Extreme power metal giants DRAGONFORCE unleashed their seventh studio album “Reaching Into Infinity” back in May and have been packing out venues around the world for their live shows. The band are now well into the European leg of their “Reaching Into Infinity” world tour, but prior to that, in Sheffield, England, Metal Shock Finland Senior Manager Alison Booth met up with guitar maestro Herman Li in Sheffield for her Blackdiamond’s Metal Mayhem radio show on TotalRock. (The show can be heard here.)
You can read some excerpts from the chat below and listen in full on the audio player:
Discussing dragons and if he’s a Game Of Thrones fan, Herman was quite expressive about social media, stating:
“Yeah I watch it. I’m not as crazy as people who go to Eastern Europe and visit the sights! I’m not in a rush to see it, like ‘Oh my God I gotta see it!’ And because I’m not in a rush it’s actually pretty horrible – people on social media posting what’s happening. Luckily I don’t follow anyone on Facebook, if you’re my friend I won’t follow you anyway. Every time I friend someone, I click ‘unfollow’ because I don’t care. They want to ruin the sports events for me, I get the results straight away.
Sometimes you’re on tour and you can’t see it immediately and it’s ‘oh thanks!’ Now it seems people want to ruin movies and TV shows and stuff, but I pretend I’m still their friend. But I technically unfriended them in an ‘unfollow’ way!” (laughs)
DRAGONFORCE Sheffield, October 2017
Discussing the near future, Herman revealed:
“I’m actually working on an instructional guitar thing, a lesson thing. It’s not gonna be the same that you’ve seen out there. The reason I’m doing it is that everyone has approached a bunch of subjects except these ones, that I think are important.
All this is coming from playing around the world for years and playing guitar for years. It’s not just about techniques and playing fast and playing notes – it’s more like the theory involved to be a good guitar player. You know, you can teach people notes, but to create them, you have to show them the path and inspire them, than just saying ‘I can play this really fast here and just copy it’. I’ve been writing about it for a few years anyway, so it’s something I’ve been working on. Finally I’ve the time to make it happen.”
Dark metallers from Hamburg, LORD OF THE LOST, have recently completed a run of successful UK performances with KMFDM.
The band are back with their second ensemble album titled “Swan Songs II”, set to be released on October 6th via Napalm Records. Metal Shock Finland Senior Manager Alison Booth caught up with frontman Chris Harms andbass player Class Grenayde at The Ruby Lounge in Manchester, before their show. The special Blackdiamond’s Metal Mayhem radio show featuring the interview and LORD OF THE LOST tracks will be repeated this Saturday (16th September) night/Sunday morning, from midnight GMT on http://www.totalrock.com.
You can check out a few excerpts from the chat and the full audio interview can be heard on the player below:
Discussing the tour, Chris explained:
“We actually don’t have that many British fans, that’s the reason we’re here. So we play bigger halls in Germany and we’re very well known in Scandinavia and some other countries, but the UK never really took notice of us.
I was the lucky guy who was able to produce the new KMFDM record, so Sascha of KMFDM asked me if I wanted to play live as well and he was like ‘well as half of the band is coming, maybe the rest want to come too’, so we can make a whole tour in the UK and US with LORD OF THE LOST and KMFDM. So that’s why we’re here and it’s very interesting to be in that situation again where 90% of the people do not know us at all.”
On the forthcoming release “Swan Songs II”:
“The thing about that is, what we’re doing right now here with KMFDM is actually the end of our rock tour from how we actually sound. This whole Swan Songs thing is some kind of internal side project, it’s all acoustic with a string ensemble. So this is the completely opposite side of Lord Of The Lost, you won’t hear any of that tonight.”
On what’s to come from LORD OF THE LOST, Chris stated:
“With the American shows, the whole promo thing for our rock album Empyrean just ends and we come back and two weeks later the ensemble acoustic tour starts, then we have Christmas. In January we hit the studio to record the new regular LORD OF THE LOST record. It’s gonna be our first regular album on Napalm Records so that’s gonna be a big thing.”
