Monday, November 19, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
Friday, November 09, 2007
So I decided to put together my own band. What I was not interested in was a project, as I had to deal with that issue way too long before. I was then contacted by Carsten, I was checking out his stuff and I totally liked what I heard from his previous works and from then on for me it was clear I wanted to work with him. Furthermore we get along very well and became close friends so we were ready to move on. First we were talking about Carsten to sing on 3 tracks, and we had the idea to work with different singers, but then I realised that this would limit the whole thing to a project and I did not want to be limited to this. Ramy as well as Ferdy who played on the 4 demo Tracks, who I also used for the final record, were recommended by Carsten and I was checking some of their stuff and also liked big time what they were doing, besides this Ramy and Ferdy are easy to get along with, which for me was equally important for all the guys involved in this, it makes everything so much easier, and I also think it shows if you listen to the final product.
The opening track "Angel Of Eden" has a great vibe and sets the tone for the album, how did you go about choosing this track to open the album?
"Dreamchaser" and "Into The Black" are rampant double bass drum assaults, what was your aim with these tracks?
I just wanted to do the music I always wanted to do, and this is straight forward, powerful metal. I always loved songs like 'Let it Ride', 'Into the Blue' and the really melodic songs like 'Into the Eye of the Storm' we did with Artension, I wanted to go somewhat this direction.
"Keys To Avalon" sees the tempo drop back for a melodic treat and it’s a great groove over which Carsten works his magic. What was the inspiration for this track?
"Return Of The Pharaoh pt.I" has a strong Yngwie slant to it, is it safe to say that Yngwie is an influence on you?
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Fuelled by Roger’s virtuoso guitar work, the melodic soaring vocals of Carsten “Lizard” Schulz [Evidence One, ex Domain], keyboard wizardry of Mistheria [solo, Bruce Dickinson], the powerhouse drumming of Rami Ali [Evidence One] and thunderous bottom end of Steve Di Giorgio [ex Testament] along with guest performances from John West [ex Royal Hunt], David Shankle [ex Manowar] and Ferdy Doernberg [Axel Rudi Pell], “The End Of Never” is a first class album from some of metal most respected names offering lush vocal melodies, pulsating rhythms and virtuoso lead breaks within captivating songs.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Palace Terrace was formed when composer/guitarist George Bellas contacted Tenor Vocalist Jonathan R Marshall and invited him to fill the main vocalist spot in the band. The two discussed how they would like to see the band debut as well as evolve into the future. Sharing very similar visions the two began writing their first album "Flying Through Infinity". The search for an extraordinary percussionist was much of a concern for George and was a long but fruitful ambition when he finally discovered the prolific talents of Percussionist Sasha Horn.
George Bellas is one of the world’s leading technically advanced players with a CV that has seem him work with Ring Of Fire, John West, Vitalij Kuprij, Mogg/Way and many more as well as 3 critically acclaimed solos albums to date. George contributes all the compositions, orchestration, guitar, keyboards, bass, percussion, vocals and studio production. He has been playing guitar since the age of 7.
Palace Terrace will publicly debut with their album titled "Flying Through Infinity" during the fourth quarter of 2007 (actual date tbc) through Lion Music. More information on the album to follow soon.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Treasure Land look set to become one of the most exciting neo-classical outfits of 2007 if the 4 tracks currently available on their official website are anything to go by. Entitled “The Search Has Begun”, the 4 tracks see guitarist Jonas Hörnqvist deliver tracks with the same kind of quality as heard on Malmsteen’s “Trilogy” albeit updated for the 21st century. Rest assured guitar heads will get a major kick out of this but luckily the song writing is equally up to scratch. Rick Altzi handles vocals here but the band have recently announced that he has left the band and a replacement is being sought. If the band can get in a high profile name (and the material gives no reason as to why they couldn’t) this could be the shot in the arm the neo-classical genre needs to get it back into the public eye.
