Pasi Humppi is a name I remember well and fondly from his time with the Swedish power metal band Freternia. When I was contacted by Pasi, and given the chance to hear the new CROMONIC, I was excited because to me this new band carries on a lot of the feeling and style from Freternia. Like Freternia, Cromonic are also a Borås, Sweden-based heavy/power-metal band. Cromonic formed with the current lineup in 2013 and consists of five members. With their debut album ”Time” coming out this week, now is a good time to talk about all things Cromonic, and of course, to fill in some of the gaps regarding Freternia.
Interview with David Gehlke, author of Damn The Machine
What first inspired you to write a book about the history of Noise Records? Why not other early 80’s labels such as Megaforce or say Metal Blade?
David: Noise, along with Combat, Megaforce and Metal Blade, was one of the most influential labels of the ‘80s. Noise’s owner Karl-Ulrich Walterbach was able to unearth a tremendous array of undiscovered talent and a lot of his key signings are still around today and bigger than they were while on Noise. Aside from that, a lot of the bands who were on Noise were very vocal about their not-so-pleasant dealings with Karl and the label, most notably Celtic Frost and Helloween. That made me want to dive into the inner-workings of the label and find out what made Karl tick, as well as get his side of the story. Karl also has quite the back-story of his own; he spent a good part of the ‘70s squatting in Berlin, eventually becoming one of the first people to run a punk rock record company in Germany. If Karl didn’t get into punk, he probably doesn’t get into metal. This created the near-perfect sequence of events to build a book.
Noise staff in the mid 80’s.
Tell us a bit of your writing routine. How long did it take from start to finish?
David: The book took two-and-a-half years to write. Karl and I spoke nearly every Sunday during that time, where I’d present him with a topic and he’d share his experiences. Karl is a tremendous storyteller with an excellent memory, so that made my job really easy. Of course, transcribing my interviews with Karl as well as the Noise bands was time-consuming, but that’s part of the gig. Because the book involved so many bands and personalities, it was not written sequentially. I think I finished some of the book’s later chapters before some of the ones on Karl’s early days and even Celtic Frost. Therefore, you could say it was like piecing together a huge puzzle. A 504-page puzzle.
Is this your first book?
David: Yes, this is my first book! I’ve been writing for various metal magazines and ‘zines over the years, so it seemed like a good time to put a book together. I picked a difficult, somewhat controversial topic to start with, though. As clichéd as it sounds, this was a tremendous learning experience. I learned so much along the way. If I’m lucky enough to do another book, surely those lessons will be applied. I hope.
Was it difficult to secure a publishing deal? David: In North America, yes, absolutely. I was told the book was too niche, which I agree with. That led me to create my own publishing company, Deliberation Press. Thankfully, the world of self-publishing has grown to the point where it’s easy to do as long as you’re willing to front the money and handle the coordination of the book’s inner-design and promotion yourself. I was lucky enough to land a deal for both Germany and the U.K. with Iron Pages, who have been a tremendous supporter of the book.
What was the biggest challenge in writing Damn The Machine? Conversely, what were some of the highlights for you?
David: The biggest challenge was piecing together the story of a label that in its first incarnation, was around for 24 years and had signed hundreds of bands. Since Noise had so many bands, determining a cut-off point on who to cover was essential. That led to some bands being left out who were deserving of space, like Scanner and Vendetta. Devoting entire chapters to some of Noise’s larger bands like Celtic Frost, Helloween and Kreator was easy, but trying to accommodate the behind-the-scenes business aspect of the label was difficult at times.
Perhaps the second biggest challenge was getting the bands to talk. A lot of hard feelings still exist between Noise’s legacy roster and the label, so actually convincing certain bands that this was a neutral project was a tough go at times. Luckily, I was able to get just about everyone who was needed for the book and in just about every case, the bands were candid and honest about their time with Noise.
