May 7, 2010

New & Noteworthy, May 7th - Drama Storm

Anyone who thought that heavy music was exempt from Hollywood-style drama needs to only browse this week's music headlines to have their illusions shattered. Godsmack has been raising an uproar recently, as reports that their new single "Cryin' Like a Bitch" was written about members of Mötley Crüe continue to gain strength. Whether Sully Erna's lyrics are about Nikki Sixx or Vince Neil is unclear, but animosity absolutely exists between the two bands now. Meanwhile, a report that Shawn "Clown" Crahan of Slipknot might run for political office wins the award for strangest rumor of the week, while likely causing many members of the Republican Party to prepare torches and pitchforks. The biggest hurricane of controversy, though, swirls around musical abomination Courtney Love, who has stooped to horrendous lows in order to get her name out. One report has her saying that she slept with former Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale while he was dating No Doubt singer Gwen Stefani, whom he has since married. Another story reports that she insulted Fred Durst at a concert where both Hole and Limp Bizkit were performing, saying that "he brought about the worst years in rock history". The irony of that quote is definitely not lost on me, nor should it be lost on any of you. As for Courtney Love, she should learn not to throw bricks from the front yard of her glass house. And while she's at it, she could also try to stop being a grotesque monster from our worst nightmares.

Now that we're done reporting on that inhuman and horrific excuse for a musician, let's get to more pleasant stories. There are a bunch of great new albums debuting this week, including a highly anticipated DVD and an exciting solo album. The summer touring circuit is filling out quickly as well, with two enormous festivals topping the announcements. Read on for all the latest updates!

