EP review: Jinjer “Micro”

Jinjer. Photo: Veronika Gusieva

By Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

Ukraine’s edgy modern metal band Jinjer is back with a splendid in-your-face EP.

Jinjer from Ukraine plays modern metal combining melodic metal with metalcore parts and tech death elements. It’s a very busy and groovy soundscape that is hard to define. Just like I have enjoyed the band’s previous records, I like this one too. It’s perhaps an acquired taste and not for everybody. But for those of us who like complex, modern and in-your-face metal, this is fabulous. “Teacher, Teacher!” is the standout track for me with all its glory progressive tech death vibes. It manages to be both groovy and edgy at the same time. Energetic and fierce vocalist Tatiana Shmailyuk adds a dimension to the band which was formed in 2010. There are plenty of technically great metal bands who, unfortunately, often fall short on the vocals. Not so Jinjer which combines harsh and clean vocals in a terrific mix. “Micro” is a five-track EP being released to coincide with the start of the band’s European tour with Amorphis and Soilwork during January and February. Jinjer will then tour Japan in April and South Africa in May. 

Jinjer’s EP “Micro” will be released on 11th January via Napalm Records. 

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Interview: Jocke Berg of Hardcore Superstar

Jocke Berg of Hardcore Superstar backstage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

By Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

When Swedish feelgood rockers Hardcore Superstar recently completed their eighth Japan visit, Roppongi Rocks sat down with vocalist Jocke Berg to talk about the band’s sound, the euphoria of performing on stage, being naughty, combining tour life and family life and what happened when Berg met Ronnie James Dio.

Jocke Berg of Hardcore Superstar on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

Hardcore Superstar formed in Gothenburg, Sweden in 1997 and has been very active ever since with album releases and relentless touring. The band’s current line-up consists of Jocke Berg on vocals, Martin Sandvik on bass, Vic Zino on guitar and Magnus “Adde” Andreasson on drums. In September, the band released its eleventh album, “You Can’t Kill My Rock’N’Roll”.

The new album seems to be somewhat of a return to the band’s party-rock roots, don’t you think? “Everybody is saying that!” says vocalist Jocke Berg as we meet backstage in Shibuya, Tokyo before the band’s first gig on its eighth Japan visit. “The previous album was something we had to do. It’s easy to just do the same thing, where everything sounds the same. There are certain demons we need to get out of our heads. The previous album, when I listen to it today, I think it is great. But when we released it, I had the same feeling as everybody else: What the hell are they doing? Even though I liked it, of course. But it felt like we had to do that album in order to arrive at the current album. The new album is more feelgood. The earlier one was more diverse, a bit darker.” 

Jocke Berg of Hardcore Superstar backstage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

Do you feel you have to write fun feelgood party songs rather than more serious songs? “Hardcore Superstar is synonymous with the word feelgood. It should be fun. It’s drinking and toasting. A hell of a pre-party with Hardcore Superstar, sort of. The previous album wasn’t like that. It didn’t end up much feelgood as it was quite dark. But if we wanted to write a Tool song or something like that, it would not fit in with Hardcore. We have to be in the musical region where the Hardcore Superstar sound lives. In that case, we would have to do it as a side project. I want to do a death metal album! Unfortunately, I can’t do that with Hardcore.”

Do you actually have any plans for such side projects? “The thought is there, on and off, all the time. But nothing that is planned. One day!” 

How would you describe Hardcore Superstar’s signature sound? “The new album feels a lot like arena rock. You can hear Queen vibes. Slade – some obvious vibes. ZZ Top! I’d like to call it arena rock. That’s the kind of vibe we have. It’s a big sound. We had Queen as a starting point. Queen’s fantastic! Especially with Freddie Mercury on vocals. We had that arena rock feeling as a starting point. We tried to capture that feeling somehow.”

Hardcore Superstar is a band that likes to be a bit naughty. For example, the band’s logo includes an inverted cross and the latest album cover features smoking nuns. “I came up with the idea of turning the ‘T’ in the band name upside down. I think the cross looks better that way. My mother is a church volunteer in a parish outside of Gothenburg. She went ballistic when she saw it. But I’ve been teasing her since I was very young. It’s fun to do a bit of teasing. We’re not Satanists. Personally, religion-wise, I do not believe in one or the other.”

