Amon Amarth Debuts ‘Shield Wall’ Video; Launches North American Tour

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Amon Amarth debuted the video for its latest single this week.

The band debuted the video for its new single ‘Shield Wall‘ Thursday.  The song is taken from the band’s new album Beserker.  The video, directed by Phil Wallis and produced by Alexander Milas/Twin V. Ltd., features a historically accurate depiction of viking battlefield tactics as a group of vikings works to hold off a horde of invaders against the song’s musical backdrop.  The video was shot on-site in Wolind, Poland, site of the famed Festival of Slavs and Vikings.

‘Shield Wall’ is the fourth single and video to come from Berserker.  The band released a video trilogy featuring videos for the songs ‘Crack The Sky,’ ‘Raven’s Flight‘ and ‘Mjolner, Hammer of Thor‘ ahead of and after the album’s release.

 

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

The same day the band debuted its new video, it also launched the new North American leg of its tour in support of Berserker.  The tour is scheduled to run through Oct. 26 in Los Angeles, CA and to feature performances in cities, such as Charlotte, NC; Denver, CO and Phoenix, AZ.

The tour’s schedule is noted below.  Arch Enemy, Grand Magus and At The Gates will join Amon Amarth for the tour as special guests.  Tickets are available here.

Berserker World Tour – Raid Of North America tour dates
w/ Amon Amarth, Arch Enemy, At The Gates, Grand Magus

September 30 – Edmonton, AB – Edmonton Convention Centre
October 1 – Calgary, AB – Grey Eagle
October 3 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Complex
October 4 – Denver, CO – Fillmore Auditorium
October 6 – Minneapolis, MN – Skyway Theater
October 7 – Chicago, IL – The Riviera Theater
October 9 – Toronto, ON – Rebel
October 10 – Montreal, QC – M Telus
October 11 – Montreal, QC – M Telus
October 12 – New York, NY – Hammerstein Ballroom
October 13 – Silver Spring, MD – The Fillmore
October 15 – Charlotte, NC – The Fillmore
October 16 – Atlanta, GA – Tabernacle
October 18 – New Orleans, LA – The Fillmore
October 19 – Houston, TX – House Of Blues
October 20 – San Antonio, TX – The Aztec Theatre
October 22 – Phoenix, AZ – The Van Buren
October 23 – Las Vegas, NV – House Of Blues
October 25 – San Francisco, CA – The Warfield
October 26 – Los Angeles, CA – The Palladium

More information on Amon Amarth’s tour, video and more is available online now at:

 

Websitehttp://www.amonamarth.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/AmonAmarth

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 Completes ‘Berserker’ Video Trilogy; Continues Tour Schedule

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Amon Amarth finished off the video trilogy from its latest album last week.

The band debuted the video for its single ‘Mjolner, Hammer of Thor‘ on May 31.  The song is the latest to come from the band’s new album Berserker, which was released May 3 through Metal Blade Records.

The video completes the trilogy that was started March 20 with the video for ‘Raven’s Flight‘ and continued with the video for the album’s second single, ‘Crack The Sky‘ on April 17.  The trilogy’s finale finds Amon Amarth leaving the club where it had performed and where an epic battle took place between the Berserker and a demonic female figure.  Before the Berserker can return to his realm, there is still one last battle between him and that evil demonic female.

Amon Amarth is touring in support of Berserker.  The band is scheduled to perform June 8 in Germany as part of the European leg of its tour.  That tour is scheduled to run through July 4.

Once the European leg of the tour wraps, the band will take the rest of the summer off before returning to North America for more live dates starting Sept. 26 in Seattle, WA.  That leg of the band’s worldwide tour is scheduled to run through Oct. 26 in Los Angeles, CA.  The tours’ schedules are noted below.

