JUDAS PRIEST’s ROB HALFORD: My Favorite 10 Heavy Metal Albums

Because of JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford's importance to the heavy metal genre, Rolling Stone magazine reached out to him while putting together a list of the "100 Greatest Metal Albums" and asked him to name his personal top 10. He kindly e-mailed a list with a few words about each one and why it's important to him and to metal. Check out his comments at RollingStone.com. Rob Halford's favorite heavy metal albums: 01. BLACK SABBATH - "Black Sabbath" (1970) 02. METALLICA - "Kill 'Em All" (1983) 03. KORN - "Korn" (1994) 04. IRON MAIDEN - "Iron Maiden" (1980) 05. SLAYER - "Reign In Blood" (1986) 06. PANTERA - "Cowboys From Hell" (1990) 07. DIO - "Holy Diver" (1983) 08. EMPEROR - "Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk" (1997) 09. SLIPKNOT - "Slipknot" (1999) 10. MOTÖRHEAD - "Ace Of Spades" (1980) As previously reported, JUDAS PRIEST is putting the finishing touches on its long-awaited follow-up to 2014's "Redeemer Of Souls" album. Helming the sessions for the new disc are the band's longtime producer Tom Allom, acclaimed British knob-twiddler Andy Sneap (MEGADETH, EXODUS, TESTAMENT, ACCEPT) and engineer Mike Exeter (BLACK SABBATH). Halford recently told Planet Rock about the band's new disc: "It's just great to watch how a record comes together, from those early, early days where there was just me and [guitarists] Glenn [Tipton] and Richie [Faulkner] sitting in the studio with a couple of guitars and just, you know, doing what we do. You start the day with nothing, and then at the end of day, potentially, you've got a really great, classic PRIEST song that may live forever." He continued: "So we're hard at it. We're still doing what we love to do. PRIEST is a working band more than anything else. It's that Midlands ethic, the work ethic of anybody that goes to work… I say it's work, 'cause it is work — you're working with your mind, you're being creative. And now we're moving through into other stages, we're preparing for another big world tour, getting stage designs sorted, lighting designs sorted. So this is the beginning of what's gonna be a very exciting 2018 period." Allom produced every PRIEST release from "Unleashed In The East" (1979) through "Ram It Down" (1988), along with several live records since then. As a young engineer, he also worked on the first three BLACK SABBATH records under producer Rodger Bain. During a January 2017 appearance on "Trunk Nation", Eddie Trunk's show on SiriusXM channel Volume (106), Halford said that there was no set-in-stone timetable for the release of PRIEST's next album. "You know, there is no rush," he said. "There is no rush. We feel great. We're very happy, we're very confident, we're very excited. And so, yeah, we're working with our label and with promoters, and there's a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes." He continued: "When we go out, we want it to be good — we want it to be good, we want it to be well planned, we wanna make sure that everybody's happy." Halford said last year that JUDAS PRIEST wasn't interested in making "a 'Redeemer Of Souls Part Two'." He explained: "I think it's very important that we make another stand-alone record again, a heavy metal record that's going to have its own legs and just be as different as all of them have been so far." "Redeemer Of Souls" was released in July 2014. The follow-up to 2008's double-disc concept album "Nostradamus" was billed as a return to JUDAS PRIEST's heavy-metal roots. "Redeemer Of Souls" sold around 32,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 6 on The Billboard 200 chart.

Legendary BLACK SABBATH Drummer BILL WARD Is Selling More Than 200 Pieces Of Gear

