‘The Legacy’ Is A Fitting Tribute To U.D.O.’s Legacy

Courtesy: AFM Records

This Friday, veteran hard rock band U.D.O. will release its latest studio recording, The Legacy through AFM Records.  The band’s third compilation set, it is the most comprehensive collection of songs from U.D.O.’s expansive catalog that the band has released so far.  That is due primarily to its featured songs, which will be discussed shortly.  The songs’ production makes for its own interest and will be discussed a little later.  The collection’s average price point rounds out its most important elements, considering the content and its production.  To that point it will also be discussed later. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the collection.  All things considered they make the collection a must have for any U.D.O. fan.

The Legacy, the new compilation from U.D.O. is a collection that truly pays honor to the band’s legacy and that of its famed front man.  That is due in no small part to the songs that make up its body.  The collection features 33 songs spread across two separate discs inside a relatively ergonomically designed jewel case.  Every single one of U.D.O.’s 16 total albums is represented here, beginning with the band’s most recent album, Game Over (2021).  The majority of the albums get two songs as the band takes audiences back through its catalog, and as an added bonus, there are even some bonus songs that were only included in the Japanese pressings of some of the band’s albums.  So to that point, audiences get a little something extra along with what is a complete career retrospective for U.D.O.  The collection goes all the way back to the band’s debut 1987 album, Animal House, simply giving audiences so much to appreciate from beginning to end.

The foundation formed by the compilation’s featured songs is strong to say the very least.  Building on that foundation is the songs’ production.  It is unknown at this point if the songs were remastered for this collection or if audiences get the original recordings here.  There is no mention of this item in the press release announcing the compilation’s release.  That aside, the production in each song is top notch. The balance between Dirkschneider’s vocals and the instrumentation from his band mates brings out the best of each musician in itself and among the group in whole.  The result is a general effect throughout the record that is certain to keep listeners fully engaged and entertained from beginning to end.  When this aspect is considered along with the collection’s featured songs, that whole makes for more than enough reason for audiences to applaud this collection.

Considering the impact of The Legacy’s content and its production, its average price point process to be worth paying.  The only major American retailers that have the record listed at the time of this review’s posting are Amazon and Barnes & Noble Booksellers.  They list the record at $20.98 and $20.99 respectively.  Their prices make an average price point of $20.99.  That means that for American audiences, those two separate listings are right at the average.  Pre-orders are available through AFM Records, but only in Euros.  AFM Records lists the record at 14.99 Euros.  That is equivalent to $15.58 in American dollars, essentially making it the least expensive listing for American audiences should there be some kind of conversion.  That number brings the average price point to $19.18.  So again, the price for this collection really is not overly expensive, regardless.  That is at least at this point.  Should other retailers add the album any time soon, that could change.  Until or unless that happens, it is easy to say that the separate and average prices for this collection are just as positive to the presentation as the collection’s content.  Keeping all of this in mind, The Legacy proves to be a complete tribute to the legacy of U.D.O.

The Legacy, the new compilation from U.D.O., is among the best of this year’s compilation records and a presentation that every U.D.O. fan will welcome.  That is due in no small part to its featured songs.  The 33 songs that make up the record’s body make for a thorough retrospective of the band’s catalog.  New and long-time fans alike will welcome such an expansive presentation.  The songs’ production adds its own touch to the compilation’s presentation.  That is because of the expert balance between the songs’ vocals and instrumentations.  The balance between the two sides makes for a positive general effect. Considering the album’s content and production therein rounds out the album’s most important elements and finishes its presentation.  Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of the collection’s presentation.  All things considered they make the compilation a solid tribute to the legacy of U.D.O.

The Legacy is scheduled for release Friday through AFM Records.  More information on the collection 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.

Anvil’s New LP Will Have A Mostly Positive “Impact” On Audiences

Courtesy: AFM Records

This past Friday, veteran hard rock band Anvil released its latest album, Impact Is Imminent, to the masses.  Released through AFM Records, the record is now the band’s 19th (yes, 19th) album, and came more than two years after the release of the band’s then latest album, Legal At Last, which was released Feb. 14, 2020.  The album is a presentation that us certain to offer the most appeal to the band’s established audiences.  Its combined musical and lyrical content, all of which will be examined here, will also offer at least some appeal to more casual audiences.  The record’s production rounds out its most important elements.  This item will also be addressed later.  Each item noted here is key in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation.  All things considered, they make the album a presentation that most hard rock and Anvil fans will find worth hearing at least once.

