Black metal and bluegrass/Appalachian folk music would seem unlikely companions. But over the last few years, Austin Lunn’s one-man “band” Panopticon – hailing, fittingly, from the “Bluegrass state” of Kentucky, before a recent move to Minnesota – has proven that they are not mutually exclusive styles. After experimenting with folk/bluegrass accents on earlier work, Lunn went all in with the Appalachian vibe on 2012’s mesmerizing Kentucky, capturing a sort of Aaron Copland meets Bathory sonic effect. With Panopticon’s fifth full-length, Lunn – this time assisted by a bevy guest musicians and vocalists – accentuates old school Scandinavian-influenced black metal and flavors it, albeit quite liberally, with Americana. It makes for an incredible contrast, yet in the hands of someone with the genius and versatility of Lunn, this “blackgrass” treatment works brilliantly.
Emerging from the Tampa swamps once more to bludgeon us with grinding death metal, Florida Death Metal legends Obituary return with their 9th studio album. The album is brutal, raw, and very underground demo looking from the artwork and the packaging. This is all intentional, because the album sounds like SLOWLY WE ROT meets CAUSE OF DEATH! Obituary hasn’t changed at all folks, and that is fine by me!
The legendary band from Gothenburg, Sweden that created their own genre of metal decades back – the infamous Gothenburg sound. After 19 years is the band back with not just another “Slaughter Of The Soul” album, instead they did something else with the brilliant AT WAR WITH REALITY. I’m glad to be Swedish!
I had no problem picking what album would be number one for 2014. In fact, when the album came out way back in January 2014, I suspected that nothing would top this album all year. It seems some casual PF fans have been saying this is their best album in a long time…however, as I love all their albums, to me it’s another serving of great heavy metal from one of the very best bands going!
Great news for the fans of WAMI! The band’s new official video “Wild Woman” can be watched now on Youtube. Check it out at this location.
“It’s a story about music, love, rock’n’roll, beautiful women and tuff guys on motorbikes. And what’s most important – about Iggy’s love for guitar”.
The video was made by Mania Studio (maniastudio.pl) with photos taken mainly in Goleniów, Iggy’s hometown. Guest performance (as Iggy’s mum) was done by Lidia Popiel, an acclaimed Polish photographer. The animation was done by Białkowscy brothers from Szczecin.
WAMI – the names associated with this project are true legends on the hard rock scene: on the vocals – Doogie White (Rainbow, Michael Schenker, Yngwie Malmsteen), on the drums – Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath, Heaven & Hell, DIO), on the bass – Marco Mendoza (Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake), who join forces with the young Polish guitarist Igor ‘Iggy’ Gwadera (born in 1997).
The idea to record an album together was born after Thin Lizzy’s concert in Poland. Bassist Marco Mendoza, delighted with the young guitarist Iggy, who supported Thin Lizzy with his band Anti Tank Nun, suggested that they record some music together. This first idea, which was maturing for the next dozen-odd months, eventually evolved into a project involving legendary musicians, who recorded a brand new album together with Iggy. In late November 2013, after Vinny Appice and Marco Mendoza recorded the bass and drum tracks, Doogie White confronted his vocal talent with Iggy’s guitar technique during their recording sessions in Poland. The truly outstanding results of these sessions are included on the album entitled “Kill the King”!!
“Kill The King, proves one undisputed fact – this international, intergenerational hard rock WAMI project really works. And even more, the sensational artistic collaboration between a group of talented Polish musicians and the three hard rock legends would be seriously unappreciated if referred to only as a curio in Appice’s or White’s vast discographies. It’s so because of many reasons – not only the predictable quality of the performance by the legendary musicians of Rainbow, Dio or Whitesnake fame, but also well-crafted compositions penned by the creative duo of Cugowski brothers. The true scene stealer is, however, the guitarist Iggy Gwadera – being not even old enough to vote and still, capable of meeting such a challenge. His talent and prowess, surprising at such young age, really shines through the entire album, and it’s almost certain we’ll hear about this gifted young man in the future – perhaps mentioned again alongside big names of the music industry. Let’s also hope Kill The King won’t be the last album under the WAMI moniker – although with the bar set so high with the first one, it’ll be hard to top it. Much recommended.”
