‘Laurel & Hardy: The Definitive Restorations’ Is “Definitely” An Enjoyable Presentation

Courtesy: MVD Entertainment Group

Audiences need a laugh today more than ever.  With broadcast news agencies churning out a constant stream of negativity about the COVID-19 pandemic and everything happening in the political world, it’s tough to find something positive.  Enter MVD Entertainment Group and its recently released Laurel & Hardy Blu-ray collection The Definitive Restorations.  This four-disc collection gives audiences plenty of laughs throughout its overall presentation.  Additionally, it ensures audiences’ engagement just as much as their entertainment.  That is thanks to its extensive primary and secondary content.  Each item will receive its own attention here.  The set’s restoration rounds out its most important elements.  Together with the set’s content, all three elements make this collection unquestionably one of the year’s top new family DVD/BD sets and a welcome watch for any viewer looking for an enjoyable way to pass that time indoors.

MVD Entertainment Group’s recently released Laurel & Hardy Blu-ray box set, The Definitive Restorations is a must have for classic movie and TV aficionados just as much as for the most devoted Laurel & Hardy fans.  That is thanks in no small part to its featured primary content.  The content in question is a deep dive into the legendary duo’s shorts, including the ultra rare short “The Battle of the Century.”  The story centers on Laurel as a boxer whose quest to get insurance should he get injured.  This after Laurel ended up losing a boxing match.  The result of that search for insurance is the noted pie fight, which is the ultimate slapstick bit on the highest level.  In yet another enjoyable short, titled “Me and My Pal,” Oliver’s wedding to the daughter of an oil magnate is put in jeopardy all thanks to a puzzle that Laurel bought for him as a wedding gift.  Laurel and others inadvertently become completely wrapped up in assembling the puzzle, leading to plenty of laughs.  In yet another great moment, Stan and Oliver are delivery men who are trying to get a piano delivered to a house in “The Music Box.”  This short immediately conjures thoughts of some of The Three Stooges’ best bits.  Much the same can be said of the short, “Busy Bodies,” in which the pair plays a pair of carpenters who get into all kinds of trouble.  These are just some of the set’s most notable moments.  The physical comedy that is incorporated into each story, such as Oliver getting stuck on the ladder, which itself is in a car driven by Laurel – in “Hog Wild” – is classic comedy in its own right and will entertain audiences just as much as the story.  That moment in “County Hospital” when the doctor hangs out a window a la Harold Lloyd in the 1923 short “Safety Last!” makes for its own share of laughs, too, adding even more entertainment value.  Even the more subtle physical comedy in “Their First Mistake,” which finds Oliver accidentally feeding Stan with a bottle at one point, makes for its own laughs.  Simply put, the stories featured in this set and their overall content is sure to keep audiences engaged and entertained.  Sure, it isn’t the complete shorts collection – It features 20 shorts in all, and the one “movie” “Sons of the Desert” — but it certainly is a rich presentation that any viewer will appreciate.  Keeping all of this in mind, the content featured in Laurel & Hardy: The Definitive Restorations more than makes this collection worth watching.  It is only one part of what makes the set so appealing.  Its secondary content – the bonus content – adds to that entertainment and engagement.

The bonus content that accompanies the set’s shorts is important to note because it takes viewers behind the scenes of Laurel & Hardy’s shorts.  Hal Roach’s audio interview is one of the most notable of the interviews.  Roach, who’s studio handled Laurel & Hardy’s presentations, reveals in his interview that the writing process for the shorts was handled mainly by the writers and by Stan and Oliver.  He stresses that he kept a hands-off approach to the shorts’ creative process during his discussion.  He goes so far as to admit that, “I’d just slow them down on set.”   This gives viewers a glimpse into how the stories in these shorts came to life.  It creates a new appreciation for the final product.

