[Classic_Rock_Forever] Iron Maiden, Alice Cooper, Motorhead and tons of hard rock and heavy metal news


IRON MAIDEN have updated the itinerary for their Maiden England 2012 Tour with a new date announced on August 4th at Sleep Train Amphitheater in Sacramento, CA.


ALICE COOPER opens for Iron Maiden's Maiden England 2012 tour until July 21st, with more dates to be announced soon.

21 - Charlotte, NC - Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
23 - Atlanta, GA - Aarons Amphitheatre
26 - Boston, MA - Comcast Center
27 - Wantagh, NY - Jones Beach
29 - Philadelphia, PI - Susquehanna Bank Center
30 - Washington, DC - Jiffy Lube Live

2 - Newark, NJ - Prudential Center
4 - Milwaukee, WI - Marcus Amphitheater (Summerfest)
5 - Chicago, IL - First Midwest Bank
8 - Quebec, QC - Colisee Pepsi Arena
11 - Montreal, QC - Bell Center
13 - Toronto, ON - Molson Amphitheatre
14 - Sarnia, ON - Bayfest
16 - Buffalo, NY - Darien Lake Performing Arts Center
18 - Detroit, MI - DTE Music Theatre
19 - Indianapolis, IN - Klipsch Music Centre
21 - Cadott, WI - Rock Fest 2012

4 - Sacramento, CA - Sleep Train Amphitheater
For nearly 40 years, the British heavy metal band, Motorhead, which features Lemmy Kilmister-vocals/bass, Phil Campbell-guitar and Mikkey Dee-drums, have been slaying audiences with their unique brand of no-frills, in-your-face rock n' roll.  While the band had faced a great deal of adversity, dealing over the years with incompetent record companies, crooked accountants and greedy managers, Motorhead has not only managed to survive, but prosper as well. The band is currently more popular than ever, and are now regarded as rock royalty.
Currently, Motorhead is finishing up performing on the "Gigantour," which also features Megadeth, Volbeat and Lacuna Coil. In addition, Motorhead has just recently released a stunning live CD/DVD package entitled, "The World is Ours - Vol 1."  This package documents the band's 2011 performance to a sold out and frantic crowd in Santiago, Chile. This release is a true must have for any fan of metal or classic rock.
Here at RockMusicStar, we had the honor of chatting with guitarist Phil Campbell.  During this conversation we discussed the new CD/DVD, future plans and much more.
 RockMusicStar:  Phil, I want to start off  by discussing your new, live CD/DVD entitled, "The World is Ours-Vol 1."  First, of all, is it correct to assume that there will be a Vol 2?
Phil Campbell:  Yes, there will eventually be a "….Volume 2" coming out. 
RMS:  One of the things about the DVD that caught my attention right from the start, was the intensity of the crowd at the performance in Santiago, Chile.  I've been to many of your shows, and that crowd was unlike any I've ever seen before.  It's almost as if they were on the verge of a riot.
PC:  Well, we always have a good response from the audience.  We rarely have an off show.  But, yeah this one was a little more ecstatic than most of the others.  But, it's all good, as long as nobody gets hurt. 
RMS:  Has Motorhead toured in South America before?
PC:  We've been going over there since that late 80's.  So we've been there six or seven times.  So, it's every couple of years.  But, as far as playing in Chile, it was our first or second time. 
RMS:  Do you ever get concerned about you personal safety when you play in places such as third world countries?
PC:   Actually, we did have a bit of a riot one time.  I can't remember exactly where it was, but it was somewhere in South America.  We played a set, and it was cut like 5 minutes short.  And the audience didn't seem to like that.  So, we had to lock ourselves in the dressing room. 
RMS:  Wow…Another interesting aspect of the DVD is the fact that it's filmed in black and while.  With so many artists using technology to its fullest, and filming their concerts in high definition and some even in 3D, it's interesting that you went in the opposite direction.  Whose idea was it to film in black and white? 
PC:  I'm not sure who had the idea first.  But, we all love black and white video and photography.  You can capture a mood and can just get a stronger sense of perception.  I really like it myself. 
RMS:  Yeah, I agree, it's very cool that it's filmed that way.  I think that it adds to the intensity of the performance.  One of the other noteworthy aspects of the DVD/CD was your guitar intro to the track, "The Thousand Names of God."  I love your tone on it, and it really is rather unique.  Was this previously on a Motorhead CD that I missed?
PC:  I'm glad that you liked it.  No, you didn't miss it, it was never on a CD.  It's just something that I recorded (the keyboard part) at my studio at home. I was just tired of playing my guitar solo with nothing in the background.  I remember watching Heaven and Hell with Tony Iommi and he had some cool background stuff going on with his solos.  So, I wanted to do something similar to that.  But, yeah, I composed it all myself. 
RMS:  It seems like it calms the audience down for a few minutes, then the onslaught starts up again.  Do you have any more material written in that style?
PC:  No, not really.  But, I do have various versions of that intro. But, yeah, we like to throw in various bits to briefly calm down things at times.  It's the calm before the storm.
photo by Jenipher NyariRMS:   Have you ever considered doing a solo album?
PC:  Yes, I have thought about it a lot.  But I shelved it a couple years ago, because I've decided that I want to write a book about all the insane things that happen on tour. So, I'm trying to compile all of those stories and funny situations.  So, at this point, I'm working on that.  But, I'm a bit lazy, so it's taken a while.  But as far as a solo record, I do have a studio at home, it's just hard finding the time.  With Motorhead, we've been working so hard, for so long. 
RMS:  Motorhead has pretty much been on the record, tour cycle non-stop since you joined the band, 28 years ago.  Seriously, have you ever had an extended break during your time in the band?
PC:  Not really.  We have never taken longer than a couple of months off.  We will have a little time off when this tour, the Gigantour finishes. And that will be nice.  But, we have decided to cut back a little bit, and enjoy the spoils of our hard work, before we get too old.
RMS:  Will Motorhead be touring this summer?
PC:  Yes, we will be on a festival tour of North America and then we will play some festivals in Europe, and then a full tour of the UK and Europe.
RMS:  Has there ever been talk of a farewell tour?
PC:  No, we don't think of that stuff, we just carry on.
RMS:  Not too many bands tour North America in the middle of winter, even though this has been a relatively mild winter, has there been any difficultly in traveling to the gigs?
PC:  Yeah, we've been rather lucky, so far.  Everyone's been able to make every show and we've seen quite a bit of snow.  We are just outside Seattle, and it's getting much better and it should remain that way for the rest of the tour.  It's going to be nice to get to some heat this week when we play in California.
RMS:  One of the things that you are notorious for is playing pranks on the other bands that you are touring with.  Has anything gone down on this tour yet?
PC:  Not yet, but I do have some things in mind.  I have two marshmallow guns that shoot miniature marshmallows.  You can put 15 in each barrel, so I think will give that a go in the next day or two.  But, I haven't decided yet who the unlucky recipients are going to be just yet. But, there is no shortage of possible victims.
RMS: (laughs) Besides pulling off pranks, is there anything that you would still like to accomplish as a member of Motorhead?

PC:  I've accomplished way more than I ever thought that I could when I was a young kid learning the guitar.  We get great crowds every night, we've played some amazing concerts and places.  It's nice that I got a "Grammy Award," even if it wasn't for our own song.  But we still got one, and I thought I would never have one of those on my mantle piece, along with several other awards.  So, there's really nothing else that I desire to accomplish.  But, I think that our greatest accomplishment really is the fact that we are still going, and stronger than ever.  I've been with Lemmy for 28 years, so that's the main accomplishment, and we've done it with maintaining our dignity, and we still have a bit of sanity left.  And people are still enjoying going to the shows. So, that's really our greatest achievement, when looking back on it.  And just playing a good gig is satisfying to me, and just keeping it going.  

RMS:  A lot can be said for that.  During the 28 years that you were in the band, was there ever a time when the band come close to breaking up?

PC:  No, not since, I've been with the band.  

RMS:  Seriously, twenty-eight years is a long time to be in a band with someone.  

PC:  Yeah, we've been together for so long, we know when someone needs their space.  We also try to have separate dressing rooms, just so we have a bit of space because we do travel on the same buses.  Sometimes, if you want to sleep and someone wants to bring in guests, or play guitar, it's good to be able to be get away from one another for at least a few hours.  But we are all really good mates.  

