Bigelf Gives Fans Free Download Of New Song

Courtesy:  InsideOut Music

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Bigelf will release its new album this Spring.  The band will release Into the Maelstrom on Tuesday, April 1st via InsideOut Music.

In anticipation of the album’s release, Bigelf is giving audiences the chance to download for free, one song off of its new album.  Fans can download the band’s brand new track ‘Alien Frequency’ for free now online at http://insideoutmusic.com/specials/bigelf/.  After downloading the band’s new song, fans can also check out a special EPK that gives some background information on the album’s creation.  That information is given via interviews with Bigelf front man Damon Fox.

Also available for viewing now is the lyric video for the band’s song ‘Control Freak.’  It can be viewed online now at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YShfPzht-mc&feature=youtu.be.

Into the Maelstrom will be available on limited edition double-disc digipack and gatefold double-disc vinyl LP. The double-disc digipack includes exclusive re-mixes and demo versions of the album’s songs.  The double-disc gatefold vinyl includes the album on both vinyl and CD.  It can be pre-ordered now online at http://www.insideoutshop.de/Artist/Bigelf/21221.  As an added bonus, Into the Maelstrom features famed drummer Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater, Winery Dogs, Transatlantic) on drums.  The complete track listing for Into The Maelstrom is listed below.

1.     Incredible Time Machine
2.     Hypersleep
3.     Already Gone
4.     Alien Frequency
5.     The Professor & The Madman
6.     Mr. Harry McQuhae
7.     Vertigod
8.     Control Freak
9.     High
10.  Edge of Oblivion
11.  Theater of Dreams
12.  ITM
I. Destination Unknown
II. Harbinger Of Death
III. Memories

More information on Bigelf is available online now at http://www.bigelf.com, http://www.facebook.com/bigelfmusic and http://twitter.com/bigelf.  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.

Bigelf Releases Cover Art, Track Listing For InsideOut Debut

Courtesy:  InsideOut Music

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Veteran L.A. based stoner rock band Bigelf will release its latest release this Spring.  Into The Maelstrom will be available in stores and online Tuesday, April 1st via InsideOut Music.  The band’s new album will be the first for Bigelf on InsideOut.  It will also be the first record for drummer Mike Portnoy (Transatlantic, Winery Dogs, ex-Dream Theater) with the band.

Into The Maelstrom will be available in a double-disc digipak and on a double-disc gatefold vinyl release.  The double-disc digipak will feature both the album and a handful of re-mixes and demos from the band.  The gatefold vinyl will feature the entire album as presented on CD.  The album’s track listing is as follows:

  1. Incredible Time Machine
  2. Hypersleep
  3. Already Gone
  4. Alien Frequency
  5. The Professor & The Madman
  6. Mr. Harry McQuhae
  7. Vertigod
  8. Control Freak
  9. High
  10. Edge of Oblivion
  11. Theater of Dreams
  12. ITM: I. Destination Unknown / II. Harbinger Of Death / III. Memories

Founding member Damon Fox explained in an interview what audiences can expect from the bands upcoming InsideOut debut.  “I think ITM is the best Bigelf record yet,” he said. “And I believe it is a real game changer for the band. It’s gonna put us over the top! Psychedelic cinematic landscapes and melodic prog-doom set the stage for the new album, I cannot wait for fans (old and new) to experience all of its apocalyptic color.”

Bigelf will be part of this year’s Progressive Nation At Sea cruise.  The cruise sets sail February 18th and returns to port February 22nd.  It will also feature performances by Transatlantic–another band with whom Portnoy plays—Devin Townsend Project, Riverside & Adrian Belew Power Trio.  Tickets for the Progressive Nation At Sea Cruise are available on the cruise’s official website, http://www.progressivenationatsea.com.  Audiences can also go to the cruise’s website to get a complete list of performers and all of the latest information on the cruise.

More information on Bigelf, its upcoming new release, tour dates and more is available online at http://www.bigelf.com, http://www.facebook.com/bigelfmusic and http://twitter.com/bigelf.  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.

