[Classic_Rock_Forever] Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Sex Pistols, Candlemass, Lynch Mob, Grave Digger, and tons more hard rock and heavy metal news


BLACK SABBATH bassist Geezer Butler has issued the following statement in regards to the band's homecoming concert tomorrow night (Saturday, May 19) at the O2 Academy in Birmingham, England:

"Well, rehearsals are finally finished, and now for the nervous part, playing our hometown gig. Since it is a warm-up show, there will probably be a few glitches, but remember it's all in a good cause, since we'll be donating to the Help For Heroes charity, a fantastic charity that helps our troops who have been wounded in recent wars. No matter what your feelings about the wars are, these men and women willingly dedicate their lives for our defence and freedom. I hope the people who are making profits by re-selling the tickets to real fans find it in their hearts to do the right thing and donate at least some of their gains to the charity. Here is the link. Thanks for caring. Geezer."

Drummer Bill Ward officially announced on Tuesday (May 15) that he will not be joining BLACK SABBATH for this year's performances. In a long message posted on his web site, Ward explained that he was simply unable to come to terms with his bandmates. The drummer claimed that the group asked him to participate "minimally" at the band's Download festival set in the U.K. in June, then later offered him the chance to play a Birmingham warm-up show on May 19 "for free and see how the first show goes" without any guarantee that he'd get to perform at the other concerts, which he ultimately turned down. He said, "I can't prioritize the SABBATH fans making one show more important than the other. I can't do that. All of you are important. It's all the gigs or none at all. I can't come to Birmingham and 'see what happens' knowing there is a risk of not being able to play Download or Lollapalooza. Again, for me, it's all or nothing. I didn't want to make this decision, but I have to be honest and transparent."

BLACK SABBATH was supposed to tour the Europe and North America this year as part of a worldwide trek in support of a new album, but Tony Iommi's cancer diagnosis put those plans on hold.

Ozzy, Iommi and Butler recently spent time in London recording their first album together in 33 years, although without Ward it is not the original SABBATH reunion announced last November.

The rest of SABBATH's scheduled European summer gigs will be replaced by "Ozzy And Friends", at which the singer will be joined by Butler, former Ozzy guitarist Zakk Wylde and other special guests, including Slash on selected dates.
BLACK SABBATH has signed a deal with merchandising company Bravado, a division of Universal Music Group.

Bravado will commemorate the launch of the BLACK SABBATH collection with contests held in the U.S., U.K. and Germany for fans and budding T-shirt designers to create their own BLACK SABBATH-inspired merchandise. In the USA, Hot Topic will sponsor a "Design Your Own Black Sabbath T-Shirt" and in the U.K., HMV will sponsor the same, with one lucky winner having his/her creation sold exclusively at that store. The winning designer will also receive a lithograph signed by the members of BLACK SABBATH. In Germany, the leading mail-order company EMP, with sponsor the contest, with the winning design sold exclusively in their catalog and online.

"Bravado is dedicated to working with the most talented and most popular artists of our time," stated CEO Tom Bennett. "To many, BLACK SABBATH transcends their music. They not only created a genre, but they then elevated it to have a place in pop culture. I can't wait to see what kind of products they will create with us."
Drummer Bill Ward has been removed from all the photos on the homepage and gallery section of BLACK SABBATH's official web site after he announced that he was unable to to reach a contractual agreement with his bandmates about participating in their upcoming reunion shows.

In response to the move, Tony Conley of the Facebook page 1,000,000 Black Sabbath Fans Say Yes To Bill Ward wrote, "That is simply one of the most dastardly, chickenshit things I have ever seen done in my 40-some years of watching rock and roll. Definitely the maneuver with the least class, and disrespect.

"Bill's statements have been filled with love and respect. BLACK SABBATH's responses have been shallow and cold.

"Two sides to every story? Then tell yours, BLACK SABBATH, and stop hiding. If Bill can't hack it — say so. If he wants more than his share financially — say so. If there is a reasonable explanation for this shameful display, please help us to understand what it is. Currently, you look shameful and sad. That is not how we wish to feel about you.

"Your fans deserve better, Bill deserves better, and you deserve better."

BLACK SABBATH will play a hometown concert in Birmingham, England tomorrow night (Saturday, May 19) as a warm-up show for the band's appearance at the Download festival at Donington next month. SABBATH has hired a replacement drummer for the upcoming gigs but has yet to reveal the musician's identiry.

A furor erupted online in 2007 after photos of Michael Anthony at the official VAN HALEN web site were either removed or replaced by an image of guitarist Eddie Van Halen's son Wolfgang, who played bass on the group's recent album and tour. The photos were restored less than two days later.
"The Ultimate Unauthorized History Of The Beast", a new book by Neil Daniels, will be released in June via Jawbone Books in the U.K. and Voyageur Press in the U.S.

Formed in east London in 1975, IRON MAIDEN went on to become one of the most successful rock acts in history. With more than 85 million album sales to their credit, the legendary metal band remains hugely popular worldwide: Their 2010 album, "The Final Frontier", debuted at No. 1 in 30 countries and received unanimous critical praise.

In this, the first complete illustrated treatment of IRON MAIDEN, a roster of respected heavy metal journalists — including Ian Christe, Martin Popoff, Mick Wall, Daniel Bukszpan, and more — relate the band's history, analyze their recordings, and provide a complete discography.

