VIO-LENCE: Reunited San Francisco Bay Area thrashers VIO-LENCE have acquired the rights to the group's classic 1988 debut release, Eternal Nightmare (originally issued through Mechanic/MCA Records), and are looking to license it to a label for re-release in the coming months. A possibility of a double-CD package containing a live recording made during the band's appearance at Slim's in San Francisco on December 14th, 2001 is currently being discussed. In other news, VIO-LENCE's 1991 EP, Torture Tactics, will reportedly be reissued shortly through the Megaforce label.
JAG PANZER: The band's self-produced DVD, entitled The Era of Kings and Conflict, will be for sale at their merchandise booth at all the ICED EARTH, IN FLAMES and JAG PANZER shows on the North American tour. The DVD includes videos of "Take to the Sky", "The Silent", "Cold is the Blade", "King at a Price", and "Iron Eagle", and it contains a bootleg live video shot at the Z7 in Switzerland last year, interview footage with past members, and a visit to their old practice space (bassist John Tetley's mom's house). For those unable to attend any of the tour dates, the DVD will be for sale via the band's web site.
CELTIC FROST: The upcoming reunion CD will feature the classic three-piece line-up of Tom Gabriel Fischer (guitar/vocals), Reed St. Mark (drums) and Martin Ain (bass), accompanied by APOLLYON SUN guitarist Erol Unala, according to a new posting by Fischer on the message board of the group's official web site at www.celticfrost.com. Moreover, “we intend to invite a number of very special guests to participate on the album, some of them closely related to CF's history,” added the frontman. Despite pleas from die-hard fans to make the group's next CD a double, “we feel that's not a likely option at this time,” stated Fischer. “We would much rather focus on making it a very unusual and strong 'regular' CD right now, while leaving all options open for the future. [The aborted] Under Apollyon's Sun [album] was a special case, and it was to be the seventh CF album, so we felt we deserved some leeway. This new album is an experiment for all of us (and you) and a re-entry in many ways, so we feel a focused approach is appropriate right now. There are a number of ideas for future CF projects if you all decide you like what we are doing on this new album, and a couple of them might end up being larger than just a 'regular' CD.” Although no record deal has yet been secured for the upcoming effort, “we have pretty much every aspect of the visual presentation of the album ready for final execution,” insisted Tom. “It will be something entirely new for this band, based on an idea by Martin Ain which we all absolutely love. Also, the writing for quite a lot of songs is finished, but we are experiencing such an amazing chemistry right now and are having so much fun that we are still writing new stuff at our practice space here in Zurich. We are probably entering a studio in England this summer to finish these songs (a lot has already been pre-produced and pre-recorded by means of our own studio facilities). “If all goes well, Martin will also be handling some of the vocals on some of the new songs. It has been amazing so far to work with him, for the first time in 12 years (not counting the re-issues).”
MARDUK: Swedish black metallers MARDUK have confirmed the group's plans to support DANZIG on the latter act's US headlining tour that is scheduled to kick off on May 29th and run through the end of July (as first reported here on March 30th). According to a statement posted at MARDUK's official web site, “MARDUK has been offered a two-month USA tour as support act to the legendary master of darkness, namely DANZIG. DANZIG plans to start the tour at the end of May in support of his upcoming album Danzig 7:77: I Lucifer I and wants to have MARDUK as support act. MARDUK is very delighted with the offer and are working to sort everything out.”
MANOWAR: The initial run of Metal King's forthcoming album, Warriors Of The World United, will be housed in a black wooden box with silver printing that contains a Manowar stamp pad and a "100% True Metal" sticker. The title is limited to 4,000 pieces worldwide.
IMMORTAL: IMMORTAL’s Iscariah recently posted the following on the Nuclear Blast website (www.nuclearblast.de), “Well, so this day came to an end despite its long and joyful hours. The statement I doubted would be written for a long time is here, and if you asked me directly why, I would not be able to give you a direct answer, because there is no definite reason why. I have basically followed my instincts and my gut feeling and come to the conclusion that I am leaving Immortal. This band has basically been my life for three years, and it feels like some strange divorce is being processed. The band is getting bigger and with that follows complete dedication to the force. If not, you are bound to fall on your ass. To prevent this event, I quit. It is of my beliefs that if you have a single doubt, then leave. Do not try to shape the band to your benefit. I am not retiring. I just want to do what feels right for ME. At this point I am still involved in several other bands, which I am willing to push far. Also a new cult act, which I now have joined, should be announced shortly elsewhere. However, non of the acts has anything to do with my departure. A new bass player has been recruited for Immortal, and he will be attending to the upcoming European tour and beyond. We are very optimistic about his skills and dedication, so I am sure he will be permanent. The band itself will announce within the coming days who he is. I hail my brothers of this cult and I wish them the best of luck for the coming future events. Also not to forget, I want to raise my glass to all you maniacs out there who supports this cult! All hail Immortal! On behalf of myself, Iscariah."
CHILDREN OF BODOM: Finland's CHILDREN OF BODOM will release a brand new single entitled You Better Off Dead on July 1st. The single will likely feature a cover song as a “B-side” and will be recorded at Astia studios in Lappeenranta. Mixing will be done by Mikko Karmila. They have thus far completed about five new for their upcoming studio album, which is tentatively scheduled to be recorded in August/September for a late 2002/early 2003 release. The band, who are currently unsigned, expect to announce a new record deal within the next few weeks.
German thrashers KREATOR will play their first-ever Korean show as part of the soccer World Cup, and will film the event for an upcoming live DVD. A North American and a Japanese tour is planned for September. In related news, the group's forthcoming, as-yet-untitled live CD will likely consist of recordings made during the Athens, Paris and Hamburg stops on the band's most recent European tour, and will feature a final mix by Andy Sneap, who produced KREATOR's last studio offering, Violent Revolution.
ANNIHILATOR: The band's new album, Waking The Fury, is doing brisk sales overseas and has been voted CD of the month in France, Hungary, Greece, Italy and Holland. Meanwhile, frontman Joe Comeau added the following: "We're also going to play some summer festivals. If the album does well, we'll be able to go back in the Fall. We've got South America and Russia in the works. Our other main priority is to get the visibility of Annihilator back in North America, especially the States. We're talking about releasing Waking The Fury domestically. It will probably be a licensing deal, but if we get on a label where there are similar bands, we'll get out and tour, as part of a package. Until then, Comeau will busy himself with a guest appearance on the forthcoming solo outing by Savatage guitarist, Jack Frost. "Jack asked me to write a tune with him. Originally I was just going to sing a cover and play guitar or do a solo on whatever Blitz (Bobby Ellsworth, Over Kill) sings on. Then he changed his mind, saying, 'Don't do a cover. I need some originals on there. Why don't you write a tune?' We'll probably do that a month or two after we get back." Frost's other band, Seven Witches, will be touring Europe with Annihilator.
STRATOVARIUS: After break from recording and touring, STRATOVARIUS will enter Finnvox studios in Helsinki on May 15th to record their 9th full length called Elements Part 1. Some song titles include: 'Eagleheart', 'Elements', 'Soul Of A Vagabond', 'Find Your Own Voice', 'Alpha & Omega', 'Papillon', 'Drop In The Ocean' and 'Stratofortress'. The cover artwork will be done by Derek Riggs. Elements Part 1 is due out in January 2003 and it will be followed by a World Tour in the spring which will start from Finland.
TIMO KOTIPELTO: STRATOVARIUS frontman TIMO KOTIPELTO releases his first solo album, Waiting For The Dawn, on May 21st through Century Media. The album is a concept based on myths and reality of ancient Egyptian times. Kotipelto produced the album which was completely recorded in Helsinki, Finland - drums and bass at the Sonic Pump Studios, vocals and guitars at Hästholm/High and Loud Studios and mixed by Mikko Karmila and mastered by Mika Jussila at the famous Finnvox Studios. Album artwork comes from Derek Riggs (IRON MAIDEN, GAMMA RAY). Musicians appearing on the release include: Jari Kainulainen (Stratovarius - bass), Michael Romeo (SYMPHONY X - guitar), Roland Grapow (ex-HELLOWEEN - guitar), Sami Virtanen (WARMEN - guitar), Janne Wirman (CHILDREN OF BODOM, Warmen - keyboards), Mikko Harkin (SONATA ARCTICA - keyboards), Mirka Rantanen (THUNDERSTONE, TUNNEL VISION, Warmen - drums) and Gas (HIM - drums). The album has the following tracklisting: ‘Intro’, ‘Travel Through Time’, ‘Beginning’, ‘Lord Of Eternity’, ‘Knowledge And Wisdom’, ‘Battle Of The Gods’, ‘Beauty Has Come’, ‘Vizier’, ‘Chosen By Re’, ‘Waiting For The Dawn’, ‘Arise’ and ‘The Movement Of The Nile’.
NIGHTWISH: Finnish opera metallers Nightwish recent set Century Child as the title of their upcoming album for Spinefarm Records. Century Child was recorded at Finnvoc and Kitee Huvikeskus Studios recently, and so far looks to feature 11 new songs. So far, only "End Of All Hope," "Slaying The Dreamer," "Beauty Of The Beast" and "Oceansoul" are available, but we expect Nightwish to release full album details shortly. Nightwish's Century Child should be on store shelves on May 27 in Finland on Spinefarm Records and elsewhere in the world shortly thereafter on respective licensed labels.
AVANTASIA: Tobias Sammet, frontman of Edguy, speaks about the second part of his Avantasia side project. "My Friends, it's been a long time that you didn't hear anything about Avantasia. Well, touring with my main band Edguy is such fun, it seems like this Mandrake world tour will never end. Of course we are proud to have this tenth anniversary and it's the hell of a work we have to do for our special anniversary show on the 31st of May in Offenbach, Germany. Anyway, between traveling to different continents, planning for Edguy and sleeping a little, I have some breaks. Right now, I am starting to finish the production of Avantasia Part 2 and if nothing goes wrong, in August you will have the album in stores. A lot of things were recorded with part one, so on the ten main songs you will hear the same musicians and singers that appeared on part one. Some new things will be included, like a new character, sung by Magnum's Bob Catley and Timo Tolkki (Stratovarius) plays a few guitars. Furthermore Kiss drummer, Eric Singer, plays on one track. Right now, I think it's gonna be ten real songs and some interludes, with the opener, 'Seven Angels', over 14 minutes long. However, I don't want to say too much in advance. I've never been a man of big promises. People have been speculating that there's no chance of creating something on the level of part one. To those who share that opinion, I got a huge smile on my face! I am really curious about those people's opinions. Ask my record company for their opinion, about what they have heard. They love it even more than part one." Love, peace & cheers. Stay savage, Tobias".
MY DYING BRIDE's first-ever live album, entitled The Voice Of The Wretched (Live), will hit the streets on April 22nd. On the same day, the long-form video For Darkest Eyes will be issued on DVD, featuring an additional 90 minutes of footage culled from vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe's personal collection of never-before-seen MDB live recordings. Look for MY DYING BRIDE to hit the road later in the year.
FEAR FACTORY's first posthumous release, the previously-unreleased 1991 album, entitled Concrete, is tentatively scheduled to be issued through Roadrunner Records on July 30th. In addition, a possibility exists that early demo versions (pre-Concrete) of "Crisis" and "Sufferage", taken from an early compilation entitled L.A. Death Coalition, will be added to the final track listing, although this remains unconfirmed at this time.
IMPIOUS: After six years of performing with Sweden's Impious drummer Ulf Johansson has officially left the band to focus on his bass playing position in Tribal Ink. Impious' new skinbasher is in the form of Mikael Norén (Enthral), who reportedly is "just perfect" for the band. With Norén in place, Impious plan on completing material for their third as-yet-untitled album for new label Hammerheart Records. The band expect to enter Studio Mega (The Crown, Immemoreal) shortly to record the album. So far "Burn The Cross," "The Hitman," "Digital Devil," "Stabbed 69 Times," "Dead Eyes Open," "Sick Sex Six," "The Bullet Race," "Kill The Flesh," and "The Deathsquad" are ready and a few more are slated to appear on the album. Impious' new full-length album is expected to be released sometime in the latter half of 2002 on Hammerheart Records.
France's HEAVENLY are hard at work on the material for their third full-length album, which may or may not include a re-working of a song called "Miracle" from the group's first demo tape. Described as “more heavy metal and more symphonic” than the group's previous efforts, the as-yet-untitled album will reportedly be a conceptual record and will be recorded in late spring for a late 2002 release.
OZZY: A minor controversy has erupted among die-hard OZZY OSBOURNE fans over the upcoming reissue of the singer's classic solo debut, Blizzard of Ozz, which is currently slated to come out through the Sony label on April 9th. Billed as a “digitally remastered” version of the original master tapes, the new “expanded edition” reissue apparently no longer contains the original bass and drum tracks by Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake, respectively, and instead features contributions from bassist Robert Trujillo and drummer Mike Bordin, both of whom are in OZZY's current backing band. Although no official reason was given for the addition of the newly-recorded bass and drum tracks to the original guitar and vocal performances, it is believed that Daisley and Kerslake's $20 million lawsuit against OSBOURNE alleging a failure to properly compensate and credit the duo for their songwriting contributions to the aforementioned album had all but insured that the pair would not give their consent to a re-release of the 1981 LP in its original form, thereby necessitating a deletion of their tracks from the final product. Following his appearance on Blizzard Of Ozz, Daisley went on to work with OZZY on the Bark At The Moon, No Rest For The Wicked, and No More Tears albums. During his time with OSBOURNE, Daisley also scored co-songwriting credit on tracks like "Crazy Train", "Mr. Crowley", "I Don't Know", "Crazy Babies", and others.
JAG PANZER: Here's the latest from guitarist Mark Briody: "(Tour info) - we're hitting the road in April supporting Iced Earth and In Flames. The tour is in North America. No dates yet. (New albums news) - After 5 years of trying to secure the rights to reissue our back catalog, I've given up. "Ample Destruction" will not be reissued. A few people have suggested re-recording the album over again. I'm not interested in doing that. There has been a lot of outside pressure to re-record Ample, but that is not going to happen. After batting around several ideas, here is what we came up with. We're going to take the best tracks from the pre-Century Media releases (the Tyrants e.p., Ample Destruction and Dissident Alliance)and record them as they were new songs. This means no remixes, everything will be recorded new from scratch. I realize that this has been done often (Iced Earth, Gamma Ray). However we are in the unique (and unfortunate) situation of not having the rights to any of this back catalog. (DVD Release) - A limited edition DVD will be available on the tour and from our website (a web store will be coming in May). The first run of the DVD will be a North American release only. Century Media Europe has the option for a European release. The DVD is a compilation of our videos, some live material (recorded at shows during the past 2 years) and some special footage (history of the band, life on the road, etc). A demo version of the DVD is actually done now. I gathered tons of footage, edited it and authored a DVD (with the help of a buddy who is in the DVD business). I sent the DVD to Century Media and they thought it was excellent. However, they are not prepared to release a band DVD until next year at the earliest. The market for indie metal bands on DVD is fairly new, so they want to wait. I understand why they want to wait, but I feel that it's in the band's best interest to release a DVD while the market is still new. The sales may not be as high, but the exposure level will be much greater. So, as a compromise, Century Media is allowing us to release a limited run DVD (1,000 copies) for the North American market only. After this run sells out, the option for release goes to Century Media".
OVERKILL will record a new live album and film a new live DVD on March 23rd at the Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park. Fans should get down there and be part of Overkill history. Fans in the crowd will definitely be part of the DVD segments. WNEW's (102.7) Eddie Trunk will also be broadcasting his show from the venue. Overkill will be playing for over two hours and will be doing a lot of songs that have not been done in years. Tickets will be $10.27 and will be available through Ticketmaster. This show will probably sell out so get your tickets early. In other Overkill news, the following is a message from Blitz, "Well, seems like a long time sine I've written/updated you guys... it has. The truth of the matter is "no rest for the weary", had a bunch of shit in the mix... let some of it out before it was 100% and it came back to bite me in the ass, through cancellation. In any case, such is life, full of f**king disappointment, so we treasure those simple moments that put the smile where it belongs. Those moments give me the inspiration to search for more of them... I am a selfish bastard. We had recently been put in a position to make band altering decisions... in short, label changes. Though our "run" with CMC was quite positive, the merger with Sanctuary put us back in the "crowded room". I don't know about you guys, but I am just sick to f**king death with the reunion thing... stay the f**k home, you sucked in the 80's. I tell you it's like 1000 guys fighting over two urinals... eventually I am just going to piss where I'm standing. I guess we did... and got noticed... I am happy and proud to announce our new partnership with Spitfire Records, out of NY. We have already put the wheels in motion. March 23, 2002, at the Paramount Theater, in Asbury Park, NJ, is the date slated for our second "LIVE" recording, for release. Also, the show will be video taped for an upcoming DVD release, that will contain the 90 minutes of footage compiled in the video Batmen...The Return, an historical view of the band. We have also scored a new booking agent in Europe - they are on the ball, as we will be appearing in many of the major Euro-Fests this coming summer, including Bang Your Head (Ger), With Full Force (Ger), Roskilde (DK), as well as a few more being worked into the mix. It also looks like a return to Turkey and our first trip to Greece are being planned, but at this time are UNCONFIRMED. US dates will follow the release of the Live Record."
MERCYFUL FATE have officially parted ways with Metal Blade Records. The band and management are currently looking for a new record deal. King Diamond is also unhappy with his current situation with Metal Blade. In a Blabbermouth report, King pointed at Metal Blade's lack of tour support to be the main problem as he's scheduled to hit the road in April in support of Abigail II: The Revenge CD (due out on January 29th).
PRIMAL FEAR: After all the secrecy surrounding the mixing of Black Sun, the sci-fi inspired concept album by PRIMAL FEAR, it can now be reported that the mysterious figure joining the Germans at Sonic Ranch studio, outside of El Paso, was none other than Mike Chlasciak. The Halford guitarist met up with Mats Sinner (bass) and Ralf Scheepers (vox) in Texas, for four days, during which he laid down solos on two tracks, 'Controlled' and 'Fear'. An early April release is scheduled for Europe, with North America receiving Black Sun three weeks later.
In JAMES MURPHY health news, James has been healing well and with proper care should recover enough to resume normal activities before too long. He currently has a post-surgical condition known as peripheral neuropathy, which causes his joints and muscles to be stiff and partially numb from time to time, particularly after periods of inactivity. As time passes this should eventually go away. His vision has improved significantly since the surgery. It is even better than it was right before the surgery but is still bad enough that his Ophthalmologist says he may never be able to drive again due to some of the visual field defect caused by the tumor's pressure on the optic nerve possibly being permanent. He is not blind by any means though. Also, due to the location of the incision made in his face, the tear duct of his left eye is swollen open very wide causing the eye to be drained of moisture far to quickly. This, combined with the incision having caused his left eye to not be able to close all the way, has led to a dry eye condition that caused a calcium deposit to form on his eye, which can cause intense pain and can lead to erosion of the eye. James was directed by his doctor to begin an aggressive eyedrop treatment designed to keep his eye moist at all times, which includes constant use of a special lubricant eyedrop during waking hours and a very thick version of the same fluid, along with an eyepatch while sleeping. Regarding the tumor, thirty percent of the tumor remains inside James' head and it is being treated with medication (Parlodel) meant to shrink it and reduce the dangerously high hormone levels that became elevated as the tumor grew. Although it was putting pressure on James' brain and optic nerve, it began growing from his pituitary gland and adversely effected the hormones normally secreted by the gland. Since all of one's glands work together, it caused deficiencies and excesses in the other major glands. As a result of this James has recently been found to have somewhat elevated "free T4" levels from his thyroid gland, for which he has been prescribed a drug called synthroid, and cortisol levels from his adrenal gland which are somewhat on the low side, for which no treatment has been prescribed at this time. Male hormone levels were found to be normal. Currently James is staying at his parents house in Florida and following all of the instructions of his endocrinologist and neurosurgeon and awaiting his next MRI scan in March. His doctors will use the results of this scan to decide if the tumor is shrinking well enough with the medication or if he will have to have radiation treatments.
www.ironmaiden.com provided the following update recently about the IRON MAIDEN Live In Rio Album and DVD: "Despite rumours early on of a pre-Xmas 2001 release the production of the DVD has taken much longer than anyone anticipated owing to a number of production problems and delays throughout the year. As always with Iron Maiden the DVD is being made the best it possibly can and has had involvement with companies both in Los Angeles and London who have worked on a number of major Hollywood Studio releases as this project is a massive piece of work. The show itself was shot using 18 cameras and the documentary footage adds up to nearly 80 hours of footage. The rumour also that Steve Harris has taken over the reigns to finish the editing of the DVD is also correct. As many of you know Steve is very precise about the way things are done with any Iron Maiden releases. Many of you have seen the rough cut version of 'Hallowed Be Thy Name' which appears on the Classic Albums 'Number Of The Beast' DVD and I think this shows that the footage both looks and sounds spectacular. As of now there is still no solid release date as the project has not yet entered the final authoring stage of the DVD creation process but the good news is we can confirm that the Live in Rio Album will be being released in the spring."
