After parting ways with thrash titans MEGADETH in 1987, highly regarded percussion maestro Gar Samuelson began his next chapter. Relocating to Orange City, Florida, Gar rented a farm and began converting its barn into a studio with the help of his brother, guitarist Stew Samuelson. Largely influenced by jazz fusion and carrying the primary goal of simply achieving a heavy sound, FATAL OPERA was later solidified in 1990 with bassist Travis Karcher, Dave Inman on vocals, and short-term guitarist Jeff Bloom — who left the band the following year after contributing to a ten-song demo that was not widely circulated.
Over the next two years, the remaining quartet wrote and recorded the group’s ten-song self-titled debut, after which they were joined by another fusion-influenced guitarist in Bill Brehme. Initially released on cassette, FATAL OPERA signed with German label Massacre Records in 1994, which finally provided the album with a proper CD release in 1995. Cited by Gar as having been an “outward” effort — lyrically focused on socio-political matters, etc. — “Fatal Opera” displayed an adventurous and truly incomparable brand of technical thrash metal, peppered with melodic hooks and wild, jazz-inflected soloing.
The band’s sophomore effort, “The Eleventh Hour”, had started taking shape in 1994 with a thirteen-song pre-production demo. In 1995, however, vocalist Dave Inman amicably bowed out, resulting in the addition of enthusiastic new frontman Andy Freeman. Writing continued, and the quintet returned to the studio in the spring/early summer of 1996. Upon its release in 1997 — once more via Massacre Records — “The Eleventh Hour” found FATAL OPERA simply bursting with energy — more melodic, more progressive, more of everything: sure to appease fans of other one-of-a-kind acts such as PSYCHOTIC WALTZ or DAMN THE MACHINE.
Now, more than twenty years later, Divebomb Records will reissue both of FATAL OPERA‘s highly acclaimed full-length recordings on October 13. The group’s debut outing has been expanded to include two previously unreleased bonus tracks, while “The Eleventh Hour” adds on a Japanese bonus track as well as an entire bonus disc, freshly remixed by the band. Fully remastered by Jamie King at The Basement Recording, each package will also boast a twenty-page booklet including reimagined cover art, photographs, lyrics, and a retrospective interview with the surviving bandmembers.
Pre-order a copy at this location.