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DIMMU BORGIR bassist /vocalist Simen Hestnaes (a.k.a. ICS Vortex, ex-BORKNAGAR, LAMENTED SOULS) has officially rejoined ARCTURUS as the group's permanent vocalist. His first appearance back with the group will take place at the Inferno Festival kick-off event at the Underworld in London on January 27.

Hestnaes had previously performed vocals on three tracks and written the lyrics for one song on ARCTURUS' 1997 album, "La Masquerade Infernale".

ARCTURUS announced earlier this month that vocalist ?yvind H?geland (SPIRAL ARCHITECT) had left the group. No reason was given for his departure.


ArceON (16-1-2005)

PARADISE LOST: 'Forever After' Artwork Posted Online

The cover artwork for the new PARADISE LOST single, "Forever After", has been posted online at this location.

"Forever After" is the first single off PARADISE LOST's upcoming self-titled effort, due on February 21 through G.U.N. Records. The "Forever After" single, which features backing vocals from Heather Thompson (TAPPING THE VEIN) and Leah Randi, will precede the album on February 7.

"Paradise Lost" — named in celebration of the group's 10th studio album since their full-length debut, "Lost Paradise", was released in 1990 — was recorded primarily at Chapel Studios in Lincolnshire, England under the guidance of producer Rhys Fulber (FEAR FACTORY, FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY). The follow-up to 2002's "Symbol of Life" is the group's first CD to feature drummer Jeff Singer (ex-BLAZE).


JUDAS PRIEST: 'Angel Of Retribution' Cover Artwork Posted Online

Sony Music U.K. has uploaded the cover artwork for JUDAS PRIEST's new album, "Angel of Retribution". Check it out at this location.

As previously reported, Epic will celebrate the reunion of the "Painkiller"-era JUDAS PRIEST lineup by issuing a DualDisc for the "Angel of Retribution" title. It is scheduled for March 1 and coinciding with the release of the CD.

"Angel of Retribution" track listing:

01. Judas Rising
02. Deal With The Devil
03. Revolution
04. Worth Fighting For
05. Demonizer
06. Wheels Of Fire
07. Angel
08. Hellrider
09. Eulogy
10. Lochness


IRON MAIDEN: 'The Number Of The Beast' Single Enters Euro Chart At No. 7

IRON MAIDEN's reissue of their classic single, "The Number of the Beast", has entered the official Euro chart at No. 7. There are hopes for the single to stay in the Top 10 another week as the first-week numbers are based solely on U.K., Irish, Swiss and French chart positions (territories where the single was released first).

This is MAIDEN's highest entry on the Euro singles chart since "Man on the Edge" (No. 7) in 1995 and "Holy Smoke" (No. 6) in 1990.

As previously reported, EMI re-released "The Number of The Beast" as a single in celebration of IRON MAIDEN's phenomenal 25-year history and in keeping with the recent international chart success of their double DVD, "The Early Years".


AXEL RUDI PELL plans to record the new studio album

According to a posting on his official web site, German guitarist AXEL RUDI PELL will appear at various summer festivals in Europe, like Bang Your Head and Wacken in Germany, and Graspop in Belgium. The plan is for PELL to record the next studio album in September/October for a January 2006 European release via SPV Records. A tour in support of the album will take place around March/April 2006.


Top Five highlights and biggest disappointments of 2004

Members of AYREON, FLOWER KINGS, EXMORTEM, KOLDBORN, MERCENARY, MANTICORA, URKRAFT, THE PSYKE PROJEKT, MNEMIC, BLAZING ETERNITY, SPECTRAL MORTUARY, VOLBEAT, KONKHRA, BEHEMOTH and JERKSTORE have provided Denmark's Antenna magazine with their personal Top Five highlights and biggest disappointments of 2004. Read the results here' .


ALTARIA have finished working on songs for a new album

Bassist Marko Pukkila of the Finnish melodic metallers ALTARIA has revealed in an online posting that he and drummer Tony Smedjebacka have been busy writing and pre-producing material for the third ALTARIA album. "So far we have come up with a few great tunes and it looks like the third, as-yet-untitled album will be heavier than 'Divinity' but will still be melodic with catchy melodies," he writes.


ENTHRALLMENT have set the title of their third album

Bulgarian brutal death metal band ENTHRALLMENT have set "Smashed Brain Collection" as the title of their third album, tentatively due in the spring. The CD will be recorded at Marinov studio beginning on January 22 and will include nine songs. Songtitles set to appear on the CD include "Awaiting the Death", "Total Zombie Domination", "Mutant", "Disgruntled", "Supporting the Chaos and Hate", "Experiment With You", "Carnal Affection", "Smashed Brain Collection" and "Graveyard".