Reverb.com, the online marketplace for buying, selling, and learning about music gear, will launch the official Bill Ward Reverb shop on Wednesday, June 28. The shop will feature drum kits, drum heads, cymbals, and more gear used on tour and in the studio throughout the iconic heavy metal drummer's career. "Whoever gets this gear will get good karma. I really hope the new owners will be able to feel the energy of it," Ward said. "Of course, I'm going to miss all of the gear — there's some really nice history here. But if these items are going to drummers who will use them, then that warms my heart." While there will be many notable pieces featured in the shop, perhaps the rarest is a one-of-a-kind Remo 24" Kick Drum Resonant featuring a hand-painted design that incorporates a bat within the word "Black." This resonant head was used on the front of Ward's kick drum on the "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" tour in 1973 and 1974. The shop will also feature the original 6-piece Super Zyn cymbal set used on recordings from 1968-1971, including the first album and "Paranoid". Of the 2003 7-piece maple Ludwig Black Oyster Pearl drum set for sale in the shop, Ward said: "I got it as a birthday present years ago. All the tonal qualities are really good, the tom sounds on it are just amazing. Whoever gets this — it's probably going to last them a long, long time. I haven't come out of my Gene Krupa era yet. It's been going on for some time." The official Bill Ward Reverb shop will also feature: * More than 150 drum heads, signed and dated from tours and recordings from the 1970s through 1999 to present day, as well as drumsticks signed and dated from 2005. * A 6-piece Premier Apple Sparkle Fade drum kit used with the BILL WARD BAND, including during the recording of "Wall Of Death", as well as on several DAY OF ERRORS tracks. The drummer's first collection of 5-piece Zildjian cymbals that Ward estimates date back to his teenage years and were used with his band MYTHOLOGY and everything that followed through the 1970s. For a sneak preview of what will be for sale in the official Bill Ward Reverb shop, view the video below of Ward talking about the gear. Ward was on board for the SABBATH reunion when it was first announced in November 2011, but backed out soon after. He later claimed that he sat out the recording and touring sessions because of unfair contractual terms, although the members of SABBATH have hinted in other interviews that he wasn't physically up to the task. SABBATH has used singer Ozzy Osbourne's regular touring drummer Tommy Clufetos since then for live work. RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE's Brad Wilk laid down the drum tracks on the band's comeback album, "13", which came out in June 2013. Ward in 2015 released his first solo album in 18 years. Titled "Accountable Beasts", the record can be purchased on iTunes. More recently, Ward launched a new new three-piece band called DAY OF ERRORS. The group, which was formed by Ward "in the desire to have my drumming spirit continue to live," also features Joe Amodea on guitar/vocals and Nick Diltz on bass/lead vocals.

BLIND GUARDIAN: ‘Twilight Of The Gods’ Video From ‘Live Beyond The Spheres’ Album

German progressive power metal pioneers BLIND GUARDIAN will release a new concert album titled "Live Beyond The Spheres" on July 7 as a 3-CD and 4-LP box via Nuclear Blast. The set will include material recorded at various shows during the band's European tour in 2015. It will contain old classics, new tracks as well as songs that were very rarely performed during BLIND GUARDIAN's live shows. BLIND GUARDIAN guitarist André Olbrich reveals why the time is right to release "Live Beyond The Spheres": "There's several different reasons why it's about time to release a live album. We've had a new rhythm section in the band — Frederik and Bahrend — for a couple of years now. Our interaction improved a lot by their joining and our songs developed a better groove and became more dynamic. The appearance of digital amp profilers and digital recording techniques also made it possible to create a fairly similar sonic image in different venues and to fulfil our image of what a perfect live album should be. Last but not least, we released three studio albums since our previous live album, and we didn't have any live recordings from our relatively current studio material. By compiling a three-disc package, we were able to create a very extensive and varied set list to reflect our thirty-year career with an optimal performances. "We compiled one 'show' out of the best tracks from more than forty live performances, recorded during our European tour in 2015. That's how we pinned down the most beautiful and atmospheric moments on this medium," he adds. The official video for the song "Twilight Of The Gods", taken from "Live Beyond The Spheres", can be seen below. BLIND GUARDIAN vocalist Hansi Kürsch speaks about the difficulties to create such an ambitious album: "In general, I would say that we've had a really good run on this tour and that nearly every show was perfect. But at the end of the day, after every bandmember has checked each and every song and concert of those 30 shows again and again. There were only like two or three versions of each song being suitable to be used for an album. We then had to decide between those last remaining versions, which would have been the most impressive one. This was a nearly endless task!" He continues: "The songs finally chosen reveal such an energy that poissible smaller mistakes appeared to be totally unimportant for the evaluation. As soon as you have listened to the songs, you will know what I mean. They feel alive." But the end result is well worth the effort. Hansi sums it up: "There is always something happening at each show, let's call it 'magic,' that is giving us all creeps. We are really satisfied when the people sing with us, have a good time and go back home happy." "Live Beyond The Spheres" track listing: CD1 01. The Ninth Wave 02. Banish From Sanctuary 03. Nightfall 04. Prophecies 05. Tanelorn 06. The Last Candle 07. And Then There Was Silence CD2 01. The Lord Of The Rings 02. Fly 03. Bright Eyes 04. Lost In The Twilight Hall 05. Imaginations From The Other Side 06. Into The Storm 07. Twilight Of The Gods 08. A Past And Future Secret 09. And The Story Ends CD3 01. Sacred Worlds 02. The Bard's Song (In The Forest) 03. Valhalla 04. Wheel Of Time 05. Majesty 06. Mirror Mirror