Jocke Berg of Hardcore Superstar backstage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

With eleven albums under their belt, it is no longer easy to put together setlists for the band’s shows. “We have certain songs that we have to play. If we don’t, we’ll be lynched! Like ‘We Don’t Celebrate Sundays’ and ‘Last Call for Alcohol’. We have to do them or else we won’t get home from Japan.”

Hardcore Superstar has had loyal fans in Japan since the band’s early days. “This is our eighth time here. Japan is special. I believe everyone feels that way. If you speak with Michael Amott in Arch Enemy or whoever you talk to, they all think Japan is special. This is like a different world. You can’t compare it to Stockholm or Gothenburg or Halmstad. Here it is special!”

More than two decades into the band’s career and with eleven albums to your name, you are now a family man with three kids. How do you manage to combine tour life with family life? “In order to long for something one has to go away! 21 years is quite a long time. Obviously, I don’t want to leave my family. No normal person wants that. Sometimes it can be good to get away for a bit. But it is that hour and a half, one hour and 40 minutes perhaps, on stage. There’s nothing better in the whole world! It’s a euphoric feeling you don’t want to be without. All the travelling I can do without. To sit in a plane for 12 hours is not much fun. What drives me is to make people happy. It’s fantastic to see those smiles. That’s what music is all about!”

Jocke Berg of Hardcore Superstar backstage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

One of Jocke Berg’s biggest moments, so far (he’s still mid-career, right?), in the crazy ride that we call Hardcore Superstar, is a backstage meeting with Ronnie James Dio. “We sat in his dressing room backstage in Gothenburg. He said that he had two Hardcore Superstar albums and that he thought that I sing very well. That is something special to hear from the voice himself! Then he added: ‘Later when I am gone – when I die – I want you to carry on my legacy.’ Then I started to cry. I became very sentimental. Mikkey Dee and John Corabi stood next to us. My bandmates stood there too and they started to laugh and thought I was being silly because I was crying. But John Corabi and Mikkey Dee understood the importance of Ronnie James Dio saying something like that to me.”

With another successful Japan visit now behind them, Hardcore Superstar continues to tour in Europe and will also do a stop in the US to play at the Rocklahoma festival in May. Indeed, no one can stop these guys’ rock’n’roll!

Jocke Berg of Hardcore Superstar backstage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

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The Roppongi Rocks Music Awards – What rocked our world in 2018

The Crown on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

By Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

2018 gave us some fab rock music. There were too many great concerts, artists and records to mention them all. But here’s Roppongi Rocks shot at mentioning some of the music that stood out as exceptional during the year.

Ace Frehley on stage at Billboard Live in Tokyo. Photo: Masanori Naruse

Gig of the Year: Legendary KISS guitarist Ace Frehley did a flawless set at Billboard Live in Roppongi. It was such a great experience to see him back on top of his game. Other exceptional gigs in Tokyo included Venom Inc, Machine Head, Death Angel, At The Gates and Marty Friedman.

Song of the Year: The Crown‘s “In the Name of Death”. Brilliant, brutal and yet catchy death metal. Other favourite tracks included “Rain” by Loudness, “Take Away My Soul” by Uriah Heep, “Tattooed on My Brain” by Nazareth and “To Drink from the Night Itself” by At The Gates.

The Crown on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

Extreme Metal Album of the Year: Sweden’s The Crown back in fine form with furious new album “Cobra Speed Venom”. They also backed it up with a great Japan tour. Other favourites included “TerrorVision” by Aborted, “To Drink From The Night Itself” by At The Gates and Watain’s “Trident Wolf Eclipse”.

Heavy Metal Album of the Year: When it comes to heavy metal, Finland and its top bands are always contenders. Top of the heap was Amorphis whose new album “Queen of Time” is based on the by now well-established Amorphis sound which combines heavy metal with great melodies, heavy guitar riffing with dreamy keyboard soundscapes and clean singing with growling. Other favourites included Nervosa’s “Downfall of Mankind”, Riot V’s “Armor of Light” and Loudness’ “Rise To Glory” as well as Thundermother who bounced back with an exquisite self-titled new album.

