TRIVIUM's MATT HEAFY Drops 'In Waves' Acoustic EP

Matthew Kiichi Heafy, the Japanese-American musician best known as the guitarist and lead vocalist for the Grammy-nominated heavy metal band TRIVIUM, has released the “In Waves” acoustic EP, featuring reworked versions of six songs from the group’s 2011 album of the same name. You can now listen to it in the YouTube clip below.

Featured songs:

00:00 In Waves
04:50 Built To Fall
07:58 Caustic Are The Ties That Bind
13:16 Of All These Yesterdays
17:16 A Grey So Dark
19:48 Shattering The Skies Above

According to Heafy, there will be an acoustic EP for every record except 2020’s “What The Dead Men Say”.

Heafy is also an avid gamer who steadily built his Twitch profile to massive success in the past few years. His Twitch efforts have been featured by Microsoft, TechCrunch, Forbes and beyond. He is also a practitioner of Brazilian jiu-jitsu and a food connoisseur. Heafy streams daily on his Twitch channel “matthewkheafy,” displaying the behind-the-scenes work it takes to stay in shape to play guitars and do vocals. He plays TRIVIUM songs by request and every day is a new show made by the fans, for the fans.

Some of Heafy’s notable accomplishments include hosting the first-ever full metal gaming village at Wacken Open Air, competing against Ninja in the Twitch Rivals Summer Skirmish, competing and celebrating the opening of Full Sail’s esports arena, creating Shroud’s theme song, being Streamlab’s top streamer merch seller of all time, being in the top 100 most subscribed to channels on Twitch, leading the charge as the pioneer of music streaming on Twitch (also partnering with Twitch to make the official how-to guides on streaming music on Twitch’s help page), and co-founding the Metal & Honey Foundation, which supports the Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for children. 100% of the proceeds directly benefit the music therapy program.

Heafy also recently appeared on “The Drew Barrymore Show”, where he surprised a fan and gifted him with a guitar.

TRIVIUM’s ninth full-length album, “What The Dead Men Say”, is available now via Roadrunner Records.

BLACK SABBATH: Listen To 'Lady Evil' And 'Die Young' From 'Heaven And Hell' And 'Mob Rules' Deluxe Editions

Singer Ronnie James Dio joined BLACK SABBATH in 1979 which resulted in two back-to-back classic albums: “Heaven And Hell” and “Mob Rules”. On those memorable albums, Dio’s soaring tenor and gothic songwriting were the perfect foil for the band’s bone-crushing mix of razor-sharp riffs, intense grooves, and dark imagery.

Rhino salutes the long shadow cast by this short-lived lineup with newly remastered versions of both albums expanded with rare and unreleased music. “Heaven And Hell: Deluxe Edition” and “Mob Rules: Deluxe Edition” will be released separately on March 5. Each album will be available on 2-CDs ($19.98), or a 2-LPs ($31.98). Due to space constraints, both vinyl editions include a selection of bonus material from the CDs. The music will also be available via digital download and streaming services the same day.

“Lady Evil” (7″ Mono Edit) from “Heaven And Hell: Deluxe Edition”, and “Die Young” (Live B-Side) from “Mob Rules: Deluxe Edition” can be streamed below.

Dio joined BLACK SABBATH for the first time in 1979 and quickly found kindred spirits in guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler, and drummer Bill Ward. When “Heaven And Hell” was released in April 1980, the album was met with effusive reviews for the band’s return to form on metal masterpieces like “Neon Knights” and the title track. The album reached #9 in the U.K. and #28 in the U.S., where it was also certified platinum.

“Heaven And Hell: Deluxe Edition” adds several bonus tracks that have never been released in North America, including versions of “Children Of The Sea” and “Die Young” recorded live in 1980 in Hartford, Connecticut. The set concludes with live rarities like “E5150” and “Neon Knights” that originally appeared in 2007 on the Rhino Handmade’s limited edition collection “Black Sabbath: Live At Hammersmith Odeon”.

To follow up “Heaven And Hell”, the group returned to the studio in 1981 to begin recording “Mob Rules”, with drummer Vinny Appice joining the band for the first time. Released in October 1981 and certified gold, the album was another SABBATH classic, including standouts like “The Sign Of The Southern Cross”, “Turn Up The Night” and the title track.

“Mob Rules: Deluxe Edition” boasts an expansive selection of rare and unreleased recordings. Along with additional tracks from “Live At Hammersmith Odeon”, the collection also includes a newly mixed version of “The Mob Rules”. The cherry on top is an entire concert recorded in 1982 in Portland, Oregon. Highlights include stellar performances of “Neon Knights”, “Heaven And Hell” and “Voodoo”.

The Dio-fronted lineup disbanded in 1982 but reunited a decade later to record “Dehumanizer” and tour before going on hiatus again. The group came together again in 2006 to record three new songs for Rhino’s era-spanning collection “Black Sabbath: The Dio Years”. The collaboration led to a highly anticipated world tour in 2007 where the group was billed as HEAVEN & HELL. Their final album of new material, 2009’s “The Devil You Know”, again demonstrated the musical bond between the band members was unparalleled.

“Heaven And Hell: Deluxe Edition” 2-CD track listing

Disc One: Original Album (2021 Remaster)

01. Neon Knights
02. Children Of The Sea
03. Lady Evil
04. Heaven And Hell
05. Wishing Well
06. Die Young
07. Walk Away
08. Lonely Is The Word

Disc Two: Bonus Tracks

01. Children Of The Sea – Live B-Side Of “Neon Knights” *
02. Heaven And Hell – Live B-Side Of “Die Young” *
03. Lady Evil – 7″ Mono Edit (unreleased on CD)

Hartford Civic Center, Hartford, CT (August 10, 1980)

04. Neon Knights *
05. Children Of The Sea *
06. Heaven And Hell *
07. Die Young *

Hammersmith Odeon, London (Dec 31, 1981- Jan 2, 1982)

08. E5150
09. Neon Knights
10. Children Of The Sea
11. Heaven And Hell

2-LP Track Listing

Side One

01. Neon Knights
02. Children Of The Sea
03. Lady Evil
04. Heaven And Hell

Side Two

01. Wishing Well
02. Die Young
03. Walk Away
04. Lonely Is The Word

Side Three

01. Children Of The Sea – Live B-Side Of “Neon Knights” *
02. Heaven And Hell – Live B-Side Of “Die Young” *
03. Lady Evil – 7″ Mono Edit (unreleased on CD)
04. Neon Knights – Live 1980 *

Side Four

01. Children Of The Sea – Live 1980 *
02. Heaven And Hell – Live 1980 *
03. Die Young – Live 1980 *

“Mob Rules: Deluxe Edition” 2-CD track listing

Disc One: Original Album (2021 Remaster)

01. Turn Up The Night
02. Voodoo
03. The Sign Of The Southern Cross
04. E5150
05. The Mob Rules
06. Country Girl
07. Slipping Away
08. Falling Off The Edge Of The World
09. Over And Over

Bonus Tracks

10. The Mob Rules – Heavy Metal Soundtrack Version
11. Die Young – Live B-Side Of “Mob Rules” 7″ *
12. The Mob Rules – New 2021 Mix **

Live At The Hammersmith Odeon London (31/12/81 – 2/1/82)

13. Country Girl
14. Slipping Away
15. The Mob Rules
16. Voodoo

Live At Portland Memorial Coliseum, Portland, OR, April 22, 1982

17. Intro **
18. Neon Knights **

Disc Two: Bonus Tracks

Live At Portland Memorial Coliseum, Portland, OR, April 22, 1982

01. N.I.B. **
02. Children Of The Sea **
03. Voodoo **
04. Black Sabbath **
05. War Pigs **
06. Drum Solo **
07. Iron Man **
08. The Mob Rules **
09. Heaven And Hell **
10. Guitar Solo **
11. Sign Of The Southern Cross/Heaven And Hell – Reprise **
12. Paranoid **
13. Children Of The Grave **

2-LP Track Listing

Side One

01. Turn Up The Night
02. Voodoo
03. The Sign Of The Southern Cross
04. E5150
05. The Mob Rules

Side Two

01. Country Girl
02. Slipping Away
03. Falling Off The Edge Of The World
04. Over And Over

Side Three

01. The Mob Rules – Heavy Metal Soundtrack Version
02. Die Young – Live B-Side Of “Mob Rules” 7″ *
03. The Mob Rules – New 2021 Mix **
04. Sign Of The Southern Cross/Heaven And Hell – Reprise **

Side Four

Live At The Hammersmith Odeon London (31/12/81 – 2/1/82)

01. Country Girl
02. Slipping Away
03. The Mob Rules
04. Voodoo

* previously unreleased in North America
** previously unreleased

Watch KORN Guitarist BRIAN 'HEAD' WELCH's LOVE AND DEATH Project Perform 'Down' During Livestreamed Concert

Video of KORN guitarist Brian “Head” Welch’s LOVE AND DEATH project performing the song “Down” during its February 12 livestreamed concert can be seen below. The track is taken LOVE AND DEATH’s latest album, “Perfectly Preserved”, which arrived on the same day via Earache Records.

“Perfectly Preserved” is described in a press release as “a blistering but accessible full-length follow-up, driven by the spiritual resilience inherent in the first record, combined with an even starker depiction of real-life struggle.” Anger, broken relationships, lowered self-worth, and the collision of optimistic values with oppressive systems are all on display, from the arresting refrains of “Tragedy”, “Death Of Us” and “Affliction” to the bold, conqueror driven anthem of “White Flag”.

LOVE AND DEATH harness soaring melodies and crushing riffs, weaponizing them like a supernatural dagger to strike at the blackened heart of disillusionment from both within and without. With an instantly recognizable relatability, for anyone who has felt discarded or without value, the band crafts invigorating anthems filled with earnest pleas for mercy and certainty amidst the chaos of an uncertain world. This is heavy music to vigorously confront depression, heartbreak, and pain.

