Saturday, March 26, 2011

MIKAEL ÅKERFELDT, STEVEN WILSON Complete Work On Material For 'Storm Corrosion' Project

The much-anticipated collaboration project between OPETH's Mikael Åkerfeldt and PORCUPINE TREE's Steven Wilson, tentatively dubbed "Storm Corrosion", has completed writing material for its debut album. Wilson says, "There's still a lot of recording work to do, but this should definitely be out in early 2012."

In fall 2010 interview with the U.K. branch of Roadrunner Records, Wilson stated about "Storm Corrosion", "It's nice to know that what [Mikael and I] always suspected was that when we actually got together [and began collaborating on songs], it was gonna be quite easy. It was also in the back of your mind, thinking, 'Maybe it won't work.' Maybe it [was] just built up so much [in my head before we started writing material], and it was so easy. So easy. And the music was so crazy and so inspiring to both of us. So I think that was good to feel, like, 'It's gonna work.'"

Regarding the similarities and differences between PORCUPINE TREE and OPETH and how they play into "Storm Corrosion", Wilson said, "The funny thing is that the music we're making together is actually nothing like either of us made before. Because I think we both had this idea of this kind of music that we knew we couldn't get our bands to play, but that we both kind of understood where we were coming from. 'Cause we have this kind of passion [for] very experimental, obscure records, almost orchestral in their scope. And we wanted to make a record like that for a long time."

He continued, "It's a long way from metal and it's a long way from anything that, I think, Mikael has ever done, including the 'Damnation' record [from OPETH].

"I think a lot of people thought, 'Oh, it's gonna be like 'Damnation'.' It's not; it's a long way from that, too. And it's actually a long way from anything I've done; [it's] possibly closer to aspects of things I've done, but really quite distinct from anything I've ever [released]. [It's] very orchestral, lots of strings, lots of guitars and vocals, too. Lots of very long songs that kind of go in different directions that you don't necessarily expect them to go in — almost theatrical in a way. And we both kind of admitted to ourselves that there are a lot of fans out there that are probably gonna hate it. But we're doing it for us."

He added, "The one thing we didn't wanna do is get together and do a prog-metal supergroup, which would have been so easy to do — and kind of expected, in a way. And, you know, we might do that anyway one day. But this time around, we thought, 'Let's just do this [kind of] record.'

"Some people will love it and some people will not, and that's OK, because, in a way, I don't think we wanted to just give what was expected, and we're certainly not doing that."

On the topic of the recording process for "Storm Corrosion" and whether Steven and Mikael are self-producing the new project, Wilson said, "It's great, because in many respects, Mikael is the closest I know to someone who is... How do I put this? He's the equivalent of me in his band. He's like the captain of the ship and we kind of understand each other — all the frustrations of being in that position, all the stresses and pressures of being in that situation — so because of that, there's no ego thing at all — yet! [Laughs] But we're both kind of control freaks, in a way, so that's kind of a strange situation to be, where you're working with someone where you don't feel any of those issues and you have that complete trust. So we're just like... [I go], 'Here, you have the guitar. Do something amazing.' And he does. And then I'm like, 'Oh, I've got an idea for that,' and I do some keyboard thing. And he's like, 'That's amazing! I love that.' And so
it's really... It sounds like we're kind of blowing each other the whole time... [Laughs] But it's just so much fun. And that's the important thing — I think it's fun. Because there's no ego and there's no pressure. Because people don't know what to expect."

He continued, "We've kind of already resigned ourselves to the fact that we're gonna do something that people are gonna hate, anyway. I mean, I'm exaggerating... I'm sure a lot of people are gonna dig it. But people are gonna be surprised by it.

"We're not giving people what they expect, so there's little pressure, really — there's very little pressure. It's just literally swapping instruments and I'm kind of recording it on my own system."

Although former DREAM THEATER drummer Mike Portnoy was initially supposed to be part of the project, it now appears that he will no longer be involved.

"To be honest, there's just no room for drums on what we've done so far," Åkerfeldt told Classic Rock magazine last year. "I called Mike up, and he was cool about it. He's got so much going on anyway, and I'm sure we will work together in the future."

Friday, March 25, 2011

NEARFest 2011 To Be Cancelled

From The NEARFest Leaders

It is our sad duty to inform you that 2011 edition of the North East Art Rock Festival has been cancelled due to a lack of ticket sales. This unfortunate result is likely the product of lower-than-expected interest in a transitional lineup of talented international acts combined with a slow-to-rebound U.S. economy. Despite utilizing our well-established avenues of communication and traditional revenue streams, including the annual Patron Program, it has become apparent to the five of us that ceasing operation of NEARfest 2011 is truly the only recourse.

Though enthusiasm for an experimental new direction was not sufficiently obtained, we do greatly thank those of you that had already purchased tickets for your continued support. Rest assured that all tickets purchases will be refunded in full, including the donation portion of any Patron ticket. If any Patron would like to retain their donation status with the festival to help offset any cancellation fees we may incur, please contact Jim Robinson ( privately by email. For those who have already booked airline travel, we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and hope that you can get the most value out of any non-refundable tickets. All hotel and car rental reservations should be well outside their respective penalty windows.

We also apologize to the bands that were scheduled to play in 2011. We always look forward to presenting an exciting and diverse lineup of wonderful bands from around the world, and that includes getting to know some of them personally. We are truly sorry that we cannot have you grace our stage this year.

Please note that no decisions have been made regarding the long-term future of the festival.

Thank you for your understanding and support.


