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Iced Earth Guitarist Pleads Guilty In Court

Jon Schaffer, guitarist and founder of such bands as Iced Earth, Demons & Wizards and Sons Of Liberty, has pled guilty to obstruction of an official proceeding and entering a building with a dangerous weapon, after admitting to carrying bear mace while inside Capitol Hill on January 6th of this year. The musician had been speaking with federal investigators in recent weeks and his lawyers, as well as the prosecutors have recommended a stay in prison between 3.5 and 4.5 years.

It's possible that Schaffer will be in court again soon in other cases, as his plea deal means he may testify against other rioters. More details will be revealed as soon as they become available.

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Exodus Drummer Diagnosed With Stomach Tumor

Exodus drummer Tom Hunting has revealed that he has been diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma. Today Tom begins his treatment and hopes his story helps to raise awareness.

Important statement from our man Tom Hunting:

"Today I will be starting treatment for a squamous cell carcinoma. It's a gastric tumor that was diagnosed in my upper stomach in February. I'm making this public to raise awareness for people to pay attention to symptoms of stomach and esophageal issues. If they persist, please go get it checked out. I'm not gonna be sheepish talking about it. I feel that if I can help someone with what I've learned, or someone out there has information to share with me, it's a win-win! When you can name the enemy, it's empowering, and you're 1 step closer to killing it!

"Ok, you've heard the bad news. The good news is he feels great physically! I'm gonna beat this like a fucking snare drum that owes me money!!! I've had great doctors and a great support system that is an army in itself. I'm ready for the fight!

"We have a lot to celebrate this year with the release of what will be a career-defining album and tours to follow! I'm stoked for everyone to hear it, and even more excited to get out there and play some of it! I will see you all very soon! CHEERS!!!"

We at Metal Underground send only our best wishes to Tom, his family and bandmates at this difficult time.

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Razor Shares First Taste Of New Music In 24 Years

Canadian thrash metal legends Razor has posted a clip of a song entitled, "A Pitter Pill," their first new song in twenty four years. The snippet can be heard in the latest YouTube video from guitarist Dave Carlo, which can be seen below, during which, Carlo reveals that a new album entitled, "Cycle Of Contempt" will hopefully be released later this year. This will mark the Ontario veteran's first studio album since the 1997 release, "Decibels."

More details will be revealed as soon as they become available. More...

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Judas Priest Postpones European Tour Dates

British heavy metal icons Judas Priest has announced that, as many expected, the bands plans to tour Europe in 2021 have now been moved to next year. A message from the band reads as follows:

"Unfortunately due to ongoing COVID-19 vaccine issues in Europe we have been advised that our 2021 dates will not be able to take place as planned - all dates have been rescheduled to 2022 - all tickets will remain valid for the new dates - further dates will be announced shortly... However we are pleased to confirm our UK headline show at Bloodstock Open Air 2021 is still scheduled for this coming August where we look forward to celebrating 50 years of Judas Priest and 20 years of Bloodstock."

The new tour dates are as follows: More...

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Entombed A.D. Singer Lars-Göran Petrov Passes Away

Entombed A.D. just shared the below post via Facebook, announcing the passing of their legendary frontman Lars-Göran Petrov. As reported the singer publicly announced in August 2020 that he was battling an incurable form of bile duct cancer.

Say the band about Petrov's death: More...

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Deez Nuts Bassist Passes Away Aged 35

Sean Kennedy, the bassist for Australian hardcore band Deez Nuts and formerly of I Killed The Prom Queen, has been found dead at the age of thirty five. Although no cause of death has been publicly confirmed, Australian outlet Tone Deaf claims that the musician committed suicide (see article here.) Several of Kennedy's former bandmates have paid tribute to him, with former I Killed The Prom Queen vocalist Michael Crafter saying:

"For years we stood side by side on stage or in band photos. We slept on floors, in vans, planes and somehow managed to tour the world. Time went way too fast. We experienced highs and lows on the road and after all we went through, you will always be my friend. As the years passed us by I'm glad we've always been there for each other. When I called you last week I didn't think it would be the last. I wish I could say goodbye. Love and will always miss you mate. Rest in peace."

