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.

Eagle Rock Debuts New Concert Recording Series This Fall

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Eagle Rock Entertainment will debut a new series of live recordings this fall.

Eagle Rock’s new “From The Vault” series will debut this fall beginning in November with a pair of archived concerts from The Rolling Stones. From The VaultThe Rolling Stones: Hampton Coliseum Live in 1981 and From The VaultThe Rolling Stones: L.A. Forum Live in 1975 will be released Tuesday, November 18th. The first of the pair, From The VaultThe Rolling Stones: Hampton Coliseum Live in 1981, features a complete two-and-a-half-hour concert. The concert was recorded at the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Virginia. It was one of two shows that closed out the band’s 1981 tour in support of its then new album Tattoo You. Included in the concert are performances of ‘Let’s Spend The Night Together,’ ‘Shattered,’ ‘Beast of Burden,’ ‘Tumbling Dice,’ ‘Miss You,’ ‘Jumping Jack Flash,’ and ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’ among many other classic hits. From The VaultThe Rolling Stones: Hampton Coliseum Live in 1981 will be available on SD Blu-ray ($17.98), DVD/2-CD ($29.98), DVD/3-LP ($44.98), and DVD (MSRP TBA).

From The VaultThe Rolling Stones: L.A. Forum Live in 1975, like From The VaultThe Rolling Stones: Hampton Coliseum Live in 1981, features a full two-and-a-half-hour concert. The concert presented in this recording was taken from the band’s July 12th, 1975 performance at the L.A. Forum. It was one of five concerts that the band held at the venue from July 9th, 1975 to July 13th, 1975. Those performances were part of the band’s “Tour of the Americas ’75,” which was the first tour with the band for then new guitarist Ronnie Wood. Audiences will get to hear from this concert even more classic Rolling Stones hits including: ‘Honky Tonk Women,’ ‘Gimme Shelter,’ ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want,’ ‘Brown Sugar,’ ‘Midnight Rambler,’ and ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ along with plenty of other equally well-known hits. From The VaultThe Rolling Stones: L.A. Forum Live in 1975 will be available on DVD, DVD/2-CD combo pack, and DVD/3-LP combo pack. The DVD/2-CD combo pack will retail for MSRP of $29.98. MSRP for the DVD and DVD/3-LP will be announced at a later date.

Audiences can check out a view of the Stones’ ‘Shattered’ from From The VaultThe Rolling Stones: Hampton Coliseum Live in 1981 online now at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tj96Tau44OA.

Audiences can also check out a performance of ‘Star Star’ from From The VaultThe Rolling Stones: L.A. Forum Live in 1975 online now at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ou90MPHZzXs.

The complete set list for both recordings is available below.

 

                          HAMPTON COLISEUM TRACK LISTING:

1) Under My Thumb

2) When The Whip Comes Down

3) Let’s Spend The Night Together

4) Shattered

5) Neighbours

6) Black Limousine

7) Just My Imagination

8) Twenty Flight Rock

9) Going To A Go Go

10) Let Me Go

11) Time Is On My Side

12) Beast Of Burden

13) Waiting On A Friend

14) Let It Bleed

15) You Can’t Always Get What You Want

16) Band Introductions

17) Happy Birthday Keith

18) Little T & A

19) Tumbling Dice

20) She’s So Cold

21) Hang Fire

22) Miss You

23) Honky Tonk Women

24) Brown Sugar

25) Start Me Up

26) Jumping Jack Flash

27) (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction


L.A. FORUM TRACK LISTING:

1) Introduction*

2) Honky Tonk Women

3) All Down The Line

4) If You Can’t Rock Me / Get Off Of My Cloud

5) Star Star

6) Gimme Shelter

7) Ain’t Too Proud To Beg

8) You Gotta Move

9) You Can’t Always Get What You Want

10) Happy

11) Tumbling Dice

12) It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll

13) Band Intros*

14) Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)*

15) Fingerprint File

16) Angie

17) Wild Horses*

18) That’s Life*

19) Outta Space*

20) Brown Sugar

21) Midnight Rambler

22) Rip This Joint

23) Street Fighting Man

24) Jumpin’ Jack Flash

25) Sympathy For The Devil

*Not available on LP

 

Audiences can keep up with all of the latest news from the Rolling Stones online at

Website: http://www.rollingstones.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/therollingstones
Twitter: http://twitter.com/rollingstones

More information on these and other releases from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt
Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

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.

Say Hello To Shalom Sesame Again This Fall

Courtesy:  SISU Home Entertainment

Courtesy: SISU Home Entertainment

SISU Home Entertainment will re-issue the Sesame Street series Shalom Sesame next month.

The twelve-episode series is spread across six discs with two episodes on each disc, all of which chronologically follow the Jewish calendar. It all starts with an introduction to Israel and Hebrew. From there, viewers are taken on a trip through the various important dates on the Jewish calendar with the whole thing culminating in a trip taken by beloved Sesame Street resident Grover and guest star Annelies van der Pol (That’s So Raven, Broadway’s Beauty and the Beast). Throughout the trip, the duo highlights the importance and richness of the Jewish culture and its associated traditions. Each half-hour episode pulls from those traditions and culture in general to teach young American audiences about the Jewish community. The episodes include lessons on Hebrew letters and words, unique sites in Israel, and Jewish values.