The band began with similar raw, authentic emotional honesty to what drove Welch to multiplatinum and Grammy Award-winning heights as a co-founder of genre trailblazers KORN. Forged as an outlet for recovery and redemption in a season of change, the creation of LOVE AND DEATH resulted in the powerful and dynamic 2013 debut “Between Here & Lost”. The album spoke plainly to the hearts of similarly disenfranchised fans all across the world.

“Perfectly Preserved” marks the introduction of guitarist, bassist and co-songwriter Jasen Rauch as a full-fledged member of the band, as well as second time producer for LOVE AND DEATH (co-produced by Joe Rickard). Jasen, best known as an integral part of chart-topping rockers BREAKING BENJAMIN, produced LOVE AND DEATH’s first album in 2013. The duo first met a year or two after the release of Head’s solo album, “Save Me From Myself” (2008). As Head experimented with synthesizers, it was Rauch who encouraged him to pick up his guitar and churn out new riffs.

“Jasen and I started writing together. I was trying to do new things, writing music on a keyboard at my house,” Welch recalls. “I credit him with the rediscovery of my love for the guitar.”

LOVE AND DEATH charge into this new chapter with a definitive lineup, which sees Head and Jasen side by side with the band’s original guitarist, JR Bareis, also on vocals and guitar, and powerhouse drummer Isaiah Perez. It was a perfect storm of friendship and creativity, as they all worked on the album in Nashville, Los Angeles, and Chicago, over several years.

Like A PERFECT CIRCLE or STONE SOUR, LOVE AND DEATH isn’t a “side project” or replacement for the guys’ respective bands. It’s an extension and companion, offering each of them a unique outlet to explore different aspects of their creative passions. “There are certain things we can do melodically in LOVE AND DEATH that might not work in KORN,” Rauch explains. “For me, there are certain creative risks I can take with the arrangements and production that wouldn’t fit with BREAKING BENJAMIN. In this band, we don’t worry about how long a song might be, for example.”

It’s also an opportunity for further collaboration with their friends from other bands. “The Hunter” features Jasen’s BREAKING BENJAMIN bandmate (and solo artist) Keith Wallen, who was also a major co-writer on the project. And Longtime comrade Lacey Sturm, formerly of FLYLEAF, sings on a metallic rendition of a surprising pop cover.

As with the “Lo Lamento” single released in 2016, Bareis steps up vocally, sharing frontman duties with Welch, whose own delivery draws on jaw-dropping life experience. From the heights of rock stardom to the depths of addiction, through an exciting resurrection to the daily battle to stay above water, every moment of truth is evident in his brutally honest screams. Bareis, by contrast, delivers anthemic and even haunting melodic vocals.

“Everybody knows my foundation,” says Welch, regarding the contrast in lyrical themes between “Perfectly Preserved” and the first LOVE AND DEATH album. “I feel like what our world needs most in this very unique moment in time are real storiesabout overcoming struggle. These are honest songs co-written by our group of friends targeting depression/mental health, challenging relationships, trauma, loneliness, and related issues.”

As their fans have learned to expect, LOVE AND DEATH is fearless in its open examination of contradictions and failure, making confessional music with an underlying anchor of purpose and hope. Like the band’s very moniker suggests, both “Love” and “Death” are very present in all that they do.

Track listing:

01. Slow Fire
02. Infamy
03. Down
04. Death Of Us
05. Lo Lamento
06. The Hunter (feat. Keith Wallen)
07. Tragedy
08. Let Me Love You (feat. Lacey Sturm)
09. Affliction
10. White Flag (feat. Ryan Hayes)

LOVE AND DEATH is:

Brian “Head” Welch – Vocals, Guitar
Jasen Rauch – Bass
JR Bareis – Guitar, Vocals
Isaiah Perez – Drums

Late OZZY OSBOURNE And URIAH HEEP Drummer LEE KERSLAKE's Debut Solo Album 'Eleventeen' Receives Posthumous Release

“Eleventeen”, the debut solo album from late OZZY OSBOURNE and URIAH HEEP drummer Lee Kerslake, has just received a posthumous release via HNE Recordings, the hard rock and heavy metal arm of Cherry Red Records.

“Eleventeen” is a collection of eight songs, seven of them written or co-written by Lee. Lee offers notes and insights for each track, saying “Take Nothing For Granted” “is based around my wife and then some,” evidently with tongue firmly in cheek. Elsewhere, “Where Do We Go From Here”, according to Lee, is about how “ot’s all too late to realize… where do we go from here? I’ve had to many argumentative girls in my life!!!” “You May Be By Yourself (But You’re Never Alone)” was written “when Bob Daisley gave such a loving look to Squish, his daughter. It moved me all those years ago.” According to URIAH HEEP guitarist Mick Box’s dedication on the album, “The song ‘Port And A Brandy’ made me smile as we have shared many of them together over the years.” Next up is a heartfelt rendition of Carole King’s timeless “You’ve Got A Friend”, which Lee dedicates to “all of my friends past and present who I have loved through music.” “Eleventeen” concludes with the instrumental “Mom”, which Lee wrote for “all the mums in the world who we should never take for granted.”

