Gemini Syndrome Finishes Off Its First Trilogy Of Albums Successfully With ‘3rd Degrees – The Raising’

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Alt-metal band Gemini Syndrome released its latest album over the weekend.  3rd DegreeThe Raising was released Friday through Century Media Records.  The band’s third album, it came more than five years after the release of the band’s sophomore album, Memento Mori (2016).  The wait for the record was worth it, too.  This has already been proven through the singles that the album has produced.  That is due to the songs’ musical arrangements and lyrical themes.  The musical and lyrical content featured through the rest of the album is collectively just as powerful.  Each will be discussed in the bigger record’s bigger picture here, as will the record’s sequencing.  Each item noted does its own important part to make the album successful.  All things considered, they make the album overall, yet another strong addition to this year’s field of new hard rock and metal albums.

Gemini Syndrome’s latest album, 3rd DegreeThe Raising, is an impressive new offering from the band.  Its success comes in part through its musical arrangements.  The arrangements continue to exhibit the richness and heaviness that became so familiar to audiences over the course of the band’s first two albums, Lux and Memento Mori.  However, a close listen also reveals clear growth from the band this time out in terms of the arrangements.  In place of the aggro rock and more nu-metal leanings present in those records’ arrangements is a darker, heavier approach that blends influences of Tool’s dark prog and Breaking Benjamin’s gloomcore sound into one.  Each arrangement is unique from its counterparts here, but the influences are still there.  The changes in the sounds and stylistic approaches are subtle from one to the next, but again, a close listen will reveal those variances.  Case in point is the arrangement featured in ‘Absolution.’  This radio ready arrangement whose contemplative verses and heavy, fiery choruses create a great contrast that is certain to keep listeners engaged.  The intense approach taken in the arrangement’s bridge, which finds front man Aaron Nordstrom almost rapping (believe it or not) adds even more to the song’s interest.  By comparison, the full-on alt-metal approach taken in ‘IDK’ (one of the album’s singles), complete with Nordstrom’s screams against the more melodic choruses is a distinct change in sound and style.  Yet it is still so immersive with its richness and heaviness.  On yet another note, a song, such as ‘Children of the Sun’ takes listeners in yet another direction.  The guitar riff that opens the song immediately conjures thoughts of Pantera.  Interestingly enough, that comparison is only brief as the song progresses.  From there, the guitar and bass line that builds presents an almost bluesy influence in its stylistic approach, even as heavy as the pairing proves.  The song’s chorus meanwhile is a full, immersive melodic hard rock presentation.  All things considered here, there is a lot that happens in this arrangement, but it is all so well-balanced from beginning to end.  The whole stands on its own merits separate from the album’s other arrangements.  Keeping that in mind, when it and those other arrangements (including the ones noted here) are considered collectively, they leave no doubt that the musical content featured in this record is so important to the album’s presentation.  They are just a part of what makes the album an impressive presentation.  The record’s lyrical themes also play in to the album’s success.

The lyrical themes that are featured throughout this album are important because of their overall accessibility.  The theme featured in ‘Absolution’ is a prime example of that accessibility.  The theme presents a seeming message that yes, things are going to be tough in life, but it is up to us to make a difference in our lives.  He reiterates that seeming message in the song’s chorus, noting that “This is our last chance for absolution.”  For those who might not know, absolution is the act of forgiving for having done wrong.  It would seem to go in line with the inferred theme.  He seems to be saying that forgiving others is part of making changes in our lives for the better; that we cannot hold onto anger as well as making the most of ourselves.  This is all just this critic’s interpretation of course.  Regardless, the seeming message is powerful and will certainly resonate with listeners whose hearts and minds are open to that apparent theme.

‘Broken Reflection’ is another example of the importance of the album’s lyrical themes.  This song – one of the album’s singles – is a rumination on how we view ourselves versus how we present ourselves to the public.  Nordstrom talked about the song’s theme when the single was released this summer, noting, “We are all trying to show the best versions of ourselves, but we need to master those versions inside before we can present the perfect image and not have it be confused for something illusory.”  This statement makes sense and hopefully will to audiences.  He is saying we need to look inward before we look outward as part of that process of rebirth.  The theme of personal and spiritual rebirth is the overarching theme of this album, so that makes this theme even more fitting.

