Saturday, August 27, 2011

GOJIRA Frontman Talks Next Studio Album

Joseph Duplantier of French progressive metallers GOJIRA recently spoke to U.K.'s Terrorizer magazine about the progress of the songwriting sessions for the band's
next studio album, which is not expected to arrive until early 2012. Duplantier revealed that, rather than the heavily researched themes of the last CD, lyrics for the upcoming, yet-to-be-titled effort — which may end up getting produced by Greg Fidelman (METALLICA, SLAYER, HIGH ON FIRE, RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS) — are a lot more spontaneous, with "stream of consciousness"-style "spiritual" compositions.

"I've been about spirituality since the first album," he said. "It's hard to define what spirituality is, but it's more like getting closer to [oneself]. It's where each thing we do is sacred; not like going to a
church or when you are with a dying person, but waking up in the morning… I've tried to take this dimension when I've written the music, like sometimes I don't even know what I'm going to sing and the words come out fluently. It's not a concept album like in the past, it's more about being spontaneous with feeling, and it's more true and honest."

The quartet is currently without a label home, having parted ways with Listenable Records after the release of 2008's "The Way Of All Flesh".
"Listenable did an amazing job with us, we're very good friends with the owner and we are still working with them on stuff, but now it's time for us to move on to something a bit bigger; we need to bring some fresh energy and new blood into GOJIRA," said Duplantier.

"A few record companies have now put a bit more money on the table, so it feels like something really important is happening. We don't know where we're going to go for the next album, but everything is moving and we'll be recording by the end of the summer."

GOJIRA last year entered the studio to record a new four-song EP, the proceeds from which will benefit Sea Shepherd, an anti-whaling organization. The CD will feature guest appearances by Devin Townsend (STRAPPING YOUNG LAD), Fredrik Thordendal (MESHUGGAH), Randy Blythe (LAMB OF GOD), Anders Fridén (IN FLAMES) and Max Cavalera (SOULFLY, CAVALERA CONSPIRACY, SEPULTURA).

"It's almost finished — it's been almost finished for months now and I still have gaps to fill with voices," Duplantier told Terrorizer. "Some of the singers are on tour, so I had to change my plans a bit and contact different singers. This is something so important to us, it's completely non-profit and we've spent a lot of time and energy on it already, but we don't want to release it until we're 100 percent happy with it. Our goal is mid-September."

Also in the works is a GOJIRA live DVD with a bonus section entitled "The Way Of All Flesh From The Inside", with footage from rehearsals demoing the album, studio and the tour that was filmed by the bandmembers themselves.

"It's very lo-fi, but it's real!" enthused Duplantier. "It's an hour-long movie and I'm even more excited by this than the live stuff. It will be in our deal with the next record company and will probably come out January 2012."

Thursday, August 25, 2011

RUDESS: New CD Was Written Without PORTNOY Being DREAM THEATER Police Telling Us 'Yes' Or 'No'

Greece's Rock Your Liferecently conducted an interview with keyboardist Jordan Rudess of progressive metal giants DREAM THEATER. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Rock Your Life: With your new album ["A Dramatic Turn of Events"], do you feel more creatively free as musicians and as a band now that Mike [Portnoy, drums] has left the band?

Rudess: Mike Portnoy was a very good friend of mine. He is a very open-minded guy and we had many great years doing many things together. However, one of the things we did with this new approach in the new album was that we thought how we could maximize who we are and make our roles even more vital. I should say that I loved that approach. In some of the music in the past, I thought that the keyboards could have been stronger. Sometimes, the approach in the past when we had a heavy riff was to just double it on the keyboards. We took away that kind of fear and went for more harmonic ideas. John Petrucci [guitar] and I decided to compose something cool. I am a composer and I love using this ability. Our new approach is more open to my keyboards than in the past.

Rock Your Life: In the last years, in every record you have a more "commercial" song that turns to be a single or a video like "Forsaken", "Wither" and "These Walls". Now, I think you did it with "Build Me Up, Break Me Down". Do you have this in mind when you enter the studio?

Rudess: We are aware that the record companies like these songs. We have it on our minds but we do not "have" to write a radio song. In addition, we do not have this concern because we just like that kind of songs. So we write that kind of songs anyway.

