Amon Amarth Conquers Phil’s Picks’ 2016 Top 10 New Hard Rock & Metal Albums List

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

The hard rock and metal community have collectively become a rather crowded field this year in terms of new albums.  It has made extremely difficult naming the year’s top new hard rock and metal records.  There have been that many outstanding records.  Metallica’s first album in eight years, HardwiredTo SelfDestruct is just one of the albums that has more than proven deserving of being on that list.  The same can be said of Amon Amarth’s latest offering, Jomsviking.  It is a rarity for the band, being a concept record.  The concept behind the record more than works.  And its musical arrangements work just as well.  On another note Prong, with its latest offering X No Absolutes has proven through its overall content (and sales) that it is another success for the band—and more specifically founder Tommy Victor, the band’s only original member.  So no doubt it belongs on the list of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums, too as do so many others.  It was not easy for this critic to assemble this year’s list of new hard rock and metal albums considering how many outstanding albums were released in that collective field.  But a decision had to be made.  That decision is presented below.

As a reminder, the list, as with each of Phil’s Picks year-ender lists, presents Phil’s Picks Top 10 picks for the year’s best plus five honorable mention titles for a total of 15 albums.  Honorable mention is not mean in a negative fashion by any means.  They were each deserving of being named to the year’s best.  It was just that tough assembling a list of the year’s best, so the final list ended as presented here.  Without any further ado, here is the Phil’s Picks 2016 Top 10 New Hard Rock and Metal Albums.




  1. Amon AmarthJomsviking


  1. MetallicaHardwiredTo SelfDestruct


  1. All Hail The YetiScreams From A Black Wilderness


  1. NonpointThe Poison Red


  1. SpellcasterNight Hides The World


  1. WovenwarHonor is Dead


  1. ArtilleryPunishment By Perception


  1. ProngXNo Absolutes


  1. AnthraxFor All Kings


  1. DestrageA Means To No End


  1. WhitechapelMark of the Blade


  1. DevildriverTrust No One


  1. Oni – Ironshore


  1. Primal FearRulebreaker


  1. HatebreedThe Concrete Confesional




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Destrage Staying Busy This Fall And Winter

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Destrage will hit the road next Friday, November 14th in support of its latest full length studio effort Are You Kidding Me? No.  The fifteen-date tour will take the band across Europe and winds up Saturday, December 13th.  The band’s members announced that they will document their travels and performances as the tour progresses.  The band has partnered with Bode Music Gear to produce the tour videos, which will run on the company’s YouTube channel at  The band’s videos will feature the band taking part in various fun and pointless challenges including: who can put the most of something in their mouth, who can do the most push-ups, who can do the most shots, jumping over cars, who can break the most guitar strings, and more.  Destrage will joined by Protest The Hero, The Faceless, and The Contortionist for its upcoming tour.  The complete schedule for the bands’ tour is listed below.


Tour w/ Protest The Hero, The Faceless, The Contortionist

11/14 Leipzig, DE Conne Island

11/15 Pilsen, CZ Pod Lampou

11/16 Berlin, DE Bi Nuu

11/21 Enschede, NL Atak

11/22 Köln, DE Essigfabrik

11/24 Antwerpen, BE Trix

12/04 Paris, FR Trabendo

12/05 Karlsruhe, DE Substage

12/06 Milano, IT Live Forum

12/07 Rome, IT Traffic Club

12/08 München, DE Backstage

12/09 Wien, AT Arena

12/10 Geneve, CH L’Usine

12/12 Winterthur, CH Gaswerk

12/13 Lyon, FR Warmaudio

Along with the upcoming tour videos, Destrage has also announced the release of its new guitar transcription book Are You Kidding Me? No: The Complete Guitar Transcription.  The book is expected to be released this month while the band is touring.  The book will be released in partnership with Sheet Happens Publishing.  Fans can pick up the book at the band’s merchandise booth at its live shows and online via the Sheet Happens Publishing website at  Those wanting the physical book can order it online at

If the band’s new guitar transcription book isn’t enough for fans, guitarists Matteo Di Gioia and Ralph Salati have released a brand new in-depth guitar tutorial for the song ‘My Green Neighbor,’ which is taken from the band’s Metal Blade Records’ debut record.  The tutorial is available online now at YouTube.  The official video for the song is also available now on YouTube.

Audiences can keep track of the band’s tour and keep up with all of the latest updates from the band online at:




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Destrage Debuts Video For Latest Single

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Italian progressive metal band Destrage has released its latest music video.

The band released the companion music video to its single ‘Destroy Create Transform Sublimate.’ The video incorporates live footage from the Italian leg of the band’s tour in support of its Metal Blade Records debut record Are You Kidding Me? No. Matt Di Gioia, the band’s guitarist, directed the video for The Jack Stupid. Audiences can check out the video online now at

Destrage front man Paolo Colavolpe released a statement to fans explaining the footage and that more live shows will be announced soon. Colavolpe’s statement reads, “Ladies and gentlemen, we’re proud to release our live video for our new album opener ‘Destroy Create Transform Sublimate.’ This song and its lyrics mean a lot to us. The live footage is taken from our first 3 shows of our Italian tour and you guys were totally insane! Soon we’ll announce more tours, we really can’t wait to see you all on the road!”

Regarding tour dates, Destrage recently confirmed a new show on June 24th alongside Protest The Hero and Monuments in Italy. Details on that show and a more in depth tour schedule is available through the band’s Facebook page,, on its official website, and through its Twitter account at The band’s most current tour schedule is listed below.


