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Ozzfest News, Metallica, High Voltage Festival, Def Leppard, Michael Schenker Group, Tygers of Pan Tang, Rock N Rev Festival, Down, The Sword, Jon Oliva, Stratovarius, and tons more hard rock and heavy metal news

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  • Robert
    A post at the official Ozzfest web site says that an announcement about this year s edition of the festival will be made on Friday night (April 30). According
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 30, 2010
      A post at the official Ozzfest web site says that an announcement about this year's edition of the festival will be made on Friday night (April 30). According to The Pulse of Radio, the timing of the news seems odd, since Friday nights are considered a "news dump" where things are announced purposely to gather the least attention. OZZY OSBOURNE will, of course, headline the show, and sources tell The Pulse of Radio that one rumored main stage configuration includes METALLICA, ALICE IN CHAINS, DOWN and MASTODON.

      Names rumored for the second stage include BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, OTEP, KITTIE, 36 CRAZYFISTS and others.

      ***Important note: None of the above-listed rumored Ozzfest acts have actually been officially confirmed for this year's event.***

      Ozzfest has not been a traveling festival since 2007's "free" edition. The show morphed into a one-off event in Dallas in 2008, also featuring METALLICA, before taking 2009 off.

      There's no indication yet of whether festival mastermind Sharon Osbourne plans any innovations for this year's show.

      Ozzfest faces increased competition this summer from the third annual Rockstar Energy Mayhem tour, as well as the new and not yet officially announced Uproar tour.

      More than 15 years after OZZY OSBOURNE debuted Ozzfest, the defining blueprint for hard rock tours and festivals returns this August in six American cities with an explosive bill co-headlined by Ozzy and, in their first-ever Ozzfest appearance, MÖTLEY CRÜE — touring together for the first time with Ozzy since he invited the group on their now legendary 1984 arena tour. Expect the energy to go way off the charts at the all-day extravaganza of music and deranged merriment.

      The 2010 Ozzfest— back after taking a year off in 2009 and the 2008 one-off stadium spectacular in Dallas, TX with Ozzy and METALLICA headlining — will kick off August 14 in San Bernardino (the birthplace of the first Ozzfest in 1996) and then make stops in Chicago, IL, Hartford, CT, Camden, NJ, Pittsburgh, PA and Boston, MA.

      The main stage will feature full sets from OZZY, MÖTLEY CRÜE and Rob Halford (who last appeared on Ozzfest in 2004 with JUDAS PRIEST), performing songs from his solo career along with material from JUDAS PRIEST and FIGHT. DEVILDRIVER and NONPOINT will round out the main stage line-up. Second stage headliners and six-time Ozzfest veterans BLACK LABEL SOCIETY will be joined by DROWNING POOL, KINGDOM OF SORROW, GOATWHORE, SKELETONWITCH, SAVIOURS and KATAKLYSM.

      Each Ozzfest date will include 13 bands on two stages with music beginning at 1:00 p.m. In addition, concert-goers can once again visit the Ozzfest "Village of the Damned" featuring a mix of interactive activities, shopping and entertainment throughout the venue concourses.

      These Ozzfest dates mark the first concerts in the U.S. in connection with the June 15 release of "Scream" (Epic Records), the Ozzfest founder's first album in three years and 10th studio album overall. Ozzy's band consists of his new guitar player, Gus G., bassist Blasko, drummer Tommy Clufetos and keyboardist Adam Wakeman.

      Main Stage:


      Second Stage:


      The initial dates are as follows:

      Aug. 14 - San Bernardino, CA – San Manuel Amphitheater
      Aug. 17 - Chicago, IL – First Midwest Bank Amp.
      Aug. 19 - Pittsburgh, PA – First Niagara Pavilion
      Aug. 21 - Hartford, CT – Comcast Theater
      Aug. 22 - Camden, NJ – Susquehanna
      Aug. 24 - Boston, MA – Comcast Center

      METALLICA has overseas tours booked for most of 2010 and has not performed in North America since the end of last year.

      SAXON, CATHEDRAL and HAMMERFALL have been confirmed for High Voltage, the U.K.'s new rock festival, which is scheduled to take place July 24-25, 2010 at Victoria Park in London, U.K.

      The festival billing is shaping up as follows :

      Saturday, July 24:

      Main Stage:

      ZZ TOP

      Metal Hammer Stage:


      Prog Stage:


      Sunday, July 25:

      Main Stage:


      Metal Hammer Stage:


      Prog Stage:


      High Voltage is the must-see rock event of 2010 — a two-day festival featuring the very best in classic rock, progressive rock and metal. Custom-built by rock fans for rock fans.

      First of all, there's the music: two amazing headliners AND three unique stages specially curated to cater for different sides of the rock audience, and a brilliant supporting cast playing special must-see sets. Then there's the festival itself. The facilities will be second to none: great food, proper beer, clean toilets, deluxe hospitality packages, designated hotels, free shuttle transport. This is somewhere you take the whole family.

      High Voltage offers a new and unique festival experience for rock fans of all ages. Only High Voltage gives ticket buyers the freedom to design their own bespoke festival package — which can include accommodation, transport, parking and VIP bar access.

      For more information, visit www.highvoltagefestival.com.

      According to TheStar.co.uk, DEF LEPPARD has dismissed rumors of a split as singer Joe Elliott and bassist Rick Savage prepared for a special home-coming performance. In an exclusive video chat with The Star, Elliott and Savage fleshed out their reasons for cancelling the USA tour and announced the five-piece will play on.

      They are writing new material, plan to release live recordings, a box set and will celebrate the 30th anniversary of their debut album with their music available for download on iTunes.

