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

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PHIL’S PICKS 2018 TOP 10 NEW LIVE CDs

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

Slayer Announces Dates For Final World Tour: Leg Five

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Slayer’s worldwide farewell tour will officially run into summer 2019.

The band announced the dates for Leg Five of its final world tour on Monday.  Leg Five will bring the band back to North America for a series of dates through May, starting May 2 and running through May 25.  Lamb of God, Amon Amarth and Cannibal Corpse will serve as support for the tour.

The band’s new dates are noted below. The announcement follows the recent announcement of the sixth leg of the tour, which will take Slayer across Europe during June and July.  Those dates — and those of Leg Four — are included with the dates for Leg Five.

MARCH
Leg Four:  Australia Japan South Pacific
(Anthrax and Behemoth will support on headline dates) 

7   Brisbane Riverstage Brisbane Australia
9   Download Festival Sydney Australia
11  Download Festival Melbourne Australia
15  Eventfinda Stadium Auckland New Zealand
17  Horncastle Arena Christchurch New Zealand
21  Download Festival Chiba Prefecture Japan
23  Pulp Summer Slam Manila Philippines

MAY
Leg Five:  North America
(Lamb of God, Amon Amarth and Cannibal Corpse will support on all dates) 

2   Ak-Chin Amphitheatre Phoenix AZ
3   Isleta Amphitheatre Albuquerque NM
5   UTEP/Don Haskins Center El Paso TX
7   Bert Ogden Arena Edinburg TX
8   The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory Dallas TX
10  MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre Tampa FL
11  Coral Sky Amphitheatre West Palm Beach Florida
13  Big Sandy Superstore Arena Huntington WVa
14  Merriweasther Post Pavilion Columbia MD
16  Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center Noblesville IN
17  Providence Medical Center Amphitheatre Bonner Springs KS
19  DTE Energy Mush Center Clarkston MI
20  Covel Centre Youngstown OH
22  Canadian Tire Centre Ottawa ON  CANADA
24  BB&T Pavilion Camden NJ
25  Xfinity Center Mansfield MA

JUNE
Leg Six:  Europe(Support acts for headline dates TBA)

4  Arena Gilwice Gilwice Poland
6  Sweden Rock Solvesborg Sweden
8  Rock Am Ring Nurburgring Germany
9  Rock Im Park Nurnberg Germany
11  Sports Arena Budapest Hungary
13  Leipzig Arena Leipzig Germany
14  Nova Rock Nickelsdorf Austria
Weekend of June 14-16
Download Donington Park UK
19  Arena Geneva Switzerland
21  Graspop Metal Meeting Dessel Belgium
23  Hellfest Clisson France25  Tipsport Arena Prague Czechoslovakia
28  Tons of Rock Oslo Norway
29  Tuska Open Air Helsinki Finland

JULY 
July 3-6
Resurrection Festival Viviero Spain
5   VOA Heavy Rock Festival Lisbon Portugal
7   Rock The Castle Verona Italy
10  Metalheadmeeting Bucharest Romania
11  Airport Park Sofia Bulgaria
13  Rockwave Festival Athens Greece
Weekend of July 27-28*
Heavy Montreal Parc Jean-Drapeau Montreal QC

AUGUST  
3  Messegelande Balingen Germany

More information on Slayer’s final world tour is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.slayer.net

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Slayer

 

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

Amon Amarth Releases New Live Clip From ‘The Pursuit of Vikings’ Package

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Amon Amarth has released a new live clip from its forthcoming documentary/live recording package.

The band debuted the video of its performance of ‘Raise Your Horns’ Nov. 2 via its official YouTube channel.  The song is taken from the live portion of the band’s upcoming doc/live package, The Pursuit if Vikings25 Years in the Eye of the Storm.  The performance was recorded at the band’s performance at Germany’s Summer Breeze 2017 Festival.

The live portion of the package was directed by Phil Wallis, and produced Alexander Milas.

The Pursuit of Vikings25 Years in the Eye of the Storm is currently scheduled to be released Nov. 16 via Metal Blade Records.  The collection will feature a double-live recording and a full-length documentary.

