The tribute album dedicated to Woods Of Ypres frontman David Gold – who passed away in December 2011 – entitled A Heart Of Gold: Tribute To Woods Of Ypres, is now available for digital download via Bandcamp.com at this location.
Fans can purchase a CD hard copy of the album by sending $20 via PayPal with your name, mailing address and email to DavidGoldTribute@gmail.com.
The confirmed tracklist is as follows:
‘Thrill Of The Struggle’ – Catuvolcus
‘Adora Vivos’ – Raphael from Musk Ox
‘Lightning And Snow’ – Earthen
‘Falling Apart’ – Canopy
‘A Meeting Place And Time’ – Panzerfaust
‘Finality’ – Kuhrzarth
‘The Sun Was In My Eyes’ – Anemic
‘Retrosleep In The Morning Calm’ – Albireon
‘Suicide Cargoload’ (live) – Gypsy Chief Goliath
‘Career Suicide’ – Reliquis
BW&BK Interview: CHILDREN OF BODOM – Halo Of Blood Listening Session: “There Are No Filler Tracks On This…”
By Carl Begai
Back in March, BW&BK was invited to attend the listening session for Children Of Bodom’s highly anticipated new album, Halo Of Blood, to be issued through their new label Nuclear Blast on June 7th. The ‘net is abuzz with reports that the band have taken a back-to-the-roots approach this time out, and while it may seem that way on the surface, turns out Halo Of Blood is so much more than a rehash of a successful formula. For those that have written off the Hate Crew as having their best years behind them, Halo Of Blood will be a a pleasant surprise for some, a kick in the nuts for others.
We sat down with keyboardist Janne Wirman and drummer Jaska Raatikainen following the initial run-through of the new album.
BW&BK: Making the move from Universal to Nuclear Blast seems like a logical step considering you were on Spinefarm/Nuclear Blast at the start of the band’s career. Was moving to a smaller label a case of feeling lost in the shuffle on a big roster of artists?
Janne: “The first three albums were just licensed to Nuclear Blast, so we didn’t really have that much of a relationship with them, but we’re excited about the move. We had a great relationship with Spinefarm, but Spinefarm got sold to Universal as you know, and when a major label takes control of a smaller label things don’t always go as planned. Little by little it started to be a sucky deal for us, so when our deal ended with them we started shopping around for a new deal. A lot of labels made offers, but in the current market when major labels are going down anyway, it was a good decision to go with an independent metal label that is also the biggest metal label in Europe.”
Jaska: “Everybody always says we were a Nuclear Blast band because of the licensing deal, and the first tours we did were Nuclear Blast festival tours. Still, we knew the people involved so it was nice to come to this label. As Janne said, it was a logical decision.”
BW&BK: Alexi (Laiho/vocals, guitars) is and always has been the songwriter in this band, but there has to be more that one guy involved in the creative process for a band to be around for 15+ years. Did the rest of the band have more input on Halo Of Blood compared to the last few records?
Janne: “Maybe the whole band’s arranging of the songs had even a little bit more to say this time. Alexi is the musical director, he’s composing the music, but we played around with ideas more this time. We tried different things and experimented a lot. I think we spent more time arranging these new songs together than we ever have in the past.” (continue reading…)
By Carl Begai
It was announced back in February 2012 that Norway’s Theatre Of Tragedy, who spawned the career of Leaves’ Eyes vocalist Liv Kristine and officially called it quits in October 2010, were working on remastered re-issues of their first three albums: the self-titled debut, Velvet Darkness They Fear, and Aegis. Initially meant to be released in late 2012, Massacre Records have confirmed July 5th as the official release date for all three albums in digipack CD and double vinyl LP formats.
The re-releases will feature rare bonus material, and will also include a band interview conducted by me split into three parts, one for each album. It was an honour to be asked by the Theatre Of Tragedy family to contribute to the re-issues, and I consider it to be a personal career highlight.
Following is an brief excerpt from the interview conducted for the self-titled debut, which will appear in full in the re-issue liner notes. Call it an attempt to help promote the releases coupled with my pride getting away from me just this once.
