The progressive-leaning Swedes have done it again as THE STORM WITHIN continues Evergrey’s unblemished track record of delivering album after album of stunningly-arranged, gorgeously-executed songs balanced by flawless musicianship fans have come to expect from the band. Tom S. Englund possesses one of the best voices in metal and with his wife/secret weapon, Carina Englund, as well as Nightwish’s Floor Jansen backing him here, the vocals are both powerful and emotional. The band is tight musically and the production is simply out of this world. Topping THE STORM WITHIN will be difficult but Evergrey shows no signs of slowing down even after eighteen years.
Abbath – ABBATH
After an acrimonious split with Immortal, the songs meant for that band’s next album were not going to be left unheard, so Abbath released them as his first true solo album. Surprising no one, the icy black metal and epic musical landscapes Abbath was known for in Immortal remain but easing up on the throttle and allowing some melody to creep in is a bit of a shock. Mixing things up after nearly 25 years and starting a new band is not an easy decision but ABBATH displays a solid framework for the next chapter in the storied frontman’s career.
The Devin Townsend Project – TRANSCENDENCE
The ever-prolific Hevy Devy continues his attack with his most progressive-leaning album to date. Dense, complex and multi-layered, TRANSCENDENCE takes a few spins to really sink in with all that is going on sonically but the reward is a rich payoff. TRANSCENDENCE is yet another bar-raising release from the quirky genius who refuses to be pigeonholed.
Zakk Wylde – BOOK OF SHADOWS II
Released 20 years after the first album, BOOK OF SHADOWS II is a gorgeous masterpiece from one of metal’s greatest guitarists. Wylde has never been shy about showcasing all of his influences. The fifteen 70s/southern rock-inspired tunes found here are flawlessly executed and dripping with fiery leads and beautiful arrangements from start to finish.
Killswitch Engage – INCARNATE
The shaky return of original vocalist Jesse Leach on 2013’s DISARM THE DESCENT left me totally unimpressed which made INCARNATE seem that much better. Even though this one was released way back in March, INCARNATE still received repeated spins throughout the year and never got forgotten about, which is the true test of a great album.
Metallica – HARDWIRED…TO SELF-DESTRUCT
Heaven Shall Burn – WANDERER
Anaal Nathrakh – THE WHOLE OF THE LAW
Metal Church – XI
Dark Tranquillity – ATOMA
Testament – BROTHERHOOD OF THE SNAKE
Anthrax – FOR ALL KINGS
Amon Amarth – JOMSVIKING
Dream Theater – THE ASTONISHING
Anvil – ANVIL IS ANVIL
Despised Icon – BEAST
Nails – YOU WILL NEVER BE ONE OF US
Megadeth – DYSTOPIA
Gojira – MAGMA
Winterfylleth – THE DARK HEREAFTER
***HONORABLE MENTIONS: Primal Fear (RULEBREAKER), Meshuggah (THE VIOLENT SLEEP OF REASON), Opeth (SORCERESS), Borknagar (WINTER THRICE), Inquisition (BLOODSHED ACROSS THE EMPYREAN ALTAR BEYOND THE CELESTIAL ZENITH), Rotting Christ (RITUALS), Ihsahn (ARKTIS), Whitechapel (MARK OF THE BLADE)
BEST NEW BAND OF 2016
Most likely a one-off project, this long-brewing collaboration features George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher (Cannibal Corpse), Adam D (Killswitch Engage) and Shannon Lucas (The Black Dahlia Murder). The result is a solid slab of melodic technical death metal showcasing the talents of all involved.
BEST LIVE ALBUM OF 2016
Dirkschneider – LIVE: BACK TO THE ROOTS
Original Accept vocalist, Udo Dirkschneider, agreed to perform the classic songs of his former band one last time for a short tour and this double album documents one of those shows. To call these songs timeless is an understatement and one must respect the man’s decision to close this chapter of his recording career for good. Still, it’s sad to think Udo’s unmistakable vocals will never be heard belting out “Fast As A Shark,” “Restless And Wild,” “Balls To The Wall” again.
BEST EP OF 2016
Scour – SCOUR
It has been a tough year for Philip Anselmo in the press but the one bright spot few seemed to pick up on was the indie release of his latest project, Scour. Featuring Anselmo on vocals along with current and former members of Pig Destroyer, Cattle Decapitation and Decrepit Birth, the self-titled EP is a brutal dose of blackened death metal not unlike that of newer Marduk.
BEST COMPILATION/COLLECTION OF 2016
Metallica – KILL ‘EM ALL & RIDE THE LIGHTNING DELUXE REISSUES
Not much needs to be said here. Two of the most influential and important heavy metal albums of all time remastered and reissued on both CD and vinyl with loads of extra goodies. The price tag was pretty steep but for true collectors, these were a no-brainer.
BEST COVERS ALBUM OF 2016
Jorn – HEAVY ROCK RADIO
Jorn Lande pulls out all the stops here and takes his turn covering classic tunes from bands as diverse as Iron Maiden, Journey, Dio, The Eagles, Black Sabbath, Queen, Kate Bush and others. Lande sticks pretty true to the heavy metal originals but his vocal take on non-metal standards “Hotel California,” “Running Up That Hill” and “You’re The Voice” are the real draw here.
BEST METAL-RELATED BOOK OF 2016
Martin Popoff – METAL HEART: AIMING HIGH WITH ACCEPT
Metal’s greatest scribe (and Canadian!) delivers the goods once again with his all-encompassing biography of the Teutonic Terrors, Accept. Fans of Popoff have grown to expect a high level of quality from the author’s books coupled with his own insight and exhausting interviews. This first proper bio of the band is top-tier on all accounts.
BEST DISCOVERY OF 2016
This Denver-based band got a lot of buzz in 2016 with its second album, HUNTED. Combining equal parts Trouble, Ghost and YOB, Khemmis puts its spin on classic doom metal and mixes in fuzz-drenched guitar and an epic feel to form a package with a bright future ahead.
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENTS OF 2016
Six Feet Under – GRAVEYARD CLASSICS IV: THE NUMBER OF THE PRIEST
If he has any mercy whatsoever, Chris Barnes’ latest entry into his long-standing GRAVEYARD CLASSICS series will be the last. Notching half of the record to Judas Priest and the other half to Iron Maiden, listeners will know exactly what to expect going in: Six Feet Under’s down-tuned sludge and Barnes’ garbled vocals ruining the classics we all know and love. The series has always been a curious novelty at best and laughable at its worst (“The Evil That Men Do” has to be heard to be believed) but this one is best forgotten.
In Flames – BATTLES
Bands mature and life’s circumstances inevitably change the direction of the music but no band has disillusioned its older fans more over the past ten years than In Flames. While one cannot fault the band for ignoring its critics and delivering the music in their collective hearts, BATTLES is another frustrating entry filled with largely forgettable songs that does little more than distance long-time fans in an effort to modernize its sound.
Operation: Mindcrime – RESURRECTION
Not even guest vocals from Blaze Bayley and Tim “Ripper” Owens can save this directionless mess of a concept from former Queensrÿche vocalist, Geoff Tate. The fact that it takes a full five tracks to even get to a proper song is bizarre in and of itself but at no point is there a memorable moment to heard, even after repeated listens. The phoned-in vocals of Bayley and Owens can’t even save this one.
GREATEST HOPES FOR 2017
Another year of promising new CDs from Jag Panzer, Sepultura, Kreator, Rudra, Overkill and Steel Panther among others.
King Diamond/Mercyful Fate DVDs (still waiting for the umpteenth year in a row!)
Once again: more time available to devote to writing and contributing to the mighty Metal-Rules.com!!!!!!!
The legendary Bay Area metallers Testament have released another killer outfit. Even though guitarist Eric Petersson has been the mastermind behind the album, however he has managed to create the lethal headbanging riffs. Killer album by killer band
2. Inquisition – Bloodshed Across the Empyrean Altar Beyond the Celestial Zenith Another killer output by Inquisition. Needless to say more !!!
3. Vader – Empire The Polish death metal monger Vader led by Piotr Paweł Wiwczarek has released the 13th output in their looong career. The Empire album presents the pure Vaderizing death metal. Vader never lets down, never. 4. Metal Church – XI
5. Moonsorrow – Jumalten aika
6. Sodom – Decision Day
7. Asphyx – Incoming Death
8. Death Angel – The Evil Divide
9. Rotting Christ – Rituals
10. Batushka – Litourgiya
11. Megadeth – Dystopia
12. Denner-Shermann – Masters of Evil
13. Master’s Hammer – Formulæ
14. Destruction – Under Attack
15. Vektor – Terminal Redux
16. Dream Theater- The Astonishing
17. Destroyer 666 – Wildfire
18. Behexen – The Poisonous Path
19. Oranssi Pazuzu – Värähtelijä
20. Bolzer – Hero
Ghost : Popestar Square Hammer is such a great song for sure.
Twisted Sister : Swedenrock 2016
The legendary hard rock / Heavy metal veterans did the final festival run and touring ever by conquering the European rock/metal festivals. The farewell show at Swedenrock was pure adrenaline strike especially by Dee Snider. In general the whole band was in the vicious strike. Hopefully this was the real farewell as it was a good way to leave the limelights
Diamanda Galas : Roadburn 2016
This was eerie, this was scary and this was fabulous. No more to describe the feeling when Diamanda Galas was on the stage. No wonder why several black metal bands are influenced by Plague Mass
Sadistic Intent : Steelfest 2016
The long time death metal cult Sadistic Intent is always crushing, murderous and lethal act on the stage, unleashing the true cult of the real death metal.
Venom Inc : Brutal Assault 2016
Mantas Cronos and Demolition Man – Black Metal !!! Hail Venom Inc
Best new band
Batushka hailing from Poland was such an interesting act with several members involved to perform the more religious based dark/black metal. This more unorthodox and even more blasphemic black metal outfit will become another big thing if the guys know how to play the cards right.
Iron Reagan blew the stage away at Brutal Assault, offering a brutal kick of crossover. The members of Municipal Waste and The Darkest Hour run the sideproject band Iron Reagen giving the blasting feeling with the good sense of humour and kudos to those old crossover legends such DRI, Gang Green, M.O.D…
Major events in the Metal world
The whole line-up of Morbid Angel exited.
The demise of AC/DC with Axl Rose taking care of the vocals. Time to say the farewell and quit.
Metal Hammer and Classic Rock went out of business.
Predictions for 2017
The metal will return back into the catacombs of the underground. The older bands will vanish and call its days one by one. Smaller metal festivals will be having more and more difficult troubled times because of the economy, some of them has to give up. Print media will be having some serious problem in the future – Teamrock went out of business resulting the end of Metal Hammer and Classic Rock – Which are the next ones to disappear ? Where is the younger metal heads ? Where is the next generation of metal ? The older generation is still ruling….
