Animated metalheads ‘Beavis And Butt-Head‘ are set to return this year for a second feature-length film. The duo’s creator, Mike Judge, has confirmed his plans to release a new movie featuring the pair via the Paramount+ streaming service sometime “soon”. A tweet shared yesterday, January 04th, by Judge revealed as much while also showing off middle aged versions of the film’s stars:
In July of 2020 it was announced that Comedy Central had picked up the animated series for a two season order, marking what would be its third revival. Thus far it has yet to air though.
British extreme metallers CRADLE OF FILTH have announced a digital show stream, a one-off special performance titled “The Infernal Vernal Equinox”. The concert will see the band play its monumental 1996 studio album “Dusk… And Her Embrace” in full.“The Infernal Vernal Equinox” will take place on March 20 at 11 a.m. PST / 2 p.m. EST / 7 p.m. GMT / 8 p.m. CET. Tickets are available to purchase from this location.
CRADLE OF FILTH frontman Dani “Filth” Davey said: “After the glorious success of our livestream extravaganza back in May last year, we have decided to undertake a second in which we will play our legendary musical excretion ‘Dusk… And Her Embrace’ in its dark cinematic entirety, accompanied by a further bout of new album tracks and fan favorites.
“Being unleashed on March 20th, 2022 — the day of the Spring Equinox — and known as ‘The Infernal Vernal Equinox’, this full livestream ritual will also premiere the incredible third single video from ‘Existence Is Futile’ plus will include the entirety of our first livestream free for your vulgar delectation.
“So, Children of the Night, be expectant of horrific spectacle, big production, and razor-sharp Black Metal mayhem ascending your way. Warning. This one-off special performance is intended solely for those tortured souls still clinging to the last of winter’s grip. Happy f**king Spring!!!”
CRADLE OF FILTH‘s latest album, “Existence Is Futile”, was released in October. The LP was pieced together in isolation at Grindstone Studios in Suffolk with studio guru Scott Atkins (DEVILMENT, BENEDICTION, VADER). Horror icon Doug “Pinhead” Bradley made a welcome return to the CRADLE fold, lending his dulcet tones to the band’s most politically astute song to date, the epic “Suffer Our Dominion” as well as the album bonus track “Sisters Of The Mist”, which is the conclusion to the “Her Ghost In The Fog” trilogy that started over 20 years ago on the infamous and classic “Midian”.
Eight months ago, CRADLE OF FILTH announced the addition of keyboardist Anabelle Iratni to the band’s ranks.
Iratni, who previously played alongside Filth in DEVILMENT, as well as her own group VEILE, made her live debut with CRADLE OF FILTH on May 12, 2021 during the band’s livestreamed concert.
Anabelle joined CRADLE OF FILTH as the replacement for Lindsay Schoolcraft, who announced her departure from the group in February 2020 after a seven-year run.
With a genuinely astonishing and vast catalogue of releases to their legendary name, BORIS have earned the right to be regarded as underground legends. The Japanese band’s method and madness, perpetually intertwined, have led to some truly groundbreaking moments over the last 30 years: from the strung-out doom experiment of “Absolutego” to more accessible but equally out-there standouts like “Boris At Last -Feedbacker-“, “Pink” and “Smile”, BORIS have been very generous towards those who like to lose themselves in the mind-expanding magic of manipulated sound and overdriven guitars.In many ways, “W” feels like a particularly inviting and digestible addition to the BORIS canon. The band’s ongoing dalliance with dream-pop and shoegaze, while never expressed conservatively, has brought a brightness and textural depth to everything they do. As a result, everything from amorphous, wistful opener “I Want to Go to the Side Where You Can Touch…” onwards gets the balance between esoteric insanity and musical warmth just right. Reveling in contrast, “Drowning by Numbers” is a rumbling haze of post-punk fuzz and jittery beats, its skewed funk gait underscored by warped, cartoon electronics and billowing clouds of feedback and noise. “Invitation” is all queasy, ambient drift and ethereal sparkle; “The Fallen” is a blistering squall of furious sludge metal, like early MELVINS forced through the eye of a bloody needle; “Beyond Good and Evil” sounds perfect for the next David Lynch movie, with its air of smoky resignation and sudden jarring crescendos. Similarly, “Old Projector” defies expectations with a big grin on its face, starting with a slow-motion wave of soupy abstraction before ending with a brutally curtailed burst of grubby, doom riffing. Most startling of all, “You Will Know (Ohayo Version)” is BORIS at their most instinctive and feral: nine minutes of glacial fuzz and scattershot atmospherics that never quite settle into a groove, it’s unsettling and gorgeous in equal measure.
