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Ozzfest – Kick-Off Date Reviewed By MTV

The following is‘s review of Ozzfest‘s June 29th kick-off show in Auburn, Washington:

Some of the sun-crisped metalheads packed into the White River Amphitheatre for the first stop on this year’s 11th annual Ozzfest were skeptical of “TRL” favorites AVENGED SEVENFOLD being on the festival’s main stage. But there they were on Thursday, and the naysayers weren’t about to distract the band from the mission at hand: Trying to win the crowd over.

So, AVENGED, led by the diamond-grilled, Axl-Rose-imitating M. Shadows, pulled the proverbial rabbit out of the hat by covering and handily at that a tried-and-true metal classic: PANTERA‘s “Walk.” Shadows dedicated the tune to the memory of slain PANTERA guitarist “DimebagDarrell Abbott, and about three riffs in, the audience even the cynics were sold, pumping their fists and barking the song’s stilted refrain: “Re! Spect! Walk!” And for the rest of the band’s set, which ended with “Bat Country,” AVENGED owned them all.

In short, when in doubt at Ozzfest, cover PANTERA. Following the group’s debut as part of the festival, Shadows covered in sweat and chugging bottled water seemed relieved. How would AVENGED celebrate this triumph? A few hours later, they boarded their tour bus and headed for Oregon, where they’d spend Friday (June 30) fishing at a lakeside cabin.

On Thursday, with the majestic, snowcapped Mount Rainier as its backdrop, Sharon Osbourne‘s traveling circus of heavy metal and hard rock, bad tattoos and worse habits, launched in Auburn. The small town is about 50 minutes from Seattle and its main road is lined with smoke shops, casinos and dilapidated shacks that double as residences and pyrotechnics shops.

Fans started lining up outside the venue at around 5:30 a.m, some coming from as far as Texas for an afternoon and evening filled with debauchery and ear-splitting metal. While AVENGED‘s set was one of the day’s many highlights, the majority of the 15,000 fans were there for the same reason: OZZY OSBOURNE, the festival’s unstoppable namesake.

Ozzy, who closed out the kickoff’s main stage but will be playing only half this year’s Ozzfest dates, whipped the audience into a jubilant frenzy Thursday night. Focusing on his post-BLACK SABBTH career, Ozzy pleased the crowd with “I Don’t Know,” “Goodbye to Romance,” “Suicide Solution” and “Mama, I’m Coming Home.”

Of course, it wouldn’t have been an Ozzy show without songs like “Crazy Train” and the set’s closer, “Paranoid.” But in the end, fans were pleased that the singer not only showed with guitarist Zakk Wylde shredding away but finished what he started. When Ozzfest rolled through town last year, he stormed off the stage when his voice went out, abandoning his BLACK SABBATH bandmates. Ozzy was in fine form Thursday, though. He delivered an energetic performance and his voice sounded stronger than it has in years.

Of course, Ozzy wasn’t the main stage’s sole attraction. Following AVENGED, DISTURBED mounted the stage for what ended up being one of the night’s more commanding sets.

Frontman David Draiman, with his crisp, potent voice, directed fans to thrust their fists above their heads, in effect re-creating the cover of the band’s latest LP, Ten Thousand Fists. At one point during DISTURBED‘s performance which was highlighted by “Liberate,” “Stricken” and the closer, “Sickness” the audience hoisted a fan strapped to a wheelchair high above their heads for a brief crowd-surf. Draiman told his stagehands to bring the fan onstage, shook his hand and wheeled him near the drum kit, where he watched, wide-eyed, as DISTURBED continued to instigate the more-than-willing circle-pit moshers who raged in the arena’s general-admission area.

Ozzfest vets SYSTEM OF A DOWN, who’ll be going on an indefinite hiatus following Ozzfest, arrived Wednesday on separate buses. They were the show’s most distracting performers or maybe the most distracted.

At first, through the opening track “Soldier’s Song” and the next four that followed including “B.Y.O.B.” guitarist Daron Malakian seemed to be struggling to keep up with the rest of the band and improvising lyrics when it was his turn to bark into the microphone. None of that mattered to the rabid crowd, though, which leaped, bounced and clawed its way through the pit.

