BREAKING: CJ GRIMMARK Talks New Material, NARNIA Studio Album (EXCLUSIVE)

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BREAKING: CJ Grimmark says he’s been writing material for a new NARNIA studio album since as early as January of 2017. Recording will commence in 2019.

According to CJ, “I started writing new songs while in California last year, and we have plenty of new material for a new Narnia album, to be recorded in 2019.”

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CJ Grimmark practicing for the video shoot of ‘Thank You’ during his visit to California in January of 2017. © The Pure Metal Fan

We’ve had the privilege of hearing a couple of the pre-production tracks and we’re impressed, to say the least.

CJ continues, “We will make sure it will be just as strong and melodic as the previous release, and with a crystal clear message.”

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CJ with The Pure Metal Fan editor Martin Simson in Santa Monica, California. ©2015 The Pure Metal Fan

We’ll post updates as soon as we receive them, so stay tuned!

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: ROB ROCK Talks About the New Impellitteri Album, His Solo Career, and His Faith

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We caught up with Rob Rock recently and he had a lot to say about the new Impellitteri album, his solo career and his faith.

The Pure Metal Fan: What made you want to become a musician?

Rob Rock: I think growing up in a musical family played a big part in what direction I went in. Loving rock and roll on the radio and having my brother’s band rehearsing in the basement really cemented my love for music. Plus the fact that I was always encouraged to chase my dreams was fuel for the fire.

TPMF: Who are your major influences?

RR: Foreigner, Styx, Bad Co., Uriah Heep, and Grand Funk Railroad were my earliest influences. I started as a drummer who also sang leads and backing vocals. As a singer, Lou Gramm and Dio were my favorite vocalists, and Queen, Judas Priest, and Boston were also some of my favorite groups.

TPMF: How did you meet Chris and when did you start working with him?

RR: I met Chris at a gig. My band was opening up for the Gregg Allman Band and Chris was there. After the show he introduced himself and told me that we needed to play together. He came down to the club the next day and we jammed and he was right. Soon after he joined my band and we started writing songs and performing originals and cover songs together.

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TPMF: Who writes the songs for Impellitteri?

RR: Chris is the driving force for the songs but the whole band is involved, especially writing our own parts. Chris is the catalyst for the songs, demo-ing up song ideas and passing them around to the band. Everyone adds their parts to the song and we put it all together. Chris and I work together offering suggestions on the title and melody framework and I take it from there as far as the lyrics go.

TPMF: Could you briefly describe the music-making process?

RR: First we demo-up the songs and decide which ones are keepers and which songs work well together to create an album. Then the band will go in the studio and record the songs live, concentrating on the drums. From there we each do our parts and once we have all the tracks complete it goes to mixing and mastering.

“LOL…that was kind of scary actually…I had my reservations about messing with such a classic.”

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TPMF: Who came up with the ‘beasts and monsters’ theme for The Nature of the Beast?

RR: Chris had the original thoughts on the title and from there is just kind of evolved into a theme. It was not intentional from the start but naturally occurred during the writing process. Even though there is no song with that title, I reference the theme in several songs which became a thread that kind of runs through the album.

TPMF: What was it like doing a metal version of The Phantom of the Opera?

RR: LOL…that was kind of scary actually…I had my reservations about messing with such a classic. When I heard the demo, I was floored by Chris’s take on it. Wow, how is this going to go over? Then I had to step up to the plate and deliver vocally. Chris and I discussed that we would demo it and see what the result was, and make sure we were happy with it. I think it is a unique take on the song for sure, and hopefully we will surprise a lot of people.

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TPMF: Is it just me, or does Masquerade sound a lot like Randy Rhoads era Ozzy? Was this intentional?

RR: Yea, I could hear that! It was a riff Chris was playing around with when we were practicing for the tour after the Venom album was released. It sounded great on the demo so we went with it. Of course the #metoo movement was beginning to get a lot of exposure and attention so I just had to comment on it.

