Satriani Proves He’s Still Got Plenty Of “Momentum” On New LP

Courtesy:  Epic Records/RED Distribution

Courtesy: Epic Records/RED Distribution

Joe Satriani’s latest release, Unstoppable Momentum is the famed guitarist’s best release since his 2006 album, Super Colossal.  This new record is the album that fans have waited for since the release of Super Colossal.  It is just as bombastic as Super Colossal and more at some points.  It’s also just as gentle as SC, too at different points.  Perhaps a big reason for the success of this record is the Satch opted for a different backing group than he typically uses on his records.  Many of Satriani’s past records were recorded with Jeff Campitelli on drums and Allen Whitman on bass.  This time out, Satch opted instead to have drummer Vinnie Colaiuta man the kit and Chris Chaney add the low end on bass.  Another change to the lineup that could have created such a difference on this record from his other works was the inclusion of Mike Frasier behind the glass once again.  The two are quite familiar with one another, having worked together on no less than six of Satch’s previous records, including his most recent album, Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards (2010) and Super Colossal.  He also helped with the creation of both of Chickenfoot’s current releases on which Joe played guitar.  That familiarity and friendship between the pair—and the inclusion of new musicians–obviously played a role in the record’s sound as it has proven to be not just his best record since Super Colossal, but one of his finest records to date.

Right from the opening number of Unstoppable Momentum, long-time fans of Satriani’s work know they are in for quite a ride.  The album opens fittingly with its title track.  Simply listening to the song, one can’t help but hear that perhaps Satriani is making a statement early on that even fourteen albums in, he still has a lot left to offer audiences.  He still has that “unstoppable momentum.”  The song’s seeming ABA structure starts off easy before really kicking things up in the middle section.  Joe shows without a doubt that he’s still got plenty left in the tank with his “solos” in this section while drummer Vinnie Colaiuta gives an added intensity with his musicianship behind the kit.  He proves to be just as solid as [Jeff] Campitelli, if not more so.  His ability to handle polyrhythmic patters without missing a single beat is impressive to say the least, both here and throughout the record.  This is just one example of what makes this such a solid record.

Another good example of what makes Unstoppable Momentum a success is the almost Beatles-esque, ‘I’ll Put a Stone on Your Cabin.’  The song’s “A” sections have something of a Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club influence.  Somehow, Satriani and his band mates manage to tie in a sound that is quite the counterpoint to this vibe, making the song into a piece unlike anything that Satriani has ever recorded throughout his career.  It is one of those songs that simply must be heard to be appreciated and understood.      

There is at least one more example of what makes this new record one that fans will enjoy.  And it is the album’s absolutely shortest, but most touching piece.  That song is the one minute and forty-three minute long, ‘I’ll Put a Stone on Your Cairn.’  For those that don’t know, one of the traditional uses of a cairn is as a monument to one who has passed on.  Its use roots all the way back to prehistoric Eurasia.  So placing a stone on one’s cairn would be an act of tribute and remembrance to the deceased.  Keeping all of this in mind, the gentle, dulcet tones of this short opus are sure to create thoughts in the minds of listeners of perhaps those that they have lost.  It offers some of the album’s deepest emotions and is sure to generate among listeners some of the deepest emotions, as well.  Without a doubt, this song may end up being a favorite for fans, even as short as it is.  And it is just one more among so many that listeners will enjoy throughout the course of the album’s eleven total tracks.  The album is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online via Joe’s website, http://www.satriani.com, where he has links to iTunes, Amazon, and through his own website.  Fans can also order the new album and all sorts of Joe Satriani gear through his official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/joesatriani.  Fans can keep up with the latest tour updates and news from Joe on his Facebook page, too.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Slash, Chuck D. Join Anthrax On Stage At Metal Alliance Show

 

Photo Credit:  Stephanie Cabral

Photo Credit: Stephanie Cabral

 

Metal Alliance Tour headliners Anthrax had a couple very special guests last night at the tour’s sold out stop in Hollywood, CA.  The tour made a stop at the Hollywood, CA House of Blues last night.  Much to the surprise of audiences in attendance, Anthrax was joined on stage during its set by none other than Public Enemy front man Chuck D. and guitarist Slash.  Slash joined the band on-stage for its performance of AC/DC’s hit, ‘T.N.T.’ Slash covered lead guitar duties for this performance.  Later in the night’s performance, Chuck D. surprised everyone when he came on stage and performed ‘Bring The Noise’ with the band.  The band originally recorded this song with Public Enemy in 1991.