During “B.Y.O.B.,” Malakian rethought the lyric, “We don’t live in a fascist nation,” by quickly muttering, “Yes, we do.” Some fans, well aware of the band’s post-Ozzfest plans, raised an eyebrow or two when, during “Lonely Day,” Malakian turned and looked at frontman Serj Tankian as he sang, “Such a lonely day, hanging out with the band/ This mother—-er, I can’t stand.”

SYSTEM appeared bored at the beginning of the set, but by the end, they worked the crowd into an abusive mob of fist-pumping fanatics with “Sugar” and other songs. Tankian danced around goofily with his eyes closed through “Hypnotize” while Malakian mounted his guitar.

Long before AVENGED even left their dressing rooms, Italian metallers LACUNA COIL led the Ozzfest faithful through a 30-minute set, which included a cover of DEPECHE MODE‘s “Enjoy the Silence” and ended with “Our Truth.” England’s DRAGONFORCE, Ozzfest first-timers, played a frantic, high-energy set that ended with “Through the Fire and Flames” and was followed by dozens of kids sprinting for the merch stands to buy the band’s shirts.

HATEBREED, making their mainstage debut following a stint two years ago on the second stage, did what they always do: inspire utter mayhem. Singer Jamey Jasta growled at the audience through “Tear It Down” and then calmly asked fans to take a few steps back during “To the Threshold,” as several people had become pinned against the metal barricade separating the pit from the stage. By the finale, “I Will Be Heard,” the barricade had buckled, eating into AVENGED‘s time as security crews worked to amend the situation.

As usual, this year’s Ozzfest began at the ungodly hour of 9 a.m., with the always-spastic BAD ACID TRIP kicking off the dingy second stage. Following A LIFE ONCE LOST‘s crippling cache of metal mischief, it was ALL THAT REMAINS‘ turn to pound the audience into submission. Led by frontman Phil Labonte, who ran from one side of the stage to the other, the Massachusetts metallers ripped through tracks including “Tattered on My Sleeve.” After demanding the audience mosh, pogo or just wake up, during the finale, Labonte jumped into the crowd a violation of the Ozzfest mandate and fed the microphone to adoring fans who belched out the lyrics.

“Are you ready for some fast, brutal sh–?,” asked THE RED CHORD‘s Guy Kozowyk, who, despite suffering from a nasty case of bronchitis he’s failed to kick after 10 days of antibiotics, delivered one of the day’s most severe and intense sets. He stared maniacally at the audience as it tore itself apart during “Love on the Concrete” and smiled at the pit, from which sneakers flew one after the next. Kozowyk screamed his lungs out and eventually his breakfast too, as he rushed off the stage following the set and threw up near his band’s bus.

STRAPPING YOUNG LAD rolled out “You Suck,” the first single from the technical Canadian group’s forthcoming album, The New BlackSTRAPPING abused their instruments for five songs before eventually ending with “Detox,” after which frontman Devin Townsend instructed the audience to “Go right to the merch stand and buy all our sh–.” He does, after all, have a baby on the way.

Later on, following a performance by WALLS OF JERICHO, FULL BLOWN CHAOSRay Mazzola fought back tears as he purged the lyrics to “Solemn Promise.” He told the audience he’d written the song for his mother, who has been battling cancer for more than a decade. Mazzola regained his composure and resumed barking like a pit bull into the mic.

The stage looked as though a bomb had hit it when NORMA JEAN dove into “Shotgun Messiah,” with their amps strewn, scraped up, torched and melted in various spots. The bandmembers donned torn shirts and jeans and their faces were smeared with dirt, as if they’d just climbed out of a coal mine, as they raced through their guitar-flailing set.

Following BLEEDING THROUGH‘s bone-snapping performance, the crowd slurping Sno-Cones and sporting body paint on their topless, out-of-shape frames was wall-to-wall by the time UNEARTH made their way onstage. The stage undulated as the band delivered a crushing set, highlighted by the punishing “Black Hearts Now Reign.”

