AEROSMITH’s STEVEN TYLER And JOE PERRY Welcome New Grandchildren On Same Day

AEROSMITH's Joe Perry and Steven Tyler became same-day grandfathers on Wednesday, May 10. According to an announcement on AEROSMITH's Facebook page, the co-founders of the legendary Massachusetts hard rock band both welcomed new family members yesterday, with Tyler celebrating the birth of a grandson and Perry adding a granddaughter. "Congrats to Steven Tyler and Joe Perry on the birth of their new grandchildren. Both born today!" the post reads. "How cool is that! The newest member of the Tyler family is a beautiful little boy, 7 lbs 11 oz born at 5:45 am. The newest member of the Perry family is a beautiful little girl, 6 lbs 9 oz born at 2:11 pm. Let's give them a huge #BlueArmy welcome." Perry recently said that AEROSMITH pushed back a proposed North American tour for later this fall so that they can record a new album. The band heads out later this month on a prolonged string of dates dubbed their "Aero-Vederci Baby!" tour. Perry spoke about the band putting future shows on ice to hit the studio before the end of the year, telling, "We postponed the American tour we were supposed to do this fall. And we're gonna go out and tour until, you know, we're done. And we're gonna try and hit every place we've ever played and never played. There's always new places to go. New countries. I'd like to play China and the Far East. There's a lot of places that are off the beaten path. Is this the last tour? Well, I don't know. I don't think so." AEROSMITH's most recent album, "Music From Another Dimension!", was released in November 2012 and peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 chart. Perry maintains that the strength of any album begins and ends with the quality of the songwriting. "We've made records that have taken two years and cost millions of dollars," he said. "We made records in the early days that cost next to nothing. And the correlation between the two is never, 'A great record costs a lot of money, or a shitty record doesn't cost much.' One doesn't have anything to do with the other."

ORIGIN To Release ‘Unparalleled Universe’ Album In June

U.S. extreme metallers ORIGIN will release their new album, "Unparalleled Universe", on June 30 via Agonia Records in Europe and Nuclear Blast Records in North America. For 20 years, ORIGIN has engaged a full-blown sensory assault of tight, taut, and technical death metal amplified by flashes of grindcore and groove. However, "Unparalleled Universe" sees the quartet — Paul Ryan (guitar, vocals), John Longstreth (drums), Mike Flores (bass, vocals) and Jason Keyser (vocals) — strengthen that blueprint with a handful of surprises. "It feels like an ORIGIN album, but it's unparalleled to what you might expect if you haven't heard us for 10 or 15 years," says Ryan. "To me, it's a true reflection of ourselves. I compare it to an action movie. Our earlier material is filled with action from beginning to end. Now, the idea is to add a little more depth and dynamics. You could say there are some twists in the plot musically." ORIGIN began compiling ideas for what would become "Unparalleled Universe" while touring in support of their 2014 sixth offering, "Omnipresent". Along the way, the record snatched their highest position on the Billboard Heatseekers chart, bowing in the Top 10. Meanwhile, it garnered acclaim from metal press and successful tours with everyone from ABORTED and EXHUMED to IMMOLATION and MARDUK over the last three years. They've also shined on the Summer Slaughter Tour in 2009 and 2014. On the road with BELPHEGOR last year, the members debuted a skeleton of the first single "Accident And Error" in front of packed crowds. "We would ask the audience to give us title ideas, but we could never discern what they were actually saying," laughs Ryan. "Riffs typically start on tour, and I keep them in my back pocket. That's the way it is. Ultimately, 'Unparalleled Universe' begins another era for ORIGIN. In the end, we're still writing death metal songs, but we're adding new dimensions. We're still ORIGIN." "Unparalleled Universe" was recorded and mixed at Chapman Studios in February 2017 alongside longtime collaborator and engineer Robert Rebeck (Tech N9ne). The band emerged with ten new songs, including a cover of BRUJERIA's "Revolución", that were mastered in March 2017 by Colin Marston at Menegroth - The Thousand Caves (ALTAR OF PLAGUES, JAROBE, KRALLICE) and wrapped in a cover prepared by Filip Ivanovic (DISMEMBER, CRYPTOPSY, GORGUTS). Track listing: 01. Infinitesimal To The Infinite 02. Accident And Error 03. Cascading Failures 04. Mithridatic 05. Truthslayer 06. Invariance Under Transformation 07. Dajjal 08. Burden Of Prescience 09. Unequivocal 10. Revolucion ORIGIN is: Paul Ryan - Guitar, Backing Vocals John Longstreth - Drums Mike Flores - Bass, Backing Vocals Jason Keyser - Lead Vocals


