‘Powers That Be’ Is Another Success For Thrash Super Group Wreck-Defy

Courtesy: SubLevel Records

Metal super group Wreck-Defy is scheduled to release its latest album Friday.  The band’s third in as many years, Powers That Be is 50 minutes of full thrash/speed enjoyment.  The 10 songs that make up the record’s body will appeal to fans of the noted genre across the board.  That should come as no surprise, considering that the band’s members — Matt Hanchuck, Aaron Dandall (ex-Annihilator), Greg Christian (ex-Testamant), Alex Marquez (ex-Malevolent Creation) – all came from thrash acts before forming this band.  This latest offering from the band is everything that audiences have come to expect from the band, too.  That is proven in part through the record’s arrangements, which will be addressed shortly.  The lyrical content that accompanies the record’s musical arrangements are intense in their own right, and ensure just as much, listeners’ engagement.  They will be discussed a little later.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements and brings everything full circle.  It will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Powers That Be.  All things considered, the album proves to be an easy candidate in its own right for any critic’s list of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

Powers That Be, the third full-length studio recording from metal super group Wreck-Defy, is a work that transcends generations of thrash and speed metal fans.  That is proven in part through its featured musical arrangements.  The arrangements in question are everything that audiences have come to expect from Wreck-Defy over the course of its past two albums.  The arrangements featured here have all of the sound and fury of the compositions featured in those albums – Remnants of Pain and Fragments of Anger – without just rehashing them.  The band does attempt to give listeners something at least slightly new.  The most notable change here is that the band cuts back on the introspective material.  Whereas Remnants of Pain had three songs of that ilk (out of nine songs), this record cuts that number to just one.  It comes in the record’s finale, in the form of the very brief ‘On The Other Side.’  The rest of the album keeps the energy relatively high, much as in the band’s 2017 debut Fragments of Anger.  Its placement is a bit odd.  It will be addressed later.  That aside, the stylistic approach that the band takes to this record’s arrangements gives listeners a familiar approach and sound without just simply rehashing the band’s past compositions.  To that end, the arrangements serve as a solid starting point for this record.  The album’s lyrical content builds on the foundation formed by the musical arrangements and make the album that much more appealing for any thrash and speed metal purist.

The lyrical content that is featured in Powers That Be are important to examine in the bigger picture of the album because they play so directly into the album’s title.  Case in point is the lyrical theme of ‘Skin,’ which comes early in the album’s run.  Randall sings in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “I was born in a gutter/Holes in my shoes/Beat down and ridiculed/I was born to lose/“Just a punk assed white boy”/Was my pseudonym/Victim of circumstance/Due to the color of my skin /Black or white/We all bleed red/The essence of a man comes from within/Divide and conquer/The government/wants to separate based on the color of our skin/Ghettos are the same/No matter where you are/Filthy run down slums/you can see them from afar./Cultivating killers/Politically unjust/Segregate the people by the color of their skin.”  He continues, “All this pain and suffering/Inside the human zoo/Political manipulation

Through and through/They’re building up the wall/They wanna watch us fall/in line”    The chorus’ refrain puts the accent to the song’s message as Randall sings, “Just a punk assed white boy/I’m from the streets/Even I can see we’re heading for defeat/Cultivating killers/Armed to the teeth/Divided we stand, divided we’re weak.”  This is, plain and simple, a commentary about how divided the world (and especially America) has become in the current era.  It sticks right to the record’s title with its content.  it is just one of the songs that runs along the line of the album’s title.  ‘Freedomless Speech’ also addresses the powers that be.

