David Reece Offers Audiences Another Successful Album In ‘Blacklist Utopia’

Courtesy: El Puerto Records

Veteran rocker David Reece is scheduled to return this week with his latest album, Blacklist Utopia.  The 13-song record is scheduled for release Friday through El Puerto Records and will come a little more than a year after the release of his then latest album, Cacophony of Souls.  He released that album through El Puerto Records, too.  This latest offering, which runs 57 minutes, is another strong presentation thanks to its featured musical and lyrical content.  That is proven in part through the album’s single, ‘I Can’t Breathe.’  This song will be discussed shortly.  ‘American Dream’ also does well to show what makes the album’s musical and lyrical content stand out.  It will be examined a little later.  ‘Book of Lies,’ which closes the album, is yet another example of how this record’s musical and lyrical content comes together to make it worth hearing.  When it is considered along with the other songs noted here and the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes Blacklist Utopia another record that David Reece’s fans are certain to appreciate.

David Reece’s latest album, Blacklist Utopia, is a work that is sure to appeal to Reece’s established audiences and to guitar rock purists alike.  That is proven throughout the record with its musical arrangements and lyrical themes.  The album’s single, ‘I Can’t Breathe’ is just one of the works featured in the record that supports the noted statements.  The song’s musical arrangement is a pure, heavy, guitar-driven hard rock composition that fits just as well with today’s active rock opuses as with the hard rock songs that bridged the late 80s and early 90s.  Its appeal is that wide.  The fire in the song’s arrangement does well to help translate and deliver the frustration in the song’s clearly sociopolitical theme.

In the case of this song’s lyrical theme, it takes on the big news stories that have happened over the course of the past year or so in a fully unbiased fashion.  Reece sings in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “I’m shakin’ my fist at the 1% of you/Radical/Your ideas/Always on the news/99% of us don’t care about your view/I refuse/Detonate the fuse/Dead or alive/’Cause I can’t breathe/I will survive/Your hypocrisy/Bring me to life/’Cause I can’t breathe/Throw me a line/Remove your knee/’Cause I can’t breathe.”  Again, audiences should not misunderstand what Reece is saying here.  This is clearly meant as a commentary on the division in America today; that rift that has formed among the people because of everything going on.  The commentary continues in the song’s second verse, “I’m wearin’ my mask ‘cause statistics tell me so/Fanatical pariahs do it all for show/Mighty fine/You plant the trust/Stooping to a low/Nothing to lose/Resonate the muse/Feeling deprived/Now I can’t breathe/Take off the disguise/Don’t lie to me/Try to connive/So I can’t breathe/Hard to describe/What’s inside of me/’Cause I can’t breathe.”  The mention of the mask is clearly a reference to the CDC’s recommendations about mask wearing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  It would seem that the mention of the fanatical pariahs doing it “all for show” maybe is commentary about how some people are pushing an agenda rather than actually caring about what is happening.  It definitely makes for its own share of discussion.  Add in the sense that the song’s subject can’t breathe because of everything he/she is feeling inside adds to the overall sense that this is a song about someone who is seeing everything going on and just feels completely overwhelmed by it all.  The fire in the song’s musical arrangement helps to translate the frustration that said subject must feel at seeing it all.  It works together to show clearly in its own right why the album’s overall content makes it a successful new offering from David Reece.  It is just one of the songs that serves that end, too.  ‘American Dream,’ which comes a little later in the album’s nearly hour-long run, is another example of how the album’s collective content makes it worth hearing.

‘American Dream’ stands out in part through its musical arrangement, which is a stark contrast to so much of the album’s musical content.  It is a simple, semi-acoustic work that is a ballad of sorts.  The almost mournful approach (Reese’s vocals included), conjure thoughts of works from the likes of Bruce Springsteen.  Yes, it is a little bit of a stretch, but it is a comparison that can still be made to a point.  The sound and approach taken here does just as well in pairing with the song’s own socially conscious lyrical theme to impact audiences.

As noted, the lyrical theme featured in ‘American Dream’ is another socio-politically charged song.  Its approach, even lyrically, throws back to the old folksy political songs of the 60s.  This is evidenced as Reece sings about the fading sunlight over no man’s land, the lady on the island being “a puppet on a string” and “progress masquerading while they’re kicking cans” in the song’s lead verse.  Reece adds to that sense in the song’s chorus that the American dream not “being what she seems.”  The mention of “politicians stumbling over their own lies” in the song’s second verse adds even more to the clear statement being made here.  Looking even deeper at all of this, it plays into the overall theme noted in the album’s title.  It is another example of how Utopia really has been “blacklisted” so to speak.  Again, when this is considered along with the song’s musical arrangement, the whole of the song becomes even more impacting.  It is just one more way in which the album’s collective content proves so important to the overall presentation.  ‘Book of Lies,’ which closes out the album, is one more example of how the album’s content makes it appealing for his established and targeted audiences.

‘Book Of Lies’ presents another familiar style approach and sound in its musical arrangement.  It is another, pure hard rock composition.  What is interesting here is that the upbeat, 2/4 time signature, Reese’s vocal delivery, and the guitars work here to actually give the song the slightest touch of punk (yes, punk) influence along his more familiar guitar and power metal approach.  That blending of sounds and styles here is handled expertly and makes the arrangement in whole unique of its counterparts in the album.  It is just one more example of how the album’s musical arrangements make it appealing. The lyrical content that accompanies the song’s musical arrangement builds on that appeal and makes for even more interest.

This is just this critic’s interpretation, but in the case of this song, it seems that instead of more sociopolitical commentary, Reece instead opts for a more direct social commentary.  In this case, that commentary seems to focus on how people live one way, but try to make people think they live another way.  Now whether the very mention of the “book of lies” is a reference to Facebook or just a metaphor simply for how we as humans put on airs, the reference works in either instance.  The mention of pulling the plug in the chorus would seem to aim the commentary more on the matter of social media, but again that is just this critic’s interpretation.  Regardless, the overall message is relatively clear.  It is a commentary about how people live double lives of sorts and how we need to just live our one true life no matter what.  To that end, the emotion in the song’s musical arrangement pairs with this seeming commentary to give listeners one last dose of hope even though for the most part, the album has proven the world is anything but a Utopia.  It is a fine final accent to the presentation that proves once more why the album deserves to be heard at least once.

