Dragonforce’s New LP More Than Lives Up To Its Title

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Euro-metal band Dragonforce released its latest album to American audiences this week.  Maximum Overload, the band’s sixth full length studio effort, is an aptly titled record.  That is because the album pushes the envelope of power metal from start to finish on this album.  From the album’s pummeling opening number ‘The Game’ to the full throttle ‘Defenders’ to the album’s equally nonstop pounding instrumental closer ‘Galactic Astro Domination,’ the members of Dragonforce leave listeners breathless by the album’s end.’  Listeners will agree that by the time the album finally ends—it runs a total of fifteen tracks and just over an hour—they have on their hands some of the best work that the band has crafted to date.

Dragonforce wastes no time getting things moving on its new album.  The band opens the album at breakneck speed in ‘The Game.’  The song initially comes across as being rather nihilistic.  But the reality of the song is that it is in fact a song that presents hope through all of the negativity in the world.  New front man Marc Hudson starts out singing of life’s difficulties, “Messed up once again/Told me it’s okay/But this path that I’m taking/I’m lost in the deep end…I tried/So hard/To reach for the stars/But I failed you all/Tried to keep standing tall/Never had a real chance at all/But I’m still searching.  That final line in which Hudson states “But I’m still searching” is a hint at the ability of the song’s subject to keep pushing on somehow despite so many negative thoughts.  That mix of emotions and strained thoughts continues late in the song as Hudson sings, “Ten thousand ways to say sorry/But life writes its own tragic story/Time marches onwards and nothing can ever be the same/But we’ll pray for a brighter tomorrow/Break free from this lifetime of sorrow/Years pass us by/But we’re all just a part of the game.”  In its own way, the song is presenting an image of someone pushing on through everything despite what seems like a battle with his or her own personal emotional demons.  Said figure won’t let those negative emotions take over no matter how many years pass.  This is just one critic’s own take on this song.  So it could very well be wrong.  If it is in fact incorrect, then apologies go out to the members of Dragonforce for the misinterpretation.  But it certainly seems to present that message of determination through the toughest of emotional odds.  That seeming positive lyrical message set alongside the pummeling dual guitar attack from Herman Li and Sam Totman, and drummer Gee Anzalone’s machine gun-like drumming makes even clearer why this song was chosen to open Maximum Overload.  The band doesn’t stop here, either.  Rather, it keeps the energy flowing well into the red and beyond right into the album’s midpoint, ‘Defenders.’

The seeming positive lyrical message presented by Dragonforce in Maximum Overload’s opener is echoed even more clearly as the album reaches its midpoint, ‘Defenders.’  Hudson sings in this song that there are those in this world that will try to bring others down.  But one can’t let those people win.  He sings of those people, “Life’s uncertain/A rat race of pain/Endlessly searching for more/Hopeless and aimless/Held back by the chains/Until we can’t take anymore.”  For all of the obstacles in life—both physical and emotional—Hudson reminds listeners that they should not give in or give up.  He goes on to sing, “Hold on/Stay strong/Breaking out from a past life fading/No more/What for/All we got is to keep on praying/Wait for their downfall/Their lives in dismay/Witness the final decay/Suffering in silence/For years we were blind/But now we got something to say.”  It’s almost as if Hudson is saying to the band’s audiences to let life’s obstacles destroy themselves whether they be other people or some other obstacle.  As with the album’s opener, the band keeps the energy going full throttle in this song.  That energy serves to make the song even more hard hitting and even more of a valuable addition to the album in whole.

The members of Dragonforce show time and again throughout the course of Maximum Overload their high level of talent. That is clearly evident in the songs already noted here. The album’s closer, ‘Galactic Astro Domination,’ more than exhibits that talent, though. Anyone that is familiar with the work of Dragonforce’s American counterparts in Powerglove will agree that Dragonforce takes the similar sound crafted by that band and ups it by a factor of at least one hundred in this full-on instrumental attack. And considering the nonstop adrenaline rush experienced throughout the songs that precede this one, it makes for a fitting final statement from Dragonforce on its new album. Whether it be for this full throttle finale, the other pieces noted or those equally driving pieces not noted here, fans of Dragonforce will find plenty of positives throughout this latest release from start to finish. Those fans will likely also find this album playing in their CD players and MP3 players quite a bit as a result.

