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One of the earliest participants in Seattle's vibrant, 1980s heavy metal scene, Culprit resulted from the merging of two area bands -- one named Orpheus, the other Amethyst -- circa 1981. Just one year later, the precocious lineup of vocalist Jeff L'Heureux, guitarists John DeVol and Kjartan Kristoffersen, bassist Scott Earl, and drummer Bud Burrill gained their first taste of success when their song "Players" was chosen for inclusion in Shrapnel Records' U.S. Metal, Vol. 2 compilation. Culprit eventually signed a proper recording contract with the label, and the resulting album, 1983's Guilty as Charged, seemed to synthesize the lessons of '70s hard rock and metal with the more recent invasion of New Wave of British Heavy Metal influences (Iron Maiden at the helm, as usual), going on to define the initial blueprint chosen by many emerging Northwest metal bands (Metal Church, Fifth Angel, and Queensrÿche, to name but a few). Sadly, Culprit never got the chance to record a second album, as Kristoffersen and Earl decided to jump ship to local rivals TKO, and left DeVol to pursue a solo project while L'Heureux founded a new venture called Mistrust. None of these fared particularly well, however, and the members of Culprit have since reunited on several occasions (most recently 1998 and 2001) in order to celebrate their short-lived association with one-off shows.
© Eduardo Rivadavia /TiVo
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