KILLCODE is a five-piece American rock band from New York City. To date the band has released two EPs, one full-length album (KILLCODE, 2014) and several music videos. In recent years, they have toured with such legendary names as Twisted Sister, Ace Frehley and Lita Ford. KILLCODE has also appeared in several metal festivals around the world including Bang Your Head festival in Germany, the Guitar Scene Festival in France and Heaven and Hell festival in Mexico. The band has just finished its secord full-length album, called THE ANSWER, and at the moment it’s available on their official website www.killcode.net. Despite all of this the band is still relatively unknown in some countries. I met the band’s vocalist Tom Morrissey and guitarist D.C. Gonzalez recently in New York. It was a really interesting meeting, and now I can say that I know quite a lot about the band. We talked about the band’s past, present, and about what kind of plans they have for the future. Read on and get to know KILLCODE!
WHO IS KILLCODE?
Many of our readers don’t know that much about KILLCODE. So let’s start the easy way. Who is KILLCODE and what is the band about?
Tom: KILLCODE is a band from New York City. It’s Chas (Guitar), Erric Bonesmith (Bass), Rob Noxious (drums), D.C. Gonzalez (Guitar) and myself on vocals. We’ve been described as a Hard Rock band with metal and southern rock influences and I pretty much agree with that. To date, we’ve released two EPS, a self-titled, full-length album and we recently finished our new album called the “The Answer”. “The Answer” was produced by Joey Z, from the band “Life Of Agony” and I think it’s our strongest work to date. Last year we had some great opportunities touring the world and US and we can’t wait to get back out there this year in support of the new CD. As we like to put it, we want to “Spread the CODE”! We’re “Spreading the CODE” as we talk to you as well! (Laughs)
When was the band formed and how did the current line-up came together?
Tom: The band was formed by myself and Chas. We were in a band that was signed prior to KILLCODE. For whatever reason, that band didn’t work out. We both decided to try our own thing. Not really in a band sense but try and write some songs and see what comes of it. We sat down in his basement and wrote a couple of songs that right off the bat we were excited about. After that we reached out to Erric Bonesmith, a bass player that was a good friend of Chas and he came on board. We met Rob Noxious when Mistress Juliya, who was a DJ for Fuse Television at the time, put out a blast on social media that we were looking for a drummer. Rob at the time was living out in California trying to come back to New York. He contacted us and after one audition he was in! D.C. came in after we played with another guitar player, Pat Harrington, for a while.
That was about the history of the band but maybe it’s better talk more about the future than the past?
D.C.: That’s right.
THE WRONG SIDE
I need to confess that I hadn’t heard too much about your band before this interview, but I did know a few things. (Laughs). The first time I heard you, was when I saw the video for “The Wrong Side”. Tell something about that one?
Tom: That was off our the last self titled album :::KILLCODE::: and it was the lead single. It’s a ballad and for us it the first time we led with a song like that
D.C: I’ll tell you a funny story. Chas and Tom wrote that song before deciding to put KILLCODE together and before I was in this band. It was actually one of the first songs that these guys wrote. Anyway, for whatever reason they didn’t release or play it too often. At the time I was in another band in the NYC rock scene and we played shows with KILLCODE. They played “The Wrong Side” at one of the shows that we played together. I walked back stage and I said, “Why the fuck don’t you guys play that song more often or release it?” I said, “It’s fantastic”! It does have a different vibe than most of KILLCODE’s songs and I get why maybe some bands don’t like to try new things but it’s a great song and at the end of the day that’s all I care about! Anyway, as fate would have it, I joined this band and we’re talking about what single should be released and what video should we do for what song? I’m the one that suggested it’s got to be “The Wrong Side”. It shows the diversity of what you guys can do.
Tom: We said okay and I’m glad we did. It did make us more comfortable trying new things and being a bit more diverse. New songs like “Own It” and “Put It Off” that are on the new album, came about from being more comfortable trying new things. “Own It” is a new song I’m really proud of. Chris Wyse, bassist for OWL and The Ace Frehley band plays on this song and really added something special to it. “Put It Off” is a song D.C. and I wrote, very similar to “Wrong Side”. It’s is just DC and I playing acoustic.
D.C: Yes I agree. Sometimes bands get caught up in, we’re going to do this type of Genre. That’s not me. When we wrote the new song “Put it Off “, Tom was about to leave my house after rehearsal. We started having a very deep conversation about something and I also randomly started playing this little thing on my acoustic guitar. He started singing and it was like, with all of your experience, you can never recreate a moment like that. We literary wrote that song in maybe five minutes. The final recording on the CD is pretty much what Tom and I came up with on the spot. It was a deep moment. Especially after the conversation we were having. The new Album is a kick ass record! There is a lot of high energy tunes in there. But there are also a few songs that we tried, new things and slowed down things a bit.
I’m going to give you my judgment once I’ve heard the whole album.
Tom: Yes, yes. We have the New CD for you to do just that.
THE MUSICAL TRENDS AND NYC
I would say that what separates KILLCODE from many other bands is that your music and style doesn’t represent any single musical genre. It has elements of many different styles and what’s also great is that you’re not following ongoing trends too much. How does that sound for you?
Tom: I think you’re right.
D.C.: I don’t want to say that we set out to do something different. I just think we set out to do music we liked. We didn’t and don’t care about following a specific genre. We didn’t and don’t care about what everybody else around is doing. It’s a little bit tough at times but worth it.
Tom: Yes not a typical New York City band.
D.C: Some people might think we are too light to be on heavy bills. Or we’re too heavy to be on lighter bills.
Tom: Or too Southern Rock to be in New York City. (Laughs)
D.C: We don’t compromise because of these thoughts and I think it gives us very unique style. Collectively we love similar bands like Motorhead, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. But individually we all have different influences.
Tom: I think that’s what shapes us.