The documentary takes audiences through the band’s rich history both in studio and on the road, and includes a wealth of interviews with the band through that time.  The double-live recording features two sets from the band, performed at the 2017 Summer Breeze Festival in Dinkelsbuhl, Germany.

Guitarist Olavi Mikkonen said the band was glad to have both performances together in one setting.

“For the first night, we wanted to write a set that the fans would enjoy by wholly diving into our back catalog, but also keeping it interesting,” Mikkonen said.  “Putting the two shows together also made us realize that we had a lot of songs to choose from!”

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Pre-orders are open now along with a trailer for the collection here.  The collection will be available on CD/2DVD digipack, Blu-ray, special edition hardcover book with six discs (3DVD/2CD/1 Blu-ray) and vinyl.

The vinyl pressings will be in transparent orange, clear black with splatter and transparent yellow with orange marble vinyl.  The transparent orange pressing will be limited to 500 copies; the clear black with splatter 250 copies and yellow with orange marble 250 copies.

The collection’s full track listing is noted below.

CD track-listing (Main Stage Show: August 17th, 2017):
1. The Pursuit of Vikings
2. As Loke Falls
3. First Kill
4. The Way of Vikings
5. At Dawn’s First Light
6. Cry of the Black Birds
7. Deceiver of the Gods
8. Destroyer of the Universe
9. Death in Fire
10. Father of the Wolf
11. Runes to My Memory
12. War of the Gods
13. Raise Your Horns
14. A Dream That Cannot Be
15. Guardians of Asgaard
16. Twilight of the Thunder God

DVD Digipak and Blu-ray track-listings:
Documentary
T-Stage Show: August 16th, 2017
1. Twilight of the Thunder God
2. Free Will Sacrifice
3. With Oden on Our Side
4. The Last with Pagan Blood
5. For the Stabwounds in Our Backs
6. Thousand Years of Oppression
7. Gods of War Arise
8. Versus the World
9. Asator
10. Under the Northern Star
11. Fate of Norns
12. Varyags of Miklagaard
13. Live for the Kill
14. Victorious March
Main Stage Show: August 17th, 2017
1. The Pursuit of Vikings
2. As Loke Falls
3. First Kill
4. The Way of Vikings
5. At Dawn’s First Light
6. Cry of the Black Birds
7. Deceiver of the Gods
8. Destroyer of the Universe
9. Death in Fire
10. Father of the Wolf
11. Runes to My Memory
12. War of the Gods
13. Raise Your Horns
14. A Dream That Cannot Be
15. Guardians of Asgaard
16. Twilight of the Thunder God

**Note: special edition hardcover book contains all of the above, plus audio from T-Stage Show: August 16th, 2017**

Vinyl track-listing (Main Stage Show: August 17th, 2017):
SIDE A
1. The Pursuit of Vikings
2. As Loke Falls
3. First Kill
4. The Way of Vikings
SIDE B
5. At Dawn’s First Light
6. Cry of the Black Birds
7. Deceiver of the Gods
8. Destroyer of the Universe
9. Death in Fire
SIDE C
10. Father of the Wolf
11. Runes to My Memory
12. War of the Gods
13. Raise Your Horns
SIDE D
14. A Dream That Cannot Be
15. Guardians of Asgaard
16. Twilight of the Thunder God

More information on The Pursuit of Vikings25 Years in the Eye of the Storm is available online now along with all of Amon Amarth’s latest news and more at:

 

Websitehttp://www.amonamarth.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/OfficialAmonAmarth

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/amonamarthband

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

Amon Amarth Fans New And Old Will Want To “Pursue” The Band’s New Doc/Live Package

