Anti-Mortem Makes A Solid First Impression On Its Debut LP

Courtesy:  Nuclear Blast America

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast America

Anti-Mortem’s debut record New Southern is one of the best new hard rock records of 2014. The band’s debut record, which is available now in stores and online, has taken the best elements of Black Label Society, Hellyeah, and Pantera—just to name a few—and has blended them together to make a record that clearly shows why the band signed with what is one of hard rock’s “big three” labels in Nuclear Blast Records. For those that might be curious, the other pair of labels that comprise that “big three” are Metal Blade Records and Century Media Records. The band grabs listeners right off the top in the album’s opener ‘Words of Wisdom’ and doesn’t let go until the final strains of the album’s closer. Along the way, the band more than makes its argument as to why it deserves to be on any critic’s list of the year’s best new hard rock records. Case in point the band’s latest single ‘Truck Stop Special’ and the southern rock sludge of ‘Black Heartbeat.’ These songs are just a few examples of why Anti-Mortem’s New Southern has earned a spot at least on this critic’s list of the year’s top new hard rock records. Audiences will agree that any of the songs on this record show why the band deserves such an honor from any critic.

Anti-Mortem proves to audiences why its debut record is one of the year’s best new hard rock records right off the top in the album’s opener ‘Words of Wisdom.’ The comparisons to Black Label Society and Hellyeah are instantaneous thanks to the heavy guitar riffs of Nevada Romo and Zain Smith, and front man Larado Romo’s searing vocals. In an era when it seems that crunching down-tuned guitars and indecipherable cookie monster growls seem to be leading the way in the rock world, this combination of musicianship is a breath of fresh air even in the rock community. Of course the equally pounding drumming of Levi Dickerson and bassist Corey Henderson’s solid low end aren’t to be forgotten, either. They add their own depth to the song’s musical side as Larado Romo sings (Yes, he actually sings to a certain extent unlike so many rock vocalists today), “I was told my whole life/Don’t do this/Don’t do that/Force your opinion on me/Like it was fact/You tried to hypnotize/And teach me to act/the truth is you lied/And there’s no going back.” He and his band mates go on to sing in the song’s chorus, “You wonder/What’s under/What’s underneath my skin/You wonder what is under/Underneath my/I see no reason why/We should lay down and die/No words of wisdom.” There is no cryptic hidden message here. This song is a full-on, horns-high hard rock anthem. And it will have any true fan of the genre singing along with pride. That pride doesn’t lessen at all even after this song ends. That’s evident in another of the album’s highest points, ‘Truck Stop Special.’

‘Truck Stop Special’ is southern sludge rock at its finest. What can be said of this song but it is destined to be just as much a favorite for audiences both on the album and in a live setting. It’s a powerful song both musically and lyrically. Lyrically, Romo comes across as singing about making the most of life. This argument could be made in noting the song’s chorus. Romo sings in the chorus, “You can’t live your life, no/With your head in the sand/You can’t waste your time, son/On a fool’s errand.” That argument is made even stronger as he sings in the song’s second verse, “No money to drown in/No hope to hang/Trouble’s the way I’m living child/When there ain’t no fame/Our education boy/I’ll show you how to be yeah/To never want nothing son/To take all you need.” In the song’s final verse, Romo goes on to note how the last to a given point suffer the possibility of losing everything. He is speaking metaphorically here saying that those that waste their time in life are in danger of negative consequences. Overall, he is saying people shouldn’t waste their lives and let life pass them by. That carpe diem message of sorts next to the song’s solid driving musical makes this song one more of so many of New Southern’s many high points.

