Friday, June 3, 2011

YES: 'Fly From Here' Album Details Revealed

The most influential and ground-breaking progressive rock 'n' roll band in history, legendary rockers and Grammy Award winners YES, will release their first studio album in a decade, "Fly From Here", on July 1 in Europe and July 12 in North America through Frontiers Records. The group's long-awaited 20th studio LP is the follow up to 2001's "Magnification" and marks the band's reunion with producer Trevor Horn, who helmed YES' chart-topping 1983 album "90125" and also sang for YES on the "Drama" LP in 1980.

YES is Benoit David on vocals (his first studio recording with YES), Steve Howe on guitars/vocals, founder Chris Squire on bass/vocals, Geoff Downes on keyboards and Alan White on drums. Roger Dean, creator of a number of YES' most memorable album covers, also returns with his signature style for "Fly From Here".

"At last we have some shape and dynamics within these tracks that are truer to the
original idea of what a YES recording is about," proclaims Howe.

"The new album represents the best of YES from the '70s and the '80s with a current twist," Squire adds.

All of the songs on "Fly From Here" embody that classic and now iconic YES sound and style. The first single, "We Can Fly", (to be released digitally on June 13) is borne from a piece of music that was written prior to the "Fly" writing sessions — an idea that has now grown into an overture and five subsequent movements that feature the unparalleled musicianship and virtuoso talents that are synonymous with YES. From the first chord of "Fly From Here – Overture" to the last note of the album's closer "Into The Storm", there is no question that the unmistakable technical proficiency of YES carries on.

"It's awesome working with Trevor Horn again; he pays a lot of attention to detail. It was a great pleasure in the studio to play some incredible music with some great players," says White.

First formed in 1968, YES' remarkable career spans over 40 years and the band has time and again redefined the boundaries of rock music.

YES has sold nearly 50 million albums worldwide and continues to stretch the boundaries of progressive art-rock with their symphonic use of sound and innovative musical styles.

This summer, YES will return to the road to bring "Fly From Here" as well as some of their classic hits to their loyal following. European tour dates are scheduled for the fall.

"Fly From Here" track listing:

01. Fly From Here - Overture
02. Fly From Here - Pt. I - We Can Fly
03. Fly From Here - Pt. II - Sad Night At The Airfield
04. Fly From Here - Pt. III - Madman At The Screens
05. Fly From Here - Pt. IV - Bumpy Ride
06. Fly From Here - Pt. V - We Can Fly
07. The Man You Always Wanted Me To Be
08. Life On A Film Set
09. Hour Of Need
10. Solitaire
11. Into The Storm

"Fly From Here" will be released in four different configurations: CD, CD plus a bonus DVD including a documentary "Making of the Album" in digipak edition, a gatefold vinyl and a special box set limited edition including the CD, DVD, vinyl, t-shirt, poster, sticker and a lithograph of the cover art.

OPETH Working With Keyboardist JOAKIM SVALBERG; U.S. Dates With KATATONIA Announced

According to the French edition of Rock Hard magazine, keyboardist Joakim Svalberg (YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, GLENN HUGHES) has been rehearsing with Swedish progressive metallers OPETH for the past few weeks, but has not yet been made an official member of the band.

A photo of Svalberg in the studio with OPETH during the mixing sessions for the group's new album, "Heritage", can be seen below.

Keyboardist Per Wiberg, who joined OPETH in 2005, was relieved of his duties in April as part of a mutual decision with the remaining members of the band.

OPETH vocalist/guitarist Mikael 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."

In other news, OPETH will embark on a North American headlining tour in September with support from KATATONIA. So far the following dates have been revealed:

Sep. 19 - Worcester, MA - Palladium
Sep. 20 - Hartford, CT - Webster Theatre
Sep. 21 - New York, NY - Webster Hall
Sep. 22 - New York, NY - Webster Hall
Sep. 26 - Columbus, OH - Newport Music Hall
Sep. 28 - Nashville, TN - Cannery Ballroom
Sep. 29 - Charlotte, NC - Amos’ Southend
Oct. 06 - Kansas City, MO - Beaumont Club
Oct. 08 - Winnipeg, MB - Garrick Centre
Oct. 16 - Portland, OR - Roseland Theater
Oct. 21 - Pomona, CA - The Fox Theater
Oct. 25 - Denver, CO - Ogden Theater

OPETH will release its tenth album, "Heritage", on September 20 via Roadrunner Records. The CD was produced by 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, which can be seen below.

"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

The first single and video from "Heritage" will be the song "The Devil's Orchard".

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.

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.


New DREAM THEATER Drummer Talks To U.K.'s RHYTHM Magazine

The new issue of U.K.'s Rhythm magazine, which hits shelves on Monday, June 6 contains a nine-page feature on Mike Mangini, the newly recruited drummer for DREAM THEATER. Mangini talks about how he landed the DREAM THEATER gig; preserving former DREAM THEATER drummer Mike Portnoy's legacy as well as creating his own; and that grueling audition process. The magazine also takes a look around Mangini's massive set-up, takes tips on playing odd time signatures and delves deep into Mangini's technique behind the kit. Plus the magazine takes a closer look at the six guys that missed out on the much-coveted DREAM THEATER gig.

DREAM THEATER has tapped Andy Wallace (AVENGED SEVENFOLD, WHITE ZOMBIE, RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, SEPULTURA, SLAYER, NIRVANA) to mix its 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 on 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 Mike Mangini 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."