Category: INTERVIEWS (page 1 of 2)

Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal From Sons Of Apollo Talks Touring With Dream Theater And The New Album

During Hellfest, we had the chance to sit down and talk to Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal from Sons Of Apollo about the current tour, the new album, and so many other things, you can read the whole conversation below and view the photos from their performance.

Metal Bell: Thank you so much for this opportunity to chat during the first show in Europe, it was a great show, congratulations.

Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal: Thank you so much.

Metal Bell: So how does it feel to play your first show at Hellfest?

Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal: Oh it is a great way to start a European tour, that’s for sure, no better way to start so we are very happy, to start a tour in front of 30,000 people I guess it’s ok (laughs).

Metal Bell: Have you ever played Hellfest before?

Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal: Yeah six years ago with Guns, we headlined it, it is nice to be here doing it with people that are close to you, friends with whom we wrote together, we recorded together, and it’s great.

Metal Bell: Your tour started in February, how is the reception so far?

Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal: Oh it is wonderful, this is our 42nd show I believe, it’s been great. We started off on the cruise to the edge, and then from there we went to the east coast and did like a week and a half of shows. And then April and May we did a big US tour, actually, we did South America, Mexico, Canada, and all around in the US. Nothing beats getting on the road, that’s what every band used to do to become who they are, being together every night and do it.

Metal Bell: How do I put this question, tell me how did

you come up or assemble The Avengers of Prog?

Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal: (laughs) That was very easy, we all knew each other and played together over the years.
Me and Billy were playing for years doing these jams with Ray Luzier from KORN and with Mike. Me, Mike, and Billy would be this core band and we’d play like big events in New York, with guys from Anthrax and Kiss joining us. I laid guest solos on Metal Allegiance’s first album with Mike and another album that Billy produced for Madame Mayhem, a great artist that I laid 4 guitar solos for her album.

Me, Mike, Derek, and Billy played together at Prog Nation 4 years ago, so we all have this background and we’ve done things together, so it was a no-brainer. When Mike wanted to do this band, he sent me an email, it was January 2017, he said: hey, how we always talked about putting a band together! Well me and Derek have this idea and we want to go into the studio in March and just write on the spot, record on the spot, we all play together and mark it, record it the way bands used to do it, the right way, it’s the real thing. And we’ve written spontaneously, we did that, we spent 10 days at the studio, we wrote, recorded and made the album in 10 days.

So it was me, Mike, and Derek in the studio, and then Billy cut off his Mr. Big’s tour halfway through and joined us, then we all just recorded. Jeff finished his touring, then he recorded his vocals at my studio where I laid my

guitar solos on everything, and that was it. And then we just waited for the right moment to go out and announce the band and put out the album. The label is wonderful (Inside Out), they’ve been a fantastic record label, so supportive and really a good team.

Metal Bell: So basically You, Mike, and Derek wrote the majority of the album?

Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal: Yeah it started with us and then Billy joined, then Jeff wrote everything you hear sung, that’s Jeff, he was really the key ingredient to turn it from a cold prog album to songs, things you can sing along you know, melodies that stick, that’s what Jeff does, he’s the guy.

Metal Bell: Today the band is less than a year old, considering all of your projects and involvements, will Sons Of Apollo be a long-term project?

Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal: That’s the question everyone has, is this another quick project or is it a band that’s gonna be around.

Our intentions are for it to be a band that’s gonna be around, but at the same time, we can’t completely neglect everything else we have, we can’t do that. It is also not fair for the other people in our life that are waiting for us so we still have to do other things. This year we’ll do a lot of Sons Of Apollo, next year we’re gonna have to do some other things, but you know we are already writing for the second album, it really goes down to business, not amongst each other, but we can’t just afford to be in a start-up band, put everything else aside, and get this off the ground. We are not 20-year old kids in a van you know, so it’s tough, but we are giving it our best and our intentions are to be a band that puts out a lot of albums and keeps on going and going. So as long as everyone on our team does the right thing, you know we are depending on managers, the label and on each other, all it takes is one person to fuck it all up and then we are all screwed, it could be anybody that we are depending on if they don’t do the right thing.

