David Reece Offers Audiences Another Successful Album In ‘Blacklist Utopia’

Courtesy: El Puerto Records

Veteran rocker David Reece is scheduled to return this week with his latest album, Blacklist Utopia.  The 13-song record is scheduled for release Friday through El Puerto Records and will come a little more than a year after the release of his then latest album, Cacophony of Souls.  He released that album through El Puerto Records, too.  This latest offering, which runs 57 minutes, is another strong presentation thanks to its featured musical and lyrical content.  That is proven in part through the album’s single, ‘I Can’t Breathe.’  This song will be discussed shortly.  ‘American Dream’ also does well to show what makes the album’s musical and lyrical content stand out.  It will be examined a little later.  ‘Book of Lies,’ which closes the album, is yet another example of how this record’s musical and lyrical content comes together to make it worth hearing.  When it is considered along with the other songs noted here and the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes Blacklist Utopia another record that David Reece’s fans are certain to appreciate.

David Reece’s latest album, Blacklist Utopia, is a work that is sure to appeal to Reece’s established audiences and to guitar rock purists alike.  That is proven throughout the record with its musical arrangements and lyrical themes.  The album’s single, ‘I Can’t Breathe’ is just one of the works featured in the record that supports the noted statements.  The song’s musical arrangement is a pure, heavy, guitar-driven hard rock composition that fits just as well with today’s active rock opuses as with the hard rock songs that bridged the late 80s and early 90s.  Its appeal is that wide.  The fire in the song’s arrangement does well to help translate and deliver the frustration in the song’s clearly sociopolitical theme.

In the case of this song’s lyrical theme, it takes on the big news stories that have happened over the course of the past year or so in a fully unbiased fashion.  Reece sings in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “I’m shakin’ my fist at the 1% of you/Radical/Your ideas/Always on the news/99% of us don’t care about your view/I refuse/Detonate the fuse/Dead or alive/’Cause I can’t breathe/I will survive/Your hypocrisy/Bring me to life/’Cause I can’t breathe/Throw me a line/Remove your knee/’Cause I can’t breathe.”  Again, audiences should not misunderstand what Reece is saying here.  This is clearly meant as a commentary on the division in America today; that rift that has formed among the people because of everything going on.  The commentary continues in the song’s second verse, “I’m wearin’ my mask ‘cause statistics tell me so/Fanatical pariahs do it all for show/Mighty fine/You plant the trust/Stooping to a low/Nothing to lose/Resonate the muse/Feeling deprived/Now I can’t breathe/Take off the disguise/Don’t lie to me/Try to connive/So I can’t breathe/Hard to describe/What’s inside of me/’Cause I can’t breathe.”  The mention of the mask is clearly a reference to the CDC’s recommendations about mask wearing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  It would seem that the mention of the fanatical pariahs doing it “all for show” maybe is commentary about how some people are pushing an agenda rather than actually caring about what is happening.  It definitely makes for its own share of discussion.  Add in the sense that the song’s subject can’t breathe because of everything he/she is feeling inside adds to the overall sense that this is a song about someone who is seeing everything going on and just feels completely overwhelmed by it all.  The fire in the song’s musical arrangement helps to translate the frustration that said subject must feel at seeing it all.  It works together to show clearly in its own right why the album’s overall content makes it a successful new offering from David Reece.  It is just one of the songs that serves that end, too.  ‘American Dream,’ which comes a little later in the album’s nearly hour-long run, is another example of how the album’s collective content makes it worth hearing.

‘American Dream’ stands out in part through its musical arrangement, which is a stark contrast to so much of the album’s musical content.  It is a simple, semi-acoustic work that is a ballad of sorts.  The almost mournful approach (Reese’s vocals included), conjure thoughts of works from the likes of Bruce Springsteen.  Yes, it is a little bit of a stretch, but it is a comparison that can still be made to a point.  The sound and approach taken here does just as well in pairing with the song’s own socially conscious lyrical theme to impact audiences.

