KK'S PRIEST, the new band featuring former Judas Priest members K.K. Downing (guitar) and Tim "Ripper" Owens (vocals), along with guitarist A.J. Mills (Hostile), bassist Tony Newton (Voodoo Six) and drummer Sean Elg (Deathriders, Cage), will release its debut album, "Sermons Of The Sinner", on August 20 via Explorer1 Music Group/EX1 Records. Original KK'S PRIEST drummer Les Binks (ex-Judas Priest), unfortunately, sustained a wrist injury, but will make special guest live appearances when the band tours.

Today (May 12th, 2021) fans are able to pre-order the LP in various configurations, including an exclusive limited-edition autographed metal vinyl (silver disc) with bonus CD album, via the band's online store. The album can be pre-saved via all global digital streaming partners as well.

The powerful first single from, "Sermons Of The Sinner", titled "Hellfire Thunderbolt", is also available today (May 12th, 2021) and features a stunning new performance video. Of the song, Downing explains: "We are delighted to finally be able to release our first track to the world. It gives a real flavor of the sound and showcases the amazing players I've got in this band. We can't wait for the fans to hear the record."

The album cover features a mysterious figure robed in a monk's habit, whom Downing slyly states may or may not be him, holding a book of sermons. He says the "sinner" in the title refers to his famous solo in that classic song of the same name and also reflects his sense of alienation from the groundbreaking group that he helped create. "The whole concept is the fact that I continue proudly to be who I am and what I am and do what I do," declares Downing. "It's been nearly 10 years. I'm back making music."

And his disciples are ready to receive his sermons. He's brought a former bandmate along for the ride, and they have unleashed an album with a modern sound that hearkens back to what fans have always loved about Downing and his music and which still sounds fresh. "All of my life, people always wanted an album that we've made in the past," muses Downing. "'What's the new album like? Will it be anything like 'British Steel'? Will it be anything like 'Sad Wings'?' People hoping you're going to make a record that you've already made. So in a way this record just sounds like something that has already been made or should have been be made. It does have a lot of things that are connected to the past. For example, 'Brothers Of The Road'. If you take all the lyrics off and just listen to the music, maybe you could be listening to 'You've Got Another Thing Comin''."

After years of quietly enjoying life away from the rigors of the road and intense studio recording, Downing emerged again on stage in August 2019. His former bandmates had been given the Metal Hall Of Fame award at the Wacken Open Air festival that summer, and Metal Hall Of Fame board member Steve Goldby wanted to give the guitarist his award at Bloodstock. From there, the conversation led to Downing performing a few songs with Ross The Boss. The performance electrified the crowd and reinvigorated Downing. In November of that year, he put on a show in Wolverhampton, U.K. with Owens, Binks, Megadeth bassist David Ellefson and Hostile guitarist A.J. Mills. Downing had produced two albums for the latter band. Spanning Judas Priest's catalog, this superb and successful show sent shockwaves throughout the metal world: K.K. was back and the fans were clearly hungry for more.

Rather than simply rely on his past successes and go on the road performing classic Judas Priest songs, the renowned guitarist did what he has always done — make new music. And songs that fans would want to hear and sing along to in concert. Downing assembled Owens, Mills, Newton and Elg to create "Sermons Of The Sinner", an album that celebrates his classic metal roots and encourages us to cherish those iconic pioneers whom we still have with us. He jokes that KK'S PRIEST is "like a new old band. Or an old new band."

"The ultimate message is we've moved away from this music that we loved for so long and we're so dedicated to, and now we're in a situation where lots of people are actually passing away," explains Downing. "We've lost a lot of great people — [Ronnie James] Dio, Lemmy, I could go on — and that's gonna be accelerated over the coming years. Basically, enjoy everything that's left of this brand of metal including from me. It's not going to last forever."

Downing spent four months writing and recording "Sermons Of The Sinner" and, along with new ideas, he even resurrected a few archived riffs from the '80s. (Can you pick them out?) After partnering with Explorer1 Music Group, the album was originally intended for release a year ago, but with the COVID-19 pandemic curtailing everyone's release and touring plans, Downing pulled back and spent two more months tweaking the album to how he wanted it. The extra time paid off.

High speed album opener "Hellfire Thunderbolt" offers a fictitious take on how metal arrived before the masses were ready for it, so it gestated in the late '60s before exploding in the '70s and '80s. Rousing rockers like "Raise Your Fists" and "Wild And Free" revel in the passion and excess that metal fans embrace. The guitar interplay is intense and inspiring, and the band is firing on all cylinders.

"The Return Of The Sentinel" is a bold choice to close the album. Not only is it a sequel to the classic track from Judas Priest's 1984's platinum-selling "Defenders Of The Faith" album, it's a nine-minute epic that doesn't play by the rules. The first half is stirring metal, and the latter half is somber and subdued, which reflects the tale of a being who, once a dispenser of justice and death, now faces his own mortality.

Conversely, KK'S PRIEST is alive and vital. They have plans to tour later this year with some Ripper-era Judas Priest songs tossed into the mix, and Binks hopes to make appearances at shows.

