Joe Stump – Diabolical Ferocity

Diabolical Ferocity Album Cover Art

Joe Stump – Diabolical Ferocity
Lion Music
Release Date: 17/09/2021
Running Time: 46:27
Review by Chris Galea
9/10

Pretentious as it may sound, the title says it all….”Diabolical Ferocity” is an instrumental and guitar-driven album whose music sounds furious, passionate and, yes, possessed. In case you may have missed his previous 12 solo albums, Joe Stump’s guitar playing style is (usually) fast and directly influenced by guitarists such as Ritchie Blackmore and Yngwie Malmsteen, especially the latter.

This was one release I was particularly looking forward to, especially considering my affection for the neo-classical genre, as well as my interest in instrumental guitar albums. So, at the outset my expectations were high. And yet, before the brief intro was even over, I was already smitten.

First of all, there’s Joe obvious passion for this music genre, together with his technical guitar mastery. Then, although his solos are fast, there are various shades to this album. For example, I loved how the keyboards and guitar work together in the excellently-written ‘King of the Underworld’. There’s the incendiary ‘Burn it Down’. ‘The Snake Charmer’s Fate’ has some interesting middle-eastern melodies, and ‘Maximum Damage’ blends catchy riffs, furious guitar solos, and Black-Metal-style blastbeats. The inspiration for ‘Nacht J.S. Bach’ is in the title, and I couldn’t help smiling at the fact that Joe Stump shares the same initials as Bach.

Speaking of inspirations, “Diabolical Ferocity” ends with a heartfelt musical eulogy to Gary Moore. It’s no surprise that, shortly before the album’s release, Stump had confessed: “For me Gary Moore is still the one guitarist that really reaches me on an emotional level like no one else.”

I have an inkling that Stump’s solo music has benefitted from him having joined Alcatrazz around 2 years ago. Whether that’s the case or not, it was certainly a long time since I last heard a new album from start to end without pauses, but “Diabolical Ferocity” is also that….unstoppable.

‘Forever Moore’ video:


TRACKLISTING:
01. Ignition
02. Burn It Down
03. King Of The Underworld
04. The Snake Charmer’s Fate
05. Nacht J.S. Bach
06. Sneak Attack
07. Die By The Sword
08. Viking Pillage
09. Maximum Damage
10. Forever Moore

LINE-UP:
Joe Stump: guitar, bass
Francisco Palomo: keyboards, drums


LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Rhapsody Of Fire – Glory For Salvation

Glory For Salvation Album Cover Art

Rhapsody Of Fire – Glory For Salvation
AFM Records
Release Date: 26/11/2021
Running Time: 66:00
Review by Chris Galea
10/10

Few things are more cathartic and more immersive than an album from Rhapsody Of Fire. With fantasy concepts spanning multiple albums, and cinematically bombast soundscapes, my expectations are always going to be high where these Italians are concerned.

Before I delve into this album, a bit of context…the 2nd part of a trilogy of albums which started with “The Eighth Mountain” (2019), “Glory For Salvation” explores themes such as regret, sorrow and atonement in an alternate world. The band line-up changed once again before this album was laid down when, without much fanfare, Paolo Marchesich replaced Manuel Lotter behind the drum-kit. Other than that, the band’s approach doesn’t seem to have changed.

I get the impression that, with “Glory For Salvation”, Rhapsody Of Fire have endeavoured to create a multi-faceted album, without compromising the quality of their own musicianship. Yes, the album is good. Very good. Lead vocalist Giacomo Voli has outdone himself – his singing gave me goosebumps in songs such as ‘Un Ode Per L’Eroe’ (‘Ode For The Hero’), or even the title track. On guitars, Roby De Micheli showcases the range of his skills, from the blazing solos on ‘Maid Of The Secret Sand’ to the heavy riffs of ‘Abyss Of Pain II’.

The style of Alex Staropoli’s keyboard playing remains an essential element of the band’s sound, and wrenches all the emotive content out of the album’s music, sometimes punctuating it with some great keyboard riffs.

I hinted at the album’s layers….’Terial The Hawk’ is a galloping song with some Abba-style choir vocals. ‘Eternal Snow’ is an English-language narration that’s very clearly done by an Italian….it doesn’t possess the drama of, say, Christopher Lee’s narrations….but I’m willing to turn a blind eye on that. ‘Magic Signs’ is an incredibly well-written power ballad, containing some great acoustic guitar. And all the time the music keeps reflecting the concept’s evolving storyline.

‘Magic Signs’, ‘Un’Ode Per L’Eroe’ and ‘La Esencia De Un Rey’ are the same song but with, respectively, English, Italian and Spanish lyrics. So, Giacomo’s not just a great singer but a polyglot too!

As far as I’m concerned “Glory For Salvation” is an album of breathtaking proportions.

