Independent, Established Acts Alike Provided Impressive New EPs In 2022

Courtesy: Sumerian Records

The old year is getting ready to finish once again and make way for a new year that is already starting to see a handful of new releases scheduled.  New material from the likes of Anti-Flag and The Winery Dogs are already scheduled for release in January and February respectively.  Mercury Studios (formerly Eagle Rock Entertainment) also has new archived live recordings on the way from Marvin Gaye and Ella Fitzgerald.  Even the independent music community has lots of stuff planned for next year, including a new release from indie rock band Starcrazy in for them of its new album, Another Day, Another Squalor.  Of course lots more music is sure to be announced in the coming days and weeks, meaning it won’t be long before things already start picking up.

While critics’ new music calendars will start filling up very soon, their 2022 calendars are finally done now that the last days of the year are here.  One category of new music that doesn’t get enough attention from one year to the next is the smallest release, the EP.  That is why this critic has made it a point each year to focus on the recording, which for some acts is a way to test the waters before releasing their debut albums and for others a space filler, for its own year-ender list.

This year’s list of top new EPs touches on a variety of acts.  From independent acts to more established acts, lots of EPs have been released this year.  From Saint Asonia to The Rumjacks to Black Veil Brides and more, acts across the musical universe have released interesting new EPs.  Black Veil Brides’ new EP, The Mourning tops Phil’s Picks list of top new EPs this year.  As with every year past, this list features the top 10 new titles in the given category along with five additional honorable mention titles for a total of 15 records.

Without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks’ 2022 Top 10 New EPs.


  1. Black Veil Brides – The Mourning
  2. The Rumjacks – Brass For Gold
  3. Hyro The Hero – Kids Against The Monsters
  4. Saint Asonia – Extrovert
  5. Genghis Nash – The Odyssey
  6. Classless Act – Welcome to the Show
  7. Liar Thief Bandit – Diamonds
  8. Saint Asonia – Introvert
  9. Twisted Mind – From Slave to Prophet
  10. The Guitar & Whiskey Club – The Guitar & Whiskey Club
  11. Them Damn Kings – Rise Up
  12. A Vulture Wake – Kingdom
  13. The Corps – From Oblivion
  14. Los Saints – Welcome to Confusion
  15. Darko – Sparkle

That’s it for this category, but there are plenty more to go before the year ends, including tomorrow’s list of the year’s Top 10 New Rock Albums.  Stay tuned!

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to and “Like” It.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at

Black Veil Brides’ New EP Will Leave Audiences Anything But “Mourning”

Courtesy: Sumerian Records

Late last month, Black Veil Brides released its new EP, The Mourning through Sumerian Records.  The four-song record’s release came Oct. 21, roughly a year after the release of the band’s then latest album, The Phantom Tomorrow, which was a musical and stylistic turning point for the band.  The band continued that change with this, its ninth studio recording and third EP.  The band is currently on the road with Ice Nine Kills and Motionless in White as part of the Trinity of Terror tour in support of the record, whose musical and lyrical content clearly shows that continued change of sound and style.  ‘Better Angels,’ which closes the EP, is one of the most notable of the record’s entries.  It will be discussed shortly.  On the exact other end of the record is its opener, ‘Devil,’ which will be examined a little later.  ‘Saviour II’ is yet another standout addition to the EP and will also be examined later.  When it is considered alongside the other songs noted here and with the EP’s one remaining song, ‘The Revival,’ the whole makes The Mourning easily one of the year’s top new EPs.

The Mourning, the third new EP from Black Veil Brides (and the band’s ninth new studio recording), is a strong new offering from the band. That is proven through its musical and lyrical content alike.  The record’s finale, ‘Better Angels’ is just one of the songs that makes that clear.  The melodic hard rock approach that the band takes in the song’s musical arrangement makes the song just as accessible as works from so many other similar bands, mainstream and independent.  Comparisons can be made to works from the likes of Awake At Last, Saint Asonia, and Bullet for my Valentine.  This is not to say that BVB has not composed some melodic hard rock songs throughout its history, but comparing much of its early catalog to a work, such as this song, the difference is clear, and it makes the song here just as accessible as works from the noted bands and so many others.

The arrangement featured here actually works well with the song’s lyrical theme.  That is because the song’s theme seems to come from the vantage overcoming one’s mental health struggles, to a point.  This is inferred in the song’s lead verse and chorus, which state collectively, “I feel the hope turn into comfort/Like the death of my nerves/Your heart is stinging from the hatred/As humanity burns/So let me find the words just to say it/Your mind is a villain/Go back to hell with all your demons/Leave me alone/To find the pieces inside my mind/They came in to control my life/And all the devils devour/Your better angels devour.  The song’s second verse adds even more to that thought pattern as it states, “Our fear is all we have to suffer/In the violent new world/These scars and vanity can’t save us/Now it’s time for the storm.”  This seeming theme is certain to resonate with audiences, especially being that it seems to present a message of overcoming those negative thoughts and feelings that would otherwise control a person, not just thoughts of depression and self-hatred, either.  When this seeming message pairs with the song’s powerful musical arrangement, the whole makes ‘Better Angels’ a clear example of what makes The Mourning worth hearing.

