Posts Tagged “Songwriting”

Dutch/Mexican symphonic/progressive metallers STREAM OF PASSION performed three new songs — “Earthquake”, “The Curse” and “Secrets” — during their September 27 concert at Gigant in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands. Fan-filmed video footage can be seen below.

STREAM OF PASSION recently raised more than 43,000 euros in a crowdfunding campaign for their forthcoming fourth studio album, tentatively due in 2014.

The band’s last CD, “Darker Days”, was released in North America in July 2011 via Napalm Records. The effort was recorded at Sandlane Recording Facilities in Rijen, Holland.

In an interview with Sea Of Tranquility, STREAM OF PASSION singer Marcela Bovio stated about “Darker Days”, “The drive behind this album has to expand our musical horizons and incorporate new influences and ideas into our writing. We also wanted to go for a more organic sound; instead of layering all instruments on top of each other we tried to give each instrument its own moment in the songs. So make the heavy, guitar riff parts entirely about the guitars; and on the soft parts let the piano, the strings and the vocals take over.”

She added, “I think we made a huge step from ‘Embrace The Storm’ to ‘The Flame Within’. On ‘Embrace The Storm’, Arjen Lucassen (who was still in the band back then) had the absolute lead on songwriting, with me doing the vocal lines and melodies. For ‘The Flame Within’, I had to face the challenge of writing songs from scratch, instead of writing on top of what someone else already had done; so in a lot of ways our second album was also our first. Now with ‘Darker Days’, we’ve taken our ‘real’ second step as a band. And I think it was clear from the start that our goal was to keep refining our sound, to keep incorporating unique qualities to the music.”

Comments No Comments »

Danish/American hard rockers ROYAL HUNT will release their twelfth studio album, “A Life To Die For”, in November through Marquee/Avalon (Japan and Southeast Asia) and Frontiers (Europe and North America). The material has been described as a continuation of the band’s last CD, “Show Me How To Live”, but with new elements in in both the songwriting and production departments. The cover artwork was created by Kai Brockschmidt (PINK CREAM 69, PRETTY MAIDS) and can be seen below.

“A Life To Die For” will be mde available in three different versions:

* Digipack CD + DVD (containing live footage from the band’s last year tour, tour documentary and interviews)
* Regular CD
* 180-gram vinyl, gatefold

“A Life To Die For” track listing:

01. Hell Comes Down From Heaven
02. A Bullet’s Tale
03. Running Out Of Tears
04. One Minute Left To Live
05. Sign Of Yesterday
06. Won’t Trust, Won’t Fear, Won’t Beg
07. A Life To Die For

In order to upgrade its trademark sound, ROYAL HUNT employed a large number of classical/orchestra players in the studio as well as a large choir.

Frontiers Records released ROYAL HUNT‘s box set, “20th Anniversary – Special Edition”, on November 23, 2012 in Europe and January 21, 2013 in North America.

After the highly successful 20th-aniversary tour in support of ROYAL HUNT‘s last album, “Show Me How To Live”, ROYAL HUNT decided to celebrate the occasion with a very special “best-of” package containing three CDs and one DVD. The release included the best ROYAL HUNT songs from all 11 albums, a brand new song plus three newly recorded acoustic versions of three additional tracks and a DVD featuring all the promotional video clips shot by the band during their long ride.

royalhuntaleft_600

Comments No Comments »

Southern California juggernauts IMPENDING DOOM will release their new album, “Death Will Reign”, on November 5 via eOne Music. Recorded, produced and mixed by Will Putney at The Machine Shop (SUICIDE SILENCE, LAMB OF GOD), this is the band’s most ferocious material to date.

IMPENDING DOOM have never sounded uglier and more desperate than on ‘Death Will Reign’,” says Alternative Press.