Maximum Overload is available in stores and online now. It can also be purchased at any of the concerts on the band’s upcoming European tour. That tour will kick off Wednesday, September 17th at the Liquid Room in Edinburgh, United Kingdom. It runs through February 1st, 2015 in Brussels, Belgium. The band’s current tour schedule, news, and latest updates are all available online now at http://www.metalblade.com/dragonforce, http://www.facebook.com/dragonforce, and http://twitter.com/dragonforcehq. 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.

Of Conquest Is A Surprisingly Entertaining High Seas Hard Rock Epic

Courtesy:  Adrenaline PR

Courtesy: Adrenaline PR

Odds are that many American metal audiences have never heard of Scythia.  That all changes here and now.  Anyone that is a fan of Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Judas Priest, In Flames, and even Dream Theater will enjoy the latest release from the Canadian power/prog rock band.  Of Conquest, the band’s fourth full length studio release, offers audiences even more adventure from the four-piece.  Stylistically speaking, this new record presents a sound that fans have come to know from the band’s previous records.  In terms of its content, the band has offered its fans something new once again.  Instead of delving into the world of warriors, wizards, the band has opted this time for a high seas hard rock epic.  Those that might be new to the music of Scythia will enjoy this record first and foremost of its musical content.  While this record boasts a sound similar to Scythia’s previous records, the sound stands out because of its hybrid qualities.  This will be discussed later.  The story presented in Of Conquest is just as certain to entertain any pure blooded metal head that is open-minded enough to give the record a chance.  In giving it a chance, said audiences may very well themselves find this new record to be one of their own favorite rock albums.

The musical side of Scythia’s new record is relatively similar to that of the band’s previous records.  On the surface, it comes across as another power/prog rock record, stylistically speaking.  But a deeper listen reveals something even more intriguing. The band’s sound is actually a subtle hybrid sound.  While the power/prog element comes out above others, there are also some obviously Swedish metal influences, too.  That’s obvious in the performance of lead guitarist/vocalist Dave Khan and even drummer/backing vocalist Celine Derval.  As a matter of fact, if one were to listen to this record without knowing that Derval was a member of the band, one would swear that the screaming female vocals that are interwoven into certain songs were that of Arch Enemy vocalist Angela Gossow.  Speaking of Arch Enemy, Dave Khan’s prowess on the guitar is just as impressive as that of Michael Amott and other fellow Swedish shredders.  It just goes to show the influence of Swedish metal on the rock world.  Some might consider it musical heresy, but Khan’s own vocals are even on par with the likes of Rob Halford, Bruce Dickinson and others.  Considering that this band released its debut album only four years ago, that is saying something.  Audiences that give this new record a chance will be surprised to find themselves agreeing with this comparison, too.  The positives of Of Conquest  don’t end here, either.  Just as noteworthy with this latest release is the album’s lyrical side.

Scythia has given its audiences a new story with each one of its previous releases.  Those releases have been steeped in fantasy and legend somewhere along the lines of perhaps Amon Amarth and others, only toned down.  There is still plenty of myth on Of Conquest.  But this time, the myth is used in a high seas hard rock opera of sorts.  This album presents a young protagonist that decides to take to the high seas in the late 1500s.  At first things seem great.  But it doesn’t take long before the young unnamed subject finds himself on quite the adventure.  From getting caught in an unforgiving storm to battling a kraken to facing some unspeakable figures late in his journey, he has great odds to face.  Making the story all the more interesting to take in is the fact that despite the band’s hybrid hard rock/metal sound, Khan actually sings his way through each “chapter” of the story.  So it’s actually possible to understand what is going on without a dire need for a lyric booklet.  Don’t misunderstand that statement.  Lyric booklets are always a nice addition for any artist’s album, regardless of genre.  It’s just that easy to understand the story.  And that is the final piece of what makes this album a surprisingly enjoyable record.  The band currently has no live events planned.  But fans that want to hear the band live or those that want to check out the new album when it is released can keep up with the band online at http://www.scythia.ca and http://www.facebook.com/scythiametal.  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.

