Warbringer’s Latest LP Brings Lots Of Musical, Lyrical Firepower For Audiences To Enjoy

Courtesy: Napalm Records

Thrash metal outfit Warbringer is an interesting act.  The band has only been in existence for sixteen years.  Yet in that span, the band has toured the globe with some of the metal community’s biggest names (E.g. Overkill, Soilwork, Exodus), and released six albums, all while going through label and numerous lineup changes.  Most bands can only dream to have done as much as Warbringer in that span of time, what with the average number of albums and associated tours run over that time being three.  Even having done so much in such a short time, the band has not lost its fire.  That is clear in the band’s latest album (it’s sixth), Weapons of Tomorrow.  The 10-song record is a presentation that is everything that audiences have come to expect from Warbringer, both musically and lyrically.  The guitar riffs, vocals, bass work and time keeping come together to make this record just as worthy of applause as any of Warbringer’s past records.  That is evidenced in part early in the record’s 50-minute run in the form of ‘Defiance of Fate.’  This song will be addressed shortly.  ‘Heart of Darkness,’ which comes just past the record’s midpoint, serves as another example of the album’s strength.  It will be discussed a little later.  ‘Glorious End,’ the album’s finale, is one more way in which this album shows its impact.  It is hardly the last of the album’s most notable entries.  ‘Outer Reaches,’ which focuses on the journey into space, ‘Notre Dame (King of Fools),’ which seems to tell the story of Quasi Modo, and ‘Firepower Kills,’ which really comes across as an indictment of the buildup of the military complex, are also important additions to the album.  When they are considered with the songs noted here and the rest of the album’s entries, the whole of the album proves itself to be a powerful new offering from Warbringer that the band’s fans will appreciate just as much as metal fans in general.

Twelve years ago, thrash metal outfit Warbringer first came onto the metal scene with its debut album War Without End.  In the decade-plus since that album’s release, the band has continued to impress audiences with each following album.  The band’s latest album, Weapons of Tomorrow – the band’s sixth album and eighth overall recording, counting its two EPs – is no exception to that rule.  That is proven through the album’s lyrical and musical content, as is evidenced early on in the album’s fourth track, ‘Defiance of Faith.’  The song’s musical arrangement lends itself to comparisons to Metallica’s timeless thrash anthen ‘Sanitarium’ what with its brooding, reserved approach in the work of guitarists Adam Carroll and Chase Becker.  Drummer Carlos Cruz’s work behind the kit adds even more to that comparison with his controlled performance, as does bassist Chase Bryant.  Given, front man John Kevill’s vocal delivery is more akin to something from perhaps Exodus or Overkill, but it still works in its own right, adding its own touch to the whole to make the arrangement its own strong performance.  The subdued nature of the song’s arrangement is important to note because it serves to help illustrate and translate the story presented in the song’s lyrical content, which is about a man trying to decide which path to take in his life, so to speak.

The story of that subject’s decision is told over the course of its seven-minute-plus run time, with the subject first asking himself about his path.  He says to himself in this verse,  “So far away/the night descends o one more day/I call your name/But no reply/Nothing/How to go on/Why wear a smile upon my face/I try to rise in vain/But I can’t defy/I can’t defy my fate.”  He continues his discussion with himself in the song’s second verse, with just as much emotion, “Can’t find a meaning/In a cold, uncaring world/I long for days/Days that once and never were/My hopes begin to fade/For I can’t defy/I can’t defy my fate.”  Eventually the song’s figure reaches an epiphany, realizing his fate is in his own hands.  This comes in the song’s third verse, as the subject states, “But will I lay down as my life passes by?/Or will I raise up my fist to the sky/I will not go silently into the dark/My flame will burn brighter than all of the stars/I will stand tall/I will not go silently/I will be known/My flame will burn bright/So bright/You will know my name/You will hear my voice/My life will have meaning/I have made my choice/Now I stand defiant/I stand in defiance of fate/For all of time/My will and my spirit remain.”  What’s really interesting here is that as the song’s subject gains his emotional and mental footing, so does the energy increase in the song’s arrangement, helping to illustrate the determination and confidence that is rising in the song’s subject.  Keeping all of this in mind, it is clear that a lot of thought was put into the song on both  sides.  Even more important to note here is that while this is just a story, it is a story to which listeners can relate, as it reminds listeners to not give up when they are in those situations in which they are feeling so much doubt.  To that end, the song proves even more important to the whole of Weapons of Tomorrow.  Whether making that connection was manifest from the band is anyone’s guess, but regardless, it is a connection that listeners can relate.  Keeping that in mind, this song is clearly an important addition to the album, and just one of the record’s most notable works.  ‘Heart of Darkness’ is another of the songs featured in Weapons of Tomorrow that makes the record worth hearing.

‘Heart of Darkness’ is notable because it stands out from the rest of the album’s songs just as much musically as it does lyrically.  Where ‘Defiance of Fate’ boasted a very Metallica-esque influence in its arrangement, this song’s arrangement is more of a 21st-century work.  It continues the band’s trend of experimenting with more black metal elements alongside its trademark thrash metal sound.  The two elements are well-balanced here, making the whole a work that is unique within the confines of the album and when compared to works from Warbringer’s thrash counterparts.  That combination makes this arrangement another work that audiences will appreciate just as much as the album’s other entries.  It is just one part of what makes the song stand out.  The foreboding sound presented through the song’s arrangement does well to help evoke the feeling in the song’s lyrical content.

The lyrical content featured in ‘Heart of Darkness’ seems to reference author Joseph Conrad’s timeless novella written by the same name.  The novella took on the themes of imperialism and racism.  At the same time, while the title of that publication is referenced here, the actual lyrical content seems to address more, the history of mankind on one another.  It can just as easily be likened to the influence of the Spanish on certain other societies, Europeans on native cultures in America (and Africa) and even the British on peoples of other nations.  In other words, it is a theme that connects to reality in so many avenues.  To that end, the two topics ironically intertwine with one another seamlessly.  The song states of that history in its lead verse, “Far into the unknown/They find this land/Yet unspoiled by time/Its people quite defenseless/Its riches ripe for the taking/They brought the torch/They brought the sword/To seek their fame/To seek reward/They venture into the jungles and mists/And blinded, they see/Only an infinite darkness.”  The story continues in its second verse with what seems to reference the atrocities of slavery in America, stating, “The crack of whips/The clack of chains/To bring the light/But why such pain/To rule by force and domination/And then to speak of civilization/The ivory face/The eyes so cold/The lust for power/The glimmer of gold/There lies a sickness deep in the soul/One glance in the mirror/Reveals an infinite darkness.”  In hindsight, the mention of “the lust for power/The glimmer of gold” might in fact make this a reference to the mistreatment of Native Americans by white Americans of European descent.  Either way, the picture of that mistreatment by one group to another is clear and powerful.  The song’s powerful story continues in its third verse, as Kevill “sings,” “Stained human soul/Which no one can disguise/What evil lurks in the recesses of the mind/Would you chain another/If you gained from their demise/To peer into this darkness means to face the horror/The horror within us all/Far/So far into the unknown/The hateful seeds that have been sown/The quest for wealth/That grim desire/The severed hands/The homes afire/Through the years, an unending stain/The crack of whips/The clack of chains/And even today, the echo remains/Witness the still-beating heart/Heart of darkness.”  Again, what is being addressed here is imperialism and racism throughout history from one group’s oppression of another to another group’s oppression of others.  It is a very unique way in which this familiar topic has been approached here.  Together with the song’s musical arrangement, the topic is even more impacting.  In turn, the song becomes another clear example of what makes Weapons of Tomorrow worth hearing.  It is just one more of the album’s most notable entries.  The record’s finale, ‘Glorious End’ is one more example of the album’s strength.