IMPENDING DOOM has crafted a stunning, deliberate and unrelenting collection with a sense of purpose, drive and continuity. “Death Will Reign” is the culmination of all that has come before, mining the bleak darkness and “scare” factor of last year’s “Baptized in Filth” and the dynamic fury of “There Will Be Violence” and “The Serpent Servant”. All of those elements are injected with the return of the gritty rawness found within the unpolished grind of “Nailed. Dead. Risen”, IMPENDING DOOM‘s squealing cult-classic debut that introduced the world to their unique combination of reverent worship and sick gore-core, dubbed Goreship.

“We wanted this album to sound very natural and unpolished,” explains IMPENDING DOOM‘s longtime bassist David Sittig, a part of the lineup since before the first album’s release. “There’s no crazy digital stuff. There are no fake drums. We wanted it to have the feel of our first album with the songwriting from the last one. We’ve gotten better at song structures and so forth over the years, but we wanted to recapture that old-school vibe, too.”

IMPENDING DOOM‘s fourth full-length album, “Baptized In Filth”, sold 4,600 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 106 on The Billboard 200 chart. Released on March 13, 2012, the CD was produced by Andreas Magnusson (THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER, THE FAMINE) and was mixed by Machine, who has previously worked with LAMB OF GOD, SUICIDE SILENCE and DEMON HUNTER, among others.

impendingdoomdeathsmaller_638

Comments No Comments »

Brian Giffin of Australia’s Loud magazine recently conducted an interview with vocalist Dez Fafara of Californian metallers DEVILDRIVER. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

On the recording process for DEVILDRIVER‘s new album, “Winter Kills”:

“I decided that I didn’t want to spend more time away from my family than I have to,” he explains, “so I recorded at home in my own studio. It just gave me a more comfortable place for me to work where I didn’t have to be separated from them for these long bouts of time. I could go in there whenever I needed to and work for a few hours at a time, and then I could be at home spending time with the family. It just made, for me, the perfect work enviroment and made things more enjoyable and manageable for me.”

On the songwriting process for “Winter Kills”:

“I did this thing on this record called automatic writing. I would get the tracks from the rest of the band and then I would listen to one a dozen, fifteen times over, and then I would turn it off and just start to write. It’s almost like a trance state where you don’t even think about what you’re doing. I just found it to be a very comfortable, very natural way for me to write and to come up with some new ideas and a whole new way of working that I think keeps with the whole theme of this record.”

On “Winter Kills” representing a rebirth for DEVILDRIVER:

‘Winter Kills’ definitely represents something new for DEVILDRIVER. You know, every one of our records is like a new beginning for us. We’re always looking to strive for some new approach, something new to add. I think this is the strongest material we’ve ever done, and to me, the concept of ‘Winter Kills’ represents that break, that killing off what we’ve done so that we can move forward. That’s kind of why I did the COAL CHAMBER [reunion] thing, because I felt there needed to be closure so that I could move on from that, and so in the same way I think that this new record allows DEVILDRIVER to move forward again from what we did with ‘Beast’, from what we did with ‘Pray For Villains’.

“I’m pretty proud of the fact that no one’s ever really been able to pigeon-hole our band into a particular sound. We’ve done thrash metal , death metal, we’ve had a black metal influence here and there but we’ve never been pinned down into a category where you can just say, ‘Well, DEVILDRIVER sounds like this or that’.”

Read the entire interview at Loud magazine.

Comments No Comments »

Atlanta progressive metallers MASTODON have issued the following update:

MASTODON has been busy jamming every day writing and arranging the next studio album. We have quite a few songs and ideas that are taking some time to nail down what we think will make it to the next full-length.

“There will be no more touring this year. We will hit the studio in November to hopefully finish by the end of year.”

