MST3K Volume XXXII IS Yet Another Must Have Both For Series’ Long-Time Fans And Classic Movie Buffs

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Mystery Science Theater 3000 is one of the most underrated series in television’s modern history. The series, which originally ran from November 1988 to August 1999, was on the surface a show that poked fun at the best of the worst of Hollywood’s history. On a deeper level though, it proved a show that actually celebrated that history in its own playful way. It is because of MST3K that so many then much younger audiences become the lovers of film that they are today. This critic is among that mass of cinephiles, or lovers of cinema. After its cancellation in 1999, it became relatively difficult to find the show anywhere, including online. Thanks to the efforts of Shout! Factory though, the series has been kept alive through an ongoing series of box sets, each containing four episodes from the series’ eleven-season run. And today, Shout! Factory released what is just the latest in that ongoing series of box sets in the form of Mystery Science Theater 3000 Volume XXXII. Volume XXXII is yet another joy for any MST3K fan or film buff in general. The central reason for this is of course the films that were chosen for this collection. Shout! Factory has pulled four more best of the worst flicks. They are flicks that are so bad that they’re great even though their cast and crews would rather they remain forgotten.  Another reason that that it is another great set is the collective segments that break up the movies. The timing of Joel, Mike, and their cast mates make for plenty of laughs within themselves. And last but not least worth noting is the bonus material included with the movies. Cast member Frank Conniff offers new introductions to two of the movies. There is also a pair of background pieces on Space Travelers and Hercules that audiences will enjoy along with a pair of bonuses that focus more on the show. All of these bonuses by themselves offer plenty of enjoyment for MST3K fans of all ages. Together with the movies chosen for this set and the live action segments that break them up, MST3K Volume XXXII proves itself one more great addition to the collection of any movie buff and any MST3K fan out there today.

One hundred ninety-seven episodes and eleven years. That is how long the cult hit series Mystery Science Theater 3000 ran in its original broadcast. Throughout the course of time and those episodes, MST3K offered audiences more laughs than one can even begin to count. One of the reasons that it remained such a laugh riot for so long was its choice of movies and those movies’ associated commentary. That is just as obvious in the series’ latest collection of films. The movies picked for this collection include Radar Secret Service (1950), San Francisco International (1970)—which was the “pilot” for the short-lived series—Space Travelers (1969), and the granddaddy of all Hercules incarnations in the 1958 Italian import starring Steve Reeves. Gene Hackman probably doesn’t mind that Space Travelers is one of his far lesser-known pieces today, considering his body of work. And were he alive today, Gregory Peck would likely feel the same about the movie. Yes, it’s that campy. By comparison, Apollo 13 and every other cheesy space flick that has come along since puts this movie to shame. Yet it’s so bad that one can’t help but watch. By contrast, the 1958 Italian import of Hercules is actually campy I nits own right. But at the same time, it is just as enjoyable as it is campy. It could even be argued that its camp is what makes it so worth the watch, again supporting the central argument of why this collection’s movie selection makes it another must have for fans of the series. Radar Secret Service is just as campy both in its story and in its presentation. The story sees a group of government agents tracking a shipment of stolen uranium through the use of (yup) radar. The acting is just as cheesy as the story. It is pretty much on the same level as B-movie king Roger Corman’s classic sci-fi flicks. Again, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It is os cheesy that audiences can’t help but laugh at it, in turn making audiences want to keep watching the movie. Still not enough? How about the standard cheese factor of the original Hercules (1958). The movie features one of the greatest of the demi-gods going on a quest for the mythical golden fleece. There is plenty of eye candy for the ladies. And for the guys, there is even an island populated by nothing but women that allegedly mate with men who come there and then kill them. And then there’s the over-the-top action of San Francisco International that takes place at a San Francisco airport. Of course as dumbed down and cheesy as that seems, there is plenty of material out there today that is even less intelligent offered to audiences. Keeping that in mind, it actually makes the likes of San Francisco International and the rest of this set’s movie’s all the more entertaining and important to its enjoyment.