RMS:  What's the writing process in the band like?  Does it start with a riff that you bring in?

PC:  Yeah, it's sort of that way.  I will try to write as much of the music that I can, and then show it to the boys and then discuss what we like and don't like.  It's a three way writing process, really.  But, it kind of starts with me with the basics.

RMS:  Have you or Mikkey Dee ever helped or suggested lyrics to Lemmy?

PC:  No, we leave that up to Lem, he is the best at doing that.  That is his department.  

RMS:  What is Lemmy like as the band leader?

PC:  He's really cool.  When I joined the band, he said, "I trust you implicitly, Phil." "The only thing I ask you is never wear shorts on stage."  (laughs)  Because Brian Robertson, the guitarist right before me, decided that it was cool to go onstage wearing shorts.  So, that scared Lemmy a little bit.  

RMS:  That's hilarious.  I do remember seeing some pictures of Brian on stage with Motorhead and not really dressed like the way I would expect that guitarist of Motorhead to dress.  

PC:  Yeah, it didn't really go that well with the band's image.  But, I've never worn shorts onstage.  I've worn them during sound checks, but never on stage.  And that's the one rule, so I can deal with that.  

RMS:  Do feel that Motorhead is more popular now than ever before, well at least during the time that you've been in the band?

PC:  Yes, I would say so.  We are doing very well, right now.

RMS:  Do you think that the movie, "Lemmy" helped the band reach more people?  It seems as if it is always on VH-1 Classics.

PC:  Yes, that all helps.  But, I think it all sort of started when we started doing songs for the WWE.  Then we had a song on the "Sponge Bob" movie.  But all of that helped.  The "Lemmy" movie certainly didn't do us any harm at all.  But, we had a huge upsurge in popularity way before that movie came out.  But, the WWE involved really did a lot for us.  Also, we were on Jay Leno back in the early days as well.  So, it's really all of that.  

RMS:  One of the things I've noticed, while being a fan of the band, is that every time I see you perform, you always have at least a couple different guitars.  Your guitar collection must be insane at this point.

PC:  Yeah, it's about 260 guitars now.  And today I brought a new one.  I got a 1950's, double Fender lap steel guitar.  

RMS:  Wow, now that's not something that you will be able to use in Motorhead, is it?

PC:  I'll find a way to use it, maybe even on the next record, on bits and pieces.  Or maybe one of my kids will use it.  But, I really like collecting guitars.  

RMS:  In addition to collecting guitars, you also have quite an impressive collection of watches.  How did that collection start?

PC:  Yeah, I have about 30 really nice watches.  I have to be careful when I go to a shopping mall because I'm drawn into the watch stores.  They seem to come to me and jump out.

RMS:  What is it about watches that appeals so much to you?

PC:  Well, it started because I always wanted a good Rolex watch.   And I bought my first one in Seattle about 15 years ago.  So, it started from there.  Eric Singer of KISS is a total watch egghead.  If you show him any watch, he'll tell you when it was made, and what factory and any information that you wanted.  You get Eric started on watches and he will go on for hours, it's really great talking to him about them.  Eric told me once, that he tries to wear at least three watches a day.    

RMS:  I would just like to discuss the set list that you are currently playing on the Gigantour. You really seem to concentrate on the early material.  But, some of the music you recorded in the 90's is equally as good.  Records such as "Bastards" and "Sacrifice" are brilliant and brutal.  Why aren't some of those songs included in the set list?  

PC:  Well, we use to play "Liar" off of "Bastards." But, sometimes, Lem just doesn't fancy singing them.  It's very difficult trying to fit all of our good material in the set list when we play a 1 ½ hours.  But we used to play a lot of those songs, but they just kind of got phased out.  We will play songs for a couple of tours and then change it a bit, but we have to keep songs like, "Ace of Spades" and "Overkill" in every set list.  On this tour, we only have 50 minutes, so it was really difficult coming up with the set list.  But, we are going down well with what we are playing.  But, it's a short set... and no time for even my guitar solo interlude that we discussed, unfortunately.

RMS:  That's too bad, maybe during the summer tour you can bring that back.

PC:  Yeah, I'll see what I can do.  

RMS:  That would be great.  Phil, thank you for your time, and I'll see you on that big festival tour this summer.

PC:  Ok, thank you.  I enjoyed the conversation.
For more on Motorhead, please visit www.imotorhead.com
In a recent interview with Classic Rock Revisited, CHICKENFOOT guitarist Joe Satriani was asked if he has heard the new VAN HALEN album, "A Different Kind Of Truth", and what he thinks of it. "I kind of like it," Joe replied. "I was talking to Sammy [Hagar, CHICKENFOOT/ex-VAN HALEN singer] about it the other day. I said, 'You know, Sam, I have to congratulate you on the enduring success of VAN HALEN. It is something that Mike [Anthony, CHICKENFOOT/ex-VAN HALEN bassist] and you should be proud of.' Mike and Sam were at least as successful, if not more so, than when Dave [Lee Roth, original VAN HALEN singer] was in the band. If you turn on any classic rock radio station, then you hear just as much Sammy-era VAN HALEN as you do David Lee Roth-era VAN HALEN. As uncomfortable as it might be for those guys to try to sort out business between them, from my perspective, I'm just a guy and I like it all. If I hear Eddie [Van Halen] and Alex [Van Halen] playing together, then I'm pretty much all the way there immediately. I think that both Dave and Sam brought interesting things to Eddie's musicianship, as he wrote different kinds of songs with each. Dave is more vaudeville and Sammy is more rock. For me, just to have a new record with Eddie Van Halen — I like that. When you think that we've been missing him for so long — the crime is that we don't have three new albums."

Speaking to Cack Blabbath in January, Hagar was asked what he thought of VAN HALEN getting back together with David Lee Roth and whether they were doing it for the music or they were doing it for the money. "Well, I'm not going to speculate why anyone does anything, but I'll tell you what — they waited so long and they're so not fan-friendly, and as big as VAN HALEN was in the past," he said. "That's what we used to argue about when I was in the band. I got thrown out because I didn't want to do a greatest-hits record. I said, 'Why the fuck? We're the biggest band in the world. Every album we've done since I've been in the band has been No. 1, we've sold out every arena on the planet. Now why would you want to sell them the same old record again and give them two new tracks? Why do you want to do that to the fans?' And we got into it. They wanted to do it at that time for the money, a new manager came in and he thought we could make a whole bunch of money for doing nothing, and I'm going, 'We've got a whole bunch of money, so why are we doing this?' We really didn't need to do it and it really caused problems in the band. Why they're doing it now, I have no idea, but I think it's about time. I personally don't think that what they have just released [referring to the single/video 'Tattoo'], what I have seen and heard, is great at all. It should be better than it is, but hey, it is what it is, and at least they got together and at least they came out with something, that's all I can say, you know. God bless them, but I was expecting a lot more."
SPECTRUM ROAD, the new quartet featuring Jack Bruce (CREAM), Vernon Reid (LIVING COLOUR), John Medeski (MEDESKI, MARTIN AND WOOD) and Cindy Blackman-Santana (LENNY KRAVITZ, SANTANA), will release its self-titled debut album on June 5 via Palmetto Records. The band will promote the CD with an appearnace at the 2012 edition of the Bonnaroo Music And Arts Festival on June 9 on a beautiful 700-acre farm in Manchester, Tennessee, 60 miles south of Nashville.

SPECTRUM ROAD emerged from a discussion between Vernon Reid and Jack Bruce when Vernon was touring and recording with Jack around 2003. They bonded over how much they admired the groundbreaking music of THE TONY WILLIAMS LIFETIME, in particular second edition of that seminal band in which Jack participated with Larry Young and John McLaughlin and recorded the classic album "Turn It Over" in 1970. Vernon suggested using John Medeski on keyboards and Tony Williams acolyte Cindy Blackman on drums. This band premiered in December 2008 at the Blue Note in Tokyo. The 2011 shows were the first time the band has played in the United States.