David Reece’s latest album, Blacklist Utopia is a presentation that his established fans will find just as appealing as any true rock and hard rock purist.  That is proven through the record’s musical and lyrical content alike.  The songs examined here do well to support the noted statements.  When they are considered along with the album’s remaining tracks, the whole makes the album overall, a positive new offering from Reece that is worth hearing at least once.

Blacklist Utopia is scheduled for release Friday through El Puerto Records. More information on the album is available now along with all of David Reece’s latest news at https://www.facebook.com/David-Reece-Official-712460068855429/.

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

‘Game Over’ Will Leave Audiences Hoping The Album Is Not The End Game For U.D.O.

Courtesy: AFM Records

Veteran hard rock band U.D.O. is scheduled to release its latest album Friday in the form of Game Over.  The band’s 18th album, its title is a reference to everything going on in the world today. That is according to information made available about the record. This album is everything that audiences have come to expect from the group.  That is exhibited clearly through the record’s musical arrangement, which will be addressed shortly.  The lyrical themes that accompany the record’s musical content does just as much to prove the noted statement.  They will be discussed a little later.  The sequencing of that collective content rounds out the most important of the record’s elements.  It will also be examined later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation.  All things considered, they make Game Over a record that hopefully is not the end game for U.D.O.

U.D.O.’s forthcoming  album, Game Over, is a powerful new offering from the band that will appeal equally to the band’s established audiences and to hard rock fans alike.  That is proven clearly in part through its featured musical arrangements.  The arrangements in question exhibit more of the band’s familiar power metal presentations from beginning to end.  The comparisons to works from the likes of the band’s fellow power/hard rock acts Judas Priest and Saxon are unavoidable.  At the same time, the arrangement featured in the album’s single, ‘Kids and Guns’ is just as easily compared to works from AC/DC.  ‘Empty Eyes’ meanwhile offers audiences something with a little more of a modern hard rock edge while still incorporating the band’s more familiar sound and stylistic approach.  Meanwhile, a song, such as ‘Like A Beast’ immediately conjures thoughts of front man Udo Dirckschneider’s time with Accept with its fiery guitar riffs, solid time keeping, rich bass work and vocals from Dirkschneider himself.  Simply put, the musical content featured throughout Game Over offers plenty for audiences to enjoy because of its diversity.  There’s something old and something new.  There’s even something “blue” (so to speak) in ‘Don’t Wanna Say Goodbye.’  Yes, that awful pun was intended, but it is blue in its mood.  So to that point, there is some truth there, all joking aside.  Again, this all does well to help exhibit the diversity featured throughout the record’s musical body.  That diversity is just a part of what makes the album stand out.  The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical content add their own appeal to the presentation, too.

The lyrical themes featured throughout Game Over are almost as diverse as the record’s musical arrangements.  Audiences get an all too familiar arena anthem in the album’s lead single, ‘Metal Never Dies.’  As the song’s title infers, this is a defiant anthem about the immortality of metal.  It is right up there alongside AC/DC’s famed anthem, ‘Rock ‘N Roll Will Never Die.’  Dirkschneider even goes so far as to sing that line in the song’s chorus after noting in the lead verse, “Back when I took my first breath/The days were dark and gray/No belief/No hope/OR had nothing to say/Then came the days of changes/I realized the truth/Woke me up/Taught me how to fight/Breaking chains/Let heavy thunder through the night/Look up/See the sign/’Cause metal never dies/Stand in line/’Cause metal never dies.”  This is a straight forward to the power of metal in making life better for its fans.  He goes on in the song’s second verse to note his travels around the world because of the world and that “I believed/I had something to say…It was my dream come true.”  This proud tribute to metal and hard rock is a wonderful addition to the album, lyrically speaking, that is certain to become a fan favorite.  It is just one example of the powerful role of the album’s lyrical content.  Dirkschneider and company get socially conscious in ‘Kids and Guns’ and in ‘Time Control.’  The prior is a commentary about the dangers of letting young people get access to guns (the daily headlines since 1999 are proof of that danger).  The latter is a familiar commentary about taking better care of the planet.  This is a theme that was just as prominent in the band’s most recent album, We Are One (2020).  He pointed out during a recent interview that caring better for the planet is not limited to environmentalism, but to the need for peace, too.  That is all presented in ‘Time Control.’  That theme seems to be exhibited in ‘Empty Eyes’ just as much.  It is just another way in which the diversity in the album’s lyrical themes shows itself.  Between these songs and the others that make up the rest of the record’s body, it should be clear at this point that the lyrical themes featured in this record and their diversity are just as important to the album’s presentation as their equally diverse musical arrangements.  Keeping in mind the overall diversity of the album’s content, the sequencing thereof puts the finishing touch to the presentation.

Game Over’s sequencing is so important to note because on one level, it ensures that the energy in the album’s arrangements keeps flowing solidly from beginning to end.  There is one breakpoint just past the album’s midpoint in the form of ‘Don’t Wanna Say Goodbye.’  It makes a good chance for listeners to catch their breath before the energy picks right back up after that point and on to the album’s end.  On another level, the sequencing ensures that the noted diversity in the arrangements is just as evident even in the subtle ways in which the arrangements change in their stylistic approaches.  Those items collectively show that time and thought went into the sequencing in this way to ensure listeners’ engagement and entertainment.  Similarly, the sequencing also ensures the lyrical themes change up from one to the next just enough, too.  That noted change ensures – along with the changes in the album’s musical arrangements – listeners’ engagement and entertainment just as much.  All things considered here, this content shows even more, how much time and thought went into the album’s sequencing.  Keeping that in mind along with the importance of the content itself, the whole leaves Game Over another solid presentation from U.D.O. and one more of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

U.D.O.’s forthcoming album, Game Over is an impressive new offering from the veteran hard rock band.  Its success comes in part through its musical arrangements.  The arrangements offer audiences plenty of familiar sounds and stylistic approaches.  They also give audiences something a little more modern here and there.  The whole makes the album’s musical arrangements well worth hearing.  The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s musical arrangements is just as important as that musical content.  That is because it is just as diverse as the musical arrangements.  The themes are also just as accessible as the record’s musical arrangements.  The sequencing of the collective content rounds out the album’s most important elements.  That is because it brings together the diversity in the overall content.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of Game Over.  All things considered, they will leave audiences glad to know that the album is not the end game for U.D.O.

