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BILL WARD On OZZY OSBOURNE: 'I've Lost A Friend, As Far As I'm Concerned'

Metal Chris of DCHeavyMetal.com recently conducted an interview with legendary BLACK SABBATH drummer Bill Ward. You can now listen to the chat using the SoundCloud widget below. DCHeavyMetal.com: In November, you did an interview with Rock Cellar Magazine and in that interview you said that you hadn't listened to any of the new BLACK SABBATH album, "13", except for maybe about 40 seconds of [the promotional track] "God Is Dead?" Have you listened to that album since then? Ward: No and I probably won't. DCHeavyMetal.com: You don't think you ever will? Ward: I, I… Maybe if I reach a point of serenity where I'm able to give it a listen but no there's nothing of value in there for me to listen to. I love the guys. I really hope that they receive blessings and wonderful things in their life. [I'm] communicating with Terry ["Geezer" Butler, BLACK SABBATH bass player], I'm communicating with Tony, privately. We always send our very, very best wishes to each other and our love to each other. But no, I'm not interested in the album. It was something that I wanted to play on. I was completely able to play on it. There's no question in my heart at all. So, you know, it's still something that I don't care, I don't care to listen to it. Even if it was the most brilliant album in the world, I don't care to listen to it. DCHeavyMetal.com: That leads me to the question, do you ever see yourself as a part of BLACK SABBATH again? Ward: Well, a lot of things have happened to me. Starting in September, 2013, I had a horrible illness, which I'm still recovering from, and it created some other things that I am still recovering from. That's one of the reasons why I didn't come to [my previously scheduled appearance in] Annapolis [for an art exhibition], you know. So aside from me now having to do a lot of work to gain my health and my strength back, you know, and I'd be the first to admit it if I can't cut it physically as a drummer, then my answer would be no. I would not be prepared to play with SABBATH, you know. I would never, ever, ever allude to being able to play with SABBATH if my health wasn't absolutely smack on. And my health right now is not bad, but it's not good enough to certainly play in any band, never mind BLACK SABBATH. I have to get a lot stronger than where I am. I lost a lot of weight. I've got to gain all my muscle back. I lost all my muscle. And I'm doing some stick practice, but if I was in a good position where I felt strong enough, I can overcome the hits that I took, the verbal hits, I can overcome all that stuff. I can overcome, you know, just the shutdown and the way that I felt and everything else. I can overcome all of those things. All of the things that were like at the time just like, "What the hell?" I can certainly recover from all that stuff, actually. I can do it pretty good. You know, in fact, I've recovered from most of it as I'm speaking to you this morning. I'll always have an open mind to playing with BLACK SABBATH. I love the band. I miss them terribly. And so my answer would be leaning towards if something could be worked out. Something that I could live with and I'm talking politically now, contractually. And not the kind of things that I've done in the past. I'm talking about the very core of what I talked about in my big statement of February 2012. If we can come to some terms, and we're all OK with each other, and the most important thing for me is being able to know that I can play drums the way that I want to be. Otherwise I wouldn't even enter into any kind of conversation with them if I knew that I wasn't back on the mark. Then I would be moving forward. I think that a lot of fans have suffered horribly through these undertakings of the last couple of years, and I fully, fully blame the inconsiderateness of just a few people who created, and I won't talk about who, but a few people who created such a huge wasteland of real, real pain when everyone was just so excited to see the original band with an original record. And I'd already stated my boundaries quite early in all this. It didn't come overnight. It wasn't a shock. You know, it wasn't something that suddenly happened. We'd been negotiating for over 15 months. Things like that, so… But I have to be careful in overstating, because there's still a political agenda attached to this. So I've definitely got an open mind. I miss playing with Terry, Geezer, just horribly. I absolutely miss him to death. And I miss playing with Tony just… every day. I mean every single day I — it just blows me away, man. And obviously I miss Oz [Ozzy Osbourne, BLACK SABBATH vocalist]. I've had to… With Ozzy, I… I've lost a friend, as far as I'm concerned. A man that I dearly loved, and I still dearly love, but I've had to really now readjust just how much I'm going to trust and love him. He fired back on some pretty mean stuff in the press, so... And I've gone OK. Like with any of us, when we get hurt, we're going to pull back our love and our considerations for another human being when they kick out at you and you know. So that's been a big loss. DCHeavyMetal.com: In the last couple years in the world of metal there have been several high-profile drummers that have either been kicked out of their bands or just kind of you know similar situations to you I think where there's contract issues and things where I think the drummers feel like they're not getting at least a respectable compensation for what they're doing. I'm talking about like big bands here like Dave Lombardo of SLAYER, Mike Portnoy leaving DREAM THEATER, and I'm sure there's others as well. But do you think drummers right now, in the world of modern metal, do you think they're just being undervalued? Ward: Yeah, there's something going on. Just for the record, I know Mike and Dave Lombardo is a very good friend of mine. Me and Dave have had many Indian food — much Indian food —and we've discussed these things in the last two years, that's for sure. Yeah, I think what's going on is we find the key players and the other players have less value and it's become some kind of new modern thing, modern thinking. It's like the other guys don't count as much or they can be replaced. Let's just focus on who we think are the stars in the band and you'll see it all the time. It's been going on for a long, long time. A lot of other bands have adopted this similar idea. It's been around for a while. I think it comes out of a managerial idea, for the most part. Not a very good managerial idea at all. But it's just something that's going on, and I've had private discussions with a lot of people about this, and I think it's not only necessarily aimed at drummers, I think it's aimed at other people as well. And it's not just because the guys are being [night] owls or whatever you know. It's nothing to do with that. Back in the day, that was, like, it's about him, it's about him and let's blame him and that and that and that, you know. And it's not about me. I absolutely refuse to take any responsibility of blame that's been thrown at me. I will be accountable to the fans and I will be responsible to the fans, because they are extremely important to me. I think what we're seeing is something that's been going on for a while that's starting to take seed and we're now seeing the results of defocusing other people and we're seeing that more focus goes on the primary players and that's been going on since, well, I'll probably get into trouble with this, since all of the teams. [Mick] Jagger and [Keith] Richards and all the way through. And I'm not saying for one second that THE [ROLLING] STONES' setup is like that, OK?! I'm not saying that. It's a very interesting subject and as more is being revealed, I can probably be a little more revealing, but it's so bloody political that I have to watch what I'm saying. Because otherwise, I know that there are some people that would probably love to sue my ass, and I would think they would get a great deal of pleasure from that. DCHeavyMetal.com: Well I'm not trying to get you in any trouble here either so… Ward: No, no, I know. I know. No, I'm enjoying the interview, but I just have to be careful, you know. And a lot of the times I wear a lot of my stuff on my sleeve. I'm so bloody transparent and I hate having to play hopscotch, but I feel like I've been as honest as I can be with you right now. You can read the entire interview at DCHeavyMetal.com.

GLENN HUGHES Speaks To MetalTalk.net About CALIFORNIA BREED (Video)

