WhiteNoiseOwl-EP Album CoverWHITE NOISE OWL

 

Until We Meet Again-EP

 

Away Team Music

 

Rating: 10 out of 10

 

Rarely does a supergroup team with a super-producer and have it result in a finished product that lives up to expectations, but rarely does not equal never… When I first got word last year that former Columbia Recording artist Chris Shy (Aurora Sky/Fear The Clown) would be teaming with Lo-Pro/Ultraspank frontman Pete Murray, I was cautiously optimistic, as we’ve seen these things crash and burn before with even the greatest of musicians.  But there was something different about this pairing, having known Shy‘s penchant for hearing things that take most others a second listen to grasp I was confident that Murray would be the man to take this thing to the next level.  Little did I know that the two would be adding the talents of bassist John Fahnestock (Snot/Amen) and drummer extraordinaire Will Hunt (Evanescence/Device) to the fold, and converging on the famed EastWest Studios to add the final piece of the puzzle in GRAMMY-Winning super-producer Ben Grosse (just about every great artist under the sun); the spawn of this musical marriage becoming White Noise Owl

Bandmembers often say that their band is their family, now I ask you to picture never meeting your family until you were about to be introduced, as a whole, to a worldwide audience.  Sound crazy?  Well as crazy as it sounds, all of this mastery was created by a group of guys who, for the most part, had never even met until they were in the studio!  We always hear of “the band that never was”, in a sense, White Noise Owl is really “the band that never wasn’t”!

Needless to say, I had been eagerly awaiting the final product, and it was well worth the wait!  From the opening chords of “Feed”, we can begin to see what this band is about, a perfect conjugation of early Filter-meets-STP.  Thought we had that already?  Think again!  This would be what we’d get if Army of Anyone had a “do over”.  Murray‘s vocals, combined with an ingenious riff that would make the DeLeo brothers quiver are all you need to beg for them to “Feed” you more! An appetite that is further prompted with the second track “Bomber”, another rocker that displays the mighty talents of these four, all the while wondering if Ben Grosse is having flashbacks to his “Title of Record” sessions. 

Enter “End Over End” and “Are You Breathing”, the final tracks off the EP and one is left with two questions, How the fuck did I not realize what a great set of pipes Pete Murray has until now? And when does the full length album come out?!

As I said before, rare does not equal never; rare is reserved for things like perfect scores on album reviews, happy neighbors of Justin Bieber, and Blue Moons, and it’s only appropriate this Blue Moon has an owl sitting under it, a White Noise Owl!  Mark your calendars for March 11, 2014, the Day of the Owl.

For more info on White Noise Owl visit the band’s Official Website.

 

CLUTCH


2013-01-04


Lincoln Theatre


Raleigh, NC


Photos by: Jay Beadnell







CROBOT


2013-01-04


Lincoln Theatre


Raleigh, NC


Photos by: Jay Beadnell







Scorpions 2013 promoJanuary 16,2014–SCORPIONS fans worldwide can check out the exclusive worldwide premiere of the brand new live performance video for “Holiday” on USA Today.com. The never-before-seen (or heard) video was recorded during the beautifully orchestrated stripped-down concerts that became SCORPIONS’ forthcoming CD/DVD and Blu-Ray release, MTV UNPLUGGED, but does not appear on any configuration of the releases.

Due out in North America on January 21st, material from MTV UNPLUGGED is taken from SCORPIONS’ first-ever “MTV Unplugged” show and features new acoustic versions of their best-loved classic hits, as well as five brand new songs. MTV UNPLUGGED will be available in North America as a deluxe CD + DVD package and as a Blu-Ray, and is being released in 50 countries, a testament to the German band’s iconic status worldwide.

Recorded and filmed on September 11th and September 12th of last year,  SCORPIONS MTV UNPLUGGED was culled from two dynamic acoustic sets at the Lycabettus Theatre in Athens, Greece. The spectacular open-air theatre, situated 300 meters above the city, was an impressive backdrop for the first-ever open-air show in the history of “MTV Unplugged” (the theatre also shares a birth year with SCORPIONS themselves, having been built in 1965.). In other news, SCORPIONS are still in the midst of their epic Farewell World Tour; the tour has been going on for more than three years now. To the delight of their fans there is no end in sight, as to date the band has only played 23 out of the 38 countries planned on the itinerary.

SCORPIONS are Klaus Meine (vocals/guitar), Rudolf Schenker (guitars/vocals), Matthias Jabs (guitars), Pawel Maciwoda (bass) and James Kottak (drums); additional musical support on MTV UNPLUGGED includes contributions from Swedish musicians and producers Mikael Nord Andersson (guitars, mandolin, lap steel, vocals) and Martin Hansen (guitars, harmonica, vocals). The duo is also responsible for the arrangements on MTV UNPLUGGED.

SCORPIONS are one of the most successful international hard rock bands of all time, selling upwards of 75 million records worldwide and playing more than 5,000 concerts in 80+ countries globally. Formed in Germany in 1965, the band has come to be known for their colossal radio and MTV hits “Rock You Like A Hurricane,” “No One Like You” and “Wind Of Change,” as well as their status as international rock ambassadors. VH1 ranked SCORPIONS as the #46 Artist on the “Greatest Artists Of Hard Rock” special, while “Rock You Like A Hurricane” came in at #18 on VH1′s “Greatest Hard Rock Songs”. The band recently received a star on the Hollywood Rock Walk in Los Angeles. To date, the Scorpions have released 18 studio albums and 5 live records.

 

Bad Things Promo 2014January 15, 2014–LA rock band Bad Things - that consists of front man/lead singer Davis LeDuke, bass player Jared Palomar (formerly of Augustana), guitarist Anthony Sanudo, drummer Lena Zawaideh and lead guitarist Shaun White (professional snowboarder/skateboarder) will be releasing their debut, self-titled album January 21st on Warner Bros. Records (iTunes Pre-Order here). The record was produced by Rob Schnapf (Beck, Elliot Smith, The Vines). The lead single “Anybody, ““chugging rock anthem heavy with choirboy backing harmonies” according to Rolling Stone, is now for sale at iTunes and streaming on YouTube and Soundcloud.

Right on the heels of Bad Things‘ release, NBC is set to air “Shaun White: Russia Calling” on January 25th. The special gives an inside look at how the gold-medal-winning snowboarder prepped for the Winter Olympics in Sochi next month in addition to juggling his other commitments, including Bad Things.

Get a taste of what Bad Things are all about live, check out this video from Lollapalooza of the band covering Iggy And The Stooges’ “Search And Destroy” as well as this clip of “Anybody.” Bad Things completed a North American tour of the country last fall that included festival stops at Lollapalooza in Chicago, Osheaga Festival in Montreal and Voodoo Music and Art Experience in New Orleans, which earned the band much deserved acclaim.

Reports from Osheaga were equally as impressive. Canadian media outlet Dose.ca awarded Bad Things with the #1 Most Surprising Moment of the festival, raving about their performance. “Google ‘Bad Things’ and you’ll be inundated with articles that start with the words ‘Shaun White’s band…,’ which is totally misleading, considering how much more there is to these guys” says Dose. “They have great original material and the kind of solid musicianship and stage presence you’d expect from a group that’s been playing together for years.”

