‘Of Kingdom And Crown’ Is One Of Machine Head’s Best Albums To Date

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Machine Head is back.  More than four years after the release of the band’s then latest album, Catharsis, the band released its 10th album, Of Kingdom and Crown Friday through Nuclear Blast Records.  The 13-song album is a solid return to form for front man and founder Robb Flynn, who is now the band’s only original member.  Over the course of the record’s 39-minute run time, its arrangements lift from all of the best of the band’s catalog, musically speaking, while also offering lyrical content that is engaging in its own right.  Flynn and his new band mates – Waclaw Kieltkya (guitar, vocals), Jared MacEachern (bass, vocals), and Matt Alston (drums) – released roughly half of the album’s body in the months leading up to the record’s release, with a total of six of its song debuting between November 2020 and June of this year.  One of the most powerful of those singles is ‘My Hands Are Empty.’  This song will be discussed shortly.   ‘Rotten,’ which comes late in the album, is another notable addition to the record and will be discussed a little later.  ‘Choke On The Ashes Of Your Hate,’ which comes early in the record’s run, is yet another notable addition to the album and will also be examined later.  All three songs noted are key in their own way to the whole of this album’s presentation.  When they are considered along with the album’s other entries, the whole makes this record one of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums and potentially one of the year’s top new albums.

Of Kingdom and Crown, the latest album from Machine Head, is easily among the best of this year’s new hard rock and metal albums.  There is no question about that.  That is made clear from the record’s beginning to its end in its musical and lyrical content alike.  One of the songs that does so well to make that clear is ‘My Hands Are Empty.’  While not recently considered the album’s lead single, it was, in hindsight, the first of the new songs that would end up on the album in its release way back in November 2020.  It should be noted here that while Matt Alston is currently handling drumming duties for the band, the drums in this song’s arrangement were handled by Navene Koperweis (Animals As Leaders, Whitechapel, Entheos).  The arrangement overall features a sound and stylistic approach that, as Flynn noted at the time of the single’s release, is comparable to works from the band’s 2003 album, Through The Ashes of Empires.  That is evidenced through Flynn’s distinct growling vocals and the richness created through the pairing of the guitar and bass alongside those pummeling drums.  The addition of the choral effect to the mix adds even more to that sense.

Lyrically speaking, Flynn explained that the song tackles the issue of opioid abuse.

“I have some family members who have beaten their opioid addiction, and have some still in the throes of addition,” Flynn said. “it is painful to watch, and I deal with it with great difficulty.  It is a song of sadness, but there is hope as well.  I have beaten my own drug addictions and we can fight through this together and share our pain with the world.”  The mention in the song’s chorus that “My hands are empty/Lies so pretty/Kill me gently” points directly to the emotional struggle.  It is an allusion to someone feeling left with nothing as a result of so many struggles.  In this case the struggles are with addiction, being at the bottom of that proverbial barrel.  The mention of powders and pills in the song’s second verse, along with watching someone slowly die is that direct reference to watching people Flynn knows struggling with addiction.  Seeing them “Disintegrate/You/Right before my eyes” and the emptiness haunting him makes that painful picture all the fuller.  That overall lyrical picture, along with the power and emotion in the song’s musical arrangement makes fully clear why this song stands out among the album’s singles.

‘My Hands Are Empty’ is just one of the songs that stands out in Machine Head’s new album.  ‘Rotten’ is another notable addition to the record.  Its musical arrangement immediately takes audiences back to the band’s debut 1994 album, Burn My Eyes.  The crunch of the guitars, and the pairing of the bass and drums really leads even more to that comparison.  Flynn himself is even quoted through Apple Music as saying the arrangement came about during the band’s recent tour in celebration of Burn My Eyes’ 25th anniversary while also making his own comparison to works from Exodus’ 1989 album, Fabulous Disaster.

Considering the fire in the song’s arrangement, it makes the song’s lyrical content all the more interesting.  That is because Flynn left interpretation of the song’s lyrical content to audiences.  The mention of sitting, holding the “gun in hand/Barrel to the temple” leads to the sense that this song is lyrically taking on the blend of anger and desperation that comes with such suicidal thoughts.  The anger comes as Flynn screams, “Everything is rotten to the core” in the song’s chorus.  His further mention of feeling such anxiety, “heart racing/My throat’s constricting” even more seems to hint at those mixed feelings.  If in fact, this is the picture that Flynn is trying to paint here, that of someone sitting there, feeling so much anger and sadness, anxiety and confusion all at once, then he has done quite well.  That is because mental health is such a prevalent matter, and that constantly deserves attention.  To that end, the overall picture painted through the song’s musical and lyrical content makes the whole here stand out just as much as ‘Empty Hands’ and the rest of the album’s offerings.

As much as ‘Rotten’ does to make Of Kingdom and Crown a powerful new offering from Machine Head, it is hardly the last of the record’s most notable works.  ‘Choke on the Ashes of Your Hate’ is yet another example of how much this record has to offer.  The musical arrangement featured in this song is, again, influenced by Exodus according to Flynn.  He compared the intensity of the song’s arrangement to that of works from Exodus’ debut 1985 album, Bonded by Blood.  Interestingly enough, that album’s title track (and much of the album) actually sounds more akin to early Metallica than Machine Head.  To that end one could argue that this song is just as much akin to early Metallica as early Exodus.  That is meant in the most complimentary fashion, too.