Game Over is scheduled for release Friday through AFM Records. More information on the album is available along with all of U.D.O.’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.udo-online.de

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/udoonline

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Metal Purists, U.D.O., Accept Fans Alike Will Enjoy Dirkschneider & The Old Gang’s Debut Record

Courtesy: AFM Records

When U.D.O. released its then latest album, We Are One last year, that record proved to be one of the highest musical points for the metal masses.  For all that record did to make 2020 at least a little better amid the negatives caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it apparently ended up having a latent effect.  It led front man Udo Dirkschneider and some of his fellow former Accept members to get together to craft a spinoff record of sorts in the form of Arising.  Released late last month through AFM Records under the moniker of Dirkschneider & The Old Gang, the three song record that offers engagement and entertainment for a wide range of audiences.  That is proven in part through its musical arrangements, which will be discussed shortly.  The record’s lyrical content adds its own appeal to the presentation and will be examined a little later.  The record’s production puts the final touch to its presentation and brings everything full circle.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the record.  All things considered, they make the record another of the best of this year’s new EPs.

Dirkschneider & The Old Gang’s recently released record, Arising, is a positive new presentation from the group, which also features former Accept members Peter Baltes (bass) and Stefan Kaufmann (guitar) alongside Sinner/U.D.O. guitarist Mathias Dieth and Dirkschneider’s song Sven on drums (U.D.O., Dirkschneider).  Manuela Bibert adds her own powerful vocals to the mix to round out the group.  According to information provided, the record’s genesis came about ahead of the creation of U.D.O.’s latest album, We Are One (2020).  The information cites Baltes as stating that ‘Where The Angels Fly,’ one of the record’s three featured tracks, was originally expected for inclusion in We Are One, but ended up not making the finale.  That song was re-worked, leading to its presentation here and the group’s birth.  The musical arrangement featured in the new, re-worked take of Where The Angels Fly’ and the record’s two other songs, ‘Face of a Stranger’ and ‘Every Heart Is Burning’ serve to form the record’s foundation.  Each work presents a familiar mix of vintage hard rock/metal and power metal.  Each arrangement also boasts its own identity separate and unique from that of its counterparts.  The song that started it all opens with a steady but contemplative guitar line from Dieth and steady time keeping from the younger Dirkschneider.  Instead of his regular gruff vocals, the elder Dirskschneider actually offers a cleaner sound here that will surprise many listeners.  Just as surprising is the result when those clean vocals are set alongside those of Bibert.  The harmony created through that pairing against the rest of the group’s works (especially in the chorus) lends itself to the operatic style work that Queen crafted for the Flash Gordon movie in 1981.  One could even make subtle comparison to works from Sabaton here in listening closely to the whole. 

Similarly, ‘Face of a Stranger’ also features an arrangement whose whole is at least somewhat comparable to works from Sabaton.  The thing here though, is that such comparison is far more subtle.  In the case of this song, the arrangement shows more leanings toward the heavier works of Def Leppard.  It pairs that influence along with Udo’s own work with U.D.O. to make the whole a unique, heavy work in its own right that is just as certain to keep listeners engaged and entertained.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Every Heart is Burning’ is more pure guitar-based metal.  The vocal layering that creates the choral effect, the guitar, bass, and drums is just pure 80s metal, and not the hair metal stuff, either.  It is as pure as metal can get.  It will have any listener chanting/singing along, pumping his/her fist in the air.  No doubt if U.D.O. takes this one on the road during its next tour, it will be a sure live hit.  Considering that and the arrangements featured in the record’s other two songs, the whole makes clear why the record’s musical content is so important to its presentation.  That content is only a part of what makes Arising so appealing.  The lyrical content that accompanies the record’s musical arrangements adds to that appeal.

The lyrical theme featured in ‘Face of a Stranger’ does well to support that statement.  This song’s lyrical theme is so interesting in that it comes across as someone having an identity crisis of sorts.  The very mention of not recognizing the person “in the mirror” early on in the song makes that clear.  The later note of “Fading oceans of memories/Bring tears of anguish and shame/A song of vanishing melodies/Where days and nights sound the same” points even more in that direction.  It comes across as someone who realizes who and what he has been and is realizing the error of his ways as he knows he has to change.  This is even as Dirkschneider sings about flashbacks and past lives earlier in the song.  It all really comes across more as an allegory that uses the matter of past lives more in a lyrical sense, like the person the subject was, was that past life.  This is all just this critic’s interpretation of course.  Regardless, this lyrical content is certain to generate its own share of discussion and insight.  To that end, it shows in its own way, the importance of the record’s lyrical content.

The lyrical theme featured in ‘Every Heart is Burning’ does its own share to show the importance of the noted content.  The very way in which the lyrics were crafted here read like something right out of an old fantasy tale.  Of course, the song is not that.  Rather, the literary devices that are used here seem to point to its own story of someone trying to be better.  That would go along with the apparent overall theme of Arising especially in the line stating, “The billows of disgorging sin/That wrap him like a shroud/The wicked have no peace within/Their wailings shrill and loud.”  That mention of the wicked apparently not getting into the song’s subject as he disgorges sin points to the subject trying to expel all of that negative from himself.  This as Dirkschneider and company sing in the song’s chorus that “Every heart is burning/But a soul will never die/Every pain returning/Like a lightning raging high” points to that inference even more.  In its own way, that chorus seems to state that while pain will always be there, the soul (that good) will never die.  In turn, the attempt to eliminate that pain and negative will go on, too.  Again, this is just this critic’s own interpretation.  Hopefully it is somewhere in the proverbial ballpark.  Regardless, the very way in which the song’s lyrical content was crafted pairs with the discussion that it is sure to generate and shows in the end once more why the EP’s lyrical content is so important.  It proves in its own way that the EP’s lyrical content will engage audiences just as much as the record’s musical arrangements. 

Much the same can be noted of the lyrical theme featured in ‘Where The Angels Fly’ that has been noted of its counterparts in this record.  In the case of ‘Where The Angels Fly,’ this song seems to emotionally deep.  Again, this is just this critic’s interpretation, but it almost comes across as imagining what the death of a great person must do even to the angels.  This as Dirkschneider sings in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “On the horizon/Where the sea meets night/I see the face of a warrior/We hear them crying/In the fading light/A shadow falls on a foreigner/they long for the distance/They reach for the sky/At the end of a rainbow/Risin’ up high/Where the angels fly.”  Whoever that man who died was obviously was respected.  He adds in the song’s second verse, “They fall in silence/With a saddening sound/Ad all that’s left’s a memorial/The skies still wonder/Neither lost nor found/Remaining humble and glorious.”  Again, this is so mournful, yet also shows reverence.  This one is difficult to decipher even with lyrics to reference.  Baltes is cited in the previously noted press release as saying this song was “withheld with a heavy heart” from We Are One and “too strong to let it gather dust in a drawer.”  That is about the only hint that is given as to the song’s lyrical theme.  Considering that, this song’s lyrical content is sure to create just as much discussion among audiences as its counterparts.  To that end, it shows once more, the importance of this record’s lyrical content.  When the overall lyrical content is considered along with the EP’s musical content, the whole collectively makes for plenty of reason for audiences to hear this record.  Even with all of this in mind, it is not the end of the record’s most important items.  The record’s production brings everything together and completes the presentation.

