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.

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.