Guitarist Paul Flynn formed Vital Remains in 1988. Vital Remains’ first line-up included Paul Flynn on lead guitar, Butch Machado on rhythm guitar, vocalist Mike Flynn, bassist Tom Supkow and drummer Chris Dupont. Mike Flynn is credited with coining the band’s name. Paul soon revamped the band with musicians that fit his vision, and added Tony Lazaro and vocalist Jeff Gruslin to the line-up. Lazaro and Flynn shared the song writing duties, and released a pair of demos (1989’s Reduced to Ashes and 1990’s Excruciating Pain). The band secured a contract with French label Thrash Records, and released the single “The Black Mass” in 1991. Shortly after the release, the band signed to Peaceville’s subsidiary label, Deaf Records. Vital Remains released Let Us Pray in 1992, as well as Into Cold Darkness in 1995. However, the band requested contract dissolution with Deaf Records, citing poor distribution, and a lack of promotion. In 1996, Dave Suzuki joined the band, initially playing drums. Suzuki eventually contributed guitar work, as the band worked on their next album. In mid 1997, Vital Remains signed a two-album deal with Osmose Records. Paul Flynn left the band, citing family obligations. The band released Forever Underground in 1997. The band released Dawn of the Apocalypse in 2000, which featured vocalist Thorns (Timothy Donovan). The album debuted a new, heavier style. Thorns was fired from the band in 2003.
Glen Benton Era
Amid problems with Deicide, vocalist Glen Benton joined Vital Remains in 2003. Benton, along with Tony Lazaro and Dave Suzuki, released Dechristianize in 2003. The album received critical acclaim, and the band toured in-between Deicide’s touring schedule. The band followed up with Icons of Evil in 2007, which continued the same musical style as Dechristianize. Vital Remains also released their first live DVD, Evil-Death-Live, through Polish label Metal Mind Productions. Dave Suzuki left the band, shortly after the release of Icons of Evil. Glen Benton departed the band in 2009.
Vital Remains continued touring, but experienced frequent lineup changes. Tony Lazaro, bassist Gaeton “Gator” Collier and former Infernaeon vocalist Brian Werner are the band’s most consistent members since 2012. Tony claimed in interviews during 2012-2013 that he has “two albums worth of material.”
In late 2014 and early 2015, the band added drummer James Payne (ex Hour of Penance), and Toronto-based Dean Arnold (of Primal Frost) as lead guitarist. Vital Remains toured South America, Europe and the United States in 2015. In November 2015, a Sanford Florida police officer was fired for singing “Let the Killing Begin” with the band, while he was on duty and in uniform. A video posted on YouTube shows Officer Andrew Ricks – in full uniform – making ‘devil’s horns’ gesture and roaring the title words to the song.