As ever, on their 27th studio album, BORIS are still making music that we categorize at our peril. “W” is a highly inventive, experiential piece of work, and that is probably the least surprising thing about it. Not for the first time, BORIS are taking a deep trip into the heart of sound.
Eddie Van Halen‘s ex-wife Valerie Bertinelli, who is promoting her new book, “Enough Already: Learning To Love The Way I Am Today”, has told Washington Post Live in a new interview that her bond with the legendary VAN HALEN guitarist only grew stronger in the years before his death.”He was angry at me for a few years when I first left — he was very angry at me,” she said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). “I think a lot of people saw that on [VAN HALEN‘s] 2004 tour.
“I don’t know how else to say it except I felt like the love we had for each other was deeper than just marital love or sexual love,” she continued. “I loved him deeply through my soul, and I felt that same thing from him.
“It seemed like he spent that whole last year really wanting to connect, and I didn’t realize it at the time that this might have been our last year together. So I write a lot in the book about regretting not going over there more. ‘Cause the last couple of years of his life, he was alone in that house. And I wish I’d gone over more. Every time he had texted me, I wish that I had just dropped everything and gone over.
“The reason I write that in the book is for anybody else that may hear it, and if you’re having doubts, if you’re feeling like, ‘Ooh, maybe I shouldn’t overstep my bounds,’ ‘They just texted me. Maybe I shouldn’t go over,’ do it,” Valerie added. “You’re never gonna regret having told somebody that you love them. There are gonna be regrets about if you didn’t.
“I must say by the end of his life, we were able to say that to each other. I mean, we always said it to each other, but there was something deeper to it before he passed.”
Bertinelli split with Van Halen in 2002 after 21 years of marriage. They officially divorced in 2007. Eddie then went on to marry Janie Liszewski in 2009, while Valerie also remarried, tying the knot with Tom Vitale in 2011. Valerie told People magazine that both marriages were struggling before Eddie‘s death. She eventually filed for separation from Vitale in November 2021.
On the day of the VAN HALEN guitarist’s passing, Valerie shared a photo of her, Eddie and their son Wolfgang, taken while Wolfgang was still a toddler, and she included the following message: “40 years ago my life changed forever when I met you. You gave me the one true light in my life, our son, Wolfgang. Through all your challenging treatments for lung cancer, you kept your gorgeous spirit and that impish grin. I’m so grateful Wolfie and I were able to hold you in your last moments. I will see you in our next life my love.”
Eddie died at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California. Following his death, fans left flowers at his childhood home on Las Lunas Street in Pasadena, California. Additional flowers, candles and fan mementos were placed on Allen Avenue where Eddie and his brother, VAN HALEN drummer Alex, scratched their band’s name into the wet cement of a sidewalk when they were teenagers.
“One of the many reasons that Ed and I split up is to give Wolfie a better vision of what two people who are supposedly in love treat each other like,” Valerie told Oprah.com. “Ed and I weren’t treating each other like two people that loved each other, and that’s what Wolfie was seeing. So I’m hoping that when he does get married and start a life for himself, that he takes his time and marries a friend and not just someone that he can’t keep his hands off.”
Valerie went on to say that leaving Eddie wasn’t an easy choice. “We were all very raw from 9/11, and you heard all these stories of people coming together,” she said. “They hated each other and they were back together and divorces weren’t happening anymore. And I’m, like, ‘Am I the only one in the world that wants out now because of 9/11? I’m not going to live my life if it’s that tenuous. That’s not how I want to live my life anymore.'”
VAN HALEN was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2007.
Rolling Stone magazine ranked Eddie Van Halen No. 8 in its list of the 100 greatest guitarists.
Britney Spears’ battle with her dad is headed to a trial.
At a heated hearing in a Los Angeles courtroom Wednesday, lawyers for the pop star and her dad Jamie Spears clashed over whether he placed a listening device in her bedroom and mismanaged her finances. But they ultimately agreed on one thing — an evidentiary hearing is needed.
Judge Brenda Penny agreed, and, before a break, she said the mini-trial likely would be transferred to another courtroom, because it appeared destined to last several days.
