Tuesday, October 31, 2006

More Roger Staffelbach news

Further to our news on the forthcoming Roger Staffelbach album, Roger checked in with some more details on the upcoming release.

The band will have the name of Roger Staffelbach's Angel of Eden with a multi licensing deal just been signed with Marquee/Avalon Japan.

The Line Up will be as follows:

Roger Staffelbach - Guitars
Carsten Schulz - Vocals (Domain, Evidence One)
Ferdy Doernberg - Keys (Uli Jon Roth)
Mats Olausson - Keys (Yngwie Malmsteen)
Steve di Giorgio - Bass (Testament, Sebastian Bach)
Rami Ali - Drums (Evidence One)

There will be some Guest Appearances, i will let you know details soon.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Michael Harris goes neo-orchestral with "Orchestrate"

“Orchestrate” sees world acclaimed guitarist Michael Harris back with the most ambitious album of his career. With a style best described as "Neo Orchestral Metal” the album is a modern day masterpiece. One listen reveals the unique combination of electric guitar playing a very “classical meets metal” style with an orchestra and metal drumming complete with stunning guitar virtuosity.

On the album Michael comments, “My original vision was to go back to my “Defense Mechanizms” roots, yet to focus on one style, neo classical metal. As the record developed, I realized "Orchestral" was a better term, so I consider the record to be my one & only neo-orchestral record. My previous instrumental records have had some “classical meets metal” compositions, but this record is focused exclusively on that style. I recorded all the backing strings, etc on my keyboard, and rather than playing chords, most of the time I treated it like scoring an orchestra, recording one "voice" at a time. There is still plenty of guitar of course, and drummer Matt Thompson did an outstanding job. My focus compositionally was to create strong themes first and foremost, before the musicianship & full arrangements came into play”.
On the making of the album Michael states, “I recorded all the backing strings, etc on my new Yamaha Motif ES keyboard (because the sounds blew me away) and rather than playing chords, most of the time I treated it like scoring an orchestra, recording one "voice" at a time. Time consuming? Hell yes! So what! There is still plenty of guitar on the record of course, and Matt's drumming just kicked the whole thing in the arse!”

My focus compositionally was to create strong themes first and foremost, before the musicianship & full arrangements came into play. I didn't intend on writing around any particular "culture" of music stylistically, but when I listen back, I hear many different styles, even some Russian / Slavic themes. I also wanted to create a record that breathes with a lot of dynamics, also with at least one tempo descelerondo, and some free time tempos”.

Michael’s classical inspirations include the classical composers include Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Dukas, and Vivaldi. Michael’s more recent favourites include Krzysztof Penderecki and Allan Pettersson, stating, “I’ve found them to have some captivating ideas texturally, but the classical composers I appreciate the most (above) are the ones who composed with the greatest melodic sense”.

Released November 24th 2006 on Lion Music

Michael Harris - Electric, acoustic, synth, nylon string, bass guitars and keyboards.
Matt Thompson – Drums

Track Listing
01. Opus Conceptus
02. String Theory
03. The Mad Composer’s Rage
04. Notes from the Kursk
05. Battle at Storm’s Edge
06. Guiprice
07. Mysterioso
08. Octavian II
09. The Anti Shred
10. Schizo Forte

Composed, Mixed & Produced by Michael Harris.
Mastered by Gary Long.

Official Websites

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Roger Staffelbach working on new material

Artension guitarist Roger Staffelbach is currently finishing up his debut solo album. As yet untitled the new album see Roger joined by vocalist Carsten "Lizard" Schulz (Domain) and keyboardist Mats Olausson (ex Malmsteen). Having been privy to 3 tracks from the album I can whole heartedly state that this is stunning progressive metal with a great neo-classical slant. The guitar work is superb amd overall songwriting is stunning and will please any neo-classical fan. Having personally felt that Roger was pushed to the background on the last couple of Artension releases its great to hear him getting the spotlight he deserves... one to keep an eye and ear out for.

As I get more information I will keep you posted.

Web links

New Space Odyssey album details

Keyboard whiz Richard Andersson (Time Requiem / Majestic) has posted details of the new Space Odyssey record at his official website www.anderssonmusic.com Andersson is superb keyboard player in the Malmsteen mold whilst the band features neo-classical guitarist Magnus Nilsson.

