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Alice Cooper, Geoff Tate's Queensryche, Slayer, Anthrax, Volbeat, Skid Row and tons more hard rock and heavy metal news

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  • Robert
    Dark Matter Publishing LLC, a transmedia company that specializes in the publication and transformation of comic, graphic, and young adult books into film and
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 30, 2013
      Dark Matter Publishing LLC, a transmedia company that specializes in the publication and transformation of comic, graphic, and young adult books into film and television, is launching a Kickstarter campaign for its brand-new property, "Uncle Alice Presents".

      "Uncle Alice Presents" is a shock-rock, genre-bending comic book series, graphic novel, and television pilot featuring the legendary Alice Cooper. Each issue tells a story of the grim and macabre seen through the eyes of Uncle Alice, the gatekeeper of the netherworld between heaven and hell. From paintings that seek revenge to mad scientists that crossbreed beach babes with fish, the things Uncle Alice will share are just plain creepy… like, they really creep him out.

      Dark Matter has been working on developing "Uncle Alice Presents"' Kickstarter campaign for months, seeking out the best writers, artist, and story lines for the project before launching. The company was initially hesitant to introduce such a huge project, but the recent successful Veronica Mars Kickstarter has set their minds at ease. The campaign has set its goal at $200,000 to finance the series of twelve comic books, but if the Kickstarter reaches $500,000, Dark Matter will also make the television pilot.

      "Our goal is to bring our backers the greatest value for their pledges," says company CEO Todd Moyer. "We're asking as little as we possibly can to produce a large variety of original content. We're also looking forward to giving backers the chance to be a part of the creative process by entering our story line creation contest."

      Dark Matter wants to make the campaign fun and interactive, which is why backers of $10 or more are allowed to submit a story idea to the creative team. At the end of the campaign, the creative team will choose 10 finalists for backers to vote on, and will make the winning idea into an issue of the comic book.

      The ultimate goal is, of course, to turn "Uncle Alice Presents" into a television series, which can be previewed through original branded video content, which will be released on YouTube over the course of the month. "But first," Moyer concludes, "let's get the comics made!"
      Nina Noir (pictured below) was selected by Geoff Tate to take part in the 2013 QUEENSRŸCHE tour after making a guest appearance on the band's new album, "Frequency Unknown". She will be singing a duet with Geoff on the group's epic song, "Suite Sister Mary".

      Nina mastered speech level singing with renowned vocal coach Seth Riggs. In 2011 she performed on "America's Got Talent", where she received high praise from Sharon Osbourne. She has gone on to form THE LIONS, a rock band based out of San Francisco, California. They are currently recording their debut album with producer Jason Slater (QUEENSRŸCHE, THIRD EYE BLIND, SMASHMOUTH, SNAKE RIVER CONSPIRACY). She has played many roles in music and is currently fronting an all-female QUEEN tribute band called THE KILLER QUEENS as Frederica Mercury. The girls have headlined sold-out shows on their winter tour and are currently booking dates for their 2013 summer tour across the Western United States.

      Deadline Music/Cleopatra has released the following statement to BLABBERMOUTH.NET regarding the reports that "Frequency Unknown", the new album from the Geoff Tate-fronted version of QUEENSRŸCHE, was being remixed by acclaimed musician, record producer and engineer Billy Sherwood:

      "Since previews of the new QUEENSRŸCHE album were made available to the general public on iTunes and other digital retailers, some of the response has been less than positive. Some complained about the overall quality of the recordings, and in particular the mix. We here at Deadline Music have the utmost confidence in the powerful songwriting and outstanding performances from Geoff Tate and crew on this album, but we also want the fans to know that we are listening to them as well! So, in the interest of democratic free choice, Deadline Music has commissioned the superbly talented musician/producer Billy Sherwood (formerly of YES) to remix the album. Now fans will be able to decide which mix they feel best represents the album: the original mix, which will be released on April 23rd, or the new mix by Billy Sherwood that will be made available at a future date to be announced…. WE REMIX, YOU DECIDE!"

      Sherwood revealed in a posting on his Facebook page on Monday that he was hired to remix "Frequency Unknown". Sherwood wrote: "[It] seems there are sonic issues with the previous versions and so I shall be fixing it for all to enjoy. [I am] starting on it [Wednesday] morning [March 27]."

      "Frequency Unknown" was produced by Jason Slater at a studio in Northern California.

      Although a lineup for Tate's QUEENSRŸCHE was originally announced in the fall of 2012, things have changed. The band will now feature Tate along with bassist Rudy Sarzo (OZZY OSBOURNE, DIO, WHITESNAKE, QUIET RIOT), guitarist Kelly Gray (QUEENSRŸCHE 1998-2001), keyboardist Randy Gane and new additions, guitarist Robert Sarzo (QUIET RIOT, HURRICANE) and drummer Simon Wright (AC/DC, DIO, RHINO BUCKET). Guest musicians on the CD include K.K. Downing (JUDAS PRIEST), Chris Poland (MEGADETH), Ty Tabor (KING'S X), Paul Bostaph (SLAYER, TESTAMENT, EXODUS), Lita Ford, Brad Gillis (NIGHT RANGER), Dave Meniketti (Y&T) and Craig Locicero (FORBIDDEN).

      "Frequency Unknown" is packaged with bonus tracks — four QUEENSRŸCHE classics, newly recorded, including the smash hit single "Silent Lucidity".

      "Frequency Unknown" track listing:

      01. When Lightning Strikes
      02. Running Backwards
      03. Fallen
      04. Life Without You
      05. In The Hands Of God
      06. Cold
      07. The Weight Of The World
      08. Slave
      09. Dare
      10. Everything

      Bonus tracks: (2013 versions)

      11. Silent Lucidity
      12. Empire
      13. Jet City Woman
      14. I Don t Believe In Love

      Tate, who was fired from QUEENSRŸCHE in June 2012 after fronting the group for three decades, last year sought to prevent his former bandmates from touring and operating under the QUEENSRŸCHE name without him. While ruling against Tate, the presiding judge determined that there was no legal hurdle in Tate also using the name with an all-new lineup of musicians. "I don't see any reason that Mr. Tate can't have the benefit, if he gets other members, of whatever name he uses of using the brand," Superior Court Judge Carol A. Schapira said during the July 13, 2012 court hearing. "I think [doing that would be] inherently confusing, although I'm sure the market can get these things sorted out," she added.