One of the most prolific hard rock vocalist of all time, Josh Todd (BUCKCHERRY) has returned with an amazing and dynamic new project appropriately dubbed JOSH TODD & THE CONFLICT. The group has just signed a worldwide deal with Century Media Records and plans to release its debut offering, "Year Of The Tiger", early fall. In the meantime, JOSH TODD & THE CONFLICT will kick off this brand new partnership by headlining the label's sponsored stage at KISW's Pain In The Grass festival on June 24, alongside such acts as FOZZY, LIKE A STORM and many others. Todd states: "It was time for me to make a record. It has been two years since I put out new music and that's a long time for me. "I am a student of the game and this was an opportunity to not just make a traditional-sounding rock record like I have been doing in the past. "THE CONFLICT stuff is heavy, melodic and honest, with a lot of risk taking and these are the records that bring out the best in me. "Stevie D [BUCKCHERRY] and I wrote all the songs and it was a long time coming. He also co-produced the record with Eric Kretz (from STONE TEMPLE PILOTS) and we had a lot of fun doing it. "After working with Stevie beating a lot of songs into shape, we started understanding our songwriting language. "Stevie is a well-rounded musician and we are in the zone on this one. Both of us are in the same boat in every aspect of our lives and have been friends since I was 19. "This record is a divine intervention with a lot more to come. "The record is called 'Year Of The Tiger' and we are coming to every nook and cranny of the world to pulverize and mesmerize, put it on turn it up and go kick some ass! "These guys are great people and amazing players and it comes off live in a BIG way. You don't want to miss it." JOSH TODD & THE CONFLICT is: Josh Todd - Vocals Stevie D - Guitars/Back-Up Vocals Sean Winchester - Drums Greg Cash - Bass

ALICE COOPER’s ‘Paranormal’ Album Gets Official Release Date

earMUSIC has set a July 28 release date for Alice Cooper's new album, titled "Paranormal". It will be made available on 2CD digipak, 2LP, limited-edition box set and on digital formats — and will come with a special mini-album. A statement from earMUSIC reads: "The 12-track album has been recorded in Nashville with longtime collaborator Bob Ezrin and features a very special bonus CD — a mini-album consisting of three brand new songs written and recorded together with the original ALICE COOPER band members Dennis Dunaway, drummer Neal Smith and guitarist Michael Bruce, alongside carefully selected live recordings. 'Paranormal' also features special guest appearances by U2's Larry Mullen Jr., ZZ TOP's Billy Gibbons and DEEP PURPLE's Roger Glover." During an appearance on last Friday's (May 5) episode of the SiriusXM radio show "Trunk Nation", Cooper said producer Bob Ezrin was responsible for getting Mullen Jr. involved in the sessions. "Bob Ezrin and I sat there, and Bob says, 'What do you think about Larry Mullen on drums?' And I went, 'That's a great idea. It'll change things up so much on just the basic tracks.'" Cooper also talked about the U2 drummer's somewhat unusual approach to recording. Alice recalled: "Larry [said], 'I wanna see the lyrics.' I said, 'Really?' He [said], 'Yeah, I play to the lyrics. I don't play to the bass.' And I said, 'That is so cool — just the idea that you're interpreting the lyrics on the drums.' So that totally makes the album another album." Gibbons, meanwhile, plays guitar on a song called "I've Fallen In Love And I Can't Get Up". "After we cut the record, I went, 'If Billy Gibbons doesn't play on this, we shouldn't put this one out,' 'cause, I mean, it is so much him," Alice said. "And he got the record, and he said, 'I've got the flu, but, man, this song makes me feel better.' He just killed it." In addition to performing on "Paranormal", original ALICE COOPER bandmembers Neal Smith (drums), Michael Bruce (guitar) and Dennis Dunaway (bass) were involved in the songwriting for the new record. "I wrote three songs [with them] for the new album. Dennis brought in two songs, Mike brought in a song. There's one song called 'I Wanna Be A Genuine American Girl'. It was gonna be 'I Want A Genuine American Girl', and I went, 'No, no, no. I Wanna Be A Genuine American Girl! It's really a tough song, so it's this guy going, 'I've gotta paint my nails, I've gotta do my hair.' [Laughs]" With regards to the "Paranormal" album title, Cooper said: "I love that title, 'Paranormal', but it's not really a scary record. There's a couple of scary songs on it, but [it is] 'paranormal,' meaning 'other than normal.' This is not a normal Alice record. Bob and I decided, 'No theme this time. We're gonna make a record of things that just get us off, songs that we like. And it might go in a lot of different directions, but these are just songs that get us off."

