Black Death (USA)
Black Death had more to do with colour than the genre of Heavy Metal. Although it is not clear who the first black (as in the people/skin colour) Metal band was, but Black Death were most likely one of the earliest examples. Formed in 1977, they managed to create enough of a following to release a single self titled album in 1984 featuring a basic 1980s style Heavy Metal with the membership of Siki Spacek (guitar/vocals), Greg Hicks (guitar), Darrell Harris (bass) and Phil Bullard (drums) before fading into history. Their epitaph was quoted by their record company (Auburn') whose president said, Their biggest problem was finding a replacement if a member quit the band as there just weren't that many black guys in town who could play Metal."
In 2007 Bullard and Mike Green recruited Siki and formed a new group called Mandrake. Soon after, they parted ways with Siki due to his personal/substance abuse problems and recruited Greg Hicks on bass.
In 2008, original Black Death drummer Phil Bullard died from cancer. After his death Mandrake recruited Dennis Fuldauer on drums, and Ken Phillips on lead guitar. One year later, Mandrake disbanded.
In early 2009 Hicks and the remaining members of Mandrake (Fuldauer and Phillips) reformed Black Death with an all star lineup consisting of: Greg Hicks (bass), Ken Phillips (guitar), Dennis Fuldauer (drums), Sandy Krueger (vocals) and Mark Shea (guitar).
After Bullard's death, Hicks is the only remaining founding member that owns the copyright to the name, logo, songs and lyrics.
In 2010 the new line up of Black Death played their 25-year anniversary show in downtown Cleveland at Cleats Gateway.
Footnote: Do not confuse this Black Death with the Norwegian Black Metal band Darkthrone - formerly Black Death.