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JAMES LABRIE Calls DREAM THEATER's 'The Astonishing' Show 'An Elaborate Theatrical Rock Opera Kind Of Experience'

JAMES LABRIE Calls DREAM THEATER's 'The Astonishing' Show 'An Elaborate Theatrical Rock Opera Kind Of Experience'

DREAM THEATER singer James LaBrie was interviewed on the April 15-17 edition of Full Metal Jackie‘s nationally syndicated radio show. You can now listen to the chat using the Podbean widget below. A few excerpts follow.

Full Metal Jackie: You’re going to be on the road for, like, a couple of months now, with the double concept album “The Astonishing”. DREAM THEATER albums are often thematic, if not outright concept albums like “The Astonishing”. How conscious are you about being the literal voice of characters when you sing those songs?

LaBrie: “I’m very, very conscious of it. I mean, obviously, we haven’t done a conceptual album for 16 years; ‘Scenes From A Memory’ was the last full-length conceptual album. Especially when I’m approaching an album like this, if you’re talking about the vocal part of it, I’m representing seven characters, and it was an unprecedented experience for me, even though I had done some opera-like or conceptual albums before, character driven, being ‘The Human Equation’ with Arjen Lucassen, or ‘Leonardo: The Absolute Man’, with Trent Gardner. So there was some experience there, and obviously the experience of doing ‘Scenes From A Memory’ and every other thing with DREAM THEATER enabled me to really wrap my head around this approach. But we always know that we’re kind of, like, pushing the envelope each and every album. And this one we wanted to bring to another place that we feel that we’ve really kind of transcended anything else we’ve done, conceptually wise, previously.”

Full Metal Jackie: James, how much did you approach your vocal performances with “The Astonishing” with a thespian perspective rather than a more traditional singer mindset?

LaBrie “With something like this, I think you’re always looking at the fundamentals of singing. What are you gonna be comfortable doing? What are you capable of doing? But at the same time, too, I wanted to really travel down a road that I hadn’t previously. There’s never been an album where I’ve had to really represent seven characters. So there was an unorthodox approach in the sense that I knew that I was gonna be representing two females and then five males. First and foremost, it was all about myself really wrapping myself around the lyrical content and immersing myself in that within each character to familiarize myself and become as close to that character, just shy of being myself. And, obviously, so that emotionally, it would seem and sound sincere and genuine and authentic. And then just trying to figure out what kind of a voice I wanted to use for each character so that the listener could identify. So it was more about the inflections and the nuances and the textures — the textural approach that I would give each character. So it was very, I’d say, technical at first, and then once I found the voice for each character, then it was a matter of really diving into it emotionally and really and kind of painting a picture for each character so that you could definitely relate or identify with each and every character when their moment would be upon you throughout the album.”

Full Metal Jackie: What was most challenging for making the album for a band that regularly makes complexity seem relatively easy?

LaBrie: “I think the biggest challenge was staying true to the story and then having the music accurately represent what the lyrics were saying at that particular time. So, in some sense, because the story was already written, it enabled John Petrucci [DREAM THEATER guitarist] and Jordan [Rudess, DREAM THEATER keyboardist] to easily kind of find the mood that was necessary to compose for that particular part of the album, or moment within the album. But at the same time, the other thing that we had to watch… Because, I mean… I think it’s easier for DREAM THEATER, the complexities and the technical aspects of the band, it’s easier for us to go off on a tangent and really dive into something, and before we know it we’ve constructed a 12-minute track piece. With this, it had to be more concise. It had to really not overstay its welcome, not go beyond what was absolutely necessary for that part or for that character for what needed to be said, and there was an amount of time that was being given, so that’s why it ended up being at least… well, 34 tracks, six of them being instrumental interludes and what have you and then 28 being vocally driven pieces. So if you think about it, the average song on this album is around four minutes. I think the longest track is just over seven minutes. For DREAM THEATER, that’s something that really hasn’t been ever done, especially with that many tracks to be included. We’ve never released an album with 34 tracks, or I should say a double album, where it consisted of 24 tracks. So it’s the most tracks we’ve ever released, and it’s the most tracks, I think, that we’ve released, being under five minutes on one release. So it was definitely a different approach. It was much more concise, much more focused that we knew in order for this to translate properly and to be seamless and to be the kind of experience that we wanted the listener to have and to hold their attention, it had to go and it had to be done and composed as such.”

Full Metal Jackie: You’re going to be performing the full album on tour. John Petrucci has described the stage production as elaborate, almost like a Broadway show rather than a concert. What’s most appealing about that to you?