Rock Your Life: I understand that in the past Mike Portnoy and John Petrucci were handling the production of your albums. This time although you had the chance to hire a producer you did not. Why?

Rudess: Well, John came to us and said, "Guys, I really want to produce this album. I
think I can do a good job." The rest of us thought, "Why not, let him do it," and he did such a great job. John Petrucci has a very solid and strong personality. He is very clear and knows exactly what he wants plus he is very capable. So, what he ended up doing was to bring
out the best of everybody. I felt, for example, that my energy was being used in the group. He did that with the others. He worked beautifully with [new drummer] Mike Mangini and John Myung [bass] who had a new spirit about this. With Mike Portnoy leaving, John became, like, free. The fact that Mike Portnoy left did not make us suffer. John Petrucci and I, we are the core composers of DREAM THEATER, and it has been that way since I joined the group. So, even though Mike was extremely talented, there were certain limitations of what he could do in terms of the production. So when we moved on, we looked at each other and said, "We can produce this album. We do not need somebody else telling us what is good or not," and we enjoyed that challenge. The biggest difference in writing music to this album was that we decided to write this music choosing what is best for us without Mike Portnoy being the DREAM THEATER police telling us "yes" or "no." I think that it took us a little more time to craft our music before putting our stamp of approval on it.

VISIONS OF ATLANTIS: 'Maria Magdelena' Track Listing, Cover Artwork Unveiled

Austrian symphonic metallers VISIONS OF ATLANTIS will release a new EP called "Maria Magdelena" on October 21.

The track listing for the effort is as follows:

01. Maria Magdalena
02. Melancholia
03. Change Of Tides
04. Last Shut Of Your Eyes
05. Distant Shores
06. Beyond Horizon- The Poem Pt. II

Check out the cover artwork below.

VISIONS OF ATLANTIS recently announced the addition of guitarist Cris Tian to the group's ranks.

VISIONS OF ATLANTIS's fourth album, "Delta", was released in North America on March 15 via Napalm Records. The CD was recorded Dreamscape Studios in Munich, Germany and marks the debut of the band's new singer, Maxi Nil, who joined the group in 2009.

RUSH: 'Changing Hemispheres' Book, 4-DVD Set Due In September

Abstract Sounds Books has set a September 26 U.K. release date for RUSH's "Changing Hemispheres", a 116-page hardcover book and four-DVD set. describes the release as follows: "This is the true story of RUSH from humble Canadian beginnings through to international super stardom. Featuring a masterful and comprehensive text packed with great photographs of the band this unique production also includes four
documentary DVDs packed with candid audio interviews with the band members compared and contrasted with the views of a leading team of music journalists, insiders and musicologists. This uncensored and independent title has not been viewed or approved by the band or its
management and is completely free to tell the unvarnished story of RUSH as it really happened. The contents of this amazing book and DVD combination are completely essential reading and viewing for RUSH fans everywhere."

"Changing Hemispheres" will only play on European Region 2 or multi-region DVD players.

It is not presently clear if the set will receive a North American release.

Adrenaline Mob News

Aniruddh "Andrew" Bansal of recently conducted an interview with drummer Mike Portnoy (ADRENALINE MOB, DREAM THEATER, AVENGED SEVENFOLD). A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below. Unfortunately these days the importance of [releasing] physical [CDs]
is diminishing. You've been around for so many years, and seen it all.
What do you feel about this change?

Portnoy: Well, change is inevitable with the evolution of technology. In the '70s we had
records, in the '80s we had CDs, and now we are living in the digital age. You can say it's sad or unfortunate, but the reality is you've got to roll with the times and the technology. I still love collecting because I'm a huge collector myself and I love to go out and buy music, particularly the special editions. But the reality is, when I'm sitting in a hotel room at 3 in the morning and I see something on the Internet that interests me in the form of a band I want to hear, I like the
ability to just go online to iTunes and download it immediately. So it's something I as a fan enjoy being able to have. I see both sides of the coin. Drumming-wise, what kind of a challenge does [ADRENALINE MOB] present to you? Obviously there is a huge gap between this and DREAM THEATER.

