Posts Tagged “Bonus Material”

The fifth installment in Relapse’s exhaustive reissue campaign of DEATH‘s immensely influential catalog is “Leprosy”, the band’s titanic second album. Originally released in 1988 the pioneering LP built upon the thrash sounds of METALLICA and SLAYER but added a previously unheard level of raw extremity. These songs are the roots of an entire genre: death metal. While this was only the second record DEATH released, it immediately cemented them as heavy metal icons.

The “Leprosy” reissue will be made available on April 25 in Benelux, Germany, Finland; April 29 in North America and April 28 in the the rest of the world. The entire album, as well as the bonus material, has been painstakingly remastered by Alan Douches (MASTODON, NILE) and will be reissued in the following format:

* 2xCD/Limited Edition
* 3xCD/LP/Picture Disc LP/Limited Edition
* 2xLP Box set/Digtal

The Deluxe 2xCD contains 50 minutes of previously unheard and unreleased “Leprosy” demos and rehearsal material housed in an embossed o-card package with a 24-page booklet featuring unseen pictures of the band as well as brand new liner notes from Ian Christe (SiriusXM) and Jeremy Wagner (BROKEN HOPE). The LP features the remastered core album on wax together with a download card for all of the music included on the 2xCD.

A remastered version of the death metal classic “Pull The Plug” can be heard below.

In addition to the 2xCD reissue, a super limited 3xCD version will be available exclusively from www.relapse.com featuring everything included on 2xCD version plus an exclusive third CD featuring over 40 minutes of unreleased live material, housed in a deluxe embossed eight-panel digipak with a 24-page booklet, limited and numbered to 2000 copies.

Finally, a super-limited deluxe vinyl box set (limited to 500 copies) will be available exclusively from www.relapse.com containing: the remastered core “Leprosy” album on exclusive colored vinyl; a second LP containing unreleased rehearsal material from the “Leprosy” sessions housed in an exclusive jacket with original flyer art on exclusive colored vinyl; an exact replication of the original Combat newspaper print LP insert, a “Leprosy” turntable slipmat, and a download card of all three discs.

Pre-orders, including an exclusive new line of official DEATH merch, are available here.

Digital pre-orders are available via Bandcamp here.

Disc 1

01. Leprosy
02. Born Dead
03. Forgotten Past
04. Left To Die
05. Pull The Plug
06. Open Casket
07. Primitive Ways
08. Choke On It

Disc 2

Leprosy – 9/23/87 Rehearsal

01. Open Casket
02. Choke On It
03. Left To Die
04. Left To Die – Take 2

Leprosy – 12/05/87 Rehearsals

05. Left To Die
06. Open Casket
07. Pull The Plug
08. Choke On It
09. Born Dead
10. Forgotten Past

Disc 3

Live at Backstreets, Rochester, NY – December 13th, 1988

01. Leprosy
02. Open Casket
03. Zombie Ritual
04. Pull The Plug
05. Left To Die
06. Mutilation
07. Forgotten Past
08. Born Dead
09. Denial Of Life
10. Primitive Ways
11. Infernal Death

Live at The Dirt Club, Bloomfield, NJ – December 11, 1988

12. Leprosy
13. Pull The Plug
14. Forgotten Past
15. Primitive Ways

Digital Deluxe ONLY Bonus Tracks – Live at The Dirt Club, Bloomfield, NJ – December 11, 1988

16. Open Casket
17. Mutilation
18. Infernal Death

deathleprosyreissue

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Vocalist James LaBrie of progressive metal giants DREAM THEATER will take part in a question-and-answer session at the 6:15 p.m. screening of “Dream Theater: Live At Luna Park” on October 5, exclusively at Cineplex Yonge and Dundas Cinemas in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Tickets go on sale this Friday, September 27.