Watch SUICIDAL TENDENCIES Perform On Brazilian TV Show ‘The Noite’

On April 28, SUICIDAL TENDENCIES took part in an interview and live performance on a Brazilian TV show called "The Noite". You can now watch video footage of the band's appearance below. In a recent interview with The Salt Lake Tribune, Mike Muir called the 2016 addition of former SLAYER drummer Dave Lombardo to SUICIDAL TENDENCIES' lineup "literally… just a power kick in the butt." The vocalist said: "Dave's a little different than me. I think every show might be the last one, not in a defeatist type of way, but I take that approach; I learned a long time ago there's no five-year plans… But we take it tour by tour, and I think that's a good approach. Dave's kinda like, 'I'm gonna be playing drums 'till I'm 85.' That's how he lives his life," Muir added. "And it's different, but it's a similar kind of approach. I think that every show is very important. And his whole thing, as a truly legendary drummer, people are gonna see him play, and he wants to be there and blow people away. We've kinda intersected at a great point, where we're here to blow people away rather than be nostalgic." Muir also hinted that SUICIDAL TENDENCIES' latest album, "World Gone Mad", could very well be the band's last. "You never know what's going to happen," he said. "So I feel very comfortable — if that's the final chapter, that's great. When you enjoy what you're doing, you wanna keep doing it, but I've got three kids, too. And everybody has things going on. The last few years, we've been gone a lot, to the point where my youngest kid, when I get up to go to the store, is like, 'Dada! Where you going?!' It's like, 'You can let go of my leg, I'm just going to get some milk. It's okay.' You gotta listen to your family, you know? That's really important. But so far, they're really supportive, and they know what I'm doing. They go to a lot of the shows and they see it firsthand. And so they know that Daddy wants to be at home, but there's a lot of people who appreciate what he's doing. And they like it too, so that's good." Lombardo made his recorded debut with SUICIDAL TENDENCIES on "World Gone Mad", which came out at the end of September. "They wanted me to be myself and their music is very drum friendly with some amazing structuring and vocals and lyrics," Lombardo told about the effort. "They gave me the freedom to do what I wanted and I gave the songs what I felt they needed." Dave added that playing SUICIDAL's classic songs live "brings back some really good memories. I remember driving the van on one of our early SLAYER tours and me and [late SLAYER guitarist] Jeff Hanneman would listen to their first record and switch off singing the lyrics."

