[Classic_Rock_Forever] Def Leppard, Metallica, MC5, Paul Di'anno, Van Halen, Dokken, Death Angel, Kittie and tons more hard rock and heavy metal news


DEF LEPPARD guitarist Phil Collen will take part in a Twitter question-and-answer session with fans on Wednesday, February 22 at 6 p.m. EST. Phil will be on the band's official Twitter page answering questions live.

To post a question: In the "What's Happening" box on your Twitter profile, type your question. Add the hashtag, #AskPhil to your post and click "tweet."

Example: What is your favorite Def Leppard song to play live? #AskPhil

For more information, visit DefLeppard.com.

DEF LEPPARD drummer Rick Allen confirmed in a new video message that his band will tour with POISON this summer. Exact cities and dates have yet to be announced.

In a recent interview with AOL's Noisecreep, DEF LEPPARD guitarist Phil Collen stated about the band's upcoming road activities. "We're actually going to be back on tour around when the [film adaptation of the hit Broadway musical 'Rock Of Ages'] is out, and it would be a lot of fun to get some of the other bands featured in 'Rock Of Ages' out with us," he said. "Nothing has been finalized yet, but apparently POISON will be joining us — at least according to [POISON singer] Bret Michaels, who has been telling everyone that they'll be touring with us this year. [Laughs] We went out with POISON in 2009, and we all had so much fun. If it does end up happening like that, I would love for the third band to be someone like TWISTED SISTER, since they're also in the new movie. I think that would make for a great lineup."

"Rock Of Ages" is a love story told through the music of DEF LEPPARD, PAT BENATAR, BON JOVI, JOURNEY, POISON, TWISTED SISTER and other artists from the 1980s.

"Rock Of Ages" stars Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Paul Giamatti, Malin Akerman and many others. It scheduled to arrive in theaters on June 1.
On February 7, METALLICA, in conjunction with friends C3 Presents, 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 group which 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.

Speaking to Billboard.biz, C3 partner Charlie Walker stated about the festival's indie-centric lineup, "I'm sure some people have a vision of what they think it is because it's METALLICA, but I think they'll have a different understanding of what it is after they come and see it."

When asked if more metal-leaning acts be added to Orion Music + More, Walker said, "I think we'll try and stick with diversity. You'll see some more hard rock bands, you'll see some more alternative bands. We're certainly not consciously trying to lean it hard rock or indie — we're trying to make it balanced."

During an interview aired immediately after the announcement, METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich stated about how the bands were selected to perform at Orion Music + More, "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."

"We'd love to have people open up their focus. Maybe they come to see us but wind up discovering some blues or country act," METALLICA guitarist Kirk Hammett told USA Today.

Added Ulrich: "It's all about balance, keeping things fresh."

"We've done festivals our whole career," said METALLICA guitarist/vocalist James Hetfield. "We wondered what made those people come back year after year, and it was because it was someplace you had to be. Maybe we can create something like that."

The METALLICA members explained that Orion was named in honor of the band's late bassist Cliff Burton. "Orion" is also the name of the instrumental song from METALLICA's 1986 album "Master Of Puppets", which is widely considered to be one of the greatest metal LPs of all time.

"We've had the idea of doing our own lifestyle festival with lots of diverse music and fun and games for years," said 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.

"We wanted (the) biggest space possible because we don't know what's really going to happen there at the end of the day," said Hetfield.

Atlantic City was a prime location for the event because it is central to other major cities and could draw concertgoers from all over the East Coast and even Canada and Europe. "There's hotels, there's casinos, there"s beaches," Hammett said. "There's all sorts of things to do."

The band was asked if the Orion festival would be a yearly occurrence. "As far as it being an annual event, we don't know. It all depends on how it turns out," said Hammett. Hetfield added, "If this is able to keep itself going, so be it. We've got the attitude of 'try it.'"

Tickets are available 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.
Michael Davis, bassist influential late 1960s rock band MC5, has died of liver failure at the age of 68, the BBC reports. He had been undergoing treatment for liver disease for a month before he died at Enloe Medical Center in Chico, California, his wife said.

Davis was MC5's (short for "Motor City Five") second bass player, having replaced Pat Burrows prior to the recording of the band's 1969 album "Kick Out The Jams". Davis left MC5 shortly before the band broke up in 1972 and went on to pursue a career in art.

MC5 reformed in 2004 with Handsome Dick Manitoba replacing original vocalist Rob Tyner, who died in 1991.

Davis is survived by his wife, their three sons, and a daughter from a previous marriage.
According to Ticketmaster.com, former IRON MAIDEN singer Paul Di'Anno will embark on a U.S. tour in July. Backing him once again on the trek will be Pittsburgh traditional metallers ICARUS WITCH. So far the following dates have been announced:

July 26 - B.B. King Blues Club & Grill - New York, NY
July 27 - Showcase Live - Foxboro, MA

Fan-filmed video footage of Di'Anno's November 5, 2011 concert in Valencia, Spain can be seen below.

