Anvil – January 15th, 2017

January 29th, 2017
by J P


January 15th, 2017
Deerfoot Inn And Casino

Review by JP
Photography by Jeff  “Y3J” Baratelli

The first concert of the year is usually a fun one. The last show I saw in 2016 was Dec 17th so it had been a month so I was ready to rock! 

Anvil was playing at a familiar venue the Deerfoot Inn and Casino, a great place for a show, good sound and a mix of seats and standing room with a capacity of 666 or so. I think the ‘official capacity’ is 600 but since it is Anvil…

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John Bush of Armored Saint – Carpe Noctum is Giving Fans our Best Live Performances

January 29th, 2017
by Metal Rules

John Bush of Armored Saint – Carpe Noctum is Giving Fans our Best Live Performances

Interviewed by Robert Cavuoto

Armored Saint by Stephanie Cabral

Armored Saint, photo by Stephanie Cabral

Armored Saint has been delivering their heavy metal mastery around the globe, joining the likes of Saxon, Metal Church – and even Queensryche in November/December 2016 – on the road. In order to capture Armored Saint’s powerful live show the band recorded their 2015 Wacken Festival set as well as their headlining show in Aschaffenburg, Germany. The original intent was to only offer it to the Pledge Music Campaign but after hearing it and feeling the raw energy the band decided to make it a proper release and let everyone have it.

I caught up with John Bush; full time rocker, husband and father to talk about the history behind this release and what lies ahead for the band.

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Dark Sarah – singer and leader Heidi Parviainen

January 28th, 2017
by Anders Sandvall

Singer and leader Heidi Parviainen – Dark Sarah

Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall

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.

Heidi Parviainen (ex-Amberian Dawn) and Dark Sarah are back to attack with the brand new album THE PUZZLE. The album is jammed with some excellent cinematic/symphonic metal and is the continuation where the last album BEHIND THE BLACK VEIL left off. The album contains vocals from some new acquaintances as well as from Manuela Kraller who participated on the debut album BEHIND THE BLACK VEIL. What Heidi has been up to since the last time we spoke, the pledge campaign, the cover art by Jan Yrlund, and if it was hard to write the follow up and the future of the band were the things we talked about. We also talked about why Finland doesn’t like female metal….read more about what Heidi has to say down below.

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Fleshgod Apocalypse + Carach Angren + Nightland @ The Underworld Camden, London

January 27th, 2017
by UK Team

Fleshgod Apocalypse + Carach Angren + Nightland

@ The Underworld Camden, London

January 19, 2017

Review by Torbjørn ‘Toby’ Jørstad

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CEREBUS – Scott Board

January 25th, 2017
by Robert Williams

Interview with Scott Board

Conducted by Robert Williams

We really haven’t heard from Greensboro, North Carolina’s Cerebus since 1991’s “Regression Progression” EP. The newly reformed band have scheduled a main-stage appearance at the inaugural Legions of Metal Festival in Chicago, Illinois this Spring as well as a back catalogue reissue campaign from Heaven and Hell Records. There’s no telling what the future has in-store for Cerebus going forward but we caught up with Cerebus vocalist Scott Board who filled us in on the band’s early beginnings and everything else leading up to this point.

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January 24th, 2017
by Celtic Bob

Michael Schenker, one of music’s greatest rock guitarists, will release Michael Schenker Fest “Live” Tokyo – a stunning new live recording and filmed concert released by inakustik on CD, DVD, Blu-ray and Digital on Friday 24th March 2017.

Filmed and recorded at Tokyo’s International Forum on August 24, 2016, this historic concert features guest appearances from some of the greatest rock vocalists who have worked with Schenker over the years including M.S.G.’S Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet, and Robin McAuley of the McAuley Schenker Group.

“It’s been a long time since M.S.G. – Live At Budokan,” says Schenker.

Like a miracle Michael Schenker returns to Japan with his past original singers from the ’80’s to celebrate the Michael Schenker Fest “Live” Tokyo with Barden, Bonnet and McAuley at the amazing Tokyo International Forum. 5000 fans witnessed an anthology moment of quintessential hard rock music of the highest calibre.

Says Schenker, “It’s a miracle that after all these years, something like this took place with the original band members of “M.S.G.”. Being able to go back to those days and celebrate the music is an exciting experience for us, as well as for old and new fans. To being able to re-experience, and for the new audience to get a feel of what it was like, is incredibly enjoyable.”

Continues Schenker, “It’s an amazing feeling to have all of my M.S.G. Family from the ’80’s performing together and especially with Graham Bonnet, who I never got to play any concerts after our Assault Attack album that was originally released in 1982.  Fortunately, being able to have the participation of original M.S.G. members such as Gary Barden, Chris Glen (bass) and Ted McKenna (drums) being part of it, and somehow, to perform with Robin McAuley and Steve Mann (guitar, keyboards) again as well, is pretty awesome.”

The Band:
Michael Schenker – Lead Guitar
Ted McKenna – Drums
Steve Mann – Guitar, Keyboards
Chris Glen – Bass

The Vocalists:
Gary Barden
Graham Bonnet
Robin McAuley

“It was just one enjoyable event from beginning to end,” says Schenker. “Seeing those happy, excited fans right from the beginning before the show even started, was incredible. It was like Budokan all over again.”

Schenker remains enthusiastic and overjoyed at performing Schenker Fest with Barden, Bonnet and McAuley all under the same roof in Tokyo.

“It’s wonderful how we all got on with each other. It felt incredibly natural, as if it was always like this. Right from the start of rehearsal, the chemistry was great. No problems, just pure fun.”

1. Intro: Searching For Freedom
2. Into The Arena
3. Attack Of The Mad Axeman ft. Gary Barden
4. Victim Of Illusion ft. Gary Barden
5. Cry For The Nations ft. Gary Barden
6. Let Sleeping Dogs Lie ft. Gary Barden
7. Armed And Ready ft. Gary Barden
8. Coast To Coast
9. Assault Attack ft. Graham Bonnet
10. Desert Song ft. Graham Bonnet
11. Dancer ft. Graham Bonnet
12. Captain Nemo
13. This Is My Heart ft. Robin McAuley
14. Save Yourself ft. Robin McAuley
15. Love Is Not A Game ft. Robin McAuley
16. Shoot Shoot ft. Robin McAuley
17. Rock Bottom ft. Robin McAuley
18. Doctor Doctor ft. Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet, Robin McAuley

Michael Schenker Fest “Live” Tokyo is available in the following formats:

2 CD
2 CD + DVD Combo
Vinyl LP

Hi-Res download

Michael Schenker started his professional career as a recording Artist in 1970 as a young hopeful talent in the Scorpions and followed this with a stint in the British hard rock institution UFO and then his own Michael Schenker Group before moving on to forming The Temple of Rock.

Over the years, Michael has not just experienced the highs and lows of life; but his development as a guitarist has been consistent, from a German Wunderkind to an experienced and technically highly skilled guitarist.

The Michael Schenker Group (abbreviated as M.S.G.) are a guitar-oriented hard rock band formed in 1979 by former Scorpions and UFO guitarist, Michael Schenker.

Michael Schenker’s solo career instantly took off right from the start 1980 when the eponymous debut album, “Michael Schenker Group”, featuring Gary Barden on vocals, entered the  top 5 UK Album and Single Charts with Armed and  Ready, followed by the release of Live At The Budokan.

In 1982, Graham Bonnet who had just left Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow was temporary replacing Gary Barden and recorded with M.S.G. the album Assault Attack which was to become many musicians’ favorite featuring Chris Glen on bass and Ted McKenna on drums.

In 1986, Schenker and vocalist Robin McAuley formed the McAuley Schenker Group, which lasted until 1992.

M.S.G.’s music is best described as mostly melodic hard rock with progressive undertones. Michael Schenker is famous for his black and white Gibson Flying V and for his unorthodox approach to lead guitar. Michael is sponsored by Dean Guitars and is well known in the neo-classical genre.

THE MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP (1980)                              Ft. Gary Barden (vocals)
M.S.G. (1981)                                                                              Ft. Gary Barden (vocals)
LIVE AT THE BUDOKAN (1982)                                                 Ft. Gary Barden (vocals)
ASSAULT ATTACK (1982)                                                          Ft. Graham Bonnet (vocals)
BUILT TO DESTROY (1983)                                                      Ft. Gary Barden (vocals)
WRITTEN IN THE SAND (1996)                                                Ft. Leif Sundin (vocals)
THE UNFORGIVEN (1999)                                                        Ft. Kelly Keeling (vocals)
BE AWARE OF SCORPIONS (2001)                                         Ft. Chris Logan (vocals)
ARACHNOPHOBIAC (2003)                                                      Ft. Chris Logan (vocals)
TALES OF ROCK’N’ROLL (2006)                                                      Ft. Jari Tiura (vocals)
IN THE MIDST OF BEAUTY (2008)                                           Ft. Gary Barden (vocals)
LIVE IN TOKYO – THE 30th ANNIVERARY CONCERT (2010)                           Ft. Gary Barden (vocals)

McAuley Schenker Group was a multi-national band featuring core members Robin McAuley (vocals) and Michael Schenker (guitar), a successor (and eventual predecessor) to Schenker’s earlier band Michael Schenker Group. McAuley was initially contacted to replace singer Gary Barden in MSG. However, the strong partnership immediately formed between McAuley and Schenker led to the change of the name from Michael Schenker Group to McAuley Schenker Group, retaining the same initials of the previous band “M.S.G.”.

Their debut album Perfect Timing, released in 1987, included their first hit Gimme Your Love. Two years later, Save Yourself was released, giving this incarnation of M.S.G. its biggest hit with the power ballad Anytime (co-written by McAuley and the band’s guitarist, keyboard player Steve Mann),  the album M.S.G. Schenker/McAuley followed in 1992, followed by “Unplugged” Live in 1993.

After that Schenker and McAuley went their separate ways. Michael decided to withdraw from the spotlight of the rock scene (doing occasional recordings with UFO and MSG, but focused mainly on experimenting with music, building a recording studio and had his own record company while also focusing on his development on a personal level.

2008 was Michael’s return into the loop of rock’n’roll with a reunion album with Gary Barden “In the Midst of Beauty” on inakustik and from then on Michael developed  step by step all the way back to the top again.


