[Classic_Rock_Forever] Black Sabbath, Aerosmith, Rush, Metallica, SLash, Testament, Ace Frehley, Tim Ripper Owens, Grave Digger, Killing Joke, Trouble, and tons more hard rock and heavy metal news


According to the Birminham Mail, Birmingham, England's culture chief has thrown his support behind a suggested "Black Sabbath Day" in the city to celebrate the heavy metal legends' contribution to music.

Council cabinet member for leisure, sport and culture Martin Mullaney has backed a series of recommendations in the "Destination Birmingham" report on the city's music industry and heritage published earlier this week.

Coun Mullaney (Lib Dem, Moseley and Kings Heath) said, "I am fully behind a celebration for BLACK SABBATH and we will be talking about that."

Council member Philip Parkin brought up the idea of a "Black Sabbath Day" in a report titled "Destination Birmingham," saying, "BLACK SABBATH's reunion and their agreement to headline Download festival in June is an opportunity we should not miss. Early discussions are taking place about how best the city should celebrate this and the council should be supporting any celebrations . . . we need to celebrate the fact these people come from Birmingham and there could be various ways we could do it."

The original lineup of BLACK SABBATH — bassist Geezer Butler, guitarist Tony Iommi, singer Ozzy Osbourne and drummer Bill Ward — reunited in November to record its first album in 33 years, to be followed by a world tour.

Those plans were thrown into question last month when Iommi was diagnosed with lymphoma, a form of cancer.

But the band has continued to work on the new album, moving the project to London from Los Angeles so that Iommi could be close to his doctors.

Last week, Ward issued a statement that he would not participate in the reunited band's new album and tour unless he was given a fair contract.

SABBATH is still scheduled to appear at this June's Download festival in the U.K., although a planned headlining slot at April's Coachella festival in California was scrapped and other tour plans have yet to be confirmed.
AEROSMITH guitarist Joe Perry has revealed via Twitter that the band will embark on a U.S. tour in June. Tickets will go on sale in March. Exact cities and dates will be announced during the coming weeks.

In a recent interview with the QMI Agency, Perry spoke about the progress of the recording sessions for the band's long-awaited new album, which is tentatively due later this year.

When asked about the sound of AEROSMITH's new material, Perry said, "It definitely has a feel like some of the early stuff. We've tried to bring that back. People are always asking for something that sounds like the old stuff, but you can't rewrite 'Mama Kin' or 'Same Old Song And Dance'. All you can do is go in and start from the same place you started when you made those records. So we just went in with (producer) Jack Douglas and we all worked on the record. There's a song or two that the band helped write, and Tom (Hamilton, bass) wrote and Brad (Whitford, guitar) has a track on there. So from that point of view, it's a lot more like an early AEROSMITH record. We were all in the room when we were pulling these songs together and recording them. Every way that we used to make our records, that's what we did to get this to where it is. Right down to what we're doing now, which is going over the tracks and bringing them up to speed. Steven [Tyler] is finishing up the lyrics and we're just going to put the finishing touches on it."

During a recent interview, Tyler stated about the new AEROSMITH album, "All of it's been written, but I gotta lay lyrics on it and I haven't had a lot of time," he said. "But what I've listened to so far just knocked me out. I know a good song, I know what's gonna get played on the radio, I'm not that pretentious to say I think we've got hits, but I think we've got something, and that's all that matters."

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".

Perry recently wrote on Twitter, "People have said when we play the rough tracks it sounds like it's from the '70s but for me, it's too early to tell."

Meanwhile, Tyler also said at the TCA 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 January 18.
"Time Machine 2011: Live In Cleveland", the latest DVD from the legendary rock band RUSH, has been nominated in the "Music DVD Of The Year" category at this year's Juno Awards (the Canadian equivalent of the Grammy Awards), set to be held in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada March 26 - April 1.

Captured in April at Cleveland's Quicken Loans Arena during the renowned trio's extensive "Time Machine" world tour, "Time Machine 2011: Live In Cleveland" marks the band's first live effort recorded at a U.S show, a deliberate nod of gratitude to the first city to support RUSH on its radio airwaves. The wildly popular tour featured a set filled with classic hits, fan favorites, and a glimpse into RUSH's forthcoming 20th studio album, "Clockwork Angels". As a centerpiece for the concerts, the band performed their landmark album "Moving Pictures" in its entirety — a first in the band's long and illustrious career. Rave reviews of the tour included The Hollywood Reporter's declaration that "the 'Time Machine' jaunt is nothing less than a must see… for nearly three hours, with intermission, RUSH proved why it remains among rock's elite live acts."

Directed by Scot McFadyen and Sam Dunn of Banger Films, "Time Machine 2011: Live In Cleveland" features the following track listing:

Set One

* The 'Real' History of Rush Episode No. 2 "Don't Be Rash"
* The Spirit of Radio
* Time Stand Still
* Presto
* Stick It Out
* Workin' Them Angels
* Leave That Thing Alone
* Faithless
* BU2B
* Free Will
* Marathon
* Subdivisions

Set Two

The 'Real'' History of Rush Episode No. 17 "...and Rock and Roll is my name."

* Tom Sawyer
* Red Barchetta
* Limelight
* The Camera Eye
* Witch Hunt
* Vital Signs
* Caravan
* Moto Perpetuo (featuring Love For Sale)
* O'Malley's Break
* Closer To The Heart
* 2112 Overture/The Temples of Syrinx
* Far Cry


* La Villa Strangiato
* Working Man

Bonus Material

* Outtakes from "History of Rush, Episode 2 & 17"
* "Tom Sawyer" featuring the cast of "History of Rush, Episode 17"
* "Need Some Love" Live from Laura Secord Secondary School
* "Anthem" Live from Passaic New Jersey
METALLICA, in conjunction with friends C3 Presents, today announced the creation of Orion Music + More, a new annual music, arts, and lifestyle festival founded and headlined by the band, a natural progression for a band that has headlined legendary festivals around the world for years. Orion Music + More will take place June 23-24 at Bader Field in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

"We've had the idea of doing our own lifestyle festival with lots of diverse music and fun and games for years," said METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich. "Finally this year all the practical ducks lined up in a row, and we are beyond psyched to bring Orion to our fans, friends and the curious. After the most incredible of weeks ever in December 2011 celebrating our 30th anniversary at the Fillmore in San Francisco, California, bringing the spirit of that week, the looseness of that week, the possibilities of that week, the fan interactive elements of that week, and the (fill in your own blank here) of that week to a festival setting is so exciting we can hardly contain ourselves."

Orion Music + More will feature multiple live music stages plus a lifestyle element that reflects each of METALLICA's band members many personal interests. METALLICA will headline both nights of Orion Music + More and play "The Black Album" in its entirety one night "Ride The Lightning" in its entirety the other. This will be the only time the band will perform these albums in North America in 2012. The lineup for Orion Music + More will span multiple musical genres. From punk to country, over 20 bands will perform.

Regarding how the bands were selected to perform at Orion Music + More, Ulrich said, "Music, to us, is really diverse; it covers all grounds. If you took the four of ours;' iPods and scanned through those, you would find the biggest variety and diversity of music, so we're trying to bring that spirit to this festival."

He added, "A lot of the European festivals, and certainly also Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo and so on, in outside lands in America, these festivals are really about diversity and about different experiences. You go there, you go check out bands you don't know a lot about, you go check out bands where it will be the first time you'll experience them. So there's a whole big pile of stuff — from punk to thrash to country to, sort, of alternative, straight-ahead rock, blues. But it's really about diversity."

The METALLICA Met Club fan club presale starts tomorrow, February 8 at 10 a.m. (Eastern) and runs through Friday, February 10 at 10 p.m. (Eastern). Met Club members get first dibs on buying festival tickets and with a couple of options to choose from.

* A Super Special Price at $125 including all fees for a 2-Day pass OR
* The Met Club Ultra 2-Day Pass, which includes Front of Stage Viewing Area Access, Exclusive Ultra Lounge Access & More for $225 including all fees!

Tickets will go on-sale to the public on Saturday, February 11 at 10 a.m. (Eastern) for $150 for a 2-Day Pass including all fees.

The festival billing is shaping up as follows:


For more information, visit www.orionmusicandmore.com.
Slash — the iconic, Grammy-winning rock guitarist and songwriter — is currently in a Los Angeles studio putting the finishing touches on his second solo album. The as-yet-untitled disc is due out May 22 on Slash's own label Dik Hayd International distributed through EMI.

In the U.K., the album will be released on May 21 in exclusive Classic Rock Fan Pack form — providing a unique collectable package containing the studio album with bonus tracks alongside a specially created magazine with unseen behind-the-scenes content put together by Classic Rock. The Fan Pack format will also come with free gifts, including a pin badge and artwork poster and will be available to buy via more than 2000 retail outlets on newsstands nationally as well as the traditional high street and online music retailers. Roadrunner Records will simultaneously release the record digitally. The standard physical release of the Slash album will follow through Roadrunner Records on June 18.