06/01 – Moncalieri, IT Audiodrome

06/24—Pinarella di Cervia, IT Rockplanet Club w/ Protest The Hero & Monuments

06/25—Milano, IT Magnolia, Solo Macello Fest W/ Zu, Unida, Spirit Caravan and more

07/11—Castel San Pietro, IT Indigest Festival

07/12—Ambria IT Ambria Music Festival

07/18—Mariano Comense, IT Rock A Villa Festival

07/25—Casteldifranco, IT Agorabilia Festival

08/29—Cologno Al Serio, IT Festa Bikers

More information on Destrage and all of the latest news, tour info and more from the band is available online at,, and http://twitter.comdestrage. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at

No Kidding, Destrage’s New Album Is A Metal Masterpiece

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Metal Blade Records has never been a label to rest easy on its laurels.  Every year, it proves to be one of the leaders in the world of hard rock and metal.  The only other label that measures up to Metal Blade is its counterpart, Century Media Records.  Metal Blade has consistently released some of the music industry’s best hard rock and metal albums in recent years.  This year is no different.  And that is especially evident with the release of the new album from the Italian experimental metal act Destrage.  Are You Kidding Me? No is the band’s Metal Blade debut.  And it is quite the aptly titled record, too.  That’s because every single track will leave listeners asking those words.  For those that have yet to hear Destrage’s music, the best comparison that can be made is a hybrid of Between The Buried and Me, Slayer, and Mr. Bungle.  Front man Paolo Colavolpe even sounds like Slayer front man Tom Array at more than one point throughout the course of the album’s nine tracks.

Destrage—Paolo Colavolpe (Vocals), Matteo Di Dioia (guitar), Gabriel Pignata (bass), Ralph Salati (guitar), and Federico Paulovich (drums)—exhibits so much creativity right from the album’s opener, ‘Destroy Create Transform Sublimate.’ The only term that can best describe this song is controlled chaos. The song goes from full throttle, shredding guitars to a more jazz-influenced sound a la its Metal Blade label mates Trioscapes to an almost symphonic metal sound complete with a slight dubstep finale. Colavolpe’s vocal style changes from one movement to the next to match each portion of the song, too. He switches between his seemingly Tom Arraya style vocals to something more akin to Hellyeah/Mudvayne front man Chad Gray and back again over the course of the song’s near six-minute run time. Add in the song’s lyrical side and audiences get in this piece an even more complex song. Colavolpe sings and screams through this song, “We are all here to witness the indomitable power of creation/As creative energy spreads like a relentless force/infecting every single atom/Art in all its manifestation conducts us close to God/And the struggle of our thinking/into uncontaminated imagination/Pure imagination.” Yes, this is rather metaphysical thinking. And that’s why it works so well with the songs musical side. Those words are a direct mirror image of what the band presents with the song’s music. And together, the two sides make the song title all the clearer and the song itself all the more enjoyable.

For all of the frenetic energy exuded by the band in the first half of its Metal Blade Records debut, the band actually does slow things down in a manner of speaking at the beginning of the album’s second half. Where The Things Have No Colour,’ is the band’s most radio friendly single. Interestingly enough, as much as this song is pulled back and more radio friendly, the band doesn’t sacrifice too much. That’s evident in the song’s lyrical side. Colavolpe sings in this song, “You won’t take this moment away from me/And make me a silent slave of yours/You won’t put me down on my knees/I will make this time as I always meant it to be.” If properly interpreted, Colavolpe’s words come across as being rather defiant. If they are meant to be interpreted in such fashion, one must admit that it is one of the most original lyrically defiant statements ever made. The guitar work of Matteo Di Dioia and Ralph Salati adds so much more depth to the song. The pair shines and soars alongside drummer Federico Paulovich and bassist Gabriel Pignata to complete what is easily one of this album’s most powerful pieces.

‘Where The Things Have No Colour’ isn’t the only radio ready song that Destrage boasts on its new album. ‘Before, After and All Around’ This song comes across as a song based in the topic of relationships. That interpretation is made through lines such as “Speechless, smileless/Smilesless, hopeless/Haven’t got you yet/Maybe you understand me better than I know/I’ve got this feeling we are going nowhere/Stupid, don’t you see/Why the f&*% do you deny it/I feel wrapped up in pain/Because we are going nowhere.” However, as Colavolpe writes, “At this point/A girl lives in a dream/In a little fairy house/At the following point/She lives surrounded by sweet things/Hers. Mine./At the same point/A few months ahead/she looks forward/She realizes she wanted a man/But was a boy/I should have built a fairy house/In the same time a few miles away/But what would I have missed?” he leaves the song wide open to interpretation. The ability of Colavolpe to generate so much discussion from this song is another sign of the importance of this album. He writes so cryptically and metaphorically that his writing creates discussion without even trying. It makes the song—much like the album’s other works—more than just a song. It makes it a true musical and lyrical work of art. It becomes something to discuss and truly appreciate, again much like the other songs noted here and those not noted here.

All of the songs noted here each play an important part in the overall enjoyment and success of Destrage’s new album. That isn’t to take anything away from those songs not mentioned. The album’s remaining seven songs each play their own part in the album’s success, too. Regardless of which song one chooses, one thing remains true about this album. That one thing is that there is no kidding that this is one of the best hard rock/metal records of 2014.

Destrage will perform live May 10th in Legano, Italy in support of its new album and then in Moncalieri, Italy at the Audiodrome on June 1st. Audiences can find out about Destrage’s upcoming tour dates and general information online now at,, and 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