On August 27, 2011, Di'Anno played his first show since serving time in a U.K. prison after he falsely collected U.K. government benefits by claiming he suffered nerve damage to his back that prevented him from working.

After serving his jail term last spring, Di'Anno issued a short statement in which he thanked his fans for their support and claimed that he "managed not to drop the soap" during his stint behind bars.

Di'Anno, 53, was sentenced to nine months for swindling £45,000 (approximately $72,000) in benefits. He was told he would serve at least four and a half months of the sentence behind bars before being released on conditional bail.

D'Anno was reportedly busted when investigators at Department Of Work And Pensions (DWP) received an anonymous tip that he was still singing. They then found videos and pictures on YouTube and the rocker's own web site of Di'Anno "energetically leaping around on stage, singing to fans around the world."

Di'Anno completed his first North American tour in early 2010, 17 years after he was deported following a prison term for guns and drug offenses.

"In 1991 I did a couple of stints in jail for guns and drugs," Di'Anno explained in a 2010 interview. "I was stupid. But after I'd done my stretch they still treated me like a criminal. And I was — but I wasn't that bad. So I didn't feel good about America. The government, not the people.

"Prison was tough, but I'm tougher. I was nobody's bitch, put it that way. You've got to do it; otherwise people will walk all over you."
VAN HALEN kicked off its North American headlining tour last night (Saturday, February 18) at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

The band's setlist was as follows:

01. You Really Got Me
02. Runnin' With The Devil
03. She's The Woman (new song)
04. Romeo Delight
05. Tattoo (new song)
06. Everybody Wants Some!!
07. Somebody Get Me A Doctor
08. China Town (new song)
09. Mean Street
10. (Oh!) Pretty Woman
11. Alex Van Halen Drum Solo
12. Unchained
13. The Trouble With Never (new song)
14. I'll Wait
15. Dance The Night Away
16. Hot For Teacher
17. Women In Love (perfomed live for first time since 1980)
18. Outta Love Again (perfomed live for first time since 1979)
19. Beautiful Girls
20. Ice Cream Man
21. Panama
22. Eddie Van Halen Solo
23. Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love
24. Jump

VAN HALEN's next concert is scheduled to take place this Monday, February 20 at The Palace Of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit.

VAN HALEN's new album, "A Different Kind Of Truth", sold 187,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 2 on The Billboard 200 chart.

"A Different Kind Of Truth" is the band's first full-length offering with original singer David Lee Roth since "1984" was released in January 1984.

Roth exited the group in 1985, a year after its "1984" album was released. According to Billboard.com, "1984" spent five weeks at No. 2 on The Billboard 200 — VAN HALEN's highest charting set with Roth. (1996's "Best Of Volume 1" hits album, which included two new songs with Roth, debuted at No. 1 with 233,000 sold in its first week.)

VAN HALEN's other four other No. 1s were their four studio albums with Roth's replacement, Sammy Hagar: "5150" (1986), "OU812" (1988), "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge" (1991) and "Balance" (1995).

VAN HALEN's previous all-new album, 1998's "Van Halen III", debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard chart and was certified gold for sales of 500,000 copies, a disappointment compared to their previous platinum efforts.
According to an online posting by the moderator of the official DOKKEN forum, the band has set "Broken Bones" as the title of its new album. DOKKEN began tracking the effort this past Monday for a late spring/early summer release via Frontiers Records.

The cooperation between Frontiers and DOKKEN started with the European release of the group's "Lightning Strikes Again" CD in 2007. The album marked a return to DOKKEN's signature style with melodic hooklines and blazing guitar riffs that epitomized the band's sound on such records as "Tooth And Nail", "Under Lock And Key", "Back For The Attack" and "Dysfunctional".

In a November 2011 press release, DOKKEN frontman Don Dokken described the band's new material as "very uptempo and heavy." He added, "We know our fans like the classic DOKKEN sound, and this is where our new music is headed. It's been a band of brothers doing what we love: 'music.'"

DOKKEN plans to finish the new album recordings by the end of February and go out on the road in June.

"In a perfect world, we would like to release the new album before the summer and then play the festivals in Europe. Then hopefully we can jump on a package tour in the U.S.," said Don Dokken. "We want to give everyone a great CD that will keep all music fans 'rokkin'' during these troubled times!"

DOKKEN's current lineup consists of Don Dokken on lead vocals, Jon Levin on guitar, Sean McNabb on bass and Mick Brown on drums.

DOKKEN's greatest-hits package, "Greatest Hits 2" — a collection of all-new versions of tracks such as "Dream Warriors", "Breaking the Chains" and "Just Got Lucky", paired two new songs and two covers (including a version of "Lies", originally recorded by THE KNICKERBOCKERS, available on the Japanese version of the CD only) — was released in Japan on April 21, 2010 via King Records and in the U.S. on Cleopatra's Deadline Records imprint.
DOKKEN's latest album "Lightning Strikes Again", was released in the U.S. on May 13, 2008 via Rhino Records. and definite return" to the band's classic sound, according to a press release.