The movies that were chosen for MST3 Volume XXXII are each equally entertaining in their own right. By themselves, they will offer their own share of laughs for both long-time fans of the series and for classic movie buffs alike. Of course by themselves, the movies can only offer but so many laughs. The segments that break up the movies (and the riffing during the movies) add to the laughs. Audiences will laugh uproariously when Crow and the rest of his robot buddies try to bring Mike back to himself in the skits used between Radar Secret Service. Their attempt to re-create his high school class reunion is a prime example of how the show’s mid-movie skits will leave audiences in stitches. Tom Servo’s speech between segments of Hercules about the ability to line up the stars to make any constellation is just as hilarious. It is so funny because it’s true. For eons, humans have passed down the knowledge of certain star clusters being specific patterns. Yet there are so many stars out there that it would be just as easy to take the same groupings of stars, line them up with other star groupings and make wholly different constellations. After all, who is to say that there couldn’t be a “sandwich” constellation? Audiences that watch this episode will get that joke. Speaking of jokes, the riffing during the movies expertly complements the mid-movie segments. In only a matter of minutes in Radar Secret Service, Mike and company take playful jabs at Harrison Ford, the classic 1975 sitcom Welcome Back Kotter, and even breakfast cereal Golden Grahams. If that’s not enough, there are jokes at the expense of the late, great Judy Garland and famed director John Sturges in Space Travelers (a.k.a Marooned). The writers playfully jab at Sturges that he had done much better work than Space Travelers, showing just how cheesy and over-the-top it was. There are plenty more jokes and riffs at which audiences will laugh uproariously throughout this set’s movies. They come so fast and furious that the only way for audiences to catch and fully enjoy them all is to pick up MST3K Volume XXXII. Regardless of whether for the noted skits and riffs or for others not noted here, audiences will agree in purchasing MST3K Volume XXXII that the laughs generated by each and every skit and joke more than make this collection of classic flicks a must have for any of the series’ fans and classic movie buffs alike.

The mid-movie skits and riffs offered up throughout the course of each of this set’s movies are a laugh riot. Between the zany skits, the jabs at all things pop culture, and the jokes in general, many audiences might find themselves laughing so hard that they cry tears of joy. That is thanks to the talent of the writers and to the choice of movies for this collection. For all of the enjoyment brought by the movies and the collective riffs and skits, they still are not all that makes this collection so fun for fans and movie buffs alike. The bonus material included with the movies puts the finishing touch on the set, proving without a doubt not only why MST3K Volume XXXII is a must have for fans and movie buffs alike, but also that this set is one of the year’s best new box sets for grown-up audiences. This time out, Shout! Factory has included a history on Space Travelers and its legendary director John Sturges and a history on Hercules producer Joseph E. Levine. There is also a fun little look at Frank and Trace’s trip to the U.K. for a sci-fi fan fest across the pond, and an equally entertaining piece focusing on the history of “Satellite News.” Space Travelers’ feature centering on director John Sturges spends a little bit of time going into detail on his body of work that included huge hits such as The Great Escape, The Magnificent Seven, and The Old Man and the Sea just to name a few. It compares those works to Space Travelers and its value versus that of this much bigger hits, explaining that is how the riff in the movie came to be. There is also an interesting point/counterpoint in whether or not its heads should have stuck with the title of Marooned or if going with the title of Space Travelers was better. For anyone that is a true lover of movies, this discussion in itself is sure to bring about plenty more discussions. Hercules’ feature centering on producer Joseph E. Levine is an eye-opener for cinephiles of all ages. It points out the movies that were brought to American viewers thanks to his efforts. As is noted in the feature, if not for Levine’s efforts American audiences might never have gotten to see the 1958 take of Hercules or another major motion picture in the form of Godzilla and other major foreign language films. Yes, Levine was even responsible for importing Godzilla. He is also the man responsible for bringing to audiences such hits as The Graduate, The Producers (go figure), and Darling among so many others. While it is not an extensive profile, this feature on Joseph E. Levine is still an important addition to MST3K’s latest collection of movies. It is just as important for any film history buffs, too. This feature and the piece on Space Travelers’ history are the central bonus features included in this set. That is not to discount the video post card that is Frank and Trace’s trip to London. or the “Satellite News” feature included in San Francisco International. Frank and Trace’s overseas trip serves to show the continued popularity of MST3K not just in America but around the world. That by itself is quite the statement. And speaking of statements, such a statement partnered with each and every other element noted here shows exactly why MST3K Volume XXXII is a must have for any of the series’ fans and for any classic movie buff. What’s more, everything noted here proves why this box set belongs on every critic’s list of the year’s best new box sets for grown-ups come December.

