[Classic_Rock_Forever] Iron Maiden, Slash, Van halen, Motley Crue and tons more hard rock and heavy metal news


David "Gus" Griesinger of BackstageAxxess.com conducted an interview with IRON MAIDEN drummer Nicko McBrain at the 2012 NAMM (National Association Of Music Merchants) show, a massive music-products convention that took place January 19-22 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California. You can now watch the chat below.

When asked if there are any plans for MAIDEN to record new music soon, Nicko said, "We've talked about going out [on tour] later in the year," he says. "As far as a new record, we're not sure yet. It's a work in progress always. . . But we will be going out sometime later in the year."

EMI has set a March 26 release date for "En Vivo!", the new concert Blu-Ray, two-DVD set and double soundtrack album from legendary British metallers IRON MAIDEN.

"En Vivo!" was filmed on April 10, 2011 in front of over 50,000 ecstatic fans at the Estadio Nacional, Santiago during the "Round The World In 66 Days" leg of "The Final Frontier World Tour", and captures a magnificent performance by the band, ardently embraced by the legendary Latino passion and energy of their Chilean fans. With spectacular stage backdrops, dynamic musicianship and a literally jaw-dropping appearance by Eddie, this live show encapsulates to perfection the heart and soul of IRON MAIDEN 2011.

In addition to the Blu-Ray, the two-DVD will initially be available as a limited-edition double DVD in collectors' steel book case and double vinyl picture disc. As well as a traditional two-CD soundtrack album, "En Vivo!" will be available as a digital download CD soundtrack album and digital download video.
Angus Cargill at Faber has acquired U.K./Commonwealth rights for a six-figure sum from Matthew Hamilton at Aitken Alexander Associates for "Birth School Metallica Death", the definitive two-volume history of METALLICA by Paul Brannigan and Ian Winwood.

One of the world's biggest rock bands, METALLICA has sold in excess of 100 million albums. Their journey from scuzzy Los Angeles garages to the stages of the world's biggest and most storied stadiums has been an epic and often traumatic one. There are countless memorable stories about the band yet to make it into print: tales of bed-hopping and drug-taking and car crashes and fistfights and backstabbing that occur when you mix testosterone and adrenaline and alcohol and egomania.

No music writers have been afforded greater access to METALLICA over the past two decades than Brannigan and Winwood. The duo have conducted approximately 75 hours of interviews with the band, gaining not only an unparalleled knowledge of the group's history but also an insider's view of how this story has developed. The pair have ridden in the band's limos, flown on their private jet, joined them in the studio during the recording of seminal albums, been invited to the quartet's "HQ" (headquarters) in San Rafael outside San Francisco and shared beers and stories with the four-piece backstage in venues across the globe.

This will be a rock 'n' roll saga more perceptive, more emotionally attached, more intellectually rigorous and more readable than any which has gone before.

"We're absolutely thrilled to have got this project," says Cargill. "I was a fan of 'This Is A Call', Paul Brannigan's Dave Grohl biography last year, and Ian Winwood is one of the U.K.'s finest music writers. This promises to be a fascinating study, over two volumes, of one of the indisputable heavyweight bands of the last thirty years.

"I was fourteen when 'The Black Album' came out and remember how exciting a moment it was! It's also a superb addition to our music list, and something we plan to make a real event of in 2013, to mark the thirtieth anniversary of the band's debut album, 'Kill 'Em All'."
Slash — the iconic, Grammy-winning rock guitarist and songwriter — is currently in a Los Angeles studio putting the finishing touches on his second solo album. The as-yet-untitled disc is due out May 22 on Slash's own label Dik Hayd International distributed through EMI and will follow his 2010 debut album, "Slash", and his November 2011 first-ever live solo album, the two-CD/DVD set "Made In Stoke 24/7/11". Notably, the "Slash" album debuted on The Billboard 200 chart at #3 (#1 on the Rock chart, #1 on the Independent chart, and #1 on the Hard Music chart). Digitally, the album also became the #1 overall digital album and hit #1 on iTunes in 13 countries. Internationally, the disc achieved Top 5 chart positions in over a dozen major territories, hitting #1 in both Japan and New Zealand.

For the new album, Slash — along with and his bandmates Myles Kennedy (vocals), Brent Fitz (drums) and Todd Kerns (bass) — teamed with producer Eric Valentine, who also produced the "Slash" disc. All the songs were written together by Slash and Kennedy, and cameras have been rolling throughout the entire making of the album. Check out exclusive behind-the-scenes footage airing weekly beginning today.

A question-and-answer session with Slash about the new album follows below.

Q: Looking at all your Twitter updates, you sound really pumped about the new disc. This time around, you and Myles wrote all the songs and he sings lead on all the tracks. What inspired this scenario since your debut solo album featured multiple vocalists (including Myles on two songs)?

Slash: Well, having Myles sing on the first record inspired me to take him on the road, then taking him on the road inspired me to have him sing on the whole record. So yeah, the tour last year definitely inspired the decision for him to sing on the new record. He has a really broad range. He is just very musical as far as his melodic style is concerned and he's also very lyrical and just a really powerful singer. There's a lot of positives about the way he sings.

Q: Perhaps you want to talk a bit here about your other bandmates and what they each bring to the sound?

Slash: There's Brent who is probably one of the best drummers I've ever played with — he has a great way of playing very powerful rock n roll while still being able to keep it behind the beat and sexy. And then Todd has got to be one of the most overall talented musicians I've worked with, just a really great bass player. Todd's very quick in the studio, a quick learner and creative as a writer; on top of that, he's also a great singer.

Q: Beyond you and Myles writing all the songs and Myles singing all the leads, in what other ways is the new album perhaps different from your debut solo album?

Slash: Myles and I basically collaborated on the new material. The main thing is we wrote these songs together which is a big difference from the last album where I wrote each song with all of the different collaborators. The whole creative nucleus is between Myles and me. On top of this, the whole rhythm section of Brent and Todd brings something to the table and changes the dynamic completely from the last record — it's much more cohesive.

Q: With your record company Dik Hayd Records, you remain an independent artist and work with major companies for distribution. Can you talk about how you as an artist benefit by this scenario in these interesting times for the music industry?

Slash: It puts me more in the driver's seat of how I want to market the record, but even more importantly than that, I'm not giving half of everything that comes in on the album to the record company.

Q: Eric Valentine returns as producer for the new disc. What do you feel he brings as a producer to these songs and the overall approach?

Slash: The first thing we always talk about with Eric is he's an extremely gifted musician, but he is basically as talented an engineer, so it makes for a great combination as a producer. As a person he's easy to work with — he's very patient and he lives and breathes what he does. That's a lot like how I am, we're similar; I can call him at any moment and ask him a question or share an idea I have with him. He's always in his element and it's something that I can appreciate.

Q: You toured the world seven times with the last album. What are your tour plans for the new album?

Slash: Right now we're starting off with radio shows in the states and then we'll do as much of Europe as possible. We'll also tour in Asia and Australia, and try to hit South Africa this year as well as India and a couple other spots. Trying to just broaden our horizons a bit.
According to the unofficial VAN HALEN web site Van Halen News Desk, A special called "The Whole Truth: The Howard Stern/Van Halen Special" — which is basically a five-hour uncensored history of VAN HALEN on "The Howard Stern Show"… the good, the bad and the ugly — will air tomorrow (Tuesday, February 7) to coincide with the release of the band's new album, "A Different Kind Of Truth".

Stern's team pulled a variety of appearances from the different bandmembers over the years to really get a sense of the up-and-down history of the group and the back-and-forth bickering, resulting in an oral history as told through the bandmembers themselves.

All members of the VAN HALEN family tree are included in the show, with the exception of bassist Wolfgang Van Halen.

The Van Halen News Desk advises that the band's new music is NOT included in the program; the show has been created for longtime VAN HALEN fans who like Stern and want to relive the band's past dramas.

"The Whole Truth: The Howard Stern/Van Halen Special" airs Tuesday February 7 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern (11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pacific) on SiriusXM/Howard 101.

You can listen to a promo for "The Whole Truth" using the audio player below.

As previously reported, VAN HALEN played an hour-long secret show on Wednesday night (February 1) at Henson Studios in Hollywood, California. The audience of about 250 attendees saw the band perform three songs from its new album, "A Different Kind Of Truth", including "She's The Woman", "The Trouble With Never" and first single "Tattoo", as well as a brace of classics like "You Really Got Me", "Runnin' With The Devil", "Unchained" and "Dance The Night Away". The show served as a launch party for the record, as well as a warm-up for the band's tour, which kicks off on February 18 in Louisville, Kentucky.

The encore of "Jump" featured an eight-person drum line and a dozen Vegas showgirls that led the crowd out at the end of the song.

"A Different Kind Of Truth" is VAN HALEN's first album with original singer David Lee Roth in 28 years.

