AX7 Makes Its Case For One Of 2013’s Best With Hail To The King

Courtesy:  Warner Brothers Records

Courtesy: Warner Brothers Records

Avenged Sevenfold has officially made its case for its place on the list of this year’s best new hard rock and metal albums with the release of its sixth full length release, Hail to the King.  The album is ten tracks of pure hard rock that will most certainly impress the band’s fans new and old alike.  The main reason for this success is the fact that this is very much a guitar driven record.  Front man M. Shadows’ vocals are as strong as they have ever been.  And the guitar work of Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance is equally impressive.  Whether in their solos or their primary duties, the pair exhibits its talent from one song to the next throughout the record.  Listeners should not forget new drummer Arin Ilejay more than holds his own, having taken over from the band’s former drummer Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan.  The unit as a whole has crafted an album that shows even in the face of its previous tragedy has overcome that tragedy to successfully reclaim its place in the hard rock community once more.

One of the very first things that listeners will appreciate from this album is its obvious old school influences.  From the album’s hard rocking opener, ‘Shepherd of Fire’ to its final number, ‘Acid Rain’, the entire album exhibits hints of influences from the likes of Metallica, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and even Motley Crue to a lesser degree.  The driving guitars throughout the songs and the equally soaring solos from Synyster Gates and Vengeance show such a certain respect and reverence for their influences.  Listeners can hear obvious Metallica influences in ‘This Means War’ and ‘Shepherd of Fire.’  And the album’s lead single and title track is just one of a number that boasts influences from the likes of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest.  And fans of Motley Crue will appreciate the band’s seeming influence on the hard driving, semi-socially conscious, ‘Doing Time.’  Should audiences listen closely enough, they might even hear what sounds like the one and only Axel Rose guesting on the song.  It might not in fact be him.  But even if it isn’t him, it certainly sounds like him.  Regardless of whether or not it was him, the discussion that speculation would generate is enough to make this one more positive for the album’s overall effect.

The members of AX7 pay due respects to the bands that have come before them throughout all ten songs on its sixth new full length release.  Those influences are just one part of what makes this record so impressive whether this album is one’s first time being exposed to Avenged Sevenfold or one’s fiftieth.  It’s not all that audiences will appreciate from this album.  Along with the old school influences, audiences will also appreciate the lush orchestra arrangements included in a number of the album’s songs.  The album’s opening number boasts a solid horn arrangement alongside some very dark sounding church bells.  The effect of these elements combined with the rest of the song’s musical side makes it a solid and impressive re-introduction for the band.  Other songs tout some very moving string arrangements that make said songs so much more moving, even in the album’s less hard rocking moments.  The balance of these musical elements makes every song on Hail to the King worth the listen.  And in the long run, it’s that balance of musical elements and influences that makes this album one of AX7’s best yet.  It also makes this album an easy contender for a slot on the list of the year’s best new hard rock and metal records.

Avenged Sevenfold is currently touring in support of its upcoming album.  It will perform Monday in Los Angeles, California’s Hollywood Palladium.  It will follow up that performance with a performance next Friday, August 30th in Albuquerque, NM at the Isleta Amphitheatre.  It will join Korn, Device, and Halestorm for the show there.  A full list of the band’s current tour dates is available online now, along with all of the latest updates from the band at http://www.facebook.com/AvengedSevenFold and http://avengedsevenfold.com.

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

Draiman, Device Far From Being Disturbed

Courtesy:  Warner Brothers Records

Courtesy: Warner Brothers Records

David Draiman is one of the most well known vocalists in the rock community today.  His animalistic sounding growls and seemingly Maynard James Keenan inspired vocal style make his a voice that is instantly noticeable when listeners hear it.  The problem is that just as Keenan’s side project, A Perfect Circle, was instantly compared to Tool because of Keenan’s iconic vocal style, so has Draiman’s new side project, Device, been compared to Disturbed.  While the first pair of tracks on Device’s self-titled debut do bear some semblance to material recorded by Disturbed, that similarity begins to fade early on.  The album’s third song, ‘Vilify’ has more of a pure rock sound.  Right from its opening verse, it impresses just as much lyrically as musically.  Draiman sings defiantly as the song opens, “As you vilify/Every single move that I make/And try to bind me/In your insanity/You’ll come to know/That you never had control/from the onset/Go find another lapdog, f***er.”  The defiance doesn’t stop here.  The verbal assault against those who would run their mouths seemingly just to run their mouths runs nonstop through the song with full on intensity that is sure to get the blood and body flowing.

