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Black Sabbath, Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne, Metallica. Guns N Roses, Megadeth, Anthrax, and tons more hard rock and heavy metal news

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  • Robert
    BLACK SABBATH guitarist Tony Iommi will undertake a select number of signings in the U.K. and New York to promote his upcoming memoir, Iron Man: My Journey
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 20, 2011
      BLACK SABBATH guitarist Tony Iommi will undertake a select number of signings in the U.K. and New York to promote his upcoming memoir, "Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven And Hell With Black Sabbath". The book will be released in the United States on November 1 in hardback by Perseus Books/DeCapo Press and in Europe on October 13 through Simon & Schuster.

      Tony will be signing copies of "Iron Man"

      * Monday, Oct. 17 - London, UK @ HMV FOPP
      * Tuesday, Oct. 18 - Birmingham, UK @ HMV

      Admission is free but a ticket is required.

      Please visit the sites below for instructions on how to secure your tickets:

      * hmv.com/hmvweb/navigate.do
      * www.facebook.com/hmv

      Please note that Tony will only be signing copies of his book "Iron Man". Any memorabilia or outside items will not be signed.

      BLACK SABBATH guitarist Tony Iommi will undertake a select number of signings in the U.K. and New York to promote his upcoming memoir, "Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven And Hell With Black Sabbath". The book will be released in the United States on November 1 in hardback by Perseus Books/DeCapo Press and in Europe on October 13 through Simon & Schuster.

      Da Capo reportedly paid a six-figure amount at auction for the rights to the 352-page book, which was described as "'Angela's Ashes' meets 'The Ground Beneath Her Feet' meets 'Spinal Tap'" by Foundry Literary + Media co-founder Peter McGuigan, who completed the North American rights deal for the memoir.

      In a recent interview with Guitar World magazine, Iommi explained how his autobiography came together. "I had a chap called TJ Lammers, who I met many, many years ago when he used to work at Phonogram Records," he said. "He later became a journalist and he had his own magazine. He lives in Holland and we've stayed in touch over the years. I've had a few people say, 'Oh, I can write a book for you,' but I wanted a different outlook to the normal music journalist, and that's what happened. He came over to England and stayed with me for a few days. Then he'd write it up, come back again and do more. The whole thing took a couple years to finish."

      When asked how his book will be different to the typical rock biography, Iommi said, "I don't know. I don't read rock biographies, so it could be the same, it could be different. It's just my life, really. It's about what happened and what I grew up from, and how I've gone through life to where I am now. It's something I probably should have done a long time ago because there are so many books out now. I've been meaning to do it for many, many years but never got around to it."

      The name "Tony Iommi" sends shivers down the spines of guitarists around the world. As lead guitarist and songwriter of BLACK SABBATH, Tony Iommi is considered to be one of the most influential musicians of the past four decades and the inventor of heavy metal. From working-class, Midlands roots, his unique playing style — a result of a disfiguring hand injury he suffered working in a sheet metal factory — created a dark and gothic sound unlike anything that had been heard before and which captured the mood of its time. SABBATH went on to become a superband, playing to massive audiences around the world and selling millions of records, and Iommi led the life of a rock star to the fullest — with the scars from all the drug-fuelled nights of excess and wildness to show for it.

      "Iron Man" is the exclusive account of the life and adventures of one of rock's greatest heroes. It chronicles the story of both pioneering guitarist Tony Iommi and legendary band BLACK SABBATH, dubbed "THE BEATLES of heavy metal" by Rolling Stone magazine. "Iron Man" reveals the man behind the icon yet still captures Iommi's humor, intelligence, and warmth. He speaks honestly and unflinchingly about his rough-and-tumble childhood, the accident that almost ended his career, his failed marriages, personal tragedies, battles with addiction, bandmates, famous friends, newfound daughter, and the ups and downs of his life as an artist.

      Everything associated with hard rock happened to BLACK SABBATH first: the drugs, the debauchery, the drinking, the dungeons, the pressure, the pain, the conquests, the company men, the contracts, the combustible drummer, the critics, the comebacks, the singers, the Stonehenge set, the music, the money, the madness, the metal.

      Brian May (QUEEN): "Tony Iommi is the true father of heavy metal, a continuously creative genius riff-meister, and one of the world's great human beings."

      Eddie Van Halen (VAN HALEN): "Without Tony, heavy metal wouldn't exist. He is the creator of heavy! Tony is a legend. He took rock and roll and turned it into heavy metal."

      James Hetfield (METALLICA): "Mr. Iommi, aka . . . The Riffmaster. It's all his fault I am where I am."

      Ozzy Osbourne (BLACK SABBATH): "Tony Iommi should be up there with the greats. He can pick up a guitar and play a riff that'd knock your fucking socks off."
      Legendary heavy metal singer Ozzy Osbourne will sign copies of his new book, "Trust Me, I'm Dr. Ozzy", at the following locations:

      Tuesday, October 11, 7:00 p.m.
      Barnes & Noble
      7881 Edinger Avenue
      Huntington, CA

      Thursday, October 13, 7:00 p.m.
      Barnes & Noble
      10775 Westview Parkway
      San Diego, CA

      Friday, October 14, 7:00 p.m.
      Barnes & Noble
      3490 Tyler Street
      Riverside, CA

      Saturday, October 15, 3:00 p.m.
      Barnes & Noble
      189 The Grove Drive
      Los Angeles, CA

      Tuesday, October 18, 7:00 p.m.
      1306 West Davis
      Conroe, TX

      Wednesday October 19, 6:30 p.m.
      Barnes & Noble
      5130 East Broadway
      Tucson, AZ

      Thursday October 20, 6:30 p.m.
      Barnes & Noble
      2191 North Rainbow Boulevard
      Las Vegas, NV

      Friday October 21, 7:00 p.m.
      Barnes & Noble
      1725 Arden Way
      Sacramento, CA

      Saturday October 22, 3:00 p.m.
      Booksmith with Amoeba Music
      1644 Haight Street
      San Francisco, CA

      In his new book "Trust Me, I'm Dr. Ozzy", Ozzy Osbourne embraces his status as a medical marvel to tell incredible stories, offer advice as only he can and shed light on his seemingly superhuman ability to stay alive. Due out October 11, "Trust Me, I'm Dr. Ozzy: Advice From Rock's Ultimate Survivor" by Ozzy Osbourne with Chris Ayres (Grand Central Publishing) is the follow-up to 2010's New York Times bestselling memoir "I Am Ozzy", which landed at #2 and #3 on the New York Times and Wall Street Journal non-fiction charts, respectively.