Roth told the Los Angeles Times that the band has gone back into its archives to find previously unreleased material upon which to build the record, saying, "It's material that Eddie [Van Halen, guitar] and I generated, literally, in 1975, 1976 and 1977."
Rolling into today's Super Bowl festivities where they'll be featured in the KIA Optima commercial airing during the third quarter, the world's most notorious band has taken the world's most notorious city by storm. MÖTLEY CRÜE — vocalist Vince Neil, guitarist Mick Mars, bassist Nikki Sixx and drummer Tommy Lee — launched Las Vegas' first-ever hard rock residency with "Mötley Crüe In Sin City" at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino with the first two rapturously received sold-out shows.

The "Mötley Crüe In Sin City" experience got underway this weekend on Friday, February 3 — also declared "Mötley Crüe Day" by Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman — as The Joint transformed into a rock 'n roll carnival extravaganza bringing in elements of MÖTLEY CRÜE's arena show, including Tommy Lee's 360 drum coaster and the biggest lighting and sound production ever brought into The Joint, including their over the top signature pyrotechnics which fittingly incorporated a Vegas feel. The shows are produced and promoted by AEG Live.

From costuming — which included Vince Neil's illuminated poker-hand belt buckle and rogue carnival styled seat ushers -- to showgirl dancers, female aerialists, little people, macabre clowns and stilt walkers, each element dazzled the eye throughout. In addition to MÖTLEY's high-octane numbers, which included "Kickstart My Heart", "Shout At the Devil", "Saints Of Los Angeles", "Same Old Situation" and "Girls, Girls, Girls", the band also dedicated a portion of the show to an acoustic performance. High above the audience on a floating circular platform, they performed stunning renditions of "Without You", "On With the Show" and "Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)". Other songs in the set included rare live gems "Piece Of Your Action" and "Afraid", which haven't been performed live in over 10 years.

On Saturday night (February 4), MÖTLEY was joined by their friend Jacoby Shaddix of PAPA ROACH who jumped on stage for "Smokin' In the Boys Room". Rumor has it that there will be more guests jamming with MÖTLEY CRÜE throughout the residency.

"The 'Mötley Crüe In Sin City' residency transformed the town, not only the Hard Rock Hotel," states Paul Davis, Vice President of Entertainment, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. "It's never been done like this before." Billboards on the world-famous Sunset Strip in Los Angeles and the 15 Interstate upon entering Vegas beckoned fans to the Hard Rock. Upon entering the casino lobby, Vince Neil's custom 1932 Ford Coupe hot rod was displayed and poker players found themselves gaming on MÖTLEY CRÜE-branded tables. Even maid service signs for hotel guest rooms indicated cleanup for "Home Sweet Home".

Tonight, Sunday, February 5, the quartet returns for the third night of the run which lasts through February 19. Leading up to it, fans can experience their current KIA automotive TV commercial during the third quarter of the Super Bowl. The 60-second spot, titled "Drive The Dream", stars Vince, Mick, Nikki and Tommy in a race car dream sequence performing their 1989 smash hit "Kickstart My Heart". Victoria's Secret Angel Adriana Lima, mixed martial arts legend Chuck Liddell and champion bull rider Judd Leffew are also featured in the commercial.

Don't miss "Mötley Crüe In Sin City" at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas now through February 19:

* Wednesday, February 8
* Friday, February 10
* Saturday, February 11
* Sunday, February 12
* Tuesday, February 14
* Wednesday, February 15
* Friday, February 17
* Saturday, February 18
* Sunday, February 19

Tickets, starting at $45 (plus applicable service fees) are available at the Hard Rock box office.
One the eve of Motley Crue's current run of intimate Las Vegas residency shows, we talked to guitarist Mick Mars about the band's plans for the big event, how he's progressing with his own solo album, and when fans can possibly expect the next Motley record. (Hint: 2013′s looking like a big year for Crue fanatics.)
Are you excited for these Las Vegas shows?
Of course, I'm always excited to break new ground. I don't think any real rock band has done a residency in Vegas. I know Elton John will go there for a month, or Rod Stewart. Tom Jones, he just stays there! It could be groundbreaking for other rock bands — they could go, "hey, this works!" You never know what could happen; it could be extremely cool or you know, the opposite. Maybe we'll get Jones up there, who knows?
What can you tell fans to expect if they're heading to one of the shows, song-wise?
We're committed to playing the hits of course. But we are going to change up the set, I believe every night if we get the time. I know that we're going to do not exactly the same set every night, but pretty close. Maybe put in 'Helter Skelter' instead of 'Anarchy in the U.K,' stuff like that, to make it a bit different anyway.
Your first band did Beatles covers – was it your idea to cover 'Helter Skelter?'
Yeah, called the Jades. Actually no, it wasn't my idea, we were just sitting around, goofing around, someone said "hey, let's try this song." We wanted to do it the way we would do it, of course. There's parts that are like (theirs) but parts that are not.
How is your solo record progressing?
I'm writing; I've got about a good four or five songs that have potential. I don't know if I'm happy with them, you know, so I have to keep listening. Not to say that I'm going to make the perfect song or this that and the other, but I want to make me happy with what I release and proud of what I release. Maybe I can write a whole record of 'Dr. Feelgoods' or 'Girls,' but not sounding like Motley, you know, being me. I'm trying to do a lot of experimenting too, with different cultural rhythms and mixtures of beats — say, take some old greek guys that played traditional greek rhythms on their drums, or the Japanese with those big drum things that they use, and throw it all into the mix, see what comes out.
Is it true the record will have an R&B influence?
It could have some stuff like that, if it's right. I don't want to come out with something that's going to sound like that, because you know, just about every blues record — Gary Moore was different — but most of those songs are all shuffles. I want to get away from that as far as possible. I don't want to say it'll be, like heavy but something… I can't explain it, I have it in my brain and I know what to do, but I've got to find the right way to do it.
You mean something like Funkadelic?
No. No… you can add elements of that, but you also can add elements of messed up, hard hard hard rock, death metal with this really cool rhythmic stuff going on. I don't know, I have to keep going on it. I can hear stuff in my head, but whether it's going to work or not, I don't know. I know it can be done. That's why it's taking me a while. Not to sound selfish or egotistical, but I really want to do something that's not (breaks into dismissive monotone voice) "O.K., here's an album by Mick Mars…same boring stuff." I want to do something that's a little to the left.
When can fans expect a new Motley Crue record?
Well, the movie (based on the band's autobiographical book 'The Dirt')  is supposed to come out next year, we've got the right producers, the right director, I believe. I think we're going to start on that one either late this year or early next year, hopefully for release in 2013. Then, probably at the same time, a new record. It'll be like a double-sock in the stomach.
Do you have riffs in your head or on tape that you know will be part of the new Motley Crue album?
I have a lot of riffs that are done, that I've written here. Whether they'll be on the Motley record or not, I don't know yet. I need to sit down some and collaborate with Nikki. He'll hear something that I'll overlook. I'll think "ahh, that's mediocre." (He'll say) "try it like this, try hitting this note instead of that note," I'll go "OK, I get you." Or I'll do the same thing with him. We go back and forth.
Do You Watch 'American Idol?' How was it working with (rock loving former contestant) James Durbin?
I watch sometimes, but not very often. It was cool. I'm the only one that he asked to play on his record. There were a lot of people that wanted to play on it, but he said, "No, I only want Mick." We've become pretty good friends. I think, possibly, the song I played on ('Outcast') is going to be his next single. From what I understand, and I don't want to be a liar, there's a lot of radio stations and fans that really like that song.
What do you make of (Motley Crue singer) Vince Neil's recent statement that he was pondering retirement?
(laughs) Well, let's see, how can I be, uh… how big is this site of yours? — (We explain) — OK, here's my answer: Fat chance! That's a good neutral answer, I think.
Jenn Selby of The Quietus spoke with SLAYER bassist/vocalist Tom Araya last week and asked him about the progress of the songwriting sessions for the band's next album.

"We've had a few drawbacks, but we are attempting to work on the new material," Araya said. "Kerry [King, guitar] and Dave [Lombardo, drums] have been doing that. And me, because I'm sick, I don't want to fly out and make everybody sick, so my joining in the process is going to be on pause until I get better. But there's something there."

SLAYER is hoping that Greg Fidelman, who co-produced 2009's "World Painted Blood" with Rick Rubin, will be at the helm for the new CD.

"All four of us have agreed that the guy that we want to record our new record will be the same gentleman who recorded our last album," Tom said. "We just had a really great experience with him last time, loved the sound, and, if we can make our timings match up, we would love to record with him again. We'll probably bring him in towards the end of the writing process, which is what we did last time."

Araya also spoke about Hanneman's current state of health. Jeff in January 2011 contracted necrotizing fasciitis, likely caused by a spider bite, and has been undergoing surgeries, skin grafts and intense rehab since. Not only did this effectively put him out of action for the whole year, it came close to killing him. Thankfully, he's making a good recovery.

