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SABATON Interviewed By THE METAL VOICE (Video)

The Metal Voice recently conducted an interview with Swedish metallers SABATON. You can now watch the chat below. SABATON is currently touring the U.S. and Canada as direct support to American metallers ICED EARTH on their "Worldwide Plagues" North American trek. Opening each show on the six-week tour are Dutch metallers REVAMP (featuring NIGHTWISH singer Floor Jansen). SABATON's new album, "Heroes", will be released on May 16 via Nuclear Blast Records. The cover artwork for the effort was created by Péter Sallai. A number of bonus tracks will be made available, including cover versions of songs originally written and recorded by METALLICA, BATTLE BEAST and RAUBTIER. "Heroes" was tracked at The Abyss, the recording studio in Pärlby outside Ludvika, Sweden owned and operated by record producer and musician Peter Tägtgren (HYPOCRISY, PAIN). In a recent interview with Bring The Noise, SABATON bassist Pär Sundström stated about "Heroes": In the beginning, when you make an album, I get quite nervous about whether people are going to like it, but after having so many people and friends listen to the album and them saying it's great, I now feel comfortable. About an hour and a half ago, our first single was premiered on Swedish radio and people are really excited about it. I am very happy." Asked about the album's running theme, Sundström said: "SABATON has been — since 2005 — about historical themes, a lot about World War Two and battles and stuff. In 2010, we did an album called 'Coat Of Arms', that was mainly about World War Two, but we also put in a long story about a single person; me and Joakim [Brodén, vocals] write the lyrics and after we finished recording 'Coat Of Arms', we had one story left that we wanted to write about. That was a story about Witold Pilecki, that was the song called 'Inmate 4859'. This song, we decided, we could not do it in 2010 because the album was done and we could not do it on the next album because that was about Swedish history…so we have waited four years and have been saving that story for this album and we kept it as our leading star into the new album." SABATON played its first show with new drummer Hannes Van Dahl on November 16, 2013 at the Metal Hammer Paradise festival in Germany.

GEOFF TATE And Former Bandmates Reach 'Amicable' QUEENSRŸCHE Settlement

QUEENSRŸCHE guitarist Michael Wilton has confirmed that singer Geoff Tate — who was fired from the Seattle progressive rock band in 2012 after fronting it for three decades — and his former bandmates have reached a settlement in their legal battle over the rights to the group's name. Speaking to the Allentown Music Examiner, Wilton was asked when fans can expect a resolution of the legal case involving the two versions of QUEENSRŸCHE. "That's coming up," Wilton said. "What I can say is that both sides have reached an amicable settlement and it's now just a matter of time. There will be an official press release, but for now, you'll have to wait." Wilton also revealed that the Todd La Torre-fronted version of QUEENSRŸCHE is continuing work on material for the follow-up to last year's self-titled effort. "We've already begun the process for the next album," he said. "We have probably six songs demoed so far. We're taking it in a direction suited to what we do as QUEENSRŸCHE but maybe a little more progressive and heavier. The thing is, you never know what you really have until it's complete. It's like carving a piece of clay and seeing how it turns out. You peel off the layers until you get to something really cool." Tate and his wife, Susan, QUEENSRŸCHE's former manager, filed a lawsuit in June 2012 asking the judge to award them the rights to the band's name in exchange for Tate paying Eddie Jackson (bass), Michael Wilton (guitar) and Scott Rockenfield (drums) the fair market value for their interests in the QUEENSRŸCHE companies. Wilton, Rockenfield and Jackson filed a countersuit against the Tates in which they accused Geoff of creative obstruction and violent behavior, and Susan Tate of questionable business practices. While ruling against Tate, the presiding judge determined that there was no legal hurdle in Tate also using the name with an all-new lineup of musicians. "I don't see any reason that Mr. Tate can't have the benefit, if he gets other members, of whatever name he uses of using the brand," Superior Court Judge Carol A. Schapira said during the July 13, 2012 court hearing. "I think [doing that would be] inherently confusing, although I'm sure the market can get these things sorted out," she added. Wilton, Rockenfield and Jackson last year accused Geoff Tate of "continu[ing] to harm the QUEENSRŸCHE brand" since the Tates' original lawsuit was filed in June 2012. In a court document, they wrote: "The newest self-titled QUEENSRŸCHE CD release by the [Todd La Torre-fronted version of the band] entered the U.S. charts at #23 and continues to get 9-out-of-10-star reviews and is still selling very well on a weekly basis around the globe. In comparison, Geoff Tate released his own QUEENSRŸCHE CD in April of [2013] titled 'Frequency Unknown' and depicted as F.U. on the cover, which entered the charts at #82, received very bad reviews around the world, and has slowed to almost no more weekly sales. [The Todd La Torre-fronted version of QUEENSRŸCHE's] new CD even outperformed the last two CDs of them with Geoff Tate, selling more in a month than the 'Dedicated to Chaos' CD has since its release in 2010, and charting much better than both that album and the previous one, 'American Soldier'. Thus, the return to the classic sound [Tate's former] bandmates have made with the new CD and live shows has been met with overwhelming success." They added: "Geoff Tate also chose very poorly in hiring live musicians that have shown that they are not capable of representing the correct performances of the QUEENSRŸCHE music legacy, and he was constantly replacing them. He has been offering his low-quality version of QUEENSRŸCHE to the promoters at a much reduced rate, as low as $10,000 per night, when, in fact, [his former] bandmates have done their best to keep the authorized QUEENSRŸCHE at an average of well over $20,000 per show this entire year. However, this becomes harder and harder with Geoff Tate's sub-par band and cut-rate pricing that continues to be damaging to the QUEENSRŸCHE brand and legacy no matter who ultimately wins control after trial." In an interview with The Oakland Press, Rockenfield said said that "negotiations are ongoing between Tate and the singer's former bandmates and "there's still time for anything to happen between now and [the start of the trial]." "I think our confidence is pretty high," Scott said. "There's a lot of legal stuff you have to deal with, but we just feel good and look at it as a light at the end of the tunnel and keep playing shows and making music. I think when you do that, the right decision will be made in time."


