The 7th and final installment of Noctis Valkeryies Metal Festival is about to descend upon Calgary Alberta on Sept 19th, 2013. Titled Noctis 666 “Lucifer Rex”, the three day festival is bringing one of the most impressive line ups so far and building on the interactive part of the festival for heavy metal fans, aspiring musicians and the heavy metal support crowd (edit this shit). Terese Fleming, the owner of Scarab Productions and architect of the Noctis festivals recruited metal-rules.com managing editor and Megawatt Mayhem host JP to be Scarab’s Production Assistant. Just before the festival I sat down to chat with JP about his new position and what is in store for Noctis this year.
JP working hard at the Scarab Productions office.
How and when did you get involved in Noctis?
I’ve been involved in some capacity as a volunteer from almost the very beginning, each year getting more involved.
Your role with Scarab Productions for Noctis changed this year. How did this come about?
I was looking for a change from my previous career in retail and law enforcement, and this was the year that the role was available. It has been very interesting going from being involved as a volunteer to behind the scenes, seeing really how much pre-work goes into an event this size. I have more admiration for Terese and her staff than ever before.
How do you balance your role in media (University of Calgary radio show Megawatt Mayhem, Metal-Rules) with your work at Scarab?
Well, my wife says “I don’t”, but as there is an office for Scarab where I work and I have a fairly traditional (but relaxed) job atmosphere where I get up, commute, go to an office and put in a day working for the Festival, so that helps keep the distinction. It’s nice to be able to listen to music and make new contacts for the radio show and website and just plan extra features and interviews. It can blur together at times.
This is supposed to be the last Noctis. Is it turning out as you expected?
Some might say, nothing ever goes as planned but our main goal was to make this the biggest, best most interactive Noctis yet and I believe we are succeeding in that goal. It is turning out very well – we have had very few setbacks so far this year.
What do you see happening in the future for Calgary metal without an annual Noctis festival?
As much as this has become a flagship Metal event in Calgary, there are still the core elements to make the Calgary scene strong. There are still a number of quality, organized local promoters such as Big Nate Productions and Orchard Hill, and tons of fans and strong support from local media, so I believe the fans, media and organizers will rise to the occasion and fill the void.
What are you most looking forward to this year?
As always knocking a few more bands off my ‘must see’ list. The big picture is looking forward to seeing it unfold and work and everyone have a great time as we blow the doors off the last one!
What is your favorite past Noctis moment?
There are so many little ‘behind the scenes’ moments that stand out across the years: having dinner with Venom at a fancy steakhouse, hanging out with British author Joel McIver in Banff on a sunny Sunday after the fest, a late night meal with the organizers and the guys from Melechesh, record shopping with Mike from Slough Feg, and countless quick moments bumping into Metal royalty in the elevator or setting something up. Even simple chores of picking up people from the airport to give them a friendly face and some Western hospitality as they arrive to Calgary, often for the first time, can be very rewarding. Actually that sounds lame and not very metal… change that to… doing body shots of a wasted hooker backstage with members of various Black Metal bands after we sacrificed a goat. With black candles. In a pentagram. At midnight.
How do you decide on what bands to bring in?
As always it was a combination of a bands’ schedule, exposure, credibility and/or reputation and even sometimes price. There were some fantastic artists that I felt priced themselves out of the market or too high for a mid-size fest with a small population base. We can’t compete with the population density and budget of a European fest that can bring 10,000+ people. I feel we are a bit like PowerProg USA where we keep it cool, medium sized, and sell out each year. Accordingly, because of our capacity, we can’t bring the giants like the Manowars and Iron Maidens of the world. So working within our self-imposed limitations we made a few offers to bands that were reasonable and cool to work with. It was excellent timing that our Saturday headliner, Carcass is releasing their new album Surgical Steel, just two days before Noctis starts.
Noctis always brings in some unique headliners and lineups in general for (Western) Canadian metal fans. Can you tell us a bit about this year’s choices as they seem to have caused an extra bit of excitement this year?
Because we knew it was our last year, we wanted to knock a few more big bands off the list. We made some long lists and did quite a bit of research about when a band was here last, (if ever) and taking into consideration factors such as maybe some of veteran Metal bands who have been around over 30 years may not be active too much longer. It might be a case of now or never! To summarize, our choices focused on those legendary innovative bands that really were active in the early days in the history of Metal or ground-breaking in some way, and not necessarily, because they have never been here before. Let’s face it, probably 80% of all the Metal bands in the world have never been to Calgary before!
This year there are a couple elusive black metal bands playing fest, like Revenge and Blasphemy for example. How did you manage to get them on the bill?