Lyrically, this song goes in a completely different direction from those of the other songs examined here.  Flynn said in an interview about the song, that it was influenced by the Japanese anime series, Attack on Titan.  He said the song is part of what is apparently a bigger semi-conceptual approach to this album that is based on that series and that the lead song focuses on two characters who both start out good but turn bad because of the bad things that happened personally to them.  It is an interesting concept of there really being that there is no real “good” or “bad” guy in stories or in life.  That concept, together with the song’s powerful musical arrangement, makes it stand on its own unique merits.  When it is considered along with the other songs examined here and with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes the album overall an unforgettable new offering from Machine Head that is among the best of the band’s albums to date.

Of Kingdom and Crown, the latest album from Machine Head, is an impressive return for the band, considering the stark departure that the band took on its predecessor, 2018’s Catharsis.  The album is a full-on return to form for Flynn and his current band mates.  That is evidenced through its musical and lyrical content alike.  The songs examined here each make that clear.  When they are considered along with the album’s other songs, the entirety of that body makes Of Kingdom and Crown one of Machine Head’s best albums to date and one of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

Of Kingdom and Crown is available now through Nuclear Blast Records. The band is scheduled to join Amon Amarth on the road this fall in Europe, with each band promoting its own new album.

The tour’s schedule is noted below.

SEPTEMBER
Thursday 8 – NOTTINGHAM, UK, Motorpoint Arena
Friday 9 – CARDIFF, UK, Motorpoint Arena
Saturday 10 – LONDON, UK, The SSE Arena, Wembley
Monday 12 – MANCHESTER, Uk AO Arena
Tuesday 13 – DUBLIN, Ireland, 3Arena
Friday 16 – ZURICH, Switzerland, Hallenstadion
Saturday 17 – VIENNA, Austria, Stadthalle
Sunday 18 – KRAKOW, Poland, Tauron Arena
Tuesday 20 – TALLINN, Estonia, Saku Arena
Wednesday 21 – HELSINKI, Finland, Ice Hall
Friday 23 – OSLO, Norway, Spektrum
Saturday 24 – STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Hovet
Monday 26 – COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Forum Black Box
Tuesday 27 – HAMBURG, Germany, Barclays Arena
Wednesday 28 – FRANKFURT, Germany, Festhalle
Friday 30 – OBERHAUSEN, Germany, König Pilsener Arena

OCTOBER
Saturday 01 – BERLIN, Germany Velodrome
Sunday 02 – AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands, Afas Live
Tuesday 04 – MILAN, Italy, Lorenzini District
Thursday 06 – BARCELONA, Spain, Sant Jordi
Friday 07 – MADRID, Spain, Vistalegre
Saturday 08 – LA CORUNA, Spain, Coliseum
Sunday 09 – LISBON, Portugal, Campo Pequeno
Wednesday 12 – PARIS, France, Zenith
Friday 14 – MUNICH, Germany, Olympiahalle
Saturday 15 – LEIPZIG, Germany, Arena
Sunday 16 – PRAGUE, Czech Republic, Tipsport Arena
Tuesday 18 – BUDAPEST, Hungary, Barba Negra
Thursday 20 – ESCH SUR ALZETTE, Luxembourg, Rockhal
Friday 21 – BRUSSELS, Belgium, Forest National
Saturday 22 – STUTTGART, Germant, Schleyerhalle

More information on Machine Head’s new album and tour is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.machinehead1.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/MachineHead

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/MfnH

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.

Schedule Announced For Second Leg Of “The Bay Strikes Back Tour”

Courtesy: Adrenaline PR

The first leg of “The Bay Strikes Back Tour” is well underway, and this fall, the tour will continue with even more dates.

The dates for the tour’s second leg were announced Friday. The second leg of the tour, which features Testament, Exodus, and Death Angel, is scheduled to launch Sept. 20 in Phoenix, AZ and to run through Oct. 15 in San Jose, CA. The schedule includes stops in cities, such as Hartford, CT; Fort Wayne, IN and Reno, NV.

The full schedule for the second leg of “The Bay Strikes Back Tour” is noted below.

Bay Strikes Back Tour Dates:

Friday, 9/9/2022 – Phoenix, AZ – Van Buren

Saturday, 9/10/2022 – Albuquerque, NM – Sunshine Theater

Monday, 9/12/2022 – Wichita, KS -Cotillion

Tuesday, 9/13/2022 – Kansas City, MO – Truman

Thursday, 9/15/2022 – St. Louis, MO – The Pageant

Friday, 9/16/2022 – Nashville, TN – Brooklyn Bowl

Sunday, 9/18/2022 – St. Petersburg, FL – Jannus Live

Monday, 9/19/2022 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Revolution

Wednesday, 9/21/2022 – Asheville, NC – Orange Peel

Thursday, 9/22/2022 – Silver Spring, MD – Fillmore

Friday, 9/23/2022 – Stroudsburg, PA – Sherman Theater

Monday, 9/26/2022 – Hartford, CT – Webster Theater

Tuesday, 9/27/2022 – Albany, NY – Empire Live

Wednesday, 9/28/2022 – Portland, ME – State Theatre

Friday, 9/30/2022 – Montreal, QC – Mtelus

Saturday, 10/1/2022 – London, ON – London Music Hall

Monday, 10/3/2022 – Ft. Wayne, IN – Piere’s

Tuesday, 10/4/2022 – Milwaukee, WI – The Rave

Thursday, 10/6/2022 – Winnipeg, MB – Burton Cummings Theatre

Saturday, 10/8/2022 – Calgary, AB – Palace Theatre

Monday, 10/10/2022 – Vancouver, BC – Commodore

Wednesday, 10/12/2022 – Ventura, CA – Majestic Ventura Theater

Thursday, 10/13/2022 – Los Angeles, CA – The Wiltern

Friday, 10/14/2022 – Reno, NV – Cargo

Saturday, 10/15/2022 – San Jose, CA – San Jose Civic

The first leg of the tour is underway. It is scheduled to stop off in Baltimore, MD tonight. The current schedule for the first leg of the tour is noted below.

