“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.

The Safety Fire Streaming Sophomore LP For Free Ahead Of Album’s Release

Courtesy;  Inside Out Music

Courtesy; Inside Out Music

UK based five-piece prog-rock band The Safety Fire will release its sophomore album next month.  The band’s new album, Mouth of Swords, is scheduled to be released overseas next Monday, September 2nd.  Pre-orders for the album’s U.S. release can be made now for the album, which was self-produced by the band’s guitarist Derya “Dez” Nagle.  It follows up the band’s 2012 debut release, Grind The Ocean.

The band is offering audiences a special treat to build excitement for its sophomore release.  It can be streamed in its entirety online at YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogsAP4qMChA. The complete track listing for the album is available below.

Mouth of Swords

Glass Crush

Yellowism

Beware The Leopard (Jagwar)

Red Hatchet

Wise Hands

The Ghosts That Wait For Spring

I Am Time, The Destroyer

Old Souls

 

In coordination with the upcoming release of the album, the band will also join North Carolina based prog-metal band, Between The Buried and Me, later in September as it tours in support of its new album, The Parallax II: Future Sequence.  In the meantime, The Safety Fire is touring overseas.  It will be at The Garage in London on Wednesday, September 4th.  The most current list of the band’s tour dates is available on its official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/thesafetyfire.  More updates and news from the band is also available on its official website, http://www.thesafetyfire.com and via Twitter at http://twitter.com/thesafetyfire.

Courtesy:  InsideOut Music

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

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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

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RATM’s Anniversary Box Set A Great Gift To Band’s Fans

Courtesy:  Epic Records/Legacy Recordings

Courtesy: Epic Records/Legacy Recordings

Twenty years ago, one of the biggest bands in modern music history first broke through with its self-titled debut release.  That debut album completely changed the face of music at the time.  The band in question was none other than Rage Against The Machine.  While RATM may not have been the originators of the rap/rock genre, its musical styling wasn’t what made it such an influential band.  It was the fire lit under an entire generation by the band’s sound mixed with its unapologetic political stance.  The band united a generation, telling in no uncertain terms, to “take the power back.”  And the masses began to do just that in listening to the band’s debut.  The band’s message still resonates true with that generation today and even a whole new generation.  In celebration of that continued impact, Epic Records and Legacy Recordings have released the band’s debut album in a box set complete with the band’s original demo, and a handful of extra live performances never before released and other bonuses.

When fans first open the new Rage Against The Machine XX Deluxe Box set, they are greeted with a large picture book featuring pictures from the band’s career.  It opens with an introduction by fellow music veteran and Public Enemy front man Chuck D.  Chuck notes of the band in his intro, “Over the past 20 years, I’ve often called them the greatest band on Earth because of their ability to stand out musically, lyrically, and philosophically.  Nobody comes close to sounding like THEM.  Their lethal combination of many things considered NON-rock makes them the best rock band period.  Sonically distinct, a cocktail bomb sum of its parts.”  That’s a pretty bold statement coming from one of music’s other biggest and equally most controversial individuals.  And it’s an entirely grounded statement, too.  When RATM first broke through in 1992 with its self-titled debut, the music industry had just broken away from the hair metal movement of the 80’s, and was just opening the era of the Seattle “grunge” sound.  The world of pop music was moving away from 80’s nu-wave and into the more bubble-gum sound that is so prevalent today.  Enter Rage Against The Machine.  As Chuck D. notes, there was nothing like this California based quartet out there at the time.  And as he notes late in his intro, music hasn’t been the same since.

The additional liner notes by Chuck D. in this new box set’s mega picture booklet are just one piece of the whole that makes it a nice idea for any long-time fan of RATM.  After going through the liner notes and photos included in the booklet, fans get to really get into the box set.  First off after the booklet is a rather large double-sided fold out poster with two images of the band.  If a person were to want, one could easily put the poster under double glass and perhaps hang it in a way that would show both sides.  Otherwise, it still makes for a nice bonus to the entire set. 

