Russell Allen (SYMPHONY X, ADRENALINE MOB) & Mat Sinner (PRIMAL FEAR FEAR, SINNER)
Mat Sinner (PRIMAL FEAR FEAR, SINNER) recently announced an as-yet-unnamed project with vocalist Russell Allen (SYMPHONY X, ADRENALINE MOB). He has checked in with the following update:
“We’ve chosen eleven great tracks and these guys will record with me and Russel in the studio:
Roland Grapow (MASTERPLAN/guitars, lead guitar), Randy Black (Primal Fear/drums), Alessandro Del Vecchio (keyboards, vocals) and Alexander Beyrodt (Pimal Fear, VOODOO CIRCLE/additional lead guitars). Produced by Mat Sinner and mixed by Achim Koehler, with a release on Frontiers Rec early 2013. Watch out, this will be a huge album!”
Randy Black has also checked in with the following:
“Off to a great start recording the drum tracks for the forthcoming Russell Allen and Mat Sinner project. Killer tracks on this one, keep an eye out for it to be released on Frontiers Records. At the helm in the studio engineering the drum recordings is Nikolai Wurk (DUSKMACHINE). First recording session with the new custom Pearl Masters Premium Legend kit… and it’s sounding spectacular!”
As previously reported, Black has been confirmed as the man behind the kit for the upcoming ROCK MEETS CLASSIC 2013 tour, which will run through Europe in February/March next year. Black joins his Primal Fear bandmates Mat Sinner (bass/master of ceremonies), Alex Beyrodt (guitars) and Ralf Scheepers (backing vocals) as part of THE MAT SINNER BAND.
According to Metaltalk.net, HELLOWEEN are in talks about reforming the band’s classic Keeper Of The Seven Keys-era line-up of Michael Kiske on vocals, Kai Hansen on guitar along with long-time band members guitarist Michael Weikath and bassist Marcus Grosskopf. Drummer Ingo Schwichtenberg took his own life in 1995 so current Helloween drummer Daniel Löble will likely retain his position in the band. The possible reunion is not planned to take place until 2015 and the current line-up of Helloween are in the studio recording an as yet untitled new album.
In a recent update Michael Weikath stated: “Right now we are busy with finalizing the songwriting process and are getting ready to take the accumulated ideas into a final selection for the new record. Everybody in the band is excited and eager to take what we have worked on so far to the next level.”
According to a press release, “The new production will again be helmed by long-time producer Charlie Bauerfeind and will of course contain all the trademarks. Already in this early stage the new effort promises to be much more than a fine follow-up to the highly acclaimed Gambling With The Devil and 7 Sinners albums. Bombastic epic pieces have been worked on as well as ultrafast heavy songs and mid-tempo anthems.”
heck out video footage of first-day drum recordings at this location.
The self-titled debut studio album from UNISONIC — the band featuring former Helloween vocalist Michael Kiske and guitarist Kai Hansen (Gamma Ray, ex-Helloween) alongside guitarist Mandy Meyer (Asia, Gotthard and Krokus), bassist Dennis Ward and drummer Kosta Zafiriou (both of Germany’s Pink Cream 69) — will be released in North America on May 22, 2012 via Eagle Rock imprint Armoury Records.
Unisonicwas recorded at ICP Studios in Brussels, Belgium. The offering features 11 tracks, plus a bonus live version of Helloween classic “I Want Out” only available on the domestic edition, cover art by Martin Häusler (Meat Loaf, Gotthard, Helloween, Motörhead) viewable HERE, and marks the first musical union between Kiske and Hansen in 23 years!
Unisonic Track Listing:
2. Souls Alive
3. Never Too Late
4. I’ve Tried
5. Star Rider
6. Never Change Me
8. My Sanctuary
9. King For A Day
10. We Rise
11. No One Ever Sees Me
12. I Want Out (Live)
Check out the band’s video for album opener/anthem “Unisonic” below. The clip was directed by Häusler in Heidelberg, Germany.
