Family Entertainer SaulPaul Takes Top Honors In Phil’s Picks’ List Of 2021’s Top New EPs

Courtesy: Sugar Mountain PR

It’s hard to believe but 2021 is officially only four weeks from its big finale.  One can only hope that moving forward from here into 2022, that sooner rather than later, we’ll finally be rid of this COVID-19 crap and life can finally go back to what it was.  Time will tell.  In the meantime, this critic has checked over his calendar for the year’s waning weeks, and surprisingly, there are no more new EPs to go through for the year.  That means it is finally time to start in on this year’s “best of” year-ender lists.  Of course, as in every year past, the very first of those lists comes in the form of the smallest of the music releases noted.

This year’s list of new EPs features new releases from at least one relatively well-known figure and a number of others who are either up-and-coming or semi-established.  They run the gamut from family music to pop to rock and metal to even some southern rock/country.  These lists are never easy to finalize because even among the EPs there is so much to appreciate musically and lyrically.  That was taken into full consideration with this list, too.  Those who have followed this critic’s ramblings for years on end, know how the lists work.  For everyone else, they work as such:  Instead of just 10 new offerings, this list is composed of 15 titles.  The top 10 are the best of the best while the following five are honorable mention titles.  This is not a stab at those releases or the acts that released them, either.  Far from it.  The whole purpose is to give those extras their due credit, too.

So without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks Top 10 New EPs of 2021.

PHIL’S PICKS 2021 TOP 10 NEW EPS

  1. SaulPaul – OK To Be Different
  2. Gabriel & The Apocalypse – Alpha Transcendence
  3. Decent Criminal – Decent Criminal
  4. The Mercy Kills – New Rule
  5. Dirkschneider & The Old Gang – Arising
  6. Repentance – Volume 1Reborn
  7. All Hail The Yeti – Within The Hollow Earth
  8. Kulick – Sitting in a Quiet Coffeehouse
  9. Blue Eyed Christ – World on Fire Remixes
  10. Zero Theorum – The Killing II
  11. Sydney Sherwood – Headspace
  12. Christopher Shayne – Ten High
  13. 20 Watt Tombstone – Year of the Jackalope
  14. Post Death Soundtrack – Pathless Land
  15. Black TarPoon – The Thad

That’s it for this year’s top new EPs.  Thanks goes out to all of the firms that sent out this great music and so much more.  No offense is meant to any act left out.  For instance  Of Mice & Men released a trio of new EPs this year, but they ended up as the new album, Echo, so that album is up for consideration among this critic’s top new hard rock/metal albums of the year.  Even more year-enders are on their way as the last days of the year start to wind down, so stay tuned!

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

‘World On Fire Remixes’ Is A Successful Companion Piece To ‘World On Fire’

Courtesy: TAG Publicity

Electronic/industrial music act Blue Eyed Christ will revisit its 2020 album, World on Fire this week so to speak.  The act, founded by producer/engineer John D. Norten, is scheduled to independently release its new EP, World on Fire Remixes Friday.  The 11-song record is technically a Maxi-single, as its body is composed primarily of re-mixes of two of the original album’s songs, ‘World on Fire’ and ‘America H.’  It is an approach that is similar to that taken by Gravity Kills in 1997 in its remix record, Manipulated.  Ironically, the vocals here are quite similar in sound to those of Gravity Kills’ then front man Jeff Scheel.  Getting back on topic, the 47-minute record is an interesting companion to World on Fire, as its re-mixes show.  Among the most notable of the ‘World on Fire’ remixes is the Taylan Psytrance Remix.  It will be discussed shortly.  The Dogtablet Remix of ‘America H,’ which opens the EP, is another of the record’s most notable tracks.  It will be examined a little later.  Also of note here is the Steve OLaf remix of ‘World on Fire.’  It will also be discussed later.  Each remix noted is important in its own way to the whole of this EP.  When they are considered along with the rest of the record’s featured remixes, the whole makes this EP a presentation that audiences will agree is a mostly welcome companion piece to World on Fire.