Rob Halford (JUDAS PRIEST), Scott Ian (ANTHRAX), Corey Taylor (SLIPKNOT, STONE SOUR), Tim "Ripper" Owens (JUDAS PRIEST, ICED EARTH, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN), Vinny Appice (HEAVEN & HELL, DIO, BLACK SABBATH, LAST IN LINE) and members of HALESTORM are among the musicians who ere interviewed at the March 17 exclusive VIP listening party for the Ronnie James Dio tribute album "This Is Your Life" and awards gala at the Avalon in Hollywood, California. Check out the footage below. Ronnie James Dio is one of the most beloved figures in rock history. His gifts, both as a singer and songwriter, are instantly recognizable, whether he was with RAINBOW, BLACK SABBATH, HEAVEN & HELL, or leading DIO. Sadly, Dio lost his battle with stomach cancer in 2010 but his towering voice and legacy live on. To celebrate one of rock's most powerful voices, an all-star group of his friends and fans recorded 13 of their favorite tracks for a tribute album, 100% of proceeds from which will go to the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund. Produced by his longtime manager and wife Wendy Dio, the album includes contributions by such metal heavyweights as METALLICA, MOTÖRHEAD, SCORPIONS, ANTHRAX, and Rob Halford, as well as appearances by many of the musicians who performed with Dio over the years. "This Is Your Life" was made available from Rhino on April 1. A digital version was also released. Although the songs featured on the album touch on the different eras of Dio's career, several spotlight his time with RAINBOW, including METALLICA's epic, nine-minute "Ronnie Rising Medley", which combines the RAINBOW songs "A Light In The Black", "Tarot Woman", "Stargazer" and "Kill The King". SCORPIONS add a scorching take on "Temple Of The King" while MOTÖRHEAD is joined by Biff Byford from SAXON on "Starstruck". Rob Halford teams with frequent Dio collaborators Vinny Appice, Doug Aldrich, Jeff Pilson, and Scott Warren for "Man On The Silver Mountain". The final lineup of Dio's solo band — Simon Wright, Craig Goldy, Rudy Sarzo and Scott Warren — are joined by Glenn Hughes (DEEP PURPLE, BLACK SABBATH) for "Catch The Rainbow", a track from RAINBOW's 1975 debut. ANTHRAX and ADRENALINE MOB honor Dio's memorable stint with BLACK SABBATH with their takes on "Neon Knights" and "The Mob Rules", respectively, as does a group, led by Oni Logan on vocals along with Jimmy Bain, Rowan Robertson, and Brian Tichy, which performs "I" from "Dehumanizer". "This Is Your Life" also includes songs from Dio's back-to-back platinum albums "Holy Diver" (1983) and "The Last In Line" (1984), with DORO's take on "Egypt (The Chains Are On)", HALESTORM tackling "Straight Through The Heart", Corey Taylor (STONE SOUR, SLIPKNOT) covering the classic "Rainbow In The Dark" and TENACIOUS D (Jack Black and Kyle Gass) putting their signature spin on "The Last In Line". KILLSWITCH ENGAGE's cover of "Holy Diver", a hit in its own right when released in 2006, is also included here. Fittingly, Ronnie James Dio provides the finale (and the album's title) with his moving performance of "This Is Your Life". Originally released on "Angry Machines" (1996), the song's lyrics explore mortality and are backed by a stark and beautiful arrangement that features Dio accompanied only by his longtime keyboardist Scott Warren on piano. The song serves as a poignant reminder that we will never hear a voice like Dio's again. The Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund, co-founded by Wendy Dio, is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable fund dedicated to supporting cancer-prevention research, raising awareness and educating the public about the vital importance of early detection and prevention when dealing with this deadly disease. "This Is Your Life" track listing: 01. "Neon Knights" - ANTHRAX * 02. "The Last In Line" - TENACIOUS D * 03. "The Mob Rules" - ADRENALINE MOB 04. "Rainbow In The Dark" - Corey Taylor, Roy Mayorga, Satchel, Christian Martucci, Jason Christopher * 05. "Straight Through The Heart" - HALESTORM * 06. "Starstruck" - MOTÖRHEAD with Biff Byford * 07. "Temple Of The King" - SCORPIONS * 08. "Egypt (The Chains Are On)" - DORO 09. "Holy Diver" - KILLSWITCH ENGAGE 10. "Catch The Rainbow" - Glenn Hughes, Simon Wright, Craig Goldy, Rudy Sarzo, Scott Warren * 11. "I" - Oni Logan, Jimmy Bain, Rowan Robertson, Brian Tichy * 12. "Man On The Silver Mountain" - Rob Halford, Vinny Appice, Doug Aldrich, Jeff Pilson, Scott Warren * 13. "Ronnie Rising Medley" (featuring "A Light In The Black", "Tarot Woman", "Stargazer", "Kill The King") - METALLICA * 14. "This Is Your Life" - DIO * Previously unreleased The Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund is a privately funded 501(c)(3) charity organization which has already raised more than $600,000 in its short history. Monies raised to date have been committed to the cancer research work of the T.J. Martell Foundation for Cancer, AIDS and Leukemia Research and the gastric cancer research unit of the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, where Ronnie was treated for gastric cancer during the last six months of his life.

ADRIAN VANDENBERG Interviewed On France's 'Une Dose 2 Metal' (Video)

Former VANDENBERG and WHITESNAKE guitarist and current VANDENBERG'S MOONKINGS leader Adrian Vandenberg was interviewed on a recent episode of the French show "Une Dose 2 Metal" on L'Enorme TV. You can now watch the entire chat below. VANDENBERG'S MOONKINGS' self-titled debut album was released on February 24 via Mascot Label Group. "Vandenberg's Moonkings" is a sensational mix of blistering rock songs and powerful ballads from the Dutch guitar hero Adrian Vandenberg, and includes a newly recorded version of Vandenberg's ex-band WHITESNAKE's classic "Sailing Ships". Special guest David Coverdale adds his unique vocals to the equation, to complement Vandenberg's powerful riffs for a welcome moment of nostalgia. Asked how Coverdale's guest appearance on "Vandenberg's Moonkings" came about, Adrian told Myglobalmind: "Well, David has been pushing me a lot over the last ten years to record a record. Finally, when I told him that I was working on one, David said that 'it would be an honor for me if I could sing a song on your album.' I replied that the honor would be completely mutual. David was then on the road for the whole year, so we didn't have the time to write a new song. "I always wanted to do another version of [WHITESNAKE's] 'Sailing Ships', because I wrote the song and the music for it actually for my mom. She was always saying for me to write another acoustic song for the album. I originally intended it to be a little more understated than it ended up on the 'Slip Of The Tongue' album. I really thought that I could add something to it by making it a little bit more melancholic and more reflective. Bringing in real violins, which I had always pictured with it, so I made it a little slower. I thought it would be great to do a different version and also what I like about how it ends up on the album is that it is like a symbolic nod to my years with WHITESNAKE. I thought that it worked great, because if I had put like a new track somewhere in the middle of the album it would have been strange. David in the middle with a similar song." Multi-talented Adrian Vandenberg — who has designed all of his album sleeves since his very first record with TEASER at the age of 22 — took care of the artwork for this record. VANDENBERG'S MOONKINGS is: Adrian Vandenberg (guitar) Jan Hoving (vocals) Sem Christoffel (bass) Mart Nijen Es (drums) For more information, visit www.moonkingsband.com.


On March 13, Nick Azinas of Peek From The Pit conducted an interview with singer Björn "Speed" Strid of Swedish metallers SOILWORK in London, England. You can now watch the chat below. As previously reported, Dutch singer Floor Jansen (NIGHTWISH, REVAMP) joined SOILWORK on stage last night (Friday, March 21) at Circus in Helsinki, Finland. The concert was filmed for SOILWORK's first-ever live DVD, to be released later in the year. The choice of location for the shoot of the first-ever SOILWORK audiovisual live document was an easy one since Helsinki has always been a second home to the band. The venue itself, Circus, was just the right one to offer a full-on SOILWORK show. The show marked SOILWORK's only Scandinavian show of the spring. The DVD is being produced by Jouni Markkanen and directed by Ville Lipiäinen, who also helmed the most recent NIGHTWISH DVD, "Showtime, Storytime". SOILWORK's ninth studio and first dual-disc album, "The Living Infinite", sold around 7,800 copies in the United States in its first week of release to enter The Billboard 200 chart at position No. 60. The effort also landed at No. 11 on the Independent Albums chart, and No. 2 on the Hard Music chart. "The Living Infinite" entered the iTunes Metal Top Albums chart at No. 1 and was the No. 1 most added album on the CMJ radio chart. "The Living Infinite" was produced by Jens Bogren (OPETH, AMON AMARTH, BLOODBATH) and boasts artwork by MNEMIC's Mircea Gabriel Eftemie. The CD features Justin Sullivan — lead singer of the English band NEW MODEL ARMY — as a guest vocalist on the track "The Windswept Mercy" and also marks the recording debut of longtime SOILWORK touring guitarist David Andersson (also of THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA).