The stories behind the band's formation, recordings, and tours, are complemented with more than 400 images, including live performance and candid off-stage photographs, as well as memorabilia, gig posters, T-shirts, backstage passes, buttons, and tickets. And with Derek Riggs (the man behind IRON MAIDEN's iconic mascot, Eddie) having created the book's exclusive cover art, this really is a must for any serious IRON MAIDEN collector.

Few bands have as widespread global appeal as IRON MAIDEN. Here is the book that gives that history its just treatment.

Neil Daniels has written about classic rock and heavy metal for a wide range of magazines, fanzines, and web sites. He had more than 10 books published between 2007 and 2011, including titles on JUDAS PRIEST, Robert Plant, BON JOVI, and JOURNEY. His reviews, articles, and interviews have appeared in The Guardian, Rock Sound, Record Collector and myriad other publications and web sites.
Beginning May 22, in celebration of IRON MAIDEN and the upcoming "Maiden England" North American tour, Rock Band will offer a six pack of songs in the Rock Band 3 Music Store of downloadable content for the Xbox360, PlayStation 3 and Wii. The "Maiden Epics" pack represents a selection of IRON MAIDEN's most powerful and epic tracks from their albums recorded during the 1980s and thus ties in with their 2012 "Maiden England" tour, the setlist for which will be almost exclusively filled with classics from that remarkable decade. Tracks in the "Maiden Epics" pack include: "Phantom of the Opera" from the band's 1980 self-titled debut studio record; "The Prisoner" from 1982's "Number Of The Beast"; "Flight Of Icarus" from 1983's "Piece Of Mind"; the 13-minute epic "Rime Of The Ancient Mariner" from 1984's "Powerslave"; and "Infinite Dreams" and "Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son", from 1988's "Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son".

Songs included in the "Maiden Epics" pack being released May 22:

* "Phantom of the Opera"
* "The Prisoner"
* "Flight of Icarus"
* "Rime of the Ancient Mariner"
* "Infinite Dreams"
* "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son"
The SEX PISTOLS were responsible for initiating the punk movement in the United Kingdom and inspiring many later punk and alternative rock musicians. Although their initial career lasted just two and a half years and produced only four singles and one studio album, they are regarded as one of the most influential acts in the history of popular music.

For the first time ever in their history, the SEX PISTOLS have been rendered as vinyl figures.

All of these stylized 3.75-inch-tall vinyl figures come decked in the trend-setting SEX PISTOLS attire we've come to know and love. They're detailed right down to Sid's pad lock chain, Johnny's enigmatic glare, and Steve's leather jacket.
Legendary Swedish doom metallers CANDLEMASS will release their 11th and final album, "Psalms For The Dead", on June 8 via Napalm Records. A limited-edition seven-inch vinyl single contaning two album tracks —"Dancing In The Temple Of The Mad Queen Bee" and "The Killing Of The Sun" — preceded the full-length effort on April 13.

CANDLEMASS will celebrate the release of the new album with June 5 performance at Debaser Slussen in Stockholm, Sweden. The band will play a full set that will contain songs from the new CD, a few surprises and some classics.

"Psalms For The Dead" track listing:

01. Prophet
02. The Sound Of Dying Demons
03. Dancing In The Temple (Of The Mad Queen Bee)
04. Waterwitch
05. The Lights Of Thebe
06. Psalms For The Dead
07. The Killing Of The Sun
08. Siren Song
09. Black As Time
10. Sadness Runs Deep (7" bonus single)
11. Beneath The Fire (7" bonus single)

"This record represents everything that is CANDLEMASS," Leif Edling states. "It is big, fat, epic and heavy, and it's also metal as fuck! We couldn't have done a better album! It's our last one and we put just all we had into it. 'Psalms For The Dead' is an album about the presence and absence of time, false prophets and inner demons....hymns, regret and farewell. Let there be doom!"

Despite the fact that "Psalms For The Dead" is being billed as CANDLEMASS' final studio album, Edling told Terrorizer magazine in a recent interview that the group is not planning on hanging it up anytime soon.

"We're not splitting up," he said. "Yes, this is to be our last album, but we don't plan to disappear from the scene for quite awhile. We will tour this year, hopefully the next one as well, and then there's our upcoming 30th anniversary. So plenty more doom to come! It's just that we want to stop before we get too old and start putting out half-lame albums. Instead, we'll slowly fade away into the sunset with our dignity intact. We're not young anymore. Actually, some of the stuff I've been writing for this album ism in fact, about saying goodbye. It's a bit psalm-like in parts and has got a big epic vibe."

He added, "I have got a very good feeling about this album. It's so metal, so heavy, so doomy, so epic.. It's fucking colossal! I think this will turn out as good as [2009's] 'Death Magic Doom', something I thought would be impossible."
Legendary bassist Bob Daisley (OZZY OSBOURNE, BLACK SABBATH, RAINBOW, URIAH HEEP, GARY MOORE) will serve a patron for Rock The House, the parliamentary live music competition which supports the U.K. live music industry and promotes the importance of intellectual property rights.

Rock The House sees MPs (Members of Parliament) nominate the best live musicians and music venue from their constituencies. Now in its second year, it has become the single most participated-in Parliamentary competition with a massive 165 MPs submitting nominations — including the Prime Minister David Cameron and the Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport, Jeremy Hunt.