Impact Is Imminent, the latest album from veteran hard rock band Anvil, is an engaging and entertaining new offering from the band.  Most of the band’s established audiences and more casual fans alike will find something to like about the record, beginning with its overall musical content.  The musical content is important to note because of the sounds and stylistic approaches exhibited in each song through said item.  From one song to the next, the musical content largely throws back to the hard rock sounds of the late 80s.  Throughout the course of the record, audiences can make comparisons to music from Motorhead more than once thanks to the specific guitar styles and vocal delivery styles.  On a separate note, a song, such as ‘Lockdown,’ with its trudging sludge style approach takes audiences in yet another direction a la vintage Black Sabbath.  The incorporation of the horns into ‘Gomez,’ the album’s opener, makes for yet another unique point of interest in terms of the album’s musical arrangements.  That is because of the contrast of the horns to the heavier guitars, bass, and drums.  Strangely enough, it sounds like a near carbon copy of ‘Teabag,’ the album’s other instrumental track.  It is difficult to decide which whether this is good or bad.  A very brief mention of the songs are made in a press release about the album, but there is not explanation as to whether the band intentionally made them sound so much like one another, as if the latter is a continuation of the prior.  Regardless, the bluesy, upbeat approach of the songs’ arrangements, set alongside all of the variety in the other arrangements makes for plenty for audiences to appreciate if only in regards to the album’s musical arrangements.

The musical content featured in Impact Is Imminent is only a part of what makes it interesting.  The lyrical themes featured throughout the album make for their own interest.  That is because of the range of topics on which the songs touch, lyrically speaking.  They range from the silly to the more serious throughout the record.  The album’s lead single, ‘Ghost Shadow,’ for instance, seems to come across literally as a story about a paranormal experience while the album’s opener, ‘Take A Lesson’ is a welcome reminder to audiences to not care what others think of them.  It is a classic, timeless rock theme.  Front man Steve Kudlow leaves nothing to doubt here as he comes right out and sings in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “Try to keep yourself from being led astray/Ignore the stupid things that people say/Back stabbing liars/How they deceive/They’re not the cure/They are the disease/When you know you’re right/Follow your heart/Never let anyone rip it apart/Take what you got till you have not/On the spot/It’s your they forgot.”  From there, Kudlow adds later in the song, a story about how he grew as a person over time, learning to use his experiences to grow, endure and improve.  It is a theme that is certain to resonate with audiences.

‘Someone To Hate’ is another example of the importance of the album’s lyrical content.  Kudlow gets socially conscious in this song as he sings about how divided the world has become.  That is made clear as he sings, “Divisive influence dominates one’s soul/To look for the difference/The focus and the goal/Finding the faults and looking to see bad/To incite confrontation/Arguments to be had/Social distortion/On congruence to blame/Murdering your neighbor/The pity and the shame/Revenge or vengeance/Doesn’t matter the choice/Polarized vision/You only have one voice/Someone to hate/Don’t matter who.”  This is clearly a commentary on what has happened to the world today, what with the hyper-partisan nature of America and the equally harsh divisions that are separating the world today.  It is another example of how the record’s lyrical themes are sure to keep listeners just as engaged and entertained as the album’s musical content.  The two items do plenty to make the album worth hearing and are still not all that make it appealing to the noted audiences.  The record’s production puts the finishing touch to its presentation.

The production that went into Impact Is Imminent is important to note because of its role in the record’s general effect.  The production that went into the album ensured that each musician’s performance was expertly balanced with that of his counterpart.  The guitars cut through so clearly while the bass and drums collectively add their own richness and heaviness to the mix.  When Kudlow’s vocals are added to the mix, they are balanced just as well with the work of his band mates.  The end result of the expert production is that each song has the most powerful impact possible.  It leaves the album’s general effect just as engaging and entertaining as the record’s content.  When that content is coupled with the production, the whole makes the album overall a mostly successful presentation.

Impact Is Imminent, the brand new album from the veteran hard rock band Anvil, is a record that is sure to find plenty of appeal among the band’s established audiences and even more casual fans.  That is proven in part through its musical arrangements.  The arrangements largely throw back to the era of big riffs and even bigger hair, but still have their own identity separate from one another, for the most part.  There is the one issue with the record’s two instrumentals, but overall, the songs do each have their own identity and appeal.  The lyrical themes featured throughout the album are just as diverse as the record’s musical arrangements.  They touch on serious and not-so-serious topics from one to the next, keeping things interesting along the way in their own way.  The production that went into the album keeps things interesting, too.  That is because it ensures the record’s general effect is that appealing.  Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation.  All things considered, they make Impact Is Imminent still one of the best rock albums of the year so far.

