[Classic_Rock_Forever] Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Guns N Roses, Black Country Communion,


BLACK SABBATH guitarist Tony Iommi has revealed that he was undergoing chemotherapy treatment for cancer during the recording sessions for the band's new album.

Iommi, who was diagnosed with lymphoma late last year, told Kerrang! magazine, "It was good for me to do that. I did feel tired and sick — and it does make you sick, you start throwing up. But on the days when I felt I could do it, we were all there working."

SABBATH bassist Geezer Butler added, "[Tony] was going to the hospital one day, and we'd go into the studio the next depending on how the chemo was affecting him."

Iommi, Butler and singer Ozzy Osbourne discussed their new album in a video interview posted at NME.com over the weekend. The three musicians are working with producer Rick Rubin on their first recording project together in 34 years, with Osbourne saying, "We've written about 15 songs so far. Whether they all get on the album, I don't know. We just keep on writing." Osbourne also dropped a clue about the set's title, hinting, "Next year, 2013, is a good clue to what we're going to call the album."

As for how Rubin influenced the band's approach to writing together again, Butler explained, "He sat us down, put the first album on and said 'listen to this', imagine it's 1969, you've just done that, what would you do next?"

Iommi added, "It's taken on the flavor of the old stuff in the way we put things together, but with a different look on it."

The album will not be a full-fledged SABBATH reunion. Drummer Bill Ward declined to participate due to issues with the contract he was offered to rejoin the band.

The project suffered another blow when Iommi was diagnosed with cancer, although he said that playing a recent warm-up show in their hometown of Birmingham, England was a boost to his spirits: "It was great. Going through what I've gone through over the past year has been like living in a different world — being onstage and to get that (reaction from the fans) is just fantastic, it really boosts you up."

SABBATH has curtailed almost all its planned touring activities for 2012 while Iommi undergoes treatment. The band is still scheduled to headline the U.K.'s Download festival this Sunday (June 10) and Chicago's Lollapalooza event in early August. Tommy Clufetos is filling in on drums.
IRON MAIDEN singer Bruce Dickinson, a commercial airline pilot and established aviation entrepreneur, recently set up Cardiff Aviation Limited to provide specialist aviation technical support services, including training, as well as heavy aircraft maintenance for various jet aircraft types, both narrow and wide body, up to Boeing 767 size. Dickinson and his company are leasing 132,000 square feet of hangar and office space at St Athan, Vale of Glamorgan in Wales, United Kingdom from the Welsh government.

According to Barry & District News, the first piece of equipment into the hangar at St Athan is a Boeing 747-200 flight simulator. The B747 is one of the world's biggest aircraft and the simulator will be used to train experienced pilots undergoing annual refresher training, as well as pilots new to professional aviation.

Dickinson, who currently trains pilots on a variety of aircraft flight simulators at other U.K. locations, said, "This is a big, serious piece of kit which involved a police escort on oversized trucks to transport it from the Gatwick area where it had previously been used to train pilots flying Virgin Atlantic's Boeing 747s. It is now being installed in our St Athan HQ Ð known as Twin Peaks Ð and we already have agreements in place for training and type-rating courses from the day the simulator comes online, with pilots and students coming not just from the U.K., but from around the world."

Footage of Dickinson giving a short video tour of Cardiff Aviation can be seen below.

Cardiff Aviation will maintain airliners and other large aircraft for major and independent airlines. It will also have facilities to complete the full range of ancillary aircraft maintenance and training activities and has the expertise and approvals to certify aircraft from many jurisdictions, including the USA.

Commented Dickinson: "We've had fantastic support from the Welsh government — we've been impressed by how pro-active they've been; they've really wanted to make this happen, and we've experienced a level of enthusiasm and drive that has been a delight to behold.

"We're coming into this enterprise with the knowledge that we'll also be bringing business to South Wales — a cautious projection is that we'd expect to create up to a thousand jobs within 18 months based on the level of interest and commitment from aircraft manufacturers and operators. South Wales has long had an association with the aircraft industry and I am delighted that I am able to play a small part in the continuation of that tradition.

"We expect to announce the names of our first clients in May, and we're also currently dealing with expressions of interest from several more major and independent airlines.

"We'll be based in civil aviation buildings, and we're excited to be part of the Welsh Government's Aerospace Enterprise Zone proposals. As an established base, it obviously has all the facilities necessary for the enterprise, including a runway 6,000 feet in length with a Cat 1 DME ILS, meaning it can cope with practically any size of commercial aircraft, including wide-bodied airliners.