The finalists will be announced on May 23, with the live finals competition being held on May 30 in last year's joint winner in the live music venue category, the Bedford in Balham. Winners will be invited to play a live set on the terrace of the House of Commons in the evening.

For more information, visit www.rockthehouse2012.com.
On June 19, Deadline Music/Cleopatra Records will release a special three-disc audio/video deluxe collection of LYNCH MOB's "REvolution". The set features the full-length studio album "REvolution" with killer, supercharged renditions of classic DOKKEN/LYNCH MOB tracks such as "Tooth And Nail", "Breaking The Chains", "Wicked Sensation" and more. It also includes professionally filmed live performances recorded during the 2005 "REvolution" tour, mixed in 5.1 Surround Sound.

George "Mr. Scary" Lynch cemented his legendary role in the heavy music community in the early 1980s when he joined forces with Don Dokken. For almost a decade with DOKKEN, Lynch was able to develop a groundbreaking brand of guitar virtuoso that would also earn a Grammy nomination. In the early 1990s, Lynch launched his own project, LYNCH MOB, which released several well-received records in between Lynch's eclectic other solo works. But in 2003, the MOB reassembled to rework DOKKEN and LYNCH MOB material. The result was a decidedly darker, heavier, and very experimental reinvention that fans of all iterations of George Lynch appreciated. They took it on the road for a series of fierce concerts that left audiences jaw-dropped at the band's creative live presentation

Along with the legendary George Lynch on guitar, this iteration of LYNCH MOB features the return of Robert Mason on vocals after nearly a decade absence, original bassist Anthony Esposito, and Michael Frowein on drums.

"REvolution: Deluxe Collection" track listing:

Disc 1: REvolution

01. Tooth And Nail
02. Tangled In The Web
03. All I Want
04. Kiss Of Death
05. She's Evil But She's Mine
06. Relax
07. Cold Is The Heart
08. Breaking The Chains
09. When Darkness Calls
10. River Of Love
11. Wicked Sensation
12. Paris Is Burning
13. The Secret

Disc 2: REvolution Live! CD

01. Intro
02. Paris Is Burning
03. Dance Of The Dogs
04. Tangled In The Web
05. All I Want
06. Kiss Of Death
07. She's Evil But She's Mine
08. Cold Is The Heart
09. When Darkness Calls
10. River Of Love
11. Rain
12. Hell Child
13. Breaking The Chains
14. Wicked Sensation
15. Tooth And Nail

Disc 3: REvolution Live! DVD

01. Paris Is Burning
02. Dance Of The Dogs
03. Tangled In The Web
04. All I Want
05. Kiss Of Death
06. She's Evil But She's Mine
07. Cold Is The Heart
08. When Darkness Calls
09. River Of Love
10. Hell Child
11. Breaking The Chains
12. Wicked Sensation
13. Tooth And Nail
14. Rain (bonus track)
German power metallers GRAVE DIGGER will release their new album on August 24 in Europe and September 4 in North America via Napalm Records. A six-song mini-CD will precede the full-length effort on July 27 in Europe and August 7 in North America.

GRAVE DIGGER's new CD was recorded at Principal Studios in Münster, Germany. The band laid down at least 10 new original compositions as well as "a cover version of a male, 'not-heavy-metal' artist," which the group said "won't be another German 'Schlager' song... it will be 150 percent pure GRAVE DIGGER metal. Again we transferred the spirit of the '80s into the sound of 2012."

GRAVE DIGGER last fall extended its contract with Napalm Records. The band said in a statement, "Napalm is a small and hard-working team that is as effective and productive as a company of 70 people. Always reachable and competent, they work with their artists individually. These are the strengths of Napalm, and that is why we have signed a deal for three more records under the Napalm banner."

"The Clans Are Still Marching", the latest DVD from GRAVE DIGGER, entered the German Media Control chart at position No. 56 (German chart rules allow music DVDs to enter album charts).

GRAVE DIGGER's latest album, "The Clans Will Rise Again", was released in Europe on October 1, 2010 via Napalm Records. The CD was recorded between mid-May 2010 and mid-July 2010 at the Meadow Studios, which is owned by GRAVE DIGGER's new guitarist Axel Ritt, and Principal Studios, where all of GRAVE DIGGER albums since 1995's "Heart Of Darkness" have been tracked. It was produced by Chris Boltendahl and mixed by Jörg Umbreit.
According to Crazed Hits, mysterious Swedish heavy rock buzz band GHOST has inked a deal with Seven Four Ent. GHOST is said to be the first signing for the label, which is led by former Warner Bros. Records Chairman/CEO Tom Whalley.

Seven Four Ent. last month announced a label deal with Universal Republic Records.

While at Interscope Records, Whalley signed such acts as NINE INCH NAILS, LIMP BIZKIT, HELMET and PRIMUS.

GHOST's debut album, "Opus Eponymous", was released in late 2010 in Europe and in early 2011 in North America via Rise Above Records. The CD has sold 26,000 copies in the United States so far, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

GHOST cult leader "Papa Emeritus" (rumored to be REPUGNANT/SUBVISION's Tobias Forge, who takes the stage in the form of "a satanic pope") and his anonymous ghouls recently supported MASTODON and OPETH on a North American tour.