Another notable interview that accompanies the set comes from actress Anita Garvin.  Featured in the set’s first disc, Garvin’s interview finds her talking about her initial fear of Stan Laurel, because she had never met him or Oliver Hardy.  As she continues, Garvin reveals that in meeting them, she realized that Laurel was actually a very “sweet, lovable man.”  She talked about his positive work ethic in the process.  Additionally, Garvin revealed that scripts were rare in Stan and Laurel’s features, and that ad-libbing was commonplace.  This goes back to what Hal Roach noted in his interview about taking a hands-off approach to the features.  This is just one more example of what audiences will appreciate in the way of the interviews.  Joe Rock’s interview adds its own share of interest to the set, even  despite being shorter than other interviews.

Rock reveals in his interview, that the budget for “Sons of the Desert” was very tight.  He tied that in to an anecdote about discussions surrounding Stan Laurel’s salary at the time.  On yet another topic, Rock also makes a statement about how much he enjoyed working with Stan and Laurel because the features at the time did not rely on sex and violence, unlike today’s comedy.  He could not be more right.  Between that discussion, his others, and those from the other noted figures (and those not noted here), the interviews in whole make for their own share of entertainment and engagement.  When this item is considered with the overall content in the featured shorts, the overall content makes the overall viewing experience that much more enjoyable for audiences.  Even with this in mind, there is still more to consider.  That “more” is the actual presentation of the shorts.

The shorts featured in this set are presented in 2K/4K, remastered from the original 35mm film.  The restoration was not just a one and done sort of process.  It took painstaking efforts to bring them back to their original glory.  There was first, a process to restore the film negatives, using chemicals.  That was followed by another process to further define the footage and make it sharp and clear.  The time and effort that was used to restore the footage clearly paid off.  Each short is crystal clear yet still has that original grainy feel, which will certainly generate a sense of nostalgia among audiences.  What’s more, that general clarity of the picture and sound adds to the overall aesthetic appeal of the set.  That appeal ensures in its own right, viewers’ maintained engagement and entertainment because it will keep audiences watching and laughing at each featured short.  The result of all things considered is a presentation that is just as wonderful for its actual content as for the presentation of said content.  Simply put, they come together to make the set, again, a must have for any classic movie and TV aficionado and any Laurle & Hardy devotee.

MVD Entertainment Group’s recently released Blu-ray set The Definitive Restorations is a presentation that so many audiences will appreciate.  Its stories and their featured comedic content is sure to give audiences the happy escape that they need from all the negativity in the news and the world.  The interviews that accompany the shorts adds its own share of entertainment and engagement for audiences.  The painstaking efforts that were made to restore the featured shorts adds even more appreciation for the set.  Given, it is not the definitive collection of Laurel & Hardy features by any means, but it definitely is an enjoyable presentation.  It is available now.

More information on this and other titles from MVD Entertainment Group is available online at:






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Protokult Debuts ‘Feed Your Demon’ Video

Courtesy: Asher Media Relations

Independent hard rock band Protokult will release its new album Transcending The Ruins this fall.

In anticipation of its release on Oct. 1, the band debuted the video for the album’s lead single ‘Feed Your Demon‘ last month.  The video features the band members performing their respective parts to the song, sometimes against a backdrop of flames, and at other points, against a plain black backdrop.

The song itself features an arrangement that lends itself to comparisons to the heavy  metal sounds of the 80s throughout most of its seven-minute run time.  Though it does add a touch of operatic metal later in its run.

The song’s lyrical content presents a commentary of sorts, according to a prepared statement from the band.

““Feed Your Demons” was probably the last song written for the record, we needed something fairly simple, heavy and to the point,” the statement reads. “I pictured a groovy yet haunting female folk bridge in the middle and wanted some extra aggression too. One of the more personal songs from the album, it deals with the fragility and vulnerability of what makes us human, I.E addictions, shame, and hopefully learning to cope with so-called vices. It’s not a song that supports addiction but essentially, controlling your demons if you absolutely HAVE to feed them on occasion.”

Pre-orders are open for Transcending The Ruins.  The album’s track listing is noted below.