Vernon Reid (LIVING COLOUR) - Guitar
Jack Bruce (CREAM) - Bass, Vocals
Cindy Blackman-Santana (LENNY KRAVITZ, SANTANA) - Drums, Vocals
John Medeski (MEDESKI, MARTIN AND WOOD) - Piano, Keyboards
Not sure where there's more ice, the permafrost encrusted sidewalks that make navigating Helsinki streets a wintery lottery, or in the bars, to keep the precious lonkero (and other hard liquor drinks) cold. Virtually from the moment one touches down at Vanataa airport, the locals insist you have a drink in hand! Attending each annual installment of FME (aka Helsinki Metal Meeting) provides a unique perspective, as this event is now at a crossroads. Initially designed to promote Finnish metal to the outside world (with a subsidy from the government!), there's no denying the likes of NIGHTWISH, COB, STRATOVARIUS, HIM and countless others are shining stars in metaldom. Trying to elevate that next tier of bands is/was the FME mission. While the two day gathering (plus a third, industry-only Thursday) always featured a mix of known foreign acts (to get kids to attend the concerts) and upstart natives seeking greener pastures, one could argue that Saturday's headliner, STAMINA, supported by TURISAS (both entities barely existed when FME was conceptualized) are the fulfillment of the original edict. That said, overall attendance was down noticeably (not to mention the dearth of non-performing A-level rock stars) and the quotient of international guests, apart from the returning German label reps and one stubborn American journalist/photographer, was virtually non-existent. Thus, having succeeded (to a degree) in its original mission, with diminishing impact at home, FME needs to re-evaluate its priorities. Like NASA, following Apollo 11 landing on the moon, sustaining vision, once the hoopla has gone, is an even greater challenge. Surely there's plenty of fun and excitement yet to be had.

In the past, industry-only seminars were limited to Thursday, augmented by a couple of bands that were open to the public. For 2012, there were at least two panel discussions each day, Friday and Saturday competing against the live entertainment onstage in another part of the giant Kaapelitehdas (cable factory) facility. After a moderated interview with KILLING JOKE frontman Jaz Coleman, the industry types were treated to an intimate acoustic set (guitar/keys) by a trio from SWALLOW THE SUN, offering up originals and a few covers, including TYPE O NEGATIVE's 'Everyone I Know Is Dead'. Afterwards, members of the press, PARAIDSE LOST, SABATON and EDGUY headed to the Backstage Bar, for a night of revelry. The downtown club sports a tote board of alcoholic consumption/potential danger, with members of NIGHTWISH and SONATA ARCTICA (and their management) precariously listed atop such ubiquitous liquor liquidators as LEMMY, NIKKI SIXX or HENDRIX.

Friday always begins at 5pm, something of a difficulty for the working Finn. Germany's DIE APOKALYPTISCHEN REITER kicked things off in the main room (Merikaapelihalli), the first of six foreign acts that day: not a Suomi on the main stage! There's also an equal amount of floor space devoted to vendor booths, now restricted almost exclusively to competing summer festivals, record labels/shops and high end equipment manufacturers. A second room, that once housed business opportunities for smaller merchants, publications and the odd, self-promoting band, has given way to an improved second stage (Puristamo), no longer relegated to a cramped, unlit anteroom off the main convention floor. That's now home to the VIP area. The German outfit is an odd collection of characters, singing in their native tongue. The body builder turned keyboardist, Dr. Pest, with spiked bondage mask, leather shorts and a ship, looks like the protagonist from the Mad Max film. Then there's bald & bearded frontman, Fuchs, sporting suspenders, but no shirt, beneath his Prussian inspired military jacket. They did their best to entertain the predominately teenaged early arrivals, with the likes of 'Es Wird Schlimmer' and the closing 'Riders Of The Storm'.

Russia's OLDSCHOOL (one word moniker) were billed as old school metal, when in reality it was more '70s hard rock, of the WHITESNAKE/JOURNEY variety, down to the singer's white dress jacket, white jeans and Steve Perry haircut/mannerisms. Sadly, a good portion of what might have been their crowd (elderly, or at least in their own middle-age bracket) were still trying to navigate home from work in Friday rush hour, as the school aged (usually excitable) kids, who were in attendance, found nothing to get excited about. Kind of funny wishing everyone "God bless you," as a parting comment, from a Russian band! SOEN are a new Swedish band, so much so they struggled to fill their 30 minute time slot, despite being a proggy TOOL wannabe (down to bald frontman in suit coat), that features notables Steve DiGiorgio (DEATH/SADUS?TESTAMENT) on bass and former OPETH/AMON AMARTH drummer Martin Lopez.

As the clock ticked towards 9pm, the crowd thickened, perhaps eager to witness the first performance (anywhere!) from former DIMMU BORGIR clean vocalist ICS VORTEX. The giant of a man has gained a few pounds since we last saw him. Singing in that trademark high register (not too afar from his normal speaking voice), he yelped and yodeled through a progressively tinged folky set that seemed influenced by BORKNAGAR and the recent solo works of former EMPEROR mainman, Isahan. Prior to 'The Blackmobile' Vortex related having to sell his car in order to finance the making of his CD. He quipped, as much to reassure himself, as the audience, between songs: "I'm definitely gonna drink some beer after this concert." The dual guitar fourpiece was virtually motionless throughout, the frontman cocking his head, side-to-side, as he sang, foot never leaving its rest on the monitor. Vortex may have strolled a total of 25 feet, including his entrance and exiting the stage, throughout the set. 'Windward', a drum solo and the title track 'Stormseeker' were amongst the low key offerings.

This was my first PARADISE LOST headlining caliber gig since '95, when I travelled with them on tour throughout Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. While I've run into them a couple of times since, it's nice for English speakers to meet where the mother tongue is something foreign, as there's an instant kinship and dialogue, even without our intertwined history! This is now the band metalheads always thought they could be, all those years ago. Nipping ay the heels of METALLICA, as the next great metal band (a mantle that's still vacant), PL disowned their trademark sound, seeking riches and a more mainstream sound (remind you of anyone else?). Only in the last few years, and further emboldened by the manic reaction to 20th anniversary concerts for Draconian Times, have the boys once again felt totally comfortable in the heavy metal pigeonhole. Thank you! Throughout their hour onstage, this was a confident bunch, especially neatly trim bearded frontman Nick Holmes, who took command. He really looks the part of those sepia toned vintage-styled promo pictures the band enjoys. They ticked most of the "must play" boxes, including an aggressive 'Pity The Sadness', blue and green lit 'Forever Failure' (with "Charles Manson on lead vocals," as Holmes put it) and 'Enchantment'. This was mostly about slower/heavier tracks, their strongest suit. 'Honesty In Death' was the lone inclusion from the forthcoming Tragic Idol CD. Under copper lights, there were elements of that decades' old classic disc within, particularly the guitar tones of Gregor Mackintosh. When finished, Holmes asked, "Can someone upload that now, so I can listen to it when I'm backstage?" Funny enough, throughout FME people were using their phones and tablets to update their Facebook accounts on the spot, adding photos and/or sounds of what was taking place onstage, in real time. Pre-recorded backing synthetic strings augment 'Requiem' under green lights. 'One Second' broke into a poppy spontaneous clap along that even had the stoic Mackintosh, singing the chorus. 'As I Die' was introduced as "a song we wrote in the late 60s, as a garage band," another example of Holmes' humor. Great show!

Maybe only EDGUY could counteract such groundedness, the always Tobias Sammet in rare form. It was pomp right from the start, opening with the 'Nobody's Hero', 'The Arcane Guild' and 'Tears Of The Mandrake' triple-play. Then Sammet addressed the crowd, "We're here to bring you sunshine. That sounds gay, doesn't it?" Later he self-deprecatingly offered, "We turned into a Bon Jovi band. We want to make some money." Even the loquacious frontman realized he might be overdoing it, observing, "I'm sounding like (MANOWAR's) Joey DeMaio, although I have to go on for twenty minutes!" 'Rock Of Cashel' saw the rest of the band, especially bassist Tobias "Eggi" Exxel (cross-eyed mugging), playing for and to the adoring crowd, however Sammet warned, "Helsinki, don't clap along. Listen to the melody of EDGUY." Tongue in cheek, of course, same as his observation that "some say the population of Finland is a bunch of alcoholic retards." Cue deafening roar of approval from those in attendance. That led into the usual left side vs. right side call & response "contest", which the frontman mocked as a "gay version of David Lee Roth." At least one person objected, Sammet saying, "Don't give me the bird (middle finger)." EDGUY took it in stride, right into the comic genius of 'Lavatory Love Machine', then current single 'Robin Hood'. Following 'Ministry Of Saints', it was 'Save Me' a self described "pussy ballad," before 'Babylon' and 'Superheroes' closed the proper set. They returned for 'Vain Glory Opera' and a rousing closer 'King Of Fools', with a choir of thousands of Finnish voices. Fitting end!