On November 5, Eagle Rock Entertainment will release “Dream Theater: Live At Luna Park” on 2DVD, Blu-ray, visual digital formats and a deluxe edition. The deluxe edition is an 11.5″ square 60 page hardback photobook containing the Blu-ray, 2 DVDs and 3 CDs presenting all the key physical formats in one release; the CDs are only available in this deluxe edition.

These releases boast the 160 minute main show — accompanied by a wealth of bonus material — and feature many of the band’s classic tracks, including “Metropolis Pt. 1”, “The Silent Man”, “Pull Me Under”, “The Root Of All Evil”, “The Test That Stumped Them All”, “The Spirit Carries On” and the recent “On The Backs Of Angels”.

DREAM THEATER began their mammoth “A Dramatic Tour Of Events” world trek in July 2011 with the final leg in South America taking place in August 2012. It was here at the Luna Park Arena in Buenos Aires, Argentina, that they decided to film the two nights that make up this DVD release.

The “Live At Luna Park” band lineup for this show is James LaBrie (vocals); John Petrucci (guitar); Jordan Rudess (keyboards); John Myung (bass); and Mike Mangini (drums). This was DREAM THEATER‘s first tour and album with their new drummer and all the tracks from that album, “A Dramatic Turn Of Events”, are included in either the main show or the bonus performances.

The bonus features offer live versions of six great tracks: “These Walls”; “Build Me Up, Break Me Down”; “Caught In A Web”; “Wait For Sleep”; “Far From Heaven”; and “Pull Me Under”. Also on “Live At Luna Park” is a documentary, the trailer for the cinema release of the film, a “behind-the-scenes” feature and the cartoon intro that ran on big screens prior to the band taking to the stage in Buenos Aires. The Blu-ray additionally features six multi-angle options on “Outcry”.

“Dream Theater: Live At Luna Park” track listing:

01. Bridges In The Sky
02. 6:00
03. The Dark Eternal Night
04. This Is The Life
05. The Root Of All Evil
06. Lost Not Forgotten
07. Drum Solo
08. A Fortune In Lies
09. The Silent Man
10. Beneath The Surface
11. Outcry
12. Piano Solo
13. Surrounded
14. On The Backs Of Angels
15. War Inside My Head
16. The Test That Stumped Them All
17. Guitar Solo
18. The Spirit Carries On
19. Breaking All Illusions
20. Metropolis Pt. 1

Roadrunner Records e-mailed guitarist John Petrucci and keyboardist Jordan Rudess to get their thoughts on these special shows.

Roadrunner Records: You played four songs with a string quartet over the two nights. Who did the arrangements?

Jordan Rudess: All the string parts were written by Eren Basbug, the young and talented Turkish musician that I discovered online through his beautiful orchestrations of DREAM THEATER‘s music and then his great work orchestrating and conducting the premiere of my own composition, “Explorations For Keyboard And Orchestra”. For two of the songs we did live with the quartet (“Beneath The Surface” and “Far From Heaven”) I had originally arranged and recorded quartet-like string parts from my keyboard, and that is what you hear on “A Dramatic Turn Of Events”. Eren was able to take those two songs and really make sure what I wrote worked for real players, as well as add some nice touches! For the other two songs, “The Silent Man” and “Wait For Sleep”, he created original quartet arrangements.

Roadrunner Records: How much rehearsal time did you have with the quartet?

John Petrucci: We played through each song with them a couple of times at soundcheck. We probably spent about an hour in total making sure they were comfortable and that they knew certain cues, etc.

Jordan Rudess: We had one rehearsal before the first show. I had sent all the music to coordinator Luis Gorelik (who is a well known conductor in South America) and he helped organize the players.

Roadrunner Records: How did their presence alter the way you guys in the band played those songs? Obviously they weren’t just sawing away in the background; they were integral to the music, so…in what ways?

John Petrucci: Honestly, we played the songs just as we have been and they followed us. On “Beneath The Surface” and “Far From Heaven”, they basically played the arrangements that are on the album. Original arrangements were created for “The Silent Man” and “Wait For Sleep”.

