Welcome back to our regular digest of metal news and music from around the globe… It’s time for some Shrapnel!


American power trio Night Demon spent the first year of the Pandemic engaged in a furious maelstrom of activity that resulted in the release of five – count ’em – five limited edition seven inch singles! As vocalising bassist Jarvis Leatherby puts it: “2020 was certainly the ‘Year of the Demon’ in so many ways! Never in our wildest imagination would we be releasing five 7″ singles in a calendar year, and nowhere in our fans’ imagination would one of the hardest touring bands of the last decade be sidelined (along with the rest of the world) by this virus that demonised our lives. We are proud to finally release these songs as a complete collection and include the rare B-sides that only saw the light of day on the collector’s record player”.

That’s right – the band are collecting those impossible-to-find singles into an easily-digestible compilation album set for release on March 22nd, and entitled, as suggested by our hero Leatherby, Year of the Demon! The reasons for doing so are straightforward. After all, the strictly limited nature and quick sell-outs of the initial seven inch releases meant that even die-hard Night Demon fans may have missed out on the opportunity to obtain them in a physical edition. More importantly, these tracks are too strong to be relegated to a footnote in the Night Demon discography. Empires Fall and Vysteria mark two of the fastest, most intense Night Demon songs ever written. Kill the Pain packs a wallop, distilling the band’s signature sound to its most powerful essence, coupled with a deeply personal message. And Are You Out There is Night Demon’s heartfelt homage to the late, great Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy. The cover tunes are undiscovered gems in their own right, from the obscure NWoBHM glory of Fast Bikes (originally recorded by LeGriffe) to the remake of Cirith Ungol’s classic 100 mph (featuring Cirith Ungol’s Tim Baker in a duet with Leatherby) to the Demonised take on the sombre Thin Lizzy hymn The Sun Goes Down. Finally, the live recordings capture some of Night Demon’s most unforgettable moments on stage. The Iron Maiden Wasted Years cover is a previously unreleased track recorded the same night as Night Demon’s legendary Live Darkness album in Cleveland, Ohio. And the two Scorpions classics (In Trance and Top of the Bill) were recorded live in Germany with special guest Uli Jon Roth trading licks and leads with Armand John Anthony.


“Tamashii No Houkai means ‘the breaking of the soul’ or ‘soul collapse; It’s a Japanese term that didn’t exist before, but one we forged to reflect the song’s meaning.”

Thus spake Trivium alumnus Matthew Kiichi Heafy of the first single from his new extreme metal project – Ibaraki! Kiichi, who is of Japanese heritage, continues, “Tamashii No Houkai is co-written by Ihsahn — the legend behind Emperor and a musician who has been a longtime influence and mentor to so much that I do in music. The writing of this song was the turning point for Ibaraki — it summarised everything from the past, present, and future of what I thought black metal was, is, and could be.”

Kiichi finishes, “Tamashii No Houkai is the perfect summary and representation of everything that Ibaraki is… and will be.”

Ibaraki – the name for a terrifying Japanese demon taken from feudal legend — is the end-result of Kiichi’s continued journey to find his voice. It’s personal, it’s deep, and its inspirations include everything from an adoration for the extremes of black metal and beyond.

It was Kiichi’s exposure to Ihsahn’s solo work that would inspire the gradual craftsmanship that would eventually become Ibaraki. It was also the beginning of a friendship and creative collaboration that would eventually compel Ihsahn to take a leap of his own into a newfound role as producer on the project. While much of the material for Ibaraki was assembled over months and years — as much a songwriting process as an exchange of ideas between friends — it wasn’t until the pandemic that the space was created and the idea could really flourish.


To Italy now, and the mighty Hellfox! I was going to forge a eulogy to these girls myself, but at the end of the day it’s usually best to let the artist speak for themselves… so take it away ladies! “Hellfox is an alternative metal (alt-metal) leaning towards melodic death metal. In spite of four rather different musical backgrounds, we’re on the same page on the inspiration we draw from Amorphis, In Flames and Dark Tranquillity in the process of songwriting, while we’ve chosen to detach from the Symphonic context, widely regarded as feminine, inserting acid, distorted synths in order to create a modern mood we felt our own and committed more adherently to the pop vibe of Greta’s melodic voice. The dualism existing within Hellfox is not to be meant as a conflicting one, it’s rather the result of different voices interacting inside the human soul, different faces if we want to put it down this way. Faces mingling and generating the person in itself, in its entirety, who create and live in harmony and balance although seemingly clashing one another. We do not use masks to conform to the mass, while we don’t even want to distinguish ourselves at any cost, in a society where normality is a mere surface. The abyss, on the other hand, is made of countless personality facets, both for the collective and the single human being. Our message is accessible to all, everyone can recognise it in her or himself: that small, tiny voice in your head which attracts or repulses you…’cause nothing is normal for us, nothing is different.”

The band’s new album, The Call, was released last week through Metal For The Masses – have a listen to a track from it below and see what you think!

Ross The Boss

Finally this episode we have one of true metal’s greatest living exemplars, Ross The Boss! The great man, who took time out last year to talk to Sentinel Daily about Manowar‘s classic Kings of Metal opus, has announced plans for a very busy 2022!

Ross will be spotted once more on European soil in 2022 – headlining shows on his own and appearing on festival bills throughout much of the spring and into the summer (and joined on many of the dates by either Dark Embrace, and The Evolution of Fire Tour 2022 along with RAM, and Trauma), in support of his last RTB effort, Born of Fire on AFM.

“The highest energy set possible,” is what Ross says fans can expect from the upcoming dates. “We are chomping at the bit to play! One hundred per cent every tune will be amazing! Of course we will perform my classic Manowar-era epics and crushing new tunes from Born of Fire!”

Born of Fire was originally issued in March 2020, and is the group’s fourth album and arrived not even two years after their chart breaking 2018 effort, By Blood Sworn. Unfortunately, Ross was unable to launch a proper tour behind the album due to the pandemic. But soon, he will be making up for lost time – with dates running from March through July 2022.

The shows during April will see Ross joined on a bill with Dark Embrace, while RAM and Trauma will team with Ross for much of May – before appearances as part of the Sweden Rock Festival, Big Gun Festival, and Midalidare Rock Festival this coming summer.

“We deliver every night! Metal excitement like no other band can!” And in the new year, metalheads will finally have the opportunity to catch the mighty Ross The Boss where he belongs – on the concert stage.