It was originally released on DVD October 11th, 2011. The new upcoming re-issue will see the series contained in a thin pack gift box, which will retail for MSRP of $99.95. It will include a free bonus DVD that features two episodes from the classic Shalom Sesame series—“Jerusalem” and “People of Israel.” Also included in this upcoming re-issue is a free 30-day trial of download of the program “Welcome to Israel.” That program is the first episode from the original Shalom Sesame series. It is currently available online at http://www.sisudigital.com.

Along with the main series and its bonus DVD, Shalom Sesame also includes a number of bonus features. There is a trailer for another series titled Grover’s Video Player, sing-alongs and a chance for young viewers to do their own karaoke with songs such as ‘Aleph Bet Song,’ ‘’Rosh Hashanah Hannah (a spoof of Disney’s Hannah Montana), and even the most beloved Sesame Street song of all, ‘Rubber Ducky.’ The catch with that final song is that it is done entirely in Hebrew. And Annelies van der Pol is not the only celebrity to make an appearance throughout the series. Fellow celebrities Jake Gyllenhaal, Debra Messing, Matisyahu, Eva Longoria, Christina Applegate, Greg Kinnear, Debi Mazar also make appearances throughout the series.

Shalom Sesame will be available Tuesday, October 14th on DVD. Parents and children can view trailers for the series online now via YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/shalomesesame. More information on Shalom Sesame is available online at
Website: http://www.shalomsesame.org
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ShalomSesame
Parents can also order separate stand-alone episodes of Shalom Sesame online now at http://www.sisuent.com.

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

Set It Off Announces Release Date, Track Listing For New Album

Courtesy:  Equal Vision Records

Courtesy: Equal Vision Records

Set It Off will release its new album this fall.

Duality, the latest full length studio release from Tampa, Florida’s own Set it Off will be released Tuesday, October 14th via Equal Vision Records.  Front man Cody Carson explained in a recent interview the root of the album’s title noting that it has to do with the two sides that each person possesses.  “I’ve always been borderline obsessed with the notion of duality. Something about the juxtaposition of two polar opposites seems so vulnerable and blatantly human to me,” he said.  Everyone has two sides, the side they let people see and the side they hide. In this record I decided to bare exactly who I am and what I go through in my day to day life. Love, heartbreak, sex, alcohol, happiness, sadness, anger, the human experience. I want you to hear this record and experience every human emotion you’re capable of feeling,”

Carson expanded on that train of thoughts, explaining how that thought pattern played a role in hwo the songs on this album came to life.  “It’s not just the lyrical content that represents duality,” he said. “The instrumentals portray it as well. You’ll hear dark, minor verses that transition to bright, happy choruses. Just like our lives, the great involuntary, impulsive non-stop roller coaster ride. I’m sick of fake people and watching them skate by with the idea that it’s okay to put on an act to gain confidence and trust in their peers. Allow me to be the first to tell you this about myself: I am good, I am evil. I am solace, I am chaos. I am human, and that’s all I’ve ever wanted to be. Be human with us and show us your true duality.”  Duality’s track listing is noted below.

TRACKLISTING
Duality
1. The Haunting
2. N.M.E.
3. Forever Stuck in Our Youth
4. Why Worry
5. Ancient History
6. Bleak December
7. Duality
8. Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing ft. William Beckett
9. Tomorrow ft. Jason Lancaster
10. Bad Guy
11. Miss Mysterious

In anticipation of Duality’s release, Set It Off teased the album with the premiere of a clip from the video for the single ‘Why Worry,’ which is one of the songs included on the upcoming LP.  That clip can be viewed now here. The band is also currently touring in support of Duality ahead of its release.  It is currently touring alongside Heartist, Our Last Night, and Stages & Stereos.  It will hit the road with Black Veil Brides, and Falling in Reverse beginning October 21st on the “Black Mass 2014 Tour” presented by Hot Topic.  That tour includes a stop at the Fillmore in Charlotte, North Carolina on December 5th.  The band’s current tour schedule is listed below.

TOUR DATES:
Set It Off and Our Last Night w/Heartist and Stages & Stereos
Aug 13 Houston, TX @ Bronze Peacock at House of Blues
Aug 14 Fort Worth, TX @ Tomcats West
Aug 15 Oklahoma City, OK @ Conservatory
Aug 16 St. Louis, MO @ Fubar
Aug 17 Nashville, TN @ Rocketown
Aug 22 Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall+

+ OLN 10 Year Anniversary Show: Our Last Night and Set It Off w/Class of 92 (Matt Arsenault of A Loss For Words), Heartist and Stages & Stereos

