ATHEIST Frontman KELLY SHAEFER's TILL THE DIRT Announces Debut Album, 'Outside The Spiral'

July 1, 2023

TILL THE DIRT, the new band led by ATHEIST frontman Kelly Shaefer, will release its debut album, "Outside The Spiral", on August 25 via Nuclear Blast Records.

Shaefer comments on the signing to Nuclear Blast: "As an extreme metal artist, there is no better place to land than Nuclear Blast. A staff that is second to none, and as a label I feel they share the same passion I have for metal music. So it's a true honor to release this record to the world on the best metal label on the planet!"

With his new project, Shaefer steers away from mining his own extensive well of death metal, exploring beyond the genre's traditional confines and incorporating an extreme fusion of grunge, black metal, jazz, rock, dark wave, a dash of classic pop and other styles. The new record also features a slew of guest musicians each contributing their own skills to Shaefer's overall vision.

Shaefer says of the new record: "My writing went into overdrive during lockdown, and I was writing and recording a new song almost daily as well as playing on the demos. I was inviting friends for solos and guest spots, one being Jeff Loomis (ARCH ENEMY, NEVERMORE) and also John Longstreth (ORIGIN). Scott Burns really helped me pull it all in, because we had so many songs to work with and had to narrow to 11. It's one of the most prolific moments in my career and I'm proud to say there is zero filler on this record. I couldn't be more proud of it."

That's right. "Outside The Spiral" was produced by non-other than death metal G.O.A.T. Scott Burns (DEATH, CANNIBAL CORPSE, DEICIDE),who came out of retirement to oversee the record's production.

Burns comments on the collaboration: "Kelly and I were talking and he said, 'Let me send you some of my new band's material.' The first track he sent me was 'Outside The Spiral'. I was blown away. I loved everything about it. It was simply a great song to me. It was brutal, it was catchy, and it was memorable where I could sing it back in my head after a couple of listens. I also loved it because it didn't sound like anything I heard on SiriusXM's Liquid Metal. To me it was original just like in the old days when I used to record bands. It was why the bands I recorded got signed, because they were original. And then to top it off, he sent me dozens of others songs and they were equally as good. I think TTD rocks and wish nothing but the best for the band. It is but a sliver....."

TILL THE DIRT has revealed the record's first single, the title track "Outside The Spiral", which features a guest performance by TESTAMENT bassist Steve DiGiorgio.

Shaefer adds about the new song: "'Outside the Spiral' was the very first of over 25 songs I wrote for what would become the debut for TILL THE DIRT. However, I didn't start with the intention of a new band or album, I was writing and recording ATHEIST ideas during the early lockdown of COVID. So when I finished the demo, I sent to people I trust to give me honest opinions, one being bassist extraordinaire Steve DiGiorgio, and the other legendary producer Scott Burns. Both agreed that it was something of a hybrid… sort of a different path. Inevitably it was inspiring to hear the positive feedback. Scott Burns then agreed to produce this record, and Steve agreed to play bass on this track."

DiGiorgio says: "Kelly and I go back with our own bands as far as 1987, 'Raging Death' comp. I've always appreciated the level and precision that ATHEIST played, and admired the multifaceted vocals of Mr. Shaefer. When he hit me up to throw down a bass track on his new project it was a no-brainer. Hell yes! Not only was it an easy decision based on old friend, Scott Burns, being involved...but Kelly gave ME the choice of which track appealed to me. I chose 'Outside The Spiral' for the eerily spacial riffs and the trippiness of the vocals. Both qualities befitting my whacked out fretless contributions on bass. Killer track on a killer new album...enjoy!"

"Outside The Spiral" track listing:

01. Starring Role
02. Outside The Spiral
03. Privilege
04. As It Seems
05. Invitation
06. Forest Of Because
07. Who Awaits
08. Insist And Demand
09. The Good The Bad The Other
10. Watch You Grow Old
11. Bring On The Gods

Kelly and his co-conspirators in and around TILL THE DIRT have put all the fun back into extreme music by deliberately straying from the very formula that the Floridian guitarist unleashed on to the world as one of its leading proponents. One of the privileges of being a living legend is the freedom to do whatever you like without the need to prove anything to anybody. And this is exactly what happens on "Outside The Spiral". Never shy in denying his death metal roots, Shaefer takes the liberty to amalgamate any musical influence into his songs as long as they fit. Don't be surprised to find grunge, black metal, jazz, rock, dark wave, a dash of classic pop, and many other stylistic colors fused into tracks that range from relaxed malice to vitriolic face-ripping.

A fly on the wall would have witnessed Kelly frantically composing night after night, only putting his guitar down to contact friends around the globe and sending them demos looking for feedback to either affirm his gut feeling that his new material was going into interesting places or to put a stop to this fountain of creativity. Yet, one by one his friends were at least as excited about those tracks as the composer. A new metal juggernaut had started to roll and there was no stopping. Kelly recruited enlisted young musicians full of raw energy and passion to the cause of TILL THE DIRT and most importantly one of his first listeners offered his invaluable services: Scott Burns (ATHEIST, DEATH, OBITUARY, CANNIBAL CORPSE, CYNIC, MALEVOLENT CREATION, SUFFOCATION).

"When Kelly sent me some demos, I was at first reluctant to listen to them," reveals Burns. "I thought I had kind of heard it all by now and I did not want to want to disappoint an old friend. When I finally gave the tracks a chance, it felt like being hit by an electric shock: These tracks were fresh, exciting, and fun — just like in the old days. Those demos blew me away. I was immediately hooked to the point where I really wanted to be involved. I really thought that I had stopped producing death metal for good, but here we are now!"

The pieces of this puzzle started to fall into place and while the guitarist kept chucking out killer tracks at neck-breaking speed, the producer started to add structure to the process by drawing from decades of experience.

"I could not believe my luck that Scott Burns is throwing the full force of his amazing talent and status behind TILL THE DIRT, " enthuses Kelly. "He obviously did not expect to be hijacked and put back on the producer's chair, but I am glad to say that it did not take much convincing. I am extremely happy about this privilege: The mighty Scott Burns is back to bang your heads!"


Kelly Shaefer - Vocals
Jerry Witunsky - Guitars
Ian Waye - Guitars
Yoav Ruiz Feingold - Bass
Dylan Marks - Drums

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