‘Freedomless Speech’ is a direct indictment of those powers that be and how they have eroded free speech of people the world over.  This is made clear right from the song’s lead verse and chorus as Randall sings, “Your 1st amendment’s out the door/Your right to speak is a right no more/Censorship for the sheep today/Another flock is led astray/An uncertain future/A constant plight/As time goes on You lose the right/No free thinking/No voice of your own/Reverting back to the age of stone/Helpless and hopeless/Utopia has vanished/When genocide and death no longer seem outlandish/The tides have turned/Hate and division’s what they teach/The lore of Freedomless Speech.”  The song’s second verse adds to the statement, as Randall sings, “Communication a thing of the past/Demonization to speak a criminal act/Politically correct /A meaningless term/History repeats/We never learn/Archaic Government with plans to silence us/Disarm the populace so they don’t kick up a fuss/Put your faith in us…./Speak only if you’re spoken to/Shut you’re mouth and listen/This is the arm of the Government/Whistle blower/Nothing lower/Got no right to full disclosure/In the eyes of the Government.”  The noted erosion of freedom of speech is increasingly happening, too.  Just this week, another social media outlet announced that it will start removing negative comments from its feeds, thus eroding freedom of speech even more.  This makes the song that much more important in the bigger picture of Powers That Be since even those who run social media can be considered powers that be.  It’s just one more way in which the album’s lyrical content proves pivotal to the record’s presentation.  ‘Drowning in Darkness’ is another example of how the album’s lyrical themes follow the theme presented in the record’s title.

In the case of ‘Drowning in Darkness,’ the power that is, is drug addiction.  This is inferred as Randall sings in the song’s lead verse, “In this street of broken dreams/A million faces/I have barely seen the light of day/In this trap of my depression/I sleep the day away/Somehow I put on a smiling face.”  It is made even more clear in the song’s second verse, which states, “Grab the bottle, take the pills/Snort that line, get your fill/God is watching, God is the/Do enough, set me free/Me and my little creatures/We’ve formed a bond, I’d say/We live in sickness, that’s ok/Living down here on the frontlines/They’re all my friends they say/Turn my back and I turn in to pray.”  The final statement, which is short leaves no doubt about that vile power that is.  It states, “Medic/Start the car/911 CPR/Fentanyl/F 19/ ICD/T36.”  We all know the stories about the impact of fentanyl as has been addressed in the news.  To that end, it becomes clear that this song is approaching the topic of drug abuse as a power in its own right.  It takes a different path from the album’s other songs, but still is important in its own right.  When it is considered along with the other topics discussed here and the rest of the album’s works, the overarching theme of the powers that be develops more impact.  When that overarching lyrical content is considered alongside the record’s equally powerful musical arrangements, the whole of that content more than makes this record worth hearing.  They are collectively just one part of what makes the record so appealing, too.  Its sequencing rounds out its most important elements.

As has already been noted here, the music featured throughout the course of Powers That Be is largely intense.  It is fiery and full of energy from one song to the next, ensuring listeners’ engagement and entertainment.  The only concern that the sequencing raises comes in the record’s finale, the brief ‘On The Other Side.’  As short as the song is, and considering that it comes across as a eulogy of sorts, it might have been better served to be in another spot higher up in the record’s body.  By having it close out the album, it makes for such an abrupt finale for the record, especially considering the fiery energy of ‘I Am The Wolf.’  The change of pace as that song ends and ‘On The Other Side’ is just uncomfortable, considering their placement.  Had ‘On The Other Side’ been placed more as a mid-record presentation to break up the album’s energy, it would have worked much better and made the sequencing solid.  Even despite that concern, the sequencing still works for the most part. Keeping that in mind, it still works well with the overall content and maintains the album’s place among this year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

Wreck-Defy’s new album Powers That Be is a powerful new offering from the thrash/speed metal super group.  That is proven in part through the record’s featured musical arrangements.  The arrangements present the band trying noticeably, to avoid the more introspective, reserved songs that were more prominent in the band’s second album.  This time out, the band clearly kept the energy much higher, as in its debut album.  The lyrical content that accompanies the arrangements exhibits its own impact in that the themes follow the record’s overarching theme noted in its title.  The album’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.  Save for the one concern raised by the record’s finale, the sequencing keeps the record’s energy high from start through to that more reserved finale.  Even with the noted concern centered on the finale raised, the sequencing still works.  Together with the record’s musical and lyrical content, all three elements join to make the album in whole, a work that continues the success of the band’s first two records.  Additionally, it collectively makes the album a work that will appeal to the most devoted thrash and speed metal purist.

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

Websitehttp://wreck-defy.bandcamp.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/Underground4560

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.

Wreck-Defy Debuts ‘Freedomless Speech’ Lyric Video

Courtesy: SubLevel Records

Wreck-Defy debuted the video for its latest single this week.