Black Veil Brides w/Falling In Reverse and Set It Off
Oct 21 Niagara Falls, NY @ Rapids Theatre
Oct 22 Columbus, OH @ The LC Pavilion
Oct 24 St. Paul, MN @ Myth
Oct 25 Chicago, IL @ Riviera Theatre
Oct 27 Denver, CO @ The Fillmore Auditorium
Oct 30 Las Vegas, NV @ House of Blues
Oct 31 Tempe, AZ @ The Marquee Theatre
Nov 01 Los Angeles, CA @ Wiltern Theatre
Nov 03 San Francisco, CA @ The Warfield
Nov 05 Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater
Nov 07 Seattle, WA @ Showbox SODO
Nov 08 Spokane, WA @ Knitting Factory Concert House
Nov 09 Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory Concert House
Nov 10 Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex
Nov 12 Kansas City, MO @ Uptown Theater
Nov 14 Indianapolis, IN @ Egyptian Room at Old National Centre
Nov 15 Royal Oak, MI @ Royal Oak Music Theatre
Nov 16 Cleveland, OH @ Agora Theatre
Nov 17 Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE
Nov 19 Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory
Nov 21 Stroudsburg, PA @ Sherman Theater
Nov 22 Worcester, MA @ The Palladium
Nov 23 New York, NY @ Best Buy Theater
Nov 26 Portland, ME @ State Theatre
Nov 28 Clifton Park, NY @ Upstate Concert Hall
Nov 29 Silver Spring, MD @ The Fillmore Silver Spring
Dec 02 Louisville, KY @ Expo Five
Dec 03 Atlanta, GA @ The Tabernacle
Dec 04 Orlando, FL @ House Of Blues
Dec 05 Charlotte, NC @ The Fillmore Charlotte
Dec 06 Norfolk, VA @ The NorVa
Dec 08 Grand Rapids, MI @ The Orbit Room
Dec 09 St Louis, MO @ The Pageant
Dec 11 Houston, TX @ Bayou Music Center
Dec 12 Dallas, TX @ South Side Ballroom
Dec 13 San Antonio, TX @ Backstage Live
Dec 15 Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine Theater

Fans can keep up with the latest tour updates and news from Set It Off online at http://www.facebook.com/setitoffband, http://www.myspace.com/setitoff, and http://twitter.com/setitoff.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at 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.

Egypt Central Announces Details of Upcoming Compilation Disc

Courtesy:  Fat Lady Music

Courtesy: Fat Lady Music

Egypt Central will release its long-awaited new album this month.

The members of Egypt Central announced this week, the upcoming release of its long-awaited new album Murder in the French Quarter. The band’s latest album will include a total of seven songs. Two of those songs will be previously unreleased pieces. The other five will be previously unreleased demos of songs that were included on the band’s current full length albums—its 2008 self-titled debut and 2011’s White Rabbit.

The members of Egypt Central had a direct hand in the creation of its new compilation. Drummer Blake Allison produced the compilation while bassist Joey “Chicago” Walser developed the compilation’s cover art. The band will count down to the August 19th release of Murder in the French Quarter by debuting a different song from the compilation each day on its official YouTube channel. Allison explained the songs on this record in a recent interview and what audiences can expect from them stating that, “This is a collection of songs in their original versions.” He went on to note that “Before they were dissected and operated on in the studio. These songs are carelessly raw and perfectly imperfect.  EGYPT CENTRAL as we were in our truest form.” Allison added to his discussion by explaining the importance of Egypt Central to his own personal life and how it played a role in the creation of Murder in the French Quarter. “For the rest of my life, I will always know that EGYPT CENTRAL is a gigantic reason why I am the way I am,” he said. “The band helped craft the man, the friend and the musician that I am today.  The friends (and enemies) that I made during my years with EC will forever be my guidelines for good and bad relationships.  Everything was building to Devour the Day, and I know that now, but it would not be possible without EC first.  I am so blessed to have had those experiences.  This new release was so important to me, because it was the completion of a novel.  The final chapter of musical history finding its natural place among the rest of the catalog.  There is no real future without coming to a peace about the past, or at least that’s what the fortune cookie said.”

The band posted an open letter to its fans on the official Egypt Central Facebook page this week regarding its upcoming compilation noting that the band’s fans played a role in the band’s decision to develop this compilation, too. The letter reads as follows: “We have seen your posts, we have read your messages and we are pleased to announce that we’ve gone through all our past sessions and our archives to bring you MURDER IN THE FRENCH QUARTER.  We didn’t want to hold anything back and wanted to give the greatest fans in the world all of the music we had created in one last release.  Blake has gone through every guitar and drum track and produced this ensemble of songs that we hope you all enjoy.”

The track listing for Murder in the French Quarter is listed below.

  1. Enemy Inside (Rock Mix)
  1. Cliche’
  1. Citizen Radio
  1. Over and Under (demo)
  1. Different (demo)
  1. Wake Up In Flames (demo)
  1. Change (demo)

 

More information on Murder in the French Quarter and all of the latest Egypt Central news is available via the band’s official Facebook page and Twitter page. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to the Phil’s Picks Facebook page and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog, too.

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

Courtesy:  SPV/Sonic Attack Records

Courtesy: SPV/Sonic Attack Records

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

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

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

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

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