Exmortus Debuts Video For Its Latest Single

Photo Credit: Stephanie Cabral

Photo Credit: Stephanie Cabral

The members of Exmortus have debuted the vide for the band’s new single, ‘Foe Hammer.’  The old school style video, directed by Ron Thunderwood (9 Electric), sees the band performing in front of the camera in a pseudo live setting.  This style of making music videos was used quite a bit in the late 80s and early 90s by any number of directors and bands.  It gives the audience a feel for what they are in store for at a live Exmortus show.  The video can be viewed online now at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUD0gBG1TG8&feature=youtube_gdata_player.

Exmortus is currently touring in support of its new album Slave to the Sword now.  It will perform tonight at Diamond Pub & Billiards in Louisville, KY.  The band’s tour also includes a performance at The Milestone in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Ticket information and more for this and every show is available online at http://www.facebook.com/exmortusofficial.  The band’s current schedule of tour dates is listed below.

Watch EXMORTUS shred live atone of these dates:
2/28    Louisville, KY – Diamond Pub & Billiards #
3/1      Pittsburgh, PA – Altar Bar #
3/2      Philadelphia, PA – Trocadero #
3/7      Queens, NY-  Blackthorn 51*
3/8      Trenton, NJ- Backstage at Champs*
3/9      Richmond, VA- Strange Matter*
3/10    Charlotte, NC- The Milestone*
3/11    Columbia, SC-  New Brookland Tavern*
3/12    Savannah, GA- Dollhouse Productions*
3/13    Jacksonville, FL- Atticus Bar*
3/14    Miami, FL- Churchill’s Pub*
3/15    Tampa, FL- The Brass Mug*
3/16    Atlanta, GA – Club Famous*
3/17    Johnson City,TN- The Hideaway *
3/18    Pittsburgh, PA – Howlers Coyote Cafe *
3/19    Columbus, OH- Ace of Cups*
3/20    Cleveland, OH- Now That’s Class*
3/21    Rochester, NY- The Bug Jar*
3/22    Florence,MA – JJ’s Tavern *
3/25    Austin, TX @ Infest ^
3/26    El Paso, TX @ Tricky Falls ^
3/27    Phoenix, AZ @ Joe’s Grotto ^
3/28    Las Vegas, NV @ Cheyenne Saloon ^
3/29    Anaheim, CA @ Mirror Image ^
3/30    W. Hollywood, CA @ Whisky-A-Go-Go ^
4/1      San Francisco, CA @ DNA Lounge ^
4/2      Seattle, WA @ Studio Seven ^
4/3      Portland, OR @ Tonic Lounge ^
4/4      Vancouver, BC @ The Venue ^
4/5      Edmonton, AB @ Pawn Shop ^
4/7      Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater ^
4/8      Kansas City, MO @ Riot Room ^
4/9      Des Moines, IA @ Wooly’s ^
4/10    Chicago, IL @ Reggies Rock Club ^
4/11    Rochester, NY @ Montage Music Hall ^
4/12    Toronto, ON @ Virgin Mobile Mod Club ^
4/13    Quebec, QC @ Complexe Meduse^
4/14    Montreal, QC @ Foufounes Electriques^
# with Dark Tranquility & Omnium Gatherum
* with Lich King
^ with Destruction & Krisiun

Fans can pick up Slave to the Sword now in stores or order it in a variety of formats via the Prosthetic Records online store at http://store.prostheticrecords.com/products/524528-exmortus-slave-to-the-sword-cd.

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.