RHAPSODY's next full length album, The Power Of The Dragonflame, was originally scheduled to be released on February 25th, 2002, but in a recent interview with singer Fabio Lione it was revealed that the album may be pushed back until the spring even though recording and mixing is complete. "The release date isn't set for sure," says Lione. "Our label manager likes one song so much that he's thinking about releasing it as a single to push the album before it comes out. It's a slow song, and I sing it completely in Italian, in a Bocelli or Pavarotti style. It's complicated because the mini-album (Rain Of A Thousand Flames) came out only a couple of months ago, but Limb loves the song so much that he doesn't want it to be ignored or lost behind the other songs on the album." The new rescheduled release date is set for March 18th(Europe) and 19th(U.S.)
ANNIHILATOR: The latest from mainman Jeff Waters: "New CD is done and it rocks big time. Joe has transformed from the ex-guitarist from OVERKILL into an incredible pro vocalist, on par with the best metal singers from the present and past! You gotta hear his singing on the new one. I have turned into a huge Joe Comeau fan! I think I played a pretty mean axe this time; there are some of the fastest and hardest guitar licks ever for me on the new one (but I always say that; you be the judge!). Curran Murphy (ex-guitarist of NEVERMORE) plays some mean axe solos on this one and Russ Bergquist plays some killer bass too; this is the first time in Annihilator's history that all five members of the touring line-up played on the CD! Randy Black is a phenomenal standout as well on the drums and I must say that Annihilator's drumming now rivals that of Slayer or any other top-dog drummers out there. I am unusually confident about the new CD being the best work yet from Annihilator in over six years. Maybe longer if you didn't like the melody of Set The World On Fire." Waters says about former guitarist Dave Scott Davis that he "has bowed out of Annihilator due to a really bad back injury that he suffered in a car accident a while back. It has affected his live performance for a few years now and he also wants to 'do more of his own thing' guitar-wise. We wish him all the best but will hopefully always remain friends; he was a very dedicated and fun guy to be around. I personally will miss him tons. We will keep all up-to-date on Dave's new project he is working on." Annihilator's new CD, Waking The Fury is due out in Europe/Asia at the end of March and the rest of the world soon. Look for a Euro tour in April or May and check out the Annihilator sites soon for clips of the new one. The full tracklisting for the CD is as follows: 'Ultra-Motion', 'Torn', 'My Precious Lunatic Asylum', 'Striker', 'Ritual', 'Prime-Time Killing', 'The Blackest Day', 'Nothing To Me', 'Fire Power' and 'Cold Blooded'. The bonus track for Japan is 'Refresh The Demon' (live) and the bonus track for Europe is 'Shallow Grave'. As Waters puts it, they are "both (kinda rough sounding!) live tracks from Europe 2001."
Necropolis Records recording artist Incantation were disappointed to have to postpone their upcoming European tour due to the band's drummer, Kyle Severn suffering a back injury. The band and Necropolis wish to express regret to the band's legions of European fans. Incantation band-leader John McEntee vows to fulfill the band's obligation to the fans and is already at work with the booking agent rescheduling the tour for late spring. The tour was originally planned to begin in February with Acheron as support. When the new tour dates are finalized a new support act (or acts) will be announced. The tour will coincide with the European release of the as-yet untitled new Incantation record, released in Europe by Candlelight Records. Necropolis wishes Kyle a quick recovery! The new Incantation record finished the final stages of mixing on January 18th, and will be unleashed worldwide this spring. The recording and mixing process has been lengthy and intensive, with an intense attention to detail and quality, assuring that this will be the ultimate Incantation album! The first 5,000 copies of the U.S. version will be pressed as a special Q-pack edition with a different layout than the regular, non-limited version, so fans should act quickly to get the limited version! Incantation will also be part of the upcoming U.S. touring package supporting Cannibal Corpse, along with Dark Funeral and Pissing Razors.
Opeth have firmed up their plans to release not one but two studio albums as the follow-up to last year's amazing Blackwater Park effort. "There has been strong rumours going around about the next release from Opeth being not one but two CD's," said the official Opeth website, www.opeth.com. We can now confirm that this is true. Although there are still some things that needs to be sorted this is the original plan for the next offering(s)." Frontman Mikael Akerfeldt confirmed the two albums will not be a double-CD but two separate albums: one heavy, one mellow. "The heavy CD will be typical Opeth with all its ingredients including mellow parts, while the "mellow" CD will have more laid back material. The band is currently hard at work writing. No titles have been confirmed to this day but we'll keep you updated on everything regarding this matter."
Sweden's Meshuggah are hard at work writing the follow-up to 1998's Chaosphere effort. Meshuggah's as-yet-untitled album will be the first metal record to feature an eight-string guitar, exclusively made for Meshuggah. The addition of an eight-string guitar is reportedly making the material heavier ala Sleep's Jerusalem. "The guitar is specially made by a guy who lives deep down in the Swedish woods, and it sounds fantastic," said guitarist Marten Hagstrom to Blabbermouth.net. "As far as I know, it's the first-ever eight-string guitar specifically designed for metal. On the demo, Fredrik [Thordenthal, guitars] and I use a prototype, but for the album recording, [we will use a more developed model]. A lot of people think this means we'll do a lot of extra-whacky stuff, fiddling around with the eight-string. But in fact, the [new] material is more simplistic, and we're using the eight-string in a similar way to Sleep did on their Jerusalem. The sound is evil and sinister as hell and I haven't been this excited about any of our stuff since None." Meshuggah will record their new Nuclear Blast full-length in an unspecified studio themselves and will not be employing the services of Daniel Bergstrand for the record.
According to Spinefarm Records, SONATA ARCTICA are currently in the process of mixing a new live album, which was recorded during their Japanese tour in October 2001. The album may feature a cover version of the X-JAPAN hit 'Silent Jealousy', but it's not clear whether the song would appear only on the Japanese version or on the worldwide release as well.
The remixed and remastered version of MEGADETH's debut CD, Killing Is My Business...And Business Is Good! will be released through Loud Records on February 5th. The full tracklisting is as follows: 'Last Rites/Loved To Death', 'Killing Is My Business...And Business Is Good!', 'Skull Beneath The Skin', 'Rattlehead', 'Chosen Ones', 'Looking Down The Cross', 'Mechanix', 'Last Rites/Loved To Death' (demo version), 'Skull Beneath The Skin' (demo version), 'Killing Is My Business...And Business Is Good!' (demo version) and 'Mechanix' (demo version). In related news, Victor Entertainment in Japan has listed a March 13th release date for Megadeth's forthcoming double-live CD that was recorded in Tucson, Arizona in November.
According to management, The previously reported YNGWIE MALMSTEEN'S RISING FORCE's Birth Of The Sun album that pre-date Yngwie's success with STEELER and ALCATRAZZ "refers to a bootleg collection of old rehearsal tapes and demos which an old Swedish bandmate of Yngwie's has had in his possession for all these years. This is NOT a real Rising Force album and is not being released with Yngwie's knowledge or permission."
(HA HA, Now THIS is METAL...) OZZY OSBOURNE/ BLACK LABEL SOCIETY guitarist Zakk Wylde on FOO FIGHTERS mainman Dave Grohl in the November 2001 issue of Guitar World magazine: “If I ever run into Dave Grohl, I'm gonna kick his fuckin' ass. Because I think he sucks, and he wrote this cheese-dick song for OZZY that I have to fuckin' play on, and I'll never forgive him for that. FOO FIGHTERS is a fuckin' candy-ass girl band, but you've got that motherfucker submitting songs, and those douche bags from THE OFFSPRING submitting songs, too. I mean, none of these guys could play a Randy Rhoads solo if they tried. Dave Grohl? Fuck Dave Grohl! Let him get up there and play 'Mr. Crowley'; he can't fuckin' do it. And it's like, you're getting this guy to write songs for OZZY? Just because he played drums for fucking SHITVANA?"
MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine and collaborators Bill Kennedy (i.e. MORBID ANGEL, TESTAMENT) and Chris Vrenna (i.e. NINE INCH NAILS) have completed re-mixing the group’s classic 1985 debut, Killing Is My Business…And Business Is Good, and have begun the mixing process for the group’s upcoming live CD/DVD, which is due to be released through the Sanctuary label in early 2002. The upcoming Killing… reissue, which will reportedly not include MEGADETH’s cover of the Nancy Sinatra classic “These Boots Are Made For Walking” after the original writer of the song, Lee Hazelwood, refused to grant the group the rights to re-release the track, will contain an as-yet-undisclosed “big surprise”, according to the frontman. Former MEGADETH guitarist Chris Poland, who left the group under acrimonious circumstances, is also said to have come by the studio (Enterprise) where Killing… was being remixed to say hello, and “was laughing hysterically because of how great he thought things sounded,” said Mustaine. “He actually asked me if I re-sang the vocals tracks and I told him that not one single note has been rerecorded. it was great to see him and when we said goodbye we hugged and it seems for now that everything is behind us.”
ANTHRAX: As a result of a tremendous increase in traffic since the anthrax terrorist attacks started, ANTHRAX (the band) have decided to move their official web site to www.anthraxtheband.com. According to a statement issued by anthraxtheband.com webmaster Brent, “we've been getting immense numbers of hits (at times greater than starwars.com got to download the new Episode II movie trailer!) and need to change the name to curb the erroneous hits from people seeking information on the disease. Anthrax.com will be mothballed for now and possibly reappear at a later date when traffic is more manageable. As for now, all the latest and greatest from the world's most notorious band will at www.AnthraxTheBand.com. The new address will link to the same present site we all know and love.” According to guitarist Scott Ian, ANTHRAX have set Taking The Music Back (not Superhero, as previously reported) as the tentative title of their forthcoming album, which is currently being recorded at Beartracks Studios in Suffern, New York for a March release through Nuclear Blast Records in Europe and Beyond/BMG Records in the US. The axeman has also gone on record as saying that the album contains three or four of their best-written songs, yet is also "faster and thrashier" than anything they did in the Eighties. Among the known song titles that are set to appear on the effort are the following: 01. Superhero 02. What Doesn't Die 03. Strap On My Old School 04. Taking The Music Back 05. Nobody Knows Anything 06. Expiration 07. Think About An End 08. Refuse To Be Denied 09. Safe Home ...Taking The Music Back is being produced by Scrap 60 Productions, the New York-based team that includes newest ANTHRAX member, guitarist Rob Caggiano, which was responsible for producing a host of albums for the Roadrunner label (among others), including those from 36 CRAZYFISTS, ILL NINO and DRY KILL LOGIC.
From our "IT LIVES" files, Former ANTHRAX vocalist Neil Turbin has announced the title of his forthcoming solo debut album as Threat Con Delta. Still in the recording stage, the CD is tentatively scheduled for a mid-2002 release through an as-yet-undisclosed label. Among the songs that are set to appear on the album are: Blue Screen of Death, Welcome to the Rat Race, Dog Eat Everything, Get Outta My Face.
Chicago death metallers Macabre have set Sinister Slaughter Part II as the title of their forthcoming full-length album. Similar to its predecessor, Dahmer, Macabre is looking to enlist the production services of studio guru Neil Kernon (Queensryche, Red Harvest) for the album. The album's theme will, of course, stay true to Macabre's interested in serial killers and true crime. Macabre haven't set the recording date in stone yet, but hopes to enter an unspecified studio in winter 2002 to record Sinister Slaughter Part II.
Soilwork appear nearly finished with their forthcoming as-yet-untitled LP for Nuclear Blast. Here's the latest: Björn "Speed" Strid will be traveling up to Gothenburg this weekend to put the final touches on the vocals before mixing begins on December 11th. Devin Townsend, who is producing the new disc, joined in with Speed on the song "Black Star Deceiver" for what Speed describes as "a vocal 'trade off' type of thing [that] turned out very cool." Some early songtitles are "The Flameout," "No More Angels," "Follow the Hollow," "Mercury Shadow," and "As We Speak." In similar news, Soilwork have already been confirmed to appear at next year's New England Hardcore and Metal Festival in April and With Full Force Festival 2002 in Germany. Soilwork seem ready for the challenge with Strid going so far as to say, "We will start to rehearse the new material in a few weeks to make sure that we´re ready to hit the roads in March or April with a skullcrushing setlist." In other news, Strid's other band, Terror 2002, are the midst of recording their second album, Faster Disaster. Some songtitles for that endeavor are "Formula Flame Feast," "Burn Out in Blood" and "Terror 2001." Look for Soilwork's Devin Townsend-produced fourth album sometime in mid-2002.
ARCH ENEMY: According to Brave Words And Bloody Knuckles, the North American release of Arch Enemy's Wages of Sin will definitely have bonus material hinted at earlier by the band. Bassist Sharlee D'Angelo likely unveiled the news on his recent Witchery press trip to the Necropolis Records compound. "'Lament Of A Mortal Soul' is a song we recorded for the Japanese version but we took it out because we thought the album was a little bit too long. That's being added, and also a video clip for one of the songs, 'Ravenous'." Arch Enemy's U.S. representative Century Media hasn't revealed any plans to release Arch Enemy in the states, but it's likely to appear sometime in early 2002.
Former HELLOWEEN guitarist Roland Grapow and drummer Uli Kusch have officially scrapped MR. TORTURE as the projected name for their current collaboration, which also includes SYMPHONY X singer Rusell Allen, among others. According to the guitarist’s official web site, “Roland is very busy right now in his studio, Crazy Cat, working more than 16 hours a day on the recordings of the upcoming project with Uli Kusch. After the poll, the members decided not to take MR. TORTURE as the band name, but they're still accepting suggestions through the 'Projects' section of this site. [Roland] already recorded the guitar lines for 6 songs, but there's still a lot of work to do. There are 16 compositions by him and Uli, and they're planning to record a LED ZEPPELIN song for an upcoming [tribute album]. [Producer] Andy Sneap is also doing a great job on the production.” In related news, HELLOWEEN’s previously-announced Japanese reissues of their earlier releases have now been “cancelled without explanation”, according to Grapow’s web site. HELLOWEEN are said to be working on an upcoming double-CD compilation of Charlie Bauerfeind remixes, which will reportedly not include any B-sides because the band are planning to release a B-sides compilation at a later time. However, an old song, probably "Windmill" from the much-maligned Chameleon album, will be re-recorded with current singer Andi Deris on vocals. An early 2002 release is expected.
Asked for an update on ANGEL DUST, singer Dirk Thurisch passed the torch to bassist, and only surviving original member, Frank Banx, claiming his knowledge of English was superior. The German outfit toured North America earlier this year, opening for Nevermore and Opeth. Judging by the rousing reception by the cross-section of fans from 38 states and eight countries at ProgPower 2.0, the tour was worth it! "The album is already done," enthuses Banx. It's called Of Human Bondage. We don't know when it will be released, but probably March. Hopefully we'll tour again in the States. We didn't expect people would like us much. We like to play here, rather than in Europe. We mainly play in Germany, so it's like, 'Oh look, it's another German band.' We know all the places and after a while, it gets boring. Not that many German bands get to play in the USA, so it's cool for us." There's always a lag between the finished product and a street date, but with Of Human Bondage complete, down to the artwork, why have it languish on the shelves for almost half a year, if not more? "We shot the (group) photos here in Atlanta. That was the last thing we had to do. The last three records, the time between the studio and release was much too short," explains the bassman. "The journalists didn't have too long to listen to it, maybe one or two times. A few months after they wrote the reviews, they told us, 'Guys I wish I'd have given you more points for that. Now the album comes to my head.' This time we thought, 'OK, listen to it for a couple more months, then write your review about it." Asked for a preview, the tall, baldheaded Banx, so as not to be confused with his brother Steve, Angel Dust keyboardist, offered, "I really like 'Unite.' We worked with synthesizer sequencing. Instead of playing the bass go fast, we have the synthesizer going and the bass is just playing quarters. It sounds very funky, a funky thrash metal. I also like the title track very much and the two guitar ballads we have on there. They are very atmospheric." Asked for titles, he sheepishly admits, "We don't know what they are called. We don't have names for all the songs." So it's not entirely done. "We have to choose names for some songs. Sometimes the chorus words aren't a good name for the song, so we're not sure about a few." During the protracted lapse, Dust fanatics should scour music stores for several tribute contributions. "We've done a couple. We did them last year, but as far as I know, these albums aren't released yet. We did Pink Floyd, Savatage and Uriah Heep ('Easy Livin'), which will be out as a bonus on the U.S. version (of their upcoming disc)." Given the Angel Dust sound, it's easy to envision the Germans making the old Heep chestnut their own and Banx admits, it has already appeared in the live set. "When we play longer shows, like headlining in Europe, we sometimes play this one."
Nuclear Blast Germany has just released a five-track shaped CD on from PRIMAL FEAR. Entitled Horrorscope and features the previously unreleased/bonus tracks 'Under Your Spell', 'Out In The Fields', 'Horrorscope', 'Breaker' and 'Kill The King'. Also, the band are close to finishing the pre-production on their forthcoming long-player, Black Sun, at House Of Music Studio near Stuttgart, Germany. Primal Fear will then head on over to El Paso, Texas to record the second half of the album with guitarist Mat Sinner producing in January. Black Sun is schuduled to be engineered by Achim Köhler and mixed by The Hollywood Blasers. Some early songtitles include "Countdown to Insanity (Intro)," "Black Sun," "Mind Machine," "Stranded in Space," "Magic Eye," "Fear (Dogs of War)," "Revolution," "Lightyears from Home," "Mind Control," "Cold Day in Hell," "We Go Down," "Merciless" and "Armageddon." Sinner explained that he didn't know if all of the aforementioned songs will make on Black Sun, but said perhaps "a last minute addition" could make it on there if all are to be featured. In similar news, Primal Fear has renewed its contract with Nuclear Blast for five more records, a live album and a DVD release. Great news for a great band. Primal Fear's Black Sun isn't due well into mid- to late-2002 on Nuclear Blast Records. Also, Black Sun will be released in Japan via JVC/Victor and in France by the band's new label NTS. In related Primal Fear news, the official fanclub and webring are preparing the release of the band's official Fanzine, Steel Eagle. The fanzine will have exclusive news and materials directly from the band members, reviews of the new album, the band's daily journal of the Nuclear Fire Tour, exclusive pics and more. There will also be a section where the fan's questions will be answered by the members of the band themselves. The online version of the fanzine is up and running at http://nuclearfire.tripod.com/steeleagle.
STRAPPING YOUNG LAD mainman Devin Townsend is said to have completed the writing portion for his next album, which is being described as "very heavy". However, contrary to rumors, the upcoming CD will not be a STRAPPING YOUNG LAD record, but may end up getting released under the DEVIN TOWNSEND AND STRAPPING YOUNG LAD banner, although this has not yet been decided. Musically, the album is said to be unlike the previous SYL records and is not considered to be a follow-up to SYL’s classic City opus. In other news, Devin will return to Gothenburg, Sweden on December 11th to complete the mixing for the upcoming CD from SOILWORK, which he recently co-produced at Studio Fredman with Fredrik Nordstrom. Also on the Devin front, a possible west coast US tour is in the planning stages for February 2002, but no dates have yet been announced.
According to a report by Germany's Hammer Magazine, GAMMA RAY guitarist Henjo Richter has offered to fill the vacant guitarist slot in HELLOWEEN if Weikath and Co. can't find a replacement in time for the next album. There is also talk that he might in fact join the band, although that is just rumour at the moment. Whatever the case, Richter makes it clear that he has no intention of leaving GAMMA RAY, and that his bandmates don't have any problems with his helping the band out if it should come to that.
