Metal Contraband News For March 31st, 2020:

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Lou Kouvaris, former guitar player from New York hard rock act Riot Act has passed away from complications of Corona Virus. It was reported by his band mates that he was in the hospital for a week stricken with the illness. He succumbed to the sickness on March 27th.

Riot formed in 1975 in New York, with guitarist Mark Reale and drummer Peter Bitelli, bassist Phil Feit and vocalist Guy Speranza. The line up released a four-track demo first to shop the band to labels. In 1977 they released “Rock City” On Fire Sign Records which launched the band’s notoriety. Lou recorded with the band 1975 through 1978. In 1979, Riot released Narita which featured Lou. Lou performed with the band under Riot Act and recently appeared with them in Anaheim, CA for the Hall Of Heavy Metal Fame during the 2018 NAMM Show. The band was inducted in 2018 which Lou was present to receive the award and also performed with fellow band mates, as well as a 2020 performance at the gala.

To those that knew Lou he was one of the kindest and most down to earth individuals. He always put those around him in front of himself and was one of the most dedicated musicians to his band mates. Not only will he be missed but the metal world lost one of its greats.

Rick Ventura states, “We are deeply saddened by the sudden loss of our dear friend and band mate Lou Kouvaris. He was instrumental in getting Riot Act off the ground. The endless enthusiasm generosity and comradery he brought to the band will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and fans”.

Rest easy, old friend, it will not be the same without you. We love you and you will be missed forever.

BPMD has arrived – a brand-new heavy metal supergroup featuring Bobby Blitz, Mike Portnoy, Mark Menghi, and Phil Demmel that has just signed a worldwide contract on Napalm Records. BPMD already has a full-length in the works, the details of which will be revealed in the near future – for now, here’s what 2/4 of the band has to say, starting with frontman Bobby Blitz: “The BPMD sessions were very fun. They took us all back to our roots and even pre-roots. As it developed, we all realized it was something special, as did Napalm Records, with one listen!”, and bassist Mark Menghi adds: “Were super excited about our first BPMD record. Last summer, I was inspired and came up with this crazy idea and here we are, not even a year later, and itll see the light of day in these very trying times. The planet needs something to feel good about, and I 100% whole-heartedly believe these tunes will do the trick. Buckle up and make way for BPMD…”. BPMD is planning to make their debut live at Bulldozer Bash 5 on May 30th in Old Bridge, NJ – has all the details. For more on BPMD, head to:

Testament album Titans of Creation is almost here, with the release set for this Friday, April 3rd, via Nuclear Blast. The fourth episode of Elements of Creation – a webseries featuring one band member per week in their “element” – has now been released, and this week spotlights frontman Chuck Billy: To keep up with the latest on the upcoming album, head to:

August Burns Red’s new full-length album, Guardians, is just about to be released this Friday, April 3rd, on Fearless Records, but the band has already revealed a brand-new track leading up to the release. Head to: to check out the track, “Paramount”. Guitarist JB Brubaker says of “Paramount”: “’Paramount’ is one of my favorite songs from Guardians. It has that classic ABR sound with a bunch of tempo changes and different time signatures. But there’s a recurring melody that glues the whole song together. I think this is a song that longtime fans of the band are going to love”, while drummer Matt Greiner adds: “At times over the last several years, I felt indifferent and uninterested towards the things that used to fuel me. I learned there is actually meaning in suffering. It’s not random and without purpose. I found that the more I faced the fire, the more empathetic I became towards other people who are also hurting. I found meaning in the pain and stopped running from it. That’s what ‘Paramount’ is about”. Keep up with the band via:

Two of King Diamond’s classic albums are about to be reissued, as Abigail and Fatal Portrait are set for an April 24th special edition CD and LP release via Metal Blade Records. King Diamond says of the venture, “These are not remasters. These are the albums as they were originally done in the old days from the original production masters. They retain all the original dynamics that were captured at the time. It’s very exciting to present these to fans as they were originally released”. For more on the releases, visit:

Many spring and summer tour dates have been postponed and canceled due to the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic, but that doesn’t mean the metal community can’t start planning with high hopes for the fall. A North American tour featuring Eluveitie, Insomnium, and Infected Rain has just been announced for September and October, starting off in Miami and wrapping up in Houston, covering plenty of ground in between. Infected Rain vocalist Lena says: “Like a mouth of fresh air and a new chapter in our lives, this tour is going to change it all. We are happy to announce that Infected Rain is going to support Eluveitie and Insomnium on a North American tour in September/October of 2020”. For all the details, head to:

Lovebites, the all-girl Power Metal band out of Japan, is on the way to revealing their new album to the world, Electric Pentagram, set for an April 24th release via Red River Entertainment/BFD, in partnership with JVCKENWOOD Victor Entertainment Group and distributed by The Orchard in North America. This week, Lovebites teamed up with Revolver magazine to share their latest track, “The Unbroken”, which you can check out right here: Follow Lovebites via:

Dark Sarah is a band out of Finland whose music is described as a cross between “horror-fantasy” and “cinematic metal”, and features frontwoman Heidi Parviainen, formerly of Amberian Dawn. Dark Sarah has recently signed to Napalm Records, and has their new album Grim set to be released on July 17th. Heidi Parviainen says of the signing and the album, “We are very happy and excited to start a new era in our band’s history and to start collaborating with Napalm Records, one of the biggest metal labels in the world! After working as an independent band for many years, we have got a good view on that path – both in good and bad. This is a new opportunity for us, which we’ll welcome with open arms! Our new album called Grim is a concept album like its predecessors, but Grim will start a new story line with a modern horror fantasy theme. Musically, Grim introduces a more modern sound and a taste of what’s to come in the future – with a Dark Sarah twist”, of course. We’re very happy about this album and it has been really fun to make. Also creating the new visual brand and the Grim world has been an adventure already! For more on the band, visit: