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- Blabbermouth reports FLYING COLORS — the spectacular new virtuoso prog/pop/metal rock band formed by drummer Mike Portnoy (ex-DREAM THEATER) and guitarist Steve Morse (DEEP PURPLE) — is working a concert Blu-ray and DVD from its 2012 tour. There is no release date or other information at this time. FLYING COLORS's first-ever European tour kicked off on September 9, 2012 in Hamburg, Germany. Fan-filmed video footage of the September 13, 2012 show at Alcatraz in Milan, Italy can be seen below. Photos are available from Musica Metal.
The band's setlist for the concert was as follows:
01. Blue Ocean
02. Shoulda Coulda Woulda
03. Love Is What I'm Waiting For
04. Can't Find a Way (ENDOCHINE cover)
05. The Storm
06. Odyssey (DIXIE DREGS cover)
07. Forever In A Daze
08. Better Than Walking Away
10. Fool In My Heart (lead vocals by Mike Portnoy)
11. Repentance (DREAM THEATER cover; lead vocals by Mike Portnoy)
12. June (SPOCK'S BEARD cover)
13. All Falls Down
14. Everything Changes
15. Infinite Fire
The self-titled debut album from FLYING COLORS sold 6,300 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 81 on The Billboard 200 chart. In addition to Portnoy and Steve Morse, FLYING COLORS features Dave LaRue (bass), Neal Morse (keyboards, vocals), Casey McPherson (lead vocals, guitar). "I think if most people looked at this band on piece of paper, they would think that it would be very progressive and instrumentally based music, but I think once we started playing together, we got taken into all new directions," Portnoy told Audio Ink Radio. "I think a lot of that had to do with Casey, because Casey comes from a more modern rock and alternative rock background, so I think that really helped take the entire band in new directions." He added, "The diversity element is pretty crazy. It ranges from poppy classic rock sounds like THE BEATLES and QUEEN all the way to modern rock and alternative bands like RADIOHEAD, MUSE and COLDPLAY, and everything in-between. There’s some prog stuff like YES thrown in, as well, and then there are moments that are like the RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS or FOO FIGHTERS. So, it really runs the gamut from track to track." he formation of FLYING COLORS began with a simple idea: virtuoso musicians and a pop singer joining together to make new-fashioned music the old-fashioned way. Refreshing, classic, old and new, the recordings are saturated with the many styles, tones and hues of the players who in becoming a band have delivered a unique fusion of vintage craftsmanship and contemporary music. In 2008, executive producer Bill Evans brought the idea to the world-renowned musicians and producer Peter Collins. Intrigued by the idea and the prospect of working together, the four musicians signed on to form a band and record a first album. Steve Morse and Dave LaRue have developed magical music chemistry over the years that began early in their careers as partners in DIXIE DREGS. In 1995, Morse subsequently became a member of DEEP PURPLE, while LaRue's ongoing musical adventures include Joe Satriani, John Petrucci, Jordan Rudess, Steve Vai, and the aforementioned Portnoy. Multi-instrumentalist, composer and singer Neal Morse is one of the leading figures in progressive rock, whose notoriety follows his co-founding of the seminal band, SPOCK'S BEARD in 1995, recordings as a solo artist, and contributions to the super-group TRANSATLANTIC. Mike Portnoy is one of the most popular and respected drummers in both metal and rock, and an accomplished writer and producer. He is the recipient of numerous industry accolades, including 26 Modern Drummer awards, Revolver magazine's Golden God award for "Best Drummer" and Drum magazine's "Drummer Of The Year". He rose to prominence as the leader, drummer, producer, and co-writer for metal/prog juggernaut DREAM THEATER, before moving on in 2010. That same year, he worked on AVENGED SEVENFOLD's #1 album "Nightmare" and their subsequent tour. It was Portnoy who recommended ALPHA REV's emotive singer Casey McPherson as a contender to join FLYING COLORS. McPherson, whose 2010 Hollywood/Disney album "New Morning" debuted in the Top 5 on two Billboard charts, enjoyed major success at radio with multiple hits. The track "New Morning" spent 17 weeks in the Top 10 on Triple A Radio, and enjoyed a run on VH1's Top 20 Countdown for months. Steve Morse offers, "Casey was a glorious find, because he could make anything sound fantastic, and is a multitalented like the others." FLYING COLORS convened for just nine days in early 2011, and composed and recorded this album during a short and intense session.
