“Blood In Blood Out” Is Exodus’ Best Record To Date

Courtesy:  Nuclear Blast America/Nuclear Blast Records

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast America/Nuclear Blast Records

Exodus is one of the metal community’s most legendary acts.   The Richmond, California-based band has been making pure metal for the masses for well over three decades. In that time, the band has seen its highs and its lows, like any band out there. This past October, Exodus reached another high when it released its latest album Blood In, Blood Out. The album, the band’s tenth full-length studio release is arguably the band’s best work to date. One could say that that is thanks to the return of front man Steve Souza. It could also be that the band produced this album itself, essentially keeping full creative control within the band’s ranks. Regardless the end result of Blood In, Blood Out is an album that every purist thrash metal fan will thoroughly enjoy and an album that is just as deserving of a spot on this year’s list of the best new metal albums as those from Overkill, Anti-Mortem, and fellow thrash metal kings Machine Head among so many others. The album’s lead single and title track is proof of that. The song is a battle cry of sorts from the band letting audiences know in on uncertain terms that Exodus is most certainly back. ‘Collateral Damage,’ the album’s third track is more proof that Blood In, Blood Out is the band’s best work to date. It is a socio-politically charged piece that attacks those in the higher echelons of the world’s political and economic machines. On the completely opposite end of the spectrum, the band offers up a piece in ‘My Last Nerve’ that every listener will appreciate. It goes after those people that are so quick to make life miserable for everyone around them. All three of these pieces are clear examples of what makes Blood In, Blood Out Exodus’ best album to date and one of the year’s best new metal albums. If they are not enough for listeners, there is also a commentary on the inhuman acts of violence committed against innocent lives by certain Muslim extremist groups in ‘Honor Killings’ another social commentary in ‘Salt The Wound’ and even a rather interesting commentary on the atrocious acts of the BTK Killer among much more throughout this album. Again, these songs taken into consideration with the others noted here (and those not noted) result in an album that every metal purist will appreciate.

It goes without saying that Blood In, Blood Out is the best work that Exodus has released in the course of its three decades-plus long life. It is a thrash record that takes audiences back to thrash metal’s heyday. That is evident right from the album’s lead single and title track. The song is the perfect lead-off for the album with the pummeling attack of drummer Tom Hunting and shredding of guitarists Gary Holt and Lee Altus. Front man Steve Souza adds his own touch with a vocal style that easily matches that of Overkill front man Bobby Ellsworth. He sings in this song, “We’re throwing down the gauntlet/Chomping at the bit/About to lay down the law/Show you all the way/Bear witness to Genesis/Of the violence the way it was back in the day/We’ve been here from the start/With a one track mind/We kept the hate alive/Always had the power/Now is zero hour/Tonight we’re gonna fight like it’s 1985.” The reference to 1985 is an obvious reference to the band’s 1985 debut record Bonded By Blood, to which many fans have compared this record stylistically speaking. It could also be argued that it’s a pun in reference to a famous Prince song. That opening verse is a statement to all of the purists and psuedo-metal bands out there that currently permeate the metal community. Souza goes on with his attack singing in the song’s chorus, “Dive in or bow out/If you have the pedigree/Welcome to the family/All in or all out/Half way, no way/Give it all you’ve got/We wrote the book so you’d better know the plot/New breed, old creed/Let’s see what you brought/This s&*$ has turned into a rout/Blood in, Blood out.” Souza and company leave nothing to doubt here. This is a full-on first salvo from Exodus in its new album. And it hits its target full force. Audiences can check out the song’s official companion video online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6c69S3pD8qI. The official lyric video is also available online via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfu94oJ1so8.

