Viking Metallers Amon Amarth Are Victorious In Phil’s Picks 2018 Top 10 New Live DVDs & Blu-rays List

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

As the final few days of 2018 wind down, there is still some work to be done by critics putting in their year-ender lists.  That includes this critic.

This critic’s most recent year-ender focused on the year’s top new live CDs.  In a gradual transition to movies and television, there is still one more music list to present — the year’s top new live DVDs/BDs.  As has been noted previously, there are some live recordings that translate in  relatively acceptable fashion, but there are also others that can and should only be experienced with the full audio-visual experience.

Keeping this in mind, it is only fair to examine the year’s best new live DVDs and Blu-rays.  Topping this year’s list is Amon Amarth’s The Pursuit of Vikings25 Years in the Eye of the Storm.  There is nothing negative to say about this presentation.  The extensive documentary outlines the band’s career from the band’s own mouths, showing the group as a hard-working, blue-collar outfit that has earned its place in the metal and music communities.  The equally expansive two-night, 30-song set pulls from almost every one of the band’s albums.  The performance is great, as are the production values.

Second Place in this year’s list of the year’s best new live DVDs/BDs goes to Devin Townsend Project’s Ocean Machine Live at the Ancient Roman Theatre Plovdiv.  This performance features Townsend performing Ocean Machine live in its entirety along with an equally extensive by-request set.  That combination makes for a great set list.  As with Amon Amarth’s live recording, the group’s performance ensures audiences’ maintained engagement and entertainment, even at home.  The same can be said of the production values.  The whole makes the recording yet another that is best experienced with the full audio-visual presentation versus just the audio alone.

Third Place in this year’s list of the top new live DVDs and Blu-rays goes to The Rolling Stones’ San Jose, California ’99 show from Eagle Rock Entertainment.  The recording is everything that audiences have come to expect from one of the elite of the elite acts in the music industry today.  The extensive 20-song set list doesn’t play it safe, instead giving audiences material that is less common in the band’s previous live recordings from Eagle Rock Entertainment.  The group’s performance (including that of the touring musicians) couples with the production values to make the performance yet another must have for any true fan of The Rolling Stones.

Also featured in this year’s list are the new live recordings from Anthrax, The Robert Glasper Experiment and Opeth, just to name a few more acts.  As always, the first 10 titles in the last are the best, while the next five are honorable mention titles.  Without any further ado, here is Phil’s Picks’ 2018 Top 10 New Live DVDs & Blu-rays.


  1. Amon Amarth — The Pursuit of Vikings25 Years in the Eye of the Storm
  2. Devin Townsend Project — Ocean Machine Live at the Ancient Roman Theatre Plovdiv
  3. The Rolling Stones — No Security: San Jose ’99
  4. The Rolling Stones — Voodoo Lounge Uncut
  5. Accept — Symphonic Terror
  6. Opeth — Garden of the TitansLive at Red Rocks
  7. Anthrax — Kings Among Scotland
  8. The Sound of Music Live
  9. Steven Wilson — Home Invasion Live at the Royal Albert Theatre
  10. Norah Jones — Live at Ronnie Scott’s
  11. Tommy Shaw & The Contemporary Youth Orchestra — Sing For The Day!
  12. The Moody Blues — Days of Future Passed Live
  13. Overkill — Live in Overhausen
  14. Robet Glasper Experiment — Live
  15. Lacuna Coil — The 119 Show Live in London

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Eagle Rock’s Mingus Montreux Show Shines In Phil’s Picks’ 2018 Top New Live CDs List

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Going to live shows is neither easy nor inexpensive nowadays.  Between the collective cost of tickets — which is itself oftentimes bank-breaking — transportation, food, potential lodging and souvenirs, and of course planning around work and family schedules, getting out to live shows is not easy for anyone.

Those barriers make the availability of live recordings something critical for audiences everywhere, regardless of genre.  To that end, live CDs deserve their own consideration just as much as studio recordings, each year.  Keeping that in mind, Phil’s Picks has developed once again a list of the year’s Top 10 new live CDs.

