Hard Rock and Heavy Metal news, reviews, and interviews.

Power Metal

RICHARD CHRISTY: ‘I still have my fingers crossed that people will get to hear the last CONTROL DENIED album’

richard-christy

I was fortunate enough to interview legendary drummer Richard Christy for our partner website, Vita In Musica.

Christy is currently prepping for the release of the new CHARRED WALLS OF THE DAMNED album, which features Tim “Ripper” Owens (DIO DISCIPLED, ex-JUDAS PRIEST) on vocals, Jason Suecof on guitar (CAPHARNAUM), and Steve Digiorgio (TESTAMENT, DEATH, SADUS) on bass.

However, we also talked about his time in DEATH, ICED EARTH, and CONTROL DENIED.

In the interview, Christy revealed that the second CONTROL DENIED album, late DEATH mastermind Chuck Schuldiner’s final album, was nearly completed before Schuldiner‘s death in 2001. Christy mentioned some interesting aspects of recording:

I did my drums in December of the year 2000, and I’m really proud of the drums on that, because those I did in one day, and I did every track in one day. The drum sound was amazing, and I really hope that people will get to hear it one day. Chuck did his guitar parts as well, and those are incredible as well… I remember rehearsing that album, and there’s such crazy stuff on that second album. We did this one thing where it didn’t have a time signature. We slowed down just by looking at each other, and then [sped] back up. It’s one really weird riff. I remember when Chuck came up with it and Shannon shouted to me, we were all just laughing because it was so crazy-sounding and so cool.

As for a potential release, nothing is currently set in stone, but Christy is optimistic.

“I don’t have any news on it, unfortunately,” he said. “But I still have my fingers crossed that one day people will get to hear that album.”

He continued: “The thing is, we gotta make sure that it’s something that Chuck would’ve wanted people to hear and that it’s done right. So, I really hope that people get to hear it one day, cause it’s really an amazing album.”

Christy also revealed that the drums for DEATH‘s final album, The Sound of Perseverance, were recorded in 2-3 days at the most, and without a metronome.

CHARRED WALLS OF THE DAMNED‘s latest album, Creatures Watching over the Dead, will be released September 23 via Metal Blade Records.

For the full interview, click here.

 

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Interview with DELAIN’S Martijn Westerholt

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I had the opportunity to interview symphonic metal mastermind and keyboardist Martijn Westerholt of DELAIN. We discussed the band’s upcoming album, Moonbathers, which is out August 26th via Napalm Records.

Moonbathers features Alissa White-Gluz (ARCH ENEMY, ex-THE AGONIST) as a guest vocalist on “Hands of Gold,” as well as a cover of QUEEN‘s “Scandal”.

Westerholt also discusses his time in Within Temptation, accusations of “commercialism,” and elitism in metal:

The whole ‘commercial’ argument is total bullshit, because if I want to go commercial, you can not use any guitars whatsoever, and I’m in totally the wrong genre. So, I just make what I love to make… If I want to make money, and if I want to be commercial, first of all, I wouldn’t be into music in general, because the chance that you can earn money with music is REALLY, REALLY small. And second of all, even if I want to do that, then please don’t choose metal, because you will have very limited radio airplay, and metal is not in fashion. But I happen to love metal, and I happen to love hard guitars… I actually really, really dislike–actually, despise–the whole elitism thing. Also, when bands become successful, then it’s suddenly not cool anymore, because ‘your’ band–you have to share them with other people. It’s not your band in the first place… I see the fans as my boss, as my employer, because they spend money on me and I can do this because of them, and I really am grateful for this. But this doesn’t mean they have a say in what kind of music I will make or not, because that’s something that comes from your heart… I make what I want to make. 

You can listen to the entire interview at our partner website Vita In Musica.


A Day with NightSphere

NightSphere is a Phoenix-based power metal band who have opened for big-name acts like DORO, Firewind and Sabaton.

Their influences range from Stravinsky to Manowar, and their keyboard-infused symphonic metal sets them apart from many other bands in the local scene.

NigthSphere performing in February 2013. Photo courtesy NightSphere's official Facebook.

NigthSphere performing in February 2013. Photo courtesy NightSphere’s official Facebook.

The band formed in 2010 when the members found each other on Craigslist. The current lineup is Christopher “C.J.” McConnell on vocals, Elsthon Gomez on lead guitar, Josh Marines on bass, Marc Williams on keyboards and Mike Rodriguez on drums.

The Blog of Shredding got the chance to sit down with them and discuss a variety of topics. Here are some highlights.

On the origin of the band’s name:

“We thought it was pretty accessible,” says singer C.J. McConnell. “You could remember it. If you had some crazy name like–we were thinking of Elementasia or something. Well, it sounds great, but… how can you chant that? You know, that’s the thing for us too. We want our audience to interact with us as much as possible.”

On why they are unique:

“We each bring something different to the table,” says drummer Mike Rodriguez. “You have a drummer that is influenced by Motley Crue and Metallica, a guitarist who’s (influenced by) Opeth and Katatonia, C.J. with everything that he is. (laughs) And then John Williams (referring to the composer) over here… (laughs) Just like the blending of everything together, it’s just like the stars aligned. It’s something different.”

“I think that we can appeal to people outside the metal community as well,” adds keyboardist Marc Williams.

NightSphere singer CJ McConnell and guitarist Elsthon Gomez, opening for Doro Pesch. Photo by Alec Damiano.