      Last November, Tate released his first solo CD in over a decade titled "Kings & Thieves" (InsideOut Music) and toured with his solo band in support of the CD, which included dates with the legendary ALICE COOPER.
      An updated version of VH1's "Behind The Music" documentary on TWISTED SISTER, "Behind The Music Remastered: Twisted Sister", will premiere on VH1 Classic in the U.S. on Saturday, March 30 at 9:00 p.m. EST. The new version contains footage of the band's triumphant reunion for a New York 9/11 tribute rock concert, their successful X-rated Christmas album, and interview clips with the bandmembers on why they abandoned the makeup and continue to rock to this day.

      "Behind The Music Remastered: Twisted Sister" description: "The cross-dressing video pioneers who brought us 'We're Not Going To Take It' and 'I Wanna Rock' were on top of the world in the mid-'80s, but fell from grace, becoming the whipping boys for everything bad about rock."

      Check out a preview clip below.

      In a February 2011 interview with the Detroit Rock Blog, TWISTED SISTER guitarist Jay Jay French stated that the original "Behind The Music" documentary on the band, which premiered in August 2001, "was so negatively cut and it was so damaging to the band on a personal level, I thought any dream I had [of the band ever reuniting] would've gone down the tubes at that moment."

      In "Remastered", VH1 Classic takes the best episodes from the award-winning "Behind The Music" series, condenses the original episode, and then updates the viewer on what the artist or band has been up to since the original show premiered.

      Launched in May 2000, VH1 Classic is a 24-hour network that present videos, concerts and music specials all day long, featuring the best of rock, soul and pop artists from the '60s, '70s, '80s and '90s, including THE BEATLES, THE ROLLING STONES, TINA TURNER, LED ZEPPELIN, MICHAEL JACKSON, THE WHO, STEVIE WONDER, THE POLICE, BON JOVI, POISON and many more.
      Shock rocker Marilyn Manson will be the face of a new Saint Laurent ad campaign. Scene editor Peter Davis and Nicola Formichetti both posted a close-up shot of Manson in thick eyeliner, black lipstick and a shiny leather jacket. Davis wrote on Facebook: "Marilyn Manson in the new Saint Laurent ads. Thoughts?" On Instagram, Nicola wrote simple, "Amazing." The campaign is expected to start soon.

      Another musician that previously modeled for Saint Laurent was Beck Hansen, who appeared in creative director Hedi Slimane's advertisement campaign last season.
      The Age Of Metal conducted an interview with guitarist Gary Holt of San Francisco thrash metal veterans EXODUS prior to their March 24 concert in Tempe, Arizona during the "Metal Alliance Tour" with ANTHRAX, HIGH ON FIRE, MUNICIPAL WASTE and HOLY GRAIL. You can now watch the chat below.

      On EXODUS' next studio album:

      Holt: "It's gonna be brutal. They all are, though, but we try to do something a little bit different each time out while maintaining our identity, and this one will be no different. I'm certainly writing really angry stuff."

      On why EXODUS was forced to miss a couple of shows on the "Metal Alliance Tour" — at the the House of Blues venues in Lake Buena Vista, Florida and Anaheim, California, both properties owned by the Disney corporation — while headliners ANTHRAX were still allowed to play:

      Holt: "Well, ANTHRAX… Probably, it could be lyrically, because they're more about politics, we're more about killing people, Satan and shit. I think it has to do with our audience, though, 'cause ANTHRAX's and the other bands' audiences are rowdy, too, but some of our fans get a little bit overboard. I mean, we've been banned from the Whisky [A Go Go] for a number of years — since the last time we played there. I mean, we sold the place out, they madea million dollars and they still won't have us back — 'cause the crowd was too off the hook; they were afraid they'd smash the place into pieces. It could have something to do with that. It could just have to do with our relationship with Satan and the Dark One… I don't know. It's a good question, because until their tour got canceled, they had no problem booking CRADLE OF FILTH, but not EXODUS. So I think it might be they're afraid of the audience — the 'wall of death' and all that shit. They don't want someone getting hurt. I don't want anyone getting hurt."

      On playing with SLAYER for the past couple of years as the temporary replacement for Jeff Hanneman, who is still recovering from necrotising fasciitis, a flesh-eating disease which he is believed to have gotten from a spider bite:

      Holt: "I'm playing with a lot of old friends — I've been best friends with those guys forever — so it wasn't, like, 'Oh, you're going in and playing with SLAYER'; I never viewed it like that. I'm just doing something different and it's kind of cool and I get to go out and play some songs I've always loved. It's fun and we have a good time."

      On whether there is a chance that he will participate in the recording process for the next SLAYER album:

      Holt: "I have no idea. We're just all hoping Jeff gets better. I'm just keeping his seat warm until he's ready come back and bring the pain."
      METALLICA guitarist Kirk Hammett joined ANTHRAX on stage last night (Thursday, March 28) at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco, California to perform a cover version of the AC/DC classic "TNT". Fan-filmed video footage of his appearance can be seen below.

      Speaking to Music Radar, ANTHRAX drummer Charlie Benante stated about the band's decision to cover "TNT" on its newly released "Anthems" EP: "This was Joey's [Belladonna, vocals] track. We already had 'Whole Lotta Rosie' recorded, but he wanted 'TNT'. I can see why: his voice totally lends itself to this track.

      "AC/DC is probably one of the greatest bands ever. The came in with a certain sound, and they'll end with that same exact sound. They never altered it; they just stayed true to what they were. To me, that's an honest-to-goodness rock 'n' roll band.

      "It would have been obvious to pick something off of 'Highway To Hell' or 'Back In Black', and so we didn't. [laughs] I studied every Phil Rudd lick, and I did not go overboard with anything. I played exactly what he played on 'TNT'. You can't do a fast drum fill on the song — it'll stand out as being out of place. I laid it down, pulled it back, and that was that."