Blood In, Blood Out’s lead single and title track was the perfect choice to re-introduce the band to the metal legions around the world. It is a full-on musical assault from the band, proving right off the top why this album is the band’s best work to date. Another good example of what makes this album such a hit for fans is the album’s socio-politically charged opus ‘Collateral Damage.’ As with the album’s lead single, this piece is another excellent throwback to thrash metal’s heyday. That same dual-guitar assault coupled with Tom Hunting’s drumming and Steve Souza’s shredding vocal style drives the song from start to finish. The song’s socio-politically charged lyrics make the song even more hard-hitting. Souza sings in this song, “Blitzkrieg, insurgence/Under the thumbs of the powers that be/Conflict, tension, unlawful detention/They don’t give a f&*) about you or me/We are all just collateral damage/the s%&$ they step in on their way/Just puppets used to their advantage/To chew up and throw away.” Yet again, Souza and company leave no doubt as to the message being sent here. It’s a nice change of pace from all of the bands out there whose members love to write in metaphors, thus leaving many to misinterpret said bands’ songs. There’s just as little doubt left in the song’s closing verse as Souza sings, “Illuminati of the one percent/We chase their carrot on a string/Wall street deceit all stuck on repeat/Peons serving to the kings/To them it’s all just a natural selection/A birth right of gluttony/Like a kind of Immaculate Conception/Of inbred conformity.” Taking that verse and the song’s opening verse into consideration, it’s obvious that this song is a protest and a call to action. The band is bringing to people’s attention what is going on around us and to us as a result of the people in the world’s upper echelons of politics and economics. The band’s members are saying that people need to be aware of this and start standing up to those people and their institutions that are controlling the world. Such a powerful message set against an equally powerful musical backing makes Blood In, Blood Out even more of a hit for fans of this veteran thrash metal band.

The socio-political commentary contained in ‘Collateral Damage’ and the full-on musical assault of ‘Blood In, Blood Out’ are both key examples of what makes this album Exodus’ best work to date. There is also a commentary in ‘My Last Nerve’ that will impress audiences just as much as those previously noted songs. The commentary in question goes after those people that seem to live to make the lives of everyone around them miserable. Musically speaking, this song isn’t the full throttle attack of ‘Blood In, Blood Out’ or ‘Collateral Damage.’ But even being a little bit slower, it still boasts as much power as those songs and those not noted here. Souza sings in this piece, “I’m so irritated/Being kicked to the curb/Every time you open your mouth/You try to get in the last word/Those who live in glass houses /Should not be throwing stones/It all comes crashing down/You never left well enough alone.” He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “So many excuses/Always laying the blame/You’re always pointing the finger/Adding fuel to the flame/Another slander, another slur/Another hollow apology/So many verbal abuses/Believe your own mythology.” These are words to which anyone can relate metalhead or not. Everyone has dealt that person or even those people who will step on everyone else to get to the top. Those that will throw others under the bus every chance they get. They are the same ones that make every excuse as to why it’s everybody else’s fault that this or that event goes awry. This is a universal topic. And the members of Exodus have handled it expertly in this song both musically and lyrically. It is just one more reason that Exodus’ fans new and old alike will enjoy Blood In, Blood Out.

‘Blood In, Blood Out,’ ‘Collateral Damage,’ and ‘My Last Nerve’ are all excellent examples of what makes Exodus’ tenth full length album well worth the listen by any metal purist. They are collectively just a sample of what makes this album so enjoyable by any purist metalhead and thrash metal fan. The politically charged attack of ‘Honor Killings’ is another example of what makes this album so hard hitting. The band tackles the atrocities committed by the various Muslim extremist groups in the Middle East against innocent lives in this song. And ‘Salt The Wound’ is lyrically along the same lines as ‘Last Nerve.’ There is even an interesting commentary on the equally atrocious acts of the BTK Killer and the shocking revelation of who turned out to be in the end. In the grand scheme of things, it is a commentary about how we as people think we know someone but in reality we really never know as much as we might think. Whether it be that song, the politically charged ‘Honor Killings,’ the social commentary of ‘Salt The Wound’ or the topics covered in the album’s other tracks, every listener will agree that every one of these songs (including those not noted) combine to make Blood In, Blood Out Exodus’ best album to date, especially when considered alongside the songs’ musical content.

Blood In, Blood Out is available in stores and online now and Exodus is currently on tour in support of the album. The band is scheduled to perform at The Palladium in Worcester, MA today and at the Wellmont Theatre in Montclair, NJ tomorrow. It will make stops in Philadelphia and Cleveland over the weekend. Audiences can check out Exodus’ latest tour dates and keep up with the band’s latest updates online now at:

Website: http://www.exodusattack.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/exodusattack

Twitter: http://twitter.com/exodusattack

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Zodiac’s “Sonic Child” Is Another One Of 2014’s Most Surprisingly Enjoyable Pure Rock Records

