David E. Gehlke of DeadRhetoric.com recently conducted an interview with BLIND GUARDIAN frontman Hansi Kürsch. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
DeadRhetoric.com: Have to start with this: It's always been the four of you guys, now you're a quintet. What made you take the leap and add [Dutch bassist] Barend [Courbois] to the band?
Hansi Kürsch: You know what? It was just a misunderstanding in general. It was just meant to be an introduction for people who wanted to know something about the bassist. We thought, "We'll use this opportunity to introduce him via our Facebook and homepage." People misunderstood. He has the same status as [former session/touring bassist] Oliver Holzwarth. It was a complete misunderstanding and I was, like, "Something is going wrong here!" Jason, our webmaster, was completely irritated and confused by this as well. I misunderstood him and said, "Of course we're going to promote him and introduce him." He was somehow thinking about the confusion which might be what created it, but I didn't see it, so I said, "Spread the news. All good." It was obvious to me that he's not the fifth band member, and he's fine with his status, like Oliver was. We don't need that. Even though I doubt I'm going to play the bass again, it's still the four of us.
DeadRhetoric.com: I'm glad you cleared that up. Amazing how easily things get misconstrued on the Internet.
Kürsch: The Internet is having the lead in confusing people and making more of a story than there is. I read the story over and over again, and we just announced Barend, or "Bear," as we call him, has the same status as Oliver. He played the bass on the new album, and he is also taking part in our concerts. It was just an introduction and yes, you can consider him the BLIND GUARDIAN bass player, as [touring member] Michael Schüren is considered our keyboardist. I don't have a problem with that in general, but it's just amazing to see how things spread quickly, and how they are misunderstood, and what people are creating out of it. Some people start complaining about it, and even if he was the fifth member, that's our decision. But he's not. [Laughs] If we feel so, we can do so. Why not? What's the problem with it?
DeadRhetoric.com: How do you view the '90s now? You were playing such an unfashionable style of metal, but you had so much success. Do you look at it with amazement?
Kürsch: [Laughs] I look at every part of our career with amazement. Nothing ever seems to be very far away when we're talking about the years. I still sense the excitement when we did "Battalions Of Fear". The '90s were somehow strange, because, yeah, as you said, the scene was going in a different direction and everyone said, "Metal is going to be dead soon." There were not a lot of bands having success, but for us, it was going in the opposite direction. We felt somehow privileged, but on the other side, we considered that as proof we did the right thing. It was doing what we believed would be good. It was never trying to figure out where the wind was blowing and which way it would lead us. We did what we felt was the best for the band. This hasn't changed over the last 20 years. Whatever we're doing we truly believe in. Of course, failure has been an option. This has been the case in the '90s, and today, but in general, as an advice for any band, if you do that, you fail because of your own fault.
Read the entire interview at DeadRhetoric.com.
Dave "Higgo" Higgins of Australia's long-running rock station Triple M conducted an interview with EXODUS singer Steve "Zetro" Souza and bassist Jack Gibson during this year's Soundwave festival. You can now listen to the chat in the YouTube clip below.
Speaking about EXODUS's longevity, Souza said: "I think our sound, it's really a signature sound, and I think that goes with thrash metal in general. I mean, there's no pussyfooting around with EXODUS. It's straight aggression to the point where, here you go, thirty years later, we've released our tenth record, 'Blood In, Blood Out', and it's eleven tracks of kicking you in the ass. So I think we stayed true to our sound, we stayed true to our fans, and I think we're very fortunate to be relevant after this long, and I think that's what's kept us going so far."
He added: "Tom Araya [SLAYER] said it good one time. It was, like, twenty years ago, and I remember him saying, 'Zet, just stay heavy, and everything else will fall in place.' And if you take the advice from the man, you know what I mean?! I guess that's just the way we've kind of kept it going: just stay heavy and it will all fall in place."
Guitarist Gary Holt was unable to join his EXODUS bandmates for their current Australian tour due to his commitments with SLAYER. Replacing him for the trek is HEATHEN's Kragen Lum.
EXODUS and TESTAMENT will join forces for the "Dark Roots Of Thrash II" tour. The trek will conquer North America for five weeks, beginning April 1 in San Francisco, and will include select TESTAMENT and EXODUS festival performances. Support on the tour will come from Texas melodic metal assailants SHATTERED SUN.
EXODUS's latest album, "Blood In Blood Out", sold around 8,800 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 38 on The Billboard 200 chart. Released in North America on October 14, 2014 via Nuclear Blast, the CD art was illustrated by Swedish artist Pär Olofsson, known worldwide for his incredible renderings that have graced the covers of countless heavy metal albums, including EXODUS' "Let There Be Blood".
"Blood In Blood Out" is EXODUS' first album since the departure of the band's lead singer of the past nine years, Rob Dukes, and the return of his predecessor, Steve "Zetro" Souza, who previously fronted EXODUS from 1986 to 1993 and from 2002 to 2004.
Metal Life magazine recently conducted an interview with German metal queen Doro Pesch. You can now listen to the chat in the YouTube clip below. A couple of excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On people using their iPhones and smartphones are concerts to either film the performances or communicate with others:
Doro: "When [I am] on stage, I see immediately when people start texting or sending messages. And then, just standing near the people, then you feel [like] they're not there anymore, it's very distracting and it puts a lot of pressure on you. Usually, it was, like, back in the day, the first three songs, the photographers could take photos, maybe sometimes five songs, and then it was over, and then the show started. And now it's, like, you're under the microscope constantly for two or three hours, and it's a different animal. Of course, you have the make the [most] out of it, but I definitely prefer when everybody's there — first two or three songs, do some pics and then go and headbang and stage dive, crowdsurf. But yeah, it can take away a little bit the energy flow and the connection."
