Thursday, October 10, 2013

NIGHTWISH Announces New Lineup

Finnish symphonic metallers NIGHTWISH have announced the addition of Dutch singer Floor Jansen (REVAMP, ex-AFTER FOREVER) and English composer and multi-instrumentalist Troy Donockley (uilleann pipes, low whistles, vocals) to the group's permanent lineup.
Says the band in a statement: "Originally we were going to wait until 2014 to make a decision about the future lineup of the band, but the past year has clearly shown us that Floor and Troy are perfect matching pieces to our puzzle, and we are really grateful of the bond that has grown between all of us.
"We love you, guys."

Adds Jansen: "Words cannot describe what I feel! This union is beyond everything, and I cannot tell you how wonderful it is to continue this amazing journey with my new brothers!
"Once I had a dream… and this is it!!!"

Says Donockley: "'Imaginaerum World Tour' was a revelation to me and in that time, I became aware of a growing unity and then, finally, a transcendence of all the usual nonsense that affects bands. A beautiful process. And since the idea, the musical dream that is NIGHTWISH has been a part of me since before I was born, I am delighted to officially sail into uncharted waters with my brothers and sister. Wondrous scenes Ahoy!"

NIGHTWISH will release a new DVD, "Showtime, Storytime", on November 29 as a limited 2Blu-ray + 2CD digipack, limited 2DVD + 2CD digipack, limited 2CD digipack, 2LP (colored) in gatefold and an exclusive Nuclear Blast mailorder edition.
"Showtime, Storytime" contains NIGHTWISH's entire August 3 performance at the Wacken Open Air festival in Wacken, Germany. The show, which was played in the front of 85,000 screaming metalheads, was directed by Ville LipiƤinen, filmed with seventeen cameras and has a total running time of 85 minutes. The second disc consists of a 120-minute tour documentary, "Please Learn The Setlist In 48 Hours", also directed by Ville LipiƤinen, with no shortage of drama or overall madness. Also, there is a 16-minute NIGHTWISH Table Hockey Tournament, filmed on tour. In addition, there are two music clips: "I Want My Tears Back" (live at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland) and "Ghost Love Score" (live in Buenos Aires).
Check out a trailer for "Showtime, Storytime" below.

The Wacken Open Air appearance was the first of the three final shows of NIGHTWISH's "Imaginaerum World Tour", which saw the band and their Jansen playing 104 concerts in 34 different countries, with a total audience of over 1.5 million fans around the globe.
Commented NIGHTWISH mastermind and keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen: "Our darling flying Dutchwoman, Floor Jansen, has been nothing but incredible during her time in NIGHTWISH on this tour, so this is a perfect opportunity to immortalize the current vibe of the band on film!"
Jansen made her live debut as the frontwoman of NIGHTWISH on October 1, 2012 at Showbox Sodo in Seattle, Washington following the abrupt departure of the band's lead singer of five years, Anette Olzon.
Holopainen has known Jansen for more than 10 years already, having previously toured with her former band, AFTER FOREVER.
Asked about the reasons for Olzon's sudden exit from the group, Tuomas told U.K.'s Metal Hammer magazine: "I'm sure it came as a shock to everybody. We came out with a statement [regarding the split], which pretty much says it all. It still is a private matter, and that's all we wanna say about it, like, ever. It was an amicable divorce, so to say, and made in good spirit, and we are just looking to the future. There really is no reason to go back into all the details and all that. I mean, this is not politics, this is a rock band."