TPMF: Does the verse, “Come to me, and I’ll set your spirit free” on Kill the Beast refer to Jesus Christ? And what is the overall theme on the song?

RR: There are some lyrical double meanings throughout the album and the answer to your question is yes. The theme is about dark influences and spiritual warfare in the world. The song “Man of War” is a tribute to the Armed Forces but also has an underlying spiritual theme to it.

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TPMF: Which songs do you like the most off the new album?

RR: That depends on which day you ask me…I go through phases where I like certain songs more, and then I’ll find myself gravitating towards other songs as well, so it’s really hard to say. I like all of them actually… this album has a lot of depth once you sink into it.

“I find it really hard to exist in a box or a label that has been created by others.”

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TPMF: What has been Impellitteri’s biggest challenge as a band?

RR: I think finding the right touring situation has been a challenge. We, to this day, are still seeking a great way to reach the fans that makes sense to everyone involved. We do some huge shows in Asia and Europe and want to do that here in the States as well, but we need to get the promoters on board to open the doors for good touring options.

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TPMF: It’s a well known fact that Impellitteri isn’t a Christian band, but do you consider yourself a Christian musician?

RR: I find it really hard to exist in a box or a label that has been created by others. I’m not sure that one label means the exact same thing to everyone. I know I’m a Christian, and I know that I’m a musician.

TPMF: How big of a role has your faith played in your songwriting, and your life in general?

RR: When I write lyrics, I write from my personal point of view, or from the point of view from the subject of the song, or sometimes from the viewpoint of others. I don’t lock myself in any box. I just try to do what’s best for each song and not compromise my beliefs in the process.

My faith is reflected in my songwriting and I also vary my approach to lyrics with the situation I am writing in. It is not always blatant. Sometimes my lyrics are commentary observations of the world around us. My faith plays a huge roll in my life and is always present in creating music and lyrics.

TPMF: It’s been over 11 years since your last solo album, when can we expect a new one?

RR: I’ve been continually asked about the next RR album. I am currently writing songs with several friends and hope to get on a roll to put together some demos in the near future. I’m not sure when it will all come together, but I am hoping that 2019 will be a good year to start recording.

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TPMF: Any parting words?

RR: Well, I hope everyone will support the Impellitteri band and buy a CD or download. Hopefully the chance to see us live and get a T-shirt will come together soon, too.

The band seems to have a lot of momentum with the release of “The Nature of the Beast”.

We are working on getting the band out there and hope to tour soon and do some concerts and some more festival shows all over the world.

I would like to thank the fans and friends and supporters who have stayed with us and supported us all along this ride. It’s amazing that our metal family is still so strong!

Thank you, and God bless you all.

You can purchase your copy of The Nature of the Beast from Amazon, Google Play, iTunes and other fine retailers.

 

IMPELLITTERI Releases ‘Symptom of the Universe’ Music Video

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On the eve of the US/European release of their new album The Nature of the Beast, Impellitteri dropped the music video for Symptom of the Universe.

In just a few hours, the album will be available worldwide.

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For now, enjoy the new video!

@Impellitteri #impellitteri #robrock #chrisimpellitteri #heavymetal #powermetal #metal #hardrock #thepuremetalfan #tpmf

Album Review: IMPELLITTERI — THE NATURE OF THE BEAST; Impellitteri Unleashes the Monsters

By Martin Simson, Editor —

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Have you heard the news? Impellitteri is BACK! This is the album I’ve been waiting for since Wicked Maiden turned my headphones into a smoking pile of melted plastic. The Nature of the Beast is best described as a cohesive effort with one major underlying theme — beasts and monsters.

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Let’s dive deeper with a track-by-track breakdown.

You really couldn’t ask for a better opener than Hypocrisy, a song about the “father of lies” — Satan himself. It starts with a guitar riff that’s catchy and not necessarily typical for an Impellitteri album. Chris has managed to come up with a unique guitar sound that is both killer and refreshing. The verse and chorus are solid making this track the perfect opener.