5/1/2022 – Baltimore, MD – Soundstage  
5/2/2022 – Boston, MA – House of Blues  
5/3/2022 – Philadelphia, PA – Theater of Living Arts  
5/5/2022 – Huntington, NY – The Paramount  
5/6/2022 – Buffalo, NY – Town Ballroom  
5/7/2022 – Cincinnati, OH – Madison Theater  
5/9/2022 – Pittsburgh, PA – Stage AE  
5/10/2022 – Cleveland, OH – The Agora  
5/11/2022 – Columbus, OH – Newport Music Hall  
5/12/2022 – Detroit, MI – The Majestic Theatre  
5/14/2022 – Joliet, IL – The Forge  
5/15/2022 – Joliet, IL – The Forge  
5/17/2022 – Minneapolis, MN – Skyway Theatre  
5/19/2022 – Denver, CO – Summit  
5/20/2022 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Depot  
*More dates to be added  

More information on the new tour announcement is available along with all of Testament’s latest news and more at:

Websitehttp://www.testamentlegions.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/testamentlegions

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/testament

More information on the tour is available along with all of Exodus’ latest news at:

Websitehttps://exodusattack.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/exodusattack

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/exodusattack

More information on the tour is available along with all of Death Angel’s latest news at:

Website: https://deathangel.us

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/deathangel

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.

Pierced Announces New Album Title, Release Date; Premieres Lead Single’s Video

Courtesy:Adrenaline PR

Independent hard rock band Pierced will release its debut album, Cheers To Brutality this spring.

In anticipation of the record’s release, the band premiered the video for the album’s lead single, ‘You Can’t Play God With Me,’ Monday through BraveWords. The video is a straight forward presentation that features the band performing its new single on a simply lit sound stage.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘You Can’t Play God With Me’ is a composition that thrash metal fans will enjoy. More specifically, the arrangement will appeal to fans of bands, such as Testament, Exodus, and Overkill.

The lyrical theme featured in the band’s new song delivers a familiar sociopolitical message, said front man Rob Middleton.

“’You Can’t Play God with Me’ basically describes your modern day power trippers, the people who seek control over the majority of us, whether it’s corporations, so-called experts or our own government, telling us what they think is best for us,” he said. “They use the fear machine to force conformity which for a guy like me, immediately triggers resistance.”

Cheers To Brutality was produced by Mike Orlando (Adrenaline Mob, Her Chariot Awaits, Stereo Satellite).

More information on Pierced’s new single, video, and album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: https://piercedtheband.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Pierced_band

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.

Testament Comments On Split With Drummer Gene Hoglan; Tour Still Planned

Testament has parted ways with drummer Gene Hoglan.

The band released a statement on the lineup change in a prepared statement released Friday. The comment is noted below.

To all our Testament fans around the world,   First off, we are beyond grateful to have had Gene Hoglan behind our drum throne for ten years, several albums and countless tour dates. Unfortunately, our brother Gene’s additional tours and solo endeavors in 2022 conflict insurmountably with Testament’s rescheduled dates after two years of lost time due to the pandemic. Rather than Testament having to reschedule upcoming dates (yet again) or Gene having to cancel his own plans, we have decided to amicably part ways. We understand that this announcement will cause some disappointment but rest assured: There is no drama, only the best of vibes between us. As Gene embarks upon a new chapter, we thank him from the bottom of our hearts for bringing the most powerful drum beats to Testament and heavy metal. We have no doubt he will continue to bring it as only he can. Gene will always be family and we ask all of you to join us in wishing him only the best of luck going forward! 

Also rest assure that we will continue to deliver yet another top notch addition to Testament and will reveal soon! We will see you all on tour very soon! – Testament 

Courtesy: Adrenaline PR

As Testament works to find a replacement for Hoglan, the band is preparing for its re-scheduled “The Bay Strikes Back Tour.” The tour, originally scheduled to take place last year, was postponed due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is now scheduled to launch April 9 in San Luis Obispo, CA and to run through May 20 in Salt Lake City, UT.

The tour, which will also feature performances from Exodus and Death Angel, has its schedule noted below.

Bay Strikes Back 2022 dates:  
4/9/2022 – San Luis Obispo, CA – Fremont Theater  
4/10/2022 – Anaheim, CA – House of Blues  
4/12/2022 – San Diego, CA – House of Blues  
4/13/2022 – Las Vegas, NV – House of Blues  
4/15/2022 – Tucson, AZ – Rialto Theatre  
4/16/2022 – Albuquerque, NM – Sunshine Theater  
4/19/2022 – Oklahoma City, OK – Diamond Ballroom  
4/20/2022 – Houston, TX – White Oak Music Hall  
4/21/2022 – Austin, TX – Emo’s  
4/22/2022 – Dallas, TX -Amplified Live  
4/23/2022 – New Orleans, LA – House of Blues  
4/26/2022 – Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade  
4/27/2022 – Raleigh, NC – The Ritz  
4/30/2022 – Sayreville, NJ -Starland Ballroom  
5/1/2022 – Baltimore, MD – Soundstage  
5/2/2022 – Boston, MA – House of Blues  
5/3/2022 – Philadelphia, PA – Theater of Living Arts  
5/5/2022 – Huntington, NY – The Paramount  
5/6/2022 – Buffalo, NY – Town Ballroom  
5/7/2022 – Cincinnati, OH – Madison Theater  
5/9/2022 – Pittsburgh, PA – Stage AE  
5/10/2022 – Cleveland, OH – The Agora  
5/11/2022 – Columbus, OH – Newport Music Hall  
5/12/2022 – Detroit, MI – The Majestic Theatre  
5/14/2022 – Joliet, IL – The Forge  
5/15/2022 – Joliet, IL – The Forge  
5/17/2022 – Minneapolis, MN – Skyway Theatre  
5/19/2022 – Denver, CO – Summit  
5/20/2022 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Depot  
*More dates to be added  

More information on Testament’s lineup change and tour is available online along with all of Testament’s latest news and more at:

Websitehttp://www.testamentlegions.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/testamentlegions

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/testament

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.

Established Acts, Up-And-Comers Alike Offered Hard Rock, Metal Fans So Much To Enjoy In 2021

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

And then there were two.  Phil’s Picks is officially down to two year-ender lists on the music side as the countdown to the year’s end itself continues.  The first of this year’s last two music year-ender lists comes today in the form of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums. 

This year’s list is packed with content from so many established and new acts.  From up-and-coming hard rock act Antisaint to veteran thrash band Exodus to guitar virtuosos Gus G. and John 5 and more, this year has seen so many great hard rock and metal records.  Suffice it to say there has been so much great hard rock and metal this year that it has been extremely difficult to compile this list, but it was created. 

As with every list from Phil’s Picks, this collection features the year’s top 10 new releases and five additional honorable mention titles for a total of 15.  Those honorable mention titles are just as deserving of applause as the other featured works.  Without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks’ 2021 Top 10 New Hard Rock & Metal Albums list.

PHIL’S PICKS’ 2021 TOP 10 NEW HARD ROCK & METAL ALBUMS

1. Accept – Too Mean To Die

2. Atreyu – Baptize

3. Exodus – Persona Non Grata

4. Michael Schenker Group – Immortal

5. U.D.O. – Game Over

6. Artillery – X

7. Gus G. – Quantum Leap

8. John 5 – Sinner

  1. The Three Tremors – Guardians of the Void
  1. Antisaint – Vaticinate
  1. Bullet For My Valentine – Bullet For My Valentine
  1. A Killer’s Confession – Remember
  1. The CEO – Redemption
  1. Tremonti – Marching in Time
  1. Skarlett Riot – Invicta

That’s it for this year’s hard rock and metal albums.  While even the hard rock and metal community has wrapped things for this year, things are already gearing up for 2022, with new releases already coming from the likes of up-and-coming hard rock act Bloodywood, veteran acts Hammerfall and Annihilator, and even from Saxon and Stabbing Westward.  That’s all just in the first quarter of 2022, too. 

In other words, the first half of the new year is already gearing up to be very exciting for all the hard rock and metal fans out there.  Until then though, there’s still one more music year-ender list from Phil’s Picks this year before the attention turns over to the best of this year’s new TV and movie releases.  Stay tuned!

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.  

Exodus Releases Its New Album; Premieres Lyric Video For Album’s Latest Single

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

The wait is finally over for Exodus’ new album, Persona Non Grata.

The long-awaited album released Friday. Along with its release, the band also premiered the lyric video for the album’s new single, ‘Prescribing Horror’ Friday. The song is the album’s third, following the release of ‘Clickbait‘ and ‘The Beatings Will Continue (Until Morale Improves).‘

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Prescribing Horror’ is different from that of most of the music featured in Persona Non Grata. Instead of the high-energy works for which the band is known, this song’s arrangement is a heavy, plodding composition. It is comparable to some of the works from the band’s first two albums, Burn My Eyes (1994) and The More Things Change… (1997). The vocals that accompany that heavy, rich guitar line give the song even more of an interesting presentation, as does the bass work.

According to comments made by guitarist Gary Holt, the song’s lyrical theme is a warning about drug use.

As we have finally come to the day of Persona Non Grata’s release, something we’ve been eagerly awaiting for what seems like an eternity, we are pleased to share one last lyric video with you, my personal favorite song on the album, ‘Prescribing Horror,” said Holt. “A little tale of motherhood and a drug, and what happens when greed comes before life and safety. The story of Thalidomide.”

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

In other news, Exodus is scheduled to launch “The Bay Strikes Back Tour” next spring alongside Testament and Death Angel. The tour was originally scheduled to take place last and this month, but was postponed last month due to impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The band announced the postponement early last month.

 Holt offered the following statement on the postponement.