Melodic Metal Album of the Year: Sweden’s modern melodic metal band Amaranthe returned with “Helix” and proved that they once again could top their previous albums. Fast-paced and catchy modern metal bursting with energy and with some great new twists.

Classic Rock Album of the Year: Swedish groove masters Electric Boys are now all grown up and play a more mature, classic-sounding rock on fab new album “The Ghost Ward Diaries”. Other favourites included Graham Bonnet Band’s “Meanwhile, Back In The Garage” and The Night Flight Orchestra’s “Sometimes The World Ain’t Enough”.

Live Album of the Year: “Anywhere Loud” by Sweden’s Imperial State Electric is a fab live album in the old tradition. It doesn’t hurt that parts of it were recorded in Tokyo with Fred Estby at the soundboard. Other strong contenders included “Live at the Apollo” by Yes featuring Jon Anderson – Trevor Rabin – Rick Wakeman, Alcatrazz’s “Live in Japan 1984”, Overkill’s “Live in Overhausen”, Anthrax’s “Kings Among Scotland”, John Corabi’s “Live 94 (One Night In Nashville)” and, of course, Marty Friedman’s “One Bad M.F. Live”.

Tony Dolan in Tokyo in August 2018. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

Big Love Award: Tony Dolan! The legendary British metal man (Venom Inc, M-Pire of Evil, Venom, Atomkraft) visited his Japanese fans three times during the year – first with Venom Inc and then twice on his own. He is a terrific artist and one of the nicest blokes in metal. He always takes time to personally meet and connect with his fans.

Video of the Year: Ghost released “Rats”, a terrific video (think Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” meets “Lick It Up” by KISS) for a splendid song.

Randy Black of Destruction on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

Energy Injection of the Year: Canadian drummer Randy Black (Primal Fear, Annihilator, W.A.S.P.) who gave German thrash veterans Destruction a new life when he joined the band.

Newcomers of the Year: Some of our favourites among the newcomers were Electric Feel Good (rural Swedish rockers playing blues-rock like it’s nobody’s business), Detraktor (hard-hitting and groovy German crossover thrash metal), Carchosa (one-man thrash/death metal band from Sweden), Japan’s Hell Freezes Over who finally released their terrific debut EP and Nightstage whose debut album is full of classic-sounding American rock.

Congrats to the winners and apologies for all the great music from 2018 that we’ve forgotten to mention here. Now on to 2019! Cheers!

Gig review: Tony Dolan performing heavy metal classics in Japan

Tony Dolan and Jun Matsukawa of Sabbrabells on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

By Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

Venom Inc’s Tony “The Demolition Man” Dolan back on stage in Japan playing classic metal tunes with his Japanese friends. 

Tony Dolan Super Session at Cyclone, Shibuya, Tokyo on 16th December 2018

2018 has been an ongoing love affair between British metal legend Tony Dolan and Japan. Venom Inc toured Japan in February and in August Tony Dolan returned on his own to run a bass clinic and jam with some of his Japanese metal friends. That was so much fun that Dolan was invited back to Japan for a third time this year for two solo shows in Tokyo and Yokohama. 

Tony Dolan and Tom Leaper of Hell Freezes Over on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

Tony Dolan initially made a name for himself with the British heavy metal band Atomkraft, which he co-founded in the late 1970s, before he took over as vocalist and bassist of legendary metal band Venom. After Venom, he reunited with Venom guitarist Mantas in M-Pire of Evil and a few years ago, the two formed the band Venom Inc, where they play Venom classics as well as terrific new material. 

Daisuke Hamate of Alice In Hell on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

The bulk of the Tokyo show, billed as “Tony Dolan Super Session”, is made up of classic Venom songs. We get all the old favourites: “Sons of Satan”, “Welcome to Hell”, “Die Hard”, “Witching Hour”, “Poison”, “Live Like An Angel (Die Like A Devil)”, “Angel Dust”, “Seven Gates of Hell”, “Leave Me In Hell”, “In League With Satan”, “Bloodlust”, “One Thousand Days in Sodom”, “Countess Bathory” and “Black Metal”. We also get a terrific version of “Metal We Bleed”, a song from Venom Inc’s debut album from 2017, and the Atomkraft song “Pour The Metal In”. Additionally, we get some fun covers of Saxon (“Wheels of Steel”), Motörhead (“Overkill” and “Ace of Spades”) and Metallica (“Seek and Destroy”).

