INTERVIEW with REX CARROLL (EXCLUSIVE)

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We were very excited when Rex Carroll agreed to do an interview. He had a lot of very interesting things to say, and we think you’ll agree. Let’s get started!

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

Rex Carroll: As far back as I can remember, I was always enthralled by the beat, and the rhythm. All these years down the line, and I still love that beat. And the excitement of the crowd, the anticipation for the show… I love that feeling.

TPMF: Who are your major influences?

RC: Too many to count. Peter Frampton was an early guitar hero. Eric Clapton from the days when he was a blues player. I actually figured out a lot of “country guitar” style phrases by listening to Jimi Hendrix! Robin Trower, Johnny Winter, Frank Marino, Michael Schenker. All the best of the old guard. And then of course the mighty Edward Van Halen. Stevie Ray Vaughan. Yngwie Malmsteen, all of them, amazing. Richie Blackmore was huge for me, I figured out a lot of songwriting things by listening to a lot of Deep Purple records back in the day. I know everybody says this, but almost everything you hear can influence you in some way. I’m also influenced by the guys I play with as well!

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TPMF: Could you describe the music-making process?

RC: Well, that’s an open ended question! I think maybe I will give you a discussion of, how does a song go from a vague notion in the brain to a finished ‘masterpiece’ on a cd? The most important thing, IMO, is to always have my iPad handy. For many years the humble cassette boom-box was the fastest way to get an idea from my guitar on to some kind of recorded medium. Once I started using computers, I came to the conclusion the computer is NOT helping me! For example, if I was having an idea, I was running into this: 1. turn on computer and wait. 2. launch recording software and wait. 3. open new song folder, 3 or 4 clicks. 4. Save song folder and route to correct hard disc location…more clicks 5. Plug guitar into interface, set appropriate levels, route into the correct track in the software, insert “guitar amp simulator” on the software track…more and more clicks, and more wait. NOW…hmmm, what was that idea again..? Eventually I got really super fast at all of that, but it was still taking me 5 minutes to do it, and half the time, by the time the computer is ready to record…you’ve lost the idea in spite of your best efforts to recall. The best use of the computer for me, is to develop the song in the recording software AFTER the original idea has been documented elsewhere, namely on the iPad. With the iPad, (or ‘tablet’ for you non-mac using heathens) there is free recording software available from the app store. Nowadays, if I have an idea, I simply set the iPad in front of the guitar amp that I’m already plugged in to, open the recording app and hit record. That’s actually faster than the old cassette tape used to be! (And the sound quality of the recording is approximately the same, too lol). It’s super convenient. If I want, I can hum or sing a melody , play my guitar, whatever I’ve got, and the iPad captures it. And the number one thing in making music….is simply to capture your song idea, exactly the way you played it the FIRST time, as quickly as possible. Everything else after that is just “process”; Band rehearsal, recording demos, recording again in the studio, live performance, etc. I’m not sure if that’s what you were looking for in a response, but these are the kinds of things I go through when I get an idea for a riff or a song.

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TPMF: Who does the song writing for your various bands?

RC: I have always been heavily involved in songwriting – I can’t help it. It’s who I am, and it’s a big part of my life. I can usually express what I feel in my gut a lot more fully through a song or a melody than I can by just talking about it. When I was in the 3rd or 4th grade, I remember becoming very alarmed when I saw a headline on one of the teeny bopper rock magazines that said something along the lines of “The Monkees have written EVERY POSSIBLE SONG there is to be written”. Hahahahaha man I was freaking out for a while, like, “That’s not fair! They have to leave something for ME!” Because even at a young age, I was so fascinated with music and songs, I just wanted to be immersed in it all the time. In the early days of Whitecross, nobody else in the band took the songwriting seriously AT ALL. I got the impression they regarded it as extra busy-work taking time away from important things, like watching t.v. or eating nachos. Mark Hedl the drummer however was very literate, well-read, and had a lot of good ideas and things to say and he really grasped on to the songwriting as a chance for artistic expression. So that was good, Mark and I collaborated on some things. So in the beginning, nobody (other than Mark) took it very seriously. But then a couple of years go by, and all of a sudden people see actual revenue starting to generate from the songs and flowing to the writers…well, now it’s a different story and all of a sudden EVERYBODY is interested. And then everybody wants to “stake out their turf” and the writing room is getting crowded! Obviously, that approach is not in the best interest of the songs OR the band and eventually the songwriting reverted back to the people who are actually invested into it. Before Whitecross, when I was just starting out in the Fierce Heart band, I had some, but not enough songwriting skills. Larry Elkins the singer knew a lot more about it, was way ahead of me in that department, and he certainly took advantage of it to claim most of the songwriting credit. Furthermore he was definitely not interested in sharing any of his “hard-earned knowledge” as he described it, with punks like myself; and he made that quite clear in his own inimitable style on several occasions. However, I was a quick study (at least, in those days) and it only took the one recording project we did together to figure out the various parts of the game I was missing. Larry went out of his way to conceal his craft, but it’s not that difficult to figure it out if you’re working on it every single day. Actually, going through the Fierce Heart album was invaluable for me. If I hadn’t done the Fierce Heart band first, there is most likely no possible way that Whitecross could ever have happened. These days, I love teaching the occasional songwriting workshop and I’m always mindful not to be “hoarding” information. Anybody who has something to say in music, will eventually find a way. Anyways, so for me it’s just better to help those who are coming up behind me and have a reputation as somebody who mentors and helps. And, I’m learning things too, all the time, from other writers, from my students, from studio clients, from guys and gals in other bands…it’s a small world in the music community and your reputation as an artist/writer/producer/musician/whatever gets around pretty fast.

