“Sounds…” Re-Issue Offers Audiences Even More Enjoyable Sounds

Courtesy: Eagle Records/E.A.R. Music

Courtesy: Eagle Records/E.A.R. Music

Veteran British progressive rock band Marillion released its seventeenth full length studio release in 2012. The album, Sounds That Can’t Be Made, was met largely with positive reviews from fans and critics alike. A little over a year later, Eagle Records and E.A.R. Music re-issued Sounds That Can’t Be Made with an extra bonus. That bonus is an extra disc that boasts variants of songs from the original album. Those variants include a handful of live and in-studio performances, a demo of another song, and a previously unreleased song that kicks off the whole thing. That song is an incredibly emotional piece titled ‘Wrapped Up In This.’

‘Wrapped Up In Time’ was a fitting way to open the bonus companion disc to Sounds That Can’t Be Made. This deeply emotional piece is a perfect opener for the album’s bonus disc. The song’s introspective, almost mournful lyrics will leave anyone with a heartbeat in tears. Front man Steve Hogarth sings in this previously unreleased song, “Things got wrapped up in time/Like the past and the present/Or the perfect line/In a song/They take their time/And when they’re gone/They take their time/You can’t have them back/For the time for them has gone/Their time has gone.” Hogarth perfectly catches the emotion of someone remembering lost loved ones here. This is especially true when he hits the high notes in the song’s chorus. The control he exhibits over his voice is incredible. His use of vibrato even better illustrates the pain in the song. The addition keyboardist Mark Kelly’s performance only serves to add to the song’s emotional depth.  Anyone left dry-eyed by the song’s end simply isn’t human.

‘Wrapped Up In Time’ is a fitting opener to the bonus disc included in the new re-issue of Sounds That Can’t Be Made. That’s because it is so beautiful yet heart wrenching at the same time.  On the completely opposite end of the spectrum, the band’s original take on its song ‘Lucky Man’ is just as interesting to hear as the final product.  The final product that is on the originally released album is a joyous piece celebrating happiness with what one has in life.  Hogarth sings in this song, “Some of us want diamonds and trinkets and gold/The perfect body and the perfect skin/Witnesses to their good deeds/Willing accomplices to their sin/Some of us pray for absolution/Some want sex and call it love/But freedom  to cheat’s not something I need tonight.”  He goes on to sing in the chorus, “I truly am/A lucky man/I have everything that I want.”  His words ring loud and clear.  We as people are never truly happy.  We should be happy with what we have, where we are, and who we are.  The final take on the song is a full on rock song.  One can close one’s eyes, take in the music and lyrics and see all of the images of which Hogarth sings being book ended by a camera spinning, pointed up at a shining blue sky.  The original demo take on the song is noticeably different from the final product.  It starts off much softer and doesn’t have the full on rock feel of what’s on the album.  It’s more piano driven.  When the choir comes in, its effect against Hogarth’s piano playing is just as powerful as what is presented in the album take of the song.  It definitely is one of the highest of points on the re-issue’s bonus disc.

Both ‘Wrapped Up In Time’ and the original demo take of ‘Lucky Man’ are wonderful additions to Marillion’s newly re-issued album.  There is at least one more addition to the re-issue’s bonus disc that merits noting.  That song is the band’s live performance of the title track from its recent release.  This nearly eight-minute performance taken from the band’s 2013 performance in Holland is a prime example of what makes Marillion such an extraordinary band in a live setting.  Hogarth’s vocals soar as he sings, “Aurora Borealis/Shimmering green and blue/Indigo and violent/Like phantoms half-imagined/Something unreal/But realer than everything/Seeing all the planet’s love floating in the air/Caressing you every day.”  The semi-psychedelic sounding lyrics gain even more power in the song’s live performance.  That’s thanks not just to Hogarth, but to the talents of his band mates, too.  Guitarist Steve Rothery is right up there with the likes of Dream Theater’s John Petrucci as he makes his way through the song.  And drummer Ian Mosley keeps the whole band together with this less-is-more style playing.  There are no major flashes or fills from Mosley.  He keeps a solid beat and adds a little musical spice where need be for lack of better wording.  Put simply, the band’s performance of the album’s title track is something that audiences must hear for themselves in order to fully appreciate it.  The same applies to each of the songs included on the bonus disc of Sounds That Can’t Be Made (Special Edition).  Audiences that give these variants a chance will agree at just how impressive each one is.  They will agree that the songs collectively make this record a solid re-issue and a re-issue worth hearing.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on this and other releases from Marillion, as well as all of the latest news from Marillion is available online at http://www.marillion.com, http://www.facebook.com/MarillionOfficial and http://twitter.com/marilliononline.  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 reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Now What?! Re-Issue A Must Have For Any Purist Deep Purple Fan