For full review go here: http://hardrockhaven.net/online/2014/05/wami-kill-the-king-cd-review/
Guitarist/singer/songwriter RICHIE KOTZEN digitally released his 20th solo album, CANNIBALS, January 8 via his Headroom-Inc label. It quickly reached #1 on Amazon’s New Rock Releases chart. Videos for “You” and “Cannibals” can be found on his official YouTube page.
Here’s information about CANNIBALS, in KOTZEN’s own words:
“CANNIBALS is an interesting record for me,” KOTZEN explains, “because much of this material is comprised from recordings that are as old as 10 years. The title track is the most recent song I’ve written. That was from 2014, but ‘Come On Free,’ for example, was originally recorded back in the early 2000’s. I always liked the track, but never knew how to fit it into one of my records. Somehow I thought now was the time, so I went back to the original recording and did a remix. The only new overdub is the chant at the end, which happened recently one night when I was playing the song for my friends. I had a bunch of friends in the studio from Brazil and they all started chanting. I was like, ‘ALL THAT!’ and put up the microphone and we recorded it with no headphones. Everyone was having a great time. It was so spontaneous.
“The track ‘Time For The Payment’ is also an older recording from 2008. I would have included that on my album, PEACE SIGN, back then, but it didn’t seem to make sense at the time. That recording is unchanged. I just had it mastered and I think it is a great closer for the record.
“‘In An Instant’ and ‘The Enemy’ were both written by combining new song ideas with previously recorded material. I wrote ‘The Enemy’ chorus in 2014 when I originally recorded the song, but I didn’t like the verse I had written. After spending a day listening to old song ideas, I found an older song of mine with a great verse idea and intro, and basically copied and pasted that recording into the current recording. Then I sang everything over, made some creative edits, re-wrote some lyrics, and ended up with ‘The Enemy.’ I probably shouldn’t reveal this, but half the song has a drum and guitar performance from several years ago and the rest of the song is comprised of new recorded performances. Crazy concept, but somehow it worked and I ended up with a recording that I’m very happy with. I did the same trick with the song ‘In An Instant.’
“I suppose my proudest moment on CANNIBALS is the song I wrote with my daughter, August, called ‘You.’ I originally released this as a single/video at the end of 2014. It was born from a piano idea she had written when she was 13 or 14 years old. I found the original recording of her piano performance on my computer and wrote lyrics to it last summer. Probably one of my favorite things I’ve ever recorded.
“I also did a duet with someone who I’ve always been a fan of, Dug Pinnik from Kings X. I was at a house party and Dug was there, and we were talking about how we should do something together one day. When I went back to the studio I was working on the song ‘I’m All In’ and then it hit me. I called Dug and asked him if he would trade vocals with me on the tune and we did it! He added a whole other dimension to the track. I’m glad I called him!”
In other KOTZEN news, he’ll be teaming up with his bandmates of THE WINERY DOGS (Mike Portnoy and Billy Sheehan) to start working on their second album this month. Stay tuned for new album details.
With only 4 hours to spare, GWAR made good on Oderus Urungus’ promise to open the GWARbar in 2014 when they smashed down the doors to 217 W. Clay St. Richmond, Virginia, in the historic Jackson Ward arts district, on New Year’s Eve 2014. The ensuing party has yet to die down as GWAR fans, foodies and even neighborhood families revel in this brilliant new addition to the Virginia restaurant scene.
The GWARbar makes real the longtime fantasy of GWAR, the most brutal rock band in history, to open a restaurant and bar worthy of their name. The project was spurred by Jonathan Staples of James River Distillery and their departed lead singer, Dave Brockie. Along with restaurant partner Travis Croxton of Rappahannock, GWARbar’s mission is to bring “intergalactic junk food” to citizens of Richmond, Virginia and visiting GWAR fans from around the universe. The restaurant’s ambience balances beauty and brutality in the band’s trademark style, brought to life with the design and construction genius of Barry Griffin at Griffin Customs.