The band debuted the lyric video for its new single ‘Freedomless Speech‘ Thursday.  The song and its companion video are the second from the band’s forthcoming album Powers That Be, which is scheduled for release Oct. 9 through SubLevel Records.  The band debuted the album’s lead single ‘Skin‘ and its companion video last month.

The video places the song’s lyrics over a television screen in which images of items, such as a law enforcement K-9, pointing fingers, and a person with a mouth covered in tape flash.  The visuals are meant to help deliver the song’s lyrical message about the corrosion of free speech worldwide.

The song’s lyrical content is timely and will resonate with any listener.  The song’s musical arrangement will connect with any thrash metal fan.  Its fierce shredding and precision time keeping couples with its vocals and bass to make it a work that will appeal to fans of bands, such as Megadeth, Testament, and Anthrax.  That should come as no surprise, as the band is composed of former members of Testament, Annihilator, and Malevolent Creation, which are counterparts to Megadeth and Anthrax.

The band’s members are: Matt Hanchuck, Aaron Dandall (ex-Annihilator), Greg Christian (ex-Testamant), Alex Marquez (ex-Malevolent Creation).

Powers That Be is the third full-length studio recording from Wreck-Defy.  It will come less than a year after the release of the band’s sophomore album, Remnants of Pain.  Pre-orders are open through SubLevel Records’ official Bandcamp page and through Wreck-Defy’s official Bandcamp page.

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

 

Websitehttp://wreck-defy.bandcamp.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/Underground4560

 

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.

Project 86 “Among” Rock and Metal’s Best On Phil’s Picks 2017 Top New Hard Rock & Metal Albums

Courtesy: Project 86/TAG Publicity

For those about to rock, we salute you!

Yes, everyone knows that phrase from AC/DC’s classic song by the same name.  As popular as it is, it is more than just a song lyric and title.  It is a statement of honor for the acts and audiences who span the rock community.  This year, as with every year prior, there are so many bands to honor as the year nears its end, including hard rock and metal bands.  In case it hasn’t become clear by now, this article focuses on this critic’s choices for the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.  As with every list before, compiling it was not an easy task.  New releases from Project 86, Arch Enemy, Iced Earth, and so many others made this year’s field of new hard rock and metal albums very crowded.  That is putting it lightly.  Between well-known mainstream acts and their lesser-known independent counterparts, the two sides collectively offered so many impressive new albums.

Topping this critic’s list of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums is Project 86’s latest album Sheep Among Wolves.  The band’s 10th full-length studio recording in 20 years, this record takes all of the best elements of the band’s past — both musically and lyrically — and uses them to craft a work that is just as memorable and engaging as its predecessors.  Also on this year’s list from Phil’s Picks are new albums from — as already noted — Iced Earth and Arch Enemy — as well as new offerings from Overkill, Act of Defiance, Prong, Adrenaline Mob, Blacktop Mojo and others. As with every list, this list presents this critic’s Top 10 titles plus five additional titles for a total of 15 records.  That being noted, here for you is Phil’s Picks’ 2017 Top 10 New Hard Rock & Metal Albums.

PHIL’S PICKS 2017 TOP 10 NEW HARD ROCK & METAL ALBUMS

  1. Project 86 — Sheep Among Wolves
  2. Prong — Zero Days
  3. Act of Defiance — Old Scars, New Wounds
  4. Overkill — The Grinding Wheel
  5. Iced Earth — Incorruptable
  6. Blacktop Mojo — Burn The Ships
  7. Adrenaline Mob — We The People
  8. Marty Friedman — Wall of Sound
  9. Corroded — Defcon Zero
  10. Dragonforce — Reaching Into Infinity
  11. The Haunted — Strength In Numbers
  12. Doyle — As We Die
  13. Demon Hunter — Outlive
  14. 36 Crazyfists — Lanterns
  15. Arch Enemy — Will To Power

That’s all for this list.  Again, it was not an easy list to compile.  Acts the likes of Eve To Eve to Adam, Marty Friedman, Sepultura, Annihilator, Mastodon and so many others all deserve their own share of credit.  With that in mind, it becomes easy to see why no disrespect was meant to any one act or another here.  Every noted act released its own impressive album.  Only so many spaces were available, sadly.