Next Week's New Releases

  • Live at the 9:30 by Clutch - The Maryland stoner rock band is back with their second DVD release, and this one is a must-have compendium of live material and back story. The first of the two discs contains the band's December 28, 2009 performance at the 9:30 club in Washington, D.C. (hence the name of the DVD), where the band performed their 1995 self-titled album in its entirety, along with other fan favorites. The second disc has the documentary feature "Fortune Tellers Making a Killing Nowadays", telling the story of Clutch's full career with guest appearances from members of System of a Down, CKY, and other big-name bands. As DVD's get bigger and more grandiose, this release sets a benchmark for historic concerts being filmed and sold.
  • The Art of Malice by John 5 - 2010 is proving to be a good year for John 5. The Rob Zombie guitarist is releasing his fifth solo album, just two months after the new Zombie album Hellbilly Deluxe 2 was put out by Roadrunner. If you enjoy the solo work of guitarists like Marty Friedman, Steve Vai, or Joe Satriani, then John 5 will definitely satisfy your urge for intricate instrumental guitar tunes. There's even an Ace Frehley cover on the album, which will probably draw in a few Kiss fans.
  • The Powerless Rise by As I Lay Dying - The San Diego metalcore quintet's fifth album is produced by mega-producer and Killswitch Engage guitarist/comedian Adam Dutkiewicz, just like 2007's An Ocean Between Us. Adam D. has a proven track record of taking previously mediocre bands and making them sound incredible. Caliban, Underoath, and A Day to Remember are just a few of the bands that have improved with his production, and As I Lay Dying appears to be headed for a spot on that list as well. If The Powerless Rise continues the improvement seen on An Ocean Between Us, then As I Lay Dying will have finally earned their place among the best bands in the metalcore scene.
  • Heirs to Thievery by Misery Index - The high ratings earned by 2008's Traitors will be hard to duplicate, but Misery Index is nothing if not consistent. Heirs to Thievery will deliver plenty of chaotic, anarchist deathgrind that is the band's signature sound and the usual high-quality output of Relapse Records. If you somehow have never heard Misery Index before, then this album will be a perfect place to start.
  • For Aeons Past by Solution .45 - Regular readers might recognize this album, since I discussed it almost a month ago on New & Noteworthy. The regulars might also remember that I lamented the album's lack of a North American release. Well, my wishes have been granted, because For Aeons Past is getting released in North America! If you still haven't read my review of the album, take a look at all the positive things I have to say about it. This album is amazing and will definitely be one of my favorites for the year.
  • Plead the Fifth by Taproot - This is the beginning of a new chapter for Taproot, who signed with Victory Records last year. Neither of Taproot's previous two albums measured up to 2002's Welcome and the phenomenal single "Poem". Signing with Victory might provide the shake-up needed to get Taproot back into top form, but it's a calculated risk. For every band with a success story on Victory, there's another band with a massive collapse. Hopefully Taproot will be in the former category and not the latter.
  • Tear the World Down by We Are the Fallen - The buzz surrounding We Are the Fallen has been high ever since the band officially formed last year, although praise and criticism have come in equal measure. The most praise is earned through the obvious talent in the band's lineup, which includes three former members of Evanescence and standout American Idol contestant Carly Smithson. The most criticism comes from the band's incredible similarity to Evanescence in genre and composition. However, it should noted that none of Evanescence's material after 2003's Fallen has been as well received as that album, so fans of early Evanescence will likely flock to this record, hoping for the magic to be recreated. I'm reserving judgment until I've heard the album for myself.
  • Kurbads by Skyforger - In the seven years since the releases of Pērkonkalve (Thunderforge) and Zobena Dziesma (Sword Song), Latvia's primary metal export signed a deal with Metal Blade Records and battled false accusations of Neo-Nazism. Now that the scandal is mostly behind them, Skyforger can focus on Kurbads. Previous statements from the band have stated that this album will experiment with thrash, which will be interesting to see mixed with their folk metal roots. The lyrics will likely retain the folk style of their older work, which will make this album even more unique. With the way folk metal has exploded in recent years, Skyforger could break out in a huge way with Kurbads.
  • Quantum Catastrophe by Brain Drill - The band's Metal Blade debut, Apocalyptic Feasting, earned mixed reviews from fans and critics. Some praised its high degree of technicality and unprecedented speed, but others criticized the album for being excessive and pretentious. Half of the band's lineup has changed since Apocalyptic Feasting, but guitarist Dylan Ruskin is still present, which means that similarly high-speed technical death metal can be expected on Quantum Catastrophe. If you liked their debut, you'll like this.
  • Full of Hell by Howl - Showing a little hometown love for this Rhode Island-based doom metal quartet. Full of Hell has already earned positive reviews from Decibel and Brooklyn Vegan, with both magazines comparing Howl to early Mastodon. This is extremely high praise for such a young band, and if they can prove that the comparisons are well-founded, then Howl could break out very early. Check out their Relapse debut if heavy stoner doom is your flavor.
  • In Loving Memory by Beneath the Sky - The Cincinnati group has returned from yet another breakup, this time lasting from August 2008 to March 2009, and also continued their long-standing relationship with Victory Records. In Loving Memory will likely continue the trend of 2008's The Day the Music Died, which saw the band getting heavier and including more breakdowns. Deathcore fans will like this record, and if Beneath the Sky remains on this path, they will be fully immersed in the deathcore scene by their next album.
  • Medium Rarities by Cattle Decapitation - Fans of the vegan grindcore band will definitely want to get this collection quickly. The band describes it as "never before heard songs, hard to find/out of print tracks, live material, cover tunes and ultra rare pre-Human Jerky tracks never before heard by fans of the band." Redundancy aside, that's a pretty awesome description, and as a fan of cover songs, I'm interested to see what classic songs Cattle Decapitation put their spin on.
  • Disgorge Mexico: The DVD by Fuck the Facts - As experimental grindcore goes, only Iwrestledabearonce surpasses Fuck the Facts in terms of being weird and unusual. This DVD will only reinforce that characteristic of the band's persona. The live concert portion is normal enough, showing the 2008 CD release show for Disgorge Mexico where the band performed the album in its entirety. The film "Disgorge Mexico: The Movie" is where things get weird. The creation of Canadian filmmaker David Hall, the film is set to the music of the studio album, and is described by Hall as "a substance abuse art house riff on the destructive and volatile nature of love". I have no idea what that means, but if you want to experience a trippy film set to assaultive grindcore, then you'll likely find it here.
This Week's Tour Announcements

  • Ozzfest 2010
Ozzfest is back this summer as a traditional touring metal festival. After the crazed experimentation of the 2007 and 2008 Ozzfests, the summer event is back to how it used to be. But the lineup for Ozzfest 2010 is, simply put, the most hit-and-miss lineup I've ever seen. The main stage will consist of Ozzy, Mötley Crüe, Rob Halford solo, DevilDriver, and Nonpoint. The second stage features Black Label Society, Drowning Pool, Kingdom of Sorrow, Goatwhore, Skeletonwitch, Saviours, and Kataklysm. To cover this lineup properly, I've decided to do a vlog about it, since my concert ticket vlog has been delayed in the planning stages. Look for my Ozzfest vlog to appear sometime next week. As of now, only six dates have been announced, but more will obviously appear in time.
Ozzfest - Tour website

  • Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Festival
After rumors about this tour appeared two weeks ago, Rockstar has officially announced the lineup, and it will feature all but one of the artists about which fans originally speculated. The main stage of Uproar will feature Disturbed, Avenged Sevenfold, Stone Sour, and Halestorm. The second stage has Hellyeah, Airbourne, Hail the Villain, and New Medicine. This lineup confirms the fact that Rockstar is looking to corner the market in hard rock summer tours, since this tour is designed to attract the more mainstream rock fans turned away by the Mayhem Festival's second stage. A slew of dates have already been announced, running from August 18th to October 4th. Expect this impressive amphitheater tour to sell out quickly.
Rockstar Uproar - Tour website

  • Tool
More dates have been added to Tool's summer tour plans, mostly in late June and early July. The dates are likely being confirmed over the course of time, which means further announcements can be expected as we get closer to June. Watch closely for Tool announcements and a date for ticket sales to begin, because Tool fans have been dying for the band to return, and they will buy out tickets for this tour the second they go on sale.
ThePRP announcement

  • Killfest 2010 featuring Overkill, Forbidden, and others
After the massively successful first leg of Killfest 2010 (which saw Overkill play through a bomb threat in Times Square), the second leg of Overkill's annual tour has been announced for late fall. Unlike the first leg of the tour - which also featured Vader, God Dethroned, Warbringer, Evile, and Woe of Tyrants - the second leg will be a complete thrash blowout. Main support will come from recently reunited Bay Area veterans Forbidden, whose new album Omega Wave is expected later this year. Evile will be returning to play the second leg, and young thrashers Gama Bomb and Bonded by Blood round out the lineup. This part of the tour is aimed at markets where Overkill hasn't played in a long time, which means that Overkill fans throughout the States can show their support for the band. Dates have been announced thus far for the first three weeks of November, with more expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
Blabbermouth announcement

  • The Damned Things
The Damned Things may be the most unlikely supergroup ever. Comprised of members of Anthrax, Every Time I Die, and Fall Out Boy, the new band will play its first live show on June 1st in Brooklyn, before embarking on a string of European festival dates. It will be interesting to hear what this band has to offer, so if you're in the area and can make it out to the show, I'd suggest going. It might end up being a historic gig.
Blabbermouth announcement

  • Sleep
Rumors are circulating that the stoner-doom innovators will reunite for a string of dates in the fall. The band is coming together to play at All Tomorrow's Parties on September 4th in New York, and other shows are speculated for Chicago, Los Angeles, and other major markets. I wonder how these proposed dates could conflict with the touring schedules of High on Fire and Shrinebuilder, the respective bands of Sleep members Matt Pike and Al Cisneros. As long as there is no conflict, though, Sleep should be able to play some other dates, which are required viewing for doom and stoner metal fans.
Blabbermouth announcement

  • Awesome Fest 2010 featuring Remembering Never and others
The underground hardcore festival will be returning to Virginia Beach after a year off, and reunions top the lineup. Remembering Never is returning from hiatus to play at Awesome Fest, which will hopefully also result in more news about their forthcoming album, This Hell is Home. The festival will also see a one-time reunion by Across Five Aprils, which makes sense considering that they also co-headlined the festival in 2008 and 2005. Other confirmed bands include Dr. Acula and Catalepsy, as well as numerous unsigned and underground hardcore bands. Check out the lineup to see if you recognize any names, and if you can be in Virginia Beach on July 22nd, this would be the best thing to do with your time there.
Awesome Fest MySpace - Festival website

  • Rock N' Rev Festival featuring Stone Temple Pilots, Creed, and others
For the past 70 years, Sturgis, South Dakota has been the location of the Sturgis Rally, one of the largest motorcycle events in the world. This year, the rally gets an infusion of rock with the addition of the Rock N' Rev Festival. The concept is good, although the lineup is not the greatest in the world. Stone Temple Pilots, Creed, Godsmack, 3 Doors Down, Wolfmother, Hinder, Skillet, and Pop Evil are the most prominent names in the current lineup, which is not complete yet. Regardless of the bands, though, don't plan on attending this 5-day event unless you're a motorcycle enthusiast, because that's all you'll be surrounded by the whole time.
Rock N' Rev - Festival website