Whether for the movies chosen for the set, the mid-movie skits included in each episode and the riffing during the movies, or for the bonus material, MST3K Volume XXXII proves itself clearly to be a must have for any long-time fan of this cult favorite series. It also proves to be just as much of a must have for any classic movie buff out there. MST3K Volume XXXII is available in stores and online now and can be ordered direct via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/film/film-comedy/mst3k-volume-xxxii. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

History, Lionsgate Announce Release Date, Specs For Sons Of Liberty

Courtesy:  History Channel/Lionsgate

Courtesy: History Channel/Lionsgate

Courtesy:  History Channel/Lionsgate

Courtesy: History Channel/Lionsgate

Officials with History Channel announced this week that the network’s latest mini-series Sons of Liberty will be released this spring.

History Channel will release Sons of Liberty on DVD + Digital combo pack and Blu-ray + Digital HD on Tuesday, May 26th. The epic five-hour mini-series focuses on the events of the American Revolution including: Paul Revere’s famous midnight ride, the Boston Tea Party, The Battle of Lexington, and much more. Ben Barnes (The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Dorian Grey) leads the cast in the role of patriot Sam Adams. He is joined by Dean Norris (Breaking Bad, Under The Dome, Little Miss Sunshine), Ryan Eggold (The Blacklist, 90210, Dirt), Michael Raymond James (Jack Reacher, Once Upon A Time, True Blood), Rafe Spall (Prometheus, Life of Pi, Shaun of the Dead), Henry Thomas (Gangs of New York, E.T. The Extra-terrestrial, Legends of the Fall), Marton Csokas (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings, The Amazing Spiderman 2), Jason O’Mara (Terra Nova, Vegas, Men in Trees), and Emily Berrington (24: Live Another Day, The White Queen, The Inbetweeners 2).

Along with the series’ main presentation, the Blu-ray + Digital HD combo pack and the DVD + Digital combo pack will both include a handful of bonuses for audiences. Those bonuses include a “Making Of” featurette, a feature on the central figures of the revolution, and a piece focusing on the special effects that helped bring the battles of the revolution to life. The full list of bonus materials is noted below:

BLU-RAY/DVD SPECIAL FEATURES*

  • “Lensing Liberty: The Making of Sons of Liberty” featurette
  • “Men of Independence: The Historic Figures of Sons of Liberty” featurette
  • “The Choreography of War: Creating the Battles and SPFX of Sons of Liberty” featurette

Sons of Liberty will be available on Blu-ray + Digital HD combo pack and DVD + Digital combo pack Tuesday, May 26th. The Blu-ray + Digital HD combo pack will retail for MSRP of $29.99 and the DVD + Digital combo pack for $26.98. Audiences can check out a trailer for Sons of Liberty online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yS6GcKFm9og&feature=youtu.be.

More information on this and other titles from History Channel is available online at:

Website: http://www.history.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/HISTORY

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Anchor Bay To Release New WWII Drama This Spring

Courtesy:  Anchor Bay Entertainment/Amplify Releasing

Courtesy: Anchor Bay Entertainment/Amplify Releasing

World War II is known today as one of the worst conflicts in human history. The destruction caused by the war and the war’s human cost was devastating to say the least. We have that knowledge thanks to those that survived and through extensive documentation both on paper and film. The combination of these elements has in many cases been translated into some of the most powerful and memorable stories of all time. Stories like that of Oskar Schindler, General George S. Patton, Jr., the battle of Midway, and the crew of the famed Memphis Belle are just some of those countless yet powerful stories that have come from one of the world’s worst conflicts. Now this spring, Anchor Bay Entertainment and Amplify Releasing will add another equally powerful story to those ranks when it releases the human drama Against The Sun.

