The first thing that comes to mind when you say ‘DEE SNIDER’ is obviously Twisted Sister – and the other way round as well. That’s only logical because the flamboyant frontman embodied the vitality and spirit of this legendary band. The consummate showman always had the fans eating out of his hand, something Alcatraz Metal Fest has been fortunate enough to witness on two occasions. Following the untimely demise of drummer A.J. Pero in 2015, Twisted Sister bowed out with the ‘Forty and Fuck It’ farewell tour and their final gig on the European continent at the 2016 edition of our very own Alcatraz Metal Fest. And still… those who thought that Dee would curl up on the couch and enjoy his well-deserved retirement were soon proven wrong. Mere months after Twisted Sister’s curtain call, Snider released his third solo album ‘We Are the Ones’. And Dee Snider the stage animal was still hungry: with the Dee Snider Band he revived his solo career and this summer he’s going to give us another taste of his rock ‘n’ roll medicine.
Just a few hours after Ian ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister died on 28 December 2016, Motörhead stick man Mikkey Dee annnounced that Lemmy’s passing also meant the end of Motörhead. Guitarist Phil Campbell, who had been part of the line-up since 1984 and contributed to no fewer than sixteen (!) Motörhead albums as a musican/songwriter also confirmed that keeping Motörhead on life support was not a viable option. So now what? Retire? Absolutely not! In February 2016 Phil hit the studio to record his first solo album but before long another project got in the way. Earlier, Phil had teamed up with his sons Todd, Dane and Tyla – a bit of harmless fun, nothing more. Then the Campbell family tree hired promising young singer Neil Starr and all of a sudden they were in business. A self-titled maiden EP dropped in November 2016, followed by a busy touring schedule during which father and sons played their own songs but also paid tribute to Phil’s main sources of inspiration. Needless to say, this also included a fair number of Motörhead classics. Meanwhile PHIL CAMPBELL AND THE BASTARD SONS have released their first full length. ‘The Age of Absurdity’ hit the shelves earlier this year and presents an inciting mix of their own sound and the raw power of old. The perfect ingredients for some rock ‘n’ roll mayhem at Alcatraz 2018.
Few bands have had more run-ins with censorship committees than CANNIBAL CORPSE. Their early work stirred up a great deal of controversy. In Germany, all tracks from the legendary first three albums – ‘Eaten Back to Life’, ‘Butchered at Birth’ and ‘Tomb of the Mutilated’ – were off limits until the early noughties and in their home country the PMRC threw a fit over the gory lyrics and gruesome cover art. Some people just have no sense of humour… Anyway, the lack of airplay didn’t stop the New Yorkers from becoming the most successful death metal band in the world with career album sales in excess of two million copies. In the last decade or so, the traditional steamroller approach has been counterbalanced by groovier and catchy interludes that don’t detract from the overall heaviness. Just give last year’s ‘Red before Black’ a spin and you’ll see what we mean. In the same way, the shock value of the lyrics has been dialled back ever so slightly. What hasn’t changed, though, is the crushing energy they generate in a live setting. With Cannibal Corpse about to launch into its fourth decade of rancid evisceration and bludgeoning death metal, this is still one of the genre’s must-see bands.
Formed as Venomin 1979 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England and coming to prominence towards the end of the new wave of British heavy metal, Venom’s first two albums – ‘Welcome To Hell’ (1981) and ‘Black Metal’ (1982) – are considered a major influence on thrash metal and extreme metal in general. Venom’s second album proved influential enough that its title was used as the name of an extreme metal sub-genre: black metal. During the 80’s, Venom were THE extreme band, releasing more classic albums such as ‘At War With Satan’, ‘Possessed’ and countless classics, live albums, such as the ‘Assault’ live album series and the legendary ‘Eine Kleine Nachtmusik’ double lp and the ‘The Seventh Date of Hell: Live At Hammersmith Odeon’ video which helped launch Metallica, who were the support band for Venom’s tour. Following Cronos’ departure from the band, Tony Dolan (“The Demolition Man”) from Atomkraft, stepped in filling Cronos’ big, red boots, most admirably. And recording four releases with Venom: ‘Prime Evil’ (1989), ‘Tear Your Soul Apart’ (1990), ‘Temples Of Ice’ (1991), ‘The Waste Lands’ (1992). Regardless of your take on black metal forefathers Venom they are the undisputed originators of extreme metal as we know it. Almost 40 years after their inception, the revitalized 1989-1992 line-up of guitarist Jeff “Mantas” Dunn, vocalist/bassist Tony “Demolition Man” Dolan and drummer Anthony “Abaddon” Bray have now returned with VENOM INC.Their first assault is called ‘Avé’, a monster of an album … welcome to hell!
