Sound Barrier: Los Angeles’ Black Heavy Metal Speeders

0 Posted by - January 27, 2023 - BLACK MEN, BLACK MUSIC, LATEST POSTS

While Black Death was forming in the Midwest during the late 1970s, Los Angeles saw Sound Barrier forming around the same time. It is often mentioned that 1980 was when Sound Barrier came together but some members mentioned the late 1970s as when the band was being formed.



The band’s original lineup included Bernie K as vocalist, Spacey T on guitar, Stanley E on bass, and Skavido on drums. While a strong band from their demos, the publicity an all-Black heavy metal band drew caught RCA’s attention. They would sign with them in the early 1980s. This would be the lineup for their debut release in 1983, “Total Control.” As a result of very poor sales, Sound Barrier was dropped from the label later that year.

Their 1984 EP “Born to Rock” gained them more attention over two years before they were scooped up by Metal Blade Records, a label legendary in metal circles for being the jump off point for Metallica among others. By 1986, Sound Barrier had replaced its bassist and released “Speed of Light.”

The following year Sound Barrier ended with band members joining other bands such as Masi—who had joined the band in 1986 as a guitarist and Gangland. In 1989, some members—Bernie K and Skavido joined up for the band Total Eclipse but it went nowhere.

Into the 2000s and 2010s, members continued appearing on metal shows. Bernie K’s good friend Skavido would lose his battle with cancer in 2013. Three years later, he joined up Spacey T and Stanley E in reforming Sound Barrier.



Sound Barrier had a faster playing style, sometimes going into speed metal or even power metal (heavy metal with strong fantasy and sci-fi lyrics) territory depending on the song. This style was something they began flirting with in 1984 and was present on “Speed of Light.” Prime examples—see “Selected Songs” below—were “Speed of Light,” “On To The Next Adventure” and “Gladiator.” These songs are also solid examples of speed metal.

Bernie K’s vocals were cleaner than Siki Spacek of Black Death with a high pitch being held through songs. Lyrically Sound Barrier was mainly about rock n roll, fantasy, and sometimes sci-fi.



-Speed of Light:
-On To The Next Adventure:

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