[Classic_Rock_Forever] Aerosmith, Sonisphere Fiesival UK, Guns N Roses, UK, Saxon,Chris Cornell, Blue Cheer, Kyuss Lives, Angel Witch and tons more hard rock and heavy metal news


AEROSMITH singer and "American Idol" judge will guest on the Monday, February 27 episode of ABC-TV's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" (which will actually air the morning of Tuesday, February 28).

AEROSMITH began work on its first all-new album since 2001 last year, with the rest of the band working on music while Tyler made his "American Idol" debut.

The band has been working with producer Jack Douglas, who collaborated with them on classic early albums like "Toys In The Attic" and "Rocks".

Tyler said at a recent press conference that sales of AEROSMITH's back catalog were up 260 percent since he began appearing on "Idol".

The 11th season of the series began with its two-night premiere on Wednesday, January 18.

As previously reported, Tyler will take part in the Rock 'N' Roll Fantasy Camp May 2-6 at the world-famous Playboy Mansion in Holmby Hills, California.
The U.K edition of the Sonisphere festival has announced three headliners and the first batch of bands for its 2012 event, taking place July 6-8 at Knebworth House, with tickets available from Sonisphere.co.uk from 9 a.m. on Thursday, February 23.

Shooting rockets. Blood spitting. Face Paint. Shiny Boots and utterly jaw dropping triumphant live shows: Sonisphere is proud to announce KISS as Friday's headliner. With a reputation for being perhaps the most flamboyant and entertaining band on the planet, the American Kings will bring their stage extravaganza to Sonisphere as their only European performance of 2012. While many bands have been chasing the eye liner shock horror dollar and have come and gone without changing the face of music as we know it, KISS have gone from strength to strength garnering praise, success and too many accolades to mention throughout the years, selling over 100 million albums worldwide and counting as the band is poised to unleash new album "Monster" in June 2012.

Says the band: "You wanted the best, you got the best, the hottest band in the world, KISS."

With a quarter of a century having since passed, rock legends QUEEN are to return to play a second concert at the venue that provided them with the setting for one of their biggest and most historic concerts.

QUEEN's Brian May and Roger Taylor have confirmed the band will headline the second day of Sonisphere appearing on the Apollo stage on Saturday, July 7. Knebworth was the setting for QUEEN's final concert with Freddie Mercury, in August 1986.

May and Taylor also confirmed that for this very special event they will be joined by U.S. singer-songwriter, and "American Idol" finalist, Adam Lambert.

The potent chemistry between QUEEN and Lambert broke the surface when at the invitation of Brian May and Roger Taylor, Lambert joined them for the closing showcase at the recent MTV Europe Music Awards where QUEEN were present to collect their "Global Icon" award.

Says Brian May: "Judging by my incoming mail, this decision will make a lot of people very happy. It's a worthy challenge for us, and I'm sure Adam would meet with Freddie's approval! And what better place to revisit, and walk those emotional paths than Knebworth? It will be a rush."

For the final, Sunday night, Sonisphere Knebworth is proud to announce the legendary FAITH NO MORE as the headline act on the Apollo stage.

Onstage irreverent, uncompromising, unpredictable and dazzling at every turn, FNM have been setting new standards in exciting rock performance for more than two decades now. With classics such as "Falling To Pieces", "Epic", "Midlife Crisis" and "Be Aggressive", Mike Bordin, Roddy Bottum, Bill Gould, Jon Hudson and Mike Patton are poised to set Knebworth on fire when they close the last night at Sonisphere with their only U.K. appearance of 2012.

Says bass player Billy Gould: "It was over two years ago when we decided to reform and play those amazing U.K. shows. The good news is, we've had a couple of years to improve our skills; moving our song to error ratio down 3.5 full percentage points. Watch out U.K., we're going to do it right this time!!"

The festival billing is shaping up as follows:

(with Adam Lambert)

Tickets are on sale from 9 a.m., Thursday, February 23 from Sonisphere.co.uk or 0844 871 8803 priced at £145 for weekend tickets, £170 for three days with camping, £180 for four days with camping, a very limited number of day tickets available for £75. A deposit scheme will be launched at the same time for those who want to spread the cost of their ticket. A deposit of £50 will secure a weekend ticket, with the balance due anytime before 30th April 2011. Rock Royalty and Day VIP packages are also available at Sonisphere.co.uk.
According to Haaretz, GUNS N' ROSES will play a one-off show in Israel this summer.

The exact location and date of the performance has not yet been confirmed.

GUNS N' ROSES's last Israel appearance was their now-legendary 1993 show in Tel Aviv as part of the "Use Your Illusion" tour.

In addition to sole original member Axl Rose, the current lineup of GUNS N' ROSES includes guitarists Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal, Richard Fortus and DJ Ashba, bassist Tommy Stinson, keyboardists Dizzy Reed and Chris Pitman and drummer Frank Ferrer.

