Song of the Day: Pre-MERCYFUL FATE Band, BRATS with Pre-”Curse of the Pharaohs”

Before there was MERCYFUL FATE, there was BLACK ROSE and BRATS.  Today, we take a listen to BRATS, which featured MERCYFUL FATE guitarists Hank Shermann and vocalist KING DIAMOND.

Let’s check out their song, “Night Riders,” which later got reworked to become the classic MERCYFUL FATE song, “Curse of the Pharaohs.”

MEMORY GARDEN Complete Recording for New Album Doomain

Swedish epic doom metallers MEMORY GARDEN has finished the recordings for their upcoming fifth album Doomain.

Memory Garden

MEMORY GARDEN elaborates on the project: “The recording of Doomain must be the most relaxed album session we’ve ever done. We recorded most of the album ourselves in our own studio and took the time we wanted and needed to get it done. Dan Swanö helped us getting the rig together and he provided us with the tools to do it and from there we did it ourselves. The lead guitar sessions were done at SolnaSound Recording by Simon & Mike Wead. When it all was done it was sent to Dan Swanö and Unisound for mix and mastering. The final album is amazing and we are so thrilled to get it out to all of you.”

The band comments on the album title: “We wanted a short and effective title to this album. It’s a little game of words referring to the style of music we play ‘doom metal and the actual word domain.’ We see this album as a statement of what MEMORY GARDEN stands for music-wise and this album is certainly down our alley, it’s in our Doomain.”

Doomain will be released the 12th/15th of April via Metal Blade Records in Europe on vinyl and as a Digi-CD and on April 15th in North America via all digital music retailers.

ARCH ENEMY – Khaos Legions

Set in the midst of a storyline/theme of societal anarchy and revolution, ARCH ENEMY follow up what is, arguably, the best album of their career in Rise of the Tyrant with Khaos Legions. The good news is that the new album is more or less in line with its predecessor in style and quality.

As with any ARCH ENEMY album, it’s all about the twin lead guitars of brothers Mike and Chris Amott bedazzling the listeners with their all around guitar talents. Those warm guitar tones, godly melodies, pristine death and thrash metal riffing, and beautiful guitar solos are all here again.

Vocalist Angela Gossow does her thing here – lots of emphasis on the enunciation of words, lots of effort and energy towards sounding savage and brutal, and that overall lack of power behind the vocals.

Khaos Legions starts out with plenty of energy but the 14-track record gradually loses momentum towards the last 1/3 of it. That’s not to say that the songs towards the end are bad per se. It’s more about the fact that by the eighth or ninth song, you get the idea of what the record is all about and don’t necessarily need any more material. Also, the lyrical themes of anarchy, unity, “us” vs. “them,” independence, and social revolution run thin as it’s safe to say that most ARCH ENEMY fans don’t take the band’s lyrics too seriously.

Those with keen ears will spot the little nods to heroes of the past with each ARCH ENEMY album. There are nods to JUDAS PRIEST and AMEBIX among others on this record.

There are no surprises on Khaos Legions but I don’t think that comes as a surprise at this point in the band’s career. It’s the band doing what they do…and they do it well. While it may not be as good as Rise of the Tyrant, Khaos Legions is a good ARCH ENEMY record. If you enjoy their godly guitar work and precise, pounding drumming, then you’ll be happy. (Century Media Records)

King Diamond Undergoes Triple Bypass Surgery

Legendary vocalist King Diamond (KING DIAMOND, MERCYFUL FATE) recently underwent open heart triple bypass surgery. However, he is at home and recuperating well. Here is the official update from his wife and KING DIAMOND backing vocalist Livia:

“Hi Everyone,

Livia here.

“Let me catch you all up on the past couple of weeks’ happenings, because it affects many things.

“On Monday the 29th of November, King had to be transported to the nearby hospital by ambulance. After several different tests were done and the EKG machine showing abnormalities, the doctors recommended that he get a cardiac catheterization.

“Cardiac catheterization is a procedure where the doctors lead a very thin tube up from the leg and into the heart, where it injects dye into the bloodstream. Then a camera at the end of the tube takes many pictures of the heart’s arteries, looking for blockages.

“After this was done, they determined that King had several heart attacks, and three of his heart’s arteries were the cause: one was completely blocked, the second was 90% blocked, and the third was 65% blocked.

“The only solution to this was an open heart triple bypass surgery.

“If you are interested in the details of how this surgery is performed, please look it up online. I will only touch on the basics.

“The sternum (breastbone) is cut in half and pulled apart, to expose the heart. Veins are harvested from other places of the body, in King’s case it was his left leg and chest wall. The person is then hooked up to a machine that practically does the job of the heart, circulating and oxygenating the blood.
The heart is then stopped, and the lungs collapse (the lungs stop working since the blood is being oxygenated by the machine). The surgeon then sews the harvested veins in place, bypassing the found blockages.
Once the surgery is done, the surgeon moves the ribs and breastbone back into place and wires it together. The chest is closed as well.
They use an electric pulse to start the heart and a breathing machine is lead into the lungs to restart breathing.

King‘s surgery took approximately 7 hours.

“Everything went well, and King was taken to ICU for recovery. He was walking and eating solid food already 2 days after the operation, and he was the first one in the history of the hospital who walked on his own power from the ICU to normal care.

“10 days after the ambulance took him to the emergency room, he is at home and is recovering well. It will be a few months before he feels completely normal and is without pain.

