Saturday, October 22, 2011

'This Mortal Coil' First-Week Sales Revealed

"This Mortal Coil", the fifth studio album from REDEMPTION, the U.S. progressive metal band featuring in its ranks guitarist/songwriter Nick van Dyk and legendary FATES WARNING vocalist Ray Alder, sold around 1,100 copies in the United States in its first week of
release. The CD landed at No. 32 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.

Released on September 26 in Europe and October 11 in North America via InsideOut Music, the follow-up to 2009's "Snowfall On Judgment Day" was recorded and mixed with producer Neil Kernon (QUEENSRŸCHE, NEVERMORE, DEICIDE). The CD's cover artwork was created by acclaimed artist and longtime band collaborator Travis Smith (OPETH, AVENGED SEVENFOLD, NEVERMORE).

"This Mortal Coil" track listing:

01. Path Of The Whirlwind
02. Blink Of An Eye
03. No Tickets To The Funeral
04. Dreams From The Pit
05. Noonday Devil
06. Let It Rain
07. Focus
08. Perfect
09. Begin Again
10. Stronger Than Death
11. Departure Of The Pale Horse

In North America, "This Mortal Coil" is also available as a 2CD package featuring a special bonus CD with the following six (!) cover versions:

01. Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding (ELTON JOHN)
02. Jane (STARSHIP)
03. Hold The Line (TOTO)
04. Edge Of The Blade (JOURNEY)
05. Love To Love (UFO)
06. Precious Things (TORI AMOS)

Nick van Dyk previously stated about REDEMPTION's new CD, "It was a pleasure to work with Neil Kernon during the production, although I dare say we had more challenges and
curve-balls in this process than either of us is accustomed to.
Nonetheless, we overcame everything in our path, from Internet failures
to lightning strikes, and since one of the themes of this CD is
essentially overcoming adversity, the production process served as a bit of a metaphor for the whole concept!

"The new CD continues our
creative effort to combine heaviness with melody — fusing those
disparate elements has always been part of REDEMPTION's sound, along with an element that I have called emotional urgency, which we've maintained here. All in all, it sounds like REDEMPTION — although importantly I think it's by far our best-sounding record, owing to the work of Neil Kernon and the mastering of Alan Douches."

Regarding the artwork, Van Dyk said, "We have worked once again with the incredibly talented Travis Smith on our art; we work very well together and he has a proven knack for bringing my concepts to life visually."

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


From The Nearfest Staff This Week

In 1999, the North East Art Rock Festival was started as an effort to return progressive rock music to the area where it thrived back in its heyday. In the 1970s, the Philadelphia area was a well-known hotbed of fandom for the brand of rock music featuring exemplary virtuosity. With the re-emergence of progressive music worldwide in the early '90s, festivals became a novel way to feature both new bands and re-invigorate some from the past. A few festivals had come before, namely ProgFest (CA), the ever-present ProgDay (NC), BajaProg (Mexico), and the short-lived ProgScape (MD), plus several after, but none have taken on the notoriety NEARfest had achieved. In just a few short years, NEARfest became the "most prestigious progressive rock festival in the world" and has remained so for over 12 years.

From its inception, NEARfest has strived to merge extraordinary bands from the global Prog Rock underground and the devoted community of eclectic music fans on this side of the pond. It was felt that otherwise, never would the two meet, especially en masse. This emotional combination of musical dedication has produced many a weekend of musical bliss. Ask any former attendee of the festival and you will get a different list of highlights from years past, which is validation in itself of NEARfest's dedication to a diverse lineup of Prog Rock subgenres. Favorites will range from Camel and Keith Emerson to Sleepytime Gorilla Museum and Miriodor; from Steve Hackett and Banco to Echolyn and Hidria Spacefolk; from Magma and Univers Zero to Kenso and Kraan; from Eddie Jobson and Three Friends to Cabezas de Cera and Beardfish; from Porcupine Tree and PFM to Anekdoten and Änglagård. And that's only a fraction of the over 120 bands that have performed at NEARfest to date.

And now, the time has come to complete the cycle.

2012 will mark the final edition of the North East Art Rock Festival. NEARfest has always employed a model, for right or wrong, where lineups were typically anchored by legends of the greater genre and featured a plethora of world-class bands spanning the broad range of subgenres. Part of the success of NEARfest and its rapid sellouts was its ability to attract legendary progressive bands that had played only infrequently, if ever, on the East Coast of the United States. As time has marched inexorably, it started to become clear that this headliner-centric model would not be sustainable indefinitely. Too much of a change in the model and those dedicated to attending and supporting the festival may feel that it is no longer in the spirit of NEARfest itself. Therefore, we have decided to retain the marriage of our successful model to our NEARfest brand name.

After the unfortunate events leading to the cancellation of NEARfest 2011, we could not allow the legacy of NEARfest to end with a dark and empty stage. The festival has meant too much to too many, including us, to just disappear without at least making an attempt at a joyous swan song. Therefore, since the spring of 2011, the three of us have been conspiring to put together a final NEARfest, one true to its roots and special to its faithful. We are happy to say that this will indeed happen.