As noted, the lyrical theme featured in ‘American Dream’ is another socio-politically charged song.  Its approach, even lyrically, throws back to the old folksy political songs of the 60s.  This is evidenced as Reece sings about the fading sunlight over no man’s land, the lady on the island being “a puppet on a string” and “progress masquerading while they’re kicking cans” in the song’s lead verse.  Reece adds to that sense in the song’s chorus that the American dream not “being what she seems.”  The mention of “politicians stumbling over their own lies” in the song’s second verse adds even more to the clear statement being made here.  Looking even deeper at all of this, it plays into the overall theme noted in the album’s title.  It is another example of how Utopia really has been “blacklisted” so to speak.  Again, when this is considered along with the song’s musical arrangement, the whole of the song becomes even more impacting.  It is just one more way in which the album’s collective content proves so important to the overall presentation.  ‘Book of Lies,’ which closes out the album, is one more example of how the album’s content makes it appealing for his established and targeted audiences.

‘Book Of Lies’ presents another familiar style approach and sound in its musical arrangement.  It is another, pure hard rock composition.  What is interesting here is that the upbeat, 2/4 time signature, Reese’s vocal delivery, and the guitars work here to actually give the song the slightest touch of punk (yes, punk) influence along his more familiar guitar and power metal approach.  That blending of sounds and styles here is handled expertly and makes the arrangement in whole unique of its counterparts in the album.  It is just one more example of how the album’s musical arrangements make it appealing. The lyrical content that accompanies the song’s musical arrangement builds on that appeal and makes for even more interest.

This is just this critic’s interpretation, but in the case of this song, it seems that instead of more sociopolitical commentary, Reece instead opts for a more direct social commentary.  In this case, that commentary seems to focus on how people live one way, but try to make people think they live another way.  Now whether the very mention of the “book of lies” is a reference to Facebook or just a metaphor simply for how we as humans put on airs, the reference works in either instance.  The mention of pulling the plug in the chorus would seem to aim the commentary more on the matter of social media, but again that is just this critic’s interpretation.  Regardless, the overall message is relatively clear.  It is a commentary about how people live double lives of sorts and how we need to just live our one true life no matter what.  To that end, the emotion in the song’s musical arrangement pairs with this seeming commentary to give listeners one last dose of hope even though for the most part, the album has proven the world is anything but a Utopia.  It is a fine final accent to the presentation that proves once more why the album deserves to be heard at least once.

David Reece’s latest album, Blacklist Utopia is a presentation that his established fans will find just as appealing as any true rock and hard rock purist.  That is proven through the record’s musical and lyrical content alike.  The songs examined here do well to support the noted statements.  When they are considered along with the album’s remaining tracks, the whole makes the album overall, a positive new offering from Reece that is worth hearing at least once.

Blacklist Utopia is scheduled for release Friday through El Puerto Records. More information on the album is available now along with all of David Reece’s latest news at https://www.facebook.com/David-Reece-Official-712460068855429/.

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.

2020’s New Hard Rock, Metal Albums Prove The Grammys Got It Wrong Again

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Whatever committee or person makes the decision on who gets nominations and awards at the annual Grammy Awards ceremony needs a swift kick in the pants.  That is because that person or those people has/have never given much real respect to the hard rock and metal community.  This year’s list of nominees is the latest supporting proof for that argument.  Despite what certain parties might have audiences believe, 2020 produced a lot of albums that are far more worthy of awards.  Among those oh-so-notable new albums that have been released this far are new offerings from Lamb of God, Sons of Apollo, U.D.O., Sevendust, and even Firewind.  All of the noted albums are featured in this year’s Phil’s Picks Top 10 New Hard Rock & Metal Albums.  Between thrash metal, groove metal, pure hard rock and even electronic rock, this list proves how much great material was released this year that is far more deserving of awards than the acts that were nominated (maybe save for Body Count’s song).

As with every other list from Phil’s Picks, this list features the Top 10 new albums in the noted category and five additional honorable mention titles for a total of 15 albums.  Without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 New Hard Rock & Metal Albums.


  1. Sons of Apollo – MMXX
  2. U.D.O. – We Are One
  3. Sevendust – Blood & Stone
  4. Lamb of God – Lamb of God
  5. Mushroomhead – A Wonderful Life
  6. Testament – Titans of Creation
  7. Static X – Project: Re-Generation
  8. Firewind – Firewind
  9. Julien K – Harmonic Disruptor
  10. Master Boot Record – Floppy Disc Overdrive
  11. Clint Lowery – God Bless The Renegades
  12. Annihilator – Ballistic, Sadistic
  13. David Reece – Cacophony of Souls
  14. Biff Byford – School of Hard Knocks
  15. Warbringer – Weapons of Tomorrow

Next up from Phil’s Picks is one last musical category, the year’s top new overall albums.  Stay tuned for that, and then it’ll be on to the DVD and BD categories. 