‘Better Angels’ is just one of the most notable additions to The Mourning.  The EP’s opener, ‘Devil’ is notable in its own right.  That is due in part because of its musical arrangement.  Instead of the pure melodic hard rock approach used in ‘Better Angels,’ the band opts for a more metalcore style composition in this song’s verses while incorporating the melodic hard rock approach in the choruses.  The cutting guitars, and machine-gun style rapidity of the metalcore style verses make the song immediately comparable to works from the likes of Killswitch Engage, The Black Dahlia Murder, and to a lesser extent, early As I Lay Dying.  The vocals especially add to that comparison to works from KsE, as they are so comparable to that band’s former front man Howard Jones.  The melodic hard rock side of the song is more comparable to works from the likes of Sevendust.  The juxtaposition of those comparisons makes the overall arrangement so interesting and well worth hearing in its own right.

The energy and richness in the song’s arrangement does just as well to pair with its lyrical theme.  That is because of the clear frustration exhibited in what comes across quite as a social commentary.  The commentary opens with front man Andy Biersack sings in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “How the f*** is one so evil left to just proceed/All the luck and how deceitful that idle minds can be/Farewell to vanished fraud/So here comes the fall/Your blood has all been washed away/You left with a crawl/The end was worth the wasted days/The devil lies alone.”  The commentary continues in the song’s second verse, “Come sell me useless greed/And swindle, lie and cheat/’Cause nothing matters when only truth is obsolete.”  That last line about truth being obsolete leads to an inference that maybe the commentary centers on what has happened in the world with truth taking a back seat to people’s false realities.  This is just this critic’s interpretation. The early note of wondering how one so evil could just progress, to that end, would seemingly be a commentary wondering how people like Donald Trump and his cult members could be left to go on doing what they do.  Again, this is just this critic’s interpretation.  Hopefully it is somewhere close to being right.  Either way, the seeming message and the way in which it is delivered certainly makes for plenty of thought and discussion.  To that end, the song shows even more why it stands out in The Mourning.

‘Saviour II,’ the EP’s second track and lead single, is yet another notable addition to the record.  The song’s musical arrangement is continues the melodic hard rock approach taken by the band in the EP.  The different here is that in this case, it is actually more of a throwback to some of the melodic hard rock compositions that the band had produced in its past records while also being just as radio ready as any of the other songs featured in this record.  From Breaking Benjamin to Default to so many others, the arrangement here is just as accessible as their works and so many other of the band’s fellow mainstream bands.

The lyrical theme that accompanies the song’s musical arrangement makes for even more interest.  The theme here comes across as something as a contemplative piece focusing on moving past experiences in life.  This is inferred as Biersack sings in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “I never knew how to live alone/Holding my fear in the unknown/And if we only speak in tongues/How can we be heard/Are there songs to guard your heart/Let this be the one you use to start your own/And every word that came from you/Has carried me/So I’m trying my hardest to be what you made/Like a court jester/My smile won’t fade/Giving it all/Rising to fall to my grave/Answer the call/Living in thrall/You’re the one born to save.”  That mention of trying to be what someone made, keeping the smile, it seems like the song’s subject is addressing having to live a lie, hiding so many thoughts and emotions behind that smile.  It would certainly seem to point at the noted inferred theme.  The inference continues in the song’s second verse, which states, “I grew this heart in a motor car/I wear a mask to be a star/All of the heat and anxiety that still lines the road/It is all I ever thought I’d live for/Now I know I’m more than all of my scars.”  That mention of being more than one’s scars points to the song’s subject overcoming the emotional and mental damage caused by the past, moving on with life.  It is a powerful seeming statement that even further hints at the noted theme.  Keeping such a seeming theme (and one that is all too familiar with any rock fan) in mind, the contemplative nature of the theme and the equally contemplative nature of the song’s arrangement makes the song in whole all the more interesting.  When the whole is considered overall, it makes ‘Saviour II’ clearly another important part of The Mourning.  When the song is considered alongside the other two songs examined here and with the EP’s one remaining song, the whole makes The Mourning a complete success.

The Mourning, the latest studio recording from Black Veil Brides, is an impressive new offering from the veteran hard rock act.  That is proven through its musical and lyrical content alike.  The songs examined here make that clear.  When the songs examined are considered along with the record’s one remaining track, the whole makes The Mourning a welcome addition to this year’s field of new EPs.