Courtesy:  E.A.R. Music

Courtesy: E.A.R. Music

Deep Purple is one of modern music’s most beloved and respected bands. The UK based band has been making music for some forty-five years. In that time, the band’s members—Its current lineup consists of Ian Gillan (vocals), Ian Paice (drums), Roger Glover (bass), Steve Morse (guitar), and Don Airey (keyboards)—have crafted no fewer than eighteen albums. Considering all of the band’s lineup changes and side projects through the years, the very fact that the band has churned out nearly twenty albums is quite the statement of its staying power. Last year, Deep Purple’s most current lineup released album number nineteen in the form of Now What?! That album was met by critics and audiences alike with largely positive reviews. Fans that enjoyed that album—the band’s first in eight years—will enjoy just as much its newly expanded re-issue, which is available now.

Now What?! Gold Edition gives audiences more than its share to applaud. Those that haven’t picked up this recent re-issue first because it presents Now What?! in its entirety.  It also includes a second bonus track versus the single bonus track included in the album’s original release.  The re-issue’s added bonus track, titled ‘First Sign of Madness’ is a fun, up-tempo piano driven rocker that is certain to impress every listener.  Front man Ian Gillan sings against keyboardist Don Airey’s almost manic performance, “Somebody tell me why I’m talkin’ to myself/Haven’t listened to a word I say/Nor does anyone else/Somebody asked me/If I have any doubt/Well maybe yes/Maybe no/It’s something to think about.”  Airey’s work on the keys gives the song a light, not so serious vibe.  And Roger Glover’s low end set alongside the equally driving drumming of Ian Paice completes the song.  It all gels, making this a fitting closer to the album.  It isn’t the only impressive piece that the band includes on this album.  Audiences will also enjoy the funky, sexually charged song that is ‘Bodyline.’

‘Bodyline’ is a great addition to What Now?!  As Gillan explains in the album’s liner notes, the influence of the song was the silhouette of a woman he saw on the classic TV show Tales of the Unexpected.  He explained that the silhouette of what appeared to be a naked woman dancing in the flames was used in the show’s opening sequence.  He adds that this was when he was much younger.  That would explain the song’s swing and its energy.  Every male in his youth goes through that stage of puberty where his hormones are raging uncontrollably.  And that is essentially what is being described here.  Gillan sings in the song, “I’ve been watching you dancin’ all night long/Your legs go on forever/Exquisite synchronicity/But they never stay together/My head is spinning keeping focus on my whirling dervish/I don’t know who you are/But I’m enslaved and at your service/It’s your bodyline.”  What makes this even more interesting is that while the silhouette of a woman on TV was the influence behind such a verse, that same sexual energy makes this song just as much a hit in the clubs.

The songs included on the primary release of Now What?! are a big part of what made that release so enjoyable.  Now with its re-issue a new aspect has been added to the album that makes it even more album.  That aspect—a dual pronged aspect—is the newly included What Now?! Live Tapes.  The bonus disc and its companion booklet take Deep Purple fans out on the road with the band.  Whether the band has ever come to a fan’s town or not, this bonus live recording is a wonderful addition to the overall presentation.

