Damon Johnson (Black Star Riders, Brother Cane, Thin Lizzy, Alice Cooper) is pleased to announce his first solo electric project with the ‘Echo’ EP, released in March 2016.
Recorded throughout 2015, the 5 track EP sees Johnson taking the lead with vocals, guitars and other instruments alongside drummer Jarred Pope and bassist Tony Nagy, and is the perfect showcase for Johnson’s songwriting and guitar playing. Big riffs sit alongside driving rhythms and the instant melodies.
‘Echo’ was produced and mixed by Nick Raskulinecz – whose credits includes Rush, Alice In Chains and Foo Fighters – at Rock Falcon Studio in Nashville. Johnson says “We worked together on Black Star Riders ‘Killer Instinct’ album. A few weeks later Nick asked me if I had any solo songs I wanted to record and we were off and running. His contribution to ‘Echo’ is immense. I’m very proud to share this music with the world,” he adds.
The EP tracklisting as follows:
2. Nobody Usin’,
3. The Waiting Kills Me,
5. Just Move On
Damon Johnson has a rich history as a rock guitarist. The Alabama native first came to prominence with his band Brother Cane before moving on to play guitars for Alice Cooper and contributing songs to the likes of Stevie Nicks, Ted Nugent, Skid Row, Queensryche and Carlos Santana. Damon left Alice Cooper to play alongside the legendary Scott Gorham in Thin Lizzy (the band is playing a series of shows in 2016).
Most recently Damon has been a founding member and songwriter with the critically acclaimed Black Star Riders. The “Echo” EP is the next step of his rich musical pedigree.
Thanks to Emil Westerdahl at Inner Wound Recordings for setting up the interview. Thanks to Inner Wound Recordings for the promo pictures of the band.
Sunburst is a brand new band from Greece that released their debut album FRAGMENTS OF CREATION in February this year. I had the pleasure to talk to aspiring guitar hero Gus Drax about the debut and about when and why the band was formed. Sunburst singer Vasilis Georgiou is also involved with Drax in the band Black Fate, so if you’re into well produced and executed progressive metal make sure to check out the music of Sunburst.
May 21 – Vancouver, BC – The Venue – info (CD Release Show)
Aug 25-28 – Metalocalypstick Fest – Valemount, BC – info
Combining a heavenly destruction of heavy riffs with beautiful melodies, Vancouver, BC’s European influenced symphonic metal band CELESTIAL RUIN create catchy, singable and epic tunes that draw on lyrical themes of fantasy and horror, plus sometimes implying deeper meanings or just celebrating the subject matter at hand. Their new EP ‘Pandora’ is due out on May 20th to follow their 2012 debut album ‘The Awakening’ and before it drops they have teamed up with Metal-Rules.com for the full stream premiere of the release.
Vocalist Larissa Dawn comments on the track:
“All the lyrics on “Pandora” were written about unleashing destruction into the world. Chaos caused by all the pain that negative emotions can create. A sort of cause and effect scenario. Each of the songs tells a different story and explores what happens when you make the wrong decision or fail to make any decision at all. Remaining stagnant and letting the world collapse in on you. The only song that kind of swerves from this theme is “No Quarter”, this song is more of a movie told through song. It follows the story of infamous pirate Davy Jones and the battle that ensues between him and a rival ship.
Pandora has a much darker feel to it and I hope it paints different pictures in peoples minds when they hear it. I want them to be able to imagine exactly what is going on, like it’s their own personal movie.”
Ulterium Records is proud to announce the release of “Angel In the Ashes”, an all-star charity track for sale with 100% of the income going to feed homeless and refugee families in Greece. The song is being released under the banner Project Aegis, and was composed by Theocracy songwriter and vocalist Matt Smith. You can watch a studio video with the track below.