‘Where We Started From’ is another example of the importance of the album’s lyrical themes.  In the case of this song, the inferred message (again this is this critic’s interpretation) seems to be one of addressing how we find ourselves in vicious cycles, doing the same things over and over.  It would seem that the song hints at how our own mental and emotional states play into those cycles happening.  It would seem to play into the album’s overall lyrical theme of personal and spiritual rebirth, too.  Once again, this is all just this critic’s interpretation and is hopefully somewhere in the proverbial ballpark.  When it is considered along with the themes (and seeming themes) of the other songs addressed here and those in the rest of the album’s songs, the whole makes clear that the album’s lyrical content is just as important to its presentation as the album’s musical arrangements.  The content overall gives audiences plenty to appreciate here.  When the sequencing thereof is considered, too, it works with the content to show even more why this record is a success.

The sequencing of 3rd DegreeThe Raising is important because it takes into account the subtle changes in the songs’ arrangements and their lyrical theme as it assembled the record.  It also takes into account the energy in each arrangement.  Considering the mood that the arrangements establish (even considering the overall positive and contemplative nature of the songs’ lyrical themes) this is extremely important.  That is how emotionally heavy each arrangement proves.  The themes, as noted, are meant to help audiences relate and cope with situations in their own lives.  The sequencing ensures that those themes change from one song to the next.  That in turn ensures listeners’ maintained engagement and entertainment even more.  When this is considered along with the impact of the record’s sequencing in terms of the subtle changes in the arrangements, the whole proves the sequencing just as successful as the album’s content.  When all things are considered together, they make the album overall a powerful new offering from Gemini Syndrome that the band’s fans will enjoy just as much as hard rock and metal fans in general.

Gemini Syndrome’s latest album, 3rd DegreeThe Raising is a successful new offering from the band.  It is a presentation that will appeal equally to the band’s established audiences just as much as it will to hard rock and metal fans in general.  That is due in part to its arrangements.  The musical arrangements stand out because of their familiarity and accessibility.  The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical arrangements are accessible in their own unique way and will also make audiences really think deeply about life and themselves.  It strengthens the record’s presentation that much more.  The sequencing of that overall content rounds out the album’s most important elements.  It takes all of the content into account in every way and ensures the songs are ordered so that the content has the maximum impact on listeners, ensuring the audiences’ maintained engagement from beginning to end.  When it is considered along with the content and its impact, the whole makes the album overall a strong finish to Gemini Syndrome’s trilogy of albums and gives hope for the band’s future.

3rd DegreeThe Raising is available now. More information on Gemini Syndrome’s new album, single, video and live appearances is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://geminisyndrome.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/GeminiSyndrome

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/GeminiSyndrome

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Starset Debuts ‘Earthrise’ Lyric Video

Courtesy: Fearless Records

Starset premiered the lyric video for its latest single this week.

The band premiered the lyric video for its new single, ‘Earthrise’ Thursday. The song is the third from the band’s forthcoming album, Horizons, which is scheduled for release Oct. 22 through Fearless Records.

The band premiered the lyric video for the album’s second single, ‘Leaving This World Behind’ late last month. Its premiere was preceded by that of the video for the album’s lead single, The Breach’ in early September.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Earthrise’ is similar to that featured in ‘The Breach.’ There is a heavy, but controlled melodic industrial/electronic sense to the arrangement in other words. At some points, audiences can make comparisons to works from the likes of Breaking Benjamin and at others, to works from any number of emocore bands. The song’s industrial elements meanwhile conjure thoughts of Ice Nine Kills and Fear Factory together in one. The whole gives the arrangement a unique identity that will keep audiences engaged and entertained.

No information was provided about the song’s lyrical theme in the press release announcing the lyric video’s premiere. In reading the lyrics, which are presented in the video’s lower right hand corner (as with the lyric video for the band’s previous single), audiences are left to infer that the song is a heavy ballad of sorts. It sounds like a person declaring his or her love for that other person.

In other news, Starset is scheduled to launch a tour in November in support of Horizons. The tour is scheduled to launch Nov.3 in Asheville, NC and to run through Dec. 18 in Cleveland, OH. Stops in cities nationwide, such as Newport, KY; Dallas, TX and Nashville, TN are also featured in the schedule.

The band’s tour schedule is noted below. Tickets and VIP packages are available here along with the band’s current 2022 European tour schedule.

