COOL GEAR ALERT: EVH Wolfgang Hardtails, 5150III 50-Watt Head

Press release time!

EVH Introduces Wolfgang® Hardtail and Wolfgang Special Hardtail Guitars

The original EVH Wolfgang USA guitar is now available in two distinctive new sans-tremolo versions—the EVH Wolfgang Hardtail and Wolfgang Special Hardtail. These are special editions of the legendary high-performance guitar that started it all, this time with the addition of a TonePros® hard-tail bridge with stop tailpiece and fine tuners for the ultimate in stable intonation and precise tuning.

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New Richie Kotzen album details

Can’t wait for this! First up, here’s a message from Richie on his official website:

“Quick Update… New single ’24 Hours’ will be available for download in just a few days (Sept 1st). The music video for the song will be posted at AOL online as well as my official youtube channel (links will be posted here). … AND… we are planning an official cd release party in Los Angeles late October (prior to the official cd release date). The full cd will be available for sale at the cd release party. Show date will be announced very soon.”

And here’s the press release:

After two years of extensive international touring, guitar virtuoso, singer/songwriter Richie Kotzen is back to unleash his new album, “24 Hours”, due on November 11 via Headroom-Inc.

“24 Hours” reflects the guitar style that has defined Kotzen’s career as a virtuoso, while taking it to another level.

“I feel like I have reached a new level of soloing on the opening track ’24 Hours’,” explains Kotzen. “I stopped using a guitar pick on electric a few years ago and my playing has evolved in a different way. Some of the solo lines I play on the song ’24 Hours’, and others as well, are lines I would have never been able to play with a guitar pick. So I would say the solos on this CD are at a different level than previous recordings.”

“24 Hours” is an absorbing collective blend of Kotzen’s musical influences and diversity. It takes you on an inspired, musical journey as the opening track sets the tone that falls stylistically somewhere between early Van Halen and Sly And The Family Stone. Kotzen also brought in his talented daughter, August Kotzen, and friend Jerry Cantrell of Alice In Chains, to complete the album.

“My daughter August is singing with me on a few songs and is playing electric piano on the song ‘Stop Me’,” states Kotzen. “My friend Jerry Cantrell is singing backgrounds on ‘Love Is Blind’ and does a very cool lead vocal ad-lib in the final chorus of the tune.”

Kotzen burst onto the heavy metal scene as a teenager with a lightning-fast guitar techniques. With his talents, Kotzen has played with some of the best musicians; including renowned jazz great Stanley Clarke and a three-year stint in the band Mr. Big.

“I have been lucky in the sense that I have been able to play with guys who I could learn from,” explains Kotzen. “The biggest musical lesson for me was playing in a band with Stanley Clarke and Lenny White. Obviously, these guys are jazz musicians and I am not, but I learned so much from the time we recorded and toured together. My favorite rock bassist is Billy Sheehan, and we were in MR. BIG together for three years, which was awesome.”

Meanwhile, check out Truth In Shredding for info about Richie’s new black Fender Telecaster signature model.

CD REVIEW: Atomkraft – Cold Sweat (EP)

British heavy/speed metal pioneers Atomkraft were formed by Tony Dolan (Venom) in 1979. Part of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal movement, they make a welcome return with the Cold Sweat EP, which will be available in two formats: a 7″ EP limited to 200 copies only in colored vinyl and insert, and a CD limited to 1000 copies with two bonus tracks. The EP’s centrepiece is a cover of Thin Lizzy’s “Cold Sweat” with I Heart Guitar’s good buddy Joe Matera contributing a ripping lead.

Oh and did i mention it features the most brutal cover art ever? Check it out.

Scared yet? You should be! The guitar tones are raw, dirty and unmistakably metallic with a sort of homespun vibe that works really well with the material and is in keeping with AtomKraft’s NWOBHM roots. In fact, the “Cold Sweat” cover almost has a Motorhead-meets-Rammstein vibe, with its Lemmy-esque vocals and fuzzy, fizzy rhythm guitars. Matera’s solo packs in some cool pentatonic legato licks and some tastefully-applied tapping, by the way – check it out.

Meanwhile “Dead Again” is classic speed metal, blisteringly fast and aggressive. “The Darkening” kicks off with the sound of angry dogs giving way to an angry riff and the sounds of an even angrier mob. Some almost Slayer-esque speed metal (and some very cool ‘angry bee’ guitar work) follow as the song twists and turns through evil forests of doom and other awesome metal stuff. Finally, “Gripped” opens with delicate Iommi-esque acoustic guitars before rocket fire and ominous industrial-edged riffing take over.

I love that bands like Atomkraft are still around. The Big Four of Thrash regularly pay tribute to NWOBHM these days, but live covers of “Am I Evil?” aren’t enough. We need the real deal to keep the sound alive. Hail Atomkraft!

Buy the EP here.

Orianthi joins Alice Cooper’s band

Wow, rumour is that Damon Johnson has left to focus on Brother Cane, and as Orianthi confirmed on Twitter about an hour ago, she’s in! This’ll be cool! (Follow Orianthi on Twitter)

Orianthi has a pretty sweet PRS SE signature model which you can buy

Check out Orianthi playing “School’s Out” with Alice on American Idol!