Judas Priest Announces New Fall Tour Schedule

Courtesy:  Epic Records

Courtesy: Epic Records

The members of Judas Priest made a big announcement over the weekend.

The members of the veteran hard rock band announced Friday that the band will hit the road this fall in support of its upcoming 17th overall album, Redeemer of Souls. The band will tour in support of Redeemer of Souls beginning Wednesday, October 1st in Rochester, New York. The tour will see the band crisscrossing the country throughout fall and winter, eventually winding down Tuesday, November 18th in Salt Lake City Utah. This is a major announcement from the band’s members as it had alleged that the band would not tour anymore after its previous tour and would instead focus primarily on new music.

Information regarding special fan pre-sales, merchandise bundles, and more are expected soon. Fans can keep up with all of the latest news regarding the noted ticket sales and more online now at http://tickets.judaspriest.com. The band’s most current tour schedule is listed below.

“REDEEMER OF SOULS TOUR 2014″ DATES:

Oct-01 Rochester, NY Main Street Armory

Oct-03 Hammond, IN The Venue at Horseshoe Casino

Oct-04 Louisville, KY Louder Than Life Fest at Champions

Oct-09 Brooklyn, NY Barclays

Oct-10 Atlantic City, NJ Harrah’s

Oct-11 Mashantucket, CT MGM Grand Theater at Foxwood’s

Oct-14 Lowell, MA Tsongas Center at UMass

Oct-15 Allentown, PA PPL Center

Oct-17 East Rutherford, NJ Izod Center

Oct-19 Detroit, MI Fox Theatre

Oct-24 Baltimore, MD Pier Six Pavilion

Oct-28 Duluth, GA The Arena at Gwinnett Center

Oct-30 Hollywood, FL Hard Rock Live Arena

Nov-06 Allen, TX Allen Event Center

Nov-07 Austin FunFunFun Fest

Nov-10 Los Angeles, CA Nokia

Nov-12 Phoenix, AZ Jobing Arena

Nov-13 Highland, CA San Manuel Casino

Nov-14 Las Vegas, NV The Pearl

Nov-16 San Jose, CA City National Civic

Nov-18 Salt Lake City, UT Maverik Center

Fans can also keep up with all of the latest news from the band online via its official website and Facebook page at http://www.judaspriest.com and http://www.facebook.com/OfficialJudasPriest. 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.

Judas Priest Debuts Lead Single From Upcoming Album

Courtesy:  Epic Records

Courtesy: Epic Records

Legendary rock band Judas Priest has officially released the lead single from its upcoming album Redeemer of Souls.

The band has released ‘March of the Damned’ to radio stations across the country. It is also available for download via all digital sales providers. And along with the download of the single, fans can pre-order Redeemer of Souls now online via iTunes at http://smarturl.it/redeemerofsouls-albm. Fans can check out the new song in its entirety now along with introduction from Glenn Tipton online via YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJhm2vZFj2k&feature=youtu.be.

Redeemer of Souls will be available Tuesday, July 15th via Epic Records. It will be available both in standard format and as a deluxe expanded edition with five bonus tracks. Tipton explains about expectations for the band’s seventeenth (yes, seventeenth) full length studio release stating, “Sometimes in the past we may have come under fire for being too adventurous musically – so we have listened!! From start to finish ‘Redeemer of Souls’ is 13 songs of pure classic Priest metal!!”

More updates on Redeemer of Souls and news from the band is available online now at http://www.judaspriest.com and http://www.facebook.com/OfficialJudasPriest. 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.

This Is Your Life Is Not Just Another Throw-Away Tribute Album

Courtesy:  Rhino Records

Courtesy: Rhino Records

Tribute albums are a dime a dozen. So many tribute albums are released each year that one can’t help but feel that the labels that release them care more about their bottom line than about actually celebrating said artists being given tribute. That being the case, one can’t help but wonder why This Is Your Life, the new tribute album to iconic rock front man Ronnie James Dio, would be any different from those records. The answer to that is not a simple one. One reason that this tribute album stands out is the list of performers and bands that recorded songs for the compilation. It’s a who’s who of hard rock from the past, present, and even future of the genre. Another reason that this compilation stands out is its track listing. This record boasts some of the most beloved songs of RJD’s career. And last but definitely not least important to consider in this record is the fact that it isn’t just a means for the label distributing it to make money. It actually doubles as a fundraiser for RJD’s Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund. So it’s actually a record crafted to essentially help give back. How many bands, artists, groups, etc. can say that they have crafted an entire album simply to raise funds for charity? That–along with the list of songs and performers, bands, etc. on this album–makes This Is Your Life an album that stands well above the rest of the otherwise throw-away albums claiming to be tribute albums.