This year has been an interesting one for live CDs.  Some notable live CDs were featured as part of bigger bundles (E.G. The Rolling Stones’ San Jose ’99 and Voodoo Lounge ’94 shows) while others, such as Alice Cooper’s A Paranormal Night @ The Olympia Paris and Marty Friedman’s One Bad M.F. Live were standalone offerings.

Some were standout offerings for all of the best reasons.  Others had some problems to note.  Keeping all of this in mind, this year’s crop of live CDs deserves just as much attention as the vast sea of studio recordings released throughout the year.

Topping this year’s list is yet another live CD from the people at Eagle Rock Entertainment in the form of Charles Mingus’ classic 1975 Montreux Jazz Festival show.  This recording presents Mingus at one of his finest moments, and why his live performances were — and still are today — such powerful presentations.

Coming in second in this year’s list is the new Jimi Hendrix live CD, Live at the Hollywood Bowl.  This CD was released as part of the bigger Electric Ladyland box set, and stands out so strongly because of its set list, Hendrix and company’s performance and the production values.

Third place in this year’s list of the year’s best new live CDs goes to veteran viking metal outfit Amon Amarth.  The 30-song set list spans two nights and quite an expansive portion of the band’s catalog.  That set list is directly mirrored on its DVD and BD presentation, and sounds just as good.  Though because of the intensity of the show, it is still better appreciated being seen and heard and not just heard.  That’s not to say the CD presentation is bad, but audiences will agree that hearing it makes for far more appreciation for the concerts’ DVD and BD presentations.

Also featured in this year’s list of top new live CDs are those noted new offerings from Marty Friedman, Alice Cooper and The Rolling Stones alongside new offerings from Opeth, Devin Townsend and John 5 to name just a few more titles.  As always, this critic’s list features 10 of the year’s top new offerings plus five honorable mentions, which follow, for a total count of 15.  Without any further ado, here is Phil’s Picks’ 2018 Top 10 new Live CDs.


  1. Charles Mingus — Live at Montreux 1975
  2. Jimi Hendrix — Live at the Hollywood BowlAug. 14, 1968
  3. Amon Amarth — The Pursuit of Vikings25 Years in the Eye of the Storm
  4. Devin Townsend Project — Ocean MachineLive at the Ancient Roman Theatre Plovdiv
  5. Opeth — Garden of the TitansLive at Red Rocks Amphitheatre
  6. The Rolling Stones — No SecuritySan Jose ’99
  7. The Rolling Stones — Voodoo Lounge Uncut
  8. John Mclaughlin & The 4th Dimension and Jimmy Herring & The Invisible Whip — Live in San Francisco
  9. Marty Friedman — One Bad M.F. Live
  10. Accept — Symphonic TerrorLive at Wacken 2017
  11. Alice Cooper — A Paranormal Night at The Olympia Paris
  12. Fates Warning — Live Over Europe
  13. Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow — Memories in Rock II
  14. John 5 and The Creatures — It’s Alive
  15. Overkill — Live in Overhausen

‘Ocean Machine: Live…’ Is A Strong Finale Live Statement From Devin Townsend Project

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Devin Townsend has a new live recording on the way. The Devin Townsend Project founder announced Friday that the band will release Ocean Machine — Live at the Ancient Roman Theatre Plovdiv on July 6 via InsideOut Music.  Originally recorded September 22, 2017 at the noted venue, the concert was a celebration of the 20th anniversary of Townsend’s landmark solo album Ocean Machine.  It was more than that though.  It also offered audiences performances of other classic DTP songs complete with accompaniment from the Orchestra of Plovdiv State Opera.  That extensive set list, which runs nearly three hours in length — 2 hours 51 minutes to be exact — forms a solid foundation for the recording’s presentation, and is only one of the recording’s most important elements.  It goes without saying that the performance by the overall collective plays its own important part to the recording’s whole, too, so it will be discussed later.  The recording’s bonus material puts the final touch to its presentation.  It will also be discussed later.  Each element is key in its own way to the whole of this new live recording from DTP.  All things considered, they make Ocean Machine — Live at the Ancient Roman Theatre Plovdiv a presentation that DTP fans across the board will enjoy and appreciate.