“We are saddened to announce that the Bay Strikes Back tour is being postponed, but the risk of canceled shows due to positive tests leading to tour personnel being quarantined and isolated is just too great at this time,” said Holt. “We want to feel safe, enjoy the tour and be able to hang out with our close friends. The silver lining in this is that Tom Hunting no longer needs chemo and will have more time to work his way back to doing a full tour. He will make his return behind the drums at Aftershock but a full tour requires more preparation, so that is the good part.”    

Guitarist Eric Peterson expanded on Holt’s statements.

“We were really on the fence with this decision, but seeing other bands make it through with a few mild cases and other bigger bands just canceling their entire tours, we felt it is in our best interest to postpone these shows to ’22,” he said.

Fellow guitarist Alex Skolnick echoed his band mates’ sentiments in his own comments.

“It gives none of us any pleasure to be the bearers of bad news yet again, but here we are,” said Skolnick. “Although “Bay Strikes Back” is a top tour package for theaters, the reality is this: It can’t afford to take the risks that top-grossing larger venue tours have been taking. The type of disruptions Kiss and other large outdoor venue tours have experienced could cause our shows to be permanently canceled – a lose/lose for everyone. The fact that a lower-budget tour such as ours is limited to indoor venues with tight backstage space only adds to the risk. It should go without saying that calling off these dates was a ‘last resort’ decision, and everyone involved would much rather this weren’t the case. However, this is the new reality we’re all in. All we can do is hope for everyone’s understanding, which we ask for sincerely.”

Death Angel front man Mark Osegueda also chimed in on the negative news.

“Usually when I’m asked to contribute a quote to an announcement it pertains to something I’m extremely excited about,” he said. “In this case, I’m gutted… It pains me to announce that The Bay Strikes Back U.S. Tour is being postponed. No one was looking forward to this more than me. But, on the brighter side of things, the tour is in fact going to happen – just at a later time. And I can assure you that the already ravenous to play live members of Death Angel promise to provide a crushing set during a crushing tour. The Bay WILL Strike Back!”

The new dates for the “Bay Strikes Back Tour” are noted below.

Bay Strikes Back 2022 dates:  
4/9/2022 – San Luis Obispo, CA – Fremont Theater  
4/10/2022 – Anaheim, CA – House of Blues  
4/12/2022 – San Diego, CA – House of Blues  
4/13/2022 – Las Vegas, NV – House of Blues  
4/15/2022 – Tucson, AZ – Rialto Theatre  
4/16/2022 – Albuquerque, NM – Sunshine Theater  
4/19/2022 – Oklahoma City, OK – Diamond Ballroom  
4/20/2022 – Houston, TX – White Oak Music Hall  
4/21/2022 – Austin, TX – Emo’s  
4/22/2022 – Dallas, TX -Amplified Live  
4/23/2022 – New Orleans, LA – House of Blues  
4/26/2022 – Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade  
4/27/2022 – Raleigh, NC – The Ritz  
4/30/2022 – Sayreville, NJ -Starland Ballroom  
5/1/2022 – Baltimore, MD – Soundstage  
5/2/2022 – Boston, MA – House of Blues  
5/3/2022 – Philadelphia, PA – Theater of Living Arts  
5/5/2022 – Huntington, NY – The Paramount  
5/6/2022 – Buffalo, NY – Town Ballroom  
5/7/2022 – Cincinnati, OH – Madison Theater  
5/9/2022 – Pittsburgh, PA – Stage AE  
5/10/2022 – Cleveland, OH – The Agora  
5/11/2022 – Columbus, OH – Newport Music Hall  
5/12/2022 – Detroit, MI – The Majestic Theatre  
5/14/2022 – Joliet, IL – The Forge  
5/15/2022 – Joliet, IL – The Forge  
5/17/2022 – Minneapolis, MN – Skyway Theatre  
5/19/2022 – Denver, CO – Summit  
5/20/2022 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Depot  
*More dates to be added  

More information on Exodus’ new album, live dates, comic book and action figure is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://exodusattack.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/exodusattack

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/exodusattack

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.

Saxon Announces New Album Details; Premieres Album’s Lead Single

Courtesy: Silver Lining Music

Saxon will open the new year with a new album.

The band is scheduled to release its 23rd album, Carpe Diem Feb. 4 through Silver Lining Music. The band made the announcement Tuesday in a news release. In anticipation of the album’s release, the band premiered the video for the album’s lead/title single Tuesday.

The video for ‘Carpe Diem’ presents front man Biff Byford along an unidentified coastal area performing his part of the song as a clearly stiff breeze blows. That footage is coupled with footage of what is meant to reflect the band performing live to enhance the experience.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Carpe Diem’ is pure Saxon. It is everything that audiences have come to expect from the band throughout its life. The hard rock riffs are there as are the strong vocals, solid time keeping and equally solid, stead bass line.

The song’s lyrical theme and the inspiration for the album, said Byford, came from the events of the past year and a half or so.

“It’s been a difficult two years because I had the heart attack back in September 2019, so things went a bit pear-shaped for the band,” said Byford. “And then Covid hit two or three months later, but luckily, we started writing and recording this album before Covid.  We did the drums in Germany and we did the guitars in various places. I was doing a lot of writing while I was in the hospital bed, and we spent quite a long time writing and arranging the ideas that we all had. I do think it’s a very intense album, and maybe some of that intensity comes from the frustration of not being able to do anything in the Covid period.”

Carpe Diem was produced by Andy Sneap (Fozzy, Skinlab, Exodus). Sneap mixed with album alongside Byford.