Bad Things earned their undeniable chemistry through sheer persistence and – in the case of Zawaideh, guitarist Anthony Sanudo, and lead guitarist Shaun White – a friendship forged in their San Diego hometown that dates back to their teens. In 2014 Bad Things is ready to share their electrifying sound and moving lyrics with the world. With the upcoming self-titled debut release, it’s only the beginning.  “Music is what we do,” Sanudo says. “It is all we can do and all we ever want to do. Though obviously Shaun is pretty good at a couple of other things.” 

For more on Bad Things including Tour Dates, Music, and Merchandise click here.

 

January 14, 2014 – Knoxville, TN death metal band WHITECHAPEL spent most of 2013 touring the world, and they’ve captured it all on film.  As a result, the band accumulated a large amount of live performance and behind-the-scenes backstage footage which they’re ready to turn into a brand new DVD.
This time, WHITECHAPELPhil Bozeman (vocals), Ben Savage (guitar), Zach Householder (guitar), Alex Wade (guitar), Ben Harclerode (drums), Gabe Crisp (bass)–decided to make a DVD after producing the 2013 fan-favorite “Spring Tour Documentary,” which exclusively appeared on the band’s official YouTube page.  What better way to get their devoted fans involved with this new project than a crowdfunding campaign filled with special product offers and ultimate access opportunities?
Says singer Phil Bozeman, “This campaign is not our way of asking for a hand-out, we are simply asking for help from our fans to create a special DVD that will make memories for us all.  Please join us in our Indiegogo campaign to make the best Whitechapel DVD ever!”
Some of the incentives being offered to fans who pledge will include digital downloads of the audio of the DVD, a DVD plus t-shirt, a DVD plus hoodie, a DVD plus poster, signed microphone by Phil Bozeman, and a private screening of the DVD with the band in Knoxville.
Whitechapel’s Indiegogo campaign can be found here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/whitechapel-dvd.

Devour The Day-Time & Pressure CoverDEVOUR THE DAY


Time And Pressure


Fat Lady Music/Caroline Music

Rating: 10 out of 10



The past year plus has been very kind to the rock world.  We, as critics, have seen an unprecedented amount of high scoring albums pass through the Away-Team.com pages.  Even the harshest of critics [read myself] have been generous with the scores, in contrast to previous years.  Enter 2014; nothing has seemed to change.  Although Time and Pressure from Devour the Day was released digitally in 2013, the band has just released a revamped edition that is available in CD format at all major retailers, and with that garnered themselves a first in this critic’s career, and a feat rarer than a Cubs Championship (sorry guys)… two consecutive perfect scores!!!

Many of you who know me, know that I have been a huge fan and supporter of Egypt Central for some time now.  A fact that was further emphasized in 2011 when the band released “White Rabbit”, and earned one of the few perfect scores I had ever given out at the time.  So it goes without saying that disappointment was an understatement for the way I felt when I heard that the band had broken up after their most successful album.  There  was a silver lining, however, when I learned that Joey “Chicago” Walser and Blake Allison would continue to make music together in the form of Devour The Day.

When I first received the album advance, I was hesitant to open it.  I didn’t want that silver lining to turn to tin foil.  Not that I didn’t have faith in Blake and Joey, after all they are both tremendous musicians in their own right, but let’s be honest with ourselves, many a time bands have broken up and reincarnated with the uber-talented drummer stepping out from behind the kit to become the front man, and it can either go the way of the Foo Fighters or (gulp)  Methods of Mayhem.  Let’s just say I’m thankful that, although it’s not a bad consolation prize, Blake probably won’t be making any sex tapes with Pamela Anderson any time soon!

From the opening seconds of the album we are fully aware of what we are in for.  “Respect” gives you all you need to hear to know that this album’s a winner.  It’s a right out of the gate sampling of Blake’s dynamic vocals, Joey’s blistering guitar, and a seizure-inducing drum track.  Somebody pinch me…

As if it couldn’t get any better, the debut single “Good Man” (which I might add is an acoustic bonus track on this version) immediately springs the most stoic out of their shells into a vocal eruption of “Is there any good left in… meeeeeee…”.  There is no doubt that with all of the sore throats, beverage sales will double after this song is played live (or if you’re like me, anywhere alone).

From there we “Blackout” on a killer blend of Walser and Allison‘s musical mindtrip with a hint of punk.  Highlights along the way include the new single “Move On”, which Allison wrote about the day he was left standing in the Chicago streets after being betrayed by his wife, and his former friend and frontman in a matter of minutes; one that is sure to hit home with Egypt Central fans, both musically and sentimentally.

“Oath”, which has the qualities that you’d expect to hear in a pro sports television lead-up, is a slightly industrial based track that has a backing track reminiscent of Tool‘s version of “No Quarter” and makes for the perfect lead-in to “Reckless”.  This track is that one that every great album has, which masterfully treads that ever-so-fine line between commercial appeal and sellout, and is sure to garner attention from a widespread audience.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention “Handshakes To Fistfights”, along with the questions that it garners for the hardcore EC fans.  It’s a musically brilliant, cryptic betrayal anthem that gets the inquisitive wheels turning, and more importantly, the heads banging.

Lastly the album’s signature ballad, “The Drifter”, a killer track in it’s own right, sets us up to have our asses kicked one last time with the brand new addition to the album “Check Your Head”.  A fitting end in that it’s exactly what should be done to all who do not buy this album!  I can honestly say there is not one hiccup on Time and Pressure, perserverence has paid off and the boys from Devour The Day have hit a home run!  Very Highly Recommended!!!

For more information on Devour the Day, including Tour Dates and to purchase music and merchandise visit the band’s  Official Website.







beermetal.jpg

Heavy metal musicians and craft beer brewers take risks with song writing and recipes every day. The similarities in creativity, attitude and the willingness to take things as far as they can go (or “to extremes”) are just a few ways the two worlds are alike in my opinion.

In his Decibel magazine magazine column, Adem points out the metal/ craft beer crossover with a combination of interviews and beer profiles. He takes that concept to ELEVEN in his new book The Brewtal Truth Guide to Extreme Beers: An All-Excess Pass to Brewing’s Outer Limits. Adem took some time out to answer five questions for us!

When did you notice the connections between metal and craft beer and the fact that it goes beyond references to the Devil?

Well, five years ago when I started writing my Brewtal Truth column in Decibel, I honestly didn’t really think there was a connection. That said, the first piece I did was an intentionally irreverent pairing of specific metal subgenres with different styles of beers. It was just supposed to be funny. In subsequent columns I began to write about brewers who were into metal (like Barnaby Struve of Three Floyds) and metal musicians who were into craft beers (like Dave Witte of Municipal Waste), however, it took a while for me to really see the crossover. In some part, I’d like to think I helped foster that crossover by writing a craft beer column in a metal magazine. It exposed Decibel’s metal-loving readers, who were purely there for the music, to craft beer.

thrash metal

Because you reach a specific audience with your column, do you receive any feedback from Decibel readers who are now choosing good beer over mass market crap?

