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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‘The Face of Fear’ Shows Artillery Still Has Plenty Of Ammunition

Courtesy: Metal Blade Recprds

It’s hard to believe, but in a little more than a month, 2018 will officially over, and 2019 will be here.  It goes without saying that this year has been another impressive one for the metal community, with powerful new releases from acts, such as Soulfly, Tesseract and Nonpoint just to name a few acts.  Though the year is almost over, the year’s stream of new releases is not yet over.  Veteran metal outfit Artillery released its latest album The Face of Fear on Nov. 16, and it will make critics’ decisions on their year-ender lists that much more difficult.  That is because the Danish band’s ninth full-length studio recording’s far-reaching appeal among thrash and metal fans alike.  This is evidenced right from the album’s outset in its opener/lead/title single.  ‘Sworn Utopia’ does just as much as the album’s title track to support that statement, and will be discussed shortly.  Much the same can be said of ‘Preaching To The Converted,’ which will also be discussed later.  Each song shows in its own way, what makes The Face of Fear yet another strong addition to this year’s already outstanding list of new hard rock and metal albums.  When they are considered along with the album’s other songs not noted here, the whole of the record’s 11-song, 45-minute a work that every thrash and metal purist will appreciate.

Artillery’s latest full-length studio recording, The Face of Fear continues what is for the veteran Danish metal outfit, a long-running tradition of success.  It is a work that will appeal to a wide range of thrash and metal purists from the band’s homeland to America and beyond.  That is proven in part through the album’s opener/title track/lead single.  ‘The Face of Fear’ is an important opener and addition to the album considering the state in which the world currently exists.  As the band noted in a discussion on the song’s lyrical content, “the song is about dealing the end of man by himself.  We create our own phobia about the destruction of the world, but remain disrespectful to the globe.”  Front man Michael Bastholm illustrates that message here, singing right off the top, “The world is gonna fall,” adding in the chorus, “Under crimson skies/Our hopes and dreams, they die/This reality/Why can’t we see.”  Additionally, he sings, “No heeding the signs/No wait for tomorrow/Ready between the lines/the face of fear/The scenes will be erased/The trials that we face/Miasma amber mist/the face of fear/It whispers in your ear/It all will end in tears.”  From here, Bastholm reprises the song’s chorus, driving home even more, the song’s blatant warning of what we as a species are doing to the planet.  The song’s official video serves to illustrate Bastholm’s message even more, featuring images of warplanes dropping bombs, missiles being fired, power plants spewing gases into the atmosphere and mushroom clouds, clear-cut forests and mounds of trash piled up in a landfill.  The images, coupled with the song’s intense lyrical message makes The Face of Fear a star wake-up call of what truly is fear-inducing.

The coupling of the song’s straight forward warning in its lyrical content and the visuals, which drive the song’s message home even more does plenty to make ‘The Face of Fear’ an important addition to The Face of Fear.  That is because of the clarity that they create together.  While they are obviously an important part of the song, they are not its only important elements.  The song’s musical arrangement is just as important to discuss as its lyrical theme.  Bastholm’s power metal vocal delivery style set against the song’s old school thrash arrangement creates an interesting dichotomy for which audiences have already shown their appreciation.  One could argue that juxtaposition harkens back to a style made popular by acts, such as Megadeth, Metallica and Anthrax in the early 1980s.  Keeping this in mind, the combination of the song’s musical arrangement, its lyrical content and even its visual content clearly shows why ‘The Face of Fear’ is an important to its namesake album.  It is just one of the examples of what makes the album in whole another successful offering from the band, too.  ‘Sworn Utopia,’ which comes a little later in the album’s run, is another example of the album’s strength.

‘Sworn Utopia’ stands out in its own way in the overall picture of The Face of Fear in part because of its own musical arrangement.  As with the album’s title track (and so many of the album’s other songs), Bastholm’s power metal vocal delivery style couples with the thrash style approach that is so prevalent throughout the album for another powerhouse arrangement.  The song’s bridge conjures clear thoughts of Megadeth while the verses and chorus add a touch of Judas Priest influence.  Again, that collection of musical influences, which throws listeners back to the heyday and thrash (and power) metal cannot be ignored in its importance.  It is only one part of what makes the song, though.  The song’s lyrical content is just as important to discuss here as the song’s musical content.

The song starts off with the ringing of church bells before Bastholm and company launch into the song, with Bastholm singing, about altar confessions, priests’ celibacy, altar boys and faith put to the test.  He even goes so far as to directly indict the church (apparently the Catholic church) as he sings, “Your law’s religion/Dramatic and vile/Imprisonment…like a child/You must stay absent from glory and joy.”  Little doubt is left as to the song’s target, considering what can be deciphered from Bastholm’s rapid fire delivery.  If any doubt left at this point, his further statement of “For all I care/Make your peace/But don’t you take/It out on kids.”  At this point, there is no doubt left as to the song’s lyrical topic.  It is a full-on indictment of the Catholic church and the sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the church.  Given, it’s not the first time that a band ever took on any religious establishment, but considering the reality of the issue and its importance, it is another pressing matter.  To that end, the fashion through which Bastholm addresses the issue here is powerful in its own right.  The addition of the fury in the song’s musical arrangement helps to illustrate the urgency with which the issue must be addressed and the importance of the matter.  When both elements are considered together, they make the song another clear example of The Face of Fear’s strength.  Even with this in mind, ‘Sworn Utopia’ is still not the last example of what makes The Face of Fear another positive offering from Artillery.  ‘Preaching to the Converted’ shows just as much as ‘The Face of Fear’ and ‘Sworn Utopia’ The Face of Fear’s strength.