AX7 Makes Its Case For One Of 2013’s Best With Hail To The King

Courtesy:  Warner Brothers Records

Courtesy: Warner Brothers Records

Avenged Sevenfold has officially made its case for its place on the list of this year’s best new hard rock and metal albums with the release of its sixth full length release, Hail to the King.  The album is ten tracks of pure hard rock that will most certainly impress the band’s fans new and old alike.  The main reason for this success is the fact that this is very much a guitar driven record.  Front man M. Shadows’ vocals are as strong as they have ever been.  And the guitar work of Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance is equally impressive.  Whether in their solos or their primary duties, the pair exhibits its talent from one song to the next throughout the record.  Listeners should not forget new drummer Arin Ilejay more than holds his own, having taken over from the band’s former drummer Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan.  The unit as a whole has crafted an album that shows even in the face of its previous tragedy has overcome that tragedy to successfully reclaim its place in the hard rock community once more.

One of the very first things that listeners will appreciate from this album is its obvious old school influences.  From the album’s hard rocking opener, ‘Shepherd of Fire’ to its final number, ‘Acid Rain’, the entire album exhibits hints of influences from the likes of Metallica, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and even Motley Crue to a lesser degree.  The driving guitars throughout the songs and the equally soaring solos from Synyster Gates and Vengeance show such a certain respect and reverence for their influences.  Listeners can hear obvious Metallica influences in ‘This Means War’ and ‘Shepherd of Fire.’  And the album’s lead single and title track is just one of a number that boasts influences from the likes of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest.  And fans of Motley Crue will appreciate the band’s seeming influence on the hard driving, semi-socially conscious, ‘Doing Time.’  Should audiences listen closely enough, they might even hear what sounds like the one and only Axel Rose guesting on the song.  It might not in fact be him.  But even if it isn’t him, it certainly sounds like him.  Regardless of whether or not it was him, the discussion that speculation would generate is enough to make this one more positive for the album’s overall effect.

The members of AX7 pay due respects to the bands that have come before them throughout all ten songs on its sixth new full length release.  Those influences are just one part of what makes this record so impressive whether this album is one’s first time being exposed to Avenged Sevenfold or one’s fiftieth.  It’s not all that audiences will appreciate from this album.  Along with the old school influences, audiences will also appreciate the lush orchestra arrangements included in a number of the album’s songs.  The album’s opening number boasts a solid horn arrangement alongside some very dark sounding church bells.  The effect of these elements combined with the rest of the song’s musical side makes it a solid and impressive re-introduction for the band.  Other songs tout some very moving string arrangements that make said songs so much more moving, even in the album’s less hard rocking moments.  The balance of these musical elements makes every song on Hail to the King worth the listen.  And in the long run, it’s that balance of musical elements and influences that makes this album one of AX7’s best yet.  It also makes this album an easy contender for a slot on the list of the year’s best new hard rock and metal records.

Avenged Sevenfold is currently touring in support of its upcoming album.  It will perform Monday in Los Angeles, California’s Hollywood Palladium.  It will follow up that performance with a performance next Friday, August 30th in Albuquerque, NM at the Isleta Amphitheatre.  It will join Korn, Device, and Halestorm for the show there.  A full list of the band’s current tour dates is available online now, along with all of the latest updates from the band at http://www.facebook.com/AvengedSevenFold and http://avengedsevenfold.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.

Up-And-Coming Guitarist To Tour With Malmstein

Rising guitar star Ethan Brosh will hit the road this spring and summer with veteran guitarist and virtuoso musician Yngwie Malmstein.  The tour, which is in support of his upcoming sophomore full length studio release, will span twenty-five cities across the U.S. and Canada.  Brosh’s upcoming album is titled Live The Dream.  Bassist Dave Ellefson joins Brosh on this new release.  Ellefson isn’t the only huge name to have a hand on Bosh’s latest record.  Max Norman (Ozzy Osbourne, Megadeth) mixed the record, and Bob Ludwig (Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Iron Maiden) mastered it.  Joe Petagno (Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd) crafted the album’s artwork.