The production that went into Arising is important because it plays directly into the record’s general effect.  As has been noted in the discussions on the songs’ musical arrangements, there is a lot going on in each presentation.  From the dual vocals to the powerful guitars to the richness of the drums and bass, each composition incorporates a lot of sound.  That means that it would have been easy for the performers to overpower one another even accidentally.  Thankfully, Kaufmann (who produced the record) paid attention to each performer’s part, making sure to balance each line in each song.  In listening to each song, there is no doubt that such work had to have been time consuming.  It paid off, though.  That is because each work is so fully immersive and powerful in its own right, leaving audiences fulfilled just in that aspect.  At the same time, even the vocals are not washed out, so it is at least relatively easy to decipher most of the lyrical content in each song.  When this is considered along with the content and its impact, the whole makes the record a welcome presentation for metal purists, U.D.O., fans, and those of Accept.

Dirkschneider & The Old Gang’s debut record, Arising is an impressive first outing from the group.  Its appeal comes in part through its musical content, which is a solid mix of pure, classic guitar-based metal and power metal.  The lyrical themes that accompany the record’s makes for its own engagement and entertainment.  That is thanks to the way in which it is crafted and its seeming messages.  That content is certain to generate plenty of discussion among audiences.  The record’s production puts the finishing touch to its presentation.  It balances the vocals and instrumentation expertly in each song.  The result is a record that is not only relatively easy to understand in terms of lyrics but well-balanced in its instrumentation.  The result there is a positive general effect.  Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of the record.  All things considered, they make Arising a positive addition to this year’s field of new EPs. 

Arising is available now through AFM Records.  More information on the record is available at https://www.facebook.com/dirkschneiderandtheoldgang.  

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

Appeal For Accept’s New LP Won’t “Die” Anytime Soon

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Veteran hard rock/metal band Accept released its brand new album Too Mean to Die Friday.  The 11-song record – the band’s 16th — is the first great entry in this year’s field of new hard rock and metal albums.  It is yet another display of why this band remains today, one of the most respected and beloved acts in the hard rock and metal community as is evidenced through the song’s combined musical arrangements and lyrical themes.  From start to end, this record offers audiences so much to appreciate in terms of both items.  That is evidenced in part late in the album in the track, ‘Symphony of Pain.’  This song will be discussed shortly.  ‘No One’s Master,’ which comes early in the 52-minute record’s run, shows in its own way, how the album’s overall content plays into its success.  It will be addressed a little later.  Much the same can be said of ‘Not My Problem.’  It will also be addressed later.  When it is considered with the other songs noted here and the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes the album in whole, a presentation that is certain to end up on any critic’s list of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

Accept’s new album Too Mean to Die is a record whose appeal certainly will not die anytime soon.  It is a presentation that from start to end, will appeal to any hard rock and metal fan with its musical and lyrical content.  That is proven in part late in the album’s run in the form of ‘Symphony of Pain.’  The song’s lyrical content actually focuses on none other than composer Ludwig Van Beethoven.   Guitarist Wolf Hoffman noted in an interview with Apple Music that is exactly what the song centers on, lyrically.  Yes, there are bands out there that have classical influences in their metal performances, but few actually go so far as to craft a song about a classical composer.  The only bad that comes to this critic’s mind in regards to that, is Trans Siberian Orchestra, which in fact crafted a whole album about Beethoven.  Mark Tornillo even sings in the song’s chorus, “Trapped in silence/How I loathe this sanctity/Imprisoned by this irony/Darkened elusion/Seeking only to embed/Melodies held hostage in my head.”  This is a direct reference to Beethoven dealing with being deaf and how he must have felt having to cope with the disability.  Tornillo conjures Beethoven even more as he continues in the chorus, calling the situation, “A silent prison/This symphony of pain.”  That is pretty much straight forward.  It is a concept that is sure to entertain so many listeners in itself.  Together with the song’s musical arrangement, the song gains even more traction.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Symphony Of Pain’ adds to the song’s presentation, as it incorporates Beethoven’s ‘Ninth Symphony’ into its overall power metal approach.  Hoffman and new guitarist Philip Shouse join with current member Uwe Lulis to make the song’s arrangement a solid, driving old school metal work that, as already noted, will appeal to fans of acts, such as Judas Priest, Saxon, and others of that ilk.  As an added note, while Trans Siberian Orchestra is one of the only acts out there to actually take on the topic of a classical composer for one of its songs, the arrangement sounds nothing like anything that TSO has ever crafted.  So audiences can rest easy knowing this.  The manner in which Hoffman weaved the noted classical composition into the whole was seamless and it makes the song even more appealing.  All things considered here, the song in whole makes itself a clear example of what makes Too Mean to Die such a strong new offering from Accept.  It is just one of the songs that makes this record stand out.  ‘No One’s Master’ is another key addition to the album.

‘No One’s Master’ is another work whose musical arrangement takes listeners back to the golden age of hard rock and metal.  It is yet another work that right off the bat, lends itself to thoughts of Judas Priest what with its guitars, bass, and drums.  Interestingly enough, Tornillo’s vocal delivery conjures thoughts of Motorhead’s late, great front man Lemmy Kilmister.  The comparison is not a mirror image, but is so close that it cannot be denied.  That combination of influences and sounds makes the song’s musical arrangement more than enough reason for audiences to hear this work.  It is just one part of what makes the song stand out, too.  The bombastic ending to the song makes it come across like a live song, ensuring that whenever live music does return, it likely will become part of the band’s live shows.  The lyrical content that features alongside the song’s high-energy composition makes the work in whole even more impacting.

