Friday, May 27, 2011

OPETH: 'Heritage' Album Details Revealed

Swedish progressive metallers OPETH will release their tenth album, "Heritage", on September 20 via Roadrunner Records. The CD was produced by OPETH vocalist/guitarist Mikael Åkerfeldt and was recorded earlier this year at Atlantis studios (formerly Metronome studios) in Stockholm. Mixing duties were handled by Steven Wilson (PORCUPINE TREE) and Åkerfeldt. Longtime collaborator Travis Smith also worked with Åkerfeldt to create, design and execute the album's artwork.

"Heritage" will be released in several configurations that will certainly incite the interest of OPETH's legion of fans, known for their passion for collecting and collectibles. The album will be released as a standard version; as a special edition loaded with extras; as a box set exclusive to the Roadrunner and the band's own official Omerch webstore; and as a double LP. There is something for every OPETH fan, thanks to this variety of options.

Commented Åkerfeldt, "It will be our 10th album/observation. I dig it; we all do. In fact, it feels like I've been building up to write for and participate on an album like this since I was 19."

Åkerfeldt went a little deeper and described the music contained within "Heritage", saying, "It's quite intense at times in some 'old' murky way, and quite beautiful and stark at times, if I may say so myself.

"It's obvious I'm going to say nice things about it since I wrote, basically, the whole piece, but I guess it will raise a few eyebrows and it certainly is an acquired taste.

"I think you'll need a slightly deeper understanding of our music as a whole to be able to appreciate this record.

"I've realized my influences for this album are so diverse that I can't really say what it sounds like.

"If I can compare it to any other band, it would have to be OPETH, but it's different from the stuff we've done before.

"I've listened a lot to ALICE COOPER for the last year, yet I can't say it sounds like 'No More Mr. Nice Guy'.

"I hope you'll like it once you hear it."

"Heritage" track listing:

01. Heritage
02. The Devil's Orchard
03. I Feel The Dark
04. Slither
05. Nepenthe
06. Haxprocess
07. Famine
08. The Lines In My Hand
09. Folklore
10. Marrow Of The Earth

OPETH will embark on a seven-week, headline tour of the U.S. Dates will be announced imminently.

OPETH's last album, "Watershed" (2008), sold more than 19,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 23 on The Billboard 200 chart. Its predecessor, "Ghost Reveries", debuted at No. 64 on the Billboard chart back in September 2005 with first-week sales of just under 15,000. OPETH's 2003 album, "Damnation", opened with a little over 5,000 copies.

Keyboardist Per Wiberg was relieved of his duties as a member of OPETH last month as part of a mutual decision with the band. Keyboard duties on upcoming tours will be handled by a musician who is already rehearsing with the group. Said musician’s identity will be released at a later date.

Åkerfeldt released the following statement on the matter: "Well, it's been somewhat of a revolving door of members during the last couple of years, and now Per is no longer a member. [Martin] Mendez [bass], Axe [Martin Axenrot, drums] and Fredrik [Åkesson, guitar] and I came to the decision that we should find a replacement for Per right after the recordings of the new album, and this came as no surprise to Per. He had, in turn, been thinking about leaving, so you could say it was a mutual decision. There's no bad blood, just a relationship that came to an end, and that's that. We wish Per the best, and he did a splendid job recording keyboards for the last record, which stands as his final recording with OPETH."

As part of the celebration of their 20th anniversary, OPETH released live footage and audio from the band's performance at London's famed Royal Albert Hall. The concert (recorded on April 5, 2010) included two sets, the first consisting of the band performing 2000's now-classic, breakthrough epic "Blackwater Park" in its entirety, and the second, a chronologically arranged selection of material from the rest of OPETH's extensive catalogue, totaling almost three hours of music. "In Live Concert At The Royal Albert Hall" is, like the rest of OPETH's greatest work, "purposefully warped in all the right places" (Decibel). The front cover artwork concept pays tribute to DEEP PURPLE's "Concerto for Group and Orchestra", underlining the band's longstanding love for their prog-rock roots.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011