Asked about the progress of the songwriting sessions for MASTODON‘s follow-up to 2011’s “The Hunter”, guitarist Bill Kelliher told Artisan News: “We haven’t really come to the lyrical concepts yet. That’s usually the last thing that comes. We’re usually focused on the music and getting all the parts and everything sounding ‘balls to the wall,’ you know what I mean?! That’s the most important thing. And then once we’ve got all that settled and recorded, we’re always scrambling for lyrics and ideas and stuff. We’re getting a little bit better at it, and I think Brann‘s [Dailor, drums] got a lot of ideas for vocal melodies and stuff like that. I’ll play the riff and he’ll kind of sing along, and I’m, like, ‘OK, that sounds really proggy, but really awesome.’ I’m really, really excited about it. But as far as what it’s gonna be dealing with, it’s a little too early to tell; it’s pretty fresh stuff right now. I mean, we’ve got some demos, but they’re really, really rough.”

Kelliher also spoke about possible lyrical themes that might be covered on MASTODON‘s next album. He said: “Death always makes for really good story telling. It’s kind of the theme that we have a lot in our music. We’ve had a lot of friends pass away since the last record. I’m not really sure yet. I think we’re kind of focusing more about living on this earth and what would happen if this was your last year to live. I think that’s sort of maybe a little bit of what we might be kind of touching on.”

He added: “Art reflects life — how you’re feeling and your mood. I played a riff for Brann and he was, like, ‘That sounds kind of happy. Are we happy now?’ I don’t know… I am; I’m a pretty happy guy. So that’s kind of how we work; it’s pretty simple. But we’ll have to see. I really like the way ‘The Hunter’ went; that was not a total change in direction, but we just kind of proved to ourselves that we can just write stuff that we think sounds cool, and it doesn’t have to all flow together, it doesn’t have to all sound the same. It can be totally different without a concept. So I think that really opened up my mind at least to, like, ‘What if I write something like this? Is that gonna be cool?’ And we’re all on the same page right now with all the songs — the 30 or so songs we’ve gathered so far. So we’ll just have to see how it goes.”

MASTODON‘s latest album, “The Hunter”, came out in September 2011 through Reprise Records.

Comments No Comments »

Rod Whitfield of SF Media recently conducted an interview with keyboardist Jordan Rudess of progressive metal giants DREAM THEATER. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

On the band’s new, self-titled album:

“Yeah, I’m so excited about it. I think it’s definitely one of our best, and we feel so good about it that we decided to stamp it with a self titled name, so everybody’s happy.

“We just feel that the band is at such a great point, personally and musically, that it was really time to mark this down, and say ‘Hey, you know what? If you want to know about DREAM THEATER this is it.’ It’s really a representation of who we are as people at this point in time. It was a fantastic year before this on the road with [recently added drummer] Mike Mangini, and getting him fully integrated into the band.”

On what Mike Mangini has added to the DREAM THEATER songwriting process:

“Having him come into the studio with us gave us that extra spark, not only musically, but he’s also such a lively, energetic fun guy. So it brought us to this very strong, unified and powerful level. Having him there was just a treat, because he’s such a unique person, his playing is really individual, and the way he thinks, he offered some really interesting ideas. Especially in the realm of rhythm, it was very cool.”

On the differences in the personalities and playing of Mike Mangini and former DREAM THEATER drummer Mike Portnoy:

“Yeah, I feel so lucky in my career to have worked with some of the greatest drummers, and guitarists as well, but we’re talking about drummers, and Mike Portnoy is one of the greatest drummers out there. We had a great time playing for many years together. And now we’re playing with Mangini, it’s a whole ‘nother wonderful musical experience. And what’s really cool is that all these great drummers that I’ve played with, they’re all so different, but what’s especially cool about Mangini is that, not only is he a different kind of a drummer, but he can also fit like a glove into the music. So when we play the older DREAM THEATER songs, it feels very comfortable. Even though he has a different approach, it kinda fits like a glove, if you will. So that’s obviously why he got the gig, because he can do that, but he can also offer some fresh and exciting ideas into what we’re doing.”

Read the entire interview at SF Media.

