Battlecross Announces Tour With Machine Head, Children Of Bodom, Epica

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

The members of Battlecross announced Monday that the band will embark on a North American tour this fall in support of its latest album War of Will.

Battlecross will join Machine Head, Epica, and Children of Bodom beginning Saturday, October 4th in Denver, Colorado. Tickets for the band’s joint tour will go on sale this Friday morning at 10am ET. Battlecross guitarist Tony Asta discussed in a recent interview, his thoughts on touring alongside Children of Bodom and Machine Head once again and with Epica for the first time ever. “What an honor to be on this tour!,” he said. “We’re really stoked to reunite with Machine Head and Children of Bodom, both legendary bands and friends from last summer’s Mayhem Fest, and to see what Epica is all about. This is a tour with something for every metal head and we can’t wait to be bring it brutal throughout the USA & Canada, banging heads and melting faces from coast-to-coast.See you in the pit!”

Before Battlecross makes its way across America this fall, the band will join Black Label Society in Mexico City before performing a trip of dates with Killswitch Engage and Memphis May Fire in Brazil. Hiran Deraniyalaga, who also plays guitar for Battlecross, commented on the upcoming performances. “What a year this has been for us so far,” he said. “We’ve been to Europe twice and now we’re going to Mexico and South America! We’re so honored to be invited to play with Black Label Society in Mexico City. We have so many loyal rabid fans there and we finally get to play for them! After that we fly to Brazil for three dates with our good friends Killswitch Engage, who we can’t thank enough for always inviting us out for awesome opportunities like this one. Get ready to rage my friends! This will be one for the books!”

The schedule for Battlecross’ upcoming tour with Machine Head, Children of Bodom, and Epica is listed below.

Battlecross
Tour w/ Machine Head, Children of Bodom, Epica
10/04 Denver, CO @ The Summit Music Hall
10/06 Dallas, TX @ House of Blues Dallas
10/07 Houston, TX @ House of Blues Houston
10/09 Orlando, FL @ Hard Rock Live
10/10 Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
10/12 Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory
10/14 Toronto, ON @ Sound Academy
10/15 Montreal, QC @ Metropolis
10/16 New York, NY @ Terminal 5
10/17 Worcester, MA @ The Palladium – Rock and Shock festival
10/18 Cleveland, OH @ Agora Theatre
10/20 Chicago, IL @ Concord Music Hall
10/21 Milwaukee, WI @ The Rave II
10/22 Minneapolis, MN @ Skyway Theatre
10/23 Winnipeg, MB @ Pyramid Cabaret
10/24 Saskatoon, SK @ O’Brians Event Centre
10/25 Calgary, AB @ The Republik
10/26 Edmonton, AB @ Shaw Conference Centre
10/28 Vancouver, BC @ Vogue Theater
10/29 Seattle, WA @ Showbox SODO
10/30 Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theatre
10/31 Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater
11/01 Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Palladium
11/02 San Diego, CA @ House of Blues

Battlecross
Summer Headline Tour w/ IKILLYA
07/30 Reading, PA @ Reverb
07/31 Buffalo, NY @ Waiting Room
08/01 Hartford, CT @ Webster Underground
08/02 Albany, NY @ Bogies
08/03 Ottawa, ON*** @ Mavericks
08/04 Quebec City***, QC @ L’Agitee
08/05 London, ON*** @ Rum Runners
08/06 Syracuse, NY @ Lost Horizon
08/07 Pittsburgh, PA @ Smiling Moose
End tour
08/08 Louisville, KY** @ Expo 5
08/09 Birch Run, MI @ DIRT Fest
08/10 Libertyville, IL** @ Austin’s
** w/ Killswitch Engage
***w/ Crimson Shadows & IKILLYA
Battlecross
South American tour dates
w/ Black Label Society
08/20 Mexico City*** @ Jose Cuervo Salon

w/ Killswitch Engage & Memphis May Fire
08/22 Curitiba, Brazil @ Music Hall
08/23 Sao Paulo, Brazil @ Carioca Club
08/24 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil @ Circo Voador

All of the latest news and tour updates from Battlecross is available online at http://battlecrossmetal.com, http://www.facebook.com/battlecrossmetal, and http://twitter.com/battlecross. 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.

Battlecross Announces New Tour Dates, Starts Working On New Album

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

The members of Battlecross have confirmed that the band will hit the road this summer for a headlining tour.

The band will kick off its upcoming headlining summer tour on Thursday, July 24th at The Basement in Columbus, Ohio. A pair of dates in North Carolina is also planned as part of the band’s tour. That pair of dates will see the band perform at the Greene Street Club in Greensboro, North Carolina on Friday, July 25th and The Casbah at Tremont Music Hall on Sunday, July 27th. The band will be joined by Crimson Shadows at both performances. Crimson Shadows, from Canada, was the winner of the most recent Wacken Metal Battle. New York-based band IKILLYA will also be on hand for support.

