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System Of A Down’s John Dolmayan Announces Debut Solo Album

The album features special guest artists including M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold, Serj Tankian of System Of A Down and Tom Morello.

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John Dolmayan

photo by Greg Watermann

John Dolmayan, drummer of Grammy Award-winning, multiplatinum Los Angeles quartet System Of A Down, has announced his debut solo album, These Grey Men. The eight-track album, out Friday, February 28, is an eclectic collection of reimagined songs Dolmayan was inspired by during many drives between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. These Grey Men features special guest artists including M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold, Serj Tankian of System Of A Down and Tom Morello, among others, with a bulk of the album recorded at Dave Grohl’s Studio 606.

“While I was driving, I’d put on satellite radio and listen to whatever came on,” says Dolmayan. “Oftentimes, I’d hear something and ask myself how I would play or arrange it. I actually started to make a list of about 30 songs I might cover someday. I just got inspiration from desert driving and listening to music. System wasn’t making music at the time, but I needed an outlet for my artistic energy. So, I whittled down the list and reached out to some artists I wanted to work with.”

Through the album’s track list are standouts including powerful renditions of notable song’s such as the leadoff single, “Street Spirit,” a lively cover from the Radiohead catalog that catapults the song into a new dimension with M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold on vocals and a blistering guitar solo from Tom Morello.

“It’s from my favorite Radiohead album,” notes Dolmayan. “In terms of approach, I thought about how it might sound if John Bonham was on it. I tried to channel that a little bit. It was the first time I worked with M. Shadows, and he hit it out of the park. Tom came in and did a fantastic guitar solo. For all of these, we tweaked them to the point where they became our own versions.”

Other tracks that break into new sonic territory include the high-voltage revamp of David Bowie’s “Starman” that rejoins Dolmayan with System Of A Down vocalist Serj Tankian. Dolmayan’s commanding drumming also links with Tankian on a spirited arrangement of Talking Heads’ “Road To Nowhere.”

“Since Serj is the singer of System, I know where his vocals are going to go before he does,” smiles Dolmayan. “I play drums to the melody. I was able to cater to what he had in mind. He did a phenomenal job on both songs. He has the same quirky element to his vocals that David Bowie did, so it was a perfect mix. He really stepped up on ‘Road To Nowhere’ too.”

Furious drum fills fire up a propulsive reinterpretation of Madonna’s “Hung Up” with new lyrics and “a hat tip to ‘Ohio’ by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.” The track vaults from a wild riff into a shimmering disco breakdown before a hypnotic bridge carried by Armenian superstar Sirusho on the mic.

Over a span of five years, Dolmayan carefully assembled what would become These Grey Men joined by James Hazleyon guitar, Tom Coppossela on bass, and Danny Shouman on keys for the bulk of the project. Choosing eight diverse classics from the popular music canon, Dolmayan recorded his parts at Dave Grohl’s legendary Studio 606 and personally arranged strings at Toys of the Masses.

Produced by John Dolmayan with James Hazley, the title for These Grey Men, was birthed from conversations with a close friend, a former U.S. Navy S.E.A.L.

“A buddy of mine is a former Navy S.E.A.L., and he was staying at my house when I was making the album,” Dolmayan says. “He’s a very introspective guy and a really good person. We’d have these long conversations. He told me S.E.A.L.s would always try to be nondescript. You would never notice them in a room. In other words, they were ‘Grey Men.’ He said, ‘They’re kind of invisible – similar to a drummer’. We thought it would be a great title, because many people don’t necessarily notice the drummer unless there’s a mistake.”

“I’m very appreciative of everyone who took time to work on this,” adds Dolmayan. “Fans have been waiting for a while, and I just can’t wait for them to hear it.”

These Grey Men cover

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Havok Return With New Album, ‘V’

After a whirlwind cycle for 2017’s ‘Conformicide,’ the high-octane outfit have emerged from the studio with their new album.

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Havok 2020

Colorado-based thrashers Havok are back with their new album, V, set for release May 1, 2020 via Century Media Records. The upcoming effort was engineered, mixed, and mastered by Mark Lewis (Cannibal Corpse, The Black Dahlia Murder, etc.) and showcases stunning artwork by Eliran Kantor (Testament, Hatebreed).

Havok’s guitarist/vocalist David Sanchez explains about V: “A lot of experimentation went into the writing and recording of V. The album offers the same intensity that we’re known for, but with a few twists that may surprise people. The music is dense with lots of different intertwining parts and we’re beyond excited to release our best-sounding record to date.”

Havok V

V track listing:

01. Post-Truth Era
02. Fear Campaign
03. Betrayed By Technology
04. Ritual Of The Mind
05. Interface With The Infinite
06. Dab Tsog
07. Phantom Force
08. Cosmetic Surgery
09. Panpsychism
10. Merchants Of Death
11. Don’t Do It

Havok are also pleased to announce the addition of bassist Brandon Bruce, who debuts on V.

Bruce comments: “I am really excited about this record and to be playing bass with Havok. We really focused on structure and songwriting while maintaining the heavy riffs and brutal music the band is known for. I’m proud of how it turned out and can’t wait for everyone to hear it.”