Reezi Godkiller of Apologist on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

In addition to Dolan singing, we get fabulous efforts from two Japanese black metal vocalists: Sigh’s Mirai Kawashima and Reezi Godkiller of Apologist. Reezi performs in full corpse paint and even changes his make-up into a Lemmy-inspired look to perform “Ace of Spades” during the encore. Mirai takes a more casual approach and performs in an Iron Maiden t-shirt. 

Survive’s Nemo and Rie aka Suzaku on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

On guitars we get a phenomenal line-up of musicians: Nemo of Survive, Daisuke Hamate of Alice In Hell, Jun Matsukawa of Sabbrabells, Hiro Saito of Head Phones President, Yu Oshima of Sigh and Rie aka Suzaku. And when we as a final encore get to hear “Black Metal” once again, Dolan brings up Hell Freezes Over guitarist Ryoto Arai from the audience. On drums we get some serious firepower in the form of the young and energetic lad Tom Leaper of Hell Freezes Over and the experienced veteran Eiji Mitsuzono of Wild Flag (and formerly of Bow Wow and Sads). Promoters Hiromi Sugou and Yasukazu Takahashi of UPP-tone Music have managed to bring together a fab group of Japanese musicians worthy of playing with Dolan.

Mirai Kawashima and Yu Oshima of Sigh on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

It’s a terrific metal show that is laidback and lots of fun. Tony Dolan is one of the nicest blokes in metal and he has a big smile on his face throughout the long show. The show is basically a two-hour jam session with Dolan and his Japanese metal friends appearing both on stage and in the audience. The format of inviting a Western veteran artist to come to Japan and perform classic metal songs together with a great line-up of current Japanese metal acts is fabulous. Hopefully we will get to see this done with other artists as well.

Tony Dolan and Tom Leaper of Hell Freezes Over on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

A big thank you to UPP-tone Music for bringing Tony Dolan back to Japan. No doubt Dolan will be back in Japan next year.

Tony Dolan and Mirai Kawashima of Sigh on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

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Exclusive video premiere: Reece “Forest Through The Trees”

Video

Roppongi Rocks premieres former Accept and Bonfire frontman David Reece‘s new video for the track “Forest Through The Trees”. The song is from the Reece album “Resilient Heart” which was recently released via Mighty Music. Reece will tour in Germany and Switzerland in February as the opening act for original Accept singer Udo Dirkschneider.

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Preview: Slash to return to Japan in January

Slash in Tokyo in 2015. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

By Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

Legendary Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash will return to play in Japan in January, this time together with Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators.

It’s been four years since Slash last played Japan as a solo artist. Since then he has rejoined Guns N’ Roses and their multi-year world tour has kept Slash busy. But a few months ago, Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators released a new album, “Living the Dream”.

Here are a couple of excerpts from Roppongi Rocks’ recent album review: “Here he gets to do what he wants to do without too much pressure or too high expectations. Because of this, we get quality rock’n’roll by a terrific band of rock brothers who play well together, seemingly without too much drama. / As is the case with many of the world’s truly great guitarists, Slash never goes too far. Sure, he shows off his guitar-playing skills, but he makes sure he is part of the songs. His guitar never overstays its welcome. It never overshadows the songs. ‘Living the Dream’ offers us straightforward and catchy rock’n’roll built around Slash’s guitar and Myles Kennedy’s characteristic voice. / The album ‘Living the Dream’ is great fun. This is a band playing melodic rock’n’roll, music that they love and have produced without overthinking things. That laidback, casual feeling is what makes this rock album a good one.” 

The Conspirators has a world-class line-up that is the same as the band that toured Japan in 2015 – in addition to Slash there is vocalist Myles Kennedy (Alter Bridge), bassist Todd Kerns (Bob Kulick, Hookers & Blow, Sin City Sinners), drummer Brent Fitz (Union, Vince Neil, Alice Cooper, Bruce Kulick) and guitarist Frank Sidoris (The Cab).