Adrenaline Mob Signs New Deal With Century Media

Courtesy:  Century Media Records

Courtesy: Century Media Records

Century Media Records is proud to announce that it has added Adrenaline Mob to its artist roster.  The band—Russell Allen (vocals), Mike Orlando (guitar), John Moyer (bass) and A.J. Pero (drums)—will release its next album, Men of Honor via Century Media on February 24th worldwide and February 18th in North America.  The album was self –produced by Allen and Orlando.  The pair also co-wrote the album’s eleven songs.

The band’s new deal with Century Media also means the band will stream a new song from its new album each week beginning with its current single, ‘The Mob is Back.’  That single is streaming now.  It all leads up to the release of the band’s new album.  Fans can stream each new song at the band’s official website, http://www.adrenalinemob.com.

A world tour in support of Men of Honor is currently in the works for 2014.  More information on the band’s upcoming album, tour, and more is available online at http://www.adrenalinemob.com, http://www.facebook.com/adrenalinemob, and http://twitter.com/AdrenalineMob.  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.

Dream Theater At Its Peak In Its New Live Recording

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision

New York based veteran prog-rock band Dream Theater has been creating music for well over two decades.  To be more exact, almost twenty-five years have passed since the band’s debut album When Dream and Day Unite was originally released.  That release saw Charlie Dominici on vocals, with then drummer and keyboardist Mike Portnoy and Kevin Moore and founding members John Petrucci and John Myung on guitar and bass.  Dream Theater has seen a number of lineup changes since then.  Dominici was replaced with James LaBrie, who still fronts the band today.  Kevin Moore was replaced by Derek Sherinian and then later by current keyboardist Jordan Rudess.  And Mike Portnoy has also since left for greener pastures and been replaced by Mike Mangini, giving audiences the band’s current lineup.  What does this have to do with anything one might ask.  It has everything to do with everything.  As audiences will see in the band’s brand new live recording, Live at Luna Park, DT has never sounded better than it does with its most current lineup.  This latest live release is Dream Theater at its peak.  That is the first thing that audiences and fans will take away from LALP (as it will henceforth be known).  Longtime fans will also appreciate that while the term “career-spanning” isn’t bandied about for this recording, it is a justified term in this case.  This is the case despite the fact that not all of the band’s albums are represented in this concert.  And those with HDTVs and home theater surround sound systems will appreciate the overall sound and video mix throughout the concert.  They are the icing on the cake of this recording and together with the aforementioned elements, make LALP one more example of why Eagle Rock Entertainment continues to lead the pack in the world of live recordings.

The very first thing that audiences will notice about LALP is that this recording presents Dream Theater at its collective best.  Longtime fans of the band will agree with this sentiment, too.  No disrespect is meant to any of the band’s now former members.  But there is a certain something about the band in this concert that feels different from any of the band’s previous live recordings. It feels like the band has a whole new energy about it.  There’s no denying the talents of the band’s former (and founding) member, Mike Portnoy.  He is still one of the best drummers in the industry today.  But watching Mike Mangini behind his kit, there’s also no denying that Mangini is right up there with Portnoy in terms of his abilities.  Watching him perform his crossover maneuvers and reach up above himself to play his rototoms without missing a beat is breathtaking to say the least.  Getting to see him perform from so many angles makes that experience even more awe-inspiring.  It’s enough to make one question could Mangini in fact be even better than Portnoy?  That’s a topic for another time.  Getting back on topic, keyboardist Jordan Rudess more than lives up to the moniker of being a keyboard wizard, as audiences will both see and hear throughout the concert.  Just as much awe is felt watching bassist John Myung as he works his way through each of the numbers in this performance.  It’s obvious in watching this recording why Mynug has maintained the nickname of “The Octopus” throughout his career with Dream Theater.  One would be remiss to omit any mention of guitarist and vocalist John Petrucci and James LaBrie.  They too prove that they still have plenty left in the tank.  LaBrie is still a vocal powerhouse to this day.  And Petrucci can still shred with the best of them.  What’s more, he looks like he has seriously bulked up.  Put a mask on him, and he could be mistaken for Slipknot guitarist Mick Thompson.