AYREON: 'The Theory Of Everything' Trailer Released

Dutch guitarist/composer Arjen Lucassen will release the new AYREON album, "The Theory Of Everything", on October 28 via InsideOut Music. The artwork was once again created by Belgian artist Jef Bertels, who has an incredible and distinct fantasy/sci-fi style.
"The Theory Of Everything" track listing:
Disc 1
Phase I: Singularity
01. Prologue: The Blackboard
02. The Theory Of Everything Part 1
03. Patterns
04. The Prodigy's World
05. The Teacher's Discovery
06. Love And Envy
07. Progressive Waves
08. The Gift
09. The Eleventh Dimension
10. Inertia
11. The Theory Of Everything Part 2
Phase II: Symmetry
12. The Consultation
13. Diagnosis
14. The Argument 1
15. The Rival's Dilemma
16. Surface Tension
17. A Reason To Live
18. Potential
19. Quantum Chaos
20. Dark Medicine
21. Alive!
22. The Prediction
Disc 2
Phase III: Entanglement
01. Fluctuations
02. Transformation
03. Collision
04. Side Effects
05. Frequency Modulation
06. Magnetism
07. Quid Pro Quo
08. String Theory
09. Fortune?
Phase IV: Unification
10. Mirror Of Dreams
11. The Lighthouse
12. The Argument 2
13. The Parting
14. The Visitation
15. The Breakthrough
16. The Note
17. The Uncertainty Principle
18. Dark Energy
19. The Theory Of Everything Part 3
20. The Blackboard (Reprise)
"The Theory Of Everything" formats:
* Limited deluxe artbook (2CD, DVD + Bonus 2CD) includes a 48-page perfect binding LP-sized book with plenty of artwork, the bonus DVD with a making of feature, full-length interviews and the recording session time lapse footage and in addition all tracks as instrumental versions on 2CDs
* Special-edition 2CD+DVD mediabook
* Gatefold black 2LP+2CD incl. Booklet with additional artwork
* Standard 2CD jewelcase
* Digital download
"The Theory Of Everything" recording lineup:
Vocalists (in order of appearance):
* Janne "JB" Christoffersson (GRAND MAGUS) as The Teacher
* Sara Squadrani (ANCIENT BARDS) as The Girl
* Michael Mills (TOEHIDER) as The Father
* Cristina Scabbia (LACUNA COIL) as The Mother
* Tommy Karevik (KAMELOT, SEVENTH WONDER) as The Prodigy
* Marko Hietala (NIGHTWISH) as The Rival
* John Wetton (ASIA, KING CRIMSON) as The Psychiatrist
* Ed Warby - drums
* Rick Wakeman (YES) - keyboards
* Keith Emerson (EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER) - keyboards
* Jordan Rudess (DREAM THEATER) - keyboards
* Steve Hackett (GENESIS) - lead guitar
* Troy Donockley (BAD SHEPHERDS, NIGHTWISH) - Uilleann pipes and low flute
* Arjen Anthony Lucassen - electric and acoustic guitars, bass guitar, mandolin and keyboards.
AYREON's latest album, "01011001" (2008), sold 1,400 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 32 on the 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).
AYREON's 3CD + DVD compilation album entitled "Timeline" came out in November 2008. The set followed the thirteen-year evolution of the AYREON sound from the 1995 debut "The Final Experiment" to the release of "01011001". In addition to selecting tracks from the existing AYREON discography, Arjen also wrote and recorded a new AYREON song exclusively for "Timeline". Titled "Epilogue: The Memory Remains", this previously unreleased nine-plus-minute track introduced AYREON fans to the clear, powerful voice of Jasper Steverlinck (ARID).

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

DREAM THEATER Guitarist Talks To Australia's 'Distortion' Radio Show (Audio)

Guitarist John Petrucci of progressive metal giants DREAM THEATER was recently interviewed on the "Distortion" radio show, which is hosted by Dave "Higgo" Higgins of Australia's long-running rock station Triple M. You can listen to the chat using the SoundCloud widget below.
DREAM THEATER's new, self-titled album sold around 34,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 7 on The Billboard 200 chart. The CD arrived in stores on September 24 via Roadrunner.
DREAM THEATER's previous CD, "A Dramatic Turn Of Events", opened with 36,000 units to land at No. 8. The band's 2009 effort, "Black Clouds & Silver Linings", premiered with 40,000 copies to enter the chart 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 debut at No. 19. 2005's "Octavarium" premiered with 27,000 copies to land at No. 36.
The nine-track "Dream Theater" disc was recorded at Cove City Studio in Glen Cove, Long Island, with Petrucci producing and Richard Chycki engineering and mixing. It's the band's second album with drummer Mike Mangini, and the first one on which he was a part of the writing process from Day One.

