While most of us enjoy a good chuckle at the expense of scowling black metal purists from time to time, the idea that the genre could ever be restricted by some overarching set of rules has been preposterous for well over two decades now. As a result, something as plainly perverse as MORA PROKAZA‘s third album seems unlikely to have too many cave dwellers sniveling into their homemade DARKTHRONE security blankets. By this point, black metal has been twisted, refined, dismantled and reconstructed in so many bizarre forms that this Belarus duo were always going to struggle to shock. Instead, “By Chance” is fueled by a rather endearing petulance and spite, as familiar blackened tropes are willfully smashed together with ultra-modern trap beats and other electronic quirks, twanging frontiersman guitar figures float over eerie ambience and vocals are shrieked, barked and screamed in a variety of unorthodox ways.

The best moments come when MORA PROKAZA dispense with any pretense that this is a black metal record at all. Preview single “Check It” and the woozy dark-jazz nightmare of “Be There” are fidgeting and insistent bursts of art rock anarchy; sonically shrill and tinny, but somehow menacing and muscular too. In contrast, opener “WIMG” and “Sorry Man” are superficially rooted in late ’90s, mid-paced and industrially inclined extremity, but this band’s mischievous spirit ensures that everything sounds ever-so-slightly askance and out of joint. In fact, “By Chance” almost sounds designed to annoy the piss out of anyone that takes black metal too seriously. MORA PROKAZA‘s use of hip-hop sonics and trippy atmospherics is hardly unprecedented, but it’s seldom been employed in such sparse, succinct and antagonistic settings.

The only real drawback to such an unhinged endeavor is that the world around us is far more berserk and disturbing than anything a two-man black metal band from Belarus can throw at us. But somewhere, deep in the warped banjo plucks and chamber doom melodrama of album centerpiece “I See It This Way” glimmers the promise of wilder and more divisive adventures to come. Should be fun!

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See TESLA Perform ‘Breakin’ Free’ While In Quarantine

While practicing social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sacramento rockers TESLA got together — virtually — to jam out a quarantined version of “Breakin’ Free” as part of their new online series, “Home To Home”. Check it out below.

The original recording of “Breakin’ Free” appeared on TESLA‘s 2008 album “Forever More”.

TESLA has spent most of the last year touring in support of its latest album, “Shock”, which was released in March 2019 via UMe. The follow-up to 2014’s “Simplicity” was produced by DEF LEPPARD guitarist Phil Collen.

TESLA bassist Brian Wheat admitted to SiriusXM‘s “Trunk Nation” that “Shock” divided the band’s fans due to its lighter, pop-like sound, with some blaming its direction on Collen, who co-wrote many of its tracks. The disc was recorded piecemeal while TESLA was on tour with DEF LEPPARD, with some of the tracking taking place in backstage areas and hotel room lobbies.

“Some people hate it, some people love it,” Wheat said. “I tell you, after five weeks, six weeks, it’s leaning more toward, ‘You know, it had to grow on me. I’m actually enjoying it now.’ That’s the thing, that’s why we called it ‘Shock’. We knew it was going to shock people. The other thing is, we couldn’t just continue to do the same record over and over and over again, so we tried something different. It’s cool. The songs go down well live, I see people singing, our fans are in there singing ‘Shock’, singing ‘Taste Like’, singing ‘[Tied To The] Tracks’, singing ‘Take Me Alive’. It’s cool. Look, after so many years, I’m glad we’re able to make another record because not the first on everyone’s agenda anymore.”

Collen previously co-wrote and produced the TESLA song “Save That Goodness”, which was released in August 2016 and included on the “Mechanical Resonance Live!” album.

TESLA released “Five Man London Jam” on March 27 on Blu-ray, 2LP vinyl, CD and digital via Ume. The recording celebrates the 30th anniversary of TESLA‘s landmark “Five Man Acoustical Jam” album.

TESLA‘s current lineup includes four of the five original members: Jeff Keith (vocals), Frank Hannon (guitars), Wheat and Troy Luccketta (drums). Guitarist Dave Rude joined in 2006 as the replacement for Tommy Skeoch.

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ROBERT TRUJILLO Says Putting Together New INFECTIOUS GROOVES EP Was ‘A Really Interesting, Fun Challenge’

Funk metal supergroup INFECTIOUS GROOVES — featuring vocalist Mike Muir (SUICIDAL TENDENCIES), bassist Robert Trujillo (METALLICA), drummer Brooks Wackerman (AVENGED SEVENFOLD) and guitarists Dean Pleasants (SUICIDAL TENDENCIES) and Jim Martin (ex-FAITH NO MORE) — will release a special EP for Record Store Day (RSD) on October 24, which is the third and final of three separate “Record Store Drops” this year. Titled “Take You On A Ride”, the EP will be released as a 12-inch transparent orange color vinyl, mastered at 45RPM, as an RSD-exclusive release, featuring three previously unreleased songs and INFECTIOUS GROOVES‘ first new track in several years. The three previously unreleased tunes were originally recorded in 1995, during the middle part of INFECTIOUS GROOVES‘ early recording career. The tracks are titled “Funny Farm”, “Payback’s A Bitch”, “What Goes Up” and “Take You On A Ride”.