Definitely! I hear from readers via social media about beers or breweries I’ve turned them onto. In fact, another Decibel columnist (and metal musician), Richard Christy of Charred Walls of the Damned, has mentioned several beers or breweries he’s learned about through my column. Metal heads are super passionate about the things they love. There’s no halfway with them! I also think they like to try things that aren’t mainstream, because clearly the music they like is far from mainstream. That said, when it comes to people’s tastes in food and beverages, they like what they like and there sometimes can be no convincing them otherwise. Craft beer isn’t for everyone, and a lot of people still think it is snooty and expensive, but I think if you’re open-minded enough to listen to, say, Napalm Death or Carcass, you could probably handle a well-made IPA.

What are your consistently favorite craft breweries out there? National or local to you?

Man, that’s a tough question. In writing my book, The Brewtal Truth Guide to Extreme Beers, I had the opportunity to try some beers that I normally can’t get my hands on and some of them—like beers from Surly, Three Floyds, Mikkeller, The Alchemist and many others—were pretty spectacular. That said, my consistently favorite craft breweries are ones that I have regular access to (mostly West Coast), like Stone, Lagunitas, Bear Republic, Deschutes, Rogue, Unibroue and North Coast. My favorite local brewery here in Victoria, BC, is Driftwood. I love everything they make.

Dave - Iron MaidenWill there be a second volume of EXTREME BEERS or any other book projects in the future?

That’s actually a really timely question. I’m looking into that at the moment. I’d like to do a series of Brewtal Truth books that have the same tone and vibe as this first one, but different content—whether it be more extreme beers, or some other new ideas. If my first book sells well, I’ll hopefully get that opportunity.

What is in your beer fridge right now?

I have a bunch of Victory beers—Prima Pils, Hop Devil IPA, Winter Cheers, Festbier, and Headwaters Pale Ale—that were sent to me by Magrudergrind guitarist RJ Ober, who works as a sales rep for Victory. I also have some Phillips Blue Buck from a local brewery and a couple bottle of Iron Maiden’s Trooper beer that a friend gave me.

Shiprocked 2014 logoJanuary 6, 2014–For those looking to join the sold-out ShipRocked 2014, a limited number of staterooms have been released. The ultimate rock music cruise vacation sails roundtrip from the Port Of Miami to Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas from January 26-30 onboard the Norwegian Pearl. The remaining cabins are available on a first come first served basis at www.ShipRocked.com.

In addition, Tremonti (featuring Grammy Award winning guitarist Mark Tremonti), ShipRocked 2010 alumni Black Stone Cherry, and DJ Lippy Rage from Tulsa (spinning late-night) have been added to the power-packed ShipRocked bill.

The ShipRocked band lineup now includes headliners Five Finger Death Punch, along with Papa Roach, Three Days Grace, Sevendust, Candlebox, In This Moment, The Halo Method, Living Colour, Tremonti, Black Stone Cherry, Nonpoint, Love & Death (with Brian “Head” Welch), Aranda, Art of Dying, Young Guns, Crash Kings, Butcher Babies,Scorpion Child, Wilson, American Fangs, Digital Summer, and Andy Wood & The Amalgam.

ShipRocked will also feature two heavy metal-infused frenetic comedy performances from comedian and Saturday Night Live alum Jim Breuer, known for his impersonations of Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne and AC/DC. The 5-day ShipRocked cruise–fueled by Monster Energy–will include a special onboard DJ set by Neil Sanderson of Three Days Grace and a comedy set from Big Jay Oakerson. Rock and roll dance troupe Hells Belles Burlesque  is slated for a pair of performances, and will be offering burlesque workshops during the cruise. In addition, Fuse TV’s “Mistress Juliya” Chernetsky will join Kayla Riley of SiriusXM Radio and Ralph Sutton of Tour Bus Radio as guest emcees for ShipRocked 2014.

As in the past, ShipRocked guests will enjoy multiple performances from every band on different stages, artist meet and greets, Q&A sessions, along with artist-hosted activities including contests, game shows, insane parties, theme nights and more. Onboard, bands will perform on the large outdoor Monster Energy Deck Stage, in the beautiful Stardust Theater, the Crystal Atrium stage, and the Spinnaker Lounge. While in port at Great Stirrup Cay, guests will enjoy unforgettable performances on the island’s Beach Stage.

The fifth ShipRocked cruise will host a full ship of nearly 3,000 guests from 44 states across the U.S. and almost a dozen countries around the world.

Hello Ladies and Gents, it is that time again for everyone’s ‘Best Of..’ list and I’m not going to be left out. It’s been a great year for all kinds of music. You just had to go and look for some of it. Some of the selections on my list are predictable but I think there are a few on here that may surprise many of you too. So let’s kick off Slim Jim’s Top 13.5 (I’ll explain that later) Best Albums of 2013.



13 – King 810Midwest Monsters EP
king810Wish Korn would go back to being Korn and still putting out music as powerful and brutally painful as their debut self titled album? Don’t we all?
King 810 isn’t Korn, they might be the poor man’s Korn, or they may just be brutal and murderous without having the mommy and daddy issues of Jonathan Davis (or maybe more issues than Davis??). They aren’t quite as strong musically as Korn either. Every song sounds similar to the one before it. The only thing that seems to change is the breakdown of each song and the vocals/lyrics.
I swear this is a Best Of.. list, and King 810 are part of it despite how it sounds so far…
Instead of screaming and crying about mommy/daddy/molestation/etc ala Korn they are more about murder/death/mayhem it seems. I’ve seen them labeled ThugCore (that’s a new one to me), and the lyrics support the label. They paint a bleak portrait of life in the bowels of a hellish American City (the band hails from Flint, Mi) and the attitudes, antics, and dealings done to simply survive (or not survive as the theme of some of the songs go. 
With titles like Murder Murder Murder, The Death Posture, KIA, and Dragging Knives (see the common theme?) this isn’t feel good metal at all. But the cathartic nature of it, after 25 minutes of crawling through the dregs of humanity portrayed in this EP you can’t help but feel reborn, renewed, and whatever bullshit you carried with you before you put the disc on all fades away against the abrasive, concussive, sludge of inner city hell portrayed by KING 810.
Song of Note: K.I.A.