UNISONIC released its debut EP, Ignition earlier this year. After the addition of Hansen to the group’s lineup in early 2011, UNISONICcontinued the songwriting process for its debut release, incorporating Kai’s talent for writing great anthemic rock songs into its existing material. Hardly Keeper Of The Seven KeysPart 3, the UNISONIC collective effortlessly fuse the many sides of heavy music they know and love. The band’s music is versatile and takes a broad approach to heavy rock without sacrificing the power and strong, catchy melodies that characterized the band members’ previous projects.
UNISONIC: Michael Kiske – Vocals Mandy Meyer – Guitar Kai Hansen – Guitar Dennis Ward – Bass Kosta Zafiriou – Drums
“On September 20th, the pumpkins concluded the final part of their 2010 /2011 7 Sinners World Tour with a great show in St.Petersburg, Russia. This marks the end to a very successful tour of almost one year taking the boys throughout 36 countries, playing more than 80 shows in front of several hundred thousand people all over the world. There have been far too many great moments in this period of time to be mentioned here.
A big ‘thank you’ goes out to the guys of STRATOVARIUS, who have contributed their part by being far more than a ‘very special guest’ on the tour!
Now, the pumpkin-heads will go on a well-deserved break before entering the studio in the beginning of 2012 to work on the new record. Last and foremost, Helloween wishes to thank you – all the pumpkin-maniacs all over the globe – for your enthusiastic support at every single show.”
Blitzkrieg Metal Magazine recently conducted an interview with drummer Dani Löble at the Wacken Open Air festival. Excerpts from the interview can be seen below:
Blitzkrieg Metal Magazine: You’ve been touring for the last nine months; just as you did after the Gambling With The Devil Tour, are you planning to take a break now, or are you going back to the studio?
Dani Löble: “We’re already discussing ideas for the next album, which we plan to release by the end of 2012. When this tour is over we’re heading to the studio to write some new material so that it’s ready for that album (and tour) at the end of next year No rest at all, we got a lot of rest after the Gambling… tour, and I think it’s enough rest for the next 10 years!”
Let Me Hear You Scream Sweden Rockkkk.Well the annual roadtrip to Swedenrock by the Finnish Metal Rules.com team is already into it’s 11th year! The 2011 line up presented a wide range of metal and hard rock in the line-up. Over 70 metal and rock bands offered one hell of an experience for the attendees. Sweden Rock has been successful during the past ten years as the festival has always been sold out. This year wasn’t any exception as the fest was sold out despite the lousy economic situation worldwide and the ticket price had risen a little bit. ver these 11 years of coverage, it has become quite logical for us to give an in depth article of several bands performing at Sweden Rock to all the readers out there. The weather once again showed positive and negative aspects like in 2010. It either rained or was windy with a little sunshine. But we were there for bands, not for having some beach party crap. Unfortunately, we are not able to cover every bloody band, but hopefully you will have a pleasant reading experience… Enjoy or die!!!
Sauna Open Air Festival 2011, 9th-11th June Tampere, Finland
Review by Luxi Lahtinen, live pictures by Luxi Lahtinen & Terhi Pihlaja
The 8th Sauna Open Air festival was celebrated in a very sunny and warm weather, unlike in some other years – and this year the festival also broke their own record, welcoming as many as 26,000 people within the three days.
The SOA festival has truly found an important place among the other Finnish summer festivals, concentrating mostly on old-school Heavy/Thrash Metal and Hard Rock bands – and turning the festival around for the past 3-4 years or so, by booking many internationally big names for the three-day Metal feasts; from Kiss to Megadeth to Dio to Whitesnake to Scorpions to Type O Negatíve – and the list goes on.
This year, the festival organizers had very special grins – wider than ever before, spread all over their faces – and for some very good reasons. Two of the biggest headliners, Ozzy Osbourne and Judas Priest, arrived at SOA for the first time, with bands like Saxon, Accept, Doro, Cavalera Conspiracy, Joey Belladonna and many others proving to be good company to them.
Read on – the following article is based on the seven most interesting and musically satisfying bands of this year’s festival from your truly point of view.