Mark Taylor of MetalTalk.net conducted an interview with legendary bassist/vocalist Glenn Hughes (DEEP PURPLE, BLACK SABBATH, BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION, CALIFORNIA BREED) in London, England. You can now watch the chat below. The official lyric video for the song "Midnight Oil" from CALIFORNIA BREED, the new band of 2014, built around the foundation of Glenn Hughes, drummer extraordinaire Jason Bonham and 23-year-old newcomer guitarist-singer-songwriter Andrew Watt, can be seen below. Mixing massive riffs, gutsy vocals and gale force rhythms, this powerful three-piece band will release their self-titled debut album May 20 on Frontiers Records. It was produced by Dave Cobb (JAMEY JOHNSON, RIVAL SONS, SHOOTER JENNINGS). "California Breed" was recorded at Cobb's Nashville studio and features equal co-writing credits among the three-man lineup. "It's proper rock," Hughes told Classic Rock magazine, "but at the same time it's very now. Andrew is as influenced by Mick Ronson as he is Jimmy Page." "This kid is amazing," says Bonham. "The first time we met I thought he looked like the white Jimi Hendrix. And he plays in the studio like he's on stage!" Glenn Hughes, 'The Voice Of Rock', is a true original, a legendary icon whose credits include DEEP PURPLE and guesting with everyone from BLACK SABBATH to EARTH, WIND & FIRE — up to his most recent collaboration in rock supergroup BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION. No other rock musician has carved such a distinctive style blending the finest elements of hard rock, soul and funk. That astonishing voice is Hughes' calling card. The legacy of LED ZEPPELIN lives on in Jason Bonham, British drummer and son of ZEP's legendary John Bonham. He has inherited the best of his father's skills while mastering his own distinctive and dynamic technique. Jason has followed his own distinctive path over the years, fronting his own successful outfits like BONHAM, and playing with LED ZEPPELIN, FOREIGNER, HEART and, most recently, movie composer Hans Zimmer. Andrew Watt is a soulful singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist whose high-energy aggressive style and creative spirit are synonymous with New York City. Hughes says: "I live in the moment, it's all about NOW. CALIFORNIA BREED is exactly where I live, breathe and where my freak flag flies." "California Breed" track listing: 01. The Way 02. Sweet Tea 03. Chemical Rain 04. Midnight Oil 05. All Falls Down 06. The Grey 07. Days They Come 08. Spit You Out 09. Strong 10. Invisible 11. Scars 12. Breathe 13. Solo* * Deluxe Edition includes "Solo" bonus track and a DVD including 2 video clips ("The Way" and "Sweet Tea"), plus documentary When BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION disbanded, Hughes and Bonham had a strong desire to keep playing together. Their only challenge was finding a new guitarist worthy of their musicality. Easier said than done for these stars who between them have worked with some of the greatest guitarists in history — including Ritchie Blackmore, Tony Iommi, Jimmy Page and Joe Bonamassa, to name just a few. Then fate took a hand in things when Glenn's friend Julian Lennon introduced him to the astounding talents of a New York City hotshot guitarist named Andrew Watt. "Literally, the first day me and Andrew got together we wrote two songs," recalls Glenn. "One was 'Chemical Rain' and the other was 'Solo', both of which are now on the finished album. I was so moved by the music, I said, 'We've got to record this!' That's when I called Jason." "I was excited from the start," says Jason, "because apart from locking in as a rhythm section, Glenn and I had started writing together in BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION, and we wanted to continue that." "There was such energy in the room the first time we all played together, me and Glenn didn't even have to talk about it," says Jason. "He was so exited to be playing, though, it was infectious! He was just on stage! No going through the motions, kicking the chair over, everything! I was like, you know what, this kid is a free spirit. It was cool, we all just clicked straight away." "Nothing though has gotten into my blood like CALIFORNIA BREED," says Glenn. "I feel the same way," says Jason. "I feel like a kid again starting out." Recording with Dave Cobb at the producer's own studio in Nashville, added all the finishing touches, says Glenn. "I'd gotten into Dave's work via the RIVAL SONS, who I know and really love. But Dave has done a lot of great stuff. That whole Nashville trip which Dave is a part of. Well, me and Jason don't want to sound like anyone else, we already sound like ourselves, but we felt we needed some fresh energy — and Dave absolutely brought it." At Cobb's insistence, every vocal was recorded live as the band was playing. "Totally the reverse of what I'm used to," says Glenn. "But I went into that aggressive rock soulfulness and everything down to the whispers, it was all done live! I enjoyed myself so much, just going for it." For what is on paper a three-piece, the sheer range of sounds and melodies you get from CALIFORNIA BREED are breathtaking. "I'm the oddball of the group but I'm the thing that makes us different from any other classic rock band. I grew up loving grunge music," explains Andrew. "But my father always played me THE WHO and THE BEATLES and LED ZEPPELIN. I always felt like I was in the wrong generation. I used to make rock music on my own and I'd play all the instruments because I could never find anyone my age that really got it the way I heard it. Then I got to play with Jason and Glenn and I haven't picked up anything but a guitar since!" "What we've got here is a kid who isn't a hammer-on, virtuoso," says Glenn, "but a whole new entity. This kid grew up listening to Mick Ronson on Bowie's records, as well as Jimmy Page in LED ZEPPELIN. He has a completely different take. And it's fresh and bold and so exciting. It just gets into your blood." Interview:

"Midnight Oil" lyric video:
"Sweet Tea" video:
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Burn the Serum - KYNG

SoCal trio KYNG have the potential to emerge as one the next great things in heavy music. A lot of effort went into refining their sound from their lauded 2011 "Trampled Sun" album and "Burn the Serum" should have no problem garnishing the same accolades, if not more. Along with RED FANG, KYNG is one of the most exciting bands on the American metal market today. Cramming the distortion worship of garage revivalists FU MANCHU, KYUSS, CLUTCH and THE SWORD with classic metal and hard rock, Eddie Veliz, Pepe Clarke and Tony Castaneda advance to the next level in their hasty evolution on "Burn the Serum". Turning to major league producer Andrew Alekel (FOO FIGHTERS, NO DOUBT, CLUTCH and QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE) and James A. Rota, II from FIREBALL MINISTRY, said professional firepower polishes "Burn the Serum" into one of 2014's early-year best albums. The title cut may start off with a tempered roll, but expect the pace to grow more intense as KYNG heavies up the song in a jiff with thickening guitars from Eddie Veliz and whamming bass from Tony Castaneda. Before you can wipe the sweat off your brow, "Lost One" rolls out on a brisker tempo and turns up the heat courtesy of Pepe Clarke's forceful thuds and Eddie Veliz's majestic altos. Quickly coming into his own as a wholesome rock singer, Veliz's singing is outstanding all over the album and his reverberating guitar solo on "Lost One" signals an abbreviated space-out trip to match his escalating vocal pitches. The massive riffs on the first single of the album, "Electric Halo", are subliminally SABBATH in delivery, but the trippy reverb on the bridge and the sweetened-up guitar notes Eddie Veliz delves overtop the driving melody are sublime. Thematically, the song is about two-faced backstabbers, which sets up the weighty drives of the emotional "Sewn Shut". A true-story song written for a friend of the band who suffered a literal sewn closure of the eyes following a disastrous accident, "Sewn Shut" is magnificent with every morose strum and clout, especially on its dazzling and guttural choruses. Though it's still early in the year, "Sewn Shut" should be nominated for Metal Performance of the Year, pick your forum. The rest of "Burn the Serum" is nowhere near as beautifully haunted as "Sewn Shut", but it is loud yet sophisticated at every turn. If grunge had sounded like "Faraway" on more of a regular basis, it would've lasted longer than a few years. KYNG's mingling of dense metallic chugging and jive on "Self Medicated Man" is killer stuff, while "The Ode" keeps the burners fired up with its punchy tempos that are swept back into slow but sweltering choruses. Eddie Veliz again hits high notes of such splendor they nearly outshine his considerable guitar thrusts and Pepe Clarke's crushing snare rolls and cowbell clacks. "The Ode" transitions almost without pause to "In the Land of Pigs", which maintains the same hammering throb and sweeping riffs, only with an altered, though no less catchy melody. Turning up the juice on "Big Ugly Me" with quasi-thrash lines and synthetic orchestration on the vast finale, KYNG shows tremendous versatility on an album that was already impressive enough through the first nine tracks. Stand by for the gorgeous closer "Paper Heart Rose" for further proof of KYNG's dynamism. KYNG may believe in simplicity, but there's hardly anything simplistic to "Burn the Serum". As a trio, they leave no sound space unplugged and to revert to layman's terms, they kick serious ass.

Space Police - Defenders of the Crown - EDGUY

God bless EDGUY. Not everyone buys into what they offer with their strict dedication to melodic power metal and sci-fi/comic book themes, but they've always stuck to their guns and they're almost always entertaining. Following 2011's "Age of the Joker", EDGUY trails their own scripts, heavies up in some spots and delivers a fun ride (minus a throwaway cover of FALCO's "Rock Me Amadeus") for their tenth studio album, "Space Police – Defenders of the Crown". To quote the band themselves in advance press for the new album, "Not giving a shit and getting away with it: THAT is metal!" Take it as you will, but EDGUY aren't changing for anyone and if you're already a fan, there's no reason you won't take to "Space Police – Defenders of the Crown". It's often silly, occasionally over-the-top, but hey, that's EDGUY for you. Their diehards would feel cheated otherwise. It's been since 2000 when we've last had a "Heavy Metal" animated movie, but every album EDGUY has done since seems like their audition to score a potential third installment. "Space Police – Defenders of the Crown" feels like it should be its own animated space romp in title and in sound, though where we'd have room for a Taarakian avenger within "Space Police"'s twisted microcosm remains to be seen. Someone get a hold of Julie Strain's agent and put her on standby. Just about every metal band pushing new product is going to declare their current work as their heaviest, and EDGUY is no different. While hardly up to "Theater of Salvation" in the heaviness department, there is a bit of a push on this album to beef up while retaining their harmonious keys, circular rhythms, uplifted hooks and charismatic vocals from Tobias Sammet. Always remember this is EDGUY, however. While the opening number "Sabre and Torche" boasts some of the meatiest riffs and trippiest synths in their arsenal, expect some nuttiness to dictate as the album progresses. Moving past their faithful but pointless cover of "Rock Me Amadeus", EDGUY offers the insanely catchy "Do Me Like a Caveman" and some hilarious amplified kitty purring to open the pop rock mocks of "Love Tyger". Before all that, however, you'll hear Tobias Sammet dish up some ultra-weird vocal shakes before the final stanza of "Space Police", a song that's goofy in theme and goofier in delivery, but nonetheless pleasurable. "Space Police" has some gnarly chugging riffs from Jens Ludwig and Dirk Sauer that breathe action into the album's titular galaxy enforcers, while the random appearances of equally nutty lunar synths hoists the track straight back to the intergalactic-obsessed late Seventies. Keeping "Defenders of the Crown" relegated strictly to the Eighties, from which EDGUY lives vicariously, their stepped-up marches on the heels of Felix Bohnke's double kicks and Tobias "Eggi" Exxel's panting bass lines lead to glory-filled choruses and a crazy call and refrain segment between Tobias Sammet and a mostly-baritone choral section. Both "Defenders of the Crown" and "Space Police" turn to the Yngwie Malmsteen school of neoclassical metal without drowning them in arpeggios. The solo of "Defenders of the Crown" gets in and gets out, opting to let the song's substantial rolls speak on its behalf. Later, "The Realms of Baba Yaga" takes a hard ride with gusty strums, galloping bass drums and soaring choruses. All the ingredients for the perfect heavy metal jam, "The Realms of Baba Yaga" is a genuine ass-kicker. Wrapping the album with an 8:49 SCORPIONS-meets-ZEPPELIN-meets-WHITESNAKE ballad, "The Eternal Wayfayer", "Space Police – Defenders of the Crown" concludes with this vocal-layered happy pill, always reminding that a mounting epic ballad as a finale is never out-of-fashion, especially in EDGUY's world. That world may be often tongue-in-cheek, and it's not always obvious when they're having a rip or simply ripping away for the sake of heavy metal purity. At least EDGUY does whatever the hell they want on "Space Police – Defenders of the Crown" and they sell it, alienating only perhaps their figurative interplanetary cops in the process.

