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  BOOKING AGENTS vs. PROMOTERS...
CHRIS DALE'S METAL MELTDOWN
5 August 2013


chris dale

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...and why your favourite band aren't playing in your home town this year.

We had a look before at what managers and producers did for bands. This month let's look at Booking Agents and Promoters. Who are they? What do they do? And most importantly who would win in a hypothetical fight between the two?

In short to answer the first two questions, these are the people who book the gigs that we all go to see.

Strangely a lot of people seem to think that bands pick their own touring schedules. Then they say, why aren't my favourite band coming to my home town?

Article continues below...

   


Then these people decide in their heads that the band must hate their town and by inference, the fan themselves.

Misunderstandings like this are one of the most common causes of Passive-Aggressive Fan Disorder (PAFD) whereby the fan develops an imagined personal love-hate relationship with his or her idols. This can in some cases be so intense and appear so real to the sufferer that they are mentally and in some cases physically incapacitated.

I'm mostly over that with Kiss now.

There are no known medical cures for PAFD. The only thing science can recommend is a course of cold showers and a sharp dose of reality.

Let's have a little dose of reality right now on the subject of how bands pick their touring schedules.

A PAFD sufferer will hypothesise about a scenario whereby the band pick their own touring schedule based on whims.

Maybe they have a band meeting and look at a big map of the World with the guitarist saying "I'd like to play Madison Square Garden in New York this time. And Wembley Arena, please".

The bass player would probably recommend Belgium, Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic purely because of their brewing traditions.

Bass players are after all, very sensible people.

Then I guess the imaginary scenario goes on with the singer wanting to go to half a dozen countries purely because he thinks the chicks are hot there, while at the same time refusing to play another half a dozen cities on the grounds that on previous occasions people had been rude to him there.

This is when the PAFD patient starts the belief that the singer personally hates him or her.

"Maybe it's because last time I hung around outside his hotel window smashing bottles and screaming "I Love You!" till the police arrived at 5am", they'll think to themselves. "I bet he hates me now and that's why they're not playing here".

Yep, it's all making perfect sense (in their minds).

Finally the drummer, who in this fantasy has been silent up until now points at Madagascar on the map and says he's always wanted to play in Japan because he likes pizza.

The manager probably takes notes in the fantasy meeting then rings up the chosen venues and the next day the tour is booked.

Surely that's what happens?

It's a lovely idea, very quaint and all, but this is of course not what happens except in the movies (and in fans' minds).

In real life, the band's manager contacts a person called a 'Booking Agent'. The manager tells the booking agent that his band has an album coming out and would like to do a tour to promote it.

The booking agent then looks at the different territories that the band might make money in.

Yes, sorry we've mentioned it already. It's not about who screams the loudest outside the hotel window. It's about money. That's why its called 'the music business', because its a business.

The booking agent is on a percentage of the band's gross financial take each night, usually about 15%. Fair enough, he's doing a job.

So the agent looks at the places this band might play profitable gigs. One part of his job is to think of a sensible route in which to do the tour. For this task he uses an atlas.

It is while browsing the picture pages that he notices that Ireland, Finland and Malta have bits of water in the way. He immediately crosses them off the list. It's not because the band hate you. It's because the gig might not be profitable after paying the extra travel costs. Sorry. Build a bridge!

While most of us would spend a lot of time looking at the pictures (what posh people call 'maps') at the front of an atlas to see which venues are near each other, booking agents often seem to look in the index at the back for that information.

I once enjoyed a tour that had Barcelona, Spain and Bratislava, Slovakia as consecutive dates. On the map pages of the atlas these cities and countries are not close to each other but alphabetically in the index they are within easy walking distance.

This of course makes no sense in the practical real world but agents do not usually leave the office and have little contact with the real world.

Once he's got an idea of a route, the booking agent calls some people called 'Promoters' that he knows in different countries. These promoters then decide if they want to book local shows in each territory gambling that the band can sell enough tickets to justify the gig and make a profit.

Unlike the booking agent who is on a set percentage of the band's gross fee, the promoter is on a cut of the net fee after costs.

Usually the band will make their money from a guaranteed fee from the venue often with an additional split of the ticket money on the show if it runs into profit. The booking agent takes his cut of this sum. Then from what's left the band have to pay for their touring costs such as their crew and transport.

