Collie, Country Fans Alike Will Appreciate ‘Alive At Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary’ Re-Issue

Courtesy: 101 Ranch Records

Courtesy: 101 Ranch Records

Late this past October, 101 Ranch Records re-issued country artist Mark Collie’s 2012 live recording Alive at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary on CD. The recording, originally released in 2012 is an important piece of the singer’s catalogue.  That is because it is a recording that almost didn’t happen as is pointed out in the recording’s companion booklet.  The booklet, by the way, is the recording’s key element.  That is rare for a live recording and will be discussed shortly.  The show’s set list, by connection, is just as important to discuss as the recording’s companion booklet.  The band’s performance of the show’s set list rounds out its most important elements.  Each element is important in its own right to the recording’s presentation.  All things considered, Alive at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary is a piece that Mark Collie’s fans will appreciate just as much as country music fans.

Eagle Rock Entertainment’s recent re-issue of Mark Collie’s Alive at Brushy Mount State Penitentiary is a work that Mark Collie’s fans and country music fans alike will appreciate.  That statement is supported primarily through the recording’s companion booklet.  It is pretty rare for a live recording’s companion booklet to take precedence over its set list or even the band’s performance of said set list.  But this recording proves that a recording’s booklet can be its most important element.  The booklet is so important because of the history lesson that it presents.  It reveals the set list, save for just one song—‘Rose Covered Garden’—was new material at the time of the concert’s recording.  Speaking of the concert’s original recording, audiences will learn through the booklet that the concert was originally recorded on October 17, 2001 and it almost didn’t see the light of day. That was due to legal reasons.  But luckily it did finally see release in 2012 through an independent source.  That’s just some of the important material presented in the recording’s companion booklet.  Audiences will also be interested to learn that it was Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison performance that influenced Collie to eventually hold his performance at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary.  There is also a relatively in-depth history of the prison itself, including the revelation that it once held James Earl Ray, the man responsible for the death of Martin Luther King, Jr., and in The Silence of the Lambs, it was the prison that held the story’s villainous antagonist, Hannibal Lecter.  This and so much more presented throughout the booklet proves why it is so important to the overall presentation of Alive at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary.  Whether one is a seasoned Mark Collie fan or new to the veteran musician’s work, it is highly recommended that audiences in general read through the recording’s companion booklet before even taking in the concert itself.

Alive at Bushy Mountain State Penitentiary’s companion booklet is clearly an important piece of the recording’s overall presentation.  Regardless of audiences’ familiarity with Collie’s body of work, it is recommended that every listener read through the recording’s companion booklet before taking in the concert.  It is that important to the recording’s overall presentation.  While the recording’s booklet is highly important to the whole of Live at Bushy Mountain State Penitentiary, it is not the recording’s only important element.  The set list is important in its own right to the recording’s presentation.  It has already been noted that the material presented in this concert was largely original save for just two of its songs.  Those songs are ‘Rose Covered Garden’ and the group’s cover of Johnny Cash’s ‘Folsom Prison Blues.’  That is extremely important considering that the show’s “new” songs were not included in any of Collie’s prior recordings or recordings put out since.  ‘Rose Covered Garden’ was included in one of Collie’s previous albums while ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ is one of Johnny Cash’s songs, and audiences won’t find it on any of Collie’s previous albums, just as with the “new”  songs.  That makes this set list extremely special.  That’s just part of what makes the set list so important to note.  Audiences will also be surprised to learn through the concert’s interludes that at least one of the songs included in the set was written by one of the inmates housed at the prison at the time of the concert.  It is impressive to learn that Collie would show such interest in his audience as to put one of their songs on display.  As simple of an action as it was, it was an action that had to have meant a lot to that inmate and the others.  It’s the type of action that can truly establish a connection between performer and audience.  No doubt it did just that and more.  Taking into consideration the largely original set list and that Collie and company would even use one of the inmates’ songs for the set, it becomes fully clear why the recording’s set list is just as important to note as its booklet.  It is just one more item that makes this recording shine, too.  The band’s performance of the set list rounds out the recording’s most important elements.

Both the companion booklet included in Alive at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary and the recording’s set list are key to the recording’s presentation in their own right.  The booklet is key as it presents an in-depth introduction to the concert and the prison.  The set list is important to the recording because save for just one of its songs, none of its songs are presented in any of Collie’s previous studio recordings.  They haven’t been included in any recording since.  It even includes at least one song crafted by one of the inmates housed at the prison at the time of the concert.  Both of the elements noted within the show’s set list makes it just as important as the recording’s booklet to the concert’s overall presentation in its new re-issue.  While both elements are clearly important in their own right to the recording, they are not its only important elements.  The band’s performance of the set list is important in its own right.  The concert is currently available only on CD, but the band’s performance is so easy to visualize because it feels so genuine.  Between the group’s performance of the song’s and Collie’s rapport with the inmates, the whole performance feels so genuine.  At one point, he even jokes with the inmates about something he’s drinking not tasting like a certain kind of beverage.  What kind will be left for audiences to discover for themselves.  It is a wonderfully entertaining moment, though.  The group’s performance of ‘On The Day I Die’ is another example of what makes the groups performance so powerful.  This song comes across in such a heartfelt manner that it will bring tears to any listener’s eyes.  It is that moving.  It’s one of those performances that absolutely must be experienced for one’s self in order to fully understand and appreciate the emotion in the performance.  Of course one can’t ignore the group’s take on Johnny Cash’s famed ‘Folsom Prison Blues.’  One can’t help but wonder what Mr. Cash might have thought if he were to have had the opportunity to hear the group’s take on the performance.  It likely would have made him proud.  It is that solid, even being played at a different prison.  Between these moments and so many others, throughout the concert, it is clear that the group’s performance (both in terms of the songs and in terms of its interaction with the inmates) completely entertained the inmates and the guards.  It will entertain listeners just as much, too.  When it is set alongside the show’s set list and its companion booklet (and even the liner notes printed inside the case), the whole of this recording proves to be an outstanding recording.  If it had been a new release, it would have made this critic’s list of the year’s top new live recordings.  Even being a re-issue, it is still a recording that country fans across the board will appreciate regardless of their familiarity with Collie’s body of work.