      Slash joined ANTHRAX on stage Wednesday night in Hollywood, California for the TNT" cover. And then, later in the show, Chuck D came out for "Bring The Noise", the song ANTHRAX and PUBLIC ENEMY recorded together in 1991.

      Also in the House Wednesday night were SLAYER's Kerry King, John Tempesta from THE CULT, Justin Chandellor from TOOL, DETHKLOK/"Metalocalpyse"'s Brendon Small and actor/musician Brian Posehn.

      The "Metal Alliance Tour", which also features EXODUS, HIGH ON FIRE, MUNICIPAL WASTE and HOLY GRAIL, will stay on the road through late April.

      "Anthems", ANTHRAX's long-awaited, eight-track EP that pays tribute to the classic songs by some of the band's favorite acts from the 1970s, sold around 8,500 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 52 on The Billboard 200 chart. The CD was released in North America on March 19 (MRI/Megaforce), and on March 22 in Europe (Nuclear Blast).

      ANTHRAX's latest full-length album, "Worship Music", sold 28,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at No. 12. The band's previous studio CD, 2003's "We've Come For You All", opened with just under 10,000 units to debut at No. 122.
      Robyn Vagnozzi of Screamer Magazine recently conducted an interview with guitarist/vocalist Michael Poulsen of Danish/American metal rock 'n' rollers VOLBEAT. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.

      On whether fusing thrash, rockabilly, metal, country and western, punk and everything in between helps or hinders VOLBEAT's success:

      Poulsen: "If anything, it's helped us, because these days it's so tough to come up with stuff you haven't heard before, but we were not even aware we had something special going on; people were talking and saying we had something special and unique. We didn't see it. When we did the first two albums people were talking all the time about how unique we were but we were totally aware of who we were inspired by so we just said, 'We don't know that; we just like these kinds of bands.' So we just kept doing what we were doing, and we still heard how special and unique we were and maybe at the same time we thought that maybe there were youngsters who really had tough times and they identified with us and I can truly understand that. We did meet people who didn't understand what VOLBEAT was all about and they'd say, 'Well, you're not 100% metal or you're not a 100% rock and we'd say, 'You're right!' We are 100% everything that inspired us so we don't need to be 100% only metal. So fine by me; I grew up with all these legendary performers of the '50s and all these heavy metal bands."

      On VOLBEAT's commercial success in their homeland:

      Poulsen: "Well, when we tour Europe we pull around 10,000 to 17,000 people and that's amazing. And we've been touring America again and we can see every time we come back the venues are getting bigger and the ticket sales are getting stronger. On this run, we're playing for about 1500 to 60,000 people every night and that's a really cool achievement for a band coming out of Denmark. We can see the band growing — we've got good airplay here in America, we're gaining new fans discovering VOLBEAT who seem to really be embracing the band. When we toured with METALLICA and did our own headlining shows after that; a lot of people would tell me, 'We discovered you at the METALLICA show.' We have a lot of fans who were already VOLBEAT fans but some fans discovered us solely through Gigantour. It's always an honor to be opening for legendary bands like METALLICA and MOTÖRHEAD, because it always brings new fans."

      On lineup changes:

      Poulsen: "Yeah, you know, it's just…ah… I don't know what it is. I don't like to backstab people, because you never get anything out of that, as you know. But being in a band is just like being in a marriage, and sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't, and when there are problems, you try to fix that, and if the problem doesn't get better, it's better that you're splitting. And it's the same thing being in a band — if the problems don't get better, it's just better for everybody that you split and go separate ways. The thing here is that Jon [Larsen], Anders [Kjølholm] and I have known each other for so many years; Jon and I over 20 years; Anders and I almost 15 years. It is a very strong brotherhood and we take good care of each other and our crew; we want everyone to behave and just be good people. Sometimes people change, and like I said, it is like a marriage where sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't, so there have been a few guys where it didn't work out in the end, and I have nothing against those guys; it is what it is and we still had a really good time with these guys and we wish them the best and there will be a day when we sit down and have a beer, laugh and remember our good times."

      On VOLBEAT's new album, "Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies", which is due next month:

      Poulsen: "When I started writing the first couple of songs, I could definitely sense that it had inspiration from all the old western outlaw movies that I had been watching as a kid with my daddy, so I decided now is the right time to do something about it and I started writing lyrics to fit those songs and they were about legendary outlaws and shady ladies from the 1800s and I also started getting pictures in my head of characters, so I called up an illustrator friend to talk about what I wanted those characters to look like and it turned out to be the totally right thing for us to do; the music, the cover, everything fit so well into that molded universe. I'm so proud because I feel we reached what we wanted with this album. It is a concept album somehow since you can hear in the melodies the inspiration of the old western movies, which is also what the lyrics are all about and what the cover art is all about, so somehow it feels a little like a concept album but the stories are not connected."

      On the CD's first single, "Cape Of Our Hero":

      Poulsen: "It's a song that's a little bit more laid back than the rest of the songs. A lot of guys can relate to the lyrics because it's about growing up and what do you want to be when you grow up — a lot of boys read comic books about super heroes and look up to their daddies as some kind of hero. So the lyrics are about this kid who has a good imagination with superheroes and he looks at his dad as a hero. So when he loses his dad, he stops believing in his superheroes too, and he has an idea that if angels exist, because they have wings, he might catch an angel to fly him up to see his superhero and get a cape to fly around and look for his dad. It's very emotional, but I'm very proud of it. It might be too much for some people and not for others, but we can honestly say we are very proud of it and everything comes straight from the heart."
      SKID ROW guitarist Dave "Snake" Sabo was interviewed on this past Monday night's (March 25) edition of the "Eddie Trunk Live" show on SiriusXM satellite radio. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET):

      On the split with former SKID ROW singer Sebastian Bach:

      Sabo: "Basically, in all honesty, it just didn't work out anymore. It worked for awhile, and then it didn't work.