Photo Credit:  Stephanie Cabral

Photo Credit: Stephanie Cabral

Slash and Chuck D. were just a couple of the celebrities in house for last night’s stop on the Metal Alliance Tour.  Kerry King (Slayer), John Tempesta (The Cult, Rob Zombie), Justin Chendellor (Tool), Brendon Small (Dethklok) and actor/musician Brian Posehn were also on hand for last night’s show.

The Metal Alliance Tour runs through late April.  It was in San Francisco, CA tonight.  Friday, the tour—also featuring Municipal Waste, Exodus, High on Fire, and Holy Grail—will be at the Roseland Ballroom in Portland, Oregon.  Fans in North Carolina will get the chance to see the band live when it makes a stop at the Tremont Music Hall in Charlotte.  And right now, fans can get the chance to see Anthrax for Free when the tour comes to Charlotte next month.  The Phil’s Picks Facebook page and the Tremont Music Hall together are giving away a pair of tickets to see the band free.  Along with the tickets, one lucky fan will also win a copy of the band’s new EP, Anthems.  Fans need just go to the Phil’s Picks Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Once that’s done, fans need only send a message or write on the Phil’s Picks timeline indicating that they want in on the contest.  One lucky person’s name will be drawn Friday morning at 9am.  The tickets to the show will be at Will Call at the Tremont Music Hall.  The winner can either pick up the CD in person or have it mailed to them.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news, reviews and contests, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and giveaways in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Anthrax EP One Of 2013’s Best Rock Records

Anthrax has proven once again with its new EP, Anthems, why it is still one of rock’s elite bands.  This veteran rock act has crafted in its new release a work that is perfect in every way.  From the sequencing to the sound to the very packaging, everything that could have been done right was done right.  Sure, it probably is essentially a space filler between albums, but even if that is the case, it is one heck of a space filler.  It’s a musical history lesson for rockers of all ages.  Here, audiences get a band that by comparison to the bands it covers is relatively young.  Yet it shows that it knows the classics through some expert renditions of said classics.

Anthems opens with a cover of Rush’s ‘Anthem.’  This song originally appeared on Rush’s album, Fly By Night.  That Anthrax would cover Rush is a mind blower in and of itself.  Considering the style of music for which Anthrax is known, one would not instantly consider such a polar opposite sound to be any kind of influence on the band.  So that in itself is an eye opener.  That the band so expertly covered the song is even more of an eye opener.  The band paid homage to Rush and the song with its cover, but still added its own touch to the song, too.  Front man Joey Belladonna makes the song even more solid of an opener when he sings the line, “Welcome to the world.”  When Geddy Lee first sang those words, they obviously had their own meaning.  But having Belladonna sing those same words, they somehow take on a whole new meaning.  Since this is the EP’s opener, it could be argued that those words take on an introductory fashion for new listeners and a whole new introduction even for those more seasoned audiences.  Given, that probably wasn’t the intended function of that line.  But it does seem to have that impact.

The band’s new EP only gets better from the opening cover.  The EP’s second track is a cover of another legendary band’s song.  The band’s cover of AC/DC’s ‘TNT’ is without a doubt, one of this disc’s major high points.  One can’t help but focus yet again on front man Joey Belladonna. Maybe it is just this critic’s own take on the song, but Belladonna sounds eerily like the late great Bon Scott in every sense in this song.  Had one not known it was him, one might actually have thought it was the original song.  This is also thanks in part to guitarist Rob Caggiano, who earlier this year announced his departure from the band.  His take on Angus Young’s guitar work on this rock classic pays Young full honor.  And drummer Charlie Benante’s drumming is just as solid as that of Phil Rudd.  This is one that one could easily see the band performing live as it tours the country on the Metal Alliance Tour this Spring.

