HELLYEAH singer Chad Gray spoke to KISW‘s “Metal Shop” about the band’s decision to continue touring after playing its first concert with STONE SOUR drummer Roy Mayorga, who stepped in as the replacement for the late Vinnie Paul Abbott.

“We did the one show [in May] — that’s all we talked about doing after Vinnie passed — we did the one show in [Las] Vegas, and I swear to God, man, probably within the first two measures of the first song, it felt like the world had been lifted off me,” Chad recalled. “Because I felt like Vinnie was there, I felt like Dime [Vinnie Paul‘s brother, late PANTERA guitarist ‘Dimebag’ Darrell Abbott] was there.

“I was looking out in the eyes of all those people,” he continued. “We had all been mourning for so long, and I think that that was almost like a switch for us to shut off the mourning switch and turn on the celebration switch. It was a very cathartic and therapeutic moment for me personally. And we got done, and as soon as we walked offstage, I [said to the other guys], ‘Did you see everybody? Did you see how together we were? Did you see how much that brought everybody together? We have to keep this going. We have to keep doing the good work for Vin and Dime and everybody and take this around the country so people can experience what we just experienced.’ Because I don’t think you can fully know about the mourning and grieving process until you do get in that room with those people, until you do experience that music. And experience in the name of Vinnie — what he would want. It was a beautiful, beautiful moment. So we just took it around. And every night is a new night. And we’ve had a lot of fun with it. You can see it in people’s faces. I can feel it.”

According to Gray, the spirit of his former bandmate is with HELLYEAH every time the band performs.

“I choose to believe that Vinnie is with us every night,” he said. “I choose to believe that Dime is with us every night, that Jeff Hanneman [SLAYER] is with us every night, that Chester Bennington [LINKIN PARK] is with us every night, that Chris Cornell [SOUNDGARDEN] is with us every night, that Layne Staley [ALICE IN CHAINS] is with us every night, that Kurt Cobain[NIRVANA] is with us every night, that Jimi Hendrixand Lemmy [MOTÖRHEAD] and Ronnie James [Dio] — the list goes on and on.

Vinnie was the muse, the inspiration for this to happen, but then, every night, I’ve just kind of turned it into more about being much larger than certainly anyone in the building and much larger than even Vinnie and much larger than Dime. And those people are God-sized — they were huge, enormous personalities.”

Mayorga‘s addition to HELLYEAH was made official in early May. At the time, the band said Roy was the perfect guy to take Vinnie Paul‘s place. “These men had so much love and mutual respect for each other, this makes our transition so much easier,” HELLYEAH said in a statement.

Mayorga previously played with HELLYEAH bassist Kyle Sanders in MEDICATION, the early 2000s outfit which also featured guitarist Logan Mader (MACHINE HEAD) and singer Whitfield Crane (UGLY KID JOE).

Vinnie Paul died in June 2018 of dilated cardiomyopathy, an enlarged heart, as well as severe coronary artery disease. His death was the result of chronic weakening of the heart muscle — basically meaning his heart couldn’t pump blood as well as a healthy heart.

Not long before his death, Vinnie laid down the drum tracks for HELLYEAH’s sixth album, “Welcome Home”, which was released in September.

https://kisw.radio.com/media/audio-channel/metal-shops-backstage-pass-episode-133-metal-shop-interviews-chad-gray-from

HELLYEAH’s CHAD GRAY: ‘I Choose To Believe That VINNIE PAUL Is With Us Every Night’

Opeth bassist Martin Mendez is about to unleash his version of death metal upon the world. Mendez has announced his new band White Stones alongside the debut album Kuarahy due out March 20. Kuarahy was written during Opeth’s year-long break after their extensive Sorceress touring schedule, said Mendez, adding that he feels White Stones has “renewed my strength and energy.”

“I’ve always written music at home but never had the confidence to do anything like this. I never wrote a song, never presented something I wrote for Mikael (Åkerfeldt, Opeth singer/songwriter). I didn’t have any direction, I came up with the first song for fun. White Stones has nothing to do with Opeth, I see no relation between the two. I played Kuarahy to Mikael a few months ago, he really liked it and was happy for me. Everyone in the band has side projects, it’s important. We tour so much you can become consumed by it; it has been really nice to do something different. White Stones has renewed my strength and energy.”

“I feel strongly connected to Uruguay still. I wanted to write music related to that – the sun on the Uruguayan flag I transformed into the White Stones logo; there are a lot of small things that connect the record to that place. Kuarahy is the native Uruguayan people’s word for ‘Sun’.”