      Dublin-based Elliott, aged 50, who recently became a dad for the first time, with the birth of a son to wife Kristine, said of the band's cancelled U.S. tour, "There wasn't any mystery to it really. My wife was pregnant and needed a bit of attention from me, which she wasn't getting. There was a lot of things in our private lives that needed attending to. We're not splitting. Not at all. We often joke, what else would we do? You just can't imagine doing anything else."

      According to Pollstar, has announced the following MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP (MSG) has scheduled the following U.S. dates in July and August:

      Jul. 15 - Redondo Beach, CA - Brixton (w/ PRETTY BOY FLOYD)
      Jul. 16 - Santa Ana, CA - Galaxy Concert Theatre
      Jul. 18 - San Diego, CA - Brick By Brick
      Jul. 21 - San Antonio, TX - Back Stage Live
      Jul. 24 - Oklahoma City, OK - Oklahoma City Zoo Amphitheatre (Rock N' America Festival)
      Jul. 27 - Foxboro, MA - Showcase Live
      Jul. 28 - Pittsburgh, PA - The Altar Bar
      Jul. 29 - Sayreville, NJ - Starland Ballroom
      Jul. 30 - West Springfield, VA - Jaxx
      Jul. 31 - New York, NY - Fillmore New York At Irving Plaza
      Aug. 01 - Farmingdale, NY - The Crazy Donkey
      Aug. 02 - Binghamton, NY - The Hideout
      Aug. 04 - Middleton, WI - Scatz Sports Bar
      Aug. 08 - Fresno, CA - Tower Theatre
      Aug. 11 - Seattle, WA - Studio Seven
      Aug. 13 - Santa Rosa, CA - The Last Day Saloon
      Aug. 14 - Fairfield, CA - Pepper Belly's Comedy/Variety Th.
      Aug. 15 - Santa Clara, CA - Avalon Night Club

      Professionally filmed video footage of MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP's January 2010 concert in Japan can be viewed below. The footage, which originally aired on March 27 on the Japanese TV channel NHK-BS2, is expected to surface on a DVD later this year.

      MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP's lineup for the performance was as follows:

      Michael Schenker (guitar)
      Gary Barden (vocals)
      Wayne Findlay (guitar, keyboards)
      Simon Phillips (drums)
      Neil Murray (bass)

      MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP's latest album, "In the Midst of Beauty", was released in May 2008 via Inakustic GMBH. The CD featured returning MSG singer Gary Barden, drummer Simon Philips (THE WHO, TOTO), bassist Neil Murray (BLACK SABBATH, WHITESNAKE) and keyboardist Don Airey (DEEP PURPLE, OZZY OSBOURNE ).

      NWOBHM act TYGERS OF PAN TANG have issued the following update:

      "We would like to thank everybody who attended the Keep It True festival for the incredible reception you gave the band last Saturday, we were blown away by the whole experience. Leading up to the festival there were bands pulling out due to the Iceland Volcano but we were determined to play no matter what and any band who did not make it missed out on a very special two days. We will remember the festival for a very long time.

      Festivals in Europe such as Keep It True, Heavy Metal Maniacs, Headbangers Open Air and hundreds of others are what keeps our music alive. These festivals are organised by true fans who spend thousands of hours of their time dedicated to the music they love. Our thanks go to every organizer as without you we would not get the chance to play our music.

      If you get the chance, support your local festival and keep them all alive.

      Thanks again to everybody!"

      A previous update from the band reads: "There has been some alterations to the May touring schedule. We are now playing the Rush Fest at Farnborough FC (Classic Rock Day) which has now changed again to May 29th (confirmed). You will notice that we have two shows on May 29th, which will be a first for the band. If you want to catch the band at Farnborough get there early as we will be playing early on the bill. We will then be loading up and travelling to Wales to play Party in the Pub for the Patriot Bike Club as the headlining act.

      Sadly the NWOBHM Festival at The Robin 2, Bilston has had to be cancelled. PRAYING MANTIS had to unfortunately pull out due to being booked for the Sweden Rock Festival. Also the event was taking place on the same day as the Download Festival and we received a lot of emails regarding this.

      We are not sure of the situation as regards to re-booking the event but will keep you posted as it was a Marseille booking. If you had tickets and you want an alternative to see the band then check us out at Birmingham or Cannock in May on the tour. We only planned to play 45 minutes at Bilston so you will get a full set list of songs at the other venues."

      STONE TEMPLE PILOTS, CREED, GODSMACK, THREE DOORS DOWN, WOLFMOTHER, and HINDER top the long list of bands combining forces with DC3 Global to hijack the world's biggest, baddest biker event for five full nights of undeniable rock 'n' roll bedlam — Monday, August 9 through Friday, August 13 at the inaugural Rock N' Rev Festival, part of the legendary Sturgis Rally's 70th anniversary celebration in Sturgis, South Dakota.

      With an unrivaled lineup of 20 bands over five nights and spectacular fireworks displays each night in the nation's largest outdoor amphitheater at the 600-acre Glencoe CampResort, the Rock N' Rev Festival promises to be the hands-down largest party ever thrown at the world's largest motorcycle event, which annually draws over a half million patrons. World-famous showman Jim Rose and his side circus are set to emcee the five-day event and give attendees a show they will never forget.

      GODSMACK drummer Shannon Larkin, a motorcycle enthusiast, told The Pulse of Radio why he's enjoyed playing at Sturgis in the past with GODSMACK. "Well, the main thing about Sturgis is, it's a beautiful area to ride motorcycles," he said. "You know, it's like therapy when you go on your bike and you just ride like that. And so, you know, the Sturgis thing, I didn't go to party and do all the bars and bikers and boobies and fighting or anything like that (laughs). You know, nothing really exciting except for getting on the bike and riding. And man, it's almost unparalleled."