Against The Sun will be released on DVD Tuesday, May 5th. The movie follows the story of three U.S. Navy airmen that crashed in the Pacific in the early days after America entered the war. After crashing in the middle of the Pacific without any food, water, or possible chance of help, pilot Harold Dixon (Garret Dillahunt—Deadwood, 12 Years a Slave, No Country For Old Men), bombardier Tony Pastula (Tom Felton—the Harry Potter franchise, Get Him to the Greek, Rise of the Planet of the Apes), and radioman Gene Aldrich (Jake Abel—Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, The Host, The Lovely Bones) must come together to survive. The trio faces not just the dangers of the open sea but its own emotional struggles, too as it floats thousands of miles from land. If this sounds familiar, it should. An equally well-known story is that of the crew of the U.S.S. Indianapolis, which was sunk by a Japanese sub, leading to the greatest loss of life at sea in U.S. Naval history. The 900 survivors of the sinking faced very similar challenges. Their story was turned into a made-for-TV movie in 1991 titled Mission of the Shark: The Saga of the U.S.S. Indianapolis. There is also a major motion picture centered on the ship in the works that will star Nicholas Cage. Getting back to Against The Sun, it will include a handful of bonus material including a behind-the-scenes featurette, a piece on the movie’s costuming, the movie’s special effects and more. The full list on bonuses is noted below:

  • A Behind-The-Scenes Look
  • A Plane Takes Flight
  • Starving at Sea
  • Working on Water
  • F/X: On Set and Off
  • Blisters, Burns, and Bites
  • Dressing The Part

Against The Sun will be available on DVD Tuesday, May 5th. It will retail for MSRP of $22.98. Its run time is ninety-nine minutes. More information on Against The Sun and other titles from Anchor Bay Entertainment is available online now at:

Website: http://www.anchorbayentertainment.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Anchor_Bay

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Prong’s First-Ever Covers Record Is A Must For Long-Time Fans And The Metal Masses Alike

Courtesy:  Steamhammer Records/SPV

Courtesy: Steamhammer Records/SPV

Tommy Victor has spent the better part of his adult life in the music industry. For nearly thirty years, Victor has been releasing music under the moniker of hard rock/metal band Prong. Through all of the band’s ups and downs, Victor has pushed on releasing new material from Prong. He has released, over the course of that time nine full length studio albums, two live albums, one remix album, four EPs, and a number of singles and music videos. For all of those releases, there is still one item that until now Victor hasn’t handled under the Prong moniker. That item is the obligatory covers album. Next week, Victor will release Prong’s first ever covers album in the form of Songs From The Black Hole. The ten track album will be released via Steamhammer/SPV. This collection of covers is a great addition to any long-time Prong fan’s music collection. That is obvious right off the top with the band’s cover of Discharge’s ‘Doomsday. The high adrenaline song grabs listeners instantly and refuses to let go. Sisters of Mercy’s ‘Vision Thing’ follows ‘Doomsday’ and is one more example of what makes this album a must have for any long-time Prong fan. Those fans that are familiar with Prong’s body of work will hear the influence of SOM on Tommy Victor when listening to this song. And much the same can be said of Prong’s cover of Black Flag’s ‘The Bars.’ Stylistically speaking, it’s easy to hear Black Flag’s influence on Victor throughout Prong’s albums. It’s not the only obvious influence either. The inclusion of songs from the likes of Killing Joke, Bad Brains, ad Butthole Surfers shows Prong’s roots just as clearly. And much the same can be said of the compilation’s remaining four tracks. The entire record taken into consideration, it proves to be more than just another obligatory collection of songs flung together to fulfill a contractual obligation. Rather it is a record that celebrates some of rock’s greatest bands and at the same time one of the industry’s most important and influential yet least known bands. If not for the fact that it is indeed a covers album, it would have otherwise been justifiably named by this critic as one of the best new hard rock and metal albums of the year.