ATREYU played next, and after they vacated the stage, it was time for Zakk Wylde‘s BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, a band that has become as emblematic of the fest as Ozzy himself. Wylde‘s leather-clad outfit unleashed a sludgy, whiskey-fueled onslaught of razor-sharp guitars, caustic drum work and blasting bass that lived up to the band’s reputation of rockin’ hard with no-holds-barred.

Ghoul – Line Up Rare New York City Show!

Creepsylvanian splatterthrashers GHOUL will be making a rare East Coast appearance on July 23rd when they play at Brooklyn Fireproof in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Also performing will be KILL THE CLIENT, SULACO, DEFEATIST, and others. GHOUL will be replacing BENUMB on the show, and are also expected to be replacing them at the Doom And Grind Fest on July 22nd at Bill’s Bar in Boston, MA.

Wu-Tang Clan – Summer Tour Dates Released

Hip hop legends the WU-TANG CLAN have lined up the following Summer reunion tour dates:

August 4 – San Diego, CA @ Street Scene
August 5 – Concord, CA @ Rock The Bells
August 6 – Concord, CA @ Rock The Bells
August 9 – Denver, CO @ Fillmore Auditorium
August 11 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
August 12 – Chicago, IL @ Congress Theatre
August 16 – Providence, RI @ Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel
August 17 – New York, NY @ Webster Hall
August 18 – New York, NY @ Webster Hall
August 23 – St Petersburg, FL @ Jannus Landing
August 24 – Orlando, FL @ Hard Rock Live
August 25 – Ft Lauderdale, FL @ Revolution

Incantation – Head To Spain For String of July Dates

INCANTATION will embark on a string of dates in Spain alongside Spanish death metal band IRREDEMPTION in July.

“We are looking forward to some sick shows,” said guitarist/vocalist John McEntee. “We have played Spain only two times in the past and both were great experiences with some of the craziest crowds in Europe.”

The “Decimate Spain” tour will kick off July 14th. “We want to thank Trauma Producciones, along with all the die hard Spanish death metal heads for making this tour happen,” said McEntee.

INCANTATION is currently recording its next album, Primordial Domination, which is set for a fall release on Ibex Moon Records. The trio recently completely a co-headlining tour with VITAL REAMAINS dubbed “Decades of Death.”

Decimate Spain dates are as follow:

July 14 – Murcia, SPA @ Gamma
July 15 – Almeria, SPA @ Genesis
July 16 – Madrid, SPA @ Ritmo & Compas
July 17 – Vigo, SPA @ Iguana Club
July 18 – Bilboa, SPA @ Rock Star
July 19 – Barcelona, SPA @ Mephisto
July 20 – Valencia, SPA @ Cabell Disc
July 22 – Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, SPA @ Paraninfo

Shook Ones – European Dates Released

SHOOK ONES will be hitting Europe this fall with SINKING SHIPS for a two month long tour. Dates can be seen on the band’s official Myspace page.

Necro – New York City Show Canceled – Deemed “Too Obscene” For Venue

After being banned from numerous venues throughout New York City over the years, Brooklyn based underground “death rap” legend NECRO can now add the Nokia Theatre to the list of venues he’s not welcomed at. His previously announced show that was set to take place on August 25th at the venue has now been canceled due to the venue finding him to be too obscene to perform there, even though they had already confirmed the show. An alternative New York City show is expected to be announced shortly.

To read NECRO‘s full statement on the matter, click the full story button (beware of caps).

Enforsaken – Break Up, Announce Final Show

Illinois based melodic death metallers ENFORSAKEN have posted the following statement regarding their decision to disband:

“It’s official. After 8 years of existence, we have decided to lay ENFORSAKEN  to rest. We will play our final show Saturday, August 19th in Chicago @ The Metro. This wasn’t the easiest decision to make, but in the end, we agree that ENFORSAKEN has now run it’s course. We’ve accomplished everything that we set out to do, and now it’s time to move on. We’re all very proud of our last album, Sinner’s Intuition, and feel that now is a good time to end the band.

