This Is Your Life Is Not Just Another Throw-Away Tribute Album

Courtesy:  Rhino Records

Courtesy: Rhino Records

Tribute albums are a dime a dozen. So many tribute albums are released each year that one can’t help but feel that the labels that release them care more about their bottom line than about actually celebrating said artists being given tribute. That being the case, one can’t help but wonder why This Is Your Life, the new tribute album to iconic rock front man Ronnie James Dio, would be any different from those records. The answer to that is not a simple one. One reason that this tribute album stands out is the list of performers and bands that recorded songs for the compilation. It’s a who’s who of hard rock from the past, present, and even future of the genre. Another reason that this compilation stands out is its track listing. This record boasts some of the most beloved songs of RJD’s career. And last but definitely not least important to consider in this record is the fact that it isn’t just a means for the label distributing it to make money. It actually doubles as a fundraiser for RJD’s Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund. So it’s actually a record crafted to essentially help give back. How many bands, artists, groups, etc. can say that they have crafted an entire album simply to raise funds for charity? That–along with the list of songs and performers, bands, etc. on this album–makes This Is Your Life an album that stands well above the rest of the otherwise throw-away albums claiming to be tribute albums.

Courtesy:  Rhino Records

Courtesy: Rhino Records

The primary aspect of This Is Your Life that makes it stand out against all of the other tribute albums out there is the list of performers drafted to record songs for the record. The list of performers drafted for this record is a who’s who of hard rock’s past, present, and even future. It wasn’t just a mish-mash of bands, artists and groups tossed together. Everybody tapped to record for this tribute record is either a counterpart to RJD or someone that grew up idolizing him and his talents. Veterans such as Anthrax, Motorhead, Scorpions, Biff Byford, and Rob Halford perform alongside younger acts such as Adrenaline Mob, Killswitch Engage, and Halestorm over the course of the record’s fourteen total tracks. That collection of bands and artists singing Dio’s hits is in itself a musical history lesson. It introduces younger audiences that might be more familiar with the latter grouping of bands and artists to the veterans and to the music of Dio. To that extent, This Is Your Life quickly earns major points. Even more points come from the sampling of Dio’s music in question chosen for this compilation.

The list of bands, artists, and groups tapped to record RJD’s music for This Is Your Life is in itself a major boon for the record. As noted, it isn’t just a mish-mash of bands, artists, and groups. It is a collection of bands, group, and artists that played alongside Dio during his career, and those that have come since, growing up with the music of Ronnie James Dio. In short, it’s a collection of individuals that have the utmost respect for Dio and his music. Speaking of that music, the songs chosen to be included on this record are another part of the whole that makes it so enjoyable for listeners. Every song on this record is a classic in its own way. From the more well-known pieces such as ‘The Mob Rules’, ‘Neon Knights’ and ‘Holy Diver’ to slightly lesser known songs such as ‘Straight Through The Heart’, Egypt (The Chains Are On’, and ‘Temple of the King’ This Is Your Life does quite the job of chronicling the career of a man that was and is still even in death, one of the greatest vocalists and performers in the history of hard rock.

The music and performers chosen for This Is Your Life are both key components of the success of the album. As important as they are to the success of the record, there is still one central aspect of the recording that makes it so worth picking up. That aspect is the fact that a certain portion of the sales of the album will go to benefit Dio’s Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund, which was established by Dio’s wife Wendy Dio. Bands, groups and artists go out on tour every year or they take part in fundraising concerts. How many artists can say they were part of a recording project that was also meant as a way to pay tribute to one of their own, too? It’s just like bringing home a hard rock festival without having to pay the exorbitant prices for tickets, souvenirs, sodas and more. And at the same time, audiences that purchase the album will actually be helping to fund an organization that works to research and promote awareness of cancer, as well as educate people about early detection in hopes of one day stopping it.

This Is Your Life is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Ronnie-James-Dio-This-Your/dp/B00IACUO8S/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1396440364&sr=1-1&keywords=dio+this+is+your+life and can be downloaded via iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/ronnie-james-dio-this-is-your/id829325064.