HALESTORM Discusses New Song 'Mayhem', Writing Process For Third Album (Video)

Rocksverige.se recently conducted an interview with the four members of HALESTORM. You can now watch the chat below. As previously reported, HALESTORM has debuted two new songs at two separate shows recently. The first tune, "Heartbreaker", was performed on March 28 at the Cannery Ballroom in Nashville, Tennessee, while the second track, "Mayhem", made its debut earlier this month in England. Asked if "Mayhem" is a good indicator of what HALESTORM fans can expect to hear on the band's next album, singer Lzzy Hale said: "Definitely. Especially since that one was the one that we felt like it needed a little bit of work, and we weren't really considering it one of our best songs. So we wanted to see how we could develop it on tour, and I think that the crowd has really gotten us excited about it now. So it might actually have a shot at being on the record." Added drummer Arejay Hale: "It definitely will help the writing process for the rest of the songs. Now we have an idea of, kind of, how the crowd reacts to certain things. So it kind ofgives you a good guideline, I guess." The group began writing its third album in January, after completing more than 20 months of touring behind 2012's "The Strange Case Of…" Lzzy Hale told The Pulse Of Radio one thing the band might do differently this time. "We're probably gonna record it in Nashville instead of L.A. this time," she said. "It's a quieter vibe and a little less distractions. I think we can kind of lock ourselves into a studio [laughs] and become intimate with our inner crazy [laughs] and hopefully not kill each other in the process. [laughs]" HALESTORM last year issued its second covers EP, "ReAniMate 2.0", which featured renditions of songs from JUDAS PRIEST, AC/DC, PAT BENATAR, MARILYN MANSON, DAFT PUNK and FLEETWOOD MAC.

DAVE MUSTAINE Talks About Flying Born-Deaf YouTube Sensation To MEGADETH's Las Vegas Concert (Video)

Sarah Churman, who was born deaf, became an Internet sensation when her husband posted a YouTube video of her hearing for the first time at 29 years of age. Now she is a huge MEGADETH fan, and the band's frontman, Dave Mustaine, flew her to Las Vegas to see MEGADETH perform this past Thursday (April 17). During a joint interview with Sarah ahead of the Las Vegas concert, Mustaine spoke to KTNV-TV about how the he and the rest of MEGADETH found out about Sarah's incredible journey and their decision to make it possible for her to experience her first rock show (see video below). "It was such a heart-touching story to watch her… I consider myself to be pretty rugged, but I got a little teary eyed when I watched her be able to experience what we all take for granted," Mustaine said. "And then somebody had said, 'You know, she actually likes your music.' And it was just great. You never know what you're gonna hear nowadays on the 'Net or what you're gonna see." He added: "I can't really remember how her video came across my computer, but like I said, when I saw it, I was instantly compelled, and when we found out that she was a fan, it was, like, this is a no-brainer. We wanna meet and just say how fortunate we are to be a part of her life and this new phase." Unlike a lot of deaf people, Churman's speech is nearly impeccable despite never clearly hearing herself while growing up. It's something she attributes to deaf school and her love for the English language and grammar. In addition, she grew up with music her whole life because her dad was a songwriter and played in a band. "Even though I couldn't understand lyrics or different instruments, there was always a way to enjoy it," Churman told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "In my world, that was turning it up as loud as possible and feeling the vibrations." While in Las Vegas, Sarah was also going to interview Mustaine for an undisclosed MEGADETH project. Churman's book, released by Indigo River Publishing, is called "Powered On: The Sounds I Choose To Hear & The Noise I Don't", and in it she details her life's journey and offers unique insights from the perspective of a woman who has experienced both sides of a disability. Churman is still adjusting to her new sensory experience, and she claims to have felt a variety of "mixed emotions" during the process. Many sounds are still jarring for her, but others bring her "so much joy," she says, most notably the voices of her husband and two daughters and, not surprisingly, music: "I get the full spectrum of it now, and it's amazing."

MICHAEL SCHENKER Says Songwriting Is 'Like Putting A Puzzle Together And Never Really Knowing What Comes Out At The End'

Greg Prato of Songfacts recently conducted an interview with legendary guitarist Michael Schenker. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below. Songfacts: How do you find that you write your best songs? Michael: I just do it the same way over and over. I love to play. I play and discover on a regular basis, so when I bump into a great piece of something that I think, "Wow, I should capture that" — and it's usually just 5 seconds, 10 seconds long — I'll put it on the cassette recorder in its raw form and I'll just leave it there. When it's time to make a new record, I listen to what I have selected, and then that inspires me to write the additional parts to it. So I never really know what the song is going to be until the album's finished. On this album in particular, I was looking for more of a balance: Not too many mid tempos, but enough fast songs and many different elements in it that keep it going and keep it interesting. It's like putting a puzzle together and never really knowing what comes out at the end. Songfacts: How did the songwriting work in the band UFO? Was it more of a collaboration? Michael: Well, when I joined UFO, they were a psychedelic band. They were playing very different music. But I was attracted to them being British, since that's where the music that I fell in love with came from: [LED] ZEPPELIN, BLACK SABBATH and Johnny Winter. Well, Johnny Winter was American, but a lot of the music that we were listening to at that point in time when I was 15 years old was coming from there. When I toured with UFO and SCORPIONS, the guitarist from UFO lost his passport, so in order to continue the tour, I had to play for both bands. That was when I was 16 years old. I opened up with the Scorpions and then I played with UFO for a couple of days. And that's when they asked me to join them. I always told the SCORPIONS that if a British band would ever ask me, I would go just to get to a country where there was the interest for rock and roll. In Germany, it was dead. It was disco music and it wasn't very interesting what I was doing. So I was more than happy to go over there. They invited me over and I took the offer. When I got there I just laid down a riff and another one and another one, and Phil [Mogg] did his vocals to it and it just became a totally different band based on the pieces that I gave them, which every song was built on. I wrote that way right from the beginning, and it's still how I write today. But because I had just joined them, we were more in the mode of making a record, touring, making a record, touring, making a record, touring. Because we were doing everything in the short amount of time, we spent a lot of time at the rehearsal studio. Some very early songs, like "Rock Bottom", were very spontaneous. We were just sitting there looking for an additional song, and when I played "Rock Bottom", the riff, that's when Phil jumped up and said, "That's it! That's it!" So we started putting it together and putting it into form. But in general, I would always come up with some riffs, give it to the singer and he would find something, too. Then we'd go into the rehearsal studio and work on it. That's basically how we used to write. Songfacts: How close did you come to joining Ozzy Osbourne's band after Randy Rhoads' death? Michael: That was around '81. Graham Bonnet just came over and we started writing and doing things, and then I get a phone call in the middle of the night from a very devastated Ozzy Osbourne telling me what happened [Rhoads was killed in an airplane accident, on March 19, 1982]. I said, "Okay, it's the middle of the night. I'll let you know, but I have to speak to Peter Mensch" and so on. And then I had to look... I was tempted to do that, but at the same time I was in the middle of doing "Assault Attack" and it was going to be the second album with Cozy Powell. We were getting ready, and I had to look at my situation. Then I heard some crazy stories about Ozzy dragging people across the stage by their hair and stuff like that. And then some other horror stories that didn't sound too good. I was tempted to do that, but something tells me, you know what, Michael, first of all, the SCORPIONS, my own brother, he asked me to play, to help the SCORPIONS and to join them and tour with them. And I couldn't do it because I'm not made for copying people. I love to invent things, to express myself, and so my vision is a different vision. Sometimes you have to battle a little bit with your true vision and temptation. Same with AEROSMITH: It was a good thing it didn't work out, because again, I would have not enjoyed myself. I know that. At the end of the day, I said, "I can't do that." It came to the point when I stretched it for so long that I think Cozy Powell took it over and told them, "He's not going to do it." And that was that. It was a very strange situation. Read the entire interview at Songfacts.


