INSOMNIUM

Out of the cold seas, out of the endless night rises the new tour de force of northern magic: “Winter’s Gate”, the seventh studio album of Finland’s melodic metal conjurers INSOMNIUM. A bold concept album ventures into yet unknown dark territories as it consists of one epic 40-minute song that is forged around an award-winning short story written by the band’s vocalist & bassist Niilo Sevänen.

After their most successful album to date, “Shadows of the Dying Sun” (2014), the band wanted to challenge themselves and create something that hadn’t been done before. During an autumnal rehearsal session, when the storm was raging outside the small seaside cabin, Sevänen, Ville Friman (guitar & vocals), Markus Vanhala (guitar) and Markus Hirvonen (drums) sipped some well-deserved wine and talked about future endeavors while listening to Edge of Sanity’s classic “Crimson” album. From this nightly session an idea of a long, meandering song was born. This was soon bound together with a story that Sevänen had already written almost ten years ago; “Winter’s Gate” was to become an album and a book, released in the same package. Thus the ambitious project started.

“Winter’s Gate” short story draws inspiration from history and the rich Scandinavian mythology. “It’s a tale of a group of grim Vikings who set out to find a fabled island northwest from Ireland – even though the winter is already drawing near. The three narrators pull the reader in to follow the unfolding of the story from different perspectives”, Sevänen comments. In 2007 the story won the Nova short story contest and in 2008 it was chosen as the fourth best story in fantasy & sci-fi genre in Finland in Atorox awards. The story is released now together with the album in luxurious art book size, also including the full story as an audio book read by Niilo Sevänen himself, and in three languages: Finnish, English and German. Imposing illustrations are done by the Finnish artist Teemu Tähkänen. The Gatefold LP+CD will contain a booklet featuring the story in all three languages as well and the album on vinyl and CD, while the Jewelcase CD version comes with an extended booklet including the full story in English and the “Winter’s Gate” album on CD.

Musically “Winter’s Gate” immerses deeply into stirring abysses of melancholy, but as it’s the case with every INSOMNIUM album, new elements are brought in to widen the spectrum. The band has always had their own unique way of making melodic death metal but now they are venturing deep into the realms of doom, progressive and black metal. All the varying elements are woven together into one captivating opus that follows the dramatic arc of the story. It’s a rich album full of different atmospheres and emotions; full of overwhelming, gut-wrenching and masterfully crafted music.


CELINE DION

Vocal powerhouse Celine Dion is one of the most immediately recognized, widely respected and successful performers in pop music history. She won numerous awards by the age of 18, dominated the pop charts in 1990s and has sold almost 250 million albums during her over 35-year career. She has earned five Grammy Awards, two Academy Awards, seven American Music Awards, 20 Juno Awards (Canada) and an astonishing 40 Félix Awards (Quebec).  She remains one of the most sought-after recording artists, receiving the Diamond award at the 2004 World Music Awards recognizing her status as the best-selling female artist of all time. In 2016 the Billboard Music Awards presented her with the lifetime achievement Icon Award. Celine continues to break records with her Las Vegas residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace which has played over 1,100 shows to more than 4.5 million fans.  In June 2018, Celine took a two-month hiatus from her Las Vegas residency to head overseas for her sold-out tour CELINE DION LIVE 2018, playing 22 shows across 12 cities in Asia, Australia and New Zealand.  The tour was one of the highest-grossing of the year, grossing nearly $57 million for 260,000 fans.  She also topped the US Dance Club charts in July 2018 with the remix of her single Ashes from the Deadpool 2 movie. In September 2018, Celine announced that her iconic Las Vegas residency will come to an end on June 8, 2019.

ROSS THE BOSS

Ross The Boss Band – the band — were named after the best-known stage handle employed by one Ross Friedman, late of power metal muscle men Manowar, and, before that, legendary proto-punk group the Dictators (where he went by Ross Funicello, for some mysterious reason). Having spent the better part of 20 years tucked away from the limelight, but involved with numerous part-time or short-lived musical endeavors, Friedman was coaxed back into the heavy metal mosh pit after performing a one-off set at the 2006 Keep It True Festival with a German Manowar tribute band (the Men of War — snort!). That band, which contained vocalist/guitarist Patrick Fuchs, bassist Carsten Kettering, and drummer Matthias “Matze” Mayer, effectively became Ross the Boss alongside Friedman two years later, when the album New Metal Leader arrived in stores, soon to be followed by 2010’s Hailstorm. So far, Ross the Boss have garnered positive reviews and offered a slightly less overstated power metal alternative for Manowar fans, while obviously gifting Friedman’s talents back to the heavy metal community — a win-win proposition.

RON POPE

Nashville-based singer-songwriter, Ron Pope, has been navigating a sea change as of late. In the immediate aftermath of the birth of his first child, before he’d found his footing in this extraordinary new reality, a jarring incident left him contemplating his own mortality. After completely scrapping early recording sessions for the upcoming album Bone Structure (TBA, 2020), Pope set out on a new path, crafting incredibly candid songs directed squarely at his newborn daughter. Some songs speak to her directly and muse on the experience of fatherhood, while others reflect on a personal experience that has a lesson or a moral. Pope’s 2017 release, the critically-claimed “Work” drew comparisons to Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen, while also refusing to put him squarely into one category. Uncompromising and relentless, Pope has evolved into one of the top grossing independent acts in the business while garnering a legion of devoted fans the world over. Taking the industry-road-less-traveled and holding fiercely to his independence has proven fruitful for Pope; to date, he has sold out shows on three continents and in more than 20 countries, sold over 2 million digital tracks, had over 350 million streams on Spotify, 825 million plays on Pandora, 150 million views on Youtube, and has more generally crushed every metric used to measure what is possible for independent artists.