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Gus Rios - Gruesome - Raped By Darkness - Exclusive Drum Play-through
Monday, 06 June 2016 18:37

Gus Rios’ Drum Play-through for Gruesome's "Raped By Darkness." The 'Dimensions of Horror' EP is out now on CD/LP/CS/Digital via Relapse Records. Multi­-state death metal project GRUESOME was born out of guitarist/vocalist Matt Harvey and drummer Gus Rios’ mutual involvement with the original Death To All Tour (Harvey served as frontman for the original mini­-tour and Rios both performed “Baptized in Blood” and worked with drummer Sean Reinert on the following US tour where Exhumed filled in as support). After discussing and discarding the idea of putting together another incarnation of Death To All to focus exclusively on the first two albums, Harvey half­-jokingly suggested that the pair write their own songs in intentional homage to Death. It wasn’t long before the idea gained traction, and the band soon had five tracks written. With Harvey writing in California, Rios recruited Possessed guitarist Daniel Gonzalez and Derketa bassist Robin Mazen to record the material in Florida, while Harvey tracked his vocals on the West Coast.

Original Video Link:

Gus’ Gear:

Tama Starclassic Bubinga/Birch - Molten Lava Burst Finish:

18” x 20” (2)

7” x 8,” 8” x 10,” 8” x 12,” and 14” x 16”

6.5” x 14” Tama SLP Power Maple Snare Drum

Iron Cobra Power Glide Pedals 

Sabian Cymbals:

13" HH Fusion Hats

21" HH Raw Bell Dry Ride

17" HH Med Thin Crash (2)

16" HH Med Thin Crash

20" HH Zen China

08" Paragon Splash

10" AAX Metal Splash

10" Cymbal Disc

Evans Drumheads

Toms: G2 clear top / G1 clear bottom

Snare: HD Dry top / Hazy 300 bottom

Kicks: EQ4 clear batter / EQ4 front/logo

Vic Firth 55A wood tip drumsticks

Ultimate Ears UE11 in ear monitors

GRUESOME released a pair of single-­song demos in 2014, and was subsequently signed by Relapse Records in June of that year, with a full-­length release (recorded in Florida, of course) planned for early the next year. The result of those recordings would become the band’s debut full- length Savage Land, a truly gruesome slab of Leprosy-styled death metal released in April 2015. It’s clear from the song quality on Savage Land that GRUESOME is humbly determined to keep Death’s classic sound alive as faithfully as possible, and the critical acclaim for Savage Land has reflected the band’s dedication. Metal Injection called Savage Land “the advanced, dripping-­rot-from-­the-­corners-­of-­a-­coffin, putrid, vile death metal throwback that you’ve been waiting for,” while Exclaim declared that “the enthusiasm alone on Savage Land is awe­-inspiring.”

After the positive reception of Savage LandGRUESOME knew they wanted to continue further with their tribute, and decided that any true Death tribute band would have to sink its teeth into the undiluted savagery of Death’s early material. Their forthcoming EP reflects that sentiment: produced by the band and co-produced / recorded with Jarrett Pritchard at New Constellation Studios RMP in Orlando, FL, Dimensions of Horror is a gruesome salute to Death’s iconic Scream Bloody Gore and once again features cover art by the legendary Ed Repka (Death, Atheist, Massacre). A six-song slab of grisly, bone-breaking death metal jams, Dimensions Of Horror continues the development of GRUESOME‘s homage to the founding fathers of the genre and proves that no matter the decade, old-school death metal is always relevant, always brutal, and always irresistible. With an all- star lineup and unmatched songwriting skills, GRUESOME is willing and able to propel the historical sentiment and sincerity of Death’s spirit into the present.


Daniel Gonzalez ­- Guitar
Matt Harvey ­- Guitar, vocals
Robin Mazen ­- Bass
Gus Rios ­- Drums

Order Here:

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Official Links:

Eric W. Brown - Vale of Pnath - Blacker Than - Exclusive Drum Play-through
Friday, 03 June 2016 17:45

From Eric: “Vale of Pnath is a 5-piece melodic technical death metal band from Denver, CO. We play fast notes in an order that would surprise you, and “II” you won't believe, as in album #2, as in the name of our second album, which is entitled "II". Our new album features a new line-up and some really great new songs full of leveled-up melodic technicality, catchy riffs that rock out at quick tempos, and some ripper guest solos from a few of the most talented guitarists we know.”