For the new album, Slash — along with and his bandmates Myles Kennedy (vocals), Brent Fitz (drums) and Todd Kerns (bass) — teamed with producer Eric Valentine, who also produced the "Slash" disc. All the songs were written together by Slash and Kennedy, and cameras have been rolling throughout the entire making of the album. Check out exclusive behind-the-scenes footage airing weekly beginning today.
One of the greatest thrash metal bands of all-time, Testament blew the music industry away with the reunion of their original lineup and the subsequent release of their 2008 opus, The Formation Of Damnation. That was 25 years into their career.
After that amount of time, most bands either haven't been speaking for 20 years or are embarking on one nostalgia tour after another. Testament, however, was reinvigorated, making the best music of their career, playing their biggest shows and pulverizing audiences across the globe the way few bands can.
Three years later, after the departure of drummer Paul Bostaph and bringing "The Atomic Clock" Gene Hoglan back into the fold (Gene also played drums on 1997's Demonic), Testament was keeping most of the industry in the dark as far as the status of the Formation follow-up. But with the second leg of their tour with Anthrax and Death Angel on the horizon, the band is ready to enlighten their legion and get the word out for the new album.
Ten studio albums is a landmark in the career of any artist, but as vocalist Chuck Billy discusses below, the expected April 2012 release of The Dark Roots Of Earth has special meaning for the band; it might just be that last thing you ever hear.
How does the upcoming album compare stylistically to the last one?
Well, I think all of our records are different in their own way. I'd say it's right in the same vein as Formation. There's some really good songs on the record that really stand out. We weren't just trying to focus and say, "Okay, let's just thrash as hard as we can from start to finish." We kinda wanted to make it more dynamic and just more of a good record that you could put on and listen to over and over again, sonically it sounds good and the songwriting is good as well.
Did you feel like when you got into the studio, you had a lot of ideas ready or were you going in for the writing of the album?
Once we got into the studio, most of the stuff was thought-out and finished writing-wise. There, of course, was still a few songs that when we started the recording process weren't really finished—they were still kind of in the works. But after massaging them over, they've turned out to be some of the better songs. Usually the last songs we write are kind of at the bottom of the priority list as far as what's making us feel good. That's the way it always ends up, but those songs ended up being some of the better ones.
For this record, I think we had about seven songs that were solid going into recording and another three that we kind of had to put together.
So there's 10 songs?
Then, did everything you write go on the record?
Yeah, that's just the way Eric [Peterson, guitarist] writes. We always say it, every time, "Let's write 15 – 20 songs and we'll pick the best 10." It never ends up that way; we always end up stealing a riff from another idea, another song and then building one, so parts get scraped. So we're constantly robbing other songs, so there's no extra tracks.
You're going out with Anthrax in a few weeks; had you ever toured with them back in the day?
We toured with them in 1987, but we just did the first leg of this tour a couple months ago. We did, I think, five weeks with Anthrax and Death Angel, and it went really well, so there's a second leg that we're starting next week.
Do you find that there are different crowds coming to those shows?
It's definitely a newer, younger crowd. It's not just 20 – 30-year fans of the music of all three bands that have been around that long. It's not just old fans coming. It's a lot of newer, young kids who have been exposed to this type of music. Sirius radio makes a big play in that, you know?
How is Paul Bostaph? Is he still recovering from that back injury?
He's fully recovered. He chose not to come back to the band and he's starting his own project now. We expected Paul to come back once he was better and the record was done and start touring like normal, but he chose to not come back to the band and he wants to start his own project. We can't stop him and wish him the best. Life goes on.
Where did the title of the record come from?
Eric thought of that. We've always been a band that's kind of planet-conscious, environment-conscious in our lyrics. So, you know, it was kind of a take of The New Order [1988]. Here we are in 2012, the 'end of the world,' you know. So The Dark Roots Of Earth just kind of made sense to us. It's almost like taking a stance, defending the planet, holding on to the planet, holding on to our beliefs about the planet.
From an environmental perspective?
Yeah, and for me, I'm Native American and Native Americans are really into the Earth. Mother Earth is a big part of their spirituality. For me, it's right in line with things I think are cool.
Why did you decide to tackle some of those issues at this point in your career?
Well, I don't think we tackled them [just] at this point. The New Order record, which was our second record in 1988, was basically about all Nostradamus predictions about the planet, the greenhouse effect and things like that.
So once we did The New Order record, we kind of got away from our first record, The Legacy, which was more like ghoulies and goblins and demons, almost like stereotypical heavy metal lyrics. To The New Order we decided to write about things that actually were real, or understood to be real. A prediction which we, which the world probably, sees how on [Nostradamus] has been with all his writings and stuff.
To us that was fascinating. He's hitting it on the head. Everything we talked about in 1988, here we are now almost living it today with the environment.
So you're looking back at those albums and kind of seeing some of what you were talking about coming true.
Oh, totally. We wrote about the ice sheets melting and the water burying some of the smaller islands. The planet freezing over again, back to the Ice Age. There's so much that has happened to our planet, it could happen again.
Here we are—all the stuff we talked about.  We're in 2012 now; this is the year it's supposed to be over. It's been 20 years and we're still playing, writing about the planet and we're living in the year that it's all supposed to happen.
Is that something that you believe?
I don't know if I'm a true believer, but there's got to be something to it.
How do you describe your spirituality or religion?
Well, I was raised Catholic. My mother was very religious. I went to church and did Catechism when I was younger. And then I just stopped going. I don't know if it's—I guess I believe in right and wrong, there's a good and bad, and a righteous person is the way to be.
I don't know about the beliefs that I was raised on. I believe in God and a Devil, but I'm not sold that 'give everything up and you're going to be saved and live forever,' to me that's… I don't know. I don't know if there is an afterlife.
When you stopped going to church, was that before or after you discovered heavy metal?
It was before. Once I moved out and was on my own, the only time I went to church was for a wedding or a funeral. We were there every Sunday and holiday. My mom went to church every day of her life. That's what she believed.
I respect that—I respect anyone's beliefs. Growing up and I guess learning and understanding other religions and other beliefs, I don't know if you just need something to believe in like that to give you hope that this isn't just it, but there's nothing backing where you go or what happens in the afterlife. Where do you go?
It's just a little different. I don't follow that and preach it. I just believe being a good person and a righteous person is the way to go.
Were you at all attracted to that heavy metal treatment of religion when you started listening to it?
I don't know why [religion] has to be treated that way. If you're in a heavy metal band, you have to believe in Satan or worship Satan? I don't think that's true so much. Like I said, my mom was very religious and she's seen the name of our band and the skull and pentagram… but she also knew that that's not what I followed and preached—it was just part of the act, I guess.
So you weren't actively rebelling?
No, not at all. I guess, maybe, why [metal bands] get stereotyped into that is that there's not a lot of other musical artists, from country to pop to blues—maybe some blues—that really talk about God and Devil; good and evil. A lot of heavy metal seems to be the type of music that has the balls to cover that type of topic and imagery. Other bands in other genres don't.
Testament will play at the Best Buy Theater with Anthrax and Death Angel on Feb. 8. For more information, go to testamentlegions.com.
Brookvale Records, in partnership with Rocket Science, will release the Ace Frehley "Anomaly" album on vinyl. Due on April 10, it will be a double LP set in special gatefold packaging with the vinyl silver in color. Only 1,000 copies hand-numbered copies will be made. The album will also be available at select retailers starting April 10.

For more information, go to this location.

"Anomaly", sold around 17,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 27 on The Billboard 200 chart.

In addition to the standard CD release, unique "Anomaly" packages were made available at Wal-Mart and Best Buy locations. The Wal-Mart version includes an Ace autographed tattoo while the Best Buy edition is printed on silver stock, like the KISS "Double Platinum" album.

Released on September 15, 2009 via Ace's own Bronx Born Records, with Rocket Science providing a full label service platform in the U.S., "Anomaly" was produced and recorded in Westchester County, New York between 2007 and 2009 and was mixed in Los Angeles.
Tim "Ripper" Owens' (DIO DISCIPLES, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, BEYOND FEAR, JUDAS PRIEST, ICED EARTH) will embark on a solo tour of Australia/New Zealand in May/June. Confirmed dates are as follows:

May 17 - Melbourne, Australia - The Hi Fi
May 18 - Hobart, Australia - The Brisbane
May 19 - Brisbane, Australia - The Hi Fi
May 20 - Adelaide, Australia - Fowlers - All Ages
May 24 - Newcastle, Australia - The Cambridge
May 25 - Canberra, Australia - The Basement
May 26 - Sydney, Australia - Venue TBC tomorrow
May 27 - Wollongong, Australia - The Patch
Jun. 01 - Wellington, New Zealand - Bodegas
Jun. 02 - Auckland, New Zealand - Kings Arms

Released in May 2009, "Play My Game", the first solo album from Owens, landed at position No. 66 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 CD was released via SPV/Steamhammer. The offering consists of around a dozen brand-new tracks that Owens composed himself or together with renowned friends, such as Bob Kulick, Chris Caffery (SAVATAGE, TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA), Mike Callahan (ex-EARSHOT) and John Comprix (BEYOND FEAR, RINGWORM).

Owens is without doubt among the most important metal vocalists of the past ten years. When he succeeded Rob Halford, joining JUDAS PRIEST in May 1996, the press rubbed their eyes, surprised as well as impressed: Owens had previously been a fairly unknown quantity to international music journalists and only a few new of him from the band WINTERS BANE, but he recorded his first PRIEST album, the Grammy-nominated "Jugulator" (1997) with more aplomb than even insiders had expected. Following successful tours with the British metal legends, the strong studio recording "Demolition" (2001), and the live recordings, "Meltdown - 98 Live" (1998) and "Live In London" (2003), and the movie "Rockstar" that was loosely based on Tim's experience with JUDAS PRIEST, Halford's return put an end to Owens' stint with JUDAS PRIEST. More or less immediately, he was enlisted by Jon Schaffer to team up with ICED EARTH and sang on "The Glorious Burden" in spring 2004. Three years later, Owens followed suit with the ICED EARTH album "Framing Armageddon (Something Wicked Pt. I)", which succeeded the self-titled highly praised debut by his own band BEYOND FEAR. Spring 2008 saw Owens move on to join one of the world's best guitar players Yngwie Malmsteen, debuting with a sensational vocal performance on "Perpetual Flame".
German power metallers GRAVE DIGGER have issued the following update:

"Since last November, we work on brand new songs. 10 compositions are completely done and already in pre-production. One more song is in progress. Also a cover version of a male, 'not-heavy-metal' artist is going to be finished within the next days.

"Don't worry, it won't be another German 'Schlager' song... it will be 150 percent pure GRAVE DIGGER metal. Again we transferred the spirit of the '80s into the sound of 2012.

"Beginning mid-March, we start recording the new masterpiece again in the Principal Studios in Münster and it should be finished by end of May. The cover is also done already, focusing again on our 'reaper.'

"In April, we'll tour Brazil for some more shows with our friends from BLIND GUARDIAN.

"The release of the new album is scheduled for August 2012."

GRAVE DIGGER last fall extended its contract with Napalm Records. The band said in a statement, "Napalm is a small and hard-working team that is as effective and productive as a company of 70 people. Always reachable and competent, they work with their artists individually. These are the strengths of Napalm, and that is why we have signed a deal for three more records under the Napalm banner."

"The Clans Are Still Marching", the latest DVD from GRAVE DIGGER, entered the German Media Control chart at position No. 56 (German chart rules allow music DVDs to enter album charts).

GRAVE DIGGER's latest album, "The Clans Will Rise Again", was released in Europe on October 1, 2010 via Napalm Records. The CD was recorded between mid-May 2010 and mid-July 2010 at the Meadow Studios, which is owned by GRAVE DIGGER's new guitarist Axel Ritt, and Principal Studios, where all of GRAVE DIGGER albums since 1995's "Heart Of Darkness" have been tracked. It was produced by Chris Boltendahl and mixed by Jörg Umbreit.
The original lineup of KILLING JOKE will release its new album, "2012", on April 2 via Spinefarm Records. The effort will be released in CD hardcopy and digital formats. It will also be made available on double colored gatefold vinyl.

The album's key is the end of times, an age of flux, a shift in consciousness…

"I can't see the point contemplating extreme life extinction — it's good for nothing. It's nihilism in the absolute even considering it," states KILLING JOKE mainman Jaz Coleman.

This kind of thinking sets the tone for this powerful record, with 2012 and the state of flux the key issue…

"It's in many different calendars — the great unveiling, the sky and the earth coming together. It's a significant date. In the autumn, there is a major planetary alignment, and on that day I'm doing this rock festival, 'A Party At The End Of The Earth', which is going to be in New Zealand. Everything is speeding up. It's not just our minds shrinking. We are heading towards the Eschaton and no-one really knows what's going to happen."

The album reflects this dark vision, but Jaz Coleman sees the great change in a more positive light — the dawning of the Age Of Aquarius…

"All the remote viewers I know, myself included, cannot penetrate beyond," he says. "This year is about getting our collective dreams in order, restoring the biosphere, the idea of well-being as opposed to economic growth, the idea of partnership and co-creation with fellow human beings, moving away from national boundaries and more towards what Schiller and Beethoven were saying in some of their work."