"But the added value we can bring to the package is that while the team is expert in the provision of technical services, we also have expertise in aircraft sourcing and leasing, another key aspect to the deployment of a total aviation services package, hopefully including the development of new airline services for South Wales — Cardiff Airport has tremendous potential to challenge the successful English regional airports."
When the book is closed on Metallica and the final history written, you won't find the word "unambitious" anywhere.
In fact, with a busy European festival season nearly behind them, their own Orion Music festival looming, a 3D movie in the works and a new album on the horizon, Metallica are looking to accomplish more this summer than most bands do in a career.
"Whenever any of us take on something, we always give it our best," says Kirk Hammett. "It's just the way we go about doing things. Whether it's collectively or individually, I think all of us are pretty careful putting the right presentation across."
And given the number of firsts on the table for the band this year, that attitude is exactly why Metallica remain one of the most vital and exciting bands in all of music after three decades.
We recently caught up with Hammett via phone during Metallica's hectic tour schedule to chat about the Orion festival, his new book and the new Metallica album.
GUITAR WORLD: So you're in Denmark right now, then you've got Download and Nova Rock, and then back to the States?
KIRK HAMMETT: Yeah, and then we play our Orion festival in Atlantic City, and then we do eight nights in Mexico City and then we go up to Canada and do a bunch of shows.
When you get back, you'll have just under two weeks before Orion kicks off. What's the schedule going to be like for you leading up to that?
Well, let's see. A week and a half of it is going to be vacation time. [laughs] The gigs are on Saturday and Sunday, so we'll probably go out a couple of days before and do a short soundcheck when we get there, and then an extended soundcheck the day before the first show. And then after that, we'll just rock.
A lot of times when we have a show within two weeks of coming off a tour, we don't really need to rehearse — we'll just do a soundcheck and brush off the rust. And then we're good to go.
You've been playing the Black Album all summer on tour in Europe, and you'll be playing it the second night of Orion. The first night is Ride the Lightning. You already play a lot of those songs live, but were there any cuts you had to brush up on?
As you said, a lot of the songs in our set are on Ride the Lightning to begin with, so when it came time to actually think about doing Ride the Lightning, the only songs we needed to rehearse were "Escape" and "The Call of Ktulu."
Everything else is something that we play in pretty regular rotation — "Fade to Black," "For Whom the Bell Tolls," "Fight Fire With Fire." The only one we really felt the need to rehearse was "Escape," which we've never played live before, and "The Call of Kutlu," which we have played live a lot, but not since December, I think.
The most striking thing about the festival is the incredibly diverse lineup. How did that come together? Did you all come to the table with a list of bands you wanted to see on the bill?
What happened was we got a long list of bands who were available, and we just kind of picked and chose. And made sure that whoever we picked was someone we actually like. [laughs]
I'm really looking forward to it. And we also have these lifestyle tents that are kind of based on our own individual interests. James is having a car show, Lars is having a movie festival type thing, Rob is having a skate and surf thing and I have Kirk's Crypt, which is kind of like a haunted house type thing.
Those are the things that we're kind of going above and beyond to make sure our own lifestyles and personalities come across. That's kind of a new thing for us. Usually when we get to the show, we just play the show and leave. But this time it's our show, and it's more of an event than anything else. That's where all the other types of bands and the lifestyle tents come in.
A lot of bands — particularly in metal — like to keep a strong veil between their music and their personalities. Is it important for you to be able to express different facets of your personality through this band?
It's something we feel the need to do. It's something that ... It is important for us to come across in a certain way. It's pretty important for us to come across in a way that's honest and not put-on. It's important that people kind of see this as more than just a regular concert.
For me, just to get everything ready for Kirk's Crypt, I've been working on this pretty much every day for the last three months. I've got three assistants working on it just to make sure it's exactly the way I want it to be. [laughs]
I'm also going to be presenting my book for the first time. I'm putting out a book in October, but the Orion festival is going to be the first showing of the book. So I just want everything to be exactly the way it needs to be.
Can you tell me a bit more about the book you're going to be premiering?
Yeah, it's a book about vintage tour and movie posters, vintage monster toys and artwork. It's basically all the stuff I've managed to amass over the last 30 years or so. I have such a huge collection and I just thought now was the right time to share it with everyone. And that's exactly what I'm doing. I finished it in April and it'll be out in October, but the Orion festival will be the first time I'm letting people know that it's done and it's coming out.
For me it was a lot of fun to make, and it's very cool for me to look at. Hopefully it's just as fun and cool for other people too.
It sounds like there's a lot that you personally have to look forward to at Orion. Are there any bands in particular that you're really excited to see, or just have on the bill?
I'm really excited to see Ghost. I think they're a great band. We've been playing some shows with them over here in Europe and so I'm really excited about them.
I'm excited about Arctic Monkeys, I'm excited about Avenged Sevenfold, The Gaslight Anthem, Cage the Elephant, Best Coast, Gary Clark Jr. — who I think is just a tremendous guitar player — The Sword, Suicidal Tendencies, Kyng, Red Fang and Soul Rebels Brass Band, who we played with in December. It's going to be pretty cool.
Basically what we're doing is setting it up like a European festival. A lot of times when we go over to Europe to play festivals, there are a lot of different bands from a lot of different genres of music. After playing these festivals for 20 years or so it's shown us that heavy metal bands and regular rock bands and alternative bands and whatever else can co-exist together. And that's pretty much what we're trying to do with our festival — a European type of bill, but in America.
We don't want it to be just uniquely heavy metal; we want it to be a lot of different flavors.
Was there every any concern about bringing such a foreign concept to America, that you might have a bunch of Metallica fans show up and end up scratching their heads at Arctic Monkeys or Modest Mouse?
You know, we're aware of that. That's very likely to happen. [laughs] But you've got to start somewhere. Maybe by the third or fourth festival it will attract a larger cross-section of fans. That's the ultimate idea.
There will inevitably be some sort of confusion over a heavy metal fan trying to figure out what exactly Modest Mouse is doing. And likewise, there might be a Modest Mouse fan who's heard maybe a few Metallica songs and says, "Well, I'm here for Modest Mouse, but I might as well stay for Metallica." We're hoping that we'll pick up fans that way.
Playing the Black Album live so much this summer — and again at Orion — do you think that album has gotten in your head at all regarding the direction of the next Metallica album?
Well, we've talked about maybe going a little bit simpler. Now that doesn't necessarily mean it's going to happen. [laughs] We've said many times, "Oh, let's try and do this," and then things end up so far left field of what we tried to do that we had no choice but to just go with it.
It's really, really difficult for me to say how all this will impact everything, but at the very least I had to relearn a lot of these guitar solos, and I remember how easy it was for me to come up with guitar solos for the Black Album. And I think the reason for that is that they were just simple songs. The options that I had were just amazingly simple.
We'll just see how it goes.
In your recent interview with Rolling Stone, James said he had more than 800 riffs laying around, and Rob hinted that you had more than 300. Is that pretty accurate?
I'm probably closer to 400 now. [laughs] But you know, out of those 400 there might only be 20 great riffs. It'd be something if all 400 were triple-A, diamond-rated ideas, but that's just not the case. Never was and never will be. James might have 800 riffs, but there's maybe 12 songs in there. Who knows? It all depends on what we do with it.
In the fall, we plan on concentrating a little more on writing songs and doing nothing else but just thinking about the new album. That should be interesting.
Is there a time frame fro hitting the studio yet, or is it too soon to tell?
No, it's just whenever. Whenever it happens, it happens, really.
GUNS N' ROSES lead singer Axl Rose got his jewelry back after the woman who stole them returned the items to a police station in central Paris, France.

Rose was robbed of three gold-and-diamond necklaces worth $200,000 after the band performed in Paris on Tuesday night (June 5).

