[Classic_Rock_Forever] Guns N Roses, UDO, Blaze Bayley, Wednesday 13, Rival SOns, Arch Enemy, Bullet, and tons more hard rock and heavy metal news


According to NME.com, a fan attending GUNS N' ROSES' concert at London, England's O2 Arena last night (May 31) revealed that he was told to remove his shirt before entering the venue because no one was allowed in wearing merchandise bearing the likeness of the band's former guitarist Slash. NME.com's source then asked security if this was the case and was told by a member of the venue's team, "We were told by the management not to allow anyone into the O2 Arena who is wearing a Slash T-shirt and we are asking anyone who is to remove it, and if they refuse, they will be turned away."

Speaking to NME.com today (June 1) about his ordeal, 18-year old James Revell — the fan that was allegedly forced to remove his Slash shirt — described what had happened. He said, "I felt very angry because I was looking after my little brotther at the time and felt as though my freedom to wear what I want had been taken away from me. However, I did not react angrily as I didn't want to spoil the show for him."

A photo of the T-shirt in question can be seen below.

In January 2010, Fernando Lebeis, the son of Beta LebeisGUNS N' ROSES frontman Axl Rose's personal assistant — denied reports that security at GN'R's Winnipeg concert banned fans from wearing Slash gear inside the show.

According to TMZ.com, concert security informed fans at the January 13, 2010 show that they were required to turn their Slash t-shirts inside out .... and leave their top hats outside.

TMZ.com spoke with a member of the concert security team who "confirmed the marching orders — and told [the web site] the instructions were passed down from a producer for the band."

However, Fernando Lebeis denied that any such ban ever took place. Writing on a GN'R message board, he said, "We did not advise any security to ban any sort of apparel.... If they did, they did it on their own accord, or under someone else's order — from within their management."
In a brand new interview with Celebzter, GUNS N' ROSES guitarist DJ Ashba was asked what GN'R lead singer Axl Rose is really like. "He's a f'n prick! Nah, I'm only joking!" Ashba replied. "He's actually very misunderstood by the media and people who don't know him. People like to assume shit. Now, granted, I can only speak for me, but truth is he is one of the funniest and coolest motherfuckers out there. I would take a bullet for him."

Ashba recently teamed up with BullyVille.com, the Internet's first anti-bullying social web site and media platform. The guitarist used BullyVille.com himself to reveal his struggles coping with being bullied as a child by his own father.

Ashba joined GUNS N' ROSES in March 2009 following the departure of Robin Finck.

In addition to Ashba and sole original member Axl Rose, the current lineup of GUNS N' ROSES includes guitarists Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal and Richard Fortus, bassist Tommy Stinson, keyboardists Dizzy Reed and Chris Pitman and drummer Frank Ferrer.
"Celebrator", a collection of rare tracks from U.D.O., the German metal band led by former ACCEPT frontman Udo Dirkschneider, will be released on double vinyl on August 17 via High Roller Records. It is limited to 500 copies in three different colors:

* 100 x white vinyl
* 200 x yellow vinyl
* 200 x black vinyl

"Celebrator" entered the German Media Control chart at position No. 73.

The set was made available in Europe on May 4 via AFM Records and will be released in North America on June 19.

"Celebrator" track listing:

CD 1:

01. Stormbreaker ("Rev-Raptor" Japan BONUS)
02. Tallyman (Taken from the "Rev-Raptor" recording session)
03. Run! (Remix)
04. Free Or Rebellion (bonus "Leatherhead" Single)
05. Bleeding Heart ("Dominator" Japan bonus)
06. The Silencer (Taken from the "Dominator" recording session)
07. Bodyworld (bonus "Infected" Single)
08. Systematic Madness (bonus "Infected" Single)
09. HAMMERFALL feat. Udo Dirkschneider - Head Over Heels
10. Balls To The Wall (piano version)
11. Artificialized (Taken from the "Mastercutor" recording session)
12. LORDI feat. Udo Dirkschneider - They Only Come Out At Night
13. Streets Of Sin (bonus "Wrong Side Of Midnight" single)

CD 2:

01. Tears Of A Clown ("Classical Version")
02. Man A King Ruler ("Mastercutor" Japan bonus)
03. Hardcore Lover (remix from "24/7" single)
04. Scream Killers (bonus "24/7" single)
05. U.D.O. feat. Faktor2 - Platchet Soldat (remix with national Russian artist)
06. Borderline ("Thunderball" Japan bonus)
07. U.D.O. feat. Doro - Dancing With An Angel (remix)
08. X-T-C (remix from "A Tribute To ACCEPT Vol. 2")
09. Azrael (remix from "No Limits")
10. The Key (remix from "No Limits" Japan bonus)
11. Metal Gods (from "A Tribute To Judas Priest")
12. RAVEN feat. Udo Dirkschneider - Born To Be Wild
Radio Metal recently conducted an interview with British heavy metal vocalist Blaze Bayley (IRON MAIDEN, WOLFSBANE). A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Radio Metal: [Your] new [solo] album, "The King Of Metal", is the first since you [parted ways] with Jay Walsh and David and Nico Bermudez. How did that change the writing process? How was this record written?

Blaze Bayley: I found a new guitar player. I write most of the song and then we talk about it. It's the same with Claudio Tiricanti; [he] is my drummer for this record. So regarding the writing process, what we did is a totally different approach. I wanted to do something very simple and very direct, particularly lyrically, I wanted to be able to talk to my fans whose first language isn't English, so it has to be a very clear and direct message. When I started the writing [process for the new CD], I wanted to be able to be on the stage, on the tour, and say specific words in a specific way, directly, to my fans, so that's what I've done.

Radio Metal: This new album is called "The King Of Metal" and is, like you said, dedicated to the heavy metal fans. You declared that the metal fans are the true kings of metal. Do you think that, from all the different types of audience, the heavy metal fans are the most dedicated fans of the world?