STARSET DEMONSTRATIONS:
11/3 — Asheville, NC — The Orange Peel
11/4 — Knoxville, TN — The Mill & Mine
11/5 — Atlanta, GA — Buckhead Theatre
11/7 — Ft. Smith, AR — Temple Live
11/8 — Dallas, TX — House of Blues
11/9 — Houston, TX — House of Blues
11/10 — San Antonio, TX — House of Blues
11/13 — Daytona, FL — Welcome to Rockville*
11/14 — N. Myrtle Beach, SC — House of Blues
11/15 — Harrisburg, PA — HMAC
11/17 — Philadelphia, PA — Theatre of Living Arts
11/19 — Stroudsburg, PA — Sherman Theater
11/20 — Horseheads, NY — The L
11/21 — Portland, ME — Aura
11/23 — Worcester, MA — The Palladium
11/24 — New Haven, CT — Toad’s Place
11/26 — Columbus, OH — Express Live 
11/27 — Newport, KY — Ovation
11/28 — Grand Rapids, MI — Intersection
11/30 — Bloomington, IL — The Castle Theater
12/1 — McKees Rock, PA — Roxian
12/3 — Buffalo, NY — Rapids Theater
12/4 — New York, NY — Irving Plaza
12/5 — Silver Spring, MD — The Fillmore Silver Spring
12/7 — Charlotte, NC — The Fillmore Charlotte
12/8 — Nashville, TN — Brooklyn Bowl
12/10 — St Louis, MO — Delmar Hall
12/11 — Madison, WI — The Sylvee
12/12 — Minneapolis, MN — The Fillmore Minneapolis
12/14 — Des Moines, IA — Wooly’s
12/15 — Chicago, IL — House of Blues
12/17 — Detroit, MI — Majestic Theatre
12/18 — Cleveland, OH — House of Blues
*Festival Date

Horizons‘ track listing is noted below.

HORIZONS TRACK LISTING:
“UNVEILING THE ARCHITECTURE”
“THE BREACH”
“OTHERWORLDLY”
“ICARUS”
“EARTHRISE”
“LEAVING THIS WORLD BEHIND”
“DEVOLUTION”
“ANNIHILATED LOVE”
“ALCHEMY”
“DISAPPEAR”
“ENDLESS ENDEAVOR”
“SYMBIOTIC”
“DREAMCATCHER”
“TUNNELVISION”
“INFECTED”
“SOMETHING WICKED”

More information on Starset’s new album, single, video, and tour is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://starsetonline.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/starsetonline

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/starsetonline

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.

Memphis May Fire Debuts New Single, Video; Announces New Live Dates

Courtesy: Rise Records

Memphis May Fire premiered its latest single and video this week.

The band premiered its new single, ‘Bleed Me Dry‘ and its companion video Thursday. The song is the band’s third in a little more than two months.

The band roared back in June with the video for its single, ‘Blood & Water.’ The song was the band’s first new music since the release of its 2019 album, Broken. That album produced the singles ‘The Old Me,’ ‘Heavy is the Weight (ft. Andy Mineo)‘ and ‘You and Me.’

Memphis May Fire followed up the debut of the video for ‘Blood & Water’ with the premiere of  its new single, ‘Death Inside‘ and its video last month.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Bleed Me Dry’ is a driving hard rock composition. Its choruses lend themselves to comparison to works from Linkin Park, what with the pairing of front man Matty Mullins’ vocal delivery style and sound, and the song’s instrumentation style and sound. The verses meanwhile exhibit an almost industrial influence with the use of the guitars and keyboards. At the same time, Mullins’ vocals are just as comparable here to those of the late, great Chester Bennington. The whole makes this song just as unlike ‘Death Inside’ and ‘Blood & Water’ as they are from one another.

The lyrical theme featured in ‘Bleed Me Dry’ delivers a message of determination according to Mullins.

“Our third single of the year, ‘Bleed Me Dry,’ is my favorite yet,” he said. “It’s an anthem for anyone feeling beaten down by the negative voices around them.”

The video for ‘Bleed Me Dry’ is a simple presentation. It features the band performing its new single on a darkened sound stage as the song plays over. A wall of monitors stands behind the band as it performs.

In other news, Memphis May Fire has announced a new, brief live run. The tour is scheduled to launch Sept. 11 in Gilford, NH and to run through Sept. 22 in Huntington, WV. The tour’s schedule is noted below. Breaking Benjamin and Papa Roach are scheduled to join the band for the tour.

MEMPHIS MAY FIRE TOUR DATES:
WITH BREAKING BENJAMIN + PAPA ROACH

9/11 — Gilford, NH — Bank of New Hampshire Pavillion
9/12 — Montclair, NJ — The Wellmont Theater
9/14 — Columbus, OH — Express Live!
9/15 — Toledo, OH — Huntington Center
9/17 — Uncasville, CT — Mohegan Sun Arena
9/18 — Scranton, PA — The Pavillion at Montage Mountain
9/21 — Youngstown, OH — Covelli Centre
9/22 — Hutnington, WV — Mountain Health Arena

On yet another note, Mullins recently commented on one of many charity works that it is conducting. The work in question is raising money for the nonprofit organization Heart Support, which helps people who battle a variety of mental health concerns.