“Angel In the Ashes” features vocals by Rob Rock (Solo, Impellitteri), Daísa Munhoz (Vandroya, Soulspell), Vasilis Georgiou (Sunburst, Black Fate), Leah McHenry (LEAH) and Smith, as well as a guitar solo by Gus Drax (Sunburst, Black Fate). The artwork was created by Markus Sigfridsson (Darkwater, Harmony).
Project Aegis previously released the charity single “Collide and Spark” in 2014, the proceeds from which went to feed the homeless in the Nashville, Tenn., area of the U.S.
“I’ve been wanting to do another charity single since we had such a great experience the first time around,” says Smith. “The challenge was finding the time and the appropriate cause, as well as putting together a lineup worthy of the caliber of talent we had on the last song. I think we did it!”
“The song is about someone who decides to take that first step to help a person in a dark or dangerous situation. I was talking to some friends of mine who live in Greece, and every weekend they help feed the huge number of poor, homeless and refugee families in that area. It’s a massive need, and the dollar you spend on this song can make a huge difference in providing a hot meal or a blanket for someone. It’s a very worthy cause, and everyone involved in the track freely gave their time and talent to make this happen. We hope you enjoy it!”
Thanks to Axel Wiesenauer at Rock’n’Growl Promotion for setting up the interview. Thanks to Rock’n’Growl Promotion for the promotion pictures of the band.
Shotgun is the name of the new outfit of what was the legendary Swedish band Shotgun Messiah. The band have played a few shows in Sweden since 2013 and now the band is back with original singer Zinny Zan and drummer Stixx along with new members – guitar player Rob Marcello & bass player Chris Laney – that completes the line-up. Now, 3 years later the guys release a live album called “LIVE – DOWN DECADENCIA DRIVE”. The live material is taken from the Gothenburg show they did back in 2013. Personally, I think it’s a little late to release a live album now when the band was put to rest in 2014. I hooked up with singer Zinny J Zan to talk about the new live album and about why original members Tim Tim and Harry K Cody were not on board this time and why the band did so few shows. Read more about it down below….
Free Download – Vol 4. Compilation featuring over 90 bands and 7 Hours of Canadian Metal – here.
WACKEN METAL BATTLE CANADA is proud to announce the line up for this year’s national final on June 11th in Toronto, ON at The Opera House for ‘One Band To Rule Them All’ and play at Wacken Open Air 2016 in Wacken, Germany, which holds an attendance of over 80,000 metalheads from around the world. After battle rounds across the country during the months of January to May, the following bands listed below will be judged by a panel of industry professionals (to be announced at a later date) during their performance plus will be joined by special guest headliners and 2013 WMBC champions Crimson Shadows.
“The National Final is upon us once again. In the name of Canadian metal, and in honour of all who have participated and supported the 2016 Metal Battle, we’re very proud to present some of Canada’s finest metal acts. Let us rally together and give the winning band a proper send off to Germany.” comments WMBC organizer JJ Tartaglia.
CANADIAN FINAL – SATURDAY, JUNE 11 @ OPERA HOUSE (735 Queen St. E.), Toronto, ON
The national final winner will also be given a drummer prize pack from Los Cabos Drumsticks that includes 12 pairs of sticks of their choosing, a stick bag, a practice pad, and other Los Cabos Drumsticks swag plus automatic eligibility for endorsement (full details here). This year’s runner up will receive a prize from our media partner PureGrainAudio.com, which will be giving a promotional package (valued at approximately $3k) that includes a video interview shot and edited by PureGrainAudio, a featured contest of the band’s choosing (giveaway of signed merch, music, etc.), a free song download article that’s featured at the very top of PureGrainAudio’s Audio section for at least 1 week, a photo shoot with the band (either a live show shoot or band pics.) and one month free web banner advertisement on the site. (Full details here)
This is WMBC’s fourth year hosting the competition across country in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Regina, London, Hamilton, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. For the last three years that Wacken Metal Battle has been held in Canada, it has produced two world champions Vesperia (2015) and Crimson Shadows (2013) to triumph at the international Wacken Metal Battle beating out over 30 other representing countries from around the globe.