Courtesy:  Prosthetic Records/Napalm Records

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records/Napalm Records

When Prosthetic Records added Zodiac to its roster two years ago, it went without saying that doing so was something of a gamble for the label.  It was such a gamble because much like Century Media, Metal Blade, Roadrunner, and others, Prosthetic is known more for the “extreme metal” bands that make up its roster than for the likes of the Munster, Germany-based band.  That’s not to say that Prosthetic sticks primarily to that more extreme sound.  Acts such as Niacin and Felix Martin both stand out among Prosthetic’s other acts.  Zodiac however has become the label’s most commercially viable band since Lamb of God was signed on with the company.  Zodiac’s mix of blues-based and neo-stoner rock has helped the band to stand out among its label mates ever since the release of its 2012 Prosthetic Records debut A Bit of Devil.  Now with its third full-length studio effort, Zodiac has one again set itself apart from its label mates and grown just as much musically.  From the slow blues-based opener ‘A Penny & A Dead Horse’ to the more up-tempo neo stoner rocker that is ‘Holding On’ to the equally catchy closer ‘Swinging on the Run,’ this record proves to have not one bad moment.  It proves to be one of the year’s most surprisingly enjoyable rock records and one that any rock purist should hear at least once.

Sonc Child, Zodiac’s third full-length studio effort, is by and large the band’s best work to date.  With its mix of blues-based and neo-stoner rock sounds, this record proves to be one that every rock purist should hear at least once.  Right off the top, the band grabs listeners without really trying in the album’s opener ‘A Penny and a Dead Horse.’  The twelve-bar blues churned out in the song’s “A” section conjures thoughts of Robert Johnson, Mississippi John Hurt, and so many of the forefathers of the blues.  Anyone that is a fan of Fireball Ministry, Black Stone Cherry, and other bands of that ilk will enjoy the more straight forward neo-stoner rock sound of the song’s “B” and “C” sections.  Lyrically, the song is just as enjoyable.  Vocalist Nick van Delft sings about an unnamed woman that has left a man, and left him with basically nothing.  Thus the song’s title.  van Delft sings of the woman, “Oh, woman/Where have you gone with that/Pot of gold/Oh, woman/Where have you gone/You had to leave me/Before the break of dawn/Somebody been haunting you/Somebody run you down/Over the yonder/Beyond the fields/Someone call your name/Oh, woman/Where have you gone/Sweet darlin’/You left me to die alone/With a penny and a dead horse.”  van Delft paints such a vivid picture thanks to the way in which he sings these lines.  The gradual tempo increase as the song progresses makes that picture just as vivid.  The picture goes from a man sitting alone in the darkness, perhaps drinking from a bottle of cheap whiskey to someone who feels something stronger as he and his band mates sing, “So long, so long” in the chorus.  The song’s final strains exhibit perhaps the man’s collapse.  This is of course just this critic’s own interpretation on the song.  Audiences can check out the song’s official video online now at the Prosthetic Records website at http://store.prostheticrecords.com/products/531769-zodiac-sonic-child-cd.  While there, audiences can also order Sonic Child, which was just recently released at the end of September.

‘A Penny & A Dead Horse’ is a wonderful addition to Sonic Child. It is also just one excellent example of what makes this album such a surprisingly enjoyable record.  ‘Holding On’ is another solid example of why this record proves to be such a surprisingly enjoyable rock record.  Where the album’s opener almost tells its own story, ‘Holding On’ is more of a straight-forward rock song.  It harkens back to rock and roll’s golden era much like Black Stone Cherry, Fireball Ministry, and others of that ilk.  van Delft sings against drummer Janosch Rathmer’s solid timekeeping and fellow guitarist Stephen Gall’s own work, “What is the point of your life/Your life/All covered up in those eyes/Those eyes/So now free mind/You’re one of a kind/Take a hold of the good things/And give sight to the blind/Tell me the one thing you see/Tell me the one thing you know/Show me the one thing you live for/Holding on.”  This set against the song’s opening verse in which van Delft sings, “Time keeps on ticking/Revealing your patience/It’s only a matter of self-defense/Eager to please/Your only disease/It’s just the weight on your mind/A day of your life/A step on your way to return” makes the song especially interesting.  There is a seeming message about each one of us having a meaning in life and it being just a matter of finding that meaning.  Again, that could be completely wrong.  Hopefully it is right, though.  Regardless, the very fact that it could lead to such deep thought serves to make this song all the more enjoyable.  The guitar solo in the song’s final movement adds even more enjoyment to the whole work.  Between that impressive guitar work, the deep, thoughtful lyrics and the overall talent displayed here, ‘Holding On’ shows again why any rock and roll purist should give this record at least one listen.

