Jordan Rudess Announces Details For Summer Tour

Photo Credit: Rayon Richards

Dream Theater keyboardist Jordan Rudess is planning to launch a solo tour this summer.

Rudess’ tour, dubbed “An Evening With Jordan Rudess,” is a two-month run that is scheduled to launch June 7 in Seattle, WA and to run through Aug. 6 in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. The tour also features performances planned in cities, such as Charlotte, NC; Kent, OH and Rockport, MA.

The tour’s schedule is noted below. Ticket information is available through Rudess’ official website and Facebook page.

JORDAN RUDESS – 2022 SUMMER SOLO TOUR
 
June 7 – Triple Door, Seattle WA
June 12 – The Old Church Concert Hall – Portland, OR
June 25-  Lulu’s Downstairs – Colorado Springs, CO
June 26 – The Armory – Ft. Collins, CO
July 6 – Dakota – Minneapolis, MN
July 8 – City Winery – Chicago, IL
July 9 – Kent Stage – Kent, OH
July 10 – The Ludlow Garage – Cincinnati, OH
July 11 – Tin Pan, Richmond, VA
July 13 – City Winery – Washington, DC
July 14 – Rams Head On Stage – Anapolis, MD
July 16 – City Winery – New York City, NY
July 17 – Ardmore Music Hall – Ardmore, PA
July 21 – Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center – Old Saybrook, CT
July 22 – Center for the Arts – Natick, MA
July 23 – Shalin Liu – Rockport, MA
July 24 – Ridgefield Playhouse – Ridgefield, CT
July 28 – Neighborhood Theatre – Charlotte, NC
July 31 – State Theatre – Austin, TX
Aug 3 – City Winery – Nashville, TN
Aug 4 – City Winery – Atlanta, GA
Aug 6- Broward Center for the Performing Arts – Fort Lauderdale, FL

More information on Rudess’ tour is available along with all of his latest news at:

Website: https://jordanrudess.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jordanrudessofficial

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jcrudess

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.

James LaBrie Debuts New Single, ‘Am I Right,’ Companion Video

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Dream Theater front man James LaBrie kicked off the week by premiering another new single from his new album.

LaBrie premiered his new single, ‘Am I Right‘ and its video Monday. The song is the third single from his new album, Beautiful Shade of Grey, which is scheduled for release May 20 through InsideOut Music. The album has already produced the singles, ‘Give and Take‘ and ‘Devil In Drag‘ and its video. ‘Am I Right’ is the last single from the album ahead of its release Friday.

‘Am I Right’ is the softest of the songs that LaBrie has released from the album so far. It is centered largely on LaBrie’s vocals and semi-acoustic guitar line. The subtle addition of the bongos as a supporting element adds even more to the song’s musical dept, as do the gospel style backing vocals that join in as the song progresses.

LaBrie talked about the new single in a prepared statement.

“The anthemic song of the album with gorgeous chordal picking and progressions,” LaBrie said. “A perfect marriage between melody and music. Extremely dynamic throughout with an epic and glorious ending.”

No information was provided about the song’s lyrical theme. No lyrics are provided with the video, either. A close listen reveals the song’s lyrical content likely centers around the all too familiar topic of a relationship and the troubles connected therein.

The video for ‘Am I Right’ is a familiar style presentation in its own right. It features LaBrie and company in studio, working on the new album. Other various imagery is incorporated into the visualization to complete the video.

The track listing for Beautiful Shade of Grey is noted below.

The full track-listing is as follows:

1.Devil In Drag
2.SuperNova Girl
3.Give And Take
4.Sunset Ruin
5.Hit Me Like A Brick
6.Wildflower
7.Conscience Calling
8.What I Missed
9.Am I Right
10.Ramble On
11.Devil In Drag (Electric Version)

More information on James LaBrie’s new single, video, and album is available along with all of his latest news at:

Websitehttps://jameslabrie.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/officialjameslabrie

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/piratecjs

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.

Derek Sherinian Debuts New Album’s Lead Single

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Derek Sherinian offered audiences their first taste of his new album to open the weekend.

Sherinian premiered his new single, ‘The Vortex‘ Friday. The song is the title track from his forthcoming album, Vortex, which is scheduled for release July 1 through InsideOut Music. The record’s release will come more than two years after the release of his then latest album, The Phoenix. That album produced the singles,  ‘Empyrean Sky,’ ‘Dragonfly,’ and ‘Them Changes‘ (a cover of the Buddy Miles classic).