‘Preaching to the Converted’ is another full-throttle trash opus that fans of the genre will welcome with arms wide open.  Right from the song’s outset, the old school Megadeth and Metallica influences are on full display, as is even a touch of Exodus.  That is evident in the screaming guitar solos and solid time keeping from the drums.  Lyrically, the song comes across as a socio-political commentary of sorts.  This is inferred as Bastholm sings of people being “shackled” by politicians, those in positions of power “feeding lies” to the populous and mind control of sorts created, again, by those in power.  It is an interesting work that is certain to generate plenty of discussion if it has not already done so.  Discussions aside, it can be said with certainty that this is another work that indicts those in power for what they are doing to the masses.  That includes the world’s political leaders and maybe even military leaders.  Again, it is not the first time that a band has taken this road, but it is no less powerful here than in other acts’ presentations.  To that end, that message, coupled with the song’s full force musical presentation makes the song in whole yet another clear example of what makes The Face of Fear another welcome offering from Artillery.  It still is not the last song that can be cited in supporting that statement, either.  One could just as easily cite the seemingly tongue-in-cheek nature of ‘Dr. Evil,’ the direct discussion of what goes around comes around in ‘Crossroads To Conspiracy’ and the warning about the dangers of alcoholism in ‘Pain,’ the album’s strength becomes that much clearer.  The somewhat Dio-esque ‘Thirst For The Worst’ adds even more depth to the album as does the Metallica-esque sound of ‘New Rage’ and its seeming message about someone who has been wronged.  Between all of those songs and the works directly discussed here, the whole of The Face of Fear clearly shows itself to be another welcome offering from Artillery that shows this band still has plenty of ammunition.

Artillery’s ninth new album The Face of Fear is a strong new statement from the veteran metal outfit.  It is a work that from start to end, shows this band can still hold its own with any of today’s up-and-coming metal acts.  This is evidenced right from the album’s outset in the warning to the world about what it is doing to the planet, its equally stark musical arrangement and accompanying video.  ‘Sworn Utopia’ serves to support that statement even more, as it takes on the atrocities committed by so many members of the Catholic Church.  The seeming indictment of the world’s political leaders through ‘Preaching to the Converted’ supports that statement of the album’s strength even more.  When it is considered along with the likes of ‘Crossroads to Conspiracy,’ ‘Thirst For The Worst,’ ‘Pain’ and the rest of the album’s works, the whole of the record shows that artillery still has plenty of ammunition, and can still hold its own against today’s younger, up-and-coming metal acts.  It is available now.  More information on The Face of Fear is available online now along with all of Artillery’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.artillery.dk

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ARTILLERY.DK

Twitter: http://twitter.com/artillerymetal

 

 

 

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Anthrax’s ‘Kings Among Scotland’ Is A Royally Good Recording

Courtesy: Megaforce Records

The wait is finally over for Anthrax’s new live recording.

Kings Among Scotland arrived in stores and online today via Megaforce Records.  Originally recorded February 15, 2017 at the Barrowland Ballroom in Glasgow, Scotland, the two-set, 19-song set list includes hits such as ‘Madhouse,’ ‘I Am The Law,’ ‘Breathing Lightning,’ ‘Indians’ and other songs.  Available also on CD and digital formats, the recording also features interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, and more.

Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante said in a recent interview that he was happy to finally have the recording available.

“We are so excited that our DVD is finally being released,” Benante said.  “Don’t be surprised if the package is vibrating and dripping with sweat when you open it…that’s how live and exciting it really is!”

Front man Frank Bello agreed.

“This was such an amazing experience for us,” Bello said.  “The video is so alive and intense that even from the first edit, I felt like I was ‘right there’ at the show, in the audience.”

The release of King’s Among Scotland is only one of the band’s big announcements.  The band will join Slayer on its farewell tour this spring and summer.  It also has a handful of dates with Testament scheduled.  The band’s full, current tour schedule is noted below.

LEG ONE (Slayer, Lamb of God, Anthrax, Behemoth, Testament)

MAY

22   Bell MTS Place, Winnipeg, MB

23   Sanctuary Events Center, Fargo, ND – Anthrax w/ Testament

24   The Armory, Minneapolis, MN   SOLD OUT

25   Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, Tinley Park, IL

26   Clyde theatre, Ft. Wayne, IN – Anthrax w/ Testament

27   Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre at Freedom Hill, Detroit, MI   SOLD OUT

29   Budweiser Stage, Toronto, ON   SOLD OUT

30   Place Bell, Montreal, PQ   SOLD OUT

JUNE

 1    Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, CT   SOLD OUT

 2    PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel, NJ

 4    Santander Arena, Reading, PA   SOLD OUT

 6    Riverbend Music Center, Cincinnati, OH

 8    International, Knoxville, TN – Anthrax w/ Testament

 7    Blossom Music Center, Cleveland, OH

 9    KeyBank Pavilion, Pittsburgh, PA

10   Jiffy Lube Live, Bristow, VA

12   Veteran’s United Home Loans  Amphitheater, Virginia Beach, VA

13   The Stage on the Bay, Savannah, GA – Anthrax w/ Testament

14   PNC Music Pavilion, Charlotte, NC

15   Orlando Amphitheater, Orlando, FL

17   Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land, Houston, TX   SOLD OUT

