[Classic_Rock_Forever] Judas Priest, KISS. Rob Zombie/Marilyn Manson tour, Motorhead, Saxon, Slayer, High on Fire, The Darkness, and tons more hard rock and heavy metal news


Ian Hill is a founding member and bassist for the Birmingham-based Grammy award winning  heavy metal band, Judas Priest. The band was originally formed in 1970 and their albums such as  BRITISH STEEL, SCREAMING FOR A VENGEANCE and PAINKILLER are well known metal classics. For many reasons, this band has often been nominated as one of the most important and most influential bands for the whole metal scene. As of 2011, Hill is the sole constant member of Judas Priest, following the departure of guitarist K.K. Downing. The band, which now features vocalist Rob Halford, Hill, drummer Scott Travis, guitarists Glenn Tipton and Downing's replacement Richie Faulkner, announced a Judas Priest farewell tour in late 2011. The tour, titled as The Epitaph, started in June of last year. That tour recently rolled into Helsinki. It was a true pleasure sit down with Mr. Hill and discuss about the farewell tour, line up changes, a possible new Judas Priest album, and Hill's personal future plans amongst other topics… Read on!


You now have been almost one year constantly on tour with this new Judas Priest line up. How has everything been going on the Epitaph World Tour?
I think it's been great, it's going really good. We just fitted in you know just great. It's like it's always been with the band it's going really, really well.
So is there any difference now when… This is the very first Judas Priest tour ever without K.K. So is anything different now and do you still miss him?
We always miss him, I mean he was a huge part of the band you know after all those years, a founding member way back in the late sixties with myself so yeah everybody is going to miss him, he was a huge character. But from a musical point of view Ritchie is handling everything that he played you know and he's adding his own flavors and his own particular style as well so it's something that the fans won't… musically won't miss that much because Ritchie's doing such a good job.
How about you personally, do you still miss K.K. on stage?
Of course yeah, yeah of course I do.
It seems that you're still on good terms with him as he recently produced your son's band Hostile UK debut album?
Yeah we're still friends so when we get time we'll bump into each other and see how things are going - just general friend things and stuff like that.
Like you just said Ritchie has been doing a good job with you guys. Many reviews have stated that he has given some extra kick, some kind of new fresh energy, for the band. Do you see that like the same way from your point of view?
Yeah well he's young, he's got so much energy. Just hoping some of it is going to rub off.



Richie's doing great on stage but how are his song writing skills, I mean, have you already been writing new material with him?
Well we'll see, we'll be going back in the studio after this leg of the tour, we're trying to get an album out towards spring next year maybe. And then we'll see from the writing point of view and when he's in the studio and he's doing, his own stuff rather than trying to interpret someone else's. I think we'll see then but you know his true talent I suppose.
This Epitaph tour is going to end in end of May…
…and there no any dates booked for Judas Priest after that, so what's going to happen after the tour is finished?
We take some time off in the summer; we all go and have a holiday and recharge the batteries and then like I said the plan is to get into the studio and put down a little record.  That will probably take maybe six months or so something like that so we may be doing a string of dates to promote that. It won't be a world tour you like it is now. It will be shorter strings and dates that fortunately it will be the last time in some places that you'll get to see us live. But we'll try and get to each country at least if you know what I mean instead of doing five or six shows in one country you know maybe we'll we just do two or three you know and cut it down like that.
If I remember right, Glenn already said sometime in early 2011 that you already have some songs written for the next album?
Yeah, that's true yeah, yeah three songs are already almost complete but they were recorded before Ritchie had tried to do any work on them, so that will have to be reworked just to an extend to fit Ritchie in. But yes those three songs are nearly completed and three of them have had their heads together and they've got a lot of ideas, lot of cord sequences, rifts and whatever you know.
Do you already have any idea what kind of album the next one will be, I mean, is it going to another theme based album like NOSTRADAMUS or more like a classic Priest album?
Yeah it will be a classic Priest album.
So let's speak a little bit more about NOSTRADAMUS. Once the album came out, there was a lot of talk and discussion about Priest performing the whole album live, there was talk about the NOSTRANAMUS DVD and stuff like that but… none of those things came in to reality?
It's still a possibility, it's just a… its huge undertaking to do something like that, to try and take that complete production on the road, it really is an immense undertaking. And it's basically having the time to do it and like I said none of us are getting younger – it would be great if we could do it - maybe be a few private shows here and there and try and get something out, but it's something that's very possible in the future.
You put a lot of time, effort your heart for that NOSTRADAMUS thing and… after all, did everything go the way you wanted to with that album?
Umm… I think it turned out really well. I mean its musically it's probably the best thing that the band's ever done, with different avenues obviously with the strings and the choral pieces, and yeah I think we are all very happy – I was happy with it and I'm sure that the rest of the band were as well.
How about the commercial side of NOSTRADAMUS, was that part satisfying the band as well?
Well, what sells these days you know? I mean people get my stuff for nothing.  I mean everybody knows it – my kids do it you know. It's just a sign of the times unfortunately. But as I said - the people are really going to suffer with the up and coming bands. Because the investment in new music is nearly almost universally come from record companies and that's only because I think they think they might make money out of it, and if they can't make any money out of it well we are not going to put anything into to it. And it's a shame unless you're on X-Factor or Britain's got Talent or America's got Talent or whatever. The chance of getting that sort of exposure is remote. I mean you can give your stuff away yourself on the internet and try and promote yourself and try and hope people pick up on it but there's thousands and thousands of bands all doing that and the chances of people… that just everybody suddenly picking up on you is pretty remote. And it's a shame and of course you're… we're okay, we're a large band we've already got our fan base and we are very, very lucky with that. But compared to the amount of what we call bands, bands like ourselves are very few and far between and that's the only other way an up and coming band is going to get any exposure is if it comes on tour, gets on the end of a… one of the major bands tour.  But even then, promoters they want somebody who's going to sell seats and it's a vicious circle and it's… the internet is good and evil in equal measures. If you have got something to sell you can get across to everybody on the planet very, very easily but like I say the other side of the coin is that as soon as it's on the shelf some moron's giving it away for nothing.


Well you have been in Priest since day one and you have gone through all the changes under different times. You were in the band when Tim Ripper was in the band and then now it's the band without K.K. So do you think there is anybody in the band who's absolutely irreplaceable?
No, I mean Priest is a name, it's a universal name. The band is bigger than any one member of it, with the possible exception of Rob obviously. But then again, we carried on with Tim when Rob did his own thing. So it is possible to continue without any of us in the band. I mean, Kiss are talking about farming it out, franchising it.
That's really an interesting idea but I don't think it works in the real world?
No, I don't think the fans will put up with it, not for a second.
Right but you see that, without exception of Rob, the band could carry on with some morec hanges in the line up?
It is possible, it is possible yeah. I mean we do are doing fine without Ken, we did fine without Rob you know, I'm sure the band will do fine without me and probably do fine without Glen as well and when you look at bands like Whitesnake, you know the only person in there is David so it's… anything is possible.
So, if you decide not to continue for reason or another, you would give your blessing for the rest of the guys to carry on?
If I don't continue and they want to carry on of course, yeah!
Once Judas Priest announced the farewell tour in 2010 then band actually stated that:  "There is going to be another tour and album, which is going to be our farewell album but might be the last album" - so what does that statement mean actually?
Well  our albums… there's less physical work in an album then there is on tour. It takes you away from home for months, sometimes years on end when you tour and that's basically what's getting to us at the moment. We've been doing it now for forty years and it's time to spend a bit of time at home and of course records you can do that based at home. So from that point of view, it's a little bit easier than touring so… yeah why not do an album after this one, see how we feel?
Actually, you don't have to do more albums or tour but…
We don't have to.
…but you'll do more if you want to?
We might be done after doing the next one next one, it's just that we have still have things – a lot of music to offer so… only time will tell?
Okay you mentioned Kiss – but there are many, many more bands from your generation who always keep on saying that this is the farewell album and this is the end, but still they keep on continuing so what does the word retirement mean for Judas Priest?
I don't know, I mean, I thought of not doing it, not playing and something that. It terrifies all of us I think and many of the bands are probably genuinely thinking like: "Well this is it, this will be the last tour" and within a year or two they start missing it all. They want to get back. So that's why, I mean a lot of these big bands they don't need to earn the money, they've already got it.
What else they have to do?
Yeah but they just love it so I'm sure we'd be the same as well. If we said well yes this is going to be the last tour, we are not going to play ever again after this… within six months we'll already be on the phone! "laughs"
Overall just Judas Priest is one of the classic bands who actually influenced strongly the whole metal scene and if and when you retire, of course, at some point with bands like Scorpions, Maiden, Kiss and others. How do you see… what's going to happen for the whole old school metal scene after that when you are all gone? What metal fans like me are going to do and listen after that?
Well, I don't know I think the more up and coming bands will probably get a little bit more established. I mean if the older bands aren't touring anymore or touring less people still want to get their music. So I think they will start to get a bit more established and start accumulating their own fans and it will carry on through them… I'm sure it will.
Okay, some day after you're completely done with music - playing wise, do you see there's a chance that you might take some other role in the music world like managing or helping out younger bands like your son's band Hostile UK or doing something like that
It's negligible, I mean whether I can do much for anybody, to be honest I mean all I can do… all any of us can do really is try and get their name pushed forward for a tour or for a record deal. That's the only thing you could do. Managing a band is a full time occupation and I don't think it's a sort of thing I'd really like want to do if you're retired, I mean really retired but you know… There's other things I want to do. I want to play with cars and airplanes and learn to play golf and stuff like that, and get away from music. But I'm not, like I say, who knows in six month time, if I'll get a bit bored and we you know sort of dabble at something or another you know.
Okay, I think that's it.
Okay, that's great
Thank you.
KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons spoke to Billboard.com about the band's recently completed 20th studio album, "Monster", which is scheduled for release in July. The follow-up to 2009's "Sonic Boom" was again produced by KISS fronman Paul Stanley and was described by Simmons as "either the best or one of the top three records we've ever done. It's like 'Revenge' meets 'Destroyer' — just guitar and drums, nothing else. No keyboards, no little boys' choir, no strings, no nothing. Band-written; literally we'd get in and strum guitars like the old days."

