The origins of the New Zealand-based speed metal band Shihad date back to 1985, when guitarist Jon Toogood and drummer Tom Larkin formed their first group, Exit, while attending high school in the Wellington area.
Various other aspiring musicians came and went, but by the middle of 1988, with the addition of guitarist Phil Knight and bassist Geoff Duncan and a change to the name Shihad, the group was ready to begin playing live. (According to legend, while covering the Sex Pistols' "Anarchy in the U.K." during their debut performance, they blew out the club's P.A. system.) Duncan quickly exited, and after a few false starts bassist Hamish Laing was tapped as his permanent replacement; the group soon made their recorded debut with "Down Dance," the flipside to a split single with the Angels. Shihad's debut EP, Devolve, appeared in mid-1991, and to the surprise of many reached the New Zealand Top 20; Laing soon departed, and was replaced by bassist Karl Kippenberger. 1992 found them on hiatus, with Toogood and Larkin forming a side project, SML, with Head Like a Hole's Nigel Regan. When Shihad resurfaced with 1993's Churn, their sound had grown more industrial; influenced by the likes of Skinny Puppy and Einsturzende Neubauten, the group even began experimenting with samplers. The results were immediately positive -- not only did the LP reach the Top Ten, but the single "I Only Said" hit number three. The follow-up, 1995's Killjoy, was also hugely successful, and was followed in 1996 by the EP Deb's Night Out and their self-titled third LP. 1999's The General Electric, which went double platinum in New Zealand, would be the band's last outing under the Shihad moniker for some time, as the events that took place on September, 11, 2001 would forever alter the public's association with the name -- Shihad was derived from the islamic "jihad." Changing their name to the more times-sensitive Pacifier, the band issued their eponymous debut under the new name in 2002, which featured guest appearances from Scott Weiland and DJ Lethal. 2005's politically charged Love Is the New Hate saw the group drop the Pacifier nom de plume and return to operating full-time as Shihad. It was followed by the electronica-tinged Beautiful Machine in 2008, the potent Ignite in 2010, and the acclaimed FVEY in 2014, the latter of which became the band's fifth number one album in New Zealand. In 2016, the band reissued their self-titled third album in a deluxe two-LP set with an additional 10" of the 1998 Blue Light Disco EP. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi