The Nixons’ Engines Are Still Roaring On Its New EP ‘Sonic Boom’

Courtesy: Art Is War Records

Famed alt-rock band The Nixons returned this year with its first new music in more than 20 years.  The band’s new music came in May in the form of its new EP Sonic Boom, more than 20 years after it released its then fourth album The Latest Thing. The five-song record is a surprisingly strong return for the band, considering how much time has passed between the records’ releases.  That is proven right from the EP’s outset in ‘Crutch.’  This song will be discussed shortly.  ‘Favorite Lies,’ the EP’s lead single, is another example of what makes this new offering such an engaging new offering from the veteran rock band.  ‘Letters,’ the record’s second song, is just one more example of why Sonic Boom is worth hearing.  Together with ‘Ghost of an Angel’ and ‘Heaven is a Heartbreak,’ the record in whole of the record one more of this year’s top new EPs.

When The Nixons released its new EP Sonic Boom this year, more than 20 years had passed between its release and that of the band’s fourth album The Latest Thing. Considering how much time had passed between the records’ releases, it would be easy to assume that the band would have some rust to knock off so to speak.  But listening through this 18-minute-plus presentation, the reality is the exact opposite.  The EP presents the band as a group that has actually improved since the last time audiences heard from its members.  This is proven right from the EP’s outset in ‘Crutch,’ the EP’s second single.  The song’s musical arrangement takes the radio ready sound that made it so popular in its early days and basically lit a stick of dynamite, blowing it up and adding that much more energy to its presentation.  It’s a sound that can easily be likened to works from the likes of Pearl Jam, The Exies, and Chainsaw Kittens.  It is just a high-energy composition that ensures listeners’ engagement and entertainment.  When it is joined with the song’s equally assured lyrical theme, it becomes that much more engaging, as does the song in whole.

The lyrical theme featured in Crutch is presented as someone who is through being that person who has always been there for that person who refuses to take chances in life and instead relies on others to get things done for him/her.  This is that person who mooches off of others and expects everything done for him/her.  Who hasn’t dealt with this kind of person at one point or another in life?  Front man Zac Maloy hints at that them in the lead verse, singing, “If you put one foot in front of the other/The chances rise that you’re gonna stumble/But if you just stand there/You ain’t going anywhere/Just wasting a heart beat/When you fall/I’ll let you fall/But I will be around to help you up/But you’ve gotta learn for yourself/I won’t be your crutch.”  This is a direct statement that leaves little doubt as to what is being said.  This is a firm lyrical kick in the backside to that person who would rather be lazy and let someone else do the hard work.  The statement continues in the song’s second verse, which finds Maloy singing, “Go and string one scar into another/Trade a life that hums for a life that rumbles/Maybe we’re supposed to die/More than a thousand times/Maybe we’re meant to hurt/So we know/What love/Feels like/When you fall/I’ll let you fall/But I will be around to help you up/But you need to learn for yourself/I won’t be your crutch.”  Once again, here listeners get a direct statement about just taking those risks and steps in life, no matter the outcome, because things happen for a reason.  The two verses, collectively make the statement that we can’t let ourselves be afraid of what life might being, regardless of the potential outcome.  This is a telling statement for the band, being the EP’s opener, especially considering this EP is the band’s first new music in more than 20 years.  It makes sense that the band would use this song as an opener for the EP.  It is a statement for the band while also serving as a statement to which plenty of listeners will relate.  To that end, it leaves zero doubt as to why it is one of Sonic Boom’s most notable tracks.  Of course it is just one of the EP’s most notable works.  ‘Your Favorite Lies’ does just as much as ‘Crutch’ to show why Sonic Boom is worth hearing.

‘Your Favorite Lies’ presents listeners with a musical arrangement that is akin to works from some of the more well-known pop punk acts of the mid-late 90s and early 2000s.  Between the vocal delivery style, guitar line and the rhythm section, audiences can quickly make a comparison to works from the likes of New Found Glory just to name one of those bands.  The tone in the song’s arrangement helps to translate the message in the song’s lyrical theme, too.  It is a slightly somber tone, but not say, an emo type of somber.  It is more contemplative than anything.

The song’s lyrical theme, speaking of which, seems to come across as telling the story of someone who would rather hear lies than face reality.  This is inferred in part through the song’s lead verse, in which Maloy sings, “Waking up to an invitation/Reunion of a generation/I was never in/Had no business/Faking my way through/Save a spot for my brand new savior/Cashing in on an unclaimed favor/He was holding out/Never see/saving it for you and me/Before I knew it all/Guess we had to fall/Before we’d know how to stand up/Put me in a room/Where the sun blooms/I now what I need to tell you/I’ll look you in the eyes/And tell all your favorite lies.”  Maloy continues in the song’s second verse, “I don’t care what you want to call this/Chalk it up to a broken promise/You can cover it/With a rose/Shaded, jaded point of view/All sinners hang with holy rollers/Never know exactly what the soul is/But we’re playing it/Entertaining/The sky is always blue.”  Looking back through all of this, maybe it is not addressing one person refusing to face reality, but perhaps how people in general don’t want to face reality.  That is especially inferred in the line noting, “You can cover it/With a rose/Shaded, jaded point of view/All sinners hang with holy rollers.”  It’s as if Maloy is commenting on how humans don’t want to accept that things are a certain way, that we’d rather gloss things over and see them in a certain light than see them as they are.  This is just this critic’s own interpretation.  It would seem to work though, especially noting again the contemplative tone in the song’s arrangement.  That the song can create such thought pattern and discussion is in itself all the more reason that it stands out as one of the EP’s most notable works. Together with ‘Crutch,’ the two songs do plenty to show why Sonic Boom is a standout new offering from The Nixons.  They are not the record’s only notable works, either.  ‘Letters,’ the EP’s second song, does its own part to show what makes Sonic Boom worth hearing.

‘Letters’ is a star contrast to anything that The Nixons has offered audiences on any of its past records.  This nearly five-minute composition bears a deeply brooding nature in its arrangement that opens with a full-on wall of sound approach before moving into a slightly more controlled brooding sound.  The overall heavy musical nature of the arrangement, which trudges along slowly, works well with the song’s lyrical theme, which seems to present someone who is at a very low point in life.

The seeming emotional heaviness is evident throughout the song, beginning with its lead verse, in which Maloy sings, “Dear truth/Do you plan to show your face again/Dear truth/I would even take you…The cold/Empty space/That you left/Is swallowing us whole/Dear lies/How’s the view from where you’re sitting now/Dear lies/Who’s the next for taking down/Look us right/in our face/Who you killed and what you stole.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Dear love/If we even have a fighting chance/We need you now/Can you tell me when you’re coming back/There’s a new/Kind of fire/Burning in the same old…Dear hope/You taught us to believe in you/Dear hope/What the hell are we supposed to do/When fate/is the contract/or a joke/no one should ever tell.”  To say that this is some heavy lyrical content is an understatement.  This comes across, again, as someone who is in a very dark place in his or her mind and who just feels completely lost inside.   This is something to which a wide range of listeners will relate.  That ability to connect with so many listeners both musically and lyrically and in such unique fashion makes this song Sonic Boom’s most unique work and perhaps the strongest example of what makes the EP such an impressive return for The Nixons.  Together with the other two songs noted here and the pair of songs not directly addressed, the EP in whole proves itself to be a work that while maybe not supersonic, is still powerful in its own right.

Sonic Boom is a strong return for The Nixons.  It is a presentation that shows despite having not made any new music for more than 20 years, this band’s engines are still roaring.  Yes, that awful pun was intended.  That is proven through the EP’s musical arrangements and its lyrical themes, as addressed here.  The songs noted here and those not directly addressed clearly support the noted statement.  When considered with the EP’s other songs not mentioned here, the EP in whole proves itself deserving of a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new EPs.  Sonic Boom is available now.

More information on Sonic Boom is available along with all of The Nixons’ latest news and more at:

 

Websitehttp://thenixonsofficial.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/TheNixonsOfficial

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Skinlab Debuts ‘Amerikill’ Video

Courtesy: Art Is War Records

Skinlab released the video for its latest single this week.

The band debuted the video for its new single ‘Amerikill‘ Tuesday.  The single is taken from the band’s 2019 album Venomous, which was released through Art is War War Records.  The video features the band performing its new single and a man who surrounds himself with guns.  There is also a commentary on the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak visualized in the video.  the whole thing has a surprise ending for audiences to discover for themselves.

Front man Steev Esquival said in a recent interview, that the video’s visuals are tied directly into what is going on in the world now.

“We are excited to release our new video for ‘Amerikill,’ he said.  “This will be the first of many videos the band shot ourselves with the help of our bud Karl Whinnery who did an awesome job with his added story line catering catering to the inner paranoia developed through isolation.  The message is real…know your surroundings.”