Slash’s Japan tour will include a show in Osaka on 15th January and one at Shinkiba Studio Coast in Tokyo on 17th January. Get your tickets via Creativeman here: www.creativeman.co.jp/event/slash19/.

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Gig review: Dust Bolt | Old-school thrash metal from Germany

Dust Bolt’s Lenny Bruce (and a stage diver) on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

By Stefan Nilssson, Roppongi Rocks

German thrashers Dust Bolt make a terrific debut on the Japanese stage with an energetic heavy metal show.

Dust Bolt’s Lenny Bruce on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

Dust Bolt at Rock Maykan, Meguro, Tokyo on 13th December 2018

Formed in Bavaria, Germany in 2007, German thrashers Dust Bolt now have three studio albums under their belt: “Violent Demolition” (2012), “Awake the Riot” (2014) and “Mass Confusion” (2016). Their fourth album, “Trapped in Chaos”, will be released by Napalm Records in January. This evening we get a taste of the forthcoming album in the form of the songs “The Fourth Strike”, “Dead Inside” and “Bloody Rain” as well as the first-ever live performance of the track “Another Day in Hell”. Overall the gig’s set list, a great mix of old and new material, is a perfect introduction to the band which consists of Lenny Bruce on vocals and guitar, Flo Dehn on guitar, Ben Muenzel on bass and Nico Rayman on drums. Among the older material, we get to hear splendid songs like “Distant Scream (The Monotonous)”, “Toxic Attack”, “Soul Erazor” and of course the fantastic anthem “Agent Thrash”. 

Ben Muenzel of Dust Bolt on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

They have some technical issues during the show’s first song, “The Fourth Strike”, but they just get on with it (and they finish a sweaty and great show by playing the song once again). The raw energy of Dust Bolt reminds me a lot of the power and enthusiasm of the American Bay Area thrash metal scene in the early 1980s. Musically they are also closer to American old-school thrash than the German school of thrash metal. “We don’t listen that much to other German bands. We’re more into the American thrash metal bands,” Lenny Bruce tells me after the gig. Most of all, this is bloody good thrash metal delivered by a terrific band. 

Dust Bolt’s Lenny Bruce on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

The Tokyo audience is with the band from the start. We get circle pits, stage diving and crowd surfing. Between songs we get shouts of “Dust Bolt! Dust Bolt!”. This is the band’s first-ever visit to Japan and it is a very good start. The show was filmed and recorded and if everything goes as planned, this live material should appear as bonus material on the Japanese edition of the new studio album (which will be released by Metal Justice Tokyo in the coming months).

Dust Bolt on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

Germany has always been a leading heavy metal nation, but now there’s a new generation of great German metal bands with the talent and work ethic to take on the world. Dust Bolt is right there at the front. A big thank you to promoter Metal Justice Tokyo for bringing another top-quality thrash metal band to Japan.

Dust Bolt on stage in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

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Exclusive video premiere: Ghost Ship Octavius “Edge of Time”

Video

Roppongi Rocks premieres the video for the track “Edge of Time” by American melodic progressive rock band Ghost Ship Octavius, featuring Matthew Wicklund (ex-Warrel Dane, Armageddon) on guitar, Van Williams (ex-Nevermore, Armageddon) on drums and Adōn Fanion on vocals and guitar. A full studio album will be released on Mighty Music in February.

www.facebook.com/ghostshipoctavius 

Album review: Season of Ghosts “A Leap of Faith”

By Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

Former Blood Stain Child singer Sophia Aslanides is back with a new Season of Ghosts album combining metal riffs with catchy pop hooks in a musical style they call cinematic electro-metal. 

Greek artist Sophia Aslanides made a name for herself as the vocalist in Japanese band Blood Stain Child in 2010-12. Soon after leaving Blood Stain Child, Sophia formed Season of Ghosts which released its debut album “The Human Paradox” in 2014. Now the band is back with a new album.