METALLICA bassist Robert Trujillo recently spoke to Georgia Public Broadcasting about the upcoming documentary he's producing about his musical hero, Jaco Pastorius. You can now listen to the chat using the audio player below. According to BaltimoreMagazine.net, Trujillo will celebrate Record Store Day at Sound Garden in Baltimore, Maryland later today (Saturday, April 19). From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Trujillo will meet fans, sign records, and talk about the Pastorius documentary. Hand in hand with Omnivore Recordings' impending "Record Store Day" release of eleven staggering tracks unearthed from Jaco Pastorius' Criteria Studios sessions in 1976 on "Modern American Music… Period!" comes word that a documentary film about the life of the undisputed late bass genius, simply titled "Jaco", is set to make its debut. Directed by Stephen Kijak and Paul Marchand and produced by Robert Trujillo and John Battsek, the documentary has been chosen be the official film of "Record Store Day" 2014. Trujillo couldn't be more enthusiastic about the association with the event. "Record Store Day is a celebration of our youth, and beyond," he says. "It's the power of memories fueled by this magic (usually) black vinyl disc. "There's a reason why Record Store Day is making people headbang, rock out, relax, and simply smile. It's all about the joy and power of words, music and sound, not to mention the dynamic range of visual art that goes hand in hand with a record cover, jacket, or sleeve; and you might even get a poster. (Trust me, I still have most of my original vinyl)" (He was right about the poster — the image below will become the official Record Store Day poster of 2014, and will be given away as part of the celebration at select stores, while supplies last.) And Mary Pastorius, Jaco's daughter, shares: "I ended up becoming a music/record/record store addict, as a teen in the '80s — and it all started with my dad's record collection back in the early '70s. At three and four years old, I would fall asleep inches away from the record player — wearing those big-ass back-in-the-day headphones on my head — listening to stuff like Stevie Wonder's 'Talking Book', EARTH, WIND & FIRE's 'That's The Way Of The World', or the SUPREMES 'Greatest Hits'. (All of which I still have). Then I have the memories of being at Peaches (which was THE record store in South Florida) with him for the 'Jaco Pastorius' (the first solo album) record release party. They had a 'walk of fame' there and we put our handprints in cement, Hollywood style. They also put a huge painting of that album with that iconic picture of him, up on the outside of the building, where it stayed for many years- which I drove by many times, and was greeted by the many times when I would go in to buy records myself." "Record Store Day"'s Michael Kurtz adds: "I fell in love with Jaco Pastorius in 1976 when I heard WEATHER REPORT's 'Black Market' being played in my local record store. In 1977 I caught the band on its 'Heavy Weather' tour and heard Jaco perform live. It was like I had been exposed to a force bigger than life. Performing on the Fender bass he'd personally stripped of frets, Jaco propelled the band with ferocity and finesse. He was shirtless, with an axe bold as love." The Omnivore release, produced in conjunction with the Pastorius estate and Trujillo, contains eleven tracks from the studio sessions a 22-year-old Pastorius and friends used to jam and experiment. Some of the tracks made it on to his 1976 debut, but some remained unreleased until now. In addition, "Modern American Music…Period!" will include essays from Trujillo and Pastorius biographer Bill Milkowski. Kurtz effuses: "It is a dream come true to be a part of helping Omnivore unearth and release the recording of a very young Jaco performing with his own band in Miami's Criteria Studios." According to Trujillo: "Omnivore's release of Jaco Pastorius' 'Criteria Sessions' is a raw unique statement — a statement that lets you know you are experiencing a powerful historical musical moment. Jaco's sound, and facility alone, takes you on a trip that is totally new and fresh! This is punk at its best, and the attitude and edge is pure." Pastorius, who was bipolar and had wrestled with substance abuse, died in 1987 at age 35 following a violent altercation at a Fort Lauderdale bar. "Jaco" will feature commentaries from Sting, RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS' Flea, Carlos Santana and director Mike Figgis, among others. Interview (audio):


TRIPTYKON's TOM GABRIEL FISCHER: 'I Was Really Close To Losing Everything'

J. Bennett of Noisey recently conducted an interview with former HELLHAMMER/CELTIC FROST and current TRIPTYKON singer, guitarist, and main songwriter Tom Gabriel Fischer (a.k.a. Tom Gabriel Warrior) in Paris, France. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below. Noisey: The English translation of the new [TRIPTYKON] album title ["Melana Chasmata"] is something along the lines of "Deep Depressions." Is that right? Tom: Yes, it's difficult to translate exactly, but that's an approximate translation. Of course, depressions can be a geological feature or a psychological feature. In this instance, both. Parts of the album sound melancholy, but mostly it sounds angry. I think the first one is much angrier. It was fueled by hatred and frustration over the very unpleasant termination of CELTIC FROST. This new album is far more introspective and based on personal experiences — not just my own, but [those] of several of the band members. We chose the album title years ago, but since that time, certain things have happened that have made the title even more appropriate. On a personal level, it was an exceedingly difficult album to complete, and we're all very happy that it's done. Noisey: Why was it difficult? Tom: The four years since the last album have been very difficult for some of us in the band, including myself. Nothing in my own life resembles the way it was four years ago. My life has drastically changed, and most of those changes have been outside any spectrum of choice. And I'm not the only one in the band who has had dramatic changes to their private lives. We didn't know that when we started the album, of course. Noisey: It sounds like these personal changes you're talking about have been largely negative. Are the members of TRIPTYKON, yourself included, worse off today than they were on the last record? Tom: I think at this point everyone is well into the recovery phase, so to speak. Everybody is on their own path with their own issues. But I'm not trying to bring up tragedy here or anything pathetic. None of us wanted to be in this situation, and none of us had any idea that the others were going through something similar. It's a complete coincidence. We envisioned the time writing this album completely differently. But like so many things in life, we have no control. That's why the album took four years to write instead of two. In the meantime, we've accepted that at least three members have completely different lives now, and that's beyond their choice. But one of the things that has helped us through this is that we have a band and we honestly love the music we are playing and we know we are friends. I know that sounds cliché, like some kind of hippie family, but that's the way it is. Noisey: How bad did it get? Tom: I was really close to losing everything — much closer than anyone reading this can probably imagine. But if it got to the most extreme, I'm sure I could've called our bass player [Vanja Šlajh] and she would have taken care of me as good as possible. And that's the main difference between TRIPTYKON and CELTIC FROST. At the end of CELTIC FROST, I sometimes got the feeling that if I was lying on the floor bleeding, someone would still stick a knife in my back. But in this band it's the opposite. Read the entire interview at Noisey.

AC/DC's BRIAN JOHNSON: Pro-Shot Footage Of 'You Shook Me' Performance With BILLY JOEL

AC/DC singer Brian Johnson joined Billy Joel on stage on March 21 at Madison Square Garden in New York City to perform the AC/DC classic "You Shook Me All Night Long". Professionally filmed video footage of Johnson's appearance can be seen below. Brian came up on stage about midway through Billy's concert, which was one of a series of shows by Joel at the Garden. After Billy said Johnson was a member of one of the best bands he'd ever seen live, Joel and his band began playing the AC/DC song with Johnson handling all lead vocals. Joel has been known to cover AC/DC's "Highway To Hell" during his concerts, and has sung the track live with Johnson before, but this was the first time the two have performed "You Shook Me All Night Long" together. AC/DC has issued a statement confirming widespread reports that founding guitarist Malcolm Young was stepping away from the band due to illness. The statement, however, refuted rumors that the group was breaking up as a result, saying that the legendary Australian act will "continue to make music." The statement did not indicate the nature or extent of Malcolm's condition, but several Australian reports indicated that he may have had a stroke last month that left him unable to perform, either live or in the studio. One source told The Age that the Young family was mulling full-time care for the guitarist, who was said to be having difficulty remembering familiar faces and communicating. While plans for a tour to mark the group's 40th anniversary remain unclear, singer Brian Johnson told the U.K.'s Telegraph that the band was "definitely getting together in May in Vancouver" to begin work on its 16th studio album. Without naming Malcolm, Johnson also said in the interview, "One of the boys has a debilitating illness, but I don't want to say too much about it. He is very proud and private, a wonderful chap. We've been pals for 35 years and I look up to him very much." AC/DC's last album was 2008's "Black Ice", one of the group's most successful later albums, which was followed by a nearly two-year world tour.

