Common Ground A Good First Impression For Kingdom Collapse’s New Audiences

Courtesy:  Adrenaline PR

Courtesy: Adrenaline PR

San Antonio, Texas based metalcore band Kingdom Collapse recently released its new EP Common Ground. The three-track EP is a good collection of songs for anyone that is a fan of the metalcore genre. Even while there are only three songs on the band’s new EP, the impact of the music’s combined music and lyrics is enough to leave listeners breathless by the EP’s end. A prime example of the power of the band’s music on this disc is the EP’s second song, ‘Dear Dad.’ The title alone invokes thoughts of it being just another song about someone’s broken relationship with one’s father. That’s typical fare for so much mainstream rock. But the reality of the song is anything but that. Rather, it’s a letter of sorts written to a young man’s father after the father dies. Vocalist Josh Wolford screams on this song, “Dear dad/I hope that you’re proud of me/I hope I’m the man you expected of me/Dear dad/I pray you’re looking after me/I pray I’m the son/You always wanted me to be.” The wording used here would easily lead listeners to believe that the song is about a broken father-son relationship. But that view is easily wiped clean as Wolford’s father figure replies to his son, “Dear son/Please know I’m so proud of you/I’m so proud of the man/That you’re growing into/Dear son/I’m always looking after you/Just reach out your hand/And I’ll always pull through for you.” What listeners get here is a hypothetical situation in which a son is talking to his deceased father. At the same time, the father is there in spirit, talking to his son, even though his son can’t hear or see him. Considering such lyrical content, one would expect the song to be less intense. But it actually works as the music’s intensity mirrors the intense feelings being felt inside the son. Many listeners will be able to relate to those intense emotions, too, thus making this a good addition to Kingdom Collapse’s new EP.

Another of the EP’s songs worth checking out is its closer, ‘Serenity.’ Wolford writes in the song’s chorus, “God grant me serenity/To accept the things/I can’t change/Please God/grant me the divinity/To change the things that will/they say stay invisible/And believe/The unbelievable…” Again the intensity in Wolford’s delivery and that of his band mates—Cameron Huser (bass/vocals), Michael Childress (Rhythm guitar), Jonathan Norris (lead guitar), and Hayden Allen (drums)—gives this song a certain impact that can only be experienced in listening to the song for one’s own self. Anyone that is a fan of We Came as Humans, As I Lay Dying, Underoath and others of that ilk will definitely appreciate that impact both musically and lyrically. The same can be said of Common Ground’s remaining song, ‘Bottom Feeder,’ which opens the EP. Whether for this song or for the two mentioned here, Common Ground proves to be a good first impression especially for audiences that are new to the band’s sound.

Audiences, whether new to Kingdom Collapse or relatively new to the band’s sound, will get to hear both of these songs and more for themselves tomorrow, March 28th, when the band performs at Headhunters in Austin, Texas. Also scheduled are live dates in Dallas, New Braunfels, and the band’s hometown of San Antonio next month. Audiences can keep up with the latest tour updates and more from the band online through its official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/kingdomcollapse.

Common Ground can be downloaded now via iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/common-ground-single/id789801380. 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 and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Phinehas’ New EP Good For New Fans And Old

Courtesy:  Red Cord Records

Courtesy: Red Cord Records

Phinehas will release its new EP, The Bridge Between next Tuesday, January 22nd.  The band’s new EP is a collection of songs from two of its previous releases, thegodmachine (2011) and The Phinehas EP (2009).  For fans that are new to this band, the best way to describe it is to imagine taking the best elements of As I Lay Dying, Killswitch Engage, and Shadows Fall, and mixing them together in a giant musical mixing pot.  The band’s vocalist, Sean McCullough is right up there with the likes of Brain Fair (Shadows Fall) and Tim Lambesis (As I Lay Dying).  Guitarist Jason Combs’ chops could easily be compared to the work of guitarists from the aforementioned bands.  And drummer and bassist Lee Humerian and Bryce Kelley respectively hold their own throughout all seven of the tracks compiled for this latest release from the La Mirada, CA based Christian metallers.