“The album was recorded with Dave Otero at Flatline Audio (Cephalic Carnage, Cattle Decapitation, Allegaeon) and this video was made in my home studio. There are a couple minor mistakes because originally this wasn't going to be just a drum video, but all the parts are accurate, so I dare you to enjoy it all the same.”

II comes out on June 10, and we'll be hitting the road in July to promote it alongside Arkaik and Singularity.


At the moment Eric uses, abuses and does not endorse any of the following:

Yamaha Stage Custom 10", 12" 16" and 22"

Yamaha Stage Custom 5.5x14" Snare

14" Zildjian A Rock Hats

16" Wuhan crash (it was free)

08" Wuhan splash (actually sounds pretty good)

12" Wuhan china (completely broken)

18" Zildjian A Custom Crash (broken in 2 places)

20" Sabian Medium Ride, I think (it's old)

18" Wuhan china (broken)


7/02/2016  Santa Ana, CA @ Malones 

7/03/2016  Henderson, NV @ The Midnight Warehouse

7/04/2016  Mesa, AZ @ Club Red 

7/06/2016  Albuquerque, NM @ Blu Phoenix 

7/10/2016  San Antonio, TX @ Korova 

7/11/2016  Corpus Christi, TX @ House of Rock 

7/12/2016  Austin, TX @ Dirty Dog Bar 

7/13/2016  Fortworth, TX @ Tomcats West 

7/15/2016  Colorado Springs, CO @ Sunshine Studios 

7/16/2016  Denver, CO @ Marquis Theater 

7/17/2016  Logan, UT @ WhySound 

7/21/2016  Seattle, WA @ Studio 7 

7/22/2016  Bend, OR @ Third Street Pub 

7/23/2016  Grants Pass, OR @ The Haul 

7/24/2016  Petaluma, CA @Phoenix Theater

Rest In Power Nick Menza - Unreleased Photographs And Interview
Wednesday, 25 May 2016 18:49

As most have heard by now, drummer Nick Menza passed away on Saturday May 21st during the third song of his set with OHM, at the famous L.A venue, The Baked Potato. Nick had just spent two weeks touring the Pacific Northwest, and was gearing up for a June 2016 comic-version release of his book Nick Menza Megalife: Countdown To Resurrection', by J. Marshall Craig.

Most of us know Nick through his early work on Megadeth’s - Rust In Peace album, or perhaps due to knowing of his father, Don Menza, a jazz saxophone legend who played and composed with drummers like Buddy Rich, Elvin Jones and Louie Bellson. Regardless of how you knew him or didn’t know him, he was a great drummer, a great man, and will be sorely missed by his family, friends and the global drumming community.

SDM’s Andon Guenther visited Nick at his L.A home last year and ran a photo-shoot for what was to be an upcoming cover feature. Life happened and the feature never ran, but we wanted to share these never before seen photographs, and this interview conducted by our own Noel Smart.

In April of 2014 Nick was part of our Isolating The Throne feature, and sent us the original isolated drum tracks from Megadeth’s - Holy Wars. You can watch the video and read more information on the gear he used on that recording here, as well as learn about some of his favorite old-school raw drum sounds/albums.

Thanks for the music, and the memories Nick… and Rest In Power.

SDM: How do you prepare yourself before a show and recording?

Nick: I get lots of sleep, eat lots of carbs, ride my bike, go swimming etc.

SDM: What kind of practice routines do you perform when you practice by yourself?

Nick: I play everyday, so I don’t really have time to sit and just practice.

SDM: Did you ever take drum lessons?

Nick: Not really, I learned to play by listening and playing along to my favorite records.

SDM: Do you play any other instruments?

Nick: Yes. I play guitar, bass, keys and sing.

SDM: What kind of gear do you use?

Nick: I use DW 5ooo pedals, RegalTip 2B sticks, Soultone cymbals, Aquarian heads,  Remo black suede and Evans e-mads heads.

SDM: How do you set the tension on your 5000’s?

Nick: I get bigger, heavier springs for maximum tension.

SDM: Tell us about the Soultone Handmade Turkish cymbals bearing the Nick Menza stamp of approval. Do you have your own line of cymbals through them?

Nick: Soultone are the best I’ve played, and yes, I’m coming out with my own line through Soultone.

SDM: What size are your snares, and how is the tension?