The Mourning is available now through Sumerian Records.  More information on the EP is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:




To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at  

Black Veil Brides Will Impress Its Most Devoted Audiences Again With Its Latest LP

Courtesy: Sumerian Records

Veteran rock band Black Veil Brides is scheduledto finally release its latest album this week in the form of The Phantom Tomorrow.  The band’s sixth album, it was originally scheduled for release June 4.  Its release was delayed in order to allow the comic book that will accompany the record to get up to speed with the album.  The album stands out in part because of its general presentation, which will be discussed shortly.  The record’s musical presentation works with its general presentation to make for more appeal.  It will be discussed a little later.  The album’s production rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album.  All things considered, they make the album another work that the band’s most devoted audiences will appreciate.

Black Veil Brides’ forthcoming album, The Phantom Tomorrow, is a presentation that audiences will find well worth hearing at least once.  That is proven in part through the album’s general presentation.  In regards to the general presentation, the album is presented not as just a collection of songs, but rather a concept album.  Now while concept albums are typically reserved for the prog realm, this approach is nothing new for this band.  The band has already released two other concept records in the forms of Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones (2013) and its “prequel,” Vale (2018).  In the case of The Phantom Tomorrow, front man Andy Biersack noted in a March 2021 interview with, that the album’s concept centers on essentially the human nature of idolatry.  It just takes a bit of a darker turn in this case.  Biersack is quoted as saying of the concept, “The story is essentially the idea…In our society, especially now, we have this love of building up heroes and obsessing over other people who often don’t give a s*** about you or anybody else and we kind of have these false idols and heroes.  And so the story is about taking this mythological character and the people putting all of this power on to them, and ultimately turning their back on the character because nobody can fulfill the dreams and ideas that you put on somebody else.”  He goes on from here to shorten the summary, pointing out that the story centers on humans’ obsession with those in positions of power and celebrity, and the resultant impact of that obsession.  It is a timeless theme considering that, again, people have that tendency to idolize, and then react a certain way when they react that those they idolize are not who and what they thought.  It makes the story here quite interesting and well worth hearing in itself.  To that end, the general presentation is clearly in itself reason enough for audiences to give The Phantom Tomorrow a chance.  It is just a part of what makes the album worth hearing, too.  The record’s musical presentation builds on the interest and appeal generated through the general presentation to give the album even more reason for being heard.

The musical presentation featured in The Phantom Tomorrow is of note because of its approach.  For the most part, the band takes a distinct metalcore style approach.  The only real deviation comes in the album’s finale, ‘Fall Eternal,’ which comes across more as an emo type composition.  All of this is important to note because the approach taken with the music here clearly shows the band’s continued growth and evolution away from the more glam rock/Motley Crue-esque sounds that made the band famous in its infancy.  It shows that continued willingness to take risks and grow, as noted and is something that will appeal, again, to the band’s most devoted audiences and to more casual audiences.  Keeping that in mind, it is one more way in which the album proves itself worth hearing at least once.  The production of that musical content rounds out the most important of the album’s items and completes its presentation.

The production of The Phantom Tomorrow is important to examine because of how much it plays into the record’s musical content.  As noted, the arrangements featured in this record continue to exhibit the growth and evolution of Black Veil Brides as a band and individually.  While the album, for the most part, presents a distinct metalcore approach, the songs featured here still boast their own unique identity separate from so many other metalcore acts out there.  The record’s production plays into that identity.  It serves to accent the arrangements’ melodies, and the nuances therein, even within the vocals, to really bring out the fullest body of each composition.  At the same time, the production ensures that no one part of each instrumentation overpowers its counterparts from one work to the next.  The overall result of that attention to detail in the production is that the arrangements keep listeners fully engaged and entertained throughout the album.  It puts the final touch to the whole and completes the presentation, showing once more why this record is worth hearing at least once.

Black Veil Brides’ new, forthcoming album, The Phantom Tomorrow, is a presentation that the band’s most devoted audiences will agree is another positive addition to the band’s catalog.  Its success comes in part through its general presentation.  In this case, the general presentation is that of a concept record, something to which the band is no stranger.  The concept here will resonate with listeners, too, because of its accessibility.  The album’s musical presentation adds to its appeal because it continues to show the band’s development and growth.  The record’s production puts the finishing touch to its presentation, bringing everything full circle and bringing out the best in each song.  Each item examined here is important in its own way to the album.  All things considered, they make The Phantom Tomorrow a record that will have plenty of tomorrows in audiences’ libraries.

