Judas Priest To Release “Firepower”


Judas Priest’s upcoming studio album is on fire – quite literally. Entitled Firepower, this record will be the eighteenth added onto the discography of these legends, and every one of its fourteen tracks will be available on the release date of March 9th. Fans don’t have to wait quite that long to get a taste of the epic new record on Epic Records, as the first single and accompanying music video has just been unleashed today. Check out “Lightning Strike”, courtesy of the Official Judas Priest VEVO Channel on YouTube below. The full album and Pledge Music pre-orders for Firepower also began today: https://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/judas-priest.

Judas Priest will head out on the first leg of the Firepower tour starting on March 13 in PA, and running through the rest of the spring and summer, with more dates continually being added. For more info and to keep up on all the latest with Firepower, visit: http://judaspriest.com

Meshuggah to Kick Off North American Tour


Meshuggah are on their way to a North American tour to kick off the New Year. Starting off in Vancouver on January 23rd, the six-show run leads these Swedish Extreme Metallers onto the 70,000 Tons of Metal Cruise in early February. Joining them along this trek – before they hit the boat, that is – will be Code Orange and Toothgrinder. Meshuggah recently received their first Grammy® nomination for “Best Metal Performance” in light of The Violent Sleep of Reason, the band’s most recent studio album which also happens to be the one they’re touring in support of. For further details on the tour dates and more, visit: the Official Meshuggah Facebook page

Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons “Welcome” You “To Hell” In Second Single

Photo by Dan Sturgess

Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons, a band aptly named after the former Motörhead guitarist and his three sons (plus vocalist Neil Starr), are set to release their debut full-length album, The Age of Absurdity on Nuclear Blast later this month. Not too long ago, the first single “Ringleader” was revealed via lyric video, and now it’s time for the second single, in the form of “Welcome to Hell”, available via the Nuclear Blast Records YouTube Channel here. YouTube Space London marks the spot for an intimate release day performance, also to be streamed live on this same YouTube Channel – you can find more info on that event (including an opportunity to be in the audience), the record, and a full listing of upcoming tour dates, via: https://www.facebook.com/PhilCampbellATBS/

Metal United World Wide Sets International Metal Event for 2018


“A night of united Metal” – that’s what a recently launched project known as Metal United World Wide has its sights set on for 2018. Drawing from the roots of MUDU (Metal United Down Under), an Australian project that, since 2014, has coordinated an annual day of nationwide Metal shows all performed on the same night under the same banner, Metal United World Wide (MUWW) is taking the concept and turning it into an intercontinental experience planned for this year. May 5th, 2018 marks the date, and though each of the shows are individually organized, the sense of unity within the worldwide Metal community will come from each concert across the world taking place on the same date at the same time, all under the “Metal United World Wide” banner. 

Any and all members of the worldwide Metal community are invited to take part in this event in their own way – from the organizers who book the shows, to the bands who perform; from members of the media who provide coverage, to all the metalheads who support from the audiences. MUWW’s current supporting partners include Wacken Open Air, Metal-Roos, Dragon Productions, and Naticus Music. Not only are new media, PR, label and other such partners joining in regularly, but more and more countries are consistently added to the list of those participating, all steadily building up to a grand-scale widespread global experience. 

The Metal United World Wide Project relies on community support rather than participation fees, and if you want to get on board, all you need to do is ask. Head to www.metalunitedworld-wide.com for more information and details on how you can get involved in this opportunity for global Metal outreach. You can also reach out to the project organizers via email: events@metal-roos.com.au. 

MUWW says: “Whatever you do, mark your diaries and be part of something special on 5 May 2018! \m/”

Official Website
Official Facebook Page


Feature: Kirk Hammett’s “It’s Alive!” Exhibition at the Peabody Essex Museum


It’s a well-known fact that legendary Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett is an avid collector of horror and sci-fi art and memorabilia, but it’s quite another thing to gaze at the incredible spectacles inhabiting his collection in person. Part of the proof currently lives in the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, and has had a pleasant stay there since the opening on August 12 of It’s Alive! Classic Horror and Sci-Fi Art from the Kirk Hammett Collection. Once I found out that on November 5th, Kirk Hammett would be visiting the exhibition personally for a catalog signing event, I made my way to the renowned Peabody Essex Museum to speak with him about his vast collection, and to embark on a personal tour and take it all in myself.

As a longtime classic horror and sci-fi enthusiast, this style of exhibition truly was right up my alley. Partially with the critical eye of a photojournalist, and partially with the fascinated eye of a fan, I walked through the gallery in awe. Being the aforementioned horror/sci-fi fan that I am, it was not my first time seeing the poster art for some of my favorite classic films – but it certainly was the first time seeing the originals in person, and in a whole new light. While classic movie posters may have simply been treated as disposable promotional materials at the time, they hold a distinctive place in art and film history, and stand to be regarded as noteworthy works today. That seems to be precisely the goal in having movie posters on display in a museum – for the public to regard them as the true works of art that they are. Roaming the exhibition is like taking a stroll through time, as posters spanning the 1920’s through the 1970’s display both an evolution of art style, and signs of the times. Much of the artwork has even made it onto Kirk Hammett’s very own custom guitars, which are not just for the sake of visuals, as they have been put to good use in concert as well. Projected on portions of the gallery walls are the menacing glares of Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff (as both Frankenstein and The Mummy), awaiting you around practically every corner. Even if you manage to make it past them, you still won’t escape without being greeted by a life-size Triffid, and perhaps even King Kong. 

The primary focus of the exhibition is, of course, the movie posters – many of which are exceptionally unique, some thought to be entirely lost for years until Hammett managed to acquire them as part of his personal collection. But there are many other highlights of the collection on display, including original props from well-loved films, costumes worn by iconic film actors such as Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff themselves, and an intriguing array of 1960’s and 70’s toys featuring the classic Universal monsters. Adorning the walls side by side with the posters were stunning oil and acrylic artworks I simply couldn’t stop staring at, as they show how the incredible wide world of horror art comes in many forms. 