Exmortus’ Prosthetic Records Debut Is 2014′s First Great Metal Record

Courtesy:  Prosthetic Records

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records

Exmortus releases this week its debut album for its new label, Prosthetic Records. The band’s new album, titled Slave to the Sword is not the band’s first album.  It is in fact the third full length studio release from the Whittier, California based metal act.  But being the first for its new label, this latest release is one heck of a first impression for the band’s new bosses. As a matter of fact, Slave to the Sword is in this critic’s ears, the first truly great metal record of 2014.  One needs listen to this record just one time to figure out why it is deserving of this title.  Right from the opening assault of ‘Rising’, the band’s members show just how much they have honed their craft over the course of two previous releases to create this new metal masterpiece. The album’s opener is just the tip of the iceberg…sword?…for the band on this record.  ‘Immortality Made Flesh’ and the band’s full on power metal cover of composer Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight Sonata (Act 3)’ show just how much Exmortus’ members have grown in terms of their talent up to this point.  As impressive as these pieces are, they are just pieces of the whole that any purist metalhead will appreciate from Exmortus on this its third album.  Every listener will find his or her own favorite song(s) when they pick up Slave to the Sword for themselves.

Exmortus opens its new album fittingly with the song ‘Rising.’  Vocalist Conan screams ominously over the full on shredding attack of guitarist David Rivera, “Welcome/To the realm of darkness/We are anxious for your blood/Rising/From the depths we crawl/Rising/To devour all.” Conan’s vocal style is interesting.  It’s interesting because believe it or not, even with the growl, it doesn’t come across like that of so many other vocalists’ sounds that are little more than the standard cookie monster growl.  Rivera’s full throttle shredding is a nice addition, too.  Instead of the standard down-tuned, crunching guitars that seem to dominate so much of the metal community today, one can almost see smoke coming from Rivera’s fingers as they make their way up and down the neck of his guitar.  One need not even physically see Rivera play to be able to pick up on his talent.  Of course drummer Mario Moreno is well worth mentioning here, too along with bassist Jovanni Perez.  Moreno’s chops are incredibly solid throughout the course of the song’s near four-minute run time.  His timekeeping throughout the song is solid as a rock, even with all of the runs that he executes. And Perez is right there with Moreno, neither man missing a single note or beat.  The unit as a whole combines throughout the entire piece to make ‘Rising’ feel like a perfect opener both on record and in a live setting.

‘Rising’ is a fitting starting point for Exmortus on this record.  That’s because it shows without a shadow of a doubt that this band is indeed rising in the ranks of the metal world.  It proves this even more as it powers its way through the album’s third track, ‘Immortality Made Flesh.’  This single is available now for download from the Prosthetic Records online store at http://www.indiemerch.com/prostheticrecords/item/23123.  This track stands out so well because it exhibits much the same power from the band that is displayed through the album’s opener.  The difference between the two is that the energy established in ‘Rising’ is stepped up tenfold in this full throttle speed/thrash opus.  There is in this song, more of a sense of urgency in David Rivera’s performance here for lack of better wording.  Conan’s dark Amon Amarth style lyrics and vocals are just as strong, too.  So much more could be noted.  Simply put, their talent set alongside that of their band mates makes this song one of the highest of highs on this record.

‘Immortality Made Flesh’ is one of the highest points on Exmortus’ new record.  There is at least one more song that is more than deserving of being called a high point, though.  That song is the band’s amped up cover of composer Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight Sonata (Act 3).’  Conan gets to give his vocals arrest on this piece while his band mates get the chance to shine more than ever.  Its collective talent instantly conjures thoughts of Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s album, Beethoven’s Last Night and of other amped up covers from the band.  It truly shows the band’s talent and its versatility more than any other song included on this album.  So it comes as no wonder that it has been chosen as the band’s latest single.  It’s just one more of so many outstanding tracks that make this record again, the first truly great metal record of 2014.

The band is currently touring in support of Slave to the Sword.  Fans in North Carolina will get to experience music from the band’s new album live when it comes to The Milestone in Charlotte, North Carolina on March 10th.  Exmortus’ most current tour schedule, news and more is available online at http://www.facebook.com/exmortusofficial.  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.

