Thursday, December 31, 2009

Netherbird Releases Cover Album

Death/black metal band Netherbird, which is based in Jönköping, Sweden, recently released a cover album entitled Covered in Darkness. The compilation is a tribute to the various bands and sound that brought them to "discover some aspect of music and it has partly become part of the sound of Netherbird." In an official press release, the band stated: "We have intentionally chosen to cover tunes that sound a little (and some even more) different from Netherbird and the music we do. The reason is simple; if we would have covered something akin to our own sound we would only make a copy and we prefer to create something new, to try some new angle and perhaps also make more people discover some songs they might have otherwise missed out on. With this said, it is also natural for me to say that these recordings were done almost three years ago but we have waited for the right moment to send them out. Our next CD will not sound like this at all so take these recordings for what they are: music.

"We hope you will be able to enjoy them and that it also shows you a little about the broad spectra of sounds that really make up Netherbird and that our influences go deep and broad. So be prepared for some surprises both in these tracks, we will always do the things we find interesting and as long as it is dark it is Netherbird, and so are these tunes."

The band’s current lineup is as follows:

Nephente - Vocals
Bizmark - Guitars, bass, keyboards
David Preissel - Drums
Artur Vladinovskij - Lead guitar (on track two)
Tinitus - Lead guitar (on track four)

The full release (four tracks) of Covered in Darkness has been made available for download. (To download the material to your computer, right-click and chose "Save target as...".)

* Download MP3s + PDF (zip 41mb)
* Download wave files + PDF (zip 194mb)

The above zip files also include album artwork in PDF format.

Individual tracks:

* "As I Die" (Paradise Lost) ---> MP3
* "Nepenthe" (Sentenced) ---> MP3
* "Alison Hell" (Annihilator) ---> MP3
* "Firmament Vacation" (T.S.O.O.L) ---> MP3

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Matt Szlachta Releases Solo Demos

Matt Szlachta, guitarist for Chicago-based Dirge Within, recently posted a number of solo instrumental demos on his MySpace page.

Dirge Within – formerly known as simply Dirge – is a new metal quintet featuring vocalist Jeremy “Jerms” Genske, guitarist Shaun Glass (formerly of SOiL), bassist Brian Paz, and Szlachta.

Force Fed Lies, the group’s debut album, was released on September 1, 2009 via E1 Music (the former Koch Records). The album was mixed by Martin “Ginge” Ford (of Nott-In-Pill) and Jeff Rose in Newport, Wales, UK. It was produced by Edsel Dope (Dope) with Chris Djuricic (Studio One). Force Fed Lies features guest appearances by Michael Angelo Batio of Nitro and Corey Beaulieu of Trivium. Stephen Jensen of F3 Studios designed the cover art.

The video for the track “Forever the Martyr” (featured below) was filmed in Charlotte, North Carolina by director Ramon Boutviseth (Incubus, Trivium).

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Hour of Penance Put the Finishing Touches on New Album

Hour of Penance recently entered Rome’s 16th Cellar Studio along with engineer Stefano Morabito. The event marked the start of recording for the Italian death metallers untitled fourth album. The new album is expected to get an early 2010 release through Unique Leader Records.

Guitarist Giulio Moschini made the following comment:

"We've finally finished tracking all the instruments for the new album and we will start mixing it at the end of this week with Stefano Morabito at the mixing desk. Production-wise, this album is already beyond what we have done with The Vile Conception, so we're definitely satisfied with the results we're achieving so far and I'm sure you will be with me once you'll hear it! Once we have finished with the mixing, we will send the new album to the Hertz Studios in Poland, where legendary bands like Behemoth, Decapitated, Vader, and Hate have worked, for the mastering... Easy to say that we're thrilled to work with the guys of Hertz studios, and we're sure that this will help the album to sound even better. Expect a killer Hour of Penance album to be released in 2010!"

The band’s current lineup includes:

Francesco Paoli – Vocals
Enrico Schettino – Guitar
Giulio Moschini - Guitar
Silvano Leone - Bass
Mauro Mercurio – Drums

The Vile Conception, the latest album from Hour of Penance, was released on February 23, 2008 by Unique Leader Records. The album was recorded at 16th Cellar Studio and was produced by Stefano Saul Morabito. According to the press release, it contains ten songs of "insanely fast and twisted death metal.” Pär Olofsson was responsible for the album artwork.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Written in Blood Releases Video Preview

Up-and-coming Florida metal quintet Written in Blood has released a one-minute preview of the video for "This Purpose Driven Life." The video was filmed in Charlotte, North Carolina and was directed by Ramon Boutviseth (Trivium, Dream Theatre, Incubus, Bo Bice). The tune also marks the first song writing contribution by guitarist Bill Hudson (ex-Cellador, Circle II Circle).

"The Purpose Driven Life" is taken from Written in Blood's debut EP, We Are Divinity, which is slated for release in early 2010 via Revenge Recordings. The five-song CD was recorded in August 2009 at Audio Hammer Studios in Sanford, Florida with Mark Lewis (The Black Dahlia Murder, Decide, Trivium, All That Remains) and also features a guest appearance by vocalist Tim "Ripper" Owens (Iced Earth, Judas Priest, Yngwie Malmsteen) on "Alone We Walk."