Summer European Festival Tour
June 6 – Sweden Rock – Solvesborg, Sweden
June 8 – Rock Im Park – Nuremberg, Germany
June 9 – Rock Am Ring – Nürburgring, Germany
June 11 – Incheba Expo – Bratislava, Slovakia
June 12 – Barba Negra Track – Budapest, Hungary
June 13 – Nova Rock – Nickelsdorf, Austria
June 14 – Greenfield – Interlaken, Switzerland
June 16 – Download UK – Donington, England
June 17 – King John’s Castle – Limerick, Ireland
June 20 – Knotfest at Hellfest – Clisson, France
June 21 – Graspop – Dessel, Belgium
June 22 – Copenhell – Copenhagen, Denmark
June 25 – Mystic Fest Poland – Krakow, Poland
June 27 – Sonic Park – Bologna, Italy
June 29 – Download Madrid – Madrid, Spain
July 1 – Le Bikini – Toulouse, France
July 2 – La Belle Electrique – Grenoble, France
July 4 – Rock Harz Festival – Ballenstedt, Germany

Berserker World Tour – Raid Of North America tour dates
w/ Amon Amarth, Arch Enemy, At The Gates, Grand Magus 

September 26 – Seattle, WA – Showbox SODO
September 27 – Portland, OR – Roseland Theater
September 28 – Vancouver, BC – PNE Forum
September 30 – Edmonton, AB – Edmonton Convention Centre
October 1 – Calgary, AB – Grey Eagle
October 3 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Complex
October 4 – Denver, CO – Fillmore Auditorium
October 6 – Minneapolis, MN – Skyway Theater
October 7 – Chicago, IL – The Riviera Theater
October 9 – Toronto, ON – Rebel
October 10 – Montreal, QC – M Telus
October 11 – Montreal, QC – M Telus
October 12 – New York, NY – Hammerstein Ballroom
October 13 – Silver Spring, MD – The Fillmore
October 15 – Charlotte, NC – The Fillmore
October 16 – Atlanta, GA – Tabernacle
October 18 – New Orleans, LA – The Fillmore
October 19 – Houston, TX – House Of Blues
October 20 – San Antonio, TX – The Aztec Theatre
October 22 – Phoenix, AZ – The Van Buren
October 23 – Las Vegas, NV – House Of Blues
October 25 – San Francisco, CA – The Warfield
October 26 – Los Angeles, CA – The Palladium

More information on Amon Amarth’s tour schedule, videos, album and more is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.amonamarth.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/amonamarthband

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and 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.

‘Berserker’ Is Another Viking Metal Victory For Amon Amarth

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

The wait for Amon Amarth’s new album is finally over.  A little more than three years after the band released its most recent album Jomsviking, the band returned Friday, with its 11th full-length studio recording, Berserker.  The veteran Swedish metal outfit’s latest offering, which once again has come through Metal Blade Records, is familiar territory for the band at least in terms of its lyrical content from start to finish.  Its musical content however, is another story.  Front man Johann Hegg said in a recent interview about the sound on the band’s new album Beserker that it is an exhibition of the band’s evolution as a unit.  “I think what we’ve done here is give ourselves the space to explore other parts of our musicality and who we are as a band,” Hegg said of the sound on this record.  That growth is a welcome change from the band this time out, as it shows the band’s ability to reach a more mainstream audience instead of just its core audience base.  One of the songs featured in this record, that serves to illustrate that ability comes early on in the form of ‘Mjolner, Hammer of Thor.’  It will be discussed shortly.  The album’s finale, ‘Into The Dark’ is another way in which that growth and change is clearly evidenced.  It is also another positive addition to the album.  ‘Fafner’s Gold,’ which opens the album, is yet another way in which the noted growth is exemplified in this record.  When all three songs are considered together with the record of the album, the whole of Beserker presents itself as a record that while maybe rather familiar for most listeners, is still a welcome new offering from the band that is yet another candidate for any metal critic’s list of the year’s top new metal and hard rock albums.

Amon Amarth’s 11th full-length studio recording Berserker is a welcome new offering from the veteran metal outfit that critics and listeners alike will agree is deserving of its own spot on any list of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.  That is despite (and because) of the familiarity of the record’s lyrical themes.  It is also because of the growth exhibited by the band’s members in the record’s musical arrangements.  ‘Mjolner, Hammer of Thor’ is one of the songs featured in this record that exhibits the growth in the band’s musical side.  The song’s musical arrangement boasts a very sharp similarity to the arrangement at the center of Judas Priest’s timeless hit ‘Breaking The Law.’  The two arrangements are not mirror images of one another.  However, the similarity is close enough that there is no denying the connection.  Whether Amon Amarth’s guitarists – Olavi Mikkonen and Johan Soderberg – set out to make something so closely akin to ‘Breaking The Law’ is anyone’s guess.  That aside, the bigger picture is that the arrangement is far more accessible, musically, than almost anything that the band has previously crafted.  To that end, it is a surprise that it was not chosen as Berserker’s lead single.  The song’s decidedly radio ready arrangement is, as important as it is, is just one part of what makes the song a solid addition to the record.  The song’s familiar lyrical content adds its own share of interest to the song.

