"Down In Flames", the first video from DEADLAND RITUAL, the new band featuring bassist Geezer Butler (BLACK SABBATH), guitarist Steve Stevens (BILLY IDOL, VINCE NEIL), drummer Matt Sorum (GUNS N' ROSES, VELVET REVOLVER) and singer Franky Perez (APOCALYPTICA), can be seen below. The song, which was produced by Greg Fidelman (METALLICA, SLIPKNOT) was released via Sonik Riot Records/AWAL powered by Kobalt.
"Down In Flames" features the lush and powerful vocals of Perez, alongside Stevens's signature thundering guitar conjugating with the hard-driving tribal rhythm section of Butler and Sorum.
Drawing inspiration from the ritual symbolism of desert badlands paired with Sorum's love of the idea of a "ritualistic forgotten space," the name DEADLAND RITUAL felt appropriate for the darker tone of the music the group was making. "Obviously, we've been through some stuff," Perez says. "If you're being honest artistically, all the turmoil of love, loss, happiness and pain in life makes its way into the music."
Sorum's longtime friendships with Stevens and Perez helped to form the initial core of the lineup, but it was a pivotal moment when Butler agreed to join. Butler admits there was a lot to think about when he got the invitation. "I had to get used to the idea of starting from scratch again, which is good," he says. "But I really liked the music I was hearing. It's not your typical hard rock or metal stuff."
For Stevens, it was a revelation the first time he found himself recording with Butler. "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," Stevens says. "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."
Sorum was determined to take things to the next level. "I wanted to get the best drum sound I've ever gotten, and play the best I've played," he says. "I think I've achieved that. As a drummer I've morphed through a lot of decades of rock and roll."
The initial recordings are only the beginning of what fans can expect in the coming months. The band is focused on quality vs. quantity and letting the muse carry them in the appropriate direction. With festival appearances booked and headline dates in the works, they'll use the time leading up to that trek to continue writing and recording, releasing singles along the way and perhaps an LP.
DEADLAND RITUAL will make two European summer festival appearances next June — Download in the U.K on June 14 and Hellfest in France on June 22.
DEADLAND RITUAL promises the live shows will be something special, mixing the original material with deeper cuts from their collective past. "Not the typical songs you would expect," according to Sorum.
After BLACK SABBATH played its final show in February 2017, Butler admitted: "I felt relief that it was all over, that it was done with, that we'd done a good show, and quite sad in a way to think that we’d never do it again. It really wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be, actually. It just felt right. We've been around for 49 years now, and it's time to call it a day."
In a 2017 interview with Billboard, Butler spoke about his post-BLACK SABBATH plans, saying: "I'm not in a hurry to do anything… I'm traveling a lot, seeing the places [the band] only stayed for one night and going back and spending some time there. We've recently moved house this year and I'm going to be building my home studio, but it's taken me ages. Next year I'll see if I can get back into music."
Last year, Butler told Rolling Stone that he had "about 120 riffs written down" for his next musical project, adding that he just needed "to pick a guitarist and sort through them."
Butler's last solo album, "Ohmwork", which was released under the band name GZR, sold less than 900 copies during its first week of release back in May 2005, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Geezer's first project under the GZR banner was 1995's "Plastic Planet". 1997's "Black Science", which was credited to GEEZER, featured vocalist Clark Brown, who also performed on "Ohmwork".
A founding member of BLACK SABBATH, Butler is also the lyricist of such SABBATH classics as "War Pigs", "Iron Man", "Paranoid" and others.