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TPMF: Tell us about your experience auditioning for Whitesnake, and the outcome.

RC: In 1982 I was living in my college town where I had gone to school. There was a local head shop where you could get “smoking supplies”, used records, and plus they had all the rock music publications. I was such a cheapskate i never paid for anything, so I would stand in the magazine section for hours at a time, read the magazines from cover to cover and then put them back on the shelf lol. My favorite magazine was called “Kerrang”, a British import. One day I’m reading it and I came to some momentous news: David Coverdale had fired both of Micky Moody and Bernie Marsden from Whitesnake and was looking for a new guitarist. That was huge for me, because I was a big fan and I felt a moral obligation to at least try to do something. I was clueless then (as opposed to now, when I am clueless AND ignorant lol) but I figured I could at least make a cassette tape of myself playing guitar and mail it in to the record company. Crazy, right? So I did that, played two songs on the guitar, overdubbed a solo, and mailed it in to the address on the back of the cover. 3-4 weeks later my phone rings and it’s Jim Delehant, who is the head of A&R for Atlantic Records. He starts asking me questions and my hand started to shake, I completely lost my mind and dropped the phone to the floor….I’m surprised it didn’t shatter into a thousand itsy bitsy pieces! After informing me that Whitesnake was going with the BRILLIANT John Skyes, he nevertheless liked me anyways and wanted to put together a band around my guitar. So from that point, I spent 18 months driving around the chicago area with my Illinois Entertainer newspaper, with the musician ads in the back, looking for a singer. I never could find anybody. But Jim did, because of course everything that came to the label went across his desk. One day he received a demo from a guy named Larry Elkins from Virgina Beach,VA. He figured Larry’s voice would go together with my guitar, and so the Fierce Heart band came together pretty quickly.

TPMF: You’re currently working on a new Fierce Heart album, when can we expect that?

RC: Circling back to the “songwriting” topic, I have to tell you it has been a fantastic pleasure working with Robert Reynolds on the new Fierce Heart record. He’s a friend of mine from waaaay back, and actually became the singer of Fierce Heart in 1986. While I was out doing Whitecross and other things, he went to L.A. and busted his butt to also become a very accomplished musician, singer, writer, and for a while he was a full time mastering engineer. So it’s great when you can just get together and write for the song and have the confidence and trust to write together and believe in the end result. I’ve been working on it for 14 months and it’s done as of the time of this interview. Now it’s just a matter of either releasing it through a record label, or self-releasing. I hope it will be out very soon.

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

RC: Of course, I like them all – ! LOL standard answer, right??! But you know what? Just for once and just for fun I’d love to see somebody come out in an interview and tell THE TRUTH. I imagine a bunch of clodhopper rock musicians sitting around after their record is done, and Nick the guitar player (in a thick New Jersey accent) says something like, “yeh you know I only like the first two songs, the ones that I wrote – I thought my solos really rocked even though the guys said it was just a lot of ‘mindless shredding’. The rest of the songs are totally lame, but the singer liked the one he wrote about his girlfriend. And that one song the record company insisted on? man, that was pure crap just to fill up space IMO. I guess they thought it was going to be a radio hit, but what do THEY know? And the 4th song? …hoo boy, pure torture….well the drummer wrote that and it’s god-awful you know, but it was either that or else he was gonna quit the band. As it turns out, we fired him anyways” hahahaha sometimes, I just entertain myself with these kinds of things…

TPMF: What has been your biggest challenge as a musician?

