Classic Rock Newswire

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

THE VERVE have reformed and are working on new material with UK dates in Nov already announced.

Drummer Jimmy Copley rejoins MAGNUM next month after recovering from recent illness.

JEFF CANNATA re-releases ‘Images Of Forever’ through AOR Heaven.

BON JOVI hit the no.1 spot in the US with their new album selling over 285,000 copies.

CRYSTAL BALL have signed with AFM Records and release their new album on octo 26th.

STREAM OF PASSION members Johan van Stratum (bass), Davy Mickers (drums) and Marcela Bovio (vocals, lyrics, violin) have announced the addition of guitarist Eric Hazebroek.

DREAMSCAPE have parted ways with Roland Stoll (vocals), Benno Schmidtler (bass) and Jan Vacik (keyboards). "We do point out, that we disband in agreement, with the greatest respect to each other and in deep friendship," the band writes on its web site. "We have experienced a lot together, had a fantastic time, gave a lot of awesome shows and produced fantastic albums. Most of it was only possible because of you, our fans, so thank you so much for all your support! Roland, Benno and Jan will leave DREAMSCAPE because of private affairs. They will reach out for different interests and projects, but a part of them will always be with DREAMSCAPE. Wolfgang Kerinnis (guitar) and Michael Schwager (drums) will continue DREAMSCAPE with a new lineup und for sure with the best prog metal you can get. Detailed info about the new lineup will follow as soon as possible."

NIGHTWISH's upcoming album will be called ‘Dark Passion Play’. It will be released by Nuclear Blast on September 28th. The tracklist reads as follows:
1. The Poet And The Pendulum
2. Bye Bye Beautiful
3. Amaranth
4. Cadence Of Her Last Breath
5. Master Passion Greed
6. Eva
7. Sahara
8. Whoever Brings The Night
9. For The Heart I Once Had
10. The Islander
11. Last Of The Wilds
12. 7 Days To The Wolves
13. Meadows Of Heaven

Temporary bass player Fredrik Larsson has left EVERGREY to rejoin his previous band HAMMERFALL. EVERGREY will record their new album, due before the end of the year, without a bass player and will announce either a temporary or permanent bassist once touring starts.

From XFM –
Led Zeppelin Plan Reunion Gig

The three remaining members of arguably the greatest rock group of the 20th century - Led Zeppelin - are rumoured to be planning a one-off reunion show in London.

Singer Robert Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page and bassist John Paul Jones are said to be dedicating the much hoped for concert - one of the rare occasions they will have played together since their split in 1980 - to the memory of Ahmet Ertgun, the late founder of their label Atlantic Records, who died last year after falling over at a Rolling Stones concert.

The trio will fittingly be joined by Jason Bonham - the son of the original Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham - for the London concert, which is rumoured to be a trial date for a possible subsequent world tour.

If it materialises (fingers, toes, lips and eyes crossed everybody) this will be the first time the three surviving members have played together in over 20 years, with their last on stage appearance back in 1985 for a Live Aid performance.

Page and Plant did have a comeback in the 1990's - during which time they produced two new albums, 'No Quarter: Jimmy Page and Robert Plant' and 'Walking Into Clarksdale' - but excluded Jones from the collaboration.

A source told WENN news services,

"Page, Plant and Jones spoke and agreed to do the memorial concert. They are waiting for a definite date. And no-one can quite believe it, but during discussions about the concert they all gave the green light to a tour if it all does well and they don't all fall out."

Motorhead's Lemmy Voted Greatest Living Englishman By The Guardian
posted Tuesday, June 26, 2007 at 08:36:44 PM by Diamond Oz.

British newspaper The Guardian has concluded its question of who the greatest living Englishman is and the result will make heavy metal fans very happy! Motorhead mainman Lemmy has been given the title. For more information read the following article...

"Let it be stated for the record: Lemmy, singer with Motörhead, is the nation's greatest living Englishman. Some say this accolade belongs to Tony Benn, but attending one of his appearances will cost you up to £35 a ticket and doesn't get you Ace of Spades played by a sexagenarian who sinks two packets of Marlboro Reds and two litres of Jack Daniels a day.

Next month, London sees the start of the South Bank Meltdown festival, the summer's annual pick'n'mix of musical culture. This year's curator is Jarvis Cocker, another national treasure. The band Cocker has chosen to launch Meltdown is Motörhead. I would like to think - no, I believe - there is nothing kitsch about this choice. It isn't the same as people who wear AC/DC shirts to the NME Awards. I feel that Jarvis Cocker understands that Motörhead epitomise rock'n'roll's core ideal, that "the only way to feel the noise is when it's good and loud", and that they are a beacon for defiant celebration.

Lemmy may have hit many a duff note in the past 30 years, but not once has he told you a lie. I was 10 years old when I first heard this band; I was just a week older by the time I owned my first Motörhead record. A month after that I had an iron-on T-shirt. Five years later and I was knee deep in mud at Donington Park, flailing in terror as people fell under my feet, watching in amazement as a firework screamed its way toward Lemmy on the stage. I remember it now: he went ballistic. And then he played Ace of Spades.

Ace of Spades is, of course, the one song loved by everyone who has heard it. Its moral is so clear it could well be Moses on the mic, its timing so deft it might just be the greatest shimmy in rock'n'roll. "You know I'm going to lose, and gambling's for fools, but that's the way I like it baby, I don't want to live forever." In the original studio version Lemmy then warns you to not "forget the joker", but of late the song has been brought up to date. While power chords throb from his Rickenbacker bass and his mouth moves up to a microphone stationed higher than his head, the 61-year-old greatest living Englishman instead says "... but apparently I am."

And who wouldn't drink to that?"

2/3 Glasgow Academy
5/6 Blackpool Empress Ballroom
8/9 London Roundhouse

Dublin National Stadium – November 26
Belfast Waterfront Hall – 27
Manchester MEN Arena – 29
Glasgow SECC – 30
Nottingham Arena – December 1
Birmingham NEC – 3
Cardiff International Arena – 4
Bournemouth International Centre – 6
Brighton Centre – 7
London Wembley Arena – 9

28th Sep Mean Fiddler, London

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Paul Sabu returns to the scene with his brand new output entitled Strange Messiah - another crunchy Hard Rock effort in typical Sabu style. Singer, song-writer and guitarist Paul Sabu is best known for his work with his band Only Child plus contributions for other artists such as David Bowie, Alice Cooper, Little Caesar, Lee Aaron, Madonna, Malice, Robbie Neville, Silent Rage, The Nelsons, Shania Twain, John Waite and more. Most recently, the readers of Kerrang magazine have voted Paul Sabu as second best AOR vocalist of all time.
Strange Messiah will hit the stores on August 31st in Europe via AOR Heaven.
Line-Up: Paul Sabu (g., v.), Matthias Rethmann (b, Lee Z), Gereon Homann (dr., Eat the Gun), Michael Voss (add. guit., Mad Max, Casanova), Ralf Heyne (lead g., Biss), Thorsten Koehne (lead g., Demon Drive), Angel G.Schleifer (lead g., Bonfire, Pretty Maids)

James Blunt will release a new album on September 17th entitled 'All The Lost Souls'.

