Nonpoint Signs New Deal With Metal Blade Records

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Officials with Metal Blade Records announced today the addition of Florida-based hard rock band Nonpoint to its artist roster. The deal between Nonpoint and Metal Blade will see Metal Blade release Nonpoint’s upcoming eighth full-length album internationally. Front man Elias Soriano spoke with reporters on the announcement, expressing his happiness over the new deal. “This is a dream situation for us,” he said. “We’ve always needed a team behind us outside of the U.S. It’s a great feeling knowing you now have the best team possible.”

 
Drummer Robb Rivera echoed Soriano’s sentiments in his comments. “We are excited to get not only THE worldwide label of labels to release our album outside of the US, but to be part of a family now that has pretty much set the bar for metal releases for 30 plus years,” he said. “Needless to say , extremely excited to be able to get our music to the fans outside of the US through the team that helped launch Metallica.”

 
Nonpoint’s next album is currently slated to drop this Fall. Metal Blade Records rep Brian Slagel hinted at what fans can expect from the new album, stating, “The bit of new material I heard sounds great!” He was just as pleased with the announcement of the new deal between Nonpoint and Metal Blade Records. He said of the announcement, “All of us at Metal Blade are happy to welcome Nonpoint to the Metal Blade family. We are excited to work with them.”

 
Nonpoint will perform live at the Central Florida Fairgrounds at the WJRR Earthday Birthday festival. Also slated for the festival are: Alter Bridge, Everclear, All That Remains, Cypress Hill, Alien Ant Farm, Pepper, Fuel, Filter, Saving Abel, Saigon Kick, Lacuna Coil, Tantric, and many other bands. Nonpoint is also scheduled to perform at Rock The Yard in Kernersville, North Carolina on June 22nd alongside Another Lost Year. More information on the band’s current tour schedule, its upcoming eighth full-length studio release and more is available online now at http://www.nonpoint.com, http://www.facebook.com/nonpointworld, and http://twitter.com/nonpoint. 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.

Friedman To Appear On VH1′s That Metal Show This Weekend

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records

Veteran guitarist Marty Friedman will appear on VH1 Classic’s That Metal Show this weekend.

Friedman will appear on That Metal Show Saturday, March 1st at 11pm ET.  Friedman will join Mike Jones (Foreigner), Leslie West (Mountain), and Lita Ford (The Runaways) on this week’s edition of That Metal Show.  Friedman jokingly noted in an interview that while the main purpose of his appearance was to promote his upcoming album Inferno, he also even more excited about being on the show because he got to talk to one of his own favorite guitarists of all time.  “Of course I talked about my upcoming album, ‘Inferno,’” he said.  “But there was another guitarist on the show, and I just had to ask him what I wanted to know ever since I was a kid — just what the hell was he thinking when he laid down one of the most unorthodox (and cool) solos ever. Hope they don`t edit that part out!” Tune in tomorrow night to find out!”

Inferno is scheduled to be released via Prosthetic Records May 27th in North America and May 26th in the UK and Europe, May 23rd in G/A/S and via Universal Records in Japan May 21st.  It will be his first record of original material in four years and the first in over ten years that will be released simultaneously around the world.  The album was recorded in Los Angeles with engineer Chris Rakestraw (Danzig, Children of Bodom) and mixed by Jens Bogren (Opeth, Amon Amarth).  It will also include a number of A-list guest appearances from the likes of: Rodrigo y Gabriela, Alexi Laiho (Children of Bodom), Keshav Dhar (Skyharbor), and David Davidson (Revocation) among others.  The album’s track listing is included below.

“Inferno” Track Listing:

1. Inferno
2. Resin
3. Wicked Panacea (feat. Rodrigo y Gabriela)
4. Steroidhead (feat. Keshav Dhar) (STREAM)
5. I Can’t Relax (feat. Danko Jones)
6. Meat Hook (feat. Jørgen Munkeby)
7. Hyper Doom
8. Sociopaths (feat. David Davidson)
9. Lycanthrope (feat. Alexi Laiho & Danko Jones)
10. Undertow
11. Horrors (co-written by Jason Becker)
12. Inferno -reprise-

 Friedman will tour in support of his new album beginning May 1st in Tampere, Finland.  He will serve as support act for Gus G. who is also set to release his new album this Spring.  Friedman’s current tour itinerary is listed below.

