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Siebenburgen Split Up

Swedish melodic black metallers SIEBENBÜRGEN have split up. The group's official statement on the matter reads as follows:

"I am hereby sad to inform you all that SIEBENBÜRGEN is no more.

"On the 1st of February 2006 we had a band meeting and came to the conclusion that we have to bury SIEBENBÜRGEN. After 12 years, we sadly don't have the energy and inspiration to take the band any further and it would be wrong to us and to our fans to continue without the passion that SIEBENBÜRGEN deserve.

"During these years, we have struggled and bled to keep SIEBENBÜRGEN alive and well, we have published five albums that we are very proud of we got to see the world and we met a lot of great people in the process, and our fans fucking rule! But now it is over and we will lay SIEBENBÜRGEN to rest. It has been a great experience that we would not trade for anything in the world.

"We would like to thank Ed and Karen of No Cross Management, Sabine at IDB booking, Eva and the staff at Napalm Records and all the bands we have toured with during the years, and last but not least, all of our devoted fans that believed in us and kept us going through all this time.

"Thanks for everything and may the gods of metal be with you!"

SIEBENBÜRGEN's fifth album, "Darker Designs & Images", was released last year via Napalm Records.

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Drummer Adam Sagan Leaves Into Eternity

Into Eternity Drummer posted the following message on the band's message board:

"I'm very sad to announce to all of you that I am no longer a member of INTO ETERNITY. This is not what I wanted, but the simple truth is, for personal and professional reasons I cannot continue to play in Into Eternity at this point in my life. I have nothing bad to say about Tim, Rob, Stu and Troy. They are truly wonderful people and some of my best friends. We've been through some tremendous experiences, and I can't thank them enough for the amazing times we've had and the incredible opportunities that they've given me. It's been absolutely humbling playing with such ferocious, capable and professional musicians. Thank you gentleman. I wish you nothing but the best. I also want to send a huge THANK YOU to all of the incredible fans and friends I've met and gotten to know so well, along with the truly gracious promoters that always treated IE so well, particularly the Brazilian Pride (you know who you three are), Sean "The Captain" Cipriano at The Pound in San Francisco, Noel at Inertia, Stephan and all of BCI, Jay Nedry and co. at Jaxx, and the whole crew of BB King's in NYC. An extra special thank you goes to all of the wildly dedicated and insane Into Eternity fans up in Regina. You all truly know how to support your scene! And of course, horns up to all the guys in Amorphis, Beyond the Embrace, Graveworm, Hate Eternal, Krisiun, Opeth, Nevermore, Kataklysm, and all of the other incredible bands with whom we've shared a stage (or gazebo) in the last 18 months. THANK YOU!!"

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Pitchshifter Return After 2 Year Hiatus

PITCHSHIFTER are returning to the scene after a two year hiatus. Every single ticket buying fan will get a free new PITCHSHIFTER 6 track CD put in their hands at the show. The new PITCHSHIFTER 6 track EP entitled 'All For One And None For All' features the first new material since 2001's 'PSI' album. The CD features 2 brand new previously unreleased PITCHSHIFTER songs, 3 brand new previously unreleased remixes and one special treat. There is no plan at this time for PSI Records to release the EP commercially.

Scheduled tour dates, and the poster for the upcoming tour, can be found here.

Openers include:

SKINDRED: London and Nottingham
THIS IS MENACE: London
MURDER ONE: All dates
ARCHITECTS: Portsmouth

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Champion Throw In The Towel

Seattle hardcore band Champion will reportedly be breaking up following a few final shows during the coming weeks. Formed in 1999, the group has put out several releases with Bridge Nine Records (a new deal with Equal Visions Records has recently been rumored as well). Champion will likely play their final show in March in Seattle.

Champion recenlty toured Australia with Betrayed, Internal Affairs, and Miles Away in December.