NEARfest Apocalypse will be held over the weekend of June 22nd, 23rd, and 24th, 2012 at its rightful home, the Zoellner Arts Center at Lehigh University in beautiful Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. This will be a true celebration of progressive rock music as well as a "raising of the glass" to everyone who has made NEARfest so special to so many of us over the last 13 years, including our outstanding crew and production team, the wonderful staff at Zoellner, and everyone who has ever bought a ticket to NEARfest. There are plans for activities beyond the norm for the weekend, which will be detailed as the festival draws closer. For now though, we can tell you that both Roger Dean and Mark Wilkinson will be involved in the artwork for this final special event. We will also do our best to make sure that both of these fine gentlemen are in attendance.

In the coming weeks, we will announce the entire NEARfest Apocalypse lineup live on the air on the Gagliarchives radio program. The exact air date will be determined shortly and announced online, our Yahoo mailing list, Facebook, Twitter, and Progressive Ears. Stay tuned!

We sincerely hope that you will join us for the final chapter of NEARfest. After all, the world ends in December 2012 anyway, right?

Most humbly,
Chad Hutchinson
Rob LaDuca
Kevin Feeley

NEARfest Website,
Yahoo Mailing List,
Gagliarchives Radio,
Progressive Ears,

DREAM THEATER Singer: 'This Album Really Brought Us Closer Together'

Mike Sullivan of ExploreMusic conducted an interview with vocalist James LaBrie of progressive metal giants DREAM THEATER on October 6, 2011 at Massey Hall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. You can now watch the chat below.

DREAM THEATER's new album, "A Dramatic Turn Of Events", sold 36,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to enter The Billboard 200 chart at position No. 8. The band's previous
CD, 2009's "Black Clouds & Silver Linings", opened with 40,000 units to land at No. 6. This was roughly in line with the first-week tally registered by its predecessor, "Systematic Chaos", which shifted 36,000 copies in 2007 to enter the chart at No. 19. 2005's "Octavarium" premiered with 27,000 copies to debut at No. 36.

In a recent interview with The Aquarian Weekly, DREAM THEATER guitarist John Petrucci stated about the making of "A Dramatic Turn Of Events", "Going into it and writing it, we had made a conscious decision to
really focus in again on the core compositional elements: What are the
things that we really want to explore and focus on on this album? I knew that I wanted it to be a broad album, that we wanted to give everybody
the band an opportunity to shine, whether that's in an arrangement way
or an orchestration way. I knew and hoped that it would be mixed by Andy Wallace, which it was. I wanted the presentation sonically to be epic and grand
and high-fi and all that stuff. Those were some of the goals. We really
wanted to infuse the elements of progressive music that we grew up with
and make sure that it was a melodic album and rich in the lyrical
message. Those were all the things that were on our mind, that we talked about the whole time."

When asked why the band's new drummer, Mike Mangini, was not included in the writing of the new record, Petrucci said, "I decided to do it this way because I wanted to make sure that we were able to focus on DREAM THEATER's core compositional elements and sounds without a new person coming in. Whatever that Mike might have brought to the table, I thought it was too early to kind of
bring in somebody that we didn't really know at all, as far as their
compositional abilities. I've been writing this music forever and just
felt comfortable in that kind of environment. When you can focus on just guitar, keyboards, bass and our singer is there, it's just a more
intimate environment and you're not trying to integrate somebody else
and feel them out. I just kind of wanted to eliminate that whole
process. I mean, it could have been great, but I was more comfortable
doing it this way for this album at least."


PERIPHERY Announces New Guitarist

Maryland-based experimental, progressive metal band PERIPHERY has announced the addition of guitarist Mark Holcomb to the group's ranks. Holcomb previously had a project with PERIPHERY axeman Misha Mansoor called HAUNTED SHORES and was the fill-in guitarist on PERIPHERY's "Frak The Gods" tour.

Commented Mansoor: "We are happy to announce that Mark Holcomb will be joining the PERIPHERY ranks as a full-time guitarist! He toured with with us our headlining run of Australia, our 'Frak The Gods' U.S. headliner and our two shows opening for DREAM THEATER and we feel that we have found a perfect fit for us both live and in
the studio. We are extremely excited to have him on board, and can't
wait to show you all the cool new music we have been working on

"Since we made arrangements for the tour before Mark was inducted, our good friend Nolly (RED SEAS FIRE) will be filling in on the European tour opening for DREAM THEATER. However that will be the last tour we do with a fill-in guitarist, as Mark will join on full time after that!"

Added bassist Thomas Murphy: "The most important thing about a band is the chemistry between its members. We've all known Mark for years and are very proud to announce him as our newest member. Not
only is he an amazing writer and guitarist, but also an amazing person.
We can't wait to see what the future holds for the band now that he has

Stated Holcomb: "I couldn't be more excited as
not only have these guys been great friends of mine for a long time but I consider every last one of them musical siblings in a sense. Each of us brings something different to the table and I can't wait to see what we can accomplish."

PERIPHERY will be direct support for DREAM THEATER throughout Europe from January 23 through February 26.

PERIPHERY released a new EP, "Icarus Lives", on April 19 via Sumerian Records. This CD features a brand new unreleased track, a series of remixes and video clips.

PERIPHERY's self-titled debut album sold around 4,500 copies in the United States
in its first week of release to debut at position No. 128 on the
Billboard 200 chart. The CD landed at No. 2 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.