‘Glorious End’ stands out because while its musical arrangement does present more of the band’s familiar thrash sound – coupled with more black/death metal influence – the song’s lyrical content presents its own unique tale.  The tale here is that of a young man growing up and going off to war in World War I.  It is a story that will appeal widely to fans not only of Warbringer, but also to fans of Sabaton.  At the same time, it is also an indictment of war and what it causes.  The song’s subject states in the song’s lead verse, “I hear the call to arms/I shall answer at once/My brothers, now we march/Toward the sound of the guns/yes, men will die/But I will not be afraid/I remember the words that my father told me/My son, you must be brave/Your steel must be true/And upon that field of war, my son/You know what you must do.”  The story continues with the song’s subject paying tribute to his father, stating, “My father, my father/Your sons will stand tall/We will return to home/In victory or not at all/For I am no coward/I will laugh at death again/No onward my brothers/To our glorious end/Oh, the banner stands so tall/What glory awaits us all.”  The story continues even more over the course of the song’s nearly seven-minute run time, but does not have a happy ending.  The young soldier eventually dies as a result of a chemical attack. He and his fellow soldiers were gassed.  As the young man dies, he says, “My father, are you proud?/truly a glorious end/Into a silent tomb I fall/What glory awaits us all/Tell me father, have you lied?/this is no way for a soldier to die/Was there a meaning when I fell/Where is the glory/Where is the glory for me?”  Again, this becomes an indictment of war and its effects.  It is a not so veiled statement about those who blindly go off and serve out of their own inflated sense of patriotism and self aggrandizement.  It is a powerful statement that, when considered along with the album’s opening statement about the buildup of the industrial military complex, adds even more impact from the album.  Considered along with the rest of the songs noted here and the rest of the album’s offerings, the record in whole proves itself to be a record that will appeal widely to Warbringer’s fans, those of the thrash realm and of the metal world in general.  Simply put, it makes itself an easy candidate for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

Warbringer’s latest full-length studio recording Weapons of Tomorrow is an engaging and enjoyable new offering from the young thrash metal veterans.  That is proven through the record’s musical and lyrical content, as is evidenced through the songs examined here.  When those songs are considered along with the rest of the album’s offerings, the album in whole becomes another positive offering from Warbringer that boasts plenty of its own musical and lyrical firepower.  The album is available now through Napalm Records.  More information on Weapons of Tomorrow is available along with all of Warbringer’s latest news at:










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Corroded Will Leave Listeners Feeling Anything But Bitter On Its Latest LP

Courtesy: Despotz Records

Hard rock outfit Corroded released its latest full-length studio recording this week, and the album, Bitter, is another strong new offering from the veteran Swedish band.  Front man Jens Westlin explained the album’s title “comes from observing how the social climate is around the world right now…Everyone’s so dissatisfied and thinks that everyone else’s life is so much better than theirs, and if something goes wrong, it’s always someone else’s fault.  As a result of this, all power hungry leaders in this world thrive on the dissatisfaction of the people and gain power that way.”  He added that these views are what inspired the band’s new album both musically, and lyrically.  The band’s reaction to that situation is on full display early on in the form of the song ‘Cross,’ which will be discussed shortly.  ‘Scream,’ which comes later in the album’s run is another standout addition to Bitter, that shows quite well, the band’s response to everything going on.  It will be discussed a little later.  ‘Drown,’ which comes even later in the album’s run is another notable addition to the album’s overall statement about the world’s current social and political climate.  It will also be discussed later.  Each of the three songs noted here are key in their own way to the whole of Bitter.  When considered along with the other nine songs featured in the album not directly noted here, the end result is a powerful new offering from Corroded that will light a new fire within listeners and leave them feeling anything but bitter.

Corroded’s fifth full-length studio recording Bitter is another strong new offering from the Swedish hard rock outfit.  The new, 12-song record, which is the band’s second for Sweden-based Despotz Records, shows from start to finish, that the quartet can easily hold its own against its more well-known hard rock and metal counterparts.  This is proven early on in the form of ‘Cross.’  The song’s up-tempo, guitar-driven musical arrangement helps to support that statement.  The arrangement conjures thoughts of Five Finger Death Punch, Soil, Dry Kill Logic and other similar acts.  The fiery energy exuded through the arrangement, coupled with Westlin’s growling vocals does a commendable job of illustrating the anger and frustration that Westlin attempts to present in the song’s lyrical content.

That seeming mix of strong emotions is inferred as he sings, “Our mistakes…they have never ever been this clear/All the pain/And the misery/Every word that was said out of fear/Every thorn/In the side/The suffering we had to endure/We never stopped/It isn’t easy/There will never ever be a cure/Every breath that we take/Is a waste of the air we possess/All the s*** that we give….I won’t be nailed upon your cross/I will not take the pain for you/It’s time to own your mistakes/It’s time for you to fall.”  Westlin’s fire hardly dies in the song’s second verse as he sings of having to carry someone else’s agony and misery, and refusing to do so any longer before returning to the chorus’ powerful message pointing the finger back at the proverbial stone casters and finger pointers.  Guitarist Thomas Andersson, bassist Bjarne Elvsgard and drummer Per Solang are to be commended in their own right for their work throughout the song, and especially in its bridge as they work together to help illustrate that feeling of emotional strain that one goes through when one is blamed for something that happened to someone else.  Instead of being the fiery work that is exhibited through the rest of the song, it presents a certain vibe of someone trying to get over those feelings of self-guilt and realizing people cause their own problems in many cases.  It is a brief moment in the bigger picture of the song, but powerful in its own right.  When it considered along with Westlin’s unapologetic lyrical content and the rest of the song’s unflinching arrangement, the whole proves to be an unquestionably forceful response to that bitterness of which Westlin spoke, which led to much of the album’s creation.  It is just one of the album’s most standout entries.  ‘Scream,’ which comes later in the album’s run, is another notable addition to the album.

In regards to its musical arrangement, ‘Scream’ is a work that is certain to appeal to thrash metal purists out there.  Again, the similarities to Dry Kill Logic are front and center here.  At the same time, one can also argue influences from the likes of Overkill, Exodus, Anthrax and other similar acts, thanks again to the collective work of Andersson, Elvsgard and Solang.