EUROPEAN TOUR DATES 
5/1       Tampere, FL – Klubi #
5/2       Helsinki, FL – Nosturi #
5/3       Stockholm, SW – Stockholm Rocks Festival #
5/5       Gothenburg, SW- Tradgarn #
5/6       Malmo, SW – KB #
5/9       Krakow, PL – Lizard King #
5/10      Warsaw, PL – Progreja #
5/12      Munich,DE – Backstage #
5/14      Hannover, DE – Musixzentrum #
5/15      Essen, DE – Turock #
5/16      Zoetermeer, NL – De Boerderij #
5/17      Hasselt, BE – Muziekodroom #
5/18      Uden, NL – De Pul #
5/20      Savigny Le Temple, FR – L’impriente #
5/21      London, UK – O2 Academy Islington #
5/22      Nuneaton, UK – Queens Hall #
# with Gus G

Tickets for Friedman’s upcoming tour dates, and all of the latest on his upcoming album and more is available via Friedman’s official website, http://www.martyfriedman.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 news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Sahg’s New LP Takes The Early Title Of The Year’s Most Original Rock Album

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records/Indie Recordings

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records/Indie Recordings

Concept albums are commonly considered among music aficionados to be very much a niche market of sorts.  This is really quite interesting considering that they are to music as serials are to television.  Yet audiences are more apt to pay attention to all of the serials that populate the television spectrum than any concept album ever crafted.  However with the release of its fourth album Delusions of Grandeur, Bergen, Sweden’s Sahg has proven that the concept album is deserving of far more respect than it gets.  As front man Olav Iversen explains of Delusions of Grandeur, “It’s an album about how desire for power and property can distort and destroy who we are.”  He explains in more depth that the album follows a figure that becomes so wrapped up in his own belief of his greatness that it ultimately destroys him.  It goes without saying that taking into account both this explanation and the album’s musical and lyrical side, Delusions of Grandeur is the band’s best work to date.

Right from the album’s outset, the members of Sahg show why this album is its best yet.  Guitarist Thomas Tofthagen’s opening chords and drummer Thomas Lonnheim’s solid work excellently complement Iversen’s vocals in ‘Slip Off The Edge Of The Universe.’  Iversen sets the stage for the band’s story as he sings, “Master of Astropolis/Verging on the black abyss/Conquered all the eye can see/Hunger rages endlessly.”  Iversen seems to be setting the stage for the album’s story here, with the subject in question standing on that proverbial edge, about to fall.  The tone in Iversen’s voice serve’s to add to the emotion established by Tofthagen and Lonnheim.  It is almost a tone of desperation.  That strained tone paints a picture of a man that really is at the breaking point.  One could almost argue that if this is indeed the case, the band has painted a sort of Faulknerian musical story with this setup.  Sure, such story-telling method is used a lot.  But Sahg has shown from this song alone that it has done quite the job of using that story-telling method.  And it doesn’t stop here, either.

The band really steps things up when it reaches ‘Walls of Delusion.’  Yet again, Iversen and company have captured the emotion established by the song’s lyrical side within the context of their own roles in the song.  The bombastic opening followed by the more subdued first verse is almost a musical foreshadowing of sorts.  The song’s chorus proves that true as the band really pours it on.  Iversen screams maniacally, “I own the air you breath/The ground beneath your feet/The things that make you be/They all belong to me.” As the song proceeds, listeners come to realize that this song is the point at which the album’s subject has finally gone mad.  And the band expertly captures that madness.  It proves to be one of the most impactful of moments throughout the course of the album, too.

Delusions of Grandeur proves throughout the course of its eight tracks why it is not just another standard concept album.  The story told through the album’s lyrical side is one that few if any other band has ever told.  And the manner in which it is told is just as original.  The album’s lyrical side is just part of the equation.  Its musical side does just as well in advancing the album’s story.  That has already been noted with the songs noted here.  However, there is one song in particular that holds its own advancing the story solely through musical means.  That song is ‘Odium Delirium.’  The album’s penultimate song, it does an impressive job of setting up the story’s final movement.  Its full throttle energy is a complete contradiction to the more subdued thoughts of the story’s subject in ‘Sleeper’s Gate to the Galaxy.’  The influences of the likes of Opeth and Mastodon are evident in this instrumental piece.  And they are certain to impress fans of those bands just as much as any “chapter” of this concept album.