MORBID ANGEL: After much debate and confusion, Floridian death metal legends Morbid Angel have officially confirmed the departure of bassist/vocalist Steve Tucker, who originally left the band in early April due to "personal and family problems" and was subsequently replaced by Hate Eternal bassist/vocalist Jared Anderson. The band issued the following statement on their official website, Morbidangel.com: "Since we have had enormous amounts of inquiring e-mails asking about Steve Tucker and if he's going to be on the next tour, we'd just like to clear the air about him and let you know that he has decided to pursue other musical and personal interests and is indeed no longer a member of Morbid Angel. We wish him all the best and look forward to his future musical endeavours. Any fans wishing to contact Tucker can do so by e-mailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Jared Anderson (Hate Eternal) will continue to provide bass and vocal duties for the band."
Polish death metallers Vader have finalized the title of their next album as Epitaph, a kind of remembrance for the victims of the September 11 attacks against the United States. Epitaph is scheduled to be recorded in January or February 2002 at Red Studios, where Vader recorded both Litany & Reign Forever World. The album is said to continue where Reign Forever World left off with small "surprises" added to the sound. In other news, Vader is noticeably irritated about the recent Impact Records Best Of compilation titled, Armageddon: "First of all, the title of the album is Armageddon, which does not make clear it is a "Best Of" album and it may cause problems with fans who will be ripped-off by the label," said the official Vader website, www.vader.pl. "Vader doesn't participate in the program of this album. Vader never agreed to the album cover, etc. Generally, the label is releasing the album without our agreement. That's all! We think it is an easy way to make money by the label, not to promote Vader at all! But, unfortunately what we can do? We can only leave it up to you, the fans, not to buy this album!" Epitaph is scheduled to be released in May 2002 on what appears to be the Metal Blade label, but Vader's complex history of licensing could, in fact, see the album elsewhere.
Heralded Swedish metallers Opeth are presently working on not one but two full-lengths as the follow-up to this year's fantastic Blackwater Park opus. Currently, Opeth haven't revealed any titles to the upcoming two-CD set as the project is very much in its initial stages, where the entire process is still under negotiation with label Music For Nations since two albums would, in fact, knock off three albums in the band's contract in just one year's time and is likely to not happen if talks fail between the label and band. However, vocalist/guitarist Mikael Akerfeldt revealed the secret even his bandmates aren't privy to about Opeth's next venture. "I tell you I do have plans for another CD or double CD you could say. I'm planning my/our biggest thing so far. Two CD's released at once, one super-sick and heavy and fast and one mellow. Both linked together." Two albums released simultaneously is something most outfits of similar stature wouldn't dream of. Akerfeldt confessed he wasn't too sure how to proceed after the Steve Wilson-produced Blackwater Park album, but thinks that even though this is an ambitious move, it's definitely going be exciting as fans have been screaming for "mellow" album ever since Opeth's debut album, Orchid. "I didn't know what I wanted. I had all these mellow parts that I really liked and some heavy shit that I also liked. My natural way would be to bring it all together, which I, in some parts, will but the major part of the heavy LP will be heavy and same with the mellow CD." The songwriter didn't mention when or where the band's next releases will be recorded, but we suspect that the the two albums will see the light of day sometime in late fall 2002.
TESTAMENT/SADUS/CONTROL DENIED bassist Steve DiGiorgio has confirmed via a posting on his official web site that former TESTAMENT/DEATH/OBITUARY James Murphy is presently recovering from a recently diagnosed brain tumor, as exclusively reported here last week. According to DiGiorgio, "I talked to [James] on the phone a couple days before he said he would be released from the hospital. He had a massive pituitary tumor removed from his head. We only talked a few minutes so the details weren't discussed at length. But they went in through his face and behind his eyeball. He seemed, under the harrowing circumstances, to be in relatively good spirits and he was totally James. By this I mean, after he was rushed into brain surgery to save his life from the tumor putting pressure on multiple points on his brain and eye and was able to talk on the phone, I mean he still has his wit and his memory. This is another good sign, and he is feeling positive as well as his tumor is benign and was told to remain hopeful for a full recovery. We're reeling a bit here from all of this. Makes us feel just a bit more mortal. But always gotta remain hopeful, stay supportive and just always be there with a positive attitude." Meanwhile, Steve's CONTROL DENIED bandmate Chuck Schuldiner "is showing signs of progression, but he has such a long way to go, I feel so helpless for him," states DiGiorgio. "The money contributions and the well wishes through mail and the Internet are definitely good for his spirits, but yet he suffers. He's going through physical therapy as well as still staying on the experimental drugs for his condition. I've heard he is showing signs of progression, but it's frustrating to me the unfairness he has been dealt [Get well soon metal brother, we miss you!!!]." As for TESTAMENT vocalist Chuck Billy, he "has done very well in his battle with his tumor. But even here weeks after the chemotherapy, he goes in for surgery tomorrow morning [October 2nd] to remove what's left. It could be scar tissue, it could be dead tissue and it could very well even be cancerous tissue - so the doctors are taking no chances and cutting that bastard out. It's major open-heart chest surgery, so we're all bearing down and hoping things will turn out fine in his long road of recovery once again. He has the most positive attitude I can ever imagine, and I don't know how he has such strength to take this head on." (Needless to this has already happened and Chuck is doing well. 90% of the tumor was removed, and the rest will be treated via chemotherapy and radiation). On the musical front, TESTAMENT's much-anticipated collection of re-workings of early original compositions, entitled First Strike Still Deadly, is out now through Spitfire Records. According to DiGiorgio, "We just got back from [producer] Andy Sneap's place over in England from a mixing session, it came out pretty good, really heavy sound. Considering Chuck sang during the end of his chemotherapy is amazing, his voice sounds killer. We (me and [SADUS frontman] Darren [Travis]) have a tape full of tunes for Chuck when he's back in business for our side project with him, so we're taking this little window of time to work on some new SADUS tunes. We hope to get in the studio early next year and kick out our fifth studio album. But until then we have a few other things brewing. We [SADUS] are contributing to a DARK ANGEL tribute. We're releasing, through Hammerheart Records, the 1986 D.T.P. demo on vinyl and most likely on CD too. There's been talk of doing an EP before the album that will contain one new one, a couple live ones and a cover tune. So maybe this time we can expect something from SADUS once again. Also during this period of little time demands I've been working a little with the DARK HALL guys to come up with some new songs. So that's about it...Just want to thank everyone who came out to Thrash Of The Titans. It was a huge success (literally!). And the Sadudes were out in full force...thanks for the killer support everyone! It was great to be included with the Bay Area greats and have such a killer response, it got us noticed that night for sure. We had some sound problems that night, but we pumped out the old ones for the die-hards. And it got us pumped up for doing new shit...thanks once again for reminding us that we owe you another one! A votre santé."
ICED EARTH will release a 5-CD Box set, Dark Genius, sometime in November. It will include the five discs in a 32 page hardcover book, packaged in a deluxe slipcase that measures 25 cm (height) by 14 cm (width). The set will include remixed and digitally remastered versions of the first three studio albums, 11 tracks of Iced Earth covering their favourite bands and the demo recordings that lead to the band´s record deal with Century Media Records. Contents of the Box set include: CD1 - Iced Earth album; CD2 - Night of the Stormrider album; CD3 - Burnt Offerings album; CD4 - Tribute To The Godz album featuring 'Creatures Of The Night' (KISS), 'Number Of The Beast' (IRON MAIDEN), 'Highway To Hell' (AC/DC), 'Burnin' For You' (BLUE OYSTER CULT), 'God Of Thunder' (KISS), 'Screaming For Vengeance' (JUDAS PRIEST), 'Dead Babies' (ALICE COOPER), 'Cities On Flame' (BLUE OYSTER CULT), 'Long Way To The Top' (AC/DC), 'Black Sabbath' (BLACK SABBATH) and 'Hallowed Be Thy Name' (IRON MAIDEN) and CD5 - Enter The Realm (Demo) featuring 'Enter The Realm', 'Colors', 'Nightmares', 'Curse The Sky', 'Solitude' and 'Iced Earth'.
French thrashers NO RETURN have completed 11 new songs for the follow-up to Self Mutilation. The band will head to CCR Studio in Belgium for a month to record their as-yet-untitled album and then to Funmasters Studio for mixing and mastering. So far No Return have hammered out the following titles "Biomechanoid," "Machinery," Disease," "Disillusioned By Human Err" and "Synthetic."No release date has been set for their sixth studio album, but expect it to appear sometime mid-2002 on France's Listenable Records. In related news, a video for a cover of Death's "Secret Face" was recently filmed in tribute for Chuck Schuldiner. The video is available as a streaming Real Media file at www.noreturn-web.com
IRON MAIDEN vocalist Bruce Dickinson recently explained to Metal Hammer magazine the reasons behind the indefinite shelving of the proposed TRINITY project, which was set to feature Dickinson, ex-JUDAS PRIEST frontman Rob Halford and QUEENSRYCHE singer Geoff Tate. According to Bruce, "I put the TRINITY project on hold. It was me who pulled the plug. It was a project too far and nobody had the time to do it properly. And it had to be right. I said to everyone, ‘How would you like to be responsible for killing three careers in one move and also be the first stiffer on Sanctuary Records?’ Its not good position to be in and not worth rushing. I do think TRINITY is a fine idea and would work if it was executed extraordinarily well. Roy and I wrote three songs for it with the intention of using all 3 voices in each song. It wasn't here's Rob's song with Bruce and Geoff backing him and so on. We actually wrote songs whereby each voice had its own area and the lyrics were written for each voice too. There were bits written where Geoff and I would sing harmonies and stuff where Rob and Geoff would do stuff - all the phrasing was written for each singer too but it was fucking hard work. After three weeks, Roy and I were sure that we couldn't get it done by the summer. It was bloody interesting writing in that way. I was there doing demos in three different vocal styles singing Rob-isms and Tate-isms to indicate whose voice should be doing what." In related news, McFarlane Toys and IRON MAIDEN have worked out a deal to create and manufacture several likenesses of Eddie, Iron Maiden's indomitable mascot and heavy metal icon. "Based on the artwork of the seminal 1981 Iron Maiden album Killers, this action figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall, dressed in a rotting shirt and jeans, and armed with an axe. Eddie has eight points of articulation (neck, shoulders, biceps, waist and hips) and includes a custom base," said the McFarlane website, www.spawn.com. McFarlane hasn't revealed the exact release date of the figure, but expect Eddie to be unveiled sometime in 2002.
LOCK UP: International grindcore outfit Lock Up have already recorded the follow-up to Pleasures Pave Sewers with new vocalist Tomas Lindberg (The Crown/ex-At The Gates) Drummer Nick Barker, who is also in Dimmu Borgir, said this on the Dimmu Borgir website: "We recorded a new Lock Up album with our new vocalist Tomas Lindberg who is now in The Crown. We've still got to mix it and hopefully it will be out the end of this year, beginning of next year. And at that time both Dimmu and Napalm Death will be writing material for their next albums, which means we've got time off to tour for Lock Up, so hopefully next year there will be a U.S. Lock Up tour." Barker didn't mention when the album will see the light of day, but we suspect the album will see a mid-2002 release on Nuclear Blast. Look for more information on Lock Up and the members' marquee bands as it happens.
METALIUM: Germany's Metalium have found a new drummer after previous skinbasher Mark Cross abruptly left to join Helloween's ranks. Metalium aren't revealing just who the new drummer is yet, but the band's official website claims the newest addition to the Metalium roster is a longtime friend of bassist Lars Ratz. The group cites the mysterious new member as "not just an incredible player with perfect skills for Metalium but also a good songwriter." Also, Metalium is presently in the studio to record their third full-length concept album, Chapter III, for Germany's Massacre Records. Look for Chapter III in early 2002.
ANGRA: Brazilian power metallers Angra have finished their fourth full-length album, Rebirth, with Adagio, Vanden Plas producer Dennis Ward. Rebirth marks Angra's first album with an entirely new rhythm section and vocalist. Vocalist Edu Falaschi, drummer Aquiles Priester, and bassist Felipe Andreoli join founding members and songwriters Kiko Loureiro and Rafael Bittencourt on the album, which many have already claimed as a "triumph." New frontman Edu Falaschi had this to say regarding the invigorated state of Angra: "In regards to the band itself, the most important things to be stated are the real friendship and union that exist among us. We are working as a true team: dedicated, professional and pleased with ourselves. As for the songs, all I can say about them is: Pure Energy!"
NIGHTWISH: Here's some recent news straight from the band: Time of changes Hell-o!, At point all comes to an end, nothing is eternal. Also Nightwish has gone through some changes that are necessary for the band`s existence and future. Our bass player since the album "Oceanborn", Sami, is no longer a member of the band. We wish him all the very best for the future! He will be replaced, at least for the next album & tour by Mr. Marco Hietala (known also from Tarot & Sinergy) The legendary spinedude Mr. Ewo Rytkönen will be Nightwish`s manager. Together with Mr. Toni Peiju they will also take care of band`s tour booking, both in Finland and abroad. Our previous booking agency, Piikkikasvi always did excellent job and we have nothing except the best to say about them. A million thanks to them for everything! At the moment we`re arranging and rehearsing the songs for the next full-length album. We will enter the studio the 10th of January. The record will hopefully be released during May 2002. Rock on! Tuomas/Nightwish
SINERGY's Kimberly Goss has revealed the tracks on the upcoming Suicide By My Side album. The tracklisting: 'I Spit On Your Grave', 'The Sin Trade', 'Violated', 'Me, Myself, My Enemy', 'Written In Stone', 'Nowhere For No One', 'Passage To The Fourth World', 'Shadow Island', 'Suicide By My Side' and 'Remembrance'. Says Kimberly, "yeah, I realize track one is a funny title, it's actually the name of a movie that was banned in many countries, but the lyrics have nothing to do with the movie. I just loved that title so much!" Also, Sinergy's official webmaster has posted that the band have a new drummer, Mats Karlsson. Mats was a student at Musicians Institute in L.A. for nine months and has studied at various other schools of music. He will be relocating to Helsinki to join the band on upcoming tours and albums. More info on the drummer will be on the band's website, www.sinergy.org, when the site debuts its new design on December 1st. Included in the new design will be 5 mp3 samples of songs from the upcoming album.
Former HELLOWEEN guitarist Roland Grapow and drummer Uli Kusch have reportedly chosen a name for their brand new musical collaboration, but have yet to reveal it, claiming that “it's too early to tell yet” and that more details about the band will be revealed in three or four weeks. Work on the as-yet-unnamed project of former HELLOWEEN guitarist Roland Grapow and drummer Uli Kusch is reportedly progressing nicely, with the pair presently polishing up some 13 tracks (eight of which were written by Roland and five by Uli) for the group’s upcoming debut album, the bulk of which is due to be recorded and mixed at Andy Sneap’s Backstage facility, with additional recording and mixing scheduled to take place at Roland Grapow's home studio (Crazy Cat) in Hamburg. According to Grapow, the new band’s sound will be “very much like HELLOWEEN”, with most of the songs following the typical German melodic power metal direction with some progressive elements. Kusch, meanwhile, has described the music as “epic, bombastic, orchestrated and atmospheric”. In light of Grapow and Kusch’s departures from HELLOWEEN and the project’s upgraded “full-time band” status, it is not yet clear if SYMPHONY X vocalist Russell Allen will be involved with the group or if the band will recruit a German singer to front the act, as they have hinted they may do in interviews conducted immediately following their split from HELLOWEEN. The cover artwork for the as-yet-untitled effort will be made by Rainer Laws, who was responsible for the artwork on HELLOWEEN's Better Than Raw and Metal Jukebox albums. Look for the CD to be released through an as-yet-undetermined label around March. In related news, former ANGEL DUST guitarist Bernd Aufermann stated in an interview that Roland might play on the debut album from his post-ANGEL DUST project SHINING, along with HELLOWEEN bassist Markus Grosskopf and other well-known musicians, but nothing has yet been confirmed.
According to an update posted by ANGEL DUST guitarist Ritchie Wilkeson, "the material for the new ANGEL DUST record, Of Human Bondage, is a departure from the kind of 80s classic metal from the previous records. The material was written over the course of the 2 weeks I spent there in July. It really was a extension of the vibe we got as a band doing the NEVERMORE tour in May... angry... dark... defiant! The songs came together very naturally. When I returned from the recording in August at Woodhouse Studios in Hagen Germany with producer Siggi Bemm (GORGOTH, GRIP INC., THE COVENANT, UNLEASHED, THE GATHERING), we, as a band, sat down and kind of went for a new game plan as far as the way the other ANGEL DUST records were done and came up with a far more aggressive approach, full of dark moments, beautiful moments, and brutal moments, which are all along the journey that is Of Human Bondage."
Sweden's ANDROMEDA will be issuing a new version of their Extension Of The Wish CD in France in November through NTS Records, featuring newly-recorded vocals by recently-added singer David. Also included are two new tracks: "Eclipse" and "Journey Of Polyspheric Experience". The latter song was previously a bonus track on the Korean release of the album in an instrumental demo version; it has since been fully re-recorded in a proper studio with vocals added on top of it. ANDROMEDA are presently writing the material for their upcoming studio effort, which they plan to record in early 2002 for a mid-year release.
THE HAUNTED: After serving time in the legendary At The Gates and being an active songwriter in The Haunted, guitarist Anders Bjorler has decided to leave The Haunted and what appears to be music altogether. "I have been thinking about leaving The Haunted for almost six months now," said Bjorler on The Haunted's official website. "The reason for my departure is mainly because of personal reasons. I have grown tired of the whole concept of touring. It was never a life i wanted to lead. I have decided to continue my courses at the university with main focus on the studies. So - I wish the best for The Haunted, and do not worry - A worldwide scan for a new guitarist has already begun." Bjorler's departure prompted this statement out of The Haunted guitarist Patrik Jensen: "The Haunted wishes Anders all the best with whatever he pursues in his life after leaving the band, and we would like to at the same time point out that there is absolutely no animosity between any members, past or present. Fans should not fear that The Haunted will somehow succumb to this significate, yet not manageble, setback. We are therefore currently looking for a replacement for Anders. People into the band know what we're looking for, so no further describtion of applicants needed. If you feel you might have what it takes, please get in touch with the band." The hunt for a suitable guitarist has brought guitarist Mike Wead (Mercyful Fate/Memento Mori) into the fold as a session musician. Despite Bjorler's absence, The Haunted are planning on a 25-30 date North Amercian tour in November and a string of Swedish dates in December with possible dates in Norway on the discussion table.
DEATH: Nuclear Blast will be releasing another live CD called Live In Eindhoven (recorded at the Dynamo '98 show), which, by the way, was the first live appearance of the Sound Of Perseverance line-up. The CD will only be available through Nuclear Blast mail order. The CD will sell for $7, and $2.50 of each CD will go directly to the Chuck Schuldiner Medical Fund. There will also be a DVD for $12 of the same show. Both the CD and DVD will only be available in slip-sleeves (no jewel cases) and will be released on October 29. For more information on how to order the CD, please visit www.nuclearblast.de/death There will also be an information card inside each copy of Live in L.A. (Death & Raw) with all the information on how to order.
HELLOWEEN: Germany's Helloween is one step closer to filling in the gaps left by longtime guitarist Roland Grapow and drummer Uli Kusch with the addition of Metalium drummer Mark Cross. Apparently, Cross has yet to reveal the details to his bandmates in Metalium, but has expressed his loyalty to the Helloween camp. As far as the drummer is concerned he's officially out of the band. Helloween are expected to announce the replacement for Grapow shortly. As reported previously, Grapow and Kusch left Helloween over musical differences and priorities. The braintrust of the band Michael Weikath, Andi Deris and Markus Grosskopf felt both Grapow and Kusch were spending too much time with their respective side projects, affecting Helloween's creativity process. In similar news, Helloween's warehouse was compromised, the thieves taking many of Michael Weikath's guitars and Markus' basses. Here's the list of what was stolen: white Epiphone V and Les Paul, an orange ESP Mirage with green MPTOK on it, a black Ovation acoustic guitar, two almost brandnew Yamaha Pacifica strats in whitish/fleshy with tribal boomerang inlays in the fretboard. Markus is missing a variety of Fender Jazz and Precision basses as well as a few Warwick and Music Man ones. Those with information on the incident can email: email@example.com.
