[Classic_Rock_Forever] SOundgarden, Megadeth, Anthrax, Iced Earth and tons more hard rock and heavy metal news


It's been a decade and a half since Soundgarden released a wholly new song. A first song from the reunited act's recent recording session was unveiled this week, and the hard-rock vets had a little help getting the word out. Soundgarden attached itself to  Marvel super-hero vehicle "The Avengers," and leader Chris Cornell said aligning with the likes of Iron Man and the Incredible Hulk was something of a necessity. 
"In the grand scheme of things, the record business is completely different than it was when we last put out a record," Cornell told Pop & Hiss. That was the pre-Napster days of 1996, and the band's "Down on the Upside" was following its 1994 chart-topping blockbuster "Superunknown," an album that brought '70s-inspired metal ferocity and somber melodic intricacy to the grunge era. 
"In other words," Cornell said, "there needs to be some tie-in [today]. Without one, it's great that you made a record and recorded a song, but no one's going to hear it -- have a nice day. The problem, really, isn't so much as finding a tie-in, but finding one you can get behind, where you can feel 100 percent comfortable that there is a partner." 
Linking with "The Avengers" was a simple decision for the band, Cornell said. Though Cornell is no comic geek, guitarist Kim Thayil is, said Cornell, who described his bandmate as someone who "knows every detail of every character and when they were conceived and what metamorphosis they went through."
For his part, Cornell said past Marvel films such as "Iron Man" rank as high with him as the works of digital animation house Pixar, as he praised the Robert Downey Jr. hit for its blend of comedy and action. "The Avengers" will be released May 4, and the soundtrack, dubbed "Avengers Assemble," will be released May 1.
"A lot of the other tie-ins that someone may propose to a band sitting in the room are not so great," Cornell said. "They don't ring so well in your ears, especially if you're a rock band that started as an indie band and you've been around for over 25 years. It takes some getting used to, some of these concepts, like you go out on and tour and they try to put a banner from a cellphone company somewhere near your stage.
"So this," continued Cornell, "was the best possible result of having a partnership. This is a movie that's part of a series that we all like, and part of a history of Marvel that we all like."
The resulting song, "Live to Rise," is currently being given away for free at Apple's iTunes store (the promotion runs through Tuesday). It came out of the same recording sessions as those for the band's upcoming album, tentatively scheduled for a fall release. "Live to Rise" opens with a menacingly direct riff, but soon gives way to more nuanced, hypnotic textures. 
Don't, said Cornell, look to it for any hint of what the band's new album will sound like. 
"It sounds kind of stripped down and more streamlined than a lot of other songs we've been writing," Cornell said of "The Avengers" cut. "But if you take any song out of context, from any one of our albums, going all the way back to our first Sub Pop EP, it's not going to tell you anything about the songs around it. We're just that way. This would fit on our record ... but if there's a way that it stands apart, this is fairly rhythmically straightforward."
Now a family man, Cornell compared Soundgarden's upcoming album to a long-running childrens' television series. "Look at it like 'Sesame Street.' You got all these different colors and different types of creatures and people from all over the place, but they all live happily together on 'Sesame Street.' All our songs are just characters on 'Sesame Street.'" 
In terms of giving away the song for free, Cornell said the Web has overall had a positive effect on the music business. For one, less money is wasted.
"People have had to figure out how to go back into their garages and make a record without having to spend a half of a million dollars," Cornell said. "That was never necessary, anyway, and everyone is figuring that out now. It's similar to shooting a video. The last big-budget video I did was for $1 million, and that was in Audioslave. It didn't look like it needed to cost that much."
Yet plenty has stayed the same in the past 10 or 15 years. If one, for instance, were to glance at the artists who grace "Avengers Assemble," a soundtrack that features music in the film as well as music "inspired" by it, many could have toured with Soundgarden in the late '90s. The likes of Bush, Evanescence and Stone Temple Pilots singer Scott Weiland are among the contributors. One act, Buckcherry, was even on the 2000 soundtrack to "M:I 2," for which Cornell donated a song.
"It's a little weird," Cornell said of the '90s revival. "It's not that dissimilar from the list that was on the 'Mission: Impossible 2' soundtrack."
But Cornell does want to make one thing clear:
"I just hope that people understand that our song was written for the film, is in the film and is part of this film. It's not just a tag-on to a soundtrack record that celebrates the film. We honestly wouldn't have done that. That wouldn't be exciting. That's a holdover from 15 years ago when the movie business and record business discovered that people would buy these records even though the songs aren't in the film. That's fine, but I want people to know that our song is actually in the movie." 
So do Cornell a favor and stick around for the end credits. 
At least 30 bands have officially canceled their appearances at this weekend's (April 20-22) Metal Open Air — billed as "the biggest heavy metal festival ever organized in Brazil" — due to organizational and technical problems. The event, which was being headlined by MEGADETH, Rock 'N' Roll Allstars and VENOM, was being held at Parque Independência in São Luís, Maranhão (Brazil's northeast).

According to various Brazilian media reports, the Metal Open Air camping area was set up at nearby horse stables (photos), with no bathrooms, light or water supply available — despite the fact that the event's official web site promised "indoor and outdoor camping with toilets and showers."

Third-day headliners VENOM announced their cancelation on Thursday, claiming that their South American visas were mistakenly sent to Africa. SAXON also announced they weren't making the trip "due to a serious breach of contract by the promoters." The band explained, "Having waited since March the 15th for the fee to arrive, as of Friday [April 20 at] 2 p.m., no money has arrived."

First-day headliner MEGADETH managed to perform last night, albeit several hours behind schedule due to a delay in getting the stage ready as well as unspecified "security" issues. A number of other acts refused to play, and after ANTHRAX pulled out of the event due to a lack of sound equipment, the festival's entire sound crew reportedly quit because they had not received their payment in time.

Commented BLIND GUARDIAN's Hansi Kürsch: "In 25 years of our career, we have managed to fix all problems to make sure our performance is going to take place. No matter what the circumstances were, we intended to play. We have been extremely successful in the avoidance of canceled shows, so far. This, unfortunately, comes to a very sad end here in São Luís. Due to massive technical and administrative problems, we were forced to cancel tonight's show. As far as we understand, it seems to be the local management who has not been able to secure a proper festival environment, anymore. Things are pretty out of hand there. We feel very sorry about this totally unsatisfying situation, but the mistakes made by the local promoter makes an even improvised show impossible. I know that we have the most dedicated fans and I count on your understanding. In the future, we will be more careful in confirming such festivals."

GRAVE DIGGER's Chris Boltendahl: "The Metal Open Air festival is canceled. Problems between the promoter, the P.A. and light company and many others forced us to cancel our participation at the MOA festival. It's a sad day. We travelled so far to be part of this festival and we are so sorry for all the fans which attend to this festival. It is out of our hands."

Rock 'N' Roll Allstars, an 11-piece supergroup comprised of Gene Simmons of KISS, three former members of GUNS N' ROSES, Sebastian Bach and many other big names in rock history, released the following statement regarding their non-participation in Metal Open Air: "Rock 'N' Roll Allstars are saddened to annouce the cancellation of our performance at Metal Open Air festival in São Luís, Brazil. We regret not being able to attend. We are in South America and are ready to rock, but the circumstances are beyond our control: We were informed before flying to Brazil today that many other artists have pulled out of the event, as well as local security. We are very concerned for the safety of the fans and artists whom are already at the festival. We are receiving confirmed reports from other bands and friends on the ground that the event is dangerous and a disaster. Please be safe, and we look forward to rocking for you in the future."
MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine has released the following statement regarding the band's appearance at this weekend's (April 20-22) problem-plagued Metal Open Air festival, which is being held at Parque Independência in São Luís, Maranhão (Brazil's northeast).

"To the fans last night in São Luís,

"Thank you. It's all I can say. One Big Mega Thank You!

"Yesterday's show in Sao Luis was very challenging, but we did it! It was almost 3:00 a.m. last night, when we finally left the stage.

"One of the highlights for me was when my good friend Michael Romeo [SYMPHONY X guitarist] came up to me during one of the breaks in the show and gave me a much-needed bear hug.


"I especially want to say thanks to my band and my fabulous crew for making it happen.

"If it weren't for my crew, specifically, the festival probably would not have happened. They are so modest; they'll say something humble, like, 'We just made lemonade out of lemons.' Sure, they did; but it was really like making silk sheets out of pig skin.

"I was told a lot of the talent opted out from coming. I was also told the tickets cost $450 Brazilian Real for the three day weekend, and $250 BRL for just one day. The average person in this area makes $28 BRL a day, so you can do the math. About nine days of work to come to the festival for just one day. Sixteen days for the whole weekend.

"We were playing, no matter what. We weren't playing for the promoter anymore; we were playing for the people!

"That's what this whole thing is about. The MUSIC and playing it for YOU!

