The Fiery Frontman, Talented Writer And Magnetic Personality Was Found Dead On Tuesday Morning. His Cause Of Death Is Not Yet Known.
As the frontman and mouthpiece for the acclaimed Dallas crossover thrash act Power Trip, Riley Gale always stood as the clear successor to the North Texas metal throne, following closely in the footsteps of the gone-too-soon icons that came before him.
Tragically too closely in those footsteps, turns out.
The magnetic and talented Gale was found dead on Tuesday morning. The cause of his death is not yet known. He was 34 years old.
After forming in 2008 from the ashes of some earlier upstart acts, Power Trip expediently rose through the Texas ranks to become among the most acclaimed metal bands in the world, eventually sharing the stage with every legendary metal act in the world not named Metallica, Slayer or Megadeth.
When the band won the “Metal Song of the Year” award for its song “Executioner’s Tax (Swing of the Axe)” at the 2017 Loudwire Music Awards — beating out some tough competition for the honors, including Pallbearer, Body Count, Obituary, DragonForce and Municipal Waste — Gale accepted the award with a warning to gatekeepers in the scene the world over about Power Trip’s arrival: “Watch out old timers; we’re here.”
Twice over the course of the last two years, Power Trip would also welcome many of its acclaimed metal peers to Dallas as part of its annual Evil Beat showcase. Gale, a sometime Central Track contributor who was long vocal about his love for Dallas even for the short stretch of time in which he lived elsewhere, was instrumental in the band’s desire to establish Dallas as a host for such a destination metal festival.
In the wake of releasing its acclaimed debut LP Manifest Decimation in 2013 and just-as-revered follow-up LP Nightmare Logic in 2017, Power Trip released its appropriately head-rattling most recent single, “Hornet’s Nest”, in October of last year. The road-loving band followed that up with a tour of Asia at the end of 2019. In the spring, Gale then lent his writing talents and vocals to a collaboration with Ice-T’s band Body Count called “Point The Finger.”
When the coronavirus arrived in the U.S. earlier this year, the outspoken and oft-mischievous Gale — who maintained public beefs with Fox News, Trapt and the alt-right over the years — expressed serious concern to us over what the pandemic might mean for the future of his band. But he seemed to have figured that out. In recent weeks, we texted with Gale, who told us how excited he was for the band to be able to return to the studio over the summer months to record new Power Trip music. Earlier this month, he even excitedly tweeted about how pleased he was with the freelance editing work he’d found to supplement his income during these uncertain times
Gale’s family issued the following statement through the band’s social media on Tuesday evening:
“Dear Power Trip fans worldwide,
It is with the greatest of sadness we must announce that our lead singer and brother Riley Gale passed away last night.
Riley was a friend, a brother, a son. Riley was both a larger than life rock star and a humble and giving friend. He touched so many lives through his lyrics and through his huge heart. He treated everyone he met as a friend and he always took care of his friends. We will celebrate Riley’s life and never forget the great works of music, charity, and love that he left behind. You, the fans, meant so much to him, please know how special you are. If you have a memory of Riley please share it, no matter how small, as we remember him.
Please respect our wishes for privacy during this time. In lieu of flowers please send donations to Dallas Hope Charities, the link to donate directly is here.
– Riley’s Loving Family
P.S. Funeral and visitation arrangements are pending.”
It is not yet clear what Gale’s passing means for the future of Power Trip, for the global metal landscape or for the local North Texas community in which he was so respected and adored.
This much, however, is certain: Gale was a one-in-a-million combination of talent, charisma and principle.
His passing is shocking and unimaginable.
He will be missed.
Cover photo by Vera Velma.