‘Chains of Destiny’ video:


TRACKLISTING:
01. Son Of Vengeance
02. The Kingdom Of Ice
03. Glory For Salvation
04. Eternal Snow
05. Terial The Hawk
06. Maid Of The Secret Sand
07. Abyss Of Pain II
08. Infinitae Gloriae
09. Magic Signs
10. I’ll Be Your Hero
11. Chains Of Destiny
12. Un’Ode Per L’Eroe
13. La Esencia De Un Rey

LINE-UP:
Giacomo Voli – Vocals
Alex Staropoli – Keyboards
Roby De Micheli – Guitars
Alessandro Sala – Bass
Paolo Marchesich – Drums


LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Alcatrazz – V

V Album Cover Art

Alcatrazz – V
Silver Lining Music
Release Date: 15/10/2021
Running Time: 62:32
Review by Chris Galea
10/10

A very quick recap of the rundown to this album…after an absence of almost 25 years Alcatrazz had returned in grand style in 2020 with the album “Born Innocent”. However, the buzz created by that album risked being wasted when founding member and lead singer Graham Bonnet (Rainbow, Michael Schenker) left to pursue a solo career. Alcatrazz quickly recruited Doogie White (Rainbow, Yngwie Malmsteen, Michael Schenker). On paper he was the ideal replacement for Bonnet but, as history sometimes tells us, the potential of a line-up doesn’t always give the expected results. Is that the case with this new Alcatrazz album?

Well, worry not…if “Born Innocent” was one of the best albums of 2020, then “V” manages to surpass it. The songwriting is impeccable and the music’s execution sharp and dramatic. Indeed for those, who like me, have a soft spot for neo-classical pomp, “V” should be a pure joy to listen to.

Several full-throttle moments enkindle the album…’Guardian Angel’ and ‘Turn Of The Wheel’ spring to mind. But like a Caravaggio masterpiece, there are various shades to the album. For instance, ‘Return To Nevermore’ is dominated by a Doomy riff and ‘Dark Day For My Soul’, one of my favourite tracks, is a sort of epic ballad with some amazing singing from Doogie. On the other hand, ‘House of Lies’ and ‘Alice’s Eyes’ are groovy songs while still steadily holding onto the neo-classical niche.

To my ears Doogie sounds slightly different from what he did with other bands, such as Tank or Rainbow, but his singing is still solid, powerful and melodic and fits with the music like a glove. And I loved Jimmy Waldo’s keyboards, particularly in ‘Grace Of God’ and ‘Dark Day For My Soul’.

Doogie White and shredmaster Joe Stump are responsible for writing most of the material on “V” and the band seems to have stumbled upon a solid songwriting team with these two. Comparisons with the solo music of Yngwie Malmsteen, while understandable, would give rise to a chicken and egg dilemma so best leave that alone and just enjoy the music we have here.

A number of guests drop by to make the album a more interesting proposition (details below) but really the material could have been just as worthy of one’s purchase with the five members of Alcatrazz alone.

I would say that the greatest quality of “V” is that it is perfectly balanced…all-round fantastic musicianship but never at the expense of the songs. An album clearly rooted in the classical heritage of Metal but that also feels modern. It is all I could have ever hoped for from Alcatrazz…and then some.

‘Grace of God’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Guardian Angel
02. Nightwatch
03. Sword Of Deliverance
04. Turn Of The Wheel
05. Blackheart
06. Grace Of God
07. Return To Nevermore
08. Target
09. Maybe Tomorrow
10. House Of Lies
11. Alice’s Eyes
12. Dark Day For My Soul

LINE-UP:
Doogie White – Vocals
Joe Stump – Guitars
Jimmy Waldo – Keyboards
Gary Shea – Bass
Mark Benquechea – Drums

Guests:
Ronnie van Staven (Riot, S.A. Slayer) Bass on ‘Guardian Angel’, ‘Nightwatch’, ‘Target’
Nigel Glockler (Saxon) – Drums on ‘Guardian Angel’, ‘Blackheart’
Cliff Evans (Tank) – Guitar on ‘Grace of God’

LINKS:

Alcatrazz Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Blackthorne – Afterlife/Don’t Kill The Thrill (2CD Reissue)

Afterlife & Don't Kill The Thrill Album Cover Art

Blackthorne – Afterlife/Don’t Kill The Thrill (2CD Reissue)
The Store For Music
Release Date: 30/07/2021
Running Time: 77:51/76:38
Review by Chris Galea
7.5/10

Blackthorne was one of those short-lived bands that never went close to attaining its true potential. The band was formed in the early 1990’s by guitarist Bob Kulick (Kiss, W.A.S.P., Meat Loaf, Doro, Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens), vocalist Graham Bonnet (Rainbow, Alcatrazz, Michael Schenker Group) and keyboardist Jimmy Waldo (New England, Alcatrazz, Warrior). The band’s rhythm section was composed of bassist Chuck Wright (Quiet Riot, House Of Lords) and drummer Frankie Banali (Quiet Riot, W.A.S.P., Alex Masi, Steppenwolf). Not just ‘a band’ therefore but more like ‘a supergroup’.

Jimmy Waldo blames the band’s quick demise on the Grunge scene but before throwing the towel, Blackthorne released one album (“Afterlife”) and almost released a second one. This double-disc release, therefore, celebrates the band’s music albeit retrospectively.

Full details of the double-album’s contents can be found below but essentially, besides offering both albums in one package, this release is also jam-packed with demos of more unreleased tracks and alternate versions of Blackthorne songs. And before you put on your most sceptic-sounding snigger, let me say that a lot of the demo tracks we have here actually sound quite good. For example, on the disc containing “Afterlife”, the bonus demo tracks are sometimes better than the album tracks, especially with regards to Graham Bonnet’s singing.

Overall, I would say that the music style has something of the classical roots of Alcatrazz as well as the electrifying feel of Warrior, the band Jimmy Waldo had with Vinnie Vincent (Kiss, Invasion) and his ex-bandmates of New England. Regarding my Warrior comparison, check out the guitar tone and choir vocals of ‘Over and Over’ or ‘Sex Crime’.

In their sophomore (unreleased) album “Don’t Kill The Thrill”, Blackthorne continue to explore their musical ideas while remaining within the Classic Heavy Metal niche. ‘Twist The Blade’ is not short of catchy melodies but contains a Punk-ish riff that gives it a distinct edge. Riffs, melodies, solos…Bob Kulick gives all he’s got in ‘Don’t Kill The Thrill’. ‘Love From The Ashes’ leans more onto Hard Rock rather than Metal and it’s a great song.

Despite what I mentioned earlier, a few tracks (and not only demo tracks) failed to convince me. But, by and large, this was an album I enjoyed listening to.

Sadly, Bob Kulick and Frankie Banali passed away last year within the space of three months and thus didn’t live to witness this release. So, I reckon one may also consider this “Afterlife/Don’t Kill The Thrill” as a sort of joyful dirge celebrating Bob and Frankie’s talents and undying influence.

In all honesty Blackthorne was a band I discovered thanks to this double-album and hopefully it will introduce many others to the band’s music. For sure if there’s just one Blackthorne release you’ll ever need in your record collection, then it’s got to be this one.

‘Afterlife’ (Audio)

TRACKLISTING:
Afterlife CD1:
01. Cradle To The Grave
02. Afterlife
03. We Won’t Be Forgotten
04. Breaking The Chains
05. Over And Over
06. Hard Feelings
07. Baby You’re The Blood
08. Sex Crime
09. Love From The Ashes
10. All Night Long

Bonus Tracks:
11. Wild Inside (Demo Cassette 1992)
12. Get My Heart Out Of Here (Demo 1992)
13. Since You Been Gone (Demo 1992_Vocal 2018)
14. Afterlife (Original Demo Mix) (Tony Palacios Guitar)
15. Baby You’re The Blood (Demo 1992)
16. Afterlife (Live Unplugged)
17. We Won’t Be Forgotten (Live Unplugged)

Don’t Kill The Thrill CD2:
01. Don’t Kill The Thrill
02. Wild Inside
03. Skeletons In The Closet
04. Dreaming In The Hideaway
05. Man In A Black Hat
06. Twist The Blade
07. Judgement Day
08. Insanity
09. Sanctuary (Alternate Vocal)
10. Save Me

Bonus Tracks:
11. Paralyzed (Early Demo)
12. Twist The Blade (Early Demo)
13. Guilty Of Insanity (Early Demo)
14. Afterlife (Demo 1992)
15. We Won’t Be Forgotten (Demo 1992)
16. Over And Over (Demo 1992)
17. Baby You’re The Blood (Demo 1992)
18. Love From The Ashes (Demo 1992)

LINE-UP:
Graham Bonnet – Lead Vocals
Bob Kulick – Guitars
Jimmy Waldo – Keyboards
Chuck Wright – Bass
Frankie Banali – Drums

THE STORE FOR MUSIC LINKS:

LINK TO OUR INTERVIEW WITH JIMMY WALDO:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Video Interview with JIMMY WALDO

Jimmy Waldo Interview Title Image

Video Interview with JIMMY WALDO
By Chris Galea

Keyboard player Jimmy Waldo has an impressive résumé. After finding success with New England, he went on to be a co-founding member of Alcatrazz and played with Blackthorne, Quiet Riot, The Graham Bonnet Band and many more.

For those not familiar, Blackthorne was a relatively short lived band that, thanks to the changing musical landscape arrived without much fanfare, in the early 1990’s. With a line-up that included Waldo, Bob Kulick, Graham Bonnet, Frankie Banali and Chuck Wright, they should have been huge but, unfortunately it was not to be. Now their only officially released album has been repackaged with a host of unreleased, reworked and demo material.

Chris recently had the honour to talk to Jimmy about the excellent Blackthorne 2CD reissue package, as well as the forthcoming, brand new, Alcatrazz album “V” and more!

Huge thanks to Jimmy for the interview and to Chris for putting it together

Enjoy!

JIMMY WALDO Video Interview by Chris Galea

LINKS:

Alcatrazz Links:

Blackthorne & Alcatrazz Covers

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Chris Galea and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

March Of The Gods: Botswana Metalheads

March Of The Gods - Botswana Metalheads Cover

March Of The Gods: Botswana Metalheads
Directed: Raffaele Mosca
2014
Review by Chris Galea
6/10

Having grown up on a tiny and relatively isolated island but whose Metal scene endures, I can’t say that I find the propensity of this music genre to propagate far and wide to be a surprising quality. And yet I found “March of the Gods” to be deeply intriguing.

This documentary chronicles the history of Wrust, a Death/Groove Metal band from Botswana, but in doing so it also gives us an insight into the Metal scene of this country…the bands and sub-genres that tend to be popular there and the attitudes of Metal fans. For yes, there is a Metal scene in this African country. But it’s quite a particular one.

Wrust was formed in 2000 in Gaborone, the capital city of Botswana…close to the border with South Africa. Influences cited by the band members range from the old school British scene to Death Metal bands such as Varathron, Cannibal Corpse and Rotting Christ. Into all these influences, Wrust seem to infuse the musical roots of their own country.