That day, I walked through the exhibition several times in a row and still wanted more, still felt like there was some ground I had yet to cover (another post-interview walk-through helped to satisfy that). By the time I reached the site where preparations were taking place for Kirk Hammett’s signing event, in anticipation of our interview, countless thoughts and questions spun through my mind like the wrapping up of a Mummy – but, for time’s sake, it was best to keep things brief. Nonetheless, it was a great conversation, and I feel I learned a great deal more about Kirk and his collection while we spoke. You can listen to the full interview via the Official Metal Magnitude YouTube Channel

It’s Alive! stands as a culmination of history, art, music, pop culture, and cinema, all rolled up into one vast wonderland that cannot be missed. November 26th marks the date that It’s Alive! will make its way out of the Peabody Essex Museum, so you still have time if you’re in the New England area this month. But, as Kirk stated in our interview, “the idea is to bring this collection all over the world”, so wherever you are, the opportunity to see it will likely come your way at some point in the future. 

Photo Credit: R. Kikuo Johnson

For more on the exhibition and the Peabody Essex Museum, visit https://www.pem.org. To keep up with the latest on Kirk Hammett, head to https://www.facebook.com/kirkHammett/, https://twitter.com/KirkHammett, or https://www.instagram.com/kirkhammett/.

Interview: Kirk Hammett of Metallica

Photo Credit: Peabody Essex Museum

November 5th, 2017, Metallica’s Kirk Hammett visited the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA – the site of his exhibition, “It’s Alive! Classic Horror and Sci-Fi Art from the Kirk Hammett Collection” – for a book signing. Amidst all the busy preparations for the event, Kirk Hammett sat down with Metal Magnitude to offer some insight into his ever-growing collection, and of course, some outlook on the Metallica front.

Check out the interview on YouTube right here: https://youtu.be/MEjGPWbFFoM.

Metal Magnitude:





Kirk Hammett:





Special thanks to the Peabody Essex Museum Staff for making this possible:






Photos marked ©Metal Magnitude were taken in person at the exhibition. All other publicity and press photos provided by the Peabody Essex Museum – please see the following photo credits and copyright acknowledgments: 

Rock On, 2017. R. Kikuo Johnson. www.rkikuojohnson.com

Nosferatu, about 1931, produced by Prada Film, Germany, printed in Spain, lithograph, 42 1/4 x 29 1/8 in. (107.3 x 74 cm). Courtesy of the Kirk Hammett Horror and Sci-Fi Memorabilia Collection.

Frankenstein, 1931, produced by Universal Pictures, United States, printed by Morgan Lithograph Company, lithograph, 78.5 x 41 in. (199.4 x 104.1 cm). Courtesy of the Kirk Hammett Horror and Sci-Fi Memorabilia Collection and Universal Pictures Licensing, LLC. Photo by Heritage Auctions, HA.com.

Reynold Brown, Creature from the Black Lagoon, 1954, produced by Universal Pictures, offset lithograph, 79 7/8 x 40 1/2 in. (202.9 x 102.9 cm). Courtesy of the Kirk Hammett Horror and Sci-Fi Memorabilia Collection and Universal Studios Licensing, LLC. 

Kirk Hammett at the Peabody Essex Museum. ©2016 Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Allison White. 

Album Review: Jim Crean – Insatiable


Not too long ago, I reviewed a Northeastern stop of the Appice Drum Wars series of shows, one which took place to promote the recent release from the Appice Brothers, Sinister. In light of this new album being the first officially recorded collaboration between Vinny and Carmine, much of the attention was on these drummer brothers. But now, it’s time to focus entirely on the singer whose powerful vocals fronted that very Drum Wars show, not to mention his role as a featured vocalist on Sinister following a long history with the Appices, plus his own far-reaching solo career – Jim Crean. In concert, Crean handled Dio and Sabbath material alike with ease, and he manages to carry over that strong stage presence into the recording studio, as shown through his fourth solo full-length, Insatiable. Released on Rocker Records, a label founded by Carmine Appice, the 2016 record was produced by Jim Crean himself alongside Steve Major, whose guitar and bass skills are featured on just about every track. 

A brief intro from one of metal’s favorite comedians, Don Jamieson, gets listeners “ready to rock” just before Insatiable starts off strong with its title track, a Jim Crean original featuring Great White’s Robby Lochner with an excellent classic hard rock sound that sets the tone for the whole record. I made mention earlier of Jim Crean’s excellent live Dio performance, and that too shows up in record form, with a cover off Holy Diver making an appearance early on. In fact, this album is overall a cross between covers and originals, as Crean is joined by quite a few special guests, renowned names in the rock and metal worlds, most of whom perform on tracks that were originally their own. There’s no shortage of the name Appice on the record either, with Vinny on drums for the majority of the record, and Carmine joining in for one song as well. 

“Caught In The Middle” sees Steve Major stepping back from the bass to make way for this Dio song’s original player – the now-late Jimmy Bain (R.I.P.). Frank DiMino (Angel) steps in as an additional vocalist, and of course, this song is nothing new to Vinny Appice, who also played on the original recording. “Touch” is the next instance of a Jim Crean original, and it continues what “Insatiable” started, with the addition of synths to amplify the 80’s-reminiscent touch…no pun intended. “Turn It Around” seems to keep with the theme by upholding that effective sound, but “Follow Your Heart” shows a much heavier energy with the addition of former Dio/current Bang Tango guitarist Rowan Robertson, alongside soaring high notes that lead it more toward the old-school metal genre, while “Shut Your Mouth” has a contrasting modern rock feel. If “Miss Me” were a radio single, it’d likely be labeled as a power ballad, with its poignant midtempo melodic ways – and this time, Colleen Mastrocovo (Hair Nation) steps up behind the kit. 

The covers side of Insatiable certainly doesn’t end with a single Dio song. Crean put his personal spin on “Over The Edge” while still including the track’s original singer, L.A. Guns’ very own Phil Lewis, who has a more subtle presence in this version, featured only in the background vocals, but impactful nonetheless. “Can’t Find My Way”, the collaboration between Jim Crean and Mike Tramp (ex-White Lion, Freak of Nature) that follows does divide the main role a little more than the previous cover, as the two skillfully share the lead vocals of this Freak of Nature track, taking turns with each verse. Carmine Appice makes an audible appearance for the ballad, as does his former Blue Murder bandmate, Tony Franklin. “The Whole World Is Gonna Know” takes a 1993 Mr. Big track and stays true to the original right down to the background harmonies, provided in this version by Phil Naro. Last but not least, Jim Crean looks to some late 70’s Kiss, placing the Paul Stanley-penned “Magic Touch” in the closing slot of the album while shedding any dance-oriented elements of the original, making for a straightforward rock track. 

