‘Automata I,’ Is A Solid Start For BTBAM’s ‘Automata’

Courtesy: Sumerian Records

Progressive metal outfit Between The Buried and Me has, over the course of almost two decades, entertained audiences the world over with its unique brand of music, building its fan base along the way largely on its own terms and without major mainstream support. Given, the band was signed most recently to Metal Blade Records, which has become a major label in its own right, but only for hard rock and metal. To that end it can be argued, again, that BTBAM has largely built its success while staying just under that mainstream radar. That success continues this year with the band’s latest album, Automata I, released March 9 via independent label Sumerian Records. This record, the band’s ninth, can be said to be a success in part because of its concept. This will be discussed shortly. The songs used to tell the record’s story also play into its success. They will be discussed later. The record’s production values round out its most important elements. Each piece of the whole is important in its own way. All things considered, they make Automata I another welcome return for BTBAM and one more of this year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

Automata I, the first half of BTBAM’s new double album Automata, is one of this year’s top new hard rock and metal albums. That is due in no small part to the concept at the center of the album. The concept here contemplates what would happen if one’s dreams could be broadcast to the world for the sake of entertainment. It’s not such an out there concept considering all the people creating their own YouTube channels that they use to broadcast their personal feelings to the world, a world of strangers both good and — sadly — bad. Of course that seemingly was not what the band intended to convey here. Rather the band was examining what would happen if one’s literal dreams, those thoughts that rise in our sleep, could be broadcast for entertainment. This in itself is the starting point for plenty of discussions, not the least of which is why would anyone want to delve so deeply into someone’s personal life? Has mankind really become that desperate for drama, conflict and attention that one would even consider finding a way to do that? What would be the ramifications of going such a route? Simply put, this is a deep concept, and an original one at that, especially for a concept album. If for no reason other than for taking in this concept, audiences will want to hear this record. This is not the first concept album from BTBAM, and definitely not the least of those albums, either. As a matter of fact, it’s a concept that is just as interesting as those presented in the band’s previous concept efforts — The Parallax II: Future Sequence (2012), Coma Ecliptic (2015) — and is certain to keep listeners well engaged in its own right. Of course as much depth as this concept adds to the record’s overall presentation, it is only one part of what makes Automata I another interesting new effort from BTBAM. The songs that make up the body of the record do their own part to make the album worth the listen.

Automata I is made up of only six songs. Again, this is nothing new for this North Carolina-based prog metal outfit. The songs’ musical and lyrical content combine expertly to make this record all the deeper. In regards to the musical aspect of the songs, the band — Tommy Giles Rogers, Jr. (vocals,keyboards), Paul Waggoner (lead a& rhythm guitar), Dustie Waring (lead & rhythm guitar), Blake Richardson (drums) and Dan Briggs (bass, keyboards) — has once again evolved from its previous records, giving audiences something new yet again. Case in point, the album’s opener, ‘Condemned to the Gallows.’ This song starts off very softly, but gradually builds on itself as it progresses, going from that softness to a solid wall of sound about forty-six seconds in. The addition of Rogers’ vocals and Richardson’s blast beats almost two minutes into the song builds up the song’s arrangement even more. The arrangement closes out ominously in order to build into the album’s second song, ‘House Organ,’ which displays just as much diversity as anything that the band has ever created. It does so without just rehashing any of its previous works, too. It has those heavy moments, and also has some more somewhat contemplative, keyboard-driven moments that, when coupled with Rogers’ vocal delivery, conjure thoughts of Dream Theater. The musical interest doesn’t stop there. The band reaches into a variety of realms in the arrangement of ‘Yellow Eyes’ all while Rogers’ black metal style vocal delivery sits atop the whole thing. As if all of that isn’t enough, ‘Millions’ boasts an arrangement that seems to cross 80s hair metal with, again, a seeming Dream Theater influence circa Awake. ‘Gold Distance,’ the record’s penultimate track conjures thoughts of the soundtrack to Disney’s Tron: Legacy, and at barely more than a minute, it is a nice momentary break for listeners. ‘Blot,’ which closes out the album takes listeners on just as incredible of a sonic ride as its predecessors. That ride is a solid finishing point, musically, to this half of Automata. Needless to say it definitely leaves listeners anxious to hear what the second half of the album will sound like this June when it is released. Of course, the album’s musical arrangements are only one part of what makes the songs so important to the album’s presentation. Their lyrical content is just as important as their musical content.

