Best of 2015 – Arto Lehtinen

December 31st, 2015
by Metal Rules

#1. Avatarium: The Girl With The Raven Mask

Avatarium: The Girl With The Raven Mask

Avatarium: The Girl With The Raven Mask

Kind of unexpected choice to rank this to the first place, but this is such an awesome output from the Swedish Avatarium. The Candlemass mastermind Leif Edling is definitely a real riff wizard to come up great doomy oriented songs.

#2. Paradise Lost: The Plague Within

Paradise Lost – The Plague Within

Paradise Lost – The Plague Within

Wow.. I had been told in advance the next Paradise Lost output would be “back to roots”. Heard the same phrase before. But frankly Plague Within truly surprised with the real doom/death metal elements. Obviously the fans of the Depeche Mode era must have got a real shock effect when hearing this one.

#3. Slayer: Repentless

Slayer - Repentless

Slayer – Repentless

The old thrash warhorse still keeps thrashing despite the band went thru the real bedlam Repentless is a surprising vital album by Slayer. Even though Slayer is on overtime, but let’s enjoy what we still have left…

4) Mgla : Exercises In Futility
5) Ghost : Meliora
6) Amorphis : Under The Red Cloud
7) Iron Maiden : Book Of Souls
8) Queensryche : Condition Human
9) Krisiun : Forged In Fire
10) Melechesh : Enki
11) Infernal War : Axion
12) Masters Of Metal : From Worlds Beyond
13) A.R.G. : Redemption From Refaim
14) Lucifer :  Luficer I
15) Ancient Rites : Laguz
16) Morbid Vomit : Doctrine Of Violence
17) My Dying Bride : Feel The Misery
18) Gruesome : Savage Land
19) Helloween : God Given Right
20) Morgoth :  Ungod

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Macabre Omen – Interview with The One

December 31st, 2015
by UK Team

Macabre Omen – Interview with The One

Questions: Ann Sulaiman

Macabre Omen: Gods of War - At War

Macabre Omen: Gods of War – At War

Despite its significant downs, 2015 was also a year with a few ups – one of them being the release of the much lauded Greek black metal album ’Gods of War – At War’ by one-man outfit Macabre Omen. Ten years in the making since their last record ‘The Ancient Returns’, the album sees a grand marriage of pre-Christian Greece with epic metal notes without the pompous fare of others that try to do the same for the “Viking” sphere.

As intimate as it is majestically aggressive, ‘Gods of War – At War’ had received immense praise and acclaim especially in the London metal scene, where mastermind “The One” currently resides. So for this exclusive interview, I managed to track him down for a chat one fine afternoon.

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Remembering Lemmy

December 30th, 2015
by Metal Rules

Lemmy – On stage in Helsinki, Finland. December 6 2015

Condolences for Ian Fraser “Lemmy” Kilmister (24 December 1945 – 28 December 2015)

Like all Motörhead fans, many of us here feel a connection to the rebel spirit and music of Motörhead.  As Lemmy himself was anything but pretentious, we won’t ramble on. Here are just a few words, thoughts, and pictures about this irreplaceable founder, vocalist, bassist, songwriter, and LEGEND.

Go here for the official announcement about the passing of Lemmy, and for condolences from many of Lemmy’s peers. And in case anyone was wondering, drummer Mikkey Dee has confirmed that the band is over.

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Hobbs’ Angel Of Death – Helsinki Finland

December 29th, 2015
by Arto Lehtinen




PRKL Club The 18th of December



Peter Hobbs carved its immortal marks in the late 80’s by releasing the highly appreaciated debut self titled album back in 1988. Despite the second album released n 1995, Hobbs has kept the low profile until 2004 the legendary Australian metal squad led by Peter Hobbs unleashed the Australian thrash metal storm at Wacken. It was pure magical mayhem. Rapidly back to 2012 when Hobbs Angel Of Death made a debut gig ever at Jalometalli along with Slayer Blasphemy was pure old school blitzkrieg

It took a few years until Hobbs got back to Finland for the third gig, all right Hobbs made the second visit to Åland being a tiny island between Finland and Sweden. Apparently 150 old school metal maniacs had crawled to the obscure PRKL club in the centrum of Helsinki.

The domestic black thrash metal Flame kicked the night. The raw, brutal and barbaric are the essential words to describe the outcome of Flame when speaking of the lawless black thrash metal assault. Flame rages in the underground catacombs by coming up the vicious outbursting blackened metal.