The lyrical content featured in the song comes across as a statement that celebrates individuality and thinking for one’s own self.  This is implied as Tornillo sings in the song’s lead verse, “The media’s controlling the masses/Stoking our anger and fear/Further dividing the classes/Serving the richest careers/heir mantra is lies and deception/When honesty’s all that I crave/I decline and there’ll be no exceptions/I am no one’s master/No one’s slave/No one’ s slave.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Living in fear ain’t worth living/Wasting your life is the crime/The reaper will be unforgiving/Wake up while you’re still in your prime/The guide of my  life is my conscience/My way is the path that I pave/I treat,  how I want to be treated/I am no one’s master/No one’s slave.”  The real harsh statement comes as he sings in the song’s chorus, “I won’t rule/I won’t bow/I won’t sink my eyes to the ground/I won’t steal/I won’t kneel/I won’t bend my  knee to the crowned/I pledge an oath to myself and to life/I’m not afraid of the sword or the knife.”  That bold statement that, while familiar is still presented in its own unique fashion, couples with the song’s musical arrangement to make the song in whole, another powerful example of what makes Accept’s new album such a strong new record.  It is just one more example of what makes the album stand out.  ‘Not My Problem’ is another entry in this album that makes it so successful.

‘Not My Problem’ gives listeners another notable musical work that is one part Motorhead and one part just pure guitar rock.  The blues-based composition is another  driving, high-energy composition that together with – again  — Tornillo’s Lemmy style vocal delivery makes for yet another powerful addition to the album.

The musical arrangement that is featured in ‘Not My Problem is certain to make the song another fan favorite from Too Mean to Die.  It is just one part of what makes the song stand out.  The social commentary contained in the song adds even more appeal.  In the case of this song, the song’s lyrical content comments on those people who would rather point the finger at everyone else for their problems than take responsibility, much like in another of the album’s songs, ‘Sucks to be You.’  In this case, Tornillo sings,  “Dug your hole/Don’t bear your soul and sin all over me/made your bed/Now lay your head/You don’t get no sympathy/Hear that sound/It’s coming down/The hammer’s got to fall/Hit the lights/You’re in the sights/Up against the wall/Don’t blame your misfortunes on me/You’ve done this all on your own/So many others are too blind to see/Well, let me throw the first stone/It’s not my problem/Keep it to yourself.”  He continues just as sharply in the song’s second verse, “Realize how many times I’ve bailed you out/I bought your charms/With open arms/Now I close the door/You’ve done the crime/Now do the time/Go bitch to someone else/Take a stand/And play your hand/You’ve brought this on yourself.”  This overall statement is such that it will echo with any listener.  Everybody has been in this situation at least once in life if not more times.  We have all dealt with that person who just wants to blame everyone else for his or her misery and have just reached the breaking point.  This song will help anyone get through those times, especially when these lyrics are paired with the vim and energy in the song’s musical arrangement.  It is certain to be overall, yet another fan favorite.  When it is considered with the other songs noted here and the rest of the album’s songs, that whole makes Too Mean to Die a record whose appeal will not die anytime soon.

Accept’s latest album Too Mean to Die is another positive new offering from the veteran metal act.  It is a work whose musical and lyrical content is certain to appeal to the band’s established fan base, and metal and hard fans in general.  That is proven through each of the songs examined here.  When those songs are considered along with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole becomes unquestionably this year’s first great new hard rock and metal album.  It is available now. 

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

Websitehttps://acceptworldwide.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/accepttheband

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/accepttheband

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://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.

Accept Addresses Humans’ Tech Addiction In New Single, Video

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Veteran metal band Accept debuted the latest single from its new album this week.

The band kicked off the weekend by debuting its new single, ‘Zombie Apocalypse‘ and its companion video Friday. The song is the third single from the band’s album Too Mean To Die. Its debut follows that of the album’s singles ‘Too Mean To Die‘ and ‘The Undertaker.’

While the song’s title presents a scary title, the imagery used in the song’s video tells a horror story of a different sort. It tells a story of how the internet has turned humans into one giant race of zombies. It is used to illustrate that very message presented in the song’s lyrical content, which front man Mark Tornillo explained in a prepared statement.

“They’re everywhere, they can’t put them (mobile phones) down,” he said. “They can’t keep them charged; they can’t take their eyes off the screen! It’s a zombie apocalypse!” 

The musical arrangement that accompanies the song’s lyrical content is everything that audiences have come to expect from Accept. Its driving guitars and solid time keeping work with Tornillo’s vocals and the bass line to make the song in whole a fully engaging and entertaining power metal work very much in the vein of Judas Priest and other contemporaries of Accept.

Too Mean To Die is scheduled for release Jan. 29 through Nuclear Blast Records. More information on Accept’s new single, video, and album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://acceptworldwide.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/accepttheband

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/accepttheband

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://philspics.wodpress.com.

Accept Debuts ‘The Undertaker’ Video

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Veteran metal band Accept debuted the video for its latest single this week.

The band debuted the video for its new single ‘The Undertaker‘ Friday. The song and its video are the first from the band’s forthcoming album Too Mean To Die, which is scheduled for release Jan. 15, 2021 though Nuclear Blast Records.

According to information available about the very goth-style video, the building shots were filmed at a mansion in Poland and the cemetery shots were recorded at a cemetery in Nashville, TN. The video’s eponymous character is dressed in a vintage style outfit and donning makeup that makes him look like a cross between The Crow and The Joker. The information provided did not name the actor who portrayed the undertaker.

In related news, the band announced through the noted information, it will reveal the album artwork for Too Mean To Die when ‘The Undertaker’ reaches 500,000 streams on Spotify. Additionally, fans who stream the new single can also earn a chance to have a one-on-one zoom meeting with the members of Accept.

‘The Undertaker’ is available to stream and download here. Additionally, it is available on limited edition 7″ vinyl pressings in Europe and the United States. The European pressing is in gold/marble and the American pressing is in red.

Too Mean To Die was mixed by Andy Sneap (Arch Enemy, Fozzy, Megadeth).

Front man Wolf Hoffmann talked about the album’s title in a recent interview.

“We wanted to approach the Corona situation with a twist,” he said. “Accept are the “Metal Soldiers” – we march on and on. We are ‘too mean to die'”.

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

Website: http://acceptworldwide.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/accepttheband

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://philspics.wodpress.com.