On when fans can expect to hear the follow-up to Doro's 2012 album "Raise Your Fist":
Doro: "Yeah, we're in the middle of songwriting. We've got some great, ass-kicking ideas already. And we are doing the production for the DVD — it's the 30th-anniversary DVD, and we filmed all over the world. We started with Wacken, which looks awesome, and then we did a couple of things in my hometown, in Germany, in Düsseldorf, and in New York. And it will come out in autumn, and it will be a big package — like, two DVDs and one live album. Many more months it will probably take to do a new album, but songwriting is already going really great. And it probably takes another year to have a brand new album. But the DVD is coming out first… Good things always take longer than expected, and sometimes I wanna do it fast, and then two years go by, and I say, 'Wow!'"
"Raise Your Fist" was released worldwide via Nuclear Blast in 2012. Dubbed "50 minutes of expertly crafted Teutonic metal" by Outburn, which crowned Doro "...the classiest lady in metal," the CD boasts guest appearances by MOTÖRHEAD's Lemmy Kilmister and OZZY OSBOURNE/FIREWIND guitarist Gus G., and artwork by British artist and longtime Doro collaborator Geoffrey Gillespie. An import version of Doro's "Raise Your Fist - 30 Years Anniversary Edition" is available via the Nuclear Blast webshop and includes new and rare tracks plus a bonus CD titled "Powerful Passionate Favorites" comprised of cover versions of DIO, LED ZEPPELIN, METALLICA and KISS songs.
Christian hard rockers P.O.D. (PAYABLE ON DEATH) have entered a Los Angeles-area studio with longtime producer Howard Benson to begin recording their new album for a tentative summer release. P.O.D. frontman Sonny Sandoval told All Access Live during this year's ShipRocked cruise(see video below) that he hopes to be done tracking the new CD in "four to six weeks."
P.O.D.'s last release was "SoCal Sessions", a collection of acoustic versions of some of the band's most popular songs. The CD came out last November.
A digital re-release of a special deluxe edition of P.O.D.'s latest studio album, "Murdered Love", was made available in October 2013. Highlights included two previously unreleased studio tracks, "Burn It Down" and "Find A Way" (recorded with Benson) and an acoustic version of the band's Top 5 hit "Beautiful". Additional tracks include an acoustic version of "West Coast Rock Steady", an alternate version of "On Fire" and "Lost In Forever (Scream)", plus various music videos and behind-the-scenes footage from the "Murdered Love" album cycle.
"Murdered Love" saw P.O.D. reunited with Benson, who also produced the band's massive "Satellite" album as well as hit LPs for Kelly Clarkson, THEORY OF A DEADMAN, DAUGHTRY and MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE.
JUDAS PRIEST guitarist Richie Faulkner was interviewed by U.K.'s Metal Hammer magazine during this year's Soundwave festival in Australia. You can now watch the chat below.
Speaking about how JUDAS PRIEST was re-energized by his addition to the band following the departure of original lead guitarist K.K. Downing in 2011, Faulkner said: "The whole re-energizing thing, I can only take a fifth of the credit, really. The [rest of the] band, they've been doing it for forty years and they're so passionate about what they do. And, obviously, when you bring someone new into an outfit — a football team or a band — there's gonna be a slightly different dynamic. So that's the thing that's happened here. We went from the 'Epitaph' tour, and we got energized into doing a new record; we've done a new record, and then that energized you into going out and getting these new songs [into the setlist and performing them live on] the road. And then, in turn, you don't know what's gonna happen after this. We've talked about doing another record; we think we've got another record in us. And, no doubt, we'll be energized from the reception we're getting on the live circuit with this record around the world that, no doubt, we'll go in and do it again. I mean, I know we've got loads of ideas kicking around, and we've got the energy to do it, so you never know. Watch this space."
JUDAS PRIEST's latest album, "Redeemer Of Souls", marks the band's first release with Faulkner, who was most recently guitarist in the backing group for Lauren Harris (daughter of IRON MAIDEN bassist Steve Harris).
Asked by Premier Guitar if he was concerned how the new band dynamic with Faulkner would impact the writing process for "Redeemer Of Souls", JUDAS PRIEST guitarist Glenn Tipton said: "We hadn't worked with Richie before on a writing level, so the first couple of things he presented to us were quite crucial. It was amazing, because everything Richie came up with was just so PRIEST, and it evolved from that point on. For the first time ever, we actually wrote on the road. Richie would go down in the afternoon, set up his recording rig, and kick stuff out. When we had time off, we sat down and started piecing everything together. What we normally do is write our own ideas — including Rob's [Halford] lyrics and vocals — pool them, and before you know it, it takes shape into songs."
**UPDATE** The members of the Fort Wayne, Indiana death/thrash/black metal band NUCLEAR HELLFROST have released the following statement regarding allegations that they were involved in the desecration of Dimebag's grave:
"The posts about us and to us are a complete surprise to us. Anything having to do with grave desecration was entirely a hoax put on by our former lead singer completely disconnected from the other members of the band.
"If you see Dimebag's grave, you can see there is nothing carved into his grave, the only thing that exists is a photo of a piece of paper posted by the former member.
"We are strongly against any sort of homophobia, racism, or outright disrespect for a human being.
"We have nothing but the utmost respect for Dimebag, and this is a misguided political publicity stunt that we were dragged into by a former member with an awful sense of humor.
"NUCLEAR HELLFROST as a band would like to apologize on this former member's behalf to not only Dimebag's fans, but most importantly his family.