18   House of Blues, New Orleans, LA – Anthrax w/ Testament

19   The Bomb Factory, Dallas, TX   SOLD OUT

20   Austin360 Amphitheater, Austin, TX  SOLD OUT

LEG TWO  (Slayer, Lamb of God, Anthrax, Testament, Napalm Death)

JULY

26   Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion, Gilford, NH

27   Impact Music Festival, Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion, Bangor, ME

29   Northwell Health at Jones Beach, Wantagh, NY

31   The Pavilion at Montage Mountain, Scranton, PA

AUGUST

 1    Times Union Center, Albany, NY

 2    The Strand, Providence, RI  – Anthrax w/ Testament ADDED SHOW

 3    Darien Lake Performing Arts Center, Darien Lake, NY

 4    Lakeview Amphitheater, Syracuse, NY

 6    Budweiser Gardens, London, ON

 7    Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, MI

 9    Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, St. Louis, MO

10   Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood, Atlanta, GA

12   Municipal Auditorium, Nashville, TN

13   Walmart AMP, Rogers, AR

14   Gas Monkey, Dallas, TX  – Anthrax w/ Testament ADDED SHOW

15   Freeman Coliseum, San Antonio, TX

16   The Zoo Amphitheatre, Oklahoma City, OK

18   Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre, Denver, CO

19   USANA Amphitheatre, Salt Lake City, UT

20   Wilma theatre, Missoula, MT – Anthrax w/ Testament ADDED SHOW

21   Ford Idaho Center Amphitheater, Boise, ID

23   Sunlight Supply Amphitheater, Portland, OR

26   SAP Center, San Jose, CA

More information on Anthrax’s tour, its new live recording and more is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

Websitehttp://anthrax.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/anthrax

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/anthrax

 

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‘The Grinding Wheel’ Shows Overkill Is Still “Grinding” It Out Successfully

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

The countdown to the year’s end is officially on, and that means for the music industry, the push is officially on to start assembling those annual year-end “Best Of” lists.  One of the lists that this critic in particular has seen overflowing with impressive titles is that of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.  New releases from the likes of Prong, The Haunted, Dragonforce and so many others have easily proven themselves deserving of a spot on that list by any critic.  No critic’s list of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums would be complete without the inclusion of Overkill’s latest album the Grinding Wheel.  Released this past February, this 11-song, 64-minute album is an offering that reminds audiences once again why even after more than 30 years, Overkill is still one of the elite acts in the hard rock and metal realms even.  That is even as the band continues to embrace the mantra of if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.  The old school thrash riffs that have made the band a constant fan favorite throughout its life combine with equally interesting lyrical content here to prove why this record is one more of the year’s top new hard rock and metal offerings.

Anytime that Overkill releases a new album, it will find its way onto critics’ lists of the year’s best new hard rock and metal albums.  The New Jersey-based thrash outfit’s 18th (yes, 18th) full-length studio recording The Grinding Wheel is no exception to that rule.  That is proven right from the album’s outset in ‘Mean, Green Killing Machine.’ The song’s arrangement boasts riffs in its verses that easily lend themselves to some of the greatest classic thrash works from fellow thrashers Exodus, Metallica, Megadeth and others of that ilk.  In the same breath, the combination of front man Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth’s vocal delivery with those riffs also conjures thoughts of so many classic Judas Priest songs.  The inclusion of the song’s more blues-based hard rock arrangement in its bridge adds even more interest to the song.  The sudden change between those two wholly separate styles is, needless to say, stark.  Yet at the same time, it still is not enough to ruin the song, musically speaking.  It only makes it that much more interesting.  Keeping that in mind, it is only one part of what makes this song proof of what makes The Grinding Wheel yet another standout record from Overkill.  The song’s lyrical content is just as important to discuss as its musical arrangement.

Ellsworth sings here, “Somewhere out where no one knows/Rusts a cool revolution fight/Way out there where no one goes/And it’s got to keep moving/Got to keep getting it right/So here’s to the piston charged/Combustible delight/The single-minded supercharged/That’s got to keep moving/Got to keep getting it/A call to arms/A call right through the dream/A call to action/Blow up the in-between/Feed, feed your engine/Feed, feed the wolverine/Feed, feed the tension/Mean green/Killing machine/C’mon, C’mon say what my name is/Mean green killing machine.”  Ellsworth goes on in the song’s further verses to deliver what seems like commentary perhaps about the world’s religious and business leaders, leading to the belief that perhaps while not a politically charged song, it is a lyrical worked aimed at reminding listeners to not just give in to the things being force-fed to them.  That is just this critic’s own take and should not be taken as the only interpretation.  Ellsworth could easily have been making a wholly different statement.  That ability of these lyrics to create so much discussion in itself is even more proof of the importance of the song’s lyrical content.  When that content is joined with the song’s rich musical arrangement, the end result is a song that clearly exhibits what makes The Grinding Wheel yet another solid offering from Overkill.  It is hardly the only of the album’s songs to support that statement.  The album’s title track is one more example of what makes The Grinding Wheel another standout album from one of metal’s true elite acts.