“We’re so excited to announce that we will be donating 100% of the proceeds from the ‘In Your Eyes’ tee in our online merch store to one of our favorite non-profits — Heart Support!,” he said. “Every year, Heart Support helps men and women brave their wounds, find purpose, and discover healing. I am so stoked for everyone to hear this song and get involved with a great cause!”

MMF’s charity work with Heart Support is, as noted, just some of the charity work that it is doing. The band is also working with the nonprofit, Living The Dream, raising money for that agency also through sales of its apparel.

The band has also partnered with the domestic violence firm, Bridges DVC Nashville to launch two new merchandise designs. One hundred percent of the sales from the designs will go to benefit the center, which serves men, women, and children affected by domestic violence in the greater Nashville, TN region.

More information on Memphis May Fire’s new single, tour dates, and charity work is available online along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/MemphisMayFire

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/MemphisMayFire

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

Keith Wallen Debuts ‘Fractured’ Video; New Album Available Now

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

Breaking Benjamin guitarist debuted the video for his latest single this week.

Wallen premiered the video for his new single, ‘Fractured’ Thursday.  The single and its video are the second from Wallen’s new solo album, This World or the Next.  Wallen premiered the video album’s lead single, ‘Wildfire’ July 30.  This World or the Next is available now.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Fractured’ exhibits some influence from Breaking Benjamin. At the same time, the pairing of his vocals with the instrumentation also lends the song to comparison to works from Finger Eleven.

According to Wallen, the lyrical theme that accompanies the song’s musical arrangement centers on the topic of a toxic relationship and its impact on those involved in that relationship.

“‘Fractured’ is about pouring your adoration into someone you love or someone you look up to, but all they do is leave you feeling disappointed,” he said. “You wish they could be different, but there’s no changing or fixing the way a person is, they have to want to change for themselves. Until they do, your wounds will remain open.”

The video for ‘Fractured’ is simple and does an impressive job of helping to translate the message in the noted theme. It features Wallen taking a baseball bat to a room full of furniture and other items, releasing the tension that is clearly brought on by the noted toxic relationship. Viewers can only wish that was them doing just that, sometimes including this critic.

This World or the Next is available to stream and download now through Spotify and Apple Music.

More information on Keith Wallen’s new single, video, and album is available along with all of his latest news at:

Websitehttps://keithwallen.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/KeithWallenMusic

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/kjwallen

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.

Keith Wallen Premieres ‘Wildfire’ Video

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

Breaking Benjamin guitarist Keith Wallen will release his solo debut next month.

Wallen’s new album, This World or the Next One is scheduled for release Aug. 13. In anticipation of the album’s release, Wallen premiered the video for the album’s lead single, ‘Wildfire’ Friday.

The video is a simple presentation. It features a silhouette of a person against a red background, singing. The figure is assumed to be Wallen. Various video effects are used to keep the video engaging and entertaining.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Wildfire’ is a flowing melodic rock ballad. It is grounded in the balance of its guitar, piano, and vocals.

The lyrical theme is centered on the all too familiar topic of toxic relationships, according to comments from Wallen.

“Wildfire is about loving someone with every ounce of your soul even though you know they are not right for you,” he said. “Even though your brain is telling you over and over that it’s not the healthiest situation, you ultimately resolve to accept that the heart wants what the heart wants.”

More information on Keith Wallen’s new single, video, and album is available along with all of his latest news at:

Website: https://keithwallen.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kjwallen

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.

Bulletproof Messenger Returns After More Than A Decade With New Single

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

Hard rock act Bulletproof Messenger released its first new music in more than a decade this week.

The band debuted its new single, ‘The Divide‘ Thursday. The song features a heavy, guitar-driven arrangement that will appeal to fans of bands, such as Three Days Grace, Breaking Benjamin, and Finger Eleven. In relation, the song is a solid fit for any active rock radio programmer’s playlist.

The lyrical theme that accompanies the song is a commentary on the state of the world, according to a statement from the band.

“It’s about overcoming our differences, the challenges we face, and getting back to living life the way we were meant to live it, not through an artificial means of communication, but face to face and in person” the statement reads.

More information on Bulletproof Messenger’s new single is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: https://bulletproofmessenger.co

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/wearebpm

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.