"Again, the members of NUCLEAR HELLFROST had absolutely ZERO actual involvement in any of the alleged actions described by our former singer. Again, nothing but respect to Dimebag as a human being and condolences to his family. These are fabricated and contrived allegations on the Internet that never happened in real life."
The original article follows below.
According to a post on PANTERA's Facebook page (see below), authorities have been notified after members of an up-and-coming metal band allegedly used an Instagram account to boast about defacing late PANTERA guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott's grave. The since-removed Instagram post (the Instagram account has been deleted as well) showed a photo of the grave with the following caption: "i HATE pantera...with a passion. and so does the rest of my band. so on tour going throug texas we paid douchebag darrell a visit, we spit on his grave, stole a pair of cowboy boots, and i wrote 'FAG' on his grave... i'm not a homophobe but i hope all panturrrra fans see this and shit themselves with anger....FUCK DIMEBAG, buncha racist hillbillies"
Unsurprisingly, many of the PANTERA fans have since caught wind of the posting and have since used the Internet to voice their displeasure over the grave defacement. The PANTERA camp has also commented the despicable actions of the individuals in question, writing on Facebook: "We are absolutely disgusted by this! We ask that all of you please show Dime and his grave the respect he deserves. This conduct will not be tolerated and the authorities have been notified."
After it was reported a few years ago that Dimebag's grave at the Moore Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Arlington, Texas was vandalized, Dimebag's brother, former PANTERA and current HELLYEAH drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott, was asked by Artisan News if the person responsible for causing the damage had ever been apprehended. "Nah, nah" he replied. "But it's just a real disrespectful thing. I don't understand why somebody would wanna scratch their name in somebody's tombstone or anything. But fans are rabid, man; they do unheard-of things. I just wish they would respect him and let him rest in peace and just leave it at that."
"Dimebag" Darrell Abbott was co-founder and lead guitarist for PANTERA. When PANTERA broke up in 2003, Dimebag and his brother Vinnie Paul formed DAMAGEPLAN. On December 8, 2004, while performing with DAMAGEPLAN at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio, Dimebag was shot and killed onstage by Nathan Gale. He was 38 years old.
Former MEGADETH guitarist Marty Friedman hosted a special guitar clinic at Los Angeles' famous music college Musicians Institute exclusively for students and alumni. The clinic took place at MI's Concert Hall on January 27 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Video footage of his appearance can be seen below.
Marty's latest solo album, "Inferno", sold around 2,100 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 186 on The Billboard 200 chart. The CD was released on May 26, 2014 via Prosthetic Records (except in Japan, where the album was made available through Universal Music). The CD was the 52-year-old musician's first collection of material recorded for the U.S. market since 2003's "Music For Speeding". Among the guest collaborators that appear on the effort are CHILDREN OF BODOM's Alexi Laiho, REVOCATION's Dave Davidson, acoustic flamenco-metal hybridists RODRIGO Y GABRIELA and Friedman's pre-MEGADETH bandmate in CACOPHONY, Jason Becker.
Speaking to Guitar World magazine, Friedman said: Each of the guests on this record took a song from scratch — they would write it and then I would arrange it and add my parts to it. That way we were both invested in it and it's a little bit of a deeper experience."
Friedman described the new album as the most "Marty" record has has done in years. "I figured if I was going to come back to America, I was going to come back big and give people something they want out of me," he told the magazine. "And I know that what they want is not some avant-garde thing. What they want is just the most intense writing and playing I can do."
Terrie Carr of WDHA-FM 105.5 FM, the rock music station licensed to Dover and Morristown, New Jersey, recently conducted an interview with STONE TEMPLE PILOTS guitarist Dean DeLeo and drummer Eric Kretz. You can now listen to the chat in two parts below.
On the recent leg injury sustained by STONE TEMPLE PILOTS and LINKIN PARK singer Chester Bennington:
DeLeo: "He's such a trooper that way, man, 'cause he's in a lot of pain. He's not expressing the pain or the grouchiness to us; it's pretty incredible! I mean, he was singing some vocals last night, and sounding fantastic. He's got his leg up, and he's recuperating fast. But he's working out every morning — not on his leg, but on other parts of parts of his body."
Kretz: "You can just see he's a quick healer. The guy is just really, really fit. He's going to be well recuperated by time we get on the road next month."
On STONE TEMPLE PILOTS' upcoming full-length album:
Kretz: "Chester's really stepping up on this, and we are, too. We're four songs in, and then we're gonna go on this run in April and then continue recording as well. So we should have a full-length album out by the end of the year."
DeLeo: "When the four of us get together and we're passing around ideas and [we're] kinda real eager to bring [our] new material to the table, it's an interesting time, because [we're] very vulnerable. You really have to leave the ego at the door and be prepared for someone to say, 'I don't know if I absolutely love that or love that part.' And it's about everybody really felling it and really being happy. And for the most part, it does go that way… And, you know, for me, getting to share my songs or my music with Eric, Robert [DeLeo, bass] and Chester, I've got the best of the best."
STONE TEMPLE PILOTS' first studio project with Bennington on vocals was an EP called "High Rise" that was released in October 2013.
Bennington replaced original singer Scott Weiland in the lineup in May of that year.
STP will head out on the road this spring as well for its first new tour dates since late 2013. The trek kicks off on April 8 in Seattle, winding down on April 30 in Philadelphia.
One dollar per ticket on the new tour will be donated to Music For Relief, a nonprofit organization dedicated to disaster relief and environmental protection that was launched in 2004 by LINKIN PARK.
Germany's EMP Rock Invasion recently conducted an interview with NIGHTWISH mastermind/keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen. You can now watch the chat below.
