SLAYER are currently in the studio mixing their upcoming album, tentatively titled Soundtracks Of The Apocalypse, and are scheduled to complete the mixing process on April 20th, according to the group's publicist. The Matt Hyde-produced CD is due for release through American / Columbia Records on July 3rd.
Japan's LOUDNESS will reportedly be issuing a live CD, DVD, and VHS recorded on their recent reunion concert tour. The recording in question was made at the group's March 28th performance in Tokyo, and it is tentatively scheduled for release on July 21st. In related tour news, there are plans for LOUDNESS to head over to Europe to play a few as-yet-unspecified festivals, at which time the group will also undertake a regular club tour of Europe, with tentative plans to come to America around August or September. This also being the 20th year of LOUDNESS' existence, the band are scheduled to kick off a 20-year anniversary tour of Japan at the end of the year. At this time, there are no firm plans to issue Spiritual Canoe (LOUDNESS' first CD since reforming with all original members) in territories outside Japan.
BLACK SABBATH will reportedly be premiering at least one new song during the upcoming Ozzfest tour, according to an update posted at hardradio.com. Meanwhile, the reunited quartet of Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Bill Ward and Geezer Butler is continuing to write material for the band's much-anticipated studio album (due to be produced by Rick Rubin), which appears unlikely to see the light of day until sometime in 2002.
'We just wanted to see what we could come up with,' stated Butler of the recent songwriting sessions. 'We came up with about six or seven songs. No song titles yet, but it's back to the roots, back to the old '70s, early '70s sound. It's nothing like the Reunion tracks. That was done on Pro-tools. Bill and myself weren't even there until the songs were done. This time we did it exactly the way we did the first three albums — just sit in the studio and jam together and record everything and then listen back to it all and then take the stuff that we like and work on it. And Ozzy would come up with the vocal melodies, which is never a problem. So it's very much a group effort. And I'm not the designated lyricist anymore. Ozzy might write something or Bill or Tony. We're writing the way we used to on the first three albums. We all have to like it. If only two of us like it, then we don't keep it. And we're working up in Wales again, where we did the Reunion rehearsals.'
According to the bassist, while there are no complete tracks yet to speak of (i.e. nothing with lyrics), a couple of them are at a near-finished state 'that we're probably ready to record [right now]. And all we need now is about twelve others as good as that and we'll be fine (laughs). There's one really strange one, sort of like a ballad, very radio-friendly, and that was the first one to be dumped (laugh), very commercial. We're not going to rush the album because if it doesn't sound right, if it's not up to scratch as an album, then we won't put it out.'
Meanwhile, drummer Bill Ward offered his impressions to hardradio.com of the new material by summing it up in the following way. 'I think that they're pretty melodic, definitely hard rock. I think that they're a good start in a sense that they are from four guys getting together who haven't actually written anything together for a long, long, long time. I feel that the beginning shows incredible potential and promise. There are some slower songs which actually have some jazz and real melodic feels and there's a real melodic one that I was going to say is almost like 'Changes', but in a rhythm sense it's nothing like 'Changes'. It really compliments Ozzy's kind of lament voice. I don't know, there's something that is just totally awesome about his voice when he sings sad songs it just turns out great. So we have something in that range, and then we have something that is just so tight and up-tempo and total fucking metal, so the range is quite wide. We've just started to tap the mother lode. I don't know, but there's potentially enough material to go for a long, long time, not just for one album. But it's very exciting. There are a lot of different ideas.'
In related news, Ozzy Osbourne's upcoming solo album, which is currently being written and recorded in Los Angeles by a group of musicians headed up by guitarist Zakk Wylde, doesn't appear to be anywhere near completion and is unlikely to appear before the of the year at the earliest.
As for the rest of SABBATH, Butler is working on a new GEEZER album (the group's third), for which he has reportedly completed 12 tracks so far, including a song called 'The Ultimate Ghost'. According to Geezer, vocalist Clark Brown (who sang on the group's 1997 effort Black Science) has completed his vocals for the album, which 'encompasses everything I've done.' Guitarist Pedro Howse will once again be involved with the project.
