Saturday, April 30, 2011

VOIVOD To Release Live Album In U.S. Via SONIC UNYON METAL

Canadian metal innovators VOIVOD will release a new live album, "Warriors Of Ice", in the U.S. on June 21 via Sonic Unyon Metal. The CD, which can already be purchased digitally (see below), will be made available in Canada on June 17 through Indica Records.

Late in 2009, VOIVOD released their live "Tatsumaki: Voivod Japan 2008" DVD, filmed the previous fall when they toured Japan for the first time ever. To celebrate its release of the DVD, VOIVOD performed in front of a sold-out crowd on December 12, 2009 at Club Soda in their adopted hometown of Montreal, Quebec. It was their first headlining show in the city of Montreal in more than ten years and it was celebrated in grand style. It was a fitting end to a busy year that saw them named "Metal Band Of The Year" at the 2010 Indie Awards in Canada. The show was recorded for posterity and is now being released as the fifteen-track "Warriors Of Ice", the first official VOIVOD live album to feature original band members Denis "Snake" Belanger on vocals, Jean-Yves "Blacky" Theriault on bass and Michel "Away" Langevin on drums, as well as new guitarist Dan "Chewy" Mongrain.

"Warriors Of Ice" highlights the classic period of the original VOIVOD lineup as well as a few new songs, all raging with the band's notorious live energy. Containing songs from their classic albums, spanning from 1984's "War And Pain" right up through 1991's "Angel Rat", as well as two songs from their 2009 "Infini" LP, the album is built of VOIVOD's signature songs, from "Voivod" and "Nuclear War" to "Tribal Convictions" and "Astronomy Domine" (PINK FLOYD cover).

"Warriors Of Ice" track listing:

01. Voivod
02. The Unknown Knows
03. The Prow
04. Ripping Headaches
05. Ravenous Medicine
06. Tribal Convictions
07. Overreaction
08. Panorama
09. Global Warning
10. Treasure Chase
11. Tornado
12. Nothingface
13. Brain Scan
14. Nuclear War
15. Astronomy Domine (PINK FLOYD cover)

The 15-track set captured on "Warriors Of Ice" is undeniably packed with VOIVOD fan favorites, making it an absolute must-have release for diehard fans and a great starting point for the uninitiated as well. This is the main set VOIVOD ravaged their audiences with on their 2010 U.S. tour alongside KREATOR, and at their headlining slot at the 2010 Scion Rock Fest.

VOIVOD is currently touring Europe, and will begin to assault the North American masses again this May when it is scheduled as one of the top headliners of the 2011 Maryland Deathfest.

VOIVOD is currently working on material for a new studio album. The CD will contain the band's first music to be written with new guitarist Dan Mongrain (MARTYR) following the passing of Denis "Piggy" D'Amour in 2005.

"Tatsumaki: Voivod Japan 2008" was released on November 17, 2009 via MVD Entertainment Group. The disc contains professionally filmed footage (three-camera shoot) of VOIVOD's September 20, 2008 concert at Club Citta in Kawasaki, Japan. The band was in Japan taking part in the two-night Thrash Domination 2008 event alongside TESTAMENT and FORBIDDEN.

"Infini", the latest album from VOIVOD, landed at position No. 67 on the Top New Artist Albums (Heatseekers) chart, which lists the best-selling albums by new and developing artists, defined as those who have never appeared in the Top 100 of The Billboard 200.

The Latest ProgPower Europe 2011 Update

Within the next couple of weeks we will announce the last 4 bands for this year's edition of ProgPower Europe, so far the following bands are booked:

Friday September 30

Saturday October 1

Sunday October 2

(bands marked with a * will be all exclusive performances for The Netherlands this year

Asia drummer Carl Palmer discusses focusing on present, not past, and recording in the digital age

Thursday, April 28, 2011
By MElinda Rizzo
The Express-Times
In 1982, four English progressive rock musicians formed Asia, touted as a musical super group because of the formidable pedigree of its members.

Members of the original Asia lineup were drawn from '70s progressive rock bands Yes, King Crimson and Emerson, Lake and Palmer.

Today, Asia continues to tour and is planning to head back into the recording studio to produce the follow-up to 2010's "Omega."

"We have lots of ideas and just need time to come together and sit down in a room and work them out," says drummer Carl Palmer.

The band -- Palmer, bassist and vocalist John Wetton, keyboardist Geoff Downes and guitarist Steve Howe -- performs tonight at the State Theatre in Easton.

The band will stick to a playlist that includes enduring Asia hits such as "Heat of the Moment" "Only Time Will Tell" and "Sole Survivor."

What's missing from this tour is a selection of works from each band member's individual rock 'n' roll past, according to Palmer. Previous tours showcased hits such as Yes' "Roundabout," "Fanfare" by Emerson, Lake and Palmer, King Crimson's "In The Court of the Crimson King" and "Video Killed the Radio Star" by The Buggles.

In addition to Asia hits, audiences will hear work from recent Asia recordings "Phoenix" and "Omega'.

"We've stopped doing the retro stuff from those previous years, and we're playing these shows with our own music together now," Palmer says.

Palmer says what's different about recording and performing today is what people want to hear, but the key to enduring work remains.

"The secret is in the (song) writing," Palmer says.