- Blabbermouth reports 14-minute documentary about the audition process for the new TEXTURES guitarist can be seen below. Guitarist Jochem Jacobs left TEXTURES in Janury in order to focus on his career as a record producer. He will stay involved with with the band behind the scenes and will continue producing TEXTURES albums. TEXTURES's latest CD, "Dualism", was released on September 23, 2011 in Europe, South America, Asia and Australia and September 27 in North America. The CD was recorded at Split Second Sound Studio in Amsterdam and was produced by Jacobs. The cover artwork was designed by former TEXTURES frontman Eric Kalsbeek and the band's bass player Remko Tielemans.
- Blabbermouth reports Bobby Hicks, the original vocalist for the Baltimore, Maryland-based progressive power metal band MYSTIC-FORCE, passed away on Tuesday, March 5 in Virginia. The reported cause of death was an internal infection due to liver failure. Bobby was diagnosed a few months prior and was told he had less than a year. However, the progression of his illness took him much sooner then expected. Born on August 29, 1960, Hicks was 52 years old at the time of his passing. Hicks laid down his dynamic vocals on three studio albums with MYSTIC-FORCE — "Take Command" (1990), "The Eternal Quest" (1993) and "A Step Beyond" (1995) — as well as several early demos, EPs, compilation albums and a bootleg live album entitled "Stagestruck... Live" (1991). Hicks and MYSTIC-FORCE parted ways in 1995 following the release of the group's third album, "A Step Beyond", and the band recruited new vocalist William Wren (ex-ORACLE), with whom they recorded a fourth studio album, "Man Vs. Machine". Following his departure from MYSTIC-FORCE, Hicks continued his musical journey with another Baltimore-based band called MANIFEST and recorded material with this group, which was recently issued on CD in Europe. His final stand was working with a Virginia based band called CRYPTAMERIA, which also completed a demo with Bobby, thus marking Hicks' final recorded appearance. In recent years, MYSTIC-FORCE made several attempts to resurrect the band with Hicks on vocals. However, all lines of communication were broken upon him moving out of the state of Maryland and never reconnecting. MYSTIC-FORCE was booked to perform at the 2012 edition of the Keep It True festival in Germany and a tour was slated to take place around the same time in support the reissued debut album, "Take Command". This, however, proved to be another failed attempt at an original lineup reunion, and MYSTIC-FORCE went ahead with the tour using replacement musicians. Commented MYSTIC-FORCE founding member and bassist Keith Menser: "Upon learning of Bobby's death, I found myself in complete shock. Then, once the facts were confirmed, a deep sense of dark depression hit me like a freight train. "In the years working together, Bob and myself became very close friends. Together we wrote most of the lyrics as a writing team. He was a very down-to-earth person, a creative writer and we understood each other's lyrical mindset. "In 1995, when his working relations ended with MYSTIC-FORCE, I stayed in touch with Bobby, our friendship remained strong and we even talked of a future project (band and album) together. This all ended when his father passed away and Bobby decided to uproot and move away, leaving all of his past behind. "MYSTIC-FORCE lost a great singer when we parted ways with Bobby. I personally lost a dear friend upon him moving away with no trails but always felt we would one day reconnect and once again create music together. Well, sadly enough, that dream has now vanished due to his passing, and though Bobby had so much more talent to give, without question he has left his mark in the hearts of many as a great vocalist. The people who knew him as a friend knew he was a good person with a huge heart. I'll forever hold on to all the great memories we experienced together. Bobby's in heaven now singing with all the other 'vocal gods' who have fallen thru the years; he's hanging out with his true idols — Ronnie James Dio, Carl Albert and Johnny Cash, among them. "May you rest in peace, my friend... You've passed on, but never to be forgotten... I'll see you on the other side, my MYSTIC brother". The current MYSTIC-FORCE lineup — featuring vocalist Rick Mythiasin (STEEL PROPHET, ex-AGENT STEEL, REDEMPTION) — is working on a new studio album entitled "Modern Day Fury", which will be dedicated to the memory of Hicks.
