Saxon Debuts New Single; Announces Details For New Album, Tour

Saxon Battering Ram Cover Art

Courtesy: UDR Music

This fall, legendary metal act Saxon returns with its twenty-first full-length studio album. Battering Ram will be released in stores and online on Friday, October 16th via UDR Music. In anticipation of the album’s release, the band has debuted the video for the album’s lead single and announced a handful of North American tour dates that kick off Wednesday, August 19th in Riverside, California. The band will join fellow veteran metal acts Motorhead and Armored Saint for the twenty-three-date tour. Audiences can check out the video for ‘Battering Ram’ online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oLC0nOfWGc&feature=youtu.be. The video splices together footage of the band recording the song at Backstage Studios in Derbyshire, UK and vintage footage of crash test dummies in action, a plane crashing, a boxing match, a football game and more.  The current schedule for the band’s upcoming tour is listed below.

SAXON US Tour Dates:

August 19 – Riverside, CA @ Riverside Municipal Auditorium w/ Motörhead

August 20 – San Diego, CA @ Brick By Brick w/ Armored Saint

August 21 – Las Vegas, NV @ House Of Blues w/ Motörhead

August 22 – Los Angeles, CA @ Shrine w/ Motörhead

August 23 – Sacramento, CA @ Ace Of Spades

August 24 – San Francisco, CA @ Warfield Theatre w/ Motörhead

August 27 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex w/ Motörhead

August 28 – Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory

September 1 – Austin, TX @ Cedar Park Center w/ Motörhead

September 2 – San Antonio, TX @ Aztec Theatre w/ Motörhead

September 3 – El Paso, TX @ Speaking Rock Entertainment Center

September 4 – Dallas, TX @ Bomb Factory w/ Motörhead

September 5 – Houston, TX @ House Of Blues w/ Motörhead

September 6 – St. Louis, MO @ Pageant Theater w/ Motörhead

September 9 – Indianapolis, IN @ Murat Theater w/ Motörhead

September 10 – Atlanta, GA @ Center Stage – Prog Power

September 12 – Stafford, CT @ Palace Theater w/ Armored Saint

September 13 – Portland, ME @ Asylum w/ Armored Saint

September 15 – Washington, DC @ Howard Theater w/ Armored Saint

September 16 – Westland, MI @ Token Lounge w/ Armored Saint

September 17 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Altar Bar w/ Armored Saint

September 18 – Cleveland, OH @ Agora Ballroom w/ Armored Saint

September 20 – St. Charles, IL @ Arcada Theater w/ Armored Saint

Battering Ram will be available Friday, October 16th in stores and online. It is currently available for pre-orders online via iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/battering-ram-deluxe-edition/id1023693104?app=itunes. Those that pre-order Battering Ram now via iTunes will get the album’s title track as an Instant Grat track. Pre-orders via Amazon and other outlets will be available soon. They will include the CD in Ecolbook, 180 gram Vinyl, Limited Edition Boxset (containing CD, Vinyl and a Bonus CD with the band performance of their Denim & Leather Tour “Saxon Over Sweden 2011” – 18 tracks). More information on Battering Ram is available online now along with all of the latest news and updates from Saxon at:

Website: http://www.saxon747.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/SaxonOfficial

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.

Win Hands Down Wins Hands Down

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Veteran hard rock band Armored Saint’s latest full-length LP Win Hands Down is a rather aptly titled release. That is because the recently released album does indeed win hands down. That is obvious from the album’s full throttle hard rock anthem of an opener to the more socially conscious commentary of ‘That Was Then, Way Back Then,’ to the old school hard rock throwback that closes out the album in ‘Up Yours,’ Every one of the tracks on this record show in their own way what makes this seventh full-length release from Armored Saint some of its best work to date and one of the best of this year’s hard rock and metal field.