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The third one was a previously rather unknown band hailing from Italy called Violentor. By the way half of the Violentor four piece line-up was the part of the Hobbs line-up as well. As for Violentor in general, the four piece band combines the straight forward rock ala Motörhead with the blasting thrash stuff with some Sodom influences for sure. Violentor’s stuff is perfect for the insane beer drinking feast.

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After the 30 minute delay Hobbs started the old school thrash mauling. Eve though the venue is small as hell it didn’t prevent the audience from causing the real battlezone in the front row. When the opening riff of the first songs such as Lucifer’s Domain cut the air, the whole crowd went total beserk. The older Hobbs material was welcomed and appreciated amongst the bangers more than well. The set was tremendous long as the four piece did nearly 90 minute set by delivering the brutal and uncompromising old school thrash assault. It was quite weird to follow how the audience had to crawl outside to gasp for the air and take care of the alcoholic current balance. The Australian thrash metal veteran and icon Peter Hobbs having greyed sophistically sounded angry and brutal, not having lost any inch and grasp in the voice. As for the new material, well frankly it sounded thrash, but time to time it sounded kind of groovy. Hobbs Angel Of Death is about to release a new album in 2016 and therefore it was quite logical to do songs off from it. To be honest the new material has to be checked out as the man definitely creates the slaying and vicious thrash riff. Hobbs have always delivered the utter brutal slab of the finest old school thrash metal assault. Hopefully he will be seen at some metal festival sooner or later.

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Mikkey Dee Confirms Motorhead Is Over

December 29th, 2015
by EvilG


Just hours after the death of Lemmy Kilmister, Mikkey Dee confirmed the obvious in an interview with Sweden’s Expressen website saying:

Motorhead is over, of course. Lemmy was Motorhead. But the band will live on in the memories of many. We won’t be doing any more tours or anything. And there won’t be any more records. But the brand survives, and Lemmy lives on in the hearts of everyone. I’m incredibly grateful over the years we had, and that we had such a good time together.

Read the full interview with Mikkey here.R.I.P. Lemmy.

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R.I.P. Lemmy Kilmister, Motörhead frontman dead at 70

December 28th, 2015
by EvilG Remembers

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Close Quarters – Bass player Martin and Guitarist KK

December 22nd, 2015
by Anders Sandvall


Close Quarters
Bass player Martin and guitarist KK

Thanks to Staffan Osterlind at Fassberg & Osterlind for setting up the interview.

Thanks to press responsible for the band: Mats Rydström
Promo pictures taken by: Lars Brundin

Additional live pictures taken from the archives of: Anders Sandvall


Close Quarters is a pretty new sleaze/rock n roll act from Vadstena Sweden that recently released their second album ALWAYS A LOT, NEVER LITTLE which totally blew my mind the first time I heard it. I decided to take a closer look at the band and hooked up with guitarist KK and bass player Martin Hederberg in order to get to know a little more about the band and their past, present and future. The band have done more than 200 shows so far and have been support act to artists like Backyard Babies, Mustasch, Electric Boys and recently they opened for Tom Keifer in Stockholm. Close Quarters sure is the next big thing from Sweden so you better check out ALWAYS A LOT, NEVER A LITTLE which includes a co-written song with Nicke Borg from Backyard Babies as well as songs that feature appearances from Spike from The Quireboys and Pontus Snibb from Bonafide.

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TOMMY HENRIKSEN – solo artist, Alice Cooper band, Hollywood Vampires, ex -Warlock

December 22nd, 2015
by Marko Syrjala




Tommy Henriksen is an American musician from New York who is best known from his current work as a guitarist / songwriter for Alice Cooper’s band and Hollywood Vampires. Henriksen is also a solo artist and sought-after songwriter, arranger, producer and mixer. He has worked with, among others: Lady Gaga, Meat Loaf, Lou Reed and Halestorm.  For the last year and a half, the Alice Cooper band has toured the world with Motley Crue. In November, the tour finally arrived in Finland. I met a good-humored Tommy in Helsinki, and here is a summary of our interesting conversation which runs through Tommy’s past career and future projects.

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Posted in 2015, Interviews | Comments (0) 20th Anniversary

December 20th, 2015
by Metal Rules 20th anniversary

September 2015 marked the 20th anniversary of  What started as the dream of one man and a couple of friends in an isolated region of Canada (the East coast island of Newfoundland), has become one of the largest, longest running, and most influential, Metal webzines on the internet.