Expect some White Stones music soon.

OPETH Bassist Launches New Death Metal Band WHITE STONES

Guitarist Kevin Estrella’s project Pyramids On Mars has a new album being released on December 21, 2019, entitled “Edge of the Black”. The full length offers up an aural palette of intense instrumental progressive shredding rock that’s emotional, provocative and 4-dimensional.

Teaming up with MusicLegends.caPyramids On Mars is premiering the next single ‘The Ambassador’ here.Estrella explains the track in further detail:“The idea for The Ambassador was actually sparked from the guitar it was played on. It is played on a Signature ‘Aurora’ Guitar. Built by the Signature Guitar Company sometime around 1987. Alex Lifeson of Rush made the guitar famous playing it exclusively for the albums “Hold Your Fire” and “Show of Hands”. Alex designed the guitar, along with Russ Heinl. What makes it unique is the balance of Basswood (from a rare variety found only in Quebec) and has the three active single-coil pickups, giving the guitar a very unique: clear, bright yet warm distinctive sound. No guitar sounds like it. It was meant to be the ultimate Superstrat. It’s almost like an acoustic guitar on hyperdrive. Only 500 Signatures were ever made. My Signature Aurora is quite unique. The original owner purchased it from Steve’s Music Store in Toronto back in the late eighties. It was a floor model. It doesn’t even have a serial number. It is quite the collector’s item.   The Ambassador was written by-that-guitar. I didn’t write the song, the Signature guitar did.Speaking of Rush, the song is heavily influenced by Rush’s early works from the eighties. The concert video Show of Hands comes to mind was a huge influence on the Edge of the Black sound, particularly in the songs The Ambassador and Arcturian Rain. The theme of the song is about an Ambassador who has been selected from Earth, chosen to be a spokesperson for the people of Earth. Scientists found a way to open a portal to another galaxy and he was chosen to go through it and hopefully meet some Extraterrestrial nation on the other side. Some other interesting things come to mind in the song. The guitar solo is doing some interesting combinations of two-note per string sweep picking, combined with string skipping arpeggios a-la Paul Gilbert style. The solo ends in a nice diatonic extension arpeggio legato phrasing. These and other techniques I teach on my online instructional guitar lessons https://pyramidsonmarsguitarlessons.pivotshare.com/

Following Pyramids On Mars’ two previous albums, “Edge of the Black” was written, composed and performed solely by Kevin Estrella who cites influences from musical greats including J.S Bach and Antonio Vivaldi along with today’s guitar virtuosos Yngwie Malmsteen and Joe Satriani“Edge of the Black” pays homage to these artists while still maintaining Estrella’s own creative flair. Estrella shares his thoughts on the album:

“On Edge of The Black, I wanted to put emphasis on songwriting and telling a story. The emphasis is not just on the lead guitar melody, but on the band as a whole. Harmonic variations on repeating themes are strongly utilized; like rhyming phrases in spoken language that allows easier accurate retelling of the original story. This idea of repeating music phrases/themes so the audience can easily recall it and hum it all the way home.” 

“Edge of The Black” pre-order available on Bandcamp.

Singles:
 F-22 Raptor’ here.
‘Song of Light’ here.
‘Nacht Waffen’ here.

Track Listing:
1. Blood Moon 5:42
2. Nacht Waffen 6:56
3. Song of Light 5:44
4. F-22 Raptor 5:53
5. The Ambassador 4:57
6. Mercury Magnetar 4:58
7. Arcturian Rain 4:38
8. Time to Believe 4:40
9. Arioso Lullaby 4:39
10. Whale Song 4:28
Album Length: 52:40
For more info:
PyramidsOnMars.com
Facebook
Instagram

About:

Every once in awhile there comes along a band that is so different or unique, you would think they were dropped on Earth from another planet.  Pyramids On Mars is one of those bands. What first catches you, is that they are an instrumental band. A combination of elements such as hard rock, industrial, metal and psychedelic rock: and then the lead guitar comes soaring in.  Well crafted, beautiful, melodic phrases so catchy and memorable they will be stuck in your head for the rest of the day.  

Pyramids On Mars is the solo project of guitarist Kevin Estrella.  He wanted to do something musically different that would stand out from the crowd. Estrella’s musical style is very similar to world-renowned rock guitarist Joe Satriani, so much so that Estrella has nicknamed himself the “Satriani of the North.”

“Of course Satriani has had a huge influence on me,” he says “But he (Satriani) does more of a bluesy thing whereas I am more influenced by classical music.  I absolutely love the Baroque classical composers J.S Bach and Antonio Vivaldi who are my biggest musical influences.