The Phantom Tomorrow is scheduled for release Friday through Sumerian Records.  More information on the album is available along with all of Black Veil Brides’ news at:




To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at  

Monster Energy Aftershock Festival Lineup Announced; Tickets On Sale Now

Courtesy: Danny Wimmer Presents

The Monster Energy Aftershock Festival is coming back to California this year.

The annual festival is scheduled to be held October 13 and 14 at Sacramento’s Discovery Park.  Now in its seventh year, the festival will be headlined this year by System of a Down, Alice in Chains and Deftones.  This year marks the first time that System of a Down has performed at the festival.

Along with being the band’s first year at the festival, System of a Down’s performance at the Aftershock Festival will also be the band’s first announced U.S. appearance in three years.  It is also part of the band’s 20th anniversary celebration of its landmark self-titled album’s release.

While System of a Down, Alice in Chains and Deftones are the two-day festival’s planned headliners, they are not the only bands on the bill.  Also scheduled for the performance are Godsmack (which is currently touring in support of its brand new album When Legends Rise), Incubus, Seether, Jonathan Davis (whose latest solo album Black Labyrinth is scheduled for release May 25), At The Drive-In and Slash ft. Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators (who are currently working on their latest album) as well as Bullet For my Valentine (whose new album Gravity is scheduled to be released June 29), Sevendust (whose album All I See Is War is out now) and many more.  The full lineup for this year’s festival is noted below.

The current band lineup for Monster Energy Aftershock is as follows: System Of A Down, Deftones, Alice In Chains, Incubus, Godsmack, Shinedown, 311, Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy And The Conspirators, At The Drive-In, Seether, Jonathan Davis, Bullet For My Valentine, Underoath, Black Veil Brides, Hellyeah, Asking Alexandria, Sevendust, Everlast, GWAR, Emmure, Stick To Your Guns, Dance Gavin Dance, Monster Magnet, Red Sun Rising, Bad Wolves, The Fever 333, Dorothy, Wage War, Plague Vendor, Hyro The Hero, Amigo The Devil, All Them Witches, Slothrust, The Dose, Viza, The Jacks and more to be announced.

Providing food for this year’s festival will be a variety of vendors including: Southern Hospitality Concessions LLC, Danny Wimmer Presents’ affiliate concessionaire.  Food trucks will also be on hand, providing savory and sweet treats from: Angry Bird Grill, Bacon Mania, Barrett’s Burgers, Barrett’s Sliders, Big Joe’s BBQ, Bubba’s BBQ, Cousins Maine Lobster, Dippin Dots Ice Cream, Dogtown, Drewski’s Hot Rod Sandwiches, Florez Bar & Grill, La Mex Taqueria, Mac Attack, Mount Olympus, Sausage King, Smokin’ Hot Pizza, Spicy Pie and Xochimilco Mexican Restaurant.

Beverages will be available from a variety of vendors, including vendors for festival-goers 21 and older.  Those vendors include: Caduceus Vellars & Merkin Vineyards Wine Garden (owned by Tool/A Perfect Circle/ Puscifer front man Maynard James Keenan) and the Belching Beaver Bar (featuring drafts from the Vista, CA brewer including the Phantom Bride IPA, a collaboration with the Defones).  Mrkt N Jolt will also be on site, offering hot coffee, cold brew and other items.

As if the music, food and drink isn’t enough for festival-goers, this year’s festival will also offer lots of entertainment options.  Those options include the Monster Energy Experience, which gives audiences the chance to meet and greet the bands while also sampling the festival’s various offered drinks, The Music Experience, which is an interactive exhibit and music instrument retailer.  Non-profit animal rescue organization Take Me Home will also be on-site along with Dyin 2 Live/FXck Cancer, a wish-granting organization.  Fans can buy music from the festival’s bands on site at the f.y.e. Fan Experience.

Festival-goers can win prizes and check out the latest products from Zippo Lighters at Zippo Encore and charge their phones at SWFTCharge.

Tickets and VIP packages for this year’s festival are on-sale now.  Prices are listed below.  Service fees on all ticket purchases include a $0.50 charity fee for the T.J. Martell Foundation, a foundation aimed at researching and fighting cancer.  Active military personnel get discounts on their tickets through GovX.

Initial ticket prices will be as follows:

  • 2-Day Weekend General Admission: starting at $149.50 + fees
  • 2-Day Weekend VIP: starting at $299.50 + fees
  • Single Day General Admission: starting at $89.50 + fees
  • Single Day VIP: starting at $179.50 + fees

VIP tickets include: VIP entrance lanes to the venue, shaded VIP hang area with seating for dining, a VIP-only viewing area of main stage, video screens featuring a live feed of main stage inside the VIP hang area, upgraded food and drink selections, dedicated VIP restrooms and commemorative VIP Monster Energy Aftershock laminate.

A park & ride shuttle is being offered again for this year’s festival as parking at Discovery park is very limited.  Every ticket includes parking at Sleep Train Arena and non-stop shuttle directly to the festival site.

The Monster Energy Aftershock Festival is produced by Danny Wimmer Presents and fueled by Monster Energy.  It is sponsored by f.y.e., Coors Light, Jack Daniels, Zippo Encore, The Music Experience, SWFTCharge, Fxck Cancer, Ace of Spades, Take Me Home and Belching Beaver.  More sponsors will be announced later.

More information on this year’s Monster Energy Aftershock Festival is available online now at:






To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at



Alive And Burning Is A Good First Live Effort From Alive And Burning

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Glam/Goth metal act Black Veil Brides will release its first-ever live recording this week. The recording, dubbed Alive and Burning, will be released tomorrow, July 10th on DVD and Blu-ray. For those that are fans of the Hollywood, CA-based band its debut live recording proves to be a good first effort. The main element of the recording that fans will appreciate in this concert is its set list. The seventeen song set list lifts from all four of the albums that the band has released since it first formed roughly nine years ago in Ohio’s Queen City. The band’s stage presence is also of note in regards to what fans will like about it. Last but not least worth noting is the concert’s collective audio and video mix. The audio mix by itself is slightly problematic. It is not perfect but still bearable. On the other hand, the work of the camera crew does an expert job of capturing the band’s energy and the effect of that energy of the audience in attendance. The end result of their work is a concert that translates quite well not only that combined energy but also captures the very essence of a BVB live show. For those that are not able to attend a live BVB show for one reason or another, this is very important. So, kudos to the camera crew for that. That having been noted, it is one more reason that BVB fans will enjoy this recording. All things considered, Alive and Burning is not a perfect first live outing for Black Veil Brides. But it is a good one nonetheless. It is one that any of the band’s fans will want to have in their own collections.

Alive and Burning is a good first live effort from Black Veil Brides. The seventeen-song, eighty-two minute concert will entertain any fan of the glam/goth rock band. The set list in question is the primary reason that BVB’s fans will enjoy this recording. The show’s set, which was recorded during a stop on the “Black Mass Tour 2014,” covers all four of the albums that the band has released since originally forming roughly nine years ago in Cincinnati, Ohio. Examining the set list even more closely, fans will be interested to know that not one of the band’s albums is featured more so than any of its others over the course of the concert. All four albums are equally represented throughout the course of the concert. The band even included its cover of Billy Idol’s hit ‘Rebel Yell’ and its original composition ‘Coffins’ that were both included in its 2011 EP Rebels in te show. Simply put BVB fans get a set list in this concert that is both full and fully representative of the band’s career so far. It’s just one reason that BVB’s fans will enjoy this recording. The band’s stage presence throughout the show is another reason that fans will enjoy the show.

The set list pulled for Alive and Burning is in itself plenty of reason for BVB’s fans to check out the band’s new live recording. It covers a relatively healthy swath of the band’s career so far, covering equally all four of its albums and even its currently lone EP. While the set list is pivotal in its own right to fans’ enjoyment of Alive and Burning, one would be thoughtless to ignore the band’s stage presence as part of the recording’s success and enjoyment by fans, too. Fans that weren’t lucky enough to be at the band’s hometown show will be happy to know that the band’s stage presence will keep them rapt. Front man Andy Biersack takes every opportunity to interact with the audience both during and between songs. This includes climbing giant stacks of amps among other things. Guitarists Jake Pitts and Jinx throw back to rhe days of big riffs and even bigger hair with their work on their instruments and teased hair. The pair’s performance, complete with old school glam metal motions, instantly conjures thoughts of Motley Crue, Poison and other well-known names of the 80s. The same applies to bassist Ashley Purdy’s presence. Even drummer Christian “CC” Coma keeps audiences happy with his work behind the kit. All five members’ performances are full of energy and combined they make for a stage presence that translates quite well even to fans watching at home. Being that the band members’ performances translate so well, they show in their own way why they are important in their own right to the success and enjoyment of the recording among BVB’s fans.