Audiences can experience the entire story that is Delusions of Grandeur now as it is available in stores and online.  It can be ordered direct from the Metal Blade online store at http://www.metalblade.com/us/releases/sahg-delusions-of-grandeur/.  It can also be downloaded via iTunes at http://itunes.apple.com/album/id766150620.  Sahg’s fans in Norway will get the chance to experience the band’s new music live as it will perform live in its hometown this Friday.  That performance will be followed by performances in Bo, Norway and Asker, Norway on March 6th and 7th respectively.  More tour dates are likely to be announced in the near future.  To keep up with those tour announcements, fans can follow Sahg online at http://www.facebook.com/SahgBand and http://www.sahg.no.  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.

BTBAM Releases Details For Upcoming DVD, Tour

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

The members of Between The Buried and Me announced on Friday that the band will record a brand new live DVD next month.  The as yet untitled recording will be for the band’s album The Future Sequence.  As front man Tommy Rogers notes of the upcoming DVD, “We are very happy to announce that we are finally doing a DVD for The Future Sequence. In this age we live in you can watch us play any of our songs live online. So we wanted to give our fans something a little different… an intimate live performance of us playing in a studio. It will be a wonderful experience and I hope you all enjoy it as much as we enjoy playing these songs.”

The upcoming live DVD will be recorded at the Fidelitorium in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and will be directed by Justin Reich.  Jamie King, who has worked with BTBAM for a number of years, will handle mixing and mastering the recording’s audio.  The completed package is expected to be released Fall 2014.

Before the band sits down to record its new DVD, it will hit the road once again in support of Future Sequence beginning this Wednesday, February 20th.  The band’s latest North American tour kicks off at the Empire in West Springfield, VA and runs through March 23rd in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Between the Buried and Me will be joined by Deafhaven, Intronaut, and The Kindred on its upcoming tour.  The band is scheduled to perform at Charlotte’s famed Tremont Music Hall on the closing date of its North American tour.  The band’s complete North American tour schedule is listed below.

BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME
Tour w/ Deafheaven, Intronaut, The Kindred

02/20 West Springfield, VA Empire
02/21 Huntington, NY Paramount Theater
02/22 Clifton Park, NY Upstate Concert Hall
02/23 Boston, MA Royale Nightclub
02/24 Burlington, VT Higher Ground
02/26 Montreal, QC Corona Theater
02/27 Quebec City, QC Imperial De Quebec
02/28 Toronto, ON Phoenix Concert Theatre
03/01 London, ON London Music Hall
03/02 Syracuse, NY Lost Horizon
03/04 Grand Rapids, MI Intersection
03/05 Palatine, IL Durty Nellie’s
03/06 Milwaukee, WI The Rave
03/07 Lawrence, KS Granada Theatre
03/08 Omaha, NE The Waiting Room
03/10 Reno, NV The Knitting Factory
03/11 Oakland, CA Oakland Metro
03/12 Pomona, CA Glasshouse
03/14 Lubbock, TX Jake’s Sports Café
03/15 San Antonio, TX White Rabbit
03/16 Grand Prairie, TX South By So What?! Festival
03/18 Sauget, IL Pop’s
03/20 Ybor City, FL The Ritz Ybor
03/21 Ft. Lauderdale, FL Revolution
03/22 Athens, GA 40 Watt
03/23 Charlotte, NC Tremont Music Hall

More information on the new DVD from Between The Buried and Me, The Future Sequence and the band’s upcoming tour is available online at http://www.facebook.com/BTBAMofficial, http://twitter.com/btbamofficial, and http://www.betweentheburiedandme.  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.