Zodiac shows throughout the course of its latest full-length release why this record is just as good as any album released by its bigger-named counterparts.  That is evidenced in the songs previously noted here.  From its more blues-tinged rock to its more neo-stoner sound, there is not one moment that disappoints on this record.  There is almost something of a more modern rock and roll influence in the album’s closer ‘Swinging on the Run.’  Much like the album’s opener and other tracks on this disc, ‘Swinging on the Run’ is not one for anyone with a short attention span.  This track clocks in at just over six minutes.  It’s not the album’s longest work.  that honor belongs to the aptly titled ‘Rock Bottom Blues.’  That song comes in at just over the nine minute mark.  And anyone that is a fan of the likes of The Allman Brothers Band will especially enjoy this piece with its smoky, old school blues-rock sound.  Getting back to ‘Swinging on the Run,’ audiences can clearly hear influences from the likes of The Allman Brothers Band, Cream, The Doobie Brothers, and so many others that have come before as the song progresses.  It shows a good song doesn’t necessarily always need lyrics to be enjoyable.  that being the case, it makes perfect sense why it was chosen as the band’s final statement on this record.  It leaves audiences knowing that they have experienced something very special.  It leaves listeners knowing that along with those tracks noted here, and the remaining seven not noted, they have in Sonic Child an album that is just as deserving of respect from rock purists as any album released by the band’s more well-known counterparts.  And given the right support from listeners and radio programmers alike, it could become just as big a record as those released by said bands.

Sonic Child is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered direct from the Prosthetic Records online store at http://store.prostheticrecords.com/products/531769-zodiac-sonic-child-cd.  More information on Sonic Child and all of the latest updates from Zodiac is available online at:

Website: http://www.zodiac-rock.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Zodiac.Rock

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.

Cyrus, Sorum To Appear On HLN TV Today With Marine Songwriter

Courtesy:  MSO PR

Courtesy: MSO PR

Country music veteran Billy Ray Cyrus and drummer Matt Sorum will appear live on HLN TV this morning.

The duo will appear alongside retired SSGT. Mark Plummer on HLN TV’s Morning Express With Robin Meade to  discuss the new song ‘Do What I Do.’ The trio’s appearance is part of the network’s Veteran’s Day coverage. The performance is scheduled for 9:45am ET.

‘Do What I Do’ is an original song written by Plummer. It highlights the impact of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) on veterans. The song was released Monday, November 10th in honor of Veterans Day. The video for the song, which also features Steve Stevens (Billy Idol), can be viewed online now via YouTube. Plummer originally wrote the song about his own personal ongoing battle with PTSD after serving three tours of duty in Iraq. Plummer discussed the song in a recent interview noting how the song came to life and his hopes of it serving as an aid to other veterans suffering from PTSD. “Music therapy helped me find a way to express myself when nothing else worked,” he said. “It helped me give a ‘VOICE’ to a message that many of our veterans share and cannot speak of. I can now share this message with others thanks to the healing power of music. Music has always been a part of my life, but I never knew it would be one of my biggest weapons to fight and win my own personal battles with PTSD.”

Matt Sorum (Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver) expanded on Plummer’s thoughts. He explained how his experience working with veterans suffering from PTSD played a role in his willingness to help record the song. “PTSD is a serious issue among our veterans–it takes 22 lives a day due to suicide,” he said. “I have seen first-hand how healing music can be to the men and women suffering from this disorder, and hope to bring this program to many more vets around the country.” Sorum’s own work with veterans started after he partnered with the Wounded Warrior Battalion at Camp Pendleton in San Diego, CA. That partnership led Sorum to found the Global Sound Lodge. The Global Sound Lodge is a charity that provides a music for healing program. It donates instruments to orphanages, shelters, and veterans’ programs around the world. More information on the Global Sound Lodge is available online at:

Website: http://www.globalsoundlodge.org

Cyrus and Sorum’s fans can keep up with their latest news and more online at:

Billy Ray Cyrus

Website: http://www.billyraycyrus.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BillyRayCyrus

Matt Sorum

Website: http://www.mattsorum.tv
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mattwsorum

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.worpdress.com.

Destrage Staying Busy This Fall And Winter

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Destrage will hit the road next Friday, November 14th in support of its latest full length studio effort Are You Kidding Me? No.  The fifteen-date tour will take the band across Europe and winds up Saturday, December 13th.  The band’s members announced that they will document their travels and performances as the tour progresses.  The band has partnered with Bode Music Gear to produce the tour videos, which will run on the company’s YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/bodesrl.  The band’s videos will feature the band taking part in various fun and pointless challenges including: who can put the most of something in their mouth, who can do the most push-ups, who can do the most shots, jumping over cars, who can break the most guitar strings, and more.  Destrage will joined by Protest The Hero, The Faceless, and The Contortionist for its upcoming tour.  The complete schedule for the bands’ tour is listed below.