Monday, October 7, 2013

DREAM THEATER's LABRIE Says New Album 'Stacks Up Phenomenally' Against Previous Efforts

Giorgio Mustica of The Aquarian Weekly recently conducted an interview with vocalist James LaBrie of progressive metal giants DREAM THEATER. An excerpt from the chat follows below.
The Aquarian Weekly: Looking at the new DREAM THEATER album, what are your thoughts on how it stacks up with the others?
LaBrie: I think it stacks up phenomenally. The reason for that is the fact that when you hear this album, you're going to hear that there are a lot of the core influences with DREAM THEATER, but at the same time, just making it very relevant as to what's going on with DREAM THEATER today — some of the things that we feel keep us in the now with the musical context. The three focal points for me on this album are that we finally wrote a song, the opening track, "False Awakening Suite", which is very cinematic and movie soundtrack-like, then you go to the middle of the album and you have this big, epic kind of instrumental song, "The Enigma Machine", and shortly there followed with "The Bigger Picture". So these songs really kind of create that excitement. I mean, to me, one of the things that I looked forward to when I was getting RUSH or listening to any band like that — YES or anything — was when I found out that there was going to be an instrumental track on the album. So I think that's always been a big part of who and what DREAM THEATER is and endears us to our listeners; it just adds much more dimension to the band. And then the end track, "The Illumination Theory", is this big, epic 20-minute-plus, but what it does is it just incorporates all these things that really make DREAM THEATER who they are; it really identifies strongly with the kind of band we are. It's aggressive, it's very symphonic at times, it's very atmospheric at times. This is the first time where in the middle of an instrumental, we didn't all of a sudden go into this big, interactive display of musical and instrumental prowess. What happened was the whole thing just kind of disappears — the whole band disappears — and all of a sudden Jordan [Rudess, keyboards] comes in with this big, atmospheric approach, followed by a very symphonic string section, very melodically driven, and then going into something that feels like a meteorite hit the planet, you know, if you go into the section called "The Pursuit Of Truth", where I'm like, screaming my head off and everything like that. I mean, it's a very exciting ride and it's a classic, epic piece for DREAM THEATER. So this album, just with those three key points that I pointed out, really make it something that I think is very, very suggestive that the band is feeling that we've arrived at a new place and we're walking through a door that kind of creates the next chapter for us, so to speak. And that's not to take away from the other songs; I think the other songs are very powerful within themselves, so that's where I'm coming from. Yeah, it's a great album.
The Aquarian Weekly: There hasn't been an instrumental track on a full-length since 2003's "Train Of Thought", and there's not one but two instrumentals on this CD. You were trying to make this more theatric, right?
LaBrie: Yeah, I mean, before going into the album, we knew that it was going to be a self-titled album just because we felt that we just walked over a bridge, so to speak. With "A Dramatic Turn Of Events", that album was more or less about us letting everyone know that we are still the same band and we're going to continue to write music and not lose our identity, but the music is going to be where it's at, that we haven't lost a thing; if anything, we feel better about ourselves. So that album was more or less about proving it to our fans and to the journalists around the world that we still are who we are and in fact, we feel even that much more confidant. So with that being done, this album was more or less about us just remembering and saying, "You know what, we've done that, we've proven that, let's just get back into having a great time together and writing an amazing album and that we can say this is the beginning of something new for us." This is a whole new chapter in DREAM THEATER's career that we feel this album will be the kick-start to that. So yeah, going in we just knew this was the album we needed to write, and I think we achieved it.

EPICA Singer, KAMELOT Keyboardist Welcome First Child

Singer Simone Simons of Dutch symphonic metallers EPICA and her longtime boyfriend, KAMELOT keyboardist Oliver Palotai, welcomed their first child, Vincent G. Palotai, on Wednesday, October 2 at 11:26 p.m.
Said Simone in a posting on the EPICA Facebook page: "Both Vincent and me are doing great. He is a perfect little man.
"Thank you for all the love and well wishes you have sent us. It is absolutely heartwarming!"
In a May 2013 interview with Finland's RadioCity, Simone spoke about whether she had to be extra careful on stage because of her pregnancy. "Yeah, well, when the belly gets bigger, your gravity shifts forward, so I don't wear heels anymore in daily life, but during the show I do," she explained. "But it's weird, because the headbanging doesn't work so well anymore, and, of course, I try to not tense my belly so much, so there's enough room still to swim in my belly. I still do some headbanging, but not the really heavy stuff anymore; I don't jump or do crazy stuff. But I still wanna have a good time and don't stand there like a stiff board."
Asked if her unborn child had reacted to the music yet while she performed on stage, Simone said: "I talked to my friend [and former THE GATHERING singer] Anneke [Van Giersbergen] about that, because she was pregnant on stage as well. And she told me that her son was really quiet during the heavy songs, and when she did the ballads, he would then start kicking and getting active. But until now, I didn't feel the movement during the shows yet — outside I did."