IRON MAIDEN – “Somewhere Back in Time” World Tour, Helsinki Olympic Stadium, Finland on July 18 2008

July 21st, 2008
by Luxi Lahtinen

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Helsinki Olympic Stadium, Finland on July 18th 2008

Review & live pictures by Luxi Lahtinen 


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Nail and sHEAVY Live in St. John’s

July 20th, 2008
by EvilG

NAIL

With special guests sHEAVY

Club One, ST. John’s, NL
July 12, 2008
Review by EvilG (normal font) and Rick (italics)
Pics by Celtic Bob, Video footage by D. Pope

Nail show poster

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Queensryche – Geoff Tate

July 20th, 2008
by Robert Williams

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Interview with Geoff Tate conducted by Robert Williams.

Videography and editing courtesy of Sandra Torres.

Interviewed at the South Texas Rock Fest 2008

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Patrick Wirén of Midas Touch / Misery Loves Co.

July 20th, 2008
by Jason Petrochko

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INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST PATRICK WIRÉN

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FROM BAND’S MYSPACE PAGE:

 If you thought Sweden’s musical heritage could be measured by just one soulless stadium export, then think again. Since their inception, Midas Touch have been struggling for individuality within an often-anonymous Speed Metal scene. Inspired if never directly influenced by the heavenly Metallica, Slayer and a cast of many including industrial jazz and classical, this young Swedish quintet took three years to perfect their lyrical and musical masterplan. Careful in the selection of musicians, determined not to be lumped into the abyss of the mindless many, bassist Patrik Sporrong and his cousin Rickard were to prove that Speed did not have to sacrifice Soul. Formed in the summer of ´85, it wasn´t until 1988 that Midas Touch leapt to the attention of the European underground Radio and Press with "Ground Zero" – their first recorded works. Swayed by such roots groundswell, Noice International were quick to sign the band in the autumn of ´88 for a five year development deal. Midas Touch spent Christmas in Skytrak studio with producer Roy Rowland (Sabbat, Kreator). The results can be heard on the uncompromising debut album "Presage Of Disaster". Taking a cocerned lyrical stand against the arm´s race, drugs and apartheid, Midas Touch have succesfully married the intelligent to their brutal and complicated music. Think again. Presage Of Disaster was released in March 1989 on album, cassette and CD. – Noise International 1989

 

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Bleed The Sky – Vocalist Noah Robinson

July 17th, 2008
by Lord of the Wasteland

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 Vocalist Noah Robinson

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***Interview By Lord of The Wasteland


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Bloodstock Open Air 2008 Preview

July 17th, 2008
by Hanntu

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For a country that has probably contributed more towards heavy music than any other country in the world, the UK is severely lacking in a major, pure metal festival that can rival Wacken, Hellfest, Graspop or Tuska, ever since the discontinuation of the legendary Monsters of Rock in Castle Donington. Download Festival, Monsters of Rock’s successor, manages to draw some of the biggest metal names, but dilutes it with other non-metal and rock acts. The annual Damnation Festival in Leeds is commendably stalwart, but a one-day festival really does not sate the English metalhead’s appetite. The solution therefore is to look towards Bloodstock.

Bloodstock started out as an indoor festival for metal back in 2001 in the English Midlands of Derbyshire. The first installation saw some big names of metal like Saxon, Blaze and Primal Fear, and it was up and running. 2002 saw Diamond Head, Blind Guardian and Gamma Ray appear, as well as Primordial and Bal-Sagoth. In 2003, Nightwish, Edguy, Paradise Lost made their debuts, while Blaze and Saxon returned. In 2004, Gamma Ray and Primal Fear returned, with the appearance of Children of Bodom, Sonata Arctica and Evergrey.

The names were getting bigger, but Bloodstock have always tried to give smaller bands the chance to make their name, especially English bands. Dragonforce made an appearance in 2003, right about the time they were entering the metal consciousness on mp3.com. Evile got spotted in 2006 and later got signed by Earache on the strength of their performance. The Unsigned Stage is only marginally secondary to the Main Stage, with English fans coming to support their mates’ bands.