Further details about V including release formats, first single and the pre-sale will be revealed later this month.

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New Found Glory Announces ‘Forever + Ever x Infinity’ Album

“This is the record our fans have been waiting for us to make,” guitarist Chad Gilbert shares.

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New Found Glory Forever + Ever x Infinity

New Found Glory has announced their tenth studio album, Forever + Ever x Infinity, out May 29, 2020 via Hopeless Records.

Forever + Ever x Infinity is available for pre-order now.

The band has put together a quintessential NFG record, supremely catchy with sing-along anthems, trademark breakdowns, and sweetly poignant lyrics. “This is the record our fans have been waiting for us to make,” guitarist Chad Gilbert shares, “The old now feels new and fresh. It was a blast finding ourselves again.”

Fans can check out the first taste of new music from the pop-punk legends with “Greatest Of All Time.” This song dives beyond the surface and into the depths of love, rolling through ups and downs, and riding through the fear to keep going through failure. Lines like “I think we are what we’ve been waiting for” tug at the heartstrings of anyone that has struggled, worked, and made it out the other side. New Found Glory has always been about this; life will be difficult, but these difficulties make us into stronger, bolder people, and celebrating the triumphs in life make it all worth it.

Combining punk, hardcore, and post-hardcore with emotional lyrics and melody is nothing new for the band that epitomizes heartfelt optimism with DIY work-ethic and spirit. But never has this been more evident than this 15-song barn burner of a record. Set at a blistering pace, songs like “Shook By Your Shaved Head” and “Nothing To Say” rip the listener out of their monotonous day-to-day and drain away all the pressure and self-doubt that manifests inside. When singer, Jordan Pundik, sings, “You’ve gotta take your life back. You’ve got so much more to give. That’s what I say to myself when I feel like giving into the shame I feel. Won’t let it keep me standing still,” you can’t help jumping up, throwing a fist in the air, and singing the words out at the top of your lungs. This is what New Found Glory has always been about – inspiring people to not be afraid of the odds, to lift each other up, and get up again.

After 20+ years of being a band, ten studio albums, one live album, two EPs, and four cover albums, New Found Glory’s ethos has never wavered; they always strive to be the friend you always need and who always understands you. With Forever + Ever x Infinity, the band created an album that is 100% New Found Glory.

New Found Glory is Jordan Pundik (lead vocals), Chad Gilbert (guitar), Ian Grushka (bass guitar) and Cyrus Bolooki (drums).

New Found Glory 'Forever + Ever x Infinity' album art

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Static-X Releases “Hollow” Video, Details ‘Project Regeneration’ Albums

The band’s long-awaited, seventh studio album will now consist of more than 20 tracks and appear over two volumes, to be released separately.

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Static-X has released the official music video for their new single “Hollow.” The band’s long-awaited, seventh studio album, Project Regeneration, will now consist of more than 20 tracks and appear over two volumes, to be released separately.

Project Regeneration Volume 1 will feature 12 brand new Static-X tracks, containing many of the final vocal performances and musical compositions of late Static-X frontman Wayne Static, along with the original Wisconsin Death Trip lineup of bassist Tony Campos, drummer Ken Jay, and guitarist Koichi Fukuda.

Both volumes are being mixed by longtime Static-X producer Ulrich Wild.

“Today is a very exciting day, as we are finely releasing the first Static-X single and video in more than 10 years,” says Campos. “The band, our producers, and most importantly Wayne’s family are incredibly happy with the way that the album is turning out and we know that Wayne is looking down on us all with a big smile, as we begin sharing his final works with the world.”

“We have been working on a lot of material over the last year and a half and while selecting the songs to move into the final mix phase, it became clear that there is just too much material and too little time for this to be a single album,” says Jay.

“The last thing that we wanted to do was make the fans wait any longer,” adds Campos. “We also didn’t want to abandon the remaining material, because it is very close to being complete and we know that the fans are going to want to be able to hear and experience all of it. We also recognize that all of this music is part of the same body of work, which marks this very important chapter of Static-X, so it is only logical to release all of the music under the same banner, Project Regeneration.”

The vocals for the song “Hollow” were originally recorded in 2005 for the Static-X album Start A War, but Wayne and I never felt like the music on the original ‘Hollow’ demo was fully realized,” Tony explains. “That is why it didn’t appear on Start A War or any Static-X album that followed. The vocals sounded great, but some of the musical compositions from that time period felt a bit experimental. The band was going through a lot of changes at that time and, in retrospect, it felt like we’d strayed away from that authentic Static-X sound that really defined us.”

Jay adds: “When we began working on Project Regeneration, our producers advised us to ignore any of the old demo music, so we opted for the original band to re-enter the studio with nothing more than Wayne’s isolated vocal tracks and to just be ourselves, to be Static-X, and to make Evil Disco. The vocals sound really great and I think that Wayne would be extremely happy with what we’ve done with the music and to know that these tracks have finally realized their full potential.”