If Anthrax’s covers of ‘TNT’ and ‘Anthem’ aren’t enough for fans, then the cover of Boston’s ‘Smokin’’ will impress audiences.  This is yet another spot on cover that keeps the energy flowing from the EP’s first two tracks.  Older, more experienced rockers will love how the band handles this track.  And that such a young band by comparison could so expertly handle this classic will make older audiences smile, too.  Younger audiences will love it too simply because the band shines here even more.  It’s as if the band just keeps getting better and better on every track.  This is the case with the remaining trio of covers included here, too.  Those covers lead into the inclusion of two more bonuses in the form of ‘Crawl’ and its remix of sorts.

‘Crawl’ was taken from the band’s 2011 album, Worship Music.  Including both this track and its remix was actually quite smart.  Whereas so many bands in a case such as this would only include the redone track or live track, Anthrax and Megaforce Records have included both tracks, thus offering audiences the chance to compare and decide for themselves which version of the song they like better.  Regardless of which song becomes one fan’s favorite or another’s these last two tracks help the EP close just as solidly as it opened.  It goes without saying that if any one negative that could be said about Anthems, it is that the band chose to make this an EP, instead of a full length album.  Here’s to hoping one day, fans will see that happen.  Until then, fans can listen to his EP to their hearts’ content as the EP is available now both in stores and online.  It can be ordered online direct from the official Anthrax website here:  http://anthrax.com/2013/03/19/anthems-is-here/Worship Music can be ordered directly via the band’s official website also at  http://shop.anthrax.com/shop.cfm/pk/category/ac/detail/cid/409267/prodid/412162.

Fans can get a chance to win a copy of Anthems for free right now and the chance to see the band live at its stop in Charlotte, North Carolina next month from the Phil’s Picks blog and Facebook page when they “Like” the Phil’s Picks Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/philspicks.  Just “Like” the Phil’s Picks Facebook page and say you want to be entered for the chance to win an EP and to see the band live.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Activision, Treyarch Release New COD Trailer

Courtesy: Activision/Treyarch

Call of Duty:  Black Ops II is coming.  One of the year’s most anticipated games will be here in just a matter of weeks.  As the big day nears, Activision and Treyarch have released another brand new trailer for the game featuring what can only be described as some of the best graphics of any game so far this year.  And it’s all set to the backdrop of AC/DC’s hit song, ‘Back in Black.’  Fans can check out this brand new trailer now online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6vOWbJ46XU.

Fans who don’t want to have to wait until the release date can pre-order the game now and get the Nuketown 2025 Bonus Map, and even get the game in very special limited editions.  To get more information on pre-ordering, fans can go online to http://www.callofduty.com/blackops2/preorder.  And to get all the latest on COD Black Ops 2 as the days tick down, fans can go online to the official COD Black Ops 2 website at http://www.callofduty.com/blackops2

To get the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Gypsyhawk’s Sophomore LP Another Hit For Metal Blade

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Guitars, bass, drums, and vocals.  That’s really all rock and roll needs.  And that’s what Pasadena, California’s own Gypsyhawk has brought to the game once again with its new album, “Revelry and Resilience.”  This album is a straight forward hard rocking work that will have every warm blooded rocker out there banging his or her heard, and putting his or her horns high with pride.  “Revelry and Resilience” is an example of everything that is and ever has been right with rock music.

The whole rock party kicks off with fittingly with the song, ‘Overdrive.’   To quote the line, this song is all killer, no filler.  From the killer guitar solos from Andrew Packer and Erik Kluiber, to front man Eric Harris’ Lemmy Kilmister-like vocals, to drummer Ian Brown’s driving beat, this song is a perfect start to the record in every way.  The band barely lets up from here, kicking right into ‘The Fields’ with equal adrenaline.  ‘Hedgeking’ follows in similar fashion, keeping the adrenaline and the blood flowing in its listeners’ veins from start to finish. 

