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.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

KISS Expo coming to Japan in October

KISS Expo Tokyo 2016By Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

KISS Expo is coming to Japan with KISS frontman Gene Simmons himself doing a special guest appearance.

KISS posing with Roppongi Rocks' Stefan Nilsson in Tokyo in 2015.

KISS posing with Roppongi Rocks’ Stefan Nilsson in Tokyo in 2015.

In October, the first ever official KISS exhibition in Japan will take place at the Laforet Museum in Tokyo’s Harajuku district.

For the past 43 years, KISS has combined melodic rock music with elaborate stage shows and outrageous costumes and make-up, partly influenced by Japanese culture, such as manga animation and kabuki theatre.

Ever since the early days of the band in the mid-70s, KISS has had a very loyal following here in Japan. Most recently the band completed a very successful Japan tour in 2015, including a sold-out gig at the massive Tokyo Dome.

KISS on stage at Tokyo Dome in 2015. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

KISS on stage at Tokyo Dome in 2015. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

The KISS Expo Tokyo 2016 will offer all KISS fans a chance to see and experience some of the legendary costumes, instruments, personal memorabilia and collectables.

The temporary KISS exhibition will be open between 13th and 31st October. KISS founder and frontman Gene Simmons will make a special appearance on the opening day of the exhibition.

Tickets for the exhibition are on sale now.

www.kissexpo2016.jp / www.facebook.com/kissexpo2016

Megadeth names Dirk Verbeuren as its new full-time drummer

Dirk Verbeuren in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Dirk Verbeuren in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

By Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

Dirk Verbeuren, one of my all-time favourite drummers, has been playing with Megadeth as a fill-in drummer on the ongoing “Dystopia” world tour. He has done very well and now Megadeth has offered him a permanent gig as the band’s new drummer. Thus, he will now leave Soilwork to work with Megadeth full time. It is not yet clear who will replace him in Soilwork.

A few months before Dirk Verbeuren joined Megadeth, I interviewed him and Soilwork’s mainman Björn “Speed” Strid here in Tokyo.

Dirk Verbeuren in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Dirk Verbeuren in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Here’s what they had to say then about line-up changes in the band: “It is definitely tough sometimes. Being a touring band, you have to find somebody who fits in, especially personality wise and not just as a musician. It’s tricky but luckily we always seem to rebound,” explained Dirk. Speed continued: “We been lucky enough to have fresh new blood coming into the band that actually brought something to the table. Maybe from the outside it looks like there’s been a lot of line-up changes and maybe people think that ‘Björn must be really hard to work with because he’s the only one who has been there since the very start.’ I don’t know. It might look like a circus and a revolving door. But if you’re in the band…it’s been more natural.” “He’s not at all a difficult person to work with,” insisted Dirk. “I think it’s more just…life, you know?” Yes, now life (in the form of Dave Mustaine and his Megadeth) has turned up on Soilwork’s doorstep.

Björn “Speed” Strid and Dirk Verbeuren in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Björn “Speed” Strid and Dirk Verbeuren in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Dirk Verbeuren, who joined Soilwork in 2004, is one of the best drummers in the extreme metal business. Apart from his Soilwork duties, the Belgian drummer now based in the US has played with acts such as Devin Townsend, Satyricon, Jeff Loomis, Aborted, Naglfar, Bent Sea, Scarve, Powermad, and many more. “When Dirk came in to the band he brought something new with the drums. He’s an extreme drummer but he also has that kind of unique groove to it even when he does blast beats for example. It is a lot more double kicks than compared to when Henry Ranta was in the band before. He definitely brought something new and fresh to the band,” said Speed of Dirk’s contribution to Soilwork’s sound. Now he needs to find Verbeuren’s replacement. Not an easy task. Soilwork has most recently used Bastian Thusgaard (The Arcane Order) as a stand-in drummer while Verbeuren has been playing with Megadeth.




Breaking news: Frigid Bich reunites after 30 years

Frigid Bich7

By Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

Breaking news: A sensational Frigid Bich reunion is in the works.

For the first time in 30 years, the members of 80s New York metal band Frigid Bich have gotten together to play music again.

Frigid Bich, who were originally active from 1980 until 1986, wrote some great heavy metal anthems and is perhaps the best New York metal band to never make it big. During their active years, they didn’t even release any album, but they wrote classics such as “Tyrants of a Generation”, “The Kids are Gonna Fight”, “Metal on Denim on Leather”, “We Rule the Night”, “No Guts, No Glory”, “Call Us Robinhoods” and “Louder than Loud”.

Frigid Bich8

Well, the Frigid Bich story is about to get a new exciting chapter. A few weeks ago, the classic Frigid Bich line-up from 1983-86 – Joe Leonard (vocals), Henry Matthies (guitar), Michael Leonard (bass) and Chris Meyer (drums) – reunited for the first time in 30 years in a rehearsal room.