What we want for this band is to continue and we are doing everything possible to keep that going even when odds are against us, we want to keep going, we do.

Metal Bell: We do hope so too, you know how prog fans are so attached.

Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal: Sure yeah, and we made a pact with them, we said this is a band, we are obligated to keep our words to them and to ourselves.

Metal Bell: The history between Derek, Mike, and Dream Theater, would you ever consider a tour with them?

Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal: I would love to do it, I have such tremendous respect for Dream Theater as a band and individuals. I love John Petrucci, we’ve met before, we’ve chatted, he’s a wonderful guy. I also played on Jordan’s solo record in 2009, he was just incredible. That would be a wonderful thing.

And honestly I feel like there would be no Sons Of Apollo if there was no Dream Theater, you know you have to respect where this came from and everything that leads up to it, the influences and the history, and I do, I tremendously do.

It’d be wonderful to play together, I doubt it would ever happen, that would be really something interesting to the fans to see that. I would love it to be taken not as a competition in any way, we are all branches of Dream Theater’s tree and I’m grateful to them, I respect and admire them.

Metal Bell: Your second album is called Sophomore, is there already a date in mind?

Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal: Well I mean Derek has written things, he sends me videos and things like hey check out this riff I came up with, and we’ve talked to the label about it but nothing is definite yet. Right now, it’s just let us finish up what we have here and once it’s all clear and done, everything goes ok, we will then think about the next step. Even though now is the time to think about it, we are just staying focused and looking ahead, so we are thinking about this leg of the tour, then the next leg, and the leg after that so there’s no definitive time. We’ve talked about November going into the studio but I know Mike has something to do in November so it might be January, but hopefully not too far too long.

Metal Bell: Well thank you very much for the chat, it’s been wonderful talking to you and the best of luck for the rest of the tour.

Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal: Thank you very much. It was an absolute pleasure.

Interview and Photos by Sharbel Kanoun

An Interview With DIVULGENT

An Interview With DIVULGENT!

These guys came out of nowhere, and with a blow! If you haven’t heard of them yet, you really need to check these guys out. Divulgent is a new band in the scene, who published their page and two songs anonymously and have recently revealed themselves. We got a chance to have an interview with them, and talk more about their music and plans. Read up if you’d like to get to know these guys better! Continue reading

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Episode 1 | Interview With ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN Of VUUR

Interview with Anneke Van Giersbergen of Vuur – Ep 1 – Metal Bell Podcast!

For our very first episode of Metal Bell Podcast, we sat down with Anneke Van Giersbergen of Vuur. Anneke is a veteran in the metal world with many bands and projects under her belt: The Gathering, Anneke van Giersbergen band, Ayreon, Devin Townsend, and many more. Continue reading

An Interview With PARADISE LOST At Motocultor France

During our coverage of Motocultor Festival Open Air, our reporter and talented photographer Sharbel Kanoun had the chance to sit and have an interview with Paradise Lost. Check out below our transcript of the interview with Aaron and Waltteri of Paradise Lost!

An Interview With PARADISE LOST at Motocultor France by Sharbel Kanoun

  • Your new Album Medusa comes out September 1st, what can you tell us about it?

Aaron: Well it’s a very organic step from the last album, it’s heavy and it’s miserable (laughs) like all our best albums.
Waltteri: I honestly think that it’s the heaviest record that the band has ever made.

Aaron: Yeah it’s a bit heavy, I mean guitars wise it is and we are just so excited for it to come out and can’t wait for people to hear it, but I mean it’s been really well and we made a point of recording Waltteri’s drums just actually as drums instead of doing any sound replacements which we used to do in the early days so it’s a natural drums.

Waltteri adds: So what you hear on the album it’s actually me playing.

Aaron: Yes it’s his actual drum kit rather being sound replaced and you know it sounds and fits better like that, we are very moved from that kind of background anyway and the last two albums we’ve done them with an approach like that, you it’s like get the sound and don’t change anything, dedicate everything and yeah I think it’s a little bit heavier than the last album, definitely, there’s plenty of screaming and some singing as well, there you go (laughs).