If there was still any question of comparison to Disturbed even in ‘Vilify’, then those comparisons will be erased even more in the album’s very next song, ‘Close My Eyes Forever.’ Some might cringe at this, but it almost comes across as a ballad style piece, especially with the addition of vocalist Lzzy Hale (Halestorm) give it even more of that sense.  And if that’s not proof enough, one need only look at the song’s lyrical content as argument for that comparison.  Lyrically speaking, it comes across as a song of lost love.  Draiman and Hale sing here, “I know I’ve been so hard to you/I know I’ve told you lies/If I could have just one more wish/I’d wipe the cobwebs from my eyes.”  This one song isn’t reason for anyone to worry, as it’s the only time through the course of the album’s ten tracks that the album’s intensity drops off. 

The intensity built early on in Device’s self-titled debut picks back up not long after ‘Close My Eyes Forever.’  What’s more, as the intensity rebuilds through the album’s second half so does the separation of Device from Disturbed.  It all starts on ‘Out of Line.’  This socio-political piece offers a solid mix of electronics and heavy, foot-stomping, head banging guitar breaks that would make any metal purist proud.  And the inclusion of Serj Tankian’s (System of a Down) equally distinct vocal style adds even more musical flavor to this song.  One can’t ignore the addition of Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath) on this track, either.  The mix of music, star power, and lyrical heaviness makes it just one more of so many tracks from which listeners will be able to choose as a favorite.  The intensity and separation from the band members’ primary bands builds even more in ‘Opinion.’  The guest guitar work of Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine) is surprisingly unlike what Morello has recorded with his other side projects.  And it definitely helps to maintain this song’s identity from anything even remotely related to Disturbed.  It is one of those pieces that has to be heard to fully understand this.

If the guest appearances from Tom Morello, Geezer Butler, and Serj Tankian aren’t enough to convince listeners as to the identity of Device, then perhaps ‘War of Lies’ and the album’s closer, ‘Through It All’ will do the job.  The heavy bass and vocals from Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple) mixed with Draiman’s vocals make this one of the album’s more surprisingly interesting songs.  That’s because of the fact that the song starts off very slow and deliberate.  But a little more than halfway through the song, it picks up, and carries the listener up to the song’s final fading moments.  Those moments are just subtle enough to allow listeners to catch their breath after the musical rollercoaster on which they have just taken a ride.  And having caught their breath, any listener that went into this album thinking it would be just another Disturbed record will have seen that that belief was in fact completely wrong.  While it might have started out with some similarity to Disturbed, that similarity is soon erased, and a new band with a sound that bears only the slightest closeness to the prior arises.  It definitely turns out to be a record that any fan of Disturbed and any hard rock fan in general will want to check out at least once.   

Device is currently touring in support of its self-titled debut.  Among some of its more notable scheduled concert dates are performances at the “Welcome to Rockville” Festival on April 28th in Jacksonville Florida, the Carolina Rebellion Festival in Rockingham, North Carolina on May 4th, and the famed Rock on the Range Festival in Columbus, Ohio on May 19th.  The band has even more dates that audiences can find out about when they “Like” Device on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Devicetheband.  Audiences will also find a link to download the band’s album via iTunes on the Facebook page.  That link is http://smarturl.it/deviceitunes for those that may not be able to get to the band’s FB page.

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

Performance Times Released For Annual Festival

Courtesy:  Ashton-Magnuson Media

Courtesy: Ashton-Magnuson Media

Organizers of the annual “Welcome To Rockville” Festival presented by Monster Energy have released more information on this year’s festival.  2013 is the festival’s third year being held.  Performance times for bands on each stage have officially been released.  The “Monster Energy Main Stage East” opens with a performance by Pop Evil at 12:40pm.  Pop Evil will be followed by All That Remains, Halestorm, Papa Roach, Stone Sour, and headliners Alice in Chains.  Alice in Chains takes the “Monster Energy Main Stage East” at 9:45pm.  The “Monster Energy Main Stage West” is just one of the many stages from which audiences have to choose during the festival.  A full listing of bands and performance times is available below.