The lyrical content presented throughout the course of Automata I is just as deep as that of any of the band’s previous records (both concept and standard). As Rogers noted in a recent interview, “Lyrically, I wanted to write something that I treated as a puzzle until it comes together at the end. For as deep and dark as it is, there’s a positive outcome, which we’ve never had.” He goes on to explain the story centering on a man whose dreams are being used as entertainment for the masses and the album’s central figure thinking everything happening is real, when it isn’t. The journey does in fact start very dark in ‘Condemned to the Gallows,’ with the song’s subject in…well…a very dark situation. He sings here, “Gripping the brightest grid/A surgical drive to increase the noise/ice cold realization of the silent wind/slowly drags me up into a splintered reason/Emptiness engulf me.” He goes on to sing, “Align the love inside me/let misery awake me/Search low/Abandoned/The creaking floors cry out below/A limping glimpse of next steps/The fog showers the last light of day.” The story’s main character sees his descent continue from here, with his emotional and psychological state seeming to get worse with each song. That is especially obvious by the time the album reaches its closer, ‘Blot.’ The subject sings here, “All my pockets are full and my mind is lost/Circulate/The rear view keeps shifting as I stare at the sun…this is the beginning of my new life/I hope you enjoy the show/It’s for you, ya know?/To watch you from across the room/To hear you through the tangled lines/It completes me/I’ve been waiting.” It is a dark but so powerful moment in this story, and one more example of why the album’s lyrical content is just as important as its musical content, and why both of those elements are just as important as the story itself to this record. The album’s songs, as important as they are to its whole, are not the last of its most important elements. Its production is important, too.

The production work put in on BTBAM’s new album is key to its presentation because of how much is going on within each song. The album’s opener is proof of that importance. The way in which the song builds from its soft opening to the controlled chaos of its main body keeps everything in full balance. That says a lot considering how easy it would have been for the song to get bogged down in itself musically with so much going on. Much the same could be said of ‘House Organ.’ it starts out in full, controlled death metal chaos before eventually calming into a more Spock’s Beard-esque prog-rock sound as it progresses. All the way on to the album’s end, the attention put into each line brings out the album’s best, with the result being a fully immersive listening experience that will keep every listener engaged. Keeping this in mind, the expert production work on this album is its finishing touch. When it is joined with the depth of the songs that make up the record and the story itself, the whole of the album becomes a work that will appeal to every BTBAM fan just as much as it will to prog metal(and even metal) fan — a record that is in itself one of this year’s top new albums and that likely with its forthcoming companion, one of the year’s top new albums overall.

Automata I, the first half of BTBAM’s new album Automata, is in itself another solid new entry from the veteran progressive metal outfit. That is made obvious first and foremost through the story presented in this half of the album. The story presented here follows its subject as he descends into sleep and starts his dreaming. The songs used to tell that portion of the story do plenty to keep listeners engaged. The production at the center of those songs allows each member of the band to be highlighted, keeping any song from getting muddied down in themselves. Each element is important in its own right to the whole of Automata I. All things considered, they make this first half of Automata an entry that the band’s longtime fans will appreciate just as much as prog metal (and metal) fans. It is available now in stores and online. The band is currently touring in support of Auotmata I. It will be in Pittsburgh, PA tomorrow, Mach 30 to kick off the weekend before moving on to Philadelphia on Saturday and then to Albany, New York on Monday. More tour dates are listed online along with all of the band’s latest news and more information on Automata at:

Website: http://www.betweentheburiedandme.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/btbamofficial

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Leprous Joins The Dear Hunter As Support For BTBAM Headlining Tour

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Leprous is joining Between The Buried and Me and The Dear Hunter on the road this spring.

The band, alongside The Dear Hunter, will serve as support for Between The Buried and Me on its upcoming North American headlining tour.  The tour is currently scheduled to start today, March 2, in Chicago, IL and run through April 7 in Mount Clemens, MI.  It will include performances in Asheville, NC; Los Angeles, CA; Cleveland, OH and a handful of other cities.  The tour’s current schedule is noted below.

