[Classic_Rock_Forever] Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Kiss, Sonisphere Festival, Velvet Revolver, Slash, Van Halen, Motley Crue, The Cult, Megadeth, Twisted Sister, Anthrax and tons more hard rock and heavy metal news


The Rolling Stones museum in Luechow, Germany have installed Stones tongue urinals in the mens room. See the MTV.com story Designer Of Rolling Stones Lips-And-Tounge Logo Opens Up About Those Crazy Urinals and the Rolling Stones Museum in Germany.
The Rolling Stones have issued the second concert from the Rolling Stones Archives, following "The Brussels Affair" release last year. The latest offering is the famous bootleg record "Hampton Coliseum: Live 1981", a digital-only collection that documents the band's Dec. 18, 1981 concert at the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Va, USA. See the report Rolling Stones Unearth 'Tattoo You' Tour Concert Through Archives Site by ultimateclassicrock and how to order in the official StonesArchiveStore.com.
Keith Richards will appear live on stage at the Apollo Theater in New York City during the Howlin' for Hubert gig Friday February 24. See details and ticket sales at Howlin' for Hubert by the Apollo Theater and the IORR thread Hubert Sumlin Memorial Concert Planned For 24 February In NYC.
BLACK SABBATH drummer Bill Ward has announced that he will not be able to partake in the recording sessions for the band's new album and subsequent touring activities unless he is presented with a "fair agreement." His official statement on the matter reads as follows:

"Dear SABBATH fans, fellow musicians and interested parties,

"At this time, I would love nothing more than to be able to proceed with the BLACK SABBATH album and tour. However, I am unable to continue unless a 'signable' contract is drawn up; a contract that reflects some dignity and respect toward me as an original member of the band.

"Last year, I worked diligently in good faith with [fellow original SABBATH members] Tony [Iommi, guitar], Ozzy [Osbourne, vocals] and Geezer [Butler, bass]. And on [November 11, 2011, again in good faith, I participated in the L.A. press conference.

"Several days ago, after nearly a year of trying to negotiate, another 'unsignable' contract was handed to me.

"Let me say that although this has put me in some kind of holding pattern, I am packed and ready to leave the U.S. for England. More importantly, I definitely want to play on the album, and I definitely want to tour with BLACK SABBATH.

"Since the news of Tony's illness, and the understanding that the band would move production to the U.K., I've spent every day getting to or living in a place of readiness to leave. That involves something of a task, and as I've tried to find out what's going on with the U.K. sessions, I've realized that I've been getting 'the cold shoulder' (and, I might add, not for the first time). Feeling somewhat ostracized, my guess is as of today, I will know nothing of what'shappening unless I sign 'the unsignable contract.'

"The place I'm in feels lousy and lonely because as much as I want to play and participate, I also have to stand for something and not sign on. If I sign 'as is,' I stand to lose my rights, dignity and respectability as a rock musician.

"I believe in freedom and freedom of speech.

"I grew up in a hard rock/metal band. We stood for something then, and we played from the heart with honesty and sincerity. I am in the spirit of integrity, far from the corporate malady, I am real and honest, fair and compassionate.

"If I'm replaced, I have to face you, the beloved SABBATH fans. I hope you will not hold me responsible for the failure of an original BLACK SABBATH lineup as promoted. Without fault finding, I want to assure everyone that my loyalty to SABBATH is intact.
"So here I am. I lay my truth down before you. I'm good to go IF I get a 'signable' contract.

"I don't want to let anyone down, especially BLACK SABBATH and all the SABBATH fans. You know I love you. It would be a sad day in rock if this current situation fell to the desires of a few.

"My position is not greed-driven. I'm not holding out for a 'big piece' of the action (money) like some kind of blackmail deal. I'd like something that recognizes and is reflective of my contributions to the band, including the reunions that started fourteen years ago.

"After the last tour, I vowed to never again sign on to an unreasonable contract. I want a contract that shows some respect to me and my family, a contract that will honor all that I've brought to BLACK SABBATH since its beginning.

"That's the story so far.

"Stay safe and stay strong.

"I love every single one of you."

According to U.K.'s The People, BLACK SABBATH's planned world tour and festival appearances are expected to earn the musicians in excess of £100 million (around $159 million), meaning each member of the band could take home up to £25 million (approximately $40 million).

The Ozzy-fronted lineup of SABBATH hasn't toured since 2005 and last appeared together when they were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2006. They attempted to cut a new album — their first since 1978's "Never Say Die!" — with Rick Rubin in 1999, but the sessions fell apart after just a couple of songs and Osbourne turned his attention to his solo career. The Ronnie James Dio lineup reunited under the moniker HEAVEN & HELL in 2006 but split four years later, after Dio passed away.

Osbourne and Iommi in 2010 amicably resolved their problems over the ownership of the BLACK SABBATH name and court proceedings in New York were discontinued.

Ozzy filed a lawsuit against Iommi in May 2009, claiming that Iommi illegally took sole ownership of the band's name in a filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Osbourne sued Iommi for a 50 percent interest in the "Black Sabbath" trademark, along with a portion of Iommi's profits from use of the name.

The Manhattan federal court suit also charged that Osbourne's "signature lead vocals" are largely responsible for the band's "extraordinary success," noting that its popularity plummeted during his absence from 1980 through 1996.

Lawyer Andrew DeVore argued that Osbourne signed away all his rights to the BLACK SABBATH trademark after he quit the band in 1979.

Osbourne's lawyer, Howard Shire, called that agreement a "red herring" that was "repudiated" when the singer rejoined in 1997 and took over "quality control" of the band's merchandise, tours and recordings.
According to the Helensburgh Advertiser, IRON MAIDEN singer Bruce Dickinson spent three nights earlier this week on board the nuclear submarine HMS Victorious at the Faslane naval base in Scotland.

The captain of the boat is believed to have given Bruce a special invitation to come on board and get a taste of what life is like living and working on a nuclear submarine.

VIPs are sometimes invited on to the boats for a short period of time and a spokesman for Faslane confirmed to the Helensburgh Advertiser that the private visit had taken place.

A self-confessed submarine fan, Dickinson previously toured a Royal Navy submarine base in December 2003. On that occasion, he toured two classes of boat, the 8,000-ton HMS Sovereign, and the 16,000-ton HMS Victorious at Scotland's largest military establishment, the HM Naval Base Clyde near Helensburgh.

That was the first time Dickinson has been on a submarine, after his fascination was sparked when he met Clyde-based submariner and guitar maker, Leading Operator Mechanic (LOM) Richard Banks.

Banks first met Dickinson when he made a guitar for Dave Murray, IRON MAIDEN's lead guitarist, and the pair soon discovered a mutual interest in music and submarines.
The release date of the deluxe 25th-anniversary edition of KISS' classic fourth album, "Destroyer", has been pushed back to April 17. The two-disc set will feature remixes of the original LP by producer Bob Ezrin, outtakes from the 1976 album sessions as well as the LP's original cover art.

Ken Kelly's original version of the album cover for "Destroyer" was rejected by the record company because they felt the scene was too violent-looking. Also, the original version had the members of KISS wearing the "Alive" costumes.

Released in March 1976, "Destroyer" was the second consecutive KISS album to reach the Top 20 in the U.S. The LP was certified gold by the RIAA on April 22, 1976. It was certified platinum on November 11, 1976, the first KISS album to achieve that distinction.
METALLICA, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, GOJIRA, ACID DRINKERS, HUNTER and LUXTORPEDA have been confirmed for the Polish edition of the Sonisphere festival, set to take place on May 10 at Bemowo Airport in Warsaw.

Tickets go on sale on February 3 at 10:00 a.m. at LiveNation.pl.

METALLICA will play the "black album" — its 1991 self-titled fifth effort that has sold nearly 16 million copies — in its entirety at selected European festivals, including Sonisphere, this summer.
Legendary guitarist Slash (GUNS N' ROSES, VELVET REVOLVER) recently re-entered Barefoot Recording in Hollywood, California with producer Eric Valentine (QUEENS OF STONE AGE, THE ALL-AMERICAN REJECTS) to resume recording Slash's upcoming solo album for a tentative April 2012 release. Joining Slash in the studio are the members of his touring band: vocalist Myles Kennedy (ALTER BRIDGE), rhythm guitarist Bobby Schneck, bassist Todd Kerns (SIN CITY SINNERS, formerly of AGE OF ELECTRIC), and drummer Brent Fitz (formerly of THEORY OF A DEADMAN).

In a brand new post on his Facebook page, Slash writes, "[It] looks like we'll be finished recording next week. Then mixing begins. It's all going on."

Speaking to Total Guitar magazine, Slash stated about the recording sessions for the new CD, "We're just going for the one take that sounds good, so my solos are more raw, probably sloppier in a way, because they're very spontaneous to the point where it's in the heat of the moment. Everything is being played live with the music tracks, the solos, everything. We're trying not to overdub extra bits. So if there's a solo, I'm playing on one side, Myles' rhythm track is on the other."

In a recent interview, Slash stated about the musicians in his band, "I was really fortunate. When I'd done the [first solo] record, I thought, 'I've gotta tour on this.' And I had to figure how I was gonna actually pull that off. And I set about auditioning musicians in L.A. and I just happened to meet Brent Fitz, who I'd never played before and who is not from Los Angeles; he was one of the guys I auditioned and he was great. And then he introduced me to Todd Kerns, who fit in perfectly. And it turned out to be a great band from the start — definitely worth going in and making a record with."

Valentine previously worked with Slash on the guitarist's self-titled solo album. But "the big difference," according to Slash, will be that Eric is "also gonna be mastering this one" in addition to recording and mixing the CD. "So it's like one-stop shopping, which is pretty cool," the axeman said.

Regarding the musical direction of his new material and how it compares to last year's self-titled effort, Slash said, "This one's definitely a very focused… Very hard. Some of it's very heavy. It's got sort of a more unified sound to it, especially with one vocal all throughout."
Rock drummer Matt Sorum (GUNS N' ROSES, VELVET REVOLVER, THE CULT) is selling personalized VELVET REVOLVER drawing drumheads for $150 each via his official web site. Each drum head will include an original drawing by Matt like the one shown below personalized to any one name.

VELVET REVOLVER reunited with singer Scott Weiland for a one-off performance at the January 12 "Love You Madly: A Concert For John O'Brien" at the House Of Blues in West Hollywood, California. The band played a four-song set — including a cover version of the PINK FLOYD classic "Wish You Were Here" — at the event, which paid tribute to award-winning ASCAP composer John O'Brien, who was found dead in his Chicago hotel room last August.