Devin Townsend Project’s new forthcoming live recording Ocean Machine — Live at the Ancient Roman Theatre Plovdiv is an interesting new live offering that DTP fans across the board are certain to enjoy and appreciate.  That is due in no small part to the recording’s extensive, nearly three-hour-long set list.  The set list is anchored by a full performance of DTP’s landmark album Ocean Machine and is bolstered by a full, 12-song set of songs pulled from the group’s previous albums.  Given, not every one of the group’s albums is represented in that set nor are all of Townsend’s solo albums, but it still offers a healthy sampling of those records.  DTP’s 2016 album Transcendence gets the most nods in the first set, with four songs while Townsend’s solo albums Infinity and Terria get nods.  Terria gets two honors while Infinity receives one.  The lead set even reaches into his exclusive Japanese-only EP Chrsiteen with a performance of ‘Om.’  There’s even a selection from his 2006 Devin Townsend Band album Synchestra in the form of ‘Gaia’ included in this set. Of course, the first set is the only one featuring the orchestral backing.  Even with that in mind, the second set — which is just Townsend and his fellow musicians – is just as powerful as the concert’s first set.  All things considered, the overall set list presented here creates a solid foundation for Ocean Machine — Live at the Ancient Roman Theatre Plovdiv.  That foundation is strengthened even more through the performance of all involved in the show.

The actual performance put on by Townsend and his fellow musicians throughout the course of the concert is so important to discuss because, as with any concert, it does just as much to keep audiences engaged and entertained as the set list itself.  That is evidenced from the start of the concert to the end.  Townsend’s vocal chops at their peak, needless to say.  This includes not just his screams, but his more soaring almost operatic style vocal delivery, too.  The power in each musician’s part comes through clearly thanks to the work of those behind the cameras and sound boards.  The guitars and orchestral instruments together create a truly lasting musical impact.  That is the case even with the concert being experienced on screen.  The work of those mentioned makes the power in those performances translate so well.  Even in the moments between songs when Townsend interacts with the audience, there is just as much enjoyment.  Townsend comes across as such a laid back, personable figure, a total contrast to the power and often times fury in his music as is evidenced early on when he jokes with the audience about trying not to be one of those uppity type of musicians.  When the fans tell him to “talk s***,” his reaction is so funny.  Even in the concert’s more subdued musical moments, there is so much power thanks to the band’s attention to the songs’ lyrical content and the emotion meant to be interpreted in each.  That attention to the songs’ emotional impact through their arrangements deepens the overall impact of the group’s performance in this concert.  That in turn proves even more the importance of the group’s performance to the concert’s overall presentation.  When it is coupled with the show’s set list – which by the way is presented in the same order both on DVD/BD as it is on CD – the whole of those elements makes the recording in whole all the more enjoyable.  Even with all of this in mind, these two elements are not the recording’s only important elements.  The recording’s bonus material rounds out its most important elements.

The bonus material included in the recording is a nearly half-hour documentary that showed how the concert came to life.  From the pre-planning stage to the rehearsals to showtime, it’s all there.  Along the way, there is also an intimate one-on-one interview between Townsend and an interviewer during which Townsend talks about making the concert happen, his influences and also what led to his decision to disband Devin Townsend Project.  Audiences will be so moved by Townsend’s thoughtful response to that question.  He notes here his respect for his band mates and that he just felt that basically it was his own personal growth.  One can tell through his response that he was being honest and not just paying lip service to the interviewer.  In the same breath, there is also a much more light-hearted moment when Townsend appears on a local talk show to promote his concert.  His reaction to the host, who clearly was full of hot air, is classic.  The host’s reaction to being called out is just as funny.  Between these moments and the detail of the rehearsals and other preps for the concerts, audiences get in this bonus featurette, an in-depth look at just how much time and effort went into making this concert a reality.  It also shows a side of Townsend that most otherwise might not get to see.  That overall content proves the bonus material to be just as important to this recording’s presentation as the recording’s set list and featured performance.  When all three elements are considered together, they prove Ocean Machine — Live at the Ancient Roman Theatre Plovdiv to be a fitting finale from Townsend’s latest project, even though the album presented here is one of his solo albums.  That aside, Ocean Machine — Live at the Ancient Roman Theatre Plovdiv is a recording that every Devin Townsend fan will appreciate and enjoy.