      EAGLES OF DEATH METAL, THE DARLING STILETTOS, POP EVIL, SKILLET and SWAYBACK are just some of the other bands making massive music at this colossal biker bash. Stay tuned for major announcements of many more bands being added in the weeks ahead.

      Tickets for the Rock N' Rev Festival are $45 per day, general admission ($150 for a five-day pass), and go on sale Friday, April 30 at noon EST through Ticketmaster.com and RockNRevFestival.com and at all Ticketmaster locations, or by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000.

      Tickets also will be available each day at the gate. For more information on exclusive VIP packages ($1,000 for five days), including backstage access to a VIP area to special, air-conditioned tents with private bars, motorcycle parking, luxury bathroom facilities and more, go to rocknrevfestival.com.

      Deeply discounted Concert N' Camping packages are available on the Glencoe CampResort web site at GlencoeCamp.com. Gates open at 4 p.m. daily. Showtime each day is 6 p.m.

      For complete information, call the hotline at (800) 272-4712.

      DOWN - who feature in their ranks guitarist/vocalist Pepper Keenan (CORROSION OF CONFORMITY), drummer Jimmy Bower (EYEHATEGOD, SUPERJOINT RITUAL guitarist), guitarist Kirk Windstein (CROWBAR), and vocalist Philip Anselmo (SUPERJOINT RITUAL, ex-PANTERA) - have issued the following update:

      "To the Down Brotherhood,

      We would like you all to be aware of the catastrophic oil spill which recently occurred in the Gulf Coast. This is a matter of extreme urgency, not only for the people of the gulf coast, but the world over. Please take the time to check out this website and respond accordingly. More volunteer opportunities will arise and any help and action on your part will make a difference.

      Healthygulf.org is an organization Pepper has been involved with as a part of Down's continued support of rebuilding the Louisiana wetlands since hurricane Katrina.

      Austin, Texas' THE SWORD has set "Warp Riders" as the title of their third album, due on August 24 via Kemado Records. The CD was recorded with producer Matt Bayles, who has previously worked with MASTODON, ISIS and MINUS THE BEAR, among others.

      In a recent interview with Decibel magazine, THE SWORD guitarist/vocalist John "J. D." Cronise stated about the forthcoming effort, "This is what you'd technically call a 'concept album,' though I'd describe it as more of a soundtrack to a story I came up with. All the songs are about aspects of the story, but they don't cover every detail from beginning to end. It's a science fiction story, and it deals heavily with themes of light and dark and perceptions of time. One of the main settings is a planet, which has experienced tidal locking, creating a side of perpetual day and a side of perpetual night. The reason for creating a narrative to base the songs around was essentially to provide interesting and varied lyrical subject matter with a core theme to tie it all together."

      Cronise previously told AOL's Noisecreep that the as-yet-untitled record will have a broader hard rock sound but stressed that the band's aim isn't to broaden its appeal outside of the heavy metal market. "If more people listen that's great, but we're not doing it for that reason," he said. "We are just more interested in expanding our sound for ourselves. If we wanted to expand our audience we should just remake the second album over again, rather than challenge people with something new."

      THE SWORD's last album, "Gods of the Earth", was released on April 1, 2008 via Kemado Records.

      April 29, 2010

      Websites: www.jonoliva.net - www.myspace.com/jonoliva
      Interviewer: Ruben Mosqueda

      I've had the pleasure to interview Jon Oliva twice before, and the man is a fantastic interviewee. He answers everything and doesn't just give you a stock response. Jon Oliva's interviews read like a well written story and are just as fun to read as they are to conduct. His band, Jon Oliva's Pain, have just released their fourth album entitled Festival, an album that differs from the past three JOP releases as this one has a heavy Queen and Beatles influence on it while maintaining the heavier moments of past JOP and Savatage as well. In this interview Jon spoke about the infamous box of Criss Oliva (who passed away in an automobile accident in 1993) tapes, the new CD Festival, and the never ending question... will Savatage ever get back together?

      Sleaze Roxx: You just released a new album, Festival, which is a slight departure from the previous Jon Oliva's Pain catalog. When you started writing Festival was it the intention to write an album like this and throw yet another curve to your audience?

      Jon Oliva: It was really to throw a curve at myself actually. You might recall when I was doing the interview for the Maniacal Renderings album I said that the next album would be very experimental. Global Warning was because there were a lot of pieces of music that I had done with my brother, Criss Oliva, and stuff that I wanted to release. A lot of that material was keyboard based or written on the piano, and for the next record I wanted a more raw type of sound, more of a "Hall Of The Mountain King" type of sound.

      It was kind of around the third or fourth album with Savatage when did the exact same thing. It takes that many albums working in a band before you really get to know the band and begin to work as a cohesive unit. I really know these guys now, I've worked with them for five years. I went into this album writing everything on guitar like I used to do in the Savatage days with my brother. Most of the music that you hear on Festival was written on the road as we were traveling through Europe last year. I would write and record ideas on a portable recorder and I'd also sort through my Criss Oliva tapes and swipe stuff that we could find on there that we could use. I'm very happy with this record.

      Sleaze Roxx: The JOP group has grown leaps and bounds between the 'Tage Mahal album through the present album Festival, both musically and in the song writing department.

