Sepultura Debuts Quarantine Performance Of ‘Slave New World’

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Sepultura’s new “live” recording, SepulQuarta is now available.

The band released the collection of quarantined performances Friday through Nuclear Blast Records. The semi-live recording culls performances that the band recorded during its “SepulQuarta” video podcast throughout the pandemic. The performances were by famous figures, such as Phil Campbell, Devin Townsend, and Alex Skolnick.

Guitarist and founding member Andreas Kisser spoke highly of the collection of performances in discussing its release.

“The SepulQuarta album is probably the one I am most proud of!,” said Kisser. “2020 was the most difficult time for a band to survive, without the stage and the direct contact with the fans, but we managed to keep going strong and the album is a consequence of the unity plus the positive attitude from the band. The album sounds great, alive, and very real! All the guests did an amazing job and we feel more than ever that we have a huge Sepultura family out there. Thank you so much for everyone’s support and hope to see you all soon. This album is for you! Enjoy the music!”

In correlation with the recording’s release, the band premiered the video for its quarantine performance of its song, ‘Slave New World’ Friday with Trivium front man Matt Heafy. The video is the third from the recording. The band has also released videos for its quarantine performances of its songs, ‘Mask‘ and ‘Apes of God.’ Devin Townsend guested on ‘Mask’ while Death Angel’s Rob Cavestany appeared on ‘Apes of God.’

The full track listing for SepulQuarta is noted below.

This is the full tracklist featuring all international guest musicians:

01. Territory (feat. David Ellefson)
02. Cut-Throat (feat. Scott Ian)
03. Sepulnation (feat. Danko Jones)
04. Inner Self (feat. Phil Rind)
05. Hatred Aside (feat. Angélica Burns, Mayara Puertas & Fernanda Lira)
06. Mask (feat. Devin Townsend)
07. Fear, Pain, Chaos, Suffering (feat. Emmily Barreto)
08. Vandals Nest (feat. Alex Skolnick)
09. Slave New World (feat. Matthew K. Heafy)
10. Ratamahatta (feat. Joao Barone & Charles Gavin)
11. Apes Of God (feat. Rob Cavestany)
12. Phantom Self (feat. Mark Holcomb)
13. Slaves Of Pain (feat. Fred Leclercq & Marcello Pompeu)
14. Kaiowas (feat. Rafael Bittencourt)
15. Orgasmatron (feat. Phil Campbell)

The limited edition, marbled pressing of the recording is already sold out, but black vinyl pressings are still available along with CD pressings. Additionally, the album is available digitally.

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

In other news, the band announced last month, it hopes to finally launch its “Quadra Tour” next spring. The band has scheduled the tour’s launch for March 4 in Sacramento, CA.

The tour was originally scheduled to take place in spring 2020, and was initially postponed until this year as a result of the impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021 tour was then postponed because of the ongoing impacts of the pandemic.

The month-long tour, which is in support of the band’s most recent album, Quadra, is scheduled to run through March 9 in Berkeley, CA. It features performances in cities nationwide, such as Atlanta, GA; Minneapolis, MN and Greensboro, NC. Sacred Reich will serve as support for the tour, along with Crowbar and Art of Shock.

Front man Derrick Greene was optimistic about the tour finally getting off the ground as he talked about it during a recent interview.

“We are extremely excited to reconnect with everyone in North America for this upcoming tour,” he said. “We look forward to seeing all the people who have been anxious to see shows for the past two years. We will celebrate this re-connection of life and music together. See you soon!!”

Kisser echoed Green’s sentiments with his own comments.

“We can’t wait to go back on stage. We are very happy to announce our North American tour for 2022. We will see you all on the road, jamming old stuff new stuff and having the greatest time of our lives. See you all soon stay safe!”

The upcoming tour’s schedule is noted below. Tickets are available here.