Artist: SCAR OF THE SUN Album: “In Flood” Label: Scarlet Records Release Date: 20th May 2016
1. Among Waters And Giants
2. An Ill-Fated Wonder
3. Versus The World
5. The Truth About The Lies
6. Enemies Of Reason
7. Walking In My Shoes
8. The Raid
9. In Flood
10. The Ghost Peril
Athens based modern metal band SCAR OF THE SUN formed in London back in 2005. Their first album “A Series Of Unfortunate Concurrencies” was released in 2011 under the production of Rhys Fulber (FEAR FACTORY, PARADISE LOST, MACHINE HEAD).
Even though the five-piece band’s second album “In Flood” was released last year, I only discovered it following their appearance as special guests on FIREWIND‘s UK “Immortals” tour, in February of this year. So impressed by SCAR OF THE SUN‘s performance in Sheffield, I contacted the band to find out more and here we are!
Recorded at the band’s own Zero Gravity Studios in Athens and engineered by vocalist Terry, “In Flood” kicks off its ten tracks with an enormous sense of atmosphere, followed by the hard hitting guitar riffs of ‘Among Waters And Giants’, setting the tone for the next 52 minutes. Terry‘s strong vocals are full of expression, altering between clean and more aggressive tones.
When it comes to the second track ‘An Ill-Fated Wonder’, I could literally listen to it time and again! From the stunning legato intro to the intensely catchy chorus along with the solid rhythm section, completed by so many different layers of sound, this is one of my favourites. Sensational!
The fast pace continues with ‘Versus The World’, not letting up for a second. SCAR OF THE SUN are hugely talented at composing the most soul grasping melodies and riffs, which flow so eloquently throughout the entire album. Slowing down a little with the thought-provoking ‘Sand’, bursting with ambience – another album highlight.
An aural shot of power takes the listener to the album’s shortest song at 3.26, ‘The Truth About The Lies’. This particularly showcases how tight and precise these musicians are, brilliant! FIREWIND‘s Bob Katsionis plays keyboards on ‘Enemies Of Reason’, enriching the flow of the song magnificently. The guitar outro is a perfect ending with a classic feel, that Schecter sings!
A surprise cover of English electronic pop giants DEPECHE MODE‘s ‘Walking In My Shoes’ works remarkably well. SCAR OF THE SUN have taken an enormously popular song and paid it the biggest compliment by retaining its essence, yet making it their own by giving it a complete metal makeover.
‘The Raid’ is quite a haunting track, the emotive music ebbs and flows throughout, leading on to the album title track ‘In Flood’. A true force of nature, this anthemic song is full of power but with a melancholic vibe. Yet it gives an overriding sense of hope and strength, especially with this part of the chorus: “Tear me down, my will you can’t subdue. I’ll survive and I’ll learn to pretend.” First-class and another favourite.
Bonus track ‘The Ghost Peril’ with more haunting melodies, completes “In Flood” perfectly. Under the band’s own and Rhys Fulber‘s production, “In Flood” is a splendid piece of work. SCAR OF THE SUN have developed and created their own totally unique sound in the world of metal, consisiting of complex modern elements which stand on their own, with no comparisons needed. The band impose no limits on their creativity and I love the fact that they are not afraid to experiment with ideas. They are currently working on album number three and I’m eager to experience the next chapter of SCAR OF THE SUN! Keep an eye on these guys, I’m looking forward to seeing them get the recognition they deserve and seeing them performing for fans around the world. I’ve listened to more bands than I can mention over the years and it takes a very special one to achieve the highest rating and be my top driving music!
Athens based modern metal band SCAR OF THE SUN formed in London back in 2005. Following acclaim of their demo material by the Greek Metal Hammer, the band went on to record their first album “A Series Of Unfortunate Concurrencies”. The album was released in 2011 via Scarlet Records, under the production of Rhys Fulber (FEAR FACTORY, PARADISE LOST, MACHINE HEAD).
SCAR OF THE SUN released their second album “In Flood” in 2016 and earlier this year completed their first UK tour, as well as some European dates, as special guests on FIREWIND‘s “Immortals” Europe and UK Tour, along with Swedish metallers MANIMAL.
Metal Shock Finland Senior Manager Alison Booth recently caught up with vocalist Terry Nikas and guitarist Greg Eleftheriou to discuss the current album and new developments from the band. Alison‘s radio show Blackdiamond’s Metal Mayhem (every Tuesday on http://www.totalrock.com) also featured the interview this week, along with tracks from “In Flood”. The show will soon be available to listen to again here. You can read some excerpts from the chat below and listen to the full interview on the audio player:
On creating “In Flood”, guitarist Greg stated:
“Compared to the first album, it’s more guitar oriented I would say, because the guitarists of the band took a more vital part in composing this album. So we’re really happy about this evolution that the band had. We changed some small things here and there and with discussion, that’s how we formed In Flood.”
Vocalist Terry described working with producer Rhys Fulber:
“I’m a sound engineer so I was familiar with the work of Rhys Fulber – initially with FEAR FACTORY and then with PARADISE LOST and other bands. The sound that these bands have was exactly the sound that we wanted to have, ’cause we believe that we play modern metal, that’s what we think and that’s what we’re trying to do actually. All the productions he is involved in have this huge and clean sound and that’s what we wanted to have, he’s the master on these things.
We worked together on both albums and we were very satisfied with the result. Rhys likes our music very much and he’s actually involved in the songs, putting in ideas here and there and all this works very well, we’re very happy about it.”
Moving on from discussing working with FIREWIND‘s Bob Katsionis and any future collaborations, Terry revealed:
“We’re actually now recording our third album, which is completed obviously from a composition point of view and we decided to work on this album almost completely on our own. Although there is one more song where there is an input from Bob again. At the moment there are no other guests on this album.
It will be ready during the summer, it will be mixed and mastered, by the end of the summer it will be done. We don’t know yet about release date, we have to talk with the label about it.”
Greg described the music for the new album:
“I think the next album is gonna be the heaviest one, it’s more aggressive, it has many aggressive guitar riffs, Terry has more brutal vocals. There are some faster songs, but we keep those melodic elements that we love to hear and we love to write. So imagine our melodic stuff with a lot more aggressiveness and heaviness.”
“The vocals will be quite different to the first two albums. Other than that, we just wanted to make a heavier album for some reason. You can say we’re a bit more angry and that comes out on our new album.”
Alex Skolnick is world renowned for being guitarist of thrash titans TESTAMENT over many years. Not one to sit back on his laurels, Alex has also explored many other avenues throughout his musical career, taking part in projects with a selection of varying artists, become a writer and he also formed his own band, the ALEX SKOLNICK TRIO (AST), creating a music fusion of jazz combined with rock and metal elements.
On the road promoting their first live album “Live Unbound”, with Nathan Peck on bass and Matt Zebroski on drums, the AST has just completed a run of UK dates of the ‘Europe Unbound’ Tour. MSF Senior Manager Alison Booth had a chat with Alex prior to the show at Real Time Live in Chesterfield on 2nd March. Some excerpts can be read below, as well as the interview being available on the video, though as the sound is not very loud, the audio is available as well.
Discussing “Live Unbound”, Alex stated:
“There were two main motivations behind this album – one, that it was time to do a new album, but it’s also been hard to get into the studio, largely because of scheduling.
I had these new songs and knew I wanted to do them, but we’ve never done a live record with the Trio. Some of the songs, we’ve been playing for a while, I’ve known these guys over ten years. The songs develop live and I think releasing them now, recorded live, it’s almost like releasing new songs because they’re so road tested and we’ve developed these really cool improvisations that weren’t there when we first recorded the music.”
On cover songs, Alex explained:
“First and foremost I have to like them, but also we haven’t done any new covers in a while. We’re much more interested in original music, but when we were doing them and we still love to play them live, it was a matter of tunes that would work. There has to be a really good melody. Most of the jazz repertoire is built on standard tunes, a lot of them were old show tunes, they had these amazing melodies. And metal is not exactly known for its vocal melody, it’s more about the riff. But I think part of what we do is prove there are amazing melodies, so the first song that we started covering was a song by the Scorpions and the Scorpions are a great example of amazing melodies. The first song we did was ‘No One Like You’ and then we later ended up ‘Still Loving You’, which is our favourite one to play.”
Alex Skolnick Chesterfield, England March 2017
Explaining about freedom of limitations in AST:
“It just feels good and it feels very honest. If you see me playing with Testament or Metal Allegiance I can’t fake it, I’m having a great time. But I also a long time ago, still in my teens, decided that I still wanted to develop as a musician, I don’t want my growth to be stunted. As much as I was a fan of Van Halen, I was also a fan of Jeff Beck and the musicians that Jeff Beck was a fan of, like John McLaughlin and Charles Mingus who’s a giant of the jazz world, so I wanted to know more about that music. And the more I learned, I put so much into guitar technique and being able to shred and play fast and know the music theory, it just seemed a shame to really like this music, whether it was by Mingus or Miles Davis and not being able to play it. I didn’t know it would take years! [laughs]
That’s why I was on a hiatus from performing heavy rock shows for a long time, I didn’t know if I was going to do it again. I figured I probably would, but only if I could get to the point where I felt I had the other side developed.”
Talking about if he will stay with TESTAMENT, Alex expressed:
“[Laughs] I have to be careful how I answer this! There are certain websites that I’m not gonna name, instead of reporting on my tour, you know something really newsworthy, it’s like ‘ok let’s find something he says in an interview and try to make it controversial’, it’s so silly, I’ll just say I didn’t expect to be here this long. When I came back to the band in 2005, honestly at that time I didn’t even know we were going to do a record, but we did the Formation Of Damnation record and the next thing we know, we’re touring with Motörhead, Heaven And Hell and Judas Priest. That was an amzing tour, the Metal Masters tour.
I’ve been here now longer than I was the first time, it’s going really well. Here’s where it gets to be a slippery slope – I’m not sure I want to be an ageing metal guy. I’m still in the decade of relative youth, I’m not in my fifties, I’m in my forties, which is longer than I thought I’d be playing this music. It’s such youth music, you can’t say never but I feel like I don’t wanna be one of those guys going forever in between taking Geritol. But who knows, right now it’s working.”
Alex Skolnick Trio Chesterfield, March 2017
For more information on AST and the rest of the tour dates, visit the official Facebook page here and Alex‘s official website here.
Greek power metal giants FIREWIND recently unleashed their highly anticipated new album “Immortals”, their first in five years on their longstanding label, Century Media Records. The new material has been going down a storm with fans on the current European tour promoting “Immortals” and Metal Shock Finland Senior Manager Alison Booth had a quick catch up with guitar maestro GUS G. before the band’s performance in Sheffield, on 17th February.
Check out a few excerpts of the chat below, with the full audio on the player (background noise courtesy of a fan heater!):
Discussing “Immortals” and and the fan reaction, Gus stated:
“We’re surprised ‘cos we brought a lot of the new CD’s with us for our merch, but apparently everybody already has the CD and they already know the lyrics and they’ve already been singing along, which is pretty amazing! It’s refreshing you know. I think we came up with the right kind of album. From the feedback I got I think that’s what a lot of our fans have been waiting for, I think this is how the band should be sounding today honestly. It’s pretty clear to me what the sound and direction should be like and the good thing with this album is that it doesn’t only have the right sound, but it also has the right message. I’m just glad it made a lot of our fans happy.“
GUS G. The Corporation, Sheffield February 2017
Being back on the road with FIREWIND:
“Yeah it’s cool, it’s good! It’s a good vibe with the guys always. We haven’t done this for a while, we did a few gigs last year to warm things up. This is like our first club tour in five years, it’s exciting to do this again.”
On Henning Basse now being permanent vocalist for FIREWIND, Gus enthused:
“He really fits with what we’re doing right now. He’s one of the best of this genre right now in Europe for sure. As you know, you saw my solo band two years ago and he was singing there with me. That’s when we reconnected again and he was still looking for a band to join full time and we were looking for a singer. We started talking about it on that tour and one thing led to another and here we are!”
Talking about future FIREWIND shows, Gus revealed:
“Russia’s a place we always wanted to play, so it finally happens now, we also have some shows in Cyprus and Greece in March. Depending on how it goes we’re looking at doing some other territories – we’d love to go to South America, we’ve never been there. It would be the first time if it happens, so it’s in the talks right now. I’m not sure if it’s gonna happen but we would love to go there.”
Visit the official FIREWIND Facebook page here and the official band website with the rest of the “Immortals” tour dates at this location.