In addition to the regular European version of "Lightning Strikes Again", Frontiers released a special limited edition of the CD on April 11, 2008 in a glossy slipcase. The limited-edition version included an exclusive bonus track for Europe, entitled "Sunset Superstar".
Original DEATH ANGEL guitarist Gus Pepa will make a special appearance during the band's headlining show this Friday night, February 24 at Slim's in San Francisco. The group states, "We haven't shared the stage with Gus since 1990!"

DEATH ANGEL will join forces with SEPULTURA, KRISIUN and HAVOK for a North American tour in April/May.

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.
Brendan Crabb of Australia's Loud magazine recently conducted an interview with guitarist/vocalist Morgan Lander of Canadian metallers KITTIE. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Loud: It seems like all of your albums have been very personal and vitriolic, but [2011's "I've Failed You"] even more so. Have the past two years just been particularly dramatic for the band members?

Morgan: Well, for me in particular, yeah, it has been; which is why the album seems so personal and writing it was a very cathartic experience for me. I definitely had to go outside of my comfort zone in terms of what I wanted to talk about. A lot of the subject matter on previous albums, while it's personal, it's not necessarily all that obviously so. And with this new album it was basically an entire life upheaval. I've had a really crazy couple of years and everything that I thought was my life really wasn't. So I was left to pick up the pieces and then it was like, "Okay, well, it's time to write an album. Where do you start?" And so I just kinda poured my heart out and for me I think it was something that I needed to do in order to look at the situation objectively and then be able to get over it.

Loud: I understand Mercedes [Lander, drums/vocals] also contributed a fair amount to this album as well?

Morgan: Yeah, Mercedes did. Well, everybody has. Mercedes has for the last couple of albums has written some lyrical stuff as well. She wrote "We Are the Lamb" and contributed to a few other things as well. So it definitely is a band effort when it comes to making albums.

Loud: Has it always been that way within the band?

Morgan: Well, we definitely haven't had the benefit of having such a stable lineup. So for a lot of the earlier albums, it was mostly just Mercedes and I. But because we've had such a stable lineup now, Tara's [McLeod, guitars] been in the band for seven years, we do more writing with the three of us. It definitely helps to have another perspective and another brain at work there. It's not like in the beginning the idea was to not have it be a collaborative effort, but it just kinda ended up being that way for a little while, because of the nature of the lineups, people were coming and going for a long time. We were in a little bit of upheaval. But it's nice that we feel settled and stable and that definitely comes out in the music. When you're friends and you are around each other a lot and you grow as a musician together, it really helps you to create the best music and the most cohesive music you can.

Loud: You've definitely taken a heavier direction on recent albums. Is that a reflection of your headspace, or an indication that you've been listening to heavier bands of late?

Morgan: Well, I mean, if you look at all of our albums over the last ten-plus years, we've always been a heavy band, but we've sort of evolved into a more mature, more age appropriate kind of version of KITTIE. I think with the last couple of albums, I feel like [2009's] "In The Black" was the album that was like the foundation that we built to try and well, build on from there on out. "In The Black" was sort of written and recorded the way it was in response to [2007's] "Funeral For Yesterday", which was like a complete 180 from a lot of the things that we were doing before. We've had a long career and we are allowed to experiment, to try new things. We like to keep things interesting, but first and foremost we are a metal band and we wanted to get back to our roots and get back to basics. With the new album, we're just building on that foundation that we started with "In The Black" and it's kind of like the jumping off point. That's the direction that we're going to continue to head in.

Loud: It seems the past two albums have been far more accepted by critics as well. I remember reading a review a few years ago on Blabbermouth and the journalist was almost apologizing for praising the album, like he was in utter disbelief that you had created something worthwhile. Have you found you've received a lot of those kinds of back-handed compliments from reviewers and fans, especially recently?