In one fiery exchange, Britney’s lawyer, Mathew Rosengart, accused Jamie’s lawyer, Alex Weingarten, of sidestepping the issue of “whether or not his client knew about electronic eavesdropping on my client,” including “the placing of a listening device in the bedroom of my client.”
“Didn’t happen, your honor,” Weingarten shot back, cutting Rosengart off after alleging earlier during the hearing that perhaps Rosengart “planted” the story about the listening device in the New York Times.
“He just made accusations that are disgraceful, and he should be ashamed. He says it didn’t happen? Let’s see what Mr. Spears says under oath when he’s deposed,” Rosengart said.
Rosengart suggested an evidentiary hearing on disputed issues related to the conservatorship’s stewardship and accounting be set in the next 150 days. Weingarten said it should be sooner, possibly in the next 90 days.
The pop star was freed from her nearly 14-year conservatorship on Nov. 12 after blowing the doors off the legal arrangement with back-to-back statements to Judge Penny in June and July. In her live addresses heard around the world, the “Toxic” singer said her conservatorship, largely controlled by her father, was “cruel” and “abusive” as it dictated her finances, health care, and personal life for most of her adult life.
Once she hired Rosengart, a former federal prosecutor, she started an aggressive campaign to investigate claims her dad mismanaged her millions and used “bullying conduct” to keep her in line.
She and Rosengart hired the accounting and intelligence firm Kroll for a forensic review of the controversial conservatorship, and last Friday filed new paperwork summarizing the probe so far. In a sworn statement, Kroll executive Sherine Ebadi, a ex-FBI agent, said she found a “pattern of misconduct” that raises possible “criminal implications.”
Most notably, she said she personally debriefed Britney’s former security staffer, Alex Vlasov, at the Hotel Bel-Air and found him to be “highly credible.” Vlasov is the whistleblower who previously told the New York Times that his former boss Edan Yemini, CEO of Black Box Security, placed a secret listening device in Britney’s bedroom in 2016 and used surveillance technology that captured the singer’s privileged communications with her lawyer.
“Mr. Vlasov regularly overheard Mr. Yemini updating Mr. Spears on the contents of the phone devices used by his daughter,” Ebadi wrote in her statement.
“Mr. Yemeni and Black Box have always conducted themselves within professional, ethical, and legal bounds, and they are particularly proud of their work in keeping Ms. Spears safe for many years,” Yemini’s civil lawyer Shawn Holley previously told Rolling Stone.
Bronx-raised Cardi B is joining New York City Mayor Eric Adams in covering the funeral expenses of the victims of the Bronx fire tragedy that killed 17 people last week.
“I’m extremely proud to be from the Bronx and I have lots of family and friends who live and work there still,” the rapper said in a release. “When I heard about the fire and all of the victims, I knew I needed to do something to help.”
On Jan. 9, a 19-story tower in the Bronx caught fire seemingly due to a faulty electrical heater. The blaze killed 17 people who were part of a community of immigrants from West Africa. Among the deceased were nine adults and eight children, including 2-year-old Ousmane Konteh, who was at the home of his babysitter, according to the New York Times.
In a statement announcing her support, Cardi expressed her condolences for the victims’ families as she joined the city mayor’s efforts to support the victims of the tragedy. “I cannot begin to imagine the pain and anguish that the families of the victims are experiencing, but I hope that not having to worry about the costs associated with burying their loved ones will help as they move forward and heal,” she wrote.
Cardi B’s contributions are being paired with that of the Bronx Fire Relief Fund, which has raised more than $2.5 million. “The resilience of this city reflects everyday New Yorkers who never turn their back on one another,” said Mayor Adams in a release. “We are grateful for Cardi B, a real superstar on and off the mic, for granting some critical financial relief to families of the victims.”
The families of the tragedy’s victims have also set up digital fundraisers of their own. Nhuma Darame, a member of the Drammeh family, set up a fundraiser to help Fatima Drammeh, who lost four of her family members in the fire while she was out at work. Her mother Faoumata, younger brother Muhammed, and sisters Aisha and Fatoumala died after the Bronx building caught fire. Meanwhile, her 16-year-old brother Yagub is “currently being cared for in the hospital.”
“As a community, it is our duty to come together during times like this and help one another in any way that we can,” Darame wrote. “Our goal is to raise enough to at least build a well for each of the family members we lost, In sha’Allah.” Darame has since raised more than $175,000.
