And then there were two. Phil’s Picks is officially down to two year-ender lists on the music side as the countdown to the year’s end itself continues. The first of this year’s last two music year-ender lists comes today in the form of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.
This year’s list is packed with content from so many established and new acts. From up-and-coming hard rock act Antisaint to veteran thrash band Exodus to guitar virtuosos Gus G. and John 5 and more, this year has seen so many great hard rock and metal records. Suffice it to say there has been so much great hard rock and metal this year that it has been extremely difficult to compile this list, but it was created.
As with every list from Phil’s Picks, this collection features the year’s top 10 new releases and five additional honorable mention titles for a total of 15. Those honorable mention titles are just as deserving of applause as the other featured works. Without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks’ 2021 Top 10 New Hard Rock & Metal Albums list.
PHIL’S PICKS’ 2021 TOP 10 NEW HARD ROCK & METAL ALBUMS
1. Accept – Too Mean To Die
2. Atreyu – Baptize
3. Exodus – Persona Non Grata
4. Michael Schenker Group – Immortal
5. U.D.O. – Game Over
6. Artillery – X
7. Gus G. – Quantum Leap
8. John 5 – Sinner
The Three Tremors – Guardians of the Void
Antisaint – Vaticinate
Bullet For My Valentine – Bullet For My Valentine
A Killer’s Confession – Remember
The CEO – Redemption
Tremonti – Marching in Time
Skarlett Riot – Invicta
That’s it for this year’s hard rock and metal albums. While even the hard rock and metal community has wrapped things for this year, things are already gearing up for 2022, with new releases already coming from the likes of up-and-coming hard rock act Bloodywood, veteran acts Hammerfall and Annihilator, and even from Saxon and Stabbing Westward. That’s all just in the first quarter of 2022, too.
In other words, the first half of the new year is already gearing up to be very exciting for all the hard rock and metal fans out there. Until then though, there’s still one more music year-ender list from Phil’s Picks this year before the attention turns over to the best of this year’s new TV and movie releases. Stay tuned!
Everyone has, at one point or another, reached a point in life in which the need for a personal rebirth of sorts is needed. We reach that point in our careers, for instance, in which we realize we have plateaued and we need to begin anew. We all reach that point even in our personal lives when we need to start over. Such is the case of the independent hard rock band Antisaint. Formerly known as Red Tide Rising, the band reached that point more than a year ago after its members made some revelations of their own about the band’s direction. Friday, the band officially saw its own rebirth culminated with the release of its new/debut album, Vaticinate. The 16-song record, which is – according to the band – three separate EPs collected into one presentation, is a solid new beginning for Antisaint. That is proven from beginning to end through its musical and lyrical content. ‘I.D.,’ one of the album’s early entries, serves well to support the noted statement. It will be discussed shortly. ‘Incomplete,’ one of the album’s singles, is another way in which the album’s content shows the record’s overall strength. It will be discussed a little later. The same can be said of ‘Feed The Crows,’ the album’s second single. It will also be discussed later. Each song noted does more than its share to show what makes Vaticinate a strong new beginning for Antisaint. When they are considered along with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes the album one of the year’s top new hard rock and metal offerings. Additionally, it shows Antisaint as potentially one of the next big names in the hard rock community as long as the album gets the right support.
Antisaint’s debut album, Vaticinate, is a strong first outing for the band formerly known as Red Tide Rising. The 16-song record’s success is exhibited from beginning to end through its musical and lyrical content alike. ‘I.D.,’ which comes early in the album’s run is just one of the ways in which this is proven. The song presents a musical arrangement that is just full on hard rock. The plodding opening bars set the stage well before transitioning into the equally engaging verses. Even being contemplative in nature, the heaviness in the verses ensures listeners’ engagement and entertainment. The contrast of that approach to the far heavier, fiery choruses enhances the song’s presentation even more. The whole of those aspects makes the arrangement a powerful statement in itself here, and just one part of what makes the song stand out. The song’s lyrical theme adds its own punch to the whole.
The lyrical theme featured in this song comes across as a commentary about people making sure they really know themselves. This is made clear in the song’s chorus, which asks, “Who the f*** are you?/I don’t think you know.” The mention of “understanding who we really are” leading into the verses adds even more to that seeming message along with the discussions on realizing certain things about ourselves as time passes. There is also a mention of humans “starving for connection” at another point in the song from what can be deciphered sans lyrics to reference. Considering all of what can be deciphered, the whole really increasingly comes across as a statement about people realizing their place, and the importance of who they are. This existential concept is not new to the world of rock, but the manner in which the band has presented that commentary is unique. When it is considered along with the song’s musical arrangement, the whole makes clear why this song is a solid example of all that Vaticinate has to offer audiences. It is just one of the songs that shows what makes the album so successful, too. ‘Incomplete,’ one of the album’s singles, is another example of the album’s strength.