DESTRAGE

Tour w/ Protest The Hero, The Faceless, The Contortionist

11/14 Leipzig, DE Conne Island

11/15 Pilsen, CZ Pod Lampou

11/16 Berlin, DE Bi Nuu

11/21 Enschede, NL Atak

11/22 Köln, DE Essigfabrik

11/24 Antwerpen, BE Trix

12/04 Paris, FR Trabendo

12/05 Karlsruhe, DE Substage

12/06 Milano, IT Live Forum

12/07 Rome, IT Traffic Club

12/08 München, DE Backstage

12/09 Wien, AT Arena

12/10 Geneve, CH L’Usine

12/12 Winterthur, CH Gaswerk

12/13 Lyon, FR Warmaudio

Along with the upcoming tour videos, Destrage has also announced the release of its new guitar transcription book Are You Kidding Me? No: The Complete Guitar Transcription.  The book is expected to be released this month while the band is touring.  The book will be released in partnership with Sheet Happens Publishing.  Fans can pick up the book at the band’s merchandise booth at its live shows and online via the Sheet Happens Publishing website at http://www.sheethappenspublishing.com.  Those wanting the physical book can order it online at http://www.sheethappenspublishing.com/product-499/destrage-are-you-kidding-me?-no-%7C-printed-guitarbook.

If the band’s new guitar transcription book isn’t enough for fans, guitarists Matteo Di Gioia and Ralph Salati have released a brand new in-depth guitar tutorial for the song ‘My Green Neighbor,’ which is taken from the band’s Metal Blade Records’ debut record.  The tutorial is available online now at YouTube.  The official video for the song is also available now on YouTube.

Audiences can keep track of the band’s tour and keep up with all of the latest updates from the band online at:

Website: http://www.destrage.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/destrage

Twitter: http://twitter.com/destrage

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.

Independent Indian Prog-Metal Band’s New Single Is A Deeply Compelling Work

Courtesy:  Symphony Novel

Courtesy: Symphony Novel

India-based progressive metal band Symphony Novel recently debuted its latest single.  ‘Ethereal Ash,’ the band’s latest single is a piece that is unlike the works crafted by most other bands of its ilk.  Its mix of traditional Indian musical styling and heavier, progressive metal makes for a song that defies the standards of progressive metal itself.  The song’s rather thought provoking lyrics set against that hybrid musical side makes the song even more intriguing for anyone looking for something that will actually make audiences stop for once and take real notice.  The song’s companion video adds even more depth, making for even more interest among audiences.  Together with the song’s lyrical and musical side, it serves to make ‘Ethereal Ash’ a song that everyone should hear at least once.

One of the most common practices that many American rock bands use in their records is incorporating a Middle Eastern sound into its music.  It’s something that’s used all too often in the hard rock world.  Save for indie rock band Boy Hits Car, few other bands today have really utilized Indian music in their records.  So hearing a band from India actually turning the tables and utilizing more Western elements into its own sound to create this song is actually relatively original.  That hybrid sound is the core of what makes ‘Ethereal Ash’ so intriguing.  The dual guitar attack of Vivek Khati and Rachit Sachdeva conjures thoughts of Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci’s own work.  And the harmonies created by Gauri Ayeer and Suvarna Tiwari’s dual vocals are so haunting to say the very least.  There is so much power in the subtle manner in which they carry their parts.  The addition of a cello line to the song adds even more depth to the song’s musical side that must be heard to be fully appreciated.  As subtle as it is, this part combined with the heavier elements of the song’s musical side adds so much emotional depth to the song.  ‘Etheral Ash’s’ musical side is by itself an impressive part of the whole song.  The reality of the matter is that if the song were to have only its musical side to boast, it would still be just as interesting as it is with its lyrical side.  Speaking of the song’s lyrical side, the lyrics are one more element of ‘Ethereal Ash’ that makes it such an interesting work.