Tyr Release Video For New Single

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records/Revolver Magazine

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records/Revolver Magazine

Tyr has released the video for its latest single, ‘The Lay of Our Love.’  The video can be viewed online now via RevolverMag.com at http://www.revolvermag.com/news/exclusive-tyr-premiere-new-music-video-the-lay-of-our-love-featuring-liv-kristine-of-leaves-eyes.html.  The band is joined by vocalist Liv Kristine on both the song and the video.  The video sees the band performing its new single against a largely CGI backdrop.  The band’s members commented on the video, explaining how its look came about and on having Kristine joining the band for the video.  “We’ve wanted to make a CGI video for a long time, and this is our first one, so we’re obviously excited for the release and reception of the video. On top of that, the presence of Liv in the video makes it even more special. All in all we’re very pleased with the result.”

The release of the band’s new single comes not long before the band hits the road to tour in support of Valkyrja, its new album.  The band will hit the road for the “Halo of Blood” tour alongside Death Angel and Children of Bodom beginning Thursday, February 13th.  The tour, which spans forty-one cities across North America, will bring the bands to North Carolina for two dates in March.  Those dates are Tuesday, March 18th and Wednesday, March 19th.  The bands will perform at the Orange Peel in Asheville, North Carolina on the first of the dates.  The second of the dates will see the bands perform at The Fillmore in Charlotte, North Carolina.  The latest schedule for the “Halo of Blood” tour is listed below.

Halo of Blood Tour 2014

TÝR
02/13 Ottawa, ON Mavericks w/ Death Angel
Tour w/ Children Of Bodom, Death Angel
02/14 Quebec City, QC Imperial
02/15 Montreal, QC Metropolis
02/16 Toronto, ON Sound Academy
02/18 Thunder Bay, ON Crocks
02/20 Winnipeg, MB The Garrick
02/21 Saskatoon, SK Louis Pub
02/22 Edmonton, AB Union Hall
02/23 Calgary, BC Macewan Ballroom
02/24 Kelowna, BC Level Nightclub *TÝR and Death Angel only
02/25 Vancouver, BC Commodore Ballroom
02/26 Seattle, WA El Corazon
02/27 Portland, OR The Hawthorne *TÝR and Death Angel only
02/28 San Francisco, CA The Fillmore
03/01 Los Angeles, CA House Of Blues
03/02 Santa Ana, CA The Observatory
03/03 Phoenix, AZ Club Red
03/04 Las Vegas, NV Vinyl *TÝR and Death Angel only
03/05 Salt Lake City, UT The Murray Theater
03/06 Denver, CO Summit Theater
03/07 Albuquerque, NM Sunshine Theater
03/08 El Paso, TX Tricky Falls
03/10 San Antonio, TX Backstage Live
03/11 Dallas, TX House Of Blues
03/12 Houston, TX House Of Blues
03/13 Shreveport, LA Riverside Roadhouse *TÝR and Death Angel only
03/14 Atlanta, GA Masquerade
03/15 Ft. Lauderdale, FL Revolution
03/16 Tampa, FL  The Ritz Ybor
03/18 Asheville, NC Orange Peel
03/19 Charlotte, NC The Fillmore
03/20   Richmond, VA Strange Matter *TÝR and Death Angel only
03/21 Silver Spring, MC The Fillmore
03/22 Philadelphia, PA Theatre Of Living Arts
03/23 Cleveland, OH House Of Blues
03/24 Detroit, MI  St. Andrews Hall
03/25 Chicago, IL House Of Blues
03/26 Rochester, NY Montage Music Hall *TÝR and Death Angel only
03/27 Boston, MA Paradise Rock Club
03/28 New York, NY Irving Plaza
03/29 New York, NY Irving Plaza
End Tour
04/13 St. Petersburg, RU Backstage
04/16 Omsk, RU Angar
04/17 Barnaul, RU Che Guevara
04/18 Novosibirsk, RU Rock City
04/20 Irkutsk, RU Megapolis
05/10 Copenhagen, DK Frigg Festival
South and Central American Tour w/ Korpiklaani *more dates to follow
05/30 Porto Alegre, BR Opinião
05/31 Sao Paulo, BR Clash Club
06/01 Rio De Janeiro, BR Teatro Odisséia
06/03 Buenos Aires, AR Teatro Vorterix
06/04 Santiago, CL Club Kmasu
End Tour
06/12 Copenhagen, DK Copenhell
07/18 G! Festival Runevig, FO
08/16 Falun, SE Sabaton Open Air

More information on Tyr’s new single, album, tour and more is available online at http://www.tyr.fo and http://www.facebook.com/tyrband.  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.