EPICA To Release ‘The Solace System’ EP In September

With their latest masterpiece, Dutch symphonic metallers EPICA set new standards. 2016's "The Holographic Principle" is the most epochal, multi-layered, courageous and successful record of the band, reaching top 10 chart position entries in the German, Dutch and Swiss album charts. Accordingly, all the tracks written for the album process are high quality, but not all songs have been put on the album. "This is only based on the fact that the record should not exceed 76 minutes," explains guitarist/vocalist Mark Jansen. Since the band didn't like the idea of a double CD, they finally decided to release an EP with six brand-new numbers, which were created during the creative phase of "The Holographic Principle". "The Solace System" EP will be released on September 1 via Nuclear Blast. The track listing is as follows: 01. The Solace System 02. Fight Your Demons 03. Architect Of Light 04. Wheel Of Destiny 05. Immortal Melancholy 06. Decoded Poetry Mark states about the songs: "The listeners can expect a high-quality EP — with songs that are far too good to use them only as bonus tracks. We wanted to publish these songs together in a context. It is always hard to decide at the end of a recording process which songs will be on the album, because this means that you have to miss some songs with best quality, just because they do not fit quite well into the overall flow of the record or because there are other songs that are more suited to the lyrics." The video for the title track, "The Solace System", can be seen below. The clip was produced by anime master Davide Cilloni. The splendid artwork is once again by the hand of Stefan Heilemann. "The Solace System" was recorded, mixed and mastered by Joost van den Broek and Jacob Hansen. EPICA vocalist Simone Simons comments on the EP: "During the early writing process of 'The Holographic Principle', we found out that we were blessed with a huge amount of songs. The songs that didn't fit on our album are now available for you on this special EP! I hope you guys will enjoy these songs as much as we do!" And if that wasn't enough, you'll be also able to purchase the new EP, "The Solace System", together with the CD of their recent studio album, "The Holographic Principle" as a box set. It will be called "The Holographic Principle - The Ultimate Edition". In other news, Nuclear Blast will re-release two ancient albums of EPICA, "Design Your Universe" and "The Divine Conspiracy", on vinyl on August 18. Each album is available in two different colors, the pre-order has already started last week. Photo credit: Tim Tronckoe

TODD LA TORRE On GEOFF TATE Returning To QUEENSRŸCHE: ‘I Don’t See It In The Foreseeable Future’