BRUCE DICKINSON: Bruce Dickinson has affirmed his intention of releasing a brand new solo album in early 2002. The material will be composed in conjunction with longtime friend and guitarist Roy Z and recorded at the end of the year. According to Dickinson, " My next solo effort will follow a similar musical direction to my last two solo offerings, Chemical Wedding and Accident Of Birth, but it will also contain some sounds that will be a throwback to the Balls To Picasso days."
VOIVOD: After several months of speculation, former Voivod vocalist Denis Belanger (aka Snake) is back in the fold along with ex-Metallica bassist Jason Newstead. Guitarist Michel Langevin (aka Away) posted the following statement on the band's official website, www.voivod.com: "Early this year Voivod split up. After a few months on hiatus, Denis D'Amour and Michel Langevin decided to reunite with original singer Denis Belanger aka Snake, after a seven year absence. Voivod is aiming to have a new record out in 2002 and will definitely make the summer festivals for 2002. Jason Newsted will play bass and co-produce the new studio album. A live bass player is yet to be announced. Michel Langevin and Denis D'Amour are sad to see Eric go and treasure the music they made together but look forward to the future. They are also excited to have Jason's involvement as he has been a long time supporter and friend. There have been many obstacles, as in all careers, but the future certainly looks good for Voivod." Clearly, there is room for excitement in the Voivod camp. The addition of Belanger and Newstead is bound to be lauded not only by fans but by the worldwide press. If anything, Newstead's visibility is sure to grant Voivod the long overdue exposure the forward-thinking outfit deserves. Voivod will commence work on their upcoming full-length with co-producer Brian Dobbs (Manmadegod) for a mid-2002 release.
ICED EARTH will tour in September and October alongside JUDAS PRIEST and ANTHRAX. Jon Schaffer has this to say about the upcoming tour: "This is a new day in the band's history and the long overdue break we've needed. It could be the beginning of something very special." Schaffer has also made the following statement regarding the cancellation of the European tour, "Hello friends, as you may have heard, I was faced with a hard decision recently concerning our touring plans. As most of you know Iced Earth has continued to fight for the advancement of metal music since the inception of the band some 17 years ago. I know my decision has disappointed a lot of our European fans. However, the future of Iced Earth may very well depend on a tour such as the tour with JUDAS PRIEST. What I mean by this is that we have struggled for the last 11 years since we've been signed to get a tour like this in the U.S. This could very well be a new day in the band's history and a long-overdue break that we have needed. If the doors finally start opening here in the States it will have a strong effect everywhere else in the world. This could be the beginning of something very special. So, for those of you in Europe who are upset, please try to understand that we have to take this opportunity for the future of the band. I promise we will reschedule the tour as soon as possible and bring to you the best Iced Earth show you have ever seen, you have my word on it!!!!! Take care and best to all... Jon Schaffer".
ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian has posted the following update on the progress of the songwriting sessions for the group's upcoming, as-yet-untitled studio album, the band's first for Beyond/BMG Records, and the preparation for the recording of a live album, which is scheduled to take place in Chicago on October 3rd: "Work on the record has been intense and easy at the same time. Band morale has been great and that tends to keep everyone sane. Even in our 115 degree room with the dead rat behind the wall and the Amityville Horror like plague of flies, things have been fast and furious. It's been the most collaborative effort we've undertaken in maybe, well in maybe ever. The music is hard. Riffs. Not just one finger tuned down chords. Riffs. We write riffs. I guess we'll never get on the radio now help me Jeebus! No fake programmed 'disco-metal'. No 'pseudo-heavy we wanna be metal but would never call ourselves that' gayness. No 'rap-metal'. What a concept. We stay different by staying the same. We've got a few more weeks of writing before the tour starts. Best scenario is to go on tour with 11-12 songs and have the whole tour to work on the vocals. Totally possible as we've got 8 songs now. My current favorite is called 'What Doesn't Die'. Fastest double bass Charlie has ever played. Every song is about destroying organized religion. Kidding. Just one or two. Maybe we'll call the record 9 Lives. NOT. No title yet. How about that live record title? Metallus Maximus Livus. Now that's good. I'm actually looking forward to doing this live record after denouncing it for years. Chalk that up to the lame Live Noize on Island. We're going to do all kinds of stuff we haven't done in forever (like 'Gung-Ho' which we did at the Chuck Billy benefit) and we get to work with Joe Barresi, an amazing engineer. It's gonna sound great. We're busting ass (especially Brent) to get this done and out for the end of November. Great cover art. Very Italian, circa 1942. Know what I'm sayin'? You'll see what I mean. Mussolini would be proud". ANTHRAX have recruited former BOILER ROOM guitarist Rob Caggiano to accompany the band on their upcoming U.S. tour. It is presently unclear if Caggiano will become a permanent replacement for Paul Crook, who is believed to be presently keeping busy with a solo project and his involvement with former SKID ROW vocalist Sebastian Bach on the recording front.
SAVATAGE guitarist Chris Caffery has announced plans to form a side project with OVERKILL frontman Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth. According to Caffery, a mutual friend approached him with the idea, which led to a meeting between him and Blitz last week during which the possibility of a musical collaboration was discussed. Although no further details have yet been divulged, Caffery stated that he is planning on asking one of his “favorites from another well-known classic metal band” to get involved in the project, the musical direction of which will allegedly be “violent...yet classy... I assure it would have elements of things we have both done before, but be very different. [We want to do] something that excites us both. Kinda like two kids that want to start a new band. I feel it is a great way for me to use my spare time and abundance of spare riffs.”
The following is a posting from ARCH ENEMY regarding the European and U.S. release of their Wages Of Sin album. "Dear Arch Enemies! It really is about time that we write some words about the pending release of Wages Of Sin in Europe and America. We haven't put anything on this subject yet on the website, because we are in a difficult situation and it's hard to find the right words? But we hate seeing you, the fan, getting totally pissed off - so we have to talk? Many fans ask us, why WE don't release Wages Of Sin in Europe and the U.S. Well, an album release date is not up to the band that signed a record deal - as Arch Enemy did with Century Media in 1997. The fact is that we have delivered the album and artwork to Century Media - and now we are hoping for an announcement of the release date as eagerly as you do? Only when the album is released world wide can we go out and do what we feel we do best - perform LIVE. We also get feedback from some fans saying that they don't like the way WE are giving the Asian market "special treatment". But think about it for a second, why would we not want to promote our music to the world? Why would we want to limit our success to certain markets? It just d'sn't make sense, d's it? Japan and Korea are a totally different story for Arch Enemy. In these territories we are fortunate to be working with two labels and people who are very committed to Arch Enemy, because they truly BELIEVE in us. These labels decided to release Wages Of Sin as soon as possible after we delivered them the album. Arch Enemy has over the last five years become pretty huge in these territories, because we always got and still get the kind of support and attention a band with serious potential should get? Arch Enemy is a band featuring only full-time musicians - that means, our one and only (great) job is it to create high-quality music, record exciting albums, RELEASE them and go on tour. (For this you need financial tour-support from your label too - maybe this is answer enough to your question, why we will just tour Korea and Japan for now?). We can only function and work properly as a band releasing albums and touring if we have a healthy relationship with a record label. Right now we don't have this with Century Media. We sincerely hope that they decide to release Wages Of Sin in the U.S. and Europe ASAP. Yours respectfully, Arch Enemy."
Apparently PANTERA's Philip Anselmo is in collaborations with Trey Azagthoth and Pete Sandoval of MORBID ANGEL in quite possibly forming a band/project of their own. According to Killjoy, Philip wants him to do the vocals, but as Killjoy informed, "I agreed to be the vocalist if all I have to do is show up and sing. I want nothing to do with lyrics, no thinking of names, no interviews, no photo sessions, no cover concepts and only if agree that I can just be the singer. All I've been told is that its gonna be extremely fast...".
PRIMAL FEAR have finished writing songs for their fourth album. They plan to enter the studio in December to hammer out the tracks for the tentatively titled Black Sun CD. The band will be playing a few shows in Brazil, Argentina and Mexico before entering the studio.
BORKNAGAR has finished recording their new album, Empiricism at the Fagerborg/Top Room studio in Oslo, Norway. Band members chose Børge Finnstad as co-producer, who is known for his work on the latest Mayhem album, Grand Declaration Of War. Empiricism will mark the debut of two new band members, bassist Tyr and vocalist Vintersorg (who replaces the departed ICS Vortex). Song titles are, in no particular order: Liberated, Gods Of My World, The Stellar Dome, The Genuine Pulse, Inherit The Earth, The Black Canvas, The View Of Everlast, Soul Sphere and Four Element Syncronicity. No release date has yet been set for Empiricism.
According to his website, www.yngwie.org, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN has a new band lineup in place for his upcoming South American tour: vocalist Doogie White (RAINBOW), bassist Mick Cervino (BLACKMORE'S NIGHT), keyboardist Derek Sherinian (PLANET X, DREAM THEATER) and drummer Patrik Johansson (STORMWIND). The site says that if "the chemistry of this team gels, this lineup may appear on the next studio album." The South American tour runs from September 12th in Mexico to September 30th in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In related news, according Malmsteen's website, www.yngwie.org, the DVD of the guitarists performance with the New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra will be released in November 2001. This week, conversations have continued with the Chinese Government concerning Yngwie touring for three weeks with the Chinese National Orchestra later this year in Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Hong Kong and more. Talks are continuing with several quality programming networks around the world to broadcast the performance on National TV in those areas.
MY DYING BRIDE: My Dying Bride have starting mixing the follow-up to Light at the End of the World, which according to guitarist Andrew Craighan the sound is "much much darker and more foreboding." Titled, The Dreadful Hours, My Dying Bride's sixth studio album was recorded at Academy Studios with Mags at the production helm. So far the West Yorkshire-based quintet haven't released any new song titles other than "A Cruel Taste of Winter," which the band debuted at Peaceville's Peacefests a few months back. My Dying Bride vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe said the following about how the titles and musical direction: "Titles normally come last. I guess the overall feel of the new material is quite similar to The Light... and I can safely say that if you liked that album, you should like the new one. We love the feel and sound of The Light... so we want to continue with a similar atmosphere." Look for The Dreadful Hours sometime this October.
Meshuggah confirmed on their website, www.meshuggah.net, that bassist Gustaf Hielm has left the band. No reason was given other than, 'we wish him luck.' According to the band's website, Meshuggah is currently trying out new bass players for the follow-up to 1998's Chaosphere. In similar news, Meshuggah's Rare Trax is scheduled for a late summer/early fall release on Nuclear Blast. Rare Trax contains the band's ultra-rare Psykisk Testbild EP as well as unreleased tracks and multimedia tracks for computer-minded fans to check out.
Carnal Forge have revealed the title of their forthcoming album for Century Media. "Please...Die!" was recorded at both Studio Underground and Carnal Forge vocalist Jonas Kjellgren's own Black Lodge Studios, where a total of 12 tracks were completed and mixed. "Feels just great!," said the Carnal Forge website, www.carnalforge.com. "We are very happy with the production and how the new songs turned out!" Please...Die! will be the first effort with new member Lars Lindén (ex-Rosicrucian) and with bassist Petri Kuusisto now handling the guitars for the departed Johan Magnusson. Lindén is the band's website and cover illustrator for Firedemon. The tracklist: "Everything Dies, "No Resurrection," "A World All Soaked In Blood," "Fuel For Fire," "Welcome To Your Funeral," "Please...Die! (Aren't You Dead Yet)," "A Higer Level Of Pain," "Hand Of Doom," "Becoming Dust," "Butchered, Slaugthered, Strangled, Hanged," "Totalitarian Torture" and "Slaves." Look for "Please...Die!" this fall on Century Media Records.
W.A.S.P. have had quite a storied career. Over the years the myths have turned into legends surrounding the events, performances and musicians that have made this band one of the most famous and infamous in rock history. The faces have changed at times, but the one constant throughout has been the reckless and savage attitude of the band members - personalities that refuse to bow to mainstream. They are rebel spirits that know only one way to perform…VICIOUSLY!!! The new lead guitarist for W.A.S.P. fits precisely into in this mold. This 6-string extraordinaire wields a mighty axe and goes by the name of Darrell Roberts, a 31 year old veteran hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio. Lead vocalist Blackie Lawless affirms: "He was born to be in this band. We looked at a lot of guitar players over the last several months but no-one even came close to him - he's a monster looking for an audience to kill. In all honesty, I wish we would have had him when the band started. When you see him live, you'll understand what I mean." Bassist Mike Duda attests: "Although there were rumors before Darrell was in the band, we took our time to make sure he was the one we were looking for. No decision was made until we had looked at everybody out there, and that wasn't finished 'til about three weeks ago." Darrell spent the last several years in L.A. performing with his Metallica tribute band "Alcoholica", where he played guitar and sang lead vocals. W.A.S.P. heard about Darrell from some insiders at their record label, Sanctuary Records Group. Darrell had previously auditioned for labelmates Megadeth, but he lost the job to Marty Friedman. W.A.S.P. sees it as "their loss, but our gain". W.A.S.P. feels he is one of the most talented performers and musicians the band has had. Following a show with his band "Alcoholica" some time ago, an after-show party got a bit out of hand. A drunken local decided that his girlfriend was paying a little too much attention to Darrell, and when the individual got into Darrell's face (to tell him how much he disapproved) a fight broke out. Darrell was arrested. Lawless recalls: "Apparently, Darrell hit him over the head with a Heineken bottle. After that, there was some other girl who was interested in a specific part of Darrell's anatomy, and while he was in the process of showing it to her, the police arrived. He was arrested for assault and battery, drunk in public and indecent exposure. When I heard that story, I said, "that's the guy I wanna be in a band with". He's a sick bastard, so he should fit right in with the rest of us!" W.A.S.P. and their new holy terror of a guitarist will be out on tour supporting the band's latest release Unholy Terror at the Wacken Festival in Germany on August 2nd and Switzerland on August 4th. The US tour begins August 22nd with the outrageous new bands Mushroomhead and Dog Fashion Disco in support (Bleeaahh!). "I strongly advise you to come out and see us with this new guitarist" Blackie says, "it's been a long time since I was this excited…we've got NEW BLOOD… and we are ready to take yours!"
CRYPTOPSY: The rumors are true, frontman Mike DiSalvo has announced his departure from Canada's foremost death metal act. The news comes from Cryptopsy's own website, www.cryptopsy.net, stating that DiSalvo is leaving for personal reasons. The vocalist's last performance as stated on the site will be at the Wacken Open Air festival in Wacken, Germany on August 4. Cryptopsy is already searching for a replacement. Auditions, according to the site, will be held in Montreal, but no confirmed date has been set. The band's new vocalist will have the daunting task of learning all material for their upcoming European tour at the end of August. Interested parties can email Maurice Richard ( firstname.lastname@example.org ). Cryptopsy states only professionals need inquire.
NILE: After the departure of previous Nile bassist Chief Spires, the South Carolina-based outfit have confirmed they've filled the position for various summer tours. Nile's new bass player is Dark Moon four-stringer Jon Vesano. Vesano will also handle Spires former vocal duties in the band, confirming when Nile tours with England's Cradle Of Filth they will be operating at full capacity. The Nile camp couldn't confirm whether or not Vesano will participate on the band's upcoming full-length next year. Nile did state that drummer Tony Laureno will also be a part of their summer tours and scheduled appearance at this year's X-Mas festival in Europe. Laureno filled previous Nile drummer Pete Hammoura's spot when the drummer experienced shoulder trouble during the recording of their acclaimed second effort, Black Seeds of Vengeance.
EMPEROR: Acclaimed black metal outift Emperor have confirmed the track listing for their upcoming full-length, Prometheus: The Discipline of Fire & Demise. "The Eruption," "Depraved," "Empty," "The Prophet," "The Toungue of Fire," "In the Wordless Chamber," "Grey," "He Who Sought the Fire" and "Thorns on my Grave" make up the album. Advance listens to the record have already made to select members of the press, all of which proclaim that it's Emperor's best material to date. Early reports from guitarist/vocalist Ihsahn describes the new material as a progression from the band's previous work while keeping in tune with the musical aesthetic Emperor established throughout the last 10 years. "Lyrically, it will be somehow different, as it is more concretely concept-based than what we have done before," the enigmatic frontman points out. "Apart from this, it would be hard (and unnecessary) to give a deeper description of the next Emperor album. There is still a lot of work to be done with the final arrangements and the actual production, so we can only promise that we will do our best." Prometheus: The Discipline of Fire & Demise is expected to be released sometime later this year.
GAMMA RAY are currently hiding out at Hansen Studios in Hamburg, Germany, allegedly putting the finishing touches on their seventh studio album, No World Order. Vocalist/guitarist/lone gunman Kai Hansen teamed with bassist Dirk Schlachter to produce Gamma Ray's album. Confirmed song titles so far include 'Solid', 'Heaven Or Hell' and 'Eagle'. The band is about to commence pre-release tours before embarking on a world tour in late September. Gamma Ray plan to release No World Order into North American stores on October 2nd. The band lineup includes Kai Hansen (vocals and guitar), Dirk Schlachter (bass), Henjo Richter (guitar) and Daniel Zimmermann (drums)
ANGRA have flown to Europe to begin recording its new album with the new line-up. Renowned producer Dennis Ward(PC69) coordinated the pre-production of the new tracks in Brazil in the beginning of June. The group will record a total of 15 original tunes plus a couple of surprising covers. Angra is presently in House Of Audios Studios in Karlsdorf, Germany. The release of the album is scheduled for October 20th. Extensive touring and various promo activities are being confirmed at this time.
JAG PANZER recently filmed a video for 'Take To The Sky', on the 18,000 ft. Mount Evans in Colorado. The track is the first single off their latest album, Mechanized Warfare (due out on August 7th in North America). Directed by Nate Lind and featuring computer animation by guitarist Mark Briody, post-production is scheduled to wrap up in mid-July.
SLAYER's new album, God Hates Us All, will now be released on September 11th. The band's new label, Universal, will re-issue the Slayer catalogue in October.
James LaBrie's MULLMUZZLER 2 album will be released on August 7th through Magna Carta. The tracklisting: 'Afterlife', 'Venice Burning', 'Confronting The Devil', 'Falling', 'Stranger', 'A Simple Man', 'Save Me', 'Believe', 'Listening' and 'Tell Me'.
JUDAS PRIEST, who release their new album, Demolition, on July 24th, are currently on a world tour that will see the band play to over 2 million fans in Europe alone. Due to a high demand for tickets for their June show in London, Priest will return to the city following the U.S. and Japan dates to play a special Christmas show at Brixton Academy on December 19th. For tickets call: 020 7771 2000. Online sales are available at: www.ticketmaster.co.uk or www.meanfiddler.com. In related news, the Japanese edition of Demolition will include the bonus track 'What's My Name'. The European release will include two bonus tracks, studio versions of 'Rapid Fire' and 'The Green Manalishi (With The Two Pronged Crown)'. Also, the British Steel Classic Album program will air in the UK on Channel 5 on September 2nd at 8pm. The band's VH1 Behind The Music is scheduled to air in the U.S. on September 22nd. In related news, according to MTV News Online, Judas Priest feel that Rock Star, the film featuring Mark Wahlberg in a role allegedly modeled after JP vocalist Tim "Ripper" Owens, isn't true to Ripper's rags-to-riches story. "If people misconstrue it with our story, then we will have to take some legal action," says JP guitarist Glenn Tipton. Rock Star hits theaters September 14th.
Metal-Is.com has reported that HAMMERFALL guitarist Stefan Elmgren has formed a side/solo project called FULL STRIKE, with vocalist Niklas Jonsson (LOST HORIZON), bassist Chris Savage Goldsmith (CRAWLEY) and drummer Bjorn Fryklund (FREAK KITCHEN). Elmgren has been working on songs for two years, beginning after he and Jonsson worked together in bands around the Musician's Institute in Los Angeles, CA. The band and manager Petri Lunden are talking to "several well-known labels," and the debut album should be recorded this fall for a late 2001 or early 2002 release. Elmgren said the music will be influenced by HammerFall but "leaning a bit more towards DOKKEN and early GARY MOORE, with splashes of ACCEPT and HELLOWEEN."
