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Pacifier first formed in their native New Zealand as Shihad. At the time, vocalist/guitarist John Toogood, drummer Tom Larkin, guitarist Phil Knight, and bassist Karl Kippenberger were heavily influenced by thrash, and that sound dominated Devolve, their debut EP. The record was a mild hit, and Shihad supported it with frequent tours of both N.Z. and Australia. The Churn LP was even more successful, and the band expanded into the European and U.K. tour circuits. Noise signed Shihad, and set up distribution for Europe and eventually North America. The Killjoy LP from 1996 became the band's first to hit stateside; by now, their sound had moved toward the post-hardcore hit-up of Helmet. Despite these successes, Shihad wasn't able to make a real dent domestically, and returned to their home base.
Accolades for the band continued in New Zealand and Australia, where they played huge shows like the annual Big Day Out events. The Blue Light Disco EP appeared in 1998, and by 2000's General Electric, Shihad was enjoying distribution through Warner Australia. This association eventually led the band back to the U.S., where the disparate sounds of acts like Trust Company, Saliva, and New Zealand's own D4 were making loud rock a marketable entity for the big boys. Shihad secured a deal through Arista, but were dealt a dramatic setback by the September 11 terrorist attacks. The quartet changed its name to Pacifier, and debuted the moniker both domestically and abroad with an eponymous LP in November 2002. It's thick, melodic, heavily produced sound was in line with the corporate sound circa 2003, and Pacifier parlayed its rebirth into a single ("Bullitproof") on MTV2 and spots on Lollapalooza that summer. ~ Johnny Loftus
- New Zealand
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