PENTAGRAM To Complete European Tour Without BOBBY LIEBLING

As was the case for the recently completed U.S. shows, legendary U.S. heavy/doom metal band PENTAGRAM will play its previously booked European tour dates this summer without frontman and founding member Bobby Liebling. PENTAGRAM explains in a statement: "Bobby called on April 17 saying he had been admitted to the hospital. He called again on April 19, this time after being transferred to a Maryland detention facility. He's now awaiting a preliminary hearing at which time it will be determined if a follow-up on any alleged charges are necessary. An update will be published when information is available. The band will be fulfilling all currently booked appearances with 36-year mainstay guitarist Victor Griffin performing all vocals." Griffin, bassist Greg Turley and drummer Pete Campbell last month released a statement in which they blamed Liebling's absence from the gigs on "circumstances that are beyond anyone's control, that are a direct result of Bobby Liebling's personal actions." Liebling was the focus of "Last Days Here", the critically acclaimed 2011 documentary that detailed his lifelong struggle with drug addiction and followed him as he revived PENTAGRAM in his 50s while emerging from his parents' basement to start afresh with a wife less than half his age and their newborn son. PENTAGRAM adds in a "a personal note": "The outpouring of support on our recent U.S. dates was outstanding! Your energy was matched tenfold and encouraged us to carry on and deliver what many have called, even by skeptics, some of the best PENTAGRAM performances they've seen. Thank you! "We have the best fans in the world and if not for you, the legacy of this band would have died long ago. We won't let you down now. The music lives on and as we move forward, we reiterate the lyrics of 'Curious Volume': 'In this venture, death waits in the shadows, but in survival, the volume won't die!" Photo credit: Andrew Beardsworth

Beyond the Flames: Home Video Volume II – KILLSWITCH ENGAGE

Band members come, band members go and sometimes they come back. Though band disintegrations and member departures are commonplace, it's a rare thing when those who leave without a trace are not only offered a second shot, but take that shot as their moment of redemption. KILLSWITCH ENGAGE is such a band. Not only one, but two singers have made their indelible marks and were suddenly on the outs, largely of their own accord. Original vocalist Jesse Leach abruptly left the band, fearing vocal degeneration, as well as becoming, in his own words, "a self-righteous, pompous asshole." Leach left KILLSWITCH ENGAGE after the band broke out with 2002's "Alive or Just Breathing": leaving the band in a quandary. Enter Howard Jones and drummer Justin Foley during this transition, which led to 2004's commercially successful "The End of Heartache". While fans were largely receptive toward Jones's soulful and accessible vocal dynamics, by the time 2012 came around, he was carrying a huge question mark upon his back. Jones officially broke off when it was revealed he was battling Type II diabetes. Re-enter Jesse Leach. "Beyond the Flames: Home Video Volume II" is a celebration of Leach's homecoming. The album garnered the band's second Grammy nomination for the single "In Due Time", from 2013's "Disarm the Descent". Following last year's well-received album "Incarnate", this video and audio package corrals a slew of recent Leach-led footage spanning his first show back at the Palladium in Worcester, Massachusetts, Download festival, Knotfest and Loud Park Japan. A CD containing the Palladium gig accompanies. Even more important, however, is the 75-minute band documentary, "Embracing the Journey". The "Alive, Raw and Reunited" footage mingles color and black and white footage, and keeps true to the raw context. Sometimes the sound capture is meh. Sometimes Jesse Leach and Adam Dutkiewicz volley their vocals a bit too laxly, but there's no getting past the high-energy level of the songs. As expected, there's a heavy lean on songs from "Alive or Just Breathing" such as "Numbered Days", "Self Revolution", "Fixation