Mark Collie’s recently re-issued live recording Alive at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary is not a new offering from the veteran country musician.  That aside, it is still a work that country music fans across the board will appreciate.  This is regardless of audiences’ familiarity with Collie’s body of work.  That is thanks in large part to the liner notes and booklet included with the recording.  The information provided through the liner notes and booklet create a wonderful, in-depth introduction to the concert and its historical significance.  The set list itself is important to the recording’s presentation, too.  That is because it is the only place—save for just two of the show’s songs—that audiences will find the “new” featured songs.  ‘Rose Covered Garden’ is available on one of Collie’s previous albums and ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ has been included in a number of Johnny Cash recordings ever since its original release.  But the set’s other songs cannot be found on any of Collie’s other recordings.  This shows, again, why the show’s set list is so important.  It is still not the last of the recording’s most important elements, either.  The group’s performance here is just as important to note as the other noted elements.  The concert is currently only available on CD.  But even on CD, the group’s connection with the inmates is so clear.  That is made clear through the passion put into each song’s performance.  The connection that Collie makes during the concert’s interludes is just as important to note in the group’s performance.  Audiences will be able to tell just as easily as the inmates Collie’s genuine interaction.  It gives the show even more of a special touch.  When this is joined with the rest of the group’s performance, the show’s set list and the concert’s provided historical background, the whole of this concert makes it a concert that Collie’s fans will appreciate just as much as any country music fan in general.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on Alive at Brushy Mount State Penitentiary online now along with all of Mark Collie’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://markcollie.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheMarkCollie

 

 

 

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Dropkick Murphys Offering New Single Download Now With Album Pre-Orders

Courtesy: Dropkick Murphys

Courtesy: Dropkick Murphys

Dropkick Murphys is offering its fans an early Christmas present.

The band had made available its cover of the classic song ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ for those who pre-order the band’s new album 11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory.  The album will be released Friday, January 6, 2017 through the band’s own label, Born & Bred Records.

‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ is best known for its use in the beloved Rogers & Hammerstein musical Carousel.  Also covered by Gerry and the Pacemakers, this latest reworking of the song gives it a whole new identity as a message of hope for, and solidarity with, people suffering with opiate addiction.  It is one of the 11 powerful stories presented in the band’s upcoming album, too.

Bassist and band founder Ken Casey explained that the inspiration for the band’s new take on the song came about after he left a wake for front man Al Barr’s brother-in-law, who had died from an overdose.

“Between Al’s loss and all the friends and people that I know, I’d say I’ve been to 50 wakes in the last three years,” Casey said. “I was leaving another overdose wake and the song came on in the car.  My music was on shuffle and ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ randomly played.  As I heard the chorus, “Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart, and you’ll never walk alone,” it struck me how powerfully the song related to the struggle and how you don’t have to do it alone.”

The song went on to become the first piece recorded for the band’s new album.  Audiences can get an instant download of the song now when they pre-order 11 Songs of Pain & Glory online via iTunes.  Limited edition CD and vinyl pressings of the album can be pre-ordered via the band’s official webstore.  Audiences can stream the band’s cover of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ online now here.

Courtesy: Born & Bred Records

Courtesy: Born & Bred Records

Dropkick Murphys will launch a tour in support of its new album beginning February 21, 2017.  The tour currently runs through March 19, 2017 and includes a string of hometown shows from March 15 – 19 at Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Week.  Audiences can get tickets for the band’s shows now here.  More information on Dropkick Murphys’ new single, album, tour and more is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more is available online at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.dropkickmurphys.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/DropkickMurphys

 

 

 

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Heart Fans Everywhere Will Appreciate The Band’s Latest Live Recording

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Heart is one of the most respected bands in the music industry’s modern era.  The band has performed around the world many times over the course of its four decade plus life.  It has sold millions of records and has earned countless accolades for its talents and accomplishments.  For all that the band has done and earned throughout its life, there is still likely a lot that it hasn’t yet done.  Earlier this summer, though it knocked one item off of its to do list when it performed live at London’s famed Royal Albert Hall for the first time ever.  The performance was a sold out show, exhibiting clearly the place that Heart still holds within the music community’s upper echelon.  This Friday, December 2, audiences will get to own that performance for themselves on separate DVD and Blu-ray platforms as well as CD and digital platform in the form of Live at the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.  Heart’s fans will find plenty to appreciate about the recording beginning with its set list.  That will be discussed shortly.  The band’s performance of that set list is just as important to note as the set list.  The concert’s audio mix rounds out its most important elements.  Each element is clearly important in its own right to the concert’s overall presentation.  All things considered, it proves to be a piece that any devout Heart fan will be happy to have in his or her music library regardless of the chosen platform.