Hayley Leggs conducted an interview with QUEENSRŸCHE singer Todd La Torre and guitarist Michael Wilton at this year's Hellfest, which was held June 16-18 in Clisson, France. You can now watch the chat below. When asked if they could ever envision a scenario where former QUEENSRŸCHE would return to the band either for an album or a tour, Todd said: "We've been asked a lot of questions about the past. For me personally, I respect what those [other] guys [in the band] would ever decide to do. "I think that this is a forward-thinking band," he continued. "I think that we're in a really good place and we're writing music that… The band has regained that sound that I think was — and I hate to say it, 'cause I love Michael — but was missing for a very long time. We play everything in standard tuning, and I always try to aim high and do the best that I can. "But me personally speaking, if some crazy thing happened where [Geoff] came back or whatever… I mean, I think we would cross that bridge if we came to it. I don't see it in the foreseeable future, but crazy things have happened, so who knows?" Todd added: "I have no personal issue — for the record — with him. I don't know him as a person, just as an artist, so I respect what he's done as an artist. And so I'm emotionally detached from him in that sense. I don't really care. I care about what I'm doing with the band. "You kind of caught me off guard with the question. It's a valid question, though, but I don't have anything bad to say." Michael also weighed in on the subject, telling Leggs: "I think, basically, Todd said it. We've got something really great right now, and we're letting it grow, we're letting it expand." He went on to say: "I don't have a crystal ball or [a way to predict the future]. I kind of live in the now, and it's one show at a time. So I just don't think that way." QUEENSRŸCHE is tentatively scheduled to enter the studio in September to begin work on the follow-up to 2015's "Condition Hüman" album, to be released in early 2018 via Century Media. Helming the record once again will be Chris "Zeuss" Harris, who previously worked on "Condition Hüman". "Condition Hüman" debuted at No. 27 on The Billboard 200 chart, having shifted 14,000 equivalent album units in the week ending October 8, 2015. KAMELOT's Casey Grillo made his live debut with with QUEENSRŸCHE on April 1 at Sycuan Casino in El Cajon, California. He is filling in for regular QUEENSRŸCHE drummer Scott Rockenfield, who is taking time off from the band's touring activities to spend time with his newborn son, appropriately named Rockson.

SAMAEL To Release ‘Hegemony’ Album In October; Watch Lyric Video For New Song ‘Angel Of Wrath’

After playing a very special live set at Inferno and Metalmania festivals earlier in spring, Swiss black metal pioneers SAMAEL are now ready to reveal a first glimpse into their upcoming album that will crown their thirtieth anniversary later this year. The band already played the brand new track "Angel of Wrath" live at the above mentioned festivals, and the response from fans and devotees in front of the stage was amazing! Now SAMAEL is ready to release the first song from their new album to the rest of the world. Check out the official lyric video for the track below. Founded in 1987 as an old-school black metal act that was influenced by the likes of BATHORY, fellow countrymen CELTIC FROST and VENOM, the brothers Vorph and Xy later developed the band's style further towards a more industrial dark metal sound that found its previous high peak in those legendary albums such as "Passage" and "Eternal". SAMAEL's new album "Hegemony" will be released on October 13 via Napalm Records. SAMAEL is: Vorph: Guitar, Vocals Xy: Keyboards and Programming Makro: Bass Photo credit: Aline Fournier

How Does METALLICA Pick Its Support Acts? JAMES HETFIELD Explains

Prior to METALLICA's June 18 concert at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois, James Hetfield spoke to WLS-TV about how his band goes about choosing its support acts. He said (see video below): "When we go out and tour, we try and bring bands out that have either done well on their own or we get along with or we just like their music. There's gotta be some connection. It's not, 'Oh, they're hot right now. Bring 'em out.' But you have a history with them, you get along really well. That's one of the main things about touring — just getting along with people. Maybe it happened in the old days, where there's fighting between bands and all this crap. But that's kind of… It's old hat. But as far as bands going out with us now, we've got VOLBEAT, who I think is really great, on some of the legs. AVENGED [SEVENFOLD] is out. There's a band called GOJIRA, who we've had out quite a few times. And, yeah, they're good and they're heavy." The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame band is touring in support of its tenth studio album, "Hardwired... To Self-Destruct", which came out last November, eight years after "Death Magnetic". METALLICA is currently on a short break from its first North American tour in more than seven years, which resumes on July 5 in Orlando, Florida. This tour marks the first time that METALLICA has offered "enhanced" or "VIP" experiences for fans, with some willing to cough up as much as $2,500 for personal meetings, photos and autographs from the group. Drummer Lars Ulrich told Rolling Stone that METALLICA has proceeded "cautiously" with these packages, saying, "We spent a lot of time seeing what everybody was else doing. 'What's BLACK SABBATH doing? What's GUNS N' ROSES doing? What happens in the pop world?' It felt foreign to us and, dare I say, a little hokey. So we just had to sort of get to a place where we would get comfortable with that." Paid meet-and-greets are becoming staples of the touring circuit and are seen by some artists as a necessary evil to survive nowadays.