The arrangement in this full-on instrumental track is everything that audiences have come to expect from Sherinian, who has made quite the name for himself throughout his career, working with the likes of Alice Cooper, Dream Theater, and currently Sons of Apollo. The frenetic energy exhibited throughout the arrangement does well to illustrate what one thinks of when one thinks of a tornado.

Sherinian announced last March, that he had started work on Vortex. He said at the time, drummer Simon Phillips would return for the album, which has been confirmed for this album. Also making guest appearances at Steve Stevens, Zakk Wylde (Ozzy Osbourne band, Black Label Society), and Michael Schenker (Temple of Rock, Michael Schenker Group, Michael Schenker Fest), all of whom he has worked previously.

Sherinian made a guest appearance on Schenker’s latest Micheal Schenker Group record, Immortal, last year, while Wylde has previously appeared on some of Sherinian’s early solo releases. Also making appearances this time out are the likes of Joe Bonamassa, Steve Lukather (Toto), and his Sons of Apollo band mate Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal.

The track listing for Vortex is noted below.

Tracklisting:
1 The Vortex feat. Steve Stevens
2 Fire Horse feat. Nuno Bettencourt
3 Scorpion
4 Seven Seas feat. Steve Stevens
5 Key Lime Blues feat. Joe Bonamassa, Steve Lukather
6 Die Kobra feat. Michael Schenker, Zakk Wylde
7 Nomad’s Land feat. Mike Stern
8 Aurora Australis feat. Bumblefoot

More information on Derek Sherinian’s new album is available along with all of his latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.dereksherinian.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/Derek-Sherinian-Official-361589234010473/

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/DerekSherinian

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.

James LaBrie Debuts New Album’s Second Single, Video

Courtesy: InsideOut MUsic

Dream Theater front man James LaBrie gave audiences another preview of his new solo record this week.

LaBrie premiered his new single, ‘Give and Take’ and its video Wednesday. The song and its video are the second from LaBrie’s new solo album, Beautiful Shade of Grey, which is scheduled for release May 20 through InsideOut Music. LaBrie debuted the album’s lead single, ‘Devil In Drag‘ and its video

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Give and Take’ blends elements of LaBrie’s work with Dream Theater and the sounds of Queensryche, which bassist Paul Logue talked about in a prepared statement.

“Musically ‘Give & Take’ is a nice balance of Dream Theater, Eden’s Curse and a even little Queensryche thrown in for good measure,” Logue said. “The dark musical undertones allow James’ vocals to really shine whilst his lyrics take the listener on a journey through the classic tale of good versus evil.”

LaBrie said the lyrical theme featured in the new album delivers a socially conscious message.

“This track is a take on the coercive manipulation between the corporate elite and the proletariat class,” he said. “An atmospheric soundscape with beautiful feel and scope.”

The video for ‘Give and Take’ does well to illustrate the song’s message. An outstretched hand covered in hundred dollar bills, television monitors featuring the words: “Watch TV/No thought” and a screen with a person holding a megaphone make that clear. The new single plays over the visualization.

The track listing for Beautiful Shade of Grey is noted below.

The full track-listing is as follows:

1.Devil In Drag
2.SuperNova Girl
3.Give And Take
4.Sunset Ruin
5.Hit Me Like A Brick
6.Wildflower
7.Conscience Calling
8.What I Missed
9.Am I Right
10.Ramble On
11.Devil In Drag (Electric Version)

More information on James LaBrie’s new single, video, and album is available along with all of his latest news at:

Websitehttps://jameslabrie.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/officialjameslabrie

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/piratecjs

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.

James LaBrie Announces New Album Details; Debuts Album’s Lead Single, Video

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Dream Theater front man James LaBrie will release his latest album this summer.

The album, Beautiful Shade of Grey, is scheduled for release May 20 through InsideOut Music. The album will be LaBrie’s fourth solo record. In anticipation of its release, LaBrie debuted the album’s lead single, ‘Devil In Drag‘ and its video Friday.

The song’s musical arrangement blends LaBrie’s prog rock leanings with the slightest vintage Dream Theater influence, as its keyboard line makes clear. The overall composition exudes a deeply contemplative mood from the song.

That mood works somewhat with the song’s lyrical theme, which LaBrie talked about during a recent interview. He said the song is about “someone who started out as a decent human being, but along the way lost touch with their roots – overtime becoming self-serving, narcissistic and devoid of principles or values.” 

LaBrie added,  “’Devil In Drag’ is written from the perspective of someone who’s known them all their life and, seeing them now, asking ‘what happened?’”

The video for ‘Devil in Drag’ is a semi-animated presentation that also features some of the song’s lyrics as it progresses. At other points, images of a snake on a TV monitor, a person with horns, and flame surrounding LaBrie’s animated head.

The track listing for Beautiful Shade of Grey is noted below.

The full track-listing is as follows:

1.Devil In Drag
2.SuperNova Girl
3.Give And Take
4.Sunset Ruin
5.Hit Me Like A Brick
6.Wildflower
7.Conscience Calling
8.What I Missed
9.Am I Right
10.Ramble On
11.Devil In Drag (Electric Version)

More information on James LaBrie’s new single, video, and album is available along with all of his latest news at:

Website: https://jameslabrie.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/officialjameslabrie

Twitter: https://twitter.com/piratecjs

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.

‘A View From The Top Of The World’ Finds Dream Theater At The Top Of Its Game

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Dream Theater is among the most well-known and respected acts in the progressive music community.  The band has spent almost four decades building that reputation, releasing 14 albums, one EP, nine live recordings and thousands upon thousands of miles of touring around the world.  Now Friday, the band will continue to cement its reputation once again when it releases its 15th album, A View from the Top of the World.  Scheduled for release through InsideOut Music, the seven-song record will be the band’s second for the label.  The 72-minute (one hour, 12 minute) presentation is aptly titled.  That is because it presents Dream Theater at the top of maybe not the world, but of its game.  That is proven in part through the album’s musical arrangements, which will be examined shortly.  The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical arrangements add in to the album’s appeal and will be discussed a little later.  The record’s production rounds out its most important elements and will also be examined later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the record.  All things considered, they make A View from the Top of the World one of Dream Theater’s best works to date and one more of this year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

Dream Theater’s forthcoming 15th album, A View from the Top of the World is a successful new offering from the band that will appeal to a wide range of audiences.  It is a work that continues to once again, cement the band’s place in the progressive and metal communities.  Its success comes in part through its featured musical arrangements.  The musical arrangements in question bring the band’s past, present, and future together in one presentation.  The musical link to the band’s past is presented right from the album’s outset in the form of the album’s opener and lead single, ‘The Alien.’  Keyboardist Jordan Rudess’ performance here works alongside guitarist John Petrucci’s riffs to immediately take audiences back to 1997’s Falling Into Infinity.  That is evidenced through the heaviness from Petrucci’s work alongside the more emotional runs that he presents.  At the same time, audiences can even hear hints of his work as a member of Liquid Tension Experiment here.  Even front man James LaBrie’s own vocal delivery sound and style here conjures those thoughts of the band’s classic record.  As the album progresses, audiences get something more akin to the band’s more recent works in the form of ‘Sleeping Giant.’  The fullness and richness from the group and the general sound and stylistic approach is so much more akin to works from the band’s most recent album, Distance Over Time.  That is evidenced through Petrucci’s often experimental approach here.  At the same time, the verses do continue to exhibit the slightest similarity to the band’s existing catalog, but it is balanced so well with the more modern influences.  The mix gives the song its own unique identity that audiences are sure to enjoy.  The album’s title track, which closes out the presentation, is a clear hint at the band’s future.  The symphonic metal arrangement alongside drummer Mike Mangini’s march style approach on the snare makes the arrangement a style of song that the band has rarely touched on.  Rudess’ keyboard line is reminiscent of the band’s more recent works, but the overall approach is something relatively new for the band.  It is engaging and entertaining in its own right, too.  Interestingly enough, as the song progresses, the band also continues to show elements of its past, too.  The mix of past and present here makes for such an immersive experience.  It will keep listeners fully engaged and entertained.  When this arrangement, the others examined here and the rest of the album’s works are considered together, the whole makes the album’s musical side such a powerful presentation in its own right.  The album’s overall musical content is just part of what makes it successful.  Its lyrical themes play their own important part to its presentation.