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Over the course of the past 25 years, veteran metal band Amon Amarth has become one of the most respected and unique bands in the metal community.  That is because of its music and its live performances.  From its debut 1996 EP Sorrow Throughout The Nine Worlds to its most recent full-length studio recording, 2016’s Jomsviking, the band has stuck to what it knows, writing songs about Vikings.  It’s not the only band that rose to fame in taking this path, but has become even more famous than its contemporaries in taking that path.  The band’s live shows have been just as key in making the band so well-known and respected, as they have included the standard Viking ship on stage, and at times, even Viking battle re-enactments.  Of course while the band has become one of the metal community preeminent acts today, its road to worldwide stardom was not the easiest.  That story is presented in the documentary included in the band’s forthcoming documentary/live recording package, The Pursuit of Vikings: 25 Years in the Eye of the Storm, and it is a story that is certain to create a new appreciation for the band.  It is just one part of what the package – set for release Nov. 16 via Metal Blade Records – that makes it a worthwhile addition to any Amon Amarth fan’s collection.  The live material included in the package is just as important to note as the documentary.  It will be discussed a little later.  Its pricing rounds out its most important elements, and will also be addressed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of The Pursuit of Vikings: 25 Years in the Eye of the Storm.  All things considered, they make the recording a collection that, again, will appeal especially to the band’s most devoted fan base.

Amon Amarth’s forthcoming documentary/live bundle The Pursuit of Vikings: 25 Years in the Eye of the Storm is a strong new offering from the veteran metal outfit.  It is a work that is certain to appeal to the band’s most devout fan base, and even to new audiences who might be less familiar to the band.  That is due in no small part to the documentary included in the bundle.  The doc, which clocks in sans end credits at a little more than 90 minutes (1 hour, 39 minutes to be exact), serves as an interesting introduction to the band for those noted new audiences, and an equally welcome re-introduction to the band’s more seasoned fans.  It takes audiences from the band’s earliest days, struggling to balance their blue-collar lives with trying to make it in the music business to its current state atop the metal community.  That back story in itself is a sort of rags to riches story, so to speak because it presents the band as a group that worked its way to the top.  It was not given the world.  It had to work to earn it.  The band’s fron man, Johan Hegg, discusses that work ethic at one point late in the documentary, explaining the clear role that it has played in the band’s success.  Along with that, some audiences might be surprised to learn that there was a chance early on in the band’s career that it might not even have been around if not for the success of one record.  That story will be saved for those who have not yet had the pleasure of taking in this retrospective.  It is another one of those anecdotes that adds to the appreciation that the doc presents.  As if everything noted here is not enough, audiences will be just as interested to take in the discussions on the band’s decision to go forward with focusing so much on Viking mythology in its albums despite the apparent belief of some that it has to certain groups.  There is an equally interesting discussion that goes along with that talk, in which the band talks frankly about steering away from the standard death metal fare, and why it opted not to go that route.  That discussion is one of the most powerful, as brief as it might be.  It joins with everything else presented over the course of the documentary’s run to make this story one that is certain to make audiences new and old see Amon Amarth in a whole new and certainly positive light.  To that end, the documentary featured in this new presentation is a strong addition to the whole of the presentation, and is not the only positive to the set.  The live material included in the set adds even more enjoyment to the package.

The live material featured in The Pursuit of Vikings: 25 Years in the Eye of the Storm is so important because of everything that goes into that presentation, from the set lists to the band’s performance thereof and the production values.  The two set lists – taken from the band’s Aug. 16 & 17 Summer Breeze Festival performance – pull songs from nine of the band’s current 10 albums.  In other words, it is safe to say that this is a career-spanning two-night performance.  The only album not represented in the recording is the band’s 2001 album The Crusher.  The band’s debut 1996 EP Sorrow Through The Nine Worlds also is not included in the set list, but the band can easily be forgiven for that.  Over the course of the 30-song set, the band pulls most liberally from its 2006 album With Oden on Our Side and its follow-up, 2008’s Twilight of the Thunder God, with each album getting six nods.  Jomsviking is next with five songs, and then Versus The World (2002) with four, Deceiver of the Gods (2013) with three, Surtur Rising (2011) and Fate of Norns (2014) with two each and then The Avenger (1999) and Once Sent From The Golden Hall (1998) each with just one song representing them respectively.  To say that the set list is extensive would be an understatement.  As with the documentary, such an extensive set list serves as a solid representation of Amon Amarth’s career to this point.  Simply put, this makes the set list another excellent introduction to the band for fans less familiar with the band’s work and an equally welcome presentation for those more seasoned audiences.