LaBrie: “Well, once everyone has had the opportunity to be able to listen to the album from beginning to end, they’ll realize that it lends itself… I’s very cinematic; it’s almost movie soundtrack. So because of that, and because of the theatrical nature of it as well, we just knew that it had to be a very visually driven experience for our fans, for the audience. And because of that, once everyone sees this, they’re gonna see that the imagery and the visual aspects of the show, along with the incredible lighting design, are really going to just even push the story that much more. It’ll be that much more clearly read and understood, but will be a thrilling ride at the same time; it’ll be visually spectacular, we feel. And, yeah, I look at it as being an elaborate theatrical rock opera kind of experience for the audience — just very visual. And not to the point where it detracts from, obviously, us being on stage, because you can easily get lost in that type of production as well. So you have to balance it; you have to really watch both those environments that one doesn’t overtake the other.”

Full Metal Jackie: Looks like you’ve got tour dates through the beginning of May. What can we expect beyond that?

LaBrie: “There’s talk that we’ll be going back to Europe to do a festival tour sometime throughout June. And then I do believe at this point we might be breaking for a bit during July and August, and then back in September, I think, we will be going to Asia and throughout the Pacific Rim, hopefully even into places like India and so and that region of the world. And then, obviously, South America and then possibly coming back through North America and then we’ll take it from there. We’re pretty much bringing ourselves right back around to this time next year by that time. It’s always been very extensive, our world tours, but we wanna make sure that we get into every possible crevice. And we don’t always necessarily attain it, just because of schedule conflicts or whatever is going on at that particular moment. Or if there’s some unrest in certain parts of the world, unfortunately, we can’t get over there, or we just don’t think it’s a good idea to do so. So that’s very unfortunate too. But it does usually take about 14 months for us to complete a tour.”

To see a full list of stations carrying Full Metal Jackie‘s program and when it airs, go to FullMetalJackieRadio.com.

Source: HRRL News Feed via Blabbermouth.net
JAMES LABRIE Calls DREAM THEATER's 'The Astonishing' Show 'An Elaborate Theatrical Rock Opera Kind Of Experience'
HRRL News Feed via Blabbermouth.net

JAMES LABRIE Calls DREAM THEATER's 'The Astonishing' Show 'An Elaborate Theatrical Rock Opera Kind Of Experience'

JAMES LABRIE Calls DREAM THEATER's 'The Astonishing' Show 'An Elaborate Theatrical Rock Opera Kind Of Experience'

DREAM THEATER singer James LaBrie was interviewed on the April 15-17 edition of Full Metal Jackie‘s nationally syndicated radio show. You can now listen to the chat using the Podbean widget below. A few excerpts follow.

Full Metal Jackie: You’re going to be on the road for, like, a couple of months now, with the double concept album “The Astonishing”. DREAM THEATER albums are often thematic, if not outright concept albums like “The Astonishing”. How conscious are you about being the literal voice of characters when you sing those songs?

LaBrie: “I’m very, very conscious of it. I mean, obviously, we haven’t done a conceptual album for 16 years; ‘Scenes From A Memory’ was the last full-length conceptual album. Especially when I’m approaching an album like this, if you’re talking about the vocal part of it, I’m representing seven characters, and it was an unprecedented experience for me, even though I had done some opera-like or conceptual albums before, character driven, being ‘The Human Equation’ with Arjen Lucassen, or ‘Leonardo: The Absolute Man’, with Trent Gardner. So there was some experience there, and obviously the experience of doing ‘Scenes From A Memory’ and every other thing with DREAM THEATER enabled me to really wrap my head around this approach. But we always know that we’re kind of, like, pushing the envelope each and every album. And this one we wanted to bring to another place that we feel that we’ve really kind of transcended anything else we’ve done, conceptually wise, previously.”

Full Metal Jackie: James, how much did you approach your vocal performances with “The Astonishing” with a thespian perspective rather than a more traditional singer mindset?

LaBrie “With something like this, I think you’re always looking at the fundamentals of singing. What are you gonna be comfortable doing? What are you capable of doing? But at the same time, too, I wanted to really travel down a road that I hadn’t previously. There’s never been an album where I’ve had to really represent seven characters. So there was an unorthodox approach in the sense that I knew that I was gonna be representing two females and then five males. First and foremost, it was all about myself really wrapping myself around the lyrical content and immersing myself in that within each character to familiarize myself and become as close to that character, just shy of being myself. And, obviously, so that emotionally, it would seem and sound sincere and genuine and authentic. And then just trying to figure out what kind of a voice I wanted to use for each character so that the listener could identify. So it was more about the inflections and the nuances and the textures — the textural approach that I would give each character. So it was very, I’d say, technical at first, and then once I found the voice for each character, then it was a matter of really diving into it emotionally and really and kind of painting a picture for each character so that you could definitely relate or identify with each and every character when their moment would be upon you throughout the album.”