The lyrical themes that are featured alongside the album’s musical arrangements are important because of their own diversity.  According to information provided about the album, the topics that the band touches on throughout the album are not only diverse but fully accessible.  The album’s opener, for instance, is actually a rumination on mankind’s exploration of the cosmos.  LaBrie commented on that topic in a prepared statement, noting, “My son suggested I watch Joe Rogan’s interview with Elon Musk.  I was so inspired by what they were talking about as far as discovering other planets so we can terraform and create another home for ourselves.  In essence, we are the travelers who are creating a new world. We become the alien.”  This is hardly the first time that Dream Theater has taken the lyrical road less traveled.  Yes, there are songs out there about interstellar travel, etc. from stoner rock bands and others, but what LaBrie is talking about here is something far more intellectual and thought provoking.  It is just one example of how the album’s lyrical content proves so important to the record’s presentation.  ‘Sleeping Giant is another example of that importance.

Where ‘The Alien’ takes on a topic rarely if ever discussed in the rumination on our exploration and colonization of the cosmos, ‘Sleeping Giant’ is something more accessible.  In this case, the song takes on the matter of mental health.  More specifically, it addresses the challenge that we as people face in terms of balancing ourselves with that “darker side” that we all have inside.  People can deny all they want that they have that side, but as Petrucci is cited as saying in another, spearate statement, “We all have one.  Some people take it too far and do evil.  Other people ignore it and get taken advantage of.  Embrace your sleeping giant.  You don’t want to wake him, but know he’s there.”  Petrucci is right.  Everyone has that sleeping giant.  It is a matter of how we each handle the balance of presenting ourselves, including that side that many of us would rather hide and ignore.  This alone will resonate with listeners, especially in the way in which the subject is broached lyrically.  The musical arrangement that is paired with the song makes the composition that much more powerful, too.

The album’s title track is yet another example of the importance of the record’s lyrical themes.  In the case of this song, LaBrie stated that it was influenced by watching adrenaline junkies do what they do.

“I was thinking of people doing dangerous things like surfing 80-foot waves, slacklining across canyons, deep sea diving, scaling Everest and climbing up mountains free solo,” he said.  “I’m always like, ‘What drives you to do that?’  One wrong move and you’re dead.  Besides being addicted to the adrenaline, it makes them feel more alive – perhaps the most alive they’ve ever been.  I wrote this along the lines of when you’re on the brink of death, you’ve never felt more alive.”

Again, few if any bands or acts out there past or present can say they have ever crafted a song, lyrically, about such a topic.  If such songs exist, they are few and far between.  To that end, taking such a unique approach makes for plenty of interest.  The musical arrangement that accompanies this lyrical theme serves well to heighten the emotion of those daredevil types, too.  The whole becomes such a fully engaging and entertaining song.  When this is considered along with the lyrical content in the other songs examined here and the rest of the record’s lyrical content, the whole makes the album’s lyrical content undeniably important to the record’s presentation.  When the album’s lyrical content is coupled with its musical arrangements, the whole of that content makes the album even more successful. 

While the content featured in Dream Theater’s new album is unquestionably positive separately and collectively, it is just one part of what makes the album successful.  The record’s production puts the finishing touch to the presentation.  The production is important because of everything that takes place in each song.  The transitions between movements in the longer songs, the instrumentation in each work, the balance of the instrumentation with the vocals, etc.  A lot of work went into each composition.  That is obvious in listening closely to each work.  It also means that a lot of work had to go into making sure everything was balanced and that the balance in the songs’ energies keeps listeners engaged and entertained.  That time and effort that went into balancing each line and each song’s energy paid off.  No on musician overpowered his band mate.  That includes LaBrie.  So even with so much going on in each song, it all interweaves solidly and cleanly.  The result is that audiences will never feel overwhelmed by the songs at any moment.  What’s more, the songs’ energies ensure that audiences will remain engaged, too.  Again, that is attributed to the production.  Keeping in mind the impact of the record’s production, it proves just as pivotal to this album’s presentation as the record’s content.  When the content and production are considered collectively, they make the album in whole a complete success.