Kicking off with the high intensity of “The Cities Are Burning” home to a scolding riff and rampant double bass drum work with an equally strong production the track is infectious and will be a winner in the live environment. The solo is equally stunning with Hörnqvist playing with equal parts speed yet with a keen ear for melody. An arpeggio sequence kicks it off before the fretboard explodes into frenzy – glorious stuff before some trade offs between guitar and keys see Hörnqvist go up another gear before another sweep picked arpeggio section brings us back into the chorus to round out the track. “Let The Curtain Fall” falls into a impressive mid tempo tune with another great riff which breaks down for the verse before picking up again for the chorus, here there is a hint of modern day power metal ala Silent Force or Iron Mask (no bad thing) and its another triumph with another scorching solo from Hörnqvist. “The Price” sees the tempo pick up again for a rocker giving of the same sort of feel as Malmsteen’s ‘Liar’ yet with nothing here remotely smelling of plagiarism. An intricate classical melody sequence again kicks off the solo section before Hörnqvist impresses once again when he cuts loose. The eastern meets Spanish latino tinted acoustic instrumental of “Only For You” adds another spin to the proceedings with some beautiful melodies over film score like orchestral arrangements.
Overall “The Search Has Begun” demonstrates a very high level of songwriting, performance and craft and I cannot wait to hear more. Check out the clips now at http://www.treasureland.nu/
Friday, June 08, 2007
John West (Artension/Solo/ex Royal Hunt)
David Shankle (DSG / ex-Manowar)
Ferdy Doernberg (Uli Roth / Axel Rudi Pell)
Guitars: Roger Staffelbach
Bass: Steve Di Giorgio
Drums: Rami Ali
Saturday, May 19, 2007
The new IMPELLITTERI recording titled "Good and Evil" is proceeding nicely. We are recording at the Village Recorders in Los Angeles. Also, their is a BIG SURPRISE as to who is singing in the band!! Beware!!
We are recording 13 fast riff crazy tunes with all of the Impellitteri signature shredding guitar solos, screaming vocals, pounding drums, brutal bass, with a lot of melody thrown in. And we are actually working with a co-producer, who is giving us some new and welcome input!! SHRED ON!!!
Chris is featured in the June issue ( on news stands now!!) of Guitar One Magazine with Rush on the cover. It is officially the magazines last issue, so thanks Guitar One for including Impellitteri. They have some solo ideas based on the Play With Fire riff, which actually should be based on the Black Impellitteri EP not Stand in Line. The EP has the better version!!
You can check out the solo to Play with Fire on the audio section of this web page. It was one of those crazy solos that started it all. Every shredder seems to have that IMPELLITTERI Black EP which was one of the most enjoyable discs we made because we were so poor and we just played live with virtually all room mics. Crude, rude, and taking it too the limit with everything.
Anyways, the new disc is going to sound huge and it will shock you from start to finish.
We also posted some free songs on the audio section for anyone to ripp. So, please enjoy!!
In addition we posted the bootleg footage of Impellitteri's infamous "Screaming Symphony-Instrumental" and "Space Jazz Bulldozer" live videos for all of you youtube fanatics. The bootlegs where actually recorded by some audience member at a convention we were playing as a favor to JBL It is funny how many people watch that thing, it is becoming a cult classic.
Monday, May 07, 2007
MICHAEL HARRIS - ORCHESTRATE review
Lion Music - Out Now
“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. Fans of Yngwie’s Concerto album and Uli Jon Roth’s works on ‘Transcendental Sky Guitar’ will have some idea of the basis to which Michael has taken his cues from, but to limit this album as a wannabe of the above would be selling it cheaply. ‘Orchestrate’ is simply a work of original beauty with immense guitar work that manages to combine a near perfect marriage of melody and technicality over orchestral backings which are both intelligent in their composition and stunning in their arrangement. Yet the album manages to fuse rock drumming and metal rhythms into the work.