      Based on his ongoing Rolling Stone (U.S.) Sunday Times (U.K.) columns, "Trust Me, I'm Dr. Ozzy" will include some of the best material from the columns, as well as survival stories not found in Ozzy's memoir, his answers to celebrities' medical questions, charts and sidebars, and much more. The best way to describe this book is 100% Ozzy — part memoir and part advice column, delivered with Ozzy's famous wit and humor. It's comprised of reader-submitted medical and lifestyle questions, Ozzy digs deep into his murky past, searching for pearls of "wisdom."

      The genesis of the Dr. Ozzy columns began last year, when Ozzy decided to have his DNA mapped to determine if science could perhaps explain how he survived his nearly four decade avalanche of drugs and alcohol. The "Full Ozzy Genome" contained variants that scientists had never before encountered. In fact, the findings made headlines around the world and even led to Ozzy hosting a prestigious TED conference.

      The official book description reads as follows: "Wondering if science could explain how he survived his 40-year avalanche of drugs and alcohol, Ozzy Osbourne became one of a handful of people in the world to have his entire DNA mapped in 2010. It was a highly complex, $65,000 process, but the results were conclusive: Ozzy is a genetic anomaly. The 'Full Ozzy Genome' contained variants that scientists had never before encountered and the findings were presented at the prestigious TEDMED conference in San Diego-making headlines around the world. The procedure was in part sponsored by The Sunday Times of London, which had already caused an international fururoe by appointing Ozzy Osbourne its star health advice columnist. The newpaper argued that Ozzy's mutliple near-death experiences, 40-year history of drug abuse, and extreme hypocondria qualified him more than any other for the job. The column was an overnight hit, being quickly picked up by Rolling Stone to give it a global audience of millions. In 'Trust Me, I'm Dr. Ozzy', Ozzy answers reader's questions with his outrageous wit and surprising wisdom, digging deep into his past to tell the memoir-style survival stories never published before-and offer guidance that no sane human being should follow. Part humor, part memoir, and part bad advice, 'Trust Me, I'm Dr. Ozzy' will include some of the best material from his published columns, answers to celebrities' medical questions, charts, sidebars, and more."

      Ozzy last year said that his column in the Times is not meant to be taken seriously. "It's not a serious thing," he said. "I mean, I'm the last person to ask advice about health. It's just, it's not fit to be taken seriously. I mean — and I'm not doing it, I'm not writing the column personally, I've got a guy coming around, the guy who did my book, Chris Ayres, is doing the column. He brings me the column things and I just joke about it, you know. 'Cause if you believe me, you'll end up in the lunatic asylum."

      Ozzy said in his first column for the Times, "If people can learn from my stupid mistakes without having to repeat any of them, or if they can take some comfort from the crazy things my family has been through over the years . . . that's more than enough for me."

      Ozzy added in the column, "By all accounts, I'm a medical miracle. When I die, I should donate my body to the Natural History Museum."

      In response to a Rolling Stone reader by the name of Hugh from New Mexico who asked if he should go to one of those "rub 'n' tug" massage parlors given that his girlfriend will never know, Ozzy replied, "A hand job is a very personal thing, and after a lifetime of practice, most blokes get a pretty specific preference for the kind of technique they like. So unless you're acting as a co-pilot and barking out instructions to your dodgy masseuse every two seconds, it might end up feeling more like she's skinning a dead rabbit than driving you wild with forbidden pleasure. In fact, it sounds to me like you've already built this up in your head to the point where it's gonna be an expensive disappointment. You also ain't factored in guilt. It's all very well you telling Dr. Ozzy that 'it doesn't seem wrong' to hire an extra pair of hands to help out in the monkey-spanking department, but I'm afraid to say that if you're anything like me, your conscience won't agree."

      "I Am Ozzy" marked Ozzy's first foray into the book world; it tells his unbelievable story, for the first time, in his own hilarious, witty, and inimitable voice. In the end it was love that saved him: the love of his wife Sharon and kids Aimee, Kelly, and Jack.
      Custom hand-made Kirk Hammett (METALLICA) guitar straps made from high-end Italian leather are now available at Kirk-Hammett.com.

      Commented Kirk: "My wife Lani and our friend Era used to work on leather projects ages ago at our place in Northern California. We had so many rattlesnakes on the land (and literally on our doorstep) we had to find something useful to do with them. The workshop was laced with skins, hides, and peacock feathers. It seemed back then we were all wearing something from those hills.

      "There's always something artistic being made in our home, whether it's music, clothing, good food, and now guitar straps.

      "I really love these straps and others will appreciate their story and craftsmanship.

      "I know the concept of a guitar strap is nothing new to the world, yet I find a great need for these. They are simple (yet detailed), beautiful (and durable), extremely well made from vegetable tanned leather (in Italy no less), and just plain kick-ass!"

      San Francisco-born Kirk Hammett has been playing the guitar since 1977. Influenced by musicians such as Jimi Hendrix, Michael Schenker, and Ulrich Roth, Kirk's sound is both unique and distinctive in its own right. Since 1983, Kirk has been the lead guitar player of the band METALLICA.

      Also a San Francisco native, Era Balestrieri has been the apprentice of leather "Maestro" Ferruccio Serafini in Rome, Italy for nearly ten years. Her work has been featured in the New York Times Style magazine, Elle magazine, WWD, The LUXE Guide to Rome, and Italy's La Repubblica newspaper.

      The idea to create a line of guitar straps was born after Era made a strap as a gift for Kirk. He was instantly hooked on the comfort and weightlessness of the leather.