The ambitions, accomplishments and longevity of Wrust seem to have made them a point of reference of Botswana’s Metal scene. But to achieve that level of regard, Wrust have had to overcome numerous difficulties along the way – difficulties such as apathy and prohibitive financial costs. We discover that the band has often had to travel hundreds of kilometres to play for a handful of fans and for zero remuneration….but they still put 100% effort into those performances. I’m sure that many European and North American bands can relate to that level of dedication.

March Of The Gods Pic1

Similar feelings of déjà vu are likely to be sensed when we learn about the prejudices that Botswanan Metal fans are forced to refute: you know what I’m talking about…Satanism, metal fans as ‘troublemaker’ stereotypes and so on.

The documentary goes on to illustrate how invaluable the direct assistance of established bands is. For example, although many European and North American bands tend to neglect the area in their touring schedule, when Swedish band Entombed played there and offered genuine encouragement, fans and local bands seemed revitalised and their ambitions galvanized.

“March of the Gods” examines how the Metal scene of Botswana has developed in terms of crowd behaviour. Female Botswanan Metalheads share their own experiences too. The documentary also highlights the changes that the internet has brought about with regards to promoting gigs and promoting the bands themselves. In this respect, Wrust seem to have been on the forefront in embracing technology and social media to catalyse the band’s growth. Through my experience, such an entrepreneurial spirit tends to be what differentiates successful bands from the rest.

I get the impression that the link with South Africa is an important one, not only for Botswana but also for other African countries. The Metal scene of South Africa seems to be more vibrant but other surrounding countries seem eager to partake in that. Wrust even recorded their debut album “Soulless Machine” there before releasing it in 2007.

The documentary also goes into the image and attire of Metal fans in Botswana…something that European fans might find odd. Besides band shirts and denim and leather, Botswanan fans seem to have assimilated a ‘cowboy’ sort of image into all that.

March Of The Gods Pic2

I have to say that some scenes just don’t add anything of value to the documentary. For example, I got the feeling that some interviews could have been more eloquent and some political speeches came across as cringeworthy and have nothing at all to do with Metal. In fact, “March of the Gods” does suffer from some poor editing. Despite all this, though, it’s basically the only source of knowledge about the Metal scene of Botswana and therefore its charm remains immutable.

At the beginning of the interview, a music journalist speaks about his discovering Wrust and confesses that he realised Metal “transcends race and geography”…”it’s like a universal language”. And that’s probably the strongest message that can be derived from “March of the Gods”.

Postscript: What has happened since the documentary’s release?

Wrust haven’t released anything new since sophomore album “Intellectual Metamorphosis” in 2013. The band is still together though.

Amok, another band mentioned in “March of the Gods”, seem to have gone quiet in recent years.

Other bands from Botswana have made tentative steps into the international spotlight. For example, in 2016 Overthrust – a Death Metal band from Ghanzi (a town to the West of Botswana) – toured Europe and played Wacken Open Air festival.

Official Trailer

IMDB Entry

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3405392/

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Doogie White – As Yet Untitled Reissue (2CD)

As Yet Untitled Album Reissue Cover Art

Doogie White – As Yet Untitled Reissue (2CD)
The Store For Music
Release Date: 04/06/2021
Running Time: 106:54
Review by Chris Galea
9/10

“As Yet Untitled” was originally released back in 2011 when Doogie White’s spell singing with Yngwie Malmsteen’s band had ended. The album title is a dig at the practice of magazines pre-empting news of a band’s new album. There are some juicy additions in this re-release but first, what of the ‘regular’ content?

It kicks off in dramatic fashion with ‘Come Taste The Band’, which was also the title of the first Deep Purple album not to feature Ritchie Blackmore. Ritchie reportedly saw the funny side of Doogie’s ‘cheekiness’ and in fact had ended up inviting the Scottish singer to join Rainbow. It’s a really great song that I can’t get enough of.

For music fans who have only heard Doogie singing in albums by Rainbow, Yngwie Malmsteen, Michael Schenker, Tank and others, “As Yet Untitled” might represent a repository of surprises. Indeed, the album showcases Doogie’s versatility as a singer – such as the AC/DC-inspired ‘Time Machine’ or ‘Secret Jesus’ where Doogie seems to use Glenn Hughes’ soulful singing as a beacon. ‘Land Of The Deceiver’ has some thrilling guitar solos and the riffs in ‘Lonely’ are bound to get you headbanging while playing air-guitar.

There’s a long list of guests that help Doogie bring these songs to life. In the promotional album on which this review is based, it’s not always clear which musician contributes to which track but just scroll down to see who there is on the album. Considering the number of guests and the fact that the album was written intermittently over several years, it might be tempting to speculate that “As Yet Untitled” is a mess. This couldn’t be further from the truth, however, for the album feels very cohesive. It doesn’t purport to reinvent the wheel of music, especially for fans of Whitesnake and Deep Purple, but nevertheless it’s a damn fine album.

At the tail end of the regular CD are two bonus tracks: ‘Disturbing The Dirt’, notable for its catchy riffs and strong melodies and the magnificently melancholic ‘Small Town Saturday Night’.