Track Listing:
1. Mark Of Thunder (6:45)
2. Feed Your Demons (6:25)
3. 1516 (Keeper of the Hops) (3:58)
4. Oy Kanada (5:29)
5. Troubled Lad (Slainte Mhaith) (4:30)
6. Na Gryanoi Nedele (1:47)
7. Rusalka (6:17)
8. Valley of Thorns (7:45)
9. Wenches (4:23)
10. Greet The Dawn (6:09)
11. Dead New World (15:23)
Album Length: 1:08:57


More information on Protokult’s new album, single and video is available along with all of the band’s latest news at :


Website: http://protokult.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/PROTOKULT


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Machine Head Debuts ‘Bulletproof’ Lyric Video

Machine Head debuted the video for its recently released song ‘Bulletproof.’

The band debuted the song’s lyric video Tuesday.  The video’s debut comes less than two months after the band debuted the video for the companion to ‘Bulletproof,’ ‘Stop The Bleeding (ft. Jesse Leach).’  The songs were released in June on a 2-song digital single titled Civil Unrest.

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

The ‘Bulletproof’ lyric video features the song’s lyrics over footage of the protests and riots that have happened nationwide this year.  The song’s arrangement plays over it all in the meantime.  The song’s lyrical theme is illustrated through the noted footage while the furious riffing takes listeners back to Machine Head’s glory days.

Front man Robb Flynn talked about the song’s lyrical theme in a recent interview.

“The lyrics for ‘Bulletproof’ were finished in the aftermath of not only the Ahmaud Arbery murder at the hands of white supremacist, but everything twisting out of control in our world,” he said. “The isolation and craziness of the pandemic, the lockdown protesters storming government buildings with AR-15‘s, as well as the blatant lies and conspiracies pouring out of our political leaders’ mouths, hour by hour, day after day.”

More information on Machine Head’s new single is available along with all of Machine Head’s latest news at:






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Musical Arrangements, Production Save Orbit Culture’s New LP

Courtesy: Seek & Strike

Independent metal band Orbit Culture is working hard to make a name for itself within the bigger metal community.  The band released its new album Nija aug 7 through seek & Strike Records.  The 10-song album is a powerful entry that will appeal to the band’s target audience.  That is due in part to its musical arrangements, which will be addressed shortly.  Its lyrical themes do their own part to make the album appealing to the noted listeners.  The record’s production is just as much of note as its overall content.  When this item is considered along with the album’s content, the album in whole proves to be a presentation that the band’s target audience base will agree is worth hearing at least once.

Orbit Culture’s new album Nija is a strong new effort from the band that the group’s target audience base will appreciate.  That is due in no small part to the record’s collective musical arrangements.  From beginning to end of the 45-minute record, its riffs, seething vocal deliveries, bass and drums will appeal to a wide range of listeners.  Each arrangement exhibits touches of groove metal joined with death metal, thrash, and even a bit of black metal.  At the same time, there is also a hint of melodic metal and hard rock added to the mix for a result that is truly interesting.  The heavier arrangements will appeal to fans of bands, such as Whitechapel, Humanity’s Last Breath, and Gojira.  The album’s more melodic moments, such as in ‘Open Eye’ and ‘See Through Me’ take listeners in a completely different direction.  ‘Open Eye’ conjures thoughts of early Metallica at various points while the whole of ‘See Through Me’ is more of a metalcore presentation.  In the exact same breath, there are plenty of other moments in ‘Open Eye’ that are more akin to the noted heavier acts.  The two elements are very well-balanced here and make for quite the interesting composition.  ‘Sun of All’ is another of those arrangements in this record that balances the noted death and black metal elements with a distinct melodic hard rock sensibility.  It comes later in the record’s run.  The two sides are so well-balanced, too, that one can’t help but listen.  Add in the hypnotizing string arrangement and metalcore elements, and audiences get in this song what is musically, one of the album’s most standout moments.  It’s just one more way in which the album’s musical arrangements show their importance.  When it is considered along with the rest of the album’s arrangements (noted and not) the whole of the album’s musical body becomes a presentation that in itself makes the album well worth hearing.  For all that the album’s musical arrangements do for its whole, they are just one of the album’s notable aspects.  Its lyrical content is sure to generate its own share of interest among audiences.

