News: Loudness will release new album in January

Loudness on stage in Tokyo on 30th Dec 2015. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

By Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

Our favourite Japanese heavy metal band Loudness, currently on tour in Europe, will release their new studio album in January.

The follow-up to 2014’s terrific “The Sun Will Rise Again” will be called “Rise to Glory” and will be released on 26th January 2018 via Ward Records in Japan and earMUSIC internationally.

Loudness Official Facebook page

Dynazty vocalist Nils Molin officially joins Amaranthe

Nils Molin backstage in Tokyo in February 2017 while on tour with Dynazty. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

By Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

Dynazty vocalist Nils Molin has become an official member of Amaranthe.

Hardly a surprise, but now Dynazty vocalist Nils Molin has officially joined Amaranthe. He joins the band as one of its three lead vocalists and replaces the band’s co-founder Jake E who departed the group earlier this year. Roppongi Rocks learnt already early this year of Amaranthe’s interest in Nils Molin’s services. When Molin was in Tokyo in February with Dynazty, he smiled when we mentioned Amaranthe to him (“we know that you know that we know”, kind of) but without revealing what was coming up.

Having earlier used Chris Adam from the band Smash Into Pieces as a stand in for Jake E, in March Amaranthe started using Nils Molin for gigs in Europe.

When Amaranthe’s Elize Ryd played in Japan with Gus G in March, she said of Molin who had then done his first few gigs with Amaranthe: “Nils is top of the list. We had fun with these gigs in Sweden. It was so much fun! He’s a cool and great guy. Thus it would be great to have him in the band. Exciting! It’s great with some new blood. He’s awesome. It sounded really great. His voice fits us really well. He can even reach the high octaves together with me. That was cool! We want him! We obviously would like to have him. We’ll see what happens. We’ll find out.” Now we have found out. Nils Molin is now a permanent member of Amaranthe. What remains unclear is his future with Dynazty. Officially it seems he will do both bands, but with the kind of schedule Amaranthe normally has, there is bound to be very little time left over for Dynazty.

www.facebook.com/amarantheband

www.amaranthe.se

Graham Bonnet Band reveals new guitarist

The new line-up of Graham Bonnet Band with new guitarist Joey Tafolla on the left.

By Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

Graham Bonnet Band reveals Joey Tafolla as Conrado Pesinato’s replacement.

As previously reported by Roppongi Rocks, fab guitarist Conrado Pesinato recently left Graham Bonnet Band. While no official explanation has been given for Pesinato’s departure, today the band revealed who will replace him: Jag Panzer guitarist Joey Tafolla. Tafolla has released a number of solo albums via Shrapnel Records. Back in February, Tafolla was a guest with Graham Bonnet Band when they performed with Uli Jon Roth. Now he is the latest in a long row of phenomenal guitarists who have been creating terrific music with Graham Bonnet over the years.

Graham Bonnet and Conrado Pesinato in Tokyo in March 2017. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

www.facebook.com/grahambonnetmusic

Former Amaranthe and In Flames members unite in CyHra

By Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

Jake E and Jesper Strömblad launch CyHra | Record deal inked, debut album and world tour coming up.

Vocalist Jake E, who recently announced his departure from Amaranthe, has teamed up with guitarist Jesper Strömblad (ex-In Flames, HammerFall) to launch a new modern metal band called CyHra. The band has signed a record deal with Spinefarm Records/Universal.

For CyHra, Jake E and Jesper Strömblad have recruited former In Flames bassist Peter Iwers and drummer Alex Landenburg, who has played with Annihilator, Bonfire, Masterplan and Stratovarius, to complete the line-up.

