Megadeth’s Kiko Loureiro Shredding Across the Globe

By Andrew Catania

Born on 16th June 1972 in the mesmerizing Rio de Janeiro region of Brazil, Kiko Loureiro is not a new name for the music enthusiast, specifically among the heavy metal aficionados who consider him as an ultimate legend, the ace master of the genre!

Kiko Loureiro has emerged as the present age music sensation due to his heavy metal guitar mastery as his signature forte. Kiko’s professional career incepted at a time when guitar playing was overshadowed in the midst of new, refined, and state-of-art musical instruments.

While the music industry was heavily directed towards improvisations and inventions in instruments and playing techniques, Kiko Loureiro opted to stick to the conventional patterns of guitar playing, something which eventually turned out to be quite a unique feat at that time. The prime motivation behind this decision was the bygone era of rock and roll legends that has always inspired the young Kiko Loureiro ever since his childhood.

Kiko Loureiro started practicing his fingers on a basic acoustic guitar at the tender age of 11, having learned the skills and tactics of Brazil’s legendary musicians, Mozart Mello and Pedro Bueno, and being immensely inspired by maestros such as Jimmy Page, Randy Rhoads, Eddie Van Helen, and Jimi Hendrix.

Having mastered the intricacies of the electric guitar by then, Kiko Loureiro had started gaining prominence in the music spheres. Impressed by his brilliance and the depth of his skills, Kiko Loureiro was welcomed as a core member in ‘The Legalize’ and ‘A Chave’, 2 eminent bands of their time. This is how he kick-started his professional career.

Doing a good job by tackling all opportunities that came his way, Kiko Loureiro progressed, learned, and polished his skills along the way. By the time he turned 19 years of age, he had paired up with Rafael Bittencourt, Andre Linhares, Fabio Lione, Bruno Valverde and Felipe Andreoli at Angra’s platform. He has released 8 studio albums, 5 EPs, and 3 live CDs till date.

Aside from his band associations, Kiko Loureiro also focused on strengthening his personal mastery in the heavy metal genre. His extensive knowledge of the basic intricacies and his penchant to improvise and infuse his own flavor in the music he squeezed out of his instrument led him to produce a number of his own solo records which has resulted in him building an impressive personal portfolio over time.

His solo numbers include ‘No Gravity (2005)’, ‘Universo Inverso (2006)’, ‘Fullblast (2009)’, and ‘Sounds of Innocence (2012)’. Besides that, he has also imparted his personal learning and music knowledge through a number of tutorials, playing lessons, and instructional videos from 1993 until 2010.

A polyglot, being fluent in English, Spanish, French and Finnish, Kiko Loureiro paired up with Dave Rogers to play for his Eurobeat songs. Furthermore, at the platforms of Tribuzy, Tarja, Neural Code and Paco Ventura Black Moon, he has played for an extensive variety of records, EPS, and live jamming sessions.

The news of Kiko Loureiro joining hands with acclaimed American metal band Megadeth came as a great surprise for the music enthusiasts, with Kiko Loureiro replaced Chris Broderick Megadeth. After taking Kiko Loureiro on board on 2nd April 2015, they released their album Dystopia in 2016, one that has received immense applause from the critics and the audience alike.

Follow Kiko @ http://www.kikoloureiro.com

The Rise of Angel Vivaldi

By Andrew Catania

Influenced by the reverberating aura of the legendary ancestors and self-confined by the bars set by the ancestral musicians, the younger generations of musicians often refrain from risking their careers with an experimentation of techniques and tend to follow the set blueprints. It only happens once in a blue moon that an amateur minstrel emerges within the musical sphere and attempts to infuse their own imprints on the well-grounded skills and techniques. Angel Vivaldi is one such name; a young enthusiast with a penchant to lead the refinement and improvisation of the rock guitar genre in the present era.

Angel Vivaldi is a budding name whose works and techniques have stirred the long prevalent status quo of the music sphere. Born in New Jersey on 13th June 1985, Vivaldi got his hands on his first ever guitar at the age of 15. His fingers first encounter with the chords was the defining moment of his life and sparked his passion for music. He embarked on his mission to learn the basics and intricacies of the chords from Metallica, Nirvana and Chevelle, all of whom happened to be his primary influences. Vivaldi coupled his learning with his personal improvisations and after a strenuous haul of efforts, successes and setbacks, he stepped out of his incubation phase, releasing ‘Revelations’ in 2008.