Heart’s latest live recording Live at the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is a piece that any devout Heart fan will be happy to have in his or her music library.  That is due in part to the concert’s set list.  The seventeen-song set list goes all the way back to the band’s 1976 debut album Dreamboat Annie and even as recent as its latest album Beautiful Broken, which was released this past July.  It also includes a cover of Led Zepplin’s hit song ‘No Quarter’ in its body, and a Lovemongers cover in ‘Sand,’ which was included in Heart’s own 2010 album Red Velvet Car.  Obviously there’s no way that the band could cover every one of its 16 albums so far.  But it still pulls from a healthy number of its albums.  The band’s 2016 album Beautiful Broken is the most heavily represented of the band’s album in this concert with four total songs represented in the set list.  The band’s 1976 debut record Dreamboat Annie comes in second with three songs.  The other albums featured in the concert are: Little Queen (2 songs), Bebe le Strange (2 songs), Heart (2 songs), Bad Animals (1 song) and Fanatic (1 song).  Considering the band pulled from half of its current albums to make the body of this concert is impressive.  It showed the band really put some thought into its set list rather than just tossing a bunch of its songs together.  It wanted to give its audiences and fans the best show possible if only in terms of its set list.  Of course the set list is just one of the elements that makes the show such a welcome addition to fans’ music libraries.  The band’s performance of its set list will entertain audiences just as much as the show’s set list.

The set list that is featured in Heart’s new live recording is by itself a key piece of the concert’s presentation.  It pulls from half of the band’s extensive sixteen-album catalogue.  That is including the band’s holiday album, and no there obviously are no Christmas songs in this set list since the concert was recorded this past June. The show’s set list is just one part of what makes the concert stand out for fans.  The band’s performance of its set list is just as important to note as the set list itself starting with the work of guitarists Nancy Wilson and Craig Bartock.  The pair expertly captures the emotion of every song with their talents. ‘I Jump’ is a prime example of that talent.  The song has its heavier moments, but also has some softer moments.  The attention to the song’s lyrical content makes every moment so powerful just from the pair.  Its handling of the cover of ‘No Quarter’ exhibits that talent just as much.  Stylistically, the song is not the best rendition of the song that has ever been crafted.  But Wilson and Bartock still exhibit such talent here regardless.  In the same vein, the soaring chorus of ‘These Dreams’ shows the duo fully embracing the heartfelt lyrics in that song, too.  Nancy’s sister Ann shows just as much spark even as long as she has been performing. Her vocals are top-notch throughout the concert.  That is exhibited most clearly as she as she soars through the choruses in ‘What About Love’ and in ‘No Quarter.’  She does a respectable job of trying to emulate Robert Plant here.  It doesn’t fully reach Plant’s levels.  But it is still respectable, regardless.  Drummer Ben Smith and bassist Dan Rothchild shine just as much as their fellow musicians throughout the concert, too.  When each musician’s talent is combined with that of his or her band mates, the whole of the collective’s performance shows clearly why the concert was sold out.  That’s because every member of the band gives it his or her all, which will, again, impress any of the band’s fans.  Even as important as this is to note, one can’t talk but so much about it without taking too much time.  There is still at least one more item to discuss in examining this recording.  That item is the recording’s audio mix.

The set list featured in Heart’s new live recording and the band’s performance of that set list are both key to the recording’s presentation.  Both elements will please any devout Heart fan.  They are not its only key elements either.  The concert’s audio mix rounds out its most important elements.  The Royal Albert Hall is a massive venue.  Audiences who have never seen the inside of the building until now will be blown away by its size both in terms of its diameter and its ceiling.  Considering that, handling audio duties for any concert here is a chore to say the least.  The people behind the boards for this concert—both at the venue and in post-production—handled that chore with the utmost expertise.  It is thanks to their efforts that audiences feel like they are right there at the venue with the rest of the audience without feeling like they can’t hear any one part of the performance.  The vocals and instruments are balanced with full precision throughout the performance.  Again, considering the size of the venue, that is its own powerful statement.  It goes without saying that the camera work gives audiences the best seat in the house.  So keeping that in mind, when the camera work and audio engineering are joined with the concert’s set list and the band’s performance of the show’s set list, the whole of this concert proves to be, once again, a work that any devout Heart fan will appreciate.

Heart Live at the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is a recording that any devout Heart fan will appreciate.  Being that it was the first time that the band ever performed at the legendary venue, it was a successful first time experience.  Its set list pulls from half of the band’s 16-album catalogue.  The band’s performance of its set list, audiences will agree, is just as impressive.  It shows that even as long as Heart has been along, it is at the top of its game.  The combined audio engineering and its camera work round out its most important elements.  When all three elements are joined together, they make this recording a work that is on one level, more proof of why Eagle Rock Entertainment is still today the leading name in live recordings. On another level, it combines to show that, once more, this recording is a piece that any devout Heart fan will appreciate.  It will be available this Friday, December 2 in stores and online.  More information on this recording is available online now along with all of Heart’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.heart-music.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/officialheart

 

 

 

More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at:

 

 

 

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

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

 

 

 

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2017 Rock On The Range Festival Lineup Announced

Courtesy: Danny Wimmer Presents/AEG Live

Courtesy: Danny Wimmer Presents/AEG Live

The lineup for the 2017 Rock on the Range Festival has been announced, and once again it has proven to be quite the collection of acts.

The three-day festival will be headlined by Metallica, Soundgarden and Korn.  It will feature more than 50 bands over the course of that time along with some of the country’s top comics at the festival’s Rock on the Range Rolling Rock Comedy Tent.