It’s obvious in watching LALP that Dream Theater is at the top of its game right now.  If the band were to call it a career right now, then the musicianship of the band’s members alone would be a fitting immortalization of the band in this recording.  It’s not the only aspect of the recording to which audiences have to look forward.  Fans will also appreciate the extensive set list.  While this performance doesn’t necessarily cover the band’s entire catalogue, it does quite the job of representing most of the band’s albums.  That being the case, it’s safe to use the term career-spanning here.  Audiences will each have their own favorite moments from this concert.  This critic personally recommends the band’s original take on ‘The Silent Man’ for starters, off of the band’s 1994 album Awake as a starting point.  The string accompanists make the song even richer than the already impressive take included on the album.  On the heavier side, ‘Pull Me Under’ was the perfect choice to close the show.  This is the song that broke Dream Theater out and truly introduced the band to the masses in 1992.  And ‘Caught in a Web’ is a good middle ground piece for audiences to take in.  This song also came from the band’s 1994 album, Awake.  It’s not too hard or light.  It’s a good, solid driving rock song.  And experiencing it being performed with the band’s current  shows once again that Dream Theater hasn’t lost any steam over the course of nearly twenty-five years.  It’s just one more aspect of a recording that is the perfect starting point for the band’s new fans and just as impressive for those that have followed the band from its earliest days.

The set list and the talent displayed by the band throughout this performance are incredible, to say the least.  Just as incredible and noteworthy are the audio and video mixes.  Home viewers are taken into even more depth with this recording than those in attendance got.  Thanks to the work of the camera crew and director Mike Leonard, viewers are taken up close and personal so to speak with the band.  They get to be the proverbial fly on the wall, watching keyboardist Jordan Rudess work his magic and drummer Mike Mangini do things with his two hands that don’t even seem humanly possible at every turn.  Mangini’s talents behind the kit will assuredly blow away every viewer, drummer or not.  That is thanks to his talents being so effectively captured by the show’s camera crew and director Leonard.  The side-by-side shots of Petrucci and Rudess are just as impressive.  They serve together to add even more to the overall amazing effect of the performance itself.  Not one shot is wasted.  Nor is any mic.  Those with HDTVs and surround sound home theater systems will get the most immersive experience of all with the show’s Blu-ray recording.  And even if one doesn’t own a surround sound system, the audio and video mix alongside the show’s set list and the amazing display of talent by the band will still impress audiences, regardless of how long they have been listening to the band.  And should the band put out another live recording in the future, it goes without saying that it is this same mix of elements that will make it tough for Dream Theater to top this recording.  It is definitely the band at its best.  And it’s 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.  More information on this and other releases from Dream Theater as well as the band’s latest tour news and more is available online at http://www.facebook.com/dreamtheaterofficial and http://www.dreamtheater.net.  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.

Eagle Rock Keeps Raising The Bar With Prog Rock Supergroup’s New Live Recording

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision

Eagle Rock Entertainment has done something to which few if any other record labels can do.  Somehow, some way, Eagle Rock Entertainment has managed to raise the bar over and over with each one of its new live releases.  It seemed like after 2012, there was no way that it could top itself.  Then 2013 came along and it inexplicably topped itself over and over again.  And now, it has done just that once more with the brand new release of Live in Tokyo from virtuosos Mike Portnoy (Ex-Dream Theater, Liquid Tension Experiment, Transatlantic), Billy Sheehan (Talas, Mr. Big, David Lee Roth), Tony McAlpine, and Derek Sherinian (Planet X, Ex-Dream Theater, Platypus).  This new live release is one more incredible release from Eagle Rock that continues to prove why this company is at the front of the pack when it comes to live recordings.  And it’s now available on double-disc CD, DVD, and Blu-ray as well as digitally.

Whether one is a fan of Dream Theater, Planet X, Mr. Big, David Lee Roth, or even every one of the projects in which these top talents has ever taken part, this live recording is an absolute must for audiences on either side of the fence.  The ninety-minute plus performance covers material from each of the artists’ body of work.  It opens with a bang with the first movement of Dream Theater’s famed A Change of Seasons EP before seguing into the hit ‘Acid Rain’ from Portnoy’s Liquid Tension Experiment side project.  Both songs were the perfect choice to open the performance as they waste no time setting the tone for the rest of the night.  Regardless of which side one takes on the split between Portnoy and his now former brothers in Dream Theater, there is no denying that he hasn’t lost a single step since his decision to step out on his own. And if one were listening to these two songs without seeing that it wasn’t Liquid Tension Experiment or Dream Theater, they would instantly think it was both.  That’s the level of talent displayed not just by Portnoy, but by his band mates in this performance.

