MIKE PORTNOY Calls METAL ALLEGIANCE His 'Ultimate Metal Outlet'

MIKE PORTNOY Calls METAL ALLEGIANCE His 'Ultimate Metal Outlet'

Drummer Mike Portnoy (SONS OF APOLLO, THE WINERY DOGS, METAL ALLEGIANCE) recently spoke with Josh Rundquist of That Drummer Guy. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On the new METAL ALLEGIANCE album, “Volume II – Power Drunk Majesty”:

Mike: “After we had so much fun making the first album, we knew a second album would be inevitable. I think myself, Alex Skolnick, David Ellefson and Mark Menghi, we felt we tapped into something. The first album was more like an experiment, because we didn’t know how it was going to go, but we also had all these guests. There had to have been 15, 20 other people on the album. We knew this time around, we wanted to streamline it a little bit and kind of focus on the core four. The four of us did all the writing together, and we wanted to streamline the guests — mainly leave it to singers, to give it more of a band feel. The first time around was like more of an experiment; this time around, it really felt like a concise unit between the four of us.”

On the album’s guest vocalists:

Mike: “In terms of singers, it was nice to get some new blood on this album. People like Mark Osegueda [DEATH ANGEL] and Troy Sanders [MASTODON], they’ve been in the family now for years, and even the first time around, some of the singers were a little bit obvious, like Randy Blythe [LAMB OF GOD], Phil Anselmo [PANTERA, DOWN] and Chuck Billy [TESTAMENT]. Those were all guys that it made so much sense to be part of the first one, but this time around, we wanted to branch out a bit more, and we got some guys like Johan [Hegg] from AMON AMARTH and Trevor [Strnad] from [THE] BLACK DAHLIA [MURDER] or Floor Jansen from NIGHTWISH. Some of these were suggestions that I wouldn’t have even normally thought of, but once they were suggested and we checked them out, it added a whole new kind of element of diversity to the songs… Rather than doing the obvious move, we got to experiment with some different things this time around.”

On his own performance on the album:

Mike: “I’m basically just showing my metal side. I’ve always brought a metal touch to everything I do, whether it be classic rock or prog or whatever. I’ve always brought that metal element and that mentality, when needed, but with METAL ALLEGIANCE, I get to unleash it and just let it go full-throttle from start to finish on the entire album. To me, it’s an exciting outlet that I don’t normally have with my other bands… For me, it’s the ultimate metal outlet. I’ve always had all these different projects and different bands, and they were always kind of rooted in prog or, in the case of [THE] WINERY DOGS, more hard rock and traditional rock, classic rock, but I never had a true metal outlet until METAL ALLEGIANCE. To me, it’s so exciting because it’s a who’s-who of literally everybody in the metal world. You have members from ANTHRAX, SLAYER, MEGADETH, TESTAMENT, LAMB OF GOD, PANTERA, MASTODON, EXODUS, OVERKILL… the list goes on and on and on. For me, I love it. Whenever there’s an opportunity to play a show with METAL ALLEGIANCE, I don’t even think twice about it — I put it on my calendar, and I make sure I’m there. For me, it’s a dream outlet.”

On the future of SONS OF APOLLO:

Mike: “We’re just focusing on the upcoming dates, but we’ve talked about it. We’re hoping to get into the studio early next year. We’ll see if the schedules align and everything works out, but that’s the plan. I know Derek [Sherinian] and Bumblefoot have been compiling riffs and ideas and putting them in folders, and when the time comes to collaborate, we’ll get in the studio and start looking at everything and jamming on everything and bringing it to life. Hopefully that will happen early next year, as we have penciled in at the moment.”