Darkane Releases Video For Latest Single, Preps For European Tour

Courtesy:  Prosthetic Records

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records

Swedish melodic death metal five-piece Darkane has released the video for its latest single, ‘Mechanically Divine.’  The video can be viewed online now via YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zrz5Z-lq7ng.  The video, shot inside what comes across as a warehouse, is reminiscent of the video for Machine Head’s ‘Imperium’ stylistically speaking.

‘Mechanically Divine’ is taken from Darkane’s latest full length studio release, The Sinister Surpemacy, which was released in 2013.  The album is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered direct from Prosthetic Records’ online store at http://www.indiemerch.com/prostheticrecords/item/19692.

Fans can also pick up a copy of Darkane’s new album when the band hits the road again in March in support of The Sinister Supremacy.  It will tour alongside Soilwork and System Divide.  That tour begins March 5th in Madrid, Spain.  Fans can get the band’s latest tour dates and more online at http://www.facebook.com/darkane, http://www.darkane.com and http://twitter.com/darkane. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news, 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.

Exmortus Streaming New Single Online, Starts Tour Tonight

Photo Credit: Stephanie Cabral

Photo Credit: Stephanie Cabral

Exmortus is more than just another metal band.  The band’s members prove that on Slave to the Sword, its Prosthetic Records debut, that they are quite the talented individuals.  The band covers the famed Third Movement of Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight Serenade’ on its new record.   The song can be streamed online now via Invisible Oranges at http://www.invisibleoranges.com/2014/01/song-debut-exmortus-moonlight-sonata-third-movement/.  The album will be released in its entirety Tuesday, February 4th.  Audiences can pre-order the album now via the Prosthetic Records online store at http://www.indiemerch.com/prostheticrecords/item/24154.  It can be pre-ordered on CD and even audio cassette as well as 12-inch vinyl in special packages that will also include an exclusive t-shirt featuring the album’s artwork.  The album’s artwork was crafted by artist Philip Lawvere (Celtic Frost, Kreator).

The vinyl pressings of Slave to the Sword will be available in exclusive mail-order only black and blood red variants.  Fans can get a look at the special blood-red variant below.

Courtesy:  Prosthetic Records

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records

The special vinyl package includes a download card and color insert.  Only 110 copies of the vinyl album will be pressed.

Exmortus kicks off a tour in support of Slave to the Sword today.  The tour kicks off tonight at The Juke Joint in Anaheim, California.  Dark Tranquility and Omnium Gatherum will join Exmortus for the first leg of the tour (Jan. 23rd – March 2nd).  Lich King comes on board for the second leg of Exmortus’ tour (March 7th – March 23rd).  That leg of the tour includes a chance for fans in North Carolina to catch the band live.  The band will perform live at The Milestone in Charlotte, North Carolina on March 11th.  And the third leg of the tour (March 25th – April 14th) will see both Destruction an Krisiun join up as supporting acts.  The band’s complete tour itinerary is listed below.

EXMORTUS WINTER/SPRING 2014 TOUR

with Dark Tranquility & Omnium Gatherum
(# Exmortus ONLY)
1/23 Anaheim, CA – The Juke Joint (NAMM after-party with Mobile Deathcamp, Night Demon, etc.)
1/27 Tucson, AZ- The Rock #
1/28 El Paso, TX- Larry O’s Lounge #
1/29 Laredo, TX – Cold Brew Rock Bar #
1/30 New Orleans, LA – Siberia #
2/1 Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade
2/2 Baltimore, MD – Soundstage
2/3 New York, NY – Stage 48
2/4 Worcester, MA – The Palladium
2/5 Montreal, QC – Foufounes Electriques
2/6 Quebec City, QC – Dagobert
2/7 Ottawa, ON – Mavericks
2/8 Toronto, ON – The Opera House
2/9 London, ON – London Concert Theatre
2/10 Cleveland, OH – Peabody’s
2/11 Columbus, OH – The Shrunken Head
2/12 Joliet, IL – Mojoes 22
2/13 Lawrence, KS – Granada Theater
2/14 Denver, CO – Bluebird Theater
2/15 Salt Lake City, UT – In The Venue
2/17 Vancouver, BC – Rickshaw Theater
2/18 Seattle, WA – El Corazon
2/19 Portland, OR – Hawthorne Theater
2/20 San Francisco, CA – DNA Lounge
2/21 Las Vegas, NV – LVCS
2/22 West Hollywood,CA – House of Blues
2/23 Tempe, AZ – Club Red
2/25 Dallas, TX – Trees
2/26 Houston, TX – Scout Bar
2/28 Louisville, KY – Diamond Pub & Billiards
3/1 Pittsburgh, PA – Altar Bar
3/2 Philadelphia, PA – Trocadero