Confirmed dates for SEPULTURA‘s “North American Quadra” 2022 tour with SACRED REICHCROWBAR, and ART OF SHOCK are:
3/04/2022  Ace Of Spades – Sacramento, CA 
3/05/2022  The Depot – Salt Lake City, UT*
3/06/2022 Oriental Theater – Denver, CO*
3/08/2022 Wildwood – Iowa City, IA
3/09/2022 Varsity Theater – Minneapolis, MN
3/10/2022 The Rave – Milwaukee, WI
3/11/2022   Harpo’s – Detroit, MI 
3/12/2022  The Forge – Joliet, IL*
3/13/2022  Thunderbird Music Hall – Pittsburgh, PA*
3/15/2022  Irving Plaza – New York, NY
3/16/2022  Opera House – Toronto, ON CANADA
3/17/2022  Corona Theater – Montreal, QC CANADA
3/18/2022  Big Night Live – Boston, MA 
3/19/2022  Theatre Of Living Arts – Philadelphia, PA
3/20/2022  Soundstage – Baltimore, MD 
3/21/2022  House of Blues – Cleveland, OH 
3/23/2022  Blind Tiger – Greensboro, NC*
3/24/2022  Masquerade – Atlanta, GA 
3/25/2022  Culture Room – Ft Lauderdale, FL 
3/26/2022  The Orpheum – Tampa, FL* 
3/28/2022  Southport Music Hall – New Orleans, LA*
3/29/2022  Come and Take It Live – Austin, TX*
3/31/2022  Diamond Ballroom – Oklahoma City, OK
4/01/2022  Warehouse Live – Houston, TX
4/02/2022  GMBG – Dallas, TX*
4/03/2022  Rockhouse – El Paso, TX 
4/05/2022  The Nile Theater – Phoenix, AZ* 
4/06/2022  House of Blues – San Diego, CA 
4/08/2022  Belasco Theater – Los Angeles, CA 
4/09/2022  The UC Theatre – Berkeley, CA
* New shows and not rescheduled

More information on SepulQuarta and Sepultura’s planned live dates is available along with all of the band’s latest news and more now at:

Websitehttps://www.sepultura.com/br

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/sepultura

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/sepulturacombr

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.

Devin Townsend Announces Release Date, Specs For “New” Live Recording

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Devin Townsend will release a “new” live recording next month.

Townsend is scheduled to release Acoustically Inclined, Live in Leeds March 19 through InsideOut Music. Originally released as part of Townsend’s recently released Empath Ultimate Edition, the 11-song recording is the first in a series of content that Townsend has planned for release this year dubbed the “Devolution Series” as he awaits the return of live music. That is according to a news release distributed to the press Friday.

The forthcoming release marks the first time that the Leeds acoustic show has released exclusively on an audio-only format. Its previous release with the Empath Ultimate Edition was a full audio-visual presentation. The recording’s forthcoming release will come separately on Limited Edition CD digipack, Gatefold 2LP/CD, and digital. Pre-orders are open now.

In anticipation of the recording’s release, Townsend debuted his performance of ‘Hyperdrive‘ Friday.

The track listing for Acoustically Inclined, Live in Leeds is noted below.

DEVIN TOWNSEND “Devolution Series #1 –
Acoustically Inclined, Live in Leeds” track listing:
1. Intro (06:30)
2. Let it Roll (03:48)
3. Funeral (08:17)
4. Deadhead (07:51)
5. Ih-Ah! (04:44)
6. Love? (08:06)
7. Hyperdrive (04:27)
8. Terminal (04:58)
9. Coast (04:37)
10. Solar Winds (03:25)
11. Thing Beyond Things (04:34)

More information on Devin Townsend’s upcoming live recording is available online along with all of his latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.hevydevy.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/dvntownsend

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/dvntownsend

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

Hammerfall Drops The Hammer On 2020’s Top New Live Recordings List

Courtesy: Napalm Records

Live music and live music venues took a big hit this year thanks to the global COVID-19 pandemic.  That goes without saying.  Music acts and venues from the independent level all the way up to the big names were force to put their live music plans on hold indefinitely as a result of the pandemic.  However a glimmer of hope rose this week when Live Nation head Joe Berchtold was quoted by major media outlets as saying that he believed live music would return by summer 2021.  One can only hope that Mr. Berchtold is right, and that when it does return, audiences will welcome its return rather than let the germaphobes control their minds.  Until then, audiences do have lots of live music to enjoy on CD, DVD and Blu-ray that was released this year.  Hammerfall released its latest live recording Live! Against The World this year.  Dream Theater also dropped its new live recording Distant Memories: Live in London.  Metallica even celebrated the anniversary of its landmark S&M show with the release of S&M2.  These are just some of the recordings that made Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 New Live Recordings.  They were joined by new live material from the likes of Myrath, The Rolling Stones, and Kamelot.