12 – QueensrycheQueensryche
queensryche - queensrycheQueensryche for many years was pretty much my second to third favorite band (1. Metallica 2. Stevie Nicks/Fleetwood Mac). But over the years I had a hard time supporting them as each new album came out. Their EP, The Warning, Rage For Order, Operation: Mindcrime, Empire, and Promised Land were all exceptional albums but from there on it was all down hill. American Soldier was decent, and Operation: Mindcrime II was a valiant effort but it wasn’t enough to really be a good album. I won’t even go into the covers album.
And then the shit show started. The very public, very dirty, very scandalous breakup began. And so now you have two versions of the once mighty Queensryche touring and recording. Just to fuck with the public some more. Regardless what side of the fence you fall on this one, you must admit that of the two Queensryche albums that were released this year, only one sounds like the real Queensryche. If left simply to public opinion and album sales (which is a direct reflection of public opinion if you ask me) there is no mistaking that the Geoff Tate-less Queensryche, the Queensryche with new singer Todd La Torre is by far the reigning version of Queensryche.
The self titled album featuring the new singer is the bands best effort in recent years. The sound falls somewhere between Empire and Promised Land. They say it harkens back to the original Ryche sound of the first 4 albums, and while it is close, there is a little missing from it to be truly from The Warning ‘era’.
Todd’s voice is remarkably Geoff Tateish. Think Judas Priest with Ripper Owens, and had the band been able to go on after firing Geoff and just be ‘the’ Queensryche then there is a real chance that they’d be on their way back up the charts, and back into the arenas again. His voice is that strong and that ‘Tateish’ that if you just put the album on, and didn’t know the line up change, you’d never know that Tate wasn’t singing.
The album is solid, and because it is a step in the right direction and is completely listenable on it’s own even if it isn’t missing it’s ballsiness somewhere along the way, it limps its way into my top 10 list of 2013.
Again, this is more Empire than Rage for Order or The Warning, and while there isn’t anything wrong with that, I don’t think it is enough of a departure from the last few Ryche albums to really be a great album. I’ll take Empire era Queensryche over Hear in the Now Frontier era, but if I had my druthers, you can give me Rage era Ryche any and every day thank you very much.
This being the first album without Geoff wrangling the writing or pawning the writing off on third parties (depends on whose story you believe), it shows enough promise to give us long time Ryche fans hope that the forthcoming music from the band will continue down the path they’ve begun to go.
Song of Note: Open Road




11 – Deep PurpleNow What?!
deep purple - now whatWithout going on a tirade against the R&R Hall of Fame here… It is a travesty that Deep Purple has once again been overlooked by them. While I’m glad that they didn’t get in based solely on the fact that this year marked the death of the greatest keyboard player ever, Jon Lord, It pains me to see pop artists get into the Hall before one of the most influential bands ever (and arguably the first band to create the ‘heavy metal’ genre just a couple of years before Sabbath).
That aside, Deep Purple has had a rough couple of years in the quality of the recordings they’ve been putting out. They’ve admitted as much themselves in recent interviews.
And while they can never return to the strength and might that they were with Jon Lord, the current line up with Don Airey at keyboards has finally captured the sound and vibe that is at the core of any great DP recording. 
Now What?! bears a striking resemblance to Perfect Strangers which in my opinion is the last good album they’ve put out as well as possibly their greatest album ever.
It sees the band in grand form and Ian Gillan while somewhat restrained here vocally still delivers a great performance.
If you’re looking for a good strong Deep Purple album that harkens back to their better songwriting days and performances, this is the one for you.
Song of Note: Vincent Price




10 – TriviumVengeance Falls
trivium - vengeance fallsI had to put Trivium on this list. I’ve tried liking their previous albums. I enjoy them to a certain extent but they just seemed to be missing something. Then I saw them live, and I understood what Trivium was all about. It’s been said a million times, and I’ll say it here because still holds true… There are live bands and there are studio bands. Some bands shine on a stage and their albums are just so so, others make killer albums but they just don’t come across right on stage. Trivium for me is the former. Until the release of Vengeance Falls. I don’t know if their writing has improved, if changing producers and having David Draiman helped, I don’t know if it just sonically sounds better than the other albums, or it is just lighting in a bottle, but the band has finally released an album that represents their sound onstage properly.
The band took a lot of heat for having Disturbed’s David Draiman produce the album from the ‘all knowing’ sheeple out there. But having a new set of ears listen and help pull out the best possible performance out of the band seems to have worked. This is the first album from Trivium I can listen to front to back. And because of that, because it is such a strong album, because it is the hardest and heaviest album to come out this year, because the band is such a great live band, they deserve to be in my top 10 list this year.
Song of Note: At the End of this War




9 – Five Finger Death PunchThe Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol 1
FFDP - the wrong side of heavenWhen this album came out I wanted to dislike it just like I did their first three albums.
Look, their sound is ok, the songwriting is ok, and while the band seems to have a lot of fun on stage performing, the lead singer Ivan Moody seems to posture just a little bit too much for my taste. Their breakout song (a cover of Bad Company’s ‘Bad Company’) was a cover that ranks up there with Shinedown’s Simple Man as the top covers that never should have happened.
The fact that the general public ate up both of those shitty versions of great songs irritated the fuck out of me and so I take it out on the bands and refuse to like/listen to them.
So FFDP comes out with the first of two albums dropping this year and damned if the first one isn’t chock full of killer guest vocalists. We’re talking Rob Halford, Maria Brink, Max Calavera, and Jamey Jasta here. That’s enough to make me give the disc a good solid listen. At least one good listen.
I’ll be damned if the album isn’t really fucking good. Again, a total surprise here and even more so that this band ended up on my top 10 list!
The title track is a stellar song that, had they released it 5 years ago it would have been a weak muddling milquetoast abortion of a song. But they have clearly matured in their songwriting and it shows here.
The disc kicks off with the infectious Lift Me Up featuring Rob Halford and it is this song that kept me intrigued enough to keep listening.
Moving through the various tracks they all have their high points and keep the album moving along nicely. Until you get to what may end up being my third grossest mistaken cover song ever. FFDP and Tech N9ne cover LL Cool J’s Mama Said Knock You Out. At face value it could be a really strong cover. The original song was done by LL Cool J with a full band supporting him on it. So it isn’t too far of a stretch to see a metal band cover it. But the execution is less favorable than chowing down on a three month old abortion. It should have never been done.
the first half of Diary of a Deadman continues to push the suck factor here. Think Metallica’s To Live is to Die but in reverse. Had the instrumental been ALL of the song it would have been a solid song. But if you skip both of those songs the rest of the album is a great solid metal album.
Look, no one is more surprised than I am that this album is in my top 10 list. I almost feel the need to apologize for it. But the majority of the disc is so strong and so surprising to me that I feel it is worthy to be here.
The second album (Volume 2) is really more of the same. It isn’t bad, it isn’t better, it is missing the guest vocalists, and it carries it’s own shitty cover version of House of the Rising Sun.
Maybe FFDP should stick to having guest vocalists and not doing ANY covers (because they all come out shitty). To be fair House of the Rising Sun is a lot less shitty than Mama Said Knock You Out. So they’ve got THAT going for them.
Song of Note: Wrong Side of Heaven




8 – NewstedHeavy Metal Music
Newsted - heavy metal musicAfter leaving Metallica Jason Newsted has been in a lot of projects to keep himself busy as he properly recovered from the neck/back injury that forced him out of the worlds biggest metal band (well, that and the all the inner turmoil bullshit going on at the time. See: Some Kind Of Monster). From performing with Ozzy, Voivod, Echobrain, etc, etc. to finally starting his own band Newsted it’s been a long journey.
Jason plays bass and sings/growls vocals and does an admirable job singing. It’s a bit one dimensional but it does work. And even after listening to the whole album it doesn’t grate on me. I usually prefer a little more depth in the vocals but this works and works well.
I think because the music behind it is so Motorheadishly groovetastic that the vocals lends itself to the grittiness of the sound.
And that is the biggest compliment you can pay this album. For that is what it is to the T. It is Motorheadishly groovetastic. Think Lemmy and Co. thrashing it out instead of Punking or Rockabillying it out. And that is where Neswsted sits. Motorhead with thick as fuck Thrash riffs and chops.
The biggest surprise here isn’t Jason singing… it has to be Staind’s Mike Mushock’s performance on the disc.
This isn’t Staind’s emo metal whiney baby bullshit, this is Mike unleashing heavy metal mayhem riffs all over the album. Kudos to Mike for finally showing the world his metal chops. They are a true treat and joy to behold.
Song of Note: King of the Underdogs