Let’s set the picture. The Province of Newfoundland, due to its low population (roughly 550,666 people in 1995) and relative geographic isolation gets only a handful of Metal concerts a year, and sometimes none at all!  The total number of gigging Metal bands from Newfoundland in the mid-90’s were perhaps fewer than 10!   (EvilG was actually in one of the few Metal bands, Oberon, founded in 1996.) Newfoundland was about as far away from the Metal hotbeds of NYC, LA, Tampa, Helsinki, Stockholm, London, Berlin, or Tokyo as you could possibly be.  So you may be surprised to learn it all started in Newfoundland, Canada and is run by volunteers.  Many people think we are a European site, and have a large paid staff!  If they only knew… 🙂

EvilG embraced the internet early, and realized that geographic isolation didn’t matter in the dawning of the new digital age.  He founded with its battle cry of “Supporting REAL Metal“.  Like most webzines, it started with little to no money, and a small audience, as the internet as we know it was still in its infancy.  Through blood, sweat and beers, recruiting friends, volunteers, and hammering away learning primitive (by today’s standards) HTML programming we had a few milestones.

Over 20 years MR became one of the few bastions of REAL METAL on the internet. Never catering to trends, our industry reputation is stellar, our productivity is endless, and our content is king. We have more book reviews, interviews, concert reviews, DVD/video reviews, and of course album reviews than virtually every other Metal webzine on the planet. Think about that. Our archives are a massive treasure trove of photos and interviews that extends back 20 years. We often have people contacting us for information on projects they are working on, documentaries, books, and academic papers. Many new bands have had their first exposure here, their first interview, their first CD review, etc. As well, it’s always a pleasure to interview and cover the titans of Metal. This is what drives us volunteers to continue to support REAL METAL for 20 years…and onwards.

Thank you, the reader, causal, loyal and the die-hard, from dozens of nations around the world, for reading each and every day. We hope you enjoy our 20th anniversary feature!

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MARTIN POPOFF Completes NWOBHM Trilogy With ‘This Means War: The Sunset Years of the NWOBHM’

December 19th, 2015
by Celtic Bob

NWOBHM-tmw_Compo - Copy

The New Wave of British Heavy Metal has received intense attention in recent years as a whole new generation of metal-makers have generated bands that have embraced the directly pre-thrash roots of modern heavy metal.

In This Means War: The Sunset Years of the NWOBHM, Martin Popoff and dozens of his UK rock buddies document the frenzied fruition years of the movement, namely 1981 and 1982, and then the many facets that caused the genre to implode by the end of 1984, with cracks in the armour beginning to appear the previous year. Why did metal disappear in Great Britain with the first hungover light on January 1, 1985? And where exactly did it go? The answers are enclosed, in the words of those who were there… and then nowhere fast!

Utilizing his celebrated oral history method—rich with detailed chronological entries to frame the story—Popoff blasts through all of the big events from 1981 to 1984, in this action-packed book that serves as concluding volume to Wheels of Steel: The Explosive Early Years of the NWOBHM—same easy reading format, same attention to documenting the subject at hand with visuals from the glorious era.

And by the way, this one’s way more packed with historical images, with more substantive text as well. It’s a beefy follow-up and conclusion to the well-received volume one, and the two together serve as a grand and exhaustive study of this momentous metal movement.

So come join Martin, along with dozens of the rockers themselves, as they together tell the tale of this ersatz genre’s maturity and demise, a demise that is ultimately laced with the pride that a platform had been created on which metal was to thrive for all of the rest of the loud ‘n’ proud ‘80s.

Note: like my recent book, Swords and Tequila: Riot’s Classic First Decade, I’m not only holding on price but lowering them a good 10% across the board. But still, remember, I am signing, packing these up and mailing from Canada. Orders will be signed from me to you, so please specify if it’s a present for someone else. Thanks for your support—this is my final word on the NWOBHM!

Price for This Means War including shipping:
US orders: $32.00 US funds
Int’l orders (all books go air): $38.00 US funds
Canadian orders: $37.00 Cdn. funds

Ask me if you’d prefer a PayPal invoice (please indicate what country you are in), or just do yer usual and direct funds to

Or mail payment (personal check in US funds, cash, or INTERNATIONAL money order), to:
Martin Popoff, P.O. Box 65208, 358 Danforth Ave., Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4K 2Z2

Sweet postage savings to be had for multiple orders (or two of pretty much anything—long story, ask me!), especially for US orders. Email me at with any further questions, and see for descriptions, cover art and ordering info for my other available 35 or so books that I have available for autographin’ and shippin’.  Note: this will not be at my website for a good ten days, but I have the books now and am shipping them this week.

