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Kelly Shaefer is doing it again. With his new band TILL THE DIRT and their debut album Outside The Spiral, the legendary Floridian death metal revolutionary is set to inject a much-needed dose of fresh blood into this aging, saturated and self-referential thing that the style has morphed into over the decades.

Everything in the genre of death metal basically rests on two pillars: extreme musical force and insane technicality – or in short, variations of more of the same that satisfies die-hard followers of this scene, but offers a rather limited artistic range. Now, 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 onto 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.

When the US death metal scene coalesced from the underground into a recognizable and ground-breaking genre in the late 80s with landmark albums such as DEATH's 1988 classic Leprosy, MORBID ANGEL's Altars of Madness (1989), and OBITUARY's Slowly We Rot (1989), its evolution was turbo-charged at an astonishing speed when ATHEIST detonated onto the scene with their acclaimed opening salvoes Piece of Time (1990) and Unquestionable Presence (1991). Those masterpieces of extreme music are considered by many to be the very mold from which technical metal has been cast. Kelly Shaefer and ATHEIST added class and serious musicianship to a genre that made its first impact through the sheer brutality of its sonic onslaught.

Therefore it is probably not surprising that one of the instigators of technical metal is not content with the constant carbon-copying, which even young bands seem to prefer. Yet at first, even Kelly was not entirely certain into which direction his fresh sparks of genius were leading him. "I had the feeling that I was up to something great, but since I wrote those songs, I was initially not sure about them, " admits the composer. "I called up some friends, whose judgment I trust like Paul Masvidal, Steve Di Giorgio, and Scott Burns. Their enthusiastic feedback fanned the flames and since then I have been on fire with new songs just flowing out of me sometimes on a daily basis."

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.
There is hardly a way to overstress the importance that this acclaimed producer and his place of work, the famous Morrisound Studios had in the formation and creation of American death metal with Tampa, Florida long its undisputed capital. With ATHEIST, DEATH, OBITUARY, CANNIBAL CORPSE, CYNIC, MALEVOLENT CREATION, SUFFOCATION, and many more, his production credits read like a who is who of the death metal scene's A-listers. There can be no doubt that Scott Burns shaped the early sound of this genre like no other producer and those albums remain the points of reference until today.
Yet with the passing of time, a growing disillusion with the stagnant development of the style started to creep in and Scott started to lose interest. His latest credit appears on an album recorded by friends, OBITUARY's Frozen in Time (2005), before Burns went into self-imposed musical exile and worked on other projects. While his status only grew over time, the producer was reluctant to appear in public.

All of this makes it even more sensational to see the unexpected return of Scott Burn s to the recording desk for TILL THE DIRT. "When Kelly sent me some demos, I was at first reluctant to listen to them,” reveals Scott 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!"

Let's put theory into practice. Now that Outside The Spiral has arrived, crank up the volume and let TILL THE DIRT take you on a surprise-filled tour de force that will redefine the extreme metal genre in at least as many ways as ATHEIST did more than 30 years ago. Don't take our word for it, trust your ears!