"Monster" will be accompanied by an over-sized art book containing paintings, drawings, photos and other impressions by various artists, inspired by KISS. According to Simmons, the book "should weigh 100 pounds or more" and come with its own stand. "It's something you can't put on your coffee table, 'cause it'll crush it. It IS the coffee table," he said.

Songtitles set to appear on "Monster" include "It's A Long Way Down", "Back To The Stone Age", "Shout Mercy", "Out Of This World", "Wall Of Sound" and "Hell Or Hallelujah".

Speaking to VH1 Radio Network's Dave Basner following the March 20 press conference at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, California to officially announce details of KISS' summer co-headlining tour with MÖTLEY CRÜE, KISS vocalist/guitarist Paul Stanley stated about the band's new CD, "'Monster' is really the culmination of everything this band has been in the past and where we're going. When we did [2009's] 'Sonic Boom', it was a big task for us because we were saying, 'How do we define who we are today without losing who we've been?' So, that was a tall order for us, but once we got that under our belts, we wanted to go back in and 'Monster' is far, far beyond anything we've done in terms of 'Sonic Boom' and yet it's right up there with some of the best stuff we've done. It's KISS."

In a 2011 interview with Classic Rock magazine, Stanley stated about the band's decision to return to the studio so soon after releasing "Sonic Boom", "I wasn't interested in making an album unless I was in charge and no one agreed to it half-heartedly. The band's all there, all the time, and we cut the tracks all facing each other in the same room. Chemistry and camaraderie, that's essential. That's what made 'Sonic Boom' so great, and this album is thunderously better."
Ortsbo Inc., the world's leading experiential communications company, a subsidiary of Intertainment Media Inc., has announced that legendary rock icon, entrepreneur and co-founder of KISS, Paul Stanley, has joined Ortsbo as a spokesperson and business partner. Stanley is expected to help bring the world of live entertainment and global sponsorship and merchandising to fans through Ortsbo's unique real-time interactive experiential platform in over 50 languages.

Stanley will be working directly with the Ortsbo team to develop and initiate Ortsbo's entre into global socialization of live event programming. The platform will allow fans at live concert venues to interact with other fans around the globe, in real-time in over 50 languages through Twitter, Facebook, Ortsbo.com and online through Ortsbo's Live & Global platform creating a social, global village at live entertainment and sports events.

In addition to socialization, the program will connect global fans to exclusive sponsors, offers and merchandising opportunities partnered with Ortsbo.

"We are very excited and honored to have Paul Stanley join Ortsbo. For almost 40 years, Paul has been a major influence in the entertainment industry. Together with Gene Simmons, KISS has become one of the true giants of global business with over 3,000 licensed products and continues to perform for sold out audiences and set records around the world," said David Lucatch, CEO Ortsbo / Intertainment. "Paul's entrepreneurial and artistic visions have continued to garner successes beyond the entertainment industry and we welcome the opportunity to work with him to extend Ortsbo's brand and reach into global live venue socialization."

This program will also be integrated into New York City's newest major venue, The Barclay Center in Brooklyn, New York where Ortsbo is a partner. The Barclay Center is scheduled to open fall 2012.

In addition to creating the world's first globally socialized live events, Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons of KISS together with Ortsbo hold the Guinness World Record for the most nationalities in an online chat, having established the record in May 2011 with 88 countries participating. Since then, Ortsbo has unofficially smashed the established record, having as many as 161 countries participating in real-time multilingual chat broadcast events including Steven Spielberg at the "Warhorse" premiere in New York City, the British Academy of Film and Television Awards in London and the "Avengers" movie premiere in Los Angeles.

Stanley comments, "Fluent simultaneous conversation across all languages and in real time isn't science fiction, it's Ortsbo. Ortsbo is the universal language that breaks down the barriers separating countries and cultures and turns a vast planet into a global village."
Legendary guitarist Slash (VELVET REVOLVER, ex-GUNS N' ROSES) recently spoke to the Orlando Sentinel about his upcoming second solo album, "Apocalyptic Love", which will be released on May 22 via his own label Dik Hayd International distributed through EMI.

For the new album, Slash — along with and his bandmates Myles Kennedy (vocals), Brent Fitz (drums) and Todd Kerns (bass) — teamed with producer Eric Valentine, who also helmed the "Slash" disc. All the songs were written together by Slash and Kennedy.

"This has been really liberating for me," Slash told the Orlando Sentinel. "The first solo album was the first time, really, that I was on my own to stretch my wings without the democratic, diplomatic situation you have to have in a band. That went right into working with these guys."

He added, "It's nonconfrontational, nondramatic. I've never been in a situation like that where there's no reason to have an issue about anything. I haven't had this much fun in a band situation since GUNS started."

The liberated feel of "Apocalyptic Love" is evident throughout the LP's 13 songs, as is the genuine chemistry between Slash and Myles.

The evolution of their creative relationship went full throttle since the two first joined forces on Slash's 2010 debut solo release where the ALTER BRIDGE frontman lent his pipes to the cavalcade of venerable guest vocalists which included Iggy Pop, Ian Astbury and Ozzy Osbourne.

"We're both workaholics," Slash told the Orlando Sentinel. "We'd be working six nights a week, then get back to the hotel in middle of the night. I'd have ideas and MP3 them to Myles. There he'd be, sitting at his computer working."

"It's different when you're dealing with people who aren't looking to cause problems, who aren't so self-centered and screwed up that everything has to be a battle," Slash continued. "I'm not saying that about any of the bands I've been in, per se. Rock and roll tends to breed a lot of idiosyncratic stuff, but I've been around to the point now that I don't have time for that."
ROB ZOMBIE and MARILYN MANSON are rumored to be planning a joint U.S. tour in the fall.

The current ROB ZOMBIE lineup includes guitarist John 5, who was a member of Manson's band from 1998 until 2004, and drummer Ginger Fish (real name: Kenneth Robert Wilson), who quit MARILYN MANSON in February 2011.

In a recent interview with Metal Insider, John 5 stated about his working relationship with Manson, "I think the public portrays it as, 'Oh, he had a hard time with Manson.' But I didn't really at all, it was just portrayed that way. I haven't really had a hard situation with any of [the people I've played with so far]. With what people see on YouTube with Manson [where John 5 can be seen fighting with Manson. — Ed.], I had a death in the family. I was a mess at that time, and a lot of people don't know that. So that's why certain things occurred. . . I mean, that was something that I shouldn't have done. It was something where I had a death in the family and it was a really hard time in my life, and it was tough. It's life, you know? But I think the public's perception is like, 'Oh, do you guys get along?' Yeah, we talked and there's no hard feelings at all. And I wish nothing but the best for him, that's for sure."

Rob Zombie and his bandmates — John 5 (guitar), Piggy D (bass) and Ginger Fish (drums) — will enter the studio in June to begin work on an as-yet-untitled new album for a late 2012 release.

Rob Zombie's fourth solo album, "Hellbilly Deluxe 2", debuted at No. 8 on the Billboard album chart on February 10, 2010, selling 49,000 copies in its first week of release. That total was less than 50 percent of the number of copies that his previous effort, "Educated Horses", sold in its first week back in April 2006, when it moved 107,000 copies to land at No. 5 on the chart.

MARILYN MANSON's long-awaited new album, "Born Villain", was released on May 1 (one day earlier internationally) via Cooking Vinyl and Manson's own label Hell, Etc.

Marilyn Manson's new video, "No Reflection", was directed by Lukas Ettlin, who previously worked with Manson on the award-winning "Personal Jesus" clip.

"No Reflection" was released as a white seven-inch vinyl in Europe on April 21. The vinyl is strictly limited to 1500 copies and features "No Reflection" (album version) and "No Reflection" (single edit). The release was in support of Record Store Day.

According to the official blog of the MOTÖRHEAD fan club organizer/editor Alan Burridge, the band's "The Wörld Is Ours Vol. 2" DVD will be released to tie in with MOTÖRHEAD's annual U.K. tour in November.

Released in North America in January via Motörhead Music/UDR, "The Wörld Is Ours Vol. 1 - Everywhere Further Than Everyplace Else" was a blistering DVD containing some of the finest moments from MOTÖRHEAD's 2011 tour.