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

Websitehttps://my.tbaytel.net/tgallo/anvil

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/anvilmetal

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/AnvilMetal666

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.

Anvil Announces New Summer Tour Dates

Courtesy: AFM Records

Veteran hard rock band Anvil announced a new tour schedule this week.

The band announced Friday, it will launch a summer-long tour June 2 in support of its forthcoming album, Impact Is Imminent. The album is scheduled for release May 20 through AFM Records. A vinyl release is scheduled to follow June 24. The album has already produced a single, ‘Ghost Shadow.‘

The band’s upcoming tour is scheduled to run through July 31 in Sun Chicago, IL and features performances in cities nationwide, such as Durham, NC; Sun Ukiah, CA and Boise, ID. The tour’s schedule is noted below.

Anvil US Tour!

6/2 Thu Providence, RI @ Alchemy
 6/3 Fri Brooklyn, NY @ The Knitting Factory
 6/4 Sat Vineland, NJ @ The Landis Theater
 6/5 Sun Millersville, PA @ Phantom Power
 6/8 Wed Pittsburgh, PA @ Crafthouse
 6/9 Thu Detroit, MI @ The Magic Bag
 6/10 Fri Cincinnati, OH @ Legends Bar & Venue
 6/11 Sat Knoxville, TN @ BrickYard Bar and Grill
 6/15 Wed Vienna, VA @ Jammin Java
 6/17 Fri Virginia Beach, VA @ Vanguard
 6/18 Sat Durham, NC @ Pinhook
 6/19 Sun Greenville, SC @ The Radio Room
 6/22 Wed Memphis, TN @ Growlers
 6/23 Thu Oklahoma City, OK @ Whisky Nights
 6/24 Fri Fort Worth, TX @ Ridglea
 6/25 Sat Austin, TX @ The Lost Well
 6/27 Mon El Paso, TX @ Rockhouse
 6/28 Tue Tucson, AZ @ The Rock
 6/29 Wed Phoenix, AZ @ The Rebel Lounge
 6/30 Thu West Hollywood, CA @ Whisky A Go Go
 7/1 Fri Garden Grove, CA @ Garden Amp
 7/2 Sat San Diego, CA @ Brick By Brick
 7/7 Thu Berkeley, CA @ Cornerstone
 7/8 Fri Fresno, CA @ Fulton 55
 7/9 Sat Reno, NV @ Altururo’s
 7/10 Sun Ukiah, CA @ The Thirsty Axe
 7/13 Wed Seattle, WA @ Substation
 7/14 Thu Bellingham, WA @ Shakedown
 7/15 Fri Portland, OR @ Dante’s
 7/16 Sat Boise, ID @ The Olympic
 7/20 Wed Denver, CO @ Herman’s Hideaway
 7/22 Fri Wichita, KS @ Barleycorn’s
 7/23 Sat Des Moines, IA @ Lefty’s Live Music
 7/24 Sun Sioux Falls, SD @ Icon Lounge
 7/28 Thu St Paul, MN @ Turf Club
 7/29 Fri Madison, WI @ Crucible
 7/30 Sat Iowa City, IA @ Wildwood
 7/31 Sun Chicago, IL @ Reggies

The track listing for Impact Is Imminent is noted below.

Tracklist:
 01. Take A Lesson 
 02. Ghost Shadow
 03. Another Gun Fight
 04. Fire Rain 
 05. Teabag 
 06. Don‘t Look Back 
 07. Someone To Hate 
 08. Bad Side Of Town 
 09. Wizard´s Wand 
 10. Lockdown 
 11. Explosive Energy 
 12. The Rabbit Hole 
 13. Shockwave 
 14. Gomez

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

Websitehttps://my.tbaytel.net/tgallo/anvil

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/anvilmetal

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/AnvilMetal666

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.

Firewind To Join Dragonforce Tour Sunday

Courtesy: Earsplit PR

Firewind will join Dragonforce for its tour starting this weekend.

The veteran metal band is scheduled to join Dragonforce for its headlining tour starting Sunday in Denver, CO. The band’s run with Dragonforce is in support of its latest album, Firewind, which was released in 2020 through AFM Records.

FIrewind’s run with Dragonforce is scheduled to last through April 23 in Berkeley, CA and will see the band perform in cities, such as Greensboro, NC; Dallas, TX and Cleveland, OH. The schedule for the band’s tour with Dragonforce is noted below.