The extensive set list featured in the band’s Summer Breeze 2017 performance is just part of what makes that performance welcome.  The band’s performance thereof adds even more of a positive touch to the recording.  From start to finish, the band gives its all for its audiences on both nights of the festival, letting the music do the majority of the talking.  It serves to display that work ethic that Hegg talked about in the documentary, making for even more appreciation for the band.  The same can be said of Hegg’s interactions with the audience between songs.  From the casual discussion about the band donating its now famous on-stage Viking boat to Hegg’s encouragement of the audience to do its own “Viking row” to the general mid-performance banter, Hegg proves to be an entertaining front man.  His band mates meanwhile do just as much to entertain audiences throughout each song, that they are giving 110 percent and more.  It’s just one more way in which the live material stands out so strongly here.

The recording’s production values are just as worth noting in examining the recording as the band’s performance and the recording’s set list.  The work that went into balancing the sound and capturing the concert both during and in post production paid off, giving audiences at home the best seat in the house.  The sound is everything that a home viewer should expect from audio mixing while the camera work offers its own entertainment.  Audiences are taken on stage, into the crowd and high above throughout.  What’s interesting to note here is that the shooting actually at times has a little bit of a guerilla look.  Luckily that feeling is not overpowering at any given moment.  Rather, it is just enough that when coupled with the more spit-shined shots, the combination of those clearer and more raw shots makes for its own interesting experience.  The end result of the attention paid to every detail makes this performance just as enjoyable for its production work as for the set list and the band’s performance.  In other words, everyone behind the boards and cameras is fully deserving of praise for their work.  That effort and time was well worth it.  Now keeping all of this in mind, the last important element of this set to note is its pricing.

Looking through the nation’s biggest retailers – Target, Best Buy, Amazon and Walmart —  finding this new recording was a bit of a craps shoot. That is both because The Pursuit of Vikings: 25 Years in the Eye of the Storm is available on so many platforms and because right now, some of the retailers do not have it listed.  Target has the vinyl presentation listed while Best Buy has three of its separate platforms listed at coordinated prices.  The problem is that Best Buy’s listings do not specify which price is with which platform.  Walmart does not even list the recording, and Amazon lists the pricing for the CD/2 DVD and Blu-ray platforms.  Of course, Metal Blade lists each of the platforms and their respective prices.  Keeping all of this in mind, and that most people will likely buy either the Blu-ray or CD/2DVD set, finding an average price point at the time of this posting is next to impossible.  However, comparing Amazon’s current pricing to that of Metal Blade, it can be said that even with shipping, fans will find it less expensive to purchase the Blu-ray and the CD/2DVD set direct from Metal Blade’s official store.  That is always open to change, of course, but for now Metal Blade’s official store is offering a more affordable price for each platform, even with shipping & handling.  When this is considered along with everything else noted here, it goes without saying that The Pursuit of Vikings: 25 Years in the Eye of the Storm is a relatively affordable presentation that audiences new and old alike will happily welcome in their own music libraries.

Amon Amarth’s forthcoming documentary/live recording bundle The Pursuit of Vikings: 25 Years in the Eye of the Storm is a strong new offering from the veteran Swedish metal band.  It is a presentation that is certain to appeal to the band’s most seasoned fans just as much as it will to those less familiar with the band and its body of work.  That is proven in part through the extensive documentary that takes audiences through the band’s story from its earliest days pre-Amon Amarth up to its current point.  It paints a rich picture of the band’s past, present and future.  The equally extensive 30-song set does just as much to illustrate the band’s history.  The whole thing proves relatively affordable especially considering the amount and type of content presented in the Blu-ray platform.  Keeping all of this in mind, it can be said with ease that The Pursuit of Vikings: 25 Years in the Eye of the Storm is a work whose appeal is far-reaching, and in turn proves to be one of this year’s top new live Blu-rays and DVDs.  It will be available Nov. 16 via Metal Blade Records, and can be pre-ordered now via Metal Blade’s online store.  More information on The Pursuit of Vikings: 25 Years in the Eye of the Storm is available now online along with all of Amon Amarth’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.amonamarth.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/amonamarthband

 

 

 

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

New Documentary/Live Collection Coming This Fall From Amon Amarth

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Amon Amarth announced this week that it will release a new multi-faceted released this fall.