Blaze Bayley: Yeah, I think that if you look at the different genres of music, pop fans are more fashion-orientated, so maybe they will like one Madonna record, but not all Madonna records. Every artist has a certain number of true fans, but the heavy metal fans are special. If they like an artist and liked a CD, then for the next CD, they won't wait for the reviews, but just find out when it comes out and get it, because if they're fan of the artist, then they love everything. On everything that I ever recorded, I feel that that loyalty has meant a lot to me. I have a few fans… You know, I'm a very small, underground heavy metal singer, a lot of fans from the IRON MAIDEN days have heard of me, but not a lot of them know what I do with my own music, or a very few. So I'm just a small, underground artist doing things my own way and I have support from a few fans around the world and that keeps me going. And I'm very proud and very honored to have that support, truly.

Radio Metal: There is a song [on the new album] called "Dimebag" that's dedicated to [late PANTERA guitarist] Dimebag Darrell. Why did you choose to dedicate a song to Dimebag eight years after his death? Why now?

Blaze Bayley: There's a few reasons, and the first one is purely artistic. I had the basic idea a few weeks after he died and I was working with different musicians at the time, and it just didn't come together. We tried it a few times, but we never had the chance to finish the song, so I just kept the idea because I thought it was good. I really believed in this idea, and I've tried it with all the musicians I've worked with and it never ever worked, it was never appropriate, it never fitted with what else we were doing. So for this album, I was like, "OK, let's give a try on that idea, I'm gonna start with that." It was one of the first things we started to work on when I started working with Thomas [Zwijsen] on the writing and the songs generally, and it got together really well. And then when we got to the pre-production we had all the bass and all the drums going and it really started to take shape, and that was it. I had the core of the song and I'm really pleased with the way it turned out. So because of certain reasons it's accidental, but it's something that I really like: no one can say that I'm on the bargain trying to make something that have been done, because it is so far after his death, you can't say that I put this song on my album so PANTERA fans will buy it. It's something that PANTERA fans won't think about, if you see in the general press it's not mentioned a lot at all, so in that way, people will see this so far after and see it's a genuine tribute to the man, and also a warning of the terrible things that can happen. Of all the death in music, it is the one that I respect the most for the way he lived. He never had a choice about how he died. I think people are glorified when they drink themselves to death or die of a drug overdose, and for me that's just not good. Dimebag didn't kill himself, he didn't do anything at all to bring on his own death. His life was taken from him. I think that's why he's more worth remembered, and because of the great work he might have done. He wasn't like the people who'd drink themselves to death and so on.

Radio Metal: Last year you split up with David Bermudez, Nico Bermudez and Jay Walsh and released a statement about it. A few days later, they released a statement saying that yours wasn't true and that they were fired only for financial reasons. How did you react to their statement? Where is the truth?

Blaze Bayley: There is no truth, there is only personal, subjective view of your situation and your reality. There is no truth. There is how do you feel about a situation, and how you feel you've been treated. I just wanted to kill myself on that tour; the pressure to keep a band together was too much. Sometimes I really wished I had killed myself to escape, but my wife talked me out of it, and she persuaded me to carry on, and that's why I'm still here. So they can say what they want, but my truth is: being with those people on that tour in that situation made me feel like killing myself, like ending my life, ending everything, leaving my wife and my son just to get away from everything. That's my truth.

Radio Metal: A few weeks ago, you sang in Russia with Paul Di'Anno, who also was a member of IRON MAIDEN like you. What can you tell us about this experience?

Blaze Bayley: It was fantastic, so much fun, it was just great. The weather was horrible in Moscow, it was snowing, and it was really cold, but Paul is a really funny guy, and the Russian band that played with us was absolutely excellent and did a wonderful job. They made my songs sound really good and they were great guys to work with. Because of the two names, people who didn't know me came to see Paul and me, and I made a lot of new fans, so that's something I really enjoyed, something that I [thought] of doing before, but that seemed to be the right time to do it, the right state of mind. I don't have a band now, I'm a solo artist and I choose different musicians, but this was the right time to do this, and it was great. I really enjoyed it, it was so much fun. And I got paid, which is really great. So I think we're gonna do some more, we've got Australia coming up in November, and then I think we're gonna do a few more dates together in Eastern Europe, in the end of October/early November. I'm really looking forward to that, it's something that works well. I do a few of my own songs, then a few of the songs I'm known for in IRON MAIDEN, and the fans seems to really enjoy that set-list we did, so I'm open to do a few more of those. It's a lot of fun. One thing I think about music is that you should do it because you enjoy it first, not because you expect to get anywhere. If you get anywhere, then that's great because you're doing something you enjoy. That was really good and that really gave me a boost and gave me a lot of confidence to get back out there. That's really good.

Radio Metal: That's cool. Did you ever consider making an album together?

Blaze Bayley: No, because I don't see what the value would be musically. If Paul and I had some incredible idea of some new kind of British metal, or a new kind of heavy metal that would take two voices to sing, then perhaps, but at the moment, no. Now I'm very busy making my own music, and Paul is also very busy — he owns a club in Brazil and two shops and he works all the time in different countries all around the world. So no, we haven't thought about that;, I don't see where the value would be. I wouldn't say never, but I can't see who would be interested in that album.

Radio Metal: By the way, when we saw pictures of that concert there was a running gag about you two having lost your hair. Does that mean playing with IRON MAIDEN makes you lose your hair?

Blaze Bayley: Yes! If you leave IRON MAIDEN, you leave your hair.

Read the entire interview from Radio Metal.
MURDERDOLLS frontman Wednesday 13 has set "Spook & Destroy" as the title of his new EP, tentatively due in the fall.

Wednesday 13's last solo album, "Calling All Corpses", sold around 1,300 copies in the United States in its first week of release. The CD landed at No. 21 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.

"Calling All Corpses" was released on October 11, 2011. The artwork for the CD was created by D.A. Frizell, who has worked on SEVENDUST's "Cold Day Memory" as well as AVENGED SEVENFOLD's "Nightmare", "Book Of Nightmare" and "Diamonds In The Rough/ Live In The LBC" and the AVENGED video "A Little Piece Of Heaven".

"Calling All Corpses" was mastered by Tom Baker at Precision Mastering who has previously worked with NINE INCH NAILS, ROB ZOMBIE, MARILYN MANSON and MINISTRY, among others.
Californian blues-rockers RIVAL SONS will release their new album, "Head Down", in late August via Earache Records. The CD was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee with Grammy-nominated producer Dave Cobb (JAMIE JOHNSON, SHOOTER JENNINGS) and Grammy-wining engineer Vance Powell (JACK WHITE, THE WHITE STRIPES, KINGS OF LEON). The artwork was created by Jason Holley (JOSH RITTER, RAY LAMONTAGNE) and can be seen below.