Jake E on stage in Tokyo in September 2016 during the Helloween/Amaranthe tour. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

The band is already working on its debut album, which is expected to be released later this year. Based on the great quality of early CyHra demo recordings I’ve heard, this new band will no doubt cause a stir and get attention from both Amaranthe and In Flames fans. This is modern and melodic metal bursting with energy. These four gentlemen have some serious pedigree, but I reckon the best is yet to come for them. Once the debut album is released sometime in the autumn, CyHra plans to do extensive international touring in support of the album.

www.cyhra.comwww.facebook.com/cyhraofficial

BREAKING NEWS: Jake E officially leaves Amaranthe

Jake E on stage in Tokyo with Amaranthe in 2015. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

Jake E on stage with Amaranthe in Tokyo in 2015. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

By Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

Jake E has decided to leave Amaranthe, the very successful melodic metal band he co-founded. “I am stepping off the Amaranthe tour bus and will go on to do new things”, says Jake in a comment to Roppongi Rocks.

Jake E and Elize Ryd on stage with Amaranthe in Tokyo in 2016. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

Jake E on stage with Amaranthe in Tokyo in 2016. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

Since 2011, Amaranthe has released four studio albums and relentlessly toured the world. Following Amaranthe’s Japan tour with Helloween in September last year, Jake E, one of the band’s three vocalists, has taken time out from the band. Smash Into PiecesChris Adam has been standing in for him during Amaranthe’s gigs in the past few months.

Jake E in Tokyo in 2014. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

Jake E in Tokyo in 2014. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

“I’ve had some fantastic seven years with Amaranthe. We have achieved success far beyond what I expected when we formed the band. I am very proud of what we have achieved with Amaranthe: creatively and commercially, in the studio and on stage in front of our great fans. Now I am stepping off the Amaranthe tour bus and will go on to do new things. I am involved with plenty of great things, both in the music space and in other creative areas,” comments Jake E exclusively to Roppongi Rocks.

Jake E has earlier announced that he will perform on stage in Sweden in March with his old band Dreamland. Recently he has spent time hosting a radio show, working on film projects and produced the debut album by Finnish band Ember Falls. Among other things. No doubt we will hear more from the multi-talented Jake E in the near future.

Jake E on stage with Amaranthe in Tokyo in 2013. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

Jake E on stage with Amaranthe in Tokyo in 2013. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

www.facebook.com/jakeeofficial

www.facebook.com/amarantheband

Jake E on stage with Amaranthe in Tokyo in 2015. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

Jake E on stage with Amaranthe in Tokyo in 2015. Photo: Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

The Roppongi Rocks Music Awards 2016 – What rocked our world in 2016

Michael Amott of Black Earth onstage in Tokyo, 17th May 2016. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Michael Amott of Black Earth on stage in Tokyo, 17th May 2016. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

By Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

2016 was another year filled with great rock music. There was too much good stuff to mention here, but here are some of our favourites from the past year.

Lord Ahriman of Dark Funeral in Tokyo, 9th October 2016. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Lord Ahriman of Dark Funeral in Tokyo, 9th October 2016. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Extreme Metal Album of the Year

Dark Funeral “Where Shadows Forever Reign”. Lord Ahriman and his men delivered above and beyond what we were hoping for. Bordering on sensational.

Runner up: Aborted “Retrogore”

Megadeth-Dystopia

Heavy Metal Album of the Year

Megadeth “Dystopia”. Megadeth is back on top. With the arrival of Dirk Verbeuren in the band this year, who knows what the band can do on the next album?

Runner up: Moonsorrow “Jumalten Aika”

Graham Bonnet and Beth-Ami Heavenstone in Tokyo 2016. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Graham Bonnet and Beth-Ami Heavenstone in Tokyo 2016. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Classic Rock Album of the Year

Graham Bonnet Band “The Book”. What a comeback by the former Rainbow, Alcatrazz and MSG singer!

Runner up: Hellsingland Underground “Understanding Gravity”

New England in Kawasaki, Japan in November 2016. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

New England in Kawasaki, Japan in November 2016. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Live Album of the Year

New England “Live at the Regent Theatre”. Simply beautiful. The songwriting skills of John Fannon combined with four great musicians that complement each other so well creates magic.

