Soilwork Announces Upcoming Dates With Arch Enemy

Courtesy:  Nuclear Blast Records

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Soilwork has announced a handful of new live dates for this summer.

Soilwork, currently touring in support of its latest album The Ride Majestic, will open for Arch Enemy on a handful of its upcoming European dates this summer.  The band’s schedule with Arch Enemy runs from Monday, August 21st to Thursday, August 24th.  That stretch is followed by a headlining date by Soilwork on Friday, August 25th in London, England.  As noted by the band’s front man Bjorn “Speed” Strid, the tour marks the first time since Ozzfest 2005 that both bands have shared the stage.  “We are very excited to announce this UK run together with our fellow Swedes in Arch Enemy. For the first time since Ozzfest 2005, we are once again sharing the stage!,” he said.  “It will be one hell of a riff-and shred fest, ladies and gents! We’re also announcing a special one off headline show at the Underworld in London on August 25th. It’s been a long time coming… do not miss out! See you in August!”

Tickets for the upcoming shows go on sale today, April 25th, at 9am.  They can be purchased online at seetickets.com.  The complete schedule for Soilwork’s tour with Arch Enemy is listed below.

 

21st August: (Support to Arch Enemy) Norwich -Waterfront

22nd August (Support to Arch Enemy) Sheffield – Corporation

23rd August (Support to Arch Enemy) Cardiff –Tramshed

24th August (Support to Arch Enemy) Southampton – Engine Rooms

25th August: (HEADLINE) London – The Underworld (tickets)

 

The Ride Majestic is available in stores and online now.  It can be ordered online via Nuclear Blast Records’ online store, and downloaded via iTunes, Amazon, and Nuclear Blast’s digital store.  Audiences can check out the videos for two of the album’s singles—‘Death in General,’ ‘Enemies in Fidelity,’—and the lyric video for the album’s title track via Nuclear Blast’s official YouTube channel.  More information on Soilwork’s upcoming tour, album, music, and more is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.soilwork.org

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/soilwork

 

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Exmortus Is At Its Peak In On Its Latest LP

Courtesy:  Prosthetic Records

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records

Exmortus struck quite the blow for the metal community when it released its album Slave To The Sword back in 2014. The band’s third full-length studio record and first for Prosthetic Records, it can be argued that it was the album that really made Exmortus into one of the metal community’s next big names. Earlier last month Exmortus followed up the success of that album with its latest full-length studio recording Ride Forth. The band’s fourth full-length studio offering this record is a solid follow-up to Slave To The Sword. Its nine track, forty-three-minute body presents a band that doesn’t rest easily on its laurels. From beginning to end the album keeps its energy and intensity both musically and lyrically beginning right at the album’s outset. ‘Speed of the Strike’ is a full-throttle metal opus that comes at listeners with the speed and precision of the sharpest blade. This applies both with its musical and lyrical content. ‘For The Horde,’ the album’s lead single, is just as pummeling in its approach. And the band’s cover of Beethoven’s Sonata No. 23 in F Minor Op. 57 ‘Appasionata’ 3rd movement cannot be ignored either. The band has taken the legendary composer’s original work and paid it full tribute in its take in its performance of the song. It is every bit as intense here as the original composition, which is more commonly performed on piano. It serves to once again exhibit the breadth of the band’s talents and musical knowledge. When set against the other songs noted here, and those not directly noted, it serves as one more example of why Ride Forth is without question one of this year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

Ride Forth, Exmortus’ latest full-length studio recording, is without question one of this year’s top new hard rock and metal albums. That is evident from the album’s full-throttle, take no prisoners opener ‘Speed of The Strike’ right to its finale, ‘Fire And Ice.’ From beginning to end this record’s sound (which conjures thoughts of Arch Enemy, Poweglove, TSO, and other similar acts) alongside its equally powerful lyrical content keeps listeners’ ears with ears. Speaking of the album’s opener it is just one example of what makes this album such an outstanding new effort from Exmortus. In regards to the song’s musical content, the band wastes no time coming at listeners. Guitarist David Rivera and front man/guitarist Jadran “Conan” Gonzalez jump right into the song with their dual guitar attack alongside drummer Mario Moreno and bassist Michael Cosio. The song’s no-nonsense musical approach is in itself just one part of what makes it a solid opener for the band on this album. That is just one part of what makes the song’s musical content notable. Even within the song’s musical content audiences that listen closely will note the band’s classical influences throughout the song. The precision in Rivera and Gonzalez’s performance is incredible. The same can be said of Cosio and Moreno as they establish the song’s foundation. Altogether, the quartet’s abilities create a sound here that in itself is more than enough reason for audiences to hear this song. It’s just one important element of this song. The song’s lyrical content is just as intense as its musical content. Gonzalez sings here, “Riding forth through lands forlorn/Upon our steel the oath is sworn/Dare to make your final stand/Nothing can our steel withstand/Fate is sealed/Death by steel/Slaying man and god alike/All shall feel the speed of the strike.” It comes across like something right from the likes of Amon Amarth and other viking metal acts even though Exmortus is anything but. Interestingly enough Exmortus will hit the road this spring alongside Amon Amarth on its upcoming U.S. tour. Gonzalez continues in similar fashion in the song’s chorus as he sings, “Hark! The sound of steel/The mighty roar of clashing swords/Lo! The metal storm/Forthcoming bane/Those who remain/All shall be torn to shreds/Swords stained red/Raze to the ground/We will strike you down.” This and the song’s opening verse alone build a firm bridge back to Slave To The Sword yet also connects that album expertly to this album. Taking all of this into consideration along with the rest of the song’s equally pummeling lyrical content, the song in whole exhibits clearly in itself what makes Ride Forth a musical ride. it is just one example of what makes Exmortus’ new album such an intense and welcome musical ride. ‘For The Horde,’ the album’s lead single, is another example of what makes this album so intense and so welcome among both the band’s fans and the metal community.