The debut album turned out to the litmus test of his talent and his playing style resonated enough to attract multiple bands who later invited him to join their platform. Angel Vivaldi partnered with 40 Below Summer in a permanent capacity as the lead guitarist. The band later ventured into a joint feat with the detached member of Flaw to establish a new entity called the Black Market Hero.

Photo by Brian Fijal

Aside from strengthening his band associations and performing on a series of tours and concerts, Angel Vivaldi also focused on establishing his solo profile and released another solo album titled ‘The Speed of Dark’ in 2009. Later, Angel Vivaldi bid farewell to Black Market Hero and embarked on a solo fight. 2 years later, he released ‘Universal Language’ which brought him significant applause from the camps of the audiences and critics alike. The album turned out to be the beginning of a new association. Will Putney of The Machine Shop, one who refined and produced ‘Universal Language’, also funded and backed Vivaldi in releasing Volume 1 of ‘Away with Words’ in 2014.

Angel Vivaldi has performed numerous solos as well as on tours and has also made special guest appearances on TV shows. Volume 2 of ‘Away with Words’ is still a work in progress as Vivaldi slowly progresses to establish his signature forte of pure instrumental rock. Vivaldi aspires to inspire the music sphere with the purity of absolute instrumentals. Eliminating lyrics and vocals from a number bring the background score and supporting instruments to the forefront. Promoting rock and pop instrumentals through his captivating pulls, jolting breaks and ecstatic beats, Angel Vivaldi continues to pursue his passion to streamline instrumentals with modern rock and heavy metal.

 

Follow Angel Vivaldi @ http://www.angelvivaldiofficial.com/

 

Kreator’s Lead Vocalist and Guitarist Mille Petrozza

By Andrew Catania

An influential vocalist, composer, guitarist and more, Mille Petrozza is a reflection of what today’s unique European thrash metal consists of. Being of Italian and Calabria descent and born in Germany – Petrozza’s music is globally appreciated across diverse cultures.

As the lead vocalist, founder and guitarist of the band Kreator (previously known as Tyrant in 1982 and Tormentor in 1984), Mille Petrozza has been an influential figure in the musical industry since the past 32 years when Kreator debuted their first album titled Endless Pain.

His experience as a musician has been diverse, ranging from thrash metal to goth to industrial and back to thrash metal. His love for experimenting with new styles has led Kreator to become one of the most skilled bands in European history.

Apart from Kreator, Petrozza also played the guitar for the all-star band Voodoocult along with other band members such as Dave Lombardo of Slayer and Chuck Schuldiner of Death. He also made appearances as a lead vocalist in Edguy’s album Hellfire Club, Caliban’s album The Undying Album, Volbeat’s 2010 album Beyond Hell/Above Heaven and has composed albums for Demonical, Pessimist, Cannibal Corpose, Vader, Abigor and others.

Picture by Robert Eikelpoth

In terms of lyrical style, Petrozza is deeply inspired by contemporary relevant themes such as religion. Metaphorical by nature, his songs are not an explicit take on the theme but more of a the relevance of the theme in today’s world. For example, he is quoted to have said that “Satan Is Real” is me wondering why it’s still relevant in 2017.” His aim is to drive change through his music, by appreciating that the world has come a long way from what it used to and that reevaluating our beliefs is the aim of his music. For example, he believes that “people take it (religion) so seriously that they seem to be OK with doing all this bizarre stuff or even dying for religion, because they believe this stuff.”

What makes Mille Petrozza truly unique is his deep-vested interest in changing society through his music. He believes that the themes of Kreator’s music will always be relevant, an internal struggle of good versus evil. Good is subjective and the music aims to lead attitude towards acceptance of all kinds of people, views and beliefs.  This belief runs into his personal life, where despite being a vegan, he is close friends with a hunter.

In terms of equipment and skill, Petrozza prefers to experiment with a varieties of instruments. From playing a B.C. Rich Mockingbird in the mid 1980’s – a guitar very similar to the one played by Kerry King of Slayer at the same time – he now uses Jackson Live models.

Kreator has the talent and skill to become one of the “Big Four.”  Petrozza’s lyrics, skillful playing, excellent musicianship could easily replace and of the “Big Four.”

Despite his violent playing style and threatening vocals, Petrozza uses music as nothing if not a tool for social change. His style reflects the anger an ideal teenager would feel when faced with the injustices in the world. Perhaps this is why the lyrics of Kreator are what draws people to dissect every piece ever produced – an almost magical remedy to the pain in this world.