7 – VolbeatOutlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies
volbeat - outlaw gentlemen and shady ladiesLuckily I was turned on to Volbeat a few years ago by a good friend. And have been a fan ever since. I mean what’s not to like here? You like Hard Rock? You like Rockabilly? You like Danzig? You like Elvis? Well, let me introduce Volbeat to you.
They are all the above and a little bits of all the above. The bastard son of Elvis and Glenn Danzig singing 50’s era Rockabilly with a 2000 twist mixed with great hooks and enough swagger and hair gel to put the sleaziest greaser to shame; add in exceptional songwriting and you have Volbeat.
The most notable difference between Outlaw and the albums before it is the addition of Robb Caggiano. I think that is what sets this album apart and above its predecessors. With Robb in role of producer the album is more straightforward Hard Rock(abilly) than a mish mash of Metal(abilly) and so the sound is more coherent and fluid.
If I had a complaint it is that there is a certain sameness to each and every song they do. If the songs weren’t so good it would be a little off putting and dull. I think it lies in the vocals of Michael Poulsen. While they are unique and undeniably good, they don’t have much range, so each song sounds like the last. The exception being Room 24 which features King Diamond and has the older thrashy Volbeat sound to it. Past that, the album kind of comes off as a 45 minute song with different passages throughout it. Not sure how you change that, as it is really the main part of their signature sound.
The Hangman’s Body Count has a great riff running throughout it chugging along like a juggernaut and the soloing is top notch.
Lonesome Rider has the rockin’ist Rockabilly/Country/Metal vibe of them all. It doesn’t hurt that Sarah Blackwood is singing in the worlds thickest twang on it and what a trippy song it is. You have to hear it to understand all the elements at play in this song.
Song of Note: Doc Holiday




6 – Monster MagnetLast Patrol
monster magnet - last patrolMonster Magnet is a band that should be much bigger than it is. But because they don’t write radio friendly hard rock or are perceived to be something they aren’t they don’t get the respect they deserve.
They’re mostly known for their one hit Space Lord and their great video for it. But take a listen to the rest of that album or any track on this album and you’ll find that they have so much more substance than that one song.
Ask me what Last Patrol sounds like and I’d be hard pressed to tell you. It’s epic. That’s the one word that comes to mind. Fucking EPIC. It is truly a journey of an album. It takes you for a ride and you end up in places you’d never think you’d go from a band like Monster Magnet.
Let’s just give them their own genre and call it Space Rock shall we? Because that’s what this is. It’s the closest I can come to ‘naming’ the sound. There’s acoustic shit in there, spacey jams, middle eastern tinges mixed in, and it isn’t until you get to Hallelujah almost halfway through the disc that you get to what you’d call a straightforward rocker. 
And that is what is so great about this album. That is all part of this journey. The music is heavy as hell. And not in the traditional sense of heavy metal, think Muse but a lot more restrained and laid back.
This is a groove heavy album. Maybe that’s what I missed. The album grooves deeply. It doesn’t go so deep as to be sludge, but heavy on the groove factor here. Every song whether slow, low, or jukin’ and jivin’ all have their own fat groove to them. EPIC GROOVE SPACE ROCK.
There you go.
Now, go get it. You’ll thank me later.
Song of Note: Paradise




5 – Nick Cave & The Bad SeedsPush The Sky Away
nick cave - push the sky awayHas Nick Cave ever released a bad album?
Fuck no.
Has he released albums that fail to live up to the Nick Cave standard? Yes, but then a Nick Cave album is a lot like fucking. Even if it’s bad fucking it is still fucking.
Nick Cave has gone back and forth over the last few years releasing albums with and without the Bad Seeds and has even done some ‘side projects’ (how you do a side project from yourself I have no idea), and it is my opinion that the best Nick Cave is the Nick Cave that is backed by The Bad Seeds.
The opening cut We No Who U R sets the mood for the disc with a ethereal and bleak sound. This isn’t the aggressive Nick Cave set to a cacophonous wall of noise. Think more Leonard Cohen and less The Birthday Party.
Wide Lovely Eyes continues the stark ethereal sound while Water’s Edge still keeps the minimalist theme going musically but steps the tempo up. You feel the song building, restrained, strained, pulsing, waiting to tear loose, only to be tamped down suppressed and leaving you edgy and wanting more.
It’s only when Jubilee Street starts that you get a full band sound, or traditional band sound. The electric, eclectic, ethereal sound gone but the morose lyrical vibe maintains its hold. The irony being the title of the song comparative to the overall feel of the song.
This is Nick Cave’s best work in a long time. I’ve followed the man for a long time, and this may rank right up there as his 3rd best album behind Let Love In and The Murder Ballads. That’s enough to ensure his place in my top ten of 2013.
Song of Note: Water’s Edge




4 – GhostInfestissumam
Ghost - album coverHail Satan!
Hail Satanic Metal!
Hail Satanic Circus Music!
Hail Satanic Psychobilly!
Hail GHOST!
The second album by the enigmatic Ghost may not be as straight forward in the metal vein as their first album Opus Eponymous but it is still a great album that has so many subtle layers to it. And I think that’s why so many people seem to like the first album more.
But what Ghost brings to the Satanic Metal genre is something that one would never have though possible… FUN!
Yes Satan can be fun. Who knew?!?!?!??!
Give Infestissumam one listen and you’ll agree. Worshipping Satan and glorifying the great evil one can be fun.
The track Per Aspera ad Inferi sounds like some kind of psychedelic 70’s hard rock groove song until you catch the lyrics… ‘Oh Satan Devour us all Hear our desperate call’.
I’ve always wanted to start a band that plays music in the vein of Barry Manilow but has lyrics so dark and fucked up that people upon first listen give you the puzzled dog head cocked to the side expression.. ‘HUH?
This isn’t quite Barry Manilow music but is is close in idealism.
This isn’t Black Metal. This isn’t Satanic Metal. This isn’t King Diamond or Slayer by a long shot. But it is good solid hard rock/heavy metal that is a trip to listen to.
So put your sullen and brooding Black/Death/Satan Metal away, put on your clown pants and rock the fuck out to Good Friendly Fun Satanism!
Song of Note: Year Zero




