Digital Dream Sequence Is A Dream Come True

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Trioscapes’ new album Digital Dream Sequence is—pardon the pun—a dream come true.  This album, the second full length studio release from the band, has also officially taken the top spot on this critic’s list of the year’s top new albums overall.  The band has taken the prog-metal/jazz fusion sound that it established on its breakthrough 2012 debut Separate Realities and stepped it up another notch on this record.  While Digital Dream Sequence is comprised of only five tracks, those five songs collectively comprise an album that will both entertain audiences and leave them thinking.  Audiences should be warned, however.  This album is not one for those with short attention spans.  The shortest track on the record comes in at three minutes and forty seconds.  The album’s longest track clocks in at just over fifteen minutes.  The remaining trio of songs written for the album each tops the five minute mark.  The album’s opener and title track comes in at just over seven-and-a-half minutes.  ‘From The Earth To The Moon’ and ‘Hysteria’ come in at 8:47 and 6:40 respectively for those that might be wondering.  So it goes without saying that this album is not one for those looking for a quick, easy listen.  That having been stated, there is quite a bit to note that makes this album so great.

Trioscapes’ new album is not one for those with short attention spans.  The depth of the songs written for this album and their run times requires a full investment from listeners.  This is evident right off the top in the album’s title track.  ‘Digital Dream Sequence’ can best be described by two words:  controlled chaos.  At times, it sounds like the band—Dan Briggs (bass), Walter Fancourt (tenor sax, flute), and Matt Lynch (drums, electronics)—is all over the place.  But a close listen reveals that there is a method to the madness of these musicians.  As the song’s companion video reveals, all three men are fully focused on their parts even as free flowing as the song sounds.  The song’s foundation is based on Briggs’ own bass work.  Fancourt and Lynch take that foundation and build a song that throughout its two movements.  And it goes without saying that both Fancourt and Lynch exhibit quite a bit of talent.  Lynch’s ability to handle such wild, polyrhythmic patterns all while keeping up with his band mates is a statement in and of itself.  And even Fancourt, with his flourishes, adds his own important touch to the song in whole, especially in its final seconds.  His is the last part that listeners hear on this song.  After all of the wildness of the song, his gentle, flowing performance almost paints a picture of a figure coming out of the “dream.”  It’s a fitting final statement from an equally fitting opener for this album.

‘Digital Dream Sequence’ was the perfect way for Trioscapes to open its second full length album.  The near eight-minute song immediately re-establishes the band, showing that it has definitely evolved from its first album.  That evolution is shown even more in the album’s third track, ‘From The Earth to the Moon.’  This song has a slightly more defined structure about it than the album’s title track.  Yet, that ability of the band to weave together multiple separate lines into one cohesive composition remains.  It’s nice to hear that that hasn’t been lost even through what feels like constantly changing time signatures.   Even more interesting is that within those seemingly constantly changing time signatures, there is one line that remains mostly constant from start to finish.  That line is shared between all three musicians throughout the song on a number of instruments including a marimba.  The inclusion of the marimba adds just one more great touch to the song that along with Fancourt’s musicianship on the flute and Lynch’s drumming puts this song over the top and guarantees it to be one of the best of the album’s opuses.

Briggs, Fancourt, and Lynch close out their new album fittingly with the album’s longest piece in the form of ‘The Jungle.’  This song comes in at a little more than fifteen minutes long.  And despite its extended run time, the trio paints a picture with the song that mirrors its title quite well.  It opens gently with what sounds like a table set against Briggs’ bass and then Lynch’s drumming and eventually Fancourt’s work on the sax.  The fast paced sixteenth note runs played by Lynch on the snare alongside Fancourt’s urgent sax line gives an image of a busy jungle scene.  It creates thoughts of birds flying around in the jungle canopy and perhaps a big cat or two on the hunt, chasing its prey through the jungle in question.  Other listeners might get something entirely different from this standout song.   And that is perfectly fine.  This is merely one critic’s personal interpretation of the song.  The energy exuded by the band early in the song never lets up at any point throughout its fifteen minute, ten second run time.  The band keeps that energy flowing right to the very last second, leaving listeners breathless and blown away by the musical journey on which they embarked at the song’s beginning.  Taking into consideration the effect of this song and those that built up to it, the musical journey undertaken in whole on this record proves to be one that is well worth taking by any truly open-minded music lover and any musician looking for musical enlightenment.  The end product proves to be an album that more than deserves the title of the year’s best new record overall.