The Pursuit of Vikings25 Years in the Eye of the Storm is currently scheduled to be released Nov. 26 via Metal Blade Records.  The collection will feature a double-live recording and a full-length documentary.

The documentary takes audiences through the band’s rich history both in studio and on the road, and includes a wealth of interviews with the band through that time.  The double-live recording features two sets from the band, performed at the 2017 Summer Breeze Festival in Dinkelsbuhl, Germany.

Guitarist Olavi Mikkonen said the band was glad to have both performances together in one setting.

“For the first night, we wanted to write a set that the fans would enjoy by wholly diving into our back catalog, but also keeping it interesting,” Mikkonen said.  “Putting the two shows together also made us realize that we had a lot of songs to choose from!”

Pre-orders are open now along with a trailer for the collection here.  the collection will be available on CD/2DVD digipack, Blu-ray, special edition hardcover book with six discs (3DVD/2CD/1 Blu-ray) and vinyl.

The vinyl pressings will be in transparent orange, clear black with splatter and transparent yellow with orange marble vinyl.  The transparent orange pressing will be limited to 500 copies; the clear black with splatter 250 copies and yellow with orange marble 250 copies.

The collection’s full track listing is noted below.

CD track-listing (Main Stage Show: August 17th, 2017):
1. The Pursuit of Vikings
2. As Loke Falls
3. First Kill
4. The Way of Vikings
5. At Dawn’s First Light
6. Cry of the Black Birds
7. Deceiver of the Gods
8. Destroyer of the Universe
9. Death in Fire
10. Father of the Wolf
11. Runes to My Memory
12. War of the Gods
13. Raise Your Horns
14. A Dream That Cannot Be
15. Guardians of Asgaard
16. Twilight of the Thunder God

DVD Digipak and Blu-ray track-listings:
Documentary
T-Stage Show: August 16th, 2017
1. Twilight of the Thunder God
2. Free Will Sacrifice
3. With Oden on Our Side
4. The Last with Pagan Blood
5. For the Stabwounds in Our Backs
6. Thousand Years of Oppression
7. Gods of War Arise
8. Versus the World
9. Asator
10. Under the Northern Star
11. Fate of Norns
12. Varyags of Miklagaard
13. Live for the Kill
14. Victorious March
Main Stage Show: August 17th, 2017
1. The Pursuit of Vikings
2. As Loke Falls
3. First Kill
4. The Way of Vikings
5. At Dawn’s First Light
6. Cry of the Black Birds
7. Deceiver of the Gods
8. Destroyer of the Universe
9. Death in Fire
10. Father of the Wolf
11. Runes to My Memory
12. War of the Gods
13. Raise Your Horns
14. A Dream That Cannot Be
15. Guardians of Asgaard
16. Twilight of the Thunder God

**Note: special edition hardcover book contains all of the above, plus audio from T-Stage Show: August 16th, 2017**

Vinyl track-listing (Main Stage Show: August 17th, 2017):
SIDE A
1. The Pursuit of Vikings
2. As Loke Falls
3. First Kill
4. The Way of Vikings
SIDE B
5. At Dawn’s First Light
6. Cry of the Black Birds
7. Deceiver of the Gods
8. Destroyer of the Universe
9. Death in Fire
SIDE C
10. Father of the Wolf
11. Runes to My Memory
12. War of the Gods
13. Raise Your Horns
SIDE D
14. A Dream That Cannot Be
15. Guardians of Asgaard
16. Twilight of the Thunder God

More information on The Pursuit of Vikings25 Years in the Eye of the Storm is available online now along with all of Amon Amarth’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.amonamarth.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/amonamarthband

 