As with each list from Phil’s Picks, this collection features the Top 10 new titles in the given category and five additional honorable mention titles for a total of 15 titles.  Without any further ado, here is Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 New Live Recordings.

PHIL’S PICKS 2020 TOP 10 NEW LIVE RECORDINGS

  1. Hammerfall – Live! Against The World
  2. Jimi Hendrix – Live in Maui
  3. Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra – A Swingin’ Sesame Street Celebration
  4. Def Leppard – London to Vegas
  5. The Rolling Stones – Steel Wheels Live
  6. Devin Townsend – Order of Magnitude: Empath Live Volume 1
  7. John Lee Hooker – Live at Montreux 1983 & 1990
  8. Waylon Jennings – The Outlaw Perrformances
  9. Myrath – Live in Carthage
  10. Kamelot – I Am The Empire Live from the 013
  11. Dream Theater – Distant Memories: Live in London
  12. Metallica – S&M2
  13. Delta Rae – Coming Home To Carolina
  14. Bush – Live in Tampa
  15. Dee Snider – For The Love of Metal

Up next from Phil’s Picks is one of the last three music categories of the year, Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 New Rock Albums.  After that will be the year’s top new hard rock & metal albums, and then last but not least, the year’s top new albums overall.  From there, it’ll be on to the DVDs and Blu-rays in all of their categories.  Stay tuned for all of that.

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.  

Devin Townsend Debuts Third Live Clip From ‘Order Of Magnitude’ Recording

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Devin Townsend has unveiled another live clip for his new live recording.

Townsend debuts a live clip of his performance of the song ‘Why?’ Friday. Its debut comes a week ahead of the release of Townsend’s latest live recording, Order of MagnitudeEmpath Live Volume 1. Additionally, the clip’s debut comes a week after Townsend debuted a teaser for the documentary that accompanies the live performance in its Blu-ray presentation.

The ‘Why?’ live clip is the third from Order of MagnitudeEmpath Live Volume 1 and is one of the most comical moments from the performance, highlighting Townsend’s famous oftentimes light on-stage presence. It shows why he is such a favorite of fans. The clip follows the premiere of the live clips of ‘War‘ and ‘Genesis.’

Townsend talked about the latest clip and the recording in whole in prepared statement.

“So once upon a time, in a land not much different than the one we’re living in now, there used to be things called ‘concerts’ where a bunch of human beings would assemble to watch awkward performances and get s***faced on overpriced beer,” he said. “Tour managers would solve problems while simultaneously hitting on women, and musicians would complain about not being home (until getting home, where they would then complain about not being on tour). During one of these ‘tours’, I myself assembled 10 brilliant people, confident enough to play challenging material, while simultaneously acting like goofs with me onstage. This is from the upcoming Order Of Magnitude DVD, and the song is called ‘Why’.”

Kudos to Diego for being able to pull off a full symphony with only 4 limbs, and the rest of the band for not batting an eye when I presented the ideas I had for this show,” he added. “Che, Samantha, Anne and Arabella came to me and said ‘look, if we have to wear this stuff, you have to as well…’ so my Tutu was a show of solidarity with band members, but as the saying goes ‘I’ve seen better legs hanging out of a nest.’  ‘I look forward to a time where we get to do this again, but if that’s not meant to be, I loved this, so thanks to everyone involved.”

The concert featured in Order of MagnitudeEmpath Live Volume 1 was recorded in December 2019 in London, UK.  The concert was the penultimate show in Townsend’s tour in support of Empath.  Empath was re-issued June 5 through InsideOut Music with a bonus disc and two Blu-ray discs.

The first Blu-ray features a 5.1 Surround Sound mix of Empath crafted by Townsend himself, with visuals for the entire album, plus a stereo visualizer.  The second Blu-ray contains a bonus live performance titled Acoustically Inclined — Live in Leeds.  the concert, captured during Townsend’s April 2019 acoustic tour, features performances of some of Townsend’s most beloved songs, such as ‘Love?,’ ‘Deadhead,’ and ‘Things Beyond Things.’

Order of MagnitudeEmpath Live Volume 1 will release on a limited deluxe 2CD/Blu-ray/DVD artbook; Limited edition 2CD/DVD package; Blu-ray; gatefold 3LP/2CD vinyl box, and digital album.  The Blu-ray features the noted behind-the-scenes documentary and 5.1 surround sound mix.  The DVD features a 5.1 surround sound mix.  Pre-orders are open now.

