‘Of Kingdom And Crown’ Is One Of Machine Head’s Best Albums To Date

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Machine Head is back.  More than four years after the release of the band’s then latest album, Catharsis, the band released its 10th album, Of Kingdom and Crown Friday through Nuclear Blast Records.  The 13-song album is a solid return to form for front man and founder Robb Flynn, who is now the band’s only original member.  Over the course of the record’s 39-minute run time, its arrangements lift from all of the best of the band’s catalog, musically speaking, while also offering lyrical content that is engaging in its own right.  Flynn and his new band mates – Waclaw Kieltkya (guitar, vocals), Jared MacEachern (bass, vocals), and Matt Alston (drums) – released roughly half of the album’s body in the months leading up to the record’s release, with a total of six of its song debuting between November 2020 and June of this year.  One of the most powerful of those singles is ‘My Hands Are Empty.’  This song will be discussed shortly.   ‘Rotten,’ which comes late in the album, is another notable addition to the record and will be discussed a little later.  ‘Choke On The Ashes Of Your Hate,’ which comes early in the record’s run, is yet another notable addition to the album and will also be examined later.  All three songs noted are key in their own way to the whole of this album’s presentation.  When they are considered along with the album’s other entries, the whole makes this record one of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums and potentially one of the year’s top new albums.

Of Kingdom and Crown, the latest album from Machine Head, is easily among the best of this year’s new hard rock and metal albums.  There is no question about that.  That is made clear from the record’s beginning to its end in its musical and lyrical content alike.  One of the songs that does so well to make that clear is ‘My Hands Are Empty.’  While not recently considered the album’s lead single, it was, in hindsight, the first of the new songs that would end up on the album in its release way back in November 2020.  It should be noted here that while Matt Alston is currently handling drumming duties for the band, the drums in this song’s arrangement were handled by Navene Koperweis (Animals As Leaders, Whitechapel, Entheos).  The arrangement overall features a sound and stylistic approach that, as Flynn noted at the time of the single’s release, is comparable to works from the band’s 2003 album, Through The Ashes of Empires.  That is evidenced through Flynn’s distinct growling vocals and the richness created through the pairing of the guitar and bass alongside those pummeling drums.  The addition of the choral effect to the mix adds even more to that sense.

Lyrically speaking, Flynn explained that the song tackles the issue of opioid abuse.

“I have some family members who have beaten their opioid addiction, and have some still in the throes of addition,” Flynn said. “it is painful to watch, and I deal with it with great difficulty.  It is a song of sadness, but there is hope as well.  I have beaten my own drug addictions and we can fight through this together and share our pain with the world.”  The mention in the song’s chorus that “My hands are empty/Lies so pretty/Kill me gently” points directly to the emotional struggle.  It is an allusion to someone feeling left with nothing as a result of so many struggles.  In this case the struggles are with addiction, being at the bottom of that proverbial barrel.  The mention of powders and pills in the song’s second verse, along with watching someone slowly die is that direct reference to watching people Flynn knows struggling with addiction.  Seeing them “Disintegrate/You/Right before my eyes” and the emptiness haunting him makes that painful picture all the fuller.  That overall lyrical picture, along with the power and emotion in the song’s musical arrangement makes fully clear why this song stands out among the album’s singles.

‘My Hands Are Empty’ is just one of the songs that stands out in Machine Head’s new album.  ‘Rotten’ is another notable addition to the record.  Its musical arrangement immediately takes audiences back to the band’s debut 1994 album, Burn My Eyes.  The crunch of the guitars, and the pairing of the bass and drums really leads even more to that comparison.  Flynn himself is even quoted through Apple Music as saying the arrangement came about during the band’s recent tour in celebration of Burn My Eyes’ 25th anniversary while also making his own comparison to works from Exodus’ 1989 album, Fabulous Disaster.

Considering the fire in the song’s arrangement, it makes the song’s lyrical content all the more interesting.  That is because Flynn left interpretation of the song’s lyrical content to audiences.  The mention of sitting, holding the “gun in hand/Barrel to the temple” leads to the sense that this song is lyrically taking on the blend of anger and desperation that comes with such suicidal thoughts.  The anger comes as Flynn screams, “Everything is rotten to the core” in the song’s chorus.  His further mention of feeling such anxiety, “heart racing/My throat’s constricting” even more seems to hint at those mixed feelings.  If in fact, this is the picture that Flynn is trying to paint here, that of someone sitting there, feeling so much anger and sadness, anxiety and confusion all at once, then he has done quite well.  That is because mental health is such a prevalent matter, and that constantly deserves attention.  To that end, the overall picture painted through the song’s musical and lyrical content makes the whole here stand out just as much as ‘Empty Hands’ and the rest of the album’s offerings.

As much as ‘Rotten’ does to make Of Kingdom and Crown a powerful new offering from Machine Head, it is hardly the last of the record’s most notable works.  ‘Choke on the Ashes of Your Hate’ is yet another example of how much this record has to offer.  The musical arrangement featured in this song is, again, influenced by Exodus according to Flynn.  He compared the intensity of the song’s arrangement to that of works from Exodus’ debut 1985 album, Bonded by Blood.  Interestingly enough, that album’s title track (and much of the album) actually sounds more akin to early Metallica than Machine Head.  To that end one could argue that this song is just as much akin to early Metallica as early Exodus.  That is meant in the most complimentary fashion, too.

Lyrically, this song goes in a completely different direction from those of the other songs examined here.  Flynn said in an interview about the song, that it was influenced by the Japanese anime series, Attack on Titan.  He said the song is part of what is apparently a bigger semi-conceptual approach to this album that is based on that series and that the lead song focuses on two characters who both start out good but turn bad because of the bad things that happened personally to them.  It is an interesting concept of there really being that there is no real “good” or “bad” guy in stories or in life.  That concept, together with the song’s powerful musical arrangement, makes it stand on its own unique merits.  When it is considered along with the other songs examined here and with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes the album overall an unforgettable new offering from Machine Head that is among the best of the band’s albums to date.