Another fundraiser was set up for the children of Haji Jawara and Setou Jabbie, who were both killed in the fire and left behind four children. “All money that will be raised will be used to help with funeral expenses and care for the orphan children,” the GoFundMe description read. The fund has raised nearly $140,000.
In a new interview with SiriusXM‘s “Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk”, DJ Ashba once again spoke about his decision to leave GUNS N’ ROSES more than six years ago. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “I’m a huge GN’R fan. The only reason I joined the band is because I grew up on the music, I have a ton of respect for the guys who wrote the music.”[Singer] Axl [Rose] called me and said, ‘Hey, I just wanna give you a heads up, Slash is coming back, but I want you to be a part of this,'” Ashba claimed. “Which was a really cool phone call to get. And at the time, I was going through a lot of different things with SIXX:A.M. too; SIXX:A.M. wanted to really pick up the pace and go nuts.
“For three and a half years, I played — 85 [or] 90 percent of my parts [with GUNS N’ ROSES] were the Slash parts. So I didn’t feel I had the brain capacity to relearn — ’cause at this point, it’s muscle memory — to relearn a three-and-a-half-hour show differently than I’d been playing for the last six, seven years, it’s gonna take some work. Plus I was, like, if Slash is coming back, man, this is his gig. I can happily step out. Because it’s kind of the best of both worlds — I can go be in the band I helped create with [Nikki] Sixx and [James] Michael and go back to what I’m really good at doing, and that’s SIXX:A.M.
“I’ve never been great at playing other people’s stuff; it’s never been my thing,” Ashba added. “But if Slash was coming back, that was like the best of both worlds. It’s, like, fuck, we get most of the band back, and I can go do what I wanna do too. So it worked out great. I backed out — bowed out, I should say — and I think Richard [Fortus] was the guy for that slot anyway. That was more the Richard role, I think. He fits that way better than I would have.”
When DJ was asked if he ever attempted to work on new music with Axl during his time with GUNS N’ ROSES, Ashba said: “Yeah, I attempted. By nature, I’m a songwriter/producer, so, of course, I’m gonna keep writing. And I wrote probably eight to ten songs with GUNS in mind, but a lot of ’em were too ‘Appetite [For Destruction]’ sounding. To me, as a fan, I’m, like, that’s what I’d wanna hear. And so I was, like, ‘I wanna write something that sounds like it came right off of ‘Appetite’.’ I think they hit a little too close to home, but there was a couple where he absolutely… He was, like, ‘This song is dope.’ For whatever reason — we were touring a lot — we never got a chance to get him in the studio or whatever. But they didn’t go anywhere further than just me sending him some tracks and him going, ‘Ah, this one’s dope,’ ‘This one’s cool.’ [Former SKID ROW singer] Sebastian [Bach], though, heard one of them — I played [it for him] — and to this day, even when we were together last week, he’s, like, ‘I want that fucking song. That song is insane.'”
Ashba, who joined GUNS N’ ROSES in March 2009 following the departure of Robin Finck, issued a statement in July 2015 saying that he was leaving GUNS N’ ROSES “to dedicate myself to my band SIXX:A.M., my adoring wife and family, and to the many new adventures that the future holds for me.” He later claimed that he was approached about being part of GN’R‘s “Not In This Lifetime” tour, but that he declined, citing his desire to pursue SIXX:A.M. full time.
Ashba previously discussed his departure from GUNS N’ ROSES in a November 2016 interview with “Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk”. He stated at the time: “Well, there [were] multiple reasons [why I left GN’R] — a couple that I won’t go into — but the biggest reason was I needed to get back to my roots, back to what I really truly believed in, and that was playing songs I helped write with [SIXX:A.M. bandmates] James and Nikki. We [SIXX:A.M.] have five albums out [and] we have a ten-year career together. So we did a tour, ‘Modern Vintage’ tour, where it was, like, nineteen shows, and that tour really changed my life and put my career back into perspective — you know, being out on the stage and connecting with the fanbase.”
Only Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan from GN’R‘s “Appetite For Destruction”-era lineup are taking part in the band’s current reunion. They are being joined by keyboardist Dizzy Reed, guitarist Richard Fortus and drummer Frank Ferrer. Also appearing with them is second keyboardist Melissa Reese.
