This Week In Metal (23/3/15 - 29/3/15)

Big news is the magnificently pompous return proclamation of Immortal’s loveable snarling multi-instrumentalist frontman Abbath. 25 years since the Norwegian ‘Ice Metal’ legends formed, the artist formally known as Olve Eikemo has re-emerged after lengthy hibernation to announce his first musical endeavour since Immortal’s last album in 2009. In the tradition of his beloved Cronos and King Diamond, Abbath’s first post-Immortal project will bear his own name. The unseemly legal spats with ex-bandmates are referred to briefly in the statement: “unable to come to an agreement in order to move forward with the other members of the band, he has formed a new line up. Whilst grateful and respectful for the contributions of Demonaz, Horgh and Apollyon, the time is now right for Abbath to present his art to the world and continue to evolve the legacy.”

Excitingly, Abbath has chosen to launch his new-look eponymous project live at London’s Forum on Friday 18th September. “New songs have been honed,” declares the statement, “ready to sit alongside classic Immortal material and rarely – if ever – played gems that will be unearthed from an epic catalogue spanning over two decades.” An album is due within the next year, a year which the frontman acknowledges represents “25 years of powering face first into the northern wind; a milestone for any band, and rather than exploit it by dragging Immortal’s name through the mud, Abbath will instead carry his own on his back.”

It must be a doubly exciting time for Abbath; his childhood hero, Kiss’ God Of Thunder Gene Simmons, just signed a deal with WWE Studios to co-produce three horror films under the newly-launched joint banner Erebus Productions. In many ways this might sound like the best worst news of the week, but Gene insists his wrestler-based horror movies will be “elevated” works. The first Erebus film, Temple – in which “a team of highly-trained operatives trapped inside an isolated military compound” experience “strange and horrific phenomena” – begins shooting in summer, with the second to follow later in the year. Simmons says: “The horror genre continues to fascinate me, as it proves to be endlessly thrilling and engaging for audiences.” Although Gene has appeared in a few horror movies, including 1986’s camp trash classic Trick Or Treat, this is his first stab at film production; let’s hope he’s better at that than acting.

Megadeth have at last confirmed that drums on their upcoming 15th album will be played by Lamb Of God heavy hitter Chris Adler. Dave Mustaine describes the material that he and bassist Dave Ellefson have already worked on with Adler as signifying “a new dawn of utmost heaviness” for Megadeth, which is a nifty phrase that bodes very well indeed for the re-energised thrash legends’ imminent comeback. Megadave declares: “Chris is a tremendous talent and an amazing person. He’s going to bring a new level of excitement and energy to Megadeth that the fans are going to lose their minds over. I have nothing but respect for my previous drummers – but this is going to kill.” It appears, though, that Adler’s status in the band is as a temporary ‘guest member,’ and that his long-term priority is to Lamb Of God; Mustaine thanks the rest of the LOG boys for “allowing this opportunity to take place.” Still no word about a new guitarist, but after cancelling a summer tour in order to get the new album finished, the band won’t want to keep us waiting much longer…

Scouse grind agitators Carcass this week joined Lamb Of God – and, bizarrely, Jimi Hendrix – in finding themselves banned from Malaysia. The quartet were due to perform in Kuala Lumpur in May, but government officials have forbidden them from entering the country (a year after they played there with no problems or protests). “Sorry, Malaysia. Seems like your government haven’t updated their calendars to the 21st century,” was the customarily barbed reaction from sardonic veterans Jeff and Bill. “We’ve had our visas declined on the basis of our ‘lyrical content’. Laughable and embarrassing.” A Lamb Of God concert in Kuala Lumpur was blocked in 2013, while last year Malaysian censors banned the sleeve of The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s 1967 LP Axis: Bold As Love because it might offend Hindus.

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.