3 – Micheal MonroeHorns and Halos
michael monroe - horns and halosHanoi Rocks was poised to be the biggest band in the world. The year was 1984, they had just released their best album to date, Two Steps From the Move, they had taken Bowie’s and the New York Dolls’ and MC5’s drag/androgynous look and glommed the fuck right out of it and had invented what became Glam Rock. Motley Crue, Ratt, hell ALL of the Sunset Strip bands of the 80’s stole or adopted the look from the originators. And Guns & Roses would have never been the Guns & Roses we knew if it weren’t for Hanoi Rocks. G&R even rereleased all of Hanoi Rocks albums on their own label as a tribute to them to show the world what they may have missed.
That all changed when Vince Neil got behind the wheel of his Pantera one night highly intoxicated and took Hanoi Rocks’ drummer Razzle on a liquor run. He ended up running head first into a Volkswagen Bug seriously injuring the occupants of that car and killing Razzle instantly. The death of Razzle effectively put an end to Hanoi Rocks.
And the world was a much worse place for it.
Michael Monroe went on to a successful solo career but never reached the heights that Hanoi SHOULD have.
Hanoi Rocks reformed a few years ago and put out a couple of really good albums but things ran its course and Michael once again has gone out on his own.
His latest disc is Horns and Halos and it is the strongest album he or Hanoi has released in 20 years.
This guy is 51, his voice is stronger on this album than in the last 20-25 years easy. The songs are well written and more tight and cohesive than in previous recent efforts. The playing is mush stronger and well written also.
This may be the best Michael Monroe album he has ever put out.
The albums starts off with the bombastic TNT Diet that sets a solid rollicking pace for an album that doesn’t let up once. There are 13 cuts on this album and everyone of them shines in its own way.
Ballad of the Lower East Side is probably the truest Hanoi Rocks style song on the album. The swagger and sleaze running off this song harkens back to the early 80’s not to mention the lyrics are singing of the glories of the Lower East Side of NYC in the 80’s with its pushers, pimps, and whores.
Horns and Halos is a straight out cock rock song that may be the jewel of the disc. 
The more I listen to the album the more I hear Social D or TSOL vibe running through it more than Monroe’s normal glam rock sheen.
And this may be why the album works so well. It may be the most mature album he’s ever written. Throwing nods in it to his roots, as well as his influences, but the new ‘sound’ lies less in the glam rock we’ve come to love and expect and more in just great Rock & Roll songwriting.
Nobody writes a better hook than Michael Monroe, and every song on this album has a great hook that instantly sinks into you and pulls you right to the end of the song and deposits you squarely on the other side wishing the song wasn’t over. That is until the next song sets in, drops it’s hook in your face leaving a big mushroom stamp on your head and dragging through it’s glory and deposits you once again on the far end wishing your could hit replay and dig the song over an over again.
That to me is the sign of a great song. As soon as it ends you want to go back and listen to it again. When every song on an album does that to you… you have a great album!
And this friends and foes, is a great fucking album.
Song of Note: Ballad of the Lower East Side




2 – Scorpion ChildScorpion Child
scorpion childHoly Fuck. I hate kicking myself for missing something. We get tons of Press Releases that cross our desk every day for a million bands you’ve never heard of and probably never will, let alone the ones you wish you never did. Scorpion Child PRs were coming at me fast and furious this past spring/early summer and I read a couple and just moved on. And THAT is what I thought of Scorpion Child. Read and dumped the PR without a second thought. I have to thank Sirius/XM for actually opening my ears and eyes to the wonder that is Scorpion Child and showing me what I was missing.
Think Robert Plant meets Rainbow who goes in a back alley and has a 17way with David Coverdale, Deep Purple, and Fastway is standing there circle jerking all over the place. THAT is what Scorpion Child is. Yet they are so much more.
I always tread lightly when I say a band has a sound from the 70s/80s/particular band name here because I don’t want you to think they’re some kind of rip off or retro sounding band for a goof (think Steel Panther). The above mentioned bands are nothing more than influences on what Scorpion Child bring. They take those influences and churn out something old and familiar feeling but with a new twist and spark of life that should propel them into the stratosphere.
There are a million ‘new’ bands out there vying for your attention, but this one right here stands head and shoulders above them all.
Their sound may not be as diverse as Led Zeppelin‘s were from album to album, but there is enough diversity here from song to song while still holding the primary Scorpion Child sound to entertain and enthrall one and all alike.
Song of Note: Polygon of Eyes




1 – ClutchEarth Rocker
Clutch - earth rockerA few years ago Clutch released what many consider to be their best album ever, Blast Tyrant.
Well the Maryland band have not only matched the excellence that is Blast Tyrant, but they may have even surpassed it with their latest opus.
Earth Rocker does just what the title suggests… It rocks.
Out of all the great music that has been released this year, this is the album that has received the most listens in my iPod.
This is just a ridiculously good album. Sonically, musically, lyrically, and vocally. The sonic part makes sense because Machine produced the album, the same genius producer behind Blast Tyrant.
Clutch has experimented the last couple of albums and have had mostly missed in my opinion since Blast Tyrant, but Earth Rocker takes off right out of the gate and only slows down for the Gone Cold haunting ‘ballad’ only to rev right back up and shake the foundations with ‘The Face’ and the band doesn’t look back.
There isn’t a bad song on this disc. There isn’t a bad moment on this disc. There isn’t a bad note on this disc. The only complaint would be that they could have added 5 more songs or so as it seems to end way too quickly for me.
The tracking of Earth Rocker is to be lauded also. Starting with the title track, and accelerating with Crucial Velocity, right into Mr. Freedom, and without blinking you’re thrown into D.C. Sound Attack. Each song building on the tempo of the previous, each song propelling your forward until it explodes with Unto The Breach. 
The aforementioned Gone Cold cools us off long enough to catch our breath and begin the crazy ascent again with The Face, Book Saddle & Go, all they way through to the finale The Wolfman Kindly Requests… .
This is the only album I’ve given a 10 out of 10 on in a very long time. I don’t think last year’s number one album In This Moment’s Blood received 10 out of 10 from me (yeah I’m too lazy to look it up, it MAY have…) But that means out of all the albums released since THAT album dropped (we’re talking hundreds of albums people [ok thousands, but for all intents and purposes hundreds that would/could be worthy of being in my top 10]) only Earth Rocker has again received a perfect score. Hence the top spot this year.
Song of Note: Unto The Breach (but it is really hard with this album to pick just one song from)




So that’s my top 10… er… 13.
Almost. I decided to go to 13 this year because there were so many good albums I couldn’t stop at 10. I have one more I’d like to add, as an Honorable Mention. It was originally in my ‘long list’ of top 10 albums of the year. But once I finished compiling all the great albums released this year, it just wasn’t as strong as the rest of them. But after writing up my Best Of… list I couldn’t just let it go to waste. The material is that strong in my opinion. So here is the 13.5 Best Album of 2013.