It’s incredible to think that roughly twenty-seven years after the release of its debut album Force Fed, Prong has not released even one covers album. In comparison to the countless covers albums released by Prong’s counterparts in both the mainstream and underground, it becomes even more incredible. For that reason alone, founder and sole original member Tommy Victor is to be commended for holding his ground. Audiences that pick up this record will agree in listening to Songs From The Black Hole that Victor is just as worthy of applause for the covers chosen for this record. Right off the top, the album grabs listeners and refuses to let go with its cover of Discharge’s ‘Doomsday.’ The song title sounds ominous, like a Soundgarden song or a piece from some black metal band. But the reality of the song is that it is actually a high-energy war protest piece that will have any metal purist wanting to get a circle pit started in their own home all while making audiences really think. Tommy [Victor] sings, “And now the end is near/The end is near/It’s time to say our last goodbyes…Is it a reality or just a nightmare…/Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide/No escape, no escape/Is it reality or just a nightmare?” The song’s seemingly politically charged lyrics coupled with the talents of Victor’s band mates–bassist Jason Christopher and drummer Art Cruz–make ‘Doomsday’ a great addition to this record regardless of regardless of its placement in the album’s sequencing. It isn’t the only song worth noting that makes this record so enjoyable for Prong’s fans and the metal masses, either. The album’s second song, Sisters of Mercy’s ‘Vision Thing’ is another solid addition to the record.

Prong’s cover of ‘Vision Thing’ is just as solid an addition to SFTBH as the record’s opener, Discharge’s ‘Doomsday.’ Sisters of Mercy’s original take on ‘Vision Thing’ has a decidedly 80s rock sound. Yet despite this, it still manages to stand out from all of the songs churned out by the hair metal bands of its age. Its sound is more similar to that of Billy Idol than say Poison stylistically speaking. Victor and compay somehow managed to keep the song’s original style all while mixing it with the band’s own updated sound to make for yet another solid addition to this surprisingly enjoyable collection of covers. As with SFTBH’s opener, this song is just as apt to leave audiences thinking as deeply as rocking out. Victor sings about what sounds like a drug addict in a hotel room getting high in the song’s first verse, singing, “Two thousand hamburg four/And colours I ain’t seen before/It’s a small world and it smells funny/I’d buy another if it wasn’t for the money.” This definitely comes across as a commentary of sorts about someone getting high on something. The seeming reference to JFK’s assassination that follows will generate just as much discussion as the verse’s opening lines if not more. The song’s closing lines say plenty, though seeming to clear up any questions that might have been left. Victor sings in the song’s closing lines, “What do we need to make our world come alive/What does it take to make us sing/While we’re waiting for the next one to arrive/One million points of light/One billion dollar vision thing.” These lines come across as a statement concerning the need for things to change considering the state of the world (I.E. drug users everywhere, murderers, etc.). Again, this song’s mix of musical and lyrical substance makes this piece another solid addition to a record that is surprisingly enjoyable for Prong’s first-ever covers LP.

Both Prong’s cover of ‘Doomsday’ and of ‘Vision Thing’ are solid additions to SFTBH. By themselves, both songs present their own element of enjoyment. When taken into consideration with the record’s other covers, both songs combine with those covers to show why for a first-time effort, Prong’s new covers record is a must have for any of its long-time fans. ‘Doomsday’ and ‘Vision Thing’ aren’t proof enough of this argument, then the band’s cover of Black Flag’s ‘The Bars’ is sure to convince audiences. PRong’s cover of this hardcore classic is a near spot on re-working. What’s more, there’s a certain element to it that harkens back to the days of Prong’s 1994 album Cleansing. Lyrically speaking, ‘The Bars’ is a rather dark song. It seems to focus on a figure with some rather troubling inner turmoil. As Victor sings, “Everytime I see I got my hands wrapped around the bars/I can’t shut off my mind/And now I’ve waited/My hands are wrapped around the bars/The bars, the lies, the lies, lies, lies/Are trapped behind the bars/My mind hates my body/My body hates my soul/I close my eyes and fight/Inside my own black hole.” The figure’s own torn feelings apparently seem to center around a young woman that took her own life by jumping out of a window. It is hardly the most positive lyrical content. But it is deep and deeply moving. Prong’s take on the song, musically speaking is a perfect match for those lyrics. The combination of both elements exhibit exactly why ‘The Bars’ is one more great addition to SFTBH.