The first leg of the band’s summer tour runs through Thursday August 7th. Battlecross will join Killswitch Engage on Friday, August 8th and Sunday, August 10th at Expo 5 in Louisville, KY and at Austin’s in Libertyville, IL respectively. The band also has a performance scheduled for Saturday, August 9th at the DIRT Fest in Birch Run, MI. After finishing its U.S. run, Battlecross will head south for the South American leg of its tour. That leg of the band’s tour currently runs from Friday, August 22nd to Sunday, August 24th. Also on board for that leg of the tour will be Memphis May Fire and Killswitch Engage. Currently, the band is on tour in Europe in support of its latest release, War of Wills. The band is touring alongside Huntress and will be in Milano today. The band’s current tour schedule is listed below.

BATTLECROSS Summer 2014 European tour dates:
19/06/14 IT – Milano – Club Legend w/ Huntress
20/06/14 SI – Ljubljana – Orto Bar w/ Huntress
21/06/14 HR – Zagreb – Mochvara Club w/ Huntress
27/06/14 BE – Dessel – Graspop Festival

BATTLECROSS
Tour w/ Crimson Shadows
Thu/Jul-24 Columbus, OH @ The Basement
Fri/Jul-25 Greensboro, NC @ Greene Street Club
Sat/Jul-26 Elizabethton, TN @ The Bonnie Kate
Sun/Jul-27 Charlotte, NC @ The Casbah at Tremont Music Hall
Mon/Jul-28 Jacksonville, FL @ 1904 Music Hall
Wed/Jul-30 Reading, PA @ Reverb
Thu/Jul-31 Buffalo, NY @ Waiting Room
Fri/Aug-01 Hartford, CT @ Webster Underground
Sat/Aug-02 Albany, NY @ Bogies
Sun/Aug-03 Ottawa, ON @ Mavericks
Mon/Aug-04 Quebec City, QC @ L’Agitee
Tue/Aug-05 London, ON @ Rum Runners*
Wed/Aug-06 Syracuse, NY @ Lost Horizon
Thu/Aug-07 Pittsburgh, PA @ Smiling Moose
End tour
Fri/Aug-08 Louisville, KY** @ Expo 5
Sat/Aug-09 Birch Run, MI @ DIRT Fest
Sun/Aug-10 Libertyville, IL** @Austin’s
*co-headline w/ Macabre
** w/ Killswitch Engage

BATTLECROSS South American tour dates
w/ Killswitch Engage, Memphis May Fire
Fri/Aug-22 Curitiba, Brazil @ Music Hall
Sat/Aug-23 Sao Paulo, Brazil @ Carioca Club
Sun/Aug-24 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil @ Circo Voador

Along with its upcoming tour dates, the members of Battlecross have also announced that the band has started work on its third full length album. Guitarist Hiran Deraniyagala shared his thoughts regarding the connection between the short headlining tour and the album. He said of the band’s expectations for both, “We’re excited to announce our first headline run in quite a while. It’s short but sweet, and this gives us time to write the new record this summer.” Fellow guitarist Tony Asta added his thoughts, too. “The past year has been very inspiring for the band and our attitude towards the writing process this time around is more confident and driven,” he said. “I expect our next album to kick you in the ass harder than the last. Album #3 will be a serious contender in 2015 and a defining Battlecross record.”

More information on Battlecross’ upcoming tour, album and more is available online now at http://battlecrossmetal.com, http://www.facebook.com/battlecrossmetal, and http://twitter.com/battlecross. 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.

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.

Lineup Change Announced For 2014 Carolina Rebellion Festival

Courtesy: Ashton-Magnuson Media

Courtesy: Ashton-Magnuson Media

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rocklahoma Organizers Announce New Ticket Package

Courtesy:  Ashton Magnuson Media

Courtesy: Ashton Magnuson Media

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Details Released For Annual Carolina Rebellion Festival

Courtesy: Ashton-Magnuson Media

Courtesy: Ashton-Magnuson Media

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

Saturday, May 3

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

Sunday, May 4

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

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

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

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

ROTR Organizers Announce Early Details For 2014 Festival

Rock on the Range 2014 Logo

Courtesy: MSO PR

The 2013 edition of the annual Rock on the Range festival was one of the biggest that organizers of the annual event have ever experienced.  2013 saw the annual event completely sell out.  Seeing the success that the festival had in 2013, festival organizers have announced that the festival will now expand to three full days this year. The festival, which will run from May 16th – May 18th this year, will be headlined by three very big name acts.  Those acts are Guns N’ Roses, Avenged Sevenfold, and Kid Rock.

