Archive: Headline News
Phil Vane, one of the two vocalists of British crust punk/grindcore legends Extreme Noise Terror, has been found dead in his home. He was 46 years old. No cause of death has yet been revealed. A short statement from the band reads as follows:
"The rumors are true - we're sorry to announce that Phil (Vane) passed away recently. The band will make a full statement soon, but for now we need to take the time to come to terms with this terrible loss."
Phil Vane was one of the two vocalists of Extreme Noise Terror since the group's inception in 1985 along with singer Dean Jones and spent a brief period in the 1990's as the vocalist of fellow British grinders Napalm Death. For more information on Vane and Extreme Noise Terror, please check out last month's Sunday Old School article about the band.
The Grammys have been awarded, February is winding down, and we are officially late with our Best Of Year in Metal acknowledgments. So let's get to it. Like every year, I polled our diverse staff of metalheads to obtain their picks in several categories for 2010.
2010 was an interesting year in metal. Was it good? Yes. But not what one might expect at the outset. There were a lot of releases by big names, but most did not make the splash one would expect. Iron Maiden, Rob Zombie, Fear Factory, Dimmu Borgir, Dark Tranquility, and Living Sacrifice all put out decent albums, but nothing too bold or worth raving over. 2010 was one more year removed from the fading metalcore trend; a year in which we could savor thrash's second life, and melodic death metal is still living strong. When the trendiest things are a return to thrash and technical metal (despite losing much of its death metal influences), that's not too bad from a metal perspective.
It's hard to say 2010 was a year for the underground to shine. The true underground bands rarely get widely noticed. But there were quite a few lesser known bands making names for themselves and grabbing their fair share of attention last year. Why is this? Is it a sign of a changing of the guard in light of the aging greats, and perhaps despite the thrash revival? It's hard to say, but personally, I discovered a lot of new bands that I thoroughly enjoy, so I am all for continuing along this path.
Let's get down to the details and talk about those bands that made 2010 a solid year for heavy metal by announcing the Metalunderground.com staff picks for 2010. The staff picks include the following categories: Best Metal Album of 2010, Best Metal DVD of 2010, Best Metal Newcomer of 2010, Best Live Act of 2010, and Most Anticipated Release for 2011. More...
Dutch death metal outfit God Dethroned has announced that the band will be put to rest at the end of this year, mostly due to a lack of interest in touring. A message from singer/guitarist Henri Sattler reads as follows:
"2011 is God Dethroned's final year in existence.
"We could have spent another year in a tour bus because the amount of offers was endless, but I just don't feel like touring anymore. People told me to take a break for a year or maybe two, but as I'm an "all, or nothing at all" type of person, I decided to call it quits.
"Not immediately, but in December of this year we will definitely play our last show. That's gonna be at the Eindhoven Metal Meeting in Holland.
"I'm very proud of what we achieved with the band, but the time has come for new challenges.
"I would like to thank all of our fans for their support for all these years."
British heavy metal legends Iron Maiden have picked up the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance this year with their song, "El Dorado," which comes from their latest studio album, "The Final Frontier." The band won the award despite competition from Slayer, Korn, Megadeth and Lamb Of God. Also bringing home an award was supergroup Them Crooked Vultures, who won the prize for Best Hard Rock Performance with their song, "New Fang," Canadian rock legend Neil Young won claimed the Best Rock Song title with, "Angry World" and Jeff Beck, who won the award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance with "Hammerhead."
Video game publisher Activision has announced the discontinuation of the Guitar Hero series due to declining sales. The series started in 2005 and generated billions of dollars in sales, paving the way for other popular music franchises such as Rock Band and dozens of spin-offs for PCs and mobile devices.
According to MSNBC.com Activision made the decision, "due to continued declines in the music genre, the company will disband Activision Publishing's 'Guitar Hero' business unit and discontinue development on its 'Guitar Hero' game for 2011... These decisions are based on the desire to focus on the greatest opportunities that the company currently has to create the world's best interactive entertainment experiences."
British doom/stoner metal legends Cathedral has announced that they will be calling it a day after a twenty one year long career. The band will make their exit from the live arena at the end of this year and plan to record one final studio album to be released in 2012.
According to vocalist Lee Dorrian: "It's simply time for us to bow out. Twenty-one years is a very long time and it's almost a miracle that we managed to come this far! We've had a great time during Cathedral's existence and it has literally been our life. It's just time to move on and leave our recorded legacy to linger.
"Our latest album The Guessing Game is exactly where we wanted to be after all this time. Staying in one place, being repetitive and predictable is something we wanted to avoid right from the off. More...
