Amit Sharma of U.K.'s Metal Hammer magazine conducted an interview with guitarist Herman Li of British epic power metallers DRAGONFORCE at this year's Download festival, which took place June 14-16 at Donington Park in Leicestershire, United Kingdom. You can now watch the chat below.
DRAGONFORCE is recording the follow-up to last year's "The Power Within" album, which was the band's first with vocalist Marc Hudson. Since his live debut with the group in July 2011, Marc has gone on to front over 100 shows with DRAGONFORCE in 32 countries across the globe, including arenas with IRON MAIDEN as well as a mammoth headlining world tour to support the CD.
With a newfound wealth of experience for the new singer and two years of playing together, the DRAGONFORCE machine was at its most powerful when it entered Fascination Street studios in Örebro, Sweden in May with Jens Bogren to start laying down tracks. Known for his work with the likes of OPETH, THE DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT, AMON AMARTH, KATATONIA, SOILWORK and SYMPHONY X, to name a few, Jens will undoubtedly help DRAGONFORCE make a killer-sounding album.
"The Power Within" sold 5,800 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 74 on The Billboard 200 chart.
Asked if it was difficult to integrate Hudson into the band, Li told Metal Traveller: "I don't know if it was easy or hard, but we definitely spent a lot of time to make sure he integrated well in the band. Before he joined the band, we jammed, we rehearsed, we went to the studio and recorded some demos together — just to see how it's like, to understand his personality. After he joined the band, we didn't want him to be like, 'Hi, Marc, welcome to the band, record the songs in studio and see you on tour.' You have to be a real family, so we jammed and rehearsed a lot, and that really helped him to integrate the band. The first show he had to play with the band was with IRON MAIDEN, in front of 20,000 people. I didn't tell Marc until the warmup gig two weeks before."
Regarding whether Marc was involved in composing the new songs, Li said: "Most of the music was already composed when we were auditioning him. After he joined the band, we had to change the voice a little bit to get the best out of his voice. We found out that he can sing very high, but also really low at the same time. So in certain songs, we explored his low range, like 'Seasons' or 'Give Me The Night', on which he goes from low to high. Then we tried to explore the high register, like in 'Holding On'."
Merlin Alderslade of Metal Hammer magazine spoke to RISE TO REMAIN, the up-and-coming London, England metalcore outfitfronted by Austin Dickinson — the son of IRON MAIDEN singer Bruce Dickinson — at this year's Download festival, which took place June 14-16 at Donington Park in Leicestershire, United Kingdom. You can now watch the chat below.
RISE TO REMAIN recently entered the studio to begin work on its second album for a late 2013 release.
The U.S. version of RISE TO REMAIN's debut CD, "City Of Vultures", was made available in June 2012 and included four bonus tracks.
Speaking to Metal Hammer, Austin stated about RISE TO REMAIN's forthcoming effort: "It's done, it's finished. We just have to get it all packaged and recorded properly and stuff like that."
He continued: "We've been demoing for about five months now, so it's been a super-, super-long process, but I think that we're finally happy with it. We're finally at this place where every single thing is just sculpted to how we want it.
"We didn't wanna be a band that just smashed something out for people to kind of go and pick up and play for, like, two months and then get bored. That sucks, 'cause then you've gota do another one, and if you make the same mistake twice, then [you'll be gone]. I think we'd rather stay at an even kilter and just really release fucking quality metal tunes.
"The metal scene is so killer right now, so our competition is so high, and they're our friends too. So we're not trying to kick anyone out, but we are trying to write damn good music."
RISE TO REMAIN last year announced the full-time additions of bassist Connor O'Keefe and drummer Adam Lewin on drums to the group's ranks.
Massachusetts metallers REVOCATION will release their new, self-titled album on August 6 via Relapse Records. The follow-up to 2011's "Chaos Of Forms" will be the first full-length album with bass player Brett Bamberger, who joined the band in 2012 and was featured on the group's last EP, "Teratogenesis", which was released by Scion A/V. The cover artwork for the new CD was created by Orion Landau (DYING FETUS, OBSCURA, NILE).
"Revocation" track listing:
01. The Hive 02. Scattering the Flock 03. Arch Fiend 04. Numbing Agents 05. Fracked 06. The Gift You Gave 07. Invidious 08. Spastic 09. Entombed By Wealth 10. A Visitation
The song "The Hive" can now be streamed using the SoundCloud widget below.
REVOCATION will take part in this year's Summer Slaughter Tour alongside THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN, CATTLE DECAPITATION and others. The trek will kick off on July 19 in San Francisco, California and run through August 20 in Portland, Oregon.
