14-07-10

PEARL JAM

PEARL JAM reportedly told a crowd at a music festival in Portugal over the weekend that the band has played its "last gig" for a long time, according to NME.com. During the Optimus Alive! 10 event in Lisbon on Sunday night (July 11), singer Eddie Vedder read a few words off a sheet of paper in Portuguese in which he said, "Thank you for coming to our last show. Not our last ever, but our last in a long time."

The band played the rest of its 24-song set without Vedder saying anything further about the hiatus.

The festival concluded a run of European dates for the veteran Seattle band, which was preceded by a lengthy stretch of North American concerts in support of their ninth album, "Backspacer".

PEARL JAM drummer Matt Cameron will join his original band, SOUNDGARDEN, for a reunion show at next month's Lollapalooza festival in Chicago, with more shows expected to be confirmed.

PEARL JAM guitarist Stone Gossard's band BRAD is releasing a new album, called "Best Friends?", on August 10.

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13-07-10

THERION / DIMMU BORGIR

Swedish progressive/experimental metallers THERION have confirmed that their split with vocalist Snowy Shaw (real name: Tommie Helgesson; DREAM EVIL, KING DIAMOND, MERCYFUL FATE, MEMENTO MORI, NOTRE DAME) was caused by his decision to join "another big band" — rumored to be the Norwegian symphonic black metal act DIMMU BORGIR  as a bass player.

"We are sad to confirm that Snowy Shaw has suddenly decided to not do any of the upcoming shows with THERION," THERION said in a statement. "This decision took us by surprise, because, up to now, we have had a great collaboration. The reason is simply that he has been working on an album with another big band (as a bass player — that came as a surprise, too!), who have now offered him a deal he felt he could not refuse. We don't think this is a good decision, but accept the situation and wish him good luck.

"We realize many will miss Snowy, who did a great job during the more theatrical direction THERION took during the 'Gothic Kabbalah' era (as well as on the coming album, 'Sitra Ahra'). Like all the other close guest collaborators in the history of the band (Mats Levén, Andy 'the bald guy' Engberg, Karin Fjellander, Sara Jezebel Deva, Martina Hornbacher, Dan Swanö...) he contributed with something unique and put his mark on the ongoing THERION development. And just like the choice of Mats Levén was questioned in the beginning, (for being too rock n roll for THERION) and later became a beloved part of the bands identity at the time, Snowy also made the journey from being regarded as a somewhat odd choice to becoming a popular character in the THERION show. This vacancy, however, gives us an opportunity to yet again take a different direction.

"We are right now in the process of creating the new production that will be used for the 'Sitra Ahra' world tour, and we have some thrilling options to choose from.

"As always, THERION will deliver something unique and challenging that will turn the water of the sceptics into the wine of a classic setup. Stay tuned!"

Shaw announced his departure from THERION on July 7 after four years, two studio albums, live DVDs and numerous tours around the world.

"I've had a terrific and great time touring and working with THERION and I do wish them nothing but the best in the future, but I've felt for some time that it's time for me to move on," Snowy told in a statement. "I also wanna take the opportunity to show my gratitude and thank all the loyal fans for their support, love and understanding."

Shaw — who has previously toured and/or recorded with DREAM EVIL, KING DIAMOND, MERCYFUL FATE, MEMENTO MORI and NOTRE DAME, among other acts — was forced to sit out last weekend's show with THERION at the Rockharz festival in Germany due to sickness. This would have been Snowy's last appearance with the band.

Snowy has written and co-written songs for the forthcoming THERION album, "Sitra Ahra", which is scheduled for release in September through Nuclear Blast Records.

Shaw's departure from THERION will not affect the group's upcoming live appearances, as singer Thomas Vikström handled Snowy's parts at the Rockharz festival and will do the same on the upcoming tours in South/Central America, Mexico and Europe.

As a graphic designer and artist, Snowy was hired to oversee the visual aspects and help improve THERION's stage act and performance for the "Gothic Kabbalah" world tour 2007 and the band's 20th-anniversary tour.

