Inspired by the music of Black Sabbath, Venom, Raven, and Motörhead, guitarist / vocalist Thomas Gabriel Fischer (a.k.a. "Tom Warrior"), bassist / vocalist Urs Sprenger (a.k.a. "Steve Warrior") and drummer Pete Stratton formed Hammerhead (later Hellhammer) in early 1982.
After the exit of Stratton and drummer Jörg Neubart (a.k.a. "Bruce Day") joining in the ranks on autumn 1982, Hellhammer attempted to find proper rehearsal spaces, which proved difficult due to either exceedingly high rents or unavailable studio hours. In June of 1983 the group recorded their first demo tape, Triumph of Death, for a mere $70. Despite being embarrassed by the end results, Hellhammer shipped their demo to a number of heavy metal magazines, such as Great Britain's Metal Forces; critical response toward them was generally favorable. Although rejected by the labels they sent tapes to, the band eventually caught the attention of newcomer Noise Records.
Steve Warrior had been replaced by former Schizo bassist Martin Eric Ain, a change which marked the beginning of a serious and radical transformation in the band's music and lyrics. These changes were ultimately responsible for Fischer's and Ain's increasing perception of being limited within the confines of the purposely primitive Hellhammer vehicle. On May 31 1984 Hellhammer was disbanded, and on June 1 Celtic Frost was born.
At the dawn of the next decade Noise Records released a new version of Hellhammer's debut, retitled Apocalyptic Raids 1990 A.D. This re-issue was augmented by two tracks off the Death Metal compilation, which was "something we always wanted to, even back in '84", claimed Tom Warrior. This rerelease also came with a new cover design done by Martin Ain.
In November 2007, Tom Gabriel Fischer announced that the original master tapes of Hellhammer's demos (Death Fiend, Triumph of Death, and Satanic Rites) would be released as a 2CD/3LP package in February, 2008 (titled Demon Entrails) with new liner notes on the complete history of Hellhammer, unreleased photos and artwork, and all tracks remastered personally by Tom Gabriel Fischer, Martin Eric Ain and Steve Warrior. The album was released by Prowlin' Death/Century Media Records.
Additionally, Tom Fischer has released a book entitled "Only Death is Real: An Illustrated History of Hellhammer and early Celtic Frost 1981-1985" which documents the early days of the said bands in great photographic and written detail.