We’ve chosen to burn out on a high note now, rather than just slowly fade into obscurity. Due to our many obligations outside the band, we cannot continue to put 100% of our time into ENFORSAKEN . We were basically kids when this band formed, and over the years, things just have to change. Whether you like it or not.  It’s as simple as that. Some bands linger on for years past their expiration date.ENFORSAKEN will not become one of those bands.

Over the past 8 years, ENFORSAKEN have left their mark on the world with cd’s released in the USA, Europe and Japan. We’ve made many friends (as well as a few enemies, haha!) It was definitely an interesting journey for all of us, and we look back at our past with absolutely no regrets. So many of you from all around the world have gotten into our music, and for us musicians playing in a band, that’s really what it’s all about. Having kids from all over the place tell you that they’ve genuinely been moved by your music is definitely a nice thing, to say the least. We’re very pleased that you enjoyed what your heard. Your constant kind words regarding ENFORSAKEN  have always been greatly apreciated. Those words were never taken for granted and were always an inspiration to us. We can truly walk away from ENFORSAKEN with our heads held high at this point.

We’d like to thank every one of our fans across the globe for their support throughout the years. You are the main reason why we stuck around for so long. Thank you. Thanks to everyone else that had a role in making ENFORSAKEN  what it is today. You know who you are.

So there it is. Not much more really needs to be said. We hope to see some of you at our last show in August. DEAD TO FALLTHE KILLER as well as a few other cool bands will be on the bill. It should definitely be a night to remember.

Thanks again. We’ll see you around…”

The Mars Volta – Feeling ‘Vicarious’ On Third Album

The following article was originally posted over at

THE MARS VOLTA returns with a fresh dose of epic rock’n’roll on its third studio album, “Amputechture.” The eight-track set is due Aug. 22 via Universal and opens with the seven-minute “Vicarious Atonement,” the closest the group has ever come to a ballad.

The album then moves back to familiar expansive musical territory on the nearly 17-minute “Tetragrammaton,” and also features two other tracks that clock in past the 11-minute mark, “Meccamputechture” and “Day of the Baphomets.” The disc itself runs more than 76 minutes in length.

In addition to contributions from RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS guitarist John Frusciante, “Amputechture” also features Paul Hinojos‘ first studio work with the MARS VOLTA since joining as a touring musician in 2005. Hinojos previously played with MARS VOLTA principals Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez in AT THE DRIVE-IN.

Amputechture” is the follow-up to 2005’s “Frances the Mute,” which debuted at a career-best No. 4 on The Billboard 200 and has sold nearly 465,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

THE MARS VOLTA will support the RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS on its upcoming North American tour, which opens Aug. 11 in Portland, Ore.

Here is the track list for “Amputechture“:

Vicarious Atonement
Asilos Magdalena
Viscera Eyes
Day of the Baphomets
El Ciervo Vulnerado

SMNnews – Advice Column Preview

As previously announced, SMNnews will soon be launching a new advice column featuring advice from Anthony West of XXX MANIAK and Ross Sewage of IMPALED. The following is a sneak preview of the stupidity that you can soon expect:

Question: “Hi I’m Derik, 17 years old, and I was wonderin if you could help me out. Alright so I was changing in my room the other day and my mom walked in on my while I wuz BUTT NAKED. Anyways, as soon as she came in I suddenly got hard, my problem is how can I not get hard like that when my mom sees me naked? It’s kinda embarrasing because it happens like once a week, please help!”

Anthony West: “Sure let me help you. Every young man has this problem with their mom, and it is nothing to be embarrassed about. Anyone who has told you they haven’t got a chubby while fantasizing once about their mom is lying. Embrace your incestuous side, who knows it probably turns her on more than it does you. Just keep it all in the family, and maybe get your sister/father in on the action as well, it will really bring your entire family unit to a whole new level. Have fun and be safe!”