Wacken Metal Battle Canada is part of an international competition where over a hundred band’s from across the country battle each other for one to be selected and join over 30 other countries for an international battle of the bands at the world’s largest outdoor metal festival Wacken Open Air, which has been taking place in Wacken , Germany for the last 26 years. Oshawa’s Vesperia (2014 winners – video at Wacken), Toronto’s Crimson Shadows (2013 winners – video at Wacken) and Montreal’s Mutank (2014 winners – video at Wacken) have had that honour playing in front of thousands. The 2016 festival will be taking place from August 4-6.
How it works:
Each city will hold their qualifying rounds plus city finals from the months of January to May 2016 selecting the top band to move forward to the national finals in Toronto, ON on June 11th at Opera House with one being selected to perform at the 27th edition of Wacken Open Air taking place from August 4-6. All bands will be judged during battle rounds by respected local music industry.
The finalists will be selected as follows by province.
On December 31, 2015, legendary rock icons Mötley Crüe completed their 35-year touring career as a band with a spectacular final concert at Staples Center in their hometown of Los Angeles, CA, just 10 miles from the Sunset Strip where the band’s infamous and decadent career first launched. The band thrilled the sold-out arena with performances of such mega-hits as “Kickstart My Heart,” “Girls, Girls, Girls,” “Home Sweet Home” and “Dr. Feelgood.” While not everyone was able to see their Final Show live, Crüe fans can now catch all the action when Fathom Events, Live Alliance, Eagle Rock Entertainment and Tenth Street Entertainment present “Mötley Crüe: The End” in select U.S. cinemas on Tuesday, June 14, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. local time for only one night. In addition to the epic concert footage, cinema audiences will be treated to behind-the-scenes footage of the band’s last global tour.
Tickets for “Mötley Crüe: The End” can be purchased beginning Friday, May 13, 2016 online by visiting www.FathomEvents.com or at participating theater box offices. Fans throughout the U.S. will be able to enjoy the event in nearly 250 movie theaters through Fathom’s Digital Broadcast Network. For a complete list of theater locations visit the Fathom Events website (theaters and participants are subject to change).
In January, 2014, Mötley Crüe held a press conference announcing their Final Tour, complete with a “cessation of touring” agreement signed by all members prohibiting any and all future live engagements under the Mötley Crüe name. Mötley Crüe’s two-year concert trek, saw the band — Vince Neil (vocals), Mick Mars (guitars), Nikki Sixx (bass) and Tommy Lee (drums) — perform across five continents (North America, South America, Europe, Australia and Asia) for a total of more than 164 shows in 72 markets grossing over $100 million. Known for their over-the-top production, Mötley Crüe did not disappoint for their last show ever on New Year’s Eve: from massive, cutting-edge pyro, including Nikki Sixx’s bass guitar spitting fire over 30 ft. into the air, and Tommy Lee’s “Crüecifly” drum roller coaster, amongst many other spectacular elements. Lead singer, Vince Neil, delivered an emotional, “thank you” speech to the audience, while the band supplied next-level, high-octane fueled energy, ringing in the New Year on stage with thousands of balloons raining down on the crowd. The grand finale of the show included a blow-out performance of their hit single, “Kickstart My Heart” with Nikki Sixx and Vince Neil floating above the audience in far-reaching “cherry-pickers.” Leaving fans in tears, the show concluded with an emotional encore rendition of “Home Sweet Home” from the second stage riser in the center of the audience.
Fathom Events CEO John Rubey said, “We’re excited to bring the opportunity for Mötley Crüe’s legion of supporters to experience their Final Show and relive the magic one more time. Filled with their hard-rock anthems and unforgettable stage presentation, this show is not to be missed.”
“Mötley Crüe: The End” was produced and distributed by Live Alliance and Eagle Rock Entertainment. Christian Lamb directed the concert portion. Jeff Tremaine, creator of the “Jackass” series, directed the documentary segment. For more information about the band visit www.motley.com.