The album's themes are political, anti-capitalist and forward-looking…

"If we can concentrate on what it can be, the dream of clean streams, of re-forestation, of permaculture, of disengaging all the banks — identifying all the majority shareholders of the top 100 corporations and dismantling them," Coleman says. "If we start dreaming of a fairer system and defining what an elite should be – an intellectual powerhouse and not international bankers."

Jaz laughs that wild laugh and stares.

"This is what I'm touching on with the songs; 'Fema Camp' is about the concentration camps they have been building in America; 'Corporate Elect' needs no explanation; 'Rapture' is the way I perceive a KILLING JOKE concert – it's a spiritual experience for myself to get into that state of grace… music is the theme of mantra. I'm not into organised religion at all, but I've always liked what Fela Kuti did in Nigeria, playing music like it was a temple. Maybe we will evolve into a time where we will be performing for ritualistic and spiritual reasons alone and not for monetary reasons?"

"There's a song called 'On All Hallows Eve', which is about my belief in ancestor worship, backed up by quantum theories that there is no death. You only ever remember the time-line that you are alive in — you can't remember being dead because you never were. 'Colony Collapse' is about what's happening, what's going on out there. 'Poleshift' is the first track on the album and about the potential polar shift of the earth's magnetic field, its erratic behaviour, and also the polar shift that will be needed."

The 11 album tracks are an avalanche of sound that is empowering whilst jolting you awake. They are as fascinating as chatting with Coleman, as he talks of future humans living forever but with no emotions, and of the Age Of Aquarius and the cycles of time, the shift in the earth's electro-magnetic field, the end of extreme capitalism, the Arab Spring and how his trips to Cairo to record music have added to his belief that when Cairo falls everywhere else follows…

"2012" is possibly KILLING JOKE's best album ever, and fittingly Mike Coles, long-time KILLING JOKE collaborator and artistic genius, has completed the artwork.

To celebrate the album's release, KILLING JOKE is streaming the track "Rapture" as a taster on YouTube.

"2012" formats and track listing:

CD/Digital Album

01. Pole Shift
02. Fema Camp
03. Rapture
04. Colony Collapse
05. Corporate Elect
06. In Cythera
07. Primobile
08. Glitch
09. Trance
10. On All Hallow's Eve

Double Colored Gatefold Vinyl

Side A:

01. Pole Shift
02. Fema Camp

Side B:

01. Rapture
02. Colony Collapse
03. Corporate Elect

Side C:

01. In Cythera
02. Primobile
03. Glitch

Side D:

01. Trance
02. On All Hallow's Eve

iTunes exclusive track

11. New Uprising

When their original line-up of Jaz Coleman, Geordie, Youth and Big Paul reconvened in 2008 after working together intermittently, that strange voodoo once again filled the room. Individually, they have a power, but together they have something sulphurous and strong that few bands can match. KILLING JOKE are not an average band with an average agenda; they lock the door and let the ritual commence, and "2012" is the result.
After four years and a minimal amount of touring and no record deal or album release date in sight, singer Kory Clarke (of WARRIOR SOUL fame) has decided to leave Chicago doom metal legends TROUBLE to start a new project with guitarist Russ Strahan (PENTAGRAM, LAND OF DOOM) called THE BONES OF CHILDREN.

"This metal album will be high energy, with a fresh artistic approach to the genre without the limitations of the over-50-something religious crowd," Kory laughs. "It will be so nice to be working without the shackles that a previous singer has left behind of a band that is over 30 years old and acts and sounds like it. I like to do progressive, pushing-the-boundary lyrics in an individualistic style. I don't want to sound like Ozzy, like [TROUBLE's] old singer [Eric Wagner] tried to do. I am also glad when I look to my left on stage from now on I will not be seeing 'Derek Smalls' in my peripheral vision. [Laughs]." He adds, "I just cannot play with people who are fundamentalist Christians, or too family-oriented to the point that they can't tour, do records or knock down a few margaritas with me at the bar. This is rock 'n' roll, guys, not the Family Channel."

THE BONES OF CHILDREN will make its debut release available sometime this fall.

TROUBLE's guitarist/co-founder Rick Wartell previously stated about Clarke's contribution to the band, "Kory is an incredibly talented and dynamic singer. He's a great addition to the band as he brings a high level of professionalism, which has positively affected the creative process. Working in a no-limitation environment is great."

TROUBLE has spent the past couple of years working on its ninth album with Bill Metoyer, who has produced albums from SLAYER, D.R.I., SACRED REICH and CORROSION OF CONFORMITY, among others, and has worked with TROUBLE in the past. Also involved in the recording process was TROUBLE's longtime engineer Larry Burns, who is entrusted with capturing the band's signature sound not only behind the studio console helm but at the group's live shows.

TROUBLE formed in 1979 and released several classic albums like "Trouble", "Manic Frustration" and "Plastic Green Head".

Eric Wagner left TROUBLE in April 2008, citing his disdain for the touring life as the main reason for his departure.
Chicago doom-metal legends TROUBLE have recruited Kyle Thomas as their new singer.

Thomas, former lead vocalist for EXHORDER, FLOODGATE, WITCH, and ALABAMA THUNDERPUSSY, is no stranger to TROUBLE as he previously fronted the band for four live shows between 1997 and 1999, including Stoner Hands Of Doom festival in Maryland (see video below) and Expo Of The Extreme in Chicago. Thomas has also collaborated on projects with members of SLIPKNOT, DOWN, OBITUARY and DEICIDE.

"We are really excited to be working with Kyle again," states Rick Wartell, TROUBLE co-founder/guitarist. "The shows we played with him in the past were very well-received by the fans and now we'll have an opportunity to work with him in the studio on our new record. His vocals are amazing and a perfect fit for the band."

Bruce Franklin, TROUBLE's other co-founder/guitarist, adds, "The history with Kyle and TROUBLE really goes back to his teenage years as he told me that he and Jimmy Bower (of DOWN) would drive around in his old Pinto and listen to TROUBLE. He's an excellent, highly energetic singer and it's great to have him be an official member of the band now."

TROUBLE is currently working on its ninth studio album with Thomas on vocals and plans to release the record this spring.

TROUBLE's current lineup is:

Kyle Thomas (vocals)
Rick Wartell (guitar)
Bruce Franklin (guitar)
Shane Pasqualla (bass)
Mark Lira (drums)

TROUBLE formed in 1979 and released several classic albums like "Trouble", "Manic Frustration" and "Plastic Green Head".

Singer Kory Clarke (of WARRIOR SOUL fame) announced his departure from TROUBLE earlier today to start a new project with guitarist Russ Strahan (PENTAGRAM, LAND OF DOOM) called THE BONES OF CHILDREN.

Clarke's predecessor, Eric Wagner, left TROUBLE in April 2008, citing his disdain for the touring life as the main reason for his departure.
BULLETBOYS frontman Marq Torien, was interviewed for a recent episode of Steve Mascord's "White Line Fever" podcast. You can now stream the chat using the SoundCloud player below. (Note: The Torien interview begins around the 26-minute mark.)

When asked about the reunion of BULLETBOYS' original lineup — Torien on vocals, Mick Sweda on guitar, Lonnie Vencent on bass and Jimmy D'Anda on drums — for a one-night-only New Year's Eve weekend show on December 30, 2011 at Hollywood, California's Club Vodka at the legendary Key Club on the Sunset Strip, Marq said, "It was a wonderful, wonderful night — a magical night. It was for one night only, to get together for the fans right before the New Year."

He added, "I love Jimmy and Mick and Lonnie — very much so. We're all like brothers; sometimes we're feuding, sometimes we're loving, sometimes we're not talking. But we made some amazing music together. And it was just a wonderful night, man. And hopefully we'll be able to come, at some point, to some resolve in the future to hopefully play some more shows. I know I'm open to it. I know I would love more than anything to continue on with it with my three other mates."

Regarding Jimmy D'Anda's recent Facebook posting in which the drummer claimed that "Marq wants to continue to tour and record without the original members of the band so that he can maintain 100% control of the name BULLETBOYS," Torien said, "Jimmy's statement was a complete falsehood. Basically, he wasn't being honest, not only with himself, but with our fans."

He continued, "I penned a letter to all three of my mates to talk about doing something in the future, and Jimmy just never really read the letter and just decided that he was going to air dirty laundy out in public, and myself, Mick, Lonnie, we've never done that with this band. It was very hurtful, because I was trying to be very open with my feelings with the letter . . . I also mentioned that I wanted to create something for our fans and our friends, which would be something new musically.

"I don't like to go out and constantly play old music; I don't think it's fair. I think if you're a band, you need to come out with something a bit special for your fans, as good as it can be, and there's a lot of different things that I'd like to do before we start playing again.

"I happen to own the name of the band. There's other people in other bands that happen to own the name of their band. For whatever reason, the guys trust me with the name of this band, and I'm supposed to be handling it in the best way that I possibly can, and that's all I've been trying to do.

"Anything I've been saying about Jimmy D'Anda, I just want everybody to know that I've known Jimmy since he was probably about 16, or 15, years old. And to me, he's always been the greatest drummer that I've ever worked with. But sometimes when you get older in life, sometimes it's harder to trust people, and when that trust isn't there, or maybe they don't want to trust or they're scared to trust, it's a big thing, man. It's really hard to walk back into something.

"I know that Lonnie is going to be playing some shows with me. I spoke to him a couple of days ago. I'm hoping that Mick comes and plays some shows. I spoke to Mick about possibly producing the new BULLETBOYS record. He's very, very open to it. I think he's an amazing engineer and singer/songwriter, and amazing person; he has a heart of gold. Extremeley, extremely talented, and the best guitar player I've ever played with ever in my career."

BULLETBOYS was one of the prominent bands in the flourishing Hollywood metal scene during the late 1980s, with numerous smash hits such as "Smooth Up In Ya", "For The Love Of Money" and "Hang On St. Christopher" off the group's platinum-selling classic self-titled debut and follow-up, "Freakshow", dominating both MTV and radio airwaves.
Swedish progressive metallers OPETH have issued the following update:

"Due to reasons beyond our control, tonight's [Tuesday, February 7] OPETH show in Maldives has been cancelled. We are hopeful that the show will be able to go ahead tomorrow, [February] 8th, and the band are already in the country and ready to play for their fans. We'll keep you updated of any further developments as they happen."

WatchMojo.com recently conducted an interview with vocalist/guitarist Mikael Åkerfeldt of Swedish progressive metallers OPETH. You can now watch the chat below.

OPETH will team up with MASTODON for a spring North American co-headlining tour. The trek kicks off on April 4 in Portland, Maine, and visits more than 30 cities in the U.S. and Canada before wrapping up at Atlanta's Masquerade Music Park on May 12.

OPETH's new album, "Heritage", sold 19,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 19 on The Billboard 200 chart. The band's previous studio CD, 2008's "Watershed", opened with more than 19,000 units to land at No. 23.

"Watershed" was the follow-up to the band's acclaimed "Ghost Reveries" CD, which debuted at No. 64 on the Billboard chart back in September 2005 with first-week sales of just under 15,000.