RC: To try and keep going. This doesn’t get any easier. It gets harder, every year. At least for me, it does. The farther in you get, the harder it gets. a couple months back, John Lawry and I were discussing guitar tone in studio recording. He asked me if it was any easier, and I said “no, it seems to be getting harder!” He concurred; in his opinion, the more your ear becomes attuned to the various frequencies, the more details you become aware of and thus you drive yourself crazy trying to get everything right.

TPMF: How big of a role has your faith played in your song writing?

RC: My faith informs EVERYTHING in my life. It comes through in every single interaction with people, every day. It makes me a better person, and also it impacts decisions that get made about who I want to work with, and the kinds of things I want to say through my music. I know we live in a very polarized political climate these days…but I’ve been a God lover and a Christ follower and church goer my whole life. I see no reason to quit now!

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TPMF: It’s been almost 15 years since the last Whitecross album, when can we expect a new one?

RC: As you know, Whitecross hasn’t done much in a long time although the desire (at least for me) is still there. Little by little it has gotten harder and harder to work with the lead singer (for me). The reasons for that have all been discussed, and some of the reasons have NOT been discussed, but basically it comes down to differing vision and differing expectations. Plus we don’t have a record label advancing us $100,000 like back in the old days. So if there’s a new album, I think it’s entirely on my shoulders to make it happen. It’s also up to me to fund it, and pay for everybody else to be on it. It’s a tall order. I’ve done a couple of crowd-funding campaigns and they are useful, but I have also found crowd-funding to be a full-time job as well. So, the honest answer is, I would very much like to bring you a new WC album or even a couple of new songs…but it seems like it’s harder for me than for everybody else. Honestly, I have no idea how some guys keep coming out with new records every 8 months with no external help and no budget. My sincerest hope is that God will make a way! Lord Jesus, please let there be a new Whitecross album, AMEN! Yes that’s a prayer, right there.

TPMF: What was the last album or song that you purchased?

RC: My son introduced me to a whole genre of orchestral movie-score themes. I’ve been listening to some of that, and purchased some of it on cd. I’m EXTREMELY excited that vinyl records have made a bit of a comeback, I hope it’s a trend that continues to grow.

TPMF: Any parting words?

RC: I’m very grateful and happy for all our friends who have supported my music endeavors all this time. Many of them I’ve had the privilege to get to know a bit. My sincere hope and prayer is for everybody who reads this to receive blessing and good things. As always, I look forward to seeing you out there!

Be sure to stay tuned for release info for the upcoming Fierce Heart album.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: GEORGE OCHOA Announces New WORLDVIEW Singer, Drummer

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We sat down with George Ochoa for an exclusive interview where he discussed everything from influences to new WORLDVIEW members.

The Christian metal community has been anticipating a follow-up to 2015’s The Chosen Few for quite some time and George has a lot to say about it.

Let’s get started:

The Pure Metal Fan (TPMF): Thanks, George, for joining us today at The Pure Metal Fan.

George Ochoa (GO): You’re welcome.

TPMF: What made you want to become a musician in the first place?

GO: To get chicks.

TPMF: For real? [laughing]

GO: [laughing] Why not?! I was in junior high and I saw all the cool guys that were playing at the auditorium in the band and I thought, “Man! I would love to get in a band because look at all the girls up front”. (this was all B.C. of course.)

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TPMF: [laughing] Who are your major influences?

GO: That’s a very broad question because I have many, many influences. I’ve always been told that I am a very versatile guitar player and a versatile musician overall. I can pretty much play most styles. I play rock of course but I have a pretty good feel for Latin music because it’s in my blood, I can play the blues if need be, etc. I’ve played Spanish style guitar on various records that I have recorded in the past. I guess I pride myself in a sense that I can play various styles. I really used to love Carlos Santana’s and Jeff Beck’s guitar playing when I first started learning guitar. I was also a huge progressive rock fan. We’re talking about bands like, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Yes, Kansas, Genesis. So, I would say that my initial metal influences were Judas Priest, Scorpions, Iron Maiden and Queensryche. I was a huge fan of early Queensryche. At one point, I thought those guys could do no wrong.

TPMF: Who writes the songs in Worldview?

GO: Well, I will always be a major writer on most things that I do. If you’re talking WORLDVIEW—The Chosen Few, I wrote most of the stuff. I co-wrote some of it with various people like Ronson Webster, Todd Libby, and Rey Parra. I actually pulled out a song from the past that Allen Aguirre from Scattered Few and I had written back in the day. We wrote a song called ‘Why?’. I decided to put that on The Chosen Few because I always thought it was a great song and I wanted a home for it.

On the upcoming WORLDVIEW record… well, let’s talk about the new record and reveal some exciting news.

TPMF: So, do you have an announcement regarding any line-up changes?

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GO: Yes. Get Ready! The second WORLDVIEW record will have Terry Russell on drums. Terry used to play with Holy Soldier. Terry is a phenomenal drummer. I’ve already gotten to play and hang out with him quite a bit. He fits in with WORLDVIEW like a glove. Terry is a good family man, committed Christian, just an all-around good guy. He loves playing double kick and we give him a lot of those opportunities. We also have a new vocalist and his name is—none other than Michael Drive Lee formally of Barren Cross. He will be our front man/lead vocalist. We’ve already written 10 songs together and its really good stuff. As it happens with any band that switches vocalists, the band will evolve a bit. We will still have some more first album kind of flavors in there, but the new record won’t be The Chosen Few part two. It will definitely be an evolved WORLDVIEW with Mike Drive Lee at the helm singing. Mike isn’t one of those operatic type singers like Rey Parra. Mike is more of a gutsy, classic metal singer. It’s like comparing Geoff Tate to Bruce Dickinson. Mike doesn’t like to be compared to Bruce because he has gotten away from that type of singing. Mike has found his own niche in a lot of ways. I really look forward to Mike’s input in WORLDVIEW. We work and write well together. Mike is going to be a huge asset to WORLDVIEW.

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TPMF: Cool! Cool!

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

GO: Well, you guys don’t know any song titles yet or anything like that. In fact, we still haven’t decided on the album title. So, I won’t reveal the album title quite yet. Mike, Todd and I have written several songs already. We have an upcoming show with Stryper at the Whiskey in Hollywood, CA on October 10th. We will be debuting three to four new tunes at that show. One is called Genetic Dysfunction, it’s really a head banging song. You play it and automatically your feet start moving and your head starts to bob. Other new songs will include Mystery Babylon and Lying Whispers. Great, great stuff! We haven’t recorded all the final tracks yet, so I can’t quite tell you what my favorite is. We have about 20 songs to choose from and we’ll probably put 10-12 songs on the record. So, to answer your question, it’s pretty tough for me to answer until the tracks are totally done. They’ll be done within the next 2-3 months, I assume.

TPMF: What has been the biggest challenge for Worldview as a band?

GO: The biggest challenge for WORLDVIEW as a band has been finding the right singer. I love WORLDVIEW with Rey Parra. Rey and I get along wonderfully. His departure from WORLDVIEW was nothing negative whatsoever. It’s just he lives in Florida and we live in California. Really, that’s just it. We found it very tough to just get together to record the next album. Then he started jamming with Deny the Fallen and took that very seriously, that kind of put WORLDVIEW in the back seat. Then one day, I’m listening to an interview with the guitar player from Deny the Fallen and he states that Rey Parra is no longer doing WORLDVIEW. That was news to me. As far as I knew, Rey was still doing the second record. Oh well… I find out through the guitar player and not Rey. That kind of bummed me out. Life goes on. At this point, we had to make our choice and move on. Again, there’s no hard feelings. Rey called me the other day and he said, ‘I miss you bro’ and I said, ‘I miss you, too’. We’re still good buddies and that won’t change. Rey’s a great individual and I love him, I consider him one of my best friends. Rey’s an awesome dude and I always told him, maybe this isn’t the end, maybe we’ll end up doing something down the line. We really didn’t want to go out and advertise for a singer. We could have. We could have called Rob Rock and paid him to sing on the record since he loves to sing on people’s records. We considered that at one point. Now, we’ve decided on Michael Drive Lee and he decided to do it. I really feel we have found a home with Mike, so that’s where we are right now.

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

GO: A huge part because almost everything I write is biblically based. Have I written songs that have been relationship based also? Like on the first record, I wrote ‘Back in Time’, that’s a song about my first marriage and how it fell apart. It was a heart-break song that was very near and dear to me. Lots of emotion there. I don’t think there’s any problem with doing that, you know, writing relationship songs. It’s life, It’s real. Even if I tried, I couldn’t get away from writing Christian lyrics. It’s just who I am. The Holy Spirit has given me, God has given me, the gift of music, I’ve got to give it back to Him. That is the essence of who I am, who George Rene Ochoa is as a Christian.

TPMF: Okay, what was the last album or song that you bought?