The opening pair of performances from this recording’s set list are incredible to say the least.  They’re just the tip of the iceberg as audiences will note.  Whether in the slower, more groove oriented ‘Stratus’, the manic energy of Sherinian’s own composition, ‘Apocalypse 1470 B.C.’ or another of Dream Theater’s hits, ‘Lines in the Sand’all four musicians on stage proved what makes them such highly respected individuals.  McAlpine and Sheehan may have never been members of Dream Theater, but they showed that they know Dream Theater’s catalogue.  Had John Petrucci and John Myung been in attendance, they would have been smiling.  The same can be said of Sherinian’s band mates from Planet X of Portnoy and company in ‘Apocalypse 1470 B.C.’  And the band’s take on composer Georges Bizet’s ‘Farandole’ is truly something to behold.  Collectively, these four men have crafted a show that is anything but a tribute band or cover band.  Rather, what they have done is crafted a show celebrating the other and their work.

The songs chosen for this performance present four musicians that are at the top of their game.  And the quality of the recording both on its visual and audio side is top notch, too.  The audio and video mix on the DVD and Blu-ray is perfectly balanced.  This is especially noteworthy being that this performance was recorded at an indoor venue.  Indoor venues present their own problems for recording even at a professional level because the sound is contained in such a finite space.  It could so easily cause the mix to become “muddy.”  But Simon Phillips and company overcame that boundary with ease both on the visual and audio side of the recording.  Those behind the cameras deserve just as much credit as anyone for capturing the concert.  The angles of the shots put home viewers right up in the drum throne with Mike Portnoy and alongside his band mates.  At other times, the wide angle crowd shots are just right in capturing the enjoyment of the audience.  Viewers can see the genuine appreciation of the audience in attendance for what each musician presented.  It serves to heighten the overall viewing experience even more.  And together with that expertly mixed video and audio, it all comes together to make Portnoy Sheehan McAlpine Sherinian Live in Tokyo one more bar higher set by Eagle Rock Entertainment, and a definite must for any fan of each member’s bands past and present.  More information on this and other releases from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at http://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.

Spock’s Beard’s Eleventh Album One Of Its Best Yet

Courtesy:  InsideOut MUsic

Courtesy: InsideOut MUsic

Spock’s Beard, as a band, has been through so much since the release of its debut record way back in 1995.  Since that time, the band has seen lineup changes.  It has also seen its albums released on a number of different record labels.  Through it all, the members of this prog-rock fan favorite have weathered every storm.  And it’s because the band’s members have kept going that the band has released in its new album, Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep, some of its best material to date.  The band’s new double-disc album evolving even more from its equally impressive fan-funded tenth album, fitting titled X.

A big part of the reason that the band has evolved sonically on this album is that the band played a little game of musical chairs so to speak.  Nick D’Virgilio, who had previously replaced Neal Morse on vocal duties, left the band after the release of X.  D’Virgilio had originally handled drumming duties for the band while Morse was still the band’s vocalist.  So having D’Virgilio out, the band was joined on this album by a new vocalist and new drummer.  This brought a whole new feel among the band, obviously.  That’s evident from the very beginning of the first disc in ‘Hiding Out.’  The song’s opening strains offer an interesting take on composer Edward Grieg’s ‘Morning’ from the Peer Gynt Suite before going into a full on old school rock vibe complete with guitar and keyboard solos.  This is the kind of song that will make even Dream Theater fans proud as the similarity between the two is there, musically speaking.  The song’s musical side is a good fit with its introspective lyrics, too.  New singer, Ted Leonard soars effortlessly through the song as he sings, “I need you now to come and find me/I’m hiding out in a den of thieves/Be sovereign now, don’t’ crucify me/I’m hiding out!”  In the same vein, he maintains control even in the song’s more intense moments, yet still has his own intensity.  It’s just the start of what’s to come on this standout album among the band’s current catalogue.

The album’s second track keeps the energy flowing with its obvious Rush influences.  Leonard again shows listeners that he was the right choice to take over for Nick D’Virgilio.  And new drummer Jimmy Keegan gets to exhibit his skills behind the kit.  His ability to handle some pretty touch polyrhythmic patterns is impressive to say the least.  Keeping in mind the Rush influence in this song, he definitely holds his own with Neil Peart here.  One could even argue that he shows he’s just as good as fellow prog heavyweight Mike Portnoy.  Lyrically speaking, it would be interesting to find out the story behind the song.  It sounds like a story about someone with quite the storied past.  Leonard sings of his subject, “I know the secret that you keep/I know the demon deep inside/I know the reason you can’t sleep/I know the past you’d like to hide/I know the monster you have made/I know the wars you don’t regret/I know the blood that stains the blade/You know I won’t let you forget.”  Suffice it to say with such lyrical content and such a powerful musical side, this song is certain to be a topic of discussion for fans.  Then again all of this album’s songs are sure to be topics of discussion for both their musical and lyrical side.  Another prime example of this is the closer on the first half of the album, ‘Waiting for Me.’

‘Waiting for Me’ is an epic twelve-minute plus opus that bridges the band’s gap between its past and its future while also incorporating some other influences at the same time.  The guitar and keyboard solos throughout the song’s mid-section will instantly conjure thoughts of Pink Floyd.  The song’s “A” section and “C” section expertly bookend that middle, making for a solid end to the first half of the album.  The song screams to be played live.  The manner in which it ultimately crescendos to its final seconds, is incredible.  One can listen to this song, eyes closed, and almost see a setup like that of Floyd performing The Wall live with this song to equal joy from audiences.  The second half of Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep picks up right where the first half of the album left off.  It has that certain heaviness exhibited throughout the first half of the album in ‘The Man You’re Afraid You Are.’  ‘Down a Burning Road’ exhibits more of that mix of the band’s past and present, musically speaking, while ‘Wish I were Here’ perhaps offers a glimpse of what is to come in the future for this band.  It’s another rather heavy piece that would make any prog-metal fan proud.  This is another one of those songs, judging by its lyrics, about which it would be interesting to learn the story considering it was written by Alan Morse.  On one hand, it could be a commentary, considering how Leonard sings about “Watching TV with Dave (perhaps Letterman?), eating Hot Pockets and drinking PBR.  Again, it is that ability to make audiences think and create discussions that makes this another high point to the album.  That ability to get audiences thinking and talking along with the song’s music makes it so impressive.

By the time that audiences get through ‘Wish I Were Here’ and the remix of Something Very Strange’ (which is strange yet interesting in its own right), they will realize that they have experienced something very special.  This is especially the case for long-time fans of Spock’s Beard.  They will realize that what they have experienced is an album that is one of the best works released by Spock’s Beard to date.  Fans don’t have to wait to check out these and all of the songs on this album.  It is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered direct online from the Spock’s Beard online store at http://spocksbeard.com/buystuff.html.  After ordering the new album, fans can keep up with the latest news and updates on the band’s tour online at http://spocksbeard.com, http://www.facebook.com/spocksbeard, and http://twitter.com/SpocksB

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 Winery Dogs’ Debut A Super Record From A True Supergroup

Courtesy:  Loud & Proud Records

Courtesy: Loud & Proud Records

2013 has been quite a year for new rock records.  The list of new records vying to make critics’ lists of the year’s best is already cluttered.  And the year’s not even out yet.  That list already includes releases from the likes of:  Pop Evil, Queensryche, Buckcherry, Filter and Joe Satriani just to name a handful of releases.  Now with the release of its self-titled release, rock trio The Winery Dogs has added its name to that already massively cluttered landscape.  The band—Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater, Adrenaline Mob), Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big), and Richie Kotzen (Mr. Big, Poison)—instantly draws comparisons to Chickenfoot from early on with its brand of rock.  If one were to listen to this and not know it was another band, one would instantly think one was listening to the latter of the two.  Even vocalist Richie Kotzen sounds at times like Chickenfoot front man Sammy Hagar.  At others, he sounds like Soundgarden/former Audioslave front man Chris Cornell.  The similarity in the singers’ voices is eerie.