with Lich King
3/7 New York, NY- Blackhorn 51
3/8 Trenton, NJ- Backstage at Clamps
3/9 Richmond, VA- Strange Matter
3/10 Charlotte, NC- The Milestone
3/11 Columbia, SC- New Brookland Tavern
3/12 Savannah, GA- Dollhouse Productions
3/13 Jacksonville, FL- Atticus Bar
3/14 Miami,FL- Churchill’s Pub
3/15 Tampa, FL- The Brass Mug
3/17 Johnson City,TN- The Hideaway
3/18 Pittsburgh, PA – Howlers Coyote Cafe
3/19 Columbus, OH- Ace of Cups
3/20 Cleveland, OH- Now That’s Class
3/21 Rochester, NY- The Bug Jar
3/22 Florence,MA – JJ’s Tavern

with Destruction & Krisiun
3/25 Austin, TX @ Infest
3/26 El Paso, TX @ Tricky Falls
3/27 Phoenix, AZ @ Joe’s Grotto
3/28 Las Vegas, NV @ Cheyenne Saloon
3/29 Anaheim, CA @ Mirror Image
3/30 W. Hollywood, CA @ Whisky-A-Go-Go
4/1 San Francisco, CA @ DNA Lounge
4/2 Seattle, WA @ Studio Seven
4/3 Portland, OR @ Tonic Lounge
4/4 Vancouver, BC @ The Venue
4/5 Edmonton, AB @ Pawn Shop
4/7 Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater
4/8 Kansas City, MO @ Riot Room
4/9 Des Moines, IA @ Woolys
4/10 Chicago, IL @ Reggies Rock Club
4/11 Rochester, NY @ Montage Music Hall
4/12 Toronto, ON @ Mod Club
4/13 Quebec, QC @ Complexe Meduse
4/14 Montreal, QC @ Foufounes Electriques

More information on Exmortus, its upcoming Prosthetic Records debut, tour and more is available online at http://www.facebook.com/exmortusofficial.  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.

Scale The Summit Announces New U.S. Tour Dates

Courtesy:  Prosthetic Records

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records

Scale The Summit is currently making its way across Europe in support of its most recent release, The Migration.  As it makes its way across the continent, the band’s members have announced a small handful of headlining dates for 2014.  The first of the dates is set for Wednesday, February 26th in San Antonio, Texas.  From there, the tour will snake its way through the West Coast and Midwest.  The band’s most current tour schedule is listed below.

 

2/16 San Antonio, TX – Limelight

2/18 Tucson, AZ – The Rock

2/26 Fullerton, CA – Slidebar #

2/28 Reno, NV – Jub Jubs #

3/1 Salt Lake City, UT Shred Shed #

3/2 Boise, ID – The Shredder #

3/3 Richland, WA – Rays Golden Lion #

3/4 Spokane, WA – The Hop #

# with Hail The Sun

When and if new tour dates are announced, fans will be able to find them online through the band’s official Facebook page and website at http://www.facebook.com/scalethesummit and http://www.scalethesummit.com.  Fans can also follow the band via Twitter at http://twitter.com/scalethesummit.  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’s First Album In Over A Decade Coming In Early 2014

