Riley Gale, the frontman for Power Trip, passed away at the age of 34 on August 25, 2020. Now, Rolling Stone has revealed the cause of death to be the toxic effects of fentanyl, an opioid medication used as anesthesia. The Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled his death to be accidental.
When Power Trip broke the news of his passing, they stated, “Riley was a friend, a brother, a son.” They wrote, “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.”
The news greatly saddened the metal community. Power Trip has been regarded as one of the most promising thrash metal acts in recent years, and a breath of fresh air in the historic metal subgenre. They released two albums with Gale at the lead, their 2013 debut, Manifest Decimation and their 2017 follow-up, Nightmare Logic.
One of the bands to make a statement paying their respects to the late singer was The Black Dahlia Murder, who had a lot of great things to say about him, “What I can say is that he was a real man of the people… like the mayor of friendship. He seemed to have a million friends everywhere he went. Someone that really brought people together. A seemingly infinite well of charisma. Thinking of the sheer number of folks who are saddened right now out there by his passing is so fucking heavy, he really was a special person and touched a lot of lives. I admired him. He was first and foremost an unparalleled force on stage. Truly someone with that X factor, that perfect blend of charisma, honesty and fearlessness. He and the band were electrifying together and deserved every accolade coming to them and every word of praise. They had one foot in the hardcore scene and one in metal and were beloved by both. Outside of being one of the best frontmen to ever do it, Riley personified everything great about hardcore. He was outspoken in his views and used his platform of influence for good, always fighting for what was right and not being afraid to alienate fans over it. He was always lifting smaller bands up. He deservedly got props from all corners and generations of heavy music (and beyond) and was still able to be a very cool, humble person.”
Other bands and artists to say similar things about him included Full of Hell, Randy Blythe, Ice T, Hatebreed, Anthrax and more. Trivium paid tribute with a Power Trip cover in a livestream, Monster Magnet planned a full-on Power Trip tour, Fucked Up dedicated their Year of the Horse release to Riley Gale and Wade Allison of Iron Age and members of Obituary performed Power Trip’s biggest song, “Executioner’s Tax (The Swinging of the Ax)” in tribute.
Photo credit: Mehreen Rizvi