‘Monsters & Machines’ Could Help Make Audiences More Aware Of Awaken, With The Right Support

Courtesy: The Label Group

Independent hard rock band Awaken released its latest studio recording late last month.  The record – Monsters & Machines – is a presentation that the genre’s fans will find worth hearing at least once.  That is proven through the musical and lyrical content that makes up the body of the 12-song record.  The musical arrangements hold their own against works from a variety of the band’s more well-known counterparts, such as Spineshank, Breaking Benjamin and Disturbed.  Even with those influences, the record’s musical arrangements boast their own unique identities, giving audiences reason enough to hear the album.  The record’s lyrical themes are themselves accessible, making for even more engagement and entertainment.  ‘Behemoth’ and ‘The Veil’ are just two of the examples of how that musical and lyrical content comes together to make the record work.  They will be addressed momentarily.  ‘Graveyards,’ which comes later in the album’s run, is another key example of what makes the album successful.  When it and the other noted songs are considered along with the rest of the album’s works, the record in whole shows itself as a work that audiences will agree is worth hearing at least once.

Awaken’s latest record Monsters & Machines – the band’s fourth album – is a presentation that audiences will find worth hearing at least once.  Its collective musical and lyrical content supports that statement easily.  One of the songs that serves to show the impact of the record’s collective content comes early in its sequence in the form of ‘Behemoth.’  The song’s musical arrangement is a heavy work that incorporates electronics and heavy guitars, drums and bass for a sound that will appeal to fans of bands, such as Spineshank, 10 years, and Chevelle.  The fire in the song’s arrangement pairs well with the work’s lyrical theme.

The lyrical theme in question hints at someone who sees how the world is dealing with its inner demons.  As the song’s subject is seeing this reality, he/she is also seemingly reaching out  himself/herself, asking for help, which is what people need to do any time they are dealing with their own inner struggles.  That will make the song even more accessible for audiences.  The inference can be made right from the song’s outset as the lead verse and  chorus state, “It feels like a monster growing inside/Trying to claw its way out/It seems like somewhere we’ve lost our minds/Fighting through the webs of our doubts/By ourselves we’ll crash, burn, and sever/But you are there to put our ashes back together/Reach in me/I can feel it caving in/Breathe in me/I can feel a fade within/Grab hold of me/It keeps pulling underneath /God, help me/Rise within my own defeat.”  The song’s second verse continues that inference as it states, “It feels like temptation magnetized/Keeping hearts from finding ways around/It seems like any time we try to take flight/The gravity keeps forcing to the ground.”  The song’s third and final verse certifies the statement even more as it states, “Confused on where my thoughts align 

/I know you’re there to cauterize the thriving of the beast inside.”  The overall message will resonate loudly with listeners.  When it is considered along with the power in the song’s musical arrangement, the lyrical content’s impact increases even more, making the  whole song that much more accessible.  It is just one of the songs that shows the album’s strength.  ‘The Veil,’ which comes later in the album’s run, is another example of how much the record has to offer.

‘The Veil’ presents a musical arrangement that crosses the band’s familiar electronic leanings with a more melodic hard rock sound to make its whole a unique work in its own right.  The subtle string arrangement that opens the song makes for a notable juxtaposition to again, the very Spineshank/Breaking Benjamin style approach that follows soon after.   The steady time keeping and low-end work with the keyboards and guitars to make the song’s musical arrangement solid throughout its four-minute run time.  The energy in the song’s arrangement does well to help heighten the impact of the song’s lyrical theme.

According to a statement released by the band, the lyrical theme featured in ‘The Veil’ is a song about the facades put on by our society, our leaders, and sometimes even ourselves.  How people can go about on a daily basis keeping people in the dark of their true intentions. It’s like putting your hand over other people’s eyes while creating a cover story to buy time, knowing that it won’t last forever. The light will eventually turn on and the truth will be revealed.”‘  That statement is illustrated well in the song’s lead verse, which states, “There is a shield that keeps us from seeing what’s around us/Like a veil that covers over our eyes/So we start to lose our way/We’ve pursued conflictions and got caught in life’s deceptions/Casting shadows on our face that guides our vision astray/I know there’s more to life than this/Now we can open the door/To find out what our eyes have missed/While we were blinded before.”  The statement continues in the song’s second verse as the song’s subject notes, “We keep flowing in this pattern of blocking out the sun/In contradiction to the path we want walk on/How is it we manage to hide what’s truly felt?/There’s so much more to what we are inside these dying shells.”  The final accent is put on the statement in the song’s third and final verse, which states, “Why is it so hard for us to share what we feel?/Why is it so hard for us to find something real?/Nothing can ever take your sight from what you know as truth/A vision’s value can be too precious to turn away the view.”  Noting the simple way in which the message was delivered, even in its metaphorical language, the theme is still relatively easily understood.  To that end the lyrical theme shows even more why the album’s lyrical theme is important to its presentation.  When it is paired with the song’s radio ready musical arrangement, the two elements collectively show even more why the album deserves its own share of attention.  It is just one more of the album’s most notable entries.  ‘Graveyards,’ which comes even later in the album’s run, is another way in which the album’s musical and lyrical content stand out.