Jeremy Hunsicker from a US Journey tribute band Frontiers is rumoured to be the new JOURNEY vocalist.

The two surviving members of RUN DMC may join AEROSMITH on stage at Hyde Park this Sunday.

Guitarist JJ Marsh is back in GLENN HUGHES touring band for the upcoming live dates.

***FEAST OF ROCK BANDS @ GUILFEST JULY 13/14/15th 2007***
My Vitriol, Yourcodenameis:milo, Reuben, Hell Is For Heroes, Orange Goblin, Zico Chain, Charlotte Hatherley, Uriah Heep and many more rock acts have been added to the bill of the sixteenth annual GuilFest, which takes place July 13th, 14th and 15th 2007.

GuilFest, the main stage of which is headlined by Supergrass, Squeeze and Madness, also boasts THE ROCK CAVE, a stage dedicated to harder edge rock and metal bands.

***Friday 13th July is headlined by My Vitriol, preceded by Zico Chain, Shels, Whitewash, The Venus Guns and Q-tone.

***Saturday July 14th is headlined by Reuben, preceded by Hell Is For Heroes, Pull Tiger Tail, The King Blues, The New 1920, Enjoy Destroy, The New York Fund, Lights Action!, Exoterik, Alphalfa, Chop Chop: Bear Touch?, and Whitelime.

***Sunday July 15th is headlined by Yourcodenameis;milo, preceded by Orange Goblin, Beat Union, Six Nation State, GU medicine, Fortune Drive, Sennah, Videosprint, Mesa Verde, Into Flight and Asono.

***Elsewhere, on the Ents 24 stage, Charlotte Hatherley adds a rock edge to Friday’s line-up while Uriah Heep headline on Sunday 15th July.

More emerging rock talent will grace the two Live Club Stages for unsigned bands, with over 40 of the best raw and up and coming groups vying for the audience’s attention over the weekend.

Tons of other attractions are on offer, including a massive 150 foot long bar, a huge variety of food stalls, the EA Games area, the Comedy Stage, The Funky End Stage, and, of course, the main stage, where acts such as Morcheeba, The Magic Numbers, Jimmy Cliff, Toots and The Maytalls, The Ordinary Boys, Rodrigo Y Gabriela and many more star over the weekend.

Guilfest takes place in leafy Stoke Park in Guildford, a stone’s throw by road or train from London. There is a dedicated camping area with some of the best toilets you’ll find at a festival, and only two minutes walk from site are the Guildford Lido and the Spectrum Leisure Centre, great for hot showers, a sauna or a swim.

Sep. 05 - Binghampton, NY - Broom County Arena
Sep. 07 - Uncasville, CT - Mohegan Sun Arena
Sep. 08 - Long Island, NY - Jones Beach Amphitheatre
Sep. 09 - Mansfield, CT - Tweeter Center
Sep. 14 - Tampa, FL - St. Petersburg Times Forum
Sep. 15 - Sunrise, FL - Bank Atlantic Center
Sep. 16 - Orlando, FL - Amway Arena
Sep. 25 - Denver, CO - Coors Amphitheatre
Sep. 28 - Reno, NV - Reno Events Center
Sep. 29 - Kelseyville, CA - Konocti Harbor
Sep. 30 - Concord, CA - Sleep Train Amphitheatre
Oct. 02 - Fresno, CA - Selland Arena

Oct. 28 - The Metro - Perth, Australia
Oct. 30 - Thebarton - Adelaide, Australia
Oct. 31 - Festival Hall - Melbourne, Australia
Nov. 1/2 - Luna Park - Sydney, Australia
Nov. 03 - Riverstage - Brisbane, Australia

Nov. 20 - SECC - Glasgow, UK
Nov. 21 - MEN Arena Manchester, UK
Nov. 23 - NEC - Birmingham, UK
Nov. 24/25 - Brixton Academy - London, UK
Nov. 26 - CIA Arena - Cardiff, UK
Nov. 28/29 - Elysee Montmarte - Paris, France
Nov. 30 - Heineken Music Hall - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Dec. 01 - The Palladium - Koln, Germany
Dec. 02 - Messe Congress - Stuttgart, Germany
Dec. 03 - Tonhalle - Munich, Germany
Dec. 07 - Eulachhalle - Winterhur, Switzerland
Dec. 09 - Schlacthof - Wiesbaden, Germany
Dec. 10 - KB Halle - Copenhagen, Denmark
Dec. 13 - Old Ice Hall - Tampere, Finland
Dec. 14 - Old Ice Hall - Helsinki, Finland

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

ROGER HODGSON ‘Take The Long way Home’ Eagle Rock (DVD 2007)

A two DVD set from one of the main members of Supertramp. They may never have been the most hippest of bands but boy did they record some classic tunes, many written by Hodgson. Hodgson performs solo with keyboards and piano save for a sax/clarinet player. This gives the songs a fresh feel and one that is stripped of its multiple harmonies and pomp backing. Juts proves though that a good song can be performed in many ways and still sound good. Lots to enjoy including ’Give A Little Bit’, ’Dreamer’, ’The Logical Song’ and ’Breakfast In America’. A couple of solo tunes make the setlist as well including ‘Oh Brother’. A very enthusiastic sell out crowd in Montreal makes the atmosphere good. The second disc contains interviews with Roger Hodgson, backstage views and fans views.
A great reminder of the many classic songs Supertramp recorded and great to hear them sung with such enthusiasm as Hodgson does,

Jason Ritchie

ROBIN BECK ‘Livin’ On A Dream’ Frontiers (2007)

Best known for her smash hit ‘First Time’ off the back of a Coca Cola advert, Beck has had a successful career in the melodic rock field. This time around she has produced a classic album full of melodic delights and huge ballads being helped out by her husband James Christian and a couple of his House of Lords band members.
The title track really gets things off to a flyer, very rocky and listen out for the ‘Top of the Pops’ intros to her big hit ‘First Time’. ’Always’ is Heart’s ’Alone’ updated and given the Beck touch. The swooping vocals and high notes bring to mind classic 80’s Heart. ‘Magic’ rocks like a mutha and is easily the heaviest track she has done so far. James Christian adds his backing vocals to most songs but takes co-vocals on the heartfelt ballad ‘Till The Last Tear Drop Falls’. There won’t be a dry eye in the house by the time this gem has finished…
Buy if you’re a fan of Robin beck’s previous work or love female hard rock a la Heart and Dante Fox. Quite possibly her best album yet.