Asked if NIGHTWISH's forthcoming full-length album, "Endless Forms Most Beautiful", is meant to be listened to in its entirety on a proper sound system, Tuomas said: "I would prefer people to listen to it on as good a sound system as possible. But the fact is also that you have to make music so that it sounds good no matter where you listen to it from."
He continued: "That's a trend of these days that bothers me a little bit, to be honest — when people just get a song from here and there and listen to it with earphones while running. At least for the first few times when you listen to the album, it would make sense to give it some time and some thought. Listen to it from beginning to the end, as it's supposed to be listened to. I mean, when you go to movies, you don't watch the final sequence first and then go to the beginning and then take a few snippets here and there. You wanna see it from beginning to the end, as it's intended."
Regarding whether "Endless Forms Most Beautiful" is based on a lyrical concept or a theme, Tuomas said: "A very loose one, maybe. It's all about the beauty of life, the beauty of existence, nature, science… A comparison would be that if the previous album, [2011's] 'Imaginaerum', was a tribute to the power of imagination, 'Endless Forms Most Beautiful' would be an equal tribute to science and the power of reason."
"Endless Forms Most Beautiful", will be made available on March 27 in Europe and March 31 in the U.S. via Nuclear Blast. The CD marks NIGHTWISH's first studio album with Dutch singer Floor Jansen, who replaced Anette Olzon in 2012.
The cover artwork for "Endless Forms Most Beautiful" was created by the band's longtime collaborator Toxic Angel. Famed evolutionary biologist and atheist writer/leader Richard Dawkins appears on the effort as a guest.
Longtime NIGHTWISH drummer Jukka Nevalainen sat out the recording sessions for "Endless Forms Most Beautiful" due to health issues; Kai Hahto (WINTERSUN, SWALLOW THE SUN, TREES OF ETERNITY) replaced him in the studio and will join NIGHTWISH on tour in support of the new CD.
ALL THAT REMAINS frontman Philip Labonte says that the "tax laws," not the police, were responsible for the death of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man who was stopped for selling loose cigarettes in New York City and placed in an apparent chokehold by a white police officer.
Labonte recently made headlines in the rock media when he suggested that the obstacles faced by the lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender (LGBT) community do not equal those experienced by the black community. Asked by Radio.com to clarify his comments, the singer said: "I think it was pretty clear. African-Americans have had a shit deal. You look at the prison system, I think black people [outnumber white people] six to one. You had slavery, you had Jim Crow, and now you've got— and this is something that [American politician] Rand Paul says — you have a racial outcome."
He continued: "I don't think that cops are walking around [saying], 'Let's go get us a black guy!' I don't think that that's happening. But, at the same time, I think that… It all boils down to legislation. Because the places where the police tend to have to patrol more [are the] poor neighborhoods. I mean, Eric Garner shouldn't be dead for selling loose cigarettes. And it wasn't the cops that killed him, even though the cops were physically on top of him [when he died]. It was the tax laws. It was the government that killed him. Leave the guy alone. Let him fuckin' sell cigarettes. The reason that he's selling [unpackaged] cigarettes is because it's ten dollars a frickin' pack in New York. And poor people can't afford ten dollars a pack! So the people that are hurt by laws aren't the rich people, they're poor people. So if you're a poor person, and you're getting a shit deal, stop voting for people that wanna pass laws. Vote for people that want to repeal laws. More freedom is gonna end up with less negative consequences. And you won't have people like Eric Garner dying for no fuckin' reason. He had six kids! I mean, he was resisting, in the thought process of he was not submitting to be taken away. But he wasn't trying to hurt anyone. They're, like, 'Oh, he was arrested thirty times.' You know what? Tell him to move along thirty-one [times], tell him to move along thirty-two [times], tell him to move along thirty-four times, tell him to move along a hundred more times. Don't beat the crap out of the guy. Or kill the guy."
Labonte also spoke about another high-profile case where a grand jury declined to indict a police officer for killing an unarmed man. On November 24, 2014, a St. Louis County grand jury decided there wasn't probable cause to indict Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old. The shooting almost immediately triggered protests in the St. Louis suburb, as demonstrators took to the streets to speak out against what many saw as yet another example of police brutality against young black men. The situation subsequently escalated and drew national attention when police fired tear gas and rubber bullets into a crowd of peaceful protesters after telling them to go home, declaring they were "no longer a peaceful protest."
"As much as we've been bashing on the situation with Garner, the New York Police, and the people of New York did everything right [in the wake of the tragedy]," Labonte said. "The people in Ferguson did everything wrong. The police came out in full combat gear."
He continued: "You look at the '60s, there were bombings in the '60s, there were riots, there was violence, you didn't see cops in full kit, like they were going into Afghanistan or Iraq. They had their riot shields, they had their batons and they had helmets. Fine. And then as soon as the Highway Patrol took over in Ferguson, you didn't see the guys out with their ARs [rifles]. You don't need overwatch on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri. You don't need an elevated sniping position. That's so overblown. And, because the guy died, you're gonna go and burn down a building? That's retarded too."
Labonte added: "As bad as the whole situation overall is, the over-militarization of police, the over-legislation, I think that those two issues are totally studies in the complete wrong thing to do, on both sides, and the complete right thing to do. New York did a great job. Ferguson? Not so much."
ALL THAT REMAINS's new album, "The Order Of Things", was released on February 24 via Razor & Tie.
SOULFLY recently entered the studio with producer Matt Hyde (SLAYER, CHILDREN OF BODOM, MONSTER MAGNET, WINDS OF PLAGUE) to begin recording its tenth album for a late summer release via Nuclear Blast Entertainment.
