Clutch Announces Dates For Annual Holiday Run

Courtesy: New Ocean Media

Clutch announced this week, the dates for its annual Holiday Run.

The band made the announcement Thursday.  The tour is scheduled to launch Dec. 27 in Cincinnati, OH and to run through Dec. 31 in Philadelphia, PA.

The Steel Woods will serve as support for each show while Damon Johson (Brother Cane, Thin Lizzy, Alice Cooper) will open each show except Clutch’s Asheville, NC date.  Tyler Bryant and The Shakedown will open that concert.

The tour’s schedule is noted below.  Tickets are available now at the band’s official website.

Clutch Annual Holiday Tour Dates:
Fri/Dec-27 Cincinnati, OH @ Bogarts
Sat/Dec-28 Asheville, NC @ Orange Peel (support from Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown)
Sun/Dec-29 Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
Mon/Dec-30 Sayreville, NJ @ Starland Ballroom
Tue/Dec-31 Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer (New Years Eve Show)

Clutch is touring alongside Dropkick Murphys and Hatebreed.  The tour is scheduled to make its way to Chicago, IL Monday night before winding its way through the Midwest throughout the rest of the week.  Tickets for the tour are available here.  The tour’s schedule is noted below.

(headline** and festival* dates) = no Dropkick Murphys.
Clutch headline ** show support below.
 Sun/Sep-29 Detroit, MI @ Masonic Temple Theatre
 Mon/Sep-30 Chicago, IL @ Aragon
 Tue/Oct-01 Minneapolis, MN @ The Myth
 Thu/Oct-03 Moorhead, MN @ Bluestem Center For The Arts
 Fri/Oct-04 Council Bluffs, IA @ Westfair Amphitheatre
 Sat/Oct-05 Broomfield, CO @ FirstBank Center
 Sun/Oct-06 Salt Lake City, UT @ The Union
 Tue/Oct-08 Los Angeles, CA @ The Palladium
 Wed/Oct-09 San Diego, CA @ Park at the Park
 *Fri/Oct-11 Sacramento, CA @ Aftershock Festival
 **Sat/Oct-12 Bend, OR @ Midtown Theater (support: Red Fang, Mos Generator)
 **Sun/Oct-13 Eugene, OR @ McDonald Theater (support: Red Fang, Mos Generator)
 Mon/Oct-14 Boise, ID @ Outlaw Field at Idaho Botanic Gardens
 Tue/Oct-15 Seattle, WA @ WAMU Theatre

Clutch’s tour is in support of its most recent album Book of Bad Decisions (2018).  More information on each item is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:






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Killswitch Engage, Clutch To Launch Co-Headlining Summer Tour

Killswitch Engage and Clutch will embark on a dual headliner tour this summer.

The tour schedule is scheduled to launch July 8 in Quebec City, QC and run through Aug. 7 in Las Vegas, NV.  It will feature performances in cities, such as Myrtle Beach, SC; Bangor, ME and Tulsa, OK.  The tour’s schedule is noted below.

7/8 — Quebec City, QC — Festival D’ete%
7/11 — London, ON — Rock The Park#
7/12 — Syracuse, NY — SI Hall
7/13 — Inwood, WV — Shiley Acres
7/14 — Myrtle Beach, SC — House of Blues
7/16 — Fort Wayne, IN — The Clyde
7/18 — Sioux City, IA — Hard Rock & Casin
7/19 — Cadott, WI — Cadott Rock Fest#
7/20 — OshKosh, WI — Rock USA#
7/22 — Tulsa, OK — The Brady Theater
7/23 — St. Louis, MO — The Pageant
7/25 — Bethlehem, PA — Sands Event Center
7/26 — Asbury Park, NJ — Stone Pony Outdoors
7/27 — Montreal, QC — Heavy MTL#
7/28 — Bangor, ME — Impact Festival#
7/30 — Huntington, NY — The Paramount
8/2 — Pittsburgh, PA — Stage AE Outdoors
8/3 — Port Chester, NY — Capital Theater
8/4 — Worcester, MA — Palladium Outdoors
8/7 — Las Vegas, NV — Psycho Las Vegas^
^Clutch Only
%KsE Only

Cro Mags JM and All that Remains will serve  as support. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday.