‘Speed Of The Strike’ was the perfect choice with which Exmortus opted to open its latest full-length studio recording. The combination of its musical and lyrical content together instantly grabs listeners and holds them firm from start to finish. While the musical and lyrical intensity of this song makes it a solid first impression for the band on its latest offering, it is just one example of what makes this album such an impressive new offering from Exmortus. ‘For The Horde,’ the album’s lead single, is yet another example of what makes the album a solid new effort from the Whittier, California-based band. In regards to its musical content it is just as intense with the chainsaw sharpness of its dual guitar attack and machine gun-fast drumming. Its lyrical content is just as intense as that of ‘Speed of the Strike,’ too. As Gonzalez sings here, “Ride on/Raise your strong and fight strong/All shall face the mighty metal horde/Thunder/We go in and plunder/Bow before the heavy hammer lord/Whiplash/Hackslash/All is burned to ash.” Yet again here listeners get much the same lyrical intensity and theme as in ‘Speed Of The Strike.’ The combination of that lyrical and musical intensity from beginning to end shows clearly why this song is another example of what makes ‘For The Horde’ such a welcome return for the band. Audiences can check out the band’s lyric video for the song online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uo35U4PTQ90. It still is not the only remaining example of what makes the album such an impressive return for Exmortus, too. The band’s cover of Beethoven’s Sonata No. 23 in F Minor Op. 57 ‘Appasionata’ 3rd movement cannot be ignored as an example what makes this album so impressive either.

Both ‘Speed Of The Strike’ and ‘For The Horde’ are prime examples of what makes Ride Forth a clearly welcome return for Exmortus. They are both prime examples of why it is such a welcome return for the band because of the intensity of both their musical and lyrical content. They are hardly the only songs that could be cited as examples thanks to that intensity, too. ‘Death To Tyrants’ could just as easily be cited with its impassioned call to arms against those that rule the world unjustly and its equally powerful musical content. Audiences can hear that song online via Prosthetic Records’ official YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u40otH-jZZw. ‘Fire and Ice’ and ‘Black Sails’ could also be cited as examples in their own right. Given the amount of material that could be used to exhibit just what makes Ride Forth such an impressive return there is still one more song included in this album that shines bright because of its musical content alone. That song is the band’s cover of Beethoven’s Sonata No. 23 in F Minor Op. 57 ‘Appasionata’ 3rd movement. The song is just one part of a much larger song. The song in whole runs nearly twenty-five minutes in length. So of course the band wasn’t about to try its hand at the entire composition. That would likely wear out even the most experienced musicians. Heck it even wears out professional, classically trained pianists. To that extent the band can be excused. Taking that into consideration the movement that is presented here in this recording is impressive in its own right. Gonzalez and Rivera are spot on handling the song’s main line. And Cosio is just as impressive as he runs the song’s harmony. All three parts together surprisingly mirror the original composition quite well. It would be unfair to ignore drummer Mario Moreno’s work in this presentation. He stays right on time with his band mates as he adds just enough extra flourish to the song. The cymbal crashes are inserted at just the right points. And his rapid fire footwork on the bass drums is right in time with Cosio’s bass line and even the song’s guitar lines. It’s enough to leave one wondering what a full orchestra version of the song would sound like instead of the song’s typical piano presentation. That’s really saying something about the band members’ talent in taking on a piece that is heavy not in the heavy sense but in terms of the intense concentration and talent that it requires to accomplish it successfully. The song is well over two centuries old. But the band gives it a wonderful new twist all while paying tribute to the original composition. That speaks volumes about the band’s take on the song and about the band’s talent in general. It shows once more why this song is yet another prime example of what makes Ride Forth a welcome return for Exmortus and why alongside the rest of the album’s featured works it is in whole one of the best new hard rock and metal offerings of the year even with the year still being so young. Audiences can hear the song for themselves via Prosthetic Records’ official YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDnNIXpu0nQ.

Exmortus’ fourth full-length studio album is a picture of a band that is currently at the peak of its career and talent. The band mixes precision guitar work and drumming with lyrical content that is just as powerful in its own right. The end result is a nine-song, forty-three minute experience that will impress any purist member of the metal nation worldwide. It is an experience that will leave said metal loyalists agreeing with this and many other critics that this record is one of the best new hard rock and metal offerings of the year even with the year still being so young. Ride Forth is available now in stores and online. Audiences can order it or download it direct via Prosthetic Records’ online store now at http://prostheticrecords.com/?p=8531. Fans can also pick it up now at any of the band’s live dates. Exmortus is currently touring in support of Ride Forth. The band’s current tour schedule is available online now along with all of its latest news and more at:

Website: http://exmortusmusic.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/exmortusband

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Arch Enemy Debuts Video For ‘Stolen Life’ (2015 Version)

Courtesy:  Century Media

Courtesy: Century Media

Arch Enemy is prepping to make its way across Europe tomorrow in support of its latest release, 2014’s War Eternal. As the band preps to hit the road again, it has released the video for its updated take on the song ‘Stolen Life.’