‘Amerikill’ is the third single so far from Venomous.  The band debuted the video for the album’s lead single ‘Overcoming‘ on Aug. 9.  That single was followed by the debut of the video for the album’s second single ‘The Fury Within The Fire‘ on Jan. 16.

The full track listing for Venomous is noted below.

 

Tracklisting:

1 The Fury Within the Fire

2 Amerikill (The Trigger)

3 Venomous

4 Overcoming

5 Demons

6 For the Fallen

7 Far from Grace

8 Eyes of Your Enemy

9 End of Silence

10 The Family

 

More information on Skinlab’s new album is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:

 

Website: http://www.skinlabofficial

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/skinlab1

 

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.

Bleed The Sky Debuts ‘Serpent’ Video; Announces Tour With Skinlab

Courtesy: Art Is War Records

Bleed The Sky will release its latest full-length studio album later this month.

The album, This Way Lies Madness, is scheduled for release Jan. 17 through Art is War Records.  In anticipation of the album’s release, the band debuted the video for the album’s lead single, ‘Serpent,’ Monday.  The band debuted the video through Brave Words.  The track listing for This Way Lies Madness is noted below.

Tracklisting:

“Tongue Louse”
“Carnage (Join Me In The Fire)”
“Serpent”
“Quiet Here”
“Membrane”
“Ghost”
“Age Of The Basilisk” (feat. Aaron Korstjens)
“Carrion Bather” (feat. Steve Tinnon)
“This Way Lies Madness”

‘Serpent’ is Bleed The Sky’s first new music in more than 10 years. Prior to its release, the band released the album Murder The Dance in 2008.  It was preceded by Paradigm In Entropy in 2005.  Both noted records were released through Nuclear Blast Records.

 

Courtesy: Art Is War Records

Bleed The Sky will promote its new album with a tour alongside label mates Skinlab starting Jan. 23 in Sacramento, CA.  The tour is scheduled to run through Feb. 9 in Columbus, OH, and to feature performances in cities, such as El Paso, TX; Waterloo, IA and Oklahoma City, OK.  The tour’s schedule is noted below.

Tour dates:

January
23 – Sacramento, CA – Holy Diver
24 – Santa Ana, CA – Malone’s
25 – San Diego, CA – Brick by Brick
26 – West Hollywood, CA – Whisky A Go Go
27 – Tucson, AZ – Club Encore
29 – El Paso, TX – Rockhouse
30 – Austin, TX – Come and Take It Live
31 – Fort Worth, TX – The Rail Club

February
1 – Oklahoma City, OK – 89th Street
2 – Tyler, TX – TBA
4 – St. Louis, MO – Fubar
5 – Peoria, IL – Monarch Music Hall
6 – Waterloo, IA- TBA
7 – Joliet, IL – The Forge
8 – Battle Creek, MI – TBA
9 – Columbus, OH – Big Room Bar

More information on Bleed The Sky’s upcoming tour, album and more is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.bleedtheskymetal.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pg/BleedTheSkyband

Twitter: http://twitter.com/bleed_official

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

The Nixons Debut ‘Favorite Lies’

Courtesy: Art Is War Records

Famed alt-rock band The Nixons released its latest new single this week.

The band released the single ‘Favorite Lies‘ Friday.  The single’s release comes more than three months after the release of its then most recent single ‘Crutch,’ which debuted Aug. 1.

 

Courtesy: Art Is War Records

Along with the debut of its new single, the alt-rock band, which rose to fame in the early 90s, also announced this week, a new tour with fellow 90s rockers Sponge.  The “Working Class Tour” is scheduled to launch Dec. 3 in Washington, D.C. and to run through Dec. 14 in Newport, KY.  The tour features performances in cities, such as St. Louis, MO; Atlanta, GA and Atlantic City, NJ.

VIP packages and meet-and-greets are available here.