      Lani and Era collaborate on the design of the Kirk Hammett Guitar Straps.

      Mission statement: "Creating a relevant, well-crafted and responsible product is our goal. We make our straps from the finest quality materials, starting with vegetable-tanned leather. This leather is why these straps will perform well year after year and only get better with time. No azoic colorings, nickel, chrome or harmful chemicals of any kind are used in the tanning process. These properties make them an ideal strap for those with sensitive skin or allergies to chrome-tanned leather.

      "Initially, vegetable-tanned leather will have a stiffer feel than the chemically tanned variety; but with time and wear, this stiffness quickly yields to a soft and supple touch. This tanning process uses a high concentration of natural oils and fats and requires very little maintenance. With average use, a light coating of saddle soap once a year is all that is needed.

      "All our straps are made using leather from the Santa Croce Sull'Arno region in Italy. Known for the high-quality process of natural tanning and drum dyeing, this leather is completely biodegradable and is produced responsibly in association with the regulations established by the Vegetable Tanning Consortium of Italy. We also use full-grain hides (not to be confused with top-grain, an inferior quality) which is a natural material where slight grain variations and scratches are inherent. These are signs that the hides were not altered in any way. In fact, they highlight the caliber of a leather unmasked by sanding, varnishing, and waxes."
      According to Here Today… Gone To Hell!, GUNS N' ROSES will perform the following U.S. shows in October/November:

      Oct. 28 - Orlando, FL - Amway Center
      Oct. 29 - Miami, FL - AmericanAirlines Arena
      Oct. 31 - Greenville, SC - BI-LO Center
      Nov. 02 - Atlanta, GA - Philips Arena
      Nov. 05 - Dallas, TX - Gexa Energy Pavilion
      Nov. 12 - Kansas City, MO - Sprint Center
      Nov. 13 - Minneapolis, MN - Target Center
      Nov. 15 - Rosemont, IL - Allstate Arena
      Nov. 19 - Hartford, CT - Comcast Theatre

      More dates will be announced soon.

      GUNS N' ROSES made its first U.S. concert appearance in four years and only one of 2010 when it headlined the fifth and final night of the Rock 'N Rev Festival at the 70th annual Sturgis Bike Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota on August 13, 2010.

      GUNS N' ROSES last toured the U.S. in 2006, and has not played any other American shows since the November 2008 release of its "Chinese Democracy" album.

      "Chinese Democracy" was made available exclusively through Best Buy. The long-in-the-making, 14-song CD finally arrived 17 years after the last full-length collections of original GUNS material, "Use Your Illusion I" and "II", were released, and nine years after the non-album track "Oh My God" surfaced on the soundtrack of the movie "End Of Days".
      MEGADETH members Chris Broderick and David Ellefson will take part in six October Jackson clinics on both coasts and a couple points in between. Don't miss this great up-close opportunity to join Broderick and Ellefson as they highlight their new Jackson signature bass and guitar models during highly informative and entertaining clinics that feature scorching performance demonstrations, dynamic group discussions with question-and-answer sessions and signings with two of today's fiercest shredders.

      The dates are as follows:

      Oct. 18 - Music Zoo - Roslyn, NY
      Oct. 19 - Custom, Metal & Classic Guitars - Vineland, NJ
      Oct. 20 - Sweetwater - Fort Wayne, IN
      Oct. 25 - Spotlight Music - Ft. Collins, CO
      Oct. 26 - Bizarre Guitar - Reno, NV
      Oct. 27 - Guitar Trader - San Diego, CA
      ANTHRAX drummer Charlie Benante will throw out the first pitch at Wednesday's (September 21) Chicago Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers baseball game at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois.

      Says Charlie: "The Cubs meet the Brewers and NO, I can't wear any Yankee gear, hahahaha."

      The so-called "Big Four of 1980s thrash metal — METALLICA, SLAYER, MEGADETH and ANTHRAX — played Yankee Stadium on September 14.

      For Benante the event was extremely personal; his father, also named Charlie, was a huge baseball fan and onetime budding ballplayer, who died when Charlie Jr. was 5.

      "I would give all this up just to have my father around," Benante told ESPN.com, "but to have him be there and see me playing Yankee Stadium, I know for him it would probably be the greatest thing ever."

      Benante's father, who was scouted by the majors, would regale a four-year-old Charlie with all the stats and facts about the Yankees players while the two played catch in the backyard. "My dad was a huge Yankees fan," Charlie recalls. "I remember he always had the TV or radio on, listening to every Yankees game he could. He died when I was five, so he never knew about my success as a musician, but I know he would have been so proud of me playing Yankee Stadium. I know that in some way, he'll be there, giving me the power I'll need to knock it out of the park."
      MANOWAR has been confirmed for the Forces Of Metal festival, set to take place June 8-9, 2012 at the E3 beach in Eersel, The Netherlands.

      The festival billing is shaping up as follows (in alphabetical order):


      MANOWAR will headline the event on Friday, June 8.

      For more information, visit www.forcesofmetal.com.
      According to the usually reliable unofficial VAN HALEN web site Van Halen News Desk, VAN HALEN has yet to officially ink a deal with Columbia despite rumors that the band had signed with the label after spending its entire 35-year career at Warner Bros. An "inside source" tells VHND.com that "there have indeed been serious talks between the parties, but that, as of today, there is no signed deal," reads a posting on the site.

      VAN HALEN's already completed new studio album — its first in 27 years to feature original singer David Lee Roth — is now expected to arrive early next year.

      There has virtually no info from the VAN HALEN camp about album or tour plans. Rumors have also suggested that the band pulled out of an Australian festival tour, which was scheduled to kick off later this month.

      ALTER BRIDGE guitarist Mark Tremonti recently said in an interview that he had gotten an opportunity to hear new VAN HALEN music through his friendship with Wolfgang Van Halen, saying it sounded like "vintage VAN HALEN."

      Producer Ross Hogarth spoke with Ultimate-Guitar.com about the work he did on the project, saying, "The whole VAN HALEN record has been recorded and we're all excited. I'm really stoked about it, as it is the original band, Eddie and Alex with Wolf [Eddie's son] playing bass, and David Lee Roth singing, it's the killing side of VAN HALEN at the top of their game again with Diamond Dave, and the band on fire."