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Moonspell – Interview with Fernando Ribeiro

December 18th, 2015
by UK Team


Interview with vocalist Fernando Ribeiro

16th November 2015 @ Der Hirsch, Nuremberg

Interviewed by Oliver M.


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Solo album of the legendary ex-KREATOR and ex-SODOM guitarist FRANK BLACKFIRE titled “Back On Fire” out now

December 15th, 2015
by Celtic Bob

Frank Blackfire is a German guitarist, who started exploring and listening to his father´s Rock´n Roll albums at the early age of 6, and therefore learned how to love this genre and became a musician. Frank started to play guitar at the age of 15, and then at the age of 18 joined a cover band in which he played classic songs of acts such as Judas Priest or Saxon.

About 2 years later Frank joined the German Thrash legends Sodom, and entered with them the Music Lab Studios in Berlin, to record the “Expurse Of Sodomy” EP and later the famous “Persecution Mania” album, which were produced by Harris Johns. The album has been promoted on European tour, which was documented on the legendary “Mortal Way Of Live” live album and video. In 1989 the band completed another classic album, “Agent Orange”, which as the first German Thrash Metal album ever entered German charts. Frank left Sodom in 1989, but as his friends from Kreator were in need of a guitarist, he joined their ranks to support them on their North American tour. Soon after that he became regular member of the band, and except touring with Kreator, recorded with them the classic “Coma Of Souls” album (1990), “Renewal” (1992) and “Cause For Conflict” (1995).

After leaving Kreator in 1996 Frank focused on other music genres, and also started to teach guitar playing. Between 2000 and 2006 Frank lived in Brazil, where he was playing with several bands, and where he released an album and an EP with his band Mystic. In 2007 Blackfire joined Sodom at the Wacken Open Air festival stage, and then appeared on the Chris Witch Hunter Memorial Festival in 2008. In 2013 Frank started to work on his solo album titled “Back On Fire”, which was completed and released in 2015.

FRANK BLACKFIRE “Back On Fire” CD out now, featuring:
Frank Blackfire – guitars, vocals
John A.B.C. Smith – bass guitar, vocals
Toni Merkel – drums
and special guests:
Tom Angelripper – vocals in “Insane Human Race”
Nancy Kunze – vocals in “Beautiful World”

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December 15th, 2015
by Celtic Bob

We are honored to have so many amazing supporters for the ROCK AGAINST MS FOUNDATION. These artists are gracious supporters to help build the foundation and fund the programs that will help people NOW with MS.

ALL 8 Experiences are detailed here to bid on:
**More to be added!

Steve Vai has donated a lesson in a private studio, which will come with a guitar he will personally sign to the winner.

Marky Ramone will have lunch with the winner in NYC, then off to SIRIUS/XM Radio to hang with him while he records his radio show.

Phil X (Bon Jovi/ The Drills) has donated a guitar lesson to be held at the famous FOO FIGHTERS 606 Studio, plus you get a guitar.

Rudy Sarzo (Ozzy/Whitesnake/Quiet Riot) has donated a bass lesson in a private studio, which will come with a bass that Rudy can personally sign to the winner.

Nick Menza (OHM/Megadeth)has donated a personal meet & greet with a bad-ass piece of cymbal artwork he created.

Robbie Rist (Best known as Cousin Oliver on the Brady Bunch as well as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Michelangelo) has donated dinner at Redballs Rock N Roll Pizza – made famous by the Foo Fighters – Eat with Robbie some of the best NYC Style pizza then hang out while his band plays some the greatest hits in music!

Phil X (Bon Jovi/ The Drills) has donated a personal meet & greet at the world Famous 606 Studios of the Foo Fighters – You also get a huge bag full of cool swag and sign-able awesome surprises!

About Multiple Sclerosis
Every hour in the United States, someone is newly diagnosed with MS, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system.
MS interrupts the flow of information from the brain to the body and stops people from moving.
Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis.  The advancement, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are moving us closer to a world free of MS.
Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with more than twice as many women as men being diagnosed with the disease.

MS affects more than 400,000 people in the U.S. and 2.1 million worldwide.

For more information on Rock Against MS Foundation click here:

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December 15th, 2015
by Celtic Bob

BABYMETAL–2015’s breakout all-girl-fronted Japanese heavy metal/teen-pop hybrid group–announced their sophomore album will be released April 1, 2016 via RAL/Sony Music Entertainment (for the U.S. release only) and revealed their initial U.S. tour dates on their “BABYMETAL WORLD TOUR 2016” (full tour itinerary below). The new album (title TBA) is available now to pre-order via the BABYMETAL’s official webstore, both as stand alone CD and special pre-order bundles. Click here to view the group’s new album and world tour announcement video.