      "I've always said this: he's a great singer, a great frontman. The two of us, or maybe all of us, stopped getting along.

      "I've always been the one, personally, that I live my life a certain way where if it's not fun anymore and not enjoyable, I have to get away from it. Life is too short — I want positivity in my life — and I'm sure he felt the same way. I think that we just got to a point where we did what we would do up until that particular point and it was time to go different ways.

      "I have no animosity towards him whatsoever, I wish him all the best, I hope he does wonderful things; he's done well for himself. But, for me, my main focus is right now, with SKID ROW. I have a relationship with the other four members in my band that I'm really proud of and really happy of, and I'm happy to be creating new music and promoting it."

      On being photographed (see below) hanging out with Bach on October 15, 2012 at the DUFF MCKAGAN'S LOADED concert at the Viper Room in West Hollywood, California:

      Sabo: "In all honesty, it wasn't a bad thing [seeing Sebastian]. The situation was Duff McKagan was playing, and I manage Duff, and so I was at the show. A person from my office, that works with me with Duff, had told me when I got there that Sebastian was there with his girl. And I was, like, 'That's cool. Whatever. If we see each other, great.'

      "Again, I have no animosity. I don't have any ill will or anything like that; that's just not my nature. Man, I love life too much to carry that with me; it's a burden and it weighs you down and I don't want that.

      "So when he happened to be standing my the dressing room, I was inside the dressing room, and we saw each other, we kind of walked over to each other, shook each other's hand. And it was good to see him. That's not to say we're putting the band back together or anything like that, but it was good to see him. I mean, he was cool — he wasn't over the top or crazy or anything like that. I mean, he had his girl [with him]; she was very nice. We talked for about ten or fifteen minutes, and I told him about what was going on with my personal life as well. And that was really the extent of it. I told him I was happy for him, whatever he was doing, going out and touring and making new music, and it really didn't go beyond that. Except for taking the picture, which, of course, in this day and age, you put that out there and it just uncovers tons of speculation and [talk about] 'what could be?' [and] 'what might be?' … whatever. But, to me, it was just…

      "I've never ran away from our past at all — I embrace it, I think we have created some amazing stuff together throughout the first ten years of the band, but there's also… I'm in this band here and now, and that's what I concentrate on."

      On how he and his SKID ROW bandmates — including current singer Johnny Solinger — deal with Sebastian Bach's name constantly being brought up in connection with the group:

      Sabo: "I think that at the very beginning, when Johnny got in the band and that same sort of question was posed, but it was posed in, 'How do you fill your old singer's shoes?' And he was, like, 'I wear my own shoes.' And that's kind of the approach that we've taken all along.

      "No one wanted Johnny to be, or attempt to be, Sebastian No. 2. I mean, Sebastian is his own entity in his own right, and Johnny is as well. I'm actually pretty amazed that after all this time, people still talk about it; I mean, it was a long time…

      "Again, I look at all of it as a blessing. I mean, I look at those records we made with Sebastian as a blessing. I look at the music and the records that we're making with Johnny in the same light. We might not sell the same amount of records, obviously; it's a different day and age and we're a lot older. But I've always predicated my life on how much happiness I get out of what I do.

      "I'm not one to sit there and partake in things that are gonna be detrimental to my happiness; I won't do it. And I've walked away from stuff… I walked away from the SKID ROW thing where we were making a lot of money, and I just said… And a lot of people felt the same way, in the band and outside of our band, business [people that we were working with], that it just wasn't fun anymore; it lost a lot of its… well, you lose the innocence, but it lost a lot of the fervor, just the fun of creating. We became different people. Success will do that to people. Adversity will do that to people.

      "People say adversity builds character. I think that's bullshit. I think adversity reveals character. And so when that character is revealed, and when you're down in the trenches, then you get to know each other on a real level, man, and you realize that, maybe we're not that compatible, maybe we had a moment in time, and we should be thankful for that moment in time, but now that time has passed and it's time to move on."

      Bach in July 2012 posted a letter on his Facebook page in which he said he was willing to reunite with SKID ROW. "For the fans, I would be willing to put my ego aside and do something that would be special for the people who put us where we are today," he wrote. "I do not personally want it myself. But it's not always about 'what I want.' If the fans really want to see us together, I would do it for the fans. Sometimes you can do things for people other than yourself."

      Bach said he wanted to write the letter in response to current SKID ROW singer Johnny Solinger's interview in which Johnny said a recent tweet by Bach about a possible SKID ROW reunion was an attempt to "get attention."

      In addition to playing guitar in SKID ROW, Sabo works as DOWN's manager at McGhee Entertainment.

      The first new release from SKID ROW since 2006's "Revolutions Per Minute", "United World Rebellion - Chapter One" is the first of three plus three EPs that will be made available over the next 18 months. Some of the sessions for the CD, which was mastered in February, took place at Open Sky Studio, the Atlanta, Georgia-based facility owned and operated by producer/drummer Mike Froedge (DREADED MARCO, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, DOUBLEDRIVE, SPEED X), and the Bonehead Studio, also in Atlanta.

      Release dates are as follows:

      North America: April 16
      European Union: May 24
      United Kingdom: May 27
      Rest of the world: May 27
      According to The Pulse Of Radio, the Chicago Tribune reported on Thursday (March 28) that a Lollapalooza poster leaked online Wednesday night (March 27) was legitimate, providing fans with an accurate snapshot of this year's lineup a week ahead of its official unveiling. According to the poster, previously confirmed headliners MUMFORD AND SONS, THE KILLERS and PHOENIX have been joined by THE CURE and NINE INCH NAILS. Other acts include VAMPIRE WEEKEND, THE POSTAL SERVICE, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, THE NATIONAL, NEW ORDER, THE LUMINEERS and others.

      The lineup will be officially revealed next week, one week ahead of the original date of April 9.

      There will also be a new on-sale date for single day tickets, with three-day passes already sold out.

      Lollapalooza will take place on August 2-4 at Grant Park in Chicago.