The production of the album is also superb. Michael’s guitar tone is nearer to the Uli Roth school of tone than the Yngwie Strat attack and to some degree this tonality may well have pitched where Michael takes the orchestral backing. Opener ‘Opus Concerto’ is nothing short of breathtaking with in its music, guitar work but also production. ‘String Theory’ sees Michael take his guitar through every conceivable emotion there is the neo-classical genre from deft grace notes to blow your head off fretboard melting. The majestic ‘The Mad Composers Rage’ is a full on classical metal assault. ‘Notes From The Kursk’ has a dark and menacing Russian/Slavik vibe to it. ‘Battle At Storms Edge’ is probably the easiest track for straight metal heads to get into and reminded me a little of James Byrd’s ‘Out Of The Temple’ (from Son Of Man) which his no bad thing at all. The acoustic ‘Guiprice’ is short and concise yet musically beautiful before ‘Mysterioso’ sees the music go more towards traditional neo-classical waters which is further built upon with ‘Octavian II’. ‘The Anti Shred’ sees more restrained music come back to the fray and sees the main melody from ‘String Theory’ rearranged which is a nice turnaround before ‘Schizo Forte’ rips your head off with its cocked wah pedal tone full of counterpoints, impressive drumming from Matt Thompson whose work is equally as impressive throughout as Harris’s guitar. I view this track as Michaels own version of say a Trilogy Suite Op.5 (Yngwie Malmsteen – Trilogy) i.e. strong melodies intertwined with virtuoso guitar and its a great way to the end the album.
Overall Michael Harris has delivered what should be viewed as a classic of the neo-classical (or neo-orchestral) genre. There is plenty here for even the most hardened guitar addict to sink their teeth into yet enough accessibility for the more casual listener to enjoy. Overall a highly recommended release.
Now read our exclusive interview with Michael at:
MASI - ETERNAL STRUGGLE REVIEW
‘Eternal Struggle’ released by Masi (led by guitar whiz Alex Masi) is one neo-classical album all readers of Baroque & Roll owe it to themselves to own. Released back in 2001, ‘Eternal Struggle’ stands up as well now as it did back at the time of its original release. Home to a sound that is commercial yet heavy; its sure to appeal to all fans of the classic Rising Force output.
Alex Masi shows off his guitar wares with equal aplomb whether it be on electric or nylon acoustic with a technique that is full of speedy arpeggios, chromatic and dissonant licks and a wailing vibrato. Simply said if you enjoy energised lead guitar and pounding riffs then ‘Eternal Struggle’ is an essential purchase. Also featured is a cover of the Foreigner classic ‘Blue Morning, Blue Day’ to which Masi adds a tonne of TNT with explosive results. Highlights come in the form of practically every song from the opening gambit onslaught of ‘Crow Haven’s Corner’ and ‘All I Want’ to the more melodic yet dark waters of ‘Wheels Roll On’ and ‘Black Flames Allure’ whilst the more commercial tracks such as ‘Lost In The City’ and ‘On & On’ hark back to the glory days of Yngwie’s ‘Odyssey’. album. The tender ‘Writing On The Wall’ is simpy beautiful showcasing Masi’s acoustic technique with nice orchestration here for added texture not to mention a great vocal from Kyle Michaels.
‘Eternal Struggle’ is one of the best neo-classical albums released so far in the 21st century and whilst Masi seems more content to play in fusion waters this will be an everlasting tribute to his skills as a neo-classical writer and performer.
Sunday, April 29, 2007
George Bellas, Joe Stump and Kiko Loureiro (Angra) will be doing some concerts next month in Buenos Aires, Argentina on May 19th and 20th at the Acatraz Theatre. It will be a G3 type of bill. All three guitarists will also be doing 2 guitar clinics at the MI (Musicians Institute) of Argentina.
For more information visit www.georgebellas.com and for further George Bellas worldwide clinics see next post below.
Masterclass in Spain:
George will be doing several Masterclass' at the ACADEMIA DE GUITARRA located in Malaga, Spain during the month of June 2007.
George Bellas Masterclass
Saturday, June 2, 2007
Sunday, June 3, 2007
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
In other Kelly Simonz news a promo sampler of his new DVD (only available through his official website) can be watched via the following link. This new DVD is approx 65 mins long and captures Kelly's performance at The Flamingo in Austria.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
The first class line-up for the forthcoming release is:
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)
In related news Roger also has signed with Dean Guitars.
