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German power metallers GAMMA RAY will release their eleventh studio album, “Empire Of The Undead”, on CD, CD/DVD digipack, LP and digitally via earMusic on March 28.

Two songs from the CD, “Avalon” and “Pale Rider”, can be streamed using the SoundCloud widget below.

The “Empire Of The Undead” title track was already been made available on the single/EP “Master Of Confusion”, an appetizer the band released in 2013, just before touring the world with HELLOWEEN.

GAMMA RAY recorded the new album in various sessions in 2013, with Eike Freese at the mixing desk alongside bass player and co-writer Dirk Schlaechter.

It was just after landing in South America that the unbelievable news reached GAMMA RAY mainman Kai Hansen and his bandmates: Hammer Studio, their home, rehearsal place, studio and meeting point for many metal bands in Germany, including their instruments, amps and tapes, had been destroyed by a terrifying fire.

GAMMA RAY will embark on the “Empire Of The Undead” tour in March, with special guests RHAPSODY OF FIRE.

The complete track listing for each “Empire Of The Undead” format can be found at GammaRay.org.

The CD and DVD contained in the CD/DVD digipack will feature the following:

CD:

01. Avalon
02. Hellbent
03. Pale Rider
04. Born To Fly
05. Master Of Confusion
06. Empire Of The Undead
07. Time For Deliverance
08. Demonseed
09. Seven
10. I Will Return
11. Built A World (European bonus track)
12. Avalon (live from the final studio sessions)
13. The Spirit (live from the final studio sessions 1)
14. Empire Of The Undead (live from the final studio sessions 1)

DVD:

Four live songs from the final studio sessions

01. The Spirit (live from the final studio sessions 2)
02. Empire Of The Undead (live from the final studio sessions 2)
03. Demonseed (live from the final studio sessions 2)
04. Empathy (live from the final studio sessions)

* Tour Of Hamburg with GAMMA RAY
* Generic Interview with Kai Hansen and GAMMA RAY
* “To The Metal” promo video

Three Videos from “Skeletons & Majesties Live” DVD

01. Gamma Ray
02. Wings Of Destiny
03. Send Me A Sign (acoustic)

The official lyric video for the song “Hellbent” can be seen below.

“Master Of Confusion” was released on March 15, 2013 via earMUSIC, the Hamburg, Germany-based international rock label which is part of Edel Group.

The release is not free from tasty rarities: a brand new studio cover versions of British glam rock band SWEET (“Lost Angels” — “the reason I have joined a band many years ago,” stated GAMMA RAY frontman Kai Hansen) and a hidden treasure of NWOBHM (“Death Or Glory” by HOLOCAUST).

“Master Of Confusion” is rounded off with six live versions (“The Spirit”, “Wings Of Destiny”, “Farewell”, “Gamma Ray”, “Time To Break Free” and “Insurrection”, recorded in Bochum) that were already included on the Blu-ray “Skeletons & Majesties Live” but were not featured on the CD release (which included the show recorded in Pratteln).

CD jewel case cover:

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CD/DVD digipack:

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Vinyl LP:

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METALLICA‘s nine-minute medley of four tracks, titled “Ronnie Rising Medley”, that the group culled from the iconic metal singer’s mid-Seventies band RAINBOW, is available for streaming using the SoundCloud widget below (courtesy of RollingStone.com). The medley is featured on “This Is Your Life”, the tribute to album to Ronnie James Dio, which will be released on April 1 via Rhino.

“[Dio‘s] music is so much a part of what’s in METALLICA‘s DNA, the harder, edgier, blues-based hard rock from the Seventies,” METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich tells RollingStone.com. “It was fairly effortless to put this together, because it’s something that we were all reared on. I don’t recall sitting there in a band meeting or anything deciding what to play. Somebody starts playing ‘Stargazer’ — which is sort of just like something that’s in our arsenal to jam — and then that whole period there, ‘Tarot Woman’, ‘Kill The King’, ‘A Light In The Black’ — that’s just really effortless to jump into.”

Ronnie James Dio is one of the most beloved figures in rock history. His gifts, both as a singer and songwriter, are instantly recognizable, whether he was with RAINBOW, BLACK SABBATH, HEAVEN & HELL, or leading DIO. Sadly, Dio lost his battle with stomach cancer in 2010 but his towering voice and legacy live on.