D.C: We allow everybody to bring their own thing to the table. We don’t shut each other down and I think in some bands, that happens a lot.
If I had to describe your music in brief, after hearing only a couple of tracks, I would then say that you sound like a bastard son of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Skid Row. What do you think about that? (Laughs)
D.C: Skid Row?
Tom: It’s funny you say that as we’ve had people come to us and say, “You guys are like Skynyrd meets Sabbath, meets STP, meets…” but not Skid Row. Although they were a great band!
THE MUSIC SCENE OF NEW YORK CITY
What if we go a little deeper into this New York thing? Everyone knows that this city used to be one of the most important cities in the metal, rock, hard rock and punk in the world. But things have changed a lot since then. The clubs have disappeared, musical trends and styles have changed, every thing is now different to what it used to be before. My question is, how have you guys survived in these circumstances? (Laughs)
Tom: Yes, like you said earlier in NYC before KILLCODE, there was a bit of quiet time and a down time in the hard rock scene. You had the indie scene and bands like The Strokes and Interpol and these other bands. For whatever reason, Hard Rock at the time wasn’t the popular thing.
D.C: No it wasn’t a popular thing.
Tom: After that the bands that we liked either broke up or they got to the next level. We decided, okay. Now it’s our time to start something new. So, what we said to ourselves was, instead of just worrying about KILLCODE, let’s worry about the collective scene, the New York Rock scene. We started putting together shows and booking them with our friends and the bands we liked. We wanted to make each show an event! It started working and clicking. Prior to our scene, you didn’t have any local bands on our level, headlining the bigger rooms. They played the small rooms. Local up and coming bands didn’t headline Irving Plaza, Bowery Ballroom, Gramercy Theatre or play at Roseland Ballroom. We did that but again, not just by ourselves. We did this with other local bands and like I said things stared clicking.
D.C: Yeah. In New York City back in the day there was a fantastic scene, Metal, Hard Rock, Hardcore and Punk. It was incredible. You would go to see a local band and there would be a line around the corner. There was just a natural scene everywhere you went, and even the bad shows were okay. Then I don’t know what happened. Everybody started disappearing. Where the hell did all these people go? They literally just disappeared from the city. You’re right. It was very, very quiet here for a decade.
A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN USA, EUROPE AND MEXICO
I have spoken with a number of musicians who are completely tired of the current musical trends here in the United States. Albums do not sell, and fewer and fewer people go to concerts anymore. But in Europe the situation is different. The album sales fall there too, but the gigs are still selling well. What is also noteworthy is the fact that also young people are going a lot of metal / hard rock concerts there. Many of them have learned to listen to this music through their parents and you’ll see a lot of father’s and son’s or entire families on concerts. Have you noticed the difference between the USA and Europe?
Tom: A huge difference
D.C: We did notice this traveling throughout the world, Europe and Mexico. There is a difference. When you’re in the audience, you see teenagers and you see people in their 50 and 60s. There is a really good mix and you can tell that those people are doing a really good job of raising their kids right. Right now in the states a lot of people are into pop and rap music. You turn on the radio and you’re just killing yourself trying to find a rock station and a rock band in the US.
Tom: In South America and Europe, it’s just a different passion. They’re very passionate about Rock and Metal. In the States lately it’s true that it hasn’t been that way. I will say it’s gotten to a point now, where it’s coming back. We’ve been blessed and most bands aren’t as lucky, to have the opportunity to be able to travel the world without record sales that are breaking huge numbers yet. But at the end of the day like you said, no one is making huge numbers, even the big bands, unless you’re Iron Maiden or something. So I totally get what you are saying. But for us we feel that if we can put on a great show, then you’ll buy the CD. We still believe that there are people who will still say, “Okay, I like them live and now I’m going to buy their CD.” I want to hear it and I want to feel it.”
One important thing nowadays is to make sure that you have enough good looking merchandise, t-shirts etc. A brand, and I can honestly say that you guys have really good looking stuff and designs.
Tom: Thanks! We do that on our own.
D.C: Yes we do.
Tom: One of the things that did help us in New York City and in general, has been T-Shirts, our designs and merchandise. Having great merchandise has really helped us spread the CODE. Building a brand has been key to our success so far.
NEW KILLCODE ALBUM
Let’s discuss next more about your new album. You already mentioned that’s already available on your website.
Tom: We finished it probably about six, seven months ago. Our management is looking at different distribution options and want to be sure it gets out there and promoted correctly so we are being patient. It is still available on our website killcode.net and at all our shows. Like I mentioned earlier, the album was produced by Joey Z, who is the guitar player for Life of Agony. They are making a big resurgence right now as well and one of our favorite bands when we were younger. It’s 11 tracks that we’re really excited about it. We definitely have spread our wings for a lack of better word. We pushed the envelope a little bit, in different ways. Not just we got a little heavier. We also got more introspective, a little more emotional. I won’t say light, because even the slowest songs to me still have some substance.
D.C: They’re deeper too. Actually, some of the slow stuff on the new release is our heavy stuff. It’s deeper and it’s darker.
So do you have any idea who’s going to release the album?
D.C: Essentially, we finished the album and we’ve been sitting on it for a bit. The record business is very weird right now. It’s like we can literally release this tomorrow and we just may do that and may be the best idea. Like Tom said we’re trying to figure out what’s the best way of releasing this and we’re negotiating with a bunch of different distributors and options.
Tom: We’re not in a rush and we’re not going anywhere. We’re going to be doing this for the rest of our lives so we have to be smart about it.
TOURING PLANS AND THE FUTURE
But what kind or touring plans you have for the next year already?