THUNDERSTONE have commenced the mixing process for their third album

Finnish melodic power metallers THUNDERSTONE have commenced the mixing process for their third album at Timo Tolkki's (STRATOVARIUS) Goldenworks studio with producer/guitarist Nino Laurenne. 11 songs are being finalized, with the final track listing, album title and release date soon to be announced. Songtitles set to appear on the CD include "Tool of the Devil", "Welcome to the Real", "I Will Come Again", "Land of Innocence" and "Feed the Fire".


About 150 Swedish musicians have recorded a song to raise money for the victims in Asia

About 150 of the biggest names in rock and hard rock from Sweden have recorded a song that will be released in a couple of weeks on a special DVD to raise money through the Red Cross for the victims of the horrible earthquake and flood disaster in Asia.

The song "Where Is The Fire" (written by Tommy Denander, Bjorne Lindbom and Bernt Ek) was originally recorded a few years ago for the victims of 9/11, but was eventually pulled from that project because it "was very poorly handled by the people in charge," according to a press release. The song has been kept in a vault with the intention of donating it if and when something horrible would happen again....well, it doesn't get much worse than this.

This special DVD will include a documentary of how the song was recorded, a music video of the song plus 10-15 never-before-shown or very rare videos with great bands like EUROPE, TALISMAN , LION'S SHARE, PAIN and lots of other great stuff.


SYMPHONY X have begun work on a new album

The following update has been posted at SYMPHONY X's official web site:

"As [singer] Russ' [Allen] solo CD was taking quite a bit longer than anticipated, & [guitarist] Mike Romeo was anxious to get going full force on the new SYMPHONY X CD, they both agreed that Russ would take his solo effort to another studio to complete the mixing. Russ is looking for a certain sound & said that Mike 'made the music sound too good'; Russ should be finishing up the final mix in the following week or so. In the meantime, Mike Romeo has begun working in earnest on the new SYMPHONY X CD with help from the other band members; we'll have more information here as it becomes available."


SATYRICON - the guitarists are to be sentenced to ten years in prison

SATYRICON guitarists Steinar Gundersen and A.O. Gronbech were arrested and charged in Canada for drugging and raping a woman in the band's tour bus after a concert in Toronto.

"I can confirm that the Norwegian consul in Toronto has been in contact with the arrestees, and followed up by, among other things, visiting them in jail and obtaining legal assistance," said Anne Lene Dale Sandstein, press officer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to Norwegian TV 2 Nettavisen. According to Canadian police, the crimes were committed after SATYRICON had performed at the club Fun Haus in Toronto last Tuesday (Dec. 14), reported the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet.

"A woman from Toronto explained that she went with the two Norwegian musicians to their tour bus," said Kristin Bacharach at the Toronto police to the paper. There she was reportedly drugged and sexually assaulted. Bacharach confirmed that the two musicians have been arrested and are charged. DNA tests have been taken. If found guilty, the two musicians may be sentenced to ten years in prison. As a result of the musicians' arrests, the remaining dates on SATYRICON's North American tour with 3 INCHES OF BLOOD (including a New York show) were cancelled.


DECEIVER will record a debut album

DECEIVER, the Swedish metal band featuring former members of MAZE OF TORMENT and XENOFANES, will enter the Abyss studio in March 2005 with producer Tommy Tägtgren to begin recording their full-length debut, tentatively titled "Riding with the Reaper", for a May release via the newly launched, Gothenburg-based label Iron Fist Productions. A vinyl version will be released at the same time as the CD.


WITHIN Y - part ways with guitarist

WITHIN Y, the Swedish melodic death metal band featuring former GARDENIAN drummer Thim Blom, have parted ways with guitarist Niklas Almen. "[Niklas] just wants more time to do things on his own," the band write on their web site. "We will proceed writing new songs for the next album. The songs finished so far are a bit different than [the group's debut album] 'Extended Mental Dimensions', but still very powerful and raw!"
"Extended Mental Dimensions" was released last March through Holland's Karmageddon Media (formerly Hammerheart Records). The CD was recorded and mixed during August and early September at Meta4Music Studios in Gothenburg, Sweden. Artwork was created by art-wizard Niklas Sundin of Cabin Fever Media.


ORPHANED LAND - new video posted online

The video for Israeli band ORPHANED LAND's ambitious song "Ocean Land" from their Century Media debut, "Mabool", has been posted online at this location' . Shot in Israel, it is the band's first video, and was filmed in the midst of hundreds of Medusa jellyfish where the band got "jellied" repeatedly. Vocalist Kobi Farhi sang for hours underwater, and unintentionally drank gallons of water. Guitarist Matti also performed his guitar solo underwater.
Commented Farhi: "It was a very hard day of working and we were on the set for 18 hours. We worked with a very famous actress named Hila Vidor and she was unbelievable. It was an inspiring adventure to work with her. If you ask me, she is the Queen of the Sea! I think that it's a great video and it's about time that you will all be able to watch it and judge for yourself."
An MP3 of the song "Ocean Land" can be downloaded at this location' .