Highlights…there were many. Just getting to know Karl-Ulrich Walterbach for starters. Karl had been out of the spotlight since selling Noise in 2001, but since reemerged as a band manager around 2010. Working with the gentleman responsible for so much of European metal was a true honor. Karl is a one-of-a-kind personality and I am grateful he allowed me to write the book on the label he created and presided over. And, let’s not leave out talking to all of the great bands, like Celtic Frost, Coroner, Gamma Ray, Grave Digger, Helloween, Kreator, Running Wild, etc.
Why do you think it has taken so long for someone to document this story?
David: That’s a good question. It may have more to do with Karl’s lack of visibility over the years than anything. He’s certainly a known quantity in the metal scene, but for whatever reason, no one had thought of telling his story, let alone Noise’s. We’re due for books on some of metal’s legendary record companies. There’s already one on Neat Records, written by John Tucker, who served as the editor for the Noise book. But, Century Media, Combat, Earache, Metal Blade, Nuclear Blast and Roadrunner all are deserving of their own book. Granted, some of those labels don’t quite have the adversarial angle Noise has, but they’d be good stories nonetheless.
Were there any Noise artists you contacted who declined to comment or participate, or alternatively, any you just could not find?
David: In the “could not find” department was members of Dark Avenger, who appeared on the Death Metal compilation. Even with the help of the Internet, I could not track any of them down. Same goes for members of S.A.D.O. and V2, two of the label’s more rock-oriented bands. Only two people outright turned me down for participation: Rod Smallwood, who, obviously is Iron Maiden’s manager, but also started to manage Helloween while they were on Noise. I was told Rod does not do any non-Iron Maiden-related press, which is understandable. The other was Tairrie B., who used to front Manhole and Tura Satana. Tairrie didn’t feel right participating in a book that included Karl-Ulrich Walterbach, which was a bummer, but again, I respect her wishes. Outside of those two, all of the key players participated. I got extremely lucky!
Was Karl Walterbach a bit skeptical to have an American write the story of a German label?
David: Of course. Plus, Karl didn’t know me from the next guy on the street when I initially approached him in 2013. Karl turned me down several times, so after putting together a proposal on how the book was to be created, he agreed. He wanted to be sure he had a proper platform to tell his side of the story and I wanted to ensure all of his bands were represented. Once we agreed on that, we got started in March 2014. But to your point, I’m 34 and American. I wasn’t around during Noise’s heyday, so some people outside of Karl were skeptical of me writing a book about a German label that had mostly German bands. I’d done quite a bit of homework on the label and its bands, so hopefully the book shows I know what I’m talking about…fingers crossed there!
Were there any big surprises or revelations that shocked you?
David: What surprised and/or shocked me the most was how the 1990 Helloween/EMI court case killed Karl’s passion for the music industry. Up until that point, he loved running the label. He loved signing bands and watching them develop. Once he got bogged down with a never-ending parade of lawyers and legalities, he started to hate everything the music industry represented. He saw himself as the little guy going after the big guys, which was the major labels of the time. He and Modern Music (Noise’s parent company) were ultimately successful in the court case, but the damage was done. It sapped Karl of his passion for running the label and that’s when Noise’s gradual descent began.
As a fan, how much of the Noise catalogue do you own?
David: [Turns around and looks at his CD collection] I have probably anywhere from 50-75 Noise releases, perhaps more. I have all of the major/key releases and have started working on tracking down some of the label’s lesser-known albums. They’re a bit hard to find and pricy, though.
What in your estimation is the rarest Noise release?
David: Some of the label’s very early releases like Ballantinez or S.A.D.O. are really tough to track down. It’s unknown how many copies Noise pressed of each release, but since they were bands that had a very limited amount of success, it’s unlikely they made it to their second pressing. Even you, Josh, asking about the cassette version of Tankard’s Alien EP makes it pretty rare. Not even their manager, Buffo, knows if it exists!
How long did it take to complete the Noise discography?
David: Months. I was provided a print-out of the last documented Noise Records discography from around 2000. I mean, it was literally the exact print-out the label used for keeping track of their releases. So I took that and typed it up, but there were tons of gaps. My German publisher Matthias Mader of Iron Pages requested I fill in the blanks, so that took quite a bit of time. Even looking at it now, there are still some gaps. Hopefully no true hardcore collector reams me out for not having the exact, final discography.