Full Metal Jackie: What was most challenging for making the album for a band that regularly makes complexity seem relatively easy?

LaBrie: “I think the biggest challenge was staying true to the story and then having the music accurately represent what the lyrics were saying at that particular time. So, in some sense, because the story was already written, it enabled John Petrucci [DREAM THEATER guitarist] and Jordan [Rudess, DREAM THEATER keyboardist] to easily kind of find the mood that was necessary to compose for that particular part of the album, or moment within the album. But at the same time, the other thing that we had to watch… Because, I mean… I think it’s easier for DREAM THEATER, the complexities and the technical aspects of the band, it’s easier for us to go off on a tangent and really dive into something, and before we know it we’ve constructed a 12-minute track piece. With this, it had to be more concise. It had to really not overstay its welcome, not go beyond what was absolutely necessary for that part or for that character for what needed to be said, and there was an amount of time that was being given, so that’s why it ended up being at least… well, 34 tracks, six of them being instrumental interludes and what have you and then 28 being vocally driven pieces. So if you think about it, the average song on this album is around four minutes. I think the longest track is just over seven minutes. For DREAM THEATER, that’s something that really hasn’t been ever done, especially with that many tracks to be included. We’ve never released an album with 34 tracks, or I should say a double album, where it consisted of 24 tracks. So it’s the most tracks we’ve ever released, and it’s the most tracks, I think, that we’ve released, being under five minutes on one release. So it was definitely a different approach. It was much more concise, much more focused that we knew in order for this to translate properly and to be seamless and to be the kind of experience that we wanted the listener to have and to hold their attention, it had to go and it had to be done and composed as such.”

Full Metal Jackie: You’re going to be performing the full album on tour. John Petrucci has described the stage production as elaborate, almost like a Broadway show rather than a concert. What’s most appealing about that to you?

LaBrie: “Well, once everyone has had the opportunity to be able to listen to the album from beginning to end, they’ll realize that it lends itself… I’s very cinematic; it’s almost movie soundtrack. So because of that, and because of the theatrical nature of it as well, we just knew that it had to be a very visually driven experience for our fans, for the audience. And because of that, once everyone sees this, they’re gonna see that the imagery and the visual aspects of the show, along with the incredible lighting design, are really going to just even push the story that much more. It’ll be that much more clearly read and understood, but will be a thrilling ride at the same time; it’ll be visually spectacular, we feel. And, yeah, I look at it as being an elaborate theatrical rock opera kind of experience for the audience — just very visual. And not to the point where it detracts from, obviously, us being on stage, because you can easily get lost in that type of production as well. So you have to balance it; you have to really watch both those environments that one doesn’t overtake the other.”

Full Metal Jackie: Looks like you’ve got tour dates through the beginning of May. What can we expect beyond that?

LaBrie: “There’s talk that we’ll be going back to Europe to do a festival tour sometime throughout June. And then I do believe at this point we might be breaking for a bit during July and August, and then back in September, I think, we will be going to Asia and throughout the Pacific Rim, hopefully even into places like India and so and that region of the world. And then, obviously, South America and then possibly coming back through North America and then we’ll take it from there. We’re pretty much bringing ourselves right back around to this time next year by that time. It’s always been very extensive, our world tours, but we wanna make sure that we get into every possible crevice. And we don’t always necessarily attain it, just because of schedule conflicts or whatever is going on at that particular moment. Or if there’s some unrest in certain parts of the world, unfortunately, we can’t get over there, or we just don’t think it’s a good idea to do so. So that’s very unfortunate too. But it does usually take about 14 months for us to complete a tour.”

To see a full list of stations carrying Full Metal Jackie‘s program and when it airs, go to FullMetalJackieRadio.com.

Source: HRRL News Feed via Blabbermouth.net
JAMES LABRIE Calls DREAM THEATER's 'The Astonishing' Show 'An Elaborate Theatrical Rock Opera Kind Of Experience'
HRRL News Feed via Blabbermouth.net

DENNER/SHERMANN Feat. MERCYFUL FATE Guitarists: 'Masters Of Evil' Album Due In June

DENNER/SHERMANN Feat. MERCYFUL FATE Guitarists: 'Masters Of Evil' Album Due In June

MERCYFUL FATE guitar lengends Michael Denner and Hank Shermann have completed the mixing and mastering of their new DENNER / SHERMANN full-length album, “Masters Of Evil”, for a June 24 release via Metal Blade Records.