 More information on Carpe Diem is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

Websitehttp://www.saxon747.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/saxon

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/SaxonOfficial

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.

Pandemic Forces Another Tour’s Postponement

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and fears surrounding it have forced the postponement of yet another tour.

The North American leg of the “Bay Strikes Back Tour” will now take place (tentatively) in 2022. The announcement was made Friday through a news release. Originally scheduled to run from Oct. 6 – Nov. 27, the tour’s North American leg will now run from April 9, 2022 to May 20, 2022.

The news release states all tickets purchased for the original dates will be honored at the new dates. Additionally it states refunds are available at point of purchase.

Exodus front man Gary Holt offered the following statement on the postponement.

“We are saddened to announce that the Bay Strikes Back tour is being postponed, but the risk of canceled shows due to positive tests leading to tour personnel being quarantined and isolated is just too great at this time,” said Holt. “We want to feel safe, enjoy the tour and be able to hang out with our close friends. The silver lining in this is that Tom Hunting no longer needs chemo and will have more time to work his way back to doing a full tour. He will make his return behind the drums at Aftershock but a full tour requires more preparation, so that is the good part.”    

Guitarist Eric Peterson expanded on Holt’s statements.

“We were really on the fence with this decision, but seeing other bands make it through with a few mild cases and other bigger bands just canceling their entire tours, we felt it is in our best interest to postpone these shows to ’22,” he said.

Fellow guitarist Alex Skolnick echoed his band mates’ sentiments in his own comments.

“It gives none of us any pleasure to be the bearers of bad news yet again, but here we are,” said Skolnick. “Although “Bay Strikes Back” is a top tour package for theaters, the reality is this: It can’t afford to take the risks that top-grossing larger venue tours have been taking. The type of disruptions Kiss and other large outdoor venue tours have experienced could cause our shows to be permanently canceled – a lose/lose for everyone. The fact that a lower-budget tour such as ours is limited to indoor venues with tight backstage space only adds to the risk. It should go without saying that calling off these dates was a ‘last resort’ decision, and everyone involved would much rather this weren’t the case. However, this is the new reality we’re all in. All we can do is hope for everyone’s understanding, which we ask for sincerely.”

Death Angel front man Mark Osegueda also chimed in on the negative news.

“Usually when I’m asked to contribute a quote to an announcement it pertains to something I’m extremely excited about,” he said. “In this case, I’m gutted… It pains me to announce that The Bay Strikes Back U.S. Tour is being postponed. No one was looking forward to this more than me. But, on the brighter side of things, the tour is in fact going to happen – just at a later time. And I can assure you that the already ravenous to play live members of Death Angel promise to provide a crushing set during a crushing tour. The Bay WILL Strike Back!”

The new dates for the “Bay Strikes Back Tour” are noted below.

Bay Strikes Back 2022 dates:  
4/9/2022 – San Luis Obispo, CA – Fremont Theater  
4/10/2022 – Anaheim, CA – House of Blues  
4/12/2022 – San Diego, CA – House of Blues  
4/13/2022 – Las Vegas, NV – House of Blues  
4/15/2022 – Tucson, AZ – Rialto Theatre  
4/16/2022 – Albuquerque, NM – Sunshine Theater  
4/19/2022 – Oklahoma City, OK – Diamond Ballroom  
4/20/2022 – Houston, TX – White Oak Music Hall  
4/21/2022 – Austin, TX – Emo’s  
4/22/2022 – Dallas, TX -Amplified Live  
4/23/2022 – New Orleans, LA – House of Blues  
4/26/2022 – Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade  
4/27/2022 – Raleigh, NC – The Ritz  
4/30/2022 – Sayreville, NJ -Starland Ballroom  
5/1/2022 – Baltimore, MD – Soundstage  
5/2/2022 – Boston, MA – House of Blues  
5/3/2022 – Philadelphia, PA – Theater of Living Arts  
5/5/2022 – Huntington, NY – The Paramount  
5/6/2022 – Buffalo, NY – Town Ballroom  
5/7/2022 – Cincinnati, OH – Madison Theater  
5/9/2022 – Pittsburgh, PA – Stage AE  
5/10/2022 – Cleveland, OH – The Agora  
5/11/2022 – Columbus, OH – Newport Music Hall  
5/12/2022 – Detroit, MI – The Majestic Theatre  
5/14/2022 – Joliet, IL – The Forge  
5/15/2022 – Joliet, IL – The Forge  
5/17/2022 – Minneapolis, MN – Skyway Theatre  
5/19/2022 – Denver, CO – Summit  
5/20/2022 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Depot  
*More dates to be added  

In other news, Exodus is scheduled to release its new album, Persona Non Grata Nov. 19 through Nuclear Blast Records. The band premiered the album’s lead single, ‘The Beatings Will Continue (Until Morale Improves)‘ last month. It was followed by the debut of the  lyric video for its new single, ‘Clickbait’

More information on Exodus’ new album, live dates, comic book and action figure is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://exodusattack.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/exodusattack

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/exodusattack

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.

   

   

Aftershock Festival 2021 Performance Times Announced

Courtesy: Ashton-Magnuson Media

Organizers of the annual Aftershock Festival have announced the schedule for this year’s installment of the annual event.