      VAN HALEN reunited with Roth in 2007 for a successful year-long reunion tour — minus original bassist Michael Anthony, who now plays with ex-VAN HALEN singer Sammy Hagar in CHICKENFOOT.
      Ex-DREAM THEATER drummer Mike Portnoy has commented on the report that he filed a lawsuit against his former bandmates in April claiming that they "wrongfully excluded" him from the group and are "wrongfully using the name of the band in connection with [their] recording of an album without the participation or consent of [Portnoy]." The drummer's complaint, which was filed on April 27, alleges that the defendants — John Petrucci (guitar), John Myung (bass), Jordan Rudess (keyboards), James LaBrie (vocals), along with associated companies Ytse Jam, Inc. and Infinity Tours, Inc. — "are wrongfully using the name of the band in connection with the promotion of live performances by the individual defendants, without the participation or consent of [Portnoy]."

      Writing on his official forum after the news broke earlier today, Portnoy said, "Everyone needs to chill out. Stop feeding into this negative poison on the net... I am legally NOT ALLOWED to speak of business matters, but I'm sure you realize there are two sides to every coin... If I could openly talk about this stuff and expalin the REALITY of everything, I would love nothing more!!! But I am legally unable to discuss it... In the meantime, life is bright and positive...I am happy and so are they....so shouldn't YOU be too??? Don't believe the hype...Carpe Diem!"

      Portnoy, who co-founded DREAM THEATER more than 20 years ago, announced his departure from the band in September 2010 while on tour with AVENGED SEVENFOLD. He has since been replaced by Mike Mangini (ANNIHILATOR, EXTREME, JAMES LABRIE, STEVE VAI).

      Portnoy played on AVENGED SEVENFOLD's latest album, "Nightmare", following the death of that band's drummer, Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan, and toured with them for the entire second half of 2010.

      DREAM THEATER's new album, "A Dramatic Turn Of Events", was released on September 13 via Roadrunner Records.
      Bill Murphy, the publicist and official webmaster of American power metallers ICED EARTH, recently conducted an interview with the band's new singer, Stu Block (INTO ETERNITY). A few excerpts from the chat follow below.

      Q: Since you've become ICED EARTH's vocalist, what has happened to you that has surprised you the most?

      Stu Block: The way that my vocal is being taken to a new level. That's a big surprise. I mean, I wasn't surprised that these guys were gonna be cool. I didn't have any expectations of anyone being jerks in the band or anything like that. Those guys are just sweet dudes. Like, they're true metalheads that just love what they do and have embraced me. But it's really the vocals. As soon as I started working with Jon with my vocal style and finding that middle range in my voice, and putting that venomous shit behind it, you know what I mean?

      Q: Yeah.

      Stu Block: And learning technique and all that stuff. That's the thing that's surprised me the most, is I knew I had it, but it just took someone to really bring it out. And Jon [Schaffer, ICED EARTH mainman] really did that. I've said it before in a few interviews, it's almost like Christmas morning. You know, my eyes, he would see it in the studio, he'd be like, "Oh my god, you look so surprised." It's like I was like, "Oh my god, this is my new toy." And so I was having fun with it, man. And it was really cool. I'm embracing this new spot in my voice. Of course, there's always going to be those high vocals, you know, those Halford-esque vocals and all that kind of stuff. And I'm always going to put that kind of stuff in there, and the lower keens, but this middle spot in my voice, the venom spot, it's fucking killer, man. It feels good.

      Q: How did it feel to let loose with one of your growls right at the start of "Dystopia"?

      Stu Block: Man, well that was kind of funny. We didn't have that at the beginning, and I was sitting there in the studio, and we were all just talking about it, because we sit there deciding if we want to add anything, or maybe take something away, who knows, right? And we're sitting there, I'm like, "Man, this is speaking to me right now." And I just said, "Listen, there's a guy being forced onto a fucking train, that's going to be taken into a prison city, shaved, vaccinated, and microchipped. He's pissed off. He does not want to get in that train." So I thought a very frustrated sort of scream at the beginning, I mean, all I did was put myself in that mindset, and I screamed like I would have screamed. And it came out like that. I heard it, and Jon was so amazing, because he's like, "Go and do it right now. Let's do this. Let's try it." He's open to all sorts of ideas. Because if you're not, hey, there was a few things I was like, "Jon, let me try this, let me try this." And he's like, "No, man, that sucked." [laughs]

      Q: Let me ask you about [former ICED EARTH singer] Matt [Barlow]. Everybody talks about Matt, everybody talks about [another ex-ICED EARTH vocalist] Tim ["Ripper" Owens], everybody talks about [the first ICED EARTH singer] Gene [Adam]. You just said that Matt played a big role in your life. Did you have, I don't even know how to phrase this question. Were you worried at all about living up to Matt or being like Matt or sounding like Matt?

      Stu Block: As much as I look up to Matt, he's great. But there's only fucking one Matt Barlow.

      Q: [laughs]

      Stu Block: And I'm not gonna be him. Ever. In a million years.

      Q: [laughs] Yeah.

      Stu Block: No one will ever, ever. I wanna get that straight. I'm being me. I can't help it if maybe there are some Matthew-esque things that come out in my vocal. It's ICED EARTH. It brings that out in ya. You know what I mean?

      Q: Yeah.

      Stu Block: But I'm scared shitless what he thinks about my album, man. [laughs]

      Q: [laughs]

      Stu Block: You know what I mean? I hope he likes it. I hope he digs it. I hope he's proud that I'm doing it. But in the end of the day, if he hates it, he hates it. [laughs] And if he's not into me as a vocalist, that's cool too. It doesn't matter. Because I'm just trying to be me. But I've talked to him, we had a brief email exchange, and he's a very sweet motherfucker, man.

      Q: Oh yeah, he's a nice guy.