Mixed by the band's long-time producer Cameron Webb, "The Wörld Is Ours Vol. 1 - Everywhere Further Than Everyplace Else" was stuffed with the classics Motörfans demanded, from "Overkill" to "Ace Of Spades" to "Killed By Death" as well as some old gems like "Over The Top" and new favorites such as "I Know How To Die".

"The Wörld Is Ours Vol. 1 - Everywhere Further Than Everyplace Else" contains the complete set from the band's supreme performance in Chile at the Teatro Caupolican in Santiago on April 9, 2011, shot by Banger Films and Sam Dunn ("Iron Maiden Flight 666", "Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage"). The DVD continues with some tasty morsels from New York's Best Buy Theater and the Manchester Apollo.
What are you up to?

Biff Byford: I´m in the studio actually, writing songs for the next album.

How far gone are you?

BB: Just a couple of songs at the moment.

When you write, do you write with a guitar or…?

BB: Well, the whole band´s here so we´re all writing together. It´s just a writing session. It´s going good.

So this is probably planned for next year then?

BB: Yeah, February 2013 is the scheduled release for it. It´s a mixture of classic rock and heavy metal. That´s where we´re at, at the moment. It should be good.

Cool. Are you gonna produce it yourselves or bring someone in?

BB: We´re gonna co-produce it ourselves and we´re gonna get Andy Sneap to mix it for us. He´s a pretty cool mix engineer.

Sweet! Now you have this Wacken thing out. Three shows. Why Wacken? I´ve never been there myself. What´s so special about it?

BB: Well, it´s a great festival and it´s a little bit like a German Glastonbury, in that people just buy tickets and they don´t really give a shit who´s on. It´s just a great event really. It´s sold out before they announce any bands really and a bit unique in that respect and the atmosphere is great. It doesn´t matter if you´re a big band or a small band. As long as you´re a good band and the fans really like it.

The first show you filmed, was the initial thought to put something like this together or did that come afterwards?

BB: I think at the time… because we know the Wacken people quite well and we´ve been playing there since 1992 actually. We used different camera styles and different cranes and different cable and cameras and things, so I think it´s as much about Wacken as it is about Saxon really. It´s a celebration of the festival and the 2009 show was our 30th anniversary show and it was their 20th anniversary. They wanted to release a DVD called "20/30" and I didn´t like that. (laughs) Sounds like a lottery number, so… It´s quite unique actually. I don´t think anybody´s done it before. We´ve played there over the years and we´ve filmed everything and I suppose we just had the opportunity to do it really.

Putting a thing like this together, are you guys part of the whole editing process and looking through it all?

BB: Yeah, I´ve been quite involved with it, but it took a long time. It´s quite a big project and there´s quite a few different packages that you can get, so it´s a big job putting it all together. Takes a lot of time and effort. I think we started it over a year ago really.

Live stuff and all that. These days, are things added in the studio, like guitar parts or whatever?

BB: No, I don´t think so. I don´t remember doing anything like that to it. Obviously we´ve had some of that stuff in the can since 2004 which is quite a long time. No, I think it´s all pretty live actually. I certainly didn´t do any vocals again, that´s for sure. (laughs) I don´t think we redid anything. I don´t think there was any mistakes. The only time we ever redo anything is if there´s some really bad mistakes or an amplifier went off or sometimes you have a power cut. I think on these festival gigs there was nothing replaced.

Right. All through the years and you´ve been doing this for a long time, do you have a lot of footage lying around that you might release some day?

BB: Yeah, there is some stuff. There´s a couple of Sweden Rock Festivals we have that are pretty cool actually. Last year we recorded and the last time we played there. We like to give things away with our albums, so maybe on the next album they´ll get a free DVD, you know what I´m saying?

Like those Sweden Rock films, do you have to buy the rights for that footage?

BB: No, we let them use it on their DVD and we get the rights, that´s how it works. It´s a bit of a backward forward thing. You scratch my back, I scratch yours.

After all these years, what is it that drives you as a singer and as a band?

BB: I think, creating music really. That´s what drives us. We´re creating music in the studio, then we release the album and go on tour and we play it live. We have a great connection with our live audience and we know that our fans know that we´re coming.

During all these years, have you ever thought of doing something else?

BB: Nah. What, like fishing or something? Playing golf or something like that? No, no, no… not really.

I became a fan of Saxon when "Power and the glory" came out…

BB: Yeah, that was a great album!

And still is. One of my favorites. But when you look back on the heydays of the 80´s, do you have a favorite of yours?

BB: "Power and the glory" is a pretty great album. You can´t really go far wrong with that album. I think the first five albums were all pretty fucking strong and we were definitely in a state of grace. I think each one is as good as the other. My favorite is probably "Denim and leather". I think that was the penultimate achievement because we did three albums really quickly and the material on those three albums are still people´s favorites today actually.

Is there one album looking back where you feel "Well, that didn´t go as planned."?

BB: Well, "Destiny" was a bit whacky. It was our last album with EMI and that went a bit strange in places, but there´s some good songs on there. Sometime the producer is not right and takes our songs and doesn´t really have a connection with what we´re trying to do.

What was it like playing with Metallica at their 30th anniversary shows?

BB: That was great actually. It was fun. Very tiring. I flew in one day and sang and then flew straight back the next day. I had two days off while we were touring, so it was cool. I´m glad I did it. It was a great experience.

Did they pick the song?

BB: Yeah, it´s a song I´ve done before with them, the year before. They like that song and it´s a song that influenced them. It´s very thrash metally isn´t it? I suppose it´s one of the songs that started them down their thrash metal road.

Touring wise then? You´re still out touring for the latest album. The last date is in Czechoslovakia in August.

BB: Oh, we´re really touring on the DVD now, but we´re just doing festivals so it´s not really touring. Small festivals and more of a celebration of our music and the Wacken DVD. That´s what we´ll be featuring in the live shows.

So after August you´ll go into more of a writing mode for the new album?

BB: Yeah, we´ll be in the studio until July and then we´ll take a break.

Ok. When you write for an album, do you set off thinking that you´ll write 12 songs or do you just go with the flow?

BB: We just go with the flow. There are no rules. It´s just how it is really.

A final thing, have you ever been in a fight with any of the other band members?

BB: (laughs) Me and Paul have had a couple of fights over our career. I´ve known him for a long time so that happens.

Has it ever turned into fist fights?

BB: Yeah, fist fights, yeah! (laughs) When you live together so close it happens.

You´ve done all this stuff, the albums, the DVD´s, the book, the Saxon documentary… Is there anything left that you feel you have to explore or feel like doing?

BB: No, not really. We´re pretty experimental within our genre. We don´t really try to write the same song over and over. I suppose we really don´t have any preconditions to our song writing. If we end up writing something that won´t suit Saxon, we just throw it in the bin. That´s how we work.

Ok. Thank you so much Biff and I´ll let you go back the the rest of the band and write som more cool songs!

BB: Of course. See you later!
The story of Jägermeister is one of incredible growth and success. This iconic brand has earned its position as the #1 selling imported cordial in America and eighth largest-selling premium spirit worldwide without leveraging what most in the category have for years — television advertising. On May 3, this will change. Jägermeister, the brand known for pioneering the original bar party with its signature Jägerettes, ground-breaking Tap Machines and category-changing Ice Cold Shots, will debut a powerful and unparalleled television and 360° advertising campaign in the United States.

Late last year, Mast-Jägermeister SE and Sidney Frank Importing Company, Inc. appointed Mistress as advertising agency of record for Jägermeister. Together, they enlisted critically acclaimed film producer Albert Hughes and Emmy Award-winning director Alastair McKevitt to capture top talent, including Keyshawn Johnson, SLAYER guitarist Kerry King, Freddie Roach, Mike Lingerfelt, Mister Cartoon, Nathan Fletcher and Rob Smets in this compelling creative, called "Stronger Bond," aimed at the 21-29 male demographic.

Jägermeister is a strong drink for strong men, with strong bonds. Seven men at the top of their respective crafts were handpicked and brought together to form the ultimate bond. Each of these men in the Jägermeister "Stronger Bond" commercial not only had to embody the untamed edge of Jägermeister, but they also had to be a part of a group whose success relies on their strong bonds with others — one of the foremost social components of the brand. The bold new television advertising features five-time world champion bullfighter Rob Smets' induction into this pantheon of legends, inclusive of an All-Pro fearless Wide Receiver, Rock Icon, World Champion Boxing Trainer, NASCAR Pit Crew Chief, Famed Street and Tattoo Artist and Big Wave Surfer, as he too has accomplished greatness and earned his Seat at the Table.

"Jägermeister has always been consumed socially. This product was originally developed for, and dedicated to, hunters that have deep connections to their craft and each other. The 'Stronger Bond' campaign triggers stories of this kinship and bonding from the brand's deep history and highlights that bond amongst this exceptional group of men," says Michael Volke, member, executive board, Mast-Jägermeister SE.

"The introduction of this campaign is a milestone for our business as we continue to build Jägermeister in the United States, the largest market in the world," says John Frank, vice chairman of Sidney Frank Importing Company, Inc.