Follow Kreator @ http://kreator-terrorzone.de/

Impellitteri Working on New Record for 2017 Release

By Andrew Catania

Legendary guitarist Chris Impellitteri is in the studio writing and recording for a follow up to 2015’s ‘Venom‘ record.  Chris told All That Shreds, ” I am in the studio writing and recording new music at this time……The new music is very much in the vein of VENOM, so I think our fans will like it very much!! IMPELLITTERI want to evolve artistically without losing our identity….so the new record will definitely have a lot of fast tempo metal songs filled with shredding guitar solos, screaming Vocals, and an energetic rhythm section with lots of punch and power in our mix

Impellitteri is looking at a later 2017 release date.  This year also marks the 30th anniversary of Impellitteri’s debut record, the black album.

Photo taken at Mates in North Hollywood on 08/04/14.

Guitar Whiz Jeff Loomis

By Andrew Catania

It took only a year of serious training before Jeff Loomis won Wisconsin’s Guitar Wars contest at the age of 16. Although Loomis got his first guitar when he was around nine years old, he only started practicing with passionately at 15.

Today, Loomis is an American guitarist who has become famous globally for his skills as a former lead guitarist for Nevermore -a progressive metal band that he was a part of from 1994 to 2011.

As a young teen, Loomis took inspiration from great artists like Marty Friedman, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Brian May. Before finding a career in music, he drifted from one cover band to another and played with three death metal bands before joining more established bands.

After his victory in Wisconsin, Loomis took the plunge and auditioned to be the lead guitarist for the iconic thrash metal band, Megadeth. To his disappointment, he was told that one day he would make a great guitarist, however, was far too young for the band as a sixteen-year-old. In 2005, the prediction came true in a surreal manner when Megadeth invited Loomis to come join them as a lead guitarist. However, Jeff declined in order to continue working on his solo album.

His path to success was not direct. After playing with numerous unknown bands and being rejected by Megadeth at 16, he refused to accept rejection and joined Sanctuary in 1990. To his disappointment, Sanctuary broke up 4 months later due to differences with the record company representing them. Starting in 1991, he spent three years conceptualizing a new band called Nevermore with some of the former members of Sanctuary. At last, he was rightly offered the lead guitar position in Nevermore in 1994.

Not only was Loomis the main songwriter for Nevermore, but he also set the precedence for the sound Nevermore adopted as a signature sound using 7 string guitars that are still being used till date. On April 21, 2011, he and Van Williams left Nevermore, citing personal and musical differences with Warrel Dane.

During his time with Nevermore, Loomis often focused on personal growth. For example, Loomis took some time off in 2005 during which he decided to record a solo album, stating, “It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for some time… It will be like a Jason Becker/Marty Friedman kind of thing.”

The solo album, titled Zero Order Phase was released in 2008, featuring guest solos from Ron Jarzombek and Pat O’Brien amongst other artists.

Since leaving Nevermore, it was announced that Loomis joined melodic death metal band – Arch Enemy – on November 17th, 2014. Arch Enemy will be releasing a live DVD/CD on March 31st, 2017.  Arch Enemy is also working on a new record. With Loomis as an integral member of the band – we can only hold our breaths till we can catch hold of the teaser because we’re sure it’ll be legendary.

The Passionate Playing of Symphony X’s Michael Romeo

By Andrew Catania

Michael Romeo is an American guitarist, who was born in New York City on the 6th of March, 1968. He is a musician and songwriter who is known as one of the founding members of the progressive metal group Symphony X. He has been composing and writing music ever since 1994 until now. His music genres include power metal, progressive metal, neoclassical metal and symphonic metal. He was ranked as the 91st out of 100 best heavy metal guitarists of all time.

Michael Romeo fell in love with music as a child. This is why he was encouraged to take piano lessons at the age of 10. He began to play the clarinet as well. It was when he listened to a music album by the band “Kiss” that he decided to take matters into a different turn. He decided to buy a guitar and ended up buying a cheap guitar at a garage sale.

As a young aspiring musician, Michael Romeo was heavily influenced by the musical style of bands like Kiss and Rush. He liked their style and they had a great effect on the music he made later on. He also got influenced by Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Deep Purple and progressive rock groups like Emerson, Lake, and Palmer.

His love for the guitar became a real passion for listening to  Ozzy Osbourne’s Diary of a Madman and Blizzard of Ozz. He was also deeply touched by the unique and neoclassical style of Ritchie Blackmore, Randy Rhoads, and Uli Jon Roth.

His work was also influenced by many famous classical composers including Ludwig Van Beethoven, Igor Stravinsky, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Johann Sebastian Bach. Their music style and technique is quite obvious in the progressive music he composed later on.