The energy exuded through this thrash-style work does its own commendable job of illustrating the urgency in the song’s lyrics; an urgency that seems to center on the issue of self-determination and not letting the currently bitter state of the world bring one down.  This is inferred as Westlin sings with his band mates in the song’s chorus, “Scream/Until your lungs give out/Don’t roll over and die/Shout/Until everything is said/Don’t give up…”  This positive message is coupled with an equally positive vibe in the song’s verses.  Westlin sings in the song’s lead verse, “Inhale/Let everything around go down/Find a moment of peace/React/The perfect storm is here right now/You are the center of its eye.”  Westlin’s message is relatively clear in this verse, especially considering the song’s chorus.  He is saying that we create the storm that surrounds us, and the way to survive that storm is to find our inner peace, to jet let everything out, not hold it in.  he even comes right out in the song’s second verse and states, “Exhale/Let matters fall right into place/Find a calm inside yourself.”  He goes on to say, “you are the center of the mass.”  Yet again, here we have a relatively clear statement of how we are the source and solution to all of our problems.  This is a positive message, from which plenty of listeners can and hopefully will take some enlightenment.  When it is coupled with that previously discussed musical arrangement, the whole is a song that is therapeutic in the best way possible, and yet another wonderful response to the negativity that is polluting the world right now.  It is far from the last example of the album’s clear ability to respond to the world’s current climate.  ‘Drown’ is yet another example of how well the band has responded to everything going on around the globe.

‘Drown’ is the penultimate addition to Bitter.  Musically, this song is another interesting composition.  The verses are once again up-tempo, guitar-drive, adrenaline-fueled sections.  The choruses however, are far more melodic.  What is interesting is that the song does not lose any of its energy in the choruses.  It just changes style, in turn, keeping the work moving forward.  The song’s bridge hints at some 80s influences through Andersson’s guitar work, which is not an entirely bad thing.  Of course, the song’s musical arrangement is just one part of what makes it stand out.  Its lyrical content leads it to stand out just as much as its musical content.

Westlin sings in the song’s lead verse, “Wish I could break the spell that binds us here/You know to each his own…Just go and do/As you please…It must be done my way/It must be done your way.  Some of his wording is difficult to decipher without a lyrics sheet to reference, but the seeming message becomes partially clear.  Later in the song’s nearly five-minute song, he goes on to sing, of looking back on a chain that has been broken and will not leave any marks.  This is just this critic’s own take, but it would seem that Westlin is speaking metaphorically here to address social control, with the chain being that control, broken.  That would explain Westlin’s earlier statement of “It must be done my way/It must be done your way.”  There is that problem of everyone wanting things in life their way, but we as a people do not have to let it be one person’s way or another, but rather our own way, regardless of what everyone else says.  We can respect others’ ways, but we do not have to live by those ways.  That goes back to the initial statement of “Wish I could break that spell that binds us here/You know to each his own.” It all seems to come together in a statement of not giving in to what everyone says one should do and be.  Again, this should not be taken as the only interpretation, but merely that of this critic.  Hopefully this critic is at least somewhere in the ballpark with that interpretation, as it would seem to be another response to the world’s negativity, as addressed by Westlin about the album’s overall theme.  When it is considered along with the seeming messages presented in ‘Scream,’ Cross’ and the rest of the album’s offerings, the whole of Bitter becomes a work in whole that will leave listeners anything but bitter.

Corroded’s latest full-length studio recording Bitter is a record that is certain to leave listeners feeling anything but bitter about the world after they listen from start to finish, to the 12-song record.  That is because of the messages presented in the songs, which come across as various responses to the world’s bitterness – responses that are in fact not overly bitter themselves.  That is evidenced early on in ‘Cross,’ which points the finger back at the finger pointers, and again later in the album’s run in ‘Scream,’ which seems to encourage people to get their negativity out (of course in a positive way), and even later seems to encourage people to embrace their personal identity, rather than give in to social control in ‘Drown.’  These are just some of the songs featured in this record that clearly address everything going on in the world.  The Type O Negative-esque ‘Black’ seems to address’ people’s self-imposed misery while the In Flames-styled ‘Breathing’ comes across as sending a message of not giving up even in the most dire situations.  The old-school metal style work that is ‘Testament’ is a defiant anthem that comes across as encouraging people to stand up for themselves against all odds.  Again, this is all this critic’s own interpretation.  Hopefully it is somewhere in the ballpark in each case, including that of the songs more directly discussed.  If indeed this critic’s interpretations are right, then again, this record proves that much more to be quite the successful offering from Corroded, and easily one of the year’s first great hard rock/metal records.  It is available now.  More information on Bitter is available online now along with all of Corroded’s latest news and more at:




Website: http://despotz.se

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/corrodedsweden




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‘The Grinding Wheel’ Shows Overkill Is Still “Grinding” It Out Successfully

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

The countdown to the year’s end is officially on, and that means for the music industry, the push is officially on to start assembling those annual year-end “Best Of” lists.  One of the lists that this critic in particular has seen overflowing with impressive titles is that of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.  New releases from the likes of Prong, The Haunted, Dragonforce and so many others have easily proven themselves deserving of a spot on that list by any critic.  No critic’s list of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums would be complete without the inclusion of Overkill’s latest album the Grinding Wheel.  Released this past February, this 11-song, 64-minute album is an offering that reminds audiences once again why even after more than 30 years, Overkill is still one of the elite acts in the hard rock and metal realms even.  That is even as the band continues to embrace the mantra of if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.  The old school thrash riffs that have made the band a constant fan favorite throughout its life combine with equally interesting lyrical content here to prove why this record is one more of the year’s top new hard rock and metal offerings.

Anytime that Overkill releases a new album, it will find its way onto critics’ lists of the year’s best new hard rock and metal albums.  The New Jersey-based thrash outfit’s 18th (yes, 18th) full-length studio recording The Grinding Wheel is no exception to that rule.  That is proven right from the album’s outset in ‘Mean, Green Killing Machine.’ The song’s arrangement boasts riffs in its verses that easily lend themselves to some of the greatest classic thrash works from fellow thrashers Exodus, Metallica, Megadeth and others of that ilk.  In the same breath, the combination of front man Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth’s vocal delivery with those riffs also conjures thoughts of so many classic Judas Priest songs.  The inclusion of the song’s more blues-based hard rock arrangement in its bridge adds even more interest to the song.  The sudden change between those two wholly separate styles is, needless to say, stark.  Yet at the same time, it still is not enough to ruin the song, musically speaking.  It only makes it that much more interesting.  Keeping that in mind, it is only one part of what makes this song proof of what makes The Grinding Wheel yet another standout record from Overkill.  The song’s lyrical content is just as important to discuss as its musical arrangement.

Ellsworth sings here, “Somewhere out where no one knows/Rusts a cool revolution fight/Way out there where no one goes/And it’s got to keep moving/Got to keep getting it right/So here’s to the piston charged/Combustible delight/The single-minded supercharged/That’s got to keep moving/Got to keep getting it/A call to arms/A call right through the dream/A call to action/Blow up the in-between/Feed, feed your engine/Feed, feed the wolverine/Feed, feed the tension/Mean green/Killing machine/C’mon, C’mon say what my name is/Mean green killing machine.”  Ellsworth goes on in the song’s further verses to deliver what seems like commentary perhaps about the world’s religious and business leaders, leading to the belief that perhaps while not a politically charged song, it is a lyrical worked aimed at reminding listeners to not just give in to the things being force-fed to them.  That is just this critic’s own take and should not be taken as the only interpretation.  Ellsworth could easily have been making a wholly different statement.  That ability of these lyrics to create so much discussion in itself is even more proof of the importance of the song’s lyrical content.  When that content is joined with the song’s rich musical arrangement, the end result is a song that clearly exhibits what makes The Grinding Wheel yet another solid offering from Overkill.  It is hardly the only of the album’s songs to support that statement.  The album’s title track is one more example of what makes The Grinding Wheel another standout album from one of metal’s true elite acts.

‘The Grinding Wheel’ proves just as much as ‘Mean Green Killing Machine’ what makes Overkill’s latest album so enjoyable in part to its musical arrangement.  As with the previously discussed song, this composition also boasts an arrangement that is pure thrash at its finest.  It lends itself just as easily to comparisons to works from Judas Priest as the album’s opener, too.  Considering this, it goes without saying that this song’s musical arrangement is just as solid as those presented in the rest of the album’s songs.  That being the case, the next sensible step here would be to examine the song’s lyrical content.  This song’s lyrical content is just as intriguing as that in the album’s opener and the record’s other songs.  Ellsworth sings here, “A bed of nails/Cold, dark, deep refrigeration/I hear it calling me/A broken rail as he drools over the congregation/I hear it calling me/Now I won’t tell you how to live your life/I never saw the point in thinking twice/I turn the wheel by day, by night/Raise your flag/Here’s to the liberation.”  The song goes on in similar fashion with equally cryptic statements throughout that are just as certain to leave listeners talking and thinking as the song’s lead verse.  Again, that ability to so easily engage listeners, even just through its lyrical content, is another way in which the song proves an important part of the record’s whole.  When it is joined with the song’s musical arrangement, the two elements in whole support that statement even more.  Even considering this, it still is not the last of the songs included in this record that shows what makes the album stand out.  ‘Shine On,’ which comes early in the album’s run is one more example of what makes the record stand out.

‘Shine On’ is another key example of what makes The Grinding Wheel stand out, as with the previously discussed songs, in part due to its arrangement.  The up-tempo, guitar-driven arrangement.  The arrangement presented here is a polished composition that lends itself directly to comparisons to some of Metallica’s greatest thrash style works.  Even as the song turns more doom-sounding bridge, that slower–yet no less heavy–section is a perfect fit that gives listeners just enough time to catch their collective breaths without losing them.  It is only one part of what makes this song another key addition to The Grinding Wheel.  The song’s lyrical content is just as important to discuss as its musical arrangement.

The lyrical content presented in ‘Shine On’ is important to discuss because of its seemingly anthemic nature.  That anthemic nature is inferred, at least to this critic as Ellsworth sings in the song’s chorus, “We got no patience, but we get through/We got no patience, but we got you/All of the paraders shout no fear/All of the hurricaners with their fists up in the air/Someone else gave the order to the band/Someone else ignored us/Left the cat out in the rain/One more fire before I die/One more fire, get me high/Climb on down to the fire/Climb on down to the flame/Leave your battles behind you/Shine on Doomsday/Shine on Doomsday.”  This all comes across as the band paying tribute, lyrically, to its fans, inspiring audiences to never give up on anything in life as they thank their fans for their dedication.  Again, this is only this critic’s own interpretation and should not be taken as the only interpretation.  Either way, this song’s lyrical content comes across as a loud, proud statement from the band.  When that seemingly loud, proud statement is joined with the song’s equally heavy, driving musical arrangement, the whole of the song shows why it is an important addition to the album’s whole.  When the song is joined with the other songs noted here (and those not noted), the album in whole shows clearly why it is another powerhouse offering from Overkill, and an easy candidate for any critic’s list of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

Overkills’ 18th full-length studio recording The Grinding Wheel is a presentation of a band that more than 30 years into its life is still successfully grinding it out.  Yes, that awful pun was fully intended.  That is due to the solid, heavy musical arrangements presented throughout the course of the album’s 64-minute run time.  The record’s arrangements are everything that the band’s legions of fans have come to expect from its records throughout the years.  What’s interesting about them here is how polished they sound in each case.  The album’s collective lyrical content will have listeners thinking and talking just as much as its musical arrangements. From seeming commentaries (of sorts) to fist-pumping anthems and points in-between, the songs’ lyrical content gives listeners plenty to be happy about, too.  Keeping thin in mind, The album in whole proves to be a work that any Overkill fan will appreciate and agree deserves a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on The Grinding Wheel is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:




Website: http://www.wreckingcrew.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/OverkillBand




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Fragile Mortals Set To Unleash Its Debut Single

Courtesy: Bumblefoot Records

Courtesy: Bumblefoot Records

Metal super group Fragile Mortals is making quite the “explosive” debut this holiday season.

The band, which consists of metal outfit Generation Kill and veteran rapper Darryl “DMC” McDaniels (Run DMC) and another metal super group of sorts called Generation Kill, is set to release its debut single ‘Fired Up’ Monday, July 4th.  The song comes from the band’s upcoming debut album The Dark Project, which is currently scheduled to be released later this year.  It will be released via Bumblefoot Records, the independent record label of Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (Art of Anarchy, ex-Guns N’ Roses).  Audiences can check out a trailer for the song online now here.  About ‘Fired Up,’ DMC explained, “‘Fired Up’ is a foot-stomping, fist-in-your-face anthem, sort of like a MACK truck crashing into a packed football stadium.”  He added about the song, “‘Fired Up’ is a sports-inspired attitude about giving all you got in this “game of life.” And like my verse says, you must do it without cheating!”

The release of ‘Fired Up’ will be followed up immediately the next day with the release of the album’s second single ‘Suicide.’  In discussing the song, DMC noted that the song is the polar opposite of ‘Fired Up.’ “‘Suicide’ is really personal to me because I was fighting depression so I know what individuals, young and old, go through,” he said.  “People will always tell you that you shouldn’t feel the way you feel.  Easier said the done!  I discovered the first step to healing is be truthful to yourself about how you’re feeling, then look at WHO and WHAT circumstances are causing these feelings, then deal with those to remove those from your life.  Me and  [Rob] Dukes (Generation Kill, ex-Exodus) wrote these lyrics no holds barred because that’s how we, and a lot of others, felt.”  ‘Suicide’ will also be featured in the audio version of DMC’s new book Ten Ways Not To Commit Suicide.  It is set to be published worldwide Tuesday, July 5th.

Generation Kill is: Rob Dukes (ex-Exodus) and bassist Rob Moschetti (ex-Pro-Pain, MOD).  Rob Thal also contributed guitar duties on a number of songs featured on Fragile Mortals’ debut album. More information on Fragile Mortals is available online now here.

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.

Slayer Confirms New Album Complete, Coming This Year; Announces Tour Dates

Photo Credit: Andrew Stuart

Photo Credit: Andrew Stuart

It has been four long years since the members of Slayer last released any new material. But that long wait is about to come to an end.

Four years after the release of its Grammy-nominated record World Painted Blood and two years removed from the passing of Jeff Hanneman, the current members of Slayer–Tom Araya (bass, vocals), Kerry King (guitar), and Paul Bostaph (drums)–have announced that the band will release its twelfth full-length studio release later this year via the band’s own label through Nuclear Blast Records. No title or official release date have yet been confirmed for the album. However, it is known that famed producer Terry Date (Miss May I, Smashing Pumpkins, Pantera) manned the boards for the record. And guitarist Gary Holt (Exodus) will handle guitar duties alongside King. The record marks the first time that Date has ever worked with the band. It is also the first time since the release of the band’s 2001 album God Hates Us All that Bostaph has recorded with his band mates. Audiences will be just as interested to note that there is at least one song penned by Hanneman included on the band’s upcoming record.

Nuclear Blast America General Manager Gerardo Martinez had nothing but good things to say of the upcoming album, saying essentially that it is some of the band’s best work to date. “Tom’s vocals are probably the best I’ve heard in two decades, and Kerry, Paul and Gary are playing their asses of with powerful, intense performances and riffs and beats that are absolutely lethal,” he said. Fans have already gotten to sneak peeks of Slayer’s upcoming album, the most recent being the Record Store Day release of the song ‘When The Stillness Comes.’ That song was released in a very limited quantity of only 500 copies s worldwide. It was released on a special seven-inch vinyl picture disc exclusively for Record Store Day but can be heard online now via Rolling Stone at http://www.rollingstone.com/music/premieres/hear-slayers-eerie-new-crusher-when-the-stillness-comes-20150416. The other sneak peek came in the form of the song ‘Implode.’ ‘Implode’ was offered as a free download last year following Slayer’s studio sessions last March. Audiences can hear the song now for free online via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0gVs_UcxKY.

In anticipation of its new album, the members of Slayer have also announced that the band will embark on an extensive tour including dates on a number of major summer festival tours and its own “An Evening With…” Slayer-only dates. The band’s current confirmed tour schedule is listed below. It all begins this Friday in Birmingham, Alabama.

Confirmed Slayer tour dates:

24 Iron City, Birmingham, AL*
25 Monter Energy Welcome to Rockfille, Metropolitian Park, Jacksonville, FL
26 Civic Theatre, New Orleans, LA*

1 Lunatic Luau, Farm Bureau Live, Virginia Beach, VA
3 Carolina Rebellion, Charlotte, NC
22 Rocklahoma, Pryor, OK
23 Socorro Casino, El Paso, TX*

13 Bonnaroo, Manchester, TN
16 Paramount, Huntington, Long Island NY*
17 Paramount, Huntington, Long Island NY*
19 State Theatre, Portland, ME
20 Amnesia Rock, Montebello, Montreal

(Mayhem headline dates):
26 Sleep Train Amphitheatre, San Diego, CA
27 San Manual Amphitheatre, San Bernardino, CA
28 Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, CA
30 White River Amphitheatre, Seattle, WA

1 Idaho Center Amphitheatre, Boise, ID
3 Ak-Chin Amphitheatre, Phoenix, AZ
4 Isleta Amphitheatre, Albuquerque, NM
5 Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Denver, CO
7 Harrah’s Council Bluffs, Council Bluffs, IA
8 Eagles Ballroom, Milwaukee, WI
10 Kilpsch Amphitheatre, Indianapolis, IN
11 DTE Energy Amphitheatre, Detroit, MI
12 First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre, Chicago, IL
15 Molson Canadian Amphitheatre, Toronto, ON CANADA
17 Susquehanna Bank Arts Center, Camden, NJ
18 First Niagara Pavilion, Pittsburgh, PA
19 Xfinity Theatre, Hartford, CT
21 PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel, NJ
22 Meadowbrook (Bank of NH Pavilion), Gilford, NH
24 Jiffy Lube Live, Bristow, VA
25 Xfinity Center, Boston, MA
26 Nikon at Jones Beach, Wantagh, NY
29 Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood, Atlanta, GA
31 Whitewater Amphitheatre, San Antonio, TX

1 Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, Houston, TX
2 Gexa Energy Amphitheatre, Dallas, TX

* “An Evening with…” headline dates

More dates are likely to be announced. When those dates are announced, they will be posted online along with all of the latest news on the band’s album at:

Website: http://www.slayer.net

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

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 http://philispicks.wordpress.com.

Motor Sister’s Debut Has A Big First Week On The Charts

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Rock super group Motor Sister’s debut album Ride has made a big impact on Billboard’s latest charts.

Billboard reported this week that Ride debuted at #12 on Billboard’s Hard Music Albums Chart in just its first week of release. It also came in at #40 on Billboard’s Rock Albums Chart and at #27 on the Billboard Independent Albums Chart. The album impressed even more in its first week out by cracking Billboard’s Top 200 Albums Chart, coming in at #163 in its debut.  It also came in at #9 on Billboard’s New Artist (Heatseeker) Chart. The album, the brainchild of Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian, is a collection of classic Mother Superior sons re-worked by Ian and Mother Superior front man Jim Wilson. Joey Vera (Fates Warning, Armored Saint) and John Tempesta (Prong, White Zombie, The Cult, Exodus) joined Ian and Wilson on bass and drums respectively for the recording. Ian’s wife Pearl Aday, who is also the daughter of rock superstar Meatloaf, added backing vocals to the album, too.

Motor Sister has already made available for streaming Ride’s lead single ‘This Song Reminds Me Of You’ and debuted the video for its new single ‘A-Hole.’ ‘This Song Reminds Me Of You’ can be streamed online via Metal Blade Records’ website at http://www.metalblade.com/motorsister. The brand new video for ‘A-Hole’ can be viewed online via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prvB0DlzLEc.

All of the latest news and updates from Motor Sister are available online now at:

Website: http://www.metalblade.com/motorsister

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MotorSister

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.

Motor Sister’s Ride Is A “Superior” Covers Album

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Covers albums in the music industry’s current age are not what they used to be. At one point many years ago, cover albums were something significant. That’s because they were not churned out as quickly and as effortlessly as they are today. They have today become little more than obligatory space fillers used to fill out contractual agreements for one act or another. It’s very rare in the music industry’s current era to find a covers albums that actually stands out and really catches any listener’s attention. Enter Ride, the debut album from rock super group Motor Sister. The band–Scott Ian (Anthrax), John Tempesta (Prong, White Zombie, The Cult, Exodus), Joey Vera (Fates Warning, Armored Saint), Jim Wilson (Mother Superior)– took on twelve classic Mother Superior tunes on this album. And it wasn’t because of any contractual obligation. It was because of a single, simple birthday wish from Scott Ian for his 50th birthday. Yes, Scott Ian is really that old. Though, he doesn’t look that old. He got his wish and then some as this compilation proves. And in turn, rock purists around the world have gotten a covers album that actually stands out, grabs audiences from its outset and keeps them engaged throughout the entire course of the album’s twelve tracks and forty-four minutes. This is obvious right from the album’s opener ‘A-Hole.’ Ths song is a straight forward, old school rock song both musically and lyrically. The punk style sound of ‘Fork in the Road’ will impress just as much. And the addition of the slower, bluesy ‘Fool Around’ serves to show the influence of Mother Superior on the band’s members as well as the members’ level of respect for Mother Superior. All three songs noted here are but part of the whole that is Ride. The remaining nine tracks that make up this “superior” covers record make this a record that every rock purist should hear at least once despite being a handful of covers instead of new, original material.