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Finntroll Part Ways With Vocalist

FINNTROLL vocalist Tapio Wilska has announced that he's been asked to leave the band:

"With a heavy heart I bring you the following news: In a band meeting one hour ago I was fired as a singer of FINNTROLL. Reasons are many and for the most part private, but personal differences and lack of discussion have led my bandmates to doubt my commitment for this band. I believe this will be discussed widely in the following days and more info will undoubtedly be out soon for your viewing pleasure. I will only say the following: These past three years have been the best times of my life and I want to thank all the friends I've gained from this, crews past and present, supporters who came to our shows and shared the good and the bad times. I will always cherish you in my heart. Thanks for my now ex-bandmates for sharing this experience with me. Life goes on and wounds will heal. The future remains to be seen.

Thank all of you and see you sometime, somewhere."

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Disturbed Confirms Ozzfest 2006 Appearance

Disturbed frontman, David Draiman confirmed his band will tour the Ozzfest circuit this summer.

Draiman revealed his forthcoming tour schedule to a Seattle Radio on January 7. The pierced singer stated, ""It looks like at this point that we are confirmed for Ozzfest this summer, so that should be a good thing. It's looking like that's gonna happen, so…"

Disturbed last played Ozzfest in 2003 on the main stage with Ozzy Osbourne, Korn, Marilyn Manson, and Chevelle.

As previously reported, Black Label Society has also been confirmed for the Ozzfest 2006. Atreyu and Avenged Sevenfold have been offered spots on the tour, but not publically committed either way.

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Crashdiet Frontman Found Dead

The surviving members of the Swedish band CRASHDIET have issued a statement regarding the death of their frontman David Hellman (photo) (a.k.a. Dave Lepard) and the group's future plans.

Shortly before 1:00 a.m. on Friday, January 20, the police in the Swedish city of Uppsala, north of Stockholm, were called to the apartment of CRASHDIET frontman David Hellman (photo) (a.k.a. Dave Lepard). He had not been in touch with his friends or family for 20 days and a close friend of his had entered the apartment and found him dead, reports the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet.

"There is no foul play involved in his death, other than that we don't know what the circumstances are," police spokesperson Christer Nordström told the newspaper Expressen.

Zübeyde Güngodogmus is shocked by the news that her neighbor has been found dead in his apartment. They were acquaintances.

"He was so sweet and very friendly," she tells Expressen.

However, she had noticed a change in the rock star. Last week she met him at the local supermarket.

"He looked so thin and was out of character," she says.

During the first weeks of 2006, there were signs that everything was not well in the CRASHDIET camp. The other members were rumored to be fed up with Hellman's excessive drug intake and were on the verge of leaving, or already had left, the band. Both they and Hellman's family have declined to talk to the media at the moment.

Hellman, 25, made no qualms about his sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll lifestyle.

"We want to get hard rock back on track again and it's nice that it's getting bigger again," he told the Swedish music magazine Groove last year. "All the other crap is becoming so tiresome. I mean, hip hop people live the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll lifestyle to a much larger extent than hard rockers do."

Describing his lifestyle, he said: "You live in chaos, depend on welfare, are an addict and things fucking suck. That's why it often collides with the music; it's too much of the good stuff and the music is affected. You would need 48 hours per day, but you're so fucking stupid and get your priorities wrong."

In a joint statement released to the media, Martin Sweet (guitar), Peter London (bass) and Eric Young (drums) said, "As a bandmember, but most of all as a person, we will miss him for all eternity. Dave was nothing but a genius and a very special person. CRASHDIET will definitely not continue as a band. CRASHDIET consisted of four people and now one has left us."

CRASHDIET was a Stockholm, Sweden-based Eighties hard rock-style band whose debut album, "Rest in Sleaze", entered the Swedish national album chart at position No. 12.

"It's pretty clear that, up to now, there's been a vacuum as far as hard rock goes," Dave said in a 2005 interview. "We can play a gig for 1,200 kids with big hair and skinny spandex-covered legs, who just stand there screaming. So it's even cooler when ZTV [Swedish music video channel] or MTV and the others play our rock-hard video which gets to be one of the most played clips alongside old ladies like J-Lo, or whatever she's called."

A video clip, dubbed "On the Road with Crashdiet 2005", was recently posted on their official web site. You can check it out here: Real Media, Windows Media.