In 1992 Michael Romeo recorded a demo tape that he sent around to various production companies but he didn’t face any luck until a Japanese record label expressed their interest in the tape and asked for further material. Zero, the Japanese label decided to produce Romeo’s album in 1994. Romeo teamed up with a keyboardist called Michael Pinnella to work on the album and together they decided to form the band Symphony X. This album was called the “The Dark Chapter”, an entirely instrumental album. The track titles referred to works by the American poet Edgar Allan Poe, like the “The Masque of The Red Death” and “The Premature Burial”. The album cover even featured a raven in reference to a poem by the famous poet of the same title. 9 of the 10 tracks included were composed by Michael Romeo himself.

The band was originally founded by Michael Romeo and Michael Pinnella in 1994. Today it includes drummer Jason Rullo, bassist Michael Lepond, and lead vocalist Russell Allen. After “The Dark Chapter” became quite popular especially in Japan, Romeo recruited bassist Thomas Miller and vocalist Rod Tyler along with drummer Jason Rullo. They recorded an album to bear the name of the band which was again produced by the Japanese label “Zero”. It was released at the end of the same year. After that album, the lead vocalist left the band and was replaced by the current vocalist Allen. The band produced their third album “The Damnation Game” 6 months later.

Symphony X became popular in metal circles after producing their album “The Divine Wings of Tragedy”. The album took some extra time in preparation with recording beginning in 1996 until it was finally produced in 1997. This album allowed Symphony X to become a success in Europe and at the same time their popularity in Japan kept on growing.

The band recorded “Twilight in the Olympus” in 1998 with a replacement drummer when Rullo had to step away for a while and this gave the band the opportunity to have their first live show in the same year which took place in Japan. It was soon followed by a world tour and the bassist left to be replaced by Michael Lepond.

The band released its fifth album in 2000 with the major progressive music label InsideOut Music, which was their first concept album dealing with the myth of Atlantis. The band then recorded their first live album after a tour in Europe and South America. 2 years later the band released an album called “The Odyssey” and was followed by “Paradise Lost”. The last album had darker musical themes and included a special DVD footage of the band throughout their history. In 2007 the band also released their first music video. Paradise lost was followed by another album called “Iconoclast” that describes the way machines are taking over everything in our lives. It was produced in 2011.

Michael Romeo appeared as a guest guitarist for other bands like Ayreon and Flaud Logic. He still managed to work on a new album with Symphony X in 2014. The album was titled “Underworld” and was finally released in 2015. The first single was released in May 2015 while the second followed in June 2015 and was made available for digital download.

New Music: Night Ranger’s Don’t Let Up – Brad Gillis Shines Like Always!

Frontiers Music Srl is proud to announce the release of “Don’t Let Up”, the 12th studio album from Night Ranger. “Don’t Let Up” will be available in both a standard edition and a deluxe edition (featuring a bonus track and bonus DVD – physical format only).

Anticipated by the first single “Somehow Someway”, “Don’t Let Up” is the culmination of the band’s work to date and celebrates the band’s 35th anniversary with incredible melodic cuts and hard rocking numbers. Self-produced by the band, Night Ranger’s new album has everything the fans, both old and new, could ask for!

The “Don’t Let Up” album is the result of five musicians living and breathing rock ‘n roll 24 hours a day. 35 years on and Night Ranger is once again ready to let the fans know “It’s Only Rock and Roll, but I like it,” says Blades of the new album.

Keagy adds, “Working on the material for the new album “Don’t Let Up” was a great experience once again. I always look forward to creating music with Brad, Eric, Kerri, and Jack. I’m really looking forward to playing some of this material for the fans. It rocks!”

“I’m looking forward to the new Night Ranger studio effort ‘Don’t Let Up‘ as it’s always a pleasure releasing new material to keep the band’s creative flow. As typical for NR, we have all the elements that made us popular in the first place, including twin lead vocal tradeoffs with Jack and Kelly and dual guitar harmonies and solos with my new partner in crime, Keri Kelli. We’ve stacked the deck again with up-tempo driving rock songs, mid-tempo tunes and a few acoustic ballad tracks. We’re hoping this new album will be added to your existing Night Ranger catalog!!!” enthuses Gillis.
With more than 17 million albums sold worldwide, over 3000 live shows performed, and more than 1 billion in radio audience, Night Ranger has both epitomized and transcended the arena rock sound and style of that era and beyond. With songs that have significantly impacted popular culture and continue to expand their ever-growing fanbase, Night Ranger is proof that powerful songs, plus accomplished musicians are the perfect formula for continued success.