The musical side of ‘Etheral Ash’ by itself makes this latest single from Symphony Novel worth more than just one listen.  It makes the song one that anyone looking for something truly original should hear.  The lyrical side of ‘Ethereal Ash’ takes the song’s musical side and adds even more depth to the song.  The band explains that the song’s lyrical content is rather socially charged.  It centers on mankind’s mistreatment of the Earth, and the potential outcome of mankind’s mistreatment.  Ayeer and Tiwari sing in the song’s opening verse, “Rain falls again/Unfurls wild color/The earth smirks insane/Carpets the stain of sorrow/New wings span everywhere/Embrace the veil of destiny.”  The band urges a warning in the song’s verse with Ayeer and Tiwari singing, “Heavens are clear now/But it wouldn’t last forever/Winds stay sealed in a jar/Away from all the torture/Silence kills me now/Leaves a trail of bleeding tears/From the pages of a story foretold/Epiphany.”  Sachveda notes of these words that they are meant metaphorically, saying that mankind has done such damage to Earth that the winds themselves want to be put in a jar away from all of the bad things humans have done to the planet.  He goes on to note that the lines regarding all of this environmental destruction were foretold.  That likely isn’t necessarily a reference to Nostradamus but to other “prophecies.”  Things only get more dire in the song’s second verse with Ayeer and Tiwari singing of crashing waves (tsunamis) and other signs of the prophecy in question.  Sachveda notes that in writing this line, he was thinking of all of the natural disasters that have been ravaging the Earth in recent years, thus that verse was written.  It’s a foreboding warning, true.  But it is also a very powerful statement, too.  It was not meant to be preachy, but rather to get people to sit up and take notice of what humans have done to the world.  He wanted to get people to consider the ramifications of the damage being done to the Earth without being preachy but rather more poetic.  The good news is that said goal was attained and done expertly, too.  It really doesn’t come across as just another nihilistic downer of a song.  But it definitely does hit hard when taking those lyrics into consideration.  Taking also into consideration such hard-hitting lyrics next to the song’s deeply emotional musical side, ‘Ethereal Ash’ becomes an even more powerful piece for audiences to take in.

The combination of ‘Ethereal Ash’s’ musical and lyrical sides makes this song a hard hitting work.  They combine to make a song that is just as strong as anything released by Symphony Novel’s more well-known prog-rock counterparts both stateside and overseas.  Given the chance, ‘Ethereal Ash’ could make Symphony Novel one of the next big names in prog-metal and even world music.  Thankfully, the band has increased its chances of the song being heard around the world as it has posted the song’s companion video online via YouTube.  Audiences can view the video online now at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqRPUvJkPqI.  The video incorporates that element of a prophecy of sorts to add even more depth to the song.  It presents right off the top, a document that is surrounded by candles in an otherwise dark room.  That same document comes into play throughout the course of the song, with the song’s lyrics fading in and out.  This is mixed in with shots of the band recoding the song in the studio.  It heightens the song’s emotional impact even more when given full attention.  That added emotion coupled with the combination of the song’s musical and lyrical sides prove even more why ‘Ethereal Ash’ is the song that could help Symphony Novel become one of the next big names in the realm of prog-metal.

‘Ethereal Ash’ is Symphony Novel’s latest single.  The band’s debut album ARIA is available online now via Amazon, CDBaby, and other online retailers.  More information on that album and all of the latest news from Symphony Novel is available online at:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SymphonyNovel

Twitter: http://twitter.com/SymphonyNovel

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.

Set It Off’s “Duality” Is A Solid Sophomore Effort

Courtesy:  Equal Vision Records

Courtesy: Equal Vision Records

Set It Off releases its brand new full-length studio effort Duality today.  The album, the band’s second full-length release and fifth overall release is an impressive new work. That is because it does so much to continue establishing the band’s identity, separating it even more from other bands to whom it had been compared early on in its existence.  While the band exhibits quite a bit of growth on this album, it also hasn’t lost the sound that made it so popular early on among its fan base.  That makes Dualityeven more of a solid new recording from Set It Off.  The combination of the band’s musical growth is evident in the album’s lead single ‘Why Worry.’  The band’s harder edged sound is present in this song.  But there is also a poppier sound mixed into the whole.  That balance of sounds alongside the song’s thought provoking lyrics makes clear why this song was chosen as the album’s lead.  Staying on a similar page, audiences will also enjoy ‘Tomorrow.’  Its Jimmy Eat World style sound crosses with its equally optimistic lyrics to make this song just as much of a surefire hit with listeners.  On the completely opposite side of things, the lyrically searing ‘Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing’ is sure to ignite just as much of a fire in listeners because of its intensity both musically and lyrically.  These songs are just a few that exhibit what makes Dualitya solid second full-length release from Set It Off.  The album’s other eight tracks are sure to become favorites to listeners in their own right, too.  Collectively, all eleven tracks on Duality prove just why audiences will want to check out this latest release from Set It Off regardless of their familiarity with the band and its sound.