QUEENSRYCHE's Operation: LIVEcrime will be released on CD along with a companion DVD on September 25th. Originally issued in a boxed set with a VHS tape in 1991, the disc will be available on its own for the first time and will include two bonus tracks: 'Roads To Madness' and 'The Lady Wore Black'. The DVD will include commentary by Geoff Tate, talking about the original album and concert, which was recorded during the band's tour in 1988.
According to their website, DREAM THEATER's Mike Portnoy has revealed that the band have recorded six songs for their new album, due for a January release followed by a European tour in January/February. Lyrics have not yet been written, but will be during the band's current break. The day after the G3 tour ends, the band will be going back into the studio for three weeks to record the vocals and do some more overdubs and touch ups. When asked for what direction the new album will be going in, Portnoy said he hates to give descriptions and pigeon-hole things. But if he had to loosely describe the direction, it would be a cross between Awake and Liquid Tension Experiment. He also mentioned that two of the tracks are more experimental, but did not elaborate. Also, a European TRANSATLANTIC tour is being planned for November. There will not be any Home For The Holidays shows this year. The band will be taking a break, so they can spend some time with their families.
In some totally bizzaro news, TORI AMOS is set to release an album of covers, Strange Little Girls, in September. Believe it or not she'll include a cover of SLAYER's classic 'Reign In Blood' track. Kooky....
CHUCK SCHULDINER: An online auction is currently being held to raise money for Chuck Schuldiner, founder and leader of the seminal Florida death metal band Death, who was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor two years ago. Schuldiner, 33, was diagnosed on his 31st birthday after experiencing headaches and unusual symptoms while in the studio working on an album for his current full-time band, Control Denied. With the generous help of family, friends, and organizations such as MusiCares, Schuldiner was able to moderately control the cancer with various treatments and previous operations. In recent weeks, Schuldiner's condition has worsened. Both live and necrotic cancer tissue has built up in his brain and has started to infiltrate the cerebellum, causing Schuldiner’s health to decline rapidly. Schuldiner is presently at Cedar Sinai Comprehensive Care Center awaiting word from doctors to begin a fairly new and still relatively experimental drug called Vincristine (VCR). Vincristine belongs to a class of naturally occurring chemotherapy agents, which are extracted from the periwinkle plant and, unlike many chemotherapy drugs, bears practically no toxic side effects. Should this course of action be approved, treatment will begin immediately. At this time Schuldiner's surgical team in New York City feels that surgery is not an option. Schuldiner is rightfully considered the forefather of the death metal genre and a major innovator within heavy metal overall. Death formed in 1983 when Schuldiner was a teenager and has released seven albums worldwide. The band's early albums, including "Scream Bloody Gore" and "Leprosy," are cited by many as being the most influential albums in death metal. Schuldiner’s later work took on a more technical approach, cementing Death's status not only as one of the most brutal, but also as one of the most technically proficient bands in metal history. After retiring Death in 1999, Schuldiner began concentrating 100 percent of his creativity on Control Denied, which he feels strongly is an extension, or natural maturation, of what Death has been for over a decade. He had, in fact, been working on the new Control Denied album, “When Machine and Man Collide" when he was taken aback by this illness once again. In addition to the benefit auction, upon hearing about Schuldiner's situation from bassist Steve DiGiorgio (whose resume includes Death, Control Denied and Testament), Testament vocalist Chuck Billy, who has also recently been diagnosed with cancer, volunteered to share the proceeds of Thrash Of The Titans, a benefit concert in his honor with Schuldiner. "Obviously, this act of selfless consideration has touched us immensely," said Schuldiner's mother, Jane. "Words really can't express the gratitude we feel toward Chuck Billy and his family for doing such an amazing thing for someone else in need when he, himself, is going through such a hard time, as well. He must be an amazing young man." The online auction features an assortment of rare music memorabilia kindly donated by the music and metal communities, and also includes one of Schuldiner's own guitars and a bass autographed by Steve DiGiorgio, as well as rare items from rock ‘n roll’s more mainstream artists such as Godsmack, Staind, Disturbed, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The auction, hosted through eBay and allbeat.com, may be accessed through Hammerheart America’s website Hammerheart America by following links to the Charles Schuldiner Medical Fund Benefit. Donations to the fund are also accepted and may be wired, transmitted via PayPal, or mailed in care of Hammerheart Records. All funds will go to the Charles Schuldiner Medical Fund, and donations are tax deductible. Information to transfer donations directly into the bank is as follows:Washington Mutual Bank, 500 East Alta Drive, Altamonte Springs, FL 32701 Bank routing number: 321180748 Account number: 3513564696 Account name: Charles Schuldiner Medical FundChecks and money orders should be payable to Charles Schuldiner Medical Fund and mailed c/o Hammerheart America, P.O. Box 42323, Pittsburgh PA 15203.
The following was posted by CHUCK SHULDINER's mother last week about his condition... "This has been one of the worst days since we found out about Chuck's illness. He went to Cedars Sinai hospital in Los Angeles, California today for his appointment for the first treatment. Beth, his sister, went with her father's credit cards, Power of Attorney, and a Letter of Intent from Music Care to help with the large expenses of this treatment. Beth was told by the Vice President of Cedars Sinai's comprehensive Care Center, Floyd Frasier, #310-425-0600, that none of these were acceptable to them. The Executive Director, Paul Odea, would not even talk to her. Beth was frantic, asking if Chuck's treatment could be started until she could get the matter resolved. No was the answer. After finally threatening to get her attorney involved and to go to the media, as she had to do when the surgery took place last year in New York, they finally took the cards, allowing the procedure to take place. I am telling you this so all of you will know of the continuing saga of how the American health system is willing to let a person die for the sake of money. My son has never expected charity. For two years he and Beth have paid over $200,000.00 of their own money, plus the generous donations of his fans and friends, for the treatments for his illness, aware every time that if he does not get the money, he will die. Even when the cash is paid, the attitude of the caregivers and hospitals are one bordering on contempt that he does not have insurance. There is something terribly wrong when a country as great as America will let their citizens die for lack of insurance or money. Unfortunately, we had to have a devastating illness to realize that we are unprotected in many ways. I am asking the people who read this to please get insurance, immediately. This could happen to you if you live in the United States of America. Chuck's illness was caused by a split cell, it is a fluke, not genetic or anything he ate or drank or the air he breathed. That also could happen to any of us. So please, as healthy as you are today, you may, God forbid, desperately need that insurance tomorrow. I want to thank you all for your emails, letters, cards and support you have given Chuck. As in last year, it means so much, not only to Chuck, but to us, his family." Sincerely, Jane Schuldiner
SYMPHONY X: InsideOut Music America is proud to announce that it has signed power/prog Metal masters Symphony X to a three-record deal for North America. Currently, Symphony X is in rehearsals at their studio in New Jersey where they have begun writing songs for the next studio album. According to lead guitarist Michael Romeo, the new material will be heavy and “song-oriented” and, unlike their previous release, “V,” it will not be a concept album. Michael also went on to say: “On behalf of all the members of Symphony X, we are very happy about our new home at InsideOut America and we’re looking forward to a long, happy, and successful relationship.” Managing Director of IOMA, Jim Pitulski, says of the new signing: “We are absolutely thrilled to have Symphony X with InsideOutAmerica. Their talent and power are undeniable and IOMA will be committed to putting everything we have behind the band to help them achieve the success that they so rightly deserve. We’ve been friends and fans of Symphony X for quite a while now and it's great to have them officially join our family. I feel like the band is now home.” This June Symphony X will break from writing to perform the second half of their European tour which will include playing at the Sweden Rock Festival alongside such acts as Helloween and Hammerfall. IOMA is currently also negotiating for the rights to officially release the original four SX catalog titles for the first time in North America. Please stay tuned to www.insideoutmusic.com for more details as they develop.
CRADLE OF FILTH: England's Cradle Of Filth are confirmed to be the first black metal band to sign to a major label. The U.K.-based outfit have signed to Sony, according to their website. "We have signed to Sony and the first release will be a full studio album next year(2002), producer to be advised, and it will be released on Epic worldwide, it will be via our imprint AbraCadaver," said the band's website, www.theorderofthedragon.com. In the meantime, Cradle Of Filth are preparing the release of their new record, Bitter Suites To Succubi on Spitfire Records. However, the North American release date for the album is now July 3 not June 18 as previously stated. The outfit is also scheduled to perform their second headlining tour of the United States with South Carolina's Nile supporting.
DEVIN TOWNSEND's new album, Terria, will be finished by mid-June. He is very pleased with how it turned out and has described it as "what Ocean Machine was to water, Terria is to Earth" as well as "it is what Infinity would sound like if it blew up." InsideOut Music in Europe will be releasing a limited edition book version with extra artwork and video clips in August with the formal release set for September. The album will be released on InsideOut/SPV Europe, Sony Records in Japan and Roadrunner in Australia. Distributors for Canada are yet to be confirmed. The tracklisting: 'Mountain', 'Canada', 'Earth Day', 'Olives', 'Deep Peace', 'Nobody's Here', 'Down And Under', 'The Fluke', 'Tiny Tears', 'Stagnant', 'Notes From Africa' and 'Universal'. In related news, Devin will begin a European tour in June around and including the summer festivals. The tour will begin by supporting the WILDHEARTS reunion tour in the UK and follow with a headlining tour of Europe and three festivals. He is touring with his band from STRAPPING YOUNG LAD, Gene Hoglan, Jed Simon and Byron Stroud. This tour will not include Terria material but a planned follow-up tour in October will. Tours of Australia and Japan are also in the works for August but no dates are set at this time.
VICIOUS RUMORS: Not resting long, Cyberchrist-era vocalist Brian O'Connor is back in the band, replacing the recently departed Morgan Thorn. The band is already writing a new album, shooting for a January 2002 release and audio of rehearsal with O'Connor will soon appear on the site. Upcoming live dates include the Classic Metal Festival in Kalamazoo, MI, on June 15th and the Bang Your Head Festival in Germany on June 29th. The current band lineup is: Brian O'Connor (vocals), Geoff Thorpe (guitar), Ira Black (guitar), Cornbread (bass) and Dan Lawson (drums). Makes me wonder why they got the other guy in the first place...
Hate Eternal are in the process of writing for the follow-up to the immensely impressive Conquering the Throne. Although details are slim regarding the outfit's second album, the as-yet-to-be-titled record will go into production this fall for a possible early 2002 release. In related news, Hate Eternal's Jared Anderson is currently on the road with Morbid Angel, where Anderson fills in for the on-leave bassist/vocalist Steve Tucker. Erik Rutan's side-project Alas (featuring former Therion vocalist Martina Astner) has recorded its first album for the Hammerheart label. Titled, Absolute Purity, the album is slated for a June release date.
MAYHEM: The Black Metal weirdos will be issuing territory-specific albums this summer. According to the band's website, www.thetruemayhem.com, Europe and the U.S. versions will feature re-recorded songs from their Grand Declaration Of War full-length. But, those in Europe are treated to live material from Mayhem's set from shows in Bergen, Norway & Sheffield while the U.S. release features songs from their North American tour. The albums are titled European Legions and U.S. Legions, respectively. In related news, Mayhem's next album is tentatively titled, Chimera, and will showcase 'darker, more homogenous' material. The band is also slated to release a limited edition album of a live set in Marseille, France. Season Of Mist is only pressing 500 copies of the album, which will be available only from the label. European Legions and U.S. Legions are slated for release in June on Season Of Mist in Europe and Renegade Records in North America.
Borknagar have made it official that the title of their fifth full-length is Empiricism. "The next Bork album will have a unique sound of progression, but one sould not be affraid that we have lost our sound!", said guitarist Øystein G. Brun on the band's official website www.borknagar.com. "The new album will blow you away if you like our previous stuff...beware!!" Empiricism will be recorded at Fagerborg/Top Room Studios with Børge Finnstad (Mayhem) in Oslo, Norway. The album will consist of nine songs totalling over 45 minutes of music. Brun states the album will have some great suprises... As far as the new line-up is concerned, Brun went on to say the following: "Well, I think the line-up is as safe as possible. Never before I have had the genuine band-feeling that we have these days!" No release date has been set for Empiricism, but the song titles are: "Liberated," "Gods of My World," "The Stellar Dome," "The Genuine Pulse," "Inherit the Earth," "The Black Canvas," "The View of Everlast," "Soul Sphere" and "Four Element Syncronocity."
METALIUM have signed with Locomotive Music, and their first release for the label will be video/CD package. The VHS video will feature live performances, interviews, and more and the CD will feature unreleased and live songs. Expect it out this sometime this summer.
PINK CREAM 69 guitarist Alfred Koffler is presently fighting a carpal tunnel infection is his left hand. He is presently seeing a specialist with hopes of having to avoid an operation. Fortunately, the recordings of the as yet untitled follow-up album to last year's Sonic Dynamite are completed.
Elektra will be issuing a new DREAM THEATER Live 3 CD set on September 18th called Live Scenes From New York. It will be the complete show recorded at Roseland Ballroom in New York City on August 30, 2000 in its entirety from start to finish. Track listing is as follows: Set 1 (Scenes From A Memory): 'Regression', 'Overture 1928', 'Strange Deja Vu', 'Through My Words', 'Fatal Tragedy', 'Beyond This Life', 'John and Theresa solo', 'Though Her Eyes', 'Home', 'The Dance Of Eternity', 'One Last Time', 'The Spirit Carries On', 'Finally Free. Set 2: 'Metropolis Pt.1', 'The Mirror', 'Just Let Me Breathe', 'Acid Rain', 'Caught In A New Millennium', 'Another Day', 'Jordan solo', 'Erotomania', 'Voices', 'The Silent Man', 'Learning To Live'. Encore: 'A Change Of Seasons'. And in related news, Jordan Rudess' upcoming solo album will be titled Feeding The Wheel, and is scheduled for release in August 2001 on Magna Carta. The cover and traycard have been designed by famed artist David Mattingly. Also, it has just been confirmed that bass player Billy Sheehan will be appearing as a guest musician, with Steve Morse on guitars and Terry Bozzio on drums. Other confirmed guest musicians include John Petrucci, Eugene Freisen, Mark Wood and Barry Carl.
ANNIHILATOR: The band are rumored to be doing a tour in Japan in the first week of September with LOUDNESS; apparently Akira Takasaki is a big fan of Jeff as is Jeff of Akira! There is also talk of shooting a live video and also a live CD in Japan; possibly two CD's: one of the heavy material and the other of Annihilator's more melodic songs. Jeff confirms that he is working on editing footage of Annihilator's first ever video/DVD release titled Annihilator: Ten Years in Hell. The video will contain all eight of Annihilator's official promo video releases and about 80 minutes of pro and home video from the early years (1989) up to the end of touring for Criteria For A Black Widow (2000). Look for it sometime in the late fall.
According to KING DIAMOND guitarist Andy LaRocque, the recording of the group's forthcoming Abigail Part II: The Revenge CD is coming along nicely at Nomad Recording Studios in Dallas, with the band presently in the process of recording drums and rhythm guitars. "We have started Sunday [May 20th] with that. Before that we have been working on sounds for a couple of days, sounds on drums, guitars and bass," stated the guitarist. "The track that we have recorded drums and guitars on so far is called 'The Storm'". Other tentative song titles set to appear on the album include: 'Slippery Stairs', 'Revenge Is Sweet', and 'Dinner For Two'. Grandma would be proud...
SKYCLAD: For those who still haven't heard about this, in a surprise statement, founding member and vocalist Martin Walkyier has announced he is leaving the band. Here is the story in his own words:Dear friends, I apologise deeply for the extreme brevity of this statement concerning my heart-rending decision to leave Skyclad after ten wonderful and creative years. My present situation requires that I devote each moment of my time and energy to working upon my current musical projects, if I am to continue being able to provide you with my unique lyrical outlook on life for many, many years to come. I ask for nothing more than your friendship, support and understanding in this matter; I've never let you down in the past, and therefore absolutely refuse to allow myself to do so at any point in the future! I finally lost my belief that there were any viable reasons for continuing with Skyclad in December 2000. After spending well over a year of total devotion to the writing, recording and promotion of the Folkémon CD, I found myself in the most embarrassing situation of being unable to buy food, pay for my apartment, or purchase even a small Christmas present for my young son. I realised then that there was something intrinsically wrong with this unfortunate direction my life was taking, and decided that I must immediately take matters into my own hands if I was to continue pursuing my life-long dream of having a rewarding, full-time musical career. Yet even in these desperate times an offer of help was at hand. Our friends at Amust4music, (the team who are diligently striving to promote the BLOODSTOCK festival on May 28th 2001), had kindly suggested that they could help with the management side of Skyclad; Thus providing me (and ultimately Skyclad) with the financial backing, business knowledge and stalwart support that could easily have enabled the band to continue making our unique music. This most generous offer was unfortunately ignored by all the members of The Skyclad Partnership apart from myself. It is for this reason, amongst many others, that I am forced to make BLOODSTOCK my final concert with a band that has been my entire life for well over ten years. I am presently undergoing intensive rehearsals with a project we have respectfully named Return To The Sabbat (R2TS). Having been constantly asked over the years if I would ever consider 'raising from the dead' some of the material from the classic "History Of A Time To Come" and "Dreamweaver" albums; Myself, Simon Jones and Frazer Craske have collectively decided that the hour is finally auspicious for such an unholy alliance to take place. Together with Skyclad percussionist Jay Graham, a man who shares our undying dream to become members of a totally dedicated musical outfit, we shall be appearing on the second-stage at Derby Assembly Rooms on May 28th in order to lead you on a nightmare journey down a moonlit memory-lane. Incidentally, it was upon this very stage that Andy Sneap's 'Sabbat' played the final show of their ill-fated "Mourning Has Broken" tour. I apologise most humbly if this has come as a shock to you all, and can assure you that this is not a decision which I have taken lightly. If any of you had undergone the crushing poverty which has blighted my life in recent months, then you would fully understand these regrettable decisions I have been forced to make. I am currently surrounding myself with as many professional, innovative and creative persons as is humanly possible. I sincerely hope that together with the loyal support of you my dear friends, R2TS will be just the beginning of an ongoing musical evolution, one that with your invaluable assistance should presently lead to the birth of the greatest Pagan Metal band the world has ever seen! We are currently trying to achieve very great things on a very small budget indeed. If you should wish to support us in this noble quest, then please help by purchasing some of the "Return To The Sabbat" T-shirts from the merchandise page. They are each individually screen-printed by myself and Frazer Craske, and any revenue raised from their sale will be invested in ensuring that I may continue in my endeavours to enlighten and entertain you far into the distant future - a task which it has been my absolute honour and privilege to perform for the last fifteen glorious years. May your guardian-spirits be with you always! Martin Walkyier. 11 April 2001. Martin Walkyier's Personal Webpage The remaining members plan to continue making music under the Skyclad banner, but expressed the following. "This decision obviously came as a severe blow to all members of the band, given that Martin has always been a great friend and comrade through the good and bad times since the start of the band back in 1990," the statement continued. "Not to mention his contributions as an undisputed lyrical genius and spokesman for a lot of the band's beliefs. All of which have been contributing factors to the success of Skyclad over the past ten years. We can honestly say to all our loyal fans out there that the friendship we have built up over the past decade between the brothers (and sister) of the Skyclad clan will not be broken - though our musical ties have been."
ICED EARTH: It appears Steve DiGiorgio is no longer a member of ICED EARTH. A few weeks back, Jon Schaffer received a fax from management, telling him that DiGiorgio had no intention of touring. Since that was initially a stipulation for the bassist becoming a member of IE, his status on the forthcoming Horror Show has been changed to "guest musician." Needless to say, Schaffer is not very happy, as once again they are searching for a bassist. In the months before an anticipated Fall tour, the band will hit the studio, to record a CD worth of cover songs, including AC/DC, JUDAS PRIEST, BLACK SABBATH, KISS and IRON MAIDEN. Schaffer says this will be part of a multi-disc box set, to commemorate the history of the band, which will include Jim Morris remixes of the first three CDs, with redone artwork and liner notes, period photos, as well as the Enter The Realm demo pressed on CD. The box set is compensation for the Iced Earth back catalog, which the band wants prior to leaving Century Media. The band are currently in serious negotiations with Sanctuary Records, but nothing is definite. The first pressing of Horror Show will be released as a limited edition featuring a cover of IRON MAIDEN's 'Transylvania' and an exclusive interview with guitarist/mainman Jon Schaffer.