Jason Ritchie

Saturday, June 16, 2007

MARILLION The Forum, London Friday 15th June 2007

First of two nights at the Forum and first up were Public Symphony who sound like Pink Floyd with a bit of Coldplay (mainly in the arrangements). Best song of their set was the up tempo rock of ‘Breakthrough’, a very decent tune. The only downside to the band was they were very programmed I.e. there was little spontaneity in the music and to be honest you could listen to them on a CD at home for all the stage presence they had. Having said that I bought the CD and it is well worth a spin if you like Gilmour led Pink Floyd.
Having not heard Marillion’s new CD ‘Somewhere Else’ (I have now ordered it though!) I wenat along with open ears and happy to report they are back in my good books again! I liked ‘Marbles’ and ‘Anoraknophobia’ but bar these their albums since ‘Afraid Of Sunlight’ did little for me. What a great set though with the new single ‘Thank You Whoever You Are’, the rather excellent ‘Between You And Me’ (this really comes alive on stage) and ‘You’re Gone’. The band are obviously enjoying every minute of it with Steve Hogarth and Pete Trewas the most animated band members, whilst guitarist Steve Rothery is content to play his wonderful solos with the minimum of fuss. Great to hear ‘Afraid Of Sunlight’ and ‘King’ again, with a rousing rendition of ‘Easter’ rounding of a very enjoyable two hour set.
I am firmly back as a fan having been a lapsed fan for much of the 90’s right up until ‘Marbles’ and hopefully they can reconnect with fellow lapsed fans like myself. This is a band at ease with their music and with a very large and loyal fan base who will follow them on their musical journey. Simply wonderful!

Jason Ritchie


MARCO MENDOZA ‘Live For Tomorrow’ Frontiers (2007)

Bass player Marco Mendoza (Soul SirkUS/Thin Lizzy/Ted Nugent/Blue Murder/Whitesnake) steps up to the kike for a very enjoyable solo album that mixes hard rock with funk and a little bit of pop thrown into the mix as well. Former Mr.Big/Poison guitarist Richie Kotzen is the other main player on here. Of course some of Mendoza’s musical friends pop up including Ted Nugent rocking out on ‘You Got Me’ and Toto’s Steve Lukather guests on the pop rocker title track - a sure fire airplay hit. What I love is the variety on here including two songs, ‘Lettin’ Go’ and ‘Look Out For The Boys’, both contain a heavy groove and reminded me musically and vocally at times of Glenn Hughes. In fact if Marco Mendoza does another solo outing he should hook up with Glenn Hughes as I am sure they would produce some great music. Tommy Bolin was another name that came to mind in the vocals at times and the slow burner ‘Still In Me’ sounds like a last Bolin number.
Many solo albums sound either like the musician’s other band(s) or so far out even the most ardent fan has trouble with the music. Luckily Marco Mendoza has produced a gem of an album, full of melody and top draw musicianship. It’s not Thin Lizzy or Whitesnake but it is damn fine hard rock meets funk and pop. Enjoy!

Jason Ritchie

KNIGHT AREA ’Under A new Sign’ The Laser’s Edge (2007)

This album could have been released anytime in the past thirty years and that’s a compliment, in that the music has that timeless edge that all could prog rock records have. Lovers of Yes, Styx and even latter day bands like Dream Theater and Pendragon will adore this album. Yes is the biggest musical comparison not least for the Chris Squire like bass runs and vocalist Mark Smit who sings in a high range, although not as high as Jon Anderson does! You like keyboards and guitar interplay? ‘Mastermind’ will have you in heaven - reminded me a lot of long lost pomp rockers Prophet. There is a lovely epic (thirteen minutes plus) ‘A Different Man’ Part II’ that closes the album. From a gentle keys intro it builds nicely with some Moog backing and again those wonderful bass parts. At the seven minute mark it all goes down a notch before a grandiose finale. Classic prog doesn’t get much better than this!
Maybe nothing new but Knight’s Area capture all the good things about progressive music and add them onto their very strong melodies. A definite one for fans of classic/neo prog rock.

Jason Ritchie

Sunday, June 10, 2007

10 Q's with SYMPHONY X

1. What are you currently up to? (E.g. touring/studio, etc.)

Michael Pinnella: We are currently on tour. Started out in New York, then Puerto Rico, Milan( Gods of Metal) and now we are at Sweden Rock.

We fly home for 2 days off and then tour 2 weeks in South America, followed by 4 weeks in the states.

2. Could you take us through the tracks on the new album 'Paradise Lost'
please (eg ideas behind the songs etc)...

Michael Romeo: Well, the idea for the whole CD was to create music that was heavier, more aggressive and more guitar driven. Also with a darker atmosphere, both musically and lyrically.

We decided on Paradise Lost as the theme for the CD - although it is not a concept CD, it does have an underlying theme going on. The lyrics are based on ideas and emotions portrayed in Milton's work - betrayal,revenge, lust, etc. Musically, it is much more aggressive - keeping the feel of these ideas. Brutal and savage at times, but melodic and passionate at others.

Oculus ex Inferni - We wanted to start the CD off with something that would introduce the basic feel of the rest of the album - a short instrumental/ orchestral piece that was dark, heavy, and somewhat "hellish". I wrote this piece early on and eventually modified it to be the intro.

Set the World on Fire and Domination and Serpent's Kiss- lyrically about betrayal, revenge and corruption with some reference to Milton's poem. The music, following the theme of the lyrics, is aggressive and dark. We also tried to keep the songs as focused as possible - right to the point - cool riffs, good choruses, and a bit of the orchestral/ choir elements to give it that gothic / pseudo-religious / heaven and hell vibe.

Paradise Lost - We wanted a few softer songs to offset the heavy stuff - this one of my favorites, I love the chorus, it is typical to us, too- somewhat progressive and lush.

Eve of Seduction, Walls of Babylon and Seven - Back to a few heavier songs - Eve of Seduction is about temptation and lust - it is an up-tempo tune with some cool guitar riff stuff.

Walls of Babylon is our war song - probably the most metal tune, but with a bit of a jam section up front - a lot of choirs and chanting along with some world instruments throw in there with the heavy guitars.

Seven is us in our semi-classical mode, a lot of guitar and keyboard interplay - kind of reminiscent of some of our older material, but heavier and updated a bit.

Sacrifice - another mellow song - a ballad. A great vocal performance by Russ layered with acoustic guitars, piano and string section.

Revelation - The longer track - and bits of everything: heavy riffs, progressive sections, etc. There are also a lot of reference to the Divine Wings of Tragedy CD - musically and lyrically - we thought we would have some fun with this one, and thought the fans would enjoy it as well.

4) Michael Romeo has said this new album has the best Symphony X ever
made. Is it true and how do the band feel they have developed musically
since the debut album?

JASON RULLO I would say it's definitely true in terms of having all the things the band truly encompasses as far as having the classic Symphony X sound, killer metal riffs and yet still having the progressive element. Paradise Lost has an attitude that I don't think was really present on previous SX cd's. I think since the debut album we have all become better musicians, more mature and more able to deliver what it is we hear in our heads. It's an ongoing process but we are pretty happy with this one for sure.