The Power Of Three Has Potential Staying “Power”

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

2014 is only a week or so old.  Despite the infancy of the year, things are already picking up within the music industry.  If the many lists of the year’s most anticipated albums are any indication, there is a lot to look forward to this year.  That’s especially the case in the world of rock and metal.  Albums from Slipknot, Tool, Earth Crisis, Corrosion of Conformity, Foo Fighters, Mastadon, Black Label Society, and so many others are already making purist rockers and metal heads the world over excited about the months to come.  Now, yet another performer has added his name that already extensive list of bands and artists whose albums are highly anticipated this year.  The performer in question is Monte Pittman.  Pittman will release his new album The Power of Three.

The Power of Three is quite the interesting listen for those that might be unfamiliar with his body of work.  While Pittman has had the honor of recording and touring with veteran New York based metal band Prong, he is most well-known for his work with none other than Madonna and former American Idol contestant Adam Lambert.  He has also recorded with former Spice Girl Melanie C. on her 2003 album Reason.  Considering that he has spent more time recording and touring with pop artists, Pittman’s new record, which will be released via Metal Blade Records on January 21st, will shock audiences.  That’s because it is anything but a pop record.  Rather, he and his band mates—Kane Richotte (drums) and Max Whipple (bass)—have crafted a ten-track record that is an early contender for a slot on this critic’s list of the year’s best hard rock records.  The album’s second song, ‘Delusions of Grandeur’ is a pummeling song that hints at influences from the likes of thrash pioneers Pantera.  This is the case at least in terms of the song’s musical side.  Pittman’s guitar work, alongside Kane Richotte’s solid drumming, make this an excellent first impression from Pittman and company.  Pittman shreds with the best of them.  And his vocal style may even lead some to compare it to that of Fireball Ministry front man James A. Rota III.  Whipple adds just enough low-end to bring everything together in this song.

Just as interesting to take in on this record is the album’s opener and lead single, ‘A Dark Horse.’  What makes the song so interesting is that there almost seems to be an old school Black Sabbath influence mixed into the song’s more prominent modern metal sound throughout its bridge and verses.  One wouldn’t think the two sounds would gel.  Low and behold, they work quite well together.  As a matter of fact, there’s no doubt that Pittman and company will have listeners putting their horns high with pride.  Yet again, all three members of the band work together here to make a song that will leave listeners breathless by the end of its near five-and-a-half-minute run time. And as with the album’s other songs, the production is just as solid as the music itself.  Not one member of the three-man organization overpowers the other at any one point throughout the song.

For all of the heavier material that comprises this record’s body, Pittman also proves that he can hold back even if only a little bit.  That’s evident in the almost Alice in Chains style ‘Everything’s Undone.’  Even more intriguing about the song is that the setup in the song’s opening moments may even conjure thoughts of Aerosmith’s ‘Back in The Saddle Again.’  It’s only momentary.  But it’s there.  On its lyrical side, it comes across as being rooted in the standard relationship issues that make up so many songs.  He sings, “Driving faster/getting closer/But I feel farther from you/Here we go again/Who’s to blame/Am I gonna get closure from you/Now you’re gone/Is there something I’ve done wrong…Now everything’s undone.”  It’s pretty obvious that Pittman is delving into a personal realm here.  The catch is that unlike so many songs that are rooted in relationship issues, this one takes that lesser travelled road, opting for a less “oh, woe is me” vibe and more for something with energy about it.  This is the case even in the song’s chorus. The song as a whole is just one more that makes this upcoming album well worth the listen and a definite early contender for a spot on this critic’s list of the year’s best new hard rock/metal albums.  Fans will get to hear even more music from Pittman and his band mates when they perform February 22nd at Los Angeles’ famed Whisky A Go Go.  Tickets for that show can be purchased via Pittman’s official website, http://montepittman.com. Fans can keep up with the latest addition to Pittman’s tour schedule and all of his latest news online at http://montepittman.com, http://www.facebook.com/MontePittman, http://www.myspace.com/montepittman, and http://twitter.com/montepittman.  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.