Between The Buried And Me, The Dear Hunter & LEPROUS – North American Tour:
Fri. 03.02.2018 Chicago, IL (USA) – House of Blues (Sould out!)
Sat. 03.03.2018 Minneapolis, MN (USA) – First Avenue
Mon. 03.05.2018 Denver, CO (USA) – Ogden Theatre
Tue. 03.06.2018 Salt Lake City, UT (USA) – The Complex
Thu. 03.08.2018 Seattle, WA (USA) – Showbox
Fri. 03.09.2018 Portland, OR (USA) – Wonder Ballroom
Sat. 03.10.2018 San Francisco, CA (USA) – The Regency Ballroom
Sun. 03.11.2018 Anaheim, CA (USA) – House of Blues
Tue. 03.13.2018 Los Angeles, CA (USA) – Belasco Theater
Thu. 03.15.2018 Las Vegas, NV (USA) – House of Blues
Fri. 03.16.2018 Phoenix, AZ (USA) – Marquee
Sat. 03.17.2018 Albuquerque, NM (USA) – Sunshine Theater
Mon. 03.19.2018 Austin, TX (USA) – Come and Take it Live
Tue. 03.20.2018 Dallas, TX (USA) – Canton Hall
Wed. 03.21.2018 Houston, TX (USA) – Warehouse Ballroom
Fri. 03.23.2018 Orlando, FL (USA) – The Beacham Theatre
Sat. 03.24.2018 Ft. Lauderdale, FL (USA) – Revolution
Mon. 03.26.2018 Atlanta, GA (USA) – Masquerade
Tue. 03.27.2018 Nashville, TN (USA) – Cannery Ballroom
Wed. 03.28.2018 Asheville, NC (USA) – Orange Peel
Fri. 03.30.2018 Pittsburgh, PA (USA) – Mr. Smalls
Sat. 03.31.2018 Philadelphia, PA (USA) – Electric Factory
Mon. 04.02.2018 Albany, NY (USA) – Upstate Concert Hall
Tue. 04.03.2018 Boston, MA (USA) – Royale
Wed. 04.04.2018 New York City, NY (USA) – Playstation Theater
Thu. 04.05.2018 Silver Spring, MD (USA) – Fillmore Silver Spring
Fri. 04.06.2018 Cleveland, OH (USA) – Agora Theatre
Sat. 04.07.2018 Mount Clemens, MI (USA) – Emerald Theatre

Leprous’ members said March 2 in a collective statement that they were looking forward to their time with BTBAM and TDH.

“It’s exciting times ahead for Leprous,” the band said.  “Five weeks of touring with Between the Buried and Me and The Dear Hunter are starting today, and there’s several great festival shows ahead as well as more live shows in the planning for the fall.  new material has also slowly but surely started its process!”

The festival shows that the band noted are European shows scheduled for the summer.  Leprous’ upcoming European festival schedule is noted below.

LEPROUS – Festivals appearances:
Sat. 05.12.2018 Kopervik (Norway) – Karmoygeddon Metal Festival *
06.29.- 07.01.2018 Helsinki (Finland) – Tuska Open Air *
Fri. 07.13.2018 Viveiro (Spain) – Resurrection Fest
Sat. 07.14.2018 Eindhoven (The Netherlands) – Dynamo Metal Fest
Sat. 07.28.2018 Sibiu (Romania) – ARTmania Festival
Sat. 08.18.2018 Warsaw (Poland) – Prog In Park
More dates to be announced soon…

Leprous’ current live dates are in support of its most recent full-length studio recording, which spawned the singles ‘From The Flame,’ ‘Stuck‘ and ‘Illuminate.’

More information on Leprous’ live dates is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.leprous.net

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

 

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.

Leprous Joins The Dear Hunter As Support For BTBAM Headlining Tour

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Leprous has announced a new slate of live dates in support of its latest album Malina.

The band will join The Dear Hunter for a five-week headlining run by Between The Buried and Me across America.  Leprous’ performances are in support of Malina which was released last year via InsideOut Music while BTBAM’s dates are in support of its upcoming album Automata 1, which will be released March 9 via Sumerian Records.

The tour launches March 2 in Chicago, Illinois and runs through April 7 in Mount Clemens, Michigan.  It also includes performances in Houston, Texas; Pittsburgh, PA; Seattle, WA and a number of other cities.  The tour’s current schedule is noted below.

Tour Dates

3.2 – Chicago, IL – House of Blues
3.3 – Minneapolis, MN – First Ave
3.5 – Denver, CO – Ogden Theatre
3.6 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Complex
3.8 – Seattle, WA – Showbox
3.9 – Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom
3.10 – San Francisco, CA – The Regency Ballroom
3.11 – Anaheim, CA – House of Blues
3.13 – Los Angeles, CA – Belasco Theater
3.15 – Las Vegas, NV – House of Blues
3.16 – Phoenix, AZ – Marquee
3.17 – Albuquerque, NM – Sunshine Theater
3.19 – Austin, TX – Come and Take It Live
3.20 – Dallas, TX – Canton Hall
3.21 – Houston, TX – Warehouse Ballroom
3.23 – Orlando, FL – The Beacham Theater
3.24 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Revolution
3.27 – Nashville, TN – Cannery Ballroom
3.28 – Asheville, NC – Orange Peel
3.30 – Pittsburgh, PA – Mr. Smalls
3.31 – Philadelphia, PA – Electric Factory
4.2 – Albany, NY – Upstate Concert Hall
4.3 – Boston, MA – Royale
4.4 – New York City, NY – Playstation Theater
4.5 – Silver Spring, MD – Fillmore Silver Spring
4.6 – Cleveland, OH – Agora Theatre
4.7 – Mount Clemens, MI – Emerald Theatre

Pre-sales for tickets are open now. General ticket sales open at 10 a.m. Friday.

More information on Leprous’ upcoming live dates is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.leprous.net

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/InsideOutUSA

 

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.

Sherman’s Studio’ “Concert” Is A Performance Of A Lifetime

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

This year was another strong one for live recordings.  Between recordings released in bundles and those released either as standalone CDs or DVDs/BDs, the recordings that serve audiences who might have otherwise not been able to take in a live show, proved on both fronts to be largely solid offerings.  Given, there were some disappointments including Jane’s Addiction’s latest live recording Alive at Twenty-Five and the archived Les Paul tribute concert Live From Universal Studios Hollywood.  For the most part though, this year’s field of new live recordings — both on CD and DVD/BD — has proven to be quite impressive as has already been noted in the previous live recordings lists.  Keeping that in mind, it is only fair, having noted the best live CDs and best new live DVDs and Blu-rays to present one list of the year’s best new overall live recordings.

This year’s best overall live recordings pull from both audio and audio-visual fields, proving that recordings can be enjoyable in both arenas.  Topping this year’s list of best live overall recordings is PBS’ in studio “concert” from Richard Sherman, one half of the famed Sherman Brothers creative team, Songs of A Lifetime.  Slipknot’s new live recording Day of the Gusano is on this list, too thanks to the combined impact of its CD and Blu-ray presentation.  Of course while Alter Bridge, Jon Cleary and Experience Hendrix, LLC all released new recordings that were CD only, they deserve their own spot on the overall list.  Eagles of Death Metal’s new live recording Live at the Olympia Paris also deserves to be on that list along with The Rolling Stones’ new From The Vault offering Sticky Fingers Live at the Fonda Theatre 2015 — again because of the overall impact of its audio and audio/visual sides.  It’s just one more on that list.

As with every previous list, this entry offers this critic’s 10 best new titles in the category along with five additional honorable mention titles for a total of 15 titles.  Enough rambling.  Without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks 2017 Top 10 New Live Recordings.