Sorum achieved fame with GUNS N' ROSES, where he replaced Steven Adler in the band, who was fired because of drug addiction. While with the Los Angeles-based hard rock group (1990-1997), Sorum recorded the highly successful albums "Use Your Illusion I" and "Use Your Illusion II" (both 1991) and "The Spaghetti Incident" (1994). He also supported the group on the "Use Your Illusion" tour and can be heard on GUNS N' ROSES' "Live Era: '87-'93" (1999) and "Greatest Hits" (2004). Starting out as a season musician in Los Angeles in the 1980s, Sorum had his first taste with success as part of THE CULT in 1989. A decade later, after being fired from GUNS N' ROSES, he was reunited with the group and played the drums for their 2001 album "Beyond Good And Evil". Currently, Sorum is the drummer of VELVET REVOLVER, a group he founded in 2002 with former GUNS N' ROSES band members Slash and Duff McKagan. The band has released two albums, "Contraband" (2004) and "Libertad" (2007). On his own, Sorum released a solo debut in 2003 called "Hollywood Zen".
According to The Pulse Of Radio, the first review of VAN HALEN's new album, "A Different Kind Of Truth", has been posted online at Antiquiet — and it's overwhelmingly positive. Critic Johnny Firecloud says that the band's first album with original singer David Lee Roth in 28 years is a "true return" and "screaming triumph," adding, "That old familiar feeling has returned, the unique flare of excitement that comes from a muscle car rhythm section led by a six-string wizard and a singing sexual megalodon with an ego that made Kanye look like a kid flaunting his new Spider-Man underoos — and the pipes to back up the strut."

The review acknowledges that much of the album is made up of material pulled from the band's archives, writing, "Thankfully, these songs do not sound like old men putting on the smelly old spandex and combing over the strays. Fresh is the operative word here, a supremely confident swing for the fences in an understandable progression from the obsessively romanticized pre-Hagar era."

First single and album opener "Tattoo" is described as the "low point for an otherwise fantastic album," which may offer hope to fans who have voiced displeasure with that track. Other songs cited as standout tracks include "She's The Woman", "You And Your Blues", "China Town" and "Stay Frosty".

The review concludes, "'A Different Kind Of Truth' will be remembered as evidence that a band can endure every cliche in the book and return, with the right focus, obsessed dedication and mojo, to a sweet spot of rejuvenation — one that holds the hand of nostalgia but doesn't go for the full embrace, leaning instead, wisely, toward evolution."

"A Different Kind Of Truth" arrives next Tuesday (February 7), with the band kicking off a North American tour on February 18 in Louisville, Kentucky.
Three decades after beginning its iconic journey of debauchery and decadence, MÖTLEY CRÜE has announced plans to invade Las Vegas with the city's first-ever hard rock residency: "Mötley Crüe In Sin City". The world's most notorious band will he heading to the world's most notorious city where they will perform an extended run — starting February 3 through 19 — at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The iconic band will perform four shows a week. Super Bowl, Valentine's Day and President's Day fall within these dates.

In honor of Las Vegas' first hard rock residency, "Mötley Crüe In Sin City", Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman has proclaimed Friday, February 3, 2012 as "Mötley Crüe Day."

Speaking to the Las Vegas Sun, MÖTLEY CRÜE singer Vince Neil said of the upcoming show, which will include an array of theatrics, pyrotechnics, aerialists, wild video displays, a rollercoaster drum set and even a "little people" version of the band, "It's pretty amazing. I think people are going to walk out of this show going, 'What the (heck) just happened to me?'

"We'll have a Little Crüe in there. We're going a little more than two hours. It's a long show, full of amazing visuals and stuff you would not expect from a rock concert.

"This isn't a thing where we just set up some amps and go out and play. The production is so over the top, man. It's a full-blown show. . . It's Cirque [du Soleil] meets rock. This is not a show where you just sit there and look at the stage. It's happening all around you. We're utilizing the whole place, the whole Joint, as the stage. We came up with some of the craziest ideas we could, then went to the engineers to see if it was possible."

"If you look at what was a smaller version of what we're doing now, it was the 'Carnival Of Sins' [2005-2006] tour. This is that show times 100."

"We're actually rehearsing now, doing all these different versions of old songs. We'll have an acoustic set inside the show that we rarely ever play. There will be a lot of stuff that, even if you've been to see MÖTLEY CRÜE a bunch of times, will be new for you."

To purchase tickets, go to Ticketmaster.com.
"She Sells Sanctuary", the international hit from British rock band THE CULT, and Sunshine State rapper Flo Rida's Top 10 smash "Good Feelin'" will be featured this Sunday as a mashup in one of Budweiser's Super Bowl commercials.

The one-minute spot is a celebratory romp through several decades of great times in America that begins with the end of Prohibition in 1933.

Written by THE CULT's vocalist Ian Astbury and guitarist Billy Duffy, "She Sells Sanctuary" reached No. 15 on the U.K. chart and was a Top 40 dance hit in the U.S. In a review, one journalist wrote, "Duffy's liquid, quasi-psychedelic guitar intro over a buzz of flanged feedback suddenly rips into a triumphant, driving lead melody that's jaw-dropping."

"Choice Of Weapon", THE CULT's first new studio album in five years, will be released on May 22 (Cooking Vinyl), and the band — Asbury, Duffy, drummer John Tempesta, and bassist Chris Wyse — will tour extensively in support of it.
David Ellefson, bassist for the influential thrash band Megadeth, recently began taking seminary classes.  Over the past few years, both he and Megadeth founder, Dave Mustaine, have been vocal about their Christian faith.  While a thrash bassist taking seminary classes may seem odd, Ellefson likens the angst of his generation to that of Martin Luther and his efforts in the Protestant Reformation.  He recently gave the Examiner some time to discuss seminary, taking classes on the road, and how he integrates his faith with is band mates.
Raleigh Evangelical Examiner:  You said you don't see yourself as standing up and handing out the sacraments, so what are some of your goals surrounding a seminary education?
Ellefson:  I'm enjoying the educational aspect of this.  Learning what I can about the history of the church and Martin Luther's discoveries of both the Old Testament law and New Testament gospel of Christ.  I think my generation just gave up on church…much the same way Martin Luther questioned the church of his day.  I think we are all drawn to the word of God but not sure about the church of our youth as it was antiquated and seemed culturally irrelevant to us.  So, my hope is that with a modern day discovery we can apply God's word more universally to all of us, even us in rock n' roll!
Raleigh Evangelical Examiner:  How do you integrate taking virtual classes and life on the road?
Ellefson:  I like it.  I did my four year bachelor's degree online and as a traveling entertainer/musician, it is really the only way to continue higher academic learning.  
Raleigh Evangelical Examiner:  Do you and Dave Mustaine ever debate points of theology?  If so, could you give me some examples?  How do you handle any disagreements?  
Ellefson:  Dave and I never dispute scripture but rather we study it together.  Dave is actually very well versed and read on scripture, especially the Old Testament.  I've learned quite a bit from him over the years.  I think his understanding of Moses is superior to what mine used to be.  I can't say we disagree.  It's just that we each bring something different to our discussions.  I think that is the beauty of scripture it is irrefutable if you really study it as it is written and don't try to scramble it to fit your life.  We are to fit it, not the other way around.
Raleigh Evangelical Examiner:  Do you desire to see your Christian faith more overtly evident in Megadeth lyrics?
Ellefson:  I don't see Megadeth being a quote/unquote "Christian Band" but rather a band that has Christians in it.  We've used concepts and scripture in our songs for years.  One example is in "Ashes in Your Mouth" where we say, "Turning plowshares into swords."  
Raleigh Evangelical Examiner:  How have Chris and Shawn interacted with you about your faith and your taking of seminary classes?
Ellefson:  Yes, we chat about it.  I think we are on the same page which is live your faith rather than go out and try to convert everyone.  
TWISTED SISTER frontman Dee Snider is in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida filming a Norwegian commercial "in full TWISTED SISTER regalia." Snider says, "Today [Thursday, February 2] I reenact the famous 'We're Not Gonna Take It' spin where the kid turned into me."

Snider also posted a photo from the commercial shoot (see below) along with the following message: "I may look like an aging drag queen... but I've ALWAYS looked like an aging drag queen!"

As previously reported, Snider's autobiography, "Shut Up and Give Me The Mic", will be released in May from Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster, right before Warner Pictures releases the Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Catherine Zeta Jones and Russell Brand film adaptation of the hit Broadway musical "Rock Of Ages", which features two of Snider's biggest hits.

In an August 2011 interview with Goldmine, Snider stated about his upcoming autobiography, "Right now it looks like it's going to be about the rise and fall of Dee Snider. Basically, how I wanted be a rock star, what it took to get there, my struggle and then ultimately taking a tremendous fall, a devastating fall. Obviously I've come back from it, but I think people will take inspiration from it. It's inspiring and it's a cautionary tale."

Talking to Classic Rock last year about what people should expect from his book, Snider said, "Unlike others, I can remember what happened. I wasn't so out of it that I have to rely on what others tell me. This is the truth, not bullshit."
ANTHRAX bassist Frank Bello, who is the nephew of the band's drummer, Charlie Benante, will miss the next few shows on ANTHRAX's current North American tour in order to spend time with his grandmother (Benante's mother), who is terminally ill. Filling in for him will be his "good friend" Joey Vera (ARMORED SAINT, FATES WARNING). Bello says, "Please make [Joey] feel welcome. I'll be back [as soon as possible]."

Vera temporarily replaced Bello in ANTHRAX from April 2004 to March 2005 before Frank returned to the group as part of the reunion of ANTHRAX's classic lineup, also featuring singer Joey Belladonna and guitarist Dan Spitz. Vera also filled in for Bello during ANTHRAX's appearance at the Heavy MTL festival in June 2008 when Bello wasn't able to make the gig due a "family obligation."

Benante is taking a short leave from ANTHRAX's concert tour to be with his mother. Immediately following last Thursday's (January 26) show Kansas City, he flew to New York to join his family at his mother's bedside. Filling in for Benante since last Friday's (January 27) show in Indianapolis has been TESTAMENT's drummer Gene Hoglan.
ROB ZOMBIE/ex-MARILYN MANSON guitarist John 5's sixth solo studio instrumental album, "God Told Me To", will be released on April 10. The cover art, which features a painting of John 5 by Rob Zombie, can be seen below.

According to John 5, "God Told Me To"will be "half acoustic and half metal and feature music that will blow you away." He has already whetted the fans' appetite by releasing four digital singles from the album: "Beat It" (MICHAEL JACKSON cover), "Welcome To Violence", "Noche Acosador" and "The Castle".

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.

In an interview with U.K.'s Kerrang! magazine, John 5 stated about his forthcoming CD, "I have an album called 'God Told Me To' [coming out] and it's half heavy and it's half acoustic, which I've never done before. I'm doing a cover of MICHAEL JACKSON's 'Beat It', an instrumental version of it. And it's gonna be amazing. I'm really excited about this record 'cause of the acoustic stuff, 'cause I've never done that before. And it's gonne be awesome. I'm so excited for this to come out. I think I'm gonna put a [making-of] DVD out with it. People always like to see how I do things and stuff."

"The Art Of Malice", the last solo album from John 5, sold around 1,200 copies in the United States in its first week of release. The CD landed at position No. 27 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.
Former THE VELVET UNDERGROUND frontman Lou Reed will embark on the "From VU to LULU" European tour in the summer. The trek will start in Luxembourg on Wednesday, June 6 and will take in several festivals, including Switzerland's Caribana, France's Montereau, Berlin's Citadel and Slovakia's Pohoda.