‘The Grinding Wheel’ proves just as much as ‘Mean Green Killing Machine’ what makes Overkill’s latest album so enjoyable in part to its musical arrangement.  As with the previously discussed song, this composition also boasts an arrangement that is pure thrash at its finest.  It lends itself just as easily to comparisons to works from Judas Priest as the album’s opener, too.  Considering this, it goes without saying that this song’s musical arrangement is just as solid as those presented in the rest of the album’s songs.  That being the case, the next sensible step here would be to examine the song’s lyrical content.  This song’s lyrical content is just as intriguing as that in the album’s opener and the record’s other songs.  Ellsworth sings here, “A bed of nails/Cold, dark, deep refrigeration/I hear it calling me/A broken rail as he drools over the congregation/I hear it calling me/Now I won’t tell you how to live your life/I never saw the point in thinking twice/I turn the wheel by day, by night/Raise your flag/Here’s to the liberation.”  The song goes on in similar fashion with equally cryptic statements throughout that are just as certain to leave listeners talking and thinking as the song’s lead verse.  Again, that ability to so easily engage listeners, even just through its lyrical content, is another way in which the song proves an important part of the record’s whole.  When it is joined with the song’s musical arrangement, the two elements in whole support that statement even more.  Even considering this, it still is not the last of the songs included in this record that shows what makes the album stand out.  ‘Shine On,’ which comes early in the album’s run is one more example of what makes the record stand out.

‘Shine On’ is another key example of what makes The Grinding Wheel stand out, as with the previously discussed songs, in part due to its arrangement.  The up-tempo, guitar-driven arrangement.  The arrangement presented here is a polished composition that lends itself directly to comparisons to some of Metallica’s greatest thrash style works.  Even as the song turns more doom-sounding bridge, that slower–yet no less heavy–section is a perfect fit that gives listeners just enough time to catch their collective breaths without losing them.  It is only one part of what makes this song another key addition to The Grinding Wheel.  The song’s lyrical content is just as important to discuss as its musical arrangement.

The lyrical content presented in ‘Shine On’ is important to discuss because of its seemingly anthemic nature.  That anthemic nature is inferred, at least to this critic as Ellsworth sings in the song’s chorus, “We got no patience, but we get through/We got no patience, but we got you/All of the paraders shout no fear/All of the hurricaners with their fists up in the air/Someone else gave the order to the band/Someone else ignored us/Left the cat out in the rain/One more fire before I die/One more fire, get me high/Climb on down to the fire/Climb on down to the flame/Leave your battles behind you/Shine on Doomsday/Shine on Doomsday.”  This all comes across as the band paying tribute, lyrically, to its fans, inspiring audiences to never give up on anything in life as they thank their fans for their dedication.  Again, this is only this critic’s own interpretation and should not be taken as the only interpretation.  Either way, this song’s lyrical content comes across as a loud, proud statement from the band.  When that seemingly loud, proud statement is joined with the song’s equally heavy, driving musical arrangement, the whole of the song shows why it is an important addition to the album’s whole.  When the song is joined with the other songs noted here (and those not noted), the album in whole shows clearly why it is another powerhouse offering from Overkill, and an easy candidate for any critic’s list of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

Overkills’ 18th full-length studio recording The Grinding Wheel is a presentation of a band that more than 30 years into its life is still successfully grinding it out.  Yes, that awful pun was fully intended.  That is due to the solid, heavy musical arrangements presented throughout the course of the album’s 64-minute run time.  The record’s arrangements are everything that the band’s legions of fans have come to expect from its records throughout the years.  What’s interesting about them here is how polished they sound in each case.  The album’s collective lyrical content will have listeners thinking and talking just as much as its musical arrangements. From seeming commentaries (of sorts) to fist-pumping anthems and points in-between, the songs’ lyrical content gives listeners plenty to be happy about, too.  Keeping thin in mind, The album in whole proves to be a work that any Overkill fan will appreciate and agree deserves a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on The Grinding Wheel is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.wreckingcrew.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/OverkillBand

 

 

 

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‘For All Kings’ Vinyls Box Shows Why Anthrax Is Still Rock And Metal Royalty

Courtesy: Megaforce Records

Anthrax is considered by most metal fans to be one of the kings of the metal community.  That title is fully justified, too after a single look through the band’s extensive catalogue.  The music that the veteran thrash metal outfit has crafted throughout its life has maintained its place atop the metal mountain along with the likes of Slayer, Metallica and Megadeth.  Late last month, Anthrax proved once again why it remains one of metal’s leading names when it released its new For All Kings 7” vinyls box set.  The new collection is a set that any true Anthrax fan will enjoy.  That is due in part to the songs selected for the collection.  This will be discussed shortly.  The collection’s packaging plays its own key part in its overall presentation, too.  It will be discussed later.  The set’s pricing rounds out its most important elements.  It will also be discussed later.  Each element clearly plays its own pivotal part in the overall presentation of Anthrax’s new For All Kings 7” vinyls box set.  All things considered, this latest effort from Anthrax maintains the band’s place as rock and metal royalty.