Speaking to Spotlight Report at this month's Soundwave festival in Australia, SOULFLY mainman Max Cavalera said (see video below): "The next SOULFLY comes out in August. I'm finishing the vocals right now. The music is all done. It was done with Matt Hyde in L.A., and it's incredible. [It's] a really good record. I'm very happy with this record. And I'm gonna be, probably… after the SOULFLY album comes out, I'm probably gonna be one year or a year and a half on the road for SOULFLY."
In a recent interview with SkullsNBones.com, Max Cavalera said about SOULFLY's upcoming CD: "I need to prepare a really good SOULFLY record for the fans. I really wanna do it killer. And the more time I spend writing the riffs and getting the ideas for the SOULFLY record, the better record it will be. Instead of waiting for the last minute and do it real quick… Hopefully [I can] think of some cool guests to be on the tenth record — the big tenth record. We're gonna try to make some kind of campaign about [it] — ten records; that's quite amazing. But we're gonna try to make a really cool [album]."
He continued: "We've got a really solid band. I love Marc [Rizzo, guitar], [and] I love Tony [Campos, bass]. And it looks like Zyon [Cavalera, Max's son] is gonna drum again for the next CD. So we're gonna kick his ass, [and] try to get [him to be] more in the ball with us. And we'll see how that goes."
SOULFY's ninth CD, "Savages", was released on October 1, 2013. The CD was produced by Terry Date, who is known for his work with such acts as PANTERA, DEFTONES and SOUNDGARDEN, among many others. Guest vocal appearances on "Savages" included SOULFLY bass player Tony Campos, CLUTCH's Neil Fallon, NAPALM DEATH's Mitch Harris, Jamie Hanks of I DECLARE WAR and SOULFLY mainman Max Cavalera's son Igor Cavalera (of LODY KONG).
"Heart Of Amsterdam", the new video from THE GENTLE STORM, the collaboration between AYREON mastermind Arjen Lucassen and former THE GATHERING singer Anneke Van Giersbergen, can be seen below. The song is taken from THE GENTLE STORM's debut album, "The Diary", which will be released on March 25 via InsideOut Music.
Says Anneke about "Heart Of Amsterdam": "The song is a tribute to the city of Amsterdam, the hometown of the story's leading character Susanne.
"Seventeenth-century Amsterdam was a center of shipping, shipbuilding, and trade. Amsterdam flourished, and a wonderful city was the result.
"We shot the video in the center of Amsterdam. It was freezing cold and I couldn't move my fingers anymore during the last shots, but it was all worth it. I love how the video turned out!"
Lucassen and Van Giersbergen originally crossed paths in 1998 for AYREON's breakthrough third album, "Into The Electric Castle". Ten years later they teamed up again for AYREON's seventh album, "01011001", both having established themselves as world-renowned heavy metal/rock artists in the decade between releases. Although their respective musical styles went in vastly different directions during that time, Arjen and Anneke retained a common ground that ultimately led to the creation of THE GENTLE STORM.
THE GENTLE STORM's double album is an epic production of AYREON proportions, divided into two parts as a full-on metal assault (CD1) and lighter folk arrangements (CD2). It also heralds Anneke's return to the realms of heavy guitars and soaring vocals reminiscent of THE GATHERING's breakthrough album "Mandylion".
"The Diary" cover artwork can be seen below. Arjen said: "I loved the front cover of the last STREAM OF PASSION album, so I tracked down the cover artist, Alexandra V. Bach. I sent her some samples of the THE GENTLE STORM music, and explained the album concept. She made a moodboard that captured the feel of the story and the music. We then gave her the go-ahead to design the cover. She did an amazing job that exceeded our expectations: Alexandra's cover art represents THE GENTLE STORM perfectly!"
THE GENTLE STORM's album release will be followed by live dates through the spring and summer European festival season.
Known for touring extensively year after year, Anneke will take THE GENTLE STORM on the road backed by well known Dutch talents. Arjen, however, will not be part of the live production.
According to The Pulse Of Radio, Jimmy Page credits the outtakes featured on LED ZEPPELIN's 1975 abum "Physical Graffiti" for helping define the band's beloved double album set, which just was reissued in expanded form this week. Just under half of the set was culled from the band's three previous albums — but none were discarded at the time due to their quality, but rather for not fitting the vibe of their parent album. Page told The Pulse Of Radio that with the extra room available on "Physical Graffiti", there finally was room for these orphan tracks to find a place.
The Pulse Of Radio asked Jimmy Page if the inclusion of the outtakes from "Led Zeppelin III", "Led Zeppelin IV" and "Houses Of The Holy" were due to specific types of songs not being recorded during the "new" 1974 sessions for "Physical Graffiti". "Well, there's a number of contributing factors to it," he said. "The first thing is, that what comprises, like, the '74 recordings — 1974, I should say, [laughs] otherwise people might think there's 74 tracks and there's more to come! Um, but it was the second visit to Headley Grange. And on the first visit to Headley Grange, we'd come out with the material for the fourth album, for heaven sake. And there were three tracks left over; one of those was called 'Boogie With Stu', another one of those was 'Night Flight', and another was 'Down By The Seaside'. If you think about it, none of those tracks could've substituted anything that wagon the fourth album. That was really, really compact. It was perfect, y'know what I mean? The whole pacing of what was on it, and everything — but nevertheless — those three tracks were really cool; they all had strong character to them. And there was also 'Houses Of The Holy', [which] is an important one, because 'Houses Of The Holy' was kept back intentionally from the album 'House Of The Holy', to go on the next album — whatever album that may be. There was 'The Rover', there was the instrumental 'Bron-Yr-Aur' — there was this, that, and the other. They were all these things that were actually strong character pieces that could well go into a double album."