Commented RIVAL SONS frontman Jay Buchanan: "We took a lyric from one of the songs that exemplified the process of making the record. 'Head down' comes from the term 'Keep your head down and keep on swinging.' I thought it was fitting and it works perfectly with the album cover."

Added guitarist Scott Holiday: "I began searching for the right artist for our cover on the interwebs, just mulling around, and very quickly came across Jason Holley. I saw a couple of covers that he had done for Josh Ritter and Ray LaMontagne, which I loved. I was immediately taken aback by his aesthetic and style and felt he had a few pieces already done that I would be into using. I sent some of his images over to Jay and he had the same immediate feeling I did… Which is pretty rare. He could have been from anywhere in the world, but he just so happened to live about 30 minutes away from me, so I gave him a ring and we started talking. We sent him the record and discussed ideas that we felt reflected the music and process. He then created an original piece, painted in oil. The end result is pretty symbolic and interesting — something that, in my opinion, reflects the record beautifully."

Holiday previously stated about the musical direction of RIVAL SONS' new album, "Songs were once again written and recorded on the spot, allowing the listener to really peer in and catch a snapshot of the moment, and our immediate instincts. Most songs were captured in a few takes, not to mention plenty of first-takers. Pretty off the cuff and unadulterated. We have never had a wish to be predictable or sedentary with our music, and this record explores and supports that ethos pretty well. In other words, this record is not 'Pressure & Time', but delves into a bunch of other musical ideas and sounds. Much more of a 'long-form' record as a whole. Fist-pumpers, ass-shakers, foot-stompers, air guitaring/bassing/drummers, tear-jerkers, heart-string-pullers, and a few straight up freak outs. That's all I'll say for now."

RIVAL SONS has been confirmed as the main support act for GUNS N' ROSES for two shows in Europe this summer.

RIVAL SONS will be joining GUNS N' ROSES at Ahoy in Rotterdam, Netherlands on June 4, and then at the Warsteiner Hockey Park in Mönchengladbach, Germany on June 8.
Anthony Morgan of Metal Forces recently conducted an interview with guitarist Michael Amott of Swedish / German / American extreme metallers ARCH ENEMY. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

On the departure of his brother Chris from ARCH ENEMY:

Michael: "I think he's into other styles of music, as we all are. We all listen to a wide variety of music, but when we come together and create music together, it sounds like ARCH ENEMY. You should ask him why he left ARCH ENEMY, though, really. I don't really know. [laughs] We talked about it. It'd been quite obvious for a while that he hadn't been at his happiest playing with ARCH ENEMY, and he wasn't as into it as the rest of us are. He was out of the band between 2005 and 2007, so it didn't come as a great shock to us when he told us. He wanted to leave and pursue other interests. It wasn't shocking to us or anything; we were kind of expecting it."

On forthcoming ARCH ENEMY DVD, "Live Khaos":

Michael: "We put one out in 2004 called 'Live Apocalypse', and that was filmed in London. It was an entire London show, and then we filmed one entire concert in Tokyo, Japan in 2008 which was called 'Tyrants Of The Rising Sun'. I think this new DVD is gonna be more different; it's gonna be from different shows, different festival shows. I don't think there'll be one whole show. I mean, there might be. I don't know. It depends on how many DVDs it'll have. Maybe it'll be a two-disc or three-disc DVD, or maybe it'll be just a single disc. I'm not entirely sure yet. We've got a lot of different material that we wanna put on there. We filmed a really cool small show in [vocalist] Angela Gossow's hometown of Cologne, Germany (on December 13th, 2011), which is very cool footage that looks incredible. We then have another big show from Japan actually (October 15th, 2011), which we did last year in a big stadium in front of 15,000 people. That's a very big, epic scale show, so that's a bit different again. Then we have some stuff from the Philippines. We've got footage all over the place, really. We're filming a little bit this summer as well. We film wherever we go. We're going to South America at the end of the year — all over Latin America — so we might film some stuff there as well. We're gonna try to put it all together sometime. Whatever it is, we're gonna try to make it very cool and fan-friendly. Something that the fans can really sink their teeth into, and get excited about. It's gonna be from all around the world I think though. Some crazy footage, a bit more chopped up."

On ARCH ENEMY's next studio album, provisionally scheduled for 2014:

Michael: "I try to raise the bar a lot every time, but it's getting more and more difficult because we've made some really damn fine albums. It's getting harder and harder, but we try to raise the bar. We try to push ourselves even further, and come up with new lyrical concepts, new music, new tones, new riffs, new ideas, and new ways of creating extreme metal. I have about three, maybe four new song ideas I'm working on. I'm slowly starting to write new material. Right now the direction sounds very extreme, but I don't know. We might tone it down a bit. [laughs] It's very busy, I'd say probably more technical guitar wise, more melodic and faster, and not as mid-tempo and heavy as the 'Khaos Legions' material. I'd say it's faster, more up-tempo, and with more crazy guitar work."

On the forthcoming SPIRITUAL BEGGARS album:

Michael: "We've met up a couple of times in the last year. I've actually written a bunch of songs for that; we've actually written and demoed up about ten songs, and we've got another three that we haven't demoed up yet. Those three are just in our heads, or are more simple demos with drum machines and stuff. We've got about 13, maybe 14 songs ready to go. The demos sound great, so I'm really excited. It's always gonna be classic rock inspired, very heavy rock with a lot of DEEP PURPLE, MAHOGANY RUSH, BLACK SABBATH, of course, URIAH HEEP, RAINBOW, and all those old heavy bands. Really cool bands from the early '70s are gonna be in there. These new demos sound really, really killer. I think we've stepped it up a little bit in the songwriting. It sounds very, very catchy with lots of energy. I don't know. To my ears it sounds like a cut above 'Return To Zero', so I'm pretty excited about it. We're gonna try to meet up in June, finish the pre-production, have some intense rehearsals for a week, maybe do some more demos, and then hopefully start recording or something. We've got some time off in the fall I think from the ARCH ENEMY schedule. There's a window there in September, October I think, so we might try to record the album then. Hopefully we'll get a new SPIRITUAL BEGGARS album out next year in early 2013. That's an idea that we have, anyway. I do SPIRITUAL BEGGARS stuff in between breaks in the ARCH ENEMY schedule. It's just something that I really enjoy. It's just a different side of my guitar playing, and my creativity. They're great guys I play with in that band as well."