"I hope my 'Big Four' brothers in ANTHRAX get to play tonight! Hopefully all of the 'Big Four' will come to Brazil."
For nearly 30 years, David Ellefson has been a dominating force in the world of metal bass. As a founding member of Megadeth, he's toured the world, been nominated for 7 Grammys, and has continued to inspire the bass community. His Rock Shop series of instructional videos on YouTube has been an informative ride for musicians around the globe as he discusses various aspects of the music industry. Ellefson recently launched the David Ellefson Rock Shop App, a bass and guitar amp for iOS devices made by Pocketlabworks. (Check out our review of the app).
Besides his new app, the bassist has released a book of lyrics and is getting ready to launch a new bass design with Jackson, not to mention the fact that he spends many of his days on the road with Megadeth. We got in touch with Ellefson to find out about the app, his first recording experience with Megadeth since reuniting with them in 2010, and how he gets his signature tone.
You're getting ready to go back out on tour with Megadeth for a new leg of the tour supporting Th1rt3en, which was your first album since rejoining the band. Was that recording experience like a homecoming for you?
Yea it was, [but] in a lot of different ways, though. I think my time away from the band thrust me into a different professional experience by sort of being a "hired gun" kind of bass player for a lot of situations like recording and touring for a lot of different people, as well as putting my own bands together. I think those experiences, when I came back to Megadeth, made me approach my old gig in a much more professional manner. And that was good, because the dynamics of how the band works are a lot different now than how they used to be. It used to be that we all lived in the same city, we'd get together for a couple months and write some songs, then we'd make some demos, then we'd secure a producer, and then we'd go in a start making a record. That process doesn't exist partly because record budgets aren't there to do that, and I think also over the years we learned to streamline it so we can be more efficient. With Megadeth, we're kind of constantly always on tour at this point, so to take excessive time off the road to go in and cut records like we used to earlier in our career… we just don't have that kind of luxury anymore. Nor do we really want to take that time off, because we already know what works, and we certainly know what doesn't work, so part of the learning curve is how to streamline the operation so that we can be musically as productive as we can and write the best songs that we can write.
You keep busy with touring, but really it seems like you keep busy with everything! You just had the David Ellefson Rock Shop released. How did that come about?
Kevin [Robertson] sent me his iRiffPort, which is made by his company Pocketlabworks. Along with it came the software, which was just a simple interface to plug a guitar or a bass into it. One of the features that I liked was the ability to access your iTunes library from inside the app. So I spoke with him back in early January. You know, I'd been approached by a few people about doing an app, but there was never really a focus to it. So I called Kevin and talked to him. Right away we clicked on the ideas. He really loves my whole Rock Shop concept. He loves the videos that I put online talking about education of the music business, and some of the teaching and instructional video stuff I put online. So for the Rock Shop App, what he liked was creating an app where you could not only access your iTunes library, but also you could go to YouTube and bring those videos inside the app.
One of the things I wanted to do was make sure it was available not only for bass players, but especially for guitar players. [As] bass players, we're the minority on the stage [laughs]. So, I thought that this is something that needs to be open for both guitar and bass players offering a variety of tones, because not everyone plays metal. So really, as we discussed it, it went from being this fun little app to really becoming a full-on, professional-level mobile practice studio. It's almost like a digital workstation of sorts, which is kind of the bigger picture goal that we're aiming at with this.
So are you typically kind of a techie guy? Do you get into new technology easily?
No. I like to hit the button, and it had better work! [laughs] If it doesn't, I lose interest and move on, you know? I think that's the good dynamic between me as the end user/artist and working with someone like [engineer Kevin Robertson] at Pocketlabworks because that's the side of the business they know, and they're really into it.
As I understand, Kevin had a history with GK amps, so he actually knows it from a musical side, and he's also a guitar player, so he's not just approaching it from the tech geek side, he's approaching it from the guitar player/tech geek, you know? I'm approaching it from artist/end user, so it's like we've kind of got all our bases covered.
In a lot of these things, there has to be partnership. It's just like being in a band, or being a songwriting team. There has to be partnership, and what makes it cool is that everyone brings something different to the table. It's really been a fun process putting this app together, pinging ideas back and forth. With everything, you don't want just to build it so that it's closed up and done. Especially in the tech world, you always want to be aiming for [versions] 2.0 and 4.0, because our industry is developing, the technology is developing, and even as an artist one day I'll find I have the need for something and I want to put that need into that app for future releases.
Can you give us a rundown of the gear you use?
Currently for touring, I use my Jackson. It's a Signature Series Concert bass. [I have] a four and a five-string in both silver and black. I have a 35˝ scale one that's red, so if anyone sees me playing that, it's actually a 35˝ scale, which helps the low B string sing a little bit cleaner and a little bit clearer than a 34˝ scale.
Other than that, it's pretty straight ahead – I plug in through a Digitech Stereo Chorus, and I only use that on a couple songs like "Dawn Patrol", and "Poison Was the Cure". Otherwise, my tone is straight in with no effects.
I have a Peterson rack mount Strobotuner, and other than that it's straight into the Hartke LH-1000 heads. I use two of those because on the left side of the stage I power two Hartke Hydrive 8×10 cabinets, and on the right side of the stage I power two 8×10 cabinets as well. It's pretty streamlined and really simple.
I use Shure wireless systems, but I like it to be simple [so] if need be, I can plug a cable straight into the amp. My rig is really very simple and streamlined. I like the tone to come from my hands, not from the gear.
That's one of the things everyone wants to know, because they love your tone. So you say it's in the hands?
Very much so. I think as a young, developing bass player, I really paid attention to learning how to get up on the fingertips. Instead of doing the thing with your thumb over the neck, I got behind the neck and really got precise as a player. The less skin you have touching the string, the more clear and precise the note is. By playing with a pick, which I really only did because I couldn't afford to buy big huge amplifiers to be louder than the guitar players [laughs], I had to use every trick in the book as my defense against guitar players. But by playing with a pick, it gave me a really clean, clear tone. That also allows me in Megadeth to play the fast licks. I can also do a lot of palm muting back on the bridge if I need to hunker down and mute with the guitar patterns. It allows me to really integrate with the guitars, and when need be, really step aside and have a distinct sound as a bass player.
What do you think makes a great bass player?
You know, there's two types of bass players. There's artists and there's sidemen. I tend to kind of be a little bit of both. Early on in my formative years, I was a big fan of rock and roll and hard rock and eventually heavy metal when I got turned on to it. Everything from Aerosmith, KISS, Ted Nugent, kind of '70s American rock and roll I grew up with.
And then of course I got into Iron Maiden and Rush, with very progressive bass players. It's interesting because Gene Simmons, Steve Harris and Geddy Lee are all artist bass players. You know, they're songwriters as well as bass players. Another great artist bass player is Bob Daisley, who played on the first two Ozzy [Osbourne] records and on Rainbow, Long Live Rock and Roll… Again, just a great songwriter bass player.
Same with Geezer Butler, another great songwriter, artist bass player. What's funny is all those guys are also really good lyricists, and I think what that does is when you're not only thinking from the bass point of view, you're thinking from sort of the bottom of the tune as you build it from the bottom up, but you're also thinking melodically on the top of it. You're thinking about singers and how a vocalist is going to sing and how to phrase words into melodies. Lyric writing is a whole other part of our craft as well. I really like that side of it, which is why I've put several of my own bands together, like F5, because I wanted to continue to have a creative outlet.
On this other side of that is sort of the sideman bass player, which requires a whole other skill level, most predominately being versatility. That bass player needs to be really quick on his toes. He needs to be musically very astute, be able to read and understand chord charts, and be able to read manuscript and notations. [These players] also have to have a very good ear. In fact, that's what I'm going through as I learn the songs for this clinic this week, because I'm having to learn a lot of other people's songs, which is something I haven't really had to do for about a year. It's actually kind of stretching my brain to get back into that mindset again, because I can't go up there and play like an artist. I have to emulate how another bass player played. I don't hold with those who think cover musicians are subpar musicians. I think cover musicians are some of the most astute musicians on the planet because of their ability to emulate what other people may have played or, in the case of a session bass player, be able to come in and create something on the spot. The recording bass player is kind of a whole other side to the sideman bass player. In any case, a bass player has to have great tone and great timing.
How often do you practice, and what kind of things do you work on?
My practicing is usually very focused on the task at hand. For instance, I've got an event coming up, so I'm practicing those songs for that event. When that's done, I'm going to come home and start practicing songs for the Megadeth show. That's going to include introducing two new songs, so I need to brush up on those. Some of the others are just a matter of refreshing my mind. I'm a bit on autopilot because I play them so much. Being on autopilot is good, because that's what makes you a good entertainer. When Megadeth performs, it's entertainment. When we're in the studio, it's about creating. If I'm going into the studio, I'm in creation mode, and I'm creating bass lines and I'm doing a lot of listening to what the other people are playing so that I can craft bass lines that work well and kind of glue the whole ensemble together. That's a big part of how I see the role of the bass player, especially in a metal band. The guitars and the drums are essentially the foundation blocks that define the song, so I look at my role as being the glue in between the bricks that glues the whole thing together.
Speaking of the creative side, you just released your book Unsung a little while ago.
Yeah. I put it together with the idea that you have a lyric and a photo to accompany it in the same way that you would have a lyric that would be part of a song. I chose to use photograph images instead of a song. How the book came about is back in December, I was looking through a file on my computer and it had all these lyrics. A lot of it I had just written recently. I thought, "You know, I don't know what I'm going to do with these. I'm on a world tour for a year without time to really write music around this stuff." A friend of mine here in town writes some poetry and was actually helping me cowrite and clean up a couple of lyrics for me. I spoke with him, and he helped me put the team together with my editor Libby over in London, and Rafaela, whose photographs we used to accompany the lyrics in the book.
All of the sudden we had a team together and we started laying the book out. We decided to just do the self publishing route, knowing that the sales numbers weren't going to be as big doing it like that, but it was more about a fun little creative project and a way to put the lyrics out. Also, I left the door open that if any readers ever wanted to use them with their songs, that I would be open to letting that happen. After we laid the book out, it was like, "Now I see an album in front of me." [laughs]
Lots of times you write music and say, "Ok, I've gotta get some lyrics to this music," but this was approaching it from the opposite direction [by] laying lyrics out and realizing, "Ok, now I have a much better scope of what it would take to actually write some music to this stuff."
I saw the YouTube video of you reciting "Manuscriptum Regius." Are we going to be seeing more of that?
I think so, because what I realized with the book is that it opened up the spoken word side of things, which I didn't know that much about before. I knew of it, but I've never really had much experience [with it]. It was funny, because as I was writing the book, people started sending me spoken word YouTube videos, and some were really cool ones. There were some religious based, there was a rapper who had done kind of a spoken word in a rap cadence. So these things were very modern and very contemporary.
I always thought spoken word was like a poet sitting in a coffee house reading something, which didn't really excite me. But then I saw these other people doing it in a hip, contemporary fashion and that's actually what inspired me to make that video. I thought maybe the first "single" will be this really dark heavy thing, because I think my fans would associate that with me. It's a lyric I really love, and it's actually the first lyric that I wrote for the book long before I knew this was going to be a book. It's the thing that tied me and my cowriter Brent Nelson together. He wrote a book called Out of Darkness. [It's] kind of a similar thing, and it's got a lot of these really dark, pensive poems and stuff in it. It's really like a metal album. It's just kind of fun to cowrite lyrics with someone. And he's an MD… he's a doctor. That's his day job. I realize this too – I've played with a lot of musicians over the years, and just because some people were never able to pursue being a professional musician, it's amazing the talent that is outside of even the professional realm. Getting a record deal and all that, you know, you kind of have to be at the right place at the right time and the right thing at the right time and the right person at a label becomes your cheerleader and believes in you and convinces somebody up above to start spending money on you… It's such a calculated process that either all lines up or none of it lines up. So I've enjoyed over the years getting to play with some musicians and working with someone like Brent who has just got such a great lyrical talent. Again, it pushed me into a mindset to be able to put a book together. You never know where inspiration is going to come from is the moral of the story.
You've got the Jackson David Ellefson Signature basses, but the last video I watched had you talking about a T-bird styled bass. What's going on with that?
Yeah, the Kelly Bird. Right now we're actually working on the production of those basses. We've got the design done and it seems fans and musicians want to buy that, so we're moving forward with the production. Those things are usually four to six months out from when they actually cut down the tree to when it shows up in your music store. So anyway, I'm thinking sometime later this year. Winter NAMM 2013 at the latest.
I had a bass like that which Jackson had made for me back in 1992, when we were on the "Countdown to Extinction" tour. I just wanted this rock and roll looking bass, and of course you've gotta be sure that you don't infringe on someone else's design, so what we did is we took the elements of this classic look of a bass, then Jackson has a guitar called the Kelly, which is Kelly Rhoads, who was [late guitarist] Randy's brother. When they did a guitar for Randy they did one for Kelly, and this one was called "the Kelly". It has this kind of cool horn down on the bottom that kind of curves down and has this cool hook on it. So to make sure we don't infringe on anyone's copyright, but to recreate a bass I loved back 20 years ago, and again to bring the past forward.
That's kind of a big part of what we're doing in Megadeth. We're kind of bringing our past forward and that's largely because a lot of our fans have stayed with us all these years and we're trying to keep things true for them. Also, it's a way to introduce a lot of the young new fans who have started to hear about Megadeth on the radio and video games and all that stuff. It's a way to take them down an avenue that they never got to experience the first time.
That's like the "Rust In Peace" 20th anniversary tour, last year we put out a box set of the 25th anniversary of the Peace Sells… But Who's Buying? album. So we're in kind of a fun phase of the band right now that we can do this stuff because we've got this very wide age spread.
Back to your question specifically about that bass, it allowed me to bring the past forward but still create something new. That's the other side of this… Megadeth is still a viable band that can write and create and invent new things. New music, new guitar styles, new imagery.
So we don't just have to go back and rest on our past laurels either.
With over 30 years in the business, it's no wonder legendary ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian is looking to shed some of the multitudes of items he's collected and stored over the years! There's only so much storage space a man can have.