Win Hands Down proves from beginning to end in its latest full-length release that the almost hour-long album is one of the best of this year’s hard rock and metal field. From beginning to end, the band keeps hard rock and metal purists with a brand of rock that seemed all but extinct nowadays. That is made clear right from the album’s full throttle opener and title track. Both lyrically and musically, this song shows itself to be a pure throwback to everything that once made hard rock and metal great. The driving dual guitar attack of Jeff Duncan and Phil Sandoval coupled with drummer Gonzo Sandoval’s equally solid, up-tempo time keeping in this song instantly conjures thoughts of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and so many other legendary acts of that ilk. Front man John Bush adds even more to that with his powerhouse vocals as he sings, “This is an ode to all my old buddies/The ones that helped me realize when s*** was funny/Cut our teeth/A kick in the a**/Tackling life there’s just one chance/Mischief makers p*** some off/Deal with consequences or not/Roaming the city/Eyes open wide/Every adversary is urged to hide.” Not only does Bush actually sing his way through the verse (and the rest of the album’s songs), but he also makes no bones about the song’s subject material. The song is a tribute to his old childhood friends and those of his band mates. That is made even clearer as he sings in the song’s second verse, “Like some royal decree/A verbal contract/You’re with me/And man I got your back/Seeking adventure every which way/Knowing full well there may be hell to pay/Adolescence in full swing/A booming voice we’re gonna bring/So much that this platoon can do/Bread and circus is the rule.” The line in which Bush notes “Adolescence in full swing” makes the strongest argument about the song’s topic. Coupled with the rest of the song’s lyrical content, audiences get a picture of a group of friends simply going out and enjoying life and all that it brings good or bad. Such a concept seems rare in today’s hard rock and metal communities. Because it seems to be so rare, it makes the combination of the song’s lyrics and its now almost celebratory musical content a whole that proves to be one of the best hard rock anthems to come along in a long time.

‘Win Hands Down’ is one of the best hard rock anthems to come along in a very long time. Being the opening track to Armored Saint’s new album, it is also a clear example of what makes the band’s latest full-length effort one of the best of this year’s new hard rock and metal records. The record’s seemingly socially conscious midpoint ‘That Was Then, Way Back Then’ is another example of what makes Win Hands Down work so well. Much as with the album’s opener this song also can be argued to be another throwback to a great era of rock. The argument is supported through the song’s musical content. Yet again, Bush actually sings his way through the song. Even better, audiences can actually understand what Bush is saying as he makes his way through the song. On a related note, Bush’s band mates give the song a certain attitude for lack of better wording thanks to their combined talents. This is very important when taking note of the song’s lyrical content. The lyrical content in question comes across, as previously noted, as a social commentary of sorts with Bush singing, “I drift on back a couple of decades/And regress to a time when I was king/The future seems so uncertain/But the past is a place I could do anything/Give me a phone call/Send me a text/I even gave you/Your own unique ring. This verse within itself paints a damning picture of someone that is extremely full of himself or herself and who would much rather live in the past than the present. This argument is solidified even more as Bush sings in the song’s opening verse, “I’m taking a walk to the neighborhood psychic/Want to find out what’s in store for the day/Got all my pictures strewn across Facebook/Want to be liked in a desperate way/I market myself/It’s a foregone conclusion/I dish out winks in this busy foray.” Yet again, Bush paints a picture of someone that seems to be entirely wrapped up in his or her own self-importance. Everyone out there knows someone just like the figure portrayed here. The musical content exhibited in the song accents the mindset of said person expertly with its tone and its energy. Both elements combined, they show exactly why this song is yet another impressive addition to a record that is, once again, one of the band’s best records to date and one of the best of this year’s hard rock and metal field.

‘Win Hands Down’ and ‘That Was Then, Way Back When’ are both prime examples of why audiences new and old alike will enjoy Armored Saint’s latest full-length effort. While they both serve as excellent examples of what makes Win Hands Down such a solid record, they are hardly the only positives exhibited in this record. The album’s closer ‘Up Yours’ puts the exclamation point on the statement made throughout the album’s nearly hour-long run time. In terms of its musical content, the song’s tone and its energy does an impressive job of illustrating the thought patter and tension in the song’s speaker. Bush adds to that depth with his own vocal delivery style as he sings, “Seems to be a delusion of grandeur/A twisted f***ed up matter/A distorted sense of wrong and right/And that aint right/Got your app with the police scanner/Mapped out daily planner/And the krav maga trainer in case of a fight.” This verse alone paints quite the picture. It paints a picture of someone who perhaps isn’t necessarily firing on all eight cylinders. That argument is strengthened as he sings earlier in the song, “A stroll in the park can be a moment of zen/But you lurking in the dark/Begging to be my friend/Can really rub/Rub me the wrong way/Following my tracks is what you do/Although I never remember ever giving a clue/Or a hint or a blatant come with me.” This verse makes the picture of the subject’s object of hatred even richer. It reveals that person to be someone that is quite gone for lack of better wording. Bush’s speaker here is going after that person, letting him or her know in no uncertain terms just how messed up in the head he or she is. Again, the musical side of this song puts the finishing touch on that statement. Both elements together make ‘Up Yours’ just as perfect of a closer as the album’s title track is as an opening number. It puts the final touch on the statement that, as already noted earlier, Win Hands Down Wins Hands Down. Whether for this song,the album’s opener, its seemingly socially conscious midpoint, or for any of the remaining half-dozen tracks that round out the record, all nine tracks together make Win Hands Down one of the best of this year’s hard rock and metal field.