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.  

David Reece’s New LP Is Certain To Make Its Own Share Of Noise Among Audiences

Courtesy: El Puerto Records

Vocalist David Reece has formed throughout his career, quite an extensive resume.  His most famous work is with the hard rock band Accept on its 1989 album Eat The Heat, but is certainly not his only work. He also has a handful of solo records, as well as work with Bangalor Choir, Gypsy Rose and Sainted Sinners among other acts. Needless to say, the journeyman vocalist has done a lot throughout the course of his career. He added even more to that resume this month when he released his new solo album Cacophony of Souls.  Released March 12 through El Puerto Records GBR, the 12-song record is a powerful new offering from the veteran performer and his fellow musicians.  That is proven through the 48-minute record’s musical and lyrical content.  One of the songs that most strongly exemplifies the power of the album’s combined musical and lyrical content comes late in the album’s run, in the form of ‘Back in the Days.’  This song will be discussed shortly.  ‘Blood on Our Hands,’ which comes early in the album’s run, is another key addition to the record’s presentation, and will be discussed a little later.  ‘Another Life Another Time,’ which serves as the record’s midway point, is yet another important addition to the album’s who, and will also be discussed later.  When these noted songs are considered along with the other 10 songs that make up the remainder of the album, the record in whole proves to be a surprisingly enjoyable work that the metal and rock masses alike will appreciate.

Cacophony of Souls, the latest solo recording from journeyman vocalist David Reece, is a presentation that so far into 2020, is one of the year’s most pleasant surprises from the rock and metal realm.  That is saying a lot, considering Reece’s resume.  After so many years of moderate at best success, this record could finally be the work that proves his breakout if it is given the right support.  That is proven in part late in the record’s run in the form of the song ‘Back in the Days.’  The song’s musical content is a full-on guitar-driven work with solid time keeping and bass work that, when coupled with Reece’s vocal delivery makes it an instant hit both on record and in person.  Hopefully Reece will be able to perform the song live sooner rather than later, considering how everything around the world has been shut down due to everything going on globally.  The positive vibe presented in that infectious musical arrangement adds even more to that appeal.  The whole of the arrangement is more than certain to put a smile on any listener’s face.

The addition of the song’s equally positive lyrical content to that mix is sure to add just as much enjoyment and engagement to the song.  That is because lyrically, what listeners receive here is a song whose subject is clearly looking back on how things once were versus how they are in the current age.  What’s interesting about this is that while the song’s lyrical content is clearly a commentary, it breaks from the norm of being a protest type commentary.  Rather it’s just a positive piece like an older person remembering how things used to be.  In an age when there is so much protest and anger, taking such a more light hearted approach makes the song stand out for all the right reasons.  Reece sings in the song’s chorus, “Back in the days/All we had were the walls between us/Back in the days/We believed that the whole world could save us/Back in the days/When we lived our lives in blind faith/’Cause we know/We can’t walk the road on our own.”  That pretty much says exactly what is pointed out here.  There is even a mention in the song’s lead first about “making things better” and in the second verse about the days when people lived in communities where everyone knew right from wrong.”  That is, again, a pretty telling statement.  When it is considered along with the relatively straight forward statement in the song’s chorus, which is really the lyrical heart of this song, and the rest of the song’s lyrical content, the whole of the song stands as one of the strongest examples of why this record’s combined musical and lyrical content makes the album worth the listen among members of the rock and metal community.  It is just one of the album’s most notable works.  ‘Blood on Our Hands,’ which comes early in the record’s run is another important addition to the album.

‘Blood on Our Hands’ comes early in the album’s run.  The album’s second entry, its musical arrangement is instantly likened to the power metal of Judas Priest, Saxon, and of course Accept.  The up-tempo guitar work, the solid time keeping from Andrea Gianangeli and low end from bassist Malte Frederik Burkert join with Reece’s operatic vocal delivery to make this song stand strong on its own metal merits, without any doubt.  What is most interesting about the song’s arrangement is that at a total of three-minutes and 17 seconds, the song leaves listeners feeling wholly fulfilled just with its arrangement alone.  It opens and closes just the right way and has all the right hooks and choruses throughout, ensuring even more, listeners’ engagement and enjoyment.  That impact from the song’s musical arrangement is only one part of what makes the song stand out.  The song’s lyrical content adds its own share of interest to its whole.