      Jon Oliva: I would agree with you there, it does take time. With these guys we don't see each other every day when we're not on the road or recording. Back in the day with Savatage we lived together, we ate together, we wrote together, we rehearsed together... we were together all the time. With JOP it took a little while to get that same chemistry going. Some of the guys in the band are teachers, they have their own lives, and I have this and TSO (Trans Siberian Orchestra). I'm really happy with this band, they are really good guys, easy to get along with and they are great musicians and that really helps me as a songwriter.

      Sleaze Roxx: Speaking of songwriting, do you ever experience writer's block?

      Jon Oliva: I've that happen to me before, I'm able to break out of it after a few days though. Sometimes I just have to get away from it for a few days, and for me it's been hard to do that. If I experience a block I get away for about 4 or 5 days. I usually pack a bag, hop in my truck, and just get away for a few days. I've found this to be very helpful because when I get back my head is clear and everything starts to work again.

      Sleaze Roxx: You mentioned that you dug into the Criss Oliva box of tapes on Festival. When I first talked to you, when you were doing press for the Maniacal Renderings album, you made mention that you wife was doing some cleaning and she came across this box of tapes with song ideas that you and your brother had recorded.

      Jon Oliva: That's right, it's very sad because we're almost out of them. We're down to the last 9 or 10 tapes now.

      Sleaze Roxx: I'm curious how many of Criss' ideas made it onto Festival?

      Jon Oliva: He's on four songs on the new album. He's on the track "Lies", the verse is Criss' music; "Living On The Edge", a lot of that song is Criss' music, he also has a couple bits on "Winter Haven". The song "Now" is very special because it's something that we did when we were teenagers. The chorus was all Criss, I just put new music to it. It's always exciting when we have a Criss riff to work with and it's going to be a sad day when we run out of tapes I can tell you that.

      Sleaze Roxx: You're down to the last nine tapes now. How many did you have in the beginning?

      Jon Oliva: I had 46 of them when we started work on Maniacal Renderings. Criss has been on every album, even on the first album 'Tage Mahal there were a couple of things that I used of his. That was obviously before my wife found the box of tapes, so there is less of Criss' stiff on there. Criss Oliva is all over Global Warning, there's "Firefly" and "Look At The World", those were ideas that we had worked on even before we were Avatar (the band that evolved into Savatage). I have found memories of writing those songs on Grandma Oliva's piano. My family used to have a piano store -- Criss sitting next to me on his acoustic guitar and me on piano. I have a lot of fond memories of writing with my brother. There's a lot of Criss music on the Global Warning album and with Festival as well; "Lies" was a track we started working on that goes back to the Streets album.

      Sleaze Roxx: With the remaining tapes will you be using them sparingly or could the rest wind up on the next alum?

      Jon Oliva: Through the past three albums, when I get into writing mode, I grab about three tapes, they are all 90 minute cassettes. I'll make a compilation of the riffs and ideas that I think are usable and then I bring them into the rehearsal studio. We'll then build around them, it goes from there. It's hard hearing him talk on the tapes. He's talking to me all the time on these tapes. That's how we'd communicate when writing. He'd say stuff like, "Here's a riff asshole." He'd play a riff and say, "See what you can do with that." Then I'd say something like, "Here's a verse numb nuts, see how we can come up with a chorus." We'd swear at one another -- it was how we goofed around while coming up with song ideas.

      Sleaze Roxx: Do you have an internal filter when writing a song where you determine that maybe a track is too far to the right or too far to the left? How do you know what works with the overall vision of the album that you are putting together?

      Jon Oliva: (laughs) It's really hard! That's a very, very good question. It happens differently each and every time. If you over think a song you wind up beating the feel or meaning of the song out of it by overdoing it. It's very difficult to find that happy medium. Like you were saying, did I go too far to the left or too far to the right? That's what the magic is of being a song writer, when you are able to know when enough is enough. Also, when are able to know when to push a song to the limit like I did on "Death Rides A Black Horse" on the new album. If you've heard that track there's a lot of brass on that song. I wanted to use just enough melody line upon melody line before it went over people's heads. If you have the ability to do that kind of stuff you should be thanking God every night.

      Sleaze Roxx: Queen and The Beatles are a couple of your favorite bands. I have noticed a number of similarities between what you are doing with JOP and what Queen did in their career. You can play the heavy stuff, you can play rockers, and then there's stuff on the lighter side and the middle of the road stuff... all of which fits within the confines of the band.

      Jon Oliva: Thanks. That's what we have found. We've been very experimental and tried to reach new limits. That's one thing that I really loved about a band like Queen, is that you never knew what to expect next. It could be a song like "Love Of My Life", a beautiful ballad, or it could be a song like "Death On Two Legs", which was very dark but still great. They were just the best man!

      As we've progressed as a band I've told these guys that I want to style JOP like bands from that era -- Queen, Pink Floyd, The Beatles and Black Sabbath. There's no one heavier than Sabbath, but if you listen to the song "Fluff" off Sabbath Bloody Sabbath it's a beautiful song with Tony Iommi playing acoustic guitar with a little bit of string accompaniment. "Planet Caravan" is another one of those beautiful songs from Sabbath that was a curve but fantastic. That's one thing that I like about music, you don't know what to expect. If I go out and buy a Slayer album I'm pretty sure each track is going to be pounding my face in! That's what they do and they do it well. I like to be surprised. Is the next song going to be like "Killer Queen" or "War Pigs"? Is it going to be like "Hey Jude" or "Money"? That's what music should be all about.

      Sleaze Roxx: That's really the formula I hear throughout the new album Festival. So it sounds like you accomplished your goal.