Of Kingdom and Crown, the latest album from Machine Head, is an impressive return for the band, considering the stark departure that the band took on its predecessor, 2018’s Catharsis.  The album is a full-on return to form for Flynn and his current band mates.  That is evidenced through its musical and lyrical content alike.  The songs examined here each make that clear.  When they are considered along with the album’s other songs, the entirety of that body makes Of Kingdom and Crown one of Machine Head’s best albums to date and one of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

Of Kingdom and Crown is available now through Nuclear Blast Records. The band is scheduled to join Amon Amarth on the road this fall in Europe, with each band promoting its own new album.

The tour’s schedule is noted below.

SEPTEMBER
Thursday 8 – NOTTINGHAM, UK, Motorpoint Arena
Friday 9 – CARDIFF, UK, Motorpoint Arena
Saturday 10 – LONDON, UK, The SSE Arena, Wembley
Monday 12 – MANCHESTER, Uk AO Arena
Tuesday 13 – DUBLIN, Ireland, 3Arena
Friday 16 – ZURICH, Switzerland, Hallenstadion
Saturday 17 – VIENNA, Austria, Stadthalle
Sunday 18 – KRAKOW, Poland, Tauron Arena
Tuesday 20 – TALLINN, Estonia, Saku Arena
Wednesday 21 – HELSINKI, Finland, Ice Hall
Friday 23 – OSLO, Norway, Spektrum
Saturday 24 – STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Hovet
Monday 26 – COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Forum Black Box
Tuesday 27 – HAMBURG, Germany, Barclays Arena
Wednesday 28 – FRANKFURT, Germany, Festhalle
Friday 30 – OBERHAUSEN, Germany, König Pilsener Arena

OCTOBER
Saturday 01 – BERLIN, Germany Velodrome
Sunday 02 – AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands, Afas Live
Tuesday 04 – MILAN, Italy, Lorenzini District
Thursday 06 – BARCELONA, Spain, Sant Jordi
Friday 07 – MADRID, Spain, Vistalegre
Saturday 08 – LA CORUNA, Spain, Coliseum
Sunday 09 – LISBON, Portugal, Campo Pequeno
Wednesday 12 – PARIS, France, Zenith
Friday 14 – MUNICH, Germany, Olympiahalle
Saturday 15 – LEIPZIG, Germany, Arena
Sunday 16 – PRAGUE, Czech Republic, Tipsport Arena
Tuesday 18 – BUDAPEST, Hungary, Barba Negra
Thursday 20 – ESCH SUR ALZETTE, Luxembourg, Rockhal
Friday 21 – BRUSSELS, Belgium, Forest National
Saturday 22 – STUTTGART, Germant, Schleyerhalle

More information on Machine Head’s new album and tour is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.machinehead1.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/MachineHead

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/MfnH

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.

Amon Amarth Impresses Once Again On Its 12th Album, ‘The Great Heathen Army’

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Veteran Viking metal outfit Amon Amarth is set to release its latest album, The Great Heathen Army very in less than a week through its longtime label home Metal Blade Records.  Scheduled for release Aug. 5, the 9-song record will come more than three years after the release of the band’s then latest album, Berserker.  The 43-minute presentation is everything that Amon Amarth fans have come to expect from the band both musically and lyrically.  At the same time, the record’s musical content actually shows some growth from the band this time out.  The record’s musical and lyrical content will each receive their own examinations here.  The album’s production rounds out its most important elements and will also be examined here.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation.  All things considered they make The Great Heathen Army one more of the greatest of this year’s new hard rock and metal albums.

The Great Heathen Army, the 12th new album from Amon Amarth, is another largely successful offering from the veteran metal outfit that has made a career of making songs about Vikings.  The record’s appeal comes in part through its featured musical arrangements.  The very first thing that the band’s established audiences will note through the record’s nine total arrangements is that they are not all the same semi-symphonic/death metal approach that the band has taken in so many of its albums.  Right from the record’s outset, its lead single, ‘Get in the Ring,’ the band takes more of a modern hard rock/metal approach.  It is a notable change of sound and style for the band considering the compositions that the band has crafted over its decades-long career.  It is just one of the songs that shows that branching out, too.  Late in the record in ‘Saxons and Vikings,’ the band goes in a vintage hard rock style approach, even bringing in famed Accept/U.D.O. front man Udo Dirkschneider to add to the mix.  Just as interesting is that the band does make sure to include some of its more familiar death metal riffs to mix things up a little bit along the way.  The pairing of those leanings together, complete with a powerhouse solo, makes this song’s arrangement yet another standout addition to the record that continues to show the band’s musical growth this time out.  The band offers up a little more of that vintage hard rock leaning in the record’s closer, ‘The Serpent’s Trail.’  The way in which the guitars are used here almost mimics some string arrangements, and the classical guitar approach here along the way just adds that much more to the record.  It is just one more way in which the musical arrangements feature in this record show their value to the album’s presentation.  When these arrangements are considered along with the works that lean more in the band’s familiar sounds and styles, the whole makes The Great Heathen Army a presentation that succeeds if only through its musical content.