The track listing is:
01. HOWL OF THE WOLF
02. LIKE A FREE WIND
04. STAR IN THE DAWN
06. CAT IN A BACKYARD
07. HEART NEVER BENDS
09. CLUSTER OF WONDERS
10. WITHERED GRASSES
11. STAIND LIFE
More information on the release (in Japanese) can be found at:
The album can be ordered from:
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Welcome to 2007! A year where you will see Baroque & Roll get bigger with more frequent updates so be sure to add us to your bookmarks.
To kick of the new year is our first interview of the year, the "as promised" interview with Michael Harris. If you have not yet checked out Michael's stunning new release "Orchestrate" don't hesitate to do so.
Michael, many thanks for agreeing to this interview, May I kick it off by congratulating you on “Orchestrate”, its absolutely fantastic.
When did the initial seed to do an album of neo-orchestral metal come to you?
I guess around 2 years ago I decided to compose a whole neo classical record, as I’ve always loved the genre and have written a lot of that style in the past from record to record. As the record developed, I realized “neo-orchestral” was a more accurate term for what I was doing than “neo-classical”.
How long did that vision take to materialise into the work of art that is ‘Orchestrate’?
I had some material already demo’d, so that helped a bit. Then the bulk of the record was written I guess within about a year. From start to release, it seems I’m usually looking at 2 years or more for my records. That’s what I feel it takes to get it right.
The album reflects the sound that I hear in my head when I think of a guitar with an orchestra in this setting perfectly. How was the music written?
My composing process can get quite ugly. If I get lucky, a song might flow smoothly from one part to another in my mind, but many songs are the result of fitting parts together that have been written at different times. Either way, I start with a theme that I feel is strong enough to work around, and build it from there until oops, I have a song.
I don’t like filler parts, so if I reach an impasse, I’ll move to another song while waiting to find the perfect part for the previous one, so I might actually be working on several at the same time. Then I go back and tweak stuff. That’s where I get into real trouble.
I imagine it was pretty demanding to work through the orchestral scores and then perform these yourself. What you were looking to achieve with the orchestra side of the music?
I love the sound of an orchestra - it seems to give music more “relevance” than a smaller format. There’s just something incredibly intense about it. So I wanted to intensify my music with the orchestra and to also have a lot of sections where the drums stop and the song collapses into an orchestral break (sometimes a chamber, sometimes a full orchestra.) Choirs also pop up from time to time as well. I also love timpani (nearly all the timpani sounds were recorded on my Roland guitar synth.)
How did you go about approaching the orchestration from a mixing viewpoint?
“Orchestrate” is the first record I’ve mixed on my own, and I was fortunate to be able to work in an excellent Pro Tools room at Gary Long’s studio, Nomad, here in Dallas. I recorded the orchestration one sound at a time as opposed to keyboard chords, so that made the mix more challenging, but allowed for more flexibility and authenticity. I had my engineering mentors, Sterling Winfield & JT Longoria both help me set up the mix as well. I’ve learned a ton from those guys in the last 5 years, and a ton about mastering from Gary.
Was the album written with the lead guitar as the dominant factor with the backing worked around those lines?
Yes, most of the time it was. But it definitely worked the opposite way at times as well. I won’t hesitate to compose an idea on keyboard or guitar synth.
The first thing that hit me was that your main focus was on the melody as opposed to ramming as many techniques or scale sequences into each track; is this a fair observation?
Yes, thanks for acknowledging that. That’s exactly my objective on every record. I definitely respect any musician with exceptional technique and strive for that myself, but it’s composition that is the real challenge for me, and that’s also where I have the most fun.
I especially like the way the album tends to bloom and then contract combining certain songs as per a classical movement. Was the running order of the album intentional or it is something that just panned out this way?
I definitely spend some time toiling over the running order of all my albums. I put them in order and listen back, usually going through several attempts before I lock one in. Whether I mean to or not, I always end up with a couple of songs that sound similar on a record, so I have to separate them. Then you can’t put all the softer tunes together, so you have to separate those in a way where the record still flows. I always like my records to have a lot of dynamics.
What classical composers served as inspiration for Orchestrate?