Blue Eyed Christ’s forthcoming EP, World on Fire Re-Mixes is an interesting new offering from the electronic/industrial music act.  It is a presentation that audiences will agree is a mostly welcome companion piece to its predecessor, World on Fire.  That is due to the varied remixes of two of the album’s three singles, ‘World on Fire’ and ‘America H.’ The other single not featured here is the song, ‘Massive React.’ Among the most notable of the remixes is the Taylan Psytrance remix of ‘World on Fire.’  While the original composition lends itself to comparison to works from the likes of Juno Reactor, My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult, and Lords of Acid, the Taylan Psytrance Remix takes the song in more of an EDM direction with its steady beat, drums, and keyboards.  Audiences can almost see the flashing lights, people dancing, and DJ at the lead as this unique take on the song.  The infectious nature of this arrangement will hopefully get audiences to look past that surface and hear the even more importance lyrical content, which focuses on materialism and consumerism in America.  It really stands out so starkly from the rest of the EP’s remixes of the song.

On another note, the Dogtablet remix of ‘America H’ is the more notable of the only three remixes of that song featured here.  This rendition of the song stands out in part because it maintains the subdued approach taken in the original song while also giving it a new identity.  The use of the electronics and drums here give the remix a somewhat richer take, actually improving on the original to a point.  Even the backing choral effect is used so tastefully here.  The whole gives the song in this case an even more brooding sense that will resonate with listeners even more than the original.  Now none of this is meant to be interpreted that the original is bad by any means.  This remix simply takes what was already good and makes it that much better.  It is just as certain as the original, too, to connect enough with listeners that they will pay attention to the sociopolitical commentary featured in the song’s lyrical theme, too.

Getting back to the even more wide range of ‘World on Fire’ remixes, another that stands out is the Steve OLaf (yes, that is actually how it is listed) remix.  It stands out because it is another EDM style composition, but is completely unlike that of the Taylan Psytrance remix.  Rather, in this case, there is far more Juno Reactor/My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult influence than in that previously examined remix.  It is just as infectious as any of the EP’s other featured remixes, too.  The steady, driving beat, guitars, choral element and gritty but subtle primary vocals makes this rendition of ‘World on Fire’ unique in its own way.  Much as with those other takes, this version takes the song in a surprising direction that will appeal to audiences just as much as its counterparts.  Taking that into consideration along with the other remixes examined here and the rest of the EP’s remixes, the whole makes this record a mostly appealing work that audiences will find is a good companion piece to World on Fire.

Blue Eyed Christ’s forthcoming remix EP, World on Fire Remixes, is a unique presentation that as with its companion record, continues to cement the act’s place even more in the electronic and industrial community.  That is proven from the record’s beginning to its end in each featured remix.  Each of the remixes examined here are just a portion of that which proves the remixes’ value.  When they are considered along with the rest of the EP’s offerings, the whole makes this record a positive companion piece to World on Fire.

More information on World on Fire Remixes is available along with all of the act’s latest news at:

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/blueeyedchrist

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/BlueEyedChrist

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.

Blue Eyed Christ Debuts ‘Massive React’ Video

Courtesy: TAG Publicity/Distortion Productions

Blue Eyed Christ debuted the video for its new single this week.

The industrial/electronic rock act, founded by producer/engineer John D. Norten, debuted its new single ‘Massive React‘ Monday.  The song is the third single from the band’s latest album World on Fire.  Its debut follows the premiere of the videos for two other songs from the album, ‘World on Fire‘ and ‘America H.’

The song’s video takes a simplistic yet artistic approach in its presentation.  It crosses time lapse photography of people walking around in various city settings with footage of a single person running along various other backdrops.  Meanwhile, what is meant to look like glitches in a video surveillance camera are used to add to the video’s impact as it works to help translate the song’s lyrical message.

The song’s lyrical content puts forth a social commentary, also as with its predecessors, according to Norten.

“‘Massive React’ mixes a slick synth groove with processed guitars while tackling the effects that corporate greed, technology, and personal responsibility play within the world,” he said. “it was great having Jim Marcus (Go Fight, Die Warzau) on board to direct the video since we have a musical history reaching back to the 90s.”

As with the aforementioned singles, the musical arrangement at the center of ‘Massive React’ is another composition whose steady beat, electronics and vocals will appeal to fans of acts, such as Nine Inch Nails, Gary Numan, and Ministry.

World on Fire is available now through Distortion Productions.