  • That sounds really cool, so when comparing it with the Plague Within, is there a huge change?

Aaron: Oh no, it’s heavier than the Plague Within but it’s probably a slower album.

Waltteri: There are a lot of melodies. Aaron continues: Yeah I mean the first song is like 8 minutes doom song (laughs) buy you know it doesn’t feel like 8 minutes when you listen to it, it moves quite nice actually and we are really looking forward to playing that live, for me there are future classics on the album, the last song on the album (Until The Grave) is one of my favorites, another happy title, I can’t wait to play the album live, we’re playing two songs tonight, the one that’s been released (Blood & Chaos) and (The Longest Winter) and really can’t wait to play the whole album live.

  • Medusa comes out September 1st and then you play Dubai on September 8th, a new territory to explore.

Aaron: Yeah that’s right, I’ve never been to Dubai and I’m quite excited to experience it cause we haven’t been there before you know, I quite like trying new places, I’ve actually only been to Dubai as a stop on the way to Australia so I’ve never experienced it at all, not even a holiday capacity so really looking forward to it.

Waltteri: Well it’s gonna be really hot I guess.

Aaron: Katatonia played there last year I guess, we’ve heard from them that it was really good and it is always nice to play new places.

  • What about the vocals on the new album?

Aaron: Well there are some hard vocals and some normal, there’s probably more singing on the new album than there was on the last one I think, a good blend though, the songs are kinda demanding in a way, Nick only does it if the song suits it otherwise he will do a normal singing and now he’s been very confident that he can do normal vocals and hard ones without ruining his voice, he’s a lot more confident he can do it on this album than it was on the last album.

  • It’s great to hear that, so you’re not really worried about Nick’s voice now that he is with Bloodbath as well?

Aaron: Actually no, he finds the growling vocals easier. It’s natural for him, I mean look at the noise we used to make when we were 17 years old, how did that come out, I don’t know (laughs) he’s fine with it and you know he looks after himself better now, he’s in good shape and he knows not to drink too much, he’s got sensible with it, he’s very careful about it, he keeps himself in shape, goes running and cycling.

  • Next year will be 30 years of Paradise Lost. A huge milestone.

Aaron: Oh I know, but you know we’ve never really thought about doing anything yet, I think we are concentrating on the new album.

  • Will there be a huge tour after the album release?

Aaron: Oh yeah yeah, we start off September 26th and we finish mid November so it’s a good 7 weeks European tour, and then we have Australia in December so yeah, looking forward to it, being on the road, I like living on a tour bus for weeks.

  • Waltteri, it’s been two years for you with the band, what would you say about your experience so far?

Waltteri: I can’t really describe it, it’s really incredible that I got to play with one of my favorite bands. It’s been amazing.

Aaron: It’s really good for us as well, he’s a bloody good drummer and it’s good to have him in the band and of course he’s more sensible than the rest of us (laughs) it’s really cool to have someone with a sensible head in the band.

Waltteri: I mean I already knew all the songs before I joined the band cause I’ve been you know listening to the band since I was a kid.

  • So I guess it was quite easy to get the job?

Aaron: Yeah the audition was like two songs and then yeah yeah he’s got it (both laugh).

  • After all these years, what keeps you motivated today, how do you influence each other?

Aaron: I think over the years, we’ve changed every now and then and did some things a little different so that’s kept it fresh, I think if we’ve done Draconian Times five times we would have been bored and probably split up. For me I think we play live and see the people enjoying it, I would say if they enjoy it half as much as I do, they’ve had a good night, I see it like I’m sharing the music like we are playing it together and we are in it together, it’s really nice and quite humbling.

I’ve always said that rock and metal is like a family, a brotherhood and sisterhood, there’s a real community around rock and metal where people look out for each other, you know even when they’re complete strangers and I think the community is as much as important as the music itself, that’s the reason I love metal.

  • Do you have any message for the fans in Dubai?