PHIL’S PICKS 2017 TOP 10 NEW LIVE RECORDINGS

  1. Richard ShermanSongs of a Lifetime
  2. Slipknot — Day of the Gusano
  3. Mumford & Sons — Live in South Africa
  4. Between The Buried & Me — Coma Ecliptic Live
  5. Jon Cleary — Live at Chickie Wah Wah
  6. Curtis Knight presents Jimi Hendrix — Live at George’s Club 1965 & 1966
  7. Eagles of Death Metal — Live at Olympia Paris
  8. The Rolling Stones — From The VaultSticky Fingers Live at The Fonda Theatre 2015
  9. Foghat — Live at the Belly Up
  10. Black Sabbath — The End
  11. Jeff Beck — Live at the Hollywood Bowl
  12. The Who — Live at the Isle of Wight 2014
  13. The Winery Dogs — Dog Years — Live at Santiago & Beyond 2013 – 2016
  14. The Who — Tommy Live at Royal Albert Hall
  15. The Dead Daisies — Live & Louder

That’s it finally for the live recordings categories.  Up next will be the year’s top new albums overall.  It’s going to be an interesting list, needless to say as it may well change before it even gets posted up in the next day or so, so stay tuned!  Also on the way is a handful of lists for the year’s new DVD and Blu-ray titles including box sets for families and for grown-ups as well as family DVDs and Blu-rays.  Stay tuned!

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.

PBS’ Richard Sherman Studio “Concert” Hits All The Right Notes For Phil’s Picks’ 2017 Top 10 New Live DVDs/BDs List

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

Experiencing a live performance by one’s favorite acts is a special experience.  The sights and sounds — from the performance itself to the enjoyment and excitement experienced alongside other fans — come together to make the live experience something almost as magical as it is memorable.  Of course it’s not always that easy to have that experience because of work, family or maybe other items.  Enter the live DVD and Blu-ray.  These recordings are pivotal for audiences the world over because people don’t always get to see their favorite acts.  They also often prove to give audiences an experience that is at least slightly different from that offered in their CD counterparts.  Keeping that in mind, it is fully justifiable for critics to present lists of the year’s top new live DVDs and Blu-rays as well as live CDs.  That is exactly what this critic is doing here.

This year, as with so many years past, Eagle Rock Entertainment has proven to have the majority of the year’s top new live DVDs and Blu-rays, once again proving why it is the leader in live recordings.  Of course it is not the only label represented in this critic’s list this year.  Live recordings from The Winery Dogs, The Dead Daisies, and even famed songwriter Richard Sherman (one half of the famed Sherman Brothers creative team) are all on the list, too alongside new material from Between The Buried and Me and Michael Schenker.  Those noted recordings are all from other labels.  In other words, this year saw a healthy range of new live DVDs and Blu-rays.  With that in mind, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks’ 2017 Top 10 New Live DVDs and Blu-rays.  As always, the list includes this critic’s Top 10 choices as well as five additional honorable mention titles, for a total of 15 titles.  Let’s go!

PHIL’S PICKS 2017 TOP 10 NEW LIVE DVDS/BDs

  1. Richard ShermanSongs of a Lifetime
  2. Tedeschi Trucks Band — Live From The Fox Oakland
  3. Slipknot — Day of the Gusano
  4. Mumford & Sons — Live From South Africa
  5. Between The Buried and Me — Coma Ecliptic
  6. Black Sabbath — The End
  7. Jeff Beck — Live at the Hollywood Bowl
  8. The Rolling Stones — Sticky Fingers Live at the Fonda Theatre 2015
  9. The Who — Tommy Live at the Royal Albert Hall
  10. The Winery Dogs — Dog YearsLive in Santiago and Beyond 2013 – 2016
  11. Eagles of Death Metal — I Love You All The Time — Live at the Olympia Paris
  12. Sting — Live at the Olympia Paris
  13. Spock’s Beard — Snow Live
  14. The Dead Daisies — Live & Louder
  15. Michael Schenker — Michael Schenker Fest Live Tokyo International Forum Hall

That’s all for this list and still not all for the live recordings.  Still to consider is the whole of the combo packs and the standalone recordings.  In other words, there is still a list of the year’s top new live recordings overall to consider.  Also still on the way are the year’s top new albums as well as a handful of DVD and Blu-ray lists.  As many as possible will be covered before the year lets out, so stay tuned for all of that.

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.