The recording’s track listing is noted below.

The track-listing is as follows:
1.Borderlands
2.Evermore
3.War
4.Sprite
5.Gigpig Jam
6.Coast
7.Gato
8.Heavens End
9.Ain’t Never Gonna Win
10.Deadhead
11.Why?
12.Lucky Animals
13.Castaway/Genesis
14.Spirits Will Collide
15.Disco Inferno
16.Kingdom

More information on Devin Townsend’s forthcoming live recording is available online along with all of his latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.hevydevy.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/dvntownsend

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/dvntownsend

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.

Devin Townsend Debuts Teaser Clip For Live Documentary

Devin Townsend is giving audiences their first glimpse at the documentary that will accompany his new live recording.

Townsend premiered a teaser clip Thursday, for the documentary that will accompany Order of MagnitudeEmpath Live Volume 1. The two-minute teaser clip features Townsend discussing live performances. Audiences also get a glimpse into pre-show preparations and the actual show.

Townsend talked about the tour that produced the documentary and upcoming live recording during a recent interview.

“The whole objective was that I wanted to make that statement: This is by the seat our pants,” he said. “Because it’s important to me to represent this hyper anal-retentive music that I’ve made over the years, but in a human way. Rather than it just being, ‘Well, here it is, perfectly done.’”

“I was overwhelmed by the fact that all these brilliant people that I have so much respect for were willing to come together and play this weird s*** with me,” added Townsend. “I had these unique players and this interesting instrumentation that allowed us to interpret the music in different ways. It was clear to me that I could just have fun and be me and know that they would be effortlessly be able to follow that.”

The documentary that will accompany Townsend’s new live recording will come exclusively with the recording’s Blu-ray presentation. It is just the latest video to come from the recording. It has already produced live clips of ‘War‘ and ‘Genesis.’

The concert featured in Order of MagnitudeEmpath Live Volume 1 was recorded in December 2019 in London, UK.  The concert was the penultimate show in Townsend’s tour in support of Empath.  Empath was re-issued June 5 through InsideOut Music with a bonus disc and two Blu-ray discs.

The first Blu-ray features a 5.1 Surround Sound mix of Empath crafted by Townsend himself, with visuals for the entire album, plus a stereo visualizer.  The second Blu-ray contains a bonus live performance titled Acoustically Inclined — Live in Leeds.  the concert, captured during Townsend’s April 2019 acoustic tour, features performances of some of Townsend’s most beloved songs, such as ‘Love?,’ ‘Deadhead,’ and ‘Things Beyond Things.’

Order of MagnitudeEmpath Live Volume 1 will release on a limited deluxe 2CD/Blu-ray/DVD artbook; Limited edition 2CD/DVD package; Blu-ray; gatefold 3LP/2CD vinyl box, and digital album.  The Blu-ray features the noted behind-the-scenes documentary and 5.1 surround sound mix.  The DVD features a 5.1 surround sound mix.  Pre-orders are open now.

The recording’s track listing is noted below.

The track-listing is as follows:
1.Borderlands
2.Evermore
3.War
4.Sprite
5.Gigpig Jam
6.Coast
7.Gato
8.Heavens End
9.Ain’t Never Gonna Win
10.Deadhead
11.Why?
12.Lucky Animals
13.Castaway/Genesis
14.Spirits Will Collide
15.Disco Inferno
16.Kingdom

More information on Devin Townsend’s forthcoming live recording is available online along with all of his latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.hevydevy.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/dvntownsend

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/dvntownsend

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.

Devin Townsend Debuts ‘War’ Performance Clip From New Live Recording

Devin Townsend debuted another live clip from his latest live recording this week.

Townsend debuted his live performance of the song ‘War‘ Friday. The performance clip is the second from Townsend’s forthcoming live recording Order of Magnitude: Empath Live Volume 1, which is scheduled for release Oct. 23 through InsideOut Music. He debuted the recording’s first live clip — that of ‘Genesis‘ — in August.

The concert featured in Order of MagnitudeEmpath Live Volume 1 was recorded in December 2019 in London, UK.  The concert was the penultimate show in Townsend’s tour in support of Empath.  Empath was re-issued June 5 through InsideOut Music with a bonus disc and two Blu-ray discs.