If you have any questions that you need answered, and would like the brilliant advice of our two experts, send them to

Don Caballero – Damon Che Featured in Modern Drummer

Damon Che, founder and drummer for seminal instrumental band DON CABALLERO, is featured in the August ‘06 issue of Modern Drummer magazine. The feature marks Che‘s first appearance in Modern Drummer and the issue (w/ the legendary Stewart Copeland on the cover) is available now on news-stands nationwide. A preview of Che’s feature can be viewed here.

Che’s most recent recorded work can be heard on DON CABALLERO‘s new album World Class Listening Problem. World Class Listening Problem also marks the first recorded work by the band’s new incarnation (bassist Jason Jouver, guitarists Gene Doyle and Jeff Ellsworth and Che). An e-card previewing World Class Listening Problem can be accessed here.

DON CABALLERO is currently on tour in North America in support of World Class Listening Problem and has announced a second leg that will include label-mates ZOMBI. This extended run begins on August 10th and will be sponsored by Decibel Magazine and Jakprints. A listing of tour dates can be found here with more to be announced soon.

Malignancy – Sign To Willowtip Records

Yonkers, NY based death metallers MALIGNANCY have signed to Willowtip Records. The band will record their new album, Inhuman Grotesqueries, in August.

Mucopus – Begin Pre-Production For New Album Tomorrow

Upstate New York death metallers MUCOPUS, featuring Jason Keyser of SKINLESS vocals, have posted the following update:

“We’re going into Max Trax/M Studios with engineer Brett Portzer down in Albany tomorrow to begin recording some pre-production material for the upcoming full-length due out next year. Hopefully we’ll have some samples up for you by the end of next week, as these will be the first recordings we’ll have with Jason and Vesgore.”

Nonpoint – “In The Air Tonight” Cover To Be Featured In Miami Vice

Jamie Foxx, Colin Farrell, and NONPOINT; what do these three things have in common, you ask? They will all be featured in one of the biggest movies of the summer, Miami Vice. That’s right! Twenty-two years after Phil Collins‘ legendary hit “In the Air Tonight” graced the very first episode of Miami Vice, NONPOINT‘s reinvention of the song will serve as the featured track for four time Oscar nominee Michael Mann‘s big screen adaptation of the hit TV show. NONPOINT‘s take on “In The Air Tonight” will not only be featured in the film but will also serve as the lead single from the Miami Vice soundtrack. A video for the track is set to start filming in the coming weeks with a director to be determined. Meanwhile, Miami Vice will hit theaters on July 28th with the soundtrack’s release date yet to be announced.

Transformers – Teaser Trailer Posted Online

The teaser trailer for next year’s Transformers movie, being directed by Michael Bay, has made its way online (or on YouTube).

Avenged Sevenfold – “Seize The Day” Video Posted Online

AVENGED SEVENFOLD‘s new video for the song “Seize The Day” has been posted online here. The track comes off the band’s latest album, City of Evil.

Iced Earth – Announce New Guitarist

ICED EARTH mainman Jon Schaffer has posted the following update:

“I just wanted to make a quick but significant announcement. After auditioning some very good guitar players I’ve made a decision. The man who will be handling the majority of the guitar solos on the next record as well as touring with us on “The Wicked World Tour” is an awesome player named Ernie Carletti. As has been the case in the past we may have a few guests do a solo or two on the epic that this way comes, but the majority will be handled by Ernie. He is a world class player and truly one of the best guitarists I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and hanging with. We’re going to make a good team, I’m sure. We were introduced through Bernie at Bernie Rico, Jr. Guitars who is the son of the BC Rich founder/legend Bernie Rico. If you want to see some amazing top quality hand built guitars go here and see what this master builder has been up to the last few years.

I’ll be auditioning bass players as well very soon so there will be announcements made in the not too distant future for that position.

The writing is moving along well and I’ll have a few details for you on the next post, but for now I’ve gotta run…….so much to do, so little time.”