We contacted Joe Leonard who confirms the reunion rumours to Roppongi Rocks: “We ripped through the old set without missing a beat. Pretty amazing. I have some unfinished songs from yesteryear and kept my notebook. We worked on a new song called ‘The Enemy of My Enemy’. We are thinking of doing a Brooklyn show in November.”

Wait, there’s more: “I think that we will record the new track in the next few months along with formal recordings of many of the older tracks,” says Joe.

Maybe Frigid Bich will get a second chance at heavy metal success.

Read Roppongi Rocks’ recent article “Louder Than Loud: The Frigid Bich Story” here.

Howl From The Coffin: a new old-school Swedish death metal festival


By Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

Connoisseurs of old-school Swedish death metal have a great new outdoor festival to congregate at.



The Howl From The Coffin Festival, which will take place on Saturday 20th August, is a new intimate niche festival set in a leafy countryside amusement park just 45 minutes outside Stockholm, Sweden. It has a killer line-up of great Swedish death metal bands. The festival brings together legendary veteran bands like Grave, Centinex and Sorcery, with newer bands.

The festival line-up includes Grave, Centinex, Sorcery, Interment, LIK, Bombs of Hades, Coffin Creep, Morbid Illusion, Usurpress and more. Howl From The Coffin will also feature an art exhibition by Anu Bring (Art by Bring), Erik Rovanperä and TONK. For death metal connoisseurs of the vinyl collecting kind, there will also be vinyl merchants present to satisfy the demand.



Breaking news: Brian Stephenson (ex-Annihilator) joins Skull Fist for Asian tour

Brian Stephenson

Brian Stephenson

By Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

Breaking news: Canadian heavy metal band Skull Fist will use Brian Stephenson as a stand-in vocalist for Zach Slaughter during Asian tour.

Skull Fist vocalist Zach Slaughter has a problem with his voice and needs further surgery this summer. Brian Stephenson (Old James, ex-Annihilator) is the brother of former Skull Fist drummer Chris Stephenson (Old James, Cauldron, Enforcer). The Asian tour will take the band to India, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan and Japan. Zach Slaughter will still be performing on Skull Fist’s Asian tour but focusing on playing guitar until his voice has been fully restored. Slaughter’s surgery will also mean that the planned studio album, the band’s third, will be further delayed.


Breaking news: Bonfire and David Reece part ways


By Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

BREAKING NEWS! German rockers Bonfire and David Reece (ex-Accept, Bangalore Choir) have parted ways. Reece sang on Bonfire’s last two albums and performed over 100 shows with the band. Reece will be replaced by Michael Borman who returns to Bonfire. Borman was Bonfire’s vocalist in 1993-94. Reece has recently launched RPG – Reece Percudani Group.

Hellsingland Underground reissues 2008 debut album with bonus track


Hellsingland Underground - early

By Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

Our favourite Northern country rockers, Hellsingland Underground, are celebrating ten years as a band this summer by reissuing their self-titled 2008 debut album with a special bonus track.


Hellsingland Underground, who released their fourth album, “Understanding Gravity” earlier this year, will reissue “Hellsingland Underground” on Sound Pollution’s Wild Kingdom Records label on 29th July.

The “Hellsingland Underground” album was originally released on the band’s own label, Killed by Records and featured classic songs such as “Northern Country Boy”, “Child of Another Time”, “Ill Wind”, “Ljusnan Riverside Jam”, “Hard Falls” and “Lost in the Woods”. In addition to the original album’s ten tracks, on the reissue we get the previously unreleased “Making Music Hurts Too Much”, which was the first song the band ever wrote.


www.hellsinglandunderground.com / www.facebook.com/hellsinglandunderground

Megadeth recruits drummer Dirk Verbeuren for American and European tours

Dirk Verbeuren in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Dirk Verbeuren in Tokyo 2016. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

By Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

Megadeth mainman Dave Mustaine has recruited Soilwork‘s drummer Dirk Verbeuren as a stand-in for Chris Adler during some of the Megadeth’s shows in North America and Europe. With Adler busy with his other band Lam of God, he recommended Verbeuren to Mustaine as “probably one of the top three drummers in the world”.

Dirk Verbeuren in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Dirk Verbeuren in Tokyo. Photo: Stefan Nilsson

Dirk Verbeuren has been drumming with Soilwork since 2004 and has also played with many other artists, such as Devin Townsend, Satyricon, Jeff Loomis, Aborted, Naglfar, Bent Sea, Scarve and Powermad.

Megadeth released its latest terrific album, “Dystopia”, in January.

Read Roppongi Rocks’ recent interview with Dirk Verbeuren here.