Five years ago, former GUNS N’ ROSES bassist Tommy Stinson said that he found it “funny” that Ashba “made such a big deal about” quitting the band at a time when “there wasn’t really anything going on” with the group. Stinson, who was in GUNS N’ ROSES from 1998 until 2014, told HardrockHaven.net: “[DJ] called me up on the phone and told me that he was gonna quit, you know, and this that and the other thing… [It] seemed like it was kind of inevitable that there was going to be a reunion happening, so I think he… I don’t know if he [laughs] tried to get in front of the curve to, you know, drum up some extra fucking press for himself. I don’t really know what the deal was, but I thought it odd. I thought it an odd time to make a big stink about quitting, you know?”
Ashba recently released a new single “Bella Ciao”, a modern-day EDM-driven makeover of the Italian folk classic fueled. The song marked Ashba‘s first release of 2021 and followed a series of tracks that were released in late 2020 through Edgeout Records/UMG/UMe, including “Hypnotic”, “Let’s Dance” and “A Christmas Storm”.
Ashba is also the founder and CEO of Ashba Enterprises, where he draws upon his executive and entrepreneurial skills to run his many companies, utilizing his longtime experience and expertise from years of developing his own brand in entertainment, multimedia, touring, and merchandise. Through Ashba Media, a design and creative agency, he advises clients, including Cirque De Soleil, hotel, hospitality and entertainment industries, to create state-of-the-art custom props, themed environments for events and exhibits around the world.
Quarto Valley Records has set an April 15 release date for “Brother Johnny”, a tribute to the legendary blues guitarist Johnny Winter created by his brother Edgar Winter. The album is a powerful sonic journey, traveling the course of Johnny‘s musical life, impeccably directed, as only his brother Edgar could.
Joining Edgar on the inclusive project is an impressive array of renowned musicians who knew, or were inspired by Johnny, including Joe Bonamassa, Doyle Bramhall II, John McFee, Robben Ford, Billy Gibbons, David Grissom, Taylor Hawkins, Warren Haynes, Steve Lukather, Michael McDonald, Keb Mo, Doug Rappoport, Bobby Rush, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Ringo Starr, Derek Trucks, Waddy Wachtel, Joe Walsh, Phil X and Gregg Bissonette.
The guitar-driven album celebrates the expansive styles Johnny was known for. The 17 tracks were carefully curated by Edgar and producer Ross Hogarth to represent Johnny‘s evolution as an artist, honoring his great legacy while also incorporating a personal tribute from brother to brother, and for which Edgar penned two new songs.
The project has been years in the making; Edgar was first approached about it just after his brother passed away on July 16, 2014. Johnny had just played the Cahors Blues Festival in France, which was destined to become his last show. He had travelled to Switzerland where his next show was scheduled, but he passed away in his sleep at the hotel in Zurich before he ever got the chance.
Edgar reflects: “Many people immediately started trying to convince me to do a Johnny Winter tribute album. But I was totally devastated, and the timing just didn’t feel right to me. It wasn’t until after I completed the Rock ‘N’ Blues Fest, a tour we were meant to do together with our respective bands, that the idea of a tribute record started to take form.”
He continues: “I had naturally expected the whole thing to be canceled. But much to my surprise, the promoters begged me to go on with the tour as planned, asking me to headline. The first night, after playing ‘Frankenstein’, I closed the show with ‘Johnny B. Goode’, ‘Rock And Roll, Hoochie Koo’ and ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’, dedicating the end of the set to Johnny.
“I had anticipated the tour to be very emotional, perhaps sad, and possibly difficult, but playing those songs turned out to be a great source of strength and comfort to me. Everyone on the tour was so kind and supportive, getting up to jam, and it became a kind of tradition. There was such an overwhelming outpouring of love and respect for Johnny, I began to realize it was not just business people sensing an opportunity here; it was Johnny‘s true, loyal, and devoted fans and our fellow musicians, many of whom are on this record, who wanted to see this happen as well.
“After the tour, and over the following years as talk of a tribute album continued, my wife Monique, whose intuition I trust more than my own, said, ‘I think you have to make this album, both for Johnny, for yourself, and for the world. You owe that acknowledgement to your older brother. If it weren’t for him, you wouldn’t be where you are today. There’s no need to worry about it. If it’s meant to happen, it will.'”
Soon after Edgar met Bruce Quarto, founder, and owner of Quarto Valley Records. It was his boundless enthusiasm and devotion to classic rock, the blues, (and Johnny in particular) that convinced Edgar the time for this tribute album had finally come.