Lou will also perform several concerts in France, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, and Germany.

The tour will feature a five-piece band, including Lou Reed, Tony "Thunder" Smith (drums), Rob Wasserman (bass), Kevin Hearn (keyboards), and Aram Bajakian (guitar).

Lou and band will perform material from Reed's entire cannon of songs, ranging from THE VELVET UNDERGROUND to his recent METALLICA collaborative album "Lulu".

The dates are as follows:

June 05 - Luxembourg - Rockhal
June 08 - Nyon, Switzerland - Caribana Festival
June 09 - France - Montereau Festival
June 11 - Paris - Olympia
June 12 - Lille, France - L'Aeronef
June 14 - Amsterdam - Heineken Music Hall
June 15 - Brussels - Ancienne Belgique
June 18 - Copenhagen - Falconer Salen
June 20 - Berlin - Citadel Music Festival
June 23 - Mainz, Germany - Zollhafen/Nordmole
June 25 - Clermont Ferrand, France - Cooperative de Mai
June 26 - Bordeaux, France - Fete le Vin
June 29 - Bonn, Germany - Kunst!Rasen
June 30 - Dresden - Filmnächte am Elbufer
July 01 - Munich - Tollwood Festival, Olympic Park
July 05 - Trencin, Slovakia - Pohoda Festival

"Lulu" has polarized fans around the world and earned METALLICA some of the most scathing reviews of its career. The effort features the former THE VELVET UNDERGROUND frontman's spoken-word poetry and lyrics combined with METALLICA's musical assault for a jarring experience that doesn't sound like anything METALLICA has ever attempted before. A concept album based on two early 20th century plays by German author Frank Wedekind, the CD was co-produced by Reed, METALLICA, Hal Willner — who has produced albums for Reed, Marianne Faithfull, and Laurie Anderson, among others — and Greg Fidelman. Fidelman also mixed the record.

The collaboration between METALLICA and Reed was sparked by their performance together of Reed's "Sweet Jane" and "White Light/White Heat" at the 25th anniversary of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame at Madison Square Garden in October of 2009.

The songs were all written by Reed with extensive arrangement contributions by METALLICA.

Only two songs on the album are under five minutes in length, while two are more than 11 minutes long and the closing cut, "Junior Dad", clocks in at 19 minutes.
BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION, the English-American rock band featuring the talents of bassist/vocalist Glenn Hughes (DEEP PURPLE, TRAPEZE, BLACK SABBATH), blues rock guitarist/vocalist Joe Bonamassa, drummer Jason Bonham (LED ZEPPELIN), and keyboardist Derek Sherinian (DREAM THEATER), will release its first concert CD, "Live Over Europe", on February 28 on the J&R Adventures imprint. This two-disc CD follows up the October 2011 release of the two-disc DVD by the same name.

Recently named by Eddie Trunk and co-hosts as "Best New Band Of The Last 10 Years" on VH1 Classic's "That Metal Show", BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION taped "Live Over Europe" during its debut tour in the summer of 2011. On the album, the band blazes through 17 tracks, recorded in surround over three nights, playing to packed venues in Hamburg, Munich and Berlin. The setlist includes songs from both of BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION's albums — 2010's self-titled debut and 2011's sophomore release, "2" — including "Black Country", "One Last Soul", "Save Me", "Man In The Middle", "Cold" and "Song Of Yesterday". Also included in the mix is "The Ballad Of John Henry" from Bonamassa's 2009 solo album and the DEEP PURPLE classic "Burn".

Producer Kevin Shirley explains: "We saw that this live act could be an awesome force of nature to behold; one that promised legendary performances like those of our heroes of classic rock. The plan was to get them out there for the entire world to hear. Records allow a certain musical finesse, but live performance promises so much in the very transient nature of a gig; chances are taken, boundaries are crossed and the most exciting performances explode. Two studio albums built a repertoire big enough for a full concert which allowed us to unleash the monster for all the world to see and feel."

"Live Over Europe" track listing

Disc 1

01. Revolution Of The Machine
02. Black Country
03. One Last Soul
04. Crossfire
05. Save Me
06. The Battle For Hadrian's Wall
07. Beggarman
08. Faithless
09. Song Of Yesterday
10. I Can See Your Spirit

Disc 2

11. Cold
12. The Ballad of John Henry
13. The Outsider
14. The Great Divide
15. Sista Jane
16. Man In The Middle
17. Burn
Jo Schüftan of Horns Up Rocks! recently conducted an interview with singer Chuck Billy of San Francisco Bay Area metal veterans TESTAMENT. You can now listen to the chat in the YouTube clip below.

TESTAMENT will tentatively release its new album, "The Dark Roots Of Earth", on April 27 via Nuclear Blast Records. Due to a "serious injury," TESTAMENT drummer Paul Bostaph was unable to take part in the recording sessions for the CD and was replaced by Gene "The Atomic Clock" Hoglan (DARK ANGEL, STRAPPING YOUNG LAD, FEAR FACTORY, DETHKLOK). Bostaph has since announced his departure from the group.

When asked if Hoglan — who is currently touring with TESTAMENT — will become a permanent member of the band, Billy told Horns Up Rocks!, "We'd like him to be, but I think right now we're just taking it tour by tour. We don't know yet. We just kind of unexpected had to do this tour before the record came out, so we haven't really thought about it yet."

Regarding how different it is playing with Gene compared to working with Bostaph, Chuck said, "We played with Gene before on our 'Demonic' record [1997], so we knew exactly what Gene was capable of and what he would bring to the table. We knew that it would definitely bring a different style of drumming, 'cause Gene's a different player than Paul. I think it just worked out. Eric [Peterson, TESTAMENT guitarist] had a lot of the [basic drum patterns] already done [for the new album], and Gene just had to kind of put his style on it."

LAMB OF GOD drummer Chris Adler plays on one track on "The Dark Roots Of Earth", which was helmed by veteran British producer Andy Sneap (MEGADETH, EXODUS, NEVERMORE, MACHINE HEAD, ARCH ENEMY).

In a recent new interview with SoundSpike, Billy stated about the forthcoming CD's musical direction, "It's kind of like where we left off with the last record, except I think there are some more songs that aren't as thrashy. But they're definitely metal. I don't know how to describe it. I keep saying you don't really have to be a metalhead to enjoy some of these songs that we got. There's just really good songs on the record. It's a little different."

On the topic of the new CD's title, Billy said, "We've always been a planet-conscious band. Now that we have pretty close to the original lineup — with Alex [Skolnick, lead guitarist] and Greg [Christian, bassist] back in it — it's almost like going back to our roots. It's like all of us connecting, joining as one to the planet."
New Jersey thrash metal veterans OVERKILL will take part in an in-store signing session on Tuesday, March 27 at 7 p.m. at Vintage Vinyl in Fords, New Jersey.

OVERKILL will release its new album, "The Electric Age", in North America on March 27 via eOne Music. The CD will be made available in Europe on March 30 through Nuclear Blast Records.

"The Electric Age" was recorded and mixed at Gain Studios in New Jersey, owned and operated by OVERKILL bassist D.D. Verni.

OVERKILL will embark on the "Killfest 2" headlining tour in April/May. Support on the trek will come from BELPHEGOR, ABORTED, BLACKGUARD, SYSTEM DIVIDE and DIAMOND PLATE.

OVERKILL's latest CD, "Ironbound", sold 4,100 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 192 on The Billboard 200 chart. The effort landed at No. 4 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.

OVERKILL's previous album, "Immortalis", opened with 2,800 units back in October 2007.

"Ironbound" was released on February 9, 2010 via E1 Music (formerly KOCH Records). The CD, which was issued in Europe on January 29, 2010 via Nuclear Blast Records, was mixed by PAIN/HYPOCRISY mainman Peter Tägtgren and is described in a press release as "a true thrasher-piece."

OVERKILL is Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth (vocals), D.D. Verni (bass, backing vocals), Derek "The Skull" Tailer (rhythm guitar, backing vocals), Dave Linsk (lead guitar, backing vocals) and Ron Lipnicki (drums).
JON OLIVA'S PAIN, the Florida-based band led by SAVATAGE mastermind Jon Oliva, will play SAVATAGE's classic 1987 album, "Hall Of The Mountain King", in its entirety during a 15-date European tour in June and July. The group will also perform songs from DOCTOR BUTCHER (the early 1990s project created by Oliva and guitarist Chris Caffery at a time when they were not active members of SAVATAGE) as well as other classic SAVATAGE and JON OLIVA'S PAIN selections.

Commented JON OLIVA'S PAIN lead guitarist Jerry Outlaw: "In my mind, this tour will be dedicated to the memory of the late, great Matt LaPorte as well as Criss Oliva. I will honor their memory with every note I play."

JON OLIVA'S PAIN will play warm-up show for its European tour on June 16 at the Ritz Theatre in Ybor City, Florida.

JON OLIVA'S PAIN's latest addition, guitarist Joseph Diaz, is also member of CEMETARY SLUTS (an original speed metal band) and FIGURE IN BLACK (a BLACK SABBATH tribute act). He has also played in DISASTERPEACE alongside former KING DIAMOND guitarist Pete Blakk and ex-CRIMSON GLORY singer Wade Black.

JON OLIVA'S PAIN 2012 touring lineup:

Jon Oliva – Vocals, Keyboards
Christopher Kinder - Drums
Jerry Outlaw - Guitar
Jason Jennings - Bass
Joseph Diaz - Guitar

"Hall Of The Mountain King" was the first SAVATAGE album to be produced by Paul O'Neill and it showed the beginning of the band's progressive tendencies as they explored new forms of expression in their music. Many fans consider this LP a turning point in SAVATAGE's musical identity. As the group's first concept effort, it had a constant tone and was more complex than their previous albums, with two entirely instrumental tracks that go beyond simple guitar riffs and solos, namely "Prelude To Madness" and "Last Dawn".
Greek melodic metallers FIREWIND, who are led by current OZZY OSBOURNE guitarist Gus G., have announced a new distribution deal for North America. Joining forces with DisManic, Inc. via eOne Distribution, FIREWIND's hotly anticipated new album, "Few Against Many", will be the first release of this partnership, due May 22.

Commented Gus: "I'm very excited about this new partnership! While we've been around for some time, North American territory is relatively new ground for us. And since the music industry is changing drastically these days, we felt we should be more in control on our new release. We are fortunate to have a great team behind us for our North American release, including Thomas Ziegler of DisManic, Inc./eOne Distribution and together with our management I'm confident that we will reach the next level."

Added Ziegler: "Gus is correct, the music industry is changing and more artists realize the great opportunity of acting as their own label, being in the driver's seat and making decisions within a great setup of passionate distribution and marketing professionals. I am very honored to work with Gus G. and gang and I am very much looking forward to a successful great partnership."