Salvation of Innocents - EARTH CRISIS

Hardcore potentates and animal rights activists EARTH CRISIS are back for another round with their eighth album and Candlelight Records debut, "Salvation of Innocents". This time, the band offers a multimedia experience if you seek out their tie-in comic book, "Liberator" through the Black Mask imprint. As this writer is a loud 'n proud rocker and comic nerd, this already has me smiling well before loading the music up. "Salvation of Innocents" may sound in spots the like contemporary hardcore artists who EARTH CRISIS inspired, but as the 'core scene at-large has quieted down considerably, the door is wide open for guys who'd paid the others' dues for them. There's a fair sense of justice in that. The opening numbers "De-Desensitize" and "Out of the Cages" blast like trad speed and skid hardcore rips ("Out of the Cages" being the fastest song on the album), but the dynamic of the album changes instantly afterwards. The crawling proto power shakes of "Shiver" make it one of the exception to the norm tracks on the album, stepping as far out of the hardcore gutters as EARTH CRISIS can without abandoning their identity altogether. The switch to haunted, near Gothic melodies on the choruses of "Shiver" are a huge attention-getter and not until the band briefly doubles the pace do they sound like a hardcore band on this song. The abrupt switches of themes on "Shiver" make it a genuine standout, considering the headstrong thrusts of the songs surrounding it. The continued slowing down of "Razors Through Flesh" allows Karl Buechner to viscerally describe the torture of laboratory animals so those who should stand guilty can clearly hear their indictments despite Buechner's brash hollering. If you didn't know the platform EARTH CRISIS stands on, you'd think it was a 'core-oriented death metal jam. Afterwards, "Depraved Indifference" and at least the verses of "No Reason" keeps the reins pulled back and the intended implications of violated animals' death throes are well-felt. Even "The Pallid Surgeon" keeps a checked-down pace on the verses, though loading the guitars even heavier as Karl Buechner deepens his chokes and lingers upon his animal abuse tirades. "Devoted to Death" finds the band merging standard hardcore march rhythms and double-kicked verses with singular, rock-oriented choruses tailored for a glorious headbang. Next "Into Nothingness" teases EARTH CRISIS' listeners with Dennis Merrick's tempo variations that rise in velocity then yank back to teeth-mashing stomps as Ian "Bulldog" Edwards (rumbly as ever on the album) follows suit on bass. The breakdown on this cut seethes and flows instead of interrupts, bringing the drive right to Scott Crouse and Erick Edwards, who dish a savory solo section on the dime before "Into Nothingness" skulks to a close. "Final Breath" likewise rolls through different paces, but the guitar solo is so exquisite, the colliding disorder becomes more poignant as the album's closer. As products of their time, EARTH CRISIS kicks out "Salvation of Innocents" in near nanoseconds, even with most of the songs moving at mid-tempo. EARTH CRISIS minces no words nor time in making their point. Thus "Salvation of Innocents" is a success from veteran vegans and mashers who've turned to the comics realm to help send their pro-planet and animal guardian message to the masses that grows more indifferent the larger it becomes in numbers. Steampunk comics have recently emerged as a counterculture phenomenon and beforehand, punk and hardcore inspired "Tank Girl" and "Punk Rock Jesus", and to different latitudes (with added shades of Goth), "The Crow". The books are bipolar opposites in theme, but they hit the right nerves and in the case of "Tank Girl" and "The Crow", reached their target audience before being swept into the mainstream. EARTH CRISIS hardly appear destined for the mainstream; they never have nor have they ever courted it. "Salvation of Innocents" has a weighty prospectus about it, but only certain ears will get it beyond EARTH CRISIS' perpetual inferno, even if it's designed to give Karl Buechner's hollering litany more clarity. If you don't get what he's screaming about on "De-Desensitize", you've already proven his point.

KXM - KXM

Quite the unusual alliance in the form of guitar wizard George Lynch, soulful KING'S X bassist and crooner Doug "dUg" Pinnick, plus KORN drummer Ray Luzier. Yet sure enough, the threesome are a dandy match for one another as KXM. Having come together officially after jamming on the side, there's no telling how far KXM is intended to go, though it's almost a safe bet KXM is considered by its constituents as a side venture for kicks. Accordingly, these guys take their time to work their numbers, but often it's by deliberation and most of the time, the songs pay off on their self-titled debut. All three members of KXM use their prestige as an opportunity to explore outside of their best-known facilities, even if KING'S X gets heavy songwriting representation here. As background singers, Lynch and Luzier recreate if not wholly duplicate the harmonious humming and ahh-ing of Jerry Gaskill and Ty Tabor. To large effects, "KXM" rings like a satiation serving for Pinnick's fans using a pair of superpowers to give listeners a bonus thrill. Lynch and Pinnick dish up some tasty echoing licks to open up the album's single, "Rescue Me", (and later on "Do It Now") before settling into a slink where each member methodically works to an uplifting and catchy chorus. There's a decided KING'S X feel to the number, also to the sweaty, stepped-up pace of "Gun Fight" and the appositely drawn-back slide of "Sleep". On the latter song, Pinnick orates some sordid family affairs in song that keeps listeners glued even with the laborious crawl of the tune. The country and blues-oriented ballad "Never Stop" comes off as both KING'S X and the band's numerous hard rocking contemporaries of the late Eighties. The difference on "Never Stop" is George Lynch's dwindling notes along the verses that cart instead of thread. Thus there's an extra breeziness to the number that satiates nicely. "Faith Is a Room" changes things up a bit with each member's respective backgrounds coming together in a strange alliance of DOKKEN-meets-KORN with a funky drive courtesy of Pinnick. Throwing in a peaceful choral interlude that could've rested snugly on KING'S X's "Faith Hope Love" album, it's almost surprising how sharp "Faith Is a Room" is with all of its differing input. Then if Lynch had been able to hang with DOKKEN longer, there's no doubt he would've pushed hard for the sex-driven glide of "Burn" that sounds equally tailored for Don Dokken as Pinnick. Ray Luzier must've had the most fun of the trio, since he gets to show off his chops that aren't always showcased through KORN's straightforward rhythms. Luzier has as many dynamics in his arsenal as his KXM partners and it's a treat hearing him lay down shuffle slides on top of roll-happy chugs and polyrhythmic fills. He just about steals the limelight on the instrumental jam "Tranquilize" and he more than keeps up with George Lynch's guitar theatrics and Pinnick's ravenous bass plunks on the extensive solo section of "I'll Be OK". Though "I'll Be OK" hits a tremendous crescendo, the biggest climax on the album comes from the escalating sonic euphoria of "Human Friction" that already has a gnarly set of riffs to build from. One can detect Ray Luzier feeling awestruck as he hammers away in tandem. Though not every song here lights the room on fire, there's an appreciable tightness to "KXM" that finds veterans of different eras merged into a compact forum where they're enjoying each other's company and finding ways to delight their whims and those of their fans. If you're a KING'S X fan especially, this is going to be a mandatory grab while lying in wait of Pinnick, Tabor and Gaskill to come up with their next offering.