"Jeff is recording and writing with us on the album," Araya said. "He can still play, and he is rehearsing with us. It's just that he needs to get his chops up before he joins us live again. . . . We have to take it one day at a time. He has the ability to play, but he needs to really work at it. So we have to make sure he's at his best before he comes out and tours with us. But yeah, we want him out and on the road with us."
POISON drummer Rikki Rockett has confirmed via Facebook that his band will tour with DEF LEPPARD 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.

In a 2009 interview, DEF LEPPARD frontman Joe Elliott defended his band's decision to tour with POISON — a group that, just a year earlier, he trashed in the media. Speaking to Noisecreep, Elliott explained, "I didn't say that [POISON's] music had no substance, I said that ours had more. That's a totally different thing. Yes, it was taken out of proportion. Truth be known, it was a dumb question from a foreign journalist in a press conference where I could barely hear what was going on and I was getting really agitated with being in the room in the first place, so I couldn't hear the questions. It was a dumb question from a dumb journalist, to a dumb singer about a dumb subject."

He added, "My belief is that we're better than them ... but I would say that if they just said it about any band whether it be THE WHO or [THE ROLLING STONES] or THE BEATLES — not because I'm an arrogant idiot, but because when you're in a band, you are absolutely 100 percent allowed to believe that you're the best band in the world.

"So if that question had been asked of Bret Michaels, I would have expected him to have answered it in a very similar way. He's entitled to think that they're a better band than us, because he's in the band, you know what I mean? So that certainly wasn't ... it's not that I thought they had no substance, I just thought that we had more."
Jeb Wright of Classic Rock Revisited recently conducted an interview with guitarist John Petrucci of progressive metal giants DREAM THEATER. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Classic Rock Revisited: The elephant in the room is that [the new DREAM THEATER] album ["A Dramatic Turn Of Events"] was made without founding drummer Mike Portnoy. I will say that this album may be one of the best, if not the best, of your career. Is the Grammy nomination sweeter because, despite all the crap that Portnoy put you through, you still succeeded to that level?

John: It does. We started the band together back in Berklee when we were 18 years old. We have been a band for all of this time. Mike leaving was a real heartbreak and a shock. We have been through member changes before, but Mike was always a huge part of this band. There is that sort of moment, from fans, family, friends, and bandmembers and yourself where you go, "What are we going to do? What is the next step and how are we going to do this? Can we make this successful?" Thankfully, from the very beginning, we had so much support from our families, our friends and our fans and we took that support and translated that into the album. The album came out in the Top 10 all around the world. Our fans really seem to enjoy it. The Grammy nomination, on top of all that, is a great affirmation and a payback to all of those people who gave us that support. It is sweet. I can't lie.

Classic Rock Revisited: How is the new Mike [Mangini] different than the old Mike, professionally, personally and musically?

John: We wrote the album without a drummer present. Mike Mangini came in and learned the album and then added a whole new level of musicianship to it. It really was wonderful. Mike is a really cool person who is really easy to get along with. He is very dedicated and he gives 120 precent at all times. He has brought that attitude out on the road with us. His commitment to being a better drummer the next day, than he was the day, before is really great. The original Mike had been doing this with us for a long time. Sometimes, because we have done so many shows together, you think that no one could do what he does. Mike Mangini brought huge amounts of passion and commitment, not only to his drums, but to the band. Knowing the history of the band and knowing our fan base and how important Mike was to the band, to watch the new Mike come in and do what he did is pretty amazing.

Classic Rock Revisited: Portnoy left the band but there was a point where he wanted to come back to DREAM THEATER. What would the harm have been to let bygones be bygones and let him come back?

John: It was a little bit more complicated than that. The process by which Mike left the band was one where we tried everything to talk him out of it. We told him that it wasn't a good idea and that we had been together for too long to have this happen. We came to the realization that he needed a change. At that point, when you've exhausted all efforts, then you have to face the reality of the situation, which was that we needed a new drummer. We had to roll up our sleeves and find those eight drummers that auditioned. We, then, brought Mike Mangini into the band. He retired from his tenured position as an instructor at Berklee and we began making the new album. We rearranged and restructured everything within our business as well, which meant that we made hundreds of phone calls to booking agents, record companies and management. It really was complicated to do all of this. At that point, to have Mike say, "I want to come back," you can only imagine how we felt. It was too late and too far gone. Obviously, it wasn't something that he wanted a couple of months before so we had to wonder why it would suddenly be different now. All of the reasons that he wanted to leave for were all still there; they didn't go anywhere. It was just too late. We had to be genuine to ourselves, to our fans, to Mike Mangini and to our future.
Dave Reffett of GuitarWorld.com recently conducted an interview with TESTAMENT/ALEX SKOLNICK TRIO guitarist Alex Skolnick. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

GuitarWorld.com: Who were your musical heroes growing up, and what has it been like to meet and/or play with several of them?

Alex: It started with KISS, and later Randy Rhoads and Eddie Van Halen. I was a little disappointed when I finally got to meet KISS because I had gotten into them during the "Alive" period. When I finally met them, they had songs like "Crazy Nights", stuff I wasn't really crazy about. I also was a fan of groups like JUDAS PRIEST and IRON MAIDEN, and getting to meet those guys was incredible. And, of course, there's BLACK SABBATH; being on a first-name basis with Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi was just great. Every time I've been on a bill with them, they say, "Hello, Alex." I never got to meet Randy Rhoads, but I did play one show with Ozzy when he was looking for guitar players in the '90s, so that was exciting.

GuitarWorld.com: Exactly how did that come about?

Alex: It was really cool. It was one of these periods where Ozzy and Zakk Wylde had temporarily parted ways. He tried out a few different people, and I think I was the only one who made it as far as doing an unannounced show with him in England, and he told me I was hired. But I later found out from Sharon Osbourne that they had also been looking at another guy, Joe Holmes, who ended up doing the tour. Then they brought Zakk back. It was a very confusing time, but it actually worked out great because I got to do the show and I was just starting to study jazz seriously, so it definitely would've gotten in the way. I can't imagine not getting into jazz the way I did, so actually it worked out really well.

GuitarWorld.com: How have you been accepted by the jazz community?

Alex: Much better than I expected, actually (laughs). I was expecting to be publicly flogged. Most of the people I came in contact with were actually flattered because, you know, where I was receiving so much attention and I could just coast comfortably as part of this one genre, I did something very challenging and learned some of the most challenging music there is. It's like speaking another language, and people who spoke that language respected the fact that I respected their language. I didn't think I could just come in and do it instantly; that's why I went to school. It took so long before I did my first jazz record, and then when I did, I thought I would have to do several before I got any sort of mainstream jazz press. But publications like Downbeat and Jazziz magazine were covering me. That was the last thing I expected. I felt honored. I'm probably the only person who's ever gone on tour supporting SLAYER who's been in Downbeat.
Vocalist Jesse Leach, who left Massachusetts metallers KILLSWITCH ENGAGE in 2002, has officially rejoined the band. The news was broken via a splash image on the group's official web site, featuring Leach along with the rest of KILLSWITCH's current lineup — Mike D'Antonio (bass), Adam Dutkiewicz (lead guitar, backing vocals), Joel Stroetzel (rhythm guitar) and Justin Foley (drums).

In a recent interview with Australia's Loud magazine, Leach was asked if he has been approached to rejoin KILLSWITCH ENGAGE following the recent exit of his replacement, Howard Jones. "I'm not going to comment," he responded. "Everyone wants to know… I'd rather those guys go through what they've got to go through and whenever they make that decision… They're good friends of mine, so I'm respecting their space at the moment. It's more fun, more mystery, too; you don't have to know everything. These days everybody is on Facebook and tweeting everything that happens. What's happened to the mystery of music and not knowing everything?"

He added, "My viewpoint is to respectfully step back from the situation and support them. Whatever decision they make will be the right one for them and I look forward to what it is."

Leach spent most of the past year touring with TIMES OF GRACE, his collaborative project with KILLSWITCH ENGAGE members Adam Dutkiewicz (guitar) and Joel Stroeltzel (guitar). That band's debut album, "Hymn Of A Broken Man", came out in January 2011 via Roadrunner Records.

Jones issued a statement regarding his departure from the group, which was announced last month. Jones wrote in part, "I've had a pretty interesting couple of years, to say the least, battling with some personal issues. One of the low points being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes that went unchecked for years. The rest of the band stuck with me through it, and, to be honest, they are the ones that kept me going. The whole experience definitely put a scare in me."

He continued, "Recently we've all been in writing mode, but somehow I couldn't get excited about the new album and all the touring that would go with it. The guys saw it before I did. In hindsight, I now realize that my heart wasn't in it."

Jones thanked the rest of the band for "an amazing decade," adding, "I have so many good memories, and those are the ones that I will keep."