Devin Townsend’s new live recording Ocean Machine — Live at the Ancient Roman Theatre Plovdiv is a fitting final live recording from Devin Townsend Project…at least for now.  Hopefully it isn’t the very last that audiences will ever get from the group.  Maybe some archived shows will be released later.  Either way, the recording proves to be enjoyable for any Devin Townsend fan.  As has been shown here, that is proven in part through an extensive two-set performance from Townsend and company.  That performance includes a full anniversary performance of Ocean Machine and a handful of select songs for a rich whole.  The performance of the songs by Townsend and company adds to the recording’s overall enjoyment.  The bonus material included with the recording puts the finishing touch to its presentation.  Each item is important in its own right in examining the whole of the recording.  All things considered, they make Ocean Machine — Live at the Ancient Roman Theatre Plovdiv a presentation that every Devin Townsend fan will appreciate and that is potentially one more of this year’s top new live recordings.  It will be available July 6 via InsideOut Music.  More information on Ocean Machine — Live at the Ancient Roman Theatre Plovdiv is available online now along with all of Devin Townsend’s latest news and more at:






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Devin Townsend Project Announces New Live Dates

Courtesy: InsideOut MUsic

Courtesy: InsideOut MUsic

Devin Townsend Project announced a new string of live dates this week that is set to begin in April.

The band announced Wednesday it will embark on a two-week tour in support of its latest album Transcendence.  The tour is scheduled to begin April 28 in Pamona, CA and run through May 14 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Joining the band as support on select dates will be Gojira, Opeth and Mastodon.  Thank You Scientist and Oni will be co-headliners along with DTP on other select dates.  The bands’ complete tour schedule is noted below.

Friday, April 28th – Pomona, CA @ The Glass House*
Saturday, April 29th – Flagstaff, AZ @ The Orpheum*
Sunday, April 30th – Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine Theater*
Tuesday, May 2nd – St Louis, MO @ The Ready Room*
Thursday, May 4th – Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues*
Friday, May 5th – Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr Smalls*
Saturday, May 6th – Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory^^
Sunday, May 7th – Sayreville, NJ @ Starland Ballroom^
Tuesday, May 9th – Chicago, IL @ The Vic Theatre^
Thursday, May 11th – Denver, CO @ Red Rock Amphitheatre^
Friday, May 12th – Kansas City, KS @ Arvest Bank Theatre^
Saturday, May 13th – Indianapolis, IN @ Egyptian Room^
Sunday, May 14th – Cincinnati, OH @ Bogart’s**

* – Headlining with Thank You Scientist & ONI
** – Headlining with Thank You Scientist
^ – Supporting Opeth & Gojira
^^ – Supporting Mastodon, Opeth & Gojira

Transcendence was recorded at The Armoury Studios in Vancouver, Canada with Townsend and Adam “Nolly” Getgood (Periphery, Animals as Leaders).  The band recently unveiled the video for the album’s latest single ‘Stormbending,’ which can be seen here.

Courtesy: InsideOut MUsic

Courtesy: InsideOut MUsic

More information on Devin Townsend Project’s new tour schedule is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:









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Leprous Announces New Live Dates; Offers Update On Live DVD

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Leprous North American Tour 2017 Tour Poster

Courtesy: InsideOut Music










Leprous has announced a new, extensive, tour schedule.