"Chinese Democracy", the 2008 album released by the current edition of GUNS N' ROSES after a 15-year wait, was officially certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on February 3, 2009 for shipments in the United States in excess of one million copies. The long-in-the-making, 14-song CD finally arrived 17 years after the last full-length collections of original GUNS material, "Use Your Illusion I" and "II", were released, and nine years after the non-album track "Oh My God" surfaced on the soundtrack of the movie "End Of Days".

"Chinese Democracy" was made available exclusively through Best Buy.
This year's Seven Deadly (released February 28) is one helluva good album from UFO. And drummer Andy Parker knows it: "I'm real happy with the mix as such because I haven't been totally happy with the last couple (albums), drum-wise. Which is a bit selfish of me but you obviously got to start with your own stuff and I felt that the last couple, the drums were a bit buried — but I really like the mix. We discussed this long and hard before I left the studio this time and I think he (Tommy Newton) actually came up with something that I like a bit better. It's more representative of me or how I would like to sound. "
The sound of Seven Deadly has real bite to it, thanks to Vinnie Moore's guitar playing. Some might say a solid blues feel in the groove. "There's some good stuff on there," says Parker. "It still has that blues kind of tone that we're going through right now, which the band has kind of been in since I came back in '05. I noticed that it had gone more from rock into the blues thing."
"And, to me," continues the drummer, "this whole blues thing, where it was at when I came back, it's kind of where it was at when I started with the band. That's where we came out of, so, to me, it was a natural progression to go back to your roots. I don't know if it's going to stay like that. As far as I'm concerned, it may not be to everyone's liking but it's real. And it's from the heart. I think that matters more."
There are songs on Seven Deadly that might be the heaviest stuff UFO has done in some time. "Especially "Wonderland,"" says Parker, "it reminds me so much of classic Deep Purple. When I was putting the drum tracks down, it still has that blues kind of feel to it, but I remember thinking this seems a little heavier to me."
And did the drummer know that the band had something special while in the studio for Seven Deadly? "It usually takes me awhile," explains Parker. "I have this thing sometimes. If I really like an album straight out of the box, I get bored with it real quick. And some of our albums I have to listen to them. At first I think, 'Man, I don't like it that much.' It's a disappointment. It's like Christmas, I open up this gift and it's 'Oh I didn't really want this.' But then after awhile you go, 'Hang on. I see.' You're kind of in the dark with (vocalist) Phil (Mogg) because he does keep things a bit quiet until he's ready. You go, 'Man, I wasn't expecting that!' And sometimes I find those are the ones I end up liking the most. They tend to creep up on you, you know."
Vocalist Phil Mogg also comes through very well on the new album. "Yeah, I thought so too," says Parker. "It's kind of strange for us because, as I said, we tend to never hear what he's got. I mean, I go and do my drum tracks without much of an idea of what's going over them. It's always been like that — for as long as I can remember, every album I've ever done with the band. It's like that, you know. He kind of keeps his cards close to his chest. And when we're throwing around ideas, we'll hear some of his melody lines and stuff. It's very little so I'm really excited to get the finished thing to hear what he's come up with."
The one glaring absence on Seven Deadly is that of bassist Pete Way, a real iconic force in UFO from the beginning. A lot of fans miss Way's presence and it seems that the bassist is busy doing other things — like being available for studio work with Michael Schenker on his latest Temple of Rock. , However, how much Pete Way actually played on Michael Schenker's new album, Parker thinks you can take that with a pinch of salt: "Yes, he might be credited on there. Just how much Pete played on the album, I wouldn't know. I haven't heard it. But I know for a fact that when he was doing the shows with Michael last year, they had another person playing a lot of the time for him. I love him (Pete Way) dearly but he does have problems. And I mean quite serious health problems which aren't being addressed because of his lifestyle."
I love him (Pete Way) dearly but he does have problems. And I mean quite serious health problems which aren't being addressed because of his lifestyle.
Speaking of original members, it's got to be special to look up and see Phil singing and thinking 'I've been with this guy since High School.' "It is pretty amazing," says Parker. "Paul (Raymond) is there too (keyboards and guitars). Paul did a lot of the big stuff with us in the '70s. What people seem to find the most amazing is that we still have the energy. Everyone will say 'You're not a youngster anymore. How do you find the energy?' Well, it's not that difficult. When you get out there and you got a bunch of people out there who are really rooting for you. it's like you feed off of them, you know. And you're doing something you love. I'm exhausted at the end of the night and I"m probably more tired than I'm used to be back then — because we'd go out partying all night after playing. Where's now we go to bed. When you do something you love and people are behind you it's really not that hard to find the energy. And I watch those guys working — I've got the best seat in the house — and you just think, 'Man, look at those guys. They're like teenagers out there, strutting around.' It's quite remarkable."