The lineup for the 2017 Rock on the Range Festival includes: Metallica, Soundgarden, Korn, The Offspring, Volbeat, Primus, Bush, Chevelle, Papa Roach, Seether, Coheed & Cambria, Alter Bridge, The Pretty Reckless, Taking Back Sunday, Thrice, Amon Amarth, Pierce The Veil, Sum 41, Skillet, Dillinger Escape Plan, In Flames, Gojira, Biffy Clyro, Motionless In White, Nothing More, Beartooth, Starset, Every Time I Die, The Story So Far, Deafheaven, Zakk Sabbath, Rival Sons, The Amity Affliction, Attila, Norma Jean, Suicide Silence, Whitechapel, I Prevail, Turnstile, Dinosaur Pile-Up, Red Fang, Dorothy, Kyng, Radkey, As Lions, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Sylar, Fire From The Gods, Badflower, Wage War, Goodbye June, Cover Your Tracks, DED, Bleeker, Royal Republic, Mother Feather, Aeges and One Less Reason.

Rock on the Range—fueled by Monster Energy—is billed as America’s largest and most acclaimed rock festival.  The festival will also feature in 2017 “The Music Experience,” art installations, and unique on-site activities over the course of the festival’s three days.

Tickets for the 2016 festival sold out more than two months in advance of the festival.  It marked the fourth consecutive year the festival has sold out in advance.

Weekend Field, new Weekend Field VIP, Weekend Stadium and a limited number of Weekend Stadium 4-packs are available now for purchase.  A layaway option is also available for concert-goers.  That option allows audiences to split the cost of their ticket/ticket packages into four separate monthly payments.

Fans can get a pre-sale password for Weekend Field VIP, Weekend Field GA, Weekend Stadium GA and Weekend Stadium GA 4-packs on the official Rock on the Range website, Facebook page and Twitter page.  The ticket prices are listed below.

 

  • Weekend Field VIP: starting at $349.50* + fees
  • Weekend Field GA: starting at $199.50* + fees
  • Weekend Stadium GA: starting at $99.50* + fees
  • Weekend Stadium GA Ticket 4-Pack: $380.00 + fees
  • * Phase One prices listed
  • *** Ticket prices automatically move to the next price level once the allotment sells out ***

General on-sale for tickets is Friday, Dec. 2 at 10 a.m. EST.  Tickets will be available online at the festival’s website, at Ticketmaster locations and the MAPFRE Stadium box office.

Audiences who want an even more special concert experience can purchase the new Uber Ranger Camping Package.  The package includes amenities for four people such as luxury RV on a double campsite at the Ohio Expo North Campground (May 18 – 21), a dedicated concierge with golf cart shuttle, 4 Weekend VIP Field Admission Tickets, a backstage tour, access to the stadium club (with catered lunch and dinner), access to the Side Stage Viewing Platform, access to the VIP Lounge and more.  More information on the new Uber Ranger Camping Package is available here.

Rock on The Range celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2016.  More than 120,000 people attended the festival from around the world.  As part of its 10th anniversary celebration, Columbus, OH mayor Andrew J. Ginther and the Columbus, OH city council presented festival organizers with awards of recognition.  A resolution was also announced from the Franklin County Board of Commissioners acknowledging the festival’s economic impact on the city.

The commissioners pointed out in their resolution pointed out the festival brought in more than $140 million for the city over the course of its ten years in the city.

Rock on the Range is produced by Danny Wimmer Presents, AEG Live and MAPFRE Stadium.  It is supported by Monster Energy, Bud Light and Zippo.  They and other partners will feature interactive experiences, meet & greets, and other special fan engagement opportunities throughout the festival.

More information on the 2017 Rock on the Range Festival is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.RockontheRange.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/rockontherange

 

 

 

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Metallica’s New Album Is Well Worth The Wait

Courtesy: Blackened Records

Courtesy: Blackened Records

Eight years have passed since Metallica released its most recent album Death Magnetic.  That is a long time for any act to spend between albums.  It’s also a huge risk because the longer an act waits, the greater the odds it might not be relevant anymore.  What’s more, it also raises expectations greatly for said act’s new release.  In many cases, said albums don’t live up to expectations.  Guns ‘N Roses’ 2010 album Chinese Democracy is a prime example of that letdown.  So waiting for such a long time between albums is a gamble to say the very least.  For veteran hard rock outfit Metallica, the gamble to wait so long between albums paid off when it released its new album HardwiredTo Self-Destruct on Friday, November 18.  This record is the band’s best work to date.  It is a culmination of everything that the band has done over the course of its more than thirty year life.  That is evident first and foremost through it musical arrangements.  That will be discussed shortly.  The record’s lyrical content is just as important to note in examining what makes this record stand out.  It will be discussed later.  The bonus live disc that was included in the record’s extended edition is just as important to note in the album’s presentation.  Each element serves the record in its own positive way.  All things considered, they make this record, again, Metallica’s best album to date and one of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

Metallica’s new full-length album HardwiredTo Self-Destruct is the best work that this veteran hard rock outfit has released to date.  It is also one of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums without question.  That is saying a lot considering how many albums the band has released over its life (10 counting this record) and the number of outstanding hard rock and metal albums that have been released so far this year.  One of the elements that makes the album stand so proud is its collective musical arrangements.  From one song to the next, the arrangements present elements of the band’s past, present and even its future.  One of the songs that best exemplifies the arrangements’ reach is ‘Now That We’re Dead.’  Right from the song’s outset, its driving guitar line and drumming harkens back to ‘Enter Sandman’ from the band’s groundbreaking 1991 self-titled album (or more affectionately known by fans as The Black Album.  That similarity stands throughout the remainder of its nearly 7-minute run time.  Front man James Hetfield’s vocal delivery is just as powerful throughout the song as it was way back in 1991, too.  When his vocal delivery is coupled with that solid musical arrangement, it makes the connection to The Black Album even stronger.  It’s just one of the songs that serves to exemplify the reach of the album’s musical arrangements.  ‘Spit Out The Bone,’ the record’s closer exhibits the arrangements’ reach just as much as ‘Now That We’re Dead.’