The song’s lyrical content focuses on the norse myth of how Thor’s famed hammer Mjolner was created.  He sings in the song’s lead verse, “In the realm of Svartalvheim/Where master forgers reign/Loke met with Eitri and Brokk/With malice and deceit/he got them to agree/to create nine magic gifts for the Asa Gods/Brokkr had a sense of foul play in the air/So he made a wager for Loke’s head/Treasures will be forged for the Asagods/A spear and a ring for the Asgard King/But finest of them all/the Crusher it is called/Mjolner, Hammer of Thor/Loke’s treachery knows no boundaries/he his himself in the blacksmith’s caveBut as work progressed, he feared he’d lose his bet/He knew his situation was now grave/Working the bellows/Heating the forge/Striking the anvil/Striking with force/Then as they worked/On the last gift/A mighty hammer of war/Loke disrupted the work of the blacksmiths/The handle came out short.”  From here, Hegg tells the rest of the ancient Norse tale with Loke meeting not a fatal fate, but a not-so-happy fate, nonetheless.  It is a powerful tale that will entertain and engage any listener, regardless of his or her familiarity with the story of how Mjolner was created – or any Norse mythology.  When it is coupled with the song’s accessible arrangement, the whole exhibits itself as one of the most notable additions to this latest offering from Amon Amarth.  It is just one of the songs that stands out in this offering.  The album’s finale, ‘Into The Dark’ is another way in which that growth and change is clearly evidenced.

‘Into The Dark’ presents what is perhaps one of the biggest shifts that Amon Amarth has ever taken in its now 25 year-plus life.  Whereas so many of its songs are straight-forward, driving metal works, this opus starts and ends with a gentle piano line.  That line is complimented with the addition of a group of string musicians to help set the song’s mood.  As the song opens, that pairing eventually fades away, making room for the band’s own elements.  What is interesting in this case is that the guitar-driven arrangement boasts a certain old school metal sound at times alongside the more modern sound that audiences have come to expect from the band.  The whole of these elements makes the arrangement in whole, one more of the album’s most intriguing additions.  It is yet more proof of the change and growth in the band’s sound.  It is just one way in which the song exhibits that growth and change.  The song’s lyrical content, believe it or not, actually shows a certain amount of growth and change, too.

The song’s lyrical content shows a certain level of change in that the only Norse element comes late in one of the verses in which Hegg sings, “I am who I am/I am Loke to you.”  The rest of the song comes across more as one of those familiar showings of introspection; thoughts of overcoming personal adversity.  That is obvious right from the song’s outset as Hegg sings, “There is a darkness in my soul/A darkness that can’t be tamed/A deep void of emptiness/A gaping wound/A vile, corrupted entity/That has no name/From the dark into the light/I make this journey on my own/From the dark into the light/I make this journey on my own/From the dark into the light/I must fight this darkness all alone.”  He goes on in the song’s second verse to sing, “I try to do what is right/And still my twisted mind is full of spite/Each day a struggle/With this side of me/A losing battle/I can’t break free/No!/I can’t break free…”  From here he goes on to sing of the “demons” dragging the subject back into despair.  There are even brief Norse notes in this discussion, about “Dagas my guide/But Thurisas bides.”  So yes, the familiar Viking content is there, but in the bigger picture, this song seems lyrically, to be something of a change for the band.  Yes, the content is familiar in its discussion about dealing with inner emotional turmoil, but it is still a discussion that will resonate easily with listeners.  On top of all of that, the very fact that the band would go to the length of limiting the Norse content in favor of seemingly something more standard shows, again, that growth and change from the band.  All of that change considered, this song is one of Berserker’s most notable compositions, showing where the band very well could be headed.  It shows in its own way that whether the band is performing familiar songs centered on Viking lore or working on something more mainstream, it succeeds.  It is just one more of the songs featured in this record that stands out.  ‘Fafner’s Gold,’ which opens the album, is another standout addition to the album.