2018 is already shaping up to be an interesting year in its own right, with new material from Ministry on the way alongside new albums from Judas Priest, Saxon, Machine Head, Corrosion of Conformity, Tool, Clutch and lots more.  Stay tuned for all of that in the new year.  To keep up with all of 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.

Annihilator Teams With UDR Music To Release New Hits Compilation Set

Courtesy: UDR Music

Courtesy: UDR Music

Veteran Canadian thrash outfit Annihilator has released a new hits collection of sorts to the masses.

The band released its new compilation Triple Threat on Friday.  The three-disc collection is in separate DVD/2CD combo pack, Blu-ray/2CD and standalone 2CD set via UDR Music. The collection features re-worked versions of many of the band’s hits in three very different settings.

The first setting is an acoustic setting featuring 10 of the band’s hits in a stripped down presentation.

The set’s second disc presents 11 more of the band’s songs in a full-on live setting from the band’s performance at the 2016 Bang Your Head Festival.  The third disc is a visual presentation of the acoustic and live presentations on the set’s first two discs.

The third disc also includes a 45-minute documentary and bonus discussions from front man Jeff Waters.  Waters discusses the set’s acoustic renderings in one of the bonus segments.  He also answers fan questions in another of the bonus segments.

Triple Threat’s track listing is noted below.

 

Unplugged: The Watersound Studios Sessions:

  1. Sounds Good To Me
  2. Bad Child
  3. Innnocent Eyes
  4. Snake In The Grass
  5. Fantastic Things
  6. Holding On
  7. Stonewall
  8. In The Blood
  9. Crystal Ann
  10. Phoenix Rising

 

Live At The BANG YOUR HEAD Festival:

  1. King Of The Kill
  2. No Way Out
  3. Creepin’ Again
  4. Set The World On Fire
  5. W.T.Y.D. (Welcome To Your Death)
  6. Never, Neverland
  7. Bliss
  8. Second To None
  9. Refresh The Demon
  10. Alison Hell
  11. Phantasmagoria

 

The BluRay and DVD visual content is split in 3 parts:

 

Chapter I – Annihilator Un-Plugged: The Watersound Studios Sessions (62 mins)

Chapter II – Annihilator Live at the BANG YOUR HEAD Festival (45 mins)

Chapter III – ANNIHILATOR: Summer Mini-Documentary 2016 (45 mins)

Plus Bonus Video Chapters: “Jeff’s Commentary On The Acoustic Songs” and “Jeff Answers Fan Questions”

 

Waters discussed how the band’s new collection came to life in a recent interview. He said working the songs into acoustic renditions was especially exciting for him.

“This was one of the coolest things I have done in my long career,” Waters said.  Having five people in a room, from all different backgrounds and talents, coming together to play songs from the past, and to try to sound like we are one but totally live and with feeling. This was one of the biggest challenges that ANNIHILATOR has faced, musically, but what impressed me the most was how you can hear all the individual styles each player has and how we were able to glue the playing and feel together. Done all in one take and with all the musical blemishes and imperfections that I would never normally let slide!

He added working specific songs made the recording experience truly special.

This set covers some of the melodic songs, one even from 1984 (when a few of these guys were not even born!) and I just had to do this once in my life… to challenge myself and maybe show some others that it’s not always just about the metal and the thrash! Rock n’ roll and ballads are found everywhere in heavy metal,” Waters said.  ANNIHILATOR are made up of a helluva lot of styles, mixed into one. That’s exactly what kind of musicians I put together for this set – a mixed bag of rockers and metalheads – and they made our legacy proud! Enjoy… we sure love this one.”

More information on Triple Threat is available online now along with Annihilator’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.annihilatormetal.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/AnnihilatorBand

 

 

 

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.

 

Metal Purists Will Appreciate UDR Music’s Wacken 2015 Recording

Courtesy: UDR Music

Courtesy: UDR Music

The Wacken Open Air Festival is one of the most renowned hard rock concert festivals if the music industry.  The festival started 26 years ago in the city after which it is named.  Late this summer UDR Music celebrated the festivals 25th anniversary – marked in 2015 – with the release of the festival’s 25th anniversary recording.  Considering that the recording presents the show lineup from the festival’s 25th anniversary, its title is a little bit misleading.  That aside, it is still an enjoyable experience for any purist member of the metal nation worldwide.  That is due in no small part to the lineup presented in the recording.  This will be discussed shortly.  The bands’ performances are just as important to note in the recording’s presentation as is the recording’s presented lineup.  That will be discussed later.  The platforms on which the recording has been made available rounds out the most important of the recording’s elements.  Each element is clearly important in its own right to the recording’s presentation.  All things considered, Live at Wacken 2015 26 Years Louder Than Hell is one of this year’s top new overall live recordings.