The robbery took place during a private party for the group in an area guarded by Rose's personal security team, where only members of the singer's entourage and invited guests were allowed. Rose was not wearing the three gold and diamond necklaces at the time of their disappearance and was said to be "furious" about the incident.

The next day (Wednesday, June 6), a young woman was taken into police custody after admitting that she took the necklaces.

The woman, a model whose identity was not revealed, told police that she had too much to drink and inadvertently put Rose's necklaces in her handbag, realizing her mistake only after waking up at lunchtime.

Writing on his Twitter account, Rose said, "Got my things back (really just an excited fan.) Thank you to the person for returning them n' big thanks 2 the Paris police."

According to The Pulse Of Radio, GUNS N' ROSES' current European tour has been marked by trouble, including fans at shows in England either walking out or throwing objects at the group in protest of their late start times. One fan also claimed he was banned from entering a GUNS concert until he removed a T-shirt bearing the image of ex-guitarist Slash.

The band is next scheduled to play in Germany on Friday (June 8).
The members of BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION, the English-American rock band featuring the talents of bassist/vocalist Glenn Hughes (DEEP PURPLE, TRAPEZE, BLACK SABBATH), blues rock guitarist/vocalist Joe Bonamassa, drummer Jason Bonham (LED ZEPPELIN), and keyboardist Derek Sherinian (DREAM THEATER), will gather this coming Sunday, June 10 to begin work on their third album. Hughes states on Twitter, "I'm excited to play my songs to the guys and hear what the lads have been workin' on."

"With this next album, I've had the luxury of being able to write for six months," Hughes recently told GuitarWorld.com. "With the first album I had six weeks, and the second one was about four months. But I've had a lot more time to write this one. If you look at Joe's schedule, he doesn't even have time to wipe his nose. I've been left as the keeper of the keys to write these albums."

In a recent interview with Artisan News, Hughes stated about BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION's musical evolution, "We just did two albums back to back, both successful records. And our live DVD is out now.

"We're really, really happy with the progress of where we're going musically. So we're sort of on course now."

Regarding the sound of the forthcoming BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION CD, Hughes said, "It's kind of a continuation… There's gonna be some darker stuff on there, because the lyrics I'm writing are kind of dark. There may be some moments of drama in there — I like drama in the music. So the songs I have ready are definitely a continuation of [the first and the second albums]."

BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION released its first concert DVD, "Live Over Europe", on October 24, 2011 (Blu-ray followed on November 15) on the J&R Adventures imprint. The two-DVD live set was filmed with 14 HD cameras and 5.1 Surround Sound during the band's debut tour in the summer of 2011. Over three nights, playing to packed venues in the German cities of Hamburg, Munich and Berlin, the 18-song set list (17 originals and one cover) hits on both of BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION's albums — 2010's debut and 2011's sophomore release "2".

BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION initially came to fruition when producer Kevin Shirley saw Hughes and Bonamassa join forces on stage in Los Angeles in November 2009 for an explosive performance at Guitar Center's King of the Blues event. Shirley then recruited Bonham and Sherinian for the project, which is named after the industrial area in the British Midlands where both Hughes and Bonham were born and raised.
Rock stars galore, including BLACK SABBATH, Slash, TENACIOUS D and BLACK VEIL BRIDES were out in force tonight as The Kerrang! Awards 2012 Fuelled By Relentless Energy Drink took place in London. Big winners included BLACK SABBATH, YOU ME AT SIX, BLACK VEIL BRIDES, MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE and ENTER SHIKARI, with over a million votes cast making this the biggest Awards yet.

Renowned as one of the most legendary awards events in the rock music calendar, The Kerrang! Awards 2012 Fuelled By Relentless Energy Drink did not disappoint, with a rock royalty theme to mark the Queen's Jubilee. Hosted by Corey Taylor (SLIPKNOT, STONE SOUR) and Scott Ian (ANTHRAX), some of the biggest names in international rock and metal took to the Awards "black carpet" to celebrate the past year in music.

On the eve of what will be a triumphant return to Donington Park, with their headlining appearance at the Download festival on Sunday, June 10, BLACK SABBATH were honored with the Kerrang! Inspiration Award. Accompanied on the night by their families, Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler collected this trophy in honour of BLACK SABBATH's immeasurable impact on heavy rock. Put bluntly, without BLACK SABBATH, there would be no METALLICA, MEGADETH, SLAYER, LAMB OF GOD, MACHINE HEAD…the list goes on, with Lars Ulrich once saying, "BLACK SABBATH is and always will be synonymous with heavy metal."

The world's most famous rock guitarist Slash was presented with the Kerrang! Icon award, putting him in the company of previous K! Icons Ronnie James Dio, ALICE IN CHAINS, MARILYN MANSON, NINE INCH NAILS and MC5, with Kerrang! saying, "Slash should be credited and forever rewarded for defining the sound of modern rock music…"

Atlanta prog metallers MASTODON were awarded with Best Album (for their critically acclaimed 2011 release "The Hunter" which went to No. 19 in the U.K. album chart — a huge achievement for a record whose song titles include "Curl Of The Burl", "Octopus Has No Friends" and "Bedazzled Fingernails".

Best Single was awarded to glam metal group BLACK VEIL BRIDES for "Rebel Love Song", with MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE honoured with Best International Band for the third time in their career, having won the trophy in 2006 and 2007.

Inducted into the Kerrang! Hall of Fame, joining alumni such as MÖTLEY CRÜE, JUDAS PRIEST, SLAYER and IRON MAIDEN were Californian heavy metallers MACHINE HEAD, in tribute to a career that has spanned over two decades.