“He would like to mention here that he’s eternally grateful for the wonderful staff at Centennial Medical Center who took care of him. Dr. Kourlis, Dr. Kamili, Dr. Alang, Nurse Christie and Nurse Thomas among many others made sure that he got the best care and attention he could ever have hoped for.They were always very nice to me too, letting me stay overnight in the ICU after visiting hours were over.

“In light of this, he will be taking a break from music and the music business altogether until further notice.

“He very much wants to write new music, finish the DVDs, and go on tour, but for now, all those things are in the distant future and he’s not thinking about them.

“Please understand that the King Diamond band is not stopping, disbanding or anything of the sort. King‘s health is first priority, and when everything is going good with him, the music will resume.

“Thank you all very much for reading this and STAY HEAVY,

Livia

VOLBEAT – Beyond Hell/Above Heaven

Four albums into their career and I can happily report that VOLBEAT are still going strong. Beyond Hell/Above Heaven is more or less “a VOLBEAT record” with it’s distinct blend and balance of thrash, punk, rockabilly, country, and 50/60’s rock n’ roll. There are some subtle nuances here and there but nothing that significantly changes what fans have come to expect from the band.

This time the band don’t start out with an obligatory “intro” of country guitars but instead breaks out of the gates with the heavy “The Mirror and the Ripper.” “Who They Are” is one of the band’s heaviest songs with an intro that sounds like 80’s METALLICA trying to sound like 80’s SLAYER with perhaps a dash of CANNIBAL CORPSE. Lead single, “Fallen,” is a memorable song with a big chorus, showing the pop-ier side to the band. “7 Shots” features the legendary Michael Denner and Mille Petrozza and is the song is 100% metal in spirit as a result. Denner’s guitar solos are absolutely exquisite and add the kind of flavor not found on VOLBEAT’s other songs. Mille’s distinct vocal bite on the song’s chorus sound great.

Like any VOLBEAT album, there are some definite monster songs that stand out from the rest. This time around “A New Day” plays that role to perfection. The song has plenty of soul and hooks. “16 Dollars” gets right down to it with its rockabilly/50’s rock n’ roll stylings complete with upright bass. “Evelyn” may be VOLBEAT’s heaviest song as the majority of the song is grindcore madness featuring NAPALM DEATH’s Barney Greenway. When you compare and contrast vocalist/guitarist Michael Poulsen and Barney’s vocals, Barney completely overpowers Michael’s vocals with his ferocity. Given the band’s commercial success thus far, VOLBEAT take time out to thank their fans via album closer, “Thanks.”

At the end of the day, Beyond Hell/Above Heaven is another high quality, solid offering of fine songs from these Danish gods. (Mascot Records)

VOLBEAT: One Continent at a Time

Nothing beats good, memorable songs and Copenhagen, Denmark’s VOLBEAT specialize in them. Their rise to fame in Europe is quite impressive as the band have earned multiple platinum and gold records, and several hit songs. In contrast, the band have only recently begun making their presence known in U.S. beginning with their tour earlier this year with fans, METALLICA. But make no mistake, the band have a very loyal underground following in the States that is only growing larger. APESHIT met up with guitarist Thomas Bredahl and drummer Jon Larsen before their sold out show in Anaheim, CA to speak with the new Danish gods about the secrets to their success.
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Metal Blade Records to Reissue KING DIAMOND Albums, The Spiders Lullabye and The Graveyard, this October

Metal Blade Records has announced that it will be reissuing KING DIAMOND‘s The Spiders Lullabye and The Graveyard. Both albums have been re-mastered by KING DIAMOND guitarist Andy LaRocque and are set to be released on October 13th. Each album will include bonus material that purchasers will be able to obtain digitally. Both The Spiders Lullabye and The Graveyard will include live “bootleg” versions (with video footage) of the following songs: “The Spider’s Lullabye” from the album of the same name, and “Trick Or Treat” and “Up From The Grave” from The Graveyard.

Andy LaRocque re-mastered both records and you can really hear more details and sounds that I remember recording but didn’t come through in the original mastering. The records have much more bottom end this time around. There’s even more details and clarity than the original version and you’ll hear things you’ve never heard before in both releases. Andy did a great job re-mastering and improving these albums above and beyond my expectations. The artwork has also been completely redone for Spiders and Graveyard and is just amazing. I did not expect them to come out this good and am just completely thrilled with the result.

“We originally were going to include bonus footage on the albums as a CD-ROM, but the sound and video quality was going to suffer tremendously and that is just unacceptable. Instead, the bonus footage is going to be available for download to those who purchase the albums. The video downloads will be available in multiple formats so everyone can see them,” commented King Diamond.

It has also been confirmed that the two KING DIAMOND songs “Welcome Home” and “Cremation” will appear on the upcoming videogame, Brutal Legend, scheduled for release in October.

Both KING DIAMOND and MERCYFUL FATE have worked out a deal with C1rca Shoes to have featured artwork on several of their sneakers, the first pair set to arrive in October 2009 with more to follow in 2010. Make sure to keep an eye on the official KING DIAMOND/MERCYFUL FATE site http://www.covenworldwide.org/ for product details and updates.

Expect the first ever DVD from KING DIAMOND as early as the winter 2009 or as late as early 2010.

http://www.covenworldwide.org/

http://www.myspace.com/kingdiamond