CRASHDIET were reportedly the first "sleaze rock" band in over 10 years to be signed directly to a major company — Universal Music. The group, whose members were said to be in their early 20s, were scheduled to make their U.S. debut in March at the South by Southwest music conference/festival in Austin, Texas.

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Blitzkrieg Guitarist Leaves Band to be Father

New Wave of British Heavy Metal band, Blitzkrieg, post an update on their myspace page regarding a line up change:
"BLITZKRIEG wishes to announce that Paul Nesbitt has decided to leave the band. Paul has recently became a father for the very first time and he feels that his time with the Krieg has come to an end.

On behalf of Brian, Phil, Ken and Paul Brewis we would just like to say that having Paul in the band has been an absolute honour and a privelige and the times we have all shared will remain with us for a very long time.

We would like to take this opportunity to wish Paul all the best for the future and would also like to thank him for the immense creative element he brought to the band.

BLITZKRIEG would like to welcome to the band our new guitarist Guy Laverick, Guy comes with a wealth of playing and writing experience having learnt his trade at the guitar institute of technology in Los Angeles, Guy has played with the likes of Paul Gilbert and Michael Angelo as well as a host of bands during his time in L.A., a full profile of our newest family member will be up soon."

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YOB Breaks Up

YOB, who released their last album with Metal Blade Records in 2005, have officially broken up. Here's a statement from the band:

"This is Mike from YOB. I regret to say that YOB is disbanding after almost 10 years of existence. The time we spent with YOB exceeded our wildest expectations and hopes and it has truly been a dream come true. Travis Foster and Isamu Sato left the band in July, and I have been trying to decide what to do for the last six months. YOB has had 3 other line-ups, but this one was the best. At the end of the day the best thing for YOB is to call it a day. I want to thank everyone who has been supportive to YOB over the years...labels, bands, fans, the venues, our families...without you none of this would have been possible. I will be working on a new band called AGE that will very much be in the vein of YOB, with some new twists."

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Terrorizer Signs To Century Media Records

Recently re-formed legendary grindcore pioneers TERRORIZER, have signed to Century Media Records worldwide. Released in 1989, the bands highly acclaimed and influential debut album "World Downfall" (Earache Records) took the metal scene by storm. With an as yet unheard of aggression the band became a cult institution even though they quickly disbanded. Following the break up the main founding members, drummer Pete Sandoval and guitarist Jesse Pintado, moved on to join legendary extreme bands Morbid Angel and Napalm Death respectively.

The band remained popular through the next 16 years with newer acts citing inspiration from "World Downfall." The massive amount of available bootleg recordings and band merchandise as well as rumours of a follow-up album kept TERRORIZER’s name alive. Now, after what might seem like an eternity of silence, the band have signed a worldwide deal with Robert Kampf, owner of Century Media. Sondoval and Pintado have already started working on a new studio album, to be recorded early 2006 in Florida with producer Juan “Punchy” Gonzalez (Morbid Angel, Unholy Ghost, Christian Death, Diet of Worms etc.) for a summer 2006 release.

“After long negotiations with several labels, it’s official: TERRORIZER and World Management are happy to announce the new album will be on Century Media,” commented the band.

Introducing themselves to the TERRORIZER fold are guitarist Tony Norman (MORBID ANGEL, MONSTROSITY) and vocalist Tony Militia (RESISTANT CULTURE). Many people have asked why Oscar Garcia (NAUSEA) and David Vincent (MORBID ANGEL) are not returning. Simply put, Oscar is no longer interested in TERRORIZER and wants to focus on his own band NAUSEA.

Regarding what the fans can expect from the group's long-awaited new release, Pintado said, "It will be different but in the TERRORIZER vein." There are reportedly talks of introducing classical piano parts, industrial noise parts and chants on the new record. A 13-minute-plus song is in the works as well as some of the fastest drumming ever put to tape.