GO: That’s an extremely difficult question because I don’t pay for music, I steal all my music from the internet …No…I’m just kidding [laughing]! LOL, just kidding! I hate pirating! I hate it! Pirates are thieves and should go to jail. But anyway, I’ve been listening to a lot of different stuff lately. You guys saw me put a FB post of Breaking Benjamin last week. Their new album—Wow! Great stuff, man. I see a lot of people commenting, ‘I can’t stand modern metal stuff’ …you know what? Call it modern, call it classic, music is music. Good music is good music and bad music is bad music. I love certain new bands because they’re just good. I’m a huge Kamelot fan, I listen to their latest record quite a bit. Anything from Kamelot I listen to a lot. I think with WORLDVIEW in the future, we’re going to have some of the classic flavors here and there but we are really going to try to be relevant with today’s scene. I’m not going to crush people and say we’re going to be a modern metal band. I don’t know why that’s a bad term in the first place. I really don’t. We’re just going to write the stuff we want to write and that we feel passionate about. Mike is really big on this. We don’t want to ever sound dated with guitar hammer-ons and dives and screams on vocals. You don’t see any of that stuff these days except with clueless bands that refuse to move forward. Europe still loves some of that stuff. There’s going to be a few people that hate our stuff but most will love it. I know that WORLDVIEW is going to be more relevant.

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TPMF: What would be a non-metal artist that you really like or listen to that people may be surprised about?

GO: I’m a huge Beatles fan. Huge. In fact, I want to punch anyone who says they don’t like the Beatles. I don’t get it. I don’t get it when someone says they don’t like the Beatles. They are musical geniuses. I mean, they were ahead of their time and when you listen to their stuff, you just go, ‘how’d they come up with this stuff?’ So, that’s my first instinct, it’s just the Beatles. I like artists like Michael Jackson, believe it or not. Don’t tell anybody, but I even like some Backstreet Boys stuff [laughing]!

TPMF: I’m going to print that!

GO: Go ahead!

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TPMF: Do you have any parting words for your fans?

GO: Well, I’ve been playing music for years now and I’ve been in different bands and different projects and just to let everyone know, I am most proud of all my musical accolades of WORLDVIEW. It is by far the best thing that I have worked on musically. The new record will be the best music that I have ever put out, period! I’ve poured my heart and soul into the first record. I’m going to pour my heart and soul into the second record. I am really excited to be doing this with Todd Libby, Terry Russell, Alessandro Bertoni and Michael Drive Lee. This is truly a powerhouse line-up. What is funny is that Mike and I worked together in the 80s at one point, and we wrote some pretty cool songs; but it never went anywhere. He went off to do the Barren Cross thing and I went off to do Recon and Deliverance but after that, after I was out of all those bands, I remember calling him saying, ‘Hey, let’s get together and write again’, he would say, “I don’t have time”. He kind of blew me off a few times to be honest with you. And he doesn’t even live that far from me, he really doesn’t. Finally, I called him again or something happened, I don’t remember the exact circumstances. He came up and listened to some of my ideas and some of the stuff I had written and I guess he was impressed enough to go, ‘ok, let’s do something!’, So, you know what? I look at it like it just wasn’t the right time before, and this is the right time now. So, that’s how Mike and I got back in touch and working together, after all these years. And now, we’re going to put out this record. The parting words I have are that I am proud of the first WORLDVIEW/The Chosen Few, but the next WORLDVIEW record is going to be epic. Just get ready because this is going to have a lot of good stuff on the record. People are going to be pleasantly surprised. We have a fresh sound, new drummer that has high energy, we have Todd Libby, a phenomenal bass player/keyboardist, we have a keyboardist, named Alessandro Bertoni, he’s going to end up playing live shows and record on the new album. He’s a great keyboardist. He put out a solo album that was produced by Derek Sherinian of Dream Theater, Sons of Apollo. So, Alessandro is really connected, and he loves our band. As you know, WORLDVIEW will always have keyboards in the music. We’re looking to have Bill Metoyer mix this record like he did the first record.

TPMF: When can we expect the new album?

GO: The new album will be out by the end of the year. Cross your fingers.

TPMF: Thanks so much!

BREAKING: OZ FOX Medical Update

Please continue to pray for Oz Fox. A medical update was posted to Oz’s personal Facebook page earlier today:

“Hello friends,
First of all, I would like to say thank you for all of the prayers and continued support. I couldn’t think of having this journey without all of you in my life.
Today the report from the doctor was a little less than I expected. But whatever! I truly, truly believe that God has a plan for all of this. He has come through for me so many times in my life. I’m not going to worry about this at all. But I have to face facts. I’m not getting any younger. I have to start thinking about what to do with my time and better manage it. My wife, close family and close friends know me to be a chill person. So really I’m chilling out about all the stupid stuff. The Stryper band and staff is being very supportive. They have been so awesome through all this! I love them dearly! Same goes for my boys from Sin City Sinners and Hart Attack. And a big shout-out to all my new Las Vegas family who are always encouraging me and are always concerned for my well-being. Of course to all of you around the world offering your prayers and positive words, thank you.
I will be in South America soon and other dates in the U.S. will be coming up. I’m looking forward to seeing all the awesome fans! After that, one day at a time…
Below is Annie’s dictation from the doctor.
Love ya,
Oz

Update on Oz’s tumors:

Originally, Each lesion was:

0. On August 12, 2018 Acoustic Neuroma was 2.2 by 1.7 centimeter.

On July 23, 2019 a new scan was taken: 2.7 by 1.7 centimeters.

