For all intents and purposes, legendary Megadeth drummer Gar Samuelson appeared to have retired after his acrimonious dismissal by the volatile Dave Mustaine in 1986. But, in fact, he and his guitar-playing brother Stew were busy building their own studio in Orange City, FL, and eventually drafted vocalist Dave Inman and bassist Travis Karcher to form a new band called Fatal Opera. Their eponymous debut emerged in 1995 and, along with its 1997 follow-up, Eleventh Hour (featuring new singer Andy Freeman and second guitarist Billy Brehme), combined many of the same thrash metal hallmarks Gar had helped to pioneer, mixed in with more progressive tendencies. But that first album's most startling attribute was most certainly the song entitled "Dead by 1998," which tragically proved disturbingly prophetic, when the drummer passed away from liver failure on July 14, 1999.
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