The lyrical content featured throughout Nija is intriguing to say the least.  While the record’s musical arrangements guarantee far-reaching appeal, its lyrical content feels much more targeted with its dark, nihilistic overtones.  Case in point is the lyrical content featured in ‘North Star of Nija.’  The song’s lead verse states, “Combust/The opulence of all the human faults in flames/You’ve killed/But you see yourself for real in here/The serpent/Black god/The north star of Nija.”  The song’s second verse adds in, “Adjust the ornament/To fit the true king of our realm/You bow to a darker power that’s real in here…I’ve lived through some grey days/But I’ve never really given it a thought/How I live/How it’s feasting on me/How it’s taking me.”  The song’s third verse is just as heavy, stating, “I’m the leader of all that’s dead/I’m the crows that you witness next/I’m the leech that steals from the mother’s breast/I’m the serpent in Hell.”  The song goes on in similar fashion from here with the only real seeming glimmer of hope coming later in the line, “You’ll stay here for a long time/You’ll dry your tears from off your face/But you can’t look back now.”  Even that is questionable in its delivery.  It could be positive, but considering the next lines, it is difficult to say.  Ultimately the song ends with the line, “I’ve sent down the crows to Hell/To gather the bones of you/I’ve given the piece of skin/To the gods of the broken man/I am complete.”  So maybe, just maybe this is meant to send a sense of overcoming adversity.  It leaves even this critic bewildered.  Even with all of this in mind, that it has the potential to create so much discussion makes it stand out as just one example of what makes the album’s lyrical content important.  ‘Behold’ is another example of what makes Nija’s lyrical intriguing.

‘Behold’ comes across as a deeply introspective work in its own right.  Front man Niklas Karlsson sings in the song’s lead verse, “In the essence of the fire/I’m realizing that this is life now/I’ve tried so hard to keep this feeling/Of feeling sane/Mind and body/I tried so hard to keep the demons/The fallen society/The downfall of you and me/in the white halls we are searching.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “In the presence of the higher/The mesmerizing colors/I’ve tried so hard to find the healing/Being sane/Tired body/I tried so hard to keep the demons in me.”  At this point, it can be inferred that this is someone facing that age old battle with self.  Things don’t get much brighter from here.  As a mater of fact, the nihilism continues right to the end, with Karlsson stating in the end, “Death is certain/Nothing else more can be/No light in the tunnels of this force spinning wheel/The white robe ideal.”  Simply put, this is not the happiest of songs musically or lyrically.  It will appeal to a very targeted listener base.  Keeping that in mind, it is just one more way in which the record’s lyrical content proves its importance to its whole.  ‘Rebirth’ is just as nihilistic as ‘Behold’ and much of the album’s other songs in its lyrical presentation.

Much like ‘Behold’ and the album’s other songs, this is a work that will appeal to a very targeted audience.  That is because it is just as lyrically heavy as those works.  The song’s lead verse proves that as Karlsson sings, “My sun/It’s time to leave this world/It’s time to leave the daylight stream/It’s time to feel this rain/Through the fire hail/This is all I have to say/This is all that’s left of me/In this shell I’ve lived through Hell/Walking icy plains/I cannot take what this world gave me/I cannot live through this hell/I cannot take this life that I’ve been given/I’ve always sung the words and songs of death.”  Once again, things don’t get much brighter from here.  To that end, there is not a lot of need to go on from here about this song’s lyrical content.  Again, it is a presentation that will only appeal to a very targeted audience.  In other words, it’s one more example of why the lyrics play their own role in the bigger picture of Nija.  Needless to say the album’s lyrics require audiences to be in a very specific mindset in order to be appreciated.  To that end, whether it detracts from or adds to the album’s presentation all depends on the listener.  Regardless of which side one takes in that discussion, one thing on which everyone can agree is that the album’s production rounds out its most important elements.