U.D.O.’s Latest LP Will Unite Music Lovers Around The World

Courtesy: AFM Records

Veteran rock band U.D.O. returns Friday with its 17th full-length studio recording.  Titled We Are 1, the 15-song record features the band performing its new compositions with the Concert Band of the German Armed Forces.  While rock bands performing and recording with non-rock organizations is anything but out of the ordinary nowadays, the fact that the entire record is composed of new songs is itself interesting.  The arrangements that make up the album’s body offer audiences plenty to appreciate, as do the lyrical themes that accompany that musical content.  Each item will be addressed in itself here.  When they are considered with the record’s sequencing, all three elements make the album in whole a truly unique presentation that rock and metal fans alike will appreciate.

U.D.O.’s latest album We Are 1 is an impressive new entry from the veteran rock band.  There is no doubt in listening through the 75-minute record, that it will resonate with rock and metal fans alike.  That is due in part to the album’s musical arrangements.  The arrangements in question are full-on rock meets classical compositions that bear their own unique identity separate from the works that acts, such as Metallica and KISS have crafted.  These new, original works are such unique orchestrations.  One actually could argue that they are stylistically more similar to works from Devin Townsend’s latest album Empath (2019).  That comparison stems from the use of the choral element, the strings, the brass and woodwinds together.  Each arrangement sounds so epic even in a more reserved moment, such as in ‘Blindfold (The Last Defender).’  Now not having liner notes to reference, it is not known who the female vocalist is in this song, but her vocals, along with the bells, drums and harp make this song feel cinematic in its own right, especially with all of the attention to the dynamic changes throughout the song.  ‘Blackout’ — which immediately follows ‘Blindfold (The Last Defender)’ — is another example of how powerful the arrangements are in this record.  This nearly three-minute song’s brass and percussion come together to make the song sound like something that would be a perfect fit in the soundtrack for some military movie from the 80s and 90s.  That huge opening that leads into the immediate softer, more contemplative sound, is so powerful especially as that noted softer sound crescendos back into something more constant throughout the rest of the song.  On yet another hand, the use of the bagpipes, tympani, snare drum and standard rock elements come together in ‘Beyond Gravity’ to make this song yet another notable addition to the album that shows in its own right, why these arrangements are so important to examine.  There’s no attempt here to rip off AC/DC or any other band that uses bagpipes.  There’s not even any attempt to copy any other act.  It is its own unique presentation that is certain to become a favorite on record and in a live setting when and if music can ever go live again.  It’s just one more way in which the album’s musical arrangements prove so important to its general presentation.  When it and the rest of the album’s arrangements are considered together, the album’s diverse musical styles and elements collectively build a strong foundation for the LP’s presentation.  In themselves, they make a clear argument as to why this record is one of the year’s top new rock albums.  It might not even be a stretch to call it potentially one of the year’s top new overall albums if only for its musical aspect.  Of course the musical aspect is just one reason to take in this record.  The album’s lyrical content adds to its appeal.

The lyrical content featured in We Are 1 runs through one general topic, that topic being concerns about the state of the world.  Band founder and namesake Udo Dirkschneider talked about that overarching theme in a recent interview.  He said of the album’s general theme, “We all live on this planet.  No matter who we are or what we do, we all just have this one planet.  There is no planet B.  When I see the pictures of all the plastic in our oceans and when I hear about the next climate catastrophe in the news, I really start wondering how respectless and irresponsible we sometimes are.  It’s not just about us.  It’s also about all the others and last but not least, about our children!”  That concern that he voiced in the noted comments is shown throughout this record in a variety of fashions.  ‘Here We Go Again,’ for instance takes on concerns over how the Trump administration has handled the issue of immigration.  Dirkschneider notes in this blues rock based song’s lyrical side, “Who has got the right to decide/Who’s gonna live and who’s gonna die/People on the street and people on the sea/Always on the run/Trying to be free/People on the left/People on the right/Everywhere you look/Uptight/Living in a cell/Living in a cage/Fairy tale is over…Everybody’s…longing for a new way/Everybody’s got the right/turning darkness into light/here we go again…Time to show again.”  From here, the song makes mention of corrupt elections and trump’s cries of “fake news” every time that legitimate news agencies call BS on his lies in the song’s second verse.  Given, this is hardly the first time that any musical act has taken on the corruption of the Trump administration and Trump himself, but it is still approached in a unique fashion here that is certain to keep listeners engaged.  It is just one of the ways in which the album’s lyrical themes prove pivotal in their own right to the album.  The album’s title track, which comes early in its run, is clearly another way in which the record’s lyrics show their importance.

‘We Are One’ is a call for unity.  Again, referencing Dirkschneider’s noted statements, the song’s lyrical theme makes crystal clear sense.  He, his band mates and the choir that joins them sings in the song’s chorus, “What are we waiting for/Before we lose control/We are one/We are free/And we need a place to be/We are one/We will rise/Gonna be no compromise/We are one/We are free/And we need a place to be/We are one/We will rise/Never be a compromise.”  This comes after Dirkschneider makes note in the song’s lead verse, of people dealing with all the negativity that is on television nowadays and the impact thereof.  He continues the commentary in similar fashion in the song’s second verse, asking “Do you enjoy watching people die?” before reminding listeners again that “We are one.”  It’s that call to unity and action that is just as needed and welcome today as ever, and just one more way in which the album’s lyrical themes prove so pivotal to this album.  ‘Rebel Town’ is yet another example of the importance of the album’s lyrical themes.

The lyrical theme at the center of ‘Rebel Town’ is a celebration of the 30th anniversary of East and West Germany’s unification.  The song makes mention here of revolution and people sacrificing, and indirectly of people tearing down the Berlin Wall.  Dirkschneider even goes so far as to state at one point, “Chase away the leaders/Let them rot in hell/Believe in what you’re fighting for/Let them hear the rebel yell.”  This is that call again, this time about people coming together to remove the barrier between the two Germanies “in this little town.”  The use of the horns and overall orchestral elements here really paints such a vivid picture of that key moment in history.  This is unique if not original in terms of songs’ lyrical themes from one to the next.  This critic in particular is hard-pressed to find another band that has ever written a song about the fall of the Berlin Wall and the unification of Germany.  Keeping that in mind, the song is yet another example of what makes the album’s lyrical content so important to its whole.  When it is considered along with the other noted themes and those in the rest of the album’s songs, the whole of the album’s lyrical content works with the album’s musical content to make the LP’s body overall such that it will guarantee listeners’ engagement and entertainment.  Even with all of this in mind, there is still one more item to note in examining the album’s presentation – its sequencing.