So when the time came to part with some of his collection, Backstage Auctions were more than happy to meet up with Scott and sift through over three decades worth of unimaginable ANTHRAX goodies — from vintage passes, tour itineraries, posters and clothing to notable guitars, amps and pedals — hands down, some of the coolest, rarest and most personal stuff Backstage Auctions has ever come across in a long time!

Available items:

* 1987 famous yellow "Not" shorts
* Famous Adidas 1980s high top shoes
* 2011 New York stage worn shirt
* Scott Ian-owned and -signed Washburn Murder Weapon V guitar
* Scott Ian-owned and signed Snakeprint signature guitar
* Scott Ian tour used and signed Randall speaker cabinet
* Scott Ian tour used and signed Randall v2 amplifier
* Scott Ian-owned and -signed Black 13 distortion (used)
* Scott Ian-owned and signed Dimebag Cry Baby From Hell wah pedal
* 1989 "SATAN'S LOUNGE BAND" rare concert t-shirt
* 1986 personal European tour itinerary
* 1992 "Married With Children" signed script
* 1986-1989 vintage laminated tour passes
* S.O.D. 1985 Scott Ian-owned and worn "Speak English Or Die" t-shirt
ICED EARTH guitarist/mainman Jon Schaffer has issued the following update:

"Just wanted to write a thank you to all the fans on the last leg of the tour. You guys were amazing every single night, no matter where in the world we were. It was a truly special run, and one that will remain high in my memories for years to come.

"We will start songwriting in the fall this year and will continue that, and the subsequent production for the new album, in between and around upcoming tour plans for the remainder of 2012-2013. Busy, focused, and energizing times lie ahead, but we are stoked and ready! Count on it!

"I'm currently in South America, hanging with friends, and taking care of some personal business here. Home sweet home is just around the corner, and I'm looking forward to sleeping in my own bed! AHHHHH!!!!

"I'd also like to say good luck to [former ICED EARTH bassist] Freddie Vidales. We had a lot of fun through the years and I wish him all the best for his future. We totally understand his decision and support it 100%. Best to you, brother!

"Until next time, thank you once again... take care, and I wish you all the very best life has to offer!"

Vidales left ICED EARTH after the Chinese shows earlier this month. Due to the band's massive touring commitments, there was immediate need for a replacement, and Luke Appleton (of FURY UK, with whom ICED EARTH toured in Europe last winter) has stepped up to the plate and will be joining the tour in time for the June 16 show in Bangalore, India.

ICED EARTH's concert in Bangalore is a first visit to India for the band and the show on August 19 in Limassol marks a much-clamored return to Cyprus, only eight months after their last show there. The show is being filmed and recorded for an upcoming DVD/CD release.

ICED EARTH's video for the song "Anthem" was filmed on December 7, 2011 at Essigfabrik in Cologne, Germany.

Produced and directed by Kosch Fabian Film, "Anthem" is the second music video from ICED EARTH's new album, "Dystopia", which sold around 6,100 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 67 on The Billboard 200 chart.

ICED EARTH's previous CD, "The Crucible of Man (Something Wicked Part II)", opened with 6,700 units in September 2008 to debut at No. 79.

ICED EARTH's 10th studio offering, "Dystopia", was released in Europe on October 17, 2011 and in the U.S. on October 18 via Century Media Records. Two bonus tracks were also recorded for inclusion on special editions of the album.
In August 2011, RHAPSODY OF FIRE guitarist Luca Turilli and keyboardist Alex Staropoli announced their decision to go their separate ways.

Due to legal reasons, Staropoli will continue under the RHAPSODY OF FIRE name. Turilli, on the other hand, will make his future efforts available under the RHAPSODY moniker (RHAPSODY OF FIRE's original name), in which he will be joined by guitarist Dominique Leurquin, bassist Patrice Guers, and singer Alessandro Conti (TRICK OR TREAT).

