Former MEGADETH guitarist Chris Poland has signed to David Ellefson's relaunched Combat Records label. Combat will release a deluxe reissue of Chris's 1990 solo debut, "Return To Metalopolis", in November. Originally released on Enigma Records in 1990, "Metalopolis" was Poland's return to the stage after his 1987 departure from MEGADETH. Regarded by many as an unsung shred masterpiece, "Metalopolis" showcases Poland's signature jazz-infused thrash/rock style, in a collection of timeless instrumental compositions.
Says Poland: "I was out of MEGADETH, and went through rehab and had gotten clean. I had no gear, and I wasn't even sure if I wanted to ever play guitar again. Friends started bringing me gear; guitars, amps, pedals, telling me, 'you have to play again.' So, I started playing. Andy Sommers, MEGADETH's agent, heard I was clean and doing well, and THE CIRCLE JERKS needed a bassist, so I toured with them for over a year, playing bass. And while I was doing that, I was in the back of a 16-passenger van, writing the songs that would become 'Return To Metalopolis'.
"I didn't have a drummer, so I asked my brother Mark to play on it," he continued. "I said, 'We're gonna make a record, and I need you to play drums.' He agreed, and we started doing demos. Janie Hoffman shopped it and we got a really good deal with Capitol Records, but shortly after we did the deal, for whatever reason, we get a call from the A&R guy who says they can't do the deal on Capitol, but they offered me a deal on Enigma. So that's where it came out."
Poland states about "Return To Metalopolis": "I just feel like it's timeless. I don't listen to it and think that it's some dated '80s bullshit. It's not like that for me. Of course, I'm super close to it, and I love it, but I really feel like it has held up well."
The "Return To Metalopolis" reissue will be made available on November 22 on double CD, and digital, and in December on limited-edition double LP, and cassette, remastered with bonus material, including live tracks that originally appeared on the out-of-print 2007 release "Return To Metalopolis Live", plus three brand new tracks recorded in 2019, featuring the rhythm section of Carlos Cruz and Chase Bryant of WARBRINGER.
After over a decade with metal on the backburner, despite guest appearances with LAMB OF GOD, TOURNIQUET, REDEMPTION, and more, with Poland focusing his energy on playing and recording with his jazz fusion trio OHM:, which also featured late former MEGADETH drummer Nick Menza, and the CHRIS POLAND RESISTANCE, another fusion project being released by the eclectic modern jazz-centric Ropeadope Records, Poland has also announced work on the long-awaited follow up to "Metalopolis", to be released in 2020 on Combat.
"I never really got away from metal," Poland says. "I've always been a rock guy. And even the stuff we do with OHM: is really heavy and dynamic. But when I started playing with Nick (Menza) he really put a fire under my ass to write new, heavy music. I was over at his house every night after work, my wife told me I was having a 'bro-mance,' but I couldn't stop writing songs. Nick and I had hooked up with James LoMenzo [ex-MEGADETH, WHITE LION], and we were actually going to start a band together, which didn't work out, but I had literally hours and hours of ideas for songs that me and Nick were going to do together when he passed away. Now I'm working on putting them all together for a new solo release that will also come out on Combat."
On reconnecting with his former bandmate David Ellefson, and his Combat Records imprint, Poland adds: "I'm super excited about it. I had been talking to Thom (Hazaert), David's partner, and we had been bouncing ideas back and forth. The two of them came over to my studio in L.A. one night, we had a meeting, and ended up hanging out for hours and talking about it, and it just felt right. David said, 'We started on Combat, and this record deserves to come back to Combat.' And he was right."
Poland also appears on the track "Hammer Comes Down" on Ellefson's debut solo release, "Sleeping Giants", in stores now via Combat, which also features Hazaert on vocals. Poland will join Ellefson, Hazaert and their live band onstage Thursday, September in Fullerton, California at The Slidebar, as part of Ellefson's "Basstory" tour.
"Honestly the whole thing was a blur," says Poland. "Thom had told me they were working on what would become the 'Sleeping Giants' record, and I asked him if I could play on it. It was great to reconnect with David, musically, and the song has such a great energy. It was such a quick, painless process, and there's so many other incredible players on the song, Mark Tremonti, etc, that it really couldn't have been any cooler."