If you were into the local metal scene in the ’80s and ’90s, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve heard John McCarthy’s intense, anguished vocals accompanying his group, Post Mortem, with their’ deep, booming riffs and thumping drum beats. Tragically, frontman John McCarthy unexpectedly passed away on January 27 after being stricken ill. Details are still scarce, and McCarthy’s closest friends are stunned by the unfortunate news. We got in touch some of them to discuss their memories of him as both friend and bandmate.

According to Dean Pesaturo, former guitarist and longtime friend of McCarthy’s, Post Mortem has a sizable cult following, but he reminisces about once being voted “The Most Hated Band in Boston” and their being banned from The Rathskeller in ’93. He also recalled how they once ended up playing an acoustic set when they opened for Cannibal Corpse. “It was a legitimate mistake… the van with the amplifiers broke down, so he came up with the idea. John Alexander [PM’s guitarist] pulled up a barstool and an acoustic guitar and John McCarthy sang, and we almost didn’t make it out alive!” Despite all this, Pesaturo says, “John was always real… he did what he wanted to do, and he was a true artist.”

Agreeing with this sentiment is former¬†Dig¬†music coordinator and friend of McCarthy’s, Keith Bennett. Keith says, “He never really conformed to the ‘metal band rules’ of the time. He didn’t really give a fuck what you thought, but not in a nihilistic way… John just lived in John’s world.”

The death-metal quartet was in the process of putting together a new album, and they were well on their way to fulfilling John’s longtime goal of putting out one more album. Unfortunately, John never made it to the studio to record his vocal tracks. The band is thinking of somehow finishing the album and releasing it in memoriam of John, but their plans at the moment remain unclear.

According to Alexander, the upcoming album was going to be all-new material. The band had numerous unreleased songs they had never recorded. They spent 2008 making 11 new songs, six of which were written by McCarthy. Alexander notes, “The music is simple and hopefully heavy. After years of making fucked-up music, we decided we wanted to go back to the basics… Black Sabbath being our biggest influence.”

When asked how fans could pay their respects to McCarthy, Alexander replied, “Not sure really… Just keep his name and music alive somehow. Listen to his stuff: Ointment, Solitude, Post Mortem, and his countless humorous bands (you’ll need to do some research to find those.)”