Helloween Shares New Single and Lyric Video – “Fear Of The Fallen”


Fotograf, Photographer, Los Angeles, Hollywood, Heidelberg

Helloween has shared their second single from their upcoming new self-titled album, due out June 18th via Nuclear Blast! You can listen to “Fear Of The Fallen” at the link below! The current lineup of Helloween is the “Pumpkins United” group featuring Andi Deris, Michael Kiske, Michael Weikath, Kai Hansen, Markus Grosskopf, Sascha Gerstner and Dani Löble. Watch the clip now and pre-order the album below!

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Helloween Shares Their New Single and Video for “Skyfall”


Fotograf, Photographer, Los Angeles, Hollywood, Heidelberg

Helloween has shared the first single and video from their upcoming new album, Helloween, due out on June 18th via Nuclear Blast Records. “Skyfall” is out now and features with the current lineup of Andi Deris, Michael Kiske, Michael Weikath, Kai Hansen, Markus Grosskopf, Sascha Gerstner, and Dani Löble, the Pumpkins United World Tour lineup. Pre-orders are also live at the links below!

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Helloween Announces New Album, Teases New Single


Fotograf, Photographer, Los Angeles, Hollywood, Heidelberg

Helloween has announced they will release a new album, Helloween, due out on June 18th via Nuclear Blast Records. and the first single, “Skyfall” is due out on April 2nd, 2021. 35 years in the making and with the current lineup of Andi Deris, Michael Kiske, Michael Weikath, Kai Hansen, Markus Grosskopf, Sascha Gerstner, and Dani Löble, the Pumpkins United World Tour lineup, they are as excited as the fans are for new Helloween songs! Watch the teaser trailer here:

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ALBUM REVIEW: Ensiferum – Thalassic – Metal Blade Records


Concentrating on a specific thematic concept for the first time, Thalassic (Metal Blade), the eighth full-length release by Finnish folk metallers Ensiferum, finds the band obsessing over – as the Greek translation suggests – the subject of things related to the sea.Continue reading


Helloween Announces The First Pumpkin United Tour Dates


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Helloween recently announced that they will be rejoined by vocalist Michael Kiske and guitarist Kai Hansen for a world tour in 2017 and 2018. Continue reading


Queensrÿche – Condition Hüman


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Elephants in the room exposed, monkeys off their backs with legal issues cast aside and now sole owners of the rights to the name and catalogue of Queensrÿche, the band who produced the greatest album to originate from Seattle can now leave their manure-filled zoo of shite behind. With Todd La Torre firmly ensconced in their ranks, and contributing fully to the writing of the bands fifteenth album, Condition Hüman (Century Media), the opportunity is there for the real Queensrÿche to stand back up.

Having promised a return to their more progressive metal-tinged leanings, an introductory dual guitar lick references their early traditional metal outputs before we embark on album that displays every element of trademark Queensrÿche that you could wish for. Condition Hüman is a mature album, at times reminiscent of Parallels (Metal Blade) from former tour buddies Fates Warning, happy to reference the foibles and distinctive nodes of yesteryear while still firmly holding its place in where the band is now. There are the expected gallops, ‘All There Was’ and ‘Guardian’ could be out-takes from the Operation Mindcrime (EMI) sessions, but in the main, here lies a series of intelligent rock/metal songs proudly reflecting a band that is once again able to produce the music that people expect from them and are more than happy to oblige.

That’s not to say this is an album without heaviness – ‘Hourglass’ builds from a dark, stabbed beginning to a spiralling (reference intended) epic, while ‘Eye9’ could be the rÿche polish applied to a long-lost jam session for the new Tool album – but it’s used sparingly, intelligently, with progressive and cerebral rock the order of the day. La Torre is the ideal frontman, sounding effortlessly like the ousted Geoff Tate, with hints of Michael Kiske, a flawless voice that is indisputably Queensrÿche, adopting some of the idiosyncrasies of his predecessor for that added touch.

Condition Hüman fits seamlessly into the Queensrÿche canon, a natural evolution from, and improvement on, its’ self-titled predecessor, almost as if their discography actually runs Empire (EMI) to Queensrÿche to Condition Hüman and the intervening twenty-three years be damned. Ignore side-show circuses, ignore the flaccid projects of “formerly of…” members, and ignore the memory of experiments and failures; Condition Hüman is a confident and telling step forward in restoring the legacy of a once great band.

The Queen of the Rÿche has seen off the usurper, and now proudly surveys her domain once more.

 

8.0/10

STEVE TOVEY


Kiske/Somerville – City of Heroes


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Some elements of life naturally appeal to our various senses; like the aroma of bacon in our nostrils or like a striking sunset in our vision, so Michael Kiske’s warm, velvety optimistic tones are an aural hot chocolate to our ears. It’s hard to hear his voice, whether it be over a racing Metal speedster or a lush acoustic ballad, and not feel some kind of affirming action has taken place. If Kiske and Devin Townsend were to record together, negativity as we know it would be evacuated from this ball of rock.

Kiske/Somerville is a bit of an unusual but oh-so-grin inducing proposition that is rock, Jim, but not as we know it, with its origins almost Simon Cowellesque. Basically Frontier Records have employed Mat Sinner (Sinner, natch, and Primal Fear) to write a bunch of songs for two people who are quite capable of writing their own, and who have been paired up to record together for the second time (Sinner also penning the self-titled debut of 2010).