Dream Theater’s latest album, A View from the Top of the World is a record that the band’s established audiences will applaud just as much as prog and metal fans.  That is proven in part through the record’s featured arrangements.  The arrangements offer audiences elements of the band’s existing catalog while also presenting influences from the group’s more recent albums that also conjure thoughts of the band’s future.  Many times, the arrangements even fluidly balance the band’s past and present in one, while ensuring each arrangement has its own unique identity within the album’s body.  The album’s lyrical content adds its own appeal to the presentation.  That is because it offers audiences a mix of original topics and more accessible items.  This is nothing new for the band, either.  What’s more, the themes are delivered in unique ways that will leave audiences really thinking deeply in the best way possible.  The record’s production puts the finishing touch to its presentation.  It brings everything together, making sure that the album’s aesthetics are just as positive as its content.  Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of the album.  All things considered, they make A View from the Top of the World a record that sees Dream Theater at the top of its game.

A View from the Top of the World is scheduled for release Friday through InsideOut Music. More information on the album is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

Websitehttp://www.dreamtheater.net

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/dreamtheater

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/dreamtheaternet

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.

Thomas Thunder’s Debut Album Will Appeal To Most Prog Rock, Metal Fans

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

It goes without saying that Derek Sherinian, Tony Franklin, and Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal  are well respected by their peers in the music community.  The trio’s collective resume reads like a who’s who of rock.  From Sons of Apollo, to Dream Theater, to Alice Cooper, to Guns N’ Roses and more, the trio has worked with many of the industry’s top names.  So for the group to join up-and-coming prog wunderkind Thomas Thunder for his debut album, The Pharaoh’s Temple – released today – was an interesting step for the musicians.  It says a lot that these accomplished individuals would join forces with a 15 year-old (yes, 15 year-old) in his dream for music stardom.  It says that they saw something special in the young drummer.  Needless to say that in listening to Thunder’s work with the famed trio on his debut album, his work is impressive in its own right.  The record’s already released singles have already proven that true.  They are just a sample of what makes his work and that of his more seasoned counterparts so impressive throughout the album, too.  ‘Iridescence,’ which serves technically as part of the album’s midpoint (the record consists of nine songs), is another way in which the collective’s work makes the album worth hearing.  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘King Chronos,’ the record’s penultimate entry, is another key addition to the album and will be discussed a little later.  ‘The Voyage,’ which closes out the album, is one more way in which The Pharaoh’s Temple shows its success.  When it and the other songs noted here are considered along with the rest of the record’s entries, the whole becomes a strong start for Thomas Thunder and another equally impressive outing for Sherinian, Franklin, and Thal that will appeal to most prog fans.

Thomas Thunder’s debut album, The Pharaoh’s Temple is a positive start for the young, up-and-coming drummer.  It is additionally, another enjoyable offering from his more well-known counterparts, Derek Sherinian, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, and Tony Franklin.  The record’s current singles make the clear.  So do many of the album’s other songs, not the least of which is ‘Iridescence.  While the album’s current singles are pure prog, showing influence of Dream Theater and Sons of Apollo, ‘Iridescence’ stands out because it incorporates other influences.  The nearly four-minute opus opens with a drum fill by Thunder, brooding keyboard and equally steady bass and guitar from Franklin and Thal that takes audiences back to the 80s.  Speaking of Thunder, at only 15, his talents on the drums are clear.  His fills, his ability to keep time, and add just the right flare at all of the right moments is impressive.  It is enough to put even some older drummers (this drummer included) to shame.  The collective’s work points to a bit of the big hair ballads of that age before taking on more of a pure prog approach as the song progresses.  From there, the group takes another even more dramatic turn, opting instead for a blues-based rock approach a la Deep Purple.  It makes for such a stark contrast to the other influences.  Yet at the same time the contrast is well-balanced.  It makes the song all the more interesting.  By the song’s end, it will leave listeners fulfilled through that display of well-balanced influences.  It is just one of the songs that serves to show the album’s strength.  ‘King Chronos’ does its own part to show the impact of Thunder and company’s work.

‘King Chronos’ presents its own unique arrangement separate from those featured in the rest of the album.  Its opening bars present a solemn sound, anchored by Sherinian’s work on the keyboards.  On a completely random note that likely only some will get, those opening bars are reminiscent of the music bed used for a certain scene from the little-known PC game, “The Journeyman Project 3.”  Audiences who are familiar with that game will immediately catch that clearly unintentional similarity in sound.  It only lasts briefly, though.  It very quickly gives way to a full-on symphonic sound and stylistic approach that to a point, is one part prog and one part vintage Ozzy Osbourne.  The Ozzy comparison (more specifically the Randy Rhoades comparison) comes through Thal’s work on guitar.  The prog eventually wins out, with the more vintage guitar rock sound playing more of a companion role, but a solid role nonetheless.  Again, Thunder’s abilities are on full display here.  He shows with his timekeeping ability and his ability to effectively use his whole kit that he could become one of the next big names in the prog drumming community.  The production that went into this song adds its own touch, as it adds certain aesthetic effects that enhance the song even more.  The eventual chaos that closes out the song is worth its own interest, too.  It makes for its own unique contrast to the whole.  When everything within this song is considered together, the whole makes the song yet another powerful addition to the album and another example of what the record has to offer.  It is just one more example of what the record has to offer, too.  ‘The Voyage,’ the record’s finale, is one more example of the album’s strength.

