LIONS AT THE GATE Feat. Former ILL NIÑO Members: Debut Album Details Revealed

June 7, 2023

LIONS AT THE GATE, the new band featuring former ILL NIÑO members Cristian Machado (vocals),Ahrue "Luster" Ilustre (guitar) and Diego Verduzco (guitar),alongside bassist Stephen Brewer (WESTFIELD MASSACRE) and drummer Fern Lemus, will release its debut album, "The Excuses We Cannot Make", on August 25. The LP was produced and mixed by Kile Odell (Nita Strauss, FOZZY, MOTIONLESS IN WHITE).

The official music video for the album's latest single, "Drain", can be seen below. The clip was directed by Vicente Cordero of Industrialism Films (BLACK VEIL BRIDES, CRADLE OF FILTH).

Machado stated about "The Excuses We Cannot Make": "The topics on this record were deeply personal to me and spoke a lot about the personal struggle that I was going through at the time with the separation from my [now-previous] band, a divorce, a custody dispute and being slandered publicly with lies, but overall wanting a message of persistence and forgiveness...

"The instrumental [of the album] was already great. We tracked one to two songs a day, and [never once did I think] to go back to re-record anything. Everyone in the band has a chance to express themselves creatively, writing individually, but then we all come together to record the album as a unit. In this kind of environment, everyone in the band gets some solitary creativity and then has a chance to speak their mind about all the ideas occurring throughout the entire recording process."

Speaking about the inspiration for "Drain", Machado said: "'Drain' is a song about regret and time. There was a time in my life when I wished I could turn back the clock and take all the lessons I've learned with me. Many times I wondered if I'd made the right decisions in my own life. Years ago, I lost a family member whom I loved dearly with all my heart. We held her until the very last breath that she took. That was such a life-changing experience, it truly made me see things a lot differently. Sadly, so many years I wasted leading up to that moment, thinking that time would never run out. The regret I felt was so intense, it opened my eyes wider than ever before and led my heart to change. I carry the memory daily, still. Thank God I am now, finally, realizing that perhaps I am not defined by the mistakes I've made, I am defined by the lessons I've learned in-house. I can apply them to my life now. In the end, it was worth it all."

"The Excuses We Cannot Make" track listing:

01. Not Even Human
02. The Climb
03. Find My Way (featuring Tatiana Shmayluk)
04. Drain
05. Bed Of Nails
06. Scapegoat
07. Vultures
08. The Ledge
09. Losing Hope
10. Digital Sea
11. My Apology

LIONS AT THE GATE will be on the road starting next week in support of Nita Strauss on the "Summer Storm" North American tour 2023.

In April 2022, LIONS AT THE GATE released the official music video for its new track, "Find My Way", featuring Tatiana Shmayluk of JINJER.

LIONS AT THE GATE released its debut single, "Not Even Human", back in June 2021.

When LIONS AT THE GATE's formation was first announced, Machado said: "I feel so blessed to be in LIONS AT THE GATE. We've all been making albums for a long time but I think it was time for us to make something special and memorable again. This album is exactly that. Take away our musical history, take away our long hair, take away our personal feelings, just make believe we were never there. This LIONS AT THE GATE album is amazing. We finally made a modern metal album that metalheads will enjoy beginning to end. It's deep, it's memorable. I can't wait for everyone to hear it."

Verduzco added: "I'm beyond proud and excited to announce our new band LIONS AT THE GATE. Life is all about change and I feel that this music is the most dynamic and honest that we've ever written. I feel a sense of freedom and am completely reinvigorated and even anxious (in a good way) to be a part of something that pulls influence from so many directions . Each member brings a unique set of talent and tools. It's quite frankly some of the best music we've ever written. Organic, honest, and true."

Luster stated: "I'm more excited about LIONS AT THE GATE than anything that I've been a part of since I started my musical career."

Luster discussed his renewed collaboration with Machado and Verduzco in an interview with Pierre Gutierrez of Rock Talks. He said: "I can't even explain how happy I am with how this came out. It sounds, in my opinion, better than anything that Cristian and I have ever done together, and that includes all the ILL NIÑO records that we've done together."

Asked about the musical direction of LIONS AT THE GATE, Ahrue said: "It's a very polished sound, similar to… I don't wanna say it sounds like [ILL NIÑO's 2003 album] 'Confession', but there's a lot of singing on it, there's a lot of production. But at the same time, there's heaviness to it. But the songs are better than anything we've written. And the crazy thing was the process of writing 'em was way easier than it has ever been for us. Usually an ILL NIÑO record would take us three to six months to finish. We finished this record in 20 days, and we believe it sounds better than anything we've ever done in the past."

Speaking about LIONS AT THE GATE's collaboration with Odell, Ahrue said: "He's worked with BAD WOLVES. I think he may have co-wrote with them. But he has a huge resume, and he's had, like, five Number One hits last year. And he was amazing to work with. I've worked with Ross Robinson, I've worked with Johnny K, I've worked with Terry Date, as a mixer, and I've worked with some other big names in the industry that have all had platinum records, and I'll say, hands down, Kile Odell is amazing. I would say, second to [MACHINE HEAD's] 'The Burning Red', it was an amazing experience. It was a different way. As far as Ross Robinson was really into the emotion and getting the emotion out of the players and the music, Odell is very musical and he's really able to help with the songs, and he has a great ear and a great vision."

LIONS AT THE GATE made its live debut in April 2022 at the legendary Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood, California.

Photo credit: Mortus Viventi

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