PAUL STANLEY's 'Face the Music: A Life Exposed' Lands On NEW YORK TIMES Best Sellers List

KISS guitarist/vocalist Paul Stanley's memoir, "Face the Music: A Life Exposed", landed at No. 2 on the New York Times "Hardcover Nonfiction" best sellers list. "Face The Music: A Life Exposed" was released on April 8 via HarperOne The 432-page hardcover features rare photographs of the legendary rocker and details his hard-partying lifestyle as one of the co-founders of the heavy rock band who has sold over eighty million albums and performed more than two thousand shows around the world. Well known for his onstage persona, the "Starchild", Paul Stanley has written a memoir with a gripping blend of personal revelations and gritty war stories about the highs and lows both inside and outside of KISS. Born with a condition called microtia (an ear deformity rendering him deaf on the right side), Stanley's traumatic childhood experiences produced an inner drive to succeed in the most unlikely of places: music. Taking readers through the series of events that led to the founding of KISS, the personal relationships that helped shape his life, and the turbulent dynamics among his bandmates over the past forty years, this book leaves no one unscathed — including Stanley himself. With never-before-seen photos and images throughout, "Face The Music" is a colorful portrait of a man and the band he helped create, define, and sustain — made larger than life in artfully told stories that are shocking, funny, inspirational, and honest. Stanley explained to The Pulse Of Radio that if his book was going to follow the pattern of some of the other books he's read, he would've passed on writing it all together. "I think I took a tact different than a lot of these books," he said. "Y'know, rock n' roll autobiographies tend to be a love letter — to the author. And they tend to be about how smart and creative and how this person was responsible for the creation of the world. And if that were the tact for the book, I never would've written the book." In "Face The Music", Stanley talks frankly about his early struggles with hearing — he was born with Level 3 Microtia and is deaf in his right ear. Microtia is a congenital deformity of the cartilage of the outer ear that can affect normal hearing. Stanley, who grew up half-deaf and scarred with a deformed right ear, explained to The Pulse Of Radio that by touching upon the more difficult episodes in his life, he's not seeking sympathy from the reader, but simply highlighting the path into who he became. "Y'know, my book is about my life starting from the very beginning and certainly a certain amount of adversity and having a birth defect and being deaf on one side and the family that I came from," he said. "Certainly people have had more adversity in their lives — and some less — but I, I would think some people would get a certain amount of inspiration and a sense that positivity and belief in yourself will ultimately lead you to a great place." paulstanleyfacethemusicbookcover

BLACK LABEL SOCIETY's ZAKK WYLDE, DARIO LORINA Perform Acoustically At 100.3 THE X ROCKS Studios (Video)

Video footage of BLACK LABEL SOCIETY members Zakk Wylde and Dario Lorina performing an acoustic version of the song "Scars" on Friday, April 18 in the studios of the 100.3 The X Rocks radio station in Boise, Idaho can be seen below. "Scars" comes off the new BLACK LABEL SOCIETY studio album, "Catacombs Of The Black Vatican", which sold around 26,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 5 on The Billboard 200 chart. The band's previous studio CD, "Order Of The Black", opened with around 33,000 units to enter the chart at No. 4. BLACK LABEL SOCIETY's 2006 album, "Shot to Hell", registered a first-week tally of 32,000 to land at No. 21. This was less than the 45,000 copies shifted by BLS's "Mafia" (Artemis) back in March 2005 to debut at No. 15. BLACK LABEL SOCIETY's "The Song Remains Not The Same" opened with around 12,000 copies to land at No. 41. Released on May 10, 2011 via Entertainment One Music, the offering featured unplugged versions of material from BLACK LABEL SOCIETY's "Order Of The Black" album as well as additional material recorded during the "Order Of The Black" sessions. "Catacombs Of The Black Vatican" was released in Europe on April 7 via Mascot Label Group and one day later in North America through eOne Music. "Catacombs Of The Black Vatican" track listing: 01. Fields Of Unforgiveness 02. My Dying Time 03. Believe 04. Angel Of Mercy 05. Heart Of Darkness 06. Beyond The Down 07. Scars 08. Damn The Flood 09. I've Gone Away 10. Empty Promises 11. Shades Of Gray 12. Dark Side Of The Sun (bonus track) 13. The Nomad (bonus track) BLACK LABEL SOCIETY recently amicably parted ways with longtime guitarist Nick Catanese and replaced him with Dario Lorina (LIZZY BORDEN). BLACK LABEL SOCIETY mainman Zakk Wylde recently told Guitar World magazine about Catanese's departure: "I had called Nick to tell him about the album and he told me that he was already knees deep into doing his own thing and wanted to stick 1,000 percent into it. I told him it was cool and that we loved him and that he'd always have a home here." He continued: "The thing is no one ever gets kicked out or fired. If you want to go, you're always able. Now we've got [guitarist] Dario Lorina in the band, and not only is he a kick-ass guitar player who can shred, but he's also a really cool dude." Asked how he hooked up with Dario, Zakk said: "We never do a cattle call or anything like that. With the amount of awesome players I know, it's more of a word-of-mouth kind of thing. I had him come out to the Vatican [Zakk's home studio] to meet him, and afterwards I said, 'Cool. If you want to do it, you're in.' It was as simple as that."


ICED EARTH: Quality Fan-Filmed Footage Of New York City Concert

Fan-filmed video footage of ICED EARTH's April 18 performance at Best Buy Theater in New York City can be seen below. ICED EARTH's new album, "Plagues Of Babylon", sold around 6,300 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 49 on The Billboard 200 chart. The band's previous CD, "Dystopia", opened with around 6,100 units back in October 2011 to enter the chart at No. 67. ICED EARTH's 2008 effort, "The Crucible of Man (Something Wicked Part II)", registered a first-week tally of 6,700 to debut at No. 79. "Plagues Of Babylon" was recorded at Principal Studios (KREATOR, IN EXTREMO, GRAVE DIGGER) in Senden, Germany and was mixed at NHow Studios in Berlin, Germany. Guest vocals on "Highwayman" were laid down by VOLBEAT frontman Michael Poulsen and SYMPHONY X/ADRENALINE MOB singer Russell Allen. Guest vocals on "Plagues Of Babylon", "Among The Living Dead", "Democide", "Resistance" and "If I Could See You" are by BLIND GUARDIAN vocalist Hansi Kürsch. The cover and additional artwork was created by Eliran Kantor (TESTAMENT, ATHEIST, HATEBREED). ICED EARTH is promoting the new CD in its North American homeland with the headlining "Worldwide Plagues Tour", which kicked off April 4 for a six-week run with SABATON and REVAMP in support. Jon Dette (SLAYER, TESTAMENT, ANTHRAX) is sitting behind the drums for ICED EARTH's current tour, taking over for Raphael Saini, who filled in during the summer 2013 festivals, the recording of ICED EARTH's new album, and the club leg of the VOLBEAT 2013 tour. Dette made his live debut with ICED EARTH on November 6, 2013 at O2 World in Berlin, Germany. ICED EARTH last year parted ways with drummer Brent Smedley for "personal family reasons."

DORO PESCH Talks To RECORD COLLECTOR About Her 30th Anniversary As A Performing Artist (Audio)

Mark Taylor of Record Collector magazine recently conducted an interview with German metal queen Doro Pesch. You can now listen to the chat using the SoundCloud widget below. In honor of her 30th anniversary as a performing artist, Pesch will celebrate with fans from all over the world with two separate-yet-unique shows on May 2 and May 3 at CCD Stadthalle in her hometown of Düsseldorf. To coincide with Doro's anniversary concerts, Nuclear Blast will release "Raise Your Fist - 30 Years Anniversary-Edition", containing the re-release of the "Raise Your Fist" record and a bonus CD, "Powerful Passionate Favorites", featuring new and unreleased tracks, as well as Doro's cover versions of aongs by some of her favorite artists, such as LED ZEPPELIN, TINA TURNER, METALLICA and DIO. Another highlight is the French version of her hit "Raise Your Fist In The Air" as well as a new mix of "It Still Hurts", a duet along with MOTÖRHEAD's Lemmy Kilmister. "Powerful Passionate Favorites" track listing: 01. It Still Hurts The ballad featuring Doro and Lemmy, with a new mix from Jacob Hansen (VOLBEAT) 02. Léve Ton Poing Vers Le Ciel The French version of the single "Raise Your Fist In The Air" 03. Babe I'm Gonna Leave You Doro's cover version of the LED ZEPPELIN classic 04. Nutbush City Limits Doro's cover version of the TINA TURNER classic 05. Only You New version of the track, written by Gene Simmons (KISS) in the year 1990 for Doro 06. Egypt (The Chains Are On) Cover version of Doro's favorite Ronnie James Dio song 07. Nothing Else Matters Doro's cover version of the most popular METALLICA classic 08. Warfare New song, to be featured in the movie "Anuk 2", in which Doro again stars as the warrior Meha. 09. NYC Blues Home-recorded demo version of a new track, recently recorded at Doro's apartment in New York Pesch's version of LED ZEPPELIN's "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" can now be streamed below. "Raise Your Fist" landed at position No. 65 on the Top New Artist Albums (Heatseekers) chart, which lists the best-selling albums by new and developing artists, defined as those who have never appeared in the Top 100 of The Billboard 200.