On the new NEAL MORSE BAND album that he recently finished recording:

Mike: “Our last album, ‘The Similitude Of A Dream’, was really special for us. It was one of my favorite albums of my career, actually. To get back in the studio and work on the follow-up to that, the next album coming off the heels of that, it’s quite a tall order for us. We spent a lot of time working on it. Normally, when Neal and I get together for an album, we usually can get the writing and arranging and drum tracking done within 10 days [to] two weeks. This time around, we actually spent almost up to a year shaping and writing and arranging this next record, so we spent more time on this album than any album we’ve ever done in the past. I think it’s going to be worth the wait, because what we have is really special and really a worthy follow-up to what we did with ‘Similitude’. I look forward to that, and we’re shooting for that to be out around January or so, and the tour would start right afterwards. It was really important that we follow up ‘Similitude’ with something that would be just as epic. It’s taken a little time to get there, but it’s really special.”

On the status of the next FLYING COLORS album:

Mike: “We’re going to resume work on that in December. That will be Neal and myself’s twentieth studio album together. It’s something we started working on about a year and a half ago and we just never got back to work on because the schedules hadn’t aligned, but we’ve all penciled in December to get together, finish the writing for album number three and begin the recording process. Hopefully we can have that out later 2019, fingers crossed.”

METAL ALLEGIANCE‘s second album, “Volume II – Power Drunk Majesty”, will be released on September 7 via Nuclear Blast Entertainment.

Other guest musicians on “Volume II – Power Drunk Majesty” include Max Cavalera (SOULFLY, SEPULTURA, CAVALERA CONSPIRACY), John Bush (ARMORED SAINT), Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth (OVERKILL) and Mark Tornillo (ACCEPT).

“Volume II – Power Drunk Majesty” was produced by Menghi and Skolnick while Mark Lewis of MRL Studios handled the mixing and mastering. The cover artwork was created by renowned artist Marcelo Vasco (SLAYER, MACHINE HEAD, SOULFLY, HATEBREED) and Rafael Tavares.


Source: HRRL News Feed via Blabbermouth.net
MIKE PORTNOY Calls METAL ALLEGIANCE His 'Ultimate Metal Outlet'
HRRL News Feed via Blabbermouth.net

GHOST's TOBIAS FORGE Critiques 'Lack Of Ingenuity' In Today's Rock Scene

GHOST's TOBIAS FORGE Critiques 'Lack Of Ingenuity' In Today's Rock Scene

GHOST frontman Tobias Forge recently spoke with the Atlanta radio station Rock 100.5. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On his recent comments about a lack of ambition in the modern rock/metal scene:

Tobias: “I was being asked about the future of arena rock, and I think more from a bigger, commercial point of view. I think that there’s plenty of talent and plenty of ambition out there. It doesn’t have to be an ambition flaw if you’re not aiming at the top. I know a lot of bands that are extremely talented and very good, but they’re not interested in becoming a ‘big band,’ or ‘making it.’ Whereas some that are very adamant about making it doesn’t [sic] necessarily have what it takes, or time is not really on their side. I think it’s important to underline [that] what I meant was from more of a, like, arena rock point of view, where there isn’t a whole lot of apparent new bands out there that you know, ‘That band will make it. That band will become big.’ I guess there’s too many bands who have set their goals on a completely different level. When you’re doing that, then it’s very hard. You don’t accidentally turn into a big band. Not even NIRVANA accidentally turned into a big band. They toured — they wanted to become a big band. They didn’t necessarily want to become that big of a band, but they still wanted to make a really good record and wanted to come out and tour. Most bands that don’t want to become big at all, they don’t play. If you don’t want to be known, if you don’t want to make it, don’t play. That’s the easiest way not to do it. I’m not necessarily critical of every band — I think there’s plenty of good bands out there. Across the board, not pointing fingers at specific bands at all — and this has been a problem for many years — I think that the problem is especially in current rock climate, 10, 15, 20 years maybe, is that there seems to be a lack of ingenuity. A lot of bands don’t want to be part of something that isn’t sort of current. Most bands in rock history, even though you were a prog band in 1973, you didn’t want to sound like a prog band from 1972. You wanted to sound like a prog band from 1974. A lot of bands, especially from where we come from… GHOST oriented from some sort of occult rock [scene]. There was apparently a little bit of a movement at that point, and maybe there is still, of occult rock bands, but many of them — not all, but many — have been so busy paying tribute and trying to mimic. [If] it’s certain bands that they want to become like, that’s fine, but if you have an ambition to become big or successful in any way, you need to at least try to use at least five different things to make your omelet. You need to sort of try at least to make it look like you’re doing something else, and not just an homage to this certain band that you want to be like. I think that’s been a problem in modern days in general. If you have a big band coming out in some way, be it LINKIN PARK or FRANZ FERNINAND… imagine all the bands after [THE] WHITE STRIPES. All of a sudden, there was [sic] bands all over the place with two people. Everybody just looks around and becomes so influenced from what is currently happening. Sometimes, being influenced is very intuitive and very pure, but on the other hand, there’s also a lot of influence that is more from a thematic point of view – like, ‘This band seems to be doing well, and they’re doing this, so let’s do that.'”

