Alternate History

Dragonhead (1983: Doomsday)

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Dragonhead is an Australian progressive rock band established in 2002. As of 2013, it has four members. It has frequently had competition from the New British rock band Detonation, as well as others. Like Detonation, Dragonhead focuses on concept albums; however, they do not go as far as to make every album a rock opera. Dragonhead has four members; pianist Keith Miller, guitarist Harry Malloy, cellist/bass player  Ryan Kuang, and drummer John Moon. All of the members were born in 1984, ranging from January (Kuang) to November (Malloy). All of them were born and brought up in Canberra.


Foundation: 2002

In 2002, four friends -  Will Brown, Devon Colsa, John Moon, and Keith Miller - started a band called Dragon's Doom. After playing a few introductions for larger bands, the band collapsed after an argument between Brown on one side and Miller and Moon on the other (with Colsa neutral), about adding a new member of the band. Brown initially wished to keep the name, but later changed it to The Griffin's Doom. Miller, Colsa and Moon, however, in a wish to keep separate from the original band, started a new one called the Silent Monks, recruiting Kuang and Malloy. The band initially played under that name, but changed it just prior to their release of Haven of the Doomed to its present name, after a friend suggested that since Brown had dropped the name, they might use that now.

The band's first release, Haven of the Doomed, attracted serious attention to them from critics and was a minor success. 

Success: 2003-2004

In December of 2003 released Nerve Shock. The album was reviewed well and sold well outside the ANZC, especially in the SAC and new UIP, doubling sales estimates in both nations, but sold badly in the places where it was expected to sell well, such as New Britain and the ANZC. 

Just months after, however, Dragonhead came out with The Lights that Flash and the Stars that Twinkle, which sold amazingly throughout the world, and took the title for the most successful album since Doomsday, and became the third best selling rock album of all time, after PInk Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon (In first) and AC/DC's Back in Black (in second), just about beating out the Beatle's Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by a few thousand claimed records.

First Break: 2004-2007

After The Lights that Flash and the Stars that Twinkle, Moon decided to temporarily take a break from the band to deal with his own personal life. His sister had recently contracted cancer, shortly followed by his mother's death (his father had died in his youth). Feeling unable to continue playing while also dealing with all these problems, he informed the other band members of his decision to take a hiatus for a year. Rather than continue working on their next album without him, the band agreed to take a break, to end  when they all agreed to come back together. Moon actually was unable to rejoin for two years, by which point Colsa was hospitalized with shattered legs after a biking accident. In the year it took him to recover and learn to walk again, Malloy and Kuang had decided to scrap the album they were working on in favour of what eventually became Snap, Crackle, Pop!. When Miller returned from touring his own album (a rock opera titled Two Stops to Oblivion), and Colsa was recovered, they had fleshed out the lyrics.

Reunification: 2007-2010

When the band came back in early 2007, though they had prepared the lyrics and music for what would become Snap, Crackle, Pop!, Colsa instead convinced the rest instead to announce their return with a comeback tour, starting in Canberra and continuing through the ANZC, then New Britain, then the Celtic Union, then Canada, to the SAC, then back to Canberra for a final concert, in which, ironically, the almost unknown band Detonation would introduce them (Detonation would later become their biggest competitors- their fame mainly sparked, in fact, from this concert). 

Following this, Dragonhead released Snap, Crackle, Pop! in late 2007, followed by Shoot the Moon, the former of which was fairly popular, and won several awards. Shoot the Moon, however, was a disaster, being ridiculed by fans and confusing critics with the sudden change of direction. It was after the failure of Shoot the Moon that Colsa received his first offer from Watson and Lau to join Detonation in order to help them oust Avakim; Colsa, however, refused.

After Shoot the Moon Dragonhead released the critically acclaimed A Dark Room. This was followed by Struck Dead, which became their best ever selling album, taking the place from The Lights that Flash and the Stars that Twinkle. However, by now Detonation's An Anarcho-Punk in King Andropov's Court had taken the title of best selling album post DD, and even taking the second best-selling rock album of all time from AC/DC's Back in Black.

Despite these successes, however, Colsa had been growing dissatisfied with the tone of the band, arguing with the other members as to how they should proceed. After a particularly devastating argument with Miller and Malloy, Colsa walked out on the band and announced that he was leaving for Detonation the next day, after the death of Detonation's Avakim.

Second Break: 2010-2012

After Colsa's decision to leave the band for Detonation, the member decided to take a second break from the band, shocked at what they felt to be a betrayal. During that time Miller worked as a keyboardist for Infinite Recursion, while Malloy and Kuang worked on a duo album entitled How Not to Party Hard. Moon mainly retired from music during this period, however.

Current: 2012-2013

In late 2011, Moon, Malloy, and Kuang met again and decided to restart the band. Calling back Miller from Canada, they suggested a new concept album called Sunburn. Though not as successful as some of its earlier albums, Sunburn sold fairly well and managed to revive the grassroots fan base many critics thought that Dragonhead had lost due to their breaks. While touring the album, each member promised, separately, that they would not take a break again, unless the band itself was to collapse.

More recently, Dragonhead released Crossed Wires, which was hailed by many critics as a step in a new direction, selling brilliantly (better than The Lights that Flash and the Stars that Twinkle and just behind Struck Dead).

They are currently in New Britain, touring the album.