Also, with the re-release of “As Yet Untitled” is a bonus disc containing some of the cover versions that Doogie has recorded over the years. The more interesting ones include an original take on Iron Maiden’s ‘Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter’ and a great interpretation of UFO’s ‘Long Gone’.

Honestly, this package represents very good value…worth acquiring even if you had already bought the original release. And if, like me, you hadn’t…well then then adding this release to your collection is a no-brainer.

‘Come Taste The Band’ (Audio)

TRACKLISTING:

CD1
01. Come Taste The Band
02. Time Machine
03. Dreams Lie Down And Die
04. Lonely
05. Land Of The Deceiver
06. Secret Jesus
07. Sea Of Emotion
08. Catz Got Yer Tongue
09. Living On The Cheap
10. Times Like These
11. Dishing the Dirt (Bonus Track)
12. Small Town Saturday Night (Bonus Track)

CD2
01. The Clairvoyant (Iron Maiden Cover)
02. Too Hot To Handle (UFO Cover)
03. Judgement Day (Whitesnake Cover)
04. Let’s Spend The Night Together (The Rolling Stones Cover)
05. This Flight Tonight (Nazareth Cover)
06. Long Gone (UFO Cover)
07. Emerald (Thin Lizzy Cover)
08. Crying In The Rain (Whitesnake)
09. Love Hurts (Nazareth Cover)
10. Not Fade Away (Buddy Holly Cover)
11. Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter (Iron Maiden Cover)
12. Twistin’ The Night Away (Sam Cooke Cover)

LINE-UP
Doogie White – Vocals
Patti Russo (Meat Loaf, Queen) – Vocals
Mick Tucker (Tank) – Guitar
Alex Dickson (Midnight Blue, Gun, Bruce Dickinson) – Guitar
Phil Hilborne (Nicko McBrain, Glenn Hughes) – Guitar
Marcus Jidell (Avatarium) – Guitar
Paul Logue (Eden’s Curse, James LaBrie) – Bass
Neil Murray (Whitesnake, Black Sabbath, Michael Schenker Group) – Bass
Greg Smith (Alice Cooper, Rainbow) – Bass
Tony Carey (Rainbow) – Keyboards
Thomas Broman (Great King Rat, Electric Boys, Humanimal) – Drums
Patrick Johansson (Yngwie Malmsteen, W.A.S.P., Impellitteri, NorthTale) – Drums

LINKS:

(Note: This site hasn’t been updated for many years but does still give you plenty of historical info on some of Doogie’s various projects)

Watch Chris Galea’s video interview with Doogie White here:

https://ever-metal.com/2021/07/16/video-interview-with-doogie-white/

Doogie White Live Photo

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Video Interview with DOOGIE WHITE

Doogie White Logo

Video Interview with DOOGIE WHITE
The Flying Scotsman
By Chris Galea

Sometimes it just takes a little initiative to change everything. For Doogie White that initiative was probably when he gave Ritchie Blackmore’s management a cassette containing some songs with him singing. That eventually led him to join Rainbow and his career has since flown from peak to pinnacle.

Douglas ‘Doogie’ White was born in Motherwell (Scotland) on the 7th March 1960. He sings or has sung with bands such as La Paz, Alcatrazz, Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force, Praying Mantis, Tank…and Rainbow and has collaborated with the cream of contemporary music.

In this interview Doogie and I discuss recent (and not-so-recent) musical involvements, the re-release of his only solo album (called “As Yet Untitled”) and ponder over the general state of things.

Enjoy!

DOOGIE WHITE Video Interview by Chris Galea

DISCOGRAPHY (Studio Albums, Unless Otherwise Indicated):
Long Shadows Dawn – “Isle of Wrath” (Out Aug. 2021)
Michael Schenker Fest – “Revelation” (2019) (On 5 Tracks)
Michael Schenker Fest – “Resurrection” (2018) (On 5 Tracks)
Michael Schenker’s Temple Of Rock – “Spirit On A Mission” (2015)
Michael Schenker’s Temple Of Rock – “Bridge the Gap” (2013)
Michael Schenker’s Temple Of Rock – “Temple of Rock” (2011) (On 1 Track)
Come Taste The Band – “Reignition” (2018) (On All But 2 Tracks)
John Steel & Doogie White – “Everything or Nothing” (2017)
Stardust Reverie Project – “Proclamation of Shadows” (2015) (On 2 Tracks)
WAMI (White/Appice/Mendoza/Iggy) – “Kill The King” (2014)
Doogie White & La Paz – “Shut Up and Rawk!” (2016)
Doogie White & La Paz – “The Dark and the Light” (2013)
Doogie White & La Paz – “Granite” (2012)
Doogie White – “As Yet Untitled” (2011)
Demon’s Eye – “Under the Neon” (2015)
Demon’s Eye – “The Stranger Within” (2011)
Tank – “War Nation” (2012)
Tank – “War Machine” (2010)
Rata Blanca – “The Forgotten Kingdom” (2009) (English Version)
Empire – “Chasing Shadows” (2007)
M3 – “Rough an’ Ready” (Live, DVD&CD) (2005)
Praying Mantis – “The Journey Goes On” (2003) (On 7 Tracks)
Liesegang/White – “Visual Surveillance of Extreme” (2005)
Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force – “Unleash the Fury” (2005)
Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force – “Attack!!” (2002)
Cornerstone – “Two Tales of One Tomorrow” (2007)
Cornerstone – “Once upon Our Yesterdays” (2003)
Cornerstone – “Human Stain” (2002)
Cornerstone – “Arrival” (2000)
Nikolo Kotsev – “Nostradamus” (2001)
Balance Of Power – “Ten More Tales of Grand Illusion” (1999) (Only Backing Vocals)
Chain – “Eros of Love and Destruction” (1997)
Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow – “Black Masquerade – Rockpalast ’95” (Live, DVD & CD)
(2013)
Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow – “Stranger In Us All” (1995)
Midnight Blue – “Take The Money And Run” (1994)
La Paz – “The Amy Tapes” (Cassette Only) (1988)
La Paz – “Old Habits Die Hard” (Cassette Only) (1985)