The first Blu-ray features a 5.1 Surround Sound mix of Empath crafted by Townsend himself, with visuals for the entire album, plus a stereo visualizer.  The second Blu-ray contains a bonus live performance titled Acoustically Inclined — Live in Leeds.  the concert, captured during Townsend’s April 2019 acoustic tour, features performances of some of Townsend’s most beloved songs, such as ‘Love?,’ ‘Deadhead,’ and ‘Things Beyond Things.’

Order of MagnitudeEmpath Live Volume 1 will release on a limited deluxe 2CD/Blu-ray/DVD artbook; Limited edition 2CD/DVD package; Blu-ray; gatefold 3LP/2CD vinyl box, and digital album.  The Blu-ray features a behind-the-scenes documentary and 5.1 surround sound mix.  The DVD features a 5.1 surround sound mix.  Pre-orders are open now.

The recording’s track listing is noted below.

The track-listing is as follows:
1.Borderlands
2.Evermore
3.War
4.Sprite
5.Gigpig Jam
6.Coast
7.Gato
8.Heavens End
9.Ain’t Never Gonna Win
10.Deadhead
11.Why?
12.Lucky Animals
13.Castaway/Genesis
14.Spirits Will Collide
15.Disco Inferno
16.Kingdom

More information on Devin Townsend’s forthcoming live recording is available online along with all of his latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.hevydevy.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/dvntownsend

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/dvntownsend

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.

Infinite Eve Debuts ‘2020’ Video

Infinite Eve debuted the video for its latest single this week.

The band debuted the video for its new instrumental single ‘2020‘ Tuesday.  Written and performed by Infinite Eve guitarist Paul Warren, the song also features a guest appearance by guitarist Any Wood (Scott Stapp, Rascal Flatts, Sebastian Bach).

The video’s visualization does its own share to engage audiences.  It features an eye whose color constantly changes, as well as what is believed to be Warren performing the song and various digital graphics.  throughout it all, the accents in the bars are echoed in a specific fashion, too.

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

The song’s arrangement features a heavy yet controlled guitar riff that echoes the tensions felt by audiences this year.  The ethereal choral vocals and the subtle electronics and keyboards lend the arrangement to comparisons to works from the likes of Dream Theater and Devin Townsend.

More information on Infinite Eve’s new single, video and more is available online now at:

 

Websitehttp://infiniteeve.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/infiniteevemusic

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/infiniteeveband

 

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.

 

Devin Townsend Debuts ‘Genesis’ Live Clip From New Live Recording; Announces Information For Upcoming Live Streaming Concert

Courtey: InsideOut Music

Devin Townsend is giving audiences their first taste of his new live recording.

Townsend debuted the live clip for his performance of ‘Genesis‘ Friday.  The performance is featured in his forthcoming live recording Order of MagnitudeEmpath Live Volume 1.  The recording is scheduled for release Oct. 23 through InsideOut Music.

Townsend talked about the video and song in a recent interview.

“This song, ‘Genesis’ from my latest album Empath seemed an appropriate way to introduce this concert to the audience,” he said. “It’s kind of an example of ‘musical anarchy’ in some ways- as the song is all over the place structurally to begin with.  But to have a chaotic piece of music, played by these extraordinary musicians I had the honour of being with, in a no-holds-barred production, was really cathartic. It was about being free to do whatever we wanted in a time where rigid ideas of what is acceptable or not are stronger than ever.”

The concert featured in Order of MagnitudeEmpath Live Volume 1 was recorded in December 2019 in London, UK.  The concert was the penultimate show in Townsend’s tour in support of Empath.  Empath was re-issued June 5 through InsideOut Music with a bonus disc and two Blu-ray discs.

The first Blu-ray features a 5.1 Surround Sound mix of Empath crafted by Townsend himself, with visuals for the entire album, plus a stereo visualizer.  The second Blu-ray contains a bonus live performance titled Acoustically Inclined — Live in Leeds.  the concert, captured during Townsend’s April 2019 acoustic tour, features performances of some of Townsend’s most beloved songs, such as ‘Love?,’ ‘Deadhead,’ and ‘Things Beyond Things.’

Order of MagnitudeEmpath Live Volume 1 will release on a limited deluxe 2CD/Blu-ray/DVD artbook; Limited edition 2CD/DVD package; Blu-ray; gatefold 3LP/2CD vinyl box, and digital album.  The Blu-ray features a behind-the-scenes documentary and 5.1 surround sound mix.  The DVD features a 5.1 surround sound mix.  Pre-orders are open now.