Courtesy:  Prosthetic Records

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records

Veteran guitarist Marty Friedman (Megadeth, Cacophony) has announced that his latest full length solo record in early 2014.  No specific release date has been set as of yet.  However, it has been confirmed that Friedman is hoping to have his new album out by Spring.  It will be his first record comprised entirely of new material in four years.  It will also be his first full length record in over ten years.  According to Friedman himself, the album, titled Inferno, will be his heaviest record yet.  “I’m extremely proud of the work I’ve done with Cacophony and Megadeth, but I was never interested in stopping there,” he said.  “‘Inferno’ is the album that fans of my work with those two bands have always wanted me to make.  I’ve finally made it, and completely on my own maniacal terms.”  He added in an interview with Guitar World magazine that Inferno is “the most intense writing and playing I can do.”  He went on to say of it that “I wanted to create a new landmark to which my future music will be compared.  “That idea of just going completely balls-out — knowing what the full potential of my music and my playing could possibly be, and actually making it a reality — was what drove me through the whole process.”

Friedman’s fans will have plenty to look forward to on Inferno.  That is because the record will feature Friedman teaming up with a number of other well-known guitarists including Alexi Laiho (Children of Bodom), David Davidson (Revocation), and famed flamenco/metal acoustic duo Rodrigo y Gabriela.  Friedman’s former Cacophony band mate Jason Becker also played a role in the creation of Inferno as the pair collaborated on some songwriting.  Friedman said of his team-ups with the noted special guests, “On the guests’ songs, each would write a song from scratch, and then I would arrange it and add my parts to it.”  He added “That way, we were both invested in it, and it’s a little bit of a deeper experience than just banging out a guest solo.”

The official release date for Inferno has not yet been released.  While fans wait on that information, they can check out a trailer for the album now online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MO8dP0pPpjQ.  A tour in support of the new album is anticipated.  Fans can find out the latest tour dates as they are announced online at http://www.facebook.com/martyfriedman.official and 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.

Martin’s Scenic Album Paints A Stunning Musical Picture

Courtesy:  Prosthetic Records

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records

Venezuelan born guitarist Felix Martin is back with his second full length release (and first full length studio release) from Prosthetic Records in the form of the Scenic Album.  When last fans left Mr. Martin, he was blowing away audiences with his live debut release, Live in Boston.  As unorthodox as this order of things seems, it actually makes perfect sense.  That’s because live shows are the key way of getting audiences into an artist’s music, especially for audiences that have not yet experienced an artist’s material.  He has translated that live show quite well on this record.  This is evident right from the album’s opener, ‘Tango I.’

‘Tango I’ is the opener to what is essentially a near six and a half minute opus split into three parts.  The control of the song’s frenetic energy maintained by Martin and his band mates is incredible to say the least.  Those that have not had the pleasure of seeing Martin and his band mates perform live in person can just close their eyes and imagine Martin’s fingers flying across all fourteen strings of his double-neck guitar.  Even imagining it in one’s own mind is…well…mind blowing.  Just as stunning about this song, is that Martin and company are able to maintain that control through all three movements and six-plus minutes of the song without missing a single note or beat.  That is in itself a feat to behold.  Drummer Marco Minneman’s timing with such difficult poly-rhythmic pattern is just as worthy of applause.  What he does can only be described as controlled chaos.  Along with bassist Nathan Navarro, the trio has crafted a song in these three movements that is as good as anything crafted by fellow guitar virtuosos Steve Vai and Joe Satriani if not better than them.