Finally, Bill Ward's upcoming solo album, entitled Beyond Aston, will be mixed during the summer and ready to release sometime in the fall, although the drummer doesn't appear to be have a label at the moment. Beyond Aston's title track, which was specifically written for Ozzy to sing, will likely include a guest appearance from from the SABBATH frontman.
CRADLE OF FILTH's upcoming Bitter Suites To Succubi EP will now contain eight tracks and not seven, following the addition of the group's cover of SISTER OF MERCY's 'No Time To Cry'. The band have also pushed back the EP's release date to June 18th to accommodate the recent changes in the production schedule.
Bitter Suites To Succubi will be the first release to come out of CRADLE OF FILTH's new imprint label, AbraCadaver. The project will feature four completely new songs, plus the aforementioned 'No Time To Cry', as well as three complete re-workings of 'The Black Goddess Rises', 'Summer Dying Fast' and 'The Principle Of Evil Made Flesh' from the band's legendary albums Vempire - Dark Faerytales in Phallustein and The Principle Of Evil Made Flesh. The album, produced by CRADLE OF FILTH and mixed by John Fryer, also features the acclaimed Finnish string quartet APOCALYPTICA, famed for their classical renditions of METALLICA compositions. The cover art for the studio project comes from the amazing JK Potter, who not only designed cover art for Clive Barker, JG Ballard and Isaac Asimov, but also the stunning images for CRADLE OF FILTH's Midian album. The artwork will also include individual portraits from John Coulthart — better known for his illustrations of HP Lovecraft stories.
In other CRADLE OF FILTH news, the April 16th worldwide stream of their live performance from Nottingham, UK's Rock City (which is taking place tomorrow, April 14th), will be available via several other links that weren't previously posted. The new URLs where COF fans can listen to the show are as follows:
USA & Canada - Metal Maniacs www.metalmaniacs.com Germany - www.eyedoo.de
CRADLE OF FILTH are expected to perform all their 'classics', as well as new material from Bitter Suites To Succubi prior to the album's US release via Spitfire Records. The webcast will also be available for viewing from 6am EST Monday until 6am EST Tuesday at the Spitfire Records website (www.spitfirerecords.com).
MEDICATION, the Los Angeles-based outfit featuring former MACHINE HEAD / SOULFLY guitarist Logan Mader, former UGLY KID JOE / LIFE OF AGONY vocalist Whitfield Crane and former SOULFLY drummer Roy Mayorga, have added another show to their current itinerary. The revised list of upcoming MEDICATION gigs is as follows:
April 13 - Orangevale, CA @ The Boardwalk
April 14 - Atascadero, CA @ Bonnema Brewing Co.
May 04 - Tarzana, CA @ Paladino's
May 26 - Sacramento, CA @ Colonial Theatre
QUEENSRYCHE vocalist Geoff Tate will reportedly be contributing lead vocals to an as-yet-unspecified track on the upcoming QUEEN tribute album, due out this summer.
Florida death metallers DEICIDE entered Tampa's Morrisound Studio on April 9th to begin recording the follow-up to Insineratehymn. No release date or other details have yet been announced.
Sweden's FIRESIDE will undertake a two-week German tour at the beginning of May. The tour starts in Hamburg on May 5th and ends in Berlin on May 21st. FIRESIDE will also be playing the Hultsfred Festival on June 14th, alongside LIMP BIZKIT and many others.
Vocalist Martin Walkyier has left SKYCLAD after a moderately-successful ten-year run with a band that was undoubtedly one of the most original European metal acts of the '90s.
Here is the official statement posted on SKYCLAD's and Martin's personal web sites:
I apologise deeply for the extreme brevity of this statement concerning my heart-rending decision to leave SKYCLAD after ten wonderful and creative years. My present situation requires that I devote each moment of my time and energy to working upon my current musical projects, if I am to continue being able to provide you with my unique lyrical outlook on life for many, many years to come. I ask for nothing more than your friendship, support and understanding in this matter I've never let you down in the past, and therefore absolutely refuse to allow myself to do so at any point in the future!