There’s little letting up from there on throughout the remainder of this record.  Gypsyhawk’s sound has obviously evolved from its first album, “Patience and Perseverance.”  The band had a solid old school rock and roll sound on that record.  But the band’s sound seems even more honed this time out.  The band is right up there with the likes of Fireball Ministry, Airbourne, and others of that ilk on this album.  What makes Gypsyhawk better than those bands though, is its ability to cross the rock and roll spectrum, rather than stick to one style.  Airbourne is more closely linked to AC/DC and Fireball Ministry is compared more to classic Ozzy.  In the case of Gypsyhawk, this band has guitar work that pays homage to Lynyrd Skynyrd, Judas Priest, and even Iron Maiden just to name a few.  And as already noted front man Eric Harris’ vocals are weirdly similar to that of Lemmy Kilmister.  All of that being noted, Gypsyhawk’s new album, “Revelry and Resilience” will be a favorite among the fans of true old school guitar driven rock and roll, this reviewer included.  In fact, there is little doubt that by the end of the year, it will find itself on this reviewer’s list of the year’s best hard rock and metal albums.

“Revelry and Resilience” will be available in stores and online next Tuesday, August 28th.  It can be ordered direct through Metal Blade’s website at http://www.indiemerch.com/metalbladerecords/band/gypsyhawk.  The band will be performing a handful of live dates this Fall and Winter to support the album.  Fans can check out those dates and all the latest from the band online at http://www.facebook.com/Gypsyhawkusa, http://gyspsyhawk.bandcamp.com, and http://gypsyhawkusa.blogspot.com.  

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“Satchurated: Live in Montreal” one of 2012’s top 3 live releases

Courtesy: Epic Records/cine musica

Summer is here.  And that means that the annual tours are making their way across the country fast and furious.  The problem is that with all the tours out there, who has the money or the means to even try to make them all?  For that matter, what are fans to do when their favorite band and/or artist doesn’t make a stop in their city?  This is where the importance of live recordings comes in to play.  Anyone out there who is like this reviewer has seen their favorite act(s) shun their city in favor of other markets time and again.  So live recordings become that much more important to being able to experience given acts live.  And one of the best of this year’s live recordings is Joe Satriani’s recently released live blu-ray “Satchurated:  Live in Montreal.”

“Satchurated:  Live in Montreal” is not Joe Satriani’s first live recording.  But it is one of his best yet, if not his best yet.  This live show is as close as fans will come to a career retrospective from Satriani.  The show clocks in at just under two and a half hours long.  And it lifts from nearly every one of the fourteen albums that this guitar legend has released in the twenty plus years that he has been making music.  That includes more than half of the songs from his most recent album, “Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards.”  The whole show kicks off with the hit, ‘Ice 9′ from his album, “Surfing With The Alien.”  All the hits are there, including:  ‘Satch Boogie’, ‘Summer Song’, ‘Crowd Chant’, ‘The Mystical Potato Head Groove Thing’ and so many more.

The mega set list on this performance is just one part of the whole that makes “Satchurated:  Live in Montreal” the standout live recording that it is.  The songs are great.  And thanks to Mike Fraser (Aerosmith, AC/DC, Sliipknot, etc.) and everyone behind the scenes of the show, the finished product came out just as impressive as the set list itself.  The audio mix is spot on even for those who might not have a surround sound home theater system.  Though as impressive as the audio mix was, it’s enough to make a person want to buy a home theater system if only for the one show.  It should come as no surprise that the final mix was so impressive.  This show wasn’t the first time that Satriani and Fraser have worked together.  They also teamed up for Satriani’s albums, “Crystal Planet” and “Super Colossal.” 

The finished video presentation was just as impressive as the audio mix.  Even those who don’t have a 3-D TV get stunning clarity with the concert’s blu-ray presentation.  On top of that, the general shooting, helmed by the brothers Lamoureux–Pierre and Francois–will make audiences feel as if they’re right there in Montreal with the rest of the audience.  The brothers took the emotion of every one of Satch’s songs, and somehow adapted that energy to the filming, giving shots at just the right pacing to keep audiences hooked.  Combine the filming with the show’s setlist, and audiences will be pulled right into the show.  they won’t even realize that nearly two and a half hours have passed until the show is over.  That is the sign of a truly impressive live recording.

Joe Satriani has been making music for over two decades.  He has released fourteen albums, and earned numerous honors as a result of those albums.  Now, he can add one more honor to that already long list with the release of “Satchurated:  Live in Montreal.”  That honor is of having one of the top live recordings of 2012.  From the superior audio mix and video presentation to the career spanning set list, Joe Satriani has never looked or sounded better.

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