On whether he feels GHOST‘s occult image and lyrical themes are misunderstood:

Tobias: “Some people might take it a little bit too literally. Apart from maybe a few songs on the first record, which was a little bit nonsense… I was paying homage to an idea, because at that point, I was not really in the mindset that we were going to become a big band. I was just trying to do something that I felt very strongly, warmly about – a record that sort of reminded me… basically, the record that I wanted a few bands – I’m not going to name any names – that looked really cool and had a really cool image, but didn’t necessarily have the songs that I wanted them to have. Cool image bands, but that paid too much attention to their image. I wanted GHOST to be that — ‘Imagine if this band had good songs. What would they sound like?’ At that point, it was very homage-like, whereas after the whole debacle of the first record, where we became a hype and all of a sudden we went from nothing to something, and all of a sudden it was a professional band, with me all of a sudden being a boss and paying people to be in the band and getting us tours to get people paid and being out on the road, and getting signed to a major label and having a crowd, it dawned on me — if I’m going to make a record again, if all these people are listening, I might say something. Once I got their attention, it’s better to say something valuable rather than repeating the ingredients for a magic potion, or whatever. I think that from the second record, especially, and onward, I think it’s important to keep in mind that the music got a little bit nuanced. I was very adamant about not repeating ‘Opus Eponymous’, which would have been a very safe and very sellout way to keep whatever momentum there was on that record, but I was always very adamant about us moving forward, and I was always very adamant about there being [a] double meaning to the lyrics. Even though it’s very occult-oriented, and if you asked a God-fearing preacher somewhere on a field, obviously he or she would deem whatever I’m saying as being deeply, deeply devil-worshiping and heinous and blasphemous. It all depends on your point of view, I guess, or your standpoint, or where you’re from, or your intelligence, maybe.”

Upon its June release via Loma Vista Recordings, GHOST‘s latest album, “Prequelle”, landed at position No. 3 on the Billboard 200 chart, shifting 66,000 equivalent album units during its first week of release. Of that sum, around 61,000 were in traditional album sales.

“Prequelle” was tracked last year at Artery studios in Stockholm with producer Tom Dalgety (OPETH, ROYAL BLOOD) and mixed in January at Westlake Studios in West Hollywood, California with Andy Wallace (NIRVANA, SLAYER).

Forge has said that the theme of the album has to do in part with the arrival of the Black Plague in Europe, among other events in history.

Forge last year revealed his identity while responding to a lawsuit filed by four former members of GHOST, who accused him of cheating them out of their rightful share of the profits from the group’s album releases and world tours.

GHOST will hit the road this fall for its “A Pale Tour Named Death” tour that commences October 25 in Dallas, Texas, and includes two headline arena shows, The Forum in Los Angeles on November 16, and New York City’s Barclays Center on December 15.