And as far as favorite UFO albums, it should be no surprise that the live album Strangers in the Night remains Andy Parker's go-to disc. "I think Strangers, still," admits Parker. "I mean, obviously, a favorite studio album, that would be tough for me. Obsession (1978) I think, was a great studio album. That has some real good songs on it. But like I said, my favorite album is Strangers because I think it really just summed up the band. Plus we were at out peak. I hate to say that but that was the last year with Michael. But we were hot then, man. The band was playing real well. We had been on the road forever. And there's nothing like practice," he laughs.
"Ron did a great job on that (Strangers in the Night album)," continues Parker. "Ron Nevison. I actually saw him recently. He showed up at one of our gigs a while back. He's recording ringtones now, believe it or not. Just shows you how much the business has changed. A guy like that, a producer with that kind of history and he's doing ringtones to make money, so …. it's kind of sad because anyone and their dog now can make an album —  in their bedroom with ProTools. Get it on YouTube and you're done. It's a double-edged sword. It's great that people can do that but sometimes there's no substitute for practice and working your way up. And I think the saddest thing is that some of these kids can get famous overnight but they've got no machinery behind them, nor experience to be in that position. So that's kind of a little scary."
I think we would have been more popular. I think Michael's leaving was a very poor timing.
And does the band still feel like it should have been more popular in America, starting with back in their heyday? Parker is practically ready for this question: "I think we would have been more popular. I think Michael's leaving was a very poor timing. I mean we were really riding a wave there and we had some successful albums and the band was really getting a name but there's no point in looking back. It's not gonna gain you anything. 'We could've been this. We could've been that.' Which is to say why I'm so happy we are out there still doing it. For what it is. Yeah, we don't play the huge places anymore but there's something to be said for playing small intimate clubs. I really enjoy that. And I kind of missed that. And they're still out there to play. There was a time when those venues almost disappeared off the map. But now there's a lot more of them. And I really think that's healthy."
From February 25-28, UFO will be appearing on the The Monsters of Rock Cruise — something a lot different than arenas and clubs. But playing hard rock on a sea cruise is nothing new for UFO. "We've actually done a couple in Europe," says Parker, "in Sweden and Norway and that kind of thing, yeah. The last one we did was pretty touch and go because Phil had completely lost his voice. And he shouldn't have really been singing. His voice was shot. And, of course, you're on the boat so you can't tell people to go home. We're out in the frickin' ocean, you know. You have to go ahead and do it and I'll tell you, it was the bravest thing I've ever seen that boy do. And he really put his heart into it because he had not voice at all but he went out and did the show and, fortunately the booze is cheap on those boats so by the time we went on most people were feeling no pain, so it was good. But they can be a lot of fun because you know the people going on there are looking forward to seeing you."
On tour this year the band will get a chance to really highlight Seven Deadly live — with music that matches its razor-sharp title. Strangely enough, the album was originally titled Last of the Bone Riders. It was an album title that Phil Mogg came up with but for the longest time the band were on the fence about it. "I can see where (Phil) was coming from. It was more of a biker thing. We played Illinois, and we were staying in a hotel and this guy walked over with a bunch of friends and he had this t-shirt that showed a skeleton on a motorcycle and it said Bone Riders. And Phil was like 'See. I told you. I told you!' So he actually traded the guy right there, a UFO shirt for this (Bone Riders) shirt. And he's back right there with Bone Riders again. Then while we doing the album it was leaked out that it was going to be called Last of the Bone Riders, and man, it got some terrible press. So it got changed again. And so a track that was gonna be "… Bone Rider" is now "The Last Stone Rider" because he had pretty much written the song so he kind of had to change it."
No matter what the album is called it is damn good addition to the UFO catalog. And as far as future albums, Andy Parker says he hopes there will be a lot more to come.
"I tell my wife I'll probably drop dead on the drum stool," he adds.
British heavy metal legends SAXON have commenced the songwriting sessions for the follow-up to last year's "Call To Arms". Drummer Nigel Glockler writes on his Facebook page, "Expecting Quinny [Paul Quinn; guitar] down this week, so he, Doug [Scarratt; guitar] and myself will be in the home studio working on songs for the next album before the whole band meet up again in March. The plan (at the moment) is to have the album written by May, then studio between festivals this summer. We are hoping for a January 2013 release, but as you know, things are always subject to change."

SAXON will release "Saxon - Heavy Metal Thunder - Live - Eagles Over Wacken", the no-fat-no-bullshit-100%-pure CD/DVD featuring DVD highlights from the band's Wacken shows in 2004, 2007 and 2009 comprising thirty songs, plus a live CD from Glasgow in 2011. Each set captures the Barnsley-bred British heavy metal legends delivering classic after classic, from "Denim & Leather" to "Metalhead" to "Heavy Metal Thunder" to "Princess Of The Night" to "Crusader" in front of 75,000-pluds loyal, ravenous fans, who have come to expect (and receive) the levels of performance SAXON have been delivering for 32 years.