Former HELLOWEEN vocalist Michael Kiske’s website has revealed that Kiske and GAMMA RAY frontman Kai Hansen (ex-Helloween) have teamed up again, with Kai joining UNISONIC.
Says Michael Kiske: “After so many years of abstinence I had a lot of fun doing my first live shows with Unisonic in summer 2010, so I agreed to do the short world tour with AVANTASIA. It was a great experience to be on stage with all those great artist, but with Kai it was something different: We instantly felt the magic again and had a lot of fun together on and off stage. We both realized that we want to be together in a band again. He was interested in the open musical concept of Unisonic and finally asked me if he could join the band. I talked to my bandmates and they all felt great about it. His talent as a guitarist and songwriter is an enrichment for the band and we are looking forward to his contribution for the music of Unisonic.”
Kai Hansen will stay a member of his band Gamma Ray and play all scheduled shows. Currently he is writing songs with the Unisonic guys for the long anticipated debut album, which is planned to be released at the end of 2011.
Symfonia. Does that name of the band ring any bells out there yet? Maybe not for everyone as Symfonia is basically a new band on the metal map. But behind Symfonia there are well known names and persons involved in the band. When unveiling names such as Andre Matos, Timo Tolkki, Uli Kusch, Jari Kainulainen and Mikko Harkin it is quite obvious the interest toward this five piece may increase tremendously. The Metal-Rules.com team had an nice and pleasant task to witness the debut show of Symfonia at the Finnish Metal Expo. After the show we were lucky enough to have an opportunity of doing an interesting and in-depth interview with vocalist Andre Matos regarding the birth of Symfonia, Avantasia, and plenty of other topics including Symfonia’s future activities. Ladies and gentleman, the first Symfonia interview here at Metal-Rules.com.
Helloween is a German power metal band founded in 1984 in Hamburg by Kai Hansen on vocals and guitar, Michael Weikath on guitar, Markus Grosskopf on bass and Ingo Schwichtenberg on drums. Helloween were one of the pioneering and also most important bands of the 80’s European heavy/speed/power metal scene. Their early albums HELLOWEEN and WALLS OF JERICHO fared comfortably but it wasn’t before band hired a new vocalist, the 18 year old Michael Kiske, and released albums KEEPER OF THE SEVEN KEYS pt.I and KEEPER OF THE SEVEN KEYS pt.II before the band hit the big time and found their worldwide success. Hansen left in 1988 and he was soon replaced by Roland Grapow. The following album PINK BUBBLES GO APE was somewhat disappointing both sales and musical wise and next they tried to break some new grounds with 1993’s CHAMELEON. Instead of taking a heavier approach, the band ventured into completely new territory. They were eschewing its signature double-guitar harmonies for synthesizers, horns, acoustic guitars, country music, grunge and everything in between. Some changes were needed and so Michael Kiske and then seriously troubled drummer Schwichtenberg were let go. In the late 1993 Helloween found itself from a very difficult situation. There was no singer, no drummer, and no record contract (EMI released the band from its agreement because of the disappointing sales numbers of PINK BUBBLES GO APE and CHAMELEON).
Helloween returned in 1994 with a renewed line up which included vocalist Andi Deris (Pink Cream 69) and drummer Uli Kusch. They also had a new record deal with Castle Communications and as a result MASTER OF THE RINGS was released later on that year. The new incarnation of the band proved to be very successful and the following albums TIME OF THE OATH, BETTER THAN RAW and THE DARK RIDE did all great both commercially and critically. But still, more changes followed when Grapow and Kusch were released from their duties in 2002. New guitarist Sascha Gerstner stepped and made his first Helloween album appearance on RABBIT DON’T COME EASY in 2003. After having several drummer candidates in the early 2000’s, it was Motörhead’s Mikkey Dee who played on the RABBIT album, the band finally found a permanent player when former Rawhead Rexx drummer Dani Loble joined in 2005. The current lineup has so far released three studio albums: KEEPER OF THE SEVEN KEYS pt.III – THE LEGACY, GAMBLING WITH THE DEVIL, their latest opus SEVEN SINNERS, one live album KEEPER OF THE LEVEN KEYS – THE LEGACY WORLD TOUR 2005-2006 and the Anniversary album UNARMED – THE BEST OF 25’TH ANNIVERSARY. It seems that the band, despite all those changes and troubles in the past, is now enjoying this time of their lives and there’s no end in sight. Helloween started their latest world tour to support SEVEN SINNERS and in November and in the middle December 2010 they came to Finland to play two sold out shows. In Helsinki we had chance to sit down with Mr. Grosskopf and discuss the new tour, past changes, and various other topics… Read more!!