The Kerrang! Awards 2012 Fuelled By Relentless Energy Drink — full list of winners:

* Best British Newcomer: WHILE SHE SLEEPS
* Kerrang! Service To Rock: TENACIOUS D
* Best Single: BLACK VEIL BRIDES - Rebel Love Song
* Best Album: MASTODON - The Hunter
* The Devotion Award: THE BLACKOUT
* Kerrang! Service To Metal: Download Festival
* Best Video: BRING ME THE HORIZON - Alligator Blood
* Best Live Band: ENTER SHIKARI
* Best International Band: MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE
* Best British Band: YOU ME AT SIX
* Kerrang! Hall Of Fame: MACHINE HEAD
* Kerrang! Icon: Slash
* Kerrang! Inspiration Award: BLACK SABBATH
DIO DISCIPLES will be joined by David "Rock" Feinstein (THE RODS, RONNIE DIO & THE PROPHETS, ELF) for the band's July 13 appearance at the Kavarna Rock festival in Kavarna, Bulgaria. Rock will perform the song "Metal Will Never Die", which appeared on Feinstein's 2010 solo album, "Bitten By The Beast",

The studio version of "Metal Will Never Die" turned out to feature some of the last-ever recorded vocals by legendary heavy metal singer Ronnie James Dio, who was also Feinstein's cousin.

DIO DISCIPLES is the project featuring former DIO members Simon Wright (drums), Craig Goldy (guitar), Scott Warren (keyboards) and Rudy Sarzo alongside singers Tim "Ripper" Owens (YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, BEYOND FEAR, JUDAS PRIEST, ICED EARTH) and Toby Jepson (LITTLE ANGELS, GUN). The group pays tribute to the Ronnie James Dio and is fully supported by Dio's widow/manager, Wendy, who has said, "There will never be another Ronnie, but we want to keep his music alive and hope you will support the band and become one of the DIO DISCIPLES."

In an interview with Metal Assault, Simon stated about how DIO DISCIPLES was conceived, "I think it was a combination of all of us. We talked long and hard and discussed 'Should we or shouldn't we? Is it right? How do we really feel about all this?' And it just became apparent that we just couldn't let it go. We've been in Ronnie's band for such a long time and he taught us so much, he was an inspiration and we learned so much from him about being on the road, being in the studio… We just came to the conclusion that we just couldn't let it go and we needed to keep the songs going for the fans; that's the most important thing we're doing here. We're not trying to kid anybody here; we're just doing it from the heart and continuing his legacy. It's really as simple as that."

On the topic of DIO DISCIPLES setlist, Simon said, "The problem that a lot of bands have is that they've got a strong batch of hits, so we still have to do songs that are like that — we have to do 'Heaven And Hell', 'Rainbow In The Dark', 'Holy Diver', 'We Rock'… So we're doing those, but we're trying to throw in as many curveballs as we can at the moment. As we progress, I think we'll be throwing in more songs from Ronnie's catalog, which should be a couple of surprises — songs that maybe were never played live, or that were played live but a long, long time ago. Because, like I said before, we wanna make it something special for the fans and they all have everything different songs that they love. We can't do them all, but we're gonna try and fit as many of them in as we can."
Oakland, California metal band HIGH ON FIRE has announced that it will be forced to miss this summer's Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival as frontman and guitarist Matt Pike enters treatment for alcohol rehabilitation. The award-winning power trio (also featuring drummer Des Kensel and bassist Jeff Matz) will put its scheduled touring plans on hold indefinitely as Pike takes the necessary steps towards regaining his health.

"HIGH ON FIRE would like to thank everyone involved with the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival for the opportunity to be a part of this year's tour," said the band in a statement. "We regretfully will have to bow out as our friend and bandmate begins his recovery, but very much appreciate having been asked to be a part of this summer's festival run."

HIGH ON FIRE's new album, "De Vermis Mysteriis", was released on April 3 via eOne Music and debuted at No. 61 on The Billboard 200 chart in its first week of release. The album's charting position represents the highest of the band's storied 14-year career.
Joe Daly of The Nervous Breakdown recently conducted an interview with drummer Jeremy Spencer of Las Vegas metallers FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

The Nervous Breakdown: You just got back from Kuwait. Tell us about that.

Jeremy: It was incredible. We went to Iraq in 2010, as it's the least we can do to give back to those guys, because they're over there sacrificing their family lives and they don't get a lot of entertainment, so they were stoked when we got there. I love everything about it, minus the twenty-hour flight each way. But once I shook that off, the shows were great and meeting all the troops was really cool. It's something that we'll end up doing again, because we get great feedback and it means a lot to them. It's awfully tough to travel over there, but we like to do it when we can, so maybe we'll be back in another couple years or something.

The Nervous Breakdown: Last time I saw you guys, "American Capitalist" hadn't dropped yet. It eventually entered at number 3, selling 91,000 copies that week. How did that feel?

Jeremy: It was incredible. We were always joking, "Wouldn't it be cool if nobody else released anything that week and we snuck into the No. 1 spot?" But then it almost happened! We lost out to Adele, who's been selling so many records and beating everyone, and then EVANESCENCE came out that week, and they're a pretty popular group, so we ended up in third, but I'll take that. We're extremely humble and grateful. It's weird to see all these pop artists, country artists and R&B artists beneath us on the list, so it was great company in the top ten. We got to do it once and if it happens again, it would be incredible.

The Nervous Breakdown: A lot of readers underestimate how hard it is to be on the road.

Jeremy: Yeah, I imagine a lot of people at the end of their eight-hour work day, they go home and lay down on their couch or whatever, but we get in the bus with each other and ride to the next state. It's a little challenging, because we're older and set in our ways, so after a certain amount of time, the way someone eats their cereal will annoy you. You have to learn how to process things and understand what it really means, and you've got to have a sense of humor, which we all seem to have. There's times when we want to get away from each other, but that's natural. This is great, though. It's like camp and we're little kids in the candy store, having a great time. We have a great opportunity here. Things are going well and I don't want to say that we should be role models, but we're in a position of responsibility and we don't need to be the rock and roll cliché, you know what I mean? I've certainly tried it, and it's fun for awhile, but that's not a smart way to live, or a healthy way to live. I like to be alive man, to enjoy this thing.

The Nervous Breakdown: You've got the expectations that come with success. Does that put a weight on you guys at all?

