By Lucy Gliddon
Sadly my first heavy metal round up for Midlands Rocks must begin with tragic news as I report the death of Slayer’s Jeff Hanneman. The guitarist passed on May 2, as a result of liver failure just two years after fighting off a flesh-eating bug believed to have been caused by a spider bite. Metal fans worldwide have mourned his death, and I’m sure that British fans will give the thrash pioneer a fitting send-off during the band’s headline slot at Bloodstock Festival this August.
Frontman Tom Araya and guitarist Kerry King sent the following message to fans across the pond: “We know that our fans everywhere are hurting for the loss of Jeff just as we are. We want to let you all know that when we come to Europe this summer in June, July and August, we’ll ALL be making noise together for our brother and dear friend Jeff… We’ll See you then!”
The news comes as yet another blow to Slayer, who earlier in the year announced the sacking of Dave Lombardo from the band. In May, Lombardo was officially replaced by Paul Bostaph, who drummed for the band from 1992 until 2001, working on the albums Divine Intervention, Undisputed Attitude, Diabolus in Musica and God Hates us All.
There was yet more bad news to hit metal in May, when As I Lay Dying frontman Tim Lambesis was arrested for allegedly paying an undercover police officer posing as a hitman $1,000 (£650) to kill his estranged wife. Lambesis was released on $2m (£1.3m) bail at the end of the month, and faces up to nine years in jail if convicted.
Bloodstock Festival has been busy adding to its already stunning line-up for August 2013, welcoming French metallers Gojira to the Saturday bill. The band appeared at the festival in 2010, and recently delivered storming performances at this year’s Jagermeister UK tour.
More Bloodstock club promo nights have also been added for May, June and July. See below for some new Midlands dates, and make sure you attend to check out some Bloodstock bands old and new, and be in with a chance of winning tickets.
Sat 25th May BIRMINGHAM Eddie’s Rock Club
Fri 31st May NOTTINGHAM The Maze
Sat 29th June BIRMINGHAM Eddie’s Rock Club and NOTTINGHAM The Salutation Inn
Sat 6th July BIRMINGHAM The Asylum
LA trad-metal outfit White Wizzard’s latest album is now available to pre-order over on the Earache website, along with a bunch of special edition goodies. Due for release in Europe on June 3rd, “The Devils Cut” features artwork by Cameron Davis, who is best known as the lead character designer and illustrator for the Guitar Hero games. A new track, “Strike the Iron”, can be heard below.
Melodic metal band Soilwork will head out on a European tour this November with support from extreme metallers Keep of Kalessin. Although there are no Midlands dates currently announced, head over to The Camden Underworld, London on November 13th for the UK leg of the tour.
Týr are recording their new album at Jacob Hansen’s (Volbeat, Aborted) studios in Denmark, and the Faroese folk outfit have enlisted George Kollias (known for his work in Nile and Nightfall) for the album’s drum tracking. A video featuring drum tracking highlights and a message from Kollias can be found below.
Children of Bodom’s new album Halo of Blood will hit stores on June 10th. In the meantime, check out the official video for new track Transference below.
The stage times for Download Festival have been announced, so head over to the website to get your schedule sorted. This year’s festival will be headlined by Slipknot, Iron Maiden, and Rammstein, and both weekend and day tickets are still available.
It has also recently been announced that Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson will take part in the “Heavy Metal Truants” charity bike ride to Download Festival at Castle Donington. The bike ride was organised by Maiden manager Rod Smallwood and Metal Hammer editor Alexander Milas, and Dickinson will fly in specially from Germany following shows in Frankfurt so that he can join the HM Triants in cycling the final 25 mile leg of the ride into Download Festival on Friday June 14th. More than 40 riders will set off from Alexandra Palace, London on June 12th, and will cycle a total of 165 miles before arriving at Donington. If you want to donate to the cause which supports a handful of charities, head over to http://www.heavymetaltruants.com/.
Huntress are back with the follow-up to their 2012 debut album “Spell Eater”. “Starbound Beast” is set for release on July 1st via Napalm Records, and features a track co-written for frontwoman Jill Janus by Motörhead’s Lemmy Kilmister.
The heavy metal legend commented on the collaboration in true Lemmy fashion: “The first time I heard Jill’s voice with [previous band]Chelsea Girls, it was phenomenal. I wrote these lyrics from her point of view, the Huntress. ‘I Want to Fuck You to Death’ was inspired by her, written for her. I’ve always had a soft spot for her. And a hard spot too…”
You can find the track available for stream on the Huntress Facebook page (requires a ‘Like’).
Savatage mastermind Jon Oliva will release his first ever solo album “Raise The Curtain” on June 21st. More than thirty years after the start of his career with Savatage, the album will be released under the banner “OLIVA”. Fans can expect a mixture of Oliva’s early influences and the material he wrote and recorded throughout his career.
In the run up to their recently released album “Steelhammer”, German metal force U.D.O recorded a special song- “Basta Ya”. The theme of the track is “the lack of perspectives for the youth in a united Europe”, as vocalist Udo Dirkschneider explains: “They are the first generation to grow up in a united Europe and therefore the first who have to deal with the circumstances this brings. Also, however hard their respective situation might be, they hold the future in their hands”.
Big Four thrash legends Megadeth kick off their UK tour this week, with support from Bleed From Within. Unfortunately the Midlands have been left out of the booking, but if you’re desperate to catch the band, see the dates below.
June 3rd Newcastle- O2 Academy Newcastle,
June 4th Glasgow- O2 Academy Glasgow
June 5th Manchester- Manchester Academy
June 6th London – O2 Academy Brixton
Fans can also meet the band at the following scheduled signings, which will take place in HMV stores:
June 3rd – Newcastle (56 Northumberland Street)
June 4th – Glasgow (235 Buchanan Street)
June 5th – Manchester (90 Market Street)
June 6th – London (150 Oxford Street)
“Finding the Sacred Heart-Live in Philly 1986”, a new live album from Dio was released in May, available both in video and audio. Previously released on VHS and DVD as a short edited version, the complete concert is now available with remastered sound.
Devildriver have confirmed the title of their new album, “Winter Kills”, which is due for worldwide release on August 27th. The album’s artwork features a photograph by Dean Karrm and the layout was created by Ryan Clark/Invisible Creature. Devildriver play Bloodstock Festival on August 11th.
Swedish death metal veterans Entombed have teamed up with PledgeMusic to record a cover of King Diamond’s Welcome Home. The track is available here, and can be downloaded free by fans who sign up to the website, or Facebook share Entombed .