The new dizzying video and song feature the addition of former Nevermore axe man Jeff Loomis. It was filmed in Chile and both directed and produced by Carlos Toro V. (Abysmo Films). The original take of ‘Stolen Life’ is included on War Eternal. The new updated version featuring Loomis on guitar is available digitally in Europe now. It will be available for purchase in the U.S. on May 18th. Audiences can check out the new video online now via Decibel Magazine’s website at http://decibelmagazine.com/blog/2015/5/3/video-premiere-arch-enemy-stolen-life.

Founding member and guitarist Michael Amott discussed the video as well as Loomis’ addition to the band among other topics in a recent interview with the media saying, “I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since we released the ‘War Eternal’ album! Time flies when you’re having fun huh?! We’re just starting up our summer tour here in Europe and there’s still a long way to go – we’re booked up till Christmas! There has been such an amazing reaction to the new music and lineup and it is really keeping us motivated. Having Jeff Loomis out with us on the road is fantastic. A fine player and a true gentleman. I’m super happy that he could throw down a couple of leads on this new exciting version of ‘Stolen Life’, it really adds some new fire to the song. On our recent tour in Latin America we had the opportunity to film a video for our new single. It was a really good experience working with the talented Abysmo team and I’m more than happy with the end result! I look forward to seeing you all out there on the road…”

Arch Enemy’s current European tour schedule kicks off tomorrow, May 5th in Lille, France and runs through December 19th in London, UK. The band’s current tour schedule is listed below:

ARCH ENEMY live:
05.05.2015 – Le Splendid – Lille, France*
06.05.2015 – L’Empreinte – Savigny-Le-Temple, France*
07.05.2015 – Le Fil – St Etienne, France*
08.05.2015 – Le Moloco – Audincourt, France*
09.05.2015 – JUZ Live Club – Andernach, Germany
10.05.2015 – ZAK – Uelsen, Germany*
11.05.2015 – Komplex 457 – Zurich, Switzerland*
14.05.2015 – Les Docks – Lausanne, Switzerland*
15.05.2015 – Audiodrome – Torino, Italy*
16.05.2015 – Rock Planet – Pinarella di Cervia (RA), Italy*
17.05.2015 – La Paloma – Nimes, France*
18.05.2015 – La Krakatoa – Bordeaux, France*
21.05.2015 – Paradise Garage – Lisbon, Portugal*
22.05.2015 – Hardclub – Porto, Portugal*
23.05.2015 – Capitol – Santiago de Compostela*
31.05.2015 – Komma – Wörgl, Austria (support by DRONE)
02.06.2015 – Barba Negra Track – Budapest, Hungary (support by DRONE)
03.06.2015 – Orpheum – Graz, Austria*
(*=supported by UNEARTH and DRONE)

04.06.2015 – Out & Loud Festival – Geiselwind, Germany
05.06.2015 – Metalfest Open Air – Pilsen, Czech Republic
06.06.2015 – Plein Air de Rock Festival – Jarny, France
19.06.2015 – Nummirock Metal Festival – Nummijarvi, Finland
20.06.2015 – Graspop Metal Meeting – Dessel, Belgium
21.06.2015 – Hellfest – Clisson, France
25.06.2015 – Bravalla Festival – Norrköping, Sweden
26.06.2015 – TopFest – Piestany, Slovakia
03.07.2015 – Pfeffelbach Open Air – Pfeffelbach, Germany
05.07.2015 – With Full Force Festival – Roitzschjora, Germany
17.07.2015 – Metal Collision Festival – Frankfurt, Germany
18.07.2015 – Dynamo Metal Fest – Eindhoven, Netherlands
19.07.2015 – Two Days A Week Festival – Wiesen, Austria
23.07.2015 – Metaldays – Tolmin, Slovenia
24.07.2015 – Lanzenanger Festival – Burglengenfeld, Germany

NIGHTWISH, ARCH ENEMY, AMORPHIS “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” European tour 2015
16.11.2015 – Falconer – Copenhagen, Denmark
18.11. 2015 – O2 World – Hamburg, Germany
19.11. 2015 – Heineken Music Hall – Amsterdam, Netherlands
20.11. 2015 – Heineken Music Hall – Amsterdam, Netherlands
21.11. 2015 – König-Pilsener-Arena – Oberhausen, Germany
23.11. 2015 – Hall Tony Garnier – Lyon, France
25.11. 2015 – POPB-Bercy – Paris, France
26.11. 2015 – Le Zénith – Toulouse, France
28.11. 2015 – St. Jakobshalle – Basel, Switzerland
29.11. 2015 – Unipol Arena – Bologna, Italy
01.12. 2015 – Zenith – Munich, Germany
03.12. 2015 – Schleyerhalle – Stuttgart, Germany
04.12. 2015 – Jahrhunderthalle – Frankfurt, Germany
05.12. 2015 – Arena – Nürnberg, Germany
07.12. 2015 – Tip Sport Arena Prague – Prague, Czech Republic
10.12. 2015 – Polivalenta Hall – Bucharest, Romania
14.12. 2015 – Arena – Leipzig, Germany
15.12. 2015 – Max – Schmeling-Halle – Berlin, Germany
16.12. 2015 – Rockhal – Luxembourg, Luxembourg
17.12. 2015 – Lotto Arena – Antwerp, Belgium
19.12. 2015 – Wembley Arena – London, UK
For ticket buy links, please visit: www.archenemy.net