The musical content that is featured in The Great Heathen Army is just part of what makes the album worth hearing.  The lyrical content that accompanies that musical content makes for its own appeal.  That is because it is far more familiar to those noted established audiences.  From ‘Oden Owns You All’ to Saxons and Vikings’ to ‘The Serpent’s Trail’ and more, the themes featured in the record’s lyrics all center on the familiar topics of all things Norse and Vikings.  Now there are a couple of sings – ‘Get In The Ring’ and ‘Find A Way Or Make One’ – that do break that mold.  ‘Find A Way Or Make One’ delivers an all too familiar but always welcome message of pushing through life’s difficulties.  This is clear as front man Johan Hegg sings here, “Stand tall/And fight/The world will quake/Stand tall/And fight/I will never break.”  Some of the lyrics are a little difficult cult decipher fully sans lyrics, but he also makes note here of fighting the battle when all hope is lost and gone.  This is, again, a powerful and familiar message, especially as he adds that he will not kneel, no matter what the odds.  Yet again, here is more proof of the song’s message of personal strength.  The battles and situations do not necessarily have to be warfare, but just personal battles.  To that end, again, this familiar message is just as welcome from the band here as from any other band.  What’s more, that it is set here alongside so much other more familiar content shows growth, lyrically from the band. 

‘Get In The Ring’ meanwhile is actually a song for one of the rising stars of All Elite Wrestling (AEW).  It is fitting that it was crafted for a pro wrestler, as its lyrical theme is in fact a fight song.  It is an anthem that could and will get anyone pumped up who has ever been done wrong by someone.  It is that challenge to those people who would stand in our way metaphorically or lyrically.  To that end, it is another familiar lyrical theme in general that shows in its own way, why the lyrical themes in record are just as appealing as the album’s musical content.  All things considered the record’s lyrical content pairs with its companion musical content to make the album’s overall content a strong foundation for the presentation.  It is just one part of what makes the album so appealing.  The record’s production rounds out its most important elements.

The production that went into The Great Heathen Army is important to its presentation because of its role in the record’s general effect.  Every song in this record is loud and heavy.  Each work is so rich because of the pairing of the instrumentations and vocals.  Thanks to the time and effort that went into the production, no one part overpowers the others (including the vocals) at any one point in the album.  That is, again, due to the production.  Every part of each song is so powerful, leading each work to be fully immersive.  The result is that the album proves just as successful in its aesthetic presentation as in its content.  When all of this is considered together, the whole of The Great Heathen Army becomes one more of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

The Great Heathen Army, the 12th new album from veteran metal outfit Amon Amarth, is another strong new offering from the band that will entertain the band’s established audiences just as much as metal fans in general.  That is evidenced in part through the record’s musical content.  The arrangements featured throughout the album are familiar, but also show a certain level of growth.  The band tries its hand at some vintage hard rock and metal styles as well as some more mainstream sounding heavy rock at points throughout the record.  That diversity offers audiences something “old” and something “new” which along the way makes for plenty of engagement and entertainment.  The lyrical themes featured alongside the album’s musical content is just as important to its presentation.  That is because of its overall familiarity, too.  There are plenty of Viking themes once again, along with some themes of overcoming diversity, which the band has handled less, but is still familiar in the rock and metal communities.  The record’s production puts the finishing touch to the presentation, ensuring that the best of each song is brought out from one work to another.  Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of the record.  All things considered they make the album overall another welcome offering from Amon Amarth that belongs among the best of the year’s new hard rock and metal albums.

The Great Heathen Army is scheduled for release Friday through Metal Blade Records. Amon Amarth will hit the road this fall in support of its new, forthcoming album. The band will launch the “The Great Heathen Tour” November 11 in Las Vegas, NV in support of the record.

 The tour features support from Carcass, Obituary, and Cattle Decapitation, and is expected to run through Dec. 17 in Los Angeles, CA and also features scheduled performances in cities, such as Charlotte, NC; Cincinnati, OH and Seattle, WA.

The tour’s schedule is noted below.

Amon Amarth
THE GREAT HEATHEN TOUR
US HEADLINE RUN W/ CARCASS, OBITUARY AND CATTLE DECAPITATION
Friday, November 11 – Las Vegas, NV @ Brooklyn Bowl*
Saturday, November 12 – Phoenix, AZ @ Arizona Federal Theater
Monday, November 14 – San Antonio, TX @ Aztec Theater
Tuesday, November 15 – Houston, TX @ Bayou Music Center
Wednesday, November 16 – Dallas, TX @ Southside Ballroom
Friday, November 18 – Atlanta, GA @ The Tabernacle
Saturday, November 19 – Orlando, FL @ Hard Rock Live
Sunday, November 20 – Charlotte, NC @ The Fillmore
Tuesday, November 22 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Fillmore
Wednesday, November 23 – Boston, MA @ MGM Music Hall at Fenway
Friday, November 25 – Detroit, MI @ The Fillmore
Saturday, November 26 – Chicago, IL @ The Aragon Ballroom
Sunday, November 27 – Cincinnati, OH @ The Andrew J Brady Music Center
Wednesday, November 30 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE**
Thursday, Dec 01 – New York, NY @ Hammerstein Ballroom
Friday, Dec 02 – Toronto, ON @ History
Saturday, Dec 03 – Laval, QC @ Place Bell
Monday, Dec 05 – Madison, WI @ The Sylvee
Tuesday, Dec 06 – Minneapolis, MN @ The Fillmore
Wednesday, Dec 07- Kansas City, MO @ Uptown
Friday, Dec 09 – Denver, CO @ The Fillmore
Saturday, Dec 10 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex
Monday, Dec 12 – Seattle, WA @ Showbox SODO
Tuesday, Dec 13 – Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater
Thursday, Dec 15 – Wheatland, CA @ Hard Rock Live
Friday, Dec 16 – San Diego, CA @ SOMA
Saturday, Dec 17 – Los Angeles, CA @ Kia Forum

*No Carcass
** Non-Live Nation date

The new fall U.S. dates will follow a European run with Machine Head, that is scheduled to run from Sept. 8 in Nottingham, UK to Oct. 22 in Stuttgart, Germany. The Halo Effect is also scheduled to take part in the tour, dubbed the “Vikings and Lionhearts Tour 2022.”