Standing down from drumming full-time for URIAH HEEP in 2007 due to ill health, Kerslake commenced his debut solo album in 2015 with Jake Libretto, completing the album in 2019. At the time, Lee stated about the effort: “WOW, I have to say now the album is finished, there is a great sense of achievement. It’s been a little over three years to record and finish it. It took so long because I could only manage two days a week and sometimes nothing for a period of time as the chemotherapy without my permission kept me away. Never mind, it’s done, and I am very proud of the songs.”

With a career that goes back to the 1960s, Kerslake’s first step into the rock limelight was with THE GODS, recording “Genesis” in 1968 and “To Samuel A Son” in 1969. Joining TOE FAT for their self-titled debut in 1970, via 1970’s “Orgasm” by HEAD MACHINE, so far Lee had shared his musical journey with multi-instrumentalist and song writer Ken Hensley. This musical connection and friendship would be further cemented in 1972 when Lee joined Ken in URIAH HEEP for the classic “Demons & Wizards” LP, remaining behind HEEP’s drum kit for the best part of 30-plus years. Lee also found time to make cameos drumming for Ken Hensley and David Byron solo records along the way, and most notably as a founder member of Ozzy Osbourne’s solo band, drumming on the multi-platinum “Blizzard Of Ozz” in 1980 and “Diary Of A Madman” in 1981. He also appeared with supergroup LIVING LOUD, a band featuring bassist Bob Daisley, guitarist Steve Morse, singer Jimmy Barnes and keyboard player Don Airey.

Lee sadly passed away in September 2020 at the age of 73. Box said of his longtime bandmate: “It fills me with great pride that he achieved this as his last final musical legacy.”

“Eleventeen” track listing:

01. Celia Sienna
02. Take Nothing For Granted
03. Where Do We Go From Here
04. You May Be By Yourself (But You’re Never Alone)
05. Port And A Brandy
06. You’ve Got A Friend
07. Home Is Where The Heart Is
08. Mom (Instrumental)

HELLOWEEN: Go Behind The Scenes Of Photo Shoot For Upcoming Single 'Skyfall'

The reunited expanded classic lineup of German power metallers HELLOWEEN will release its much-anticipated album in the summer of 2021. The disc’s first single, “Skyfall”, will arrive on April 2.

Behind-the-scenes video from the “Skyfall” photo shoot can be seen below.

The “Pumpkins United” lineup features returning singer Michael Kiske and guitarist/vocalist Kai Hansen alongside current singer Andi Deris, guitarists Michael Weikath and Sascha Gerstner, bassist Markus Grosskopf and drummer Daniel Löble.

Produced by Charlie Bauerfeind and Dennis Ward, the new HELLOWEEN LP was recorded in part at the H.O.M.E. Studios in Hamburg (where everything started in 1984). The same recording console used for such HELLOWEEN albums as “Master Of The Rings”, “Time Of The Oath” and “Better Than Raw” was utilized to record the band’s new material. The effort was mixed at the Valhalla Studios of Ronald Prent (IRON MAIDEN, DEF LEPPARD, RAMMSTEIN).

HELLOWEEN’s new album saw the legendary German power metallers going “back to the roots,” with the band recording fully analogue and Löble playing the drum kit previously used by HELLOWEEN’s original drummer, the late Ingo Schwichtenberg, on the legendary “Keeper Of The Seven Keys” recordings.

“Skyfall” will be available on CD, digitally and in two different vinyl versions.

Single 1: Vinyl, CD, digital:

“Skyfall” (single edit) + “Skyfall” (exclusive alternative vocals mix). Both are exclusive single versions and will not be on the album. Around 20 minutes playing time.

Single 2: Vinyl only

“Skyfall” (single edit) + “Indestructible” (exclusive album track). This is a strictly limited version of the new single with one exclusive album track.

The epic 12-minute track “Skyfall”, written by Hansen, has the long-yearned “Keeper Of The Seven Keys” vibe, but it isn’t musically telling the whole story of the album. Lyrically, “Skyfall” tells about an alien landing on earth, and the accompanying music video, produced by Martin Häusler, will be the most elaborate clip in the history of the band, featuring 3D animation and a cinematic look.

A new two-minute video in which Kiske, Hansen and Deris sit down and discuss the idea behind the “exclusive alternative vocals mix” and why there will be three versions of “Skyfall” can be seen below.

The “Pumpkins United” tour marked the first time Kiske had played live with HELLOWEEN since 1993. Hansen, who departed HELLOWEEN in 1988, had been joining the band onstage on various tours and festival appearances throughout the years. The set featured several duets with Kiske and his replacement, Deris, along with many rarely played songs, including “Kids Of The Century”, “Rise And Fall” and “Livin’ Ain’t No Crime”. Hansen — who fronted HELLOWEEN until late 1986 — sang a medley of several early HELLOWEEN classics, including “Ride The Sky”, “Judas”, “Starlight” and “Heavy Metal (Is The Law)”.