All of the latest updates on Arch Enemy’s tour is available online now along with all of the latest news from the band at:

Website: http://www.archenemy.net

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/archenemyofficial

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.

Spiders’ Second Full Length LP Is One Of This Year’s Best New Pure Rock And Roll Records

Courtesy:  Spinefarm Records

Courtesy: Spinefarm Records

Sweden has for many years been considered one of the music world’s most well-known nations.  It has been called home by some of metal’s most aggressive names including: In Flames, At The Gates, Soilwork, Evergrey, and a number of other big name acts.  However in recent years, it seems that the tide has shifted somewhat, bringing other lesser known acts to the fore.  At one point some years ago, The Hives brought out Sweden’s more mainstream side.  The Flower Kings have represented the progressive rock world.  And this year alone, both Freak Kitchen and The Dagger have proven that Sweden offers more to the rock world than just death metal, black metal, and aggressive metal in general (I.E. At The Gates, Arch Enemy, Soilwork, In Flames, etc.)  Now another band has added its name to that growing list of bands proving Sweden has plenty to offer audiences. That band goes by the name of Spiders.  Spiders will release its second full-length studio effort tomorrow.  The album, titled Shake Electric, is even more ammunition in the argument that rock and roll is not dead nor will it be on its death bed anytime soon, despite what one Gene Simmons might like to believe.  The album’s ten total tracks will transport listeners back to rock’s golden era.  Vocalist Ann-Sofie Hoyles sounds like Janis Joplin at some points.  At others she sounds like a cross between Pat Benatar and Joan Jett.  And at a wholly other point, one could argue she sounds like Heart’s Ann Wilson.  The talents of Hoyles’ band mates–John Hoyles (guitar), Olle Griphammar (bass), and Ricard Harryson (drums)–add even more enjoyment to the songs on this record.  The end result is a work that every rock and roll purist should hear at least once.

Spiders’ new sophomore album Shake Electric is, much like The Dagger’s new self-titled Century Media debut, a record that every rock and roll purist should hear at least once.  the album takes listeners on a musical trip back to rock’s golden age.   It all begins with the album’s opener ‘Mad Dog.’  Its old school stoner/garage rock sound coupled with Ann Sofie-Hoye’s vocals make it the perfect first impression for the band on this record.  The song opens with a bombastic attack from Hoyles’ band mates before she comes in singing, “I hear you barking at my door/See you crawlin’ on the floor/I know you don’t mind/But I know your kind/The way you scream/The way you howl.”  the term bad dog is obviously a metaphor for a really bad man.  That becomes especially obvious as the song progresses.  Even with this knowledge, the song still proves to be a great addition to this record.  The power in Hoyles’ delivery coupled with the talents of her band mates in this bluesy rocker will have every rock purist jamming along both by themselves and along with other fans at the band’s live shows.  Being such a solid song both on record and for a live setting proves even more why this song is one of so many great additions to this album.

The members of Spider made exactly the right call when they opted to open Shake Electric with ‘Mad Dog.’  the song’s bluesy rock sound  coupled with Hoyles’ vocals instantly take listeners back in time to rock and roll’s golden era.  Unlike so many other bands’ albums past and present, the enjoyment doesn’t end for audiences after this track.  Rather, the band keeps the energy flowing and listeners *ahem* shaking and singing along from start to finish.  One prime example of the band’s ability to maintain that energy comes in the form of ‘Control.’  The band’s members launch right out of the gate on this full-forward rocker with Hoyles’ exhibiting her Joan Jett/Pat Benatar-style vocals.  [John] Hoyles and drummer Ricard Harryson provide most of the driving force behind this song with bassist Olle Griphammar holding his own, too.  Musically speaking, there’s almost a sort of Led Zeppelin-style sound to the song.  The energy in Hoyles’ voice as she seems to sing about a woman that drives men crazy adds even more depth to the song.  She sings of a man “calling out her name/think I need control…here I go  again/Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.”  That could very well be the wrong interpretation.  It is merely the interpretation of this critic.  As always, apologies are in order if it is indeed the wrong iterpretation.  That aside, the song’s energy and its sheer power make it another leg of a wonderful musical trip back in time.