Comments No Comments »

Danish/American hard rockers ROYAL HUNT are continuing work on their new album, tentatively due in November through Marquee/Avalon (Japan and Southeast Asia) and Frontiers (Europe and North America). The material has been described as a continuation of the band’s last CD, “Show Me How To Live”, but with new elements in in both the songwriting and production departments.

The second in a series of video clips featuring behind-the-scenes footage from the new album recording sessions can be seen below.

In order to upgrade its trademark sound, ROYAL HUNT is planning to employ a large number of classical/orchestra players in the studio as well as a large choir.

Frontiers Records released ROYAL HUNT‘s new box set, “20th Anniversary – Special Edition”, on November 23, 2012 in Europe and January 21, 2013 in North America.

After the highly successful 20th-aniversary tour in support of ROYAL HUNT‘s latest album, “Show Me How To Live”, ROYAL HUNT decided to celebrate the occasion with this very special “best-of” package containing three CDs and one DVD. The release will include the best ROYAL HUNT songs from all 11 albums, a brand new song plus three newly recorded acoustic versions of three additional tracks and a DVD featuring all the promotional video clips shot by the band during their long ride.

Comments No Comments »

German metallers IRON SAVIOR are putting the finishing touches on the songwriting for the band’s new album for a February 28, 2014 release via AFM Records. The drums for the CD will be recorded at the end of October and the completed album will be delivered to the label by November 25. The cover artwork will be created by Felipe Machado Franco (BLIND GUARDIAN, RHAPSODY OF FIRE).

IRON SAVIOR‘s latest album, “The Landing”, was released on November 18, 2011 via AFM Records.

Asked why it took so long to release the follow-up to 2007’s “Megatropolis”, IRON SAVIOR mainman Piet Sielck told Sarkophag Rocks: “One reason is my former band, SAVAGE CIRCUS, which demanded a lot of my time. Once again, I had to write all of the songs and the whole production basically on my own, which was a very hard job. The second reason is the downfall of my former record label, Dockyard. After rather bad mismanagement, the company went bankrupt in 2009. Being left alone by my former partners, I faced this hell and cleaned up the mess they’ve left behind for almost two years. I lost a lot of money and for a certain time also my belief in music. Finally I was able to sell the remains and pay off most of the debts. Anyhow, in late 2010, I finally saw some light at the end of the tunnel and my passion for music returned. So I started writing ‘The Landing’.”

Comments No Comments »

On September 20, Honduras rock journalist Alvaro Villatoro (a.k.a. Lemmy Simmons) of Hard Heavy conducted an interview with former MEGADETH drummer Nick Menza. You can now listen to the chat using the SoundCloud widget below.

Asked about his 2002 solo album “Life Afer Death”, Menza said: “Putting songs out with MEGADETH, it was really difficult; it was like pulling teeth to write songs in that band, because Dave [Mustaine], he’s so driven as far as having songs — he’s got many songs, so it’s hard to write a whole song by yourself. I kept bringing songs in and bringing songs in, and he was, like, ‘Nah, you just stick to playing drums and let me worry about the songwriting.’ And I was, like, ‘I’m just gonna make a solo record. So I had all these songs left over. So after I got fired, I said, ‘You know what? I’m just gonna put these out.’

“It was more of a personal thing and a project for me to do; I play everything on it. It was kind of, like, to kill some time and put out a record. Now they’re asking me to put it out again, and I’m, like, ‘Man, I already made that record.’

“I’ve got another record in the can right now that I’m ready to put out — THE ATOMIC DISINTEGRATOR, it’s called; that’s the name of my new project. And it’s very heavy. I’m very pumped. And I’m kind of looking to see to get some other players in there — whether they’re known guys or unknown guys. ‘Cause right now it’s just me doing everything and I can’t very well tour on that by myself. But I can definitely release a couple of tracks and see where it goes from there. I’m trying to do a cartoon with it for TV and a comic book. And it’s really cool. The whole concept is THE ATOMIC DISINTEGRATOR… It’s got some governmental, conspiracy, alien stuff in it. It’s mostly about current stuff that’s going on in the world. And the music is very metal, but more contemporary style — like MESHUGGAH-type, OPETH, GOJIRA. It’s heavy.”