The production of Nijia is important to note because it is that work that made the album sound so good.  As noted already, there is a lot going on throughout this record in terms of its arrangements.  There are moments in which the guitars and vocals roar alongside the bass and drums.  There are also moments throughout the album that are more controlled (for lack of better wording).  There are also moments in which both are incorporated into one song.  Regardless of which song is chosen, it can be said that the utmost attention to detail was taken throughout the album.  Each instrument is expertly coupled with its partners from start to end.  The result is a record that is worth hearing just as much as it is for the depth of the arrangements themselves.  Those two elements together make the album worth hearing even despite the issues raised by the album’s lyrical content.

Orbit Culture’s new album Nija is an intriguing offering from the independent metal outfit.  That is due in part to the record’s musical arrangements, which blend together so many different metal genres from one to the next and even within themselves.  They make the album worth hearing if only for themselves.  The album’s lyrical content poses a bit of a problem for its presentation.  That is because in looking at this aspect, it will appeal to a very targeted audience, unlike the album’s musical content.  Even with that in mind, the lyrical content does not detract so much from the album that it is not worth hearing.  The record’s production partners with the arrangements to make up for the problem posed by the album’s lyrical content.  The production and music work together to make Nija worth hearing at least among the metal masses.  It is available now through Seek & Strike Records.  More information on Nija is available along with all of Orbit Culture’s latest news and more at:




Website: http://www.orbitculture.com

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



Twitter: http://twitte.com/orbitculture




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FirstBorne Encourages Listeners To Seize The Day With Its New Single, Video

Courtesy: FirstBorne/Scorpion LTD

Hard rock super group Firstborne debuted the video for its latest single over the weekend.

The band — Chris Adler (ex-Lamb of God), James LoMenzo (ex-Megadeth), Girish Pradhan (Girish and the Chronicles), and “Myrone” — debuted the lyric video for its new single ‘Roll The Dice‘ Friday.  The song is featured in the band’s debut self-titled EP, which was released this past Spring.

The video incorporates the song’s lyrics into a series of visual effects while the song plays over the video.  Because the imagery flashes very quickly throughout, those who are susceptible to seizures are cautioned against watching the video, but only listening to the song.

The song’s musical arrangement is certain to appeal to a wide range of listeners.  It crosses a punk element with a straight-forward guitar rock approach for a distinct whole.  Adler’s time keeping is simple here, but that is a good thing.  It shows that he is just as talented in keeping standard time as he is with more complex polyrhythmic patterns.

LoMenzo’s work on bass works well with Adler’s time keeping to flesh out the song’s rhythm section.  Meanwhile “Myrone” shines on guitar  while Pradhan’s vocals are sharp and tight in their own way.

Adler talked about the song’s musical arrangement in a recent interview.

“’Roll the Dice’ shows Firstborne turning another unexpected turn musically that I could not have done before,” said Adler. “It’s the perfect song to drive fast with the windows down air drumming on your wheel.”

Additionally, Adler addressed the song’s lyrical theme during his interview.

“Somewhat ironically, it speaks to how those memorable moments can turn to tragedy,” he said. “We only go around this thing once and as Elvis Costello — and, bizarrely, the Meatmen — best said it back in the day, ‘Accidents will happen, you don’t know when, accidents are waiting around the bend.’ Enjoy what you have left.”

LoMenzo added to Adler’s statement, noting, “‘Roll The Dice’ is an energetic snapshot of what Firstborne is all about,” he said. “Shutting out self-doubt, shutting down fear and just going for it!”

More information on FirstBorne’s new lyric video is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:


Website: http://www.thefirstborne.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/thefirstborne


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

Drop Top Alibi Debuts ‘Eyes For You’ Lyric Video

Independent rock band Drop Top Alibi debuted the video for its latest single over the weekend.

The band debuted the lyric video for its new single ‘Eyes For You’ Friday through v13.net.  The video is a unique take on the concept of a lyric video.  That is because of its approach.

The video uses one steady, continuous shot of the band performing its single in a dimly lit studio and places the song’s lyrics next to a glass of beer on an amp. The amp vibrates throughout the song, causing the glass to shake, though it never tips over.  This minimalist approach to the creation of a lyric video is a rarely used approach for such presentations.  Most lyric videos out there today are more artistic, with lyrics featured in specific fonts and styles against a specific artistic background.