On CARCASS' plans for the future:

Michael: "I'm not working with CARCASS at the moment. From what I hear they're working on something new, but it's not with me. I'm not included in it. I don't know. I don't comment. [laughs] I don't really know what they're working on, so it's not really for me to say, but whatever it is I wish them well, of course. I had a great time doing the reunion shows; we played a lot of shows in 2008, 2009, 2010, and I had a fantastic time at those shows. I'm a very busy guy as well, so I could see why I wouldn't be included. I've pretty much got a full-time thing going on with ARCH ENEMY, and I'm with SPIRITUAL BEGGARS on top of that. It's very difficult for me to fit in a third band with touring and everything."
Swedish hard rockers BULLET will release a new single, "Full Pull", on July 13 via Nuclear Blast Records. The single will be available digitally and on vinyl, with various colours.

The track listing is as follows:

Side A: "Full Pull"
Side B: "Get On"

"Full Pull" is the title track of BULLET's new album, which will be released on September 14 via Nuclear Blast Records. The CD was recorded at Gutterview Recorders in Solna, Sweden with producers Nicke Andersson (HELLACOPTERS, ENTOMBED) and Fred Estby (DISMEMBER). The band states, "We think this is going to be our best album thus far. Expect the hardest-rocking BULLET album yet recorded!"

BULLET's third full-length album "Highway Pirates", entered the official chart in Sweden at position No. 3.

"Highway Pirates" was mixed by Tobias Lindell, who has previously worked with such Swedish rock bands as EUROPE, MUSTASCH and HARDCORE SUPERSTAR.
ASHENVEIL, the new "ambitious" female-fronted metal band out of New Jersey featuring OPERATIKA drummer Yuri Liakhovitch and SYMPHONY X bassist Mike LePond, will film a video for one of the songs of their upcoming debut album, "Black Of Light", on June 16 in Hightstown, New Jersey. The clip will be shot by an established videographer and scenes will involve a crowd.

Any interested parties who would like to participate and be in the video, please send an e-mail to ashenveilinfo@gmail.com.

"Black Of Light" was mixed by Jeremy Krull (DARK EMPIRE) and is currently being mastered at Finnvox studios (NIGHTWISH, CHILDREN OF BODOM) in Helsinki, Finland. A late June release is expected.

Described by LePond as "heavy metal-sounding BLACKMORE'S NIGHT," ASHENVEIL was formed in the summer of 2009 when a group of friends met up for a jamming session. They clicked and the chemistry between the players was obvious to all. At that point, the songwriting process began and the direction of the band was musically defined and established. Eager for great things to happen, after a series of extensive rehearsals, the band — under its former name, TRACE OF EMPTINESS — performed several shows locally to get their foot in the door, gain exposure and start building the fan base. However, it wasn't until singer and songwriter Christine Greenwood joined in March 2010 to take over the vocal duties that the band was able to maximize its potential and reach the point where "only sky was the limit." With Christine's unique voice handling operatic soprano or alto singing styles, modified and tailored for each individual song, the band went on to record its first demo that was completed by the end of April 2010. After a series of lineup changes, Rich Fischer on the guitar joined the band in 2011 and brought much-needed technicality and versatility to complete the band's unique and multidimensional sound.
Century Media Records has welcomed Maryland-based experimental, progressive metallers PERIPHERY to the family as licensing partner for the world outside of North America, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. July 2 will see the European digital release of PERIPHERY's highly anticipated sophomore album, "Periphery II: This Time It's Personal",, whereas the physical release of the album will follow July 16, including bonus material.

"Periphery II: This Time It's Personal" will be released in North America on July 3 via Sumerian Records. The CD will feature guest appearances by John Petrucci (DREAM THEATER), Guthrie Govan (THE ARISTOCRATS) and Wes Hauch (THE FACELESS).

Commented PERIPHERY guitarist Misha Mansoor: "We put so much hard work and time into this album and we thank all of you for your continued support and patience. The album clocks in at sixty-nine minutes exactly and has tons of brand new material, so I assure you it is well worth the wait. Make sure to keep on the lookout for the first track which we will be releasing in the coming weeks."

"Periphery II: This Time It's Personal" track listing:

01. Muramasa
02. Have A Blast (feat. Guthrie Govan)
03. Facepalm Mute
04. Ji
05. Scarlet
06. Luck As A Constant
07. Ragnarok
08. The Gods Must Be Crazy!
09. Make Total Destroy
10. Erised (feat. John Petrucci)
11. Epoch
12. Froggin' Bullfish
13. Mile Zero (feat. Wes Hauch)
14. Masamune

PERIPHERY supported DREAM THEATER for two U.S. shows last October and a full-length European tour in January and February.

In a September 2011 interview with Metal Assault, Mansoor stated about Petrucci, "John Petrucci is the reason why I have a seven-string. John Petrucci is who I wanted to be when I started taking guitar seriously. I learned all the songs off [1999's] 'Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From A Memory' and played them horribly. But it really challenged me and showed me… I wanted to be him… I wanted to be John Petrucci so badly. I didn't even wanna be like him; I just wanted to be him. And I figured if I learned every song and solo, I'd get in his head and figure out how he wrote the amazing parts that he did and I'd understand how to be a better musician. I kind of got over that eventually when I realized I just didn't have the technical prowess to pull that off. But it definitely made a very big mark on me in many ways — in his approach to lead playing and arrangements and songwriting, in riff writing… everything. He's just such a balanced player and such a huge influence to me."

Bassist Tom Murphy last year announced his departure from PERIPHERY "to pursue something new." Adam "Nolly" Getgood of RED SEAS FIRE has been filling in on bass while Mark Holcomb took up his position as the full-time guitarist on the band's most recent tour.
"Stones Grow Her Name", the new album from Finnish melodic metallers SONATA ARCTICA, has registered the following first-week chart positions:

Finland: #1
Hungary: #13
Switzerland: #21
Germany: #24
Austria: #29
Sweden: #37
Norway: #39
France: #54
Italy: #72
Holland: #72
Canada: #79
Belgium (Wallonia): #79
Spain: #97

"Stones Grow Her Name" sold around 2,100 copies in the United States in its first week of release. The CD landed at position No. 9 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.

"Stones Grow Her Name" was certified gold in Finland for sales in excess of 10,000 copies. Released in Europe on May 18 and in North America on May 22 via Nuclear Blast Records, the CD was recorded in several studios all over Finland, mixed at Sonic Pump Studios by Mikko Karmila and mastered at Chartmakers by Svante Forsbäck. The effort was released as a limited-edition digipak, standard jewel case, vinyl and download.

"Stones Grow Her Name" track listing:

01. Only The Broken Hearts (Make You Beautiful)
02. Shitload of Money
03. Losing My Insanity
04. Somewhere Close To You
05. I Have A Right
06. Alone In Heaven
07. The Day
08. Cinderblox
09. Don't Be Mean
10. Wildfire II
11. Wildfire III

The "I Have A Right" video can be seen below.

Commented SONATA ARCTICA frontman Tony Kakko: "'I Have A Right' was the very last song I wrote for this album. At that point Tommy had already played his last track for 'Stones Grow Her Name', gotten ready to go to sauna AND opened his first beer for that night, when I SMS'd him to check his e-mail and record yet one more 'easy track.' He was mildly pissed. And perhaps fueled by that he nailed the song on the first take. It was a very emotional moment for him, I was told. The song hits home, if you know the subject and can relate to the subject. To put it short, it's a song about how we should not pass the burden we get from the past generation on the shoulders of our future offspring. Children's rights subject. Not the most metal subject ever, I suppose, but then again I think it fits our band well and is pretty universal. Funny to actually have fans from each age group this songs speaks about. Let's see what comes of it.

"Choosing the first single and video from this album was not very easy this time around as we had so many candidates. The best possible problem to have! 'I Have A Right' won the vote.

"The playing parts for this video were shot in our home town Kemi, here in Finland. The location was an old, abandoned school building. Somehow spooky and COLD. It was mid-March. Could say we were lucky the weather was unseasonably warm, yet way below zero.

"Director Tuukka Temonen and his crew did a great job with editing and all the additional footage. All in all, from my point of view, this was the easiest ever SONATA ARCTICA video to make. No 12 hours standing in a room filled with bird shit, no freezing my ass off on the ice in the middle of the sea from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., or running in the woods in the middle of the night and not sleeping for 48 hours... had all that with the past videos."
Swedish horror thrash metal moshers F.K.Ü. have inked a deal with Napalm Records.

Commented F.K.Ü. singer Larry Lethal (a.k.a. Lawrence Mackrory; SCARVE, ENEMY IS US, DARKANE): "We are proud to announce that we have partnered up with the mighty Napalm Records in order to spread the message of mosh worldwide.

"We started off as a DIY band but have now reached the point where it is better for us to focus on the art and let someone else handle the business.

"We hope this will be a long and fruitful relationship and we know it will be very beneficial to all you moshoholics out there. We salute Napalm Records and look forward to releasing our fourth album. More details surrounding this release will be coming soon, so stay tuned…"

F.K.Ü.'s "Twitch Of The Thrash Nerve" video can be viewed below. The clip was directed by Simon Wettervik of Sidevision Productions.

"The Pit And The Poser" comes off F.K.Ü.'s third album, "Where Moshers Dwell", which came out in July 2009 in Europe through Metal On Metal. The CD features artwork and a 10-page comic book by renowned artist Jeff Zornow. It also includes guest appearances by cult actor Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger in the "Nightmare On Elm Street" movies), Jörgen Sandström (VICIOUS ART, THE PROJECT HATE MCMXCIX, TORTURE DIVISION, KRUX, GRAVE, ENTOMBED), and Ryan Sorensen (ENGORGED).

F.K.Ü. originally formed in 1987 and reformed in 1998. The band's current lineup is as follows:

* Larry Lethal (Lawrence Mackrory; SCARVE, ENEMY IS US, DARKANE) - Vocals
* Pat Splat (Patrik Sporrong; MIDAS TOUCH, LOST SOULS) - Bass
* Pete Stooaahl (Peter Lans; VALLEY OF THE DEAD, LOST SOULS, INRAGE) - Guitar
* Ted Killer Miller (Teddy Möller; LOCH VOSTOK, MAYADOME) - Drums
Gothenburg, Sweden-based psychedelic doom rock band GRAVEYARD has released its own beer, Hisingen Brew. According to the group, it is "made from special Cascade-hops that makes it taste even better lukewarm for your festival nights."

Hisingen Brew is only available in Sweden (in an "ölflak") for the time being and it can be ordered from Systembolaget.

GRAVEYARD was honored with the "Best Hard Rock/Metal" award at the Swedish "Grammis" gala, which was held on February 14 at Kungliga Operan in Stockholm.

The nominees in the "Best Hard Rock/Metal" category were as follows:

* GRAVEYARD - "Hisingen Blues"
* HAMMERFALL - "Infected"
* IN FLAMES - "Sounds Of A Playground Fading"
* OPETH - "Heritage"
* THE HAUNTED - "Unseen"

The bands were all nominated for their most recent releases, all of which came out during 2011.

Last year's Grammis award in the "Best Hard Rock" category went to WATAIN for the band's "Lawless Darkness" album.

GRAVEYARD's second full-length album, "Hisingen Blues", sold 1,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release. The CD landed at position No. 48 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.

"Hisingen Blues" entered the official chart in Sweden at position No. 1. The CD, which was released in North America on April 19, 2011 via Nuclear Blast Records, was produced, recorded, and mixed in 100 percent analog by Don Alsterberg (JOSÉ GONZALES, JUNIP, SOUNDTRACK OF OUR LIVES, THE INTERNATIONAL NOISE CONSPIRACY) at Don Pierre Studios in Gothenburg, Sweden.
FOZZY, the band featuring WWE wrestling superstar Chris Jericho and STUCK MOJO mastermind Rich "The Duke" Ward, has finished mixing the follow-up to 2010's "Chasing The Grail" for a late summer/early fall release via the group's new label, Century Media Records.