Snowy is believed to have joined DIMMU BORGIR as the replacement for bassist/clean vocalist ICS Vortex (real name: Simen Hestnæs) for the band's upcoming album, "Abrahadabra", and world tour.

Shaw told  on July 8 that his rumored collaboration with DIMMU BORGIR was nothing more than a "false and unfounded rumor, without any substance."

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10-07-10

DIMMU BORGIR

Norwegian symphonic black metallers DIMMU BORGIR have set "Abrahadabra" as the title of their ninth studio album, which will be released in Germany on September 24, in the rest of Europe on September 27, and in North America on October 12 via Nuclear Blast Records.

The word "abrahadabra" (which roughly translates into "I will create as I speak") first publicly appeared in Chapter III of "Liber AL vel Legis" (commonly referred to as "The Book of the Law") written by Aleister Crowley in Cairo, Egypt in 1904.

DIMMU BORGIR singer/songwriter Shagrath shares the following about the new album: "After eleven months of total focus, dedication and professional team work, Darkness has been reborn. Some people have expressed their concern about the future of the band since the departure of some members of the clan. Let me assure you that things happen for a reason. The black flame burns brighter than ever before. With the mixture of our different musical preferences and the personalities involved, I will dare to say we have created a BEAST, the most detailed work to date out of our 17 years of existence. I know it's too much of a cliché to brag when you have a done a new album, but to put it short and simple, it's a fist in the face to all the doubters out there. Forward – Onward – March… ENTER THE SUPREME UNKNOWN."

For the second time in the band's career (i.e. 1996's "Stormblåst"), a one-word album title breaks the tradition of a three-word album title for a new studio release dating back to DIMMU BORGIR's 1994 debut, "For All Tid".

Guitarist/songwriter Silenoz has this to say on the topic: "We knew there would be some big changes with this album in more than one way and since we've had the three-word-title tradition for many years now, we thought it'd make a lot of sense for us to move on from that. It has served its purpose. We are a band that's all about change and moving forward. An album title consisting of one word goes hand-in-hand with the new material — it describes both the musical and lyrical content in a more imaginary way, not to mention the unity and the everlasting flame which is DIMMU BORGIR. Expect the unexpected!"

When asked about the central figure in the artwork and who/what he's supposed to represent, artist Joachim Luetke responds: "I think that's obvious. Since the whole 'setting' is located in an icy, bleak, winter-y, post-industrial era, we're pretty close to H.P. Lovecraft's nameless elder gods. They're represented by the mask's tentacles. In short: the mask/face personifies dominion of powers far beyond mankind. The nameless gods witnessed the birth of our universe and they'll watch it implode. To them, the age of mankind is but a blink of an eye."

In early June, DIMMU BORGIR announced its collaboration with Norwegian composer and Berklee College of Music summa cum laude alumnus Gaute Storaas in addition to the 51 members of KORK (the Norwegian Radio Orchestra) and the 38-member Schola Cantorum Choir. To date, over 101 musicians have contributed to the making of the new CD.

Composer Gaute Storaas has said of DIMMU BORGIR: "Their music is epic, thematic and symphonic already from the creation; they are clearly having an orchestral approach to composing."

Luetke's artwork and layout art also graced two other DIMMU BORGIR albums: 2003's "Death Cult Armageddon", which has sold 130,000 copies in the U.S. (according to Nielsen SoundScan) and debuted at No. 7 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart, No. 10 on the Top Independent Albums chart, and No. 170 on The Billboard 200 chart; and 2007's "In Sorte Diaboli", which has sold over 75,000 copies in the U.S. (according to Nielsen SoundScan) and debuted at No. 2 on Billboard's Top Independent Albums chart and at No. 43 on The Billboard 200 chart.