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Beecher Call It Quits

UK outfit Beecher have officially disbanded. Formed in 2001, the group signed with Earache Records in 2004. Here's a statement from the band:

"After almost five long years of putting everything we have into this band, it has finally brought itself to an end. For the whole time we've put all our creative and physical energy into writing and performing music that we believed in completely, and for the most part we've been underappreciated, misunderstood and misrepresented by both the media and by the general public. We've never been 'the UK's answer' to anybody; we've never been a 'fashioncore' band or a 'noisecore' band and we've certainly never once adhered to any of your bullshit 'scene' rules. We are who we are and we played what we wanted, and in our minds we've set an example and achieved more than we ever thought possible. I'm sorry to say that it seems that right now, you either need to look stupid or sound shit (or more often than not a combination of the two) to get anywhere in this 'scene,' two things that have never applied to Beecher.

The reason for our break-up is a combination of personal reasons that no one outside of our band needs to know, but rest assured now is the time, the time for us all to get our lives back

We have made some great friends and fans along the way and to those people we give our sincere thanks. We hope our band will live on in your memories, as it's sure to in ours. We've had some fucking good times. If you ever deserved thanks, then you got it in at least one of our record sleeves."

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Metalunderground.com's Best of 2005 Awards

Having just wrapped up another year, I'd like to take a moment to reflect on what made this year a great year in metal.

Like last year, I've polled the entire staff here at metalunderground.com about their favorite albums of 2005. This year we've also added a few more categories as well. At the end of announcing the winners of all of the categories, the entire ordered list of nominees will be presented, because there was simply so much good metal to check out.

So without further ado, I'll present Metalunderground.com's staff picks for the following categories: Best Metal Album of 2005, Best Metal Newcomer of 2005, Best Live Act of 2005, and Most Anticipated Release for 2006.


Best Metal Album of 2005

There were some great metal albums released in 2005, although dare I say not many landmark albums. Still, a few great releases rise to the top of 2005 and the nod for Best Metal of 2005 goes to:

Nevermore's "This Godless Endeavor"

Runners-up:
Chimaira's "Chimaira"
Behemoth's "Demigod"
Dark Tranquillity's "Character"
Strapping Young Lad's "Alien"
Rammstein's "Rosenrot"


Best Metal Newcomer of 2005

Bands eligible for "Best Metal Newcomer of 2005" included bands who have released their first full length album or released their first album on a somewhat major metal label, or even have no formal release at all. This is a tough category to get consensus on, since we all have different tastes in metal and will hear of only a relatively few new bands each year. The band who rose to the top should be no surprise, however, as they've made waves and generated loads of press for being such a young band. Metalunderground.com's Best Metal Newcomer of 2005 is:

Trivium

Despite there being many great new bands coming out in 2005, only one other band got multiple nominations from the staff at metalunderground.com in this category.

Runner-up:
3 Inches of Blood


Best Live Act of 2005

Best Live Act was by far the most competitive category we voted on, since it was not restricted to releases from this year. The winner may not be expected by many metal heads, but at the same time may come as no surprise to those who have seen them live. Metalunderground.com's Best Live Act of 2005 is:

Apocalyptica

Apocalyptica embarked on their first full-fledged headlining US tour in 2005, and won the top votes from two of our staff (including myself) - enough to ensure victory. While the band plays cellos, their performance is as heavy and intense as any true metal band's you'll ever see.

As I mentioned, the competition was tight in this category, and we had seven more bands get multiple nominations and were right on the heels of Apocalyptica when the votes were counted.

Runners-up:
Megadeth
Anthrax
Mudvayne
Children of Bodom
Therion
Amon Amarth
Killswitch Engage


Most Anticipated Release for 2006

Most Anticipated release for 2006 as a category also generated a wide range of nominations due to the complete difference in people's tastes in metal. However, the few bands that got multiple nominations were really no surprise. The Most Anticipated Release for 2006 is:

Slayer

Slayer is well overdue for an album. Between their parent label being bought up and touring heavily, Slayer has delayed putting out an album since 2001's "God Hates Us All." Still, several other bands are garnering a lot of anticipation for new releases, including these:

Runners-up:
In Flames - Come Clarity
Metallica
Vader


Looking back, 2005 was a great year in metal despite there being few or no landmark releases. Nu-metal was all but nonexistent with the exception of its few top remaining bands such as Disturbed, Korn (who have moved away from metal once again) and System of a Down. Metalcore seemed less of a huge trend than the previous year, as the good bands have risen above the label and hardcore/metalcore elements have found their way into other styles of metal.