SEPULTURA guitarist Andreas Kisser took part in a workshop on February 26 at Oficinas Culturais do Estado de SP in Brazil. Video footage of his appearance can be seen below.
Kisser's solo debut, "Hubris I & II", was nominated in the "Best Brazilian Rock Album" category at the 2010 Latin Grammys.
SEPULTURA's new live offering titled "Sepultura And Les Tambours du Bronx: Metal Veins - Alive At Rock In Rio" was released in North America on September 16, 2014 via Eagle Rock Entertainment.
"Metal Veins - Alive At Rock In Rio" is available on CD, DVD and for the first time in the band's history, Blu-ray via a partnership with Rock In Rio, MZA Music and Eagle Rock Entertainment. In addition, the DVD includes an exclusive documentary of behind-the-scenes preparation with interviews, rehearsal and soundcheck footage and clips of the band just seconds before they hit the stage.
SEPULTURA's latest album, "The Mediator Between Head And Hands Must Be The Heart", sold around 1,800 copies in the United States in its first week of release. The CD came out on October 29, 2013 via Nuclear Blast Records.
Vocalist Till Lindemann of German industrial metallers RAMMSTEIN has joined forces with Swedish producer and multi-instrumentalist Peter Tägtgren (HYPOCRISY, PAIN) in a brand new project simply called LINDEMANN.
The first teaser for LINDEMANN's forthcoming debut album, which is due in May, can be found below.
Pär Hulkoff, vocalist, guitarist and keyboardist for the Swedish industrial metal band RAUBTIER, claims to have had the opportunity to check out some of LINDEMANN's music and has said that "the small parts I heard really blew my mind." He added: "This will echo in eternity."
RAMMSTEIN guitarist Richard Z. Kruspe, who is currently promoting the sophomore album from his EMIGRATE project, recently told U.K.'s Metal Hammer magazine about RAMMSTEIN's future plans: "We have a live DVD coming out, we have another live DVD coming out, we have another live DVD… We have so many live DVDs right now that we have to work that through. So, I think, at the moment, everyone does his own thing. I think it's important, because, again, RAMMSTEIN was always a band that took their time, that listened to themselves, listened to what they need, how much time they need between [albums]."
He added: "One good thing about that the music industry changed is that you don't have to do a record every year — it's not necessary — and I think a lot of people that did this put [out] records that weren't that great. So I like that idea, actually, to take breaks. Again, I think we will come back together. I love touring with RAMMSTEIN, and if somebody has a vision for a record, we'll do another record."
In an interview with UK's Kerrang! magazine, Kruspe said that he and his RAMMSTEIN bandmates were keeping a healthy distance from each other during the group's downtime.
"Flake's [keyboardist Christian Lorenz] writing a book, Till's doing some kind of solo thing, but I haven't heard anything," he said. "That's the other problem. We've been through so many years together, we've lost contact in a way. At 18 or 20, it's natural to have a gang around you. But in your 40s or 50s, it's not normal to be around five guys the whole year. Because normally you'd start a family, have children. It's like a marriage with six guys who are never having sex. People get frustrated!"
He added: "EMIGRATE saved my place in RAMMSTEIN."
Legendary DEAD KENNEDYS frontman Jello Biafra joined NAPALM DEATH on stage on February 20 at the Oakland Metro Operahouse in Oakland, California to perform the DEAD KENNEDYS classic "Nazi Punks Fuck Off". Fan-filmed video footage of his appearance can be seen below.
NAPALM DEATH released its 15th studio album, "Apex Predator - Easy Meat", on January 27 (one day earlier internationally) via Century Media Records. The CD's striking artwork was created by Danish designer Frode Sylthe (Friktion.com), who has previously worked on the band's "Utilitarian" album as well as with such other acts as AT THE GATES, TOTALT JÄVLA MÖRKER, THE HAUNTED and BURST.
Asked if he feels that NAPALM DEATH is bigger now than it ever has been, the band's frontman, Mark "Barney" Greenway, told Metal Mark of SkullsNBones.com: "It's not just a feeling. I mean, we're selling more records right now than we ever have done. And that's not just vinyl. For us, it's vinyl, CDs… everything is selling really, really well. And when you consider, we haven't done anything to gain a commercial advantage. In fact, we turn down stuff that could gain us a commercial advantage, because of our ethos. I think then that's kind of mindblowing. It just goes to prove that you stick to what you wanna do and not what some things that you might not feel comfortable with. You live and die by your own decisions."
A trailer for "Final Light", the new video from Brazilian/Italian metallers ANGRA, can be seen below. The song is taken from the band's new album, "Secret Garden", which was released on January 16 via earMUSIC. The CD was pre-produced by Roy Z (JUDAS PRIEST, BRUCE DICKINSON, HALFORD) and recorded and produced in Sweden by Jens Bogren (KREATOR, ARCH ENEMY, OPETH, DRAGONFORCE).
Directed by Drico Mello, who was also responsible for ANGRA's "Angels Cry 20th Anniversary Tour" DVD and the music video for the first single from "Secret Garden", "Storm Of Emotions", "Final Light" is completely different from everything ANGRA has made until now, recreating World War II air battles with vintage aircrafts and special digital effects, as seen on movies like "Red Tales". The scenes were filmed at the amazing TAM Museum in Brazil, and the entire production, makeup and aesthetics of the video were developed with the idea of having an authentic vintage feel. The immense arsenal of aircrafts in their warehouse was available for the making of the video.
The full "Final Light" music video will be released in the second week of March.
"Secret Garden" "brings together everything that has established ANGRA as one of biggest bands in its style: contemporary sound combined with inspired compositions," according to a press release. It shows the maturity of a band that, after 23 years on the road, continues with the same motivation and passion for music that drove the glorious beginning of the group. The compositions mend together elements that made the band known around the world, foregrounding the unity of seemingly distinct styles and combining in a unique way styles such as rock - in its various forms, classical music and Brazilian music.