What has reception been for Damn The Machine been like?
David: So far it has been positive, although we’re still pretty early into the process. Once people have read the entire book, I’ll be curious to hear what they think. As a first-time author, there’s certainly a bit of anxiousness in getting the opinion of others. But, it’s nice to find people are interested in the book. Karl and Noise certainly left a lasting impression.
Do you have any plans to write another Metal released book? If yes, can we have a hint to the topic?
David: Absolutely. It will be about a band; I don’t know if I could handle doing a book about another record company ha-ha. Some hints: It will either be a Swedish or German band 😉
One Champion To Play At Wacken Open Air One band, one champion, thousands of metalheads!
Wacken Metal Battle In America For The First Time!
Wacken Metal Battle USA is proud to announce Boston round 3 winner UPHEAVAL. The band will now join previous round 1 and 2 winners COFFIN BIRTHandGOBLETat the city final being held on April 19th at ONCE Somerville.Boston round 3 was held on Tuesday, March 29th at ONCE Somerville along with other competing bands Lung Leather, Birnam Wood, Concilium. The winners of the Boston final will join Philadelphia round winners POWER THEORY and COPRSE HOARDERat the national final (city and date to be determined).
For over a decade at the world’s largest outdoor metal festival Wacken Open Air, independent metal bands from around the globe have been performing in front of thousands and competing against one another for one to be crowned champion of the world along with winning multiple prizes (prizes info). For the first time ever, Wacken Metal Battle USA is coming to America for its inaugural year and will be hosting qualifying rounds in various cities. The national champion of those battles will perform at the 2017 festival taking place from August 3rd – 5th. Please watch the following video trailer to see all the metal fun! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_xjt8Qp3TE
Says Slaughter: “We have been dropping hints for a while, but it is official. I have signed a deal with EMP Label Group, the record label owned by my good friend David Ellefson of Megadeth, who will release my new solo record Halfway There on May 26th in the US and Europe!! I’m so proud of this record, and can’t wait for everyone to hear it!”
If you pre-order “Halfway There” on CD or limited-edition vinyl LP on empmerch.com, you will get a free immediate download of the song”Hey You”. Also, the first 200 pre-orders will be signed. You can pre-order the album HERE.
1. HEY YOU
4. HALFWAY THERE
9. TURN IT
10. NOT HERE
Ellefson Coffee Co., the boutique Coffee brand of Grammy-Winning Megadeth bassist and EMP Label Group‘s President DAVID ELLEFSON, has announced additional details about the GRAND OPENING of their Brick and Mortar store in David’s hometown of Jackson, MN April 7-9. As previously announced, in addition to Ellefson himself, who will be in attendance all 3 days, the event will be co-hosted by special guest, comedian, and THAT METAL SHOW co-host Don Jamieson appearing on Saturday.
Additionally, the grand opening will feature special acoustic performances by Kik Tracee/ Zen From Mars vocalist Stephen Shareaux, with Bang Tango/ZFM guitarist Drew Fortier, who will play several sets over the weekend of KIK TRACEE and ZFM material. Also joining the festivities on Satuday is Bryn Arens, frontman of local Minneapolis legends FLIPP, paranormal author and investigator Adrian Lee, who will lead Ellefson and co. on an exploration to LOON LAKE CEMETARY, the local Jackson burial ground that inspired the Megadeth classic “Mary Jane”, and local Jackson Stock Car driver Luke Sathoff, who will have his ELLEFSON COFFEE CO sponsored car on display.
Also on display is the “Museum of Deth” featuring permanently displayed artifacts and memorabilia from Ellefson’s personal collection, including highlights such as David’s Jackson High marching band uniform, as well as memorabilia from other artists including Machine Head, Max Cavalera, Coal Chamber, and fellow 2017 Grammy Nominees KORN.