Les Enfants Sauvages - GOJIRA

Following their previous concert packages "Link Alive" from 2007 and 2012's "The Flesh Alive", French groove-grind maestros GOJIRA serve up a beautiful hardbook bundle to showcase their latest live offering, "Les Enfants Sauvages". Capturing an hour long set in support of their "L'Enfant Sauvage" album at Brixton Academy in London, England, this new DVD/CD live document comes delivered inside a sixty-page hardbook featuring round-the-world shots of GOJIRA over the course of their career. The fret-scratching mayhem of the set list for "Les Enfants Sauvages" is bolstered with four selections from "L'Enfant Sauvage" (i.e. "Explosia", "The Axe", "The Gift of Guilt" and the title track) with three cuts off "From Mars to Sirius", those being "Backbone", "Flying Whales" and "The Heaviest Matter of the Universe". "Toxic Garbage Island" and "Oroborus" check in from "The Way of All Flesh" as does "Wisdom Comes" from "The Link". Forget anything from "Terra Incognita", albeit what's presented here is ferocious enough to satiate any GOJIRA fan. Well-filmed with fourteen cameras and graced by crisp audio, GOJIRA once more proves their tenacity and precision onstage. "The Heaviest Matter of the Universe" and "Toxic Garbage Island" should be automatically cranked from any viewing or listening station, while the oppressive breakdown from Mario Duplantier on "L'Enfant Sauvage" is enough to dislodge framed pictures from walls, depending on how loud you can coerce your player. Joe Duplantier, Christian Andreu and Jean-Michael Labadie cement the deal by shoving their plundering shred and groove parts at their audience with little respite. One of the highlights of "Les Enfants Sauvages" comes after GOJIRA tears up Brixton Academy with the maniacal grindfest of "Wisdom Comes" when the Duplantier brothers trade instruments for a quick jam session. Mario delves some winding guitar strums and is equally gruesome on the mike as Joe. The latter may not have all of the drumming acumen as his kin, but the whole thing is a load of fun as a prelude to the more serious "Oroborus", which creeps in and lures the Brixton crowd with spiraling bars before turning hostile on them. GOJIRA have quickly built a stout reputation as one of the fiercest and most intelligent metal bands on the planet. Replicating their cover artwork for "L'Enfant Sauvage" onstage, the band weaves cerebral heaviness in front of shifting lighting schemes and film projections upon their highbrow backdrop. Better yet, GOJIRA are masters of their set time, moving along with specialized efficacy, even with Mario Duplantier's shimmying drum solo. There's room for Joe Duplantier to extend "The Axe" (one of GOJIRA's finest-penned songs) extra bars and to open "The Gift of Guilt" with extracurricular intro time to ensure a full hour of power. Brilliant as ever.

Hammer of the Witch - RINGWORM

Two things you can count on with RINGWORM: freaking fast and double-freaking loud. You can also expect the Cleveland hardcore-thrashers to divvy out lyrical themes devoted to horror, nihilism, witchcraft, jackals and the king of the underworld. After all, the RINGWORM hell posse posits on their latest album "Hammer of the Witch" that one of us is going to die, so you might as well leave your skin at the door and die like a pig. Just another day in the metal underground, right? CANNIBAL CORPSE these guys aren't, but RINGWORM have been mighty brutal in their own right for 23 years now and "Hammer of the Witch" (a title that summons images more related to a femme necromancer in the guise of Thor's beloved Lady Sif laying then robbing him of his trusty Mjolnir through a dark magic stronger than all of us) is no less fierce than their other albums. Musically, "Hammer of the Witch" takes no evolutionary steps and it doesn't have to. RINGWORM have their sound perfected and every song on this sucker wallops at top speed with random mid tempo intros or breakdowns, all carrying equal weight as the thrashing parts. As ever, speed rules on "Hammer of the Witch", so it's difficult to single any one song as a standout since everything runs on nearly a continuum. "Dawn of Decay", "Bleed", "Vicious Circle of Life", "Die Like a Pig", "Leave Your Skin at the Door", take your pick for supreme 'core thrasher on this album. We can note that "I Recommend Amputation" ends on a gory soundbyte after RINGWORM pounds for all their worth with a thrifty breakdown that merges into the song without giving up the heft of the song's velocity. The creeping plods of "We'll Always Have the End" are about as slow as RINGWORM allows themselves on this album and creeping is merely a subtlety. The song is still heavier than most bands calling themselves hardcore and it allows the screeching guitars of Matt Sorg and John Comprix (who plug their solos like mutant bee drones all over the album) plus Ed Stephens' gurgling bass to prevail in a somewhat dialed-back forum. Worry not, though; there are a couple of blitzed breakaways on the song to rattle you plenty. The knocked-back moshes of the title track's choruses are hardly pauses amidst Danny Zink's double-kicked flailing, but they give the listener enough room to hear James "Human Furnace" Bulloch deride his titular sorceress as "Satan's bitch". Suffice it to say, the "Human Furnace" is in rare form. You'll be checking the back of your neck for phlegm wads as Bullock spits full force into the mike on "One of Us is Going to Have to Die". Make it quick, because the guitar solos come raging like a tempest on the back of Danny Zink's blasting beats. A clever mincing of a few doom bars in the midst of "One of Us is Going to Have to Die" keeps the listener invested through RINGWORM's tireless speed. If you know RINGWORM, you know what you're getting. These guys never let anyone down and "Hammer of the Witch" is one of the heaviest death metal albums that's hardly death metal at all. Hardcore and thrash belong in this camp, because RINGWORM knows better than most how to exploit both at maximum impact.

Immortal Legacy - HIRAX

HIRAX is a band deep thrash fans have always embraced and forgiven their numerous ins-and-outs from the scene because when this band is on, they're freaking on. Lone original member Katon W. De Pena never really got his due during the Eighties, probably because HIRAX is more extreme than LIVING COLOUR and 24-7 SPYZ. The underground enigma factor of H.R. and the BAD BRAINS eluded DePena as it nearly did Rocky George, who shows a gesture of solidarity by making an appearance on HIRAX's newest album, "Immortal Legacy". You know by the tape rewind glib opening "Black Smoke" the intent is to teleport listeners back to the days of old. Though Katon De Pena's voice was one left behind his contemporaries in the vast wilderness of Eighties thrash, the minute he manifests on "Black Smoke", an immediate convivial feeling emerges alongside him. Though the clouting stomp rhythms from Jorge Iacobellis are largely repetitive throughout the album, "Immortal Legacy" becomes an instant portal to classic thrash. With "Immortal Legacy"'s pulp fantasy cover art provided by Philip Lawvere, who did KREATOR's "Pleasure to Kill" and CELTIC FROST's "Emperor's Return", the sweep back to thrash's vintage years feels complete. HIRAX never was included on the same mid-level tier as their peers, but they might have reached at least that plateau if they'd had the opportunity to keep their ranks fortified. Regardless of where HIRAX falls on the strata of thrash legend, give them credit here on "Immortal Legacy". Guitarist Lance Harrison (aka "The Shred Baron") does a superb job ripping and tagging throughout the album. Helping his cause in the solo department following the departure of Mike Guerrero are guest appearances from AGENT STEEL's Juan Garcia, DARK ANGEL's Jim Durkin and the always-fabulous Rocky George. Thus the guitar solos on "Immortal Legacy" are blistering at every turn, plus the 44-second guitar instrumental "Earthshaker" gives a gnarly pause following the speed rush of "Thunder Roar, The Conquest, La Boca de la Beastia (The Mouth of the Beast)", a song as exhausting as its title. There's even a pretty cool bass instrumental from Lance Harrison's brother, Steve, "Atlantis (Journey to Atlantis)". When HIRAX isn't flying on all jets with "Black Smoke", "Hellion Rising", "Violence of Action", "Deceiver" and the title track, they're playing in mosh tempo modes with power metal strumming to the tune of crossover-period D.R.I. on "Tied to the Gallows Pole" and "Victims of the Dead". The only minor grumble about "Immortal Legacy" is its replicated chord patterns between verses on many of the songs, plus the adherence to the same bang-blitz tempo throughout the fast cuts. On "Hellion Rising", Jorge Iacobellis' massive kick drums are turned up too high in spots so that he's smothering everyone else but Katon. Nevertheless, HIRAX are back and they're scorching on "Immortal Legacy". Katon De Pena is still razor-sharp (he's tremendous on "Violence of Action") and by now it's probably safe to say even Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth, alongside numerous thrash singers, owe De Pena a debt of gratitude for a few vocal maneuvers. Welcome back, old warrior.

KISS: Better-Quality Footage Of ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME Induction Speeches

RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE's Tom Morello inducted KISS into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame on Thursday, April 10 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The guitarist told the crowd, "You can kiss my KISS-loving ass because KISS wasn't a critics' band. It's the people's band." He added: "Tonight proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the high school bullies and critics were wrong. KISS fans were right. Impact, influence and awesomeness — KISS have all three in spades." He concluded by saying: "Tonight, this isn't the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. It's the Rock And Roll All Nite And Party Every Day Hall Of Fame." After that, the four members of the original KISS lineup took turns in addressing the crowd. Newly uploaded video footage of the KISS acceptance speeches can be seen below (courtesy of EddieTrunk.com). Gene Simmons: "We are humbled — all of us — to stand up on this stage and do what we love doing. "This is a profound moment for all of us. "We are humbled that the fans gave us the chance to do what we love doing. And so I'm here just to say a few kind words about the four knuckleheads who, 40 years ago, got together and decided to put together the band that you see on stage, critics be damned. "To Ace Frehley: his iconic guitar playing has been imitated, but never duplicated, by generations of guitar players around the world. "To Peter Criss, whose drumming and singing... Well, there's not a guy out there who beats the sticks who sounds just like Peter. Nobody's got that swing and that style. "Something happened, 40 years ago: I met the partner and the brother I never knew I had — Paul Stanley. You couldn't ask for someone more awesome to be on the same team. I am humbled. "I was going to say a few kind words about Eric Carr, rest in peace. Mark St. John, rest in peace. Vinnie Vincent, the great Bruce Kulick, and of course, here we are 40 years later with the great Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer, and we continue on. "However, we wouldn't be here today without the initial Fantastic Four. "God bless you all. "May I introduce the powerful and attractive — Peter Criss!" Peter Criss: "I want to say it's great to be home in Brooklyn. "I'd like to thank the Hall Of Fame for this honor; I never thought this could happen in my life. Thank you. "I'd like to thank everybody that had to do something with my career and the band's career. For 50 years, I've been doing it; 40 years, we've been doing it. Jesus — from the grips, to the truck drivers, to the great producers, to the great managers, to the great people who were just all there for us through all the years and the hard times. God bless you and thank you so much. "I definitely want to thank our first manager, Bill Aucoin. We would not be here if it wasn't for Bill. Sean Delaney, the great Joyce Bogart, and the great Neil Bogart — who with Casablanca Records... Those were the great days, and I thank them all. "I'd like to congratulate the band, of course — Mr. Stanley, Mr. Simmons, and the one and only Spaceman, Ace Frehley. "I'd also like to say I'm now seven years male breast cancer-free. Thank you — I'm very proud that I have... [I would like to thank] my doctor, who saved my life in the first place. Thank you so much. "I would like to thank my family — my sister Donna who I know is out there. All my friends who have come...and God, I'd be here all night. I'd like to thank my lovely wife Gigi, who makes my life really, really a lot easier. Lemme tell ya: walking through life with her is a blessing. I love you, baby. "I got my first lesson from my best friend, Jerry Nolan of the NEW YORK DOLLS. And boy, that's what started it all off. "I want to say that, even out of makeup, I'll always be the Catman. "God bless each and every one of you — I will remember this the rest of my life. Thank you so much. Ace Frehley: "I have a speech here, but these [glasses] aren't prescription, so I can't work it out. [laughs] "It's so great to be here with all these celebrities and other musicians. "I want to thank Paul, Gene and Peter. "Thank you so much, Tom, for that beautiful introduction. "I want to thank the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame for inducting us; thank you very much. "When I was 13 years old, I picked up my first guitar, and I always sensed that I was going to be in for something big. Little did I know, a few years later, there it was. I experienced the Summer of Love. [Laughs] Alright. That was before I met these clowns. Several years later, we got together — you know the story, it's all KISS-tory. "A few quick names — Bill Aucoin, Joyce Biawitz — who used to manage us in conjunction with Bill, then ended up marrying Neil Bogart. We wouldn't be here without Neil Bogart and Casablanca Records. Everyone at Casablanca Records, everyone at ATI, Jeff, and Wally. Everyone at the press office; Carol and Al Ross; Carol Kaye; just to name a few. If I named everyone who helped us through our career, I'd be here for another half an hour. It's great to be here. "I wanted to touch on the fact that I've been sober now for seven and a half years. We still need to educate the people in this country about sobriety because some people think it has to do with willpower. But unfortunately, most addicts are born that way and people need to be educated about that. "My sponsor, he used to have a good saying, to try and explain what it's like to be an addict: when people would say to use willpower, he'd say, 'Try using willpower when you're having diarrhea.' "So, only by the grace of God I'm here. I want to thank my first wife Jeanette, my daughter, my current fiancée Rachael Gordon. "Life's been good to me; hopefully I've got 10 or 20 more years to go. Thank you very much." Paul Stanley: "I can make this short and sweet because everybody said everything and has been much funnier than I'll ever be. "So, I got to thank Tom, who's championed us shamelessly and unapologetically. Took a lot of balls, and God bless you. "For us, this is a special night, but it's really a special night for all of our fans — this is vindication. We couldn't have done this without you. "To Peter, Ace, Gene — we are the original four, so we could not have done this if we didn't start this together. "Everything we've done is built on the past. "We've got a great, great legacy. We've got Bruce here, we've got Tommy, we've got Eric... "When I first started listening to music, I was lucky: I saw a lot of people I loved. When I was a kid, I saw Solomon Burke, I saw Otis Redding, I got to see THE YARDBIRDS. I got to see LED ZEPPELIN; Jimi Hendrix; SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE; the list goes on and on. What I loved about all these musicians is that they had the spirit of rock and roll. "I believe that the spirit of rock and roll means you follow your own path regardless of critics, and regardless of your peers. I think we've done that for forty years. "Here we are tonight, basically inducted for the same things that we were kept out for. "The people, I believe, are speaking to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, and what they're saying is, 'We want more.' They deserve more. They want to be a part of the induction. They want to be a part of the nomination. They don't want to be spoon-fed by a handful of people. Choices. The people pay for tickets. The people buy albums. The people who nominate do not. Let's not forget that these are the people that make it all possible. We just benefit from it. "So, I look out here and I see all these people. I see faces that over the years inspired me. People who made me what I am. So I am here tonight because of the people who inspired me, but I'm also here because of the people I inspired. So God bless you all; it's been a wonderful night." Morello told Rolling Stone before the ceremony that he first saw KISS play when he was 12 and attended their shows religiously during his formative years. "I've known Gene and Paul for some time and I'm a huge fan of the band and have been an advocate — a noisy, fist-pounding advocate for years for KISS to be in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame," he said. "One of the all-time great bands is being rightly enshrined. "When those records were released, focus was shifted because it was a band in makeup or because it was band with explosions," he added. "But those are great anthemic songs with badass riffs. There's a reason why KISS sold 100 million records around the world. There was no one spitting blood in your living room when you were listening to them. I was rocking out hard to them." The 29th annual Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony was taped and will air on May 31 on HBO.

Jetpack Soundtrack - LIONIZE

Maryland rockers LIONIZE celebrate superheroes, sci-fi, Micro Machines and ballistic missile hit parades in their music, making them kindred spirits to fellow statesmen and fuzz rawk warlords, CLUTCH. On their fifth album and first for the CLUTCH-backed Weathermaker Music, LIONIZE reportedly scrubbed through four notebooks of ideas and parts for thirteen songs. Pared down to the eleven groovy smacks comprising "Jetpack Soundtrack", the trio enlisted the help of CLUTCH, LAMB OF GOD and KING CRIMSON producer Machine plus Jean-Paul Gaster himself to tighten up their songs. Suffice it to say, the dividends are huge. It's safe to assume LIONIZE has a fair trace or two of CLUTCH lurking inside their throwback blend of funk rock. "Lazarus Style" from "Jetpack Soundtrack" could sit nicely on "Pure Rock Fury" or "Blast Tyrant", but fortunately, LIONIZE have a lot more going on in their camp, first and foremost, mondo energy. As far distant as could be from their reggae-splashed 2008 debut album "Space Pope and the Glass Machine", LIONIZE takes their later-explored Coverdale-Hughes era DEEP PURPLE affinities to a different level on "Jetpack Soundtrack". The appropriately titled "Evolve" sounds like MKIII PURPLE brought to an even funkier plane. Hammond organs from Chris Brooks prevail on a lot of the songs here, and they're sprinkled partly in the key of seventies R&B and fusion and partly as rock thunder, lending sugar sweet and syrupy textures to "Jetpack Soundtrack"'s dripping throb. "Jetpack Soundtrack" is a loud and tireless album loaded with heaps of funk and pimp strides found on "Amazing Science Facts", "Electric Reckoning", "Breather", "Skynet" and "Reality Check". Bassist Henry Upton and guitarist/vocalist Nate Bergman are a true team, figurative to the other's success and it's a joy listening to them trade off in spots and skate together in others. Bergman is rock nectar personified on the mike and he represents the counterpunch to "Jetpack Soundtrack"'s unending clout. The infectious title track carries a super-cool glide where "Galactus and Magneto bounty hunt for Han Solo" to the tune of humming, organ-swirled verses and blaring distorto-rock in the vein of CLUTCH on the choruses. Everything about this song is catchy and snapped tight, straight down to the scratchy guitar solo and the piloting groove. Right afterwards, "Replaced by Machines" stamps on the volume a bit with drawling slide riffs that are shoved into the song's heavy thrust. A gnarly bass and guitar tag solo maintains the throb of the song as it invites LIONIZE's listeners, as Neil Fallon himself would in sarcastic fashion, to sit down and kick back with whatever ails you as robots assume autonomy over our lives. With Weathermaker Music backing them up, LIONIZE is all but guaranteed to become a sleeper hit of the year. "Jetpack Soundtrack" goes for broke with every single thread kept harnessed yet operating at full maximum. "Sea of Tranquility" is the slowest this album gets as a revisit to LIONIZE's reggae roots and it rings as a phlegmatic, if guitar-punctured, dub-ripped closer to an album that gave all it had prior to. Very few albums sound this exciting these days. Galactus is always hungry and even that celestial glutton might be satiated by "Jetpack Soundtrack".