on the Darkness", "Vide Infra", "My Last Serenade" and "Temple from the Within". Having to field the Howard Jones-era, Jesse Leach's exuberance on "The End of Heartache", "Rose of Sharyn", "My Curse" and "The Arms of Sorrow" is palpable, if naturally rougher than Jones. Leach explains in the documentary portion he initially had qualms about taking on his predecessor's work, but out of necessity, he found what he jived with lyrically and thus makes them his own here. More recent KSE songs like "Alone I Stand", "Strength of the Mind", "The Hell in Me", "Beyond the Flames", "The New Awakening" and of course, "In Due Time" round out the live section. Adam Dutkiewicz, a notorious stage goofball (a frat boy, as he would put it; a Tasmanian devil, according to his band mates) looks absolutely gonzo in his faux tux muscle tee, high-cut denim shorts and flap-hung painters hat. When has he cared about image, though? It goes all the way back to his "Street Fighter"-esque frosted crew cut when Dutkiewicz drummed in KSE before switching to guitar. The rest of the band frolics, stomps and pulls off limb-twisting theatrics to entertain its crowd, which goes nuts as Jesse Leach woofs into their awestruck faces. Now at 16 years going on 17, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE spills a proper bio with "Embracing the Journey", which sets a few records straight (if not all) and shows the band at its most human. Tracing the members' origins in OVERCAST, AFTERSHOCK and CORRIN, each spends considerable time exposing their stories and lifestyles on the road and off. Playing all over the northeast metal scene to (by their estimation) 5 to 10 people a night and losing five hundred bucks per venue doing so, the rags-to-modest finances story will resonate with KSE's fans and peers. We're treated to stories about Adam Dutkiewicz leaving his blood upon the drum kit in the beginning before moving to guitar and nearly losing his career to multiple back surgeries. We hear about Justin Foley briefly sidelined by a cycling accident that triggered a broken clavicle. We see KILLSWITCH ENGAGE booed, flipped off and pelted with trash on the fateful night they had to cancel a show where Howard Jones couldn't perform. Phil Labonte from ALL THAT REMAINS subsequently filled in for an entire tour leg as the band sat on pins and needles awaiting Jones's return. Ultimately, the band went dark for a moment in 2011, its constituents following their personal endeavors until Jesse Leach's return. As Leach is naturally the centerpiece of "Beyond the Flames: Home Video Volume II", it's hilarious listening to him chuckle over an old photo where he's squatting in fervor and confesses to actually being constipated in that shot. Jesse notes about his first tenure in the band, when beads were frequently draped atop his ever-present hardcore band T-shirts: "I was in spiritual warfare then...I was on a different path then...I don't know what I was thinking". Leach lost his roar-torn voice recurrently in those days, having to cancel every fourth show or so, and, at the time, a doctor found a white bump that was feared cancerous. He went momentarily straight edge to clean up his vocals, and testifies to losing his mind while everyone else was partying. This prompted his hasty exit. Oddly, Leach dropped out of music and tried out rasta culture before later tending bar. "A lot of drunken love fests" later, Jesse Leach and KILLSWITCH ENGAGE appear more focused than ever. This despite the traditional "Killswitch Power Hour", which consists of routine alcohol pounding before show time. Adam Dutkiewicz is far more excited about running the table at "The Price is Right" than receiving two Grammy nods in his career. Fellow guitarist Joel Stroezel might be considered the true soul of the band with all the music he plays and consumes through the break of dawn. All told through "Beyond the Flames: Home Video Volume II", KILLSWITCH ENGAGE is the quintessential band of brothers, and though nothing is guaranteed in life (especially the music life), Jesse Leach should well embrace this return home with full appreciation until the band itself has hit its final notes.