BILL WARD On OZZY OSBOURNE: 'I've Lost A Friend, As Far As I'm Concerned'

Metal Chris of DCHeavyMetal.com recently conducted an interview with legendary BLACK SABBATH drummer Bill Ward. You can now listen to the chat using the SoundCloud widget below. DCHeavyMetal.com: In November, you did an interview with Rock Cellar Magazine and in that interview you said that you hadn't listened to any of the new BLACK SABBATH album, "13", except for maybe about 40 seconds of [the promotional track] "God Is Dead?" Have you listened to that album since then? Ward: No and I probably won't. DCHeavyMetal.com: You don't think you ever will? Ward: I, I… Maybe if I reach a point of serenity where I'm able to give it a listen but no there's nothing of value in there for me to listen to. I love the guys. I really hope that they receive blessings and wonderful things in their life. [I'm] communicating with Terry ["Geezer" Butler, BLACK SABBATH bass player], I'm communicating with Tony, privately. We always send our very, very best wishes to each other and our love to each other. But no, I'm not interested in the album. It was something that I wanted to play on. I was completely able to play on it. There's no question in my heart at all. So, you know, it's still something that I don't care, I don't care to listen to it. Even if it was the most brilliant album in the world, I don't care to listen to it. DCHeavyMetal.com: That leads me to the question, do you ever see yourself as a part of BLACK SABBATH again? Ward: Well, a lot of things have happened to me. Starting in September, 2013, I had a horrible illness, which I'm still recovering from, and it created some other things that I am still recovering from. That's one of the reasons why I didn't come to [my previously scheduled appearance in] Annapolis [for an art exhibition], you know. So aside from me now having to do a lot of work to gain my health and my strength back, you know, and I'd be the first to admit it if I can't cut it physically as a drummer, then my answer would be no. I would not be prepared to play with SABBATH, you know. I would never, ever, ever allude to being able to play with SABBATH if my health wasn't absolutely smack on. And my health right now is not bad, but it's not good enough to certainly play in any band, never mind BLACK SABBATH. I have to get a lot stronger than where I am. I lost a lot of weight. I've got to gain all my muscle back. I lost all my muscle. And I'm doing some stick practice, but if I was in a good position where I felt strong enough, I can overcome the hits that I took, the verbal hits, I can overcome all that stuff. I can overcome, you know, just the shutdown and the way that I felt and everything else. I can overcome all of those things. All of the things that were like at the time just like, "What the hell?" I can certainly recover from all that stuff, actually. I can do it pretty good. You know, in fact, I've recovered from most of it as I'm speaking to you this morning. I'll always have an open mind to playing with BLACK SABBATH. I love the band. I miss them terribly. And so my answer would be leaning towards if something could be worked out. Something that I could live with and I'm talking politically now, contractually. And not the kind of things that I've done in the past. I'm talking about the very core of what I talked about in my big statement of February 2012. If we can come to some terms, and we're all OK with each other, and the most important thing for me is being able to know that I can play drums the way that I want to be. Otherwise I wouldn't even enter into any kind of conversation with them if I knew that I wasn't back on the mark. Then I would be moving forward. I think that a lot of fans have suffered horribly through these undertakings of the last couple of years, and I fully, fully blame the inconsiderateness of just a few people who created, and I won't talk about who, but a few people who created such a huge wasteland of real, real pain when everyone was just so excited to see the original band with an original record. And I'd already stated my boundaries quite early in all this. It didn't come overnight. It wasn't a shock. You know, it wasn't something that suddenly happened. We'd been negotiating for over 15 months. Things like that, so… But I have to be careful in overstating, because there's still a political agenda attached to this. So I've definitely got an open mind. I miss playing with Terry, Geezer, just horribly. I absolutely miss him to death. And I miss playing with Tony just… every day. I mean every single day I — it just blows me away, man. And obviously I miss Oz [Ozzy Osbourne, BLACK SABBATH vocalist]. I've had to… With Ozzy, I… I've lost a friend, as far as I'm concerned. A man that I dearly loved, and I still dearly love, but I've had to really now readjust just how much I'm going to trust and love him. He fired back on some pretty mean stuff in the press, so... And I've gone OK. Like with any of us, when we get hurt, we're going to pull back our love and our considerations for another human being when they kick out at you and you know. So that's been a big loss. DCHeavyMetal.com: In the last couple years in the world of metal there have been several high-profile drummers that have either been kicked out of their bands or just kind of you know similar situations to you I think where there's contract issues and things where I think the drummers feel like they're not getting at least a respectable compensation for what they're doing. I'm talking about like big bands here like Dave Lombardo of SLAYER, Mike Portnoy leaving DREAM THEATER, and I'm sure there's others as well. But do you think drummers right now, in the world of modern metal, do you think they're just being undervalued? Ward: Yeah, there's something going on. Just for the record, I know Mike and Dave Lombardo is a very good friend of mine. Me and Dave have had many Indian food — much Indian food —and we've discussed these things in the last two years, that's for sure. Yeah, I think what's going on is we find the key players and the other players have less value and it's become some kind of new modern thing, modern thinking. It's like the other guys don't count as much or they can be replaced. Let's just focus on who we think are the stars in the band and you'll see it all the time. It's been going on for a long, long time. A lot of other bands have adopted this similar idea. It's been around for a while. I think it comes out of a managerial idea, for the most part. Not a very good managerial idea at all. But it's just something that's going on, and I've had private discussions with a lot of people about this, and I think it's not only necessarily aimed at drummers, I think it's aimed at other people as well. And it's not just because the guys are being [night] owls or whatever you know. It's nothing to do with that. Back in the day, that was, like, it's about him, it's about him and let's blame him and that and that and that, you know. And it's not about me. I absolutely refuse to take any responsibility of blame that's been thrown at me. I will be accountable to the fans and I will be responsible to the fans, because they are extremely important to me. I think what we're seeing is something that's been going on for a while that's starting to take seed and we're now seeing the results of defocusing other people and we're seeing that more focus goes on the primary players and that's been going on since, well, I'll probably get into trouble with this, since all of the teams. [Mick] Jagger and [Keith] Richards and all the way through. And I'm not saying for one second that THE [ROLLING] STONES' setup is like that, OK?! I'm not saying that. It's a very interesting subject and as more is being revealed, I can probably be a little more revealing, but it's so bloody political that I have to watch what I'm saying. Because otherwise, I know that there are some people that would probably love to sue my ass, and I would think they would get a great deal of pleasure from that. DCHeavyMetal.com: Well I'm not trying to get you in any trouble here either so… Ward: No, no, I know. I know. No, I'm enjoying the interview, but I just have to be careful, you know. And a lot of the times I wear a lot of my stuff on my sleeve. I'm so bloody transparent and I hate having to play hopscotch, but I feel like I've been as honest as I can be with you right now. You can read the entire interview at DCHeavyMetal.com.