      NINE INCH NAILS mainman Trent Reznor revealed last month that the band will embark on an extensive U.S. tour this summer. Joining Reznor in the group's latest incarnation will be Eric Avery (JANE'S ADDICTION), Adrian Belew (KING CRIMSON), and Josh Eustis (TELEFON TEL AVIV), along with previous NIN collaborators Alessandro Cortini and Ilan Rubin.

      In early 2009, Reznor announced that NINE INCH NAILS was embarking on a 20th-anniversary farewell tour, after which he stayed busy recording with HOW TO DESTROY ANGELS, writing music for "Call of Duty: Black Ops 2" and scoring "The Social Network" and "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" with composer Atticus Ross.
      Aniruddh "Andrew" Bansal of GuitarWorld.com recently conducted an interview with guitarist Tim Sult of Maryland rockers CLUTCH. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

      GuitarWorld.com: It's been four years since the last CLUTCH album, which represents the longest time between CLUTCH releases. Was there any special reason for the long break?

      Sult: You know what?! I don't think we even realized it's been so long between albums until we started doing interviews for this album. At least I didn't, anyway. I guess between the time of "Strange Cousins" and "Earth Rocker", we were touring a lot, and we also worked up a bunch of acoustic stuff as well. We went into the studio and recorded a few acoustic songs for the re-release of "Blast Tyrant". So we were doing that as well, and I guess time just got away from us. We didn't realize it has been this long.

      GuitarWorld.com: CLUTCH often has been associated with various rock sub-genres, but "Earth Rocker" is more of a straight-up hard rock and roll album. Would you agree that's a fitting description?

      Sult: Yeah, that's a good description. The album definitely showcases the hard rock side of CLUTCH, for sure. The focus is definitely always on writing good songs, but we took more of a hard rock approach this time. We're pretty happy with the result.

      GuitarWorld.com: I read somewhere that the aim was to capture the live energy of the band onto the album. Do you think you've achieved that?

      Sult: Yes, definitely. It captures the live energy of the band better than possibly any of our studio albums.

      GuitarWorld.com: It's also the kind of album where almost all the songs lend themselves to inclusion in your live sets. It has a natural flow to it, almost like a CLUTCH setlist rather than a studio album.

      Sult: I agree with you totally. Out of all the CLUTCH albums, this will be the easiest one to play live, and the most enjoyable. We'll be adding a lot of the new songs to the setlists, for sure, but we do switch up the setlist every night so there could be some shows where you get no new material whatsoever, or something close to that. We switch it up so much that you never know what we're going to play. Knowing us, we'll just get sick of all the "Earth Rocker" songs within six months and start playing new songs. You never know. [laughs]
      "Earth Rocker", the new album from Maryland rockers CLUTCH, has registered the following first-week chart positions:

      Norway: #13
      Sweden: #14
      USA: #15
      Finland: #50
      UK: #50
      Germany: #71

      "Earth Rocker" sold 22,000 copies in the Unites States in its first week.

      CLUTCH's previous CD, "Strange Cousins From the West" (2009), opened with 13,000 units to land at position No. 38.

      2007's "From Beale Street To Oblivion" registered a first-week tally of around 15,000 to enter the chart at No. 52.

      CLUTCH's 2005 effort, "Robot Hive / Exodus", debuted on the chart at No. 93 after premiering with 13,000 copies.

      Released via CLUTCH's own Weathermaker Music label, "Earth Rocker" entered the German Media Control chart at No. 71. In the U.K., the CD landed at No. 50 on the regular chart, No. 3 on the Rock/Metal Albums chart and No. 11 on the Independent Albums chart.

      Weathermaker Music label manager Stefan Koster said in a statement: "Weathermaker Music is thrilled with this result."

      He continued: "The release campaign began six months ago. We executed on our worldwide plan by integrating touring, promotion, retail and digital marketing as well as specialty/metal and Active Rock radio campaigns in a perfect sequence. Our partners around the world backed us up. RED Music's extraordinary support made much of this possible. But in the end, none of it would have been the same without this great album. CLUTCH is the quintessential American rock band!"

      Produced by Machine (LAMB OF GOD, FOUR YEAR STRONG, FALL OUT BOY) at the Machine Shop studio in Belleville, New Jersey, "Earth Rocker" was described by CLUTCH vocalist Neil Fallon in a recent interview with DCHeavyMetal.com as "probably faster than most of our recent albums. Maybe compared to some other bands, it's not the fastest thing on planet Earth. For us it was definitely a step up in the tempo. And I think the other thing that kind of stands out about this one is the blues influences that we've been flirting with over the past couple records is more or less absent in this record, which didn't really happen intentionally until we looked back at it. As a whole, it's just much more of a straight-up rock and roll record."

      The artwork for "Earth Rocker" was created by Nick Lakiotes, longtime CLUTCH art director, who has worked on previous efforts, including "Robot Hive/Exodus" and "Strange Cousins From The West".

      CLUTCH kicked off the first leg of the "Earth Rocker" North American tour on March 8 in Cincinnati, Ohio and it runs through April 20 in Baltimore. Support on the first leg is coming from ORANGE GOBLIN, LIONIZE and SCORPION CHILD.

      The second leg of the "Earth Rocker" North American tour was recently announced and will kick off May 1 in Richmond, Virginia and run through May 26 in San Antonio, Texas. Support on this run will come from THE SWORD and LIONIZE.
      Brian Giffin of Australia's Loud magazine recently conducted an interview with guitarist Fredrik Åkesson of Swedish progressive metallers OPETH. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

      Loud: The reaction to "Heritage" was very mixed. I quite enjoyed it, but I know a lot of people didn't. What are your own thoughts about the album now?

      Fredrik: I'm proud of the album. I think it's a very good album. I understand the controversy about it, but it was something the band needed to do — something different to break out of the box, or however you want to put it. And also the album is called "Heritage". It's about the musical heritage of the band. It's a bit of a flirt with old hard rock themes, [like the] Ronnie James Dio tribute track, for instance or, you know, there's a bit of RUSH in there or some Swedish folk.

      Loud: What direction is OPETH likely to go in this time?