‘Incomplete’ boasts a heavy song that is similar to works from the likes of Seether, Three Days Grace, and others of that ilk in regards to its stylistic approach and sound. That is made evident through the use of the bass and drums, which really serve as the song’s foundation, and the guitars, which add their own depth to the work. The vocals work so well with the instrumentation here to make the whole an immediate fit for any mainstream active rock radio programmer’s play list. It is just one part of what makes this song stand out. The lyrical theme that accompanies this rich, heavy arrangement makes for its own share of engagement.
According to comment from front man Matt Whiteman, the song’s lyrical theme delivers a message of frustration and determination.
“’Incomplete’ is about being looked down upon and judged by others for pursuing a purpose in life that they do not understand themselves,” said Whiteman. “It is a common occurrence to have when pursuing a creative lifestyle. People constantly criticize and belittle artists’ creations without even thinking about what it takes to have the courage to make something original and put it out into the world. The end of the song is a rally to other people in our position to not give into the doubt and pressure, take the half that they can’t see and make it whole.” Considering this deep rumination, the fire in the song’s musical arrangement makes more sense and pairs that much better with the statement. The whole makes the song even clearer as to why it was chosen as a single and as to why this album succeeds so well. It is just one more example of what makes the album worth hearing. ‘Feed The Crows,’ another of its singles, is yet another example of that strength.
‘Feed The Crows’ presents a sound and stylistic approach that is more akin to works from the likes of Deftones and Korn, again showing a certain mainstream hard rock appeal to the album. At the same time, it shows even more, the diversity in the album’s musical arrangements, even with each being so heavy. It shows its own identity separate from the rest of the album’s arrangements, adding even more to the appeal of the album’s musical arrangements. The appeal of the song’s arrangement is just one aspect of what makes it so engaging and entertaining. The lyrical theme that accompanies the song’s musical arrangement adds its own share of enjoyment to the presentation here.
The song’s lyrical theme is another that will appeal to listeners in its own right. As Whiteman pointed out in a recent interview, “‘Feed The Crows’ was written during a low point of making the album,” he said. “The song is pure frustration and the message behind it is to say f*** it, and compromise morals to match those who have none. It’s less meaningful compared to the other songs on the album. Having said that it serves a major purpose in the TO DIGEST part of the album in which it represents the pure chaos and emotion of not being able to achieve what you wanted.” Everyone has been at the point noted by Whiteman at least once in life if not more times. To that end, that accessibility and ability to connect with listeners helps make the fire in the song’s arrangement make that much more sense. The two sides together make the song in whole one more example of what makes Vaticinate so appealing. When it is considered along with the other songs examined here and the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes clear why the album in whole is successful. Taking into account all of this along with the album’s title (yes, an awful pun is coming here), this album fortells a positive future for Antisaint, as long as the album and band get the coverage that they deserve.
Antisaint’s debut album, Vaticinate, is a solid new start for the band, formerly known as Red Tide Rising. The album’s success comes through its musical and lyrical content alike. All three of the songs examined here serve to support the noted statements. When they are considered along with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes this album a solid, positive indicator of the band’s future. Vaticinate is available now.
More information on Antisaint’s new singles and album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:
Independent hard rock band Antisaint premiered not one but two songs from its forthcoming album this week.
The band premiered the songs ‘Incomplete‘ and ‘Feed The Crows‘ Tuesday. The songs are featured in the band’s forthcoming album, Vaticinate, which is scheduled for release Aug. 20. Pre-orders are open now.
The songs are two completely different works in regards to their musical arrangements. ‘Incomplete’ boasts a heavy song that is similar to works from the likes of Seether, Three Days Grace, and others of that ilk in regards to its stylistic approach and sound. On the other hand, ‘Feed The Crows’ presents a sound and stylistic approach that is more akin to works from the likes of Deftones and Korn.
The songs are unique not only in regard to their musical arrangements, but also their lyrical content. As front man Matt Whiteman points out, the lyrical theme featured in ‘Incomplete’ delivers a message of proud defiance.