Win Hands Down is Armored Saint’s best work to date in the veteran hard rock band’s now three decades-plus together. The nine track, fifty-one minute record is unlike so much of what is currently being offered to the hard rock and metal legions around the world today. It is a tribute to all that once made hard rock and metal great. That is made clear through the album’s full-throttle opener and title tracks, its seemingly socially conscious midpoint, and its equally solid closer ‘Up Yours.’ All three songs show in their own way just why Win Hands Down…welll wins hands down. They are just a small sample of what makes this record such a hit, too. The remaining half-dozen tracks not noted here could just as easily be argued as prime examples of what makes Win Hands Down so enjoyable. All things considered Win Hands Down shows in the end to be a record that every hard rock and metal purist will enjoy and should have in his or her own music library. That is because it does in fact win hands down. The band is currently touring in support of Win Hands Down. It is scheduled to perform live at this year’s annual Wacken Open Air Festival next Friday, July 31st. Fans can check out the band’s latest tour dates and get all of the latest news from the band online now at:

Website: http://www.armoredsaint.com

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

Fans can pick up Win Hands Down in stores and online now via Metal Blade’s online store at http://www.indiemerch.com/metalbladerecords/search/?q=Armored+Saint+Win+Hands+Down. 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.

Motor Sister’s Debut Has A Big First Week On The Charts

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Rock super group Motor Sister’s debut album Ride has made a big impact on Billboard’s latest charts.

Billboard reported this week that Ride debuted at #12 on Billboard’s Hard Music Albums Chart in just its first week of release. It also came in at #40 on Billboard’s Rock Albums Chart and at #27 on the Billboard Independent Albums Chart. The album impressed even more in its first week out by cracking Billboard’s Top 200 Albums Chart, coming in at #163 in its debut.  It also came in at #9 on Billboard’s New Artist (Heatseeker) Chart. The album, the brainchild of Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian, is a collection of classic Mother Superior sons re-worked by Ian and Mother Superior front man Jim Wilson. Joey Vera (Fates Warning, Armored Saint) and John Tempesta (Prong, White Zombie, The Cult, Exodus) joined Ian and Wilson on bass and drums respectively for the recording. Ian’s wife Pearl Aday, who is also the daughter of rock superstar Meatloaf, added backing vocals to the album, too.

Motor Sister has already made available for streaming Ride’s lead single ‘This Song Reminds Me Of You’ and debuted the video for its new single ‘A-Hole.’ ‘This Song Reminds Me Of You’ can be streamed online via Metal Blade Records’ website at http://www.metalblade.com/motorsister. The brand new video for ‘A-Hole’ can be viewed online via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prvB0DlzLEc.

All of the latest news and updates from Motor Sister are available online now at:

Website: http://www.metalblade.com/motorsister

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MotorSister

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.

Motor Sister’s Ride Is A “Superior” Covers Album

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Covers albums in the music industry’s current age are not what they used to be. At one point many years ago, cover albums were something significant. That’s because they were not churned out as quickly and as effortlessly as they are today. They have today become little more than obligatory space fillers used to fill out contractual agreements for one act or another. It’s very rare in the music industry’s current era to find a covers albums that actually stands out and really catches any listener’s attention. Enter Ride, the debut album from rock super group Motor Sister. The band–Scott Ian (Anthrax), John Tempesta (Prong, White Zombie, The Cult, Exodus), Joey Vera (Fates Warning, Armored Saint), Jim Wilson (Mother Superior)– took on twelve classic Mother Superior tunes on this album. And it wasn’t because of any contractual obligation. It was because of a single, simple birthday wish from Scott Ian for his 50th birthday. Yes, Scott Ian is really that old. Though, he doesn’t look that old. He got his wish and then some as this compilation proves. And in turn, rock purists around the world have gotten a covers album that actually stands out, grabs audiences from its outset and keeps them engaged throughout the entire course of the album’s twelve tracks and forty-four minutes. This is obvious right from the album’s opener ‘A-Hole.’ Ths song is a straight forward, old school rock song both musically and lyrically. The punk style sound of ‘Fork in the Road’ will impress just as much. And the addition of the slower, bluesy ‘Fool Around’ serves to show the influence of Mother Superior on the band’s members as well as the members’ level of respect for Mother Superior. All three songs noted here are but part of the whole that is Ride. The remaining nine tracks that make up this “superior” covers record make this a record that every rock purist should hear at least once despite being a handful of covers instead of new, original material.