HELLOWEEN’s European “United Alive World Tour Part II”, which was originally scheduled to take place in September and October will now take place next year.

The “Pumpkins United” lineup of HELLOWEEN already released one new song — aptly titled “Pumpkins United” — in October 2017.

NEUROSIS's STEVE VON TILL Announces Ambient Album 'A Deep Voiceless Wilderness' And Spoken-Word Release 'Harvestman'

Steve Von Till has made a life’s work out of seeking the elemental. With a solo discography that stretches back more than two decades, he has toiled in a shadow realm, peeling back layers of reality in a never-ending search for true meaning and raw emotion. Due on April 30, “A Deep Voiceless Wilderness” strips back the veil even further. An achingly beautiful ambient work with neo-classical leanings, the album is a hallucinatory and elegant rumination on our disconnect from the natural world, each other, and ultimately ourselves.

For some listeners, the album may recall the work of modern composers like Jóhann Jóhannsson, Brian Eno or Gavin Bryars. For Von Till, it’s about surrendering to the spirit of place — and to the original intent behind his 2020 solo album, “No Wilderness Deep Enough”. That album marked a significant first for Von Till: It was his first solo record without a guitar in hand. Instead, Von Till intoned powerful and thought-provoking lyrics over piano, cello, mellotron and analog synthesizers. “A Deep Voiceless Wilderness” is that same album without Von Till’s words.

“This is how I originally heard this piece of music,” he says. “Without the voice as an anchor or earthbound narrative, these pieces have a broader wingspan. They become something else entirely and unfold in a more expansive way. The depth of the synths, juxtaposed with the strings and French horn, have space to develop and allow the listener to imagine their own story.”

“A Deep Voiceless Wilderness” track listing:

01. Called From The Wind
02. We’ll Always Have The Sea
03. The Emptiness Swallows Us All
04. Shelter In Surrender
05. Nightshade High Country
06. The Spiraling Away

Also a first for Von Till was “Harvestman: 23 Untitled Poems And Collected Lyrics”, his first book of poetry. Published by the University of South Dakota’s AstrophilPress, the book established Von Till as a formidable and thoughtful author of verse — a fact that NEUROSIS fans knew all along, but the wider world was only just becoming aware of.

“There is a depth of hope, acceptance and loss that permeates these poems,” Joseph Haeger said in his review for The Inlander. “Like any great piece of art, ‘Harvestman’ contains multitudes, and that’s exactly what I was hoping for when I cracked it open. Von Till has already established himself as a great musician, and he’s about to put his stake into the ground proving himself to be a damn good writer.”

For 2021, Von Till has reimagined “Harvestman” in a new format, delivering an intimate and captivating reading of the collection with sound enhancements.

“Being a constant sound-seeker, I thought it would be more interesting to have some textures and treatments to break up the intimate voice recordings,” Von Till says of his decision to add some atmosphere to the spoken-word version of “Harvestman”. “The background sounds used on some of the tracks were pieces related to ‘No Wilderness Deep Enough’ that were either not used or repurposed to interweave further connections between my artistic output at this time of my life.”

Photo by James Rexroad

EPICA Releases Music Video For 'Skeleton Key'

Dutch symphonic metallers EPICA have released the official music video for the song “Skeleton Key”. The track is taken from the band’s new album, “Omega”, which is being released today (Friday, February 26) via Nuclear Blast. The follow-up to 2016’s “The Holographic Principle” was once again produced by Joost Van Den Broek (POWERWOLF, AYREON) in part at Sandlane Recording Facilities in Rijen, Netherlands.

Singer Simone Simons comments: “Welcome to the ‘Skeleton Key’ multi-layered dreamworld. Don’t forget to bring your Skeleton Key to unlock all the secrets within yourself! I hope this song will haunt you until we can see each other again.”

Guitarist/vocalist Mark Jansen previously stated about “Omega”: “I am very proud of this album, as I am convinced we have written a very refreshing and well-balanced album even after so many years of existence.

“Our strength is that we have many great songwriters in one band. We have managed to combine each other’s strongest qualities and select the best songs. It was a fruitful period of spending time together to work as one team on those tracks. I think this has made the biggest difference compared to our previous albums. Still using the advantages of comfortably sending files by the Internet to each other but combining that with coming physically together again to work on all the tracks.”

“Omega” track listing:

01. Alpha – Anteludium
02. Abyss Of Time – Countdown To Singularity
03. The Skeleton Key
04. Seal of Solomon
05. Gaia
06. Code Of Life
07. Freedom – The Wolves Within
08. Kingdom Of Heaven, Part 3 – The Antediluvian Universe
09. Rivers
10. Synergize – Manic Manifest
11. Twilight Reverie – The Hypnagogic State
12. Omega – Sovereign Of The Sun Spheres

In a recent interview with Australia’s AMNplify, Simons stated about her inspirations and influences for “Omega”: “Life in general. I mean, the years going up to ‘Omega’, I was struggling with a lot of burnout but also having a very hectic lifestyle. Combining touring life with family life was not always easy. So my battery, I would say that I was extremely exhausted from touring and also the emotional stress of being away from my son. That drained me big time. But I guess you go through phases in your life as well.