Both ‘Mad Dog’ and ‘Control’ serve as great examples of what makes Shake Electric one of the bestnew pure rock and roll records to be released this year.  As if those songs aren’t enough, the band’s obviously Heart-inspired ‘Bleeding Heart’ will definitely have audiences taking note.  That is because if audiences didn’t know any better, they would think that they were in fact hearing Heart in this song.  [Ann] Hoyles sounds almost identical to Ann Wilson.  Is it a coincedence that both women bear the name Ann?  Probably.  But it’s still fun to consider the possibility especically since Hoyles sounds so much like Wilson here.  The song in whole even sounds musically like Heart’s ‘Hit Me With Your Best Shot’ thanks to John Hoyles’ guitar line here.  Paying such homage to one of rock’s great names whether intentionally or not, it is one more part of the whole that makes Shake Electric a great new release from Spiders.  Together with the likes of ‘Mad Dog,’ ‘Control,’ and the remaining seven songs not noted here, the album in whole proves once again to be one that every rock and roll purist whould hear at least once before the year is out.

‘Mad Dog,’ ‘Control,’ and ‘Bleeding Heart’ are all excellent examples of what makes Shake Electric one of the year’s best new pure rock and roll records.  There are seven other tracks not noted here from which audiences will each find their favorite(s).  The album’s title track, the mroe reserved, bluesy tones of ‘Hard Times’ and the bombastic ‘Back on the Streets’ each offer their own share of enjoyment, too as do the album’s remaining tracks.  All ten tracks together make Shake Electric an album that while not a major label release, is still just as good as any other retro style rock record released via a major label this year.  The album’s songs prove collectively that this is truly an album that every rock and roll purist should indeed give a chance even if American radio stations won’t.  Spiders is curently on tour in Europe in support of Shake Electric.  The band is in Hamburg, Germany tonight and will be in Munster, Germany tomorrow.  Audiences can see the band’s current tour schedule and keep up with all of the latest updates from the band online now at:

Website: http://www.wearespiders.com

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

MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/wearespiders

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.

Hammercult’s Sophomore LP Is An Intentionally Over The Top Slab Of Metal

Courtesy:  SPV/Sonic Attack Records

Courtesy: SPV/Sonic Attack Records

Anyone that keeps up with the news of the world each day knows that there is a lot of trouble going on in the Middle East right now. Tensions between the Palestinians and Israelis have really stepped up again in recent weeks as have the attacks. It’s really a sad state of affairs. For all of the negativity coming from that part of the world, at least one positive has come from that war-ravaged land this year. That one positive is the sophomore album from the Tel-Aviv, Israel-based band Hammercult. Steelcrusher, the band’s follow-up to its 2012 debut album Anthems of the Damned, is a full on assault on the ears that will make any purist member of the Metal Nation worldwide proud. The album’s songs are sung with tongue planted firmly in cheek. One look at the obviously intentionally over-the-top album cover, the cover photo on the band’s Facebook page and one listen through this album proves this to be the case. The band pokes fun at the stereotypes placed on metal and its legions of fans from start to finish. The end result is an album that will have audiences both laughing and rocking along throughout every song. One of the best examples of that satire comes in the form of the metal anthem ‘Metal Rules Tonight.’ There is also the full throttle song about the stereotypes of metal bands on the road in the album’s penultimate song ‘Heading For War.’ And then there is ‘Unholy Art,’ which seems to poke fun at the stereotypes of metal and hard rock in general created by certain groups. It’s one more example of the works on this record that will again, have audiences laughing and rocking along from start to finish.

Audiences will note in listening to Hammercult’s recently released sophomore album Steelcrusher, that there are some pretty dark sounding songs, lyrically and musically speaking. But the reality of the albums on this record is that they were obviously written with tongue planted pretty firmly in cheek. One look at the cover photo on the band’s Facebook page drives home the argument that the band is anything but the dark, evil entity that others such as perhaps Ghost, Emperor, etc. One piece of evidence in that argument comes in the form of the anthemic ‘Metal Rules Tonight.’ Not only does the band encourage the metal legions of the world to put their collective metal horns in the air, it also goes so far as to pay tribute to one of the biggest names in metal in the form of Metallica. Front man Yokir Shochat sings in this full-on anthem, “I’m so wasted/I can’t stand/Grab a *&$$%/Get some #&@%/Speakers blasting through the wall/Master of Puppets and Balls to the Walls.” He goes on later in the song singing to listeners, “Bang your head in full conviction/Raise your fists and show the horns/No remorse or lamentations/Play it loud/Or die/Metal rules tonight/Trends will come and fade away/Heavy metal is here to stay/We are damned but we are free/It’s our way of life/The way it should be/Metal!” That last line sort of echoes AC/DC’s ‘Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution’ in which front man Brian Johnson sings that “Rock and roll ain’t noise pollution/Rock and roll it will live on.” The song’s speed/thrash metal musical backing will have its fans putting their horns high in the air with pride as they sing along to this metal anthem.