Motor Sister’s debut LP Ride may not be a collection of new, original material. That aside it still proves over the course of its twelve tracks and forty-four minutes to be a covers album unlike so many others. It isn’t just another space filler recording put out to fulfill contractual obligations. It was just a dream project for Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian. Because it was just a simple dream, it led to the album having an overall feeling that feels completely unlike almost every other obligatory space filler covers record currently cluttering store shelves and online retailers. There is a certain energy present throughout the album that doesn’t exist on those other covers albums. And it makes the album one that every rock purist should hear at least once. That is clear right from the album’s opener ‘A-Hole.’ On its musical side, ‘A-Hole’s’ pure, old school rock sound instantly grabs audiences by the ear thanks to [John] Tempesta’s timekeeping and Scott Ian’s guitar work. Its full-on driving energy is sure to have every listener on his or her feet dancing along. Lyrically, Jim Wilson adds to that energy in his delivery, singing “The venom of a rattlesnake ratting through my veins like a curse/If I live or die/Well I don’t know which one’s worse/Well I’m diggin’ a hole they can bury me in/Waste of a lifetime living in sin/Red lights flash as I ride right past.” The rebellious vibe of the song’s lyrics coupled with its full-on old-school rock and roll sound make the song the perfect choice with which to open the album. It is just one of the many positive additions to the album, too. The inclusion of the decidedly punk rock style song ‘Fork in the Road’ is another positive that every rock purist will appreciate about this compilation. Audiences can check out the song online now via Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prvB0DlzLEc as the band recently debuted the video for the song.

‘A-Hole’ is a great first impression for Motor Sister on its debut album. The raw, almost garage rock vibe exuded by the song both musically and lyrically shows clearly why it was chosen to open the album’s twelve-track run. It isn’t the only part of the whole that listeners will like about the record, either. The punk rock sound of ‘Fork in the Road’ is just as much a positive n its own right. One could even argue that while it is a cover of a Mother Superior song, there is even a hint of Motorhead in this song, too. Again, Tempesta leads the song with his solid 2/4 time keeping and wild fills. Ian’s guitar work on this cover is just as tight in the song’s verses as in its slower yet just as hard rocking bridge. And coupled with Wilson’s powerhouse vocals, the song proves just as solidly yet in a different fashion why Ride is an album that despite being a covers collection, is one that every rock purist should hear. Wilson sings in this song, “thanks to my losing streak/ I never feel too lucky/There’s lots of strangers on the dark side of town/And if you’re seein’ ghosts/But ever get a picture/It’s a fact that candles never burn and let you down/The truth is the truth/And a lie is just a lie/Fork in the road/which way to go.” The whole thing comes across as Wilson singing in metaphors. It seems to say that we have to make choices all the time in life and that for the outcome in each situation, there are more decisions that must be made along the way. This is of course just this critic’s own interpretation of these words. It could be a wholly incorrect interpretation. Interpretation aside, one thing on which every listener will agree is that being so different from the likes of the album’s opener and its other tracks, it is another prime example of why this is a record that every rock purist should add to his or her own music library.