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Iced Earth Vocalist & Bassist Quit The Band

Iced Earth vocalist Stu Block and bassist Luke Appleton have announced their departure from the band, in the wake of the ongoing controversy surrounding the group’s guitarist and founding member Jon Schaffer.

Earlier today (Monday, February 15) Block announced his resignation from the group, posting the below statement: More...

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Maryland Deathfest To Reschedule To 2022

Maryland Deathfest is rescheduling their annual event for the 2nd time in the past year to May of 2022. The new dates are now May 27-30. The event organizers posted this statement on their Facebook page:

There is an overload of information in this post, so please take a few minutes to read it all, as it will likely address most of the questions and concerns you may have.

At this point, we don't think it's necessary to go into great detail about why we had to reschedule the festival again. We've been updating you about this possibility for months, so we assume that most of you were expecting this news to be dropped. There is simply no chance that the festival can be staged in its proper form with the majority of the bands (or fans, for that matter) being able to even show up in a short 4 months. It is pretty clear that most, if not all of 2021, is needed for the world to sort itself out to the point that we can enjoy live events again.

The venue situation for 2022 is an ongoing project, but it's starting to look like this could potentially turn into our largest format ever. As of yesterday, we can confirm that we are bringing back Edison Lot, both Rams Head and Soundstage feel like they'll still be open in 2022, and we also have full use of the Power Plant complex, including the outdoor stage there. As of now, the options are plentiful and we plan to utilize all of the venues/stages mentioned above.

As for the bands that we booked in 2019 to play in 2020/2021, the majority of them have once again reconfirmed to play in 2022. Those who have not reconfirmed already and aren't on the flyer shown here fall into one of the categories below.

Bands that need more time to know if they can play in 2022:

Bloodbath - We expect a final answer any day now, as soon as next week.
Negative Approach - We expect a final answer within a month.
Vio-lence - We expect a final answer in 4-6 months.
Coffins - We expect a final answer in 4-6 months.

Bands we haven't received a reply from, so we don't know what their status is:

Napalm Raid

Bands that definitely cannot play in 2022 and will need to be replaced:

Grave Desecrator
Blaze of Perdition

On the subject of bands, considering the outlook of a larger footprint and the inclusion of outdoor stages in 2022, we will have the space to book more bands on top of the few that need to be replaced. However, we can't immediately dive into booking more bands, as we can't already start throwing around offers to more bands after being completely kicked in the teeth financially by the pandemic over the last year. Eventually, about 20 additional bands will be booked.

The day of show for all originally confirmed bands remains the same.

We expect the lineup for the pre-fest at the Ottobar to remain the same, but we'll follow up shortly to confirm that.

Important info regarding tickets:

- All tickets for 2020/2021 remain valid for the new dates in 2022. No further action is needed.
- If you can't attend the new dates, tickets are transferable to others. If there is someone that you would like to transfer the ticket to, we can assist with that and email them a new PDF ticket.
- As another option for anyone that can't attend the new dates, we can also issue a voucher valid for any future event of ours. These vouchers will have no expiration date and are also transferable to others.

Anyone that needs our assistance with the above options can send us a message here on Facebook or email MDFtickets@gmail.com More...

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Update: Iced Earth Guitarist Jon Schaffer Arrested

UPDATE: According to the FBI, Iced Earth guitarist Jon Schaffer was among the rioters who sprayed U.S. Capitol police officers with a capsaicin pepper spray known as "bear spray", as part of the rioter's attempts to push back the officers inside the Capitol and breach the Capitol building.

The Iced Earth founding member was photographed and captured on surveillance video holding "bear spray" and engaging in verbal altercations with Capitol police officers inside the D.C. Capitol building: More...