The members of Anti-Mortem show time and again throughout the course of New Southern’s twelve tracks and forty-six total minutes just why the band’s debut record is so deserving of being added to any critic’s list of the year’s best new hard rock records. ‘Truck Stop Special’ and ‘Words of Wisdom’ are both prime examples of why it deserves to be on that list. There is one more song that could be noted among the many standout tracks on this album proving that argument. The song in question, ‘Black Heartbeat’ comes almost halfway through the album. The song focuses on broken relationship, lyrically. But it doesn’t come across in the typical ‘oh woe is me’ style of so many songs. It really captures the mixed emotions of anger and pain felt by someone that has been on the receiving end of a broken relationship. And Romo makes no bones about the song’s subject matter as he sings, “It’s safe to say/It’s over now/At least until you call/Sometimes I wonder why I care/And loved you at all/Go on and pretend/It’s not your fault/Your cold black heartbeat/Has come to a halt/So use me/Abuse me/To get what you need/Confuse me/Lie to me/Your damage has been done/You can’t take advantage of my love anymore/No trust/Don’t wanna see/Then just walk out the door.” Some out there might not like the comparison, but one could almost compare this piece to Theory of a Deadman’s song ‘Get What You Deserve.’ The two songs are very similar both in terms of their themes and musical sides. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, either. ‘Get What You Deserve’ is rather scathing in its own way just as this song proves to be. And it comes from a similar vantage point. It’s one of those pieces that when one is going through a separation of any kind will most definitely empower listeners and help them to get through such times. Ergo, ‘Black Heartbeat’ will have done its job. And in turn it will have proven once more just why New Southern more than deserves to be considered one of this year’s best new hard rock records.

All three of the songs noted in this review are prime examples of why New Southern deserves a spot on every critic’s list of the year’s best new hard rock records. They are also prime examples of why this album deserves a spot on the CD rack of every purist hard rock and metal fan. They aren’t the only examples of the album’s solidity. Every song on this album could be used for this argument. That’s truly saying something. The album is available now in stores and online. It can also be purchased at any of the upcoming live performances on the band’s current concert schedule. The band will kick off a summer tour at Strummer’s in Fresno, California on Tuesday, July 8th. Audiences can check out the band’s current tour itinerary online now and even buy New Southern at the band’s official website, http://anti-mortem.com. The band’s current tour schedule and updates are also available via Facebook and Twitter at http://www.facebook.com/AntiMortemUSA and http://twitter.com/antimortemusa. 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.

Satriani Releases New Career-Spanning Box Set

Courtesy:  Epic Records

Courtesy: Epic Records

Joe Satriani released today a brand new box set.

Joe Satriani: The Complete Studio Recordings is a 15-disc box set containing each of Satriani’s records to date. It can be ordered online via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HZ2M5KE/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00HZ2M5KE&linkCode=as2&tag=legacy_recordings-20. It is also available as a collectible limited edition USB drive that can be purchased via Satriani’s official website, http://www.satriani.com. The USB drive is available in a 24-bit/96kHz “High Resolution Audio.” The HRA USB drive audio is as close as fans will ever come to the early ½” analog masters and later high sample rate digital masters. That’s because the HRA has higher bandwidth, wider dynamic range, greater detail, and more depth than a conventional CD.

Satriani will be on The Arsenio Hall Show tonight as part of his promotional tour. He will sit in with Hall’s house band. And tomorrow, April 23rd, he will be the featured guest on Rockline with host Bob Coburn, promoting both his new box set and his new book, Strange Beautiful Music. Audiences can find when and on which station they can catch Satch’s interview at http://www.rocklineradio.com/affiliates.php. Fans can also check out his appearance on the season finale of VH1 Classic’s That Metal Show. Fans can check out that episode online now at http://www.vh1.com/video/that-metal-show/full-episodes/joe-satriani/1725085/playlist.jhtml.

Along with his on-air presence, Joe is featured in the “Life” section of today’s edition of USA Today. Fans can check out the article online at http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/music/2014/04/21/joe-satriani-box-set-autobiography/7476617/. He is also featured on the cover of Guitar World magazine alongside fellow guitar god and Black Label Society front man Zakk Wylde. Fans can check that out at http://www.guitarworld.com/may-2014-guitar-world-zakk-wylde-joe-satriani-how-build-pedal-board-john-frusciante-death-angel-tabs-lessons-and-more.

The complete album listing for Satch’s new box set is noted below:

Joe Satriani: The Complete Studio Recordings includes:

1986  Not of This Earth

1987  Surfing with the Alien

1989  Flying in a Blue Dream

1992  The Extremist

1993  Time Machine

1995  Joe Satriani

1998  Crystal Planet

2000  Engines of Creation

2002  Strange Beautiful Music

2004  Is There Love in Space?

2006  Super Colossal

2008  Professor Satchafunkilus and the Musterion of Rock

2010  Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards

2013  Unstoppable Momentum

2014 Additional Creations and Bonus Tracks

More information on Satriani’s new box set, book, tour news and more is available online at http://www.satriani.com and http://www.facebook.com/joesatriani. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Band Schedule, Pre-Party Announced For Welcome To Rockville Festival

Courtesy:  Ashton-Magnuson Media

Courtesy: Ashton-Magnuson Media

The organizers of the annual Welcome to Rockville festival have announced the complete schedule for this year’s festival, including performance times for each act on the bill.