The announcement of KsE and Clutch’s co-headlining tour comes as KsE is wrapping its current tour with Parkway Drive.  The bands’ tour makes its last stop Saturday in Columbus, OH.

Killswitch Engage is touring in support of its most recent album, 2016’s Incarnate.  Clutch is touring in support of its latest album, 2018’s Book of Bad Decisions.

More information on Killswitch Engage is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:






More information on Clutch is available online along with all of the band’s news at:






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Gibbons’ New Solo LP Is 2018’s “Baddest” Rock Album

Courtesy: Concord Records

This year was a very productive span for the rock realm.  New offerings from well-known acts, such as Joe Satriani, Billy Gibbons and Stone Temple Pilots were joined by some enjoyable offerings from some lesser-known acts, such as The Magpie Salute, The Marcus King Band and Black Coffee to make for quite the selection of new offerings.

Simply put, the mainstream and the independent offerings turned out this year gave audiences plenty to appreciate. Many of those offerings made their way into Phil’s Picks list of the year’s top new rock albums, including and not limited to the offerings from the acts already noted here.

Topping off this critic’s list this year is Billy Gibbons’ new album The Big Bad Blues.  The ZZ Top star’s latest solo offering features some impressive covers of classic blues and blues rock tunes, while also offering some equally entertaining originals to round out the record’s body.  The whole is a record that is a solid listen from start to finish.

Taking second spot in this year’s list of the year’s top new rock albums is legendary guitarist Joe Satriani’s latest offering What Happens Next.  The full-on instrumental offering is everything that fans have come to expect from Satch, with touches of his past and present.

Third spot in this year’s list goes to Slash, Alter bridge front man Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators.  The group’s new offering Living The Dream is a well-produced and engineered album with plenty of radio ready singles that go a long way toward displaying the group’s collective talents.  The lyrical themes are just as easily accessible as the record’s arrangements.  While not a perfect record, it is still enjoyable in its own right.

The remainder of this year’s list is noted below.  Also featured in this year’s list are new efforts from Black Coffee, Pop Evil and P.O.D.  As always, the list’s top 10 titles are the best while the five that follow are all honorable mention titles.  Without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks 2018 Top 10 New Rock Albums.


  1. Billy Gibbons — The Big Bad Blues
  2. Joe Satriani — What Happens Next
  3. Slash ft. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators — Living The Dream
  4. Clutch — The Book of Bad Ideas
  5. Michael Schenker Fest — Resurrection
  6. Black Coffee — Take One
  7. Black Stone Cherry — Family Tree
  8. Pompeii — The Secret Sessions
  9. P.O.D. — Circles
  10. The Marcus King Band — Carolina Confessions
  11. The Zealots — Only Rocks Live Forever
  12. Roine Stolt’s Flower King — Manifesto of an Alchemist
  13. The Magpie Salute — Highwater I
  14. Royal Tusk — Tusk II
  15. Stone Temple Pilots — Stone Temple Pilots

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Project 86 “Among” Rock and Metal’s Best On Phil’s Picks 2017 Top New Hard Rock & Metal Albums

Courtesy: Project 86/TAG Publicity

For those about to rock, we salute you!

Yes, everyone knows that phrase from AC/DC’s classic song by the same name.  As popular as it is, it is more than just a song lyric and title.  It is a statement of honor for the acts and audiences who span the rock community.  This year, as with every year prior, there are so many bands to honor as the year nears its end, including hard rock and metal bands.  In case it hasn’t become clear by now, this article focuses on this critic’s choices for the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.  As with every list before, compiling it was not an easy task.  New releases from Project 86, Arch Enemy, Iced Earth, and so many others made this year’s field of new hard rock and metal albums very crowded.  That is putting it lightly.  Between well-known mainstream acts and their lesser-known independent counterparts, the two sides collectively offered so many impressive new albums.