Patrons of GWARbar will enjoy sipping signature drinks out of a specially designed GWAR Tiki mug. Founder and owner, Holden Westland of Southern California’s Tiki Farm, the world’s largest manufacturer of Tiki mugs, has worked with GWAR to create a Tiki based on the band’s characteristic visual style. This GWAR Tiki will be highly collectible, and is available exclusively at the GWARbar.
Michael Derks, GWAR guitarist, and the driving force behind GWARbar reports, “The thing most people are surprised about is just how damn good the food is. Head chef Jeremy Dutra (drummer for Richmond’s own US Bastards) has made my vision of gourmet junk food rock! With items like our Scumdogs (house made sausages) and McDuckets (a duck, chicken, cheese and truffle nugget) we are turning your guilty pleasures into gastronomic masterpieces!”
SAXON is ready to kick off 2015 with the re-release of two classic collections, each covering significant career highlights as well as offering something new in their 2015 versions.
On February 13, 2015, SAXON greatest hits release Heavy Metal Thunder will make its market re-entry together with a brand new bonus CD, Live At Bloodstock. First released in 2002, Heavy Metal Thunder features 13 bona-fide SAXON classics from the halcyon days of the early 80’s, with eight of the cuts having been re-recorded again in 2001 to offer a fresh perspective. Amazon Pre-Order
At the same time, fans will also once again be able to buy The Saxon Chronicles, a double-disc DVD which now also includes a bonus CD titled Rock’n’Roll Gypsies 1989 Live. Released originally in 2003, The Saxon Chronicles is a double-DVD set which features not only the band’s 2001 Wacken performance, but original song videos, interviews and exclusive on-tour documentaries. Amazon Pre-Order
See below for tracklistings for both releases:
Heavy Metal Thunder – Bloodstock Edition:
CD I Tracklist:
01. Heavy Metal Thunder
02. Strong Arm of the Law
03. Power & the Glory
04. And the Bands played on
06. Dallas 1PM
07. Princess of the Night
08. Wheels of Steel
09. 747 (Strangers in the Night)
10. Motorcycle Man
11. Never Surrender
12. Denim & Leather
13. Backs to the Wall
Bonus CD II Live at Bloodstock 2014:
02. Power and the Glory
03. Heavy Metal Thunder
04. Battalions of Steel
05. Motorcycle Man
06. And the Bands Played On
07. To Hell and Back Again
08. 747 (Strangers in the Night)
10. Wheels of Steel
11. Princess of the Night
12. Denim and Leather
The Saxon Chronicles + Rock’n’Roll Gypsies 1989 Live
DVD I Wacken Open Air Festival, Germany 2001 Tracklist:
01. Motorcycle Man
02. Dogs Of War
03. Heavy Metal Thunder
04. Cut Out The Disease
05. Solid Ball Of Rock
07. The Eagle Has Landed
08. Conquistador (Drum Solo)
10. Power And The Glory
11. Princess Of The Night
12. Wheels Of Steel (Guitar Solo)
13. Strong Arm Of The Law
14. 20,000 Ft.
15. Denim And Leather
Bonus Stuff : Interview with Biff Byford
DVD II Tracklist:
Video: Saxon on Tour
Saxon Official Videos:
01. Suzie Hold On
02. Power And The Glory
04. Back On The Streets Again
05. Rockin’ Again
06. (Requiem) We Will Remember
07. Unleash The Beast + Behind The Scenes
08. Killing Ground
Saxon on TV – Interviews, History, TV-Appearances:
01. And the Band Played On
02. Back on the Streets
03. Never Surrender
04. Denim And Leather
05. Wheels of Steel
Bonus Stuff: Text/Photo Gallery
Bonus: Rock’n’Roll Gypsies 1989 Live Audio CD Tracklist:
1. Power And Glory
2. And The Bands Played On
3. Rock The Nation
4. Dallas 1PM
5. Broken Heroes
6. Battle Cry
7. Rock ‘N Roll Gypsies
8. Northern Lady
9. I Can’t Wait Anymore
10. This Town Rocks
11. The Eagle Has Landed
12. Just Let Me Rock
Swedish heavy metal icons AMON AMARTH will be returning to Europe already this week for a month long tour in regional UK, regional France and Spain/Portugal.
