Unconfirmed reports indicate that IRON MAIDEN's representatives have finally completed their seemingly endless negotiations with McFarlane Toys (Todd McFarlane's toy company) to allow McFarlane to produce a line of Eddie figures, which are tentatively scheduled to be made available in 2002. According to sources, the toys are going to be the traditional McFarlane figures (approximately 6"-8" in size) and will include Eddie depictions from the various album covers. The 18" Eddie and the Rock 'N Box Eddies (a 3.5” box from which, when a button is pressed, a figure will pop out and music from the artist is played) will also be available later this year.
Former Canadian “Metal Queen” Lee Aaron is reportedly thinking about re-recording some of her previously released ballads for an "unplugged"-style album, which would also include some new songs and some cover songs, including one by Nick Drake. Meanwhile, fans of the singer's previous rock output can look forward to a guest spot Lee has recorded with DEMON DRIVE, a German band formerly known as CASANOVA. Aaron appears on a cover of Suzi Quatro's 1979 hit "She's In Love With You", which will be included on DEMON DRIVE's album Rock And Roll Star, to be released in Europe on October 8th.
KING'S X ninth studio release, Manic Moonlight, will be issued through Metal Blade Records on September 25th. A six-week North American tour will follow.
Former GUNS N' ROSES guitarist Slash will perform with Michael Jackson during Jackson's concert stint in New York City in September.
Former MOTLEY CRUE singer and current UNION frontman/RATT fill-in guitarist John Corabi has reportedly assisted TUFF on guitar for some of the latter group's recent live performances after former TUFF guitarist Darrell Roberts left the group in order to audition for W.A.S.P.'s guitarist slot left vacant by the departure of Chris Holmes.
Swedish all-girl outfit MISDEMEANOR (signed to ENTOMBED guitarist Alex Hellid's Muse Entities record label) have been booked for the Shrine party at Skeppsholmen in Stockholm, August 11th. Other artists scheduled to perform include THE NOMADS, THE SEWERGROOVES, and EUROBOYS.
HELSTAR, the classic Texan power metal band fronted by current DESTINY'S END vocalist James Rivera, have reformed for a series of shows, including appearances at the Milwaukee Metalfest and at Baltimore's Powermad Festival on Saturday, August 18th.
Following reports that RAGE's recent partly cancelled German tour was as much the result of poor advance ticket sales as singer/bassist Peavy Wagner's illness, RAGE guitarist Victor Smolski posted an update via the group's official web site addressing the complaints about the lack of performances in certain countries and officially confirming the band's free-agent record company status. Here is Smolski's message in its entirety:
“Due to lots of requests and entries of disappointed fans from Sweden, Greece, Brazil and Russia in our guestbook, that RAGE didn't come to their countries to give concerts there, I would like to tell you, that I can understand your disappointment and anger, but booking of tours and concerts is to be done by the booking agency and management.
“As we also were not happy with their job, that's one of the reasons that we've changed the booking agency and the management. We are sure that our new partner Continental Concerts will do a better job. Of course it is always important, that local promoter shows interest in organizing events, but without their engagement traveling to other counties for concerts is almost impossible.
“Sorry also to all the fans in Germany who were waiting for new dates for concerts which were cancelled during the Europe Tour 2001. Due to changing the record company, booking agency and management it wasn't possible to get new dates just in time. That changes of companies is also the reason that my next solo CD will not be released before 2002.
“Anyhow, we hope that our fans keep faithful, we'll 'kick your ass' at the next concert!!!!”
Alaska's 36 CRAZYFISTS have completed the recording sessions for their Bitterness The Star CD, and are currently at Red Clay Studios in Suffern, New York mixing the effort with Scrap 60 Productions at the helm. The 13 tracks that have been recorded during the sessions are as follows:
01. Turns To Ashes
02. An Agreement Called Forever
03. All I Am
04. Circle The Drain
05. 8 Minutes Upside Down
06. Bury Me Where I Fall
08. One More Word
09. 2 Months From A Year
12. Braided Conversation
13. Slit Wrist Theory
GLASSJAW are expected hit an L.A.-area the studio with producer Ross Robinson sometime in mid to late August.
HAMMERFALL guitarist Stefan Elmgren has formed a side project called FULL STRIKE with vocalist Niklas Jonsson, ex-CRAWLEY bassist Chris Savage Goldsmith and FREAK KITCHEN drummer Björn Fryklund. Described as musically leaning towards DOKKEN and early GARY MOORE, with splashes of ACCEPT and HELLOWEEN, FULL STRIKE are currently in talks with several well-known labels, with CARDIGANS manager Petri Lundén reportedly heading up the negotiations. The group's debut album is tentatively expected to be recorded at the end of the year for an early 2002 release.
