RICK HUNOLT and SAL ABRUSCATO launch new band DIEHUMANE
Former EXODUS guitarist Rick Hunolt has shared the first details of his new band DIEHUMANE. The “avant garde alt-metal” group, which is based in Galveston, Texas, also includes Garret West on lead vocals, Sal Abruscato (TYPE O NEGATIVE, LIFE OF AGONY) on drums, Joshua Vargas on rhythm guitar, bass, piano, programming and Greg Hilligiest Jr. on keyboards, samples, additional guitar.
Yesterday (Tuesday, February 22), Hunolt took to his social media to write: “Ok so it’s time to announce my new band DIEHUMANE.
“Been in the studio finishing up vocals and odds and ends with the one and only producer Ulrich Wild. Not sure what genre it falls under so I’m not going to put a label on it as of yet, I will let you guys do that when the time comes haha. I will say that the music is absolutely epic, I absolutely love everything about it and am confident you guys will to.
“So the members are as follows. We have on vocals Garret West, on bass Josh Vargas, on drums the doom lord Sal Abruscato from TYPE O NEGATIVE and LIFE OF AGONY and Greg Hilligiest Jr. on keyboards.
“I just want to say that without you guys there is no anything so thanks a bunch for following. Our Facebook just went live today so hit us up at our Facebook and Instagram. You guys are going to love this I know it”.
The news of Hunolt’s project was first broken by BLIND ILLUSION‘s Mark Biedermann who took to his Facebook Saturday night (February 19) to write: “Here’s what’s really going on. Rick Hunolt’s new band DIE HUMANE is going to blow your mind. I wish I could share what he gave me but just know this it is fresh, new and different with amazing vocals and top notch Guitar playing! That is after one listen to one song. Now let me get back to you in a few minutes as I have just received more. Dang it’s good to be in the loop! Thank you Rick!”
Hunolt — the other half of the famed EXODUS “H-Team” who is on every studio recording from 1985 through 2004 and co-wrote some of the band’s best-known songs such as “A Lesson In Violence” and “Deliver Us To Evil” — left EXODUS after the band’s highly acclaimed 2004 reunion album, “Tempo Of The Damned”. Following his departure, Hunolt was replaced by HEATHEN guitarist Lee Altus.
Rick discussed his exit from EXODUS during a November 2021 appearance on “Put Up Your Dukes”, the new podcast hosted by ex-EXODUS singer Rob Dukes. He said: “During the recording of ‘Tempo’, Gary (Holt, EXODUS guitarist) had just gotten clean a little while prior to that, and I was still using. But I’ve gotta say, Gary Holt — my hat’s off to the man for… He never sweated me. Not once did Gary say, ‘Dude, you’re a piece of shit. I’m gonna fire you from the band if you don’t get your shit together.’ He never said nothing. He let it take its course, you know what I mean?
“I was a mess,” Rick continued. “We all were, but everybody got better, and I didn’t. I fell down the rabbit hole even worse, I think, because I was just so depressed. I couldn’t stop. I don’t know what was up… To the point where I was gonna lose my position in the band I’d been in for over 20 years — my best friends, my life. Yeah, it was dark as fuck.
“One day, after spending my life, giving everything that I had and the whole world to EXODUS, one day I woke up and I wasn’t in EXODUS anymore,” Hunolt added. “And that morning was, like… Dude, I can’t even describe the emotions that I was feeling. I woke up and I wasn’t in EXODUS anymore, dude. It damn near took me out, bro.”
Rick revealed that he went through a particularly difficult period after splitting with EXODUS. “I had to reinvent myself at 40-plus years old, with two little kids,” he said. “I ended up moving out of Oakland. I had to get the fuck out of there, ‘cause we were living at the studio; it was bad. And then we moved in with my wife’s mom and I got a job at the discount chain Dollar Tree and I ended up working there for, like, two or three years. I mean, I can go on and on and on. But long story short, I met a guy who knew who I was and offered me a job on his ranch. And the rest is history. He taught me how to live my life and make money.”
Hunolt makes a guest appearance on EXODUS’s new studio album, “Persona Non Grata”, which was released in November via Nuclear Blast Records.
The San Francisco Bay Area thrashers’ latest disc is the follow-up to 2014’s “Blood In Blood Out”, which was their first release since the departure of Dukes, the group’s lead singer of nine years, and the return of Steve “Zetro” Souza, who previously fronted EXODUS from 1986 to 1993 and from 2002 to 2004.
Back in April 2019, Hunolt rejoined Holt and other EXODUS members Tom Hunting (drums) and Souza to perform several of the group’s classic songs during a METAL ALLEGIANCE concert in San Francisco, California. More recently, Hunolt joined EXODUS on stage in August at Psycho Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The original lineup of EXODUS consisted of guitarists Kirk Hammett (now in METALLICA) and Tim Agnello, Hunting and vocalist Keith Stewart. Holt joined the band in 1981, while Kirk left two years before EXODUS’s debut album, “Bonded By Blood”, saw the light of day.