‘Now That We’re Dead’ exhibits a clear connection to material featured in Metallica’s 1991 self-titled record.  It is just one of the songs included in this record that exhibits the reach of the album’s arrangements.  ‘Spit Out The Bone’ exhibits that reach just as much as ‘Now That We’re Dead.’  It is a direct throwback to the band’s very first album Kill ‘Em All (1983) with its speed/thrash metal riffs and drumming.  One could even argue to a point that there are hints of the band’s 1986 album Master of Puppets considering this arrangement and Robert Trujillo’s bass line.  His bass line instantly conjures thoughts of Cliff Burton’s work with its style and sound.  Obviously Burton died during the tour for that album, but would likely be as proud as the band’s fans to hear that similarity.  Even Hetfield’s own vocal delivery throws so far back, too. Sure he’s much older now.  But when he hits certain notes, audiences will instantly hear those hints of his days gone by.  That is a big compliment to him.  When each of the arrangements are brought together, they make this arrangement yet another standout composition.  Even more important to note is that just as with ‘Now That We’re Dead,’ the song’s arrangements harkens back to the noted albums but does so with a certain sense of evolution, too.  In other words, it doesn’t just repeat any of the songs from said albums.  Rather, it merely exhibits the stylistic approach used in the noted albums.  The same applies in the case of ‘Dream No More.’

‘Now That We’re Dead’ and ‘Spit Out The Bone’ are both clear examples of the reach of this record’s arrangements.  One throws back to the band’s Black Album while the other throws back even farther.  Both songs exhibit the influence of those albums through their arrangements, and do so without just repeating any of the songs included in those records.  That is extremely impressive.  They are just a couple of the songs that serve to exhibit the reach of this album’s arrangements.  ‘Dream No More’ is another example of the arrangements’ reach.  This song exhibits hints of the band’s much maligned albums Load and Re-Load.  More precisely, with its combination of guitar and drum lines, it conjures thoughts of ‘King Nothing,’ which was one of the few truly good songs included in Load.  But again, it doesn’t try to just rehash that song through its arrangement.  Love the album or hate it (and Re-Load) the fact of the matter is that through this song, Metallica has taken the best of the album and evolved it into this song.  It again shows the reach of the album’s arrangements.  As if that isn’t enough, there are a couple of songs included in this record that even hint at what is probably the band’s worst albums (if not its worst), St. Anger.  Even in those cases, the band somehow managed to take the best of the worst and make it something enjoyable here.  There are also hints of each of the band’s other albums in the likes of ‘Hardwired,’ ‘Atlas, Rise’ and ‘Confusion’ just to name a few other standout arrangements.  All things considered here, it is clear in listening to the album from start to finish that this albums’ arrangement present quite a reach.  They present the band’s past, present and possibly even future.  That reach will impress any long time fan just as much as any new fan.  The reach presented in this record’s arrangements is clearly an important part of the record’s presentation.  It is just one of the record’s key elements, too.  The album’s lyrical content is just as important to note in examining the record’s presentation as its musical reach.

The musical reach that is exhibited throughout Metallica’s latest full-length LP is a hugely important part of the record’s presentation.  That is because the record’s arrangements present influences from each of its previous albums and even hint at the band’s future.  To an extent, one could say that makes this record career-spanning.  While the record’s musical arrangements are so clearly important to its overall presentation, they are not its only important element.  The album’s lyrical content is just as important to note as its musical arrangements.  ‘Atlas, Rise’ is just one example of the importance of the record’s lyrical content.  Hetfield sings in this song, “Bitterness and burden/Curses rest on thee/Solitaire and sorrow/All eternity/Save the earth and claim perfection/Deem the mass and blame rejection/Hold the pose, feign perception/Grudges break your back/All you bear/All you carry/All you bear/Place it right on, Right on me.”  He’s not signing about the literary Atlas.  This comes across as using Atlas as a metaphor for someone who loves to put the problems of the world on himself or herself, but not for noble reasons.  That is evident as he sings, “Grudges break your back/All you bear/All you carry/All you bear/Place it right on, right on me.”  This becomes even clearer as Hetfield sings, “How does it feel on your own/Bound by the world all alone/Crushed under heavy skies/Atlas, rise!”  The song goes on very much in similar fashion in terms of its lyrical content.  It leaves just as little doubt as the song’s early lines.  It definitely is a powerful song considering all of that.  When the song’s equally powerful musical arrangement is set against those lines, the song becomes even harder hitting.  It is just one of the songs that exemplifies the importance of the album’s lyrical content.  ‘Moth Into Flame’ is another of the album’s songs that exhibits the importance of the album’s lyrical content.

‘Atlas, Rise’ is a prime example of the importance of the lyrical content presented in HardwiredTo Self-Destruct.  It comes across as a damning indictment of those people who prefer (for whatever reason) to put the world’s problems on themselves and make themselves virtual martyrs, all the while holding grudges against the world.  Everyone knows or has known someone just like that.  It is just one of the examples of the importance of the album’s lyrical content.  ‘Moth Into Flame’ is another example of the importance of the album’s lyrical content.  Hetfield sings in this song, “Blacked out/Pop queen, amphetamine/The screams crashed into silence/Tapped out/Doused in the gasoline/The high times going timeless/Infamy all for publicity/Destruction going viral/Light it up/Ah, light it up/Another hit erases all the pain.”  He goes on to sing, “Bulletproof/Ah, kill the truth/You’re falling, but you think you’re flying high/High again/Sold your soul/Built a higher wall/Yesterday/Now you’re thrown away/Same rise and fall/Who cares at all/Seduced by fame/A moth into flame.”  As with ‘Atlas, Rise,’ the lines presented here are their own damning indictment.  This time, it comes across as an indictment of celebrities and their lifestyles.  The lines presented here are just a portion of the support for that argument.  The song continues in similar fashion lyrically speaking, which strengthens this critic’s argument even more.  Keeping that in mind, this song’s lyrical content becomes yet another important example of the importance of the album’s lyrical content.  It’s hardly the first time that anyone has ever crafted a song that goes after celebrities and their lifestyles (if that is in fact the focus on the song’s lyrics).  But it is still a biting approach that audiences will appreciate greatly.  It isn’t the last song that exhibits the importance of the album’s lyrical content.  ‘Spit Out The Bone’ is one more example of the importance of this record’s lyrical content.