Natalie MainesMother
natalie maines - motherSo I purchased Mother by Natalie Maines because, well, as a person and artist I respect who she is and what she has done (former Dixie Chicks), and I heard her perform the Pink Floyd cover on Howard Stern one day and loved it. She does a great job on the song keeping most of the original arrangement together in her version retaining the feel of debilitating maternal oppression while changing it up just enough with a glorious Hammond B organ to put her own mark on it.
I was excited to hear the rest of the album after about 5 spins of Mother alone. And came away pleasantly surprised. Between Mother, and her take on Jeff Buckley’s Lover You Should Have Come Over (back to back those two songs will push any mortal person so far into a melancholy stupor that you need to make sure there are no sharp objects near with which to slit ones wrist with) along with her original songs Free Life, Vein in Vain, and Take it on Faith one comes away from the album with the impression that Ms Maines is the perfect woman to compliment Morrissey. The two of them could crush the world with their combined melancholy and infinite sadness.
There are a couple of decent rockers on the album that harken to Bonnie Raitt just a little less bluesy.
Overall this is a great album. Skip past the opening track, and enjoy the hell out of an album that should have come packaged with it’s own razor blade to open your veins as the disc ends.
Song of Note: Mother (Duh)




Ok, as a chid raised on Thrash Metal in San Francisco I’d be ashamed if I didn’t address two great Thrash bands that released albums this year. Metal Church reformed this year and released Generation Nothing and Death Angel released The Dream Calls for Blood. I’d love to have included them in my list this year, but sadly, they just weren’t up to snuff for me. I really wanted Metal Church to come back strong and hard, and unforutnately Generation Nothing did just that for me… nothing.
Death Angel‘s release was a little better but the weakest album they’ve released in since they reunited a few years ago. Both albums are ‘by the numbers’ Thrash and that just isn’t good enough with all the great music out there today.
So kudos to Metal Church for reuniting and let’s hope they put out better stuff soon. And the same goes to Death Angel. I want to root for you guys, I want you to be huge, I want to be blown away by your stuff again. So please… let’s just do that in 2014 shall we?



HALETSTORM
2013-11-29
Terminal 5
New York City, NY
Photos by: Slim Jim Keller







Redlight King
2013-11-29
Terminal 5
New York City, NY
Photos by: Slim Jim Keller






Stars In Stereo
2013-11-29
Terminal 5
New York City, NY
Photos by: Slim Jim Keller







OTEP
The Chameleon Club

Lancaster, PA
photos by Marcy J Royce






Via our friends at BLABBERMOUTH.NET

joeyjordison promo 2013SLIPKNOT has released the following statement:

“To our Maggots and fans around the world,

“It is with great pain but quiet respect that, for personal reasons, Joey Jordison and SLIPKNOT are parting ways. We all wish Joey the best in whatever his future holds.

“We understand that many of you will want to know how and why this has come to be, and we will do our best to respond to these questions in the near future.

“It is our love for all of you, as well as for the music we create, that spurs us to continue on and move forward with our plans for releasing new material in the next year. We hope that all of you will come to understand this, and we appreciate your continued support while we plan the next phase of the future of SLIPKNOT.

“Thank you, The ‘KNOT

Jordison has spent the past few months touring with his new project SCAR THE MARTYR, whose self-titled debut album sold around 3,300 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 129 on The Billboard 200 chart. The CD was made available on October 1 via Roadrunner Records.

In addition to Jordison and lead vocalist Henry Derek Bonner (BLOOD PROMISE), SCAR THE MARTYR‘s current touring lineup features guitarists Jed Simon (STRAPPING YOUNG LAD) and Kris Norris (DARKEST HOUR), keyboardist Joey Blush and bassist Kyle Konkiel (IN THIS MOMENT).

Guitarist Jim Root revealed earlier in the month that he will sit out STONE SOUR‘s early 2014 tour so that he can concentrate on writing music for the next SLIPKNOT record. A post at STONE SOUR‘s Facebook page stated, “With an impending SLIPKNOT album on the horizon, Jim will not be touring with STONE SOUR this winter . . . It was a difficult decision, but as the fans have wanted another STONE SOUR tour and Jim had responsibilities to the writing process with SLIPKNOT, we feel this is the best decision where everyone wins.”

SLIPKNOT‘s long-awaited fifth album will be its first since 2008′s “All Hope Is Gone” and first since the 2010 death of bassist Paul Gray.

Root and SLIPKNOT singer Corey Taylor spent the better part of the last year on the road with STONE SOUR behind that band’s two-album set, House Of Gold And Bones”.”

Perhaps there is more work on the horizon for Roy Mayorga, a la Ozzy and Tommy Clufetos? Stay tuned to find out…
Read more at http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/slipknot-parts-ways-with-drummer-joey-jordison/#KlxHIR4m0joCKWAg.99

Scorpions 2013 promoDecember 9, 2013–The track listing for legendary international hard rockers SCORPIONS‘ new offering MTV Unplugged has just been revealed. Please see below for the complete list of songs on the CD and DVD. Due out in North America on January 21st, 2014, material from MTV Unplugged is taken from SCORPIONS‘ first-ever “MTV Unplugged” show and features new acoustic versions of their best-loved classic hits, as well as five brand new songs. MTV Unplugged will be available in North America as a deluxe CD + DVD package and as a Blu-Ray. MTV Unplugged is being released in 50 countries, a testament to the German band’s iconic status worldwide.

Recorded and filmed just a few months ago on September 11th and September 12th of this year, SCORPIONS’ MTV Unplugged was culled from two dynamic acoustic sets at the Lycabettus Theatre in Athens, Greece. The spectacular open-air theatre, situated 300 meters above the city, was an impressive backdrop for the first-ever open-air show in the history of “MTV Unplugged” (the theater also shares a birth year with SCORPIONS themselves, having been built in 1965, the same year the band formed). In other news, SCORPIONS are still in the midst of their epic Farewell World Tour; the tour has been going on for more than three years now. To the delight of their fans there is no end in sight, as to date the band has only played 23 out of the 38 countries planned on the itinerary.

SCORPIONS are Klaus Meine (vocals/guitar), Rudolf Schenker (guitars/vocals), Matthias Jabs (guitars), Pawel Maciwoda (bass) and James Kottak (drums); additional musical support on MTV Unplugged includes contributions from Swedish musicians and producers Mikael Nord Andersson (guitars, mandolin, lap steel, vocals) and Martin Hansen (guitars, harmonica, vocals). The duo is also responsible for the arrangements on MTV Unplugged.

SCORPIONS are one of the most successful international hard rock bands of all time, selling upwards of 75 million records worldwide and playing more than 5,000 concerts in 80+ countries globally. Formed in Germany in 1965, the band has come to be known for their colossal radio and MTV hits “Rock You Like A Hurricane,” “No One Like You” and “Wind Of Change,” as well as their status as international rock ambassadors. VH1 ranked SCORPIONS as the #46 Artist on the “Greatest Artists Of Hard Rock” special, while “Rock You Like A Hurricane” came in at #18 on VH1′s “Greatest Hard Rock Songs”. The band recently received a star on the Hollywood Rock Walk in Los Angeles. To date, SCORPIONS have released 18 studio albums and 5 live records.