Last year was a huge year for many newer and up and coming bands putting out albums. But it was an even bigger year for many seasoned bands and old school metal bands - some recently reunited - on the tour circuit. 2006 looks to be even bigger with a slew of big releases by big name bands slated for release and more headlining tours by many of last year's up and comers as well as those bands reunited in 2005.

Finally, here is the entire list of nominations for the 2005 categories voted on, because all of these bands are worth looking into: More...

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Aborted Part Ways With Two Members

Aborted have posted the following announcement in regards to their future plans and the departure of two members:

"A new year, a new beginning: On those notes we start off the new year, wishing everyone including all our fans the best of luck with their plans and projects for 2006. Unfortunately, we have some unpleasant news to bring as well at this point. Due to personal issues that could not be resolved, Aborted, Tace and Free had to part ways. The culmination of smaller and bigger problems in the past so and so months has made it virtually impossible to keep cooperating together as a collective unit. Tace and Free are not vanishing, they will remain active in their other projects. People will see Free in his other band "Forced Hate" and Tace has just started a new band."

"On a more positive note, we want to state that absolutely nobody out there should worry about shows getting canceled and so on. The February tour with Cryptopsy, Grave, Dew-Scented a.o., will go on as planned! Stepping in are Seb (Genital Grinder/Balrog) on guitar, Olivia (ex-No Return/Balrog) on bass and Matty (Emeth) on guitar as well since Steph could not commit him self to this tour due to his lady sitting at home pregnant, ready to give birth."

"We have already rehearsed our setlist with the new line-up several times and things are working out perfectly. The motivation and "drive" is back in the band, something that was missing since a while ago, and it feels great to be jamming out the tunes with fresh blood incorporated. Throughout the years this band has been struggling with the line-up, having more than a couple of line-up changes. However, Aborted has proven that what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger, and this time it should be no exception."

"We also started working on the successor to "The Archaic Abattoir," which is set to be recorded later this year. Again we would like to thank all of those who have supported us, and we're glad you are still doing so. We will see many of you on tour in February!"

Metalunderground.com recently interviewed now-departed guitarist, Tace. You can read that interview here.

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Amaran Call It Quits

Swedish progressive metallers AMARAN have called it quits. The group's official statement on the matter reads as follows:

"This year comes to an end and we are sad to say that AMARAN does the same. Since Johanna [DePierre, vocals] left us in July we have really been struggling looking for a replacement. We have tried by contacts, friends, ads, headhunting, hostile kidnapping and threat without any success. Our bad luck always seems to keep up with us. This issue has simply unplugged our tub of motivation, and we all decided to put AMARAN six feet under.

"We would like to thank everyone who has been involved in any way with us during these AMARAN years. As a final word, we suggest you to keep your eyes open during the forthcoming year. A new year seems to be a good time to start up something new..."

AMARAN's sophomore effort, "Pristine In Bondage", was released in January 2004 through Listenable Records. The follow-up to "A World Depraved" was recorded at Studio Underground in Västerås, Sweden and was the group's first since the departure of bassist Mikael Andersson (he had since been replaced by JULIE LAUGHS NO MORE drummer Ronnie Bergerståhl).

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Vocalist Urban Breed Quits Tad Morose

Vocalist Urban Breed has left acclaimed Swedish metallers TAD MOROSE. In an official statement announcing his departure, Breed writes, "Due to personal differences I have decided to leave the band. This wasn't something I took lightly. However, I really don't see how I could've continued. In fact, I believe had I not made this decision someone else would've made it for me eventually. We just didn't share the same vision. I wish the rest of the band the best of luck in the future. To all of you out there that made the ride worthwhile, thanks and see you sometime, somewhere!"

Urban Breed joined TAD MOROSE in 1995 following the departure of previous singer Kristian "Krille" Andrén. Breed has appeared on the group's last four studio albums: 1997's "A Mended Rhyme", 2000's "Undead", 2002's "Matters of the Dark" and 2003's "Modus Vivendi".

