Final Embrace: Former Iced Earth Drummer Returns with a New Project
Written by Brett Kihlmire
Iced Earth is one of the big names in heavy metal and has been for some time. Through the years they’ve gone through countless members, one of which was drummer, roadie, and Florida native Mike McGill.
McGill started his career with Iced Earth as a roadie for the band in the late ‘80’s thanks to a friendship with the band’s then guitarist, Randy Shawver, who soon introduced him to Jon Schaffer. After striking a friendship with Schaffer, the band’s undisputed leader, he was brought on to play drums with the band starting in 1989. McGill would go on to play with Iced Earth until 1991, releasing just one album – 1990’s ‘Iced Earth.’
In the years following his departure from Iced Earth McGill served the band from time to time as a roadie, mostly joining them as they toured the United States, but also had the distinct privilege of joining them for their legendary ‘Alive in Athens’ performance in Greece. During this time he played in numerous bands, but nothing ever stuck. In time, his career and family pulled him away from music more and more until he finally decided he was done.
“I kind of stayed out of the actual industry until just recently… I walked away for a long time,” says McGill. “I helped Iced Earth here and there, but really I haven’t done anything serious. Nothing right had come along. Finally I got to the point now where if I’m going to do anything I’m going to do it my way, and I’m going to do it right.”
Despite so many years away McGill has returned to the music industry with a new band called Final Embrace. Currently made up of McGill (drums) TJ Falogut (guitar) and Rob Losh (bass), Final Embrace isn’t yet whole, so they refuse to fall into any genre aside from heavy metal. Of course, you can choose for yourself by checking out the tracks they’ve release so far. (http://www.finalembraceband.com/)
Based out of Slocomb, Alabama, the band has been hitting the ground running by setting up an official website, recording a few songs, and taking some other key actions integral to a band in the social media age.
“We’ve opened up our new Facebook page and we have an investor in the band that’s putting a lot of money in us. We’re going to take it as far as far as we can take it,” says McGill.
Aside from establishing their social media presence and giving hopeful fans a taste of what’s to come the band has entered the writing phase for their debut extended play, which they hope to have out in early 2017.
“We are going to be setting up auditions for a singer and another guitarist, but that’s not going to be ‘til about December of this year. Right now we’re really focusing on writing ourselves and bringing guys together,” says McGill. “Hopefully if everything goes right we can get out on some small US and Canadian and maybe get out to Europe. That’s what I’d really like to do.”
Despite being a former member of Iced Earth McGill says that the band isn’t “going to rely on them too much.” This isn’t due to any bad blood, but due to a wish for the band to grow as organically as possible.
Currently, the band is crafting their style, which McGill describes as “good, hard, heavy metal,” but doesn’t go into much more detail due to the likelihood of the band’s style evolving from what is currently available.
“Some of that stuff I don’t even know if we’re going to keep. It’s just a little bit of ideas we were tossing around in the very early days of Final Embrace,” says McGill. “We just tossed that stuff out there because people, especially in South America, wanted to hear something.”
Due to the band’s style very likely changing with the coming of a second guitarist and a lead singer, the band will not be releasing any more music until the band is whole and the writing for the EP is in full swing.
“We’d like to have it out by Spring of 2017. We’d like to release a single by December 2016,” says McGill. “We may be doing this on our own, but we know we can get it out there and we know we’ve got a lot of people looking for it. It’s not even about money for us.”
For the time being Final Embrace is focused on rounding out their lineup and getting their debut out to the world. Whether they’ll be playing shows in between now and then is a good question, but if one thing is for sure, it’s that once this band is whole they’re going to hit the ground running.