Monday, February 14, 2011

Album Review - Eric Maldonado "Into the Moonlight"

Eric Maldonado’s influences include Paramore, Fallbrooke, Breaking Benjamin, Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. His debut album "Into the Moonlight” is a 9 track offering with a mix of songs ranging from acoustic outings to all-out shred.

"I didn't want another shred fest album, we have many guitarists already doing that and who do it very well. I wanted an album that sounded modern, melodic, fresh, and of course, have some shred." Says Eric.

The album opener, Horizon's End, is a rocking number in drop D. Eric wanted the album to get off with a bang, and this track is one of his favourites to play. Great rhythm and lead tones, with some special moments in the solos and interesting wammy work.

Track two, Hero Stand, takes advantage of the interesting options afforded by a 7 string guitar, capitalizing on the key of B Minor. Lookout for the excellent harmonies in the first half of the track.

With a nod to bands like Paramore and Fallbrooke, Under Feeling is easy listening and aimed at those who might not be shredders or guitar players themselves. Shred fans won’t be disappointed though, as Eric pays homage to George Lynch during the solos.

Premonition is an instrumental track firmly in the vein of Vai and Satch, powerful and melodic. Eric used his first Halo Morbus for rhythm guitar, and his newer black Halo Morbus and custom Strat for the solos.

Zero Control kicks off with an almost Paul Gilbert type riff and moves into the realm of younger and more recent shred-heads with a strong and unique syncopated rhythm. This track shows off the lyrical qualities of Eric’s lead guitar playing.

The Ballad on the album falls on track number 6, Ocean Cloud. A basic chord progression lays the ground for pleasing and memorable melodies.

Track 7, Fallen, starts with a chorus-loaded clean intro and morphs into a full-on rockout with a terrifying chorus riff. Eric unloads my favourite solo on this track.

Eric says that Shadows is strongly influenced by his time spent listening to Breaking Benjamin and Paramore. Although not the shreddiest track on the album, it has its fair share of guitar pyrotechnics and fits the album well.

The final track, Gates Of Eternity, is also the heaviest on the album. Shades of Yngwie, Gus G and George Bellas come to mind with heavy rhythms, scorching solos and great use of tempo to vary dynamics.
"Into The Moonlight" delivers tasty tunes and fantastic guitar work, aimed at both guitarists and general music lovers.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Threat Signal Announces New Members

Last week, Threat Signal announced the addition of two new members to the band's line-up: guitarist Chris Feener and drummer Alex Rudinger. The pair replaces Adam Weber and Norm Killeen, respectively, who parted ways with the band last year. Threat Signal frontman Jon Howard had the following to say:

"I'd like to announce two new members of the Threat Signal camp. We destroyed Europe with these guys, and we couldn't be more excited with the sound of the band right now and what the future holds together.

"Replacing Norm Killeen on drums is Alex Rudinger from Frederick MD, USA. I caught wind of Alex's drumming through He has a large number of drumming videos including covers, and originals. My jaw dropped when I first saw this kid play!

"Replacing Adam Weber on guitar is Chris Feener from Grand Falls-Windsor, Newfoundland, Canada. Chris also has a ton of self recorded videos on I haven't seen a guy shred like this in a long time! (Read More)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Y&T Bassist Phil Kennemore Passes Away

Phil Kennemore, bassist of American veteran heavy metal act Y&T, lost his battle with metastatic cancer this morning (January 7). He was 57 years old. Along with frontman Dave Meniketti, Kennemore was an original member of Y&T, having been with the band since its formation in 1974.

This past New Year's Eve, the band hosted a benefit concert for Kennemore with members of Testament, Keel, Dokken, Queensrÿche, and Heaven and Hell.

Meniketti has since released the following statement:

"It is with profound sadness and disbelief that I tell you that my best buddy for 37 years passed away this morning, January 7, 2011 at 1 a.m. at Stanford Hospital. Bravely and steadfastly battling the horrible spectacle of lung cancer, at the end he was surrounded by his family members, and the Y&T family up until his final breath.

"All the beautiful things that I could say about my buddy Phil could never be summed up in a short sentence or two, and I promise that I will be back to say so much more about how I feel about him and his talents in due time. But for now, at 3 a.m., after just having returned home from his passing, let me at least put this out there.