Motor Sister’s debut LP Ride may not be a collection of new, original material. That aside it still proves over the course of its twelve tracks and forty-four minutes to be a covers album unlike so many others. It isn’t just another space filler recording put out to fulfill contractual obligations. It was just a dream project for Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian. Because it was just a simple dream, it led to the album having an overall feeling that feels completely unlike almost every other obligatory space filler covers record currently cluttering store shelves and online retailers. There is a certain energy present throughout the album that doesn’t exist on those other covers albums. And it makes the album one that every rock purist should hear at least once. That is clear right from the album’s opener ‘A-Hole.’ On its musical side, ‘A-Hole’s’ pure, old school rock sound instantly grabs audiences by the ear thanks to [John] Tempesta’s timekeeping and Scott Ian’s guitar work. Its full-on driving energy is sure to have every listener on his or her feet dancing along. Lyrically, Jim Wilson adds to that energy in his delivery, singing “The venom of a rattlesnake ratting through my veins like a curse/If I live or die/Well I don’t know which one’s worse/Well I’m diggin’ a hole they can bury me in/Waste of a lifetime living in sin/Red lights flash as I ride right past.” The rebellious vibe of the song’s lyrics coupled with its full-on old-school rock and roll sound make the song the perfect choice with which to open the album. It is just one of the many positive additions to the album, too. The inclusion of the decidedly punk rock style song ‘Fork in the Road’ is another positive that every rock purist will appreciate about this compilation. Audiences can check out the song online now via Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prvB0DlzLEc as the band recently debuted the video for the song.

‘A-Hole’ is a great first impression for Motor Sister on its debut album. The raw, almost garage rock vibe exuded by the song both musically and lyrically shows clearly why it was chosen to open the album’s twelve-track run. It isn’t the only part of the whole that listeners will like about the record, either. The punk rock sound of ‘Fork in the Road’ is just as much a positive n its own right. One could even argue that while it is a cover of a Mother Superior song, there is even a hint of Motorhead in this song, too. Again, Tempesta leads the song with his solid 2/4 time keeping and wild fills. Ian’s guitar work on this cover is just as tight in the song’s verses as in its slower yet just as hard rocking bridge. And coupled with Wilson’s powerhouse vocals, the song proves just as solidly yet in a different fashion why Ride is an album that despite being a covers collection, is one that every rock purist should hear. Wilson sings in this song, “thanks to my losing streak/ I never feel too lucky/There’s lots of strangers on the dark side of town/And if you’re seein’ ghosts/But ever get a picture/It’s a fact that candles never burn and let you down/The truth is the truth/And a lie is just a lie/Fork in the road/which way to go.” The whole thing comes across as Wilson singing in metaphors. It seems to say that we have to make choices all the time in life and that for the outcome in each situation, there are more decisions that must be made along the way. This is of course just this critic’s own interpretation of these words. It could be a wholly incorrect interpretation. Interpretation aside, one thing on which every listener will agree is that being so different from the likes of the album’s opener and its other tracks, it is another prime example of why this is a record that every rock purist should add to his or her own music library.

Both ‘A-Hole’ and ‘Fork in the Road’ are both prime examples of why every rock purist should have Ride in his or her personal music collection. The full-on, old-school rock sound of the prior coupled with the decidedly punk vibe of ‘Fork in the Road’ alongside both songs’ lyrical content shows a certain amount of variety among the album’s track listing. It would have been simple for the members of Motor Sister to just take one specific song and run it through the course of the album’s dozen tracks. But they didn’t do that. The two songs by themselves show that the band set out to really give listeners something worth hearing. Again this is totally apart from all of the obligatory covers albums released by other acts over the years. ‘Fool Around’ proves this just as much with its more reserved, blues-infused feel and thoughtful lyrics. It isn’t just another classic, old-school ballad. Rather, it is a song that will move listeners without the sappy element of those over-the-top ballads from rock’s past. Wilson sings alongside his band mates, “Sorry/I’m confused/You said some things/While we were drinkin’/Don’t get me wrong/It doesn’t bother me/Actually/I’m quite flattered/But you’re blind…get that gun away from your head/Do you want a fool around/do you really want a fool around/Do you really want this fool around?” It’s not exactly the standard blues piece by any means. But it also isn’t the stereotypical ballad, either. And that’s a good thing. It maintains its own identity. And together with both the likes of ‘A-Hole’ and ‘Fork in the Road’–along with the songs not noted here–it is one more piece that proves Ride as a whole truly is an album that every rock purist should have in his or her own music library.

‘A-Hole,’ ‘Fork in the Road,’ and ‘Fool Around’ are all excellent examples of what makes Ride such an impressive recording even for a covers album. They’re just part of the whole that makes it such a musically rich recording. ‘Doghouse’ boasts its own bluesy yet heavier sound that is sure to impress any fan of both rock and the blues. ‘This Song Reminds Me Of You’ and ‘Beg, Borrow, Steal’ both offer their own equally enjoyable blues-infused rock sound that audiences will enjoy. And then there’s the infectious groove of ‘Get That Girl’ that will have listeners moving just as much as any of the album’s other tracks. Whether for these tracks, the pieces previously noted or the remaining six pieces not discussed, every track on this record plays its own part in making Ride a must have for any rock purist. It is available in stores and online now. More information on Ride and all of the latest updates from Motor Sister is available online now at:

Website: http://www.metalblade.com/motorsister

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

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.

Carolina Rebellion Organizers Announce Details For 5th Annual Festival

Courtesy:  Ashton-Magnuson Media

Courtesy: Ashton-Magnuson Media

The Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion Festival is one of North Carolina’s biggest annual music festivals if not the biggest. And this year, the festival will celebrate an important anniversary when it returns to the Rock City Campgrounds at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 2nd and 3rd.

This year, the Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion Festival celebrates its fifth anniversary with one of its biggest lineups to date. The fifth annual festival will feature no fewer than thirty-six acts over two days. The acts tapped to perform this year include some of the biggest names in rock’s past, present, and future. Those names include the likes of: Slayer, Slipknot, Queensryche, Hatebreed, Cheap Trick, Korn, Marilyn Manson, Rise Against, Jackyl, In Flames, Periphery, and many other major names. The current lineup for this year’s festival is listed below.

Saturday, May 2

Korn, Marilyn Manson, Rise Against, Sammy Hagar & The Circle, Chevelle, Cheap Trick, Papa Roach, Bush, Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts, Jackyl, Of Mice & Men, Live, Motionless In White, Periphery, Beartooth, Young Guns, Marmozets, Islander and more.


Sunday, May 3

Slipknot, Godsmack, Slayer, Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators, Breaking Benjamin, Halestorm, Queensrÿche, The Pretty Reckless, In This Moment, In Flames, Tremonti, Suicidal Tendencies, Testament, Hatebreed, Starset, Butcher Babies, We Are Harlot, Exodus, and more.

Slipknot front man Corey Taylor discussed the band’s addition to the bill and playing alongside other great names in rock in a recent interview saying, “We are very excited to be headlining Rebellion this year! We’re honored to be playing in the company of Cheap Trick, one of my all-time favorites, as well as playing with such good friends like Korn, Halestorm and Slayer!” Korn front man Jonathan Davis explained that the Carolina Rebellion festival plays a very important part in that band’s history as it served as the point of reunion for the band with guitarist Brian “Head” Welch in 2012. “Three years ago, we reunited with our brother Head on stage at Carolina Rebellion. Since then, we made a new album and toured the world together,” he said. He went on to note that the reunion means even more as the band plans on playing its debut album in its entirety at this year’s festival. And now we’re back to perform our first album in its entirety.  Rebellion is going to be a really special show for us,” he said.

Carolina Rebellion Festival Co-Executive Producer Gary Spivack of RockHouse discussed the importance of this year’s installment of what is the biggest of the Mid-Atlantic region’s rock festivals and of making it a special, memorable anniversary for audiences. “Rebellion is truly the Carolinas ’ biggest music party of the year,” he said. “For the 5th annual Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion, we wanted to acknowledge not only the best in current rock with the likes of Slipknot, Godsmack, Breaking Benjamin and more, but also celebrate some great iconic rock bands like Sammy Hagar & The Circle, Cheap Trick, Slayer and others to give the Rebels the widest range of Rock N’ Roll possible.”

A ticket pre-sale is currently underway for the festival. It runs until Friday, January 16th at 11:59am ET. The pre-sale offers a limited amount of tickets at early bird pre-sale prices (plus fees). Those prices are:

Weekend General Admission Ticket: $99

Weekend General Admission Ticket 4-Pack: $299

Single Day General Admission Ticket: $59.50

Those that purchase weekend general admission tickets during both the current pre-sale and the upcoming general on-sale period can purchase a VIP Lounge Upgrade for $110. Even bigger news for audiences, the Carolina Rebellion Festival is offering layaway packages for purchase through January 31st. This is the first year that this is being made available for audiences. A limited number of discount tickets for active military members via GovX.

Along with the general admission, weekend general admission, and VIP packages, hotel and camping packages are also currently available. Prices will remain the same through both pre-sale and general on-sale periods. All hotel packages are for three nights. They are available for couples and for groups of up to four. The packages include access to the Friday Night Campground Party in the campgrounds. Camping opens at noon on Friday, May 1st and closes at noon on Monday, May 4th. Camping upgrades include access to the Friday Night Campground Party. The Camping packages include a $25 merchandise voucher, access to VIP Lounge, a festival poster, and access to the Friday Night Campground Party.

The annual Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion Festival is sponsored by Monster Energy, Bud Light, Jack Daniels, Jagermeister, Crazy Dave’s Music Experience, Zippo Encore and others. It is produced by AEG Live, Danny Wimmer Presents, and RockHouse Presents. It is part of the World’s Loudest Month festival series. More information on the Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion Festival is available online at:

Website: http://www.CarolinaRebellion.com

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

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

“Blood In Blood Out” Is Exodus’ Best Record To Date

Courtesy:  Nuclear Blast America/Nuclear Blast Records

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast America/Nuclear Blast Records

Exodus is one of the metal community’s most legendary acts.   The Richmond, California-based band has been making pure metal for the masses for well over three decades. In that time, the band has seen its highs and its lows, like any band out there. This past October, Exodus reached another high when it released its latest album Blood In, Blood Out. The album, the band’s tenth full-length studio release is arguably the band’s best work to date. One could say that that is thanks to the return of front man Steve Souza. It could also be that the band produced this album itself, essentially keeping full creative control within the band’s ranks. Regardless the end result of Blood In, Blood Out is an album that every purist thrash metal fan will thoroughly enjoy and an album that is just as deserving of a spot on this year’s list of the best new metal albums as those from Overkill, Anti-Mortem, and fellow thrash metal kings Machine Head among so many others. The album’s lead single and title track is proof of that. The song is a battle cry of sorts from the band letting audiences know in on uncertain terms that Exodus is most certainly back. ‘Collateral Damage,’ the album’s third track is more proof that Blood In, Blood Out is the band’s best work to date. It is a socio-politically charged piece that attacks those in the higher echelons of the world’s political and economic machines. On the completely opposite end of the spectrum, the band offers up a piece in ‘My Last Nerve’ that every listener will appreciate. It goes after those people that are so quick to make life miserable for everyone around them. All three of these pieces are clear examples of what makes Blood In, Blood Out Exodus’ best album to date and one of the year’s best new metal albums. If they are not enough for listeners, there is also a commentary on the inhuman acts of violence committed against innocent lives by certain Muslim extremist groups in ‘Honor Killings’ another social commentary in ‘Salt The Wound’ and even a rather interesting commentary on the atrocious acts of the BTK Killer among much more throughout this album. Again, these songs taken into consideration with the others noted here (and those not noted) result in an album that every metal purist will appreciate.

It goes without saying that Blood In, Blood Out is the best work that Exodus has released in the course of its three decades-plus long life. It is a thrash record that takes audiences back to thrash metal’s heyday. That is evident right from the album’s lead single and title track. The song is the perfect lead-off for the album with the pummeling attack of drummer Tom Hunting and shredding of guitarists Gary Holt and Lee Altus. Front man Steve Souza adds his own touch with a vocal style that easily matches that of Overkill front man Bobby Ellsworth. He sings in this song, “We’re throwing down the gauntlet/Chomping at the bit/About to lay down the law/Show you all the way/Bear witness to Genesis/Of the violence the way it was back in the day/We’ve been here from the start/With a one track mind/We kept the hate alive/Always had the power/Now is zero hour/Tonight we’re gonna fight like it’s 1985.” The reference to 1985 is an obvious reference to the band’s 1985 debut record Bonded By Blood, to which many fans have compared this record stylistically speaking. It could also be argued that it’s a pun in reference to a famous Prince song. That opening verse is a statement to all of the purists and psuedo-metal bands out there that currently permeate the metal community. Souza goes on with his attack singing in the song’s chorus, “Dive in or bow out/If you have the pedigree/Welcome to the family/All in or all out/Half way, no way/Give it all you’ve got/We wrote the book so you’d better know the plot/New breed, old creed/Let’s see what you brought/This s&*$ has turned into a rout/Blood in, Blood out.” Souza and company leave nothing to doubt here. This is a full-on first salvo from Exodus in its new album. And it hits its target full force. Audiences can check out the song’s official companion video online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6c69S3pD8qI. The official lyric video is also available online via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfu94oJ1so8.