"Heavy Metal Thunder - Live - Eagles Over Wacken" is available in a variety of formats, including the Golden Ticket D2C/Direct To Consumer Box.

Strictly limited, this exclusive package contains the "Best Of Wacken" DVD, plus the full and complete SAXON Wacken Open Air performances from 2004/2007/2009 each on a separate DVD, plus a SAXON flag.

Release dates:

April 23 – U.K.
April 20 - Rest Of Europe
May 22 - North America

"Call To Arms" sold around 700 copies in the United States in its first week of release, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The CD debuted at No. 51 on the Top New Artist Albums (Heatseekers) chart, which lists the best-selling albums by new and developing artists, defined as those who have never appeared in the Top 100 of The Billboard 200. The digipack version of "Call To Arms" includes a glorious bonus — a free seven-track CD, "Live At Donington 1980".
SOUNDGARDEN/ex-AUDIOSLAVE singer Chris Cornell has announced his first headline U.K. tour dates in over three years. In June 2012, U.K. audiences will be the first in Europe to get the chance to see Chris perform unplugged, up close and personal. This much-anticipated "Songbook" tour highlights works from Chris Cornell's entire catalogue, including songs written for SOUNDGARDEN, AUDIOSLAVE and TEMPLE OF THE DOG.

Tickets go onsale to the public on Friday, February 24 at 10 a.m. via GigsAndTours.com.

A pre-sale for the U.K. dates will begin Thursday, February 23 at 9 a.m.: details and password will shortly be emailed to U.K. fans on Chris's mailing list.

More shows across the continent will be announced shortly.

Tickets are already on sale for Chris's appearance at July's Parkern Festival in Sweden.

Tour dates (with more to follow):

June 16 - Manchester, UK - Lowry
June 18 - London, UK - Palladium
June 19 - Birmingham, UK - Symphony Hall
June 20 - Newcastle, UK - City Hall
July 04 - Putte, Sweden - Parkern Festival

Although Cornell has been recording a new album with SOUNDGARDEN for the first time in 15 years, he continues to work as a solo artist as well. He told Spin.com how it's different from playing with a band. "An acoustic show is all about you, and any little nuance or mistake is amplified," Cornell explained. "I'm very nervous about it, but I love the intimacy. Once you sit in front of people and start playing songs, it's all on you. No matter what happens, it's entirely your responsibility the entire time. I like that intensity."

Cornell told The Pulse Of Radio that he sees working with SOUNDGARDEN again as having a positive influence on his solo career. "One thing about a solo artist is you can just be in a room way too long with yourself and your own thoughts and your own songs, and it feels really good to be working with Ben (Shepherd, bassist) and Matt (Cameron, drummer) and Kim (Thayil, guitarist) again, and it's actually a really nice reprieve also from just being alone, doing what I do," he said. "It's helping with the balance, I think, too."

Cornell has issued three solo albums. The last one, 2009's "Scream", was trashed by critics and fans for abandoning Cornell's rock roots for an urban pop sound.
BLUE CHEER's manager, Ron Rainey, and the band's guitarist, Andrew "Duck" MacDonald, have confirmed that they are negotiating with Shroom Angel Records for the release several vinyl LPs and compact discs in order to showcase the Tony Rainier period of BLUE CHEER.

On October 12, 2009, BLUE CHEER bassist and lead singer Richard Allan "Dickie" Peterson after a long fight against cancer. Tony Rainier, BLUE CHEER's guitarist from 1977 to 1988, recorded and toured with Peterson and has continued his guitar arrangements and songs for the band's resurgence. Along with Tony in the group's current incarnation is Luke Ayoso of the 1980s hard rock/glam band FRENCHEE on vocals, bass and lead guitar and a drummer to be announced.

Commented Rainey and MacDonald in a statement: "We welcome the release of this material for the continuation of Dickie's artistic legacy as long as his estate is compensated for his performances." They added, "As far as a band touring under the name BLUE CHEER, to be quite honest, we don't take it too seriously."

One album currently being put together by ShroomAngel Records consists of previously unreleased studio recordings made in 1978. ShroomAngel will also be culling together a live two-LP set featuring the band during their comeback tour of 1984 and on into 1985. A brand new vinyl LP is to also be released with a tour hopefully by the summer.

Visit ShroomAngel Records on Facebook for more information.