Haven of the Doomed (Sept 2002)

  • Wanted
  • Burning Sorrows
  • Go to the Gate
  • Slowly turning
  • Land of the Dead
  • City of Ashes
  • Plains of Bones
  • The Survivors
  • Fire!
  • Haven of the Doomed

Nerve Shock (Dec 2003)

  • Paralyze
  • Flatline
  • Failing Organs
  • Cryosis
  • Rebirth
  • Beyond Life
  • Business as Usual
  • Something Snaps
  • Jump or Fall
  • Down!

The Lights that Flash and the Stars that Twinkle (Dec 2004)

  • Shooting Stars
  • Party All Night
  • Sleeping Wonder
  • Blood Gold
  • Diamonds in the Earth
  • Evening
  • Fireworks and Dynamite
  • Exploding Suns
  • Flashing Lights
  • Shooting Stars

Snap, Crackle, Pop! (Nov 2007)

  • Monsters that go Bump
  • Nighttime Sun
  • Blood Moon
  • Scorched Earth
  • Torched Sky
  • Burnt Sea
  • Lies upon Lies
  • Universal Sting
  • Stand Up
  • Snap! Crackle! Pop!

Shoot the Moon (Aug 2008)

  • Dead Man's Eyes
  • Emerald Earth
  • Burn! 
  • The Fugue of the Mind
  • Smoking Guns
  • Glory to Gold
  • Bomb!
  • Shoot the Moon
  • Play the Man
  • Has to be One!

A Dark Room (May 2009)

  • Amnesia
  • Wake Up Nowhere
  • Blackness Notice
  • Inertia
  • On My Way to You
  • If the Stars could Love
  • Medals for Murder
  • All I've Done
  • Undeserved
  • Dream State
  • A Dark Room

Struck Dead (Nov 2010)

  • Crossed Live
  • Three Eyes
  • Burning Seas
  • Orchestra of Rock
  • Slow Burning Candle
  • How (Not) To
  • Why Not?
  • Entertain Us!
  • Denial
  • Tears of Pain

Sunburn (Jan 2012)

  • Black Hole
  • Sunspots
  • Center of the Earth
  • Hellfire
  • Fusion
  • Look into the Sun
  • Sunstroke
  • Where it's Warm
  • Sunburn

Crossed Wires (May 2013)

  • Red Wire, Blue Wire
  • Feel Good
  • Never Leave
  • Party Harder
  • Live Sound
  • The Sound of Music
  • The Legends
  • Bunny
  • You're the Bomb


Dragonhead have varied their themes from album to album; they have three rock operas (Haven of the Doomed, The Lights that Flash and the Stars that Twinkle, and A Dark Room); two ordinary albums (Crossed Wires and Struck Dead); and four concept albums (Nerve Shock, Snap, Crackle, Pop!, Shoot the Moon, and Sunburn).

The four concept albums all have unifying themes in both music and lyrics.

  • Nerve Shock: Using a synth instead of a piano, the songs sounded otherworldly, or dreamlike, rather than the typical down-to-earth music used by other rock bands such as U2 or Detonation. Though this album was critically acclaimed, it did not sell well.
  • Snap, Crackle, Pop!: Unlike Nerve Shock, this album had a sharper tone, as befits the name, with more emphasis on percussion than the strings. Miller used both concert pianos and keyboards for this album, which was both acclaimed and popular, simultaneously hitting number one on the charts of New Britain and the ANZC at the same time. It also did well in the SAC and Canada. 
  • Shoot the Moon: This album sounded triumphant. The first album with songs that had no lyrics (The Fugue of the Mind), it was intended to sound like a Baroque orchestra rather than a rock group, but was generally a flop in sales.
  • Sunburn: Their most recent concept album, this album used heavy amounts of distortion on the guitar and bass. Reminded of their failure with Shoot the Moon, this album sounds like a traditional rock band, without any proggressive influences, partially inspired by Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti.

The three Rock Opera all have intricate plots:

  • Haven of the Doomed: A minor success, this told the story of a man running from unnamed demons. The details aren't clear, and the songs sound psychodelic in origin. The exception to this is the last song, which sounds much clearer, with more lyrics and clearer sound.
  • The Lights that Flash and the Stars that Twinkle: This album was Dragonhead's first real success. It tells the story of a man slowly going insane, seeing versions of himself fighting each other, and then finally judging him. It starts out lucid and clear, then steadily gets more distorted as it goes on, the first song soft rock, the last almost heavy metal. 
  • A Dark Room: Their most recent Rock-Opera, this was also among their most critically acclaimed. The story was that of a man in the dark room of the title, imagining the horrors that await outside the door. In the last song, he finally opens the door, to find a paradise.

The two normal album:

  • Struck Dead: Dragonhead's single most popular album (in terms of sales; in terms of critical acclamation the title goes to either Snap, Crackle, Pop  or  A Dark Room), this album was a fusion of the straight up rock later used in Sunburn and the softer influences from Nerve Shock, producing a 'dance rock' effect.
  • Crossed Wires: This album was fairly successful, mainly a fusion of soft and alternative rock. Described by several critics as a departure from Dragonhead's normally hard rock into a both softer and more progressive stance.


Dragonhead's music has been highly popular throughout the world, being especially well received in the ANZC, New Britain and the Celtic Alliance. They have also done tours through the SAC, Socialist Siberia, the UIP, and Taiwan. 

With few exceptions, Dragonhead's music has been wll received critically, and they have won six awards: two for The Lights that Flash and the Stars that Twinkle, two for Sunburn, and one each for A Dark Room and Haven of the Doomed.

They have had competition from both Detonation and U2, as well as bands such as Infinite Recursion and The Griffin's Doom.

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