To celebrate one of rock’s most powerful voices, an all-star group of his friends and fans recorded 13 of their favorite tracks for a tribute album, 100% of proceeds from which will go to the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund. Produced by his longtime manager and wife Wendy Dio, the album includes contributions by such metal heavyweights as METALLICA, MOTÖRHEAD, SCORPIONS, ANTHRAX, and Rob Halford, as well as appearances by many of the musicians who performed with Dio over the years.

Although the songs featured on the album touch on the different eras of Dio‘s career, several spotlight his time with RAINBOW, including METALLICA‘s epic, nine-minute “Ronnie Rising Medley”, which combines the RAINBOW songs “A Light In The Black”, “Tarot Woman”, “Stargazer” and “Kill The King”. SCORPIONS add a scorching take on “Temple Of The King” while MOTÖRHEAD is joined by Biff Byford from SAXON on “Starstruck”. Rob Halford teams with frequent Dio collaborators Vinny Appice, Doug Aldrich, Jeff Pilson, and Scott Warren for “Man On The Silver Mountain”. The final lineup of Dio‘s solo band — Simon Wright, Craig Goldy, Rudy Sarzo and Scott Warren — are joined by Glenn Hughes (DEEP PURPLE, BLACK SABBATH) for “Catch The Rainbow”, a track from RAINBOW‘s 1975 debut.

ANTHRAX and ADRENALINE MOB honor Dio‘s memorable stint with BLACK SABBATH with their takes on “Neon Knights” and “The Mob Rules”, respectively, as does a group, led by Oni Logan on vocals along with Jimmy Bain, Rowan Robertson, and Brian Tichy, which performs “I” from “Dehumanizer”.

“This Is Your Life” also includes songs from Dio‘s back-to-back platinum albums “Holy Diver” (1983) and “The Last In Line” (1984), with DORO‘s take on “Egypt (The Chains Are On)”, HALESTORM tackling “Straight Through The Heart”, Corey Taylor (STONE SOUR, SLIPKNOT) covering the classic “Rainbow In The Dark” and TENACIOUS D (Jack Black and Kyle Gass) putting their signature spin on “The Last In Line”. KILLSWITCH ENGAGE‘s cover of “Holy Diver”, a hit in its own right when released in 2006, is also included here.

Fittingly, Ronnie James Dio provides the finale (and the album’s title) with his moving performance of “This Is Your Life”. Originally released on “Angry Machines” (1996), the song’s lyrics explore mortality and are backed by a stark and beautiful arrangement that features Dio accompanied only by his longtime keyboardist Scott Warren on piano. The song serves as a poignant reminder that we will never hear a voice like Dio‘s again.

“I’m letting them pick what songs they wanna do in the way they wanna do it,” Wendy told Artisan News in 2011.

“We reached out to Wendy Dio about wanting to be a part of the Dio tribute that’s getting put together,” METALLICA singer James Hetfield told U.K.’s Metal Hammer magazine. “We’re very honored to be a part of that, and to be a part of a celebration of Ronnie‘s life and his great contribution, man.”

In an interview with Guitar International, former ANTHRAX guitarist Rob Caggiano stated that the band’s cover version of “Neon Knights” “came out pretty smoking.”

The Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund, co-founded by Wendy Dio, is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable fund dedicated to supporting cancer-prevention research, raising awareness and educating the public about the vital importance of early detection and prevention when dealing with this deadly disease.

“This Is Your Life” track listing:

01. “Neon Knights” – ANTHRAX *
02. “The Last In Line” – TENACIOUS D *
03. “The Mob Rules” – ADRENALINE MOB
04. “Rainbow In The Dark” – Corey Taylor, Roy Mayorga, Satchel, Christian Martucci, Jason Christopher *
05. “Straight Through The Heart” – HALESTORM *
06. “Starstruck” – MOTÖRHEAD with Biff Byford *
07. “Temple Of The King” – SCORPIONS *
08. “Egypt (The Chains Are On)” – DORO
09. “Holy Diver” – KILLSWITCH ENGAGE
10. “Catch The Rainbow” – Glenn Hughes, Simon Wright, Craig Goldy, Rudy Sarzo, Scott Warren *
11. “I” – Oni Logan, Jimmy Bain, Rowan Robertson, Brian Tichy *
12. “Man On The Silver Mountain” – Rob Halford, Vinny Appice, Doug Aldrich, Jeff Pilson, Scott Warren *
13. “Ronnie Rising Medley” (featuring “A Light In The Black”, “Tarot Woman”, “Stargazer”, “Kill The King”) – METALLICA *
14. “This Is Your Life” – DIO
15. “Heaven And Hell” – STRYPER (Japanese bonus track)
16. “Stand Up And Shout” – DIO DISCIPLES (Japanese bonus track)