‘Fafner’s Gold’ opens with an element that while familiar to many metal bands today, is another element that is unfamiliar to Amon Amarth – an acoustic guitar introduction.  Arch Enemy and so many other similar metal acts have used such an approach to their songs throughout their catalogues, but Amon Amarth has rarely if ever taken that approach.  That intro leads very quickly, into the band’s familiar shredding and machine-gun-fast time keeping in a whole that longtime Amon Amarth fans will recognize and appreciate.  The composition in whole is certain to keep listeners engaged and entertained, and is just one part of what will entertain and engage listeners.  The song’s lyrical content does just as much to maintain that interest.

The song’s lyrical content tells the myth of…well…Fafner’s gold.  In doing research on the song, it is found that Fafner is one of the giants who built Valhalla, the Norse afterlife realm.  Fafner was turned into a dragon, according to the myth, after killing his own brother Fasolt after the pair takes the treasure of the dwarf Alberich.  Fafner was ultimately killed by Siegfried. The Icelandic version of the tale, which the band seems to be following here, actually presents Fafner (Fafnir in this case) as a dwarf instead of a giant.  In this version, Regin sent his foster son Sigurd to kill Fafnir in his dragon form.  The whole story can be read here.  What is so interesting to learn in researching the song is the variants thereof.  There is the noted Icelandic version and a Germanic version as well as one other take on the tale.  The variants within each telling are minor, but are there.  This version however, involves the familiar Norse mythology, including the mention of Loke and other Norse figures.  It sticks to everything that the band has done throughout its life.  It also serves to illustrate Hegg’s comment about the band’s approach to the album in whole.  “The previous album was a concept album, but we didn’t want to get into a situation where every album has to be a concept record, so this is different.  We wanted to step away from that and look at being a little bit more diverse with the lyrics and everything else.”  When this latest bit of Norse mythology is coupled with its equally familiar musical styling, the whole proves to be yet another positive addition to Berserker.  When it is considered along with the other songs noted here and the nine remaining songs not directly discussed, the whole of the album becomes a work that Amon Amarth’s longtime fans will appreciate just as much as those who might not be so familiar with the band’s work.

Amon Amarth’s new album Berserker is everything that audiences have come to expect from the band.  It is also a slight display of growth and development from the band, as evidenced in the songs noted here.  Those songs, when considered along with the rest of the album’s works, make Berserker another successful offering from the “Kings” of Viking metal and one more of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.  The album is available now.  The band is now touring in support of the album, too.  The band’s tour includes a performance in Charlotte, NC on Oct. 15.  The band’s current tour schedule is available online now along with all of the band’s 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.

Amon Amarth Debuts ‘Crack The Sky’ Video

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Amon Amarth debuted the video for its latest single this week.

The band debuted the video for its new single ‘Crack The Sky‘ on Wednesday.  The video picks up where the video for the album’s lead single, ‘Raven’s Flight,’ left off. The crowd has officially entered the club where the band is performing, and the show is just as raucous as any Amon Amarth concert.

Of course the show has gotten a little more out of hand than expected as some otherworldly figures have invaded the concert and are causing some serious havoc.  Luckily, an expected hero is called in to help eliminate the unholy creatures.

 

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

‘Crack The Sky’ and ”Raven’s Flight’ are both taken from Amon Amarth’s forthcoming album Beserker. Beserker will be available on a variety of platforms, all of which are noted below. To pre-order Berserker, please visit amonamarth.lnk.to/berserker – where the album is available in the following formats:
–digipak-CD
–deluxe box set [digipak-CD, shield (~12″x12″), patch (~4″x4″) – limited to 500 copies in US]
–opaque white w/ black splatter vinyl (limited to 1200 copies)
–opaque white w/ silver haze vinyl (retail exclusive – limited to 1300 copies)
–clear w/ red splatter vinyl (webstore exclusive – limited to 750 copies)
–black w/ red haze vinyl (webstore exclusive – limited to 750 copies)

Beserker was recorded in Los Angeles, with Jay Ruston (Anthrax/Stone Sour) helming the project.  Front man Johann Hegg offered positive remarks about Beserker in a recent interview.