MICHAEL SCHENKER & GARY BARDEN: GIPSY LADY (2009)                                Ft. Gary Barden (vocals)
MICHAEL SCHENKER: TEMPLE OF ROCK (2011)                                                          Ft. Michael Voss (vocals)
MICHAEL SCHENKER: TEMPLE OF ROCK – LIVE IN EUROPE (2012)                             Ft. Doogie White (vocals)
MICHAEL SCHENKER’S TEMPLE OF ROCK: BRIDGE THE GAP (2013)                           Ft. Doogie White (vocals)
MICHAEL SCHENKER’S TEMPLE OF ROCK: SPIRIT ON A MISSION (2015)                    Ft. Doogie White (vocals)


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The new lyric video by the Finnish metallers Quake The Earth

January 22nd, 2017
by Arto Lehtinen

The Finnish metallers Quake The Earth has released a brand new lyric video of the song called Declaration Of War


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Sabaton + Accept + Twilight Force @ O2 Academy Brixton, London

January 22nd, 2017
by UK Team

Sabaton + Accept + Twilight Force

@ O2 Academy Brixton, London

January 14, 2017

Review by Torbjørn ‘Toby’ Jørstad

Photography by Fabiola Santini

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Denner/Shermann completes Nordic Noise Rock Festival 2017 lineup

January 21st, 2017
by EvilG

The architects behind Denmark’s most influential metal act – Mercyful Fate, Michael Denner and Hank Shermann will be playing their first full live concert in Copenhagen at Nordic Noise Rock Festival 2017. The new incarnation Denner/Shermann features, aside from the two guitar-masters the Americans Sean Peck (Vocals), Marc Grabowski (Bass) and Swedish Jens Berglid (Drums). The band is signed to Metal Blade Records.

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Fleshgod Apocalypse – Interview with Tommaso Riccardi

January 21st, 2017
by UK Team

Fleshgod Apocalypse

Interview with Tommaso Riccardi

January 19, 2017 – The Underworld, London

Interview by Torbjørn ‘Toby’ Jørstad

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Posted in 2017, Interviews | Comments (0) Best of 2016

January 21st, 2017
by Metal Rules

As always, the top albums of the year are for full albums (no EP’s or demos) released in 2016. They are new studio albums for the year, not re-recordings, re-releases, cover songs, or live albums. Below the combined TOP 30 are links to each individual staff members’ personal “best of” lists which besides their top albums contains such things as best new band, best DVD/Blu-Ray, best metal book, disappointments of the year, greatest hopes for 2017, personal metal discovery of the year, and various other categories. Enjoy!

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Best of 2016: Celtic Bob

January 21st, 2017
by Celtic Bob

2016 By Celtic Bob

That time has come yet again for our annual list of what we personally and collectively thought were the best releases of 2016. As with previous years, my list has both Rock and Metal where I handle the Lets Get Rocked portion of the site. Yet again I have to say, “Is it still 1989?”. The vast majority of my list is compromised of bands and artists I listened to back when I was in High school from ’86 to ’89. Not much has changed it appears.

#1. Tygers Of Pan Tang

I discovered the Tygers through my journey into the NWOBHM. With the Tygers it was deeper. I went past just an anthology of ‘Hits’. I needed more as these guys were exactly what I loved about the genre and early 80’s Metal.

#2.Anthrax – For All Kings

Perfect follow-up to WORSHIP MUSIC. This is an excellent LP that has gotten many spins and will continue to do so. It’s classic 80’s ‘thrax for the future.

#3. Megadeth – Dystopia

I loved Megadeth back in the 80’s. They were one of my favourite bands. I remember picking up the KILLING IS MY BUSINESS tape back in February of ’88 while on a road trip to see Alice Cooper with Motörhead opening. After COUNTDOWN they lost me but by ENDGAME I started listening again. The past few have been hit and miss with some great music here and there but nothing that was really memorable, until now. DYSTOPIA is their best since COUNTDOWN in my mind. Let us hope the Dave’s continue down this path.

Diamond Head

This album took me by surprise, no two ways about it. Like many, I heard of Diamond Head due to Metallica covering them. A couple years ago I dug a little deeper into the NWOBHM partially due to Martin Popoff’s fantastic books on the genre which led me to John Tucker’s book on Neat Records. That started my journey outside the songs that were covered. Then I hear that Diamond Head were releasing an album so I was interested and lo and behold when my CD arrived I was surprised. They maintained that classic, early 80’s sound, yet made it fresh and modern. Cannot wait for my LP to arrive and give it a spin while enjoying a cold British bitter.

Death Angel – The Evil Divide

Another band I loved in high school. I wore out my ULTRA VIOLENCE tape during my senior year I think? Lost track like I did with many in the 90’s but got back on board with their last one. THE EVIL DIVIDE is the perfect follow-up to THIS DREAM CALLS FOR BLOOD. I loved that album and it got countless plays here in the Celtic house, in the vehicle and at work (yes, my co-workers were subjected to the glorious sounds of Death Angel playing from my desk). This new one will get just as many spins as its predecessor.