"Chaos Of Forms" was released in August 16, 2011 in North America and September 5, 2011 internationally via Relapse. The follow-up to 2009's "Existence Is Futile" was recorded at Damage Studios in Southbridge, Massachusetts with engineer Pete Rutcho.
On May 10, Premier Guitar's Chris Kies was on location in Madison, Wisconsin at at High Noon Saloon where he caught up with THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN guitarist Ben Weinman to find out all the gear Ben is using during the band's current tour. Check out the footage below.
THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN was forced to cancel its summer European festival and club appearances due to an injury sustained by Weinman on his right hand and wrist. He will spend June recovering.
"I'm heartbroken that we will miss these shows because we were all looking forward to them a great deal," Weinman said. "Obviously nobody likes being injured. I'm looking forward to performing on Summer Slaughter at full capacity and we will be back in Europe this fall on our headlining tour."
DILLINGER is touring behind its new album, "One Of Us Is The Killer". They recently completed a video for the album's title track which will be released in the coming weeks.
"Leaving for tour knowing that we would be performing without all members on stage isn't something any of us are comfortable with," added frontman Greg Puciato. "Ben is going to take the next month to heal and we'll be ready to demolish Summer Slaughter and return to Europe in the fall with all systems loaded and ready to go."
THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN's fifth full-length album, "One Of Us Is The Killer", sold around 15,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 25 on The Billboard 200 chart. The CD was released on May 14 through the band's own Party Smasher Inc., in partnership with Sumerian Records in North America. Party Smasher's partnership with BMG covers the rest of the world, including licensing deals with Grind House for Japan and Remote Control in Australia.
"One Of Us Is The Killer" was recorded in Southern California with longtime producer Steve Evetts (GLASSJAW, THE CURE, SUICIDE SILENCE), with additional production at guitarist/co-founder Ben Weinman's studio. Mastering was handled by Tom Baker (DEFTONES, NINE INCH NAILS, BEASTIE BOYS).
"Provisions", a brand new song from the Manheim, Pennsylvania-based quintet AUGUST BURNS RED, can be streamed in the YouTube clip below. The track comes off the band's fifth album, "Rescue & Restore", which will be released on June 25 via Solid State Records.
The new effort, described by guitarist and principal songwriter JB Brubaker as the band’s "most ambitious album yet," turns a critical eye to the oft-maligned genre of metalcore, leading by example to prove that bands can still find exciting new ways to expand the genre.
"'Rescue & Restore' is about challenging other bands and ourselves, as well as fans of this music, to want more than whatever happens to be the current buzz," explains Brubaker.
"We’ve done our best with each new album to try to push our sound in new directions and we’d like to see our peers do the same.
"People need to realize that there’s not much of a difference between a metalcore song that has a couple breakdowns with a repeating chorus and the latest LADY GAGA song. This genre used to be better than that. It can still be better than that."
Throughout the album, AUGUST BURNS RED continue to do their part to challenge the conventions of heavy music. Over the course of 11 tracks, the band artfully blend piano, cello, violin, trumpet, various percussive elements and more into their sonic arsenal, taking their music into new aesthetic territory and contorting the boundaries of the genre.
In support of "Rescue & Restore", AUGUST BURNS RED will perform all summer long as a mainstage act on the 2013 Vans Warped Tour, marking their third appearance overall and first since 2011.
With "Rescue & Restore", AUGUST BURNS RED have proven that it is possible to reshape music in a way that challenges listeners, reinvigorates fans and puts art first. But for any fans who fear AUGUST BURNS RED turning their back on the sound that catapulted them to the forefront of a genre, Brubaker advises them not to worry.
"At the end of the day, we are still a very heavy band," he explains. "'Rescue & Restore' still has plenty of really heavy stuff, techy odd meter riffs, and all the stuff that people have come to expect from us; it just has a lot more surprises along the way."
"Rescue & Restore" track listing:
01. Provisions 02. Treatment 03. Spirit Breaker 04. Count It All As Lost 05. Sincerity 06. Creative Captivity 07. Fault Line 08. Beauty In Tragedy 09. Animals 10. Echoes 11. The First Step
CANDLEMASS, GIRLSCHOOL, SACRIFICE, PAGAN ALTAR, BARBATOS and WITCH MOUNTAIN have been confirmed for the Noctis VI - Lucifer Rex festival, set to take place September 19-21 at the University Of Calgary's MacEwan Hall Ballroom, Dickens Pub, Lord Nelson's Grill and Vern's Bar in downtown Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
At least 20 more bands will be announced over the next few weeks.