The Norwegian prog-metal band has announced an extensive new tour schedule.  The tour includes a 23-date North American headlining tour beginning Tuesday, September 27th in Atlanta, Georgia.  The tour will take the band throughout both the United States and Canada and wraps Saturday, October 27th in Mexico City, Mexico.  The band is also scheduled to perform at a trio of festivals, one of which is in the midst of that North American tour.  The other two festivals come ahead of and following the band’s upcoming tour.  After the band wraps  its North American Tour it will take off the rest of the year in order to rest and recharge for its European tour with Between The Buried and Me and Devin Townsend Project.  That tour launches January 28th in Antwerpen, Belgium and runs through March 10th in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.  Vocalist and keyboardist Einar Solberg discussed the European tour in a recent interview noting, “We’re very happy to be a part of such a fantastic tour package, and it will be pure joy to play together with both Between The Buried And Me and Devin Townsend Project! We believe this tour can help us up to the next level, and that there are many potential new followers to convince here!”  Both of the band’s upcoming tour schedules are noted below.


Here is a list of all upcoming shows for LEPROUS:
LEPROUS – European festival dates 2016:
08.11.2016 Josefov (Czech Republic) – Brutal Assault Open Air /
09.03.2016 Bryne (Norway) – Brynerocken /
11.04.2016 Barcelona (Spain) – AMFest /
LEPROUS – North American headline tour with Earthside, Binary Code and Dissona:
09.27.2016 Atlanta, GA – Vinyl at Center Stage
09.28.2016 Baltimore, MD – Cafe 611
09.29.2016 TBA
09.30.2016 New York City, NY – Gramercy Theater
10.01.2016 Niagara Falls, NY – The Rapids Theater
10.02,2016 Ottawa, ON – Mavericks
10.03,2016 Montreal, QC – TBA
10.04/05.2016 Quebec City, QC – TBA
10.06.2016 Toronto, ON – The Garrison
10.07,2016 Detroit, MI – Token Lounge
10.08.2016 Chicago, IL – Reggie’s
10.09.2016 Minneapolis, MN – TBA
10.11.2016 Calgary AB – Distortion
10.12.2016 Vancouver, BC – Red Room
10.13.2016 Seattle, WA – Studio Seven
10.14.2016 Portland, OR – High Water Mark
10.15.2016 San Francisco, CA – Brick & Mortar Music Hall
10.16.2016 Los Angeles, CA – Complex
10.17.2016 Phoenix, AZ – Club Red
10.19.2016 San Antonio, TX – Rockbox
10.20.2016 Fort Worth, TX – Tomcats West
10.21.2016 Kansas City, MO – Riot Room
10.22.2016 Mexico City, MX – Foro Indie Rocks * LEPROUS only!
LEPROUS – European tour with Devin Townsend Project and Between The Buried And Me:
01.28.017 Antwerpen (Belgium) – Trix * No BTBAM
01.30.2017 Esch-sur-Alzette (Luxembourg) – Rockhal
01.31.2017 Paris (France) – Bataclan
02.01.2017 Bordeaux (France) – Rockschool Barbey
02.03.2017 Madrid (Spain) – La Reviera
02.04.2017 Barcelona (Spain) – Razzmatazz 2
02.05.2017 Marseille (France) – Le Moulin
02.07.2017 Milan (Italy) – Live Club
02.08.2017 Pratteln (Switzerland) – Z7
02.09.2017 Stuttgart (Germany) – LKA Longhorn
02.10.2017 Munich (Germany) – Backstage
02.12.2017 Zagreb (Croatia) – Tvornica Club
02.13.2017 Budapest (Hungary) – A38
02.14.2017 Vienna (Austria) – Arena
02.16.2017 Prague (Czech Republic) – The Roxy
02.17.2017 Leipzig (Germany) – Täubchenthal
02.18.2017 Kraków (Poland) – Kwadrat
02.19.2017 Warsaw (Poland) – Stodola
02.21.2017 Hamburg (Germany) – Grünspan
02.22.2017 Aarhus (Denmark) – Voxhall
02.23.2017 Göteborg (Sweden) – Pustervik
02.25.2017 Bergen (Norway) – Blastfest
02.26.2017 Oslo (Norway) – Sentrum Scene
02.28.2017 Helsinki (Finland) – The Circus
03.01.2017 Seinajoki (Finland) – Rytmikorjaamo
03.03.2017 Stockholm (Sweden) – Berns
03.04.2017 Malmö (Sweden) – KB
03.05.2017 Copenhagen (Denmark) – Amager Bio
03.07.2017 Berlin (Germany) – Columbia Theater
03.08.2017 Dortmund (Germany) – FZW
03.09.2017 Tilburg (The Netherlands) – 013
03.10.2017 Amsterdam (The Netherlands) – De Melkweg