Legendary Northern Irish blues rock guitarist Gary Moore has unfortunately passed away. The former Thin Lizzy guitarist reportedly died in his sleep while on holiday in Spain in the early hours of this morning. He was 58 years old. Moore made a name for himself in the rock world after performing in a band named Skid Row in the late 1960s and released his first solo album in 1973, before joining Thin Lizzy for periods of time and collaborating with such other legendary artists as Ozzy Osbourne, B.B. King and George Harrison. More...
German progressive metal act Re-Vision has posted the following update online, announcing its decision to disband.
"With [a] sad heart but conscious of [our] decision Re-Vision have decided to quit after 17 years, four albums, countless shows and precious memories!
"Thanks to everyone who has supported us, we appreciate it still!
"Dominik Nowitzki [drums] is part of Capital Joke now, the new band of ex-Grave Digger/Rage guitar player Manni Schmidt, hitting the drums as hard as he can. Daniel Dürig [guitar] continues working with Perzonal War, Anke Willnat [vocals] stays active in her cover bands, which she has established over the years. Moreover Dom, Daniel and bass player Christoph Lücker (Gonzo) are still on the road together as the backing band of Paul Di'Anno."
Adam Darski, best known to his fans as "Nergal," the frontman of Polish blackened death metal outfit Behemoth, has been forced to return to the hospital as a result of an infection.
"The patient was taken to hospital again because he did not take care of himself," Dr. Maria Bieniaszewska, assistant professor in the Department of Hematology at Uniwersyteckie Centrum Kliniczne (UCK) in Gdansk, told Polish site Fakt.pl.
It is not known whether the infection will affect the adoption of a bone marrow transplant. This procedure took place in late December and it's unclear how long Nergal will now have to stay in hospital. In his condition, when the immune system is weakened, such infections may even threaten life.
Bonded By Blood bassist Jerry Garcia has posted the following update online about the band being involved in a van accident:
"Shit just hit the fan! We were on our way to Trenton, NJ and our trailer took us for a spin on the highway. We had a great gig last night and we were happy to finally get into the groove of things, unfortunately everything has come to a cold and dreadful stop. I was driving the van on our way to New Jersey when we suddenly skid across the road and nearly hit a wall. Unfortunately our fucking trailer flipped over and broke off the hinge!
"As I was driving down the road the weather kept getting worse and worse. It was very difficult to see outside of our windows and the road was becoming one big sheet of ice. I could see the light from my headlights reflect off the pavement. I slowed down because I was afraid we would hydroplane. I was going about 40- 45 mph about two hours from the venue, listening to the song 'Chase The Wind' by our friends band Holy Grail on my headphones, when suddenly I realized that our trailer was on a massive hydroplane completely adjacent to us. I kind of freaked out because I was afraid it would smash into the back of the van where Juan [Juarez, band guitarist] was sleeping. I laid off the gas and as soon as I did the trailer pulled the van and caused me to loose complete control. All I could say was 'OH FUUUUCK!' I managed to narrowly miss the center divider and a few cars before we skid completely across the highway and almost hit the wall on the other side. We came to a stop about 3 feet from the wall!
"It was a surreal experience to say the least. Something about listening to our buddy Luna (from Holy Grail) singing while we almost lost our lives just didn’t seem right. At least that is not how I would’ve expected to go. Everything happened so fast and my actions seemed automatic as if my instincts just kicked in and I did whatever it is I did behind the wheel without thinking about it. I'm not superstitious but its kind of ironic that Mauro was listening to 'Dying Season' by Heathen and the exit off the highway we took after all was said and done was named Moosic. Its like we exited music and in a way we did, for the night at least. More...
Dirk Strahlimeier, the former guitarist of German thrash metal legends Sodom, has passed away. Sodom frontman Tom Angelripper has posted the following statement online regarding Strahlimeier's death:
"As I learned from a reliable source, our ex-guitarist Dirk 'Strahli' Strahlmeier died this month in a hospital in Düsseldorf, Germany. Currently we don't know the exact circumstances of his death. Strahli played on the album Masquerade In Blood which was released in 1995 on SPV. After that we had lost contact with him. Our deepest condolences to his family and friends.
American hardcore act Call To Preserve has announced through its record label that the band has decided to disband. A statement from the group can be read below:
"After eight years, three full-lengths and countless tours all over, Call to Preserve is calling it quits. For the past year or so we’ve done our best to keeping functioning as a band despite losing members and having remaining members cut back their involvement.
"Now all of us are being pulled in different directions and our aspirations for our future have expanded much further than being on tour all the time. With some of us moving away, going back to school or starting careers, we just can’t sacrifice our time to this band like we used to. It would be a disservice to ourselves to do CTP half heartedly, so instead we want to go out on a high note and enjoy our last few months as a band.