Chris is surely giving a nod to Randy Rhoads with the riff on Masquerade (especially the rhythm during the guitar solo). This song transports me back to Rhoads-era Ozzy Osbourne. Even the chorus has an Ozzy sonic feel to the vocals. And you’ll find a different kind of monster in this song — sexual predators in Hollywood. Another great track.

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Run for Your Life, the first single released in July (and the first music video), is an up-tempo, double bass number with powerful vocals and possibly the best guitar solo on the album — the harmony lead portion is particularly good. Rob’s vocals are as powerful as ever and really shine on this song.

Then we arrive at Phantom of the Opera. I doubt Richard Stilgoe and Charles Hart ever imagined one of their songs would get the heavy metal treatment. And what an outstanding metal treatment it is! I really can’t imagine the song being done any better. An absolute highlight of this record!

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Gates of Hell is one of the strongest songs on this disc. However, there really isn’t a very wide margin between the strongest and weakest songs on the album. Thundering guitars and powerful vocals trumpet a theme of Armageddon.

Next up is Wonder World. Yet another rock-solid offering. It’s about how the world is becoming more and more dependent upon computers and technology, and possibly a reference to the mark of the beast mentioned in the Bible. It also contains one of the more interesting guitar solos. Pure excellence.

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Man of War is yet another stand-out. This one seems to have a patriotic theme and contains a strong chorus and a ripping guitar solo, of course. You’ll have this one on repeat.

You won’t find a better cover than Symptom of the Universe. Black Sabbath should be proud. I hope somebody sends Tony Iommi a copy! Listen to this one with headphones.

Next up is Do You Think I’m Mad. The guitar rhythm on the verse is where this song really shines. It’s one of the most killer riffs on the album. About half way through the song, a voice-over begins, reminiscent of Master of Disguise from Eye of the Hurricane. It struck me as a bit odd and is one of the only criticisms I have about the record. The beast here is none other than Mr. Hyde.

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Fire it Up is yet another top-notch rocker. Here we see a departure from the monsters and beasts theme and receive a more uplifting one. Plenty of soaring vocals and shredding guitars to go around.

Kill the Beast is another strong track. Could this be the beast referred to in the biblical book of Revelation? You be the judge. This is currently my favorite track. The classical outro is particularly cool. Just another great song to crank through your best audio system.

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Finally, we arrive at Shine On — an uplifting and encouraging song perfectly suited to end the album. The chorus is the star here — both exciting and memorable. You’ll want to play this one over and over again!

Overall, this is an absolutely fantastic album! The production is excellent and each song is as strong as the last. I’ve never had a tougher time trying to select stand-out tunes — but here goes: Gates of Hell, Man of War, Masquerade, Hypocrisy, Shine On and Kill the Beast are the must-haves if you could only secure six songs from the album.

Score: 9.0/10

Be sure to purchase your copy at Google Play, Amazon, iTunes and other fine retailers. Available October 12th! #endpiracynow

Line Up

Rob Rock — Lead Vocals
Chris Impellitteri — Guitars
James Amelio Pulli — Bass
Jon Dette — Drums

Track Listing

1. Hypocrisy
2. Masquerade
3. Run for Your Life
4. Phantom of the Opera (Andrew Lloyd Webber cover)
5. Gates of Hell
6. Wonder World
7. Man of War
8. Symptom of the Universe (Black Sabbath cover)
9. Do You Think I’m Mad
10. Fire It Up
11. Kill the Beast
12. Shine On

@impellitteri @robrockmusic #impellitteri #chrisimpellitteri #robrock #christianmetal #christianhardrock #heavymetal #metal #hardrock #rock #thepuremetalfan #tpmf

Album Review: Narnia — Narnia

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So…it’s been HOW long since the last Narnia studio album with Christian Liljegren on lead vocals? Ten years, you say? Has it really been that long? It has been a long time but this album, dare I say, is worth the wait. I’m not even really sure where to start with this review, but, here goes.