Saturday, February 18th

Brazil has its Carnival, but this mid-February event is similar, celebrating music and culture with all night parties, beautiful women (albeit dressed for winter) and crazy costumes. The day began early, with EVERGREY taking the stage a half hour after a 3pm opening of the doors. A ploy to get people into the venue, the Swedes were afforded a full hour, longest set but for the headliner. Beneath an iconic stone faced (eyes closed) visage, devoid of the band's logo, the fog covered stage was lit with moody blues and purples punctuated by strobes.

The band admitted it was four months since their last gig and this was a loose performance, virtually making up stage movements on the fly, laughing about it (Tom Englund and new guitarist Marcus Jidell) and confessing to not even knowing how to introduce 'The Masterplan'. "We forgot how to start certain songs, so if it sounds a little peculiar, go have a beer!" The band wore matching black shirts, with the logo across tails. Englund was particularly emotive/expressive, acting out with his hands and the mic stand. Opening with 'Leave It Behind Us', 'Wrong' saw the tall frontman/guitarist spot lit in magenta for the nearly a cappella intro, joined solely by synthesized orchestral backing. 'I'm Sorry' admonished the fans to "Sing this one together, like in church." A barrage of guitar stormed 'Frozen', as a blitzkrieg of strobes flashed incessantly. As the song faded, EVERGREY left the stage, keyboardist Rikard Zander was the first to reappear, backlit against a curtain of dry ice fog to kick off 'Recreation Day'. Blue lights, in a hue similar to that used in their cover art, greeted the staccato keyboard notes of 'Broken Wing', before ending with the green/aqua requested finale, 'A Touch Of Blessing'. Might not have been a marvel of proficiency, but the loosey-goosey atmosphere and greatest hits set made for one of the most enjoyable EVERGREY gigs ever.

One of the few second stage acts to impress, apart from the previously viewed SWALLOW THE SUN, was an aggressive act with a singer who utilizes both clean and gruff vocals. Not as technical as say SPIRAL ARCHITECT, this is similar territory to later era DEATH, where Chuck Schuldiner was headed, prior to his untimely demise. Prog to which you can actually headbang! The thrash, bordering on death, of GHOUL PATROL did nothing for me, so the next band of interest was AMORAL, who have appeared at previous FMEs, before and after adopting Finnish Idol winner Ari Koivunen as their singer. During his tenure, the twin guitar fivesome has gone more mainstream metal, a fact driven home by the bank of electrical fans at the front of the stage, which allows his hair to flow, when not retained under a backwards baseball cap. He still unleashes the occasional growl, as well as similarly sporadic feminine range.

Speaking of changes, ENGEL certainly looks different than when BW&BK hung with them at Wacken, prior to the release of their debut. Singer Mangan Klavborn looks his best long haired Dennis Hopper derelict: bearded, nose ring, sleeveless white T showing off the tats and his hands wrapped like a boxer! He'd look more at home in MASTADON or SKELTONWITCH. A roaring 'Casket Closing' alongside 'Trial & Error', 'Burn' and 'Six Feet Deep' owe a musical debt to countrymen PAIN / IN FLAMES; infectious/danceable heaviness that doesn't belie the Gothenburg pedigree. SINISTHRA is Tomi Joutsen's other band, however it inhabits a similarly melancholic realm as his AMORPHIS day job. The small, second stage, almost accommodated the dual guitar sextet, Joutsen up front, his nearly knee length dreadlocks perpetually draped over his face.

From Italy, FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE dress like dead/decaying Baroque composers, in tattered tuxedoes, complete with ruffled shirts, vest and bowties, faces a blackened mix of charcoal and corpse-paint. The quintet contains two guitars and keyboards, the three members across the stage all adding vocals, plus a piped in (female) operatic diva, when needed. The intro, as well as 'Requiem In SJ Minore' utilize pre-recorded segments from liturgical ceremonies.

TURISAS: The red and black attack, on their home turf! As torrents of compressed carbon dioxide shot skyward (cheaper & safer than flame throwers), the costumed Finns storm into 'March Of The Varangian Guard', aided vocally by a packed house of their countrymen. No fan of the last effort, apart from 'Battle Metal' and trio off the classic Varangian Way, half of the set was taken from Stand Up And Fight. While much was made of Netta Skog's dismissal/departure, no accordion was onstage, distracting from the folk nature of the sound. Fiddle yes, but almost expected to hear a bodhran (handheld Irish drum), but this is Finland. After 'The Great Escape', 'Portage To The Unknown' saw Mathias Nygard channeling Axl Rose, as he twirled in circles like bizarre reel. In interviews, he protested about playing the aforementioned 'Battle Metal' (off the '04 debut), however the crowd went into a frenzy. It ended in a flourish of smoke bombs. They left the stage, briefly, before aqua lights singled out the keyboardist, to introduce the aptly entitled closer 'End Of An Empire'.

The final act was the fun-loving (goofy?) native language STAM1NA, not my thing, so it was off to the VIP area for one last round with industry friends. Hope to have the opportunity again next year!
DOKKEN frontman Don Dokken recently spoke to BraveWords.com correspondent Deb Rao with an exclusive in-depth look at the making of the band's upcoming release Broken Bones.

BraveWords.com: How is everything going along in the studio with the making of the upcoming Dokken release?

Dokken: "Things are great. We're working every day. The new CD is very up-tempo. We cut the drums at Tommy Lee's studio and got a killer sound, his studio is really amazing, great vibes. I might do my vocals there too."

BraveWords.com: Is there an estimated release date set yet?

Dokken: "Hopefully June. We were planning on delivering in March but after two mishaps, we had to take a few months off. We had written 18 songs so it turned out as a blessing, kind of' giving us time to decide on the best songs to put on the CD."

BraveWords.com: You mentioned the name of the new Dokken CD is Broken Bones. How did you come up with the title of the CD?

Dokken: "Last year I broke four ribs falling off a wall at home, and just when I got better which took a long time, I had a motor cycle accident. When things like this happen it reminds us that were mortal. One minute you're enjoying a sunny day sitting on your Harley and the next thing your waking up in a hospital. It's a reality check. The CD title is a metaphor that we all have broken bones, be it from an accident, failed relationship, or a broken heart. Everybody gets wounded as we go thru life but as they say, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

BraveWords.com: Would you say the album resembles Tooth And Nail and reflects the classic metal sound that has been the band's staple for many years?

Dokken: "I don't know, its not done yet, I write what comes from the heart, I don't believe in writing music trying to repeat what you've already done. I understand what the fans want but as an artist I see no point in painting the same picture over and over. Our label hates me to say that and I'm sure the fans too. So we're walking a tight rope trying to keep everybody happy without selling out. I would hope that our fans have grown with us. When I sing it sounds like Dokken but as time passes I see the world differently so obviously it affects my lyrics. I have been asked to write songs like we did in the '80's but if the Beatles just kept writing 'I Wanna Hold Your Hand' would they have lasted? That is the million-dollar question. So we are trying to strike a balance. What can I say Broken Bones is very up-tempo. I haven't written the ballad yet. It will be the last song I write for this CD. It will probably be a power ballad. I've had some crazy stuff and people pass thru my life lately. So I've got plenty of thoughts to put to pen!"

BraveWords.com: You and Jon Levin have a great chemistry of writing together. Lightning Strikes Again is one of Dokken's best albums. In my opinion, Dokken is the strongest is has ever been. The songwriting speaks for itself.

