Ion Vein to Open for Testament; Celebrate With a Free 3-Song Download!

Chicago based metallers ION VEIN will be making their return to the stage in a big way, opening for the legendary TESTAMENT at The Fuel Room in Libertyville, IL on Friday, February 10th. In a statement released from the band: “We’re very excited to announce that our first show in support of IV v1.0, and our debut show with Scott and Rob, will be sharing the stage with the mighty TESTAMENT and Chicago’s upstart thrashers DIAMOND PLATE. This is the perfect way to kick the IV v1.0 release cycle into high gear and we can’t wait to dial everything up live with all of you once again!”

 

Keep on reading for more information, including a free “DR” (Digital Release) download of the first three songs from the band’s upcoming album!
 

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Long Live the King!

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Yesterday morning, the King Diamond Facebook page offered some welcome news: after more than a year away from performing (besides a brief appearance with Metallica during their anniversary festivities last month) while recovering from triple-bypass heart surgery, the renowned Danish vocalist is finally ready to return to the stage.

Normally when I read about upcoming tours and festivals, I get pretty grumpy about the fact that they are so far away from here and it just depresses me.  But in this case, I don’t care where the shows are located, I’m just happy to hear the King is healthy and able to get back out on the road again.

Read the full announcement, including video updates, after the jump.

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The “Signmeto” Unsigned Band of the Week: Necro

Hello, and welcome to the second installment of the “Signmeto” Unsigned Band of the Week, the weekly profile of a little-known unsigned band for you to check out.  As I have said before, the material here will be of varying quality, but in every case you’ll have the opportunity to listen to whatever music the band has available at this point in their career; my hope is, maybe you’ll find something you really dig, which you might not have heard otherwise. Then, when they explode in popularity and sell a million records, you can scoff at all the bandwagon-jumpers, saying you’ve been a fan since their first demo recording or whatever.

Once again, for those who might not have been paying attention: “Signmeto” is a division of the Roadrunner Records website, where unsigned bands get the chance to upload their recordings for other users to hear and rate, as well as (hopefully) to catch the ear of a label representative (hence, “Sign Me To Roadrunner Records”). I don’t know if anyone who uses that website has ever gotten a record deal out of it, so I don’t have any idea how useful it is from that perspective. However, as a music fan, it can be a good resource for seeking out new things to listen to, and perhaps in that way it can be good for the bands as well. That is, maybe they won’t be picked up by Roadrunner, but maybe putting their songs out there will help attract some sort of attention anyway, and get a little bit of publicity for themselves. That’s how I intend to use it, at least; I’ll be digging through the Signmeto archives for some hidden gems, and then sharing them with you, dear reader.

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The “Signmeto” Unsigned Band of the Week: Golah

Hello, and welcome to a brand new feature here on Valley of Steel! As you may have gathered from the title, this is intended to turn into a weekly profile of a little-known unsigned band for you to check out. As you might expect, the material here will be of varying quality, but in every case you’ll have the opportunity to listen to whatever music the band has available at this point in their career; my hope is, maybe you’ll find something you really dig, which you might not have heard otherwise. Then, when they explode in popularity and sell a million records, you can scoff at all the bandwagon-jumpers, saying you’ve been a fan since their first demo recording or whatever.

Now, about the rest of the title, in case you weren’t aware, “Signmeto” is a division of the Roadrunner Records website, where unsigned bands get the chance to upload their recordings for other users to hear and rate, as well as (hopefully) to catch the ear of a label representative (hence, “Sign Me to Roadrunner Records”). I don’t know if anyone who uses that website has ever gotten a record deal out of it, so I don’t have any idea how useful it is from that perspective. However, as a music fan, it can be a good resource for seeking out new things to listen to, and perhaps in that way it can be good for the bands as well. That is, maybe they won’t be picked up by Roadrunner, but maybe putting their songs out there will help attract some sort of attention anyway, and get a little bit of publicity for themselves. That’s how I intend to use it, at least; I’ll be digging through the Signmeto archives for some hidden gems, and then sharing them with you, dear reader.

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Just When We Were Starting to Get Over the Whole Morbid Angel Thing…

Yesterday, in their newsletter, Season of Mist announced a new video for a song from Illud Divinum Insanus, the 2011 release by self-described “extreme music” band Morbid Angel:

Last November, seminal extreme metallers MORBID ANGEL shot a video clip for the song “Existo Vulgoré”, off latest album “Illud Divinum Insanus”. The video was conceptualized by the band and director Thomas Mignone (SLIPKNOT, MUDVAYNE, AVENGED SEVENFOLD) and produced through his production company Doom Incorporated. Mignone filmed the band in Tampa, Florida just prior to their departure to Europe during their recent tour.

If the band had any hopes of regaining the attention of their longtime fans, who seem to have almost universally despised this album, I don’t think the best way to do it would have been to collaborate with someone who has those particular credits on his resumé.  However, pandering to the legions of death metal fans who have supported this band for decades may be exactly what they are trying not to do.  At least, that’s the impression I get from their upcoming remix project.

One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard about this album was the fact that, even if they are trying to distance themselves from the death metal scene and branch out in a new direction (i.e. industrial/techno/whatever), fans of those particular styles are not very likely to enjoy it either, because even as those styles go, it isn’t especially well-done.  Not being a fan of that sort of thing, myself, I can’t really judge the accuracy of these comments.  Nevertheless, I can only assume that their forthcoming release of a “3-hour compilation gathering 39 remixes of songs” (done by several presumably well-known artists of the electronic music genres) will help to push the band’s image further into that new territory they seem to be seeking.  I really don’t know, but if that is their goal then I wish them well.

Getting back to the original subject, the video for “Existo Vulgoré” can be found by clicking here; and the label has also kindly offered the song as a FREE mp3 download here.  After watching, let me know what you think in the comments below.  Or if you have anything at all to say on the subject of this band and its new album or new direction, knock yourself out.

If you don’t have the album yet, but you are interested in checking it out (morbid curiosity, perhaps?), you can pick up the CD here, grab the digital download version here, or check out the huge wooden box deluxe edition here. Illud Divinium Insanus – The Remixes can be pre-ordered from the Season of Mist e-shop, here.

Dear Mr. Iommi

Almost four years ago, I got married.  Instead of the usual “Here Comes the Bride” melody, my wife and her father walked up the aisle to this song.  It was my suggestion.  I sat at the computer and painstakingly edited a waveform of that song to loop it, just so I could be sure it was long enough, then stuck it on a CD and gave it to the DJ to play at the ceremony.

That might give you some small idea how important your music has been in my life, but nothing could truly describe the significance of its impact – both directly (through your own band’s albums) and indirectly (through the entire genres of music that trace their genesis straight back to the notes you wrote and played).

I just want to say, I’m sincerely wishing you all the best for a full and speedy recovery.  And, thank you.

The VoS Top 11 of 2011 – Published at No Clean Singing

Hey.  You should already know this, because you should already be reading the No Clean Singing blog.  But in the event that for some reason you missed this, yesterday morning they published a list that I threw together, summing up some of the top new releases of the past year.  The list represents my eleven favorite albums that I heard, that were released in 2011 by bands I had never heard prior to last year.  I also chose to exclude albums I had already written about here at the Valley blog, because I didn’t want to bore you by just rehashing the same thing over and over again.  I hope you enjoy the list, or at least find something there you might not have heard before.  Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments, either here or there.

Thanks for reading!