Jeremy: I noticed that during the making of "American Capitalist", I felt a little pressure because we had just come off two gold records and everyone was watching to see what's the next move. We were really critical on ourselves and I'm really happy with the way it turned out. We released the first single, "Under and Over It", and it was received really well on the radio — top five — and I was a little relieved. Now I just look at it as if we write something that's honest and that we believe in, that's all we can control, because the climate in the music industry changes and tastes change and you just have to stick with whatever you like and if you're into it, that's all that matters. Everything else is a bonus.
Since THE COMPANY BAND first got together in 2006, the group has solely existed through semi-annual corporate retreats. These meetings developed into an organization of odd fellows featuring vocalist Neil Fallon from CLUTCH, drummer Jess Margera from CKY, guitarist/vocalist Jim Rota from FIREBALL MINISTRY, bassist Brad Davis from FU MANCHU and guitarist Dave Bone. Since the beginning, the group has rarely surfaced to show their hand. In 2007 it was the "Sign Here, Here And Here" EP. In 2009 it was "The Company Band" album along with the "It's A Confusing World / Not Fragile" single. And after a recent retreat at a beach house in Venice, the group have a new five-song EP ready, "Pros & Cons", due on July 31 via Weathermaker Music.

"The music on this record is our most platinum-influenced. Early '80s hard rock and classic metal. Bands like AC/DC, JUDAS PRIEST, IRON MAIDEN and some AEROSMITH. But it's become a melting pot. This is the stuff where we really found our sound," says Dave Bone. Jim Rota goes on to describe: "It's like that point in life when you finally say; I'm trading in the Kawasaki and going full Harley. We went full Harley on this one." Brad Davis points out that maximum sound quality was of utmost importance: "We did a lot of the EP live in the studio. Working with producer Dr. Andrew Alekel at Grandmaster Recorders is always a recipe for success. There's no doubt, he's an important asset to our team." The recording for Neil's vocals was done with J. Robbins at The Magpie Cage in Baltimore. "In the modern age, remote operations are crucial to productivity," Neil said of the coast to coast recording. Guitar overdubs and background vocals were also done at Jim's own Sword And Shield studio. "Having the ability to examine the product under your own microscope is indispensable," Jim commented.

Not many have known the origins of THE COMPANY BAND until Jess Margera finally opened up about its inception. "I crossed paths with Jim on tour and knew we should open up shop immediately," he said. "Do some instrumentals that could be valuable in the placement market. Then he suggested getting Bone involved. It's then when we laid down our original presentation that we took to Neil. We hoped he could be a guest speaker on one of the tracks but it fortunately turned out that he wanted a permanent seat. Brad Davis came seamlessly into the fold later as he was already a compatriot with several of the members, musically and socially."

With everyone's bands creating such a difficult schedule, how do they make it all happen? "I don't want to say we pay great attention to astrology, but..." said Neil Fallon trailing off. "On this one, I chose the spot for the retreat in Venice. A great location will not only bring the people out, but it will also bring the best out of the people." And when THE COMPANY BAND do get together, it's an occasion not to be missed. The group can be seen performing limited live demonstrations toward the end of July.

"Pros & Cons" EP track listing:

01. House of Capricorn
02. Black Light Fever
03. Kill Screen
04. Loc Nar
05. El Dorado
Early Fleetwood Mac guitarist Bob Welch was found dead Thursday afternoon (June 7) from what police are describing as a self-inflicted gun shot wound. According to the Associated Press, the 65-year-old Welch shot himself in the chest inside his Nashville-area home.
The rocker was a part of the group from 1971 to 1974, before the band really took off with the 'Fleetwood Mac' and 'Rumours' albums. He was a part of 'Future Games (1971), 'Bare Trees (1972)' and 'Mystery to Me (1973).' Those weren't immediate commercial successes, but they went on to achieve Gold or Platinum certification in the U.S. After recording 'Heroes Are Hard to Find' he was replaced by Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks.
After leaving Fleetwood Mac he formed a rock band called Paris before beginning a solo career. His 1977 album 'French Kiss' was his most successful project, featuring the song 'Sentimental Lady,' which was originally recorded as a Fleetwood Mac song in 1972. He continued to write and record music of different styles until his death.
Controversy arose when Welch was not included among the members of Fleetwood Mac inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. He told the Cleveland Plain Dealer, "It was an important period in the history of the band. Mick Fleetwood dedicated a whole chapter of his biography to my era of the band and credited me with 'saving Fleetwood Mac.' Now they want to write me out of the history of the group. It hurts."
The AP reports that Bob Welch was found dead by his wife around 12:15PM. He had been suffering from health issues and left a suicide note.
Brian Giffin of Australia's Loud magazine recently conducted an interview with guitarist/vocalist Mille Petrozza of German thrash metallers KREATOR. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Loud: KREATOR has been around a very long time. You were one of the first thrash metal bands, so how have you seen metal evolve over the thirty years or so that you've been doing it?

Mille: To me, it's not about the trends that come and go, it's about the quality of the music. In my opinion, there's no such thing as... you know, with everyone jumping on the bandwagon, the lastest trend, I don't buy it. I'm a big fan of metal in general. I see the evolution of thrash metal as very critical. There's a huge amount of new bands coming out that are carrying the torch and trying to copy the sound of back in the day. That's their main gimmick. I like a lot of those bands. I like many, many of those new artists like WARBRINGER, VIOLATOR, and all these newer bands, but I am still hoping that one of them comes up with a killer album and killer songs. I think the last WARBRINGER was pretty cool. But, in general, metal has changed, of course. The Nineties were not so good for metal, but there was some great modern metal bands. From 2000 onward, metal has become almost bigger than ever and a lot of new bands came along and not a lot of them were great. There was many, many bands, but they weren't all of good quality.

Loud: So how does that affect a band like KREATOR?

Mille: It's all about endurance. If you're a band and you believe in what you do, when you've been in a band for that long, you should just try and do your thing and don't look too much right and left to see what's happening with the scene. Who's coming out, who's splitting up and who's dying... whatever. I think the most important thing is to believe in what you do and try to be the best you can.

Loud: I know a few people are really looking forward to your next album. It seems like people are just as keen for new stuff from KREATOR as ever.

Mille: The great thing about our band, one of the things I'm really proud of, is that when we play new songs, it's not like the people don't wanna hear 'em. I've seen a lot of old bands, they create a new song and the reaction is freezing, then they play an old-school [track] and everyone goes berzerk. That's not the case for KREATOR. We play a new song and then an old-school and it works perfectly!