Saturday, April 27

Monster Energy Main Stage East

12:40 PM         Pop Evil

2:05 PM           All That Remains

3:35 PM           Halestorm

5:25 PM           Papa Roach

7:25 PM           Stone Sour

9:45 PM           Alice In Chains

 

Monster Energy Main Stage West

12:05 PM         Young Guns

1:20 PM           In This Moment

2:50 PM           Asking Alexandria

4:30 PM           Bullet For My Valentine

6:20 PM           Three Days Grace

8:30 PM           Limp Bizkit

 

Emerging Artist Stage

Noon                Rockville Rumble Winner

1:00 PM           Hell Or Highwater

2:10 PM           Gemini Syndrome

3:20 PM           Whitechapel

4:45 PM           Otherwise

6:20 PM           Escape The Fate

 

Jax Live Stage

11:30 AM         Rockville Rumble Winner

12:30 PM         Edens Fill       

1:40 PM           Rockville Rumble Winner

2:50 PM           Rockville Rumble Winner

4:05 PM           Stars In Stereo

5:35 PM           MonstrO

7:25 PM           Rockville Rumble Winner

 

Sunday, April 28

Monster Energy Main Stage East

11:45 AM         Red

12:55 PM         Saving Abel

2:30 PM           Filter

4:10 PM           Skillet

6:05 PM           3 Doors Down

8:35 PM           Lynyrd Skynyrd

 

Monster Energy Main Stage West

11:15 AM         Farewell 2 Fear

12:20 PM         Nonpoint

1:40 PM           Steel Panther

3:20 PM           Hollywood Undead

5:05 PM           Buckcherry

7:15 PM           Shinedown

 

Emerging Artist Stage

11:20 AM         Nebraska Bricks

12:20 PM         Soulswitch

1:25 PM           Girl On Fire

2:35 PM           Saliva

3:45 PM           Motionless In White

5:10 PM           Device

6:50 PM           Nothing More

 

Jax Live Stage

11:50 AM         (N)ception

12:55 PM         The Apprehended

2:05 PM           Rockville Rumble Winner

3:15 PM           Rockville Rumble Winner

4:40 PM           Rockville Rumble Winner

6:15 PM           Rockville Rumble Winner

 

The whole party will be preceded by the “Rockville Downtown Experience presented by Corona Light” pre-party on Friday, April 26th.  Two post-show parties will be held Saturday, April 27th.  Admission to these parties is FREE.  Friday’s show will feature Saliva, Evergreen Terrace, and Victr as entertainment.  The bands will perform live at the Underbelly in Jacksonville, FL.  More information on this party is available online at http://www.jaxunderbelly.com.  Saturday’s after-parties will feature performances by DJ Monk and Robert Goodman at 1904 Music Hall in Jacksonville, FL (http://www.facebook.com/1904MusicHall, http://www.1904MusicHall.com) and Icey at the Underbelly.

Fans that attend the festival will have plenty of opportunities to get their CDs, shirts, and more signed by their favorite band(s) at the f.y.e. tent and other onsite locations.  There will also be interactive experiences such as a gaming area and Dave’s Crazy Music Experience.  This experience lets fans find out for themselves what it’s like to make music in a studio environment.  It includes actual guitars, drums, basses, and all the gear used by today’s top acts.

Tickets are still available for this year’s festival.  Prices are listed below.

Single Day General Admission – $59.50 plus fees

Single Day VIP – $134.50 plus fees
2-Day General Admission – $107 plus fees
2-Day VIP – $219 plus fees
2-Day Party Pack (4 weekend tickets) – $357 plus fees

Along with the listed ticket prices, “no service fee tickets” are available at specific Metro PCS locations.  More information on this is available online at http://www.welcometorockvillefestival.com/tickets.html.  A limited number of VIP tickets and hotel packages are still available.  They can be purchased online at http://www.WelcomeToRockvilleFestival.com.  VIP tickets include entrance to all concerts through a VIP entrance, access to VIP lounge featuring dedicated bar, beverage and food service, viewing of the Monster Main Stage (both seated and standing areas), a seated area with shade for dining, private bathrooms and laminated VIP guest pass.    

More information on the “Welcome to Rockville” Festival is available online at http://www.WelcomeToRockvilleFestival.com, http://www.facebook.com/welcometorockville, and on Twitter at @RockvilleFest.