Runner up: Motörhead “Clean Your Clock”

Napalm Death on stage in Tokyo, 5th September 2016. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Napalm Death on stage in Tokyo, 5th September 2016. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Gig of the Year

Napalm Death in Tokyo in September. Still quite possibly the best band in the world.

Runners up: Soilwork, New England, Michael Schenker, Exodus, Black Earth and Candlemass were among those artists who did excellent gigs in Japan in 2016.

Video of the Year

Kampfar “Tornekratt” Epic! A great song with a video to match it.

Runners up: Richie Ramone “I Fix This”, Amaranthe “That Song”

Black Earth on stage in Tokyo, 17th May 2016. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Black Earth on stage in Tokyo, 17th May 2016. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Reunion of the Year

Black Earth – following 2015’s reunion of the original Arch Enemy line-up for a few songs at Loud Park, Michael Amott returned to Japan for a full-blown Black Earth tour.

Runners up: Michael Schenker Fest (a line-up of pure MSG royalty) and Dokken (yes, the much-hyped Japanese reunion tour for Dokken’s classic line-up was actually much better than expected)

Mikkey Dee on stage at Loud Park with Scorpions. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Mikkey Dee on stage at Loud Park with Scorpions. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Energy Injections of the Year

Drummers Mikkey Dee to Scorpions and Dirk Verbeuren to Megadeth! Simply wow! Very smart recruitment decisions.

Dirk Verbeuren in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Dirk Verbeuren in Tokyo in 2016. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Newcomers of the Year

Open Surgery: Great debut album from this Swedish death metal band.

Eradikal Insane: Having previously self-released their debut album, 2016 saw the French extreme metal band toured Europe and sign a management deal with Alpha Omega.

Unearthed Elf: An epic fantasy power doom metal project by a sick American elf.

Vindland: Melodic pagan black metal from France.

Congrats to the winners and apologies for all the great music from 2016 that we’ve forgot to mention here. Now on to 2017! Cheers!

Graham Bonnet Band and Alcatrazz to tour Japan in 2017

Graham Bonnet Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Graham Bonnet on stage in Tokyo in June 2015. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

By Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

It’s been confirmed! Graham Bonnet Band will tour Japan in 2017 and the Japanese fans will get a special Alcatrazz encore during the tour.bonnet-flyer

In 2015, an early version of the Graham Bonnet Band toured Japan as opening act for Michael Schenker’s Temple of Rock. A few months ago, Graham Bonnet was back in Japan as one of the guest vocalists during the Japanese Michael Schenker Fest tour. In the spring of 2017, we will finally get the now-finalised Graham Bonnet Band line-up on stage in Japan.

The Japan tour will consist of three gigs in Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo in mid-March. Graham Bonnet Band – Graham Bonnet (vocals), Beth-Ami Heavenstone (bass), Conrado Pesinato (guitar), Jimmy Waldo (keyboards) and Mark Zonder (drums) – will perform a full set and as a treat, they will be joined by bassist Gary Shea for a special Alcatrazz encore. While Shea and Waldo are on a Japan tour right now with their New England band, the planned shows with Bonnet in March will be the first time since 1984 that the three founding members of Alcatrazz will perform together in Japan. This will be special and not something you want to miss. Get your tickets now: www.ameblo.jp/tokyoonkyorock

www.facebook.com/grahambonnetmusic

News: Reunited New England to play two shows in Japan

new-england

By Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

New England’s classic line-up will reunite for gigs in Japan in November.

American melodic rock band New England will reform for a couple of reunion gigs in Japan in November. The band will also do a few US gigs this year. The band’s classic line-up with John Fannon (vocals and guitar), Hirsh Gardner (drums), Jimmy Waldo (keyboards) and Gary Shea (bass) will be on stage for the reunion.