The recording’s track listing is noted below.

The track-listing is as follows:
1.Borderlands
2.Evermore
3.War
4.Sprite
5.Gigpig Jam
6.Coast
7.Gato
8.Heavens End
9.Ain’t Never Gonna Win
10.Deadhead
11.Why?
12.Lucky Animals
13.Castaway/Genesis
14.Spirits Will Collide
15.Disco Inferno
16.Kingdom

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

In related news, Devin Townsend will hold a live, streaming by request set at 4 p.m. ET on Sept. 5.  Tickets are available here.  Fans can pre-order a shirt that celebrates the concert event here.  A trailer for the streaming show is itself streaming here.

More information on Devin Townsend’s upcoming streaming concert and his new live recording is available online along with all of his latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.hevydevy.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/dvntownsend

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/dvntownsend

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.

U.D.O.’s Latest LP Will Unite Music Lovers Around The World

Courtesy: AFM Records

Veteran rock band U.D.O. returns Friday with its 17th full-length studio recording.  Titled We Are 1, the 15-song record features the band performing its new compositions with the Concert Band of the German Armed Forces.  While rock bands performing and recording with non-rock organizations is anything but out of the ordinary nowadays, the fact that the entire record is composed of new songs is itself interesting.  The arrangements that make up the album’s body offer audiences plenty to appreciate, as do the lyrical themes that accompany that musical content.  Each item will be addressed in itself here.  When they are considered with the record’s sequencing, all three elements make the album in whole a truly unique presentation that rock and metal fans alike will appreciate.

U.D.O.’s latest album We Are 1 is an impressive new entry from the veteran rock band.  There is no doubt in listening through the 75-minute record, that it will resonate with rock and metal fans alike.  That is due in part to the album’s musical arrangements.  The arrangements in question are full-on rock meets classical compositions that bear their own unique identity separate from the works that acts, such as Metallica and KISS have crafted.  These new, original works are such unique orchestrations.  One actually could argue that they are stylistically more similar to works from Devin Townsend’s latest album Empath (2019).  That comparison stems from the use of the choral element, the strings, the brass and woodwinds together.  Each arrangement sounds so epic even in a more reserved moment, such as in ‘Blindfold (The Last Defender).’  Now not having liner notes to reference, it is not known who the female vocalist is in this song, but her vocals, along with the bells, drums and harp make this song feel cinematic in its own right, especially with all of the attention to the dynamic changes throughout the song.  ‘Blackout’ — which immediately follows ‘Blindfold (The Last Defender)’ — is another example of how powerful the arrangements are in this record.  This nearly three-minute song’s brass and percussion come together to make the song sound like something that would be a perfect fit in the soundtrack for some military movie from the 80s and 90s.  That huge opening that leads into the immediate softer, more contemplative sound, is so powerful especially as that noted softer sound crescendos back into something more constant throughout the rest of the song.  On yet another hand, the use of the bagpipes, tympani, snare drum and standard rock elements come together in ‘Beyond Gravity’ to make this song yet another notable addition to the album that shows in its own right, why these arrangements are so important to examine.  There’s no attempt here to rip off AC/DC or any other band that uses bagpipes.  There’s not even any attempt to copy any other act.  It is its own unique presentation that is certain to become a favorite on record and in a live setting when and if music can ever go live again.  It’s just one more way in which the album’s musical arrangements prove so important to its general presentation.  When it and the rest of the album’s arrangements are considered together, the album’s diverse musical styles and elements collectively build a strong foundation for the LP’s presentation.  In themselves, they make a clear argument as to why this record is one of the year’s top new rock albums.  It might not even be a stretch to call it potentially one of the year’s top new overall albums if only for its musical aspect.  Of course the musical aspect is just one reason to take in this record.  The album’s lyrical content adds to its appeal.