The album cover was painted by Swedish artist Thomas Holm, who also created the “Satan’s Tomb” artwork, and who is very well known amongst fans for his standout pieces over the past three decades! The mixing was once again handled by Arnold Lindberg at Sound Industry Studio in Gothenburg, Sweden. Mastering was done once again by Maor Appelbaum in Los Angeles, California. The vintage sound on the new record harkens one back to the days of two-inch tape machines, long nights in dark studios, and huge consoles glowing under dim incandescent light.

“Masters Of Evil” contains eight new Denner / Shermann tracks that continue right where the EP left off. Building upon the musical foundation of the “Satan’s Tomb” EP, these songs cover the entire gamut of heavy metal nuances and take the listener down a mysterious path where tales of dark, supernatural fantasies are told, transporting you to places that can only be found in the most vivid, blood curdling nightmares.

“Masters Of Evil” is fully loaded to satisfy the old fans with just what they would expect — and also injected with menacing, sinister, new surprises that could only come from the sonic DNA of Michael Denner and Hank Shermann.

“After ‘Satan’s Tomb’, we continued aggressively writing and recording ideas, except for the short break we took to do all the press for the release of the debut. We are very excited with the outcome, and the full-length album is ready to be unleashed this summer,” says Shermann.

Vocalist Sean Peck comments: “This record really has it all, I think. Working with Hank and Michael and the guys creating this record was the ultimate metal thrill ride for me! I can’t wait to hear the fan reaction to this sinister sonic salvo of savagery!”

Denner adds: “This new record really shows how the five of us have grown as a band and bonded as songwriters. It contains the kind of compositions I believe our fans would expect from us. I think this release will serve as kind of a tribute to our incredible fans worldwide, as we recognize and acknowledge their die-hard loyalty over the years.”

The first single, “Angel’s Blood”, comes right at you with a sonic sledgehammer! Once the guitars hit your ears, the unmistakable trademark guitar sound of Michael Denner and Hank Shermann is instantly recognized.

With the upcoming DENNER / SHERMANN release comes live touring. Ever since the first announcement that this guitar duo was reforming, many show requests have been received from all over the world. Now with a full complement of original songs to draw from, look for the group to bring those to a city near you very soon.

“Masters Of Evil” track listing:

01. Angel’s Blood
02. Son of Satan
03. The Wolf Feeds At Night
04. Pentagram And The Cross
05. Masters Of Evil
06. Servants Of Dagon
07. Escape From Hell
08. The Baroness

DENNER / SHERMANN is:

Michael Denner – Guitar
Hank Shermann – Guitar
Sean Peck – Vocals
Snowy Shaw – Drums
Marc Grabowski – Bass

dennershermannmastersofevilcd

dennershermann2016bandnew_638
Source: HRRL News Feed via Blabbermouth.net
DENNER/SHERMANN Feat. MERCYFUL FATE Guitarists: 'Masters Of Evil' Album Due In June
HRRL News Feed via Blabbermouth.net

DENNER/SHERMANN Feat. MERCYFUL FATE Guitarists: 'Masters Of Evil' Album Due In June

DENNER/SHERMANN Feat. MERCYFUL FATE Guitarists: 'Masters Of Evil' Album Due In June

MERCYFUL FATE guitar lengends Michael Denner and Hank Shermann have completed the mixing and mastering of their new DENNER / SHERMANN full-length album, “Masters Of Evil”, for a June 24 release via Metal Blade Records.

The album cover was painted by Swedish artist Thomas Holm, who also created the “Satan’s Tomb” artwork, and who is very well known amongst fans for his standout pieces over the past three decades! The mixing was once again handled by Arnold Lindberg at Sound Industry Studio in Gothenburg, Sweden. Mastering was done once again by Maor Appelbaum in Los Angeles, California. The vintage sound on the new record harkens one back to the days of two-inch tape machines, long nights in dark studios, and huge consoles glowing under dim incandescent light.

“Masters Of Evil” contains eight new Denner / Shermann tracks that continue right where the EP left off. Building upon the musical foundation of the “Satan’s Tomb” EP, these songs cover the entire gamut of heavy metal nuances and take the listener down a mysterious path where tales of dark, supernatural fantasies are told, transporting you to places that can only be found in the most vivid, blood curdling nightmares.

“Masters Of Evil” is fully loaded to satisfy the old fans with just what they would expect — and also injected with menacing, sinister, new surprises that could only come from the sonic DNA of Michael Denner and Hank Shermann.

“After ‘Satan’s Tomb’, we continued aggressively writing and recording ideas, except for the short break we took to do all the press for the release of the debut. We are very excited with the outcome, and the full-length album is ready to be unleashed this summer,” says Shermann.

