Watch: Ex-DEATH Drummer CHRIS REIFERT Performs DEATH Classics With LEFT TO DIE In Oakland

November 25, 2023

Former DEATH drummer Chris Reifert joined LEFT TO DIE on stage last night (Friday, November 24) at Eli's Mile High in Oakland, California to perform the DEATH classics "Infernal Death" and "Evil Dead". Fan-filmed video of his appearance can be seen below.

LEFT TO DIE is the new band featuring classic DEATH members Terry Butler (also formerly of MASSACRE and currently in OBITUARY) and Rick Rozz (ex-MASSACRE) paired with GRUESOME founders Matt Harvey (EXHUMED) and Gus Rios (ex-MALEVOLENT CREATION).

The second leg of LEFT TO DIE's "Reborn Dead" U.S. tour features support from San Jose crushers MORTUOUS, Los Angeles death merchants MORTAL WOUND and Santa Fe, New Mexico's STREET TOMBS. As before, LEFT TO DIE is performing DEATH's classic "Leprosy" album in its entirety, along with cuts from "Scream Bloody Gore".

In a 2007 interview with Luxi Lahtinen of, Reifert reflected on how he joined DEATH back in 1986 when he was just 17 years old and DEATH leader Chuck Schuldiner was 19. He said: "I was still in high school at the time and had a friend who was a DJ for the school radio station. She told me she was gonna play an ad from Chuck who was looking for band members. I got his phone number from her, called him up and went over to his house. The deal was pretty much sealed right away as I jumped on the chance before anyone else could get a try... [Laughs] Also, I knew about bands like SODOM, BATHORY, POSSESSED and ARTILLERY which impressed Chuck. This was incredible for me because I had been buying DEATH demos for the past two years and was thrilled that not only would I be playing the songs I knew and loved already, but also some new crushers that went perfectly with the old ones."

Regarding his departure from DEATH, which happened when Chuck decided to move back to Florida from California and team up with his former bandmate Rozz, and two members from Rick's band MASSACRE, Butler and drummer Bill Andrews, Chris said: "Chuck really wanted to go back to Florida to stay. His family, friends and everything else was there, so that's where he wanted to be. He said I could move there and remain in the band, but after living there for the summer I knew that I really didn't want to do that. The heat and humidity was enough reason for me. That shit was brutal for a California guy like me, so I stayed home and started all over again with a new band, AUTOPSY. As fantastic as the DEATH experience was, the decision to stay [in California] was easy for me."

Remaining "Reborn Dead" tour dates:

Nov. 25 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo
Nov. 26 - San Diego, CA @ Brick by Brick

Asked in a recent interview with Germany's Moshpit Passion, how he and Rick approach LEFT TO DIE without making it appear like a "cash grab", Terry said: "We approach it like Rick wrote quite a bit of material on 'Leprosy'. Rick was around in the demo days, and a lot of those riffs are also on [DEATH's debut album] 'Scream Bloody Gore'. Rick and I joined DEATH right as 'Scream Bloody Gore' came out, so we have history with that album. We're approaching this as a band. We're eventually going to put out some new music; that's our gameplan. When we find time, put some riffs together, write some stuff, put an album out. So we are approaching this as a band. We're honoring the album 'Leprosy' and Chuck by doing these handful of tours right now. Down the road, we foresee a future where we have new material, we're playing 75 percent of our new album and throwing in five or six DEATH tunes on top of it, kind of thing. So we don't look at it one hundred percent as a tribute band. We're looking at it as a band with some former members that have a lot of history in that band and have written songs in that band. It's not like we're doing a DARK FUNERAL tribute band. We're doing DEATH songs by people who actually wrote those songs. So that's how we approach it."

With regard to LEFT TO DIE's plans for original material, Rick said: "Like Terry said, we're definitely looking to record new music. Everybody has some riffs, and when we have the time, as a band, to put 'em together, we will most likely do that. Gus and I will probably end up doing some jamming while Terry and Matt are gone on tour [with their other bands] and try to put a couple of things together and present it to the two of them and see what they think about it. And then, slowly but surely… We're not gonna rush. If it's meant to be, it'll come together. And it'll definitely be kickass. But we'll see what happens. But we're definitely looking forward to doing that, yes."

Added Terry: "And musically, obviously, it's gonna be in the same vein. It's not gonna sound like TRIVIUM or GOJIRA. It's gonna be 'Scream', 'Leprosy', [MASSACRE's] 'From Beyond', kind of all of that thrown into a blender, and there you go… It's good stuff. So why not have more of it?"

LEFT TO DIE completed its first U.S. tour in July 2022. A European run of shows followed this past March and April.

Butler previously stated about how LEFT TO DIE came together: "After the recent Chuck tribute shows that Matt, Gus, and myself did, Rick posed the question, 'Would anyone want to see some 'Leprosy' shows?' With a resounding 'yes!', the masses had spoken. Matt and Gus threw their hats in immediately and, in my opinion, they were the only real choice to bring this thing to life."

Harvey and Rios were both very excited about the project coming together. Harvey reflected: "When Gus and I started GRUESOME as a DEATH tribute, we never thought that it would lead to us playing some of our favorite songs alongside the guys that recorded them, but here we are — and I couldn't be more stoked." Rios added: "When Rick contacted me about his idea, I was immediately on board, since 'Leprosy' is not only my favorite DEATH album, but my favorite death metal album of all time! I'm very grateful and stoked that Terry and Matt were also on board."


Terry Butler - bass guitar
Rick Rozz - guitar
Matt Harvey - guitar, vocals
Gus Rios - drums

Schuldiner died on December 13, 2001 after a battle with pontine glioma, a rare type of brain tumor.

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