Tom: In 2016 we toured with Twisted Sister around the world and in Mexico. We also did an East Coast run with Ace Frehley. In 2017 we plan to return and play most of the festivals we played at in 2016 while hitting new places in the surrounding countries.
D.C: We also played alongside Kiss and Sepultura in 2016, which was amazing.
Tom: On the tours last year no one really knew who we were but we proved ourselves and for lack of better words, knocked it out of the park! That’s one of the reasons we are invited back to play again at these festivals this year. We’ll be back at festivals like Heaven & Hell in Mexico and Bang Your Head festival in Germany. What we’re going to try and do as well is use those as anchor gigs for surrounding areas like Finland, Sweden, Norway
D.C.: We’re excited to get back out there this year and there are many things in the works.
This maybe an odd question, but do you think that the last show you played in Mexico, in 2016 is really going to be the last Twisted Sister show ever?
Tom: I think so but I really can’t say or speak for them.
D.C: I think it’s the last show.
Now we have covered about every question I had in my mind, but how you would like to see the future of KILLCODE from now?
Tom: The future of KILLCODE at the moment is getting our new album “The Answer“ out to the masses and tour everywhere we can in support of it!
D.C.: I would say this, after being on the road with some of our childhood heroes and playing with these guys every night we’ve learned a lot. Bands like Twisted Sister were together for 40 years and that’s how I see KILLCODE. I hope that we’re allowed that opportunity. That’s what I want.
Tom: Thanks for the interview and if you or anyone reading this want to hear more, just go to killcode.net. You can listen to all our past music, a few songs off the new album and some free downloads! Thanks for helping us “SPREAD THE CODE!!!”
D.C., Marko and Tom with “the crew” in RnR bar “Three Of Cups” in NYC
“We have all the drums recorded for the new record, performed by Scott Fuller from Annihilated, and will soon start on the guitars, vocals and bass. It has been awesome working with Erik Rutan and Mana Studios. We have a really cool collection of new material.
There are also lots of touring plans for this new year so we hope to see you all on the road!!!!
New York death metal giants IMMOLATION will release their new album Atonement on February 24th via Nuclear Blast Records. Today, the band has released their second video trailer for Atonement, in which Ross Dolan discusses how he became the singer and bass player of the band. Check out the clip, here.
IMMOLATION recently launched the first single for Atonement, “Destructive Currents”, via a 360º video, here.
Atonement was recorded at Millbrook Sound Studios in Millbrook, NY with longtime producer Paul Orofino, and mixed and mastered once again by Zack Ohren (ALL SHALL PERISH, DECREPIT BIRTH, SUFFOCATION). Cover art was created by renowned artist Pär Olofsson (IMMORTAL, THE FACELESS, EXODUS, ABYSMAL DAWN), along with additional artwork by the very talented Zbigniew Bielak (GHOST, ENSLAVED, PARADISE LOST, WATAIN).
BLACK STAR RIDERS are set to release their forthcoming album Heavy Fire on the February, 3rd 2017 via Nuclear Blast Entertainment. Today, the band premieres the new video for second single, ‘Testify Or Say Goodbye’.
Frontman Ricky Warwick comments on the track: “Power, glory, rock n roll with a whole lotta soul..
You gotta testify or say goodbye
Tell me no secrets, tell me no lies
Get up on the stand look me straight in the eye
You gotta testify or say goodbye … Kinda says it all really !!!”
The track was originally premiered as a world exclusive on Ken Bruce’s BBC Radio 2 show – listen back here.
From the immediate riffs of album opener Heavy Fire to the instant hooks of first single “When The Night Comes In,” from the dirty bass groove of “Thinking About You Could Get Me Killed” to the familiar and trademark dual guitars of Gorham and Johnson on “Testify Or Say Goodbye,” Heavy Fire is an album that will further cement BSR’s reputation as one of the world premiere rock acts.
Following on from their critically acclaimed albums All Hell Breaks Loose and The Killer Instinct, which have paved the way for Black Star Riders to be recognized as a power force in the modern day of Rock n’ Roll, Heavy Fire will be once again released by Nuclear Blast Entertainment. The band have also brought in Pledgemusic, one of the most innovative and successful platforms of the modern music world, to give fans extra special product and experiences to go along with the album’s release.
Heavy Fire Tracklisting:
1. Heavy Fire
2. When The Night Comes In
3. Dancing With The Wrong Girl
4. Who Rides The Tiger
5. Cold War Love
6. Testify Or Say Goodbye
7. Thinking About You Could Get Me Killed
8. True Blue Kid
9. Ticket To Rise
10. Letting Go Of Me
The Limited Edition Digibook CD will have above Tracklisting plus
Limited Edition Gatefold Vinyl
Limited Edition Picture Disc
1. Heavy Fire
2. When The Night Comes In
3. Dancing With The Wrong Girl
4. Who Rides The Tiger
5. Cold War Love
1. Testify Or Say Goodbye
2. Thinking About You Could Get Me Killed
3. True Blue Kid
4. Ticket To Rise
5. Letting Go Of Me
After a full year off the road, Black Star Riders (Ricky Warwick, Scott Gorham, Damon Johnson, Robert Crane and Jimmy DeGrasso) are back with a 16 date UK & Ireland run, joined on the first five dates by Scottish rockers Gun and The Amorettes and then Sweden’s own Backyard Babies with Gun on the remaining 11 shows.
