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Strictly Metal (Vol.9)

News this week:

Where do we begin?? Well, it’s been another fortnight of huge announcements in terms of the upcoming summer festival season. Andy Copping and Download Festival had many a metal fan throwing their horns in the air last Wednesday with another 14 bands being added to the already impressive looking lineup. The fucking awesome Megadeth will return to Donington just one year after gracing the Knebworth stage with the Big 4 of thrash and joining them include the mighty Slash with Alter Bridge’s Myles Kennedy, the epic Steel Panther, industrial legends Fear Factory and Periphery.

Hell yeah! The lack of confirmed acts for this year’s Sonisphere continues to be something of a hot topic of discussion. Well, I don’t how this bit of news is going to fare but here we go. The word on the street right now is that Queen and Faith No More will be the first acts to be announced. Yep according to a naughty ‘leak’ courtesy of Universal, the remaining members of Queen will reunite and will tour Europe (with Adam Lambert on vocal duties) before headlining the UK leg of the festival in August.

Just in case you don’t know, Adam Lambert was a finalist on American Idol back in 2009 who obviously made quite the impression on Brian May et al. Sorry folks, I am undoubtedly about to upset people here but, to quote a friend of mine, why oh WHY are Queen pissing all over their legacy here?? Adam fucking Lambert? Come on! Granted he’s a pretty boy (think Jared Leto from 30STM and you’ve got the picture) and has a half decent voice. But there must be hundreds of credible vocalists (who didn’t find fame on some hideous commercial commodity which lines Simon Cowell’s back pocket) who would rape and pillage for an opportunity like this.

This appearance would be in the same setting as Freddie Mercury’s final gig with Queen before his tragic passing in ’86. So it’s a pretty bloody big deal. However, there is now talk of Lambert coming out (no pun intended there) and denying the whole story- oh the drama!

If this “will they, won’t they?” malarkey is too much for you or you are a more discerning punter who likes your coffee black (just like your metal) then how about a trip overseas for Hellfest. The lineup has now been finalised and it is a musical beast of the highest order. Brace yourselves. Guns ‘n’ Roses, Megadeth, Machine Head, Motley Crue, Ihsahn, Behemoth, Satyricon, Obituary, Entombed and Biohazard are just a handful of fine acts who will be laying waste to Clisson this June. Holy mother, it’s almost enough to make you consider emigrating to France.

In the same week, the mighty Bloodstock continues to vye for festival of the year by adding power metallers Iced Earth AND Brazil’s favourite thrash pioneers Sepultura to its already biblical lineup. Oh and did we mention they are also UK festival exclusives?

Now to a subject that left a slightly bitter taste in many a mouth. The Bill Ward affair. Bill recently posted on his blog that the upcoming Black Sabbath reunion is uncertain due to “unsignable contract negotiations”.  The legendary sticksman goes on to state that he is feeling somewhat ostracized with regards to the current UK recording sessions but is keen to point out that this is not a “greed driven” decision. And just when everyone thought matters couldn’t get any worse, the rumours began to circulate that it was actually Ozzy’s other half and longtime manager, Sharon Osbourne that fired Bill from the band.

It was the infamous “Egg-gate” scenario all over again and the cue for an influx of Sharon hate mail to start flooding the social networking sites. Mrs O has taken to Twitter to dispel the rumours and has commented on how she is “in no position to hire or fire anybody in Black Sabbath” as she is not the band’s manager. Either way and whatever the truth may actually be, this does not bode well for Download and the thousands of fans looking forward to the ORIGINAL Black Sabbath headlining set. Only time will tell.

On a slightly more positive note, The Birmingham Mail has reported that Ozzy Osbourne looks set to receive the Freedom Of The City Of Birmingham accolade for his services to the city and for being “the world’s most famous Brummie”. Birmingham City Council’s campaign to have an official Black Sabbath day is already well underway with over 5,000 followers on Facebook so this could be a double cause for celebration if you’re a West Midlands metalhead. Hell fuckin’ YES. Get involved and get your vote registered!

Strictly Metal is also super chuffed to let you know that Deftones bassist Chi Cheng is finally back on the road to recovery. Cheng, who has been in a coma since a serious car accident over three years ago, has begun to get movement back in his legs and a video has been posted online of him lifting his leg on request. Chi you are an absolute warrior and we wish you nothing else but a full and speedy recovery.

