This Week In Metal (11/5/15 - 17/5/15)

Best news first: Iron Maiden released a statement via Facebook on Friday announcing that Bruce Dickinson has been “officially given the all-clear by his specialists.”

An MRI scan revealed that months of treatment to remove a tumour from the singer’s tongue has been successful. The man himself thanked his medical team, his family and Maiden fans: “I’m a firm believer in trying to maintain a positive attitude, and the encouragement from the global Maiden family meant a great deal to me. Right now, I’m feeling extremely motivated and can’t wait to get back to business as usual, as soon as I can!”

Manager Rod Smallwood added that “Although Bruce is naturally eager to resume Maiden activities, it will take a while before he is completely back to full strength… Because of this, the band will not be touring or playing any shows until next year.” Rod continues: “For now, the focus will be on putting the finishing touches to the new Iron Maiden studio album, and that is what we will be concentrating on over the coming weeks. The release however will definitely be this year.”

It’s hard to top that for sheer exuberant joy; any other week, the revelation that Mastodon guitarist Bill Killiher once flopped his cock into Lars Ulrich’s pocket would have been the top story, hands down. Bassist/vocalist Troy Sanders let it slip during an interview with Artist Direct, when asked about the band’s first meeting with Metallica. “It was a European festival,” Troy recalls. “All I can remember is we were so excited, our guitar player Bill walked over to Lars Ulrich, whipped his dick out and put in Lars’ pocket.” Unfortunately Troy didn’t confirm which pocket this was (surely a jacket rather than trousers?) and Lars’ reaction was not noted - if indeed the drummer even realised at the time that there was a penis in his pocket. “Metallica is a giant reason why I picked up the bass and why I’m where I’m at today,” Troy continues. “This summer we get to play another string of dates with them. It’s just Mastodon and Metallica across Russia for a couple of shows.

If you flashback and told 13-year-old Troy this information, my head would’ve exploded.” Might be worth checking that Lars still wants Mastodon for those dates though, if he’s only just found out that their guitarist once sexually assaulted his clothes… Even so, it’s certainly the best Metallica news of the week; the other story is Lars’ fairly dismal update on the progress of their first new album in seven years: “I wouldn’t hold my breath or skip going to the bathroom,” he advises.

It seems even the new Limp Bizkit album is closer to completion - although that’s come as a surprise to Wes Borland. The band’s seventh record - allegedly titled Stampede Of The Disco Elephants - has been in progress for three years, and the guitarist says he recorded his parts “a long time ago.” But on Thursday, frontman Fred Durst tweeted that he was recording vocals for it in Hamburg. Wes told TeamRock: “That’s news to me. Oh boy! I’ve recorded 25 songs so I don’t know which ones he’s working on. I’m excited to see what it sounds like.”

Ah, there’s nothing like good inter-band communication… as poor old Bill Ward will tell you. After requesting a public apology from Ozzy Osbourne for claiming that the drummer was too ill to take part in the Black Sabbath reunion, Bill became the subject of much online fury from pissed-off Ozzy fans. Now, with his amusingly mellow and benevolent reasonableness, he has sympathised with his critics: “I actually support them in their right to dislike me,” Bill insists. “They’re entitled to their opinions. I don’t necessarily agree with them that I’m an asshole, but if they want to call me an asshole I will support their right to do that.” He maintains that concerns for his health were not behind the reason for his absence from the Sabbath drumstool, citing again his inability to sign a financially inadequate contract. Hopefully this is the last we hear of this dismaying feud, and that a reconciliation can occur while they’re all still alive.

Chris Chantler

Chris has been writing about heavy metal since 2000, specialising in true/cult/epic/power/trad/NWOBHM and doom metal at now-defunct extreme music magazine Terrorizer. Since joining the Metal Hammer famileh in 2010 he developed a parallel career in kids' TV, winning a Writer's Guild of Great Britain Award for BBC1 series Little Howard's Big Question as well as writing episodes of Danger Mouse, Horrible Histories, Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed and The Furchester Hotel. His hobbies include drumming (slowly), exploring ancient woodland and watching ancient sitcoms.