Courtesy:  Rhino Records

Courtesy: Rhino Records

The primary aspect of This Is Your Life that makes it stand out against all of the other tribute albums out there is the list of performers drafted to record songs for the record. The list of performers drafted for this record is a who’s who of hard rock’s past, present, and even future. It wasn’t just a mish-mash of bands, artists and groups tossed together. Everybody tapped to record for this tribute record is either a counterpart to RJD or someone that grew up idolizing him and his talents. Veterans such as Anthrax, Motorhead, Scorpions, Biff Byford, and Rob Halford perform alongside younger acts such as Adrenaline Mob, Killswitch Engage, and Halestorm over the course of the record’s fourteen total tracks. That collection of bands and artists singing Dio’s hits is in itself a musical history lesson. It introduces younger audiences that might be more familiar with the latter grouping of bands and artists to the veterans and to the music of Dio. To that extent, This Is Your Life quickly earns major points. Even more points come from the sampling of Dio’s music in question chosen for this compilation.

The list of bands, artists, and groups tapped to record RJD’s music for This Is Your Life is in itself a major boon for the record. As noted, it isn’t just a mish-mash of bands, artists, and groups. It is a collection of bands, group, and artists that played alongside Dio during his career, and those that have come since, growing up with the music of Ronnie James Dio. In short, it’s a collection of individuals that have the utmost respect for Dio and his music. Speaking of that music, the songs chosen to be included on this record are another part of the whole that makes it so enjoyable for listeners. Every song on this record is a classic in its own way. From the more well-known pieces such as ‘The Mob Rules’, ‘Neon Knights’ and ‘Holy Diver’ to slightly lesser known songs such as ‘Straight Through The Heart’, Egypt (The Chains Are On’, and ‘Temple of the King’ This Is Your Life does quite the job of chronicling the career of a man that was and is still even in death, one of the greatest vocalists and performers in the history of hard rock.

The music and performers chosen for This Is Your Life are both key components of the success of the album. As important as they are to the success of the record, there is still one central aspect of the recording that makes it so worth picking up. That aspect is the fact that a certain portion of the sales of the album will go to benefit Dio’s Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund, which was established by Dio’s wife Wendy Dio. Bands, groups and artists go out on tour every year or they take part in fundraising concerts. How many artists can say they were part of a recording project that was also meant as a way to pay tribute to one of their own, too? It’s just like bringing home a hard rock festival without having to pay the exorbitant prices for tickets, souvenirs, sodas and more. And at the same time, audiences that purchase the album will actually be helping to fund an organization that works to research and promote awareness of cancer, as well as educate people about early detection in hopes of one day stopping it.

This Is Your Life is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Ronnie-James-Dio-This-Your/dp/B00IACUO8S/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1396440364&sr=1-1&keywords=dio+this+is+your+life and can be downloaded via iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/ronnie-james-dio-this-is-your/id829325064.

More information on Ronnie James Dio, This Is Your Life and other RJD releases is available online at http://www.facebook.com/OfficialRonnieJamesDio and http://www.ronniejamesdio.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 reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Rob Halford Joins 5FDP On Stage In Birmingham

Photo Credit: Robert Lawrence

Photo Credit: Robert Lawrence

Fans of Five Finger Death Punch got a special treat this week.  While performing in Birmingham this week, 5FDP was joined on stage by legendary metal front man Rob Halford.  The Judas Priest front man joined the band on-stage in Birmingham, England for a performance of the ‘Lift Me Up.’  ‘Lift Me Up’ comes from the band’s recently released album The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Volume 1.  It went on to reach #1 on the U.S. Active Radio Chart after its release this year.

Audiences can check out a clip of Halford performing with 5FDP online now via YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCPXbLj-QgQ&feature=youtu.be.  Included with the clip is an interview with 5FDP guitarist Zoltan Bathory.  Bathory explains in the interview how the collaboration with the legendary vocalist came to be and the importance of Halford joining the band on-stage.