DragonForce North American tour dates
w/ Firewind, Visions of Atlantis, Seven Spires

Mar. 20, 2022 – Denver, CO – Oriental Theater
Mar. 22, 2022 – Lawrence, KS – Granada Theater
Mar. 23, 2022 – St. Louis, MO – Red Flag
Mar. 24, 2022 – Milwaukee, WI – Rave II
Mar. 25, 2022 – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
Mar. 26, 2022 – Chicago, IL – Metro
Mar. 27, 2022 – Detroit, MI – St. Andrews Hall
Mar. 29, 2022 – Ft. Wayne, IN – Piere’s
Mar. 30, 2022 – Toronto, ON – Opera House
Mar. 31, 2022 – Montreal, QC – Corona Theatre
Apr. 1, 2022 – Quebec City, QC – Imperial Bell
Apr. 2, 2022 – Worcester, MA – The Palladium
Apr. 3, 2022 – New York, NY – Irving Plaza
Apr. 5, 2022 – Reading, PA – Reverb
Apr. 6, 2022 – Cleveland, OH – Agora Theater
Apr. 7, 2022 – Baltimore, MD – Baltimore Soundstage
Apr. 8, 2022 – Pittsburgh, PA – Roxian Theater
Apr. 9, 2022 – Greensboro, NC – Arizona Petes
Apr. 10, 2022 – Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade (Heaven)
Apr. 12, 2022 – Tampa, FL – Orpheum
Apr. 13, 2022 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Revolution
Apr. 15, 2022 – Dallas, TX – Amplified Live
Apr. 16, 2022 – Houston, TX – Warehouse Live
Apr. 17, 2022 – Austin, TX – Come And Take It Live
Apr. 19, 2022 – Mesa, AZ – Nile Theater
Apr. 20, 2022 – Las Vegas, NV – House of Blues
Apr. 22, 2022 – Los Angeles, CA – Belasco Theater
Apr. 23, 2022 – Berkeley, CA – UC Theater

Also joining Dragonforce for its tour are Visions of Atlantis and Seven Spires.

More information on Firewind’s upcoming tour and album is available online along with the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.firewind.gr

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/firewindofficial

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/firewindmusic

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.

Anvil Announces New Album Details; Debuts Lead Single’s Video

Courtesy: AFM Records

Veteran hard rock/metal band Anvil is scheduled to release its new album this summer.

The band is scheduled to release its new record, Impact Is Imminent May 20 through AFM Records. A vinyl release is scheduled to follow June 24.

In anticipation of the album’s release, the band premiered the video for the albums’ lead single, ‘Ghost Shadow‘ Friday.

The video is a straight forward, classic presentation. It features the band performing its new single on a pseudo-stage setting in a soundstage. The presentation is meant to represent what the band looks like on a real stage.

The song’s musical arrangement is just as familiar for audiences. The driving guitar riffs and solid time keeping pair with the vocals and bass line to give the song a powerful, welcome classic metal sound and approach.

The lyrics provided with the song’s video hints at perhaps a paranormal theme. No information about the song’s lyrics were provided in the press release announcing the song’s premiere.

The track listing for Impact Is Imminent is noted below.

Tracklist:
 01. Take A Lesson 
 02. Ghost Shadow
 03. Another Gun Fight
 04. Fire Rain 
 05. Teabag 
 06. Don‘t Look Back 
 07. Someone To Hate 
 08. Bad Side Of Town 
 09. Wizard´s Wand 
 10. Lockdown 
 11. Explosive Energy 
 12. The Rabbit Hole 
 13. Shockwave 
 14. Gomez

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

Website: https://my.tbaytel.net/tgallo/anvil

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anvilmetal

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnvilMetal666

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.

‘Revolt’ Is Set To Help Dymytry Break Through In America’s Hard Rock, Metal Communities

Courtesy: AFM Records

AFM Records has, in the past year or so, released some impressive albums from a number of well-known acts, such as U.D.O. and its front man, Udo Dirkschneider, Gus G. (Firewind, Ozzy Osbourne), and Firewind.  The label has also taken on so many bands that could easily become big names in their own right.  One of those bands, Dymytry, is set to release its latest album, Revolt Feb. 18.  The band’s sixth album, it has primed the band to finally break out in America.  That is proven through its musical and lyrical content alike, as its opener/title track shows.  That song will be discussed shortly.  ‘Never Gonna Die’ is another way in which Revolt shows its strength.  It will be examined a little later.  ‘Tick Tock,’ which comes much later in the album’s run, is yet another example of what makes the album successful.  When it is considered along with the rest of the album’s songs, the whole makes Revolt a powerful new statement from Dymytry and an equally powerful first impression from the band for American audiences.