Produced by Gus, "Few Against Many" was recorded with his longtime bandmates, vocalist Apollo Papathanasio, keyboardist/guitarist Bob Katsionis and bassist Petros Christo, at Valve Studio in Greece as well as the Sweetspot Studios in Sweden and sees the band expanding on its signature melodic sound with some of its most aggressive songs to date. The CD also marks the recording debut of new FIREWIND drummer Johan Nunez (NIGHTRAGE). The young Belgian is regarded by Gus as a "phenomenal talent," and anyone that witnessed him on the band's most recent world tour will no doubt agree.

"Few Against Many" will receive a European release on May 21 through Century Media.

FIREWIND has already announced a few summer festival appearances (including Summer Breeze in Germany and Czech Republic's Masters Of Rock) and will be announcing many more, as well as the "Few Against Many" world tour, in the coming months.

FIREWIND debuted two brand new songs — "Wall Of Sound" and "Losing My Mind" — during its headlining concert on January 14 at the Fuzz Club in Athens, Greece. Fan-filmed video footage of both tracks can be seen below.

In a 2011 interview with Oregon Music News, Gus stated about the relative lack of promotion in North America for FIREWIND's last studio album, "Days Of Defiance", "If were up to me, I would have released the album after I would be available to tour behind it. This was the label's idea who wanted to the album out. Our [most recent North American] label, Century Media, wanted it released. They said, 'We paid you to record the album and we want the masters.' I said, 'Okay, here you go.' I didn't feel good about it. This is the politics of the music business, I tried to make the label see that sure we'd get some press due to my involvement in Ozzy's band, but we would not be able to tour. Waiting 10 months to tour behind an album isn't a good business."

When asked if there were any plans for FIREWIND to re-release "Days Of Defiance" as an "expanded" edition to coincide with the band's recent North American headlining tour, Gus said, "We have thought about it but it goes back to the politics with our label. This was our last album for Century Media [under the previous deal] and unless you're signed for a long-term contract, they aren't going to do much for you. So for FIREWIND, this time around, there wasn't any creative marketing behind the album. It's sad, because I do feel that it's our best album to date and the fans absolutely love it. Unfortunately, there could have better promotion and Century Media should have waited a few months to release it, but that's record label politics for you."

"Days Of Defiance" landed at position No. 53 on the Top New Artist Albums (Heatseekers) chart, which lists the best-selling albums by new and developing artists, defined as those who have never appeared in the Top 100 of The Billboard 200. The CD was released in North America on October 26, 2010 (one day earlier internationally) via Century Media.
German thrash metal veterans KREATOR have set "Phantom Antichrist" as the title of their new album, due on June 1 in Europe and June 5 in North America via Nuclear Blast Records. The CD is currently being recorded at Fascination Street Studios in Örebro, Sweden with renowned producer Jens Bogren (OPETH, KATATONIA, SOILWORK, DEVIN TOWNSEND, AMON AMARTH).

KREATOR will release a seven-inch single containing the "Phantom Antichrist" title track on April 20. The collector's item will be available in colored red vinyl (limited to 250 pieces) as well as in clear vinyl (limited to 250 pieces, exclusively available at the Nuclear Blast mailorder).

The cover art for the single can be seen below.

A brand new promotional photo of KREATOR can be seen below (photo by Stefan Heilemann of Stuttgart, Germany's Heilemania).

When asked about the musical direction of KREATOR's new material, the band's guitarist/vocalist Miland "Mille" Petrozza stated in a recent interview, "The songs are coming along great and I think it's OK to say that this will be our most epic album so far. There's some classical, a lot of traditional metal, and, of course, a huge dose of thrash metal influences in the new stuff. Everyone in the band is very excited at this point. The demos sound killer so far. We have about 10 songs we're working on so far.

Regarding the lyrical and visual concept for the forthcoming CD, Petrozza said, "It's too early to talk about the lyrics yet; many are written, but they keep changing all the time. Visually, we have tapped Wes Benscoter [BLACK SABBATH, DIO, SLAYER, CATTLE DECAPITATION, BLOODBATH] for the cover art. I can tell you this much: The artwork will be insane!"

In an interview with Aftonbladet journalist Mattias Kling, Petrozza stated about KREATOR's collaboration with Jens Bogren, "He's really good; I like him. I like the sounds that he gets. And I think the combination — Jens Bogren and KREATOR — it will be pretty heavy."

On the topic of how the new material is different from KREATOR's previous output, Mille said, "It's always a little hard for me to talk about music has been written but is not released yet. It will definitely have all the KREATOR trademarks. The lyrics will talk about nowadays stuff, as usual, so it will be like a photography of the year 2012. Also the lyrics will deal a lot of things that are actually happening at this point in time. It will be like reading a newspaper or something [laughs], with all the stuff happening. And, of course, the music will be typical KREATOR, and we also wanna expand the sound and progress as musicians. I mean, this lineup has been the strongest lineup KREATOR ever had since ten years, and now I think we're ready to come out with an album that blows everyone away."


Miland "Mille" Petrozza – Vocals, Guitrar
Sami Yli-Sirniö - Guitar
Christian "Speesy" Giesler - Bass
Jürgen "Ventor" Reil - Drums

"Phantom Antichrist" single artwork:
British epic power metallers DRAGONFORCE will release their fifth studio album, "The Power Within", in the U.K. on April 16 via the band's own Electric Generation Recordings, distributed by Essential Music. The ten-track monster, which will be made available in North America on April 17 through Roadrunner, is the band's first with new singer Marc Hudson in the fold.

Commented DRAGONFORCE guitarist Herman Li: "The last two years have been the most fun we ever had making an album. Through writing, jamming and touring together, we have built this incredible energy and it has been fully captured on the new album.

"This time around we've really brought our metal side to the surface and made some of the best music of our career. From the fastest song we've ever recorded ['Fallen World'] to the slower songs, and some things you would never expect from us, this is by far the most diverse DRAGONFORCE album yet."

Li added, "This is an exciting new era for DRAGONFORCE with Marc joining the band, so we figured this was an ideal time to take full control of our own destiny and establish our own record label for Europe. It's all hands on deck running it, but a great buzz!"

"The Power Within" track listing:

01. Holding On
02. Fallen World
03. Cry Thunder
04. Give Me The Night
05. Wings of Liberty
06. Seasons
07. Heart Of The Storm
08. Die By The Sword
09. Last Man Stands
10. Seasons (acoustic version)

There will also be a digital and vinyl version featuring bonus tracks "Cry Thunder (Live Rehearsal)", "Heart of the Storm (Alternative Chorus Version)" and "Avant La Tempête (Instrumental)", plus an exclusive box set featuring:

* CD Version
* Access Code for Bonus Material plus
* DF Flashlight/Bottle Opener,
* Set of 6 DF Beer Mats featuring band cartoons by bassist Frédéric Leclercq.

A small number of very lucky fans will have their first chance to hear new songs from the album at an exclusive sold-out show at London, England's 100 Club on February 16.

Performance footage of the new DRAGONFORCE songs "Fallen World" and "Cry Thunder", recorded on October 21, 2011 in New York City can be seen below.

After entries from thousands of hopefuls across the globe, DRAGONFORCE in March 2011 welcomed Hudson to the band to fill the boots left by ZP Theart, who parted ways with the group in March 2010.

Born in Oxford England, Marc was picked from the thousands of applications via a number of impressive video auditions and live performances, which left the rest of the band in no doubt that they'd found their man. Since the age of 16, Marc has been building his vocal skills gigging with bands in the U.K. underground scene, developing a powerful style with influences which include Bruce Dickinson, Michael Kiske and Sebastian Bach.

Kaaos TV conducted an interview with Li and Hudson during the the Spinefeast At Sea cruise, which which set sail on January 19 aboard the Tallink Baltic Princess from Helsinki, Finland and returned the following day. You can now watch the chat below.
During a recent online question-and-answer session with fans, PORCUPINE TREE's Steven Wilson was asked to clarify his previous statement that the musical output of STORM CORROSION, his much-anticipated collaboration project with OPETH's Mikael Åkerfeldt will be "the opposite of metal."

"It's very hard to describe this music as it is so different from most things around right now (at least as far as I know)," Wilson explained. "I said it was the 'opposite of metal' because I think a lot of people might have assumed from the two people involved that this would be some kind of progressive/metal thing, but in fact it's quite a minimal album with a lot of space and beauty, orchestral and organic, hardly any drums and no distorted guitars — 'twisted beautiful' is the best way I can describe it."

STORM CORROSION last year completed work on its self-titled debut album for a tentative April release through Roadrunner Records. Apart from Mikael and Steven, the CD includes guest appearances by Gavin Harrison (PORCUPINE TREE) on drums/percussion, Ben Castle on woodwinds and Dave Stewart on string arrangements.

In an interview with Metal Injection conducted on November 11, 2011 at the Best Buy Theater in New York City, Wilson was asked how STORM CORROSION is different from his previous collaborations with Åkerfeldt. "Well, the only stuff I've collaborated with Mikael on in the past has been working on his records," Wilson replied. "This is obviously a collaboration, so it's a different approach. We sat in a room together and we wrote music together, rather than taking his music that he'd already written and working it into a record. We actually started from the very basics — composition and arranging."

He continued, "If you'd asked me three months ago about the music, I would have said, 'Expect the last thing you would expect.' But actually, now that [OPETH's new record] 'Heritage' has come out and [Steven Wilson's solo album] 'Grace Of Drowning' has come out, I don't think it's going to be that much of a shock to people, because it's almost like a third part of the trilogy, in a way. If anything, it's even more orchestral, even more stripped down, even more dark, twisted and melancholic… but it certainly feels like it comes from the same place as 'Heritage' and 'Grace For Drowning', which indeed it does because it was written during the same period — it was written during a period that he was playing the tracks that he'd written for 'Heritage' and I was playing the tracks that I had written for 'Grace Of Drowning'. So we were kind of, in a way, egging each other on, encouraging each other to do those particular records, but also at the same time coming up with this music that is now gonna be on STORM CORROSION. So it's a very orchestral record, it's very — as you'd expect — epic, the songs are quite long and they develop in quite unusual ways."

He concluded, "I'm realistic that half the people are gonna hate it and half the people probably will fall in love with it. I'd be happy with that anyway."

Although former DREAM THEATER drummer Mike Portnoy was initially supposed to be part of the STORM CORROSION project, he did not take part in the recording sessions for the CD. "To be honest, there's just no room for drums on what we've done," Åkerfeldt told Classic Rock magazine last year. "I called Mike up, and he was cool about it. He's got so much going on anyway, and I'm sure we will work together in the future."
DISTURBED frontman David Draiman has posted the following message on Twitlonger.com, a related Twitter site that allows one to send tweets that require more than 140 characters:

"It never ceases to amaze me the lengths that people will go to just to try and get you attention for a brief moment. The computer has become a wonderful and terrible instrument all at once. Within the Internet world, you can be anyone you want to be; the only problem is people often lose touch with themselves and who they really are, and become obsessed with these fantastic personas they try to create online. It's escapist; and while getting away from reality every once in a while can do a person some good, never grounding yourself in reality [isn't] good either. The even more comical ones are the grown adults who become like children; poking at a beehive with a stick, hoping and praying that they will elicit a reaction, and wearing it like a badge of courage that they eagerly foward to their little groups of common Internet junkies, so impressed with themselves that they think they broke through some ficticious wall or actually got someone's attention.