A proper nod to classics, a streak of originality, and an array of special guests all combine to form Jim Crean’s Insatiable. This is a great record from a talented musician who shows his versatility as both a singer and songwriter, paying well-executed tributes while maintaining individuality – well worth the listen.

Rating: 5/5

Keep up with the latest on Jim Crean in his current band Hair Nation, plus any upcoming activity with the Appices via: http://www.jimcrean.net and https://www.facebook.com/Jim.Crean.9/

Concert Review: Tom Keifer at Tupelo Music Hall


When you hear the band name Cinderella, what comes to mind? Perhaps you’d say the 1986 debut Night Songs, chock-full of hard rock hits and quite a few of their most well-known tracks, or you might reference the blues-tinged sequel Long Cold Winter, and its follow-up Heartbreak Station. If you kept on listing albums, you would’ve hit it eventually, but Still Climbing most likely wasn’t your first choice of an answer. The fact that this album and its title track tends to get a little lost in the shuffle (and I don’t mean the “Bad Attitude Shuffle”) is precisely what makes it a memorable and impactful opening to a present-day Tom Keifer show. That’s exactly what the audience at the Tupelo Music Hall in Derry, New Hampshire was met with on October 12th, as the Tom Keifer Band arrived fresh off the tour bus from their date the night before in NYC. Such an arrival always brings along an explosion of energy, but the choice of opening track certainly got a little extra buzz going across the crowd. If some tracks off of Still Climbing are making a comeback, personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing “Talk Is Cheap” making its way into a setlist at some point as well, but for now, the record’s title track is holding its own alongside other Cinderella tracks and Tom Keifer solo material very nicely. 

Going by the touring moniker “Cinderella’s Tom Keifer”, this iconic rocker is unquestionably a full-force solo artist at this point, but the band who takes the stage by his side every night is not one that simply supports or accompanies. This group is all in it together, and their choice to include the classic “With a Little Help from My Friends” in every show and on the latest Deluxe Edition of The Way Life Goes is no mistake. Holding a place in the Tom Keifer Band family are dynamic guitarist Tony Higbee, who not only demonstrates remarkable time management by currently lending his skills to three different bands (The East Side Gamblers and the Damon Johnson Band being the other two), but is clearly not afraid to strike a pose now and then (as pictured above), and Billy Mercer, who’s not only adept and engaging on the bass, but has been known to perform some musical multi-tasking with a harmonica at times. Jarred Pope on drums and Kory Myers on keys are slightly more recent additions to the Tom Keifer touring band as of this year, but they’ve each taken their places to show their talents and have comfortably settled right in. All these instrumentalists chime in on vocals most of the time, but holding the full-time role of backup vocalists (and the wielders of assorted percussion) are The Way Life Goes co-writer/co-producer who just happens to share a surname with Tom – of course, that part might have something to do with the fact that she is his wife – the lovely and talented Savannah Keifer, as well as the accomplished, versatile, and equally lovely singer/songwriter Kendra Chantelle. 

It’s hard to say just which Cinderella track got the crowd more excited during this concert – “Somebody Save Me”, “Shake Me”, and the show closing “Gypsy Road” all stand tall in the running as contenders, but “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)” leaves quite an impression while taking a break from the hard-hitting rocking tunes for a moving duet between Tom and Savannah. Musical synchronicity and teamwork play a part in the band sustaining a mid-song break just long enough for Tom to make the well-executed switch from pianist to guitarist in time for the familiar solo. Keeping in line with the rock ballad mood, the next song to follow was the ever-popular “Nobody’s Fool”; the only thing missing from the contemporary take on this track might have been Lzzy Hale – but naturally, you can hear that version on the new record. 

If we’re talking Tom Keifer’s solo work, I’d say the fans (myself included) just couldn’t get enough of “It’s Not Enough”, a hard and heavy rocker with a perfectly catchy riff and a hook that sticks with you for days. This one definitely seems to be a favorite for many among the more recent material, but it’s pretty close in comparison with “The Way Life Goes” and “Solid Ground”, both of which made it into the set as well. The bluesy bounce in The Way Life Goes’ title track was a stark contrast against the gentler acoustic “Heartbreak Station” that followed, but “Solid Ground” brings with it enough of a classic hard rock vibe to make for a smooth transition into “Night Songs”. “Coming Home” and “Shelter Me” are a few more favorites that certainly can’t be left out of the setlist, and the two rounded out the show to seemingly bring it to a close. Before long, the band came back out ready to deliver a dose of the Stones with “Tumbling Dice”, and as mentioned earlier, the show would not be complete without…you guessed it – “With a Little Help from My Friends”. 

Most any renowned musician who branches off into something a little different is endlessly questioned about when they’ll return to where they were before – that being said, I’ll ask that you hold your comments about a Cinderella reunion for the time being. As a frontman, Tom Keifer sets the bar high then knocks that bar clear out of the way to rise even higher, seizing the stage and captivating any crowd with an unstoppable energy he delivers no matter what. There’s also an undefinable “something” about Tom alongside his current band that just clicks. It doesn’t even need to be defined – it shows, and speaks for itself. It’ll be a long time before “The Last Mile” of this touring run is reached – especially in light of the album release, the Tom Keifer band is going strong and pulls out all the stops at every stop along the way. If they haven’t hit your town recently, they’re likely to do so in the near future – and you’ve got quite the fun night ahead of you when you decide to catch one (or more!) of these shows.

Tom Keifer Gallery:

[All concert photos ©Metal Magnitude 2017. Please do not copy or use without permission.]