‘Metal Rules Tonight’ is one of the highest of points on Hammercult’s new album. It is only one piece of evidence in the argument that despite the band’s speed/thrash metal sound and its seemingly dark lyrics, it should be taken with a relatively large grain of salt. Another piece of evidence in that argument comes late in the album in the song ‘Heading For War.’ Right off the top, Shochat makes that clear once again as he screams, “Thrashing hotels every day/Heads are banging/Ears are bleeding/Raise your hammers/Ready to explode.” He sings in another verse, “Racing to another city/Party hard tonight/Heavy drinking/Never stopping/It’s the only way we stay alive.” These two verses alone more than tell audiences everything that they need to know about this song. If that’s not enough, the song’s chorus makes painfully clear that there’s nothing evil at all about the band or its album. Shochat sings in the chorus, “Heading for the stage, heading for war/Yes, we live or the fight/And die for the cause we believe to be right/Giving it all with fury and force/Spreading the sound of destruction.” Shochat likens being on the road, performing on stage after stage to like being in a war. Though, interestingly enough, one could argue that there is a lightly veiled reference to the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians there and the lack of sense in it. Instead of being involved in that conflict though, the band lives and dies for metal in that “battle” to spread metal’s word to the world. If that veiled commentary on the war in the Gaza strip is in fact there, then that double meaning in this verse makes the song in whole all the more interesting. And along with ‘Metal Rules Tonight,’ it makes the album in whole all the more worth the listen, too.

‘Metal Rules Tonight’ and ‘Heading For War’ are both prime examples of what audiences can expect from Steelcrusher. Both songs show that despite the album’s similarity to works from the likes of Exmortus, Arch Enemy, and others of that ilk, it actually stands out quite a bit from those bands. There is one more example of the band’s tongue in cheek delivery on this album. That example is the song ‘Unholy Art.’ The band’s commentary is perhaps at its strongest in this song as Shochat and company point the finger right back at those that would judge the metal community, singing, “The blackest hearts and darkest minds/You never know just what you will find/It’s not for the faint of heart/This is the Unholy Art/Dishonored/A branded kind/The masses will burn in the flames of our pride/We’ll rise to our own blackened skies/And devour the worlds/And we’re starting tonight. The band singing together, “It’s not for the faint of heart/This is the Unholy Art” is itself a sarcastic statement. It’s Shochat and his band mates almost laughing as they say, “oh it’s such evil stuff. It’s not for the faint of heart.” Again, it’s just one more example of how firmly in their cheeks the band members’ tongues are planted in this record. The statement of “The blackest hearts and darkest minds” is something of a statement against the stereotypes created by certain groups against the metal masses around the world. Those judgmental groups are so fast to throw the first stone even without knowing the full story or doing their research. It’s such searing commentary in so few words. It makes for one of the most powerful statements of the album’s entire body of songs. Of course together with the previously noted songs (and those not noted) it makes the entire collection of songs an album that any true-blooded member of the metal nation worldwide will enjoy and appreciate.

Steelcrusher is available now in stores and online. It can be downloaded via iTunes and Amazon or purchased at the band’s next upcoming performance. The band is currently scheduled to perform live August 9th at Brutal Assault in Jaromer, Czech Republic. Audiences can pick up Steelcrusher at that performance, too. More information and tour updates are available online via the band’s official Facebook and Twitter pages. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to the Phil’s Picks Facebook page and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog.

Arch Enemy Impresses Once More With New Album, Vocalist

Courtesy:  Century Media Records

Courtesy: Century Media Records

Stalwart Swedish metal band Arch Enemy released its ninth full length studio effort last month.  While being the ninth full length release for the band, it is the first for the band with new vocalist Alissa White-Gluz.  Gluz, the former vocalist of The Agonist, replaced now former Arch Enemy vocalist Angela Gossow earlier this year, shocking a number of fans.  After having spent some thirteen years as the band’s vocalist, one might think that such a shakeup might not be such a good thing.  But as this album has evidenced, it might be the proverbial kick in the pants that the band needed.  As audiences will note in listening through the album, the band has taken the speed/death metal sound that made it famous throughout its previous albums and added a thrash element to the mix, making the album even more of interest to audiences. One of the best of this album is its title track and lead single. The social commentary of the song’s lyrical side alongside the pure aggression and power in the music make it clear why it was chosen as the album’s lead. ‘You Will Know my Name’ will catch listeners’ ears just as much with its scathing indictment of those people that would call themselves friends to ones face but talk trash behind one’s back. The song’s musical side along with that indictment will reach so many listeners. And the instrumental ‘Graveyard of Dreams’ is another show of talent from guitarist Michael Amott. These are just a few samples of what Arch Enemy offers audiences on its latest full length effort. Together with the album’s other songs, they are sure to impress any fan new or old.

Arch Enemy leads off its first album with new vocalist Alissa White-Gluz in grand fashion with the absolutely searing ‘War Eternal.’ A better choice for the band’s re-introduction couldn’t have been chosen. Anyone that is familiar with Arch Enemy’s body of work will be just as impressed with this song as those that might be newer to the band’s sound. The song, penned by Amott—Amott wrote the lyrics to each song as an added note—is rife with social commentary. Amott writes in this song, “Friend or foe/There’s no way to know/Through the battlefield of life/It’s ill or be killed/So many times/It’s a matter of degree/From being up on your luck/To down on your knees.” He’s writing about life ingeneral and how it can be tough and easy from one point to another. He goes on to write about those that would make life difficult, writing that “They try to change you/Crush and break you/Try to tell you what to do/They’d like to have control of you.” Whether it be politicians, those within one’s own social circles or otherwise, there is not one person out there to whom this song doesn’t relate. Through all the difficulties, he reminds listeners not to give up, writing, “Search deep inside/Remember who you are.” In the end, it proves to be a song of self-empowerment and inner strength. Again, what better way to introduce the band’s new album?