OPETH's 2003 album, "Damnation", premiered with a little over 5,000 copies.
Roadrunner Records has announced the signing of STORM CORROSION.

STORM CORROSION is the long-discussed and highly anticipated collaboration between two of the modern progressive rock scene's most innovative and multi-talented artists: Mikael Åkerfeldt of OPETH and PORCUPINE TREE's Steven Wilson. The pair will release "Storm Corrosion" on April 24.

A little background information on the genesis of this project: Åkerfeldt and Wilson have been friends since the late '90s, when Wilson co-produced OPETH's revered "Blackwater Park" album. Over the years, they'd often spoken of working on a project together, but it wasn't until recently that they managed to make something happen, when Mikael flew over to visit Steven in the U.K. and they ended up in Wilson's home studio throwing ideas around. That visit was the nascence of a whole self-titled album, written and produced by the pair, and mixed by Wilson.

The sound of STORM CORROSION can best be described as enchanting, orchestral, ambient, epic (half the album's tracks clock in around the 10-minute mark) and nothing short of surprising to the new ear. However, the musicians' respective fanbases will be primed to appreciate the new output, with Wilson's recent solo album, "Grace For Drowning", and OPETH's "Heritage" having brought them to a logical place to understand STORM CORROSION. This eponymous collection is almost viewed as one side of a musical triangle.

Says Wilson, "If you'd asked me three months ago about the music, I would have said, 'Expect the last thing you would expect.' But actually, now that 'Heritage' and 'Grace For Drowning' have come out, I don't think it's going to be that much of a shock to people, because it's almost like a third part of the trilogy, in a way. If anything, it's even more orchestral, even more stripped down, even more dark, twisted and melancholic… but it certainly feels like it comes from the same place as 'Heritage' and 'Grace For Drowning', which indeed it does because it was written during the same period."

"Some of the music on this record I think is the most beautiful music I have participated on ever," adds Åkerfeldt. "There's some magical sections on there. Musically, I think we've created something earthy, a bit frightening, exhausting, profound and rather intense. All at the same time. I can safely say I don't know any other band or artist that sounds anything like STORM CORROSION. I guess that was also one of our goals, so to speak."

Roadrunner Senior VP of A&R, Monte Conner, welcomed STORM CORROSION to the Roadrunner family, commenting, "I am honored to have the Roadrunner logo on the STORM CORROSION album. Steven Wilson and Mikael Åkerfeldt have demonstrated time and time again that they are two of the truest and most important artists working today, and it is not often that I get to work with musicians of this caliber. This album is a beautiful piece of work that will appeal to fans of Steven and Mikael's past records, while at the same time exploring new avenues for both artists."
Two members of the Swedish metal band IN FLAMESPeter Iwers (bass) and Björn Gelotte (guitar) — are partners in a restaurant in their hometown of Gothenburg with a focus on "quality and service." Named 2112 as a tribute to RUSH's "2112" album, the establishment had its grand opening in April 2011.

2112 has been nominated for a "Best Restaurant" award (Göteborgspriset) by the Swedish magazine Nöjesguiden Göteborg.

A three-minute video report on the 2112 restaurant courtesy of Germany's Metal Hammer magazine can be viewed below.

"We decided to open a place that was part restaurant with fine dining and part pub with a great selection and a good bar menu," Iwers and Gelotte told GAFFA. "Both of us love to go out and drink and eat and that is exactly what you can do here. You can start in the restaurant and continue in the pub, or vice versa."

2112 is located at Magasingatan 5 in Gothenburg.

For more information, visit www.restaurant2112.com.
Reactivated classic early '80s metal band OBSESSION has completed work on its long-awaited new album, "Order Of Chaos", for a 2012 release.

The group's current lineup is as follows:

Michael Vescera - Vocals
John Bruno - Guitar
Scott Boland - Guitar
Chris McCarvill - Bass
BJ Zampa – Drums
The band's 2006 CD, "Carnival of Lies", was re-released through Mausoleum Records on February 12, 2008. This reissue featured new artwork and the bonus tracks "Panic In The Streets" (previously only available on the Avalon release in Japan) and "Judas". The album's title track featured Swedish guitar sensation Robert Marcello (DANGER DANGER, IRONHORSE) and Boston based neo-classical shred-god Joe Stump (REIGN OF TERROR).

OBSESSION gained success in the late '80s with the release of a four-song EP, 1984's "Marshall Law" (Metal Blade Records), two LPs (1986's "Scarred For Life" and 1987's "Methods Of Madness", both for Enigma/Capitol Records), and an MTV "Headbanger's Ball"-aired video for "For the Love of Money", from "Methods of Madness".

OBSESSION's original lineup featured Michael and Jay along with Bruce Vitale, Art Maco (guitar, retired) and Matt Karagus (bass, retired).
SEPULTURA will join forces with DEATH ANGEL, KRISIUN and HAVOK for a North American tour in April/May. Exact cities and dates will be announced soon.

SEPULTURA played its first show with new drummer Eloy Casagrande (GLÓRIA, ANDRÉ MATOS) on November 25 in Lichtenfels, Germany.

Casagrande joined SEPULTURA as the replacement for Jean Dolabella, who left the band because he could no longer handle being away from home for long periods of time.

Eloy is a 21-year-old drum prodigy from São Paulo, Brazil who won the Modern Drummer "Undiscovered Drummer" contest as a teenager in 2006.

Dolabella left SEPULTURA after a five-year run of relentless touring and two studio albums. He joined SEPULTURA in 2006 following the departure of the band's original drummer, Igor Cavalera.

SEPULTURA is touring in support of its 12th studio album, and Nuclear Blast Records debut, "Kairos", which hit stores in July 2011.

DEATH ANGEL will release a DVD entitled "A Thrashumentary" in the spring. According to a press release, "A Thrashumentary" is a combination live video and documentary, all wrapped up in one thrashing DVD. The footage was directed by Tommy Jones (SOILWORK, KATAKLYSM) and mixed by Chris Clancy of The Studio. The film gives the viewer an in-depth look into one of the longest-running thrash acts out of the San Francisco Bay Area, a region known for turning out historic thrash bands such as METALLICA, TESTAMENT and EXODUS.

"Relentless Retribution", the latest album from DEATH ANGEL, sold 2,700 copies in the United States in its first week of release. The CD landed at position No. 10 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 band's previous album, "Killing Season", opened with around 2,300 units back in March 2008. This number was in line with the performance of its predecessor, "The Art of Dying", which registered a first-week sales tally of around 2,100 back in May 2004.
Australia's Metal Obsession recently conducted an interview with Max Cavalera (SOULFLY, CAVALERA CONSPIRACY, SEPULTURA). A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Metal Obsession: SOULFLY's new drummer, David Kinkade, has described [the band's new album' "Enslaved" as "[SEPULTURA's] 'Arise' on crack." Would that be an accurate description?

Max: [laughs] I think he just said that for a bit of fun. Just fucking around with the new record. This new SOULFLY album, "Enslaved", is its own thing. It's definitely a SOULFLY record because all the trademarks are there, but it's probably the most extreme so far. I'm very proud of that. I specifically hand picked death metal-orientated riffs and beats, because David Kinkade comes from a death metal school of drumming and he can play that stuff really well. I made those beats and those specific parts with David in mind, so the new SOULFLY album could be the most extreme we have ever written. I mean, take "World Scum", for example. That's probably the most extreme song that I've ever done and I'm very happy that's the first single. It announces the record in a great way; it's so heavy and so brutal. It's like, "YES! We're back with a vengeance."

Metal Obsession: When listening to an advance copy of "Enslaved" last night. I got the impression that NAPALM DEATH and MORBID ANGEL were heavily influential towards the new album.

Max: Yeah man! It's very MORBID ANGEL-like. It's like the cousin of MORBID ANGEL in terms of how we play. [laughs]

Metal Obsession: Speaking of which. What are your thoughts towards the new MORBID ANGEL [album], "Illud Divinum Insanus"?

Max: I'd say they should have done it as a side project. The songs they had should have been on a separate album. Some of the songs were good; they sounded killer. If it were up to me, I would have written those songs on a completely different album and put those more experimental songs on another album. I think someone should have approached them and said, "You guys should do a side project," you know? I mean people waited almost eight years for a MORBID ANGEL record and I can understand their disappointment. I heard those songs and was in shock. I think people wanted something heavier, especially after waiting eight years. They wanted the real MORBID ANGEL. I can understand why so many people feel disappointed.

Metal Obsession: Who else would you say has influenced this album, musically?

Max: I'd say the whole era of death metal. Bands like SUFFOCATION, MORBID ANGEL, CANNIBAL CORPSE, MASSACRE, DEATH, POSSESSED, DARK ANGEL. That whole era of death metal. There is a lot of European bands in there too. Bands like CELTIC FROST, BATHORY. I'd also say that KREATOR were a huge influence along with DESTRUCTION. I really like all of it. I mean I like all forms of heavy metal, not just death metal. I enjoy a lot of "regular" heavy metal as well, bands like ANGEL WITCH and SATAN. I love all of it, man. METAL CHURCH which isn't really fast, but is still pretty cool. I love MERCYFUL FATE, too.

Metal Obsession: Are you at all worried what will become of heavy metal in the next couple of years when all these classic bands start to disappear?

Max: Not at all, because heavy metal has a tendency to carry on whatever happens. I think Gene Simmons once said that "heavy metal is like a car that's made in Detroit. It will be here forever and never die." [laughs] That's a very good way of putting it and I believe it to be true. Heavy metal may change from time to time, but it refuses to die which is amazing. To be honest, I actually enjoy the new wave of metal bands coming out. Bands like OCEANO, WHITECHAPEL, THE ACACIA STRAIN and GOJIRA. I like it all. Some of the descriptions for these bands are a bit weird like mathcore and deathcore, but it's all good. The producer on our new record, Zeuss, he's actually worked with a lot of those bands and I love the fact that he's worked with these bands. Because I wanted a similar heavy sound for "Enslaved" and I got it with Zeuss. The sound on "Enslaved" is very modern. It's up to standards of what you'd hear from a solid band today, but with a lot of death metal influence.
Lamb of God guitarist Mark Morton might write about rednecks, drinking and peppering his lyrics with f-bombs, but he is one of the brightest and most insightful musicians you'd ever want to talk to. A student at the Virgina Commonwealth University — where he first met future LOG members John Campbell and Chris Adler — Morton is an obviously well-educated dude who just happens to play lead guitar and write songs for one of the more successful metal bands around. Mark and his bandmates just released Resolution, their seventh album, a pounding collection of riffs and agonized vocals balanced by a sampling of acoustic guitars and even one track featuring real strings and operatic vocals.
This interview happened at 7:00 a.m. Pacific time and 10:00 a.m. locally for Morton. He apologized for the early start time and said he had a lot of things to do today. It was not a problem since this writer started waking up at the ungodly hour of like 6:00 in the morning, working for two hours, and completing the day by 8 o'clock. When Mark heard about the schedule he laughed and said, "I'll trade you." I laughed even louder and said, "Dude, I'd trade for your life in a heartbeat."
UG: What was it like performing in India for the Summer Storm Festival?
Mark Morton: I'd forgotten or didn't recall that they called it that but I'm not doubting it. It is and will be one of the most memorable experiences in all my career. India is world renowned as just being this incredibly exotic and such a rich history and such an amazingly complex place. I think most of the world is fascinated with Indian culture and it was just a place that I never thought I would get to. It's not something I would have ever really considered a vacation destination just because of how far it is and not really knowing much about the place. It's a place I never thought I'd get to but a place I've always appreciated from a distance.
So it met your expectations?
To have gotten there to play a show in front of what I think was certainly more than 6,000 kids and closer to 7,000 our first time in in Bangalore was just incredible. We say kids and I've gotten lashed for saying that lately: Closer to 7,000 fans. It was one of those things where I was like, "I can't believe this is like happening. It's really surreal to be in this incredible faraway land and have all these fans in front of us that know the songs and are so eager to see the show." We were just blown away by the whole experience.
Indian fans really did know the music?
Oh, man, I mean, yeah. There were a sea of bootleg t-shirts in front of us and singing every word. It was everything you could have asked for. And we're going back.
You also went out with Metallica for the World Magnetic Tour.
We were for several legs of it for part of the Wrath tour cycle. It's funny to do these interviews because I'm reminded of everything. You get back to your normal life and everything sort of just fades into the fabric of what our lives are. But yeah, now I think about it, "Wow, we went to India and we were on tour with Metallica three times." Pretty incredible. Yeah, we toured North America, Europe and Australia with Metallica. They were incredibly gracious hosts and we learned a lot from those guys. It was just exciting to get to know them on a personal level and realize that they're really committed, down-to-earth guys who are very serious about their music and very grateful about their position in the music industry. They take it seriously but they have a lot of fun with it as well. I think their outlook and the vision on the whole thing is one of the things I've carried away with me as one of the more inspirational elements of what I got out of that experience.
Musically did Metallica open your eyes in any way?
Well the thing is I've been a Metallica fan since I first heard Ride the Lightning. I think I've been inspired by them on a musical level for decades. They've veered off into more commercial ventures over the course of their career and I didn't necessarily follow them through all of that just because of the timing and where I was in my own tastes musically. And that's fine but I have a huge respect for them having done that. I think it was a big risk and they pulled it off like no one ever has and there's a lot to be said for that. But I have a huge respect and admiration for their guts in doing that and how well they executed it. But my point is that watching them play, watching their set—and I watched them a lot—it's not to much that anything was really new to me in terms of how they construct songs or that riff, "Wow, I'm inspired by that riff." I already knew that stuff.
It was more their attitude than the music?
I think what inspired me was the fact that these guys switch up their set list every single night. They practice and rehearse for 45 minutes to an hour as a band before they take the stage. I don't mean like we'd strap on our guitars and warm up for 10 or 15 minutes. They have the luxury of having their own practice room but they set up and play as a band for better than 45 minutes before they ever take the stage. You'll be walking down the hallway and hear them learning one of their songs that they maybe haven't played in a couple months. Rehearsing it and getting it back up to speed because they're gonna play it that night and they may not have played it for a month—or a year. I think they keep themselves interested and they certainly keep the fans interested by doing things like that. That is the kind of stuff that inspired me and that was the kind of stuff that made me take a look and see how we could get better.
Do people ask you about Metallica a lot?
It's interesting. I've spent probably interview-wise 25 percent of my time since that tour talking about Metallica and the other 75 percent talking about Lamb of God.
That was stupid. I shouldn't have asked you about Metallica right off the bat.
[Laughs] It's OK; people can't resist. I think people are enamored by them and I think people are intrigued by 'em. We're fortunate to have had an inside look and we're fortunate to have gotten to know them and to have gotten to know them musically and personally. So I understand why people are interested.
Why do you think Metallica have had so much success?
I think it's easy to understand up through Justice because they were one of the more accessible and very well-constructed thrash metal bands in my own opinion. Bay Area thrash. And they were just kinda the most sort of polished and just a great thrash metal band—one of the best. I think when the Black record hit, which was the first record that kind of lost me as a fan but that's because I was a fan through all that [other] stuff, I think the Black album was the perfect tie to all that sort of '80s decadent—I hate the term—hair metal.
You thought that was the transition?
All that '80s glossy music, which wasn't metal, it was pop but they had long hair and called it metal. But the Black album had that Bob Rock production and that slick song structure but it was still super heavy and I still think it's one of the best-sounding metal records ever made. Even though the songs like I said alienated me a little bit at the time. But I think it was just the perfect bridge between all that super glossy pop stuff and an in-between to real thrash metal. It was just polished enough where it was acceptable and spliced-up songwriting-wise enough so it was accessible and hooky and catchy but it was still heavy. And to me it was almost like a parallel to—and this is a weird comparison—but the way Nirvana took punk rock and made it accessible.
That makes complete sense.
They were the other way around—it was pop music but it was just dirty enough and grimy and ugly enough and it had punk roots, that it appealed [to the punks]. They were kind of parallel successes even though the bands sound nothing alike. But they were just the perfect bridge between pop and this true underbelly, this true underground scene. And Metallica and Nirvana were both examples of bands that were able to sort of bridge that and still maintain their identity. I think that plus a lot of good marketing is the reason at least to me for the success on paper. But there's also a very visceral magic element that you can't construct.
Let's leave those guys for the moment and talk about something important.
Let's talk about my little band!
Exactly. When we spoke previously for the Wrath album you said, "Wrath is stripped down and it's more raw, but I know that there are actually more guitar tracks on Wrath than there are in Sacrament." How would you position Resolution guitar-wise when compared to Wrath?
I don't think there was necessarily a global vision in terms of guitars and the amount and the approach. I knew going in that we wanted a very realistic tone again. It's very easy to plug into all these wonderful machines and I won't name names because then I'll be knockin' on people. They have their use and we use those types of machines and programs and all that kind of stuff for a certain thing. But I knew that like Wrath we wanted to set up real amps with real cabinets. And put mics in front of them and actually play the guitar parts through them and have the speaker push the air and the signal into the mic and have that run straight into the ProTools. These days that is a very organic way of running guitar tracks and I knew we wanted to do that again.
So the approach to the album in general was maybe a bit less scripted than Wrath?
As we were beginning to write Wrath, I think we kinda knew we wanted to make this very stripped down, raw, thrashy, high-energy record and we did that and it was cool. Mission accomplished. This time we didn't necessarily know.
Whatever the song required is what you played?
I think in terms of the approach and sort of the direction of the guitar tracking, I think it was just more for the song. This album was interesting because we were just kind of taking all these loose ideas and making them into songs and letting them be what they were gonna be. I think the guitar tracking very much reflected that where it was more like no universal directive and it was more about, "Well what does this song need? Maybe we should try a different guitar on this one. Let's adjust our tone a little bit because this is that kind of song. This song needs to sound a little swampier. This song needs to be super-tight and saturated."
Did "Ghost Walking" suggest an acoustic guitar intro?
That was really off-the-cuff. All through writing I was using my neck pickup with the volume rolled way back and getting this kind of pseudo-clean sound. I always figured I'd plug in a Fender Twin and maybe a Les Paul or a Telly with the neck pickup and get a cool, gritty and relatively clean sound for that. I don't remember whose idea it was, it might have been Josh [Wilbur, producer] or it might have been me, but there was an acoustic laying in the control room and it was just like, "Hey, grab that Guild. I'm gonna put a mic up and let's see what it sounds like." And it was like, "Hey, is that cool?" We even went across the hall and got [John, bass] Campbell and was like, "What do you think of this?" And he was like, "I don't know, man. It sounds kinda…I don't know." And then the next day we all listened again and it was like, "Yeah, that's cool."
Spontaneous moments can have a lot of magic in them.
There always stuff in recording that just kinda happens spur-of-the-moment. Those are the things that are sometimes hard to commit to because you've spent so much time writing and arranging these songs that you feel like you're walking in the studio knowing that you're just executing. But inevitably these things come up and they really add the last little sheen of life to a record but that kind of spontaneity I think is exciting and I think it comes through in the takes. I think if you listen to me count that in and then play that bit, it sounds cool and it sounds like someone is about to start jamming, which is what we were going for.
What about that sort of bass breakdown section in "The Number Six"? Where did that come from?
I think that's a perfect almost quintessential example of Willie's [Adler, guitar] kind of abstract approach to songwriting. He doesn't really have a foundation in traditional rock. He probably grew up listening to whatever was blaring out of his big brother's room and I think he was exposed to underground metal at an early stage in the development of his playing. So he just has this really kind of abstract and unconventional approach to structuring songs. Sometimes honestly and he'll be the first to admit, we've got to rein him in a little bit. It becomes this meandering landscape that you feel like you just took a drive through the country, which can be cool but from a songwriting perspective sometimes you can lose focus.
Has Willie Adler's harmonic approach been a bit more refined on Resolution?
I think on this album probably more than any, he's really kind of honed in on how to use that character of his writing but also structure songs that are a little more focused. And I that part in "The Number Six" is a prime example of Willie just being Willie.
"Guilty" has a monster-sounding riff and a crazy bluesy solo like Jimmy Page on speed.
That's hands-down the coolest thing you could say to me but you know that [laughs].
I know that Page is one of your guys, yeah.
You know it's funny, man. I'd say I've never been less prepared going in the studio with solos than I was on this record. I knew loosely what I wanted to do with "Ghost Walking" and even that changed because the sweep wasn't there. When I set up my amps and we were getting ready to start tracking, I didn't have the sweep in that solo that came in; I didn't have that really fast part in there yet and those all came up spontaneously. I think that was really probably the only solo I had worked out and even that one changed dramatically when we started tracking.
Did you consciously want to cut the solos without having rehearsed anything?
I don't really have a reason for that and I didn't intend to go in there like that. I think because of the way in pre-production we were really writing to the last minute and I wrote a lot of lyrics for this record, I knew I could go in there and we'd do it until we got something we liked. We did every solo on this record in the course of two nights. I don't know how many there are on the record—probably six maybe or more? But we did every solo in the course of two evenings and when I say evenings I mean eight to twelve or eight to one or something like that.
It was turn on the machine and see what happens?
They were pretty much all based on, "OK, roll it and I'm just gonna jam." We'd take a couple passes and we'd find a pass that we felt like, "Well that has got a real cool spin." Josh and I working together of course it would be like, "Hey that has a cool lyric." Do you know what I mean when I say lyric and I'm talking about solos? It's a piece in itself and it goes somewhere.
A lyrical quality. I totally get it.