The tour’s schedule is noted below.

SEPTEMBER
Thursday 8 – NOTTINGHAM, UK, Motorpoint Arena
Friday 9 – CARDIFF, UK, Motorpoint Arena
Saturday 10 – LONDON, UK, The SSE Arena, Wembley
Monday 12 – MANCHESTER, Uk AO Arena
Tuesday 13 – DUBLIN, Ireland, 3Arena
Friday 16 – ZURICH, Switzerland, Hallenstadion
Saturday 17 – VIENNA, Austria, Stadthalle
Sunday 18 – KRAKOW, Poland, Tauron Arena
Tuesday 20 – TALLINN, Estonia, Saku Arena
Wednesday 21 – HELSINKI, Finland, Ice Hall
Friday 23 – OSLO, Norway, Spektrum
Saturday 24 – STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Hovet
Monday 26 – COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Forum Black Box
Tuesday 27 – HAMBURG, Germany, Barclays Arena
Wednesday 28 – FRANKFURT, Germany, Festhalle
Friday 30 – OBERHAUSEN, Germany, König Pilsener Arena

OCTOBER
Saturday 01 – BERLIN, Germany Velodrome
Sunday 02 – AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands, Afas Live
Tuesday 04 – MILAN, Italy, Lorenzini District
Thursday 06 – BARCELONA, Spain, Sant Jordi
Friday 07 – MADRID, Spain, Vistalegre
Saturday 08 – LA CORUNA, Spain, Coliseum
Sunday 09 – LISBON, Portugal, Campo Pequeno
Wednesday 12 – PARIS, France, Zenith
Friday 14 – MUNICH, Germany, Olympiahalle
Saturday 15 – LEIPZIG, Germany, Arena
Sunday 16 – PRAGUE, Czech Republic, Tipsport Arena
Tuesday 18 – BUDAPEST, Hungary, Barba Negra
Thursday 20 – ESCH SUR ALZETTE, Luxembourg, Rockhal
Friday 21 – BRUSSELS, Belgium, Forest National
Saturday 22 – STUTTGART, Germant, Schleyerhalle

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

Websitehttps://www.amonamarth.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/amonamarth

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/amonamarthband

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

Amon Amarth Announces New Tour Schedule

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Amon Amarth will hit the road this fall in support of its new, forthcoming album, The Great Heathen Army.

The band announced Tuesday, it will launch the “The Great Heathen Tour” November 11 in Las Vegas, NV in support of the record, which is scheduled for release Aug. 5 through Metal Blade Records. The tour features support from Carcass, Obituary, and Cattle Decapitation, and is expected to run through Dec. 17 in Los Angeles, CA and also features scheduled performances in cities, such as Charlotte, NC; Cincinnati, OH and Seattle, WA.

The tour’s schedule is noted below.

Amon Amarth
THE GREAT HEATHEN TOUR
US HEADLINE RUN W/ CARCASS, OBITUARY AND CATTLE DECAPITATION
Friday, November 11 – Las Vegas, NV @ Brooklyn Bowl*
Saturday, November 12 – Phoenix, AZ @ Arizona Federal Theater
Monday, November 14 – San Antonio, TX @ Aztec Theater
Tuesday, November 15 – Houston, TX @ Bayou Music Center
Wednesday, November 16 – Dallas, TX @ Southside Ballroom
Friday, November 18 – Atlanta, GA @ The Tabernacle
Saturday, November 19 – Orlando, FL @ Hard Rock Live
Sunday, November 20 – Charlotte, NC @ The Fillmore
Tuesday, November 22 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Fillmore
Wednesday, November 23 – Boston, MA @ MGM Music Hall at Fenway
Friday, November 25 – Detroit, MI @ The Fillmore
Saturday, November 26 – Chicago, IL @ The Aragon Ballroom
Sunday, November 27 – Cincinnati, OH @ The Andrew J Brady Music Center
Wednesday, November 30 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE**
Thursday, Dec 01 – New York, NY @ Hammerstein Ballroom
Friday, Dec 02 – Toronto, ON @ History
Saturday, Dec 03 – Laval, QC @ Place Bell
Monday, Dec 05 – Madison, WI @ The Sylvee
Tuesday, Dec 06 – Minneapolis, MN @ The Fillmore
Wednesday, Dec 07- Kansas City, MO @ Uptown
Friday, Dec 09 – Denver, CO @ The Fillmore
Saturday, Dec 10 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex
Monday, Dec 12 – Seattle, WA @ Showbox SODO
Tuesday, Dec 13 – Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater
Thursday, Dec 15 – Wheatland, CA @ Hard Rock Live
Friday, Dec 16 – San Diego, CA @ SOMA
Saturday, Dec 17 – Los Angeles, CA @ Kia Forum

*No Carcass
** Non-Live Nation date

The new fall U.S. dates will follow a European run with Machine Head, that is scheduled to run from Sept. 8 in Nottingham, UK to Oct. 22 in Stuttgart, Germany. The Halo Effect is also scheduled to take part in the tour, dubbed the “Vikings and Lionhearts Tour 2022.”

The tour’s schedule is noted below.