While the trio of aforementioned bands will headline the once again expanded festival (last year saw the festival expand to three nights) are big names in themselves, they won’t be the only bands to perform at this year’s show.  Also scheduled to perform this year are: Seether, Five Finger Death Punch, Slayer, Staind, Motorhead, Chevelle, Alter Bridge, Mastodon, Black Label Society and Killswitch Engage among many others.  The complete lineup of bands scheduled to perform at this year’s ROTR Festival is listed below.

2014 ROCK ON THE RANGE BAND LINEUP

Guns N’ Roses, Avenged Sevenfold, Kid Rock, Five Finger Death Punch, Slayer, Staind, Motorhead, Seether, Chevelle, Alter Bridge, Mastodon, Black Label Society, Killswitch Engage, Bring Me The Horizon, Theory of a Deadman, Down, Black Stone Cherry, Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience, Pop Evil, Of Mice & Men, Adelitas Way, Trivium, Gojira, Suicidal Tendencies, The Pretty Reckless, We Came as Romans, Fuel, Redlight King, Miss May I, Reignwolf, Thousand Foot Krutch, Texas Hippie Coalition, Rev Theory, Skindred, Kyng, Fozzy, Heaven’s Basement, Butcher Babies, Nothing More, Exodus, King 810, Devour the Day, We As Human, We Are Harlot, Kvelertak, Jim Breuer Band, One OK Rock, Twelve Foot Ninja, Avatar, WERM, Monster Truck, Wilson, Crobot and Truckfighters with comedians Jim Breuer, Jim Florentine and more.

Audiences will note that along with the lineup up some of the biggest names in the rock world, this year’s festival also boasts the return of the ROTR Comedy Tent.  Jim Breuer, Jim Florentine, and a number of up-and-coming comedians will perform at the ROTR Comedy Tent.

Weekend passes including Field General Admission, Stadium General Admission, hotel and VIP packages and a stadium four-pack go on sale Friday, January 24th at 10am ET.  More ticket information is available online at http://www.RockOnTheRange.com.  Additional information and updates on this year’s festival is available online at http://www.facebook.com/rockontherange and http://twitter.com/rockontherange.  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.

Saxon Shines On Sacrifice

Courtesy:  UDR, Columbia Records, Militia Guard Music, EMI

Courtesy: UDR, Columbia Records, Militia Guard Music, EMI

Thirty-four years is a long time.  It’s a long time any way that one thinks about it in terms of regular time.  IN terms of the world of music, thirty-four years is an exceptionally long amount of time.  That’s how long the British hard rock band Saxon has been making music.  In an era when the music world is top heavy with flash-in-the-pan bands, it says something special about Saxon that the band is still making music and is still a fan favorite.  Over the course of those three decades plus, Saxon has crafted some nineteen albums.  And now on its twentieth (yes, twentieth) full length record, Sacrifice, Saxon shows once again why it is still so popular and successful.

Sacrifice is pure guitar driven hard rock.  The album’s ten-song set will impress anyone that is a fan of the band’s British brothers in Iron Maiden and Judas Priest.  If there is one song that best exemplifies the album’s title, it would have to be ‘Made in Belfast.’  This song pays tribute to the Irish workmen who built so many of the world’s great structures.  That includes both buildings and sailing vessels.  The band sings proudly in the song’s chorus, “Pulling all together boys/Salving for the boss’s boys/Got to meet the deadline now/Pulling all together boys/Made in Belfast/Made in Belfast.”  The song goes on sounding more like something that audiences might expect more from the likes of Boston’s own Celtic punk rock band Dropkick Murphys than from any hard rock act.  Regardless of this, it proves that even hard rock bands can cover more than the standard lyrical themes in their songs.

Just as fitting an addition to Sacrifice as ‘Made in Belfast’ is ‘Walking the Steel.’  This song is an obvious tribute to all who lost their lives on September 11th, 2001 from the innocent victims to the first responders that died trying to save the innocents.  It also pays tribute to those that have made so much sacrifice to help “Ground Zero” return to its former glory as they build the aptly named “Freedom Tower.”  It’s a different form of sacrifice.  But it still fits quite well within the album title’s general theme.  Front man Biff Byford (who co-produced this album alongside famed producer Andy Sneap—Arch Enemy, Killswitch Engage, Fozzy) sings proudly in this song, “Rising from the ashes floor by floor/Reaching up into the sky/Where the eagles soar/The city sleeps/Life goes on/Hope is still alive/Born again the towers rise above the New York skies./Rising from the ashes for all the world to see.”  This single verse, which opens the song, is certain to become a fan favorite both on the record and in a live setting.  It is so easy to close one’s eyes and see fists breaking the air with pride, and the audiences in attendance singing along with the band as it reaches the chorus, “Walking the steel build them high/Walking the steel you touch the sky/Remember the heroes/Remember them all.”  Anyone that is left unmoved by this song is simply not human.

