I’m no stranger to obscure music but dealing with Rightful Heir was like exploring a new fuckin’ world! A totally unknown name and discography, but at the same time such a familiar sound as the band has a similar approach as with Overlorde and Heathens Rage. As I said before, I never heard of their name so it wouldn’t be possible to confuse them with the Detroit, Michigan-based band, or the Northeast Ohio-based Christian Heavy/Power Metal band with the same name. Although the cover gives credit only to Rightful Heir, this CD is a compilation of demos of Furious Hatred (pre-Rightful Heir) as well as the Rick Miller post-Rightful Heir projects (Queen Of The Damned; Mild Psychosis). Still it is an excellent example of Medieval themed Metal featuring 20 songs of war, fantasy and epic lyrics all written with passion for True Heavy Metal. The songwriting is brilliant and the dynamic mastering by Bart Gabriel helps to secure the quality of the compositions despite the low-fi recordings back in the days. ‘The Wills of Iron – Metal Battlegrounds 86-89’ includes a 16-page booklet with song’s lyrics, band biography and rare band photos, limited to only 500 copies. Rightful Heir was formed in 1983 by guitarist Rick Miller alongside (later on Chemikill and R.U. Deadly) Fred Flory and Mike McCullum. In 1984 they split-up and 2 years later Rick Miller re-incarnated the band with a new name and lineup, so Furious Hatred was formed in 1986. Their first vocalist was the bassist Alex White that recorded the first version of their debut demo. A couple of months later, in early 1987 singer Chuck Kountz joined and they re-recorded their self-titled demo with Chuck’s vocals on 3 tracks, and a new mix. After that they changed their name back to Rightful Heir, and released another 2 demos, both in 1988. Right after the ‘Wills of Iron (Blades of Steel)’ demo, bassist Alex White would be replaced by Ed Milich. Changes after changes and a few months later another new bassist, Mike Yaksic joined and ‘Wills of Iron’ was released shortly after. I know you’ re tired and I’m also kind of bored when I’m writing about split ups and lineup changes…but take a deep breath and read !!! Criss Black left the band in the beginning of 1989, and was shortly replaced by Albert Roman before Rightful Heir disbanded. After the split Rick Miller moved to New York and formed the psychedelic-hard-rock band Mild Psychosis and the Heavy Metal band Queen of the Damned. In 1991 Chuck Kountz joined a Christian Heavy/Power Metal band formed by drummer Steve George and guitarist Dirk Waren. When Chuck joined, he brought the Rightful Heir name with him, and that band recorded one demo before disbanding in 1995. Chuck is now internationally known as the star of the TV show Fat N Furious, a show where 4 brothers in the Youngstown Ohio area run a mechanic shop restoring classic cars.
01-05: Rightful Heir: “Wills Of Iron” Demo 1988
06-08: Rightful Heir: “Rightful Heir” Demo Tape 1989
09: Rick Miller: Solo Recording 1988
10-13: Furious Hatred: Demo 1987
14-16: Queen Of The Damned: Demo 1990
“Never Want To Lose You” – Single – 1988