The songs culled for this recording were recorded throughout the band’s 2013 “Now What?! World Tour.”  They do an impressive job of representing the band’s history.  And the audio mix of the recordings is just as impressive.  It would have been so easy to simply put together a slapdash recording and call it a bonus disc.  E.A.R. Music and the band’s members had more respect than that for the band’s legacy and its fans.  The audio is crystal clear on each song.  Add that to the fact that the song selection is such an impressive cross section of the band’s catalog and it makes this disc even more of a bonus for fans.  Speaking of that cross section, it would have been just as easy for those charged with the recording’s production to simple toss in each song and make them separate.  But they didn’t do that, either.  The transitions from song to song are clear and solid.  If one didn’t know that each song came from a different point on the band’s tour, one would have no idea that that was the fact.  The solid transitions between songs make this grouping of recordings feel like the entire show was recorded at one single venue.  Again, this is a minor issue on the surface.  On a deeper level though, it is quite the important piece to the overall recording’s presentation.  Those charged with assembling the recording and presenting it are well deserving of praise for their work.  Just as deserving of praise are those charged with assembling the companion booklet that comes with the bonus live recording compilation.

The companion booklet that comes with the bonus live recording compilation is the finishing touch to Deep Purple’s What Now?! Gold Edition.  For starters, it provides more than just the standard, stale liner notes.  It actually makes a person want to find out the whole presentation’s “W”’s (The who, what, when, where).  It also provides audiences with some personal insight from the band on each of the album’s eleven primary tracks.  Also included is a collage of albums featuring the band on the covers, as well as full color photos of the band on tour.  Some of those photos were also included in the main album’s companion booklet, but weren’t in color.  So seeing those same photos in full color brings them to life. And they make the experience all the richer.  Together with the bonus live recording compilation and the original album, the bonus companion booklet is the final touch on a rare worthwhile re-issue from any band across the board.  It is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/What-Gold-Edition-Deep-Purple/dp/B00F9K3VSO/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1385497926&sr=8-3&keywords=deep+purple.  More information on this new release, news from the band and more is available online at http://www.deep-purple.com and http://www.facebook.com/officialdeeppurple.  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.

“Concerto” Documentary A Fitting Tribute To Lord’s Memory

Courtesy:   Eagle  Rock Entertainment/Thompson Music/E.A.R. Music

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Thompson Music/E.A.R. Music

When Metallica recorded its now fan favorite live album S&M with the San Francisco Symphony, that recording was lauded by fans and critics alike. The praise showered on the band was fully justified. It was considered by some to be a groundbreaking performance because it was the coming together of two entirely separate musical worlds. What many people might not know is that S&M was not in fact the first time that the two worlds have come together. Former Deep Purple member Jon Lord crafted and performed his now famous Concerto for Group and Orchestra almost forty-five years ago in 1969. That performance was truly groundbreaking. Sadly, cancer claimed Lord in July of 2012. Thanks to Eagle Rock Entertainment though, Lord’s opus finally saw the light of day that same year. And now again thanks to Eagle Rock, audiences are taken even deeper into Lord’s majestic and magical composition thanks to a new documentary on that record. There is a lot to like about this recently released documentary. The documentary’s behind-the-scenes main feature is the main portion of what audiences will appreciate in this release.  Audiences are provided a history of Lord’s original performance of his opus in order to set up the more recent recording session.  As part of the recording process, viewers will also get to hear from some big names that helped bring the recording to life. Audiences will also appreciate that not only are they taken behind the scenes of the recording’s birth, but they are also provided with two opportunities to hear the recording in the new Blu-ray presentation.  It is included both as a bonus feature on the Blu-ray itself, and as its own separate CD as even more of a bonus.  All of this taken into consideration makes the documentary on Jon Lord’s Concert for Group & Orchestra quite the interesting work.