Dymytry is a band that every American hard rock and metal fan should be watching.  That is proven from the 12-song record’s opening to its end through its musical and lyrical content alike.  The album’s opener/title track supports the noted statements.  The song’s musical arrangement immediately grabs listeners with its driving guitar line and steady 4/4 beat from drummer Milos Meier.  Vocalist Alen Ljubic’s gritty vocals and the equally gritty choruses from Ljubic and his fellow performers makes for an interesting, infectious effect.  The whole is a sound that is comparable to the harder-edged sound of Five Finger Death Punch and to a lesser degree, works from the likes of Powerman 5000.  The whole is a strong opener for Revolt and an equally strong first impression for audiences who may be new to the band and its work.  The aggression and energy exuded through the song’s musical arrangement does well in pairing with the song’s lyrical theme to make the song even stronger.

The lyrical theme featured in ‘Revolt’ is clear.  It is a call to unity and to stand up against all the powers that be that would hold people down.  This is inferred right from the song’s lead verse and chorus, which state, “Stand up/It’s time to stand up/Remember to speak up/Tomorrow brings another blow/And now it’s time to stand up/Even when the sun turns dark/Look at me/They call me the revolter/Same old story/That we keep forgetting/We might have lost the battle/But the war is never-ending/Deep inside our hearts/Desire for rebellion/So, rush, rush, rush, rush…Revolt/Time to get together/And face our enemies/You need to stand up/Revolt/Feels like swimming upstream/To find your destiny/No regrets/Stand up and revolt.”  This is a clear statement of defiance and pride that will resonate with any listener.  Its message of standing up against obstacles, whether they be people or something else is hardly new in the rock realm, but is still just as welcome here as from any other act.  The message continues in the song’s second verse, which states, “Don’t stop/I told you don’t stop/And I won’t say it again/’Cause when the time will come/I want you to remember/The promises…I don’t wanna see you going down to hell.”  Not having a lyrics sheet to reference, a little bit of the content here is difficult to decipher.  Enough of the verse is understandable though, that a relatively clear understanding is easy enough.  It is that continued encouragement to stand up together, to fight against life’s obstacles, including those people that would try to stop people from achieving their goals, whether personal or otherwise.  It is, again, a powerful statement, and when considered with the content in the song’s lead verse and in the song’s musical arrangement, is made that much harder hitting.  All things considered here, ‘Revolt’ proves itself a clear example of what makes Revolt such a strong new offering from Dymytry and an equally strong introduction for new audiences.  It is just one of the songs that serves to show the record’s strength.  ‘Never Gonna Die,’ which comes just prior to the album’s midpoint, is another example of how much the record has to offer.

‘Never Gonna Die’ is, musically, a stark contrast to ‘Revolt.’  Where ‘Revolt’ is a pure, hard-driving hard rock work, this song is more industrial in its approach and sound.  The Powerman 5000 comparison is just as prominent here as in ‘Revolt.’  At the same time, the use of the keyboards and electronics also make the song comparable to works from the likes of Crossbreed.  That pairing of influences/comparisons will keep audiences just as engaged and entertained as the more unique pairing of influences in ‘Revolt.’  The almost brooding nature of the arrangement along with its heaviness makes the composition that much more uniquely interesting.  Much the same can be said of the massively heavy breakdown that comes roughly three minutes into the song.  One cannot help but imagine guitarists Jan Gorgel and Jin Urban hitting their marks, heads down, swaying so heavily to their down-tuned breakdown as they play their lines.  It is just one part of what makes ‘Never Gonna Die’ stand out in Revolt’s bigger picture. 

The song’s lyrical content adds its own layer of interest to the song.  The seeming theme presented through this content comes across as a message of defiance and determination.  That is just this critic’s own interpretation.  The inference comes as Ljubic repeats the phrase, “I see fear in your eyes, my friend/But don’t worry/I will carry you out of the darkness again/We will not die/Take my hand…We’re never gonna die, my friend/Until the light forever fades away.”  The last part of the verse is difficult to decipher sans lyrics to reference, but from what can be deciphered, one can tell that the message is one of encouragement and support.  It reminds audiences that things will get better and to not give up.  Again, this is just this critic’s interpretation.  The song’s second, brief verse builds on that inferred theme as Ljubic sings, “We will go to a place without lies, rules, and tears/Where no questions are asked/And answers have disappeared.”  This sounds like a rather good place.  The added mention in the chorus that “We will never die/Until the light forever takes us” is another seemingly uplifting statement that is sure to resonate with plenty of audiences.  When all of this commentary is paired with the heaviness and depth in the song’s musical arrangement, the whole makes this song yet another clear example of how much Revolt has to offer audiences.  It is just one more way in which the album shows its strength.  ‘Tick Tock’ is yet another positive, notable addition to the album.

‘Tick Tock’ wastes no time kicking into gear as it opens.  This forward driving rocker fully immerses audiences in its body with its intense instrumentation and vocals.  The modern rock approach and the depth of the composition makes it such that it will easily appeal to so many hard rock and metal fans.  Making the song even more interesting is the way in which its energy pairs with the song’s seeming topic of dealing with mental health.

The seeming theme is inferred as Ljubic sings in the lead verse that “The past is a broken dream/The future brings fear/I’ve been thinking too much about you/I will never forget/I’m locked up in a clock/I just wanna live/I’m trapped inside/A twisting hourglass/There’s darkness in the future…I’m caught between/What was and what will be/I’m begging for salvation/Someone set me free.”  This is clearly someone dealing with so much inner emotional turmoil, and a unique way of delivering that fully relatable situation, too.  The theme continues in the song’s second verse as Ljubic sings, “I’ve been going forever further/Living in a dark cloud/I’m locked up in a clock/There’s no way out.”  This continued metaphorical reference to time past and future is, again unique, but still clear enough to understand especially when considered along with the content in the song’s lead verse and chorus.  That taken into consideration along with the energy in the song’s musical arrangement makes the song even more impacting and one more example of how much the album has to offer both musically and lyrically.  When this song and the others examined here are considered along with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes Revolt a record that is primed to help Dymytry break out in America, given the right support.

Dymytry’s new album, Revolt, is a strong introduction for the band among American audiences.  For those more familiar with the band, it is just as certain to impress.  That is proven through its musical and lyrical content.  The songs examined here all serve to make that clear.  When they are considered along with the album’s other entries, the whole makes Revolt a powerful new record that any metal and hard rock fan will appreciate.

Revolt is scheduled for release Feb. 18 through AFM Records.  More information on the album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: https://dymytry.cz

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dymytrycz

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.  

Evergrey’s Most Devoted Audiences Will Appreciate Band’s Latest Live Recording

Courtesy: AFM Records

Veteran progressive metal act Evergrey is scheduled to release its new live recording, Live: Before The Aftermath Friday through AFM Records.  Only the band’s second ever live recording in its decades-long career, the 16-song set is a mostly successful presentation.  That is due in part to its featured set list, which will be discussed shortly.  The band’s performance thereof is just as important to discuss as important to examine as the set list.  It will be discussed a little later.  The show’s production rounds out its most important elements and will also be examined later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the recording.  All things considered, they make the recording a presentation that all of Evergrey’s fans will appreciate.

Live: Before The Aftermath is a mostly successful new offering from Evergrey.  Its success comes in part through its featured set list.  The 16-song list is not necessarily a career-defining show, but does represent a relatively healthy cross section of the band’s catalog.  Of the band’s 12 total albums, the set list pulls from eight.  Given, some albums – Hymns for the Broken, The Atlantic, and The Storm Within – get more nods than others here, but again it still pulls from a respectful number of the band’s albums.  It reaches all the way back to the band’s 1999 sophomore album, Solitude, Dominance, Tragedy and as recent as The Atlantic (2019).  Information about the new recording did not specify when the featured concert was recorded, but considering the set list’s timeline of sorts, one has to assume it was recorded before the release of the band’s latest album, Escape of the Phoenix (2021).  Even the band’s breakout 2004 album, The Inner Circle is represented here, albeit with just one song.  IF that is not enough, the band’s concept album about the search for aliens, In Search of Truth (2001) is represented here.  Simply put, the set list featured in Live: Before The Aftermath is not perfect, but is still a solid starting point for the recording’s presentation.  The band’s performance thereof is just as important to note. 