DIRKSCHNEIDER: ‘Living For Tonite’ Performance Clip From ‘Live – Back To The Roots – Accepted!’

DIRKSCHNEIDER — the band fronted by former ACCEPT and current U.D.O. singer Udo Dirkschneider — will release "Live – Back To The Roots - Accepted!" on August 4 in Europe and August 18 in the USA as a DVD/2CD, Blu-ray/2CD and gatefold triple vinyl in two different colors. After putting out the live double CD last year, fans were asking for a visual output, so finally, in December 2016, the show in Brno, Czech Republic was recorded for that purpose. Besides many classics from Dirkscheider's ACCEPT era, there's a cover version of Frank Sinatra's "My Way" as a bonus track on the CD and vinyl. Track listing digipak: CD1 01. Intro 02. Starlight 03. Living For Tonite 04. Flash Rockin‘ Man 05. London Leatherboys 06. Midnight Mover 07. Breaker 08. Head Over Heels 09. Neon Night 10. Princess Of The Dawn 11. Winter Dreams 12. Restless And Wild 13. Son Of A Bitch 14. Up To The Limit CD2 15. Wrong Is Right 16. Midnight Highway 17. Screaming For A Love-Bite 18. Monsterman 19. T.V. War 20. Losers And Winners 21. Metal Heart 22. I'm A Rebel 23. Fast As A Shark 24. Balls To The Wall 25. Burning 26. Outro 27. My Way (Bonus) Blu-ray: 01. Intro 02. Starlight 03. Living For Tonite 04. Flash Rockin' Man 05. London Leatherboys 06. Midnight Mover 07. Breaker 08. Head Over Heels 09. Neon Night 10. Princess Of The Dawn 11. Winter Dreams 12. Restless And Wild 13. Son Of A Bitch 14. Up To The Limit 15. Wrong Is Right 16. Midnight Highway 17. Screaming For A Love-Bite 18. Monsterman 19. T.V. War 20. Losers And Winners 21. Metal Heart 22. I'm A Rebel 23. Fast As A Shark 24. Balls To The Wall 25. Burning 26. Outro The "Living For Tonite" performance clip, taken from "Live – Back To The Roots - Accepted!", can be seen below. Dirkschneider spent the last year and a half touring under the DIRKSCHNEIDER banner, performing classic ACCEPT songs for the last time. The trek, which was originally supposed to conclude with the band's North American run in January/February, has now been extended through early 2018. In a message on the DIRKSCHNEIDER Facebook page, Udo explained his decision to continue touring as DIRKSCHNEIDER, saying: "Originally it was our plan to go back to touring with U.D.O. in 2017. But we have received an incredible number of emails and letters from fans begging us to continue with DIRKSCHNEIDER, and as there are still so many (ACCEPT) songs left to be sung, we have decided to bow to your demands! "During the last tours with DIRKSCHNEIDER, the audience had a lot of fun, and we as a band also had the time of our lives on stage. In fact, a whole lot of people in countries all over the world have been knocked out by these shows. Just check out all the media (especially from the U.S., where we have just finished a five-week tour) and you will read the caption 'tour of the year' multiple times… "We are thrilled by the idea of continuing and we are really looking forward to seeing you all again live on tour! "Oh, we nearly forgot to tell you about possibly the most important point of all: From October 2017 on, DIRKSCHNEIDER will tour with an almost completely NEW setlist. Of course, it will still contain only ACCEPT hits, but this time with many different songs compared to the last tours." DIRKSCHNEIDER released a live album called "Live - Back To The Roots" in October via AFM Records. The effort, which was recorded on April 2, 2016 at Kaminwerk in Memmingen, Germany, was made available as two-CD digipak and gatefold three-vinyl in four different colors (black, gold, silver and clear). In addition to Udo, the DIRKSCHNEIDER band on the recent tours included his son Sven Dirkschneider on drums, Fitty Wienhold on bass, Andrey Smirnov on guitar and Kasperi Heikkinen on guitar. Kasperi has since left the group and was replaced by Bill Hudson.