The band’s new self-titled album is a solid mix of sounds, opening with a trio of heavier, energy-laden songs in: ‘Elevate’, ‘Desire’ and ‘We Are One.’  From there, things slow down a little bit in ‘I’m No Angel’ ‘The Other Side’ and ‘You Saved Me.’  What’s interesting here is that while this trio of songs is a little more subdued, there is still a certain controlled energy throughout all three.  The guitar solos in ‘We Are One’ along with Portnoy’s expert drumming in this song is just one of so many of the album’s highlights.  ‘You Saved Me’ is impressive not just because of its musical content, but also for its uplifting lyrical content.  Kotzen sings, “You saved me in my darkest hour/You stood by me and stayed/You gave me all my strength and power/And when sunshine turned to grey/In my darkest hour/You stood by me and stayed/You stood with me/My guiding angel.”  This could be interpreted in a religious sense.  It could just as easily be considered more in the sense of a relationship.  Regardless of which angle one takes here, the ballad with its moving music and equally uplifting lyrics is sure to impress any listener. 

‘You Saved Me’ is a fitting midpoint for The Winery Dogs’ debut record.  That is because it is after this point that things pick back up beginning with what is one of the best of the best from this record in ‘Not Hopeless.’  This song is a standout thanks to the contradiction of the heavier, slower sludge rock style verses to the more standard rock style choruses.  Kotzen shows throughout both sections (and his solos) that he can easily hold his own alongside fellow guitar great Zakk Wylde here.  And if this isn’t enough to get listeners excited, the album’s next track, ‘One More Time’ definitely will.  Bass virtuoso Billy Sheehan gets his chance to shine in this up-tempo prog rock piece alongside Portnoy.  Sheehan gets his own solo alongside Portnoy in the song’s bridge.  Kotzen eventually joins in to add in his own spice, too.  By the time the song ends, it will have left listeners in awe of the trio’s talent once more.  Forget the lyrics.  This song is entirely about the talent of these three musicians.  And it definitely doesn’t disappoint.

After the high energy of ‘One More Time’ and ‘Not Hopeless’, the band slows things down only momentarily in ‘Damaged’ and ‘Six Feet Deeper.’  This gives listeners just enough time to catch their collective breath before diving back in the deep end again on the album’s final trio of songs.  ‘Time Machine’, ‘The Dying’, and ‘Regret’ finish off the album.  And they do so in expert form.  The energy in these three songs is just enough to keep listeners engaged right to the final notes without skipping even one song.  Suffice it to say that listeners that are familiar with the musicianship of Sheehan, Portnoy and Kotzen will be just as impressed with this record as anything else that the trio has recorded throughout its career.  For those that are new to the trio’s talents, these final three songs are certain to seal the deal and make new fans of three of the most talented individuals in the music industry today. 

Winery Dogs’ debut record is slated to be released Tuesday, July 23rd via Loud & Proud Records.  Fans can pre-order it now via the Loud & Proud Records website at http://loudandproudrecords.com/releases/winery-dogs/.  In the meantime, fans can check out the band’s new album live on its tour.  It will be touring through Japan and South America during the month of July before coming back to the United States on August 3rd.  Fans can get a full list of the band’s tour dates online at http://www.facebook.com/TheWineryDogs.  Fans can also “Like” the Winery Dogs’ Facebook page for all of the latest news and updates from the band.

To keep up with all of the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com

Scale The Summit Impresses Once Again On Its New LP

Courtesy:  Prosthetic Records

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records

Metal Blade Records was a powerhouse of a record label in 2012.  It led this critic’s lists of the year’s best rock records, best Hard Rock/Metal albums, and Best Albums overall with releases from Horisont, O.S.I., Gypsyhawk, and Trioscapes, just to name a handful.  But with 2013 now halfway over, this critic’s list of the year’s best Hard Rock and Metal albums at least is being controlled by a different label.  This year, Prosthetic Records leads the way in the world of Hard Rock and Metal.  Holy Grail, which is being touted as the second coming of Judas Priest tops the list of the year’s best metal records with its sophomore album, Ride the Void.  And now with the upcoming release of its brand new album, The Migration, Scale the Summit becomes the second band signed to Prosthetic Records to make this critic’s list of the year’s best Hard Rock and Metal albums.