I think what I look for in a solo is that it's gotta go somewhere. I just don't want lick after lick after lick; I want some rise and falls and some dynamic to it. And I think that's one of the things because you brought up Page and one of my favorite things of his playing is when he takes off on a solo it's almost its own little piece. Anyway I'm no Jimmy Page but I think one thing we looked for was to have it go somewhere. So once we do a couple passes and we found out and liked how it sat, we'd really just go in and run it until we got a good take of it.
So it was all unplanned stuff and then refining a bit afterwards.
They were very, very spontaneous and very off-the-cuff. I was almost concerned like I left the session saying to Josh, "Listen, I've got to sit with these solos for a while. I might redo some of 'em. I'm gonna listen at home and I may send you some files." 'Cause I can record stuff here, I got my own little jam room studio here [at Morton's home]. So I said, "I may send you some files to replace some of these solos." And he's like, "OK, I think you're crazy but if that's what you want to do, do it." I sat with it for three or four days and I didn't send him a single file. I played 'em for a couple friends and they were like, "Dude, you're crazy—that's dope." And I was like, "Alright." And then now the reviews are starting to come back and most of the reviews are going, "Wow, Morton's really going for it on his solos on this record." And I'm just like, "Damn, I was gonna replace half of it!"The magic really can happen in being totally unprepared and just letting yourself go.
But that just goes to show that you can chalk it up to me being scatterbrained or unprepared but there's something to be said for spontaneity. It's exciting in your marriage; it's exciting in your job; it's exciting in your playing.
On "Insurrection" you create this very dark-sounding thing with a sort of Arabic-type of riff and solo.
I think it might be mixolydian with a b2 and a #3 [flat 2nd and sharp 3rd].
Talking about that lyrical quality you shoot for in your solos, you actually begin this solo with that same type of melody that runs through the song.
It references the melody of the chorus, yeah.
How did that riff in "Insurrection" develop?
I probably was working on that song for over a year easily. When I brought it in, the guys weren't wild about it—it had a cool mood to it but they thought it got a little boring. This rarely happens but I was actually kind of offended 'cause I was like, "This is like my favorite piece that I've brought in" and they're like, "Yeah, yeah, it's cool man, we'll use it." And Josh was like, "I know what the problem is—we need a big, wide open chorus and we don't have that." 'Cause that part you referenced, which is obviously the one that struck you wasn't there yet. And so I went home with my tail between my legs.
And wrote that signature part.
I was like, "Maybe Josh is right and maybe I need a new chorus" and came back to rehearsal the next day and I was like, "Hey guys, I got an idea for that track." We got back to it and I played the chorus and they're like, "Wow, that's really cool. I like the melody." It tied the song together so that's what a good producer does. I think the reason my feelings were hurt is because I've been workin' on that song for so long. Tiny little tweaks and sort of Frankensteining this thing to life.
Has that happened before where you've brought in a song you thought was really cool and the other guys didn't respond?
It's funny because that story's happened before—that's exactly how "Redneck" was written. I brought "Descending" in and they were like, "Ehh" and I was like, "You guys are crazy! This song is awesome." And then the next day I came in with "Redneck."
What about "Terminally Unique"?
Back to our producer Josh, he came in and was like, "Listen, we've got all these great songs that Mark and Willie are bringing in—these long developed ideas. Why don't we all sit in a room today and write a song together? Everyone brainstorm and throw it at the wall and just see what we come up with. If at the end of the whole session the song doesn't make the grade, who cares? Let's spend one day writing a song together."
That must have felt good.
That's how we wrote "Terminally Unique"—as it is. And because we wrote it that way no one was really married to it for a while. Everyone was just like, "Oh, yeah, that's that cool thing we threw together. Whatever. Maybe it'll be a B-side or maybe it will be an extra track somewhere." But then by the time the vocals came on it, it really came to life and it brought something to the track list that wasn't there. Josh even started snapping it out [Morton snaps his fingers] and he's like, "I'm missing that 6/8 Lamb of God thing—that duhduhduh duhduhduh duhduhduh duhduhduh. When I think of Lamb of God, I think of that groove and we're not doing that this time." And I'm like, "You know why we're not doing that this time? 'Cause Willie and I have been writing all these songs on our computers and it's really hard to program 6/8 on a fake drum machine." And he's like, "That's exactly why it's not there. So screw your stupid computers—let's write a song" and we wrote "Terminally Unique."
Technology does have its limitations.
Because it gets hard to grid out using anything other than straight time on your laptop with your headphones on.
"King Me" is the real odd track on Resolution. What moved you to bring in strings and an opera singer?
I'm bringing up Josh a lot in this interview but it's just testimony to how talented this dude is. "King Me" was a Willie contribution and we all kind of worked on it; edited a lot of stuff; shortened stuff, lengthened stuff and moved stuff around. But the basic parts were brought in by Willie. I added in that kind of atonal lead-like meandering off key thing just to give some friction there. The song was done as far as we were concerned and we knew it was gonna be the last song. We always try and save the spot of the last song on the album for something to punctuate the album and to really give it closure but still be exciting.
"King Me" felt like the right closer?
I think "King Me" is the culmination of us trying to do that over the course of a lot of albums. You can hear us start trying to do it with "Vigil" on Palaces and continuing on to the next records. Josh listened to the song and said, "Man, this song is so great and it's so epic but I think we can make it even huger and more grand. I've got some ideas and I'm just gonna work with 'em—don't shoot me down until I really present my idea." He made it his baby. He called in the opera singers [Amanda Munton] and those real strings.
They are real?
Yeah, and he took his time recording that. He finished it and I totally loved it and he sent us this rough mix with all of that stuff up so you could hear it. And a couple of the guys—I'm not gonna pick on anybody—but a couple of the guys were like, "Are you crazy? We're not a black metal band. This sounds like Dimmu Borgir meets Evanescence!" I even texted him and was like, "Josh, man, can you tuck the shit a little bit? You know what I mean?" He's like, "I want everyone to hear how cool the stuff is." But then he's like, "Alright, everyone stop listening and give me a day" and then he sent like a pretty close mix. And everyone was like, "Whoa, that's cool." So that's a funny story about that.
Those extra elements really do take the song outside of what Lamb of God normally do.
The song in its structure has a different character altogether once you add the strings and the vocals. That's actually something we're struggling with 'cause we talked about playing it but the tricky part comes in with how do you address that? There are elements in the band that feel one way about how to address it and elements in the band that feel another way and they feel like the song can stand live like it is as five people play it. Those aren't always the easiest things to figure out but we figured it out.
There is some cool guitar on the instrumental track, "Barbarosa."
I don't want to take credit for that; that's pure Willie. And I understand why you think that was me just based on the history of little pieces like that. But I think Willie got sick and tired of me doing all the little intros and instrumentals and that kind of thing that he wanted to get some of that and he did. It's really cool and it's a great little interlude on the record.
I'm sorry about that. It was stupid.
No, don't be sorry at all. I think it's great and I love that Willie brought that to the table and that he came in the tracking room and said, "Hey, man, I need to borrow your Guild." And I'm like, "What are you talking about?" and he mics that up and busted that out and it's cool.
In some respects, do you feel like Lamb of God has this invisible banner you carry to constantly try new things and push other bands into new territory? Does that make any sense?
I understand what you're saying but I almost think it's the opposite for us. The band always looks so much bigger to me when I talk to people like you and I step back and I talk about things like going to India and three Grammy nominations and four major label records and two Top 10 debuts and touring with Metallica and blah blah blah. When I sit back and look at that stuff on the wall, it looks bigger to me than it feels like when I go to the rehearsal space and I look at those four assholes and we try and write a song. Because that's what it's always been—it's the same five assholes in a dingy warehouse basement that it was 15 years ago. So for us when you're inside the little insulated circle, it's really the same. So I think rather than feeling like, "Oh, we're so big, we're so successful and everyone follow us we're carrying the banner," we feel like the challenge is keeping up with all the new younger bands and aspiring to some of the bigger bands. It's more just about trying to fine tune what we do best and keep getting better at it in the hopes that people will stay interested and we'll stay challenged. I think that's what it's about for us; there's no bragging rights and I don't know that we'd want to be Metallica—I mean honestly. Having seen that from such a close vantage point, I'm not sure that would be for me. But I can certainly take things from it and sort of fold that into the Lamb of God process and hopefully use it to get better. So I think for us it's just more about continually trying to figure out what we can do next to keep ourselves interested and to keep our fans listening and maybe grab some new ones along the way.
Are you working on a side project with Dez Fafara?
You know I should be as much as people ask me about that. That's a funny story. Dez and I have been good friends for years and we kind of just started sending songs back and forth because like I said I'm always kind of tinkering and writing music and a lot of that stuff is completely inappropriate for Lamb of God. It's a little more straightforward rock and roll that wouldn't fit right in the band and sometimes some of those things make their way in one way or another but there's a lot of stuff that is clearly not Lamb of God material. So some of that stuff me and Dez have been bouncing back and forth and just writing some songs together and we really kind of enjoyed it. We got into a Twitter conversation about it and all of a sudden Blabbermouth picks up the story that "Mark and Dez are working on a new band." It's like, "No, we're not. We're just two friends emailing songs to each other and tracking a vocal on my riff."
You wanted to do something completely off the radar.
I guess what I want to say about that is as much as I enjoy the process that is Lamb of God and everything that goes along with it, when something gets to the level that we're at there's a lot of people depending on you; there's a lot of people employed by you; there's a lot of people with expectations of you creatively, business-wise, tour-wise, schedule-wise and commitment-wise. A lot of that stuff at a certain level can get really distracting 'cause as a guitar player and songwriter, I was writing songs with lyrics on guitar when I was 14 and I didn't have a manager telling me I had to be in India in three weeks and I'm gonna go on tour for six weeks and I've got two weeks of rehearsal before that and I've got four interviews today and we need to talk about payroll next month. I was just writing songs in my room because it was fun and sometimes all of that other element can distract you. It's certainly a blessing that all of that stuff is part of what we do and I have a wonderful career and my family and I all appreciate it and don't take it for granted.
There is a certain price you pay for success.
Just from a pure selfish guitar player/songwriter point of view, you can get distracted and you can lose a little bit of the magic that made you start doing this in the first place. So when I can do something like the project with Dez, which has absolutely no commercial ambition and no plans for release. It's just a pure kind of fun thing and I think it's important for all of us to have that kind of stuff. Randy is doing a thing right now with this local band and playing a benefit show with Cannabis Corpse and just having fun. I think it's important to do things like that that are just pure fun to remind yourself why you did this in the first place and to remember that's why you're doing this in the end.
In a recent story in Guitar World, you chose Jimi Hendrix's "The Wind Cries Mary" as one of his greatest songs. Decades from now, what song do you think people will choose as your defining moment?
I guess it would depend what you're looking for. I wish I could just single out one but maybe it's good that I can't. I think commercially and most well known would be "Redneck" that would be the one people are probably gonna first identify. I think it's probably our first crossover song—I say it's the first song that the girls liked. You know what I mean? It's always funny when we play that live because that's the one where everyone's girlfriend starts putting their hands up in the air. They know that one. So I think that one on a commercial level would be the one. I'm proud of "Redneck" and I just love that that song took off like it did and I felt good about it. I felt good about the kind of groove it had and that kind of southern boogie that I was able to force into a thrash metal song. But I think from a songwriting perspective and overall riff construction, lyrically and solo, I would go with "Walk With Me in Hell" or "Grace." I think "Grace" is just a really, really super personal song to me lyrically and a technically challenging song riff-wise and one of my favorite solos I've ever cut. "Walk With Me in Hell" is a really special song too and it's kind of misinterpreted because of the title but again it's a very personal song and almost a love song to my wife and the power of having someone next to you no matter how band things get. Again hopefully it's one of those solos that you could hear and identify as being me.
Thank you for your honesty, Mark.
It's always fun to talk to you, Steve. I'll talk to you next time.
Virginia's epic doom metal unit WHILE HEAVEN WEPT has completed writing the music for the follow-up to last year's "Fear Of Infinity" and will spend much of this year rehearsing with the intention of recording it in the autumn. The band's guitarist, songwriter and founding member Tom Phillips states, "It will consist of 10 brand new songs that were channeled between 2009-2011 (though one expression includes riffs dating back to 1995) and will surely once again challenge everyone's notions of what WHILE HEAVEN WEPT 'is'; while extremely melodic, heartfelt, and epic… it is (in Scott's [Loose, guitar] words) 'intense and aggressive' — running the gamut from classic U.S. underground metal to melodic thrash and passages of a more 'extreme' nature. Compared to 'Fear Of Infinity', it has a very different atmosphere and is very much 'in your face' musically, yet clearly WHILE HEAVEN WEPT." An early 2013 release is expected.

