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ENNIO MORRICONE, Composer Of METALLICA's Longtime Intro Song, Has Died

06 July 2020 - 10:15 AM

Ennio Morricone, the Oscar-winning composer of "The Ecstasy Of Gold", the song from the classic film "The Good, The Bad And The Ugly" which has been opening METALLICA live shows since 1983, has died. He was 91.According to Morricone's longtime lawyer, the composer died early Monday in a Rome hospital of complications following a fall, in which he broke a leg.In response to the news, METALLICA wrote on social media: "R.I.P. Ennio Morricone, Your career was legendary, your compositions were timeless. Thank you for setting the mood for so many of our shows since 1983."METALLICA frontman James Hetfield added in a separate post: "The day we first played 'The Ecstasy Of Gold' as our new intro in 1983 it was magic! It has become apart of our blood flow, deep breathing, fist bumping, prayers and band huddle pre-show ritual ever since. I have sang that melody thousands of times to warm up my throat before hitting the stage. Thank you Ennio for pumping us up, being a big part of our inspiration, and a bonding between band, crew, and fan. I will forever think of you as part of the METALLICA family. R.I.P. Maestro Morricone."Back in the mid-1980s, Hetfield explained why he and his bandmates chose "The Ecstasy Of Gold" as their intro music.He said: "Originally we had a really dreadful tape as our intro. Just the sound of a heart with the beat getting faster. Rubbish. Then our manager at the time came up with the idea of replacing it with 'The Ecstasy Of Gold'. And from the first time we used it, something happened. It just set us up for the night, and got the fans excited."METALLICA eventually recorded a metalized cover version of "The Ecstasy Of Gold" for inclusion on a tribute to Morricone, also featuring some of the greatest names from the worlds of contemporary pop, rock, jazz, and classical music. It was released in February 2007 via Sony Classical.METALLICA played "The Ecstasy Of Gold" live for the first time ever in July 2009 at the Forum in Copenhagen, Denmark.
R.I.P. Ennio MorriconeYour career was legendary, your compositions were timeless. Thank you for setting the mood for so many of our shows since 1983.Posted by Metallica on Monday, July 6, 2020
The day we first played “The Ecstasy of Gold” as our new intro in 1983 it was magic! It has become apart of our blood...Posted by Metallica on Monday, July 6, 2020

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SUZI QUATRO To Release 'Through My Words' Lyric Book

06 July 2020 - 09:55 AM

New Haven Publishing author and rock icon Suzi Quatro will release a new book, "Through My Words", on July 27. This large, full-color hardcover contains Suzi's lyrics and personal photographs and includes her commentary about where she was when the music was made. The cover and interior graphic design were handled by Pete Cunliffe.Suzi states: "I turned 70 on June 3rd, 2020, and my bucket list looms large. Doing a lyric book was always on that list so, here it is."'Through My Words' is an illustrated informative diary of my life, told through the lyrics of my songs."Creation has always been my salvation. Enjoy!"Early pre-release copies are available from www.newhavenpublishingltd.com.The official Suzi Quatro documentary feature "Suzi Q", which charts the 54-year career of the pioneering female rocker who burst on to the scene in the 1970s, received a one-night-only virtual premiere on July 1 via Altavod.Quatro's latest studio album, "No Control", was released in March 2019 through SPV/Steamhammer.Said Quatro: "I've never stopped releasing through the years. 'Back To The Drive' in 2006, 'In The Spotlight' in 2011, 'Quatro, Scott & Powell' in 2016. These albums were thought about and planned out in great detail. I am proud of all three releases, very proud. But my new album 'No Control' is its own animal."According to Forbes, Quatro has written a number of songs with her son during the pandemic lockdown for her next record."What keeps me motivated is the same thing that always keeps me motivated: I am an entertainer and I am a communicator," she explained. "As long as I can entertain and communicate, I'm a happy bunny."

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STEELHEART Releases Timely And Powerful Video For 'My Freedom'

02 July 2020 - 12:23 PM

The video for hard rockers STEELHEART's timely, powerful, anthemic ballad "My Freedom" can be seen below. The song will be released digitally worldwide on Friday, July 3. Originally available on their most recent studio album, 2017's "Through Worlds Of Stardust", this newly recorded, stripped-down, solo acoustic version of the song and corresponding video exemplify the potency of lead singer Miljenko Matijevic's impressive vocals and impassioned delivery and message.Of the track, Matijevic avowed: "I wrote this song back in 2006 and recorded a full-band version which was released on my last STEELHEART album. Considering all that has been going on in our world and the way I/we have been isolated, the lyrics kept haunting me night after night, and I was compelled to re-record the song acoustically. The recording was effortless but deeply emotional, bringing me to tears at times singing these lyrics. This new version of 'My Freedom' feels like it captures the (essence) and frustrations that we have all been experiencing these past several months."The aptly named STEELHEART is the rock n' roll band fronted by internationally known Croatian-American musician Miljenko Matijevic. Platinum- and gold-certified around the world, STEELHEART burst on the scene in 1990 with its self-titled debut. The album featured such global hits as "She's Gone" and "I'll Never Let You Go (Angel Eyes)". Several years into its red-hot career, which included worldwide tours and massive radio success, on Halloween Eve in 1992, Matijevic suffered a freak accident when a 1000 lb. lighting rig fell on him during a show, breaking his nose, cheekbone, jaw and twisting his spine.Four years and much physical rehabilitation later, Matijevic and a new line-up of STEELHEART returned with a new album (STEELHEART's third), "Wait", which sky-rocketed the band to new heights. In 2001 a song from that album, "We All Die Young", was featured in the smash hit movie "Rock Star", starring Mark Wahlberg and Jennifer Aniston. Not only was the song prominently featured in the film, but Matijevic himself played an integral role lending his soaring lead vocals to Wahlberg's character, Chris Cole, first in his cover band STEEL DRAGON and then in STEEL DRAGON itself as per the triumphant story line.STEELHEART went on to release several more albums and DVDs, including 2017's critically acclaimed "Through Worlds Of Stardust" album. The band boasts upwards of 340,000 monthly listeners on Spotify and more than 170,000 followers. In between STEELHEART world tours, Matijevic has also taken on such high-profile "side" gigs as singing for the legendary THE DOORS with Robby Krieger and Ray Manzarek during two world tours and becoming a superstar in Asia, performing at numerous festivals in Korea, including one to an audience of 60,000 and appearing as a mainstay on Korean television.