“For me, this is Amon Amarth 2.0,” Hegg said.  “I think what we’ve done here is given ourselves the spcae to explore other parts of our musicality and who we are as a band.  If you’re content with where you’re at, what’s the point in continuing?  We always want to come up with new ideas and find new ways and doing things, and to create bigger and better shows, and really try to improve every aspect of what the band is.  We want to try to keep growing and to do this for as long as we have the possibility to do so, because this is the best fucking job in the world.”

Beserker‘s full track listing is noted below.

Berserker track-listing
1. Fafner’s Gold
2. Crack the Sky
3. Mjölner, Hammer of Thor
4. Shield Wall
5. Valkyria
6. Raven’s Flight
7. Ironside
8. The Berserker at Stamford Bridge
9. When Once Again We Can Set Our Sails
10. Skoll and Hati
11. Wings of Eagles
12. Into the Dark

Amon Amarth will join Slayer, Lamb of God and Cannibal Corpse on the road in May for an almost month-long tour to help say farewell to Slayer while also promoting Beserker.  The band’s run is scheduled to start May 2 and run through May 25, and to feature performances in cities, such as Huntington, WV; Tampa, Fla and Phoenix, AZ.  the tour’s current schedule is noted below.

Slayer “Leg Five: North America” tour dates
w/Lamb of God, Amon Amarth, Cannibal Corpse

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

More information on Amon Amarth’s upcoming tour, album and video is available online now at:

 

Websitehttp://www.amonamarth.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/AmonAmarth

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 Announces New Album, Tour Dates, Specs; Debuts New Video

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Amon Amarth returns this May, and the veteran viking metal band is building anticipation for the record’s release with the video for the album’s first single.

The band announced on Wednesday that it will release its new album Beserker on May 3 through Metal Blade Records.  The band debuted the video for the album’s lead single ‘Raven’s Flight’ Wednesday at its official website and YouTube.

Directed by Roboshobo, the video crosses footage of the band performing its new single on stage at a club-like setting with a pair of ancient vikings facing a horde of their enemies.  It is the first in a trio of videos that will come from Beserker, and features guest appearances by former UFC star Josh Barnett and WWE Superstar Eric Rowan.

 

 

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Beserker will be available on a variety of platforms, all of which are noted below. To pre-order Berserker, please visit amonamarth.lnk.to/berserker – where the album is available in the following formats:
–digipak-CD
–deluxe box set [digipak-CD, shield (~12″x12″), patch (~4″x4″) – limited to 500 copies in US]
–opaque white w/ black splatter vinyl (limited to 1200 copies)
–opaque white w/ silver haze vinyl (retail exclusive – limited to 1300 copies)
–clear w/ red splatter vinyl (webstore exclusive – limited to 750 copies)
–black w/ red haze vinyl (webstore exclusive – limited to 750 copies)

Beserker was recorded in Los Angeles, with Jay Ruston (Anthrax/Stone Sour) helming the project.  Front man Johann Hegg offered positive remarks about Beserker in a recent interview.

“For me, this is Amon Amarth 2.0,” Hegg said.  “I think what we’ve done here is given ourselves the spcae to explore other parts of our musicality and who we are as a band.  If you’re content with where you’re at, what’s the point in continuing?  We always want to come up with new ideas and find new ways and doing things, and to create bigger and better shows, and really try to improve every aspect of what the band is.  We want to try to keep growing and to do this for as long as we have the possibility to do so, because this is the best fucking job in the world.”

Beserker‘s full track listing is noted below.

Berserker track-listing
1. Fafner’s Gold
2. Crack the Sky
3. Mjölner, Hammer of Thor
4. Shield Wall
5. Valkyria
6. Raven’s Flight
7. Ironside
8. The Berserker at Stamford Bridge
9. When Once Again We Can Set Our Sails
10. Skoll and Hati
11. Wings of Eagles
12. Into the Dark

Amon Amarth will join Slayer, Lamb of God and Cannibal Corpse on the road in May for an almost month-long tour to help say farewell to Slayer while also promoting Beserker.  The band’s run is scheduled to start May 2 and run through May 25, and to feature performances in cities, such as Huntington, WV; Tampa, Fla and Phoenix, AZ.  the tour’s current schedule is noted below.

Slayer “Leg Five: North America” tour dates
w/Lamb of God, Amon Amarth, Cannibal Corpse

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

More information on Amon Amarth’s upcoming tour, album and video is available online now 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 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.

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

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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