Courtesy:  Ashton-Magnuson Media

Courtesy: Ashton-Magnuson Media

Digital Summer and World Gone kick off this year’s festival. Digital Summer and World Gone are schedule to open the festival at 11:15am on the Monster Energy Fire Museum Stage and Jagermeister Stage respectively. Cathercist, winner of the Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands, is up next at 11:45am ET on the Ernie Ball Stage. Within Reason and Ghost of War will open the festival’s second day at noon on the Monster Energy Fire Museum Stage and Jagermeister Stage respectively. The complete performance schedule for the weekend’s events is included below.

Performance times for Monster Energy’s Welcome To Rockville are as follows (subject to change):

Saturday, April 26

Monster Energy Fire Museum Stage

11:15 AM         Digital Summer

12:30 PM         Rev Theory

2:00 PM           Adelitas Way

3:30 PM           Hellyeah

5:15 PM           Chevelle

7:15 PM           A Day To Remember

9:40 PM           Avenged Sevenfold

Monster Energy Metropolitan Park Stage

11:45 PM         Gemini Syndrome

1:15 PM           Middle Class Rut

2:45 PM           Chiodos

4:15 PM           Alter Bridge

6:15 PM           Volbeat

8:20 PM           The Cult

Jägermeister Stage

11:15 AM         World Gone

12:30 PM         Silvertung (Jägermeister Band)

2:00 PM           Evergreen Terrace

3:30 PM           Smile Empty Soul

5:15 PM           Memphis May Fire

7:15 PM           We Came As Romans

Ernie Ball Stage

11:45 AM         Cathercist (Ernie Ball Battle Of The Bands Winner)

1:15 PM           Monster Truck

2:45 PM           We As Human

4:15 PM           Devour The Day

6:15 PM           Fozzy

Sunday, April 27

Monster Energy Fire Museum Stage

Noon                Within Reason

1:15 PM           Sick Puppies

2:35 PM           Black Label Society

4:15 PM           Seether

6:25 PM           Five Finger Death Punch

8:50 PM           Korn

Monster Energy Metropolitan Park Stage

12:35 PM         The Pretty Reckless

1:55 PM           Black Stone Cherry

3:25 PM           Theory of a Deadman

5:15 PM           Staind

7:35 PM           Rob Zombie

Jägermeister Stage

Noon                Ghost Of War (Jägermeister Band)

1:15 PM           Kyng

2:35 PM           Lacuna Coil

4:15 PM           Emmure

6:25 PM           Motionless In White

Ernie Ball Stage

12:35 PM         Twelve Foot Ninja

1:55 PM           Nothing More

3:25 PM           Butcher Babies

5:15 PM           Trivium

Courtesy:  Ashton-Magnuson Media

Courtesy: Ashton-Magnuson Media

Before the bands take to their respective stages, audiences will be treated to Monster Energy’s Welcome to Rockville Official Pre-Party Friday, April 25th. The Pre-Party is presented by X102.9 and Bud Light and will feature performances by Rev Theory and more. It will be held at 1904 Music Hall (19 N. Ocean Street in downtown Jacksonville, FL). It is free to ticketholders that are 21 and older. Ticketholders that want to attend the Pre-Party must show their festival tickets at 1904 Music Hall to get a Pre-Party wristband in advance. Wristbands are in limited quality. So they will be first come first serve beginning at 12pm ET on Friday, April 25th. Doors open at 8pm. The show will start at 9pm.

More information on the fourth annual Welcome to Rockville Festival is available online at http://www.WelcomeToRockvilleFestival.com, http://www.facebook.com/welcometorockville, and via Twitter at @RockvilleFest. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Lineup Change Announced For 2014 Carolina Rebellion Festival

Courtesy: Ashton-Magnuson Media

Courtesy: Ashton-Magnuson Media

The organizers of the Carolina Rebellion Festival have announced a change to the weekend of the annual concert festival. It has been announced that Motorhead will no longer be on the lineup for this year’s festival.

Organizers released the following statement regarding the lineup change: “Due to circumstances beyond our control, we have learned that Motorhead will be unable to perform at Monster Energy’s Carolina Rebellion in Concord, NC May 3rd. We are working hard to find a replacement artist, so stay tuned to http://www.CarolinaRebellion.com for further updates.”