      Fredrik: Um... well, I would have to say, in a somewhat different direction to "Heritage". [laughs] It won't be a step back, but it will be different. Maybe more intense in a way. You'll have to wait and see. I was in the studio today and put down my solos and I was very happy about it. The song I heard that Mikael [Åkerfeldt, guitar/vocals] wrote today sounds very cool. I think that's all I can say at this point! I'm sorry. [laughs]

      Loud: Are you working with Steven Wilson again this time?

      Fredrik: It's too early to say. Right now we're in the writing process. Maybe later on, I would say.

      Loud: You're actually working on new stuff at the moment. How long is it going to be before we see a new OPETH album?

      Fredrik: The plan is to try and record at the end of September, when we're done with all the touring. This is the longest break we've had between albums. I think the longest break we had before this was before "Watershed". It's not gonna happen this year, most likely the year after.
      According to SPIN.com, the release date of "Infestissumam", the sophomore album the mysterious Swedish buzz band GHOST, has been pushed back a week to April 16 after four compact disc manufacturers allegedly refused to print a piece of artwork that was meant for the deluxe version of the new CD. The manufacturers all took issue with the sacrilegious imagery, inspired by the work of Gustave Dore, which showcases what looks like a forest nymph orgy.

      "We kept on getting turned down because of the CD art, which is basically a 16th century illustration of an orgy," a source close to the band told SPIN.com. "[The bandmembers] weren't surprised. The comment was 'Well, I thought this would have happened sooner.' The artwork was meant to provoke some sort of thought, but it's been one obstacle after another."

      The controversial art can still be found on both the vinyl and European copies of the "Infestissuman" CD. "Vinyl manufacturers don't have a problem with the artwork. Neither does Europe," the source told SPIN.com.

      "Infestissumam" track listing:

      01. Infestissumam
      02. Per Aspera Ad Inferi
      03. Secular Haze
      04. Jigolo Har Megiddo
      05. Ghuleh / Zombie Queen
      06. Year Zero
      07. Idolatrine
      08. Body And Blood
      09. Depth Of Satans Eyes
      10. Monstrance Clock

      GHOST was forced to modify its name in the U.S. to GHOST B.C. for "legal reasons."

      The band's debut album, "Opus Eponymous", was released in late 2010 in Europe and in early 2011 in North America via Rise Above Records.
      As a founding member of both MANOWAR and the DICTATORS, guitarist Ross "The Boss" Friedman needs no introduction. But it's been a while since the metal masses heard from Ross, leading some to wonder if or when he would return. The wait is now over, as his newly formed outfit, DEATH DEALER, is ready to rock and take the world by storm, with their debut album, "War Master".

      The cover artwork for "War Master" can be seen below. Also available is a full-length stream of the track "Death Dealer".

      "The DEATH DEALER sound is a mighty combination of five very talented, seasoned musicians," explained Ross. "It's classic power metal with the brutal edge of thrash, speed, and precision." And when he says the band is comprised of talented and seasoned musicians, he's not kidding, as DEATH DEALER also includes vocalist Sean Peck (CAGE), guitarist Stu Marshall (producer and guitarist for such voices as Udo Dirkschneider and Steve Grimmett), bassist Mike Davis (HALFORD, LIZZY BORDEN), and drummer Kenny "Rhino" Earl (MANOWAR).

      Formed last year via correspondence over the Internet, as soon as work commenced on the material, Ross knew he had met his metallic match. "Well, after they sent the first tune over, I was blown away, then Stu and Sean tell me they want me to join this band, called DEATH DEALER. I say, 'Who else is in the band? They say, 'Rhino on drums.' I'm in! Stu goes, 'It was either you or we would have asked KK Downing to be on guitar.' Wow!"

      As evidenced by such tunes as "Death Dealer", "Never to Kneel" and "The Devil's Mile", for fans of authentic, no-holds-barred, manly heavy metal, "War Master" is an absolute godsend. And soon, DEATH DEALER will be converting metalheads worldwide to their cause. "Our future plans? Obviously to put DEATH DEALER on the worldwide metal map, and to engage large crowds and render them shocked and satisfied," said Ross.

      For more information, visit www.deathdealer.co.
      Christian Olde Wolbers, who handled the bass duties in FEAR FACTORY for nine years (1993-2002) and then assumed the role of guitarist in a revamped version of the band from 2002 until 2008, has posted a video clip of him "auditioning" for the vacant bassist slot in MACHINE HEAD. Check it out below.

      Despite the fact that he had played bass in FEAR FACTORY for almost a decade, the Dutch-born Olde Wolbers had started his career as a guitarist, having handled the axe in several groups in Belgium prior to joining FF in 1993.

      In an interview with RoughEdge.com conducted back in August 1999, Christian recounted his decision — made on the recommendation of BIOHAZARD, with whom Wolbers was friends — to switch to the four-string instrument in order to join FEAR FACTORY.

      "[BIOHAZARD frontman] Evan [Seinfeld] had seen me playing upright bass in a rockabilly band on the street in Belgium back in '90 or '91," Christian recalled. "He always thought I was a bass player. I had always played guitar in metal bands and hardcore bands. And [one night while we were hanging out] he said, 'Oh, you're a bass player — I have a band for you!' I kept telling him 'I'm not a bass player, I'm a guitar player now.' But he said, 'FEAR FACTORY needs a bass player — you're a bass player and you'd be perfect.' And I'd actually heard of FEAR FACTORY because someone told me about them while I was still in Europe. However, I really wasn't into the death metal scene too much, but I knew they were different. When I went to the audition and I was blown away when I saw Raymond [Herrera, drums] playing — I said, 'Alright, I'll play bass.' So I borrowed a bass from Evan and auditioned for a couple of days right before a tour with SEPULTURA and then I knew I was going to do the tour. After the SEPULTURA tour, the rest of the guys said, 'Do you want to be in the band?' I said, 'Hell yeah!' "

      MACHINE HEAD is holding public auditions to find a temporary bass player. The San Francisco Bay Area-based band is seeking a musician to perform with them on this year's Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival tour.