Anthrax’s recently released For All Kings 7” vinyls box set is another recording proving why the veteran thrash outfit is still today rock and metal royalty.  While the collection is technically a re-issue of the band’s 2016 album For All Kings, it is also a new release in that it presents the album’s original 11 songs and adds in some extra, previously unreleased takes on some of those songs.  It also adds in a pair of cover songs in the form of Kansas’ ‘Carry On’ and White Stripes’ ‘Black Math.’  The previously unreleased ‘Vice of the People’ is also included as an extra bonus for fans in this set.  While not every one of the songs featured in For All Kings gets the double treatment, a good portion of said songs does get that treatment, and audiences will appreciate those bonus takes.  Case in point, ‘Blood Eagle Wings’’ demo take.  The demo presents more of a garage rock sound than the final product presented in For All Kings.  The final product is much fuller, though it doesn’t lose any of the heaviness of the demo, which audiences will appreciate.  That can be determined in listening to the pair as the demo take doesn’t include front man Joey Belladonna’s vocals.

On another note, the demo and final take of ‘Breathing Lightning’ are virtually the same.  The only difference between these two is that one is the full instrumental take while the other includes Belladonna’s vocal line.  This is important because it allows audiences to fully take in the song’s arrangement without having to sift through that extra line.  It would have been interesting to hear his track isolated.  But beggars can’t be choosers.  That aside, hearing the song’s isolated arrangement is important because it lets audiences hear nuances like the trash can like ping of drummer Charlie Benante’s snare or Scott Ian’s Kirk Hammet-esque guitar line.  The snare drum by itself honestly sounds awful to this drummer, but when coupled with Belladonna’s vocals and the rest of the lines, it works.  Ian’s guitar line, when coupled with the song’s bass line, makes the song even fuller.  Again, it shows the importance of being able to hear not just multiple takes of the songs featured here but every side of songs in general.

The demo takes of FAK’s songs featured here are in themselves key to the collection’s overall presentation.  Of course one cannot ignore the bonus b-side ‘Vice of the People’ and the band’s cover of White Stripes’ ‘Black Math.’  ‘Vice of the People’ is a heavy-full on slab of metal that will take audiences back to the band’s infancy with its driving arrangement and lyrical content.  The band’s full-throttle cover of ‘Black Math’ is just as interesting of an addition to the collection’s whole.  The band’s take of this song makes one think instantly of Motorhead, Thin Lizzy and so many other similar acts thanks to its arrangement.  That is meant in the most complimentary fashion possible.  Between these two bonuses, the FAK demos and the FAK finals, it should be wholly clear now why the songs featured in this collection are so critical to its overall presentation.  They are collection’s foundation.  Sitting atop that foundation is the set’s packaging, which is just as important to discuss.

The songs featured in Anthrax’s new For All Kings 7” vinyls collection form a solid foundation for the collection’s overall presentation.  That is because of the rich picture painted through the songs.  While they are undeniably critical to the collection’s overall presentation, they are not its only important pieces.  The collection’s packaging is just as important to discuss as the songs.  The songs culled for the collection are spread across a total of 10 7-inch discs, each in its own sleeve inside a larger box bearing the original FAK artwork. Each vinyl’s sleeve boasts its own single cover art. The box containing the separate vinyls is not small.  But it also is not some overly bulky container either.  Simply put, while the box is not small, it is still relatively ergonomically sound.  It won’t take up too much room in anyone’s collection.  In an age when people are so concerned about going digital to save space in their homes, this is very much an important element to note.  Keeping this in mind, the collection’s box builds solidly on the foundation formed by the collection’s songs, setting up the last of the set’s most important elements—its pricing.

The songs featured in Anthrax’s new For All Kings 7” vinyls box and the collection’s packaging are both critical parts of the collection’s whole to discuss.  That has already been noted.  While both elements are clearly important in their own right, they are not its only important elements.  Its pricing is the last of the collection’s most important elements but hardly its least important element.  Comparing its price between Target, Wal-Mart, Amazon and Best Buy, the set’s price averages to approximately $87.28.  In other words, its average price stays below the $100 mark even after tax and shipping. Considering the amount of material presented across the collection and the box’s size, that is actually not a bad average.  While not necessarily cheap per se, it is still economical along with being ergonomic and enjoyable.  Simply put, its average pricing would not break the bank for any longtime Anthrax fan or someone looking for the perfect gift for that special Anthrax fan.  When that is considered along with the set’s packaging and its breadth of material, it proves to be a collection that will appeal to any Anthrax fan regardless of whether they consider the collection a re-issue of For All Kings or a new release overall.

Anthrax’s recently released For All Kings 7” vinyls box set is a collection that will remind the metal community in whole why Anthrax is still rock and metal royalty.  Whether one considers it a re-issue of the previously released 2016 album or an overall new release, it boasts plenty to prove the band’s place among the rock and metal echelons including FAK’s original 2016 release and demo takes of many of the album’s songs, and a pair of bonus tunes. That wide breadth of material couples with ergonomic packaging and a price point that won’t break any fan’s bank. It proves this band still cares about providing quality and quality entertainment to its fans.  It shows once again why Anthrax is still rock and metal royalty.  Anthrax’s new For All Kings 7” vinyls box set is available now in stores and online.  More information on the collection is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://anthrax.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/anthrax

 

 

 

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 Conquers Phil’s Picks’ 2016 Top 10 New Hard Rock & Metal Albums List

