April 10, 2024

CATEGORY 7, the new band featuring former MACHINE HEAD and current KERRY KING guitarist Phil Demmel, ex-ADRENALINE MOB guitarist Mike Orlando, ARMORED SAINT/ex-ANTHRAX singer John Bush, OVERKILL/SHADOWS FALL drummer Jason Bittner and EXODUS bassist Jack Gibson, has inked a deal with Metal Blade Records.

The origins of CATEGORY 7 began with discussions between Demmel and Orlando of their mutual desire to form a twin lead guitar hard rock unit harkening back to bands of the 1970s such as THIN LIZZY. Bittner was next to join the conversation followed by Gibson. After composing some early music, it was obvious that the only vocalist that would fit the concept would be Bush.

Notes Bush: "Mike Orlando's and Phil Demmel's awesome riffs made writing lyrics over the music a piece of cake. The rhythm tandem of Bittner and Gibson rounded out the sound and the connection felt like it was put together in the stars. Obviously, everyone being a veteran of the metal scene made it that much easier."

Based on Demmel's and Bush's long-term relationships with Metal Blade Records, it seemed to be the perfect home for the band. The label agreed and a union was quickly forged.

Comments Metal Blade Records founder Brian Slagel: "Happy to welcome CATEGORY 7 into the Metal Blade family. Of course, some of them are already in! Seriously love working with this crew and it's great stuff!"

As crushing and confrontational as an armed rebellion and as fiercely melodic as infectious riffs and aggressive vocals can be, CATEGORY 7 is a new breed of hard rock that lives up to the storied histories of its members. CATEGORY 7's debut will see release this summer with their first single to be unveiled on May 2.

Demmel spoke about CATEGORY 7 in an August 2023 interview with former EXHORDER and PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS guitarist Marzi Montazeri. Regarding how the musicians first came together, Demmel said: "I [was] doing a one-off [show], [filling in as the guitar player for] OVERKILL, and this is just right after things are opening up. It's in Jersey, so we go up to Dingbatz, or what's… there's the bar and then there's the venue. So whatever the bar is, we go to the bar. And Orlando comes and meets us, and it's Corey Pierce from GOD FORBID. And so we're there all getting loaded. And at a certain point, it was just, like, 'Man, we got the band right here, man. Why don't we do something? Why don't we write music together?' And we're all, 'Yeah, let's do.' And then the next day, we're kind of hung over, going, 'Hey, man, did we mean it? Did we mean that? Yeah, let's see can happen.' And I came back [to the East Coast]. I forget what I was doing when I came back. And me and Orlando got together and we just got in the room and started throwing riffs at each other and came up with, like, a dozen or so riffs that he took back. And you know Mikey O — he's got his own studio, and he gets behind something. And he's got such a great ear. He's a phenomenal guitar player. And he's got a great ear for music and melody. So he starts putting the shit together. And we're, like, Damn, this is fucking cool.' … And then so we're thinking, it's, like, all right, well, bass player and vocalists. Vocalists, who would you guys want? Let's make our list. Start at the top.' And then bang, bang, bang. All at the top was 'John Bush', 'John Bush', 'John Bush'. We're, like, 'Hmm.' I said I know him from [playing together in] METAL ALLEGIANCE. We broed down a little bit — we talked sports and stuff — so I said, I know him enough to call him up and ask him. So I did. And he was super… We were in the friend zone for a while — you know, non-committal. And it's been bit by bit by bit."

Phil went on to describe the new band's musical direction as "heavier than the early VAN HALEN and the early PANTERA stuff that's on the — you know, the shuffle beat. It's on the upbeat; a lot of it's on the upbeat, not on the down. So it's the head-bobbing type of type of BPMs, you know? So it's different. Nobody's really doing that now."

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).

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.

Photo by Rob Shotwell

Find more on Overkill
  • 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(@)gmail.com 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).