The Carolina Rebellion Festival is the mid-Atlantic region’s biggest annual rock festival. It will return to Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, NC May 3rd and 4th, 2014. The current band lineup for this year’s edition of the Carolina Rebellion Festival is listed below.

Saturday, May 3
Avenged Sevenfold, Rob Zombie, Seether, Volbeat, Black Label Society, Killswitch Engage, Black Stone Cherry, Fozzy, Adelitas Way, Thousand Foot Krutch, KYNG, Nothing More, Devour The Day and Truckfighters

Sunday, May 4
Kid Rock, Five Finger Death Punch, 311, Staind, A Day To Remember, Alter Bridge, Theory of a Deadman, Fuel, Hellyeah, Of Mice & Men, Trivium, Redlight King, Twelve Foot Ninja and Gemini Syndrome

Bands announced for the festival will perform on one of three separate stages throughout the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Those stages are the: Carolina Stage, Rebellion Stage, and Jagermeister Stage.

Tickets for the 2014 edition of the Carolina Rebellion Festival are on sale now. This includes Camping, Hotel, VIP Packages, and Weekend 4-packs and upgrades. All camping and hotel packages include access to the Friday Night Campground Party. Active military members can purchase tickets once again at a discount. More information for all ticketing, including military discounts, is available online at http://www.CarolinaRebellion.com.

The Carolina Rebellion Festival was created in partnership by AEG Live and Danny Wimmer Presents. It is sponsored by Monster Energy, Jagermeister, Ernie Ball, Jack Daniels, Bud Light, F.Y.E. and Pabst Blue Ribbon. More information on the Carolina Rebellion Festival is available online at http://www.CarolinaRebellion.com and http://www.facebook.com/carolinarebellion. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Rocklahoma Organizers Announce New Ticket Package

Courtesy:  Ashton Magnuson Media

Courtesy: Ashton Magnuson Media

Organizers of the annual Rocklahoma concert festival announced this week that they will make available a new ticket package for audiences.

The new Zippo Encore Fan Package For Two will be available beginning next Tuesday, March 18th at 1pm ET/12pm CT.  The package includes:

  • Two (2) Weekend General Admission Tickets (inclusive of all service charges and fees)
  • Meal vouchers (two per day)
  • Two (2) Official Festival Zippo Lighters
  • One (1) one-year subscription to Revolver Magazine.

Tickets can be ordered online at the official Rocklahoma website, http://www.rocklahoma.com.

Also on March 18th, ticket prices both for general admission tickets and general admission 4-packs will increase.  General admission tickets currently are available for a price of $109 plus fees.  Beginning March 18th, that price will increase to $129 plus fees.  Weekend 4-pack General Admission packs will increase from $349 plus fees to $399 plus fees.  This takes effect beginning at 1pm ET/12pm CT.

Members of the military can get discounted tickets for the Rocklahoma festival online at http://www.govx.com.  Prices for those tickets will also increase March 18th at 1pm ET/12pm CT.

The new ticket package and price increases are not all that organizers announced this week for the annual festival.  Organizers also announced the return of the “Miss Rocklahoma” contest.  The contest runs through April 18th.  Ten finalists will be announced in late April online at http://www.rocklahoma.com.  Contestants and fans can register and vote online at http://www.rocklahoma.com.

The complete lineup for this year’s edition of the Rocklahoma Festival is:  Kid Rock, Five Finger Death Punch, Staind, Twisted Sister, Deftones, Seether, Motörhead, Jackyl, Filter, Black Label Society, Theory of a Deadman, Killswitch Engage, Skid Row, Tom Keifer of Cinderella, Hellyeah, Kix, Down, Pop Evil, Adelitas Way, Black Stone Cherry, Trivium, Texas Hippie Coalition, The Pretty Reckless, Thousand Foot Krutch, Redlight King, Skindred, KYNG, We As Human, Nothing More, Devour the Day, Heaven’s Basement, Gemini Syndrome, Butcher Babies, Eve to Adam, Truckfighters, Scorpion Child, Twelve Foot Ninja, Kill Devil Hill, Killer Dwarfs, Mandy Lion, Bai Bang, Lynam, ASKA, Black Tora, Firstryke, Mystery, Nasty Habit, Sleepy Hollow, Wicked, Down & Dirty, Loveblast, Ruff Justice, Ratchet Dolls, Ragdoll, Dellacoma, Chaotic Resemblance, Scattered Hamlet, Siren, Mach22, Tempt, London’s Dungeon, Mine Enemies Fall, Station, The Chimpz, Sleepwalking Home, Well Hung Heart, Framing The Red, Blackwater Rebellion, Dryvr, Jet West and Dirty Crush.