      Jon Oliva: Thank you. Music is an emotional ride, you've got to tug on people's emotions. If you see red all the time you'll get sick of seeing red. You have to throw a little blue in there, then a little yellow and then a little gold. You have to take the listener on this rollercoaster ride; you go up, then come down, you take some turns, then you're upside down. That's what I think it should be like, it keeps people guessing, and it keeps you interested. I like to beat you around for a little bit, then I let you rest, then I kick you in the teeth! I like to torture you a little bit along the way! (laughs)

      Sleaze Roxx: JOP has a rabid following in Europe as well as Stateside although it's more underground in the U.S. Is it a little bit frustrating that you haven't been able to achieve the level of success in the U.S like you have abroad?

      Jon Oliva: Not at all. That's how Savatage started -- we were underground in America for the first four albums. To me this is just like starting all over. We have a band that has a solid line-up with people who want to stay together. Before we set out to do this I got a solid commitment from the guys. It's crazy this business... I should have been a plumber! (laughs).

      Sleaze Roxx: I've heard in interviews and read in print that some musicians don't like to deal with starting up a new band or project because it's going back the beginning. I guess it's too much effort to go from an established act to a new project for them.

      Jon Oliva: I find it challenging -- it's fresh and I get excited about it. I knew what I was getting into... I knew what was ahead for me. I know there are the diehard Savatage fans who have been giving me a hard time since I started doing JOP. It gets very aggravating to me. Can't these guys read? All they have to do is turn the TSO album over and there's your Savatage! That's the band that these guys are all bitching about reuniting. We haven't gone anywhere, we haven't broken up! We've been working consistently since Dead Winter Dead for God's sake. Nothing has changed but the name, and the name was changed to protect the name. As musicians, and as what we wanted to do, we outgrew the name Savatage as being a heavy metal band that started in the early 80's. We outgrew the name and it was becoming a hindrance on us gaining the success that we had just spent the best years of our lives trying to obtain. Now we have finally obtained it and I still have
      people bitching at me! (laughs) I just can't win! I don't know what to do... should I buy you guys a drink or something? Give me a break man. (laughs)

      Sleaze Roxx: What are your plans Stateside to promote the new album Festival?

      Jon Oliva: I've been talking to a few promoters here. I've got a few commitments to fulfill in Europe in the fall and I'm tentatively planning and doing some North America shows in November of this year. Right now it could be late October into November when we get back from Europe. Right now the North East is in contention for getting the most shows at this time. I'd love to play in the Mid-West, into the Texas area, because we have a pretty good following that way. We're gonna see what we could put together and hopefully it all works out.

      Sleaze Roxx: Festival is your fourth JOP album, isn't it about time for a JOP live DVD?

      Jon Oliva: Funny you should mention that. It's being filmed in October on our European tour, we'll be filming the show on the 15th of October in Holland. The entire thing will be filmed, all the songs played that night will be on the DVD release. I'm putting together a special set for that show, it's easily over two hours. There will be a number of surprises but I'm not going to say because I don't want to jinx them.

      Sleaze Roxx: I thank you for your time Jon, we wish you the best with the new album.

      Jon Oliva: My pleasure Ruben, take it easy.

      Thanks once more to Jon Oliva for being the class act that he is and to our friends @ Earsplit for hooking us up with the interview.

      "Polaris", the 2009 comeback album from Finnish melodic metallers STRATOVARIUS, will be reissued as a two-CD digipack on May 21 via earMUSIC/Edel. In addition to the original album, the package will include a bonus disc containing 75 minutes of live material recorded during the "Polaris" tour and spanning the band's entire history.

      The track listing for the set is as follows:


      01. Deep Unknown
      02. King Of Nothing
      03. Winter Skies
      04. Higher We Go
      05. Emancipation Suite: I Dusk
      06. When Mountains Fall
      07. Falling Star
      08. Blind
      09. Forever Is Today
      10. Somehow Precious
      11. Emancipation Suite: II Dawn


      01. Destiny (live)
      02. Hunting High And Low (live)
      03. Speed of Light (live)
      04. Kiss Of Judas (live)
      05. Deep Unknown (live)
      06. A Million Light Years Away (live)
      07. Bach: Air Suite (live)
      08. Winter Skies (live)
      09. Phoenix (live)
      10. SOS (live)
      11. Forever Is Today (live)
      12. King Of Nothing (live)
      13. Father Time (live)
      14. Higher We Go (live)

      STRATOVARIUS' first CD since the departure of guitar player and main composer Timo Tolkki, "Polaris" was released in the U.S. in May 2009 via Armoury Records (a division of Eagle Rock Entertainment).

      In September 2008, freed from many burdens of negativity, the band found the freedom to go into seclusion for almost a month in a cottage by the sea in a Finnish forest to relax, laugh, write songs, be creative together, and record. And they found themselves being a band reborn. The result is a melodic, powerful, fresh, tight, and technically elaborate new album.

      "Polaris" was recorded in the fall 2008 at Hästholmen and 5by5 studios in Helsinki, Finland. Mixed by the longtime confidant of the band Mikko Karmila the album became another shining polar star at the Northern sky. Powerful melodies mingle with sophisticated arrangements, strong anthems stand alongside heavy songs. 11 songs full of energy, musicianship, and a positive outlook.

      STRATOVARIUS' latest addition is 26-year-old Finnish guitar phenomenon Matias Kupiainen. Drummer Jörg Michael said, "In Matias we found new character who fits perfectly with his way of melodic guitar shredding. He is a killer player, a 'wunderkind' from Finland!"