‘The Tango’ is just the beginning of the enjoyment from Felix Martin and company on the trio’s first full length studio release.  Those that have the patience and are open minded enough will enjoy the album’s other three-movement opus centered on a character by the name of Viroliano.  This trio starts with the character in question “trying” progressive music.  He then moves into the jazz realm, before finishing up with a jaunt into the metal world.  It’s through this trio of songs that Martin, Minneman, and Navarro really get to stretch their creative wings and display their talents even more.  As talented as Martin is playing more up-tempo pieces, it is nice to hear him pull back if only a little bit on ‘Viroliano Tries Prog.’  The riffs almost hint at influences from the likes of Yes, King Crimson, and even certain other bands of that ilk.  ‘Viroliano Tries Jazz’ is just as interesting as ‘Viroliano Tries Prog’ because it switches things up a bit more and progresses the overall opus one more step.  It mixes elements of fusion jazz with a more rock oriented sound that eventually sets up the song’s final movement, ‘Viroliano Tries Metal.’  Martin and his band mates easily rival Dream Theater’s John Petrucci, John Myung, Mike Mangini in this movement.  It’s a good closer because just as with the song’s previous movements, it’s one more chance for Martin and his band mates to display their talents even more.  They prove that they don’t plus play fast and loud.  They show that they can play heavy, soft, fast, and slow.  It makes the overall presentation of The Scenic Album that much richer of a musical picture.

Martin, Navarro, and Minneman prove throughout the course of The Scenic Album that they are true musicians, and not just three guys that can play fast.  The songs noted here prove that.  They aren’t the only proof of that argument, either.  The album’s final two songs—‘Eleven Drums’ and ‘2am’—solidify the argument for those that perhaps might have otherwise still been unconvinced.  ‘Eleven Drums’ is unlike anything else that the trio recorded for this album.  For lack of better wording, it has almost an ethereal vibe about it.  It is far more subdued than any of the album’s other works, yet just as technically impressive.  ‘2am’ is even more proof of the trio’s talents.  This song is all over the place.  It switches up between a semi-swing jazz vibe and something far heavier.  How the trio manages to make it balance is anyone’s guess.  They the Martin and company manage it.  And the end result is a song that closes the album just as solidly as ‘The Tango’ opened it.  And together with the album’s other tracks, it makes the Scenic Album one that true music lovers and musicians will enjoy just as much as any other more well-known instrumental and rock records out there today.  It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered online at http://prostheticrecords.com/?p=3859.  Felix is currently scheduled to appear at the 2014 NAMM Show in Anaheim, California on January 22 – 25th.  He is also scheduled to perform at the Baja Prog Fest in Mexicali, Mexico on April 2nd.  To find out about Martin’s latest tour dates and news, fans can follow him online at http://www.felixmartin.net and http://www.facebook.com/felixmartinmusic.  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.

Zodiac Offers Even More Pure Guitar-Driven Rock On Its New Record

Courtesy:  Prosthetic Records

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records

Hiding Place, the second full length release from Germany’s Zodiac, is a solid follow-up to the band’s 2012 debut record, A Bit of Devil.  The band’s sophomore release picks up right where A Bit of Devil left off.  Right from the album’s outset, listeners are transported back in time to the golden era of real rock and roll and taken on a musical trip that would impress even older listeners that lived through that great age.  The band gets so much right throughout all nine of the songs collected for this record.  From the soaring guitar solos of Stephen Gall and front man Nick van Delft to Janosch Rathmer’s almost John Bonham-esque drumming to bassist Ruben Claro’s solid bass lines, so much can be said of this record.  Even the album’s lyrical side is noteworthy.  The band’s musicianship and lyrical finesse together make every song on this record a joy.  It would be impossible to examine each and every song.  Though, a few examples might work.  And what better place to start than with the album’s opener, ‘Downtown?”

‘Downtown’ is everything that makes blues-driven rock and roll so great.  It is bound to be a fan favorite with its straight forward energy and blues-based guitar riffs.  What makes this song so outstanding is the fact that just as with so many classic rock favorites, the band has made this more than just another rock song.  It’s a two-parter, with the first half being an anthem for a Saturday night on the town.  That’s especially the case considering that the band sings in the song’s chorus, “Bright lights are shining/Big city diamond/Where are you now…We’re going downtown/Where nobody knows your name.”  The chorus set against the song’s musical energy will loosen up even the person who has had the toughest of work weeks.  The jam session that makes up the song’s second half instantly conjures thoughts of rock’s greatest age.  One can close one’s eyes, take in the music, and see the band onstage jamming out together, and feeding off of the energy shared by its audiences in this segment of the song.  All of it together makes ‘Downtown’ the perfect choice to open the album.