The Migration is an impressive introduction to this Houston, Texas based band for first-time listeners.  It’s just as welcome a return for long-time fans.  The band wastes no time getting right into the swing of things with this album.  Its opener, ‘Odyssey’ is a fittingly titled piece.  In its roughly five-minute plus run-time, the band—Chris Letchford (7 & 8-String guitars), Travis Levrier (7-String Guitars), Mark Michell (6-string bass), and Pat Skeffington (drums, percussion)—takes listeners on a three movement opus that boasts three completely different musical emotions.  Most interesting about this is that those listeners that are open minded enough will be able to close their eyes and truly take in all three movements and understand the emotion being presented in each one.  It is a song that more than makes for a solid re-introduction for the band after having spent the past couple years touring in support of its previous release, 2011’s The Collective.

‘Odyssey’ as a whole is an impressive opener to the Migration.  Looking deeper into the song, the transition from the song’s slower, more subdued third movement into ‘Atlas Novus’ is another factor to note in the success of the upcoming album.  The transition itself is notable as it’s not the only time on this album that this happens.  It is just one of so many transitions that make The Migration one of those rare albums this year, which audiences will enjoy taking in from start to finish without skipping songs.  That’s not to say that The Migration is some instrumental concept album.  It’s anything but.  It’s just that the sequencing (along with the equally impressive production and mixing) has made this album so easy on the ears.

Getting back to the songs as a whole, ‘Atlas Novus’ is more subdued than ‘Odyssey’ by and large.  But it also has its own kick.  Fans of fellow experimental rock band Animals as Leaders will appreciate this piece with its controlled guitar and bass runs throughout its run time that also comes in at just over five minutes.  In an odd way, it proves the old adage that less truly is more.  That’s because as impressive as the song’s runs are, Letchford and company prove in the song, that some of the best riffs are ones that are not loud, shredding riffs, but softer, more controlled pieces.  Drummer Pat Skeffington gets his own opportunity to shine here, too.  Skeffington shows that he’s just as good as Mike Portnoy (Adrenaline Mob, ex-Dream Theater) or any other far more experienced drummer here and throughout the album.  He shows that he can handle some extremely tough polyrhythmic patterns without missing a beat and even some simpler rhythms, too.    

So much was done right with this album that one could ramble on for some time on everything right with this record.  As already noted, it’s not just the songs, but the album’s sequencing and its general production that makes it one more record that the band’s long-time fans will enjoy just as much as new listeners.  The variety of musical styles from harder edged prog-metal to a slightly progressive jazz sound to something a little softer make this album worth more than just one listen, too.  It will prove with each listen to be an album that grows on listeners more each time.  Considering all of this, it may end up even on this critic’s list of the year’s best albums overall.  The Migration will be available in stores and online Tuesday, June 11th.  It can be ordered online via the Prosthetic Records store at http://www.indiemerch.com/prostheticrecords/item/19303.

The band is currently on tour in support of its new album.  Fans in North Carolina will get to see the band live in Charlotte on Saturday, June 22nd at the Tremont Music Hall.  It will be joined by Intronaut and Mouth of the Architect.  The show is slated to start at 9:00pm.  Tickets range from $13 – $15.  They can be purchased online at http://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/244625?skinName=tfly&utm_medium=api&wrKey=AF9450BAA81C7D8C2DAA1CA5ED7CAC4F

For the most current list of tour dates, all the latest news and more from the band, fans can “Like” the band on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/scalethesummit.  Fans can also keep up with the band online at http://www.scalethesummit.com

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Dream Theater Launches New Translated Websites, Preps New Live Release

Courtesy:  MSO PR

Courtesy: MSO PR

Internationally renowned progressive rock band Dream Theater has launched brand new translated websites for its fans in four more countries.  The band has launched translated websites for fans in Argentina, Israel, Italy, and Venezuela.  Fans in each nation are the first of likely many more nations in bringing fans closer to the band by translating its news page into their own language.  The push for broadening the fans’ inclusion started during the band’s tour in South America.  Guitarist John Petrucci notes that many of the fans across the continent voiced the need for websites translated into their own language.  “Our efforts to further unite our online international community have only just begun,” he said.  “We are very fortunate to have so much incredible support and devotion from fans in many different countries around the world, and we hope that more and more fan communities will participate in this ongoing endeavor.  We look forward to hearing from fans interested in having the news page translated for their countries.”  Jordan Rudess (keyboards) added to Petrucci’s sentiment noting, “We are excited to be working with these first four fan sites, and can’t wait for others from around the world to reach out to us on Facebook.”