5) Any plans for a live DVD?

Michael Pinnella: Absolutely.We are looking very forward to creating a SX live DVD in the near future.

6. What sort of live set can fans expect when you support Dream Theater
later this year? Which countries/venues do you particulary like
appearing at?

Michael Lepond: The live set will be geared toward promoting the new CD, but we will also play enough songs to satisfy the fans who want to hear the old classics.

7. Have you seen an upswing in interest in the band in the US, given
that progressiv emetal music is much bigger here in Europe at the

Michael Pinnella: This genre of music is growing very quickly in the USA. Many of our fans are much younger. This is a signal that our style of music is on the rise and will eventually hit America like heavy metal in the 1980's.

8. How did you get your first break into the music business? What piece
of advice would you pass onto budding musicians?

Michael Romeo: My first break was actually from a guitar/instrumental demo tape I did in about 1991. It was featured in some guitar/music magazines in the States and eventually lead to the formation of the band, Symphony X, in 1994.

My advice would be to just keep at it relentlessly - be creative and open-minded to all kinds of music. .

Michael Lepond:The best piece of advice to new musicians is to never give up and do not listen to the negative feelings from those who have failed in this business.

9. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Michael Romeo: Movies, music, spending time with the family.

Michael Lepond: Reading and watching TV about history, mythology, etc.

10. Message to your fans.

Michael Lepond: We are really proud to present to you our new CD. We hope you like it and we are excited to perform it live for you. We always appreciate your support and look forward to seeing all of you on tour.
BIG thanks to Joe Geesin for allowing me to publish his excellent interview here.

A rare example of where the term 'Living Legend' can genuinely be applied, actor Christopher Lee has over 350 screen credits to his name, form Count Dracula and Hammer Horror, through James Bond's nemesis Scaramanga to Star Wars and Lord Rings. Music has always been part of his life, having turned down the opportunity to become an opera singer. His memorable role as Lord Summerisle in The Wicker Man included two songs.

Mr Lee has recently recorded an album, Revelation, covering styles from Country & Weston to Opera and even Heavy Metal (following on from his recording with Italian operatic metal band Rhapsody).

In the week he celebrates his 85 birthday and 60 years in acting, Lee took a break to from filming his latest (yet to be announced) film to perform a few tracks from the CD and forthcoming DVD (both on Magic Entertainment) at the MCM Expo in London, with progressive jazz rock band db-Infusion in support.

After a couple of songs cut short by technical difficulties he answered a few questions from the floor (refusing to talk about Hammer Horror, dismissing it as so long in the past, and apparently Scaramanger was the name of someone Ian Flemming (Lee's cousin) disliked at college he so wrote him in as the bad guy in James Bond) before affording a more private interview:

Due to time constraints the interview was shared with John Hill from The Wharf, an east London local newspaper.

Joe Good Afternoon. Must say I enjoyed the music.

CL The parts that didn't go wrong. At least I can say I didn't go wrong.

Joe The soundcheck sounded good though.

CL I only had one rehearsal with the band and I didn't realise to be honest how loud it was going to be and how close I would have to be to the mic, and how powerfully I would have to sing. Fortunately I have I loud voice. You see people don't believe, up to a point, they don't believe that somebody of my age, as an actor, can sing. It's the same with anybody else, whether it's singing, painting or playing the piano or whatever. They don't believe until they actually see it. This morning was a first for me, playing live. I understand most of the stuff you see is to playback (with backing tapes), so I am told, well that wasn't, it was live. I've not done that before. I sung the right notes, the right words, I speak the language. I sung it in French, it was written in French. Then suddenly at the end of the first verse, deathly silence. A technical matter that should never have happened, was nothing to do with me or the band. Which is very, almost unfair, very unprofessional. I am professional, the band are professional. We rehearsed once only and only in a small room, quite quietly. I step on to that stage, playing at that level, it's a first for me. Well, it's not the first time I've sung with a heavy metal group. I've sung with Rhapsody, but that was a very lyrical song and if I remember correctly it was to (some) playback, although I sung it. I still sing, even though it's playback. But this is the first time I've gone in front of an audience, live, and sung live, with a heavy metal band, a song, an aria, which is one of the toughest in music. I know without any, conceit isn't the word, well I know I got it right. The notes, the words, in French, I know I got it right. I was perfectly satisfied, as well as one is, I'm never really satisfied. But I did my part and the band did their part. The fact that at the end of the first verse there's a total silence, well it's a technical thing that should never have happened. I think people just came out of curiosity to see if I really could sing. And I'm going to sing the same aria again tomorrow and I hope it goes right next time. And then at end something happened, part of the chorus didn't come in. I have no idea why that happened, and I'm left all on my own. So not from my point of view entirely satisfactory. But I did at least show the public, which is the purpose of my being here, that I can sing.

Joe How did you find singing with Rhapsody?

CL Oh fine.

Joe You recorded a single with them in four languages, how many can you speak?

CL Well I spoke all four. Not fluent in any others; I can speak a little Russian, read and write a little Greek, and I used to speak a little Swedish, because I lived there, but I've forgotten most of it. It's just a case of, if you know any language and you go back there and spend time there, it all comes back. I mean, I've filmed in French, in France, in German, in Germany, in Spanish, in Spain, and in Italian, in Italy, big movies. I'm very accepted. Sometimes you're dubbed, even if you don't have an accent, they dub you. Why? Because you're not Frenchman, a German, or a Spaniard, or an Italian. Quite simple.

Joe How did you get to work with db Infusion?

CL That was all put together by Mannan here, and by my son-in-law Juan. They put it all together, it was their idea, and we made the CD, and the DVD is coming out next month.

John It's so diverse. And it's a hard song to do.

CL The band, for me, did the whole of the first verse 4 times, it's like doing a musical where somebody starts singing a song from another musical. I suppose if you're doing a duet, you're waiting for your bit, and they suddenly start singing something else. That's what happened this morning. It shouldn't. I'm doing it again tomorrow, and it had better be right, believe me. I hope I've got a voice.

Joe All I heard was the music downstairs and that was good.

CL You ever heard a man, I'll be 85 tomorrow, sing like that? Do you think there is one.

Joe No idea. I don't know

CL Nor do I. I saw a television programme the other day, on the news, much older than me, some are 90, they call themselves The Zimmers. All singing together. I don't want to be unkind, but they had fun, and that's the most important thing. Whether you're singing a song, making a movie, making a record, doesn't matter what it is, have FUN. And I DID have fun this morning, except when the technical things went wrong. That wasn't funny at all, that's why I said to them, I've already sung the first verse, and I thought I don't want to hear it again, because they don't speak French, so I said look I've done the first verse, so I'll sing the second verse, and I did, and people who were taking the pictures, filming, can put it together without my comments. It's the one thing in my life really, I suppose, in show business, I've always said, when asked "What do you want to do?" my answer is always "Something I've never done before", where it's been possible to find.