      Stu Block: I talked to him a few times on tour, and he's really down to earth. And I really don't think he's, I'm sure we're gonna cross paths at some point, and we're gonna talk, and I'm going to ask him, "What'd you think?" And I'm quite prepared, but I can't worry about that, because I'm just being me. I'm Stu Block, and there's one Tim Owens, and there's only one goddamn fucking Matt Barlow.

      Q: [laughs]

      Stu Block: [laughs] I'm gonna repeat that again to all the fans out there. One of them. And that's the thing, man. And I understand why there's so many dedicated Matt Barlow fans, because I'm a dedicated Matt Barlow fan. But I have to step away from that, and do what I do as a vocalist in ICED EARTH. And be like, I'm doing what I do because that's what Jon wants me to do. He doesn't want a Matt clone. He doesn't want a Tim clone. The crazy thing is, is that I can do a lot of those different elements. That's what all those singers do.

      Q: Absolutely.

      Stu Block: But there's certain things that Tim Owens and certain range in his voice that I could never touch with the power and rasp and whatever he does to get that out. There's definitely things, I mean, I wouldn't fucking ever be able to do some of the stuff that he does. But I'm pretty sure there's some things that I do that probably Tim Owens can't do. And we all possess our different qualities. It's intimidating a little bit, because I look up to Tim Owens. He's a fucking phenomenal singer. I mean, he's so technically proficient, that it's amazing. It seems like he does it without even fucking taking a breath. [laughs]

      Q: [laughs] Yeah.

      Stu Block: And I look up to him so much. And I look up to Matt so much, and all these guys, but I have to step out of those shoes, because now I'm in a position where I have to put my fingerprint on this. And I have to do what I do, which is Stu Block, and if certain elements come out, that's OK, but I'm gonna do what I do. And that's what I do. [laughs]

      Q: Yeah. As you may have discovered so far, ICED EARTH fans are way passionate. These people are very attached to the band. In this particular question from Tarlz Bannister, she asks, "What is it like to work with the single best metal group alive?"

      Stu Block: [laughs] It's a fucking dream come true, man.

      Q: [laughs]

      Stu Block: I mean, that's all I can say. It's like waking up from the dream and, "Oh god, I'm still in this dream." [laughs] It's awesome, man. I would actually consider it, let's say if you want to, I won the lottery kind of thing. I mean, it feels so good. Here's a funny little story for you. It's been non-stop right now. It's been crazy ever since I got the gig in March, it's been non-stop. I've been flying back and forth to Indiana, then Florida, and now Europe and all this kind of stuff, and in between I'm rehearsing. I haven't even had time to think. But the only thing I've been thinking about is doing this and focusing all my energy on this. Basically, there were a couple of moments where I was like, in the shower, and I was like, "Oh my god, I can't believe this is happening" kind of thing. You know, you kind of think to yourself for a second, like, "Wow, this is crazy." But all of a sudden the phone rings and it's like, "OK, I've got to get back to business." But we were filming. We were just in New York, and we were filming two music videos. People know there'll be a video for "Dystopia". But we were filming the other music video [from the album], and basically, there was a spot where they didn't need me in the scene, but it was all the rest of the boys and they were fucking jamming. And the lights were on them, and I was sitting there. And I got this like, goose-bump feeling, and I was looking at Jon, and I was looking at all the boys, and I was like, "Oh my god, this is insane." I almost got like a lump in my throat. I couldn't believe that I was there, being a part of this magical part of metal history. I mean, ICED EARTH is metal history, and they're always continuing to make metal history. And I'm a chapter, I'm a snippet in this amazing book.

      Q: [laughs]