More information on Ronnie James Dio, This Is Your Life and other RJD releases is available online at http://www.facebook.com/OfficialRonnieJamesDio and http://www.ronniejamesdio.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 reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Don Jamieson Is As Irreverent And Funny As Ever On His New Comedy Album

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Don Jamieson, co-host of VH1’s hit show That Metal Show will release his new full length comedy album Tuesday, March 18thHell Bent For Laughter, Jamieson’s second full length comedy album, was recorded in December 2013 at Uncle Vinnie’s Comedy Club in Pleasant Beach, New Jersey.  Despite recording his show close to the new home that he tells his audience that he and his wife had bought, neither The Garden State nor its embattled governor are off limits to Jamieson in his show.  It’s just part of what will have audiences laughing uproariously.  Jamieson also goes after politicians, certain pop acts, and even some of his favorite rock bands of all time in his act just to note a little of what audiences can expect in this performance.  Regardless of whether it be for any of the noted material or that not noted, there is enough in this recording to have anyone laughing, even when they know they should be ashamed to be doing so.  It is a laugh riot and a must hear for anyone that needs a good laugh.

Don Jamieson covers so much ground in the show recorded for Hell Bent For Laughter.  He obviously has plenty of music related jokes and jokes related to That Metal Show.  But that’s not all he hits in his show.  Jamieson also justifiably gets plenty of laughs when he tells his audience about having bought a house in New Jersey with his wife.  Those laughs are thanks to jokes about his bad luck in the timing of having bought the house and about the cost of mortgage payments.  He laughs as he tells his audience that anyone that’s renting should keep doing so.  From there, he goes on to make jokes about embattled New Jersey governor Chris Christie, Christie’s potential run for the presidency, and of course his weight and weight loss.  It’s just one of a handful of moments throughout the show when Jamieson really shines in this show.  Audiences will agree when they hear his jokes for themselves.

Gov. Christie isn’t the only politician that Jamieson goes after in his latest comedy release.  He also goes after Vice President Joe Biden and how little people actually see him versus how much people see President Obama.  He makes a sharp joke about how much Biden spent on room service in one night at a hotel room at one point.  He really shows with both this joke and those aimed at Christie his ability to branch out and cover more than just music.  It shows his abilities as apolitical satirist as well as media personality, which bodes well if he ever decides to step away from his day job.  On an even deeper level, the fact that he would go after both a Republican and Democrat means that no one can even begin to accuse Jamieson of supporting one side or the other.  He gives equal time to both sides.  Anyone with any knowledge of how the media works will appreciate that reference.

The laughs that Jamieson gets with his political pot shots don’t stop there.  He also goes after some of the biggest names in pop culture as part of his act.  Those names include the likes of Lady Gaga, Whitney Houston, and even One Direction.  He basically accuses Lady Gaga of being a cross-dressing male.  And in terms of Whitney Houston, he shows just how irreverent he can be.  Some might even call his joke at Houston’s expense walking a very fine line.  It’s not the only time at which he walks that line, either.  Audiences will find he walks that line quite a bit throughout this set.  Getting back on topic, in going after One Direction, that joke is so off color that this critic would get in a lot of trouble for even beginning to repeat it.  It is something that audiences will have to hear for themselves to appreciate.   They’re not the only acts to taste Jamieson’s comedic venom so to speak, either.  He spreads the love, even making jabs at some of the biggest names in the rock industry.  Metallica, Motley Crue, Judas Priest, KISS, and Guns N’ Roses all get their moment in Jamieson’s set.  From calling Motley Crue Motley Karaoke thanks to how Vince Neil handles live shows to a crack about Metallica working with Lou Reed to jokes about songs from KISS and Judas Priest, Jamieson leaves no stone unturned.  He shows that he can get audiences laughing even in making jokes related to his regular day job even on these topics.  It shows that whether it be music, pop culture, politics, or even more blue material, Don Jamieson can entertain any audience.  And audiences will agree on this when they pick up Hell Bent For Laughter Tuesday, March 18th.  It is definitely a recording that will have anyone laughing nonstop.

Jamieson will hit the road beginning next Friday March, 14th for a stand-up tour to support Hell Bent For Laughter.  Audiences will get to hear some of his material when he kicks off his tour at the New Hope Cinema Grill in New Hope, Minnesota.  He will be joined by his co-hosts of That Metal Show on a handful of his upcoming live dates.  Fans can get a full rundown of Jamieson’s upcoming live appearances online now at http://www.donjamieson.com, http://www.metalblade.com/donjamieson, http://twitter.com/realdonjamieson, and http://www.facebook.com/donjamiesonofficial.  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 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.

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.