Audiences can hear all of the tracks noted here and the remaining pair not noted now as Digital Dream Sequence is available now in stores and online.  While the band currently has no tour dates planned, audiences can keep up with the trio’s latest tour schedule updates and news online at http://www.metalblade.com/trioscapes, http://www.facebook.com/trioscapes, and http://twitter.com/MetalBlade.  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.

Adage Could Be North Carolina’s Next Big Name In Music

Courtesy:  Pavement Entertainment

Courtesy: Pavement Entertainment

Austin, Texas.  Seattle, Washington.  Los Angeles, California. Atlanta, Georgia.  New York, New York.  Most people reading this right now are likely scratching their heads where this is going.  The answer is simple.  The cities noted here are some of America’s biggest hotbeds in the music industry.  They aren’t the industry’s only major hotbeds, though. Most people might not know it, but North Carolina as a whole state is a music hotbed within itself.  As a matter of fact, North Carolina could be argued to be one of the biggest musical hotbeds in America.  That’s because of the variety of major name acts that have called North Carolina home throughout the ages.  Jazz pioneers such as Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, and Max Roach all called North Carolina home as did fellow jazz great Billy Taylor. Taylor hailed from Greenville, North Carolina while Monk and Coletrane came from Rocky Mount and High Point respectively.  The Fabulous Corsairs, which featured famed singer-songwriter James Taylor called Chapel Hill home.  In terms of the world of rock, the world renowned Corrosion of Conformity is still performing and recording today.  As a matter of fact, COC released its latest album earlier this year.  The band calls The Old North State’s capital city Raleigh home.  Delta Rae, which is one of the biggest of North Carolina’s biggest acts today calls Durham home as does indie band Bombadil.  Of course one can’t forget the likes of The Avett Brothers, Parmalee, Between The Buried and Me, or Trioscapes among so many others.  Now another young up and coming band has added its name to that list of bands and artists that have made North Carolina the rich musical hotbed that it is for so many decades thanks to its new EP Defined.  The band’s debut for Pavement Entertainment presents great potential for the Winston-Salem based band even with only a total of five songs.  The songs included on this record exhibit influence from bands such as Breaking Benjamin, Three Days Grace, and to a lesser extent Trapt.  What’s more any of the songs included on this disc could easily be used as a single to promote the band.  That is obvious right off the top in the EP’s opening number ‘Anymore.’  It is just as obvious on the EP’s third and final songs, ‘Hold On’ and ‘By Myself’ respectively.’  ‘Best Of’ and ‘Growing Colder’ are also excellent examples of what audiences can expect from Adage’s new EP.  Collectively, the songs included on this record show Adage as a band that is on the brink of adding its name to the list of North Carolina’s biggest bands and artists.

The members of Adage show why the band is close to becoming another of North Carolina’s most well-known and talked about acts right from the outset of its new EP in the song ‘Anymore’  The song’s agro-rock stlye sound hints at influences both from the likes of Trapt and even Taproot to a slightly lesser extent.  Drummer Alex Hough’s timekeeping in this piece is exception especially considering the polyrhythmic patterns that he handles while keeping time for the band.  And the 1-2 punch of guitarist Luke and vocalist Justin Doyle heightens the song’s energy and emotion as well.  There is a certain furiousness in Doyle’s voice as he sings over the equally driving guitar line, “Everytime you look in my eyes you lie/And tell me everything’s alright/I know you don’t feel it anymore…I hate you/For all you’ve done to me/Some things you never see/And I don’t care.”  Songs about breakups are nothing new to the music industry.  They go back as far as the industry’s own beginnings it would seem.  But those songs that take the high road instead of the depression oh-woe-is-me angle are rather few and far between.  So when angrier, more aggressive pieces such as this one come along, they are a welcome change of pace.  That more aggressive lyrical and musical style that collectively make up this song makes it an instant radio ready song and a good representation of the band’s work on Defined.