“’Incomplete’ is about being looked down upon and judged by others for pursuing a purpose in life that they do not understand themselves,” said Whiteman. “It is a common occurrence to have when pursuing a creative lifestyle. People constantly criticize and belittle artists’ creations without even thinking about what it takes to have the courage to make something original and put it out into the world. The end of the song is a rally to other people in our position to not give into the doubt and pressure, take the half that they can’t see and make it whole.
As to the lyrical theme featured in ‘Feed The Crows,’ Whiteman stressed this song is more of a statement of anger and frustration.
“‘Feed The Crows’ was written during a low point of making the album,” he said. “The song is pure frustration and the message behind it is to say f*** it, and compromise morals to match those who have none. It’s less meaningful compared to the other songs on the album. Having said that it serves a major purpose in the TO DIGEST part of the album in which it represents the pure chaos and emotion of not being able to achieve what you wanted.”
More information on Antisaint’s new singles and album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:
Independent hard rock band Antisaint (formerly Red Tide Rising) debuted the video for its new single this week.
The band debuted the visualizer for its new single ‘The Otherside’ Wednesday through Brutal Planet magazine. The visualizer takes audiences through a passageway of some sort. Colored in hues of purple, the passageway conjures thoughts of the inner workings of a human, though it is never confirmed that is what the passageway is.
Guitarist Matthew Whiteman explained how the video came to be in a recent interview.
“The concept is relatively simple, he said. “I wanted to create a space that seemed never ending with elements of horror. As the song goes on, the space becomes more constrained with the addition of the organic substance, veins, or whatever you would call them. I had gathered inspiration from the upside-down world in (the television series) Stranger Things. With the concept put in place I only had to figure out how to execute it. My time in the Game Design Industry has introduced me to a lot of creative tools, one being the open source 3D modeling software, Blender.”
The song itself boasts a sound that combines an aggro-rock approach with some industrial influence for a sound that will appeal just as much to fans of Orgy and Julien-K as it will to fans of perhaps Breaking Benjamin. Its lyrical theme comes across as a story about someone who is in a difficult point in a personal relationship with another person. Front man Andrew Whiteman (Matthew’s brother) sings even sings in the song’s lead verse, “Why can’t you hear me/Why won’t you wake/There’s no reason to reside in darker days/But it’s too late/You’ve only hurt yourself/Run, hide/Don’t try to find the thing that’s killing you inside/Don’t look back/Or you won’t be forced to make your final plea.” He continues in the song’s second verse, “Why won’t you listen/Why can’t you see/You’re so far away from reality/But it’s too late for me…Run, hide/Don’t try to find the thing that’s killing you inside/Don’t look back/Or you won’t be forced to make your final plea.” One section of that second verse is difficult to decipher sans lyrics. that aside, this song comes across lyrically as being a story about someone who is trying to get through to someone else who is him/herself refusing to make a change in his/her own life for the better. This is inferred even more as Andrew sings late in the song, “You’re barely breathing/You’re barely alive/Controlled by this nightmare/The rest of your life/But it’s too late/You’ve all gone last this time/Your heart is beating/You’re not awake/Got in this place with no escape/Lost in your afflictions/Remember…from the other side.” Some of the lyrics are difficult to decipher here, but that aside enough of the song can be understood that it can be understood that this seems to be someone trying to get through to someone else. It really comes across as a mournful yet angry song filled with such emotion in its musical and lyrical content.
In other news, Matthew discussed the change of Red Tide Rising’s name to Antisaint in the interview in which he discussed the band’s new single and video.
“We decided to change the name for several reasons,” said Matthew. “The first reason was due to our belief that this next step we’re taking with the band will be our defining moment, and in that moment, we do not want to be mistaken with an already known band by a similar name. There has been a lot of confusion by both people in the industry and fans between the two bands.”
“Another reason is the fact that Andrew and I were still in our youth and immature when we founded RTR, resulting in us just picking a name that sounded cool,” he added. “We didn’t really care about what the name meant, we just wanted to play music. With us being older, our music has evolved, and we want to make a career out of it. We now have this opportunity to come up with something meaningful that both resonates with us on a personal level and within our music.”
Additionally, Matthew said of the decision to change the band’s name, “Finally, the name was being affiliated with things we do not condone or stand for. Between all of these reasons, the unfortunate pause due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, and an unreleased full-length album that sounds dramatically different from anything else we’ve done, it made perfect sense to rebrand and start from scratch.”
More information on Antisaint, its new single and video is available along with all of the band’s latest news at: