Composer and guitarist Johnny Newman, 24, who was performing symphonic rock with the University of Tennessee Studio Orchestra a year and a half ago, is about to release his first full-length album, "More Than Ever", this summer featuring two of metal's finest virtuosos . Newman has hired death metal bassist Steve DiGiorgio (TESTAMENT, DEATH, ICED EARTH) and drummer Yanic Bercier (GONE IN APRIL, QUO VADIS) for an aggressively beautiful display of symphonic metal that is both accessible and smart.
Following his concert with the UT Studio Orchestra in November 2009, Newman met with producer/drummer Bercier in a Starbucks cafe to discuss logistics for a potential record together. Over the course of 2010 and 2011, Newman's elaborate orchestrations have seamlessly met Bercier's highly technical drumming style that takes symphonic metal beyond the cheesy TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA cliche into the realm of art.
Furthering the credentials on this album is the matchless playing of Steve DiGiorgio on fretless bass. It was DiGiorgio's work with metal bands SADUS and DEATH in the '80s and '90s that made his style of playing immediately recognizable; and now, his playing shines more than ever on the groove-infected track "Polly Wants a Rhythm" and weaves in and out of the extensively chromatic "The Cleansing".
Also featured on the album is Newman's long-time friend and colleague Ksenia Berestovskaya. This native of Omsk, Russia has a soaring mezzo-soprano voice that sings life into the tracks "Damages", a single to be released to raise awareness in the fight against human trafficking, and "Are You Ready", an operatic eye-opener to Revelation 20:12.
Newman's album has been a long-time coming and will certainly not fail to impress. "I'm certainly blessed to have so many people supporting me and to be working with the best metal musicians in the business; it's a wonderful opportunity to write great music" said Newman. "We're going to bring epic to Knoxville."
"More Than Ever" is currently being mixed at WaveTransform Recording Studio in Knoxville, Tennessee and is set for release in July/August.