Rare Hendrix Archived Live Recording Takes Top Honors On Phil’s Picks 2017 Top 10 Live CDs List

Courtesy: Dagger Records/Experience Hendrix, LLC

Experiencing live concert events is not an easy thing in this day and age.  Between the collective costs of attending (I.E. pricey tickets, gas, souvenirs, possible lodging, food & drink, etc.), perhaps the general lack of time to attend depending on circumstances, or maybe the very fact that audiences’ favorite acts didn’t include certain cities on their tours, there is a lot that plays into the inability to attend live events.  Keeping this in mind, not all hope is lost, thanks to all of the live recordings released each year by so many acts.  Some are released as full bundle packages while others are released just as DVDs or Blu-rays.  Some are even released solely on CD.  Regardless of the platforms, the availability of so many live recordings is unquestionably important for audiences.  Staying on that topic, the live CDs made available are worth noting in their own right.  That is the the case regardless of whether or not said CDs are bundled with DVD or Blu-ray counterparts.  That is because, again, even if the CDs come alongside a live audio visual component, that audio only component can and does oftentimes, translate differently than DVD and Blu-ray recordings.  Keeping this in mind, Phil’s Picks is offering a list of the year’s top new live CDs.

Included in this year’s list are standalone CD recordings and CDs included as part of bundles.  The titles featured in this year’s list include live recordings from Curtis Knight, Jon Cleary, Alter Bridge, The Dead Daisies and many others.  Simply put, they run the gamut from one genre to another across the musical universe.  Topping this year’s list is Dagger Records and Experience Hendrix, LLC’s new Jimi Hendrix recording Curtis Knight featuring Jimi Hendrix Live at George’s Club 20 1965 & 1966.  This live recording features performances by Hendrix well before he became an international superstar — performances that showed his talent even then.  Also included in this year’s list are recordings from Foghat, Alter Bridge, Armored Saint and others.  As is the case with every Phil’s Picks year-ender, this list features the top 10 best new titles plus five additional honorable mention titles for a total of 15 titles.  Staying on that note, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks 2017 Top 10 New Live CDs.

PHIL’S PICKS 2017 TOP 10 NEW LIVE CDs

  1. Curtis Knight feat. Jimi Hendrix — Live at George’s Club 20 1965 & 1966
  2. Alter Bridge — Live at The 02 & Rarities
  3. Jon Cleary — Live at the Chickie Wah Wah
  4. Foghat — Live at The Belly Up
  5. Between The Buried and Me — Coma Ecliptic Live
  6. Armored Saint — Carpe Noctum
  7. Slipknot — Day of the Gusano
  8. Black Sabbath — The End
  9. The Rolling Stones — Live at The Fonda Theatre 2015
  10. The Who — Live at the Isle of Wight 2014
  11. Jeff Beck — Live at the Hollywood Bowl
  12. The Winery Dogs — Dog Years Live in Santiago & Beyond 2013 – 2016
  13. Def Leppard — …And There Will Be A Next Time
  14. Joe Bonamassa — Live at Carnegie Hall
  15. Fates Warning — Awaken The Guardian Live

That’s it for this list, but not for the live recordings lists.  Still on tap in this category is the year’s top new live DVDs and BDs as well as the year’s top new live recordings overall.  Before getting there though, there is at least one last list in the form of the year’s top new albums overall.  That one’s coming soon, so stay tuned.

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.

Metal Blade Sharp As Ever With New BTBAM, Fates Warning Live Recordings

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Metal Blade Records has two new live recordings out today, and they are recordings that both deserve a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new live recordings.  The recordings in question are Between The Buried and Me’s Coma Ecliptic Live and Fates Warning’s Awaken The Guardian Live. Both deserve one of those critical spots in part due to their set lists.  This will be discussed shortly.  The respective performances in each recording are just as important to note as the set lists.  The recordings’ production values round out the recordings’ most important elements.  Each element is important in its own right to the recordings’ presentations.  All things considered, both recordings prove to be offerings that fans of each band will appreciate and that, again, deserve a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new live recordings.