"Secret Garden" is yet another masterpiece by the group and promises to become a great classic in the metal world. Like almost all of ANGRA's work, "Secret Garden" is a concept album which brings up the question: can something that does not exist to the eyes, or is not perceived by the senses, be considered as non-existent?
The songs tell the fictional story of scientist Morten Vrolik who fights to restore his happiness after a tragic accident that took the life of his wife. Faced with the harsh new reality, Morten is forced to revise his atheistic beliefs and values in order to recover a sense of personal contentment that was taken away by fate. The sudden change in his routine, the adaptability, synchronicity, loneliness, guilt, hope and the strength to rise anew are some of the topics discussed in the lyrics, always put to light under different perspectives — be they religious, scientific, philosophical or merely aesthetic.
ANGRA, the most representative band of the Brazilian power metal scene worldwide, is back with full power. Italian vocalist Fabio Lione embeds the music with his powerful voice and impressive performance whereas young prodigy Bruno Valverde impresses on drums, giving the group a more modern sound.
One of the great strengths of the album is the variety of great guest musicians: Simone Simons from the Dutch band EPICA divinely interprets the song "Secret Garden" while the great metal diva Doro Pesch sings an exciting vocal duet with Rafael Bittencourt on "Crushing Room". Actually, the various appearances of Rafael's lead vocals make for some of the strongest moments on this album, causing a contrast in tone and interpretation in comparison to Fabio. This also becomes evident in the cover that the band chose to record, "Synchronicity II" by THE POLICE.
The front cover and album design cleverly interlace the music and story into a beautiful artwork — created by designer Rodrigo Bastos Didier, representing the dreamlike moments of the album's story. The entrance to the secret garden, a representation of the unconscious and the whole atmosphere of mystery intend to bring to the fan an experience that transcends merely listening to the songs.
Once again, ANGRA brings to the scene a bombastic, electrifying release, capable of generating new trends, justifying with greatness and elegance why they have been recognized as one of the leading global power and progressive metal bands for over two decades.
"Secret Garden" track listing:
01. Newborn Me
02. Black Hearted Soul
03. Final Light
04. Storm Of Emotions
05. Synchronicity II
06. Violet Sky
07. Secret Garden (feat. Simone Simons)
08. Upper Levels
09. Crushing Room (feat. Doro Pesch)
10. Perfect Symmetry
11. Silent Call
Scott Edwards Gallery will present "Sean Yseult - Soirée D'Evolution: Tableaux Vivants et Nature Mortes". This exhibition features the most recent work of Sean Ysseult (former WHITE ZOMBIE bassist) based on a sordid secret society soiree in 1873 and the elaborate living pictures and still lifes staged as part of their lavish parties.
Opening reception will be held Saturday, April 18 from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m.
The exhibit will be on display:
Front Gallery: April 16 - June 14
Back Gallery: June 18 - August 9 (partial display)
In 1873, the Crescent City was a cauldron of decadence, politics, voodoo and absinthe. Elite mystic secret societies were backed by the city's richest families, posing publicly as bon vivants while often cloaking much more sinister purposes.
The location: A Garden District Mansion in New Orleans, 1873. The Omniscient Oracles of the Occult throw their annual party, titled "Soiree D'Evolution." A play on life devolving, the members are followers of Hesiod, a Deterioriationist. But as we follow our guests through a series of tableaux vivants and still lifes, it is obvious that they celebrate and revel in this decay and decadence, rather than mourn it. Large-scale staged photos tell the story of murder, mayhem and excess.
Yseult reveals a world that is one part fairy tale, one part history, one part occult, with a dash of Edward Gorey. Limited-edition companion handmade books will also be available showcasing every piece from the exhibition, as well as the elaborate and decorative feel of the coveted invitations to these elite events.
Art critic Doug MacCash said of her work: "Her faux-antique photos have the dreamy, gently erotic tone of vintage French champagne ads. But Yseult pushes her period photos abruptly into the 21st Century by back-lighting them like drive-through restaurant signs." In this show, her photos leap into the present with vibrant use of color, dark humor and super-sized scale.
Sean Yseult is best known as the bass player from the multi-platinum, twice -Grammy-nominated band WHITE ZOMBIE. Sean spent her formative years at the North Carolina School of the Arts studying ballet and earned a BFA in photography and design at Parsons School of Design NYC. Upon WHITE ZOMBIE's breakup, she moved to New Orleans and began showing her photography. In 2010 her autobiographical photo-book "I'm In The Band" was published (Soft Skull Press), and in 2012 her first solo show debuted at the Scott Edwards Gallery. Her previous work can be viewed by visiting www.seanyseult.com.
Christian hard rockers STRYPER entered SpiritHouse Recording Studios in Northampton, Massachusetts earlier in the month to begin recording their new album, "Fallen", for a late 2015 release via Frontiers.
An audio sample of one of the new STRYPER songs can be streamed in the video clip embedded within the Facebook post below.
STRYPER guitarist/vocalist Michael Sweet wrote: "Clint Lowery of SEVENDUST sent me this opening riff idea and it's epic! Yeah, STRYPER is wimpy :-."
Regarding the musical direction of the new STRYPER material, Michael Sweet told Eddie Trunk's SiriusXM satellite radio show, "Eddie Trunk Live": "It's gonna be… I don't wanna scare any fans away or anything, but it's gonna be the heaviest album we've done. Not in the sense that it's gonna be thrash metal or anything like that. It's definitely got a little bit of a darker vibe to it lyrically and musically. Some of the songs are tuned down — not like the modern Drop B stuff; I'm talking like the E dropped to D, 'Unchained' VAN HALEN kind of stuff. And it's just got a heavy sound to it. And I think when people hear it, in a good way, they're gonna go, 'That's STRYPER? What?' I think they're gonna be shocked."