Bob Dylan – US Tour Dates Announced

BOB DYLAN will embark on his third annual tour of US minor league baseball stadiums starting in August:

August 12 – Comstock Park, MI @ Fifth Third Ballpark
August 13 – Columbus, OH @ Cooper Stadium
August 15 – Lexington, KY @ Applebee’s Park
August 17 – Augusta, GA @ Lake Olmstead Stadium
August 18 – Winston-Salem, NC @ Ernie Shore Field
August 19 – Frederick, MD @ Harry Grove Stadium
August 20 – Washington, PA @ Falconi Field
August 23 – Reading, PA First Energy Stadium
August 24 – Pawtucket, RI @ McCoy Stadium
August 26 – Pittsfield, MA @ Wahconah Park
August 27 – Manchester, NH @ Stadium
August 29 – New Britain, CT @ New Britain Stadium
August 30 – Rochester, NY @ Frontier Field
September 1 – Wappingers Falls, NY @ Dutchess Stadium
September 2 – Cooperstown, NY @ Doubleday Field
September 3 – University Park, PA @ Medlar Field at Lubrano Park
September 5 – Fort Wayne, IN @ Memorial Stadium

According to Billboard, Dylan will be supported on the road by guitarists Jimmie Vaughan and Junior Brown, as well as Elana Janes and the CONTINENTAL TWO. As previously reported, the tour will coincide with Aug. 29 release of a new Dylan studio album, “Modern Times.”

Cancer Bats – Sign To Abacus Recordings

Toronto’s CANCER BATS have signed to Abacus Recordings. The band’s debut album, Birthing The Giant, will be released on September 5th through the label. In the meantime, you can check out the band over at their official MySpace page.

Venom, DevilDriver – Virginia Show Announced

Another date has been added to VENOM‘s highly anticipated US Summer tour with DEVILDRIVER:

August 13 – New York, NY @ Irving Plaza
August 15 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Trocadero
August 16 – Springfield, VA @ Jaxx
August 18 – Cleveland, OH @ Agora Theatre
August 20 – Chicago, IL @ House of Blues
August 22 – Denver, CO @ Ogden Theatre
August 24 – Tempe, AZ @ Marquee Theatre
August 25 – Hollywood, CA @ House of Blues
August 27 – San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore

Zao – New Live Video Online

There is a new live video of ZAO performing their track “Savannah” available for viewing at the Underground Video Television website. The footage was taken at Water Street Music Hall in Rochester, NY earlier this year. The band’s laterest release “The Fear Is What Keeps Us Here” is available now via Ferret Music.

Norma Jean – Talk About Upcoming New Album With MTV

The following article was originally posted over at

Most of the bands that have worked with master metal producer Ross Robinson (SLIPKNOT, KORN, AT THE DRIVE-IN) characterize the experience as life-changing. And for Georgia metalcore band NORMA JEAN, it was no different.

“I’d wanted to record with him for 10 years,” explained drummer Daniel Davison, who tied the knot with his longtime girlfriend three weeks ago a life-altering experience in itself. “His input and insight into the songs [that will appear on the band’s fifth LP, Redeemer, due in stores August 15] was subtle small things that gave the record a little more character. He was just the most positive and encouraging person I have ever met, and he had this way of bringing a lot out of us, emotionally, and he got the most intense sounds out of us.”

NORMA JEAN  who, on Wednesday, were rehearsing for their summer appearance on Ozzfest‘s second stage are still reeling from the Robinson experience, which began back in January. The band, which had spent most of 2005 on the road in support of its rabid O God, the Aftermath, considered the entire undertaking therapeutic, said Davison.

“We would talk about each song for, like, two hours,” he recalled. “We’d talk about the lyrics and what certain lines meant and what they meant to each of us, where certain lyrics came from, what inspired the songs. And that’s going to stick with us forever. This record just blows away anything we’ve ever done, and Ross captured all of the raw intensity of the entire recording process.”

Before Redeemer‘s release in August, of course, there’s Ozzfest, which kicked off here Thursday. NORMA JEAN are nervous about playing before some of the biggest crowds they’ve ever seen, but just because “we’ve only practiced once since we returned from the studio” earlier this month; Davison was on his honeymoon for two weeks.

“But we did play the Sounds of the Underground last year, which was a neat way to be introduced to summer festival tours it was a good primer for Ozzfest,” he noted. “I think we offer something a little different than the straight-up metal bands on the bill, so it should be awesome.”

