years, not only in Dallas, but anywhere.”
--the Dallas Sound
“Shaolin Death Squad is taking Dallas by storm and it’s about to become a tornado of super badass rock.”
--the Dallas Sound
“Start with a circus romp, throw in an oddly metered metal riff, cue the double kick drum, and then slide into a Caribbean lullaby. Dig?”
--the Fold Magazine
“Exploring Shaolin Death Squad's sonic temple is like moving through a haunted house, never knowing what lurks around the corner.”
--the Electric Basement
“You won’t find a more diverse group of musicians, and they put on one heck of a show!”
“the only band that perfectly blends soulful music and catchy lyrics is the same band that orchestrated a breakdown so heavy it caused both Hurrican Katrina and the Tidal Wave in the Indian Ocean”
--XtremeDfw.com message board
Our set lists, which average around 45 + minutes, consist of original material and an occasional cover.
We play pieces from our current and future releases. Past covers have been:
This is Halloween (from A Nightmare Before Christmas)
the theme from Tales from the Crypt
Reptiles and Samurai - Oingo Boingo
Dead Man's Party - Oingo Boingo
The Trial - Pink Floyd
Pure Imagination - Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
The Trial - Pink Floyd
a handful of Mr. Bungle songs
a handful of Muse Songs
There are no upcoming dates at this time.