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Megaforce Co-Founder Passes Away

Marsha Zazula, the woman who co-founded Megaforce Records with her husband Johnny Zazula, AKA Johnny Z, has sadly passed away the age of sixty eight after a struggle with cancer. Metal Underground sends our heartfelt condolences to Johnny Z and all of Marsha Zazula's family and friends.

The Zazulas co-founded Megaforce in 1983 and released Metallica's debut album, "Kill 'em All" that same year. The couple are also credited with launching the careers of such bands as Anthrax, Overkill and Exciter among several other thrash icons.

Several bands have posted short statements of condolence, such as Metallica, who wrote:

"Rest In Peace, Marsha. Thank you for everything.
Much love to Jonny Z & the Zazula family."

Exodus guitarist Gary Holt: "All of Exodus are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Marsha Zazula, one half of Megaforce records and legends to the entire early trash scene. We’ve known each other since the beginning and our most sincere condolences go out to Jon and the entire Megaforce family."

Overkill: "From the entire Overkill family we are saddened by the loss of Marsha Zazula. Our thoughts and prayers are with Jon and the entire Zazula family. Rest in Peace."

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Iced Earth Frontman Allegedly Stormed U.S. Capitol

It seems that Iced Earth guitarist/vocalist Jon Schaffer was among the Trump supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, DC on, January 06th. Shaffer allegedly confirmed his attendance at the protests to German news outlet Die Welt.

Another picture shared by CBS News below seems to display him having been among those who breached the Capitol building in Washington, wearing the same outfit in the Die Welt article. More...

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Ex Children Of Bodom Frontman Passes Away

Alexi Laiho, former frontman of Finnish metal band Children Of Bodom, has passed away at the age of 41. A statement from Children Of Bodom reads as follows:

"One of the most renowned guitarists in the world, Alexi Laiho, has passed away. The musician, most notably known as the front man of Children of Bodom, died in his home in Helsinki, Finland, last week. Laiho had suffered from long-term health issues during his last years.

"More than 25 years of friendship. We lost a brother. The world lost a phenomenal song writer and one of the greatest guitarists of all time. Memories and Alexi’s music will live forever.

"Our thoughts are with Alexi’s family during this difficult time.

"-Henkka, Janne and Jaska"

Furthermore, his Bodom After Midnight bandmates have posted the following message:

"It is with heavy hearts and great sadness that we have to announce the passing of Alexi Laiho. We are absolutely devastated and heartbroken for the sudden loss of our dear friend and band member. Our journey together as a band had only just begun so there’s no words to describe the shock and the bottomless grief that all of us feel.

"May your soul rest in peace, you will be eternally missed. We love you brother.

"Our deepest condolences go to his family. No further announcements nor interviews will be given at this time. We kindly ask to respect our need to process and go through this terrible situation in privacy. Thank you for your understanding and support.

"Daniel, Mitja & Waltteri" More...

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Morgoth Officially Calling It Quits

German death metal band Morgoth have officially called it quits.

Tell the group via Facebook: More...

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Cynic Bassist Sean Malone (50) Has Died

Cynic bassist Sean Malone has died at the age of 50. He was a member of Cynic from 2012 up until his passing, the cause of death was not revealed so far.

Sean Malone is the second Cynic member to die this year with the band’s ex-drummer Sean Reinert having passed way this past January. The group’s frontman/guitarist Paul Masvidal posted the sad newsvia his Instagram offering the below tribute: More...

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Former Secrets Singer Aaron Melzer Has Died

Ex-Secrets frontman Aaron Melzer has died. He appeared on the second of group's' three full-length releases, "Fragile Figures" and toured with the southern California post-hardcore band for several years. A cause of death was not disclosed.

Secrets posted the below statement, in regards to his passing: More...

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Abnormality Calling It Quits

Abnormality announce their decision to break up. You can read their full statement regarding that issue below: More...

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System Of A Down Releases Two New Songs

It's been 15 years since System Of A Down released new music. For years, fans and press speculated about this, and of late, the rumour mill has gone into overdrive hypothesizing when the band might return to the studio.

Today, motivated by the recently-erupted conflict between Artsakh and Azerbaijan, the latter aided by Turkey and accountable for the greatest violence the region has endured in 26 years, System Of A Down - Daron Malakian/guitars, vocals, Serj Tankian/vocals, Shavo Odadjian/bass, and John Dolmayan/drums - announces the release of its first new songs in 15 years: "Protect The Land" and "Genocidal Humanoidz."

Produced by Malakian, who also wrote the music and lyrics, both songs are streaming now on all DSPs and are available for purchase on Bandcamp with band royalties earmarked for the Armenia Fund. You can check out the music video for "Protect The Land" below.

So why now? Last month, profoundly affected by the unwarranted surprise attacks and bombings of civilians perpetrated by Azerbaijan and Turkey (Turkey was responsible for the genocide of 1.5 million Armenians in 1915 as well as over 100 years of denial), Dolmayan texted his three bandmates. Said Dolmayan, "I texted, 'no matter how we feel about each other, no matter what issues linger from the past, we need to put them aside because this is bigger than System Of A Down and bigger than all of us... we need to do something to support our people.'"

Joined together on a subsequent conference call, everyone voiced the same concern and the vital importance of helping in some way, the way they knew best - music.

"The aggression and injustice being perpetrated against the Armenian people in Artsakh and Armenia by Azerbaijan and Turkey is a human rights violation and a war crime," said Tankian. "All of us in System realize this is an existential battle for our people, so this is very personal for us. What we need right now is for the world to put politics aside and support Armenia by sanctioning Turkey and Azerbaijan and recognizing Artsakh." More...

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Trail Of Tears Announces Reformation

After several years of inactivity, Norwegian metal band Trail of Tears has chosen the plague-ridden 2020 as the year of its return to the scene.

With a revamped line-up featuring original members Ronny Thorsen (vocals), Runar Hansen (guitars) and Jonathan Alejandro Perez (drums), the band joins forces with long-time member Endre Moe (bass), new guitarist Nicolay “Jørni” Johnsen and acclaimed female singer Ailyn (ex-Sirenia, Her Chariot Awaits).

New music is in the pipeline, and the band is eager to return to the worldwide live circuit in a massive way once the world allows it. Furthermore, there are plans to perform several albums in their entirety, to coincide with their upcoming anniversaries. More information to follow shortly.

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Shane Embury Brings Back Blood From The Soul

Napalm Death bassist Shane Embury, also of Brujeria, Lock Up, Venomous Concept and Absolute Power to name but a few, has confirmed that he has reactivated Blood From The Soul, the industrial hardcore project he formed with Sick Of It All frontman Lou Koller twenty seven years ago. A new album, "DSM-5," is set to be released on November 13th.

Unfortunately, Lou Koller will not be involved this time around, his place being taken by Converge vocalist Jacob Bannon. The project will also feature a full lineup, instead of a drum machine, with Megadeth drummer Dirk Verbeuren (who himself has been as of late with such projects as Brave The Cold, Bent Sea and Scarve) with Nasum bassist Jesper Liveröd completing the ranks.

The band has also released a new song, "Debris Of Dreams," which can be heard below. More...

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AC/DC Premiere New Single "Shot In The Dark"

AC/DC just premiered their first new single "Shot In The Dark", taken from the group's long-awaited comeback album, "Power Up", which will be released on November 13.

The follow-up outing to 2014's "Rock Or Bust" was recorded in August and September 2018 at Warehouse Studios in Vancouver with producer Brendan O'Brien and features AC/DC's 2020 lineup of Brian Johnson (vocals), Phil Rudd (drums), Cliff Williams (bass), Angus Young (guitar) and Stevie Young (guitar).

Says Angus Young about "Shot In The Dark": More...

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