Brosh’s debut album, 2009’s Out of Oblivion featured its own roster of who’s who in rock. Mike Mangini (Dream Theater, Extreme, Steve Vai) covered the drums for the record.  Mangini was just one of the big name musicians to make a guest appearance on Out of Oblivion.  He was joined by George Lynch (Dokken) and Greg Howe (Michael Jackson).  Derek Riggs (Iron Maiden) created the artwork for the album, while Chris Tsangarides (Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne) ran the boards.

Brosh has obviously made quite the name for himself as a solo artist.  And while he has done so, he doesn’t rest on his laurels as he also performs with another group called Burning Heart.  Burning heart will join the Yngwie tour on its second leg.  The tour will mark the first ever national tour for the band. 

A current list of tour dates is available below.  And for the latest tour updates and all the latest news from Ethan Brosh, fans go “Like” him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ethan-Brosh/88968151778.  Fans can also get the latest from Ethan Brosh online at http://www.ethanbrosh.com, http://www.myspace.com/ethanbrosh, and http://twitter.com/ethanbrosh.  Audiences can also check out Ethan’s music via YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/ethanbrosh.

04/24/13        CLEVELAND, OH           HOUSE OF BLUES
04/25/13        DETROIT, MI                             ST. ANDREW’S HALL
04/26/13        TORONTO, ON                     PHOENIX THEATRE
04/27/13        HARTFORD, CT                    THE WEBSTER THEATER
04/28/13        MUNHALL, PA                     CARNEGIE LIBRARY MUSIC HALL OF HOMESTEAD
04/29/13        BOSTON, MA                      THE WILBUR THEATRE
04/30/13        NEW YORK, NY                    IRVING PLAZA
05/03/13        MEMPHIS, TN                     TOM LEE PARK – BEALE STREET MUSIC FESTIVAL
05/04/13        CHICAGO, IL                     HOUSE OF BLUES
05/05/13        ST. CHARLES, IL                 THE ARCADA THEATRE
05/07/13        DENVER, CO                      THE SUMMIT MUSIC HALL
05/09/13        ANAHEIM, CA                     HOUSE OF BLUES
05/10/13        W. HOLLYWOOD, CA                HOUSE OF BLUES
05/11/13        FRESNO, CA                      TOWER THEATRE
05/12/13        VENTURA, CA                     MAJESTIC VENTURA THEATER
05/13/13        SAN FRANCISCO, CA       THE REGENCY BALLROOM
05/14/13        SAN DIEGO, CA                   HOUSE OF BLUES
05/16/13        DALLAS, TX                              GRANADA THEATER
05/17/13        SAN ANTONIO, TX         BACKSTAGE LIVE – OUTDOORS
05/18/13        HOUSTON, TX                     OUTDOORS HOUSTON GUITAR FESTIVAL
5/21/13         SAUGET, IL                              POPS
5/23/13         NEW ORLEANS, LA         HOUSE OF BLUES
5/24/13         ORLANDO, FL                     PLAZA THEATRE
5/25/13         MIAMI, FL                               GRAND CENTRAL
5/26/13         TAMPA, FL                               ORPHEUM THEATRE

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.

Re-Machined More Than Just A Tribute Record

Courtesy:  Eagle Records/Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Records/Eagle Rock Entertainment

Famed British hard rock band Deep Purple is set to drop its new album next month.  The album, titled Now What?! will be released in the United State Tuesday, April 30th.  While fans wait for the release of this highly anticipated album, they have another recent release to tide them over in the form of the tribute album, Re-Machined: A Tribute to Deep Purple’s Machine Head.  It may be a tribute album, but it is still a great album for both new and long-time fans of Deep Purple.

