This Week In Metal (30/3/15 - 5/4/15)

On April 1st those merry pranksters Tool seized the chance for their traditional ‘April Tool’s Day’ jape, taking advantage of the feverish anticipation of the album that the prog-metal foursome have been working on for so long, their first since 2006’s 10,000 Days. The band issued a Facebook post linking to a song on YouTube from 2008 by the Mexican folk-pop act Hechizeros Band, claiming it was leaked material from their new LP, before angrily accusing the Mexicans of ripping their unreleased song off. “This music leak is unsettling on many levels,” ran a deadpan band statement. “First off, it truly sucks to have your unfinished music available on the interweb without your consent. And second, to have it immediately picked up by someone and released as their own work is infuriating. We don’t encourage anyone to listen to this leaked clip because it’s far from finished and it will spoil what’s to come. But if you absolutely must, then listen to both clips. These are practically identical. It’s a clear cut case of copyright infringement and plagiarism.” Hashtagged “#sueeverybody”, the spoof makes light of recently-settled legal disputes that have held up the production of the new album. Tool are no strangers to the fanbase-taunting deadpan hoax; in 1997, they chose to announce the not-entirely-hilarious news that the band had been critically injured in a tour bus crash in Australia and the rest of the 1997 tour was cancelled. At least this time a Mexican folk-pop act got an unexpected promotional boost.

Two other news stories this week sounded like April Fools, but weren’t. Firstly, the announcement that Dave Lee Roth’s nose had “burst” on stage during a televised concert on the USA’s Jimmy Kimmel show. The flamboyant frontman’s hooter did indeed come a-cropper, but not for the septum-bothering pharmaceutical reasons you might have once expected from the wild man of rock; poor Dave caught the sharp end of a microphone stand that he was twirling acrobatically. The gig had to be stopped while Roth received urgent medical attention, but he was able to re-take the stage shortly afterwards, with a sticking plaster over the wound.

Second, Judas Priest are releasing their own brand of coffee. The limited edition “British Steel blend” – made from two different beans cultivated in El Salvador – is to mark 35 years since the release of that album in collaboration with Chicago firm Dark Matter Coffee. You might think that metallic, steely properties wouldn’t be particularly welcome in coffee, but the blend has one extraordinary trump card: it comes with a cassette single of the British Steel classic Grinder, backed with new outtake from the Redeemer Of Souls sessions, Snakebite. Odd though this is, it’s not entirely without precedent; Dave Mustaine already had his own signature coffee, as does Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante, Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer (Rockin’ & Roastin’) and Queensrÿche guitarist Michael Wilton (Whip’s Pacific Blend). But surely if it’s a true British Steel beverage they’re after, where’s the Judas Priest tea?

Also, after months of speculation, the latest Megadeth line-up is finally complete (for how long remains to be seen); following the announcement last week of new guest drummer Chris Adler, Megadave Mustaine and Ellefson have confirmed the band’s second guitarist as Kiko Louriero, 42-year-old axeman who’s been shredding the six-string for Brazilian power-prog veterans Angra since 1993. “I first met Kiko around eight years ago,” Mustaine explains. “I had no idea who he was – other than the fact he was tremendously talented. Since then I’ve come to see what a guitar virtuoso he is, and I’m deeply encouraged by his depth and talent. Very few Megadeth alumni have had the same feel and ability as Kiko. As Frank Sinatra says, ‘The best is yet to come!’” The band have been working on their as-yet-untitled fifteenth album since before Shawn Drover and Chris Broderick left at the end of last year; it’s hoped to see release sometime in 2015.

In other encouraging Big Four news, New York thrash gang Anthrax also have an imminent new release in the pipeline, currently finishing up their first album since 2011’s Worship Music. According to Charlie Benante they’ve reconnected more with their ‘80s heritage this time: “Worship Music started a new chapter in our career, and it has served as an inspiration for this new album. Worship was made up of a lot of different types of songs, some thrashy, some very mid-90s Anthrax-sounding, but this new one is really thrashy.”

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.