Night Ranger has earned widespread acclaim, multi-platinum and gold album status while leaving their indelible mark on the music charts with a string of best-selling albums (Dawn Patrol, Midnight Madness, 7 Wishes, Big Life and Man In Motion), its popularity fueled by an impressive string of instantly recognizable hit singles and signature album tracks. Producing legendary hits such as “Sister Christian”, “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me”, “When You Close Your Eyes” the anthemic “(You Can Still) Rock In America”, along with “Sentimental Street“, “Goodbye“, “Sing Me Away“, “Four in the Morning” and more. This record is Night Ranger’s best record of their career.

The band was also one of the first big “video” bands, with over 10 number 1 videos on MTV.

Over the years, the band’s music has made notable contributions to and been featured in many different areas of media and popular culture. Night Ranger’s songs can be heard in TV Shows; The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, American Dad, Glee, Grey’s Anatomy, Parks & Recreation; Rock Band, Guitar Hero and Grand Theft Auto, video games; Rock of Ages hit Broadway musical and feature film; the Oscar-Nominated film Boogie Nights, Friday the 13th, Teachers, Sixteen Candles, The Secret of My Success; JBL’s “Hear The Truth” brand campaign; and many more!

NIGHT RANGER is Jack Blades (bass, vocals), Kelly Keagy (drums, vocals), Brad Gillis (lead & rhythm guitars), Eric Levy (keyboards), and Keri Kelli (lead & rhythm guitars).   8/10

New Music: House of Lords Saint of the Lost Souls

Saint Of The Lost Souls” is House Of Lords’ tenth studio album, following up the highly successful “Indestructible”. House Of Lords continues to get even stronger with each release. Recorded and produced by the band’s singer and mastermind James Christian, this collection of songs has an incredible flow of up-tempo and mid-tempo rockers mixed with power ballads, which lean a bit more toward keyboards this time around, but without compromising the band’s trademark sound which is based around Jimi Bell’s guitar.

Saint Of The Lost Souls” is already one of the year’s most anticipated melodic rock releases and will not disappoint fans of the band or genre. James Christian’s well crafted and smooth vocals bring the band’s craft to new heights. Guitarist Jimi Bell is on fire and the melodic riffs throughout the album will leave you breathless. A new addition on bass is Chris Tristram, who is no stranger to the rock community. His solid performance adds another dimension to the sound and BJ Zampa brings a solid and powerful rhythm foundation to House of Lords.

House of Lords debuted in 1989 with the release of their self-titled album, a record which is still regarded as one of the best arena rock releases of the 80’s. The colossal sound, the soaring vocals of James Christian and instrumental capabilities of the band (which featured ex-Angel and Giuffria keyboardist, Gregg Giuffria, along with luminaries Lanny Cordola, Chuck Wright and Ken Mary), were reminiscent of such frontrunners as Whitesnake, Deep Purple and Van Halen and immediately brought the band to the attention of the music media and fans.

With their sophomore release, “Sahara”, House of Lords had considerable radio and video chart success with their cover of Blind Faith’sCan’t Find My Way Home”. After a tour with Nelson in 1991, the group disbanded, eventually coming back together with a new lineup (featuring original members Giuffria and Christian) in 1992 with “Demon’s Down“. With the change in musical climate at the time, House of Lords went into hibernation until the original lineup came back together in 2000, releasing the controversial “Power and the Myth”, an album which featured a sound leaning more towards progressive hard rock with 70’s rock influences. After a short European tour, singer James Christian decided to go back to the trademark arena rock sound of House Of Lords, putting together a new line-up with the blessing of founding member Gregg Giuffria, who opted out right before the release of “Power and the Myth”. New members Jimi Bell on guitars and B.J. Zampa on drums supplied a true powerhouse sound to the fifth studio album, “World Upside Down”, a record which caused a real stir in the hard rock and melodic rock scenes. That album was followed up by the equally impressive “Come to My Kingdom” in 2008, “Cartesian Dreams” in 2009, “Big Money” in 2011, and “Precious Metal” in 2014.

The band has toured relentlessly in Europe and the States in support of their releases and have now become a true staple of the hard rock scene on both continents. House Of Lords stands for superb hooks and majestic atmospheres that bring back the memories of their stellar debut album, monumental guitar riffs and a production to die for. All these ingredients you will find on “Saint Of The Lost Souls” which shines from the first second to the last!

This is the best House of Lords record they’ve done.  8/10