In 2005, the founders took the brave step of bringing Bloodstock to the Open Air. On the website, they cite Wacken as giving them support and publicity via their “European marketing muscle”, as well as giving them sound practical advice. With Sebastian Bach and Children of Bodom headlining BOA 2005, the outdoor festival was also up and running. Since its humble beginnings, the outdoor festival has gone from strength to strength, with Lacuna Coil, Nevermore, Testament, Arch Enemy, Dark Tranquillity and In Flames headlining last year, in what is undoubtedly the biggest (maybe the only) festival dedicated purely to metal in the UK.

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Misery Signals – Vocalist Karl Schubach

July 17th, 2008
by Lord of the Wasteland

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 Vocalist Karl Schubach

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***Interview & Live Photos By Lord of The Wasteland


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John Cochran of Vermin

July 15th, 2008
by Jason Petrochko

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INTERVIEW WITH JOHN COCHRAN

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Bio from band’s MySpace:

Vermin was founded in 1982 by original members John Cochran, guitar, Dean Coffey, bass, Craig Hall, drums, Greg Cekalovich, guitar, and Vince Sollami, vocals. This lineup played at Southern California’s most legendary clubs, including The Troubadour, Madame Wongs, The Waters, Cathay de Grand, and Radio City. They also played the inaugural Metal Monday at the Troubadour with another bunch of aspiring young upstarts called Slayer. That gig was like a nuclear explosion – the Thrash scene in SoCal was running full throttle! Vermin also had the honor of being thanked in the liner notes of Slayer’s "Haunting the Chapel" EP, as both bands often gigged and partied relentlessly together.

Craig Hall left the band and was replaced by Mike Chacon, one of the local scene’s most explosive double-bass drummers. Vince Sollami was released from vocal duties, to be replaced by none other than John Cyriis, formerly of Abbattoir, and later to lead the progressive speed metal outfit Agent Steel. This powerhouse lineup with Chacon on drums and Cyriis on vocals continued to headline gigs in both SoCal and San Francisco. A four track demo was recorded in 1984, with interest from Metal Blade and Roadrunner records. Unfortunately, with personality conflicts causing tension within the band, Cyriis left, followed by Cochran. A new vocalist, Mike Torres joined, and the band soldiered on for a few more months fulfilling prior gig commitments in both SoCal and San Francisco.

Wanting to take his musical vision in a new, more hardcore direction, Greg Cekalovich, along with Mike Chacon, created L.S.N., which stands for Loud Senseless Noise. George Robb was recruited for bass duties, along with Tony Vargas on vocals. Later, Angelo Espino joined as a second bass player (that’s right, mofo’s, 2 bass players!). L.S.N. headlined shows at all the major clubs in SoCal, and recorded a four track demo. One song, Deadly Kiss, was submitted to Metal Blade records for inclusion on the Metal Massacre 8 album.

A few years have passed by since the glory days of West Coast Thrash…. and now the core players from both Vermin and L.S.N. have re-connected and are ready to create music again. Plans for a studio release someday before we are all dead and gone is in the works – we’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, keep it real – keep it metal – thrash forever!

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South Texas Rock Fest 2008

July 14th, 2008
by Robert Williams

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Written by Robert Williams with photography courtesy of Sandra Torres< ?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

 

With the recent resurgence in popularity of outdoor summer hard rock festivals such as Rocklahoma and the upcoming Rock On The Bayou fest that harken back to the glory days of the famed 80′s Monsters Of Rock festival, the Lonestar state, not to be outdone by our Okie counterparts, offered up the first annual Nikita Productions Presents: South Texas Rock Fest.

 

Boasting an almost identical roster of artists as the Rocklahoma lineup, such as Queensryche, Skid Row, Faster Pussycat, Dokken, Tesla, and even Texas favorites Helstar, bands ping ponged back and forth over the course of the weekend, shuttling from Texas to Oklahoma and vice versa.

 

Garnering media attention from Sirius Satellite Radio, XM’s Boneyard and sponsorship from Miller Lite beer and Harley Davidson motorcycles, the weekend long festival went off without a hitch. The only real complaint would’ve been the grueling Texas heat. Saturday afternoon there was not a cloud to be found in the summer sky, and it made the "all you can hear buffet of buttrawk" seemingly "Hotter Than Hell" but would you really want to hear Y&T play "Summertime Girls" in the rain?