Triumph and Power - GRAND MAGUS

Swedish trad metallers GRAND MAGUS have enjoyed a respectable global following as a subtler Scandinavian answer to MANOWAR. As would be expected by their seventh album, "Triumph and Power", there's no letting up with these guys. Consider this one 2014's best album to read the latest issue of "Red Sonja" by. The first three songs, "On Hooves of Gold", "Steel Versus Steel" and "Fight" come galloping in like a glory ride before the leisurelier march of the title track halts things just enough to catch a breath before the mid-tempo slam of "Dominator". While GRAND MAGUS' projection is nowhere near as dense as MANOWAR, they still hail and kill all over this album with elevated heroics bearing the same precision as a Hyrkanian she-devil or a pissed-off Cimmerian turned loose on the battlefield. The fantasy war epics weaved on "Triumph and Power" are nothing longtime metal fans haven't pumped fists to before to the tune of MANOWAR, SAXON and HAMMERFALL. Yet, there's a sincerity to GRAND MAGUS with their knocking riffs, whumping beats and mead-backed combat choruses any diehard can appreciate them with enthusiasm. The abbreviated instrumental "Arv" is a quirky intermission to "Triumph and Power"'s mêlée odes, carrying a drunken sway with Ludwig "Ludde" Witt throwing down a slow but slippery bass drum and hi hat tempo that nearly falls into a backbeat. Janne "JB" Christoffersson and Fox Skinner respond with an inebriated melody overtop. If you're a fan of high fantasy, this no doubt rings like the obligatory pause at a mountain pub where outlanders are predicted to duke. "Holmgang" then comes clubbing through the besotted air of "Arv" with classic JUDAS PRIEST riffing and threats of there being nowhere to run once GRAND MAGUS turns their steel-singing muse on the loose again. Expectedly, "The Naked and the Dead" springs out of "Holmgang" like a berserker picking up stride with the subsequent drawing of cutlery and the inevitable flinging of gore. Though "The Naked and the Dead" only reaches a mid-tempo thrust, visions of flying limbs in slo-mo will no doubt accompany the minds of GRAND MAGUS' listeners. The twanging mouth harp set amidst the call-to-arms march instrumental "Ymer" is another oddity GRAND MAGUS experiments with, but it works as a fluid transition into the somber intro of "The Hammer Will Bite" before the heavy stuff takes over for the latter song's seven minute sojourn. Phantasmagorias of blood in the dust then hover suggestively to the bitter end. Once again, GRAND MAGUS comes through with a metal proud serving of refined mayhem that never goes over-the-top. They're undeniable purists and they deserve to be sitting in the players of anyone who considers themselves "true" metal.

In a Mirror Darkly - MEKONG DELTA

German progressive thrashers MEKONG DELTA have long been one of the most intelligent metal acts on the planet and they seldom get their due. As the oft-referred "best-kept secret in the world" since the mid-Eighties, MEKONG DELTA has seen its ranks shifted and reassembled numerous times with bassist Ralf Hubert (once operating in the band's early years under the pseudonym Bjorn Eklund) as the lone remnant of its inception. Dispensing with rumors of exile and even death during a lengthy hiatus, Hubert began to reconvene MEKONG DELTA in late 2005 and since then, the band released two new albums, "Lurking Fear" and "Wandering On the Edge of Time", plus the 2012 re-recordings package, "Intersections". Once again finding the need to adjust personnel, Hubert recently recruited current drummer Alexander Landenburg following the 2008 overhaul to the lineup including vocalist Martin LeMar plus guitarist Erik Adam H. Grosch. As second guitarist Benedikt Zimniak is apparently no longer with the band, MEKONG DELTA is now a foursome as they release their latest mind-blowing work, "In a Mirror Darkly". "In a Mirror Darkly" is designed to be a relative companion piece to "Wandering On the Edge of Time". As Ralf Hubert himself states, "For me, music doesn't start with A and end with Z; it's an ongoing process. In this respect you could call 'In a Mirror Darkly' the continuation of the Wanderer theme, but it's no copy, it's an independent recording". With many of the songs clocking past the seven minute mark, Hubert's assessment of the new album being a continuation of the latter album's sprawling journey is spot-on. It's also just so impressive one has to wonder why MEKONG DELTA remains an underground phenomenon. If "In a Mirror Darkly" is meant to continue the spirit of exploration of its predecessor, then let it be said the musicians blaze some mighty trails a second time around. The acoustic and string elements opening these instrumentals are about as finite as the compositions get, because once the rest of the band joins in, it takes astute deciphering on behalf of the listener, since every musician sets off on his own course while miraculously keeping to the ever-changing tempo paths. Alexander Landenburg readily fits this band as he has a hundred things going on between his bass drum, snares and toms while keeping a grounded passage for the teeming guitars to both meld onto and separate, then rejoin. Ralf Hubert, as ever, plunks down so many detailed notes on bass and classical guitar his gifts are sadly overlooked by those out of the know. Thrashers like the Roman deity homage, "Janus", plus "Mutant Messiah" and "Hindsight Bias" uphold MEKONG DELTA's reputation for speed, but the two main instrumentals of "In a Mirror Darkly", "Ouverture" and "Inside the Outside of the Inside" are the most striking. Both send MEKONG DELTA's swarming layers out to pick apart receptors and successively, brain matter. This despite every song of the album containing more adrenalized action than a Game 7 of a Stanley Cup Final. "The Armageddon Machine" is one of the slower songs (barely) of the album, but the hurried front and background vocals increase the song's restless progressions and VOIVOD-esque cyber guitars. MEKONG DELTA still nails down an impossible amount of chords and note sequences here, even with a long running time to stack them. Assembling "The Armageddon Machine"'s intricacies sounds like they took considerable time to orchestrate and plot, and this is just one song of eight. Considering the sophisticated, dusky ballet feel of "The Sliver in God's Eye", it's no wonder MEKONG DELTA took four years to work on this album. Listening to MEKONG DELTA continue to evolve with "In a Mirror Darkly" takes a deep commitment since the thrash comes in doses instead of by mere expectation. You're not going to get off easy with constant steadiness no matter how rapid "Hindsight Bias" is, since the seamless signature changes of the band edge and often force the rhythms off-track from the main thrash lines, yet all of it stays cohesive. There is so much to pay attention to with this album like any MEKONG DELTA record it's nearly inhuman how mathematic they are, no matter who joins and who leaves. Suffice it to say, one listening session to "In a Mirror Darkly" is hardly enough.

Guilty of Everything - NOTHING

If you think Philadelphia's NOTHING sounds more than a bit like MY BLOODY VALENTINE, it's no coincidence. Founding member Domenic Palermo (vocals/guitars) has quite a sordid story to tell, which includes MY BLOODY VALENTINE's "Loveless" album as its hypothetical soundtrack. Prior to forming NOTHING, Palermo haunted the tough streets of Kensington, Philadelphia, at one time running drugs and guns while performing in hardcore acts XO SKELETON and HORROR SHOW. Eventually crime caught up with Palermo, as he served time in prison on an aggravated assault and attempted murder charge following a knife fight. Judging by the cathartic brilliance of NOTHING's debut album "Guilty of Everything", Palermo found introspection which leads to an emotive last grasp at music upon his re-entry into society. While "Guilty of Everything" is hardly a metal album from the metal-minded Relapse Records, it is a stunning, American punk-minded interpretation of MY BLOODY VALENTINE. "Guilty of Everything" is a stark, ether-filled shoegazing experience based on genuine feelings and angst, the way emo should have been following RITES OF SPRING eons ago. What Domenic Palermo and his NOTHING tribe have accomplished on "Guilty of Everything" is delivering a soul-scarred sound of penance. It's elegant even with its frequent slow processes and distortion yowls; even more so, because NOTHING reaches out to a desperate audience, mutually in need of empathy and acceptance. Sin comes to bathe in the font of NOTHING's sonic fineries and their breathy, collapsing vocal swells. While much of this album carries a beleaguered feeling of remorse, the contrasting upbeat title track wraps the album with a full sense of closure. As "Guilty of Everything" opens with the frail and soul-torn murmurs of "Hymn to the Pillory", the distortion plugs grow denser on the sullen yet melodic "Dig". With each successive bar of "Dig", the heavy drags are brought to a climax with heaped-on guitar parts that add to its evocative allure. Forgiveness and atonement is a goal that's strived for with each song leading to the album's benevolent end. The screeching intro to the punk-driven "Bent Nail" briefly holds the listener out of the mire they're soon subjected to and to NOTHING's credit, they pour swooning reverb from their beautiful guitars all over the slower-dealt second half of the song. It's a musical cry for help that's just devastating. Afterwards, the melancholic couplet "Endlessly" and "Somersault" each work to august heights of surround-sound desolation, offering swirling, meditative guitars to feel readily engulfed by. "Somersault" later drowns its spectral vocals with amplified pedal stamps and gut-tearing layers. "Get Well" picks up the pace again with bitter punk snarls from the guitar section while resuming the whispered narration pushed behind the song's adamant drive, coming off like early JESUS AND MARY CHAIN and even THE RAVEONETTES before the latter attempted to go pop. "Get Well" serves as the go-nuts moment of the album, ridden by guilt, yet still seeking absolution. Again slowing the track down for a touching outpouring of angry riffs and wailing top coatings, Domenic Palermo and NOTHING expressively purge demons carried over from rough circumstances, which makes the misty synths and calculated riff rises of "Beat Around the Bush" a audile form of reparation. What could've been a carbon copy write-off becomes tribute of the finest measure since "Guilty of Everything" comes from the heart. There are a number of dark pockets to confront within the valves of that heart, but those trying to cope with despair or seek a more righteous path will be stricken to their knees by this album. MY BLOODY VALENTINE from an American point-of-view, NOTHING is remarkable in offering exceptional substance and poignancy, apposite of what their bleak, self-chastising moniker would indicate.