Live at Wacken 2015 – ­26 Years Louder Than Hell is one of 2016’s top new overall live recordings.  It is hardly the first live recording that the festival’s organizers have ever released.  Even with that in mind, it is still an enjoyable recording for the festival’s fans and for the purist metal legions around the world.  That is due in no small part to the recording’s featured performer list.  A total of 107 bands performed on Wacken 2015 between the Bullhead City Circus, Party Stage and double main stage.  It goes without saying that considering that mass of metal, there’s no way that UDR or the fesitval’s organizers could have possibly featured every one of those bands.  Regardless, the featured performer list included in this recording is still impressive in its own right.  That list includes the likes of Judas Priest, Danko Jones, Uli Jon Roth, In Flames, Annihilator and so many others.  Simply put, the perfomer list featured in this recording pulls from a number of metal’s sub genres and from so many eras of metal’s history.  It goes to show the respect that the festival’s organizers and fans have for metal, its history and culture.  Sure, it would have been nice to have Dream Theater included in the featured performer list, or maybe Hellyeah, or even Prong (yes, even Prong performed at Wacken 2015).  But the performer list included in this recording is still impressive in its own right in the end.  Considering this, it should be clear why it is such an important piece of the recording’s presentation.  It is just one of the important elements to note.  The featured acts’ stage presence in their performances is just as important to note here as the acts themselves.

The acts that are featured in UDR Music’s new Wacken Open Air Festival recording are important in their own right to the recording’s overall presentation.  That is because while hardly every one of the bands that performed at the festival, they represent a wide swatch of the metal community and its history.  That means the recording will reach just as wide of an audience.  While the recording’s featured performer list is clearly an important piece of the recording’s presentation, it is hardly the recording’s only important element.  The bands’ stage presence in their performances plays an important part in the recording’s presentation, too.  Rob Halford and company prove the importance of the bands’ performances right from the recording’s outset.  They take the stage and own it with ease.  Halford is at the top of his game both in terms of his vocal talent and his very presence.  Glenn Tipton is just as enjoyable to take in as he works his way through the band’s performance of ‘Painkiller.  On another note, the members of Running Wild are just as impressive as they work through the high-octane ‘Under The Jolly Roger.’  Skindred’s performance of ‘Proceed With Caution’ will have home audiences on their feet just as easily as it did the audience in attendance of the festival.  That is because of the fire and energy exuded by the band throughout its performance.  It is just one more example of the importance of the bands’ performance to the festival recording’s presentation.  One could just as easily cite the performances from My Dying Bride, In Flames, and Death Angel as proof of that importance, too.  All things considered, it is safe to say that every single performance featured in this recording will keep home audiences just as entertained and engaged as the audiences that got to enjoy the festival in person.  Even with all of this in mind, the bands’ performances still are not the last element to note in examining this recording.  The platforms on which the recording has been made available are just as important to note as the previously discussed elements.

The bands that were featured in Live at Wacken 2015 26 Years Louder Than Hell and their performances are both key elements in examining the festival’s recording.  The featured performer list presents the past, present and future of metal while also presenting a solid cross-section proving what has made the festival so respected for now 26 years.  The featured bands’ performances are so important to note because they will keep home audiences just as entertained and engaged as the audiences who had the honor of experiencing the festival in person.  While both elements are clearly important both alone and collectively to the recording’s presentation, they are not its only important elements.  The platforms on which the recording has been made available are just as important to note as the previously noted elements.  Audiences will be happy to know that the recording has been made available on separate 2 DVD/2 CD and 2 BD/2 CD combo pack.  The DVD set averages approximately $22 and the BD set $23.  Considering that, the various platforms and their prices are relatively affordable for audiences.  The only downside to the sets is that their set lists don’t exactly match.  Not every song featured in the recording’s DVD and BD presentation is included in the recording’s CD platform.  To that end, it is the recording’s only major negative, which is actually a good thing.  That means that the recording’s varied platforms and other discussed elements more than make up for that one negative, as unavoidable as it is to note.  All things considered, Live at Wacken 2015 26 Years Louder Than Hell proves in the bigger picture to be one of 2016’s top new live recordings as well as one of the year’s top new live DVD/BDs and CDs.  It is available now in stores and online.