* Previously unreleased

The Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund is a privately funded 501(c)(3) charity organization which has already raised more than $600,000 in its short history. Monies raised to date have been committed to the cancer research work of the T.J. Martell Foundation for Cancer, AIDS and Leukemia Research and the gastric cancer research unit of the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, where Ronnie was treated for gastric cancer during the last six months of his life.

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Canadian multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter and producer Devin Townsend was interviewed on the March 7-9 edition of Full Metal Jackie‘s nationally syndicated radio show. You can now listen to the chat using the Podbean widget below.

To see a full list of stations carrying the program and when it airs, go to FullMetalJackieRadio.com.

The cover artwork for the forthcoming debut album from the CASUALTIES OF COOL project from Devin Townsend can be seen below.

Devin recently launched a three-month-long crowdfunding campaign on PledgeMusic for CASUALTIES OF COOL since the album will be released without record-label backing.

In a 2013 interview with BluntMag.com.au, Devin stated about CASUALTIES OF COOL: “If there’s anybody who’s new to what I do, who maybe heard ‘Liberation’ or some of the songs off ‘Epicloud’ and thought, ‘This is really cool, I could get into this,’ you’re going to hate CASUALTIES. [laughs] I mean, really, it’s as opposite of ‘Epicloud’ as ‘Ghost’ was to ‘Deconstruction’. It’s this weird, dark, not evil but verging on it, bluesy, Johnny Cash-y, strange, quiet folk record. But I love it, it’s the one record that I’ve done over the past 10 or 15 years where I can truly say, ‘This is where I am right now.’

“You know, the other things that I’ve done have been as well in their own right, ‘Epicloud’, ‘Deconstruction’ and ‘Addicted!’, but there was an agenda with those, I was trying to say something with them or I was trying to prove a point, make a statement about the past or whatever. CASUALTIES is something that I’ve done without any pressure, without anybody telling me what to do, without showing it to anyone, it’s just what evolved when I wasn’t thinking about it. As a result of that, I’m incredibly proud of it, but it remains to be seen whether or not other people will resonate with it. I think they will, man. I think it’s fucking awesome, and I mean, I haven’t smoked weed in a long time but I can’t imagine that it wouldn’t be awesome while you’re smoking. [laughs]”

Asked where CASUALTIES OF COOL will fit into the Devin Townsend discography in terms of sound — among his more traditional-sounding albums, or a bit more removed like his ambient albums, Devin said: “Somewhere in the middle, you know, somewhere in the middle. It’s like, if you took the weird elements of ‘Ki’ and the weird elements of ‘Devlab’ and added a vintage sort of vibe.

“My management had a suggestion, which I think is pretty cool, which was, ‘You shouldn’t call it DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT, you shouldn’t even put your name on it, just call it CASUALTIES OF COOL and put it out as its own thing.’ It’s got a different singer, I sing on like half of it right, but it’s got this lady [Vancouver artist Ché Aimee Dorval, who also appears on ‘Ki’] who’s just this brilliant singer, she’s a young, despondent-sounding bluesy vocalist and it’s creepy. I think that that might be a way for me to get away with it, putting it out without it being part of the DTP [DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT] or whatever.

“I don’t know what to tell you, man. I just go where it feels the most honest to go, then I deal with people thinking it’s weird afterwards. [laughs]”

Regarding whether there is a particular atmosphere he wants to create or a story he wants to convey with CASUALTIES OF COOL, Devin said: “Yeah there’s a story, definitely. It’s going to take a little longer than what we’ve got for me to explain it, but you’ll hear it eventually. I want it to be something you listen to quietly, by yourself, in the middle of the night, with a big old full moon outside. It’ll work perfectly.”

Interview (audio):

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Belgium’s leading black metal force ENTHRONED returns with a new studio album entitled “Sovereigns”. The follow-up to 2012′s critically acclaimed “Obsidium” is scheduled for an April 15 release via Agonia Records.