Coma Ecliptic Live and Awaken The Guardian Live are both recordings that are deserving of a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new live recordings.  That is due in no small part to the set lists featured in the recordings.  The set lists stand out because they are not just collections of songs.  Instead, each is a full album from its respective band.  For Between the Buried and Me, the album in question is the band’s latest album Coma Ecliptic.  For Fates Warning, the album is the classic album Awaken The Guardian. Both concerts were very recently recorded.  The prior was recorded during BTBAM’s October 4, 2016 concert at The Observatory North Park in San Diego, CA while the latter was recorded in 2016, too.  Regardless of whether one chooses the concerts’ 2 CD/DVD combo pack, Blu-ray, or deluxe edition, audiences will get both concerts on each platform.  BTBAM’s concert is also available in multiple formats, giving audiences just as much chance to enjoy that concert in various ways, too.  Having noted all this, it should be clear why the set lists featured in both bands’ new recordings are so important.  Sure, they are not the only bands to ever perform an album in whole at a concert.  How many bands or acts in general have ever released those performances for their fans?  Some have, yes.  But such recordings are not overly prevalent regardless of genre.  To that end, the set lists presented in these recordings gain even more importance in the recordings’ presentations.  Of course the set lists are only part of what makes each recording stand out.  The bands’ performances are just as important to note as the shows’ set lists.

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

The set lists featured in Fates Warning and BTBAM’s new live recordings are clearly important parts of each recording’s whole.  They are however, not the recordings’ only important elements.  The bands’ performances in each recording are just as important to note as the shows’ set lists.  In regards to BTBAM’s performance of Coma Ecliptic Live, the band takes little, if any, time between songs.  Rather, the band proceeds smoothly from one track to the next, keeping the album’s story moving from one song to the next.  The result is that even home audiences are pulled completely into the show, fully ensuring their engagement from beginning to end.  That is a powerful statement even for the concert’s audio-only presentation.  The performances put on by Fates Warning are just as impressive. The reunion of the band’s original lineup created an energy in its performance that is difficult to top from any similar act.  Original front man Jon Arch’s vocals soar while guitarist Jim Matheos and drummer Steve Zimmerman collectively pack their own musical punch throughout the shows.  The same can be said of bassist Joe DiBiase.  What’s more, the band wastes just as little time between songs in its performances, too, opting instead to let their performances do the talking for them.  That element of the performance, just as with BTBAM’s new live recording, keeps this band’s fans just as engaged as those of BTBAM or any other band.  Keeping that in mind it becomes fully clear why the performances put on by both bands are so critical to each act’s recording.  The performances are not the last of the recordings’ most important elements.  Their production values round out their most important elements.

The set lists and performances presented in both BTBAM’s new live recording and that of Fates Warning are both key to said recordings’ presentations.  That is evident in the fact that the set lists are made of one full album each rather than being random collections of songs.  The performances take audiences straight through said albums with little to no downtime between songs. Considering this, it is clear why each element is so important.  The noted elements are not the recordings’ only key elements.  Their production values are just as critical in their presentations as the aforementioned elements.  That is because it is those values that determine how well (or not) the recordings translate to home audiences.  Luckily for each band, the recordings’ production values stand out for the most positive reasons.  In the case of Coma Ecliptic Live, audiences are treated to expertly mixed audio, camera angles that take audiences up close and personal with the band and editing that just as expertly captures the energy and emotion of every song.  Much the same can be said of Awaken The Guardian Live.  Even in the case of the recordings’ audio-only platforms, the sound mixing is so well handled that audiences are pulled just as much into the concerts.  Between the expertly handled audio, the camera work and the recordings’ editing, the whole of the recordings’ production values form the foundation for each recording, a foundation on which the previously discussed set lists and performances rest easily.  All things considered, each recording proves to be enjoyable for the bands’ respective audiences.  They prove to be among the year’s top new live recordings.

Come Ecliptic Live and Awaken The Guardian Live are among this year’s top new live recordings.  They are presentations that fans of Between The Buried and Me and Fates Warning will all enjoy.  That is due to set lists that give audiences full album experiences and performances of said albums that will keep home audiences just as engaged as the audiences who attended the events in person.  The concerts’ production values across their varied platforms put the finishing touch on each recording’s presentation.  That is because they wholly pull audiences into the concerts regardless of platform.  Each element, as has been discussed already, plays its own integral part in the recordings’ presentations.  All things considered, they make each recording presentations that are memorable concerts; concerts that fans of each band will enjoy, leaving them agreeing each one deserves a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new live recordings.  Each recording is available in stores and online now.  More information on each recording is available online now at:

 

 

 

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