The annual Rocklahoma Festival is sponsored by Bud Light, U.S. Cellular, Jagermeister, Monster Energy, Hard Rock Casino, Route 66 RVs, and Jack Daniels.

More information on the annual Rocklahoma Festival is available online at http://www.rocklahoma.com, http://www.facebook.com/rocklahoma and http://twitter.com/rocklahoma.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Black Utopia Re-Issue Another Hit For Sherinian

Courtesy:  Armoury Records/Eagle RockEntertainment

Courtesy: Armoury Records/Eagle RockEntertainment

Derek Sherinian’s second solo album Black Utopia is an interesting work from this world renowned keyboardist.  There is so much to say about this record and not enough space or time to go into everything.  So instead of rambling, we’ll hit on the main points of what makes this album just as enjoyable for Sherinian’s fans the second time around as it was in its original release.   The first aspect of this album that makes it so enjoyable is its sequencing.  That is to say the order of the songs.  The second factor that listeners will appreciate (especially those that might be hearing the album for the first time) is the A-list guest stars that agreed to be a part of this album.  The third factor in the success of the album’s re-issue is the reworked liner notes.  All three of these factors together make Black Utopia an album that any Derek Sherinian fan will appreciate just as much in its new re-issue as they did in its initial release some ten years ago.

The success of Black Utopia is thanks in large part to its sequencing.  The album’s sequencing greatly exhibits the understanding of and appreciation for music possessed by both Derek Sherinian and co-producer Simon Phillips.  The pair treat Black Utopia as if they were creating a set list for a live show.  The energy of the songs rises and falls just enough throughout the course of the album’s nine tracks to keep listeners fully engaged.  That energy rises and falls just enough within the context of the songs themselves to make the energy in the transitions between songs even more impactful.  It shows on a deeper level, the pair’s understanding of and appreciation for their craft.  The resultant effect is one the makes this album one of those rare albums that listeners will want to take in from start to finish without skipping even one song. It’s just the starting point of the album’s success, too. And that’s saying something.

Black Utopia’s success is thanks in large part to its sequencing.  The sequencing of the songs would be moot without the music crafted by Sherinian and the guest musicians that make appearances on this album.  That is the second factor in this album’s creation that makes it a success.  Sherinian invited some of the biggest names in the business to join him on this record.  And it’s a good thing they accepted his invitation.  Among those major names are the likes of Simon Phillips (The Who, Judas Priest, Gary Moore, etc.), Zakk Wylde (Ozzy Osbourne, Black Label Society), Al Di Meola (Return To Forever, Chick Corea), Yngwie Malmsteen, Billy Sheehan (Steve Vai, David Lee Roth, Mr. Big) and others.  Their talents are well shared throughout the record.  The whole group teams up on the album’s opener for what is without a doubt one of the album’s absolute best works.  Malmsteen puts on a virtual clinic with his shredding, while Sherinian himself manages somehow to mix in a touch of jazz/fusion at one point, adding even more flare and substance to the song.  And the combination of Zakk Wylde, Simon Phillips, Tony Franklin and Jerry Goodman on ‘Nightmare Cinema’ is incredible.  Sherinian’s etherial keyboard part set against Phillips’ drumming early on perfectly illustrates the song’s title.  It establishes quite the eerie vibe.  The eventual addition of Wylde on guitar adds even more depth to the song as it progresses.  It is simply something that must be heard in order to be fully appreciated.  The same can be noted of the album’s remaining tracks.  Sherinian  and his fellow musicians come together on each song to show just why their addition to Black Utopia is such an important part of the album’s overall success.