Both the set list featured in Alive and Burning and BVB’s stage presence play their own part in making it a recording that the band’s fans will enjoy. While both elements play their own important part in the enjoyment of the show, neither would be worth mentioning without a mention of the recording’s production values. This is where things get just a little bit dicey. The production values, while good, are not perfect. The camera crew is to be highly commended for its work capturing the band’s performance. However, the audio mix is a bit troublesome. Those behind the lenses capture every possible angle of the show both from the stage and from the vantage point of the audience. It is thanks to their painstaking efforts that fans watching the concert in their own homes will find that they have the best seat in the house. What’s more, it is thanks to the camera crew that the energy of the band in its stage presence translates so well. That is because of the pacing and angle of the shots. For all of the quality work put out by the concert’s camera crew, those charged with handling the concert’s audio came up a little bit short. The issue at hand here is that at many points throughout the concert, Biersack is seemingly overpowered by his band mates. There are times at which it even sounds like his mic isn’t even on and he is being picked up by one of his band mates’ mics. It could of course just be this critic’s own take. On the good side, Biersack’s interaction with the audience between songs is much clearer. So why the audio at least seems unbalanced during the songs in comparison to between them is anyone’s guess. Luckily the imbalance isn’t so bad that it ruins the concert. It is bearable. Because it is bearable, it serves to heighten the intensity of the band’s stage presence and the work of the camera crew. The efforts of all involved coupled with the show’s set list more than make up for the seeming issues with the concert’s audio mix and in turn keep Alive and Burning a good first effort from BVB.

Alive and Burning is a good first live effort from BVB. Its career-spanning set list of sorts in itself makes it worth the watch among the band’s fans. The band’s stage presence and the work of the camera crew in capturing the band’s presence work together to provide fans with a show that they will agree makes up for not being there. Even with what seems like some issues of balance in the show’s audio mix, the rest of the concert’s positives more than make up for that one issue. Because they do, they show once more why BVB’s fans shoud see this concert at least once. Alive and Burning will be available in stores and online both on DVD and Blu-ray. More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at:




To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at

Black Veil Brides To Release Debut Live Recording This Summer

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Black Veil brides will release its first-ever live recording this summer.

Eagle Rock Entertainment will release Alive and Burning on Friday, July 10th. The band’s first-ever live recording, it will be released on DVD, Blu-ray and digitally via iTunes. Alive and Burning was recorded live on November 1st, 2014 during the band’s hometown show at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles, California. The show was part of the band’s 2014 “Black Mass Tour” presented by Hot Topic. It features seventeen songs pulled from the band’s now four full-length studio releases including: ‘Knives and Pens,’ ‘Fallen Angels,’ ‘Faithless,’ and ‘The End’ just to name a small handful. The complete set list for the recording is noted below.

Track Listing

1) Heart Of Fire

2) I Am Bulletproof

3) Coffin

4) Faithless

5) Wretched & Divine

6) Knives & Pens

7) Overture

8) Shadows Die

9) Last Rites

10) Rebel Love Song

11) Drum Solo

12) The Legacy

13) Sweet Blasphemy

14) Perfect Weapon

15) Fallen Angels

16) Rebel Yell

17) In The End

Plus bonus feature “Meet The Fans”

Audiences can check out the trailer for Alive and Burning online now at More information on Alive and Burning is available online now along with all of the latest news from Black Veil Brides at:




To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at

Set It Off’s “Duality” Is A Solid Sophomore Effort

Courtesy:  Equal Vision Records

Courtesy: Equal Vision Records

Set It Off releases its brand new full-length studio effort Duality today.  The album, the band’s second full-length release and fifth overall release is an impressive new work. That is because it does so much to continue establishing the band’s identity, separating it even more from other bands to whom it had been compared early on in its existence.  While the band exhibits quite a bit of growth on this album, it also hasn’t lost the sound that made it so popular early on among its fan base.  That makes Dualityeven more of a solid new recording from Set It Off.  The combination of the band’s musical growth is evident in the album’s lead single ‘Why Worry.’  The band’s harder edged sound is present in this song.  But there is also a poppier sound mixed into the whole.  That balance of sounds alongside the song’s thought provoking lyrics makes clear why this song was chosen as the album’s lead.  Staying on a similar page, audiences will also enjoy ‘Tomorrow.’  Its Jimmy Eat World style sound crosses with its equally optimistic lyrics to make this song just as much of a surefire hit with listeners.  On the completely opposite side of things, the lyrically searing ‘Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing’ is sure to ignite just as much of a fire in listeners because of its intensity both musically and lyrically.  These songs are just a few that exhibit what makes Dualitya solid second full-length release from Set It Off.  The album’s other eight tracks are sure to become favorites to listeners in their own right, too.  Collectively, all eleven tracks on Duality prove just why audiences will want to check out this latest release from Set It Off regardless of their familiarity with the band and its sound.