Source: HRRL News Feed via Blabbermouth.net
GHOST's TOBIAS FORGE Critiques 'Lack Of Ingenuity' In Today's Rock Scene
HRRL News Feed via Blabbermouth.net

STRYPER Performs As Three-Piece At Australian Tour Kick-Off (Video)

STRYPER Performs As Three-Piece At Australian Tour Kick-Off (Video)

STRYPER kicked off its Australian tour last night (Friday, August 17) at Max Watts in Melbourne. Fan-filmed video footage of the concert can be seen below.

The band is touring without its guitarist Oz Fox, who was forced to stay home after collapsing onstage during a Las Vegas performance last weekend. Doctors who have been treating him have found two tumors in his head — one by his ear and the other in the back of his brain.

Oz‘s wife, Annie Lobért, wrote in a Facebook post that he “cannot drive, fly or work for three months because of the potential seizures.” Furthermore, STRYPER has had to cancel its Japanese shows because Oz cannot perform due to his medical condition.

The band’s frontman, Michael Sweet, said in a Facebook post that he’s been friends with Oz since he was “almost 13 years old. We’ve been a ‘duo’ for almost our entire lives and I love him,” he wrote. “He’s family and a brother to me… We’re all waiting to hear good news and we’re all praying deeply for that.

“The important thing right now is Oz‘s health and well being,” Sweet added. “Please continue to pray for him at this time. Pray for Annie and his family as well.”

Formed 35 years ago, STRYPER is the first overtly Christian metal band to go mainstream. The group’s name comes from Isaiah 53:5, which states: “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

STRYPER‘s albums include “To Hell With The Devil”, “Second Coming”, “No More Hell To Pay”, “Fallen” and the band’s latest effort, “God Damn Evil”.


Source: HRRL News Feed via Blabbermouth.net
STRYPER Performs As Three-Piece At Australian Tour Kick-Off (Video)
HRRL News Feed via Blabbermouth.net

Here Is BREAKING BENJAMIN Covering METALLICA's 'Sad But True' In Camden, New Jersey

Here Is BREAKING BENJAMIN Covering METALLICA's 'Sad But True' In Camden, New Jersey

Fan-filmed video footage of BREAKING BENJAMIN performing a cover version of the METALLICA classic “Sad But True” on August 15 at the BB&T Pavilion in Camden, New Jersey can be seen below.

BREAKING BENJAMIN is continuing to tour in support of its sixth studio album, “Ember”, which was released in April via Hollywood Records. The effort marks the first time frontman Benjamin Burnley got the other members of the band — guitarist Jasen Rauch (formerly of RED), guitarist/vocalist Keith Wallen (formerly of ADELITAS WAY), bassist/vocalist Aaron Bruch and drummer Shaun Foist — involved in the songwriting process.

“The guys in the band now, not to put anybody down, but the writing we had done with the old lineup, it was very limited and it was very unorganic to me,” Burnley told The Herald-Journal. “I would have to take pieces and parts from things and make them fit into things that I already had. So with this band, on the writing aspect as well, the writing that those guys do is a lot more along the lines of the writing that I would do. We all kind of clicked that way.”

Regarding the heavier musical approach on the new disc, Burnley, who also served as producer, told Guitar World: “The riffs are crazy, and the guitar sound is huge. People think there’s tons of guitars on the tracks, but there really isn’t. For the most part, it’s just four rhythm guitars, and then we have little melody embellishments and leads. When you play the right parts and you space them out well, everything sounds bigger and bolder, so you actually have to do less.”

Burnley also talked about how BREAKING BENJAMIN‘s live show has changed with the new five-man lineup, explaining to The Herald-Journal: “There are a lot of bands, they’ll run [pre-recorded] tracks behind what they’re playing. With the old [four-man] lineup, because we were sort of limited, I had to do that as well. No other guys in the band sang and there wasn’t an extra guitarist. So there were some guitar parts that needed to be in there. There were some computer sounds, like samples and what not, that needed to be in there. We ran everything through a grid to like a click track. With this band, we don’t run any click track and we don’t run any [backing] tracks whatsoever. We use the technology in the right way as far as drum triggers are concerned, so we don’t play to any tracks. So everything we’re doing now is completely 100 percent live.”

Source: HRRL News Feed via Blabbermouth.net
Here Is BREAKING BENJAMIN Covering METALLICA's 'Sad But True' In Camden, New Jersey
HRRL News Feed via Blabbermouth.net

Watch GEOFF TATE Celebrate 30th Anniversary Of 'Operation: Mindcrime' In Sacramento

Watch GEOFF TATE Celebrate 30th Anniversary Of 'Operation: Mindcrime' In Sacramento

Capital Chaos TV has uploaded video footage of Geoff Tate‘s August 15 performance at B Street Theatre at The Sofia Tsakopoulos Center for the Arts in Sacramento, California during his 30th-anniversary tour for QUEENSRŸCHE‘s landmark “Operation: Mindcrime” concept album. Check out the clips below.

Asked about his current tour, Tate told The Great Southern Brainfart: “It’s strange to think about, but this is my perspective. I wasn’t actually even gonna do it again. I get requests — so many requests — to play this record in its entirety. You know who from? The promoters. I know people don’t think of it from that perspective. I’m sure they must think that, ‘Oh, Geoff Tate, he can’t put that album away. He’s just gonna keep playing it and playing it.’ No, I wanna put it away. But the promoters just [say], ‘You’ve gotta play ‘Mindcrime’ on this tour. You’ve gotta do it.’ ‘Ahh… Okay. One more time?’ ‘Just one more time.’ [Laughs]

“But 30 is a good time,” he continued. “I’m singing strong. I feel good. I’ve got a great band playing it who loves the album. And the fans are loving it and turning up in good numbers, and the promoters are happy. Everything’s good. So I’m happy. I love the album; I love the songs; it’s a very special record for me. Would I like to play other music? Yeah. [Laughs] I would. But this is what people want to hear from me at this point, so I’m giving them what they want.”

The “Mindcrime” set covers all 15 songs from the album including such fan favorites as “Revolution Calling”, “Operation: Mindcrime”, “I Don’t Believe In Love” and the closing track, “Eyes Of A Stranger”. As fans might remember, Geoff performed the album in its entirety on tour in 2013 to celebrate its 25th anniversary.

“Operation: Mindcrime” — one of the most iconic concept albums of all-time — was the album that thrust Geoff Tate‘s unique social consciousness, style and expertly crafted lyrics into the international spotlight.

Proving the music has stood the test of time, in 2006, Geoff and his QUEENSRŸCHE bandmates brought the theatrical interpretation of the “Mindcrime” saga to audiences all over the world. In October of that year, an epic performance was filmed and recorded, resulting in “Mindcrime At The Moore”, an album/DVD set released in July of 2007 that would debut at #1 on the Billboard Music DVD chart. It would mark the band’s first #1 chart debut, quickly selling over 50,000 units, achieving gold status.

In all, Geoff Tate has sold more than 25 million albums at the helm of QUEENSRŸCHE, the band he fronted for 30 years from their inception through 2012, earning three Grammy nominations, five MTV Music Video Award nominations and one MTV Music Video Award along the way. One of those Grammy nominations was for “I Don’t Believe In Love” (1990, in the new category of Best Metal Performance), a song that appears on the “Operation: Mindcrime” album.

The band currently on tour features Kieran Robertson from Scotland on guitar, Bruno Sa from Brazil on keyboards, Jack Ross from Scotland on bass, Scott Moughton from Canada on guitar, Josh Watts from England on drums and Geoff Tate‘s daughter Emily, who is singing the parts of Sister Mary. She’s also in the band TIL DEATH DO US PART, who are special guests on this tour.


Source: HRRL News Feed via Blabbermouth.net
Watch GEOFF TATE Celebrate 30th Anniversary Of 'Operation: Mindcrime' In Sacramento
HRRL News Feed via Blabbermouth.net

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