The who’s  who of musicians recruited to record Black Utopia alongside Derek Sherinian is just as important to the success of the album as its sequencing.  Without the talent of the musicians in question, the sequencing would not be all that important to discuss.  Thankfully that wasn’t the case here.  And because it wasn’t the case, it leaves only one remaining factor to note of this re-issue.  The factor in question is the updated liner notes included with the album.  This time out, Black Utopia includes an article crafted by journalist Joe Lalaina, of Guitar World magazine.  Lalaina outlines the album in his own words.  Sherinian’s own thoughts on Black Utopia are also included as a follow-up to Lalaina.  Listeners will take special interest in Sherinian’s comment about working with Brian Tichy (Something Unto Nothing, Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Idol).  He notes that it was his friendship and working relationship with Tichy that led the pair to work together on this album.  There’s also mention of his excitement of working with both Yngwie Malmsteen and Al Di Meola.  One of his comments in particular regarding this can’t be repeated here.  But it will most definitely have listeners laughing.  It’s the finishing touch to an album that any hard rock fan should hear at least once now that it has been re-issued by Armoury Records.  More information on this and other albums from Derek Sherinian is available online at http://www.dereksherinian.com.  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.

Armoury Records Gives Sherinian’s Latest Solo Effort A Proper Re-Issue

Courtesy:  Armoury Records/Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Armoury Records/Eagle Rock Entertainment

Every year, consumers see any number of albums re-issued from a variety of artists, groups, and bands. The reasons for those re-issues are as varied as the re-issues themselves. It goes without saying that among that annual mass of music, some of it is worth the purchase, while some of it is not as worthwhile. Keyboardist Derek Sherinian saw all of his solo releases re-issued this week. Those albums are among the re-issues that are worth purchasing. This is especially the case for those that are long-time fans of his music. Sherinian proved throughout each of his solo releases that he was just as good on his own as he was with any of the bands and artists with whom he had already worked over the course of his career. One of the best examples of that talent is his 2009 release, Molecular Heinosity.

Molecular Heinosityis the fifth and most recent of Sherinian’s solo releases. As with his previous four solo releases, this record is largely an instrumental release. The sole song on this album that includes any lyrics is one of two pieces he recorded with long-time friend and Black Label Society front man Zakk Wylde. The song in question is ‘So Far Gone.’ Audiences will also be interested to note that Brian Tichy joins Sherinian on this track. Tichy has also played drums for the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Idol, and Zakk WYlde on Wylde’s 199 release Pride& Glory. Most recently, Tichy played with the hard rock supergroup Something Unto Nothing. So it goes without saying that there is a certain level of familiarity between the trio. And it shows in this song, too. The trio–along with fellow musicians Tina Guo (cello) and Tony Franklin (fretless bass)–come together to make this one of the album’s best pieces. Wylde proves once again on this song why he is one of the most revered guitarists in the music business. And Tichy’s timekeeping is rock solid despite the various time signature changes throughout the song. Sherinian’s work on the keys is not to be ignored, either. Whether by himself, partnered with Tina Guo’s performance on cello or even the semi-call and response with Wylde in the song’s bridge, Sherinian shows time and again in this song why he is such a sought after musician even after so many decades in the business. This isn’t the only point at which he exhibits such talent on this record. Another of the album’s high points comes in the album’s second track, titled ‘Ascension.’

‘Ascension’ is one of this album’s high points especially in that it boasts something of a similarity to the music he wrote with his former band mates in Dream Theater. To be even more precise, it sounds stylistically like the music that he wrote with his now ex-band mates for the band’s 1997 album Falling Into Infinity.  What is most interesting of all in this song is just how much is going on within the context of the song’s near three-minute run time.  That’s right.  This song comes in at less than three minutes in length.  To be more exact, it clocks in at two minutes and fifteen seconds.  That’s pretty short.  Yet, the way that it gradually builds, from start to finish makes it so interesting.  Making it even more interesting is what would appear to be Sherinian mimicking a guitar part with his keyboard in this song.  If that is indeed the case, he is to be even more highly commended.  That’s because that part could easily pass as a guitar.  And it shows even more his understanding of and appreciation for his instrument.  The song’s musical effect overall shows his knowledge of music and his talent just as much.  All of that together makes this song all the more enjoyable.