 

Divided up between two stages and hosted on the Javelina Harley Davidson fairgrounds, vendors served up ice cold Miller Lite products to the estimated capacity crowd of 20,000 strong. Also of note, where as the Rocklahoma crowd could only enjoy 3% beer to their heart’s content, us Texan’s relished in the full strength domestic beer. This was a major concern when choosing which festival to cover. Besides beer, fans could enjoy frozen margaritas’s, fajita’s, burgers, shop for glass blown pipes, rock t-shirts and various other symbolic mementos of a gluttonous good time.

 

 

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TESTAMENT – Chuck Billy

July 13th, 2008
by Luxi Lahtinen

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Interview by Luxi Lahtinen & Niko Karppinen

Live pictures by Luxi Lahtinen

Transcription by Tony Gabriel

Thanks to Silke from Tough Enough Promotion & Management for booking us the interview with Chuck

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The legendary thrashers Testament from Oakland, California, have got their big wheel rollin´ nicely again. The band´s 9th studio album, THE FORMATION OF DAMNATION, marked the Testament camp´s return (at least partly) back to the times of their THE GATHERING album, spiced with some hints from their old days (THE NEW ORDER, PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH and such). Both Greg Kristian and Alex Skolnick had also made their return to the Testament ranks, without whose effort TFOD may probably not have turned the way it eventually did (even if most of the music for the album was written by longtime members Chuck Billy and Eric Peterson).

The band had started their “Damnation Vacation” European tour from Rock Hard festival on May 9th already – and after their well gone appearance at Sweden Rock Festival the other night, they finally arrived to Tampere, Finland to do the annual Sauna Open Air Festival where they were one of the two headlining acts of the first day of S.O.A. 2008 (Children of Bodom being the other one of them).

We caught up with Chuck some hours before their showtime, and asked him briefly about the ongoing tour, the new album THE FORMATION OF DAMNATION, the old days, some special tailor-made Testament videos made by some Testament fans - and even sort of accidentally, managed to find out about Steve ´Zetro´ Souza´s coaching activities for his two sons. Read all about that – and many other things as well from the interview we had with Chuck…


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HeXeN vocalist & bassist Andre Hartoonian

July 10th, 2008
by Luxi Lahtinen

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Andre Hartoonian – Vocalist & bassist of HeXeN

Interview by Luxi Lahtinen

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August 5th (for US) – and August 8th (for worldwide) are two meaningful dates for those of you who have been expecting from these L.A. based thrashers, HeXeN´s debut album, titled STATE OF INSURGENCY, to come out through Old School Metal Records. The album will feature 13 songs of geniously made, technical speed – and thrash metal, an eye-catching album cover artwork made by Ed Repka (Death, Megadeth, Solstice, etc.) – and lots of sweat and bled blood, of course. HeXeN have slowly been becoming one of the most noteworthy and potential new thrash acts raising from the vast Californian metal scene, and I´m sure all of us will hear a whole lot more from them in the coming months once their debut album hits the streets around the world.

Andre Hartoonian, the frontman of HeXeN tells more about the recording process for STATE OF INSURGENCY – as well as sheds some more light on the current Cali-scene regarding youngsters´ tendency to form new thrash bands like every second day or so – and much more actually. Be sure to mark your calenders either 5th or 8th of August 2008, too… ;o)    


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Kataklysm – Guitarist J-F (Jean-Francois Dagenais)

July 9th, 2008
by EvilG

Kataklysm – Guitarist J-F (Jean-Francois Dagenais)

Interviewed on July 8th, 2008 by EvilG

Questions by EvilG and Lord of the Wasteland

J-F from KATAKLYSM

 

At the beginning of the 90’s a band emerged from Quebec, Canada with the often quoted goal of many a young band – “to be the heaviest and fastest band ever”! After pretty much attaining that goal, and maturing, they realized what would create longevity would be their song writing. Over the years the band’s sound evolved while still maintaining elements of their “northern hyperblast” along with more grooving and thrashy material.