Flotsam & Jetsam

Pattern here I am thinking. Heard of them when Newstead joined Metallica so I bought the tape of NO PLACE FOR DISGRACE. I enjoyed it but never went any further until UGLY NOISE came out. Loved that CD so was interested in this new self-titled release. It never disappointed. It’s a great release and my LP just arrived which I look forward to spinning soon.

Rock Wolves

The debut of the year for me. When I read the press release, it sparked my interest but never gave me that high interest feeling. When the video for “Rock For The Nations” premiered all that changed and I immediately placed an order for the LP (which looks beautiful by the way). A solid Hard Rock album from the ex-Scorpions drummer.

Beasto Blanco

Sophomore album from Alice Cooper bassist Chuck Garric and Alice’s daughter Calico. This continues on where LIVE FAST, DIE LOUD ended with dirty, raw heavy Rock with a Punk influence. The Alice cover is quite interesting to say the least. Adds a whole new dimension to the Classic track. If you need a comparison for this it’s like Rob Zombie meets Ramones meets a darker, heavier Alice Cooper. Fantastic album.

Glenn Hughes – Resonate

I love Deep Purple so this sparked my interest from that angle. I liked Black Country Communion but couldn’t really get into it like I wanted. My initial feelings on this where skeptical at best but still interested to hear it. When I first heard “Heavy”, that did it for me, I was in awe. This was going to be good. As I listened to the digital copy I was really digging it and began raving about it on my social media. An excellent Hard Rock album.

Michael Sweet – One Sided War

This is quite possibly the heaviest and best thing Michael Sweet has ever done in his career. It’s heavy, melodic and just kicks ass. No other description comes to mind.

Phil Rudd – Head Job

Where to begin? Former AC/DC drummer reemerges with an album that proves to the world that he was an integral part to the AC/DC sound and an essential part of the groove that they once had. It was him and Mal that gave the band the groove. Good to see him cleaned up and back behind the kit.

Shakra – High Noon

80’s influenced Metal with a bit of a Glam Rock thrown into the mix. Need I say more? Fun album to crank up and have a few with.

Metal Church – XI

Mike Howe returns!! For many he was the only singer for Metal Church. I liked Metal Church back in the day and one of the first CD’s I bought was BLESSING IN DISGUISE (which I ended up trading with Evil G in the 90’s for a Jeff Healey one). I loved GENERATION REALITY from a couple years ago so change of singer’s had me wondering where that was my re-introduction to the band. It works, he’s back and the classic sound is intact.

Grim Reaper – Walking In The Shadows

SEE YOU IN HELL was the introduction to the band and I am embarrassed to say that is all I know outside this album. That WILL change in 2017 as both are excellent albums. Unfortunately Nick Bowcott is no longer in the band and all is left is original vocalist Steve Grimmett. Either way, an excellent Metal album for all you NWOBHM fans.

Prong – X

BEG TO DIFFER was my introduction to Prong. Lost track after that but reintroduced myself with RUINING LIVES. This album took just the initial spin to get into, same as RUINING LIVES did. Can Prong do no wrong?

The Roth-Brock Project

A solid Melodic Hard Rock album. Not much more need be said.

Testament – Brotherhood Of The Snake

Loved ‘em in the 80’s, lost track in the 90’s but got back on board with DARK ROOTS. Heavier now than ever and are quite possibly the heaviest band I listen to along with Kreator and Slayer.

Rob Zombie – The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser

Who doesn’t love a little Zombie? A heavy, fun listen. A must for all Zombie and Cooper fans.

Airbourne – Breakin’ Outta Hell

A fun album, like Rock n Roll should be. Simple and straightforward.

Vardis – Red Eye

More new NWOBHM. Excellent album from top to bottom. True to their roots with no change in direction.

LGR Top 6

David Bowie – ★

Not jumping on the bandwagon by any stretch of the imagination as I have been a fan for well over 20 years. I had ★ pre-ordered from the official site a month prior. It was instantaneously SOLD OUT and my copy never shipped so I scrambled to locate a copy as they were selling out everywhere then finally it shipped but in the meantime I received a digital copy. From the first note onwards, I was transfixed. It was haunting, yet stunningly beautiful all at the same time. By the time I heard it, Bowie had passed so the album took on a darker meaning. Here we are, a year later still in shock that he is gone and this album is still in rotation and sounds as fresh as that initial spin.

Cheap Trick – Bang, Zoom, Crazy…Hello

Anyone that knows me personally can attest to my love of Cheap Trick. The first LP that I ever bought with my own $$ was Cheap Trick’s Budokan for $7.49 back in the day. I have seen them three times (Twice with Bun E.) so my love of Trick is undeniable. This new LP is fantastic on every level. If you enjoy the classic songs but unfamiliar with anything else, take a chance on this one as you will not be disappointed. It has a bit of the 80’s Power Pop feel to it but rocks hard like their 70’s material.

Jeff Healey – Heal My Soul

Unearthed album from the late Jeff Healey. What is there to say? He was always on top of his game. This along with the unreleased Demo’s CD a few years ago are a testament to that even his unreleased music is better than most of the current drivel that is issued. Thankfully these recordings saw the light.