For More Information:
Building upon the success of their 2014 self-titled debut, KXM returns with their sophomore album Scatterbrain. The new album is scheduled for release on March 17th via Rat Pak Records. Scatterbrain is currently available for pre-order via the Rat Pak Records website in various bundles including signed CD’s and t-shirts. All fans who pre-order the album through the Rat Pak website will be entered to win a one-of-a-kind custom guitar as well as other prizes. The pre-order is available at RatPakRecords.com/KXM. KXM is comprised of dUg Pinnick of King’s X on vocals/bass, George Lynch of Lynch Mob/Dokken on guitars and Ray Luzier, of Korn on drums. Scatterbrain features 13 brand new tracks and was recorded at the Steakhouse studio in North Hollywood California. The album was produced by Chris “The Wizard” Collier (Flotsam & Jetsam/Prong/Last In Line) who also produced the band’s 2014 debut.
From the infectious riff of the album opener “Scatterbrain” to the outro of “Angel,” KXM have created something truly special and musically diverse. Songs like “Breakout,” “Calypso,” and “True Deceivers” are sonically different from each other taking the listener on a musical journey. Scatterbrain is thematically a darker record than the debut. The album builds upon the developed KXM rock sound but this time includes some different dynamics drawing inspiration from prog, ska, punk and metal. Through it all, it remains undeniably KXM.
Recorded over the span of 10 days, every song on Scatterbrain was the result of a musical jam from all three members playing together in the same room. Ray Luzier explains on the process, “We wanted to use the same formula as the 1st KXM record: book studio time, come in fresh every day with a new idea & run with it and not over think anything.” George Lynch described the sessions as Record-topia: “we showed up in the studio, camped out with a bunch of gear and let the tape roll! Just like the first album, no pre-production, no rehearsal, no pre-written songs.” dUg Pinnick adds: “The vibe was like a bunch of old friends having fun creating music like the previous record, nothing but fun!”
The track listing for Scatterbrain is:
03. Big Sky Country
05. Not a Single Word
07. Noises In The Sky
08. Panic Attack
09. It’s Never Enough
10. True Deceivers
KXM formed in early 2013 when dUg, George and Ray spoke about trying to jam together. At the time it wasn’t clear what would come from those jams. The only thing that was clear was that these 3 musicians, at the top of their game, wanted to play together. The self-titled debut, KXM, was released on March 11, 2014 and debuted at #31 on the Billboard 200. The band takes its name from the combination of the member’s other projects: K from Korn, X from King’s X and M from Lynch Mob. In a world that constantly searches for new and unique music, KXM delivers all the power and punch that one would expect from these high level players.
Influenced by 80’s thrash giants like Exodus, Anthrax and Metallica plus later-day heroes like Killswitch Engage, ENIME’s music is ‘heavy articulate, clean, thrashy, and also melodic.’ ENIME are a band not afraid to gaze into the abyss and to take musical and lyrical inspiration from it. But no inspirations from mythical gods and monsters, rather ENIME are inspired by the world around us. Unleashing their debut album ‘Demon Inside’ during July 2016, the Montreal based metallers have teamed up with Metal-Rules.com for the premiere of their new lyric video ‘Selling Fear‘, a track off the release about how the government and media use fear as a scare tactic to keep the general population in check.
Watch ‘Selling Fear’ below:
ENIME’s debut album ‘Demon Inside’ is now available on the band’s online store here, iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and all major online retailers.
On January 13th, heavy metal titans ACCEPT will deliver their new live package calledRestless And Live. This set will not only include the entire show that ACCEPT played atBang Your Head!!! Festival 2015 on DVD, but also two live CDs with different recordings from their most recent European tour. Today, ACCEPT release a new live clip to give you a last taste of Restless And Live– watch “Fast As A Shark [Live]” here:
Southern California metal veterans LEATHERWOLF have announced the addition of guitar virtuoso Joey Tafolla of JAG PANZER fame to the line-up. Tafolla replaces Greg Erba whose last show with the band was last summer at Germany’s Bang Your Head!! Festival; he joins original members Michael Olivieri and Dean Roberts, long-time bassist Patrick Guyton, and lead guitarist Rob Math (LIGHTNING STRIKES,PLAYER).
States vocalist/guitarist Michael Olivieri on his Facebook page: “Ladies and gentlemen! Please welcome the amazing Joey Tafolla as the new guitarist for LEATHERWOLF!! Joey is a great guy and great player! We’re excited to have him a part of the Triple Axe Attack! We thank Greg Erbafor his dedication to the band for the last number of years. A fantastic guitarist and an awesome dude!”
In other news, LEATHERWOLF have been confirmed for this year’s 80’s metal extravanganza, Hair Metal Heaven, which is set to take place August 25-27 at O’Riley’s in Hull, England. Other bands on the bill include D-A-D, SPREAD EAGLE, SMASHED GLADYS and PRINCESS PANG. “We are extremely excited to make our return to the UK after almost three decades. The last time we played Britain was opening up for VOW WOW back in 1989 in support of ‘Street Ready’. Great memories! We can’t wait to finally rock for our British fans again who’ve been asking about gigs for years. See you in August!”
Ellefson Coffee Co., the boutique Coffee brand of MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson will open its first brick and mortar ELLEFSON COFFEE CO shop next week in David’s hometown of Jackson, MN. 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 will also be 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.
The store will also serve as a “Museum of Deth” featuring permanently displayed artifacts and memorabilia from Ellefson’s personal collection , as well as memorabilia from other artists. After teaming up with local Jackson Coffee shop COFFEE CHOICES (one of Ellefson’s personal Jackson haunts) and owner Susan Reiter for their URBAN LEGEND blend, David’s ECC (and EMP) partner Thom Hazaert suggested taking the partnership farther.