Duality is a record that every lover of rock should hear regardless of their familiarity with the band and its sound.  ‘Why Worry,’ the album’s lead single, takes the sound that made the band a fan favorite early on and mixes it with a somewhat more poppy, Fall Out Boy style sound in its chorus to make a song that proves to be quite catchy musically speaking.  The song’s positive lyrics make this piece even more enjoyable.  Front man Cody Carson sings in the song’s opening verse, “This sinking feeling sets/It feels just like a hole inside your chest/I know you’re thinking No, no, no, no it is easier said than done/But please let me attest/I know it’s hard/You’re feeling like you’re trapped/But that’s how you react/When you cannot see the light/But try and see the light/I’m telling you no, no, no, no you’re the only one/Standing in your way/Just take a breath/Relax/And tell me….Why/Please tell me why do we worry.”  The song comes across as addressing those individuals that think to themselves “Oh woe is me.” Carson says to those people in an attempt to motivate them, “You’re the only one/Standing in your way.”  The song’s second verse in which Carson sings about handling each day’s difficulties as they come rather than trying to cross bridges that don’t yet exist.  It proves to be quite the enlightening work and uplifting at the same time.  The addition of the song’s catchy hooks and choruses make it even more enjoyable and clearer why it was chosen as the album’s lead single.  Thanks to a partnership with Fuse TV, audiences can check out the song’s brand new companion video online at http://www.fuse.tv/videos/2014/10/set-it-off-why-worry-premiere. 

‘Why Worry’ was an excellent first choice to represent what Duality has to offer audiences.  Its combination of catchy hooks and choruses alongside its positive lyrics will both move listeners and get them moving.  Much in the same vein, ‘Tomorrow’ offers its own enjoyment and positivity.  Intended or not, this song exhibits something of a Jimmy Eat World style sound in its musical side.  Lyrically, it is just as uplifting as ‘Why Worry.’  Carson sings in this song, “They’re gonna try to clip your wings/Lock you up and make you sing/But they’ll never cage your dreams/So fly away/Cause we’ve got tomorrow/We’re the pages in the wind/We’ve got tomorrow/We’re the tale that lies within/There’s always another day/Another night/A bittersweet blessing in disguise/Tomorrow/We’re the authors of our lives tomorrow.”  Carson’s note that there’s always another “bittersweet blessing in disguise” is such a short statement.  But it speaks volumes.  He is saying that even things that seem bad could be blessings in disguise. And those hidden blessings are what make tomorrow better than today.  It is truly a positive message.  It is a message from which audiences of all ages can take some heart and hope.  That positive message set against the song’s catchy musical side makes it another of the best of this record’s moments.

The positive messages and catchy music that make up ‘Tomorrow’ and ‘Why Worry’ make these songs two of the brightest moments on Duality.  On the completely opposite side of things, the lyrically searing ‘Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing’ is certain to get any listener’s adrenaline flowing.  The song’s title and its lyrics leave zero doubt as to what the song’s topic.  It is a full-on lyrical assault on those that would attempt to lie and deceive others.  Those people include those people that call themselves friends but are so fast to stab people in the back among others.  Cody makes this painfully clear as he sings right off the top of the song, “Beware, beware be skeptical/Of their smiles/Their smiles of plated gold/Deceit so natural/But a wolf in sheep’s clothing is more than a warning.”  He goes on to sarcastically use nursery rhymes to illustrate his point.  That use of children’s nursery rhymes as a juxtaposition of children’s mentality to that of older individuals adds even more punch to the song.  And Carson’s diatribe that builds into the song possesses enough vitriol to make Eminem proud.  Though in his defense, who wouldn’t want to scream “Burn in Hell!” to those that have deceived us for one reason or another?  It is a powerful finishing touch to what is one more of Duality’s best moments.    Together with the likes of ‘Why Worry’ and ‘Tomorrow,’ Set It Off has proven once again why it is one of the best in the next generation of its genre.