The band’s performance of its set list is important to note especially considering what looks like such an intimate setting for the band. Instead of a huge arena setting, the performance featured in this recording looks like it was held at a club.  Even with the setting in mind with a smaller audience, the band still gives its all from one song to the next.  Yes, there is the occasional audience interaction, but even those cases are rare, with the band opting instead to let its energetic performance do the majority of the talking.  There are even those moments in which the band gets the audience involved in the songs, with the familiar live chants and clapping that add in to the mix.  The whole of that balanced interaction and fiery performance is sure to keep Evergey’s most devoted audiences engaged and entertained.  For others who might be less familiar with the band, it serves as a solid starting point in understanding what to expect from Evergrey live. Keeping that in mind, it is just one more of the items that makes the recording successful.  The concert’s production rounds out its most important elements.

Whether it be the camera angles, the audio, the cuts between cameras, or even the post production, every bit of the concert’s production plays into the overall production’s success.  In the case of the camera work, audiences will love the moments when the cameras are bouncing up and down in time with drummer Jonas Ekdahl as he keeps the beat, headbanging in time.  It is a simple aspect of the camera work, but there is something about such a simple move that serves to immerse audiences even more into the concert.  At other times, the speed of the cuts from camera to camera right in time with the songs’ tempos serves to heighten the intense emotion in each composition.  The balance of the vocals and instrumentation and its post production ensures each performer’s part gets its own attention.  In other words, no one performance from the group overpowers its counterparts at any point throughout the concert.  The positive general effect that results from that aesthetic element puts the finishing touch to the presentation.  When this is considered along with the mostly positive aspect of the concert’s set list and even more positive that is the band’s performance thereof, the whole makes this new forthcoming live recording from Evergrey a welcome new offering that any of the band’s most devoted fans will appreciate.

Evergrey’s new, forthcoming live recording, Before The Aftermath, is a positive offering from the veteran progressive metal band.  Its success comes in part through its featured set list, which pulls from a relatively wide swath of the band’s catalog.  Given, some adjustments perhaps could have been made, considering the set list’s overall distribution.  Regardless, it still does at least cover a wide range of the band’s catalog.  The band’s performance of the concert’s set list is even more of a positive than the set list.  That is because of the effort that the band clearly puts into the show, even with the venue and audience clearly being smaller and more intimate.  The concert’s production puts the finishing touch to its presentation.  The work that went into the camera work and the sound and video editing results in a successful general effect.  Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of the recording’s presentation.  All things considered, they make Before The Aftermath a mostly positive new live offering that Evergrey’s most devoted audiences will appreciate.

Live: Before The Aftermath is scheduled for release Friday through AFM Records. More information on Live: Before The Aftermath is available along with all of Evergrey’s latest news and more at:

Websitehttps://evergrey.net

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/Evrergrey

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/evergreysweden

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.worpress.com.  

‘Quantum Leap’ Is A Largely Successful New Offering From Gus G.

Courtesy: AFM Records

Firewind founder and guitarist Gus G. is quoted from a recent interview as saying of his new album, Quantum Leap, that he “didn’t make it with the intention of it being the next one in the cycle of solo albums.  It was more of a case of, ‘What else is there?’ I needed the creative outlet.”  One of so many albums created during the downtime forced on acts by the COVID-19 pandemic, audiences will be glad that he crafted the album regardless.  That is due in large part to its general presentation, which will be discussed shortly.  While the album’s general presentation makes the record a strong new offering, the recording is not perfect.  The production in the live content detracts from the presentation to a point.  This will be discussed a little later.  Speaking of production, the production of the album’s first half offsets the impact of the production in the album’s second half and makes the album that much more enjoyable.  The end result of this is that the album in whole proves to be one more of the year’s top new rock and hard rock/metal albums.

Gus G.’s new solo album, Quantum Leap is a mostly successful new presentation from the veteran guitarist.  That is due in large part to its general presentation.  The general presentation finds the 18-song record divided into two separate discs.  The first disc is composed of 11 original new songs that the guitarist (formally known as Konstantinos Karamitroudis) crafted during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The second disc is composed of seven live tracks, at least two of which are covers (one a Thin Lizzy cover, the other a Dire Straits work).  The live songs were all from a concert that Karamitroudis held in 2018 in Budapest.  Two of the songs – ‘Fearless’ and ‘Cold Sweat’ – were featured in his 2019 digital-only EP, Live in Budapest.  The other five songs are other performances featured in the concert, but just not in the EP.  Ironically, the other two songs from the EP are not featured among the live songs in this bonus live material.  Sure, it would have been nice for audiences to have had those songs, for a total count of nine live performances, but at least audiences get seven.  To that end, audiences cannot complain too much.

