Saturday, July 9, 2011

MASTODON: 'The Hunter' Artwork Unveiled

The cover artwork for "The Hunter", the new album from Atlanta progressive metallers MASTODON, can be seen below. The illustration was created by AJ Fosik, a wood carver who is also responsible for the backdrop the band uses live. This marks the first time MASTODON has not used acclaimed artist Paul Romano, who was responsible for all of the group's previous artwork.

You can see some of AJ Fosik's other work at this location.

Tentatively due in October via Reprise Records, "The Hunter" will contain the following tracks, among others:

* Blasteroids
* The Octopus Has No Friends
* Stargasm
* Curl Of The Burl
* All The Heavy Lifting
* The Sparrow
* The Ruiner

When asked about the sound of MASTODON's forthcoming album, drummer Brann Dailor told the German edition of Metal Hammer magazine, "When you listen to the songs, they don't sound as 'fun' as we perceive them to be, I guess; it's still pretty extremely heavy material." He added, "We had a few songs that were kind of, not left over from 'Crack The Skye', but just stuff that we wanted to be on that album, but that album kind of took on a whole different thing of its own and there were a few stragglers that were super-heavy and crazy that didn't make it, and we finally got to put them on this record. And then we wrote a whole bunch of brand new stuff. There's, like, 14 songs that we recorded. And it's sort all over the place — a lot of different sounds. Some straight-up classic-rock-sounding songs, straight-up death metal-sounding songs and some completely bizarre, weirdo rock songs that we're not really sure what they are, but we love them."

"The Hunter" was recorded 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.

MASTODON is currently in 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.

REDEMPTION Completes Work On New Album

REDEMPTION, the U.S. progressive metal band featuring in its ranks legendary FATES WARNING vocalist Ray Alder and guitarist/songwriter Nick van Dyk, has completed work on its new album, "This Mortal Coil", with producer Neil Kernon, who has previously worked with such acts as NEVERMORE, NILE, QUEENSRŸCHE and DEICIDE. The CD will feature the following working songtitles, among others: "Noonday Devil", "No Tickets To The Funeral", "Rain In My Soul", "Focus", "Dreams From The Pit", "Path Of The Tornado", "Blink Of An Eye", "Perfect" and "Departure Of The Pale Horse".

Commented Nick: "I'm pleased to announce that after what can only be described as a very challenging production experience that threw every possible curveball at us, we have finished the record. Fortunately, Neil kept a steady hand at the tiller through rough waters but it really tested us all: computer failures, Internet failures, missing files, strange 'ghost-in-the-machine' type elements, scheduling challenges, lightning strikes (I'm not kidding), etc. At any rate, the masters are in the hands of the label. Now we just wait for it to be released! Hope you all enjoy it."

REDEMPTION will headline this year's edition of the ProgPower Europe festival and embark on a European mini-tour.

The twelfth installment of the ProgPower Europe festival will take place in Baarlo, Holland, October 1-2.

REDEMPTION will play the last show on this visit at the inaugural edition of the Denmark Rock Festival on October 8 in Copenhagen, Denmark at the venue The Rock.

The mini-tour will see REDEMPTION play a selected number of concerts across Europe, giving European fans a chance to finally see the band live (their only European show so far was five years ago at the Headway festival in Amsterdam, Holland) and, of course, to witness a live rendition of material from their acclaimed current studio album release "Snowfall On Judgment Day". Direct support act on these shows will come from the Italian proggers KINGCROW, who released their fourth album, "Phlegethon", through Scarlet Records last year.

OPETH Frontman Says New Album Sounds Unlike Any Other Band He Has Ever Heard

Radio Metal conducted an interview with vocalist/guitarist Mikael Åkerfeldt of Swedish progressive metallers OPETH at this year's Hellfest, which was held June 17-19, 2011 in Clisson, France. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

On OPETH's new album, "Heritage":

"I never heard music like that, so I can't compare it to other bands. If you want to compare it to another band, it has to be us. But still, it's different. For me, it kind of makes sense, because I've been doing this for such a long time. So it's not a massive departure for me and for the guys in the band. But for fans, if they are, for example, into 'My Arms, Your Hearse' [OPETH's third album, released in 1998], it might be a bit different. But I'm hoping that a lot of people are ready for this type of album from us. The music is all over the place. It's hard to define the album and say it sound like this or like that. There are no songs that represent more the album than any other songs. It's an album as whole. You can't listen to only one song and you'll know what the album is going to be like. Because, like I said, it's all over the place."

On the departure of keyboard player Per Wiberg:

"He was fired. But he was going to leave anyways, because he wasn't happy with us. It's not like we weren't friends, but I don't think he felt comfortable playing keyboards with this style of music. If you don't give of your own — and he didn't — then you don't belong with us. It's as simple as that. The difference is that [current OPETH touring keyboardist] Joakim [Svalberg] is a keyboard player while Per wants to play guitar, sing and he wants to take care of the business side of things. He wants to run the ship, so to speak. There was no place to do that in OPETH. He wasn't confortable just playing my songs, I guess. I don't think he ever connected with the music that we do to the point where he felt that he belonged with us. He was always more interested in doing other things. I'm happy for him if he's happy, but he's not with us anymore, and I'm happy that he's not with us anymore, based on the fact that he didn't want to be with us. (laughs)"

On his side project with PORCUPINE TREE mainman Steven Wilson:

"We've written six or seven songs. We have a record deal and it's coming out next year. But we don't have a name, really, for it. I guess we'll have to come up with a name. We want something slightly more creative than the WILSON ÅKERFELDT PROJECT. It's grindcore, highly influenced by 'Scum' from NAPALM DEATH. (laughs) Well, sometimes it sounds like [OPETH], because when I'm singing it sound a bit like OPETH, I guess, and when he's singing it sounds a bit like PORCUPINE TREE. It's… I don't know. It's good! (laughs) The project is just the two of us, but we did hire a string section."

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

RUSH Drummer Focus Of 11-Page RHYTHM Magazine Cover Story

The August 2011 issue of U.K.'s Rhythm magazine includes an 11-page cover feature on RUSH's prog drumming legend Neil Peart in which he talks about his continuing pursuit of drumming excellence. Peart lets the reader in on why, after 45 years behind the kit, he's still working to make himself a better player. Neil talks about taking lessons, improvisation, finding the perfect sound and much more. The reader also gets a guided tour (see video below) of the "Time Machine" kit from Neil's drum tech Lorne Wheaton and winds the clock back to The Professor's first-ever Rhythm cover way back in 1987.

Peart spoke about RUSH's classic album, "Moving Pictures", during the June 17 edition of "George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight" (formerly "The Hour").

"That was an important time musically and a great time for the three of us in terms of having a good time and sharing our goals and making music," he said about the recording of the album, originally released in 1981."There was nothing self-indulgent or so-called pretentious about it. It was true boyish enthusiasm that was involved in creating all those things. We were progressing and learning and developing taste at the same time."

The band's current "Time Machine" tour is an evening with RUSH, where the band is performing its classics, giving a taste of the future and — for the first time ever — featuring the "Moving Pictures" album live in its entirety.

"We still like to play these songs," said Peart, "and we're still proud of them."