Jordan Rudess: In our rehearsal, I was literally conducting them and we all worked quickly to get things into shape and make sure the players really understood the music and what was going to happen in the chain of events on stage. The good thing was that these four songs all really are totally suitable for real strings, so it was an easy conceptual/musical addition to our presentation.

Roadrunner Records: Other than the new album (which was played almost in its entirety each night), the albums you played the most material from were “Images And Words”, “Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence” and “Awake”. Why those albums, from your perspective?

John Petrucci: We try to create a show that has a certain curve to it. The way that it begins, unfolds and concludes are all carefully thought about. We have so much material at this point that it’s difficult to fit in songs from each album. Based on what we played on past tours as well as the flow and arc of the show, we thought these were the strongest choices.

Jordan Rudess: There are so many factors that are in play to create a setlist. Generally, we all felt that we offered a night of music that was a well-balanced mixture of our material that not only spanned a lot of our albums but also flowed really well for the course of the evening.

Roadrunner Records: On the second night, you guys played “Pull Me Under” as the encore, which you’ve been playing a lot more on tour this year than in the past few years… but only outside the U.S. Is that a song foreign audiences want to hear more than fans at home?

John Petrucci: “Pull Me Under” always goes over, no matter what country we are in. It just has that kind of power and familiarity, I guess. We really thought that it sounded great with [new drummer] Mike Mangini playing it and wanted to share that with our listeners.

Jordan Rudess: I don’t know — but I will tell you that they literally were trying to rush the stage in Buenos Aires when we played it. It was nuts!

dreamtheaterlunaparkcover

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In the four-minute segment below, guitarist Nick Catanese explains to JamPlay.com how he got the gig with Zakk Wylde and BLACK LABEL SOCIETY.

BLACK LABEL SOCIETY‘s new live DVD, Blu-ray, and Digital Video, “Unblackened”, will be released on September 24 by Eagle Rock Entertainment. BLACK LABEL SOCIETY mainman Zakk Wylde‘s label home, eOne Music, will also release the audio version of the “Unblackened” DVD under the same name. The double disc release will have six additional tracks not found on the DVD, including two acoustic versions of “Queen Of Sorrow” and “Won’t Find It Here”, and covers of LEON RUSSELL‘s “Song For You” and BILL WITHERS“Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone”.

Since their early Nineties inception, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, formed and helmed by guitar legend Zakk Wylde, has been at the forefront of hard rock. Their penchant for hard riffs and blazing solos has resulted in a slew of hugely successful albums and a reputation as one of the most powerful live bands of their generation. “Unblackened”, however, unveils another side of the band.

Filmed and recorded on March 6 in high definition at Los Angeles’ Club Nokia, “Unblackened” is BLACK LABEL SOCIETY presenting their songs in a whole new light, with greater use of acoustic instrumentation. Wylde plays both guitar and piano, with Nick Catanase on guitar, John DeServio on bass/vocals, Chad Szeliga on drums, Derek Sherinian on keyboards/piano, and Greg Locascio providing additional vocals.

Their stripped-down approach highlights the subtler nuances of the songwriting, without losing any of the fire or intensity. Classic tracks like “Stillborn”, “The Blessed Hellride”, “In This River”, “Throwin’ It All Away”, “Losin’ Your Mind” and many others are still punctuated by the stinging, searing solos that fans know and love, while showcasing the versatility of the band.

In addition to the concert, “Unblackened” is rich in bonus material. A new interview with Zakk, photo gallery, music video for “Losin’ Your Mind”, and a feature with Wylde visiting HM Prison Stocken in the U.K . are all included.

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Scottish folk/power metallers ALESTORM will release a concert DVD, “Live At The End Of The World”, on November 13 in Spain, Sweden, Norway; November 15 in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Finland, Benelux; November 18 in the rest of Europe; and November 26 in North America via Napalm Records.

