INTERVIEW: Opeth’s Mikael Åkerfeldt

Opeth Opeth unashamedly alienated some of their fan base with their 2011 album Heritage. While a large portion of their fans were drawn to the Swedesh masters for their progressive death metal leanings, Heritage was primarily inspired by 70s fusion in the style of John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra – and there wasn’t a single death-growl to be heard anywhere. And now, with Pale Communion, Opeth has moved sideways again, a little away from some of the jazzier moments of Heritage and towards more of a 1970s progressive rock feel, while still a million miles removed from death metal. It’s an album which will challenge some fans while thrilling others, but the overall impression from a chat with frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt is that he’s driven solely by his artistry, and this is what he’s feeling right now.  Read More …

Introducing Black Lightning Gallery

black lightning gallery

Are you a fan of great guitar music? Of course you are. Do you need some inspiration for the wall of your music space? Maybe a shrine to your favourite artists? Or just something cool to hang above the fireplace? Check out Black Lightning Gallery in Los Angeles. Founded by Rohan Ocean, Black Lightning Gallery is about to unveil a fine art photography collection from prolific rock photographer Gene Kirkland (whose work I’ve long admired – his name is burned into my head from all sorts of guitar mags). The photos include a recently discovered collection of some of rock’s most pivotal and historically important moments. Vai and DLR. Metallica taking over the world. Guns N’ Roses at the “Sweet Child ‘O Mine” video shoot. Aerosmith. Black Sabbath. Ozzy getting chummy with a white dove (from the cover of Guitar School magazine – I totally have that issue in the other room). Randy Rhoads. Motley Crue at the “Girls, Girls, Girls” video shoot. They’ll be released as numbered, signed limited edition prints exclusively via Black Lightning Gallery, and will only be available until the limited numbers are sold. there will not be additional runs of the photos.

Here’s an example of some of the great stuff you’ll see on the site:

black lightning gallery james hetfield

“Metallica were unstoppable in 1988. A new album And Justice for All… was released. Their first single release ‘One’ came with a haunting and unforgettable video, Making the song itself display the full meaning of the lyrics. The band was shot in black and white while the movie had color moments in the flashbacks.
The following Justice world tour was massive in scope with 5 legs and 222 dates. Staging included the huge Dorothy statue recreated from the cover of the album that broke down during the title track. A full lighting rig that come off and swung very close to Lars’ drum riser. The justice show was epic. The full experience is immortalized and officially released in the Live Shit: Binge and Purge Box set recording at Seattle Coliseum, Seattle, Washington over 2 night on August 29 and 30, 1989.”

 

INTERVIEW: DragonForce’s Herman Li & Sam Totman

The mighty DragonForce have always brought the epic energy, triumphant power-metal riffage, anthemic choruses and intense shred to their work, but what makes their new album Maximum Overload stand out a little from the rest of their catalog is their willingness to step outside of their established sound just far enough to keep it fresh. Vocalist Marc Hudson has well and truly settled in now (he joined prior to the recording of previous album The Power Within, and Trivium’s Matt Heafy contributes his vocal power to three tracks as well. And for the first time DragonForce have worked with an outside producer, Jens Bogren, who has also produced, mixed or mastered the likes of Soilwork, Symphony X, Pain of Salvation, James LaBrie, Devin Townsend. Throw it all together and you have Dragonforce’s biggest-sounding album yet. Read More …

Seymour Duncan Re-Releases The Pickup Booster!

The Seymour Duncan Pickup Booster is one of those pedals that really shook things up, introducing a lot of players for the first time to the idea of boosting their signal before it hits their amp, thereby making the preamp tubes work harder and creating all sorts of great sonic textures from vibrant cleans to screaming overdrives. It was discontinued a little while ago but now it’s back, with a new look at some subtle improvements. All the regular features are still there, including the Pickup Resonance Switch, which lets you select different resonant frequencies for different sonic results; the idea is that its two modes will make a single coil sound like a vintage or modern humbucker, but you can use it with humbuckers for cool sounds too. And there’s now a discrete push-pull output stage and the capability for 0dB unity gain, so you can use it simply as a buffer or for the tone-sculpting abilities of the Pickup Resonance Switch without changing your level of gain. Read More …

Soundwave 2015 Line-Up Announced!

Soundwave 2015 Line-Up Announced

It’s that time again! Soundwave line-up announcement – and 2015 will be huge. First of all it’s great to see the return of one of my favourite bands, Faith No More, to Soundwave. And there are plenty of other repeat offenders on the bill: Slipknot, Lamb of God, Marilyn Manson, Slash… plus Judas Priest, Soundgarden, Ministry… aw why don’t ya just read the press release… Read More …

Fret-King Walter Trout Benefit Guitar

Trev and DB guitarPRESS RELEASE: A Fret-King Danny Bryant signature model guitar, signed by many great guitar players has raised £1,300 in a benefit raffle to help Walter Trout in his yearlong and successful recovery from a recent Liver Transplant. Through a 25 year long solo career Walter has sought to merge the essence of the blues with relevance for the times we live in. Before his solo career, he played lead guitar for John Mayall, Canned Heat, John Lee Hooker, and many others. Donated by JHS & Co. Ltd, the Fret-King Black Label Danny Bryant signature model was selected as Danny is actually standing in for Walter in his ‘Walter Trout Band’ currently touring the USA and Canada.  Read More …

REVIEW: Ernie Ball Music Man Axis Super Sport Semi Hollowbody

Ernie Ball Music Man Axis Super Sport Semi Hollowbody

The Ernie Ball Music Man model started life as the Edward Van Halen guitar around 25 years ago. After Eddie’s association with that company ended, the guitar design lived on with a few changes as the Axis, while a new variation called the Axis Super Sport was also introduced. Compared to the Floyd Rose-loaded regular Axis, the Super Sport typically features a fixed bridge (a Music Man vintage tremolo is also an option) and five-way pickup switching (with single coil modes in positions two and four), but is still very much an Axis. The Semi Hollowbody version was introduced at the NAMM Show this year. Read More …