Nearly two years after Black Sabbath wrapped their massive farewell tour, bassist Geezer Butler unveiled his next move: a supergroup project featuring drummer Matt Sorum (Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver), guitarist Steve Stevens (Billy Idol) and vocalist Franky Perez (Scars on Broadway, Apocalyptica).
The quartet released their first single, the brooding blues-rock epic “Down in Flames.” The track opens with Sorum’s borderline-shuffled 6/8 drum groove and settles into a massive, distorted riff from Butler and Stevens. “It’s gonna be a long, cold winter/ For saints and for sinners,” Perez howls over the din, building to a bridge filled with intricate tom-tom patterns and eerie slide-guitar. They paired the song with a straightforward video featuring in-studio footage.
The group detailed their collaboration in a statement, noting that Sorum’s longtime friendships with Stevens and Perez cemented the original core line-up. Butler admitted he was unsure about the project at first but changed his mind after hearing their early material. “I had to get used to the idea of starting from scratch again, which is good,” he said. “But I really liked the music I was hearing. It’s not your typical hard rock or metal stuff.”
Stevens enthused about collaborating with Butler, one of his favorite musicians. “There’s a lot of times in the studio as a guitar player, you get a guitar sound and you’re trying to make it work, tweaking it,” he said. “There was none of that bullshit. It just fit against his bass sound and it was really exciting to me. I get to hear my guitar against a bass guitarist that I’ve idolized forever.”
Deadland Ritual announced two summer 2019 live dates: at the Download Festival, held in Donnington, England, from June 14th through June 16th; and at Hellfest in Clisson, France, on June 22nd. Onstage, the band will perform original material and “deeper cuts from their collective past” – “not the typical songs you would expect,” Sorum teased.
In the months building to their festival shows, the band is planning to record additional material – including more singles and a potential album. They’re also expected to announce further concerts.