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

The hard rock and metal community have collectively become a rather crowded field this year in terms of new albums.  It has made extremely difficult naming the year’s top new hard rock and metal records.  There have been that many outstanding records.  Metallica’s first album in eight years, HardwiredTo SelfDestruct is just one of the albums that has more than proven deserving of being on that list.  The same can be said of Amon Amarth’s latest offering, Jomsviking.  It is a rarity for the band, being a concept record.  The concept behind the record more than works.  And its musical arrangements work just as well.  On another note Prong, with its latest offering X No Absolutes has proven through its overall content (and sales) that it is another success for the band—and more specifically founder Tommy Victor, the band’s only original member.  So no doubt it belongs on the list of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums, too as do so many others.  It was not easy for this critic to assemble this year’s list of new hard rock and metal albums considering how many outstanding albums were released in that collective field.  But a decision had to be made.  That decision is presented below.

As a reminder, the list, as with each of Phil’s Picks year-ender lists, presents Phil’s Picks Top 10 picks for the year’s best plus five honorable mention titles for a total of 15 albums.  Honorable mention is not mean in a negative fashion by any means.  They were each deserving of being named to the year’s best.  It was just that tough assembling a list of the year’s best, so the final list ended as presented here.  Without any further ado, here is the Phil’s Picks 2016 Top 10 New Hard Rock and Metal Albums.

 

PHIL’S PICKS 2016 TOP 10 NEW HARD ROCK/METAL ALBUMS

 

  1. Amon AmarthJomsviking

 

  1. MetallicaHardwiredTo SelfDestruct

 

  1. All Hail The YetiScreams From A Black Wilderness

 

  1. NonpointThe Poison Red

 

  1. SpellcasterNight Hides The World

 

  1. WovenwarHonor is Dead

 

  1. ArtilleryPunishment By Perception

 

  1. ProngXNo Absolutes

 

  1. AnthraxFor All Kings

 

  1. DestrageA Means To No End

 

  1. WhitechapelMark of the Blade

 

  1. DevildriverTrust No One

 

  1. Oni – Ironshore

 

  1. Primal FearRulebreaker

 

  1. HatebreedThe Concrete Confesional

 

 

 

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Anthrax Is Coming To ‘Late Night’

Courtesy:  Nuclear Blast Records

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Anthrax is coming to Late Night later this month.

The band has announced that it will perform on NBC’s Late Night With Seth Meyers on Wednesday, August 24th.  It is part of the band’s 35th anniversary celebration.
The band will perform its new single ‘Monster at the End’ during its debut appearance on the program.  The song is the latest song to be released from the band’s latest album For All Kings, which was released earlier this year via Megaforce Records.  The song will start hitting radio stations nationwide next Tuesday, August 16th.

Early next month Anthrax will join Death Angel and fellow “Big Four” band Slayer for a North American fall tour.  That tour launches Friday, September 9th in Cleveland, Ohio and runs through Thursday, October 27th.  The tour includes performances in Louisiana, North Carolina, Idaho, Texas and a number of other cities.  Audiences can see the band’s full tour schedule online now here.  More information on the band’s tour, its upcoming Late Night performance, and all of its latest news is available online now at:

Website: http://anthrax.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/anthrax

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.

Conquest’s ‘Under The Influence’ Is Not Just Another Covers Album

Courtesy:  Dark Star Records

Courtesy: Dark Star Records

Early this past April St. Louis, Missouri-based metal outfit Conquest released its latest album Under The Influence.  The forty-three-minute covers album presents eleven songs from some of the band members’ favorite bands.  The songs themselves are, collectively, their own important part of the record’s presentation.  That will be discussed shortly.  They are not the album’s only key element.  The band’s take on the featured songs is just as important to note in this record’s presentation as the songs themselves.  That will be discussed later.  The album’s overall sequencing rounds out the record’s most important elements.  Each element is important in its own right to the album’s whole.  Altogether all three elements Under The Influence a covers album that any rock fan should hear at least once.  This applies regardless of audiences’ familiarity with Conquest’s body of work.

Covers albums are a dime a dozen nowadays in the music industry.  Nine times out of ten, they are space fillers used between new albums to tide over fans and fulfill contractual obligations for record labels.  Even worse, said albums are commonly thrown together rather haphazardly, much like all of the “hits” albums that are out there.  The end result in both cases are albums (if one even wants to call them albums—note the sarcasm) that are anything but memorable or even worth having in one’s personal music collection.  Enter Under The Influence, the new covers collection from St. Louis, Missouri’s hard rock outfit Conquest.  Unlike all of the covers (and “hits”—technically singles) collections out there on the market today this eleven-song compilation record is one that every rock fan should head at least once.  This applies regardless of audiences’ familiarity with Conquest and its body of work.  The record’s featured covers are in themselves just one of the elements that make this record worth hearing.  That is the case because the songs don’t just come from one of rock’s many sub-genres or another.  Rather it crosses those genres from beginning to end.  It also spans rock’s rich modern history with its presented songs.  It all kicks off with a pair of Judas Priest covers in the form of ‘Metal Gods’ and ‘The Ripper.’  That pair of songs is followed by a cover of Iron Maiden’s beloved ‘Wraith Child.’ The band gets even heavier from there with its own take on Metallica’s ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls.’  Things change even more dramatically in the band’s next offering, a cover of Motorhead’s ‘Ace of Spades.’  This one comes at just the right moment, too, as it is essentially the album’s midway point.  It isn’t even the album’s most interesting of the record’s inclusions either.  The album’s second half features covers of songs from Bon Jovi, Anthrax, Pantera, Black Sabbath, Motley Crue, and even UFO.  To say that that is a broad swath of bands (and songs) would be an understatement.  Simply put, the eleven songs (and bands) that are featured in this covers collection is extremely wide.  The songs are just as diverse in their stylistic approaches as the bands are within their own rock sub-genres.  Keeping that in mind, it becomes clear as to why the songs featured in this record are so important to its presentation.  They don’t subject listeners to just one style of rock.  Rather, they cover so many different styles from so many ages of rock’s rich history.  They make up just one of the record’s most important elements.  The band’s take on each of the featured songs is just as important to note here as the songs themselves.