More information on Blue Eyed Christ’s new single, video and album is available along with all of the act’s latest news at:

 

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/blueeyedchrist

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/BlueEyedChrist

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.

Blue Eyed Christ Continues To Cement Its Place In The Electronic/Industrial Realm With Its Latest LP

Courtesy: TAG Publicity/Distortion Productions

Electronic/Industrial music act Blue Eyed Christ released its latest album this spring.  The album, World on Fire is the fifth album from the act, founded by producer/engineer John D. Norten.   The 11-song record is a presentation that will appeal to any electronic/industrial aficionado.  That is due in part to the record’s overall musical content, which will be addressed shortly.  The album’s lyrical themes play into its appeal just as much as its musical arrangements.  They will be discussed a little later.  The album’s production and mixing round out its most important elements and will also be addressed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own right to the whole of the album.  All things considered, they make the album a presentation that holds its own in this year’s field of new electronic/industrial albums.

Blue Eyed Christ’s fifth full-length studio recording World on Fire is a presentation that fans of electronic and industrial music will find worth hearing at least once.  That is due in part to the record’s collective musical arrangements.  The arrangements in question are compositions whose use of electronics, keyboards, guitars and rums are easily compared to works from so many of BEC’s more well-known counterparts from the same world.  Among those most notable counterparts are acts, such as Nine Inch Nails, Gravity Kills and even Orgy.  One could also make comparisons to works from the likes of Ministry to a lesser degree.  The album’s lead single ‘America H’ is one of those works that likens itself to works from Nine Inch Nails.  This song, with its plodding bass line, drums and vocal delivery, make it most akin to Nine Inch Nails’ song ‘Down in It.’  At the same time, the harmonies in the vocals give it another touch that enriches the song even more.  ‘Take It To The Streets’ meanwhile features that noted comparison to works from Ministry.  The song’s arrangement stands apart from anything else on the record even with its stylistic approach. This arrangement sounds nothing like the album’s other works, what with its keyboards, string arrangements, electronics and news broadcast inserts.  Those broadcast snippets play directly into the record’s overall lyrical themes, which will be addressed a little later.  ‘The Wait Is Over,’ which comes late in the record’s run, is another example of what makes the record’s musical arrangements stand out as such an important collective part of the album.  This song’s arrangement is very rhythm oriented.  It takes Norten’s penchant for electronics and crosses that with actual drums – in this case what sounds like African drums – to make the song’s arrangement one of the album’s most unique presentations.  The whole of the arrangement is so controlled and subtle throughout even with all things considered.  The harmonies in the vocal deliveries adds its own touch to the whole and makes it that much more interesting.  It would be no surprise when and if this song becomes the album’s next single of one of its next singles.  It is that accessible in its musical approach and is just one of the album’s most accessible works.  ‘America H’ and ‘World on Fire’ are each accessible in their own right, too.  When they are considered along with this song and the rest of the album’s musical arrangements, the whole of the album’s musical presentation leaves no doubt why the musical aspect of World on Fire is so important to its overall presentation.  It is just one part of what makes this album an appealing presentation for electronic and industrial music fans.  The albums’ overall lyrical themes play their own part in that appeal, too.

The overlying lyrical theme of World on Fire is a social commentary.  Norten mentioned that in a recent interview.  He said of the album’s lyrical theme, “World on Fire is a loosely based concept album about the state of the world that combines the energy and political anthems of my first album mixed with the personal themes I’m also known for.  It’s the combustion of everything I’ve done on the first 4 albums. When I started writing it, I really didn’t realize how prophetic it would become as things continue to unravel and become more polarized and extreme; I thought I was writing an album about the dystopian world we live in, but then realized I was also writing a deeply personal album about the collective human experience. It’s about trying to make sense of everything being thrown at you and finding out where you fit in.”  Norten’s comments noted here are supported in part in the lyrics in ‘America H.’  He writes in the song’s chorus, “America/I want you/To lie to me/Or tell me what to do/It’s in your point of view/What you see/It’s what you choose/It’s in the lens that you use/That will make up your truth.”  Norten said of this (and the rest of the song’s content), “’America H’ is about sifting through the noise of the media and content we consume every day, how everything we surround ourselves with influences us,” he said. “There’s also an Orwellian tone to it that I expect will seem more relevant as things progress like government surveillance, civil liberties, etc.”  That chorus alone is beyond relevant today, what with the Air Force using planes to track Black Lives Matter protests, illegal wiretapping controversies decades ago and more.  This is a topic that is certain to remain relevant.