      STRATOVARIUS 2010 is:

      Timo Kotipelto - Vocals
      Matias Kupiainen - Guitars
      Lauri Porra - Bass
      Jörg Michael - Drums
      Jens Johansson – Keyboards

      Guitarist Constantine (MYSTIC PROPHECY, DESCENDING) has inked a deal with 7Hard Records. His new instrumental album, "Shredcore", will be released in Europe on July 2.

      According to a press release, Constantine "is a new breed of guitar hero that has forged this epic nine-piece with his best guitar work ever, including massive opening riffs, spectacular interludes and soaring solos while effortlessly coating the whole thing in a never-ending matrix of blazing shredding.

      "The crystal-clear, but nonetheless massive production of R.D Liapakis (MYSTIC PROPHECY, FIREWIND, SUICIDAL ANGELS), the precision drumming of Frank Huber (ex-VALLEY'S EVE), the lightning fast keyboard solos of Bob Katsionis (FIREWIND) and Constantine's eclectic style and influences combine for a truly unique guitar-oriented record.

      "'Shredcore' is a must-have for all the fans of modern metal/rock guitar shredding that can't be missed."

      For more information, visit www.myspace.com/constantine3000.

      ANNIHILATOR are captured live during the hot Czech Republic summer of 2008 on their new DVD , Live At Masters Of Rock, due out on May 4th.

      According to a press release, the band hits hard with metal masterpieces, ranging from early classics like 'Alice In Hell', 'Never, Neverland' and 'Set The World On Fire', to powerhouse records like King Of The Kill, Waking The Fury, Carnival Diablos and selections from 2008’s acclaimed release Metal. Performing live in front of 30,000 metal heads, this sold-out concert DVD is the purest example of why Annihilator are touted as one of the best metal bands of our time. The release comes in two formats, there is the DVD which includes the audio CD and there is a version with only the CD by itself.

      Main man Jeff Waters had the following to say about the upcoming release: “Pretty cool to have Annihilator's live DVD/CD come out in the USA/Canada, within a few weeks of our new, self-titled, 13th studio CD . This gives new fans of the band a chance to check the record out and then see us live… also to hear many songs from the band’s earlier days. For hardcore Annihilator fans, this will be a good year with the studio CD and this killer Live DVD/CD. We hope you like it; we sure had fun playing it!”

      Dave Padden - guitars, vocals
      Jeff Waters – guitars, vocals
      Ryan Ahoff – drums
      Dave Sheldon – bass


      'King Of The Kill'
      'Blackest Day'
      'Operation Annihilation'
      'Clown Parade'
      'Set The World On Fire'
      'I Am In Command'
      'Never, Neverland'
      'Fun Palace'
      'Wicked Mystic'
      'Alison Hell'
      'Shallow Grave'

      Format: 1 x DVD 9 + 1 x CD
      Duration DVD: approx. 90 minutes
      Duration CD: approx. 80 minutes
      Video standard: NTSC

      Live Audio Produced by Jeff Waters
      Live Audio Mixed by Jeff Waters at Watersound Studios Inc. (Ottawa, Canada)
      Mastered by Jeff Waters

      'King Of The Kill'
      'Blackest Day'
      'Operation Annihilation'
      'Clown Parade'
      'Set The World On Fire'
      'I Am In Command'
      'Never, Neverland'
      'Fun Palace'
      'Wicked Mystic'
      'Alison Hell'
      'Shallow Grave'

      UNISONIC, the new band featuring former HELLOWEEN vocalist Michael Kiske alongside Dennis Ward (bass) and Kosta Zafiriou (drums) of Germany's PINK CREAM 69 and Swiss guitarist Mandy Meyer (who has previously played with ASIA, GOTTHARD and KROKUS), has finished composing nine songs for its forthcoming debut album. A demo recording is currently being put together and will be used to procure label interest. Italy's Frontiers Records, with whom Kiske and Ward have both worked in the past on various projects, is reportedly very interested in releasing the CD, but the group is said to be keeping its options open.

      UNISONIC recently took part in a photo session in an old warehouse with the German photographer Marc Stern. Some of the results can be viewed below.

      UNISONIC has scheduled the following dates:

      June 05 - Live Music Hall, Mörlenbach - Weier, Germany
      June 06 - Sonnenkeller - Balingen, Germany
      June 10 - Fabrik - Bruchsal, Germany
      June 11-12 - Sweden Rock Festival - Sölvesborg, Sweden

      UNISONIC marks the first time Kiske has been involved in a real band situation in almost 16 years. Having split with HELLOWEEN in late 1993, he participated in various projects and released several solo albums but had not been part of a real group effort until now.

      While collaborating with Ward and Zafiriou on the PLACE VENDOME project four years ago, Kiske found two musical soulmates. They ended up recording two PLACE VENDOME albums before deciding to join forces in a new brand new band. Ward, who had previously produced a record for KROKUS, suggested Meyer as the perfect addition to the group in the vacant guitarist slot.

      Kiske, one of the finest and most unique voices in contemporary rock music, explains his motivation of becoming a part of a band again: "Since the PLACE VENDOME productions I was impressed by Dennis Ward's skills as a songwriter and producer. We were occasionally fooling around since then via email that we should do more together in the future, so the idea came up to do a new band. I was generally getting a bit tired of doing everything on my own for so many years, so it just felt like the right thing to do now. We can all only benefit from working together. No matter how good you are solo, four people will always be better than one, I think, if they manage to function together. And a real band is also a very good reason to finally go on tour again. After 17 years, I can't wait to get back on stage and have some fun with the band and the fans!"

      UNISONIC is expected to perform a number of original songs as well as tracks from PLACE VENDOME and reworked versions of HELLOWEEN classics like "Kids Of The Century" and "A Little Time", both of which were included on Kiske's "Past In Different Ways" album.

      Drummer Jason Bonham (LED ZEPPELIN, BONHAM) has commented on the news reports that he will hit the road in North America as part of the JASON BONHAM'S LED ZEPPELIN EXPERIENCE tour:

      "Well, looks like the cat is out of the bag!" Jason writes.

      "First off, I would like to correct the news that broke [yesterday] on the world wide web. I read that I would be performing the LED ZEP story! Well, what I will be doing is 30 shows in memory of my father, as it's 30 years since he left this world this September 25th, 2010.

      "I have always loved playing the music of LED ZEPPELIN and after such a great night back in 2007 at the 02 Arena, I took an opportunity to do a very special show which would look at my life with the music of LED ZEPPELIN. Old photos, home movies and videos would help take you on a journey into my life, from my earliest memories right up to the 02 show.

      "There is still a lot of work to do on this project and I want to make sure it's done tastefully and with the detail it deserves!

      "Thanks for all the emails and good wishes and even the bad ones; it all helps, really, it does."

      It is not presently clear how this will affect the touring plans by the recently formed supergroup consisting of Bonham, guitarist Joe Bonamassa, Glenn Hughes (ex-DEEP PURPLE, BLACK SABBATH) and keyboardist Derek Sherinian (ALICE COOPER, DREAM THEATER, BILLY IDOL). The band's debut album was recently completed and is tentatively due in September.
      According to a Twitter update from the people behind the forthcoming Uproar 2010 tour, a "big announcement" regarding this year's trek will be made on Monday, May 3.

      Rumored acts for the inaugural edition of the Rockstar Energy Drink-presented tour include DISTURBED, AVENGED SEVENFOLD, STONE SOUR, HELLYEAH, LACUNA COIL and HALESTORM. So far only one date has been released: August 24 at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

      A web site for the trek will soon be launched at www.rockstaruproar.com.

      Bret Michaels , who appears in People magazine's "World Most Beautiful People of 2010" issue this week and is also ironically in the "Scoop" section of the magazine because of his brain hemorrhage, is being treated at Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona. Barrow is among the world's leading neurological centers and is the home of the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center.

      In the days following Michaels' hospitalization, due to a subarachnoid hemorrhage, there was a lot of speculation as to where Michaels was being treated. Due to the severity of his life-threatening condition, the instantaneous way in which the hemorrhage presented itself and respect for his family, his location was not confirmed to the media. There is a seven-to-ten-day period that is extremely critical in which multiple tests are conducted to detect the source of the bleeding.

      "There is no doubt that Mr. Michaels' condition is serious. We are treating the subarachnoid hemorrhage, which caused his severe cranial pain," states Dr. Zabramski who has been a top neurosurgeon at Barrow Neurological Institute since 1986 and serves as the chief of cerebrovascular surgery and director of clinical neurosurgical research at the center and is leading Michaels' team. Zabramski continues, "Mr. Michaels will continue to undergo testing considering we have hit a few roadblocks, including hyponatremia, severe cranial and back pain suffered from blood drainage, an emergency appendectomy performed a week earlier and a lifelong history of type 1 diabetes. However, "Bret's sheer will to live and fully recover is undeniable. He has an unbelievable fight in him and told me what kept him alive at the moment of the hemorrhage was that he 'did not want his family to wake up and see him lying unconscious in the middle of the floor.' It was a combination
      of Bret's fight to stay conscious during the hemorrhage and get to the emergency room, and the immediate medical attention provided by our staff at Barrow that enabled us to stabilize his condition."

      At this time Barrow neurologists and neurosurgeons will be having a press conference at 12 p.m. Tuesday to discuss and update his condition, treatment and prognosis in full detail.
      DIRGE WITHIN, the new metal band featuring ex-SOIL guitarist Shaun Glass, vocalist Jeremy "Jerms" Genske, guitarist Matt Szlachta and bassist James Pezanoski (ex-FROM ALL WITHIN), has parted ways with drummer James Knight (ex-THE BLANK THEORY, CHACOPA) and has replaced him with Frankie Harchut (ex-THE DOOMSDAY CATALYST). Jerms said in a statement, "I have known Frankie for about 10 years, and performed alongside him in previous bands. So I know his talent as a musician, and performer firsthand. Even though Jimmy will be missed, I couldn't think of anyone better to fill the void than this guy. He is a perfect fit with the DIRGE WITHIN both in talent and personality. We are stoked to see what the future brings, and can't wait to get back out on the road, and tear shit up with Frankie on the skins! His first show as a member of DIRGE WITHIN will be May 15th at Austin's in Libertyville, Illinois with LACUNA COIL. So come on out, and welcome Frankie to the

      DIRGE WITHIN's debut album, "Force Fed Lies", was released on September 1, 2009 via E1 Music (formerly Koch Records). The CD was mixed by Jeff Rose and Martin "Ginge" Ford of Nott-In-Pill studios in Newport, Wales, United Kingdom. Edsel Dope (DOPE) produced the effort alongside Chris Djuricic (Studio One). The album features guest appearances by Corey Beaulieu of TRIVUM and Michael Angelo Batio of NITRO fame. The cover artwork was created by Stephen Jensen from F3 studios.

      The "Forever the Martyr" video was filmed in Charlotte, North Carolina with director Ramon Boutviseth (TRIVIUM, INCUBUS).

      DIRGE WITHIN will support GWAR on a number of U.S. dates in June.

      Justin Reynolds, drummer of the Tampa, Florida melodic thrash outfit THE ABSENCE, was involved in a bad automobile accident last week in Sarasota, Florida. Justin sustained injuries to his neck and back and totaled his car.