      To find a temporary bassist for the duration of the Mayhem festival, MACHINE HEAD turned to the nearly 800,000 fans on their Facebook page, asking interested parties to post a video clip of them singing and playing bass along to three tracks: "This Is The End", "Halo" and "Beautiful Mourning".

      Once the band has narrowed down potential candidates, they will hold tryouts in person at a to-be-determined location.
      A funeral service for former IRON MAIDEN drummer Clive Burr was held on Monday, March 25 at the City Of London Crematorium in London, England.

      PRAYING MANTIS guitarist Tino Troy, who attended the funeral stated: "It was an honour to be one of the pallbearers and good to see so many old faces there. It was a moving service but a beautiful celebration of his life too. Like them skins... ya hit us hard, mate! RIP and thank you bro!"

      Clive Burr died on March 12 in his sleep at his home at the age of 56 after suffering from multiple sclerosis for many years.

      Clive joined MAIDEN in 1979 and performed on the first three albums — "Iron Maiden" (1980), "Killers" (1981) and "The Number Of The Beast" (1982). Prior to that, he was a member of SAMSON, the band Bruce Dickinson fronted before he, too, joined MAIDEN.
      Jeff Ulmer, guitarist/vocalist for the acclaimed early '80s Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada-based metal band SACRED BLADE, died on March 22 after reportedly suffering a stroke. His sister, Jennifer Ulmer, wrote on Facebook: "You'll be missed terribly, brother Jeff. We'll keep your memory alive forever in our hearts, in those quiet moments. With friends it will be with stories, laughter and tears, and with music, of course."

      According to The BNR Metal Pages, "SACRED BLADE went the usual route of recording demos and gaining an underground reputation, appeared on a 'Metal Massacre' compilation [with the song 'The Alien'], and finally releasing the excellent 'Of The Sun + Moon' album in 1986, one of the great gems of pure '80s metal. With sci-fi lyrical themes and a speed/power style that was familiar yet quite original, the album has stood the test of time as a classic of the underground '80s metal scene. Various recordings were made towards the release of a second album which was rumored to be called 'The Seven Moonz Of Xercez', but the album never materialized (though bootleg copies of the demo circulated for years later) and the band seemingly disappeared."

      In a 2006 interview, Ulmer stated about the fact that SACRED BLADE never released a follow-up to "Of The Sun + Moon": "I don't believe that releasing inferior product is good for anything other than ripping the fans off, which is the last thing I want to do. Sure, having new product would keep the public awareness alive, but I would still be faced with an album I could not fully stand behind. I struggled for over a decade to get the follow-up to 'Of The Sun + Moon' recorded, but for one reason or another, there were always obstacles that kept it from completion, from financing to having our tapes disintegrate during production. I know it is frustrating to the fans to have to wait so long for new material. It is equally frustrating for me to have to contend with the hurdles that are faced when you are independently producing music that isn't conforming to the current trends in the market, while insisting on production quality that rivals or surpasses that of artists with multibillion-dollar corporations behind them."
      The collaboration between Dutch female-fronted symphonic metallers WITHIN TEMPTATION and Q-Music gets a new episode: after the successful broadcast of several covers, which WITHIN TEMPTATION arranged and performed for the radio station by the end of 2012, the band will now release a selection of these covers on an album titled "The Q-Music Sessions" on April 19 in the Netherlands and Belgium.

      In the run-up to the 15th anniversary of WITHIN TEMPTATION at the sold-out Sportpaleis in Antwerp, the band was asked by Q-Music to choose and perform an existing track in a "WITHIN TEMPTATION fashion" on a weekly basis. The band accepted this challenge enthusiastically that resulted in reworks of hits by DAVID GUETTA, PASSENGER, LANA DEL REY and BRUNO MARS, among others. The feedback on these covers by the fans and listeners of Q-Music was extremely positive, which made the band decide to release a selection of the covers on an album.

      Commented WITHIN TEMPTATION singer Sharon Den Adel: "Our approach was to really make the cover a new WITHIN TEMPTATION song. So not going the easy way by using only a piano or an acoustic guitar, for example, but really trying to put all the elements of a WITHIN TEMPTATION track in this new version. It was quite a challenge, because we had only one week to get it right, while recording an original WITHIN TEMPTATION song can sometimes takes up half a year! But this pressure also gave us an creative boost and it was very rewarding to get it done in time each week. Also, we learned a lot from the in-depth analysis we needed to make on these hits, written by others, in combination with implementing our own sound and style in each new cover. We are glad that we've taken up this challenge and are very proud of the result.''

      At the moment, WITHIN TEMPTATION is working on its upcoming studio album that is due in the last quarter of 2013. In January 2014, the band will embark on a worldwide tour, with tickets for shows in the United Kingdom, France and Germany already on sale.

      "The Q-Music Sessions" track listing:

      01. Grenade (originally by BRUNO MARS)
      02. Titanium (originally by DAVID GUETTA ft. SIA)
      03. Let Her Go (originally by PASSENGER)
      04. Summertime Sadness (originally by LANA DEL REY)
      05. Radioactive (originally by IMAGINE DRAGONS)
      06. Crazy (originally by GNARLS BARKLEY)
      07. Dirty Dancer (originally by ENRIQUE IGLESIAS)
      08. Don't You Worry Child (originally by SWEDISH HOUSE MAFFIA)
      09. Behind Blue Eyes (originally by THE WHO)
      10. The Power Of Love (originally by FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD)
      11. Apologize (originally by ONE REPUBLIC)
      Singer Myles Kennedy and guitarist Mark Tremonti recently began the songwriting process for ALTER BRIDGE's fourth studio album.

      According to ALTER BRIDGE bassist Brian Marshall, the band "is about eight songs deep in writing! There's some pretty heavy, cerebral stuff going on and it sounds awesome."

      The group plans to write and record over the next few months, with the record due to be completed before a planned September tour.

      ALTER BRIDGE's last studio offering, "AB III", came out in 2010 and included the hits "Isolation" and "Ghost Of Days Gone By".