"Everything in this campaign is real. The men, their stories and their bonds are just as authentic as the history and heritage of Jägermeister itself," adds Amanda Blanco, vice president and Jägermeister brand manager at Sidney Frank Importing Company, Inc.
Veteran drummer Vinny Appice, known for his exemplary work in Black Sabbath, Dio and Heaven & Hell, has joined forces with bassist Rex Brown of Pantera and Down fame, guitarist Mark Zavon and vocalist Jason "Dewey" Bragg to create a new entity in heavy metal called Kill Devil Hill. The band has been around for a couple of years now, starting out by performing on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood, and then gradually breaking out into other territories. Now, they are ready to release their self-titled debut album, set for a release date of May 22nd on SPV Records. A couple of days ago, on April 30th 2012, I had the pleasure of talking to Vinny Appice to discuss this debut album, the formative period of the band, touring plans, and more. Enjoy the conversation, and check out Kill Devil Hill by visiting the links below.
First and foremost, the Kill Devil Hill debut album is coming out pretty soon. It must be an exciting time for you, being part of a debut album again after such a long time.
Oh yeah, this is very exciting because it is something new and something basically I started from the beginning. So to see it build and grow into finally making an album and releasing it, it's really, really exciting. And now we're playing some gigs, and doing the whole thing. It's awesome.
Would you say that you've been involved with the activities in this band, than any other band you've been a part of in the past?
Yeah well, it's basically the difference between having your own business and working for a business. Before, I played with Dio and Sabbath mainly, both established bands and entities and I had some say in them. More in Dio, with some creative and business stuff, but really not much in Sabbath. So this new band is like, my input is in everything, with business decisions, writing songs, and everything else that's required in completing the thing. So it's a lot more work and time involved, but it's a lot more fun.
So, how long would you say this debut album has taken, in terms of the writing process?
We started writing in the end of 2009, and we continued up until last summer. So for about a year and a half, we kept writing different songs and ideas. Rex wasn't involved in the band until the beginning of 2011. So, we went through different phases. The first phase was just me, Mark and Dewey. We wrote a lot of stuff, put it together and Rex played on it. And then, we refined it with a couple more songs after that. So all in all, it was probably a year and a half, and we finally went into the studio.
Did you change anything that was already written, when Rex came in? Or was it just a case of writing more songs with him?
No, we didn't really change anything, just minor little changes. And then Rex put his bass on and played a lot of different parts. The guitarist Mark Zavon was playing bass on the songs we had written. We gave it to Rex to put his own parts on those songs. But nothing's really changed very much. Very few things.
Obviously you started out playing your first couple of gigs in LA, at the Key Club and the Whisky, and sometime late last year you started playing in other places in the US. How has the response been from people who've seen you for the first time?
The response has been great. When we played last year, nobody knew who we were. There wasn't a buzz about the band and we weren't out there very much. So went and did a bunch of shows, so as far as people coming out and knowing who the band is, they didn't really know. So they came out because of my name and Rex's name, and didn't know what to expect, but the acceptance from them was great. They loved the songs, loved the band and everybody had a good time. So it was a good experience to interact with the audience, but it will be even better once the album's out, because people will know the songs and it'll be more intense when we go out and play. That was last year, and now this year we just came back from doing a couple of shows up in the Seattle area, and once again the response has been great. There are more people coming out to the gigs because more people know the band now, and there's a buzz about it. So it's a little bit more known that we are around, even though the album is not out yet. Once the album comes out, it will be incredible.
Yes, I'm sure it will be. Talking of that, you've been booked for a small tour with Adrenaline Mob which starts in about ten days. I think that's a great combination. Both bands keep the music pretty simple and straightforward, playing hard-hitting metal.
Yeah, it's going to be a good tour, because it's two bands that came out at the same time basically. It's a good package, and somebody buying a ticket will see two really great bands and will get to see a lot of well-known musicians all in one show, in small venues. So it will help both bands get people in there, and it will be fun.
Right, I was reading the press release about that tour, and I believe there will be some kind of a jam session after both bands do their individual sets. What's that going to be all about? Have you been practicing for that or will it be just an impromptu thing?
What we're going to do is, after each band plays, both bands will come up and jam. We'll do a couple of tunes, may be from Sabbath, Down or Pantera. Who knows, may be we'll do some other covers. We'll play a number of songs together. We'll switch around, and there will be only one drum set so you won't get to see two drummers, but we thought it would be a cool way to end the evening. We haven't rehearsed at all. It's probably better to decide during soundcheck. It's more exciting, as it's less rehearsed, you know.
When you write songs for Kill Devil Hill, is it like a spontaneous jam involving the four of you, or do you write your own parts individually?
A lot of the songs were written with Mark and I just jamming in the studio that he has at his house. We jam and come up with different riffs and ideas, and then Mark would add some more to it. Then we arrange it and Dewey adds vocal melodies and Mark helps him with that. And then we play it to Rex, and he might have a suggestion here and there. Most of this stuff was written by Mark, Dewey and me, because Rex came in late. Once we had that material, Rex put his ideas into it. So it's a whole band effort. For this kind of band to write, we have to jam together in a room and come up with riffs. It's easier like that, and that's why it's more powerful that way.
The one question I wanted to ask you the most is, how are you feeling as a drummer, and how do you compare your drumming to your past years?
Well, I've been playing for a long, long time, and knock on wood, I'm strong and in really good health. I always took care of myself physically, and I find myself playing just as strong and hard as I was years ago. I'm really enjoying it, and coming up with different approaches and techniques now. So I'm feeling good, and I still have the fire in me. It's still burning, and I'm always ready to kick ass. I'm still pissed off (laughs).
With age, I feel that drummers are more susceptible to injuries. Do you feel the risk of injury in your own body sometimes?
I had to go through shoulder surgery two years ago because the drum set that I had with Heaven & Hell, I had all the drums up in the air and I was swinging my arms and shoulders while playing them, moving around all the time, and finally I had a problem with it, so I had to get that shoulder surgery. I did that, and since then it's been as good as new. I'm really feeling great, and now I don't have all those drums up in the air. I keep everything closer, and it's good for the shoulders.
Finally, after this Adrenaline Mob tour and the album release, what plans do you have for the year and what can we expect from the band?
There's also a thing happening, and it looks like we're going to Europe in September for about five or six shows. And then there's talk about a Canadian run, and we're going to just keep playing. We just want to go out there, push the album, push the band, and build a fan base, so we'll be playing a lot. And hopefully next year we'll get on some of the bigger shows and festivals.
Tour dates with Adrenaline Mob:
5/10: Cleveland, OH @ House Of Blues
5/11: Flint, MI @ The Machine Shop
5/13: Chicago, IL @ House of Blues
5/15: Dallas, TX @ Trees
5/16: San Antonio, TX @ Backstage Live
5/19: Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ Revolution
5/21: Orlando, FL @ House of Blues
5/22: Charlotte, NC @ Amos South End
Toby Cook of The Quietus recently conducted an interview with Matt Pike of the San Francisco Bay Area hard rock band HIGH ON FIRE. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

The Quietus: The title of the [new HIGH ON FIRE] record, "De Vermis Mysteriis", obviously has links to the grimoires of Robert Bloch and H.P. Lovecraft, but the concept is based around the idea that Jesus had a twin who died at birth, and then became a time traveller, right? Can you clear up what the fuck's going on there?

Pike: Yeah, well, he died at birth so that Jesus could live and then forwards himself through time and sees the destruction that Christianity causes and tries to travel back in time to warn his brother — who's innocent of all this. But there's lots of little factors in between that are Lovecraft-ian, Bloch-ish, Robert E. Howard-ish — and I kind of just put them altogether because I like religious studies and I like horror and terror and I like science fiction — like Philip K. Dick — and I like conspiracy theories and stuff like that. I just put it together and thought, like, "Whoa dude, you've really outdone yourself and you've put a large fucking thing in your own lap here!"

The Quietus: I hear that the writing process had more of an improvisational feel to it compared to previous albums. Is that right? How did working like that affect the outcome?

Pike: Well, we had a lot of skeletons of songs, but we had kind of a deadline, y'know? They were trying to enforce a deadline and usually I don't play that game — I'm like, dude, it's done when it's fucking done — but I really wanted to get it done, and Dez [Kensel, drums] and Jeff [Matz, bass] really wanted to get it done. So we just did boot camp for two months; we were at the studio every day, every day, every day, trying to find the pieces to the puzzle that we had started. And yeah, a lot of it turned out kind of, not so much improvised, but, like, close enough to improv where it's like, well that just feels good so leave it.

The Quietus: And you roped in Kurt Ballou to produce it this time. How did he become involved?

Pike: Well, we've know Kurt for a while and the whole band agreed that the last couple of discs he recorded were fucking stellar and we wanted to give him a try with our sound. Y'know, we had a whole list of people; we were considering [Greg] Fidelman again, we were considering [Steve] Albini, we were considering [Jack] Endino, but we've just been moving on every album or so, trying to get that right "thing" and change it up a little so that each album's a little different. And I kind of like doing that, it gives it a lot of character, it makes it real listenable — and you're not getting the exact same album as you did last time — I think that's a pretty important part. Like, y'know, if you're a fan of an artist, you don't want to see the same painting twice, right? [

The Quietus: Moving on to the LP artwork, again it's something in the past that HIGH ON FIRE always seem to put a lot of effort and emphasis into getting the right person, often with stunning results, but this time you've gone with something pretty different.

