In 2008 Linkin Park hit the road on the fifth installment of their Projekt Revolution tour, joined by acts including electro-rockers the Bravery, A Perfect Circle guitarist Billy Howerdel's other band Ashes Divide and metalcore stalwarts Atreyu, as well as Soundgarden and Audioslave frontman Chris Cornell. Cornell was out supporting his 2007 solo album, Carry On, and during the trek, he and Linkin Park's Chester Bennington traded off guest appearances in each other's sets. Bennington joined Cornell for his performance of Temple of the Dog's "Hunger Strike," and Cornell returned the favor, coming onstage during the second verse of Linkin Park's "Crawling" to finish the song in duet with Bennington. Watch fan-shot video of such performances above and below.
Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell were not only musical collaborators but also good friends. After Cornell's death in May, the Linkin Park singer posted an intense, grieving message to Twitter. He wrote of Cornell, "You have inspired me in many ways you could never have known. Your talent was pure and unrivaled. Your voice was joy and pain, anger and forgiveness, love and heartache all wrapped up into one. I suppose that's what we all are. You helped me understand that. I just watched a video of you singing ' A day in the life ' by the Beatles and thought of my dream. I'd like to think you were saying goodbye in your own way. I can't imagine a world without you in it."
Slayer released their fourth album, South of Heaven, 30 years ago today, July 5th, 1988. The record marked their second collaboration with hip-hop impresario Rick Rubin (whose earth-shattering production on 1986's seminal Reign in Blood paved the way for the California shredders' mainstream takeover), and their highest-charting effort at the time: It reached No. 57 on the Billboard charts and went Gold in the United States.
Of course, at the time South of Heaven was also an album laden with controversy: the songs were slower, the guitars cleaner, the vocals more refined. And yet, despite the knee-jerk reactions of many fans and critics, the LP nonethless stands as a powerful testament to the band's enduring brutality, and more importantly, their willingness to take risks and defy the static expectations forced upon them by thrash metal purists.
While Tom Araya and Co. may have dialed back their tempos on South of Heaven, they didn't sacrifice an ounce of strength: If anything, their mammoth sound merely underwent a growth spurt, leaving us with a lumbering, lethal beast that feels just as deadly almost three decades later. Nowhere is this more evident than in the band's performance of South of Heaven's "Mandatory Suicide" at London's Hammersmith Odeon in 1988, just after the album's release.
Along with the title track, the song's been a fixture of Slayer sets ever since its release, and for good reason. Between Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King's dueling riffs, Araya's bloodthirsty screams, and Dave Lombardo's nonstop percussive assault, it remains one of their biggest shows of force, even if it lacks the fleet-footedness of "Raining Blood," "Angel of Death" and the like. See for yourself below, accompanied by Slayer's abrasive run-through of the title track in New York City (also filmed in '88).
When a band drops a record just about the only people that really care about production credits are audiophiles and technical nerds. But when that producer is Arthur Rizk — whose recent works includes such rippers as Power Trip's Nightmare Logic, Code Orange's Forever, Pissed Jeans' Why Love Now, Inquisition's Bloodshed Across the Empyrean Altar Beyond the Celestial Zenith, Trapped Under Ice's Heatwave and Prurient's Frozen Niagara Falls — it might be worth your time to pay attention. Rizk is one of the hottest producers in metal right now, and he's only getting hotter, having just wrapped a stint with the Cavalera brothers for their highly anticipated new album, Psychosis.
What's more, Rizk's involvement with music is not limited to sitting behind the soundboard. 2016 saw the release of a debut LP by his long-in-process brainchild Sumerlands, which modernizes Jake E. Lee–era Ozzy-inspired classic heavy metal. Rizk also plays a crucial role in another classic-sounding heavy-metal band, Eternal Champion, as well as a pair of notable hardcore bands, War Hungry and Cold World. And he's been known to play guitar in any number of other projects including — but not limited to — Power Trip and Stone Dagger, and make noise as part of the Hospital Records stable. When it comes to music, especially that of the extreme ilk, Rizk does it all, and remarkably well.