"To all of you pathetic, I-cannot-communicate-with-real-people, still-living-at-home-with-your-parents, can't-get-a-rise-unless-you-get-a-rise, pathetic, troll-like excuses for normal human beings out there; honestly, step away from the keyboard, go outside, get a real job, find someone to love you (if you can), and wake the fuck up. You are worth nothing more than a momentary chuckle, and then your stupidity is simply erased, stands for nothing, and accomplishes... nothing. You're a momentary distraction, if anything. Like a fart that is blown away by the breeze."

DISTURBED went on an open-ended hiatus last fall, following the completion of the touring cycle for its 2010 album "Asylum".
According to StatesmanJournal.com, JOURNEY drummer Deen Castronovo pleaded not guilty Tuesday to four charges stemming from an arrest last month in Salem, Oregon.

The 47-year-old musician was charged with recklessly endangering another person, interfering with making a police report, second-degree criminal mischief and harassment.

Castronovo was arrested on January 21 for allegedly assaulting his former girlfriend. TMZ.com reported that Castronovo "also received additional charges when he took the phone away from the woman while she was trying to call her father."

The woman told police that she and Castronovo had been involved in a three-year relationship, but split up about four weeks prior to the altercation.

A representative of Castronovo's claims the altercation was "a misunderstanding that should not have been escalated to such a level in the first place."
Long-time TC guitar effects user John Petrucci (DREAM THEATER) has joined forces with TC Electronic, taking their collaboration to a whole new level.

Petrucci was one of the first artists to join TC's revolutionary TonePrint concept. In total, John created five personal TonePrints in early 2011 — two for Corona Chorus, two for Shaker Vibrato and one for the Vortex Flanger. John loved having access to all effect parameters so much that he instantly agreed to develop a signature pedal together with TC — one that was based on his own TonePrints. And so The Dreamscape was born.

John wanted to gather all of his TonePrints into a single pedal even though his original TonePrints are for three different pedals in the series. Therefore, his new signature pedal contains no less than three mind-blowing modulation effects that have been painstakingly tailored with an eye on even the tiniest detail by the master himself. To take this pedal over the top, John even created a brand new TonePrint for Vortex Flanger taking the total amount of custom-tweaked tones up to six — 2 x chorus, 2 x flanger and 2 x Vibrato.

Further, there is a TonePrint setting for uploading or beaming other TonePrints to the pedal. In short, for all John Petrucci and DREAM THEATER fans, this pedal is a must-have, and for anybody else, it is a clever way of getting three top-notch modulation effects in a compact pedal that will only take up a minimum of real estate on their pedal boards.

The Dreamscape has four knobs: Speed, Depth, FX Level and one that chooses between the six integrated signature tones and one additional TonePrint. Further, the pedal has a three-way switch for toggling between Bright, Normal and Dark, which is an overall tonal shaping feature chosen by Petrucci. Finally, The Dreamscape also contains all of the great features included in other TonePrint pedals such as true bypass, one-screw-battery-access and a sturdy design made for life on the road.

John Petrucci will be visiting three Guitar Center stores in Manhattan (March 30), Central Chicago (March 31) and San Francisco (April 1), introducing The Dreamscape. These in-store appearances will give musicians the opportunity to hear Petrucci unlock the power of The Dreamscape, take a photo and also get The Dreamscape signed by Petrucci.

The Dreamscape is exclusively available at Guitar Center in the U.S., and can be pre-ordered at GuitarCenter.com in early February. and will also be available in the three stores mentioned above on March 16.

For die-hard Petrucci fans, picking up The Dreamscape online or at one of these exclusive Guitar Center locations ahead of time or online, is a must as Petrucci will only be signing The Dreamscape at these in-store appearances. In Canada, Long & McQuade will be the exclusive dealer for The Dreamscape. In the rest of the world, Dreamscape will be available February 2012.

The Dreamscape Main Features

* Six Signature Tones Tailored by John Petrucci
* One Brand New Flanger TonePrint
* Three Mind-blowing Modulation Effects in One Pedal: Chorus, Flanger and Vibrato
* Corona Chorus TonePrints Are Available as The Dreamscape TonePrints

Price: USD 249 / EUR 249
Much ado about Ghost and their shtick, and that's fine – we need a good one every now and then. The lengths in which the band goes to keep their true identities a secret is commendable, as is their proto-Mercyful Fate/classic metal concoction. On their Opus Eponymous debut, the Swedes come across less as a revelation and more as a defender of the 80's metal faith, but when coupled with their mysterious image and penchant for theatrics, it's a perfect storm in this climate.

The new year poses to be a pivotal year for Ghost, with an impending North American headlining run scheduled for January, to be followed up by their release of their sophomore album by summer/fall. After an aborted fall 2011 support with Enslaved in the rear-view, we snagged main Ghost man The Nameless Ghoul, but not after he had to secure "a dark basement" (his words) to chat. Read on…

Blistering.com: How bummed out were you upon cancelling your proposed North American tour this past fall with Enslaved?

The Nameless Ghoul:
Yeah, things got really confusing right before the tour. Basically, in short, what happened was…being a band that is anonymous; it's hard to justify all of this with immigration, which in turn, led to a slight delay in getting approval. When that delay went over the timeframe, the point of no return when you have to everything in order to commence your tour, we thought that things were so uncertain, we wished Enslaved to have a chance to find someone to fill in to do the tour. So we ended up cancelling and hoped that our visas issues are resolved, and now it's a lot better.

Blisteirng.com: So this means you're clear to hit the States in January. You've been over here before for a few gigs, but nothing of this scale. What are your expectations?

The Nameless Ghoul:
I think it's going to be really special because we've done so few headlining shows in the past. We've mostly done festivals and support gigs, and now we're a part of a package. When you're headlining, it's a different thing. Production-wise, you're allowed to do a lot more; you're much more in control of your environment. Whenever you know the crowd is there for you and are fans of what you're doing, it adds more cement to your style. Obviously, the key to rock 'n' roll is that you have give everybody everything every day, but people that are playing know that's actually not true. Not having to use too many metaphors, but it's sort of like a relationship…if you go out of a relationship and you're saying "That was the most beautiful thing I've ever had" and then you hear the other part saying it was really mediocre, it shows that neither side is wrong. When you're doing a show, every song needs a recipient. Whenever you have a large group of recipients, everyone is part of circle. You give and receive, so by headlining, it will be magical.

Blistering.com: As it stands, there's quite a bit of appeal for Ghost in North America, so by what you just said, what's the appeal for you in terms of playing here?

The Nameless Ghoul:
Anybody living in the Western world and not living in America, you're so fed with American culture throughout your whole life, which makes coming to the USA something slightly unreal for someone who's never been there. The first time you go there or coming to New York, it's basically like stepping into a film. All of us are very, very thrilled. We are fans of the music there, and the popular culture, so on a personal, it makes going to the U.S. a surreal experience. I think it goes hand-in-hand with a lot of the subculture traditions you have in the U.S. I get the impression that a lot of Americans are very much willing to be entertained in a way that a lot of people in Europe are not. We really don't want to make opinions on certain nationalities, but it seems like with the U.S., you have your tentacles out more. There's a willingness to be carried away into something. That's why I think the buzz in the U.S. is slightly bigger than it is a lot of other places.

Blistering.com: The past year has clearly been your breakout year. Is there a tendency within the band to check out all the good press you've been receiving?

The Nameless Ghoul:
In the beginning I was. Some members are more…but in the end, we are lucky we are living this lifestyle. We aren't very metropolitan; where we live is a small town and most people that live here, don't know about the band. But if you want to go out fraternizing in Stockholm with the hipster culture elite, you'd care about it more. We stay away from that kind of crowd. On the negative side, we miss out on a lot on culture, but it also makes a slightly more…I don't want to use the word "exempt" in Ghost in this context, but I guess we are trying to be disassociated with a lot of the buzzing. We prefer enjoying some of that when we are out playing, because that's when Ghost comes alive. At home, we don't want to take part in that. It's really not important.

Blistering.com: The whole aspect of the band being anonymous is crucial to what Ghost is about. Does it wear you out having to go to all of these lengths to conceal your identity?

The Nameless Ghoul:
Yes and no. On a day-to-day basis when we are home, it can be slightly irritating at times when you have to justify what you are doing. Some of us in the band have experienced people telling us we have to quit our jobs. It's hard to justify quitting your job because you're pursuing a musical career, but nobody knows what band you're in [laughs]. So it gives you an enormous loser tag right in your forehead and you have to say that with the loser tag, and you just fight it [laughs]. That's one of the weird perks to being in this band. There's a lot of people in your immediate surrounding that you don't share a lot of information with. Being away for months at a time, obviously that's weird when people don't' know what you're doing.

On the positive side, you can be released of a lot the negative aspect of being semi-famous or recognized. Some things we are missing out on, but I'm glad to not be a part of that. I prefer being my own individual and doing things with my friends. Fortunately I'm doing this with a lot of my friends and whenever we choose to step outside of the bubble, we can easily do so. We don't need to be entertainers or members of the band; nobody expects us to jump onstage the bar. Nobody knows…we could pass as roadies and it would be perfect.

Blistering.com: Living in the age of the Internet, it's really easy to get information on just about anyone. Are you worried about information being leaked on you guys?

The Nameless Ghoul:
As long as we don't state publicly who we might be, we really don't see it as a huge problem. We're not on a worldwide "above the radar" basis. We're still virtually unknown as a band, much different than in a Paris Hilton sort of way [laughs]. As long as we don't have that as an attraction, there's really not much [reason] in this group to unfold our true identities. Like a public statement would have to rely on us coming out, and as long as we don't do that, we can keep on…not even denying, but not even commenting on rumors or what people say.

Blisteirng.com: Going back, Fenriz from Darkthrone was one of the first real champions of the band. Are you still in touch with him?

The Nameless Ghoul:
I personally do not know him. I know the other members of Darkthrone [presumably Nocturno Culto] but not Fenriz personally.

Blistering.com: The band grew in a word of mouth manner, like through people such as Fenriz. Are you proud that by this method, the band has been able to grow so quickly?

The Nameless Ghoul:
Oh, of course. Oh yes. Still, we even though we might have commercial aspirations and we've always been very transparent that we want to exist in a forum that's slightly more production-oriented, which means we need to play in front of a lot more people. Which in turn, we need to go commercial ways. However, a lot of us have a very metal upbringing, so those outside of our metal audience, are hardcore. Obviously being a word of mouth band means a lot to us. We know that there are people out there supporting us, Fenriz being the first, Phil Anselmo and James Hetfield, who was probably the most well-known. That was completely unexpected because that's the commercial support you can't really buy, especially if you're on a small label, you can't expect anything. A lot of these things have been really overwhelming.

Blistering.com: What's the status on the follow-up to Opus Eponymous?