‘Why Worry,’ ‘Tomorrow,’ and ‘Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing’ are each excellent examples of what makes Duality a solid sophomore effort from Set It Off.  They aren’t the only positives to this album in whole, though.  The album’s gentle closer ‘Miss Mysterious’ is the polar opposite of the album’s opener ‘The Haunting.’  ‘Bleak December’ also offers its own value to the whole as does ‘N.M.E.’  All things considered, Duality is proof that Set It Off has just started and the future looks bright for this u-and-coming band.  The band will hit the road in support of Duality beginning tomorrow, October 15th in Orlando, Florida on the “Black Mass 2014” tour presented by Hot Topic.  Also along for the ride will be Black Veil Brides, Falling in Reverse, and Drama Club.  The tour brings all four bands to North Carolina next month.  It will make a stop at The Fillmore in Charlotte, North Carolina on December 5th.  Tickets for the concert can be ordered online via Ticketmaster.  Set It Off’s complete tour schedule is available online along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: http://www.setitoffband.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/setitoffband

Twitter: http://twitter.com/setitoff

MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/setitoff

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.

Like A Storm Brews Up A Storm With Its New Video

Courtesy:  Another Century/Century Media

Courtesy: Another Century/Century Media

The video for ‘Love The Way You Hate Me,’ the new single from Like A Storm, has officially topped the one million views mark on YouTube. The single is taken from the band’s debut record on Another Century/Century Media. The video is available online to view via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xhblqV1CI. The announcement comes just as the band—Chris Brooks (Lead vocals, guitar, didgeridoo, keyboards, programming), Matt Brooks (Vocals, lead guitar, keyboards/programming) and Kent Brooks (bass, vocals, keyboards/programming)—announced even more tour dates. The brothers will hit the road alongside Alter Bridge, Thousand Foot Krutch, and label mates Otherwise beginning today in Ringle, Wisconsin.

Front man Matt Brooks discussed the band’s excitement at the announcement of the band’s new video breaking the one million views mark in a statement released to the media. “We were absolutely blown away when our “Love the Way You Hate Me” video hit one million views!” he said. “For three brothers from New Zealand, it is just insane to think that a song we wrote, recorded and produced ourselves has had over a million hits from rock fans all over the world… especially when that song features a didgeridoo! We want to say a huge thank you to all our friends and fans who have made this incredible milestone possible.” He went on to discuss the band’s upcoming fall tour dates, saying “We can’t wait to rock with everyone on our upcoming tours with Alter Bridge, Drowning Pool, Otherwise and more!”

The band’s current list of tour dates is available below.

Like A Storm Tour Dates

w/ Otherwise

SEPTEMBER

18 Ringle, WI – Q&Z Expo

19 Racine, WI – Rt 20

20 Green Bay, WI – The Watering Hole

21 Battle Creek, MI – The Music Factory

22 South Bend, IN – Cheers Pub

24 Ft Wayne, IN – Piere’s

25 Morgantown, WV – Schmitt’s Saloon

26 Gardners, PA – Fall Jam 2014

27 Parkersburg, WV – West Virginia Polo

29 New York, NY – The Studio @Webster

30 Rochester, NY – Montage Music Hall

OCTOBER
01 Cleveland, OH – Agora Ballroom

w/Alter Bridge

05 Detroit, MI – Fillmore

09 Worchester, MA – The Palladium

10 Sayreville, NJ – Starland Ballroom

12 Huntington, NJ – The Paramount

13 Lancaster, PA – Freedom Hall

w/Thousand Foot Krutch

16 Flint, MI – Machine Shop

17 Fort Wayne, IN – Piere’s

18 Grand Rapids, MI – The Intersection

w/Alter Bridge

25 San Francisco, CA – Warfield Theatre

26 Los Angeles, CA – The Wiltern

w/ Drowning Pool. “Unlucky 13 Tour”

30 Lynchburg, VA – Phase 2

31 Fostoria, OH – The New Nest

NOVEMBER

01 Macomb, IL – The Outskirts

02 Sioux Falls, SD – The District

04 Colorado Springs, CO – The Black Sheep

05 Denver, CO – Marquis Theater

06 Grand Junction, CO – Mesa Theater & Lounge

07 Salt Lake City, UT – Murray Theater

08 Las Vegas, NV – LVCS

13 Seattle, WA – Studio Seven

14 Spokane, WA – Knitting Factory

15 Missoula, MT – Stage 112

16 Billings, MT – Babcock Theater

18 Minot, ND – The ‘O’riginal Bar & Nightclub

19 Spring Lake Park, MN – POV’S

21 Racine, WI – Rt. 20

22 Ringle, WI – Q&Z Expo Center

23 Joliet, IL – Mojoes

26 Joplin, MO – Rock 3405

More information on Like A Storm, its new album and all of the latest news from the band is available online at:

Website: http://www.likeastorm.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/likeastormofficial

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.