Since his banishment from Helloween Kiske, the greatest and most distinctive voice in Euro Metal, has nomadically wandered from project to project, including various solo albums, a reoccurring lead cast role in the theatre of Avantasia and (finally) his own heavier project Unisonic. Meanwhile Amanda Somerville has appeared with the glitterati of the Power Metal world in Kamelot, Edguy, Avantasia, and After Forever.

And, perhaps due to the oddity of the nature of its creation, in the main, it works. Most enjoyably, too. While the majority of the music beneath is uptempo Hard Rock (of the tinged by Power and Classic Metal variety), above the surface soar unconstrained, with unrefined joy clearly displayed, the twin voices of our protagonists, usually by means of call and answer; a verse for he, a verse for she, and a chorus where they meet to continue their tales of love.

While the backing music may, like the dodgiest of petrol gauges, swing from average to bloody good, and it all sits very comfortably in the type of garden we are well acquainted with, surprises are, well, nil. City Of Heroes, though, does what too few albums do and, like boobs in the hands, makes us feel good about ourselves.

 

7.0/10

Kiske / Somerville on Facebook

Michael Kiske on Facebook

Amanda Somerville on Facebook

STEVE TOVEY


System of a Down, Slipknot, Faith No More Confirmed For Rock In Rio 2015


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The Brazilian edition of Rock In Rio has updated its schedule of confirmed acts to perform. The event is held September 18-27, 2015 at The New City of Rock in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. A partial schedule of the heavier acts have been confirmed.

September 18, 2015

Palco Mundo:

Queen
One Republic
The Script
(more bands to be confirmed)

September 19, 2015

Palco Mundo:

Metallica
Motley Crue
Royal Blood
Gojira

Palco Sunset:

Korn
Ministry + Burton C Bell (of Fear Factory)
Angra + Doro Pesch + Dee Snider
Nocterall + Michael Kiske (ex-Helloween)

September 24, 2015

Palco Sunset:

System of a Down
Queens of the Stone Age
Hollywood Vampires (featuring Alice Cooper, Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Paul McCartney and Johnny Depp)
CPM 22

Palco Sunset:

Deftones
Lamb of God
Halestorm + Convidado
Project 46 + John Wayne

September 25, 2015

Palco Sunset:

Slipknot
Faith No More
Mastodon
De La Tierra

Palco Sunset:

Steve Vai + Camerata Florianopolis
Nightwish + Jukka Nevalainen
Moonspell + Derrick Green
Classicos Do Terror


Serious Black – As Daylight Breaks


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Well, that’s shut me well and truly the fuck up

(You wish…)

It’s apt to begin a commentary on a release from one ex-Helloween guitarist (Roland Grapow) with reference to the man he succeeded in the pumpkin-obsessed kings of Power Metal, one Kai Hansen, who titled the third Gamma Ray album Insanity & Genius (Noise) and referenced in the lyrics how thin the line between the two is. Well, the line between generic and uninteresting pap and Power Metal Glory is even thinner, perhaps as thin as the hair-line on Herr Hansen’s fivehead these days. But with As Daylight Breaks (Nuclear Blast) Serious Black (contenders for best new band name – certainly best Harry Potter themed one) have released a debut that is so far over the line on the side of quality, the line is a dot to them (answers on a postcard if you get that reference).

Having written off Power Metal in my mind as a genre that, no matter how well its composite parts could be put together, was done, creatively redundant and in the type of artistic morass that Death Metal found itself in for twenty years, nevertheless, like the child poking the disembowelled frog with a stick and hoping for some twitch or reaction, with morbid curiosity I find myself drawn to it. See, when Power Metal is on it, there’s very little better for invigorating the mind and soul. And Grapow’s latest offering slapped me round the chops, leaving me with a fiendish grin, a rediscovered enthusiasm for the genre and a frog named Lazarus.

The brainchild of Grapow and former Visions of Atlantis bassist Mario Lochert, with the rhythm section rounded out by former Blind Guardian tub thumper Thomen Stauch, Serious Black absolutely nail everything that is joyous about Power Metal infused hard rock, from the driving opening pair of ‘I Seek No Other Life’ and the simply massive ‘High And Low’ through to the theatre-y and slightly camp closing ‘Older and Wiser’.

The band is led by the underrated and under-celebrated vocal talents of former Tad Morose pipes, Urban breed who avoids being one of a million Kiske-clean wannabes by injecting power and tone; at times channelling Jon Oliva, particularly on the keys led title-track, at others Mike Howe (Metal Church), and able to carry a faster verse alongside the ubiquitous sizeable choruses.

Musically, you can bandy about names such as Kamelot (‘Akhenation’), Within Temptation (the uptempo rock romp of ‘Trail of Murder’), Savatage, Stratovarius, and Sonata Arctica if you like; there definite elements of Blind Guardian and Helloween, and that’s absolutely fine, as Serious Black sit as a kind of summation of all that “is” from the polished end of Power Metal.

As Daylight Breaks benefits from a great, full, vibrant production and above all exudes the sensation of a band really enjoying their work. As they rightly should. I once incorrectly tagged Grapow as a Janick Gers figure who had ruined one of my favourite bands. He well and truly proved me wrong – I even quite like Pink Bubbles Go Ape now, and I’m one of the few people on the planet who love Chameleon (both EMI) – and with Serious Black he’s done it again, proving as Edguy did with last years’ Space Police (Nuclear Blast) that, when done well, Power Metal can be fulfilling rompy-pompy.

7.5/10

Serious Black on Facebook

STEVE TOVEY