In a recent interview with Full Metal Jackie's nationally syndicated radio show, one of the "Nameless Ghouls" from GHOST was asked whe he thinks his band has garnered support from such high-profile musicians as James Hetfield (METALLICA) and Phil Anselmo (DOWN, PANTERA). "We like to think [it's because of] our playfulness in terms of not — I almost said think[ing] too much — obviously, we think, but we feel a lot and we try not to limit ourselves to genre," he said. "Even though we're a hard-rocking band, we try to mix everything from death metal elements to new-wave choruses. And I think that sort of resonates to… I wouldn't say only an older generation [because] we have a lot of new, younger fans, but I think that anybody who is older than 35 might have a stroke of nostalgia or whatever."

On the topic of whether he can foresee a day when the members of GHOST won't be anonymous anymore, he said, "I think there is a difference between being anonymous and unmasked. Where SLIPKNOT actually wear masks still, while KISS during their unmasked days didn't. Obviously, it's a thing of the times. What we're trying to do, it's very hard to maintain. If the actual goal was to not be known, we try to maintain that, but in the long run we can't really expect that to be something everlasting. Most of our fans are actually quite keen on not knowing, which works to our favor, but I think there is a difference between people knowing who is behind the mask or being unmasked. We can't really see ourselves going up on stage and afterwards just dropping the masks saying, 'Oh, it's me, it's me, actually. Can you see?' No, no, no… We don't want that. We don't want to spoil it. That's the whole reason why we are anonymous and we try not to show ourselves. We try to eliminate, not the human aspects, but the humane aspects, if you want. We want to put Papa Emeritus in the limelight. He's supposed to be the living character, even though rigor mortis has basically set in in his poor old body. But that's the face of the band. He's the person, everybody else are just puppets."

Regarding GHOST's future plans, he said, "These 18 months since we released the album has been a lot of touring. We play a lot of concerts and our goal has always been to put on a show that was way more theatrical than we have had the opportunity to, sort of, perform or display in this type of touring. Even though this is a tour where we're actually allowed to flex our muscles a little bit, you can't expect to have a production. We have our windows, we have a few things, but I'd say that our short-term goal, for now, when we have a new album out, will be to start bringing forth a way more theatrical show that will be a lot more intriguing with a few magic tricks."
Acclaimed Raleigh, North Carolina-based progressive doom metal band CONFESSOR is hoping to stream its hometown show tonight (Friday, May 18) live from the Lincoln Theatre between 11 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. EST.

Says the band: "[The webcast] is being set up on short notice so we are hoping that everything falls into place for the fans! The address to stream is Ustream.tv."

"Uncontrolled", a compilation of all three demo taptes from CONFESSOR, was relased on May 8 via Divebomb Records.

CONFESSOR made a name for itself by writing unapologetically heavy riffs, with a unique flare for timing changes. The band had created quite a stir by playing all over the Southeast and landing two tours in Europe, including the now legendary "Gods of Grind" tour with CARCASS and ENTOMBED. With the release of their debut album, "Condemned", the band felt as though their chance was at hand to show the world what they knew, that CONFESSOR was unlike anything else out at the time. Unfortunately, label merging and politics forced CONFESSOR off of the U.S. leg of that famous tour in favor of the latest "new band." CONFESSOR's struggles with their label led to lineup changes that seriously altered the band's trajectory and eventually they disbanded after only a single album was released. Luckily, over the years CONFESSOR's controversial-yet-pioneering sound became accepted and adored by many in the metal community and in 2004 the band reunited for some festival appearances. They have reunited once again for a special appearance at the Maryland Deathfest in 2012.

"Uncontrolled" is the first time all three CONFESSOR demo tapes have been released officially. These are the demos that helped the band get signed to Earache Records back in 1990 and led to the eventual release of "Condemned".
For the diehards, Divebomb has unearthed raw archival live footage as part of both an enhanced CD and bonus DVD. Jeff Wagner, author of "Mean Deviation: Four Decades Of Progressive Metal", has also contributed a brand new essay to the liners.

The demos themselves were converted from original reels and/or DAT by The Kitchen Mastering in 2004. Jamie King remastered the entire set in 2012 at his Basement Studios.

"Uncontrolled" track listing:

01. Collapse Into Despair
02. Alone
03. Condemned
04. Uncontrolled
05. Prepare Yourself
06. Suffer
07. The Secret
08. Deception
09. Eve Of Salvation
10. Uncontrolled ("Vile Vibes" version)
11. The Secret ("Metal Massacre X" version)

"Die-Hard" Bonus Tracks

12. Words Of Praise (Live at Fame City)
13. Addictive Bind (Live In Raleigh)

"The Secret" is now available for streaming using the SoundCloud player below.

CONFESSOR released its latest full-length album, "Unraveled", in 2005 via Season of Mist. The CD was produced by Dick Hodgin (ex-CORROSION OF CONFORMITY producer) and is "a wonderful representation of the classic CONFESSOR twisted guitar riffing and complex drumming, meshed with some more straightforward parts and a toned down and very melodic vocal approach," according to Jeffreys.

CONFESSOR split up in the early '90s after releasing one full-length album (1991's "Condemned") and EP (1992's "Confessor"), with the with the rhythm section going on to form FLY MACHINE. CONFESSOR reformed in 2002 following the death of guitarist Ivan Colon, who passed away due to cardiac complications.
The details on the anticipated new album from Milwaukee-based extreme hardcore/metal crossover killers ENABLER are in. The band's first release for Southern Lord Recordings, "All Hail The Void" is at the pressing plant being prepared for a July 17 North American street date.