‘Downtown’ is the perfect opener for Hiding Place.  It is certain to get any listener up and moving whether in their living room or with friends.  Just as certain to get listeners moving is the album’s third song, ‘Under My Bed.’  All four members of the band contribute their own element to make this song a hit.  The truly interesting thing about this song is how much vocalist Nick van Delft sounds like blues great Stevie Ray Vaughan in this song.  Bassist Ruben Claro’s funk-infused bass lines set against the SRV style guitar solos make this song stand out even more.  That’s not to discount drummer Janosch Rathmer’s work.  He keeps time through the song, not missing a beat as he adds his own flair to it.  As with ‘Downtown’ it would be easy to see this driving blues-based rocker being just as much of a fan favorite both on the album and in concert.

So much can be noted of the songs on Hiding Place as one can tell by now.  It would take far too long to examine each and every song on this record.  Though at least one more example can be shared showing what listeners can expect from this record.  That last example lies in the album’s penultimate song, ‘I Wanna Know.’  This song doesn’t have the same energy as ‘Downtown’ or ‘Under My Bed.’  It does boast its own energy and feel, though.  This is actually a good thing.  It’s good in that it proves the band’s slower songs can be just as enjoyable as those more up-tempo numbers.  What’s more, its contemplative lyrics are just as certain to catch listeners’ attention.  Van Delft sings in this song, ‘I wanna know/How my soul/Brought me on my knees/I wanna know/What to do/In times like these.”  The slightly slower yet equally hard musical side helps to illustrate the emotion that the band attempts to translate to listeners.  It’s one more part of the album that makes the whole presentation so fun for anyone that is a fan of pure, guitar driven rock and roll.  It’s not all that listeners have to look forward to, either.  The songs note noted here are just worthy of checking out, too.  The album is available now in stores and online.  Fans can also get a chance to hear the band’s music in person, too as the band tours in support of Hiding Place.  The band is currently in the midst of a European tour.  It will kick off the U.S. leg of its tour beginning November 14th in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  The band will make a tour stop in North Carolina on Saturday, December 7th at Amos Southend in Charlotte.  The concert is scheduled for a 7pm start time.  More tour dates and news from the band is available online at http://www.facebook.com/Zodiac.Rock and http://www.zodiac-rock.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.

KingShifter’s Debut LP Takes The Top Spot As 2013′s Top New Hard Rock Record

Courtesy:  Pavement Entertainment/Pavement Music

Courtesy: Pavement Entertainment/Pavement Music

2013 has been a good year for hard rock and metal.  New releases from the likes of Holy Grail, Black Sabbath, and Sevendust have made this a great year for the metal masses the world over.  Now with the release of its debut full length LP via Pavement Entertainment, Wichita, Kansas based KingShifter has just made the hard rock landscape that much more interesting.

KingShifter’s debut full length release, 26 Tons is an aptly titled record.  This eleven-track record is a heavy-hitting wrecking ball of hard rock.  From start to finish the album’s energy lets up only once.  That one time is in the near minute and a half acoustic piece, ‘.00125 lbs. (The Year of the Rat).  Other than that single moment, every other song on this record makes it one of the best debut records from a rock band (either mainstream or indie) in a very long time.  Its combination of hard hitting guitar licks, drums, and equally scathing lyrics make it a record that any purist metal head will appreciate.  And it all starts early on in the form of, ‘Revolution Generation.’  Front man Sprout sings about what’s happening to the country today.  From the epidemic of companies and doctors working together to sell their drugs, to the issue of school violence, Sprout runs the gamut.  Along the way he and his band mates wave a defiant musical flag declaring, “If we don’t do anything now/We’re soon to be doomed/We’ve got to stand strong/We shall not be moved/We are Americans/And we have proof/That we survived/The taxes, fiscal cliffs, and all of the wars/We’re here to tell you now/We won’t take it anymore!”  The song’s declaration of pride and self-empowerment is a call to arms and an anthem for a whole new generation.  And given the right support, could very well be the opening salvo in what breaks this band into the mainstream.

