Accept Signs To Napalm Records

Courtesy: Napalm Records

Accept has a new label home.

The veteran hard rock band has signed a record deal with Napalm Records. The terms of the new deal were not available in the press release announcing the agreement.

Founding member and guitarist Wolf Hoffman spoke about the new record deal.

“I am really looking forward to working with a renowned, independent and strong label like Napalm Records,” he said. “There are hard-working metallers at work here – that suits us. We are convinced that together we will reach the next level.”

Thomas Caser, Napalm Records CEO, shared Hoffman’s enthusiasm.

“We are extremely proud and excited to welcome Accept – an absolute heavy metal heavyweight to the Napalm Records family!,” said Caser. “Together we will drive this steel machine with full power and are very much looking forward to further musical milestones.”

In other news, Accept is scheduled to launch a new tour in support of its latest album, Too Mean To Die this spring. The tour’s schedule is noted below.

Experience ACCEPT live:
27.05.22 UK – Northhampton / Manor Fest
01.06.22 GR – Athens / Technopolis
03.06.22 GR – Thessaloniki / Principal Club Theater
05.06.22 DE – Gelsenkirchen / Rock Hard Festival
08.-11.06.22 SE – Sölvesborg / Sweden Rock
18.06.22 CH – Zurich / Rock The Ring
24.06.22 NO – Oslo / Tons Of Rock
25.06.22 DE – Dischingen / Rock Am Härtsfeldsee
26.06.22 DE – Blieskastel / Music Nights
30.06.22 ES – Barcelona / Rockfest
01.07.22 FI – Lieto / Smuggler Rok
06.-09.07.22 DE – Ballenstedt / Rock Harz
15.07.22 AT – Leoben / Area 53
16.07.22 SK – Sered / Amphitheatre
28.07.22 FI – Tampere / Eteläpuisto Live
29.07.22 FI – Pietarsaari / Pietarsaari Open Air
12.08.22 BE – Kortrijk / Alcatraz Festival
13.08.22 DK – Horsens / Jailbreak

14.01.23 DE – Oberhausen / Turbinenhalle
15.01.23 BE – Brussels / La Madeleine
17.01.23 DE – Frankfurt / Batschkapp
18.01.23 FR – Paris / Bataclan
20.01.23 ES – Pamplona / Totem
21.01.23 ES – Madrid / La Riviera
22.01.23 ES – Barcelona / Razzmatazz 1
24.01.23 FR – Toulouse / Bikini
25.01.23 FR – Lyon / Transbordeur
27.01.23 CH – Zurich / Komplex
28.01.23 AT – Telfs / Rathaussaal
29.01.23 HU – Budapest / Barba Negra
31.01.23 CZ – Zlin / Hala Euronics
01.02.22 PL – Warsaw / Progresja
03.02.23 EE – Tallinn / Helitehas
04.03.23 FI – Helsinki / House Of Culture
05.02.23 FI – Tampere / Pakkahuone
07.02.23 SE – Stockholm / Fryshuset
08.02.23 NO – Oslo / Rockefeller
10.02.23 SE – Gothenburg / Trädgår’n
11.02.23 DK – Copenhagen / Vega
12.02.23 DE – Bremen / Aladin
14.02.23 DE – Berlin / Huxley’s
16.02.23 DE – Ulm / Ratiopharm Arena
17.02.23 DE – Munich / Tonhalle
18.02.23 DE – Filderstadt / FILharmonie

Accept has released 16 albums to date, counting its latest LP. That album and its four predecessors were all released through Nuclear Blast Records. The band released its other albums through a variety of labels, such as Brain, Portrait, RCA, and CMC International.

More information on Accept’s new record deal 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.



Established Acts, Up-And-Comers Alike Offered Hard Rock, Metal Fans So Much To Enjoy In 2021

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

And then there were two.  Phil’s Picks is officially down to two year-ender lists on the music side as the countdown to the year’s end itself continues.  The first of this year’s last two music year-ender lists comes today in the form of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums. 

This year’s list is packed with content from so many established and new acts.  From up-and-coming hard rock act Antisaint to veteran thrash band Exodus to guitar virtuosos Gus G. and John 5 and more, this year has seen so many great hard rock and metal records.  Suffice it to say there has been so much great hard rock and metal this year that it has been extremely difficult to compile this list, but it was created. 

As with every list from Phil’s Picks, this collection features the year’s top 10 new releases and five additional honorable mention titles for a total of 15.  Those honorable mention titles are just as deserving of applause as the other featured works.  Without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks’ 2021 Top 10 New Hard Rock & Metal Albums list.

PHIL’S PICKS’ 2021 TOP 10 NEW HARD ROCK & METAL ALBUMS

1. Accept – Too Mean To Die

2. Atreyu – Baptize

3. Exodus – Persona Non Grata

4. Michael Schenker Group – Immortal

5. U.D.O. – Game Over

6. Artillery – X

7. Gus G. – Quantum Leap

8. John 5 – Sinner

  1. The Three Tremors – Guardians of the Void
  1. Antisaint – Vaticinate
  1. Bullet For My Valentine – Bullet For My Valentine
  1. A Killer’s Confession – Remember
  1. The CEO – Redemption
  1. Tremonti – Marching in Time
  1. Skarlett Riot – Invicta

That’s it for this year’s hard rock and metal albums.  While even the hard rock and metal community has wrapped things for this year, things are already gearing up for 2022, with new releases already coming from the likes of up-and-coming hard rock act Bloodywood, veteran acts Hammerfall and Annihilator, and even from Saxon and Stabbing Westward.  That’s all just in the first quarter of 2022, too. 