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OZZY OSBOURNE

Legendary heavy metal singer Ozzy Osbourne took part in a signing session on Thursday (July 8) at the Media Markt Alexa shopping center in Berlin, Germany. Watch video footage of his appearance below.

Ozzy revealed in a new interview with Guitar World that alcohol was the reason he had to part company with longtime guitarist Zakk Wylde. The singer admitted that it was difficult to stay sober around someone who drank so heavily. Ozzy explained, "Zakk came in at the beginning of the new (record), but he was still drinking. When you're drunk and somebody else is drinking, it's OK, but when you're sober and somebody's blabbering away in your ear, it ain't."

Ozzy added, "I love his playing; he's one of the greats. But it was the drink getting the better of him. I couldn't watch him die. In one sick respect, it was good for me to see, because that's what I was like, and worse. Believe me, if I started drinking now you'd think, 'I've got to get out of here.' That's how I felt around Zakk toward the end."

Ozzy, who hasn't had a drink since 2007, says he heard that Wylde himself is now sober as well. He also insists the two are still friends, saying, "We're like family."

Wylde's replacement in Ozzy's band is Greek axeman Gus G., and Ozzy admitted to The Pulse of Radio that playing guitar in his band is a high-pressure gig. "Whoever stands in the shoes of another guitar player that's played with me has got a lot to achieve, you know," he said. "And no matter what I say to them, you know — Zakk was the new guy once, and Randy (Rhoads) was the new guy once, and Jake E. Lee was the new guy — it's got to be the hardest gig in the world after all them guys I've had, from Tony Iommi onwards, you know. I mean, the guitar players I've worked with in my career have been unbelievable, you know."

Ozzy plans to tour extensively behind "Scream", starting with six Ozzfest dates in late August.


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IMMORTAL

Norwegian black metallers IMMORTAL will release a concert DVD, "The Seventh Date Of Blashyrkh", on August 6 via Nuclear Blast. The disc will include professionally filmed video footage of the band's headlining performance at the 2007 edition of the Wacken Open Air festival, which was held August 2-4, 2007 in Wacken, Germany.

A trailer for the DVD can be viewed below.

In a recent interview with About.com, IMMORTAL's Demonaz stated about the progress of the songwriting sessions for the follow-up to last year's "All Shall Fall", "We already have three songs for the next album. We'll be working on the album this year. And we have material for a lot of other songs, so maybe in August we'll be finished with half the album. But we haven't come so far that I can see the end of the album."

He continued, "I think we'll try to work with the songs and make them classic IMMORTAL songs.

"The next album will be different than 'All Shall Fall'. I think the songs will come off as one package.

"Every album is different for us, but we won't try too many new things. We'll stick to the plan and make the music we like.

"Don't expect something revolutionary. (laughs)"

"All Shall Fall" sold around 3,300 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 162 on The Billboard 200 chart. The CD landed at No. 7 on the Top New Artist Albums (Heatseekers) chart, which lists the best-selling albums by new and developing artists, defined as those who have never appeared in the Top 100 of The Billboard 200.

"All Shall Fall" entered the German chart at position No. 33 and Finnish chart at No. 20. In the band's home country, the CD landed at No. 23 in its opening week.

"All Shall Fall" was released in North America on October 6, 2009 via Nuclear Blast Records. The CD, which was issued in Europe on September 25, 2009, was recorded at Grieghallen and Abyss studios in Norway and Sweden, respectively.

The "Blashyrkh Limited Edition Bag" version of "All Shall Fall" includes:

* Digipak version of "All Shall Fall"
* Logo t-shirt (size of your choice)
* Abbath's replica battle axe in the form of a stainless steel pendant
* Four buttons
* Double-sided poster
* Special black IMMORTAL plastic bag

"All Shall Fall" was also made available in the following formats:

* Standard jewelcase CD
* Limited-edition digipack
* Limited-edition 180g vinyl
* Limited-edition picture disc
* Limited-edition box, only available through Nuclear Blast webshop.