"Les was able to do the short set at the Steel Mill," says Downing. "But he had a wrist injury after that and wasn't able to do the album. Les wants to jump on the stage and a play a couple of songs, although he is not going to be able to play a full set. He will be our special guest."

Downing is hoping to reach as many headbangers as he can worldwide — from Europe to North and South America. "Sermons Of The Sinner" is a love letter to the music he helped create and evolve and to the devoted followers who have supported it. "I'm talking about the diehard fans that are not going anywhere," says Downing. "They're not certainly going to jump on a different genre of music just because a lot of their heroes are unfortunately passing away. And that sentiment is in this album where we said in the title track, 'time is running out for us, things may never be the same, but the sermons of the sinner center can help us rise again.' Because you never know when the last gig is going to be the last gig, so to speak. I'm pretty optimistic. I'm working on material for the second album."

"Sermons Of The Sinner" track listing:

1. Incarnation
2. Hellfire Thunderbolt
3. Sermons Of The Sinner
4. Sacerdote Y Diablo
5. Raise Your Fist
6. Brothers Of The Road 
7. Metal Through And Through
8. Wild And Free
9. Hail For The Priest
10. Return Of The Sentinel

 

Brainstorm has just announced its new album, titled "Wall of Skulls", and revealed the cover artwork.

Press Release

More than 30 years of history in metal and still BRAINSTORM visibly captivates huge musical enthusiasm and joy while earning almost endless expertise in their craft, as you can hear - amongst others these ingredients culminate in a perfected new masterpiece of metal music named "Wall Of Skulls".

The powerhouse from Southern Germany today announced to release their upcoming new opus on August 20th, 2021 and revealed the cover art and tracklist, while also the pre-sale for „Wall Of Skulls“ (containing 11 tracks as standard version) simultaneously started today. The album can be pre-ordered here: https://shop.afm-records.de/brainstorm/

By the way: as special guests BRAINSTORM has acquired no less than legendary RAGE-fronter „Peavy“ Wagner and ORDEN OGAN mastermind „Seeb“ Levermann, who is also responsible for the top-notch and vital sound of the new album.

The album will be available as CD, Digibook-CD (incl. Live-BluRay), ltd. Vinyl (different colours), ltd. boxset (contains: Headscarf, Sticker, Patch, Autograph, Digibook + Live BluRay) and digital.

Tracklist:
01 Chamber Thirteen
02 Where Ravens Fly
03 Solitude
04 Escape The Silence (feat. „Peavy“ Wagner, RAGE)
05 Turn Off The Light (feat. „Seeb“ Levermann, ORDEN OGAN)
06 Glory Disappears
07 My Dystopia
08 End Of My Innocence
09 Stigmatized (Shadows Fall)
10 Holding On
11 I, The Deceiver

Mix & Mastering: Sebastian „Seeb“ Levermann
Cover Artwork: Gyula Havancsak

German hard rock guitar wizard Axel Rudi Pell has finished recording and mixing his latest album “Diamonds Unlocked II”, set for release on July 30th 2021 on Steamhammer/SPV. The successor to last year’s top 5 album “Sign Of The Times” is the follow-up to his 2007 cover recording “Diamonds Unlocked”. Pell’s carefully considered decision not to release brand-new material for the first time in almost 15 years is mainly based on the ongoing pandemic and current restrictions on live concerts. The 61-year-old explains that “it makes no sense at all to put out new songs that we will not be able to perform live.”

Axel Rudi Pell had been flirting with the concept of “Diamonds Unlocked II” for two or three years, and he’s also aware of the vast number of cover versions currently floating on the Internet, which he sees as a challenge. Of course it depends on the selection and variety of the material, but first and foremost it is the transformation of each individual track that matters. The result is so outstanding that he is justly proud of his latest offering. “Without patting myself on the back too loudly – this is an album worth listening to from start to finish.” Instead of delivering every single note so that it sounds exactly like the original, a cover album should, above all, be fun. And entertain and inspire the listener, an audio algorithm which makes you get out the original versions or the whole back catalogue of the artists presented. In this respect, “Diamonds Unlocked II” is an offer that no self-respecting hard rock fan can refuse.

Tracklisting:

1. Der Schwarze Abt (Intro) 2:03
2. There’s Only One Way To Rock 4:26 (original by Sammy Hagar)
3. Lady Of The Lake 5:17 (original by Rainbow)
4. She’s A Lady 4:04 (original by Paul Anka)
5. Black Cat Woman 4:25 (original by Geordie)
6. Room With A View 4:12 (original by Tony Carey)
7. Sarah (You Take My Breath Away) 4:51 (original by Chris Norman)
8. Rock N’ Roll Queen 3:19 (original by The Subways)
9. Paint It Black 6:03 (original by the Rolling Stones)
10. I Put A Spell On You 4:24 (original by Screamin' Jay Hawkins)
11. Eagle 6:53 (original by Abba)    

Line Up:
• Johnny Gioeli - Lead and Backing Vocals
• Axel Rudi Pell 
- Lead and Rhythm Guitars
• Ferdy Doernberg 
- Keyboards
• Volker Krawczak 
- Bass
• Bobby Rondinelli 
- Drums

Guitar icon Yngwie Malmsteen has just announced the release of his new album, "Parabellum", out on July 23rd, 2021. 