Ward previously stated about the forthcoming CD, "Although every band says 'this is the best thing we've ever done,' I can honestly say that this new album is going to blow everyone away. It's the epitome of who FOZZY is as a band and will expand upon the ultra-heavy yet super melodic and hooky territory that we've refined for the last 12 years. I have a strong feeling that this will be known as our definitive masterpiece for years to come."

FOZZY last year parted ways with bassist Sean Delson and replaced him with Paul DiLeo (ADRENALINE MOB).

FOZZY released the "Remains Alive & Chasing The Grail" two-CD set on July 18, 2011 via Edel's international rock label earMUSIC.

FOZZY was already on the map as the band with the pro wrestler singer, but "Chasing The Grail" broke them as a proper band. It hit #6 on the U.S. Heatseekers charts and the single "Martyr No More" was a theme song for the WWE Royal Rumble. "Remains Alive" is a 2005 live album (recorded in Australia) that was previously available in digital format only.

"Chasing The Grail" sold around 2,200 copies in the United States in its first week of release. The CD landed at position No. 6 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.
Eulogy Recordings has announced the signing of the Ocala, Florida-based "spirit-filled punk/hardcore" band SET FREE. The group's debut album is scheduled for release in August.

Commented SET FREE guitarist Danny Sherman: "Member and style changes over the years has helped mold us into the band we are now.

"With an old-school work ethic of simply getting out and playing shows, we put everything we have into everything we do.

"SET FREE is constantly on tour and will continue to tour all summer with a stop at Cornerstone Festival."


Chris Marcello - Vocals
Daniel Laxton - Bass
Zack Marcello - Drums
Danny Sherman – Guitar
Michael Grant, singer of CRESCENT SHIELD, ONWARD, CYPHER SEER and LEGEND MAKER, died earlier today (Thursday, May 31) at Glendale Memorial Hospital in Glendale, California after a relatively brief but serious illness. He was 39 years old. He was peaceful and surrounded by family at the time of his passing.

Michael recorded and toured with several bands throughout his career, most notably ONWARD on Century Media Records and more recently CRESCENT SHIELD on Cruz del Sur Music.

Commented CRESCENT SHIELD/ex-DESTINY'S END guitarist Dan DeLucie: "Michael's rich and powerful baritone and clean melodic vocal style made him a distinct voice in heavy metal. He was known for crafting memorable vocal hooks and layered harmonies. He often weaved multiple vocal phrases together creating a complex and striking tapestry of vocal melodies. Perhaps most notable however was the passion Mike sang with. He could evoke the strength and grandiloquence of the mightiest metal warrior or the mournful atmosphere of a passing life.

"Mike was more than just a singer, though. He was a greatly talented songwriter and lyricist. Although he didn't play an instrument, he would often write complete songs by humming guitar lines and vocalizing drum beats. His lyrics were profound, evocative and often personal. He was a true lover of heavy metal and would sing its praises with a sense of poetry and grandeur. No matter the topic: journeys into the unknown, the choices we make in life, religious dogma, or a crimson moonrise, Mike always delivered a moving message with unique elegance.

"Writing, recording, and performing music with Mike in CRESCENT SHIELD was a joy. We were in synch creatively and complemented each other's abilities very well. We produced music for the love of it. We performed for the love of it. CRESCENT SHIELD's pinnacle performance at Keep It True 2008 in Germany was a dream come true for both of us [see video below].

"Working with Mike was the most creatively rewarding experience of my life. Although the band has been on hiatus for a while, Mike and I still were writing new material and his voice and creative energies were still in top form. Losing him at such a young age is both shocking and tragic. I will miss my musical companion, my metal brother, and my friend."
Glass Nail Records has announced the signing of Bayonne, New Jersey's post-hardcore quintet GATHERER. The band's EP, "Postcards", will be re-released on July 10 on seven-inch vinyl and as a digital download, and the group's debut full-length will be made available as a 12-inch LP this fall.

"Postcards" is available as a full stream and no-minimum, name-your-price download on GATHERER's Bandcamp page until June 8.


Christian Berrigan - Vocals
Matt Popowski - Bass
Adam Cichocki - Drums
Justin Cosentino - Guitar
Austin Lipinski – Guitar
TROLLFEST, the self-proclaimed "true Norwegian Balkan metal" band, has parted ways with bassist PsychoTroll and guitarist St Beinhard because "they could no longer dedicate the amount of time needed for a band that's as active as TROLLFEST."

Commented the remaining members of the group: "We have lots of musicians waiting to fill in on stage for us, some of whom you know and love, some of whom you don't know yet, but you're bound to love them once you do."

TROLLFEST's new album, "Brumlebassen", is scheduled for release in August via NoiseArt Records. Responsible once again for the amazing images that vividly depict the story of what will be the band's fifth full-length album, is Swedish cartoonist Jonas Darnell, who originally created the iconic metal duck from TROLLFEST's "Villanden" album, and has worked with the band ever since. Terje Johnsen, who has been working on the design side of TROLLFEST's releases since the "Brakebein" album, has once again teamed up with Darnell to produce the finished package.

Like all TROLLFEST albums, "Brumlebassen" tells a story about one of the characters that inhabit the fantastical universe created by the band. This time the story is about Brumlebassen the Bee Keeper, whose task it is to care for the bees and brew the Honey Mead that is much loved by the Trolls. Brumlebassen adores his bees so much that he would secretly like to become one of them himself and he is therefore depicted wearing a bee costume!

Track listing for "Brumlebassen", which will be available as a gatefold vinyl and limited digipack including 12 tracks plus a bonus cut, is as follows:

01. Brumlebassen
02. Böse Tivoli
03. Illsint
04: Hevlette
05. Finsken, Norsken and Presten
06. Mystisk Maskert
07. Apis Mellifera
08. TrinkenTroll
09. Verboten Kjærleik
10. Bråk
11. Sellout
12. Rundt Bålet
13. Konterbier (bonus track)
Australian/Los Angeles tech-metal masters DEVOLVED will release their new album in November. All music was written and performed by John Sankey and Mark Hawkins (ROBOTS PULLING LEVERS), with lyrics and arrangement by Sankey. The vocals were performed by DEVOLVED's new lead singer, Mark Haggblad (UNVEIL THE STRENGTH), following the departure of Kyle Zemanek (DEADSETT). The CD will feature guest appearances from several noteable artists, including ALL SHALL PERISH guitarist Francesco Artusato. Songtitles set to appear on the effort include "Systematic Avenger", "Collateral Damage", "Accelerated Human Degeneration" and "Terminal Enslavement".