Chimaira Announces Details For Upcoming Tour

Chimaira Tour Poster

Chimaira has released details for its upcoming 2014 tour.  The Cleveland, Ohio based band will hit the road beginning January 30th, 2014 at The Palladium in Worcester, MA.  The upcoming tour will be a very special one for Chimaira.  That is because the band will celebrate its fifteenth anniversary together throughout the tour.  Front man Mark Hunter shared his thoughts on the anniversary and upcoming tour.  He said in a statement to fans, “Chimaira turned fifteen this August and the only appropriate way to celebrate the chaos is to hit the road.  Take a trip through the entire catalogue with us and rediscover old favorites in the new era of domination!  Rise up!  The time has come…”  The band has released seven albums so far over the course of its fifteen years.

Chimaira’s E1 label mates, Fit For An Autopsy and Reflections will open for Chimaira.  IWrestledABearOnce  and Oceano will offer support.  The tour includes a trio of performances in North Carolina.  Between February 7th and 9th, the band will make its way across North Carolina, starting at Jacksonville’s famed Hooligans night club.  Fans can keep up with all of the latest tour dates and even get tickets for shows online at http://www.facebook.com/chimaira and http://www.chimaira.com.  Fans can also keep up with the latest from the band via Twitter and Instagram at http://twitter.com/Chimairaband and http://instagram.com/Chimairaband.  The most current list of Chimaira’s tour dates is available below.

01/30/14 Worcester, MA The Palladium (Upstairs)
01/31/14 Wilmington, DE Mojo 13
02/01/14 Poughkeepsie, NY The Chance (16+)
02/04/14 Amityville, NY Revolution (16+)
02/05/14 Pittsburgh, PA Altar Bar
02/06/14 Reading, PA Reverb
02/07/14 Jacksonville, NC Hooligan’s
02/08/14 Fayetteville, NC The Drunk Horse Pub
02/09/14 Charlotte, NC The Casbah @ Tremont Music Hall
02/11/14 Knoxville, TN NV Nightclub (18+)
02/12/14 Atlanta, GA The Masquerade
02/14/14 St. Petersburg, FL The State Theatre
02/15/14 Pensacola, FL Vinyl Music Hall
02/17/14 Broussard, LA The Station (18+)
02/18/14 Shreveport, LA Riverside Warehouse (21+)
02/21/14 Kokomo, IN Center Stage
02/22/14 Louisville, KY Diamond Pub & Billiards (18+)
02/23/14 Newport, KY Thompson House (18+)

Chimaira also recently announced the information for its annual Christmas show.  This year’s show will be held Saturday, December 21st at Cleveland, Ohio’s Agora Theater.

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.

Hidden Masters’ Debut LP Takes Psych-pop To A Whole New World

Courtesy: Rise Above Records/Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Rise Above Records/Metal Blade Records

The 1960s and 70s were two of the most important decades in the history of modern music.  Those twenty years saw some of the music world’s most influential and prolific artists and bands rise to fame.  Among those artists and bands were the likes of The Doors, Crosby Stills and Nash, Country Joe McDonald, and so many others.  Decades later, those artists and their music remain some of the most important and influential around.  One of the most recent examples of that influence lies in Glasgow, Scotland’s three piece known as Hidden Masters.  The band’s new album, Of This and Other Worlds is one of those albums that any true fan of rocks’ golden era will appreciate.  The songs on this new release openly exhibit the influence of the likes of The Doors, CSN, and others.  One of the most interesting of the album’s offerings is the song, ‘Last Days of the Sun.’ This song stands out among the album’s other tracks because of its two completely contrasting sounds.   At first it comes across as another of the band’s classic psychadelic style pieces.  But the song’s final moments sound more modern, with a sort of garage punk rock vibe.  Audiences will especially appreciate the almost Blue Oyster Cult style use of the cowbell (we need. More. Cowbell.) in this song.  That set against the song’s rather interesting lyrics, and audiences get a song that must be heard to be believed.  Lyrically speaking, ‘Last Days of the Sun’ is just as interesting as it is musically.  Front man David Addison sings as the song opens, “Tell me do you think it’s gonna rain/I sense something/But I just can’t name/The birds complaining too…”  Simply put, the combination of the lyrics and music together make this one of the album’s most intriguing tracks that must be heard.  It will grow on listeners more with each listen.