‘Atlas, Rise’ and ‘Moth Into Flame’ are both key examples of the importance of this record’s lyrical content.  Both songs come across as very biting commentary about their given topics.  While both pieces are key in exhibiting the importance of the lyrical content in Metallica’s new album, they are not the only songs that show that importance.  ‘Spit Out The Bone’ also serves to show the importance of the album’s lyrical content.  This song presents some very heavy content.  Hetfield sings in the song’s lead verse, “Come unto me and you will feel perfection/Come unto me and dedicate/Come unto me and you’ll never feel rejection/Come unto me and terminate/Remove your heart, it’s only good for bleeding/Bleeding through your fragile skin/Remove your thought cause it’s only for deceiving/Deceiving thoughts destroy within/Disappear like man was never here/Long live machine/The future supreme/Man overthrown/Spit out the bone.”  The technology theme continues throughout the song, but shouldn’t be misinterpreted.  This isn’t one of those songs that audiences have come to expect from Fear Factory or other similar acts.  It comes across more as a piece about people’s reliance on technology, not about robots overthrowing mankind.  That’s even despite the fact that Hetfield sings “Long live machine/the future supreme.”  It comes across more as a commentary about how mankind has allowed technology to become its new God.  That is evidenced in the song’s second verse in which he sings, “Plug into me, I guarantee devotion/Plug into me and dedicate/Plug into me and I’ll save you from emotion/Plug into me and terminate/Accelerate, utopian solution/Finally cure the Earth of man/Exterminate, speeding up the evolution/Set on a course, a master plan/Reinvent the earth inhabitant/Long live machine/the future supreme/Man overthrown/Spit out the bone.”  It comes across as saying man’s reliance on technology and devotion to technology will eventually turn man into machine.  It comes across as a sarcastic, yet still very biting commentary in its own right.  Again, when this content is coupled with the song’s musical content, the whole of the song stands out even more.  It is hardly the last song that could be cited in exhibiting the importance of the album’s lyrical content.  ‘Dream No More,’ ‘Confusion’ and ‘Am I Savage?’ could each be cited in exhibiting the importance of the album’s lyrical content along with the rest of the album’s songs.  All things considered, the album’s lyrical content proves in whole to be just as important to its presentation as its musical arrangements.  Even as important as its musical and lyrical content proves to be, these two elements are not the album’s only important elements.  The bonus third disc included in the album’s extended edition is just as important to note as its musical arrangements and lyrical content.

Both the musical arrangements and lyrical content presented throughout HardwiredTo Self-Destruct are key to its overall presentation.  The musical arrangements take listeners to the band’s earliest days as well as its present and even future.  The album’s lyrical content addresses a variety of topics including celebrity, people who make themselves martyrs, and much more.  While both elements are clearly important to the album’s overall presentation, they are not its only important elements.  The bonus third disc included in the album’s extended edition is just as important to note in examining its presentation as the previously noted elements.  The disc features four more songs including a medley of Ronnie James Dio covers in the form of ‘Ronnie Rising Medley’ and ten live songs.  The studio songs bring the album’s total song count to 16.  That is counting the medley as one big song.  The live songs, recorded during the band’s 2016 – ’16 tour are important in their own right both because of the songs that are featured and the band’s performance thereof. The live songs featured in the record’s bonus disc are some of the band’s most beloved classics.  They include’ ‘Hit The Lights,’ ‘Ride The Lightning,’ ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls’ and plenty of others.  They are so important to note because they are a perfect fit with the album’s new studio tracks, which themselves lift from every era of the band’s life.  The band’s performance of the songs is just as impressive because of its energy throughout each song.  The band hasn’t lost even all these years later.  It is still just as enjoyable to experience here as it was when the featured songs were still new.  If that isn’t enough for audiences, the fact that the performances sound so good adds even more enjoyment to their overall presentation.  The proverbial cherry on top for the live recordings is that save for just one performance—‘Hardwired’ recorded live at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN—each of the songs featured here were all recorded at the same place, Rasputin Music in Berkeley, CA on April 16, 2016.  So rather than just having a group of random recordings, audiences get nearly a full live recording on this disc along with four bonus studio recordings.  It is a great finishing touch to an album that already stood out on its own musical and lyrical laurels.  When it is set against those elements, the whole of the elements leaves no question that HardwiredTo Self-Destruct is Metallica’s best effort to date and that it is one of 2016’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

HardwiredTo Self-Destruct is Metallica’s best new album to date.  It is also one of this year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.  That is evidenced through musical arrangements that will take listeners throughout the band’s body of work.  Its lyrical content is just as certain to leave listeners thinking and talking.  The bonus disc included in the album’s extended edition adds even more enjoyment to the record’s overall presentation with its four extra studio recordings and ten expertly produced and engineered live recordings.  The live recordings will entertain audiences not just because of how well they were handled but also because they run the gamut just as much as the songs presented in the album’s main body.  The band’s performance of the songs is just as important to note in their enjoyment, too.  Each element noted in this review is important in its own right to HardwiredTo Self-Destruct.  All things considered, they make this record the band’s best work to date and one of the year’s top new hard rock and metal offerings.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on the album is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.metallica.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/metallica