Pike: Yeah, it was Tim Lehi. Tim's a really respected tattoo artist, but he's also a painter, and we were just trying to do something a little different this time — we'd been in that same ball park a while. And [Arik] Roper is astonishing. Man. Like, don't get me wrong — it was nothing against him — we were just trying to do something a little bit different just to see where it'd go. And, yeah, I'm pretty stoked on the way this whole package turned out.
British rockers THE DARKNESS will release their third studio album, "Hot Cakes", on August 21 via Wind-Up (North and South America) and PIAS (U.K. and rest of the world). After a seven-year wait, "Hot Cakes" — produced by the band's Justin and Dan Hawkins with longtime collaborator Nick Brine and mixed by Bob Ezrin — will deliver the epic rock anthems and infectious pop choruses the multi-platinum band has become renowned for worldwide.

"When we first heard a new DARKNESS track and after seeing them play live in New York City, we knew THE DARKNESS were back!" explains Wind-Up CEO Edward Vetri. "THE DARKNESS and Wind-up make a great rock partnership and we look forward to working with them to launch 'Hot Cakes'."

THE DARKNESS kicks off an Australian tour this week (May 4) before returning to the U.S. May 18 for select dates and three festival appearances: Saturday, May 19 at InfieldFest (Baltimore, Maryland); Sunday, May 20 at Rock On The Range (Columbus, Ohio); and Saturday, May 26 at Rocklahoma (Pryor, Oklahoma). Following the U.S. shows, they'll perform festivals across Europe as well as a hometown outdoor headlining gig at Thetford Fest in Suffolk before teaming with LADY GAGA for her "Born This Way Ball" tour.

Since THE DARKNESSJustin Hawkins (vocals/guitars), Dan Hawkins (guitars/backing vocals), Frankie Poullain (bass) and Ed Graham (drums) — resumed active service almost 12 months ago on the main stage of 2011's Download festival with their original lineup, the British group have accomplished a lot. They've completed sold-out tours of the U.K. and North America; were featured in a Superbowl ad (broadcast to over 100 million viewers in the tense fourth quarter of the game); finished recording "Hot Cakes" and released a free teaser track and video, "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us".

THE DARKNESS made its U.K. live comeback in June 2011 in front of just 200 people at the Norwich Waterfront.

THE DARKNESS' first album, "Permission To Land", was released in 2003, hitting the No. 1 spot in the U.K. chart and winning "MasterCard British Album" at the 2004 Brit Awards (along with "Best British Group" and "British Rock Act").

Between 2003 and 2006, THE DARKNESS was honored with many awards and accolades; along with three Brit Awards, the band won an Ivor Novello in 2004 for "Songwriters Of The Year", four Kerrang! Awards, two Metal Hammer Awards, an MTV Europe Music Award and even an Elle Style Award in 2004 for "Most Stylish Band".
Steven Rosen of Ultimate-Guitar.com recent;y conducted an interview with vocalist Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth of New Jersey thrash metal veterans OVERKILL. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Ultimate-Guitar.com: The band has just reached album number 17 with "The Electric Age". How do you keep from writing the same song after so many records?

Ellsworth: I think we've done so many records and obviously OVERKILL is OVERKILL and it's not a large scope of music — we're a thrash band. I think, for me, to make it interesting, there's a fine line between style and repetition. Obviously, I like to be known for a style; I think there's a comfort zone with style. But when it comes to repetition, I think if it comes to rehash and recycle, we try or me specifically I try not to do that with melody lines. Words can be part of that style but if I'm gonna rehash something from "Ironbound" or as long ago as "Horrorscope", I'd rather stay away from that.

Ultimate-Guitar.com: As someone who has been a true flag-waver for thrash metal, how have you seen the music change over the years?

Ellsworth: I think records and bands like EXODUS, TESTAMENT and ourselves are getting great results based on the health of this scene and based on the state of it. This is about young bands that came along and tried to take the flag with kudos to the old school but wanted to do something with it. And I think the older bands came along and said, "No, this is how you do it. This is what you're supposed to do." I think everybody kinda got down to bare bones and brass tacks and started releasing records into a healthy scene. Older bands, especially, that increased the health of that scene.

Ultimate-Guitar.com: You produced "The Electric Age" yourself. Was that difficult?

Ellsworth: No, because of the amount of time that's been put in. The way we do it is a little unique. I mean, the guys will be tracking at D.D.'s [Verni, bass] studio and I go to another studio. This gives us objectivity from each other. I'm hearing mixed tracks with drum groups/guitar groups-based. I sing to that and bring it down to there. They've already moved on with something else. We're dropping my stuff into the real stuff now so we have objectivity. We're not hearing it go down and being over-exposed to and I think that works. I also think what works is the fact that so much time has passed so you know when it's shit. If you listen back you go, "Look guys that's just not gonna work." I've never sat there over production with regards to the vocals and pined over the word "the". You know, "Which one has more th in it." It's never gonna be like that. I listen and say, "Which has the more attitude? Which is the one that's one the beat? OK, no-brainer, let's use track two on that." So I think it's more about simplicity; overthinking it with this production is not what it's about. It's about organization and the best performances you can get and the best tones. And if everything kind of stays in place and you keep it within those parameters, the production comes relatively easy.

Ultimate-Guitar.com: "Electric Rattlesnake" is the first single and it has some serious shifting in the rhythms and riffs. Were you looking to bring in these different kinds of pieces?

Ellsworth: That one specifically just came out in one shot and that was D.D. Verni. When I heard the first riff and the first three minutes of that song, it was presented to me. This song really never developed within the studio; this developed in D.D.'s head. The arrangement and everything. Now the other ones that we had more time with were arranged with regard to more input from Dave [Linsk, guitar], D.D. and myself. But I got this one and I was, "Man, this is very unique" 'cause we're going neck breaking; we're going half-time; we're going quarter-time and back to neck breaking. And I was thinking to myself that the unique part about it is that first of all the guy's willing to think out of the box. Second of all even though it's out of the box it contains just about every element that OVERKILL has used to some degree with regard to timing and with regard to speed. I thought it was kind of cool to present that over a six-minute period and say, "Yes, we can show a couple of different photographs or snapshots of what this band is about." The staccato vocal into a melodic vocal into almost a bluesy feel when it really breaks down into that center. It's just I think a real cool presentation and a real good piece of work on D.D.'s part.

Ultimate-Guitar.com: Do you have any feelings about your newer songs and which of them might become staples down the road?

Ellsworth: I think off the last record, "Bring Me the Night" and "Ironbound" sorta have that quality to it. With regards to the new ones, we haven't played any yet, but I was hopeful "Electric Rattlesnake" would. As we talked about it earlier, it's kind of a ride of contrast with regard to band's characteristics and I think that's why it can be a staple. But there's ones that come in and out that people love off the "Horrorscope" record and occasionally we jump into the "Killbox" record. But those four from the beginning will be those four I think forever. And hopefully we can add a few new ones on this next jaunt we're doing through the U.S. and Europe.
"Shadowmaker", the new album from German metallers RUNNING WILD, has registered the following first-week chart positions:

Sweden: #43
Austria: #61

The CD was released in Germany on April 20, and was made available in the rest of Europe on April 23 and in the U.S./Canada on April 24 via SPV/Steamhammer. The effort was issued as a limited first edition in a black jewel case with silver printing and slipcase plus a 40-minute bonus DVD with a "making-of" documentary and a track-by-track commentary by RUNNING WILD mainman Rock 'N' Rolf. The double gatefold LP comes with printed innersleeves and clear vinyl. There is also a boxset limited to 1,000 copies worldwide. It contains 2 LPs, the black jewel case with the DVD, a poster, a sticker, a postcard and a 30-page book in LP size about the history of the band.

The cover of "Shadowmaker" is the most unusual in the history of the band, but when you listen to the title track and read the lyrics, you will understand the meaning of it. It was created by Rock 'N' Rolf and Jens Reinhold (EVERGREY, FREEDOM CALL, VIRGIN STEELE), who also handled artwork for all configurations.

Black Jewel Case + DVD track listing:


01. Piece Of The Action (4:25)
02. Riding On The Tide (4:18)
03. I Am Who I Am (4:51)
04. Black Shadow (5:13)
05. Locomotive (4:35)
06. Me & The Boys (5:00)
07. Shadowmaker (4:25)
08. Sailing Fire (4:14)
09. Into The Black (4:57)
10. Dracula (7:29)


* Making of "Shadowmaker"
* Track-by-track commentary by Rock 'N' Rolf

Length: approximately 40 min

LP track listing:

LP 1

Side 1

01. Piece Of The Action (4:25)
02. Riding On The Tide (4:18)
03. I Am Who I Am (4:51)

Side 2

01. Black Shadow (5:13)
02. Locomotive (4:35)
03. Me & The Boys (5:00)

LP 2

Side 1

01. Shadowmaker (4:25)
02. Sailing Fire (4:14)
03. Into The Black (4:57)

Side 2

01. Dracula (7:29)

Box Set:

* 2 LPs, clear vinyl
* Black jewel case including DVD
* Poster
* Postcard
* Sticker
* 30 page book in LP size about the history of the band plus photos
* 35 x 35 cm
* Hard cardboard material with top
"Weather Systems", the new album from the U.K. atmospheric rock band ANATHEMA, sold around 1,300 copies in the United States in its first week of release. The CD landed at position No. 22 on the Top New Artist Albums (Heatseekers) chart, which lists the best-selling albums by new and developing artists, defined as those who have never appeared in the Top 100 of The Billboard 200.