Remember that goat sacrifice at midnight from a few years ago that I mentioned earlier? It must have worked because a couple of the elder gods Blasphemy and Revenge came out of the dark to see what we are all about. I do believe our reputation for being professional, organized and not too big, plus bringing acts to the region for the first time ever (or the first time in a long time) added to our ‘Metal Cred’, so we are just happy they can join us.
The conference has run for a few years, and this year an expo has been added to the festival. Where did this idea come from and what do you expect fans/musicians to get out of this part of Noctis?
One of the more enjoyable parts is having meetings with Terese and the advisory board, a panel of local Metal fans, trendsetters, opinion-makers and experts. We meet and throw out all sorts of crazy ideas and an Expo was not that much of a stretch to add to the existing conference. The Expo will be the most dynamic and interactive part. We have an Art show with Dan Seagrave , the well-known Death Metal cover album artist, a World Premier Metal Movie courtesy of Billzebub Productions, lots of vendors with cool metal gear, leather, jewelry, music, and of course autograph sessions almost all of our big name international artists.
Are there any particular talks or interviews that you are going to make sure to attend?
I’m really looking forward to hearing Dan Swano talk. We counted and he has been involved in over 100 projects in one capacity or another. Sam Dunn has promised to bring a very special, world exclusive, sneak peek at the infamous ‘Lost Episode’ of his TV series Metal Evolution. I’m also looking forward to hearing Dr. Deena Weinstein’s presentation and Dr. Vivek Venkatesh’s presentation on Black Metal. Lastly the Laina Dawes/Sarah Kitteringham presentation on Women In Metal will be very cool. I’m a bit of a Metal nerd I guess.
There is a bit of emphasis on women in metal this year. Can you tell us a bit about the sessions and why this issue is being featured this year?
This year we have our Women In Metal panel/presentation a free event on Thursday, Sept 19th featuring Laina Dawes and Sarah Kitteringham and the event will be hosted by Dr. Sutler Cohen and we will have Dr. Weinstein in attendance. There will be some crossover and repeats of various presentations during the two-day conference as well. It goes without saying that women have been an integral role in Metal as artists and in every role imaginable since the beginning. This might be the year where we help smash that outdated stereotype of women in Metal being relegated to secondary or support roles. When Terese saw Deena and Laina present earlier this year in Bowling Green she said, “We have to get these people for our conference!”. I think the increase of women participating is just a natural evolution and a nice coincidence.
Any advice for fans to get through the weekend?
Drink your milk, plenty of sleep the days before, eat your vegetables, have a light workout and a nap…no wait a minute… I mean, what has worked for me is take a day or two off work before do some mild to moderate pre-drinking and listen to the catalogues of all the artists appearing. Then by Thursday night you are hitting your pace, lots of greasy junk-food on the fly, steady flow of booze, keep sleep to a minimum, and just ride the Metal buzz until 3:00am on Saturday night until you get kicked out of Vern’s Bar where the last after-party is. And bring your entire life savings to the Expo.
Anything else you’d like us to know?
Noctis will have its most successful year because of the fans. When they come out, participate, meet these artists, come to the Conference and Expo and clinics, it adds a little more variety and unique flavour than just filing into a hall and watching a show. Of course the music is the most important part but all the other extra features that we arrange are just as important to make a unique event. Come enjoy the whole festival and everything it has to offer.
Guitarist and founding member Anders Nyström commented, “The synopsis is simple and album title won’t lie; the drums will be dethroned and the distorted rhythm guitars will be uncrowned! Instead, we’ll place the emphasis on the many layers of ambience, with the melodies staying central and the vocal harmonies representing the heart of the album.
“Think of the album like a person’s face in the hands of a surgeon, whose appearance is gonna change, but it’s still the same person behind that face and we guess an important factor, in this case, would be that the surgeon itself is obviously Katatonia, not a stranger! If there’s one album in our repertoire that’s suited for a thing like this, it’s Dead End Kings.” Read the rest of this entry »
SWEDEN – Civil War, the new symphonic power metal band from ex-Sabaton members, Rikard Sundén, Oskar Montelius, Daniel Mullback and Daniel Myhr, along with frontman, Nils Patrik Johansson (Astral Doors), and bass player, Stefan “Pizza” Eriksson (Volturyon), is proud to announce that its debut album The Killer Angels has been certified ‘Gold’ in the band’s home country of Sweden, selling more than 20,000 copies. The members of Civil War were presented with their ‘Gold’ plaques before headlining the Metal War festival in Budapest last weekend.
This is the long-anticipated sixth of the series, and the follow-up to Ye Olde Metal: 1978, Ye Olde Metal: 1977, Ye Olde Metal: 1976, Ye Olde Metal: 1973 To 1975 and Ye Olde Metal: 1968 To 1972.
Like those, it’s also limited to 1,000 copies, signed by me, and it’s numbered. On the cover… Riot!