Dokken: "I agree Jon has brought a lot to the table, when I get into writing outside the box, he pulls me back in. He grew up listening to Dokken so he see's the music thru the eyes of a fan, which helps me. The truth be known, George (Lynch) and I never sat down and wrote a song together. Jeff (Pilson) would always mediate the writing process. He would make a great politician. Looking back it's a miracle we wrote as many great songs as we did. Jeff would work with George and Mick (Brown) then come to my house and work with me. It was a bizarre process. Like I've said many times before, George and myself could never agree on the music direction Dokken should go. Maybe that's why it worked, it was definitely why we imploded at the top of our game."

BraveWords.com: It was just announced that Dokken would be playing M3 Festival this summer. What are Dokken's future touring plans? I know you resume the touring schedule in May.

Dokken: "We played the first M3 and it was a blast, its a bummer SABBATH had to cancel, I hope Tony gets well soon and beats the dreaded C. My prayers go out to him. This year's M3 should be fun being that most of the acts playing know each other, it will probably turn into a big party back stage. We're starting to book shows for the summer now. We will be making a video as well for the new CD. Our first since 2000, so that's it for now. We'll see you all this summer if I don't break any more bones."
Outaouais Rock has announced DREAM THEATER will headline the seventh edition of D-TOX Rockfest, which will take place in Montebello, Quebec this June.


An additional 90 artists will be revealed in March.

As part of the Planet Quebec project, D-TOX Rockfest will host a showcase and will proudly represent Western Quebec at South by Southwest, North America's biggest music conference in Austin, Texas on March 17th at Spill Bar.

After winning several touristic and cultural awards in Quebec, D-TOX Rockfest received its first Canadian recognition after being nominated at the 2012 Sponsorship Marketing Awards for its partnership with D-TOX. Winners will be announced in April, in Toronto. The festival is also nominated for the Outaouais Tourism Awards in the Festivals & Touristic Events category.

Put together by Outaouais Rock, the festival has been growing considerably in the last couple of years and is now Quebec's largest rock event. Known for its impressively diverse lineups, low ticket price, festive atmosphere and beautiful scenery right by the Outaouais River, Rockfest is quickly becoming a summer tradition. Located only 60 minutes from Montreal and 45 minutes from Ottawa, Rockfest is easily accessible for everyone. The festival recently won the Ovation Prize at Quebec's prestigious Tourism Awards in the Festivals and Tourist Events category, as well as the Arts & Culture and Tourism prizes at the Chamber Of Commerce Awards.

The full announcement press conference will be held in March. General ticket sale will also start in March. However, various pre-sales and other announcements will be done in the meantime. 2012 edition: June 15th – 16th at the marina & June 11th -17th at various indoor venues.
Oakland, CA-based HIGH ON FIRE will release it's new studio album, De Vermis Mysteriis, on April 3rd via eOne Music. Recorded in Salem, Massachusetts' GodCity Studios with producer and CONVERGE guitarist Kurt Ballou, the 10 song effort - touted as "direct, eye-opening and powerfully supernatural" - is the band's sixth studio recording and the follow up to 2010's Snakes For The Divine, which debuted at #62 on the Billboard Top 200.

De Vermis Mysteriis (or "Mysteries of the Worm") takes its title from a fictional grimoire created by Psycho author Robert Bloch and incorporated by H. P. Lovecraft into the lore of the Cthulhu Mythos (Lovecraft mentioned De Vermis Mysteriis as one of the books that "repeat the most hellish secrets learnt by early man"). The album carries a deeply mystical undercurrent, incorporating fantastical themes and lyrics detailing, among other things, time travel, a serum called liao that is made out of a black lotus and "a Jesus twin who can see the past through his ancestors' eyes." And that's just scratching the surface.

Musically, De Vermis Mysteriis is absolutely explosive, showcasing the California power trio's thundering roar and expanded harmonic and rhythmic palettes while the songs move confidently through multiple riffs and movements. High On Fire construct tough, burly stoner metal that is at once devastatingly epic and mercilessly metallic as superstar guitarist Matt Pike's sizzling ax and avenging-angel riffs fuse with Des Kensel's double-kick-drum onslaught and Jeff Matz's concrete crushing, Burton-esque bass guitar. Over the course of forty-five minutes, High On Fire have created an amalgamation of fantastical lyrical ideas and brute force musicianship anchored in an endlessly captivating, punkishly frantic sound. Simply put, the band generates awesome on demand and has a virtual chokehold on monolithic-sounding, masterfully crafted epic music. High On Fire is a savage bull in the china shop of modern metal.

When asked for comment on De Vermis Mysteriis, Pike somewhat cryptically replied, "Prepare for your dark journey."

De Vermis Mysteriis tracklisting:

'Serums Of Liao'
'Bloody Knuckles'
'Fertile Green'
'Madness Of An Architect'
'Spiritual Rites'
'King Of Days'
'De Vermis Mysteriis'
'Romulus And Remus'

In advance of the new album's release, High On Fire will perform a number of live dates as part of the 2012 SXSW Music and Media Festival in Austin, TX. The band is expected to preview new material at the SX shows.

The just-announced dates are as follows:

13 - Austin, TX - Emo's East
14 - Austin, TX - SXSW
15 - Houston, TX - Fitzgerald's
16 - Austin, TX - SXSW
17 - Austin, TX - SXSW TBA
18 - Austin, TX - SXSW

Finally, on June 30th, High On Fire will join SLAYER, SLIPKNOT, ANTHRAX and more as part of the 2012 Rockstar Energy Mayhem Tour. The 26 city jaunt will kick off in San Bernardino, CA and run through August 5th in Hartford, CT.

The itinerary for the monster trek is as follows:

30 - San Bernardino, CA - San Manuel Amphitheater

1 - San Francisco, CA - Shoreline Amphitheater
3 - Seattle, WA - White River Amphitheater
4 - Boise, ID - Idaho Center Amphitheater
6 - Phoenix, AZ - Ashley Furniture Home Store Pavilion
7 - Albuquerque, NM - Hard Rock Casino Albuquerque Presents The Pavilion
8 - Denver, CO - Comfort Dental Amphitheatre
10 - Dallas, TX - Gexa Energy Pavilion
11 - Houston, TX - Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
13 - Tampa, FL - 1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheatre
14 - Atlanta, GA - Aaron's Amphitheatre at Lakewood
15 - Indianapolis, IN - Klipsch Music Center
18 - Oklahoma City, OK - Zoo Amphitheatre
20 - St. Louis, MO - Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
21 - Chicago, IL - First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
22 - Detroit, MI - DTE Energy Music Theatre
24 - Cincinnati, OH - Riverbend Music Center
25 - Cleveland, OH - Blossom Music Center
27 - Philadelphia, PA - Susquehanna Bank Center
28 - Pittsburgh, PA - First Niagara Pavilion
29 - Washington, DC - Jiffy Lube Live
31 - Saratoga Springs, NY - Saratoga Performing Arts Center

1 - Buffalo, NY - Darien Lake PAC
3 - Boston, MA - Comcast Center
4 - Scranton, PA - Toyota Pavilion
5 - Hartford, CT - The Comcast Theatre
ROB ZOMBIE/ex-MARILYN MANSON guitarist John 5 will release his new full-length solo CD/DVD, "God Told Me To", on May 8 via Rocket Science Ventures.

"God Told Me To" was recorded and produced by John 5, Chris Baseford (ROB ZOMBIE, TOMMY LEE) and Bob Marlette (SEBASTIAN BACH, BLACK SABBATH) in 2011. The cover art for the album is illustrated by none other than Rob Zombie, who is also tapping John 5 to score the entirety of his upcoming film, "The Lords Of Salem".

The CD portion of "God Told Me To" features ten painstakingly handcrafted pieces transcending multiple styles — an equal combination of acoustic and electronically influenced tracks — each designed to gradually reveal John 5's innovative interpretation of his instrument. The orchestration of "God Told Me To" showcases John 5's ability to master the subtlety of dynamics, thus emphasizing the overall production value of this body of work.

The DVD portion of "God Told Me To" is hosted by retro-style horror-host Mike Odd and takes a look inside the world of John 5 during his terrifying trip into the realm of "God Told Me To". The DVD features footage of John 5 in the studio while working on the new album, exclusive videos taken on tour, a peek inside the photo shoot for his 2011 remix album "Remixploitation", and more.