Filmed in January in Australia and New Zealand, this double-disc set (1 DVD, 1 audio CD) contains professionally filmed footage of the band’s headlining show from Melbourne, plus bonus material.

“Live At The End Of The World” track listing:

01. The Quest
02. The Sunk’n Norwegian
03. Leviathan
04. Shipwrecked
05. Over The Seas
06. Midget Saw
07. Nancy The Tavern Wench
08. Pirate Song
09. Back Through Time
10. Wenches & Mead
11. Death Throes Of The Terrorsquid
12. Keelhauled
13. Rumpelkombo
14. Set Sail And Conquer
15. Captain Morgan’s Revenge
16. Rum

ALESTORM‘s “Shipwrecked” video was filmed in Belgrade, Serbia with director Ivan Colic, who has previously worked with EPICA, KAMELOT and KATAKLYSM. The song comes off the band’s third album, “Back Through Time”, which was released in June 2011 via Napalm Records.

“Back Through Time” was produced by Lasse Lammert at LSD Studios in Lübeck, Germany. The effort was made available as a jewelcase, mediabook, LP, and special-edition boxset “featuring bonus tracks and other mad shite!”

alestorm-liveattheendoftheworld

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BLACK LABEL SOCIETY‘s video for “Spoke In The Wheel”, off the band’s new live DVD, Blu-ray, and Digital Video, “Unblackened”, can be seen below.

“Unblackened” will be released on September 24 by Eagle Rock Entertainment. BLACK LABEL SOCIETY mainman Zakk Wylde‘s label home, eOne Music, will also release the audio version of the “Unblackened” DVD under the same name. The double disc release will have six additional tracks not found on the DVD, including two acoustic versions of “Queen Of Sorrow” and “Won’t Find It Here”, and covers of LEON RUSSELL‘s “Song For You” and BILL WITHERS“Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone”.

Since their early Nineties inception, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, formed and helmed by guitar legend Zakk Wylde, has been at the forefront of hard rock. Their penchant for hard riffs and blazing solos has resulted in a slew of hugely successful albums and a reputation as one of the most powerful live bands of their generation. “Unblackened”, however, unveils another side of the band.

Filmed and recorded on March 6 in high definition at Los Angeles’ Club Nokia, “Unblackened” is BLACK LABEL SOCIETY presenting their songs in a whole new light, with greater use of acoustic instrumentation. Wylde plays both guitar and piano, with Nick Catanase on guitar, John DeServio on bass/vocals, Chad Szeliga on drums, Derek Sherinian on keyboards/piano, and Greg Locascio providing additional vocals.

Their stripped-down approach highlights the subtler nuances of the songwriting, without losing any of the fire or intensity. Classic tracks like “Stillborn”, “The Blessed Hellride”, “In This River”, “Throwin’ It All Away”, “Losin’ Your Mind” and many others are still punctuated by the stinging, searing solos that fans know and love, while showcasing the versatility of the band.

In addition to the concert, “Unblackened” is rich in bonus material. A new interview with Zakk, photo gallery, music video for “Losin’ Your Mind”, and a feature with Wylde visiting HM Prison Stocken in the U.K . are all included.

DVD track listing:

01. Losin’ Your Mind
02. The Blessed Hellride
03. Sold My Soul
04. Road Back Home
05. Spoke In The Wheel
06. House Of Doom
07. Queen Of Sorrow
08. Machine Gun Man
09. Sweet Jesus
10. In This River
11. Throwin’ It All Away
12. Takillya (Estyabon)
13. Won’t Find It Here
14. Rust
15. Speedball
16. I Thank You Child
17. Stillborn

CD track listing:

Disc 1

01. Losin’ Your Mind
02. The Blessed Hellride
03. Sold My Soul
04. Road Back Home
05. Spoke In the Wheel
06. House Of Doom
07. Queen Of Sorrow
08. Machine Gun Man
09. Sweet Jesus
10. In This River
11. Throwin’ It All Away