(New York, NY) - Frontiers Records is proud to announce the release of the sixth solo album by esteemed British singer/songwriter John Wetton; RAISED IN CAPTIVITY is due out on July 12th in North America. The album was recorded in Los Angeles during a brief break between touring commitments and is produced and mixed by multi-instrumentalist Billy Sherwood (Yes, World Trade, Yoso). The new offering finds Wetton teaming up with current and former musical partners, including some of the biggest names from the British music scene over the past four decades: Genesis' Steve Hackett, King Crimson's Robert Fripp, Deep Purple's Steve Morse and many more. Please click
here for RAISED IN CAPTIVITY cover art and here for a publicity image of John Wetton. Please see below for a full track listing and audio samples.

RAISED IN CAPTIVITY celebrates yet another milestone in an extraordinary life, a stunning collection of songs reinforcing a career of over 40 years during which John Wetton has created a legacy as one of the greatest singers, musicians and songwriters ever. Respected worldwide by fans and musical peers alike, Wetton's career included a significant period of time in the early eighties when he was the biggest selling singer in the world. Once again characterized by the emotional impact of the material, a necessary component in all Wetton's creativity, RAISED IN CAPTIVITY continues an unrivalled career which has brought inspiration to millions worldwide.

Of the new album and choice of producer, Wetton commented, "The decision to record in Los Angeles with Billy Sherwood was entirely mine. I wanted the chaotic urban inspiration, edge and energy to juxtapose the natural beauty that California provides. I also knew that Billy Sherwood would provide the musical and technical ability to record quickly, with ultra high energy and superb production quality." The material was written in a variety of ways, such as "Goodbye Elsinore" was written on the Denmark-Sweden sea ferry en route to a Vilde Frang concert and "The Devil and the Opera House" is co-written with King Crimson collaborator Richard Palmer-James. The album's finale is "Mighty Rivers", featuring the enigmatic Dutch soprano Anneke Van Giersbergen and the Seattle Symphony Orchestra.

John Wetton has been a member of several prominent British bands. After two albums with Family he joined King Crimson from 1972 to 1974, before working with Roxy Music and Uriah Heep. In 1977, with former Crimson band mate and drummer Bill Bruford, he co-founded U.K., which also featured guitarist Allan Holdsworth and keyboardist/violinist Eddie Jobson. After U.K.'s demise, Wetton turned his attentions to a solo career.

In 1982, Wetton became part of the supergroup Asia, together with Steve Howe, Carl Palmer and Geoff Downes. This "fab four" of progressive pop would rule radio and record sales, with their debut album becoming the biggest selling album of the year and yielding the worldwide hit "Heat of the Moment." Wetton remained prolific with more solo studio albums and several collaborative efforts over the years. In 2002 at a John Wetton fan convention held in Allentown, PA, he started working with Geoff Downes again. This collaboration ultimately resulted in a series of iCon studio and live albums and in the highly-anticipated reunion of Asia's original lineup, bringing about two successful new studio albums: PHOENIX in 2008 and OMEGA in 2010.

John Wetton RAISED IN CAPTIVITY track listing:

1. Lost For Words (featuring Steve Morse)
2. Raised In Captivity (featuring Robert Fripp)
3. Goodbye Elsinore (featuring Steve Hackett)
4. The Last Night Of My Life (featuring Alex Machacek)
5. We Stay Together (bonus track)
6. The Human Condition (featuring Tony Kaye)
7. Steffi's Ring (featuring Geoff Downes)
8. The Devil And The Opera House (featuring Eddie Jobson)
9. New Star Rising (featuring Mick Box)
10. Don't Misunderstand Me (featuring Tony Kaye)11. Mighty Rivers (featuring Anneke Van Giersbergen)

OZZY OSBOURNE's Keyboardist ADAM WAKEMAN To Launch Radio Show

Ozzy Osbourne's keyboardist (and son of YES keyboard legend Rick Wakeman) Adam Wakeman has sent the following note to BLABBERMOUTH.NET:

"If anyone is interested, I am starting a radio show on Total Rock radio in London on Saturday, June 4, and then every first Saturday in the month until further notice. No sticking to playlists and I'll be joined by a different member of my band HEADSPACE each show and playing some of the best rock, metal and prog over the last 30 years (and also a track each show from our HEADSPACE debut album, out in January 2012 [and] currently being mixed by Jens Borgen in Sweden)."