Germany's IVANHOE have recruited ex-AVALON vocalist Chitral "Chity" Somapala and are presently in pre-production for their forthcoming studio album, which is due to be recorded later in the year.
Swedish black metallers ABYSSOS will soon be entering the studio to record their third full-length album, tentatively entitled Delomelanicon.
TNT guitarist Ronni LeTekro will play with with Iver Kleive Kompani on August 9th at the Jacob Church in Oslo, Norway as part of the Oslo Jazz Festival 2001. The guitarist will also perform with Magica Lantera on August 16th at Raufoss Badeland in Raufoss, Norway as part of the Outdoor Festival.
Sweden's CRYSTAL EYES have replaced drummer Kujtim Gashi with 22-year-old ex-FRETERNIA skinsman Stefan Svantesson. In other news, CRYSTAL EYES' two CDs were recently released in South America through Rock Brigade Records under license from CLM Records, both featuring bonus tracks taken without the band's consent from a cassette sent to CLM before the group signed the contract with the label. According to the group, the two rough demo tracks in question, "Another Race" and "Mindtraveller", contain “terrible” sound and the band would never have agreed to release such “sh.t” on their CDs. Although the group think that both songs have “great potential”, and they will most definitely be properly recorded in the future for an upcoming album release, CRYSTAL EYES wish to point that the bonus tracks have nothing to do with the rest of the CDs, and “they're only showing what some sh.t record companies are capable of doing”.
DARK FUNERAL's recently-completed new studio album, Diabolis Interium, will be released in Europe in late August through No Fashion Records. No US release date has yet been announced, but the group recently inked a deal in Japan with Soundholic Records, who will issue a slightly different version of the album, featuring a different layout and, as a bonus, the four cover songs featured on Teach Children To Worship Satan EP.
THE SCORPIONS are scheduled to play several “unplugged” and full-blown “rock” shows this summer, in addition to a planned Orchestra concert in Europe and South East Asia. The Acoustica album's American release is scheduled for late August or the beginning of September.
SIX FEET UNDER's North American tour will begin on September 20th and will include support from DIMMU BORGIR, NAPALM DEATH and WITCHERY. Dates will be announced shortly.
Finland's THE BLACK LEAGUE, who feature in their ranks former SENTENCED frontman Taneli Jarva, will perform live at Woodoo in their home town of Oulu, Finland on July 20th. They are also scheduled to play at Tavastia in Helsinki, Finland on September 7th.
Sweden's VINTERSORG, featuring vocalist Vintersorg of the Norwegian band BORKNAGAR, have cancelled their planned appearance at the Milwaukee Metalfest. No reason was given for the cancellation.
WESTWORLD, featuring TNT vocalist Tony Harnell and RIOT guitarist Mark Reale, will release their Live In The Flesh CD in Japan through a new deal with Marquee Records. The track listing for the Japanese version differs slightly from the European version. It is as follows:
01. I Belong
04. Black Shadow Symphony
05. Limbo (Japanese bonus track)
06. Get A Life
07. Ivory Towers
10. Bring The Water To Me
12. 10,000 Lovers in One
13. Swords &Tequila
14. Tomorrow's Yesterday (Japanese bonus track)
Maltese “progressive” black metallers ARCHAEAN HARMONY have replaced guitarist Adrameleck with Adriel and have acquired keyboardist Asmodeus. The band is presently working on new material that is being described as “more progressive” than the group's past output and completely devoid of any “avant-garde touches”. A session drummer, Kenneth 'Bocc' Farrugia, has been recruited for upcoming live performances, including an appearance at a popular rock club at Paceville on July 29th.
Germany's BEYOND SERENITY are currently in the studio recording their first full-length album, Total Control, for a September release.
French “Celtic black metal” act BELENOS will enter the studio in September to record their brand new album, entitled Spicilège, for a fall release through Sacral Productions. The upcoming CD will be the group's first with new members Guillaume Dallery (ex-BLACK DUST guitar) and Marc Devillers (drums)
Dutch label Displeased Records have licensed the three OPETH albums Morningrise, Orchid and My Arms Your Hearse as well as EXTREME NOISE TERROR's Being And Nothing for special limited-edition vinyl releases. The OPETH titles are available on limited-edition double vinyl & the EXTREME NOISE TERROR record is available on limited-edition single vinyl.