Joe Going back, your role in The Wicker Man, you did some singing

CL And that was live, that wasn't playback. Actual direct sound, but it was, you know, just the thing with the piano, then the thing at the end with all the others.

Joe Did you harbour thoughts on recording an album or playing live after that?

CL I didn't think anyone was interested. They said, you know, you're an actor. It's a kind of a, I don't know, a characteristic. "What do you mean you can sing you're a writer?" or "What do you mean you can paint you're an actor?", or "What do you mean you run a company, you're a pianist?" It's something that happens more in this country than anywhere else. People don't seem to be able to accept that you can do more than one thing. I mean really do it. Do you think I would get up onstage and sing something like this? If I couldn't I'd make a fool of myself. Who'd want to play with me. What band would want to play with me if I couldn't sing.

John The album showcases a wide range of styles, are there any you think suits your voice best?

CL Oh I think 'Man Of La Mancha'. There are two versions of what you heard this morning ('The Toreador March'), one is Flamenco, the other is Heavy Metal. That was the most difficult without any doubt. 'My Way' I did, well, my way (laughs), and I didn't try to copy anybody. What I tried to do was present to the listeners, with each song, the character who sings that song. Doesn't matter what nationality he is, whether French, Spanish, English, or American, because I sang 'Wanderin' Star' and 'High Noon', as an American. 'Man Of La Mancha' of course I sing in English, and 'Carmencita' I get to sing, it's a Spanish piece, Flamenco, it's never been heard. If you have the record you've heard it, but the public hasn't. Unless they're all storming the booth buying the record. It's a pity when everybody works so hard, hard isn't the word; my son-in-law was here until midnight last night, from 9 in the morning. When he left, perfect. And I was supposed to have an ear piece so I could quietly hear myself singing and keep strict tempo. Which I think I was anyway, thank god. And then come in the chorus, not sing the first two lines, come in on the next two lines, which I did, and everything was fine when he left. Today, nothing went right, nothing. Couldn't get the sound, chorus didn't come in when it should have done, second verse didn't come in. Nothing to do with him. It's the people downstairs, I'm sorry but it is. And something happened. Don't ask me what because I don't understand electronics, I certainly don't understand computers. Somebody touched something, or moved something, and it blew it. Fortunately the band and I did not blow it.

Joe I've seen db Infusion live before, last year, and they are a good live band. And I've heard you with Rhapsody.

CL Oh yes, well that was a lyrical song. I wouldn't really call that song a heavy metal song. We had an orchestra, a chorus, the band and the tenor. I sang that song in four languages, I only have it in English, and as far as I know they sold the German in Germany, the Italian in Italy, presumably, otherwise what's the point of doing it?

John The CD and DVD, is this a one off deal or will there be more in the future?

CL I'll do more, if somebody comes up, yes. I'd be delighted to do another album, but we've got to find the songs. You know, many many years ago, David Bowie asked me if I'd do a record with him. It must be 30 years ago. But we couldn't find a song that we could both sing, we couldn't find it. I'm not just name dropping, there's this man, one of the most famous singers in the world and he asked me if we could do a record. He must have heard something, or knew I could sing or something. Tony McAuley asked me if I'd do something, we couldn't find, what we've got to do, if this goes well, so much depends on promotion, which I suppose is the reason I'm here, is to convince people "He really can, you know". We've got to find the right songs. I can think of one or two I'd like to do, already. But one or two isn't enough. And of course somebody will want a heavy metal song, somebody will want a flamenco song. One this is though, I don't sing operatically.

My great grandparents ran the first opera company in Australia and singing music has been in my family all my life. I could have been an opera singer, I was offered, but I couldn't afford to live in Stockholm. So I never became a singer which is my greatest regret. However there is the other side. At 85, I would certainly not be singing, if I'd been an opera singer. But I can still do this kind of thing.

John Is there anything you'd really like to turn your vocal chords to?

CL Anything unusual I suppose is the answer. Anything, I don't know what there is to find. Can you think of anything that would appeal? Particularly to the young of course.

John Are you doing this to enjoy it or to get critical acclaim or audience response?

CL Oh Both. But I think the last one, the response of the audience. It's not just a question of selling records. It's how they react, that's the most important thing of all. Do they like it? Do they like it? Even if they didn't understand a word. They know me, and they hear me sing, and that's what I'm here for. If they like it they buy the record. Even with the technical glitches, which should never have happened. I don't understand these things, I really don't. Do you? When something's been rehearsed and rehearsed and somebody's worked themselves nearly to death, got it absolutely right, and the day comes..... It's like singing on a stage and suddenly the orchestra stops playing.

John If you're not touring, it's not like the first date on a forty date tour.

CL Oh I couldn't do that, I'm too old. The only person I knew, a very close friend, he still tours, in his early 70s, is Howard Keel, he's a trained singer. I'm not, I can't even read music. If you were out there, presumably you were, you heard me say that, it probably surprised people. I can't read a note.

Joe You come across on the Rhapsody as very operatic....

CL But that's my voice, I can't help that. But in this album we've got out, you couldn't say, if you listen to all music, you couldn't say that's an opera singer. Because as I said each song is a different character. It's my voice, but you wouldn't say he's an opera singer.

Joe Is there anyone you would like to work with?

CL Well Placido Domingo said he would like to make a record with me. But rather like the thing he did with John Denver, that kind of thing, it certainly wouldn't be opera. And somebody else, I forget who it was. And somebody else, I can't remember. But my son-in-law would know, because he was the one who told me. But Pacido was very interested in doing something. But he'll never find the time. And an operatic face tells me he would sing an operatic duet with me.

If you are singing strictly opera, people who are going to listen, will know what you're singing about. Possibly even understand. But as they're not seeing you, an operatic recital for opera lovers is one thing, this isn't opera. It's very important this is emphasised. This is NOT an operatic song at all. I may need that kind of voice to come over that band. That was very loud, I'm not used to it. You hear it, I had never heard it. When we rehearsed it was never as loud as that.

John Do you find music therapeutic, do you have it on in the background? Is it challenging?

CL Yes, everything should be a challenge. Certainly in my world. You know, you see someone who dances, they make it seem so easy. You hear somebody sing a song, or play the piano or play the violin or whatever that might be, you think I could do that it's so easy. They challenge themselves every day to get that way, all the time. You see some of these paintings, notably by people like Jackson Pollock, who of course is one of the most famous modern painters, he's dead now, you look at these pictures and think I could do that. They all look as if, I'm told he rode a bicycle across one painting, you think you could do that, there must have been something else at work there. And Picasso, his early work I thought was absolutely superb, his blue period and so on, was totally recognisable. When he goes into that distortion of everything, I didn't really like it very much, it's like Bacon. It's distortion in his mind, but it's brilliant painting, intellectual painting as much as anything else.