Born March 11, 1974 into a musical family, Adam started playing classical piano at the age of 8. By 17, he had obtained grade 8 from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music and had recorded the first, of what was to become eight albums with father Rick Wakeman.

Much of the early touring history was with his father Rick and encompassed the U.K., Europe, Russia, South America, the U.S., and Canada varying from the two of them sitting at grand pianos to full scale rock performances with orchestra and choir.

At 24 years of age, Adam won the "Best New Talent" award in America's Keyboard magazine, which saw the beginning of his involvement on the London session scene.

As a highly sought after keyboard player and musical director, Adam's career has seen him tour, write and record with some of the biggest-selling artists in the recording industry. Currently, he is in his eighth year as member of Ozzy Osbourne's band on keyboards and guitar, also having co-written five tracks on the 2010 Grammy-nominated album "Scream".

MASTODON: First New Songtitles Revealed

Atlanta progressive metallers MASTODON are currently in the studio recording the follow-up to their acclaimed concept album "Crack The Skye", one of the most critically lauded records of the past decade. The band is tracking the new CD at Doppler Studios in Atlanta with producer Mike Elizondo. Drum tracks were previously completed in Los Angeles at the legendary Sound City Studios where NIRVANA's masterwork "Nevermind" was recorded. Songtitles set to appear on the album include "Blasteroids" and "All The Heavy Lifting".

In a recent interview with AOL's Noisecreep, MASTODON drummer Brann Dailor stated about the band's new material, "It doesn't seem as proggy. There's moments, but it seems more riff-oriented. It seems a little more stripped down. [2004's] 'Leviathan' was a little more stripped down, and it feels like that to me. Everything always changes once you go in the studio, but at the moment it seems like a really super-heavy LED ZEPPELIN or something. It has a lot of that [John] Bonham-esque groove to it, but really heavy and dark. I really like playing like that, and when it goes into those parts, I'm psyched."

When asked if guitarist and vocalist Brent Hinds is once again responsible for most of the initial songwriting on the new CD, Dailor replied, "I think it's a little more collaborative, with everyone chipping in. Brent has a lot of great stuff. [Guitarist] Bill [Kelliher]'s got a lot of cool riffs, too. There are so many, it's hard to know which ones we're gonna use. But we go in and jam all the time and record stuff. Then we sort it out later."

Immediately following its current recording sessions in Atlanta, MASTODON will head to Europe for a summer-long tour that includes all dates on this year's Sonisphere festival as well as the Rock Im Park, Rock Am Ring, Roskilde festivals and more. The band will also play a one-off show at The Gorge in Seattle on July 30 with SOUNDGARDEN, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, and MEAT PUPPETS.

MIKE PORTNOY's THE BEATLES Tribute Band Releases 'One More Night In New York City' CD, DVD

After having had such a fun experience the first time around in 2003, drummer Mike Portnoy (ex-DREAM THEATER), guitarist Paul Gilbert (RACER X, MR. BIG) and guitarist/keyboardist Neal Morse (ex-SPOCK'S BEARD) reunited as YELLOW MATTER CUSTARD in February 2011 to once again pay tribute to their greatest influence of all: THE BEATLES.

Due to a scheduling conflict (and further fueling the "Paul is dead" rumors), original YELLOW MATTER CUSTARD bassist Matt Bissonette was unable to join the band this time and was replaced by UTOPIA legend Kasim Sulton.

YELLOW MATTER CUSTARD's February 28, 2011 concert at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in New York City is now available as a two-CD and DVD set from (CD, DVD).