Far too many record labels in today’s music industry add “making of documentaries” to their new albums and try to pawn them off on fans as something special.  The problem is that so few of those “documentaries” in question are really worth the extra money shelled out by hard working audiences.  Jon Lord: Concerto for Group& is not one of those releases.  This documentary gives audiences a full history of the former Deep Purple member’s iconic song, from its very first ever performance in 1969 at the famed Royal Albert Hall to its first non-live recording in 2012.  Audiences see just how much work went into putting his composition to record.  It’s a fitting tribute to the musician, who sadly lost his battle with cancer just last year.  From the initial setup to the recording of each part and everything in-between, viewers will see that this isn’t just another one of those albums where each part was recorded separately in different studios.  This understanding will generate a whole new appreciation for the song and everything that went into actually doing a “studio” recording of it.  This applies to listeners that are both more familiar with Lord’s work and those that might be less so.

Along the course of the documentary, viewers get to hear from some of the biggest names in the rock world that took part in the recording process.  Those names include greats such as Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden and blues/rock guitar great Joe Bonamassa among so many others.  The respect shared between them and Lord is obvious through their shared commentary and by the seriousness with which they approached their respective roles in the overall composition.

The overall presentation of the documentary here is exceptional to say the least.  From the composition’s history to its first official studio recording, so much information is shared on its importance.  As impressive as the main feature is, Eagle Rock didn’t stop there.  Eagle Rock has included as a bonus for fans, the complete Concerto for Group & Orchestra both on its own CD and as a bonus feature on the primary Blu-ray disc.  And it’s not all that is included as a bonus, either.  Eagle Rock has exceeded expectations once again with this documentary’s bonus material.  Also included as bonus material is are interviews with Paul Mann and Marco de Groeji.  Mann conducted the orchestra assembled for the new recording of Concerto for Group & Orchestra.  The insight that he shares is something special.  That’s because of his understanding of and appreciation for the worlds of both rock and classical, as well as for Lord himself.  His interview and that with others involved with the record’s production more than live up to the title of bonus features. Together with the documentary’s main feature, they collectively make this release one that transcends genres.  It’s one that fans of both classical and rock will enjoy. It is available now in stores and online.   More information on this and other releases from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at http://www.eaglerockent.com and http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt.  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.

Marillion’s New LP Is A Work That Everyone Should Hear

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Records/E-A-R Music

British prog-rock band Marillion has been making music for the better part of three decades.  In that time, the band has managed to remain largely successful without much (if any) help from mainstream radio and television.  Now, Marillion has shown yet again why it is still one of the music industry’s best (largely) unknown acts with its newest release, Sounds That Can’t Be Made.The title of this new album is fitting in that while the eight tracks that comprise the album’s playlist aren’t sounds that can’t be made.  They are sounds that few other bands would even think to make.  The album’s opener, ‘Gaza’ is in itself a very deep and provocative piece.  It’s a multi movement piece that makes commentary on the state of the Gaza strip.  Front man Steve Hogarth sings in this song, “For thirteen years/The roads have all been closed/We’re isolated/We’re denied medical supplies/Fuel and work are scarce/They build houses on our farms/The old men weep/The young men take up arms.”  Those last two lines, “The old men weep/The young men take up arms” is such a powerful visual.  It’s no chore to see the juxtaposition of the two.  These lines are just a tiny piece of what makes this such a powerful opening to the band’s new album.  Backed by equally emotional music, there’s no doubt that this will easily become a favorite of every Marillion fan.  It’s just one of the high points of this underrated work.