NORMA JEAN plan to spend the rest of the year promoting the album. This fall, they’ll follow Ozzfest with a U.S. headlining trek, along with BETWEEN THE BURIED AND MEFEAR BEFORE THE MARCH OF FLAMES and two other to-be-determined openers. The first single from the 11-track LP will be “A Grand Scene for a Color Film,” but the band has no plans to shoot a video yet.

Judas Priest – Talk About Upcoming New Album With MTV

The following article was originally posted by Jon Wiederhorn over at

Some people believe he had foreseen the rise of Hitler, the Kennedy assassinations and the terror strikes of 9/11, but it’s safe to say that 16th-century French prophet Nostradamus never saw this one coming: Nearly 450 years after his death, heavy-metal icons JUDAS PRIEST are writing a concept album about the legendary soothsayer.

The bandmembers, who have been working on their ambitious undertaking for more than three months, have already written 90-plus minutes of music. After they massage the tracks into final form, add solos and write lyrics, the band will choose a co-producer and begin recording. PRIEST hope to finish the project by the end of the year in time to release it in the first quarter of 2007.

Like a Puccini opera, the piece will flow seamlessly, with no breaks between tracks, but frontman Rob Halford said clearly identifiable songs will address approximately 20 key moments in the life of the man born Michel de Nostredame. Touch-points will likely include the writing of his famous 1,000 quatrains, the death of his first wife and children from plague, his second marriage, his brief imprisonment and his death.

Nostradamus is all about metal, isn’t he?” Halford said. “He was an alchemist as well as a seer a person of extraordinary talent. He had an amazing life that was full of trial and tribulation and joy and sorrow. He’s a very human character and a world-famous individual. You can take his name and translate it into any language and everybody knows about him, and that’s important because we’re dealing with a worldwide audience.”

In addition to digging new lyrical ground for JUDAS PRIEST, the album will contain musical elements that might surprise their fans. “It’s going to have a lot of depth,” the singer explained. “There’ll be a lot of symphonic elements. We might orchestrate it, without it being overblown. There may be a massive choir at parts and keyboards will be featured more prominently, whereas they’ve always been in the background before.”

At the same time, Halford insisted the group won’t abandon its heavy roots. For every atmospheric keyboard or choral arrangement, there’ll be a headbanging passage to rattle the roof. “Essentially, PRIEST will always present ourselves as a metal band, so it will still be the band you know and love,” Halford said. “There are some monster metal riffs that could span the Grand Canyon, and we still always find it a kick to come up with something that just burns out your speakers.”

Halford discovered Nostradamus as a teenager and immediately became interested in his vague predictions and the way his followers interpreted them to pinpoint specific historical events. But it was the band’s manager, Bill Curbishley, who predicted a concept record about Nostradamus could be a magical move.

Curbishley, who had previously worked with THE WHO on their rock opera Tommy, brought his idea to PRIEST in Estonia at the end of their 2005 tour. He viewed the extravaganza as a way to follow up the tremendous buzz of their comeback album Angel of Retribution, the first PRIEST record in 14 years to feature Halford.

“He was sitting there going, ‘Well, what do the guys do next?’ and this is what he came up with,” said Halford. “The challenge of going into the studio to do a follow-up on a great studio album is immense anyway, and PRIEST are constantly trying to achieve and go one step further, so when Bill brought this up, we were all like, ‘Let’s go. Let’s do it.’ “

The yet-untitled LP will be JUDAS PRIEST ‘s first concept effort and the first release they’ll perform in its entirety on tour. Halford is convinced the material and narrative are sufficiently compelling to keep fans from missing the cavalcade of hits they’ve grown used to.

“The songs are going to be great,” he said. “If you know anything about PRIEST, you know that we’ve made the characters come to life in songs like ‘Painkiller,’ ‘The Sentinel‘ and ‘The Sinner,’ and now we’re just taking that storytelling side of PRIEST that people love and cherish and putting all into a single project so it all comes to life in one dimension.”