‘The Voyage’ is important to examine because once again, it offers up a clear 80s-influenced arrangement.  It is an arrangement that is also unlike any of the album’s other works.  In this case, the duality in Sherinian’s performance, alongside that of Thunder, Thal, and Franklin hints ever so lightly at perhaps some Def Leppard leanings.  As with the record’s other works though, that influence also soon becomes more secondary as the group’s prog leanings come more into play as the song progresses.  Thal’s heavy guitars, alongside Sherinian’s work on keyboard and Franklin’s bass work creates such a rich, heavy composition.  Thunder meanwhile adds just the right flare to the whole to complete the rich picture painted by this composition.  The juxtaposition of that heavier prog sound and style to the more 80s hair rock sounds here makes the whole yet another unique addition to the album.  It shows yet again, the variety offered throughout the record.  It also does just as well to put each musician’s talents on display, including those of the young noisemaker himself, Thunder.  When this composition is considered along with the other songs examined here, the album’s current singles and the rest of its entries, the whole proves itself to be another impressive offering from the veterans, Sherinian, Thal, and Franklin.  It additionally proves itself a strong start for Mr. Thunder.

Thomas Thunder’s debut album, The Pharaoh’s Temple is a positive offering from the up-and-coming drummer.  That is due to the talent shown by himself on the drums, and that of his fellow musicians.  The singles that the record has already produced go a long way toward supporting the noted statements.  Much the same can be said of the songs examined here.  All of those songs do their own part to display the group’s talents.  They prove Thunder could easily become one of the next big names in the prog community as he ages.  They also continue to cement the reputation of his more seasoned counterparts from one to the next.  When they are considered with the album’s remaining songs, the whole makes The Pharaoh’s Temple a presentation that will appeal to most prog rock and metal fans. 

The Pharaoh’s Temple is available now. More information on Thomas Thunder’s new album is available along with all of his latest news at https://thomasthundermusic.com.

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.

Thomas Thunder Premieres New Album’s Second Single

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

Audiences are getting another preview of Thomas Thunder’s new album.

The up-and-coming prog metal artist premiered his new single, ‘The Pharaoh’s Temple‘ Thursday. The song — which is available to stream and download through all major digital outlets — features guest appearances by Derek Sherinian (Platypus, Sons of Apollo, ex-Dream Theater), Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (Sons of Apollo, ex-Guns ‘N Roses) and Tony Franklin (The Firm, Jimmy Page).

‘The Pharaoh’s Temple’ is the title track and second single from Thunder’s forthcoming album, which is scheduled for release in September. An exact release date is under consideration. The premiere of ‘The Pharaoh’s Temple’ comes less than a month after Thunder premiered the album’s lead single, ‘Crystal Illusion.’

The musical arrangement featured in ‘The Pharaoh’s Temple’ is similar stylistically to that of ‘Crystal Illusion,’ but still boasts its own identity. Sherinian’s work on keyboard once again leads the way, showing his influence from his solo career and his work with Dream Theater and Sons of Apollo. Thal’s expertise on the guitar line cuts thought just as much while Thunder’s own performance on the drums proves once again that the teen drummer could easily be the next Mike Portnoy. Franklin’s work on bass adds its own touch with its fullness.

More information on Thomas Thunder’s new single is available along with all of his latest news at https://thomasthundermusic.com.

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.

Heaven & Earth’s Latest LP Is Imperfect, But Still Enjoyable

Courtesy: Frontiers Music s.r.l.

