Saturday, April 16, 2011

SYMPHONY X To Play 'Longer' Set On Upcoming Tour

North America's progressive metal masterminds SYMPHONY X would like to assure everyone that their upcoming North American headlining tour will still go on as planned. In fact, SYMPHONY X will now be playing a longer set for their fans who have been eagerly waiting to see the band perform live again since 2008. Still joining SYMPHONY X on the road beginning on April 21 in Philadelphia and through May 22 in West Springfield, Virginia are Boston's POWERGLOVE and Montreal's BLACKGUARD.

Commented SYMPHONY X guitarist and founding member Michael Romeo: "Some of you may be disappointed that SOILWORK, and just recently NEVERMORE, left the tour; we share your frustration. We were looking forward to taking such a great lineup out on the road, but shit happens; best of luck to those bands in the future. That being said, we're still psyched about getting back on the road and giving the fans a full-on, killer show every night. We plan on doing some tracks from our upcoming CD, 'Iconoclast', and are really excited to be playing them for our North American fans for the first time ever. It's going to be awesome!"

SYMPHONY X's ninth studio album, "Iconoclast", will be released 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

Thursday, April 14, 2011

WILLIAM SHATNER Album with lots of special guests; Details Revealed

Los Angeles-based Cleopatra Records has inked legendary actor William Shatner to a worldwide recording deal for a space-themed concept album entitled "Searching For Major Tom" (formerly "Seeking Major Tom"), to be released later this year.

Comprised of 19 "interpretations" of classic intergalactic rock anthems, the release features guest appearances by Ritchie Blackmore (RAINBOW, DEEP PURPLE), Ian Paice (DEEP PURPLE), Zakk Wylde (BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, OZZY OSBOURNE), Carmine Appice (VANILLA FUDGE, ROD STEWART, OZZY OSBOURNE), Mike Inez (ALICE IN CHAINS) and Michael Schenker (MSG, UFO, SCORPIONS).

Of Wylde, Shatner previously said, "He's fantastic! I'm energized." Wylde was thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Shatner and added, "He's super cool, we had an awesome time working together."

"Searching For Major Tom" track listing:

01. Space Trucking (DEEP PURPLE)

* Ian Paice (DEEP PURPLE) on drums
* Johnny Winter on guitar

02. She Blinded Me With Science (THOMAS DOLBY)

* Bootsy Collins on bass
* Patrick Moraz (YES, MOODY BLUES) on keyboards/synthesizers

03. In A Little While (U2)

* Manuel Gottsching (ASH RA TEMPEL) on guitar

04. Empty Glass (THE TEA PARTY)

* Michael Schenker (MSG, UFO, SCORPIONS) on guitar

05. Lost In The Stars (FRANK SINATRA version)

* Ernie Watts on saxophone

06. Twilight Zone (GOLDEN EARRING)

* Warren Haynes (GOV'T MULE, ALLMAN BROTHERS) on guitar

07. Space Cowboy (STEVE MILLER)

* Brad Paisley on guitar and vocals

08. Rocket Man (ELTON JOHN)

* Steve Hillage (GONG) on guitar

09. Space Oddity (DAVID BOWIE)

* Ritchie Blackmore (DEEP PURPLE, RAINBOW) on guitar
* Alan Parsons on keyboards

10. Spirit In The Sky (NORMAN GREENBAUM)

* Peter Frampton on guitar

11. Bohemian Rhapsody (QUEEN)

* John Wetton (ASIA) on bass and vocals

12. Silver Machine (HAWKWIND)

* Wayne Kramer (MC5) on guitar

13. Major Tom (PETER SHILLING)

* Nick Valensi (THE STROKES) on guitar
* Mike Inez (ALICE IN CHAINS) on bass

14. Learning to Fly (PINK FLOYD)

* Edgar Froese (TANGERINE DREAM) on guitar and keyboards

15. Mr. Spaceman (THE BYRDS)

* Dave Davies (THE KINKS) on guitar

16. Iron Man (BLACK SABBATH)

* Zakk Wylde (BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, OZZY OSBOURNE) on guitar and vocals

17. Planet Earth (Duran Duran)

* Steve Howe (YES) on guitar

18. Walking On The Moon (THE POLICE)

* Toots (TOOTS & THE MAYTALS) on vocals

19. Mrs. Major Tom

* Female guest vocalist to be announced

William Shatner will be presented with the Honorary Headbanger Award at the third annual Revolver Golden Gods award show presented by Epiphone on Wednesday, April 20, at Club Nokia in Downtown Los Angeles. Revered for his role as Captain James T. Kirk on "Star Trek", Shatner will be on hand to accept his award, an honor Revolver magazine bestows each year to someone who has made their name outside of the metal world but still embodies its spirit.

"Short of receiving an Emmy for my superb voice, the Honorary Headbanger Award is the next best thing. Praise be you won't hear me sing," said William Shatner.

QUEENSRŸCHE: New Album Cover Unveiled

Seattle progressive rockers QUEENSRŸCHE will release their twelfth studio album, "Dedicated To Chaos", on June 28 in North America via Loud & Proud Records, a Roadrunner Records imprint focusing on established artists. The band is currently planning a tour in support of the new opus, which was recorded in the group's hometown and produced by Kelly Gray.

Check out the CD cover artwork below.

When asked about the overall musical direction of the material on "Dedicated To Chaos", Tate recently told Paul Anthony of U.K.'s Rock Radio, "It's kind of like an 'Empire' record set 25 years in the future. [Laughs] It's a very listenable record, I think. I think people will find it interesting to listen to on headphones, especially. There's a lot going on with it. And there's definitely an emphasis on the rhythm section. Eddie [Jackson, bass] and Scott [Rockenfield, drums] have written a lot of the songs on this particular record, so it really showcases what they do, which is something very special."

He added, "This record is definitely a boundary-pusher in a lot of respects, I think. It's always difficult to describe music; it's better to experience it. So I'll let people hear it and make up their own minds."

In a 2010 interview with Attention Deficit Delirium, QUEENSRŸCHE drummer Scott Rockenfield revealed that the band's upcoming CD is taking the quintet in some new directions.

"I add a lot of film score elements or sound effects [into my drum work], especially on the new thing we’re working on right now," Rockenfield said. "Geoff and I have really spent a lot of time together redesigning the QUEENSRŸCHE thing, which you're going to love. It's huge rock but with a great dance vibe to it, real modern dance. It's kind of like 'Rage' ['For Order'] through a time tunnel, bringing it into the now. There are a lot of electronic elements to it. It's a big rock thing that is going to have a lot of color to it — it's good and really intense."

Regarding whether the new QUEENSRŸCHE album is a conceptual effort, Tate said, "In a sense, it is. It's a very contemporary record.

He continued, "'Empire' was a record of the time. Rock music was really the music of the times in 1990. Unfortunately, rock music isn't the music of the times anymore — it's very underground.

"What we're doing with this record is we're taking the 'Empire' song structure, in a sense, where it's very strong songs, very melodic, but we kind of restructured the rhythm section, and Scott's done an amazing job on restructuring that — him and Eddie [Jackson, bass] have just really gone to town, and they've made it very contemporary-sounding.

"These days, in comparison to the old days, people used to sit in their houses and listen to music right in the front room on their stereo system. People don't do that anymore. They plug in and they're mobile and they're moving and they're doing stuff and the music, they're listening to it as they're doing stuff. This music has that feel. It's very contemporary in the sense that it's very rhythmatic. The rhythm structure kind of reflects the way modern life is — we're all busy, we're all doing stuff. And Scott being the incredible drummer that he is, the various time signatures, the feel of the record, it's now — it's very, very now."