Coalescing energetic and dynamic elements of hardcore, punk, crust and death metal into their own brutal brew, ENABLER have amassed a fanatical fanbase through last year's "Year One" CD, multiple EPs and split releases with DRAINLAND, AMBASSADOR GUN and YAUTJA and more over the last few years, not to mention the countless regional live shows, tours and festival appearances.

Recorded and engineered by guitarist Greg Thomas, "All Hail The Void" surges with the most enraged talent from this destructive outfit to date, unwavering in its 35-minute rampage. The album's original artwork and layout was commissioned to be handled by Jimpaler, who has handled similar duties for several previous ENABLER releases.

"All Hail The Void" track listing:

01. F.A.T.H.
02. The Heathens
03. Speechless
04. Fuck Today
05. False Profit
06. All Hail The Void
07. True Love
08. They Live, We Sleep
09. No Deliverance
10. Save Yourself
11. Trust
12. Funeral Dirge

Always on the go, ENABLER are currently on tour in the Midwest U.S., including shows with NORTHLESS, RINGWORM and more scheduled through the rest of the month. Following that, ENABLER have been announced as one of the core acts confirmed for this summer's Southern Lord package tour. The trek runs through the country for nearly a month, with ENABLER hitting the stage every night alongside labelmates BURNING LOVE, MARTYRDÖD and headliners BLACK BREATH, with POISON IDEA, NOOTHGRUSH, PELICAN, POWER TRIP, WILD//TRIBE, DEAD IN THE DIRT, THE SECRET and more performing regionally throughout the tour.

Founded by guitarist/vocalist Jeff Lohrber (HARLOTS, EYES UPON SEPARATION, TRAP THEM, TODAY IS THE DAY, SHAI HULUD), the ENABLER lineup is rounded out by guitarist Greg Thomas (MISERY SIGNALS, SHAI HULUD, THE RISK TAKEN), bassist Amanda Daniels and drummer Andy Hurley (RACETRAITOR, KILL THE SLAVEMASTER, FALLOUT BOY, THE DAMNED THINGS, EARTH CRISIS).
Italian thrashers MERENDINE have inked a deal with Germany's Metalville Records. The band's fourth full-length album, "New World Disorder", will be released in June.

MERENDINE, who are based in Northern Italy in the town of Padova, have a unique sound of hard rock/thrash, which is reminiscent of the Bay Area thrash scene with a strong European metal feel.

Having previously worked with Jack Frost (SEVEN WITCHES, SAVATAGE) and Chris Caffery (SAVATAGE, TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA), MERENDINE's new CD was produced by Luigi Stefanini in Italy in November and December 2011. "We were looking for a different sound," states drummer Luca Cerardi. "We had great success with Chris Caffery and Jack Frost. But the band was at a turning point. We wanted to do something different. I am very happy with the way the record came out."

"New World Disorder" track listing:

01. The New Rebels
02. Revolution
03. We Know The Trick
04. Stand Up And Fight
05. Declaration
06. New World Disorder
07. Servants
08. Blind People
09. Freedom
10. Spin Doctors
11. Bandits
12. Self Destruction

Formed in 1995 as a five-piece, MERENDINE parted ways with guitarist David Bisson two years ago, creating a different element that transcended into a new sound and a new outlook.

"You can't stop progression," states vocalist Zanda Zandarin. "We just became tighter and stronger as a four-piece. We are a family. We made a strong album. That alone is a testament to what we can do together. I'm proud of it and nothing will change that."

MERENDINE toured last winter as direct support for DORO in Europe. The four-week run included stops in Germany, Spain, France, the Czech Republic, Italy and Luxemburg. The band also toured with KRYPTERIA and DORO in 2008.


Luca Zandarin (Vocals)
Luca Securo (Guitar)
Dario Bianchi (Bass)
Luca Cerardi (Drums)
The SEX PISTOLS were responsible for initiating the punk movement in the United Kingdom and inspiring many later punk and alternative rock musicians. Although their initial career lasted just two and a half years and produced only four singles and one studio album, they are regarded as one of the most influential acts in the history of popular music.
For the first time ever in their history, the SEX PISTOLS have been rendered as vinyl figures.
All of these stylized 3.75-inch-tall vinyl figures come decked in the trend-setting SEX PISTOLS attire we've come to know and love. They're detailed right down to Sid's pad lock chain, Johnny's enigmatic glare, and Steve's leather jacket.
Canadian female-fronted metal band KOBRA AND THE LOTUS will release its new album in the U.K. on August 6. The CD's first single, "Forever One", will precede the full-length effort on May 28. A video for the song will make its online debut on Monday, May 21.

KOBRA AND THE LOTUS last year inked a deal with KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons' revived Simmons Records label via a partnership with Universal Music Canada. Simmons confirmed the signing on his Twitter profile, calling KOBRA AND THE LOTUS "real metal."

KOBRA AND THE LOTUS' debut album, "Out Of The Pit", produced by Kevin Shirley, was launched in March 2010. In the following 16 months, the band performed 168 gigs, across five countries, including seven festival stages. The second album was produced by Kevin Churko (FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH, OZZY OSBOURNE), along with Julius "Juice" Butty. A video for the song "Welcome To My Funeral" points to an undisputed evolution in the band; the music is stronger, meaner and heavier.