What’s most intriguing about this collection of previously released songs is that it shows that just as the band is capable within the realm of the fast, technical metalcore style sound, it is just as capable playing slower, more emotional music, too.  The EP’s first three tracks are a nonstop metal assault, opening solidly with the song, ‘Panhammer.’  The band wastes little time getting its audiences moving here with guitars and drums that instantly kick things into gear.  The way that drummer Lee Humerian and guitarist Jason Combs combine their talents will have audiences on their feet and pumping their fists from the song’s very first seconds.  And they barely let up if at all from there.  Musically, fans will be on their feet without stopping throughout the EP’s first three tracks.  The second half of the EP however, will have the exact opposite impact.  It shows the band’s deeper, more introspective side.  There are even points at which [Sean] McCullough even sounds like Corey Taylor (Stone Sour, Slipknot) in ‘Enkindler.’  And the subtlety of Combs’ guitar underneath McCullough’s vocals adds to the song’s power.  Jeff Darcy at Relic Recording brought that combination of sounds to life.  He shows that he has quite the ear in managing to balance the combination even in an acoustic song.  He is definitely to be commended for that.

There’s no doubt that the songs included on Phinehas’ new EP will impress audiences of both the band and of the “Christian Metal” and metalcore genres.  Longtime fans will largely be getting songs from the band’s previous releases in this new release.  Though the band’s acoustic takes on its previously released songs give an interesting new perspective on the songs.  That being the case, it makes an especially good start for anyone who is new to the music of Phinehas.  The songs noted here are just portions of what the band offers on its new EP.  Audiences will get the chance to hear the entire record for themselves next Tuesday, January 22nd courtesy of Red Cord Records.  Audiences will also have the chance to hear the band live as it will be performing a handful of shows beginning January 20th in Salt Lake City, Utah.  To get a full listing of performance dates, audiences can check out the band online at http://www.facebook.com/Phinehasrock and http://phinehas.us.  Fans can also follow the band on Twitter at http://twitter.com/phinehasband

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As I Lay Dying, BTBAM Making Tour Stops In NC

Metal Blade Records’ bands As I Lay Dying and Between the Buried and Me will be coming to North Carolina in support of each band’s new releases.  As I Lay Dying recently released its sixth full length studio album, titled, Awakened in 2012.  Between the Buried and Me released its new album, The Parallax II: Future Sequence last year, too.  The album became the band’s highest charting album yet, peaking at #22 on the Billboard Top 200.  It also marked the biggest one week sale for the band in its near ten year long history. 

 

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

As part of its current tour, As I Lay Dying will make a stop at Amos Southend in Charlotte, North Carolina on Wednesday, March 13th.  The band will be performing with The Devil Wears Prada and special guests The Chariot and For Today.  This performance will be an all ages show.  Doors open at 6:30pm.  And there will be an extra $3.00 surcharge for guests under the age of 21.  For more information on the show, AILD’s fans can go online to http://www.amossouthend.com/pages/calendar.html, http://www.asilaydying.com, or http://www.facebook.com/asilaydying.

 

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

While As I Lay Dying will be in Charlotte on March 13th, Between the Buried and Me will be in town three days ahead of that show as part of its first stateside tour in support of The Parallax II: Future Sequence since the album’s release.  The North Carolina based band will be at The Fillmore on Sunday March 10th.   It will be joined by Coheed and Cambria.  Doors for the band’s show at The Fillmore open at 7:00p.m.  Fans of BTBAM can get more information on this show online at http://www.betweentheburiedandme.com, http://fillmorecharlottenc.com, http://www.facebook.com/BTBAMofficial, and http://twitter.com/btbamofficial

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Heartist A Solid Mix of Metalcore And Emo

Courtesy: Roadrunner Records

Southern California based Heartist is a good fit on Roadrunner Records’ current artist roster.  And it’s an equally good fit for fans of bands the likes of As I Lay Dying, My Chemical Romance, and Set It Off.  The way that the band melds together its guitars and screaming vocals with the more melodic keyboard parts and actual singing makes the band’s debut EP, Nothing You Didn’t Deserve a record that metalcore and emo fans will appreciate.