LIVE REVIEW AND PICTURES BY ARTO LEHTINEN AND MARKO SYRJALA
German power metal pioneers Helloween have been a regular visitor in Finland since 1987 when the band made its virgin visit in Hameenlinna’s legendary Giants of Rock festival with Dio among other acts. Since then band has faced many up and down hills in its career. The band has gone through many changes including a number of lineup changes and they have had problems with record companies but they have survived and, in fact, during the past few years Helloween’s success has increased tremendously. In 2008 Helloween played two gigs with their colleagues Gamma Ray on the HELLISH ROCK tour and venues were entirely packed. Obviously, due to the highly successful package tour, Helloween have now asked Finnish power metallers Stratovarius to take part in their tour. Doing this tour, without having the new album released, was quite an interesting choice from Stratovarius. However a package consisting of two leading power metal names on the bill turned out to be another great success and the two Finland shows were quickly sold out again.
As always, the top albums are for releases from 2010 that are full albums (no EP’s or demos). They also have to be new studio albums for 2010, not re-recordings, re-releases, cover songs, or live material. Below the combined TOP 30 are links to each staff members personal "best of" lists which besides the top albums contains such things as best new band, best DVD/Blu-Ray, disappointments of 2010, greatest hopes for 2011, personal metal discovery of 2010, and various other metal-related categories. Enjoy!
The Top 30 Heavy Metal Albums of 2010
(Click the album cover to read our review.
If no review is available the link it to the band’s MySpace page.)
1. Accept – Blood of the Nations
Wolf Hoffman’s reaction to the band’s #1 placement in our list was:
"Sensational!!! We are so happy about this reaction by the fans. This last year has been nothing short of phenomenal for Accept."
BLOOD OF THE NATIONS is a fantastic album, so fantastic that it very easily came out on top when we compiled our best of 2010 list! In the media, producer Andy Sneap said when he worked with the band he made them go back and listen to the 80’s albums, and it worked. Accept have delivered the album they needed to make. Accept reformed with a vocalist who is just as good as Udo Dirkschneider. Vocalist Mark Tornillo rages through the songs with power and charisma, without being a clone. Accept have proven to the world in 2010 they are still relevant, powerful, uncompromising and most of all entertaining. Welcome back!
2. Blind Guardian – At the Edge of Time
Easily the best and strongest Blind Guardian album since NIGHTFALL IN MIDDLE-EARTH with a maximum of variety and everything that has turned these guys from Krefeld into what they are today: one of Germany’s most successful and influential metal bands. With AT THE EDGE OF TIME, Blind Guardian returned to the fold in total triumph. This is an album to be enjoyed for numerous repeat listens. Newer fans should eat it up, and older fans should be appeased with the band’s renewed emphasis on their thrashy roots.
3. Ratt– Infestation
Ratt is Metal. Always have been and likely always will be. From their appearance on the very first Metal Massacre compilation in 1981 alongside the likes of Metallica, Malice, and Bitch, to the new 2010 album, Ratt have always been among the heaviest of the so-called "hair metal" bands. So despite what the revisionists may think, Ratt have a firm spot in the development and evolution of the Heavy Metal genre and have earned their spot in this year’s list. Sonically the Ratt Pack is back! The band had stated they wanted a real up-tempo record and distinctly aimed for the classic sound. They nailed it. It’s all there, the swagger and slight sneer of Pearcy voice, the fluid and fiery soloing of DeMartini’s axe-work, the complimentary work of Cavazo…it’s a beautiful thing to behold!