Topping this critic’s list of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums is Project 86’s latest album Sheep Among Wolves.  The band’s 10th full-length studio recording in 20 years, this record takes all of the best elements of the band’s past — both musically and lyrically — and uses them to craft a work that is just as memorable and engaging as its predecessors.  Also on this year’s list from Phil’s Picks are new albums from — as already noted — Iced Earth and Arch Enemy — as well as new offerings from Overkill, Act of Defiance, Prong, Adrenaline Mob, Blacktop Mojo and others. As with every list, this list presents this critic’s Top 10 titles plus five additional titles for a total of 15 records.  That being noted, here for you is Phil’s Picks’ 2017 Top 10 New Hard Rock & Metal Albums.


  1. Project 86 — Sheep Among Wolves
  2. Prong — Zero Days
  3. Act of Defiance — Old Scars, New Wounds
  4. Overkill — The Grinding Wheel
  5. Iced Earth — Incorruptable
  6. Blacktop Mojo — Burn The Ships
  7. Adrenaline Mob — We The People
  8. Marty Friedman — Wall of Sound
  9. Corroded — Defcon Zero
  10. Dragonforce — Reaching Into Infinity
  11. The Haunted — Strength In Numbers
  12. Doyle — As We Die
  13. Demon Hunter — Outlive
  14. 36 Crazyfists — Lanterns
  15. Arch Enemy — Will To Power

That’s all for this list.  Again, it was not an easy list to compile.  Acts the likes of Eve To Eve to Adam, Marty Friedman, Sepultura, Annihilator, Mastodon and so many others all deserve their own share of credit.  With that in mind, it becomes easy to see why no disrespect was meant to any one act or another here.  Every noted act released its own impressive album.  Only so many spaces were available, sadly.

2018 is already shaping up to be an interesting year in its own right, with new material from Ministry on the way alongside new albums from Judas Priest, Saxon, Machine Head, Corrosion of Conformity, Tool, Clutch and lots more.  Stay tuned for all of that in the new year.  To keep up with all of 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

The Rock Carnival Returns This Summer

Courtesy:  Stan Levinstone Presents/Game Loud

Courtesy: Stan Levinstone Presents/Game Loud

The Rock Carnival is officially returning.

The Rock Carnival, the Northeast’s only classic carnival + Rock ‘N Roll experience returns this year for its second year.  And headlining this year’s festival is none other than one of the great legends of rock, Alice Cooper.  The second annual Rock Carnival will be held Friday, September 30th – Sunday, October 2nd.  It is produced by Stan Levinstone Presents and Game Loud.  It will take place at FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood New Jersey.  It is the home of the Lakewood Blue Claws minor league baseball team.  The team is a minor league affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies.  This year marks the first time that it will take place at FirstEnergy Park.  General Admission tickets for single day and weekend access are available now along with Reserved Seat Weekend passes VIP packages, and Skybox Meet and Greets.  The General admission passes and Reserved Seat Weekend Passes can be purchased online here now.  The VIP and Skybox packages are available here.

While Alice Cooper will headline this year’s festival he will not be the only big name on the bill.  Also on this year’s bill are the likes of: Kyng, Overkill, Texas Hippie Coalition, Jackyl, Ace Frehley, Clutch, Blue Oyster Cult, Zakk Sabbath, Monster Magnet, Fuel and many others. Twisted Sister will also be on hand for the festival in its final tri-state appearance.  The performance is part of the band’s official farewell tour.  Performances will take place across a number of stages including two side-by-side main stages.

Along with the major acts scheduled to perform, a special “Classic” Friday night celebration has been added to this year’s festivities.  The celebration will feature performances by a number of cover bands including: Voyage (Journey tribute band), Almost Queen (Queen tribute band), and Zakk Zabbath.  Zac Sabbath’s lineup features Zakk Wylde (Black Label Society Ozzy Osbourne) on vocals and guitar, Blasko (Ozzy Osbourne, Rob Zombie) on bass, and Joey Castillo (Queens of the Stone Age) on drums.

