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Heavy Metal And Hard Rock News

  • BLABBERMOUTH.NET Feb 21, 2017 | 04:16 am

    "No Cure", a brand new song from ALCYONA SKY, the Finnish band featuring former AMORAL guitarist Ben Varon, can be streamed below. The track is taken from ALCYONA SKY's forthcoming debut album, due later in the year.Sometimes good things happen by accident, on their own. ALCYONA SKY, a new band comprising of familiar faces from the Finnish rock scene, is a good example of just that."After the previous AMORAL album, 'Fallen Leaves & Dead Sparrows', was completed in the spring of 2013, my plan was to take the summer off from writing and also to take a little break from the guitar," Varon explains.But the acoustic guitar ended up with him at the summer cottage after all, and songs began to pop up in the idyllic setup by the seaside."I was surprised at how the songs kept coming, more than a few of them, and in rapid pace. And since they didn't sound like AMORAL material to me, I began toying around with the idea of doing a side project."Ben's love for '90s rock — the sound of his childhood — is clearly present in the ALCYONA SKY material, as is the acoustic-driven sound of the '70s he found later in life and became a big fan of."The material dictated who I needed to play in this band. Micko Hell (DENIGRATE, MILLION DOLLAR BEGGARS) has always been one of my favorite singers, and I had his deep, soulful voice in mind already when writing the riffs and lyrics. I've played some cover gigs with Rale Tiiainen (THE BLACK LEAGUE, THE OHO, ANCARA) over the years, so I knew that he had the right, hard-hitting, laid back playing style that was needed. And Jyri Helko (FOR THE IMPERIUM, WARMEN) is the virtuoso of the group, whose musical bass lines took the songs to a whole new level. I was lucky that all three agreed to join me in this project immediately, so I didn't even need to think of alternative options."Varon, Tiiainen and Helko began rehearsing that winter, and by the following summer, the band was so tight that when they entered Sound Supreme studios, all but the vocals was recorded live, in just two days. Ben and Micko recorded the vocals in the following months, whenever they had some spare time to focus on the task."Recording the album live, in one room, facing each other, and doing it so quickly too, was an amazing experience," Ben says. "That really tells you something about the level of these guys' musicianship, and it made me give my very best as well."Even though the original plan was to keep ALCYONA SKY as just a one-album project, the band got so excited about both the material and the vibe between them, that the idea of live shows was quickly brought up. The material for the second album is also already in the making."It's so much fun to play with these dudes, and since I enjoy writing songs like this in between the metallic prog of AMORAL, why stop here? I already have a bunch of ideas for the second ALCYONA SKY album, and can't wait to see how this band works live!"AMORAL played its farewell show on January 5 at Tavastia in Helsinki, Finland. Varon explained in an interview that the band's split happened because "it became clear that proper touring would be almost impossible because of everyone's schedules."

  • BLABBERMOUTH.NET Feb 21, 2017 | 03:55 am

    Jeff Waters may be a mega fan of Eddie Van Halen, but his career indicates he is, to certain effects, the Prince of metal. Other than from the bottom of a finished bottle of Buffalo Trace bourbon downed by yours truly in the midst of this review, where does that ridiculous claim come from, you may ask? Well, Waters is not only an unparalleled master of the frets, as the late Prince was, but both musicians have made it a point, for one reason or another, to surround themselves with a vast array of players. In ANNIHILATOR's case, that's a near 40 combined studio and touring personnel. Both Prince and Jeff Waters are proficient engineers, capable of pulling off entire albums on their own wares—albeit, when you operate under a moniker versus a persona, it befits having an actual roster to supplement it.It's been years, but the metal world once poked fun at Jeff Waters for being a lone wolf specialist covertly dropping album after album as a proverbial band, fronting a road entourage to make it all look legit. Well, the often-electrifying Dave Padden-era showed Waters was more than amenable to sharing the wealth in what can be looked upon as a rebirth spot in ANNIHILATOR. From 2004's "All for You" through to 2013's "Feast", along with 2005's "Schizo Deluxe", which features some of the most spectacular material in the entity's modern era, ANNIHILATOR became a second-time proven force.I bring this up because of Dave Padden's 2014 parting, and on 2015's terrific "Suicide Society", Jeff Waters soldiered on, reassuming lead vocal duties as well as bass and guitar. The thing is, ANNIHILATOR appears to have once again become another united front. On ANNIHILATOR's new three-unit package, "Triple Threat", Waters leads a troupe of international young bloods, and some old friends, through a fun acoustic ride.ANNIHILATOR currently consists of Waters along with second guitarist Aaron Homma, bassist Rich Hinks (both joining the band in 2015), and its newest addition, Italian drummer Fabio Alessandrini. It's this ensemble, with a mohawked Jeff Waters wailing, woofing and shredding at the 2016 Bang Your Head Festival, that is presented on "Triple Threat", a two-CD, one DVD/Blu Ray parcel that's more than a mere live document.While the latest inception of ANNIHILATOR is largely tight at the Bang Your Head!!! festival, "Triple Threat"'s charming main event comes in the way of a five-man acoustic splash, "Un-Plugged: The Watersound Studios Sessions". Some might figure the old Jeff Waters would've recorded the "Watersound" tracks in this set as a one-man-jam, which is intriguing enough, given the sheer caliber of the guy. Yet, Waters, along with Homma and Hinks, plus longtime friends Marc LeFrance (vocals and percussion) and Pat Robillard (session guitar) present ANNIHILATOR in a completely different light than you're accustomed to.It's no secret Jeff Waters is as much a sucker for a softie as a thrasher. The Padden years alone bequeathed love struck ballads such as "The One", "Holding On" and "Perfect Angel Eyes". Coming up with a playlist of old ANNIHILATOR tracks ripe for stripping down isn't as easy as dropping safe bets like "Crystal Ann" and "Holding On", both of which do appear on "Un-Plugged: The Watersound Studios Sessions". This highly cool collaborative, which sees Marc LeFrance taking charge over most of the lead vocals, is about tweaking "Bad Child" from "King of the Kill" into a freewheeling sprawl. It's about having fun with "Phoenix Rising" and the snide "Snake in the Grass" from the rock-driven album "Set the World on Fire". Each profanity from "Snake in the Grass" is seethed between Waters, LeFrance and Pat Robillard like a long-running joke.It's a gas seeing ANNIHILATOR tear down "Innocent Eyes" from "Refresh the Demon" and disassemble "Stonewall" from "Never, Neverland" to a feel-good coil with bare resemblance in melody, if not tempo, to the original. As with most acoustic albums, the appeal is hearing the core instrumentation pared down for further examination. Yet here, Waters doesn't merely let his guitar gala frolic; he shares the reimagining with his company and together, this quasi-ANNIHILATOR re-interprets the tunes instead of playing the same sections, only down-tempo.The Bang Your Head!!! festival tracks hit across the board with a couple of newer ANNIHILATOR tunes, "No Way Out" and "Creepin' Again", giving way to classics like "Never, Neverland", "W.T.Y.D. (Welcome to Your Death) ", "Set the World on Fire", ""Phantasmagoria", "Refresh the Demon", "King of the Kill", "Second to None" and of course, the trusty "Alison Hell".While "Triple Threat" is packed with CD versions of the Watersound and Bang Your Head!!! presentations, included on the DVD is a mini-documentary following Waters and the band around last year. It bears testimonials from such dignitaries as former ANNIHILATOR drummer Mike Mangini, Chris Jericho and MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson, plus Schmier and Mike Sifringer from DESTRUCTION. Fans chime in with their Skyped hypes and Jeff Waters conducts a little Q&A with his throng. All this makes "Triple Threat" a unique and pretty bitchin' set that sends the right message about where ANNIHILATOR is these days.