4. Triptykon – Eparistera Daimones
Thomas Gabriel Fischer (AKA Tom G. Warrior) has nothing to prove to anyone. As the principal architect behind Hellhammer and Celtic Frost, Fischer’s body of work is the reason that many bands exist today. Two years since Celtic Frost’s very public dissolution, Fischer could have easily opted to rest on his laurels and bask in the afterglow of his evil legacy, but nooooo. To the contrary, Fischer has assembled a new band and recorded an album of new material that’s arguably some of the best in his career. Triptykon is the band, EPARISTERA DAIMONES is the album, and yes – it’s as good as Fischer has promised it to be!
5. Melechesh – The Epigenesis
Black/Death/Middle Eastern "Mesopotamian Metal" extremists made a big impact this year. Originally from IsraHELL and now based out of the Netherlands, the band has been around in some form since 1993. That Melechesh are able to maintain the album’s early momentum through to the record’s dying moments makes what they have achieved with THE EPIGENESIS that much more remarkable. Unlike so much of what passes for modern-day extremity, every one of this disc’s eleven tracks bristles with its own identity and design. It will demand a lot of attention – this definitely isn’t the record to whip out at your next kegger – but the rewards far outweigh the investment. Absolutely superb in every way.
6. Helloween – 7 Sinners
Helloween are very comfortable right now. They are back on a major label, the line-up has been stable for probably the longest stretch in the bands history, and they have fallen into a great pattern of releasing a studio album every couple of years (right around Halloween naturally). Relaxed, confident and mature the band have nothing to prove but instead of delivering a complacent record, the band have delivered the fastest, heaviest album of their career. It’s their 26th release over and 13th full-length studio album of all-new, original material. Lucky #13 for the band sees a crowning achievement with 13 killer cuts spread across the hour. Helloween have delivered a masterpiece. It will quickly silence all the fans who couldn’t stomach UNARMED from earlier this year.
7. OverKill – Ironbound
The veteran New Jersey boys return with a compelling slab of unmistakeably old school thrash that is tinged with a fine mix of groove, progressiveness and melody that separates Overkill from the multitudes of carbon-copy thrashers out there. This is modern thrash the way it should be played: roots in the 80s but with its direction and ambition befitting a metal scene on the cusp of its 30-year anniversary. It’s a beautiful thing to behold: while most of their contemporaries have split up or sold out, Overkill are still doing their thing, updating and improving but never forgetting where they came from.
8. Nevermore – The Obsidian Conspiracy
Five years – that’s how long Nevermore made us wait for a sequel to the still awe-inspiring THIS GODLESS ENDEAVOUR. By modern-day standards that’s an absolute eternity, the length of which only the likes of Slayer or Metallica could reasonably be expected to get away with. Regardless of delay, the album is a perfect example of heavy metal in its purest, most intelligent and provocative form. As always the band defies classification with elements of power, thrash, prog, blended together into a mixture that is uniquely Nevermore.
9. Sabaton – Coat of Arms
Sweden’s war metallers, Sabaton, have been consistently moving to the forefront of the power metal movement in the last few years. COAT OF ARMS continues Sabaton’s fine tradition of power metal with bite. The band is in fine form throughout and do not disappoint. You listen to a Sabaton album for the pounding marches (“Uprising”) the fast assaults (“Midway”, “Screaming Eagles”), and the catchy hooks and choruses (every damn song!) and COAT OF ARMS has it all!
10. Halford – IV – Made of Metal
Finally! Halford was really overdue. Despite having a skeleton of a catalog, Halford really needed to put some meat on the bones of his solo career. MADE OF METAL is really only the third studio album of all new material in over 10 years. Sure the catalog looks impressive but in reality, live albums, demo albums, EP’s, digital only live albums and novelty Christmas albums are just filler. Halford needed to deliver the goods and we’re pleased to say he is still made of Metal. The album clocks in at a whopping 14 tracks at over an hour it is his longest solo album to date.