Comments the band: “UK, Portugal, Spain and France…get ready this January for a Viking invasion! We’ll be making an extensive UK expedition where we’ll be pillaging smaller clubs in virtually every nook and cranny of the country. We’re also making a more in depth raid of France, Spain and Portugal. Finally! As support on this mission we’re bringing our friends in Huntress and up-and-comers Savage Messiah. Don’t miss this awesome night of metal and we will take no prisoners!”
Legendary Swedish Viking Death Metal outfit UNLEASHED are currently in the studio recording the follow up to their critically acclaimed Odalheim album. The new album is being recorded by producer and guitar player Fredrik Folkare in his own Chrome Studios in Stockholm, Sweden. The title of the record is still a secret but expect it to be released tentatively in the spring of 2015 via Nuclear Blast. Read the rest of this entry »
SANTA CRUZ will release their second studio album, Santa Cruz, on March 10 via Spinefarm Records. The self-titled album follows 2013’s Screaming for Adrenaline.
The riff-driven new album features the singles “We Are the Ones to Fall” and “Wasted & Wounded.” The record is powered not only by sweat and booze, but by mind-boggling guitar skills manifested by these supremely talented young turks from Finland.
SANTA CRUZ are: Archie – vocals, guitar; Johnny – guitar, backing vocals; Middy – bass, backing vocals; Taz – drums, backing vocals. Get to know their names and faces now.
2015 will prove to be the year of SANTA CRUZ. Get ready to Cruz ‘n’ roll.
Santa Cruz Track Listing:
1 “Bonafide Heroes”
2 “Velvet Rope”
3 “My Remedy”
4 “6(66) Feet Under”
5 “Bye Bye Babylon”
6 “We Are the Ones to Fall”
7 “Wasted & Wounded”
8 “Let Them Burn”
9 “Vagabonds (Sing With Me)”
10 “Can You Feel the Rain “
Award-winning, legendary guitarist Michael Schenker releases a new studio album entitled “Spirit On A Mission” Released by in-akustik, the album of all-new material features Schenker’s Temple of Rock band – ex-Scorpions Herman Rarebell (drums) and Francis Buchholz (bass), ex-Rainbow’s Doogie White (vocals) and Wayne Findlay (guitar, keyboards).
The new album features twelve 12 classic rock guitar-driven songs that highlight Schenker’s distinctive and dynamic guitar playing, valiantly underpinned by the ferocious rhythm section of Rarebell and Buchholz, the same rhythm section that originally performed together on the Scorpions’ 1979 album Lovedrive.
Michael remembers how he came up with the name of the new album – “A while ago I was asked how I wanted to be remembered, and I said ‘as a spirit on a mission, spreading the joy of music from a place of pure self expression.’”
Scottish vocalist Doogie White, who co-wrote the album with Schenker, soars across every song, and stamps his personality with every note and phrase, while Wayne Findlay adds a new level to Schenker’s classic sound with his Dean 7-string guitar and keyboard arrangements.
Spirit On A Mission is a rapturous, explosive collection of brand new songs steeped in shades of dark and light. Musically and lyrically, the new album shows a re-energised guitarist at the top of his game, surrounded by some of the best musicians in rock.
The new album was recorded at Kidroom Studios, Muenster, Germany; the same studio where 2013’s Bridge The Gap album was recorded. The album was produced by Michael Voss and Michael Schenker, and engineered by Voss.
“After the Bridge The Gap Japan Tour in March 2014, I started to put new material together for what was to become the Spirit On A Mission album,” says Schenker. I went to the recording studio in June 2014 to put down the song arrangements and we finished recording in November.”
During the recording of the new album, the original recordings and guitars were stolen from the recording studio. Did this impact on the recording process of the new album?