The promoter is also on a variable split (with the band) of the ticket money but he must pay the venue costs before his profits roll in. A legally binding contract is then agreed and signed between the agent and the promoter.

This makes the promoter's outlook different from that of the booking agent. Both are on a percentage of profits but the promoter has to invest money in a show to make it happen.

He has to cover costs such as hiring a venue, PA system, lights and the local crew to run them. He also pays for the band's food and drink (which can be quite pricey if they are not teetotal) and sometimes he pays their flights and hotels.

If not enough fans buy tickets, the promoter has lost money. The agent has not actually lost cash though he and the band may not be in profit. He's just got to pay his phone bill and internet connection while arranging the tour.

Thus it is largely in the interest of promoters to get fans to the show. A good promoter runs an online marketing strategy, gets posters put up all over town and pays local radio stations and magazines to advertise the gig. In short he 'promotes' the show, hence his job title.

This all costs him more money but if he doesn't gamble it, he's got less chance of making a profit. The larger the show, the bigger the gamble and the more he must invest to promote it. Being a promoter is a gambler's game.

You'll have noticed that at no point in this arrangement has the band been consulted. They very rarely are. After all how can they guess their ticket selling potential in Barcelona or Bratislava, especially if they've never been there before?

So the next time you're blaming a band for not playing your home town or country, really you should be writing to your local venue or festival promoter to convince them that there's a profit to be made by booking the band.

It's not the band's fault or choice.

A good local promoter with his finger on the pulse will have noticed which up and coming bands are getting good press, which ones get requested at the local rock club and which band's T-shirts his club's audience tend to wear.

He has to be a bit clued up to pitch his gamble at the right level. The booking agent can afford to lose the game more often than the promoter.

Some promoters only deal in big bands where the profits are pretty much guaranteed though risked costs might be bigger. Other promoters will take a gamble on small unheard of bands at their local venues. This is sometimes for the very philanthropic reason of helping young musicians but on other occasions it is with the tried and tested theory that if you throw enough shit at a wall some of it will stick.

Now onto the more interesting question of who would win in a hypothetical fight between the two.

On this one anonymous example I'm going to tell you about a local UK promoter who booked an unheard of American band for a small fee - £300 with a split of profits between the band and promoter after that.

The agent had originally asked for £400 but the promoter talked him down by 25%.

Newly signed bands with no press presence are unlikely to turn a profit for anyone, especially if they have to fly in from the USA for their tour. The promoter was taking a gamble on an unheard of band with a funny sounding name.

The agent however was on £45 (15% of the £300) no matter what happened. That's not a lot but if he booked a 20 date UK tour for them it might be worth a couple of days work for him.

The promoter's gamble here relies on local radio or press picking up on this band in between the time the concert contracts are signed and the gig being played.

For the sake of the story let's call this promoter Glasgow's legendary Robert Fields.

In this particular case after the contract for the show was signed and sealed the formerly unknown band (for the sake of the story let's call them Pearl Jam) rocketed up the UK single charts singles charts with their debut release 'Alive'.

Ow! All of a sudden they were splashed all over major music press front covers, they were on TV and got constant radio airplay.

Our promoter had struck gold! He now had a completely sold out show for £300. The booking agent however still only stood to make £45 from the event, plus a smaller percentage of any further profits from the band.

This time the promoter's gamble paid off...

paerl jam contract

... because it's not every night of the week that you can book Pearl Jam for £300 cash!




MORE CHRIS DALE'S METAL MELTDOWN COLUMNS HERE...

July 2013: Rock and Metal Pub Quiz
June 2013: Communication Tips For European Festivals, Or How To Learn A Language In An Evening
May 2013: Storm Thorgerson (1944-2013) RIP
April 2013: Daily Mail Columnist Richard Littlejohn Sinks To New Low With Anti-Heavy Metal Article
April 2013: The Future Of Classic Bands
March 2013: Smashing Pumpkins Video Shoot
Febuary 2013: Ten Years On Total Rock
January 2013: Kiss Follow Up To Monster 2013
December 2012: Kiss Reformation Magick
November 2012: Exclusive Interview With Geoff Tate
November 2012: Morally Worrying Session
October 2012: Kiss 'Monster' Review
October 2012: The Best Invention Of All Time
September 2012: A Conversation With Rudy Sarzo
August 2012: Scream For Me Sarajevo Part 3
July 2012: Scream For Me Sarajevo Part 2
June 2012: Scream For Me Sarajevo Part 1
May 2012: Managers v Producers
April 2012: Kiss 'Monster' Album Preview
March 2012: London Venue's Nazi Past?
February 2012: How Not to Join the Ozzy Osbourne Band
January 2012: Metal Evilution
December 2011: Take Your Pick Competition
November 2011: The Pandora's Box Of Pop
October 2011: Tank Tour Diary 2011
September 2011: Festival Stage Collapses
August 2011: Bruce Air, The Early Days
July 2011: European Festival Round-Up
June 2011: Bernie Torme Proud To Be Part Of MT Ozzy Article
June 2011: Who's Your Favourite Ozzy Guitarist?
May 2011: Japanese Tsunami Disaster
April 2011: 10,000 Tank Albums!
March 2011: Death Metal Session!
6th February 2011: Gary Moore (4th April 1952 - 6th February 2011)
February 2011: Recording Bass at Steve Harris'
January 2011: A Column About Columns



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robin trower ROBIN TROWER ANNOUNCES MARCH/APRIL 2015 UK TOUR
One of the finest guitarists in rock history brings his trademark mix of explosive sounds and soft psychedelia on the road next spring...

joe bonamassa JOE BONAMASSA ANNOUNCES VIDEO AND FIRST EVER PICTURE DISC
"I feel like I owe it to the fans to give them an original record after all these years..."

the burning crows STRIKER ANNOUNCE 'CITY OF GOLD' ALBUM RELEASE DATE AND TOUR DATES
After the European tour, the band head over to America for a string of dates in October/November supporting Onslaught and Artillery...

the burning crows THE BURNING CROWS ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM AND PLEDGEMUSIC CAMPAIGN
The band will be heading back to the world famous Rockfield Studios in Wales with the album due for worldwide release in June 2015...

indigo darkpsych INDIGO DARKPSYCH ANNOUNCE RELEASE OF THEIR FIRST GLOBAL SINGLE, 'WORK THOSE BRAIN CELLS'
Indigo Darkpsych is mainly an industrial/alternative Metal project started by Marvic 'Indigo' Lewis in the year 2002/3 as a soloist...

toseland TOSELAND ANNOUNCE UK TOUR DATES
The hard-touring band hit the road for more dates in September and October in support of debut album 'Renegade'...

breakout BREAKOUT FESTIVAL 2014 ANNOUNCED
Brighton's first outdoor rock & Metal festival lands on September 27th...

the stanfields THE STANFIELDS RETURN TO THE UK THIS JULY FOR A STRING OF LIVE DATES
"We want people to leave our shows with a smile on their face and a ringing in their ears..."

bigelf BIGELF RELEASE VIDEO FOR 'CONTROL FREAK' FROM 'INTO THE MAELSTROM' ALBUM
The band also recently announced a run of European tour dates for later this year...

ben matthews BREAKING NEWS: THUNDER GUITARIST BEN MATTHEWS NEEDS TREATMENT FOR CANCER
Whilst the treatment is not pleasant, we're told the percentage chances of a happy outcome are "in the high 90s"...

legends of rock CLASSIC ROCK TOURS PRESENTS "LEGENDS OF ROCK - THE ORIGINALS" FESTIVAL 16TH - 19TH OCTOBER 2014
Black Star Riders lead the magnificent line up for this essential weekender...

reckless love RECKLESS LOVE ANNOUNCE HEADLINE DECEMBER UK TOUR
"Seven (magnificent) dates that will see us pushing everything that bit further... harder, faster, louder, bigger and higher...kicks! Ha! Ha!..."

dark tranquility DARK TRANQUILLITY ANNOUNCE "UNIFORMITY" EUROPEAN TOUR
No rest for the wicked as the Swedes start their trek in November...

goatwhore GOATWHORE CONFIRMED AS MAIN SUPPORT ON DYING FETUS EUROPEAN TOUR IN NOVEMBER/DECEMBER
A full European tour follows the release of the new album 'Constricting Rage Of The Merciless'...