Estrella recorded, produced, engineered and mastered his debut album, self-titled “Pyramids On Mars” in 2013.  Since then, he has been capturing music industry attention-getting international radio airplay in the U.S, Canada, South America, and Europe.  He is a regular guest on Brian ‘the hammer’ Jackson radio (Los Angeles) to over 4 million listeners and a weekly speaker on Real Rock Radio (Chicago).

Canadian Guitar Prog PYRAMIDS ON MARS Next Single ‘The Ambassador’ Off Upcoming Album Out Dec 21st

Photo credit: Hristo Shindov

California based extreme metal titans SUICIDE SILENCE have released the official music video for the song “Feel Alive”. The track is taken from the band’s sixth studio album, “Become The Hunter”, on February 14, 2020 via Nuclear Blast. The disc was produced by Steve Evetts (THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLANSEPULTURAHATEBREED) at The Omen Room and mixed by Josh Wilbur (TRIVIUMLAMB OF GODGOJIRA). Ted Jensen (PANTERADEFTONESSLIPKNOT) mastered the album at Sterling Sound Studios in Nashville, Tennessee. The artwork for the album was created by Adrian Baxter.

Like the previously released videos for “Meltdown” and “Love Me To Death”, the “Feel Alive” clip was directed by Scott Hansen of Digital Thunderdome.

“Become The Hunter” track listing:

01. Meltdown 
02. Two Steps 
03. Feel Alive 
04. Love Me To Death 
05. In Hiding 
06. Death’s Anxiety 
07. Skin Tight 
08. The Scythe 
09. Serene Obscene 
10. Disaster Valley 
11. Become The Hunter

SUICIDE SILENCE‘s latest, self-titled album came out in February 2017 via Nuclear Blast Entertainment. The CD was produced by Ross Robinson, who has previously worked with KORNSLIPKNOTLIMP BIZKIT and SEPULTURA, among others, and was mixed by Joe Barresi (KYUSSMELVINSTOOLQUEENS OF THE STONE AGE).

The controversy over the album’s sound — featuring a more melodic and clean singing style, in the vein of acts like DEFTONES and KORN — caused one disgruntled fan to launch a petition to stop the record coming out.

SUICIDE SILENCE‘s performance at the December 2015 benefit show in support of Mental Health America Of Los Angeles (MHLA) at The Observatory in Santa Ana was released this past July as the album “Live & Mental” via Nuclear Blast.

“Live & Mental” was produced by the band while mixing was handled by Josh Gilbert (WOVENWAR, AS I LAY DYING). The cover photos were shot by Jerry John Nicholl.

Video Premiere: SUICIDE SILENCE’s ‘Feel Alive’

L-R – Kyle Scarlett (Bass), Jack Cerre (Vocals/Guitar), Austin Henderson (Drums) – Photo Credit: Katherine Kwan

Toronto’s BLACK ABSINTHE are ready for fans to bear “Witness” to their new music video for their latest single released earlier this November. The video for the single “Witness” was shot at Toronto heavy metal venue Coalition T.O just months before its unfortunate closure. The venue itself holds a very dear spot in the metal hearts of the band as they lived and performed just steps away from it for the last four years, meeting local and touring bands along with rocking out their own relentless run of shows. 

Trusting Katherine Kwan, “The Wild” (2017) director to encapsulate the energy felt in the band’s live performances. The video begins with a glimpse into what a night at their local and beloved punk/metal Kensington Market venue was like. From the bright pit footage to the intoxicating strobe saturated drum breakdown – the single is represented in the best and most chaotic way possible.

“The insanity of the front row has been the proving grounds of Black Absinthe’s sound, and the foreground to this video.” The band adds. “Live shows took the placeholder for releasing music over the past three years, and the energy in this video is how you will always find us live. We want this video to transcend people who have been there while offering a snapshot of underground metal venues found across the globe.” adds the band.

Watch “Witness” via its premiere on SpaceUntravel‘s YouTube channel HERE.

BLACK ABSINTHE‘s new single “Witness”was recorded in the backwoods of Lac-des-Loups, QC at Wolf Lake Studios with producer Alexander Galley (Loviatar, Dissentient, Martyrs). Representing a new generation of heavy music producers, Galley’s enthusiasm, knowledge, and openness confirmed he would bring a cutting edge sensibility to the band’s recording of the track. A forward-thinking producer with an ear to the ground of the emerging sounds of heavy music, his direction for guitar and bass tone for the song was a vision all his own. Reminiscent of the classic metal philosophy and in an intense ten-hour blitz, BLACK ABSINTHE went into the studio knowing they wanted to record the song in its entirety and bask in the completed performance. Equipped with an Ayotte house-kit in the studio, Austin Henderson laid down drum tracks to set the foundation of the track for the session. Following, bassist Kyle Scarlett and guitarist Jack Cerre both tuned up and recorded with their stage Fenders. Housing exceptional gear, BLACK ABSINTHE utilized the studio’s Kemper Profiler and boutique bass gear (Darkglass Electronics). 