Musically this is a logical continuation of what Sophia did in Japan with Blood Stain Child, although Season of Ghosts takes a bit of a different approach to its modern mix of metal and pop. They call it “cinematic electro-metal” and that label fits very well. We get metal guitar riffs, catchy melodies, keyboards and Sophia’s dreamy vocals on top of it all. Sophia is a talented songwriter. During her years in Japan, she seems to have soaked up a lot of modern Japanese music, made it into her own style and brought it with her. In Season of Ghosts’ music there are hints of current Japanese acts like Lovebites a well as influences from the 1980s generation of Japanese melodic metal acts (think Loudness, Earthshaker and X-Japan) and the wave of visual kei-bands that they inspired. I also think there are certain hints of Japanese rock queen Mari Hamada here. Musically this modern combination of metal and pop isn’t miles away from contemporary acts such as Amaranthe, Within Temptation and Epica, although the sound is a bit different. Sophia has somehow managed to take all these influences and create her own terrific music with those ingredients.

“A Leap of Faith” is a very strong and even album. We get fab songs such as “How the Story Ends”, “Almost Human” and “Astero [:id]”. One of the highlights is no doubt “A Place to Call Home”, which we get in both a standard version and a special Japanese version. It is clear that while this is a UK-based band, Japan is very much still a major part of Sophia as a person and an artist. “There’s a good chance we’ll tour Japan in 2019, so I would like to stress that I never lost contact with my Japanese audience. I still love and appreciate it since they’re the first people that embraced me as an artist. I always say this and it’s true, that Japan is my second home,” Sophia comments to Roppongi Rocks. In addition to Sophia, Season of Ghosts consists of Zombie Sam (guitar), Paul Dark Brown (bass) and Max Buell (drums).

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Preview: Tony “The Demolition Man” Dolan returns to Japan

Tony Dolan in Tokyo in August 2018. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

By Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks 

In February, British metal legend Tony “The Demolition Man” Dolan toured Japan with Venom Inc. In August he was back to do a bass clinic and jam session with some of his Japanese metal musician friends. Now he’s back for a third time this year to perform a couple of shows billed as “Tony Dolan Super Sessions” in Tokyo on 16th December and Yokohama on 18th December. 

Tony Dolan, Sinjilow, Mirai Kawashima and Akira Tominaga on stage in Tokyo in August 2018. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

In a few days’ time, one of our favourite men in metal, Tony Dolan, will be back in Japan for a third time in 2018. Having first made a name for himself in the NWOBHM scene in the 1980s with Atomkraft, Dolan then fronted Venom before he and Venom founder Mantas formed M-Pire of Evil and, more recently, Venom Inc. Venom Inc keeps doing well. On the back of their fantastic 2017 debut album, “Avé”, they have toured the world and built up a great show combining Venom classics with newer Venom Inc material. Mantas suffered a near-fatal heart attack earlier this year, but within months he was back on stage. Nothing will stop these metal warriors.

Tony Dolan with his bass. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

The Tony Dolan Super Sessions in Japan are focused on classic Venom material with some other heavy metal classics thrown into the mix. “The music is such a classic, legendary thing. The legacy is so rich. People just want to hear the music, they don’t want politics,” Dolan tells Roppongi Rocks. It also evident that many old Venom fans like the newer material played by Venom Inc. At signing sessions, old Venom fans now often turn up with Venom Inc’s “Avé” album to be signed. “I am glad that they feel it actually has a place with the rest of the collection,” says Dolan with a big smile on his face. Venom back in the day was known not just for its music, but also its visual image with black leather, studs, skulls, fire and much more. “It’s beyond that now. We could do it in our slippers. But if you take all that away, is it still amazing? Just the music. What do you need? That’s what I love about it. I want to have everything else, but if I don’t, I’m secure in the fact that the music speaks for itself!” says Dolan.

At the two Super Sessions – Tokyo on Sunday 16th December and Yokohama on Tuesday 18th December – Tony Dolan will once again be joined by many of his Japanese metal musician friends on stage. The sessions will include guests such guitarist Rie aka Suzaku as well as members from bands such as Sigh, Survive, United, Alice In Hell, Apologist, Sabbat, Sabbrabells, Abigail, Hell Freezes Over, Head Phones President, Wild Flag and more. It will no doubt once again be loads of fun in the name of proper metal. Welcome to hell!

Get your tickets here!

Roppongi Rocks’ Stefan Nilsson and Tony Dolan in Tokyo in August 2018.