Megadeth / David Ellefson, Chris Poland and Gar Samuelson reunite for The Raven

David Ellefson and Chris Poland have recorded one new song posthumously with former Megadeth drummer Gar Samuelson. New song, The Raven, is part of a twelve-song Fatal Opera collection. The other tracks are demo material, compiled as Fatal Opera’s final release.

Gar Samuelson formed Fatal Opera, with his brother Stew, in 1987 following his departure from Megadeth. Gar produced the band’s debut album in 1994, which featured Dave Inman on vocals, Travis Karcher on bass and Billy Brehme on guitar.

Fatal Opera band
Fatal Opera, circa 1997.

“Back in the day, long before Megadeth,” Chris Poland told MetalTalk, “Gar and his brother Stew were the heart and soul of a heavy instrumental jazz/rock project called The New Yorkers. I played guitar with them, and Robbie ‘Pag’ Pagliari played fretless bass.

“It was everything we could do just to keep up! Stew’s right hand was a machine. Flawless. And Gar was right there with him, always pushing things to the next level. And again, these two brothers were the heart and soul of Fatal Opera.”

Former Megadeth guitarist Chris Poland
Chris Poland. “Gar was a true artist…one of a kind.”

Chris Poland added additional guitar to the song Mask of Time. “It was a privilege to be a part of this release,” Chris said, “and playing on The Raven with David Ellefson made it that much more special. Gar was a true artist. Be it his amazing drumming, his painting or his wood sculpture pipe he made by hand. Gar was one of a kind.

“Here, Gar, Stew and crew push the limits of experimental Metal. These songs are complex yet accessible. Music with a dark side that draws you into their world and keeps you wondering what’s next.”

Fatal Opera’s second album Eleventh Hour was released in 1997 with Andy Freeman on vocals. A European chart success, a USA tour followed, but, sadly, Gar fell ill in 1999 and passed away.

In 2018 Andy Freeman and Stew Samuelson were remixing the Eleventh Hour album, and they discovered demos with Gar, which were intended to be the band’s third album.

Damaged after years of neglect, Freeman was able to salvage twelve tracks and invited David Ellefson and Chris Poland to work on The Raven to close the legacy of Gar and Fatal Opera.

Fatal Opera 3 album cover
Fatal Opera 3

“This is a really cool moment for Chris and me to musically reunite with our friend Gar,” David Ellefson says, “now almost 35 years after our last studio session together, which was the 1987 re-recording of These Boots Are Made for Walkin 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 reinvention for him. And, he seldom played the same thing twice, quite unusual for Heavy Metal! He just went for it with real gusto, and that became the hallmark of his sound.

“When I was laying down the bass track for The Raven, it reminded me once again of Gar’s spontaneity in the studio, as if we were recording live in the same room together.

“I’m super happy these tracks were brought to life so we could have one last go around with Gar behind the kit. It’s a reminder that he truly was one of the greats.”

Fatal Opera 3 is available now across all digital outlets.

1. The Raven (Feat. David Ellefson & Chris Poland)
2. Live Again
3. Mask of Time (Feat. Chris Poland)
4. Killers in the Night
5. Swept Away
6. Burning of the Midnight Lamp
7. 10 Years Gone
8. Little Sister
9. Salt
10. Rise
11. Wings of Pain
12. Jumped in the Pot

Fatal Opera 3 Line-up

Andy Freeman – Vocals, Keyboard, Guitar
Stew Samuelson – Guitar
Billy Brehme – Guitar
Travis Karcher – Bass
Gar Samuelson – Drums

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