hairy balls presentation 'HAIRY BALLS CHALLENGE' RAISES OVER £5,000 FOR TEENAGE CANCER TRUST
Les-Fest organiser and Achren manager Fede Valls has proudly presented the cheque to Headbangers Balls fundraiser Matt Steed...

ensiferum ENSIFERUM ARE SCHEDULED TO RECORD SIXTH STUDIO ALBUM THIS AUTUMN
The band will get straight back into the studio immediately after the festival season ends...

marc ford EX BLACK CROWES MEMBER MARC FORD TO PLAY INTIMATE ACOUSTIC GIG AT THE BORDERLINE- JULY 22ND
'Holy Ghost' reveals Ford's gift for Americana which will be showcased at this special appearance...

motorhead aftershock MOTÖRHEAD UNVEIL "LOST WOMAN BLUES LIVE FROM SAN FRANCISCO" VIDEO FROM 'AFTERSHOCK - TOUR EDITION'
Swagger, verve, grit and polish. "We are Motörhead and we play rock and roll..."

suicide silence SUICIDE SILENCE STREAM THE BAND'S NEW ALBUM 'YOU CAN'T STOP ME' IN FULL ON YOUTUBE
The album marks the debut of new vocalist Eddie Hermida and includes some special guest appearances...

Nightwish TOUCHSTONE RELEASE THEIR FIRST EVER 3DISC DVD WITH LIMITED EDITION SIGNED 'OCEANS' EP
The DVD features previously unreleased footage of Touchstone's full set from 2010's High Voltage Festival, and a behind the scenes documentary...

Nightwish NIGHTWISH REVEAL 'MAKING OF' CLIP FOR THEIR FORTHCOMING ALBUM
The yet to be titled album is starting to take shape and the band discuss all aspects in this new video...

decapitated DECAPITATED REVEAL ALBUM TITLE AND COVER ARTWORK
'Blood Mantra' will be released in September and features artwork by Lukasz Jaszak...

deep purple DEEP PURPLE RELEASE THE PREVIOUSLY UNAVAILABLE LIVE PERFORMANCE 'GRAZ 1975'
The historic find contains over 70 minutes of previously unreleased material...

blues pills BLUES PILLS VOCALIST ELIN LARSSON DISCUSSES THE TRACKS OFF THE BAND'S NEW SELF-TITLED ALBUM
The first album from the colourful retro-rockers is released on 28th July...

linkin park LINKIN PARK ANNOUNCE EUROPEAN TOUR FOR NOVEMBER 2014
Fresh from summer festival appearances and the release of 'The Hunting Party' Linkin Park play fifteen dates in Europe...

joe bonamassa JOE BONAMASSA ANNOUNCES 4 NIGHTS AT LONDON'S HAMMERSMITH APOLLO
The shows will feature songs from new album 'Different Shades Of Blue', played live for the very first time in the UK, and a never-before-seen line-up of musicians...

demonic resurrection ONSLAUGHT ANNOUNCE DEMONIC RESURRECTION WILL REPLACE HATRIOT ON UK 'THRASH INVASION' TOUR
India's Demonic Resurrection will join Nightlord and main support Artillery following acclaimed appearances at Les-Fest 3 and Sonisphere...

judas priest JUDAS PRIEST 'REDEEMER OF SOULS' ALBUM LAUNCH PARTIES ANNOUNCED
A chance to hear new tracks from the album ahead of its release on Monday July 14th, plus these exclusive parties will also feature exclusive merchandise giveaways...

acrassicauda ACRASSICAUDA LAUNCH KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN FOR THEIR FIRST OFFICIAL ALBUM
The latest chapter for the Iraq Metal pioneers continues their astonishing story...

black sabbath TONY IOMMI CONFIRMS MetalTalk REPORT THAT HYDE PARK WAS NOT THE LAST EVER BLACK SABBATH GIG
Tony released a video just before Friday's gig thanking fans for their support and he ends it by saying: "See you on the next tour"...

godsmack MULTI-PLATINUM US ROCKERS GODSMACK ANNOUNCE NEW STUDIO ALBUM "1000HP"
The band move into the fast lane for sixth studio album, '1000hp', set for international release via Spinefarm Records on September 1st 2014...