“For those not in the loop yet, what I’m doing with this is detailed examinations of classic old albums, using new interviews with guys in the bands, maybe a little available press here and there. These are write-ups that are way more exhaustive than any commercially viable (!) book would ever dare. You know me, I just love getting the stories, no matter how few of us hard rock historian types care anymore.
This one’s the best so far as I’ve gotten better – period. Better writing, more involved stories, more memorabilia shots, and again, lots of celebrated and mega-rare Rich Galbraith photos, cool old ads, 45 sleeves and other weird stuff. The book is 265 pages, BIGGEST YET, full trade 6” x 9” dimension, and stuffed with trivia folks ain’t never heard before—I guarantee it.”
Modern thrashers Sawthis have made available a teaser video for their new album ‘Youniverse’:
Since their inception, modern thrashers Sawthis distinguished themselves for a very strong live attitude, having shared the stage with many international renowned bands such as Korn, Sepultura, Lacuna Coil, Entombed, Impaled Nazarene, Vader and The Haunted to name a few. With 2 albums under their belt (‘Fusion’, 2006, and ‘Egod’, 2010) which were very well received by fans and critics alike, the band have recently announced a new record deal with Bakerteam Records and a new album, ‘Youniverse’, expected to hit the stores September 30th, 2013. ‘Youniverse’ is a conceptual work focused on the theme of multiple personality disorder and features a very special guest appearance by Rob Cavestany from Death Angel. More details will be revealed soon on www.bakerteamrecords.comand www.sawthis.it.
I had a chance to interview Parker Jameson of Starkill, Rick Di Marco of Death Division, and Jake Dreyer of White Wizzard at Shreds of Insanity.
The Shreds of Insanity event took place at the Hollywood Carvin guitar store, and featured incredible soloing and guitar duels from Parker, Rick, Jake and Dave Silver of Savage Messiah. The event was hosted by Century Media Records, Dunlop Manufacturing, and Cleartone Strings. As well as a satisfying dose of metal guitar-shredding, there was time for an audience q-&-a session with the guitarists, and a raffle with great prizes – the grand prize being two tickets to see Wintersun at the House of Blues Hollywood that same evening! Read the rest of this entry »
“Thy Kingdom Scum” in stores and on-line everywhere now!
Church of Misery, Japan’s finest doom export, has announced tour dates for this fall in the United States! The band’s latest album, “Thy Kingdom Scum,” features the return of the band’s original vocalist, Hideki Fukasawa. To preview the live experience awaiting fans on this tour, watch the video for “Brother Bishop” at metalblade.com/churchofmisery. Tour dates can be seen below, as well as on facebook.com/churchofmiserydoom.
A week after announcing seventeen U.S. dates for the fall, Slayer comes back today announcing the addition of seven Canadian concerts as well as a date in Seattle. These added shows are part of Slayer’s first North American tour in two years.
Slayer – Tom Araya/bass vocals, guitarist Kerry King, drummer Paul Bostaph, and guitarist Gary Holt, who continues to fill in for the late founding member Jeff Hanneman – will have Gojira and 4ARM support on all dates.
Tickets for these newly-added dates go on sale beginning this Friday, September 13. Log onto www.slayer.net for complete on-sale dates and ticketing information.
Slayer’s Fall 2013 North American tour is as follows:
22 Sullivan Sports Arena, Anchorage, AK
25 The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, NV
28 Hollywood Palladium, Hollywood, CA
30 Events Center @ San Jose State, San Jose, CA
1WAMU Center, Seattle, WA
3Stampede Corrall, Calgary, AB
4Shaw Center, Edmonton, AB
5Praireland Park Center, Saskatoon, SK
7MTS Center, Winnipeg, MB
8 Myth, Minneapolis, MN
10 FunFunFun Fest, Austin, TX
12 Bayou Music Center, Houston, TX
13 South Side Ballroom, Dallas, TX
15 Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, IL
16 The Fillmore, Detroit, MI
17 LC Pavilion, Columbus, OH
19 The Fillmore, Washington, D.C.
20 Stage AE, Pittsburgh, PA
21Ricoh Colibsum, Toronto, ON
23CEPSUM/University of Montreal, Montreal, QC
24Pavilion de la Jeunesse, Quebec, QC
26 Oakdale Theatre, Wallingford, CT
27 Theatre @ MSG, New York, NY
29 Susquehanna Bank Center, Camden, NJ
30 Tsongas Arena, Boston, MA
Silence when you speak to me!
Like the juggernaut you prayed would keep on crushing you, like the friend that still royally pisses off your parents and like a loyal standard of crunchy, greasy, punky, bluesy, gutsy screw-you rock’n’roll, MOTÖRHEAD stride out through their 38th year brandishing more swagger and attitude then your ears could begin to comprehend. Read the rest of this entry »
With the mid-September release of their brilliant comeback album Surgical Steel, the return of English extremists Carcass that began in earnest with a spate of reunion shows in 2007 is now complete. And 17 years after the band went out with a whimper, issuing the toothless Swansong in 1996 after they’d effectively already split following several years of label and internal turmoil, they are indeed back with a vengeance.
