Necromandus are an English rock band from Cumberland, United Kingdom. They were formed in 1970 and were discovered by Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath in 1972. After recording one album in 1973, they split up. The album was not released until 1999. In 2007 they were mentioned by Classic Rock magazine as a "lost pioneer" of heavy metal. Author Ian Christe has cited the band as one of the earliest doom metal groups.
In 1968, two West Cumbrian bands, Jug and Heaven, broke up. Members from both bands, Barry "Baz" Dunnery (lead guitar), Dennis McCarten (bass), Frank Hall (drums), and singer Bill Branch, formed a heavy progressive blues outfit they called Hot Spring Water. They were briefly renamed Taurus before settling on Necromandus after a radio show asked their audience for name suggestions. In 1972, after extensive gigging and a failure to release a record, they caught the ear of Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi, who began managing the group.
In early 1973, Necromandus, under Iommi's guidance, recorded the album Orexis of Death at London's Morgan Studio. Iommi also added some guitar to the title track. A deal was arranged with Vertigo and the band began opening for Sabbath as well as Tony Kaye's Badger. Dunnery left the band in 1973, and as a result the album was shelved by Vertigo. Necromandus continued to receive praise and support, with Ozzy Osbourne initially wanting Necromandus's guitarist, bassist and drummer for his Blizzard of Ozz project.
Dunnery and Hall founded the cover band Nerves, with Dunnery leaving to join the ELO offshoot Violinski in 1976. Dunnery and Hall also played together in the new wave of British heavy metal band Hammerhead, although Dunnery's stint was brief.
The only surviving member of Necromandus is Frank Hall. Dennis McCarten (born 1950) died of a kidney illness in December 2004, and Barry Dunnery (the elder brother of Francis Dunnery) died on 29 May 2008 from cancer, at the age of 56. The date of Bill Branch's death is currently unknown (William J Branch was born 21 Mar 1950, died Jun 1995, see his entry at FamilySearch).
In 2016 the band has been reformed with a new line-up to record a new album, that is based on some recordings band made in 1975. It is scheduled to a 2017 release.