NightSphere singer C.J. McConnell and guitarist Elsthon Gomez, opening for Doro Pesch. Photo by Alec Damiano.

On what made them want to pursue music in the first place:

“When I was a boy, I heard this story about a show in Sao Paolo with Sepultura,” says Marines. “Like, they had such an awesome presence onstage, the fans killed some dude. And I was like, ‘Wow. That is serious.’ People are into this style. I want to be in this. I knew that’s my calling in life.”

“When I first joined NightSphere, (playing guitar) was kind of more like a hobby,” says Gomez. “But now with NightSphere, I could see myself making it as more of a career.

“Guitar DVDs with Elsthon Gomez,” adds McConnell. “Just wait for it.”

“Oh yeah, it’s gonna happen! Move aside, (Dream Theater guitarist) John Petrucci!”

On what would define success for them:

“Playing big stadiums. Honestly for me, if we played Wacken (Open Air Festival)–even like the small stage, the first band playing like at noon–I would be like ecstatic,” says Gomez.

“I’m gonna know when I make it when I’m sitting down to eat dinner at a steakhouse. I’ll be like cutting into my filet mignon, with a nice glass of wine. Expensive. And I just feel like a little tap on my shoulder, and then like I get up and I look into his face and it’s like (Manowar bassist and songwriter) Joey DeMaio, you know,” says Marines. “I mean, having respect from other top-notch guys that have been around. That’s when you know you make it. Your sales can be good and stuff, but if you have no respect from people who have already been there, then it doesn’t mean anything.”

“For me, it would be when I wake up in the morning, if I know that the only thing I have to do that day is sit at my computer or whatever and write music,” says Williams. “And I’m getting paid for it. That’s what I would like to do. When I do not have to worry about a day job, I’m done.”

NightSphere will perform at Rocky Point Cantina in Tempe, Ariz. on May 16 and at Joe’s Grotto in Phoenix on May 18.

You can hear their song “As We Are Told” below.


DORO, SISTER SIN and More Live in Tempe, Ariz.

Last month, TBOS had the honor of interviewing the Metal Queen, Doro Pesch. The interview was transcribed in four parts, and the audio was featured on Blabbermouth.net.

Doro Pesch onstage. Photo by Alec Damiano.

Doro Pesch onstage. Photo by Alec Damiano.

Saturday, we had the pleasure of seeing and hearing Doro do what she does best–making people headbang till their necks turn sore!

Tempe’s Rocky Point Cantina held an epic mini metal-fest Saturday night, with a total of six bands performing.

Local Phoenix bands Unconscious Minds, Hands of a Traitor, Epyon and NightSphere primed the audience for Sister Sin and DORO.

First up were classic/thrash metal outfit, Unconscious Minds. They made Pantera fans proud with their soaring vocals and melodic bass lines.

Vocalist Manny Lopez of Unconscious Minds. Photo by Alec Damiano.

Vocalist Manny Lopez of Unconscious Minds. Photo by Alec Damiano.

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Unconscious Minds were the first act of the night and played a thrashing set. Photo by Alec Damiano.

Next were metalcore group Hands of a Traitor. They were definitely the youngest out of all the local bands, and they had a dedicated fanbase moshing in the audience. If you’re into newer metal like Asking Alexandria, this band is for you.

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Hands of a Traitor tear it up as their fans moshed in the background. Photo by Alec Damiano.

Epyon played an impressive instrumental set that reminded concertgoers of classic Metallica (think “Orion”) and Death Angel. They also announced that they had found a singer, though the band performed as an instrumental quartet.

Members from Epyon played an instrumental classic metal set. Photo by Alec Damiano.

Members from Epyon played an instrumental classic metal set. Photo by Alec Damiano.

The last local band to perform was power metal act NightSphere. They made an impressive stage entrance with dimmed lights and fog floating through the air.

Power metal outfit NightSphere. Pictured are singer CJ McConnell and guitarist Elsthon Gomez. Photo by Alec Damiano.

Power metal outfit NightSphere. Pictured are singer CJ McConnell and guitarist Elsthon Gomez. Photo by Alec Damiano.

Next were Swedish glam metallers Sister Sin. They played a nine-song setlist, which included tracks from all their albums. Four of the songs were from their latest record, “Now and Forever”. Liv Jagrell interacted energetically with the crowd, actually stepping off the stage to greet fans at one point. The audience was left clamoring for more after they finished.

Liv Jagrell, the amazing frontwoman from Sister Sin.

Liv Jagrell, the energetic frontwoman from Sister Sin. Photo by Alec Damiano.

Finally, at 11:20 p.m., headliners DORO took the stage. They played 20 songs, about half of which were from Pesch’s previous band, Warlock. Highlights from the set were “Hero,” which was written as a tribute to the late Ronnie James Dio, a cover of Judas Priest’s “Breaking The Law”, and the Warlock anthem “All We Are,” where the members from Sister Sin returned to the stage to sing along and engage with the crowd.

Doro Pesch

Doro Pesch, DORO’s frontwoman and namesake, interacts energetically with the clamoring crowd. Photo by Alec Damiano.

Saturday night was an unforgettable night for Tempe metalheads. The headliners more than delivered and great local talent was also showcased.

Sister Sin joined DORO onstage for a memorable rendition of "All We Are". Photo by Alec Damiano.

Sister Sin joined DORO onstage for a memorable rendition of “All We Are”. Photo by Alec Damiano.