Some of my fave master composers are Bach, Mozart, Vivaldi, Dukas (“The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”), and Beethoven. Although there is a lot of amazing Mozart in major keys, I much prefer music written in minor keys. There’s something about dark, depressing music that makes me very happy:-) Recently, I listened to some 20th century composers, such as Allan Pettersson and Krzysztof Penderecki, as I had read about them being very dark. Their material was unique and intense, mostly in a textural, not melodic sense though. My mother recently gave me some Dvorak, which I liked a lot.
In regards to your guitar work, what was your primary aim for this aspect of the music?
I wanted to play very melodically, have a nice blend of electric, acoustic, and nylon guitars, and definitely lots of metal rhythm guitar. I wanted to have some sections where the orchestra and guitar play parallel lines, and other sections with them working against each other. Chops-wise, I wanted to play a lot of whole notes, haha.
What guitar gear did you use for this album?
The electric guitar was mostly my Hamer Scarab II, also a Brian Moore electric w/synth & piezo pickups, my Hamer Eclipse on one passage in “Octavian II” (because the mini humbuckers have less gain), my Tacoma Chief acoustic, and my Wechter Pathmaker electric nylon string. Amp-wise, I used a Line 6 POD direct and a Mesa Dual Rectifier head mic’d through and Mesa 4x12 cab.
Is the Hamer a custom instrument as I have never seen one like that anywhere!
Yes, that’s why I liked it so much when I first set eyes on it. It is a Scarab II, a model that was only made for a couple years. And it is custom, in the fact of being non tremelo. My 2 Scarabs are the only U.S.A. models to ever be non tremelo, although Hamer has started to make a non tremelo import version of the Scarab. I love what my graphic artist, John Holland (http://www.mistymountaingraphics.com/) did visually on the front cover with the Scarabs. It epitomizes the fusion of classical and metal.
What were you looking for in your guitar tone into how that would balance with the orchestration?
I went with my normal tone and didn’t have to EQ too much in the mix. In fact, I EQ’d my guits at first, but eventually went back and took most of the EQ off. As far as overall balance with the orchestra, it was a matter of tweaking over and over and fortunately having time for perspective in between. Getting a proper balance between any group of instruments is always a challenge, because it’s subjective and everyone in the room has an opinion.
Despite the heavy classical nature of the album there is also a metal element present. What do you feel it is that allows metal and classical music to fuse so well?
Pure classical music can run the gamut of dynamics, and on the heavier side of that, can be incredibly powerful, like metal is. In making “Orchestrate”, I realized just how much a drum kit can add to that power. Timpani is wonderful, but there is nothing in pure classical instrumentation that is as heavy as one single rock drumkit. Matt did a fabulous job showing how metal drumming can exploit that classical power, such as in “Battle At Storm’s Edge”.
Do you find any inspiration for Orchestrate in Yngwie’s or Uli Jon Roth’s classical/guitar albums?
Absolutely, Ulis’ solos (Scorpions; Electric Sun) are the best solos ever, epitomized by “The Sails of Charon” or “Still So Many Lives Away”. Yngwie’s Alcatrazz record and first 2 solo records were my personal faves. Blackmore and Steve Morse are also influences in fusing classical with rock, but my biggest influences in this style are the compositional influences of ELP & Kansas. You may hear that more on future releases (such as my new band, “Thought Chamber”) than you’d hear on “Orchestrate” though. Kansas is my fave U.S. band ever. There’s not even a runner up in my book. I’m not talking “Wayward Son” though, I’m talking deep cuts such as “The Pinnacle”, “Journey From MariaBronn”, “The Wall”, or “Song for America” - chiefly Kerry Livgren compositions, who is my favourite rock composer, and very classically influenced himself. Unlike most composers, I can’t see where Kerrys’ influences came from. Incredibly original. And ELP’s “Karn Evil 9” is among my favourite pieces of music ever!
Anything else you would like to add for the readers?
Thanks to those who give “Orchestrate” (or any progressive record) more than one good listen in order to absorb it properly. I hope fans of the genre will also check out my new band, “Thought Chamber” in 2007, and the new Vitalij Kuprij record, “Glacial Inferno”, which is a freakin’ AMAZING record, very neo classical, and I was honoured to play on it. Also, thanks to those who support their favourite artists by BUYING their music.
Michael many thanks for your time.
I enjoyed it immensely. Somebody please shut me up:-)