The members of TESTAMENT — including the cancer-stricken vocalist Chuck Billy — were spotted at THE HAUNTED's show at Slim's in San Francisco on Thursday, April 26th. Billy, who was was reportedly in very good spirits, made it clear to everyone that TESTAMENT would continue and that he was confident he would beat the cancer completely. Meanwhile, guitarist Eric Peterson stated that he was leaving for Sweden yesterday, April 27th, to begin mixing the DRAGONLORD project with producer Daniel Bergstrand, with plans to return to the States on May 18th. Peterson also indicated that work on the next TESTAMENT album would begin the last week of May. There are discussions going on about a possible benefit show for Chuck, although details are very sketchy at the moment. More info as it becomes available.
GRAVITY KILLS have yet to confirm their much-rumored signing with the Sanctuary Records label, but guitarist Matt Dudenhoeffer did indicate last week that 'a new record label sent us a contract proposal a few weeks ago. Our attorney (who negotiates the contracts) is making changes to the contract and sending it back to them to agree. There shouldn't be any problems, and the deal should be completed soon. The label wants to do a third quarter release of the record (third quarter this year). So all that's left to be done is the following: 1) Finalize the contract 2) Get together with a producer and go mix down/master 3) set up the record at radio and other publicity 4) print the damn things 5) release a single, and 6) release the record for [everyone] to buy (Yeah!)
'This entire process is underway. We just have to get the contract finalized first. We want this process to take place as quickly as possible! We're doing everything we can to expedite the process. Hopefully our management and attorney and the label's attorney aren't dicking around and will get this damn thing rolling.
'The record WILL be brilliant.'
ROYAL HUNT's upcoming studio album is tentatively entitled The Mission, and it is a concept release based entirely on Ray Bradbury's novel The Martian Chronicles. According to the band, 'the music is a bit more guitar-driven, edgy kind of thing (who needs those keyboards in a rock set up, anyway?), the songs are slightly shorter (but there's more of them!), and we feel like the result is more...hmmm...straight to the point, you know?!'
The Mission is tentatively set for an August release.
Birmingham, Alabama's VIRGOS (formerly VIRGOS MERLOT) are still in the process of mixing down the new record at Trans Continental Studios in Orlando, Florida with producer Sylvia Massy. According to band leader/vocalist (and fill-in CREED bassist) Brett Hestla, 'we are well into the mixing process now and we are exploring the options of getting some alternate mixers for a few of the songs. Everything is sounding so good. This record will definitely be an event. The songs range from the usual VIRGOS mid-tempo crushers, to songs that are even heavier, and then there are a few flavorful surprises. We have been exploring the different branches of our collective roots and some very unique and different material has come from this.'
California's AEON SPOKE, who feature in their ranks former CYNIC/DEATH guitarist/vocalist Paul Masvidal and ex-CYNIC/DEATH drummer Sean Reinert (the line-up is completed by bassist Matthew Basile), recently received a very favorable live review in the Music Connection magazine for their April 5th performance at Hollywood's The Mint club. According to the magazine, 'AEON SPOKE may be a thoroughly modern band of the Emo-Rock (as in emotional) genre, but their songs — hung on memorable hooks — transcend style. It's sometimes difficult to separate the words and music from Masvidal's disarming honesty as a vocalist. Standing in the dim stage lights, his gaze fixed on a spot somewhere in space, his vulnerability is palpable.'
AEON SPOKE, whose musical direction is more akin to RADIOHEAD than the heavy, ultra-progressive sounds of Masvidal and Reinert's previous outfits, is presently seeking a record deal.
ARK, who feature in their ranks former YNGWIE MALMSTEEN vocalist Jorn Lande, ex-CONCEPTION guitarist Tore Østby, and former MALMSTEEN drummer John Macaluso, will perform three accoustic teasers in France in support of their recently released second album, Burn The Sun. The dates are as follows:
May 17 - Lyon, FRA @ TBA
May 18 - Paris, FRA @ TBA
May 19 - Paris, FRA @ TBA
ARK's line-up for these shows will be Tore, John and Jorn. A full European tour, with a complete band, is being sheduled for September/October.
Burn The Sun, which was released in France on March 27th through the NTS label, entered the French Virgin Megastore album charts at #18.