SCORPIONS MTV Unplugged track listing:
CD:
Sting In The Tail
Can’t Live Without You
The Best Is Yet To Come
Dancing With The Moonlight – new song
Delicate Dance – new song
Love Is The Answer – new song
Follow Your Heart – new song
Send Me An Angel
Where The River Flows
Rock You Like A Hurricane
Rock & Roll Band
Blackout
Still Loving You
Big City Nights
Wind Of Change
No One Like You

DVD:
Sting In The Tail
Can’t Live Without You
Pictured Life
Speedy’s Coming
Born To Touch Your Feelings
The Best Is Yet To Come
Dancing With The Moonlight – new song
In Trance
When You Came Into My Life
Delicate Dance – new song
Love Is The Answer – new song
Follow Your Heart – new song
Send Me An Angel
Where The River Flows
Passion Rules The Game
Rock You Like A Hurricane
Hit Between The Eyes
Drum-Athenica
Rock N’ Roll Band – new song
Blackout
Still Loving You
Big City Nights
Wind Of Change
No One Like You
When The Smoke Is Going Down

Pre-order SCORPIONS MTV Unplugged here: DVD/CD Blu-Ray

Digital Summer Headbanger promo2013December 9, 2013–Maybe you’ve heard or maybe not, but heavy rock band Digital Summer is directly partnered with a national wine brand called Headbanger. With several major distributors and an ever expanding reach, the brand seems to have found its audience in the rock world and beyond. Throughout 2013, Digital Summer has been posting photos, dropping mentions, and even handing out bottles of Headbanger Zinfandel while on tour. As the name grows, so has anticipation of what’s to come. It’s just been released that the band will now be directly involved with the unveiling of the new Headbanger American Gold Whiskey in early 2014. The partnership has proven to be a natural catalyst, as Headbanger is now the Official Wines of Shiprocked 2014! Shiprocked is a 5 day cruise, from January 26-30, promoted heavily on SiriusXM Octane, that goes through the Bahamas with 20+ big names in rock, including Five Finger Death Punch, Three Days Grace, Papa Roach, Digital Summer, and more performing and hanging out on board the ship. The coming year is looking to be all about the headbangers!

(Sonoma, CA) Hoffman Family Cellars announced Dec. 5, 2013 that it plans to unveil Headbanger American Gold Whiskey in early 2014. This comes as an expansion to the brand’s growing Zinfandel focused wine line and partnership with renowned national music artist, Digital Summer. “Having made wines in Sonoma over the past decade, I always dreamed of expanding the Headbanger brand into the spirits and beer categories when the timing was right,” said Paul J. Hoffman, creator of Hoffman Family Cellars Wines & Spirits. “That time is now! Whiskey is growing in record volumes and everyone is looking for innovative brands that are fresh, exciting, and have a serious cool factor that speaks globally.”

Hoffman stated, “In developing any of our wines or spirits we like to work backwards knowing our end brand profile and presentation. It all starts with quality in the bottle therefore we took a winemaking approach to the blend desiring an intriguing aroma, a smooth texture, and a clean/non-burning finish. The result is a golden beauty that has a vanilla aroma, a bright flavor, a refined finished, and a mix-ability unlike any other whiskey so we have appropriately labeled the gem as “American Gold.” The mix-ability element was a key development piece for us as the cocktail application is endless given the color and flavor. Recent testing with mixologists, operators, and consumers found several panelists enjoyed Headbanger as a replacement in classic non-whiskey cocktail versions AND strictly on it’s own. One major Rock and Roll themed operator is already basing their Signature Cocktail around Headbanger, a true statement of validation.”

Kyle Winterstein, partner and creative director for Headbanger is behind the cutting edge packaging for the brand. “As much energy as we put into making the blend, I knew the package had to reflect the quality in the bottle and have a serious wow factor”, said Winterstein. “I wanted this bottle to jump out and let you know it’s not a member of the Old School: This is a Brand New Animal.”

“We’ve built the Digital Summer Band independently to levels many signed artists have yet to achieve. Early days of Guerrilla Marketing in the local market followed by heavy social media efforts allowed us to speak directly to the consumer without all of the stopgaps of the gatekeeper. We currently reach 400,000 people a day through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and I’m excited to flick that switch on for Headbanger and watch it explode. With the Headbanger-Digital Summer partnership we’ve dipped our toes in the water promoting the wine with good success but we’ve been waiting on the American Gold release to go full tilt in both Spirit and Wine Channels. I’m swinging for the fences now,” said Winterstein.

Hoffman Family Cellars owns and makes four wine brands (Headbanger, 401K, Curveball, Atmosphere) and has two tasting rooms, one on The Historic Sonoma Square and the other on Treasure Island in the San Francisco Bay, and an office in Phoenix, AZ. In addition the wine brands, the company has two clothing lines, Napa Valley Surf Club and Keep Sonoma Weird. Headbanger is the official wine sponsor of national recording artist, DIGITAL SUMMER

For more info visit www.drinkheadbanger.com and www.digitalsummer.net

A7X-Hail To The King Album CoverDecember 9, 2013–Avenged Sevenfold’s Hail To The King is well on its way to living up to its name. The album, released by Warner Bros. Records, earned the band its second No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart, selling upwards of 159,400 units, making it the biggest first-week sales debut for a rock album this year. Hail To The King also went to No. 1 in the UK, handing the band its first chart-topping album in Britain, as well as in Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Ireland, and Finland. Avenged Sevenfold has just wrapped up sold-out tour dates in the U.S. and Europe, including a sold-out show at Wembley in the UK. With all of this momentum, Machinima, the number one global video entertainment network for young males, has announced that the Hail To The King animated series will be released on December 15 for binge-viewing on Machinima’s HappyHour channel.

From the creative minds of Avenged Sevenfold, one of rock music’s global heavyweights and a trailblazing force in fusing the worlds of music and video games, Hail To The King is a six-episode animated series, which is directed by Metalocalypse producer Jon Schnepp. The unique and innovative series tells the fictional story of the Deathbat – the band’s longtime trademark, and serves as the prologue to their highly anticipated mobile video game, “Hail to the King: Deathbat.” Accompanying the launch of the series will be a trailer for the game, which will be available early 2014. With the series launching in just days, Machinima has released an all-new trailer which can be seen below.

Capture the Crown promo 2013December 2, 2013 – Following the success of their debut album ’TIL DEATH and a year of relentless touring, CAPTURE THE CROWN is ready to release new material for their fans. The band has been hard at work on the EP ALL HYPE ALL NIGHT, creating some of their best material to date. However, due to creative differences, CAPTURE THE CROWN will be releasing the EP without the support of a record label. Seeing this as an opportunity to engage and involve their fans directly the band is offering unique perks and once in a lifetime opportunities for those who contribute to the release of ALL HYPE ALL NIGHT at any level via Indiegogo.

“You guys [the fans] are the reason we’ve made it this far! We love you all and we want to prove that to you by giving you the music you want and deserve. You can expect this to be the best music we’ve ever released! We are the ones deciding how this EP is written, produced and most importantly how it’s delivered to you! Expect a side of CTC that you’ve never seen before,” says lead guitarist Jye Menzies.

Singer Jeffrey Wellfare adds, “Thank you so much for your endless dedication and support. We will not roll over, we will not die, we will not go away, this is just the beginning of a bigger, better, and louder CAPTURE THE CROWN! We are now in control of what we give to our fans. We wrote this EP for you! ”

Offered are a variety of perks for contributors ranging anywhere from digital delivery of the album 24 hours prior to release, instruments used by the band, and even the chance of having your name and/or face tattooed on singer Jeffrey Wellfares’ body.

Contribute to the release of “All Hype All Night” EP  here.