'I'm so proud of this record; I've put more time into this release than any other!" John 5 said. "It's half acoustic and the other half electric with a tribute to Michael Jackson and Eddie Van Halen with 'Beat It'. The DVD shows me actually recording the songs as well as behind the scenes of a 'day in the life' of John 5! This album will take you on a musical journey designed to show more diversity in my playing than in the past."

As well as the stunning cover art by Rob Zombie, art from the solo singles will also feature within the album. The single covers were created by ROB ZOMBIE bassist Matt Montgomery's (a.k.a. Piggy D.) and Emma (John 5's web manager) from Nineteen76-Designs.

John 5 doesn't just play the guitar. His instrument is an extension of his soul and through it, his music has become the Frankenstein birth penetrating the ear drums of fans and admirers worldwide. His impressive resume has seen him work with some of the most renowned musicians in the industry (Rob Halford, Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, to name a few), and has cemented his name into the annals of rock history.

John 5 continues to branch out, coupling his solo career with his work in Rob Zombie. His five previous solo albums, up to his 2010 release, "The Art Of Malice", broke new molds in solo instrumentalist work. John 5 also continues to work with other artists, including LYNYRD SKYNYRD and Rod Stewart.
FULLFORCE — the Swedish melodic metal outfit featuring Mike Andersson (CLOUDSCAPE, SILENT MEMORIAL, PLANET ALLIANCE) on vocals, Stefan Elmgren (HAMMERFALL) on guitar, Anders Johansson (HAMMERFALL, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN) on drums and Tommy Larsson (HEED) on bass — has parted ways with guitarist Carl-Johan Grimmark (NARNIA) "due to some changes in [Grimmark's] life situation which he had to put priority to."

During the last few months, FULLFORCE has been focusing on writing the songs for its second album and also searching for the best possible replacement for Carl-Johan, both musically and personally. Finally the search is over and FULLFORCE has introduced guitar ace Stefan Rosqvist (ex-DAWN OF OBLIVION, LALE LARSSON).

Commented FULLFORCE: "Stefan Rosqvist is a very talented, versatile guitarist and musician and the band is really excited to have him onboard."

FULLFORCE has almost finished the songwriting for its as-yet-untitled second album and is planning to enter the recording studio during the summer.

Check out the YouTube clip below to listen to a short clip where Stefan Rosqvist plays a guitar solo on a solo part intended for the new album (pre-production).

FULLFORCE's debut album, "One", was released in June 2011 via SPV/Steamhammer.

The band describes its music as "a genuine blend of traditional, catchy heavy metal [and] more updated melodic metal with some ethnic touches which will make them a standout within the genre."

For more information, visit www.fullforce.se.
BLACKGATES — the new East San Francisco Bay Area/New York metal outfit featuring former ANTHRAX singer Dan Nelson, drummer Paul Bostaph (ex-TESTAMENT, EXODUS, SLAYER, FORBIDDEN) and guitarist Jeremy Epp (THE VENTING MACHINE) — has parted ways with bassist Uriah Duffy (ex-WHITESNAKE) and has replaced him with Luis Barillas (THE VENTING MACHINE).

Commented Bostaph: "Luis is a veteran of the Bay Area metal scene and a welcome addition to the band." Von Epp added, "[Barillas has] got that Steve Harris/Geezer Butler vibe on the bass which fits perfect with what were doing, not to mention that he's a solid dude." Nelson stated, "Luis is an amazing bassist and a perfect fit for the BLACKGATES sound. He's a true bro who you know from day one will have your back in the trenches."

BLACKGATES recently entered the studio to begin work on its debut album.

Bostaph previously stated about BLACKGATES's musical direction, "Our sound is drawn from all of our influences. Mostly, we don't want to be a thrash metal band, although we draw from that genre as well. There is something in our music for everyone. Heavy grooves, good hooks and Dan's killer pipes. I think we have an independent sound that will stand on its own." Nelson added, "It's thrashy and heavy, so it will appeal to ANTHRAX and TESTAMENT fans. But has the groove and brutality of PANTERA, and is also very melodic. The guitarist is a kid from the Bay Area named Jeremy Epp, who's an unknown, but sensational. People are gonna love him."

BLACKGATES last year finished mastering its first demo, which the band recorded in the San Francisco Bay Area with producer Tim Narducci (SYSTEMATIC, SPIRALARMS).


* Dan Nelson (ANTHRAX): Vocals/guitar
* Luis Barillas (THE VENTING MACHINE): Bass
* Jeremy Von Epp (THE VENTING MACHINE): Guitar/Vocals
According to RadarOnline.com, MÖTLEY CRÜE drummer Tommy Lee has settled his legal battle with his former assistant, who sued the rock star for defamation and failure to pay overtime, among other claims. Lee will pay Michael Anthony Sullivan more than $400,000 and deliver "a public apology," a source tells Star magazine.

Sullivan, who claims to have worked as Lee's "procurer, Man Friday, chauffeur, guide, bookkeeper, attendant, door-keeper, agent, butler, valet, attendant, cook, shopper, nanny, bodyguard, maid, nurse and nursemaid" from January 2005 to March 2011, filed a lawsuit against Lee and Lee's company, Mayhem Touring, in Los Angeles Superior Court in November 2011, claiming that he was worked virtually around the clock, and that Lee made improper deductions from the assistant's paycheck. The disgruntled assistant also asserts that after he was terminated, he was hired to become the tour manager for BUSH, but lost the job because of "Lee's defamatory statements and interference."

"Lee found Sullivan so useful that he required him to stay at his residence so that he was always available for service," the suit said. "However, after requiring Sullivan to stay at the home and obtaining the benefits of Sullivan's presence in his home, in 2009, Lee began deducting $1,000 from his wages every month for 'rent.'"
During tonight's (Wednesday, February 22) episode of the Fox singing competition "American Idol", it was revealed that contestant Creighton Fraker is the biological son of FLOTSAM AND JETSAM singer Eric "A.K." Knutson.

Fraker has resided in Astoria, New York for the past eight years, although he grew up in South Dakota as the adopted son of a preacher.

In an interview that aired on "American idol", Fraker said, "I was adopted when I was just a little baby and I grew up as a preacher's kid, singing church music. And then, I always had this rock and roll thing going on in me and it was kind of out of nowhere. Come to find out my birth father, who I never even knew until I was, like, 25 years old, was the lead singer of this big heavy metal band from the '80s called FLOTSAM AND JETSAM. I meet my dad and I'm like 'Oh, I get it, Fine. OK, It makes sense now.'"

Fraker went on to say that Knutson is "the person who really inspired me to audition for this," adding that, "He's a person whose opinion I can respect, so if he says I should be doing this, I guess, OK, I'm gonna do it."

After Fraker made the final 24, his birth dad said, "I've always hoped I would have a part in his life. I just can't wait for the rest of [his] career to start right now."

FLOTSAM AND JETSAM released its first album, "Doomsday For The Deceiver", on Metal Blade Records in 1986. The bassist on that LP was future METALLICA member Jason Newsted.

FLOTSAM AND JETSAM's latest album, "The Cold", was released in Europe in February 2011 via Nuclear Blast. The CD was made available in North America on September 14, 2010.
Candlelight Records has announced the signing of hardcore/metal veterans VISION OF DISORDER (a.k.a. V.O.D.). The band will enter the studio in the next month or so with producer Will Putney (SHADOWS FALL, SUICIDE SILENCE, FOUR YEAR STRONG) to begin recording its new album for a late 2012 release. Cameron Webb (MOTÖRHEAD, SOCIAL DISTORTION, IGNITE, PENNYWISE) will mix the CD.

Commented VISION OF DISORDER: "Before the word 'metalcore' existed… VISION OF DISORDER did. We did what we did because we loved it, not because we thought others might. 20 years later, we're once again at work with the same approach.

"After a newly inked deal [with] Candlelight Records, we are about to begin tracking on our first studio album in a decade. We are bringing all the elements of what made us unique and ferocious to the table.

"Playing reunion shows over the past few years and seeing such positive responses has truly been inspirational.

"This album is absolutely dedicated to our fans that have stuck by us through our ups and downs. Without them, it would not have been.

"We are excited to be a part of the Candlelight roster. They were a perfect choice for us. After numerous record label woes, it was refreshing to partner with people that are passionate about music — not just profit or agenda."