SEPTEMBER
Thursday 8 – NOTTINGHAM, UK, Motorpoint Arena
Friday 9 – CARDIFF, UK, Motorpoint Arena
Saturday 10 – LONDON, UK, The SSE Arena, Wembley
Monday 12 – MANCHESTER, Uk AO Arena
Tuesday 13 – DUBLIN, Ireland, 3Arena
Friday 16 – ZURICH, Switzerland, Hallenstadion
Saturday 17 – VIENNA, Austria, Stadthalle
Sunday 18 – KRAKOW, Poland, Tauron Arena
Tuesday 20 – TALLINN, Estonia, Saku Arena
Wednesday 21 – HELSINKI, Finland, Ice Hall
Friday 23 – OSLO, Norway, Spektrum
Saturday 24 – STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Hovet
Monday 26 – COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Forum Black Box
Tuesday 27 – HAMBURG, Germany, Barclays Arena
Wednesday 28 – FRANKFURT, Germany, Festhalle
Friday 30 – OBERHAUSEN, Germany, König Pilsener Arena

OCTOBER
Saturday 01 – BERLIN, Germany Velodrome
Sunday 02 – AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands, Afas Live
Tuesday 04 – MILAN, Italy, Lorenzini District
Thursday 06 – BARCELONA, Spain, Sant Jordi
Friday 07 – MADRID, Spain, Vistalegre
Saturday 08 – LA CORUNA, Spain, Coliseum
Sunday 09 – LISBON, Portugal, Campo Pequeno
Wednesday 12 – PARIS, France, Zenith
Friday 14 – MUNICH, Germany, Olympiahalle
Saturday 15 – LEIPZIG, Germany, Arena
Sunday 16 – PRAGUE, Czech Republic, Tipsport Arena
Tuesday 18 – BUDAPEST, Hungary, Barba Negra
Thursday 20 – ESCH SUR ALZETTE, Luxembourg, Rockhal
Friday 21 – BRUSSELS, Belgium, Forest National
Saturday 22 – STUTTGART, Germant, Schleyerhalle

The announcement of Amon Amarth’s new tour came less than a week after the band debuted the second single from its new album, which is also the album’s title track. The band debuted the song and its video July 7. The band debuted the album’s lead single, ‘Get In The Ring‘ and its companion video June 2.

The track listing for The Great Heathen Army is noted below.

AMON AMARTH
The Great Heathen Army
Track Listing
1. Get In the Ring
2. The Great Heathen Army
3. Heidrun
4. Oden Owns You All
5. Find a Way or Make One
6. Dawn of Norsemen
7. Saxons and Vikings
8. Skagul Rides With Me
9. The Serpent’s Trail

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

Websitehttps://www.amonamarth.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/amonamarth

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/amonamarthband

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

Amon Amarth Announces New Album Details; Debuts Album’s Lead Single, Video; European Tour Planned

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Amon Amarth will tentatively release its new album this summer.

The band announced Thursday, it is scheduled to release its new album, The Great Heathen Army Aug. 5 through Metal Blade Records. In anticipation of the record’s pending release, the band premiered the album’s lead single, ‘Get In The Ring‘ and its companion video Thursday.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Get In The Ring’ is a slight departure for the band, considering its familiar brand of death metal compositions. In the case of this song, the arrangement is more spit-shined for lack of better wording, than its existing songs. It has less of the somewhat symphonic elements that are so commonplace in most of the band’s catalog, though does still incorporate that element here, just more subtly.

The lyrical theme featured in the band’s new single also seems to be something of a departure for the band. In place of the familiar Viking conquest tales, the band instead has presented what comes across as simply an adrenaline-fueled fight song. According to guitarist Olavi Mikkonent, the song was written as an entrance theme for All Elite Wrestling (AEW) star Erik Redbeard.

That fight theme is amplified through the song’s video, which puts the band in a post-apocalyptic Mad Max style setting, performing its new single in a bunker setting as a group of fighters face off against each other. There are some Viking weapons incorporated into the visualization, but their presence is even minimalized here. It makes for even more interest in this case.

The track listing for The Great Heathen Army is noted below. The record was produced by Andy Sneap (Arch Enemy, Fozzy, Dream Theater). Audiences will notice in the track listing that the band’s most recent single, ‘Put Your Back Into The Oar,’ which debuted Feb. 17, is not included in the track listing. Why that is the case is left to ponder.

AMON AMARTH
The Great Heathen Army
Track Listing
1. Get In the Ring
2. The Great Heathen Army
3. Heidrun
4. Oden Owns You All
5. Find a Way or Make One
6. Dawn of Norsemen
7. Saxons and Vikings
8. Skagul Rides With Me
9. The Serpent’s Trail

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

In other news, Amon Amarth is scheduled to launch a European tour in support of its new album album Sept. 8 in Nottingham, UK. The tour, whose schedule is noted below, is set to run through Oct. 22 in Stuttgart, Germany. Machine Head and The Halo Effect are scheduled to join Amon Amarth for the tour.

SEPTEMBER
Thursday 8 – NOTTINGHAM, UK, Motorpoint Arena
Friday 9 – CARDIFF, UK, Motorpoint Arena
Saturday 10 – LONDON, UK, The SSE Arena, Wembley
Monday 12 – MANCHESTER, Uk AO Arena
Tuesday 13 – DUBLIN, Ireland, 3Arena
Friday 16 – ZURICH, Switzerland, Hallenstadion
Saturday 17 – VIENNA, Austria, Stadthalle
Sunday 18 – KRAKOW, Poland, Tauron Arena
Tuesday 20 – TALLINN, Estonia, Saku Arena
Wednesday 21 – HELSINKI, Finland, Ice Hall
Friday 23 – OSLO, Norway, Spektrum
Saturday 24 – STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Hovet
Monday 26 – COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Forum Black Box
Tuesday 27 – HAMBURG, Germany, Barclays Arena
Wednesday 28 – FRANKFURT, Germany, Festhalle
Friday 30 – OBERHAUSEN, Germany, König Pilsener Arena