In addition to the exciting slate of international musical acts, Noctis VI will see the return of the Metal Music Industry Conference at the Ramada Hotel. with speakers and panelists from around the world.
Professionally filmed video footage of CANDLEMASS performing its classic song "Solitude" at this year's edition of the Sweden Rock Festival — which was held June 5-8 in Sölvesborg, Sweden — can be seen below.
CANDLEMASS played its first show with singer Mats Levén on June 5, 2012 at Debaser Slussen in Stockholm, Sweden.
Levén is a former member of YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, THERION and TREAT, who also plays with CANDLEMASS bassist/mainman Leif Edling in KRUX.
Also joining the group for CANDLEMASS' recent live performances was keyboard player Per Wiberg (OPETH, SPIRITUAL BEGGARS).
CANDLEMASS released its 11th and final album, "Psalms For The Dead", on June 8, 2012 via Napalm Records.
The authorized memoir by late GIRLSCHOOL guitarist Bernadette Jean "Kelly" Johnson called "Surviving My Friends: The Official Kelly Johnson Story", is available an e-book at this location. The book was started by Johnson and completed by her friends and family.
GIRLSCHOOL issued a re-recorded version of its classic second album, "Hit And Run", complemented by two awesome bonus tracks. Available in Europe since September 2011, "Hit And Run - Revisited" was released in the U.S. on January 24, 2012 via UDR in three versions: a CD digipak, a regular jewel case CD and a vinyl LP with gatefold sleeve.
SPIN.com is honoring the life of SLAYER guitarist Jeff Hanneman with a gallery of early photographs by Harald Oimoen, from the D.R.I. bassist's book "Murder In The Front Row: Shots From The Bay Area Thrash Metal Epicenter". The photos capture several live and candid moments from the rise of U.S. thrash metal circa 1984, including Hanneman and SLAYER performing outdoors on a plywood stage; SLAYER's very first face-to-face encounter with the members of METALLICA; Oimoen's classic sleeve photo from SLAYER's "Hell Awaits" album; and a moving portrait of Hanneman and his eventual substitute in SLAYER — Gary Holt of EXODUS.
The gallery of photos from the book can be viewed at this location.
"Murder In The Front Row" is a stunning volume that collects over 400 amazing color and black-and-white photos from the time when locals EXODUS and Los Angeles transplants METALLICA reigned in small clubs like the Old Waldorf, The Stone, and the infamous East Bay bastion of heaviness, Ruthie's Inn. Thrash metal upstarts SLAYER and MEGADETH found a second home in the Bay Area, while a homegrown breed of tempo-crazed teenagers like LEGACY, POSSESSED, DEATH ANGEL, HEATHEN and VIO-LENCE brought Bay Area thrash metal to critical mass.
Hanneman passed away on May 2 from liver failure at the age of 49.
Members of SLAYER released a statement on May 9 saying that Hanneman died of alcohol-related cirrhosis.
Hanneman had actually not been playing with SLAYER for more than two years since he contracted necrotizing fasciitis, also known as flesh-eating disease, from a spider bite in his backyard in January 2011. The infection ravaged the flesh and tissues of Hanneman's arm, leading to numerous surgeries, skin grafts and intense periods of rehab that forced him into semi-retirement and left him near death at several points.
Hanneman's last appearance with SLAYER was in April 2011, when he played an encore with the band at the "Big Four" concert in Indio, California.
GUNS N' ROSES lead guitarist Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal was interviewed this past weekeend by CNN-IBN, India's most awarded English news channel and one of the most respected and dynamic media brands in the country today. Check out the report below.
Thal headlined The Festival Chapter III concert at Nazrul Mancha in Calcutta, India on June 15. He played a special set with the Dubai-based melodic hard rock band POINT OF VIEW (POV).
After touring India with GUNS N' ROSES last December, the country is "starting to feel like home" for Ron, the guitarist told The Telegraph.
POINT OF VIEW previously performed with Ron last year at the launch event for its album "Revolutionize The Revolutionary".
"It was an overwhelming experience… just [Ron's] presence was enough," POINT OF VIEW drummer Chiradeep Lahiri, who left Calcutta for Dubai in 2009, told The Telegraph.
WITHERSCAPE, the stunning new dark metal outfit formed by Swedish singer, multi-instrumentalist and producer extraordinaire Dan Swanö together with fellow Swedish multi-instrumentalist Ragnar Widerberg, will release its debut album, "The Inheritance", on July 29 in Europe and August 6 in North America via Century Media Records.
A comprehensive interview with Swanö about how the band got together, the CD concept as well as how crickets happened to end up on the album can be seen below.