Disc 2

01. Takillya (Estyabon)
02. Won’t Find It Here
03. Rust
04. Speedball
05. I Thank You Child
06. Stillborn
07. Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone
09. Lovin’ Woman
10. Queen Of Sorrow (unplugged)
11. Song For You (cover)
12. Won’t Find It Here (unplugged)
13. Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow





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American hardcore metallers PRO-PAIN will release their new studio album, “The Final Revolution”, on November 25 in Europe and December 3 in North America via SPV/Steamhammer. According to vocalist/bassist Gary Meskil, PRO-PAIN‘s 14th studio recording marks the band’s return to its old form. “The music is quite dark, and the groove and tempos are very reminiscent of the classic PRO-PAIN style as opposed to our last album, ‘Straight To The Dome’, which was a bit more thrashy,” he says.

“The Final Revolution” was recorded, mixed, and mastered by V.O. Pulver (GURD) from August 18 to August 29, 2013 at Little Creek Studio in Gelterkinden, Switzerland. Meskil wrote all of the music and lyrics at his home in Sarasota, Florida.

“In order to keep things interesting, I decided to take the reins and handle all of the writing duties alone this time,” he says. “It’s the first PRO-PAIN album since the ’90s in which I’ve written everything.”

The standard “The Final Revolution” release will feature twelve brand-new tracks. There will be other configurations available as well, in the form of a digipak and gatefold album. Those configurations will contain some bonus material (including live tracks plus a UK SUBS cover), foldout poster, etc. Meskil adds: “I’m sure the fans will love it!”

“The Final Revolution” track listing:

01. Deathwish
02. One Shot One Kill
03. Southbound
04. Problem Reaction Solution
05. The Final Revolution
06. Can’t Stop The Pain
07. All Systems Fail
08. Want Some?
09. Fall From Grace
10. Emerge
11. Mass Extinction
12. Under The Gun
13. Life’s Hard (live 2010) (bonus track on digipack)
14. Get Real (live 2010) (bonus track on digipack)
15. Party In Paris (UK SUBS cover) (bonus track on digipack)

PRO-PAIN will play some Florida shows in October, which will mark the band’s first U.S. gigs in more than four years. The band also has a European tour scheduled from November 29 until December 21, with ZUUL FX (France), KOMAH (Belgium), and SOULLINE (Switzerland) supporting.

Meskil concludes: “We hope everyone will enjoy our new album as much as we do! See you on tour!”

propainfinalrevolution

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American hardcore metallers PRO-PAIN will release their new studio album, “The Final Revolution”, on November 25 in Europe and December 3 in North America via SPV/Steamhammer. According to vocalist/bassist Gary Meskil, PRO-PAIN‘s 14th studio recording marks the band’s return to its old form. “The music is quite dark, and the groove and tempos are very reminiscent of the classic PRO-PAIN style as opposed to our last album, ‘Straight To The Dome’, which was a bit more thrashy,” he says.

“The Final Revolution” was recorded, mixed, and mastered by V.O. Pulver (GURD) from August 18 to August 29, 2013 at Little Creek Studio in Gelterkinden, Switzerland. Meskil wrote all of the music and lyrics at his home in Sarasota, Florida.

“In order to keep things interesting, I decided to take the reins and handle all of the writing duties alone this time,” he says. “It’s the first PRO-PAIN album since the ’90s in which I’ve written everything.”

The standard “The Final Revolution” release will feature twelve brand-new tracks. There will be other configurations available as well, in the form of a digipak and gatefold album. Those configurations will contain some bonus material (including live tracks plus a UK SUBS cover), foldout poster, etc. Meskil adds: “I’m sure the fans will love it!”