      Stu Block: When they stopped jamming, I walked over and I almost got a tear in my eye, and I'm like, I yell at the fucking top of my lungs, "I can't fucking believe I'm in ICED EARTH!" And, of course, Jon comes up and gives me a big hug, and the rest of the guys, they give me a hug, and it was awesome, man. It was like, the guys are so good to me, and it's been surreal. It's been amazing. I don't think words can ever describe the feeling that I have. And I think that feeling stems from passion of being a metalhead, man. I feel like I've, a feeling of accomplishment, and I feel like I'm part of this amazing chapter in ICED EARTH's history. And I hope I continue to write chapters with Jon and the rest of the guys.
      Many, including yours truly, were disappointed to hear earlier this year that Matt Barlow was stepping down as lead singer for Iced Earth. After all, the brief tenure of Tim "Ripper" Owens last decade reminded us how irreplaceable Barlow truly was. Well, guitarist/songwriter​/leader Jon Schaffer pulled the rug out of all of us when he hired Into Eternity howler Stu Block. We all knew the Canadian Block could scream with the best of them, but just how well he would fit in the more vocally flamboyant role with Iced Earth was anyone's guess.
      All fears have been swiftly laid to rest on Iced Earth's tenth album Dystopia. Not only does Block sound like a natural fit with the band, but Schaffer's written his best collection of songs since 2001's Horror Show. More concerned with conveying hooks and energy rather than sounding as epic as he could, which plagued the last three albums, the new album is a lot more succinct as a result. Stylistically nothing has changed at all; you get the rousing old school metal tunes ("Dystopia", "Anthem", "Tragedy and Triumph"), excursions into darker territory ("Days of Rage"), and a very good ballad in the same vein as "Melancholy" ("Anguish of Youth"). Schaffer pushes all the buttons that the fans want pushed, but the big difference here is how instantly memorable these new songs are. With such strong material to work with, Block knocks them clear out of the park on his debut, displaying far more range than anyone thought he had. Dystopia is a very welcome return to form, one of the year's most pleasant surprises, and I caught up with Schaffer back in August to talk about the new record and his new singer.
      How special was the Wacken performance for you and the band? I can’t ever remember seeing as nice a send-off for a singer as what Matt had.
      Jon Schaffer: It was great, man. Very emotional. There’s a lot of love there, so people can talk all the s**t they want, which there certainly has been, but at the end of the day, he’s family, and he just chose a different path. It was to be with his family and to pursue his career as a police officer. He just doesn’t want to tour like that. We’re going to hit it hard. And you know the band has to because the music industry’s changing. And not only that, man, ever since I woke up to the things that are happening around me, I’ve been revitalized, energized, and just happier in general, and I’m really excited to start this next chapter with Iced Earth. Really going out and performing. We haven’t really played that much in the last ten years, and we’ve got a very committed frontman now. It’s a cool thing, the band is re-energized. But it was a great day, it was a great evening, and a good time. It was the best send-off you could have for a guy like Matt. He’s just a great guy.
      Was Matt’s decision to leave the band a shock to you, or could you sense it was going to happen?
      When Matt came back it was under the condition of it being a part-time thing for him. So this was no surprise. The surprise came when the financial crash of 2008 happened and how that really affected the music industry and how it seems like it’s affected every industry. It’s a global situation, but the music industry is very much changing, and physical sales of product are really not the thing that bands can rely on income for anymore. Bands have to get out and work, they have to in order to remain any kind of force. So we told him, “This is what we’ve got going, man, we want you to be a part of it but we know this is different than what we discussed when you came on board.” He thought about it, there’s a big part of him that really wanted to do it. But he’s got two young boys, and he just doesn’t want to be on the road for eight months out of the year. I understand that. For me, I don’t want it either. The difference is that this has always been my career. I have never had any desire to pursue anything else, I made a commitment 25 years ago when I started this band that this what I do. I’m a songwriter, Iced Earth is my vehicle to get my songs out. That’s who I am. There is no other side to me, there is no other thing, this is it. As long as I have something to say as a songwriter, Iced Earth moves forward. If that day comes to an end, then that day is probably over.
      How did you wind up hiring Stu Block, anyway?
      I was really interested when we were talking about all this with the label, telling them there was a good chance that this was going to be the case, Robert Kampf, one of the Century Media CEOs actually mentioned Stu’s name, and I was like, “Yeah, I remember that kid from when they toured with us.” We watched some of the videos, and what I really dug was the look in his eyes, the spirit behind that. I could tell this guy’s hungry, he looks intense, and that’s the kind of frontman Iced Earth needs. But I wasn’t sure if he could really…he was using a really different voice, that’s where the audition came into effect. The thing that really sealed it was us not only seeing that he has a middle range of his voice that is fertile ground, that he never used before, he was really excited about that, but also because we could write together and that we could accomplish a lot in a very short amount of time. We did a couple original songs for his tryout as well as some of the older stuff, and I really liked what I was hearing. I think we have really cool chemistry together, and it’s nice to have a singer who can come up with some great vocal melodies and cadences, really contribute to their own parts. Not that Matt didn’t. Lyrically, Matt came up with some really cool stuff, but Stu and I worked on his parts together, and it was a very fun process. He’s got a lot to bring to the table, and he’s just now really learning about this whole middle part of his voice that he’s never used before. So it’s going to get better and better and better, and I think when you look at what we’ve accomplished in a very short amount of time, it shows what the potential is for the future.
      When it was announced that Stu had joined Iced Earth, for many familiar with Into Eternity, there was some doubt among some people because he was singing for a melodic death metal band.
      That’s the thing, man. I saw some of those people go, “Oh my god, I can’t believe he hired a death metal singer, what’s he thinking?” [laughs] I was like, “Come on, man, have a little more faith than that.” I know what I’m doing, I’ve been the captain of this ship for 25 years, I know what’s going on, and I know Stu has the ability, and I know he’s going to be a killer frontman for the band live, and he’s going to bring a whole new energy to it. It’s invigorating and fun, and we’re excited. He gets our sense of humor, everybody’s excited about this: label, management, I am, the guys in the band are, Stu is really into it. That’s the thing, man, Iced Earth has had about a decade of not having a 100 percent committed, committed on a spiritual level, frontman. We just haven’t really had that, and that’s a big deal. So now that we’ve got that, we’re back. We’re back with a vengeance.
      When exactly did you get that “eureka” moment, where you were 100% convinced Stu was the guy?
      It wasn’t on the old stuff. When we were halfway through recording the song “End of Innocence”, which was the first song we wrote together, when I was tracking him I was thinking, this kid’s got it, man. This is going to be really cool. I think it was maybe partially into the second song that we’d written together, which ended up being “Dark City”, from the vocal melodies and the tones, it was gelling pretty quick, and I said, “You’ve got the gig, dude.”
      How refreshing was it for you to step away from the big, sprawling storylines of the Something Wicked trilogy in favor of a simpler approach on Dystopia?
      It just felt like the right step. The last couple albums were difficult for me because when I was in the writing process of those records, I lost three of my family members within a span of that year. I lost my brother, my sister, and my father. And that was hardcore. I can sit and listen to those records now and realize that they weren’t as focused and arranged with the kind of energy that I would normally do. I hear it. It was a very difficult time. I think most people would have given up, and I soldiered on as best as I could, but after I had my awakening to a lot of the things that were going on around me, I’ve been much more energized and focused. That energy is culminating in Iced Earth.
      How did you come to the idea for the theme of Dystopia?
      Stu and I were talking about where we wanted to go with this. I think we both have concerns with where things are going in the world, how the parallels of some of these movies and things that are happening in real life are eerily connected. Certainly the Something Wicked story has a dystopian future in there, there’s a couple songs based on that, the opener and the closer. Not every song is dystopian, but a lot of them are, so we knew we could come up with a cool overall vibe based on rolling with that type of theme.
      Is there a song on the new album that stands out as a personal favorite?
      I love the opener “Dystopia”, I love the venom and vitriol, Stu’s voice is f**king perfect for it. And what’s so cool about it is that it shows the different stages, you’ve got that raging middle tone, you’ve got the high, Halford-like stuff, you’ve got the real melodic chorus. Just in that first song you hear a lot of different voices of Stu, which makes it great. “Anthem” is going to be a big song for us I think, it’s just so hooky. I’m really happy with all of them, but those two I think are my favorites.
      San Francisco Bay Area thrashers TESTAMENT have been spending time in the studio recording their new album, "Dark Roots Of Earth", tentatively due in February 2012 via Nuclear Blast Records.