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

Rocklahoma Performance Lineup Announced

 

 

Courtesy:  Ashton-Magnuson Media

Courtesy: Ashton-Magnuson Media

 

Organizers with the annual “Rocklahoma” music festival have announced the official performance lineup for this year’s festival.  The festival kicks off Thursday, May 23rd and runs through Sunday, May 26th.  Tickets for the four day festival go on sale next Wednesday, April 17th at 11AM/10Am CT.  They can be purchased online at the official Rocklahoma website, http://www.rocklahoma.com.  The official performance lineup is listed below:

Thursday, May 23 (AXiS Campground Stage):

Triple 7, Bruce Flea, Searching for Sanity, Sleepwalking Home, Motortrain, Baron, Von Swagger, Rocker Lips, Drek, Kingshifter

Friday, May 24:

Guns N’ Roses, Bush, Papa Roach, Device, Ratt, All That Remains, Clutch, Escape The Fate, The Sword, Otherwise, Zero Crossing, Down & Dirty, The Last Vegas, Hessler, Bai Bang, Ruff Justice, London’s Dungeon, Fist of Rage, The Summit, Wanton Looks, Kicktree, Shotgun Rebels, The Kul, Mine Enemies Fall

Saturday, May 25:

Alice In Chains, Bullet For My Valentine, Skillet, Halestorm, Asking Alexandria, Big Wreck, Young Guns, We As Humans, O’Brother, Mindset Evolution, Gypsy Pistoleros, Rhyme, Sunset Riot, Wildstreet, London, Black Tora, Big Trouble, Sister’s Doll, Emerald City, Strikes at One, Well Hung Heart, Vilifi, For the Broken, EchoFuzz, The Chimpz, Memory of a Melody

Sunday, May 26:

Korn, Cheap Trick, Hollywood Undead, Steel Panther, Dokken, Motionless In White, Thousand Foot Krutch, Red Line Chemistry, Heaven’s Basement, American Fangs, Scorpion Child, The Glitter Boys, Nasty Habit, Mystery, Lynam, Switchblade Scarlet, Firstryke, Station, Ragdoll, Wicked, New Dawn Day, Unwritten Rulz, Framing the Red, Meganaut, The Bourgeois

Single-day tickets will be available beginning next Wednesday, April 17 for $69 (plus fees).  Three-day passes are available now for $125 plus fees and will increase to $150 plus fees beginning next Wednesday.  Weekend VIP ticket packages are available now for $350 plus fees.  They will increase to a cost of $380 plus fees beginning next Wednesday.  Quantities for these packages are limited.  There are still limited quantities of Weekend Four-packs and Groupie packages.  Active Military duty personnel can purchase discounted general admission tickets at any time.  More information on ticket packages and more is available on the Rocklahoma website, http://www.rocklahoma.com.  Camping tickets can be purchased by calling the Rocklahoma Camping office at 866-310-2288 or by e-mailing info@feverfest.com.  Campgrounds open Sunday, May 19th and will be open through Tuesday, May 28th

Rocklahoma is sponsored by Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Monster Energy, Jagermeister, Love Bottling, Retrospect Records, Route 66 RVs, and AXiS Entertainment.

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

Device Announce New Tour Dates

Courtesy:  Warner Brothers Records

Courtesy: Warner Brothers Records

Device, the new hard rock act featuring Disturbed front man David Draiman, will hit the road for a new series of U.S. tour dates.  The band will kick of a new tour beginning April 10th in Mobile, Alabama.  The band’s tour includes stops at a number of big name Spring festivals.  Nonpoint and Gemini Syndrome will be along as supporting acts on select dates.

Device’s upcoming tour is in support of its upcoming self-titled debut album.  The album is expected to be released April 9th, 2013 on Warner Brothers Records.  Draiman is the front man of this latest hard rock super group.  He is joined by Evanescence drummer Will Hunt and Virus (guitarist of Dope and Rock of Ages).  The trio worked with former Filter member Geno Lenardo.  The band has already earned some big honors even before its debut album drops.  It has earned a Gold God nomination for “Best New Talent” from Revolver magazine.  And Artist Direct said of the band’s sound, “Welcome to the 22nd Century of rock.”  The band has already released the first single from its album.  That song is titled, ‘Vilify.’  The video for that single is available online now at YouTube.  It can be viewed now at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-K1q1pw04Bs.  The album can be pre-ordered online through iTunes at http://smarturl.it/deviceitunes.

Device features guest appearances from Serj Tankian (System of a Down), Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave), Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath), Glenn Huges (Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Black Country Communion), M. Shadows (Avenged Sevenfold), and Lizzy Hale  (Halestorm).