Vocalist Sean Peck comments: “This record really has it all, I think. Working with Hank and Michael and the guys creating this record was the ultimate metal thrill ride for me! I can’t wait to hear the fan reaction to this sinister sonic salvo of savagery!”

Denner adds: “This new record really shows how the five of us have grown as a band and bonded as songwriters. It contains the kind of compositions I believe our fans would expect from us. I think this release will serve as kind of a tribute to our incredible fans worldwide, as we recognize and acknowledge their die-hard loyalty over the years.”

The first single, “Angel’s Blood”, comes right at you with a sonic sledgehammer! Once the guitars hit your ears, the unmistakable trademark guitar sound of Michael Denner and Hank Shermann is instantly recognized.

With the upcoming DENNER / SHERMANN release comes live touring. Ever since the first announcement that this guitar duo was reforming, many show requests have been received from all over the world. Now with a full complement of original songs to draw from, look for the group to bring those to a city near you very soon.

“Masters Of Evil” track listing:

01. Angel’s Blood
02. Son of Satan
03. The Wolf Feeds At Night
04. Pentagram And The Cross
05. Masters Of Evil
06. Servants Of Dagon
07. Escape From Hell
08. The Baroness

DENNER / SHERMANN is:

Michael Denner – Guitar
Hank Shermann – Guitar
Sean Peck – Vocals
Snowy Shaw – Drums
Marc Grabowski – Bass

dennershermannmastersofevilcd

dennershermann2016bandnew_638
Source: HRRL News Feed via Blabbermouth.net
DENNER/SHERMANN Feat. MERCYFUL FATE Guitarists: 'Masters Of Evil' Album Due In June
HRRL News Feed via Blabbermouth.net

TREMONTI: 'Dust' Audio Track-By-Track Commentary

TREMONTI: 'Dust' Audio Track-By-Track Commentary

“Dust”, the third album from TREMONTI, the band led by CREED and ALTER BRIDGE guitarist Mark Tremonti, was released on April 29 via Fret 12.

Mark‘s audio track-by-track commentary detailing the songs that comprise “Dust” is available below.

“Dust”, which was recorded during same sessions as “Cauterize”, features Mark Tremonti on vocals/guitars, Eric Friedman on guitars, Wolfgang Van Halen on bass and Garrett Whitlock on drums. Longtime friend and collaborator Michael “Elvis” Baskette produced “Dust”.

“Dust” track listing:

01. My Last Mistake
02. The Cage
03. Once Dead
04. Dust
05. Betray Me
06. Tore My Heart Out
07. Catching Fire
08. Never Wrong
09. Rising Storm
10. Unable To See

TREMONTI released its second album, “Cauterize”, last June. “Cauterize” followed up TREMONTI‘s 2012 debut, “All I Was”, and was the first of two new albums that TREMONTI recorded.

Mark Tremonti told The Pulse Of Radio that both “Dust” and “Cauterize” feature the same level of quality material. “We went in there with the goal of recording twenty songs, and then when it came time to release the songs, I didn’t want to put thirteen songs on one record and then have seven B-sides,” he said. “I wanted all these songs to be thought of as songs that were meant to be on an album. None of these are throwaway songs. So we cut ’em into two ten-song albums that are kind of two dynamic records. If there was two chill songs, one would go on the first, one would go on the second and so on.”

Mark elaborated in a separate interview: “At first I just wanted to record as many songs as possible. But when I stepped back and listened to it, I was, like, ‘You know what?! Let’s make two records.’ So I left some of my favorite songs on the second record, just so people aren’t gonna buy the first record and then go, ‘Okay, this is the good record and this is the bad one. These are the bad songs.’ My brother Dan likes the second record better than the first record. Some of my favorite songs are on the second record. The title track, ‘Dust’, I think, has the best chorus of the whole recording process. ‘Dust’ has my favorite solo. The opening track, ‘My Last Mistake’, is one of my favorite songs. It’s got the big ballad of the two records. It’s definitely not the ‘b-sides’ of this album.”

Although VAN HALEN bassist Wolfgang Van Halen was part of TREMONTI‘s touring band in 2013 and played on “Dust” and “Cauterize”, he sat out TREMONTI‘s tour schedule because of commitments with VAN HALEN.

TREMONTI recruited Tanner Keegan to play bass on its most recent tour.

tremontidustcd
Source: HRRL News Feed via Blabbermouth.net
TREMONTI: 'Dust' Audio Track-By-Track Commentary
HRRL News Feed via Blabbermouth.net

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