“Whatever is happening in society, we, as musicians, as artists, are a little bit of a mirror of what is happening, of course, within ourselves, people close to us and what’s happening around in the world,” she continued. “Global warming is a big topic in one of my lyrics. Genome editing. What’s happening worldwide is a topic. But most of all, this album is a very spiritual album. It’s the most profound, mature album in EPICA’s history.

“The name ‘Omega’ is actually referring to the Omega Point, where you have the Big Bang, the creation of universe. Omega is the end, where basically everything comes together, spiritually and science. Everything in the universe is fated towards a final point of unification. It’s the end of our ‘Kingdom Of Heaven’ series. So this is the third and final ‘Kingdom Of Heaven’ song. It’s our eighth studio album. The number eight is also very spiritual because if you put it on the side, it’s the infinity symbol. ‘Kingdom Of Heaven’ is about life after death, and it’s also number eight on the album. So there is a lot of hidden symbolism on the album and in the artwork. The big life question, ‘What is the true meaning of life?’ How do we navigate through life within ourselves? We are all ‘yin and yang.’ We are all made out of light and dark. We all have this labyrinth within ourselves in which we have to navigate ourselves. We hopefully find our way out of the labyrinth and don’t get lost within the labyrinth of ourselves.”

Watch Music Video For 'Cold Sacrifice' From Former URIAH HEEP Keyboardist KEN HENSLEY's Final Album

The music video for the single “Cold Sacrifice” by the late Ken Hensley can be seen below. Taken from his upcoming album “My Book Of Answers”, “Cold Sacrifice” is the third track to be released from Hensley’s collaboration with Russian fan Vladimir Emelin whose poems have been turned into an album’s worth of songs, a series of videos, a concert and an illustrated lyric book (available later this year). “My Book Of Answers” will be released on March 5 as a CD/DVD and vinyl album through Cherry Red Records.

For half a century, Hensley was a major influence in the rock world. An original member of URIAH HEEP, Hensley was keyboard player, guitarist, vocalist and principal song writer with URIAH HEEP for ten years. His subsequent solo career saw Hensley work with leading artists across the globe and he became known as an inspiration for encouraging other talented artists.

“My Book Of Answers” is a wonderful tribute to this rock legend. The album is the intriguing result of a collaboration with one of Hensley’s fans, following a chance meeting at an airport, as he turns dreams into a reality. Over a two-year period, the collaboration with Russian fan Vladimir Emelin has seen Hensley turn Emelin’s poems into an album’s worth of songs, a series of videos, a concert and an illustrated lyric book charting the progress of each piece from Russian poem to English rock song. And all of this has been produced in the midst of a worldwide pandemic.

Hensley was clearly excited when speaking shortly before his death. “It’s been fascinating since day one,” he said. “It’s somewhat miraculous how it all came together and how it’s continued to grow and develop, even through the crisis, to where it’s at today and where it’s going tomorrow.”

This unique project came about following Hensley’s chance meeting with Emelin at Alicante airport in early 2018, as he explained. “Vladimir has a home up on the Costa Blanca and he’s here as often as visas will permit,” Hensley said. “I was flying to Moscow, he was on his way home and he saw me at the airport. I guess I’m his idol and he’s been a fan since he was a kid. Well, he asked me for an autograph and a picture, which I was happy to give him, and for an e-mail address.”

At a meeting in Alicante later in the year, Emelin asked if Hensley could turn a couple of his poems into songs. “I tried a couple of songs, although I didn’t know if I could do it because I’ve never done it before,” Hensley recalled. “He loved it and he wanted me to do more and more until we finally ended up with an album’s worth of songs.

“I made most of the album under lockdown, coronavirus restrictions, which was easy because it was just file-sharing over the Internet with the musicians, the singers and my engineer and it was relatively easy. What we had to do was make sure we didn’t compromise any quality. I popped it over to my manager Steve Weltman and typically, before I know it, he’s got the guys at Cherry Red interested in it! The whole thing takes on another dimension.”

Emelin also suggested a video and they would, eventually, make a video for each track together with a concert of all of the songs which was filmed, with social distancing, close to Hensley’s home in Spain.

“I’ve never done anything like this before and, to the best of my knowledge, I don’t recall anybody else who has,” Hensley added. “I’m also developing a lyric book which will be a beautiful piece. Each song features the original Russian lyric, the translation by Vladimir’s friend in Siberia and my notated stuff where I changed the words of the poem into a song and created verses, bridges and choruses. The fans can see all the changes I made, and understand why I made them, and then there’s the final lyric that appears on the album. Alisia Vaselieva, a wonderful illustrator and friend of Vladimir’s, has done an illustration for each song, so five pages for each song and it will be a deluxe hard-back package — a collectors’ item.