More information on the second annual Rock Carnival will be announced in the weeks to come.  Audiences can keep up with all of those updates online now at:









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Rubikon’s Third Album Was Well Worth The Rather Long Wait

Courtesy:  Round Hill Records

Courtesy: Round Hill Records

Roughly eleven years have passed since the up-and-coming blues/rock band Rubikon released its debut album The Hollow Men. Being that so much time has passed since that album was released fans couldn’t help but figure that the band would just be another that tried its hand only to fold soon after. However recently announced that it has in fact not gone away. As a matter of fact, it will release its third full-length studio recording Delta next month. The album, which will be released via independent record label Round Hill Records, boasts nine tracks of blues-based rock that will impress fans of Clutch, Deep Purple, COC, and even Zodiac to a slightly lesser degree. While the album boasts only nine tracks and comes in at a grand total of thirty-seven minutes, that does not take away anything from the whole of the record. Speaking of the whole of the record, the record is anchored by the full-on blues rock opus ‘Sermon.’ The song starts out slowly in its first few bars before really launching full force into a rather heavy piece that fans of both Clutch and COC will enjoy. The album’s opener ‘Live That Lie’ is another solid addition to this record. As is noted of the song, it is a work that is centered on the personal journey of the band’s members. Its heavy, blues-infused musical backing adds even more enjoyment to the song in whole. For all of the heaviness displayed throughout this record it isn’t without its softer side as is evident in the more reserved sound of ‘Wasting Time.’ This song starts off softly enough. But it doesn’t take long for the song to pick up even if only slightly in comparison to the album’s other songs. It’s just one more example of how worth the wait Delta proves itself to be . That is not to ignore the album’s other tracks. All nine of the tracks that make up Delta’s body each show in their own respective way what made the wait for this record worth it. All things considered Delta proves in the end to be a piece that any blues/rock aficionado will appreciate regardless of their familiarity with the band’s body of work.

Rubikon’s upcoming album Delta is only the third full-length recording that the band has crafted since forming in its nearly fourteen years together. Roughly eleven years have passed since the band released its debut album The Hollow Men. This new record proves quite well over the course of its nine tracks and thirty-seven total minutes that the decade-plus wait for this album was well worth it. That is most clearly evident in the album’s anchor ‘Sermon.’ The song’s bluesy/southern sludge rock sound instantly grabs listeners by the ear and refuses to let go. That is especially thanks to the transition of its slow, bluesy opening bars to the much harder, heavier riffs that make up the body of the song. The overall content presented in the body of this song in itself makes for plenty of enjoyment. The lyrical content incorporated into the song gives it even more enjoyment. Drummer/vocalist Diggs sings in this song, “I’m already dead/So long gone away/Lay my body down/Old-fashioned way/Old heart won’t last a day/Tryin’ to get back home/Sit here in them clouds/Watch over me.” Listening to this single opening verse, listeners would swear that they were hearing Clutch front man Neil Fallon singing instead of Rubikon’s drummer/vocalist Diggs. The similarity in the pair’s vocal delivery styles is striking. The similarity is just as striking as the song progresses through its near six-minute run time. That powerhouse delivery coupled with the song’s outstanding guitar work makes this song a solid anchor on which Delta can rest and a work that every listener will enjoy.

‘Sermon’ is a solid anchor for Rubikon’s new album. Drummer/vocalist Diggs’ delivery style partnered with the song’s musical content makes it a song that rivals anything ever crafted by the likes of Clutch or COC. It is just one example of what has made the decade-plus wait for Delta worth it. The album’s lead track ‘Live That Lie’ is just as solid an example of what makes the record so impressive. This mid-tempo rocker wastes no time grabbing listeners by the ear and holding tight. According to the band, the song is meant to be a commentary on the personal journey of the band’s members from who they were before to who they have become now. The song’s musical makeup does an impressive job of expressing that message. The contrast of the fiery energy exuded through most of the song to the more reserved sound of the song’s bridge, which comes nearly three minutes in, exemplifies that. That is of course not to ignore the song’s lyrical content. Diggs sings, “Well I’ve been knocked down in chains and lied to/That’s what you get when you don’t play the game/When I step out of line/You’ll follow.” These few lines in themselves paint a clear picture in regards to the comments of the song’s basis. The same can be said of the rest of the song’s lyrical content. What is present here is just a glimpse into the lyrical content’s ability to translate the song’s message. That content set alongside the song’s musical content makes this song an even more solid addition to this record and even more proof of why Delta was worth the wait both for the band’s long-time fans and for those that are less familiar with Rubikon’s body of work.