Another song that fans will appreciate is the almost equally long, ‘Montreal.’  This piece is said to have come from Steve Hogarth’s own personal experience while on tour.   Countless songs have been written over the decades about life on tour.  And they all generally have a very similar sound about them.  But that’s not necessarily the case with ‘Montreal.’  There’s a very old school prog-rock influence here as Hogarth sings about the band making a stopover in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  There’s no vibe of life on the road being miserable, etc. etc.  Rather it’s lyrically very mundane.  Yet with the musical backing, the band has once again crafted a piece that’s so powerful.  Listeners can sense at least a longing for home as Hogarth sings of staying in touch with his wife via Skype, after having landed at the nearest airport and making its way to its hotel.  It comes together for yet another impressive piece of this musical puzzle.  It all makes the near fourteen minute run time entirely worth it.

Both ‘Gaza’ and ‘Montreal’ are powerful pieces thanks to the bands ability to translate its music and lyrics together so seamlessly and effortlessly to its audiences.  There’s one more piece here that audiences will appreciate though, for its musical and lyrical power.  That song is the album’s penultimate piece, ‘Lucky Man.’ Again, that combination of music and lyrics makes this a hard hitting piece.  Hogarth sings, “Some of us want diamonds and gold and trinkets/The perfect body/And the perfect skin/Witnesses to their good deeds/Willing accomplices to their sin/Some of us pray for absolution/Some want sex/And call it love/But freedom to cheat /Is not something I want tonight.”  What audiences get here is another socially conscious song that given the proper attention will really get listeners to think without being preachy.  This is what so many bands get wrong, but Marillion has gotten right.  ‘Lucky Man’ tries to lead by example.  It in its own way, tries to get listeners to think before they complain about having life so bad and being content with what they have.  It’s little things like this that have made Marillion such a successful band for three decades.  And it’s little things like this that will continue to make the band a success as long as its members agree they want to continue making music.

Sounds That Can’t Be Made is available in stores and online now.  It can be ordered online via Eagle Rock Entertainment’s website, http://www.eagle-rock.com.  The band is currently touring in support of its new album.  It will be in Sao Paulo, Brazil tomorrow as part of its tour of South America and Mexico.  Fans can get a full listing of tour dates online at http://www.marillion.com/tour, and http://www.facebook.com/MarillionOfficial.

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.

Every Rocker And Metal Head Should Care About Who Cares

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Armoury Records/E-A-R Music

Who Cares, the new collaboration between Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi and Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan is a must for any Black Sabbath or Deep Purple fan.  This double disc album is front loaded with great music that will have any rocker hanging their horns high with pride from start to finish.  Add in that at its base, it’s a fundraising record to help rebuild a music school in Armenia, and it becomes that much more appealing.  It’s proof yet again of the power of music.  Iommi and Gillan wanted to record this record to help spread music through the world.  To say that that is commendable would be an understatement.

The finished product of Who Cares is a top notch record for any rocker and metal head.  It opens with the hard rocking and deeply emotional ‘Out OF My Mind.  This song fittingly opens the album, as it discusses the tragic earthquake of June, 1990 that destroyed he music school for which this album is being sold to raise funds.  What’s really interesting about this song is its genesis and growth.  Ian Gillan explains in the liner notes of how it started out as a rant against the No Smoking signs on airplanes, and soon thereafter become about the destruction in Armenia.  That’s quite a leap in subject matter.  And it does quite the job catching what people must have felt in the earthquake’s aftermath.

Of course the collected recordings included in this compilation do get a little lighter in their lyrical content.  There’s a song about an incident with a car that turned out to belong to Bill Ward in ‘Trashed’, even an outstandingly amazing live performance of Deep Purple’s famed ‘Smoke On The Water’ with the London Symphony Orchestra, just to name a couple.  Gillan pays tribute to the late metal legend Ronnie James Dio when he writes of this performance.  He notes that he and Dio actually shared vocal duties on this rare performance.  There’s even more back story to this song.  But to find out what Gillan had to say about it, fans will have to pick up this compilation for themselves.  There are even more stories included in the set’s liner notes about each song, making for yet another bonus to checking out this set.  Who Cares is available now in stores and online and can be ordered online via Eagle Rock Entertainment’s website, http://www.eagle-rock.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.