Loud: So have you ever thought about a time when you might retire from KREATOR or from playing metal?

Mille: No. [Laughs] I'm gonna do this until I die, I guess! There's no reason for me to not do this anymore. I've been doing this my whole life, you know. What else am I gonna do? I love what I do and I'm gonna keep doing it as long as I can. It's very interesting when you think about it. Look at a band like MOTÖRHEAD... Lemmy's gonna be 70 in a couple of years. And he doesn't seem like he wants to stop or anything. It's great. It's really good. I think metal is the best form of music to keep doing as long as you want. There's no age limit. It's great.
SKY OF RAGE, the Swedish metal band featuring ASTRAL DOORS guitarist Joachim Nordlund, will release its self-titled debut album on July 27 via Metalville. The group's current lineup also includes former ASTRAL DOORS member Mika Itäranta on bass, former THALAMUS member Jan J. Cederlund on the second guitar, Tomas Friberg on drums and Stiff on vocals.

Commented the label: "SKY OF RAGE is the idea of ASTRAL DOORS guitar player Joachim Nordlund. Supported by former members of his main band, Joachim brings a new interpretation of classic hard rock. Solid music for solid fans. It's handmade."


Vocals: Staffan Carlsson
Guitar: Joachim Nordlund
Guitar: Jan Cederlund
Bass: Mika Itäranta
Drums: Tomas Friberg
In March 2012, Swedish metal blog Bara Metal conducted an interview with legendary Danish heavy metal singer King Diamond (KING DIAMOND, MERCYFUL FATE) (real name: Kim Bendix Petersen). A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Bara Metal: You played live with METALLICA in December 2011, and you looked really happy!

King: Yes, it was great to get back on stage, and it was a big test, so to speak. I had not sung since the heart surgery. Well, I had had a test at a local place called House Of Blues here nearby. I went there to meet a band which members I know, some of them. I went there to say hi in the afternoon, and during their soundcheck I went up on stage to see what it felt like. And my old chest was rattling. I had to get the hell out of there; it was very, very uncomfortable. And right now I have a pretty thick metal string all the way down my chest, inside under the skin, that ties together the whole chest, all the bones. They sawed my chest, they pretty much open your chest up like a double door.It has to grow back together; that is why I have it there. So when I came up to the METALLICA show, I did not know if I would feel the same bad things as I felt in Dallas, and when they turned up the sound, I thought, "Oh my god, either I should just head home or it will work again." And then the sound came up and I did not feel anything. It was like it had grown together really well. And I had been at the surgeons just three weeks before just to know everything was really good, he had done an X-ray and told me it was growing together really well. But that was just singing. Then comes the second part. I have stopped smoking, and changed all of my habits. No smoking for over a year. And I can feel that on my voice; it really changes a lot. It has become so much crispier, it is much easier to sing all of those difficult high things. You can imagine — I have never been a singer and not been a smoker. This is the first time I feel what my voice is like without smoking. And it is a big difference, I can tell you. It's easier, it's like a brand new voice. But this new one is much better than the old one ever was. I'm really looking forward to do the other stuff. I had actually one more test, because San Francisco was like a test. Also the breathing, because when they do the operation they collapse your lungs. And you have to work hard to get your capacity back to normal. There was a showcase here in Dallas [in January 2012] where bands were battling for prizes, and there I got the chance to sing three songs. No one knew about it, I was just there as a presenter. But we did three songs and I picked those songs particularly for a test: "The Family Ghost", old KING DIAMOND from "Abigail" with lots of difficult high voices — it has never been that easy to sing it before. And "Burn" from "The Eye", which… it is very difficult to catch a breath here and there. Such long lines to be sung. It was to test the breathing. And that worked fine, too. And then we did "Evil" in the end, simply as a safety if I got out of breath or something. Often, the people that are there, the fans will sing every line in the first two verses. But I did not need that; afterwards I was not out of breath, I have never felt that good about singing… I think that was the best I've ever sung, that I did here two months ago. So I'm looking forward to get everything up. It's a big process for us, of course, because we have not done anything for five years, because I had a disc problem earlier, you know. But this might be a good thing, in the end, if everything goes well you might feel much younger than you really are. That is what the surgeon says. And I stick to a new diet and exercise every day. I go to an athletic center, things I did not do before. And the fact that I'm eating healthier and no cigarettes, I can feel it, you know.

Bara Metal: You mentioned your voice is much better. Before this better voice of yours, were you ever afraid to lose your ability to hit those high notes?

King: No, that I have never felt. Through the years, I have felt that it has grown slightly stronger and stronger and stronger. But other things play a role — it has to do with the overall… Not that I have never lacked confidence in being on stage, it is the whole surrounding, you have more professional crew through the years, and I know on stage, I know that they have got everything right when they put everything up, including monitor sound. I have hade the same lineup for a long time now and it is the best one I've played with ever in my life. I know exactly what they are doing. Something has to go really wrong, a broken string or something, for anything to be different. So it is a lot of confidence on stage, we have much more space and time for enjoying the whole procedure, having fun with the people who are there. Much more of that now. In the old days, when we came to like the end of "Black Horsemen", there is an extremely high note, and those places in the old days were scary to get to, because if the monitor sound is not the best possible, you push harder, and then your voice gets a bit scratchy on top. But if you have the perfect great sound on stage, then you relax. You don't put any more pressure on the vocal cords than is needed to take the notes. So there is a big difference there. But now – there is so much more of a difference. I felt some of that with METALLICA, but I knew that I could not quite judge that because METALLICA detunes very, very slightly. So that meant that those MERCY songs that were detuned, they would have been easier for me to sing. But the stuff we did here in Dallas. Our drummer was here and three other guys, super musicians, actually one of them is the guy who produce and records all my vocals for my albums, he is a multi musician, he can play all kinds of instruments. We rehearsed the three songs two times and that was it, but it was in normal tune so it would have been as hard as it has always been, but it was only pleasure. And I felt something that I had never felt before — that I sang perfectly. And those who were there they could certainly hear it too. That's what they said.