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Decapitated Part With Two Members

According to Massive Management, the Polish management firm that handles Decapitated, the band parted ways with bassist Martin and vocalist Covan following the group's North American tour in November/December. The band has yet to release an official statement on the matter.

Decapitated recently finished work on their new release, 'Organic Hallucinosis,' which will be in U.S. stores Febuary 7th and worldwide Feb 13th. You can listen to 'Organic Hallucinosis' via their online player.

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Soilwork Part Ways With Guitarist

Guitarist Peter Wichers has left Sweden's SOILWORK. His official statement on the matter reads as follows:

"I have decided to part ways with SOILWORK.

"This has been one of my hardest decisions to make, and SOILWORK has not only been my band but my second family and very good friends for almost 10 years.

"I'm just worn out from all the touring and I have reached a point in my life where touring is just not possible for me anymore. I need a break from the touring so that I can actually begin to build a more solid ground to stand on for the future. More...

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Man Killed at Donnybrook, Shattered Realm Show

One man was shot to death and several others injured (one individual was hit in the head with a hammer) after a fight broke out during a show on The Street Brutality Tour featuring Shattered Realm, Donnybrook and Hoods in Tucson, Arizona last night. The incident occured at Skrappy's, which bills itself as an alcohol- and drug-free club for people under 21. Police said they have had few calls for problems there.

The man fatally shot at a music club last night as Ray Darrin Pierson, 27, of Mesa. Pierson was in Tucson to see Shattered Realm. He was shot outside the club after a fight involving at least 20 people inside the venue, said Sgt. Ramon Batista, a Tucson Police Department spokesman. Pierson died at a hospital. Several other people were injured according to Batista, but he declined to discuss details.

Homicide detectives are trying to interview everyone who was at the Shattered Realm show - up to 200 people. Detectives found a handgun outside the club, but won't say who was carrying it. No one has been arrested so far. Police are asking anyone who was at the show and anyone who may have information about the fight and shooting to call 911 or 88-CRIME, the anonymous tip line of the Pima County Attorney's Office.

Several emails to Lambgoat.com owners suggest that the fight was between local hardcore kids and FSU members.

Skrappy's doors were locked this morning, and no one appeared to be inside.

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The Accursed Lose Guitarist

Massachusetts Death/thrash metal band The Accursed post the following message on Myspace:

Loki, the guitar madman, has decided to leave The Accursed.
He has been with us from the start, helped form and mold the accursed into the killing metal machine that it is today. It is a sad day in our world. He will be playing all of the shows we have lined up as of right now.
With him leaving a part of us dies with him. He was and is our bandmate, our friend, our brother. We wish him the best the world can give him. He will be missed more than he knows.
The Accursed are holding auditions for a new Axeman.

Must have transportation, Own equipment be able to practice 2xs a week in new bedford dedication, drive and hunger for metal a must. willing to travel a must.

MUST BE GOOD! (you have BIG shoes to fill)

Our influences include:
Iron Maiden, Death, Carcass, Dissection, The Haunted, Children of Bodom, Hypocrisy, Thin lizzy, Slayer, Opeth, Decapitated, Sabbath, 80's Thrash metal, 80's Hair metal and 70's rock and roll.

We have a unique sound and we would like to keep it that way.
Contact us if you are interested in being part of the the northern most aggression, The Accursed.

Email theaccursedbooking@gmail.com

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Guitar Pioneer Link Wray Dies at 76

Reuters reports that musician Link Wray, best-known for his 1958 instrumental single "Rumble," died of unspecified causes November 5 in Copenhagen. He was 76. In a career that spanned six decades, Wray made his mark with a piercing guitar sound that paved the way for punk and heavy metal. He is credited with inventing the power chord and pioneering distortion by deliberately punching holes in his amplifier.

His music has appeared in such movies as "Pulp Fiction," "Independence Day" and "Desperado." Wray is said to have inspired Pete Townshend, Bruce Springsteen, "Little" Steven Van Zandt and other well-known artists. In 2002, Wray was named one of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time by Guitar World magazine. He gave his last performance in Los Angeles in July. He is survived by his wife and son.

Read the full article at Reuters.

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