British extreme metal pioneers BOLT THROWER have paid tribute to their drummer Martin "Kiddie" Kearns, who passed away unexpectedly at the age of 38 in September 2015.
In a March 7 post on the band's official web site, the group wrote: "Today would have been Kiddie's 40th birthday. It's a day of sadness, but also of great memories, and we hope you'll join us and raise a glass to an absent friend.
"We take comfort in the knowledge that his bloodline, and legacy as a father, will live on through his sons Leon and Max, his legacy as a man lives on in the hearts and minds of everyone who had the honor and privilege to call him their friend, and his legacy as an amazing drummer will live on through his music.
"But, sadly, due to various circumstances, Kiddie only ever got to release two albums with BOLT THROWER, despite being in the band for twenty years and playing hundreds of shows, and we owe his unswerving loyalty and drumming legacy so much more.
"This is a debt we'll start to pay off soon...
"Here's to you, Kiddie!"
BOLT THROWER confirmed last September that they had officially split up following Kearns's death a year earlier. The band's frontman, Karl Willetts, told Metal Hammer: "Yes, I can confirm that BOLT THROWER are definitely over for good. There will be no reunion tours etc... no compromise."
Prior to Karl's confirmation, BOLT THROWER had issued a statement to pay tribute to Kearns, who died peacefully in his sleep after becoming ill at rehearsal. The statement indicated that BOLT THROWER wouldn't ever replace Kearns, but it didn't make it clear whether that meant BOLT THROWER would disband.
"When we carried his coffin to his final resting place, the BOLT THROWER drummer position was buried with him," the statement read. "He was, and will now forever remain 'the' BOLT THROWER drummer, our powerhouse and friend Martin 'Kiddie' Kearns."
BOLT THROWER released eight albums during its three-decade existence, the most recent being 2005's "Those Once Loyal".
Willets recently formed a new band called MEMORIAM alongside former BOLT THROWER bandmate Andy Whale and BENEDICTION members Frank Healy and Scott Fairfax.