"Touring for 'Out Of The Pit' had a huge influence on us in terms of realizing which direction we wanted the new music to take," says singer Brittany Paige. "We really wanted to create new music that would portray the large amount of energy we put forward in a live performance."


Brittany Paige - Vocals
Jasio Kulakowski - Guitar
Griffin Kissack - Drums
Peter Dimov - Bass
Timothy Vega – Guitar
RockConfidential.com recently conducted an interview with HALESTORM singer Lzzy Hale. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

RockConfidential.com: We've got to talk about the new album. Tell me how you approached songwriting this time around. It sounds more live and raw.

Lzzy: Definitely. With the first record we were thinking, "Does this song have mass appeal? Is the label gonna like it? Will it do anything on radio?" With this record, we really didn't think about that stuff at all. We almost didn't even have time to! We literally got off tour last summer, had 24 hours to pack and flew straight to L.A. and started in the studio the next day with a handful of songs. Some of them weren't even finished. We thought we would have the entire summer write the record and record it. No, no, no. It was, We need the record now! We had no choice but to follow and chase after whatever got us excited. We compiled a bunch of ideas and anything that struck us as true and human we recorded. We could always delete it later! We ended up falling into this eclectic mixture of everything we're interested in. I'm so proud of it because for some odd reason it all goes together. I don't know how! There are still some songs I can listen to from this record that get me a little emotional because of where my head was at at the time. I can't say that about the first record. This is the first time we can collectively say that.

RockConfidential.com: What did you guys use as inspiration while you were in the studio? Did a certain song set the tone of the record?

Lzzy: It went in a few different stages. When we first started recording, we were fresh off the road and the amplifiers were still ringing in our ears. We wanted to write something hard and fast and with a lot of energy. One of the first songs we wrote was the first single, "Love Bites (So Do I)". That was directly inspired by our time on the road and our covers EP. We experimented with tempos we'd never experimented with before. One was SKID ROW's "Slave To The Grind" and the other was GUNS N' ROSES' "Out Ta Get Me". We never thought we could pull off tempos like that, and now that we had covered those songs, we decided we needed a song of our own. A lot of the songs after that were inspired by people we met on the road and the energy we feel live. We even went as far as recording the drums on 2-inch tape so my little brother had his work cut out for him. If you record on tape, you have to get it right. You have to do the whole song — you can't just cut in on the chorus. We really wanted to create that live feel. Halfway through, when all the aggressions had settled, we started writing more intimate songs. I turned to the guys and said, "You know what? You brought this on yourselves." They told me in the beginning to write whatever I feel and not worry about trying to represent the band. They didn't want me to think about it too much — just keep my brain out of it. I did and the floodgate opened and I wrote some of the most personal songs I've ever written. The label was like, "We didn't even know this about you." The album is kind of like two different sides of myself and that ended up inspiring the song "Mz. Hyde". The record is very "Jekyll And Hyde". After everything was done it was like a whirlwind of creative purging. I'm really glad because in the beginning I was afraid it was going to be a rush job. I realized we can work on a deadline and that's much better than giving us all the time in the world.

RockConfidential.com: How have you changed as a front woman over the past few years?

Lzzy: Now, this is my career. I'm making a living doing this. I still have the fire I always did when I was 13. It's still just as exciting every night. I still get this tingly feeling in my hands. I don't attest that to adrenaline. It's part of what I love about playing live. I've got that since I was a kid. I might be less shy now, but the feeling is still there. The love is still there. The love of the chase is still there. The four of us have such a passion for whatever happens next. We keep one foot in front of the other and we'll keep doing this as long as we can and be happy doing what we love.
Carnival Of Madness, the annual touring rock extravaganza, will make its roaring return with rock titans EVANESCENCE, CHEVELLE, HALESTORM and NEW MEDICINE. Kicking off Tuesday, July 31 in Springfield, Illinois, the 2012 trek will hit major cities across the U.S. including Boston, Baltimore, Atlanta, Nashville, Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee and Pittsburgh (see full itinerary below). Select radio pre-sale tickets will be available beginning Tuesday, May 22; Carnival Of Madness fan club members can begin purchasing tickets Wednesday, May 23; artist fan club pre-sales start Thursday, May 24; and general public on-sale begins Friday, June 1. Please note that HALESTORM will be performing on the majority of the tour.

"We're really looking forward to the Carnival Of Madness tour this summer," says EVANESCENCE singer Amy Lee. "We love CHEVELLE and haven't hit the road together in years, and I'm really stoked to finally be playing some shows with HALESTORM. Naturally I'm a fan of strong women in music and Lzzy's voice is spectacular."