It has grown.

Doctor recommends radiation ASAP because if tumor grows to 3 centimeters, it will be no longer able to be treated with radiation. Going beyond 3 centimeters, an operation to remove tumor will cause facial palsy/droop as well as being a tough/risky surgery to recover from.

The radiation side effects will give Oz permanent hearing loss completely in one ear. Possibly facial palsy. A tiny risk the tumor will grow from radiation.

But if the tumor isn’t dealt with, it will continue to grow & cause hearing loss, balance, vision & spinal problems.

0. On August 12, 2018 the rear glioma tumor on the right side was 27.77 millimeters by 30.53 millimeters.

On July 23, 2019 a new scan was taken: 35.1 by 33.8 millimeters.

It has grown.

The other tumor is a low grade glioma (doctor says possibly a oligodendroglioma or a pilocytic astrocytoma glioma.

Location: back of brain. Area where left side of arm, hands, body operate. The risk to remove it will affect the upper left motor function, and potential ability to recognize faces, objects.

This tumor cannot be treated by radiation alone, like the first one. First order is biopsy, to find out what kind it is.

If surgery looks like the only option, then a combo of chemo & radiation to stop the growth.

This one will most likely need to be treated after the first one, because as it progresses, it will be difficult to remove.

We are asking for prayer, above all things we are trusting God.

Love,
Annie.”

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10156446977312283&id=613947282

BREAKING: NARNIA Releases Eighth Studio Album, ‘From Darkness to Light’

Press release: ”From Darkness to Light”—The 8th studio-album from Narnia is released today

Uppsala, Sweden. August 2nd, 2019

Today, Swedish metal band Narnia releases their 8th studio-album, From Darkness to Light. The album is released worldwide today, just over a month before touring begins in South America, along with American bands Stryper and Tourniquet.

Narnia’s new album, From Darkness to Light, is the band’s 8th studio album, and a natural sequel to the previous, self-titled album, from the band’s return and 20th anniversary in 2016. 

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The spark that Narnia lit on last year’s live album, We Still Believe: Made in Brazil, has followed the band into the studio, where this energy has been channeled and structured into a long parade of nine songs.

With musical roots remaining deep in melodic metal, the band has both expanded into modern metal territory, where the guitars still dominate, while allowing for 70/80’s analog synthesizers to exist in the soundscape. The lyrics are extremely important to the band, and in true Narnia spirit, this heritage has been well managed and further refined.

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From Darkness to Light has received positive response from reviewers all around the world, and recently received 1st position in Sweden Rock Magazine’s “The Jury” (4 reviewers on 9 international releases), along with a review (8 of 10) and a full page interview with the band’s singer, Christian Liljegren. A great start for this new major venture for Narnia, which involves a tour that begins in South America along with American bands Stryper and Tourniquet.

Today, From Darkness to Light is available on all digital platforms, CD, and vinyl (in different colors), in collaboration with record label Sound Pollution (Europe, USA, Australia). The album is also being distributed by King Records (Asia), and by Voice Music/MusiK Records, Icarus Music and The Dove’s Voice Records (Latin America).

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The album was produced by Narnia’s guitarist CJ Grimmark, mixed by the band’s sound engineer Viktor Stenquist, and mastered by Jens Bogren, Fascination Street Studios (Sepultura, Symphony X, James LaBrie [Dream Theater], and more).

NARNIA Drops Single, Video for ‘You Are the Air that I Breathe’

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Uppsala, Sweden. July 5th, 2019:

Today, Swedish metal band Narnia releases You Are The Air That I Breathe — the second single from the band’s upcoming studio album, From Darkness to Light.

The album is scheduled for release August 2nd, just over a month before touring begins in South America along with American bands Stryper and Tourniquet.

received_327221284579791At the end of May, Swedish metal band Narnia, released A Crack in the Sky — the first single from the upcoming studio album From Darkness To Light. Both the single, and the music video, received immediate attention and positive response from all around the world.

Today, Narnia follows up with the second single, You Are The Air That I Breathe, along with the music video, produced by Mats Vassfjord (220 Volt, Impera).