      "We wish our friend best of luck and a speedy recovery and hope he's back doing what he does best soon," the rest of the band said in a statement.

      For the time being, THE ABSENCE's drummer position has been filled by local Tampa musician Matt Solka.

      THE ABSENCE entered Mana Recording Studios in St. Petersburg, Florida in November 2009 to begin recording its third album, "Enemy Unbound", for an early 2010 release via Metal Blade Records. The CD was tracked with Brian Elliot while the mixing duties were handled by Jonas Kjellgren (SCAR SYMMETRY, CARNAL FORGE).

      The second in a series of video clips documenting the making of the new album can THE ABSENCE's sophomore CD, "Riders of the Plague", was released on August 7, 2007 via Metal Blade Records. The album was recorded at Mana Studios in Florida with Swedish producer Jonas Kjellgren (SCAR SYMMETRY, CARNAL FORGE). Mixing duties were handled by Jonas at his Black Lounge studios in Avesta, Sweden. The CD features guest appearances by guitarists James Murphy (DEATH, TESTAMENT), Jonas Kjellgren, Per Nilsson (SCAR SYMMETRY) and Santiago Dobles (AGHORA) as well as guest vocals by Jonas Granvik (WITHOUT GRIEF, EDGE OF SANITY).
      Finnish "horror" metallers DOMINATION BLACK have announced the addition of singer Matias Palm to the group's ranks.

      Palm was previously involved with such bands as MERGING FLARE and HEAVY METAL PERSE as well as numerous tribute projects, including JUDAS PRIEST, RUNNING WILD and GAMMA RAY tributes.

      DOMINATION BLACK is currently working on material for its third album, to be recorded in the near future. Furthermore, the band will make its triumphant return to the stage at the Kotkan Meripäivät festival in late July.

      You can listen to a new track called "Cold Touch" at the DOMINATION BLACK MySpace page.

      A photo of the new lineup can be seen below.

      DOMINATION BLACK in 2008 released a video for the song "The House Of 1000 Eyes". The track, which features guest vocals by LORDI mainman Mr. Lordi, comes off DOMINATION BLACK's latest mini-CD, "Haunting", which entered the Finnish single chart at position No. 15 back in February 2008.

      DOMINATION BLACK's mascot, "Fearbringer", was created by Mr. Lordi.
      Swedish metallers CLOUDSCAPE have announced the addition of guitarist Daniel Paulson to the group's ranks. CLOUDSCAPE states, "Daniel impressed the band a lot, both musically and personally during auditions.

      "Daniel is officially totally unknown and has only played in local bands and CLOUDSCAPE will be his first step into the world of melodic metal.

      "CLOUDSCAPE is finally complete again and despite member changes CLOUDSCAPE's more inspired than ever!! The work of [the next CLOUDSCAPE album] 'New Era' continues..."

      "Darkest Legacy", the latest video from CLOUDSCAPE, can be viewed below. The clip was filmed, directed and edited by Rainer Holmgren (PAIN OF SALVATION, ARSIS).

      "Darkest Legacy" comes off the group's third album, "Global Drama", which was released in 2008 in Europe through Goldencore/Roastinghouse Records and in North America through Nightmare Records.

      CLOUDSCAPE previously described "Global Drama" as "the most varied and interesting album by CLOUDSCAPE so far. It contains a few really hard and raw metal songs and there will also be a few more atmospheric and dynamic songs progressively spiced."

      The CD was produced by Pontus Lindmark and recorded at RoastingHouse Studios in Malmö, Sweden.

      "Reaping Death", the new CD single from Swedish black metallers WATAIN, which was exclusively distributed in Sweden via Sweden Rock Magazine, was certified gold in the band's home country on April 21 by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry for sales in excess of 10,000 copies. (Note: Each copy of the magazine sold in Sweden was counted towards the certification.)

      WATAIN frontman Erik "E" Danielsson comments on this achievement: "No matter how awkward it feels to be a part of the materialistic record business, and even more so being rewarded by its filthy capitalistic measures, we will still accept this award with a poisoned smile. The same smile with which we have kissed your sons and daughters with 'Reaping Death'. We see this disc of gold as a trophy, a trophy of a successful hunt for their souls."

      After announcing its special BATHORY tribute set on June 12 as part of this year's Sweden Rock Festival, WATAIN was approached by Sweden Rock Magazine to record a BATHORY cover for a special CD. In collaboration with Sweden Rock Magazine and Season Of Mist, WATAIN put together a special CD that all subscribers of the magazine received with issue #70 (which came out on April 6). The CD consists of a cover of BATHORY's "The Return of Darkness and Evil" as well as the brand new track "Reaping Death", from WATAIN's forthcoming fourth album, "Lawless Darkness".

      The seven-inch picture-disc version of the "Reaping Death" single will be released tomorrow, on Walpurgisnacht. You can order it on Season of Mist's e-shop.

      In other news, Erik made the following statement about FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM legend Carl McCoy's contribution to the WATAIN song "Waters of Ain", to be included the "Lawless Darkness" album: "Needless to say, perhaps, but having Carl McCoy participating on the album is a great honor. To us it means a collaboration between two seemingly different but in essence very much alike forms of artistry; the rare kind that aims — and manages — to channel that primordial spark of divinity that permeates all the great works of history.

      "Carl's work has always been genuinely linked to spirituality and dark perfection, and this is why we felt it would be a perfect match. We were right."

      "Lawless Darkness" will be released on June 7 in a limited three-panel digipack edition with die-cut and a cover of DEATH SS' "Chains of Death" as a bonus track.
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