“Sovereigns” drifts from sonic blast beats to oppressive slower parts, melds together aggressive shredding with forceful riffs, and blends satanic whispers with Nornagest‘s trademark vocals. On the whole, band’s 10th album feels coherent and offers first-rate black metal. The album introduces a new drummer, Menthor, in the place of Garghuf and a new rhythm guitarist ZarZax.

“Sovereigns” was recorded and mixed in ENTHRONED‘s own studio, Blackout Multimedia. The album will be available in: digipack CD, black vinyl, bone-white vinyl with green splatter limited to 100 hand-numbered copies and exclusive box CD limited to 333 hand-numbered copies (including the new album released in exclusive jewel-case edition, embroidered patch (8 cm x 10 cm), flag (42 cm x 59.4 cm) and a lighter with band’s logo).

“Sovereigns” track listing:

01. Anteloquium
02. Sine Qua Non
03. Of Feathers And Flames
04. Lamp Of Invisible Lights
05. Of Shrines And Sovereigns
06. The Edge Of Agony
07. Divine Coagulation
08. Baal al-Maut
09. Nerxiarxin Mahathallah

The song “Of Shrines And Sovereigns” can be streamed using the SoundCloud widget below.

ENTHRONED is:

Nornagest – lead vocals & lead guitars
Phorgath – bass
Neraath – lead guitars
Menthor – drums
ZarZax – rhythm guitar

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On September 24, Honduras rock journalist Alvaro Villatoro (a.k.a. Lemmy Simmons) of Hard Heavy conducted an interview with conducted an interview with QUEENSRŸCHE drummer Scott Rockenfield. You can now listen to the chat using the SoundCloud widget below. A few excerpts from the chat follow.

On the next QUEENSRŸCHE video:

Scott: “A couple of weeks ago, we finished two brand new music videos for the new record. We went down to Los Angeles and shot the next two videos.

“The next single, I believe, is going to be ‘Spore’. And then the follow-up single after that is going to be ‘A World Without’.

“So what we did is we shot a 10-minute movie of the two songs put together, and it’s really great. It’s a full scripted storyline, there were actors in the videos, and it’s very conceptual. And we do appear in the video as well. But it was really fun and really different, because it’s like a movie.”

On parting ways with original singer Geoff Tate and replacing him with Todd La Torre:

Scott: “I’ve gotta be honest. We just didn’t know what to expect when we made the decision to move on last year. And Todd has been perfect; I mean, it’s absolutely just perfect. He sings so great our old, great songs. Listen, we hadn’t done ‘Queen Of The Reich’ in years, and Todd stepped in and he just sings it — he just does it — and it’s just perfect. I can’t even tell you how excited we are about what’s going on for us right now having him in the band.”

On whether the band felt any pressure to release a new studio album as quickly as possible to compete with the Geoff Tate-fronted version of QUEENSRŸCHE:

Scott: “To be honest, we actually didn’t — we never felt any pressure to get a record out as fast as possible or to do anything to sacrifice the quality that we always had wanted to keep ourselves at. This record was a great example of that. Our focus was on just writing great songs and getting them to where we felt it was at the top of our game, so to speak, and we wanted to keep our level very high and challenge ourselves. And so we were gonna get the record done when the record was gonna be done.

“We were lucky, because the chemistry amongst the five of us now is so great that we just felt that we didn’t have any pressures — we knew we were gonna have a great record and feel really good about it. And I think the response is kind of the proof. The fans and the media have embraced the new record in such a high way; I mean, we’re getting almost 10-star reviews on this record all around the world. So for what that’s worth, I think that’s just the proof that we’ve done what our fans really had wanted us to be doing for a long time. I think they’re very happy that we’re back doing what we feel good about.

“We’ve been around for 30 years as a band, and we’ve made a lot of records, and some really great ones that I’m very proud of. I think this new record is a record that I’m proud of… It’s probably a record that I’m most proud for probably the last 20 years. So, for me, it’s really special and I feel really great about it. And we’re having a great time. We haven’t had a great time for a long time, to be honest; it hasn’t been very fun. I think this is now a turning point for us and we just feel really good. We’re energized and the fans are energized.”

On whether “Queensrÿche” signals a return to the band’s classic sound:

Scott: “I think so. I really do.

“In the last year that we started playing all these shows with Todd, our setlist is a lot of just our first five records — it’s all that great QUEENSRŸCHE classic stuff that we hadn’t played for a long time. And in doing that, I think that started to put us in kind of that mindset, that energy that we had back then, and the chemistry we had together. And so I think when we started making this new record, it was almost natural that we were kind of revisiting that feel for us. And I think this record does.