GLENN HUGHES Speaks To MetalTalk.net About CALIFORNIA BREED (Video)

Mark Taylor of MetalTalk.net conducted an interview with legendary bassist/vocalist Glenn Hughes (DEEP PURPLE, BLACK SABBATH, BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION, CALIFORNIA BREED) in London, England. You can now watch the chat below. The official lyric video for the song "Midnight Oil" from CALIFORNIA BREED, the new band of 2014, built around the foundation of Glenn Hughes, drummer extraordinaire Jason Bonham and 23-year-old newcomer guitarist-singer-songwriter Andrew Watt, can be seen below. Mixing massive riffs, gutsy vocals and gale force rhythms, this powerful three-piece band will release their self-titled debut album May 20 on Frontiers Records. It was produced by Dave Cobb (JAMEY JOHNSON, RIVAL SONS, SHOOTER JENNINGS). "California Breed" was recorded at Cobb's Nashville studio and features equal co-writing credits among the three-man lineup. "It's proper rock," Hughes told Classic Rock magazine, "but at the same time it's very now. Andrew is as influenced by Mick Ronson as he is Jimmy Page." "This kid is amazing," says Bonham. "The first time we met I thought he looked like the white Jimi Hendrix. And he plays in the studio like he's on stage!" Glenn Hughes, 'The Voice Of Rock', is a true original, a legendary icon whose credits include DEEP PURPLE and guesting with everyone from BLACK SABBATH to EARTH, WIND & FIRE — up to his most recent collaboration in rock supergroup BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION. No other rock musician has carved such a distinctive style blending the finest elements of hard rock, soul and funk. That astonishing voice is Hughes' calling card. The legacy of LED ZEPPELIN lives on in Jason Bonham, British drummer and son of ZEP's legendary John Bonham. He has inherited the best of his father's skills while mastering his own distinctive and dynamic technique. Jason has followed his own distinctive path over the years, fronting his own successful outfits like BONHAM, and playing with LED ZEPPELIN, FOREIGNER, HEART and, most recently, movie composer Hans Zimmer. Andrew Watt is a soulful singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist whose high-energy aggressive style and creative spirit are synonymous with New York City. Hughes says: "I live in the moment, it's all about NOW. CALIFORNIA BREED is exactly where I live, breathe and where my freak flag flies." "California Breed" track listing: 01. The Way 02. Sweet Tea 03. Chemical Rain 04. Midnight Oil 05. All Falls Down 06. The Grey 07. Days They Come 08. Spit You Out 09. Strong 10. Invisible 11. Scars 12. Breathe 13. Solo* * Deluxe Edition includes "Solo" bonus track and a DVD including 2 video clips ("The Way" and "Sweet Tea"), plus documentary When BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION disbanded, Hughes and Bonham had a strong desire to keep playing together. Their only challenge was finding a new guitarist worthy of their musicality. Easier said than done for these stars who between them have worked with some of the greatest guitarists in history — including Ritchie Blackmore, Tony Iommi, Jimmy Page and Joe Bonamassa, to name just a few. Then fate took a hand in things when Glenn's friend Julian Lennon introduced him to the astounding talents of a New York City hotshot guitarist named Andrew Watt. "Literally, the first day me and Andrew got together we wrote two songs," recalls Glenn. "One was 'Chemical Rain' and the other was 'Solo', both of which are now on the finished album. I was so moved by the music, I said, 'We've got to record this!' That's when I called Jason." "I was excited from the start," says Jason, "because apart from locking in as a rhythm section, Glenn and I had started writing together in BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION, and we wanted to continue that." "There was such energy in the room the first time we all played together, me and Glenn didn't even have to talk about it," says Jason. "He was so exited to be playing, though, it was infectious! He was just on stage! No going through the motions, kicking the chair over, everything! I was like, you know what, this kid is a free spirit. It was cool, we all just clicked straight away." "Nothing though has gotten into my blood like CALIFORNIA BREED," says Glenn. "I feel the same way," says Jason. "I feel like a kid again starting out." Recording with Dave Cobb at the producer's own studio in Nashville, added all the finishing touches, says Glenn. "I'd gotten into Dave's work via the RIVAL SONS, who I know and really love. But Dave has done a lot of great stuff. That whole Nashville trip which Dave is a part of. Well, me and Jason don't want to sound like anyone else, we already sound like ourselves, but we felt we needed some fresh energy — and Dave absolutely brought it." At Cobb's insistence, every vocal was recorded live as the band was playing. "Totally the reverse of what I'm used to," says Glenn. "But I went into that aggressive rock soulfulness and everything down to the whispers, it was all done live! I enjoyed myself so much, just going for it." For what is on paper a three-piece, the sheer range of sounds and melodies you get from CALIFORNIA BREED are breathtaking. "I'm the oddball of the group but I'm the thing that makes us different from any other classic rock band. I grew up loving grunge music," explains Andrew. "But my father always played me THE WHO and THE BEATLES and LED ZEPPELIN. I always felt like I was in the wrong generation. I used to make rock music on my own and I'd play all the instruments because I could never find anyone my age that really got it the way I heard it. Then I got to play with Jason and Glenn and I haven't picked up anything but a guitar since!" "What we've got here is a kid who isn't a hammer-on, virtuoso," says Glenn, "but a whole new entity. This kid grew up listening to Mick Ronson on Bowie's records, as well as Jimmy Page in LED ZEPPELIN. He has a completely different take. And it's fresh and bold and so exciting. It just gets into your blood." Interview:

"Midnight Oil" lyric video:
"Sweet Tea" video:
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Burn the Serum - KYNG

SoCal trio KYNG have the potential to emerge as one the next great things in heavy music. A lot of effort went into refining their sound from their lauded 2011 "Trampled Sun" album and "Burn the Serum" should have no problem garnishing the same accolades, if not more. Along with RED FANG, KYNG is one of the most exciting bands on the American metal market today. Cramming the distortion worship of garage revivalists FU MANCHU, KYUSS, CLUTCH and THE SWORD with classic metal and hard rock, Eddie Veliz, Pepe Clarke and Tony Castaneda advance to the next level in their hasty evolution on "Burn the Serum". Turning to major league producer Andrew Alekel (FOO FIGHTERS, NO DOUBT, CLUTCH and QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE) and James A. Rota, II from FIREBALL MINISTRY, said professional firepower polishes "Burn the Serum" into one of 2014's early-year best albums. The title cut may start off with a tempered roll, but expect the pace to grow more intense as KYNG heavies up the song in a jiff with thickening guitars from Eddie Veliz and whamming bass from Tony Castaneda. Before you can wipe the sweat off your brow, "Lost One" rolls out on a brisker tempo and turns up the heat courtesy of Pepe Clarke's forceful thuds and Eddie Veliz's majestic altos. Quickly coming into his own as a wholesome rock singer, Veliz's singing is outstanding all over the album and his reverberating guitar solo on "Lost One" signals an abbreviated space-out trip to match his escalating vocal pitches. The massive riffs on the first single of the album, "Electric Halo", are subliminally SABBATH in delivery, but the trippy reverb on the bridge and the sweetened-up guitar notes Eddie Veliz delves overtop the driving melody are sublime. Thematically, the song is about two-faced backstabbers, which sets up the weighty drives of the emotional "Sewn Shut". A true-story song written for a friend of the band who suffered a literal sewn closure of the eyes following a disastrous accident, "Sewn Shut" is magnificent with every morose strum and clout, especially on its dazzling and guttural choruses. Though it's still early in the year, "Sewn Shut" should be nominated for Metal Performance of the Year, pick your forum. The rest of "Burn the Serum" is nowhere near as beautifully haunted as "Sewn Shut", but it is loud yet sophisticated at every turn. If grunge had sounded like "Faraway" on more of a regular basis, it would've lasted longer than a few years. KYNG's mingling of dense metallic chugging and jive on "Self Medicated Man" is killer stuff, while "The Ode" keeps the burners fired up with its punchy tempos that are swept back into slow but sweltering choruses. Eddie Veliz again hits high notes of such splendor they nearly outshine his considerable guitar thrusts and Pepe Clarke's crushing snare rolls and cowbell clacks. "The Ode" transitions almost without pause to "In the Land of Pigs", which maintains the same hammering throb and sweeping riffs, only with an altered, though no less catchy melody. Turning up the juice on "Big Ugly Me" with quasi-thrash lines and synthetic orchestration on the vast finale, KYNG shows tremendous versatility on an album that was already impressive enough through the first nine tracks. Stand by for the gorgeous closer "Paper Heart Rose" for further proof of KYNG's dynamism. KYNG may believe in simplicity, but there's hardly anything simplistic to "Burn the Serum". As a trio, they leave no sound space unplugged and to revert to layman's terms, they kick serious ass.