In other news, Holland's FaceCulture conducted an interview with ANATHEMA vocalist/guitarist Vincent Cavanagh. You can now watch the chat in five parts below.

"Weather Systems" was released on April 24 via The End Records. The follow-up to 2010's "We're Here Because We're Here" was recorded in Liverpool, North Wales and Oslo, each place significant to ANATHEMA past, present and future. The record was produced and mastered by Christer-André Cederberg (ANIMAL ALPHA, IN THE WOODS..., DRAWN), whom ANATHEMA's Daniel Cavanagh has described as "a revelation. His calmness and brilliance has helped to bring about the greatest inter-band chemistry that ANATHEMA have experienced together in their career."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Weather Systems" track listing:

01. Untouchable, Part 1
02. Untouchable, Part 2
03. The Gathering Of The Clouds
04. Lightning Song
05. Sunlight
06. The Storm Before The Calm
07. The Beginning And The End
08. The Lost Child
09. Internal Landscapes
"Utopia", the debut album from Oulu, Finland-based metallers ZENITH REUNION, has entered the official chart in the band's home country at position No. 9.

"Utopia" was released on April 25 via Violent Journey Records.

The track listing for the CD is as follows:

01. Can't Feel The Pain
02. Naked Boy
03. Dust
04. Gone Forever
05. FF
06. Victim Of Time
07. Truth Inside
08. Darkness Fall
09. Utopia
Formed in the early '90s, ZENITH REUNION's "unique sound" draws influences from "heavy guitar messengers of the '80s and '90s like STONE, TAROT, ZERO NINE, ACCEPT and DREAM THEATER," according to a press release. These powerful but beautifully rugged guitar riffs together with bass- and drum sections' progressively colored rhythm work are entwined with melodic and harmonic vocals to update the last few decades' heavy rock to present. The whole package is crowned by talented solos bursting with nuances and surprises."


Jouni Juurikka: Lead Vocals
Jukka Uusi-Illikainen: Guitar, Backing Vocals
Vocal Jukka Ihme: Guitar, Backing Vocals
Jukka Jokikokko: Bass, Backing Vocals
Ville Hanhisuanto: Drums, Backing Vocals

For more information, visit www.zenithreunion.com.
"Tragic Idol", the new album from British gothic metal pioneers PARADISE LOST, has registered the following first-week chart positions:

Germany: #6
Austria: #15
Switzerland: #23
Czech Republic: #27
France: #30
Denmark: #33
U.K.: #73
Belgium: #77 (Flemish Charts)
Belgium: #78 (Wallonian Charts)
Netherlands: #85

As previously reported, "Tragic Idol" sold around 900 copies in the United States in its first week of release. The CD landed at position No. 32 on the Top New Artist Albums (Heatseekers) chart, which lists the best-selling albums by new and developing artists, defined as those who have never appeared in the Top 100 of The Billboard 200.

Released on April 24 (one day earlier internationally) via Century Media Records, "Tragic Idol" was recorded in part at The Chapel studios in Lincolnshire, England and features cover art by by Parisian designer Valnoir, who has previously worked with MORBID ANGEL, LAIBACH, ULVER and WATAIN, among others.

"Tragic Idol" track listing:

01. Solitary One (04:08)
02. Crucify (04:08)
03. Fear Of Impending Hell (05:25)
04. Honesty In Death (04:08)
05. Theories From Another World (05:02)
06. In This We Dwell (03:55)
07. To The Darkness (05:09)
08. Tragic Idol (04:35)
09. Worth Fighting For (04:12)
10. The Glorious End (05:23)

In addition to the standard CD, "Tragic Idol" was made available in the following formats:

* 180-gram gatefold LP (black vinyl)

* Limited 2-CD box set including:
- Alternative cover artwork in matte/glossy print on the box
- CD Digipak, coated in silver foil, imprinted with glossy varnish
- Extended 24-page booklet, imprinted with glossy varnish and special Pantone gold color
- Bonus CD including one brand new studio track "Ending Through Changes" and the SPEAR OF DESTINY cover version "Never Take Me Alive"

* Strictly limited deluxe box set (box with a golden foil print)

* EMP edition (200 copies) including:
- Limited 2-CD box set
- Gatefold LP (gold colored vinyl)
- 7-Inch (gold colored vinyl)
- PARADISE LOST army cap
- A1 "Tragic Idol" poster
- Tragic Idol slipmat
- Hand-numbered certificate of authenticity

* Amazon edition (GER 400 copies & FR 200 copies) including:
- Limited 2-CD Box Set
- Gatefold LP (White Colored Vinyl)
- 7-inch (White Colored Vinyl)
- Paradise Lost Army Cap
- A1 Tragic Idol poster
- "Tragic Idol" slipmat
- Hand-numbered certificate of authenticity

* Nuclear Blast edition (400 copies) including:
- Limited 2CD box set
- Gatefold LP (dark-blue-colored vinyl)
- 7-inch (dark-blue-colored vinyl)
- PARADISE LOST army cap
- A1 "Tragic Idol" poster
- "Tragic Idol" slipmat
- Hand-numbered certificate of authenticity

Band edition (250 copies) including:
- Strictly limited 2CD box set
- Gatefold LP (dark sand marbled colored vinyl)
- 7-inch (dark sand marbled colored vinyl)
- A1 "Tragic Idol" poster
- "Tragic Idol" slipmat
- Hand-numbered certificate of authenticity

A track from "Tragic Idol" entitled "Crucify" can be streamed below. Singer Nick Holmes stated about the song, "My father always used to say that typical life stresses were crucifying him. I always thought it was such a dramatic way of stating that. He was just uncomfortable with a situation that would soon be remedied. I also refer to an actual person as a literal crucifixion at the end. The words 'for eternity you're my sentence' is my favorite line on the whole album."

Commented guitarist Greg Mackintosh: "We are very excited about the premiere of our 'Honesty In Death' video. In my opinion, it is the best video we have ever done. Matt Green, who I had previously worked with on the VALLENFYRE 'Cathedrals Of Dread' video, directed it. He did such a great job with VALLENFYRE that we knew he would be able to do something really special for PARADISE LOST. The result is a very powerful, but very grim short film with brief cameos by the band, that is sure to resonate with people who see it."
Sakis Fragos, publisher and chief editor of Greece's Rock Hard magazine recently conducted an interview with guitarist Dan Rock and vocalist Devon Graves (a.k.a. Buddy Lackey) of reunited San Diego, California-based progressive metallers PSYCHOTIC WALTZ. The question-and-answer session follows below.

Rock Hard: I had always the impression that PSYCHOTIC WALTZ, as a band, followed their vision from their first steps. From the characteristic artwork of Mike Clift, to their evolution from album to album and finally the way they decided to end their career as a band in 1997. 15 years have passed since your break-up. How would you describe the career of PSYCHOTIC WALTZ and their evolution through their discography?

Dan: I agree. We followed our vision of what type of music it was that we wanted to create. We each brought a little something from our own personal taste and style, and, fortunately, it blended in a pretty cool way. As we aged from year to year, our tastes also changed. I can't imagine if we would have put out four CDs that all sounded just like "A Social Grace", nor do I think the fans would have really appreciated it too much… OK, some would, but the variety of the four discs we made offers a much larger pool of sound to dip yourself into, I think. As a career, I can't complain; we were together for 10 years, played all over Europe, made four albums we are all very proud of, and developed a very devoted fan base. Eventually, like many bands, the time became right for us to break up. I think we all feel very fortunate that there is still an opportunity for us to be together again making music and playing live.

Rock Hard: Although you seemed to be a band with no restriction musically, some bandmembers had various projects like END AMEN, DARKSTAR and the solo album "The Strange Mind Of Buddy Lackey". Which were the reasons for forming these projects?

Devon: In my case, it was two reasons. First, this was to fill the gap while Dan healed from a near-fatal accident, and a move in case there would be no more PSYCHOTIC WALTZ in the event Dan would not be able to return. Second, although we had no musical restrictions, I still had the desire to explore my own vision in a way that PSYCHOTIC would not allow simply because that PSYCHOTIC was a group and not the platform for me to personally indulge my own ideas. I just wanted to try it.

Dan: And with DARKSTAR, likewise it was an opportunity to try something that really wouldn't have worked with PSYCHOTIC WALTZ. I mean, it was an instrumental-oriented concept, I couldn't ask Devon to not sing on a whole PSYCHOTIC WALTZ album, now could I?

Rock Hard: You are considered to be one of the smartest and beloved progressive metal bands of all time, although you do not have any of the stereotypes of this genre. How do you explain that? Dan Rock had once said that music does not stem form the musical colleges but from the street…

Devon: I think we don't follow the stereotypes of "progressive metal" because that is not what we were following. We were simply evolving from the more primitive style of rock and metal. The tempo and texture changes came from the desire to be interesting and unpredictable, not to copy other bands doing the same (of which, at the time there were very, very few)

Rock Hard: Reading the "Waltz times" fanzines these days, the fanzine from your fan club, I couldn't help but notice the passion showed by your fans all over the world, even from Greece where you have hardcore fans. Are you satisfied from the success and recognition you have tasted so far from the press and the fans?