      As previously reported, ALTER BRIDGE plans to release a new box set on May 14, according to a message posted by the group at its website. The band has also launched a separate site for the package itself, although all that features at the moment is a countdown clock and a video teaser trailer. There's no word on what the box set will contain, although it will likely include the band's three previous studio discs or at least selections from them, along with a live disc released in 2011.

      During ALTER BRIDGE's break, Tremonti recorded his first solo album, "All I Was", and toured behind it, while Kennedy recorded all the vocals for Slash's second solo effort, "Apocalyptic Love", and toured the world as part of his live band.

      Tremonti, Marshall and ALTER BRIDGE drummer Scott Phillips have also toured as part of their original act, CREED, who have also been working on new material.
      The inaugural "Heavy Metal And Popular Culture" international conference will take place at Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio April 4-7. It will be the first scholarly conference on heavy metal in the U.S. Registration is free and members of the public are encouraged to attend.

      Metal music and culture scholars from Norway, Germany, Switzerland, the U.K., France, Canada, New Zealand, Finland, Brazil and all over the U.S., including Puerto Rico, will gather to share theories, network, and discuss the forthcoming peer-reviewed journal that will be published by The International Society For Metal Music Studies.

      There will be four keynote speakers: Robert Walser, director of the Rock And Popular Music Institute at Case Western Reserve University and author of "Running With The Devil: Power, Gender, And Madness In Heavy Metal Music"; Keith Kahn-Harris, author of "Extreme Metal: Music And Culture On The Edge"; Laina Dawes, journalist and photographer from Toronto and author of the book "What Are You Doing Here?: A Black Woman's Life And Liberation In Heavy Metal"; and Dan Spitz, currently in the band RED LAMB and autism awareness advocate, and former lead guitarist of ANTHRAX.

      There will also be three roundtable discussions, which include Martin Popoff (journalist, author of 41 metal books) and Deena Weinstein, author of "Heavy Metal: The Music And Its Culture". There will also be an exhibition on masks and facepaint through genres, history and cultures.

      Heavy metal music studies is comprised of scholars from dozens of academic disciplines. Forty scholars will participate in the conference, including Laura Wiebe from McMaster University in Canada, who will present "'Musicians from Mars': Negotiating Music, Genre and Identity in Voivod's Science Fictional Metal." Niall Scott, University of Central Lancashire, U.K., will engage audience members in his discussion "Heavy Metal As Resistance." Colin McKinnon, independent scholar from Switzerland, will discuss "Metal And Comics: Strange Bedfellows?" Yu Zheng, Bowling Green State University, will talk about "The Scene Of Chinese Heavy Metal After The Golden Age: From Painkiller To The Globe." Sigrid Mendoza, Ponce School Of Medicine And Health Science, University Of Puerto Rico, will thrash out her paper "There's A Girl In The Mosh Pit! Female Gender Practices In Puerto Rico's Heavy Metal Scene." Kevin Ebert, Adjunct Faculty of Guitar, Music at Xavier University, Cincinnati, will present "Bridging The Divide? Classical Music And Popular Culture In Symphonic Metal."

      The idea for an American conference began in the late 2000s when Bowling Green State University's Jeremy Wallach, Esther Clinton and Brian Hickam traveled to a scholarly heavy metal conferences in Europe.

      "It was clear the whole metal studies thing was taking off and we had this idea that we would do a conference on heavy metal here in Bowling Green, which made sense for a lot of reasons," Wallach old the Toledo Free Press.

      "Toledo's always been a metal town and Ohio's a metal state, especially in the northern part of the state. Toledo is part of the Rust Belt and industrial wastelands have always been a part of the heavy metal mythos from the beginning."

      "What's awesome and a little bit different about this [conference] is it's an international conference and people are coming in from all over the world," Matt Donahue, an instructor at Bowling Green State University and a member of the local heavy metal band MAD 45, told the Toledo Free Press. And the other awesome part about it is that it's free."

      The academic study of popular culture in the United States was founded in 1972 by Ray Browne, former Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Bowling Green State University.
      Las Vegas' AVENGER OF BLOOD reformed last year and released a three-song EP/demo, "Spawn Of Evil", to rave reviews, metal radio play and enthusiastic responses from fans. The band has since continued to play shows locally with such bands as OVERKILL and GRAVEHILL.

      AVENGER OF BLOOD is putting the finishing touches on material for a new full-length album, which it plans to record in May at Arcane Digital Studio in Phoenix, Arizona with producer Ryan Butler (LANDMINE MARATHON, EXHUMED, MISERY INDEX). The band is also looking for a label to release the effort,.

      "We feel that Ryan is the best person for the job and we are very excited to work with him!" exclaims guitarist Brandon Gulling.

      AVENGER OF BLOOD's sophomore album, "Death Brigade", came out in 2008 via Heavy Artillery Records.
      Ex-KEEP OF KALESSIN frontman Torbjørn "Thebon" Schei has slammed his former bandmates for "firing him in public" after he "disappeared" in he "African jungle" for three months.

      KEEP OF KALESSIN has just released a video for a new song, "Introspection", which premiered his past Wednesday (March 27) at the Indie Recordings label night at the Inferno festival in Oslo, Norway. The track features the singing debut of guitarist Arnt "Obsidian C." Grønbech, who took over on lead vocals after the band was allegedly unable to track down Thebon.

      "We [hadn't] heard from him in five months," said Obsidian. "He went to South Africa with his girlfriend and we received no life sign or answers to our messages. Instead of waiting it out, we just had to move on and I started testing the vocals in the studio myself, realizing my vocals were far from bad. I've always been the driving force of the band and I found it to be easier if I just managed to handle the vocals from now on instead of replacing Thebon with someone else. The worst part of this will, of course, be to do both vocals and guitars live, but it's all a matter of practice, really. We now feel that this is the way to go and that the band is in fact stronger than ever!"

      After KEEP OF KALESSIN announced Thebon's departure from the band in a press release on Thursday, the singer released the following statement to BLABBERMOUTH.NET:

      "I'm not missing in the jungle, I went to study and relax for three months and did not hear anything from the band in that time. I got a message ab

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