Band leader/bass player Dave Harvey – Millennial Reign
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Emil Westerdahl at Ulterium Records for setting up the interview Thanks to Ulterium Records for the promo pictures of the band
U.S. heavy metal act Millennial Reign is the brainchild of bassist Dave Harvey (Aska). The band released its first album CARRY THE FIRE (released by a record label) at the end of 2015. Harvey and I hooked up to talk about the band, the line up changes the band has gone through, as well as the debut album released independently. CARRY THE FIRE ought to appeal to fans of Judas Priest, Queensryche and Iron Maiden. Get a taste of what the band and their music is all about in the interview below.
Congratulations on your 25th Anniversary of Massacre Records!! I have some very fond memories of bands on Massacre and I have many (what I consider to be rare) items on Massacre in my personal collection. The first CD I ever bought when I decided to transition from cassettes to CD was VIPER-Theater of Fate (Mass 002) so I have been a fan for a long, long time! During the dreaded grunge era in North America I thought it was amazing that a small little label in Germany was releasing superb Power Metal from Brazil! Finding early albums by bands like Forte and Winter’s Bane on Massacre Records was a godsend, even if they were very expensive to buy from mail-order catalogues…but worth every penny. It is a pleasure to ask you some questions.
Is the founder, Mr. Hartmann still involved?
Yes, Torsten is still president of Massacre Records GmbH including Blue Rose Records
I understand that Baphomet-No Answer was the first record issued on Massacre (Mass 001) Are you the one and same vocalist of Baphomet? If yes, do you ever get that desire to get back on stage? When can we expect a Baphomet reunion?!
Yes, you are right. Baphomet was my band back at the time. I have quit there already back in 1994 though. No, I am sorry there will be no reunion. We did some rehearsals some time ago just for fun but due to health reasons of our guitar player Gernot there was no chance to continue.
Tell about an average day for you in the office? When you were in A&R did you have a favourite artist that you worked with? Conversely was there a band that was especially challenging? What was the first band you ever signed to the label?
Well, the working day is not so different than any other office clerk selling and producing some kind of product. Consequently the matter if I like a band of not is not the final point – basically it matters
more if we can sell that band or not, haha. My first signings if I remember well were Mystic and Forte, can’t remember who was first.
According to Wikipedia the best-selling albums on Massacre were Werk 80 and Velvet Darkness They Fear. Does that still hold true today?
Yes. Velvet Darkness they fear did about 180.000 records and Werk 80 about 100.000, the other Theatre Of Tragedy albums should have sold
more than Werk 80 in the meantime though
This is a tough but fair question. Why has Massacre historically had such poor distribution in North America?
Well, it I’d knew the answer.. we did try with an own office in the early Nineties, which did not work out. I think that was the problem that we never had
a real US dependance. It has been better though in the last years working with Soulfood/E One and now with MVD distribution.
Over the 25 years of Massacre what are the biggest changes to the industry in your experience?
For sure the internet with its new digital business, which wasn’t existing when we started – it changed it all
Massacre traditionally has not released as many stand alone DVD’s. Why is that?
Well, there wasn’t much product and the market for music DVDs ist really small.
An obvious question but has illegal downloading impacted your business model and revised how you do business now? What is it about Metal fans that they still buy physical products?
It has affected the whole business including us for sure. The complete music scene has changed there are massive losses everywhere, but everybody knows that. The metal fans – god thanks – are very loyal and are still supporting bands and their physical products.
What is currently your strongest selling artist?
Our best selling bands are Eisregen, Mystic Prophecy, Debauchery and Arven.
Why has Massacre succeed in an era of declining sales and literally dozens and dozens of small Heavy Metal record labels have failed? What is the secret to your success as a label?
We have always kept to our roots. We have the same people working here for more than 15 years – same with our artists. Most of the bands
are here for a decade or longer. We stand for solid, reliable work and it feels like family sometimes. I think that’s what makes the difference.
And, maybe, a little knowledge and experience from 25 years hahaha.
What are the future plans?
Keep it up, staying sold in our metal market and expanding the family with other great bands and artists to the ones we already have!
Thank you and continued success!
Thank you for your time, Joshua, and the chance to show ourselves at Metal Rules. Watch out for the coming Exciter album
in original lineup over there in Canada!!!!
From the gutters of south Sweden, Liv “Sin” Jagrell emerged as a major force as the vocalist for hard rockers Sister Sin. Throughout their 13 year career, Sister Sin sold thousands of albums and toured the world with high profile tours supporting the likes of Slayer and King Diamond on the Rockstar Mayhem festival tour, as well as being a part of the Revolver Magazine”Hottest Chicks in Metal” tour.Sister Sin toured relentlessly for over a decade across Europe and North America garnering an intensely loyal following of rockers that craved the band’s aggressive and melodic brand of hard rock.
When Sister Sin called it quits at the end of 2015, Liv knew that she had much more to give to her fans. From this, LIV SIN was born. Liv is currently working on a new music that shows the power, sexiness, and attitude that she is known for. Liv says ”for me it has never been an option to stop singing. I live for the stage and for my fans. I still miss Sister Sin, but I am very excited to work on my own project, and I can promise it will not be some soft pop rock. This is going to be metal deluxe, because that’s who I am!” LIV SIN offers a modernized hard rock sound to take Liv into her next phase, a sound that is destined to please both new fans and her longtime fans of Sister Sin.
Slayer, with Special Guest Anthrax and Death Angel, will join forces this fall for a seven week North American beat down. The dates start in Cleveland on September 9 and will hit both major and secondary markets across the continent. Confirmed dates are below. The Slayer Fan Club Presale starts at 10:00AM local time on Tuesday, May 10, and the general on-sale begins this Friday, May 13 at 10:00AM local time. For all ticket purchasing and VIP packages details, log onto http://slatanicwehrmacht.com/tour
Said Slayer’s Kerry King, “It’s always super fun for us to tour with Anthrax. Frank is one of my best friends in the biz!! Put that together with Death Angel, and fans will probably see the best package this year. See you there!”
Fans will hear their favorite Slayer songs from the band’s 30-year plus discography, as well as a few of the newer songs from Repentless, named “The Metal Album of the Year” by Guitar World. Slayer and Anthrax stormed through Europe together last fall, amassing a string of sensational live reviews, so North American fans, this will be a night of metal music that should not be missed.
“We are very excited to tour again with our fellow Kings Slayer on a thrash/metal extravaganza,” said Anthrax’s Charlie Benante. “Two of the Big Four – now that’s a night of metal for all the Kings and Queens!”
Added Mark Osegueda from Death Angel, “We are thrilled and honored to be part of this amazing North American touring package. Slayer/Anthrax/Death Angel – it just looks, sounds and feels right. This will be Death Angel’s first-ever tour with Slayer, something we’ve hungered for our entire career. And we will bring that hunger to the stage every night, so get there early because this will be a show not to be missed; from the first note of the night until the very last! Metal is alive, hungry, thriving, and coming for you!”