Both ‘A-Hole’ and ‘Fork in the Road’ are both prime examples of why every rock purist should have Ride in his or her personal music collection. The full-on, old-school rock sound of the prior coupled with the decidedly punk vibe of ‘Fork in the Road’ alongside both songs’ lyrical content shows a certain amount of variety among the album’s track listing. It would have been simple for the members of Motor Sister to just take one specific song and run it through the course of the album’s dozen tracks. But they didn’t do that. The two songs by themselves show that the band set out to really give listeners something worth hearing. Again this is totally apart from all of the obligatory covers albums released by other acts over the years. ‘Fool Around’ proves this just as much with its more reserved, blues-infused feel and thoughtful lyrics. It isn’t just another classic, old-school ballad. Rather, it is a song that will move listeners without the sappy element of those over-the-top ballads from rock’s past. Wilson sings alongside his band mates, “Sorry/I’m confused/You said some things/While we were drinkin’/Don’t get me wrong/It doesn’t bother me/Actually/I’m quite flattered/But you’re blind…get that gun away from your head/Do you want a fool around/do you really want a fool around/Do you really want this fool around?” It’s not exactly the standard blues piece by any means. But it also isn’t the stereotypical ballad, either. And that’s a good thing. It maintains its own identity. And together with both the likes of ‘A-Hole’ and ‘Fork in the Road’–along with the songs not noted here–it is one more piece that proves Ride as a whole truly is an album that every rock purist should have in his or her own music library.

‘A-Hole,’ ‘Fork in the Road,’ and ‘Fool Around’ are all excellent examples of what makes Ride such an impressive recording even for a covers album. They’re just part of the whole that makes it such a musically rich recording. ‘Doghouse’ boasts its own bluesy yet heavier sound that is sure to impress any fan of both rock and the blues. ‘This Song Reminds Me Of You’ and ‘Beg, Borrow, Steal’ both offer their own equally enjoyable blues-infused rock sound that audiences will enjoy. And then there’s the infectious groove of ‘Get That Girl’ that will have listeners moving just as much as any of the album’s other tracks. Whether for these tracks, the pieces previously noted or the remaining six pieces not discussed, every track on this record plays its own part in making Ride a must have for any rock purist. It is available in stores and online now. More information on Ride and all of the latest updates from Motor Sister is available online now at:

Website: http://www.metalblade.com/motorsister

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

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.

Saxon Announces Dates For U.S. Leg Of Its “Warriors Of The Road” Tour

Courtesy: UDR/Adrenaline PR/MEtal Blade Records/Chipster PR

Courtesy: UDR/Adrenaline PR/MEtal Blade Records/Chipster PR

Legendary British metal band Saxon is gearing up to hit the road in the U.S. this spring.

The members of Saxon announced this week that the band will embark on the “Warriors of the Road” U.S. Tour in May. The tour is in support of the band’s recently re-issued recordings Heavy Metal Thunder and The Saxon Chronicles. Both recordings were re-issued February 24th. Heavy Metal Thunder included a bonus live recording titled Live at Bloodstock. The double-disc DVD The Saxon Chronicles was accompanied by a bonus live recording titled Rock ‘n’ Roll Gypsies 1989 Live.

Saxon’s upcoming tour kicks off on Tuesday, May 12th at BB King’s in New York City and will run through Saturday, May 30th in Los Angeles, California. One of the scheduled dates is a performance at the annual Rock on the Range Festival on Saturday, May 16th in Columbus, Ohio. Saxon will be joined by Armored Saint for the majority of the tour’s scheduled dates. Judas Priest will join the band on a four-date string of shows from May 17th to May 21st. The complete “Warriors of the Road” tour schedule is listed below.

SAXON “Warriors of the Road” U.S. Tour w/ Armored Saint:

5/12 – New York City, NY @ BB Kings w/ Armored Saint

5/13 – Worcester, MA @ The Palladium w/ Armored Saint

5/16 – Columbus, OH @ MAPFRE Stadium (formerly Crew Stadium) @ Rock On The Range

5/17 – Cincinnati, OH @ The Shoe w/ Judas Priest

5/19 – St. Charles, MO @ Family Area w/ Judas Priest

5/20 – Council Bluffs, IA @ Harrah’s Casino-Stir Cove w/ Judas Priest

5/21 – Rosemont, IL @ Rosemont Theater w/ Judas Priest

5/23 – San Antonio, TX @ 210 Kapone’s Live w/ Armored Saint

5/24 – Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey Live w/ Armored Saint

5/26 – Mesa, AZ @ Club Red

5/27 – Las Vegas, NV @ Vinyl at Hard Rock

5/29 – San Jose, CA @ Rock Bar w/ Armored Saint

5/30 – Los Angeles, CA @ House of Blues w/ Armored Saint

More information on the “Warriors of the Road” tour and all of the latest news from Saxon is available online at:

Website: https://www.saxon747.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/saxon

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SaxonOfficial

MySpace: https://www.myspace.com/planetsaxon

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://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.