Damn Pigeon – Whisky Sinners

Independent artist Damn Pigeon from Ontario, Canada released the excellent Whisky Sinners CD. This is not quite a Metal album but it it much heavier than he average Rock record. I have struggled on where to put this release on my list. Some of it is Metal, some Hard Rock and other parts just good ‘ol Rock n Roll. Tough call. Either way, an excellent CD that you need to check out.

Lee Aaron – Fire and Gasoline

The ‘Metal Queen’ returns with a not so Metal album. Personally, I love the album otherwise it would not be in my list. I chose to put it in my Rock list as it’s not a Hard Rock or Metal album. At places it does get a bit heavy but it’s mostly a Rock album. I love Lee’s voice and she still has it. This is a great Rock record and I have hopes that the next one will be heavier.

Bobnoxious – Mark Of The Devil

Again, anyone that knows me personally know I am a huge Bobnoxious fan. This release is a little different as it seems more geared toward Halloween from the pumpkin cover to the first single, “Halloween Baby”. Regardless of that it is a good solid ‘noxious disc.

Best Live Album

Motörhead – Clean Your Clock
We lost Lemmy in 2015 but we get one of the final shows in 2016 to remind us of his greatness and that he gave his all right to the end.

Best EP

Ghost – Popestar

One of my favourite bands of recent years. This EP of covers is fantastic and their version of “Missionary Man” is worth the price of admission alone. Let us hope 2017 brings us a new LP.

Best Covers album

Toque – Giv’er

Todd “Dammit” Kerns and Brent Fitz’s new project. This album is the ultimate in Canadian Classic Rock. It was released just in time for Xmas and immediately went on repeat and was turned up for 2 days straight. I was never big on cover songs but it doesn’t get any better than this. I hope they issue it on LP and it’s follow-up includes some Helix, Killer Dwarfs, Kick Axe and Coney Hatch.


Comeback of the year is a two-way tie. Both of these classic NWOBHM bands released stellar self-titled LP’s in 2016.
Tygers Of Pan Tang
Diamond Head

Best Book
Metallica: Back To The Front by Matt Taylor

An excellent hard cover book filled with amazing photos documenting Metallica’s last great album. It’s too bad the band never released the PUPPETS box to coincide with this book coming out.

Best DVD/Blu-ray
Extreme – Pornograffitti Live 25

WOW! Just…WOW!
I first received an online stream of this and thought it was killer but once the Blu-Ray showed up and I was able to enjoy it on my large screen plasma with the audio pumping through the speaker it was beyond phenomenal.

Best Concert

Being isolated on a small island the concerts are minimal at best. This past April I did travel to see Iron Maiden and it was easily one of the best concerts I have seen in my life.

Best new band (their debut full length is a 2016 release)

Rock Wolves

Ex-Scorpion Herman “Ze German” Rarebell’s new project. Nothing I can say except “Buy It”. This is easily the debut LP of 2016 and needs to be in your collection.

Major event

The death of Bowie, hands down was the biggest event for me. Like the loss of Lemmy just weeks prior this one had an impact. I love his music and it was just the day prior that I mentioned to a promoter of trying to get him to play the local Festival. Bowie was not Metal but his influence is felt in the Metal community.

Packaging of the year

This is an idea that Evil G gave me a few years ago due to the fact that I primarily buy records rather than CD’s. This years award is not Metal but his influence is felt by many in the Hard Rock and Metal community. I am referring to the late David Bowie. Not only was his final studio album ★ incredible, the packaging was unique and equally interesting. From the die-cut star front of the jacket showing the black (or clear if you were fortunate enough) record to the inner section that once held up to the sunlight displays a galaxy of stars. As the year went on it was discovered that a reflection of Bowie in the inner gatefold is reflected if held a certain way. another fan counted the total number of points on the black stars in the booklet, and realised they total the number 69 which was his age when he died. Since then, the album designer has said that there are many aspects to the cover that fans (and Bowie himself never knew) have yet to discover. He went on to say that there is one big one that has yet to be discovered.

Predictions and hopes for 2017

With huge box sets coming out hand over fist I would love to see a properly mastered, cut from the original tapes LP set for Motörhead come out in 2017. All the albums in one nice ‘Road Case’ looking box with a double LP collection of rarities and unreleased.

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Best of 2016: EvilG

January 20th, 2017
by EvilG

TOP 20 METAL albums

#1. Testament – Brotherhood of the Snake

Testament - Brotherhood of the Snake`

Testament – Brotherhood of the Snake

Testament continues to wow me with their savage power, melody, riffs, drums, vocals, just everything about this band continues to exemplify perfection.

#2. Primal Fear – Rulebreaker

Primal Fear "Rulebreaker"

Primal Fear “Rulebreaker”

One of my fav bands continue their delivery of supreme power metal. Maybe a tiny step down from their previous release, but nothing to worry about as the album is still a very enjoyable listen. Maybe a couple faster songs and 1-2 less mid-tempo ones would have made this my #1 album but I’m not complaining.

#3. Borknagar – Winter Thrice

borknagar winter thrice

Although this album didn’t make my number one, this band, and album, made a big impact on me in 2016 as I went back and revisited a bunch of their releases along with all the Vintersorg albums in my collection. I’ve always liked the band, but with this album I found myself mesmerized by the mixture of folky metal mixed with some kind of prog black metal.