Nothing You Didn’t Deserve opens with its lead single, ‘Disconnected.’  Front man Bryce Beckley writes in this song, “Can you remember/What brought us here/Or are you just as/Lost as I am?”  He goes on in the chorus, writing, “I’m disconnected from the ones above/I’m disconnected from the ones/Who fell in between/And I stray from this pathway/Though there’s still nothing/Left of me.”  The introspective nature of these lines will get any listener thinking.  It comes across as giving the vibe of someone feeling emotionally alone and lost in the world.  It’s the sort of lyrical topic to which younger audiences will easily relate.

On a different note, the band takes a different road on ‘Rhinestone.’  This time, the band seems to take the more traveled road with what comes across as a song based on a broken relationship.  Again, front man Beckley’s vocals capture the emotion of a person having finally gotten to the point after a breakup of realizing what was really wrong in the relationship.  In an odd sense, it’s almost sort of a self-empowerment moment.  Beckley sings on this track, “I should have learned/From the things that/I told myself/I’d never do/All along/The liar was you/Show your true colors/Let them see.”  This could easily be used from the angle of either a male or female, as there’s no gender assigned to the song.  Again, as young listeners are just finding themselves, this is a very good song for them.  It will serve as a big help for them as they navigate the rough waters that are personal relationships.

Both ‘Rhinestone’ and ‘Disconnected’ offer their own takes on the trials and tribulations of life.  The topics served up in this record mixed with the music make it easily accessible to the band’s key audience.  And it gives those same audiences something to build the hype over the eventual release of the band’s Roadrunner debut.  In the mean time, audiences will get the chance to see the band live this Fall and Winter as it hits the road on the “It’s Now or Winter” tour alongside a handful of other acts.  The band will kick off its tour in San Bernardino, CA on November 24th before making its way down the West Coast and to Texas.  From there, the band will make stops in Georgia and Tennessee before making its way through the Midwest and Northeast.  Fans can get a full tour itinerary along with all the latest news on the band online at http://www.heartistband.com and http://www.facebook.com/HeartistBand.

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AILD’s New LP Will Re-Awaken Every Metal Head

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

San Diego, California’s As I Lay Dying has returned with what is some of the band’s best work since its debut album, “Frail Words Collapse” with its new album, “Awakened.”  The band’s fifth full length studio release of new material combines elements of that album with elements of its previous releases to make an album that any metal head happy.  The album’s opener, ‘Cauterize’ is a powerful opener.  Front man Tim Lambesis sings in this piece, “I’m caught between the feeling/Of being pulled apart/And being stuffed into a cell” in the song’s chorus.  That’s something to which so many listeners can relate.  He’s saying in a metaphorical sense, he feels so much pressure that he doesn’t entirely know what he’s feeling.  But it’s definitely not a good feeling.  Who out there hasn’t felt that way at one point or another?

The album’s second track, ‘A Greater Foundation’ could almost be compared to a hybrid mix of Killswitch Engage and Hatebreed with the combination of Lambesis’ vocals and the buzz saw sharp guitar riffs churned out by Nick Hipa and Phil Sgrosso.  Drummer Jordan Mancino is just as solid behind the kit with this song, not missing a single beat throughout.  There’s even a touch of old school style metal here too, for fans of the older stuff in ‘Resilience.’  This piece starts out very much in the old school metal style before kicking things into high gear.  Fans of AILD’s old sound will enjoy the sound of ‘No Lungs to Breathe.’  This is the sound that made the band so famous on its debut record.  What’s noticeable here though, is that while it boasts that sound from the band’s early days, long time fans will be able to tell how much the band has grown since then, too.  There’s even more of that sound on ‘Defender.’  The song actually boasts singing along with Lambesis’ sharp as nails screams.  The only time the band lets up throughout all of this is in the softer instrumental that is ‘Washed Away.’  This song is just enough of a break for listeners to collect themselves before one more full out aural assault.  By the time it’s all said and done, audiences will be left breathless by the band’s chops.