The band said in its statement, "We love Howard and are thankful for the nine years that we've had him in the band. Out of respect for everyone involved we will not be discussing the specific reasons behind this decision. Howard is a part of our family and always will be, and we wish him well."

The 41-year-old Jones joined KILLSWITCH in 2002. He sang on the band's last three studio efforts, including 2009's self-titled set.
Mike of Lithium Magazine conducted an interview with drummer Chris Adler of Richmond, Virginia metallers LAMB OF GOD when the band played in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on January 27. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Lithium Magazine: "Resolution" certainly shows LAMB OF GOD progressing as musicians. I feel like "Wrath" and "Resolution" rank amongst your best work, and not the other way around. You are putting out progressively better albums and resting so heavily on your laurels.

Chris: Well, thank you very much for that. There was definitely a concerted effort to be better musicians. Going into "Resolution", that was very much in our minds. Not that we could just rest on our laurels, but that we really wanted to try and come up with an album that could break that barricade with our older fans. Even for me, the bands that I love; I love their first few albums and then they seem to trail off somewhere that I just don't understand. And I think this may have a lot to do with the time in my life that I caught onto the band and maybe for the bands in question, the things they meant to do in their beginnings weren't how they wanted to be in their later albums. There is evolution in everything, really. For us, I wanted to try and create something meaningful. I pushed the guys and they pushed me throughout this recording to make something that a fan could say, "Oh yeah, I love that band. Their seventh album is the best one." That's a pretty daunting task considering what we have done before — six records that we are all very proud of as a band. There are very few things that we would go back and change about those older albums, so when you have something already that you really like, the question really becomes, "How do you improve on it?" We were starting at a pretty high spot for this album. It was tough to do and it took us a little while to do. There were some hurdles for us all to jump on "Resolution". Being friends, we were able to talk to each other like, "That's a great riff, bro, but it sounds like something we would have done on this record or that record. How can we bring this forward into something that is even pushing you as a musician?" That was very much on our minds throughout "Resolution".

Lithium Magazine: We talked by phone at the end of the touring cycle for "Wrath", and I can remember you saying that you felt that if the material for the seventh album wasn't shaping up to be something exciting, then you weren't real interested in doing the album. You wanted it to be a challenge and a step forward even before you started to write it.

Chris: Absolutely. I didn't want to be one of those bands that just did a maintenance album. I know we could have done that now and just made a placeholder album. We could have even just not done new records at all and just opted to tour until we are too old to do so anymore… we could do that, but I don't want to be that kind of band or that kind of musician. I want to be innovative. I don't want to repeat myself. At the end of the day, when I'm talking to my kids or my family, and I am retired or whatever… even if we had to cut it short after "Wrath" or after "Sacrament", I would want to know that our body of work didn't get compromised by that notion; that we could do something less just to keep LAMB OF GOD going.

Lithium Magazine: You have three families, Chris; the five members of the LAMB OF GOD family, yourself and Willie [Adler, LAMB OF GOD guitarist] as brothers, and then your respective family outside the band. Do you feel you have achieved a balance between all aspects of LAMB OF GOD and your respective families?

Chris: Two of the three are very good. Willie and I are pretty much always really tight, that never seems to change. We have a very similar musical direction and both feel that this is what we want to do and what we both love doing. The band family, I think that because we are all kind of rallying around "Resolution" at the moment, everything is really smooth right now. We spent a lot of time on the "Sacrament" and "Wrath" tours and just that sheer amount of time minus any disagreements or normal things that friendships will go through… that amount of time stuck with the same people does tend to cause some problems. [It was] nothing that we couldn't deal with, nothing serious. Just that kind of claustrophobic feeling that can come from years and years of being in a bus with the same guys. Having the time off and rehearsing at our leisure to come back and do the "Resolution" thing, the band is really doing very well. So now the third family, the family at home, that is a tough one because now I have been home for a year. We wrote the record at home, and I have assimilated back into dad-and-husband mode. Now the machine is starting again and it brings up an emotional terror, if you will. Now my wife goes back to being a single mom. When I came back home after the touring cycle from "Wrath", it was very hard for me to kind of assimilate back into that role. We had to re-figure out our routines and get back into that mindset. Now she knows I'm about to take off again and it's difficult for me to essentially walk away from my daughter and wife and feel like I'm still doing my thing as a dad. The things I'm going to miss, it's very tough. I love doing this and I know I'd regret it if I didn't do it, and it's — luckily for us — paying the bills at home and keeping us all fed and my kid in school. That probably takes more work than any other aspect of the band for me, keeping that connection at home up to where it should be.
Reunited British rockers THE DARKNESS took the world by storm during today's Super Bowl XLVI, one of the biggest sporting events on the planet. The British group's infectious classic hit "I Believe In A Thing Called Love" was featured in a fourth quarter commercial for Samsung's Galaxy Note Superphone. Directed by filmmaker Bobby Farrelly ("There's Something About Mary", "Dumb And Dumber", "Kingpin", "Shallow Hal"), the clip features the group's bombastic frontman Justin Hawkins as a pied piper leading a colorful cast of characters in a massive street party.

Last year's Super Bowl XLV was watched by more than 111 million people, becoming the most-watched program in U.S. television history (Nielsen Co.).

Tomorrow (Monday, February 6), tune in to watch THE DARKNESS's acoustic performance and interview airing live from the New York studios of VH1's "Big Morning Buzz Live" (10:00 a.m. ET/PT). Viewers can access extended interviews and behind-the-scenes photos online at Buzz.VH1.com.

Recently reunited with all original members, THE DARKNESSJustin Hawkins (vocals/guitars), Dan Hawkins (guitars/backing vocals), Frankie Poullain (bass) and Ed Graham (drums) — are now on the road, having launched their month-long headlining North American tour last week in Toronto, following it up with a killer sold-out show last night at Irving Plaza in New York City. The group's live set encompasses classics from 2003's gold-certified album "Permission To Land", including favorites "I Believe In A Thing Called Love" and "Get Your Hands Off My Woman"; 2005's "One-Way Ticket To Hell And Back" with "One Way Ticket" and "Is It Just Me?"; as well as several new songs off their forthcoming yet-to-be-titled third album (due mid-2012). The trek marks the band's first return to the States since their 2004 tour supporting "Permission To Land". The group will return to Irving Plaza tomorrow (Monday, February 6) for an encore performance.

Renowned worldwide for their electrifying rock n' roll, the group debuted "Nothin's Gonna Stop Us" — their first new song in six years — as a free download for all the loyal fans who've supported the band with sold-out tours on both sides of the Atlantic. The hilarious animated video for the song, created by popular visual rock artist Thom Lessner and directed by Ted Passon, premiered this week on RollingStone.com. Download the MP3 on the band's official site, TheActualDarkness.com.
SPIRITUAL BEGGARS — the Swedish band featuring ARCH ENEMY guitarist Michael Amott and bassist Sharlee D'Angelo, along with vocalist Apollo Papathanasio (FIREWIND) — is busy in the studio all this week, writing "new riffs" and coming up with "new songs," according to Amott.

SPIRITUAL BEGGARS last year released a live CD entitled "Return To Live: Loud Park 2010" in Japan via Trooper Entertainment. The disc features eight songs, capturing the bands high-energy performance at Loud Park 10 at Saitama Super Arena, Japan on October 17, 2010. The live recording was mixed in Sweden by Staffan Karlsson and Rickard Bengtsson at Studio Landgren 5.3 and The Sweet Spot Studio in December 2010. The artwork and design was handled by Hippograffix.

The new lineup of SPIRITUAL BEGGARS made its live debut on October 1, 2010 at Kyttaro club in Athens, Greece.

SPIRITUAL BEGGARS's seventh studio album, "Return To Zero", was released in Japan on August 25, 2010 via Trooper Entertainment Inc. — the label founded by legendary Japanese heavy metal music industry guru Tetsu Miyamoto. The Japanese special edition comes in a glossy paper box with a poster and a sticker of the CD front cover. The Japanese edition also features a bonus track, a thunderous cover of URIAH HEEP's "Time To Live" off the legendary U.K. band's 1971 "Salisbury" record.

"Return To Zero" was released in North America on October 12, 2010 via InsideOut Music. The follow-up to 2005's "Demons" was recorded at Sweetspot Studio with producer Rickard Bengtsson.


Michael Amott (ARCH ENEMY, CARCASS) - Guitar
Ludwig Witt (FIREBIRD) - Drums
Per Wiberg (OPETH) - Keyboards
Sharlee D'Angelo (ARCH ENEMY, MERCYFUL FATE) - Bass
Apollo Papathanasio (FIREWIND) – Vocals
On January 13, Higgo of Australia's long-running rock station Triple M conducted an interview with Max Cavalera (SOULFLY, CAVALERA CONSPIRACY, ex-SEPULTURA). You can now listen to the chat using the audio player below.

SOULFLY's eighth album, "Enslaved", will be released on March 13 via Roadrunner Records. The CD was recorded at TallCat Studios in Phoenix, Arizona and was produced by Chris "Zeuss" Harris, the seasoned knob twiddler behind some of the most notable bands in metal today, such as SHADOWS FALL, HATEBREED, THE RED CHORD and more.

"Blunt Force Trauma", the sophomore album from CAVALERA CONSPIRACY, sold around 5,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 122 on The Billboard 200 chart. The band's debut CD, "Inflikted", opened with 9,000 units to enter the chart at No. 72.

"Blunt Force Trauma" was once again tracked with ex-MACHINE HEAD/SOULFLY guitarist Logan Mader, who co-produced the LP with Max. Logan also mixed the follow-up to the band's debut album, "Inflikted", which has sold less than 50,000 copies in the United States since its March 2008 release, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Veteran NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) band BLACK ROSE is kicking off 2012 with a some festival dates and two new album releases. The group will open this year's Hammerfest "Hammer Of Thor" on the VIP night, Thursday, March 15 at Pontins Holiday Park in Prestatyn. They will also play at the Headbangers Open Air festival on Saturday, July 28 in in Brande-Hörnerkirchen, Germany, an event which is being headlined by U.S. metallers RIOT.

BLACK ROSE is preparing to release two new albums, the first of which is an 18-track CD on Hellion Records called "The Early Years And More - Remastered", which has eight previously unreleased songs from the 1980s as well as five bonus songs from the 2010 album "Cure For Your Disease", which were only previously available as a download. Also due in the summer through the High Roller label is a limited-edition vinyl record which features the band's very first demos and single.

BLACK ROSE's current lineup features original members Steve Bardsley (lead vocals, guitar) and Kenny Nicholson (lead guitar) plus Kiko Rivers (bass) and Chris Bennett (drums).

For more information, visit www.blackroseuk.co.uk.
Alex Barbieri of Hardrock Haven recently conducted an interview with former ANVIL bassist Glenn Gyorffy (a.k.a. Glenn Five or G5). A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Hardrock Haven: What happened in ANVIL that made you want to leave after 16 years?

Glenn: I wouldn't say anything in particular happened that made me want to quit ANVIL. It's been an ongoing thing for many years. Basically, it was getting a bit stale for the artist inside me and I simply wasn't fulfilled playing in the band anymore. As many people know there was a wonderful movie made about Anvil ("Anvil! The Story of Anvil") that re-ignited a flame in the band, not only in the public eye, but also in ourselves. When the film started to receive critical acclaim and we started this amazing ride on the film festival circuit, we found ourselves very inspired like we hadn't been in a long time. The success of the movie also brought with it the interest of the industry and we obtained proper management for the first time in decades — certainly the first time in my long tenure with the band. With that management came tours all around the world and a chance to experience many new things. It was very inspirational and we found ourselves writing and recording "Juggernaut Of Justice", the best album the band has done to date. The truth is before the filmmaker, Sacha Gervasi, came back into ANVIL's life and made a brilliant movie about a great story of perseverance, the band was in a downward spiral. The music just wasn't making a difference and creatively speaking we were at a bit of a stand still. This changed with the prospect of a film and a chance to once again record with Chris Tsangarides on the "This Is Thirteen" album. That album, because of the movie, received a lot of attention and was picked up and distributed by big-time record companies like Sony in Japan and VH1 in the United States. That feeling of renewed creativity continued on with the "Juggernaut" album, but unfortunately the interest of the record companies didn't, and in my opinion the album hasn't been given the chance to shine like it deserves and ANVIL have found themselves once again in a position of irrelevance. The music just isn't making a difference in today's marketplace. The movie was sort of a band aid over the inevitable, and in my opinion, ANVIL is now on its way back to the same position as it was back in 2005 before the filming of the movie began.

Hardrock Haven: What are some of your favorite memories and experiences from the past 16 years with the band?

Glenn: Well, it's all been great. My entire time with ANVIL has been a great ride. I've learned a lot, experienced some amazing things, got to travel the world and meet some amazing people along the way. Two very wonderful experiences for me took place in England. The first was the recording of the "This Is Thirteen" album. Not only to work with a great producer like Chris Tsangarides, but also to spend nine weeks in the village of Kingsdown where Chris' studio is located. Kingsdown is a small village in Kent in the South East of England. The local villagers are among some of the greatest people I've met and they welcomed us with open arms. I made some really great friends there that I consider my extended family, and I have been back to visit a couple of times. The second was when we went to London for the London Film Festival. The premier of our movie was awesome, complete with being joined on the red carpet by Sarah Brown, the wife of then-prime minister Gordon Brown. But the best part of that particular trip was meeting the love of my life, an amazing woman who is a publicist at The Works, the company that distributed the ANVIL movie. I lived the dream professionally with ANVIL, but all the other things that came with it mean a great deal to me, and maybe more so at the end of the day. I don't play in ANVIL anymore but the relationships remain and I couldn't be more grateful for having such wonderful people in my life.

Hardrock Haven: Is there anything you want to say to your ex-bandmates, Steve ["Lips Kudlow, guitar/vocals] and Robb [Reiner, drums] to clear the air?

Glenn: Actually there is nothing that I would say to them in this forum. One day, when our paths cross again, there will be things to say. For now, I just wish them well and continued success.
California-based traditional metal revivalists HOLY GRAIL, who have spent the past couple of months in the studio with Grammy-award winning producer Matt Hyde (SLAYER, CHILDREN OF BODOM) working on the follow-up to 2010's "Crisis In Utopia", have confirmed a string of U.S. dates in March. The shows will take the band to Austin for South By Southwest, and will also feature HOLY GRAIL's old friends and tourmates SAVIOURS. These concerts are in addition to the previously announced Australian appearances at the Soundwave Festival and the "Sidewave" off dates.

Commented HOLY GRAIL frontman James Paul Luna: "After months of endless writing, re-writing, recording and re-recording, I'm so excited to go back on tour! Not only am I stoked to be playing SXSW but I'm even more stoked to play with our great buddies SAVIOURS, who are pretty much the best dudes ever!

"Touring is a great escape from day-to-day stress and domesticated life and I miss that adventure into the 'real world.' I'm also really excited to see all the rad friends and fans we've made so far, and can't wait to meet and make new ones."

The dates are as follows:

March 11 - San Diego, CA - Soda Bar
March 12 - Tucson, AZ - Plush
March 17 - Midland, TX - Pine Box
March 19 - Fullerton, CA- The Slidebar (no SAVIOURS)
March 20 - Scottsdale, AZ - Rogue
March 21 - Los Angeles, CA - Satellite
March 22 - Los Osos, CA - Sweet Springs Saloon
March 23 - San Francisco, CA - Elbo Room

HOLY GRAIL has spent much of the past two years on the road, performing alongside AMON AMARTH, BLIND GUARDIAN, EXODUS, TOXIC HOLOCAUST, 3 INCHES OF BLOOD and more, supporting "Crisis In Utopia", which Revolver named one of the Top 20 metal releases of 2010.

HOLY GRAIL late last year released a holiday-themed seven-inch single, "Seasons Bleedings". Limited to 500 copies (250 red, 250 green), the single included covers of KING DIAMOND's "No Presents For Christmas" and the RAINBOW classic "Kill The King", and featured artwork by Sam Turner (3 INCHES OF BLOOD). This marked the first time that guitarist Alex Lee (ex-BONDED BY BLOOD), who joined HOLY GRAIL last spring, had recorded with the group. The digital version of "Seasons Bleedings" also included covers of JUDAS PRIEST's "Exciter" and ACCEPT's "Fast As A Shark", both of which originally appeared on the group's out-of-print debut EP, "Improper Burial".
PAPA WHEELIE bassist Joe Ledesma (a.k.a. Joefus) and his band ORBITER 500 from Oakland, California just released its new album, "XL".

ORBITER 500's sonic road trip takes you through super-heavy riffs and crushing grooves mixed with powerful vocals and uncompromising, explosive, live performances.

Putting rubber to the road in 2008, the Bay Area band began bringing its high-octane throwback style of rock to stages across the West Coast. Two demos and two years of touring later, the 500 crew is poised and ready to release the fury of its first full-length album upon the masses.

ORBITER 500 is:

Greg Philpott - Guitar
Rob Campbell - Vox
Joe Ledesma - Bass
Rob Tucker - Drums

For more information, visit www.orbiter-500.com.
THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA — the new classic-rock band featuring Björn Strid (SOILWORK) and Sharlee D' Angelo (ARCH ENEMY, SPIRITUAL BEGGARS) — has inked a deal with Coroner Records. The group is currently recording its debut album for a June release.

THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA started like so many others as an innocent yet serious drunken idea when Strid and David Andersson (MEAN STREAK, session musician for SOILWORK) were on the road together somewhere in North America in 2007. Björn and David were bonding over what they considered "classic" or not, from rock and roll conspiracies to being arrested in a lobby with nothing but leather pants on. All those scenarios, fictional or real, needed a soundtrack. They also came to think that whether you're on a metal tour or not, a lot of classic rock songs say it all and can really lend you a helping hand and make you forget about everything, especially when in motion or travelling. The classic escape. The never-ending road trip. The transatlantic night flight. It may sound simple and naive, but what it all comes down to is that we all need that soundtrack to feel extra special, whether you have been arrested in a lobby or not.

It didn't take long before bass player D' Angelo joined forces as well as keyboard player Richard Larsson (VON BENZO) and drummer Jonas Källsbäck (MEAN STREAK). The goal was to reclaim the '70s/early '80s sense for classic melody, the forgotten recipe to a timeless song, preferably a song mentioning a city, street name or an exhilarating alcoholic beverage. Anything that will have you spitting out the word "classic." From "Tarot Woman" to "Badlands", from "Rhiannon" to "Running on Empty", from "Blind Man" to "Night Moves", from "Deuce" to "Separate Ways", from "Elected" to "Set me Free". The list goes on. It's all about reclaiming the "classic."
Tony Martin has been in the music industry for a long time. He has been involved with many different bands over the years, most notably Black Sabbath for a couple different stints. Back in the late '90s and early 2000s he recorded a couple of albums with Dario Mollo. And now, 10 years after their second album was released, Mollo and Martin return with The Third Cage.
Chad Bowar: What brought you and Dario back together after nearly a decade?
Tony Martin: Well, we have been working on this album for four years, so it's just been a slow continuation rather than a reuniting thing.
How did the songwriting and recording process work?
Dario sends me riffs in a format - verse chorus bridge kind of thing. I normally have to edit the riffs into a form that I can sing on them. After I have edited the riffs then I create the songs and the stories and melodies and took a long time to make sure these were right, other than "Violet Moon" which I wrote in the studio. Then Dario mixes it all together.
How does the sound of The Third Cage compare to the first two albums?
I think its very similar in form; some ballads, some '80s kind of stuff, some heavy. But I have been able to make the lyrics more modern and melodic this time.
What inspired your lyrics on this record?
It all comes from imagination. Some small parts are from real life, but mostly its made up from the thoughts and stories in my head.
With the state of the music industry today, what are your expectations for the album?
I expect this one to be regarded slightly better than the other two, but on the whole I think it will disappear along with most others.
If we put you in charge of the music industry, what changes would you make to improve it?
Are you serious? You don't have enough space! I will say this, though. Music is a worthless art these days, and I believe any changes have to come from the artist, not the industry. And we have to have a new contract with the consumer. That contract should be an understanding of what it means to be in possession of the product we make. And then most importantly, nurture a new attitude towards music that will last into the future.
What does all that mean? In short: stop giving music away for free! It's not working. Stop working for free! It's not working. Music is not for free. As for the industry, I think its time to lose most of it! In the days when I was able to sign a record deal, we relied on record labels to distribute physical albums around the world.. In this age of internet access and file transfer, it's possible to do that without the labels.
The days when a record company nurtured a band with 5 year deals is gone, advances are gone, A&R is gone. Mostly it's about quick sell and out the door. Hardly any of the people living off the back of music have changed the percentages they take. I favor a more personal direct sale to our fans with a contract of commitment to them. In return, they become part of the control over the product they have.
Just so that you understand the level of interest I have in this and why you don't have enough space, I have asked lawyers, unions and artists to give me reasons and answers for the whole problem we have, and it varies from international agreements on price fixing to the fact that we as owners of intellectual rights uniquely give them away when we sign our contracts with the industry!
Do you have any live shows or tours planned to support the CD?
No. Dario mentioned some ideas he had, but I have not been included in them and have no information on it.
What other projects/bands are you involved with?
I have an album to be released with Aldo Giuntini, and this year I am working with a project called Silver Horses, which is just beautiful bluesy soulful stuff. It's different for me, but I love it. After that I have to see what I can make work. Most people expect me to work for free these days, so I stopped. I may become a recluse and live on a boat somewhere in England!
Will there be another Tony Martin Band album?
If I could make it pay I would love to!
How did you get started in music?
I started when I was 7 years old. I was a guitarist first, and it went from there. It's part of my family and internal inspiration as a human being. I find it very integral to who we are.
Who were your musical inspirations?
Everyone from Nat King Cole to Glenn Hughes to Elgar to Radiohead.
How did you come to join Black Sabbath?
Through my manager at the time, who was a friend of Tony Iommi.
What's your favorite memory of your time in Sabbath?
Meeting the fans.
Which Martin-era Sabbath album do you think was the best, and which is your favorite?
Love them all except Forbidden.
What do you think of the latest reunion and talk of a new Sabbath album?
Don't have any particular thoughts either way about it, clearly it's one of the last reunions with all the original members and that has to be considered! But apart from that I hold no regard, but also no grudge for them. It's all cool.
Are you fans of any of today's current rock/metal bands?
Yeah, lots of them, and some past bands like Reef. I see the excitement in bands like Foo Fighters and Rammstein to the melodies of Radiohead and some indie bands. But what amazes me more is how kids have such an understanding of music and how it feels. My kids are stunning writers, and I cant believe they have those words and melodies at 14 and 18 years old; I never did. It all came to me later in life. Makes me wonder what bands will be like in the future.
CRAWL BACK TO ZERO, the new Swedish band featuring drummer Patrik J. Sten (PASSENGER, TRANSPORT LEAGUE, KEROZENE), vocalist Mikael Skager (KEROZENE) and guitarist Jocke Lundgren (HELLFUELDED), has completed work on its 11-song debut album for a 2012 via an as-yet-undetermined record label.

CRAWL BACK TO ZERO's sound is described in a press release as "solid, honest, intense and powerful yet melodic. What you hear from the studio is what you get live."
NOKTURNAL HELLSTORM, the black metal project led by veteran bassist Danny Lilker (BRUTAL TRUTH, NUCLEAR ASSAULT, ANTHRAX), has released its debut album via United Underground (a division of Sevared Records). Produced and engineered by Lilker and mastered by Doug White at Watchmen Studios, the self-titled CD features 41 minutes of "ripping Scandinavian-inspired black metal," according to a press release.

"Nokturnal Hellstorm" track listing:

01. Naan Kadavul
02. Vile Entropy
03. Eternal Wasteland
04. The Penalty
05. Ancient Spirits Call
06. The Trial
07. Lacerated Dawn
08. Mesmerized By The Flames

The album is available now at Sevared.com.

When asked how NOKTURNAL HELLSTORM came together, Lilker told Decibel magazine, "In a way, it's similar to how BRUTAL TRUTH began way back in '90, with me working in my home studio. I wrote the music, programmed the drums and played all the instruments (no vocals, though). I asked Ron from CRUCIFIST to write and record vocals for this project, but before he got around to it, the band came to life when I realized that some of my friends from the Rochester melodic black/death band SARCOUS would be able to play this material. So, we took the three songs I had written — one of which is 'Naan Kadavul' — wrote another song together, and recorded what we had. That's the essence of how the band started, and as far as the impetus; well some may remember a black metal band I played in called HEMLOCK from New York City in the mid-to-late '90s. We broke up in 2001 and I relocated to Rochester a year after that. Although CRUCIFIST embodies elements of black metal, I wanted to play pure black metal again. I was quite inspired by the early '90s Scandinavian black metal scene, which re-lit the fire that had gone out when the original black metal bands from the '80s lost their direction or broke up. While a lot of people were simply drawn to the more sensational aspects of this scene and lost interest when all that died down, I still was drawn to the music, so NOKTURNAL HELLSTORM is, for me anyway, an homage to that era. We are not reinventing the wheel here."

For more info and details on upcoming live appearances, visit the band's Facebook page.
L.A. GUNS — featuring Phil Lewis, Steve Riley, Stacey Blades and Scotty Griffin — has inked a new record deal with Cleopatra Records. The band is currently in pre-production and expect to start tracking in early February with legendary producer, and old friend, Andy Johns (LED ZEPPELIN, THE ROLLING STONES, CINDERELLA, VAN HALEN, as well as the last three L.A. GUNS albums). A CD and vinyl release, as well as bonus tracks available only on iTunes, is set for early summer. A nine-month world tour following the release is also currently being planned.

Commented the band: "[Saturday, February 4] was our last day of pre-production, We got to play 20 new songs to Andy Johns, the guys from Cleopatra and our agent. They all seemed to like what they heard.

"On Monday, we start tracking drums in a big old-school studio for a few days and after that hours days and weeks in the little studio with Bruce Witkin.