"We want to do our best to make sure those who want to can come see us for the last time. This April we’ll be playing our last west coast show at Facedown Fest 2011 and in the coming months we’ll be announcing our last tour dates, which will include a stop at Cornerstone Festival. Our last show will be near the end of July this summer in Melbourne, Florida. More details will be announced soon.
"In these final months we’ll also be working on a few new songs that will be on a 7” coming out this summer on Facedown Records. We’ve wanted to put out vinyl for years and felt we had a few more things to say before we go, so this seemed like the perfect time and place to put out a 7 inch.
"We never thought that this band would get as far as it did. We never thought we’d have the chance to travel so much and tour with some of our favorite bands and make such amazing friends from all over the world. We are eternally grateful for the chance we were given to play music and actually have people listen.
"We want to thank Jason Dunn and Facedown Records for standing behind us for the past five years, being some of the easiest people to work with and for just being great friends. We want to thank all the bands we’ve met and toured with who have become some of our best friends and we will miss the shows and the hangouts dearly. Finally we want to thank everyone who has supported us by coming to a show, buying a shirt, letting us sleep on your floor or feeding us. We are more thankful than you’ll ever know.
"Thanks for listening and see you soon."
Matt McChesney, vocalist of The Autumn Offering, has posted the following statement online through Myspace explaining the band's decision to go on hiatus.
"Now that the dust has settled a bit, here’s the story: We could no longer function as a band on Victory Records. They are criminals of the worst kind, and care nothing about the artists on their roster. Not going to get into a bunch of boring shit about record labels and money, but anyone with half a brain can see what was going on here. We were never dropped or anything like that, and as far as I can see they still have us listed on their artist roster. Whatever. Maybe one day when heavy music gets cool again, we’ll make some more records…but in this current climate of 'djent' shit and deathcore, no thanks.
"Most of those bands sound like furniture being moved around in an empty room. In the meantime, Jesse [Nunn, Autumn Offering guitarist] and myself have completed 14 songs with producer Logan Mader (Five Finger Death Punch, Divine Heresy, Cavelera Conspiracy) in Hollywood over the past 3 months. Its great stuff…kind of like Alice in Chains meets Faith No More, with a little bit of metal thrown in. We don’t have a name yet…just focusing on finishing the album first…I’ll keep you posted!!"
Behemoth frontman Nergal, who has been receiving treatment for leukemia for more than six months, has left the hematology division of Uniwersyteckie Centrum Kliniczne (UCK) in Gdansk on Monday, January 17th. His release comes four weeks after he underwent a bone marrow transplant procedure. He commented:
"Hey! What's up! At last – one could say. After almost half a year of treatment in various hospitals, several cycles of chemotherapy, irradiation and a bone marrow transplant, I have been finally released home in a pretty fuckin' good condition. I'm feeling ok, taking the intensity of treatment under consideration. That was not an easy period of my life, but, as I envisioned, I left the hospital victorious. I never considered any other options, but anyway, there were rough moments too… At this point I must express my thanks to the people who made all of those downs fairly bearable. My parents – thank you. You deserve a monument for all your love and patience. Dorotka, thank you for your heroic attitude, love and support. I can't forget Doda's fans, who made a gigantic effort for me and other ill people. You rule! Absolutely fantastic Behemoth fans from all over the world were organizing various events to make people aware of what leukemia is. To all of you out there - my deepest respect! Thank you – the real heroes - Prof. Hellmann, Dr. Piekarska, Dr. Knopinska, Doc. Giebel, Prof. Holowiecki and all the nurses of the hematology division of the Medical Academy in Gdansk and the Oncology Clinic in Gliwice for all the professionalism and great hearts. My band mates for all the friendship and never-ending support. All my friends for sticking to me throughout the whole period of my illness. The list is too long to mention you all, but remember, you have special place in my heart."
Nergal will now go through a recovery, which will last for several months. During this time he will stay in his flat in one of the Gdansk's districts.
"Although the whole treatment went really good, as well as the bone marrow transplant and the post-transplant period, the next several months is the time when I must really take care of myself. Of course I will have plenty of time to recover, think about the strategy and my return to the stage – which approaches imminently (laughs). First of all however I must rebuild my physical condition… apart from that, I hunger for playing, I haven't been playing the guitar for a half of year now! Really much to catch up, but also a huge motivation and a desire to work again at the same time. This year will be a really important one for me and the band!"
Orange County, California metal act Atreyu has posted the following series of messages online (compiled into one statement for this article) through the band's official Twitter page. The statements were made by vocalist Alex Varkatzas, which can be read at this location.
"Hey all. u have asked, so here goes. atreyu is taking a long long break after 11 yrs of rocking. we arnt breaking up but…We arnt writing recording or touring for a while. Simply taking a break to recharge and focus on different parts of our lives. Much love. Thanks to everyone who has supported us and given us a reason to exist over the past 11yrs. We hope to see you again 1 day. Until next time. All of us have other projects we are excited about and urge you to check them out if you miss us too much."
