Northeast Ohio-based metallers WRETCH have announced the addition of second guitarist Mike Stephenson to the groups ranks.
Shaun Vanek (ETERNAL LEGACY, CELLBOUND, MANIMALS, BREAKER) had been filling this role on a part-time basis the past couple of years but was unable to continue due to his busy schedule and other commitments.
Stephenson will make his live debut with WRETCH on October 16 when the band opens "The Frets of Fury" tour with FIREWIND, ARSIS, WHITE WIZZARD and NIGHTRAGE at Peabody's Concert Club in Cleveland, Ohio.
"I'm very excited to play with WRETCH," says Stephenson. "I actually haven't been active in any bands since the early '90s. When the whole grunge scene made it look like it killed metal, I sold my equipment and walked away. But I should have known you can't kill the metal!
"When I read the announcement that WRETCH was looking for another guitarist, I jokingly contacted Nick (Giannakos) and told him I was interested. After we both thought about it a bit, it actually made sense. Nick taught me how to play guitar back in the '80s and we actually played together in a band called CASTLE BLACK in the '90s with Tim Frederick. When I showed up for the first practice, things snapped right into place. And, of course, I love WRETCH's brand of pure, straight-ahead unadulterated power metal."
WRETCH's current lineup is rounded out by drummer Butch Likens (who joined the group in February) alongside longtime members Nick Giannakos (guitar), Colin Watson (vocals) and Tim Frederick (bass).
"The new lineup is really kicking ass," adds Watson. "Butch and Tim have given us the best foundation we have ever had. We also now have a powerful dual guitar attack locked in place with Nick and Mike. It's making me feel young again!"
WRETCH is gearing up for the release of its brand new, as-yet-untitled studio album, due out next year on Auburn Records.
WRETCH was one of the featured bands at the 2007 Headbangers Open Air festival in Germany. The group composed the festival anthem "Make This Garden Burn".
WRETCH is (left to right in photo below):
Tim Frederick - Bass
Mike Stephenson - Guitar
Nick Giannakos - Guitar
Colin Watson - Vocals
Butch Likens - Drums