With more dates to be announced, here is the confirmed itinerary:
9 Jacob’s Pavilion, Cleveland, OH
10 Freedom Hill Amphitheatre, Detroit, MI
12 Sound Academy, Toronto, ON
13 Metropolis, Montreal, QC
15 Stage AE, Pittsburgh, PA
17/18 Rock Allegiance, Chester, PA*
20 Egyptian Room, Indianapolis, IN
22 The Pageant, St. Louis, MO
27 Hard Rock Live, Orlando, FL
28 Fillmore, Miami, FL
30 Horseshoe Casino Tunica, Tunica, MS
3 Norva, Norfolk, VA
5 Tabernacle, Atlanta, GA
7 Gas Monkey Live, Dallas, TX
8 ACL at the Moody Theatre, Austin, TX
10 Fillmore, Denver, CO
11 The Complex, Salt Lake City, UT
13 The Wilma Theatre, Missoula, MT
17 ENMAX Center, Lethbridge, AB
19 South Okanagan Events Centre, Penticton, BC
20 Abbotsford Centre, Abbotsford, BC
23 Reno Events Center, Reno, NV
27 El Paso County Coliseum, El Paso, TX
* Slayer, Anthrax and Death Angel are all on this bill
ABOUT SLAYER: http://www.slayer.net
For more than three decades, Slayer’s onslaught has proven the band to be the supreme thrash-metal band on the planet, the band that other heavy acts are measured against and aspire to. The two-time Grammy-winners have also accumulated an abundance of certified Gold Albums along with “Best…” awards from media outlets all over the world, including Kerrang!, SPIN, Metal Hammer, Revolver, and Esquire. Throughout Slayer’s history, the band has never faltered in unleashing its extreme and focused sonic assault, and, unlike many of its contemporaries who “commercialized” their sound, Slayer has remained crushing and brutal, steadfastly refusing to cater to the mainstream. Slayer’s founding member, guitarist Jeff Hanneman passed in 2013, and Exodus guitarist Gary Holt has been filling in for him since. Paul Bostaph, who was Slayer’s drummer from ’94 – ’01, has rejoined bassist/vocalist Tom Araya and guitarist Kerry King, and is back behind the kit.
In September 2015, Slayer released Repentless, the band’s 12th studio album, the first without Hanneman and first with producer Terry Date, to widespread rave reviews and the highest chart debut of the band’s career. The band also teamed up with director BJ McDonnell for two high-concept and brutal music videos for the album’s “Repentless” and then for “You Against You.”
The pot of gold just keeps getting bigger and bigger! Following the release last year of a deluxe box set containing 3 CDs of incredible live performances from 1979, Purple Pyramid Records is proud to announce another superb concert release by guitar god Ritchie Blackmore & Rainbow. Taking its name from the city and year in which it was recorded, Boston 1981 features crystal clear audio that captures the vibrant energy and emotion pouring through the band as they offer up scorching versions of “Man On The Silver Mountain,” “Long Live Rock N’ Roll” and even the epic “Smoke On The Water,” a nod to Blackmore’s tenure with another legendary band of a certain Purplish hue. Packaged in a mini-LP wallet for the CD and a gorgeous gatefold double LP set featuring a stitched-in 20-page booklet and 3 different colored vinyl options (red, blue, and green), this exciting release will be available everywhere starting May 13!
1. Spotlight Kid
2. Love’s No Friend
3. I Surrender
4. Man On The Silver Mountain
5. Catch The Rainbow
6. Can’t Happen Here
7. Lost In Hollywood
8. Difficult To Cure
9. Long Live Rock N’ Roll
10. Smoke On The Water
Eric “A.K.” Knutson of Flotsam and Jetsam – Doing it from the Heart!
Interview by Robert Cavuoto
Flotsam and Jetsam is a band from Phoenix, Arizona with a legacy that goes back well over 30 years. It’s hard to believe that their debut album release, Doomsday for The Deceiver, came out in the summer of 1986. Fast-forward 30 years and several member changes the band is now back and re-energized with Eric “AK” Knutson, Mike Gilbert, Michael Spencer, Steve Conley and Jason Bittner, essentially a new band with a 30-year history.
After their 2015 European tour the band took this new found energy and focused on writing another new CD. What started as 18 rough ideas turned into an album’s worth of killer material. The end result is the self- titled Flotsam and Jetsam CD due out May 20th. It showcases five very distinct personalities and influences coming together for the common goal of creating another soon to be metal classic.
I caught up with vocalist, Eric “A.K.” Knutson, to talk about their latest release, the band’s legacy, and the sacrifices made along the way.