With all of this in mind, we asked Arthur Rizk about his background, his involvement in a slew of upcoming releases and the genesis of a few key alliances with bands like Inquisition, Cold World and Prurient.
YOU GREW UP IN PENNSYLVANIA — WHEN, AND HOW, DID YOU FIRST GET TURNED ON TO EXTREME METAL?
ARTHUR RIZK I'm from Easton, Pennsylvania, which is about an hour-and-a-half north of Philadelphia. I've been playing music since I was 13 — that's when I started playing guitar. And I started playing in local bands and ended up getting into noise when I was 19. There was this great place in Allentown that used to have insane noise shows from artists from all over the world. Crazy, extreme shit. The first time I saw Prurient was in a warehouse in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Basically, I was really into all metal, but when I found out about noise, it was something that seemed even more extreme than black metal. I was obsessed with it. That's kind of where I amateurishly started recording, doing noise projects. I wanted to be able to do everything on my own and streamline the process by myself, so I started recording at my community college probably about 2006 or 2007.
I didn't really know what the fuck I was doing, but I took one class and everything else I just figured out. To this day, I'm buying tons of books on the recording process before everything was done in Abelton or ProTools or whatever. I'm still learning all the techniques even though I went to college for it for a little while.
HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH WAR HUNGRY AND THE BLOOMING HARDCORE SCENE IN WILKES-BARRE?
My good buddy Alex Metz got me into the band War Hungry, inviting me to scab. We were just friends from being from the same place and moving to Philly. I thought hardcore was so fucking boring — just power chords or whatever. It took me until I started playing shows with them and becoming friends with Nick Woj from Cold World, Alex Metz's roommate at the time, that I got into it.
Nick and I started hanging out because he thought I was such a freak. He loved that somebody was weirder than him. He played me Leeway's album Desperate Measures and that blew my fucking mind. I could not believe it, and it totally made me understand hardcore. It made me want to kill people and I totally understood hardcore all of a sudden. So crossover was my bridge into hardcore.
HOW DID YOU GET HOOKED UP WITH IRON AGE — THROUGH THE POWER TRIP GUYS?
So with Iron Age stuff, I was playing with them at that time, touring with them and they had just done basically what was their last tour. They had these demos that Wade [Allison, guitar] recorded and he brought them to my house. I mixed them and added some shit. We did some experimentation, too, like adding the snare drum through a full stack of Marshall amps. It just sounded crazy. The whole Saga Demos thing is a good example of early experimentation. I didn't really know what I was doing, but it ended up sounding cool. Wade paid me for it with a Number 5 meal from Taco Bell. [Laughs]
IN ADDITION TO THE POWER TRIP AND CODE ORANGE RECORDS, YOU HAD A HAND IN THE NEW TRAPPED UNDER ICE ALBUM, AS WELL ...
I didn't even really listen to old Trapped Under Ice before I recorded Heatwave. I had almost no frame of reference. They sent me some tracks and I jammed them really quick, but I had no frame of reference. I just wanted to ... whatever they wanted to do. Just go for it. And make sure everything sounds cool to me in the meantime. I think that they wanted to have someone who was going to try everything that they wanted to try. I was just kind of throwing out crazy ideas and filtering out bad ones, more or less. And throwing out some bad ones too. [Laughs]
YOU STARTED RECORDING IN 2006, AND — BY YOUR OWN ADMISSION — HAVE BEEN EXPERIMENTING EVER SINCE. WHY DO YOU THINK A VET LIKE PRURIENT PICKED YOU AS PRODUCER?
We toured together and I did sound for Cold Cave in 2011 for a couple months. I think [Prurient main man Dominic Fernow] knew that somehow I knew what I was doing, at least a little bit. He was probably going on a hunch and putting all his trust in me. A couple years later, he saw that I had done the Inquisition record and I think that he was really psyched that I did something instead of just making easy, steady money on the road. Plus the fact that I had a decent understanding of both noise and metal, and also higher-end recording.