‘Graveyards’ is just as radio ready as the other songs addressed here.  That is exhibited inn part through its heavy, melodic hard rock stylistic approach and sound.  Once again, the comparison is easily made to Breaking Benjamin through the combination of the vocals, bass, guitar, and drums.  That is a tribute to the album’s production.  That infectious, heavy arrangement works with the song’s lyrical theme to make for even more interest.

The lyrical theme featured in ‘Graveyards’ comes across as a statement about humans’ obsession with the past and our struggle to move past our own pasts.  That is inferred especially through the song’s chorus, which states, “Is nothing what it seems?/We keep repeating history/In reverence we dance in vain on the graves of our mistakes/In severance we separate from the pasts we can’t remain.”  The chorus adds in its refrain, “In remembrance we keep building walls from all our shattered dreams/In deliverance we build this bridge for all the lives to redeem.”  So while the song warns listeners about our tendency to hold on to the past, it reminds us that we can learn from our pasts and move past them.  The song’s verses add even more to the theme here, what with its notes of  having “broken from the chains/But we can’t seem to open up this cage” and how “We   change the picture in this frame/But get lost in the cycles of the same.”  It is a strong starting point on a topic that is accessible.  When it is considered along with the song’s equally impressive musical arrangement, that whole makes even clearer why audiences will find the album appealing.  When it is considered along with the other songs noted here and the rest of the album’s works, the whole of that content makes the album overall a presentation that does deserve to be heard at least once.

Awaken’s latest album, Monsters & Machines is a presentation from the established hard rock act that is deserving of as much attention as works from the band’s more well-known counterparts.  That is proven through its musical and lyrical content alike.  The songs examined here serve to support the noted statements.  When they and the rest of the album’s works are considered together, they make the recording its own successful offering that is worth hearing at least once.  The album is available now.  More information on the album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at https://www.facebook.com/awakenofficial.  

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

Madame Mayhem Debuts New Single, ‘Cruel Heart’, Companion Video

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

Madame Mayhem returned this week with her latest single and its companion video.

The singer-songwriter (a.k.a. Natalie Ann Cohen) debuted her new single ‘Cruel Heart‘ Friday along with its companion video. Produced by Johnny K (Disturbed, Finger Eleven, Sevendust), the song features a musical arrangement that easily lends itself to comparison to works from Sevendust. The song was co-written by Cohen and Keith Wallen (Breaking Benjamin).

Cohen talked about working with Wallen during a recent interview.

“This was one of the first songs Keith Wallen and I wrote together,” she said. “I always have such a great experience co-writing with Keith. I remember listening to this demo on my way home after we finished writing and just getting so excited to share it. I have been patiently waiting for the right moment to release this single and I think now is as good a time as any! This song is near and dear to my heart and I am excited for the world to hear it!”

She added, “I performed this song live on tour a few times prior to recording it, which only makes this release even more special because of the excitement the crowds had for “Cruel Heart” hearing it for the first time as an unknown song. I remember having conversations with fans after the shows about how much they connected with it, which means so much to me! I hope the song continues to connect with people through this release.”

Wallen performed the guitar line and backing vocals for ‘Cruel Heart’ while Jason “JBomb” Harrison handled drumming duties for the composition.

The debut of Cohen’s new song comes less than six months after she debuted her cover of Aerosmith’s hit song ‘Livin’ on the Edge.’ The cover is available to download here.

Cohen’s take of ‘Livin’ on the Edge’ came, at the time, came more than three months after the debut of her then latest original single, ‘Breaking Down.’ Wallen and Harrison also took part in that song’s creation along with Billy Sheehan (The Winery Dogs, Sons of Apollo, Mr. Big).

More information on Madame Mayhem’s new single and video is available along with all of her latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.madamemayhem.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/madamemayhem

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/MayhemOfficial

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.