Commented LUCA TURILLI'S RHAPSODY: "We tried it but we understood in a short time that it would have been really impossible to have our friend and drummer Alex Holzwarth playing for both RHAPSODY and RHAPSODY OF FIRE. In these conditions, there was simply no way to go on and right now, having two tour agencies working for us and starting the planning of the live activity, we agreed that the best is to keep the two bands completely independent from each other. That's why some time ago we found the only possible solution. Alex Holzwarth will go on playing for RHAPSODY OF FIRE, and this makes sense because also his brother is playing in that band, too. From our side, after thanking Alex for all the wonderful moments shared together and to have recorded the new album showing once more all his great technical skill, we started looking around trying to find a special person that could have taken his important place. Well, we can tell you that we found that person and it is surely special, very special… honestly one of the best drummers around we had the chance to listen to. Therefore we are really proud to announce that the new drummer and permanent band member of RHAPSODY will be Mr. Alex Landenburg. We are honored to have Alex with us, we admire his unique talent and we are sure we will have a lot of fun together, in the years to come, on the stages of the whole world!"

LUCA TURILLI'S RHAPSODY's new album, "Ascending To Infinity", will be released on June 29 via Nuclear Blast..

A three-and-a-half-minute YouTube clip containing audio snippets of the forthcoming CD can be found below.

LUCA TURILLI'S RHAPSODY recently finished filming a video for the song "Dark Fate Of Atlantis" in Stockholm, Sweden with director Owe Lingvall of Dream Day Media (THE RASMUS, KAMELOT's "The Great Pandemonium").

Commented the group: "We are impressed by the visionary style of Owe's works. For a band willing to sound and look cinematic like RHAPSODY, there was no better choice possible. The video will be spread for free around the world in the beginning of April. Our friend Owe will also be responsible for a bonus DVD including the video, the 'making-of' documentary related with it, and exclusive interviews with all the RHAPSODY bandmembers. Nuclear Blast will release this extra DVD with a playtime of more than one hour in the limited edition of the new upcoming album, 'Ascending To Infinity', to be released worldwide on June 29. An additional gift to all our fans around the world!"

"Ascending To Infinity" track listing:

01. Quantum X
02. Ascending To Infinity
03. Dante's Inferno
04. Excalibur
05. Tormento E Passione
06. Dark Fate Of Atlantis
07. Fantasia Gotica
08. Clash Of The Titans
09. Of Michael The Archangel And Lucifer's Fall
Alma Mundi
II. Fatum Mortalis
III. Ignis Divinus

You can check out the
"Ascending To Infinity"
cover artwork below.

The album will have a running time of around 65 minutes.

LUCA TURILLI'S RHAPSODY will embark on the "Ascending To Infinity" headlining tour in the fall.

In a recent interview, Turilli stated about "Ascending To Infinity", "Honestly, this album is very important for me, Alex Holzwarth, Patrice and Dominique and personally it is the one I always dreamed to record. The basic composition process lasted around five months. In this period of time I worked at the rhythm of 12-14 hours per day and, while very hard because very demanding mentally and spiritually, this was one of the most rewarding sessions of composition of my whole life. It rarely happened I had so much fun playing the guitar, the keyboards or my beloved piano and creating original classical parts, cinematic interludes, orchestrations and all the rest. Now all the songs are ready and I am actually in the process of arranging everything. As you know, I don't hire external people to orchestrate the music, but I do all by myself writing the music for each section of the orchestra, the choirs etc. and this sometimes can be a very long and hard process stealing a lot of time and energy. I cannot deny that this is a very ambitious album, because of the investment, artistic vision etc., and all the people working on it, Nuclear Blast included, are thinking the same. That's why in the upcoming months of intensive studio work I want to go on dedicating myself night and day to it, without thinking to anything else."

Regarding the change in the production team for the LUCA TURILLI'S RHAPSODY album, Luca said, "After many years of work in Wolfsburg at the court of our friend Sascha Paeth, I decided to start this new artistic adventure with a different team of people. Sascha and the other friends of the Gate Studio (Miro, Olaf, Robert, Simon, etc.) are a winning team and their help in the past was really important for RHAPSODY. But it's since many years already that Alex and I took the productions in our hands becoming producers of our own albums, despite Sascha remaining always fundamental as engineer and mixer man. His mixes will remain legendary and our list of thanks will be never long enough for all the professional contribution he gave. All the years of work, fun and sufferance in the Gate studios of Wolfsburg will surely remain unforgettable and are carved in our heart. For LUCA TURILLI'S RHAPSODY and the new band adventure I decided to change the studio and the main man behind the console. We are now recording the new album at the Backyard Studio of Kempten, Germany. Our new engineer and main mixer man is the same owner of the studio and his name is Sebastian Roeder, the person who worked for RHAPSODY OF FIRE in the last worldwide tour making real miracles while mixing our music live. Apart from being a talented engineer, he is a great person and he shares with us the love for this style of music. To resume, the new album will be produced by me as usual, while Sebastian will take care of the engineering, mixing and mastering process."
Mark Morton of Heavy Metal Examiner recently conducted an interview with vocalist Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth of New Jersey thrash metal veterans OVERKILL. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Heavy Metal Examiner: How do you continue to be excited about a new album release after doing it for so many years? It's basically become your job, hasn't it?

Blitz: I never actually looked at it as a job or a career; I actually perceive it as "for life." There was always that feeling, even back when all of this started that it would be a "for life" kind of thing, and I suppose some of us have taken it to that extreme, myself and DD Verni [bass] included. And with new opportunities, especially in a scene that is healthy, committed by both the bands and the fans, there is definitely something special here. This is not a disposable entity, like pop. This is something that, when someone gets involved in it, be it a band or a fan, you get that lifelong feeling, and it's always there. And it gets reinvigorated at the end of every tour when we make that decision to go back into the studio and begin the cycle again.

Heavy Metal Examiner: And I think it speaks to the viability of the artform and the devotion of the fanbase that here in 2012, when people are not really buying as much music as they used to, an OVERKILL album is still able to crack into the Billboard Top 100.

Blitz: It is something that has always been said about the scene; that the metalheads have always supported it regardless of the downloading and piracy issues. They are the ones that have kept us alive. And I think when you look at that, you begin to see what the value of this is all about. And I'm not talking about "monetary value," I'm talking about the value that it has to people. And that value transcends generations! It's not unusual for us to see three generations of fans at a show. Obviously, this is not the masses; it is a minority among music fans — but they're the committed minority! And I think that is why we seem to continue to grow thirty years later.

Heavy Metal Examiner: What plays into the creation of a new OVERKILL album? It seems like consistency is a dominant factor.

Blitz: Obviously, we write in the box. It is half committed and the other half is…this is all we can really do, but we just happen to do it well. I suppose it is actually equal parts of both. But what is always exciting about it is new opportunities. That's the way I perceive it to be. When I did "The Electric Age", there were signs all over my office like "Don't Repeat Yourself," "Be Fresh," and "Check the Other Records." This kind of stuff becomes competitive — competitive against myself. And it motivates me to push towards doing something a little bit different. Sure, at the end of the day, it's going to be an OVERKILL record, but I'm going to notice the nuances and differences — the differences between repetition and style, and which side of that line I fall on. And I think that becomes the motivational factor behind this.

Heavy Metal Examiner: Have your political opinions ever gotten you in trouble or polarized people against you, as they have recently with [MEGADETH's] Dave Mustaine?

Blitz: [Laughs] Well, that's Dave's thing; he's into that. I have, a few times, but I always felt it best to stay out of it. And it's not so much for fear of opinion about me, it's more about my own ignorance when it comes to politics. [Laughs] Not everyone can know everything about it! There are so many issues and so many sidebars about it that to open a can of worms that appears to be only eight ounces is really eight million ounces, and it becomes an ongoing discussion or argument. Obviously, I have political opinions; I live in America. I've got the mass hysteria; this is the way it seems to be during this era. But I really like to stay away from politics in the lyrics, and if I do touch on it, it is more for satire than anything else.
Everyone is invited to witness and celebrate the marriage of RIGOR MORTIS/WARBEAST vocalist Bruce Corbitt and Jeanna Jennings tonight (Saturday, April 21) at The Rail Club in Fort Worth, Texas. Texas-based hard rock singer Jason McMaster (DANGEROUS TOYS, WATCHTOWER, IGNITOR, BROKEN TEETH) is ordained and will conduct the ceremony. Texas guitar wizard and lifetime friend Mike Scaccia will be the couple's "special guest" guitarist and will play the "Bridal March". Plus Jeanna's son Lyric has a band called PSYCLOPS — consisting of 14- and 15-years-olds — and they will play before the wedding starts as people arrive.

Immediately following the wedding, there will be some great bands playing for the wedding reception, including EVIL UNITED (featuring Jason McMaster), WARBEAST, HELL GOAT and CREEPER.

There is no dress code. There will be the usual $10.00 admission charge like at most of the shows at The Rail Club. All of this money will go towards paying the bands and entertainment for the reception.