      Due to a "serious injury," regular TESTAMENT drummer Paul Bostaph was unable to take part in the recording sessions for the CD. Playing drums on the follow-up to 2008's "The Formation Of Damnation" is Gene "The Atomic Clock" Hoglan (ex-DARK ANGEL, ex-STRAPPING YOUNG LAD, FEAR FACTORY, DETHKLOK), with LAMB OF GOD's Chris Adler set to make a special guest appearance on a couple of bonus tracks.

      Commented TESTAMENT guitarist Alex Skolnick: "We're more than halfway done recording the new album, 'Dark Roots of Earth'. It's coming along as well or better than any album this band has done. It just seems to have a focus, clarity and definition on a level that I don't remember at this point in the process. Of course, you can never truly sum up an album until all the tracks are recorded, the mixes are done and the entire collection is mastered. But from where things stand right now, it's looking like we may have a winner."

      TESTAMENT has announced that it will again be offering special VIP/Meet-And-Greet Packs on its upcoming co-headlining tour with ANTHRAX with support from DEATH ANGEL. This is your chance to spend intimate, quality time with TESTAMENT — up close and personal!

      TESTAMENT offered these packs on last year's monumental "American Carnage" tour (also featuring MEGADETH and SLAYER), which presented fans with a unique and exclusive chance to spend time with the band before doors opened, take photos and get autographs, throw up the horns, and chat. This year with the VIP/Meet-And-Greet Packs, fans will have another chance to hang out, sign autographs and take photos with the band, as well as have access to a ticket to their performance, special merchandise hand-picked by the band, and a collectible TESTAMENT laminate to commemorate this ultimate fan experience!

      TESTAMENT Meet-And-Greet Package includes (full details):

      * One General Admission ticket
      * Meet-and-greet with select members of TESTAMENT
      * Photo with select members of TESTAMENT
      * Autograph opportunity with select members of TESTAMENT
      * TESTAMENT merchandise items*
      - T-shirt of your choice from the merch booth (before doors open)
      - Opportunity to purchase a second item at half off from the merch booth (before doors open)
      - Assorted guitar picks
      - Wristband
      - Rare, out of print "Live At The Filmore" cassette
      - Original printing of "Demonic" CD
      * Collectible TESTAMENT laminate

      For more information on how to obtain your special VIP/Meet-And-Greet Pack, head over to www.slotix.com now!

      "We love connecting with our fans and showing them same the respect and admiration they show us year after year," states vocalist Chuck Billy. "Hanging out and talking to the fans was a phenomenal experience for everyone last year. It was a first for us as well as the fans. It's a great way to join us at the shows in celebration of all that is heavy metal and to make a personal connection with us, so come hang out and commemorate this great tour!"

      TESTAMENT has tapped its former drummer John Tempesta (EXODUS, WHITE ZOMBIE, ROB ZOMBIE, HELMET, THE CULT) to sit behind the kit for the band's upcoming U.S. tour with ANTHRAX and DEATH ANGEL. The trek is scheduled to kick off on October 14 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

      Although Tempesta recorded only two studio albums with TESTAMENT (1994's "Low" and 2001's "First Strike Still Deadly", a collection of re-recordings of songs from "The Legacy" and "The New Order"), he left a lasting impression on TESTAMENT guitarist Eric Peterson. "John is definitely one of the best drummers in the country," Peterson remarked. "He has the power of John Bonham, the finesse of Carter Beauford, and the aggression of Dave Lombardo. As a drummer, John really has it all."

      SADUS drummer Jon Allen sat behind the kit for TESTAMENT when the band performed in the place of IN FLAMES at the first two shows of the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival — on July 9 in San Bernardino, California and on July 10 in Mountain View, California — as well as on the group's recently completed South American tour.
      "Age Of The Joker", the new album from German melodic metallers EDGUY, has registered the following first-week chart positions:

      Germany: #3
      Czech Republic: #10
      Sweden: #10
      Switzerland: #13
      UK (Rock Chart): #14
      Finland: #15
      Norway: #26
      Austria: #30
      Spain #44
      France: #63
      Japan: #74
      Italy: #79

      Commented EDGUY vocalist Tobias Sammet: "Nuclear Blast gave us a fortune to produce this album and it was enough to even buy all sorts of useless things on top of it. When they opened their wallets, they did not know we‘d come up with the best album since 'Back In Black'. And now they even get some of their money back, fantastic!

      "It seems like the assholes who dislike the album are just a minority (of maybe 6.9297 billion people worldwide, but that‘s a different story — it just proves that a lot of asses need to be kicked yet and we start the convincing-the-world-that-EDGUY-are-the-kings-of-metal-tour next Thursday in Malmö).

      "Well, number 25 [on the 'worldwide' chart] is not too bad, considering that when those figures were ascertained, the album wasn‘t even out in a lot of countries (e.g. Canada, USA...)...

      "Jesus, aren‘t we great? God bless you, especially those who bought the album and also the fuckers who think we‘re a bunch of losers without talent."

      "Age Of The Joker" was released in Europe on August 29 via Nuclear Blast Records. The CD was recorded at Peppermint Park studio (SCORPIONS, PHIL COLLINS) in Hannover, which was previously described by the group as "a recording temple with a tremendously great-sounding room." The album features 11 songs with a total running time of over one hour. The limited-edition digipack contains a bonus disc with six additional songs.

      "Age Of The Joker" track listing:

      01. Robin Hood
      02. Nobody's Hero
      03. Rock Of Cashel
      04. Pandora's Box
      05. Breathe
      06. Two Out Of Seven
      07. Faces In The Darkness
      08. The Arcane Guild
      09. Fire On The Downline
      10. Behind The Gates To Midnight World
      11. Every Night Without You

      Limited-edition bonus disc track listing:

      01. God Fallen Silent
      02. Aleister Crowley Memorial Boogie
      03. Cum On Feel The Noize (SLADE cover)
      04. Standing In The Rain
      05. Robin Hood (single version)
      06. Two Out Of Seven (single version)

      EDGUY's new video, "Robin Hood", can be seen below. Video director Oliver Sommer (AVANTASIA, NENA, HELLOWEEN) and the band decided to satirize the Errol Flynn film "The Adventures Of Robin Hood". The miniature epic was shot in the forest with a large number of additional actors, starring German TV comedian Bernhard Hoecker in two different leading roles.
      ARCH ENEMY are going to hit the US soil pretty soon with the 'North American Khaos Tour' and METAL KAOZ got in touch with the band's charismatic guitarist Mike Ammot to learn all the latest news and find out what will happen during the US tour. Do we have to mention how much METAL KAOZ loves ARCH ENEMY's new album title? Read the reason why...