DARK TRANQUILLITY's MIKAEL STANNE Shares Tour Tips (Video)

In the one-and-a-half-minute video below, vocalist Mikael Stanne of Swedish melodic death metallers DARK TRANQUILLITY shares his top tips for being on tour (courtesy of Digital Tour Bus). The clip was shot on February 12, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. On its North American tour, DARK TRANQUILLITY sold a seven-inch EP entitled "A Memory Construct", which will also be released digitally in the beginning of March. Recorded during the "Construct" sessions, the single contains the two songs, is limited to 500 copies worldwide and is available on a transparent red wax. Featured tracks are the previously unreleased "A Memory Construct" and "Sorrows Architect", previously only available as a limited flexi seven-inch released with issue #106 of Decibel magazine. DARK TRANQUILLITY's tenth studio album, "Construct", was released on May 27, 2013 via Century Media Records. The CD was mixed by Jens Bogren (PARADISE LOST, OPETH, KATATONIA) at his Fascination Street studios in Örebro, Sweden. DARK TRANQUILLITY filmed a music video for the song "Uniformity" on April 13, 2013 with Patric Ullaeus of Revolver Film Company, who has previously worked with DIMMU BORGIR, LACUNA COIL, IN FLAMES, SONIC SYNDICATE and KAMELOT, among others.

MISS MAY I: 'Refuse To Believe' Lyric Video Released

The official lyric video for "Refuse To Believe", a new song from Ohio metallers MISS MAY I, can be seen below. The track is taken from the band's fourth album, "Rise Of The Lion", which will be released on April 29 via Rise Records, the CD was produced by Terry Date, who has previously worked with PANTERA, DEFTONES, WHITE ZOMBIE and BRING ME THE HORIZON, among others. MISS MAY I vocalist Levi Benton recently told Metal Hammer about the band's decision to work with Date: "We chose Terry because we’re all huge PANTERA freaks. If you ever get the chance to work with him, you take it! We've always wanted to work with him but we was always out of our price range. He's the Bentley of producers and we could only afford a Ford. [Laughs]" Regarding the musical direction of MISS MAY I's new material, Benton said: "A lot of it could be considered leftfield for us. I won't go into detail because when you do that, people expect something that they may not particularly hear, but when we finished 'At Heart', we were all stoked and thought we'd thrown everything we had into it. After a couple of years touring and growing, we've come back to writing and have been adding different influences. There's some slower, heavier stuff, thrashier parts and no two songs sound the same. We're doing something to challenge ourselves and our listeners but please both, too." "Rise Of The Lion" track listing: 01. Refuse To Believe 02. Lunatik 03. Gone 04. Echoes 05. You Want Me 06. Tangled Tongues 07. Hero With No Name 08. Darker Days 09. The End Of Me 10. Saints, Sinners, and Greats "Rise Of The Lion" will be available in digital, physical CD and vinyl versions. The worldwide release of "Rise Of The Lion" will be supported by a brief headline tour of the United States this April and May, with support from FOR THE FALLEN DREAMS. MISS MAY I will stop in eight cities, including a closer in their home state of Ohio at Rock On The Range.

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Video: JAKE E. LEE's RED DRAGON CARTEL Performs 'Bark At The Moon' In Stafford

Fan-filmed video footage of RED DRAGON CARTEL performing the OZZY OSBOURNE classic "Bark At The Moon" on April 5 at The Stafford Palace Theater in Stafford, Connecticut can be seen below. RED DRAGON CARTEL is the band led by former OZZY OSBOURNE and BADLANDS guitarist Jake E. Lee. RED DRAGON CARTEL's self-titled debut album sold around 5,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 69 on The Billboard 200 chart. Released on January 28 via Frontiers Records, the CD was recorded at Las Vegas' The Hideout Recording Studio — owned and operated by Kevin Churko (OZZY OSBOURNE, FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH, IN THIS MOMENT) — and was produced by R. Bernard Mann (a.k.a. Ronnie Mancuso) and Jake E. Lee, and executive-produced, mixed and mastered by Churko. RED DRAGON CARTEL, which references the axeman's Japanese roots, also features Darren James "D.J." Smith of Canadian metallers WARMACHINE, on vocals, Ronnie Mancuso (BEGGARS & THIEVES) on bass and Jonas Fairley (BLACK BETTY) on drums. Jake E. Lee is best known for his work in BADLANDS and as guitarist for OZZY OSBOURNE on "Bark At The Moon" and "The Ultimate Sin" albums. "Red Dragon Cartel" also features various guest appearances from some of rock's most notable faces, including legendary CHEAP TRICK vocalist Robin Zander, former IRON MAIDEN singer Paul Di'Anno, KILL DEVIL HILL/ex-PANTERA bassist Rex Brown, Sass Jordan, Todd Kerns and Brent Fitz (SLASH) and IN THIS MOMENT frontwoman Maria Brink. JAKE E. LEE'S RED DRAGON CARTEL's setlist includes new material like the singles "Feeder" and "Deceived", as well as major hits from Jake E. Lee's glorious past: "Bark At The Moon", "The Ultimate Sin" and "Rock 'N' Roll Rebel" (all originally recorded by OZZY OSBOURNE), as well as "Shine On" and "High Wire" (BADLANDS).

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EPICA's SIMONE SIMONS, MARK JANSEN Guest On 'Metal Hammer' Radio Show (Audio)

Metal Hammer editor Alexander Milas recently conducted an interview with vocalist Simone Simons and guitarist Mark Jansen of Dutch symphonic metallers EPICA for the "Metal Hammer" radio show on TeamRock Radio. You can listen to the chat using the SoundCloud player below. EPICA’s sixth studio album, "The Quantum Enigma", will be released in North America on May 6 via Nuclear Blast. Where the 2013 "Retrospect" performance reflected on a decade as one of the leading bands in the symphonic metal scene, "The Quantum Enigma" marks the beginning of a new EPICA: modern, heavy, and without compromises. Says the band: "More than any of our previous albums, this album is a group effort. The only goal we had in mind: creating the album that could lift EPICA up to the next level." "The Quantum Enigma" was produced by Joost van den Broek at the Sandlane recording facility in the Netherlands. The album was mixed by Jacob Hansen (VOLBEAT, HATESPHERE). "The Quantum Enigma" will be released in five different configurations: 01 - Regular jewel case 02 - 2CD digipack 03 - 3CD earbook 04 - double vinyl 05 - Digital download "The Quantum Enigma" track listing: 01. Originem 02. The Second Stone 03. The Essence Of Silence 04. Victims Of Contingency 05. Sense Without Sanity (The Impervious Code) 06. Unchain Utopia 07. The Fifth Guardian (Interlude) 08. Chemical Insomnia 09. Reverence (Living in the Heart) 10. Omen [The Ghoulish Malady] 11. Canvas of Life 12. Natural Corruption 13. The Quantum Enigma (Kingdom Of Heaven Part II) Digipack additional track: "In All Conscience" Earbook additional track: "Dreamscape" Vinyl additional track: "Memento" iTunes additional track: "Banish Your Illusion" Disc 2 (digipack and earbook only): 01. Canvas Of Life [acoustic version] 02. In All Conscience [acoustic version] 03. Dreamscape [acoustic version] 04. Natural Corruption [acoustic version] Disc 3 (earbook Only): 01. Originem [instrumental] 02. The Second Stone [instrumental] 03. The Essence of Silence [instrumental] 04. Victims Of Contingency [instrumental] 05. Sense Without Sanity [instrumental] 06. Unchain Utopia [instrumental] 07. The Fifth Guardian [instrumental] 08. Chemical Insomnia [instrumental] 09. Reverence [instrumental] 10. Omen [instrumental] 11. Canvas Of Life [instrumental] 12. Natural Corruption [instrumental] 13. The Quantum Enigma [instrumental] The official lyric video for the song "The Essence Of Silence" can be seen below. In a recent interview with LiveReviewer, EPICA guitarist Isaac Delahaye stated about the making of "The Quantum Enigma": "It was very much our intention to really make songs. It was because we started with putting a lot of effort into the basics and we gave a lot of attention to the band part, more so than before. And, of course, Jacob Hansen mixed it and he knows how to do these things. We tried out several people and had them do a test mix of certain songs and he came out on top. It's become a heavy album, yet all the details are there. Previously, we used to go to the studio, tune our stuff and then we recorded an album. This time we did a long pre-production in the studio and we got to check out a lot of different combinations of amps and then we could record it. Previously, we just did everything in our home studios and sent each other the parts. And after that we would go into the studio and that's it. But now we sat down together and discussed a lot more, it was more of a band effort. It was working together, rather than reacting. Everyone brought songs to the table, which was very cool. With the previous album, it was mostly Mark, Coen and me writing a lot. And now even Ariën joined in and that made it all feel refreshing. It's odd to say, but it's kind of a new beginning." Longtime EPICA collaborator Stephan Heilemann once again created the stunning artwork to accompany the ideas behind the lyrics. Once you lay your hands on the album artwork, you will see that the cover is part of a bigger picture. EPICA will return to the stage on April 30 for a CD-release performance at 013 in Tilburg, The Netherlands. After taking a break from the road due the pregnancy of lead singer Simone Simons, the release of a new concert DVD, "Retrospect", as well as the writing and recording of the band's upcoming album, the sextet will put on a memorable concert, with plans to perform both old and new songs.