Written in Blood initially formed in 2005 and was the brainchild of guitarist Justin Stamper. The band was created for the purpose of "breathing new life into today's metal scene." Written in Blood features three guitarists which, according to an official band bio, "helps [it] stand out from their peers."

Hudson stated: "Although other bands have had three guitars, I don't think many of them use that quite the way we do it. We have freedom to have three-part harmonies or play harmonized solos live without losing the aggression of a rhythm guitarist underneath it. The approach we're using to song writing differs because of this as well."

When asked to sum up the band in several words, Hudson says Written in Blood are "catchy, fast, straight-to-the-point, in-your-face American melodic heavy metal."

"This Purpose Driven Life" sees singer J.D. Blood speaking to himself about that oftentimes seemingly unattainable dream. He says, "I tell myself no matter what happens in life, you can always believe that things will get better if you work hard to achieve your goals." He derives this inspiration from the difficult ordeals he faced whilst growing up. The frontman continues, "This song is about growing up in a broken home or growing up having nothing, trying your best to believe in the most unimaginable thing: a dream. It is pretty much about me and every other kid out there who had a struggle growing up and the road to success or road to conquering depression. It is just my message to myself and every kid that with a little pain, heartbreak, blood, sweat and tears, dreams can be achieved. If I can conquer the past of a depressing childhood, anyone can." Blood insists that he might have never conquered his demons if not for metal. Now he wants to give back to the music that helped him. "I just want to give kids some music that will make them believe in themselves and show them with hard work you can conquer anything," he says.

Written in Blood currently lacks a drummer. That being said, they've enlisted Kevin Talley (who has played with the likes of Chimaira, Dying Fetus, and Hate Eternal, to name a few) to lay drum tracks on the band’s debut.

For more info, visit

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Guitar Lesson with Vinnie Moore is currently featuring video footage of Vinnie Moore talking about his influences and offering various forms of guitar instruction. The UFO guitarist shows viewers how to play "Too Hot to Handle" as well as "Fly," a track from his new solo album, To the Core. Moore gives instruction on hybrid picking, open-string licks, wide-stretch diminished-seven arpeggio licks, and Jeff Beck-style bending and vibrato. The lesson can be found here.

To the Core
was released in North America on May 26 via Holland's Mascot Records. The album's recording lineup consisted of:

Vinnie Moore - Guitar
John "JD" DeServio - Bass
Tim Lehner - Keyboards
Van Romaine - Drums

For the past several years, Moore was on the road with UFO. Following this touring stint, he meticulously laid down the tracks for his newest guitar instrumental album.

Moore said, "The only plan I had when making this record was to do some things I have never done before," explained Moore. "I am into many types of music and wanted to make a record where I could just let it all pour out without limitations. I am basically a rock guy but all these other influences that filter into my music. You can hear many styles from an R&B/hip hop vibe to one that is heavy but has an Indian vibe with lots of exotic percussion. I even have a couple tunes with techno elements, some funk, some blues and some bebop. Hell, there is even some motorcycles on it and I even played slide guitar on 'Jigsaw', which is fairly new for me. The common thread that ties it all together is probably the fact that it's me playing guitar through it all."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Live Debut for New Fear Factory Lineup

On December 4, a revamped Fear Factory made its live debut at Espaço Lux in São Bernardo do Campo, São Paulo, Brazil. The "new" Fear Factory features original members Burton C. Bell (vocals), Dino Cazares (guitar) alongside bassist Byron Stroud (who, in addition to being credited on the last two Fear Factory albums, toured and recorded with Zimmers Hole and Strapping Young Lad) and the legendary drummer Gene Hoglan (Death, Dark Angel, Dethklok, Testament, Strapping Young Lad).

The band will play a handful of dates in Chile, Argentina, Colombia, and Mexico later in the month. In addition, they will embark on a four-date U.K. tour in February. The dates are as follows:

Feb. 16 - Manchester, UK @ Academy 2
Feb. 17 - Wolverhampton, UK @ Wulfrun Hall
Feb. 18 - Glasgow, UK @ Garage
Feb. 19 - London, UK @ Camden Electric Ballroom

Fear Factory's new album, Mechanize, is scheduled to be released in Europe on February 5, 2010 and on February 9, 2010 in the U.S. via Candlelight Records. The album was co-produced by the band with Rhys Fulber (Paradise Lost, Front Line Assembly) and was mixed by Greg Reely (Paradise Lost, Front Line Assembly, Skinny Puppy).

The following is the track listing for Mechanize:

01. Mechanize
02. Industrial Discipline
03. Fear Campaign
04. Powershifter
05. Christploitation
06. Oxidizer
07. Controlled Demolition
08. Designing The Enemy
09. Metallic Division
10. Final Exit

Referencing the album's lyrical approach, Burton C. Bell stated, "In the past, the lyrical concept was of a futuristic, 'sci-fi' nature. An attempt to protect the ideas and logic of those involved in Fear Factory; because those who incite progressive thought are always chastised and persecuted. By placing the 'story' into a futuristic, fictional narrative, the words and ideas may not have seemed threatening. Not so for Mechanize. These are the words of a reality that once seemed distant, that are now apparently, and evidently real. These are the words of the world in which we live; for what once seemed like a story of another time, has come to be our reality today. Welcome to the world of Mechanize."