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09-07-10

DIMMU BORGIR

Norwegian symphonic black metallers DIMMU BORGIR are rumored to have tapped Swedish multi-instrumentalist Snowy Shaw (real name: Tommie Helgesson; THERION, DREAM EVIL, KING DIAMOND, MERCYFUL FATE, MEMENTO MORI, NOTRE DAME) to replace bassist/clean vocalist ICS Vortex (real name: Simen Hestnæs) on the band's upcoming album and world tour.

**UPDATE**: Snowy told earlier today that his rumored collaboration with DIMMU BORGIR is nothing more than a "false and unfounded rumor, without any substance."

Shaw (pictured below) announced yesterday that he was quitting his post as vocalist for Swedish progressive/experimental metallers THERION after four years, two studio albums, live DVDs and numerous tours around the world.

ICS Vortex and keyboardist Mustis (real name: Øyvind Mustaparta) were fired from DIMMU BORGIR in August 2009. The remaining members of the band issued a statement at the time downplaying the impact that ICS Vortex and Mustis' departures would have on the sound of DIMMU BORGIR's next album, insisting that "the creative force in the band is highly intact, perhaps even more so than ever."

In early June, DIMMU BORGIR announced its collaboration with Norwegian composer and Berklee College of Music summa cum laude alumnus Gaute Storaas in addition to the 51 members of KORK (the Norwegian Radio Orchestra) and the 38-member Schola Cantorum Choir. To date, over 101 musicians have contributed to the making of the band's ninth studio album, which will be released in Germany on September 24, in the rest of Europe on September 27, and in North America on October 12 via Nuclear Blast Records.

Composer Gaute Storaas has said of DIMMU BORGIR: "Their music is epic, thematic and symphonic already from the creation; they are clearly having an orchestral approach to composing."

The cover artwork for the new DIMMU BORGIR album was created by Joachim Luetke (ARCH ENEMY, KREATOR, SOPOR AETERNUS), the German artist / painter / graphic designer who studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, Austria. Luetke's artwork and layout art also gracea two other DIMMU BORGIR albums: 2003's "Death Cult Armageddon", which has sold 130,000 copies in the U.S. (according to Nielsen SoundScan) and debuted at No. 7 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart, No. 10 on the Top Independent Albums chart, and No. 170 on The Billboard 200 chart; and 2007's "In Sorte Diaboli", which has sold over 75,000 copies in the U.S. (according to Nielsen SoundScan) and debuted at No. 2 on Billboard's Top Independent Albums chart and at No. 43 on The Billboard 200 chart.

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07-07-10

VOLBEAT

Metalhead.ro conducted an interview with singer/guitarist Michael Poulsen of Danish metal rock 'n' rollers VOLBEAT on June 25, 2010 at the Sonisphere festival in Bucharest, Romania. Watch the chat below.

VOLBEAT will release its fourth studio album, "Beyond Hell/Above Heaven", in Germany on September 10 and in most parts of Europe on September 13 by Vertigo/Universal. The CD was once again recorded at Hansen Studios in Ribe, Denmark with producer Jacob Hansen.

Regarding the title of VOLBEAT's new album, Poulsen previously stated, "The title refers to the overall theme of the album, and it continues the storyline from where [the last VOLBEAT CD] 'Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood' left off…"

VOLBEAT is "very excited" about the new material, "carrying the songs into both extreme metallic territory, punk variations and some very catchy stuff at the same time," according to a posting on the band's web site. In addition, fans can expect to hear various guest musicians on the CD.

Added Poulsen: "We have fast, slow and mid-tempo songs. We still blend different styles of punk, rock 'n' roll, rockabilly, metal, heavy metal, thrash metal, country — we still keep it very open, it's just music! I cannot say too much about it right now, but we're really excited about it and it's going to be very, very cool. Again, we're going to give people something they haven't heard before. We always try to do something special and different on each and every album."

"Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood", the third studio album from VOLBEAT, received a U.S. release in March 2009 via Mascot Records.

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