 

 

 

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Porter And Company Impress On Their Latest Live Recording

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Jazz artist Gregory Porter released his latest live recording Live in Berlin last week.  The recording, released via Eagle Rock Entertainment is a wonderful experience for any jazz fan regardless of audiences’ familiarity with Porter and his body of work.  That is due in no small part to the recording’s set list.  That will be discussed shortly.  Porter’s performance is just as important to note in the recording’s presentation as is the show’s set list.  Last but hardly least of note in the recording’s presentation are the platforms on which it has been made available.  Each element plays its own important part in the recording’s overall presentation.  Altogether they make Live in Berlin a recording that will entertain Porter’s more seasoned audiences just as much as it will his newer audiences.

Gregory Poerter’s new live recording Live in Berlin is a work that will entertain Porter’s more seasoned audiences just as much as it will those who are less familiar with him and his body of work.  That is due in no small part to the show’s set list, speaking of his body of work.  The show’s 18-song set list pulls songs from al four of Porter’s current album’s with his latest album Take Me To The Alley showing the heaviest representation with seven songs.  Liquid Spirit (2013) comes second with five songs from that album included in the show’s set list.  There are also some other familiar songs included in the show’s set list, not the least of which being ‘What’s Going On.’  There is also a cover of ‘Papa Was A Rolling Stone’ included in the show.  The song was originally composed by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong but made most popular by The Temptations.  If all of this isn’t enough for audiences, the set list’s order is the same in the recording’s CD side as it is in its separate DVD and Blu-ray side.  As has been noted before in other live recordings’ reviews, this is important because there are some recordings out there whose set lists don’t always mirror one another between their CD and DVD/BD platforms.  Speaking of those platforms, they will be discussed later, as they are pivotal to the recording’s presentation, too.  Getting back on topic, the set list presented in this recording shows to have plenty of importance to the recording’s presentation.  It is only one of the recording’s key elements, too.  The stage presence of both Porter and his fellow musicians throughout the concert is just as important to note as the set list.

The set list that makes up the body  of Gregory Porter’s new live recording is in itself a huge part of the recording’s presentation.  That is because it pulls from all four of his current studio recordings and even includes covers of some other well-known hits.  On another level, the show’s set list stays the same from the concert’s CD platform to its DVD and BD platform.  So regardless of which platform one uses to experience this concert, one will get the same experience, in terms of the set list’s order, from one platform to the next.  It is just one of the key elements to note in examining the recording’s presentation.  The stage presence presented by Porter and his fellow musicians is just as important to note in examining this presentation as the show’s set list.  Porter oozes confidence as he makes his way through each song’s performance.  Even as he spends time talking to the audience between songs, he exudes a certain humility with that confidence.  That alone is enough to make listeners new and old alike enjoy watching him.  Of course Porter’s fellow musicians—Chip Crawford (piano), Emanuel Harold (drums), Jamal Nichols (bass) and Tivon  Pennicot (saxophone)—exude just as much confidence as they ease their way through each song, too.  That is especially notable in the group’s performance of ‘Take Me To The Alley’ and ‘Hey Laura.’  Harold makes his timekeeping seem so effortless, and Pennicot’s work on sax is just as enjoyable to take in.  Nichols and Crawford offer their own share of enjoyment throughout the show, too.  When all four men join with Porter, the whole of their performances will keep audiences fully engaged from the show’s beginning to its end.  When this is considered alongside the show’s set list, it becomes even clearer why Live in Berlin is such an impressive new live recording from Gregory Porter and company.  These two elements are not the recording’s only notable elements, though.  The platforms on which the concert is available are just as important to note in examining the concert’s recording as its set list and featured performance.

The set list featured in Live in Berlin and performance of said set list by Porter and company are both key elements to note in examining the recording’s presentation.  That is because the pair works hand in hand with one another.  As important as both elements are to the recording’s presentation, they are not its only key elements.  The platforms on which the recording has been made available are just as important to note as the previously noted elements.  It might not seem all that important on the surface, but in the grand scheme of things, it is hugely important.  Eagle Rock Entertainment has made Live in Berlin available on two separate combo packs – a DVD/2 CD combo pack and a Blu-ray/2 CD combo pack.  By combining the concert’s audio only presentation (CD) with separate DVD and Blu-ray platforms, Eagle Rock has covered all of its bases, making the concert available for every one of Porter’s fans.  What’s more, by combining the CD platform with DVD and Blu-ray, the company has also given fans the full concert experience, rather than forcing them to choose between platforms. The DVD + 2 CD combo pack averages approximately $28 and the Blu-ray + 2CD combo pack $27.  Considering the closeness in the platforms’ average pricing audiences won’t be left paying an arm and a leg for the concert regardless of which combo pack they choose.  When this is considered alongside the concert’s enjoyable set list and the group’s equally enjoyable performance of that set list, the end result is a recording that every audience will enjoy regardless of familiarity with the group’s work.

Gregory Porter’s new live recording Live in Berlin is a work that every one of Porter’s fans will appreciate regardless of their familiarity with his work and that of his fellow musicians.  From the show’s extensive set list to the completely enjoyable performance put on by Porter and company to the show’s relatively affordable and far-reaching platforms, there is plenty for audiences to appreciate about this recording.  Keeping that in mind, it is a work that every audience will appreciate regardless of their familiarity with Porter’s work and that of his fellow musicians.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on Live in Berlin is available now along with Porter’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www,gregoryporter.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/GregoryPorter

 

 

 

More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now 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 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.