FROM PRURIENT, VATICAN SHADOW AND SUMERLANDS TO PISSED JEANS, POWER TRIP AND TRAPPED UNDER ICE — YOUR RESUME PRETTY MUCH HITS EVERYTHING FROM TECHNO TO NOISE TO HARDCORE AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS YOUR CORE COMPETENCY AS FAR AS STYLES OF MUSIC?
There's a multitude of reasons why I function this way. The first, I'd say when it comes to producing music, is that I want to be needed on a record. I want there to be a use for me because I'm not traditional — I like to be involved in different ways whether it's just as simple as realizing what the band wants on the record or what they want the record to sound like or figuring out a way to get them there. That's the first thing, and genre isn't a thing. I just want to be able to help. I'll take a stab at anything just to be able to make something and help someone out. So that's first and foremost.
The second thing is, I think that I've just always been into heavy metal and playing guitar, so guitar music is a big thing for me. And I know noise isn't guitar music, but it is sometimes. Even that Prurient record, which is a lot of synth stuff, we still put 12-string acoustics on it and all kinds of guitar stuff. Guitar is something that I obsessed over my whole teenage life, so I just love working with guitar bands. I don't care about aesthetic. It could be like indie rock — I just want to know that there are some cool guitar riffs.
HOW DID YOU CONNECT WITH THE CAVALERA BROTHERS?
I was friends with Igor before I was friends with Max. Igor is involved with his project Mixhell, which is techno-type stuff, so he and his wife they play in Soulwax with this insane band where there's three drummers and two people doing synths. He's part of a different underground. Igor knew about my work with Vatican Shadow. I ended up connecting with Max later when I drum tech'd for Igor for, like, a week during some Cavalera Conspiracy dates.
Max and I initially connected by listening to the NWOBHM band Satan — he was just like, "I didn't know you knew Satan. This is one of my favorite records." So we connected over that and then I played Max some of the stuff that I've worked on like the Code Orange record, the new Power Trip, etc. I guess after I left they discussed me joining on as a producer.
When I was learning how to produce, I studied Chaos A.D. and Beneath the Remains by Sepultura. I studied Arise. I couldn't believe the shit they were doing on those records — the intros with reverse vocals that kick in, the synths. I took all that and made that my own. And I told Max while I was recording, "I should be paying you for all these ideas I've taken from you over the years." He was just psyched to be doing stuff — to be exploring those things again. We sat down and listened to old Sepultura, Judas Priest and tons of Eighties shit, tons of death metal. We would talk about what we like about everything and that gives me such a broader range to work with.
And they really do know like everything that's going on in the underground. Most of the time they try to get younger bands that they like to tour with them. Max is literally just jamming new shit constantly, trying to find new stuff. I was just showing him Canadian war metal, Blasphemy and all of that.
HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH INQUISITION?
I just was a fan and I did sound for them in New York City once. They never had good sound any time I saw them in years previous, so I asked to get in touch with them. I just showed up and did a killer job, and afterwards I introduced myself to [Inquisition frontman] Dagon and was like, "Hey man, if you guys ever want to come to my studio, hit me up." We stayed in touch and bonded over classic heavy metal. That seems to be the revolving theme in my stories, bonding with people over Eighties guitar amps and classic heavy metal.
WHICH BRINGS US BACK TO SUMERLANDS. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THAT PROJECT'S ORIGINS?
Sumerlands is the band that I've wanted to do since I was a 13-year-old playing guitar, but I never had the songwriting abilities to do it until much later.
I ended up playing drums in Hour of 13 for a month or something, doing a music video but not even playing a show together and then the band broke up. Me and Phil Swanson became friends on the set because he somehow knew about War Hungry, Iron Age and Cold World. He knew about Trapped Under Ice, too. I guess he was just into hardcore. Obviously, he didn't go to shows, but he knows everything about metal and hardcore. He just knows everything.