“One day Susan and I had a conversation about the idea of sort of re-branding Coffee Choices into something more aligned with the ECC brand, and us coming in as partners.” Says Hazaert. “I pitched the idea to David, we had already discussed the idea of opening a brick and mortar outlet maybe in Phoenix, and we all loved the idea, being David’s hometown, and Susan’s amazing history in Jackson, and her experience running Coffee Choices.”
Adds Ellefson, “I’ve been blessed to travel the world year after year as a musician but my roots have always stayed in Jackson, MN. So, it’s a true honor for our coffee brand to have a retail shop on the main street USA I grew up on, and to serve the very community I was born and raised in. Aside from some great coffee and a fun Rock N’ Roll atmosphere, our store is a go-to destination for coffee that also tells my story of heavy metal and global music history. I look forward to seeing you there!”
And any Megadeth fan already knows Jackson well, even if they don’t know it, as the connections to this small Midwest town run deep in Megadeth lore. Loon Lake Cemetery, that spawned the legend of Mary Jane, immortalized on So Far, So Good, So What is a few miles down the street, while the Ellefson family farm that inspired Megadeth hit “Foreclosure of a Dream” is also a stone’s throw from where ECC is setting up shop.
Hazaert adds, “Not only will Ellefson Coffee Co. now have a permanent face in David’s hometown, but being able to tie in EMP, and everything else we do, and 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 we are sure will not only be a highlight for the people of Jackson, but a destination for Megadeth fans from around the World.”
The first day of business officially as Ellefson Coffee Co. will be Monday, January 10th, with a grand opening coming later in the Spring. You can pay ECC a visit at 404 Second St, Jackson, MN, 56143.
I’ve often commented that music industry folks rush to get their ‘year-end lists’ generated and on-line much to the detriment of the bands. In their zeal, many albums, especially from the first half of the year get missed because the albums are not ‘top of mind’ in November in the stampede to be the first. Conversely some late year albums got missed as many people generate their albums prematurely, before the year is even over. Every year quality albums are coming out until Dec 31 but these late releases always get the shaft by the mainstream media (who claim to support Metal) by clinging to some arbitrary deadline and because those inconvenient releases do not fit into their neat little boxes, driven largely by commerce. Shame.
I believe some sober reflection would help provide a broader representation of what really happened in Hard Rock and Heavy Metal in 2017. I’ve enjoyed a few quiet days looking back at various releases from 2016 and I’ve cobbled together a little list of albums, EP’s, reissues, covers albums etc, that I felt deserved more attention than they got. Admittedly, many of these are not ‘brand new, full-length studio albums of all new material’, so they get left in the dust.
My friend and colleague Adrian Begrand has so eloquently pointed out, ‘Metal fans love their lists!’. I’m no different so here is one of my lists. I tried to think outside the Metallica / Voi-vod / Anciients / Meshuggah / Darkthrone group-think box. A fun little exercise of no consequence other than maybe someone might check out one of these releases. Enjoy!
JP’s Top 25 list of releases that coulda, shoulda, woulda got more attention in 2016.
The return of guitar god Victor Smolski after 16 years in Rage. Exploring his heritage, his new project (his debut) is a conceptual piece about Russian history.
BLAZE BAYLEY- Infinite Entanglement (Indie) Released: March 18th
Blazes four solo album sees him staying in Sci-fi territory with his first full concept album about time travel. His heaviest and fastest album ever, with tons of guests playing the various characters.
CAULDRON-In Ruin (The End) Released: January 8th
I believe Jason Decay (Goat Horn etc) singlehanded spearheaded the Canadian retro scene spawning/inspiring Skullfist, Midnight Malice, Diemonds, Vicious and so many more. It’s a shame that people passed over Cauldron’s excellent fourth album.
CRADLE OF FILTH-Dusk And Her Embrace-The Original Sin (Cacophonous) Released: July 8th
The long-lost unreleased album from 1996 finally sees the light of day after the 20-year legal dispute with the label ends. Deluxe re-packaging treatment, new lyrics, superb for die-hard fans who have waited years to hear this first version.
DREAM THEATER-The Astonishing (Roadrunner) Released: January 29th.
The bands tour-de-force, their own 2112, got missed by many. The same people who will willingly sit and watch The Hobbit trilogy for nine hours, or binge-watch an entire season of Game Of Thrones in one weekend said the album, at over two hours, was too long!
EMBALMER-Emanations From The Crypt (Hell’s Headbangers) Released: April 1st
One of the original early 90’s Death-Gore bands come back with only their second album in 25 years, after a 10-year gap since the last one. Brutal, guttural, unrelenting and sick. Very old school Death from this early Relapse band.
ENUFF Z’ NUFF-Clowns Lounge (Frontiers) Released: December 2nd
Album #14 from these perennial Beatle worshiping stoners is a compilation of old demos and rarities, a real groovy treat for the true fan.
GRIM REAPER-Walking In The Shadows (Dissonance) Released: Sept 23rd
29 years between albums and it was worth the weight. Carrying on where Rock You To Hell left off. Not many know that this line-up also recorded the little known Steve Grimmett solo album back in 2007. Grimmett’s voice is bullet proof.
HOBB’S ANGEL OF DEATH-Heaven Bled (Hell’s Headbangers) Released: October 14th
Didn’t see this one coming! Australia’s answer to Canada’s Gord Kirchin (Piledriver) or America’s Bill Lindsay (Impaler), puts out his third album in 30 years. No one noticed, no one cared although Down Under he is still a bit of an eccentric hero. Popoff would call this pig-iron, rust-belt Metal.