While they haven’t yet worked out the details, JUDAS PRIEST plan to deliver their Nostradamus saga in a theatrical environment complete with intricate stage sets, special effects and possibly live actors. “We’ll use the great things you see in Vegas and that are going in theater and put that into PRIEST along with pyro and everything else,” Halford said.

“It will be like a heavy-metal ‘Phantom of the Opera‘ a nonstop flow of great music, and I’ll be doing more costume changes than Cher.”

Marilyn Manson – Wants Johnny Depp In New Movie

The following article was originally posted by Larry Carroll over at

Marilyn Manson is one weird dude but if you didn’t already know that, well, you haven’t been paying attention.

“Do these glasses make my butt look fat?” he joked last weekend as he made a rare appearance at, of all places, Disneyland. “I really want a pirate hat.”

Longtime pal and part-time pirate Johnny Depp could likely fulfill that request for Manson, who was walking the red carpet at the premiere of Depp‘s “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.” As the aspiring filmmaker later revealed, however, he wanted more from Depp than just a black felt chapeau.

“In less than two weeks, I’m going to France to start production on my film, ‘Phantasmagoria,’ ” Manson said from behind his enormous shades. “And maybe I’ll convince Johnny to be in it I’ll extort him to be in it.”

Adding, “I don’t pressure him,” Manson was as sincere about pitching his dream project to Depp as he was while discussing their lengthy friendship. “[British fashion designer] John Galliano said I was one of the true great pirates, and I told Johnny that,” Manson laughed. “So it’s like me, Johnny and Cap’n Crunch. I have hung out with Jack Sparrow, because Johnny is Jack Sparrow. We drink absinthe; that’s what we do.”

So over a few glasses of heaven-knows-what, Manson planned to talk Depp into joining several other recently cast stars. “I’m directing and playing [‘Alice in Wonderland‘ author] Lewis Carroll, with Tilda Swinton and hopefully Evan Rachel Wood. Lily Cole, the model, is playing Alice.”

Manson has appeared in small roles previously in films like “Lost Highway” and “Party Monster,” but this film its full title is “Phantasmagoria: The Visions of Lewis Carroll” would mark his biggest role yet and his first attempt at a Rob Zombie-like career as a film director. “It’s about the period in his life where there was a real split,” Manson said of the script, which he wrote alongside producer Geoffrey Cox. “It’s a very Jekyll-and-Hyde sort of story. It’s based on his diaries, and it’s all very factual.”

When asked about his directorial style, Manson cited the atmospheric directors behind the unsettling classics “Rosemary’s Baby” and “The Seventh Seal.” “I’m a big fan of [Roman] Polanski and of Ingmar Bergman, and I wouldn’t say it will be like a modern horror film,” the rocker insisted. “It wouldn’t be like what people are used to seeing today. But I think by being traditional, sometimes like a Hitchcock, it’s almost modern, because people are so used to seeing special effects.”

Such a statement may make Manson seem less like the weird dude he so eagerly aspires to be. What he had to say next, however, seems certain to get some Hollywood suits scratching their heads. “I have a magician that I’ve hired to do my special effects,” Manson grinned. “I don’t want any CGI. I want only in-camera, so I have a magician who’s my special-effects man.”

Manson insisted: “I just want to be unconventional by being traditional.”

Misogyny – Two More New Songs Posted Online

MISOGYNY, featuring Uffe Nylin of STABWOUND on vocals, have uploaded another two new songs to their official MySpace page.

Converge – New Album Titled Revealed

CONVERGE have revealed that their upcoming new album will be titled “No Heroes.” The band gave the following explanation:

“These days cowards outnumber the heroes, and the begging souls outweigh the calloused hands of the hardest of workers. Both in life and in art, the lack of passion is sickening and the lust for complacency is poisonous. This album is the artistic antithesis of that sinking world, a thorn in the side of their beast. It’s for those who move mountains, one day at a time. It’s for those who truly understand sacrifice…In our world of enemies, we will walk alone…”

The album is currently in the mixing stages of recording. More news on will be posted when it is available. Look for CONVERGE to begin playing songs from No Heroes on their select SOTU dates.