Anyone that is interested in working with Dream Theater to have the band’s news page translated for their country can contact the band online at http://www.facebook.com/dreamtheaterofficial.  The band’s new translated news pages are just part of the band’s busy schedule.  Dream Theater’s new live release, Live at Luna Park is set to be released May 2013.  It will be released on a double-disc DVD set, Blu-ray, Digital Video, 2DVD/3CD set, Blu-ray/3CD set, and deluxe 2DVD/Blu-ray/3CD set.  Fans can check out the trailer for the upcoming live release online now at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NndiL9seZSI

Live at Luna Park was recorded over the course of two nights from the band’s South American tour.  Petrucci shared his thoughts on the upcoming release, exclaiming how excited he and the others in the band are about this live recording.  “This is without a doubt the closest a viewer at home will come to experiencing a live Dream Theater concert,” he said.  “Between the hi-def and 3D video, the huge audio mix and the documentary style behind the scenes footage, you are truly transported to the arena and completely immersed in the entire live experience.” 

To keep up with the latest news and more from Dream Theater, fans can go online to http://www.dreamtheater.net, http://www.facebook.com/dreamtheaterofficial, and http://twitter.com/dreamtheaternet

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.

Beardfish’s New LP Another Sleeper Hit Of 2012

Inside Out Music USA/Century Media

Most music fans generally think of either Abba or extreme metal when thinking of Sweden.  However, Sweden has become increasingly associated with another sub genre of rock in recent years thanks to the likes of The Flower Kings.  The Flower Kings is just one band that is beginning to change audiences’ perception of music from Sweden.  On the heavier end of the prog spectrum is a band by the name of Beardfish.  Fans of Dream theater or its former drummer Mike Portnoy might recognize the name of Beardfish as he actually recently gave the band a shout out on his personal Facebook page.  He had quite the positive things to say of Beardfish.  And it’s no wonder why he had such good things to say.

Beardfish’s new album, “The Void” is an extensive prog-metal experience.  It opens somewhat abruptly with the narrator led ‘Introduction.’  But once it launches into ‘Voluntary Slavery’ listeners know they’re in for quite the hard rock experience.  The best comparison one can make with Beardfish on this album is to Tool. Vocalist Richard Sjoblom’s vocals are just as powerful as those of Tool front man Maynard James Kenan.  When the band launches into ‘Turn To Gravel’, audiences really get a taste of that vocal ability.  Strangely enough, there’s even a touch of Glen Danzig and James LaBrie in his voice here, too.  Sjoblom’s band mates get their chance to shine here, too. Guitarist David Zackrisson, drummer Magnus Ostgren and bassist Robert Hansen play like a well oiled machine throughout the song’s five and a half minute run time.    

Fans of Dream Theater will enjoy ‘This Matter of Mine.’  Zackrisson’s guitar work is similar to that of Dream Theater’s John Petrucci here.  And Ostgren’s work behind the kit is as strong as former DT drummer Mike Portnoy.  That being noted, it’s no wonder why Portnoy himself recently sang the praises of this band on his own Facebook page.  For all the intensity of the band’s new album, there is a lighter moment.  ‘Seventeed Again’ is an interesting little piano based prog/jazz hybrid that will keep any listener’s ear despite its near eight minute run time.

Fans of really classic rock and classic prog rock will also find themselves jamming out to ‘He Already Lives In You.’  There are hints of so many classic prog acts in this song that it will leave listeners’ heads spinning.  Whether for this song or any of the others on this album, it goes without saying that Beardfish may very well have another of this year’s sleeper hits.  “The Void” is available now in stores and online.  The band is currently slated to perform in Tallinn, Estonia on October 7th.  To keep up with the latest tour dates and news from Beardfish, fans can go online to http://www.beardfishband.com, http://www.facebook.com/beardfish, http://twitter.com/beardfishband, http://www.myspace.com/beardfishband, and http://www.youtube.com/user/beardfishband.

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.