So he knew about War Hungry and really liked that record, so I thought about asking him to sing a part on the next War Hungry record and then was like, "I'm just actually going to see if he wants to write some songs." Hour of 13 had broken up, and we were still in touch so I asked him to sing over some songs and he agreed. I wrote the first three song demo on Bandcamp in like a month or something — just banged them out. Pretty much exactly how you hear them on the record, he did them the first time. He's just like insane like that.
I THINK WE'RE IN AN INTERESTING PLACE NOW WITH METAL. FIVE YEARS AGO, A FESTIVAL DEVOTED TO CLASSIC HEAVY-METAL SOUNDS, LIKE DEFENDERS OF THE OLD, WOULDN'T HAVE WORKED AS WELL.
No. Definitely not. It's cool. If there is a market for us to play to more than 30 people, that's awesome. It was crazy to play at Defenders of the Old in front of hundreds of people. It was just crazy to see that many people in the U.S. into this music ... but I think most of those people were European anyway. Classic heavy metal in the U.S. still doesn't really exist. You can only play in a handful of cities. And a lot of kids from hardcore are getting into it. We see people in Cro-Mags shirts at all the shows, mainly because of Jason [Tarpey] from Iron Age/Eternal Champion. But we do see people at our shows from all walks of life moshing to Eternal Champion, which was a pretty crazy thing to see.
YOU HAVE NEWER, CLASSIC-SOUNDING BANDS — STONE DAGGER, ETERNAL CHAMPION AND SUMERLANDS — THAT ARE POPULATED BY GUYS THAT CAME FROM ESTABLISHED HARDCORE BANDS ...
Yeah. Even Phil [Swanson] was in hardcore bands before he was in any metal bands. All of us, every single person involved in all those bands were playing hardcore before metal.
I can't speak for the other guys, but heavy metal would always have been my first choice. I have to say that being in a hardcore band was like putting me through writing school. Me and Kevin [Mook], who played in War Hungry, we wrote our record and we would throw ideas off each other, getting into awkward arguments over parts. I think that working with him taught me how to scale back. So, if it wasn't for hardcore, I don't think I would have ever refined my songwriting at all.
I think that I would still do a War Hungry record or a Cold World record in a heartbeat because they're fun and I love that kind of music, too. So it's not like I'm picking one or the other. It's more that I'm so psyched and grateful to have been given an opportunity for people to hear my heavy metal shit and respond to it. Like you said earlier, 5 or 6 years ago, had I tried to make that move it probably wouldn't have gone over as well. There's just more people getting into it.
WHEN YOU'RE TOES UP AND SIX-FEET UNDER, WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE KNOWN AS: MUSICIAN, PRODUCER, ENGINEER?
Today I would probably say that I feel like I've been more useful as a producer because I've been able to do something with other people's music. I can make my own music and it'll appeal to a small niche audience, but when I did the Power Trip record, that has probably gotten a lot of people into old-school thrash that normally wouldn't be. And that's cool. I feel like I'm able to change the path.
New Hampshire metal outfit Vattnet Viskar are back — but not as you remember them.
Consider Nick Thornbury, the band's co-founder and former frontman, the catalyst. Following Vattnet Viskar's tour behind Settler, 2015's excellent Century Media debut, Thornbury parted ways with the group, leaving the remaining members — guitarist Chris Alfieri, bassist Casey Aylward and drummer Seamus Menihane — at a creative crossroads. Nevertheless, the trio soldiered on under a shortened name, Vattnet, with Aylward as their new frontman. "There is a lot of self-realization when you go through that process," Alfieri says of the shift. "You take an inventory on yourself. We got into the shed a week after and just started writing songs."