The new honorary compilation hit stores in late 2012 as part of the 40th anniversary of the landmark album’s original release.  It features all seven tracks from Deep Purple’s original iconic album plus a pair of bonuses.  One of those bonuses comes in the form of Metallica’s cover of ‘When A Blind Man Cries.’  As Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich notes in the compilation’s liner notes, “I have a list of songs in my head that Metallica should play before we either break up or die, and Deep Purple’s ‘When A Blind man Cries’ is one of those songs.”  The song in question is a bonus in that it actually never made the record.  Again, the liner notes shed light on this.  The notes, written by Classic Rock Magazine’s Mark Blake note that the song in question was originally a B-side to the song, ‘Never Before’ but has become a fan favorite throughout the years.  So it only made sense to have it included on this tribute record.  And it’s just one of the pieces that make this album a must not just for any Deep Purple fan but for any hard rocker, period.

‘When A Blind Man Cries’ is just one part of what makes Re-Machined such an impressive album of covers.  Going back to Ulrich, he and Metallica constitute just one of the acts brought together to record this album who openly tout Deep Purple as an influence in their own career as musicians.  Blake writes of Iron Maiden’s front man Bruce Dickinson (whose band also covers a track on the disc) that he [Dickinson] was also a “serious Purple aficionado.”  He quotes Dickinson as saying, “I cut my teeth as a kid on Deep Purple.  It’s what I grew up with.  It’s what got me out of bed in the mornings.”  Now if that isn’t a tribute in itself to the importance of Deep Purple in the music world, it’s anyone’s guess what is.  Dickinson and company ended up recording ‘Space Truckin’’ for the record, which is an absolutely outstanding piece both originally and as a cover here.  The way that it drives (no pun intended), it will have fans pumping their fists and singing along loud and proud. 

If Iron Maiden’s ‘Space Truckin’’ isn’t enough to convince fans of this compilation’s importance, then maybe the album’s opener will.  Carlos Santana (yes, that Carlos Santana) joins Papa Roach front man Jacoby Shaddix for a cover of what is arguably the band’s most famous song of all time, ‘Smoke on the Water.’  What’s really interesting about this cover is that while it is a cover, it doesn’t feel or sound like one.  Far too often, bands and artists try to take classic songs and update them.  That’s not the case here.  Shaddix and Santana have taken the classic and made it their own while still paying homage to the original.  It makes perfect sense as to why the album would open with this cover in hearing Santana’s guitar chops and the solid vocals of Shaddix.  It also serves one more purpose that at a passing glance is missed.  But in really thinking about the generational mix presented here, one sees the purer purpose of using it as the compilation’s opener.

On the surface, having a bunch of bands and artists resurrect one of rock’s most important and iconic albums is a great thing.  Having the album resurrected by a collection of rock’s greatest names past and present is even greater.  What this does is it makes it more than just a tribute album.  It makes the album a music history lesson in and of itself.  As evidenced in the opening number, young audiences will be pulled in by the inclusion of Papa Roach’s Jacoby Shaddix.  Older audiences will be pulled in from both the fact that it’s Deep Purple and that fellow veteran musician Carlos Santana is on the track.  Also because of the inclusion of Santana, those same younger audiences will potentially be introduced to the music of not just one great classic act, but two in both Deep Purple and Carlos Santana, thus preserving both acts’ legacies for a whole new generation.  The same could be said of the inclusion of Chickenfoot’s live cover of ‘Highway Star’ and Black Label Society’s cover of ‘Pictures of Home.’ 

It should be clear by everything noted here that Re-Machined is more than just a tribute to a band.  It’s a tribute, yes.  But it’s also a tribute to everything that was and still is right with rock and roll.  It’s a musical love letter to real rock and an excellent way to get a whole new generation of hard rockers and metal heads into what is without a doubt, one of mainstream rock’s greatest bands.  The album is available now in stores and online.  Audiences can get more information on this album, the band’s upcoming new full length studio release and its tour dates online at http://www.deeppurple2013 and http://www.facebook.com/officialdeeppurple

To keep up with more from Deep Purple and all 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.