LINKS:
Alcatrazz:

Long Shadows Dawn:

Doogie White:

Read Chris’s review of the 2021 reissue of “As Yet Untitled here:
https://ever-metal.com/2021/07/16/doogie-white-as-yet-untitled-reissue-2cd/

Doogie White Live Photo

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Chris Galea and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Interview with Christian Liljegren

Christian Liljegren Logo

Interview with Christian Liljegren
The Passion Within
By Chris Galea

While I consider myself to have a very eclectic taste in music, I’ve always had a soft spot for melodic White Metal bands, particularly Stryper. So, when bands such as Narnia and Golden Resurrection came along, I lapped them all up with the eagerness of an overexcited puppy. Swedish singer Christian Liljegren has been at the helm of many of these bands but it was only a few months ago that he released his first solo album, the excellent “Melodic Passion”.

Curious to find out more about this album and about what makes Christian tick, I fired a few questions in his direction. Here’s what came back…

CG: Who were the singers that inspired you to sing?

Christian: My biggest vocal influences are Brian Connolly (The Sweet), Ronnie James Dio (Rainbow, Dio, Black Sabbath), David Byron (Uriah Heep) and Joey Tempest (Europe).

CG: “Melodic Passion” is your first solo album. In what ways was the approach to writing and recording this album different from others you’ve done before?

Christian: This is the first solo album where I am involved in all aspects of the songs both music and lyrics and as one of the producers.

CG: The promotional video for ‘Salute For The King’ seems to be autobiographical…it contains footage taken from throughout your career. How did this idea come about?

Christian: The idea for this album is really go back to my roots where it all started both as a listener and as performer so the video was perfect to include the different phases of my music career.

‘Salute For The King’ (Official Video)

CG: The line-up for your solo album is a very strong one so it’s no surprise that “Melodic Passion” sounds quite tight. How easy was it to get Stephen, Per, Habo and Olov on board?

Christian: I have been close to these guys for many years so I know what I got. Stephen and I have only known each other for a couple of years but it seems like a lifetime as we clicked so perfect in music and I am very proud of the songs and how my dear friends delivered on the album.

CG: There’s an obvious thematic thread linking “Melodic Passion” to albums you’ve recorded with bands such as Narnia and Golden Resurrection. How important is Christianity in the music you make? Would you consider exploring entirely different or darker themes in future?

Christian: In my perspective, my faith has always been a natural thing for me in my lyrics as I breathe the air and I share different lyrics on both lighter and heavier subjects. For example, the song ‘History’ is a very serious and heavy matter on how we deal and have learned from our history.

CG: Do you view the Black Metal genre as your antagonist?

Christian: I don´t see it that way. Every person has a personal choice, what they take in or not, in their lives.

CG: What do you remember of the time you supported Stryper on tour?

Christian: It was a fantastic tour, to really get to know these people personally, and at the same time hear these wonderful songs. I am a huge fan, since 1985, and they are also the reason I wanted to form a band with a Christian message in the lyrics.

The tour was the 2nd time I supported Stryper. I did it with Audiovision in 2010 as well.

CG: How challenging was it to sing The Waymaker’s version of ‘Soldiers Under Command’?

Christian: It was a musical vision I have had for a long time, as this song started it all for me, so it was very emotional to do it but I am very happy with the result and I am happy how our vocals worked out and Jani Stefanovic did a marvelous production.

CG: What is the situation with Narnia? Are you hoping to tour or record a successor to “From Darkness To Light” (2019 album)?

Christian: Everything is fine with Narnia and we are working on the next studio album. We have two shows booked in November in Netherlands and Belgium and we hope it will happen. All depends on the pandemic situation with Covid-19.

The album is planned to be out springtime 2022.

CG: How optimistic are you about the live scene emerging from the Coronavirus pandemic?

Christian: I hope and pray all will be better and I am optimistic the live scene will open in autumn 2021.

CG: I’ve read interviews with you where you mention Children of Bodom and Uriah Heep. Two musicians who have passed away in recent months are Alexi Laiho and Ken Hensley…what memories do you have of them and their music?

Christian: I have done concerts with both bands and met Ken Hensley several times. Uriah Heep have a special place in my heart. One of my favourite bands ever. Regarding Alexi it is sad he passed away too early. I had only met him once.

CG: How do you keep your voice in shape?

Christian: I am working out my voice with a voice pipe, an invention from Sweden, that strengthens my vocals chords and I sing nearly 3-4 times a week to keep my voice in good condition. I also keep my body in good condition and run 15-30 kms per week.