The songs (and bands) that are featured in Conquest’s new covers collection are collectively their own important part of the record’s presentation.  That is because they lift liberally from rock’s rich modern history.  The songs present a wide range of bands and rock styles from beginning to end.  That is just one part of what makes this record a rare covers collection that is actually worth hearing.  The band’s actual performance of the record’s featured songs is just as important as the songs themselves.  The band’s take on Metallica’s ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls’ is one of the band’s best performances in this record.  If one were to hear this take on the classic heavy metal tune without knowing it was Conquest, one would actually think that it was Metallica.  The band performed the song verbatim both lyrically and stylistically.  And front man Derrick Brumley may not sound just like James Hetfield circa 1984.  But listeners will be surprised at the similarity in the sound of the singers’ vocals.  The band’s take on ‘Ace of Spades’ is just as impressive.  One could argue in fact, that Conquest’s take on the classic rock anthem is just as good as Motorhead’s original recording.  It doesn’t bear the grittier, garage rock sound presented in Motorhead’s original composition.  But even with that taken into consideration it still pays honor stylistically to the original right down to the song’s familiar up-tempo bass line (handled here by bassist Rob Boyer).  One of the song’s biggest surprises is Brumley’s vocal delivery.  It’s not certain as to whether or not Brumley set out to emulate Lemmy Kilmister in this cover.  But interestingly enough listeners will note that there is a certain element of that gritty sound made so familiar by the late rock legend in Brumley’s own vocal delivery here.  It is a nice touch to the, and especially so if Brumley did not set out to try to sound like Kilmister.  The band’s take on UFO’s ‘Lights Out In London’ is another example of the importance of the band’s performances in this record.  It could actually be argued here that Conquest’s cover is even better than the original.  That is thanks to the bombastic guitar solos, Bruley’s powerhouse vocal delivery, and Tim Fleetwood’s equally solid work behind the kit.  Of course Boyer’s work on the bass here shouldn’t be ignored either.  The whole of the band’s work here makes the band’s take on the song a song that will have make every rocker out there proud.  It is just one more example of what makes the band’s performance of each of the record’s featured songs is just as important as the songs themselves.  They are hardly the record’s only key examples of that importance.  Audiences will take just as much notice of the band’s take on ‘Dead Or Alive’ ‘Wraithchild’ and ‘Cowboys From Hell.’  The prior pair of covers is much more bombastic here in the case of the original songs.  ‘Cowboys From Hell’ on the other hand is a relatively close take on the original.  All three will hold listeners’ ears and have them talking afterward just as much as the other noted covers and those covers not noted here.  All in all, the band’s take on each of the songs featured proves just as pivotal to the record’s presentation as the songs themselves.  They are not the record’s only important elements, though.  The album’s sequencing is just as important to its presentation as the songs and their performances.

The songs that are featured in Conquest’s new covers collection and the band’s take on each song are equally important to the album’s presentation.  The songs are so important to note because of the broad range of influences presented throughout the record’s forty-three minute run time.  The band’s performance of the songs is just as important to note as the songs themselves because of the similarities and differences between the originals and the band’s updated take on each song.  Those similarities and differences are certain to create their own share of interest and discussion among audiences.  As important as each element proves to the record’s whole they are not its only key elements.  The record’s sequencing is just as important to its presentation as those noted elements.  Audiences that pay close attention to the record’s sequencing will note that for the most part the record maintains a relatively solid energy level from beginning to end.  Though, the energy does pick up just enough at given points, so as to maintain listeners’ engagement.  It picks up first just past the record’s halfway point in the form of Motorhead’s ‘Ace of Spades’ before puling back just a little bit as the record transitions into its second half.  As the album nears its end the band picks things up once more in the covers of ‘Red Hot’ and ‘Cowboys From Hell’ before finishing off with the slightly slower (slightly at best) but no less heavy ‘Children of the Grave.’  Simply put, the band has balanced the record’s energy and even its varied musical styles from beginning to end thanks to its expert sequencing.  This ensures listeners’ maintained engagement, and in turn, entertainment.  Keeping this in mind, the record’s sequencing shows in the end why it is just as important to its presentation as its songs and performances thereof.  Each element is important in its own way to the whole of the record.  All things considered, Under The Influence shows in the end to be a rarity of a covers album.  It doesn’t come across as just some contractually obligated space filler.  Rather it proves to be a collection of classic rock songs that Conquest’s fans will enjoy just as much as those of the bands featured throughout the record.  It is a record that succeeds at presenting a solid introduction to rock’s rich modern history all while entertaining rock fans of all ages.  It is a covers collection that is actually worth hearing at least once regardless of audiences’ familiarity with Conquest or its body of work.