Added Darren Toms, Candlelight's European label manager: "I have been a fan of the band since the first release many years ago on Roadrunner/Supersoul and after hearing the new material, I'm very excited to be working with the band and getting them back to where they need to be in today's market."

A demo version of a new VISION OF DISORDER song, "The Enemy", can be streamed below. According to guitarist Matt Baumbach, the track will appear on what will be V.O.D.'s next release. "This track is a good example of the style of the record so that's why we picked it first," he said. Other working songtitles that are set to appear on the CD include "Hard Times", "Annihilator" and "Be Up On It".

Regarding the musical direction of VISION OF DISORDER's new material, bassist Mike Fleischmann previously told Greg Prato of UGO, "The songs are what you would expect from V.O.D. — very aggressive and melodic. We really feel that on these new songs we have kind of mixed up all of our past efforts into a blender with a dash of new flavor, and we are excited to see what V.O.D. fans will think of it."

VISION OF DISORDER's current lineup includes singer Tim Williams, guitarists Matt Baumbach and Mike Kennedy, Fleischmann and drummer Brendon Cohen.

The band's last studio album, "From Bliss to Devastation", came out in 2001 via TVT Records.

VISION OF DISORDER toured with some of metal's biggest names during the late 1990s — including PANTERA, BLACK SABBATH, TYPE O NEGATIVE, ANTHRAX and BAD BRAINS — before calling it quits in 2001, and then reuniting in 2008.
MASSIVE AUDIO NERVE (formely known just as M.A.N) — the Swedish metal-hardcore-progressive four-piece featuring TRANSPORT LEAGUE/ex-MNEMIC frontman Tony Jelencovich — has entered IF Studios, the IN FLAMES-owned facility in Gothenburg, Sweden, with producer Roberto Laghi (IN FLAMES, SONIC SYNDICATE, HARDCORE SUPERSTAR) to begin recording its fourth album, "Cancer Vulgaris". The effort will mark the group's first release with newly recruited members Adde Larsson on drums and Mark Black on guitar.

The first two in a series of video clips featuring behind-the-scenes footage from the new CD recording sessions can be seen below.

"Cancer Vulgaris" will feature the following tracks:

* Hoax
* Grace of Time
* Underhanded Brother
* Scythe of Cupidity
* Smack Down
* Slumcult
* Death Song
* Young Insect
* Cryosync
* Man Slaughter
* Lights Out
* This Generation
* Instrumental

M.A.N's third album, "Massive Audio Nerve", was released on March 26, 2010 via the German label Tiefdruck Musik. The CD was recorded at Grand Recordings in Gothenburg, Sweden with engineer Svein Jensen and was mixed by Ulrich Wild, who has previously worked with WHITE ZOMBIE, STAIND, STATIC-X, DEFTONES, PANTERA and LIMP BIZKIT, among others. The mastering was handled by Maor Appelbaum at Maor Appelbaum Mastering in Encino, California.
Danish thrashers ESSENCE have entered Abyss Studio with producer Peter Tägtgren (MARDUK, IMMORTAL, DIMMU BORGIR, AMON AMARTH, CHILDREN OF BODOM) to begin recording their sophomore album, to be released later in the year through an as-yet-undetermined record label.

Commented ESSENCE: "It is a great honor for us to work with Peter. It was natural for us to pick Peter as producer for this album, as his approach to both music and sound fits perfectly with our new material. We can't wait to hear the final result and to show all you guys out there how ESSENCE anno 2012 sounds like. Even though we have just started the recording, it is clear to us that the result will be better than we ever could imagine!"

ESSENCE's debut album, "Lost In Violence", was released in February 2011 via Belgium's Ultimhate Records. The CD was recorded at Medley Studios (ARTILLERY, PRINCE, RADIOHEAD, MARY J. BLIGE, KELLY CLARKSON, THE CARDIGANS) in Copenhagen and was produced and mixed by Søren Andersen (Glenn Hughes, Dave Mustaine, Mike Tramp).
Drummer Thomas Noonan has left the the Alaskan metal band 36 CRAZYFISTS due to personal and family matters. He explained in an online post, "I just lost my passion for [playing heavy music] and drumming for that matter. I'm not saying I will never play again, it's just that I'm ready for something different, and more challenging for me that will not take me far away from home to do it. I love what we have built as a band and with friends, but after years and years of dealing with the in and outs of the industry, I'm just over it for now. I'm not a person that can do two things at once, and I feel I want to put everything I have into pencil art. I know that sounds crazy, but it's something I fell in love with and strive every day to excel at. So it was a very hard decision for me to decide between the two for this year, but I choose art. I choose being happy and spending time with my family and not touring."

36 CRAZYFISTS's latest album, "Collisions And Castaways", sold around 3,300 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 161 on The Billboard 200 chart. The CD landed at No. 3 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.

"Collisions And Castaways" was written and recorded between October 2009 and May 2010. It follows on the heels of 2009's DVD, "Underneath a Northern Sky", and is the band's second straight effort to feature Steve Holt in the producer's chair and Andy Sneap handling the final mix.
The reactivated original lineup of SPINESHANK — featuring Jonny Santos (vocals), Tommy Decker (drums), Mike Sarkisyan (guitar) and Rob Garcia (bass) — has inked a deal with Century Media Records. The band's long-awaited fourth album, "Anger Denial Acceptance", will be released in early June. Produced by Sarkisyan and Decker and mixed by Mike Plotnikoff (PAPA ROACH, BUCKCHERRY), the CD promises to surpass everyone's expectation of what SPINESHANK is capable of.

The official "lyric video" for one of the songs from the forthcoming effort, "Murder Suicide", can be seen below.

In a recent interview with FrontRowRock.com, Decker stated about "Anger Denial Acceptance", "It's three of the stages of grieving, rearranged a bit. I think it's something a lot of people can relate to; things ending, relationships, people. Members of this band have been through a lot in the last few years and it all came out in this record. This is the most personal record we've ever done. Everything you hear is real. The pain, anger and sadness come from a real place. It was not a fun record to make."

When asked about the recording process for the new CD, Decker said, "The recording process was a lot different this time. It was the first record where we didn't have an outside producer come in, we did it completely on our own. We also did it in different sessions. We'd write three or four songs and then go record them. Write three or four more and record them in a different studio. We actually took our Pro Tools rig to a cabin in Big Bear and did a lot of the vocals there. We were totally isolated from the outside world; we were able to fully focus and concentrate on the songs. It was a really cool way to record."

Speaking to Valerie Bastien of RockSource360, Sarkisyan stated about "Anger Denial Acceptance", "I think the biggest difference in making this record was that it was done by us from the writing stage all the way to tracking. We didn't have a label rep up our asses all the time and we just kind of had the freedom to do what we wanted, when we wanted and how we wanted. Musically, it's light years ahead of what 'Self-Destructive Pattern' was, as it should be. We all have grown as writers and performers, and we've gotten better at expressing ourselves in our music.

On the topic of the new album's title track and why the band felt it was a perfect fit to name the whole album after it, Mike said, "That song was like my 'baby' on this record. I had come up with the skeleton of it before bringing it up to the guys. I had a pretty clear idea of where it needed to be, musically. Those three words just kept ringing in my head the whole time I was putting this together. It's some of the stages of dealing with loss. Any kind of loss. It was the first time that me, Tommy and Jonny collaborated on lyrics. It sort of became the centerpiece of the record and although it's not a full concept album, the album does tie together in more ways than one. And it's not structured like a basic song either. It's not that 'verse/chorus/verse…' thing. It has three distinct and different parts that sorta tie in together and represent 'Anger Denial Acceptance'. I'm super happy with the way it came out and am very proud of it."

SPINESHANK's third and last album, "Self-Destructive Pattern", was released on September 9, 2003. The album's lead single, "Smothered", was nominated for a Grammy in the category of "Best Metal Performance".

