At the forefront of the burgeoning UK hardcore scene of the late 90s, Stampin’ Ground owe as much to traditional bands like Slayer and Integrity as they do to hardcore acts such as Napalm Death. Formed in early 1995 with the intention of making the ‘slowest metallic hardcore possible’, initial demos were recorded and although several labels showed an interest the band opted to test themselves in the live environment first. After some personnel changes, the band settled on its first stable line-up, comprising Heath Powell (vocals), Anthony Mowbray (guitar), Scott Atkins (guitar), Ian Glasper (bass), and Adrian Stokes (drums). They then recorded further demos (for a 7-inch single ‘Dawn Of Night’ on the Days Of Fury label) and toured with Southend, Essex-based hardcore crew Above All and the emocore band Bob Tilton. With their fearsome live reputation growing, support slots with Sick Of It All, Slapshot and Ignite preceded another single, ‘Starved’, on the Too Damn Hype imprint. A European tour followed before UK shows with Peter And The Test Tube Babies and the Exploited. Stampin’ Ground then signed to German label, We Bite, who re-released the previous singles as an EP.
The band’s well received debut album, 1997’s Demons Run Amok, featured a collection of slow grinding riffs and punishing arrangements. An arduous tour took its toll on Powell, who was replaced by Adam Frakes-Sime from Southend band Blood Oath in January 1998. Stampin’ Ground subsequently signed to Century Media, and toured the UK with Madball before putting in impressive performances at various European festivals. An Expression Of Repressed Violence, released following several gruelling months on the road, saw the band and their new vocalist having gelled into a tight unit. Their fastest, heaviest and most complex work to that point, the release was followed inevitably by another lengthy tour. A split-single with Anglo-French band Knuckledust was followed by Stampin’ Ground’s first visit to the USA, supporting Cause For Alarm and Boston nihilists Blood For Blood. Carved From Empty Words was a convincing follow-up, lyrically excellent and flawlessly executed. Universally well received, Stampin’ Ground’s legendary work ethic, rehearsing six hours a day, three times a week for four months before going into the studio, paid off.