Regarding the musical direction of Mechanize, Bell told Sergio Alvite (of Mexico's Search and Destroy, "It has the raw aggression of what Soul of a New Machine [1992] was but it has- I would say it has the maturity of Obsolete [1998]. When I say 'maturity,' I mean that it has the songwriting skills that Soul of a New Machine did not have whereas Obsolete did."

Below is a video from the live performance in Brazil on December 4:

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Cradle of Filth: “Faster and Heavier” Album in the Works

Paul Allender, guitarist for the British extreme metal band, Cradle of Filth, recently issued the following statement:

"I'm about half way through writing the material [for the new Cradle of Filth album] and it's turning out just the way I wanted it. I've mentioned to a few people that it's a lot faster and heavier [than 2008's Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder]. Well, to be honest, the new material has been taken up quite a few gears."

Upon release, Godspeed on the Devil’s Thunder entered the German Media Control chart at the 37th position. It sold just over 11,000 copies in the U.S., and debuted at No. 48 on the Billboard 200 chart.

Prior to Godspeed on the Devil’s Thunder, Thornography sold roughly 13,000 copies in the U.S. during the first week released and entered the Billboard chart at No. 66. The success of Thornography paralleled that of its predecessor, Nymphetamine, which sold 14,000 during its initial release in October 2004.

Mainly a conceptual album, Godspeed on the Devil’s Thunder was based on the fall from grace of the historical (albeit shadowy) figure named Gilles de Rais. De Rais, a wealthy French nobleman, was one of Joan of Arc’s brothers-in-arms. However, he is most recognized as an aspiring alchemist who moonlighted as a prayer-driven, prolific serial killer. His numerous criminal accusations include kidnapping, heresy, and demonology. To this day, some historians question de Rais’ guilt and speculate his being framed.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Audio Samples of Yngwie Malmsteen’s High Impact Album Available

Swedish guitar legend Yngwie Malmsteen is set to release his new album, High Impact, on December 8 (one day earlier internationally). The new release has been described as “a mind-boggling, high-paced compilation record” that features a “surprise” bonus track: a previously unreleased interpretation of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.” The cover features Malmsteen’s magical touch as well as the vocals of ex-Judas Priest/Iced Earth frontman Tim “Ripper” Owens.

The track listing for High Impact is as follows:

01. Caprici Di Dablo
02. Brothers
03. Blitzkrieg
04. Trilogy Suite
05. Red House
06. Finale
07. Magic City
08. Arpeggios from Hell
09. Far Beyond the Sun
10. Cantabile
11. Blue
12. Overture 1622
13. Fugue
14. Beat It

Audio samples of all songs on the album can be streamed at Malmsteen’s official website.

Malmsteen enthusiasts will be pleased to learn that Rising Force Records has started releasing rare archival footage of the guitarist. The first release was made available on October 13, 2009 and features Malmsteen in Korea. The raw footage was originally shot by the Korean media.

Last March, Malmsteen released Angels of Love – an instrumental acoustic album that contained rearrangements of his ballads performed on an acoustic guitar and featuring string and choir arrangements. That same month, Malmsteen also released two DVDs via Rising Force Records: Live Animal and Live in Budokan.

Malmsteen’s previous full-length studio album, 2008’s Perpetual Flame, was the first of the guitarist’s efforts to be issued via Rising Force Records. The album also marked the debut of his new vocalist, Tim “Ripper” Owens.

Friday, December 4, 2009

White Wizzard Confirmed for Hammerfest II

Los Angeles metallers White Wizzard have been confirmed for next year’s Hammerfest II festival on March 11-13, 2010 at Pontins, Prestatyn Sands, North Wales, UK.

As of now, the festival bill is as follows:

Attica Rage
Cars on Fire
Conquest of Steel
Dark Funeral
Iced Earth
Man Must Die
Marshall Law
Napalm Death
No Made Sense
Orange Goblin
Panic Cell
Rise to Remain
The More I See
White Wizzard
Zico Chain

Some of the biggest names in metal were brought together for the original Hammerfest, which also took place at Pontins, Prestatyn Sands, North Wales. Headliners Sepultura, Opeth, and Saxon were joined by names such as Skindred, Hammerfall, Cathedral, Architects, and Paradise Lost.

Hammerfall II will feature the usual Friday and Saturday night lineup. However, this year’s festival will also feature an additional night of entertainment on Thursday, March 11. Concertgoers can attend the extra night if they have VIP packages or if they purchase Gold or Silver packages.

Hammerfest II will be made possible by Hard Rock Hell and Metal Hammer magazine. Hard Rock Hell is responsible for 2007’s Hard Rock Hell, Hard Rock Hell II in 2008, and the forthcoming Hard Rock Hell II in December 2009.

Hammerfest II will be open to anyone aged sixteen and up.

For more information and ticket sales, go to