Rob Halford Joins 5FDP On Stage In Birmingham

Photo Credit: Robert Lawrence

Photo Credit: Robert Lawrence

Fans of Five Finger Death Punch got a special treat this week.  While performing in Birmingham this week, 5FDP was joined on stage by legendary metal front man Rob Halford.  The Judas Priest front man joined the band on-stage in Birmingham, England for a performance of the ‘Lift Me Up.’  ‘Lift Me Up’ comes from the band’s recently released album The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Volume 1.  It went on to reach #1 on the U.S. Active Radio Chart after its release this year.

Audiences can check out a clip of Halford performing with 5FDP online now via YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCPXbLj-QgQ&feature=youtu.be.  Included with the clip is an interview with 5FDP guitarist Zoltan Bathory.  Bathory explains in the interview how the collaboration with the legendary vocalist came to be and the importance of Halford joining the band on-stage.

Five Finger Death Punch recently released The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Volume 2 to the masses.  Since its release, the album has reached #2 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart.  Its lead single, ‘Battle Born’ has been at #1 on the Active Rock Radio Chart for two weeks straight.  The song’s video premiered online at USAToday.com on October 1st.  It is available online now at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyA1GL1touw.  The video for the near four-minute song is comprised primarily of footage of the band on tour.  The band is currently wrapping its European tour. It will be in Ukraine tonight before moving on to Russia tomorrow and next Tuesday and Wednesday.  After next Wednesday’s show, the band will take some much needed time off before heading on the high seas for the annual week-long “Shiprocked” cruise from January 26th – 30th.  5FDP’s fans can get all the latest tour news and more on the band’s official website, http://www.fivefingerdeathpunch.com and its official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/fivefingerdeathpunch.  Fans can also go to the band’s official website to order both Volume 1 & 2 of the band’s new album, The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell.  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.

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.

Priest’s New Live Release One Of 2013′s Top Live Recordings

Courtesy: Sony Legacy/Legacy Recordings

Courtesy: Sony Legacy/Legacy Recordings

Judas Priest’s latest live release is a must have for any true hardcore fan of this legendary metal act.  The closing show of what is said to be the band’s last live tour spans the band’s forty year career together.  The good news is that while this show marked the end of the band’s last tour, fans still allegedly have another new album for which they will be waiting after the release of this recording.  So much could be said of this latest live recording that fans will appreciate.  Right off the bat, fans with surround sound home theater systems will appreciate it more than anyone else.  And then of course, there is also the quality of the footage.  Home viewers will especially enjoy the overhead shots of drummer Scott Travis and the multiple angle shots of the band’s multi-guitar attack from Richie Faulkner, Glenn Tipton and bassist Ian Hill.   The talent of this group of old dogs is just as worthy of discussion as the audio and video quality of the recording.  So is the set list for the band’s career defining show.  When the trio come together for its classic multi-guitar stage stance, it will take fans of old school metal shows back even more, adding that much more to what is an incredible live show all the way around.

The very first thing that audiences catch from Epitaph is the audio quality of this recording.  Those with surround sound home theater systems will love the full-on live concert effect that they will experience.  Even those without home theater systems will still get quite the experience when they go into their television’s settings and set the audio to match the recording.  Those with digital televisions should easily be able to simply hit a button on their remote to adjust the sound accordingly.  Once the sound is set, one need only sit back and enjoy the show, or even get up and move with the performance whose footage was caught just as expertly as its audio.

The footage recorded for this performance was maintained just as expertly as its audio.  Whether on DVD or Blu-ray, the footage is crystal clear.  Even those watching it on DVD on a Blu-ray player and HDTV can still see just how clear the picture is.  Combined with the audio quality, audiences get a recording that is easily one of the best live recordings of 2013 for these reasons alone.  Staying on the footage though, audiences get more than just a crystal clear recording.  They get a show whose cinematography makes seeing this iconic show at home just as enjoyable as seeing it live, if not more so.  Sometimes the cameras get some rather impressive wide angle shots.  At other times, the cameras are right up there with Faulkner, Tipton and Hill.  In some songs, the camera angles switch back and forth with a ferocity that equals that of the music, fully highlighting the intensity of said songs.  If that doesn’t impress audiences, it’s anyone’s guess what will. 