‘Last Days of the Sun’ is certain to make listeners pay very close attention to the song.  There is so much going on to take away from the song.  If that song isn’t enough for listeners, drummer John Nichol’s work behind the kit will impress on ‘There Are More Things.’  Nichols’ drives the song with his drumming right from the song’s outset.  The trio’s harmonies in the song’s chorus and its almost rockabilly meets hippy music feel only serve to make it even more interesting.  Its seemingly contemplative lyrics about all the things that man doesn’t know weirdly work with the music.  The two elements together give the song a certain mysterious vibe.  They are a good fit together.  And they make this one of those infectious songs that will get stuck in any listener’s head with ease, given the chance.

The energy exuded by the band in ‘There Are More Things’ is maintained even after that song ends and the band launches into the album’s next song.  The song in question is ‘Nobody Knows That We’re Here.’  What makes this song such an interesting addition to the album is that Addison’s part here is reminiscent of The Rolling Stones’ ‘Painted Black.’  Some might argue here that that’s a little bit of a stretch.  But those that know the song will agree that the Rolling Stones influence is there even if it is purely coincidental.  The addition of Alasdair Mitchell’s keyboard part helps to set the song apart from that influence and turn the song into its own creation.  Together with the once again somewhat cryptic  lyrics sung by Addison, it makes for one more song that listeners will grow to enjoy more with each listen.

The songs noted in this article are just a small sampling of what Hidden Masters has to offer on its new album.  There are seven more songs from which to choose.  Each listener will find his or her favorite song(s) throughout the album’s ten tracks.  It is available now and can be ordered direct from the Rise Above Records online store at http://www.riseaboverecords.com/store/hidden-masters-of-this-and-other-worlds/.  More information on Hidden masters is available online at http://www.facebook.com/hiddenmastersmusic.  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.

South Of The Earth A Welcome Return From Iron Man

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records/Rise Above Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records/Rise Above Records

The Baltimore, Maryland based four-piece known as Iron Man has been making music for a number of years, flying just below the mainstream radar all along.  The band has been classified as a “doom rock” band for most of its career. However, its new album, South of the Earth is more akin to the sludge rock sound of Black Label Society, Brand New Sin, and the band’s label mates in Horisont.  The only real link to the “doom” genre would be the lyrical side of the band’s new album.  That being the case, this new nine-track release is one that any purist metal head will enjoy no less with each listen.

South of the Earth opens solidly with the album’s title track.  Whether one is familiar with the band’s sound or not, it is a powerful first impression from the band on this record.  Front man Screaming Mad Dee’s vocals sound like a cross between King’s X vocalist/bassist dUg Pinnick and legendary Black Label Society front man/guitarist Zakk Wylde.  That is quite the statement for anyone that is familiar with either singer.  For those that aren’t so familiar with either vocalist, suffice it to say that Dee is a powerhouse vocalist.  That his voice can go from almost guttural depths to ear-piercing screams in the blink of an eye without sounding like so many cookie monster growling figures makes an even bolder statement.  Bassist Louis Strachan and guitarist Alfred Morris III add even more punch to this song with their full-on one-two attack.  Morris’ solos in this song are the stuff that young guitarists dream of doing one day.  And drummer Jason “Mot” Waldmann’s performance behind the kit shows such control in this slower song.  That show of control also shows just how much talent he boasts.  And along with his band mates, the whole unit makes the album’s opener one that will have listeners’ horns high instantly.

The energy doesn’t let up once the album’s opener ends.  The band picks right back up and keep things moving in the album’s second track, ‘Hail to The Haze.’  When Dee sings in the song’s chorus, “How much longer/How much longer/How much longer inside/Can this monstrosity hide/How much longer/How much longer/How much longer/Must I wait/To release my hate” the power in his voice does quite the job of exhibiting his subject’s personal inner struggle.  Again, add in the musicianship of his band mates, and listeners get what is one more shining gem off of South of the Earth.