Duality is a record that every lover of rock should hear regardless of their familiarity with the band and its sound.  ‘Why Worry,’ the album’s lead single, takes the sound that made the band a fan favorite early on and mixes it with a somewhat more poppy, Fall Out Boy style sound in its chorus to make a song that proves to be quite catchy musically speaking.  The song’s positive lyrics make this piece even more enjoyable.  Front man Cody Carson sings in the song’s opening verse, “This sinking feeling sets/It feels just like a hole inside your chest/I know you’re thinking No, no, no, no it is easier said than done/But please let me attest/I know it’s hard/You’re feeling like you’re trapped/But that’s how you react/When you cannot see the light/But try and see the light/I’m telling you no, no, no, no you’re the only one/Standing in your way/Just take a breath/Relax/And tell me….Why/Please tell me why do we worry.”  The song comes across as addressing those individuals that think to themselves “Oh woe is me.” Carson says to those people in an attempt to motivate them, “You’re the only one/Standing in your way.”  The song’s second verse in which Carson sings about handling each day’s difficulties as they come rather than trying to cross bridges that don’t yet exist.  It proves to be quite the enlightening work and uplifting at the same time.  The addition of the song’s catchy hooks and choruses make it even more enjoyable and clearer why it was chosen as the album’s lead single.  Thanks to a partnership with Fuse TV, audiences can check out the song’s brand new companion video online at 

‘Why Worry’ was an excellent first choice to represent what Duality has to offer audiences.  Its combination of catchy hooks and choruses alongside its positive lyrics will both move listeners and get them moving.  Much in the same vein, ‘Tomorrow’ offers its own enjoyment and positivity.  Intended or not, this song exhibits something of a Jimmy Eat World style sound in its musical side.  Lyrically, it is just as uplifting as ‘Why Worry.’  Carson sings in this song, “They’re gonna try to clip your wings/Lock you up and make you sing/But they’ll never cage your dreams/So fly away/Cause we’ve got tomorrow/We’re the pages in the wind/We’ve got tomorrow/We’re the tale that lies within/There’s always another day/Another night/A bittersweet blessing in disguise/Tomorrow/We’re the authors of our lives tomorrow.”  Carson’s note that there’s always another “bittersweet blessing in disguise” is such a short statement.  But it speaks volumes.  He is saying that even things that seem bad could be blessings in disguise. And those hidden blessings are what make tomorrow better than today.  It is truly a positive message.  It is a message from which audiences of all ages can take some heart and hope.  That positive message set against the song’s catchy musical side makes it another of the best of this record’s moments.

The positive messages and catchy music that make up ‘Tomorrow’ and ‘Why Worry’ make these songs two of the brightest moments on Duality.  On the completely opposite side of things, the lyrically searing ‘Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing’ is certain to get any listener’s adrenaline flowing.  The song’s title and its lyrics leave zero doubt as to what the song’s topic.  It is a full-on lyrical assault on those that would attempt to lie and deceive others.  Those people include those people that call themselves friends but are so fast to stab people in the back among others.  Cody makes this painfully clear as he sings right off the top of the song, “Beware, beware be skeptical/Of their smiles/Their smiles of plated gold/Deceit so natural/But a wolf in sheep’s clothing is more than a warning.”  He goes on to sarcastically use nursery rhymes to illustrate his point.  That use of children’s nursery rhymes as a juxtaposition of children’s mentality to that of older individuals adds even more punch to the song.  And Carson’s diatribe that builds into the song possesses enough vitriol to make Eminem proud.  Though in his defense, who wouldn’t want to scream “Burn in Hell!” to those that have deceived us for one reason or another?  It is a powerful finishing touch to what is one more of Duality’s best moments.    Together with the likes of ‘Why Worry’ and ‘Tomorrow,’ Set It Off has proven once again why it is one of the best in the next generation of its genre.

‘Why Worry,’ ‘Tomorrow,’ and ‘Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing’ are each excellent examples of what makes Duality a solid sophomore effort from Set It Off.  They aren’t the only positives to this album in whole, though.  The album’s gentle closer ‘Miss Mysterious’ is the polar opposite of the album’s opener ‘The Haunting.’  ‘Bleak December’ also offers its own value to the whole as does ‘N.M.E.’  All things considered, Duality is proof that Set It Off has just started and the future looks bright for this u-and-coming band.  The band will hit the road in support of Duality beginning tomorrow, October 15th in Orlando, Florida on the “Black Mass 2014” tour presented by Hot Topic.  Also along for the ride will be Black Veil Brides, Falling in Reverse, and Drama Club.  The tour brings all four bands to North Carolina next month.  It will make a stop at The Fillmore in Charlotte, North Carolina on December 5th.  Tickets for the concert can be ordered online via Ticketmaster.  Set It Off’s complete tour schedule is available online along with all of the band’s latest news at:





To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at

Set It Off Announces Release Date, Track Listing For New Album

Courtesy:  Equal Vision Records

Courtesy: Equal Vision Records

Set It Off will release its new album this fall.