BLUE CHEER's last U.S. tour (featuring Peterson, founding drummer Paul Whaley, and guitarist Andrew "Duck" MacDonald) was in support of their 2007 release, "What Doesn't Kill You…", and had the band playing shows with the fourth generation of bands to follow in their path. Plans were underway for the band to tour in support of the 2009 Rainman Records DVD release of "Blue Cheer Rocks Europe" when Dickie's cancer was found. Tour plans were put on hold, but the first full-length concert DVD in the band's more-than-forty-year history was released without delay. The DVD includes not only the concert footage with 5.1 audio, but also included a Peterson voiceover commentary and a complete interview with the late leader of the band.
KYUSS LIVES!, the project featuring three-quarters of KYUSS — the influential American stoner rock/metal band, originally from Palm Desert, California, has entered Thunder Underground Studios in Palm Springs, California with engineer Harper Hug (NEIL DIAMOND, LUTHER VANDROSS, INDIGO GIRLS) to mix its upcoming live album.

KYUSS LIVES! consists of bassist Nick Oliveri, drummer Brant Bjork and singer John Garcia along with guitarist Bruno Fevery, who most recently played with Garcia in the GARCIA PLAYS KYUSS project.

Regarding why KYUSS guitarist and founding member Josh Homme is not involved in the reunion, Garcia told Rock Sound magazine, "I have nothing bad to say about Josh — he's extremely intelligent, very smart, a great guitar player, great songwriter, a great vocalist — he is a bad-ass, there is no question, and I love him dearly but he is busy with his own thing. He has THEM CROOKED VULTURES, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, he's a father, a businessman and even if we asked him to do it, I don't think he'd say yes, so I don't want to set myself up for a big fat no which is 99.9 percent what he would say."

Legendary British metal act ANGEL WITCH will release its new album, "As Above, So Below", on March 20 via Metal Blade Records. The Jaime Gomez Arellano-produced (GHOST, THE GATES OF SLUMBER) CD unites newly-penned yet timeless-sounding material such as "Geburah", "The Horla", "Brainwashed" and "Upon This Cord" with four long-lost tracks from the classic-era. "Dead Sea Scrolls" and "Witching Hour" both date back to 1983/'84, while "Into The Dark" and "Guillotine" are older still. Both were live favorites during ANGEL WITCH's late-1970s heyday; indeed, "Guillotine" was actually intended to have appeared on the "Angel Witch" album.

"As Above, So Below" track listing:

01. Dead Sea Scrolls
02. Into the Dark
03. Geburah
04. The Horla
05. Witching Hour
06. Upon This Cord
07. Guillotine
08. Brainwashed

Listen to "Dead Sea Scrolls" below and place your pre-order now at this location.

ANGEL WITCH will performing on Saturday, March 17 in London at The Garage with GRAND MAGUS and IN SOLITUDE.


Kevin Heybourne - Vocals/Lead Guitar
Andrew Prestidge - Drums
Will Palmer - Bass
Finnish melodic metallers SONATA ARCTICA will release their new album, "Stones Grow Her Name", on May 18 via Nuclear Blast Records. The CD was recorded in several studios all over Finland, mixed at Sonic Pump Studios by Mikko Karmila and mastered at Chartmakers by Svante Forsbäck. The effort will be released as a limited-edition digipak, standard jewel case, vinyl and download.

"Stones Grow Her Name" track listing:

01. Only The Broken Hearts (Make You Beautiful)
02. Shitload of Money
03. Losing My Insanity
04. Somewhere Close To You
05. I Have A Right
06. Alone In Heaven
07. The Day
08. Cinderblox
09. Don't Be Mean
10. Wildfire II
11. Wildfire III

Commented SONATA ARCTICA vocalist Tony Kakko: "Our newest adventure is only a final touch short of being ready.

"The recordings went extremely well and the mixing is in schedule.

"[I] have to say I am enjoying myself greatly.

"I've had a very hard and work-filled two-year period writing the songs while touring extensively with our previous album, 'The Days of Grays'. But it has all been worth it!

"Yet again we are introducing new things to keep the music alive and interesting. New elements, styles and new moods, talented quest artists and ideas for the enjoyment of the loyal friends of our music.

"Can't wait for you to get your hands and ears on 'Stones Grow Her Name'!

"Hope to see you all again on tour!"

Gunnar Sauermann, a writer for the German edition of Metal Hammer magazine, was one of the first media people to hear a rough-mix version of "Stones Grow Her Name" at this past weekend's Finnish Metal Expo in Helsinki. He comments, "SONATA ARCTICA was never more exciting and more versatile as on 'Stones Grow Her Name'. Every single song is a hit!"

SONATA ARCTICA's concert DVD, "Live In Finland", last November topped the official "Music DVD" chart in Finland. Released in Europe on November 11 and in North America on November 15 via Nuclear Blast, the set includes the band's entire April 15, 2011 performance at Club Teatria in Oulu, Finland as well as a bonus disc containing four songs that were filmed at the band's own festival on August 8, 2009 in Kemi, Finland. Also featured on the DVD are SONTA ARCTICA's promotional videos for the songs "Don't Say A Word", "Paid In Full" and "Flag In The Ground" as well as a photo gallery and behind-the-scenes footage from the making of the DVD. There is also a bonus CD containing eight songs that were recorded at the Kemi festival concert.