The songs that comprise Molecular Heinosity each have their own musical identity.  Collectively, they make the entire album one that any fan of Sherinian will enjoy.  Now that it has been re-issued courtesy of Armoury Records, the music is just part of the album’s success.  Just as important to this re-issue is the new companion booklet.  Most people don’t pay too much attention to the liner notes that come with albums in their physical form.  But as audiences will see in the album’s new liner notes, there’s plenty to take in.  This album for instance gives listeners a bio of sorts on Sherinian and his career.  It goes all the way back to his days playing with Alice Cooper and Billy Idol as well as a little surprise background on his departure from Dream Theater.  This critic was surprised to learn that he didn’t leave Dream Theater, but was in fact let go from the band.    Along with the semi-career bio, Armoury Records also included background notes from Sherinian on a handful of songs.  That background info gives extra insight into said songs.  It’s too bad that more bands, artists, and musicians don’t do this.  It’s one more reason that the physical object will never be fully replaced by the digital.  Little things like background notes on songs as art of the liner notes serve to enhance one’s listening experience.  And this album is no exception to that rule.  The bonus liner notes and bio included in this new re-issue are wonderful compliments to the album’s music.  Together, they make the whole product again, one that any fan of Derek Sherinian will want to add to their library especially if they do not already own this record.  It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct from Derek Sherinian’s official website at http://www.dereksherinian.com/merchandise.htm.  More information on this and other releases from Derek Sherinian is available online at http://www.dereksherinian.com.  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.

Black Label Society Tapped To Headline Revolver Golden Gods Tour

Courtesy: eOne

Courtesy: eOne

Veteran hard rock band Black Label Society has been tapped to headline this year’s annual Revolver Golden Gods Tour presented by Epiphone.  The announcement comes only weeks after the announcement that the band—fronted by legendary guitarist/vocalist Zakk Wylde—will release its latest album Catacombs of the Black Vatican April 8th.

This year’s Revolver Golden Gods tour presented by Epiphone spans thirty-two cities.  It kicks off Wednesday, April 16th in Seattle, Washington and winds down Saturday, June 7th at the home of Black Label Society, Los Angeles California.  The complete Revolver Golden Gods Tour presented by Epiphone schedule is listed below.

Wed/Apr-16  Seattle, WA @ Showbox Sodo
Thu/Apr-17  Portland, OR @ Roseland
Fri/Apr-18  Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory Concert House
Sat/Apr-19  Missoula, MT @ Wilma Theater
Mon/Apr-21  Billings, MT @ Shrine Auditorium
Fri/Apr-25  Milwaukee, WI @ The Rave
Sat/Apr-26  Nashville, TN @ Marathon Music Works
Tue/Apr-29  Ybor City, FL (Tampa) @ The Ritz
Wed/Apr-30  Lake Buena Vista, FL @ House of Blues
Fri/May-02  Birmingham, AL @ Iron City
Sun/May-04  Silver Spring, MD @ Fillmore
Mon/May-05  Clifton Park, NY (Albany) @ Northern Lights
Wed/May-07  Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory
Thu/May-08  Worcester, MA @ The Palladium
Fri/May-09  Sayreville, NJ @ Starland Ballroom
Sat/May-10  New York, NY @ Best Buy Theater
Mon/May-12  Norfolk, VA @ Norva
Tue/May-13  Stroudsburg, PA @ Sherman Theater
Thu/May-15  Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE
Sat/May-17  Ft. Wayne, IN @ Piere’s
Mon/May-19  Sioux Falls, SD @ The District
Tue/May-20   Chicago, IL @ House of Blues
Wed/May-21  St. Paul, MN (Minneapolis) @ Myth
Fri/May-23  Grand Prairie, TX (Dallas) @ Verizon Theater
Tue/May-27  New Orleans, LA @ House of Blues
Wed/May-28  Houston, TX @ House of Blues
Sun/Jun-01  Denver, CO @ Ogden Theater
Mon/Jun-02  Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex – Rockwell
Wed/Jun-04  Tempe, AZ @ Marquee Theater
Thu/Jun-05  Las Vegas, NV @ Brooklyn Bowl
Fri/Jun-06  San Francisco, CA @ Regency Ballroom
Sat/Jun-07  Los Angeles, CA @ Fonda Theater

Along with its upcoming headlining spot on the Revolver Golden Golds Tour presented by Epiphone, Black Label Society will also present its own thirteen-city Canadian tour.  That tour will feature the band performing some somewhat stripped down versions of its hits as well as songs from Wylde’s solo album, Book of Shadows.

‘My Dying Time’, the lead single from BLS’ upcoming album, can be downloaded now via iTunes.  It can be downloaded at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/my-dying-time-single/id798941029.  The album in its entirety can be pre-ordered via iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/catacombs-black-vatican-deluxe/id799689367?ls=1.  The album’s track listing is available below.