Prior to the release of their brand new studio album, Killing Ground, in September (through Germany's SPV/Steamhammer Records), SAXON will play a few shows in May (see tour news), along with several festival dates taking place later in the summer. These are the group's confirmed German appearances next month:
May 10 Bremen, GER @ Aladin
May 11 - Leverkusen, GER @ Forum
SAXON's Wacken Open Air appearance in early August will reportedly feature the original Eagle stage set from 1981. A full European tour in support of Killing Ground is being planned for October/November.
The previously announced G3 tour, featuring DREAM THEATER guitarist John Petrucci, Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, has had several East Coast shows added. The just-confirmed dates are as follows:
July 11 - Toronto, CAN @ Massey Hall
July 12 - Glenside, PA @ Keswick Theater
July 13/14 - New York, NY @ Beacon Theater
July 16 - Boston, MA @ Fleet Pavilion
July 17 - Washington, DC @ Warner Theater
July 19 - Atlanta, GA @ The Tabernacle
July 20 - Clearwater, FL @ Ruth Eckerd Hall
July 21 - Sunrise, FL @ Sunrise Musical Theater
MARILYN MANSON will be delivering the Artist Keynote Address at the NMW Music Industry Conference in Vancouver, B.C. (Canada). Celebrating its 10th year, the conference runs May 9-13, with MANSON speaking on the 11th. For more information go to www.newmusicwest.com.
In other MANSON news, the filming for 'The Nobodies' video was completed last week. Directed by Paul Fedor, the clip will be airing on MTV soon.
SUICIDAL TENDENCIES have lined up a couple of Canadian shows prior to their European summer tour. The dates are as follows:
May 04 - Vancouver, B.C., CAN @ The Starfish Room
May 05 - Vancouver, B.C., CAN @ Pacific Coliseum *
* Slam City Jam VIII : North American Skateboard Championship
THE MISFITS have added another in-store appearance to their previously announced schedule. The whole band, along with Marky Ramone, Robo & Dez from BLACK FLAG, will be appearing at Aahs! in Torrance, California on May 4th between 6 PM and 9 PM.
Austria's acclaimed and controversial gore-horror outfit PUNGENT STENCH have reportedly reformed with the revamped line-up of guitarist/vocalist Martin Schirenc (who is also a member of HOLLENTHON), Alex Wank (drums), and BELPHEGOR bassist Marius (filling in for former bass player Highjack). The reunited band is said to be writing material for their next full-length album, which is tentatively scheduled to be released through Nuclear Blast Records in October.
Finnish power metallers SONATA ARCTICA have confirmed the track listing for their upcoming second album, Silence, which is scheduled for a July 15th release through Spinefarm Records (the album will be issued in Japan on June 21st). The full track listing is as follows:
01. ...of Silence
03. False News Travel Fast
04. The End of This Chapter
05. Black Sheep
06. Land of the Free
07. Last Drop Falls
08. San Sebastian (revisited)
09. Sing In Silence
10. Revontulet (instrumental)
12. Wolf & Raven
13. The Power of One
14. Respect the Wilderness (Japanese bonus track)
The album will be preceded by the release of a single, Wolf & Raven, which will contain an additional track entitled 'Peacemaker'. The single comes out on May 7th.
SONATA ARCTICA are planning on touring in Europe and Japan during the fall.
Veteran producer Kevin Shirley (i.e. IRON MAIDEN, DREAM THEATER) is set to return to Helsinki, Finland in a couple of weeks' time to do more work on the forthcoming third album from H.I.M., which is currently still untitled and is scheduled for an August release. The album's first single, 'Keep On Pretending', is due on June 18th.
MACABRE have cancelled all previously scheduled Scandinavian shows with MURDER SQUAD for unspecified reasons. The band are currently lining up several concerts in Holland during June.
NICKELBACK are due to enter a Vancouver recording studio on Monday, April 30th, with producer Rick Parashar (i.e. PEARL JAM, BLIND MELON, ALICE IN CHAINS) to begin work on their forthcoming third full-length album, which is due out in September through Roadrunner Records.
KING KOBRA's forthcoming comback release will be entitled Sound Asylum, and it will contain the following tracks:
01. Do It
02. The Gift
03. The Edge
06. Watch What You Think
07. Hollywood Trash
10. Angels, Bitch
11. Ready To Strike
12. Take It Off
13. Here Comes The Night
Denmark's PRETTY MAIDS are hard at work on the follow-up to last year's Carpe Diem release, and have so far completed rough versions of 3-4 new songs. The as-yet-untitled album will be recorded at the end of the year for an early 2002 release.
THE SCORPIONS will be appearing on the German Big Brother TV show finale on May 12th on the RTL network.