As with ‘Anymore,’ ‘Hold On’ is also centered in the standard lyrical theme of relationships.  It also boasts the same agro-rock style that made so many bands in the late 90s and early 2000s fan favorites.  This song absolutely cries “LIVE” because of that sound.  Doyle sings Sorry that I’m not perfect/One day I will be worth it/To you/So hold on/I can’t ever find the right words/For saying nothing is so much worse to you/Hold on/All of this will come together/And I promise you/I promise you/Say goodbye for you.”  This song comes across as the polar opposite to the EP’s opener in that it seems more like his subject here is pleading for a woman to stay around versus the self-assured figure in ‘Anymore.’  He is trying his hardest to convince her to stay.  The musical comparison to the band’s bigger named counterparts only serves to make the song even more entertaining for audiences.  It goes to show the caliber of material the band is presenting here.  And that caliber is high, needless to say.  Together with ‘Anymore’ it makes for even more reason for fans to check out this EP when it drops August 19th.

Both ‘Anymore’ and ‘Hold On’ are good examples of what makes Defined an impressive new release from Adage.  Of the EP’s five songs, though there is still one more example of what makes this release the work that could potentially make Adage North Carolina’s next big name.  That song is the EP’s closer ‘By Myself.’  This song is a good way for the band to have closed out Defined.  It was such a good choice for a closer in that it shows the band’s softer side.  It’s a more melodic piece.  And among the EP’s five songs, it is perhaps the strongest candidate of all for the song that really breaks out the band.  Doyle sings in this song, “I’m crying out/Out for help/I just can’t be by myself/Remember how/How I felt/I just can’t see/By myself/I hear it from all sides/On how I should love you/I can’t make up my mind/On anything I do/Why am I here/Why won’t you just take me home/Why am I here/Why won’t you just leave me alone.”  The guitar breaks that follow the chorus are right up there with the likes of Mark Tremonti (Alter Bridge) and other top named guitarists.  That along with the power in Doyle’s vocals make this song just as fitting a closer as ‘Anymore’ is the opener for the record.  Such a powerful final statement along with the EP’s other noted songs (and the pair not mentioned) seals the deal for Adage and for Defined.  It is the final piece of musical evidence proving why Adage is on the verge of becoming North Carolina’s next big name.

Defined will be available in stores and online Tuesday, August 19th via Pavement Entertainment.  Audiences can check out the songs from Defined online now via Adage’s ReverbNation website at http://www.reverbnation.com/adageband while they wait for the EP to drop.  They can also keep up with the band’s latest tour dates through that website and the band’s official Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/adageband1.  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.

Trioscapes Announces Release Date For Sophomore LP

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Officials with Metal Blade Records announced today that Trioscapes will release its sophomore album this summer.

Trioscapes will release its second full length studio effort Digital Dream Sequence Tuesday, August 19th. Tenor Saxophonist/flutist Walter Fancourt and bassist Dan Briggs explained the difference between the band’s upcoming release and its debut record. Fancourt noted of the band’s debut, “after hearing the debut album, that was the first time I felt like I knew what we sounded like.” Briggs expanded on Fancourt’s thoughts adding, “For the first record, the three of us came together just to write music for that album, not even really knowing we were writing for an album.” He added, “After two years of touring, playing together, and casually working on new music, we really gelled and established more of a sound.”

Audiences can get a glimpse of what to expect on the band’s new album with the album’s lead single, ‘Stab Wounds’ now online in its entirety. It can be viewed via Metal Blade Records’ official Trioscapes page at http://www.metalblade.com/trioscapes/. More updates on the upcoming album, and all of the latest news from Trioscapes is available online now at http://www.metalblade.com/trioscapes and http://www.facebook.com/trioscapes. 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.