Five Finger Death Punch recently released The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Volume 2 to the masses.  Since its release, the album has reached #2 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart.  Its lead single, ‘Battle Born’ has been at #1 on the Active Rock Radio Chart for two weeks straight.  The song’s video premiered online at USAToday.com on October 1st.  It is available online now at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyA1GL1touw.  The video for the near four-minute song is comprised primarily of footage of the band on tour.  The band is currently wrapping its European tour. It will be in Ukraine tonight before moving on to Russia tomorrow and next Tuesday and Wednesday.  After next Wednesday’s show, the band will take some much needed time off before heading on the high seas for the annual week-long “Shiprocked” cruise from January 26th – 30th.  5FDP’s fans can get all the latest tour news and more on the band’s official website, http://www.fivefingerdeathpunch.com and its official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/fivefingerdeathpunch.  Fans can also go to the band’s official website to order both Volume 1 & 2 of the band’s new album, The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell.  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.

Priest’s New Live Release One Of 2013′s Top Live Recordings

Courtesy: Sony Legacy/Legacy Recordings

Courtesy: Sony Legacy/Legacy Recordings

Judas Priest’s latest live release is a must have for any true hardcore fan of this legendary metal act.  The closing show of what is said to be the band’s last live tour spans the band’s forty year career together.  The good news is that while this show marked the end of the band’s last tour, fans still allegedly have another new album for which they will be waiting after the release of this recording.  So much could be said of this latest live recording that fans will appreciate.  Right off the bat, fans with surround sound home theater systems will appreciate it more than anyone else.  And then of course, there is also the quality of the footage.  Home viewers will especially enjoy the overhead shots of drummer Scott Travis and the multiple angle shots of the band’s multi-guitar attack from Richie Faulkner, Glenn Tipton and bassist Ian Hill.   The talent of this group of old dogs is just as worthy of discussion as the audio and video quality of the recording.  So is the set list for the band’s career defining show.  When the trio come together for its classic multi-guitar stage stance, it will take fans of old school metal shows back even more, adding that much more to what is an incredible live show all the way around.

The very first thing that audiences catch from Epitaph is the audio quality of this recording.  Those with surround sound home theater systems will love the full-on live concert effect that they will experience.  Even those without home theater systems will still get quite the experience when they go into their television’s settings and set the audio to match the recording.  Those with digital televisions should easily be able to simply hit a button on their remote to adjust the sound accordingly.  Once the sound is set, one need only sit back and enjoy the show, or even get up and move with the performance whose footage was caught just as expertly as its audio.

The footage recorded for this performance was maintained just as expertly as its audio.  Whether on DVD or Blu-ray, the footage is crystal clear.  Even those watching it on DVD on a Blu-ray player and HDTV can still see just how clear the picture is.  Combined with the audio quality, audiences get a recording that is easily one of the best live recordings of 2013 for these reasons alone.  Staying on the footage though, audiences get more than just a crystal clear recording.  They get a show whose cinematography makes seeing this iconic show at home just as enjoyable as seeing it live, if not more so.  Sometimes the cameras get some rather impressive wide angle shots.  At other times, the cameras are right up there with Faulkner, Tipton and Hill.  In some songs, the camera angles switch back and forth with a ferocity that equals that of the music, fully highlighting the intensity of said songs.  If that doesn’t impress audiences, it’s anyone’s guess what will. 

The intensity of the songs culled for this set is something else that should definitely be noted that makes it so impressive.  While the collective age of the band’s members is pretty high, these old dogs have shown that they have plenty of tricks up their sleeves.  From front man Rob Halford’s still solid, soaring pipes to the musicianship of his band mates, the band proves here that a band doesn’t need to have lots of special effects and other goodies to make a show memorable.  Though, there were laser lights and pyro peppered throughout the course of the show.  That aside, the band’s members showed collectively with their musicianship why Judas Priest is still one of the most revered and respected bands in hard rock.  Whether for guitarist Richie Faulkner’s solos, Halford’s incredible vocal talent and or drummer Scott Travis’ timekeeping, every member of this group of veteran rock band brought something to the table that ultimately make this show one of the best in the band’s catalogue of live releases.  On a side note, audiences will especially appreciate how Halford commands the stage in a fashion similar to that of equally revered front man Freddie Mercury when he has the audience sing back to him.  This brief moment is a direct mirror of Mercury.  That is meant in the most complimentary fashion, too.  It goes to show the command that Halford has over the audience and why he remains one of the greatest front men in not just hard rock but in the rock community as a whole.  It is just one more aspect of so many that could be discussed that makes Epitaph one of the year’s best live recordings.