  • L.A. Guns, Faster Pussycat, and John Corabi
This tour is called "The Triple Threat Tour", but a more appropriate name would be "The Triple Sleaze Tour", since these three artists represent some of the most provocative elements of '80s hair metal. L.A. Guns will be supporting the forthcoming re-issue of 1999's Shrinking Violet, Faster Pussycat will be preemptively celebrating their upcoming 25th anniversary, and the former Mötley Crüe singer Corabi will look to develop his new solo career. If you need a hair metal fix this summer and can't afford to go to Ozzfest to see Mötley Crüe, then this is the tour for you.
Blabbermouth announcement

  • Zoroaster, Black Tusk, and Dark Castle
After a furious seven-year DIY campaign, Zoroaster is finally getting the chance to unleash their sludge-doom mix on the masses. Their third full-length album, Matador, is set for a July 13th release on E1, and this tour will be the lead-up to it. The intimate club tour runs from June 15th through July 10th. Black Tusk will also be supporting new material, with their Relapse debut Taste the Sin slated for a May 25th release. If you want to see some talented sludge bands in very intimate settings for cheap, this tour is your best chance.
ThePRP announcement

  • Primus
Les Claypool's most notorious project will be playing a wealth of dates during the summer, before they will reportedly head into the studio to record a new album, due out in 2011. This is cause for plenty of excitement, but it also raises some questions. The biggest one relates to a recent announcement that one of the band's earliest drummers, Jay Lane, would be rejoining the band for the summer tour. It is unclear whether Lane, who hasn't played with the band since 1989, will also be appearing on the album, or whether Tim "Herb" Alexander, the band's most recent drummer and live drummer for Puscifer, will continue in his role when the band starts recording. Keep an eye out for announcements on this subject, as well as more tour dates.
ThePRP announcement

  • Michael Schenker Group
The erstwhile guitarist for UFO and The Scorpions will be touring in July and August with his band, which is essentially a revolving door of various players. The shows will be at small venues and clubs, so if you're a fan of Schenker's work away from hair metal, this tour will be a good investment for you. However, the tour's schedule makes an exact circuit hugging the borders of the country, so Midwest states mostly miss out. Meanwhile, there are seven dates in California. Wrap your head around that.
Blabbermouth announcement

  • Coliseum and Burning Love
Coliseum has a new album scheduled for a June 22nd release, entitled House With a Curse. The violent hardcore group will hit the road three days after its release for an East Coast club tour that will likely leave a trail of decimation and broken bodies in its wake. Everyone I've talked who has seen Coliseum live says that the band inspires some of the craziest moshpits ever. If you go to one of these shows, leave your valuables at home, pack a first aid kit in your car, and if it's absolutely necessary, buy some football pads and find a way to sneak them into the venue.
ThePRP announcement

  • Molotov Solution, Dr. Acula, I Declare War, and Monsters
This is another tour designed to wreck everything that it touches. The only problem with that is the presence of Dr. Acula, a band that cannot be taken seriously by anyone. This band is so comical that they cease to even be funny. It takes real talent to be that bad. However, the other bands on the bill are respectable and should adequately make up for Dr. Acula's over-the-top music and stage show. One other thing - this is a deathcore lineup top to bottom, so approach this tour only if you are a fan of such things. There is no diversity here.
ThePRP announcement

  • Limp Bizkit and Snoop Dogg
Oh God, as if the news couldn't get any worse after last week. Now we have this too? A full stadium tour running from July 11th through August 15th? I honestly cannot believe that concert promoters think that Limp Bizkit is going to draw crowds of over ten thousand people in the year 2010. If anything, the crowds of over ten thousand will be there to see Snoop Dogg, and will then leave once Limp Bizkit takes the stage. This tour is virtually guaranteed to be a total failure.
Blabbermouth announcement

And that does it for New & Noteworthy this week! Before I go, though, I need to correct an earlier report I made. On April 16th, I reported that The Absence was going to be part of Dark Tranquillity's upcoming tour with Threat Signal and Mutiny Within, which starts next week. However, that is not the case. Apparently the story I read on ThePRP is incorrect, since The Absence have no tour dates listed on their MySpace and Metal Blade Records does not show them playing any concerts soon, since they are still recording their third album, Enemy Unbound. I apologize for the error. Hopefully I will not receive faulty information in the future and then mistakenly pass it on to you. See you next week!

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