In addition to serving a variety of custom blends of Ellefson Coffee Co brands, including ROAST IN PEACE, SHE WOLF, KENYA THRASH, and URBAN LEGEND, ECC also serves as a retail outlet for Ellefson Coffee products and memorabilia, as well as a satellite retail outlet for titles and merchandise from Ellefson’s EMP LABEL GROUP. Additionally, the store will also act as an official retailer for JACKSON GUITARS and SIT STRINGS, as well as select items from PUCK HCKY, DEAN GUITARS, and more!
Says Ellefson, “As the GRAND OPENING draws nearer, it’s amazing to see the excitement build and be able to announce some more killer things we have planned for the Grand Opening and beyond!! We have people traveling from all over the country to join us in this celebration of all things COFFEE and METAL, and we’re going to show them all a GREAT time!!”
ECC Marketing Director Thom Hazaert adds, “The Ellefson Coffee Co. store has turned out to be an amazing way for David to have a permanent face in his hometown, while being able to tie in EMP, Jackson, Dean, SIT, and everything else in our universe. With the huge sense of Megadeth history in Jackson, we are excited to be able to create a really unique and amazing fan (and Coffee) experience, that, as predicted, is turning out to not only be a highlight for the people of Jackson, but a destination for Megadeth fans from around the World.”
Join the party at Ellefson Coffee Co. April 7-9th at 404 Second St, Jackson, MN, 56143.
Sacred Oath has posted a confirmed list of concert appearances on their website.
· May 5th in Allentown PA
· May 6th in Scranton PA
· June 3rd in Naugatuck CT
· June 30th in Hartford CT
· July 14th in Brooklyn NY
· September 9th in Clifton NJ
The band also expects to add Worcester MA, Atlanta GA, Chicago IL, and Wilmington DE to this list soon.
A fifth member – Damiano Christian – has been added to Sacred Oath’s roster for this tour. Damiano is an 18 year-old guitar and piano prodigy from Middletown Connecticut who will be playing rhythm and lead guitar, keyboards, and singing background vocals during the band’s set at each show on the tour.
“One of the conversations we were having in the studio this time around was that wouldn’t it be nice to be able to play all the music on this tour,” commented Rob Thorne on the addition of a fifth touring member. “There were always missing elements in past live shows – third harmonies, backing vocals, keyboard parts – and we thought it would be fun this time around to try and do it all. Rehearsals with Damiano have been exciting and we’re all convinced this is a great way to go. He’s a super-talent and already working at a pro level. Sacred Oath fans can really look forward to an awesome experience in 2017.”
The band plans to do at least 20 US dates in support of their newest album “Twelve Bells” being released May 12th on Angel Thorne Music and distributed through Caroline.
Tonight was the first show of the KillThax Tour featuring Anthrax, Killswitch Engage, and special guests The Devil Wears Prada. If the KillThax Tour was on a mission to level the theater and crush the metal heads; consider the job well done!
As the back cover (in part) says, this is the first book to celebrate the classic-era Motörhead lineup of Lemmy Kilmister, Fast Eddie Clarke and Philthy Phil “Animal” Taylor.
Through interviews with all of the principle troublemakers, Martin Popoff, author of 62 books on heavy metal, celebrates, over the course of the book’s action-packed 260 pages the formation of Motörhead in 1975, and, in detail, the records that made them legends, namely Motörhead, Overkill, Bomber, Ace of Spades, No Sleep ‘til Hammersmith and Iron Fist, followed by an epilogue that brings the story up to date.
Eminently quotable, Motörhead come to life in this book as bad luck bad boys incapable of running their lives right, save for Fast Eddie who is charged with holding the thing together against all odds doused in drink and drugs, most notably speed.
Within the context of the book, Popoff also examines the heady heavy metal climate of the times exploding into what was known as the New Wave of Heavy Metal, including Motörhead’s unique position in the scene as both originators and bridge band to the punks, most notably The Damned.
A first-hand account in Popoff’s dependable style, Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers includes interview footage from Brian Robertson Mikkey Dee, Phil Campbell and the band’s manager at the time Doug Smith as well as members of Hawkwind, Angel Witch, Girlschool, Tank and Twisted Sister.