Getting back to the topic of the main record, the material that makes up its body is both new and archived material that Karamitroudis had stored away unfinished from however long ago.  Karamitroudis composed and recorded most of the instrumentation in this record, save for the drums.  He was joined by drummer Vincent Velasco for the recording.  Velasco’s work is solid throughout and offers just the right musical “spice,” too.  Just as interesting is that Karamitroudis was quoted during an interview promoting the album, that he had to step back from his typical approach (IE lots of extensive guitar solos and work, really in-depth arrangements).  Instead, he allowed himself to write and create more freely.  The result is wonderful.  There are songs that fit just as well here on any Firewind album (E.g. ‘Demon Stomp,’ and ‘Enigma of Life’) as would fit on one of Joe Satriani’s albums.  The more Satriani work comes in the form of the album’s opener, ‘Leap Into The Unknown’ and ‘Not Forgotten.’  There is even some hint of influence from fellow guitar virtuoso Marty Friedman peppered in through songs, such as ‘Force Majure’ and ‘Exosphere.’  As if all of that is not enough, the sort of “new agey” approach and sound of ‘Night Driver’ with its keyboards, is a throwback to that familiar hair metal sound of the 80s.  It will appeal to specific audiences in its own right.  Simply put, the works crafted for the album’s main body are diverse and unique from one another throughout its run.  The wide appeal that it will certainly generate couples with the appeal from the record’s companion live material to make for even more engagement and entertainment.  In other words, audiences get the best of both worlds here in the best way possible.  They get a new, impressive studio recording, and a healthy compliment of live material in lien of a live performance, since the COVID-19 pandemic put Karamitroudis’ live plans on hold.  Keeping all of this in mind, the album’s general presentation creates a strong, solid foundation for the record.  Of course while the album’s general presentation is undeniably important to its appeal, the album is not perfect.  There is a slight issue raised as a result of the live material’s production.


The production is slightly problematic because of the lack of balance in the instrumentation and vocals.  The vocals in the live show were performed by Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69, Unisonic).  Maybe it is just this critic’s own hearing, but it seems throughout the songs with vocals, Ward’s performance is washed out by Gus G.’s work and that of drummer Johan Nunez (Firewind, ex-Kamelot).  Ward’s vocals sound so distant, as if his mic was not turned on.  Whether that was accidental is anyone’s guess.  Regardless, it forces audiences to turn up the volume and listen closely to be able to hear Ward.  This is disappointing, but is not enough of a dent to make the live material a failure.  That is because not every song has vocals.  To that end, the album’s live material still helps play into the album’s success, despite the one noted concern.

Considering that the production in the album’s live material is not enough to doom the record, there is at least one more item to note here to the record’s positive.  That item is the production of the album’s primary content.  As noted already, Karamitroudis admitted in an interview promoting his new album, that he had to take a new, unfamiliar approach to composing and performing in Quantum Leap.  That approach included not only taking different approaches in the songs, but also making sure that each part works well with each other.  That is because so much is still going on in each song.  Ward, who also mixed and mastered the album, deserves his own share of applause.  He clearly paid painstaking attention to each instrument’s place within each arrangement.  He made sure that every part complimented the others and balanced each song in whole.  That work and that of Karamistroudis came together and made the album in whole just as successful for its aesthetics as for its content.  When this and the album’s content are considered together, the whole makes Quantum Leap another impressive offering from Gus G. that is among the best of not only the year’s new rock albums, but hard rock and metal albums, too.

Gus G.’s recently released album, Quantum Leap is an impressive presentation that will appeal equally to his fans, those of Firewind, and rock and hard rock fans alike.  The record’s success is due in large part to its general presentation.  The general presentation gives audiences the best of both worlds with a new studio album and live recording in one.  The studio recording gives audiences a new studio presentation while the new live recording gives audiences a nice concert experience in lieu of a live, in-person show from Gus G. as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The general presentation gives the record a strong start, but the production in the live recording detracts from the presentation to a point.  The production proves problematic because there is an obvious problem with the balance between the instrumentation and vocals in the tracks that feature vocals.  Thankfully it is not enough to make the record in whole a failure or even the record’s live half.  The production of the record’s primary body makes up for the concerns raised through the production of the live content.  It ensures every instrument balances expertly with one another.  The result is that the studio content is fully engaging and entertaining from start to end.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s overall presentation.  All things considered, the album proves a mostly successful presentation.

Quantum Leap is available now through AFM Records.  More information on the album is available along with all of Gus G.’s latest news at:

Website: https://gusgofficial.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/officialgusg

Twitter: https://twitter.com/gusgofficial

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.