The intensity of the songs culled for this set is something else that should definitely be noted that makes it so impressive.  While the collective age of the band’s members is pretty high, these old dogs have shown that they have plenty of tricks up their sleeves.  From front man Rob Halford’s still solid, soaring pipes to the musicianship of his band mates, the band proves here that a band doesn’t need to have lots of special effects and other goodies to make a show memorable.  Though, there were laser lights and pyro peppered throughout the course of the show.  That aside, the band’s members showed collectively with their musicianship why Judas Priest is still one of the most revered and respected bands in hard rock.  Whether for guitarist Richie Faulkner’s solos, Halford’s incredible vocal talent and or drummer Scott Travis’ timekeeping, every member of this group of veteran rock band brought something to the table that ultimately make this show one of the best in the band’s catalogue of live releases.  On a side note, audiences will especially appreciate how Halford commands the stage in a fashion similar to that of equally revered front man Freddie Mercury when he has the audience sing back to him.  This brief moment is a direct mirror of Mercury.  That is meant in the most complimentary fashion, too.  It goes to show the command that Halford has over the audience and why he remains one of the greatest front men in not just hard rock but in the rock community as a whole.  It is just one more aspect of so many that could be discussed that makes Epitaph one of the year’s best live recordings.

The quality of the footage from this recording and the talent of the band’s members do so much to make Epitaph a great show for any hardcore Priest fan.  It’s just as impressive for anyone wanting an overview of the band’s music.  That is thanks to the career-spanning set list.  The band’s performance spans nearly two and a half hours and twenty three songs.  Among some of the favorites included that fans will enjoy are: ‘Metal Gods’, ‘Judas Rising’, ‘Turbo Lover’, ‘The Sentinel’, and of course, ‘Breaking The Law.’  This is just part of what fans can expect out of this recording.  Fans will all have their own favorite.  And considering that there are eighteen other songs included here, fans have more than their share from which to choose a favorite or favorites.  That extensive set list set alongside the show’s equally impressive recording quality and the band’s energy makes Epitaph a show that will prove to be one of the year’s best live releases.  It’s one of those releases that will be just as enjoyable the first time around and the fiftieth.  It will be available May 28th on Blu-ray and DVD.

While Priest fans wait to pick up their copy of this must have live release, they can keep up with the latest from the band online at http://www.facebook.com/OfficialJudasPriest and the band’s official website, http://www.JudasPriest.com. Fans can even check out a trailer for the upcoming release on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7W6NJs_HRw.  Fans can also check out more material from the band on its own YouTube page at http://www.youtube.com/JudasPriest

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Judas Priest Announces New Live DVD, Blu-Ray

Courtesy:  Legacy Recordings

Courtesy: Legacy Recordings

Judas Priest is set to release a brand new Live DVD and Blu-ray this Spring.  The new live release, Epitaph, will be released May 28th separately on DVD and Blu-ray.  It is part of the band’s celebration of its 40th anniversary.  The twenty-three song set captures the closing night of the band’s “Epitaph World Tour.”  The concert’s set list includes selections from each of the band’s fourteen albums spanning from 1974 to 2008.   It was recorded live at London’s HMV Hammersmith Apollo on May 26, 2012.  This new live release is sure to be a fan favorite as it closes what was said to be the band’s final live tour, although a new full length studio release is already being planned.

The expected set list for the upcoming live release is as follows:  1) ‘Battle Hymn’ 2) ‘Rapid Fire’ 3) ‘Metal Gods’ 4) ‘Heading Out To The Highway’ 5) ‘Judas Rising’ 6) ‘Starbreaker’ 7) ‘Victim of Changes’ 8) ‘Never Satisfied’ 9) ‘Diamonds and Rust’ 10) ‘Prophecy’ 11) ‘Nightcrawler’ 12) ‘Turbo Lover’ 13) ‘Beyond The Realms of Death’ 14)  ‘The Sentinel’ 15)  ‘Blood Red Skies’ 16) ‘The Green Manalishi (With the Two-Pronged Crown) 17) ‘Breaking The Law’ 18) ‘Painkiller’ 19) ‘The Hellion’ 20) ‘Electric Eye’ 21) ‘Hell Bent For Leather 22) ‘You’ve Got Another Thing Coming 23) ‘Living After Midnight

Epitaph will be released via Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony Music Entertainment.  To get more information on this upcoming release and all the latest news from Judas Priest, fans can go online to the official Judas Priest website, http://www.judaspriest.com or its official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/OfficialJudasPriest

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.

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

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