Hammercult’s Sophomore LP Is An Intentionally Over The Top Slab Of Metal

Courtesy:  SPV/Sonic Attack Records

Courtesy: SPV/Sonic Attack Records

Anyone that keeps up with the news of the world each day knows that there is a lot of trouble going on in the Middle East right now. Tensions between the Palestinians and Israelis have really stepped up again in recent weeks as have the attacks. It’s really a sad state of affairs. For all of the negativity coming from that part of the world, at least one positive has come from that war-ravaged land this year. That one positive is the sophomore album from the Tel-Aviv, Israel-based band Hammercult. Steelcrusher, the band’s follow-up to its 2012 debut album Anthems of the Damned, is a full on assault on the ears that will make any purist member of the Metal Nation worldwide proud. The album’s songs are sung with tongue planted firmly in cheek. One look at the obviously intentionally over-the-top album cover, the cover photo on the band’s Facebook page and one listen through this album proves this to be the case. The band pokes fun at the stereotypes placed on metal and its legions of fans from start to finish. The end result is an album that will have audiences both laughing and rocking along throughout every song. One of the best examples of that satire comes in the form of the metal anthem ‘Metal Rules Tonight.’ There is also the full throttle song about the stereotypes of metal bands on the road in the album’s penultimate song ‘Heading For War.’ And then there is ‘Unholy Art,’ which seems to poke fun at the stereotypes of metal and hard rock in general created by certain groups. It’s one more example of the works on this record that will again, have audiences laughing and rocking along from start to finish.

Audiences will note in listening to Hammercult’s recently released sophomore album Steelcrusher, that there are some pretty dark sounding songs, lyrically and musically speaking. But the reality of the albums on this record is that they were obviously written with tongue planted pretty firmly in cheek. One look at the cover photo on the band’s Facebook page drives home the argument that the band is anything but the dark, evil entity that others such as perhaps Ghost, Emperor, etc. One piece of evidence in that argument comes in the form of the anthemic ‘Metal Rules Tonight.’ Not only does the band encourage the metal legions of the world to put their collective metal horns in the air, it also goes so far as to pay tribute to one of the biggest names in metal in the form of Metallica. Front man Yokir Shochat sings in this full-on anthem, “I’m so wasted/I can’t stand/Grab a *&$$%/Get some #&@%/Speakers blasting through the wall/Master of Puppets and Balls to the Walls.” He goes on later in the song singing to listeners, “Bang your head in full conviction/Raise your fists and show the horns/No remorse or lamentations/Play it loud/Or die/Metal rules tonight/Trends will come and fade away/Heavy metal is here to stay/We are damned but we are free/It’s our way of life/The way it should be/Metal!” That last line sort of echoes AC/DC’s ‘Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution’ in which front man Brian Johnson sings that “Rock and roll ain’t noise pollution/Rock and roll it will live on.” The song’s speed/thrash metal musical backing will have its fans putting their horns high in the air with pride as they sing along to this metal anthem.

‘Metal Rules Tonight’ is one of the highest of points on Hammercult’s new album. It is only one piece of evidence in the argument that despite the band’s speed/thrash metal sound and its seemingly dark lyrics, it should be taken with a relatively large grain of salt. Another piece of evidence in that argument comes late in the album in the song ‘Heading For War.’ Right off the top, Shochat makes that clear once again as he screams, “Thrashing hotels every day/Heads are banging/Ears are bleeding/Raise your hammers/Ready to explode.” He sings in another verse, “Racing to another city/Party hard tonight/Heavy drinking/Never stopping/It’s the only way we stay alive.” These two verses alone more than tell audiences everything that they need to know about this song. If that’s not enough, the song’s chorus makes painfully clear that there’s nothing evil at all about the band or its album. Shochat sings in the chorus, “Heading for the stage, heading for war/Yes, we live or the fight/And die for the cause we believe to be right/Giving it all with fury and force/Spreading the sound of destruction.” Shochat likens being on the road, performing on stage after stage to like being in a war. Though, interestingly enough, one could argue that there is a lightly veiled reference to the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians there and the lack of sense in it. Instead of being involved in that conflict though, the band lives and dies for metal in that “battle” to spread metal’s word to the world. If that veiled commentary on the war in the Gaza strip is in fact there, then that double meaning in this verse makes the song in whole all the more interesting. And along with ‘Metal Rules Tonight,’ it makes the album in whole all the more worth the listen, too.

‘Metal Rules Tonight’ and ‘Heading For War’ are both prime examples of what audiences can expect from Steelcrusher. Both songs show that despite the album’s similarity to works from the likes of Exmortus, Arch Enemy, and others of that ilk, it actually stands out quite a bit from those bands. There is one more example of the band’s tongue in cheek delivery on this album. That example is the song ‘Unholy Art.’ The band’s commentary is perhaps at its strongest in this song as Shochat and company point the finger right back at those that would judge the metal community, singing, “The blackest hearts and darkest minds/You never know just what you will find/It’s not for the faint of heart/This is the Unholy Art/Dishonored/A branded kind/The masses will burn in the flames of our pride/We’ll rise to our own blackened skies/And devour the worlds/And we’re starting tonight. The band singing together, “It’s not for the faint of heart/This is the Unholy Art” is itself a sarcastic statement. It’s Shochat and his band mates almost laughing as they say, “oh it’s such evil stuff. It’s not for the faint of heart.” Again, it’s just one more example of how firmly in their cheeks the band members’ tongues are planted in this record. The statement of “The blackest hearts and darkest minds” is something of a statement against the stereotypes created by certain groups against the metal masses around the world. Those judgmental groups are so fast to throw the first stone even without knowing the full story or doing their research. It’s such searing commentary in so few words. It makes for one of the most powerful statements of the album’s entire body of songs. Of course together with the previously noted songs (and those not noted) it makes the entire collection of songs an album that any true-blooded member of the metal nation worldwide will enjoy and appreciate.

Steelcrusher is available now in stores and online. It can be downloaded via iTunes and Amazon or purchased at the band’s next upcoming performance. The band is currently scheduled to perform live August 9th at Brutal Assault in Jaromer, Czech Republic. Audiences can pick up Steelcrusher at that performance, too. More information and tour updates are available online via the band’s official Facebook and Twitter pages. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to the Phil’s Picks Facebook page and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog.

Friedman’s Musical Light Burns Bright On Inferno

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records

Virtuoso metal guitarist Marty Friedman has built a career of churning out some of the most intense riffs that the metal community has ever heard. Some of the most intense of those riffs came during his time with veteran metal band Megadeth alongside fellow legend Dave Mustaine. For all of the impressive riffs that Friedman crafted during his time with Megadeth, he has shown to be just as talented on his own as he was during his time with that group of musicians. He has released a handful of albums in recent years. Each album has shown a different side to Friedman as an artist, the most recent of which being 2012’s Loudspeaker. Now two years removed from that album, Friedman has released his latest full length effort in the form of the aptly titled Inferno. Pardon the pun, but the title is fitting for this album because Friedman is most definitely *ahem* “on fire” throughout the course of the album’s dozen tracks. One of the most intriguing tracks on this album is his punk/hard rock hybrid ‘I Can’t Relax (ft. Danko Jones). This is one of those songs that shows that while Friedman is known largely for speed and thrash metal riffs, he is just as talented in other realms of rock, too. On a completely opposite branch, ‘Meat Hook (ft. Jorgen Munkeby)’ is a completely out of this world metal-meets-avant-garde jazz piece that is sure to catch any listener’s ear. Of course for all of the intensity and growth that Friedman exhibits through the course of this album, he also shows some emotional depth in the progressive rock ballad of sorts that is ‘Undertow (ft. Gregg Bissonette and Tony Franklin).’ These songs are but mere samplings of what makes Inferno such an outstanding opus from Marty Friedman. There are nine other tracks from which listeners can choose their favorite(s). Regardless of which song(s) listeners choose as their favorite(s), every listener will agree that all twelve of the songs that make up Inferno make up an album that is more than deserving of a spot on any critic’s year-end list of the year’s best new hard rock and metal albums.

Marty Friedman shows off his metal chops throughout the majority of his new album in a variety of ways as listeners will note in listening throughout the album’s dozen total tracks. For all of the metal chops that he continues to show on this album, he also displays a certain amount of growth, too. Case in point is the punk/hard rock hybrid that is ‘I Can’t Relax (ft. Danko Jones).’ Friedman shows in this song that while it’s been a while since he was part of a band with a vocalist, he is still okay with sharing the limelight with others. Jones, who has earned his own level of fame throughout his career perfectly mirrors Friedman’s own frenetic energy as he sings, “I’m always busy/Let’s get ready/Burn it down to the ground/I hate when someone tells me to stop moving and sit down…You’re gonna see my face everywhere/It’s gonna drive you crazy/I want to time and time again/I can’t relax/I can’t relax/You gotta know/I can’t relax/You’ve got to know.” Jones’ rapid fire delivery alongside the musicianship of Friedman and his fellow musicians will instantly have audiences dancing and singing along happily. It’s not the only song that will either, as is evidenced in the metal-meets-avant-garde jazz piece that is ‘Meat Hook (ft. Jorgen Munkeby).

‘Meat Hook (Ft Jorgen Munkeby) is another prime example in this record of just how much Friedman has grown as an artist. The song shows influences from the likes of Liquid Tension Experiment, Trioscapes, Faith No More, and certain other bands. Simply put, it is mind boggling, but in the best possible way. The use of the sax line against Friedman’s guitar playing makes for a contradiction that can only be best understood when heard by one’s own ears. There are no words to properly describe the sound or the effect. Add in the wild piano runs and audiences get a piece that completely defies any musical logic whatsoever. Yet it still manages to impress in its own right and make Inferno even more enjoyable for listeners.

For all of the wild energy exuded by Marty Friedman, his guest musicians, and his band mates throughout the course of this album, Friedman shows a softer side too. That softer side is presented in the progressive rock ballad ‘Undertow.’ This piece shows something of an influence from the likes of Dream Theater and Liquid Tension Experiment just to name a couple of bands. After the nonstop adrenaline rush on which Friedman sends his listeners throughout the course of the album’s previous song, this song is a welcome chance for listeners to catch their collective breath. The addition of Tony Franklin and famed session drummer Gregg Bissonette adds even more depth to the song. It takes listeners back to the days of big hair and even bigger rock. Listeners can just close their eyes and take it in, seeing in their minds, a giant arena with Friedman there center stage, lasers shooting out from the stage in time with his guitar playing. It’s one more impressive piece that stands out as one of this album’s highest of highs. Of course that it just the opinion of this critic. There are still nine other tracks on this record from which listeners can choose their own favorite(s). Regardless of which song(s) listeners choose, one thing can be agreed and that is that whether it be the songs noted here or those chosen as favorites by others, every track on this record proves just why Inferno deserves a spot on every rock critic’s year-end list of the year’s best new hard rock and metal albums.

Inferno is currently available in stores and online. Audiences can check it out now while they await Friedman’s next scheduled live performance Thursday, September 25th at the Iridium in New York. Audiences can keep up with all of the latest tour updates and news from Marty Friedman online now at http://www.facebook.com/martyfriedman.official and http://www.martyfriedman.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.

Virgin Mobile Recruits Exmortus For New Ad Campaign

Courtesy:  Prosthetic Records/Virgin Mobile

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records/Virgin Mobile

Prosthetic Records’ own Exmortus is starring in a new ad campaign for Virgin Mobile.

The new TV spot is a fully tongue-in-cheek piece that sees the L.A.-based four-piece applying its own brand of metal to espouse the benefits of Virgin Mobile. It was directed by Paul B. Cummings (Conan, The Colbert Report). It can be viewed online now at http://www.ispot.tv/ad/7yMf/virgin-mobile-galaxy-s5-metal-band. Drummer Mario Moreno shared his thoughts on the shoot, saying that “We had a great time shooting with Paul and it was an awesome experience, especially breaking all the gear at the end!”

Exmortus will be back on the road again this summer in support of its latest album Slave to the Sword.” It will tour alongside veteran metal band Flotsam and Jetsam on that band’s tour. The current tour itinerary is listed below.

UPCOMING TOUR DATES
7/9     West Hollywood, CA – Whisky A Go Go #
7/10   San Francisco, CA – Slim’s #
7/11   Sacramento, CA – The Boardwalk #
7/12   Portland, OR – Tonic Lounge #
7/13   Seattle, WA – Studio Seven #
7/15   Spokane, WA – Club 412 #
7/16   Boise, ID – The Shredder #
7/17   Salt Lake City, UT – LoFi Cafe #
7/18   Las Vegas, NV – LVCS #
7/19   Mesa, AZ – Club Red #
8/2     Los Angeles, CA – Black Castle (w/ Morbid Saint)
8/22   Santa Ana, CA – Malone’s (w/ Gypsyhawk)
# with Flotsam & Jetsam

More information on Exmortus, its upcoming tour, its new album and more is available online now 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.

Monuments Releases Summer Tour Schedule

Courtesy:  Century Media Records

Courtesy: Century Media Records

The members of Monuments announced Thursday that band will hit the road this summer in support of its latest album.

Amanuensis, the first for the band on Century Media Records, will be released July 8th in North America. The band’s tour in support of its new album kicks off Tuesday, July 15th in Springfield, MA. Also along for the ride will be Scale The Summit, Glasscloud, Erra, and Reflections.

The band’s current tour schedule includes thirty-seven scheduled dates counting its opening date in Springfield, MA. The schedule also includes a performance at the Blind Tiger in Greensboro, North Carolina on Wednesday, August 13th. Tickets for that performance can be ordered online now at http://www.etix.com/ticket/online/homePageSearch.do?method=showPerformanceDetail&performance_id=1816123&search_source=etix. The band’s current list of tour dates is included below.

07/15 @ Empire – Springfield, VA – Tickets: http://tinyurl.com/ofttvxz
07/16 @ The Barbary – Philadelphia, PA – Tickets: http://tinyurl.com/owfbym9
07/17 @ Webster Underground – Hartford, CT – Tickets: http://tinyurl.com/md2sqg7
07/18 @ Amityville Music Hall – Amityville, NY – Tickets: http://tinyurl.com/pfaavxn
07/19 @ Gramercy Theatre – New York, NY – Tickets: http://tinyurl.com/nt3ymfl
07/20 @ The Palladium – Worcester, MA – Tickets: http://tinyurl.com/njzv4f4
07/21 @ Bogies – Albany, NY – Tickets: http://tinyurl.com/okz3yuz
07/22 @ La Sala Rossa – Montreal, QC – Tickets: http://tinyurl.com/nbkb764
07/23 @ Hard Luck – Toronto, ON – Tickets: http://tinyurl.com/pub4jqv
07/24 @ The Stache – Grand Rapids, MI – Tickets: http://tinyurl.com/p93dtle
07/25 @ Reggie’s – Chicago, IL – Tickets: http://tinyurl.com/q3v3xlu
07/26 @ The Garage – Burnsville, MN – Tickets: http://tinyurl.com/o8qnc8d
07/27 @ West End Cultural Centre – Winnipeg, MB – Tickets: http://tinyurl.com/qdjo3ef
07/28 @ The Exchange – Regina, SK – Tickets: http://tinyurl.com/nsw6xst
07/29 @ The Den, Calgary, AB – Tickets: http://tinyurl.com/omstu3a
07/30 @ Kelowna, BC – Rutland Centennial Hall – Tickets: http://tinyurl.com/q7xnavh
07/31 @ The Rio Theatre, Vancouver, BC – Tickets: http://tinyurl.com/nsnb82j
08/01 @ Chop Suey – Seattle, WA – Tickets: http://tinyurl.com/nmtmstp
08/02 @ Hawthorne Theatre – Portland, OR – Tickets: http://tinyurl.com/l6ecot8
08/03 @ Oakland Metro – Oakland, CA – Tickets: http://tinyurl.com/mbgahas
08/04 @ The Lyric – Los Angeles, CA – Tickets: http://tinyurl.com/kf25ck8
08/05 @ Southern Nevada Sports Centre – Las Vegas, NV -

Tickets: http://tinyurl.com/kxadqb2

08/06 @ The Underground – Mesa, AZ – Tickets: http://tinyurl.com/m74l2ce
08/07 @ Launchpad – Albuquerque, NM – Tickets: http://tinyurl.com/pa958qv
08/08 @ Bluebird Theater – Denver, CO – Tickets: http://tinyurl.com/krzdn94
08/09 @ Jackpot – Lawrence, KS – Tickets: http://tinyurl.com/olsfk6w
08/10 @ Fubar – St. Louis, MO – Tickets: http://tinyurl.com/nfy48he
08/11 @ Park Street Saloon – Columbus, OH – Tickets: http://tinyurl.com/nk7lr6a
08/12 @ The Concourse – Knoxville, TN – Tickets: http://tinyurl.com/nrg93jh
08/13 @ Blind Tiger – Greensboro, NC – Tickets: http://tinyurl.com/ouxnc2n
08/14 @ 1904 Music Hall – Jacksonville, FL – Tickets: http://tinyurl.com/ppx4azw
08/15 @ Propaganda – Lake Worth, FL – Tickets: TBA
08/16 @ Backbooth – Orlando, FL – Tickets: http://tinyurl.com/kwh6ylh
08/17 @ Vinyl At Center Stage – Atlanta, GA – Tickets: http://tinyurl.com/lml7qrm
08/19 @ Tomcats – Fort Worth, TX – Tickets: http://tinyurl.com/l4gdtzd
08/20 @ Red 7 – Austin, TX – Tickets: http://tinyurl.com/mbmn53s
08/21 @ Fitzgerald’s – Houston, TX – Tickets: http://tinyurl.com/mbvhuu5

Audiences can pre-order Amanuensis now online at http://www.cmdistro.com/Search/monuments. And the video for the band’s latest single ‘The Alchemist’ is available for viewing online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTKB5enjIN4&feature=youtu.be. More information on Monuments, its upcoming album, tour and more is available online at http://www.facebook.com/thisismonuments and http://twitter.com/thisismonuments. 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 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.