ANNIHILATOR: Former drummer Ray Hartmann has issued the following statement explaining the reasons behind his departure from the Canadian metal band following the completion of the group's recent European tour: "My decision to leave Annihilator has been a difficult one. I can't remember the band sounding any better. Everyone is getting along fine, and Joe is fitting in great. I had to make a decision based on my love for drumming and playing with Annihilator vs. quitting my day job of ten years. My 9 year old son has moved in with me, and I feel he should have a full-time father. Financially, I cannot survive with the money generated from drumming. Up until now, I've been able to tour during my holidays, but I cannot get any more time off, so I am reluctantly stepping down. By no means am I retiring! Myself and Aaron Randall will continue with a second SPEEED recording. Dean from RANDOM DAMAGE will be replacing Jack Frost on guitar. Jack is now in SAVATAGE. Hopefully Jeff and I will still write and record together at some level. You never know what's going to happen in the Annihilator world! So, a big cheers to Jeff, Joe, Russ, Dave. Thanks Guys. Also, all the best to Randy (kick ass Blackjack)! Thanks to all my fans and anyone who cared to listen. SeeeeeYaaaaaaaaa!!!! Prez-Ray Hartmann (fartmann)"
VICIOUS RUMORS: And in more band departure news, it seems vocalist Morgan Thorn has recently jumped ship as well. Here's a few words from the man himself: "Yes, I have left VICIOUS RUMORS. It's a long story, but one that I'm glad to leave behind me. I am forming a new project with a killer guitarist that I have worked with before. We are going to start writing very soon, and I will be sure to let you hear the fruits of that labor, if you're interested. The RAGE tour was cancelled by Rage, citing difficulties with the promoter. I really don't think it was meant to happen, unfortunately."
According to www.judaspriest.com, the new JUDAS PRIEST album, Demolition, has the following tracklisting: Machine Man, One On One, Hell Is Home, Feed On Me, Jekyll & Hyde, Devil Digger, Close To You, Subterfuge, Metal Messiah, Cyberface, Bloodsuckers, In Between and Lost And Found. Watch for Demolition in late July. As well, Priest have filmed a video statement about their current work on the upcoming Demolition album, which can be viewed exclusively via the SPV/Steamhammer Records web site at: http://www.spv.de/eng/artikel/judaspriest-e.html. In related news, the DVD of the making of the Classic Albums TV programme on British Steel will be available in the UK and Europe on May 28th and in the U.S. in the fall.
Seminal thrash legends DESTRUCTION have returned from Abyss Studios in Sweden with the follow-up to last year's All Hell Breaks Loose in the bag. The band's month long excursion at Abyss has yielded a 'first class thrash metal-album' according to Nuclear Blast. Tentatively titled Total Destruction, expect Destruction's newest creation to be released in late August. In related news, the band is planning a tour with Kreater and Sodom. No word on when or if it will definitely happen.
ANTHRAX' website, www.anthrax.com, has posted the following from Scott Ian on the band's new record deal, "We signed our deal with Beyond. Yes, you heard it here first. Didn't I promise you the straight dope? The deal's done. Amazing. It only took like 15 months. Now we just have to hope they don't go out of business like Ignition. We're going to get to work, finally, after Charlie gets back from his honeymoon. If miracles exist, we could have a new record for Halloween. We do have a jump on things as far as writing is concerned. We've got two things together from last year that are killer. I'm sure we'll do some rearranging once we get going. We also plan on using some of the stuff we came up with for Ghosts Of Mars. Damn if we didn't write some heavy shit. The cool thing is that some of the parts go by quickly so that it won't be like we're ripping ourselves off. The shit is brutal. It was great working with John and Bruce (the producer). We would start the day with no ideas what we were gonna do, and three hours later we'd have this great piece of music. We had screens set up in the studio and we'd watch the scenes with John and go over tempo, pacing, attitude, and start and end points. It was fun to write to the screen. The inspiration was right there in front of you. Well, that and wanting to do a good job for John. The pressure of wanting to impress was good for us creatively. We never worked so cohesively and fast before. I told Charlie that "we should ask John to be there when we're writing the record so we'd be done in three weeks!" They've invited us down to the soundstage where they do the final mix of the whole movie. John said that "there's no better place to hear and see the movie." I'll be there. You be there August 24th at a theater near you. On a related note, I'm going to score a scene in the Mr. Show movie, Run Ronnie Run. It's a fight scene unlike any you've ever seen. That's all I can say. It's hilarious."
KRISIUN: The group are at home in Brazil wrapping up the recording of their next full-length follow-up to Conquerors Of Armageddon entitled Ageless Venomous. They have been confirmed to perform at this year's Dynamo Open Air festival in Holland and at the Wacken Open Air festival in Germany. For those of you who are aching to witness their live show domestically, they will also be touring the States with Immolation beginning early August, making a stop at the Milwaukee Metalfest. We're also happy to announce that we've licensed their previous two albums, Black Force Domain and Apocalyptic Revelation, which have never been available in North America. Look forward to the digitally remastered reissues that contain all-new artwork/layouts and previously unavailable bonus tracks on June 12th.
STRATOVARIUS' Intermission is a new compilation featuring 15 cuts including three new tracks, one new instrumental track, two tracks leftover from the Infinite sessions, live versions of 'I Surrender' and 'Hunting High And Low', plus assorted Japanese bonus tracks from past albums. The package is completed by all new band photos and cover artwork by Derek Riggs. Vocalist Timo Kotipelto's debut solo album, due to be released in early 2002, will feature guest appearances from some of metal's top musicians, including: Mike Romeo (guitars; SYMPHONY X), Roland Grapow (guitars; HELLOWEEN), Arjen Lucassen (guitars; AYREON), Sami Virtanen (guitars; JOE DOAKES), Jari Kainulainen (bass; STRATOVARIUS), Mirka Rantanen (drums; TUNNEL VISION), Gas (drums; H.I.M.) Janne Warman (keyboards; CHILDREN OF BODOM) and Mikko Harkin (keyboards; SONATA ARCTICA).
JAG PANZER is preparing for the release of their next album, Mechanized Warfare, which was once again recorded with producer Jim Morris at Morrisound Studios. This stuff's heavier and more raw than Thane To The Throne and more in the direction of their classic Ample Destruction release! The album will be graced with artwork by Travis Smith, and is due out in mid-June. The track listing is: Take To The Sky, Frozen In Fear, Unworthy, The Silent, The Scarlet Letter, Choir Of Tears, Cold Is The Blade (And The Heart That Wields It), Hidden In My Eyes, Power Surge and All Things Renewed. In related news, the band have recorded a special song in honor of the Colorado Avalanche's playoff run, a version of JUDAS PRIEST's 'You Got Another Thing Coming' with new lyrics commemorating the occasion. The track can be downloaded via the group's official web site: Jag Panzer.
Nuclear Blast will be releasing DEATH's first live album, Live In L.A. (Death & Raw) (Previously titled Live At The Whiskey). The set was recorded on the bands 1999 U.S. tour and will be available on CD, Video and DVD.
More information has surfaced regarding the upcoming benefit show for TESTAMENT vocalist Chuck Billy, who was recently diagnosed with cancer. According to benefit organizer and Chuck's roommate Walter Morgan, the following artists/musicians have agreed to take part in the event, which will be tentatively taking place in San Francisco, California during the first week of July: LEGACY (pre-Testament) reunion, featuring Zetro Souza (vocals), Eric Peterson (guitars), Alex Skolnick (guitars), plus Steve DiGiorgio (bass), John Tempesta (drums) and Steve Smyth (guitars), EXODUS reunion of Bonded By Blood line-up (feat. Paul Baloff on vocals), VIO-LENCE reunion (minus Robb Flynn; with Ray Vegas on guitars), SKINLAB, LAAZ ROCKIT reunion and SADUS
Metal Blade Records circulated the following post from FLOTSAM AND JETSAM bassist Jason Ward, regarding the band's new album, My God, already available on Napster and eBay. It's not due out in the U.S. until May 22nd. Says Ward, "I would have thought it would have taken a bit more time for it to hit the music stores first, but apparently the press copies have made their way there first. All I can hope for is that people like it and we can move some actual product as a result, but I really don't know what will happen. I think our record label my have more to say about it though. It does feel strange to know that the work we have done is now free to anyone who has a PC. Just the time invested alone by the band costs us a bunch, and as it is now Flotsam has a hard enough time paying the bills. It does raise the question of how much more of an impact will this make on the lives of the members in this band who have yet to experience the benefit of a large paycheck for their work. Hopefully what the people who fight for Napster say is true and we will see it translate into more exposure and ultimately record sales. All I know is that musicians now have one more potential obstacle that appears to lower the value of what it is we sell, our music. Either way, it does feel weird to know that a release date seems meaningless now."
MANOWAR has finished assembling the Silver Edition of their classic debut release Battle Hymns, and according to bassist Joey DeMaio, "it looks and sounds totally killer." With 20-bit digital mastering of original tapes taken directly from its vault, the band has created the ultimate version of its debut, which, until now, has been unavailable on CD in many parts of the world. The Silver Edition of Battle Hymns includes a deluxe 20-page booklet designed by heavy metal art director Brian Ames, and features exclusive photographs from the band's archive, interviews with past and present band members, and extensive liner notes written by metal scribe Vinny Cecolini. Manowar will be releasing Silver Editions of some of their other classics, including Into Glory Ride and Hail To England, later this year, featuring the same high quality, limited-edition, deluxe packaging as Battle Hymns. In related news, the band have announced the first signing to its Magic Circle Music imprint: Chicago metallers BLUDGEON. The group's Joey DeMaio produced debut, Crucify The Priest, will be released early this summer and will be distributed worldwide by Metal Blade. "We started Magic Circle Music because we want to find bands who are extreme, heavy and crazy," explains DeMaio. "It is our turn to give these bands the opportunity to record music without interference. Bludgeon, who we met while on tour a few years ago, is an awesome metal force that must be unleashed on the world." Upcoming Magic Circle Music releases include new music from former Manowar members Rhino and David Shankle.
VICIOUS RUMORS original members Dave Starr (bass) and Larry Howe (drums) have reunited for the first time since 1993. The pair are currently in pre-production, along with Larry's wife, Kate French, on lead vocals. The three are working on songs for the next CHASTAIN CD, alongside guitarist David T. Chastain.
SLAYER's upcoming studio album will now be called God Hates Us All. The album is currently being mixed in Vancouver, B.C. with producer Matt Hyde for a July 3rd release on American/Columbia. Guitarist Kerry King told Blabbermouth that the forthcoming effort's "got a lot of fast stuff, but it's got a lot of chunky heavy stuff too." Tentative song titles for the album include: 'Disciple', 'Threshold', 'Addict', 'Exile', 'Payback', 'Seven Faces', 'Godsend Death', 'New Faith', 'Cast Down', 'Scarstruck', 'Here Comes The Pain', 'Deviance', 'Gore Point' and 'Bloodline'. Also, Slayer's long-awaited box set is still being worked on, and it is now said to carry the working title of Soundtracks Of The Apocalypse. The box set is tentatively scheduled to be released in December in two different versions through American/Columbia.
Guitarist Ritchie Wilkinson (DEMONS & WIZARDS) has replaced Bernd Aufermann in ANGEL DUST for the duration of their current tour with NEVERMORE, OPETH and GOD FORBID. The band's next U.S. release will be a reissue of their 1998 album Border Of Reality that includes two bonus tracks. It's due for release on June 12th.
GAMMA RAY will play the Gods Of Metal festival in Milan, Italy on June 9th. Meanwhile, Kai Hansen is currently in the midst of his final tour with IRON SAVIOR. His last show with the band will be at the Rock Machina festival in Valencia, Spain on July 27th.The forthcoming studio album will be titled No World Order, and it will be released in Europe through Metal-Is Records on Monday, September 10th.
TESTAMENT: Here's a bit of disturbing news from the band's website: "Hello TESTAMENT fans, I regretfully have to announce that Chuck Billy has been recently diagnosed with cancer. Fortunately, the doctors have caught it in the earliest stages, and Chuck is very healthy and strong, so the prognosis is EXCELLENT. At this time, Chuck's family and friends would like to ask for your support and prayers. I will set up a special section on the message board where you can send your get-well wishes to Chuck. Also, just wanted to let you know that work on the upcoming projects will still go on as planned. GET WELL, CHUCK! WE KNOW YOU WILL KICK ASS AND BE BACK BETTER THAN EVER! WE LOVE YOU. ~Testament Legions Webmaster". The band's website is located at: Testament Legions
ICED EARTH: Unlike the last couple of platters, Horror Show refrains from any thematic linkage between the tracks, despite an overall fascination with black and white monster movies of the 40s and '50s. Another new leaf overturned is the lack of a preamble, as Jon Schaffer and ICED EARTH head directly into 'Wolf'. "The only consideration I had was whether to put 'Damien' first, instead of 'Wolf'. Ultimately, I felt 'Damien' was a little too epic to open the album, even though it has what I consider to be the best intro I've ever written. Some of the text is so dark, it might have freaked out people who are new to the band. Maybe those listeners will make it to 'Ghost Of Freedom' and see there's another flavor." The album is scheduled for North American release on June 26th and Iced Earth will remain dormant until well after Horror Show is in stores. "We were talking about doing a record release show in Chicago, which isn't completely out of the question. With everyone living in different parts of the country,getting everyone together, for one gig, is pretty expensive. It requires a lot of rehearsing, which means time away from work, for the guys who have work. Otherwise, we're not going out until August. We're going to try to do a four month world tour, in one shot, not go out, do Europe, come home for a month, then do a few weeks in the States. We'll try to knock it all out at once." Some of the delay is dictated by Schaffer's continued recuperation from neck surgery, but he's also planning the next Demons & Wizard record, as well as shopping for a new deal and maybe even penning some tracks for the NEXT Iced Earth effort! Either way, it will be a while before he has to deal with Horror Show again, which is just fine by him. "I haven't listened to it in about five weeks. I'm sick of it. I have to get away from it for a while. When it gets closer to time to tour, I'll get back in and start rehearsing, but I've heard it about twenty thousand times! I've had enough for a while, but I hope to have the next Iced Earth record out a year, year and a half after this one."
ARMORED SAINT: On June 11th ARMORED SAINT's rarities album, Nod To The Old School, will be released through Metal Blade. The first edition will be a double CD limited to 10.000 copies. When that one is sold out there will be a regular version with less tracks and video-clips. The limited edition tracklisting: 'Swagger' (new song), 'Unstable' (new song), 'Day Of The Eagle' (ROBIN TROWER cover), 'Never Satisfied', 'March Of The Saint' (new version), 'Creepy Feelings' (live), After Me The Flood' (live), 'Tainted Past' (acoustic version), 'Lesson Well Learned' (original EP version), 'False Alarm' (original EP version), 'On The Way' (original EP version), 'Stricken By Fate' (from EP sessions), 'Reign Of Fire' ('89 studio demo w/Dave Prichard), 'People' ('89 four track demo), 'Pirates' ('89 four track demo), 'Midieval Nighmares' ('89 four track demo), 'Nothing Between The Ears' ('89 four track demo), 'Get Lost' ('89 four track demo). The CDR files include two live videos from the Whiskey in 2000, the 'Reign Of Fire' video and the 'Last Train Home' video. The U.S. version will only have 14 songs and two live videos.
After years of silence, Sweden's DIMENSION ZERO, featuring IN FLAMES guitarist Jesper Stromblad and ex-In Flames axeman Glenn Ljungstrom, have decided to make their first full-length album. The CD is tentatively scheduled to be recorded in August 2001 and issued in early 2002.
JUDAS PRIEST's Glen Tipton released the following statement to www.judaspriest.com, "As you know the first segment of the tour has been announced and we are now putting together the American dates and second leg of Europe after which we will cross to South America and Japan and then work on dates for the rest of the world! We're all excited about getting back on the road where Priest belong playing old and new songs and some tracks off the new album which we are in the process of mixing. It's going to be difficult to finally decide what songs go in the 2001 set as there are so many of our favorites and everyone's favorites but we know that whatever we play we'll give 200%!!! We can't wait to get on the road again so hang in there and we'll see you all soon!" Some songs to be included on Demolition: 'Machine Man', 'In Between', 'Lost And Found', 'One On One', 'Feed On Me' and 'Metal Messiah'. Priest have confirmed that SAVATAGE will be the opening act on their European tour. Japanese sources say that the forthcoming album, Demolition, is set to be released in Japan on July 14th through Victor and it will include one exclusive bonus track.
JAG PANZER's Mark Briody speaks: "The new album, Mechanized Warfare, is complete and should be out in June on Century Media. We're jokingly calling it an 'anti-concept' album because musically and lyrically it covers a lot of ground. It's 100% new material, not leftover Thane stuff. No cover tunes or older songs either. Lots more harmony guitar and double bass. 2 mp3's coming soon online. We're also recording our April 7th show for a live EP release on King Fowley's Old Metal Records".
Legendary producer/engineer, Neil Kernon, will be producing/recording the new ION VEIN album. Neil has worked with many great bands over the years including QUEENSRYCHE, QUEEN, JUDAS PRIEST, YES, DOKKEN, NEVERMORE and many more. The band will be entering the studio with Neil in late April/early May.
Guitarist JAMES MURPHY has relocated to Florida after a several-year stint in the San Francisco Bay Area, and has apparently reformed DISINCARNATE with original vocalist Bryan Cegon, who sang on the group's sole CD, 1993's Dreams Of The Carrion Kind. The band is presently working on new material, with hopes in securing a deal with a new label and seeing a release later this year.
SOILWORK: Just after the release of their third full-length album, A Predator's Portrait, keyboardist Carlos Del Olmo Holmberg decided he no longer wanted to be a part of Soilwork. "I've decided to leave Soilwork," said Del Olmo Holmberg in a recent Soilwork press release. "I've had many thoughts about the touring life and I found out that i'm not the touring kind of guy." Although, keyboards are not prominent in the Soilwork dynamic, the band will continue without keyboards for their European tour with Nevermore. However, the keyboardist did reaffirm fans that he'll still be a part of the band in a non-musical capacity. "But i'm still going to be a diehard Soilworker (I personally think Soilwork is the best metalband around) and as they are my best freinds not very much will change, exept that I don´t play in the band," Carlos said regarding his position outside Soilwork. "I'm still going to be (sic) activ on the forum, keep all thoose news about Soilwork posted as soon as there is some and i'm going to (hopefully) continue doing the artwork for them." Soilwork's A Predator's Portrait is in stores now.
NEVERMORE: Even after years of touring experience, the road still holds surprises for the members of NEVERMORE. Having wrapped up the first leg of the Dead Heart In A Dead World European tour, singer Warrel Dane and his cohorts were looking forward to a four day break before hitting the metal trail with Dimmu Borgir, In Flames, Lacuna Coil and Susperia. For Dane it meant recovering from a cold that threatened to jeopardize what turned out to be a killer show. Prior to this, Dane offered up one particularly memorable episode directly related to his being sick. "Well, we've got that rolling lab experiment thing happening with everyone on the bus," says Dane. "When we were leaving Switzerland, three of us (Dane, bassist Jim Sheppard and guitarist Jeff Loomis) were down with a cold, so we went to the doctor and he gave us a bottle of cold medicine. The bus got stopped at the Romanian border and they gave us a hassle on account of the bottle; took us forever to set things straight since, supposedly, no one could read the label. Then, that night we found out that Romanian television had been broadcasting about the evils of heavy metal and reported on a drug bust at the border! And it was a bottle of cold medicine! Just plain weird, but we probably shouldn't be surprised...."