Along with its upcoming tour dates, the band is also putting the finishing touches on its new live DVD, which is currently set to be released later this year.  Its title has not yet been revealed.  Solberg discussed the DVD in his interview, too noting what fans can expect from the recording in comparison to so many other live recordings out there.  “The recording of the DVD went great, and it was one of the best nights of our career so far!,” he said.  We just received the rough mix of the Audio, and we can tell that it’s definitely approved. On most live albums these days, bands are re-recording most of the stuff afterwards in the studio, to make it sound “perfect”. For us that’s out of question. We wanna keep the live feel, especially to give a big contrast to the rather “perfected” studio albums! Definitely more organic!”

Leprous’ new live DVD and its upcoming tour are in support of its most recent full-length studio recording The Congregation.  It is still available now in standard jewel case CD, digital download, limited edition Media Book CD, and 2LP platform.  The 2LP platform also includes a bonus track titled ‘Pixel.’  The album can be purchased in physical  form throughout Europe from the IOM web shop.  While audiences await the band’s upcoming live dates and live DVD, they can check out the video for ‘The Price’ now here.  It is one of the songs included in the body of The Congregation.  Audiences can also view the lyric video for ‘Slave’ online via the band’s official YouTube channel.  ‘Rewind’ is streaming in full now also via SoundCloud.

More information on Leprous’ upcoming tour, live DVD, news, and more is available online now at:










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Bigelf Releases Cover Art, Track Listing For InsideOut Debut

Courtesy:  InsideOut Music

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Veteran L.A. based stoner rock band Bigelf will release its latest release this Spring.  Into The Maelstrom will be available in stores and online Tuesday, April 1st via InsideOut Music.  The band’s new album will be the first for Bigelf on InsideOut.  It will also be the first record for drummer Mike Portnoy (Transatlantic, Winery Dogs, ex-Dream Theater) with the band.

Into The Maelstrom will be available in a double-disc digipak and on a double-disc gatefold vinyl release.  The double-disc digipak will feature both the album and a handful of re-mixes and demos from the band.  The gatefold vinyl will feature the entire album as presented on CD.  The album’s track listing is as follows:

  1. Incredible Time Machine
  2. Hypersleep
  3. Already Gone
  4. Alien Frequency
  5. The Professor & The Madman
  6. Mr. Harry McQuhae
  7. Vertigod
  8. Control Freak
  9. High
  10. Edge of Oblivion
  11. Theater of Dreams
  12. ITM: I. Destination Unknown / II. Harbinger Of Death / III. Memories

Founding member Damon Fox explained in an interview what audiences can expect from the bands upcoming InsideOut debut.  “I think ITM is the best Bigelf record yet,” he said. “And I believe it is a real game changer for the band. It’s gonna put us over the top! Psychedelic cinematic landscapes and melodic prog-doom set the stage for the new album, I cannot wait for fans (old and new) to experience all of its apocalyptic color.”

Bigelf will be part of this year’s Progressive Nation At Sea cruise.  The cruise sets sail February 18th and returns to port February 22nd.  It will also feature performances by Transatlantic–another band with whom Portnoy plays—Devin Townsend Project, Riverside & Adrian Belew Power Trio.  Tickets for the Progressive Nation At Sea Cruise are available on the cruise’s official website,  Audiences can also go to the cruise’s website to get a complete list of performers and all of the latest information on the cruise.

More information on Bigelf, its upcoming new release, tour dates and more is available online at, and  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