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The Narnia faithful will not be disappointed with this record. With this self-titled effort, Narnia returns to it’s neoclassical power metal roots. There is something on this album for fans of all of Narnia’s various sound/style iterations (sans Course of a Generation). There’s a little Long Live the King here, and a little Enter the Gate there. But although the band stays true to it’s sonic roots, there’s plenty of musical evolution to keep this effort sounding fresh. CJ Grimmark would probably disagree, but I find the album to be about half classic Narnia and half a progression towards a newer sound. Let’s break it down track by track:

The opener, Reaching for the Top, is a high energy track in the tradition of Inner Sanctum from the Desert Land album. I think it’s pretty much the perfect opening track for a comeback album. The catchy riff coupled with a tasty guitar solo is sure to please.

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Next, we’re hit with I Still Believe, the new People of the Blood Red Cross, if you will. This tune should have you doing a jig with it’s Irish-sounding intro. It then kicks into an up-tempo rhythm leading to a catchy chorus and then into possibly the fastest guitar solo ever recorded by Grimmark. I find the solo break to be particularly satisfying in it’s entirety. CJ’s use of an entirely different rhythm behind the guitar solo is brilliant. I haven’t noticed that with most other artists. This is one of the best tracks on the album.

In spot number three, we find On the Highest Mountain (possibly my favorite song, well, because…you’ll just have to read the liner notes). This song sounds like it would fit nicely in the LLTK era, yet still feels fresh with it’s time changes and booming chorus. Clearly, the last half of the song is my favorite (liner notes…). CJ solos through the last third of the song, a la Star Over Bethlehem from the Japanese version of LLTK. In a word, it’s down right SHREDTASTIC!

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Things really slow down with Thank You. The first time I heard it, it seemed out of place. Let’s just say it’s not your typical Narnia tune. After several listens, I really started to like it. It’s actually quite refreshing. A quiet beginning builds to some fine soloing by mister Grimmark. All in all, a somewhat experimental track that actually works.

Up next, One Way to the Promised Land kicks things back up to full-rocking mode. This one is a fave for sure, with it’s driving rhythm and fascinating keyboard/guitar solo. Probably among my top three favorite songs on the album.

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We now arrive at Messengers. The second of two singles released just a few days ago (Reaching for the Top being the first), this is my pick for the best radio song on the record. The animated video for this tune is pretty darn cool. Be sure to check it out at the link below. Solid track in the best Narnia tradition.

Who do You Follow? is another rockin’ gem with some interesting time changes. “Priesthood of Sweden your castles are burning…” is the stand-out lyric. There’s another rippin’ guitar solo, as expected. overall a great tune.

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In the eighth spot we find Moving On, another high-tempo scorcher to crank up until just before it’s painful. I really dig the chord progression on the verse — it’s fresh and tasty. Yet another impressive guitar solo from my favorite shred-master is here to enjoy. Another great track.

Last, and certainly not least, is Set the World on Fire. This is my favorite song, without a doubt. Artists often bury the weakest tracks deep on the B side, but that’s not the case here. In my opinion, this is one of the most killer tunes on the album, especially riff-wise. The snare and bass drums kick it off like a gun at a sprint event. Grimmark is doing so much with the rhythm guitar that you have to pay very close attention to catch it all. The guitar solo and solo break are the best on the album, especially the harmony solo portion. This track ends the album with an even bigger bang than RFTT opens it with.

The bottom line: This is arguably the BEST Narnia album to date. It’s a monumental task to attempt to topple the likes of LLTK and DL, but the boys from Sweden just may have done it. From top-notch mixing and mastering to CJ Grimmark’s masterful production skills, this may in fact be the perfect Narnia record.

Score: 9.5/10

The album is available worldwide on September 16th.