Now in its ninth year, the festival is actually a rescheduled event from 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic caused the event to be re-scheduled last year. As with its 2019 edition, this year’s installment of the Aftershock Festival is officially sold out. It is scheduled to take place this weekend from Thursday to Sunday at Discovery Park in Sacramento, CA.

The festival grounds are located at 1600 Garden Highway. Sacramento, CA.

Attendees at this year’s festival will be required to follow strict COVID-19 guidelines. Those guidelines are noted here.

The 2021 edition of the Aftershock Festival is scheduled to open at 4:25 p.m. ET Thursday with a performance by Oxymorrons, on the Coors Light Stage. Fit For A King follows at 4:50 p.m. on the Jack Daniel’s Stage. Death Angel and Exodus will follow Oxymorrons at 5:25 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. respectively on the Coors Light Stage. Meanwhile back on the Jack Daniel’s Stage, Knocked Loose is scheduled to follow Fit For A King at 5:55 p.m.

From there, Anthrax, Testamentand Cypress Hill will keep the music going between the two stages. Cypress Hill’s performance on the Jack Daniel’s Stage at 8:50 p.m. will close out the evening’s activities.

Friday will see the festival expand to three stages, with music starting at 12:45 p.m. from Contracult Collective on the Coors Light Stage. Ayron Jones will take the stage first at 1:20 p.m. Friday on the Kolas Stage. Performances from acts, such as Crobot, Pop Evil, and Rancid and many others will keep things moving through the day. Metallica will headline Friday’s events beginning at 8:55 p.m.

Moving on to Saturday, American Teeth and The Black Moods will open the day’s schedule at 12:30 p.m. and 12:35 p.m. on the Coors Light Stage and Kolas Stage respectively. Also notable acts featured on the day are those, such as South of Eden, Another Day Dawns, and Atreyu, as well as Anti-Flag, Mudvayne, and Alien Weaponry. The original lineup of The Misfits rounds out the day at 9:10 p.m. on the Jack Daniel’s Stage.

Even as the weekend winds down Sunday, the music will not let up. Sunday’s schedule opens at 12:20 p.m. on the Jack Daniel’s Stage with a performance by Law. As the day continues, performances from the likes of From Ashes To New, Pennywise, Mastodon, and Rise Against are also scheduled. Metallica closes out the weekend’s festivities at 7:55 p.m. ET on the Kolas Stage.

Along with lots of music, this weekend’s festival will also feature just as much food, drink and entertainment. The full details on all of that are noted below.

Additional food & beverage, and other experiences onsite include:

·      Caduceus Wine Garden, highlighting Caduceus Cellars and Merkin Vineyards, owned by Arizona resident Maynard James Keenan, co-founder of international recording acts TOOL, A Perfect Circle, and PUSCIFER.

·      Coors Light Coldstream serving with frosty draft technology, complete with actual ice crystals

·      Deep Eddy Vodka -Deep Eddy’s Dive In Trailer is a place where people come together to enjoy good times that never seem to end. Where strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet. While at Aftershock stopby and see us at the Deep Eddy Dive In Tour and raise a glass to being back together!

·      Dr. Greenthumb’s – Founded by the Godfather of insane brains, B-Real of Cypress Hill 

·       Fxck Cancer / Dyin 2 Live Dreams Program

·       It’s Ronz World –  custom guitars, rock shop and art

·       Jack Daniel’s Mobile Distillery Tour Experience – Officially registered by the U.S. Government in 1866 and based in Lynchburg, Tenn., the Jack Daniel Distillery is the first registered distillery in the United States and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Cheers your friends make your own history at Aftershock when you rock out at the Jack Daniel’s Main Stage with Metallica!

·      KOLAS – Stop by the Loud Lounge to level up Aftershock vibes with t-shirt ripping, body art and more.  KOLAS will also provide dynamic delivery outside the festival grounds.  Stop by the KOLAS footprint all weekend long to learn more!

·      Mortus Viventi  – Live Tarot Card Readings

·       The Blackened Bar – Aftershock is proud to continue the collaboration with Metallica’s Blackened Whiskey. The pop-up will feature Blackened, a super-premium American whiskey blend, crafted by the late Master Distiller Dave Pickerell and finished in the earth-shattering music of Metallica. This exciting collaboration marks the latest in a long line of amplified guest experiences only available through Danny Wimmer Presents music festivals.

·       The Loud Lounge – Get heady and hang in the Loud Lounge with Kolas, Clown Cannabis, California’s Finest CBD, Heavy Grass, Dr. Greenthumb’s, Helpful Hemp and more. 

·       Take Me Home – not for profit, volunteer based foundation that has been saving the lives of homeless animals since 2001.

·       weedmaps – Located inside the Loud Lounge. Fans can learn about cannabis delivery by downloading the weedmaps app all weekend long. Stop by the booth for fun giveaways and prizes and if you forgot your clear bag, weedmaps has your back. 

Aftershock Festival is presented and produced by Danny Wimmer Presents. More information on the festival is available along with all of the festival’s latest news at:

Website: https://www.AftershockFestival.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AftershockSac

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.

Exodus Addresses Media Sensationalist Tactics In Its New Single, Lyric Video

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Exodus debuted the video for its latest single this week.

The band premiered the lyric video for its new single, ‘Clickbait’ Friday.

The song and its video are the second from the band’s forthcoming album, Persona Non Grata, which is scheduled for release Nov. 19 through Nuclear Blast Records. The band premiered the album’s lead single, ‘The Beatings Will Continue (Until Morale Improves)‘ last month.