Press Release

Yngwie Malmsteen and Music Theories Recordings / Mascot Label Group have announced the release of a new studio album titled PARABELLUM on July 23. The album will be available on a Ltd. CD Boxset, Red Transparent 2LP, a web-exclusive Splatter 2Lp (Ltd 300) and digital. Today, they present “Wolves At The Door” which can be viewed below.  The pre-order has gone live here: http://smarturl.it/Yngwie_Malmsteen

The name of Yngwie Malmsteen has always stood for uncompromising excellence. In a career that now spans more than 40 years he has proven himself to be a unique artist. You can try to categorise him in any way you wish. But the manner in which this supreme Swedish craftsman has continually developed his music makes Malmsteen sublimely transcend any definition you attempt to impose.

He now has a catalogue of 21 solo studio albums, each of which has much to commend. Moreover, the guitarist played a crucial role in helping to establish Alcatrazz as a significant force in the 1980s. Malmsteen's artistry has always clearly incorporated a healthy virtuosity, but his talent goes well beyond a comprehensive control of the guitar. The man is a fine composer and, on recent releases, has also showcased a strong vocal presence.

One aspect of his approach has always shone through, and that is an abidingly deep respect for the music he plays.

Malmsteen has constantly done whatever it takes to bring out all of the color, shade and hue embedded in each one of his compositions. This has never been more focused and informed than on his new album 'Parabellum'.  Malmsteen shares, “I always try to push myself on every album I do, and attempt things which are more extreme than previously. But what has helped this time is that I wasn't able to go on the road because of the pandemic. It meant I could take much longer in the studio, both to write and record. Because I am usually always on tour, which is great, I haven't had the luxury of spending a lot of time working on new music for more than 20 years.  But I suddenly had no pressure at all on that front. And I feel the album has benefited enormously as a result.”

There are instances when musicians can have so much time available to them for the purposes of recording and writing that what comes out of the process is a little stilted and overthought. But that is never the case here. He reflects, “I am the sort of person who doesn't like to do take after take after take of any track. If something isn't to my satisfaction, I'll move on. But there were occasions with this album when I dismissed something because I thought it was a stinker. I went back a couple of days later, listened to it and wondered why I thought it stank in the first place! That's the beauty of having everything available you've done through Pro Tools. Nothing is lost.  Things were changing all the time. Song titles, tempos. Everything was fluid. I would listen to a part I had done for one specific song, and realise it worked better if I transposed it into another track.”

Four of the songs here feature vocals. But once more, this wasn't mapped out in advance.  Malmsteen offers, “I love to listen back to what I've done in the car. Sometimes I find myself singing along to what was supposed to be an instrumental. That's when I realise this song does need vocals. The opposite happens as well.”

On occasion, it does sound as if Malmsteen has surely incorporated keyboards into the fabric of the album's sonic tapestry.  But this is not the case. He reveals, “I can assure you that, while it may seem as if there are keyboards, everything has been done by myself on guitar. Even what sounds like a piano intro to 'Wolves At The Door', the opening track, has been played on guitar.” This particular composition also includes a clever reference to 19th century classical master Paganini. “It's the sort of thing I love to do. It's my way of paying homage to him. And here it works very well within the flow of the track.”

The album title 'Parabellum' is Latin, translating as 'Prepare For War'. “There's a track on the album called '(Si Vis Pacem) Parabellum'. This translates as 'If you want peace, then prepare for war'.  He offers, “It was a last minute decision to make this the album title. But I think it fits very well.”

The striking portrait on the cover was painted by the accliamed artist David Benegas. Malmsteem states, “That was my wife April's idea. David lives near us in Florida, and we were talking to him about other projects. I did a photo shoot with Mark Weiss, who I think is a great photographer and someone I've worked with for a long time. Then David based the portrait on this.  The painting itself is huge, and we've had the idea to use it to raise money for the April Way Children's Foundation ('dedicated to bringing the artists of the world together to give hope to kids, teens, and young adults that have been orphaned or are in foster care all across the world').”

In closing he shares, “The bottom line for me is that the passion I feel for the music I make has to be obvious. I am the sort of person who lives in the moment. I wanted this album to have a joyous, spontaneous atmosphere. This must never sound as if it's been rehearsed so much that it becomes routine.  I hope people will put on this record at the start and listen right through to the end, from start to finish. I recorded this as a singular piece of art. Not as a collection of 10 tracks you can hear in any order you want.  I was asked by Mascot what song would be the lead track. The one for which I'd do a video. You know what? I'd like to do videos for everything here. I view this album as having a natural flow from start to finish. It's not to be cut up into little pieces. I want fans to experience the delight I had in making it.”

Tracklist

  1. Wolves At The Door
  2. Presto Vivace in C# minor
  3. Relentless Fury
  4. (Si Vis Pacem) Parabellum
  5. Eternal Bliss
  6. Toccata
  7. God Particle
  8. Magic Bullet
  9. (Fight) The Good Fight
  10. Sea Of Tranquility

 

 

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