Nick: I use a 16” x 6.5” Mahogany 8-ply. And a 14” x  8” Brass-Hammered, and both are very tight.

SDM: What kind of kit did you use to record Rust in Peace, and how long did it take?

Nick: I used a Gretsch Rosewood set on that album. It took me 10 days to finish tracking drums on Rust.

SDM: Do you use triggers in the studio or live?

Nick: Only live.

SDM: What’s your opinion on triggers and drum modules?       

Nick: A must have for live metal drums.

SDM: Who are some of your main drumming influences?

Nick: John Bonham, Neil Peart, Buddy Rich and Steve Gadd.  

SDM: Do you listen to different styles of music outside of the metal realm?

Nick: Of course… I listen to everything.

SDM: Do you always record to a click track? Do you find playing to a click track challenging? 

Nick: Not always. But it’s better to play with a click, and it’s very easy for me to play along to one.

SDM: What kind of double bass technique do you use?

Nick: I play on balls of my feet, heel up always.

SDM: How do you advise young drummers build up their endurance and speed?

Nick: Play hard and practice harder.

SDM: What’s your opinion on extreme metal bands out there that play at 300BPM?

Nick: It’s all drumming… For me it’s harder to play slow. Playing fast is easier. I feel it takes more discipline and accuracy to play slower and be solid.

SDM: What sort of gripping technique do you use? 

Nick: I grip sticks like a club, so I can smash hard and hold on to them!

SDM: When you discovered a tumor on your knee and were forced to leave to undergo surgery, how did the surgery go? 

Nick: They wanted to take a biopsy of it, but I said just take it all out. The surgery went great, no problems at all.

SDM: How did you feel about Megadeth hiring Jimmy DeGrasso temporarily, rather than cancel any dates and wait for you?

Nick: It was fine, they didn’t need to lose out on the gigs, but I was sad. 

SDM: What was it like getting that phone call in the hospital from Mustaine saying your services were not going to be needed for the next record?

Nick: I was very hurt by it. I was fired literally 2 days after my surgery.

SDM: Do you still have the custom Megadeth drum rack you used on Rust In Peace?

Nick: No, but I’m in process of designing a new one as we speak. It’s gonna crush my old setup :)

SDM: What's your opinion on Drover and DeGrasso playing your material?

Nick: They are both good drummers, but not as good as me.. lol. When I watch Megadeth live in concert with another drummer, it’s like watching someone having sex with your ex, and that’s not how you used to do it. Lol

SDM: Did you need to get Dave Mustaine's blessing on your book, to avoid any potential future issues?

Nick: No. My book is about my Megalife, and Megadeth were a big part of my life. They were like my second family.

SDM: Tell us about playing 'Rock In Rio' circa 1991. What was the experience like?   

Nick: It was very exciting! Great crowd, and had a great show. I will never forget it, as it may have been the best gig ever.

SDM: Tell us about the talks of a reissue of your solo effort "Life After Deth.” What musicians will you be working with?

Nick: Just myself playing all instruments and singing.

SDM: Is it true that Dave Mustaine gave you two chances to get back into Megadeth, but things happened beyond your control?

Nick: Yes, I was fired 2 times.

SDM: Is it hard to work for Dave Mustaine?

Nick: No

SDM: What have you learned from your time in Megadeth?

Nick: So much from every aspect of the music business.

SDM: If you had the chance to join Megadeth again would you go for it?

Nick: You never know what can happen.. I’m open to all things, and for the record I would have never quit Megadeth :)

SDM: Why are you only now making a comeback to the metal world of drumming? 

Nick: I was in cryogenics for the past 15 years and just came out of deep freeze. It’s time to shred.

SDM: Do you still receive royalties for your work on Megadeth albums? 

Nick: Yes of course, always.

SDM: Tell us about playing in the band Deltanaut. Anything new with this band?

Nick: Not lately, but I grew up with them and we are all best friends.

SDM: What was he experience like playing on Scenes (1992), Introduction (1994), and True Obsessions (1996) with Marty Friedman?

Nick: It was really cool.. Marty is my bud.

SDM: Tell us about playing on Rhoads 1986 Into the Future.

Nick: We were a very tight band, but the mix on that album sucked really bad.

Thanx so much for interview guys. I’ll be coming soon to a city near you.. Get ready to rock!

Nick, (AKA) “The  Atomic Dissintagrator“


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