During a recent appearance on “The Vinyl Guide” podcast, Trujillo stated about where the material for “Take You On A Ride” came from (hear audio below): “I found a cassette tape that had a handful of songs that I thought were unreleased. It ended up being that a couple of ’em were released on compilations but [with] not much distribution, and then a couple of things hadn’t ever seen the light of day, and one of those was a brand new song.

“I’m pretty tight with our friends at Record Store Day, and I thought, ‘This could be interesting.’ We also had gotten an offer to [play] Hellfest in France, and yet I felt almost guilty about playing Hellfest in front of that many people and not having a new product. And I thought, ‘Well, what if I put together an EP with some of these songs that have never been released — basically, finish them, and get ’em mixed and mastered — get the artwork going and actually take this thing and get it released through Record Store Day as a special vinyl release. There’s no label, there’s no management, so there are no rules.”

Regarding how the songs were updated and reworked for inclusion on the EP, Trujillo said: “One of the tracks didn’t have the original — the drums were there and the rhythm guitars were there, but the bass was gone, and Adam Siegel, our original guitar player, his tracks were gone. So I had to basically retrack my bass and then I played his guitar parts. [That song] is more of a remix of an original version. So everything sort of stayed as planned except I added me playing the bass track as it was originally written and recorded, and then I had to play the guitar on that one too. We had found the master for that recording. That would be ‘Payback’s A Bitch’. And then there’s a brand new song that we recorded.

“It was important for me to include Jim Martin, our current guitar player, to include him creatively on this, if we could,” Robert explained. “So my goal was to release this and also be in France with the lineup — or some of the lineup — that’s actually on that record, and represent it as best as we can. One of the songs, we actually had to use the bed tracks from the cassette, because we couldn’t find the master tapes. We were, like, ‘Well, let’s throw it on to Pro Tools and use it.’ It sounded great; there wasn’t any damage to the tape. So we basically used the guitars and the bass from the cassette tape, and we tracked vocals on top of it. And then, obviously, I added some keyboards and kind of doctored it up. It was a really interesting, fun challenge, ’cause some of that music, it’s like a time capsule.”

According to Trujillo, there is a good chance fans will get to hear even more new music from INFECTIOUS GROOVES in the coming years.

“I was up in San Francisco just before the pandemic, and I had a box of cassettes and I brought a ghetto blaster down with me,” he revealed. “And I drove [from Los Angeles], ’cause I wasn’t gonna fly, so I drove down, eight hours, and I found all these cassette tapes that I would have never had the time or the stamina to listen through, and I found this missing cassette with, like, it must be 10 to 12 more songs. I was, like, ‘Oh my God! There it is!’ I thought I lost it. So there’s actually another album, potentially, that could come out.”

INFECTIOUS GROOVES was formed soon after Trujillo joined SUICIDAL TENDENCIES in 1989. Muir and Trujillo got together with some friends to write song that centered more around the bass, but with the intent of giving everyone else a whole lot of freedom.

SEX PISTOLS and PARLIAMENT were my two favorite bands when I was young,” commented Muir. “People think they’re completely different but I saw a lot of similarities, even if musically they were categorized as completely different styles. There’s something beautiful about breaking rules that never should have been made.”

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LEMMY Praises AC/DC In Never-Before-Heard Interview: ‘We’re Like Birds Of A Feather’

“AC/DC Beyond The Thunder”, a podcast where extraordinary fans salute this extraordinary band, kicks off episode Season 2 this week with a posthumous interview from MOTÖRHEAD founder and rock and roll icon Lemmy Kilmister.

Captured before his death in 2015, this never-before-heard exchange features Lemmy trying to impress his date by bringing her backstage to an AC/DC show (and witnessing Bon Scott collapse), contemplating his all-time favorite AC/DC track (including one he covered), and answering the immortal question: “Lemmy or God?”

AC/DC are a rock and roll band; they’re like us,” Lemmy said (hear audio below). “We don’t play metal. AC/DC don’t play metal. We’re like birds of a feather.” The mutton-chopped MOTÖRHEAD frontman also admitted that unlike his own band, “AC/DC have become an international event.”

“AC/DC Beyond The Thunder” kicked off its successful Season 1 last year featuring well known actors, authors, athletes, comedians, musicians, media hosts, and even members of the band, all paying homage to one of the greatest bands of all time, AC/DC. Guests included Slash, Hall Of Fame MLB pitcher Trevor Hoffman, “SNL” comedian Jim Breuer, U.S. military war hero Mike Durant from the film “Black Hawk Down”, classically trained Croatian duo 2CELLOS, Dweezil Zappa and AC/DC drummer Chris Slade.

As AC/DC‘s best-selling hard rock album of all time, “Back In Black”, celebrates its 40th anniversary this month, Season 2 of “AC/DC Beyond The Thunder” shifts into second gear, and is slated for many more high-profile guests from various walks of life, recalling their life-changing moments thanks to this Australian band.