Morgan: Well, it is difficult for us, because I still feel like our first album, it was the biggest-selling album of our career, and it was also written when we were 14 years old. From there on out, we were judged solely on that. That's what most mainstream people when they hear about KITTIE, that's the music that they think of. We've actually grown and matured. I mean, I'm 30 years old now; we've become a viable band. I think anybody that's kept up with our career could be like, "Well, yeah, of course, of course they're a great band now and of course they put great albums out. They've been honing their craft for over 12 years." But for a casual listener that all of a sudden they hear the new KITTIE, they've heard what people say about us or the rumors or they've heard stuff from the first album, and they listen to like "In The Black" or "I've Failed You". They're gonna be like, "Wow, I'm actually really surprised, this is a great record." And it's like well yeah, we've been around for a long time and we've been working very, very hard to continue to make quality music that reflects where we're at emotionally and musically. I don't know, coming from Blabbermouth, even a back-handed compliment is still a compliment, (laughs) For the most part, Blabbermouth is pretty brutal, so I'll take it.
What can you say about In Flames other than these guys know how to crank out one solid release after another? More than 20 years after their inception, the Swedish metal outfit is still going strong while headlining shows all over the world. They've sold millions of albums, toured with the likes of Dream Theater, Slayer and Motörhead, and have firmly entrenched themselves as one of Scandinavia's premier metal bands.
While In Flames was sitting comfortably for some time and pumped out great CDs like Colony, Clayman, Reroute To Remain and Come Clarity, the band went through some changes in 2010, when guitarist and founding member Jesper Strömblad announced his permanent departure from the group. It was the band's first lineup change since Daniel Svensson joined in 1998. Jesper has since been replaced Niclas Engelin and the quintet still has Svensson on drums, guitarist Björn Gelotte, bassist Peter Iwers and lead singer Anders Fridén.
In Flames is currently headlining a North American tour with Trivium, Veil Of Maya, and Kyng. I recently spoke with Svensson while the gang was in the midst of touring to discuss the band's latest album, Sounds Of A Playground Fading, their recent transition from Nuclear Blast to Century Media, and their future plans. The conversation is below.
You've been on the road for a little while now. How has the tour been going so far?
It's been going well. We've been on tour for two-and-a-half weeks now and we're starting to get into the tour mode, so to speak. We've had a couple of really good shows. It's a good package, and we're having a good time.
It seems like the band has been coming to America pretty often the past few years. Is there something about coming here that you guys really enjoy?
We enjoy playing anywhere but it's convenient touring in North America and we have a solid fanbase that we've been building up since we started. We don't really mind touring; we can go wherever, basically. As long as there is a scene, we'll go. The U.S. and Canada have been treating us well so we're happy to be back.
Your latest album has been received very well from both fans and the press. Have you paid attention to what the reaction is like?
Of course. We're really grateful that people are still supporting us even though sometimes we experiment a little bit with the music, but our fans are really staying loyal to the band and we're really happy. But we try not to think too much about what people would think about the album while we're writing. It's most important that we can stand behind it and be proud of it. And we'll never release something that we can't stand behind. If people like it that's a bonus and they do, so we're happy.
Speaking of experimenting with the music, do you think the band's sound has changed much over the past few years?
Yeah, if you compare the first album with the last one there's a big change, of course, but it's been a smooth transition in between every album. And we're not a band that wants to record the same album twice. We're not like AC/DC or Iron Maiden, they basically sound the same all the time—which, it's them, but we want to experiment a little bit and work in different ways when it comes to production and everything. We don't want to stagnate, we want to try new stuff all the time and of course, this album would change with that but it's not really any drastic change though, I would say.
What are your own personal thoughts about the album? Do you listen to it all in your spare time?
No, I don't listen to it. I did before but now when we're touring and we're playing the songs every night, I try to stay away from the songs when I'm not playing them. But I'm really happy with the album and how it turned out. We put in a lot of work on the album and since we have our own studio back home in Gothenburg we can really sit and work till we're really satisfied. We don't have the time pressure that other bands can have when they record because they're renting time in the studio. But yeah, I can't be [happier] with the album than I am.
The album charted the highest in the band's history here in the U.S. Was it one of your goals when recording this album to reach more people across the world?
Our goal is to record the best album so far in our career and then you need a whole lot of luck that the fans approve of the album. We don't have such goals, I mean, of course we want to grow as a band, but you do that by touring, I think. It's not really the sound of the album that will help you to gain more fans around the world but we do want to tour as much as possible and play in front of new fans in new places. I mean, it is our goal but it's not our intention when we do the album basically. That's a different story.
Was the recording or songwriting process for the album much different without Jesper?
We did the same. Björn wrote his riffs since he writes all the riffs and ideas of songs and I always start to puzzle it together arrangement-wise—we've done that before—but before, Jesper was bringing in riffs as well. This time Björn was alone. Otherwise, it was not so different from the earlier recordings. We spent more time in the studio. We did two demo productions and we really tried to organize each and every note from every song until we did the final recording. I mean, Jesper quit quite some time before the recordings—we already knew that we would record as a four-piece, so that transition was kinda smooth as well.
What are your thoughts about the music video for "Where The Dead Ships Dwell" considering the band wasn't in it at all?
Yeah, the thing is, we didn't have time. We were on the road and we needed to record a video so we couldn't participate because we were on the other side of the planet (laughs). The record company needed a video, like, really fast, so we had to do one of those stories, you know. I don't like recording videos anyway—you have to, but it's all in advertising.
What has the transition been like going from Nuclear Blast to Century Media?
We've been working with Nuclear Blast for so many years and I always felt like it's good to try something new. We know that Century Media knows their metal and we know the guys, I mean, the business isn't that big. We know a lot of bands that have been on Century Media are really happy with it so we took a chance and they're treating us really good, I think. I mean, it's tough times nowadays for the bands and record companies so it's hard selling albums but they do a good job and we're really happy so far.
Is In Flames working on anything new at the moment or are you just focusing on the tour?
We never write music during our touring periods. We tried to bring like a small studio out on some tour but I think we wrote like one or two riffs in a half-year. So we focus on touring until we're done and then we take several months off to recharge our batteries and then we go into the writing process with a fresh mind. So no, we haven't even discussed when or how or whatever. Right now, we're just focusing on the touring part.
You've toured with Trivium in the past. Have you guys established a relationship with them that you like to tour together?
Yeah, it's important that you can stand each other and we've been—I don't know how many tours we did with those guys, but we've come along really well. I think it's a good mix music-wise as well. Hopefully we can bring them some new fans and they can bring us some new fans and it's been a very good time.
Is the setlist for the tour primarily concentrating on Sounds Of A Playground Fading?
Of course you want to promote the latest album but at the same time, we want to give a treat to the older fans—older fans who like the older albums as well, but it's really tough making a setlist when you have 10 albums out, and it's really hard to please everyone, but we try to do a good mixing between new and older songs, even though we noticed that when we play the older songs, most of the people haven't heard them.
Do you have any plans for after the tour is over?
Yeah, it's going to be more touring (laughs). We leave America on the 22nd of February and we're going straight to Australia for two-and-a-half weeks and then we go to South Africa. And then we go home and we have three weeks off or something, and then we start another European tour, and then we have all the summer festivals and yeah, it's all about touring right now.
TURISAS was the big winner at the Finnish Metal Awards, which was held Saturday night (February 18) during the Finnish Metal Expo (the main event of Helsinki Metal Meeting) at the Cable Factory in Helsinki, Finland.

The winners were selected by the general public in the months preceding the event, by Internet and SMS. In all, 20,567 votes were counted.

Band Of The Year 2011:


Album Of The Year 2011:

01. TURISAS - Stand Up And Fight
02. INSOMNIUM - One For Sorrow
03. NIGHTWISH - Imaginaerum
04. AMORAL - Beneath
05. AMORPHIS - The Beginning Of Times
06. TURMION KÄTILÖT - Perstechnique
07. OMNIUM GATHERUM - New World Shadows
08. BEFORE THE DAWN - Deathstar Rising
09. MEDEIA - Abandon All
10. STRATOVARIUS - Elysium

Vocalist Of The Year 2011:

01. Mathias "Warlord" Nygård (TURISAS)
02. Tomi Joutsen (AMORPHIS, SINISTHRA)
03. Niilo Sevänen (INSOMNIUM)
04. Ari Koivunen (AMORAL)
05. Marco Hietala (TAROT, NIGHTWISH)
06. Timo Kotipelto (STRATOVARIUS)
09. Tarja Turunen (HARUS, solo)
10. Keijo Niinimaa (MEDEIA, ROTTEN SOUND, NASUM)

Musician Of The Year 2011:

01. Tuomas Saukkonen (guitar/drums/keys, BEFORE THE DAWN, BLACK SUN AEON, ROUTASIELU)
02. Olli Vänskä (violin, TURISAS)
03. Alexi Laiho (guitar, CHILDREN OF BODOM)
04. Tuomas Holopainen (keyboards, NIGHTWISH)
05. Ben Varon (guitar, AMORAL, TORNADO)
07. Ville Friman (guitar, INSOMNIUM)
08. Esa Holopainen (guitar, AMORPHIS)
09. Matias Kupiainen (guitar, STRATOVARIUS)
10. Vesa Pännäri (bass, WANKERS OF THE ZOO CREW)

Newcomer Of The Year 2011:


Demo / Self-Release Of The Year 2011:

01. ARTIFICIAL HEART - Broken Bones & Buried Dreams
02. NERVE END - Axis
03. STANDING OVATION - Scars Suit Me
04. WANKERS OF THE ZOO CREW - Modulated Launderings
05. MEKANISM - Cicatrized
06. UNBORN GENERATION - Culture Of Violence
07. UNHOPED - Die Harder
08. DREADFUL - It's Killing Me Inside
09. LOST SOCIETY - Lost Society
10. HUMAN SCULPTURE - Our World - Torn Down

Album Artwork Of The Year 2011:

01. TURISAS - Stand Up And Fight
02. INSOMNIUM - One For Sorrow
03. NIGHTWISH - Imaginaerum
04. AMORPHIS - The Beginning Of Times
05. AMORAL - Beneath
06. STRATOVARIUS - Elysium
07. BEFORE THE DAWN - Deathstar Rising
08. GHOST BRIGADE - Until Fear No Longer Defines Us
09. CHILDREN OF BODOM - Relentless Reckless Forever
10. WANKERS OF THE ZOO CREW - Modulated Launderings
Finnish folk metallers ENSIFERUM have entered the studio to begin recording their fifth album for a late spring/early summer release via Spinefarm Records. The drums, bass, grand piano and Hammond organ parts are being tracked at Petrax studio in Hollola, Finland while the rest will be laid down at Yellow House studio in Hämeenlinna, Finland with producer Hiili Hiilesmaa (HIM, LORDI, APOCALYPTICA, SENTENCED, AMORPHIS).

The first in a series of websidodes featuring behind-the-scenes footage from the new CD recording process can be seen below.

ENSIFERUM's fourth album, "From Afar", sold around 900 copies in the United States in its first week of release. The CD landed at position No. 44 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.