      Hey Mike, how are you?
      I am good, man. We are at home, rehearsing and getting ready to hit the road on the US and Canada tour. We are preparing a special setlist for those dates. We have just played a couple of summer festival in Europe and we are preparing to go on tour again.
      How many songs are you rehearsing for this upcoming tour?
      In total? Hmm, I am not sure and I do not know how long the setlist will turn out. We plan to include four or five songs from the new album “Khaos Legions” and a whole bunch of other stuff so, I think it is going to be a good show. We will have some new “toys” for this tour and among them is the new video footage synchronized with the music that looks great!
      Will you be changing the setlist every night or are you planning to keep it the same?
      Usually, when we find a good set of songs we tend to keep it throughout the entire tour. Because when we find a good song flow we want to keep it. But, you never know there might be a few surprises here and there.
      Can playing the same string of songs every night be a little bit boring for you?
      No, not really. It’s like somebody asked Ritchie Blackmore if he ever got bored playing with DEEP PURPLE “Smoke On The Water”. And he said no, because it is a great a song, the fans love it and that makes it a high moment in every concert. I think in a sense it is the same way for us. We don’t really love rehearsing songs like “We Will Rise”, “Nemesis” or “Dead Eyes See No Future” but when we play them live they connect so well with the fans that it becomes a very exciting moment.
      Usually, in the shows you play an instrumental track with a lot of guitar work; do you have something ready for this tour?
      Yeah, we had prepared a guitar and a drum solo. This is something we love doing and I think it adds different dynamics into the show. Since we do not have ballads (laughs) there is no other way to change the flow of the show. I think adding softer instrumental tracks works in the shows.
      After the US/Canada days you have one gig in Japan…
      Yeah, in Japan we play in a big festival and we are co-headliners with WHITESNAKE.
      Are there plans to add more shows in Japan? After all, those guys seem to love ARCH ENEMY.
      Yes, we are going to get back next year with a full headlining Japan tour and other Asian countries. But these have to wait until for 2012.
      So, it seems 2012 to be fully booked for you…
      Yeah, 2012 will be another big ARCH ENEMY year! We are also coming to Greece and I think this is where you are calling from right?
      No, in fact I am in Chicago, US.
      (laughs) But Dimitris is kind of Greek right?
      Yes, it is and I am from Greece but I live in the US.
      Great! So, we start in Greece next year (in January I think) with a couple of shows (Athens and Thessaloniki) then we have some dates in that region before hitting a full scale European tour.
      That sound awfully busy…
      Yes it does but it is fun since we have a new album “Khaos Legions” and we haven’t really done a full tour for that apart from some festivals.
      You do know that our site is called METAL KAOZ, right? So, I think I have to thank you for the promotion…
      (laughs) Yeah, I saw that, so it seems I have to thank you also! (laughs)
      The new album kind of sounds a little bit more melodic than the previous one…
      Yeah, but to tell you the truth I really don’t know. I am doing a lot of interviews and some people think it is dirtier, more aggressive and some say it is softer, more melodic (laughs). But, this is the cool thing with music that is a subjective experience, isn’t it? It is different for everybody and hopefully is a good experience for most of the fans. I think the new album has all the elements that you’d expect from an ARCH ENEMY album: the drumming, the guitar work and of course Angela’s voice. I think we have written some really good songs and in fact we had some pretty good reactions to the new songs when we played them live in Europe. And that I think validates the fact that we are on the right track.
      You mentioned Angela’s voice and I have to ask you: does she use any type of distortion in the studio or while onstage?
      You know Andy Sneap mixed our album and he just used in her vocals the same stuff he uses with any other band; so, we are talking about some compression and some delay and nothing out of the ordinary.
      You have also a signature Dean guitar model. So, what was your input in designing this model?
      When I was in Tampa, Florida  - where they are based - I was invited in their HQ and met all the people, talked about the guitars and the models, visited the wood shop and talked about tones, sounds, different techniques  and about the previous guitar model I had from another company. We talked about the things that I didn’t like in my previous guitar and in the end I think we had two or three prototypes and then finalized our decision. So, I was very much involved in the process. I really love guitars and all the gear since after all these are my tools that help me create my sound.
      You have also a North US competition planned giving away one of this guitar models.
      Yes, that’s right we are giving away one of this new models.
      So, please note down my name for that…
      Ok, I will! I think we are having a little bit of corruption going on here (laughs).
      Ok, so is it true that you are handling the management / booking of ARCH ENEMY?
      Yes, I mean we‘ve been self-managed since 2008, we were with a massive company before called Sanctuary but I think now it’s much better. Angela’s is in charge of the management of the band and she runs the day-to-day business and she is very involved. It’s a big job, you know. But we are much happier than how we worked before. That doesn’t mean anything bad about the people that we’ve worked before but there is a real good feeling to be in control of your own future. We can plan our future the way we want and I think we got a bit lucky of course, on touring around the world, we had the opportunity to play almost in every corner of the world and that’s the touring advantage of course. We are just love doing it! We’re much happier now. Maybe too happy to play such dark music (laughs).
      (laughs) Well, the new album took you almost 4 years after the previous one to be released; so, can we expect the next ARCH ENEMY album in 2015?
      Hopefully a little bit earlier than 2015. This album took a while to come out because after with "Rise Of The Tyrant" we wanted to hit the road and started touring like crazy all over the place. In 2008 we separated with our management and took sometime to re-structure everything and while Angela was doing that I joined with the guys from CARCASS and - I don't know if you are aware of it - we did reunion show across the world in 2008 and 2009. When I was of

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