Selling new material has changed since Palmer and his fellow band members began working in the industry more than 35 years ago, when vinyl recordings reigned supreme.

Palmer says he enjoys being able to record in an age where editing and correcting tracks is seamless.

"Making a recording today is a lot different," Palmer says. "You don't have to redo everything because you want to make a change."

Being played on the commuting "drive time" circuit, when radio stations give bands airtime, has changed, too.

"It's just not the same," Palmer says. "Selling new material is different, so is releasing it into the (marketplace). Touring has become very important to us."

Friday, April 29, 2011

It's Official: MIKE MANGINI Is New DREAM THEATER Drummer

Mike Mangini, the 48-year-old session artist who has played for ANNIHILATOR, EXTREME, JAMES LABRIE and STEVE VAI, has officially joined DREAM THEATER as the replacement for the recently departed Mike Portnoy.

Commented Mangini: "The day that I got the phone call to be in DREAM THEATER, it took my brain a minute to assemble what was going on, and when it sank in, the feeling was just of tremendous relief.

"It means so much to me, I almost felt like crying a couple of times. [Laughs] I didn't know what to do.

"What it means to me to be part of not only such a legendary band, but this band, is a sense of fulfillment and purpose. I feel like a puzzle piece, and with Mike [Portnoy] in particular, I feel really honored to carry on the torch for him; I'm carrying on his spirit."

Regarding the decision-making process, the members of DREAM THEATER had the following to say:

Jordan Rudess (keyboards): "The thing that stands about Mike Mangini is that he [plays] with such intensity and direction and power, and that was very engaging.

"It was hard to totally decide; you can't just say, 'OK, it's him and write off some other guy, because they're both incredible."

John Petrucci (guitar): "We unknowingly used a method that we use when we write music, which is, 'Just hear out my side.'

"During that discussion, we kind of came to some conclusions, we hashed things out, and at the end of the discussion, it was clear. We made a decision."

John Myung (bass): "A lot of it was just how felt with each particular drummer. It turned out that we were kind of all on the same page as to who we needed to carry on. I think it was meant to be."

Mangini is notorious for his technical prowess and holds three out of four World's Fastest Drummer titles. These include the Fastest Matched grip at 1,247 strokes in 60 seconds; Fastest Hands, which he earned by executing 1,203 single-stroke notes in 60 seconds without drumsticks mallets etc.; Fastest Traditional Grip which he earned by executing 1,126 strokes in 60 seconds; and Fastest Single Stroke Foot record, playing 13,222 hits in 15 minutes and 5,222 hits in five minutes.

Mangini has written two books about his drumming techniques. These books, titled "Rhythm Knowledge", are a practice method for deconstructing and simplifying complex polyrhythms and time signatures.

Mangini joined ANNIHILATOR in 1991 and appeared on the band's "Set The World On Fire" album. He toured with the group in support of the CD until 1994 at which point he was asked to play with the Massachusetts band EXTREME, replacing that group's original drummer Paul Geary.

After EXTREME dissolved in 1996, Mike was informed through drummer Jonathan Mover that guitarist Steve Vai was auditioning drummers for his live band. Mike successfully auditioned for Steve Vai's band and relocated to Los Angeles.

From late 1996 to early 2000, Mangini was the highly regarded drummer of Vai's live ensemble, which also included bassist Philip Bynoe, guitar wizard Mike Keneally and (in 2000) guitarist Dave Weiner. Mike also recorded several drum tracks for Steve's "Fire Garden" and "Ultrazone" albums.

In 2005, Mike accepted a full-time teaching position at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and today he is a prominent faculty member in the school's percussion department.

Portnoy, who co-founded DREAM THEATER more than 20 years ago, abruptly quit the band last summer while on tour with AVENGED SEVENFOLD.

He played on AVENGED SEVENFOLD's latest album, "Nightmare", following the death of that band's drummer, Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan, and toured with them in late 2010 .

The third and final webisode in which the members of DREAM THEATER share with their fans some of the intense process, along with the musical joy, that went into choosing a new drummer can be viewed below.

A little more than a month after Portnoy's sudden departure from DREAM THEATER, the band held three days of auditions in New York City. Over an amazing and productive three-day period, the band played, jammed and spoke candidly with seven of the world's greatest drummers, learning about them musically, personally and professionally, and assessing the fit of each drummer's incredible chops with the band's trademark prog-rock sound.

The members of DREAM THEATER have been extremely sensitive to the fact that this is not only a monumental decision in their own lives, but also a critical moment in the lives of their fans around the world. "The departure of our lifelong bandmate and friend was an unexpected and truly heartbreaking blow," said guitarist John Petrucci. "The fact that as a result of that event we'd be introduced to seven infinitely capable and uniquely talented drummers was heartening."

The following seven drummers took part in the DREAM THEATER audition process:

* Aquiles Priester (age 39) (ANGRA, PAUL DI'ANNO)
* Peter Wildoer (age 36) (DARKANE)
* Virgil Donati (age 52) (PLANET X, SEVEN THE HARDWAY)
* Derek Roddy (age 38) (HATE ETERNAL, NILE, TODAY IS THE DAY)
* Mike Mangini (age 48) (STEVE VAI, EXTREME, ANNIHILATOR)