In other news, WHILE HEAVEN WEPT is, according to Phillips, "halfway through the composition of another brand new album that will feature our greatest epic of all time; literally one song that is the length of an album… going far beyond the epics of the past such as 'Thus With A Kiss I Die', 'The Furthest Shore' or 'Finality'." He adds, "I'd like to point out that this will once again feature a completely different atmosphere compared to the pending album and at 20 minutes in so far, it's easily the most EPIC of all in terms of the 'vibe.' Rain [Irving, vocals] described it as being in 'another echelon,' and the rest of the band — including myself — remain in awe… as I have no idea where all this music is coming from… but surely it's good news for everyone who cares about us! I truly believe it may be the one album that will unite the fans of all the different eras of WHILE HEAVEN WEPT in one!"

WHILE HEAVEN WEPT is confirmed to headline the Days Of The Doomed 2 (June 22-23 in Kenosha, Wisconsin) and the Pathfinder Metalfest IV (July 7 in Atlanta, Georgia) festivals. Phillips says, "We are also working on setting up additional dates for this year. However, the main focus will be on the aforementioned album, of course!"

"Fear Of Infinity" was released on April 22, 2011 in Europe and May 3, 2011 in North America via Nuclear Blast Records.
Bassist Michael Ellis has left SIN CITY SINNERS, a Las Vegas-based group of prominent musicians who perform self-penned originals and rock and roll covers. The remaining members of the group state, "Michael has played with the band for the last two years and we wish him well in his future endeavors. Scotty Griffin of L.A. GUNS will be on bass for all listed upcoming dates."

SIN CITY SINNERS features in its ranks Todd Kerns (SLASH, AGE OF ELECTRIC), Brent Muscat (FASTER PUSSYCAT) and Rob Cournoyer (RAGING SLAB). The band released its third album, "A Sinners' Christmas" late last year. The CD featured guest appearances by Frank Dimino (ANGEL), Jizzy Pearl (L.A. GUNS, RATT, LOVE/HATE), George Lynch (DOKKEN, LYNCH MOB, SOULS OF WE), Slim Jim Phantom (HEADCAT, THE STRAY CATS), Louie Merlino (BEGGARS & THIEVES), Jimmy Crespo (AEROSMITH), Pete Loran (TRIXTER), Ron Keel (KEEL) and Sammy Serious (THE ZEROS). It was recorded, mixed and mastered at Hit Track Studios in Las Vegas and produced by Brent Muscat and Tom Parham, and executive-produced by Jason Green.

In 2010, SIN CITY SINNERS released two CDs of original music, "Exile on Fremont Street" and the all-acoustic "Broken Record". The SINNERS' music video, "Goin' To Vegas", received the 32nd annual Telly Award and the track "Numb" was nominated for an AVN award for "Best Original Song".
Regina, Saskatchewan-based Canadian extreme progressive metallers INTO ETERNITY recently tapped Amanda Kiernan of the Edmonton, Alberta-based metal band THE ORDER OF CHAOS as their new touring vocalist. Kiernan takes over from Stu Block, who was hired away last year by American metallers ICED EARTH, leaving INTO ETERNITY without a full-time singer.

INTO ETERNITY founder and guitarist Tim Roth told the Regina Leader-Post that he invited Kiernan to Regina to try out for the band after hearing a tape of her performing his songs.

"I had all these guys who told me they could do the songs and hit the notes Stu could. So I had them try out and it was like, 'No way.' Nobody could do it," Roth said. "But Amanda's got this great voice … none of the dudes could hit the notes Stu could, so maybe it makes sense that only a chick can do it. Besides, she already fits in like she's one of the guys."

Kiernan, who said she's been an INTO ETERNITY fan since she was in high school, told the Regina Leader-Post about her audition, "At first, I was pretty intimidated. These guys are rock stars to me. There were times when I was sitting around with the guys, and then all of a sudden I'd get this little burst of energy because I reminded myself that I was sitting with INTO ETERNITY."
Technical-thrash metallers BELIEVER are writing material for their fifth album, due later in the year via Metal Blade Records.

Commented BELIEVER guitarist/vocalist Kurt Bachman: "As we begin the writing process, I feel that this will be the most sensual of all BELIEVER releases. Once again we are striving to create something unique while not throwing away any riff just because it might not fit the typical BELIEVER mold. This is part of the process we love and hate. We love being creative, yet we place intense pressure on ourselves to write something we'll enjoy hearing and playing at least 2060 times. Of course, we are sticking to our two main goals: 1) Have fun and 2) Don't die in the process."

BELIEVER's last album, "Transhuman", was released in April 2011 via Metal Blade Records. The CD was produced by Trauma Team Productions and was mixed by Kevin Gutierrez (RAVEN, PROJECT: FAILING FLESH, DECEASED, DYSRYTHMIA, GARDEN OF SHADOWS) at Assembly Line Studios in Virginia. The mastering duties were handled by Maor Appelbaum of Maor Appelbaum Mastering in Los Angeles.

The band's fourth album, "Gabriel", was released in March 2009 through ex-KILLSWITCH ENGAGE frontman Howard Jones's imprint label Cesspool Records via Metal Blade. The CD featured guest appearances by Jones, Joe Rico (SACRIFICE), CKY/WORLD UNDER BLOOD guitarist/vocalist Deron Miller and Rocky Gray (EVANESCENCE, SOUL EMBRACED, LIVING SACRIFICE).


Kurt Bachman - Guitar/Vocals
Joey Daub - Drums
Jeff King - Keyboards/Guitar
Kevin Leaman – Guitar
Portuguese gothic metallers MOONSPELL will release their new album, "Alpha Noir", on April 27 via the band's new label home, Napalm Records.

The cover artwork for the CD — an intricate, marvellous and symbolic creation by Seth Siro Anton, the Greek artist who collaborated with the band on "Night Eternal" — can be seen below.

Commented MOONSPELL frontman Fernando Ribeiro: "A true band has to have to a glorious past, a solid present and a bright future. More than that, a true band has to know how to live throughout all these seasons, dealing with their ghosts, their shadows, their aim at the light, moulding darkness with personality, with the impulse to be better, to do better while getting close to theirselves. Their true heart, soul and flesh.

"Never a MOONSPELL album came so close to be absolute like the new opus magna (masterpiece) 'Alpha Noir', scheduled to be proudly released by Napalm Records on April 27th, when spring racks through the wastes of winter, bursting new colours over familiar sights, once silent and white, now fiery under the blackest of suns.

"The concept of this new record, painstakingly composed by the Portuguese gothic metal knights over the past three years, after the public and critically acclaimed 'Night Eternal', is bulletproof. The band managed to split their heart and soul in half and the result is that they came even closer to themselves, the ambitious band they always were, with a undying wish not to claim any throne but to build their own ships that would take them and their fans to 'give new worlds to the world,' like in the age of discovery where the Portuguese were a leading force in the world.

"With their country drowned in a corrosive crisis, MOONSPELL filled their lungs with pride and created an incendiary album, with nine outbursts of their rockiest and thrashier riffs made superiorly dimensioned by the reindivictative lyrical content and songs structure that take you by storm from the first listen on. MOONSPELL has tapped a notch into their energy filled gothic metal by adding a guitar wall forjed by timeless artists like BATHORY, KING DIAMOND or in a twist ofthe knive to old thrash metal legends like ONSLAUGHT, METALLICA early works or even TESTAMENT and ARTILLERY, making 'Alpha Noir' a truly surpring and fresh record where all the songs have a climax effect about them, an high tension charm that will for sure electricize audiences when played on a stage.

"Songs like the title track ('Alpha Noir'), the infectious 'Versus', the wolf hymn 'Lickanthrope' or the Portuguese sung 'Em Nome Do Medo' (In The Name Of Fear) and the closing epic 'Grandstand', might get you a welcoming chilling of the past but make no mistake: 'Alpha Noir' is a leap of faith and belief in their writing skills and progressive musicianship.

"Together with 'Alpha Noir' packed in a deluxe and special edition on digipack, MOONSPELL and Napalm offers no live DVD, making-of or any kind of filler. Instead they put in the table another offerend: 'Ómega White', the musical twin of 'Alpha Noir', a collection of eight songs of pure atmosphere and shadow, close to their breakthrough album 'Irreligious', in a just homage to their TYPE O NEGATIVE and SISTERS OF MERCY roots. Tracks like the erotic 'Herodisiac', the catchy 'White Skies' or the heartbreaking 'Whiteomega' will for sure keep you in dark company through a night of fear and loss, both soothing and provoking.

"Both masterpieces were produced and mixed by Tue Madsen, pre-produced by Benny Richter.

"Each song a jewel, each song a stronghold!

"Keep your watch and do not miss this new MOONSPELL record, for it is a true mortal sin to stay away from these eighty minutes of music, beautifully and violently craved by one of the most legendary and imaginative bands ever to surface the European scene. Do not forget to get your hands on this masterpiece and to watch the band live in the summer festivals around Europe. 'Alpha Noir'/'Ómega White' will also be played in their entirety in Lisbon's Campo Pequeno, that holds 5,000 fans, in their homeland Portugal in the most daring stage set and visuals the band has ever tried."

MOONSPELL released a DVD, "Lusitanian Metal", in December 2008 in Europe via Century Media Records.

The band's latest album, "Night Eternal", entered the national chart in Portugal at No. 3 and in Germany at No. 62. The follow-up to 2006's "Memorial" was recorded at Antfarm studios in Denmark with producer Tue Madsen (THE HAUNTED, DARK TRANQUILLITY, HALFORD).
ANVIL, DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT, CAULDRON, FUCK THE FACTS and KEN MODE have been nominated in the "Metal/Hard Music Album Of The Year" category at this year's Juno Awards (the Canadian equivalent of the Grammy Awards), set to be held in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada March 26 - April 1.