Created by duo Gregg Ferguson and Kurt Squiers, “AC/DC Beyond The Thunder” originally set out to be a feature-length documentary film. After shooting on the Highway To Hell for years, Ferguson and Squiers approached AC/DC‘s management to seek partnership with the band for a worldwide commercial release. After countless attempts for a face-to-face, the duo sent a proof of concept edit for review, and while the band said they “weren’t quite ready to make a historic film while still making history,” AC/DC liked what they saw. But with no partnership, and no music rights from the band, “AC/DC Beyond The Thunder” was, for all intents and purposes, shot down in flames.

Wondering if the film would ever catch lightning, Ferguson and Squiers decided to unearth these wonderful stories of extraordinary fans discussing their affinity for AC/DC and harness that energy into a vehicle that just might work… a podcast. After capturing over 50 interviews and with a newfound momentum to create all new episodes with sound engineer, Eric Kielb, “AC/DC Beyond The Thunder” is back, serving up inspirational stories about the fans, for the fans, by the fans.

“AC/DC Beyond The Thunder” can be heard on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or any of your favorite podcast apps.

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MIKE PORTNOY And JOHN PETRUCCI Reunite On DREAM THEATER Guitarist’s New Solo Album, ‘Terminal Velocity’

Former DREAM THEATER drummer Mike Portnoy played drums on “Terminal Velocity”, the upcoming solo album from DREAM THEATER guitarist John Petrucci. Due in the fall, the disc also features Dave LaRue (DIXIE DREGS) on bass.

Portnoy revealed his involvement with “Terminal Velocity” in a social media post earlier today (Wednesday, July 1). He also shared the track listing for the effort and a video teaser, which can be seen below.

“Terminal Velocity” track listing:

01. Terminal Velocity
02. The Oddfather
03. Happy Song
04. Gemini
05. Out Of The Blue
06. Glassy-Eyed Zombies
07. The Way Things Fall
08. Snake In My Boot
09. Temple Of Circadia

The cover artwork was created by Sean Mosher-Smith at Echo Designlab.

This past January, Portnoy said that he would “love” to make music with Petrucci again.

The drummer commented on the possibility of working with his former bandmate in DREAM THEATER just a couple of weeks after Portnoy took to his social media to upload two photos of him and the DREAM THEATER guitarist, along with their respective families, at what appeared to be the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center in New York City.

Asked in a an interview with Myglobalmind if there are any plans to ever work with Petrucci again, Portnoy said: “We would both love it. We are a great team of 25 years as we were co-captains of DREAM THEATER and LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT. I would also go out with him on the ‘G3’ tours.

“I look back at the relationship we had, and it was very special from a drummer-guitarist relationship,” he continued. “You can see that with Lars [Ulrich] and James [Hetfield] of METALLICA, Dimebag [Darrell Abbott] and Vinnie [Paul Abbott] of PANTERA, and Eddie and Alex Van Halen. I think John and I had that type of partnership.

“We are both at our best and strongest when we work together, and I miss that relationship, Portnoy added. “He and I have a great personal relationship now and get together with our families. It would be a shame not to make music in some capacity in the future. I hope we can.”

Asked what he thinks his renewed musical collaboration with Petrucci would sound like, Portnoy said: “If you listen to the first 10 DREAM THEATER albums, that’s what it would sound like. I think that DREAM THEATER and LIQUID TENSION was a nice combination of our styles as well as the other members of those bands. I think John and I both have very distinctive styles. We have written hundreds of songs, so I think it would be pretty obvious what it would sound like.”

Portnoy, who co-founded DREAM THEATER more than 30 years ago, abruptly quit the band in September 2010 while on tour with AVENGED SEVENFOLD. He has since been replaced by Mike Mangini (ANNIHILATOR, EXTREME, JAMES LABRIE, STEVE VAI).

After Portnoy posted a photo two years ago of him hanging out with Petrucci, many DREAM THEATER fans expressed hope that it represented a thawing of tensions between the two musicians who had been friends for more than three decades. But John played down the photo’s significance, telling Music Radar: “Mike and I have maintained a relationship and have been friends all these years. Our families are all good friends, and we’ve gotten together several times. That just was the first time we took a photo and posted a photo. [There’s] nothing to read into, other than it’s good to maintain good relationships. That’s really all it is.”

Portnoy told “The Metal Podcast” that he and John had “actually reconnected” in recent years “and gotten together many times and had dinner together with our families.” He added: “The reality is he and I have been friends since the first week in college back in September of 1985, so it’s a relationship that goes back [34] years. And our families are all friends, our wives and our kids are all friends, we all grew up together, and that’s never gonna go away.

“After I left DREAM THEATER, there were some years’ worth of drama and bullshit,” he admitted. “But the reality is you put all that aside and friends are friends and family is family and John and I will always be friends and family.”

Mike told Loud that he left DREAM THEATER because he wanted to expand his musical horizons. “[I didn’t] want to go to my grave and just be the drummer from DREAM THEATER,” he said. “I knew there was way more to what I had to offer.”

Since the 2010 departure of Portnoy, Petrucci, along with keyboardist Jordan Rudess, has taken on much of the songwriting load for DREAM THEATER, including 2016’s controversial double concept album, “The Astonishing”, and last year’s “Distance Over Time”.

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