Vattnet emerged from that experience with the skeletal compositions that would eventually comprise their new self-titled LP, which is scheduled for release on September 15 via New Damage. The eight tracks on Vattnet are a significant departure from Settler's highly technical black metal, and by extension, Vattnet's musical M.O. writ large. Where their sound was once dominated by tremolo picking and blast beats, Vattnet leans on clean vocals and prog-inflected fretwork à la Isis. After unveiling their new sound with last month's "Dark Black," Vattnet are showcasing their heavy hypnotic sound yet again, today, by way of a mesmerizing visual for "Spun." Check it out below, and pre-order Vattnet here.
Here's what Aylward had to say about "Spun":
"Spun" was the last song I wrote for the record and also the last song we recorded and put together. Conceptually it's about being uncomfortable and very unhappy in your situation at the time, feeling helpless, feeling like it won't ever end. The video touches on this theme by using the idea of searching for light within a world of darkness. While some choose to accept or live within the blackness, others try to find or create a light to see their way out. Definitely a song that poured out of me, as if I needed it exorcised from me. When it was done I knew it had to be the first song on the record, and I'm happy Shay and Chris shared that vision. I feel like it perfectly introduces what you can expect to hear from the rest of the record, albeit it on a pretty dark note.
Slayer were musical guests on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon last night. In addition to ripping through a killer performance of their watershed song "Raining Blood," the icons took part in the show's "Tales From Tour" segment. The series finds artists looking back at their wildest times on the road — and, man, have these four seen (and done) some shit. Kerry King recalled the band's unsuccessful search through the streets of Amsterdam for a very stoned friend, whom they ended up abandoning (don't worry, there's a happy ending). The band members also shared tales of botched free throws, leaving drum techs behind Roy Rogers truck stops and — because this is Slayer we're talking about — awe-inspiring acts of projectile vomiting. Check out their performance and interview below.
Shortly after their 'Fallon' appearance, Slayer headed to nearby Madison Square Garden for the New York stop on their North American headlining tour. The group's latest round of shows behind last year's Relentless continues tonight in Baltimore, Maryland, with dates scheduled through late August. Check here to view the full itinerary of Slayer's summer trek, which features support from Lamb of God and Behemoth.
Speaking with Revolver earlier this month, King revealed that Slayer have new music in the works. "Funny thing is, Repentless isn't even two years old yet, though it seems like it is — but from that session, there are six or eight songs that are recorded: some with vocals, some with leads, but all with keeper guitar, drums and bass," he revealed. "So when those songs get finished lyrically, if the lyrics don't change the songs, they'll be ready to be on the next record. So we already have more than half a record complete, if those songs make it."
"This is actually the most prepared we've ever been for the next record in our history; there's no reason to not do more work, because it's already more than halfway done," he continued. "Just write four or five new songs, and give the others some attention, and we'll be good to go. If we get a down period of time, which I know is coming at the end of this year, maybe we'll focus on that and get to it."
Grave Pleasures, the Finnish death-rock outfit formerly known as Beastmilk, have unveiled the turbulent new anthem "Infatuation Overkill." It's the first single off the band's sophomore album Motherblood, which hits shelves later this fall. The bruising cut finds the group picking up where last year's Funeral Party EP left off, delving into the insanity of modern times by way of an ear-splitting, post-punk fever pitch.
"Obsession and omnipresent violent lust have become the norm as mania begins to seep into our intrinsic make-up," vocalist Mat McNerney said of the track in an interview with Decibel. "We attempt to portray the feeling of being pulled apart as the volcano erupts on our species and the dawn of man begins to draw to a close." The frontman's self-directed, black-and-white video for "Infatuation Overkill" takes the song's arduous, existential tug-of-war in an appropriately frenzied direction, splicing performance footage with dramatic, darkly sensual scenes which showcase human contact at its most lethal and alluring.
Check out Grave Pleasures' "Infatuation Overkill" song and video below, and pre-order Motherblood digitally here ahead of its September 29 release date via new label home Century Media. (Physical pre-orders will become available July 29.)