If ‘Revolution Generation’ isn’t enough example of what makes this a solid debut from KingShifter, then perhaps the equally hard rocking and defiant (yet far shorter) ‘STFU (& Die Already)’ will.  This punk styled piece comes in at just under two minutes long.  In that short time, this song hits just as hard as ‘Revolution Generation’ and any of the album’s other songs.  It is an intense song that goes after the news media—Sprout sings, “Television/I wanna burn it down”—and all of the negativity that clots television today.  In connection, he notes in no uncertain terms the effect that television has on people and his displeasure on the matter.

KingShifter’s debut record has plenty of social commentary and hard rock.  For all the commentary that it offers, there is some lighter material on this record, too.  Case in point, ‘Downin’ Booze – Raisin’ Hell.’  This song is a party song.  It’s an anthem for the blue collar workers across the country.  The influence from hard rock supergroup HellYeah is quite obvious both lyrically and musically in this song.  This is clear in the song’s second verse as Sprout sings, “I’ve been inside/Of this dirty cage/Locked inside for five whole days/I’ve gotta ease my mind/And leave that bulls*** behind/This ******’s gonna go on a rage!”  With such high energy lyrics and equally high energy music, this song is more than certain to become just one of so many fan favorites and fan anthems both on KingShifter’s record and at its live shows. 

The songs noted here are just a few examples of what listeners can expect from Kingshifter’s upcoming debut record.  There is much more that audiences will appreciate throughout the album.  So much more could be written of 26 Tons.  But to do so would require more time and space than is available.  Simply put, given the chance by radio programmers and by Pavement Entertainment, 26 Tons could make Kingshifter one of the next big names in hard rock.  The album will be available in stores and online Tuesday, September 3rd.  Fans can hear just some of the band’s music now online at the band’s official Reverb Nation page, http://www.reverbnation.com/kingshifter.  There’s even a music video from the band on its page, too.  Audiences can also check out the band’s music on its official MySpace page, http://www.myspace.com/kingshifter.  And to keep up with all of the latest news from the band, fans can follow the band on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/KingShifterRock and on its official website, http://www.kingshifter.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.

Gojira Albums To Be Reissued On Vinyl

Courtesy:  Prosthetic Records

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records

Officials with Prosthetic Records have announced that the label is set to reissue the two albums that helped to establish the French tech-death metal band in the metal community worldwide.  The label will reissue From Mars to Sirius and The Way of All Flesh in gatefold double vinyl sets in very limited quantities beginning August 27th

gojira1

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records

Both albums will be reissued to the total number of one thousand copies each.  From Mars to Sirius will be released in three 180-gram variants:  “Eco-green” (600 copies), “Mars Red” (200 copies), and Sea Blue (200 copies).  The Way of All Flesh will be reissued on only two variants: 180-gram Clear (500 copies) and standard-weight blue-white split vinyl (500 copies).  The reissue of The Way of All Flesh marks the first time in three years that the album will be available on vinyl.  The album features a guest spot by Lamb of God front man Randy Blythe and was produced by Logan Mader (Five Finger Death Punch, Devildriver, Fear Factory).  The band toured alongside In Flames and All That Remains in support of this release.  There was even an arena tour with Metallica in support of the album.

Courtesy:  Prosthetic Records

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records

Both The Way of All Flesh and From Mars to Siruis can be pre-ordered now online at http://www.indiemerch.com/prostheticrecords/pre-orders.

To keep up with the latest news from Gojira, fans can follow the band online at http://www.facebook.com/GojiraMusic and http://www.gojira-music.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.