#4. Megadeth – Dystopia

Megadeth - DYSTOPIA

Megadeth – DYSTOPIA

Loved this album and it’s more aggressive Rust in Peace feel (I also really enjoyed 2013’s lighter Super Collider though). Kiko Loureiro on lead guitar is amazing, but it’s the riffs and songwriting that are just soooo good. Hope this band continues for many more years!

5. HammerFall – Built to Last

HammerFall - Built to Last

The Swede’s 10th studio album is in line with the bands early days as the album cover-art hinted at. I love all their albums so anything they do that even comes close to GLORY TO THE BRAVE is going to make me happy.

  1. Iron Savior – Titancraft

  2. Avantasia – Ghostlights

  3. Anthrax – For All Kings

  4. Death Angel – The Evil Divide

  5. Rhapsody of Fire – Into the Legend

  6. Striker – Stand in the Fire

  7. Metal Church – XI

  8. Prong – No Absolutes

  9. Sabaton – The Last Stand

  10. Metallica – Hardwired…to Self-Destruct

  11. Pain – Coming Home

  12. Flotsam and Jetsam – ST

  13. Anvil – Anvil is Anvil

  14. Sodom – Decision Day

  15. Brainstorm – Scary Creatures

Honorable Mentions:

Vader – The Empire
Eternal Champion – The Armor Of Ire
Iron Fire – Among the Dead
Freedom Call – Master of Light

Best EP

VoiVod – Post Society


Best Remake Album

Einherjer – Dragons of the North XX

Wow it’s been 20yrs!? I have the original on CD and it was a special album. Now with a much better studio budget and recording production, the album sounds ever better.

Best Book

Metallica – Back to the Front by Matt Taylor


Best Concert

Primal Fear with Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody. I’ve seen PF live umpteen times now as they are about my fav band, but Rhapsody are not a band that comes this way so it was quite a treat to be front row and watch Luca Turilli melt my brain for the two concert dates I followed the tour for (Montreal and Toronto).

Primal Fear - Toronto

Primal Fear – Toronto

Luca Turilli's Rhapsody - Toronto

Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody – Toronto

Best New Band

(debut full length was from 2016)

Almanac – Tsar

Eternal Champion – The Armor Of Ire

Disappointment of 2016

There is is one main thing that tops my musical disappointments for 2016 – that is the lack of new Gamma Ray music or from what I’ve heard, any solid plans. With the (albeit super exciting) announcement of Kai re-uniting with Helloween for a 2017 tour (not a permanent reuniting) and with Henjo off starting his new band Unity….Kai’s 2016 solo album which was mostly OK, but it wasn’t Gamma Ray…etc…yes they are alive and doing musical things, but not together. As well, for me, there is the question mark of Gamma Ray’s new vocalist Frank Beck. They sadly don’t tour here, so I haven’t heard him (shit phone YouTube clips do not count). I would of course prefer to have Kai sing in Gamma Ray, or maybe get Ralf (as long as it didn’t detract from PF)…but time will tell and I’m willing to give it a chance. Regardless, for 2016, my greatest disappointment is with the lack of new material, with Canadian tour dates, etc for what is my favorite band, Gamma Ray. I have faith in Kai Hansen. He is one of those musicians to whom I look up to the most (why can’t their be a detailed autobiography about Kai and his complete musical life? Rather than more 80’s pop metallers writing books…) So I still have hope there will be life for Gamma Ray but it seems that won’t be until 2018?

Hopes for 2017

  • I’d love for the reunited Helloween re-united to not only tour (including some Canadian dates please!) but to record an album that will have on vocals: Kai, Kiske, and Deris! That would be such a gift as a long time fan of the band and a fan of all the bands incarnations.
  • New King Diamond studio album….please!!!
  • The reunited Ratt must record a new album that will be as cool as 2010’s Infestation. As well, the band needs to play some Canadian dates.
  • Týr release a follow-up to their 2013 album….and it will be glorious.
  • A new Slayer album would be nice…wishful thinking that it might come in 2017.
  • New studio albums from Jag Panzer, Metsatöll, Edguy, and so many more
  • I’ve given up wishing for a reunited Savatage. It was on my list for about a decade…but I’ve given up and will just go crank Hall of the Mountain King and remember what once was.

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Chicago Open Air: Ozzy Osbourne, KISS, Korn, Rob Zombie, Slayer, Godsmack, Stone Sour Lead All-Star Lineup Of Rock’s Top Artists July 14-16 At Toyota Park in Bridgeview, IL

January 17th, 2017
by Celtic Bob

The second annual Chicago Open Air will bring together an all-star lineup of rock’s top artists on Friday, July 14, Saturday, July 15 and Sunday, July 16 at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, IL, just outside Chicago. The three-day music, craft beer and Gourmet Man Food festival will feature over 40 performances, including legendary rock artists Ozzy Osbourne, KISS, and Korn, along with Rob Zombie, Slayer, Godsmack, Stone Sour, Megadeth, Lamb Of God, Seether, Meshuggah, Anthrax, Clutch, Body Count, and many more.