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‘Thunderbolt’ Is An “Electrifying” New Effort From Veteran Rock Act Saxon

Courtesy: Militia Guard (Silver Lining Music)

Veteran hard rock act Saxon has, for more than four decades, been entertaining audiences the world over with its own brand of music. Considered by most to be one of the leaders of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, the band has easily maintained a place for itself the entire time both in the rock realm and within the musical universe overall. Now with the recent release of Thunderbolt, its 22nd full-length studio recording, the band continues to show why it is still one of rock’s elite acts and just as relevant today as it was in its infancy. That is proven in part through the record’s musical arrangements, which will be discussed shortly. Its lyrical themes are just as worth noting here as its musical arrangements and will be discussed later. The album’s sequencing rounds out the elements that prove this album’s power. Each element is important in its own way to the whole of Thunderbolt. All things considered, they make the album another hard-hitting strike from Saxon.

Thunderbolt, the 22nd full-length studio recording from British hard rock outfit Saxon is a solid new musical strike from the veteran band. It is a record that proves Saxon is still one of rock’s elite acts and just as relevant today as it was in its infancy. This is proven in part through the album’s musical arrangements. Right off the top, the band takes audiences on a familiar musical ride with the up-tempo arrangement at the center of the album’s title track — a ride that instantly conjures thoughts of Judas Priest set alongside some of its own heavier material. The arrangement at the center of ‘The Secret of Flight’ meanwhile brings about thoughts of Metallica circa 1984 (the year that Ride The Lightning was released). Keeping in mind that Saxon has composed similarly styled arrangements throughout its history, this serves to show Saxon’s own likely influence on Metallica’s sound. The comparison to Judas Priest returns once again in the album’s third full-length song (and fourth overall since the album’s opener was only a 1:35 intro track) ‘Nosferatu (The Vampire Waltz.’ This time it is a comparison to Priest’s more recent work. One of the most standout arrangements presented in this record comes in the Motorhead tribute (yes, there’s even a Motorhead tribute here), ‘They Played Rock and Roll.’ From its driving guitar riffs to its bass work and solid time keeping, the song is a solid, wonderful tribute to yet another of the rock world’s elite. It goes without saying that this song is one of the album’s best works, musically speaking (and lyrically, but that will be discussed later). ‘Predator’ is another great classic hard rock/metal addition to this album that stands out not just because of its arrangement, but also because of the guest appearance by Amon Amarth front man Johann Hegg.’ Hegg’s familiar growl juxtaposed by Saxon front man Biff Byford makes quite the impact. That’s especially the case when their vocal deliveries are joined by the song’s musical lines. The end result is its own standout work that will keep listeners just as engaged as any of the album’s other works. That includes ‘Sons of Odin,’ which once again, bears some resemblance to works from Judas Priest (again, both musically and lyrically), ‘Sniper’ which brings about another comparison to Metallica stylistically speaking and ‘Speed Merchants,’ which boasts its own Motorhead comparison. Between all of these songs and those perhaps not noted here, it becomes clear that the stylistic comparisons to Saxon’s counterparts and its own prior works makes the musical component of this record critical to its success both in itself and when considering its role in Saxon’s overall history. The record’s musical arrangements are only one of the items to be discussed in examining the album’s whole. Its lyrical content is just as important to discuss as its musical material.

The lyrical themes presented throughout the album are so important to note because there does not seem to be one connecting theme from one to the next. From the tribute to Motorhead to the completely random piece about vampires to songs apparently about Norse mythology and even fantasy — ‘A Wizard’s Tale’ — and so much more, the lyrical themes that make up the body of this record run the gamut so to speak. ‘Sniper’ will have listeners talking just as much as those noted songs. The same can be said of ‘Secret of Flight,’ which apparently seems to follow the history of flight, and ‘Roadie’s Song,’ which is in fact about a roadie’s life. On one hand, the simplicity and range of the songs’ lyrical themes leaves one wanting to ask is Saxon just out of ideas. On the other hand though, at least little doubt is left as to the message in each song. There is no metaphor or anything of that mature to lead to misinterpretation. To that end, the band deserves credit for the songs’ lyrical themes. Keeping that in mind alongside the power of the songs’ musical arrangements and audiences get an album in Thunderbolt that again, shows why it is such a strong musical strike from the veteran rock outfit. That juxtaposition is just one more part of what makes this record another sign of Saxon’s solid spot in the rock realm today. The record’s overall sequencing rounds out its most important elements.