"In beginning of May I decided to start work on third Space Odyssey record and this time with Magnus and me composing the songs. So we did. I’ve had a lot of fun together with Magnus creating the 10 tracks in just one month. We both decided to do it simple and plain and with no progressive elements. This time the songs are very far from what I have done before. Now you can actually separate my two bands Time Requiem and Space Odyssey in many different ways. Since Patrik Johansson (Astral Doors) was busy with his own band at the same time as I wanted the vocals immediately I simply found a new but brilliant singer David Fremberg from the Swedish band Andromeda. He was invited to do the songs and it took two days to put down the vocal tracks. Excellent man! If you are into Tony Martin, David Coverdale kind of a singer you will love this one. He sounds awesome!!!Everything’s moving fast and the release date for Japan is set for 2006 November 21. Rest of world around that time. I’m still working on that".

Space Odyssey 2006:
Richard Andersson – Keyboards, hammond, backing vocals
David Fremberg – Vocals
Jörg Andrews – Drums
Magnus Nilsson – Guitars & Bass

1. The Bohemian Werewolf (soundclip)
2. Obsession (soundclip)
3. Miracles in Daylight (soundclip)
4. Killing the Myth (soundclip)
5. Dark Wings of Universe (soundclip)
6. The Awakening (soundclip)
7. Tears of the Sun (soundclip)
8. The Northern Silence (soundclip)
9. Bloodspill (soundclip)
10. Jailbreaker (Japan bonus track)

Saturday, October 21, 2006

New James Byrd Interview online

Always home to very good reading, James Byrd (Byrd, Atantis Rising, Fifth Angel) has recently conducted an informative new interview with a french website. Below are some choice quotes from the feature, be sure to check out the whole interview here.

On what he has been upto since 2002...
"I haven't released an album under my own name since 2002. A lot of factors contributed to that; first, I had a serious back injury, and was on heavy pain medication while I was recording Anthem. I couldn't even walk for several months. It was really hard to produce the album, and when I was finished, I just felt burned out, and had a long physical recovery to face...."

On his own guitar company Byrd Guitars...
"First and foremost, they're really the ultimate design for the advanced neoclassical rock guitarist. But they're also fantastic for blues, or even country music because the tone is very pure and bell like...."

On the possible direction of forthcoming new material...
" I think Anthem was too keyboard dominated, and dry sounding, so I will try to attain a more organic and guitar dominated sound..."

On touring...
"I have degenerative arthritis in my spine and tendon problems in my left hand that preclude my touring. I had my tendons surgically unsheathed in 1989 because my hand had completely frozen, and thank God it works again..."

Chris Impellitteri offers second wmv clip

Chris Impellitteri has made available another clip of him shredding in his amp room.

To download the clip visit his official site at www.rapture.net/impellitteri and scroll down.

No further news on the Chris's next album release at present.

Yngwie Malmsteen Tour Dates

The Maestro, Yngwie Malmsteen has just confirmed even more dates in Asia/Australia as well as a string of Scandinavian dates in December. For more info visit the official Yngwie website at www.yngwie.org

2006 Asia/Australia Tour
Thailand Ticketing Link: www.thaiticketmaster.com
Singapore Ticketing Link: www.sistic.com


Christmas in Scandinavia 2006

DVD re-issues
One to get fans buzzing, the long out of print (and never officially released on DVD outside Japan) live recordings of Trial By Fire: Live In Leningrad and Rising Force 85 will be given official worldwide releases soon - more details to follow.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Archive - Katsu Ohta (Ark Storm) profile

Ark Storm are one of neo-classical metals brightest newcomers of the last couple of years. Led by the Japanese virtuoso guitarist Katsu Ohta the band pedal the type of neo-classical metal heard on the early Rising Force records but with enough originiality to make themselves a valid commodity in their own right.

The band's debut No Boundaries was an innocent slice of neo-classical guitar madness, which if a little unoriginal in places had enough energy and sting in Ohta's guitars that any rough edges were soon forgotten. The album featured the vocals of Hirosaki Imanishi who quit shortly after its release due to hearing problems.

Beginning Of The New Legend saw original Saber Tiger singer Yasou Sasai joins the band and his talent paid dividends with much improved English and a more powerful delivery; this in turn saw the band start to hone their own sound and also new members in the guise of ex Concerto Moon drummer Ichiro Nogai whose powerhouse attack helped beef up the rhythm section along with addition of new bassist .