Ray Loboda, Operations Coordinator
Jim Robinson, Business Director
Kevin Feeley, Production Manager

Chad Hutchinson, Co-Founder
Rob LaDuca, Co-Founder

North America's progressive metal masterminds SYMPHONY X have revealed the details of their ninth studio album, "Iconoclast", due in Europe on June 17 and in North America on June 21 via Nuclear Blast Records.

Illustrator and film concept artist Warren Flanagan ("Watchmen", "The Incredible Hulk", "2012") is the talent behind the album artwork. He states, "The idea was to create imagery that was a little darker in tone to previous SYMPHONY X albums and to represent the overall theme of 'Iconoclast' into the artwork. The whole concept came from [SYMPHONY X guitarist] Mike [Romeo], who had a strong idea of what the cover should represent based off the music. I just ran with it. When the album's title was decided on, I focused the image based on the meaning of it. I also wanted to use the band's signature 'masks' but present them in a way that connected to the new album."

SYMPHONY X founder and lead guitarist Michael Romeo has the following to say about Flanagan's art: "We worked with Warren on the last CD, 'Paradise Lost', and have a good relationship with him. When I talk to Warren about artwork ideas, a lot of times we end up making comparisons to films and movies. With the new CD, 'Iconoclast', the music and lyrics have a darker mechanical/technological theme, and I remember us talking about scenes from films like 'The Matrix' and 'Terminator'. From there, we sent him some songtitles and lyrics (songs like 'Dehumanized', 'Bastards Of The Machine', 'Electric Messiah') and just let Warren run with the ball. He has a great imagination and style, and he totally gets what we are trying to convey with the music."

The track listing for the jewel-cased version of "Iconoclast" is:

01. Iconoclast
02. The End Of Innocence
03. Dehumanized
04. Bastards Of The Machine
05. Heretic
06. Children Of A Faceless God
07. Electric Messiah
08. Prometheus (I Am Alive)
09. When All Is Lost

The track listing for the 2-CD special edition digipak version of "Iconoclast" is:

CD 1:

01. Iconoclast
02. The End Of Innocence
03. Dehumanized
04. Bastards Of The Machine
05. Heretic
06. Children Of A Faceless God
07. When All Is Lost

CD 2:

01. Electric Messiah
02. Prometheus (I Am Alive)
03. Light Up The Night
04. The Lords Of Chaos
05. Reign In Madness

Wednesday, March 23, 2011



March 23, 2011 - Danbury, CT - Wishbone Ash, the classic British rock band renowned for its signature twin-lead guitar prowess, embarks April 25 on a US tour to promote a new DVD and studio project. The group returns to several familiar venues along with select new stops on the three-week tour (tour dates listed below). The DVD, 'This is Wishbone Ash,' is a rockumentary offering a “fly on the wall” glimpse of the creative process, as the band records tracks for the upcoming CD release and prepares for a concert. Wishbone Ash plans a late spring-early summer US release for the new CD (working title: 'Searching for Satellites'). The album features brand new tunes from the pen of founding member Andy Powell (guitar, lead vocals) and Muddy Manninen (guitar, backing vocals), with input from bassist Bob Skeat and drummer Joe Crabtree.

The classic rock bands of the late ’60s and early ’70s enjoy a unique place in popular music history. The Beatles had gone their separate ways; Britain had already gone through the blues boom, and psychedelia had made its impact. The possibilities were infinite. Wishbone Ash, one of the new breed of progressive rockers, were quick to seize the opportunity, and in 1969, they were among those to take full advantage of this rarefied environment, producing their special brand of melodic rock. More than 40 years later, having pioneered the use of twin lead guitars, the band has gained worldwide recognition, based firmly on a regime of relentless touring. Wishbone Ash, the quintessential road band, is an acknowledged influence on many other bands, including Thin Lizzy and Iron Maiden. Power and melody have made the Ash a hard act to follow, while they are currently being discovered by new generations of loyal fans.

An exceptional recording and touring career has seen Wishbone Ash weather many changes in record labels, personnel and musical trends; but they entered the new millennium with most of the vast catalogue intact on CD, an award-winning website and a date sheet the envy of many other bands. Recording highlights are the multi-million-selling 1972 album, 'Argus,' considered to be one of the all-time classic rock albums. Recently, high praise has been garnered for the 2008 album, 'The Power of Eternity.'

Wishbone Ash US Spring Tour Dates:

April 25 - Tupelo Music Hall - Londonderry, NH
April 26 - Tupelo Music Hall - White River Junction, VT (featuring Argus Live)
April 27 - Sellersville Theater Sellersville, PA
April 28 - Ramshead - Annapolis, MD
April 29 - BB Kings - New York, NY
April 30 - Van Dyck - Schenectady, NY (2nd set features Argus Live)
May 02 - Winchester Music Hall - Cleveland/Lakewood, OH
May 03 - Callahan’s - Auburn Hills, MI (featuring Argus Live)
May 04 - 4D’s - Ft. Wayne, IN (featuring Argus Live)
May 05 - Midway Tavern - Mishawaka/South Bend, IN
May 06 - Fitzgerald’s - Berwyn, IL - TWO SHOWS 7:30 PM and 10 PM (2nd show featuring Argus Live)
May 07 - Shank Hall - Milwaukee, WI
May 11 - Sioux City Community Theatre - Sioux City, IA
May 12 - Whiskey Road House - Council Bluffs, IA (featuring Argus Live)
May 13 – Knuckleheads - Kansas City, MO (featuring Argus Live)
May 15 - Cosmic Charlie's - Lexington, KY
May 16 - Moondogs - Pittsburgh, PA
May 17 - Bridge Street Live - Collinsville, CT