Number 11 to 20
11. Crazy Lixx – New Religion
12. Iron Maiden – The Final Frontier
13. Scorpions – Sting In The Tail
14. Immolation – Majesty and Decay
15. Avantasia – The Wicked Symphony / Angel Of Babylon
“Thanks, Europe: the first part of the world tour was simply sensational.
After the amazing kick-off in Vienna, gigs in London (UK), Eindhoven (NL) and Oslo (NO), sold out shows in Zlin (CZ), Tallinn (EST), Tampere (FIN) and Helsinki (FIN), the expectations were even exceeded by the 2010 tour finale in Prague.
Last Sunday, more than 4,500 Czech fans partied without mercy and went sheer berserk in front of the stage!
Prague definitely is Metal – let’s see if this can be topped in 2011… At any rate, overjoyed Helloween are going on their short break, just to challenge the French sinners on January 11th at the sold out Elysee Montmartre in Paris. Part 2 of the European tour can begin!
You can find a personal holiday salute from Weiki, Andi, Dani, Sascha and Markus below.
Party hard and get ready for a pretty sinful 2011!”
On January 11th, Sanctuary Records/Universal Music in Canada is releasing the Deluxe Edition of HELLOWEEN’s legendary Keeper Of The Seven Keys Parts 1 & 2. The album was released in October in the UK. With the arrival of the Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part I album in 1987, Helloween was catapulted to the forefront of the hard metal scene. The following year’s Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part II reinforced Helloween’s Metal credentials and set the band up for a career that is now within its 27th year. Both Keepers albums are massively influential throughout the heavy metal world and remain among the greatest albums of their era. The Deluxe Edition includes both original albums and nine bonus tracks.
Disc One (Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part I):
‘A Little Time’
‘Twilight Of The Gods’
‘A Tale That Wasn’t Right’
‘Follow The Sign’
‘Victim Of Fate’ (Single B-Side)
‘A Little Time’ (Alternative Version)
‘Halloween’ (Video Edit)
‘Savage’ (Single B-Side)
‘Livin’ Ain’t No Crime’ (Single B-Side)
‘Disc Two (Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part II):
‘Eagle Fly Free’
‘You Always Walk Alone’
‘Rise And Fall’
‘We Got The Right’
‘March Of Time’
‘I Want Out’
‘Keeper Of The Seven Keys’
‘Don’t Run For Cover’ (Single B-Side)
‘Dr. Stein’ (Remix)
‘Keeper Of The Seven Keys’ (Remix)
MSN / ROCK METAL TV has released a report/interview with German band HELLOWEEN. Before their Spanish tour in January, Andi Deris, singer, and Sascha Gertsner, guitarist, talk about the new album “7 Sinners”, among other interesting things.
Enter The Pumpkin Carving Photo Contest To Win A 7 Sinners Prizepack
“Are You Metal?” Helloween already asked you that a couple weeks ago when they premiered the video for the song with the same name on Myspace. Now they are testing your Metal knowledge. Are you up for the challenge? If you think you have what it takes, check out The Ultimate Metal Quiz.
For those of you with more of the artistic sense, Helloween has a contest for you too. Head on over to the Metal Club Facebook page and join the Pumpkin Carving Contest. Grand Prize is a prizepack that includes a 7 Sinners jacket, autographed poster and a copy of the new album. Your photo needs to be sent in by November 5th, so get your pumpkin and start carving!
Helloween are set to release their 13th studio album, 7 Sinners, on November 9, 2010 in North America via The End Records. 7 Sinners is definitively one of the fastest and hardest albums in the Helloween’s history and it bursts with vitality. That might partly be due to the versatility of the various songwriters within the band, who over time have become so homogenous, that the 13 songs formed a unity on their own in the studio , but it may also be due to the fact that the album was recorded completely without a click track, which, considering the extreme speed of the songs is an impressive feat. Especially drummer Löble, who proves that his technique is at a world-class-level. Following his excellent inner clock, bass and drums drive tracks like “Are You Metal?”, “Long Live The King” and “Who Is Mr. Madman?” to dizzying tempos. 7 Sinners with its typically strong melodies and the tangible joy of playing, is a true metal album whose range reaches astonishing dimensions.