No Kidding, Destrage’s New Album Is A Metal Masterpiece

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Metal Blade Records has never been a label to rest easy on its laurels.  Every year, it proves to be one of the leaders in the world of hard rock and metal.  The only other label that measures up to Metal Blade is its counterpart, Century Media Records.  Metal Blade has consistently released some of the music industry’s best hard rock and metal albums in recent years.  This year is no different.  And that is especially evident with the release of the new album from the Italian experimental metal act Destrage.  Are You Kidding Me? No is the band’s Metal Blade debut.  And it is quite the aptly titled record, too.  That’s because every single track will leave listeners asking those words.  For those that have yet to hear Destrage’s music, the best comparison that can be made is a hybrid of Between The Buried and Me, Slayer, and Mr. Bungle.  Front man Paolo Colavolpe even sounds like Slayer front man Tom Array at more than one point throughout the course of the album’s nine tracks.

Destrage—Paolo Colavolpe (Vocals), Matteo Di Dioia (guitar), Gabriel Pignata (bass), Ralph Salati (guitar), and Federico Paulovich (drums)—exhibits so much creativity right from the album’s opener, ‘Destroy Create Transform Sublimate.’ The only term that can best describe this song is controlled chaos. The song goes from full throttle, shredding guitars to a more jazz-influenced sound a la its Metal Blade label mates Trioscapes to an almost symphonic metal sound complete with a slight dubstep finale. Colavolpe’s vocal style changes from one movement to the next to match each portion of the song, too. He switches between his seemingly Tom Arraya style vocals to something more akin to Hellyeah/Mudvayne front man Chad Gray and back again over the course of the song’s near six-minute run time. Add in the song’s lyrical side and audiences get in this piece an even more complex song. Colavolpe sings and screams through this song, “We are all here to witness the indomitable power of creation/As creative energy spreads like a relentless force/infecting every single atom/Art in all its manifestation conducts us close to God/And the struggle of our thinking/into uncontaminated imagination/Pure imagination.” Yes, this is rather metaphysical thinking. And that’s why it works so well with the songs musical side. Those words are a direct mirror image of what the band presents with the song’s music. And together, the two sides make the song title all the clearer and the song itself all the more enjoyable.

For all of the frenetic energy exuded by the band in the first half of its Metal Blade Records debut, the band actually does slow things down in a manner of speaking at the beginning of the album’s second half. Where The Things Have No Colour,’ is the band’s most radio friendly single. Interestingly enough, as much as this song is pulled back and more radio friendly, the band doesn’t sacrifice too much. That’s evident in the song’s lyrical side. Colavolpe sings in this song, “You won’t take this moment away from me/And make me a silent slave of yours/You won’t put me down on my knees/I will make this time as I always meant it to be.” If properly interpreted, Colavolpe’s words come across as being rather defiant. If they are meant to be interpreted in such fashion, one must admit that it is one of the most original lyrically defiant statements ever made. The guitar work of Matteo Di Dioia and Ralph Salati adds so much more depth to the song. The pair shines and soars alongside drummer Federico Paulovich and bassist Gabriel Pignata to complete what is easily one of this album’s most powerful pieces.

‘Where The Things Have No Colour’ isn’t the only radio ready song that Destrage boasts on its new album. ‘Before, After and All Around’ This song comes across as a song based in the topic of relationships. That interpretation is made through lines such as “Speechless, smileless/Smilesless, hopeless/Haven’t got you yet/Maybe you understand me better than I know/I’ve got this feeling we are going nowhere/Stupid, don’t you see/Why the f&*% do you deny it/I feel wrapped up in pain/Because we are going nowhere.” However, as Colavolpe writes, “At this point/A girl lives in a dream/In a little fairy house/At the following point/She lives surrounded by sweet things/Hers. Mine./At the same point/A few months ahead/she looks forward/She realizes she wanted a man/But was a boy/I should have built a fairy house/In the same time a few miles away/But what would I have missed?” he leaves the song wide open to interpretation. The ability of Colavolpe to generate so much discussion from this song is another sign of the importance of this album. He writes so cryptically and metaphorically that his writing creates discussion without even trying. It makes the song—much like the album’s other works—more than just a song. It makes it a true musical and lyrical work of art. It becomes something to discuss and truly appreciate, again much like the other songs noted here and those not noted here.