RUNNING WILD - release date for new album

German power metallers RUNNING WILD have finalized the track listing for their new album, "Rogues En Vogue", due on February 28, 2005 through G.U.N./ BMG Ariola. It is as follows:

01. Draw the Line
02. Angel of Mercy
03. Skeleton Dance
04. Skulls & Bones
05. Born Dead, Dying Worse
06. Black Gold
07. Soul Vampires
08. Rogues en Vogue
09. Winged & Feathered
10. Dead Man's Road
11. The War

A strictly limited-edition version of the album will contain two bonus tracks: "Cannonball Tongue" and "Libertalia".


INSOMNIUM: First Demo Available For Free Download

Finnish melodic death metallers INSOMNIUM have made their entire 1999 demo available for free download at their official web site. Check it out it at this location' .

INSOMNIUM, whose sophomore album, "Since the Day it All Came Down", was released in the U.S. in May via Candlelight Records, are currently writing material for their third CD, tentatively due in late 2005. "We have finished a few new songs already but there's still long way to go until we have whole new INSOMNIUM album in our hands," the band write on their web site. "If everything goes well we’ll enter studio probably somewhere in the next year."


TRISTANIA Guitarist Talks About Comparisons To NIGHTWISH And EVANESCENCE

Norwegian Metal band TRISTANIA, fronted by Vibeke Stene, will release their fourth album, "Ashes", through SPV Records in January. Fresh off a highly successful European tour with THERION and TRAIL OF TEARS, the band will support NIGHTWISH across Europe in February. Guitarist and main composer Anders H?yvik Hidle spoke to Garry Sharpe-Young of Rockdetector.com about launching a female-fronted metal band onto the U.S. market.

Read this immensely interesting interview at www.Rockdetector.com. A full TRISTANIA history, discography and gig guide can be found at this location' .



Swedish thrashers THE HAUNTED paid tribute to late DAMAGEPLAN/ex-PANTERA guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott and DAMAGEPLAN's bodyguard Jeff "Mathem" Thompson last night by requesting one minute of silence with devil's horns raised from everyone that attended their gig at the London Forum. Also appearing on the bill were ARCH ENEMY, DARK TRANQUILLITY and NIGHTRAGE.

THE HAUNTED will embark on a two-week U.K. headlining tour starting on February 24 at London's Mean Fiddler. The trek will also include MARTYR AD and DEAD TO FALL.


ISIS To Tour Australia For First Time

Indie-metal behemoths ISIS will be touring Australia for the first time in early Febrary. Support at the dates will come from THE STOCKHOLM SYNDROME. The details are as follows:

Feb. 10 - Brisbane, AUS @ The Rev
Feb. 11 - Sydney, AUS @ Annandale Hotel
Feb. 12 – St. Kilda, AUS @ Gershwin Room

ISIS will tour in support of their third full-length album, "Panopticon", released in October through Ipecac Records. The follow-up to 2002's "Oceanic", "Panopticon" was produced by Matt Bayles (MASTODON, PEARL JAM) and features a guest appearance on the track "Altered Course" by TOOL bassist Justin Chancellor. A deluxe double LP version through Robotic Empire Records features a "stunning" gatefold sleeve with different artwork than the CD version on Ipecac.



The first official event of the Greek Nightwish fanclub is happening on 23/12 called "SUOMI ROX" in Athens, Greece. More info can be found here: www.suomirocks.com



I am sincerely delighted to tell you one of the greatest piece of medieval music news of the end of the year. On the 16th of December Erebus Odora has released the new ARCANA album - Le Serpent Rouge. Peter Bjargo made a great new year present ot his fans.

This is ARCANA as you have never heard them before. We are all expecting the album to appear in the stores of Ukraine soon.


DESTRUCTION - the new album release is postponed

Due to the fact that their current record label negotiations have taken longer than expected, German thrashers DESTRUCTION have postponed the projected release date of their new album to late summer 2005. "But the new label will be announced in the next weeks, latest at beginning of the next year," the group's bassist/vocalist Marcel "Schmier" Schirmer said in a posting on the band's web site.

DESTRUCTION have finished writing two-thirds of the material for the upcoming CD and are planning on entering the studio in January/February 2005. No further details about the upcoming recording sessions have been made available.


TESTAMENT - the DVD is seen between the lines

Escapi Music has set a march 8, 2005 release date for the first-ever official DVD from TESTAMENT, entitled "Seen Between the Lines".