karmaflow 'KARMAFLOW: THE ROCK OPERA VIDEOGAME' IS UNVEILED WITH AN ALL-STAR CAST
This multidisciplinary art project is a must for lovers of gaming and Metal...

hellyeah HELLYEAH TAKES BLOOD FOR BLOOD TO THE TOP OF THE HARD ROCK CHARTS IN NORTH AMERICA
The band will tour Europe in July and August 2014 with six dates in the UK...

steve hackett STEVE HACKETT ANNOUNCES DVD 'GENESIS REVISITED: LIVE AT THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL', WORLD TOUR PLUS EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW
Re-live a seminal chapter of prog rock history live on stage. "It's a feast for eyes, ears and all the senses..."

cannibal corpse CANNIBAL CORPSE TO RELEASE 'A SKELETAL DOMAIN'
The 13th full-length album from the American Death Metal icons is released in September. The extensive tour reaches the UK in October...

electric wizard ELECTRIC WIZARD UNVEIL 'TIME TO DIE' AS TITLE OF FORTHCOMING STUDIO ALBUM
"We had to kill the band so we could be reborn. It was the only way to ensure we could come back even stronger"...

motorhead aftershock MOTÖRHEAD POSTPONE RELEASE OF 'AFTERSHOCK - TOUR EDITION' NOW 4th AUGUST
A production error has put back the release for a month, but it will be worth waiting for...

suicide silence tour SUICIDE SILENCE ANNOUNCE NOVEMBER 2014 UK TOUR
An unmissable opportunity to see the titans of modern Metal. "Come throw your horns up, bang your heads, or mosh your knickers off!! "...

hordes of belial LIPID AND BURNING THE DREAM ADDED TO HORDES OF BELIAL V BILL
The yearly Dundee Metal event continues to strengthen the line up...

snakecharmer SNAKECHARMER ANNOUNCE THREE UK DATES
Six of the UK's most highly-esteemed and experienced rock musicians have joined forces to create Snakecharmer...

manowar MANOWAR ANNOUNCE NEW U.S. TOUR DATES FOR NOVEMBER 2014
Manowarriors have demanded more and further dates have been added. "We can't wait to be back and play for more of our U.S. fans!"...

tygertailz TIGERTAILZ RELEASE NEW VIDEO FOR 'PUNCHED IN THE GUTZ'
The 'Knives' EP is out now and there is an upcoming release of unheard demos for September...

progstravaganza PROG SPHERE INVITES BANDS TO SEND SUBMISSIONS FOR 20TH EDITION OF PROGSTRAVAGANZA COMPILATION SERIES
The call goes out for bands around the world to submit songs for the jubilee edition of the sampler album ...

accept ACCEPT PREMIERE BREATHTAKING VIDEO FOR NEW TRACK 'STAMPEDE'
The stunning locations perfectly showcase the track which is from the band's album 'Blind Rage' out August 18th ..

mr big MR BIG ANNOUNCE ONLY BRITISH ISLES SHOW OF 2014
LA Rockers Mr Big have announced a one off show at London's Koko on Friday 17th October 2014 - their only show on these shores this year...

spike frankie miller SPIKE ANNOUNCES RELEASE OF '100% PURE FRANKIE MILLER' FEATURING RONNIE WOOD, ANDY FRASER, SIMON KIRKE, IAN HUNTER AND MORE
Call it a labour of love. A life's ambition. Or the chance to keep a precious legacy alive. Call it 100% Pure Frankie Miller....

kobra and the lotus KOBRA AND THE LOTUS RELEASE OFFICIAL VIDEO FOR BRAND NEW SINGLE 'SOLDIER'
Explosive hard rockers Kobra And The Lotus have revealed a warsome (get it?!) official video for 'Soldier'...

massive wagons MASSIVE WAGONS ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM AND UK TOUR
Two years and it's finally here, the brand new album - 'Fight The System'...

temperance movement THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT ANNOUNCE EUROPEAN TOUR DATES
The headlining dates will take place in November 2014...

overkill OVERKILL REVEAL NEW TRACK 'ARMORIST' ONLINE
"Our confidence is high for this shoot. From the director's eye to yours/ours, should be a killer!"...

avenged sevenfold AVENGED SEVENFOLD ANNOUNCE 'WAKING THE FALLEN: RESURRECTED' - OUT AUGUST 25TH
The restored breakthrough album includes a DVD & never before heard tracks, demos, and more...

