Former CANNIBAL CORPSE guitarist PAT O'BRIEN joins EXHORDER
Thrash metal pioneers EXHORDER recruited former CANNIBAL CORPSE guitarist Pat O’Brien for their performance Sunday night (May 29) at the Maryland Deathfest in Baltimore, Maryland. The gig took place three months after guitarist Marzi Montazeri left EXHORDER, explaining at the time in a statement that he “decided to no longer be a part of it.”
O’Brien made headlines more than three years ago when he was arrested for burglary and assaulting a police officer while his Florida home was in flames. At the time of the arrest, deputies said he burglarized a house and charged at a deputy with a knife.
Less than half a mile from where O’Brien was arrested, a fire broke out at the house he was renting, sending flames billowing into the night sky from the roof.
The owner of the home where O’Brien was arrested wouldn’t go on camera but told ABC Action News he thought the guitarist was hallucinating when he spoke to him and claimed “someone was after him.” The homeowner added O’Brien seemed scared and at one point even hid in his closet.
O’Brien, who had been a member of CANNIBAL CORPSE for more than two decades, was released from Hillsborough County jail on December 14, 2018 after posting a $50,000 surety bond. Several days earlier, at a hearing, a judge told the now-57-year-old musician, clad in an anti-suicide vest with his hands and ankles chained together, that he would first have to pass a drug test before he would be allowed to post bail and leave jail.
In March 2021, O’Brien was sentenced to time served and five years of probation and ordered to pay $23,793.45 in restitution. He was also ordered to get drug and alcohol evaluations and render 150 hours of community service. In addition, O’Brien was ordered to abstain from using alcohol and controlled substances and to be subject to random testing.
“When people were seeing [TV reports about] it — I think on the Tampa news, they were pretty good with him,” he continued. “They just said he was one of the best guitar players in death metal in America, and in the world, and he’s highly respected. And they didn’t really trash him at all. And they showed him on TV.”
Fisher went on to say that most of the CANNIBAL fans were very supportive of Pat while he was dealing with his ordeal. “In the metal world, I think in general, 95 percent [of the people], everyone was, like, ‘Get well soon,'” he told “The Jasta Show”. “I didn’t spend too much time reading stuff online, because that’s when you get people who just wanna say nasty stuff just to be nasty.”
In early 2021, it was announced that O’Brien had been replaced in CANNIBAL CORPSE by Erik Rutan, one of the death metal’s most acclaimed guitarists who is known for his time as part of MORBID ANGEL throughout the ’90s and early 2000s, as well as handling vocals/guitars for HATE ETERNAL.
Shortly after the Houston-based Montazeri announced his departure from EXHORDER, the remaining members of the band — EXHORDER vocalist Kyle Thomas, bassist Jason VieBrooks and drummer Sasha Horn — said that they and Marzi had been “moving in different directions” and assured fans that they would “continue to thrive”
Thomas is now the sole remaining founding member of EXHORDER, which released its debut album, “Slaughter In The Vatican”, way back in 1990. In February 2020, EXHORDER parted ways with its original guitarist Vinnie LaBella, who wrote much of the material on “Mourn The Southern Skies”. The remaining members of the group later issued a statement saying that they would fulfill their “touring and recording obligations for 2020 and beyond.”
Last December, Thomas confirmed to the “Brutally Delicious” podcast that he and his bandmates had spent much of the coronavirus downtime working on material for the follow-up to “Mourn The Southern Skies”.
EXHORDER released two albums in the early 1990s through the Roadrunner label — the aforementioned “Slaughter In The Vatican” and 1992’s “The Law” — before breaking up, with Kyle going on to form FLOODGATE and also briefly appearing live as the vocalist for TROUBLE, which he later joined on a full-time basis (and is still a member of).
EXHORDER, which is cited by many as the originator of the riff-heavy power-groove approach popularized by PANTERA, completed a U.S. headlining tour in late 2021 during which it performed “Slaughter In The Vatican” in its entirety.