OCTOBER
Saturday 01 – BERLIN, Germany Velodrome
Sunday 02 – AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands, Afas Live
Tuesday 04 – MILAN, Italy, Lorenzini District
Thursday 06 – BARCELONA, Spain, Sant Jordi
Friday 07 – MADRID, Spain, Vistalegre
Saturday 08 – LA CORUNA, Spain, Coliseum
Sunday 09 – LISBON, Portugal, Campo Pequeno
Wednesday 12 – PARIS, France, Zenith
Friday 14 – MUNICH, Germany, Olympiahalle
Saturday 15 – LEIPZIG, Germany, Arena
Sunday 16 – PRAGUE, Czech Republic, Tipsport Arena
Tuesday 18 – BUDAPEST, Hungary, Barba Negra
Thursday 20 – ESCH SUR ALZETTE, Luxembourg, Rockhal
Friday 21 – BRUSSELS, Belgium, Forest National
Saturday 22 – STUTTGART, Germant, Schleyerhalle

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

Websitehttps://www.amonamarth.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/amonamarth

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/amonamarthband

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

Amon Amarth Takes Audiences To The High Seas With New Single, Video

Courtesy: Cosa Nostra PR

Amon Amarth continued its tales of Viking lore this week with a new single and video.

The band premiered its new single, ‘Put Your Back Into The Oar‘ Thursday, along with its companion video. The song and its video are the band’s first since the re-issue of its single, ‘Masters of War’ last May.

The video for Amon Amarth’s new single features a young archaeologist who discovers a skull as she investigates an ancient site. When she takes the skull into her tent and lays down for a nap, she has a dream that takes her back to the days of the Vikings. The woman enjoys a meal with the Vikings (who are played by the band members) and rows along with them as they take to the sea. She is even on hand for a battle between the Vikings and another group of men. According to the video’s credits, its story was based on a story by Lachlan Marks and Ryan Mackfall.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Put Your Back Into The Oar’ is everything that audiences have come to expect from the band. From the death metal style growls of front man Johan Hegg to the heavy, rich instrumentation, the song fully immerses listeners in its presentation.

The song’s lyrical theme is just as familiar as it tells the story of of Vikings at battle and on the sea.

In related news, Amon Amarth has released a limited edition 12-inch picture disc and merchandise bundles through Victorious Merchandise and EMP.

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

Websitehttps://www.amonamarth.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/amonamarth

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/amonamarthband

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

Lockjaw Premieres New Single, ‘Silence The Fear,’ Companion Video

Courtesy: TAG Publicity

Independent hard rock band Lockjaw premiered its new single and video this month.

The band premiered its new single, ‘Silence The Fear‘ and its video Aug. 6. The song’s musical arrangement is a composition whose heavy shredding, scathing vocal delivery style, bass and drums easily lends it to works from the likes of Machine Head, Amon Amarth, and Opeth.

No information was provided about the song’s lyrical theme in the press release announcing the song’s premiere. However in listening to the song, it would seem that the song delivers a message of overcoming the mental and emotional obstacles that stand in our way each day. That includes the fears and self-doubt that enters our minds, as the song’s lyrics hint.

The video that accompanies ‘Silence The Fear’ is a simple presentation. It features the band performing its single on a darkened soundstage. Various camera angles and effects are used to heighten the effect of the song’s musical and lyrical content. Meanwhile an unidentified man sits bound to a chair, his face covered and his hands chained to the chair’s arms. He is the representation of those things holding a person back.

More information on Lockjaw’s new single and video is available along with all of the band’s latest news at https://www.facebook.com/Lockjawlive.

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.

Amon Amarth Celebrates Album’s Release Anniversary With Re-Worked Take Of One Of Its Songs

Courtesy: Cosa Nostra PR/Metal Blade Records

Amon Amarth is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its third album, The Crusher this year.

In celebration of the anniversary, the band has released a re-worked take on one of the album’s key songs, ‘Masters of War‘ along with a new visualizer to boot. As an added bonus, the band has also released a new T-shirt to mark the occasion exclusively through Victorious Merch.

Front man Johan Hegg had the following to say of the song’s new take: “Celebrating the 20th anniversary of The Crusher album, we felt we wanted to re-record one of the main songs from the album and put a bit of a modern Amon Amarth touch on it. Enjoy!”

The band’s re-recorded take of ‘Masters of War’ is the band’s first “new” music since the release of its then new album, Berserker in 2019.

More information on Amon Amarth’s re-worked take of ‘Masters of War’ is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.amonamarth.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/amonamarth

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/amonamarthband

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

Trumbiten Debuts New Single, ‘Fear Me’

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

Independent metal band Trumbiten debuted its new single this week.

The band — Tommy Arngren and his son Adam Arngren — released its new single ‘”Fear Me’ Thursday.  The song is available to stream and download here.

The song’s musical arrangement is a heavy, up-tempo composition whose driving guitar, bass and drums create a whole whose style and sound that immediately lends itself to comparisons to works from bands, such as In Flames, Soilwork and Amon Amarth.

The song’s vocals are provided by Kandia front woman Nya Campos Cruz.  Her vocal sound and delivery style, interestingly enough, bears some similarity to that of legendary singer/guitarist Joan Jett.  The coupling of that vocal delivery sound and style and the song’s more modern metal musical approach makes for a song that is accessible in its own unique fashion.

The elder Arngren talked about the song’s creation and working with Cruz in a recent interview.

“It’s really awesome that social media, gig-platforms, digital tools and communication tools enable musicians to connect and to create music together in this way” said Tommy.

“This song is a result from a great collaboration between musicians, who have never met face-2-face, from Sweden, Los Angeles and Portugal,” he added. “Trumbiten had a plan to release an original song early next year, but the lyrics and the music idea started to form early June 2020 and two months later we were ready to plan for an upcoming release. It was so cool and inspiring to finalize the song in collaboration with Nya and Evan. Really amazing!!”