A demo version of "Systematic Avenger" can be streamed in the the YouTube clip below.

Commented Sankey: "This is the fastest, heaviest and most accomplished DEVOLVED album yet. We pushed the boundaries as far as possible with these songs, I can't wait for people to hear it!"

In related news, Sankey has just completed laying down drum tracks for the debut album from his other band, THRONE OF ASHES.

Sankey late last year recorded all the demo drum sessions for the new FEAR FACTORY album, "The Industrialist", and co-wrote and programmed all the drum parts, along with FF guitarist Dino Cazares, for the final CD. He was unable to join FEAR FACTORY as the band's new touring drummer due to visa restrictions.

Cazares previously stated about the new DEVOLVED material, "Systematic brutality at its best. Raising the bar once again with their intellectual song arrangements [and] insane drum patterns that would make any tech metal fan turn their heads. This band just keeps getting better and better. Welcome to the end of everything that you once knew and say hello to the future."

DEVOLVED's last album, "Oblivion", was released in May 2011 via Unique Leader Records.
ANTIMATTER, the U.K. project whose recording/touring lineup has included current and former members of ANATHEMA, has signed a new two-album deal with Prophecy Productions. Work on the band's fifth LP, "Fear Of A Unique Identity" (formerly "Wide Awake In The Concrete Asylum") is largely completed; its release is tentatively scheduled for the second half year. ANTIMATTER's Mick Moss has also announced plans to release another album in 2013, entitled "The Judas Table".

Commented Moss: "I'm energized to be working again with the label who guided ANTIMATTER through its first decade of existence. If any label deserves these next ANTIMATTER albums, it is Prophecy Productions."

"Fear Of A Unique Identity" will be mastered later this month by Maor Appelbaum (SEPULTURA, THE MISSION, HALFORD, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN).

The track listing for the CD is as follows:

01. Paranova
02. Monochrome
03. Firewalking
04. Here Come The Men
05. Fear Of A Unique Identity
06. Uniformed And Black
07. Wide Awake In The Concrete Asylum
08. The Parade
09. A Place In The Sun

According to Moss, "Fear Of A Unique Identity" "is about the roleplay that goes on in an urban environment. People sell themselves to the common mindset, and if that mindset is evil or aggressive, then they just allow themselves to go with it rather than being 'the odd one out'. This is an extremely dangerous behaviour, and there are plenty of examples in history where this can escalate to something much, much worse."

Prophecy's original contract with Mick Moss and his ANTIMATTER bandmate Duncan Patterson was signed ten years ago in spring 2002 and was the foundation of a fruitful collaboration spanning four albums — "Saviour" (2002), "Lights Out" (2003), "Planetary Confinement" (2005), and "Leaving Eden" (2008) — as well as the comprehensive anniversary compilation "Alternative Matter" (2010).
ENCHANT, the long-running San Francisco Bay Area long progressive rock band, has inked a new longterm worldwide deal with its perennial label partner, InsideOut Music. The group is currently writing and demoing material for a new album, tentatively due in early 2013.

Originally founded in 1989 and with seven studio albums under their belts, ENCHANT's last official release was the "Live At Last" 2CD/2DVD set, which came out in 2004.

"It's been way too long!" says Douglas A. Ott, main songwriter and guitarist of ENCHANT. "We had to take time off from ENCHANT because a lot was going on in all of our lives. Divorces, marriages, kids, separations... finally the band is stable again and ready to get going on the new album!"

Ott adds, "Everyone is really excited and looking forward to the process again. I'm currently doing preproduction and putting together demos of the new material and very shortly I'll start recording the real tracks. We're taking our time and really focusing on the writing and arranging of this new material."

Thomas Waber, founder and label manager of InsideOut Music, comments on the return of ENCHANT: "InsideOut Music as a label has a long history with ENCHANT and I am very happy that they are making a new album right now. Hopefully we can add many more fond memories to the relationship! It's great to have them back!"

ENCHANT vocalist Ted Leonard (SPOCK'S BEARD, THOUGHT CHAMBER) recently made an appearance on on AFFECTOR's debut album, "Harmagedon", out now on InsideOut Music.

ENCHANT 2012 lineup:

Ted Leonard - Lead Vocals
Douglas Ott - Guitars And Backing Vocals
Ed Platt - Bass Guitar And Bass Pedals
Bill Jenkins - Keyboards
Sean Flanegan – Drums
VINTERSORG, the Swedish folk metal led by BORKNAGAR frontman Andreas Hedlund (a.k.a. Vintersorg), will release its ninth album, "Orkan", on June 29 via Napalm Records.

According to a press release, "Orkan" "combines the best of two worlds. Namely, [Hedlund's] folk-tinged roots and the progressive songwriting of his latest works. The eight tracks provide the listener with rousing and hymn-like refrains, extreme diversified vocal parts, superb riffs and brilliant melodies. Above all the compositions tower VINTERSORG's highly unique vocals which show a wide range of new facets. The new opus is therefore a highly interesting and recommendable album, comprised of all periods of the Swede's creative musical life, thus achieving a whole new level of songwriting."

In a recent interview with Global Metal Apocalypse, Hedlund stated about "Orkan", "VINTERSORG has always been a band that has evolved with every new album and that's a very strong foundation in our art. To feel free to evolve and discover new grounds to embrace, just follow where the inspiration takes you and not calculate how that will affect the band commercially, that's what real art is about from where I'm standing. The album is a continuation from the last one, 'Jordpuls', but with some fresh angles and a more perfected production, I would say. Some songs have a bit darker atmosphere, but I'm all from the inside… so it'll be interesting to see what people from the outside will think. . . It's an album where all the songs need to be there to have the total atmosphere of what we wanted to achieve this time around, but songs like 'Istid', 'Polarnatten' and 'Myren' is some that will dwell your mind for a while, I guess."