PRO-PAIN will play some Florida shows in October, which will mark the band’s first U.S. gigs in more than four years. The band also has a European tour scheduled from November 29 until December 21, with ZUUL FX (France), KOMAH (Belgium), and SOULLINE (Switzerland) supporting.

Meskil concludes: “We hope everyone will enjoy our new album as much as we do! See you on tour!”

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On November 5, Eagle Rock Entertainment will release “Dream Theater: Live At Luna Park” on 2DVD, Blu-ray, visual digital formats and a deluxe edition. The deluxe edition is an 11.5″ square 60 page hardback photobook containing the Blu-ray, 2 DVDs and 3 CDs presenting all the key physical formats in one release; the CDs are only available in this deluxe edition.

These releases boast the 160 minute main show — accompanied by a wealth of bonus material — and feature many of the band’s classic tracks, including “Metropolis Pt. 1”, “The Silent Man”, “Pull Me Under”, “The Root Of All Evil”, “The Test That Stumped Them All”, “The Spirit Carries On” and the recent “On The Backs Of Angels”.

DREAM THEATER began their mammoth “A Dramatic Tour Of Events” world trek in July 2011 with the final leg in South America taking place in August 2012. It was here at the Luna Park Arena in Buenos Aires, Argentina, that they decided to film the two nights that make up this DVD release.

The “Live At Luna Park” band lineup for this show is James LaBrie (vocals); John Petrucci (guitar); Jordan Rudess (keyboards); John Myung (bass); and Mike Mangini (drums). This was DREAM THEATER‘s first tour and album with their new drummer and all the tracks from that album, “A Dramatic Turn Of Events”, are included in either the main show or the bonus performances.

The bonus features offer live versions of six great tracks: “These Walls”; “Build Me Up, Break Me Down”; “Caught In A Web”; “Wait For Sleep”; “Far From Heaven”; and “Pull Me Under”. Also on “Live At Luna Park” is a documentary, the trailer for the cinema release of the film, a “behind-the-scenes” feature and the cartoon intro that ran on big screens prior to the band taking to the stage in Buenos Aires. The Blu-ray additionally features six multi-angle options on “Outcry”.

“Dream Theater: Live At Luna Park” track listing:

01. Bridges In The Sky
02. 6:00
03. The Dark Eternal Night
04. This Is The Life
05. The Root Of All Evil
06. Lost Not Forgotten
07. Drum Solo
08. A Fortune In Lies
09. The Silent Man
10. Beneath The Surface
11. Outcry
12. Piano Solo
13. Surrounded
14. On The Backs Of Angels
15. War Inside My Head
16. The Test That Stumped Them All
17. Guitar Solo
18. The Spirit Carries On
19. Breaking All Illusions
20. Metropolis Pt. 1

Roadrunner Records e-mailed guitarist John Petrucci and keyboardist Jordan Rudess to get their thoughts on these special shows.

Roadrunner Records: You played four songs with a string quartet over the two nights. Who did the arrangements?

Jordan Rudess: All the string parts were written by Eren Basbug, the young and talented Turkish musician that I discovered online through his beautiful orchestrations of DREAM THEATER‘s music and then his great work orchestrating and conducting the premiere of my own composition, “Explorations For Keyboard And Orchestra”. For two of the songs we did live with the quartet (“Beneath The Surface” and “Far From Heaven”) I had originally arranged and recorded quartet-like string parts from my keyboard, and that is what you hear on “A Dramatic Turn Of Events”. Eren was able to take those two songs and really make sure what I wrote worked for real players, as well as add some nice touches! For the other two songs, “The Silent Man” and “Wait For Sleep”, he created original quartet arrangements.

Roadrunner Records: How much rehearsal time did you have with the quartet?

John Petrucci: We played through each song with them a couple of times at soundcheck. We probably spent about an hour in total making sure they were comfortable and that they knew certain cues, etc.

Jordan Rudess: We had one rehearsal before the first show. I had sent all the music to coordinator Luis Gorelik (who is a well known conductor in South America) and he helped organize the players.