"The Days Of Grays" sold around 2,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The CD landed at position No. 19 on the Top New Artist Albums (Heatseekers) chart, which lists the best-selling albums by new and developing artists, defined as those who have never appeared in the Top 100 of The Billboard 200.

"The Days Of Grays" was released on September 22, 2009 in North America through Nuclear Blast Records.
Brendon Small, co-creator of "Metalocalypse", the smash hit animated series on Adult Swim featuring the fictitious metal band DETHKLOK, has written and produced BRENDON SMALL'S GALAKTIKON "A High Stakes Intergalactic Extreme Rock Album", the debut release from his long-awaited side project. Due in April, the CD's arrival will coincide with the Season 4 premiere of "Metalocalypse".

Coming off of the second DETHKLOK album which was heavier and darker than the first, BRENDON SMALL'S GALAKTIKON searches for melody (in the vocal) and finds inspiration in modern black metal, QUEEN, FOO FIGHTERS, SOUNDGARDEN, SMASHING PUMPKINS and WEEZER. No influence is unwelcome on this project. Brendon Small paired with DETHKLOK drummer Gene Hoglan (STRAPPING YOUNG LAD, TESTAMENT, FEAR FACTORY) and DETHKLOK bassist Bryan Beller (DETHKLOK, STEVE VAI, MIKE KENEALLY) and DETHKLOK engineer and mixer Ulrich Wild.

"This album should be thought of as an audio comic book, an over acted chamber drama, a ridiculous premise that takes itself way too seriously all the way to the end," states Small.

The BRENDON SMALL'S GALAKTIKON "A High Stakes Intergalactic Extreme Rock Album" cover art was designed by Antonio Canobbio and can be seen below.

In a July 2011 interview with Revolver magazine, Small was asked at what point he decided it was time to make a solo record. "There was a time when I didn't know if I was going to do the second DETHKLOK album," he said. "I had the studio lined up, and the players lined up, and the engineer and co-producer, and all that shit, and unfortunately, the guy we were negotiating with went on vacation and left things kind of dead. So I said, 'OK, fuck this — I'm going to spend my own money and get these guys doing something.'

"I love melody and I love melodic vocals in metal, not just the guttural stuff — though obviously it works with DETHKLOK, and I wouldn't want to change a thing. I long for melody in the vocal.

"When I was developing the DETHKLOK sound, some of the things I was writing weren't heavy enough for DETHKLOK, but I still liked them. So I was like, I'm going to make this into something, so I'm going to get Gene [Hoglan] and I'm going to get Bryan Beller, and we're going to make this project, and I'm going to figure out what it is. Then the negotiations got all cleared up, and we went right back into the same studio and did the second DETHKLOK album."

Regarding whether those non-DETHKLOK songs eventually became the basis for "Brendon Small's Galaktikon", Small said, Yeah. I had all these songs where there were elements of QUEEN, but also elements of FOO FIGHTERS and SMASHING PUMPKINS, with some DIO elements as well. My kind of rule for the record was, it's going to be whatever it ends up being, and I'm going to tell a story through the whole thing. Once I started putting the pieces together, I found the story, and I realized that, OK, this is a high-stakes, intergalactic, extreme rock album. And if I do this right, it's going to be like an audio comic book. It's turned out to be something that I'm really happy to have done because I flexed a different muscles while making it — but if you're one of the kids who liked DETHKLOK, you're going to be able to tell that it's the same dude playing guitar, and Gene Hoglan on drums and Bryan Beller on bass. DETHKLOK has to be a certain kind of sound, but this other thing is whatever it needs to be. I got to pull out a vocoder and do ELO-style things here and there, and there's an instrumental on there that's a total tribute to Vai and Satriani and Yngwie and Steve Morse.
After a brief, 23-year vacation from the thrash scene, acclaimed '80s Northwest thrashers MACE have decided to lace up the combat boots for battle one more time. These guys shared the stage with the biggest thrash bands of the mid-'80s, including SLAYER, ANTHRAX, DEATH ANGEL, METAL CHURCH, CIRCLE JERKS, THE ACCUSED and many more.

Earlier this month, the band quietly leaked the info that they were getting back together and from the Northwest, they fired a shot that could heard around the world. Bands, promoters and even record labels, some as far away as Germany started talking about MACE.

There is a huge amount of excitement in the MACE camp and these guys are locked in with laser focus and ready to melt some faces, just like they did over two decades ago. For added excitement, Tommy Niemeyer from THE ACCUSED made the new MACE logo.