Portnoy: The thing is about restraint, and playing what's best for the groove of the song, and I'm down with that. I'm totally cool with that. I played with DREAM THEATER, and so far that's been everything I'm about. This is far from what I'm about, and I'm about many, many different things. I could be just as happy playing a BEATLES song as I am when I'm thrashing out the double-bass stuff with ADRENALINE MOB. The stuff I'm playing with ADRENALINE MOB is all about the energy and the song. It's about groove and riff-oriented songs. So, if anything, I have to show some restraint and make sure I play what's best for the song. Obviously you are always involved with so many other projects. Is there anything in the pipeline or is ADRENALINE MOB your primary focus?

Portnoy: I have a few other things going. Actually, this year alone I did three different bands and projects in the studio. They're all slowly coming around, so throughout 2012 and beyond, you'll see me with three other bands. ADRENALINE MOB right now is my main focus, but I've also got a thing going with John Sykes which is in more of a classic rock vein, and then I also have a thing with Steve Morse which is kind of an alternative, proggy thing. So each of these bands
is taking me down different musical roads and in the coming year or so, there will come a situation where they will all be releasing music, and at that point I'll be kind of juggling all of them on tour but they are all very different from each other and I'm very proud of each of them
for different reasons. But ADRENALINE MOB is what I'm doing now. This is the first one to actually come out and it's very exciting for me to move into the next phase of my career.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

New Rush DVD Pushed Back

The release date of RUSH DVD and Blu-ray titled "Time Machine 2011: Live In Cleveland" has been pushed back to November 8 from the previously announced October 25 (via Zoe Records). The disc will contain footage of RUSH's April 15 concert at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio filmed by the award-winning documentary makers Banger Productions from Toronto in Canada, who have received international critical acclaim for their previous movies "Metal: A Headbanger's Journey", "Global Metal" and the RUSH documentary called "Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage".

RUSH's Cleveland performance of its "Time Machine" show was filmed as a tribute to the U.S. city that first played the band's music.

Cleveland is remarkable for being one of the very first U.S. cities where RUSH performed, in addition to being the first city to provide American airplay. This also marked RUSH's first live full-length filming on U.S. soil.

The "Time Machine" tour was an evening with RUSH, where the band performed its classics, gave a taste of the future and — for the first time ever — featured the "Moving Pictures" album live in its entirety.

"Time Machine 2011: Live In Cleveland" will feature the following track listing:

01. The Spirit of Radio
02. Time Stand Still
03. Presto
04. Stick It Out
05. Workin' Them Angels
06. Leave That Thing Alone
07. Faithless
08. BU2B
09. Freewill
10. Marathon
11. Subdivisions
12. Tom Sawyer
13. Red Barchetta
14. YYZ
15. Limelight
16. The Camera Eye
17. Witch Hunt
18. Vital Signs
19. Caravan
20. Closer to the Heart
21. 2112 Overture/Temples of Syrinx
22. Far Cry
23. La Villa Strangiato
24. Working Man

The full list of supplementary and technical specifications for Zoe Records' Blu-ray are still unknown, but the disc will feature a number of bonus materials, such as:

* Outtakes from the intro, intermission, and outro videos from the "Time Machine" tour
* Full clip of RUSH's 1974 Canadian Bandstand act in St. Catharines, Ontario
* 1976 black-and-white bootleg video of their performance in Passaic, New Jersey

TESSERACT Announces New Singer

U.K. progressive metallers TESSERACT have announced the addition of vocalist Elliot Coleman to the group's ranks. Elliot's huge range, distinctive character and brutal roars demonstrated on his work with OMNOM, SKY EATS AIRPLANE and ZELLIACK made him the perfect replacement for former vocalist, Dan Tompkins.

TESSERACT bassist Amos Williams makes the introduction: "We'd like to take this opportunity to introduce somebody special, Elliot Coleman. Some of you may know him as a member of ZELLIACK, SKY EATS AIRPLANE and OF LEGENDS, or maybe from OMNOM, or HAUNTED SHORES. Well, now he's part of TESSERACT!

"We're very excited about working with Elliot as we feel he has a great talent and personality, as well as, and most
importantly, a voice that transcends the norm and continues the TESSERACT tradition of taking things to the next level."

Elliot's catalogue of work is as impressive as it is extensive, including numerous appearances with HAUNTED SHORES and a guest spot on PERIPHERY's track "Race Car". He most recently played bass in Washington D.C. tech metallers OF LEGENDS, but as a passionate vocalist, he jumped at the chance to front TESSERACT.

