Nitro Is Dunzo Againzo

  • Axl Rosenberg

The Nitro reunion should have been the best thing to happen to metal since a teenaged Tony Iommi accepted a job on a factory assembly line. Not only did they have original members Michael Angelo Batio (guitar) and Jim Gillette (vocals) on board, but they got Chris Adler to play drums and Victor Wooten to play bass!

And yet, somehow, the Nitro reunion ended up being the most anticlimactic thing to happen to metal since the Morbid Angel/David Vincent reunion gave us Illud Divinum Insanus. The band’s first new song in 25 years, “It Won’t Die,” wasn’t as embarrassing as anything on Insanus, but it sounded roughly as much like the Nitro we remember as Insanus sounded Altars of Madness. So it’s hard to blame fans for feeling let down, and thus declining to contribute to the crowdfunding campaign for the band’s new album, which raised a mere 19% of its overall goal (roughly $27,000 of the desired $135,000).

This being the case, it’s a bummer, if not a shock, to hear that the Nitro reunion is now done. Batio tells Shred Talks:

“It’s gone. I’m best friends with Jim Gillette — we’re like brothers. We never had an argument, even back in the old days. Nitro didn’t break up [in the early 1990s] ’cause we got mad at each other. It was the grunge era. Young ‘hair metal’ bands, all of us, from L.A. were considered old-fashioned, and it was just timing. And then Jim went on to do fantastic in real estate, and I went on to continue my career. But we just can’t go back. I love Nitro, I love that time, and I’m proud of it, but after we did a few songs [with Adler], we did a tour together, we all realized… But I’m gonna be doing a solo record based on some of those songs. It’s coming out on Rat Pak Records later this year. It’s slated in the fall release schedule. And I’ve got a couple of songs with Chris on there and [bassist] Victor Wooten.”

So the silver lining here is that if you’re one of the fans who wanted to hear more of 21st century Nitro’s updated sound, you’ll get to, in some capacity.

Still, this is bittersweet news at best. I don’t know if Batio and Gillette ever considered trying to record something a little more O.F.R.-esque or not; I don’t know if “we just can’t go back” means “we just can’t go back creatively” or simply “we just can’t go back and regain an appropriate-sized fanbase.” If Batio is speaking creatively, there’s something admirable about that. But I do think there was interest in a Nitro reunion, and I do think they would have fared better with a more “traditional” Nitro sound. I’m all for creative evolution, but they threw fans into the deep end and but fast. It was a lot to accept all at once.

Oh well. Pour one out for what coulda been.


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