Courtesy: The Label Group

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Eyes For You’ is just as minimalist as the video.  It is a 90s guitar rock composition that is accessible in its own right.  The juxtaposition of the softer verses and the heavier chorus sections adds to the appeal for the band’s target audience.

The lyrical content featured in ‘Eyes For You’ comes across as being a social commentary, considering the mention in the song’s lead verse, which states, “Look at the costly/Habits and your broken will/Conceptual bodies/Gotta get your nightly fill/Eyes for you/Like a pretty little cover girl/Eyes for you/Like the pusher man rule the world/There’s a monster under the bed/So they sleep on the floor/Now the monster won’t be alone no more.”  That seeming commentary continues in the song’s second verse, which states, “Governing bodies/And doctors/Pass the blame around/Killing you softly/A generation sold by the pound/Eyes for you/So the world will come around/Eyes for you/Because the shaking under your brow.”

‘Eyes For You’ is available to stream and download here.

More information on Drop Top Alibi’s new ‘Eyes For You’ lyric video is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:


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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/drop_top_alibi


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

Secret Of Boris Debuts ‘Don’t Mention Love’ Video; Scheduled To Perform Live At Rail Fest

Independent electronic rock act Secret of Boris has a new live date planned.

The band is scheduled to perform live at this year’s Rail Fest in Fort Worth, Texas.  The four-day festival is scheduled to take place Oct. 1-4 at The Rail Club.  One of the songs sure to feature in the band’s set list — should the festival go on as planned — is its recently released single, ‘Don’t Mention Love.’

The band debuted the song’s companion video Apr. 4.  The video features the band performing in a dimly lit sound stage, complete with black light.  The song’s musical arrangement is an up-tempo work whose guitars, vocals and keyboards collectively lend themselves to comparisons to works from Orgy, Julien-K and Nine Inch Nails.

Front man Cameron Taylor talked about the arrangement’s creation in a recent interview.

“This song had been kicking around for quite some time,” he said. “I wrote the synth intro and verses long ago, and they were always something the band was excited about, and the chorus went through several small changes, but the bridge always gave us trouble. We would work on it, and then move on to other things, but it kept getting brought up. Finally, we landed on what you hear today, which ended up being a pretty emotionally intense part of the song. I’m glad we stuck with it.”

The lyrical theme at the center of ‘Don’t Mention Love’ comes across as addressing a familiar topic, a broken relationship.

Courtesy: TAG Publicity

‘Don’t Mention Love’ is available to stream and download through Apple Music, Spotify and the band’s official Bandcamp page.

The debut of ‘Don’t Mention Love’ and its companion video came almost a month prior to the debut of the band’s now most recent single, ‘This is The End‘ and its companion video.  That song itself boasts its own Nine Inch Nails-esque sound in its arrangement.  At the same time, it can also be compared to works from Mushroomhead and Five Finger Death Punch.

More information on Secret Of Boris’ upcoming live show, its new singles and videos is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:


Website: http://secretofboris.net

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/secretofboris


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




Helion Prime Debuts ‘The Forbidden Zone’ Lyric Video

Courtesy: Saibot Reigns

Power metal band Helion Prime debuted the video for its latest single this week.

The band debuted the lyric video for its new single ‘The Forbidden Zone‘ Monday.  The song and its companion video are the first from the band’s forthcoming third album Question Everything.

Pre-orders are open now for Question Everything.   The album’s track listing is noted below.


Track Listing:
1. The Final Theory (4:20)
2. Madame Mercury (4:19)
3. Prof (3:55)
4. The Gadfly (6:35)
5. Photo 51 (5:13)
6. E Pur Si Muove (5:48)
7. Words of The Abbot (4:55) ft. guest vocals John Yelland (Judicator, Dire Peril)
8. The Forbidden Zone (4:32)
9. Question Everything (5:56) ft. Heather Michele (ex-Graveshadow, ex-Helion Prime) and Sozos Michael (ex-Helion Prime, Planeswalker)
10. Reawakening (6:54)
11. Kong at the Gates (Misfits Cover)
Album Length: 56:12



The song’s musical arrangement will appeal to fans of fellow power metal act Unleash The Archers while its arrangement is pat of a bigger story that will engage and entertain audiences.  ‘The Forbidden Zone’ is available to stream through Spotify.