The Nameless Ghoul:
Most of the material has been written already. Throughout the production and writing, we've been using the word "divine" a lot. Whereas with the first album, the sound was slightly "wooden," we want the new album to be stone and golden in terms of being lavished and divine. So we are trying to paint an even more solemn religion and there's all sorts of dramatic steps forward. The first album is about the arrival of the anti-Christ, about a coming darkness. The new album will about a current darkness, the presence of the devil, how it relates to divinity and how it's futile you grasp whatever is divine.

Blistering.com: Considering how successful Opus Eponymous was, are you prepared for what should be some extremely high expectations for this album?

The Nameless Ghoul:
I can't honestly say, but I think our sort of relaxed distance from what we're doing professionally might show that we're pretty well fit for survival. You never know. We are humans as well and we're trying to make a record that's supposed to be better than something a lot of people like, of course there's some pressure. You deliberately have to try to want to remember why you are doing this in the first place. With the first album, no one had any clue about us. So I think we'll manage to do it; I think the new album will hopefully as confronting and polarizing as the first one. If it's not, then it will be a waste of everyone's time if we try to do 10 more "Rituals."

Australian melodic power metallers BLACK MAJESTY have set "Stargazer" as the title of their new album, due in May through Limb Music.

BLACK MAJESTY began recording drums back in October 2011 with Roland Grapow (MASTERPLAN, ex-HELLOWEEN) at Grapow Studios in Slovakia and has since been busy in its homeland of Australia laying down guitars and vocals.

Grapow will mix the CD in the coming months.

"Stargazer" will feature the following songtitles, among others: "The Fallen", "Edge Of The World", "The Killing Hand", "Lykan" and "Journey To The Soul".

BLACK MAJESTY has been confirmed for this year's edition of the Masters Of Rock festival in the Czech Republic alongside THIN LIZZY, EXODUS, STRATOVARIUS, EDGUY, KAMELOT, SABATON, GOTTHARD, ARCH ENEMY, WITHIN TEMPTATION, FIREWIND, BLOODBOUND and ARAKAIN, among others.

BLACK MAJESTY's last album, "In Your Honour", was released in Europe in May 2010 via Limb Music. The CD was produced by Grapow at his Grapow Studios in Slovakia. Dirk Illing (SCORPIONS, WIZARD) once again handled the album's artwork, which continues the theme of the band's past works.
Vocalist Randy Blythe of Richmond, Virginia metallers LAMB OF GOD has commented on the news that the band's latest album, "Resolution", sold around 52,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 3 on The Billboard 200 chart.

LAMB OF GOD's previous CD, "Wrath", opened with around 68,000 units back in March 2009 to enter the chart at No. 2. This figure was roughly in line with the first-week tally registered by 2006's "Sacrament", which shifted around 63,000 units to debut at No. 8. It also represented almost double the amount of records sold by its predecessor, "Ashes Of The Wake", which premiered with 35,000 copies in September 2004.

In a series of messages on his Twitter account, Randy wrote, "Thanks to all the people congratulating us for #3 chart spot in the U.S. for 'Resolution'. It's pretty cool — we are proud of the record! This confirms something that [LAMB OF GOD guitarist Mark Morton] and I have been saying for a couple of years in the press, trying to explain to people about the difference of metal/hardcore fans — that the music is much more of a LIFESTYLE thing than regular pop 'music.' Being involved in this scene runs deeper than just tunes — it provides a social group, I believe, composed of primarily folks who think DIFFERENTLY than the status quo.

"To me, coming up in the hardcore/punk scene was so much more than just records — it was friends where I had none before, an escape from the bullshit of normal life that I was totally fed up with. I believe that the metal scene is approaching that paradigm today — it's smart, starting to become politically and socially aware. The metal fans also flat-out SUPPORT their scene more as well, by going to shows even in tough economic times, and buying records to try and support the artists who make our music.

"The record industry is BROKEN, and a new model HAS to occur — there is no denying that. But I feel that the metal/hardcore/punk fans will embrace that new model and support the artists in a way that pop fans will not, or perhaps will do so only grudgingly.

"Here are some figures for y'all that illustrate what I'm talking about, that shows that metal fans still support the artists. Our record 'Wrath' debuted at #2. 'Resolution' debuted at #3. 'Wrath' SoundScanned 68,000 copies during release week. 'Resolution' scanned over 52,000 copies first week. Now, you may look at these [numbers] and say, 'Wow, their chart position and sales have declined. Their fan base must be getting smaller.'??

"NOT AT ALL. Consider this — album-to-album sales ACROSS the board are down approximately 40%. This is due to a bad economy and (ahem) downloading. LAMB OF GOD's album sales are down only about 20%.

"Take the guy with the #2 slot, Tim McGraw. His last record came in at 139,000 copies. His record that debuted last week came in at 69,000. That is about a FIFTY PERCENT DROP. So while he sold more records than us, his drop in sale was FAR LARGER than ours. It's the norm EVERYONE on the charts.

"Everyone, except… yup, you guessed it, some of the more underground types of bands.

"During our second week, we can expect to see an 80% drop in sales. This is because we have a hardcore fan base who actually went out and got the record, most probably did ON THE DAY OF RELEASE.

"We aren't a big radio band. We don't have 'hits' or airplay to drive us along the charts. But we have a fan base that will exist long after machine has EATEN the latest pop sensation and spit them out.

"How many pop singers have 17-year careers that keep growing? Not many. Flash-in-the-pan bullshit.

"So we thank you for your support. We thank you for supporting our music.

"When I say 'our' music, I mean OUR music — it's YOUR music as well as LAMB OF GOD's. Otherwise we would't be where we are.

"Thanks again, and I'll see ya in the pit."

"Resolution" was released in the U.S. via Epic and internationally through Roadrunner Records. The CD was recorded at various studios in Virginia and New York with producer Josh Wilbur, who worked on the band's last effort, 2009's "Wrath".

"Resolution" features 14 songs and comes in a digipack with artwork by longtime art director Ken Adams.
On March 27th Swedish progressive metal giants Meshuggah will release their
eighth studio album Koloss on Nuclear Blast. Trust me when I say that the album
is every bit as colossal as the title implies, too. Coming on the heels of
2008’s ObZen, which felt like a good encapsulation of the groundbreaking
styles Meshuggah had honed since the beginning of the 1990s, Koloss sees the
band setting their gaze forward once again. While the band’s
famous precision is still evident on all the new tracks, what sets this
album apart from everything else they’ve done is its warmth. The tone is a lot
less sterile than ObZen and 2005’s Catch Thirtythree, and for the first time
there’s a grooviness in the new material that we’ve never heard from the
band before: Tomas Haake’s drumming swings more, while the riffs by guitarists
Fredrik Thordendal and Mårten Hagström, while as disjointed as ever,
nevertheless compel listeners to move.
That sense of groove can be heard on tracks like “Behind the Sunâ€,
“Marrowâ€, and especially the quirky funk (that’s right) of “Do Not Look
Downâ€. Make no mistake, though, this is a Meshuggah record, and it boasts some
of the band’s most pulverizing material since 1998’s Chaosphere. “The Hurt
That Finds You First†and “The Demon’s Name is Surveillanceâ€
are unrelenting exercises in intricate speed, while the more deliberate
pace of “I Am Colossusâ€, “Break Those Bones Whose Sinews Gave it
Motionâ€, and “Swarm†focus on the band’s massively heavy side. All the
while, Thordendal’s trademark jazzy solos are some of his best
work to date, offsetting the band’s monstrous side with moments of
delicate beauty, while vocalist Jens Kidman provides his usual commanding growl,
as meticulously choreographed as the guitars and drums.
It all makes for Meshuggah’s best album since 2002’s masterful Nothing, and
needless to say one of the best albums of 2012 so far. Early last week I talked
with drummer Tomas Haake while he was in Los Angeles doing advance promotion for
Koloss, to talk in detail about, among other things, the making of the album
and its strange accessibility. Here’s Part One of the conversation, with Part
Two to follow tomorrow:
ObZen felt like a combination of everything Meshuggah had done prior to that,
but the new album feels like you’ve deliberately tried to expand your
sound even more. Was this the case?
Tomas Haake: We definitely pushed ourselves hard with ObZen too, but as you said
maybe that one feels even more like a flirtatious
thing with the stuff we were doing earlier on and the stuff we grew up
with. I still feel there’s some of that on this one too, with the
different tunings, and a couple of the songs are actually written for
six-string guitar and not all of them being really down-tuned
eight-stringed stuff. That’s definitely to get that old-school thrash
vibe in there, even though the music is different of course. There’s
definitely a little bit of that going on this album too. But apart from
that we basically tried to create something that we find intriguing. We
always try to find new ways of writing our own music so to speak, to see if
there’s an additional lateral movement, a sideways step that we can
take for ourselves to feel that we did something new with this one and
that we pushed ourselves into doing something that came out cool and
refreshing. That’s kind of what we always aim for, and this time it came out
like this.
I remember hearing about a year ago
that the original intent was to put out this album in the fall of
2011…did anything in particular push the release back to late March?
Haake: Maybe not so much anything in particular, more than the fact that we have
been constantly, not necessarily touring, but doing things every year
even though we haven’t been very visible much in the States. We’ve done a
lot of festivals in other parts of the world, of course the European
summer festivals that range from May to the end of September. We’ve just been
busy and not until this last fall did we really find that calm.
That was kind of when the coin dropped and we really focused in on
trying to get this done. We’ve always been like that, we’ve always been
slow starters, and we kind of need a knife to the jugular for things to
really kick in. So that’s pretty much what happened with this one too.
We were definitely aiming for a 2011 release, but all of a sudden 2011
was almost over and you’re standing there with your pants down. You’ve
got to perform. [laughs]
I remember hearing how you
wanted to take a more organic approach with this one, rehearing your
songs more beforehand. Did you actually wind up doing that?
Haake: We wanted to do it like that, definitely. We ended up not doing it like
that after all, basically because it’s so easy to fall back into the
routines of the last two albums, how we’re used to doing things. There
was only one track on this album, I guess it’s a step forward from some
of the previous stuff, the track “Swarm†which was a track that we
actually rehearsed as a whole band, where we came with suggestions and
made changes to it as a band. We kind of feel like we want to do
everything like that, but at the same time we’re so accustomed to doing
everything on computers. That is also a very fast way for us to do it,
just because we’re accustomed to doing it that way. But at the same time you
can lose a little bit of that feeling of you actually being a band, from when
you’re out playing. So that was the attempt, to bring in more of that vibe
back. We tried. And failed. [laughs] But it’s all good, we were still able to
put this thing together, and I think it came out
pretty cool. The organic side of things is at least there sound-wise I
think. It’s definitely a warmer album. Even though it’s very brutal, the
drums sound more organic, the guitar tone is a bit less in the digital
soundscape. It all depends a bit on what track you’re listening to as
well, but I definitely think that it sounds organic, more visceral. And
for some weird reason that kind of makes it even more brutal.
This album even sounds a little groovier at times.
Haake: Oh yeah, that was definitely something that we went for, put a lot of
emphasis on and put a lot of work into, making the songs swing, making
that groove really pop. So instead of the ObZen album where as
far as the drum playing goes you had a lot of very intricate, tricky
parts and a lot of different bass drum patterns over the whole album.
This one is definitely way more straightforward, more air in there, more time
for the guitar tones. The same amount of effort as I would have
put into learning songs on the ObZen album for the technical
aspects of that album, the same amount of effort was put into just
having songs that are in the tempo that’s not in your comfort zone, but
trying to get into that, trying to learn those tempos and still trying
to get it to groove. So that was a separate type of challenge on its
Did MÃ¥rten and Fredrik take a similar approach
to their guitar work? I hear a song like “Marrowâ€, that’s a really
elastic-sounding opening riff.
Haake: Yeah,
definitely. That’s something that fuses the whole album, I would say. It
wasn’t so much like an outspoken idea that we went for when we started
recording the album, but the more we got into it we just felt that these songs
really need to swing for them to stand out the way they’re meant
to. So there was definitely a lot of effort on everyone’s behalf, trying to
get that groove.
You mentioned going back to
arranging songs on the computer again, but when it came to writing and
recording the album, was there anything else you did differently from ObZen?
Haake: We didn’t mix this one ourselves, and we didn’t spend as much time in
the studio because for ObZen we almost killed ourselves. We did things in a
weird way, we spent too
much time on vocals and stuff like that instead of going in and trying
to get through the songs, have some good takes and not be too anal about
everything from the get-go. I guess those are mistakes that we’ve
learned over the years. It still ended up being a tall task to pull this one out
of the hat, regardless, but it was definitely a smoother ride
in the studio this time around than it was with ObZen. Of course
with this album we contacted Daniel Bergstrand for the whole mixing of
the album, and having him do that took some weight off the shoulders of a couple
of the band members that are usually the ones that have to do
that. He really brought out the organic sound of the drums too in a cool way.
The focus was less on the technicality of playing
the drums, for example. It was pretty much the same amount of takes on
this album as ObZen, probably an average of ten to 12, 15 takes
for each song, and pretty much the same for the guitars too. There was
definitely a certain amount of work put into it, for sure.
Meshuggah’s always been a very physical sounding band, but there’s a much
primal feel to a lot of these new songs than usual.
Haake: There’s so much to be had in that arena of things, in the guitar tone,
the tone and the sound of the production letting you get that viscera of it out.
That’s something I could definitely see ourselves really
digging deeper into.
For instance, a song like “Break Those Bones Whose Sinews Gave it Motionâ€,
that struck me as one of the
more punishing songs from you in a while.
Haake: Yeah. And again, it’s one of those songs where I think we really got
groove in there. That really helps a song too. It’s definitely a very
brutal song. That one was actually written for the ObZen album
originally. So we kind of unpacked it, unwrapped it when we started with this
album and tried to revamp it and make it work for what we wanted
to do now. It’s actually one of the songs that we spent the most time
on, even though it’s one of the oldest songs on this album.
So how often do these songwriting sessions leave you with leftovers like that?
Haake: Only occasionally. We are not a band with a lot of surplus stuff. Once we
have an album done, it’s pretty much, “Now we have nine songs, okay,
let’s see of we can make an album out of these nine songs.†Usually
there’s not a lot of spare stuff.