‘Take It To The Streets’ is another way in which the album’s overlying socially conscious lyrical themes prove so important to its body.  As noted already, the song’s musical arrangement features snippets of news broadcast interviews that focus on discussions about protests.  The woman who is speaking sounds like perhaps she is from the Westboro Baptist Church as she states early on, “God is cursing America.”  As the song progresses, a man adds his own thoughts, noting that people have the right to protest.  Now whether this is a commentary about the Westboro Baptist Church or about protesting in general and having the right to protest, the fact that Norten would even broach either topic is brave.  It is certain to generate plenty of discussion among listeners.  That it would generate that discussion shows even more why the album’s overarching lyrical themes are so important to its body.

‘World on Fire’ is another key addition to the album, in terms of its lyrical themes.  This song focuses, lyrically, on humans’ focus on materialism and capitalism.  This is proven right from the song’s outset in its lead verse, which states, “They like to say that we are free/But it’s expensive/We’re addicted to the things we need/It’s so offensive/Victims of technology/Modern angel dressed in dollars/Just a passing memory/Here today and gone tomorrow.”  The song’s second verse adds to that statement, noting, “Paint the pictures and you fade away/Life is never like a magazine/You have enough but you still want more/Never satisfied at the core/Always looking for the next episode/Another way just to fix that hole/Try to accept the message/Making your mind elastic/Trippin’ the lights fantastic/Trippin’ the lights fantastic.”  Given, this is not the first time that any artist has ever taken on humans’ selfish behaviors, but it is still fresh and unique in this approach.  To that end, it will engage listeners just as much as any other song that takes on the topic.    When it is considered along with the other noted related lyrical themes and the rest of the album’s overlying lyrical themes, the album in whole shows that its lyrical content is just as important to its presentation as its musical arrangements.  For all that the album’s overall content does to entertain and engage audiences, it is only a part of what makes the record appealing.  The record’s collective production and mixing rounds out its most important elements.

The production and mixing that went into World on Fire is important to note because of the overall subtle nature in which each song is presented.  Norten’s vocals, those of his fellow performers and all of the album’s instrumental portions are well-balanced throughout the course of the album’s 38-minute run.  There is something about the balance in each arrangement that makes that 38-minute run feel wholly fulfilling ad the album longer than it is, in the best way possible.  It is often said that anyone can play fast and loud, but it takes a true musician to play soft and slow.  If that is the case, then Norten has proven once more with this record, thanks to its production, that he is a true musician.  He went to painstaking efforts to make sure the album had the biggest impact even as subtle as each song is.  When this is considered along with the album’s overall content, it brings everything full circle and in turn, makes clear why this album in whole is worth hearing.  It makes the album, along with its content, one more of this year’s top new independent album.

Blue Eyed Christ’s latest album World on Fire is a positive new offering from John D. Norten.  That is proven in part through its musical arrangements, which will appeal to a wide range of electronic and industrial music fans.  The album’s lyrical themes, which center on similar social commentaries, play into its appeal as much as its musical arrangements.  The balance in each song, in terms of the instrumentations and vocals, helps create a large impact for the tiny subtleties in each song.  Each noted item is important in its own way to the whole of the album.  All things considered, they make World on Fire a presentation that is one more of this year’s top new independent albums.  It is available now.

More information on Blue Eyed Christ’s album is available along with all of the act’s latest news at:

 

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/blueeyedchrist

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/BlueEyedChrist

 

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.

Lamb of God Debuts ‘Gears’ Video, ‘Reality Bath’ Lyric Video

Courtesy: Epic Records

Lamb of God has unveiled the video for its latest single.

The band debuted the video for its song ‘Gears‘ Friday.  The song is the sixth single from the band’s brand new 10-song self-titled album, which hit stores today. It comes alongside the premiere of the lyric video for another of the album’s songs, ‘Reality Bath,’ which addresses the mass school shootings that have happened nationwide.