Surgical Steel manages to at once capture the surging riffs and sinister wit of Necroticism and the crunching melodies and robust production of Heartwork; pay occasional homage to the gnashing vitriol of Reek of Putrefaction and Symphonies Of Sickness; and bring the catchiness of Swansong into the mix, though with decidedly more oomph, all while making it sound fresh, new and vital. This is certainly no mere trip down memory lane, Surgical Steel raises the bar for modern metal the way Reek and Symphonies set the mark for gore-grind back in the day and Heartwork paved the way for melodic death metal.
Oddly, founding guitarist Bill Steer (ex-also of Napalm Death) and bassist/vocalist Jeff Walker essentially removed themselves from the metal scene altogether after Carcass split, despite having spawned numerous sound-alikes who can still be heard to this day. Steer formed the blues rock band Firebird. Walker recorded an album of tongue-in-cheek country covers – though he did join with Latin narco-grinders Brujeria in 2006. But they obviously never lost the “Carcass spirit,” if you will, and when the time finally came to give a go at crafting new material, they went at it with abandon.
Having walked away from the Carcass reunion in 2010 to focus on Arch Enemy, on again/off again guitarist Michael Amott played no part in Surgical Steel, nor did Arch Enemy’s Daniel Erlandsson, who’d been playing drums. Founding drummer Ken Owen was physically unable to perform, the result of a near-fatal cerebral hemorrhage he suffered in 1999. He did, however, contribute backing vocals on the new album and has lent his full support to Carcass’ reanimation.
But with two new members on board – guitarist Ben Ash, who did not play on the album, and drummer Dan Wilding, who did – the band haven’t missed a beat. Indeed, they’ve got a lot of the life back in them – and then some – that was sucked out during the rather trying final few years of the first go-round.
Via Skype, a chatty Bill Steer offered the following on the life, death and rebirth of one of metal’s most groundbreaking, yet misunderstood bands.
It has been 4 years since Legions of War released their tremendous & merciless surprise attack entitled “Towards Death”. Highly acclaimed by underground media, who compared the band to such monsters as DESTROYER’666 or GOSPEL OF THE HORNS. Their self-released thunder assault “Riding With The Blitz” (an EP with two new tracks in 2011) – swedish warmongers LEGIONS OF WAR come out from their long retreat with a new arsenal to take the world by storm. 9 new missiles made in the strongest steel with an incredibly precise strike force will soon be unleashed on INFERNO Records under the name “Forced To The Ground”.
Four World Premieres, Complete Heavy Metal Hysteria, UFOs Unleashed, and more gore…
Having already released horror heavy details including live scores from Goblin and Attila Csihar of Mayhem; appearances by underground horror directing legends Jim VanBebber, Jorg Buttgereit, and Jose Mojica Marins (AKA Coffin Joe); the North American Premiere of THE PROFANE EXHIBIT – the most highly anticipated horror anthology film since TRILOGY OF TERROR; and screening the greatest slate of grindhouse flicks ever on 35mm (EVIL DEAD, THE BEYOND, et al.), Philip Anselmo and Corey Mitchell now unveil their latest tricks of cinematic terror.
The Italian Folk Metal prodigies of KRAMPUS have released their much anticipated new track, “Paralysis”. The song was produced mere weeks ago with legendary producer Tommy Vetterli (Eluveitie, Coroner) and features guest musicians Merlin Sutter and Chrigel Glanzmann of ELUVEITIEon drums and uilleann pipes. KRAMPUS have searched for and found their sound with the new material, perfecting modern influences and keeping their unique folk instrumentation alive at the same time – one of only a handful of bands succeeding in what many have tried in recent years.
Ron Keel has announced details about the release of his new solo album, “Metal Cowboy,” launching a 60 day PledgeMusic campaign that gives fans access to downloads, updates, and exclusive music/merchandise/memorabilia packages: http://pledgemusic.com/projects/ronkeelmetalcowboy
“The music sounds just like the title – Metal Cowboy,” Ron declares, “hard & heavy with a southern side. Kind of like if AC/DC made a Skynyrd album – gritty screaming vocals, powerful rock riffs, but with some classic southern rock elements like Frank Hannon’s slide guitar.” All drum tracks were performed by Y&T’s Mike Vanderhule; other special guests include Oz Fox (Stryper), Brent Muscat (Faster Pussycat), Geno Arce & Bryan Jay from KEEL, Stacey Blades from L.A. Guns, and a “live in-studio” recording with the Sin City Sinners. Read the rest of this entry »