Keep up with the latest on Tom Keifer at: http://www.tomkeifer.com or via the official Facebook and Twitter

Operation: Mindcrime To Complete Concept Trilogy with New Album


One by one and once a year since 2015, Operation: Mindcrime has been releasing each chapter of a premeditated musical trilogy through a series of concept albums. The Geoff Tate-fronted band began with The Key, Operation: Mindcrime’s debut that formed the foundation on Frontiers Music Srl and paved the way for a part two in Resurrection. This 2016 follow-up led to a music video featuring Blaze Bayley and Tim “Ripper” Owens alongside the former Queensrÿche frontman for the track “Taking On The World”, as well as a spin-off tour highlighting the collaboration known as Trinity. Now, it’s time for the third and final part to complete the trilogy, and the upcoming record The New Reality will be out via Frontiers on December 1st. The New Reality will feature many returning musicians who have formed the basis for the Operation: Mindcrime band across all three albums – alongside Geoff Tate, the lineup consists of: Kelly Gray, John Moyer, Simon Wright, Scott Mercado, Scott Moughton, Brian Tichy, and Mike Ferguson. Cover art for the 12-track The New Reality album has already been revealed, and can be seen below:

The New Reality is available for pre-order in CD and Vinyl form via the Frontiers Music Shop. Further details on the new release from Operation: Mindcrime are still on the way and you can keep an eye out for more info via: https://www.facebook.com/operationmindcrimeband/.

Concert Review: Appice at Tupelo Music Hall


Perhaps you’re a fan of Vanilla Fudge, or caught Carmine Appice during his time with Rod Stewart, Ozzy Osbourne, or Cactus. Maybe you were in a crowd somewhere along the “Sacred Heart” tour and saw Vinny Appice behind the kit with Ronnie James Dio, and were always a fan of Black Sabbath’s “Dio Years” – or you might be a more recent Kill Devil Hill fan, or possibly have spotted a Last In Line show last year. It could be some, all, or none of the above, but in any case, it’d be pretty difficult to call yourself a Rock or Metal fan and have escaped the works of these powerful percussion legends. Leading two separate illustrious careers, but connected through their shared instrument of choice, not to mention last name (though there’s something of a divide on the pronunciation), the Appices have come together at last for a collaboration in the form of a record – Sinister. All this said, it’s only natural that a show like “Drum Wars” should serve as a showcase of sorts, covering several eras of the Appice Brothers’ musical careers, including their most recent chapter in Sinister.

Derry, New Hampshire’s Tupelo Music Hall served as the site of the very first show to premiere new music off Sinister live on September 23rd, 2017. The Appices were joined by a solid group of musicians, featuring Jim Crean on vocals – Jim has been belting out tunes through his formidable voice with the Appice Brothers in their long-running “Drum Wars” shows for some time, and he’s also a solo artist who’s collaborated with many other fellow rockers. Rounding out the band was the thoroughly talented Artie Dillon on guitar, who’s no stranger to the Appice Brothers band himself, and neither is Jimmy Caputo, whose unbeatable bass skills have been a part of the recently-reformed Cactus with Carmine as well. Also featured was a guest appearance from Colleen Mastrocovo, an NFL cheerleader-turned-drummer in her own right who shares a stage with Jim in the NY-based band known as Hair Nation. 

Just before the show began, I was able to have a word with Carmine to ask about the new record and some goings-on surrounding the upcoming video shoot, plus the history of these “Drum Wars” concerts – you can check out that interview right here. Before long, the band was ready to go, and the first sound heard as the lights came up was a familiar one, the iconic Black Sabbath track, “The Mob Rules”. A perfect opening to the show to introduce the talents of the full band, before the tone changed over and Vinny and Carmine began to take part in what could essentially be called a duel, taking turns soloing in their own personal style while challenging the other to bring it up a notch each time in these more-than-just-figurative “Drum Wars”. An entertaining and impressive display of skill indeed. Right when it seemed the wars had come to a brief moment of respite, the remainder of the band made a strong return to the stage, ready to crank out more some well-loved Dio hits and get the crowd involved with singing along to “We Rock” and “Holy Diver” – naturally, I participated subtly from behind my camera…bit tricky to keep a steady lens at the same time, but worth it.

Finally, it came time to debut some new music, and what better place to start than the title track? “Sinister” shows a perfect example of heavy meeting progressive and blending together with the greatest of ease. If this song is taken to set the tone for the record, no doubt there’s great things in store. Later on, we were given the impactful live debut of “Monsters and Heroes”, the track dedicated to and written for and about the late great (New Hampshire-born) Ronnie James Dio, with perfectly crafted lyrics. It’s a track Dio himself would likely have been very proud of – melodic, anthemic, and wonderfully executed, with a chorus that doesn’t quit and sticks with you long after the song has ended. In between the new tracks, the band delved further into Carmine’s career by putting a slightly surprising choice onto the setlist, given its pace up to that point – Rod Stewart’s “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy”, co-written by this Appice brother himself – but it fit right in with a heavier spin, following a nod in Ozzy’s direction in “Bark At The Moon”. 

About halfway through, Carmine stepped forward to chat with the audience for a few, deciding to delve into the story of why the three Appice brothers pronounce their name differently – but, this question still remains unanswered as Vinny made for a comedic moment by playing with all his might and drowning out the story. Looks like we’ll all just have to go with Carmine’s idea of saying “A-P-P-I-C-E”. A few more musical antics took place with a bit of an off-the-cuff improv session. Carmine stepped forward once again, this time beating a snare drum he wore on his chest, while Colleen steadily chimed in on her makeshift instrument – a trash can that had been visible on stage for most of the show – with Vinny jumping in from time to time behind his kit. Once this improvisatory section was through, Carmine went to take the extra “drum” off stage, but not before Vinny had a shot at it (pictured below). 

The vibe throughout the audience was unquestionably one of excitement throughout, with everyone getting a kick out of the gags, solos, and duels, enjoying the revamps of classic tracks they know and love while delighting in hearing something brand-new. For the last quarter of the show, the set was led by more Ozzy, then another touch of Dio (“Crazy Train”, “Stand Up and Shout”), all leading up to the grand finale known as “Sabbath Mash”, where pieces of songs like “Paranoid”, “Iron Man”, “War Pigs”, and more were all joined together to make one grand scale medley of Black Sabbath to close out an incredible concert.