TIMO TOLKKI: Stratovarius guitarist and founder Timo Tolkki is putting all the elements together to record his second solo album, titled Hymn To Life, in April. Scheduled to be recorded at Hastholmen Estate - the same studio where Stratovarius demoed the Infinite album - Tolkki will handle all production himself. He will take the finished recordings to Finnvox (Amorphis, HIM) for the final mastering. Apparently, the beloved guitarist has 17 songs ready for the album, but doubts whether all of the tracks will make it on Hymn To Life. Tolkki will perform all guitar, bass and vocal duties with drummer Anssi Nykanen and keyboardist Mika Ervaskari (ex-Stratovarious) helping to fill in the instrumental gap. Some tracks include: "Hymn to Life," "Soul Searching," "Now I Understand," "Dear God," "Little Boy I Miss You," "Father," "Divine," "Fresh Blue Waters," "Love Conquers All," "It´s XMas Morning" and "Key to the Universe." It's far off, but Hymn To Life will see a January 2002 release.
Scott Ian (ANTHRAX/S.O.D.) recently released the following report on his bands, "S.O.D. news? We have a Sgt.D figure coming out through 21st Century Toys, the people that brought you The Ultimate Soldier and Urban Terrorist lines. He's looking good and dead. Fully poseable and articulated zombie body. Of course our film, Kill Yourself: The Movie is in stores now on DVD and VHS. We were nominated for an Academy Award, documentary long form category but we lost to some retarded painters. No other news to report. Oh, maybe some Japanese dates in the fall. New album, 2006. Anthrax news? We just received the final draft of our record deal with Beyond/BMG. We will probably sign this week after going over it with a fine tooth comb. We'll start work on the next record in June. We've already got two things kind of together from some jams back in November. We just did a scoring session with John Carpenter for his new film, Ghosts Of Mars. We scored eight scenes in the movie with what he called "psychotic metal." It was fun and we hope to be able to do more of this stuff in the future. If Danny Elfman can do it, why not us? The movie comes out August 24th and it stars Ice Cube, Natasha Henstridge, Jason Statham and Pam Grier. Music to kill humans by."
CRADLE OF FILTH: Striking the iron while it's still hot, England's Cradle Of Filth is making moves to release an Ep's worth of material on their own label, AbraCadaver, this spring. Titled, Bitter Suites to Succubi, the Ep will feature four new tracks and three older tracks, re-recorded to the current Cradle Of Filth level of sophistication. According to the band's website, www.theorderofthedragon.com, fans requested the band to re-work older songs. One of the songs to get an entire sequel was "Black Goddess" off Cradle Of Filth's debut album, The Principle Of Evil Made Flesh. Titled, "Black Goddess II - Ebon Nemesis," the song features the essense of the original, but is taken to new atmospheric and extreme heights. The tracklist: "Dinner at Deviant's Palace," "All Hope In Eclipse," "Born In A Burial Gown," "Suicide And Other Comforts," "Black Goddess II - Ebon Nemesis," "The Principle Of Evil Made Flesh" and "Summer Dying Fast." Expect Bitter Suites to Succubi to be in stores May 22.
Twisted but true, WEA release the Various Artists compilation, A Tribute To ABBA, on April 2nd. The first pressing of the CD will come in a limited edition digipak. Artists on the album include THERION, METALIUM, SINERGY, AT VANCE, MORGANA LEFAY and more.
Believe or not, but OZZY OSBOURNE is upset at his catalogue remasters and wants them REISSUED (!) this year, complete with bonus tracks. Starting on June 12, Blizzard Of Ozz, Bark At The Moon, No Rest For The Wicked and No More Tears is getting updated! No details on the extra material being added or when the rest of the catalogue is due.
KATAKLYSM: Canadian death metallers Kataklysm have finished recording their newest full-length, Epic (The Poetry of War), for Germany's Nuclear Blast Records. Recorded at Victor Studio, producer JF Dagenais helped bring Kataklysm's 'Nothern Hyperblast' to even more powerful levels. The Tracklisting: "Il Diavolo in me," "Shivers of a New World," "Era of the mercyless (Roma Part 1)," "As the Glorious Weep (Roma Part 2)," "Damnation is Here," " Manipulator of Souls," "Wounds," "What We Endure" and "When Time Stands Still..."
THE CROWN: After losing frontman Johan Lindstrand only a month prior, the member search for a new vocalist is now over. Replacing Lindstrand is Tomas Lindberg (Skit System, The Great Deceiver, ex-At The Gates). "We have already started working on new songs and Tomas will participate in the lyric writing and vocal arrangements, so this will definitely add a new infernal dimension into "The Crown sound," a press release on the band's website stated. "The Crown suddenly got deadlier..." Lindberg joined when the timing was right. The Crown is already working on the follow-up to their Metal Blade released Deathrace King, which they started writing last year on the myriad of tours that caused previous vocalist Lindstrand to leave. "Magnus called me up when Johan decided to quit and he basically said that I was the only option," said a surprised Lindberg. "As I have been a close friend to the band since day one (as well as one of their many fans) - what could I say, I didn´t want to disappoint my friends (haha) and I liked the challenge. After that they had made clear that they wanted me to be part not only on the recording of next album, but also the writing process of the same, it was an easy decision for me." Many Swedish death metal fans have looked for a release similar in aggression to Lindberg's old band At The Gates. Now, perhaps, they have fix. "I look forward to some truly brutal Death Metal years to come," the excitable frontman said. "I hope you do too..."
NILE: Chief Spires, bassist of NILE, has parted ways with the critically acclaimed band upon return from their European headlining tour. Spires cites creative differences as the reason for the split and wishes to thank all the NILE fans worldwide for the years of support. The band will soon announce a replacement and upcoming summer tour plans, and wishes Spires the best in any of his future musical endeavors. For more information please contact Carl Schultz at (610)734-1000 extension 103 or email@example.com
IN FLAMES: Sweden's In Flames is the latest entrant in the race to put out a live album. Titled, The Tokyo Showdown the live album was recorded on the band's Japanese tour last year. In Flames follows many of their peers with the release of The Tokyo Showdown. Arch Enemy and Children of Bodom have released live albums recorded on Japanese tours. While no tracklisting was given, The Tokyo Showdown is currently at the mixing stage in the studio. No release date has been set, but In Flames are also working on material for the follow-up to the massively heralded Clayman album. And in related news, as if the new In Flames and Sentenced albums weren't enough to keep certain members busy, guitarist Jesper Strömblad (In Flames) and vocalist Ville Laihiala (Sentenced) have come together to form a new band. No stylistic announcement has been nor has their been any mention of the band's other members. In fact, the two Northern European metallers have been tight-lipped about the name of this new project. Although no label deal has been struck with the supergroup, Strömblad and Laihiala are working on material for 2002 release. We'll have more information on the project as it happens.
ANTHRAX' Charlie Benante and Scott Ian recently posted some quotes regarding their work on John Carpenter's Ghosts Of Mars film at www.anthrax.com. "The sessions with John Carpenter were great. We did eight pieces of music. It's really good. The movie looks great. There's never been anything this heavy in a movie before. Perfect for the scenes. Music to decapitate by." The film, which stars Ice Cube and Natasha Henstridge, is set for release on August 24th.
EMPEROR: Here is the latest news on Emperor’s productivity from Ihsahn himself: “So, what’s new from the Emperor camp? Well, since IX Equilibrium and the subsequent touring, the three of us have been busy indulging in other musical environments. Thus avoiding the trap of monotony and exploring more territory in the vast landscapes of music. Nonetheless, and I cannot help myself from saying this, again it’s time for The Emperors Return. (Hey, was that a prediction or just a cliché? It’s pompous, but it works, he, he). Yes, nine (IX) songs are ready for the fourth Emperor album. A main title is still not decided, but among the songs you will find; “The Eruption”, “The Prophet” and “Depraved”. So, what can I say about the new stuff? Lyrically, it will be somehow different, as it is more concretely concept-based than what we have done before. As a natural consequence of the band’s work over the last decade, I think the music involves many sides of what Emperor has been doing up till now, but, since I would hate to stagnate and repeat myself, I hope many new aspects will come to the surface too. Apart from this, it would be hard (and unnecessary) to give a deeper description of the next Emperor album. There is still a lot of work to be done with the final arrangements and the actual production, so we can only promise that we will do our best. When? Well, we aim to release this album Spring 2001, but nothing is definitely set. We’ll try to keep you updated when things start falling into place. So, be prepared. Before you know it, “The Empocalypse will be upon Thee”. Yours Sincerely, IHSAHN
DARK TRANQUILITY: The band is currently busy writing new songs for their sixth album (untitled). The material is still in a very early stage so it's impossible to give any predictions regarding the nature of the music, but as usual the band will offer an album that is different from their earlier efforts. They are also looking into working on a rarities/B-sides/covers release, but no official concrete plans have been made for it.
IRON SAVIOR: After a number of years sporting his legendary guitar technique under the Iron Savior banner, guitarist Kai Hansen (Gamma Ray, ex-Helloween) is leaving the band. "No, no... we did not quarrel, did not threw things at each other and there was no bloodshed either," said Hansen in a Noise Records press release. "We still like each other very much. And as we don't want our friendship to be destroyed we have decided to take this unpopular though necessary step." The former Helloween axeman joined Iron Savior in 1997 to further the metal cause, and work with producer Piet Sielck (Blind Guardian, Grave Digger). However, as both Gamma Ray and Iron Savior increased in visibility, scheduling conflicts started to affect both bands. "Sometimes it is difficult to separate friendship from business affairs as it is necessary. The constant Gamma Ray/Iron Savior conflict could damage our friendship," Hansen continued. "We are no longer willing to take that risk." To celebrate the guitarist's departure, Iron Savior will hold a party at the end of the Dark Assault tour in Europe. The details are sketchy, but expect lots of guest musicians and a longer set from the Iron Savior final show. Founding member Sielck hasn't revealed who the new guitarist is, but rumors are abound that the band will continue with three guitarists ala Iron Maiden.
SLAYER are currently working on their forthcoming album at Warehouse Studios in Vancouver with producer Matt Hyde. One of the working titles for the record is Soundtracks Of The Apocalypse. 17 songs have been written and the band are currently working on 14 to be included on the record. The remainder will be used as bonus tracks or for use with a future EP. Tracks include: 'Threshold', 'Disciple', 'Addict', 'Exile', 'Payback', 'Seven Faces', 'Godsend Death', 'New Faith', 'Deviance', 'Scarstruck', 'Here Comes The Pain' (a reworked version of the WCW tune), 'Gore Point' and Warzone'. Frontman Tom Araya is presently laying down his vocal tracks. Guitarists Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman and drummer Paul Bostaph have finished their parts. Watch for the album to drop in the spring, most likely May. In June Slayer co-headline a North American tour with PANTERA and STATIC X opening. As for the Slayer box set - DON'T hold your breath. Both box sets are currently on hold and maybe released next year at the earliest.
SAVATAGE guitarist Chris Caffery sat down with BW&BK recently to discuss their new album, Poets And Madmen, and the insanity surrounding it, including the acquisition of new singer Damon Jiniya, who fills Zack Stevens' shoes after a long search for the right voice. "Damond is definitely a star," says Caffery. "He walked into the room and I thought, 'If this kid can sing one note, he's going to be brilliant,' because he just has that Sebastian Bach kind of electricity when he walks into a room. It's a great thing. He's a ball of charisma and he's a great singer. I got the chance to go out in the city with him and jam with a cover band, and I went up and played one song with him. We were going to do a Sava-tune but I wanted to see him in front of people, and he was amazing to watch. He intimidated all the people in the audience just by staring them down; he's got a strong look and a great voice. Damond reminds me of a cross between Sebastian Bach and The Crow; he's definitely going to be a surprise for people when he's on stage. Caffery is brutally honest about the fact that with Jiniya firmly in place, any fears about the fans not taking to a replacement for Stevens have been laid to rest. "Nothing against Zack, but I think this kid is brilliant. I think, if anything, people are going to be blown away by him. His voice is very similar to Zack's but he's definitely a different type of animal."
HEAVENLY guitarist Chris Savourey has quit the band. His replacement is Frédéric Leclercq, who played keyboards on the tour with STRATOVARIUS. The band have begun recording their new album. The drum parts were recorded in Denmark, at the Jailhouse Studio, with Tommy Hansen and the bass parts were recorded in Paris, in the band's studio, where the rest of the album will be recorded. The mix will be done by Tommy Hansen in Denmark. The album will feature 10 songs. Titles include: 'Sign Of The Winner', 'Condamned To Die', 'Destiny', 'Still Believe', 'The Sandman', 'The World Will Be Better', 'The Angel' and 'Words Of Change'. The album will be released through Noise in the beginning of September.
ARCH ENEMY: The long held veil of secrecy around the identity of the new vocalist, has finally been lifted. So who is it? Her name is Angela Gossow. Surprised? Here's what she has to say about her new role: "Hail all ARCH ENEMIES! So the truth comes out at last… I have been a bit nervous over the last few weeks about your reaction on my vocals… But looking at the feedback on the site –wow!- I can't begin to tell you, how HAPPY I am right now!!! I guess, you will be slightly surprised when you see my picture and read my name. The new Arch Enemy vocalist is a SHE – from Germany…haha! So let me introduce myself to you… I am not new to the metal scene, though I will be an unknown name for most of you. Actually, I started to growl in 1991 in 2 pretty unknown bands (Asmodina & Mistress). I used to be a true underground-warrior, for nearly 10 years without reaching a break-through point really… The reasons? My former bands played quite extreme death-metal, the German metal-scene is totally overcrowded and I am female. It is still not so easy for woman to be accepted in the metal-scene. So how did she get the job in Arch Enemy you may wonder?! This is a story about a long chain of coincidences. I made an interview with Michael in 1999, for a metal-mag I used to work for. I told him about my band and he asked for a tape. I send him this tape plus a bad-quality live-video. How they came to think of me one year later when they decided to split with Johan, I really don't understand myself. Apparently, it was Chris' idea. I'd better let him or Michael tell this part of the story, to explain what went on in their crazy brains… So I got this phone call in November 2000 – if I am interested in rehearsing with Arch Enemy. YESSSSSSS!!! I packed my stuff, flew over, rehearsed (it went really well) and 3 weeks later I found myself in the Fredman Studios…CRAZY! After one week of hard work (never experienced so much positive torture before ;-) I was an accepted member of the AE-division. Sometimes dreams come true… We didn't reveal my identity until now because we wanted you to judge the music first. The bands' choice of vocalist is based on musical skills, not on my sex. And I loved to read your suggestions about the new singer… I am sorry, I am not Jeff Walker ;-) But he is one of my favourite singers, along with people like David Vincent (ex. Morbid Angel) and Tom Araya! A big THANK YOU for your massive response, I am like you – a fan of brutal metal. And I am happy to be here, playing with some of the best guys around! I am really looking forward to see you all soon on the "Wages Of Sin" world tour!!! 'Til then feel free to contact me per mail: firstname.lastname@example.org You are the true METAL MONSTERS! " Angela March 5th 2001
Add SAVATAGE guitarist to the mile long resume of the ubiquitous Jack Frost (SEVEN WITCHES/BRONX CASKET CO./SPEEED/ex-METALIUM). ’"I can't believe they picked me," says the humbled Jersey native. "I went to see SYMPHONY X the other night and (Chris) Caffery comes over to me and says, 'Pick up the (cell) phone.' It was (Jon) Oliva and (Paul) O'Neill. They said, 'What are you doing for the rest of your life?' I said, 'I guess I'm playing in Savatage!' It's so strange. During the auditions, when we were playing 'Chance', I looked over at Oliva singing and I thought I was a kid again. I've got a lot of work ahead of me, we're doing like 38 songs, either entirely, or as parts of a medley, but it's not like Metalium, where I never heard a song before I joined. I know these songs, I'm a fan. I was singing along with them in practice." In related news, a special limited European version of SAVATAGE's Poets And Madmen is due on SPV. The disc features the bonus track, 'Jesus Saves, recorded live in Neu Isenberg, Germany, on October 29th, 1997, plus a CD-ROM portion with the 'Handful Of Rain' video. The album will come in a special box with a poster and stickers. Savatage are rumored to joining a possible JUDAS PRIEST, DIO, SCORPIONS tour this summer for North America. Savatage have been confirmed to open up for Priest in Europe this summer.
THE CROWN: In the Big Pile 'O Crap news, Johan Lindstrand decided to leave the band in early February after 10 years down the road. Read the reason why, written by Johan himself: "I'm very sorry to announce that I´m leaving the band. The reason is mainly because of all touring. I don´t really have the time to be on the road that much, wich of course has a very high priority in The Crown. The band can become violently big for sure. I really hope so. They are all great guys. My best friends, but I can´t combine the bands development with my private life, and that feels a bit tragic after ten years of total fun and hard work. With or without me they are a great force that will keep on marching forward and I think the new vocalist will do just fine. Maybe better!!!! During my time I´ve heard some extreme compliments that has meant a lot to me and the band so I just want to thank everybody that has pushed us further and that has put us in todays position. CHEERS!!!!! And to all guys at Metal Blade: You´ve done a great job so far. Don´t stop doing it. That´s an order!! See you all in the future. I also want to say that my mission of death is not over yet just because I´m quitting the band. I will continue to spread death metal mayhem in the future in one way or another. Perhaps not in that big league but I WILL LIVE AGAIN!!! Finally I want to say thanks to my brothers of death: Janne, Marcus, Marko and Magnus. YOU´RE THE GREATEST. GOOD FUCKIN´ LUCK IN THE FUTURE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Johan Lindstrand, straight from hell 2001-01-27". And from the band: "Since the rest of us feel that we still have A LOT to offer, we simply refuse to call it a day yet. A monster album on its way... The Crown will continue doing what they do best: release more quality albums, tour around the world and kick everyone´s asses. We are right now trying out a new singer. More details soon. Since Johans departure isn´t because of any "I hate you" reasons, we still are good friends. And we really wish all the best for the man, and hope that we still have many good drinking sessions ahead of us. 10 years of Metal mayhem will not be forgotten easily. A new era has begun..."
It's official, FLOTSAM AND JETSAM's forthcoming album WILL be titled My God. The album contains 11 songs plus one hidden track which will be an acoustic version of a song on the album. The band promises that "anybody disappointed with the last two CDs have nothing to fear, this is a classic metal album that sounds fresh. The last two CDs were not a mistake, but just the wrong direction for the band."
DREAM THEATER: The following is a message from Mike Portnoy from www.dreamtheater.net. "Hi all. Just wanted to fill y'all in: Dream Theater will enter Bear Tracks studios in New York at the beginning of this month to begin work on the follow up to Scenes From A Memory. The new album will once again be self-produced and the band will once again be using engineer Doug Oberkircher who has worked with the band on Scenes..., Images And Words and "A Change Of Seasons. The band is planning on writing in the studio as they did for their last CD as well as the two Liquid Tension Experiment CD's. Studio time is booked through the summer and there is no release date yet scheduled." And regarding the band's upcoming Metropolis 2000: Scenes From New York DVD release: "I am extremely sorry to announce that due to errors in the DVD authoring process, the release date of Metropolis 2000: Scenes From New York has once again been delayed to April 24th, 2001. I am furious over these errors which were out of my hands and I am just as disappointed as any of you in having to wait to share this great DVD with you all. I must stress that the delay has absolutely nothing to do with any errors or dissatisfaction on mine or the record company's behalf. They were stricly technical errors in the authoring process which forced me to pull the plug on production until the errors were corrected. I know what a disappointment this is, but it will be worth the wait when the product is finally released in April. In the meantime to tide you over, keep an eye on dreamtheater.net in the coming weeks for an M2000 Trailer to give you all a sneak preview!"
DEVIN TOWNSEND is booked to enter the studio in early February to begin recording his next album, Terria. He has been rehearsing with Gene and will also be joined in the studio by Craig McFarland from San Francisco band M.I.R.V. Devin is very excited about the album describing it as being to earth what Ocean Machine was to water. The album should be finished in June or July. The Ocean Machine and Infinity albums have now been re-issued through InsideOut in Europe. In regards to a third STRAPPING YOUNG LAD album, Devin has the following to say, "ahem... Howdy partners! This is Dev. I am terrible at writing, but here goes... Strapping... I'm spent on it for the moment. No internal problems, nothing dramatic, it's just that as I get older, I find myself feeling a lot different than when that music was written, and have since resolved a lot of those issues. As opposed to releasing shit versions of Strapping, put out just to have an excuse to tour and ruining whatever credibility we may have gained for ourselves, I am letting SYL go into indefinite hibernation. It was a lot of fun. Perhaps in the future, if I feel the need, there will be another heavy record, but until such time that I can make a better one than City...f**k it. I have other things to do that interest me more. Here's what's going to happen: SYL, Physicist, Infinity, Ocean Machine tours. We'll do that, just to wrap things up. We're planning to go through Europe and Asia (including Australia) doing this through till the end of this year (give or take...). Then, something different. I need change, and I feel that I can no longer be in a 'band' situation. I want to follow a path as a solo artist, and hire musicians to play on my records and tour. Who those musicians are will probably be different with each release. For those whose favourite thing was SYL, I hope the upcoming tours will come to your town, and I hope you'll understand that in my opinion, leaving it go is much better than making shit records. I can't do it right now, I don't want to do it now, and I want to be represented by something that I feel has more musical growth potential for the future...enter Terria, I hope you'll like it. Kisses and all that...-Devin."