Guitarist and lead vocalist Jack Cerre says: 

“All in all the experience was exhilarating, especially under pressure, our preparation paid off because the recording captures a true performance and urgency.” 


“Witness” follows BLACK ABSINTHE‘s 2016 breakout album “Early Signs of Denial” that was produced by Dave Baksh (Sum 41, Black Cat Attack). The album garnered praise from respectable outlets such as Bravewords “The record has emphasis of crushing modern tone, polished instrumental sections, soaring vocals and a blending of contemporary and classic metal.” and Blabbermouth “BLACK ABSINTHE does quite a bit within each of their songs, wrangling together bits of metal theories from yesteryear and today. Classic metal, power metal, death metal, thrash, it’s all dosed out like party pills for headbangers.” along with topping the Canadian College Radio National Loud Charts at #7 for July 2016 (Earshot).


“Witness” is available on SpotifyBandcamp and Apple Music.

Show Dates:
Dec 6 – Montreal, QC – Piranha Bar

For more info:
Facebook.com/blackabsintheband
Instagram.com/blackabsintheto 
EPK

About:

Formed in the underground dungeons and dives of Toronto’s metal scene, Black Absinthe is a Canadian modern heavy metal band consisting of Jack Cerre (guitar, vocals), Kyle Scarlett (bass), and Austin Henderson (drums). A mix of thrashing mosh pits and riff-heavy anthems, their growing presence in the diverse heavy music scene, unifies classic metal grandeur, speed-demon rhythm sections, soaring solos, with modern technicality.

Since 2011, Black Absinthe has performed, recorded, and brought the party all over Canada. Over the course of three EP’s & one LP, Early Signs of Denial, Black Absinthe has continued to grow and experiment on its NWOBHM influences while maintaining the intensity of the genre. As they continue to expand their setlists in 2019 and tour in both new and familiar places, the band is set to release their latest studio recording, Witness, a riff-strong single inspired by the band’s energetic live stage performances. With plenty of live material to work within the studio, the band shows no signs of slowing down and plans to release more material in the coming year.

Bear “Witness” To Black Absinthe’s New Music Video

Formicarius to play in Malta at The Black Advent and release a new guitar playthrough video for ‘O, Dread Impaler’.

FORMICARIUS CELEBRATE BLACK ADVENT WITH THE IMPALER

2019 has been a remarkable year for Formicarius, with their second album Rending The Veil Of Flesh being released through Schwarzdorn Production to great critical acclaim. They have also played some storming live shows with the likes of AsagraumHecate EnthronedSidious and Aklash. However the year is still far from over for Formicarius and today they release a new guitar playthrough video for the track ‘O, Dread Impaler‘. There are few bands that can boast a guitar duo as talented as Nazarkardeh and Lord Saunders, so for all aspiring guitarists and lovers of six string dexterity, this is well worth a watch!

The video is available to watch now at  the band’s official YouTube channel
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGNnztVbeao&feature=youtu.be

As well as unveiling this excellent new video, we’re also pleased to be able to announce that Formicarius will be venturing to foreign climes for the first time in their career on December 14th. The band will be appearing at The Black Advent in Malta, alongside Ekpyrosis and Carniverous Horde. Organised by the Malta Death Fest team, this is sure to be an incredible way for Formicarius to conclude their most successful year to date. For full details head to the Facebook event page:
https://www.facebook.com/events/422984025012135/

If you’ve somehow managed to miss the stunning Rending The Veil Of Flesh album – featuring the drumming talents of Kevin Paradis of Benighted and a guest vocal appearance from Sakis Tolis of Rotting Christ – then take a quick look at some of the press reactions to this work of virtuoso black metal…

“… Formicarius are fantastic and ridiculously skilled musicians .” – ETERNAL TERROR

“A must for fans of the genre!!! Just listen.” – METAL NA LATA

“…once again Formicarius slap the face of god. .” – MUSIPEDIA OF METAL 

For more information on Formicarius click here
Visit Formicarius on Facebook

Formicarius Head To Malta With New Guitar Playthrough

 L-R: Chainsaw Charlie (power tools, percussion), Betty Bullwhip (drums), Clem C. Clemsen (vocals, guitar), 
Blind BBQ Wilson (guitar), Curtis E. Flush (guitar, vocals), South Pawl Jones (bass, vocals)
Photo Credit: Ashlea Wessel

Legendary rock armada WHITE COWBELL OKLAHOMA have been established since 1999 and on their 20th anniversary, the band is saddling up for tour dates in Ontario and Quebec in the coming months, especially for their highly acclaimed, cult-followed X-mess experience at Lee’s Palace in Toronto, now going on its 16th consecutive year!