“Quarto Valley Records is honored to be releasing Edgar‘s tribute to his brother Johnny,” said Bruce Quarto. “An album as remarkable in its musicianship as it is in the depth of feeling that comes through in each and every note of each and every song. The superhuman artistry and inspiration you hear in the new interpretations of some of Johnny‘s signature songs, like ‘Hootchie Koo’ and ‘Alive And Well’, are matched only by Edgar‘s original and very personal ‘End Of The Line’, which strikes a very human chord. The album is nothing short of a masterpiece. Enjoy!”
This announcement comes with the release of “Johnny B. Goode”, a perfect fit not only in name but in sentiment, and a song that remained a standard in Johnny‘s sets right up to the very end. The opening rips right out of the speakers — that infamous guitar line along with Edgar‘s smokin’ piano — followed by roaring vocals from Edgar and Joe Walsh. Joe does the vocal honors on this one, leaving his legendary guitar work for a personal favorite called “Stranger” (featuring Michael McDonald, with Ringo Starr on drums).
The signature guitar is masterfully delivered by fellow Texan David Grissom, who strikes the perfect balance between Chuck Berry‘s classic riffs and Johnny‘s wild Winter whirlwind of intensity. Edgar blows the house down with a Texas tornado of saxophone accompanied by thunder and lightning from Bob Glaub on bass, Gregg Bissonette on drums, and additional vocals by Phil X.
Edgar writes in his liner notes: “To this day, when I think of rock ‘n’ roll, i think of Chuck Berry and ‘Johnny B. Goode’. It’s not only Johnny‘s story, but also every kid’s story who ever picked up a guitar, coming from humble beginnings with the idea of making it big someday. So of course, it has to be on this album.”
“Brother Johnny” was produced by Edgar Winter and Ross Hogarth. All the basic tracking was done at Capitol Studios. Most of the guest artist performances were recorded at Infinitespin Records, and as the pandemic progressed, were done at various guest artist’s studios. the record was mixed by Ross at his studio The Boogie Motel.
Edgar sums up reminiscing in his notes: “When I was very young, I can still remember thinking no matter how much time goes by, how old I get, what happens in my life, or how far I end up from home — there is one person in this world I know will always understand what I’ve been through, how I feel. And that person is my brother Johnny. As kids, we were inseparable, much closer than average brothers. Not only did we learn to play music together, but because we were both albino, we shared a unique personal perspective on life different than anyone else’s. So much has happened to both of us since then, but one thing will always remain the same… that bond, of brotherhood, of family, of music, and of Love. So, in his name, I dedicate this album. ‘Brother Johnny’.”
Edgar adds: “My deepest and most profound thanks to all the great, fantastic, amazing artists for their incredible heartfelt performances. You touched our hearts on behalf of Johnny and the Winter family.”
“Brother Johnny” will be available on CD, vinyl and digitally across all platforms.
For their 20th band anniversary in 2022, Dutch symphonic metal titans EPICA have prepared a massive celebration from January to December, with plenty of surprises, new projects and of course some new music too that will all be revealed throughout the year. After announcing plans to re-release their first three albums, the now-classic “The Phantom Agony”, “Consign To Oblivion” and “The Score 2.0” via Nuclear Blast, on CD, vinyl, as well as strictly limited earbooks and boxsets later this year, EPICA has started the year with launching its own “universe.”
“We truly feel like there’s a universe within the band, a world of our own, and we want to invite our lifeblood to be citizens — Epicans, if you will,” the band explains. “Think of it as a sequel to past EPICA fan clubs like ‘The Fantom Agony’ and ‘The French Crusade’ but updated for the modern era; it’s more fan community than club. Epica Universe will give Epicans insight into our lives, both personal and professional, through exclusive behind-the-scenes photos, podcasts, polls, vlogs, live hangouts and much more. There’s even a (super limited) tier that includes one-on-one video calls with a band member each month!”
Get a first glimpse of what to expect via a trailer below presented by the whole band.
And what would a 20th anniversary be without a proper celebration live and in full color? The massive anniversary show will take place on September 3, 2022 at the same venue as EPICA played their first show back in the day, supporting ANATHEMA: the 013 in Tilburg, The Netherlands.