The band was originally active in the late 70s and early 80s. They had KISS frontman Paul Stanley as producer and shared management with KISS. When John Fannon suddenly left the band in 1982, he was briefly replaced by future KISS member Vinnie Vincent on guitar and lead vocals (on Gene Simmons’ recommendation). New England changed its band name to Warrior and the band’s brief existence led to some demo recordings of songs written by Vincent that would eventually end up as KISS and Vinnie Vincent Invasion songs. When Vincent was offered to join KISS, Warrior broke up. Jimmy Waldo (now in Graham Bonnet Band) and Gary Shea then went on to play with Graham Bonnet and Yngwie Malmsteen, and later Steve Vai, in Alcatrazz.

New England has done some reunion gigs over the years and also released a new single, “I Know There’s Something There”, in 2015.

New England will play at Club Citta in Kawasaki, Japan on 18th and 20th November.

www.clubcitta.co.jp/001/newengland-2016 / www.newenglandrocks.com

Ex-Europe guitarist Kee Marcello to release new solo album

Kee Marcello

By Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

Swedish guitar hero Kee Marcello will return with a new solo album in October.

Former Europe and Easy Action lead guitarist Kee Marcello, perhaps best known for his guitar solo on Europe classic “Superstitious”, will release a new solo album in October.

Kee Marcello (2nd from left) with Easy Action.

Kee Marcello (2nd from left) with Easy Action.

Kee Marcello first made a name for himself in Swedish glam metal band Easy Action in the early to mid-1980s. In 1986 he joined Europe – just as they hit the big time with “The Final Countdown” – as a replacement for original guitarist John Norum. He remained with the group until they broke up in 1992 and also took part in the band’s one-off reunion gig in Stockholm on New Year’s Eve 1999, which was the first and only time Europe has performed with both John Norum and Kee Marcello. When Europe reformed with its classic line-up in 2003, Marcello was not included.

Since leaving Europe, while mainly out of the limelight, Marcello has remained active in the music business, not only as a musician but also as songwriter and producer. Among the artists he has performed with are Alannah Myles, In Flames and Snowy Shaw. In 2013-14, he was part of the cast in the Swedish edition of the Rock of Ages musical.

Kee Marcello (bottom right corner) with Europe.

Kee Marcello (bottom right corner) with Europe.

In Kee Marcello’s band we currently find Ken Sandin (Swedish Erotica, Alien, Bobby Kimball) on bass and Darby Todd (The Darkness, Hot Leg, Gary Moore) on drums. A notable guest on the forthcoming album is Whitesnake keyboardist Michele Luppi.

Marcello’s new solo album will reportedly be steeped in the classic melodic hard rock sound of Europe but it will also have a few nods here and there to the glam of Easy Action. Two of the tracks on the album, “Wild Child” and “Don’t Know How to Love No More”, are songs that were written for Europe and known to Europe fans as they were part of the much-talked about Europe bootleg “Le Baron Boys” which consisted of demo recordings from 1989-90.

Frontiers Music will release Kee Marcello’s “Scaling Up” on 14th October. Kee Marcello will be touring in the UK and Sweden in September and October.

www.facebook.com/keemarcellorocks

www.frontiers.it / www.facebook.com/frontiersmusicsrl

Morbid Angel to release new album in 2017

Morbid Angel logoBy Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

Death metal legends Morbid Angel have announced that they will release a new album in 2017.

Morbid Angel, a pioneering band on the American death metal scene, was founded in Charlotte, North Carolina 1984 and released its debut album, “Altars of Madness”, in 1989. That album is widely considered one of the death metal genre’s most classic albums.

Morbid Angel Altars of Madness

The current line-up of the band, now based in Tampa, Florida, features founding member and guitarist Trey Azagthoth and returning long-time member Steve Tucker on bass and vocals.

They have signed a record deal with UDR Music to release their ninth studio album sometime in 2017. The plan is to follow that with touring.

www.morbidangel.com / www.facebook.com/officialmorbidangelpage