Moving the poster aside, audiences finally get into the real heart of the set.  The real heart of this set comes in two smaller boxes inside the larger.  The first of those two boxes is one containing a pair of CD’s and a pair of DVD’s.  The first of the two CD’s is the band’s original 1992 debut album.  Whether fans already own the original album or not, this re-issue offers listeners a few bonuses in the form of a trio of bonus live tracks.  The first of the bonus live tracks is a live track taken from the band’s original single release of ‘Bombtrack.’  This piece opens with an introduction by front man Zack de la Rocha.  He explains the basis of the song being centered on AIM member Leonard Peltier.  Long time fans will recognize his name as his ongoing case is also the center of the video for the band’s equally well known song, ‘Freedom.’  ‘Bombtrack’ is followed with a live take of another of the band’s megahits, ‘Bullet in the Head.’  No introduction here.  The band simply launches right into the song.  A live, extended take of ‘Take The Power Back’ closes out this new re-issue of the band’s debut.  It’s a fitting closer, too as it reminds audiences of exactly what RATM stood for then and the impact that it still has on audiences today, despite having only released three albums in its time together.  If the bonus live tracks on the new re-issue aren’t enough for fans, then the inclusion of a full, double-sided 180g vinyl copy of the album might be.  It doesn’t have the bonus tracks.  But for anyone that is nostalgic for vinyl, this inclusion makes for yet another bonus to the set.

The second CD included in the band’s new anniversary set is a full run of the band’s original demo tape.  The tape was originally recorded in 1991.  Before its inclusion in this set, the only way that audiences could get their hands on it was at the band’s live shows.  Now fans can hear early takes on the songs that would make RATM the band that it is today.  Audiences will note that while some of the songs on the demo were included on the eventual full length debut, others weren’t so lucky.  But at least one of the songs on this release managed to find its way onto the soundtrack of the 1994 Brand Lee breakout movie, The Crow.  That song is ‘Darkness of Greed.’  Along with that song, fans are also treated to the rare gems: ‘The Narrows’, ‘Auto Logic’, and ‘Mindset’s a Threat.’

Fans get a load of treats from the band’s original demo tape now on CD.  As an added bonus fans will also get to not only hear them, but also see them as the band’s first ever live recording is also included on DVD.  That performance was its performance on October 23rd, 1991 on the campus of Cal State Northridge. The video is somewhat rough.  But that’s because it was obviously originally recorded via VHS.  Nonetheless, having this added live experience makes this set all the more worth it for any true RATM fan.  It’s a real added bonus in that in comparison to where the band started, it’s amazing that the band would go so quickly from a college campus to playing major venues the world over.  Those massive venues included the likes of: Pink Pop, Rock Am, Reading Festival and its now iconic 2010 performance at Finsbury Park in London, England.  The performance was a thank you to fans who had helped the band’s single, ‘Killing in the Name’ reach number one over the winner of the U.K.’s X-factor the year before.  The turnout is absolutely incredible.  And the recorded performance is just as amazing.  Both the video and audio mix are above par.  Both help to translate the energy of both the audience and band to home viewers.  Yet again, it’s one more incredible piece that makes this set so much more powerful.   

A lot of thought and work went into assembling the final product that is RATM’s twentieth anniversary deluxe box set.  It includes the band’s original album both on CD and vinyl.  It also includes the band’s original demo tape that would lead to its landmark debut, as well as loads of live material on CD and DVD.  And let fans not forget about the included oversized photo book and double sided poster.  By the time fans have gone through this set, one of two things will happen.  It will leave fans hoping for the day that RATM returns in force with a brand new album or it will leave fans feeling fully satisfied at having a rather large piece of the band’s legacy.  Both reactions are great reactions to have as this deluxe box set is equally great for any of the band’s legions.  It’s available now in stores and online and makes for a very good gift for the RATM fan in anyone’s house.  It can be ordered online direct from the band’s official website, http://www.ratm.com/rage20/.  Fans can also get all the latest info from the band on its official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.comRATM.

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Muse song chosen as official song of 2012 Olympics

Officials with the 2012 Summer Olympics have made an announcement that will make fans of Muse very happy.  The band’s song, ‘Survival’ has been named the official song of this year’s Summer Olympics.  The song will be played at each of the venues for the events of this year’s Olympic games. 

Muse’s Matt Bellamy spoke on the band’s inclusion in the games.  He said, “It’s a huge honor to have the track chosen as such a major part of the London 2012 Olympic Games.”  He explained how the song came to life, saying, I wrote it with the Games in mind as it expresses a sense of conviction and determination to win.”

Muse’s new album, “The 2nd Law” is epxected to be released in September, with a supporting tour to follow.  fans can get all the latest on Muse online at http://www.muse.mu, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/muse, on Myspace at http://www.myspace.com/muse, and at Twitter at http://twitter.com/muse.

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