Doors - 6:00
Wedding - 7:30
HELL GOAT - 9:00
WARBEAST - 10:00
CREEPER - 12:30
According to The Pulse Of Radio, ex-KORN guitarist Brian "Head" Welch was asked by Loudwire what he thought of the recent drama last weekend at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, where GUNS N' ROSES singer Axl Rose refused to attend the ceremony and be inducted with his former bandmates. Welch — who left KORN seven years ago — replied that if KORN ever got nominated to the Hall, the situation would be very different.

Welch explained, "I've thought about that over the years and I'm friends with them now. I talk to them pretty regularly, so I don't think it would be a big deal for me to go and play a classic or two. I don't understand grown men who are close to 50 years old having issues like that. It just floors me that you can't at some degree, be civil. It's just beyond me. I don't understand that, but you know, everyone is different, I don't judge them. We all have our issues."

Welch left KORN in 2005 to become a born-again Christian after years of hard drug and alcohol abuse while in the band.

Although Welch has a new band called LOVE AND DEATH, both he and KORN bassist Reginald "Fieldy" Arvizu have said that a reunion could be possible one day under the right conditions.

KORN will be eligible for induction into the Hall in 2019, 25 years after the 1994 release of the band's self-titled debut album.

Meanwhile, KORN kicks off a new tour on Friday (April 20) in support of its 10th studio album, "The Path Of Totality".
SYSTEM OF A DOWN and DEFTONES have posted cryptic messages on thier Twitter accounts, seeming to imply that they will announce a joint tour next week. The SOAD message reads: "Important announcement coming Monday. Stay tuned…" The tweet is accompanied by a picture of SYSTEM bassist Shavo Odadjian holding a DEFTONES all-access pass. Meanwhile, the DEFTONES have posted a photo of their frontman Chino Moreno holding a SYSTEM OF A DOWN tour pass, along with the message, "Announcement coming Monday."

During an interview with Brazil's Multishow after SYSTEM OF A DOWN's performance at the Rock In Rio festival last October in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, the band's drummer, John Dolmayan, was asked if SOAD fans can expect to hear a new studio album from the group following its current reunion tour. "We're gonna take it day by day," he said. "For the people who are waiting for an album — I know there's a lot of people waiting for an album; I'm waiting for an album just like they are. It's gonna happen when it's right and when we can make something that tops what we've done in the past. Because we don't really wanna rest on our laurels — where what you've done in the past is what you depend on. Well, I don't wanna do that, and I know the rest of the guys don't wanna do that. Instead of resting on our laurels, we wanna throw them away and create something new and specific for this generation that they can say that's their SYSTEM OF A DOWN."

Dolmayan previously told Straight.com about SYSTEM OF A DOWN's five-year hiatus, "I personally don't like breaks — I like to continue playing. But it was nice to go off and be John Dolmayan, as opposed to John from SYSTEM, for a while. I think everybody had similar feelings."

The drummer explained that a desire to pull off the road for a while and reconnect with their lives is what led SYSTEM to take an extended vacation from each other, saying, "When you're on the road and in the studio all the time, it's kind of like traveling at light speed. When you come back, it's like 20 years have passed by, and you're only one or two hours older . . . You're living a nomadic life, and you lose touch with people because they have grown away from you. People get older, get married, die — life is still going on."

SYSTEM's last two albums, "Mezmerize" and "Hypnotize", were released in 2005.

DEFTONES has entered the studio to begin recording its seventh album for a late 2012 release.

2010's "Diamond Eyes" has been one of DEFTONES' most successful outings. The set's last single, "You've Seen The Butcher", was a Top 15 rock radio hit.

DEFTONES will once again record with Sergio Vega on bass. Vega stepped in for touring purposes after original bassist Chi Cheng was left in a semi-comatose state by a November 2008 car accident, and stayed on to record "Diamond Eyes" with the group.

Last October, Reprise Records released a limited-edition vinyl box set from DEFTONES. "Deftones: The Vinyl Collection, 1995 - 2011" is a seven-album (8 LP) retrospective containing the band's six studio albums — 1995's "Adrenaline", 1997's "Around The Fur", 2000's "White Pony", 2003's "Deftones", 2006's "Saturday Night Wrist", and 2010's "Diamond Eyes", and the limited-edition 2011 Record Store Day release "Covers". Each album was exclusively re-cut for vinyl from the original master recordings and pressed on 180-gram European virgin vinyl. The collection, which included a unique lithograph and cover art, came packaged in a hand-numbered collector's box pressing of 1,000 copies worldwide.
Daniel Brockman of The Boston Phoenix recently conducted an interview with KILLSWITCH ENGAGE singer Jesse Leach. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

The Boston Phoenix: Revisiting this band and this material, are you struck at all by how much things have changed, how much metal has changed in the nine years since you left KILLSWITCH?

Jesse: Metal has changed, but I've changed as well. And that's what's exciting about rejoining this band and doing the new record. I've always been a fan of the music that they call metalcore, this crossbreeding of hardcore and metal, but what passes for metalcore today I'm not a fan of. It's been a by-numbers watered down thing. I mean, GOD FORBID, IN FLAMES, MASTODON, these are metalcore bands that I love, so I'm speaking in general terms. But most new metalcore doesn't grab me, it doesn't have the conviction that I used to see, when people had something to say, had messages, went against the grain, fight for individuality no matter what society says, and the music as a whole has turned into something popular that is with the grain, that is part of society, and the revolution got dulled and doesn't really do anything for me. I mean, some of the riffs of good and the music is good, and I don't want to sound like an elitist here, but to me it doesn't hold the energy that it once did. But that being said, I'm part of it to, I've been doing music all along, and what's most important to me is the message, the message and emotional conviction. And that's why I'm so excited to work with KILLSWITCH, especially the way they've been blending this soulful R&B feel with the whole metalcore thing. I mean, the stuff that Howard [Jones, former singer] came up with, these awesome songs like "Rose Of Sharon" or "Sorrow", you can sense the conviction in his voice but it doesn't come off like bleeding heart emo, he walked the line without getting sappy, and it was a challenge to get into that headspace and do those songs justice. I'm a different person than I was a decade ago, but it all makes sense to me now.

The Boston Phoenix: In what way — how does it make sense to you?