"The Inheritance" track listing:
01. Mother Of The Soul 02. Astrid Falls 03. Dead For A Day 04. Dying For The Sun 05. To The Calling Of Blood And Dreams 06. The Math Of The Myth 07. Crawling From Validity 08. The Wedlock Observation 09. The Inheritance
"The Inheritance" is a pretty thick concept album split into different episodes and very briefly, the WITHERSCAPE story takes place in a remote village in northern Sweden in the late 1800's. The central character lives in Stockholm and comes from wealth, and upon the death of his family he's informed by the family lawyer that he has inherited a large estate up north. Having been oblivious to the estate's existence, he decides to investigate, and once he's there "all kinds of weird shit happens," according to Dan Swanö.
The hauntingly beautiful cover artwork for "The Inheritance", which can be seen above, was created by Travis Smith of Seempieces, who has previously worked with such bands as OPETH, NEVERMORE, DEATH and KATATONIA.
Swanö staes: "Both me and Ragnar are fascinated by old, abandoned buildings and it was pretty clear from the start that we would have the estate our main character inherits on the albumcover. We used Travis Smith as a 'medium' for our visual ideas and he did a spectacular job transforming our written wishes into a real image."
WITHERSCAPE marks the long overdue return as active composer and recording artist for Dan Swanö in the world of extreme metal, after having mostly been involved on the studio mixing end of things in these past years. Granted, "The Inheritance" is not purely a death metal release, but it smoothly showcases both the heavier and the mellow sides of Swanö's creativity and should consequently not only please fans of his earlier efforts like "Moontower" or the EDGE OF SANITY catalogue, but also attract friends of progressively atmospheric contemporary metal in the vein of OPET, KATATONIA and AMORPHIS.
According to Swanö, WITHERSCAPE has been in planning for a long time, spawned as a result of his working relationship with Widerberg, which began at a Swedish music store. The two multi-instrumentalists discovered that they had so much in common musically that brainstorming for a full-on metal project of their own was the next logical step. Widerberg cites acts like early JUDAS PRIEST, RUSH, KING CRIMSON and MERCYFUL FATE as far as his inspirations in regards to WITHERSCAPE and Swanö elaborates his list to also include JUDAS PRIEST (1975-1989), VOIVOD, QUEENSRŸCHE, RUSH, MARILLION and MERCYFUL FATE.
Most dedicated metalheads will not only be able to call themselves owners of certain releases by one Dan's many outstanding bands/projects (EDGE OF SANITY, NIGHTINGALE), but also the work at his own Unisound studio will surely have left a mark in everyone's record collection at some point: OPETH, KATATONIA, DISSECTION, MERCILESS, 59 TIMES THE PAIN, DARK FUNERAL, HAIL OF BULLETS, MARDUK, MILLENCOLIN and NASUM, to name but a few.
Swanö has been no stranger to Century Media Records: He was originally involved with the death metal supergroup BLOODBATH (also featuring members of OPETH and KATATONIA), who released the "Breeding Death" EP as well as the amazing first two albums, "Resurrection Through Carnage" and "Nightmares Made Flesh", via Century Media. Most recently, Swanö has been heavily working again as producer and mixer of albums, including releases by Century Media artists such as ASPHYX, GRAND SUPREME BLOOD COURT, ODDLAND and MORGOTH.
SOUNDGARDEN's upcoming appearance on the PBS concert program "Live From The Artist's Den" will premiere on July 11. A crew from the Emmy-nominated series filmed SOUNDGARDEN's February 17 concert at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles, the last gig of a three-night stand there, with that night's set featuring 28 songs from all eras of the band's career.
Season 6 of "Live From The Artists Den", which pairs world-class musicians with unique venues to create intimate, once-in-a-lifetime concerts, will premiere nationwide on American public television the week of July 1.
In front of a rapturous crowd, SOUNDGARDEN interwove brand new songs with classics, radio hits with rarities never before performed for a live audience. Over a varied set, they showcased their history, dazzled with their musicianship and captured the imaginations of everyone in the room.
SOUNDGARDEN has been touring in support of "King Animal", its first album of new material since 1996.
The disc was released last November and features the singles "Been Away Too Long" and "By Crooked Steps". The video for the latter song has been directed by Dave Grohl.
Renowned drummer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Brian Tichy, known for his tours of duty with BILLY IDOL, FOREIGNER, OZZY OSBOURNE and WHITESNAKE, is filling in for Simon Wright (AC/DC, DIO, RHINO BUCKET) in the Geoff Tate-fronted version of QUEENSRŸCHE from June 2 to June 29.
Fan-filmed video footage of the Geoff Tate-fronted version of QUEENSRŸCHE performing on June 16 at House Of Blues in Cleveland, Ohio can be seen below.