Guitarist Jason Ashcroft talked about the song’s (and album’s) lyrical content in a recent interview.

“I have had plans to write a song based on the film Planet of the Apes for some time now,” he said. “I love films and just needed the right time. The character Cornelius really fits into the theme I was going for with this album. He is the only fictional character to be featured on this album.”

“This album has truly been amazing to work on,” added Ashcroft. “The idea behind it is something I’ve been holding on to since around the time I started the band. Aside from writing some of what I consider to be Prime’s best work it was a great experience getting to work with Heather again on an album as she once again contributed her talents for the lyrics.”

The bigger picture of the album is that it focuses on different figures in history who challenged the norms of their societies and cultures.  This despite the results of their actions.

The album is scheduled for release Oct. 5 through the band’s own label, Saibot Reigns.  It is the band’s first with new vocalist Mary Zimmer.  Former vocalist Heather Michele returned for the album, but in a writing capacity and writing all the album’s lyrics and some of its melodies.

Additionally, Michele provided guest vocals for the album along with other former Helion Prime vocalists Sozos Michael and John Yelland (Judicator/Dire Peril).

Question Everything was mixed by Chris Collier and mastered by Brett Caldas-Lima.  Alex nassla (Gear Gods Studio) provided additional mixing/drum edits/re-amping.  Michael Goodrich provided guitar-bass edits.

The cover art for Question Everything was created by Marc Whisnant.

More information on the band’s new album and single is available along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:


Website: http://helionprimemetal.com

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


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


Michael Schenker Announces Release Date, Specs For New Michael Schenker Group Album

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Michael Schenker Group will release what will be its first album in more than a decade next year.

The announcement was made Monday through a press release from Nuclear Blast Records.  The document stated Schenker (ex-Scorpions, UFO, Michael Schenker Fest) is in the last stages of working on the album, titled Immortal.  Additionally, it states the album’s release is scheduled for Jan. 8, 2021 through Nuclear Blast Records, more than a year after Schenker released his latest Michael Schenker Fest album Revelation.

“It’s going very well,” said Schenker of the progress on the album’s work. “We have a lot of guest musicians, who will undoubtedly help to make it an exceptional success. First of all I want to say that I am very grateful to any musicians that have helped to create a fitting tribute to my long career on this special release. I want to thank all of them for their incredible contribution.”

Nuclear Blast Records Founder Markus Staiger said in his own comments, he was looking forward to Schenker’s forthcoming MSG album.

“I am really looking forward to releasing this brand new MSG album, after the two excellent Michael Schenker Fest records,” he said. “At the age of 14, the self-titled MSG debut completely blew me away and helped to shape my taste, since then I’ve followed and loved his music and unique compositions. Those ten new tracks are pure magic!”

Immortal was recorded primarily at Kidroom Studio in Germany with Schenker’s longtime partner Michael Voss.  Voss co-produced the album with Schenker and provided vocals for two of the album’s songs.

Schenker praised Voss for his work.

“It is always a pleasure to work with Michael Voss, who works around the clock and is a phenomenal musician and producer,” he said. “He was composing the melody and lyrics for a power ballad I had written the music for, and he ended up singing along. It turned out so amazing, I did not think anyone else could have done a better job for this song. Truly great.“

Voss is just one of the individuals who will provide vocals for Schenker’s new MSG album.  Ronnie Romero (Rainbow) will provide vocals along with Voss, Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear), and Joe Lynn Turner (ex-Deep Purple).  Joining the group for the album are musicians Steve Mann on keyboards, Barry Sparks (Dokken) on bass, and Bodo Schopf, Simon Phillips (ex-Toto), and Brian Tichy (Phill Rocker, ex-Godsmack, ex-Whitesnake) sharing drumming duties.