October 27th marks the release date for Appice’s Sinister, which is not too far in the future at this point – if you weren’t able to catch either the East Coast or West Coast one-off dates for the live show, you can still hear the recent premiere of “Monsters and Heroes” in lyric video form via http://eddietrunk.com/appice-brothers/. Carmine and Vinny also recently gathered with many of their Appice band members to put together a music video for this same Dio-dedicated track, which should make an official appearance any day now leading up to the release.

All in all, the idea to incorporate Sinister into the established “Drum Wars” show was a brilliant one, and I look forward to seeing what else the near future holds in light of the album’s release. During our interview, Carmine mentioned plans for future touring in support of Sinister, covering Europe and the US – my advice is, when the opportunity comes along to catch this show in your corner of the world, don’t miss it at any cost. Visit http://www.appicebrothers.com/ for more.

Photo Gallery:

Interview: Carmine Appice


On September 23rd, Appice, the project consisting of iconic drummers and brothers Carmine and Vinny Appice releasing their new collaborative album Sinister later this month, hit Tupelo Music Hall in Derry, New Hampshire. Just before the start of the show, the legendary Carmine Appice was kind enough to sit down with me for a great interview, where he gave an in-depth explanation of the record’s connection to late great Ronnie James Dio, plus an inside look into the Vegas video shoot for the track “Monsters and Heroes”. We also chatted about the Hall of Heavy Metal History, and the history of “Drum Wars”. 

Thank you for sitting down with me for a quick interview. So we’re here tonight at the Tupelo Music Hall for what is being called “Drum Wars”, and the name of the band has been a debate, of course, whether it’s “uh-PIECE” or “APP-ih-see”, depending on who you talk to…

I went on The Beatles Channel the other day at Sirius Radio and we said, “Let’s just call it ‘A-P-P-I-C-E”, you know? Then you can say it however you want. And we wanted to call it “Appice Brothers”, but the label wanted to do just Appice, I said, “All right, that’s…okay”, but live we’re trying to do it as “Appice Drum Wars”. We did have a following with this “Drum Wars”, we’ve been doing it for a few years now. It’s a lot of fun. Today, we’re putting in like four songs from the new album, and we brought in some production, some lights, just some different stuff. We thought it’s time to upgrade it a little bit, you know? 

That’s great, and last night, I heard you had something in New York, was it an album release party of sorts for Sinister?

Well, we were going to, but…they had a problem, they didn’t do any advertising. They said, “Oh, well, it’s a Jewish holiday, and it’s a 10 o’clock show, and you know, maybe we should postpone it to a better weekend.” I said, “That’s a good idea”. So we used the time to rehearse instead. So we’re playing this show here now, then we’re going to Vegas and play, then we’re doing the video for the album. 

Yes, I wanted to ask you about that! I heard about the video.

That’ll really be cool, and that’s going to be good because we’re playing at Vamp’d, which is a rock club in Vegas which we play once a year, and this time we’re going to do the show, and we’ve got…Chas West is going to sing with us, and we have the two Akai Sisters who are going to play bass and guitar, they’re on the album, and they’re really awesome – and then Paul Shortino’s going to join us after the Rock Vault, as well as Robin McAuley. And Jim, our singer now, is going to fly out as well, so he’s going to come on and do a couple of songs and then we’re going to shoot the video a little bit there as well, with the full band. Then three days later, me and Vinny are going to go into the Hard Rock, Vinyl…

Oh, love that place.

We’re going to take over the Rock Vault stage with all their screens and the lights and everything, and we’re going to do the video there with me and Vinny and Paul Shortino. And then we also have people like Tony Franklin, Jorgen from Gov’t Mule, Bumblefoot, Craig Goldy, and all these other guys sending in videos playing the song “Monsters and Heroes”. This song is about Ronnie James Dio. The lyrics are like, “Sing a song, singer, you’re the man who rocked the world with the songs that we all loved…brought our spirits higher”, you know…The chorus goes “Monsters and Heroes, dragons and rainbows in the dark, Monsters and Heroes, search for the Sacred Heart”. 

Aww, that’s fantastic…

So the whole song’s about Ronnie. The album is dedicated to Ronnie and our friend Elliott, who played bass with Michael Schenker, and Vinny, and Cactus, and Uli Jon Roth, he passed away too this year. And he owned Dean Guitars and ddrum, and we both play ddrum, he was a good friend of ours, so we dedicated the album to him and Ronnie. And on the album cover, the only lyrics on the cover is “Monsters and Heroes”, and there’s pictures with me and Ronnie and Vinny with Ronnie, and Wendy gave us permission to use pictures of Ronnie in the video as well. So, first the lyric video’s going to come out, it says on there that the song is about Ronnie, dedicated to Ronnie, and when you see all the lyrics, it’s awesome, really really cool. And it’s the King Kobra guys who are playing on that track with Vinny and me. So it’s a unique track, we really love the song. You know, we were real close with Ronnie, Paul Shortino was managed by Ronnie in the old days, so it really ties in. Paul…wrote the lyrics, me and him wrote the chorus. So, the video’s awesome, and we’re going to do it over those two nights, and then add everybody’s video stuff, footage, and it’s going to be a lot of fun. 

Excellent, that does sound like a lot of fun. I saw that there was a long list of special guests for the lineup, so I had been wondering how that would work in the music video context, having so many people involved. 

Well, luckily we’re doing it in Vegas, and there’s a lot of people in Vegas, you know? I think Carrot Top’s going to be in it, and then some other people that live there. But the fact that McAuley and Paul Shortino are in that show, they’re going to both come down, and we’re going to have Chas, and Jimmy as well, so when Paul’s singing lead to that in the video, we can have like, Robin and everybody else, you know, make believe they’re singing the background like they do in these videos. You know, so it’s going to be a lot of fun. 

And that song is going to be premiered over in Vamp’d Vegas, or are you doing it tonight by any chance?

That’ll be premiered around the time, I think, when the record comes out? But the lyric video is coming out first, and I’ve heard talk about Eddie Trunk premiering it on his social media and his website. We’ll see, you know. 