Spiritually, and that's something I wouldn't mind singing, could be spiritual, I could do that. Certainly would not sing "Old Man River", that's been sung to death. But I could sing "Way Down The Swanny River", or maybe "Old Black Joe", I don't know. You have to be very careful because this question of colour, things like that, can be tricky. Sadly, sadly, it's a strange world for me, my age, it's not the world I was brought up in.

Posing for the camera:

CL You took a lot of me like that (Poses as if in mid conversation) and I'm turning round like this. You can't use the bad ones, it makes you look like a bad photographer. Some people do it deliberately, of course, because they like to make people look silly.

Photographer Well you need to take 100 shots to get the right one

Listen, I was photographed by Robin Kessler, and I've got the photographs. I've been photographed by some good people, but they don't choose a picture where you're, you know, but people do, the papers want to make you look ridiculous. They get you and the editor will say print that one. It just looks sloppy

John Do you find it's quite a knock down age? (rest of question missed, tape glitch)

CL Yes, oh yes, it goes back to what we were saying earlier, everything must be a challenge. Everything. It's like shooting a film, which I'm doing at the moment. If you just wonder on there, or when I went on stage earlier, you think I wasn't nervous? Of course I was nervous. Some of the greatest actors in the world, they're in the wings, before their first entrance, and they're nervous as hell. It's called stage fright, but it drives you.

Tape finished here, shortly before the interview ended.
COLDPLAY are working on their new album although it may now be released in early 2008.

MAGENTA currently plan to release their new album in Jan 2008.

STARZ will release a new live album on 9 July. "Come Out At Night" documents Starz' performance at the Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland, Ohio in September 2004.

FAST EDDIE CLARKE's "ANTHOLOGY" will be released on 16 July.

IRON MAIDEN’s Download show has been filmed for a DVD release.

Called 'Secret Green', the band has been formed by Francis Lickerish, guitarist, composer and founder member of The Enid. Joined by ex Enid members Willie Gilmour (keyboards) and Neil Kavanagh (bass and vocals) along with Andy Tillison (The Tangent) on Keyboards, vocalist Hilary Palmer, guitarist Jon Beedle and John Howells (Avril Lavigne, Katy Melua, Uriah Heap) on drums and percussion, the band are currently recording their debut album 'Songs To Wake The King'.

Early demos suggest a big sound very reminiscent of the classic Symphonic-Rock duel-guitar, seven piece Enid era of In The Region Of The Summer Stars to Six Pieces combined with some traditional acoustic English folk influences seen before in Gryphon and early Oldfield albums.

Debut performance will be at the Arundel arts Festival on 27th August 2007 where the band will be playing brand new material from the forthcoming album. The set will also feature one or two early Enid classics performed by these orginal members, in their orginal large format band setting, for the first time in over 25 years!



Fri 31st Aug - King Tut's, Glasgow (+ support, Abel Ganz)
Sat 1st Sept - Classic Rock Society, Rotherham (with support, Blind Ego & Kramer)
Sun 2nd Sept - The Dome, Tufnell Park, London (with support, Blind Ego & Kramer)
These dates will feature a special guest appearance by former Pallas vocalist Euan Lowson. A mixture of Pallas past and present will be performed.

Aug. 25 - The Underworld - London, UK
Aug. 26 - [to be announced] - Deal, UK
Aug. 28 - Negasonic Music Club - Aalst, Belgium
Aug. 29 - Negasonic Music Club - Aalst, Belgium
Sep. 01 - Cafe Cairo - Wurzburg, Germany

ODS (OLIVER DAWSON SAXON - ex-SAXON founding members Steve Dawson (bass) and Graham Oliver (guitar)
Jun. 15 - The Underworld - London
Jul. 07 - The Brickmakers Live Music Venue - Norwich, East
Jul. 20 - The Kingswood - Birmingham
Aug. 25 - Patriot Games - Monmouth Wales
Aug. 31 - The Old Vic - Coalville
The group's lineup also features ex-SAXON drummer Nigel Durham, ex-SARACEN guitarist Haydn Conway, and former SHY vocalist John "Wardi" Ward.

31/08/07 Die Halle, Reichenbach/Fils, Germany
01/09/07 Plato, Helmond, Holland
02/09/07 Boerderij, Zoetermeer, Holland
03/09/07 Matrix, Bochum, Germany
04/09/07 Colos Saal, Aschaffenburg, Germany
05/09/07 Der Hirsch, Nürnberg, Germany
06/09/07 Markthalle, Hamburg, Germany
07/09/07 N8, Osnabrück, Germany
08/09/07 Retro Music Hall, Prague, Czech Republic
09/09/07 Schiff A38, Budapest, Hungary
11/09/07 Transbordeur, Lyon, France
12/09/07 Roxy, Saarbrücken, Germany
13/09/07 Z7, Pratteln, Switzerland
14/09/07 Biebob, Vosselaar, Belgium
15/09/07 TBA*, London, England
(* London details and supports to be confirmed)


Asteroid - s/t

Asteroid first came to my attention on the split CD they put out with Blowback last year on my beloved Fuzzorama Records. At the time I said they were "an absolute delight, layering their stoner fuzz in psychedelic sheens straight out of the Masters Of Reality handbook". And now, here they are with a whole CD to themselves! And, lo, it is good.

They seem to be slowly metamorphosising from a stoner based band into a heavy fuzz spacerock outfit, and that's the kind of talk that gets me ever so slightly moist. And there are so many incredibly good grooves here, I could be keeping the laundrette going for years. What stops them tipping over into out and out spacerock is the brevity and melody on display, so despite song titles along the lines of 'The Infinite Secrets of Planet Megladoon' and 'Panoramic Telescope', they've remained rooted in the concept of the song. Which is cool.

Of all their contemporaries they're probably closest to Truckfighters as they dish out heavy anthem after heavy anthem with well thought out arrangements, keyboards and oodles of monumental fuzz. Best of the bunch in a bunch full of goodness are probably '''The 13th Witching Hour' with its weird rhythms and 'Doctor Smoke' which is just far out and groovy, man.

If psychedelic fuzz space rock is your bag, and it should be, this is nogh on essential.

4 ****

Reviewed by Stuart A Hamilton

Waltari - Release Date

Hmm. Is the only possible reaction to this CD. Finnish outfit Waltari have been on the go for quite literally hunnerds of years without making any kind of breakthrough. And, from this CD, it's easy to see why. Because they seem to have absolutely no idea who they are.

To be fair, their last album, "Blood Sample", did get them some worldwide attention, but this is blighted in much the same way as that one was, which means that you have absolutely no idea what the hell is going to come out of the speakers next. They start off in fairly standard late eighties Ozzy fashion on 'Get Stamped' before turning into dull indie rockers on 'Big Sleep'. Then, for no discernible reason they turn into a generic punk band for a couple of forgettable numbers." But then, they really go mad.