"Phil Kennemore was not only a sweet and passionate man with his life, friends and family, but as an artist, he also had that rare ability to say what was on his mind with the most eloquent, clever, and to-the-point lyrics, yet could turn it on its head in a second with some other viewpoint on reality and nail the point dead center. He was able to do what very few can — say the things that others have been thinking, but could never quite seem to put into words. He has always had a keen knack for doing that.

"As a musician, with those huge fingers, his bass playing was always loud, strong, and deep, filling the largest or smallest of stages equally.

"He had an amazingly strong life force that has influenced everyone who ever had the opportunity to be called a friend of his. I am forever grateful for our lifelong friendship, that was always in place throughout the worst and best of times. I will miss his sense of humor, his amazing wit, but most of all I will always miss not seeing him to my left on the stages I will play from this moment forward.

"Yes, he was one of the class guys on this planet, and in this business, and I will always do what I can to spread the legacy of Phil Kennemore across the globe on every stage that I land on.

"You know how much I love you, Phil, and you knew how much your fans and fellow musicians loved and respected you. There was nothing left unsaid. You had a rich and wonderful life and I can only tell you that I was happy to have been alongside you every step of the glorious way.

"Cheers to you, Phil.

"Your friend forever, Dave."

Timo Tolkki Posts Symfonia Album Update

Timo Tolkki, guitarist for the Hamburg, Germany-based power metal super group Symfonia, recently posted an online update regarding the recording of the band's debut album:

"Me and André [Matos, vocals] have been here in the middle of a Swedish forest for a week recording vocals.

"We rented a cabin which is at a top of a hill with an amazing view.

"If the drumming studio was in the middle of nowhere, then this one is in the middle of that nowhere.

"Things are going smooth; we got a great vocal sound.

"Had to put some blankets on the wall to treat the place acoustically a bit.

"The cabin is slightly haunted; the owner told us that a man named Hans died here 80 years ago and can sometimes be seen around. So far we haven't seen him." (Read More)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Black Mass Organizer Interviewed About Festival Cancellation

The cancellation of the Sydney's Black Mass Festival, due to be held last November, turned into one of the biggest stories in the local metal scene in 2010. Metal Obsession caught up with organizer Seance Records to clear up exactly what happened.

METAL OBSESSION: First things first, what aspects of the Black Mass festival were the actual cause of the initial complaints?

SEANCE RECORDS: Predominantly the name Black Mass was an issue to these people who viewed it as being anti Christian, discriminatory & in their words promoting hate against Catholics due to the act of the Black Mass being the inversion of the traditional Catholic Mass. Yet they failed to understand or indeed ignored the fact that this was not an actual black mass or religious rite or act at all but only a music festival featuring Black Metal bands.

They also found issue with ALL associated artwork, the written press release and ALL bands performing (in other words everything). They scoured the web for information on the event and performers and commandeered artwork posted to private forums to spread amongst their peers and heighten their 'outrage.' They took all press releases out of context claiming that it was a gathering of Satanists who were assembling in Sydney to actually cast evil spells on the city in order to promote "evil and anarchy." They additionally made claims of animal sacrifice and other utterly ridiculous stereo types & misconceptions that should have gone the way of the dinosaur by 2010. (Read More)

(Poster for ArmageddoN Festival - the Black Mass Festival replacement event.)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Apocalyptica Sued By Rammstein

Apocalyptica has experienced a couple legal hurdles recently. First, The Regional Court of Berlin has convicted Apocalyptica for trademark infringement against Rammstein. The Finnish cello metallers face a fine of 45,000 Euro. The Finnish band was sued over the album's release being promoted on stickers, magazines and posters with the words "featuring Rammstein" without the authorization of the band and their management, despite the appearance of Rammstein frontman Till Lindemann and guitarist Richard Z. Kruspe on the track "Helden" (a David Bowie cover of "Heroes"). (Read More)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Destruction Announces North American Tour Dates

German thrash metal legends Destruction recently announced that they will be heading to North America in April 2011 for a headlining tour in support of their latest album, Day of Reckoning. Supporting them on their trek will be Deströyer 666. Speaking with regards to the upcoming tour, Destruction front man Schmier said:

"It feels fantastic to return to North American shores for the first time after our return to Nuclear Blast with a new album as brutal as Day Of Reckoning on our backs. This is the strongest material we have written since [2001's] The Antichrist and we are burning to present these shredding songs and introduce our new 6.6 foot tall drum animal VAAVER live!" (Read More)