Blackhearts – Blackhearts (Movie)

"It was about coldness, sorrow, mountains, darkness, forests…" Black metal. One of this genre's touchiest subjects. You either know it, or you think you know it and, really, you're clueless. Most people fall into the second category. You either laughed at VENOM's snarky tirades in the name of Satan, or you raised your child from the womb with Cronos's sphincter-tickling growls instead of a cutesy plastic calliope. The latter scenario is no stretch; just ask the members of NAER MATARON. Over the course of my journalistic pursuits, in 2004 I once trod toward the perimeter of a Satanic cult. My liaison was welcoming and patient, but naturally guarded. At first, said representative offered more caveats than facts. Our relationship was cordial, respectful from both sides, and the offer to meet with other members was extended. The proposal to expand my limited knowledge on mysticism, gained more through Doctor Strange and Ghost Rider comics than actual practice, did appeal to the writer in me, I'll admit it. Frankly, I lacked the constitution to go further than I was permitted. As a journalist, I was flattered to be entrusted in such fashion. Yet, I felt I was in way over my head. I didn't wish to offend my host by verbally mulling over something that holds deeper meaning for the practitioners than mere pagan rites, ghoul paint, Christian church torching and stereotypical goat heads. You absolutely must know what you're talking about to even bring up the name Varg Vikernes. This arcane form of religion requires deep commitment, even to come to it as an impartial reporter. Thus, you can rightly say I pussed out. If you ever developed a curiosity about what true black metal means, the documentary film "Blackhearts" is a very good, surprisingly humanistic examination. Yes, it addresses incantations and rites—the bonus footage extending the Colombian Satanic ritual welcoming LUCIFERIAN into the fold is both morbid and unspeakably arousing. Hardly for the timid. Yet there's less direct celebration of Satan in the tone of "Blackhearts", even if this is truly the Devil's work being exposed. Black metal in its best definition, though? That might be staked from this film with the preamble, "It's like going to war with your friends." The crazed expressions from some attending a GORGOROTH or IMMORTAL gig tells you everything. "Blackhearts" follows three artists from various parts of the world: Iran, Greece and Colombia. In the case of Tehran-born, Norway-relocated Sina (FROM THE VASTLAND), playing black metal in his native land means possible incarceration, not just for himself, but his entire family. Here, he recounts that to none other than reclusive legend Nocturno Culto from DARKTHRONE. A beast of a vocalist, the soft-spoken Sina's struggle to record his music on his own and land a release deal with Indie Recordings is one of watching "Blackhearts" joys. You find yourself rooting for Sina as he plays his first-ever gig at the Norwegian Inferno Festival, prior to gelling with hired black metal legends at MAYHEM's rehearsal house. Sina is taken to "Helvete", a black metal mecca, the record shop originally run in the early 1990s by MAYHEM's Euronymous. Here he finds himself in the secret basement where the genre was effectively birthed. If you're a fan of this stuff, you're deeply envious. If Sina's story isn't compelling enough, the imprisonment of Kaiadas, from Grecian black metallers NAER MATARON, for seeking office as a member of the radical Golden Dawn political party, a Greek Parliament seat he won in the in 2012 after being released from jail, will blow you away. The other members of the band and extended family continue their commitment without Kaiadas at the Inferno Festival, and their solemn task is underscored by yellow journalism. Then there's Hector and LUCIFERIAN. Hector's rejection of Christianity is contradicted by being married to a devout Catholic woman. Hector recollects his pact with black metal stemming from a burning church in Colombia, which he watched until the final dying ember. His union with Satan, and a life-changing meeting with incapacitated high priest Don Hector Escobar Gutierrez, who states on-camera, "It's really Satanic or it's not black metal at all," as a roundabout means of sending LUCIFERIAN off to Norway, is nervy. It should be stated that the initiation rites Hector and his bandmates submit to are a path-altering point-of-no-return. Counterpoint to these compelling journeys "Blackhearts" trails is the exposure of what KEEP OF KALESSIN's Arnt "Obsidian C." Grønbech does outside of his main forum. Like EMPEROR's Ihsahn's solo work, Arnt confesses to liking electronic music, trance, even Christmas music. Meanwhile, his comrade Vegar "Vyl" Larsen is seen playing a standard (conservative, even) guitar rock gig at a sit-down nightclub. The filmmakers likewise trail KEEP OF KALESSIN members as the scene's prolific ambassadors who are also regular family men boasting little-to-no money for their acclaim. Thus "Blackhearts"'s understated theme develops: the lack of financial gain for playing music that is beyond outsider, beyond fringe. It might be said that this monetary strife fosters the heated, desperate energy needed to sacrifice all and play this style of extreme music. An ordinary metalcore band goes ass-broke on the road with bigger followings, yet all the players profiled inside "Blackhearts" do this, not just for love, but a calling that's higher to them, if not for most people. The film has its moments of smarm, as in the hilarious opening sequence where the curator of a black metal hall of artifacts is leading around a group of children who are more obtuse than intimidated. The transition scene of an accordion-squishing Santa amid all this clamor is priceless, as is the term black metal veterans use for pilgrims coming to Norway to seek out black metal's roots: "blackpackers". As we follow NAER MATARON on a bus tour of black metal historical locations in Norway, you can't help but chuckle at the insipid, make-a-buck irony. In the end, "Blackhearts" really is about the coldness and the sorrow, along with the majestic mountains and forests that conjure both wonderment and frigid bleakness. This film went further than I'd ever dared. Though it's delivery is unexpectedly at ease while addressing this dark topic objectively, and, in some ways, it still left scars upon me as if I'd taken up that offer back in 2004.