Still unarguably an extreme metal band, Kataklysm unleashed their latest album PREVAIL in May of 2008. I spoke with the band’s guitarist Jean-Francois Dagenais (or as he referred to himself as “J-F”) about the bands current Summer Slaughter tour which is making it’s way around North America. We also touched on the Montreal Québec scene which has spawned many a great metal band, selling out, his “love” of show-off guitar solos (ha), etc.

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FIREWIND – Guitarist Gus G.

July 9th, 2008
by EvilG

FIREWIND - Gus G.

Firewind’s Gus G.

Interviewed by EvilG

Transcription by Murphy / Live Photos by Hanntu

On the day of Firewind’s Chicago show of the TYRANNY AND BLOODSHRED tour 2008 I got to speak with guitar whiz Gus G. He was running a bit late, but such is the case with a travelling band dealing with tight time schedules, setups, sound checks, and interviews. I spoke with Gus about touring in North America, guitar playing, song writing, etc.

 

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Dan Holder of Merciless Death

July 9th, 2008
by Jason Petrochko

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INTERVIEW WITH GUITARIST DAN HOLDER

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Bio From Band’s MySpace:

Started by Andy Torres and Dan Holder in early march 2003, a couple of songs were written for Guitar and Vocals. No band name was finalized as there wasn’t a whole band yet, but the two possibilities were ‘Merciless Onslaught’ and ‘Merciless Death’, the latter being chosen. Then in September 2003, Cesar Torres joined on Drums along with Mike Griego on Rhythm/Lead guitars. More songs were written with practice being held every week, and still are to this day. The influences that are listed were there from the start, every song sounded like 80′s Thrash/Speed Metal, if it didn’t, then it wasn’t used. On March 24, 2004, Merciless Death played its first show at the Chicago Bar in Santa Clarita, a few months later we played our second show there. At this point, we decided to record one of our rehearsals so as to become more familiar with our music and not wait until each weekend to practice them.

The CD was recorded in Andy’s room using a home computer and a total of 8 tracks were laid down (4 of which are no longer played). What later became known as “The Shores of Hell” Demo was not meant to be released (but somehow found its way onto the internet a few years later.) It was decided at this point that we should consider recording a real demo and so we enlisted the aid of Dan’s acquaintance at school, Jason Kivi who had recording equipment at his house and offered to record us for Free. It was May ’04 and the band spent several weekends at Jason’s house recording and re-recording and spent a couple months waiting for him to hand over the results. Of course, like the old saying goes “You get what you paid for” and in this case, it was nothing.

Sometime later Mike quit due to personal differences, and so we decided to become a 3-piece rather than sit around and look for another guitarist. Soon after, the "Annihilate the Masses" Demo was recorded at Command Audio in Santa Clarita on July ‘04. Following the demo recording, Merciless Death preceded to play clubs and spread their name all around Hollywood and LA. Places such as The Whisky, Roxy, The Knitting Factory were visited as well as several other local clubs and only 3 backyard shows were ever played.

By this time in 2005, the 1st pressing of the “Annihilate the Masses” Demos had sold out and thus the band proceeded to make a 2nd pressing with a new Cover and Band picture. Dan took the next step by sending out several copies of the Demo to various record labels in hopes of one of them finding interest in the band and signing them. Unfortunately, only Metal Blade had the courtesy to send a letter to the band with their response stating that Merciless Death’s music wasn’t the style they were looking for at the time. With more shows being played, more recognition was earned to the bands name and with the increased interest from the underground scene in LA, Merciless Death decided to hit the studio in December 2005.

Rather than wait for a record company to sign the band, "Evil in the Night" was self-released on May 2006 at the “Thrasho De Mayo I” show held at the Whisky. The 1st pressing of the album were individually hand numbered and limited to 100. Those quickly sold out and another 300 were pressed without being numbered. It was around this time that Heavy Artillery Records approached the band and offered them a record deal. "Evil in the Night" was released in 2007 through the label and recieved positive reviews, also with support from the 5 week "Evil Curse Tour" across the u.s..As of now the 2nd album is release as of May 20th 2008, entitled "Realm of Terror…"

 

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Dave Silver of Savage Messiah

July 4th, 2008
by Jason Petrochko

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INTERVIEW WITH DAVE SILVER

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