“I think, to me, if somebody asked me where I would place this record in our catalog in terms of time frame, I think this record fits right back in the days of, like, ‘Operation: Mindcrime’ and ‘Empire’ and ‘Promised Land’ — kind of like in the early Nineties when we were making those records. And I think this record feels like it’s very much a part of that era. And I’m proud of that. And a lot of our fans are telling us that as well.

“So I think that we did — we grabbed a lot of the great, old chemistry, and we made a record with that energy.”

Photos below from video shoot for “Spore” and “A World Without”.

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SPIRALARMS, the San Francisco Bay Area-based heavy rock band featuring Craig Locicero (FORBIDDEN, ex-MANMADEGOD) on guitar, Tim Narducci (ex-SYSTEMATIC) on vocals, Chris “Cornbread” Lombardo on bass, Brad Barth on keyboards, Anthony Traslavina on rhythm guitar and Ron Redeen (THE ESSENESS PROJECT) on drums, will release its second album, “Freedom”, on October 22 via Steamhammer/SPV.

SPIRALARMS rose from the ashes of millennial bands SYSTEMATIC, FORBIDDEN and MANMADE GOD.

Friends since the age of 15, Narducci and Locicero bonded over their love of heavy metal and hard rock music. Looking back at that time period, Craig said, “[We were] probably the youngest kids in the East Bay metal scene that were drinking beer out in the parking lot after seeing bands like TESTAMENT and EXODUS play.”

Although the two remained friends throughout the years, they both went their separate ways and started bands of their own.

After years of playing with their respective groups, the two friends contacted each other and decided it was time to start playing music together again, and in 2004 SPIRALARMS was born.

“Freedom”‘s down-to-earth and very dynamic production deserves a mention. The album oozes a liveliness, which many other bands tend to lose in the studio. “We always work at the studio as a full band,” says Locicero. “The basic tracks of the new album were recorded in just about 16 hours, the rest was recorded by and by, but always in the same spirit. From the beginning, we never lost sight of our vision and that special flair which our new songs have.”

“Freedom” track listing:

01. Dropping Like Flies
02. Hold Me To The Sky
03. Exit 63
04. Blackmoon Morning
05. Drugs & Alcohol
06. Dealer
07. Lovers Leap
08. Tomorrow’s Dream
09. Freedom
10. I Lay Low (digipack bonus track)

The song “Dealer” can be streamed using the SoundCloud widget below.

SPIRALARMS is:

Tim Narducci – Vocals/Guitar
Craig Locicero – Guitar
Anthony Traslavina – Guitar
Chris “Cornbread” Lombardo – Bass/Vocals
Brad Barth – Keyboards
Ron Redeen – Drums

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On September 19, Todd Hancock of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada’s 99.3 The Fox radio station conducted an interview with AVENGED SEVENFOLD guitarist Synyster Gates. You can now listen to the chat using the SoundCloud widget below.

AVENGED SEVENFOLD is working on a video for the song “Shepherd Of Fire” with director Wayne Isham, who has helmed clips for such established artists as METALLICA, MTLEY CRE, SIMPLE PLAN, PANTERA, ‘N SYNC, SHANIA TWAIN, GODSMACK, BRITNEY SPEARS, LEONA LEWIS, PINK FLOYD, SHERYL CROW, JOSS STONE, MADONNA, AVRIL LAVIGNE, DEF LEPPARD and BON JOVI.

Isham previously worked with AVENGED SEVENFOLD on the “Seize The Day”, “Afterlife”, “Nightmare” and “So Far Away” videos.

AVENGED SEVENFOLD‘s sixth studio album, “Hail To The King”, sold 159,000 copies in its first week of release, giving the California band their second straight chart-topper after 2010′s “Nightmare”.

Next up for AVENGED SEVENFOLD is its first major tour in support of the new CD, which starts October 3 in Chicago.

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The reunited METAL CHURCHRonny Munroe on vocals, Kurdt Vanderhoof and Rick Van Zandt on guitars, Steve Unger on bass, and Jeff Plate on drums — will release tenth studio album, “Generation Nothing”, on October 22 via Kurdt‘s label Body Of Work Recordings in conjunction with Rat Pak Records.