"We ran into our old bandmate Mick Cripps last night and he's on board to play a few tracks so that's him and Kelly; wow, that's four-fiths of the original band!!!! How cool is that?"

Singer Phil Lewis is said to be thrilled to get back in the studio and finally get a chance to record once again with Andy. "We've been waiting a long time to get back in and record," he said. "Our last album, 'Tales From The Strip', was incredibly well-received and we're looking forward to putting out something even better! With today's uncertain musical landscape, it's great to have a label like Cleopatra Records behind us. We've been friends with Brian Perera (Cleopatra Records owner and founder) for a long time, and are really looking forward to working together on this and many more projects with him in the future."

Phil Lewis' L.A. GUNS is not to be confused with the Tracii Guns-led version of the group, which is also continuing to record and perform under the L.A. GUNS moniker.
Chicago's DIRGE WITHIN will release its sophomore full-length album, "There Will Be Blood", on April 10 via Rocket Science Ventures/THC: Music. The CD was recorded at Mercenary Studios in Zion, Illinois with engineer Scott Creekmore and producer Ari Mihalopoulos and is currently being mixed at Inner Light Studios with Ari and DIRGE WITHIN guitarist Shaun Glass.

Check out the cover artwork below. Also available is video footage from the recording sessions.

Guitarist Matt Szlachta recently left DIRGE WITHIN to continue to focus on his passion for teaching guitar to his students and for other personal reasons. He has since been replaced by Chuck Wepfer.

"There's no bad blood at all, man," said vocalist Jeremy "Jerms" Genske. "We're all still good buds and very close. His head and heart just weren't in it anymore, and he wanted to go back to teaching. He really loves it, and that's where he felt he had to be."

DIRGE WITHIN's forthcoming album will be the band's first to feature drummer Frankie Harchut and bassist Jeff Paulick (bassist/vocalist of LAZARUS A.D.), who has been filling on bass duties on tour with DIRGE WITHIN.

"I am very excited about the new songs we've written for this new album, and that people will be able to check out my style of playing a little more," stated Harchut. "We worked our asses off writing these new songs, a lot of long nights, and I'm personally stoked to have our fans hear 'em. I really think they're gonna be into it." Jeremy added, "The songs are heavier, smarter, and more melodic in parts. Some are even a little slower! There were no rules when we were writing at all. No holds barred. Whatever came out, came out. And I think it's gonna make a really good, well-rounded metal album."

DIRGE WITHIN's "Absolution" EP was made available on August 16, 2011. The three-song effort gives fans a taste of what's to come from the band's forthcoming sophomore album.

DIRGE WITHIN's debut album, "Force Fed Lies", came out on September 1, 2009 via E1 Music.
Legendary hardcore icon Harley Flanagan, bassist/vocalist of CRO-MAGS and HARLEY'S WAR fame, has signed with Southern Lord for several upcoming releases.

Southern Lord owner Greg Anderson released the following statement regarding this new alliance with Harley's newest endeavors:

"Harley Flanagan is one of the most revered, controversial and infamous musicians of the last 25 years of underground music. His resume and reputation speak equal amounts of vitriolic decibels as does his bass stack blaring in your face. I have personally been a huge fan of Harley and his work with the CRO-MAGS from the first time I heard their debut album, 'Age OF Quarrel', in 1986. Much like the feeling you got when you first heard BAD BRAINS, DISCHARGE or MINOR THREAT, CRO-MAGS were musically and aesthetically on another level that was matchless.

"Through the power of the net and sheer luck, I started talking to Harley Flanagan over e-mails and telephone past year. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the intensity and honesty of his playing also carried through in his personality. Harley is humble, raw, intelligent, driven and focused.

"To say it is an honor for Southern Lord to be working with Harley Flanagan is a enormous understatement! We're in shock and CANNOT WAIT to get this shit going! The first release we will be doing together will be the forthcoming HARLEY'S WAR album. The demos of the material he has shared with us for this are fucking phenomenal!

"The new HARLEY'S WAR material has the same feeling as the initial musical impact the CRO-MAGS first had in the mid-'80s. Killer songwriting, raw lyrics and Harley Flanagan's trademark bass playing. As mentioned above, this is 'other-level' shit! Expect nothing less than a brutal musical beatdown from the master!"
Vocalist Guido Krämer has left THE GATE, the German metal band featuring former RUNNING WILD (1982-1985) guitarist Gerald "Preacher" Warnecke.

Said Guido in a statement: "In recent months, there were constant disagreements. It was always about the songwriting and the external representation.

"I left the THE GATE in friendship and I wish them all the best in the future.

"I sincerely thank you all for your support!

"Of course I will continue to rock!

"Support THE GATE and my new projects!"

THE GATE is currently seeking a replacement singer.

The band's debut album, "Earth Cathedral", was released last summer via Rock It Up Records. The CD was recorded at Big Easy Studio near Hennef, Germany with producer Michael "Freio" Haas and featured a guest appearance by Preacher's son Korbinian Warnecke on 12-string guitar on the song "1000 Miles Away".
RED LAMB, the new Palm Beach, Florida-based rock trio led by former ANTHRAX guitarist Dan Spitz, has just released its self-titled debut album via iTunes. The 12-song effort was co-produced by Dave Mustaine (MEGADETH) and Spitz and is described in a press release as "explosive hard rock, pop punk, alternative rock, with a taste of thrash." The CD was mixed by Grammy-nominated producer Johnny K (DISTURBED, 3 DOORS DOWN, DROWNING POOL, MEGADETH) and it features cover artwork by John Lorenzi, who worked on the last three MEGADETH studio albums — 2007's "United Abominations", 2009's "Endgame" and 2011's "TH1RT3EN" — as well as the band's 2007 box set, "Warchest". Grammy Award winner Chris Vrenna (NINE INCH NAILS, MARILYN MANSON) handled all synths and additional programming on the entire CD.

RED LAMB features Spitz (lead guitar, guitar, bass guitar, programming, background vocals, engineering,co-producer), Patrick Johansson (drums; YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, W.A.S.P.) and Don Chaffin (vocals and video productions).

"Red Lamb" track listing:

01. Watchman
02. The Cage
03. Get Up
04. Runaway Train
05. Angels Of War
06. Puzzle Box
. Keep Pushing Me

08. Warpaint
09. One Shell (In The Chamber)
10. Standby Passenger
11. Temptation
12. Don't Threaten To Love Me

In a December 2010 interview, Mustaine revealed that he helped fine-tune the songs on RED LAMB's debut album after hearing some of the material in its early stages of development.

"[Dan] was working on a little side project, and I'd heard it a while ago and it kind of went by in passing 'cause he was just starting it," Mustaine said. "And I heard it about three weeks ago; he was almost done. And I said, 'Man, I love this record.' I said, 'And do you think it's done?' And he goes, 'Yeah.' And he goes, 'Why? What do you think?' And I said, 'Well, I would kind of do this and that.' And he goes, 'Really? Go ahead.' And I went, 'Really?' So I rolled up my sleeves and I completely dedicated myself to Danny's record for the last three weeks, working tirelessly in my studio on this record with him. And it's that good. I heard it and I just went, 'Oh my God!' It's like a cross between, say, DISTURBED, SOUNDGARDEN and RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE kind of thing. Little bit of some smatterings of ANTHRAX because of the speed stuff, but it's much more modern and much more heavy sounding."
Quebec's resurrected dark metallers MOONLYGHT will enter the studio this summer to record their third album, "Return To Desolation". Songtitles set to appear on the CD include "Return To Desolation", "Human Rememberance", "Dwelling In Earth's Shadow", "A Distant Illusion Of Freedom" and "The Sweet Poisonned Light".

Commented MOONLYGHT mainman Sebastien Robitaille: "I think that the essence of the 'new' MOONLYGHT 2012 is much more complete than what we've ever done in the past on 'Progressive Darkness' and 'Shining'."

MOONLYGHT is currently searching for a label home.

The band's sophomore album, "Shining", came out in March 2008 via Mankind's Demise Records (with Galy distribution).

MOONLYGHT re-released its first album, "Progressive Darkness" (originally issued in 2002 on the now-defunct Metal Disk Records), in 2004 via Sweden's Escapi.
DERIDE, the Norwegian band featuring Kjetil Greve (AUDREY HORNE) on drums and Ole Walaunet (GRIMFIST) on guitar, has inked a deal with Massacre Records. The band's new album, "The Void", will be released on April 27.

DERIDE has been lurking around for well over a decade by now, having made its first appearance in the summer of 1995.

The band released a self-titled EP as well as a three-track demo tape before issuing its first album, "Scars Of Time", in 2001 and the follow-up CD, "First Round Knockout", in 2003.

After a break of several years, DERIDE is now back with a new kick-ass lineup: founding members Ole Walaunet and Kjetil Greve have been joined by vocalist Per Helge Lande and bassist Tony Vetas.