‘War Eternal’ proves with the combination of its searing musical side and equally powerful lyrical theme of self-empowerment to be the perfect choice to introduce Arch Enemy’s new album. Just as impressive from this new album is the similarly themed ‘You Will Know My Name.’ It doesn’t boast the same buzz saw guitars and machine gum drumming. But the way in which it builds from almost a brooding opening into the driving classic sound which audiences have come to know will impress just as much. That slow boil helps to heighten the song’s lyrical side, in which Amott writes about false friends. He writes of said individuals in this song, “The judging eyes watching me/Is all I’ve ever known/When I try to open up my heart/I am ridiculed and torn apart/You tell jokes I’ll never get to hear/Behind my back at my expense.” He tackles the things that those false friends like to say about others, writing that “There’s something inside me/And I know it’s good/I’m not evil, just misunderstood…Today I break my silence/Strip you of your dignity/Tear down your perfect world/Your perfect lies…No longer invisible/You will know my name.” In its own way, this could be the anthem of those who have been bullied for years on end. And just as the blues helps people in tough situations feel better, so could this song help those who have been bullied by fake friends, and perhaps even prevent them from doing what so many others before have done. To that extent, Amott and his band mates are again to be applauded for this song’s inclusion on this album.

‘War Eternal’ and ‘You Will Know My Name’ are both powerful and important additions to Arch Enemy’s latest full length effort. They both show the band’s technical abilities and its ability to reach fans lyrically as well. Just as much as the band exhibits its continued talents through the aforementioned songs, it shows once again that it can create deep emotion solely with its musical abilities. This is evidenced in the fully instrumental piece, ‘Graveyard of Dreams.’ The song only runs one minute and ten seconds. Even within that short time, it generates quite the emotion thanks to Amott’s guitar work. The very title, ‘Graveyard of Dreams’ creates an image of someone in the depths of depression. And Amott’s guitar work illustrates this image even better. As with ‘You Will Know My Name,’ the depth of emotion expressed in this song could actually serve as music therapy of sorts. That is because of the band’s ability to relate to listeners even just through music. Listeners will hear the music expressing how they might be feeling. In turn, it could serve as a point of strength. Yet again, the members of Arch Enemy are to be applauded here. It is yet one more piece of the whole that makes War Eternal another impressive release from Arch Enemy.

‘War Eternal,’ ‘You Will Know My Name,’ and ‘Graveyard of Dreams’ are each great additions to War Eternal. They are only part of what makes this album a success for the band. The albums’ remaining songs each pose their own argument for the album’s success. And audiences new and old alike will agree to that in hearing the album in its entirety. War Eternal is available now in stores and online. It is available both in standard and Limited Edition Triple-Disc set online via the Century Media Records store at http://www.cmdistro.com/Item/Arch_Enemy_-_War_Eternal_-Ltd._CD_Mediabook_Edit.-/47541?Aff=cus and http://www.cmdistro.com/Item/Arch_Enemy_-_War_Eternal_Ltd._Deluxe_Artbook_-3CD-/47540?Aff=cus. More information on War Eternal, Arch Enemy’s current tour schedule and all the latest from the band is available online at http://www.facebook.com/archenemyofficial and http://www.archenemy.net. 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.

Arch Enemy, The Agonist Announce New Vocalists

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Two bands on Century Media’s roster have new vocalists.

Arch Enemy announced this week that long-time vocalist Angela Gossow has stepped down and will focus her energies on management.  The band announced that in her place, it has tapped former vocalist of extreme Canadian metal band The Agonist, Alissa White-Gluz as the band’s new vocalist.  Having taken over vocal duties with Arch Enemy, White-Gluz has been replaced in The Agonist by Vick y Psarakis.

Members of both bands released statement on the vocalist carousel switch-up.  In regards to naming Psarakis the new vocalist of The Agonist, that band’s members released the following statement:

“Today we announce that after 3 albums and countless tours we officially part ways with vocalist Alissa White-Gluz. We wish Alissa all the best with Arch Enemy and her future endeavors.

 

It is the beginning of a new and exciting chapter for The Agonist! We are thrilled to announce the newest addition to the The Agonist family. Please give a warm welcome to very talented vocalist Vicky Psarakis!

 

Stay tuned for new The Agonist material coming VERY soon!”

 

Angela Gossow also shared her thoughts on her decision to step down as Arch Enemy’s vocalist and her thoughts on her own personal future.  She sent the following message to Arch Enemy’s fans.

 

“Dear ARCH ENEMY fans, this is not easy to tell you…I have decided to step down from being ARCH ENEMY’s voice of anger. After 13 years of pure fucking metal, 6 studio albums and countless tours through five continents, I feel the need to enter a different phase in my life, be with my family and pursue other interests. I will however remain business manager for ARCH ENEMY, and I will continue to develop my artist management roster.

I am staying true to my heavy metal roots, just leaving the spotlight so to speak. I am passing the torch to the super talented Alissa White-Gluz, whom I’ve known as a dear friend and a superb vocalist for many years. I always thought she deserved a chance to shine – and now she’s getting it. Just like I got that chance back in 2001.

