Ralph Santolla

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Ralph Santolla
Santolla performing in 2008
Santolla performing in 2008
Background information
Born(1966-12-08)December 8, 1966
United States
OriginTampa, Florida, United States
DiedJune 6, 2018(2018-06-06) (aged 51)
GenresHeavy metal, death metal, technical death metal, thrash metal, hard rock
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
Instrument(s)Guitar, keyboards, drums
Years active1989–2018
Formerly ofObituary, Deicide, Memorain, Sebastian Bach, Toxik

Ralph Santolla (December 8, 1966 – June 7, 2018) was an Italian-American heavy metal guitarist. He played in many bands, most recently Deicide, but also including Eyewitness, Death (he never recorded any of their albums, but toured with them in 1993 and appeared in "The Philosopher" video), Millenium, Iced Earth, and the Sebastian Bach band. In 2007, he replaced Allen West in Obituary for their album Xecutioner's Return. Santolla was very proud of his Italian heritage and he played guitars by Jackson and Ibanez with the Italian flag painted on them. He most recently played Jackson Guitars, though he had also been associated with ESP Guitars, Dean Guitars and many others. He also used Randall Amplifiers. He was well known for his shred guitar playing style.


Ralph Santolla live with Deicide, 2009

Born on December 8, 1966, Santolla was a practicing Roman Catholic, which has caused controversy with Deicide fans, many of whom are against Christianity and are aware of frontman Glen Benton's open Satanism. Many were surprised that Benton even let Santolla join the band, due to his frequent criticism of the religion. However, Santolla stated that he was "not going to pretend to be some dark and evil person just so people think I'm metal," and also stated that he respected Benton, despite differences in their religion and beliefs, for not being afraid to be true to himself.[1]

At a 2006 Deicide gig in Laredo, Texas that got out of control, Santolla was arrested for allegedly throwing a Red Bull can at an officer after Deicide was forced to stop playing.[2]

He had frequently talked about starting his own band with Steve DiGiorgio and Gene Hoglan, both of whom he worked with in Death. Before his death he was working on a new solo instrumental album, titled Requiem for Hope. This is his second solo album, his first was Shaolin Monks in the Temple of Metal. On May 24, 2007, Santolla left Deicide for undisclosed reasons.[3]

Also in 2007, Santolla was called in to fill the spot on Obituary's album Xecutioner's Return and the subsequent Left To Die EP, replacing Allen West after he was incarcerated until 2008. In 2010 he rejoined Deicide. In 2011, he departed Deicide.

He played guitar on Deathembers debut album Going Postal track 9 Hailing Down.

In 2013 Santolla became member of thrash metal band Toxik.[4]

Santolla's last recording would be released right before his death. He played guest guitar on the song "From Neptune Towards Assyria" for the band Order ov Riven Cathedrals from Rome, Italy on their 2018 release "Göbekli Tepe" and on the song "They Will Listen To The Dead" for the band BlightMass from Lyon/Tampa on their 2019 release "Severed From Your Soul". While the album has been released after his death, the song and the album are dedicated to him.


On May 31, 2018, it was reported that Santolla had suffered a heart attack and fallen into a coma.[5] He was taken off life support and died on June 6, 2018; he was 51 years old.[6][7][8][9]


With Eyewitness[edit]

With Millenium[edit]

With Iced Earth[edit]

With Deicide[edit]

With Obituary[edit]

With Gary Hughes[edit]

Order ov Riven Cathedrals[edit]

Solo albums[edit]


  1. ^ "DEICIDE Guitarist: 'I'm Not Going To Pretend To Be Some Dark And Angry And Evil Person'". Blabbermouth.net. August 10, 2006. Archived from the original on December 26, 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-17.
  2. ^ "DEICIDE Concert In Texas Shut Down By Cops; Guitarist RALPH SANTOLLA Arrested". Blabbermouth.net. July 15, 2006. Archived from the original on December 26, 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-17.
  3. ^ "DEICIDE Parts Ways With Guitarist RALPH SANTOLLA". Blabbermouth.net. May 24, 2007. Archived from the original on October 9, 2007. Retrieved 2008-05-17.
  4. ^ "TOXIK Taps Former DEATH/OBITUARY Guitarist RALPH SANTOLLA". Blabbermouth.net. 14 August 2013. Retrieved 7 June 2018.
  5. ^ "Former DEICIDE And OBITUARY Guitarist RALPH SANTOLLA Is In A Coma After Suffering Heart Attack". Blabbermouth.net. 31 May 2018. Retrieved 7 June 2018.
  6. ^ "Ralph Santolla dead at 48!Metal Jacket Magazine". Metaljacketmagazine.com. Retrieved 7 June 2018.
  7. ^ Everley, Dave (June 6, 2018). "Former Death/Sebastian Bach guitarist Ralph Santolla to be taken off life support". Metal Hammer Magazine. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  8. ^ "Deicide, Iced Earth Guitarist Ralph Santolla in Coma Following Heart Attack". Revolver. June 5, 2018. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  9. ^ "Former DEICIDE And OBITUARY Guitarist RALPH SANTOLLA Dies At 51". Blabbermouth.net. June 7, 2018. Retrieved June 7, 2018.

External links[edit]