Following his departure from SPINESHANK, Santos formed SILENT CIVILIAN, which released its debut album, "Rebirth of the Temple", in May 2006. A follow-up effort, "Ghost Stories", came out in May 2010 via Mediaskare/Century Media.
CANNIBAL CORPSE, BLACK VEIL BRIDES And LIZZY BORDEN have been added to Italy's Gods Of Metal festival, taking place June 21st to 24th at Arena Fiera in Milano.
Currently, the schedule is as follows:

Thursday, June 21st

Friday, June 22nd

Saturday, June 23rd

Sunday, June 24th
Colorado-based modern melodic death metallers ALLEGAEON entered Lambesis Studios in San Marcos, Caliornia last month with producer Daniel Castleman (AS I LAY DYING, IMPENDING DOOM, CARNIFEX, WINDS OF PLAGUE) to begin recording their new album, "Formshifter". The CD brings forward a sound that both plays off the band's previous releases mixed in with some new flavors that will be sure to enthrall old and new fans alike.

Comments ALLEGAEON guitarist Greg Burgess: "With 'Formshifter', I think we kept the sound a lot of our fans love about us, but achieved them through certain compositional challenges. Be it style, or genre mixing, I believe that we seamlessly applied certain elements we didn't have on 'Fragments', and it added a color and dimension we didn't have before". Guitarist Ryan Glisan adds, "This album, to me, indicates the future of the band but nods to our past as well. It, to me, is more of where I have envisioned our band being since I started the band a couple years back, it relies on similar songwriting structures and musicality but adds more groove and memorable riffing than our previous efforts."

Lyrics, an oft over-looked facet of death metal, is one the more interesting aspects of ALLEGAEON. The band crafts their prose with a bit of a different mindset — often touching on space, civilization and philosophy. Vocalist Ezra Haynes elaborates on the band's first single from the album; "'Tartessos: The Hidden Xenocryst' is definitely one that sticks out to me," he says. "I was raised on Edgar Cayce readings and tales of Atlantis. When Greg [Burgess] and I knew we wanted to touch base on an ancient civilization, Atlantis was the logical choice."

"Formshifter" will be released on May 8 via Metal Blade Records.
New York death metal veterans SUFFOCATION have reportedly parted ways with drummer Mike Smith.

Although Smith's exit from the group has not yet been officially confirmed by SUFFOCATION, the band played a couple of East Coast shows this past weekend with former member Dave Culross (MALEVOLENT CREATION, HATEPLOW) once again sitting behind the kit.

Fan-filmed video footage of SUFFOCATION's February 18 performance at Jimmy's Place in Allentown, Pennsylvania (featuring Culross on drums) can be seen below.

In a cryptic posting on his official Facebook page, Smith wrote earlier tonight, "There are not many things related to the SUFFOCATION brand I can honestly say brings me sadness. Except the lack of pride that exists within those who have the 'right' to claim the name as their own.

"This battle has been one that to any focused being should make obvious sense, but has evaded some for two decades.

"Within any foundation, the weakest link will always cause all structure to crumble.

"The one fact that keeps me at peace is the fact that anyone who has ever seen or spoken to me regarding SUFFOCATION and the industry as a whole has always left with an understanding of the level of focus and pride that I personally hold for myself, the brand that is SUFFOCATION and the genre we influence and helped create.

"As I've always said, if you are willing to put your time and soul towards anything, be willing to speak truths, fight and bleed for it, if need be."

SUFFOCATION is currently hard at work on material for the band's new album, tentatively due this summer via Nuclear Blast Records.

In the February 2012 issue of Decibel magazine, SUFFOCATION bassist Derek Boyer stated about the upcoming CD, "We're in the pre-production stage [and are] currently working on final arrangements, lyrical placement and content."

He added, "Each album is an evolution process. As always, we take the key elements that are SUFFOCATION, add current feelings and outside influences, the begin collaborating. We're very happy with the direction we're headed!"

Relapse Records released SUFFOCATION's only official live record, "The Close Of A Chapter: Live In Quebec City", on October 27, 2009 in North America and November 2, 2009 internationally. Recorded in 2005 during the band's "Souls To Deny" world tour, the CD contains the band's complete, unedited performance.

SUFFOCATION's latest album, "Blood Oath" (Nuclear Blast), sold around 3,600 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 135 on The Billboard 200 chart. The CD landed at position No. 2 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 follow-up to 2006's self-titled record, "Blood Oath" was recorded with Joe Cincotta (who worked on the band's last two releases) and was mixed by Zack Ohren (ALL SHALL PERISH, DECREPIT BIRTH). The cover artwork was once again brought to life by Jon Zig (DEEDS OF FLESH, DISGORGE, GORGASM).
Norwegian blackened death metallers FESTER have risen from their grave to unleash the fury that is "A Celebration Of Death". The band's first collection of new material in 17 years is a whirlwind of dark musical flavors mixing black, death, thrash, heavy metal and jazz. Guitarist/vocalist Bjorn "Tiger" Mathisen states, "FESTER has never made music to please a certain crowd and this dark anthem really proves that darkness and death can come in many different disguises."

"A Celebration Of Death" is due in mid-March through Abyss Records.

The track listing for the CD is as follows:

01. Rites of Ceres
02. The Black Tower
03. March of Death
04. I'll Hunt You Down
05. Metalized
06. Jeg Spytter På Deg
07. Last Day of Battle Pt. I
08. Last Day of Battle Pt. II
09. A Face for a Funeral (bonus)
10. Rites of Mortiis (Remix of Ceres by Mortiis)

The song "Rites of Ceres" is currently streaming at the band's MySpace page.

In addition to core members Jon Bakker (bass), Thomas Andersen (vocals) and Bjorn "Tiger" Mathisen (guitar/vocals), "A Celebration Of Death" features Audun Kleive (session drums), Raymond Pellicer (additional guitars, programming and synth), Eivind Aarseth (additional guitars), Guido Saint Roch (guest vocals on "Metalized") and Mortiis (Dark Converter). The cover for "A Celebration Of Death" was painted by artist Eliran Kantor (TESTAMENT, SODOM, ATHEIST, SIGH, ANACRUSIS). The rest of the layout was handled by Joce of Industrie Chimere Noire (PORTAL, GHÄST, TOTAL HOLOCAUST). The CD release will include a 16-page booklet. Flooga Records will be issuing a vinyl version of the album with laminated gatefold and heavy inner sleeve. Total Holocaust Records will release a limited-edition cassette version (100 copies only) with alternate, hand-drawn cover and artwork.
Guitarist/vocalist Helmuth Lehner of the Austrian blackened death metal outfit BELPHEGOR has revealed that the group is working on material. The band's as-yet-untitled new album for a tentatively slated for a late 2012 release.

From this coming Saturday until next Wednesday, BELPHEGOR will rehearse for the upcoming recordings in Abtenau, Austria.

The drum duties will again be handled by Marthyn, who did an outstanding job on last year's "Blood Magick Necromance".

Commented Helmuth: "[it's] amazing to have the opportunity to be creative again and compose a new album.

"I begun the compositions in November 2011, after I had to spend five weeks in the hospital and six weeks in rehabilitation center because of my health issues. I survived this hard trial, which still seems unreal. I m not fully recovered, but feel way better now, I can say. Unfortunately, we had to cancel all tours until June 2012, when we will get back on the road, and will start with some European open-air rituals.

Added bassist Serpenth, "At this time, we dont feel the pressure of a hard touring schedule and all the rigors surrounding that, so we can concentrate and create these arrangements in a completely focused way and can even put more energy, blood and guts inside. Working intensely on ten tracks. We are totally concentrated, you know, the musick reigns above all. Magick. It's time for a new chapter."

"Blood Magick Necromance" was released in January 2011 in Europe and February 2011 in the U.S. via Nuclear Blast Records. The album was produced by Peter Tägtgren (IMMORTAL, CELTIC FROST, HYPOCRISY, DIMMU BORGIR) at his Abyss Studios in Pärlby, Sweden and mastered by Jonas Kjellgren.

"Blood Magick Necromance" was made available in four formats: a limited edition in black slipcase with metallic effect; a strictly limited Nuclear Blast mailorder edition box set, including a bondage necklace and chain (only 500 hand-numbered copies available); a limited picture gatefold LP on blood-red vinyl; LP on black vinyl; and a standard jewel case CD.

BELPHEGOR tapped two artists from Austria for artwork purposes: Helmut Wolech (a fetish photographer and former mortician) and Joachim Luetke for the magickal graphics and cover artwork.

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