01. Fields Of Unforgiveness
02. My Dying Time
03. Believe
04. Angel Of Mercy
05. Heart Of Darkness
06. Beyond The Down
07. Scars
08. Damn The Flood
09. I’ve Gone Away
10. Empty Promises
11. Shades Of Gray
12. Dark Side Of The Sun (bonus track)
13. The Nomad (bonus track)

More information on Black Label Society’s upcoming album and tours is available online at http://www.zakkwylde.com, http://twitter.com/zakkwyldebls, http://www.facebook.com/zakkwylde and http://www.facebook.com/blacklabelsociety.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Details Released For Annual Carolina Rebellion Festival

Courtesy: Ashton-Magnuson Media

Courtesy: Ashton-Magnuson Media

The weather is cold across much of the country.  But don’t tell organizers of the annual Summer concert festival series.  Details for the annual Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion Festival have been made official.  This year’s Carolina Rebellion Festival—the third of four events that comprise “The 2014 World’s Loudest Month–will be held at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday and Sunday, May 3rd and 4th.  Avenged Sevenfold and Kid Rock will share headlining duties at this year’s festival.  They will be joined by Rob Zombie, Five Rob ZomFinger Death Punch, 311, Motorhead, Staind, Seether, Volbeat and more.  Avenged Sevenfold (also known by its fans as AX7) also performed at last year’s inaugural Carolina Rebellion Festival, which sold out.  The current performance schedule for this year’s festival is listed below.

Saturday, May 3

Avenged Sevenfold, Rob Zombie, Motörhead, Seether, Volbeat, Black Label Society, Killswitch Engage, Black Stone Cherry, Fozzy, Adelitas Way, Thousand Foot Krutch, KYNG, Nothing More, Devour The Day and Truckfighters

Sunday, May 4

Kid Rock, Five Finger Death Punch, 311, Staind, A Day To Remember, Alter Bridge, Theory of a Deadman, Fuel, Hellyeah, Of Mice & Men, Trivium, Redlight King, Twelve Foot Ninja and Gemini Syndrome

Bands announced for the festival will perform on one of three separate stages throughout the Charlotte Motor Speedway.  Those stages are the: Carolina Stage, Rebellion Stage, and Jagermeister Stage.

Tickets for the 2014 edition of the Carolina Rebellion Festival go on sale this Friday, January 31st at 10am ET.  This includes Camping, Hotel, VIP Packages, and Weekend 4-packs and upgrades.  All camping and hotel packages include access to the Friday Night Campground Party. Active military members can purchase tickets once again at a discount.  More information for all ticketing, including military discounts, is available online at http://www.CarolinaRebellion.com.

The Carolina Rebellion Festival was created in partnership by AEG Live and Danny Wimmer Presents.  It is sponsored by Monster Energy, Jagermeister, Ernie Ball, Jack Daniels, Bud Light, F.Y.E. and Pabst Blue Ribbon.  More information on the Carolina Rebellion Festival is available online at http://www.CarolinaRebellion.com and http://www.facebook.com/carolinarebellion.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Black Label Society Releases Album Art, Track Listing For Upcoming LP

Courtesy:  eOne

Courtesy: eOne

Zakk Wylde and his Black Label brethren have released the official track listing and album art for the upcoming Black Label Society album, Catacombs of the Black Vatican.  Also released is the album’s lead single, ‘My Dying Time.’  The single is available now online via iTunes.  The track listing for Catacombs of the Black Vatican is available below.

01. Fields Of Unforgiveness

02. My Dying Time


03. Believe


04. Angel Of Mercy


05. Heart Of Darkness


06. Beyond The Down


07. Scars


08. Damn The Flood


09. I’ve Gone Away


10. Empty Promises


11. Shades Of Gray


12. Dark Side Of The Sun (bonus track)


13. The Nomad (bonus track)

Catacombs of the Black Vatican will be available in stores and online via eOne on Tuesday, April 8th, 2014.  It is first full length studio album from Black Label Society since 2009’s Order of The Black, which debuted on the Billboard Top 200 Chart at #4.  The band’s most recent recording, Unblackened, was released in 2013 on both a double-disc CD set an Blu-ray. The performance taped for that live performance was recorded at L.A.’s Club Nokia.  Two live dates are currently planned for the band this Spring. The first of those dates is on May 16th in Columbus, Ohio.  The other, a performance at the annual Rockfest festival, is scheduled for May 30th.  More information on the band’s tour schedule, its upcoming schedule and more is available online at http://www.facebook.com/blacklabelsociety and http://www.blacklabelsociety.com.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.