METALLICA's JAMES HETFIELD Names New Band That 'Surprised' Him And Made Him Smile

June 13, 2024

During an appearance on the latest episode of "The Metallica Report", the podcast offering weekly insider updates on all things METALLICA, METALLICA frontman James Hetfield was asked if there has been any new music that has particularly impressed him in recent months. James said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "As far as new music goes… Let's see. I flipped through Sirius [XM satellite radio] a bunch. I mean, it's just so easy to go on to your playlist and listen to the same stuff over and over. And if I'm not listening to the radio of some sort where someone else is in control, I'm not learning new stuff so much. I don't like getting caught in that rabbit hole: 'If you like this, you might like this.' And then sometimes that works. Sometimes it doesn't. That's a computer telling me what I might like. But listening to the radio, I guess the newest thing that I was surprised by and really made me smile was CATEGORY 7, a band that's kind of a collaboration of few people. I was listening to it, I'm going, 'That voice is awesome. And it sounds very familiar.' It was fricking John Bush [of ARMORED SAINT], our singer that we never got," James laughed, referencing the fact that METALLICA approached Bush about joining the band before Hetfield committed to being METALLICA's permanent frontman. "And so John Bush is in a band with a few other well-known people out there, Phil Demmel from MACHINE HEAD, [bassist Jack Gibson from] EXODUS, a few other people in this band, kind of a — I don't know if it's a, whatever, supergroup of metal guys, but they all wanted to form a band and start playing. And Brian Slagel [of Metal Blade Records] has signed him. So I heard one song on the radio, and that's it. And it was great. It was really good. And I'm glad that John has kind of gone out on his own and done his own thing. And he was so, so, so tied to ARMORED SAINT and then the ANTHRAX thing. Yeah, it's exciting."

In addition to Bush, Demmel and Gibson, CATEGORY 7 features ex-ADRENALINE MOB guitarist Mike Orlando and OVERKILL/SHADOWS FALL drummer Jason Bittner.

CATEGORY 7 will release its self-titled debut album on July 26 via Metal Blade Records.

CATEGORY 7, named after the numerical designation for the most powerful wind storms, came together from a batch of musicians who strived to play music they loved and weren't hearing elsewhere, and wanted to do so with bandmates they enjoyed being with. Orlando and Demmel became friends after taking part in a batch of tributes to the late OZZY OSBOURNE guitarist Randy Rhoads. The seeds of CATEGORY 7 were then cemented one night a couple years later when Orlando went to hang out at the Clifton, New Jersey metal club Dingbatz as Demmel was filling in on lead guitar for OVERKILL, which also featured Bittner.

CATEGORY 7 started working together on March 2023. During the months that followed, Orlando and Demmel wrote on a regular basis, and during the pre-production stage, Bittner recorded drums to the tracks at his home studio. When he sent them back to the guitarists, they would send him the next batch of songs to work on. Not only did Bittner bring on the kind of technical drum skills he has exhibited in SHADOWS FALL and OVERKILL, he went above and beyond, injecting a tumbling, barreling feel into the variegated songs.

Bush started recording his vocals after Orlando, Bittner and Gibson laid down all their tracks at Orlando's recording facility, Sonic Stomp Studios, where he produced, engineered, mixed and mastered the album. With the songs in their final form, it was just a matter of fine-tuning a mix here or overdubbing a part there.

"Category 7" features art and layout by Carlos Fides at Artside Studio (ANGRA, EVERGREY, KAMELOT). The record will be available on CD and digital formats as well as several vinyl color variants.

Orlando was the guitarist/founding member of the hard rock group ADRENALINE MOB. As owner of his own recording studio, Sonic Stomp Studios, he handles everything from engineering, producing, mixing and mastering.

Demmel left MACHINE HEAD at the end of the band's fall 2018 North American tour. He was in MACHINE HEAD for nearly 16 years, during which time he played on five of the group's studio albums: "Through The Ashes Of Empires" (2003),"The Blackening" (2007),"Unto The Locust" (2011),"Bloodstone & Diamonds" (2014) and "Catharsis" (2018). Demmel was also a founding member of San Francisco Bay Area thrash metal veterans VIO-LENCE and is currently playing guitar for the solo band of SLAYER guitarist Kerry King.

Widely known as the drummer from American metal band SHADOWS FALL, Bittner has won numerous awards, including Modern Drummer magazine's No. 1 Metal Drummer in 2005 and 2006, No. 1 Up-And-Coming Drummer in 2004 and 2005, and No. 2 Clinician for DRUM! magazine in 2011. In 2014, Bittner hooked up with the thrash metal band FLOTSAM AND JETSAM and has since joined OVERKILL.

Bush continues to record and tour with ARMORED SAINT, which he co-founded in 1982.

John fronted ANTHRAX between 1992 and 2005 but was sidelined when the group reunited with Joey Belladonna for a 20th-anniversary tour. When that collapsed, and relationships disintegrated with next frontman Dan Nelson, Bush returned for a time before Belladonna took the job back in 2010.

In 1996, eight albums into EXODUS's career, Gibson joined the band and has remained with the group ever since. In addition to his work EXODUS, he has fathered a bluegrass brainchild, COFFIN HUNTER, a band that combines Gibson's love for Nashville music and for playing banjo, giving off a vibe of true Americana like a mix of C.W. McCall, Jerry Reed and Sergio Leone.

Find more on Metallica
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • reddit
  • email

Comments Disclaimer And Information

BLABBERMOUTH.NET uses the Facebook Comments plugin to let people comment on content on the site using their Facebook account. The comments reside on Facebook servers and are not stored on BLABBERMOUTH.NET. To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@) with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).