Everyone knows MACE guitarist Dave Hillis went on to work on some of the biggest albums in rock history as a producer (PEARL JAM's "Ten", ALICE IN CHAINS' "Dirt"), but MACE was always in the back of his mind. Hillis says, "I always wanted to remix the old songs, and when I opened my own studio I had to do it, and it was so much fun that we thought we would try a new song and that was so much fun that we said, 'Why not teach these young kids how it was done back in the day?'"

Hillis knew that when the time was right, he was going to revisit the thrash scene that he and his band helped form and solidify back in the '80s. In fact, DEATH ANGEL was recently on VH1's "Metal Evolution" and lead singer Mark Osegueda was wearing a MACE T-shirt. MACE is also said to be the first metal band to ever make punk fanzine Maximum Rock And Roll's playlist.

A huge part of the thrash scene back in the '80s was the underground tape-trading movement which helped spread the word like wildfire. Hillis states, "We got all our shows on tour and fanzine reviews and interviews that way, giving it away on the Internet today is just an extension of that."
DOWNSPIRIT, the German/Swiss blues/metal-oriented band formed by SYMPHORCE/ex-FREEDOM CALL guitarist Cedric "Cede" Dupont, will enter the studios in mid-March to record its second album. A late summer release via Metalville Records is expected, to be followed by a tour in fall/winter.

DOWNSPIRIT's debut album, "Point Of Origin", was received well, with much positive feedback all over the world, and brought the band's touring schedule to include more than 60 shows around Europe.

Commented the group: "We can't wait to let you hear what our second album will sound like. Being on the road a lot and having so much fun together as a band certainly made it's inspiration to the songwriting process. We're gonna have a lot of killer tunes on that album, that's for sure!! We're looking forward to get to the studio in mid-March!"
Long-running German metallers ATROCITY will release a new DVD, "Die Gottlosen Jahre" (English translation: The Godless Years), on March 30.

Commented the band: "After years of preparation, rediscovering old treasures and unveiling unforgettable memories of our musical adventures, we are finally able to share our history which extends over a period of more than two decades since we formed the band in 1985. The DVD features the three-hour long anthology 'Die Gottlosen Jahre', including tons of unreleased and rare footage, moreover, more than 80 inteviewes from the global metal and gothic scene. It makes us unbelievably proud that so many people helped us during this long and detailed production process. The movie chronicles happenings around the scene bound to each period, evolving into its own chapter. Additionally, the double DVD including audio CD release includes the 25th-anniversary special show at Wacken Open Air 2010, as well as a number of bonus clips, such as the short, Dreath-Sidestory Underground."

"Die Gottlosen Jahre" features more than 80 interviews, including those with members of CARCASS, ARCH ENEMY, KREATOR, DIMMU BORGIR, DEICIDE, OBITUARY, SODOM, LACRIMOSA, DAS ICH, OOMPH!, PAIN, CREMATORY, ENTOMBED, MORGOTH, NAPALM DEATH, PUNGENT STENCH, UMBRA ET IMAGO, SAMSAS TRAUM, as well as journalists, label staff, DJs, photographers, and fans. Reels and reels of rare unreleased film material and hundreds of photographs accompany the 25-year career of this German cult band. Of course, no ATROCITY retrospective would ever be complete without the legendary 25th-anniversary concert (performed at Wacken Open Air 2010 to a red-hot crowd led by frontman Alex Krull) or without an abundance of bonus material such as the documentary "No Sleep 'Til Wacken", the short "Dreath Sidestory Underground", featuring Alex Krull and Ralf Scheepers (PRIMAL FEAR), as well as a substantial collection of the band's video clips, including some of their greatest hits ("Taste of Sin", "Love Is Dead" and "Cold Black Days"), which were completely remastered to guarantee their fans the utmost enjoyment. As with all Mastersound Studio releases, the remaining material also boasts of a state-of-the-art production.

"Die Gottlosen Jahre" track listing:

DVD 1:

Documentary - Die Gottlosen Jahre (The Godless Years)

01. Prolog
02. Untergrund
03. Aufbruch
04. Turbulenzen
05. Transilvanien
06. Weltmusik
07. Zusammenkunft
08. Hass und Feuer
09. Neue Ufer
10. Zweigeist
11. Verlorenes Paradies
12. Dunkle Schönheit
13. Stimmen der Vergangenheit
14. Epilog

DVD 2:

Live in Wacken 2010 + Bonus Clips

01. No Sleep 'Til Wacken
02. Fatal Step
03. Necropolis
04. Blut
05. Willenskraft
06. Seasons in Black
07. Clash of the Titans
08. Die Todgeweihten
09. Danse Macabre
10. The Great Commandment
11. Fade To Grey
12. The Sun Always Shines on TV
13. Shout

Bonus Clips:

01. Blut
02. Cold Black Days
03. The Sun Always Shines on TV
04. Reich of Phenomena (Liveclip)
05. Die Liebe (feat. Das Ich)
06. Taste of Sin
07. Shout (Liveclip)
08. Love is Dead
09. Fade to Grey (Liveclip)
10. Calling the Rain (feat. Yasmin)
11. The Great Commandment (Liveclip)
12. Miss Directed
13. Dreath - Sidestory "Underground"

DVD Specification:

Aspect Ratio: 16:9 PAL DV
Sound: Stereo 2.0
Language: English/German
Subtitle: English / German
Regional Code: All Regions
Running Time DVD I: 180 minutes
Running Time DVD II: 116 minutes

Bonus Audio CD:

Live in Wacken 2010

01. Fatal Step
02. Necropolis
03. Blut
04. Willenskraft
05. Seasons in Black
06. Clash of the Titans
07. Die Todgeweihten
08. Danse Macabre
09. The Great Commandment
10. Fade To Grey

In other news, drummer Roland Navratil left ATROCITY "for private reasons and has been replaced by Joris Nijenhuis. The band states, "Not only is he a great guy; he also totally blew us away during his audition. He is the perfect match for the new ATROCITY material!"

States Joris: "I'm really excited to announce that I'm the new drummer for ATROCITY. After quitting DRDOOM, it wasn't easy to find a new band, but then [bassist] J.B. [Van Der Wal] told me that ATROCITY was looking for a new drummer. So I recorded an audition video of 'Reich Of Phenomena' and was asked to come to the studio a few weeks later to meet everyone. I'm really looking forward to play on the upcoming album and play a lot of shows."
Former CHIMAIRA drummer Andols Herrick will guest on one track on the upcoming debut album from United Arab Emirates-based metallers BENEVOLENT. The CD will be released in the spring via Spellbind Records.

Commented Herrick in a statement, "I was approached by [BENEVOLENT's co-founder and lead guitarist] Hadi Sarieddine awhile back about the possibility of tracking drums for BENEVOLENT. I was quite impressed with the quality of the music and vocals."

He continued, "I love having the opportunity to work with a great band, who happens to represent the Middle East metal scene very well. I do know it is very vibrant having had the pleasure of performing with CHIMAIRA at the Desert Rock Festival in Dubai back in 2009."

Regarding the track that Andols is recording for the BENEVOLENT CD, the drummer said, "This song presented numerous rhythmic challenges as I was learning it. If you were a drummer with limited music theory experience, I'd just say 'Good luck trying to learn it!' The song is loaded with 'over-the-bar-line' guitar riffs, and I found myself, on occasion, discovering some of my transcriptions would be a sixteenth note off here or there!"

Added Sarieddine, "It is pretty crazy thinking that Andols Herrick is going to be drumming on one of our songs; if I go back in time and tell past-me that this was happening I'd probably get a pretty sarcastic reaction.

"The last couple of years since we started the band have been absolutely insanely great for us; getting such great reviews for the debut record, getting signed to Spellbind Records, and now this? I can't think that things could be any better for the band, I'm really proud of how things are coming together."

BENEVOLENT's debut EP, "Divided", came out in 2010. The band landed a deal with Spellbind Records in September 2011.

According to Hadi, the forthcoming CD will be "a lot more technical than 'Divided'; the songs have a lot going on and while it preserves that sound that we've created in our debut EP this is a step forward on many levels and it tells a story about lots of dark themes with the lyrical and instrumental direction on the album."
Finnish metallers ANTAGONIST ZERO will release their debut digital EP, "Nighttime Harmony", on March 14 via Violent Journey Records.

ANTAGONIST ZERO is a five-piece metal band from Porvoo, Finland, formed in 2010. Despite the bandmembers' relative young age, they have many years of experience playing in different groups such as ADASTRA, CAVUS, COPROLITH and LOST IN TEARS.

ANTAGONIST ZERO describes its music as "catatonic metal," which includes elements from different types of metal genres, namely doom as well as death/black and post metal.


Ben Pakarinen: Guitar, Vocals
Juho Suokas: Guitar
Ville Siikamäki: Clean Vocals
Fredde Sjöblom: Bass
Aleksi Tervo: Drums
German progressive death metallers WORDS OF FAREWELL have inked a deal with AFM Records. The band's debut album, "Immersion", will be released March 30.

Commented the group: "We're really proud to have been able to get a record deal after these five years. And the fact that we've been signed by such a big label such as AFM Records left us speechless at first because we certainly didn't expect that. Thus we're even more delighted to now be a part of the AFM family and hope that we'll be able to offer our fans quite a treat in the future, for Immersion is only the start of our kinship with AFM Records."


Alexander Otto - Vocals
Erik Gaßmus - Guitar
Henrik Tschierschky - Guitar
Nils Urginus - Bass
Jonas Wübbe - Drums
Leo Wichmann - Keyboards

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