Commented Elliot: "I'm very much excited to be a part of the juggernaut that is TESSERACT. I know I have big shoes to fill, as Dan is a fantastic vocalist, but I'm confident that we'll be producing some great new music in the coming year and I'll be adding some new flavors
to this ever-evolving machine."

Tompkins left TESSERACT in July due to other life priorities. He explained in a statement,
"This has been the most difficult decision I have had to make in my
career as a singer. My priorities in life have changed and as such I can no longer continue with the band. Our friendships are strong and I wish to thank Acle, Mos, Jay and James for all
their support and dedication over the past few years. We have achieved
great things, travelled the world and met many incredible people and I
stand proud to say that I have been a part of the band's success and
helped to carve a wonderful album. I will hold onto these memories for
the rest of my life. It has been an incredible journey and it is
certainly not the end for myself or TESSERACT. I look forward to new beginnings and wish my good friends all the very best for the future."

Added Amos: "You know, when you travel so far and spend so much time together, as
well as achieving as much as we have over the past three years, you
become like family. And it is precisely because of that close bond that
we fully understand and respect Dan's choice to no longer be a part of TESSERACT. We are and will always be close friends, and hope there will be a time
in the future when we will work together again. Thank you, buddy, for
being part of the TESSERACT journey; we will always have fond memories of the Dan Tompkins years!"

Approaching the lineup adjustment as a progression rather than a setback, TESSERACT is already hard at work writing the follow-up to the critically acclaimed album "One" with Elliot.

TESSERACT will headline the "Lowering The Tone" European tour in September and October before heading to the U.S. for the "Saints And Sinners" trek in November and December with ANIMALS AS LEADERS and BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

NIGHTWISH's 'Imaginarium' To Arrive Before End Of The Year

"Imaginarium", the long-awaited new album from Finnish/Swedish symphonic metallers NIGHTWISH, will be released before the end of the year via Nuclear Blast Records in Europe and Roadrunner Records in North America. A movie of the same name is currently in production and is expected to arrive in 2012.

More information about the "Imaginarium" album, including the CD's complete track listing and details of the first single, will be made available in the coming weeks.

"Imaginarium" is one of the projects which recently received grants from the Finnish government institution called the Finnish Film Foundation. The movie, directed by Stobe Harju, about an old man on his deathbed who glimpses a childhood dream in which he refuses to grow old, and fights aging with his imagination, will get $575,000 toward its $3.7 million budget.

The Finnish Film Foundation grants support for professional Finnish film production. The Foundation's goal is to promote high-quality, versatile and unique Finnish film. The support can be granted for feature-length, short and episodic fiction, documentary, animation and children's films.

The production support is granted for the writing of a film script, development of a film project, the actual production of a film and for the marketing and distribution of the film in Finland. The Foundation also grants post-release support on the basis of a film's total attendance.

NIGHTWISH will kick off the "Imaginarium" world tour in Los Angeles. The very first show of the trek will take place at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City, California on Saturday, January 21. This will be the biggest NIGHTWISH show production ever on North American soil and strictly a one-off — there will be no U.S. tour until later in 2012.

ARCH/MATHEOS Confirmed For Germany's KEEP IT TRUE XV Festival

ARCH/MATHEOS — the new progressive rock band featuring FATES WARNING/OSI guitarist Jim Matheos and former FATES WARNING singer John Arch — has been confirmed for the Keep It True XV festival, set to take place April 27-28, 2012 ay Tauberfrankenhalle in
Lauda-Königshofen, Germany. The group's setlist will include early FATES WARNING material performed live for the first time in Europe with Arch on vocals.

ARCH/MATHEOS' lineup for the Keep It True XV festival will be as follows:

John Arch (vocals)
Jim Matheos (guitar)
Frank Aresti (guitar)
Joey Vera (bass)
Bobby Jarzombek (drums)

Keep It True XV festival final billing:

* NWOBHM ANNIVERSARY SHOW PART II (feat. ROXXCALIBUR and lots of original vocalists)

ARCH/MATHEOS's full-length debut, "Sympathetic Resonance", will be made available on September 13 via Metal Blade Records. The cover art for the CD was fashioned using an image created by light painting photographer Dennis Calvert, who has described light painting as "the ability to see in four
dimensions, time traveling, and creating fantasy using only what we base all reality on, light."