The sequencing of We Are 1 is important to note because it displays the time and thought that went into maintaining the album’s energy throughout.  Seventy-five minutes is a long span.  Given it isn’t the length of a full concert, but it is still a long run time for a standard studio recording.  To that end, the sequencing plays a key part in ensuring listeners’ engagement and entertainment.  The album opens just as strongly as it closes and vice versa.  In-between, the energy rises and falls at all of the right points from one to the next and even within each of the songs.  Some of the songs start, stay and end strong while others, such as ‘Love and Sin’ and ‘Children of the World’ open with a semi-mysterious tone before launching into a full-on cinematic approach that is a fit for any epic blockbuster’s soundtrack.  ‘Blindfold (The Last Defender)’ and ‘Blackout’ serve as solid break points for the album’s sequence, giving listeners something soft, and then fully orchestra in the vein of movie soundtrack composer Hans Zimmer before the album returns to its initial approach.  ‘Natural Forces,’ which comes late in the album’s run, is another good break point, giving listeners more of the Hans Zimmer style presentation.  From here on out, the album’s energy switches direction, rises and falls at all of the right moments, ensuring just as much as ever, listeners’ engagement and entertainment right to the album’s end.  When all of this is considered along with the impact of We Are 1’s musical and lyrical content overall, all three elements come together to make this album a truly outstanding offering from U.D.O. that will appeal not only to rock and metal aficionados but to music lovers in general.

U.D.O.’s latest full-length studio recording We Are 1 is one of the most pleasant musical surprises of 2020 so far.  While it features a rock band working with an orchestra, it can’t be compared to those rock-meets-classical records from the likes of Metallica and KISS by any means or any other band that has taken this approach.  This collection of new songs really is its own, unique presentation that shows more similarities to works from Devin Townsend, composer Hans Zimmer, Epica, Judas Priest and even Joe Satriani (yes, that seems like an odd mix, but it works) than to the noted other acts’ works.  What’s more, the socially conscious lyrical themes that accompany the musical arrangements solidify the album’s presentation even more.  The record’s  sequencing puts the final touch to the album’s presentation.  Each noted item is important in its own way to the LP’s presentation.  All things considered, they make this record not only one of the year’s best new rock and hard rock albums, but potentially one of the year’s best new overall albums.  We Are 1 is scheduled for release Friday through AFM Records.  More information on the album is available along with all of U.D.O.’s latest news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.udo-online.de

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

 

 

 

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

Viking Metallers Amon Amarth Are Victorious In Phil’s Picks 2018 Top 10 New Live DVDs & Blu-rays List

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

As the final few days of 2018 wind down, there is still some work to be done by critics putting in their year-ender lists.  That includes this critic.

This critic’s most recent year-ender focused on the year’s top new live CDs.  In a gradual transition to movies and television, there is still one more music list to present — the year’s top new live DVDs/BDs.  As has been noted previously, there are some live recordings that translate in  relatively acceptable fashion, but there are also others that can and should only be experienced with the full audio-visual experience.

Keeping this in mind, it is only fair to examine the year’s best new live DVDs and Blu-rays.  Topping this year’s list is Amon Amarth’s The Pursuit of Vikings25 Years in the Eye of the Storm.  There is nothing negative to say about this presentation.  The extensive documentary outlines the band’s career from the band’s own mouths, showing the group as a hard-working, blue-collar outfit that has earned its place in the metal and music communities.  The equally expansive two-night, 30-song set pulls from almost every one of the band’s albums.  The performance is great, as are the production values.

Second Place in this year’s list of the year’s best new live DVDs/BDs goes to Devin Townsend Project’s Ocean Machine Live at the Ancient Roman Theatre Plovdiv.  This performance features Townsend performing Ocean Machine live in its entirety along with an equally extensive by-request set.  That combination makes for a great set list.  As with Amon Amarth’s live recording, the group’s performance ensures audiences’ maintained engagement and entertainment, even at home.  The same can be said of the production values.  The whole makes the recording yet another that is best experienced with the full audio-visual presentation versus just the audio alone.

Third Place in this year’s list of the top new live DVDs and Blu-rays goes to The Rolling Stones’ San Jose, California ’99 show from Eagle Rock Entertainment.  The recording is everything that audiences have come to expect from one of the elite of the elite acts in the music industry today.  The extensive 20-song set list doesn’t play it safe, instead giving audiences material that is less common in the band’s previous live recordings from Eagle Rock Entertainment.  The group’s performance (including that of the touring musicians) couples with the production values to make the performance yet another must have for any true fan of The Rolling Stones.

Also featured in this year’s list are the new live recordings from Anthrax, The Robert Glasper Experiment and Opeth, just to name a few more acts.  As always, the first 10 titles in the last are the best, while the next five are honorable mention titles.  Without any further ado, here is Phil’s Picks’ 2018 Top 10 New Live DVDs & Blu-rays.

PHIL’S PICKS 2018 TOP 10 NEW LIVE DVDS & BLU-RAYS

  1. Amon Amarth — The Pursuit of Vikings25 Years in the Eye of the Storm
  2. Devin Townsend Project — Ocean Machine Live at the Ancient Roman Theatre Plovdiv
  3. The Rolling Stones — No Security: San Jose ’99
  4. The Rolling Stones — Voodoo Lounge Uncut
  5. Accept — Symphonic Terror
  6. Opeth — Garden of the TitansLive at Red Rocks
  7. Anthrax — Kings Among Scotland
  8. The Sound of Music Live
  9. Steven Wilson — Home Invasion Live at the Royal Albert Theatre
  10. Norah Jones — Live at Ronnie Scott’s
  11. Tommy Shaw & The Contemporary Youth Orchestra — Sing For The Day!
  12. The Moody Blues — Days of Future Passed Live
  13. Overkill — Live in Overhausen
  14. Robet Glasper Experiment — Live
  15. Lacuna Coil — The 119 Show Live in London

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.

Eagle Rock’s Mingus Montreux Show Shines In Phil’s Picks’ 2018 Top New Live CDs List

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Going to live shows is neither easy nor inexpensive nowadays.  Between the collective cost of tickets — which is itself oftentimes bank-breaking — transportation, food, potential lodging and souvenirs, and of course planning around work and family schedules, getting out to live shows is not easy for anyone.

Those barriers make the availability of live recordings something critical for audiences everywhere, regardless of genre.  To that end, live CDs deserve their own consideration just as much as studio recordings, each year.  Keeping that in mind, Phil’s Picks has developed once again a list of the year’s Top 10 new live CDs.

