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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|
|Associated acts||Deicide, Incantation|
Gaeton "Gator" Collier
Created in 1988 by guitarist Paul Flynn, Vital Remains' first line-up consisted of Paul on lead guitar, Butch Machado rhythm guitar, vocalist and Paul's brother Mike Flynn (who also came up with the band's name), bassist Tom Supkow, and drummer Chris Dupont. Paul was moving forward much more quickly than the rest of the band and decided to find better musicians to match what he was doing musically. So one night Paul was at the Living Room in providence at a local metal show looking to recruit. There were some bad words that night and certain friends of Tony and Jeff were looking to fight, at that time Paul said sure bring on all your friends and we'll fight. That's when Tony and Jeff came over and said "hey we know that guy", "were not going to fight him" and that's when the band became the true Vital Remains and guitarist Tony Lazaro and vocalist Jeff Gruslin joined the band. During these years Paul, Tony, and Jeff were very close friends and had many great times on the road and in the studio. Vital Remains also became a driving force in the local death metal scene, playing countless shows and proving they had the stuff to make it. 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 by the label, the band requested that their contract dissolved. In 1996 Dave Suzuki came into the mix strictly playing drums at that time. They began writing songs for "Forever Underground". At this stage in mid 1997 they signed a deal with osmose records they also had a European tour in the works. At this time the band's founder Paul had to leave "Vital Remains" due to family obligations he could not go on the tour and sadly left "Vital Remains"
The band signed a two-album deal with French label Osmose Records. The band then released of 1997's Forever Underground. Vital Remains then toured throughout the United States and overseas. The band was described as: "The fastest metal band on stage with unbelievable wind-mills of satanic fury" by Metal Maniacs Magazine. 2000's Dawn of the Apocalypse 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 in 2003 led to the addition of Deicide frontman Glen Benton on vocals along with original member Tony Lazaro on guitars and Dave Suzuki on 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, which followed in the same musical vein as Dechristianize. Vital Remains also put out their 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.
Since Dave Suzuki's dismissal from the band, Vital Remains have been touring endlessly for several years, with frequent lineup changes. Since 2012 original member Tony Lazaro, bassist Gaeton "Gator" Collier, and former Infernaeon vocalist Brian Werner have become the band's most consistent members. Tony stated in several interviews in 2012–13 that he's been writing lots of new songs and has "two albums worth of material".
In late 2014/early 2015, the band added two new members: James Payne (ex Hour of Penance) as their new drummer and Toronto-based Dean Arnold of Primal Frost as their new lead guitarist. Vital Remains toured through South America, Europe, and the US in 2015 with this lineup.
The band has continued the writing process for a new album and will record it after their winter European tour. The new album should be finished in 2016.
In November 2015, a Sanford Florida police officer was fired for singing "Let the Killing Begin" with the band while he was on duty and in uniform. A video posted on YouTube shows Officer Andrew Ricks - in full uniform - making 'devil's horns' gesture and roaring the title words to the song.
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 distinguish 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 music. Many of the songs on more recent releases approach eight or nine minutes in length. With the addition of Dave Suzuki to the band, the lead guitar work took a much more prominent place within song structure. He also chose to employ a neoclassical style of soloing.
Former live members
- Let Us Pray (1992)
- Into Cold Darkness (1995)
- Forever Underground (1997)
- Dawn of the Apocalypse (2000)
- Dechristianize (2003)
- Icons of Evil (2007)
- Evil Death Live (2007)
- The Black Mass (1991)
- Horrors of Hell (2006)
- Reduced to Ashes (1989)
- Excruciating Pain (1990)
- The Black Mass 7" (1991)
- 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!"
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