Live at Wacken 2015 26 Years Louder Than Hell is one of 2016’s top new live recordings.  That is the case even considering that it does have at least one unavoidable negative.  The recording’s featured performer list and the featured acts’ performances partner with the varied platforms on which the recording has been made available to make the recording an enjoyable experience for any purist member of the metal nation worldwide.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on this and other titles from UDR Music is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.udr-music.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/udrmusic

 

 

 

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.

Slayer Reclaims The Metal Throne In 2015

There’s only a week and a half left in 2015 after this week. That means that the days are finally really ticking away. And as they pass by so do the year-ender lists from all of the critics. That includes this critic. So far this month, Phil’s Picks has revealed its top new EPs, World Music albums, County, etc. albums, Rap and Hip-Hop albums, Children’s albums, and Rock albums. There have even been lists for the year’s best new live CD recording and album re-issues. Now we come down to the last two lists of the music universe for this year. Today the first of those lists will be revealed. That list is the list of the year’s best new Hard Rock and Heavy Metal albums. The second and final music list of the year is the year’s best overall albums. That list will come alongside the list of the year’s top new movies later on. So for now, today brings the last of the music year-enders. And it’s quite a doozy. It was anything but easy to assemble. Slayer grabbed the top spot with its new album Repentless. Saxon is there, too as is Annihilator, Gloomball, Between The Buried and Me, and many others. As with every previous list, the Top 10 albums make up the main body of the list. The bottom five are each honorable mention as they simply could not be ignored. That brings the total list to fifteen albums. SO without further ado, here for your reading pleasure, dear readers, are the Phil’s Picks 2015 Top 10 New Hard Rock and Heavy Metal Albums.

 

PHIL’S PICKS 2015 TOP 10 NEW HARD ROCK/METAL ALBUMS

  1. SLAYERREPENTLESS

 

  1. TESSERACT – POLARIS

 

  1. SCALE THE SUMMIT – V

 

  1. BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME – COMA ECLIPTIC

 

  1. SEVENDUST – KILL THE FLAW

 

  1. GLOOMBALL – THE QUIET MONSTER

 

  1. ARMORED SAINT – WIN HANDS DOWN

 

  1. SAXON – BATTERING RAM

 

  1. LAMB OF GOD – VII: STURM UND DRANG

 

  1. MOTORHEAD – BAD MAGIC

 

  1. ANNIHILATOR – SUICIDE SOCIETY

 

  1. ATREYU – LONG LIVE

 

  1. ACT OF DEFIANCE – BIRTH AND THE BURIAL

 

  1. BATTLECROSS – RISE TO POWER

 

  1. HAMMERCULT – BUILT FOR WAR

 

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.

Annihilator’s New Album Is A Tasty Metal Feast

Courtesy:  EMI/UDR

Courtesy: EMI/UDR

Annihilator’s latest full length studio release is a breath of fresh air for the metal community.   The veteran Canadian metal band released this past September, its fourteenth (yes, fourteenth) full length release.  It couldn’t have chosen a better name than Feast for its new album.  That’s because at a time when so many thrash and hardcore bands continue to rely on crunchy, down-tuned guitars and cookie monster growls to fill their audiences’ appetites, Annihilator has taken what is increasingly the road less travelled.  The band’s new album is pure thrash metal at its best.  From its speed metal riffs to the pounding vocals of front man David Padden and the songs’ lyrical content, every pure blooded metal head will find something to appreciate in this record.