CG: From all the albums you have recorded (“Melodic Passion” aside) which one is closest to your heart? Why?

Christian: I think “Melodic Passion” is the closest as it really shows the passion and the musical roots but I am deeply proud of Narnia´s album Long Live The King & From Darkness To Light, The Waymaker, Audiovision – Focus, Modest Attraction albums and Flagship as I am a man who loves to sing different and I am trying to separate the albums and I am blessed to have been doing 40+ releases until this day.

CG: Thank you for your time in answering these questions!!

Christian: Thank you so much for your support and I wish you a great year. Let the musical passion run your life!!! Long Live The King!

‘History’ (Official Video)

SELECTED ALBUM DISCOGRAPHY:
Christian Liljegren – “Melodic Passion” (2021)
The Waymaker – “The Waymaker” (2020)
Narnia – “From Darkness To Light” (2019)
Narnia – “Enter The Gate” (2006)
Narnia – “The Great Fall” (2003)
Narnia – “Desert Land “ (2000)
Narnia – “Long Live The King” (1998)
Narnia – “Awakening” (1997)
7days – “Into Forever” (2010)
Wisdom Call – “Wisdom Call” (2001)
Golden Resurrection – “One Voice For The Kingdom” (2013)
Golden Resurrection – “Man With A Mission” (2011)
Golden Resurrection – “Glory To My King” (2010)
Audiovision – “Focus” (2010)
Audiovision – “The Calling” (2005)
DivineFire – “Eye Of The Storm” (2011)
DivineFire – “Farewell” (2008)
DivineFire – “Into A New Dimension” (2006)
DivineFire – “Hero” (2005)
DivineFire – “Glory Thy Name” (2004)

LINKS:
Christian Liljegren:

The Waymaker:

Narnia:

Audiovision:

Original Review of Christian Liljegren – “Melodic Passion”

Christian_Liljegren Promo Pic (Credit Mats Vassfjord)
Photo by Mats Vassfjord

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Chris Galea and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities

Cannibal Corpse – Centuries of Torment: The First 20 Years

Centuries Of Torment - The First 20 Years Cover

Cannibal Corpse
Centuries of Torment: The First 20 Years
Directed: Nic Izzi, Denise Korycki, David Stuart
Produced & Released by: Metal Blade Records
2008
Review by Chris Galea
10/10

If anything, new album “Violence Unimagined” (2021) proves that Cannibal Corpse are as relevant as ever. But who really are Cannibal Corpse? And how did it all come to this?

“Centuries of Torment” provides the answers to those questions and more. It’s a documentary released in 2008 that dissects the Death Metal pioneers, warts, guts and all. (There’s nothing like a few good puns to open a review!) Basically, it’s a DVD package spread over 3 discs:

The first disc is a documentary about the history of the band and the bulk of this review will in fact focus on that disc.

“Centuries of Torment: Performances” is the second disc and contains lots of live footage – mostly with George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher on vocals but there’s also material from the Chris Barnes era – as well as the band’s promotional videos. All very intense stuff.

Finally, the third disc – “Centuries of Torment: Bonus Chunks” – is an extension of the first but goes into greater depth on issues indirectly related to the band and follows no specific chronology. It covers issues such as general attitudes on censorship, bands that the members of Cannibal Corpse dig, and a hilarious segment on the sanitary limitations of touring bands.

Cannibal Corpse Circa 1990v
Cannibal Corpse circa 1990

But now onto the first disc…

At over 3 hours duration, “Cannibal Corpse: History” is one of the most exhaustive band documentaries I’ve ever seen. It chronicles the first 20 years of the band’s existence from every perspective imaginable.

It starts by delving into the band’s formation…when none of the founding members had any idea how to play their instrument…and then traces Cannibal Corpse’s post-natal steps. We are taken to the very place where they did their first gig, opening for Dark Angel (which then had Gene Hoglan on drums…incidentally Hoglan contributes quite a lot to this documentary). Cannibal Corpse drummer and founding member Paul Mazurkiewicz also takes us to see the band’s old rehearsal studio where the band wrote most of their early material and where they started to develop their sound.

The success of Cannibal Corpse put Buffalo (U.S.A.) on the Metal map, something which the city’s Metal fans were proud of and consequentially rallied behind the band. This sense of camaraderie was bolstered after the band opened gigs for the likes of Kreator and Death early in their career and always leaving a very positive impression. As a friend of the band put it, Cannibal Corpse “opened the floodgates for the bands of Buffalo”. Before long, demand for the band enabled its members to  dedicate themselves to the band on a full-time basis.

So immediate was the band’s impact, in fact, that Metal Blade Records signed Cannibal Corpse less than a year after the band had been together, making then the label’s first Death Metal signing.

Cannibal Corpse – First Live Show (1989)

“Centuries of Torment: History” documents the band’s story via interviews interspersed with rare footage, vintage photography, and snippets of live shows. And it’s really everyone who enthusiastically contributes via personal reminiscences and points of view. This includes band members, family members, fans, school friends, neighbours, touring crew, record label executives and band peers such as Sean Reinert, Paul Masvidal, Eric Rutan, Malevolent Creation (also from Buffalo…Death Metal buddies of Cannibal Corpse), Anthrax, Jeff Loomis, Obituary, The Black Dahlia Murder, Kataklysm, Monstrosity, Immolation and many many others.