Jesse: It's hard to put my finger on it, but to be honest with you, I've been doing a lot of going back in preparing for this. Listening to early KILLSWITCH has made me listen to old Unearth, for example, and I think, "What was it about those times?" Listening to those old seven-inches, trying to recapture that spirit. And it wasn't just a musical thing, there was something socially going on, something conscious, like we had to rebel. There was a war going on, just this helpless feeling of being in your teens and early twenties back then. I knew that corruption was going on, I wasn't into the Clinton administration, the Bush administration, no one was speaking for me, and I still think it's that way! So that spirit of the Reagan era influenced a generation, the second wave of hardcore kids. And you look at bands like INTEGRITY and OVERCAST, and straight edge bands like Unbroken, the metal riffs started showing up, the SLAYER riffs, and hardcore added the dynamics that weren't there before, the breakdowns, the buildups, the singalongs, the gang vocals, worked with the more intricate riffs. Because hardcore's all about being simple and dynamic, the singalong, the message, shove it down someone's throat, and metal had more technique to it, and that intrigued hardcore kids who wanted to push it to the next level. Integrity had a huge influence to me, they were pretty much a metal band but their roots were in hardcore, they were the first band to fuse those styles. They were so fast, like hardcore, but they were unmistakably metal. And I'll be honest, when I first heard INTEGRITY, I was in my hardcore phase, so if you used double bass or had long hair, I wouldn't listen. And then a few years later, that resistance went out the window. We all realized that there can be metal kids, hardcore kids all at the same show doing pile-ons, and it just happened. Something about that time was really exciting. Another band I have to mention is RORSCHACH; they recently did some reunion shows and i still felt the excitement I felt years ago. When music gets popular and MTV and that whole popular corporate thing get ahold of something, it comes become marketable, it becomes money, it becomes business. And bands sign to labels get more money, get tour buses, get bigger budgets, all these things started to happen. That's when the edges started to dull and the music wasn't about the cause and the struggle, because why struggle, you're accepted!
It was publicly announced on June 16th, 2011 that Richmond, Virginia-based thrashers Municipal Waste had inked an album contract with Nuclear Blast Records. Inaugural outing proper Waste 'Em All arrived in January 2003 through Six Weeks Records, and was preceded by a self-titled EP in 2001. Full-lengths two through to four had been issued via Earache Records, namely August 2005's Hazardous Mutation, June 2007's The Art Of Partying, and August 2009's Massive Aggressive.
"We had finished our contract with Earache, which was for three records," explains Ryan Waste, guitarist and co-founder of Municipal Waste. "We decided to move on, and Nuclear Blast had been actually talking to us for a long time. We had developed friendships with people at the label, and it was just pretty much a no-brainer for us. They wanted to let the band be more creative and give us control over what we're doing, and give us better distribution. It just seemed like a win-win situation for us."
Such comments suggest that Municipal Waste were given less creative control in the past, but the axeman replies that this isn't the case. "No," he insists. "I felt like we were limited though. We always had creative control, but we always wanted to do more vinyl releases and stuff like that and work with smaller labels. Nuclear Blast is letting us do things like that; we're doing records on other labels and split records. They're into letting us have more output as a band, whereas we were limited before."
April 2012 record The Fatal Feast is the first Municipal Waste affair to be issued through this fresh agreement. "We actually took a year off to write this record, which we'd never done before," Ryan discloses. "We had always been on tour, and we were just rushing through the studio. We never really had time to sit down, and focus on writing and recording. We made a point of 'Hey, you know what? This is a transition for the band, and we're switching labels. We have time. Let's just take our time for once.'
"The year 2011 we dedicated to writing, so we went into the studio really refreshed and actually dedicated the time we wanted towards the record. It made us have our own sanity. It's like a mental thing – it's less stress. When there's a time limit on things you start to stress out, and you end up losing years off of your life thinking about whether you could have done better if you had had the time. I think it's just more of a mental thing, just to have more time. I think it really shows with this record."
In rushing to compose and record an album, musical parts sometimes surface which might not have otherwise. "There's always something you want to change," the musician agrees. "You always go 'Oh, I wish I did this differently,' but with this record I don't have that. That doesn't even exist on this record, and that's a first for me personally. I'm very proud of everything we've done, and we're such a fast-paced band that there's really no room for looking back anyway. Some parts are over before you know it. It's hard to pick out certain things, but I'm the only one that does anyway."
The Fatal Feast was self-produced. "We've never worked with a producer, and we probably never will," Ryan proclaims. "We knew what we wanted it to sound like. Municipal Waste is the producer of course. Our bass player Land Phil (Philip Hall) is currently working on becoming an engineer, and he's actually recorded demos of us this entire time. He's just learning as he goes. He's actually probably becoming someone that could be an engineer, and that definitely helps the band because it's all practice for him."
By its given title 2009's Massive Aggressive featured aggression, though its successor possibly has a greater claim to the moniker. "We try to raise the bar for each album, so we tried to basically outdo the record that was before it," the composer surmises. "We did Massive Aggressive in 2009, and I actually feel this record is more aggressive than Massive Aggressive. We're always trying to outdo ourselves with the intensity in the songwriting. We try to step it up; I guess we try to make an angry sounding record every time. I'm definitely happier with this album."
The Fatal Feast's artwork was designed by Justin Osbourne. "If you look at the album cover, it's based on the title track which is actually a concept we've had for about ten years – 'The Fatal Feast'," Ryan divulges. "It's about a space voyage gone wrong where the crew become cannibals and eat the captain for lack of food, and they begin to disembowel and eat his intestines out. They actually live as cannibals in space after that. We thought it was a cool concept, and we always wanted to see the artwork come to life.
"We had never worked with Justin before though. He was suggested by someone at the label who had seen his artwork, and sent us a link. We checked it out; I looked at it, and the rest of the band did. We were really just impressed, because it turned out to be one of the coolest covers we've had. I thought it looked like old horror movie advertising; some of the artwork looked like old horror posters, and we're very obsessed with horror movies and stuff. I got to work back and forth with Justin, and gave him the basics of the concept. I showed him the artwork for the Waste 'Em All record. I told him to recreate the character on that cover, but put it in a more futuristic setting in space, make it more intense and step it up for where the band is now. I think he totally captured that in the art. He was actually really great to work with, and I would definitely work with him again."
Old school artwork's presence on Municipal Waste artwork is very much a conscious decision. "It's a very extremely conscious thing," the guitarist concurs. "All I listen to is old school metal, and I feel like the artwork is just as important as the music. It's a visual thing. I love LP records because the art is big; you just pick it up, look at it, and you know that this is gonna be cool. Every kid in the record store sees it, and it's visually stimulating. I think it's very important, but a lot of bands don't seem to care about that as much. We have always been real big on having the old school album art though. I prefer real paintings.
"The Fatal Feast's artwork is actually done by hand, though I think Justin did use some digital colouring in there. It's hard to move away from that now with production, but I think it's a mixture of both in this case. That's futuristic, so it fits in with the album."
Ryan is thoroughly pleased with the guitar tone he achieved in recording The Fatal Feast. "I was going for more of an organic, natural tone," he informs. "Not super over-distorted. I wanted it to have clarity on this record, so in terms of the tone I'm really happy that I achieved it. I then did some more lead guitar work which I haven't done very much in the past, so I'm pretty proud that there's some solos on the record. I just try to step it up a little bit more with each album, and add some more lead guitar. We ran it through a few different amps. I can't give away all of my secrets (laughs), but we had a few tricks up our sleeve. Yeah, I'm totally happy with how it's turned out. It's classic wave stuff with a little bit more of a flow."
A long-standing assortment from the industrial fringes of Birmingham happens to be the axeman's favourite. "My favourite band to date – and ever since I was a kid – is Judas Priest," he acknowledges. "Without knowing it, Glenn Tipton has always been an influence in the back of my head. Whether or not it shows through in the later stuff I don't know, but it's definitely there. I grew up on Slayer of course, so Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman are the foundation for me playing fast, kind of aggressive speed metal I think. It definitely goes back to Slayer for me, their early albums mainly. Show No Mercy (December 1983), Hell Awaits (September 1985) and stuff. That's how I got started off, and I think it still holds up. I love Reign In Blood (October 1986), but I've heard that album way too much. Show No Mercy is the one that stands the test of time for me. That's the one I can go back and listen to all the time. After Seasons In The Abyss (October 1990), I stopped really being into them. It kinda went downhill for me."
Growing up, Ryan was actually a bassist. "I played bass for far longer than I have played guitar, so on guitar I still feel like I'm learning a lot of stuff," he admits. "I think every guitar player is forever learning; anyone who says they've got it mastered is full of shit. I think playing bass helps as a rhythm player though, and keeping time. It laid the foundation for me I guess which helps me just to stay steady, but when I play bass people tell me I play bass like a guitar player. Maybe I knew it was my calling to play guitar as well, but I still enjoy playing bass. I play bass in another band called Volture, so I'm getting to do both. It's pretty cool.
"We're more a band that's based on riffs mind, so I think that as long as we can generate these riffs that make a better song then that's what counts. I've always been lucky enough to be able to generate that, though it's hard to talk about yourself and how you've done. I still feel like I'm improving; if I learn a new trick I'm gonna put it on the new record, and you can hear that on some of the solos that I'm doing."
Steve Moore of space rock duo Zombi penned the intro to the title cut. "We had wanted a more horror movie soundtrack-type intro for the record, and luckily Dave Witte our drummer was friends with Steve," the musician notes. "He was like 'Hey, I'll just call the guy from Zombi,' and everyone was like 'Perfect.' If anyone could nail that type of sound it would be him, and luckily through Dave we knew him. We just contacted him, told him the key that the song was in, and what we wanted. I just told him 'I want it to sound like a John Carpenter score, like from a John Carpenter movie.' Obviously being a sci-fi / horror fan himself he knew exactly what to do, and he just created an awesome intro I think for the title track and for the album. It truly sets the tone of the record. All we had to actually do to pay the guy was buy him a bunch of fancy beer, and that was his payment for the song. It was very cool."
John Connelly of New York City-based thrashers Nuclear Assault lent vocals to the tune. "We've been huge Nuclear Assault fans ever since we were young and started the band," Ryan beams. "We played with them years ago and became friends, so we just reached out to them and called them. We felt like the riff on the song that I wrote kinda sounded like Nuclear Assault, and you could just hear his voice over it. All we did was reach out, and he was more than happy to record the vocals for it. It sounds cool."
Directed by Jeff Speed, a music video for the title track was filmed in Los Angeles. "We did a gory version, which is probably the most gory thing we've done," the songwriter reckons. "We did a lot of sci-fi / horror effects. It basically looks like the album cover. We went into a spaceship setting, and we're basically the crew acting out the lyrics of the song.
"We also filmed a video for the song 'Repossession', where we're repo men. Municipal Waste is confiscating cars, and everything. It was done with David Brodsky who did the 'Wrong Answer' video, and the 'Wolves Of Chernobyl' video. We like to stick with the same people that know how we work."
Horror is a colossal influence on Municipal Waste. "A huge, humongous influence," Ryan stresses. "I feel like in the lyric writing we basically created our own horror stories, and our own Municipal Waste mythology with these songs. I think a lot of the songs that we wrote could be horror movie scripts or short stories. We all grew up on these horror movies, so I think it's always stuck with us and is always a part of us with the artwork and the lyrical content."
Horror's influence on Municipal Waste extends to the quartet's introductory tracks. "When John Carpenter would do the score for his movies, that stuff influences the intro and bands like Goblin and stuff like that with the keyboard intros that they have," the guitarist recognises. "With Dario Argento, the movie Opera has a speed metal soundtrack. Phenomena (1985) and Demons (1985), with all those movies that Dario Argento did you could tell he was a heavy metal fan. He would have Accept on the soundtrack, Motörhead, and Iron Maiden, and then Steel Grave was a fictional band in Opera. They had a speed metal band play every time the killer would come out and kill someone. This speed metal song would kick in by a band called Steel Grave, which was an Italian band that was made up just for the movie. I think that was the coolest thing ever; if the music starts, you know someone is about to die. That stuff is an influence I think. I just think it goes hand in hand; people that love old school horror movies tend to like heavy metal too, which is kind of a cultural thing I think."
A wide spectrum of horror movies figure among Ryan's favourites. "I like a lot of the old Dario Argento movies – Profondo Rosso (1975), Opera (1987), and The Church (1989)," he enthuses. "I also like some more campy stuff like Blood Sucking Freaks (1976). Of course I like John Carpenter's They Live (1988) and The Thing (1982), and sci-fi based stuff like Galaxy Of Terror (1981), more obscure space horror. I like the old stuff, man. I don't like the current state of horror. I think with new movies there's too many pop culture references in them and too much dialogue, where they don't leave some suspense. As far as horror movies, older movies had silence where you could use your imagination to think about what's happening. That's instead of someone talking to you the whole time, listening to their fucking iPod on the screen, and plugging all these companies and stuff. It just seems like so many references to pop cultures have come into play in movies now, whereas in the old days the mood was totally different and you could use your imagination more.
"It's kind of like music; I don't like much new music either. A lot of it is the production. It seems overproduced, and a lot of the sounds like the triggers on drums just sound so fake. I feel like everything is too clean. There's no rawness to it, and I like analogue recordings. I listen to vinyl mainly. New music just doesn't do it for me the way the old stuff does. I like a little bit of a raw quality to it."
Horror might be a substantial influence on Municipal Waste, but that isn't to say the genre wholly permeates The Fatal Feast's compositions. "There's one track called 'Jesus Freaks', which is actually based on a story that Tony (Foresta, vocals) created," the axeman mentions. "Religious people will come and try to put their religious propaganda on you, and it's about a guy who pretended to be into the religion. He wanted to play a joke on them basically, and be like 'Oh yeah, this is great. I wanna be a follower of your religion.' He gets in too deep, and finds that it's a religious cult more than he thought. They find out that he's being false and trying to play a joke on them, and they close in on him and try to murder him and sacrifice him. It's a joke gone wrong. Then there's a song called 'The Monster With 21 Faces', which is based on a true story about a Japanese serial killer who was never caught. He would actually write letters to the police giving clues away, and he called himself The Monster With 21 Faces. The police got so stressed out and freaked out by it that some of them started to commit suicide over it from not being able to solve the case. It just got to them so much. We have some songs like that. Some are based on reality, some are made up."
Formerly of rock outfit Avail, vocalist Tim Barry guests on the track 'Standards And Practices'. "He's actually an old friend of the band's, an old Richmond punk rocker," Ryan reflects. "In Avail he was a metalhead back in the day, so he can definitely relate to the punk rock and the metal output that we make. Actually, our singer Tony surprised us by having him do guest vocals – we didn't know he was gonna do that. He went into the studio, laid it down, and then we came to hear it. It seemed like it fitted really well, so we were happy with that. It's more of a political song, a little more of a serious song. It's about the government oppressing people, and more calling bullshit on the government. Standing up for your rights, don't follow the mould that they've created for you, and do your own thing. The Occupy Wallstreet situation, it's kind of referring to that. It's funny though because we wrote the song before any of that was happening. It's a basic punk rock lifestyle attitude. Tim is more of an activist type person, and into bringing issues to the table."
More political fare will likely not become a facet of future Municipal Waste albums, though. "We try to stay away from it, to tell you the truth," the musician confesses. "There are enough bands preaching to people, and we've never been a band that's like that. We touch on this stuff on maybe one song on a record. It's never gonna be a big mission. This band is more about having fun, and more fantasy oriented stuff. I don't think we're ever gonna turn into a huge political band. I definitely don't care to."
Municipal Waste are due to release a split vinyl with Portland, Oregon-based thrashers Toxic Holocaust dubbed the Toxic Waste split. "That's actually gonna be out on Tankcrimes Records, which is a label of a friend of ours out in California," Ryan tells. "I think we're actually gonna do special vinyl releases of The Fatal Feast. We're working on a pop-up book gatefold record where the record opens and the artwork pops up, and we're gonna have a big packaging thing with that too with some bonus T-shirts, posters and stuff like that. That's being worked out right now. We're doing a seven-inch with Scion A/V as well, so we're doing all these cool little vinyl releases which is what we wanna do."
"I like to buy vinyl," he continues. "I usually buy used records, but I'm not against downloading music. Some stuff you can never find on LP, or it's too expensive. It's old, rare stuff. I'll download old music, but I definitely don't buy music from iTunes and stuff like that. I don't think it's necessary, and I don't actually have a problem with people downloading free music. It's never bothered me. I mean, I do it. I don't care if people download my music for free. It's fine with me."
The composer dislikes the compact disc format. "I don't like the packaging," he complains. "It's just kind of crappy."
The long play (LP) record is Ryan's format of choice, as can be ascertained from his comments throughout this feature. "I have two Technix turntables actually. I DJ vinyl records in my spare time; I do a heavy metal DJ night and I bring my record players to the bar, so I have a whole set-up with a mixer and two turntables. I do the same thing in my house – I have it set up. It's old school, 1980s. I have one of those big Ikea shelves to stock my LP collection; it takes up half of the room, and has 2,000 records. It's a lot, and it's ever growing (laughs). It's never gonna stop growing, so it might take up the whole room eventually."
The Fatal Feast was released in North America on April 10th, 2012 and subsequently on the 13th
in Europe, all through Nuclear Blast Records.
Former MEGADETH guitarist Marty Friedman's most recent two studio albums, "Bad D.N.A." and "Tokyo Jukebox 2", will be released in Europe as a deluxe two-disc set. The package will feature an all-new design and booklet as well as special a bonus track (not available elsewhere) — the guitar-karaoke version of the song "Bad D.N.A.", so for the first time you can hear in detail everything that is going on underneath Marty's lead guitar, and add some yourself, if you are so inclined. This is the first "backing track" Marty has released outside of Japan.