Musically, the band takes another step forward with this crowd-pleaser, which is also expected to attract new listeners. In collaboration with record label Sound Pollution, the single is now available on all digital platforms. The music video has been uploaded to the band’s YouTube channel, including subtitles in Portuguese and Spanish for the Latin American audience.

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The single releases have begun the countdown for a new major venture for Narnia, which involves the album release in early August and then a follow-up tour that begins in South America along with American bands Stryper and Tourniquet.

The album was produced by Narnia’s guitarist CJ Grimmark, mixed by the band’s sound engineer Viktor Stenquist, and mastered by Jens Bogren, Fascination Street Studios (Sepultura, Symphony X, James LaBrie [Dream Theater]).

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From Darkness To Light will be released on CD, vinyl (in different colors), and digitally on August 2nd , and distributed by Sound Pollution (Europe, USA, Australia), King Records (Asia) and Voice Music, Icarus Music and The Dove’s Voice Records (Latin America).

FIERCE HEART Studio Update from REX CARROLL (EXCLUSIVE)

By Martin Simson, Editor:

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Rex Carroll gave us a brief Fierce Heart album update direct from Girder Mode Studios outside Chicago.

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According to Rex, “The new Fierce Heart album is making progress, never as fast as I would like but we’re getting there.”

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“I can hardly wait to get out and play some live shows with these songs!”, says Rex.

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Stayed tuned to The Pure Metal Fan for more exclusive Rex Carroll music updates!

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ALBUM REVIEW: NARNIA — From Darkness to Light

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By Martin Simson, Editor 

When I first heard that Narnia was reforming and recording a new studio album in 2014, I was downright elated. I’ve been a fan since 1998 and the idea of a new album was absolutely thrilling. The end result was 2016’s much acclaimed self-titled effort.

Fast forward to January 2017. What started as just the beginnings of one song written in a small room in California, has become the masterpiece we now know as From Darkness to Light.

This album takes the growth that began on the previous album and brings it to fruition. The band chose to take some risks, and boy did they ever pay off! From an overall heavier guitar sound, to progressive time changes, to classic double-bass power metal, to atmospheric hard rock — this disc has it ALL.

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Let’s dive into a track-by-track breakdown.

The opener, A Crack in the Sky (available now on all digital platforms), hits like a freight train flying down the track. The main riff has a heavier edge than you’d expect from a Narnia song, with an interesting time signature. The chorus is powerful and the solo is blistering, as would be expected from shred-master CJ Grimmark. A great choice for the opener.

You Are the Air that I Breathe is up next. With a riff reminiscent of AC/DC, the band brings things back to a straight-ahead approach. This is my pick for “radio song” for this record. Another catchy chorus that’s sure to get stuck in your head. Easily digestible for the masses.

In the third spot we find Has the River Run Dry?, a mid-tempo rocker with a big chorus and a slow, tasty guitar solo — possibly my favorite on the album. Not every great solo has to be fast, you know :). A solid tune that should stand up well over time.

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Track number four, The Armor of God, starts with some creative synth work then blasts into double-kick power metal glory. Fans of the band’s neoclassical roots will be delighted with this tune. With one of the best choruses on the album and TWO blazing solos, this should be a favorite with most fans. Another fantastic track reminiscent of I Still Believe.

If you’re not willing to have your face melted off, skip MNFST. A cool synth intro gives way to one of the most massive metal riffs ever created. Probably the heaviest song on the record, Grimmark’s four rhythm guitar tracks really cut through. Bold lyrics resonate throughout, especially on the chorus. A little over halfway through, the real fun begins. While the first half of the song is a killer 80s style rocker, the second act takes us into prog-metal territory that would make John Petrucci grin. All that, coupled with a searing guitar solo, makes this my favorite song on the album. CRANK this one for maximum enjoyment!

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The War that Tore the Land starts out slow with an atmospheric intro (including elements that remind me of U2), similar to Thank You from the previous album — yet distinct, giving way to a modern sounding guitar driven chorus, including, for the first time, female vocals. A definite highlight with it’s airy vocals and emotional solo. Hallelujah, amen.

Now we arrive at Sail On. Starting with one of the best riffs on the record (reminds me a bit of Grimmark’s solo album), this one is definitely worthy of gas-station-cranker status (right after you’ve played MNFST). Shocker alert: another fantastic chorus. This one gets a little proggy as well, with some elements reminding me of Rush (though, probably not intentional). Rounding things out is another incredible guitar solo. I’m told this was the first song written (in that tiny room in California). One of the strongest songs on the album.