Zero Theorem Continues Its Success On Its New EP

Courtesy: Shim Sham, LLC

Independent hard rock outfit Zero Theorem is one of those acts whose members do not rest easy on its laurels.  The up-and-coming band released its new EP The Killing II last month.  The follow-up to the band’s 2020 EP The Killing I, its release last month was not unexpected.  It was announced last year that the band hoped to release this new record around this time.  The band’s latest studio recording continues the success of its predecessor.  This is evidenced in the EP’s musical and lyrical content while also showing some growth from the band.  The growth in question comes from the 16-minute EP’s closer, ‘Waiting.’  It will be discussed shortly.  While ‘Waiting’ shows some growth from Zero Theorem, the band’s new record also offers plenty of familiarity for listeners in terms of its musical and lyrical content.  That is evidenced in ‘Translucent,’ the EP’s opener.  It will be discussed a little later.  ‘The Future’ gives listeners something familiar and some growth all in one setting.  It will be discussed later, too.  Each song addressed here plays into the success of The Killing II in its own way.  When they are considered alongside the EP’s two remaining songs, the whole of the record proves to be a solid follow-up to The Killing.

Zero Theorem’s new EP The Killing II is a presentation that takes the success of The Killing and ensures even more, the continued rise in the band’s popularity within the hard rock community.  That is the case because the band’s new EP offers audiences something familiar both musically and lyrically while also showing some growth from the quintet in terms of the record’s musical content.  ‘Waiting,’ which closes out the EP, is the clearest example of that musical growth.  Whereas most of the band’s catalog presents musical arrangements that are comparable to works from the likes of Disturbed and Breaking Benjamin, this song’s arrangement takes listeners in a different direction.  In this case, the musical arrangement is more comparable to works from Sevendust and The Veer Union than Disturbed and Breaking Benjamin.  That’s even the case in front man “Caesar’s” vocal delivery style.  To be more specific, the arrangement here is especially comparable to Sevendust’s more recent works, what with the addition of the electronics and minor chords.  That whole approach is such that it will appeal to a wide range of listeners.  The lyrical content that accompanies the song’s musical arrangement adds even more to that appeal.

The lyrical content featured in ‘Waiting’ comes across as a sort of statement about simply living life and making the most of it while we are here.  That is inferred most clearly in the song’s chorus, which states, “I am no longer waiting/For you to carry me away/If it’s my time now/Then there is nothing you can say/I am no longer waiting/For you to show me everything/If it’s my life/now/Then tell me who else/Who else will lead the way?”

The statement is furthered later in the song as Caesar sings, “Now is when/I will join with the wind/Moving out and in/To places that I’ve never been.  It is another line that declares the determination to make the most of life, not let himself be controlled before asking in the song’s finale, “Who else will lead the way?”  That final statement is strong.  It puts the period…er….question mark to the song’s overarching statement about determination and drive, not just letting life pass one by.  This and the song’s musical arrangement pair to leave no doubt as to its place in the EP.  They join to make this song just one example of what makes The Killing II such a successful new offering from Zero Theorum. ‘Translucent,’ the EP’s opener is another example of what makes the record successful.

‘Translucent,’ the opener for The Killing II gives the band’s established fan base something familiar in regards to its musical and lyrical content.  Examining first, the song’s musical arrangement, its heavy, crunching, controlled guitars pair with the vocal delivery of “Caesar” to immediately lend itself to comparisons to works from Disturbed and Breaking Benjamin.  Even with that comparison in mind, the song still boasts its own unique identity separate from their songs.  Additionally, while the song is stylistically similar to the work on The Killing I, the overall sound is just as unique.  To that end, audiences again get something familiar here from Zero Theorem while also getting a new musical arrangement overall.  The musical arrangement, paired with the song’s lyrical content makes for even more engagement and entertainment here.

Zero Theorum debuted ‘Translucent’ last year ahead of the EP’s release.  “Caesar” discussed the song’s lyrical theme at the time, saying of that content, “‘Translucent’ represents the act of seeing through one’s outward or public persona to identify the authentic self within.  As with other songs throughout The Killing recordings, ‘Translucent’ depicts a scathing character portrait while questioning the validity and usefulness of the artificial trappings of our daily lives.”  In other words, the song’s lyrical theme focuses on the topic of self-realization.  That is the short and simple of the song’s lyrical theme.  The commentary is delivered with “Caesar” stating in the song’s lead verse, “You paint yourself inside a white picket fence/You’re sliding in and out of walls/Waiting until the moment is tense/You step away from your existence/You don’t like to answer a broken call.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “A sound of anger that takes violence to create/Missteps have slammed another door/Consequence is not your concern/You have endless time to burn/To you we’re only another chore.”  The commentary concludes with the third verse’s statement, which notes, “Translucent eyes/They cannot hide/The parasite that lives inside/It’s feeding on your/wicked mind/The parasite that lives inside.”  That final stinging line leaves no doubt about the commentary’s statement about the song’s theme.  Together with the song’s musical arrangement, the two elements make this song another strong example of what makes The Killing II a positive return for Zero Theorem.  ‘The Future’ is yet another key addition to the EP.