"From Afar" was released on September 9, 2009 via Spinefarm Records. The CD was produced by Tero Kinnunen (NIGHTWISH, AMORPHIS) and Janne Joutsenniemi ('Victory Songs' producer) and was mixed by Hiili Hiilesmaa (HIM, SENTENCED, AMORPHIS).
ONE-WAY MIRROR — the French band featuring Guillaume Bideau (MNEMIC) and David and Franck Potvin (LYZANXIA, PHAZE I) — will release its sophomore album, "Destructive By Nature", on April 16.
ONE-WAY MIRROR previously stated about the upcoming album, "Even though they composed these latest bombtracks in the similar vein of their first album, ONE-WAY MIRROR was able to nurture the fresh and perfectly controlled combination of violence and pure melodies with catchy components.

"This album is not unlike shrapnel as it will embed itself in your system upon explosion. Some songs will make the fans bang their heads while others will simply decimate them altogether.

"The band's goal will remain playing the very music they want to listen to. No constraints, no limits or barriers and no rules apply. The musicians of ONE-WAY MIRROR agree that the motivation to compose and to record a metal album is pure pleasure before any other consideration.

"David Potvin and Guillaume Bideau are producing the album and . . . the sound is extremely powerful, natural and modern."

ONE-WAY MIRROR's self-titled debut album was released in June 2008 via Metal Blade Records.


Guillaume Bideau (MNEMIC) - Vocals
David Potvin (LYZANXIA, PHAZE I) – Lead Guitar
Franck Potvin (LYZANXIA, PHAZE I) – Rhythm Guitar
Clément Rouxel (T.A.N.K) - Drums
Vincent Perdicaro (GENERAL LEE) – Bass
Not so long ago, I stumbled upon a video on TV, which, with a healthy dose of humor and cynicism, denounced the fact that, on the occasion of almost every presidential election of the French fifth republic, every future president made more or less the same promises, which could be summarized thus: "I will be the President who brings change". While of course, at the same time, accusing their predecessor of being opposed to said change. Far from sharing the view that "politicians are all rotten anyway", Mark Greenway, aka "Barney", Napalm Death's emblematic frontman, blames the lack of change on the political system and its restraints, rather than on the people who make it up – some of them having, after all, a concrete project.
Changing society and fighting for its ideals are life-long struggles, whose results are barely, if at all, visible. But as Barney would put it, it's better to "try and do something and make very small steps, rather than do nothing at all and have no doubt".
This interview is of course not all about society, but also about music. About Napalm Death's music and its possible evolutions, and about music in general, with Barney insisting on the importance of judging a piece of art with spontaneity and through one's emotions, rather than through classifications, of which the metal audience remains very fond.