Michael Schenker Fest Live, Tokyo International Forum Hall A – MICHAEL SCHENKER

If the past tells us anything, it's that some things are strictly of their time and place. One might be tempted to nick a few bars of Michael Schenker's "Let Sleeping Dogs Lie" in judgment of his well-intended if staggeringly muffed return to MSG roots. Currently riding a high with his TEMPLE OF ROCK, one can only think comradeship and a pining for past glory days played into this Tokyo, Japan gathering of MSG alumni on August 24, 2016. Now remember, Michael Schenker and MSG released 1982's "One Night at Budokan" when Michael was 23, already staking the career of a lifetime eight years prior. Considered by many as one of the all-time great live albums, lightning assuredly doesn't strike twice as we near that landmark recording's 35th anniversary. Without beating up Schenker and his supporting cast on "Michael Schenker Fest Live, Tokyo International Forum Hall A" too harshly, the spirit is there. So are names from Schenker's past like Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet, Robin McAuley, Chris Glen, Ted McKenna and Steve Mann. Schenker's trusty Flying V: also there. The rehearsals alone for this 18-song reminiscence were most likely brutal after so long a separation; it's remarkable the group got so much of it together. Nonetheless, "Michael Schenker Fest Live, Tokyo International Forum Hall A" is a disappointment as much of it is the post effects of a train wreck and during Graham Bonnet's appearance, the actual collision itself. Four songs from the set list are pocked from the 1980 "Michael Schenker Group" album, grabbing "Into the Arena", "Cry for the Nations", "Armed and Ready" and "Victim of Illusion", the latter as much a live Schenker staple as "Coast to Coast". "Attack of the Mad Axeman" and "Let Sleeping Dogs Lie" appear from the '81 "MSG" album and the delightful instrumental "Captain Nemo" from "Built to Destroy" makes a welcome appearance. Schenker hoists three selections from the Graham Bonnet-led "Assault Attack" album including the title track, "Desert Song" and "Dancer". Another three from MSG's softer-toned era check in with "This Is My Heart", "Love Is Not a Game" and the set's best number, ""Save Yourself". Naturally, the show is capped by a stoic run through UFO classics, "Shoot Shoot", "Rock Bottom" and a gang-tagged encore of "Doctor Doctor". Many fans may be remiss "Lost Horizons" didn't make the cut, but then again, given the overall sluggish performance, seven minutes extra was probably much to ask from a group that hardly plays together anymore. As much as the 5,000-strong Tokyo audience sits in reverence and anticipation during the "Searching For Freedom" intro, by the time the sputtered "Into the Arena" limps into play, it's to their credit they absorb what's given to them. Never say Chris Glen, Ted McKenna and Steve Mann didn't have a blast playing this show. Their constant smiling, their gleeful laughter, Chris Glen's random mugging and smothering bass clouds, it's all endearing and for that, we should be happy. Michael Schenker, sporting a customized denim shirt with patches outlining his career with UFO, SCORPIONS, MSG and TEMPLE OF ROCK, sells the moment to his flock while checking himself down repeatedly. "Attack of the Mad Axeman" is, frankly, too slow, but Schenker shreds only fast enough to rip the scales appropriately. He avoids overshadowing his band, including Gary Barden, who swings through the number amply enough. Barden shines on the bobbing "Victim of Illusion" and guides the Tokyo fans through a firm rendition of "Cry for the Nations". "Armed and Ready", however, is astonishingly flat, as is Schenker's signature SCORPIONS instrumental, "Coast to Coast". The latter flop is hardly his fault, and given the fact Michael Schenker mandatorily plays it at every show he plays, an off night with old friends is merely to be endured. Graham Bonnet, whose name has cropped up lately more than even Michael Schenker's current mike ace, Doogie White, brings the party behind his dick-swinging "Miami Vice" duds. He also brings utter chaos in his own inimitable fashion. Graham Bonnet, whose finest hours were stationed inside his own group, ALCATRAZZ, was never given a chance to perform with Michael Schenker onstage. While Bonnet's vocal style has always been an acquired taste, when hanging in the clean ranges, one understands why he was given so many chances during the 1980s. To be fair, the man is coming upon 70 years, and anyone who gets out there with the sheer balls Bonnet has—well, it's compelling to watch. Even if he makes a mess out of "Assault Attack" and (with McAuley and Barden supporting him) the uber-commercial "Dancer", you can't take your eyes away from Bonnet. He's an unabashed alley cat, hard on the ears, yet so much in control of his domain, particularly on "Desert Song", where he maintains control while the band shanks it instead. The tatted-up Robin McAuley is the saving grace of this whole venture. Still in magnificent vocal form, McAuley's caliber finally sets the band on firm footing, even if it's on MSG's less driving material like "This Is My Heart" and "Love Is Not a Game". When the band tears into "Save Yourself", however, everything clicks like it's 1989 again, even if Chris Glen and Ted McKenna had already left by then. Funny how, after scoring a hit on "Headbangers Ball" with "Gimme Your Love" in 1987, the song refuses to budge from Schenker's vault. From an enthusiasm standpoint, this performance rates a 10. For nostalgic value, give it a 9. The UFO material comes off well, and that's because Robin McAuley is so dynamic and Schenker is so determined to finish this gig on a high, particularly during his jam sequence on "Rock Bottom". With McAuley, Barden and Bonnet wailing like graduating teens sneaking through the late hours of a shackles free pub crawl on "Doctor Doctor". It's a huge, wild moment and exactly what this awkward show needed to end with. We can all agree to cut some slack for this fun intended if bumbled MSG class reunion. The late Cozy Powell might've picked this dragging concert up a few clicks, and though he's a classy stage performer, you have to think Michael Schenker at least wanted Powell on the stool. This so he could fly instead of hang back so as not to dust his old team. Nevertheless, there is a glaring difference between this and the soaring TEMPLE OF ROCK, likewise fortified by elder rock lords, in that case, exhibiting a ton of steam.

