METAL CHURCH singer Mike Howe has told Myglobalmind that meeting Rob Halford and being on the road with the JUDAS PRIEST singer was “a huge highlight” of his career. “I can recall one time leaving the dressing room to go the stage and him telling me that he just got done listening to ‘The Human Factor’ and how it got him pumped up to go on stage,” Howe said. “I was, like, ‘Wow!’

“My favorite story that I like to tell about Rob is when I went back to my hometown of Detroit to play an outdoor area, my whole family came out to see the show,” he continued. “My mother, knowing Rob was a big influence [on me], asked if she could meet him. I told her, ‘After the show, at the meet-and-greet, I’ll introduce you to him.’ After our set, I came back out to the tent where my family had a big table. I saw Rob and asked if he would take a photo with my mom. He said, ‘Let me tell you something, Mike. Your Mom is just like my mom, and she already came over and got her photo with me.’ [Laughs] I thanked Rob and went over to the table and saw my mom with her head down looking like a little girl who got her hand caught in the cookie jar. It was so awesome.”

METAL CHURCH supported JUDAS PRIEST on the “Operation Rock & Roll” tour in 1991. Also appearing on the bill were ALICE COOPER, MOTÖRHEAD and DANGEROUS TOYS. The trek, which was assembled in honor of the troops fighting in “Operation Desert Storm” in the Middle East, was PRIEST‘s final tour with Halford before his exit from the band in July 1991 and return 12 years later.

METAL CHURCH‘s 12th full-length studio album, “Damned If You Do”, will be released on December 7 via Rat Pak Records. The effort will also be available in Europe via Nuclear Blast and Japan via King Records. The latest release is the follow-up to 2016’s “XI”, which saw the return of Howe.

The official lyric video for “In Styx Embrace” from Nordic epic metal masters SIRENIA can be seen below. The song is taken from the band’s latest album, “Arcane Astral Aeons”, which was released on October 26 via Napalm Records. The follow-up to 2016’s “Dim Days Of Dolor” marks the band’s second LP to feature French vocalist Emmanuelle Zoldan, who replaced Spanish singer Ailyn Giménez García two years ago.

“Arcane Astral Aeons” track listing:

01. In Styx Embrace
02. Into THE Night
03. Love Like Cyanide
04. Desire
05. Asphyxia
06. Queen OF Lies
07. Nos Heures Sombres
08. The Voyage
09. Aerodyne
10. The Twilight Hour
11. Glowing Embers
12. Love Like Cyanide (edit; bonus track)

SIRENIA leader Morten Veland stated about “Arcane Astral Aeons”: “The album was recorded in Audio Avenue Studios (Norway) and Sound Suite Studios (France), while the mixing and mastering took place in Hansen Studios (Denmark) with mixing engineer Jacob Hansen.

“This album is something unique to us as it is the first one we have made together with our fans; everyone who have supported our pledge campaign has directly contributed to the funding of the album and to make it what it has turned out to be.

“We are very proud of what we have achieved together and we’re very eager to share it with you, hoping that you all will find it as special as we do.”

Prior to the recording of “Dim Days Of Dolor”, SIRENIA collaborated with Zoldan on choir vocals on all its albums except its 2002 debut, “At Sixes And Sevens”. She also did some lead vocals on SIRENIA‘s cover version of Leonard Cohen‘s “First We Take Manhattan” on the 2004 EP “Sirenian Shores”.

Veland told Overdrive about Zoldan: “[In] 2003, she was in the studio to record as part of the choir, and we recorded also a cover version of ‘First We Take Manhattan’ by Leonard Cohen. Emmanuelle sang lead vocals on it. It’s been 15 years now and we’ve become really good friends over the years. Two years back, when we needed a new singer for the band, it came very natural for us to ask Emmanuelle. It was a very smooth transition — not like getting somebody new into the band or something like that. We’ve known her and worked with her for so long, it felt really really natural having her as part of the band.”

Regarding his songwriting process, Veland said: “I always do the compositions first, then the lyrics. I found that, for me, it works best. When I start writing the lyrics, all compositions are more or less finished. I like to reflect the feelings and emotions already there in the compositions musically. It’s one of those things that is getting more and more challenging with every album. At this point, I’ve written so many songs that it takes a lot of creative thinking to stay inspired. Most of the time, I write more indirect lyrics, use a lot of metaphors to make people think and write lyrics that are really open to interpretation.Those are the kind of lyrics I always really liked — indirect stuff that you have to give it a lot of thought try to figure out what it’s all about. I love that people can get very different meanings out of it.”

Photo credit: Béranger Bazin

METALLICA, the All Within My Hands Foundation and its contributors commemorate Giving Tuesday with the launching of the pre-order for the limited-edition vinyl release of “Helping Hands… Live & Acoustic At The Masonic”. The double album, mixed by Greg Fidelman and newly mastered for vinyl by Reuben Cohen at Bernie Grundman Mastering, documents the inaugural “Helping Hands” benefit concert held in San Francisco on November 3.

“Helping Hands… Live & Acoustic At The Masonic” features rare acoustic renditions of hits and deep cuts spanning the METALLICA catalog (as well as covers of DEEP PURPLE, NAZARETH, BOB SEGER and BLUE ÖYSTER CULT classics), captured on 140-gram colored vinyl with proceeds donated to the band’s All Within My Hands Foundation. “Helping Hands… Live & Acoustic At The Masonic” continues AWMH‘s mission to fight hunger and to assist in creating sustainable communities through workforce education.

The album will be available February 1, 2019 at independent and digital retail around the world, all streaming services that feature METALLICA‘s music, and can be pre-ordered in the METALLICA store. All copies will include a download card.

In addition to the vinyl pre-order, METALLICA‘s Giving Tuesday offerings will include a limited-edition etched glass featuring the iconic Pushead artwork for “One”, with all net proceeds donated to AWMH.

The first-ever “All Within My Hands Helping Hands Concert And Auction” raised more than $1.3 million. Those resources will fund AWMH‘s efforts with partners at Feeding America and the American Association of Community Colleges.

The METALLICA family and the All Within My Hands Foundation board members are committed to running an organization of the highest integrity where expenses are kept to a minimum and are paid for entirely by the band, the board, and friends who have worked with the band over many years. As such, 100% of all donations from fans and third parties go to the organizations AWMH supports.

For more info and/or to make a donation, visit allwithinmyhands.org.

The track listing for “Helping Hands…Live & Acoustic At The Masonic”:

Disc One / Side A

01. Disposable Heroes
02. When A Blind Man Cries (DEEP PURPLE cover)
03. The Unforgiven

Disc One / Side B

01. Please Don’t Judas Me (NAZARETH cover)
02. Turn the Page (Bob Seger cover)

Disc Two / Side C

01. Bleeding Me
02. Veteran of the Psychic Wars (BLUE ÖYSTER CULT cover)
03. Nothing Else Matters

Disc Two / Side D

01. All Within My Hands
02. Enter Sandman
03. The Four Horsemen
04. Hardwired

Bandmembers James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, Robert Trujillo and Lars Ulrich were joined by a quartet of backing musicians who provided additional percussion, keyboards, strings and vocal harmony.

Professionally filmed video footage of METALLICA performing the song “All Within My Hands” at “All Within My Hands Foundation Helping Hands Concert And Auction” can be seen below. Additional musicians in the clip are Avi Vinocur on mandolin and background vocals, David Phillips on pedal-steel, Henry Salvia on keyboards, and Cody Rhodes on percussion.