Thunderbolt‘s sequencing is important because it plays just as much into listeners’ engagement and entertainment as the record’s musical and lyrical content. The sequencing, in regards to the record’s musical content is so important because of the energy maintained throughout the arrangements. ‘Thunderbolt’ and ‘The Secret of Flight’ give the record a solid, up-tempo start while ‘Nosferatu (The Vampire Waltz)’ boasts its own energy through its heaviness even though it isn’t the up-tempo rocker that its predecessors prove to be. Keeping that in mind, it still maintains the energy established in those songs even without being as fast-paced as them. that energy picks right back up though, in ‘They Played Rock and Roll’ and continues on through ‘Predator’ before the band again opts to go slower yet heavy again in ‘Sons of Odin.’ Considering the seeming pattern that is built through the up and down of the album’s tempos so far, one would be right to assume that from the slower, but heavy ‘Sons of Odin’ gives way to another more up-tempo piece in ‘Sniper.’ That energy carries on to the album’s end in the very 1980s-esque ‘Roadie’s Song.’ It ensures even more listeners’ maintained engagement. Considering this along with the balance of energies throughout the rest of the album, it can be said with ease that plenty of thought was put into this album’s sequencing in regards to the energies in its arrangements. When this is considered alongside the arrangements themselves and the songs’ lyrical content, the end result is an album that audiences will agree is — again — another solid musical strike from Saxon.

The sequencing in regards to the album’s lyrical content is just as important to discuss in examining the album’s overall sequencing as its musical arrangements. The album starts out with a song centered — seemingly — on Greek mythology in ‘Olympus Rising’ and ‘Thunderbolt’ before moving on to a commentary of sorts in the history of flight from its peaceful roots to its destructive current use. Considering that one of the refrains in ‘Thunderbolt’ states “unleash the Gods of war,” this can be argued to be a relatively smooth transition from one song to the next. Whether that connection was intended is anyone’s guess, but it is there. ‘Nosferatu (The Vampire Waltz’ and ‘They Played Rock and Roll,’ while totally separate from one another in their themes, make for an entertaining change of pace lyrically speaking. ‘Predator,’ ‘Sons of Odin’ and ‘Sniper’ all seem to have similar lyrical themes that while not exactly the same, seem close enough to understand why they might have been grouped together. ‘A Wizard’s Tale,’ like ‘Nosferatu (The Vampire Waltz),’ is another random transition that actually because of that randomness, still works in keeping listeners engaged. ‘Speed Merchants’ and ‘Roadie’s Song’ are about as separate as can be from each other and from ‘A Wizard’s Tale.’ This is important to note because it presents even more lyrical variety for listeners, in turn ensuring once more those listeners’ engagement. When this is considered along with the engagement insured through the album’s musical sequencing, its arrangements and lyrical themes, these elements all join together to present a record overall that is another electrifying new effort from one of the justifiably most respected hard rock bands out there today.

Veteran hard rock band Saxon’s latest full-length studio recording Thunderbolt is an electrifying new effort from one of the most respected bands in the hard rock community today. That is proven in part through arrangements that from start to finish will keep listeners engaged with their sounds and energies. The lyrical themes, as random as they can be throughout this album, leave little doubt as to their subject matter because they are so simple. While that might be bad to some point, it is also good being that so few bands take and have taken that route. The album’s sequencing, both in regards to its energies and its lyrical topics plays its own integral part to the album’s whole. Each element is important in its own way, as has been pointed out here. All things considered, they make this album one that will entertain Saxon devotees and hard rock aficionados alike. It is available now in stores and online and at the band’s current live dates. More information on Thunderbolt is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

Website: http://www.saxon747.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/SaxonOfficial

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