Aaron: I’m really looking forward to it, we’ve heard so many good things from Katatonia, we are always happy to explore new places and it’s great finding new people to share our music with, it’s cool, so keep on believing and keep on listening and we will see you very soon.

  • Going back in time, if you get to choose a favorite moment with Paradise Lost, what would it be?

Aaron: Oh that’s hard, you know we’ve had so many moments either on stage or privately, oh there’s one moment I will never forget walking on stage at Dynamo Open Air in 1995 where there were 130,000 people in the crowd and I haven’t seen the crowd all day so I didn’t know there were 130K people so I was walking on stage trying to look mean and moody and as soon as I’m on stage I saw the biggest crowd in the world, I couldn’t believe how many people were there. Actually I’ve got goosebumps thinking about it, I mean that was a quite special moment. Also playing Donington for the first time just cause that’s what inspired you when you were a kid and when that happened was like wow we’ve really done it and there are just so many of those, like getting into 25 years anniversary and we are still able to do this and then 30 next year, there are so many and it’s been fantastic being in Paradise Lost, nothing lasts forever you know but I’ve got so many great memories and hopefully many more to come.

  • Paradise lost is one of those bands with a very loyal fanbase.

Aaron: Oh yeah we’ve been very lucky with that, a very good community on their own, they meet up and they fly as groups to attend different gigs all over the world, makes holidays out of it, it’s really sweet.

Waltteri: Yeah it’s really cool, few weeks ago there was a group from Brazil who came to Germany just to see us, that was really cool.

Aaron: Yeah we’ve got people from Japan to see us, from all over the world, it’s really nice and quite humbling you know, very touching, we are very lucky to have such fans.

  • Thank you very much for talking to us, good luck for the Dubai show and the album release.

Aaron: Thank you.

EDITOR’S PICKS

INTERVIEW | New Nervecell Album “Past, Present…Torture” Out Summer 2017

As soon as we heard about the new Nervecell album, “Past, Present…Torture”, that is scheduled to be released on August 25 this year, we jumped into the opportunity to have an interview with the Middle Eastern metal Legends.

Nervecell is a multi-award winning band formed in the year 2000 in the United Arab Emirates. With several endorsements, many media features and performances in the biggest festivals in the world like Wacken Open Air, Rock Am Ring, opening for Metallica and Morbid Angel, and many more, Nerevcell has definitely made a huge impact on the Middle Eastern Metal scene. Being called by Metal Hammer one of the “50 Heroes Of The New Metal Revolution” sure makes them deserve to be called nothing less than legends. Check out below our interview with Barney Ribeiro, guitarist of the band. Continue reading

Interview With Guitar Virtuoso Alain Ibrahim

Alain Ibrahim is undoubtedly one of the best musicians in Lebanon nowadays. He is a skillful multi-instrumentalist who has showcased his talent ever since he was 15. After building up a strong name for himself in the local scene and after a very productive and healthy musical life, starting with Monarchy, passing through Ostura, and excelling with Turbulence, today, Alain is working on his first solo album. As soon as we heard about the album, we jumped to the opportunity to have a small chat with guitar virtuoso Alain Ibrahim about his solo and band careers.

Continue reading

An Interview With Onslaught

It was a very exciting moment when, during last September’s THRASH MERCENARIES TOUR, we contacted Blaakyum, who were part of the tour, to ask them if they would be able to pass a few questions we prepared as an interview with Onslaught. But Blaakyum’s frontman, as well as their manager, proposed to do it as a video interview, instead of a written one, with Bassem Deaibess volunteering to ask the questions prepared on our behalf and to film the interview on his mobile phone. (Watch Video Interview Below)

An interview with Onslaught

Onslaught is a band that would “never compromise [their] artistic integrity in any way”. We got a lot of insights from Sy Keeler and Nige Rockett about the inside world of Onslaught. Covering many subjects starting with the then ongoing tour, Nige and Sy explained how important it is today for a band to tour and why. They also shared with us some funny, beautiful, and life-changing stories they have faced during their life on the road; some were weird though.