“Awakened” hits stores tomorrow.  The band is currently promoting the record.  It will be at a signing engagement tonight at the Looney Tunes CD store in West Babylon, New York.  And tomorrow, the band will be at Vintage Vinyl Records in Fords, New Jersey for another in-store signing.  Fans can get the information on these events online at http://www.facebook.com/asilaydying and http://www.asilaydying.com

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, 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 reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

It Lies Within Has Broken Out Of Its Chrysalis

Courtesy: Luxor Records/Infamous Empire

When one thinks of Michigan, one typically thinks of the University of Michigan Wolverines, the Great Lakes, and Motown.  But if the members of Flint, Michigan have anything to say about it, people may soon be associating Michigan with the metal community, too.  This five-piece has been pounding out its aggressive rhythms since 2008.  In the four years since the band started up, it’s made some big waves in the metal community.  The band has performed on metal festivals such as Rockapalooza, Bledfest, and the Carnival of Chaos.  And now with the release of its new LP, ‘Chrysalis”, It Lies Within is set to become another of the big names in the metal community.

Anyone who is a fan of Dragonforce, Mushroomhead, Crossbreed, As I Lay Dying, or other bands of that ilk will enjoy “Chrysalis.”  Vocalist Zachary Scott does a good job of mixing guttural screams with more melodic sounds throughout the record.  And the use of keyboards mixed in with the guitar work of Matthew Michael and Michael Siva on the likes of ‘Home Is Where The Heart Is’ and ‘Redefined Identity’ will conjure thoughts of the aforementioned bands.  There seems to even be a touch of Meshuggah in ‘Redefined Identity’ and ‘The Watcher.’  And any fan of Arch Enemy will appreciate ‘Sharp Tongue’, and perhaps ‘Moments and Memories.’  In short, what can be said of It Lies Within on this new release is this.  Whereas so many young up-and-coming bands in the metal community have a tendency to stick to perhaps one influence and try too hard to emulate said band’s sound, It Lies Within shows its versatility with “Chrysalis.”  Consider that the term, “Chrysalis” is a hard outer covering for some living beings.  It’s a fitting title for the band’s new album.  That’s because what this band has shown is that in showing its versatility, ILW has broken out of its chrysalis and is flying free among the young metal masses.  It would be no surprise that with the right coverage and support, this Flint, MI based band may become even more popular as it flies its course.

It Lies Within is currently touring in support of Chrysalis.  The band will be performing a pair of dates in Illinois this weekend and will follow them up with a series of performances across Michigan throughout October.  Fans can get a full tour listing and all the latest from the band online at http://www.itlieswithin.com, http://www.facebook.com/itlieswithin, http://www.myspace.com/itlieswithin, and http://twitter.com/itlieswithin.  The band’s album is available now in stores and online.  It can be downloaded via iTunes at http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/it-lies-within/id345594889

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AILD’s “Decas” Not Just Another Filler Album

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Compilation albums are nothing new to the music industry.  Nearly every artist and band in every genre of the business has released at least one compilation album, if not more at one time or another.  Generally, these releases are in reality little more than space fillers between albums meant to fill contractual obligations on the part of the band.  The first reaction to them is generally that they’re typically loaded with songs from other artists similar to the ones covering the songs and maybe some old b-sides thrown in that hadn’t been used on previous records.  However, there are some cases in which the artist(s) and/or band(s) release compilation albums that do manage to exhibit the extent of said artist(s) and/or band(s) talents.  As I Lay Dying’s 2011 covers album, “Decas”, is one of those releases.