Tickets for Chicago Open Air go on sale Friday, January 20 at Noon CT at

In addition to three days of nonstop rock, Chicago Open Air’s celebration of everything loud will also include Gourmet Man Food featuring local and regional cuisine, the Headbangers Bier Hall highlighting top brews from the region, other entertainment and fan experiences, and will be hosted by SiriusXM’s Jose Mangin. The weekend gets started with The Chicago Open Air Kick Off Fiesta (details to be announced in February) and the official Chicago Open Air Pre-Party at Concord Music Hall on Thursday, July 13.

The daily band lineup (subject to change) is as follows:

Friday, July 14: KISS, Rob Zombie, Megadeth, Anthrax, Meshuggah, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Falling In Reverse, Vimic, Suicide Silence, Whitechapel, Crobot, Code Orange, Hell or Highwater, Failure Anthem

Saturday, July 15: Korn, Godsmack, Seether, Clutch, Steel Panther, Body Count, Avatar, Mushroomhead, Metal Church, Pig Destroyer, Dragonforce, Cane Hill, Night Verses, Black Map

Sunday, July 16: Ozzy Osbourne, Slayer, Stone Sour, Lamb Of God, Amon Amarth, Behemoth, Hellyeah, Demon Hunter, DevilDriver, KYNG, Norma Jean, Whores., DED

Here’s what some of Chicago Open Air’s top artists have to say about playing the festival:

Corey Taylor, Stone Sour: “We are beyond stoked to be a part of Chicago Open Air this year. If you’ve never seen Stone Sour before, you’re in for a goddamn treat. If you HAVE seen Stone Sour before, forget what you’re expecting. It’s a whole new ballgame. See you all soon!”

Dave Mustaine, Megadeth: “This year’s Chicago Open Air festival is going to kick so much ass! I mean, KISS, Megadeth, Anthrax, and Rob Zombie?! If I wasn’t playing, I would want to go just to be part of the party!!

Randy Blythe, Lamb Of God: “Wassup Chicago! We’re stoked to be playing the Chicago Open Air this year. It’ll be nice to be outside in Illinois for a change, especially since it won’t be 10 below, haha. So come on out and bring your baggies, bikinis and suntan lotion, and surfboards (ok, so you can leave the surfboards at home). See ya there!”

Danny Wimmer, Founder of Danny Wimmer Presents said, “Walking through the site last year, I saw people from all over the world. Different ages, different races – people celebrating rock culture. When curating the 2017 version of Chicago Open Air, we wanted to find that balance for everyone who attends the festival. From iconic artists like Ozzy, KISS, Korn and Slayer to Rob Zombie, Godsmack and Stone Sour to Amon Amarth, Meshuggah and Behemoth. If you are a rock fan, this is a must see experience.”

“Rock is clearly alive and well in Chicagoland, and year two of Chicago Open Air promises to build on where we left off in creating one of America’s best destination hard rock festivals,” said Jason Wright, Live Nation’s Midwest President.

Tickets are priced as follows:

3-day General Admission Field: starting at $209.50
3-day General Admission Bowl: starting at $119.50
3-day VIP: starting at $425.00
Single Day General Admission Bowl: starting at $50.00

All VIP tickets include: VIP entrance lanes into the event, access to a VIP lounge area featuring dedicated food and beverage offerings (for additional purchase), field and stadium level viewing areas of the main stage, dedicated restroom facilities, and a commemorative Chicago Open Air VIP-only laminate.

No Service Fee tickets will be available at the Chicago Open Air Official Pop-Up Party at Kuma’s Corner downtown (666 W. Diversey Pkwy., Chicago) on Friday, January 20, starting at Noon. In addition, all three Chicago-area Kuma’s locations ( will be selling No Service Fee tickets and exclusive Chicago Open Air / Kuma’s merchandise.

Discounted hotel rates are also available through Curadora. Visit for details.

Here’s a preliminary list of Chicago Open Air special events, Gourmet Man Food and craft beer partners, as well as onsite experiences and nonprofit organizations with a presence at Chicago Open Air:

Chicago Open Air Kick Off Fiesta, hosted by Jose Mangin: Kick off the Chicago Open Air weekend with this fiesta. This intimate dinner will be hosted by SiriusXM’s Liquid Metal DJ Jose Mangin. The menu and more information will be announced in the coming weeks.

Chicago Open Air Official Pre-Party & After-Show Events: The official Chicago Open Air Pre-Party will be held at Concord Music Hall on Thursday, July 13. Bands and more details will be announced soon. In addition, official after-show events will be held at Double Door on Friday, The Metro on Saturday, and the official afterparty will be at House of Blues in Chicago on Sunday.

Gourmet Man Food: The initial Gourmet Man Food lineup includes selections from Chicago favorites such as: Bruges Brothers, Chicago Doghouse, Crème of the Crop, Dia De Los Tamales, Dinky’s Donuts, Kuma’s Corner, Pizano’s (Chicago deep dish), and Yum Dum. Additional Gourmet Man Food vendors from around the country will include: Aporkalypse Now, BBD’s Restaurant, Ben’s Burrito Bowl, Cheeze Louise, Cravin’ Cajun, Master of Patties, Ollie’s Tots, Pie Baby (wood-fired pizza), Sweet Pete’s, and The Big Cheesy.