  • BLABBERMOUTH.NET Feb 21, 2017 | 03:48 am

    The members of Finland's BATTLE BEAST are bona fide rock stars—well, metal stars, to be more accurate—on their home turf, and 2017 will see the band embark upon its first North American tour, in a quest to expand the band's fanbase. The tour kicks off in spring and supports the group's fourth album: "Bringer of Pain". It's a significantly more streamlined effort compared to 2015's "Unholy Savior". BATTLE BEAST is still obviously a heavy metal band, though a hard rock pace, structure and appeal encapsulates that core in place of the previously prominent archetypal power metal structures.There is indeed a more adventurous spirit with the unit's approach this go around. Outside of an epic synth solo and shades of metal guitar, "Dancing With The Beast" is a full-on electropop song, far from exceptional, but perfunctory and enjoyable enough, nevertheless. The band's transformation can largely be attributed to the departure of original guitarist and main songwriter Anton Kabanen, whose vacancy has since been permanently filled by Joona Björkroth, keyboardist Janne Björkroth's brother. Janne's own contribution takes on a more eighties synth pop aesthetic nowadays. The synth lines continue to be one of the band's most distinguishing features, and Janne's stellar performance ranges from the perfect punctuations during the chorus of "King For A Day" to the dizzying solo midway through "Beyond The Burning Skies".While BATTLE BEAST's concise and memorable instrumentation and songwriting can't be understated, Noora Louhimo's impassioned singing steals the show yet again. She has a Ronnie James Dio-like timbre and command of her voice that is as good as one can find and hope for in the genre. Whether she's belting out the chorus of opener "Straight To The Heart" or offering an almost venomous spoken word narrative during "Familiar Hell", her talent is simply undeniable."Lost In Wars", a track that could do without the futuristic nu-metal melodrama, stands out with the alternating vocals and harmonies between Louhimo and Eero Sipila, who also belts out soaring death metal growling and ominous spoken word parts. But this is a small drawback to what is otherwise a memorable, catchy heavy metal album that has enough appeal to draw in hard rock fans.


AOR Melodic Rock News

  • News Feed Feb 21, 2017 | 06:01 am

    Rock Candy Records Latest - 707, KING KOBRA, CREED, OUTLAWS

    The following seven new Rock Candy titles are all available now from for a discounted price.

    “ALTHOUGH THE AMERICAN market place was bursting with many great, hip thrusting rock bands during the 1980’s, some of them multi-platinum sellers such as Mötley Crüe, Quiet Riot and RATT, there was always, we thought, room for talented new contenders. For King Kobra this was an invitation from heaven, launching onto a landscape that was primed for production of killer hard rock, shifting enormous quantities of it, and ruling the airwaves.

  • News Feed Feb 21, 2017 | 03:05 am

    DRAGONFORCE Are 'Reaching Into Infinity' On May 19

    International metal superstars DRAGONFORCE have revealed details of their forthcoming, brand new studio album! Reaching Into Infinity will be released via EarMUSIC/Sony Music Australia on May 19. Formats are, Digital, CD, LP and a special edition CD and DVD.

  • News Feed Feb 21, 2017 | 03:00 am

    DRACULA Back For A Second Bite

    Frontiers Music Srl is excited to announce that the production of a follow up album to the successful DRACULA “Swing of Death” release has started under the direction of the main songwriter and guitar player, Trond Holter.
    While the original plan was to leave “Swing of Death” as a unique, one-off musical extravaganza, the success that the rock opera had after being staged in front of audiences in Norwegian theaters convinced Trond that a follow up was possible. Not to mention, he was also sitting on plenty of material that did not find a home on the debut album.
    The new album will feature the full live line-up, including:
    Trond Holter: guitars