DERIDE 2012 is:

Per Helge Lande - Vocals
Ole Walaunet - Guitar
Tony Vetaas – Bass, Vocals
Kjetil Greve – Drums
Florida-based death metallers SIX FEET UNDER are currently mixing their new album at Audiohammer studios in Sanford, Florida with producer Mark Lewis (THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER, WHITECHAPEL, DEVILDRIVER, TRIVIUM). The band's frontman, Chris Barnes, writes on Twitter, "Typing all my lyrics and credits [for the] new CD. This has to be some of the most disturbing lyrics I've written in years. Be afraid, be very afraid!"

When asked about the musical direction of the material SIX FEET UNDER has written for its next album, Barnes said in a recent interview, "The music is gonna be, really, kind of an accelerated version of what we were doing before — faster-paced, more interesting time signatures as well as really wild choruses and some heavy vocals. I think people are really gonna be interested in this album. It's something different, but it's something the same. The feel of it is SIX FEET UNDER, but we've pushed it and added some horsepower."

In a separate interview, Chris stated about the forthcoming SIX FEET UNDER CD, "It's the best album I've written in a long time. Rob Arnold [SIX FEET UNDER guitarist] is writing some songs, got Ben [Savage] from WHITECHAPEL writing some songs. I've got Jari [Laine] from TORTURE KILLER writing some songs and Steve [Swanson, SIX FEET UNDER lead guitarist]. So we're really happy with it. It's really good stuff." He added, "I think that each album's a different journey for me, you know? The music speaks to me, so I kind of write from what it tells me and this album's been such a pleasure to be involved with because it's so interesting and it's given me more options to do different things or do things I haven't done in a while, so it's a lot of fun on that level."

Bassist Terry Butler and drummer Greg Gall announced their departures from SIX FEET UNDER in January 2011. Butler has since joined OBITUARY as a permanent member.

Multi-camera footage of SIX FEET UNDER performing the song "Hammer Smashed Faced" at the July 28, 2011 Sacramento, California stop of the "Summer Slaughter Tour" can be seen below.

SIX FEET UNDER's current touring lineup is:

* Rob Arnold (CHIMAIRA) - Guitar
* Kevin Talley (DAATH, MISERY INDEX, CHIMAIRA) - Drums
* Chris Barnes (CANNIBAL CORPSE) - Vocals
* Steve Swanson - Guitar
* Matt DeVries (CHIMAIRA) – Bass
Roger Höglund of Sweden's Musikenimittliv recently conducted an interview with guitarist Eric Cutler of the legendary San Francisco Bay Area gore grind act AUTOPSY. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Musikenimittliv: You have a compilation album coming out this February, "All Tomorrow's Funerals", that includes your EPs and stuff, but also new material. Can you tell me something about the new material and are they songs that didnt fit on "Macabre Eternal" or new stuff?

Eric: The new record, "All Tomorrow's Funerals", is a collection of all the EPs and rarities. It also includes four new tracks that are not related to "Macabre Eternal". All completely new skull-crushing AUTOPSY, just like what you would expect! We recorded at Fantasy Studios again with Adam Munoz and the band mastered the new songs as well as remastered all of the old songs. We didnt mess with too much in remastering — mostly boosting up the volume to match. We feel good about it and I think you will like it.

Musikenimittliv: What's your take on death metal these days? Do you have any thoughts about new bands out there?

Eric: Wow, there are so many bands that kill! We have benn playing festivals and seeing a ton of brutal bands, too many for me to list here. A few have to be IN SOLITUDE, FUNERUS, TORN FROM THE WOMB. There is a lot of bad music out there, but metal is definitely strong as hell!

Musikenimittliv: You have the "Born Undead" DVD coming out this year. What material is on it and when will it be released?

Eric: Ah, good question. We hope to have it out by May. There is a documentery on it that shows the complete history of the band, with interviews of the band and other bands. There is footage from different time peroids and clips from rare shows. A second DVD disc will contain live concerts after the reforming of the band. Concerts include Maryland Deathfest, Hole In The Sky in Norway and Party.San in Germany. Also included will be some of the Slaughter By The Water show in San Francisco 2011.

Musikenimittliv: AUTOPSY have probably the most respect out there amongs death metal bands. How does it feel to have that much respect from fans and other bands?

Eric: We appreciate all of the love, and we give it right back. There are so many that are important to the scene being what it is and we are humble to be a part of this. When you stay true to being brutal and keeping the same direction and sound, you can keep it going. If others stay on board, then you are blessed.

Musikenimittliv: You guys have begun writing a new album. How does the material come along, how does it sound and can you say when u plan to release it?

Eric: We hope to record it before this year ends and have it out early 2013. I've been told by a friend that it sounds more raw and crazy! Hahahahaha, how that is, I do not know! I feel that it is another step in the staircase of madness that is AUTOPSY.
Italian technical death metallers GORY BLISTER will release their long-awaited new album, "Earth-Sick", on April 23 via Bakerteam Records. The follow-up to 2009's "Graveyard Of Angels" contains ten brand-new technical and brutal death metal tracks in the signature style that has always identified the band over the past 20 years. The CD also features NILE frontman Karl Sanders who guests on two tracks, including "Soul-Borne Maladies", which can be streamed in the YouTube clip below.

Commented GORY BLISTER guitarist Raff: "This new album is probably the best we've ever done. It displays the raw energy we always put into our shows but also the passion that drives us through good and hard times.

"Death metal is not about money, nor about fashion; it's a way of life that requires no compromises. We do this because we believe in it and we want to keep the flame high. Our fans are going to love 'Earth-Sick'!"

GORY BLISTER released its last album, "Graveyard Of Angels", via Mascot Records.
American blackened deathcore band SERPENTS has recruited vocalist Louis Tanuis Jr. (formerly of CONDUCTING FROM THE GRAVE) and drummer Ramon "Lord Cocos" Villarreal (ex-UPON A BURNING BODY).

The group has returned to the studio to resume pre-production on its long-awaited debut album, "Hymns Of The Serpent", due later in the year.

Commented SERPENTS guitarist and founder Andrew Mikhail: "On this day two years ago, I left OCEANO. On this day a year ago, SERPENTS and its 'Movement' were unveiled to the world. Today, I am happy to announce a new chapter for SERPENTS. We now have Lou and Cocos on board and we can finally release some details about this damn album that I've been working on for a year now. Nonetheless, after a couple successful tours and a very unpredictable past and future to come, 'The Movement' is still going strong as it should rightfully be and I couldn't be any more proud! As for new music with the new lineup, be on the lookout for that dropping within the month."

According to the band's official bio, "SERPENTS are a movement, an idea of a musical and artistic liberation — hailing from the Midwest, initiated by Andrew Mikhail along with his fellow brothers in arms. SERPENTS bring their infectious brand of venomous yet pulverizing music to the unsuspecting masses to bring you a new 'beginning of the end.'"
Century Media Records has announced the signing of France's NECROWRETCH.

Combining influences from the early works of bands such as MERCILESS, MORGOTH, GROTESQUE and tons of others unforgettable acts with their own vision, NECROWRETCH is currently one of the most promising young death metal bands.

NECROWRETCH's guitarist/vocalist Vlad comments: "We are, of course, very happy and proud to join the Century Media Records family in which we already feel really comfortable! We are convinced that this collaboration is for us a unique chance to work in the best conditions with experienced and passionate people. We are now eagerly waiting to start working on our first unholy album. Finally, I would like to thank Jens Prüter, Philipp Schulte and Jerry Maréchal for their confidence and dedication!"

Jens Prüter, head Of A&R at Century Media Europe, comments: "It already surprised the metal scene that we signed the, back then, rather unknown band SONNE ADAM from Israel. And I can just repeat myself: it's about the unique quality and we have a history signing death metal newcomers. Bands like GRAVE, MORGOTH and ASPHYX had just a couple of demos out before we signed them over 20 years ago. Let's continue with the next generation and welcome NECROWRETCH! The 'Putrefactive Infestation' 12" dominated my turntable for some months and I'm sure the upcoming album will be as sick and heavy! Bands like MASSACRA, AGRESSOR or MERCYLESS can be proud that NECROWRETCH is carrying on the torch of French death metal."

Jerry Maréchal, A&R at Century Media Europe, comments: "It has been four years now that I follow the progression of the band and all I can say is that it has been truly impressive! From the first demo to the 'Putrefactive Infestation' 12", the two main characters behind the band managed to establish NECROWRETCH as a solid newcomer in the death metal field by transcending their excellent early '90s underground influences while remaining faithful to what is genuine death metal. Hail to them!"

NECROWRETCH will start writing its first album after the release of the band's first seven-inch EP on Detest Records. This EP will be released March 10 during the band's first German live appearance at the ASPHYX new album release party at the Turock club in Essen, followed by an appearance at the Hell's Pleasure Festival on July 20-21 in Pößneck, East Germany.

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