"I respect people's freedom to say stuff and so on but please, use your brain before you do! [laughs]"
Radio Metal: Before talking about the new record, I'd like to come back to the album Smear Campaign you made in which Anneke van Giersbergen sang on one of the tracks. What were the reactions of the fans about that song?
Mark 'Barney' Greenway (vocals): Well, it was the usual stuff to be honest. I had to laugh because there was some things you could read on internet, like "Napalm Death is turning into an operatic metal band", and I was like "Oh come on, use your brains, please." I respect people's freedom to say stuff and so on but please, use your brain before you do! [laughs] It turned out very good. We were trying to achieve a certain effect. It was a certain Celtic Frost song many years ago that had that effect that we were looking for. We thought about several different vocalist, and she [Anneke] seemed to be the best person to do that at the time that we know could do it. So that's how it all went. The reaction in the end, after those initial comments, were fine. Once people heard it and understood what we were trying to do, the panic kind of dropped.
Do you think that for the pure death metal fans Napalm Death isn't allowed to do that kind of more melodic thing?
It wasn't really melodic if you listen to it. It has very ambient, very moody parts. It wasn't melodic in the sense of pop or sort of light melody, it was anything but. I think we really achieved the effect that we needed. It was meant to be similar to Celtic Frost and things that we did so it wasn't a problem in the end. People understood it for what it was. This is why sometimes when you've been in a band for some years it feels like you learn that some lines or comments are just not to be listened to [laughs], and just ignored.
Do you miss writing less aggressive music?
No, I'd miss to write more aggressive music, because it's what I know, it's what I like. I don't have any intention to do anything that's less intense than Napalm. That's actually why if I ever wasn't in Napalm any more, I would probably not do another band, because it wouldn't have the same effects on me. Why do something that's a bit secondary to what you've already done? I couldn't be happy with that.
And do you intend to experiment other things like that on your future records?
Well,the new album's got various parts on it… Nothing that we haven't done before, but just arranged in different ways. We wrote what we wanted at the time when we started with that album, so I wish I could have a crystal ball and tell you exactly what the next albums will be, but of course I can't. An other way to look at it is that there are some things that are presented to the band's musically but that are just unsuitable. People don't also realize that there are moments behind the scenes where we try things for songs and, amongst ourselves, just think "That's too far away from what we think Napalm should be." So… We're junkies. We're on music. So there is also these things, it's a lot of stuff that people don't see aside from what's actually released.
"Music should be about what first hits your hears, first and foremost."
At the beginning of your career, you were considered a grindcore band, then the band has evolved to something closer to death metal. Based on what we hear on the trailer for the new album, this new album has even some melodic – for Napalm Death – moments. What can you tell us about this new record musically speaking? How can you describe it?
I don't like general classifications, and that just relates to what I was saying. I'm bored of it because people waste so much time arguing about musical genre… It's so pointless. But the one thing I would say though is that Napalm getting called a death metal band is not really accurate as an overview of the band. Napalm Death is much more than that. If I had to pick a genre, it would be grindcore, because I think "grindcore" is a very wide definition. "Death metal" not so much. I think grindcore is the first thing, so to speak. But there has been diversity in Napalm's albums ever since the Scum album. Like I say, the main thing with this new record is that there are certain riffs that are kind of different, but more so, there are vocal things that has been done on other albums that are just used in a different context here. The more ambient, baritone, you could say cleaner vocals, were not much used in the faster parts before, but on this album they had, and that sort of gives it a different flavour. But at the end of the day, Napalm is always gonna be Napalm. We'll do what we need to do. Like I say, we always do listen to people's opinion, apart from when they're ridiculous [laughs] and even if we do get some of those. We do listen to criticism, I think it's important. You can't be blind to what people say about that because that can help you. It can help you to think in certain directions as far as your band goes.
To what point you think Napalm Death will evolve? How far do you wanna go?
That's an unanswerable question. That's an other "crystal ball" question. It's so to say, "how long can passion last?" It can be many different length… I just don't know. From my own perspective, which I guess is the only one I can really give, Napalm is Napalm, and as long as it has that core element of fast, furious, chaotic sort of sound then I'll be happy. We can do many different things, but it has to have that root. If it doesn't have that root anymore, then the first besides everybody else, I'm not gonna be fucking happy.
Earlier you were saying that you were bored of all of those classification and styles. Do you think that classification is what kills the listeners' open-mindedness?
I don't know. To be honest, when I was younger, I was so exclusive in terms of the music I was listening to, it was like "I'm not listening to that because it's this", or "it's not enough of this or that", and it just gets ridiculous. Music should be about what first hits your hears, first and foremost. And then of course you can develop your listening experience on there. But first and foremost, it should move you in a certain way. I think that's quite important. Spontaneous reaction to music is always quite important, then you just start to take it from there. People can take this as they want, really, it's up to them. The very funny part about this whole thing is that certainly in the last couple of years, I have found myself listening to less and less music, I have to say. And it's not because I'm deliberately taking a stand against music, it's just because I don't find things that are as exciting to me as things that came from my formative years. I think there is less and less consistent quality in music right now. That's more a general observation, all the other people might strongly disagree, but in music as I see right now, on a spontaneous listening level, there is nothing moving me in a great way. Different experience for everybody I suppose, but that's mine.
"It's better to be trying to do something and making very small steps that not doing anything at all."
On the artwork of the new album, we see men in suits beating up a man on the ground, and we also see one of those men with a shark head. Is this the best way for you to sum up what utilitarianism is fighting for?
No, it's not even a homage to the philosophical theory itself… The guy in the center lying on the floor is or would be utilitarian, and then the guys that are dancing around him are representations of the power mechanisms. They are the ones that are kicking him, basically to try and move him from his ethical path, his ethical considerations. The images that gravitate around that central piece are the thoughts that are running through his head, the objections that he makes within society. So there is a definite arrangement on the sleeve, it's not just one thing.
Do you think nowadays society is dangerous for weaker people, so that is why you believe in utilitarianism?
I'm not saying that I do, like I said I don't know whether I am necessarily a utilitarian. I see a parallel with one aspect of it, in that sense that if good things make good consequences, then my general approach is not to do things that I know will have a negative impact on other people in certain ways. Yes, I do see parallels with that part of it. But I'm not saying that I'm fully a utilitarian, I really don't know, and I'm trying not to put myself in relatively small characterizations, because I think it's being too narrow-viewed about things. But of course the very nature of society is hierarchical structures, so of course society is not good for people on the lower end of the scale, because it keeps them there, and it keeps that hierarchical structure in place. It can't be good. And that's why various people and movements around the world right now are having a certain momentum, and are trying to bring out our attention towards the quality and trying to make a difference. It ain't easy, that's for sure, but at least people now have a certain continuous momentum.
"Let's be clear: not all politicians are a pointless, useless waste of time. [...] The political system don't allow the penetration of change into the lowest parts of this world or society"
You were talking in an interview about loss of hope, about these periods of real self-doubt where you wonder if you're really making a difference… Is it something that you felt personally? Did you lose hope in your ability to change things with your ideas?
Yeah, many times! I'll be the first to admit that. You know, everybody does. I think that's one thing every human shares, whatever it might be about. When you do something, it's almost like you wanna see instant results, and of course you don't always get that. If you try to make a difference in a society that's been in this structure for hundreds upon thousands of years, there is no way you're gonna change things over now. But still, even if now I know that, I also have those self-doubts at the same time. So yeah, it's something I suffered with. But I always come to the conclusion that it's better to be trying to do something and making very small steps that not doing anything at all.
Do you think that since we aren't enough patient, we aren't giving enough time to politicians to prove that they can change something?
No I didn't say that necessarily, that wasn't what I meant. I think politicians have had more than enough time, more to the point I think the political system don't allow the penetration of change into the lowest parts of this world or society, whatever you wanna call it. It's not dealt with. I get the connection that you are trying to make, but it's not about politicians, it was about me and other people who are relatively lacking in power in society. There's a slight difference there.
You often if not always talk about politics in your music, have you ever considered to find another way to express your ideas? For instance, have you considered to be a politician?
Well, I've thought about many different things, but if I become a politician, I am going to be as restricted by the system as those politician that actually do wanna make a difference. Let's be clear: not all politicians are a pointless, useless waste of time. There are quite a few politicians I would imagine who genuinely entered the political system trying to make the very same differences that I am. Let's not paint everybody with the same brush. Political systems as they are today are very restrictive in what you can do. I don't know whether I would be able to do that, because if I entered politics, I guess that I would be just running in circles and I would very quickly leave it, because there would be nothing that could be dones… Then what's the point? I just do my thing somewhere else.
The trailer of the new album is very well realized. Will there be an official video for the new album?
There will be. I don't now when it might happen, tough, I'm not entirely sure, so… We'll see. We just haven't got around to it yet… It's something that's on the list. I don't know what's gonna be the first, but there'll something, yeah.
Part of this trailer are animated videos. Why did you choose to present things this way ? Do you wanted to present things with an original and naive way ?
Well I don't think that's naive, the trailer that I saw was quite good. Of course we could have made another video of people on the streets throwing balls and stuff, fine, of course we could do that, but this animated stuff happened to came into our sphere of contact, and it looks really good. It has a certain aesthetic quality to it, it's not as obvious as just putting riots or other things, so I think there is a certain creative quality to it. I wouldn't call it naïve, it suggests something juvenile, or obvious, cliché, something like that. I don't think it is. That's a very good creative piece.
Swedish dark rockers KATATONIA recently entered the studio to begin recording their ninth album, to be released later in the year.