METALLICA Kicks Off North American Leg Of ‘WorldWired’ Tour In Baltimore: Video, Photos

METALLICA kicked off the North American leg of its "WorldWired" tour Wednesday night (May 10) at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland. The band's 18-song setlist included five tracks from METALLICA's latest album, "Hardwired… To Self-Destruct", which was certified platinum last month by the RIAA (Recording Association Of America). METALLICA was joined in Baltimore by Danish/American rock and rollers VOLBEAT and popular California act AVENGED SEVENFOLD. METALLICA's setlist was as follows: 01. Hardwired 02. Atlas, Rise! 03. For Whom the Bell Tolls 04. Fuel 05. The Unforgiven 06. Now That We're Dead 07. Moth Into Flame 08. Wherever I May Roam 09. Halo on Fire 10. Hit The Lights 11. Sad But True 12. One 13. Master Of Puppets 14. Fade to Black 15. Seek & Destroy Encore: 16. Battery 17. Nothing Else Matters 18. Enter Sandman METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich told Rolling Stone that playing two one-off stadium gigs last year — at San Francisco's AT&T Park and Minneapolis's US Bank Stadium — showed the group that they could still draw larger venues in the U.S. as they tour in support of "Hardwired… To Self-Destruct". "It was like, 'Holy fuck, people really still care about this band in ways that you stopped taking for granted literally decades ago,'" he said. "It was very inspiring and kind of eye-opening. "Full stadium runs can sometimes be a little intimidating," he continued. "There's all these things to worry about like, 'You should really try to play maybe only on the weekend,' and, 'Where do you play on Tuesday?' and some of those practicalities can get a little bewildering. We just threw caution to the wind. Doing a stadium run seemed like the perfect thing on the back of how well this record has been received and all the good will that's out there in METALLICA's world right now." The recent gain in "Hardwired… To Self-Destruct" sales is owed mostly to a concert ticket/album bundle sale redemption promotion with the band's stadium tour that went on sale on February 17. Redemptions of albums included with the purchase of a concert ticket register as a sale in the week the customer redeems/receives the album. The North American leg of the "WorldWired" tour will hit stadiums in 25 cities before winding down in mid-August.

Setlist and photos from tonight's show in Baltimore can be seen here

Posted by Metallica on Wednesday, May 10, 2017