“To begin with, it was hard to find the time to really concentrate on the project because 2019 was one of the busiest years of my career, but, as it happens, the coronavirus actually solved the problem for me, at the same time as it created terrible problems for so many others. I was forced to stay home and spend all my time on this project with Vladimir, the restrictions of the virus meant I was able to do that.

“I’m really happy with it and I have a huge yardstick to measure it by! It seems as though it was meant to happen.”

Track listing:

01. Lost (My Guardian)
02. Right Here, Right Now
03. Cold Sacrifice
04. The Silent Scream
05. Cover Girl
06. Light The Fire (In My Heart)
07. Stand (Chase The Beast Away)
08. The Darkest Hour
09. Suddenly
10. The Darkest Hour (Acoustic)

Hensley was URIAH HEEP’s keyboard player and principal songwriter, responsible for such classics as “Lady In Black”, “Easy Livin'” and “Look At Yourself”, and providing them with much of their musical direction. Leaving the band in 1980 to pursue a solo career, he also collaborated with Florida-based hard rock band BLACKFOOT, L.A. heavy metal band W.A.S.P. and CINDERELLA. “Ken Hensley wrote the rule book for heavy metal keyboards as far as I’m concerned,” W.A.S.P.’s frontman Blackie Lawless is quoted as saying.

Following his departure from URIAH HEEP, Hensley lived in America where he met his wife-to-be Monica. Speaking just days before his death, Hensley said: “I lived in America for 20 years after I left URIAH HEEP and I really needed time to rediscover myself, get rid of my drug habit and see if there was anything left of a human being in there after my life had been buried in URIAH HEEP for ten and a half years. It took a long time to get there but I got there in the end. I met Monica and we lived together for a couple of years. I wanted to move back to Europe to be closer to my family.”

The Hensleys settled on a farm near Alicante, Spain, and married in 2004. A very spiritual person, Hensley became an inspiration to many and known for encouraging talented artists and enjoyed the love and respect of fans the world over. “It’s enduring and I’m happy that most of them are still alive,” he said. “I love to meet them when I go out on the road but at the moment that’s not possible.”

Reflecting on 50-plus years in the music business, he added: “It’s been a great career. I can’t look through the (URIAH HEEP) box set without having a huge smile on my face! To be celebrating my music 50 years on is quite something. We weren’t a hit with the critics but we listened to the people who bought tickets and albums and, unfortunately, the critics ignored them. It just went on and on and on. We pulled together and achieved everything we set out to do. It was a wonderful life and career. My life has been fantastic, but it’s not been easy. It was a lot of hard work, but when you do what you love best it doesn’t seem like hard work.”

FOO FIGHTERS, PERRY FARRELL, GAVIN ROSSDALE, SAMMY HAGAR To Take Part In 'Rock 'N' Relief: Live Stream' Concert Series

Legendary producer and Hall Of Fame songwriter Linda Perry is set to curate and perform at the upcoming two-day “Rock ‘N’ Relief: Live Stream” series. Founded by Sean Penn and Ann Lee, CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort) is a non-profit organization dedicated to crisis response.

CORE has been working tirelessly on the frontlines with partners to provide equitable access to free testing and vaccines across Los Angeles for the past year. This two-day live stream will benefit CORE’s life-saving programs. In addition, the concert will also benefit CORE’s work supporting the City of L.A.’s mobile vaccination program, which brings access to the vaccine directly to communities who need it most across L.A. The mobile vaccination program targets low-income communities of color that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. By providing direct access within the community and offering on-site registration, CORE is helping to eliminate the disparities in health equity as it relates to vaccine distribution and COVID-19 testing.

Additionally, CORE helps operate the City of L.A.’s mass vaccination site at Dodger Stadium, which is currently serving as the largest vaccination site in the U.S., providing an average of 8,000 vaccines daily, with the capacity to administer more than 12,000 vaccines per day, pending vaccine supply. Linda Perry’s “Rock ‘N’ Relief” concert aims to be a magnet to bring awareness to CORE as well as raise money in support of CORE’s daily outreach to broaden its impact in the community during this pandemic.

“Our critical mission within this moment of the pandemic is to provide equitable relief services to our local community, and we rely on donations to continue our efforts,” said CORE’s co-founder and CEO Ann Lee. “We are thrilled that Linda Perry has curated such an amazing group of artists to support our cause and bring comfort and joy to people in this time of hardship.”

“As a mother and fellow member of this community, I wanted to do something to lift spirits and send a positive message of hope and humanity to all the healthcare workers and those on the front lines, as well as raise awareness and funds to support CORE and their relief efforts,” said Perry. “When I first put the word out, many jumped on board to contribute; we had over 150 bands submit to play. We are pleased to announce that California Love Drop and Monty’s Good Burger will provide food and beverages to all the digital workers that will be working hard to bring this powerful content to the viewers of this impactful concert series. Our goal is to do everything we can to thank CORE and the self-sacrificing people who keep us safe during this unprecedented crisis.”