More than two decades have passed since Heaven & Earth released its debut album, Windows to the World.  In the time since its release, the band has released four more albums, spending four years at the least and nine at the most between their releases.  The band will match the lesser of those spans Friday when it releases it fifth album, the aptly titled V.  Set for release through Frontiers Music s.r.l., this 12-song album is imperfect but enjoyable nonetheless.  To its positive is its overall musical content, which will be discussed shortly.  The record’s production on the other hand proves somewhat problematic, but not so much so that it dooms the record.  This will be discussed a little later.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements and will be discussed later, too.  Each item noted here is key in its own way to the whole of the record’s production.  All things considered, V is not a complete success, but nor is it a failure.

Heaven & Earth’s aptly titled fifth album, V is an interesting new offering from the band, which has spent more than two decades establishing itself.  The album proves itself worth hearing in large part through its musical arrangements.  The arrangements exhibit a wide range of sounds and influences.  From hard rock to prog to general rock and even some 80s influence, the band offers audiences a wide range of content.  ‘Never Dream of Dying’ for instance, takes the band in a distinct prog direction.  The whole thing opens with some ominous keyboards and drums, belying that note, but as front man Gianluca Petralia’s vocals join the mix along with the guitars, the whole really develops that noted stylistic approach and sound.  Speaking in precise terms, the whole lends itself to comparison to works from Dream Theater’s early 90s albums, Images and Words and Awake.  On a completely different note, ‘Little Black Dress’ with its upbeat, bluesy arrangement, is more of an early 90s blues rock composition.  The staccato notes from the guitar, the equally tight time keeping, and pronounced bass line do well to make that clear.  It is the polar opposite of the arrangement featured in ‘Never Dream of Dying.’  This is proven even more as the song progresses and a catchy little keyboard line is added to the mix.  On yet another note, ‘Running From The Shadows’ – an even later entry in the record – lends itself to comparison to works from Deep Purple right from its outset.  It is just a solid rock composition, centered around its keyboards and drums in this case, again, just like so many works from Deep Purple.  Even the sound here is so similar to works from Deep Purple.  At the same time it still boasts its own unique identity.  Between these songs and all of the record’s other works, the whole makes clear that the musical content featured in the record is of the utmost importance to its presentation.

While the musical content plays an unquestionably important role in the album’s presentation, the album is not perfect.  There are some occasional issues with the record in terms of its production.  The issues stem from the balance of the vocals and the instrumentations.  Case in point is ‘At The End of the Day.’  The song’s arrangement features a lot of activity throughout its six-minute-plus run time.  The thing is that there is so much going on even in the softer, more contemplative verses, that the vocals sound washed out to a point.  To be more precise, there is a certain airy sense about the vocals throughout, requiring an even closer listen.  The more active moments require even more of an increase in that attention.  Much the same can be said of its predecessor, ‘Nothing To Me,’ the album’s penultimate track.  That slight issue with the imbalance is just as pronounced here.  Maybe it is just the speakers on this critic’s playback system, maybe not.  If not, then this is still something of a concern, especially being that is evidenced in the album’s opener, ‘Drive,’ and to a lesser extent, ‘One In A Million Man.’  So it is not like this is a confined concern.  It seems to happen at various points in the album, enough so that it is noticeable.  Again, maybe the issue stems from the speakers on this critic’s playback device.  However, that it only seems to happen at those given points says otherwise.  Even with this in mind, it still is not enough to make the album a failure.  The record’s sequencing works with the diversity in its musical arrangements to make the record even more appealing.

This record’s sequencing is important to its presentation because it keeps the album’s energy flowing throughout for the most part.  Even in slightly more relaxed moments, such as in the bluesy ‘Poverty’ and the funky Chickenfoot-esque ‘Flim Flam Man’ the album’s energy still remains stable as the songs are still moving even despite being slower.  The only point at which the record really pulls back is in ‘At The End of the Day.’  The reserved feel and tone of this song is in direct contrast to everything else featured in the record.  It honestly might have been better placed somewhere else in the album, considering this.  More specifically, it might have been better suited somewhere closer to the record’s midpoint, in order to break up the album, especially considering the general pacing.  It would have provided audiences more moment to catch their breath.  Either way, the sequencing is still relatively strong here even with this in mind.  Keeping that in mind along with the diversity in the songs’ arrangements, the album in whole still has much to offer audiences.  All things considered, these aspects and the mixed production makes V imperfect, but still enjoyable.