The lyrical content featured in We Are 1 runs through one general topic, that topic being concerns about the state of the world.  Band founder and namesake Udo Dirkschneider talked about that overarching theme in a recent interview.  He said of the album’s general theme, “We all live on this planet.  No matter who we are or what we do, we all just have this one planet.  There is no planet B.  When I see the pictures of all the plastic in our oceans and when I hear about the next climate catastrophe in the news, I really start wondering how respectless and irresponsible we sometimes are.  It’s not just about us.  It’s also about all the others and last but not least, about our children!”  That concern that he voiced in the noted comments is shown throughout this record in a variety of fashions.  ‘Here We Go Again,’ for instance takes on concerns over how the Trump administration has handled the issue of immigration.  Dirkschneider notes in this blues rock based song’s lyrical side, “Who has got the right to decide/Who’s gonna live and who’s gonna die/People on the street and people on the sea/Always on the run/Trying to be free/People on the left/People on the right/Everywhere you look/Uptight/Living in a cell/Living in a cage/Fairy tale is over…Everybody’s…longing for a new way/Everybody’s got the right/turning darkness into light/here we go again…Time to show again.”  From here, the song makes mention of corrupt elections and trump’s cries of “fake news” every time that legitimate news agencies call BS on his lies in the song’s second verse.  Given, this is hardly the first time that any musical act has taken on the corruption of the Trump administration and Trump himself, but it is still approached in a unique fashion here that is certain to keep listeners engaged.  It is just one of the ways in which the album’s lyrical themes prove pivotal in their own right to the album.  The album’s title track, which comes early in its run, is clearly another way in which the record’s lyrics show their importance.

‘We Are One’ is a call for unity.  Again, referencing Dirkschneider’s noted statements, the song’s lyrical theme makes crystal clear sense.  He, his band mates and the choir that joins them sings in the song’s chorus, “What are we waiting for/Before we lose control/We are one/We are free/And we need a place to be/We are one/We will rise/Gonna be no compromise/We are one/We are free/And we need a place to be/We are one/We will rise/Never be a compromise.”  This comes after Dirkschneider makes note in the song’s lead verse, of people dealing with all the negativity that is on television nowadays and the impact thereof.  He continues the commentary in similar fashion in the song’s second verse, asking “Do you enjoy watching people die?” before reminding listeners again that “We are one.”  It’s that call to unity and action that is just as needed and welcome today as ever, and just one more way in which the album’s lyrical themes prove so pivotal to this album.  ‘Rebel Town’ is yet another example of the importance of the album’s lyrical themes.

The lyrical theme at the center of ‘Rebel Town’ is a celebration of the 30th anniversary of East and West Germany’s unification.  The song makes mention here of revolution and people sacrificing, and indirectly of people tearing down the Berlin Wall.  Dirkschneider even goes so far as to state at one point, “Chase away the leaders/Let them rot in hell/Believe in what you’re fighting for/Let them hear the rebel yell.”  This is that call again, this time about people coming together to remove the barrier between the two Germanies “in this little town.”  The use of the horns and overall orchestral elements here really paints such a vivid picture of that key moment in history.  This is unique if not original in terms of songs’ lyrical themes from one to the next.  This critic in particular is hard-pressed to find another band that has ever written a song about the fall of the Berlin Wall and the unification of Germany.  Keeping that in mind, the song is yet another example of what makes the album’s lyrical content so important to its whole.  When it is considered along with the other noted themes and those in the rest of the album’s songs, the whole of the album’s lyrical content works with the album’s musical content to make the LP’s body overall such that it will guarantee listeners’ engagement and entertainment.  Even with all of this in mind, there is still one more item to note in examining the album’s presentation – its sequencing.

The sequencing of We Are 1 is important to note because it displays the time and thought that went into maintaining the album’s energy throughout.  Seventy-five minutes is a long span.  Given it isn’t the length of a full concert, but it is still a long run time for a standard studio recording.  To that end, the sequencing plays a key part in ensuring listeners’ engagement and entertainment.  The album opens just as strongly as it closes and vice versa.  In-between, the energy rises and falls at all of the right points from one to the next and even within each of the songs.  Some of the songs start, stay and end strong while others, such as ‘Love and Sin’ and ‘Children of the World’ open with a semi-mysterious tone before launching into a full-on cinematic approach that is a fit for any epic blockbuster’s soundtrack.  ‘Blindfold (The Last Defender)’ and ‘Blackout’ serve as solid break points for the album’s sequence, giving listeners something soft, and then fully orchestra in the vein of movie soundtrack composer Hans Zimmer before the album returns to its initial approach.  ‘Natural Forces,’ which comes late in the album’s run, is another good break point, giving listeners more of the Hans Zimmer style presentation.  From here on out, the album’s energy switches direction, rises and falls at all of the right moments, ensuring just as much as ever, listeners’ engagement and entertainment right to the album’s end.  When all of this is considered along with the impact of We Are 1’s musical and lyrical content overall, all three elements come together to make this album a truly outstanding offering from U.D.O. that will appeal not only to rock and metal aficionados but to music lovers in general.