Carnival Of Madness tour dates:

Jul. 31 - Springfield, IL - Prairie Capital Convention Center
Aug. 01 - Columbus, OH - LC Pavilion
Aug. 03 - Atlantic City, NJ - House Of Blues
Aug. 04 - Chester, PA - Harrah's Chester Downs
Aug. 06 - Boston, MA - Bank of America Pavilion
Aug. 07 - Baltimore, MD - Pier Six
Aug. 08 - Charlotte, NC - Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre **
Aug. 10 - Atlanta, GA - Aaron's Amphitheatre atLakewood
Aug. 11 - Gulfport, MS - Jones Park
Aug. 13 - Belton, TX - Bell County Expo
Aug. 14 - Laredo, TX - Laredo Energy Center
Aug. 15 - Midland, TX - Midland Horseshoe Arena
Aug. 17 - Lubbock, TX – [to be announced]
Aug. 18 - El Paso, TX - Don Haskins Center
Aug. 20 - Sioux City, IA - [to be announced]
Aug. 21 - Milwaukee, WI. - Eagles Ballroom *
Aug. 23 - Grand Rapids, MI - Rock The Rapids – Downtown **
Aug. 24 - Detroit, MI - DTE Music Theatre
Aug. 26 - Chicago, IL - Toyota Park
Aug. 28 - Pittsburgh, PA - Stage AE **
Aug. 29 - Holmdel, NJ - PNC Amphiteatre
Aug. 30 - Uncasville, CT - Mohegan Sun **
Sep. 02 - Buffalo, NY - [to be announced] **
Sep. 05 - Evansville, IN - [to be announced]

* Show features EVANESCENCE and NEW MEDICINE with very special guests
** Show features EVANESCENCE and CHEVELLE with very special guests
Canadian musician/producer Devin Townsend (STRAPPING YOUNG LAD, STEVE VAI, LAMB OF GOD, DARKEST HOUR, GWAR) played four shows in London in November 2011 dedicated to his tetralogy album concept — a great journey through Devin's different states of musical moods — which he started in 2009 with the albums "Addicted" (2009) and "Ki" (2009) and finished with last year's "Deconstruction" and "Ghost". The concerts were professionally recorded and filmed for a unique box-set release, which he has decided to call "By A Thread - Live in London 2011".

Due on June 18 in Europe and June 19 in North America through HevyDevy Records/InsideOut Music, "By A Thread - Live in London 2011" will contain all four shows on four DVDs, plus a five-CD set (the four albums and one disc with all of the encores).

A one-minute trailer for "By A Thread - Live in London 2011" can be seen below.

An official pre-release screening event will held on June 5 at the Prince Charles Cinema in London where, over the course of three to four hours, Devin himself will talk all attendees through a summary of all that the DVDs have to offer. Only a limited number of first-come-first-served tickets will be available to a lucky crowd of 250 people. Lucky, because besides being the first to see the DVD they will also have the exclusive opportunity to be the first to purchase the DVD box set two weeks before anyone else can have it. And it'll be signed, no less!

Commented Devin: "The amount of work and memory that went into that event has been captured by an even more herculean event by the folks making the DVDs, and finally I get to see what we did those nights! It's another situation of releasing a product that we think is really cool, and have gone the extra distance to make it worth your while if you're the type that supports by buying physical product... it's great! So if you weren't there, this is as close as you can get... please enjoy and maybe I'll meet you at the screening!"

The screening will be held on Tuesday, June 5 from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. and tickets are £15 each. Tickets can be purchased at the Prince Charles Cinema via this link. The screening event will be followed up with two acoustic solo shows on June 6 and June 7, both held at London's The Borderline. And then Devin is off to headline the third stage at the Download festival on Friday, June 8.
"Rock The Rhythm, Beat The Odds" is set to gather nearly 10,000 students and community members in a collaborative, music-making world-record attempt today (Friday, May 18). Mickey Hart of THE GRATEFUL DEAD will lead the gathering's drum session in support of music education at COC-Valencia's Cougar Stadium.

On May 18, the community including 7,600 middle school students from Santa Clarita Valley will join together for a simultaneous rhythm. Joining Hart on stage will be John Densmore of THE DOORS, Jessica Simpson's drummer Gorden Campbell, Bruno Mars' drummer Eric Hernandez, Janelle Monae's drummer Mike Phillips, POISON's Rikki Rockett, and Teddy Campbell, the drummer from Jay Leno's "Tonight Show". The group will shine a national spotlight on a community-partnering model that supports sustainable art programs in schools. Each sixth and seventh grader in the Santa Clarita Valley receives instruction that helps maximize his or her creative expression, build social and emotional skills, and emphasize the process of learning over performance.

For more information about the "Rock The Rhythm, Beat The Odds" initiative or to find how to participate, visit www.rocktherhythm.org.
Danish melodic death metallers MERCENARY are currently in pre-production for their seventh album, which they hope to begin recording later in the year.

A six-minute video clip documenting MERCENARY's March 2012 visit to Russia alongside fellow Danish thrashers HATEPSHERE can be seen below.

MERCENARY's sixth album "Metamorphosis", entered the official chart in Denmark at position No. 42. The CD was released in the U.S. in March 2011 via Prosthetic Records.

"Metamorphosis" was produced by Jacob Hansen (RAUNCHY, VOLBEAT, NIGHTRAGE, HATESPHERE, PYRAMAZE).

A track-by-track breakdown of the album by René Pedersen and guitarist Jakob Mølbjerg can be found at this location.

A review of "Metamorphosis" by TRIVIUM frontman Matt Heafy can be found at this location.


Jakob Mølbjerg - Guitar
René Pedersen - Bass, Vocals
Martin Buus - Lead Guitar
Morten Løwe Sørensen – Drums
Guitarist/vocalist Anton Reisenegger of Chile's death metal legends PENTAGRAM has issued the following update:

"First of all, many of you have heard rumours about a significant lineup change in the band. Unfortunately, it's true, as we have decided to part ways with our original drummer Eduardo Topelberg, a.k.a. 'Eurynomos.'