Part Two of the interview will appear tomorrow...
Norwegian extreme, progressive metallers RAM-ZET have reached an agreement with Buil2Kill Records/Nadir Music for the release of their new album, "Freaks In Wonderland". The effort will be out with physical and digital worldwide distribution later this month.

RAM-ZET's fourth album, "Neutralized", came out in 2010 via Ascendance Records.

The band's third CD, "Intra", was released in July 2005 via Tabu Records. The follow-up to 2002's "Escape" (Spikefarm Records) was mixed in Sweden with producer Daniel Bergstrand (IN FLAMES, SOILWORK, STRAPPING YOUNG LAD, DARKANE, MESHUGGAH).
SEVENDUST members John Connolly (guitar) and Vince Hornsby (bass) have joined forces with ALTER BRIDGE/CREED drummer Scott Phillips and guitarist/vocalist Eric "Erock" Friedman in a brand new project called PROJECTED.

PROJECTED has entered the studio to begin recording its debut release, to be made available later in the year.

Connolly describes PROJECTED's musical direction as "not super heavy. . . somewhere closer to FOO FIGHTERS/A PERFECT CIRCLE. It's sorta heavy, just not real metal. I guess. The songs are pretty badass, though."


John Connolly (SEVENDUST) - Guitar, Vocals
Vince Hornsby (SEVENDUST) - Bass
Scott Phillips (ALTER BRIDGE, CREED) - Drums
Eric Friedman (a.k.a. Erock; TREMONTI) - Guitar, Vocals

As previously reported, CALL ME NO ONE, the new project featuring SEVENDUST members Clint Lowery (guitar) and Morgan Rose (drums), entered the studio on January 22 to begin recording its debut album for a tentative May release.
TRIPTYKON — the group formed by former HELLHAMMER/CELTIC FROST singer, guitarist, and main songwriter Tom Gabriel Warrior — has been invited to play a very special and exceptional show on June 23 in Abtenau, Austria, near Salzburg. The concert will take place at a mountain lodge surrounded by breathtaking vistas of the high Alps for a celebration of summer solstice. The number of tickets will be strictly limited to 300 in order to preserve the intimacy and exclusivity of this unique location. More information can be found at www.speckjaga.at.

"Shatter", the latest five-track EP from TRIPTYKON, sold around 500 copies in the United States in its first week of release. The CD landed at position No. 90 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.

"Shatter" was released on October 25, 2010 (Europe) and October 26, 2010 (North America).

At a playing time of approximately 28 minutes, "Shatter" consists almost entirely of previously unreleased music.

TRIPTYKON consists of V. Santura (guitar, vocals), Norman Lonhard (drums, percussion), Vanja Slajh (bass), and Tom Gabriel Fischer (voice, guitars). The group has unambiguously stated that it pursues the continuation and further development of the path Warrior began in HELLHAMMER and CELTIC FROST.
U.K. atmospheric rock band ANATHEMA will release its new album, "Weather Systems", on April 24 via The End Records. The follow-up to 2010's "We're Here Because We're Here" was recorded in Liverpool, North Wales and Oslo, each place significant to ANATHEMA past, present and future. The record was produced and mastered by Christer-André Cederberg (ANIMAL ALPHA, IN THE WOODS..., DRAWN), whom ANATHEMA's Daniel Cavanagh has described as "a revelation. His calmness and brilliance has helped to bring about the greatest inter-band chemistry that ANATHEMA have experienced together in their career."

The bar for "Weather Systems" has been set pretty high, but Daniel Cavanagh is certain that the album will exceed these lofty expectations, stating, "it feels like we are at a creative peak right now, and this album reflects that. Everything from the production to the writing to the performances are a step up from our last album."

He continues, "This is not background music for parties. The music is written to deeply move the listener, to uplift or take the listener to the coldest depths of the soul."

The intertwining melodic structures of these profoundly beautiful songs are intensely powerful, yet simple. These are songs that will transport the listener closer to the heart of life, that is to say, to the heart of themselves.

It is also an album of polarity. The play of opposites; light and shade, birth and death, love and fear. The simple truths of life and loss, hope and strength and darker internal themes are all explored here.

ANATHEMA's career stretches back to 1990 when the band formed in Liverpool. Since then the band has embarked on a remarkable musical journey, initially emerging as pioneers of melodic heavy music and continually evolving over the ensuing years, always remaining true to their original goal of creating forward thinking, meaningful, passionate and honest music.

"Weather Systems" will please fans who call for more of Lee Douglas' vocals, as her role within ANATHEMA's brand of alternative, melodic rock has matured to become an integral energy. In this way and more, "Weather Systems" is the sound of a band finding their voice and growing in stature, moving further along their artistic path with a truly stunning musical vision.

Their best ever work? "Not yet," says Daniel, but he does believe that with "Weather Systems" they have surpassed previous glories. "We are pleased and proud of the record and we feel that, alongside the best moments of 'We're Here Because We're Here', this record contains our very best work so far in what is becoming a long career."

"Weather Systems" track listing:

01. Untouchable, Part 1
02. Untouchable, Part 2
03. The Gathering Of The Clouds
04. Lightning Song
05. Sunlight
06. The Storm Before The Calm
07. The Beginning And The End
08. The Lost Child
09. Internal Landscapes
Pomona, California thrashers BONDED BY BLOOD will enter the studio this weekend to begin recording their as-yet untitled new album, due later in the year via Earache Records. The follow up to 2010's "Exiled To Earth" will be tracked with producer and former MACHINE HEAD/SOULFLY guitarist Logan Mader (DEVILDRIVER, FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH) at Silver Sound and Mt. Olympus Studios in Los Angeles. It will be the band's first album to feature vocalist Mauro Gonzalez and bassist Jessie Sanchez.

"We can't wait for everybody to hear what the new album has in store. It's definitely more diverse and we all had a blast writing it," states BONDED BY BLOOD guitarist Juan Juarez. "It'll be the first record with Mauro and Jessie, who have been great additions to the lineup, and the four of us really connected well during the writing and rehearsing of this album. The playing on this album will be top-notch. We're glad to be recording in Los Angeles, and excited to work with Logan. We can't wait to get started and we hope everybody enjoys it as much as we do."

BONDED BY BLOOD's latest album, "Exiled To Earth", sold around 600 copies in the United States in its first week of release. The CD landed at position No. 86 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 reactivated ORGY, the "death pop" band from Bakersfield, California, will embark on a U.S. tour next week. The trek is scheduled to kick off on February 10 in Santa Ana, California and is expected to wrap on March 21 in Hollywood.

Joining vocalist and sole remaining original member Jay Gordon in ORGY's new lineup are Carlton Bost (DEADSY, THE DREAMING, LUNARCLICK) on guitar, Ashburn Miller (DEADSY) on guitar, Nic Speck (RUN RUN RUN) on bass and Jamie Miller (SNOT, THE START) on drums.

Gordon in November posted a message on Facebook announcing his plans to reform the group with a brand new lineup. He said, "I'm not saying I wouldn't consider playing with the all original lineup at some point, and there has been correspondence between the [other] original members and myself. This situation is a good thing, and not intended to piss anyone off or anything." He added, "I have spoken to [fellow original ORGY members] Amir [Derakh, guitar] and Bobby [Hewitt, drums] about the situation, and neither seemed to be angry in any way. Bobby is making movies, and Amir and Ry [Ryan Shuck, guitar] are doing JULIEN-K. I am friends with all of the ORGY cast, so please don't trip. I will keep everyone posted as I know more. Thanks for being UNDERSTANDING..."

About 12 hours later, Derakh responded to Gordon's comments with a statement of his own. He wrote, "Ryan and I have both discussed recently with a booking agent representing a possible ORGY tour that we wanted to be a part of it. We only had two conditions: 1) To have AS MANY of the original members involved as possible, and 2) That Lou Gordon [Jay Gordon's father] not be involved.

"We have always stated that we are only interested in doing a reunion under these conditions. We are all grownups here and can do this ourselves.

"Ryan and I have stated MANY times that we will MAKE TIME to do this! I don't understand why this is still being used an an excuse. If this is planned out properly, we can do it, people! Really!

"Honest truth is they don't want us to be a part of it."

Shuck also chimed in with a separate post, writing, "ORGY — the actual BAND ORGY — is NOT 'OK' with this 'new' ORGY 'thing.' We think it's ridiculous. Seems like an Axl Rose move to us, and we don't want to be associated with it at all.

"We have told Jay for five years that we would be happy to do the REAL ORGY — with ALL the original members, and all the original unique gear that makes ORGY such an amazing live act. NO — we are not 'too busy' to do ORGY. In fact, for the 20th time at least, our agent approached us to possibly do ORGY BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR, and Amir and I said 'YES,' if it's the REAL ORGY. Not a hybrid, no impersonators — Jay, Paige, Bobby, Ryan and Amir. The real band. We have too much respect for what we all created TOGETHER to stand by and watch it turn into a COVER band that goes out and fools our fans into buying tickets thinking they are going to see the REAL band ORGY. ORGY is a BAND. That's why it's cool. It isn't a person."

ORGY was shot out of the hard-rock cannon in 1998 with the band's platinum album, "Candyass". Its ear-candy hooks, crushing riffs and razor-edge electronic sonics laid the scorched-earth groundwork for 2000's gold "Vapor Transmission" and 2004's "Punk Statik Paranoia". The videos for "Blue Monday", "Stitches" and "Fiction (Dreams in Digital)", meanwhile, created an indelible visual impression of post-punk artifice; the hair, the makeup, the costumes — all conspired to shroud the band in a cloak of dark menace.

After the release of 2000's "Vapor Transmission", ORGY left Reprise Records and had already severed ties with KORN's Elementree Records, which issued ORGY's first two albums. Gordon then started his own independent record label, D1 Music, which released the band's third album, "Punk Statik Paranoia", in 2004.

ORGY 2012 is:

Jay Gordon - Vocals
Ashburn Miller (DEADSY) - Guitar
Nic Speck (RUN RUN RUN) - Bass
Jamie Miller (SNOT, THE START) – Drums
ENGEL — the Gothenburg, Sweden-based quintet featuring guitarists Marcus Sunesson (THE CROWN) and Niclas Engelin (PASSENGER, ex-GARDENIAN, IN FLAMES), vocalist Mangan Klavborn, drummer Jimmy Olausson (ex-MARIONETTE) and bassist Steve Drennan (LOCUS) — will film a video for a new song on February 10 at Sticky Fingers in their hometown.

ENGEL recently finished recording its third album, "Blood Of Saints", at Antfarm studios in Aabyhøj, Denmark. According to the group, the new CD "is going to be a good mixture between both [previous ENGEL efforts] 'Threnody' [2010] and 'Absolute Design' [2007], but with some new angles as well! If you liked 'Threnody', you will LOVE 'Blood Of Saints'!"

ENGEL played two shows with <Hellmans Drengar, the all-male choir from Gothenburg, Sweden, at Lorensbergsteatern in Gothenburg on September 9, 2011 and September 10, 2011.

The band recently recorded two songs with Hellmans Drengar. One of the tracks, "In Darkness", was released as a single.

"Threnody" was released in Europe on November 8, 2010 and in the U.S. on January 11, 2011 via Season Of Mist. The CD was issued in Japan on April 20, 2010 via Avex.

The band was previously signed to SPV Records which issued ENGEL's debut album, "Absolute Design", in 2007.
The producers of the black metal documentary titled "Out Of The Black" have decided to release the long-overdue film for free on the Web in the next four weeks. Executive producer Will Shackleford says, "This thing has taken way too long to complete. We have had financial difficulties, technical difficulties, alleged theft of key parts of the film, inter-genre conflicts and on and on and on... Anything and everything imaginable has been thrown at us during the filming of this documentary. So we have decided to release the film for free. We are currently working out the fine details of the release and should announce our plans in the next few days."

"Out Of The Black" will feature appearances by Simon "Pilgrim Beastarius" Rosén of CRIMSON MOONLIGHT; Grim Vindkall of DOMGÅRD; Dr. Thomas Bossius (black metal expert); Dr. Brain Kirkmeyer (U.S. metal expert); HansFurste of SVARTTJERN; Morbid of DEATH OF DESIRE; former EYES OF NOCTUM frontman Weston Cage, now of DEATH OF DESIRE; Alex Webster, Paul Mazurkiewicz and George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher of CANNIBAL CORPSE; and many more.

Adds Shackelford: "I think we have made a true underground film about black metal with the opinions derived from people in the scene. We wanted this film to be based on the opinions of the musicians in black metal and death metal. we feel we have accomplished that and to keep it underground we have decided to release it for free."

For more information, visit www.blackmetaldocumentary.com.
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, "The new SIX FEET UNDER CD is sounding fucking unbelievable!! [The] mix [is] almost done!!"

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
CANNIBAL CORPSE and BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME will headline this year's "Summer Slaughter Tour". A new band for the trek set to be announced each Sunday beginning this coming weekend. The exact cities and dates will be revealed at a later date.

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

BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME's latest album, "The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues", was released in April 2011 via Metal Blade Records. The three-song, 30-minute tour de force was recorded at Canada's Metalworks Studios and Rattlebox Studios and helmed by the Grammy award–winning producer David Bottrill (TOOL, MUSE, KING CRIMSON, DREAM THEATER).
Swedish death metallers PUTERAEON have entered RZA Mobile Recording to begin recording their sophomore album, "Cult Cthulhu", for a May release via the German label Cyclone Empire. The 11-song follow-up to last year's "The Esoteric Order" is being tracked with sound engineer Kristian "Risza" Isaksson (EVERGREY, HARDCORE SUPERSTAR, PSYCORE, RECLUSION, NOTRE DAME) and will once again be mixed by KING DIAMOND guitarist Andy La Rocque at his Sonic Train Studios in Varberg, Sweden.

Coming from the Gothenburg area, PUTERAEON caused quite a bit of a stir with its three demo CDs, "Fascination For Mutilation", "The Requiem" and "The Extraordinary Work Of Herbert West".

PUTERAEON was spawned in 2008 by mainman Jonas Lindblood (TAETRE, THORIUM), who states the following: "I started doing some riffs that took me back to my roots in death metal, the glorious early '90s!"

In addition to Jonas (vocals, guitar), PUTERAEON features Anders Malmström (NOMINON, PROPHANITY, IMMEMORIAL, INVERTED) on drums, Daniel Vandija (13ITCH) on bass and Rune Foss on second guitar.
MONSTROSITY drummer Lee Harrison will fill in on second guitar for OBITUARY at the Chas Metal Attack VI festival on Saturday, February 4 at Circo Volador in Mexico City, Mexico.

OBITUARY guitarist Ralph Santolla, who joined the band in 2007 as the replacement for Allen West, was absent from OBITUARY's U.S. East Coast tour in November (the group played as a four-piece).

OBITUARY is currently writing material for the follow-up to the "Darkest Day" full-length CD, released in 2009 via Candlelight Records.

"Darkest Day" landed at position No. 32 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.
Norwegian blackened metallers BYFROST have parted ways with Alkolust, their drummer since 2008. Frontman HeavyHarms commented, "We have had a great time playing with Alkolust over the years and we wish him the best with his other projects. And to all our fans out there, this is not the end, but very much a new beginning."

BYFROST's second full-length album, "Of Death", was released last June via AFM Records. The CD was recorded at the Conclave & Earshot Studios in the band's home town of Bergen, Norway, and was produced by ENSLAVED's Herbrand Larsen together with BYFROST, and co-produced by ENSLAVED guitarist Ice Dale. Mastering was carried out by Knut Fug Prytz at the Magica Mastering Studio. Artwork and design were once again in the hands of Christian Sloan Hall, known for his work with bands like DIMMU BORGIR and SLAYER.

Formed in 2007 by HeavyHarms and bassist R.I.P Meister, BYFROST's first release was the "Byfrostmetal" EP, which appeared in 2008 whilst the band was still a four-piece. The debut full-length album, "Black Earth", was released in 2010, by which time BYFROST had become a three piece, and had been joined on drums by Mads Liletvedt (HELLISH OUTCAST). "Black Earth" marked the continuing cooperation between the band and ENSLAVED members Ice Dale, who guested on the album, and Larsen, who, aside from producing both full-lengths, also features on two tracks on "Of Death".
Warsaw, Poland's revolutionary grind/metal assassins ANTIGAMA have announced their return to Selfmadegod Records.

Following two full-length releases via Relapse Records over recent years, ANTIGAMA has re-signed with its longtime friends at Selfmadegod and is currently locked away in Warsaw's Progresja Studio with sound engineer Pawel "Janos" Grabowski. The band is in the process of recording several brand new tracks for two different upcoming releases — a three-way split with NOISEAR (USA, Relapse) and THE KILL (Australia), as well as a MCD tentatively entitled "Stop The Chaos". The session started on February 1, and final mixes and mastering duties will be completed by none other than the band's longtime friend and famous Polish music producer Szymon Czech (NYIA, THIRD DEGREE). Both releases are due this spring via Selfmadegod Records, and the band plans on recording a new full-length for the label later in the year as well.

ANTIGAMA has gone through several lineup changes over recent years. Founding guitarist Sebastian Rokicki remains, as always, joined once again by the band's original vocalist Lukasz Myszkowski. The lineup also includes new bassist Michal Zawadzki as well as new drummer Pawel Jaroszewicz (LOST SOUL, CHRIST AGONY, ex-VADER).
Legendary death metallers MASTER have set "The New Elite" as the title of their eleventh album, due later in the year via Pulverised Records. The CD, which was once again recorded, mixed and mastered at Shaark Studios, contains "11 tracks of unambiguous death metal in its wretched form, in perfect coalition with the offensive Paul Speckmann-spewed lyrical shitstorm," according to a press release.

The album artwork for "The New Elite" features a more concise, organic and symbolic concept, exclusively produced and designed by German graphic illustrator Mark Bridgeman.

"The New Elite" track listing:

01. The New Elite
02. Rise Up And Fight
03. Remove The Knife
04. Smile As You're Told
05. Redirect The Evil
06. Out Of Control
07. As Two Worlds Collide
08. New Reforms
09. Guide Yourself
10. Souls To Dissuade
11. Twist Of Fate

Commented MASTER mainman Paul Speckmann: "'The New Elite' deals with the problems we face in society at this current time. The rich are getting richer and the poor are starving on the streets all around the world while men battle each other for world dominance! Governments are grabbing the world by the balls and dictating the new rules of the soon-to-be New Elite, while the youth of today just sit down and take it. I really wonder if and when the youth of today will take a stand against these crazy fucked-up ruthless world leaders. The time has come to stand up and be counted!"

A brand new track entitled "Smile As You're Told" is now available for streaming below.


Paul Speckmann - Vocals, Bass
Alex Nejezchleba - Guitar
Zdenek Pradlovsky - Drums

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