U.D.O.’s latest full-length studio recording We Are 1 is one of the most pleasant musical surprises of 2020 so far.  While it features a rock band working with an orchestra, it can’t be compared to those rock-meets-classical records from the likes of Metallica and KISS by any means or any other band that has taken this approach.  This collection of new songs really is its own, unique presentation that shows more similarities to works from Devin Townsend, composer Hans Zimmer, Epica, Judas Priest and even Joe Satriani (yes, that seems like an odd mix, but it works) than to the noted other acts’ works.  What’s more, the socially conscious lyrical themes that accompany the musical arrangements solidify the album’s presentation even more.  The record’s  sequencing puts the final touch to the album’s presentation.  Each noted item is important in its own way to the LP’s presentation.  All things considered, they make this record not only one of the year’s best new rock and hard rock albums, but potentially one of the year’s best new overall albums.  We Are 1 is scheduled for release Friday through AFM Records.  More information on the album is available along with all of U.D.O.’s latest news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.udo-online.de

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/udoonline

 

 

 

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.

Devin Townsend Debuts ‘Sprite’ Video

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Devin Townsend debuted the video for his latest single this week.

Townsend debuted the video for his new single ‘Sprite‘ Tuesday.  The song is featured in his latest album Empath, which is scheduled for re-issue June 5 through InsideOut Music.

The video, which is part of the new visualizations that will come with the album’s re-issue, is a very artistic presentation that (intentionally or not) pays tribute to the movie 2001A Space Odyssey with its use of the man and woman floating in space.  There is also an octopus that audiences will recognize from Towsend’s video for another of the album’s singles, ‘Genesis‘ as well as a killer whale.

The musical arrangement at the center of ‘Sprite’ is just as artistic as its visual accompaniment that is full of soaring choral elements, guitars, keyboards and even string arrangements.

Pre-orders are open now for the forthcoming re-issue of Empath.  The re-issue of Townsend’s 2019 album features the original release plus a bonus disc and two bonus Blu-ray discs.

The first Blu-ray features a 5.1 Surround Sound mix of Empath crafted by Townsend himself, with visuals for the entire album, plus a stereo visualizer.  The second Blu-ray contains a bonus live performance titled Acoustically Inclined — Live in Leeds.  the concert, captured during Townsend’s April 2019 acoustic tour, features performances of some of Townsend’s most beloved songs, such as ‘Love?,’ ‘Deadhead,’ and ‘Things Beyond Things.’

Townsend offered a statement about the 5.1 Surround Sound mix in a recent interview.

“On a technical level, I guess I have always been dissatisfied with the basic ‘stereo’ format in which the type of music I make gets presented in,” he said. “Whether its headphones, computer speakers, stereos (or basically anything currently), I have had to figure out ways to get the work to function through TWO speakers. I hear things in a particularly orchestrated way, and with the amount of information that typically gets recorded per song, the result has been the dubious ‘wall of sound’ that I keep ending up with. But my intention has never been to make an oppressive experience, but rather something that is immersive and vast.”

“Making it work in two speakers just simply doesn’t quite work for the vision,” he added. “Although I’ve managed to get the point across, (to varying degrees), things always have to compromise to make it all fit. Making the drums speak at the same time as orchestra, cymbals, guitars, choirs, synths etc.…all with my voice on top, ends up with every conceivable frequency fighting for breathing space between those two speakers.
Therefore, I asked the powers that be in my business world, to tolerate one more ‘kick at the can’ when it came to Empath. I wanted to attempt a surround mix and follow the original vision of it being an immersive, multimedia experience for people in the ways I could best achieve at this stage. And although it’s still pretty ‘dense’, with four more sources for the sound to come from, I feel its significantly closer to the original vision here.”

‘Sprite’ is just the latest single released from Empath.  The album has also spawned the aforementioned single ‘Genesis’ as well as the singles ‘Why,’ ‘Spirits Will Collide‘ and ‘Evermore.’

More information on Empath is available online along with all of Devin Townsend’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Websitehttp://www.devintownsend.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/dvntownsend

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/dvntownsend

 

 

 

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 sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.