I want to thank all ARCH ENEMY fans, our labels Century Media (worldwide) and Trooper Entertainment (Japan), our dedicated road crew, and in particular Michael, Daniel and Sharlee for their love and support throughout all these years. It’s been one hell of a ride! We conquered every situation, made it through thick & thin together in the most exciting and rewarding time of my life. Thank you all for being there with me on stage, in front of the stage, and backstage. You have touched my heart, and I hope I was able to give something back to you. I am grateful for the wonderful memories – I will cherish them forever!

I am looking forward to the next decade of ARCH ENEMY madness! Right now I am listening through rough mixes of the new studio album and I am blown away! 2014 will see a renewed ARCH ENEMY at the top of their game. I am proud to be part of this ARCH ENEMY chapter, albeit in a different way – revving up the engines behind the scenes. I hope to see you in front of the stage; I will join you there this time. Let the killing begin, once again!”

 

White-Gluz was ecstatic in her statement regarding being asked to take on vocal duties for Arch Enemy.  She explained about how she had been a fan of Arch Enemy and Angela Gossow ever since the band’s 2001 album Wages of Sin.  She released the following statement regarding the announcement.

 

“I am very honored and happy to announce a new chapter in my life and musical career beginning now; I have joined forces with one of my all-time favorite and globally respected bands, ARCH ENEMY. ‘Wages of Sin’ was the first metal album I ever bought, and it was love at first listen. It is not often that you get a phone call from your favorite band asking you to join! I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with such amazingly talented musicians whom I also consider great friends. I look forward to being able to write and perform at a whole new level now with ARCH ENEMY! Music is forever, metal is limitless and this is only the beginning!”

 

Arch Enemy’s founder and lead guitarist Michael Amott spoke fondly of Gossow when asked about her departure and replacement.  He noted her devotion to the band and about his expectations for the band’s future with White-Gluz.

 

“We are eternally grateful to Angela for all her passion, hard work and talent. Her legacy is tremendous and will always be a big part of the band’s history. We feel great pride in what has been achieved in the past, but also look forward to new battles and new victories. We welcome Alissa with open arms – and we hope you will have open ears. We might have just created our most wicked metal opus yet with our upcoming album ‘War Eternal’!”

 

Arch Enemy will release its new album War Eternal worldwide via Century Media Records and via Trooper Entertainment in Japan.  The band will kick off a European tour in support of War Eternal on May 23rd in Bucharest, Romania.  The band’s tour runs thirty-seven dates and runs through October 3rd in Yekaterinburg, Russia.  The band’s current tour itinerary is listed below.

 

ARCH ENEMY Confirmed Live Dates:

23.05.2014 Turbohalle, Bucharest, Romania

24.05.2014 Metal Summer Festival, Istanbul, Turkey

25.05.2014 Mixtape 5 , Sofia, Bulgaria

27.05.2014 Majestic Music Club, Bratislava, Slovakia

29.05.2014 Rock and Roll Arena, Romagnano Sesia (Novara), Italy

30.05.2014 New Age Club, Roncade, Italy

02.06.2014 L’Etage, Rennes, France

03.06.2014 Le 106, Rouen, France

04.06.2014 La Laiterie, Strasbourg, France

05.06.2014 Rosenhof, Osnabrück, Germany

07.06.2014 Sweden Rock Festival, Sölvesborg, Sweden

09.06.2014 Studio USF, Bergen, Norway

10.06.2014 John Dee, Oslo, Norway

11.06.2014 Copenhell, Copenhagen, Denmark

13.06.2014 Colos-Saal, Aschaffenburg, Germany

14.06.2014 Conrad Sohm, Dornbirn, Austria

15.06.2014 Nova Rock – Nickelsdorf, Austria
27.06.2014 Rock am Härtsfeldsee, Dischingen, Germany

09.07.2014 RockMaraton, Pecs, Hungary

11.07.2014 Rock Harz Open Air, Ballenstedt, Germany

12.07.2014 Masters Of Rock, Vizovice, Czech Republic

13.07.2014 Seven Festival, Wegorzewo, Poland

19.07.2014 Dong Open Air, Neukirchen-Vluyn, Germany

02.08.2014 Wacken Open Air, Wacken, Germany

07.08.2014 Getaway Rock, Gävle, Sweden

08.08.2014 Leyendas Del Rock, Alicante, Spain

09.08.2014 Alcatraz Metal Festival, Kortrijk, Belgium

14.08.2014 Summer Breeze, Dinkelsbühl, Germany

17.08.2014 Alt-Fest, Kettering, UK

22.09.2014 Re:Republic, Minsk, Belarus

23.09.2014 Yunost’, Kiev, Ukraine

25.09.2014 Arena Hall, Krasnodar, Russia

27.09.2014 Glav Club, Moscow, Russia

28.09.2014 Zal Ozhidaniya, Saint Petersburg, Russia

30.09.2014 Otdykh Club, Novosibirsk, Russia

01.10.2014 Angar Club, Omsk, Russia

03.10.2014 Tele Club, Yekaterinburg, Russia

More information on Arch Enemy is available online at http://www.archenemy.net, http://www.facebook.com/archenemyofficial, and http://twitter.com/archenemymetal.  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.