Schenker spoke highly of Tichy as he talked about the album’s lineup of musicians.

“Brian was thrilled to be part of it,” he said of Tichy’s involvement in the album. “He is a master of groove and ended up playing on six songs. I could not believe it: This man is something else. He is a true natural and very original. With his input, it made the album very solid and complete. So guess what – I am very happy.”

Also joining the collective for Schenker’s new MSG record is famed keyboardist Derek Sherinian (ex-Dream Theater, Sons of Apollo, Alice Cooper).  Schenker said of Sherinian’s performance on the album’s opener,”Derek and myself trading solos, it sounds unexpected and beyond my expectation. Absolutely fantastic!“

Immortal will feature 10 songs, including one composition that Schenker created when he was a child, titled ‘In Search of the Peace of Mind.’

Schenker spoke at length about the song during his recent interview.

“I wrote this song when I was 15 years old, it was my first ever written piece of music which I recorded with Scorpions on our first studio album Lonesome Crow in 1970, getting released in 1972 – when I had already left Scorpions to join the British rock band UFO in June of 1972 – when I was 17,” he said. “We re-recorded this song for my 50th anniversary as a celebration and it turned out to be an epic; with an extra extension at the end of the song, which turned out absolutely fantastic with Simon Phillips on drums, doing his usual amazing stuff.“ The result is a true highlight and features even more surprises: “Gary Barden sings the first verse,  continued by Ronnie Romero – and in the end we have Ronnie, Doogie White, and Robin McAuley screaming their heads off, as a tribute to my 50th anniversary. Absolutely amazing. Thanks to the guys for doing this!“

Immortal will release as a standard CD and a limited edition expanded edition complete with the Michael Schenker Fest live recording Bang Your Head.  Schenker said of the recording, which was recorded two years ago in Balingen/Germany, “Unfixed, raw, pure and great! There’s a couple of small mistakes, but because the show and recording went so well, I decided to keep it the way it went on the night. It’s live, magic and pure.“

More information on Immortal is available now along with all of Michael Schenker Fest’s latest news and more at:






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Jeremy Squires Debuts New LP’s Second Single, ‘Labyrinth’

Album Artwork: Kelly Willis/Brainflower Designs

Independent alt-folk artist Jeremy Squires debuted his latest single last week.

Squires debuted his new single ”Labyrinth’ Thursday through Americana Highways.  The song is the second single from Squires’ forthcoming album Many Moons, which is scheduled for release Aug. 28.  Squires debuted the album’s lead single ‘Cast Spells‘ and its companion video last month.

‘Labyrinth’ is a starkly different song from ‘Cast Spells’ in terms of its musical arrangement.  The arrangement features Squires by himself performing on what sounds like a steel guitar in a very familiar blues-based Americana style approach.  It is a sound that will appeal to longtime fans of Ben Harper.  By comparison, ‘Cast Spells’ is a much more subdued composition even though it boasts the same kind of approach as that presented in ‘Labyrinth.’

The lyrical content featured in Squires’ new song matches well with the song’s subtle musical arrangement, as explained by Squires himself.

“This song is about living in the same place where you grew up and watching everything change around you,” he said. “This line from ‘Labyrinth’ conveys what I try to express in the song: ‘The neighbors were building a treehouse for the kids in the yard where I used to play for hours dreaming.’ I tried to write and sing it in a way that paints a vivid portrait.”

‘Labyrinth’ is available to stream and download herePre-orders are open now.  All pre-orders come with an instant grat download of ‘Cast Spells.’

Many Moons‘ track listing is noted below.

MANY MOONS‘ Track listing

  1. Hazy
  2. Cast Spells
  3. Glass House
  4. Vanishing
  5. Labyrinth
  6. Hummingbird
  7. Many Moons
  8. Infinite Chords
  9. Swan Dive
  10. The Shade You Cast

More information on Jeremy Squires’ new single, video and album is available along with all of his latest news at:





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