Giant X’s Debut LP Is Giant Fun

Courtesy:  Steamhammer/SPV

Courtesy: Steamhammer/SPV

Giant X, the brainchild of Running Wild band members Rolf Kasparek and Peter J. Jordan brings back all the flare and bombacity of rock’s golden era.  Right from the first moments of the album’s opener, ‘On A Blind Flight’, audiences are instantly transported back to the days of big rock and in many cases, big hair.  ‘Blind Flight’ is a solid mix of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden with its solid driving guitars and soaring vocals.  The duo hardly let up from there as it launches into what is sure to be a fan favorite in ‘Don’t Quit Till Tomorrow.’  At this point, there are no plans for Giant X to tour.  But should the band ever manage to h it the road, there’s no doubt that this song would become an instant arena anthem for the band.  The song opens with the simplest of chants that conjures the image of a massive crowd singing along, fists pumping in the air.  Lyrically, this is an equally empowering song.  Kasparek sings near the song’s end, “When the times are getting crazy…don’t quit till tomorrow.  Raise your hands for rock and roll.”  Simply put, what is being said here is don’t let the tough times get you down.  Don’t give up.  Keep pushing through.  The positive message mixed with a solid rocking musical baking makes this one of the album’s best songs, hands down.  Things don’t let off here though.

As the last tones of ‘Don’t Quit Till Tomorrow’ fade away, listeners are able to catch their breath just enough to get ready for even more solid rock in the form of ‘Badland Blues.’  This blues based southern rock style piece is a rock song, plain and simple.  It’s just a great near five minute musical experience.  The only time that the record slows down any is on the semi-ballad, ‘Nameless Heroes.’  This one seems to be a tribute to the men and women in uniform the world over, as Kasparek and Jordan sing, “This goes out to all the nameless heroes/This goes out to all the ones that paid.”  The band leaves little doubt as to whom they are singing for here.  And it’s a fitting tribute to those individuals, too.  It’s one more that’s bound to be a fan favorite regardless of whether or not Giant X tours in support of this record.

‘Don’t Quit Till Tomorrow’ and ‘Nameless Heroes’ are both bound to be fan favorites from Giant X’s debut.  There is at least one more (if not more) that will be another fan favorite.  That song is the album’s very next track, ‘Go 4 It.’ It makes for a perfect transition from ‘Nameless Heroes.’  The song instantly kick starts its listeners after the more emotional ‘Nameless Heroes.’  The first thing that listeners hear from this song is a rather fast guitar intro that leads into Kasparek singing, “You feel the gasoline in your blood…You reek of gas/And you’re kickin’ ass/You are hell on wheels.”  There’s a certain something about this song that oozes the likes of Poison as an influence.  It’s just one more of so many tracks that any fan of big hair and big guitars will appreciate on this upcoming new album.  And for those wondering, Giant X’s debut album, I is due to be available in stores and online in the U.S. on January 22nd.  To find out if the band will be touring in support of its debut, I, fans need just go online to http://www.running-wild.net, and http://www.facebook.com/pages/Giant-X/176387661550

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.

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.  

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go 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.

Iced earth spread the metal this Summer

Iced Earth heads across America this Summer.  The band released its tenth full length studio release, “Dystopia”  last year.  And this Summer, it will continue its tour in support of that album with a tour across the country.  The band will be joined by Volbeat, Hellyeah (who will also be touring in support of their new album), and The Sixxis.

Iced earth kicks off its Summer tour today in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  The band’s current slate of dates will take it largely throughout the Midwest.  Although there will be some dates through the Northeast.  Fans who make it out to see Iced Earth on tour this Summer will get the chance to pick up a limited tour edition of “Dystopia.”  the limited edition will include a second disc that has covers of songs from fellow metal legends, Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath.  It will also include bonus music videos for a pair of songs from “Dystopia” as well as a making of featurette, band incterview, cell phone skins, desktop wallpapers and more.  There’s even a re-release of the band’s hit song, ‘Dante’s Inferno’ that was recorded with vocalist Stu Block.

To get all the latest tour dates and information on Iced Earth, fans can go online to http://www.IcedEarth.com, http://www.facebook.com/OfficialIcedEarth, http://www.myspace.com/IcedEarth, and http://www.youtube.com/OfficialIcedEarth.

To keep up with all the latest entertainment news and reviews, go to http://www.facebook.com/PhilsPicks and “Like” it or its companion page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  fans can also keep up with all the latest entertainment news and reviews at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.