After leaving Coal Chamber, frontman Dez Fafara formed DEVILDRIVER. Their eponymous debut dropped in 2004 and both European and American metal fans were blown away by the band’s amalgamation of groove metal and melodic death metal. DevilDriver have always plotted their own course. If you’re not that familiar with them, just give ‘Pray for Villains’ (2009) a try: marginally less brutal than most of their catalogue, it’s still a standout DevilDriver album with layered writing, punctuated by Fafara’s signature raspy vocals. In late 2014, Boecklin (drums) and Kendrick (guitar) both resigned, leaving Fafara as the only founding member. DevilDriver came back strong with ‘Trust No One’ and with ‘Outlaws till the End’ they’ve got an album of country covers on the way featuring twenty-odd guest artists. Get ready for what will undoubtedly be the biggest circle pit of the Alcatraz weekend!
In a genre where easy classification is a virtue and humorlessness is the law, a band like THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER reminds us all why we became metalheads in the first place. Since the release of 2003’s crushing ‘Unhallowed’, this Michigan quintet has explored the boundaries of their genre, penning ultra-catchy melodeath anthems and unlistenable grind assaults alike. On top of all that, they tour like fucking crazy. However, some small bands are becoming large and one and a half decades later, The Black Dahlia Murder has become one of the references in the genre.
With ACT OF DEFIANCE we’re adding a metal super group to this year’s bill. Axeman Chris Broderick and skinsman Shawn Drover quit Megadeth on the same day and went on to form a new band with vocalist Henry Derek and former Shadows Fall guitarist Matt Bachand on bass. Their first outing, ‘Birth and the Burial’ (2015), offers a generous dose of thrash with melodic death metal and some metalcore influences mixed in. In fact, a few of the tracks would fit right in on a Megadeth record. Henry Derek’s (ex-Scar the Martyr) clean singing and growls sound convincing and suit the music perfectly. The trick with supergroups consists in taking the abilities and experience the members bring to the table and forging them into an engaging listen. While ‘Birth and the Burial’ does just that, the band’s sophomore release ‘Old Scars, New Wounds’ ups the ante even further with more lyrical diversity and songwriting contributions by all of the members. As you’d expect from guys with this pedigree, the musicianship is nothing short of remarkable. Definitely one to look forward to!
STILL TO BE ANNOUNCED: 1 HEADLINER FOR SATURDAY AUGUST 11th
Friday: Status Quo, Dee Snider, Brides Of Lucifer, Ross The Boss, Diablo Blvd., The Quill, Bizkit Park, Amorphis, Venom Inc., Suicidal Angels, Atomic Bitchwax, Pro-Pain, Bark
Saturday: Headliner (tba), Dimmu Borgir, Epica, Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons, Mr. Big, Battle Beast, Armored Saint, Fozzy, Ufomammut, Satyricon, DevilDriver, Municipal Waste, Solstafir, Orange Goblin, Crisix, Act Of Defiance
Sunday: Helloween “Pumpkins United”, In Flames, Behemoth, Alestorm, Sepultura, Inglorious, Orden Ogan, Ministry, Cannibal Corpse, The Black Dahlia Murder, Alcest, Primordial, Exhorder, Pestilence, Gruesome