dragonforce DRAGONFORCE ANNOUNCE LONDON SHOW WITH EPICA
Grab your tickets quickly as demand for this double bill will be high...

devildriver DEVILDRIVER PREMIERE LYRIC VIDEO FOR 'GUTTED'
Check out the band's latest offering from sixth studio album 'Winter Kills'...

down n outz DOWN 'N' OUTZ ANNOUNCE UK & EIRE TOUR DATES
"It's like Joe and the boys have taken some vintage films and slapped them onto a big, bright Technicolor screen. A great, in-your-face new way to experience some of Mott's finest songs!"...

nuclear assault NUCLEAR ASSAULT TO RELEASE 'LIVE AT CBGB'S'
There will be a limited release of 500 picture discs capturing the old school thrashers back in 1986...

seether SEETHER REVEAL NEW TRACK, 'SUFFER IT ALL' AVAILABLE FOR IMMEDIATE DOWNLOAD WITH 'ISOLATE AND MEDICATE' PRE-ORDER
The band have also announced UK Headline Shows for November...

gravedigger GRAVE DIGGER PREMIERE 'HELL FUNERAL' VIDEO
The track is from 'Return Of The Reaper', out July 14th...

voodoo six VOODOO SIX SET TO GUEST WITH THE WINERY DOGS ON TWO UK DATES IN JULY
These performances follow their Sonisphere appearance on Saturday July 5th...

orphaned land METAL MUSIC IS BIGGER THAN WHAT POLITICS CAN OFFER: ORPHANED LAND BRING ISRAEL AND PALESTINE TOGETHER
"We are the ambassadors of peace, more than our foreign ministry, or prime minister, or authors..."

madball MADBALL REVEAL OFFICIAL VIDEO FOR 'BORN STRONG' FEATURING CANDACE PUOPOLO FROM WALLS OF JERICHO
The track is taken from the album 'Hardcore Lives', released June 30th...

metallica METALLICA RELEASE NEW SONG
'Lords of Summer - First Pass Version' gets official release after being premiered on the first night of the current tour...

ted nugent kamp "TED NUGENT KAMP FOR KIDS" CELEBRATES 25TH ANNUAL SUMMER "KAMP"
When he's not being a guitar icon, Ted Nugent is on a mission to improve young lives. New album 'Shutup&Jam!' is out July 8...

massive wagons MASSIVE WAGONS RELEASE SINGLE AND NEW VIDEO 'RED DRESS'
The video incudes circus performances from the girls at Monster Cirque in the first release from the album 'Fight The System'...

black state highway THE DEBUT ALBUM FROM BLACK STATE HIGHWAY IS OUT ON 18TH AUGUST
The highly anticipated release is packed full of heavy riff-based rock...

helmet HELMET ANNOUNCE 'BETTY' 20TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR OF EUROPE FOR AUTUMN 2014
UK dates in Glasgow, Manchester, London now added due to popular demand ...

wacken LIVE AT WACKEN 2013 TO BE RELEASED AS DVD/ BluRay / 2 CD
Experience the world's biggest Metal Festival at home and be in with a chance to win a Lifetime Membership...

uncle rust UNCLE RUST ANNOUNCE AUGUST UK TOUR
The recently formed London based rock/Metal band will undertake a set of UK dates in August 2014...

blitzkreig BLITZKRIEG ANNOUNCE EUROPEAN TOUR FOR SEPTEMBER 2014
The band will visit five countries on their only tour this year...

sonisphere LATE NIGHT ENTERTAINMENT AT SONISPHERE ANNOUNCED
Only two weeks away - get ready to continue the party after the headliners leave the stage...

finntroll FINNTROLL REVEAL LIVE FOOTAGE OF SEMINAL TRACK 'TROLLHAMMAREN', FILMED AT THEIR LIVE ALBUM RECORDING SHOW IN AMSTERDAM
"Lock up your daughters, kegs of rum and men of God, for The Trolls from Up North are coming for you...live!..."

dragonforce DRAGONFORCE REVEAL NEW VIDEO 'THE GAME' (FEAT. MATT HEAFY OF TRIVIUM)
The track is taken from the album 'Maximum Overload', which will be released in August...

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