The quality of the footage from this recording and the talent of the band’s members do so much to make Epitaph a great show for any hardcore Priest fan.  It’s just as impressive for anyone wanting an overview of the band’s music.  That is thanks to the career-spanning set list.  The band’s performance spans nearly two and a half hours and twenty three songs.  Among some of the favorites included that fans will enjoy are: ‘Metal Gods’, ‘Judas Rising’, ‘Turbo Lover’, ‘The Sentinel’, and of course, ‘Breaking The Law.’  This is just part of what fans can expect out of this recording.  Fans will all have their own favorite.  And considering that there are eighteen other songs included here, fans have more than their share from which to choose a favorite or favorites.  That extensive set list set alongside the show’s equally impressive recording quality and the band’s energy makes Epitaph a show that will prove to be one of the year’s best live releases.  It’s one of those releases that will be just as enjoyable the first time around and the fiftieth.  It will be available May 28th on Blu-ray and DVD.

While Priest fans wait to pick up their copy of this must have live release, they can keep up with the latest from the band online at http://www.facebook.com/OfficialJudasPriest and the band’s official website, http://www.JudasPriest.com. Fans can even check out a trailer for the upcoming release on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7W6NJs_HRw.  Fans can also check out more material from the band on its own YouTube page at http://www.youtube.com/JudasPriest

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.

Judas Priest Announces New Live DVD, Blu-Ray

Courtesy:  Legacy Recordings

Courtesy: Legacy Recordings

Judas Priest is set to release a brand new Live DVD and Blu-ray this Spring.  The new live release, Epitaph, will be released May 28th separately on DVD and Blu-ray.  It is part of the band’s celebration of its 40th anniversary.  The twenty-three song set captures the closing night of the band’s “Epitaph World Tour.”  The concert’s set list includes selections from each of the band’s fourteen albums spanning from 1974 to 2008.   It was recorded live at London’s HMV Hammersmith Apollo on May 26, 2012.  This new live release is sure to be a fan favorite as it closes what was said to be the band’s final live tour, although a new full length studio release is already being planned.

The expected set list for the upcoming live release is as follows:  1) ‘Battle Hymn’ 2) ‘Rapid Fire’ 3) ‘Metal Gods’ 4) ‘Heading Out To The Highway’ 5) ‘Judas Rising’ 6) ‘Starbreaker’ 7) ‘Victim of Changes’ 8) ‘Never Satisfied’ 9) ‘Diamonds and Rust’ 10) ‘Prophecy’ 11) ‘Nightcrawler’ 12) ‘Turbo Lover’ 13) ‘Beyond The Realms of Death’ 14)  ‘The Sentinel’ 15)  ‘Blood Red Skies’ 16) ‘The Green Manalishi (With the Two-Pronged Crown) 17) ‘Breaking The Law’ 18) ‘Painkiller’ 19) ‘The Hellion’ 20) ‘Electric Eye’ 21) ‘Hell Bent For Leather 22) ‘You’ve Got Another Thing Coming 23) ‘Living After Midnight

Epitaph will be released via Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony Music Entertainment.  To get more information on this upcoming release and all the latest news from Judas Priest, fans can go online to the official Judas Priest website, http://www.judaspriest.com or its official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/OfficialJudasPriest

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

The Very Beast Of Vol. 2 Another Hard Rocking Tribute To RJD

Courtesy: Niji Entertainment Group

Ronnie James Dio was not a tall man when he was with us.  That was the very first thing that most audiences noticed about him at any live performance.  But while he was not a tall man in terms of stature, he was a giant in the way of his vocal power and prowess.  Perhaps the only vocalist who deserves to be compared at his level of power and talent would be Judas Priest front man Rob Halford.  And as was the case with Halford and his band mates in Judas Priest, the music crafted by RJD and his metal brethren serves to this day as an example of everything right with rock and metal.  Now almost three years after Dio’s untimely passing from stomach cancer, the legendary vocalist is being honored once more with the brand new release of Dio:  The Very Beast of Vol. 2.

Dio:  The Very Beast of Vol. 2 is the follow-up to 2000’s The Very Beast of Dio.  While it isn’t the only career retrospective from this legendary artist, it was a relatively comprehensive compilation at the time of its release.  It covered a large portion of James’ solo career.  This new compilation covers the second half of RJD’s solo career.  As noted in the compilation’s liner notes, the songs on this compilation come from RJD’s time post-Warner Bros.  One of the bonuses included is the song, ‘Electra.’  Ronnie had been working on the song for the second half of the Magica album.  Sadly it would be one of Dio’s final recordings before his death in 2010.  The best way to describe ‘Electra’ is old school rock at its best.  There’s almost a slight Type O Negative tinge to it, musically speaking.  Dio’s vocals are just as powerful as ever on this track.

