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Vital Remains during concert in MegaClub, Katowice, Poland 2007. From left to right:Tony Lazaro, Damien Boynton, Antonio Donadeo, Brian Hobbie, Dave Suzuki
|Origin||Providence, Rhode Island, United States|
Gaeton "Gator" Collier
|Past members||See "Former members"|
Created in 1988 by guitarist Paul Flynn, Vital Remains' first line-up consisted of guitarist Butch Machado, vocalist Mike Flynn, bassist Tom Supkow, and drummer Chris Dupont. Searching for better musicians, they added guitarist Tony Lazaro and vocalist Jeff Gruslin to the band. From there the band became a driving force in the local death metal scene. Lazaro and Flynn shared the writing duties in these early days.
Soon after their formation, the band released a pair of demos (1989's Reduced to Ashes and 1990's Excruciating Pain) which led to a contract with French label Thrash Records, who in turn released the single The Black Mass in 1991. Shortly after the release of the single, which proved to be the band's first and only release with the label, the band signed to Peaceville's subsidiary, Deaf Records. A pair of releases followed for the Peaceville label, 1992's Let Us Pray and 1995's Into Cold Darkness. However, after poor distribution and a lack of promotion from the label, the band requested that their contract be dissolved. At this stage, in 1997, the band's founder, Paul Flynn left Vital Remains. After a ten-year hiatus he would return to the scene, and go on to found Godless Rising, an old school death metal band with original vocalist Jeff Gruslin. They quickly signed to Pathos Productions for a self-funded demo release, from that they were offered a full deal with Moribund Records out of Seattle, Washington. Due to the financial hardships and lack of support from other members, Paul would leave this project also.
Two years later the band signed a two-album deal with French label Osmose Records. In order to complete the line-up (which at this stage lacked a permanent drummer, bassist and lead guitarist), Dave Suzuki was brought in. He would fill all of these roles as well as that of lyricist and backing vocalist. This led to the release of 1997's 'Forever Underground'. Cape Cod's Chris Ross was brought into the fold as the bands first Brutal Death Metal Vocalist delivering a Brutal Live performance. VITAL REMAINS toured throughout the states in 1997 and overseas this year being held reign as 'The Fassest Metal band on Stage with Unbelievable Wind-mills of satanic fury" by Metal Maniacs Magazine. and 2000's Dawn of the Apocalypse, the latter of which marked a significant step towards a new, heavier sound which would become more prominent on their following albums.
Vocalist Thorns (Timothy Donovan), who had handled vocal duties on Dawn of the Apocalypse, was soon fired from the band. Joe Lewis explained in an interview, "We liked what he had to offer as a vocalist but we were not happy at all with his activities outside the band that included drugs and alcohol. We did not want to let these problems interfere with our band so we fired him. But we were happy with his performance on the album. He did do a great job with the vocals." Thorns' dismissal from the band led to the addition in 2003 of Deicide frontman Glen Benton on vocals along with original member Tony Lazaro on guitars and Dave Suzuki on bass, drums, and lead guitars. The band's first album with Benton, 2003's Dechristianize, was released to much critical acclaim. The band's next album, released in 2007, was Icons of Evil. Vital Remains also put out its first live DVD, Evil-Death-Live, the same year, in Europe on 9 July, and in the US on 31 July through Polish label Metal Mind Productions.
On November 21, 2007, Vital Remains announced they are seeking a bassist and lead guitarist. No further information was given. On March 29, 2008, the band announced their latest tour line-up, excluding Dave Suzuki. For the three years that followed, it was unknown whether Dave was still part of Vital Remains but it was revealed in 2011 that he went on to form a doom metal band called Churchburn.
Since Dave Suzuki's dismissal from the band, Vital Remains have been touring endlessly with frequent lineup changes for five years, with original member Tony Lazaro and bassist Gaeton "Gator" Collier being the only two members remaining in the band and keeping it as active as possible. Tony has stated in several interviews in 2012-2013 that he's been writing lots of new songs and has "two albums worth of material". However, it is unknown when their new album will be complete due to the frequent lineup changes of the band. As of 2014 Aaron Homma, of the Ontario Death-metal band Killitorous has since stepped in to assume the role of guitar player. 
Vital Remains earlier work was considered to be death metal, with minor use of keyboards and ambient noise. After Forever Underground they went for a purely death metal approach. Elements of their music that distinguishes them in their genre are the use of acoustic Spanish-style solos and their construction of very long songs, which is uncommon in the majority of death metal. Many of the songs on more recent releases approach ten minutes in length. With the addition of Dave Suzuki to the band, the lead guitar work took a much more prominent place within song construction. He also chose to employ a neoclassical style of soloing.
Tony Lazaro has stated that the currently untitled album, scheduled for release in early 2014, will take on a much more traditional death metal approach. Regarding whether fans can expect to hear new songs that are each at least six minutes long, just as they were on "Icons of Evil", Lazaro said, "The new album, the new songs are shorter." He added, "I've been writing the music since the beginning, since '89. I write all the music, and this is the first time that I wrote the songs shorter. The songs are averaging only about four minutes; the longest song, I think, is four and a half minutes. First time ever. But I tried to keep my style of writing in there — keep the speed, the brutality, the melodic stuff, and also put some old-school stuff in there and some classical stuff in there; some solo stuff, really good solos and melodies. It's everything you'd expect from Vital Remains, but just in a shorter package."
Current live members
- Reduced to Ashes (1989)
- Excruciating Pain (1990)
- The Black Mass 7" (1991)
- Let Us Pray (1992)
- Into Cold Darkness (1995)
- Forever Underground (1997)
- Dawn of the Apocalypse (2000)
- Dechristianize (2003)
- Icons of Evil (2007)
- TBA (2014)
- Evil Death Live (2007)
- The Black Mass (1991)
- Horrors of Hell (2006)
- According to an interview with former bassist/vocalist Joe Lewis, Vital Remains started in 1988 as a "blackened death metal band" and stated that the band formed "when Tony and Jeff got into a fight with some other musicians at a local metal gig and it turned out that the guys they were going to fight were Paul Flynn and his friends.. and instead of beating each other to a pulp they decided to create a band together as Vital Remains.. and the rest is history!"
- "Vital Remains - Seeking New Bassist/Guitarist". SMNnews.com. November 21, 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-22.
- "VITAL REMAINS Unveils New Touring Lineup; Photos, Video Footage Available". Roadrunnerrecords.com. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
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