Devon: Not so much satisfied as appreciative. But, of course, it is human nature to want more.

Dan: I agree, we very much appreciate the good vibes from fans and critics alike.

Rock Hard: Which bands would you say that defined the PSYCHOTIC WALTZ sound?


Dan: Ha ha ha, funny answer. I think since we all brought different backgrounds into the jam room, we are basically the product of our combined childhood heroes mixed with our own concepts and imaginations.

Rock Hard: Which moments of your career would you describe as the best and the worst?

Devon: For me, the best day was July 1, 1986 (my 20th birthday) when the guys came over and surprised me with the fact they had rented a PA system and invited me to join the band. The worst was July 1, 1997, when I stepped out of the car returning me home from our last tour, when I knew I would not be coming back.

Dan: Ahhhh… but you did come back, so now that's not the worst day anymore, is it? For me I guess the best moment was our first show at the Dynamo Open Air 1991. As I looked out at 30,000 people and thought to myself, "Holy shit!!!" The worst for sure was my accident Devon mentioned. I couldn't play guitar for over eight months, and it really set the band back a bit. But, here we are, so many years later, and it's all good.

Rock Hard: What made you spilt up back then and now reunite?

Devon: We split up for several personal and professional reasons, all of which I don't care to dig up at this time. It's all water under the bridge now, but let's say it was in the pursuit of happiness. The reuniting was long in the forming. I had my taste of self-production and leading my own band, playing guitar and so forth. I felt I said my peace in that respect over five albums. In all that time I saw the PSYCHOTIC WALTZ legacy grow and grow. It made me realize how lucky I was and how insignificant my complaints were. I also missed the simplicity of being a lead vocalist (with such amazing players and writers) over playing lead guitar and singing, as well as being the mastermind behind the whole thing (DEADSOUL TRIBE). It was just more weight than I could carry any longer.

Dan: 10 years is a long time for a band to be in a jam room, and it was the usual stuff, I suppose, bands break up over. But the reunion now, as he said, was always just over the horizon, around the corner, but the time was never just quite right. As of last year, the time was finally right for everybody.

Rock Hard: Do you have any plans for a new album? If yes, in which stage are you with that? With which album would you compare it?

Dan: Yes, we do. The stage is called the "embryo stage." Since it's just embryos, I wouldn't compare it to anything yet. We'll have to wait and see.

Rock Hard: Several bandmembers have tasted lots of serious health problems. Brian [McAlpin, guitar] in wheelchair and Dan almost killed himself while rappelling. How important have these difficulties been for the band and its existence?

Dan: Well, it does cause obvious difficulties with traveling and loading gear and stuff. But we deal with it.

Rock Hard: Dan Rock, about 10 years ago, had told me that he found the woman of his life and he decided to quit playing music, as he thought that love is more important than music. What made him change his mind and play for the reunited PSYCHOTIC WALTZ?

Dan: I told you that? I must have been drunk! HA HA HA!.... Just kidding. I stand by my claim, so would John Lennon, I think. THE BEATLES sang "All You Need Is Love" … not "All You Need Is Music". But again, the time is right at the moment, and fortunately I have both love AND music.

Rock Hard: When, in 2012, the PSYCHOTIC WALTZ reunion was announced, Devon Graves and Dan Rock were not members of the band, with Steve Cox being the second guitar player. However, when Devon Graves had come for DEADSOUL TRIBE shows in Greece, he seemed positive for a PSYCHOTIC WALTZ reunion. Why wasn't he announced in the first place?

Devon: First of all, it was 2011. Dan was not announced because it took a long time to convince him to rejoin. I mean, he wanted to, in theory, but there was no real objective that seemed worth all the effort it would take (re-learning all the old material, for example) He wasn't announced until he finally agreed to join. It was the "Power Of Metal" tour offer that gave him the incentive he was waiting for. As for myself, I agreed in secrecy, but I wanted to keep it quiet until my album with THE SHADOW THEORY was released. I thought the PSYCHOTIC WALTZ reunion would steal any possible thunder from THE SHADOW THEORY, and as it turned out, I was dead right!

Dan: Not to mention my wife was pregnant at the time, and I just had zero desire to go back in the jam room and start that machine all over again. Once my daughter was born and all was well, the opportunity was much more acceptable. And for certain, the "Power Of Metal" tour was the kind of thing I had been waiting for.

Rock Hard: In case Devon Graves wasn't in the band, was there an alternative? Who would replace him?

Dan: Vanilla Ice? Nah, for me, an alternative was never an option.

Rock Hard: For many people, Dan Rock has been one of the most significant elements of PSYCHOTIC WALTZ. For what reasons wasn't he announced in the first place for the reunion? Was he and Devon disagreeing with the whole reunion idea and when you saw the enormous support in Facebook, you changed your mind?

Devon: Not at all the case. I was the one begging Dan to rejoin. Brian also wanted it too, but Norm [Leggio, drums] and Ward [Evans, bass] were happy to play with Steve. However one of my conditions for my participation was that it should be the original lineup. I really love Steve, but Dan is a very different kind of musician as Steve. Without Dan, any new music would just not be authentic PSYCHOTIC WALTZ. Same goes for everybody else in the band, in my opinion.

Dan: Actually, Devon and I have been emailing for many years before this reunion and we always agreed on the possibility of a reunion someday when the time was right for everybody. When the other four guys finally decided the time was "now," I just wasn't ready. Now I am.

Rock Hard: Is it true that you've been sued by a member of the filming crew for the video clip of "Faded", because he claimed that the lights blinded him? What happened with this case anyway?

Devon: It was the actress in the video. I imagine she did, in fact, sustain eye damage because if you watch the part where the actors are staring up toward the light (the UFO) the shadow of her hand is not falling over her eyes as it normally would when someone is shading their eyes from a bright light. Maybe she just wanted her baby blues in the shot, but to me that is not only a stupid thing to do, it's just bad acting Those lights are really powerful and I don't doubt that she has a spot in her vision to this day . I wasn't present at that shooting, but you can see the other actor is properly shading his eyes from the light and he is just fine. She was awarded a settlement from the band (which Norm paid), from the college, and from the lighting rental company.

Rock Hard: Looking back in time, how do you see the sound of "Mosquito", where some of your hardcore fans blamed you for being "commercial?"

Devon: They are entitled to their opinion, but some of my favorite work we have ever done is on that album.

Dan: While I agree that "Lovestone Blind" may seem "commercial" to some people, none of us ever made a conscious effort to write something we didn't like. That was our groove at that point in time.

Rock Hard: Do you think that if PSYCHOTIC WALTZ had the backing of a bigger label, they would have been active all these years?

Devon: Could be. Some of our frustrations may have stemmed from our continuing starving status.

Rock Hard: Now that PSYCHOTIC WALTZ are active, what will you do with DEADSOUL TRIBE?

Devon: I ended DEADSOUL TRIBE back when I formed THE SHADOW THEORY. Having said that, as we see here, these decisions are never permanent. I do miss those guys as we were really close friends. I guess if the demand rises, I would do something with them.

Rock Hard: How was your experience with THE SHADOW THEORY?

Devon: It was wonderful to record such fantastic players and really inspiring to make that music. But that was about the end of it. The PSYCHOTIC reunion pretty much overshadowed THE SHADOW THEORY's reception and it went no further.

Rock Hard: There had been some rumors before your split-up, that Tom Mallicoat from LETHAL would take the place of Buddy Lackey. Is that true?

Dan: Sorry, Tom, I never heard that rumor.

Rock Hard: How was your experience touring with SYMPHONY X and NEVERMORE after all those years of absence?

Devon: For me it was just so wonderful to be back with our band, and it was also very interesting to see how we were accepted by a new audience off the first listen. Times have changed because in the old days it took us a while to win new listeners over. Maybe the time is right for us now. My memory of SYMPHONY X is that Russell [Allen] is extremely talented singer and a genuinely funny man. The guys in NEVERMORE were very kind and gracious, and simply a kick-ass band.

Dan: It was absolutely awesome. How we wish our tours back in the '90s had been handled like that. The professionalism of the whole tour was top notch. Great roadies, sound guys, road managers, the whole crew… and of course two of the coolest bands touring. I had a surreal moment with Jeff Loomis one night on our bus, where we both kinda tripped out on the fact that after all these years, we were actually playing together. Cool times.
"We Are The Others", the third full-length studio album from Dutch female-fronted symphonic metallers DELAIN, will be released in North America this summer via the New Jersey-based top-tier progressive metal label Sensory Records. CNR Entertainment will handle the release in The Netherlands and Roadrunner Records will issue the CD in the rest of Europe.

"We Are The Others" track listing (North American version):

01. Mother Machine
02. Electricity
03. We Are The Others
04. Milk And Honey
05. Hit Me With Your Best Shot
06. I Want You
07. Where Is The Blood (feat. Burton C. Bell)
08. Generation Me
09. Babylon
10. Are You Done With Me
11. Get The Devil Out Of Me
12. Not Enough
13. The Gathering (live)
14. Control The Storm (live)
15. Shattered (live)
16. Sleepwalkers Dream (live)

The lead single, "Get The Devil Out Of Me", hit stores on April 13 (April 15 for U.K.) to coincide with the start of the band's European tour.