Bay Area based heavy metal outfit Hostility has announced that the band will be disbanding. A statement from the band reads as follows:
"After 14 years, eight releases, hundreds of shows, countless miles traveled, and many, many great times… and bottles of whiskey, Hostility has decided to disband. We would sincerely like to thank each and every one of you ragers out there that have supported Hostility through the years.
"We have some of the rowdiest, craziest fans out there and have had such a great time, we never would have made it this far without you, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you. This is the end of Hostility, but not the end of our musical careers, keep an eye out in the future for new projects!"
Additional details on members forming new projects will be announced as they are made available.
The Chicago Tribune has reported that Jef Whitehead (a.k.a. Wrest of Leviathan, Krieg, and Nachtmystium) has been charged with criminal sexual assault and aggravated domestic battery. An excerpt from the report follows:
"Veterans of the tattoo world were trying to make sense of the allegations made against a renowned tattoo artist who Cook County prosecutors say used the tools of his trade to sexually assault his girlfriend after he slammed her head against a floor and choked her. Jef Whitehead, 42, was charged with criminal sexual assault and aggravated domestic battery Sunday and held on $350,000 bond after allegedly attacking his girlfriend.
"Prosecutors said an argument between the couple began about 12:30 a.m. Saturday at a home connected to a tattoo shop in the 1100 block of West Taylor Street. The woman was taken to the University of Illinois Medical Center in fair to serious condition, said Quention Curtis, a Chicago Fire Department spokesman. Her condition was not known Sunday. 'I've never known him to be violent to anyone — male or female,' Freddy Corbin said of Whitehead, whom he has known for more than 20 years.
"For the last three or four months, Whitehead has been traveling throughout the United States and parts of Europe on a tattooing tour, said Corbin, owner of Temple Tattoo in Oakland, Calif., where Whitehead has worked for three years."
No members of any of the band's Wrest is involved with have made any statements regarding the issue at this point in time. Additional details will be announced as they are made available.
Read the full article at Chicago Tribune.
Germany's Mourning Caress has issued the following statement about former guitarist Benedikt Bjarnason passing away:
"Still words cannot describe our feelings. On December 29th 2010 our friend and longtime guitarist Benedikt Bjarnason died. He stepped out of the band January 2009 due to many obligations, mainly work-related. In Spring 2010 he got diagnosed with cancer. But in spite of his positive attitude, distinctive humor, courage and immense will to defeat the disease, he lost this battle. We will never forget you.
"Rest In Peace, brother. See you on the other side! If you would like to share your thoughts and/or memories about Benedikt or your text of condolence for his family and friends, click here."
Phil Kennemore, the bass player of American heavy metal veterans Y&T, passed away this morning (January 7th) as a result of metastatic cancer. He was fifty seven years old. A message from Y&T frontman Dave Meniketti reads as follows:
"It is with profound sadness and disbelief that I tell you that my best buddy for 37 years passed away this morning, January 7th, 2011 at 1 AM at Stanford Hospital. Bravely and steadfastly battling the horrible spectacle of lung cancer, at the end he was surrounded by his family members, and the Y&T family up until his final breath.
"All the beautiful things that I could say about my buddy Phil could never be summed up in a short sentence or two, and I promise that I will be back to say so much more about how I feel about him and his talents in due time. But for now, at 3 AM, after just having returned home from his passing, let me at least put this out there.
"Phil Kennemore was not only a sweet and passionate man with his life, friends and family, but as an artist, he also had that rare ability to say what was on his mind with the most eloquent, clever, and to-the-point lyrics, yet could turn it on it's head in a second with some other viewpoint on reality and nail the point dead center. He was able to do what very few can - say the things that others have been thinking, but could never quite seem to put into words. He has always had a keen knack for doing that. More...
British NWOBHM band BATTLEAXE has re-formed. The band got back together in response to numerous enquiries and requests for the band to perform throughout 2010. Having performed a handful of gigs, namely, Hard Rock Hell (Wales) and Headbangers Open Air (Hamburg), the band has agreed that the time is now right for a relaunch.
BATTLEAXE is currently in the process of writing/recording new material for the new album "The Legions Unite." The band expects to finish recording the album in January 2011 for a February release.
Battleaxe was formed in 1981 and by 1983 the band was signed to Roadrunner/Music for Nations and released "Burn this Town," which became a cult album. In 1983, Battleaxe also recorded a session for the UK's top radio station RADIO 1. Radio One's top rock producer, Tony Wilson produced a session that was to be promoted heavily by the Rock Show's late Tommy Vance. Battleaxe's second album, "Power from the Universe," was recorded in December 1983. Despite some lineup changes, the band continued playing live shows into the mid 1990's.