Annihilator has seen its share of ups and downs ever since the release of the band’s debut record, Alice in Hell.  The band has changed labels and band members so much that one would seemingly need a program to keep up with it all.  Through it all, one thing has stayed constant for this band.  That one constant has been the band’s ability to make some of the best pure thrash metal out there.  While the metal community has leaned its focus more on the “metalcore” genre over the years, Annihilator has remained one of the few bands to not go that route.  This aspect alone makes Feast a must hear for any purist metal head.  Right from the album’s opener, ‘Deadlock’, listeners are transported back to the golden days of metal courtesy of guitarist Jeff Waters’ solid shredding and drummer Mike Harshaw’s time keeping.  And even vocalist David Padden’s vocals add their own positive element to the song, not to mention the song’s social commentary.  Padden writes in this song a piece that while somewhat nihilistic, also holds some truth.  He writes, “We face our extinction day after day/Oblivious to what we’ll become/Persist to exist in our pathetic ways/With nothing to show when it’s done/We take what they give/Complacency to the masses/Content to consume/The idiots outbreeding twenty to one/Ensuring our future is doomed.”  It comes across as a commentary on how people seem to be increasingly embracing the mantra that ignorance is bliss.  He doesn’t stop here, either.  He adds commentary on America’s blind consumerism and desire for the next big thing as he writes, “Standing in line for the latest release/An upgrade to s*** we don’t need/A fist full of cash/And a smile on your face/A wallet just dying to bleed.”  This couldn’t be truer.  Just look at how people in general clamor for the next big product from Apple and other major tech companies.  Such biting commentary set next to equally powerful music makes this song quite the tasty first course from Annihilator’s new musical “feast.”  And yes that bad pun was entirely intended.

The band doesn’t let up one bit after ‘Deadlock’ ends.  Listeners will appreciate ‘Smear Campaign’ just as much as the album’s opener.  They will once again appreciate it not just for the music but for its equally biting commentary.  Guitarist Jeff Waters wrote this song.  This full on defiant anthem will give strength to anyone that has ever been tormented by those that live their lives trying to make others’ lives miserable.  Waters writes in this song, “Demonize, jeopardize, spreading your disease/So glad you’ve had your fun/Making up your stories/Spewing them with ease/But now your time is done/Can’t look in my eyes/You won’t apologize/Judge you should not/But now I hope you rot/Sad, weak and insecure/Your life is just a fail bitterness and jealousy/Fabricate now too late/The coffin and the nail/It’s time for remedy.”  This song could not be more important to this album.  It is an important addition to the album because of its power.  Much like a number of songs crafted by Hatebreed, it’s one of those defiant fist pumpers that flips the proverbial middle finger at those defeatists that would do whatever they can to pull down those around them.  That combination of musical and lyrical intensity will most certainly raise the mindset of any member of the metal community in hard times.  So Waters and his band mates are to be commended for including this song on this album.

Waters exhibited quite a bit of writing and musical prowess in his crafting of ‘Smear Campaign.’  In the same vein, listeners will appreciate the longer but just as thrashing ‘Fight The World.’  This song is such an interesting addition to ‘Feast’ because it too is so powerful both musically and lyrically speaking.  Waters and his band mates fool listeners at first with this song by starting it off very slow and mournful for lack of better wording.  Set against the song’s lyrical content, it would actually be quite powerful had it maintained that slower more emotional sound.  But that slower, mournful sound doesn’t last long as the band very soon thereafter kicks into yet another full on thrash sound, making it just as powerful if not more so than the hypothesized sound.  That straightforward thrash sound set against Padden singing, “It’s easy to give up/To lose all hope/To use a substance to cope/I pick myself up/Turn this around/I’ll win this battle/You won’t take me down” makes it one more invaluable addition to the album’s sequencing.  It makes Feast that much better to take in no matter if one is new to the band’s music or a fan from way back when.

The songs included in Feast are definitely songs that any pure blooded metal head will appreciate.  That’s evidenced through just the three songs noted here.  They aren’t all that audiences will appreciate.  Just as wonderful to note is the musicianship of the band’s members.  Annihilator has seen its share of members over the course of nearly a quarter of a century.  But this most current lineup has shown with its musicianship that Annihilator is still very much a viable force in the metal community despite all of those changes.  And with any luck, it will remain a force for the foreseeable future.  The band is currently touring overseas in support of Feast.  Fans can keep up with the band’s latest tour dates and more on Feast online at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Annihilator/96141339730, http://twitter.com/annihilatorband, and http://www.annihilatormetal.com.  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.