‘Made in Belfast’ and ‘Walking The Steel’ are both excellent additions to Sacrifice.  They were perfect choices for the album, considering its lyrical themes.  There is much more for audiences to appreciate about this album, though.  There is the traditional song about living life on the road in ‘Stand Up and Fight’, and the completely original song, ‘Guardians of the Tomb’, which comes across as being about the famed “terracotta army” of China.  Go through the annals of hard rock and one will struggle to find many bands that have decided on this as subject matter for a song.  Saxon’s members get major credit for that originality and for crafting a song that rocks at the same time.  There are even more songs on Sacrifice from which listeners will be able to choose proving why these old dogs still have plenty of tricks up their sleeves.  They alone are more than worth picking up this album, which is available now.

If the songs on Sacrifice’s main disc aren’t enough for fans, then maybe the bonus EP will impress listeners.  The bonus EP boasts five re-recorded songs from the band’s catalogue, anchored by the beautiful orchestral take of ‘Crusader.’  The cellos used throughout the song conjure thoughts of Apocalyptica.  The album’s liner notes don’t’ make mention of whether or not it is the band in question.  Regardless, they are a nice touch.  The way that the song starts out with the gentle acoustic guitar alongside Byro’s vocals before building into the pounding rhythms of the re-recorded song makes for huge effect.  The effect of that mix is made even better with the inclusion of any number of string musicians.  It may not be the first time ever that a band has incorporated strings into a rock song.  But it still works nonetheless.  The bluesy ‘Just Let Me Rock’ is slower than ‘Crusader.’  But that doesn’t mean that it’s any less enjoyable.  There’s almost a certain ‘Ace of Spades’ vibe about this song.  Even Byro himself sounds a little like Lemmy Kilmister.  Were someone to hear this song without knowing that Byro was singing, one might actually believe for a moment that it was in fact Kilmister singing.  The guitar solos are just as blistering as anything that Motorhead could put out, too.  To say that this album is that impressive is a tribute to both Byro and his band mates.  It proves just how good this album is and how worth it is for any true hard rocker to pick up or order online.  The band is currently on the road in support of Sacrifice.   It is winding down the U.S. leg of its tour before taking a little time off in October to get ready for the European leg of its tour.  More information on this latest release from Saxon, its tour dates, and more is available online at http://www.facebook.com/saxon and http://www.saxon747.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.

Phinehas’ New EP Good For New Fans And Old

Courtesy:  Red Cord Records

Courtesy: Red Cord Records

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

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

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

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.

Pop Evil Release Video For New Single

Courtesy: EOne Music

The men of Pop Evil have officially released the video for the new single, ‘Purple.’  The single comes from the band’s sophomore full length effort, War of Angels.  The video culls footage of the band on tour against the song.  the combination really brings home the lyrical content, with front man Leigh Kakaty singing, “I’ve never been down this road before/As the days go by/I only miss you more/I thought one day/We would touch the sky/Never grow old/Never gonna die/I never realized/What you meant to me/Till I tried drowning out your memory/Like it’s not over/It only hurts when I’m sober.”  It’s a standard song of a lost love.  But the way that Kakaty sings these bittersweet lyrics set to the song’s video makes the song that much harder hitting.  Fans can check out the video now online at http://www.vevo.com/watch/pop-evil/purple/USKO11090220#/watch/pop-evil/purple/USKO11090220.  

The band recently finished up a successful stint on the Trespass America tour alongside Five Finger Death Punch, Killswitch Engage.  It is currently touring across Canada in support of label mate and legendary metallers in Black Label Society.  Pop Evil’s next tour of duty will be aboard the annual Shiprocked tour.  Five Finger Death Punch will be joining Pop evil again, as will P.O.D., Sevendust, and In This Moment.  The shiprocked tour runs from Tuesday, November 27th to Saturday, December 1st.  Full details on the Shiprocked tour are available online at http://www.getshiprocked.com/2012/

Pop Evil’s North Carolina fans will get their chance to see Pop Evil live as the band will be performing at Camp Lejeune—Onslow Beach on Wednesday, December 19th and at Ziggy’s in Winston Salem, North Carolina the following day.

Until the Shiprocked tour, fans can get all the latest news and more from the band online at http://www.facebook.com/popevil, http://twitter.com/popevilmusic, http://www.myspace.com/PopEvil, and http://www.youtube.com/popevilmusic

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