The "Get The Devil Out Of Me" video can be seen below. The clip features footage from the recording sessions for the new CD and live material, including footage from the Sonisphere festival in the U.K. (used with kind permission of BlinkTV).

Described as "the band's most powerful, most atmospheric and intoxicating album to date," "We Are The Others" was helmed by producer Jacob Hellner — renowned for his work with RAMMSTEIN, CLAWFINGER and APOCALYPTICA — while the vocals were tracked with the Epicentre team of Fredrik Thomander and Anders Wikström (SCORPIONS, BACKYARD BABIES).

At first glance, some songtitles on "We Are The Others" may sound mysterious and conspiratorial, but there is a very serious background: The lyrics to the title track were inspired by the hate crime against a British girl named Sophie Lancaster in 2007. She and her boyfriend were beaten comatose by a gang of youths, because of their goth looks, and Sophie later died from her injuries. This tragedy sent shockwaves throughout the world.

Commented singer Charlotte Wessels: "Sophie's story hit close to home for us, being part of a subculture ourselves but it's in no way an individual case; people are discriminated against — all the time, to the point of violence — based on their cultural or ethnic background everywhere.

"'We Are The Others' is our own 'outsiders anthem' for everybody who, deliberately or not, diverts from the norm. Whether it's by looking different, acting different, or choosing a different path in life then is expected from you."
"Harakiri", the new studio album from singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, poet and political activist Serj Tankian, will be released July 10 on Reprise Records/Serjical Strike. The official lyric video for the first single, "Figure It Out", is available below. Also available is the CD cover art.

"Harakiri", a Japanese word meaning ritual suicide, is the follow-up to 2010's critically acclaimed "Imperfect Harmonies", and the third solo release from the SYSTEM OF A DOWN frontman. As with 2007's "Elect The Dead" and "Imperfect Harmonies", Serj produced "Harakiri" himself at his home studio in Los Angeles. He tried to approach writing a little differently this time around. "I used the Apple iPad as a songwriting instrument to sketch out three of the songs on the record," explains Serj. "We must trick ourselves into writing in different ways to get unexpected results." The album will also feature performances by Serj's touring band, THE F.C.C.Dan Monti on guitar, Mario Pagliarulo on bass, and Troy Zeigler on drums. Dan Monti is also co-mixing and co-engineering the album with Serj. The album was mastered by Vlado Meller (METALLICA, RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS, KANYE WEST, BEASTIE BOYS).

Serj reveals each of the songtitles in a statement describing "Harakiri" below. The song names are in order and in bold:

"The Cornucopia of love/hate affairs with Gaia have made us scream 'Figure It Out! CEOs are the disease." Where abusive capitalism's only fate is human/environmental devastation. The Ching Chime, diminutive drama of a gangsta Butterfly revealed that humanity's tears actually outweigh yearly rainfall on the planet.

"We have witnessed Harakiri on a grand scale tearing out the Occupied Tears of victims preyed on by victims turned aggressors creating a Deafening Silence through which we hear a voice plead, 'Forget Me Knot, my child.'

"Reality TV has become the searing indictment of a society best described as the Uneducated Democracy. The daughters of the evolution Weave On with blood dripping down their guilty hands onto the flag as the word republic is replaced by empire."

Much of the new record was written in 2011, which was an incredibly busy year for the diversely talented musician and what Serj describes as "the busiest, most productive year of my life so far." In February, the rock musical "Prometheus Bound", which he composed all of the music for, opened at the Oberon Theater at Harvard in Boston to rave reviews. 2011 also saw Serj release his second poetry book, "Glaring Through Oblivion". He toured with SYSTEM OF A DOWN across three continents, performed with the Opera Orchestra in Yerevan, Armenia, where he also had political meetings with heads of state and hosted non-profit events. He then performed his first ever concert in Lebanon, the place of his birth, with the Lebanese National Symphony Orchestra. When he returned to the U.S., he finished writing four records: a jazz record, an electronic record he wrote with his friend Jimmy Urine of MINDLESS SELF INDULGENCE, a full classical symphony called "Orca", and the new solo rock record that he is currently mastering.

"The year 2011 started with a fire. Some kids in Piha, New Zealand were setting off fireworks that landed on my neighbor's property and lit the whole hill on fire. I knew it was going to be a hell of a year and it certainly was," says Tankian. "Within five days of that, reports came out about birds and fish dying in massive numbers globally. The omen was not lost on me. Varied creatures on earth were committing massive hara-kiri (the Japanese term signifying ritualistic suicide.) Do they know something we don't about the coming times or the sustainability of the environment? That is the day I started writing this record."

The symbolism of entire species eradicating themselves on a large scale struck Serj emotionally, and is an underlying theme on the entire record. He took that idea and went to work writing, incorporating all of the experiences of his chaotic year to make a different kind of record. "The record is different than any I've made as a solo artist," he says. "It is much more driving and punk-oriented, with influences ranging from goth to electronic to '80s vibes, dynamically heavy rock to epic melodic songs. Lyrically, it spans the gauntlet of themes from personal, political and philosophical to spiritual, humor and love."

He also tried to approach writing a little differently this time around. "I used the Apple iPad as a songwriting instrument to sketch out three of the songs on the record," he says. "We must trick ourselves into writing in different ways to get unexpected results."
Lemi, Finland-based metallers STAM1NA have inked a North American deal with Bieler Bros. Records. The band's fifth album, "Nocebo", will be released in the U.S. on July 17.

Commented Bieler Bros. co-founder Jason Bieler: "STAM1NA encapsulates everything Bieler Bros. looks for when signing a new artist. Musically ferocious, melodically brilliant and structurally boundless, STAM1NA is the most exciting band in metal to me at the moment."

"Nocebo" in February entered the official Finnish album chart in the band's home country at position No. 1. The CD has been certified gold in Finland for sales in excess of 10,000 copies.

The members of STAM1NA were presented with gold plaques for "Nocebo" on February 18 during their appearance at the Finnish Metal Expo where they also performed the album in its entirety.

"Nocebo" was released in Finland on February 8 via Sakara Records. The CD was recorded at Petrax studios with producer Joe Barresi (TOOL, BAD RELIGION, APOCALYPTICA, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, WOLFMOTHER).

"Nocebo" track listing:

01. Pirunpaska
02. Valtiaan uudet vaateet
03. Tavastia palamaan!
04. Puolikas ihminen
05. Aivohalvaus
06. Rabies
07. Lepositeet
08. Nomad
09. Ei encorea
10. Arveton on arvoton

The digipack version of "Nocebo" comes with an extended booklet and a DVD containing a half-hour "making-of" documentary, filmed at Petrax studios and produced by STAM1NA's bassist, Kai-Pekka Kangasmäki.

According to a press release, the collaboration between Barresi and STAM1NA came about as a result of a meeting the producer had with the band in February 2010 when Joe was in Helsinki working on the latest APOCALYPTICA album.

STAM1NA was honored in the "Metal Album Of The Year" and "Band Of The Year" categories at last year's Emma Gaala (Finnish Grammy equivalent), which was held on February 26, 2011 at Barona Areena in Espoo, Finland.
CANNIBAL CORPSE drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz will take part in a meet-and-greet on Wednesday, May 16 at Boutique Labryinthe in Montreal, Quebec, Canada from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Boutique Labryinthe
486 Sainte-Catherine Street West
Montreal, QC H3B 1A6, Canada
(514) 861-3697

As previously reported, Mazurkiewicz will serve as a special guest judge for Round 5 of Heavy MTL's "Battle Of The Bands" where the heaviest and loudest bands in Montreal, Quebec, Canada compete for a chance to win one of two prized spots on the Heavy MTL 2012 lineup at Parc Jean-Drapeau from August 11 to August 12.

Round 5 will take place at Les Katacombes (1635 St. Laurent) on Wednesday, May 16 with the following competing bands: BOOKAKEE, CROSSTITUITION, FIRST FRAGMENT and THROUGH DEATH for the death metal / grindcore night.
American black metal titans AVERSE SEFIRA have officially called it quits. The band formed in 1996, and went on to make their mark through Europe and the Americas, performing with other notable black metal groups like DARK FUNERAL, GORGOROTH, WATAIN, MARDUK, 1349, ABSU, ANTAEUS, and SECRETS OF THE MOON. They gained a respectable following despite a fiercely independent stance that garnered them a complex reputation in the underground. They achieved wider exposure with their signing to Candlelight Records in 2007 and the release of their highly-rated fourth LP, "Advent Parallax", the following year. Over the last decade, they also appeared in multiple documentaries and books examining metal culture.

AVERSE SEFIRA was known for dealing in esoteric themes, involved lyrics, and fractured musical styles that were regarded as both ambitious and confounding in equal measures. They were also known for strong ties with several veteran death metal acts, many of whom regularly touted the band in interviews.

Formal farewell statements from founding members Sanguine Mapsama and Wrath Sathariel Diabolus can be found at the band's official blog.

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