The bands third album 2005's The Everlasting Wheel saw a more streamlined approach in the song writing department with a slightly slower tempo on many of the tunes. Katsu guitar is perhaps even more impressive due to slightly more complex chordal arrangements and his tone is also the best yet making this an overall explosive album.

Katsu and Ark Storm are now starting to build a reputation outside of Japan, despite only having 1album (Beginning Of The New Legend) available outside Japan, the bands albums are available at Guitar 9. Be sure to check out this exciting new act.

Fender Strats - modified with scalloped necks and DiMarzio Virtual Vintage pickups.

Marshall 1987x 50 watt Head - modified
Marshall JMP50 head - modified

DOD 250 Overdrive/Preamp (vintage)
DOD YJM308 Overdrive Preamp
Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor
Dunlop Wah

Neo-Classical Chart September 06

Charts courtesy of www.guitar9.com

#1 Marco Ferrigno / Hanging Gardens
Three years after his last release under the "Ferrigno, Leal, Kuprij" banner Marco is back with more neo-classical firepower and this, his debut solo album is a very intricately detailed release with a lot of fretwork but also a lot of melody. One of the most immediate comparisons to Marco's very fluid style of play is similar to that of George Bellas

#2 German Schauss / The Lightspeeder
Mind-blowingly fast sweeps. Complex, classically influenced progressions. Odd, even and fractional meters. Shredded, corpse-chopping, speed picking. A head-splittingly large number of notes! All this and more can be heard on German Schauss' CD The Lightspeeder, a collection of seven neo-classical progressive instrumentals designed to shock, awe and make you soil your drawers.

#3 Jose Del Rio / Journey Into The Fourth Dimension
Jose Del Rio's all-star neoclassical/progressive shred project is called Journey Into The Fourth Dimension, an incredibly intense shred release featuring guitarist Jose Del Rio and keyboard virtuoso Vitalij Kuprij (Artension). Fans of over-the-top intense shredding need to check out the 300 bpm version of "Flight of the Bumble-Bee".

#4 Hess / Opus 1
The CD features a new breed of high caliber instrumental guitar compositions combining the neo-classical styles of Yngwie Malmsteen and Jason Becker with the progressive rock styles of Dream Theater and George Bellas, along with the emotion of 19th century Romanticism.
[check out our exclusive interview with Tom Hess]

#5 Hess / Opus 2
Opus 2 sees Hess pick up where Opus 1 finished with even more skill.
[check out our exclusive interview with Tom Hess]

#6 Theodore Ziras / Trained To Play
Classic sweep arpeggios, searing extended solo sections, memorable themes, and overall extraordinary playing mark this debut CD, and cement his place in the roster of notable neo-classical shredders.

#7 Francesco Fareri / Forbidden Dimension
Forbidden Dimension is the title of Italian shred guitarist Francesco Fareri's second album, and it includes eight all instrumental tracks in the progressive/shred style. Fareri recruited some great players to contribute to the CD, including Kyle Honea (bass), Jon Doman (drums), Bob Katsionis (keyboard solos) and Vitalij Kuprij (piano, keyboards), and also enlisted the help andexperience of Greg Howe in the recording and engineering of the drum tracks. More shred than neo-classical.

#8 Ark Storm / The Everlasting Wheel
Ark Storm are challenging fellow Japanese neo-classical exponents Concerto Moon for the title of Japan's best metal export. Ark Storm are led by guitar ace Katsu Ohta who is probably Japan's answer to Yngwie Malmsteen and comes with an excellent reputation. If you like quality neo-classical metal then Ark Storm serve it up in abundance.

#9 Michael Romeo / The Dark Chapter
Romeo is an incredibly accomplished player drawing on a neo-classical style reminiscent of Yngwie Malmsteen while retaining his own identifiable signature that sets him apart from other players in this genre. He has received major coverage in many of the guitar magazines around the world and is best known for his role as lead guitarist in Symphony X.

#10 Matt Mills Project / Matt Mills Project
The twelve all instrumental tracks feature a smorgasbord of large, swept arpeggiated sequences, diminished patterns and pedaled passages (ala Malmsteen and Moore) - with Mills' guitaristic prowess comes through strikingly on every track.
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