So, just the concept of Drum Wars as a whole, I know you’ve been doing it for a while, but could you tell me about how it came about?

Well, it started in 1988 when me and Vinny did a clinic tour together, we had so much fun, cracking jokes on stage, you know, we used to have three, four, five hundred people at a clinic, and we had fun. So then we had a DVD called “Drum Wars”, which was really a spoof on the wrestlers, it was like we had a newscaster who’d go, “Drum Wars, tonight at 11”. And then we went out and promoted that in a few events, and we always said “Yeah, we’ve got to put a show together with this”, and then finally, after Ronnie passed away and he finished doing Heaven and Hell, I had some time, he had some time, so we said “Let’s try and do some Drum Wars”. So we did an experiment in a club in L.A., see how it went, and it was packed and we had a good time. And then we did an experiment and we did a Drum War concept in a clinic thing in a store, and that went well. So then we started doing a little here, a little there, and then in 2012, we did a tour of Europe, twenty shows, and that really put the show more together. That’s when we realized we had to put more songs in it, make it more like a show – a rock show playing our hits and playing our history. So we put all that together and we’d been doing it like that on and off, you know, when he’s off and I’m off, we get an agent to put some shows together and we play. So our total in the last few years, we did about 70 or 80 shows and we have a bit of a little following about it, and this place – Tupelo Music Hall, we came here two years ago, I think, in the old one, and it sold out and it was great, you know, so…So we wanted to do something just to introduce the album on the East Coast and the West Coast, no big deal, one each, you know. And so that’s why we’re doing these, just to have some fun and try the new songs out. And then later on, we’re going to do more US dates, we’re doing January and May European tours. So now we’re trying to figure out the scheduling between Vinny’s stuff and my stuff, that we can put it in to do an American tour to support the record. 

That’s great, yes, this has kind of just the slight touch of an American tour with two dates.

A year and a half ago we took on this manager, and he’s the one that suggested we should do a PledgeMusic campaign…”And then we can do a record, and then we could get a record deal”…so, we did all that and we got this far, we got a record deal and we did a music campaign, and it came out really good. The album cover’s awesome, with half a face.

I saw that, with the two of your faces together, that’s really cool. 

Yeah, and with the stitches, we got a laboratory vibe in it, like a Frankenstein thing, and we called it Sinister, it’s perfect. So far, so good, now we’re in the promotion stages of the record, getting it set up, as they say. 

Right, and it’s coming out at the end of next month. 

Yeah, the end of October, the 27th, exactly. And we have our PR person, Jon, he’s been working it and we have a radio promotion company, and a digital promotional company. So they’re all going to be working together and pushing this thing, so by the time the record comes out, with the lyric video and the regular video, people will know about this “Monsters and Heroes” thing, and fortunately, they’re doing the hologram Dio tour as well. So that’s all almost at the same time, so there’s going to be a good tribute to Ronnie, and it’s a lot of fun. 


Definitely. And it’s appropriate to be talking about him here, because he was from Portsmouth, New Hampshire originally.

He’s from here? I didn’t know that, he was born there?

Yes! Portsmouth, the eastern Seacoast, that’s where he’s from. 

And then he moved to upstate New York.

Right, so he’s known mostly as a New Yorker, but originally born in Portsmouth. 

Ah, I didn’t know that. New Hampshire boy, wow. 

Yeah. So just one more thing I want to get your thoughts on quickly, I know you have to go on stage soon, but…the Hall of Heavy Metal History, I actually covered that event in January of this year, and I know you and Vinny had a presence there…

Oh yeah, Vinny got in last year, I’m getting in next year. Yeah, Vinny’s going to actually bring me in. But we were in the audience, and we had fun. My older brother was there too so it was, “Not uh-PIECE, not APP-ih-see, it’s ah-PEACH-ee”. It was pretty funny. That was good, it was done very well, I thought. Last year, they said, we’ve got to bring you in next year, I said, “Great, love to do it”. It’s all good. 

That should be another great event, to see how it develops further, being it was something new for this year. 

Yeah, it’ll be fun…Okay! I’m going to get dressed – good to see you! 

Okay, thank you for your time!

A special thank you to Carmine for the interview. Metal Magnitude’s full concert review of the Appice show at Tupelo Music Hall will be up very soon, so keep an eye out. For more, check out http://www.carmineappice.net and http://www.appicebrothers.com.

Concert Review: Warrant at Tupelo Music Hall (With Red Sky Mary)


“Louder, Harder, Faster!” The chant which united the voices of a packed house with the strong pipes of Robert Mason when Warrant rocked Tupelo Music Hall last weekend. Through a rock and roll call and response of sorts, the audience was thrilled to join in as the Down Boys played their new track on this Northeastern stop along the Louder Harder Faster Tour 2017. September 17th marked the date for Warrant’s second New Hampshire stop of the year, but it wasn’t only new songs that made it onto the setlist that night in Derry – just about all the tracks you’d expect to hear off the classic albums that made the band an MTV hit made an appearance as well.


Before Warrant took to the stage, the spotlight was on a band that’s been called “The Rock ’N’ Roll Machine”, Red Sky Mary. This group of New Hampshire locals consists of Sam Vlasich (vocals), Tom Boisse (guitar), Gary Boisse (bass), and Barrett Goeman (drums). Song after song, Red Sky Mary delivered an endless energy, making their appreciation of classic Rock and Roll clear as day while applying their own spins, twists, and influences. A varied setlist filled their 40-minute opening slot, covering a solid amount of their discography. The track “Scorpio”, off the 2012 record Red Witch, is one that particularly stood out in the show. A personal favorite of mine, the song seems to stand as the perfect blend of different eras, representing 1970’s-style heavy rock with just the slightest Black Crowes-esque vocal touch and a solid guitar solo worthy of a renowned classic hard rock song, all while remaining an excellent example of modern-day original Rock and Roll. It’s been just over a week since this show and “Scorpio” is still stuck in my head. In truth, the same could be said of the rest of Red Sky Mary’s material, as it’s evident the quartet knows how to successfully blend decades of bluesy rock into their own catchy riffs and choruses – and speaking of catchy, “All Hell’s Breakin’ Loose” off River Child is practically the definition of the word.