The current lineup for this two-day concert series, hosted by DJ Kat Corbett of SiriusXM and KROQ. will feature artists like FOO FIGHTERS, Perry Farrell, Gavin Rossdale, Sammy Hagar, Donita Sparks of L7 and friends, Linda Perry, SILVERSUN PICKUPS and more. Perry and CORE are working with Amazon Music to stream the concert live on the Amazon Music mobile app, and through the Amazon Music Twitch channel. Rolling Stone and YouTube will also further the reach of this timeless event.

“We are extremely overwhelmed by the level of support we are getting from these rebel artists who are generously donating their time and so grateful for the backing from the biggest players in the media space. Can’t wait to get the word out and provide much needed funding for CORE while entertaining and lifting the spirits of the nation,” says Perry.

CORE is a nonprofit organization co-founded by Sean Penn and Ann Lee that is dedicated to saving lives and strengthening communities affected by or vulnerable to crisis. Within hours of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Penn mobilized a powerful network to take immediate action. More than 10 years later, CORE continues to lead sustainable programs focused on four pillars: emergency relief, disaster preparedness, environmental resiliency and community building. The organization has expanded beyond Haiti to support communities in The Bahamas, Puerto Rico and the United States. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, CORE has been operating free testing sites across the country alongside local partners, providing essential resources and contact tracing services as well as part of its integrated “CORE 8” approach to combat the pandemic. In 2021, CORE is working with its partners nationwide to ensure safe and equitable distribution of vaccines as they become available to the communities the organization serves.

SABATON Is Back With New Single 'Livgardet'

Swedish heavy metal titans SABATON have released the official music video for their new single, “Livgardet”. The band’s first new music since 2019’s “The Great War” is a Swedish-language song which honors the Swedish Royal Guards first established in the year 1521.

“Since 2012 and ‘Carolus Rex’, we have been looking forward to writing more songs in Swedish, and we felt that we were not done with the history of our fatherland,” bassist Pär Sundström explained. “Over the past years, we have been discussing around topics until something obvious came up. One of the oldest military regiments in the world, the Swedish Royal Guard (Livgardet), was formed in the SABATON home region in Sweden, Dalecarlia, in 1521 by the legendary Swedish king Gustav Vasa. For the past 500 years, they have evolved with the times and served under various kings and queens around the world and are still active today. We felt that such an anniversary would be worth a song, and we aimed at writing a respectful tribute, an anthem for this Swedish regiment and its legacy. The rich 500 years of history is, needless to say, extremely hard to fit into one song, and that is why we mainly focused on the parts and battles that happened during the age of the Swedish Empire. We aimed to write a respectful tribute, a powerful anthem, for this Swedish regiment and its remarkable legacy.”

An English-language version of the song, titled “The Royal Guard”, will be released on April 9. It will be made available on in various shades of colored vinyl, with an etched B-side. A limited-edition version comes with gunpowder pressed into the vinyl.

The Nuclear Blast relationship with SABATON dates back to 2010’s World War II-themed “Coat Of Arms”. Its follow-up, 2012’s “Carolus Rex”, was released in both English and Swedish language editions. “Livgardet” marks a return to the band’s native language. As SABATON’s frontman, co-founder, and principal songwriter Joakim Brodén declared: “Damn, it feels good to be singing in Swedish again!”

As proclaimed by Kerrang! magazine, SABATON put the “(fire)power back into metal” and deliver bombastic, anthems of sacrifice, heroism, and determination, across nine studio albums and two decades of unforgettable performances. The songs “To Hell and Back”, “The Last Stand” and “Primo Victoria” have been streamed more than 200 million times on Spotify alone, where SABATON boasts more than two million monthly listeners. Over a million YouTube subscribers share in the band’s dual passions for hard rock and history. This precision combination propelled them to the top of the bills at the world’s largest metal festivals, like Wacken Open Air (Germany) and Bloodstock Open Air (U.K.).

SABATON is arguably one of the most important bands to emerge from the modern metal scene, journeying forth with confidence on a steady ascendence that’s rewarded them with five Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards (including “Best Live Band” three different years) and multiple nominations for the Swedish equivalent of the Grammy Awards, the Grammis. In 2016, “The Last Stand” debuted at No. 1 in three different European countries and cracked the Top 3 in four others. Brodén, Sundström, Chris Rörland (guitars), Hannes Van Dahl (drums) and Tommy Johansson (guitars) curate a festival of their own, Sabaton Open Air, that started back in 2008, as well as their own forward-thinking Sabaton Cruise, that is being held since 2009.

SABATON’s ninth album centered on World War I, often referred to as “The Great War.” “The Last Stand” delved into various “last stands” throughout history. “Livgardet” strengthens the band’s well-known reputation as experts, aficionados, and storytellers regarding the triumph and tragedy of battle.

SABATON headlined London’s Wembley Arena in February 2020. JUDAS PRIEST chose them as main support on their “50 Heavy Metal Years” tour of North America, scheduled for September and October 2021. The group will kick off 2022 with an unprecedented 29-city tour of their home country.