“Yes we got robbed (some guitars and some music) and got very upset about it,” recalls Schenker. “Fortunately it was just performances and not compositions. We caught up and performed the music better than before. It forced us to work extra hard and longer but it made it stronger.”
For Schenker, the songwriting and recording process for Spirit On A Mission was very different from the 2012’s Bridge The Gap album.
Says Schenker – “I already knew ahead of time that I wanted to take Spirit On A Mission to the next level by adding more 7-string guitar on some songs to get more of the low heavy sound, and on other songs to keep it very fast and energetic with melodic vocals and a couple of mid tempo’s with more of my writing like in my UFO days.”
“Doogie did an amazing job with his melodies and singing,” adds Schenker. “Even though we had our instruments, music and equipment stolen from the recording studio, we had to re-record a lot of his vocals again, but when we did it the second time around, it got even better.”
“I asked Wayne to come up with a few cool guitar riffs on his 7 string. I added my parts to it and the outcome was very unique. Again, with the addition of Doogie’s vocals, we entered a whole new place that was an extreme pleasurable experience.”
The writing process and overall concept for Spirit On A Mission proved to be a fulfilling experience for Schenker and his band.
Says Schenker – “I always write in the same way but this time, especially driven by a precise concept.” The picture was album balance for me and combine many years of emotions in one. I wanted lots of double bass drum to keep the fast songs rolling like a train with lots of energy covered with interesting elements, a couple of my UFO days-type of mid tempos and the 7 string low sound to get a very wide range of sounds and emotions.”
Michael’s Temple of Rock shared ideas and collaborated in a bigger way on the new album.
“All songs were co-written by Doogie and myself, “recalls Schenker. “Wayne co-wrote five songs. I originally wanted to write the album as a group effort, but I had this concept that needed to be focused on differently. However, Herman and Francis did very well by adding there amazing Rock You Like A Hurricane rhythm section parts that gave it all it needed.
The new album also sees guitarist and keyboard player, Wayne Findlay, takes on a bigger role.
“Wayne has been with me (MSG) since 1999,” says Schenker. “In 2004, I met Dean Guitars and they built me a 7 string. I played it for a while but thought it was too much of a sidetrack from what I was doing.”
“I always liked that low sound and asked Wayne to look into developing it on the 7 string. A couple of years ago we started to use a bit of Wayne’s 7 string guitar on Bridge The Gap as a slow introduction. Wayne looks like a Neptune (Ocean God) and he loves the ocean. I saw this as an opportunity to have Dean build him a Trident Guitar in order to make his character complete. I wrote a little piece about Wayne called Neptune Rising on the Bridge The Gap album and now on Spirit On A Mission Wayne was ready to co-write five songs, and has now become an essential part of Temple Of Rock.”
“Coincidentally,” says Schenker, “former Scorpions members Herman Rarebell and Francis Buchholz and myself were out of the loop of rock’n’roll around the same time, but for different reasons. When we recorded 2013’s Bridge The Gap album, we had not played together since the Scorpions’ Lovedrive album (1979). Sprit On A Mission is the second Temple of Rock album to feature the former Scorpions rhythm section.
Former Rainbow singer Doogie White is described by Schenker as an ‘extremely creative individual with a fantastic range and a voice that never stops.’ “How many people do you know that can sing nine shows in a row, without a day off and still have a voice with a range like his?”, says Schenker. “He’s a real trooper.”
What are Schenker’s favourite songs from Spirit On A Mission, and why?
Says Michael – “I love Live and Let Live because it has everything. I love Vigilante Man because it’s heavy and melodic with a great tempo and sound. Something Of The Night turned out to be a fantastic outcome especially with that spooky Howler sound I developed awhile ago. Saviour Machine is an epic. Rock City, Bullet Proof, Restless Heart – I love the fast melodic stuff, and the other 7 string songs with a touch of ’70s rock.”
What are Schenker’s overall plans to promote the new album? Does he plan on touring the album by relentless touring and playing summer festivals?