This year has been an interesting one for live CDs.  Some notable live CDs were featured as part of bigger bundles (E.G. The Rolling Stones’ San Jose ’99 and Voodoo Lounge ’94 shows) while others, such as Alice Cooper’s A Paranormal Night @ The Olympia Paris and Marty Friedman’s One Bad M.F. Live were standalone offerings.

Some were standout offerings for all of the best reasons.  Others had some problems to note.  Keeping all of this in mind, this year’s crop of live CDs deserves just as much attention as the vast sea of studio recordings released throughout the year.

Topping this year’s list is yet another live CD from the people at Eagle Rock Entertainment in the form of Charles Mingus’ classic 1975 Montreux Jazz Festival show.  This recording presents Mingus at one of his finest moments, and why his live performances were — and still are today — such powerful presentations.

Coming in second in this year’s list is the new Jimi Hendrix live CD, Live at the Hollywood Bowl.  This CD was released as part of the bigger Electric Ladyland box set, and stands out so strongly because of its set list, Hendrix and company’s performance and the production values.

Third place in this year’s list of the year’s best new live CDs goes to veteran viking metal outfit Amon Amarth.  The 30-song set list spans two nights and quite an expansive portion of the band’s catalog.  That set list is directly mirrored on its DVD and BD presentation, and sounds just as good.  Though because of the intensity of the show, it is still better appreciated being seen and heard and not just heard.  That’s not to say the CD presentation is bad, but audiences will agree that hearing it makes for far more appreciation for the concerts’ DVD and BD presentations.

Also featured in this year’s list of top new live CDs are those noted new offerings from Marty Friedman, Alice Cooper and The Rolling Stones alongside new offerings from Opeth, Devin Townsend and John 5 to name just a few more titles.  As always, this critic’s list features 10 of the year’s top new offerings plus five honorable mentions, which follow, for a total count of 15.  Without any further ado, here is Phil’s Picks’ 2018 Top 10 new Live CDs.

PHIL’S PICKS 2018 TOP 10 NEW LIVE CDs

  1. Charles Mingus — Live at Montreux 1975
  2. Jimi Hendrix — Live at the Hollywood BowlAug. 14, 1968
  3. Amon Amarth — The Pursuit of Vikings25 Years in the Eye of the Storm
  4. Devin Townsend Project — Ocean MachineLive at the Ancient Roman Theatre Plovdiv
  5. Opeth — Garden of the TitansLive at Red Rocks Amphitheatre
  6. The Rolling Stones — No SecuritySan Jose ’99
  7. The Rolling Stones — Voodoo Lounge Uncut
  8. John Mclaughlin & The 4th Dimension and Jimmy Herring & The Invisible Whip — Live in San Francisco
  9. Marty Friedman — One Bad M.F. Live
  10. Accept — Symphonic TerrorLive at Wacken 2017
  11. Alice Cooper — A Paranormal Night at The Olympia Paris
  12. Fates Warning — Live Over Europe
  13. Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow — Memories in Rock II
  14. John 5 and The Creatures — It’s Alive
  15. Overkill — Live in Overhausen

Peter Baltes Announces Departure From Accept

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Accept is in search of a new bass player.

Founding member Peter Baltes revealed this week that he has left the band.  He made the announcement in a shortly-worded news release, which offered no explanation for his departure.

“To All Accept fans, I hereby announce my departure as bass player from Accept,” Baltes said.  “I have been with the band from the very beginning.  Many of you were there, as well.  I’d like to thank you for all the great years we shared together.  Keep it real.”

Baltes’ now former band mates offered praise to him in their responses, and also offered no explanation for his departure.  Founding guitarist Wolf Hoffman said in his own prepared statement,he appreciated his years working with Baltes.

“We spent four decades together through thick and thin, ups and downs, and I remember some incredible moments on stage,” Hoffman stated.  “There was a blind understanding between us, personally and musically, which is very rare in this business!  Looking back, I will always cherish the carefree, early years, the countless hours we spent writing songs, goofing around or roaming cities together on tour, just having a good ol’ time! Especially these last 10 years, after the revival of Accept being so much fun and so successful that I thought we would continue forever – maybe until one of us would drop dead on stage, but I guess I was wrong.  It wasn’t meant to be.”

Hoffman added Baltes’ departure is discouraging.

“To see Peter leave Accept now saddens me immensely, but there’s nothing I can do but to wish him well – hoping that this is the right decision for him, and that he will find whatever he is looking for…I will certainly miss my musical brother!  One thing is certain however:  Accept will continue full steam ahead.”

Full steam ahead includes a series of live dates in 2019 in support of the band’s recently released live recording Symphonic Terror.  The recording was released Nov. 23 via Nuclear Blast Records.  The band’s currently announced live dates are noted below.

20.04.19    Wuppertal  –  Stadthalle
21.04.19    Leipzig  –  Haus Auesee
22.04.19    Hamburg  –  Mehr!Theater
23.04.19    Fürth  –  Stadthalle
25.05.19    Saarbrücken – Congresshalle
27.05.19    München – Circus Krone

Pre-orders for tickets to the noted shows are open now.

Accept Drummer Christopher Williams offered his own thoughts on Baltes’ announcement, offering a small explanation behind Batles’ departure from the band.

“I want to wish Peter nothing but the best in his future endeavors,” Williams said.  “Peter simply needed a change in his personal life.  It has been an absolute blast sharing the stage with him over the last four years.  He is one of the most solid rock and roll bass players I’ve had the pleasure of working with, and I’ve worked with many.  One thing is for certain:  I will miss my friend!  Thank you Peter, for the great memories and the great music.  Cheers!”

Additionally, Williams addressed the band’s fans in his statement.

“To the fans:  I’m sure this is a shocking moment for many of you,” Williams said.  “As a diehard fan of many bands myself, I understand that transitions like these are never easy, especially with the legacy someone like Peter has with their band.  From one fan to another, thank you for all your continued support!”

The band in whole, echoed Williams’ and Hoffman’s thoughts, in a collective statement about Baltes’ departure.

“We are all heartbroken!,” the statement reads.  “Peter needed a change in his life an we wish him all the best.  He will always be a part of the Accept family, and to honor his tribute to music history, we should all wish him well.”

More information on Accept is available online now at:

 

Website: http://acceptworldwide.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/accepttheband

 

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