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.