“Decas” sees As I Lay Dying showing just how talented it is with covers of songs from the likes of Slayer, Judas Priest, and The Descendants.  Being that As I Lay Dying is more commonly associated with the likes of Killswitch Engage, At The Gates, and others of that ilk, a cover of Slayer seems almost out of place.  But the band’s cover of ‘War Ensemble’ is seamless.  This is one of the true highlights of this compilation.  The guitars and drums are entirely on point throughout the song.  And while front man Tim Lambesis has a different style from that of Slayer’s Tom Araya, he still manages to hold his own.  The band’s cover of Judas Priest’s ‘Hellion/Electric Eye’ is just as impressive.  It continues to show the band’s old school roots.  Given Lambesis’ cookie monster vocals are out of place on this piece, there is actual singing up for it that makes the song worth the time.  The same can be said of his vocals in the cover of The Descendants’ ‘Coffee Mug.’  On the other hand, though, it can be argued that it does give a different take on the song, stylistically.

The band’s covers are a good addition to this compilation.  But they are just one positive to it.  The new songs included add their own element to the general effect.  ‘Paralyzed’ is a solid opener with solid guitar riffs and equally strong drumming and vocals.  ‘From Shapeless to Breakable’ is perfect for fans of death metal.  And ‘Moving Forward’ is a good new piece that shows the band can handle melodic metal, too.  It’s good to hear actual singing on this song in place of the general screaming vocals.  The remixes of the band’s older material makes for an interesting addition to this compilation, too.  While it’s obviously divided fans, audiences should give the band for taking the chance and going out on that limb.  Generally metal and re-mixes don’t do too well, save perhaps for Fear Factory.  But the band’s re-mix of ‘Confined’ is actually quite a good re-do on that song, as is the wild remix of ‘The Blinding of False Light.’

“Decas” is on the surface, a filler record between new studio albums.  But on a much deeper level, it’s a good compilation for the band.  It shows the band taking chances, and even stretching out some, displaying that it has even more talent than it has shown before.  All things considered, it may be a compilation disc, but it is still a good listen for any true hardcore fan of As I Lay Dying.

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As I Lay Dying releases video for first single from “Awakened”

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

As I Lay Dying won’t release its new album until September 25th.  But to get fans excited for its impending release, the band has officially released the lyric video for the first single off of the album, ‘Cauterize.’

The video shows a moth like insect flying against AILD’s band logo, while the lyrics to the song play overtop.  The song comes across as a very personal piece.  The band sings on the song’s chorus, “I’m caught between the feeling of being pulled apart, or stuffed into a cell.”  There’s obviously some inner conflict in the song.  fans can check out the video on the band’s official Youtube channel now at http://www.youtube.comasilaydying

As I Lay Dying will be touring throughout the Summer with the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival in support of “Awakened.”  Fans can check out all of the band’s tour dates online at http://www.asilaydying.com, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/asilaydying, and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/asilaydying.

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As I Lay Dying debut new single, prep new album, tour

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

As I Lay Dying is a busy band this year.  The band has officially debuted the lead single off of its upcoming new album, “Awakened” as it prepares to take aprt in this Summer’s Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival.  Fans can check out the new single, ‘Cauterize’ now on liquidmetal.com.  The band’s brand new album, “Awakened” is currently schedule to be released September 25th via Metal Blade Records.

Audiences who come and check out the band this Summer will get the opportunity to pre-order “Awakened.”  The band will make available special limited edition laminated that will allow fans to pre-order the new album right at the band’s merchandise booth at each of its stops on the tour.  The laminates will each have a special code that can be entered online at http://www.metalblade.com/awakened.  Fans simply need enter the code to pre-order the album and have it hand delivered to their door.  The code must be redemmed by no later than November 1st , 2012.  The laminates are available only at the band’s stops on the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, and this offer is only available in the United States. 

Fans can get a full listing of the band’s tour dates and news online at http://www.asilaydying.com, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/asilaydying, on Twitter at http://twitter.com/asilaydying, and on its official Youtube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/asilaydying.

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