All of the songs noted here each play an important part in the overall enjoyment and success of Destrage’s new album. That isn’t to take anything away from those songs not mentioned. The album’s remaining seven songs each play their own part in the album’s success, too. Regardless of which song one chooses, one thing remains true about this album. That one thing is that there is no kidding that this is one of the best hard rock/metal records of 2014.

Destrage will perform live May 10th in Legano, Italy in support of its new album and then in Moncalieri, Italy at the Audiodrome on June 1st. Audiences can find out about Destrage’s upcoming tour dates and general information online now at http://www.facebook.com/Destrage, http://www.destrage.com, and http://twitter.com/destrage. 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.

Trioscapes Announce Final Performances For Year

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

North Carolina based experimental jazz act Trioscapes has announced a new pair of live performance dates coming up very soon.  The band will be performing next Saturday and Sunday, December 15th and 16th in Winston-Salem and Charlotte, respectively.  Next Saturday’s performance will be at Krankies in Winston-Salem.  The band will follow up that performance with a live show the next night at The Milestone in Charlotte.

These new live performances will be the last shows of the year for the band.  This final pair of shows for the year cap off quite the year for Trioscapes.  The band saw a very well received tour with Prosthetic Records band, Scale The Summit post album release.  The band’s debut album, Separate Realities was a Top 10 debut on Billboard’s Traditional Jazz Charts.  That album is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered http://www.indiemerch.com/metalbladerecords/item/14052.  After ordering the band’s CD online, fans can also get all the latest news and more including a live performance of its latest song, ‘Curse of the Ninth’ from Trioscapes on its official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/trioscapes

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, 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 news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Trioscapes, Gypsyhawk Announce New Tour Dates

Metal Blade acts Trioscapes and Gyspyhawk have announced new slates of tour dates. 

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

The North Carolina based Trioscapes is set to perform this Thursday in Raleigh, North Carolina at the annual Hopscotch Festival.  It’s also scheduled to perform September 21st in Greensboro.  The band’s debut album, “Separate Realities” is currently doing very well on the charts, charting on both the Traditional Jazz and Current Jazz cahrts, as well as on the New Artist chart and Top Independent Album charts, too.

Fans can get a full fun down of Trioscapes’ latest tour dates, as well as check out a video for the band’s song, ‘Curse of The Ninth’ online at http://www.metalblade.com/trioscapes.

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

In other tour news, fellow Metal Blade band Gypsyhawk has also announced a new slate of tour dates.  The band’s new slate of tour dates is already under way.  It will perform at Eli’s Mile High Club this Friday in oakland, California.  Friday’s performance will be followed by a handful of West Coast dates and Midwest dates later this month.  After its Midwest dates, Gypsyhawk will make its way back to the West Coast by way of the Pacific Northwest.  To get a full rundown of the band’s upcoming tour dates, fans can on online at http://www.facebook.com/Gyspyhawkusa.  Fans can also order the band’s new album, “Revelry and Resilience” at http://www.metalblade.com/Gypsyhawk

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, 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 news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Trioscapes To Tour With Scale The Summit

Trioscapes, the brainchild of Dan Briggs (Between The Buried and Me) has made huge waves since releasing its debut album, “Separate Realities.”  The album went as high as #2 on the iTunes Jazz Chart, and #80 on Billboard’s New Artist Chart.  It has also reached as high as #9 on Billboard’s Traditional Jazz Chart, #12 on the Billboard Current jazz Chart, and #197 on the Billboard Top Independent Albums Chart.

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Now the band will head out on the road in September for a week-long tour with the metal instrumental act Scale The Summit.  The seven-day tour starts in Dayton, Ohio on September 15th.  It will wrap up September 21st in Greensboro, NC.  Along with the Trioscapes tour, Briggs is also touring with Metal Blade label mates Between The Buried and Me.  Trioscapes’ fans can get the latest news and more from the band online at http://www.facebook.com/trioscapes.  A video for the song ‘Blast Off’ is now available online at http://www.metalblade.com/trioscapes.

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go 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 news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.