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  • Fractures - DAKESIS
    It's easy to be blown away by the bombastic, big-budget efforts of bands like NIGHTWISH and BLIND GUARDIAN, but there is an equal amount of magic and joy to be found in records like this. DAKESIS are much-loved stalwarts of the UK heavy metal underground and one of the few bands from the country that truly grasp what makes music this overblown so irresistible in the first place. They are also from Birmingham, which means that extra metal points are awarded as standard. Exhibiting a marked progression from 2016's "The New Dawn", this is both DAKESIS's best sounding record to date and their strongest batch of material. The former of those qualities is not to be understated: there are a lot of fairly terrible sounding power and symphonic metal albums out there, despite technology's helping hand, but "Fractures" has the sonic warmth, depth and punch to belie its creators' grassroots stature. It sounds big, bold and dynamic. Meanwhile, within a subgenre that has a tendency to produce multiple versions of exactly the same thing, songs like "Ends of Time, Part 2", and "Hold Forever" serve up a fizzy and distinctive hybrid, encompassing all manner of extreme and progressive tropes while hammering home those all-important, dark, theatrical melodies. We're firmly in cosmic fantasy territory here, and vocalist/keyboardist Gemma Lawler's rich tone and classy harmonies sell every starry-eyed lyrical conceit, but there's an underlying heft and groove to heavier parts, too: a grit that nods to old-school prog metal, or even the blitzed-out cosmic clatter of BAL-SAGOTH. When they do go for the melodic jugular, most potently on the speed metal Disney of "Kairos" and genuinely stunning single "Surrender Your Fears", the Brits' melodramatic instincts are ruthless, and the hooks are lethal. And as much as 'epic' is an overused word, the closing, 15-minute title track takes this hugely inventive band into unprecedented territory, as they reveal yet more layers of depth while remaining resolutely, joyously over the top and lost in a magical world where heavy metal always rules. Which, as you know, it actually does.
  • FAITH NO MORE Keyboardist RODDY BOTTUM: 'Make Music, Read, Be Creative And Love As Hard As You Can'
    FAITH NO MORE keyboardist Roddy Bottum has urged his fans to read and be creative while they are at home due to the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier today (Saturday, March 28), Bottum took to his Twitter to write: "How are you, my people. Love to each and every one of yous. We breathe, we persevere and we get through this together. Day by day. Big big big big love, xo. "I feel bittersweet about fleeing NYC. I drove across the country being super dooper safe with the man. We made hand sanitizer in Tulsa and applied it every step of the way. Keep doing that and don't touch your faces! "The self isolating is real, people. I've been isolated for almost three weeks. Make music, read, be creative and love as hard as you can. Let's share stuff. I'm creating and will share soon. "In the meantime, check this out.... I made a record with my French friends, HIFIKLUB. Our record comes out in a while, it's called Things That We Lost in the Fire. Here's a song from it called David Says. It's a song about David Wojnarowicz." By the end of this week, more than 50% of the U.S. population will be officially urged to stay home as the country grapples with the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus. The governors of 24 states have issued orders shutting down most businesses. There have been more than 660,000 confirmed cases and more than 30,000 deaths so far worldwide, putting public health systems and emergency services under immense pressure. Last November, FAITH NO MORE announced its first live performances in half a decade. Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, FAITH NO MORE was supposed to return to the road in the spring, five years after the release of the group's acclaimed reunion album, "Sol Invictus".

    How are you, my people. Love to each and every one of yous. We breathe, we persevere and we get through this together. Day by day. Big big big big love, xo.

    — Roddy Bottum (@roddybottum) March 28, 2020

    I feel bittersweet about fleeing NYC. I drove across the country being super dooper safe with the man. We made hand sanitizer in Tulsa and applied it every step of the way. Keep doing that and don't touch your faces!

    — Roddy Bottum (@roddybottum) March 28, 2020

    The self isolating is real, people. I've been isolated for almost three weeks. Make music, read, be creative and love as hard as you can. Let's share stuff. I'm creating and will share soon.

    — Roddy Bottum (@roddybottum) March 28, 2020

    In the meantime, check this out.... I made a record with my French friends, Hifiklub. Our record comes out in a while, it's called Things That We Lost in the Fire. Here's a song from it called David Says: https://t.co/wzrTNfpVfi It's a song about David Wojnarowicz.