And of course, prominent are the many highlights from Martin’s many chats over the years with Fast Eddie, Phil and Lemmy, the latter two of which died after Martin had finished the manuscript, requiring a last-minute update due to their shocking demises.
Price for Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers including shipping:
US orders: $33.00 US funds
Int’l orders (all books go air): $38.00 US funds
Canadian orders: $37.00 Cdn. funds
Ask me if you’d prefer a PayPal invoice (please indicate what country you are in), or just do yer usual and direct funds to firstname.lastname@example.org
Or mail payment (personal check in US funds, cash, or INTERNATIONAL money order), to: Martin Popoff, P.O. Box 65208, 358 Danforth Ave., Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4K 2Z2
Sweet postage savings to be had for multiple orders (or two of pretty much anything—long story, ask me!), especially for US and Canadian orders. Email me at email@example.com with any further questions, and see www.martinpopoff.com for descriptions, cover art and ordering info for my other 35 or so books that I have available for autographin’ and shippin’. Note: this will not be at my website for a good ten days, but I have the books now and am shipping them this week.
Kam Lee is one of the Godfathers of Death Metal , right up there with Chuck Schuldiner. As a member of Mantas, Death, and Massacre, Kam put his stamp on extreme metal by creating the growling Death Metal vocal style that has stood the test of time, influencing legions of bands. Kam and guitarist Rick Rozz have recently re-formed Massacre (as Massacre X) and are planning a tour and new material. I was lucky enough to have a chat with Kam over the phone about Death Metal history, Massacre X, and his plans to create a documentary.
“The Last Tour”, with support from LEAVES’ EYES and BATTLE BEAST, begins April 20
Tickets and VIP Packs Available via WWW.SABATON.NET
Swedish war machine, SABATON, is currently touring the world in support of their latest studio record titled The Last Stand (August 19th, 2016 via Nuclear Blast) and also holding #1 (The Last Stand), #7 (Carolus Rex; on the top for 248 (!) weeks in a row now), #9 (Heroes), and #17 (The Art Of War) in the Swedish Top 20 rock charts. After hitting the charts worldwide with The Last Stand last year (#6 World; #1 in Finland, Sweden, Switzerland and Germany among others), the band was recently honored with new plaques for their impressive album sales: The Last Stand achieved Gold in the band’s homeland Sweden and in Poland. The previous studio album, Heroes, even got platinum-certified in Sweden! On March 4th, the band had already been honored with golden plaques for The Last Stand’s sales in the Czech Republic at Tipsport Arena, Prague.
Bass player Pär Sundström commented:
“This is a proof of two things, first that we are still able to make music that fans wanna listen to and second that we have fantastic fans who really care. Sure, the current tour is called “The Last Tour”, but as long as it is going like this we’ll be going strong for a long time.”
Dear Metal Battle Bands (past & present), Great News to share!
Banger Films (Sam Dunn, Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey) are excited to announce WELCOME TO WACKEN, the first-ever music festival documentary in virtual reality has been selected for Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival. Those in the Toronto area can watch it for FREE between April 28th and May 1st as part of the DOCX program. Produced by Banger Films and Secret Location.
Ice-T’s BODY COUNT just launched the new track, “Black Hoodie,” via this explosive music video directed by @TreachTribe, so click on the link below now to check it out. The aforementioned song is also now an instant-grat track downloadable immediately upon pre-ordering the amazing, new album, Bloodlust, now at https://itun.es/us/hJ7Ohb
“Black Hoodie” Official Music Video
Ice-T states: “This type of thing happens everyday and nobody marches or it never makes the news. The video speaks for itself.”
Ice-T and co-founder/lead guitarist Ernie C have perfected their mix of thrash, punk and bottom heavy doom across five albums, hitting a zenith with the unstoppable Manslaughter. They embody the monumental Southern California tradition of street born punk bands like Suicidal Tendencies combined with the aggressive aural napalm of Slayer. This is abrasive, in-your-face heavy metal at its very finest.