MYRATH-Legacy (Verycords) Released: February 19th
These exotic guys had such huge buzz and did not capitalize. Perhaps the uninspired album art and album title had pundits pass this one over. Perhaps being on small French labels doesn’t help either. Their 4th album is good or better than anything they have ever done. Don’t let the publicists fool ya, they are from France, not Tunisa. Sadly, most folks missed this early year release. Fun fact: Myrath means ‘Legacy’ hence the title.
NARNIA-Narnia (Indie) Released: September 16th
Arguably, after Styper, the worlds biggest and best White Metal band sees a comeback after seven years and the return of original vocalist CJ Grimmark. A flawless example from the surprisingly quite large but very underground Swedish Christian Speed Metal scene.
NECRONOMICON-Advent Of The Human God (Season Of Mist) Released: March 18th
The next Dimmu / Cradle band. These French Canadian journeymen had a re-think between 2003 and 2010 and reinvented themselves as Canada’s best epic, symphonic, progressive blah, blah, blah Metal band. Third album in the second phase of their career is stellar. The swarthy Italians in Fleshgod Apocalypse get the girls but Necronomicon is the real dirty deal.
OCTOBER 31-Metal Massacre 31 (Hell’s Headbangers) Released: November 25th
An album made entirely of cover tunes that appeared on Metal Blade’s Metal Massacre compilation series. Probably the coolest, least trendy, album of the year… for those in the know. King Fowley is more Metal than I will ever live to be.
PAIN-Coming Home (Nuclear Blast) Released: Sept 9th
Peter Tagtgren, (Europe’s Devin Townsend?) puts out album number 9, the first in five years. Quirky industrial, electronic, death with humorous weirdness goes over the heads of most. Flawless in production, execution and design, but perhaps not cool enough for many peoples lists.
POLTERGEIST-Back To Haunt (Pure Steel Records) Released: October 21st
Nice comeback 24 years in the making from these veteran German thrashers. Two solid early 90’s album on Century Media mean a few of us old dogs remember the band but after a quarter of a century, this album didn’t even make a dent in the awareness of thrash fans who were too busy lapping up the 2016 albums by Assassin, Artillery, Sodom and Destruction, despite Poltergeist being from the same alma mater.
Q5-New World Order (Frontiers) Released: July 8th
I have a soft spot for old 80’s Metal bands that reform just for the love of making music because every knows deep down, that no one remembers them from the first time around and no one will care anymore. But I care…and more and more often kids who are digging up their Dad’s obscure cassettes are paying to go to ‘retro’ festivals to see Q5, Fist and Jaguar etc for the first time. This Seattle band took 30 years off between albums and never missed a beat. They should tour with Saxon.
SPIRITUAL BEGGARS-Sunrise To Sundown (Insideout) Released: March 18th
One of the earlier European Stoner rock bands released their ninth album featuring a line-up that boasts membership (past or present) in the following bands; Arch Enemy, Candlemass, Carcass, Dismember, Firewind, Grand Magus, King Diamond, Mercyful Fate, Opeth, Witchery and more. Ridiculously talented and spot-on, how did no one notice this album?
STEVE VAI-Modern Primitive (Epic) Released: June 24th
The 9th solo album from Vai is a blast from the past. He wrote and recorded an entire album between 1984 and 1990 when he was busy being a rock god and touring the world with the two David’s (Roth and Coverdale). It sat in the vaults for decades and finally gets dusted off and this holy grail for Vai fans meets expectations; the cross of quirkiness and shred. Bonus, backed with the 25th Anniversary reissue of Passion and Warfare with bonus tracks!
Despite being the only band that sounds like this or does this anymore, and despite a high profile tour with Megadeth, and despite the fact that they have ‘DAVE FREAKING LOMBARDO’ drumming on the album, most folks forgot that ST put out their 11th full-length album this year. Old man Muir hasn’t lost any of the fire.
THUNDERSTONE-Apocalyspe Now (AFM) Released: April 1st
First album in seven years sees the return of original vocalist Pasi Rantanen and a return to their original sound. A small North America tour sees one of the early Finnish Power Metal bands finally making headway into the North American market with a strong album of classic Metal.
TRICK OR TREAT-Rabbit’s Hill Part II (Frontiers) Released: July 8th
This former Italian Helloween tribute band (!), now on album #4, jump to the big leagues, bigger label, and they finish their two-part conceptual re-telling of Watership Down. More Helloween than Hellowen themselves, loaded with Power Metal elite guest stars, this album is all the more poignant since Richard Adams died this year.
WATCHTOWER-Concepts Of Math: Book One (Prosthetic) Released: October 7th
The band that everyone says they like, but nobody really likes, released their first new material in 27 years, an EP named after your high school math textbook. The original Math Metal band deserves more respect but they are probably a bit long in the tooth now for the kids who like the current crop of tech-death-thrash.
WICKED MARAYA-Lifetime In Hell (Massacre) Released: March 18th
An album that sat in the vaults for over a quarter of a century finally sees the light of day. Crunchy, early 90’s Power Metal from the US, a fine example of the form.
WOLF HOFFMANN-Headbangers Symphony (Nuclear Blast) Released: July 1st
The Accept main-man releases his second (!) solo album of classical music re-interpretations. Mixing Classic and Metal is nothing new but he does is with flair and style. Elegant. If you wanted a cool covers album you could have easily substitute JORN’S Heavy Rock Radio here.
YNGWIE MALMSTEEN-World On Fire (King Records) Released: June 1st
The man everyone loves to hate, but begrudgingly admits (at least secretly) is the best guitarist in the world, puts out album #20 in Japan only. The production problems that some critics say marred the past few albums are gone.