Grave Pleasures provided the following explanation of the record's themes (and eye-catching cover art) last month:
Like the great sacrament of ancient times that was the blood sacrifice of the mother, we too have laid down our most holy flesh at your feet. This record, which is a bold re-definition of death-rock and our totemic challenge to our pretenders, shall be our most grand and sordid testament. If you have never danced with the skeletons, then this album is your gateway drug to all the nihilistic pleasures of the grave. Apocalyptic post-punk never sounded so desperately bleak and wild yet never grinned so maniacally and writhed so fervently with tongues that whip the tombs. The Kali figure of our cover is the eternal icon of nuclear fear. She presides over the religion of an apocalyptic future. A desolate future we proudly celebrate with caustic music of the most furious punk. Come imbibe and wash your mind in our Motherblood. We're dancing in the lion's mouth. The elevator only goes down.
August Burns Red have just announced a new record, Phantom Anthem, and premiered the album's first single and potentially nightmare-inducing video, "Invisible Enemy."
A first glance it appears that director Samuel Haileen has just filmed the Pennsylviana band performing the explosive song in a range of extreme backdrops, from snow fields to packed concert halls. What's so scary about that, you ask? Well, for starters, it's not actual humans we're staring at, but rather their marionette counterparts: a pack of creepy, dead-eyed homunculi whose eerie appearance, however badass, can't help but stir up uncomfortable flashbacks of that one dummy from Goosebumps, or perhaps 'N Sync's "Bye Bye Bye" video by way of Child's Play.
Phantom Anthem, the follow-up to 2015's Found In Far Away, hits shelves on October 6 via Fearless, and was produced by Carson Slovak and Grant McFarland, who manned the band's last three full-lengths. Watch below (if you dare), and scroll down to check out Phantom Anthem's artwork and tracklisting, plus August Burns Red's upcoming tour dates. Pre-order the album here.
Phantom Anthem Track Listing
1. "King of Sorrow"
2. "Hero of the Half Truth"
3. "The Frost"
5. "Invisible Enemy"
11. "Carbon Copy"
Jul. 28 - London, England – Underworld
Jul. 29 - Bristol, England – The Fleece
Jul. 30 - Manchester, England – Sound Control
Jul. 31 - London, England – Underworld
Aug. 1 - Cologne, Germany – Essigfabrik
Aug. 3 - Copenhagen, Denmark – Pumpehuset
Aug. 4 - Oslo, Norway – John Dee
Aug. 5 - Stockholm, Sweden – Fryshuset
Aug. 7 - Helsinki, Finland – Tavastia
Aug. 8 - Tallinn, Estonia – Tapper
Aug. 9 - Riga, Latvia – Melna Piektdiena
Aug. 10 - Warsaw, Poland – Proxima
Aug. 11 - Josefov, Czech Republic – Brutal Assault
Aug. 12 - Bildein, Austria – Picture On
Aug. 13 - Rasnov, Romania – Rockstadt Extreme
Aug. 14 - Sofia, Bulgaria – Mixtape 5
Aug. 16 - Budapest, Hungary – Durer Kert
Aug. 17 - Dinkelsbuehl, Germany – Summer Breeze
Aug. 18 - Allstedt, Germany – Destruction Derby
Aug. 19 - Hamburg, Germany – Elb Riot
Aug. 20 - Stuttgart, Germany – Universum
Aug. 21 - Zurich, Switzerland – Earshakerdays
Aug. 22 - Dornbirn, Austria – Conrad Sohm
Aug. 23 - Aschaffenburg, Germany – Colas Saal
Aug. 24 - Amsterdam, Netherlands – Melkweg
Aug. 25 - Sulingen, Germany – Reload Festival
Aug. 27 - Antwerp, Belgium – Trix Club
Aug. 28 - Paris, France – Petit Bain
Oct. 7 - Camden, NJ – Rock Allegiance Fest
Oct. 15 - Spring, TX – Houston Open Air Festival
Oct. 21 - Sacramento, CA – Aftershock Festival
Rage Against the Machine are a band that is almost impossible to match in their sociopolitical outrage, unbridled energy and groundbreaking creativity. The group hasn't played together since 2011, but Prophets of Rage are out doing their best to keep RATM's legacy alive, and now Stone Sour have joined in that cause, by covering the iconic band's "Bombtrack" — the lead cut off the group's watershed 1992 debut album. Listen to Corey Taylor and Co.'s rendition below.