Sass Jordan, Tichy's musical partner in their band SOMETHING UNTO NOTHING (S.U.N.), has been asked to sing the duet in "Suite Sister Mary" as Geoff Tate and the boys perform the epic "Operation" Mindcrime" album in its entirety. To make it complete, Tichy and Jordan are opening the shows with a 30-minute "S.U.N. Acoustic Stomp," which is Jordan and Tichy (on guitar and bass drum) as a duo.
Although a lineup for Tate's QUEENSRŸCHE was originally announced in the fall of 2012, things have changed. The band now features Tate along with bassist Rudy Sarzo (OZZY OSBOURNE, DIO, WHITESNAKE, QUIET RIOT), guitarist Kelly Gray (QUEENSRŸCHE 1998-2001), keyboardist Randy Gane and new additions, guitarist Robert Sarzo (QUIET RIOT, HURRICANE) and Wright.
Deadline Music/Cleopatra Records released "Frequency Unknown", the new album from the Geoff Tate-fronted version of QUEENSRŸCHE, on April 23. The CD was produced by Jason Slater at a studio in Northern California.
"Frequency Unknown" is packaged with bonus tracks — four QUEENSRŸCHE classics, newly recorded, including the smash hit single "Silent Lucidity". Guest musicians on the CD include K.K. Downing (JUDAS PRIEST), Chris Poland (MEGADETH), Ty Tabor (KING'S X), Paul Bostaph (SLAYER, TESTAMENT, EXODUS), Lita Ford, Brad Gillis (NIGHT RANGER), Dave Meniketti (Y&T) and Craig Locicero (FORBIDDEN).
On June 13, SHINEDOWN performed for an exclusive group of listeners of the Worcester/Boston, Massachusetts radio station WAAF. You can now watch video footage of the performance below.
SHINEDOWN's fourth album, "Amaryllis", was released last year. The CD debuted atop Billboard's "Rock Albums" chart and at #4 overall on The Billboard 200 — SHINEDOWN's biggest chart debut thus far — with over 105,000 units sold its first week out.
"Amaryllis" arrived in stores almost four years after the band issued "The Sound Of Madness". SHINEDOWN frontman Brent Smith told The Pulse Of Radio that even though the band really came together on that last effort, they didn't want to rest on their laurels while making "Amaryllis". "We're never really a band that's gonna ever be satisfied," he said. "We're never gonna be complacent with 'Oh, well, that'll do.' We're the band that's looking for the doors that everyone is afraid to find, because we like that. We like pushing the envelope constantly. It keeps us on our toes."
The release of "Amaryllis" was accompanied by an e-book called "For Your Sake: Inside The Making Of Amaryllis", a 75-page, "completely interactive" e-book that contains commentary, photos, video footage and other content exclusively chronicling the creation of the new record.
SHINEDOWN will headline the 2013 Carnival of Madness tour, which will kick off on August 13 in Cleveland, Ohio. In addition to SHINEDOWN, the bill will feature PAPA ROACH, SKILLET, IN THIS MOMENT and new act WE AS HUMAN.
The self-titled debut album from PALMS, the musical collaboration between DEFTONES vocalist Chino Moreno and former members of ISIS (Aaron Harris, Clifford Meyer and Jeff Caxide), is available for streaming in its entirety at SPIN.com. The CD will be released on June 25 via Mike Patton's (FAITH NO MORE) Ipecac label.
The track listing for the 47-minute effort is as follows:
A special iTunes pre-order gives purchasers an immediate download of "Tropics".
The quartet has also announced its first tour dates: a four-date West Coast run this July, with stops in San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles and San Francisco:
July 10 - San Diego, CA - Belly Up Tavern July 11 - Santa Ana CA - The Observatory July 12 - Los Angeles, CA - The Troubadour July 13 - San Francisco, CA - Slim’s
PALMS came together following the demise of ISIS, with Jeff Caxide (bass), Aaron Harris (drums) and Clifford Meyer (keyboards/guitar) electing to continue playing music together.
"After a little time, Jeff, Cliff, and I decided that it was insane that we all still lived here in Los Angeles and weren't playing together," Harris says. "It just sort of happened naturally, probably because we have been playing together for so long, and things started to come together. But we didn't want to be instrumental: We wanted vocals. We just weren't exactly sure who that would be at first." The band, knowing that Chino had been a fan of ISIS, thought he would be a great fit and he agreed.
"A chance to work with the guys from ISIS sounded like a lot of fun," Moreno says, "I've always been into the atmospheric sounds they had created with that project and felt my sense of melody would meld well with theirs."