The tour’s schedule is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://thenixonsofficial.com

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

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Skinlab’s ‘Venomous’ Proves You Can’t Keep A Good Band Down

Courtesy: Art Is War Records

Skinlab is back.  Late last month, the band released its first new album in a decade when it released its new album Venomous.  Released through Art is War Records, the 10-song record was produced by Ulrich Wild (Deftones, Static-X, White Zombie).  It features original member Steev Esquivel (vocals, bass) joined by fellow familiar Skinlab member Snake on guitar, Fabian Vestod on drums and Marcos Medina on guitar.  This new offering from one of the underground metal outfit is an interesting return for the band, as is evidenced through the album’s title track.  This will be discussed shortly.  Just as notable as that song is the far slower, more contemplative ‘Demons,’ which will be addressed a little later. Also very notable in this record is the very Static-X-esque ‘Eyes Of Your Enemy.’  It will also be addressed later.  When these songs are considered alongside the likes of  ‘For The Fallen’ and the clearly sociopolitical ‘Amerikill (The Trigger),’ the whole of those songs and the album’s four remaining songs becomes a positive new effort from Skinlab and a welcome return from the veteran underground metal outfit.

Skinlab’s first new album in ten years is a fierce, fiery return for the band.  It is a record that the band’s most devoted fan base will appreciate just as much as the new generation of metal fans.  That is proven in pat through the album’s title track.  The song’s arrangement is a mid-tempo work whose guitars, drums and bass come together to form its foundation.  Esquivel’s cookie monster growls works alongside those instrumental portions of the song to make the whole of the song a steady, solid slab of metal from beginning to end.  Wild’s experience working with nu-metal acts is obvious in the song, too, as the song does have a bit of a nu-metal/aggro-rock feel at times.  That aside, the song still stands out as one of the album’s most notable works at least for its musical arrangement.  The song’s lyrical content makes it just as notable.

Deciphering the song sans lyrics sheet is slightly difficult, but enough of the song’s lyrics can be understood here that one can make an educated inference about the lyrical content.  Esquivel sings in the song’s lead verse, “So many people die living the dream/With the blind man leading the blind.”  He adds here, “Never conform to conformity/With all this hatred deep inside/We’re not gonna live/’Cause we’re all gonna die.”  This comes across as a very charged social commentary, with Esquivel seeming to make a statement about people needing to do their own thing.  There is that mention of the blind leading the blind, and that causing people to die living the dream.  People give in to certain standards from those who don’t know anything, and we need to just live our own lives.  That is of course just this critic’s own interpretation of these lyrics.  Esquivel even mentions at one point, ‘you never know when your time may come.”  That strengthens the noted interpretation even more.  That being the case, this is a seeming message that listeners everywhere will benefit from receiving. That is because while it may not be the first time that any musical act has put out a message of living one’s own life, it is a message that is always pertinent.  To that end, this seeming message is critical, and when considered along with the song’s heavy, pounding musical arrangement, makes clear why this song is one of the album’s most notable works.  It is just one of the album’s most notable works.  The far more contemplative ‘Demons’ is notable in its own right.

Whereas ‘Venomous’ presents a heavy, plodding musical arrangement and strong seeming reminder of living one’s own life, ‘Demons’ presents a decidedly different picture.  This song’s arrangement is far more reserved than almost anything else in the record.  The only other song that can rightly be compared to ‘Demons’ in terms of musical arrangements is the album’s closer, ‘The Family.’  The arrangement at the center of ‘Demons’ can be argued to be a bit of a blues-infused work due to its bass and drums, which form its foundation.  That is not to say that it boasts a blues-rock sound, though the guitars do add a bit of a bluesy touch.  That aside, it still very much presents a rock sound, just with a distinct blues sort of tinge.  That in itself makes the song stand out clearly among its counterparts on this record.  The song’s musical arrangement is just one part of what makes the song stand out.  Its thought-provoking lyrical content adds its own share of interest for listeners.

Esquivel sings in the song’s lead verse, “Walking alone/I’m so tired and cold…I’ve got nothing to use…how long can I last when I’m living a lie/’Cause it’s only a matter of time when my demons collide.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Jaded and cold/I’m so bitter and old/As my bones are now turning to dust/Wasted and bruised/I’m so tired and confused/Now that my ashes have now turned into rust/How long can you last when you’re living a lie/As we know, it’s a matter of time when our demons collide.”  This comes across as someone who is at a very low point in life.  Esquivel goes so far later as to sing, “I’ve got nothing to lose/When I’m living on borrowed time.”  So again, here is someone who is dealing with some very difficult thoughts and emotions.  Lots of people have been at that point, so to hear someone else expressing those thoughts can actually come as a form of therapy so to speak, knowing that they are not alone in battling those thoughts and emotions.  To that end, it makes the song even more powerful and notable.  It is not the last of the album’s most notable entries, either.  ‘Eyes of Your Enemy’ is another of the album’s most notable songs.