"One More Night In New York City" track listing (CD and DVD):

Side 1:

01. Intro
02. Back In The USSR
03. I Got A Feeling
04. And Your Bird Can Sing
05. Day Tripper
06. Getting Better
07. Taxman
08. It Won't Be Long
09. You Really Got A Hold On Me
10. Lady Madonna
11. We Can Work It Out
12. I'm A Loser
13. I Don't Want To Spoil The Party
14. Penny Lane
15. The Fool On The Hill
16. You've Got To Hide Your Love Away
17. Things We Said Today
18. If I Needed Someone
19. It's Only Love
20. Request Time/Too Many People

Side 2:

01. She's A Woman
02. The Word
03. Any Time At All
04. Paperback Writer
05. Don't Let Me Down
06. I'm So Tired
07. Savoy Truffle
08. Glass Onion
09. Yer Blues
10. Helter Skelter
11. Flying
12. Because
13. You Never Give Me Your Money
14. Sun King
15. Mean Mr. Mustard
16. Her Majesty
17. Polythene Pam
18. She Came In Through The Bathroom Window
19. Golden Slumbers
20. Carry That Weight
21. The End

DVD Bonus Features:

* Interview with Mike Portnoy and Paul Gilbert
* Rehearsal footage

YELLOW MATTER CUSTARD in 2005 issued a live DVD entitled "One Night in New York City". Recorded live at New York's B.B. King Blues Club & Grill on May 18, 2003, the set saw YELLOW MATTER CUSTARD performing some well-known BEATLES songs such as "Nowhere Man" and "Revolution", as well as more obscure tunes like "I Call Your Name", "Think For Yourself" and even a hilarious rendition of the "Let it Be" b-side "You Know My Name".


Progressive metal giants DREAM THEATER have tapped Andy Wallace (AVENGED SEVENFOLD, WHITE ZOMBIE, RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, SEPULTURA, SLAYER, NIRVANA) to mix their new album, tentatively due in September via Roadrunner Records. The band's keyboardist, Jordan Rudess, said, "We are all REALLY excited to have [Andy's] magic touch!"

When asked about the status of the recording sessions for the follow-up to 2009's "Black Clouds & Silver Linings" album, DREAM THEATER vocalist James LaBrie told U.K.'s Rock Radio last Wednesday (May 18), "Right now, I'm talking to you, and then, literally, within about a half an hour after we're done talking, I'm going into the studio and I start doing vocals for the new DREAM THEATER. So I'm about six songs into the album. I'm recording up in Canada, and as I'm recording my vocals, Jordan [Rudess] is currently recording his keyboards, piano and putting on all his amazing sounds from his various software that he has, and he's doing that down in New York. The drums, the guitar and the bass are all done, so it's just a matter of Jordan and I finishing our parts, and the mix is to commence… I think May 30 or the 31st we're supposed to start mixing the album. But it's all going incredible and it's all moving ahead. We're looking at an early September
release — somewhere around the 7th or the 10th, somewhere around there is the release indication at this point."

In a recent interview with Music Radar, DREAM THEATER guitarist John Petrucci and keyboardist Jordan Rudess were asked if the band's new drummer, Mike Mangini (STEVE VAI, ANNIHILATOR, EXTREME) contributed to the songwriting on the band's forthcoming CD. "Mike didn't write with us," Rudess replied. "Basically, we got in the studio and did our thing. We wrote songs and sent them to him. He came in and just nailed his parts. He's incredible. I'm finishing my keyboard parts right now, and I'll go to the computer to see how things are lining up, and I'm just speechless. The guy doesn't mess up!" [laughs]

"We had the demos, had them fully written out, and he learned them and added his own stuff," Petrucci stated. "But every time he would do something, if I said, 'Hey, can you do that again?' he'd do it, and it would be perfect. The guy is… he's out of his mind! [laughs] People are not going to believe how great he is."

"But what's really special about him is, he's not just a technician," Rudess added. "Yes, he plays his parts perfectly, but he comes at everything as a total musician. Everything he does has real soul and a depth of feeling."

When asked how not having DREAM THEATER's former drummer, Mike Portnoy, in the recording and writing process changed the band dynamic, Petrucci replied, "It was a lot quieter. [laughs] Mike Mangini's playing style is different. He plays very hard, but he's got a very deep groove. He almost plays behind the beat just a little bit — even through he's right on the money. He's extremely locked in, but if he does do something technical, he's still right there."