KAMELOT: Just back from sessions at Wolfsburg Studio in Germany, KAMELOT's Thom Youngblood is happy to be back in Florida. "I missed the weather," says the native, on an usually warm, 80 degree February day. "This album might just be the death of me,'" threatens the guitarist. The label wants it done by February 28th, but I don't know, there's still alot to be done: choirs, a guy is going to play violin on there... They are really excited. We're one of two priority bands on the label. We're playing the Bang Your Head festival in Germany and Rock Machina, in Spain. They're talking about doubling the sales of The Fourth Legacy with this one, which would take us over 100,000!"
AGENT STEEL has been in the writing stages for sometime and plan on entering the studio in the coming months to record the follow up to Omega Conspiracy. The new songs are said to be more true metal, and much heavier than ever with a full on speed metal assault. Vocalist Bruce Hall had this to say about the album's producer, Andy Sneap, "We recently found out that Andy was a longtime Agent Steel fan and used to tape us off the BBC radio shows". "We are very pleased with the new material; the song writing has taken a little longer than planned but it's definetely gonna be worth the wait....we anticipate a Summer/early 3rd quarter 2001 release date" quotes guitarist Juan Garcia. The band will also be performing at the Classic Metal Festival in Kalamazoo, Michigan on Saturday, June 16th. Also on the bill are: PREMONITION(I kid you not), ABATTOIR, JACOBS DREAM, EXCITER, ANVIL, STEEL PROPHET, NEW EDEN and many others.
According to the IN FLAMES website, www.inflames.com, Peter is back in the band, and he's back to stay, no more parental leave, no more fill in bassplayers. This year the band will do some of the biggest festivals and some of the best touring with the best bands. They will also do another record. Meanwhile, a video for 'Only The Weak' will be recorded and released shortly.
ANGRA: According to BW&BK Brazil, SYMBOLS' Eduardo Falaschi is ANGRA's new singer, and their new drummer is Aquiles Priester, who was featured on DI'ANNO'S Nomad album. Although they have booked some gigs, they have yet to announce who their bass player will be, with guitarist Kiko wanting a "simpler" player. Keyboards will be covered by Fabio Riberiro from the Fireworks tour. The band's new sound is said to be "much heavier and less keyboard oriented".
MEGADETH: According to the band, the forthcoming album, The World Needs A Hero, will include nine songs that were recorded back in the beginning of 2000. Included in those nine songs is 'Dread And The Fugitive Mind' which appeared on both Capitol Punishment: The Megadeth Years. There are 12 tracks total on the new release, and 13 on the Japanese import. Four NEW tracks have been added. The whole album was remastered which means that the songs that were already recorded will be slightly different than they were going to be originally. In addition, some of the songs were ammended/reworked so this album is going to be full of all "new" Mega-tunes. Here is the track listing. (*) designates the four tracks that were recorded in the second session in late 2000: 'Burning Bridges'*, 'The World Needs A Hero', 'Moto-Psycho', 'Disconnect'*, '1000 Times Goodbye', 'Promises', 'Recipe For Hate...Warhorse'*, 'Losing My Senses', 'Dread And The Fugitive Mind', 'Silent Scorn' (instrumental)*, 'Return To The Hangar' and 'When'. The Japanese bonus track is 'Coming Home'. Under the band's new contract with Sanctuary Records, the record will be released in North America on Tuesday 15th May and on Sanctuary's Metal-is label throughout the rest of the world on Monday 14th May. "I think that the world needs a hero because there are no more rock stars, Axl (Rose) killed that," frontman/guitarist Dave Mustaine said. "What the world needs is an enema but there are too many assholes in the world to choose from to know where to put the hose, so a hero would be my second choice. It's kind of hard to find a rhyme for 'enema." Mustaine is bursting with enthusiasm as "Megadeth has been completely deloused - new label, new management, new road crew - in fact everything has changed," Mustaine said. Joined by new guitarist Al Pitrelli, bassist David Ellefson and drummer Jimmy DeGrasso, Mustaine says that Megadeth became a cohesive four-man army in the studio. And with the bands dwindling popularity (Risk sold about half as many units as Cryptic Writings around the world), it is time for a return to the roots. Basically, no one was welcome into the studio, and if they did get in we tried not to let them influence us. Feed us, sure - but anything else - forget about it!" said Mustaine. Mustaine says that The World Needs A Hero is "nothing like Risk. "I think that the title was a warning that we were taking a 'risk' with the record. Only a daft punk would not have noticed that disclaimer. Let's just say the odds are increasing in our favour that this is a fans' record," Mustaine explained. In between recording and mixing the record, Mustaine starred in a new science fiction program, Black Scorpion, which will be broadcast in the United States on the Sci Fi Channel on February 2. In the episode, Mustaine plays an arsonist named Torchy Thompson who is pursued by a character he has inadvertently turned into a superhero after throwing him into a nuclear reactor. Typically amused by the interest in his role the film, Mustaine wryly observed on his casting, "I guess I saw it as a good way to put my martial arts to some use!" Megadeth will embark on a world tour shortly after the release of The World Needs A Hero.
TESTAMENT are in the studio working on tracks for a Spring/Summer release, to be produced by Andy Sneap. The band are also planning re-recordings of their first few Megaforce albums. "We're planning to re-do the best tunes from the early records, only it'll sound better with current technology and our current lineup, which kicks ass," states Eric Peterson. Tracks include: 'First Strike Is Deadly', 'Into The Pit', 'C.O.T.L.O.D.', 'The Haunting' and 'Over The Wall'. Guitarist Eric Peterson says the sessions are "gonna sound CRUSHING." That project is scheduled to be released in limited edition before the new studio album. Alex Skolnick will be part of this recording as well, but only for the older recordings. Says singer Chuck Billy, "We thought we would ask Alex if he would like to do this for the fans, and he was totally into it! Plus I think the true fans would dig Alex playing his original parts, since his leads are so awesome on that stuff." Peterson's first solo project, DRAGONLORD, is also nearing completion. "The ironic thing is, almost all the guys I recorded this disc with ended up in Testament! The music is totally different from Testament. It's way more gothic, classically influenced melodic music, with strings, a choir, harpsichords and lots of screaming and hair pulling. The sound is kinda DIMMU BORGIR crossed with EMPEROR. Dragonlord features keyboardist Lyle Livingston (PSYPHERIA), drummer John Allen (ex-SADUS), bassist Steve DiGiorgio (ex-DEATH/ICED EARTH) and guitarist Steve Smyth (ex-VICIOUS RUMORS. The disc is produced by Peter Tagtren.
HALFORD's forthcoming live album, Live Insurrection, was recorded at a December gig at London's LA2, the same show that saw BRUCE DICKINSON and QUEENSRYCHE's Geoff Tate join Halford on stage for a rendition of 'The One You Love To Hate'. The album will have the following tracklisting: 'Resurrection', 'Raise Some Hell', 'Locked And Loaded', 'Into The Pit', 'Nailed To The Gun', 'Stained Class', 'Jawbreaker', 'Running Wild', 'Saviour', 'Silent Screams', 'Cyberworld', 'Night Fall', 'The Hellion/Electric Eye', 'Riding On The Wind', 'Genocide', 'Beyond The Realms Of Death', 'Metal God', 'Breaking The Law', 'Tyrant' and 'The One You Love To Hate'.
INCANTATION: Not only one of the first death metal bands period, but one of the first bands on Relapse Records. Well, the label's relationship with the band has finally run it's course. After 4 full cds and various 7"s and mcds, Relapse have released the band of their contract. It has been worked it out so that they can finish their deal through Necropolis Records. The exact reasons behind the split are still to be revealed.
ARMORED SAINT: In early summer the band will release the tentatively titled "Old School: Unboxed", a collection of unreleased material, alternate takes, live tracks and two brand new songs. Some of the material dates back to 1988.
According to www.gamma-ray.com, Kai Hansen and Dirk Schlachter are mixing the new album from TARAXACUM, and once that's done the band will reconvene for work on the next GAMMA RAY album. Hansen already has four new songs written and the record will be a concept album based on a book penned by a Gamma Ray fan.
Columbia plans to reissue/remaster the ENTIRE JUDAS PRIEST catalogue beginning in April. The albums will appear in three stages. One of the albums in the third and final phase will come with a box set that will have room for all of them. Sources say that there WILL be some sort of bonus material on them.
DEVIN TOWNSEND will enter the studio at the beginning of February to record his next album, Terria. Devin says the album is "similar to Ocean Machine but as Ocean Machine was to water, Terria is to earth." The album could be ready for release as early as June or July. The InsideOut label are preparing to re-issue the Ocean Machine and Infinity albums on January 29th. Devin has also recorded a song for a Japanese sci-fi show soundtrack. The track may be released in the future on an EP. Devin says that he's putting STRAPPING YOUNG LAD "into indefinite hibernation. It was a lot of fun. Perhaps in the future, if I feel the need, there will be another heavy record, but until such time that I can make a better one than City...f**k it. I have other things to do that interest me more. Here's what's going to happen: SYL, Physicist, Infinity, Ocean Machine tours. We'll do that, just to wrap things up. We're planning to go through Europe and Asia (including Australia) doing this through till the end of this year (give or take...). Then, something different. I need change, and I feel that I can no longer be in a 'band' situation. I want to follow a path as a solo artist, and hire musicians to play on my records and tour. Who those musicians are will probably be different with each release. I hope you'll understand that in my opinion, leaving it go is much better than making shit records. I can't do it right now, I don't want to do it now, and I want to be represented by something that I feel has more musical growth potential for the future...enter Terria, I hope you'll like it."
Sanctuary Records(In their continuing buyout frenzy) have bought out Modern Music. Bands that have been on the Noise and T&T labels will remain as such, although the Noise roster is expected to expand. The new branch is officially known as Sanctuary GmbH. Talk about a monopoly...
SONATA ARCTICA bassist Janne Kivilahti has left the band for personal reasons. He was immediately replaced by Marko Paasikoski. The band will start the recording of their second studio album sometime soon, hoping to release it in July.
DREAM THEATER: To set the record straight regarding the forthcoming VHS/DVD. The VHS video version will only include the entire Scenes From A Memory album, performed live. The DVD will include that same performance, as well as an hour or so of bonus music and more. Mike Portnoy himself is overseeing both releases.
ICED EARTH'S Jon Schaffer recently posted the following studio update at www.icedearth.com. The band are currently working with Jim Morris on their forthcoming album Horror Show. "One thing for me on this record is that I'm sort of burnt on it," he states. "I've been working so hard in trying to get it perfect. I've been working on these songs by myself for so long. I've heard them a million times. The computers help and when Jim joins us, it makes it a lot easier. Definitely lets you appreciate an engineer. In contrast to Something Wicked it's been a challenge to develop these ideas. I've also had a very challenging year. So many things have been going on. The Demons and Wizards album and tour, the operation with my neck, my divorce and just so many things. It's been a fucked up year and great year at the same time. I've worked really hard at it and this has sort of affected my personal life. It definitely showed up in my writing. I was writing acoustic melancholy stuff for a while. It sounded cool at the time, but I know I didn't really want to play that. So I continued working at it to get it to be what I wanted it to sound like. With Jim coming in, it was very helpful to get another perspective and the reaction of Jim and the other guys in the band was very positive. Perhaps I'm too self-critical. Steve (DiGiorgio) is a good guy to work with. Our music isn't as technical as DEATH or some of the stuff that Steve did with SADUS but Steve understands that and understands how to play in that context. His favorite bass players are Steve Harris and Geezer Butler which are the same for me. About Steve joining the band, Schaffer says that "We learned that he was into Iced Earth and had actually thought about using him for the DEMONS AND WIZARDS tour but Steve was committed to TESTAMENT then. This time we had the opportunity to work with him and I felt that we couldn't pass up the opportunity to work with someone of Steve's talent and experience. Jim Morris said that Steve was the best player he had ever recorded. I felt that for the future of the band it was the best thing to do because of the experience and talent that Steve brings." As for the actual recording of Horror Show, he reveals that "We started laying down drum tracks in Florida. Drum and rhythm guitar tracks will be done in Florida, which should take 6-7 days. I will try out some other things such as Pro Tools for the rhythm guitar this time and see how it is. I'm a little leery of trying computers for our guitar sound because I really want to ensure that our guitar sound is retained. My perception is that the trademark sounds of the band are the guitar sound, Matt's voice and the writing. Then we'll come back to Indiana and do the rest of the work here. The hope is to be done with the recording and dubs by Christmas. Then after New Year's we can focus on the mixing and then we're done. We'll see how it goes, obviously we don't want to rush it, but we'll see how it goes. This should put us at a release sometime near the end of April timeframe."
EBONY TEARS: Swedish melodic death-thrash metallers Ebony Tears are working on their new album at the moment. Upon entering the studio they had around 6 songs ready and lots of ideas for several more songs. They are presently in Studio Underground recording the material, with the release planned for February/March 2001.
JAG PANZER guitarist Mark Briody recently revealed online the band will begin recording the follow-up to Thane To The Throne on February. They hope to finish the album, which won't be conceptual like Thane but will be "faster" than Thane, by "mid-March." They're shooting for a June release, with tour plans hopefully including Wacken 2001 and a September or October run.
NIGHTWISH: Century Media Records USA has officially licensed all 3 full-length Nightwish albums for US, Canada, and Mexico. The albums will be released in early 2001. The albums Angels Fall First and Oceanborn will both contain 2 bonus tracks. The band will also be releasing a DVD in April 2001 through Spinefarm. The DVD will include all the videos Nightwish has released so far, plus clips from the South American tour and the upcoming European tour. These clips mean backstage scenes, interviews and other things that will surely grab the interest of fans. And finally, the band will be entering Finnvox studio from March 16-24th to record two new songs and a cover song for their upcoming MCD that will also feature 2 live tracks recorded in Sao Paulo.
HYPOCRISY: Hypocrisy will release a DVD in January called Live And Plugged that will feature their Hypocrisy Destroys Wacken video and early clips of the band. Nuclear Blast will be releasing a double-CD (limited to 10,000 copies) to celebrate their 10th anniversary. One of the discs will feature rare material while the other will be a “Best Of” and feature some re-recorded versions. To choose the best tracks, the band is asking for your help. Either visit the Nuclear Blast website (http://www.nuclearblast.de) to vote your favorite tracks online or send a postcard stating your two favorite tracks off every album to: Nuclear Blast, Att. Hypocrisy contest, Oeschstr. 40, 73072 Donzdorf, Germany. Fans have a chance to win a trip to the Abyss Studio where they'll meet the band in person.
IRON SAVIOR's ranks have grown from a trio to a sextet. On their latest opus, Dark Assault, Iron Savior mainstays Piet Sielck and Kai Hansen are joined by former Gamma Ray drummer Thomas Nack (replacing current Gamma Ray drummer Dan Zimmerman), keyboardist Andreas Kuck and bassist Jan S. Eckert who came aboard for the Unification album, as well as new guitarist Joachim "Piesel" Kustner. Sielck discussed the addition of a third guitarist, a decision that was reached in light of Hansen's sporadic participation in a live setting due to his commitments to Gamma Ray. "When we're touring with Helloween in February, I don't know if Kai will be with us," says Sielck. "It all depends on how good or how bad the songwriting for Gamma Ray is going. That's one of the reasons we brought Piesel into the band. When we do our headliner tour in April, though, we won't leave home without Kai, and Piesel will be with us as well. It'll be really cool. It was my idea, because I can play guitar and sing at the same time, but some of the songs are hard rhythm-wise, so it's always a bit of a trade-off for me. With this line-up I will continue to play guitar on stage - the riffs and all my solo stuff - but when I sing I will have a lot more freedom to move around and concentrate on what I'm doing."
OPETH have finished recording their new album, Blackwater Park. The album will contain 8 compositions spanning over 67 minutes of music, some of which is said to be the heaviest Opeth arrangements to date! Artwork will be created by Travis Smith again. Expect the album sometime in February 2001 through Music For Nations.
LOCK UP are starting to work on their next album and have already written around 14 songs. They hope to go into the studio (possibly with producer Andy Sneap) in early January.
THE GATHERING: The band will release a very exclusive CD for Hammerheart Records around March 2001. The release contains their two first demos and their long sold out first 7”. The first edition of this CD will also contain a bonus CD ROM disc with a full live concert from the band’s Always era.
ARCH ENEMY: In unfortunate news, vocalist Johan Liiva recently decided to leave Arch Enemy. The vocalist, who once helped define death metal in Carnage, has joined Nonexist featuring guitar whiz Johan Reinholdz from Andromeda. Nonexist, formerly known as Legacy, will enter a creative process, hopefully resulting in something worthwhile. No word yet as to what steps Arch Enemy are taking to replace Liiva, but we'll keep you posted with new info as soon as we have it.
In our "fuckin' strange" news, Rolling Stone and other outlets report that former Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighter frontman Dave Grohl is recording for an all Metal side project called Probot, using musicians and singers such as Mike Dean (COC), Lemmy Kilmister (Motorhead), Max Cavalera (Soulfly), Phil Anselmo (Pantera), and King Diamond. Some have reported that Dave was sickened by the success of the song and video Learn To Fly, a song he considered a joke, proving to himself that no matter what he does it'll be a hit right now because of who he and his band is... hence why not do something he likes. Who knew?
From our "Holy Shit!" department, it seems a Mega-Metal all-star project called 3 TREMORS is being created behind the scenes at Sanctuary as IRON MAIDEN's Bruce Dickinson, ROB HALFORD and QUEENSRYCHE's Geoff Tate are working on a studio record due out in July.
ROB HALFORD is finishing up his jaunt around Europe for Resurrection, after which he hints (and only hints), big plans are afoot. First a few particulars about the ongoing European tour, in particular, the setlist. "Well, we're still doing 'Stained Class'; we did put 'Jawbreaker' into the set, which is kind of a surprise. We're still doing 'Running Wild', 'Tyrant', 'Genocide', 'Breaking The Law', 'Metal Gods'. We've been having some pretty wild moments with 'Breaking The Law'. Since we've gotten to Europe, it's like a cappella; the band plays it as an instrumental and I just hold the mic out and it's just singalong time with the metal god. It's just terrific. But we've been thinking about possibly bringing in some other Priest material as we progress through the European tour. 'Desert Plains' possibly, maybe 'Screaming For Vengeance', 'Devil's Child'. Everybody in the band has such a big understanding of the Priest music, we can literally go out and play whatever we choose. But we want to try to keep the set balanced and interesting with a real hard edge. We put 'Temptation' in the set a few days ago, and of course, as soon as we got offstage, somebody got on the Internet, at the robhalford.com site and said it had been included. So if you're going to hear anything new and fresh, people are going to know immediately. Coming up, I'm going to go back home to the U.K. and do three shows, then two shows in Athens, Greece, and then we go to Japan on the 10th of December and I think we do about seven or eight shows in Japan, and then I get back to San Diego on December the 22nd. So we'll have effectively been out on the road since July until Christmas." And next year? "Next year is going to be a fantastic year for me. I'm celebrating 30 years as a professional metal singer. So next year is going to be tremendously exciting. We've got one or two things that we've not quite let out yet that we're going to work on." Priest live dates perhaps? "(laughs). No, you know, I can honestly say that there's going to be nothing like that happening next year. Because after the meetings I've had recently with my manager Rod Smallwood and the Sanctuary people, we've got an enormous amount of work to do, not only with the Halford band, but with some other ideas we'