The lyrical theme featured in ‘Fear Me’ comes across as a statement of confidence and self-assurance.  This is inferred as Cruz sings early on, “I’m not to blame/I just play my game/I challenge your mind…I’m danger/I am fear/And you will know I’m here…I’ll be right there in your dreams/You’re gonna fear me.”  Some of the lyrics here are difficult to decipher without a lyrics sheet to reference, but from what can be understood, it would seem that the song’s lyrical theme is as noted.  The song’s second verse continues in similar fashion as its predecessor, leading even more to the supposition that this is more a song whose lyrical theme is meant to deliver a message of self-assurance and being confident in one’s own self.

‘Fear Me’ was produced by Evan Rodaniche (Cage9).

More information on Trumbiten’s new single is available along with all of the duo’s latest news at https://www.instagram.com/trumbiten.  More of the duo’s music is streaming through its official YouTube and Spotify channels.

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

Lutharo’s Latest EP Will Leave Listeners Feeling Anything But Agony

Courtesy: Asher Media Relations

Independent, up-and-coming metal outfit Lutharo’s new EP Wings of Agony is a welcome new addition to this year’s field of new hard rock and metal records in general.  That is due to the growth that the five-song record – the band’s second EP and second studio recording – exhibits in comparison to its 2018 debut EP Unleash The Beast.  This record takes the musical and lyrical content from that record and builds on each element with the result being a presentation that is even stronger than its predecessor.  The noted musical and lyrical content will be discussed separately here.  The musical and lyrical content is only a potion of what makes Wings of Agony stand out as a positive new offering from Lutharo.  The EP’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.  It will also be discussed here.  All three elements are important in their own way to the whole of Wings of Agony.  All things considered, they make the EP a presentation that will appeal to any metal fan.

This past March, Lutharo released its sophomore EP – and second overall studio recording – in the form of Wings of Agony.  The 25-minute presentation is a work that will appeal to any metal purist.  It is another positive step forward for the band in its journey to becoming one of the metal community’s next big names.  That is proven in part through the record’s musical arrangements.  Whereas the musical arrangements featured in the band’s 2018 debut EP Unleash The Beast were focused primarily on a combination of power and death metal, this EP’s arrangements find the band taking a step forward and expanding its horizons.  Case in point is the EP’s second single, ‘Blood Lightning.’  The band — John Raposo and Victor Bucur on guitar, front woman Krista Shipperbottom, bassist Chris Pacey and drummer Duval Gabraiel – takes the power and death metal sound exhibited in Unleash The Beast and hones it even more.  There is more balance between Shipperbottom’s screams and clean vocals here than in the songs in the band’s previous EP.  What’s more, the production comes across as being cleaner, adding to the general effect. It is just one way in which the EP’s musical content stands out.  ‘Will To Survive’ makes the EP’s musical content stand out, too.

‘Will To Survive’ is such a full, powerful composition.  At its base is a speed metal style arrangement to which each member of the band contributes equally.  From the shredding guitars to the precision in the timekeeping to the low-end from the bass to the powerhouse vocals, every element works so well here.  This song’s arrangement is easily likened to works from Arch Enemy past and present.  In comparison to the songs featured in Unleash The Beast, there is really nothing comparable.  Again, it shows the band members’ creative growth.  It is just one more way in which the record’s musical content shows its importance.  ‘Diamond Back’ is another example of the importance of the EP’s musical arrangements.

‘Diamond Back,’ the EP’s second track, takes the band’s already established talents in death metal and metal in general, and adds a touch of metalcore influence into the mix.  That metalcore influence is especially audible in the drums and guitars, subtle as it is.  It lends itself to comparisons to works from As I Lay Dying and other harder-edged metalcore acts.  The combination of those influences is well-balanced here, with the result being another work that is just as enjoyable as the EP’s other arrangements.  When it is considered with the other arrangements noted here and the EP’s other pair of arrangements not discussed here, the end result is an overall musical presentation that will engage and entertain metal purists even more than that of Lutharo’s debut EP.

While the musical content featured in Lutharo’s latest EP goes a long way toward making the record enjoyable, it is just one part of what makes the record so appealing.  The musical content’s lyrical accompaniments add their own share of interest to the EP.  Again, the album’s latest single, ‘Blood Lightning’ is a prime example to cite.  The band explained the song’s lyrical theme in a prepared statement.

“The song ‘Blood Lightning’ is about having such an extreme passion for something so much so that it sets your soul on fire, for better or for worse,” the statement reads. “It is the endless struggle of putting your blood, sweat, and tears into something and receiving next to nothing in return. However, when you do catch a glimpse of your progress, it is enough to keep pushing forward even when you are constantly being beaten down and put to war. The music video for ‘Blood Lightning’ showcases all of the physical, emotional, financial, etc. Hard work that is put into pursuing your dreams in music.”

That statement is illustrated best through the song’s chorus, which finds Shipperbottom and company singing, “Each day I’ve spent/Ripping my heart to shreds/This dream I’ve bred/Now wide awake/These reins I’ve held/I grant them off to chance/Leaving the cuts on my hands/Unachievable bliss/Wrecked all of my innocence/Douse my wounds in gasoline/Cast my blood to lightning.”  This is a concept to which so many listeners will connect, considering that everyone has been in this position at one point or another at least once in life.  It is just one of the EP’s most notable lyrical presentations.  ‘Will To Survive’ is another example of why audiences will want to pay attention to the EP’s lyrical content.