‘Eyes of Your Enemy’ stands out in part because of its musical arrangement.  The arrangement in question lends itself easily to comparisons to works from Static-X with the sound its guitar line, its thrash style drumming and effects in its vocals.  That is especially in the call and response moments.  That is a direct throwback to an effect used in Static-X’s works.  Of course, considering that Producer Ulrich Wild worked with that band, too, that should come as no surprise here.  If for no other reason than its musical arrangement, this composition is well worth the note.  Of course the song’s arrangement is not its only element.  It also presents its own thought provoking lyrical content.

The lyrical content, without a lyrics sheet to reference, is not easy to decipher, but as with other songs on the album, just enough is decipherable that at least some inference can be drawn about said content.  Esquivel makes mention in the song’s chorus of becoming the killer or becoming the prey.  There is also a mention in the song’s lead verse of someone making broken promises.  He even mentions in the chorus of it being “too late to turn away.”  While the interpretation could be wholly wrong, there is enough here to infer at least that the song’s subject is expressing deep-seated feelings of anger towards someone who has done the subject wrong.  Of course, this could be completely incorrect as an interpretation.  Either way, it goes without saying that Esquivel and company give listeners plenty to think and talk about here.  That alone makes the song stand out that much more, with its metaphorical language.  Between that ensured discussion and thought brought through the lyrical content and the engagement and entertainment generated through the song’s musical arrangement, the whole of the song proves to be its own key point in the record’s run.  Keeping that in mind, the song – when considered alongside the other songs discussed here and the rest of the album’s entries – shows even more why Venomous proves to be such a strong new return for Skinlab.

Skinlab’s first new studio recording in a decade is a telling statement about the band and its place in the metal community today.  The 10-song album shows the band as a group that despite poor record sales in the past, lineup changes and more, its members will not let that adversity keep it sidelined.  It is a record whose musical and lyrical content blends well into the metal community today, as is evidenced in the songs discussed here.  Between those songs and the rest of the album’s works, the whole of Venomous proves to be a record whose bite is as strong as its bark.  Yes, that terrible pun was intended.  It is a record that proves it’s hard to keep a good band down.  The band will launch a tour in support of Venomous Jan. 23 in Sacramento, CA.  The band’s tour schedule, news and more is available online at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.skinlabofficial.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/skinlab1

 

 

 

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.

Skinlab Releases First Album In A Decade; Announces New Live Dates

Courtesy: Art Is War Records

Skinlab is back.

For the first time since 2009, the band has released a new album in the form of Venomous.

Produced by Ulrich Wild (Static-X, White Zombie, Deftones), the 10-song album was released Friday through Art Is War Records.  The band debuted the video for the album’s lead single ‘Overcome’ in August.

The album features the lineup of Steev Esquivel (vocals, bass), Snake (guitar), Fabian Vestod (drums) and Marcos Medina (guitar).

Skinlab will launch a tour in support of Venomous in January.  The tour is scheduled to launch Jan. 23 in Sacramento, CA and to run through Feb. 9 in Columbus, OH.  It will feature performances in cities, such as Lubbock, TX; St. Louis, MO and Joliet, IL.  The tour’s schedule is noted below.

2020 REVIVAL Tour dates w/ Bleed The Sky, Arise In Chaos, So This Is Suffering*

1/23 – Sacramento, CA – Holy Diver*

1/24 – Santa Ana, CA – Malone’s*

1/25 – San Diego, CA – Brick by Brick*

1/26 – West Hollywood, CA – Whisky A Go Go*

1/27 – Tucson, AZ – Club Encore*

1/29 – Lubbock, TX, TBA

1/30 – Austin, TX – Come and Take It Live*

1/31 – Fort Worth, TX – The Rail Club*

2/1 – Oklahoma City, OK – 89th Street*

2/2 – Tyler, TX – TBA

2/4 – St. Louis, MO – Fubar

2/5 – Peoria, IL – Monarch Music Hall

2/6 – Waterloo, IA- TBA

2/7 – Joliet, IL – The Forge

2/8 – Battle Creek, MI – TBA

2/9 – Columbus, OH – Big Room Bar

Bleed The Sky, Arise in Chaos and So This Is Suffering will join Skinlab for the tour.  More information on Skinlab’s new album and tour is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.skinlabofficial

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/skinlab1

 

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.