Stone Sour's bluesy, pissed-off take on Rage Against the Machine's "Bombtrack" is but one of 15 pummeling trips down memory lane featured on Hammer Goes 90s, the companion CD to Metal Hammer's new '90s-themed issue. Elsewhere on the disc, Halestorm cover Soundgarden's "Fell on Black Days," Enslaved tackle Faith No More's "Jizzlobber" and Hatebreed crush Sepultura's "Refuse/Resist."
Stone Sour released their sixth album, Hydrograd, back in June. The band recently announced a slew of fall North American shows behind the record, with support from Steel Panther, Beartooth, Man With A Mission, and Cherry Bombs on select dates. They're also set to perform at Ozzfest Meets Knotfest (a merger of Ozzy Osbourne and Slipknot's respective festivals) in early November. Find a full list of dates here.
Here's the original for comparison:
Hammer Goes 90s Track Listing:
1. Stone Sour – "Bombtrack" (Rage Against The Machine) *
2. Halestorm – "Fell On Black Days" (Soundgarden)
3. Prophets Of Rage – "Shut Em Down" (live) (Public Enemy)
4. Epica – Replica (Fear Factory)
5. Hatebreed – Refuses/Resist (Sepultura)
6. Powerwolf Night Crawler (Judas Priest)
7. Enslaved – Jizzlobber (Faith No More) *
8. Cult Of Luna – Bodies (Smashing Pumpkins)
9. 36 Crazyfists – We Die Young (Alice In Chains) *
10. Fleshgod Apocalypse – Heartwork (Carcass)
11. Whitechapel – Strength Beyond Strength (Pantera)
12. Palm Reader – Bachelorette (Bjork) *
13. The One Hundred – New Skin (Incubus) *
14. Eighteen Visions – March Of The Pigs (Nine Inch Nails) *
15. Were I Blind – Enjoy The Silence (Depeche Mode) *
* Metal Hammer exclusive
Chelsea Wolfe is gearing up to drop her sixth studio album, Hiss Spun, on September 22nd via Sargent House. After sharing its show-stopping lead single "16 Psyche" last month, the California musician has upped the ante further with "Vex," a foreboding track which juggles black metal, industrial rock, and dark, haunting doom pop. In addition to guest vocals from Aaron Turner (Old Man Gloom, SUMAC), "Vex" features some blistering fretwork from Queens of the Stone Age guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen. Listen below, and check out Wolfe's upcoming tour dates here.
Here's what Wolfe has to say about her latest Hiss Spun single:
Every day, at dawn and dusk, a mysterious hum resounds in the deep sea for about an hour. The source of this hum is unknown, but it may be a kind of instinctual guide to the creatures who live in those dark depths, to rise and feed, surviving another day. I follow my own hum, pushing forward despite anxieties, nightmares, and scavengers that try to pull me down into their depths. I also acknowledge my own fragility in contrast to my own strength and anger.
"Vex" began almost as a black metal song, with a pummeling blast beat, thenBen (Chisholm) and I stripped it back to a more industrial electronic sound. Once we were in the studio, Jess Gowrie' s drums and Troy Van Leeuwen' s guitar parts began to shepherd it back toward its heavy origins.
I knew from the beginning that I wanted Aaron Turner' s voice somewhere on this album, and could hear him in my head on "Vex." I had already recorded my vocals for the song but decided to send it to Aaron without them on. Happily, the first time we played it back with both vocal parts they fit together in a very compelling way.