Originally released in 1991 on VHS, this fully re-mastered DVD contains live footage shot during TESTAMENT's 1991 world tour. As an extra bonus, the DVD will also include promotional videos for the songs "Nobody's Fault", "Practice What You Preach", "Souls of Black" and "The Legacy", rare video interview clips, "a dinner with TESTAMENT," scenes from the Japanese leg of the tour, plus additional discography, image gallery and biography sections.


MOURNING BELOVETH have announced a title of a new album

Irish doom/death metal band MOURNING BELOVETH have set "A Murderous Circus" as the title of their album, due in March via Grau Records, a subsidiary of Prophecy Productions. The CD will feature five new songs with a running time of 75 minutes.

The track listing is as follows:

01. The Apocalypse Machine
02. Elemental Nausea
03. The Crashing Wave
04. Nothing (The March of Death)
05. …yet Everything


MASSEMORD and SYKDOM have decided to join forces

Members of Norwegian black metal bands MASSEMORD and SYKDOM have reportedly decided to join forces in a new group called HEKSERI. The band, who have inked a deal with Blackmetal.com Records, will be releasing their debut in February 2005. The group's musical direction is being described as "anti-human black metal" No further information is currently available.


BEECHER signed with Earache

Earache is proud to unveil the UK’s BEECHER as a new addition to the family as part of a multi-album worldwide recording deal.

Fusing the ethics of primal hardcore with a love for the technicalities and aggression of Metal, BEECHER have become known as one of the hardest working bands on the live circuit, treading the boards with the likes of DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN, THE RED CHORD, CULT OF LUNA and SIKTH and constantly winning converts with every new show.

Early 2004 will see a re-release on Earache for BEECHER's landmark 'Breaking the Fourth Wall' album with unreleased material, followed by the demo-ing of new material for the eventual recording of the debut for the label in the summer.

Guitarist Mark Lyons had this to say about the band's new status; "We are proud to be joining forces with one of the most prominent and influential extreme labels out there, and one of our favorite labels to date with an artist roster that mirrors our own music collections. We look forward to finally getting our records out worldwide!"

BEECHER play their last gig of 2004 at the Phoenix in Manchester on December 20th, before confirming more live work to be announced for 2005.


JUDAS PRIEST - "Angel of Retribution"

JUDAS PRIEST lead guitarist Glenn Tipton has told Launch Radio Networks that the title and cover art of the group's upcoming CD, "Angel of Retribution", refer to the angel featured on the jacket of the band's classic 1976 effort, "Sad Wings of Destiny". "Going back to the angel on the cover of 'Sad Wings Of Destiny', he's now risen up and he's the angel of retribution, so if you don't dig this, he's gonna come and get you basically, you know," Tipton said. "When you see the cover, you'll see what we're trying to — it'll all tie in."

As first reported here yesterday, songs set to appear on the band's first album with original singer Rob Halford in over 14 years include "Judas Rising", "Deal With The Devil", "Worth Fighting For", "Hellrider" and "Revolution", with the latter track expected to arrive at radio stations in early 2005.


KAMELOT - to film two new videos

KAMELOT will head to Sweden to shoot the videos for "March of Mephisto" and "The Haunting" with director Patric Ullaeus of Revolver Films (LACUNA COIL, DIMMU BORGIR, IN FLAMES).

"March of Mephisto" and "The Haunting" come off the group's new album, "The Black Halo", due on February 28, 2005 through SPV Records. The follow-up to last year's "Epica" was produced by Sascha Paeth and Miro at Gate and Pathway studios in Germany and features guest appearances by Shagrath (DIMMU BORGIR), Jens Johansson (STRATOVARIUS), Simone Simons (EPICA), Mari (MASQUERAID), as well as the KAMELOT choir, featuring Herbie Langhans (SEVENTH AVENUE), Amanda Somerville-Scharf, Miro, Gerit Gцbel, Thomas Rettke (HEAVEN'S GATE) and Elisabeth Kjaernes, among others.


SEVENDUST - dedicated "Angel's Son" To Dimebag

SEVENDUST dedicated their song "Angel's Son" in memory of "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, as well as the other victims of the Alrosa Villa shootings, during a headlining performance in Columbus Sunday (Dec. 12).

Commented Adam Schneider of local radio station 99.7 The Blitz, "I have never heard a more powerful performance in my many years of attending shows. The crowd sang along the entire time, with a shirt being thrown up on stage early on, a white t-shirt with Dimebag's photo from the current Damageplan.com site. [SEVENDUST] Lajon Witherspoon put in on to a rousing ovation.

"Later during the concert, SEVENDUST ended 'Face To Face' and immediately kicked into the end of PANTERA's 'Walk' — again to a huge crowd reaction.

"Overall, a truly powerful night in music — rock and metal will live on in Columbus!"


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