“Promotion is definitely the next step,” says Schenker. “Wherever we are needed around the world, we will be there to promote “Spirit On A Mission”. I want to make Temple Of Rock its own entity. Right now it is still using the Michael Schenker platform but eventually I want it to stand on its own feet as ‘Temple Of Rock’.
“BRIDGE THE GAP” – TRACK LISTING
1. LIVE AND LET LIVE
3. VIGILANTE MAN
6.SOMETHING OF THE NIGHT
7.ALL OUR YESTERDAYS
9.LET THE DEVIL SCREAM*
Bonus Track on Deluxe Edition + Vinyl Edition:
Searching For Freedom (Instrumental)
All songs produced by Michael Schenker and Michael Voss
Engineer: Michal Voss
All songs are written by:
Music – Michael Schenker
Lyrics – Doogie White
Except* Music and Lyrics by
Michael Schenker, Doogie White, Wayne Findlay
Heidevolk reveal new album details! Check out the “Velua” cover, tracklist, release dates and formats beneath!
“With Velua we have created a unique storybook that tells you the tales of the most beautiful part of nature in the Netherlands and namesake of this album, the Veluwe. It brings you the wondrous, gruesome and weird tales about murderous brigands, deceiving wraiths, cursed souls and evil-minded goblins that roam the woods at night. Along with this dark folklore it sings the praises of the undying beauty of nature and the embers of early pagan traditions.”
1. Winter woede
2. Herboren in vlammen
4. De hallen van mijn vaderen
5. De vervloekte jacht
6. Het dwalende licht
9. Een met de storm
10. Richting de wievenbelter
11. In het diepst der nacht
Limited edition bonus tracks:
13. Immigrant song – Bonus Track (Led Zeppelin Cover)
14. In the Dutch mountains – Bonus Track (The Nits Cover)
15. Rebel yell – Bonus Track (Billy Idol Cover)
20.03.2015 BENELUX / GAS
27.03.2015 Europe / AUS
30.03.2015 UK / NO / FR /DK / IT
01.04.2015 SE / ESP
07.04.2015 USA / CAN
VELUA will be available in the following editions:
– LTD First Edition 6 Page Digipack & 3 Bonus Tracks
– LTD Deluxe Box (LTD Digipack & Heidevolk Logo Pendant & Vinland Flag)
The clip was directed and filmed by Brad Scott of Bradley M Scott Cinematography and produced by Kake Multimedia. It was shot at the abandoned Methodist church located in downtown Gary, Indiana.
“Extermination Event” EP was recorded at Belle City Sound with engineer/producer Chris Wisco (Lazarus AD, Novembers Doom, Origin, Jungle Rot) and mastered by Trevor Sadler MasterM.I.N.D. Productions (Madonna, Peter Gabriel, Nine Inch Nails, Rush, Triumph). The cover art was made by Swedish artist Par Olofsson (Exodus, Immolation, Malevolent Creation, Immortal).
As always, the top albums of the year are for full albums (no EP’s or demos) released in 2014. They also have to be new studio albums for the year, not re-recordings, re-releases, cover songs, or live material. Below the combined TOP 30 are links to each individual staff members personal “best of” lists which besides their top albums contains such things as best new band, best DVD/Blu-Ray, best metal book, disappointments of the year, greatest hopes for next year, personal metal discovery of the year, and various other categories. Enjoy!
It’s no secret, Metal-Rules.com loves Accept. In 2010 we voted Accept’s comeback album, BLOOD OF THE NATIONS as the #1 album of the year. Then in 2012, the album STALINGRAD was voted to #3. Now in 2014, the third album since their comeback, BLIND RAGE, is voted to #1.
Accept’s Wolf Hoffmann commented on their placement: “This is fantastic news! 2014 has been an amazing year for Accept and this now comes as a nice surprise at the beginning of 2015! 🙂 We could not be happier with the reception for ‘Blind Rage’ – it’s a huge honor to be voted Number One. Thanks to Metal-Rules.com and of course a very special thanks to our fan community worldwide!! I hope to see you again soon…“