‘The Bars,’ ‘Doomsday,’ and ‘Vision Thing’ are all positive additions to SFTBH. They are just a small glimpse into what makes this first-ever covers collection from Prong a must have for the band’s long-time fans. The record’s other seven covers each offer their own enjoyment for fans, too. All ten of the compilation’s songs taken into consideration, SFTBH proves in the end to be a record that was well worth the wait whether listeners are fans of Prong or the band’s covered by Prong here. SFTBH will be available in stores and online next Tuesday, March 31st. Beginning April 17th, Prong will hit the road in support of SFTBH with a sixteen-date European tour that runs through May 3rd. After wrapping the European leg of its tour Prong will take off the rest of the summer to charge up for a U.S. tour that kicks off October 23rd in Ramona, California. The 41-date North American tour will take the band across America and Canada throughout the summer and into the winter, wrapping up December 7th at the famed Whiskey a Go Go in West Hollywood, California. The band’s full tour schedule is available online along with all of the latest updates from the band at:

Website: http://prongmusic.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/prongmusic

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Rob Halford Signs New Deal With SME, Legacy

Courtesy:  Sony Legacy

Courtesy: Sony Legacy

Sony Music Entertainment and Legacy Recordings made a big announcement today that involves Judas Priest front man Rob Halford. And for fans of both Judas Priest and Rob Halford, it is a very exciting announcement.

Officials with SME and Legacy Recordings have announced that they have inked a deal with the Judas Priest front man that will allow much of the material from his side projects to finally see the light of day. The precise terms of the deal were not released. However it is known that the deal guarantees that virtually all of his work with Fight Two, and his own eponymous recordings from 1992 forward will see proper releases. There will also be an “Essentials” compilation along with a “Playlist” compilation and definitive “Complete Albums” box set. The Essential Rob Halford will be released March 31st via Columbia/Legacy as part of the deal. The double-disc compilation will feature thirty tracks. A pair of live recordings in the form of War of Words: The Film and Live in Phoenix are also expected for eventual release as part of the deal.

Rob Halford’s catalogue includes the following releases:

Fight

Albums
War of Words
Mutations
A Small Deadly Space
K5 – The “War of Words” Demos

Audio/Visual
War of Words: The Film
Live in Phoenix

Two

Voyeurs

Halford
Metal God Essentials: Volume 1
Resurrection
Live Insurrection
Crucible
Live at Rock in Rio 3 (album and audio/visual)
Live in Anaheim (album and audio/visual)
Winter Songs
Made of Metal
Live at Saitama Super Arena (album and audio/visual)
Live in London
Live 2010 North & South America Tour (album and audio/visual)
Metal God Essentials: Volume 2

Rob Halford’s fans can keep up with his latest news online via Twitter at http://twitter.com/halfordmetal. 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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Priest’s DOTF 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition Is A Must Have For Every Metal Purist And Judas Priest Fan