Metal Purists Will Appreciate UDR Music’s Wacken 2015 Recording

Courtesy: UDR Music

Courtesy: UDR Music

The Wacken Open Air Festival is one of the most renowned hard rock concert festivals if the music industry.  The festival started 26 years ago in the city after which it is named.  Late this summer UDR Music celebrated the festivals 25th anniversary – marked in 2015 – with the release of the festival’s 25th anniversary recording.  Considering that the recording presents the show lineup from the festival’s 25th anniversary, its title is a little bit misleading.  That aside, it is still an enjoyable experience for any purist member of the metal nation worldwide.  That is due in no small part to the lineup presented in the recording.  This will be discussed shortly.  The bands’ performances are just as important to note in the recording’s presentation as is the recording’s presented lineup.  That will be discussed later.  The platforms on which the recording has been made available rounds out the most important of the recording’s elements.  Each element is clearly important in its own right to the recording’s presentation.  All things considered, Live at Wacken 2015 26 Years Louder Than Hell is one of this year’s top new overall live recordings.

Live at Wacken 2015 – ­26 Years Louder Than Hell is one of 2016’s top new overall live recordings.  It is hardly the first live recording that the festival’s organizers have ever released.  Even with that in mind, it is still an enjoyable recording for the festival’s fans and for the purist metal legions around the world.  That is due in no small part to the recording’s featured performer list.  A total of 107 bands performed on Wacken 2015 between the Bullhead City Circus, Party Stage and double main stage.  It goes without saying that considering that mass of metal, there’s no way that UDR or the fesitval’s organizers could have possibly featured every one of those bands.  Regardless, the featured performer list included in this recording is still impressive in its own right.  That list includes the likes of Judas Priest, Danko Jones, Uli Jon Roth, In Flames, Annihilator and so many others.  Simply put, the perfomer list featured in this recording pulls from a number of metal’s sub genres and from so many eras of metal’s history.  It goes to show the respect that the festival’s organizers and fans have for metal, its history and culture.  Sure, it would have been nice to have Dream Theater included in the featured performer list, or maybe Hellyeah, or even Prong (yes, even Prong performed at Wacken 2015).  But the performer list included in this recording is still impressive in its own right in the end.  Considering this, it should be clear why it is such an important piece of the recording’s presentation.  It is just one of the important elements to note.  The featured acts’ stage presence in their performances is just as important to note here as the acts themselves.

The acts that are featured in UDR Music’s new Wacken Open Air Festival recording are important in their own right to the recording’s overall presentation.  That is because while hardly every one of the bands that performed at the festival, they represent a wide swatch of the metal community and its history.  That means the recording will reach just as wide of an audience.  While the recording’s featured performer list is clearly an important piece of the recording’s presentation, it is hardly the recording’s only important element.  The bands’ stage presence in their performances plays an important part in the recording’s presentation, too.  Rob Halford and company prove the importance of the bands’ performances right from the recording’s outset.  They take the stage and own it with ease.  Halford is at the top of his game both in terms of his vocal talent and his very presence.  Glenn Tipton is just as enjoyable to take in as he works his way through the band’s performance of ‘Painkiller.  On another note, the members of Running Wild are just as impressive as they work through the high-octane ‘Under The Jolly Roger.’  Skindred’s performance of ‘Proceed With Caution’ will have home audiences on their feet just as easily as it did the audience in attendance of the festival.  That is because of the fire and energy exuded by the band throughout its performance.  It is just one more example of the importance of the bands’ performance to the festival recording’s presentation.  One could just as easily cite the performances from My Dying Bride, In Flames, and Death Angel as proof of that importance, too.  All things considered, it is safe to say that every single performance featured in this recording will keep home audiences just as entertained and engaged as the audiences that got to enjoy the festival in person.  Even with all of this in mind, the bands’ performances still are not the last element to note in examining this recording.  The platforms on which the recording has been made available are just as important to note as the previously discussed elements.

The bands that were featured in Live at Wacken 2015 26 Years Louder Than Hell and their performances are both key elements in examining the festival’s recording.  The featured performer list presents the past, present and future of metal while also presenting a solid cross-section proving what has made the festival so respected for now 26 years.  The featured bands’ performances are so important to note because they will keep home audiences just as entertained and engaged as the audiences who had the honor of experiencing the festival in person.  While both elements are clearly important both alone and collectively to the recording’s presentation, they are not its only important elements.  The platforms on which the recording has been made available are just as important to note as the previously noted elements.  Audiences will be happy to know that the recording has been made available on separate 2 DVD/2 CD and 2 BD/2 CD combo pack.  The DVD set averages approximately $22 and the BD set $23.  Considering that, the various platforms and their prices are relatively affordable for audiences.  The only downside to the sets is that their set lists don’t exactly match.  Not every song featured in the recording’s DVD and BD presentation is included in the recording’s CD platform.  To that end, it is the recording’s only major negative, which is actually a good thing.  That means that the recording’s varied platforms and other discussed elements more than make up for that one negative, as unavoidable as it is to note.  All things considered, Live at Wacken 2015 26 Years Louder Than Hell proves in the bigger picture to be one of 2016’s top new live recordings as well as one of the year’s top new live DVD/BDs and CDs.  It is available now in stores and online.

Live at Wacken 2015 26 Years Louder Than Hell is one of 2016’s top new live recordings.  That is the case even considering that it does have at least one unavoidable negative.  The recording’s featured performer list and the featured acts’ performances partner with the varied platforms on which the recording has been made available to make the recording an enjoyable experience for any purist member of the metal nation worldwide.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on this and other titles from UDR Music is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.udr-music.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/udrmusic

 

 

 

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.