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Next up, I Will Follow. Keys and guitar open things up like a clap of thunder, leading to a surprisingly mellow verse — very dynamic. A solid chorus, and a solo segment that reminds me a little of YES, are standout elements. Another highlight for sure.

Rounding out the album is the two-part title track, From Darkness to Light. The beginning of this tune reminds me of something off The Great Fall (in a good way). It then progresses into acoustic guitars and piano and then some Pink Floyd-ish goodness. Another great guitar solo followed by a lap-steel solo. This song succeeds where much of TGF fell short. Atmospheric, deep, delightful!

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The main thing that stands out about this album is the lyrical boldness. Narnia has always been outspoken about their faith but they made sure there are no doubts with this record. Excluding the classic first three albums, this is their best offering to date.

Highlights include MNFST, The Armor of God, Sail On, You Are the Air That I Breathe, A Crack in the Sky, The War That Tore the Land and I Will Follow. There’s something here for fans of all of Narnia’s various iterations throughout the years. This outing is as diverse as the self-titled album was homogeneous — and it WORKS. Narnia continues to grow and this album proves that’s a good thing.

Score: 10/10

Lineup

  • Christian Liljegren: Vocals
  • CJ Grimmark: Guitar & Backing Vocals
  • Andreas “Habo” Johansson: Drums
  • Martin Härenstam: Keyboards
  • Jonatan Samuelsson: Bass & Backing Vocals

Videos:

 

NARNIA Releases “A CRACK IN THE SKY”, First Single and Music Video from the Forthcoming Album “FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT”

Uppsala, Sweden. May 31st, 2019

Swedish metal band Narnia released the single A Crack in the Sky today, which is the first track off the forthcoming studio album, From Darkness to Light.

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To follow up the release, touring begins in September, where the band looks forward to meeting old and new fans alike.

While awaiting the band’s eighth studio-album (which will be released on August 2nd) the first single, A Crack in the Sky, has been released on all major digital platforms in cooperation with record label Sound Pollution.

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On the band’s YouTube channel, you can find the music-video, produced by Mats Vassfjord (220 Volt and Impera). The song is the first track off the forthcoming album From Darkness To Light, and a mix of modern and melodic metal, a style associated with the band for over 20 years.

This single release begins the countdown of a new major venture with Narnia, which means additional single releases, album release in August, and then the forthcoming tour that begins in South America along with American bands Stryper and Tourniquet.

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The album is produced by Narnia’s guitarist CJ Grimmark, mixed by the band’s sound engineer Viktor Stenquist, and mastered by Jens Bogren, Fascination Street Studios (Sepultura, Symphony X, James LaBrie of Dream Theater).

From Darkness To Light will be released on CD, vinyl in different colors, and digitally on August 2nd , and will be distributed by Sound Pollution (Europe, USA, Australia), King Records (Asia) and Voice Music, Icarus Music and The Dove’s Voice Records (Latin America). 

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Purchase your copy today on all major digital platforms and be sure to like and share the music video!

NARNIA to Release 8th Studio Album, ‘FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT’, on August 2nd (EXCLUSIVE)

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Uppsala, Sweden. May 2nd, 2019

Swedish metal band, Narnia, announces the release-date for its eighth studio-album; From Darkness to Light. First single – A Crack In The Sky – will be available on all digital platforms, May 31st. The single will also be released along with a music video, produced by Mats Vassfjord (Grand Design and 220 Volt).

Narnia’s new album; From Darkness To Light is the band’s eight studio album, and a natural sequel to the previous, self-titled album, from the band’s return and 20th anniversary in 2016. The spark that Narnia lit on last year’s live album We Still Believe – Made in Brazil, has followed the band into the studio, where this energy has been channeled and structured into a long parade of nine songs.

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With the musical roots remaining deep in melodic metal, the band has both stretched on to a modern sound where the guitars still dominate, but also allows analogue 70/80’s analogue synthesizers to take place in the soundscape.

The lyrics are noticeably important to the band and in true Narnia spirit this heritage has been well managed and further refined. The album is produced by Narnia’s guitarist CJ Grimmark, mixed by the band’s sound engineer Viktor Stenquist, and mastered by Jens Bogren, Fascination Street Studios.

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From Darkness To Light will be released on CD, vinyls in different colors and digitally August 2nd , and distributed by Sound Pollution (Europe, USA, Australia), King Records (Asia) and Voice Music (South America).

The album-release will be followed up with a tour in 2019-2020, starting in South America, together with Stryper and Tourniquet. First single, A Crack in the Sky, will be released on all major digital platforms May 31st, along with a music video produced by Mats Vassfjord (Grand Design and 220 Volt).

Stay tuned to for more exclusive content!