Roadrunner Records: How did their presence alter the way you guys in the band played those songs? Obviously they weren’t just sawing away in the background; they were integral to the music, so…in what ways?

John Petrucci: Honestly, we played the songs just as we have been and they followed us. On “Beneath The Surface” and “Far From Heaven”, they basically played the arrangements that are on the album. Original arrangements were created for “The Silent Man” and “Wait For Sleep”.

Jordan Rudess: In our rehearsal, I was literally conducting them and we all worked quickly to get things into shape and make sure the players really understood the music and what was going to happen in the chain of events on stage. The good thing was that these four songs all really are totally suitable for real strings, so it was an easy conceptual/musical addition to our presentation.

Roadrunner Records: Other than the new album (which was played almost in its entirety each night), the albums you played the most material from were “Images And Words”, “Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence” and “Awake”. Why those albums, from your perspective?

John Petrucci: We try to create a show that has a certain curve to it. The way that it begins, unfolds and concludes are all carefully thought about. We have so much material at this point that it’s difficult to fit in songs from each album. Based on what we played on past tours as well as the flow and arc of the show, we thought these were the strongest choices.

Jordan Rudess: There are so many factors that are in play to create a setlist. Generally, we all felt that we offered a night of music that was a well-balanced mixture of our material that not only spanned a lot of our albums but also flowed really well for the course of the evening.

Roadrunner Records: On the second night, you guys played “Pull Me Under” as the encore, which you’ve been playing a lot more on tour this year than in the past few years… but only outside the U.S. Is that a song foreign audiences want to hear more than fans at home?

John Petrucci: “Pull Me Under” always goes over, no matter what country we are in. It just has that kind of power and familiarity, I guess. We really thought that it sounded great with [new drummer] Mike Mangini playing it and wanted to share that with our listeners.

Jordan Rudess: I don’t know — but I will tell you that they literally were trying to rush the stage in Buenos Aires when we played it. It was nuts!

dreamtheaterlunaparkcover

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Bal-Sagoth

Bal-Sagoth: blades of glory

Yorkshire’s seminal epic metal institution, Bal-Saoth are due celebrate the 20th anniversary of their first, self-titled demo with a very special release.

Entitled Apocryphal Tales, this retrospective is due out at the end of September on both CD and vinyl via Godreah Records – the home of equally ambitious and deeply English voyagers, The Meads Of Asphodel – featuring all manner of bonus material, full lyrics and sleevenotes from frontman and lyricist Bryon Roberts.

The demo was never originally released, so this is a unique look into the heart one of the most imaginative bands ever to have emerged from the UK’s nascent black metal scene. In an exclusive and very candid interview, Chris Chanter talks to Byron to discuss the band’s very early days, the forthcoming series of graphic novels and the changes 20 years have wrought upon the metal scene.

What were your initial ambitions and motivations for forming Bal-Sagoth, how have they changed over the years, and how have you changed as people and artists?

“My initial motivation when I came up with the idea for Bal-Sagoth was simply to create a band which told epic stories through the medium of extreme metal, in a literary style reminiscent of the pulp fantasy and sci-fi of the 1930s. Fusing that stylistic approach with symphonic black-death metal was always the idea that underpinned the band as I perceived it. Over the past 20 years, nothing has really changed in that regard, and those original motivations still hold true today. As for how we have changed as artists, well, we’re certainly no longer the naive and callow youths we were at the beginning. I know the music industry inside out now, and it’s a very dispiriting entity, populated by deceivers, backstabbers and charlatans. There’s a certain element of innocence that inevitably gets eroded away with the passage of time. Idealism is something which all too often gets sacrificed upon the altar of reality in the music business.”

What have been Bal-Sagoth’s highest and lowest points over the last 20 years, biggest triumphs and biggest regrets?