Bara Metal: You sound eager to get on tour to do it live.

King: Yeah, yeah, we are building a new production now and there is so much stuff to do. We are, in some ways, starting from scratch, working on a new record deal. We got a new booking agent. We are working on a new Internet shop where the fans can finally be able to get some genuine KING DIAMOND merchandise, official stuff. For the first time in our career we are finally coming out and actually doing things the right way, the way we should have done from the beginning. But you never get too old to learn. Sweden Rock and then Hellfest one week later — it's not a test, but it is a test. It will be the first full show we do since that happened. But I can't see what would go wrong. I've already tested things that I needed tested for myself.

Bara Metal: You had a break that lasted a whole year. What did you do?

King: Well, we did keep up with people. A lot. We started a thing where… it's a Skype website where people will sign up. And now and then I will call up fans and we talk. We have done that several times. We will call up three fans through that way, "King Diamond is calling you," and it could be one from Puerto Rico, one from Sweden, one from Scotland. We pick them randomly, but not the same person twice. Then we sit and talk for an hour. They can ask anything. They usually have a lot of question that are the same as the fans ask in the fan club, the Coven. So we get a lot of info out that way, and we upload it so other can listen to it. We are certainly in touch with our fans.

Bara Metal: During that year, 2011 — you did not start writing your autobiography?

King: No. One day it would be nice because I have tons of cool stories. But it has to be the right time. Now everything is concentrated on getting set for the festivals. We might do something in the U.S. this year, I'm not sure. Not right now. We are getting everything right, the right contracts, than next year we will be touring, and start writing new material, probably already this year. We have a lot to do. And I am a million percent sure that a lot of those experiences which happened at the hospital will be in the lyrics for the next album. I have things that I have to get out of my system.

Bara Metal: So… there will be new music in 2013?

King: That is absolutely the plan. Something has to go totally wrong for us not to do that. We will write material this fall. Hopefully during the autumn, we might do something here in the U.S., after the festivals. But we will not be doing a long tour, it is still a test, we will see what happens. We do not want to take stupid chances, it has to be done properly. And we have a lot to do still, but things are looking good.
Australian melodic metallers LORD will releas their new album, "Digital Lies", later in the year through Dominus Records. The cover art was once again created by Felipe Machado (BLIND GUARDIAN, IRON SAVIOR, ICED EARTH, GAMMA RAY).

The track listing for the CD is as follows:

01. Incipio
02. Betrayal Blind
03. Digital Lies
04. Point Of View
05. Walk Away
06. 2D Person In A 3D World
07. Final Seconds
08. The Last Encore
09. Because We Can
10. The Chalkboard Prophet
11. Battle Of Venarium

Commented the band: "We're currently about half way through recording the album and while it's been a lot of hard work making sure it's up to the standards we've set ourselves, it's already sounding great.

"Every artist says their new album is 'their best work' or their 'heaviest' or 'most brutal.' We'll skip those clichés and say that we believe we have a solid album of good music that we're proud of and we believe stands up to anything we've released so far.

"If you're familiar with LORD, you'll know what to expect for the most part; a very diverse album ranging from traditional metal to commercial rock to extreme metal and everything in between.

"If you're wanting an album full of thrash songs, AOR songs, or progressive epic movie orchestral jazz djent punk songs that all sound the same, then I'm afraid you'll be a little bewildered when the style shifts from song to song. It's the LORD you know with a few new elements that have fallen into the melting pot since the last album.

"We expect the album to drop somewhere early in the second half of the year, released through Dominus Records via our licensors and distributors."

LORD is essentially a continuation of DUNGEON, one of Australia's longest running and highest-profile heavy metal bands that disbanded in 2005. LORD has released three full-length albums, two EPs and a digital-only release live album, and continues to play the DUNGEON back catalog live. The band has shared the stage with the likes of GAMMA RAY, NIGHTWISH, QUEENSRŸCHE and most recently ICED EARTH and continues to tour internationally, appearing at Germany's Headbangers Open Air festival in July. Their last critically acclaimed album, 2009's "Set In Stone", featured guest appearances by Craig Goldy (ex-DIO), Pete Lesperance (HAREM SCAREM), Glen Drover (ex-MEGADETH), Felipe Andreoi (ANGRA), Olof Mörck (AMARANTHE) alongside a host of other well-known musicians.
Indie Recordings has announced the signing of the U.K.-based extreme symphonic metal band SATURNIAN.

SATURNIAN was formed around one main principle — to create epic and majestic music to enchant fans of all metal genres; delivered in a grand and dramatic style that could soundtrack a blockbuster movie or theatrical performance.

Expect razor-sharp riffing, fist pounding rhythms, and a symphonic backbone worthy of the far reaches of the Universe. In true portentous British style, a rich choral explosion, soaring sopranos, and ethereal Gregorian chant round out this massive sonic explosion. This ethos comes to life in the SATURNIAN live experience, which in itself is a theatrical spectacle rather than a generic recital of music. SATURNIAN breeds an eclectic blend of voices, stunning instrumental performances, and a visual experience that will amaze, mystify and inspire!

During the short time that SATURNIAN has been touring the length and breadth of the U.K., the band also won the Bloodstock "Metal To The Masses" competition. This takes the band to Wacken Open Air festival in 2012, and also officially opening Bloodstock 2012.
French progressive metallers GOJIRA will take part in a signing session on Monday, June 25 HMV in Sheffield, England.

The details are as follows:

Monday, June 25 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
14-18 High Street
Sheffield, S1 2GE

"Liquid Fire", a brand new song from GOJIRA, is available for free download from the band's Facebook page (scroll down). The track comes off the group's fifth album, "L'Enfant Sauvage", which will be released on June 26 via Roadrunner Records.

"L'Enfant Sauvage" (which translates to "The Wild Child") features 11 tracks of mind-bending, thunderous metal. The CD was recorded at Spin Recording Studios in Long Island City, New York with co-producer Josh Wilbur (LAMB OF GOD).