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PARADISE LOST Guitarist's VALLENFYRE: New Song 'Odious Bliss' Available For Streaming

VALLENFYRE, the U.K. death metal band featuring Gregor Mackintosh, songwriter and guitarist of PARADISE LOST, alongside members of MY DYING BRIDE, AT THE GATES and DOOM, will release its second full-length album, "Splinters", on May 12 in Europe and on May 13 in North America via Century Media Records. The CD's simple-yet-striking cover artwork was created by Brian D'Agosta, who previously drew a logo for VALLENFYRE bassist Scoot's other band, EXTINCTION OF MANKIND, as well as artwork for many other bands. The album track "Odious Bliss" can be streamed below. In 2011, Mackintosh announced that he would go back to his death metal roots with his new band, VALLENFYRE. The level of expectation was set high with a lineup consisting of Hamish Glencross (guitar; MY DYING BRIDE), Scoot (bass; DOOM, EXTINCTION OF MANKIND), Adrian Erlandsson (drums; AT THE GATES, PARADISE LOST, THE HAUNTED) local friend Mully (second guitar) — and, of course, Gregor on vocals (for the first time in his career!). Their debut, "A Fragile King", was a reference to Gregor's father's (lost) battle with cancer; the harrowing, crusty death-doom found on the album was hailed as "a beast of a record" (Terrorizer) and "a sonic force that bites deep and hard" (Decibel). Simply put, "A Fragile King" is "old school to the bone" (Rock Hard). "VALLENFYRE was something I felt utterly compelled to do," Mackintosh said. "It was almost like I didn't have a choice. "I was told by a bereavement counselor that I should write down and vocalize my feelings. I did just that and then everything just seemed to take a natural course." In addition to being the main songwriter in PARADISE LOST, Greg stepped up to being the frontman for VALLENFYRE and sang for the first time, citing Karl Willetts (BOLT THROWER), Chuck Schuldiner (DEATH), Oscar Garcia (NAUSEA, TERRORIZER), Peter Steele (CARNIVORE, TYPE O NEGATIVE) as influences. "A Fragile King" turned out to be a heartfelt, cathartic and therapeutic release, which now finds it continuation on the even more abrasive and extreme second full-length, "Splinters". Inspired by the likes of HELLHAMMER/CELTIC FROST, AUTOPSY, ANTISECT, DISCHARGE, NIHILIST, early NAPALM DEATH, early BATHORY and CONFLICT, VALLENFYRE digs deep into the roots of extreme music, yet due to Greg's infallible songwriting skills, as well as the organic and absolutely crushing sound courtesy of Kurt Ballou (CONVERGE, BLACK BREATH, BEASTMILK), "Splinters" is far away from mere nostalgia. VALLENFYRE is: Greg Mackintosh (PARADISE LOST) - Vocals, Guitar Hamish Glencross (MY DYING BRIDE) - Guitar Scoot (DOOM, EXTINCTION OF MANKIND) - Bass Adrian Erlandsson (AT THE GATES, PARADISE LOST, THE HAUNTED) - Drums

EYEHATEGOD's MIKE WILLIAMS Interviewed On 'Metal Hammer' Radio Show (Audio)

Metal Hammer editor Alexander Milas recently conducted an interview with EYEHATEGOD frontman Mike Williams for the "Metal Hammer" radio show on TeamRock Radio. You can listen to the chat using the SoundCloud player below. EYEHATEGOD will unleash its long-anticipated new studio recording later this spring. Set for North American release via Housecore Records, the domestic version of the self-titled offering will come in a CD digipack while the LP will be a single slab of vinyl in a gatefold jacket. The first pressing will be limited to 1600 copies and made available in the following colors: * Black (600 copies) * Purple (300 copies) * Clear (400 copies) * Purple and Grey (300 copies) "Eyehategod" track listing: 01. Agitation! Propaganda! 02. Trying To Crack The Hard Dollar 03. Parish Motel Sickness 04. Quitter's Offensive 05. Nobody Told Me 06. Worthless Rescue 07. Framed To The Wall 08. Robitussin And Rejection 09. Flags And Cities Bound 10. Medicine Noose 11. The Age Of Bootcamp The song "Robitussin And Rejection" can be streamed below. Preorder packages including various CD, LP and T-shirt bundles are currently available via Housecore Records at this location. "Eyehategod" will be released on May 27 by their partners at Housecore Records in North America, May 26 by Century Media in Europe, Australia and New Zealand and May 21 by Daymare in Japan. Comments EYEHATEGOD vocalist Mike Williams: "I have to say I don't believe we've lost nary a step in the creation of this album and we think these newer songs are a killer combination of classic EYEHATEGOD mixed along with our best production, mixing, engineering and songwriting in thirteen years. The main and total tragic break in the chain, was obviously last year's death of our great friend and drummer, Joey LaCaze. However, his original drum tracks made it onto the final master recordings and we're fucking psyched about that... As for working with Housecore, it was a no-brainer. We've always been a family, and will always remain a family." Adds Housecore founder Philip H. Anselmo (PANTERA, DOWN): "Being a part of the new EYEHATEGOD record is a dream come true. I've known, supported and loved the guys for almost as long as I've been playing music myself, and it is our pleasure here at the Housecore Records compound to have 'em aboard. And I gotta mention, having heard the new record, this is the EYEHATEGOD record every true fan has been waiting for.... Hail!" As a band that helped create a genre as well as equate a city with a sound, EYEHATEGOD has always remained humble anytime words like "legend" were thrown around to describe them. The thing with legends is that they grow stronger in time and over the years, word of mouth has been kind to the band. EYEHATEGOD is bigger now than they ever have been in their twenty-five plus years as a band. Pretty impressive seeing as they haven't released a full-length album in almost fifteen years. Most people who know the band have a story to tell or they heard a story about the guys. Whether it was them playing nothing but feedback to a bewildered WHITE ZOMBIE crowd during their opening stint for the arena metal band in the mid-Nineties, being banned from a certain venue for attacking a promoter with a barstool or cleaning out entire small towns of their drug supply, these stories spread throughout the metal community over the years, usually through a game of one-up-manship, establishing them as one of the most notorious bands around. Certainly not the first band to be surrounded by myth and lore, EYEHATEGOD's staying and growing power ultimately comes from the music. No one riffs like Jimmy Bower and Brian Patton. Drummer Joey LaCaze grooved and held it together with numerous bass players throughout the years, doing so impeccably with Gary Mader over the past decade. Singer Mike IX Williams has always been able to encapsulate the ruins of life through his lyrics and vocal delivery. All combined, the music is the most genuine, distressing cacophony of sound around. "BLACK SABBATH mixed with BLACK FLAG with a little bit of SKYNYRD and the element of blues thrown in there," Bower once said of the band's sound. In 2014 that style might sound somewhat commonplace. In 1988 it most definitely was not. The band's second album, 1993's "Take As Needed For Pain", is the pinnacle album that other bands of this genre to this day try to reach. Today, EYEHATEGOD sounds as fresh and innovative as ever. When the band released its first new track in over a decade, "New Orleans Is The New Vietnam", it was clear that nothing about the band had changed. They were touring more than ever and used that time and energy to work on an album's worth of songs. At the end of 2012 they were ready. The recording process for "Eyehategod" started with producer Billy Anderson back in the fold (he recorded 1996's "Dopesick"). The session saw both producer and band not quite on the same page and at the end, the album was unfinished. A few months later, the band reconvened at longtime friend Phil Anselmo's home studio with producer Stephen Berrigan (DOWN). Both Anselmo and Berrigan helped draw out the missing pieces to one of underground metal's most anticipated albums in years. An unexpected tragedy occurred shortly upon returning home from a recent five-week European tour in the fall of 2013: Joey LaCaze passed away due to respiratory failure. An outpouring of condolences and tributes spread online. Enough can't be said of the loss felt by the band, family and friends. Fortunately, LaCaze's drum tracks were captured by Anderson and appear on the album, creating the definitive tribute for the member of the band who encapsulated best just what EYEHATEGOD was all about; seriously not taking yourself too seriously. New Orleans native, Aaron Hill (MOUNTAIN OF WIZARD, MISSING MONUMENTS), took over for LaCaze without missing a beat, both figuratively and literally. The band hit the road after wrapping up the record and plan to embark upon their most exhaustive touring schedule to date. EYEHATEGOD is: Mike IX Williams - Vocals Jimmy Bower - Guitar Brian Patton - Guitar Gary Mader - Bass Aaron Hill - Drums

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