“Generation Nothing” track listing:

01. Bullet Proof
02. Dead City
03. Generation Nothing
04. Noises In The Wall
05. Jump The Gun
06. Suiciety
07. Scream
08. Hits Keep Comin’
09. Close To The Bone
10. The Media Horse

The “Generation Nothing” title track can now be streamed using the SoundCloud widget below.

According to Vanderhoof, “Generation Nothing” — which was recorded at Kurdt‘s English Channel studio in Washingtion — marks a “return to [METAL CHURCH‘s] classic metal sound. It has elements of the first album and ‘The Dark’, but still embraces the new sound of the band without chasing the past.”

Munroe said in a recent interview with Metal Assault that the new METAL CHURCH effort would contain material that is “very reminiscent of the old days with some stuff that’s very ‘now.’” He added: “There’s a bit of… I’m not going to say ‘prog’ because it’s not, but there’s a couple of elements in there that are a little bit progressive. For the most part, out of this batch of songs, they really sound more reminiscent of the early days than anything we’ve done before with this lineup. This excites me very much, and I think the fans are really going to dig it.”

Regarding the circumstances that led to METAL CHURCH‘s breakup in 2009, Ronny said: “Well, in a nutshell, without going into a huge and long story here, it was certain aspects of things that had continued to happen to the band throughout its career. Not having the proper management and the proper people in place that were handling us. You know, we ended up taking some shows we shouldn’t have taken and that just led to where Kurdt was really getting fed up and then we all kind of got that way. Basically, we figured before we end up disbanding because of other reasons such as maybe starting to fight with one another or whatnot, we decided to go ahead and end it then. We all ended up friends and we wanted to keep it that way. So I won’t go into specifics, but we all know what the music industry is like now compared to what it was like back then. We just didn’t have the right people in our camp.”

Asked what the band is going to do differently this time around to avoid falling into the same trap, Ronny said: “This time around we’re going to release this next record on Kurdt‘s label. Basically, Kurdt and the band and whatnot are taking a lot more control of the situation. Yes, maybe the downloading thing is even worse than 2009, but also on the other hand, if you know what you’re doing and you use the Internet correctly, you can actually have success. Kurdt‘s been doing that with his prog band PRESTO BALLET and whatnot. In this day and age, the time is right to go and try something on your own. If it doesn’t work, you can always end up going out and searching for a label or something. We’re going to take a shot at it and see what happens and I think we’re probably going to have some decent success.”

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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.”

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Los Angeles glam-metal jokesters STEEL PANTHER were recently interviewed by Dave “Higgo” Higgins of Australia’s long-running rock station Triple M. You can listen to the chat using the SoundCloud widget below.

STEEL PANTHER is the ’80s metal/hard rock tribute band formerly known as METAL SKOOL. The group’s lineup includes guitarist “Satchel” (real name Russ Parrish; ex-FIGHT) and singer “Michael Starr” (real name Ralph Saenz; ex-L.A. GUNS). Onstage, the band both pays tribute to and lampoons the heyday of ’80s glam metal. The group’s between-song comedy includes jests at conflict between bandmembers, discussions of drugs, sex, and improvised humor with the crowd.

STEEL PANTHER recently spent time putting the finishing touches on its third full-length album at a studio in Sherman Oaks, California with producer Jay Ruston (ANTHRAX, STONE SOUR, MEATLOAF) for an early 2014 release.

Speaking to the South Bend Tribune, STEEL PANTHER drummer Stix Zadinia (real name: Darren Leader) stated about the band’s new CD: “If you liked [2009's] ‘Feel The Steel’ and [2011's] ‘Balls Out’, you will love this record. It is more heavy metal songs that are hooky and great and fun and make you want to rock and make you want to have a good time and party. Also, there is a lot of riffage on this album that I think anybody who has ever questioned this band — ‘Oh, those guys wear spandex and it is 2000-whatever’ — these songs are going to put all of that to rest.”

Regarding naysayers that say STEEL PANTHER is a joke-metal band, Zadinia said: “Listen to our record and tell us that our songs aren’t better than most of the bands out there. How funny is that? At the end of the day, it comes down to the songs. I think our songs — without sounding egotistical — I think our songs are great. When you hear the hooks in our songs, you hear the playing and you hear the vocals, you throw that up against any band in any era, and I think it stands up.”

“Balls Out” sold nearly 12,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 40 on The Billboard 200 chart.

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