Courtesy:  Columbia Legacy

Courtesy: Columbia Legacy

Judas Priest. The very name is synonymous with metal. Regardless of whether or not audiences are familiar with the work of Judas Priest, they know the band’s name and its reputation among rock’s elite acts. The band has been making music together for almost half a century as of this year. To be more specific, the band has been making music for roughly forty-six years. Though its first full length album wasn’t actually released until 1974. Since that time, Judas Priest has churned out a surprising seventeen full-length studio albums. Those albums have sold millions of copies the world over including its most recent release Redeemer of Souls (2014). Considering that, it speaks volumes of the band’s longevity and its popularity. Now as the band comes another year closer to its fiftieth anniversary–this year marks the band’s forty-sixth year–it celebrates yet another important anniversary that just recently passed with the 30th Anniversary Edition of its 1984 album Defenders of the Faith. 2015 actually marks thirty-one years since Judas Priest originally released Defenders of the Faith. So why Columbia and Legacy would wait until this year to release the album’s 30th Anniversary Edition is anyone’s guess. It would have made more sense to have released it last year. That aside, Defenders of the Faith: 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition is still a must have for metal purists and Priest fans alike. The central reason that it is a must have for audiences is the very fact that it presents Defenders of the Faith in its entirety exactly as it was presented way back in 1984. All ten tracks are here and they sound just as they did in the album’s original release. The addition of a two-disc, twenty-one song performance from the band’s 1984 tour in support of DOTF makes this re-issue all the more valuable for metal purists and Priest fans alike. And while it may seem like a minimal element to some, the album’s packaging is just as important to the presentation as the original album and its newly included concert. By itself, the re-issue’s packaging plays its own important part in the album’s enjoyment and success. Together with the album’s extensive bonus live recording and its full presentation of the original album, all three elements together prove why every metal purist and Priest fan should have Defenders of the Faith: 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition.

Defenders of the Faith: 30th Anniversary Edition is, as already noted, a must have for any metal purist and Judas Priest fan out there that does not already own his or her own copy of the album whether on CD or vinyl. The presentation of the original album in its entirety is just one reason for this. Thirty-one years have now passed since DOTF was first released to the metal masses around the world. Since that time, it has gone on to earn platinum status, selling over a million copies worldwide. Even selling so many copies, there are still those that do not own the album whether on vinyl or on CD. Now those same audiences and a whole new generation can finally enjoy this album including its hugely controversial track ‘Eat Me Alive.’ For those that don’t know, ‘Eat Me Alive’ became a point of contention for Tipper Gore and the then PMRC because of Mrs. Gore’s interpretation of said song. The band’s musical response to that song was pretty interesting in its own right. That’s a story for another time. But the fact that that song is present along with each of the album’s others, and that they still sound so clear to this day makes for plenty of reason for audiences to add this album to their music libraries.

The presentation of DOTF as it was originally presented thirty-one years ago in its new re-issue is within itself plenty of reason for metal purists and Judas Priest fans alike to add this re-issue to their music libraries. This applies to both the generation that might already own the album whether it be on vinyl or CD and to the current generation of metal legions around the world. The addition of the bonus concert recording to the package makes even more reason for metal legions and Priest fans alike to pick up this re-issue. The concert’s set list totals twenty-one tracks and comes in at just under two hours. More specifically, it clocks in at an hour and forty-three minutes. Thanks to the concert’s set list and the band’s stage presence, that near two-hour run time feels to be far longer. And that is meant in the best possible way. Simply put, the concert’s set list and the band’s stage persona leaves audiences not even realizing that so much time has passed. At the same time, it doesn’t leave audiences feeling short-changed in the end, either. Full discretion, there are some points throughout the concert in which the audio mix is a bit dicey. Simply put, at some points, it seems as if the dual attack of Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing overpowers front man Rob Halford’s vocals. It’s not terrible. But it is noticeable. And luckily this doesn’t happen throughout the performance. It only happens at points. So considering this, one can forgive whomever was originally at the audio boards. Even more Richard Kayvan and Tom Allom are to be commended for their efforts in remastering both the concert’s audio and the audio from the original album’s songs. The total of that work on both sides still makes Defenders of the Faith: 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition well worth adding to every metal purist and Judas Priest fan’s music collection.