Video Premiere: ALTER BRIDGE’s ‘Cradle To The Grave’

ALTER BRIDGE's video for the song "Cradle To The Grave" can be seen below. The track is taken from the band's fifth studio album, "The Last Hero", which was released in October by Caroline Records in the United States/Canada and Napalm Records throughout the rest of the globe. The CD was produced by longtime friend and collaborator Michael "Elvis" Baskette (SLASH, TREMONTI, TRIVIUM) and mastered by Grammy Award winner Ted Jensen. ALTER BRIDGE vocalist Myles Kennedy told FaceCulture in an interview that even though the band's new album is called "The Last Hero", it's not necessarily a politically oriented record. Kennedy explained: "The trick was not to get too directly political, because all that does is piss people off. One of the key emotions a lot of people seem to be feeling is disillusionment, and what I try to do as a lyricist is touch on these emotions." Guitarist Mark Tremonti agreed, telling The Pulse Of Radio that the album title and concept is more general in nature. "Myles kind of ran with that as a theme for the record," he said. "It's a calling out for leaders in this world that you can trust and put faith in and, you know, it's just such a circus right now, especially here in the States, with everything that's going on. So it's just, you know, a call out to find new leaders in this world." ALTER BRIDGE will release of a new live album and rarities collection, "Live At The O2 Arena + Rarities", on September 8 via Napalm Records. One of the biggest moments of the band's career was the monumental show at London's famous O2 Arena on November 26, 2016. That landmark performance was captured in its entirety. The two-CD, nineteen-track recording documents what an enormous presence ALTER BRIDGE have become on concert stages around the world. In addition, this latest release includes an exclusive full-length rarities CD sure to excite fans everywhere. The disc features the never-before-released tracks "Cruel Sun" and "Solace" that were recorded during the "One Day Remains" sessions, as well as the song "Breathe" from the same time which has only ever been available as a U.S. retail exclusive via Best Buy. These tracks join seven other songs that have only been released in Japan until this collection. This incredible selection of ALTER BRIDGE gems will be released in multiple formats. In addition to a standard three-CD audio version, fans can also pick up one of the limited deluxe editions (including a four-LP set and a CD/DVD Earbook) which also include an exclusive ALTER BRIDGE documentary featuring extensive interviews with the band, their crew, and family, giving an amazing glimpse behind the scenes of this legendary show at London's O2 Arena.

THE HAUNTED: ‘Strength In Numbers’ Album Details Revealed

Swedish thrashers THE HAUNTED will release their ninth studio album, "Strength In Numbers", on August 25 via Century Media. The disc was recorded at Parlour Studios in the U.K. with producer Russ Russell (NAPALM DEATH, DIMMU BORGIR, THE EXPLOITED). The official video for the album's first single, "Brute Force", can be seen below. The clip was produced by Oscar Dziedziela of OD Visual. THE HAUNTED stated about the track: "We're very excited to finally be able to air our first single from the new album, 'Strength In Numbers', and let it set the tone for the brutality of the album. 'Brute Force' is one of those songs written in the early stage of making the album and shows our hunger to make new music, uncompromising, unforgiving and just to the point." The artwork for "Strength In Numbers" was once again created by THE HAUNTED's longtime designer Andreas Pettersson. "Strength In Numbers" track listing: 01. Fill The Darkness With Black 02. Brute Force 03. Spark 04. Preachers Of Death 05. Strength In Numbers 06. Tighten The Noose 07. This Is The End 08. The Fall 09. Means To An End 10. Monuments The album's limited-edition Mediabook CD version will include the bonus tracks "Illusions" and "Sinister", expanded layouts as well as three stickers. "Strength In Numbers" will also be available on 180-gram vinyl in various editions: - Black LP (Unlimited) - Silver LP (200 copies / Sweden) - Clear LP (300 Copies / U.S.) And last but not least, a strictly limited Deluxe LP package will be available from CM Distro / CM Webshop in Europe. This very special edition is limited to 500 copies on transparent red colored vinyl and comes with a printed guitar tablature book, a poster, a set of three guitar picks and the entire album on CD as bonus.