‘Electra’ is just one of the many songs that will have fans putting their horns high with pride.  ‘Metal Will Never Die’ is another high point to this compilation.  It’s a slower piece.  But the guitar work and RJD’s vocals are a powerhouse together. The production of the song makes his vocals hit even harder, too.  When he hits the song’s high notes, his screams will simply send chills up listeners’ spines.  If ever there was a metal anthem, this one is it.

Whether it’s these two songs, or any of the others included here, every one of the Dio Disciples around the globe will find something enjoyable about this record.  It’s available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered direct through his official website, http://www.ronniejamesdio.com and hit Facebook Fan page, http://www.facebook.com/OfficialRonnieJamesDio.   

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Horisont’s sophomore album a shoe in for one of 2012′s best rock records

Courtesy: Rise Above Records/Metal Blade Records

The members of Swedish based rock band Horisont could not have chosen a better name for their band.  For those who don’t know, Horisont is Swedish for horizon.  So what does that have to do with anything?  Everything.  For every band and act that wants to hit it big, fame is just over the horizon.  It’s in the distance.  But for Horisont, the band has reached the horizon (horisont) line and crossed over to major fame in the rock community. 

The band’s new album, “Second Assault” is arguably one of the year’s best rock records.  There are lots of acts that try to emulate the old school rock/metal sound.  But what Horisont does is more than just emulate that classic rock sound.  Horisont sounds like it came direct from rock’s golden era. The album itself makes the band’s name fitting, as it starts off very quiet as if the band is off on the horizon before launching into ‘Time Warrior.’  This is one that fans of Deep Purple will love.  The band gives listeners just enough time to catch their breaths at the end of ‘Time Warrior’ before going headfirst right back into things with ‘Road to Cairo.’  The softest that the band gets on “Second Assault” is on the seemingly Pink Floyd-esque, ‘Crusaders of Death.’ 

‘On The Run’ is yet another perfectly fitting piece to this band’s musical puzzle.  It’s a straight forward, hard driving piece that will get any true rocker moving.  The band’s dual guitar attack, mixed with the Rob Halford/Ozzy style vocals of frontman Axel make this one of the album’s highest of points.  And who would ever have imagined Fleetwood Mac being mentioned in the same thought as Ozzy and Rob Halford.  But it’s true.  ‘Watch Them Die’ shows a pretty obvious Fleetwood Mac influence throughout.  And the guitar solos in this piece will even conjure thoughts of Jimi Hendrix, with their styling.

The title track from “Second Assault” kicks off the second half of the album just as strongly as ‘Time Warrior’ kicked off the first half.  There’s no denying the Judas Priest influence on on this one, from the vocals to the music as a whole.  Axel even gets the high notes with an ease that would make Rob Halford proud.  He doesn’t lose his vocal footing even once anywhere in the song.  The band barely lets off from there as it segues into ‘Spirit.’  The bluesy/rock fuzz feel of ‘Spirit’ brings to mind so many different influences.

‘Hard Bargain’ especially is an impressive track. It boasts a touch of Jimi Hendrix on the guitars mixed in with the thundering John Bonham-esque drumming from Magnus.  Add it together, and audiences get yet another great musical experience.  Once the band pounds through ‘Hard Bargain’, there’s jsut one more song on the album.  That song is the hard rocking, guitar driven, ‘Thunderflight.’  It’s just as relentless as the rest of the pieces on “Second Assault.”  Once it’s all said and done, and ‘Thunderflight’ ends, audiences are left breathless.  But it’s a good breathless.  From start to finish, this record leaves real rock fans feeling like they haven’t just listened to another album.  Rather, it leaves them feeling like they actually just experienced something special.  It leaves them wanting more, in a good way, like a really good book.  They don’t want it to end, even though they know it has to.  And thankfully, just like a book, audiences can listen to it again and again and relive that experience each and every time.

Rise Above Records made a great choice signing Horisont.  “Second Assault” is proof of that.  Of the ten total songs on the album, there is not one bad song.  All combined, “Second Assault” makes for an album that stands on its own two feet among the masses of bands whose albums try to emulate perhaps one classic rock band or another.  Horisont has taken the road less traveled, instead, making its own path.  Because of that, the band has put itself in place to be a candidate for the best rock record of 2012.

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it, or its companion page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can also follow the latest entertainment reviews and news at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.