‘Sermon’ and ‘Live That Lie’ are both clear examples in their own right of why Delta was well worth the wait regardless of listeners’ familiarity with Rubikon’s body of work. While both songs exhibit in their own right plenty of enjoyment, they are hardly the only examples of what makes it so enjoyable. The band shows that for all of the heaviness and power exhibited, it also has a softer side of sorts, too. That is exhibited in the form of the slightly more reserved ‘Wasting Time.’ The song starts off as a fully acoustic piece that is just as certain to hold listeners’ ears as the album’s heavier material. Even at its highest points it still doesn’t get anywhere near as heavy as any of the record’s other songs. That is only one part of what makes this song so enjoyable, too. The manner in which the song’s lyrical content was handled adds even more enjoyment to the song. Because the vocal delivery style here is just as reserved as the music itself, it requires just as close of a listen. What can be deciphered from such an examination is that there is a lot of introspection here. The delivery style is a perfect match for that introspection, too just as with the song’s musical content. All three of the song’s elements connected, they show clearly why this song is just as key to Delta’s enjoyment as ‘Sermon,’ ‘Live That Lie’ and the rest of the album’s songs. All things considered Delta proves that while it was more than ten years in the works, it is an album that was well worth the wait whether or not fans are familiar with the band’s body of work.

Rubikon’s third full-length LP has been more than ten years in the making. Considering how long the wait has been for this record, it has proven with its nine tracks and thirty-seven minutes that the wait was well worth it. Whether for ‘Sermon,’ ‘Live That Lie,’ ‘Wasting Time,’ or any of the remaining half-dozen tracks that make up the body of the album, every element–both musical and lyrical–of this record proves itself important to the whole of the album. All things considered, Delta proves in the end to be an album that is a potential candidate for this year’s list of the best new independent recordings and best new rock records. It will be available Friday, August 21st via Round Hill Records. More information on Delta is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:



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Royal Blood Is One Of This Year’s Most Surprising Rock Records

Courtesy:  Warner Brothers Records

Courtesy: Warner Brothers Records

British Rock duo Royal Blood made big waves earlier this year when it released its debut EP Out of the Black.  That release was but a mere sampling of what the duo—Michael Kerr (bass/vocals) and Ben Thatcher (drums)—had to offer on its now available self-titled major label debut.  Royal Blood is now available in store and online via Warner Brothers Records.  And anyone that has yet to hear any of the band’s music will be impressed by the record’s sound.  The ten tracks contained on this disc boast sounds influenced from the likes of Clutch, The Black Keys, The White Stripes, Queens of the Stone Age and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club just to name a handful.  That mix of influences has led to an album that is arguably one of the best new rock albums of the year and potentially one of the best new albums of the year overall, too.  The proof is obvious right off the top in the album’s opener and title track from its previously released EP ‘Out of the Black.’  Kerr and Thatcher step things up right after that on the forward-driving ‘Come On Over.’  If those songs aren’t enough for listeners, ‘Little Monster’ is sure to impress with its mix of equally driving music and rather thought provoking lyrics.  All three of these songs are equally impressive examples of what makes Royal Blood one of the surprise records of the year.  That is not to discount any of the album’s any other songs.  The album’s bluesy album closer ‘Better Strangers’ and the infectious ‘Figure It Out’ are just as enjoyable as the previously mentioned pieces.  And the album’s remaining five tracks each play their own part in this album’s enjoyment.  Whether for those tracks or the ones noted here, the end result is an album that is again one of the biggest surprises of the year.

