I reached for a ’90s death metal demo, and instead grabbed this winning example from 1985 of what can only be called the NWOFHM: New Wave of Floridian Heavy Metal. One look at the stylish swathe of leather, ripped shirts, suspenders, mascara, mustaches, fur, animal prints, studded armbands, and 1930s gangster jacket above tells the whole story — this ain’t no Molly Hatchet!

While the unheard Atomic Opera didn’t pack the punch of Avatar, or the shock value of Nasty Savage, they were only a few notes short of deserving a spot on a Metal Massacre comp. The two brisk tracks on this well-performed demo, “Kamikaze” and “Take Control,” sound like the earliest Anthrax demos, or the stuff that ended up pressed on countless UK 7″ singles during the early 1980s.

ATOMIC OPERA * 2-song Demo 1985 [11.4MB .rar]

Good times! But where are they now? I’ll leave it to factkeepers of the Internets to comment below on the future exploits of vocalist Ryan Dalton, drummer Mike Furney, bassist Mike Martinez, and guitarists Todd Grubbs and Hal Dunn.

Thanks again, Umlatta!


  1. Thanks for posting this. Reminds of every “not bad” band on Metal Massacre Vol. 1-8. Totally iffy vocals and just like you said “lacks punch” but there’s something there in the guitar solos and the initial drive. One of those “regular Joe” heavy metal bands that were so prevlant across the US.

    Btw, when you get a chance check out my blog. Some current metal writings and a lot on metalic 80’s life in Pleasanton, CA – home of bands like Your Mother & Tyrannicide . Keep up the great work.

  2. Wow this brings back memories! they were the greatest band ever…Of course thats just my opinion and ok so the drummer is my dad (Mike Furney) but still, I’m proud of my dad!
    Thanks for posting this!

  3. Not only do I have a copy of this Cassette, I have many photos of all the guys in different stages of dress/makeup getting ready for a gig at an old hotel that used to be on the Causeway. Bugging me that I can not remember the name of the place.

    Clues to who I am…..

    Worked at Motion Industries

    My Father said “He must not be much of a musician, cuz he can’t afford to dye all his hair the same color”

    Had to pick me up on the corner cuz my father would not let him come to our house!

    This is all making me laugh bring back lots of very silly memories! I was A.O. #1 fan!!!!!!!!

  4. Classic!
    I remember seeing an ad for their demo with this exact photo in issue #2 I believe of the Nasty Savage fanzine “Wage Of Mayhem”!
    And I thought these guys look ridiculous! Same issue which feature ads for the band DEAD (Hells morbid disciples of hate) and lots of other FL bands… Those were the days!

  5. I’m so pleased to see this deMO immortalized here. This was a one of the quirkier little gems to come our way. As I recall, the letters from this band were much more entertaining than the tape. Probably still have ’em in a file drawer somewhere. Thanks for carrying the torch for metal, Ian … even NWOFHM.

  6. Wow, this is cool. I just dug this tape out recently. I played guitar. I think I probably wrote those letters too. LOL. Great memories of the ’80s metal music scene. Also played in Siren and Dirty Virgin. Todd and I are both playing in a Siren reunion currently (2018).


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