Menza has been writing, recording and producing constantly but only releasing sporadic singles for years. That will all change when he opens the floodgates with the upcoming release of his memoir, “Nick Menza: Megalife”, by acclaimed writer J. Marshall Craig.

MEGADETH was a big part of my story,” Menza says, “but it was just one part. Jeff [Craig] has got me to talk about it all!”

Menza is currently negotiating a publishing deal for the book, which was written over the past 18 months. It features rare and never-before-seen photos of Menza with every band he’s ever been in, including, of course, MEGADETH.

“It’s a memoir of music,” writer Craig says. “But a lot more. It’s a book about chasing the ultimate gig, the ultimate drum setup, the ultimate sound and, it will come as no surprise to Nick‘s fans, the ultimate aliens, government conspiracies and anything else his muse sees fit to lay across his path.”

Menza‘s first performance was at the age of two on stage at the Montreux Jazz Festival when legendary jazz percussionist Jack DeJohnette (Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, Joe Henderson) placed Nick on his kit. Thirty years later, he was stepping out on stage in front of thousands of screaming fans every night.

Menza, son of legendary jazz saxophonist Don Menza, was at the top of his game when MEGADETH started a world tour in support of its album, “Cryptic Writings”, but began to suffer knee problems and escalating pain. Doctors diagnosed him with a tumor. Surgery waylaid the drummer briefly, but he was relieved to learn the tumor was benign and was eager to rejoin his bandmates, who had continued their tour with a replacement drummer. But deteriorating relations within the band exploded and Menza was replaced permanently.

What does Nick have to say about it all now?

“Buy the book. It’s all in there!”

“Nick Menza: Megalife”, by J. Marshall Craig, is due in stores, in Kindle and eBook versions, in late 2013.

J. Marshall Craig is best known for his critically acclaimed work as writer for Eric Burdon‘s “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”, THE ROLLING STONES keyboardist Chuck Leavell‘s “Between Rock And A Home Place”, West Coast hip-hop history “Guilty By Association” (Damizza and J. Marshall Craig). Author of more than a dozen books, his work has been translated and published all over the world.

Following the reissue of the entire MEGADETH catalog, Menza was invited to reunite with the band in 2004. Days after a reunion was announced, Menza was fired after rehearsals and replaced with Shawn Drover. Mustaine said that this was because Nick “just wasn’t prepared.”

Comments No Comments »

“Neogenesis”, the fifth studio album from Swedish death metallers DIABOLICAL, will be released on September 27 via ViciSolum Productions. The CD was recorded at Necromorbus Studio (WATAIN, UNANIMATED, DESTRÖYER 666) in Alvik, Sweden with the band’s vocalist/guitarist, Sverker Widgren, in the producer’s chair.

“Neogenesis” is a concept album uniting eleven tracks with an eleven chapter post-apocalyptic novel and will be made available as a exclusive limited-edition mediabook.

The official video for the song “Metamorphosis” — taken from “Neogenesis” — can be seen below.

Comments Sverker: “We wanted this video to have a close symbolic connection to the philosophy and concept of ‘Neogenesis’.

“The theme of this particular chapter of the novel is reflected in the transformation you see in the video. Superficially something monstrous is transformed into something beautiful which represents a metamorphosis of something much more profound. Those who hear the album and read the book will understand.”

“Metamorphosis” has been released as a digital single and is available for download at iTunes, Spotify, etc.

DIABOLICAL guitarist Tobias Jansson previously stated about “Neogenesis”: “It is with great pleasure that we finally get to share this album with the world.

“We have put in a tremendous amount of effort into this recording. I think we have raised the bar for ourselves a lot with ‘Neogenesis’ both with the songwriting and the recording. It has been tough, but very interesting for us as well.”

diabolicalneogenesis_600

Comments No Comments »