The European release will be through Verycords, a French label with distribution by Warner Bros. The release dates are May 7 in France and the U.K. and May 11 in the rest of Europe.

"Tokyo Jukebox 2" was released in Japan last September via Avex. The CD picks up where Friedman's 2009 effort, "Tokyo Jukebox", left off, with even more adventurous arrangements of his favorite Japanese songs. Recorded at The Village Recorder in Los Angeles, the album features Jason Bittner (SHADOWS FALL) on drums.

"Bad D.N.A." was released in Japan on August 25, 2010 via Avex. The CD was produced by Marty and engineered by Steve Hardy and Shinnosuke Miyazawa (LADY GAGA, GUNS N' ROSES) at The Village Recorder in Los Angeles, California.
"Childhood's End" sees progressive Norwegian rock/metal band ULVER re-interpret classic psychedelic tracks from the late 1960s. The album includes ULVER's unique versions of tracks from THE 13TH FLOOR ELEVATORS, ELECTRIC PRUNES, JEFFERSON AIRPLANE, THE PRETTY THINGS and more.

The Sunshine era gets the "dark music" treatment!

Early pioneers of Norwegian black metal, ULVER have continually evolved throughout their career and now stand as living legends of the dark music industry, blending rock, electronica, symphonic and chamber traditions along with noise and experimental music to create groundbreaking material.

Last year they released the critically acclaimed "War Of The Roses" album which was described by Zero Tolerance as "a quite beautiful record of startlingly powerful depth."

All copies ordered from the Kscope store will come with a download card which features a unique code to download a digital version of the album. Pre-order now for May 28 release.

"Childhood's End" track listing:


01. Bracelets Of Fingers (originally recorded by THE PRETTY THINGS)
02. Everybody's Been Burned (THE BYRDS)
06. Can You Travel In The Dark Alone? (GANDALF)
07. I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night (ELECTRIC PRUNES)
08. Street Song (THE 13TH FLOOR ELEVATORS)
09. 66-5-4-3-2-1 (THE TROGGS)
10. Dark Is The Bark (LEFT BANKE)
11. Magic Hollow (BEAU BRUMMELS)
12. Soon There'll Be Thunder (COMMON PEOPLE)
13. Velvet Sunsets (MUSIC EMPORIUM)
14. Lament Of The Astral Cowboy (CURT BOETTCHER)
15. I Can See The Light (LES FLEUR DE LYS)
16. Where Is Yesterday (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)


Side A

1. Bracelets Of Fingers
2. Everybody's Been Burned
3. The Trap
4. In The Past
5. Today

Side B

01. Can You Travel In The Dark Alone?
02. I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night
03. Street Song
04. 66-5-4-3-2-1

Side C

01. Dark Is The Bark
02. Magic Hollow
03. Soon There'll Be Thunder
04. Velvet Sunsets

Side D

01. Lament Of The Astral Cowboy
02. I Can See The Light
03. Where Is Yesterday
A Top 10 success story in Spain, Basque band BERRI TXARRAK will headline the Graviton showcase at Garage in London on Sunday, April 22, following a support slot with CANCER BATS at the Barfly on Saturday, April 21.