Track 4, 'Cityshamaani' is a 36 minute long piece of music in five movements which covers virtually the entire gamut of guitar based rock music as it veers crazily from prog rock to power metal to thrash guitars, throws down a bit of rap metal and blitzes you with some doof doof techno on its way to blitzing your senses into submission. In places, it's absolutely outstanding, in others a horrendous mess, but it certainly entertains on the drive to the asylum.

The remaining tracks fall into the same categories as the earlier ones, veering between generic rock tosh and some cracking metal riffing before finishing up with the utterly bizarre but oddly compelling 'Spokebone', a collaboration between Waltari and fellow Finns Värttinä, who combine traditional music with modern rock, with sampled beats and female vocals. It's al lin Finnish, so maybe they'll get the joke inbetween the fiddling, but it's a fine way to end one of the stranger albums you'll hear all year.

3 ***

Reviewed by Stuart A Hamilton

ThreeMileIsland - Fractured

I strongly suspect that you wouldn't want to get stuck in a lift with these people. There's a lot of shouting going on and I think they might be quite upset about something. It's all my own fault, the press release did say it was for fans of 36 Crazyfists and Rage Against The Machine, so I should have been better prepared.

And the lead track, 'Cimarron Street', on this 2 track demo is certainly chock full of shouty attitude and pent up vehemence which should stand them in good stead come their mad bloke with a beard and a shopping trolley phase, several years down the line. I've no idea what they're pissed off about but I'm mad about it now as well.

Second track 'The Rising' is less good, substituting some System Of A Down rhythms in place of the first tracks splatter your guts over the street fury. but I'm not going to tell them that in case they find out where I live. Coming to a teenage moshpit near you.

3 ***

Reviewed by Stuart A Hamilton

Shatterpoint - Dead Precedence

If I was a proper journalist I'd just look out my review of their 2004 debut "Consequences", rejig some of the words about, put in a bit about either it being a step forward, backward or more of the same, and pretend it was a brand new review. But that would be cheap, lazy, journalism, so that's exactly what I'm going to do.

When Shatterpoint came to my attention back in 2004, I lauded them for dealing [insert here] "in straight ahead no nonsense thrash metal". And I'm glad to report that this punningly entitled follow up isn't mucking around with any of that fancy nu-core malarkey, instead this caters for the people who [insert here] "crave the simpler times of Metallica and Megadeth churning out riff after riff."

Hey, this is quite easy. I'd better get to the bit where I talk about how they [insert here] "dish out a fair amount of melody as well, but not in a Black Album sell out fashion, just enough to keep the tune in your head after the riff has gone". Oh, there it was. But seriously folks, this is a cracking CD, and actually does move the band on a bit from their debut EP. The riffs are a bit sharper, the production is ramped up a few notches and on songs like album highlight 'Thorn Inside' they indulge in some fantastically brutal metal.

They've also moved a few steps away from the Testament like vibe of their debut, heading more into their own sound which is one of earthquake inducing thrashology. There's at least half a dozen tracks here that cause you to suffer some serious mischief down the pit with 'No One Else To Blame' and the title track up there with the best of them. Props to Powerplay records as well for putting together a cool looking package, well removed from the usual eighties cartoon style so beloved of thrash labels. Lyrically there are some well pointed diatribes to give you summat to think about in between your bouts of metal thrahing madness.

3.5 *** 1/2

Reviewed by Stuart A Hamilton

Shining - V: Halmstad (Niklas Angående Niklas)

Shining let me down. A bit like Glen Benton and his dead at 33 claim, if you're going to form a suicidal black metal band, then you'd better come up with some suicide. But, here we are, 11 years after the inception of what was a solo project by Niklas Kvarforth, and they're still on the go.

As with most Scandinavian black metal outfits, keeping a stable line up isn't really there thing and they've got through hunnerds including the ubiquitious Jan Axel Blomberg, better known to you and I as Hellhammer. Come 2004, Shining announced they were becoming inactive, which raised my hopes once again, but after "IV: The Eerie Cold" there was silence for a year or so. This album was recorded and then Niklas vanished with a band statement reading ""A couple of days ago, we received a letter from a person very close to Kvarforth telling us that Kvaforth had decided to leave this world behind and also introducing as a kind off last will, a new singer to replace him for future events of Shining". Hurrah! And so it was that February 3rd this year saw the first concert to feature new frontman Ghoul. Who turned out to be Niklas Kvarforth in a zombie suit. Boo!

All of which leaves me feeling cheated as I listen to this album. But damn them, if it isn't good. It's still pretty much the same as on "III - Angst, Självdestruktivitetens Emissarie" and "IV - The Eerie Cold", offering up depressive black metal with symphonic, soundtrack like interludes and touches, raw, blackened vocals and a crushing air of despondancy. Not forgetting 'Hamlet - the mild cigar from Benson & Hedges' or Bach's "Air on a G-string" to the more refined among you . Which is just how it should be, although methinks that 'true' black metal fiends will find fault with the slight progression into the world of symphonic black metal, and I can almost hear the cries of "sell-out" from here. Which would be a shame because the six tracks give out as much misery, darkness and depression as you could ever wish for.

3.5 *** 1/2

Reviewed by Stuart A Hamilton

Abramis Brama - Live

Now that's just cheeky - claiming that your live album "proudly stands alongside such monsters as "No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith", "Made In Japan" or "Unleashed In The East". Not just cheeky but silly. Especially when your seventies influenced groove drenched hard rock is actually very good.

They've been peddling their Swedish sung fare around their home country for ten years now, so they can certainly play a bit. This album acts as a live best of (despite already having a best of out), which will come as a treat for anyone who caught them at the Roadburn Festival back in 2006. They shy short of turning into a stoner band having more in common with Grand Funk Railroad and Mountain, but do enjoy ripping out a fat, groovy riff when the mood takes them.

Don't ask me what they're banging on about but 'Säljer Din Själ' is a killer and there seems to be a crowd favourite in the shape of

Kall Som Sten', which everyone knows the chorus too. Despite being recorded at multiple locations, it sounds like a cracking night out. It's all original material bar a nod back to one of their early influences, Swedish stoner legends November, and a run through 'Men Mitt Hjarta Ska Vara Gjort Av Sten', which will rock the hardest heart of stone.

3.5 *** 1/2

Reviewed by Stuart A Hamilton

Sonic Syndicate - Only Inhuman

Hmm, not so hot on the heels of their 2004 debut release "Eden Fire", an album which was fairly standard Gothenburg melodic death metal, 2007 sees Sonic Syndicate now signed to Nuclear Blast, after winning some kind of competition (one assumes not for unsigned acts), and a slightly refined sound which has tempered the death metal and introduced more elements of metalcore. Shame it's turned out so average.

Coming on like a mix of Soilwork and In Flames, but without the individuality that makes others stand out, I'm afraid this album just totally passed me by. Blink and I missed it. Trying to be positive, the vocal arrangements are actually pretty good, what with loads of harmonies and there are some nice keyboard touches, but the songs and the riffs are just by the numbers.