Talking about their composition and the band’s sound, Nige was surprised that some people are “anal” about what tuning the band can use for a thrash Metal song.

“when you look at Testament, Kreator, Overkill, ourselves, everybody is making some of the best music they ever created.” – Nige

The interview also covers the band’s influences, which start with Punk and end with Prog, the recording back in the day versus the recording procedures and costs of today, ending up with information about the upcoming releases. So enough with me blabbering about the interview, you can watch it below:

An Interview With Onslaught!

 interview with Onslaught


– Interview by: Lilas Mayassi

 

Read More by: Lilas Mayassi

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Interview With ALAN AZAR

On January 13, 2013, we announced the news that Alan Azar will be leaving Lebanon for good to pursue his career, after we got exclusive information from Alan’s management. The news back then shocked the Rock and Metal scene and was shared by all major Rock and Metal news outlets at the time.

Last Christmas, Alan visited Lebanon to spend the holidays with his family. As soon as we knew about his visit, our team at Metal Bell jumped for the chance to have an exclusive video interview with the guitar virtuoso himself.

Alan talked about his decision to Leave Lebanon, about his music, his experience in Hollywood and Disney, and about his previous and future projects.

Watch below the full video interview:

Video by: Nancy Jdid
Edited by: Karam Aslan
Interview by: T.P.

About Alan:

Alan Azar is a Lebanese electric guitar virtuoso who has been known for his melodic, intricate, and technical musicianship. Alan began his journey of learning the guitar when his father bought him a nylon string guitar at the age of 15. With a lot of dedication and practice, Alan became proficient in the instrument.

Feeling an ever-strengthening bond with the guitar and with music as a whole throughout his youth, Alan proceeded to earn a degree in music and became a university guitar instructor.
In 2001, Azar formed his first band, ‘The Alienz’, achieving underground success throughout Lebanon.
The band amassed a strong following, performing cover songs by Metallica, Megadeth, and Savatage.

Eventually, the band shifted their focus from covers to originals, and turned to a more progressive-metal flair, with influences from bands like Symphony X, Dream Theater, and Joe Satriani. This shift was the defining moment in Alan’s career, shaping him into a multifaceted player and giving him the impetus to launch his solo career.

A few years later, Azar’s first solo album, “Defective Harmony”, was released in January of 2009. With help from his brothers, Julien on keyboards and Roland on mixing and mastering duties, the album was met with praise. The guitarist dabbled in genres like jazz, R&B, hip-hop, and oriental, which reinforced and diversified his compositions.

Alan is also a sought-after session and touring guitar player. He has played a variety of genres including R&B, Jazz, Metal, and Rock.
He has collaborated on various international recordings and has also been a session guitar player for the Arab pop sensation Nancy Ajram, a move which gave him the exposure and the world-touring familiarity that would expand his musical experiences to that of international standards.

Alan Azar released his second solo album, “The Cosmologist”, in September of 2011, recorded at Studio Recco, engineered and mixed by Roland Azar, mastered by Glenn Schick at Glenn Schick Mastering Studio, Altanta, GA.

Besides being a successful solo artist , Alan tours with the Lebanese rock band The Kordz.


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Send an email to: joinus[@]metal-bell.com

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Interview with UNCURED

Uncured is a very talented Progressive Metal band based in New York City, formed by two young but ambitious brothers, Zak and Rex Cox. Their first EP “Spontaneous Generation” featured Max Portnoy, the son of legendary drummer Mike Portnoy, as a guest drummer. And the EP was critically acclaimed. In order to introduce you to this dynamically creative band, we conducted an interview with the main brains behind the music: Zak and Rex. 
Continue reading

Horror With CARACH ANGREN

CARACH ANGREN is a Black Metal band from the Netherlands that was formed back in 2003. Their style is characterized by a prominent use of orchestral arrangements and Horror stories. On Friday October 28, CARACH ANGREN will fly their horror ship to the Middle East and haunt Dubai for the first time alongside local UAE bands Aramaic, Verdict, and Cathect. It’s going to be a Spooky Halloween night indeed! This event is hosted by Joscene.

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