    — Roddy Bottum (@roddybottum) March 28, 2020
  • Video: RITCHIE BLACKMORE And CANDICE NIGHT Cover JOAN BAEZ's 'Diamonds & Rust'
    Legendary DEEP PURPLE and RAINBOW guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and his wife, vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Candice Night, have uploaded a video of them performing an acoustic version of the JOAN BAEZ classic "Diamonds & Rust" (later famously covered by JUDAS PRIEST). The clip, which was apparently filmed at Ritchie and Candice's home on Long Island, New York, near Port Jefferson, can be seen below. In a message accompanying the video, Candice wrote: "Live from Minstrel Hall. This quarantine has inspired us to revisit an old favorite and rework it a bit. What else is there to do while inside? Diamonds and Rust becomes Vacuum and Dust. Thank you Mr Coverdale for inspiration! Stay safe, stay healthy, stay indoors and stay sane!" Ritchie and Candice have been married for more than 10 years but have been together for more than 30. Asked in a 2018 interview with Metal Rules about the secret to their enduring personal relationship and partnership in BLACKMORE'S NIGHT, Candice said: "Ritchie is an amazing enigma and can get inspiration from 'friction.' [Laughs] He can step on stage and not enjoy the people around him even though he had played with them for many years. After a while, egos got involved and everyone was traveling in different limos and only saw each other when they went on stage. Decades before, they would have all hung out and gone out to dinner then slept on each other's floor. That bond is what made it so magical in the beginning. Then success came, people get torn in different directions, and personal relationships started to deteriorate. It never got dealt with, so it just festered. He wrote some amazing things during those difficult times. "When Ritchie and I are together, we found that we have a great form of communication, which I think is key," she continued. "If there is an issue or problem, we are going to hash it out. There are going to be times when we need time away from each together as well. There have been times on the road where we have been so angry at each other that we needed to get separate rooms so I could have a night by myself to chill out. "When you are touring, traveling and performing with somebody, you are living and breathing them 24/7," Candice added. "We have respect and understanding for each other. I don't think he really had that with other bandmembers, but for us, it seems to work. I like the way we work together on a professional and creative basis where he will come up with the music, and he gives me free rein on the lyrics; once we have established a melody. The music he creates paints pictures in my head and has a storyline. I think you have to listen to what the music is trying to tell you. I translate what his music is saying. When we put the music and lyric together, we have the perfect marriage. We never step on each other's toes. As we have a mutual admiration for each other." BLACKMORE'S NIGHT plays "Renaissance music," or "medieval music," with most of the tunes featuring lyrics conjured by Night and melodies crafted by Blackmore. Blackmore is a co-founder of DEEP PURPLE and wrote many of their most memorable riffs, including "Smoke On The Water", but he has not played with the group since his 1993 departure. DEEP PURPLE drummer Ian Paice said in a 2017 interview that there was "no point" for the band to consider a reunion with Blackmore, explaining that he wouldn't be able to guarantee that every day with the notoriously moody guitarist would be fun.
    Live from Minstrel Hall. This quarantine has inspired us to revisit an old favorite and rework it a bit. What else is there to do while inside? Diamonds and Rust becomes Vacuum and Dust. Thank you Mr Coverdale for inspiration! Stay safe, stay healthy, stay indoors and stay sane! Posted by Blackmores Night (Official Site) on Saturday, March 28, 2020
  • JAMES HETFIELD, KIRK HAMMETT And JOHN PETRUCCI Featured In New Video Celebrating MESA/BOOGIE' 50th Anniversary
    James Hetfield (METALLICA), Kirk Hammett (METALLICA) and John Petrucci (DREAM THEATER) are among the guitar greats who reflect on their first encounter with Mesa/Boogie's Mark I guitar amp in a new seven-minute video celebrating Mesa/Boogie's 50th anniversary. Founder and president Randall Smith offers his perspective on the impact of his landmark discovery, the cascading high gain preamp and the contribution the Mark I became to guitar amplification. Randall also shares the passion that drove him on to continuing refinement throughout the Mark II's evolution during the 1980s. From the early inspiration and beginnings in the late '60s and early '70s, through the "Big 80s" and guitar culture sea change of the '90s, up through the new Millennium and today, Randall and his team of fiercely passionate "bandmates," as he calls them, have contributed every major feature found on modern amplifiers and a universe of iconic tone to the sound of the electric guitar, changing it forever. From inventing the pivotal high gain preamp in the first Mark Is, to footswitchable modes and effects loops in the Mark IIs, to multi-channel/multi-mode preamps in the Mark IIIs, IVs and Vs and dual rectifiers, to the several patented tunable tube power, wiring and operating class configurations found throughout, the innovation and pioneering spirit has remained at the forefront of the small Northern California company's ethic.
  • Original RIOT Guitarist LOU 'L.A.' KOUVARIS Dies At 66
    Original RIOT guitarist Lou "L.A." Kouvaris has passed away. He was 66 years old. No cause of death has been revealed, but RIOT's manager Giles Lavery said Lou developed symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, over a week ago. Kouvaris's passing was confirmed by RIOT, who wrote on social media: "Lou (LA) Kouvaris (RIP). RIOT has lost another brother. Lou played on the very 1st RIOT record 'Rock City' and performed with the current lineup many times as we are Family. We are saddened by his passing and continue in his and the RIOT family honor! Rest in Power Lou! Now start working on music with Guy Mark and Rhett! Shine on Warrior!" Born in Piraeus, Greece, Kouvaris — along with singer Guy Speranza and guitarist Mark Reale — penned several of RIOT's anthem-style songs on both the band's debut album, 1977's "Rock City" and 1979's "Narita", which took Japan and Europe by storm. Lou had shared the stage and toured with JOURNEY, TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS, Neil Young and Rick Derringer, to name a few. In 1979, he recorded for THE VILLAGE PEOPLE as a studio guitarist for Jacques Morali of Can't Stop Productions. Last year, Kouvaris joined forces with another ex-RIOT guitarist, Rick Ventura, to form RIOT ACT. RIOT ACT's setlist focused on the first three albums: "Rock City", "Narita" and "Fire Down Under" (1981). Kouvaris is not the first member of the original RIOT to pass away. Eight years ago, RIOT's founding guitarist Mark Reale died due to complications of Crohn's disease — an ailment he had battled for most of his life. RIOT's original singer Guy Speranza died on November 8, 2003 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Often regarded as the best RIOT vocalist, he sang on the group's first three full-length albums before being replaced by Rhett Forrester. Forrester himself left in the mid-'80s to pursue a solo career, only to be murdered on January 22, 1994 in Atlanta.
    Lou (LA) Kouvaris (RIP) RIOT has lost another brother. Lou played on the very 1st Riot record "Rock City" and performed... Posted by Riot on Saturday, March 28, 2020