Conquest’s latest studio recording Under The Influence is a record that every rock fan should hear at least once.  This applies regardless of listeners’ familiarity with the band or its body of work.  That is because it isn’t just a random, contractually obligated space filler record.  Its eleven songs present a solid introduction to rocks rich modern history.  That is thanks to the broad array of bands and songs that is presented here.  The band’s performance of each song is just as important to the record’s presentation as the songs themselves.  That is because they present new and familiar takes on the classic songs; takes that will keep listeners engaged and generate their own share of discussion among audiences.  The album’s sequencing rounds out its presentation.  Over the course of its forty-three minutes, the records sequencing expertly balances the record’s energy from beginning to end.  This ensures just as much listeners’ engagement.  Each element plays its own important part in the record’s presentation.  Altogether they make Under The Influence a record that very rock fan should hear at least once regardless of one’s familiarity with Conquest or its body of work.  It is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online direct via Dark Star Records’ online store.  More information on this and other titles from Conquest is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://conquestmetal.com

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

 

 

 

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Suicidal Tendencies Added To Ozzfest Meets Knotfest Lineup

Courtesy:  Adrenaline PR

Courtesy: Adrenaline PR

Organizers with the 2016 Ozzfest Meets Knotfest have added another band to the mega-festival’s lineup.

Veteran hard rock band Suicidal Tendencies has been added to the lineup for the inaugural Ozzfest Meets Knotfest.  It marks the first time that the band has ever taken the stage at Ozzfest in any capacity.  The band will take the place of Children of Bodom, which was originally scheduled to perform on the first day of the double-header festival. The updated lineup for the festival is noted below. Audiences will note that there is even a stage dedicated to late Motorhead front man Lemmy Kilmister at this year’s festival.

 

OZZFEST Line-up

Saturday, September 24

 

MAIN STAGE:  Black Sabbath, Disturbed, Megadeth, Opeth, Black Label Society, and Rival Sons.

LEMMY STAGE:  Suicidal Tendencies, Hatebreed, DevilDriver, Goatwhore, Huntress, and Dead Cross.

NUCLEAR BLAST STAGE: Municipal Waste, Kataklysm, Nails, The Shrine, and Still Rebel.

KNOTFEST Line-up

Sunday, September 25

 

MAIN STAGE:  Slipknot, Slayer, Amon Amarth, Anthrax, and Trivium.

LEMMY STAGE:  Sabaton, Suicide Silence, Overkill, Emmure, Butcher Babies, and Man with A Mission.

NUCLEAR BLAST STAGE:  Whitechapel, Combichrist, Carnifex, Loathe, SIM, and ONI.

 

Ozzfest Meets Knotfest is currently scheduled to be held Saturday, September 24th and Sunday, September 25th at San Manuel Amphitheater and Festival Grounds in San Bernardino California.  As a special holiday celebration, fans can purchase single 4-day ticket packs for $84.  The limited-time special is going on now and ends July 4th at 11:59pm PT.  Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.ozzfest.com and http://www.knotfest.com.  More information on the inaugural Ozzfest Meets Knotfest is available online at:

 

 

OZZFEST

 

Website: http://www.Ozzfest.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/theozzfest

 

 

 

KNOTFEST

 

Website: http://www.knotfest.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/knotfest

 

 

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You Can Join The Revolution Courtesy Of Phil’s Picks!

Courtesy:  AEG Live

Courtesy: AEG Live

AEG Live is bringing another new music festival to audiences in the northeast.

This fall, AEG Live will debut the new music festival, the Revolution Rock Festival.  The festival, fueled by Monster Energy, will be held Saturday, September 17th outdoors at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, CT.  And Phil’s Picks is giving YOU the readers the chance to win a pair of tickets to the one-day festival.  All you have to do is message Phil’s Picks at http://www.facebook.com/philspicks, telling me who your favorite band on the bill is and favorite song from that band.  On Friday, August 5th I will pull the lucky winner’s name.  From there, the winner’s name will be sent to my contact, who will then put the winner’s name in him/her.  Entrants should be reminded that this does not include travel, hotel, or food.  This is only for admission to the festival.  The lineup for the inaugural festival includes: Avenged Sevenfold, Slayer, Volbeat, Chevelle, Of Mice & Men, Anthrax, Ghost, Killswitch Engage, Sevendust, The Amity Affliction, KYNG, Nothing More, Twelve Foot Ninja, Crobot, and Devour The Day.

General admission tickets for the Revolution Rock Festival are currently $59.50 each (plus fees).  That puts the retail value of these two tickets at well over $100.  After fees, the cost reaches close to $150 just for two.  Considering that price, getting to see the festival for free is a big prize for two lucky people.  For everyone else, tickets can be purchased online at http://www.RevolutionRockFestival.com.  Revolution Rock Festival is produced by AEG Live, which also produces Rock on the Range, Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion Festival, Rocklahoma and many more.  More information on the Revolution Rock Festival is available online now at:

 

 

Websitehttp://www.RevolutionRockFestival

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Revolutionrockfestival-1008445009270982/?fref=nf

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/revrockfest

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online tohttp://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 athttps://philspicks.wordpress.com.