Heaven & Earth’s forthcoming album V is a valiant new offering from the band.  It does offer plenty for audiences to appreciate, such as the diversity in its musical arrangements.  That diversity includes arrangements that exhibit prog influence, as well as blues and pure guitar rock.  It is spread out throughout the album, ensuring that this aspect alone keeps audiences engaged and entertained.  While the diversity in the album’s arrangements offers plenty for audiences to appreciate, the songs’ production is slightly problematic.  There are points throughout the album when the vocals seem somewhat washed out by the instrumentation.  Thankfully this does not happen so much that it dooms the album, though it cannot be ignored.  The record’s sequencing works with the arrangements to add even more appeal.  That is because it keeps the album’s energy fluid throughout.  The only negative to the sequencing comes at its end, with the much more reserved closer.  It is the only truly misplaced addition to the record in regards to the sequencing, so it is also not enough to doom the album.  Keeping all of this in mind, the pros and cons present throughout the album make it imperfect but still enjoyable in its own right.  V is scheduled for release Friday through Frontiers Records s.r.l.

More information on V is available online now along with all of Heaven & Earth’s latest news and more at:

Websitehttps://www.heavenandearthband.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/officialheavenandearth

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/heavenearthband

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

Charlie Benante Announces New LP Release Date, Specs

Courtesy: Megaforce Records

Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante will release his new album this spring.

Silver Linings is scheduled for release May 14 through Megaforce Records. While the record sees Benante as the primary figure in its presentation, he stressed during a recent interview, that the album is not a solo record.

“This isn’t a solo album,” Charlie said, “This is a record of my favorite songs done with some of my friends during a very dark time.  We found a shining light and this is the result of that light.  I was really happy that my musician friends came on board and helped make this record what it is.  I appreciate all of them, and they all did such a fantastic job.  Despite all of the darkness we’ve experienced this past year, there are ‘silver linings,’ that’s why I chose that title for the album.”

He added, the album’s creation came about through the advice of someone close to himself.

“Back in February of last year, with COVID and all the other B.S. that was going on, I was glued to the 24-hour news cycle on the TV and my phone, and I started to get really depressed,” he said.  My girlfriend said I needed to turn off the news and suggested I do something creative, whether it was art or drumming or writing new songs, and she was right.”

According to information provided about the 14-song record, it will feature an all-star cast of guest musicians and performers, such as guitarist John 5 (Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson), Alex Skolnick (Testament), and Corey Taylor (Slipknot).

Also featured on the new record are Run DMC member Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, Rob Caggiano (Volbeat), and Ra Diaz (Suicidal Tendencies). The group recorded the song “Run-DMC Medley,’ which is one the songs featured in the album. The group premiered the song’s quarantine video in June 2020.

The whole of Silver Linings‘ track listing is noted below:

* “City of Blinding Lights”/U2 – Frank Bello, Mark Osegueda, Charlie Benante

* “Chloe Dancer / Crown of Horns”/Mother Love Bone – Mark Menghi, Mark Osegueda, Charlie Benante

* “Teardrop”/Massive Attack – Carla Harvey, Ra Diaz, Charlie Benante

* “Run DMC”/Run DMC – DMC, Rob Caggiano, Ra Diaz, Charlie Benante

* “Rhiannon”/Fleetwood Mac – Mark Menghi, Jennifer Cella, Randy McStine, Charlie Benante

* “Yer So Bad”/Tom Petty – Carla Harvey, Ra Diaz, Charlie Benante

* “Transylvania”/Iron Maiden – Snake Sabo, Frank Bello, Jon Donias, Charlie Benante

* “Presto Vivace”/U.K. – Ra Diaz, Alex Skolnick, Jordan Rudess, Charlie Benante

* “Bad Guy”/Billie Eilish – Ra Diaz, Charlie Benante

* “Jimmy James”/The Beastie Boys – Ra Diaz, Charlie Benante

* “All The Way”/KISS – PJ Farley, Joe McGinness, John 5, Charlie Benante

* “Mr Speed”/KISS – Joe McGinness, PJ Farley, Charlie Benante

* “Public Image”/Public Image – Hank Von Hell, Dave Brownsound, Jason “Cone” McCaslin, Charlie Benante

* “Funny Vibe”/Living Color – Ra Diaz, Corey Glover, Henry Flury, Charlie Benante

More information on Charlie Benante’s new album is available along with all of his latest news at:

Website: https://charliebenante.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CharlieBenanteOfficial

Twitter: https://twitter.com/skisum

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.