Reece sings in the song’s lead verse, “Headed for a broken dream/With weapons in my hands…fighting for our homeland ‘cause we live without a choice/History repeats the same old song/We stand together/On the brink of victory…”  Not having lyrics to reference, some of Reece’s statements are difficult to decipher.  He adds in the song’s second verse, “Broken promises/They are a never-ending game/Forcing those of us to be without.  Again, not having lyrics to reference, it is difficult to decipher everything he is saying here, too.  However, there are mentions of chivalry never being “dead and gone” and “All for one is where we belong.”  Now, knowing that all for one could be inferred as a statement addressing greed, but could also be a statement about all being for one collective.  There is also the note of mankind “dancing with blood on our hands” and that “it starts with the history of man.”  It would seem here that Reece is making a statement about how far we as a species have fallen throughout our history.  That could of course be an incorrect interpretation, though hopefully it is at least somewhere in the proverbial ballpark.  Needless to say, this song is certain to generate some discussion among audiences just through the lyrical content.  The fire in the song’s lyrical content added to the mix, and the song becomes that much more of a standout work, and just one more example of what makes this record so strong.  It still is not the last of the record’s most notable works.  ‘Another Life Another Time,’ the record’s midpoint, is another of the record’s most notable works.

‘Another Life Another Time’ presents a musical arrangement that is starkly unlike anything else featured in this album.  The song is a ballad-style work that is akin to works from the likes of Def Leppard, Poison and Dokken with its introspective, emotional sounds.  The approach here, which starts off in a very simple, minimalist fashion before launching into a full-on power ballad approach, is so familiar will immediately urge listeners to pull out those leather jackets and lighters and to wave them along in time.  This is, musically, just one of those works that takes listeners back to another age, but in the best way possible.  As much as the song’s musical arrangement does for its whole, it is just one part of what makes this old school style song stand out.  The song’s lyrical content adds even more impact to its presentation.

Reece sings in the song’s lead verse, “Set my navigation far away/Leave the comforts/Only seize the day/But I can’t say this forever/Forever on this crazy ship of fools/Livin’ by the rules/Take me back home/Another life, another time/Take me back home/Give me love before I die/Take me back home/Another life, another time/Take me back home/Leave it all behind.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “When my destination shows the way/I find another home where I can stay/No, I won’t take this for granted/No matter ‘cause we all must pay our dues/There’s nothing we can do.”  This is another work in which the song’s main subject is looking back on life, but recalling it in a more emotional fashion than in say ‘Back in the Days.’  Rather, this time, the person is really longing emotionally for the life once lived.  We have all been there, too.  To that end, it makes this song’s lyrical content is relatable and accessible to listeners.  Reece adds in the song’s third verse, “Maybe it’s a fantasy/Maybe it’s a dream/But inside this faded memory/I dwell in this place where I was free…”  Once again, here listeners are presented with someone longing for a life long gone.  Again, we have all been there more than once in life.  Reece’s ability to reach listeners’ deepest places with his words and delivery is worthy of applause.  The equally powerful musical arrangement that accompanies the song’s lyrical content rounds out the song, and makes it that much more powerful.  To some it will seem as cheesy as some of its counterparts that were crafted during the 1980s, but it is still a powerful work that shines against those works.  It is, in whole, one more example of what makes Reece’s new album worth hearing whether one is a fan of 80s rock or more modern sounds and bands.  When it is considered along with the other songs noted here and the rest of the album’s works, the record in whole proves to be a surprisingly engaging and enjoyable work that rock and metal fans across the board will appreciate.

David Reece’s new solo record Cacophony of Souls is a strong new effort from the veteran vocalist.  It is a work that will appeal to a wide range of rock and metal fans through its collective musical and lyrical content.  The songs featured in this record serve to support that statement.  All things considered the album proves itself to be a presentation that is anything but a cacophony.  Rather, it is a work that is certain to leave listeners making their own noise in the best way possible.  Cacophony of Souls is available now.  More information on the album is available now along with all of David Reece’s latest news at https://www.facebook.com/David-Reece-Official-712460068855429/.

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.