The journey started with a simple demo tape, which received favourable reactions first in Theatre of Tragedy’s hometown of Stavanger, Norway and then from the international metal press. From there everything snowballed, and the rest is history.
“Most of us were so young and inexperienced at the time, so we didn’t really have the fear of being ridiculed, nor the ambitions to make it big,” says drummer Hein Frode Hansen. “We were just a bunch of kids wanting to make a hybrid of our different musical influences at the time. Individually, we were mediocre musicians at best, but together we were something fresh and new.”
“We all came from different backgrounds and that what made it so special,” continues guitarist Tommy Lindal. “We simply put some elements of all the members together and it sounded really cool; metal with piano and soprano vocals. My impression at the time was that we didn’t worry too much about if the people liked it or not, as long we enjoyed it ourselves.”
The debut album seemed to be a risky affair on many levels. The Theatre was more than a bit daring when one considers there was nothing heavy or metal about ‘…a Distance there is…’ , a track featuring piano, cello, Liv’s vocals, and the sound of falling rain. The song has since become the cornerstone of the debut for many diehard Theatre of Tragedy fans. Tommy remembers working on the track:
“…’a Distance there is…’ is a song that I think everybody in the band has a different relationship to. We were in Sweden at Dan Swanö´s studio, spending our Christmas alone in Sweden recording the debut. Lorentz and Liv had some ideas and ended up recording the song. The cello was Dan Swanö’s brilliant idea; he called a friend to drop by the studio and record some cello parts. It took some hours and the result was amazing. We were all was excited about it and decided to put it on the record.” (continue reading…)
By Carl Begai
“It doesn’t matter if someone likes the album; it matters whether or not we as a band like the album.”
Thus, guitarist Esa Holopainen offers no apologies if you, as an AMORPHIS fan, can’t find worth in the band’s new outing, Circle. But really, if you’ve been a devout follower even through the experimental Am Universum / Far From The Sun era (2001/2003) and the entrance of vocalist Tomi Joutsen in 2005 (who replaced Pasi Koskinen), there’s nothing to complain about. Circle boasts the full-on Amorphis quality of recent years, albeit heavier and more face-grabbingly immediate than some folks might expect.
“I’ve only heard from one reporter saying that he wishes Circle sounded more like the previous albums,” Esa admits. “But, that’s always been the way with this band. You know you’ve done something right when you please some of the people. If everybody would hate us there wouldn’t be any point to releasing albums at all. We’ve received lots of positive feedback, and when you know yourself that you worked hard on the songs and you truly enjoy the results, it’s a great feeling to talk about the album with people.”
Circle is a pleasant surprise in that it’s heavy without bordering on overly brutal, probably more up-tempo than some fans expect, and dark without venturing into the realms of goth/doom melancholy.
“I definitely agree with you,” says Esa, “and that’s why we brought the guitars up front, to make things heavier. The guitars on this album are much more up front and in-your-face compared to the previous albums. As a guitar player, that really works for me (laughs). We paid more attention to the overall sound. We used different guitars sounds on certain parts of the album, and there were songs that we wanted to sound more organic, more old school. We didn’t want to changes things radically; we had a new producer and a new environment for the recording sessions and that really helped us achieve our goals.” (continue reading…)
By Carl Begai
Arch Enemy guitarist Michael Amott’s long-lived other band, Spiritual Beggars, have enjoyed a successful under-the-radar 20 year run, and it’s bound to continue with their new outing Earth Blues. The timing of the release couldn’t be better, what with acts like Adrenaline Mob, Black Star Riders, The New Black and Tremonti – to name a noteworthy few – making some serious highly praised noise of over the last several months with “simple” straight-up rock records. Sure, deliveries from the bands mentioned vary in levels of heavy and modern rock versus classic old school, but at the end of the day there no clutter and no bull to muck up the works. Earth Blues sits high and mighty within this pack for anyone that believes the word “organic” can be used to describe music as well as a vegetarian platter or bag of weed.