This new category is an award to honor artistic achievement, technical proficiency and overall excellence in the Canadian recording industry, without regard to album sales or chart position. Eligible albums include metal, metalcore, hardcore, heavy rock, thrash metal, death metal and their respective sub-genres including (but not limited to) nu-metal, power metal, grindcore, extreme metal, industrial metal, viking metal, folk metal, doom metal, gothic metal, speed metal, and sludge metal.

"Metal/Hard Music Album Of The Year" nominees:

* ANVIL - Juggernaut of Justice (The End/Sony)
* CAULDRON - Burning Fortune (Earache/eOne)
* FUCK THE FACTS - Die Miserable (Relapse/eOne)
* KEN MODE - Venerable (Profound Lore/Sonic Unyon)
* DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT - Deconstruction (HevyDevy/eOne)

Sean Palmerston, who handles media relations for Sonic Unyon, the Hamilton, Ontaro, Canada label whose roster includes the heavy likes of UNTIMELY DEMISE, SACRIFICE and AUGURY, spoke to The Canadian Press about last fall's announcement that the "Metal/Hard Music" category was being added to the Juno Awards.

"It seems like these musicians are paying their dues, making great records and they definitely deserve at least a little bit of a tip of a hat of an award, just so people can recognize how great they are," said Palmerston, who began campaigning the academy about a year and a half ago, after struggling to find an appropriate category to submit an album by Quebec metal innovators VOIVOD.

"Hopefully it'll just make (fans) say, 'Hey, we have good metal bands in our own backyard.' ... I definitely think it's going to make people pay attention."

For more information about Canadian Academy Of Recording Arts And Sciences (CARAS) and the Juno Awards, go to www.junoawards.ca.
The cover artwork for "Private Sessions", the forthcoming fourth album from Kentucky rockers HYDROGYN, can be seen below. 13 songs were recorded for the CD, which is due this spring, at guitarist Jeff Westlake's Ridgeline Studio in Ashland, Kentucky and Patrick Liotard's Peek Studio in Boisseron, France.

The U.S. version of "Private Sessions" will feature the following track listing:

01. Something To Say
02. Forbidden Kind
03. Scream
04. I Don't Know
05. Heated Nights
06. Creeper
07. Don'tcha Walk Away
08. Roseline's Song
09. Feeling
10. Un Monde Perdu
11. It Doesn't Matter

The European release is not yet finalized but that will be announced as soon as it is all in place.

Several audio samples can be streamed using the ReverbNation TuneWidget below (click on "Songs" tab)

After months of uncertainty surrounding the band because of singer Julie Westlake's health, the green light was given to Julie and the rest of the band last year to proceed ahead with the new album recordings.

Commented Julie: "This is the quickest we have ever completed a project to date.

"We decided in June that we were going to do another CD after I got clearance from my doctors to get back to work and by August we were in the studio."

For "Private Sessions", things changed up a bit as far as production. For the past two albums, Jeff Westlake handled the production, engineering, mixing, etc., to go along with the writing and song prep. Jeff said he wanted a chance to just worry about the songs on this release with limited production going on from his end. Enter the team of Anthony Dura and Patrick Liotard (who co-wrote the song "Alone" on HYDROGYN's last album, "Judgement"). Anthony and Patrick stepped in and teamed up with Julie and Jeff for this project, not only from a production standpoint but also in the creation of the project itself.

"I love these guys and what they bring to the table," said Julie. "To be able to turn to them and have a new team in the mix for the entire process with fresh ideas and a great perspective as well is just priceless. We were all introduced by our French team at Musiconlights (Mike Jublin) back in 2007 and as time has gone on, we have gotten to know each other. The working part of the relationship is just a natural progression for us all and takes some pressure off Jeff for a change."

A HYDROGYN live CD and a digital-only best-of release called "Phase 1" are also in the works.

As previously reported, former DIO guitarist Tracy "G" Grijalva has joined forces with Julie Westlake to record a collection of songs Tracy had written with Ronnie James Dio for the DIO releases "Strange Highways" and "Angry Machines" along with some of the guitarist's post-DIO material. The recordings are taking place at Tracy's G Factory studios and will include musicians that played on Grijalva's 2011 album, "Controlled Chaos"Johnny B on drums and vocals and Eddie Frisco on bass. There is also talk of live shows taking place in the Los Angeles area this spring or summer.

"This is a a very ultra cool project that I am honored to be a part of," stated Julie.
Ann Arbor, Michigan hard rock band TAPROOT will release its new album, "The Episodes", on April 10 via Victory Records. The CD was produced by Tim Palatan, who previously worked with the group on 2010's "Plead The Fifth".

"The Episodes", nearly six years in the making, is a complexly developed concept album. Bassist Phil Lipscomb spoke on the band's creative process for this record, "I think our fans have come to expect the unexpected from us. Having written the story for this album before the music, this record sounds more like a soundtrack than a typical album, with the songs flowing together and taking you on a journey."

"Plead The Fifth" came out in May 2010 through Victory.


Stephen Richards - Guitar, Vocals
Mike DeWolf - Guitar
Philip Lipscomb - Bass
Nick Fredell - Drums
Under recommendation of DIR EN GREY frontman Kyo's physician after extensive examination of his vocal cords, the Japanese rockers have regretfully canceled their participation in "The Still Reckless Tour" and solo shows scheduled between March and April 2012.

The band has released the following statement to their fans and those involved in the tour:

"To our fans as well as the other bands and staff involved in the tour we extend our sincere apologies. We ask for your understanding that this was an extremely difficult decision to make. Thank you all for your continued support, which is deeply appreciated."

Acts scheduled to take part in "The Still Reckless Tour" include ASKING ALEXANDRIA, TRIVIUM, I SEE STARS, MOTIONLESS IN WHITE and THE AMITY AFFLICTION.

DIR EN GREY was also slated to play a pair of solo headlining shows in Seattle, Washington on March 7 and St. Petersburg, FL on March 20.

DIR EN GREY wrapped up 2011 after releasing "Dum Spiro Spero" (The End Records) in August to critical acclaim and conquering the globe with their pummeling and artful live performances on their 2011 tour.
Florida-based death metal veterans CANNIBAL CORPSE will embark on a U.S. headlining tour in April. The "U.S. Torture Tour 2012" will commence on April 5 in Jacksonville, Florida and level 23 stages before coming to a close on May 3 in Gainesville, Florida. Support on the near month-long trek will be provided by EXHUMED, ABYSMAL DAWN and ARKAIK.

Commented CANNIBAL CORPSE bassist Alex Webster: "We're psyched to hit the road with EXHUMED, ABYSMAL DAWN, and ARKAIK in April! This is a full-on death metal tour that we know all of our fans will love. Prepare for an evening of relentless aural punishment!"

"U.S. Torture Tour 2012" dates:

Apr. 05 - Freebird Live - Jacksonville, FL
Apr. 06 - The Soapbox - Wilmington, NC
Apr. 07 - Lincoln Theater - Raleigh, NC
Apr. 08 - V Club Live - Huntington, WV
Apr. 09 - The Orange Peel - Asheville, NC
Apr. 10 - The Canal Club - Richmond, VA
Apr. 12 - Higher Ground - South Burlington, VT
Apr. 13 - The Club At Water Street - Rochester, NY
Apr. 14 - The Cincinnati Metal Fest at Bogart's - Cincinnati, OH
Apr. 15 - The Intersection - Grand Rapids, MI
Apr. 16 - People's Court - Des Moines, IA
Apr. 17 - Slowdown - Omaha, NE
Apr. 19 - The Scene-ary - Wichita, KS
Apr. 20 - The Black Sheep - Colorado Springs, CO
Apr. 21 - Mesa Theater & Club - Grand Junction, CO
Apr. 22 - Top Deck - Farmington, NM
Apr. 23 - The Rock -Tucson, AZ
Apr. 24 - Tricky Falls - El Paso, TX
Apr. 25 - Jake's - Lubbock, TX
Apr. 27 - The Blue Note - Columbia, MO
Apr. 28 - Diamond Ballroom - Oklahoma City, OK
Apr. 29 - Newby's - Memphis, TN
Apr. 30 - Exit In - Nashville, TN
May 01 - Zydeco - Birmingham, AL
May 03 - Double Down - Gainesville, FL

CANNIBAL CORPSE will release its twelfth studio album, "Torture", on March 13 via Metal Blade Records. The follow-up to 2009's "Evisceration Plague" offers up 12 tracks of maniacally precise, soul-searing death metal. "Torture" was again produced by HATE ETERNAL's Erik Rutan at his own Mana Recording Studio in St. Petersburg, Florida as well as Sonic Ranch in Tornillo, Texas, and features the maniacal cover art by longtime CANNIBAL CORPSE artist Vincent Locke.

While "Torture" marks the latest progression in the band's sound, it also witnesses a return to what drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz accurately terms "the frenzied attack of 'Butchered At Birth' (1991) or 'Tomb Of The Mutilated' (1992)," infusing the band's advanced musicianship with the raw savagery that haunted their earlier releases, and in the process conceiving the definitive CANNIBAL CORPSE record. Adds bassist Alex Webster on the outcome of the record: "We're extremely happy with how 'Torture' turned out. Erik Rutan did an amazing job with the production, and the songwriting and performances may be our strongest yet. We can't wait until our fans get to hear the whole thing!"
"Voices From Valhalla", a BATHORY tribute double CD, will be released in May via Godreah Records.

The following artists are scheduled to contribute to the set:

Floridian black metallers KULT OV AZAZEL have issued the following update:

"We have begun writing the next album. It will be titled 'Violators Of The Covenant', and will be released on Negativity Records, with who we have signed a two-album contract with. Once the writing is finalized, we will record the drum tracks in Fort Lauderdale, Florida at SBS Recording Studio and will track everything else at Noise Farm Studio in Paige, Texas."

KULT OV AZAZEL's latest album, "Destroying The Sacred", was released in June 2009 via Arctic Music. The CD was recorded at Mana Recording Studios in St. Petersburg, Florida between October 28, 2008 and November 11, 2008. The band also issued a "best-of" compilation titled "Desecrations: A Decade Of Defiling the Cross" through Arctic Music. In addition, Negativity Records released a KULT OV AZAZEL split seven-inch single with TERATISM titled "In League With Satan" as a tribute to VENOM.
Swedish black metallers MARDUK are putting the finishing touches on their 12th studio album, "Serpent Sermon", for a late spring release.

A CD listening session for journalists and media will be held in Stockholm on February 11.

Several photos from the studio can be seen at this location.

MARDUK and the band's record label, Blooddawn Productions, recently announced a partnership with Century Media Records.

The band will play its first hometown show in Norrköping in over 12 years on April 28 at Skandiateatern.

MARDUK's latest EP, "Iron Dawn", was made available at the Maryland Deathfest in May 2011 and at the six North American shows that followed.

According to a press release, the songs included on "Iron Dawn" differ from the concept that is being created for the next full-length album. Therefore this EP was made available as a special treat for all MARDUK legionaries out there.

"Wormwood", the eleventh album from MARDUK, sold around 650 copies in the United States in its first week of release. The CD landed at position No. 99 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.

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