The video for ‘Clickbait’ uses newspapers to incorporate its lyrics. The lyrics in question openly go after the media’s practice of using certain style writing to get people’s attention and how that practice shows the media’s lack of any soul.

The musical arrangement featured alongside that fiery commentary adds to the song’s impact. The shrieking guitars and pounding drums pair with the equally heavy bass and powerhouse vocals to make the song even more impactful.

Persona Non Grata will release on a variety of platforms, all of which are noted below. Pre-saves and pre-orders are open now along with the album’s track listing.

PERSONA NON GRATA will be available in the following formats:

  • CD Jewel + Blu-ray Bonus Disc (Jam Camp!)
  • T-Shirt + CD Jewel + Blu-ray Bonus Disc (Jam Camp!)
  • T-Shirt
  • Cassette – Tinted Red
  • CD Jewel + Blu-ray Bonus Disc (Jam Camp!) Long Box (Decibel Magazine Exclusive)
  • Double LP
    • Black 
    • Red & Mustard Swirl W/ Black Splatter
    • Electric Blue W/ Black & Bone
    • Gold & Bone Swirl W. Black and Mint Green Splatter
    • Green in Mustard W/ Red Splatter
    • Mint Green & Brown W/ Cyan Splatter (EMP Exclusive)
    • Purple & Yellow Swirl W/ Mint Green & Bone Splatter (UK Indie Exclusive)
    • Bone & Beer Swirl W/ Red & Brown Splatter (Revolver Magazine Exclusive)
    • Red & Mustard Swirl W/ Black Splatter (Rebellion Republic Exclusive)
    • Blue Swirl W/ Bone * Black Splatter (U.S. Indie Exclusive)
  • Mail Order Boxset – Limited to 2,000 pieces worldwide
    • Orange, Red Swirl W/ Black Splatter
    • 20 page booklet
    • Slipmat
    • CD + Blu-ray Bonus Disc
    • Patch
    • Flag

Below is the PERSONA NON GRATA tracklist:

  1. Persona Non Grata
  2. R.E.M.F
  3. Slipping Into Madness
  4. Elitist
  5. Prescribing Horror
  6. The Beatings Will Continue (Until Morale Improves)
  7. The Years Of Death And Dying
  8. Clickbait
  9. Cosa Del Pantano
  10. Lunatic-Liar-Lord
  11. The Fires Of Division
  12. Antiseed

In related news, Exodus is scheduled to join Testament and Death Angel on the road this fall for “The Bay Strikes Back Tour.” The 30-date tour is scheduled to launch Oct. 6 in San Luis Obispo, CA and to run through Nov. 27 in Oakland, CA. The tour also features scheduled performances in cities nationwide, such as Oklahoma City, OK; Baltimore, MD and New Orleans, LA.

The tour’s schedule is noted below.

Confirmed dates for “The Bay Strikes Back Tour” with TESTAMENTEXODUS, and DEATH ANGEL are:
10/06/2021  Fremont Theater – San Luis Obispo, CA
10/07/2021  Aftershock Festival – Sacramento, CA 
10/08/2021  House Of Blues – San Diego, CA
10/10/2021  House Of Blues – Anaheim, CA 
10/11/2021  Rialto Theatre – Tucson, AZ 
10/12/2021  Sunshine Theater – Albuquerque, NM 
10/14/2021  Diamond Ballroom – Oklahoma City, OK 
10/15/2021  Gas Monkey Bar & Grill  – Dallas, TX 
10/16/2021  Emo’s – Austin, TX 
10/17/2021  White Oak Music Hall – Houston, TX 
10/19/2021  House Of Blues – New Orleans, LA
10/20/2021  Masquerade – Atlanta, GA 
10/21/2021  The Ritz – Raleigh, NC 
10/22/2021  TLA – Philadelphia, PA 
10/23/2021  Starland Ballroom – Sayreville, NJ 
10/24/2021  Baltimore Soundstage – Baltimore, MD 
10/26/2021  The Paramount – Huntington, NY 
10/27/2021  House Of Blues – Boston, MA 
10/28/2021  Town Ballroom – Buffalo, NY
10/29/2021  Madison Theater – Cincinnati, OH 
10/30/2021  The Agora – Cleveland, OH
11/01/2021  Stage AE – Pittsburgh, PA 
11/02/2021  Newport Music Hall – Columbus, OH
11/04/2021  The Majestic – Detroit, MI 
11/05/2021  The Forge – Joliet, IL *SOLD OUT*
11/06/2021  The Forge – Joliet, IL *SOLD OUT*
11/07/2021  Skyway Theatre – Minneapolis, MN
11/09/2021  Summit Music Hall – Denver, CO 
11/10/2021  The Depot – Salt Lake City, UT 
11/27/2021  The Fox – Oakland, CA 

In other news, Exodus recently partnered with comic book company Incendium to launch a new comic book series titled, Tales of the Damned. The four-issue limited series is scheduled to ship Oct. 31 and is limited to 1,500 copies at a price of $16.66 per copy. It is available to order here.

“The Organist” action figure is available to pre-order for $29.95 as part of the comic book series’ launch, and will ship in the first quarter of 2022.

More information on Exodus’ new album, live dates, comic book and action figure is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://exodusattack.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/exodusattack

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/exodusattack

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.