Duality, the latest full length studio release from Tampa, Florida’s own Set it Off will be released Tuesday, October 14th via Equal Vision Records.  Front man Cody Carson explained in a recent interview the root of the album’s title noting that it has to do with the two sides that each person possesses.  “I’ve always been borderline obsessed with the notion of duality. Something about the juxtaposition of two polar opposites seems so vulnerable and blatantly human to me,” he said.  Everyone has two sides, the side they let people see and the side they hide. In this record I decided to bare exactly who I am and what I go through in my day to day life. Love, heartbreak, sex, alcohol, happiness, sadness, anger, the human experience. I want you to hear this record and experience every human emotion you’re capable of feeling,”

Carson expanded on that train of thoughts, explaining how that thought pattern played a role in hwo the songs on this album came to life.  “It’s not just the lyrical content that represents duality,” he said. “The instrumentals portray it as well. You’ll hear dark, minor verses that transition to bright, happy choruses. Just like our lives, the great involuntary, impulsive non-stop roller coaster ride. I’m sick of fake people and watching them skate by with the idea that it’s okay to put on an act to gain confidence and trust in their peers. Allow me to be the first to tell you this about myself: I am good, I am evil. I am solace, I am chaos. I am human, and that’s all I’ve ever wanted to be. Be human with us and show us your true duality.”  Duality’s track listing is noted below.

1. The Haunting
2. N.M.E.
3. Forever Stuck in Our Youth
4. Why Worry
5. Ancient History
6. Bleak December
7. Duality
8. Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing ft. William Beckett
9. Tomorrow ft. Jason Lancaster
10. Bad Guy
11. Miss Mysterious

In anticipation of Duality’s release, Set It Off teased the album with the premiere of a clip from the video for the single ‘Why Worry,’ which is one of the songs included on the upcoming LP.  That clip can be viewed now here. The band is also currently touring in support of Duality ahead of its release.  It is currently touring alongside Heartist, Our Last Night, and Stages & Stereos.  It will hit the road with Black Veil Brides, and Falling in Reverse beginning October 21st on the “Black Mass 2014 Tour” presented by Hot Topic.  That tour includes a stop at the Fillmore in Charlotte, North Carolina on December 5th.  The band’s current tour schedule is listed below.

Set It Off and Our Last Night w/Heartist and Stages & Stereos
Aug 13 Houston, TX @ Bronze Peacock at House of Blues
Aug 14 Fort Worth, TX @ Tomcats West
Aug 15 Oklahoma City, OK @ Conservatory
Aug 16 St. Louis, MO @ Fubar
Aug 17 Nashville, TN @ Rocketown
Aug 22 Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall+

+ OLN 10 Year Anniversary Show: Our Last Night and Set It Off w/Class of 92 (Matt Arsenault of A Loss For Words), Heartist and Stages & Stereos

Black Veil Brides w/Falling In Reverse and Set It Off
Oct 21 Niagara Falls, NY @ Rapids Theatre
Oct 22 Columbus, OH @ The LC Pavilion
Oct 24 St. Paul, MN @ Myth
Oct 25 Chicago, IL @ Riviera Theatre
Oct 27 Denver, CO @ The Fillmore Auditorium
Oct 30 Las Vegas, NV @ House of Blues
Oct 31 Tempe, AZ @ The Marquee Theatre
Nov 01 Los Angeles, CA @ Wiltern Theatre
Nov 03 San Francisco, CA @ The Warfield
Nov 05 Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater
Nov 07 Seattle, WA @ Showbox SODO
Nov 08 Spokane, WA @ Knitting Factory Concert House
Nov 09 Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory Concert House
Nov 10 Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex
Nov 12 Kansas City, MO @ Uptown Theater
Nov 14 Indianapolis, IN @ Egyptian Room at Old National Centre
Nov 15 Royal Oak, MI @ Royal Oak Music Theatre
Nov 16 Cleveland, OH @ Agora Theatre
Nov 17 Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE
Nov 19 Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory
Nov 21 Stroudsburg, PA @ Sherman Theater
Nov 22 Worcester, MA @ The Palladium
Nov 23 New York, NY @ Best Buy Theater
Nov 26 Portland, ME @ State Theatre
Nov 28 Clifton Park, NY @ Upstate Concert Hall
Nov 29 Silver Spring, MD @ The Fillmore Silver Spring
Dec 02 Louisville, KY @ Expo Five
Dec 03 Atlanta, GA @ The Tabernacle
Dec 04 Orlando, FL @ House Of Blues
Dec 05 Charlotte, NC @ The Fillmore Charlotte
Dec 06 Norfolk, VA @ The NorVa
Dec 08 Grand Rapids, MI @ The Orbit Room
Dec 09 St Louis, MO @ The Pageant
Dec 11 Houston, TX @ Bayou Music Center
Dec 12 Dallas, TX @ South Side Ballroom
Dec 13 San Antonio, TX @ Backstage Live
Dec 15 Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine Theater

Fans can keep up with the latest tour updates and news from Set It Off online at,, and  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at