The presentation of DOTF in its full, original entirety in its new 30th Anniversary Edition makes for reason within itself for metal purists and Judas Priest fans alike to add this re-issue to their music libraries. The addition of a never-before-released two-hour concert to the package makes for even more reason for those same audiences to add this re-issue to their music libraries. While both elements together do plenty to make this re-issue enjoyable, they still are not all worth noting that makes it a success. Believe it or not the re-issue’s packaging actually plays a part. So may record labels, when handling multi-disc sets, tend to use the case for a single album and add a plastic insert on which one or even two discs are placed, depending on the number of discs. This does help save space on CD racks. but it is also very problematic. The problem with this form of packaging is that the plastic insert in question can very easily be broken either at the hinge or on the insert itself when it is flipped out and pressure is placed on the insert to either remove or replace the CD(s). Columbia Legacy didn’t take that path with Defenders of the Faith: 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition. Instead they presented the album’s re-issue in a gatefold package. This places each of the re-issue’s three discs into their own trays. This practice protects not only the discs but the trays, too. This actually preserves the album and its companion concert discs for far longer than the standard plastic insert formula. While it may be slightly more bulky, it is also much smarter. Not only that but it also creates a certain sense of nostalgia especially among those that might have owned the original album on vinyl thirty-one years ago before the advent of CDs. People generally take for granted the packaging of CDs. But hopefully in reading this, audiences will see that packaging sometimes can indeed help make or break an album. And this is an instance in which the packaging has greatly helped the album in its re-issue. It is one more way that Defenders of the Faith: 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition proves itself a must have for any metal purist and Judas Priest fan around the world. Together with the bonus full-length concert and the re-mastered original album, all three elements are more than enough reason for every member of the Metal Nation worldwide to add this re-issue to their music libraries regardless of whether or not they already own the original album.

Defenders of the Faith: 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition boasts plenty of reasons for audiences to add this re-issue to their libraries. The original album is presented in its entirety. And thanks to the work of those charged with re-mastering it, it sounds as good as ever if not better. The addition of a full-length concert that comes in at nearly two hours makes this re-issue eve better even with the occasional audio imbalances between Rob Halford’s vocals and the guitarists K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton. The packaging is just as important to the whole of the re-issue. Despite being slightly bulky, the packaging protects the discs and their trays and even creates a sense of nostalgia among some audiences. The combination of all three elements together makes clear why every metal purist and Judas Priest fan should add this re-issue to their music libraries. It is available now in stores and online. More information on DOTF: 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition is available online along with all of the latest news from Judas Priest at:

Website: http://www.JudasPriest.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/judaspriest

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

Lynyrd Skynyrd To Release Classic Concert Recording This Summer

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

This summer, veteran southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd will release a new archived live recording to its fans via the leader in live recordings, Eagle Rock Entertainment.

Lynyrd Skynyrd will release Sweet Home Alabama on Tuesday, June 2nd.  The double-disc CD set features the band’s classic Rockpalast concert from 1996.  It marks the first time that the recording has ever been released for purchase.  The show’s set list includes some of the band’s biggest hits including: ‘Freebird,’ ‘Working For MCA,’ ‘Saturday Night Special, ‘Gimme Three Steps,’ ‘I Ain’t The One,’ and of course the recording’s title track and fan favorite ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ among many other songs.

The show’s set list is a big part of this recording’s success.  But it isn’t all that make the recording great.  As a bonus for true fans, Eagle Rock Entertainment has included a handful of rare performances featuring the original Lynyrd Skynyrd lineup of Ronnie Van Zant, Gary Rossington, Allen Collins, Ed King, Billy Powell, Leon Wilkeson, Owen Hale, and Bob Burns.  The lineup for the 1996 show features Ronnie’s brother Johnny on vocals.  He is joined by many of Ronnie’s old band mates and some new members including: Rickey Medlocke, Hughie Thomasson, Dale Krantz-Rossington, and Carol Chase.  The complete track listing for Sweet Home Alabama is listed below.

TRACK LISTING:
Disc 1: 
  1.  Workin’ For MCA
  2.  I Ain’t The One
  3.  Down South Junkin’
  4.  Double Trouble
  5.  I Know A Little   
  6.  Saturday Night Special**   
  7.  Swamp Music   
  8.  What’s Your Name   
  9. That Smell   
  10. Simple Man***   
  11. Gimme Three Steps   
  12. Call Me The Breeze
Disc 2:
  1. Sweet Home Alabama****   
  2. Free Bird
CD Bonus Tracks From Hamburg 1974: 
3) Workin’ For MCA
4) Free Bird
5) Sweet Home Alabama

Sweet Home Alabama will be available Tuesday, June 2nd in a double-disc presentation and will retail for MSRP of $17.98. A 2-LP is also scheduled for release later this year. More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at:

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

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.