Chicago death metal band Oppressor was formed in 1991 by bassist/vocalist Tim King and guitarist Adam Zadel, who went on to add guitarist Jim Stopper and drummer Tom Schofield. They quickly recorded a demo tape, World Abomination, but it was their second, As Blood Flows, that got them signed to Red Light Records in 1993. Oppressor's official debut album, Solstice of Oppression, was released the following year, and the band embarked on a heavy touring schedule in support. Unfortunately, Red Light went bankrupt and Oppressor compiled European Oppression Live + As Blood Flows from their concert tapes (and early demo), which was put out by Megalithic and kept their name in the public eye. Eventually, they caught on with Olympic, which released their second studio album Agony in 1996; featuring more structured compositions and improved production, it became the group's breakthrough, expanding their audience and netting the opening slot on Cannibal Corpse's American tour. Follow-up Elements of Corrosion appeared in 1998, by which time Zadel, King, and Schofield were performing in an alternative metal side project called Soil with vocalist Ryan McCombs and guitarist Shaun Glass (of fellow Chicago death metal band Broken Hope). By 1999, Soil had become a successful full-time venture, spelling the end of Oppressor.
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