Check out the band here: http://www.narniatheband.com

EXCLUSIVE: Rex Carroll Set to Record Two New Rock Albums

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EXCLUSIVE: Rex Carroll Set to Record Two New Rock Albums — by Martin Simson, Editor

Rex Carroll tells The Pure Metal Fan he’s had material for up to five albums for several years and is embarking on a journey to record and release two of them.

“…my studio is growing to the point we could probably register on the Richter scale. Or at least, it’s the loudest studio in my neighborhood…ha!”, says Rex.

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Girder Mode Studios outside Chicago

“I’ve had much of this material since about 2006”

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According to Rex, “…I have enough material for 2 or 3 rock albums, each with a different singer, a texas blues album, and an all-instrumental acoustic guitar album.”

One of the rock albums may in fact be an all-new Fierce Heart album.

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“…I’ve had much of this material since about 2006.”, adds Rex.

Rex continues, “I’m not sure how the albums will be released. Either we’ll get them signed on a label or put ’em out ourselves. We might do a crowd fund campaign, or not. I really don’t know yet.”

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Girder Mode Studios

Regardless of what type of “rock” (or under which band name, for that matter) Rex is working on, you can be assured it’s going to rock your socks off!

#rexcarroll #fierceheart #hardrock #rock #shred #shredguitar #thepuremetalfan #tpmf

Get Exclusive Lance King Merch Before It’s Too Late

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There are only 19 days left to secure awesome pre-order packages for Lance King’s new studio album.

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Based on a teaser track he released earlier today, this is a power/prog metal album you’re not going to want to miss.

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“…there are only 19 days left to get exclusive limited edition, CD’s, T’s, Caps, downloads, concert streams, jewelry and more on my crowdfunding PledgeMusic page.”, says Lance.

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After listening to the entire teaser track, I’m simply blown away! The mix is unbeliveable and Lance’s vocals are stunning. This is now my most anticipated release of 2018.

We’ll be doing a full review soon, so stay tuned.

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RUN and order your exclusive package now!

https://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/lance-king

#lanceking #metal #heavymetal #hardrock #rock #powermetal #progressivemetal #progpower #thepuremetalfan #tpmf

 

 

JONATHAN JOHNSON Shares About The DENY THE FALLEN Debut

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The Deny The Fallen debut ‘Symptoms of Eternity’ is available now via digital download.

The much anticipated album is the brainchild of vocal master Rey Parra (Sacred Warrior, Worldview) and guitaritst Jonathan Johnson (Sacred Warrior, Zeal), and does not disappoint.

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We caught up with Jonathan recently, and he has a lot to say about the record.

“It’s been a labor of love getting this record completed. I started writing for it in 2014. As an artist and a producer I feel this is the best thing Rey and I have ever done. Not to say that what we’ve done before wasn’t special, but I think that this production is a step above our previous work.

I believe this band has something rare. A completely unique sound. As loved as Sacred Warrior is, there were always the Queensryche, Maiden, Dio comparisons. When Rey and I envisioned this we wanted to do something that had definite influences but couldn’t be directly compared to any other band. I feel like we accomplished that goal.

We’re so excited to be doing this in this season of our lives. Plus, it really feels like family. My son Josh obviously holding down the drum duties and having Rey’s super talented son Dylan singing with his dad in the song ‘Shelter’. Erik and I are like brothers and having Harbor and his incredible family in the fold has been just a natural fit.”

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Jonathan continues, “I was working and mixing around 18 hrs a day all the way up to the digital release day so I didn’t get much of an opportunity to say much that last several weeks.”

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“It was a massive undertaking. I broke every conventional rule making this album. Very few artists are successful producing their own work. And as Jimmy Brown warned me, ‘you know mastering your own music is a no no?’

But I had a clear vision about what I wanted this album to sound like from the beginning, and I knew I could get it there. So I took it from the start to completion. I think it was the right choice.”, says Jonathan.

The album is available for download through Google Play, Amazon and iTunes, or from the band’s website at denythefallenband.com/store

The songs are available to stream from the band’s website, on the store page, as well.

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