‘Will To Survive’ stands out because it also comes across as taking on the issue of self-determination, much like ‘Blood Lightning.’  This case is different from that of ‘Blood Lightning’ at the same time, though.  That is because this song seems to come across as being from the vantage point of someone who has realized that they have let that determination get the better of himself/herself.  That is inferred in the song’s lead verse, which finds Shipperbottom singing, “Oh I shook hands with the devil himself/Our grip held the contents of hell/Conceit was spilling over his gaze/He nods at me now/It’s make or break/Make or break/It has begun/No time to waste/My calloused Core/they’ll never shake/ Behind these walls my life awaits.”  The song’s second verse adds to that inference as she sings, “Oh I’ve struck gold with a consequence/A gift to bare with a great expense/Yet I’m still fighting profitless/Proving my worth with every step/No repent/And Peace will come to those who’ve spent/My freedom wears a heightened sense/So line em ’up/I’ll pay my debt.”  Again, it comes across as a person realizing that success has perhaps come at too great a cost.  In other words, it comes across as sending that message of making sure that in one’s self-determination, one does not get too deep and let things get out of control.  It is just one more example of why the EP’s lyrical content is so important to its whole.  ‘Diamond Back’ is another notable way in which the EP’s lyrical content proves so important.

‘Diamond Back’ comes across as being another proudly defiant work that reminds listeners not to let adversity stop them in life.  In this case, that adversity would apparently come from those who would try to bring one down.  Shipperbottom says to those people in the song’s chorus, “It will give me great pleasure To take your last breath away/No remorse now/Trust in me/My skin is tougher than you’ll ever be/I gather my strength from which you lack/Forever Bearing a diamond back.”  That very mention of “bearing a diamond back” is a reference to a rattlesnake, which is a very dangerous species of snake.  What she comes across as saying here is that she’s always ready to strike (metaphorically, not literally) and that she is stronger than those people who want to tear her down.  She adds to the statement in the song’s second verse, “Proud I stand from which I’ve lead/Ruthless actions vast condemned/The moral plain to be said/Cross my path I’ll take your head.”  Again, here listeners get that seeming message of defiance and determination.  The rest of the song’s lyrical content builds on this statement and shows even more why the song is one more key example of the importance of the EP’s lyrical content.  When it is considered along with the rest of the EP’s noted lyrical content and that content not addressed here, the end result is such that it will appeal just as much to listeners as the EP’s musical arrangements.  Even as much as the EP’s lyrical content does to make it engaging and entertaining, it still is not the last of the record’s most notable content.  The EP’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.

Wings of Agony’s sequencing ensures the record’s energy does its part to keep listeners engaged from start to finish.  It succeeds in that avenue, too.  The album starts off heavy and fast in ‘Barren.’  While the song’s opening bars are brooding and slow, the rest of the song is intense and extremely upbeat.  The same applies to the EP’s other four songs.  What this means is that the album’s energy remains high throughout its body, ensuring audiences are kept engaged from start to end of the EP.  That is a positive in its own right to the whole of this record.  When it is considered along with the EP’s musical and lyrical content, it shows once and for all why this EP is a presentation that every metal purist will appreciate.

Lutharo’s sophomore EP Wings of Agony is a presentation that will leave listeners feeling anything but agony.  It is in fact a presentation that the metal masses will appreciate.  That is proven in part through its musical arrangements.  The musical arrangements featured in this record show obvious growth from the band in whole.  It has taken the power and death metal influences exhibited in the band’s debut EP and built on that in each song here.  The lyrical content that accompanies the musical arrangements is accessible in its own right.  The EP’s sequencing ensures listeners’ engagement and entertainment in its own right, too.  Each noted element is important in its own right to the whole of this record.  All things considered, it becomes a work that every metal purist should hear at least once if not more.  Wings of Agony is available now.

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

 

Websitehttp://www.lutharo.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/LutharoOfficial

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/Lutharoband

 

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

Lutharo Debuts ‘Blood Lightning’ Video

Courtesy: Asher Media Relations

Independent hard rock band Lutharo debuted the video for its latest single this week.

The band debuted the video for its new single ‘Blood Lightning’ Thursday through Metal Injection.  The song is the second single from the band’s new EP Wings of Agony, which was released March 27.  The band debuted the video for the EP’s lead single/title track on Feb. 26.

The musical arrangement at the center of Lutharo’s new single presents a powerful death metal style approach through its guitar and drums.  Front woman Krista Shipperbottom’s vocal delivery style, which shows her ability to handle clean vocals and screams, adds to the song’s punch, as does the steady bass line of Chris Pacey.  The arrangement in whole will appeal to fans of bands, such as Arch Enemy, Unleash The Archers, and Amon Amarth.

The song’s lyrical theme matches the energy in its musical arrangement, as the band explained in a prepared statement.

“The song ‘Blood Lightning’ is about having such an extreme passion for something so much so that it sets your soul on fire, for better or for worse,” the statement reads. “It is the endless struggle of putting your blood, sweat, and tears into something and receiving next to nothing in return. However, when you do catch a glimpse of your progress, it is enough to keep pushing forward even when you are constantly being beaten down and put to war. The music video for ‘Blood Lightning’ showcases all of the physical, emotional, financial, etc. Hard work that is put into pursuing your dreams in music.”

“The shots taken to look like the set of a video shoot are meant to resemble the business aspect/behind the scenes work of being a musician, but also the high of performing live and seeing your visions come to life, while the single shots of each member in the middle of a storm are meant to display the emotional sacrifices and hardships that each individual goes through,” the statement further reads.

Wings of Agony‘s track listing is noted below.

 

Track Listing:
1. Barren (5:21)
2. Diamond Back (4:31)
3. Blood Lightning (4:41)
4. Will to Survive (5:09)
5. Wings of Agony (6:02)
EP Length: 25:45

 

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

 

Website: http://www.lutharo.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Lutharoband

 

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