A HEAVY metal star has thrown his weight behind efforts to support Australia as it is ravaged by bush fires.

Luke Appleton of Iced Earth and Absolva is donating all money made from merch sales for his debut solo album, Snake Eyes, to the Australian fire service and an emergency wildlife fund.

Luke, from Bury, said: “I toured Australia in 2014 with Iced Earth and it is one of my favourite countries. I love the people, the culture, the animals, and I have been devastated to hear about what is happening there.

“So I wanted to do my part in helping out and contribute in some small way.”

Throughout this month Luke will be sending 100 per cent of the money generated from sales of all Snake Eyes merchandise, including T-shirts, CDs, posters and patches to the NSW Rural Fire Service and WIRES Emergency Fund for Wildlife.

He added: “I wanted to do something a little different and raise money and awareness, and the response has been overwhelming.

“People have made pre-orders, I’m down to my last few T-shirts, I have sold a bunch of CDs and all the funds are going straight to these incredible organisations.

“It breaks my heart to hear something like this is happening to those gorgeous animals.”

Despite being just 25, Luke is already a stalwart of the metal scene and has performed with many of the genre’s biggest bands.

Rock and metal have been a way of life for Luke since a young age. The son of Rocksector Records founder Mark Appleton, Luke formed hard rock three-piece Breakdown when he was 12 before joining Fury UK ­— which featured his brother Chris on guitar and vocals.

He played his first show with Fury UK at Bloodstock Open Air 2008, going on to support metal titans including Saxon and Iced Earth.

After a stint around the UK and Europe supporting the Floridian thrash/power metal legends, Luke was recruited to Iced Earth in 2012, following the departure of bassist Freddie Vidales, and says the duties have been “one hell of a rollercoaster”.

Incredibly, in between touring the world with Iced Earth, Luke also holds down bass duties in brother Chris’s new outfit Absolva and as a session bassist for former Iron Maiden and Wolfsbane frontman Blaze Bailey.

And in 2018 he ditched the amplifiers to write and record his debut acoustic solo album ­— Snake Eyes.

This month Luke will also head off to Brazil with Absolva and will perform a string of mammoths shows with Blaze Bailey, celebrating the vocalist’s two albums with Maiden.

To pick up Luke’s album and merchandise head to www.lukeappleton.bigcartel.com/products