BERRI TXARRAK's new album, "Haria" ("The Thread"), helmed by acclaimed producer Ross Robinson (KORN, SLIPKNOT, MACHINE HEAD), has just been released in the U.K.

"'Haria' is not a conceptual album," states vocalist Gorka. "The main idea behind it is the power of falling down, getting up again and going forward.

"After the original drummer left, BERRI TXARRAK almost became a corpse. He decided to leave in the middle of the tour after our previous album, 'Payola', came out. It was kind of dramatic. We had three months of tour left and he played those shows with us, but while we knew he would quit, people out there did not, so it was really hard for us. I was not sure whether I wanted to keep going with the band but we did and luckily so."

Active for 17 years and highly successful in their native Spain, BERRI TXARRAK's Basque lyrical content has not hindered them from being a hit on the international market supporting acts such as RISE AGAINST in the U.S.

"The language of music and the power of the songs conquered our listeners," continues Gorka. "Look at a band like RAMMSTEIN, as well. No matter where you come from or what language you are using, music will win everyone over in the end."

"For many artists, rock music is a way of having fun," concludes Gorka. "And we really have fun playing or writing songs but we believe that there is more to music than that. It's also a way of questioning things. We may not have the power to change the world but we may change small worlds. Music certainly changed my world and I believe ours can do that for others."
On May 21-23, 2012, Diversity Alliance for Science, Inc., a non-profit organization created to support, mentor, and develop minority-, woman-, veteran/service-disabled-, HUBZone-, and LGBT-owned, life sciences businesses, will host its fifth annual networking conference and EXPO event. Bret Michaels, award-winning multi-platinum musician and long-time health advocate, will address the conference held at the Renaissance Newark Airport Hotel in Newark, N.J. on May 22 at 1:00 p.m.

Bret Michaels has sold 32 million albums and scored chart-topping singles as the front man for the rock band POISON and a solo musician; starred in multiple hit television reality shows, including "The Celebrity Apprentice" (winner of Season 9); and appeared on multiple shows, including "Oprah", "David Letterman", "Ellen", "The View" and "Good Morning America". Having lived with diabetes since the age of 6, in 2011 within a matter of weeks he suffered a brain hemorrhage, stroke, underwent an emergency appendectomy and was diagnosed with a hole in his heart. Bret Michaels has been a long-time health advocate and serves as the spokesperson for the National Diabetes Month. He received the American Diabetes Association's esteemed Chair's Citation Award for excellence for raising awareness and funds for the organization. He is an active supporter of many other health organizations.

Diversity Alliance for Science, Inc. works to forge mutually beneficial relationships between diverse businesses, pharmaceutical firms, biotech companies, academic medical centers in the life sciences and government agencies. Diversity has been shown to be a key factor in leading to health care innovation, thereby driving leading-edge competitiveness, economic development and growth in communities.

Diversity Alliance for Science's Fifth Annual Networking Conference and EXPO will provide an important opportunity for participants to collaborate on best practices in fostering the inclusion of diverse businesses in clinical trials and scientific research. One-on-one matchmaking sessions will foster mutually beneficial partnerships between participating diverse suppliers and attending corporations, academic institutions, and government agencies. Additionally, the EXPO will include an interactive trade show where attending corporations can meet leading diverse suppliers.

There will be a special networking and cocktail event for participants on Tuesday, May 22, which will include a silent auction, featuring autographed items from Bret Michaels. As in past years, proceeds from the silent auction will provide access and education in the life sciences area to low poverty, deserving high-school students. Scholarships will be presented to local students by the Office of the Mayor of Newark.\
Danish extreme metallers ILLDISPOSED will enter Antfarm Studio in Århus, Denmark on May 18 with producer Tue Madsen (MOONSPELL, DARK TRANQUILLITY, GOREFEST, SICK OF IT ALL) to begin recording their new album for a late 2012 release.

ILLDISPOSED last year parted ways with guitarist Franz Hellboss and replaced him with Ken Holst.

The band's most recent album, "There Is Light (But It's Not For Me)", entered the official chart in the band's home country at position No. 78. Released on April 1, 2011 via Massacre Records, the CD was recorded at Antfarm with Tue Madsen.

ILLDISPOSED's previous album, "To Those Who Walk Behind Us", entered the official chart in Denmark at No. 32. This was the group's highest-ever chart position in Denmark.

The "There Is Light (But It's Not For Me)" artwork was created by Lasse Hoile, who previously worked with ILLDISPOSED on the "1-800 Vindication" and "Burn Me Wicked" releases.
South Carolina-based extreme technical death metallers NILE have issued the following update:

"We are extremely sad to inform this to our fans in India that our tour of India has been called off as the visas for three of the members were refused today by the Indian embassy in Washington D.C. Two people in the travel party were granted the visas in Houston and in Athens, but the rest were not — for reasons that none of us know. The Indian embassy has not cited any reasons for rejection of the visas. It was, and is, beyond the control of the band, either of the promoters or the artist management. We did all we could to make this happen and tried working on getting the three visas for almost a month! The promoters — Dream Rigs Entertainment (Delhi) and Obliquity India, Lanyard Entertainment and ARK Events (Bangalore) — want all fans to know who have booked tickets 'online' that they shall be refunded in full by the respective ticketing companies for Delhi and Bangalore concerts. But this is not the end and all of us are going to try to get NILE back to India."

NILE has set "At The Gate Of Sethu" as the title of its new album, due in late spring/early summer via Nuclear Blast Records. The follow-up to 2009's "Those Whom The Gods Detest" was once again produced and mixed by Neil Kernon, who has previously worked with NEVERMORE, CANNIBAL CORPSE, QUEENSRŸCHE and DEICIDE, among many others.

In a recent interview with CobraMetal.net, NILE's Karl Sanders stated about the band's forthcoming CD, "Well, we started [working on it] in May of last year (2011) after we finished our European tour. We worked on that fucking record for 10 months straight, to the exclusion of all else. (Laughs) Long hours, every day."

Regarding the new album's concept, Karl said, "It's in similar territory to other NILE records in that a lot of it stems from Ancient Egyptology and sort of has underlying modern themes tied in. We haven't abandoned our identity and I don't believe you should fuck over your fans. If your fans like what you do, and you change too much of what you do, fans don't like it. What matters to me is when I'm out on tour and I meet the actual fans and they share their thoughts…those are the people that I listen to. There's a lot of new ideas within the realm of what we do that we tried to incorporate. We studied real hard on the guitar and have lots of new riffs and musical ideas. There are a lot of surprises on the record."

When asked if fans can expect any guest appearances on the new NILE CD, Karl said, "Jon Vesano is all over this record. (Our former singer and bass guitarist who we're still good friends with.) Jon did some guest vocals on "Those Whom The Gods Detest" and it made us realize all over again all the things we really liked about Jon's vocals. We wanted to incorporate some of his insanity. [laughs] He's wicked, man. He knows how to channel that inner possession. He finds a way to summon it. It's great stuff."
According to Wikimetal, one of the greatest Brazilian heavy metal bands has rejoined forces with its original lead singer after 22 years. VIPER will reunite with vocalist André Matos (ANGRA, SHAAMAN) in order to celebrate the 25-year anniversary of the release of the group's album "Soldiers Of Sunrise". For the first time ever, VIPER will play its first two LPs, "Soldiers Of Sunrise" and "Theater Of Fate", in their entirety.

In addition to Matos, VIPER's lineup will include Pit Passarell (bass, vocals), Felipe Machado (guitar) and Guilherme Martin (drums). Hugo Mariutti will replace Yves Passarell during the trek, the setlist for which "will contain nice surprises for the fans."

The "To Live Again Tour 2012" will take place in July 2012 and will be the only opportunity for fans to check out VIPER in this formation.

The first "To Live Again Tour 2012" date has already been announced: July 1 in São Paulo, Brazil. Other cities will be announced shortly.
American death metallers VORE have inked a deal with AFM Records. The band's latest album, "Gravehammer", will be re-released on July 20.

VORE has been cranking out its unique blend of crushing, doom-laden death metal since 1994. The band draws upon death, thrash and traditional metal influences to create an onslaught of titanic power and heaviness.

VORE's mid-paced rhythmic style is built around strong riffs and songcraft, rather than all out speed, which sets them apart from current trends in death metal. Over this soundscape, themes of doom, darkness, conquest and sorcery roar in a savage vocal attack.

VORE consists of guitarist/vocalist Page Townsley, drummer Remy Cameron and bassist Jeremy Partin. The band has released four self-financed CDs — "Dead Kings Eyes" in 1997, "Lord Of Storms" in 2001, "Maleficus" in 2005 and "Gravehammer", which was unleashed in late 2011.

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