“I haven’t heard the bands you mentioned,” Amott admits, “but we’ve been doing this since ’93 and have put out eight albums in that time. What I’ve noticed is that at some points it’s more hip to put out a vintage classic rock album than others. It goes in waves and you can’t really do anything about that. I’ve never really thought about fitting in. Even if it’s been embarrassingly bad timing, this is what we do. We’re just a band that rocks out when we feel like it. For me as a songwriting guitar player, it’s an opportunity to stretch out a little bit and do something different. I’m not the world’s most adventurous guitar player, but I do like to write and record and play live in two different styles; the extreme metal thing and the Spiritual Beggars thing, which is more rock.”
In an unusual move, the band opted to do a low key European headline tour for Earth Blues right on top of the release. As such, the album didn’t have time to build any momentum and possibly stoke the buzz. On the other hand, it have Amott and his bandmates the chance to hear a lot of unfiltered first impressions.
“A lot of people like the album, some people don’t like it,” says Amott. “Some people call it an irrelevant piece of crap while others call it a masterpiece (laughs).” (continue reading…)
By Carl Begai
Not to take away from Amaranthe’s current shine, but part of the reason for this current buzz is singer Elize Ryd, who has toured with Florida-based Kamelot as a backing vocalist for the last four years and hit the studio for their latest record, Silverthorn. The ongoing collaboration has been a blessing for an up-and-coming young band like Amaranthe trying to gain a foothold in the big leagues.
“I think working with Kamelot has had an effect,” Elize agrees, “because we have a lot of fans in South America and in North America, and I’ve been on tour with Kamelot in those territories. I was with them when they supported Nightwish on top of that, and Nightwish have a huge audience.”
As for how she became involved with Kamelot in the first place…
Elize: “From the beginning, when we started Amaranthe, we didn’t have a lot of shows so I had a lot of free time…”
Male clean vocalist Jake E. picks up the thread: “The whole story is like this: I used to be a pyro-technician and I toured with every band out there. We started this project called Amaranthe, and I was great friends with Kamelot so they asked me if we’d like to go on tour and if they could ‘borrow’ Elize. We actually did two tours with them, when I was also a back-up singer, so we were pulling double duty. Then we grew, of course, so Elize works with them when she has the time. This year, for example, it’s totally impossible…”
The depth of Elize’s involvement with Kamelot has increased over the last four years, to the point she’s become a recognizable part of the band’s roster. Amaranthe is her first priority, but going in to record The Nexus still ended up being a balancing act. (continue reading…)
By Carl Begai
As of October 2012, guitarist Glen Drover’s second official solo album was reportedly half finished. Six months later and the only real buzz out of Drover’s neck of the woods is his recent and brief association with vocalist Geoff Tate’s new incarnation of Queensrÿche. Contacted initially to discuss the ‘Ryche situation – some folks might call it a debacle; depends on who’s side you’re on – Drover revealed that his new solo album is still in the works. It would have been finished by now if not for his decision to go back and remix last three albums – Coma Nation (2001), Apostles Of Defiance (2003), The Parallel Otherworld (2006) – from his pre-Megadeth / pre-King Diamond band Eidolon.
“Without getting into all the details of why we’re doing it, the way technology is now we realized that we could really make the quality of the albums a lot better than it was,” says Drover. “It’s a major step up in overall production. There were things that we weren’t 100% happy with, but I guess most musicians go through that. Something just came along that made us decide it was a good idea to go back and remix the albums. Me and Pat (Mulock/vocals) and Shawn (Drover/drums) are really excited, and Jon (Howard/vocals) from Threat Signal is helping out on it, too.”
“It’s a really cool project. We’re taking our time, going through one song after the other. We started with Coma Nation and it’s half finished. It’s a remix and not a remaster, so we’re changing the face of the whole thing for the better. If there wasn’t a noticeable increase in production I would never waste my time with this. For what it is, those albums came out good at the time. We used what we could and we made the best of what we had, and it worked. Now things are a little bit different. We’re not changing the performance – that’s going to be the same – but we might tweak a couple of thing effect-wise. The albums are going to be the same, but with a far stronger production.”