South of the Earth is loaded with songs from start to finish that any true metal head will appreciate.  It boasts, as noted, both slower, heavier songs and pieces that are more up-tempo.  For all of its hard-hitting songs, there is one song that stands out among them all.  That song is the instrumental break that is ‘Ariel Changed The Sky.’  This roughly two-minute plus acoustic piece is a total contrast to everything else on this record.  It is a gentle, airy opus that gives listeners just enough time to catch their collective breath before the band launches into its full-on musical assault again on the record’s second half.  It is a perfectly placed break.  And it is equally beautiful.  It’s one more show of talent from the band, and one more example of what makes South of the Earth a record that any purist metal head will appreciate no matter how old.

South of the Earth is available now in stores and online on Metal Blade Records and Rise Above Records.  The band will be playing a hometown show next Sunday, October 13th in support of its new album.  It will be performing at the Metro Gallery in Baltimore alongside St. Vitus, Pallbearer, and Hookers.  The band has more dates to follow.  Fans can check them out on the band’s official website, http://www.ironmanband.com.  Fans can also get more information from the band on its official Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Iron-Man-Band/146118265408361.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facbeook.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.

Horisont’s New Album Takes Listeners On Another Musical Trip Through Time

Courtesy:  Rise Above Records/Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Rise Above Records/Metal Blade Records

2013 has seen the music scene become increasingly crowded as each month has passed by.  This has made choosing the year’s best records in each category increasingly difficult.  Now with the impending release of its third full length album, Time Warriors, Swedish rock band Horisont has made making that choice even more difficult.  The band’s new album, released via Rise Records and Metal Blade Records, is an excellent follow-up to its 2012 album, Second Assault.  It is an excellent follow for the band’s fans as the band picks right up on Time Warriors where it left off with Second Assault.  That is to say that the band’s new album bears much the same sound and feel as Second Assault.   It takes listeners back in *ahem* time once again (pun fully intended) with this record, offering that full on stoner rock sound once again.  For those that appreciate this sound, Time Warriors becomes a solid listen from start to finish.  Whether for a party or for an upcoming holiday road trip, it is a solid record all the way through for any stoner rock fan.

Time Warriors opens with a solid classic stoner rock style piece in ‘Writing on The Wall.’  This song was a good choice to open the album as singer Axel proves that his vocals are as strong as ever.  And drummer Pontus nails the song’s polyrhythmic patterns throughout without missing a beat.  Guitarists Charles and Kristofer take listeners back to rock and roll’s golden era once again with their solos and general musicianship.  Lyrically speaking, ‘Writing on the Wall’ is just as interesting as it is musically.  Axel sings in the song’s chorus, “You know the writing was on the wall/When you decided to take us all/Give us your soul.”  It’s a little bit cryptic.  Though a closer look and listen reveals it’s something of a motivating piece.  This is revealed as Axel sings, “There’s a time when there’s nothing/Nothing that’s holding you back/You give it all you’ve got/But nothing comes close/So there’s still time to set things straight”  If this interpretation is correct, then it makes this song an even better way to start the band’s new album.

The classic rock vibe established on the album’s opener doesn’t end with that song.  From one song to the next, the members of Horisont offer audiences a nonstop musical trip back in time right through to the album’s end.  From ‘Diamonds in Orbit’ to the up-tempo rocker that is ‘She Cried Wolf’ to the album’s two-part closer, ‘All Must Come To An End’, this album will impress the band’s fans new and old.  The driving drum part on ‘She Cried Wolf’ is one of the album’s highlights.  As soon as it kicks in, it’s sure to have listeners on their feet.  By contrast, ‘All Must Come To An End’ is just as impressive in its musical variance.  It goes from an up-tempo rocker in its opening segment to a second movement that could almost be argued to be a Pink Floyd influenced work.  The song’s third and final movement kicks the song right back into high gear.  By the time that final movement ends, listeners will find that it leaves them breathless.  It’s a fitting closer and excellent exclamation mark to the band’s third full length studio release.

Fans will get a chance to hear the band’s new material live when it takes Time Warriors on the road beginning September 27th.  That is the same day that the album is expected to be released overseas.  It’s currently set to be released stateside on Tuesday, October 8th.  More information on the album’s upcoming release and the band’s tour dates is available online at http://www.facebook.com/horisontmusic and http://www.horisontmusic.com.