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NEAL MORSE Announces 'Sola Gratia' Solo Progressive Rock Concept Album

02 July 2020 - 08:41 AM

Neal Morse will release "Sola Gratia", his new solo progressive rock concept album, on September 11. Originating from a seed planted in his mind about writing a record based on the apostle Paul, "Sola Gratia" quickly came together at the beginning of 2020. The album sees Neal working with longtime collaborators Mike Portnoy, Randy George, Eric Gillette, Bill Hubauer and Gideon Klein.The title "Sola Gratia", of course, has echoes of Morse's 2007 epic "Sola Scriptura", about the life of Martin Luther, but was in fact originally the result of a simple marital misunderstanding."I was talking to my wife Cherie about debuting this new piece at Morsefest 2020 (Morse's annual fan convention in Nashville) and she said she thought it would be good for me to do a solo album," Neal says. "However, I thought she said 'Sola album' and — because some of the new ideas involved Paul's aggressive pursuit of the early Christians, I could see a link to some of the themes of persecution in 'Sola Scriptura'."The music was recorded "virtually" in April 2020 at the height of the coronavirus lockdown with Portnoy (drums) and George (bass). "It's the first album we have ever made remotely: I sent them the basic tracks and asked if they wanted to rearrange things, but they just said 'No, it's great!', so they just played to it and sent their parts back over," Neal says. "It wasn't an easy way to make an album, but creating always has its challenges, no matter how you do it."As Morse explains, it was this process that decided that "Sola Gratia" was to be a Neal Morse album, rather than being credited to THE NEAL MORSE BAND. "With THE NEAL MORSE BAND, the whole band works together on the writing, and while Eric Gillette plays some guitar and Bill Hubauer has added some keyboards on this one, neither of them wrote — or is singing — on this album.""Sola Gratia" will be released as a limited CD/DVD digipak (featuring a "making-of" documentary), gatefold 2LP + CD, standard CD jewel case and as a digital album. The cover art was created by another longtime collaborator, Thomas Ewerhard.The full track listing is as follows:01. Preface02. Overture03. In The Name Of The Lord04. Ballyhoo (The Chosen Ones)05. March Of The Pharisees06. Building A Wall07. Sola Intermezzo08. Overflow09. Warmer Than The Sunshine10. Never Change11. Seemingly Sincere12. The Light On The Road To Damascus13. The Glory Of The Lord14. Now I Can See/The Great CommissionNeal Morse will debut "Sola Gratia" Live at his annual Morsefest convention on September 18-19. A very limited number of people will be able to attend in person, with the event also being streamed online.Look out for the first track release and pre-order opportunities starting on July 17.

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01 July 2020 - 09:02 PM

While most of us enjoy a good chuckle at the expense of scowling black metal purists from time to time, the idea that the genre could ever be restricted by some overarching set of rules has been preposterous for well over two decades now. As a result, something as plainly perverse as MORA PROKAZA's third album seems unlikely to have too many cave dwellers sniveling into their homemade DARKTHRONE security blankets. By this point, black metal has been twisted, refined, dismantled and reconstructed in so many bizarre forms that this Belarus duo were always going to struggle to shock. Instead, "By Chance" is fueled by a rather endearing petulance and spite, as familiar blackened tropes are willfully smashed together with ultra-modern trap beats and other electronic quirks, twanging frontiersman guitar figures float over eerie ambience and vocals are shrieked, barked and screamed in a variety of unorthodox ways.The best moments come when MORA PROKAZA dispense with any pretense that this is a black metal record at all. Preview single "Check It" and the woozy dark-jazz nightmare of "Be There" are fidgeting and insistent bursts of art rock anarchy; sonically shrill and tinny, but somehow menacing and muscular too. In contrast, opener "WIMG" and "Sorry Man" are superficially rooted in late '90s, mid-paced and industrially inclined extremity, but this band's mischievous spirit ensures that everything sounds ever-so-slightly askance and out of joint. In fact, "By Chance" almost sounds designed to annoy the piss out of anyone that takes black metal too seriously. MORA PROKAZA's use of hip-hop sonics and trippy atmospherics is hardly unprecedented, but it's seldom been employed in such sparse, succinct and antagonistic settings.The only real drawback to such an unhinged endeavor is that the world around us is far more berserk and disturbing than anything a two-man black metal band from Belarus can throw at us. But somewhere, deep in the warped banjo plucks and chamber doom melodrama of album centerpiece "I See It This Way" glimmers the promise of wilder and more divisive adventures to come. Should be fun!

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