Asked if there are still any religious references in the new STRYPER lyrics, Sweet told Canadian journalist Mitch Lafon: "Absolutely. Some of the words themselves are actually taken from the Bible, so that's still there. The lyrics are definitely on the bold and powerful side. They're not like the lyrics of old.
"A lot of our lyrics, I read back through the lyrics, and at times I'm a little embarrassed because they were just so repetitive and shallow at times — just real simplistic 'Rock, rock rock. Jesus, Jesus.' These lyrics are definitely a lot deeper. I'm pulling from the Bible at times."
He continued: "There's a song about God creating the heavens and the earth. It's called 'Let There Be Light'. And it's about in the beginning, and it's taken right from Genesis. There's a song about the Devil; it's called 'Fallen'. It just talks about how when the Devil, when he was Lucifer, an archangel in heaven, when he walked, he was the angel of music, and when he walked, there was music. It tells the story in that song of, basically, about how he's fallen, and why, and how. It's a real powerful song.
"I've got a song called 'Big Screen Lies' that's about how the film industry portrays Christians as complete buffoons one million percent of the time. And that's just not the case. It is sometimes, but those buffoon Christians don't represent all of us."
KILLER BE KILLED, the new band comprised of Max Cavalera (SOULFLY, ex-SEPULTURA), Greg Puciato (THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN), Troy Sanders (MASTODON) and Dave Elitch (ex-THE MARS VOLTA), played its first-ever club show this past Tuesday, February 24 at 170 Russell in Melbourne, Australia. Fan-filmed video footage of the performance can be seen below.
Elitch was unable to perform with KILLER BE KILLED at the event due to scheduling conflicts with his other band, ANTEMASQUE. Filling in for him is CONVERGE drummer Ben Koller.
Sanders spoke to TeamRock about KILLER BE KILLED's first-ever concert, which took place on February 21 as part of this year's edition of Australia's Soundwave festival in Melbourne. He said: "It's very rare that you play your first show with a band. For me, my last first show with a band was 15 years ago with MASTODON. So it's a pretty rare moment. So it was a very positive anxiety. Just like, 'Okay, I wanna be good and play proper.'"
He continued: "My personal favorite moment was just the first note of the first song, looking around and seeing a bunch of my friends and idols. I grew up — before I toured and met THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN and SEPULTURA — I was listening to CONVERGE, who had been our drummer today. I don't know… It's quite a pure camaraderie that organically fell into place to create what happened with my band today. So, on a personal note, it was very satisfying and just a little overwhelming. Pretty rare. Very rare."
Sanders added: "I think it went way better than you could ever expect. I don't know… We just practiced four times, and then you just jump into a scenario where there is a few thousand people in front of you. And it turned out that a lot of them were singing the lyrics and really into the tunes and knew the songs. So [it was] way better than we ever expected."
Troy also talked about how KILLER BE KILLED went from coming together to write music to actually playing a gig. He said: "There was kind of three little phases of this band, KILLER BE KILLED. The first one was the idea of all getting together and writing music. The next step was to try to get together and record music, which happened in September of 2013. We had 21 days that we were all collectively off tour together. We came together in September of 2013 and recorded a record. In 2014, it came out. So the third and final step was: 'Could you ever play a show?' We kind of discarded that. [We thought], 'We'll probably never play a show.' But this was offered to us. THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN, SOULFLY and MASTODON were all off tour at the same time. We said, 'We should go for it. It's probably the first and only shows we'll ever play.' Maybe we'll play dozens more. You don't know. But we never expected to play a show. So today was very, very special. I should probably go get a tattoo of today, of what this means."
He added: "It's really rare to find a group of dudes that you just jam with for all the first reasons, as if you're 13 joining your first band. You're gonna hang out with cool people, you're gonna play music that you love, and that's it. No pressure of, 'This record's gotta be better than the next.' No, 'People are gonna think this, that.' Just get together, write some riffs. 'You like it?' 'Yes.' 'I like it?' 'Yes.' Record it. Have fun. Extremely simple. Very grass roots."
Speaking to The Metal Review about the drummer change, Puciato said: "ANTEMASQUE confirmed at the same time we did. We didn't know what day we we're going to be on, and then it just became an issue whether we wanted to still do it or not, which we obviously did. Then it was, if ANTEMASQUE have a good slot, if we have a good slot, I didn't want to shuffle the band around to a shittier time slot just to accommodate Dave playing in both bands. ANTEMASQUE for Dave is a much bigger commitment; they're playing a lot of shows all the time. If he needs to do that, that's fine with me. Ben from CONVERGE is a fucking animal, so it'll be cool to play with him."
KILLER BE KILLED's self-titled debut album sold around 5,500 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 58 on The Billboard 200 chart. Released on May 13, 2014 (one day earlier internationally) via Nuclear Blast Entertainment, the CD was produced and mixed by Josh Wilbur, whose credits include work with GOJIRA, LAMB OF GOD, HATEBREED, AVENGED SEVENFOLD, ESCAPE THE FATE, P!NK and STEVE EARLE. Cover art and packaging was executed by Ryan Clark of Invisible Creature Design, the Grammy-nominated design firm whose clients include ALICE IN CHAINS, FOO FIGHTERS, CHRIS CORNELL, DEVILDRIVER, MONSTER MAGNET, WOLFMOTHER and DEMON HUNTER.