It was a week in which the Mayhem Festival – or to give its amusingly unwieldy full name, the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival – came to an end after headline sets by Slayer and King Diamond. The 2015 touring event had been stricken with disappointing ticket sales and a PR disaster that saw co-founder Kevin Lyman lashing out at “grey, bald and fat” metal bands, Kerry King criticising the mediocrity of the bill, and Lyman’s colleague John Reese blaming “over-sensationalised media hype” for coverage of the unseemly spat. After the last set of the fest Reese tweeted his thanks at 2am, but followed that at 4am with a casual confirmation of the bad news, under a photo of him posing with King Diamond: “So amazing to have THE KING on the last Mayhem evah. What a class act.”
With festival ticket sales in decline and music widely perceived to be a free commodity, it’s no wonder that the metal world this week has again been dominated by news of non-musical endeavours by some of its biggest names. Most excitingly: there’s a Motörhead video game on its way! Motörhead: Through The Ages – an extension of the demon-hunting Victor Vran franchise – will feature new stories, enemies, weapons and skills based on Motörhead themes and aesthetics, with newly-designed Motor-Weapons, Motor-Powers and Motor-Skills. “Traverse war-torn landscapes and cities, Wild West-inspired landscapes and the Dark Ages castle where the Queen Of The Damned resides, all heavily inspired by and based on Motörhead’s history, lyrics and general attitude,” declared a Haemimont Games press release, adding that foes include “religious fanatics, corrupt politicians and power-hungry oppressive rulers.” There’s also a rumour that the Vran character will be replaced by Lemmy, as well as the promise of “a soundtrack with over a dozen tracks, partly never heard before!” The game will be released – at a budget price – for PC, Mac and Linux later this year.
Meanwhile, the rather more bookish Opeth have announced their 25th anniversary project: The Official Book Of Opeth. According to opethbook.com, this is “the true and complete story of Opeth, revealed in all its terrible and magnificent glory, and illuminated by early, personal, candid, live and studio photographs,” as well as “previously unseen and rare… artworks and memorabilia.” The signed edition in a “clamshell case” with limited Travis Smith art prints will set you back £250, but a ‘classic edition’ of the coffee table tome retails at £40. Both editions are large-format, full-colour hardback with cloth binding, and include unreleased acoustic versions of Atonement and Demon Of The Fall. Those who pre-order the Book Of Opeth will have their name printed in a ‘Roll of Honour’.
Lastly, and most bizarrely, Kirk Hammett has been making his own jam. For the last four years, in between piecemeal recording sessions for the tenth Metallica album – which they’re clearly in no hurry to deliver – the guitarist has evidently got so bored he’s been crafting his own fruit preserves like he’s in the Women’s Institute or something. Asked by 97.9 The Loop to reveal something about himself that would “blow fans’ minds”, Kirk dropped the jammy bombshell: “Check this out. In California we have a lot of fruit trees. Every year I watch the peaches fall to the ground and all the bugs eat them… I said to myself, ‘I can’t take any more. I’m going to pick that fruit, turn it into jam and can it.’ That’s what I do. I can peaches, I can figs, I can cherries. I’ve made apple jelly and pomegranate jelly. I give them away to people for Christmas and special occasions.” Unfortunately this jam won’t be available in National Trust gift shops anytime soon, it’s just for close personal friends, meaning that Hammett’s Handmade Conserves are about as likely to appear on store shelves as a new Metallica album.