"When we did the 2009 reunion tour, first in Chile and later in Europe, the chemistry within the band was great and we agreed to carry on and finally record our first studio album. Juan Pablo Uribe (guitar) and I got together months later to start writing, and the outcome was amazing. We wrote about 8 songs in the first weekend, which in our opinion totally live up to the standard set by the classic demo songs. We then set a date for January 2011 to track the drums in Chile, but when I arrived there, ready to record, I found out that Eduardo had experimented some very drastic changes in his life, which unfortunately affected his performance as a musician. We still went into the studio to give him a chance, but the result was just not good enough to end up on our long-awaited debut album.

"We all love Eduardo dearly and we wish him nothing but the best, but my impression is that playing drums is just not a priority for him anymore. I sincerely hope he proves me wrong in the future, as he will always be part of the PENTAGRAM family, but we needed a change if we wanted to move forward.

"Enter Juan Pablo Donoso, a legendary Chilean drummer who has been active in the scene for almost as long as we have, and whose drumming skills have been the foundation of bands such as SADISM and THORNAFIRE. He has also lent those skills to a number of bands as a session drummer, plus he has produced/engineered tons of Chilean metal albums in his own Sade Studios.

"Having witnessed those early PENTAGRAM shows in the Eighties as a teenager, he immediately understood what we were looking for in a drummer. Juan Pablo has now finished tracking the drums for the album, and we feel that he has really taken those songs in and interpreted them with the original PENTAGRAM style in mind. No lightning-fast, sampled, quantized drums, but pure feeling, the same primitive, brutal, frenzied feeling of our early material.

"Now we can finally move on and finish what we feel is a historic debt: The first-ever PENTAGRAM studio album.

"At this point, I want to thank our label Cyclone Empire for their patience, understanding and support. Their comment: 'It has taken so long for you to record and album that a year more or less doesn't really matter!'

"On a different subject, we have decided to officially change our name to PENTAGRAM CHILE, fundamentally out of respect to the 'other' PENTAGRAM (the original and true PENTAGRAM, if you will), led by Bobby Liebling. We actually met Bobby and the band at 2009's Hell's Pleasure festival (yes, two PENTAGRAMs on the same bill!), and they were really cool and laid back, and apparently didn't have the slightest problem with us using the same name. However, I must admit that having the same name has caused some confusion here and there (like having a picture of the U.S. PENTAGRAM in the Wacken program brochure when it was us playing). We think and hope that this solution will be accepted by everybody. Our fans in Chile and elsewhere will probably still refer to us simply as PENTAGRAM, but we want to make sure there is no more mix-ups in the future, as we intend to tour extensively with the new album. We just thought that changing our name to something completely different would cause even more confusion rather than preventing it.

"Last but not least, although we had decided to give priority to finishing the album and not to play live until it was done, we recently recieved an offer we couldn't refuse. We are now confirmed for the tenth edition of the Maryland Deathfest to be held at Sonar in Baltimore at the end of this month. We are scheduled to play on Sunday, May 27 at 18:25 on one of the outside stages, in between MORGOTH and SAINT VITUS. This is going to be our North American live debut and we just can't wait! Afterwards we will resume work on the album, which we expect to have completed by the end of the summer.

"Thanks everybody for your patience and ongoing support. You won't be disappointed!"
Greek black metallers NAER MATARON have proclaimed themselves to be a non-political entity following reports that the band's bassist has been has been elected to the country's parliament.

Giorgos Germenis, who is known by the stage name "Kaiadas," will represent the extremist Golden Dawn party, which is described as perhaps the most extreme of the far-right parties in all of Europe. Comparisons are made to Germany's neo-Nazi National Democratic Party and many say Golden Dawn's logo (see below) resembles a swastika.

Golden Dawn, an extreme right nationalist party with patriotic symbolism and an anti-immigrant stance, won between 5 and 7 percent of the vote in Greece's general elections on May 6, enough for them to gain representation in parliament for the first time in Greek history.

In a statement, the members of NAER MATARON say, "NAER MATARON has been and still remains a pure-blooded black metal band, and as such, a non-political one. Any member of the band has the right to keep on to his personal beliefs and act accordingly. Therefore, any kind of legal political activity of any member, is a matter of personal choice and is respected as such. Attempts to put NAER MATARON under any political agenda are rejected by the band. In addition, any false accusations against the band will come across with legal actions on our behalf. The band stands only for black metal, and black metal is extreme music, not politics. Closing, anyone who is into the extreme music and thematology, but for any reason feels shocked or offended by non-extreme views and/or beliefs is not of our concern."

Stefanos Stefanopolous from the Rockway.gr webzine tells PRI's The World, "[Giorgos] wasn't a well-known musician here in Greece. And to be honest, not many webzines were paying attention to NAER MATARON. It was just another black metal band, a mediocre one, so no one was really paying attention."

In a recent interview, Germenis suggested that there was an easy solution for Greece's myriad economic problems. First, he said, "Greek factories must be reborn, rheir chimneys must be filled with smoke once more, and, of course, all illegal immigrants must leave. If all the illegal immigrants left — and there are more than three million — there would be three million jobs for Greeks." Germenis was also quoted by PRI's The World as saying, "We Golden Dawn say that Greece is a rich country. In order to rebuild Greece, we also need to revitalize our factories and small workshops. In this way, Greece can stand on its own two feet. We won't need the European Union or anyone else. We'll just need Greeks."

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