Headbangers Bier Hall: This unique METAL themed dive bar is returning to Chicago Open Air. Headbangers Bier Hall will feature national and regional craft beers and artist inspired beverages including: Goose Island (Chicago – 312 Urban Wheat Ale, Four Star Pils), Half Acre Beer Company (Chicago – Daisy Cutter Pale Ale, Vallejo IPA, Pony Pilsner), Iron Maiden’s Trooper Beer, Lagunitas (Petaluma, CA – IPA, A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’), Motörhead Wine, Revolution Brewing (Chicago – Fist City, Rev Pils), Surly (Minneapolis – Surly Hell Lager, Surly Furious IPA), Two Brothers Brewing (Chicago – Sidekick Extra Pale Ale, Dog Days Dortmunder Style Lager), and more to be announced. Look for unique experiences throughout the weekend.

Monster Energy Experience: Fueling the festival experience with energy, the Monster Energy Experience offers free Monster drink samples and artist signings. Stop by the Monster Energy Experience and get energized for Chicago Open Air!

Kuma’s Corner: Kuma’s Corner will be returning to serve their signature metal themed burgers.

The Music Experience: The Music Experience features all the elements that are involved in making music in a professional band setting. The interactive exhibit features guitars, basses, amps, drums, keyboards, and electronic gear that are used by today’s most popular bands. After laying your hands on the hottest equipment available, you will walk away feeling like a rock star and you may even see one there, too! Come and meet your favorite band members from the festival at the Music Experience Tent. You can win free amps, free guitars and get tons of other free stuff, as well.

FYE Fan Experience: FYE will be hosting the ultimate fan and artist interactive experiences throughout the festival! FYE is the only place at the festival to get your favorite band’s music, and maybe even get to meet your favorite Chicago Open Air performer!

Fxck Cancer / Dyin 2 Live: The Dyin 2 Live Dreams program is a wish-granting organization whose purpose is to try and enrich the lives of those fighting cancer by offering them an experience that will bring hope and inspiration to their lives. In doing this, we hope it can help give them a chance to forget, even if it’s only for a day. Through our extensive network of friends, supporters, and affiliates, we are able to reach out to individuals and present them with one of a kind experiences and opportunities that arise. We feel a Dyin 2 Live Dream can offer a source of inspiration for those undergoing difficult medical treatments and be a positive force that offers a life-changing impact not only for them, but also the family to overcome their obstacles. If you are currently fighting cancer or know of someone in the fight who could benefit from a Dyin 2 Live Dream, please submit your story and tell us why and how a Dyin 2 Live day would help. Also, anyone interested in being a supporter, volunteer or donor, please contact us at

Take Me Home: Take Me Home (TMH) has been saving the lives of homeless animals since 2001. TMH was founded as an animal rights advocacy foundation saving orphaned animals and striving to end animal overpopulation. TMH works in conjunction with shelters and rescues throughout California and beyond to help save animals on death row, on the streets, or in unsafe living conditions. Stop by their booth for custom gear and contribute to a great cause.

Chicago Open Air is produced by Danny Wimmer Presents, Live Nation, and Toyota Park, with the support of the Village of Bridgeview and Bridgeview Mayor Steven Landek.

Chicago Open Air is fueled by Monster Energy. Additional 2017 sponsors include: Jack Daniel’s, FYE, The Music Experience, Fxck Cancer, Take Me Home, Soho Concessions and more.

For more information on Chicago Open Air, visit:


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Best of 2016: Manos

January 15th, 2017
by Metal Rules
  1. Hellstar – Vampiro

Hellstar – VampiroAmazing album released in the end of 2016. After 34 years of existence Helstar are in top form. Fast rhythms, insane singing creates a relentless album that doesn’t let it till final song. Absolutely killer!

2. Warfect – Scavangers

From Kreator to Destruction to the golden days of Nuclear Assault. Bone crushing songs bursting with speed, aggressiveness and imagination. If there’s justice in this world these guys could become the next Kreator. Thrash at its best

3.  Assassin’s Blade – Agents of mystification

Excellent classic metal collaboration featuring former Exciter singer Jacques Bellanger. Passionate music and cool songs what else could you ask for?

4.  Chronos Zero – Hollowlands

Symphony X fused with death metal and female vocals ? Can this happen? If anyone can pull this of then it’s Chronos Zero from Italy. Jaw dropping music skills, complex arrangements and awesome singing from a guy that would make Russel Allen (of Symphony X) wonder if he has an evil twin

5.  Nordic Union – Nordic Union

Superb hard rock with a kick ass vocal performance of Ronnie Atkins from Pretty Maids.  Hard rock at its fucking best!

6. Tarchon Fist – Celebration

7. Innerwish – Innerwish

8. Wardrum – Awakening

9. Madder Mortem – Red in tooth and claw

10. Wedingoth – Alone in the crowd

11. Meshuggah – The violent sleep of reason

12. Hansen & Friends – XXX Three decades in metal

13. Herman Frank – The Devil rides out

14. Blazon Stone – War of the roses

15. Brainstorm – Scary creatures

16. Wolf Hoffmann – Headbangers symphony

17. Metallica – Hardwired… to Self-Destruct

18. Megadeth – Dystopia

19. False Coda – Secrets & sins

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