The video for ‘Gears’ places the band members in a fenced in area that looks like an octagonal, almost UFC type ring and crosses that with footage of two professional men buying everything they can in order to feel complete.  The imagery is meant to translate the song’s message about consumerism and how companies control people.  The song’s musical arrangement is a sound that will appeal to fans of Lamb of God’s classic album As The Palaces Burn.

On a side note, front man Randy Blythe is wearing a shirt with the name En Esch printed along with a skull on a black backdrop.  En Esch just recently worked on Blue Eyed Christ’s new single ‘World on Fire,’ which is the title track from that act’s latest album.  Interestingly, ‘World on Fire’ is also a song whose lyrical content focuses on materialism and the impact thereof, so there is a direct correlation there.

Getting back to the topic at hand, ‘Gears,’ as noted, is just the latest single from Lamb of God to get a video treatment.  The band also premiered the lyric video for the song ‘Reality Bath’ today, also as noted.

Those two songs were preceded by the debuts of videos for ‘Routes,’ ‘New Colossal Hate,’ ‘Memento Mori’ and ‘Checkmate.’  All of the band’s videos are streaming through its official YouTube channel.

Lamb of God was produced by Josh Wilbur (Soulfly, Hatebreed, Megadeth, Gojira), and features guest appearances from the likes of Hatebreed front man Jamey Jasta and Testament front man Chuck Billy.  The album’s track listing is noted below.

 

Lamb Of God tracklisting:
1. Memento Mori
2. Checkmate
3. Gears
4. Reality Bath
5. New Colossal Hate
6. Resurrection Man
7. Poison Dream (feat. Jamey Jasta)
8. Routes (feat. Chuck Billy)
9. Bloodshot Eyes
10. On The Hook

 

More information on Lamb of God’s new singles, album, upcoming live dates, news and more is available online now at:

 

Websitehttp://www.lamb-of-god.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/lambofgod

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/lambofgod

 

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.

 

 

Blue Eyed Christ Debuts New Single, ‘America H’

Courtesy: TAG Publicity/Distortion Productions

Electronic music act Blue Eyed Christ returned this week with its first new music in years.

The act, founded by producer/engineer John D. Norten, debuted its new single ‘America H‘ Monday.  The song, whose musical arrangement will appeal to fans of acts, such as Nine Inch Nails, Gary Numan and My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult, is featured in the BEC’s forthcoming album World on Fire.  The album is scheduled for release on May 22 through Distortion Productions.

The musical arrangement at the center of ‘American H’ is a subtle keyboard-driven work whose electronics add their own touch to the song’s presentation.  The balance of the keyboards, electronics and vocals makes the song wholly engaging and entertaining from beginning to end of its three-and-a-half-minute opus.

The song’s lyrical content is part of a bigger commentary that encompasses the album, which is overall, a concept album.

Norten talked the concept behind the song in a recent interview.

“‘America H’ is about sifting through the noise of the media and content we consume every day, how everything we surround ourselves with influences us,” he said. “There’s also an Orwellian tone to it that I expect will seem more relevant as things progress like government surveillance, civil liberties, etc.”

Additionally, Norten talked about the overarching concept at the center of the album.

World on Fire is a loosely based concept album about the state of the world that combines the energy and political anthems of my first album mixed with the personal themes I’m also known for,” he said.  “It’s the combustion of everything I’ve done on the first 4 albums. When I started writing it, I really didn’t realize how prophetic it would become as things continue to unravel and become more polarized and extreme; I thought I was writing an album about the dystopian world we live in, but then realized I was also writing a deeply personal album about the collective human experience. It’s about trying to make sense of everything being thrown at you and finding out where you fit in.”

World on Fire is Blue Eyed Christ’s fifth album and his first in six years.  Pre-orders are open now for the 11-song album through Distortion Productions’ official website and through Blue Eyed Christ’s official Bandcamp page.  The record’s track listing is noted below.

 

Track List:
1. Start the Show
2. Stop the Show!
3. America H
4. Manic Adderall (Nation of the Damned)
5. Massive React
6. Take It the the Streets
7. World on Fire (Feat. En Esch and Mea Fisher)
8. The System Pt. 1
9. The System Pt. 2
10. The Wait is Over (Feat. Swindy)
11. The Slow Reverse

 

More information on Blue Eyed Christ’s new single and video, and new album is available along with all of the act’s latest news at:

 

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/BlueEyedChrist

 

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.