Bass player David Ellefson and guitarist Chris Poland reunited to posthumously record one last song with their friend and former MEGADETH drummer Gar Samuelson. The new track “The crow” is the latest single from Fatal Opera, part of a new twelve-song collection of demo material compiled as the band’s final release, titled FATAL OPERA 3, now available Combat Logs ®.
You can see the lyric video for “The Raven” here:
FATAL OPERA: After leaving Megadeth in 1987, Gar Samuelson started his new band Fatal Opera, with his brother Stew on guitar. Gar went on to produce the band’s 1994 debut album, which also featured Dave Inman on vocals, Travis Karcher on bass and Billy Brehme on guitar. The band’s second album Eleventh Hour was released in 1997 and featured Andy Freeman on vocals, reaching the top 10 of the European charts as the band continued to build a loyal fanbase touring across the United States that year- the. Unfortunately, in 1999, Gar fell ill and died, at which time the band disbanded.
Then, in 2018, Andy and Stew set out to remix the Eleventh Hour album and thus discovered a collection of demos with Gar which was to become the band’s third album before his passing. Although the demo tapes were damaged after many years of neglect, Freeman endeavored to revive the tracks with some songs lost forever. However, he was able to complete 12 tracks, inviting Ellefson & Poland to participate in “The Raven” to conclude the legacy of Gar and Fatal Opera.
Chris Poland recalls, “Back then, long before Megadeth, Gar and his brother Stew were the heart and soul of an instrumental heavy jazz/rock project called THE NEW YORKERS. I played guitar with them and Robbie “Pag” Pagliari played fretless bass. It was all we could do to keep up! Stew’s right arm was a machine. Flawless. And Gar was right there with him, always taking things to the next level. And again, these two brothers were the heart and soul of Fatal Opera. It was a privilege to be a part of this outing, and performing on “The Raven” with David Ellefson made it even more special. Gar was a true artist. Whether it’s his amazing drumming, his painting or his wooden carving pipe (which he made by hand). Gar was one of a kind. And here, Gar, Stew and his team are pushing the boundaries of experimental metal. These songs are complex but accessible. Music with a dark side that pulls you into their world and makes you wonder “what’s next!” Chris Poland also added some extra guitar work to the track “Mask of Time”.
David Ellefson adds: “It’s a really cool moment for Chris and I to reunite musically with our friend Gar, now nearly 35 years after our last studio session together, which was the 1987 re-recording of ‘These Boots Are Made For Walking’. for the Dudes movie soundtrack, compiled by director Penelope Spheeris. Gar was always such a free spirit with his music, no click tracks or digital re-imagining for him. And, he rarely played the same thing twice , which is quite unusual for heavy metal, he threw himself into it with real enthusiasm and it became the hallmark of his sound.
He continues: “When I was composing the bass track for ‘The Raven’, it reminded me once again of Gar’s spontaneity in the studio, as if we were recording together live in the same room. I’m super glad those tracks came to life so we could do one last lap with Gar behind the kit. It’s a reminder that he was truly one of the greatest!
Combat Records ® is the label that hosted many iconic thrash and metal albums in the 1980s and 90s and was relaunched by Ellefson & Co. in 2017. It also hosted Gar Samuelson’s debut album with Megadeth, their self-titled debut album Killing Is My Business… and Business is Good (1985). Ellefson says, “As a label, we’re proud to release these final tracks from Gar. He was a masterful drummer who had an incredible impact on fans and musicians around the world. I think it’s fitting that Combat is home to his first and now last recordings.
Fatal Opera 3 is available now at all digital outlets.
Tracklist for Fatal Opera 3:
- The Raven (Feat. David Ellefson & Chris Poland)
- Mask of Time (Feat. Chris Poland)
- killers in the night
- swept away
- Burn the midnight lamp
- 10 years ago
- Little sister
- To augment
- wings of pain
- Jumped in the pot
Programming of Fatal Opera 3:
Andy Freeman – vocals, keyboard, guitar
Steve Samuelson – Guitar
Billy Brehme – Guitar
Travis Karcher – Bass
Gar Samuelson – Drums