In total, Project Regeneration volumes one and two will consist of more than 20 brand new or previously unreleased Static-X songs and will feature all of the remaining works left behind by Wayne Static, along with the original Wisconsin Death Trip band lineup. The individual albums are expected to contain creative packaging elements that will allow fans to marry the two volumes together.

“Right now we are finalizing the mixes for the first batch of songs, which will appear on Volume 1, while we continue to finish up the tracking for the rest of the music, which will appear on Volume 2. Volume 1 will be released at the end of May and the goal is to release Volume 2 as soon as possible.” says Jay.

Static-X is including the names of all fans who pre-order Project Regeneration Volume 1 in the liner notes of the album art. The cut-off date for names to appear in the liner notes is March 1.

“This is a very unique album” adds Fukuda. “Usually when someone passes away and leaves unfinished material behind, the end result will still sound incomplete. That is not the case with this. We have really taken the necessary steps and committed the time and resources for this to become a legitimate Static-X album.”

“2019 was absolutely incredible for Static-X. The whole 20th-anniversary touring process was a very unique and healing experience for the band, the fans, and also for Wayne’s family,” adds Tony. “Wayne’s family has been involved with every decision that we have made. They came out to see us on multiple shows last year and having there blessing and support was something that was essential throughout the process. We wouldn’t be doing any of this without their full support and consent.”

“We are so grateful to the fans who have made 2019 such an incredible year for Static-X,” adds Jay. “We have toured the world and celebrated the life and work of our dear friend Wayne, while playing our platinum selling debut album front to back every night. The fans have really exceeded our expectations and again, we are just so grateful! We can’t wait to share all of this music with you!”

Static-X Hollow

Static-X Project Regenration Volume 1

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Joe Satriani ‘Shapeshifting’ Album Details, Listen To “Nineteen Eighty”

Satriani’s new studio album is set for release on April 10, 2020 via Sony Music/Legacy Recordings.

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Joe Satriani 'Shapeshifting'

Joe Satriani’s new studio album, Shapeshifting, is set for release on April 10, 2020 via Sony Music/Legacy Recordings. The first single, “Nineteen Eighty,” is available today on all streaming platforms and at rock radio stations nationwide.

Pre-order packages are also available beginning today. In addition to the CD and standard black vinyl, the D2C store will offer an exclusive translucent blue colored, signed vinyl. Additional offerings will include stemless wine glasses, coffee mugs, koozies, crew socks, guitar picks and a t-shirt – all featuring Joe’s original artwork. Also available, an autographed CD via pre-order with Newbury Comics online retails store. Anyone who pre-orders via the D2C will receive early access to the upcoming US tour, to be announced shortly.

Shapeshifting was co-produced by Satriani and Jim Scott (Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers) with longtime associate John Cuniberti on board handling the mastering duties. Satriani enlisted a wide range of collaborators, both old and new, to help him bring the songs to life. Legendary drummer Kenny Aronoff (John Fogerty), bassist Chris Chaney (Jane’s Addiction) and keyboardist Eric Caudieux were the core musicians on the new album with additional contributions coming from Lisa Coleman (The Revolution) and Christopher Guest.

The retro feeling sounds of first single, “Nineteen Eighty,” finds Satriani spiritually revisiting the time period when he was working with his first band, the Squares. The future guitar hero the world came to know less than a decade later, would have to wait. He recalls that in those early days, they “dialed back the guitar solos and histrionics to try to create a cooler new wave vibe.” Decades removed from those goals, he was free to go forward and attempt to recapture what was on his mind in 1980.

Staying true to the sounds of the time, he even used a vintage MXR EVH phaser. “I’ve always been a huge fan of Eddie Van Halen,” Satriani says. “In my mind, he just crystallized that era. The late ‘70s and early ‘80s, he kind of saved rock guitar. So that’s what I would have been doing.”

As previously announced, Satriani will embark on “The Shapeshifting Tour” beginning April 15, 2020 with a 42-date European leg that currently winds up in mid-June. Additional dates, including the U.S., to be announced soon. The 2020 touring band features celebrated drummer Kenny Aronoff (John Fogerty), bassist Bryan Beller (Aristocrats) and keyboardist Rai Thistlethwayte (Thirsty Merc) joining Satriani on guitar.

For two decades, the guitar virtuoso has traveled the world, playing to sold-out crowds as both a headliner and as founder of the all-star “G3” guitar extravaganza. Satriani’s studio and live recordings have sold more than 10 million copies worldwide to date and of his many solo albums, two have gone platinum and four others went gold, with 15 Grammy nominations between them. His side project, Chickenfoot, featuring former Van Halen front man Sammy Hagar, former bassist Michael Anthony, and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ drummer Chad Smith saw their debut album certified gold and their second studio album debuted at #9.

Joe Satriani Shapeshifting

Shapeshifting track listing:

01. Shapeshifting
02. Big Distortion
03. All For Love
04. Ali Farka, Dick Dale, An Alien And Me
05. Teardrops
06. Perfect Dust
07. Nineteen Eighty
08. All My Friends Are Here
09. Spirits, Ghosts And Outlaws
10. Falling Stars
11. Waiting
12. Here The Blue River
13. Yesterday’s Yesterday

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