In other words, the first half of the new year is already gearing up to be very exciting for all the hard rock and metal fans out there.  Until then though, there’s still one more music year-ender list from Phil’s Picks this year before the attention turns over to the best of this year’s new TV and movie releases.  Stay tuned!

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 Premieres Live Take Of ‘Overnight Sensation’

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Accept is giving audiences another live treat.

The band released a live take of its song, ‘Overnight Sensation‘ Friday. The song is featured in Accept’s latest album, Too Mean To Die, which was released early this year. Its premiere, which is part of the band’s celebration of Wolf Hoffman’s birthday, came Friday more than a month after the band premiered its live performance of another of the album’s songs, ‘The Undertaker.’

Too Mean to Die has already produced the singles ‘The Undertaker,’ ‘Too Mean to Die‘ and ‘Zombie Apocalypse.’

In related news, Accept is scheduled to release a limited run of vinyl copies of Too Mean To Die Feb. 18. The band is scheduled to release the record on 2 LP silver vinyl in a total of 750 copies worldwide.  Pre-orders for the limited edition vinyl are open.

In other news, Accept recently announced a new series of live European dates in support of Too Mean To Die. The tour’s schedule is noted below.

See ACCEPT live at one of the following shows in 2023:

14. 01.   DE          Oberhausen – Turbinenhalle       
15. 01.   BE          Brussels – La Madeleine
17. 01.   DE          Frankfurt – Batschkapp  
18. 01.   F            Paris – Bataclan
20. 01.   E            Pamplona – Totem         
21. 01.   E            Madrid – La Riviera         
22. 01.   E            Barcelona – Razzmatazz 1           
24. 01.   F            Toulouse – Bikini             
25. 01.   F            Lyon – Transbordeur       
27. 01.   CH         Zürich – Komplex             
28. 01.   AT          Telfs – Rathaussaal         
29. 01.   HU         Budapest – Barba Negra
31. 01.   CZ         Zlin – Hala Euronics        
01. 02.   PL          Warsaw – Progresja        
03. 02.   EST        Tallinn – Helitehas          
04. 02.   FI           Helsinki – House Of Culture        
05. 02.   FI           Tampere – Pakkahuone 
07. 02.   S            Stockholm – Fryshuset   
08. 02.   NO         Oslo – Rockefeller           
10. 02.   S            Gothenburg – Tradgarn 
11. 02.   DK          Copenhagen – Vega       
12. 02.   DE          Bremen – Aladin              
14. 02.   DE          Berlin – Huxley’s              
16. 02.   DE          Ulm – Ratiopharm Arena             
17. 02.   DE          Munich – Tonhalle         
18. 02.   DE          Filderstadt – FILharmonie            
19. 02.   DE          Geiselwind – Eventzentrum         
21. 02.   DE          Leipzig – Haus Auensee 
22. 02.   DE          Saarbrücken – Garage   
24. 02.   RU          Moscow – Glavclub         
25. 02.   RU          St. Petersburg – Cosmonaut       
27. 02.   UA          Kiev – Stereoplaza           

All previously purchased tickets remain valid.

More information on Accept’s upcoming re-scheduled live dates 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 Announces Tour Postponement; Releases Live Cut Of ‘The Undertaker’

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

There’s some bad news and good news from the Accept camp this weekend.

The band announced Friday through a news release, it has postponed the European leg of its tour in support of its latest album, Too Mean To Die. The tour was scheduled to launch Jan. 15, but the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the tour’s postponement. The band made the announcement through a news release distributed Friday.

Guitarist Wolf Hoffman expressed regret over the cancellation.

“As much as we want to, the current Covid situation just doesn’t allow us to go forward with this 2022 tour,” said Hoffman. “It’s a super tough call, but we have no choice but to postpone once again. We wanted to play this tour badly. We had a killer setlist prepared with lots of new songs from the ‘Too Mean to Die’ album. I’m very sorry for the fans and of course, everybody in the band is very disappointed. But hey, life goes on… Please stay safe, stay Metal, and stay ‘too mean to die’! We’ll see you soonest!”

Continental Concerts Promoter Gerald Wilkes, who is handling the band’s tour, expanded on Hoffman’s statement.

“The Accept tour was planned through a total of 16 countries with very different regional infection situations, which are currently changing very quickly and therefore are incalculable for all involved. The legal requirements vary from country to country – even often from city to city. It all looked so promising a few months ago, but the situation right now simply doesn’t allow it!” 

While the band’s upcoming European dates are postponed, the band announced in the noted information that dates have been secured for the end of 2021, and that announcements on those dates are coming.

As a consolation for the cancellation, the band has released a live performance of its single, ‘The Undertaker’ for audiences to stream and download. Audiences can do both here.

Additionally, the band has announced a new limited run of Too Mean to Die is scheduled for release Feb. 18 on a silver vinyl pressing. According to the noted information provided to the media, approximately 750 copies worldwide will be available. Pre-orders for the limited edition vinyl are open.

Too Mean to Die has already produced the singles ‘The Undertaker,’ ‘Too Mean to Die‘ and ‘Zombie Apocalypse.’

More information on Accept’s upcoming re-scheduled live dates 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.

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

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.

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.