Space Police - Defenders of the Crown - EDGUY

God bless EDGUY. Not everyone buys into what they offer with their strict dedication to melodic power metal and sci-fi/comic book themes, but they've always stuck to their guns and they're almost always entertaining. Following 2011's "Age of the Joker", EDGUY trails their own scripts, heavies up in some spots and delivers a fun ride (minus a throwaway cover of FALCO's "Rock Me Amadeus") for their tenth studio album, "Space Police – Defenders of the Crown". To quote the band themselves in advance press for the new album, "Not giving a shit and getting away with it: THAT is metal!" Take it as you will, but EDGUY aren't changing for anyone and if you're already a fan, there's no reason you won't take to "Space Police – Defenders of the Crown". It's often silly, occasionally over-the-top, but hey, that's EDGUY for you. Their diehards would feel cheated otherwise. It's been since 2000 when we've last had a "Heavy Metal" animated movie, but every album EDGUY has done since seems like their audition to score a potential third installment. "Space Police – Defenders of the Crown" feels like it should be its own animated space romp in title and in sound, though where we'd have room for a Taarakian avenger within "Space Police"'s twisted microcosm remains to be seen. Someone get a hold of Julie Strain's agent and put her on standby. Just about every metal band pushing new product is going to declare their current work as their heaviest, and EDGUY is no different. While hardly up to "Theater of Salvation" in the heaviness department, there is a bit of a push on this album to beef up while retaining their harmonious keys, circular rhythms, uplifted hooks and charismatic vocals from Tobias Sammet. Always remember this is EDGUY, however. While the opening number "Sabre and Torche" boasts some of the meatiest riffs and trippiest synths in their arsenal, expect some nuttiness to dictate as the album progresses. Moving past their faithful but pointless cover of "Rock Me Amadeus", EDGUY offers the insanely catchy "Do Me Like a Caveman" and some hilarious amplified kitty purring to open the pop rock mocks of "Love Tyger". Before all that, however, you'll hear Tobias Sammet dish up some ultra-weird vocal shakes before the final stanza of "Space Police", a song that's goofy in theme and goofier in delivery, but nonetheless pleasurable. "Space Police" has some gnarly chugging riffs from Jens Ludwig and Dirk Sauer that breathe action into the album's titular galaxy enforcers, while the random appearances of equally nutty lunar synths hoists the track straight back to the intergalactic-obsessed late Seventies. Keeping "Defenders of the Crown" relegated strictly to the Eighties, from which EDGUY lives vicariously, their stepped-up marches on the heels of Felix Bohnke's double kicks and Tobias "Eggi" Exxel's panting bass lines lead to glory-filled choruses and a crazy call and refrain segment between Tobias Sammet and a mostly-baritone choral section. Both "Defenders of the Crown" and "Space Police" turn to the Yngwie Malmsteen school of neoclassical metal without drowning them in arpeggios. The solo of "Defenders of the Crown" gets in and gets out, opting to let the song's substantial rolls speak on its behalf. Later, "The Realms of Baba Yaga" takes a hard ride with gusty strums, galloping bass drums and soaring choruses. All the ingredients for the perfect heavy metal jam, "The Realms of Baba Yaga" is a genuine ass-kicker. Wrapping the album with an 8:49 SCORPIONS-meets-ZEPPELIN-meets-WHITESNAKE ballad, "The Eternal Wayfayer", "Space Police – Defenders of the Crown" concludes with this vocal-layered happy pill, always reminding that a mounting epic ballad as a finale is never out-of-fashion, especially in EDGUY's world. That world may be often tongue-in-cheek, and it's not always obvious when they're having a rip or simply ripping away for the sake of heavy metal purity. At least EDGUY does whatever the hell they want on "Space Police – Defenders of the Crown" and they sell it, alienating only perhaps their figurative interplanetary cops in the process.

Salvation of Innocents - EARTH CRISIS

Hardcore potentates and animal rights activists EARTH CRISIS are back for another round with their eighth album and Candlelight Records debut, "Salvation of Innocents". This time, the band offers a multimedia experience if you seek out their tie-in comic book, "Liberator" through the Black Mask imprint. As this writer is a loud 'n proud rocker and comic nerd, this already has me smiling well before loading the music up. "Salvation of Innocents" may sound in spots the like contemporary hardcore artists who EARTH CRISIS inspired, but as the 'core scene at-large has quieted down considerably, the door is wide open for guys who'd paid the others' dues for them. There's a fair sense of justice in that. The opening numbers "De-Desensitize" and "Out of the Cages" blast like trad speed and skid hardcore rips ("Out of the Cages" being the fastest song on the album), but the dynamic of the album changes instantly afterwards. The crawling proto power shakes of "Shiver" make it one of the exception to the norm tracks on the album, stepping as far out of the hardcore gutters as EARTH CRISIS can without abandoning their identity altogether. The switch to haunted, near Gothic melodies on the choruses of "Shiver" are a huge attention-getter and not until the band briefly doubles the pace do they sound like a hardcore band on this song. The abrupt switches of themes on "Shiver" make it a genuine standout, considering the headstrong thrusts of the songs surrounding it. The continued slowing down of "Razors Through Flesh" allows Karl Buechner to viscerally describe the torture of laboratory animals so those who should stand guilty can clearly hear their indictments despite Buechner's brash hollering. If you didn't know the platform EARTH CRISIS stands on, you'd think it was a 'core-oriented death metal jam. Afterwards, "Depraved Indifference" and at least the verses of "No Reason" keeps the reins pulled back and the intended implications of violated animals' death throes are well-felt. Even "The Pallid Surgeon" keeps a checked-down pace on the verses, though loading the guitars even heavier as Karl Buechner deepens his chokes and lingers upon his animal abuse tirades. "Devoted to Death" finds the band merging standard hardcore march rhythms and double-kicked verses with singular, rock-oriented choruses tailored for a glorious headbang. Next "Into Nothingness" teases EARTH CRISIS' listeners with Dennis Merrick's tempo variations that rise in velocity then yank back to teeth-mashing stomps as Ian "Bulldog" Edwards (rumbly as ever on the album) follows suit on bass. The breakdown on this cut seethes and flows instead of interrupts, bringing the drive right to Scott Crouse and Erick Edwards, who dish a savory solo section on the dime before "Into Nothingness" skulks to a close. "Final Breath" likewise rolls through different paces, but the guitar solo is so exquisite, the colliding disorder becomes more poignant as the album's closer. As products of their time, EARTH CRISIS kicks out "Salvation of Innocents" in near nanoseconds, even with most of the songs moving at mid-tempo. EARTH CRISIS minces no words nor time in making their point. Thus "Salvation of Innocents" is a success from veteran vegans and mashers who've turned to the comics realm to help send their pro-planet and animal guardian message to the masses that grows more indifferent the larger it becomes in numbers. Steampunk comics have recently emerged as a counterculture phenomenon and beforehand, punk and hardcore inspired "Tank Girl" and "Punk Rock Jesus", and to different latitudes (with added shades of Goth), "The Crow". The books are bipolar opposites in theme, but they hit the right nerves and in the case of "Tank Girl" and "The Crow", reached their target audience before being swept into the mainstream. EARTH CRISIS hardly appear destined for the mainstream; they never have nor have they ever courted it. "Salvation of Innocents" has a weighty prospectus about it, but only certain ears will get it beyond EARTH CRISIS' perpetual inferno, even if it's designed to give Karl Buechner's hollering litany more clarity. If you don't get what he's screaming about on "De-Desensitize", you've already proven his point.