Amongst other things, there’s a very interesting analysis of the artworks of Vince Locke that adorn the band’s albums, including an interview with Locke himself. It becomes clear that gore was always part of the band’s imagery…probably even before the music itself coalesced. Furthermore, the band does not shy away from addressing the controversies that arose from its imagery and lyrics. After all, controversies have only served to help spur the band’s career further.

Butchered At Birth Album Cover
“Butchered At Birth” – Debut Album Cover

The documentary also analyses each album released by the band up until “Kill” from 2006. With each one, the band members reveal the circumstances that led to its release, its recording and fan reactions while clarifying any related polemics. Musicians from other bands explain the impact that a particular album has had on them.

But before they go into all that, the members of Cannibal Corpse describe their magical journey from the East to the West coast of the U.S.A. to record the band’s debut album at the famed Morrisound studios with Scott Burns, the legendary sound engineer who has produced many classic Death Metal albums such as “Piece of Time” by Atheist, “Spiritual Healing” by Death, “Cause of Death” by Obituary and “Slaughter in the Vatican” by Exhorder. Burns’ wider role in shaping the entire Death Metal subgenre is discussed via interviews with Burns himself and with various bands (including of course Cannibal Corpse). It’s all very fascinating stuff.

“Centuries of Torment” also points the spotlight on the band-members that for some reason or another do not form part of the band any more. Ex-members reminisce on the good times they’ve had with the band but also on the conflict that led to their departure from Cannibal Corpse. This includes, of course, ex-vocalist Chris Barnes, who tells us: ”I’m feeling good where I am [Six Feet Under]. But I like where I came from.” These interviews are quite objective – case in point is when we are told what really happened with the acrimonious firing of founding member guitarist Bob Rusay. Cannibal Corpse drummer/founding member Paul Mazurkiewicz is careful not to place blame for that on just one person. All this enhances the quality of the documentary’s interviews.

Some of the band’s most significant tours are discussed, such as the first European tour in support of the “Butchered at Birth” album. Rarely discussed topics in relation to touring are here openly contemplated, such as the toll that decades of touring have on the physical well-being of Death Metal musicians.

As one might expect, there’s no shortage of trivia and amusing recollections, such as the band’s appearance in Jim Carrey’s Ace Ventura film of 1994. Another one is when band vocalist George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher reminisces on the time the band chilled out at the home of Cher who even cooked for them. All the while, the band members’ jocular personalities ensure the documentary never feels dragging. The irony that Corpsegrinder is fishing while answering several interview questions did not escape me.

‘Devoured By Vermin’ Official Video from the 1996 album “Vile”.

Beside the band being a benchmark of the Death Metal genre, each member of Cannibal Corpse has become a point of reference with regards his instrument of trade. The documentary delves into these traits in context of the Metal scene. For example, there’s a discussion on whether Cannibal Corpse were the progenitors of Death Metal ‘growls’. The styles and approaches of each guitarist are examined, especially for the way they affected the musical direction of the band. Bassist Alex Webster tries to describe his own style of playing but Donald Tardy (Obituary drummer) simply describes him as “a bass player’s bass player” while Eric Rutan regards Webster as the “Steve Harris of Death Metal”.

A crucial element of Cannibal Corpse’s music is of course the drumming of Paul Mazurkiewicz, who highlights some of the techniques he was forced to adopt in order to push the boundaries of the band’s music. Some of those very techniques are today widely adopted by many Death Metal drummers.

Of all Death Metal bands in existence, Cannibal Corpse have one of the most loyal fanbases…as one interviewee says in “Centuries of Torment”, “they make lifers out of their fans”. It transpires that this is partly due to the quality of the music and to the band’s eagerness to evolve. But the band members’ willingness to interact with fans endears them to the same fans and fans the flames of devotion.

Highly regarded guitarist Eric Rutan (Hate Eternal, Morbid Angel, Ripping Corpse) talks about his friendship with the guys of Cannibal Corpse. In the documentary he tells us how his reputation as a producer blossomed after he produced Cannibal Corpse’s “Kill” album of 2006. According to him, a key ingredient of the band’s success was its keenness and ability to always re-invent itself. Unsurprisingly, when I started writing this review it was announced that Eric had joined Cannibal Corpse as their lead guitarist after Pat O’Brien had a run-in with the law.

As I suggested earlier, “Centuries of Torment: History” is impressively exhaustive, especially when taking into consideration the two accompanying discs. And this is definitely its main selling point. Together, the 3 discs are over 7 hours long in total. So, for fans who want to get to know the band better or even anyone simply interested in a great success story…the documentary provides hours of compelling viewing. It could have been better edited but that’s only a minor snag. And keep an eye open for the hilarious bloopers toward the very end.

“Centuries of Torment” was released in 2008 to mark the 20th anniversary of the band’s existence so there are…at the time of writing this…five albums and over a decade of events that aren’t covered. When the “Centuries of Torment” DVD package was released, the band had sold a total of one million albums. Since the documentary’s release they have sold more than two million. Clearly the band’s appeal shows no sign of abating. It would make sense, therefore, to have a second documentary chronicling the last 15 years or so. The blood still flows…

Centuries Of Torment – The First 20 Years Trailer

LINKS:

Cannibal Corpse 2021
Cannibal Corpse 2021

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.