I finally lost my belief that there were any viable reasons for continuing with SKYCLAD in December 2000. After spending well over a year of total devotion to the writing, recording and promotion of the Folkémon CD, I found myself in the most embarrassing situation of being unable to buy food, pay for my apartment, or purchase even a small Christmas present for my young son. I realised then that there was something intrinsically wrong with this unfortunate direction my life was taking, and decided that I must immediately take matters into my own hands if I was to continue pursuing my life-long dream of having a rewarding, full-time musical career.
Yet even in these desperate times an offer of help was at hand. Our friends at Amust4music, (the team who are diligently striving to promote the Bloodstock Festival on May 28th 2001), had kindly suggested that they could help with the management side of SKYCLAD Thus providing me (and ultimately SKYCLAD) with the financial backing, business knowledge and stalwart support that could easily have enabled the band to continue making our unique music. This most generous offer was unfortunately ignored by all the members of The Skyclad Partnership apart from myself. It is for this reason, amongst many others, that I am forced to make Bloodstock my final concert with a band that has been my entire life for well over ten years.
I am presently undergoing intensive rehearsals with a project we have respectfully named RETURN TO THE SABBAT (R2TS). Having been constantly asked over the years if I would ever consider 'raising from the dead' some of the material from the classic History Of A Time To Come and Dreamweaver albums myself, Simon Jones and Frazer Craske have collectively decided that the hour is finally auspicious for such an unholy alliance to take place.
Together with SKYCLAD percussionist Jay Graham, a man who shares our undying dream to become members of a totally dedicated musical outfit, we shall be appearing on the second-stage at Derby Assembly Rooms on May 28th in order to lead you on a nightmare journey down a moonlit memory-lane. Incidentally, it was upon this very stage that Andy Sneap's 'SABBAT' played the final show of their ill-fated Mourning Has Broken tour.
I apologise most humbly if this has come as a shock to you all, and can assure you that this is not a decision which I have taken lightly. If any of you had undergone the crushing poverty which has blighted my life in recent months, then you would fully understand these regrettable decisions I have been forced to make. I am currently surrounding myself with as many professional, innovative and creative persons as is humanly possible. I sincerely hope that together with the loyal support of you my dear friends, R2TS will be just the beginning of an ongoing musical evolution, one that with your invaluable assistance should presently lead to the birth of the greatest Pagan Metal band the world has ever seen!
We are currently trying to achieve very great things on a very small budget indeed. If you should wish to support us in this noble quest, then please help by purchasing some of the RETURN TO THE SABBAT T-shirts from the merchandise page. They are each individually screen-printed by myself and Frazer Craske, and any revenue raised from their sale will be invested in ensuring that I may continue in my endeavours to enlighten and entertain you far into the distant future - a task which it has been my absolute honour and privilege to perform for the last fifteen glorious years.
May your guardian-spirits be with you always!
11 April 2001.'
Former RAINBOW keyboardist David Rosenthal has completed the keyboard tracks for guitar virtuoso Vinnie Moore's upcoming solo album at Sonic Adventures Studio. The album also features JOURNEY drummer Steve Smith and DIXIE DREGS bassist Dave LaRue. The as-yet-untitled CD is slated for release this summer on Shrapnel Records.
Swiss melodic metallers EMERALD will play at this year's Swiss Metal Attack Festival, held on April 14th at Z7 Konzertfabrik, CH-Pratteln (for more details, go to: http://www.z-7.ch/). Along with the older material, EMERALD will reportedly be previewing song from their upcoming album Calling the Knights.
Belgium's Graspop Metal Meeting Festival is scheduled to take place on Friday and Saturday, June 22-23, in Dessel. Confirmed acts so far include:
CRADLE OF FILTH
SICK OF IT ALL
SIX FEET UNDER
KILL II THIS
ACTION IN DC
Houston's DIRT will be performing an industry showcase at The Martini Lounge in Hollywood, California on Thursday May 10th.