In a recent interview with Metalshrine, Joseph Duplantier stated about the new album title, "We couldn't call it 'The Wild Child', because it's hard to translate 'L'Enfant Sauvage'. It's not really the wild child as understood in English, because a wild child for me, has an aspect like someone out of control somehow. 'L'Enfant Sauvage' in French… 'Sauvage' is something that is not educated or something that is like free and completely free in nature. A wild flower that goes wherever she wants and becomes something beautiful. The idea with 'L'Enfant Sauvage' is like with a human that would grow up in nature, raised by wolves, for example, without the influence from others and the influence from institutions or society in general. Without a social security number. [laughs] Not even a name. This is what you are and I am on the inside, right? How much the education and the culture, emotions and the guilt are interacting with us and it changes us and how far are we from this pure child inside? That's the question we had on this album."

A special collector's package of "L'Enfant Sauvage" will feature two bonus tracks and a double-colored vinyl version of the record, along with an exclusive t-shirt.

GOJIRA will release a new DVD/Blu-ray, "The Flesh Alive", in the U.S. on July 31 via Mascot. The set will be made available in the following formats:

* 2-DVD+CD
* Blu-ray+CD with free poster

The three-disc "The Flesh Alive" chronicles the making of GOJIRA's 2008 album, "The Way Of All Flesh", and the touring activity that followed the CD's release.
The surviving members of the 2002 lineup of HEIR APPARENT will unite with vocalist Sean Aust to perform a short set in honor of the band's former lead singer, Bryan Hagan, who died on May 21 at the age of 39. The event will raise funds for Bryan's children and will be held on June 30 at Flight's Pub in Everett, Washington.

HEIR APPARENT's lineup for the show will be as follows:

Clint Clark - drums
Bobby Ferkovich - bass
Terry Gorle - guitar
Sean Aust - vocals

Also performing at the event will be DROWN MARY, FROM THE FALL and THE SAINTS OF DAMNATION.

Commented HEIR APPARENT: "Bryan sang with HEIR APPARENT during 2002-2003. He was a gentle giant, and a great friend. Bryan was slated as first choice to replace Paul Davidson for the 2012 reunion shows last January in Greece and Germany, but was unable to make the trip. We are shocked and tremendously saddened by his untimely passing. You will be greatly missed, my friend."
Legendary extreme-metal drummer Gene ''The Atomic Clock" Hoglan (DETHKLOK, FEAR FACTORY, TESTAMENT, DEATH, DARK ANGEL, STRAPPING YOUNG LAD) has finished laying down the drum tracks for the third album from DETHKLOK, the animated band from Adult Swim's "Metalocalypse". He writes on Twitter, "This is going to be killer! Stoked!"

LAMB OF GOD and DETHKLOK will join forces for a 32-show North American tour kicking off on August 1 in Seattle, Washington. Support on the trek will come from French progressive metallers GOJIRA.

Created by Brendon Small ("Home Movies") and Tommy Blacha ("Da Ali G Show"), the "Metalocalypse" TV series launched in 2006 and kicked off its fourth season at the end of April on Adult Swim. One of the most popular series on the cable network, "Metalocalypse" portrays DETHKLOK as a death metal band with enough popularity to be the world's seventh-largest economy. In reality, DETHKLOK is the highest-selling band in death metal, exploding onto The Billboard 200 with "The Dethalbum", debuting at No. 21 in 2007 and "Dethalbum II" at No. 15 in 2009. Both albums contain full-length versions of songs partially heard on the show.

Alfred Music Publishing last year partnered with Cartoon Network Enterprises, the licensing and merchandising arm of Adult Swim, to present the first authentic bass TAB transcriptions of songs by DETHKLOK.
On May 31, veteran Italian metallers EXTREMA entered Fear Studio in Alfonsine (RA), Italy to begin recording their long-awaited sixth studio album with producers Tommy Massara (EXTREMA guitarist) and Gabry Ravaglia. The mixing sessions for the follow-up to 2009's "Pound For Pound" are expected to be completed by the end of July.

"It took almost two years to write and arrange the songs," says Massara. He adds, "These are the heaviest songs we've ever written and we are looking forward to hear the final mixes."

In September 2010, EXTREMA announced the addition of bassist Gabri Giovanna (FUZZ FUZZ MACHINE) to the group's ranks.

Giovanna previously filled in for bassist Mattia Bigi during EXTREMA's summer 2010 tour.

"Pound For Pound" came out in May 2009 via Scarlet Records. The follow-up to 2005's "Set The World On Fire" saw EXTREMA going back to its thrash metal roots, with a very special guest apearance by HELMET's Page Hamilton on the track "You Make Me Sick".
British death metallers ANCIENT ASCENDANT will release their new EP, "Into The Dark", on August 6 through Forepoint Records (via Plastic Head). The CD was mixed and mastered by Dan Swanö (OPETH, DARK FUNERAL, BLOODBATH, KATATONIA, MARDUK).

Commented Swanö: "ANCIENT ASCENDANT combines all the right elements from black, death and thrash metal into one lethal blend, topped off with excellent musicianship and amazing vocals! One of the best brutal bands to come out of Britain… well, ever!!"

According to a press release, "Into The Dark" sees ANCIENT ASCENDANT "raising the bar in every conceivable way. The quartet are pioneering a fusion of old-school principles with modern dynamics and power, bringing together the unholy trinity of groove, melody and extremity under one flag."

Since the release of their critically acclaimed debut EP, "The Heathen Throne", ANCIENT ASCENDANT has opened for black metal monsters 1349, death metal legends BOLT THROWER (who personally invited the band to support them), FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE, BLOOD RED THRONE, AEON, CEREBRAL BORE, AMPUTATED and DYSCARNATE.

2011 was a hugely successful year for ANCIENT ASCENDANT, which saw them sign to Siege of Amida Records and release their highly rated debut album, "The Grim Awakening".

The focus for the first part of 2012 was to get back into the studio to begin work on the follow up to, "The Grim Awakening". The resulting sessions spawned "Into The Dark", the band's most focused body of work to date.

Look out for ANCIENT ASCENDANT on tour with Belgian gore masters ABORTED, plus a special S.O.P.H.I.E. stage appearance at Bloodstock and an exclusive date with German legends SODOM.

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