Blood In, Blood Out’s lead single and title track was the perfect choice to re-introduce the band to the metal legions around the world. It is a full-on musical assault from the band, proving right off the top why this album is the band’s best work to date. Another good example of what makes this album such a hit for fans is the album’s socio-politically charged opus ‘Collateral Damage.’ As with the album’s lead single, this piece is another excellent throwback to thrash metal’s heyday. That same dual-guitar assault coupled with Tom Hunting’s drumming and Steve Souza’s shredding vocal style drives the song from start to finish. The song’s socio-politically charged lyrics make the song even more hard-hitting. Souza sings in this song, “Blitzkrieg, insurgence/Under the thumbs of the powers that be/Conflict, tension, unlawful detention/They don’t give a f&*) about you or me/We are all just collateral damage/the s%&$ they step in on their way/Just puppets used to their advantage/To chew up and throw away.” Yet again, Souza and company leave no doubt as to the message being sent here. It’s a nice change of pace from all of the bands out there whose members love to write in metaphors, thus leaving many to misinterpret said bands’ songs. There’s just as little doubt left in the song’s closing verse as Souza sings, “Illuminati of the one percent/We chase their carrot on a string/Wall street deceit all stuck on repeat/Peons serving to the kings/To them it’s all just a natural selection/A birth right of gluttony/Like a kind of Immaculate Conception/Of inbred conformity.” Taking that verse and the song’s opening verse into consideration, it’s obvious that this song is a protest and a call to action. The band is bringing to people’s attention what is going on around us and to us as a result of the people in the world’s upper echelons of politics and economics. The band’s members are saying that people need to be aware of this and start standing up to those people and their institutions that are controlling the world. Such a powerful message set against an equally powerful musical backing makes Blood In, Blood Out even more of a hit for fans of this veteran thrash metal band.

The socio-political commentary contained in ‘Collateral Damage’ and the full-on musical assault of ‘Blood In, Blood Out’ are both key examples of what makes this album Exodus’ best work to date. There is also a commentary in ‘My Last Nerve’ that will impress audiences just as much as those previously noted songs. The commentary in question goes after those people that seem to live to make the lives of everyone around them miserable. Musically speaking, this song isn’t the full throttle attack of ‘Blood In, Blood Out’ or ‘Collateral Damage.’ But even being a little bit slower, it still boasts as much power as those songs and those not noted here. Souza sings in this piece, “I’m so irritated/Being kicked to the curb/Every time you open your mouth/You try to get in the last word/Those who live in glass houses /Should not be throwing stones/It all comes crashing down/You never left well enough alone.” He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “So many excuses/Always laying the blame/You’re always pointing the finger/Adding fuel to the flame/Another slander, another slur/Another hollow apology/So many verbal abuses/Believe your own mythology.” These are words to which anyone can relate metalhead or not. Everyone has dealt that person or even those people who will step on everyone else to get to the top. Those that will throw others under the bus every chance they get. They are the same ones that make every excuse as to why it’s everybody else’s fault that this or that event goes awry. This is a universal topic. And the members of Exodus have handled it expertly in this song both musically and lyrically. It is just one more reason that Exodus’ fans new and old alike will enjoy Blood In, Blood Out.

‘Blood In, Blood Out,’ ‘Collateral Damage,’ and ‘My Last Nerve’ are all excellent examples of what makes Exodus’ tenth full length album well worth the listen by any metal purist. They are collectively just a sample of what makes this album so enjoyable by any purist metalhead and thrash metal fan. The politically charged attack of ‘Honor Killings’ is another example of what makes this album so hard hitting. The band tackles the atrocities committed by the various Muslim extremist groups in the Middle East against innocent lives in this song. And ‘Salt The Wound’ is lyrically along the same lines as ‘Last Nerve.’ There is even an interesting commentary on the equally atrocious acts of the BTK Killer and the shocking revelation of who turned out to be in the end. In the grand scheme of things, it is a commentary about how we as people think we know someone but in reality we really never know as much as we might think. Whether it be that song, the politically charged ‘Honor Killings,’ the social commentary of ‘Salt The Wound’ or the topics covered in the album’s other tracks, every listener will agree that every one of these songs (including those not noted) combine to make Blood In, Blood Out Exodus’ best album to date, especially when considered alongside the songs’ musical content.

Blood In, Blood Out is available in stores and online now and Exodus is currently on tour in support of the album. The band is scheduled to perform at The Palladium in Worcester, MA today and at the Wellmont Theatre in Montclair, NJ tomorrow. It will make stops in Philadelphia and Cleveland over the weekend. Audiences can check out Exodus’ latest tour dates and keep up with the band’s latest updates online now at:

Website: http://www.exodusattack.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/exodusattack

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.

ROTR Organizers Announce Early Details For 2014 Festival

Rock on the Range 2014 Logo

Courtesy: MSO PR

The 2013 edition of the annual Rock on the Range festival was one of the biggest that organizers of the annual event have ever experienced.  2013 saw the annual event completely sell out.  Seeing the success that the festival had in 2013, festival organizers have announced that the festival will now expand to three full days this year. The festival, which will run from May 16th – May 18th this year, will be headlined by three very big name acts.  Those acts are Guns N’ Roses, Avenged Sevenfold, and Kid Rock.

While the trio of aforementioned bands will headline the once again expanded festival (last year saw the festival expand to three nights) are big names in themselves, they won’t be the only bands to perform at this year’s show.  Also scheduled to perform this year are: Seether, Five Finger Death Punch, Slayer, Staind, Motorhead, Chevelle, Alter Bridge, Mastodon, Black Label Society and Killswitch Engage among many others.  The complete lineup of bands scheduled to perform at this year’s ROTR Festival is listed below.


Guns N’ Roses, Avenged Sevenfold, Kid Rock, Five Finger Death Punch, Slayer, Staind, Motorhead, Seether, Chevelle, Alter Bridge, Mastodon, Black Label Society, Killswitch Engage, Bring Me The Horizon, Theory of a Deadman, Down, Black Stone Cherry, Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience, Pop Evil, Of Mice & Men, Adelitas Way, Trivium, Gojira, Suicidal Tendencies, The Pretty Reckless, We Came as Romans, Fuel, Redlight King, Miss May I, Reignwolf, Thousand Foot Krutch, Texas Hippie Coalition, Rev Theory, Skindred, Kyng, Fozzy, Heaven’s Basement, Butcher Babies, Nothing More, Exodus, King 810, Devour the Day, We As Human, We Are Harlot, Kvelertak, Jim Breuer Band, One OK Rock, Twelve Foot Ninja, Avatar, WERM, Monster Truck, Wilson, Crobot and Truckfighters with comedians Jim Breuer, Jim Florentine and more.

Audiences will note that along with the lineup up some of the biggest names in the rock world, this year’s festival also boasts the return of the ROTR Comedy Tent.  Jim Breuer, Jim Florentine, and a number of up-and-coming comedians will perform at the ROTR Comedy Tent.

Weekend passes including Field General Admission, Stadium General Admission, hotel and VIP packages and a stadium four-pack go on sale Friday, January 24th at 10am ET.  More ticket information is available online at http://www.RockOnTheRange.com.  Additional information and updates on this year’s festival is available online at http://www.facebook.com/rockontherange and http://twitter.com/rockontherange.  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.