Royal Blood’s new self-titled major label debut album is without a doubt one of the best new rock albums of 2014. It is also potentially one of the year’s best new albums overall. The duo makes its case for that title right from the album’s outset. The album’s opener is a bombastic first impression from Kerr and Thatcher. The massive wall of sound generated by the pair instantly conjures thoughts of Clutch, Queens of the Stone Age, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and others of that ilk. Kerr’s vocals are just as much a powerhouse as the music crafted by himself and Thatcher as he sings in the song’s chorus, “You made a fool out of me/You took the skin off my back running/So don’t breath when I talk/Cause you have been spoken to/I got a gun for a mouth/And a bullet with your name on it/But a trigger full of heartbeat/I’m pulling from an empty pocket.” The video for this song is actually available now online at So audiences can check out the song’s pure immensity in the combination of its music and vocals.

As if the seemingly untamed energy generated by ‘Out of the Black’ wasn’t enough for audiences, Kerr and Thatcher keep things moving on the album’s second song ‘Come on Over.’ This song is another full on piece that is sure to impress listeners.  Kerr sings on this song, “Let’s run away/Get out of here/I got no money/And I don’t care/This ain’t my house/This ain’t your home/Not when I’m feeling this alone.” This is an interesting chorus, lyrically speaking. It seems to reflect a certain negative energy felt by perhaps a broken home of sorts. One wonders even more about this as Kerr sings later in the song, “I’m on a train going nowhere/I ran away to make you care/This ain’t my house/This ain’t your home/Not when I’m feeling this alone.” If this is one of those standard songs of self-denial and doubt, the musical side of the song doesn’t reflect that vibe. Hearing lyrics like those noted here, one would expect a musical side from the likes of Breaking Benjamin, Staind or others. But instead , the song’s musical side presents more of a self-determined vibe. It makes for quite the contradiction. And that contradiction makes the song all the more interesting. Audiences can check out an in-studio performance of this song online now at So as with the previously noted songs, audiences can hear this song for themselves and heard that musical contradiction of moods that makes it yet another welcome addition to Royal Blood.

Both ‘Out of the Black’ and ‘Come On Over’ more than make for their own positive impression for Royal Blood.   But Kerr and Thatcher don’t rest easily on their laurels as is evident in ‘Little Monster.’ This song comes a little past the album’s halfway mark.  It is another impressive addition to Royal Blood not just because of the song’s power and energy, but also because it has a certain swagger mixed into the song’s overall feel. That swagger works just as well with the song’s overall sludge rock feel as it does with the song’s lyrics. Audiences will be able to hear that as Kerr sings, “I got love on my fingers/Lust on my tongue/You say you got nothing/So come out and get some/Heartache to heartache/I’m your wolf/I’m your man/I say run little monster/Before you know who I am.” Even more interesting in this song is the New Jack Swing beat of sorts played by Thatcher against the harder edged sound of Kerr’s playing. Somehow, the two parts meld together although one wouldn’t generally think that they would. As with the EP’s opener, this song also has a companion video that can be viewed online now. So audiences can hear the song and hear that massive sound for themselves when they check it out at

‘Little Monster,’ ‘Come On Over,’ and ‘Out of the Black’ are all impressive additions to Royal Blood’s self-titled major label debut record.  Together, they make the band’s new album one of the biggest surprises of the year.  That is not to discount the album’s other songs.  Kerr and Thatcher keep audiences fully engaged right to the album’s end from the infectious ‘Figure It Out’ to the album’s bluesy closer ‘Better Strangers.’ Every track on this record plays its own part in the album’s overall success.  Altogether, each of the album’s ten tracks proves why this album is sure to be one of the year’s most talked about records by the time ticks to midnight on New Year’s Eve.  Royal Blood is available now online and in stores.  It is also available at the band’s live shows as Royal Blood is currently on tour in support of its new album.  It is currently wrapping up the European leg of its tour and will be coming back to the United States beginning September 19th in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Fans can check out when Royal Blood will come to their town online now at,,  Fans can also keep up with the latest updates from the band via each site.  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