A video update from the band's drummer, Daniel Liljekvist, can be seen at this location.

Said Daniel, "We finished up the drum recordings at Ghost Ward studio in Stockholm, Sweden. I did that together with David Castillo, the owner of the studio. We worked with him far too many years. He's a great guy. The sessions went really good. The songs are great; incredible songs. It's got everything — complex parts, soft shit… same old darkness, KATATONIA bullshit that all you crazy KATATONIA maniacs love; I know that."

KATATONIA previously stated about the band's new material, "Well, you got the lush textures, the moody melodies, the heavy parts, the progressive touches, the mellow bits and so on... Is it metal? Is it rock? Is it alternative? Is it singer/songwriter? Actually at times it feels like we're exploring territories where KATATONIA would be an orphan in the land of 'genres.' We can't tell where and to whom we belong and the goal is that it doesn't even matter, because before and above any genre, there's first an acceptance level of music being good, or being bad. KATATONIA might be bad people, but we create good music."

The group added, "We also hooked up again with keyboard maestro extraordinaire Frank Default and regardless of the Internet speculations, he's not to 'blame' for the increased use of electronics since the last album. That part has been called for as we simply feel that it has grown to fill a hole in our sound inside, or alongside, the classic formation of instruments. In our world, we allow mellotrones, Hammonds, rhodes and strings to integrate with loops, distortion and filters to manifest in the katatonic maelstrom. It's our time to marry contemporary with vintage."

KATATONIA played four shows in Scandinavia in December, hitting the capital cites of Copenhagen, Oslo, Helsinki and, of course, the band's hometown of Stockholm. The concerts, which were part of the 20th-anniversary "Last Fair Day Gone Night Tour 2011", saw the band perform two sets. The first set consisted of a performance of the entire "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" album front to back. The second set was a mixture of carefully picked songs from the band's extensive catalogue.

KATATONIA's May 6, 2011 concert at Koko in London, England was professionally filmed/recorded for a future DVD release.

KATATONIA released special editions of the critically acclaimed albums "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" and "Night Is The New Day" on April 25, 2011. The 10th-anniversary edition "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" was presented in deluxe mediabook packaging, as a two-disc edition containing tracks from the now hard-to-find singles "Teargas" and "Tonight's Music". The reissue of 2009's "Night Is The New Day" included bonus tracks from the "The Longest Year" EP. Both titles were presented with newly updated cover artwork courtesy of original artist Travis Smith.
Adam "Nergal" Darski of Polish extreme metal veterans BEHEMOTH has recorded a guest appearance on the new album from Polish guitarist Grzegorz Skawinski. Entitled "Me & My Guitar", the CD will be released on March 12.

Commented Darski: "Style-wise, it's very far from what I do in BEHEMOTH… but I know Grzegorz for years… The guy is a guitar hero in my country and I couldn't turn down his offer when he asked me to play a lead in the title track. It came out great, and I'm sure many of you out there will dig it… it's a very crafty and catchy stuff."

Skawinski is a guitar virtuoso, famous in Eastern Europe as a former member of KOMBI, a Polish supergroup.

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