The invitation to contribute vocals to "Vex" was a welcome—if slightly daunting—prospect. Aesthetically, it's a leap for me to meld a harsh vocal approach with music as melodically inclined as Chelsea's. Added to that was the fact that I was working remotely rather than us all being in a room together discussing the work as it was unfolding. This removed approach to collaboration imposes a distance that can be hard to overcome. That said, feeling apprehensive about trying something and reckoning with the vulnerability of potential failure is more of an impetus to do something for me rather than a deterrent - perhaps increasingly so as time goes on. In the end it was surprising how seamlessly I was able to find my way into the song, and perhaps more importantly, how enjoyable it was to work on. Aside from facing fear as a primary creative motivator, having fun making music is an eternal goal. Working on this track provided an opportunity for both and I'm thankful to CW for entrusting me with their work given the leap of faith required for all involved.
Last year, attendees at Germany's Wacken Open Air Festival witnessed an honest-to-god miracle: Ronnie James Dio appearing in the middle of the stage during a live performance — nearly six years after his 2010 passing. The seemingly-reincarnated icon's run-through of "We Rock" resulted from neither pagan spell nor divine intervention, but rather the power of modern technology. Naturally, I'm talking about Dio's hologram, a uncanny digital clone of the icon right down to the incessant devil-horn slinging and vocal showboating.
Today, Eyellusion, the company who designed the hologram, have announced their plans to take Dio 2.0 on the road this fall. The tour, appropriately titled Dio Returns, will find "Dio" and his backing band — including Dio Disciples vocalists Tim "Ripper" Owens and Oni Logan, on select dates — playing theaters in Europe, South America, Australia and Asia. A North American leg will follow in the spring, with several festival shops planned. Find a preliminary list of dates below, and for an idea of what to expect from "Dio Returns," check out some footage of the hologram's performance at Pollstar Live!'s industry showcase earlier this year.
According to Rolling Stone, "Dio Returns" will feature a constantly-shifting setlist, with highlights spanning the legend's whole career. In addition to stand-alone classics like "Holy Diver," "Rainbow in the Dark" and "King of Rock And Roll; and Rainbow staples like "Man on the Silver Mountain," the performances will touch upon his tenure with Black Sabbath with tracks including "Neon Knights" and "Heaven and Hell." Craig Goldy, the Dio Band's guitarist, says the band hopes to perform 80-100 dates altogether. "When we perform on this tour, for me, it is a memorial service in the form of a rock concert," said Goldy. "This gives [fans] a chance to experience [Dio live] without relying on the poor-quality videos on YouTube."
In a sense, Dio Returns represents a moment of wish fulfillment for the late singer, a huge special effects fan. Wendy Dio, the rocker's widow, told Rolling Stone he's giving the trek his blessings from beyond the grave. "In 1986, for the Sacred Heart Tour, Ronnie and I created the Crystal Ball with Ronnie filmed and speaking in a suspended crystal ball effect, done with back projection, which was the closest we could get to a hologram," she said. "Ronnie was always wanting to experiment with new stage ideas and was a big Disney fan. With this said, I am sure he is giving us his blessing with this hologram project. It gives the fans that saw Ronnie perform an opportunity to see him again and new fans that never got to see him a chance to see him for the first time. We hope everyone will enjoy the show that we have all worked so hard to put together."
Nov. 30 - Helsinki, Finland – The Circus
Dec. 03 - Stockholm, Sweden – Fryshuset
Dec. 04 - Oslo, Norway – Rockefeller Music Hall
Dec. 06 - Warsaw, Poland – Progresja
Dec. 13 - Barcelona, Spain – Bikini
Dec. 15 - Santander, Spain – Escenario Santander
Dec. 17 - Bucharest, Romania – Arelene Romane
Dec. 20 - Antwerp, Belgium – Trix
Dec. 21 - Tilburg, Netherlands – 013