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.

 

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EXCLUSIVE: George Ochoa Discusses Upcoming Worldview Album, New Lead Vocalist

By: Martin Simson, Editor

The Pure Metal Fan had the privilege of visiting with George Ochoa in his southern California studio this past Friday and we learned some exciting things about the new Worldview album.

We had the opportunity to hear two of the new tracks, and the experience left us very excited. If these two songs are any indication, this record may top the first.

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“The new Worldview album is going to have the same high-caliber as the first one, if not higher…”, says Ochoa.

The new lead vocalist (announcement coming soon) sounds amazing. Deep lows and soaring highs, filling both tracks with resonating verses and catchy choruses. Distinctively different vocal approach than the first album (featuring Rey Parra), but not entirely unfamiliar.

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George Ochoa in his southern California recording studio

George continues, “We’ll be releasing a music video in the next month-and-a-half; probably a lyric video.”

Based on just these two songs, this record should easily top The Chosen Few — definitely a power/progressive metal album worthy of getting excited about!

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George is projecting a November 2018 release date.

#worldviewmetal #georgereneochoa #heavymetal #metal #hardrock #christianmetal #christianhardrock

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Album Review: Narnia — We Still Believe (Made in Brazil)

By: Martin Simson, Editor

This is Narnia’s second live album, and let me tell you, it’s a good one.

I won’t be doing a track by track break-down in this review only because it’s a live album with previously released material.

My overall impression is that this record sounds HUGE. Especially if you turn it up until just before it’s painful. Some of the songs sound even better than the original studio recordings, particularly the earlier material. CJ Grimmark has changed his guitar attack on several songs, making them sound even better, if that’s even possible.

Christian’s vocals sound strong and clear, and the overall production is excellent. Each musician is easily heard in the mix. The obligatory drum solo (which Andreas NAILS) and guitar solo do not disappoint. CJ’s solo is saturated with feeling, emotion and just enough speed to satisfy any shred fan.

The stand-out tracks are Shelter Through the Pain, Messengers, No More Shadows from the Past, The Awakening and Living Water.

The mix and production couldn’t be better. This is a live disc that will satisfy even the harshest critics of live albums. This is definitely a must-have for power metal fans of all breeds.

Score: 4.5/5

Track listing:

  • 01 – Inner Sanctum
  • 02 – The Mission
  • 03 – Reaching For The Top
  • 04 – Shelter Through The Pain
  • 05 – No More Shadows From The Past
  • 06 – I Still Believe
  • 07 – Messengers
  • 08 – Drum Solo
  • 09 – Guitar Solo
  • 10 – The Awakening
  • 11 – Long Live The King
  • 12 – Into This Game
  • 13 – Living Water

Line up:

  • Christian Liljegren – Vocals
  • CJ Grimmark – Guitar, vocals
  • Andreas Johansson – Drums
  • Martin Härenstam – Keyboards
  • Jonatan Samuelsson – Bass, vocals

You can pre-order your copy here: http://narniatheband.com/campaign-we-still-believe-made-in-brazil/

Chris Impellitteri Excited about Feedback from “The Nature of the Beast”

Chris Impellitteri is pleased by industry feedback about Impellitteri’s forthcoming album The Nature of the Beast.

Read on:

Further Details Regarding Oz Fox’s Condition

More information about Oz Fox’s status.

“While performing on stage in Las Vegas, on August 12th, 2018 at approximately 12:30 am Oz Fox had a seizure on stage.  He was taken to the hospital to stabilize his vitals and was given a CAT scan & MRI.  Results showed that he had 2 masses in his head, one by his ear and the other in the back of his brain. The next day he was given a spinal tap. Results stated he had no infections in his spine, so now Oz will go under testing for brain surgery biopsies.”

Please continue to pray for Oz, Annie and their families.

Update on Oz Fox

Update on Oz Fox from Annie Lobert’s Facebook page:

“Update on Oz Fox: Spinal tap results in: No infection, but Oz needs a procedure for biopsies on his brain.

Not going to lie…this has messed me up! But yesterday I was reminded of 2 Cronicles 20 & the story of king Jehoshaphat—how the enemy was coming against him fierce! The attack upon them was serious & looked like in the natural they would surely lose…but here is what God said:

“Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.

You will not need to fight this battle…POSITION yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, oh Judah & Jerusalem! Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you.

And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem bowed before the Lord”

The story goes that king ordered the people to sing and worship as they headed out to battle:

“Praise the Lord, His mercy endures forever!”

And when they started singing, God brought ambushes against the enemies and they were DEFEATED.

So here is what I’m asking all of you to do—believe that God is good—worship with us & pray with us as we head into this battle.

We trust God no matter what. This is how we fight our battles—it may look like we’re surrounded but God is surrounding us.

Oz says he just wants to get home & play his guitar—get better & get back on stage. Oh and make some pancakes. Lols!

We sincerely love you all and thank you for standing in the gap!”

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Annie Lobert Provides an Update on Oz Fox

Annie Lobert shares an update on Oz Fox’s condition:

“Spinal tap right now as we speak for Oz Fox prayers appreciated! Thank you all so much for your support. Updates coming soon of progress with tests.”

Please keep Oz and his family in prayer. We’ll continue to provide updates as they become available.

Official Statement from Stryper regarding Oz Fox

Stryper provided the following update:

Our dear friend and lead-guitarist Oz Fox fell ill Saturday night while performing in Las Vegas with a side project that he sometimes plays in when not touring with Stryper. Oz suffered a seizure causing a fall on stage. After performing an MRI, doctors discovered an area of concern near his brain which they are now running a biopsy on. The doctors have instructed him not to drive or fly for 90 days. No additional information is available at this time. We appreciate your thoughts and prayers and we will communicate additional information as it becomes available. 

The logistics and options for current tour dates are being discussed with the respective promoters. U.S. tour dates will play as scheduled and in anticipation of a full recovery will include Oz Fox. The upcoming Australian tour will be performed as a trio (with the blessing of Oz), and will include Michael Sweet, Robert Sweet, and Perry Richardson. For our fans in Japan, please await an announcement from the concert promoter there as to the plans for the Japan tour.

New information will first be communicated via Stryper.com and Stryper’s official Facebook page.”

Chris Impellitteri gives us a look inside the “Nature of the Beast” sessions

It’s not every day you get a chance to see into the lives of major recording artists, but Chris Impellitteri gives us a glimpse into what goes on during a recording session at a major recording studio.

Check out the video below:

 

 

 

Metal Horizons

It’s been way too long since I last posted. I guess I’ve been letting everyday life get the best of me. What to talk about?

I’m a bit frustrated that there seems to be a drought in new Christian metal albums. The last one to come out that I was interested in was the latest from Narnia. Before that it was Venom by Impellitteri. And before that, Empire 21’s debut offering.

Am I just too picky or is the drought real? I love killer Christian power metal and even some prog once in a while. Looks like the main things to look forward to in the next year are a new disc from Impellitteri and a solo album from the great Lance King (not a Christian album, just some excellent ‘positive’ metal). If I’m lucky (I don’t believe in luck, but…), maybe there will be a new Narnia album by the end of 2018 (probably more like 2019).

There’s a new Deliverance album coming out this year, but I’ve never been a huge thrash fan. OH! I think there’s a new Worldview coming out this year. That should be good.

Maybe I need to broaden my horizons? As many people know, I have very high standards (aka, metal snobbery). It’s not easy to impress me. But, feel free to turn me on to some other GREAT Christian metal bands that I haven’t mentioned.

Looking forward to your suggestions! Until next time, KEEP IT METAL!