While Red Sky Mary’s original music is enough to captivate an audience of rock fans, what better way to raise the excitement even further than through a cover of a well-known and well-loved classic? “Highway Star” made it into the set at one point, prompting many to sing along – but throughout the show, there were also a notable amount of audience members singing along with the band’s originals, showing the integrity of their growing fanbase. Just before the show, I had the chance to interview Red Sky Mary’s Sam and Tom, with great results, as they’re an entertaining pair. You can read the pre-show merch table chat right here.


When a band is genuinely having fun during a show, that high energy resonates with the audience, and this is exactly what came across as soon as Warrant hit the stage. With four original members holding their place in the lineup, and a strong fifth to front, it’s clear that Warrant has great chemistry and an enthusiasm that’s electrifying. Vocalist Robert Mason is constantly in motion, making use of the whole stage, engaging with fans and not missing a note, all with an occasional red solo cup in hand (it’s just water – he swears!). Between Erik Turner and Joey Allen, there’s an almost subliminal synchronicity as they exchange with each other the lead and rhythm guitar parts seamlessly. Jerry Dixon has a stage presence extending far beyond the sonic resonance of his admirable bass skills, bringing life into the low end with the greatest of ease. And while all members do contribute to backing vocals, of particular note are the impressively high harmonies belted out by Steven Sweet behind the drums, not to mention his prime percussion.

“Down Boys”, “Sometimes She Cries”, “I Saw Red” – the list goes on, but you name it, they played it. Everything you’d come to a Warrant show for and more, with a few surprises here and there. Formations of faithful fans made it clear they loved what they were hearing and wanted more. “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” is one of my favorite Warrant songs, and it’s always thrilling to hear this complex piece of songwriting live. “So Damn Pretty” tends to be an underrated track, which may or may not have something to do with a few controversial lyrics – but all in the spirit of rock and roll, one has to admit it’s catchy as hell.

In a day and age of endless debate on whether smartphones should be present during a live show, Warrant took a stance on the topic just once, for “Heaven”. Before the song began, Robert instructed the crowd to take out their phones, hit record, and sing along – of course, nearly everyone obliged. Another moment that caught my attention was when the band decided to pull something from their past discography – a track that’s newer than DRFSR but older compared to Louder Harder Faster – “Dusty’s Revenge”, off 2011’s Rockaholic. I will admit that when the song was introduced, the title was not one familiar to me – but the moment I heard the opening dobro-like Southern Rock/Blues guitar work and harmonies as they then proceeded to explode into a hard and heavy rocker, the song became a new favorite straightaway. Last but not least and love it or hate it, “Cherry Pie” has got to be one of the most iconic Warrant tracks, one which would naturally make it into a closing spot on their setlist. Even so, the show couldn’t come to a complete close without an explosion of confetti flying off the stage right into the front row; an enjoyable surprise for the crowd, though maybe not so much for those who had to pick up the sea of color after the fact – their job was helped along by a few enthusiastic fans who grabbed some as a souvenir.

Nothing but smiles all around as the signature sound of a classic band filled the Music Hall that night. The songwriting of the late Jani Lane unquestionably lives on, perfectly infused with the spirit of new Rock and Roll writing, and blended into a dynamic spark embodied by the current Warrant live show. Whatever you do, don’t miss any chance to catch them on tour.

Warrant Gallery:


Red Sky Mary Gallery:

[All concert photos ©Metal Magnitude 2017. Please do not copy or use without permission.]

Warrant’s current run in support of Louder Harder Faster is ongoing, with dates already set through to early 2018. Keep an eye on http://www.warrantrocks.com/ to see when they’ll be hitting a venue near you. Louder Harder Faster is out and available via iTunes (affiliate link) and the Frontiers Webstore.

Meanwhile, Red Sky Mary also has plenty lined up for the Northeast, and you can follow the band through their official Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/redskymary/.

Interview: Red Sky Mary

Red Sky Mary at Tupelo Music Hall on 9/17/17

With seven years, three full-length albums, and an EP behind them, New England rockers Red Sky Mary have got plenty of material under their belt to pack an opening slot to the brim. The New Hampshirites regularly tour the Northeast, and recently played at the Tupelo Music Hall in Derry, New Hampshire, opening for Warrant. I caught lead singer Sam Vlasich and guitarist Tom Boisse at the show, who demonstrated some great time-management skills as they shifted between running their merch table and doing an interview with me. I took their populous local fanbase into consideration and tried not to keep them for too long, but they’re a fun pair and had plenty of great things to say. Check out the interview below, where we discussed the New Hampshire Seacoast, classic eighties Hard Rock, “The Walking Dead”, Australia, and more.

You guys are based out of Portsmouth and just visiting here, I’ve found that it’s such a cool place – walking around on the streets, I’ve seen people playing violin, guitar…did that sort of musical atmosphere influence the formation of Red Sky Mary?

Sam: Oh, totally. You know, there’s a lot of really talented, cool people there that just dig it and dig what they’re doing. They’re great, they love it there, and definitely an influence early on.

You’re opening for Warrant tonight, you opened for L.A. Guns not too long ago, and I’ve heard you had a slot with Queensryche as well – I’m noticing a pattern here of a classic hard rock theme that you seem to fit in with. I’m wondering if you see yourselves as a modern twist to that scene?

Tom: Yeah, we think so. The thing is, I was just talking about this with someone, we never really had a choice, you know what I mean? It wasn’t like, “Oh, we’re going to do this”, we just could kind of only do this. Like, we just started trying to write songs at 17, and this is just what came out. Obviously, it’s evolved since then. But we’re lucky to find ourselves in the position we’re in and having the opportunity to open for bands like L.A. Guns and Warrant, and all these bands. So it’s great! Been great for us.

Red Sky Mary has been around for quite a while now, and you’ve had singles, EPs, full-lengths – I wanted to ask what led up to you guys getting to the recent full-length?

Tom: We have three full-lengths and an EP, and we’ve just been doing it since we’re 17, so it’s been nonstop writing and recording music. The last one, River Child, that we did has been the biggest album for us and the first one that was on Carved Records, first one released on a label that we were able to tour in support of, et cetera. It’s been great, it’s been a lot of work, but we’ve had a good time.