They've definitely taken a very commercial bent with this release, with 'Enclave' having Kerrap! hit written all over it, but most of this album is join the dots, identikit, modern metal with no personality.

1.5 *1/2
Reviewed by Stuart A Hamilton

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Cult are to title their new album 'Born Into This'.

FOREIGNER plan to release a new album either late 2007 or early 2008 plus a live DVD is in the works.

The Outfield have updated their website with news of the health of band mate John Spinks. The update can be found at:

Since reuniting in January 07' to perform a benefit concert, Great White has moved forward and hit the studio for their first album in 8 years. "It's just like old times," states lead singer, Jack Russell. "There's a bond that forms between people that is very special. I've missed my friends."
2007 marks Great White's 25th Anniversary, so original members Jack Russell (vocals), Mark Kendall (lead Guitar), Audie Desbrow (drums), Michael Lardie (Guitar/keyboards) and Sean McNabb (bass) have been in studio the last few months writing and recording. Back To The Rhythm is being mixed, produced, and engineered by band member Michael Lardie while collectively all are adding their sounds to the mix. "The new songs sound fresh to me, very Great White, but with an approach of what we sound like in a live performance situation," explains Michael Lardie. "Kendall and I are having fun channeling our Stones roots and playing off each other in the Richards/Woods tradition."
Great White then released on Portrait Records Can't Get There from Here was released in 1999 and is the band's last studio opus thus far. Back To The Rhythm will be released in lavish digipak edition on Frontiers Records on August 31 with the following tracklisting:
1. Back To The Rhythm, 2. Here Goes My Head Again, 3. Take Me Down, 4. Play On, 5. Was It The Night, 6. I'm Alive, 7. Still Hungry, 8. Standin' On The Edge, 9. How Far Is Heaven, 10. Neighborhood, 11. 30 Days In The Hole (exclusive bonus track for the Frontiers Records version), 12. Just Yesterday.
Release in Japan is settled around the same date on King Records. The band is currently working on settling a few live dates in Europe.

LINE OF FIRE’s new album has now been pushed back until early 2008.


WHITE LION have had to withdraw from the US RATT/POISON tour.

Marc Bolan: The Celebration will happen at London Shepherd's Bush Empire on September 15, the eve of the 30th anniversary of his death. Tribute band T.Rextasy will accompany a number of major names, who will perform Bolan/T. Rex classics Proceeds will be split between Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy and the PRS Members Fund. Tickets go on sale from June 8. They cost 30 (plus booking fee) via the Empire Box Office: 0870 771 2000.

Eden featuring Vince O'Regan (Bob Catley) and Nick Workman (Kick), will be playing at Dudley JB's this sunday june 10th. Support on the night comes from Tomorrow the World, a new band featuring Craig Chapman formally of Tara's Secret. Tickets are a very reasonable £4 and the doors open at 8pm. Eden will be playing songs from there debut album Open Minds and also new songs. Details of Eden's second album "Karma" will be finalised and announced soon.



Iced Earth - Overture Of The Wicked EP. SPV June 4th

Currently, every man Jack and his dog are releasing metal/prog concept albums but this EP is the harbinger of one, which has the potential to stand head and shoulders above the rest. From Tim "Ripper" Owens' searing scream at the start of the intense pounding metal that is 'Ten Thousand Strong' you know Iced Earth have stepped up yet another gear! This isn't the slightly rough round the edges IE of old, here they manage to straddle the camps of both Classic and Power Metal with ease.

Introducing Ripper in 2004 was something of a masterstroke by main man John Schaffer, not only bringing them a higher profile but also harnessing the services of one of heavy metals finest. His vocal talents displayed here are comparable to anyone. The remaining tracks are remakes of the 3 closers from 98's "Something Wicked This Way Comes" Heavier, more polished, and certainly slicker than their predecessors. In 22 glorious minutes, we are introduced to an epic metal storyline, which will span
12,000 years..... and 2 CD's (2007's Framing Armageddon and 2008's Revelation Abomination) Schaffer enthuses "What is coming next... is a far more in depth look into this heavy and apocalyptic sc-fi/fantasy story" This certainly whets the appetite!

November will see Iced Earth back on these shores supporting Heaven & Hell for the UK leg of their tour. On this evidence, Ronnie & the Sabbs might well have their work cut out following these guys!

Dave Hunter

AT VANCE VII AFM Records 2nd July

Top-drawer melodic hard rock with a biting power metal edge from the band At Vance, founded by guitarist Olaf Lenk in 1998. Playing in bands since the age of 16 Lenk has certainly learned his trade well, displaying fine song writing and playing technique, this album is testimony to his ability. After many line up changes, this represents surprisingly their 7th release with vocal duties handed this time to the very capable Rick Azti. Himself, a former bassist and vocalist with Swedish metal band Sanity as well as a spell with Treasure Island. Azti, who at times brings to mind David Coverdale, carries a good tune, certainly lending himself well to some cracking tracks here.

A criticism which many albums of these genres are subjected to is that they are all one paced. Not true here, from the outstanding ballad Lost In Your Love though slower AOR tunes such as shiver to the almost power metal of Golden Leaves, Shine and Truth this album has something for everyone. Crossing from AOR into power metal territory with ease At Vance should appeal to a wide audience. Followers of Kamelot and their ilk with love ‘em, fans of Whitesnake, however, will probably be divided because of Azti’s similarity to “The Soldier Of Fortune”.

Dave Hunter

CASINO STEEL ‘There’s A Tear In My Heart’ Wild Kingdom (2007)

A country album with a shot of blues and some very tasty playing by Casino Steel himself. A fire few covers on here including the country twang of ‘I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry’, one of three Hank Williams songs on the album. Sadly not quite so good is a cover of ‘What A Wonderful World’ as Steel’s voice just lacks the passion needed to really make this song come alive. Of his own songs ‘I Was Barely Getting By’ dips into the blues and ‘Ballad Of the Sad Café’ features some fine guitar playing.
If you like your country and blues very traditional then this album will suit you down to the ground.

Jason Ritchie

AWAKE ‘Illumination’ Lion Music (2007)

Awake are UK prog metal band Humanity under a new name and minus guitarist Steve Wallace. The album is produced by Evergrey’s Tom Englund, who also adds backing vocals along with fellow Evergrey band member Hendrik Danhage guesting on ‘Forgiven Now Forever’.
Musically it is very Evergrey in feel from the vocals of Simon Sahdwell through to the mix of guitar riffs and keyboards throughout the album. ‘Disbelief’ and the brooding ‘Begin Again’ are definite stand out tracks. Like Evergrey Awake are aggressive sounding but manage this without the need for screaming vocals or distorted guitars. There is a real menace in the air behind each songs delivery. That said the songs can sometimes sound too much like Evergrey, which is no bad thing but this might hinder the band who some may see as mere clones and they are not.
Certainly worth getting for lovers of well crafted progressive metal and of course Evergrey fans!

Jason Ritchie