- Blabbermouth reports Germany's dark metal band SCHWARZER ENGEL has inked a deal with Massacre Records. The band was formed in 2007 by the vocalist and guitarist Dave Jason. The live lineup includes Jens Lindmaier (guitar), Stefan Grießhammer (guitar), Bert Oeler (bass) and Marcel Woitowicz (drums). In 2010 they signed with Trisol Music Group and released their debut album, "Apokalypse". In late 2010, SCHWARZER ENGEL toured with AHAB and THE VISION BLEAK through Germany, Austria and the Netherlands. The tour coincided with the release of the band's EP, "Geister Und Dämonen". The second album, "Träume Einer Nacht", followed in April 2011. SCHWARZER ENGEL played at several festivals in 2011 and 2012, such as the Wave-Gotik-Treffen, Hexentanz, Castle Storm and Dark Storm. SCHWARZER ENGEL's music can be described as modern dark metal with heavy guitar riffs, double-bass attacks, catchy melodies and furious, deep vocals — all topped with orchestral arrangements. The band's poetic German lyrics are about human failures, impressions of nature, myths and the cruel reality of today's world. Band leader Dave Jason comments on the signing with Massacre Records: "I'm happy to announce that SCHWARZER ENGEL has teamed up with Massacre Records! The label has proven that it's doing a great job in supporting their artists. "Massacre Records is the perfect partner for the release of SCHWARZER ENGEL's upcoming album as well as the 'Schwarze Sonne' EP, which will be the album's harbringer." "Schwarze Sonne" will be released in late May, to be followed by the worldwide release of the band's third album, "In Brennenden Himmeln", in late July.
- Blabbermouth reports ZIERLER PROJECTS, the new project led by BEYOND TWILIGHT mastermind Finn Zierler, has tapped Daniel Bergstrand (MESHUGGAH, IN FLAMES, STRAPPING YOUNG LAD) to mix its forthcoming album, "Matrix I", due later in the year.
ZIERLER PROJECTS is a progressive metal supergroup consisting of:
* Finn Zierler (BEYOND TWILIGHT) - Keyboards
* Bobby Jarzombek (HALFORD, FATES WARNING, ARCH/MATHEOS, SEBASTIAN BACH, ICED EARTH) - Drums
* Per Nilsson (SCAR SYMMETRY, KAIPA) – Guitar, Bass
* Kelly Sundown Carpenter (BEYOND TWILIGHT, DARKOLOGY, EPYSODE, OUTWORLD) - Vocals
* Truls Haugen (INSENSE, CIRCUS MAXIMUS) - Vocals, Bass
ZIERLER PROJECTS was a closely guarded secret until the first matrix's formation was announced in November. Zierler said: "I'm very excited to announce that we are entering the last stages of finishing the album. Currently working in five different studios. Acclaimed producer and a dear friend of mine, Jacob Hansen (VOLBEAT, DESTRUCTION, HEAVEN SHALL BURN) is working on pre-drum work, his assistant in Russia on mappings, acclaimed producer Daniel Bergstrand is preparing the mix sessions and has started on the drums, his assistant Rickard Sporrong is working on audio details and I'm gathering thousand and thousand of tracks doing the final setups, working on audio and doing the last minor adjustments. I'll later be flying to Sweden to work with Daniel Bergstrand, who will be mixing the album. I'm absolutely thrilled about this — Daniel has been one of my personal fave producers for years. "This album is by far the most time-consuming, complex and detail-oriented album I've ever worked on. I've tried to create the best working conditions for everyone involved, taking the time it needs to record this beast out of repect for the musicians, the compositions and the music itself. While recording it, I've put a lot of weight on not taking the easy way out, not to use technology to do edits to save time or whatever. The musicians involved are all so talented — no cheats, no copy/paste is done on this album. Everything on the album is played by us humans and recorded as organic as possible. I'm putting a lot of effort into not losing this when entering these last stages. Personally, I'm sick of listening to 'plastic' albums that sounds more like machines than humans. Sadly, a lot of metal has fallen into this hole in recent years. Metal is one of the few genres where the musicians can actually play — personally, I think it is something we should be proud of and something we should nourish in metal." Finn is also once again working with acclaimed London-based graphic artist Rob Sindermann, whose stunning visuals will be gracing the CD packaging and include merchandise articles as well.
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