EPICA was formed by composer Mark Jansen after leaving AFTER FOREVER in 2002, and the band quickly gained attention outside their home country, taking big steps towards becoming the leading symphonic metal superpower they have long proven to be. After their ambitious debut “The Phantom Agony” (2002) and the surprisingly eclectic sophomore work “Consign To Oblivion” (2005), the road took them to new heights via their first concept masterpiece “The Divine Conspiracy” (2007) and their global breakthrough “Design Your Universe” (2009). 2012’s opus “Requiem For The Indifferent”, 2014’s bedazzling “The Quantum Enigma” and their finest, most embellished effort yet, “The Holographic Principle” (2016), cemented their reputation as not only one of the hardest-working metal bands in the business but also as one of the best. Period. With “Omega”, the final part of the metaphysical trilogy they began with “The Quantum Enigma”, they reclaim the throne without so much as the blink of an eye, amassing three million-plus streams during the first week of the album’s release.
“Omega” is an album of unity, of friendship, of the close bond the members share. An album that naturally came together as a group effort. And no wonder: Mark Jansen, Simone Simons and keyboard player Coen Janssen have been playing together since EPICA‘s conception in 2002, with drummer Ariën Van Weesenbeek joining as early as 2007, lead guitarist Isaac Delahaye following in 2009. In 2012, bass player Rob Van Der Loo marked the latest addition to their ranks. For eight years, three records and hundreds of gigs, this band has formed an indestructible unit.
In the middle of a world in turmoil, of a cataclysmic change in society, EPICA somehow managed to create their most spectacular album yet. An album that is seamlessly bringing together metal and orchestra, choir and oriental instruments to a perfect storm constantly emitting goose bumps. A record with specifically written suites for orchestra and choir, featuring a wide range of ethnic instruments recorded around the world by some of the best native musicians out there. In short: They outdid themselves. Once again. And still managed to keep the songs approachable and wickedly catchy.
Since forming in 2002, the band has amassed an incredible amount of success, “Omega” entered the album Top 10 in Germany, Holland, Belgium and Switzerland. EPICA has toured the globe, performing at venerable festivals including Wacken Open Air, Hellfest, Heaven & Hell festival, Heavy MTL and Download, while also staging shows in countries where many metal bands have not played including South Korea, South Africa and Venezuela.
Adrian Smith and Richie Kotzen‘s project SMITH/KOTZEN will kick off its U.S. West Coast tour on Saturday, January 15 at the Ventura Theatre. Joining Smith and Kotzen as part of their touring band is Richie‘s wife, internationally acclaimed bass player Julia Lage, formerly of the Latin Grammy-nominated Brazilian rock band BARRA DE SAIA. With a strong pedigree in rock, Lage has played alongside the likes of Pat Travers, Elliot Easton (THE CARS), Nuno Bettencourt (EXTREME) and Mark McGrath (SUGAR RAY). In addition, SMITH/KOTZEN has enlisted drummer Bruno Valverde of ANGRA for the U.S. West Coast dates.West Coast tour dates:
Jan. 15 – Ventura Theatre – Ventura, CA
Jan. 20 – Whisky A Go-Go – West Hollywood, CA
Jan. 22 – Count’s Vamp’d – Las Vegas, NV
Jan. 23 – Brick By Brick – San Diego, CA
Jan. 26 – Goldfield Trading Post – Roseville, CA
Jan. 27 – The Siren – Morro Bay, CA
There will be local support for each show in the U.S.
For all on sales and ticketing information, go here.
Adrian comments: “It’s always been our intention to take these songs on the road and give them a good kicking about. We’re delighted that we’ve been able to set up this tour around a very hectic 2022 schedule and we both can’t wait to finally get out there and play live.”
Richie adds: “We’re excited that we can take SMITH/KOTZEN to the next level and bring our music to the stage. We’re still figuring out which musicians we’ll be bringing with us to deliver the songs in the way we’ve always envisaged to give fans a dynamic live experience. We’re really looking forward to this tour and we’re planning to have a lot of fun!”
SMITH/KOTZEN‘s eponymous debut album was released globally through BMG in March 2021 to media and fan acclaim, charting No. 10 on Billboard‘s Top Album Sales chart in the U.S., Top 20 in the U.K. as well as in other major markets such as Germany, Japan and Canada. A follow-up EP, “Better Days”, featuring four new tracks was released on November 26 in conjunction with international Record Store Day’s Black Friday event.
Smith is best known as one of IRON MAIDEN‘s principal guitarists, having also enjoyed success as a solo artist. Kotzen is the frontman for THE WINERY DOGS as well as having been the guitarist for both MR. BIG and POISON during his long and acclaimed career, which has to date seen him release more than 20 solo albums. Both artists are also prolific songwriters.