“One of my personal favourite moments was when John Peel discovered Bal-Sagoth and became a fan. He gave the band some decent airplay on his show, and we exchanged letters and faxes for a while. I was looking forward to sending him the sixth album, but alas, he never got to hear it.

“As for low points, well it’s probably the abundance of naysayers, underminers, doxies, drabs, quislings, plotters and turncoats that have clung to the band like limpets at various points over the past 20 years. Dealing with such negative elements has always been a chore.”

It’s now eight years since you recorded your last album, The Chthonic Chronicles, and Chris and Johnny have just formed ‘symphonic black metal’ band Kull. Will there ever be a follow-up? How are relations within the band, and is there any impetus to work together again?

“I haven’t ruled out the possibility of further Bal-Sagoth albums. In fact, I have all the lyrics, stories and even the cover artwork for albums seven, eight and nine already prepared. That stuff has been ready for years now, as the whole Bal-Sagoth saga was planned out well in advance. But now is not the time. The hexalogy currently stands as a perfect and complete artistic circle, which is something I’ve been saying since the release of the sixth album back in 2006. But one thing I can say is that if we ever decided to continue with further albums, the material would be far darker and more malevolent than anything that has come before, and much of the more accessible and benevolent sounding elements of the music would by necessity have to be excised. Over the years, certain elements of the original musical directive that drove the band have steadily been diluted, but if the third trilogy were ever to become a reality, the sinister and primal roots of the Bal-Sagoth project would very much come once again to the fore.”

In 2009 came the announcement of a series of short stories and graphic novels expanding Bal-Sagoth’s lyrical multiverse. How are these coming along? Have new tales been written, and where are you at creatively at the moment?

“The short stories will be published in one or two anthology volumes and will include a wide variety of material. The expanded edition of the lyrical glossary will also be released in due course as an illustrated paperback. The comics are a project that myself and the artist, Martin Hanford, are working on very much for our own gratification, as we both love the medium of comics so much. The progress has been slow but steady on those, as Martin fits in his work on them in between his numerous paying commissions. There’s already interest from a publisher to put them out, so we’ll probably serialize the initial wave of strips as web comics first, before collecting them into a print edition at some point afterwards. I’ve also got an idea in mind for a Bal-Sagoth art book, which would showcase all the fantastic artwork produced by the talented artists we’ve worked with over the years, as I still own the vast majority of all the original artwork from our albums and merchandise. It would include finished pieces, preliminary sketches, concept art, alternate designs, and various things like that.”

How did the music industry and underground scene into which you released your first demo differ from nowadays, and what’s your prognosis for the future of metal?

“When we started out, the tape trading scene was still the dominant way of discovering and exchanging underground music. In fact, that’s how I circulated our original 1993 demo, which is about to finally get a CD and vinyl release. In those days, you really had to hunt down material by those obscure bands you wanted to hear, and discovering new acts was much more of a quest. Today, everything is on the internet. New bands simply upload their stuff for the world to discover, and with the advent of cheap and easily accessible recording technology, it’s much easier for a band to record professional sounding demos and self released albums. In so many ways, things are now inestimably better for bands, and it’s much easier for them to thrive within their respective scenes. And yet, I still feel something has been lost in the transition to instant electronic musical gratification. For a start, piracy is certainly now a bigger menace than ever before, with entire albums illegally uploaded to the internet to satiate the ‘something for nothing’ mindset that proliferates. The music industry must fundamentally change to meet these new challenges, and it’s a change which is still very much in progress. In many ways, Bal-Sagoth is a band spawned of a bygone age; the product of a more simple and innocent era.”

Check out Bal-Sagoth’s homepage here!

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Meshuggah have been around for 25 years already? Time flies when you're fucking with it on every single one of your albums, I suppose! The band are going to be issuing some re-releases with some bonus material! Come get learned! Meshuggah will be dropping their re-releases on October 15 as special digipacks with some bonus …

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