Still, weeding through the archives, the temptation to go back into the studio and tweak the recordings with up-to-date performances… (continue reading…)
By Carl Begai
Word of a new Children Of Bodom album on the horizon always seems to be accompanied by a chorus of bitching and moaning from the fans as they hope and pray for a return to the band’s Hatebreeder / Follow The Reaper heyday. The build-up to Halo Of Blood is no different, and having attended a listening session for the record on March 16th courtesy of Nuclear Blast, I can tell you that Halo Of Blood isn’t the full-on back-to-the-roots album you’d sell your siblings’ internal organs for.
It is, however, the best damn thing Children Of Bodom have released since Hate Crew Deathroll in 2003.
First time through, chances are most fans will end up somewhere between relieved and perplexed at hearing trademark Bodom-isms from the early years back-to-back with numerous WTF moments. It’s bloody overwhelming at times trying to process how the band has re-invented themselves when you look back on Are You Dead Yet?, Blooddrunk and Relentless Reckless Forever; the three records that polarized and/or pissed off the COB fanbase. (continue reading…)
By Carl Begai
On September 28th, 2012 in Denver, Colorado fans of Finnish bashers Nightwish witnessed something special at the Ogden Theater. So special, in fact, that if everyone who claims they attended the show was actually there the venue would have literally burst at the seams.
To recap, now ex-Nightwish vocalist Anette Olzon fell seriously ill prior to the show and was hospitalized. Her bandmates had the difficult task of choosing between cancelling the gig and going ahead with support band Kamelot’s backing vocalists Elize Ryd (Amaranthe) and Alissa White-Gluz (The Agonist) in Olzon’s place. With the audience’s blessing they chose the latter, resulting an unforgettable and historic show. Elize, Alissa and Nightwish were applauded for their efforts by seemingly everyone except Olzon, who made her rather ungrateful opinions known the next day via an online post. A few days later – October 1st, 2012 – Olzon was officially given the boot and the tour continued with ReVamp / ex-After Forever singer Floor Jansen fronting the band.
During a BW&BK interview (found here) for Amaranthe’s new album, The Nexus, Elize discussed the unexpected once in a lifetime experience. Note that we kept any behind-the-scenes dirt regarding the disintegration between Nightwish and Anette out of the conversation, so if you’re a tabloid drama junkie you’ll be disappointed by what you’re about to read.
“It was a very special thing,” Elize says of the night. “I love Nightwish and I’ve sung their songs many times for myself (laughs). When you’re on tour you’re in a little bubble, so you don’t really think too much about what’s happening outside that bubble. They asked me if I would be willing to sing for them that night, and we decided that if the audience agreed it was okay for them that I sing, of course I was going to help Nightwish out so they could do the show. At least with some singing so they wouldn’t have to do it all instrumental.” (continue reading…)
By Carl Begai
Anybody can claim to be a professional anything, but when you get down to the blood and guts it’s action – and more often than not, the lack of it – that separates the wannabes from the real deal. It’s easy to find both in the music industry.
A couple years ago I witnessed an unforgettable display of professionalism by a band, right on the heels of a disgusting example of betrayal by a so-called professional promoter. All in the space of one evening.
The band in question is a Norwegian/German outfit called Vinland (the name has been changed to spare them any undue embarrassment). They’ve been around for over a decade, are signed to a major metal record label, and have toured the world several times over playing clubs, theaters and festivals for numbers ranging anywhere between a couple hundred people a night to 70,000+ depending on the territory. In other words, they know the ropes. They’re also very aware of the music industry’s First Commandment:
As a fan and friend of the band, it was good news when they announced a stop on their European tour in Nuremberg, Germany (where I’m currently residing as a travelling Torontonian). As a town of approximately 400,000 people it isn’t a hotspot where tours touch down regularly, particularly for artists with a large fanbase, so when a promoter actually snags one it’s an event. (continue reading…)