News of the new album was revealed in front of BABYMETAL’s hometown fans over the weekend during their two headlining shows at Japan’s Yokohama Arena (26,000 people in attendance over two days). Click here to download live photos from the performance (photo credit: Taku Fujii).

Says KOBAMETAL (the producer and mastermind behind the group): “As prophesied by the FOX GOD, a new album will be released on April 1, 2016, also known as the FOX DAY. Since the release of BABYMETAL’s debut album in 2014, we have been racing across the globe non-stop on our World Tour. Through the last tour I have come across people from all over the world and have had the chance to feel that miraculous moment when everyone came together via BABYMETAL. Our new song ‘THE ONE’ contains lyrics that speak of uniting the world, or a crowd favorite at concerts ‘Road of Resistance’ that never fails to bring our fans together, every BABYMETAL song makes up this extraordinary story. I continue to believe that the songs of BABYMETAL continue to push them forward to discover new possibilities. All I can say right now is for all of you to wait patiently for the coming of the FOX DAY.”

2015 was a breakout year for BABYMETAL, the young trio of 17-year-old SU-METAL (Vocal, Dance) and 16-year-olds YUIMETAL (Scream, Dance) and MOAMETAL (Scream, Dance), backed by a four-piece band packing a heavy metal arsenal: they re-released their 2014 chart topping self-titled debut album (released digitally 5/12/15 and physically on 6/16/15 via RAL/Sony Music Entertainment), were the most sought-after band at Rock on the Range (U.S.’s premiere rock festival) and completed sold-out dates at Chicago’s House of Blues and New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom (part of their 2015 world tour); they’ve won several awards including the “Breakthrough Act” award at the 2015 Metal Hammer Golden Gods, the “Spirit of Independence” award at the 2015 Relentless Kerrang! Awards, MTV Europe’s “Wildcard Best Japanese Act” and several LOUDWIRE Awards. In addition, they were awarded the “Discovery Prize” at GQ Japan’s “Men of the Year 2015” Awards and the “Women of the Year” Award at VOGUE Japan’s “Women of the Year 2015” Awards. In July, 2015, they became the first Japanese artist to appear on the cover of METAL HAMMER.

Since forming in 2010, BABYMETAL have already achieved two major debut singles: “IJIME, DAME, ZETTA!” and “MEGISTUNE,” both of which ranked in the Top 10 Oricon Chart in Japan. Their first studio album BABYMETAL also earned the #1 spot on Japan’s album chart and Billboard’s World Album Chart The official live music video for their debut album’s lead single “Gimme Chocolate!!” has garnered over 36 million views on YouTube. 2014 saw BABYMETAL headline numerous sold-out shows from New York to London, including the 20,000 capacity Saitama Super Arena in Japan. They performed at major festivals in multiple countries such as the UK’s massive Sonisphere in front of 65,000 festival-goers and supported Lady Gaga on her “Artrave: The Artpop Ball” tour.

U.S. tour dates confirmed for the “BABYMETAL WORLD TOUR 2016”:
Wednesday, May 4 – Playstation Theater – New York, NY
Saturday, May 7 – Electric Factory – Philadelphia, PA
Sunday, May 8 – Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion (Festival) – Concord, NC
Tuesday, May 10 – The Fillmore – Silver Spring, MD
Wednesday, May 11 – The Fillmore – Detroit, MI
Friday, May 13 – House of Blues – Chicago, IL
Saturday, May 14 – Northern Invasion (Festival) – Somerset, WI

Note: All dates above go on sale December 18, details available at, with the exception of Carolina Rebellion, which is on sale now.

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The Raven Age announce Iron Maiden Book of Souls Tour support Slot

December 14th, 2015
by UK Team


Melodic metallers The Raven Age have announced that they will be one of the support bands on Iron Maden’s mammoth “Book of Souls” world tour that will see them playing through North, Central & South America , Australasia, South Africa and then culminating in a stadium & festival run throughout Europe in June

“It’s a game changer for us” said their drummer Jai Patel, speaking to Metal Rules after their sold out show with Mark Tremonti at the Liquid Rooms in Edinburgh

With a new album also planned for 2016, it will certainly be an exciting year for The Raven Age

You read all about them at

By Gavin Lowrey


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