"Orkan" track listing:

01. Istid
02. Ur Stjärnstoft Är Vi Komna
03. Polarnatten
04. Myren
05. Orkan
06. Havets Nåd
07. Norrskenssyner
08. Urvädersfången
This September, DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT and KATATONIA will team-up for the "Epic Kings & Idols Tour", a co-headlining North American run featuring PARADISE LOST as direct support and STOLEN BABIES as openers (DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT and KATATONIA will alternate in headlining each show).

In regards to this upcoming trek, Devin Townsend comments: "So after a break in which we've managed to finish the live DVDs from the London shows ('By A Thread') as well as our surprisingly epic new record, 'Epicloud'...We're about to start getting into touring mode again, and it pleases me to announce that we'll be with some wonderful bands this fall. I think this package pretty much covers the gamut of emotional heavy music, and really...It'll be nice to share the stage with some passionate folks who live for their music as much as we do. Again, we can't thank you enough for supporting what we do and allowing us to play for you. It will be nice to catch up, and we hope to see you there!"

KATATONIA's Anders Nyström adds: "A better bill than this will be hard to find!"

The VIP pre-sale begins Wednesday, June 6; tickets will be available to the general public starting Thursday, June 7.

"Epic Kings & Idols Tour" dates:

Sep. 04 - Seattle, WA - Studio 7
Sep. 05 - Vancouver, BC - Commdore
Sep. 07 - San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall
Sep. 08 - Los Angeles, CA - El Rey Theater
Sep. 09 - Phoenix, AZ - Marquee Theater
Sep. 11 - Houston, TX - Warehouse Live Studio
Sep. 12 - Dallas, TX - Trees
Sep. 13 - Lawrence, KS - Granada
Sep. 14 - Denver, CO - Summit
Sep. 16 - Minneapolis, MN—Station 4
Sep. 17 - Chicago, IL - Bottom Lounge
Sep. 18 - Pittsburgh, PA - Mr. Smalls
Sep. 19 - Toronto, ON - Opera House
Sep. 20 - Montreal, QC - Cafe Campus
Sep. 21 - Worcester, MA - Palladium
Sep. 22 - Philadelphia, PA - TLA
Sep. 23 - New York, NY - Irving Plaza
Sep. 24 - Baltimore, MD - Rams Head Live
Florida-based death metal veterans MORBID ANGEL will embark on a North American tour this fall with support from Sweden's DARK FUNERAL and GRAVE. VADIMVON will provide additional support throughout the East Coast.

The dates are as follows:

Sep. 21 - Atlanta, GA - The Masquerade
Sep. 22 - Louisville, KY - Headliner's Music Hall
Sep. 23 - Columbus, OH - Screamin Willie's
Sep. 24 - Washington, DC - Howard Theater
Sep. 26 - New York City - B.B. King's
Sep. 27 - Pittsburgh, PA - Altar Bar
Sep. 28 - Philadelphia, PA - The Trocadero
Sep. 29 - Worcester, MA - The Palladium
Sep. 30 - Montreal, QC - Club Soda
Oct. 01 - Toronto, ON - Opera House
Oct. 02 - Cleveland, OH - Peabody's
Oct. 04 - Joliet, Il - Mojoe's
Oct. 05 - St. Paul, MN - Station 4
Oct. 06 - Des Moines, IA - Peoples Court
Oct. 07 - Englewood, CO - Gothic Theater
Oct. 08 - Salt Lake City, UT - The Complex
Oct. 10 - Seattle, WA - El Corazon
Oct. 11 - Portland, OR - Hawthorne Theater
Oct. 12 - San Francisco, CA - Slim's
Oct. 13 - Sacramento, CA - Ace Of Spades
Oct. 14 - Anaheim, CA - The Grove
Oct. 15 - Tempe, AZ - Marquee Theatre
Oct. 17 - Dallas, TX - Trees
Oct. 18 - Houston, TX - Scout Bar
Oct. 19 - San Antonio, TX - Backstage Lounge

On February 24 (February 28 in North America), Season of Mist released a compilation of remixed tracks from MORBID ANGEL's latest album, "Illud Divinum Insanus". Far from being just revamped versions of the seminal extreme metal band's newest songs, this collection presents the work of 39 artists from the electro / industrial, techno and club scene.

MORBID ANGEL's latest album, "Illud Divinum Insanus", sold around 3,600 copies in the United States in its first week of release to enter The Billboard 200 chart at position No. 141. The effort marks MORBID ANGEL's first CD to feature bassist/vocalist David Vincent since 1995's "Domination".

GRAVE has finished mastering its new album, "Endless Procession Of Souls", for a fall 2012 release via Century Media Records. The band recorded 12 songs — nine new tracks plus three "very special" cuts — at their own Studio Soulless for the CD< which was previously described by GRAVE guitarist/vocalist Ola Lindgren: "a mix of our latest two releases with some more old-school, groovy 'Soulless' parts."

DARK FUNERAL recently inked a three-album deal with Century Media Records.

The new lineup of DARK FUNERAL — featuring the group's latest additions, vocalist Nachtgarm (NEGATOR) and bassist Zornheym — made its live debut on the Sweden Rock Cruise. The ship Tallink Silja Galaxy set sail from Stockholm, Sweden on October 6, 2011 and made a round trip to Turku, Finland before returning to Stockholm 23 hours later.
Finnish black metallers CAVUS have entered their own studio to begin recording their sophomore album for a fall release via Listenable Records. Songtitles set to appear on the follow-up to 2010's "Fester And Putrefy" include "The Art Of Blood Purging" and "Unholy Water".

"The band just purchased some rats and locusts to roam their premises to advance the vile surroundings of their studio," reads a press release from Listenable. "The old wooden building is condemned to be demolished in the near future so it will be the last album CAVUS records at that place they simply call The Lair."

Formed in 2008 in Porvoo, CAVUS "set out to pillage and desecrate everything in its path with a sinister blend of crushingly heavy, old-school black metal with baritone guitars and juggernautic basses along with raw-to-the-bone vocals that earned the group great recognition," according to a press release. "No keyboards, no fairies, no bullshit. This is straight-up rawness and CAVUS will spread like a virulent plague among legions worldwide."

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