Disciples of Power
Disciples of Power (often referred to simply as the initials “D.O.P.” by fans) are a thrash-influenced death metal band from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The band was formed in 1987 by Warthorn vocalist/guitarist Hart Bachmier and drummer Dean Relf. The original lineup also featured lead guitarist Maurice Williams and bassist Chris Chapman. Their complex compositions and quite technical approach to thrash metal earned them a large following of fans within Canada’s underground metal scene quite quickly. In 1989 they were signed to the Fringe Product label and released their first album, Power Trap. The video for Crisis, a bleak track about the current state of our environment, got them a lot of early exposure on Canada’s MuchMusic network and MTV.
The band has seen a few lineup changes over the years. Chapman left the band quite early on to pursue other interests and Williams moved to Vancouver to join Process. Wes Sontag, of Section VIII, joined D.O.P. as the new lead guitarist and, along with founders Bachmier and Relf; Sontag has since remained a constant member of the band. The group did not have the same luck early on with bass players, however. Colin Post, also from Section VIII, played bass on Ominous Prophecy as well as Invincible Enemy, the band’s second and third releases, he left shortly after. The task of finding a bass player, especially someone with the skill to perform their frenzied and often complex style of music, was made more difficult by problems dealing with their soon-to-be-defunct label, fringe. A few bass players came and went during the latter half of the 1990s, during which time the band only released one album: the slightly experimental sounding Mechanikill was released by Mindt Gash Records, a record label created by the band when the problems at Fringe left a sour taste in their mouths for record companies. Stability was finally restored to the line-up when bassist Andy Smith, formerly of Deceit, joined D.O.P. in 2000 in which they recorded the swan song album In Dust We Trust.
The band officially split up in November 2003 but is back with a new line up consisting of Dean Relf (Drums), Wes Sontag(Guitar), Ben Harduk (guitar), Chris Chapman(Bassist) and Shane Hawco (Vocals). 2013 marks the bands silver anniversary and their highly anticipated return to the Edmonton Metal community.
Member since: 1988-current
From: Edmonton, AB
Dean played in punk bands in his teens which kick started his life into the early Edmonton music scene. While in Edmonton he was building up his drumming chops. Somewhere along the way he met Chris Chapman (bassist). Chris and D.O.P decided that Dean was the drummer that they had been looking for. In 1988 Dean officially joined and replaced their old drummer. Dean was such a good fit he has played in Disciples of Power since his start in 1988.
During 2003 when D.O.P. had gone on hiatus and temporarily disbanded, Dean became restless and was eager to continue creating music. Luckily he connected with Wes Sontag (Guitarist) and started a Metal band called Section VIII.
Dean’s performance highlight was in 1991 when he went to the Highwood festival and gets a chance to open for Kreator on the “Coma of Souls" tour. Dean has also shared his talents with the Edmonton band WarMarch and Section VIII. Despite his experience and prowess he remains humble and respectful of the up and coming metal musicians in Edmonton.
Member since: 1991-2003, 2012 - current
Wes is a dedicated guitarist and also one of the original members of Disciples of Power. Wes plays guitar but is no stranger to the world of recording albums. He has a modest studio where he records local Edmonton bands as well as his own projects. His track record includes but is not limited to: Display of Decay, WarMarch, and Section VIII.
Guitarist, recording engineer, and live sound tech are a few of the realms that Wes has worked in. During 2002, Wes was the sound technician for STARS, currently the dance club which is downstairs from the Pawn Shop Live music venue.
Member since: 2013 - Current
Ben Harbak is an Edmontonian, but confesses that he is somewhat of a nomad at heart. His start in Disciples of Power started when he met Wes (Guitarist) and Dean (Drummer). He was a member of Acantha playing guitar 2004, and guitarist in Begrime Exemious (Edmonton Metal band).
During his time with Acantha was when he first connected with Wes (guitarist). A Post-Disciples of Power Wes began recording music for local Edmonton metal bands. Acantha was looking to record their music. They were seeking a local engineer in Edmonton that had a good ear for metal. As luck would have it they connected and Wes recorded their full-length album (Eternal Punishment 2008).
Ben is a huge fan of D.O.P. and when he got a message from Wes to fill in for guitar after Hart Bachmier left he knew he has some big shoes to fill. Admittedly Ben felt somewhat intimidated. Ben has since been practicing steadily with the band and has grown continuously as a guitarist.
Member since: 1985 – 1991, 2013 - Current
Chris Chapman has an extensive history with Disciples of Power. It all began in 1985 when D.O.P. was firming up its lineup and settling into songs that would later show up on their debut release Power Trap (1989). Chris was a crucial part of the early year of Disciples of Power the bassist until he left in 1991.
The year Chris left was a time where he was looking for stability in his life. He was eager to start a family but could not get rid of the “band bug” and continued to perform with a few local bands (Biophobe and some smaller projects). It had been almost 20 years since Chris connected with his band mates from Disciples of Power.
Chris was getting restless to create music. D.O.P. began to practice and even write new material despite the absence of Hart Bachmier, their past guitarist. The D.O.P. website posted an official notice that they were moving on from the loss of Hart, and posted kudos and their future plans. Shortly after they posted this they began to hunt for the missing piece: a bassist.
Auditions were being held but it seemed no one could fill the void. Chris decided to give it a shot, and shortly after the audition the D.O.P. website yet again was filled with good news: Chris Chapman was back. Since then the band has been working on new material, old material, and re-connecting.
Member since:1995-1997, 2013 - Current
Vancouver native; Shane Hawco is a multi-genre vocalist with much of his history in the Edmonton and Calgary aggressive music scene. He has performed in: Thorazine, Exit Strategy, Section VIII and WAKE, and has sung backing vocals on the album Mechanakill (Disciples of Power) at live performances from 1995-1997. Although he is best known for aggressive vocals, he can be seen creating album artwork for various D.O.P. albums and digital artwork at BioWare, an Edmonton video game company.
Shane met Dean (Drummer) and Wes (Guitarist) in 1992 in Calgary at a D.O.P. show. A true fan, Shane brought in a picture for the D.O.P. song Vindicator and Hart accepted the artwork. This was the beginning of a relationship that would draw Shane into painting two album covers and eventually becoming the lead singer today.
During 1996 to roughly 2003, Shane was committed to Thorazine, doing vocals full-time. After 2003 he decided to leave Calgary for Edmonton. He was still in contact with Wes and Dean (D.O.P.) and they asked if he was interested in singing in Section VIII. He sang on the album Not of Sound Mind, but decided to leave in 2007 due to creative differences.
Shane performed in other music projects like Exit Strategy and Wake over the next five years. Ben Harbak is essentially responsible for recruiting Shane. Ben told him that D.O.P. was getting back together and he came and rehearsed and is filling out his role well.
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