‘The Future’ features a musical arrangement that shows growth from the band as well as something familiar from the group.  The influence of Disturbed and Breaking Benjamin is just as prevalent here as much as in certain other songs in this record.  The use of the added keyboards and electronics give the song a bit of a symphonic metal style influence.  That added element and Caesar’s screams collectively lend themselves to comparisons to music from Amaranthe.  When the energy in the song’s musical arrangement joins with the theme in the song’s lyrical content, the song gains even more traction.

The lyrical content featured in ‘The Future’ comes across as a statement of the direction in which the human race is headed.  It is not the first time that any band has ever taken on such a topic.  Even with that in mind, the manner in which the seeming theme is presented here still ensures listeners’ engagement and entertainment.  The song opens with the statement, “We keep on spiraling all the way down/No chance to reconcile/Pestilence multiplies/On machines we rely/The vain and senseless shaping what we perceive/Of right.”  This lead verse statement leaves little doubt as to what it is saying.  It is saying that the human race is headed in a bad direction.  The song’s chorus adds to the warning, stating, “Now/This is the future/We’re on the other side/We are the ones under blackened sky/Now/We’re in the future/We’ve burned the past alive/Just trying to prove we’re not/dead inside.”  Building on the song’s lyrical warning is its second verse, which states, “We keep on burrowing all the way down/Hastening our demise/The roots replaced with wires/Our truth beset by liars/It’s all to advocate the cyber cult/Of right.”  Of course for all of the nihilism that is on display here, the whole of the song does in fact end with some hope.  That glimmer of hope comes in the song’s third and final verse, which notes, “Watch us come alive/Right now/This is the future.”  This is a brief statement but speaks volumes.  It is the masses saying, “We have seen the light and we are changing.  We must change.”  It is a powerful statement, especially when considered with the warning that makes up so much of the song.  It reminds listeners that for all of the bad that is happening, it is not too late to change things.  When this whole is considered along with the song’s musical content, that overall content makes clear why this song will appeal so much to audiences, and why the EP is a success.  When this collective is considered along with the other songs examined here and the record’s two remaining songs, the whole becomes a presentation that more than earns its  place among this year’s best new EPs.

Zero Theorem’s recently released new EP The Killing II is a strong follow-up to the band’s 2020 EP The Killing.  It offers audiences plenty of familiar musical and lyrical content while also exhibiting some growth in regards to its musical arrangements. Each of the songs examined here serve to support the noted statements.  When they are considered with the EP’s two remaining songs, including the EP’s latest single ‘Joke,’ the whole becomes a record that is  unquestionably one of this year’s best new EPs.  It is available now.

More information on Zero Theorem’s new EP is available online along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://zerotheoremband.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/zerotheoremband

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/ztheoremband

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

SoulSwitch Debuts New Single, ‘Until The End,’ Companion Video

Courtesy: MVK Music Group

Independent hard rock band SoulSwitch debuted the video for its latest single last week.

The band debuted the video for its new single ‘Until The End‘ Jan. 21. The video merges footage of the band performing its new single in what is meant to reflect a live setting with video of two separate figures — a man and woman — sitting alone going through what is clearly some emotional turmoil as the song plays over the whole.

The band explained the imagery in a statement as it pertained to its connection to the song’s lyrical theme in a prepared statement.

“While sounding like your typical breakup song, there is more under the surface with ‘Until The End,’ the statement reads. “When you first listen to ‘Until The End’, you may walk away thinking that you have just listened to another song about two people in a broken relationship.  Though it is about a relationship, it is not about one you might think of first. ‘Until The End’ is about the relationship between the subconscious and the conscious. The song is about how the subconscious is trying to change the choices of the conscious, but is getting muted in the process.”

The musical arrangement that accompanies the song’s lyrical theme is a heavy, melodic rock composition. It will appeal to fans of bands, such as Sevendust, The Veer Union, and Breaking Benjamin with its heaviness and harmonies.

‘Until The End’ is available to download here. It is the third in a series of four new songs from SoulSwitch. Its premiere and that of its companion video follows that of its predecessors, ‘Take Me Under‘ and ‘Everything I Am.’

More information on SoulSwitch’s new single and video is available along with all of the band’s latest news and more at https://www.facebook.com/SoulSwitch

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.