STOP THE PRESSES! As reported by SM just a few short weeks ago, Jesse Leach is indeed, heading back to Killswitch Engage after ten years. Leach auditioned for the coveted vocalist spot vacated by Howard Jones and according to KE’s resident mentalist and guitarist Adam D, blew the band away during jam sessions. He has this to say to online webzine AOL’s Noisecreep: “When we got back in the rehearsal room with Jesse it just felt right… it just took all of us getting in a room together again to remember how cool it once was.”

Ever wondered what would happen if you combined the former members of Opeth, Testament, Amon Amarth, Iced Earth and Death? Well that time is upon us. Yep the guys have got together and formed the supergroup Soen. Soen have just signed a deal with Spinefarm Records and the new album will drop on 13th February via Cognitive. The video for debut track ‘Savia’ can be found now on YouTube.

More album and tour news for you – Bullet For My Valentine are said to be heading to the studio in Thailand to start work on the follow up to 2009’s Fever and are promising video updates from the recording sessions in the upcoming weeks.

Dutch female fronted symphonic metallers Delain have just released a two minute trailer for their forthcoming European headlining tour and feature audio samples of new tracks ‘Mother Machine’ and ‘Get The Devil Out Of Me’. These will feature on the band’s third studio album We Are The Others and is set for release later this year through Roadrunner Records. With Jacob Hellner (Rammstein, Apocalyptica, Clawfinger) at the production helm and guest vocals from Fear Factory’s Burton C Bell, this looks set to be interesting to say the least.

The band have also dedicated a track to the tragic passing of Sophie Lancaster. The lyrics to the title track were inspired by the shocking events that took place in 2007 in which an innocent young woman was killed (and left her boyfriend comatose) purely for the way in which she dressed. Lead vocalist Charlotte Wessels has commented on how We Are The Others is almost a call to arms and “an anthem for everybody who reverts deliberately or otherwise from the norm.”  Damn right.

Industrial legends Ministry have just announced a UK tour this week and will be hitting our shores in July. If you fancy catching Al and the boys at a venue near you, then be sure to head here for presale tickets as of 12th February courtesy of those lovely folks over at Live Nation. Magic. http://www.livenation.co.uk/artist/ministry-tickets

Band(s) To Watch Out For: Ghost/ Chimp Spanner

Two very different artists but both absolutely fucking awesome. Firstly, let’s talk about the sheer brilliance of Ghost. Describing themselves as “your worst fucking nightmare” who play music that is “black metal at its most original and deceiving” this bunch of nameless ghouls are a delightful amalgamation of the melodic and the diabolical. It is the sound of your finest 70’s metal (think Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult and Mercyful Fate) with a 21st Century twist and generous dash of the occult.

The theatrics of the live show, vocalist Papa Emeritus’ skull mask and everyone decked out in black robes are a sight to behold but they don’t overshadow or take away from the music being played. There’s no guttural screaming or grunting but the chilling Gregorian-esque chanting on Con Clavi Con Dio is truly spine tingling. Not only did the band enthrall the Pepsi Max stage at Download in 2011 but Down’s Phil Anselmo was seen sporting a Ghost tshirt and actually invited three of them onstage to perform Bury Me In Smoke (Smoke was subsequently changed to ‘Ghost’) with him. James Hetfield is another famous fan and was recently snapped with Papa E backstage at a gig in San Fransisco. Debut album Opus Eponynmous was released in 2010 and the eerie sextet are currently recording a devilish themed follow up. Oh yes.

Next up is Paul Antonio Ortiz and the one man progressive metal fusion extravaganza that is Chimp Spanner. Hailing from Essex with three fellow band members on guitar and drum duties- the ‘Spanner sound is a stunning amalgamation of ambient melody, riffage of the highest order with a dash of prog thrown in for good measure. Their Facebook bio describes them “as an instrumental Dream Theater meets Toto, arranged by Vangelis and produced by Devin Townsend, with Frederik Thordendal on rhythm and Steve Vai on lead guitars”. It’s fresh, it’s exciting and it’s bloody good. Check them out here.              

Well that’s all folks. We’ve come to the end of yet another big week of news, reviews and all things metal. Be sure to come back and join us next Friday for lots more from the world’s greatest genre of music. Until then, keep it Strictly Metal. \m/

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Author: david

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