Sam: Got to go to Chicago and do it with Johnny K, too, so that was great.

And speaking of being on the road, I saw you guys did a European tour earlier this year…

Sam: Yes, we did!!

So talk to me about that, that must have been fun.

Sam: It was wild, it was wild.

Tom: Yeah.

Sam: And I’ll tell you, Spain, man, I can’t wait to get back to Spain. They love their rock and roll there, they were super receptive, it was awesome.

Tom: Yeah, it was awesome, the whole thing was great, the audiences were really receptive to it, like Sam just said. We felt right at home, they made us feel at home.

That’s awesome. Now, talk to me real quick about The Rocking Dead.

Sam: (laughs)

Tom: Ah, Sam can take this one!

Sam: Well, it was a silly little concept because I love “The Walking Dead”, always have. Negan’s my boy. I actually just got a replica of Lucille, like a legit one made of wood, signed by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, so I’m pretty stoked about that. But yeah, it was just — we do a lot of cover songs, and we play all the time, so we kind of came to the concept, “What if we change some words around on songs people all know”, to make little ditties to recap what happened on “The Walking Dead”, and people seem to really dig it. There was actually one person in Spain who was like, “Oh my God, I came here to see you specifically because I saw The Rocking Dead, I love it, I watch it every week”.

Tom: Yeah, (laughs) discovered it.

Sam: I was like, “How the hell did you see that?”

Tom: We’re like, recording these things hungover going, “Oh, did we do it yet?”

Sam: I know, just standing there, “Okay, recap right now”, blah blah. (laughs)

Tom: But it was worth it!

Sam: Yes, it was! People see it and really dig it, and we’ll see what happens here coming in the future.

That’s great, up your fanbase with people just randomly discovering these videos.

Sam: I guess so. I guess that’s the processes, and we’re doing something right.

There you go, that’s right. And as long as we’re on the topic of video, just want to talk to you about your music videos, you’ve got quite a few, so what goes into a shoot for you?

Sam: Well, the last one we did, we had a little more fun with equipment, a little more pro stuff, at a really cool location, the ***, so that was really quite a blast to film. Everybody that helped was killer. But the older stuff was kind of just us gathering a crew of people together, paying them with drinks and sandwiches, and try to get a couple pretty girls in there if we can…that’s really how it all came together, we always made it work.

Very rock and roll. You’ve got plenty of shows coming up from the Seacoast to Merrimack, up to Maine, it seems like you cover a lot of ground while still remaining close to home. 

Tom: Yeah. It’s great, we do probably over a hundred dates a year when we do tours and stuff like that, so you know, we try to stay busy and we really have tried to achieve maybe a little bit of a grassroots movement as far as the New Hampshire/Maine, New England stuff. We have a lot of people that follow the band every weekend, to every opening gig that we do, whether it’s Casino Ballroom, or the Tupelo Music Hall, or Whisky Barrel, all that. There’s always a lot of people with Red Sky Mary shirts, and I think it’s because we play all the time and we’re a very accessible local band.

So if you could play anyplace in the world at all, where would it be?

Tom: I want to go to Australia.

Sam: Yeah…yeah! That’s —

Tom: Australia’s where we want to go, yeah, AC/DC —

Sam: Can’t top that!

Tom: Sam and I have a large and undying love for AC/DC, and we really feel that country gets the kind of music we like to make.

Sam: Do you know the band Airbourne?

Yes! Airbourne’s awesome.

Sam: We want to go on the road with them.

Tom: Yeah, we want to go on the road with Airbourne.

Sam: Joel, take us on the road!

Tom: Big time.

Spread the word – get them out there!

Sam: (laughs) So yeah, Australia.

Good choice. This has been great talking with you guys, can I just get a closing thought on tonight’s show?

Tom: We’re looking forward to it, Warrant sounded great at soundcheck, and the Tupelo Music Hall’s always great to us and it’s a great room – Scott really knows what he’s doing here.

Sam: We’re all going to get drinkin’, we’re going to get sweatin’, and we’re gonna milk the fuck out of this night.

All right! Thanks so much for the interview.

Keep up with Red Sky Mary via their Official Website and Facebook Page. Click here for the concert review.

“Bowl for Ronnie” Adds More Celebrity Guests


The Third Annual “Bowl for Ronnie” charity event was announced not too long ago, and the long list of rockers on the celebrity teams just keeps getting longer. The team led by Eddie Trunk will face off against the team headed by KLOS DJ Gary Moore, with return guests/last year’s winners John 5, Tom Morello, Jeff Scott Soto, and Rock Feinstein joining in. The roster of guests now includes members (and former members) of Guns N’ Roses, Dio, Lynch Mob, Billy Idol, Cinderella, Ratt, Whitesnake, Armored Saint, Budderside, Hellion, Fuel, Puddle of Mudd, Black Star Riders, Rough Cutt, and many more. To further benefit the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund, a spot on each celebrity team will be auctioned off beginning next week. October 6th marks the date of the “Bowl for Ronnie” event in Studio City, California. Check out http://www.diocancerfund.org/events/ for further info.

Serenity Premiere “Lionheart”


Symphonic Metallers Serenity will soon have a new record out via Napalm Records. Lionheart is set for an October 27th release, but in the meantime the title track has been released through an exclusive premiere with Metal Underground, and you can hear it right here: http://www.metalunderground.com/news/details.cfm?newsid=137069.

The band says of the new song, “Lionheart – the title track of our upcoming album – is a fast, deep melodic metal song with a slightly celtic influence! It’s about war, pain but also hope – and one of our favourite tracks! So let’s fight like a lion!”

With an Amadeus Austrian Music Award under their belt and their sixth full-length on the way, Serenity is also preparing for a 2018 European tour alongside special guests Visions of Atlantis, but not before supporting labelmates Delain this fall. Lionheart is available for pre-order on the Napalm Records Webstore as well as digitally through iTunes (affiliate link). Further info, plus full tour dates listings, are all available on: https://www.facebook.com/serenityaustria.