For a full rundown of tour dates and to get all the latest news from Device, go online to http://www.facebook.com/devicetheband and http://twitter.com/devicetheband

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

New Music Festival Coming To South Florida

Courtesy:  Ashton-Magnuson Media

Courtesy: Ashton-Magnuson Media

A brand new music festival is coming to Florida.  The first annual Fort Rock festival will be held Sunday, Aril 14th at the JetBlue Park in Fort Meyers, Florida.  The festival’s initial lineup has already been announced.  It includes:  The Offspring, 3 Doors Down, Stone Sour, Papa Roach, Volbeat, In This Moment, Escape The Fate, Device (with David Draiman), Pop Evil, Otherwise, Mindset Evolution, and a whole bunch more.  Tickets go on sale Saturday, February 23rd at 6am EST and will be available online at http://www.FortRockFestival.com.  General Admission tickets are $44.50.  General Admission Party 4-Packs are also available at a cost of $129.50.  VIP tickets are available for $89.  Discounted hotel tickets will be available soon.  There will be two pre-sale events before general tickets go on sale.  The pre-sales will take place on the Fort Rock website as well.

Fort Rock is produced by Danny Wimmer Presents and AEG, part of the team behind the annual Rock on the Range festival, Carolina Rebellion festival and Welcome to Rockville festival.  It is sponsored by Fort Meyers radio station 99X, Monster Energy, Jagermeister, and f.y.e.

For all the latest updates on band lineups and more, audiences can go online to the official Fort Rock website, http://www.FortRockFestival.com or “Like” its Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/fortrockfestival.

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

Rocklahoma Organizers Announce Festival Details

Courtesy:  Ashton-Magnuson Media

Courtesy: Ashton-Magnuson Media

Organizers with the annual “Rocklahoma” concert festival have released the initial slate of performers and information for this year’s three day-long festival.  This year’s festival is the final event of the 2013 “World’s Loudest Month.”  It will take place on Memorial Day weekend from May 24th – 26th.  It will be headlined by Guns ‘N Roses, Alice In Chains, and Korn.  It will be held at the “Catch The Fever” festival grounds in Pryor, Oklahoma and will be presented by Bud Light.  It is sponsored by Bud Light, Hard Rock, Jagermeister, and Monster Energy.

The current lineup of performers reads like a who’s who of rocks’ past, present, and future.  Performers set for the festival’s main stage include: Guns ‘N Roses, Alice in Chains, Korn, Bush, Cheap Trick, Bullet For My Valentine, Papa Roach, Skillet, Hollywood Undead, Steel Panther, Asking Alexandria, Ratt, Halestorm, Device (With David Draiman), All That Remains, Escape The Fate, Dokken, Clutch, Motionless in White, Big Wreck, The Sword, Young Guns, Thousand Foot Krutch, Otherwise, Red Line Chemistry, Mindset Evolution, Heaven’s Basement, We As Humans, American Fangs, O’Brother and many more. 

The festival’s main stage is loaded with some major names.  It’s just one part of the weekend long festival.  Fans can head over to the Retrospect Records Stage for even more bands including: The Last Vegas, London, Wildstreet, Mad Max, Bai Bang, Lynam, De La Cruz, The Glitter Boyz, Black Tora, Sunset Riot, Firstryke, Ragdoll, Hessler, Switchblade Scarlett, Nasty Habit, Sister’s Doll, London’s Dungeon, Rhyme, Emerald City, Wicked, Down n Dirty, Station, Ruff Justice, Mystery and Fist of Rage.

While it has not yet been finalized, news on the lineup for the AXiS Campground Tent is expected to be released in the coming weeks.

General admission tickets for Rocklahoma go on sale next Friday, February 22nd at 11am/10am CST.  An internet pre-sale will be held next Wednesday, February 20th online at http://www.rocklahoma.com.  The pre-sale will go on at 11am/10 CST.  Audiences can also go to the Rocklahoma website to order tickets once they go on full sale and to sign up for the Rocklahoma newsletter.  The earlier fans purchase tickets the better as ticket prices will increase in the coming weeks. 

Camping tickets can be purchased by calling the Rocklahoma Camping Office at (866) 310-2288 or by e-mailing info@feverfest.com.  Campgrounds open Sunday, May 19th and will remain open until Tuesday, May 28th

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