DREAM THEATER: 'Live At Budokan' To Receive Blu-Ray Release

Eagle Rock has set an October 18 release date for the Blu-ray edition of DREAM THEATER's 2004 concert video "Live At Budokan".

"Live At Budokan" presents DREAM THEATER's entire three-hour performance at Tokyo's famed Budokan arena on April 26, 2004, along with a bonus disc rich in supplementary material. Disc 1 finds the metallic progressive-rock quintet at its awe-inspiring best, plowing through its catalog of dramatic epics and jack-hammer instrumentals, including five of the seven songs from 2003's "Train of Thought". Disc 2 features an extended drum solo from percussionist extraordinaire Mike Portnoy; gear tours from guitarist John Petrucci and keyboardist Jordan Rudess (fascinating for lay people and downright revelatory for musicians); and a half-hour documentary on DREAM THEATER's 2004 stint in Japan punctuated by tantalizing snippets of band rehearsals. The shooting and editing for the concert are a music lover's dream, with lengthy shots that linger on the performances of individual band members. Disc 2 takes this even further with a multi-angle sequence of the 12-minute "Instrumedley".

"Live At Budokan" track listing:

The entire Budokan concert:

01. As I Am
02. This Dying Soul
03. Beyond This Life
04. Hollow Years
05. War Inside My Head
06. The Test That Stumped Them All
07. Endless Sacrifice
08. Instrumedley
09. Trial of Tears
10. New Millennium
11. Keyboard Solo
12. Only a Matter of Time
13. Goodnight Kiss
14. Solitary Shell
15. Stream of Consciousness
16. Disappear
17. Pull Me Under
18. In the Name of God

Documentary and extra features:

* "Riding The Train Of Thought": Japanese Tour Documentary
* John Petrucci "Guitar World"
* Jordan Rudess "Keyboard World"
* Mike Portnoy Drum Solo
* "The Dream Theater Chronicles": 2004 Tour Opening Video
* "Instrumedley" Multiangle Bonus


Finnish/Swedish symphonic metallers NIGHTWISH have inked a new European deal with Nuclear Blast Records. The band's new album, "Imaginarium", will be released in December. The U.S. version of the CD will be made available through Roadrunner Records.

Commented NIGHTWISH keyboardist/mainman Tuomas Holopainen: "We are very happy to continue working with the Nuclear Blast family! Our collaboration started on a friendship basis and continues to do so.

"I was utterly happy and relieved to see they truly understood what 'Imaginarium' is all about, and we seem to share similar profound enthusiasm towards it. I feel privileged working with such people who, despite the infinite maze of business they must handle properly, still have a huge heart for
music itself. " Added Andy Siry, head of A&R and label manager of Nuclear Blast: "We are very happy that NIGHTWISH and Nuclear Blast Records can continue as a team.

"NIGHTWISH became the biggest success of our label and everyone in the band, their management and crew also became trustful and close friends. For us, it is a pleasure to work with such highly gifted musicians and a genius like Tuomas Holopainen, as a songwriter and composer. We also thank King Foo Entertainment [NIGHTWISH's management company] for their belief and the great relationship between all of us.

"We are looking forward to the next releases with the band, starting with the upcoming masterpiece, 'Imaginarium', which is another big step for this visionary band, which is simply outstanding and brilliant."

NIGHTWISH recently spent time not only putting finishing touches to its new album, "Imaginarium", but also planning a movie of the same name. If all goes well, the film will arrive at some point in 2012.

NIGHTWISH will kick off the "Imaginarium" world tour in Los Angeles. The very first show of the trek will take place at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City, California on Saturday, January 21. This will be the biggest NIGHTWISH show production ever on North American soil and strictly a one-off — there will be no U.S. tour until later in 2012.

Pictured below (left to right): Michael Langbein (Nuclear Blast), Toni Peiju (King Foo), Markus Klumpp (Nuclear Blast), Yorck Eysel (Nuclear Blast), Patrick Walch (Nuclear Blast), Andy Siry (Nuclear Blast), Ewo Pohjola (King Foo), Tuomas Holopainen (NIGHTWISH), Markus Wosgien (Nuclear Blast), Uwe Dannenmann (Nuclear Blast), Holger Tiefenbach (Nuclear Blast), Tobias Pfletschinger (Nuclear Blast)