“Besides the expected southern-fried onslaught, the Toronto X-Mess concert will feature a dizzying array of surprise guests, nubile flesh, power tools plus the general sullying of long-cherished holiday icons.” says vocalist /guitarist Clem C. Clemsen.

Video of previous X-Mess’ can be viewed here.

WCO‘s “20th XX-Travaganza Anniversary Tour” will kick off with their annual X-mess show in Toronto on December 13th, followed by dates during the months of January and February in southern Ontario and Quebec. (dates listed below).

Clemsen adds:

“White Cowbell Oklahoma are pleased as acid-spiked punch to go into 2020 at the virile, jubilant, uncompromising age of 20! It’s time to up the ante, batten down the hatches and do some really weird shit! New music releases cometh! Unprecedented new shows, tours, productions, and territorial conquests cometh! WCO have embarked on a quest for the lost chord — but we already know it will lead either to Holdsworthian madness, but probably just to Tony Iommi‘s house! Next stop, Silver F*cking Jubilee!”  

Recommended for fans of Deep PurpleZZ Top, and Frank ZappaWHITE COWBELL OKLAHOMA have made their mark appearing at festivals like SXSW, and NXNE plus tours like Rockstar Uproar. The band also regularly performs throughout the European festival circuit, their most recent this past July in Holland and Germany.

Their latest European tour was in support of their studio album “Seven Seas of Sleaze” released on the band’s own label Slick Monkey. The album is packed with trippy groove and enough whiskey-fueled southern rock n’ roll to have you riding WHITE COWBELL OKLAHOMA.

Music Videos:
‘Harder Come, Harder Fall’ here.
‘Into The Sun’ here.

WCO‘s latest album ‘Seven Seas of Sleaze’ is available on BandcampSpotifyApple Music

Tour Dates:
Dec 13 – Toronto, ON – Lee’s Palace (XX-Mess -Celebrating WCO’s 20th Diabolical Year of Operation!)
Jan 18 – Hamilton, ON – Casbah
Jan 24 – Sudbury, ON – Townhouse Tavern
Jan 25 – London, ON – Call The Office
Feb 7 – Waterloo, ON – Starlight Social Club
Feb 8 – Ottawa, ON – Mavericks
Feb 22 – Montreal, QC – L’Escogriffe **
** w/ Floating Widget

WCO‘s latest album ‘Seven Seas of Sleaze’ is available on BandcampSpotifyiTunes
For more info:
WhiteCowbell.com
Facebook.com/WhiteCowbellOklahoma
Twitter.com/whitecowbell
Instagram.com/whitecowbell

“Magnetic, untamed, infamous and regaled for their strange and sensational stage shows, White Cowbell Oklahoma is the country-fried boogie rock sandwich you didn’t know you were craving.” – Beatroute AB

“given live performances that seem to feature more people onstage than in the audience, chainsaws, strippers, decimated stuffed things (turkeys, play toys and so on), they do aspire to have their music appreciated to the same extent that their image is co-opted, gawked at and gossiped about.” Exclaim!”

“White Cowbell Oklahoma add a touch of psych to their trashy hard rock formula…hellraising Southern-rock-tinged rock ‘n’ roll.” – Now Toronto
There’s no warm-up for White Cowbell Oklahoma’s sixth full-length release, recorded at Zeus’s Toronto studio and also in concert in Amsterdam. As in their live shows, where flames and power tools feature prominently, the underrated Toronto old-school rockers throw us into the fire immediately, and that fire doesn’t die until long after the final chords – from not one, not two, but three guitars – ring out.” – Now Toronto (2015 Mixto Sixto Review)

“a fist-pumping, anthemnic set of songs thick on low-end, pelvic thrust and grit. Easily their most confident effort to date, it displays a new Bell that is streamlined and primed for attack. ” – Exclaim! (2009 Bombardero Review)

Saddle Up! WHITE COWBELL OKLAHOMA Announce 20th Anniversary Tour