Goth, Industrial Fans Will “Celebrate” ‘The Ghost Parade’

Courtesy: Pavement Entertainment

Courtesy: Pavement Entertainment

This past October, underground industrial/goth metal outfit Gabriel and the Apocalypse released its latest full-length studio recording The Ghost Parade.  The Minneapolis, MN-based quintet’s new record is a good fit for anyone that is a fan of Otep and to a lesser extent Prong, Nine Inch Nails and other acts of that ilk.  That is due both to the album’s musical arrangements and its lyrical content.  The songs mix together Nine Inch Nails’ industrial elements with the hard-edged sound of Prong and Otep (even front woman Lindy Gabriel sounds eerily like Otep front woman Otep Shamaya at points) for a record that musically speaking, will easily entertain its key audiences.  Lyrically speaking, the record covers a number of topics, too including politics, world issues and more.  All things considered The Ghost Parade is a record that Gabriel and the Apocalypse’s fans will soundly celebrate.

Gabriel and the Apocalypse’s latest full-length studio recording (and its Pavement Entertainment debut) Ghost Parade is a record that the underground goth/industrial act’s fans are sure to celebrate.  Between its musical arrangements and its lyrical content, it presents plenty for fans to appreciate.  The album’s opener ‘March Of The Dolls’ is a prime example of how the album’s musical arrangements and lyrical content come together to make the album stand out.  In regards to its musical arrangement, the song is a powerhouse composition with a sound that takes the best elements of Otep, Fear Factory and (believe it or not) Type O Negative and binds them together into one work.  The end result is a work that will surprise audiences in the best way possible.  That is because of the manner in which the arrangement balances those elements.  It is just one part of what makes the song stand out.  The song’s lyrical content is just as important to note as its musical arrangement.

The musical arrangement presented in ‘March of The Dolls’ is important in its own right to the song’s overall presentation.  It balances a number of different influences throughout the course of its nearly three-and-a-half-minute run time, and does so expertly, too.  That in itself is certain to keep audiences entertained.  While the song’s musical arrangement plays its own important role in its presentation, it is just one part of what makes the song stand out.  Its lyrical content is just as important to note as its musical arrangement.  Gabriel sings in the song’s lead verse, “You want/You need/To beg and to please/Get on/Your knees/I’ll make you believe/I want/I need/I love/The taste/My sweat/Is smeared across your face/My god/My god/It’s all/The same/Another sinful/Another save/But I can’t/Resist/Cuts down my wrist/I put it back together/What matters is the ending.”  It’s a rather dark statement to say the very least.  What is interesting here, though is that considering such a statement, it would have been easy for the band to go more in the standard, brooding goth direction with the song’s arrangement.  But instead it went the aggressive route.  In hindsight it seems to serve the defiance seemingly exhibited in that lead verse.  The song’s second verse is very similar to its first with only one real minor change, which comes in the end of the verse.  The real power that matches the song’s musical arrangement comes in the song’s final moments as Gabriel sings, “I’ve found myself…in the Ghost Parade…What do you think of me now?”  That last group of lines is especially interesting because it has been noted that The Ghost Parade is a personal record for the band’s front woman.  That final statement perhaps illustrates how personal it is for her.  It is almost as if she is saying through this song, she has grown and become someone new through all of the negativity that she has experienced in life, so “how do you like her now?”  It is a bold, powerful statement that when coupled with the song’s musical arrangement becomes even harder hitting.  Considering this the song in whole proves to be just one example of what makes The Ghost Parade a record that the band’s fans will celebrate.

‘March of the Dolls,’ with its powerhouse musical arrangement and equally interesting lyrical content is solid proof of why Gabriel and the Apocalypse’s fans will celebrate the band’s new album The Ghost Parade.  It is just one of the songs that serves to show what makes the album stand out. ‘Colour of Winter’ is another of the album’s songs that serves to make it stand out.  This song is the polar opposite of ‘March of the Dolls’ both in terms of its musical arrangement and its lyrical content.  Speaking first about its musical arrangement, this piece is that dark, brooding composition that goth fans will appreciate.  It is driven largely by the work of drummer Zach Williams and guitarists Jake LaCore and Joey Connelly.  Keyboardist Figgles McGee (no, that’s not a joke) adds an extra touch to the song, too.  The end result is a work that instantly conjures thoughts of works composed by Marilyn Manson and his band mates.  That is especially the case when Gabriel’s vocal delivery is joined with the work of her band mates.  It is only one part of the song that should be discussed.  The song’s lyrical content adds even more depth to its presentation.

The brooding musical arrangement at the heart of ‘Colour of Winter’ is its own key element to the song’s presentation.  As noted already, the combination of Gabriel’s vocal delivery and the work of her band mates gives the song a feel that instantly conjures thoughts of Marilyn Manson.  The brooding doesn’t end with the song’s musical arrangement, though.  There is just as much of that in the song’s lyrical content, too.  Gabriel sings right off the bat in such morose fashion, “I’m alone in the world today/I can’t take it/But I feel it anyway/It’s not enough that it was/It’s not enough cause it’s gone/I can’t breathe/I can’t stay here/I’ll numb myself all the way.  She goes on to sing about “burning yesterday,” “sinking into the void” and other brooding matters.  Simply put, there’s a lot of deep emotion expressed in this song’s lyrical content; emotion that, again, goth fans will appreciate.  When that deep emotion is set against the song’s equally brooding musical arrangement, the end result is one more of the album’s most standout compositions.  It is one more song that shows why fans of Gabriel and the Apocalypse will celebrate this record just as much as goth and industrial fans.  There are still other songs that serve to support that statement, too, including ‘Mazarine.’

‘March of the Dolls’ and ‘Colour of Winter’ are both key examples of what makes the Ghost Parade a record that Gabriel and the Apocalypse’s fans will celebrate.  That is due to the songs’ musical arrangements and their lyrical content.  Each song presents its own identity through its arrangement.  One arrangement is an aggressive, full-force composition that greatly enhances the defiant statement presented in the song’s lyrical content.  ‘Colour of Winter’ is the polar opposite (no pun intended) of ‘March of the Dolls.’  Both musically and lyrically, this song is the kind of work that any goth fan will appreciate just as much as the band’s more seasoned fans.  While both songs show clearly through their musical and lyrical content what makes The Ghost Parade a piece that audiences will celebrate, they are not the only songs that will do so.  ‘Mazarine’ shows in its own unique way what makes The Ghost Parade stand out, too, beginning with its musical arrangement.  This song’s arrangement is a mid-level hard rock piece that boasts a hard rock/industrial hybrid sound.  It isn’t the full-throttle piece that is presented in ‘March of the Dolls’ or even the more brooding ‘Colour of Winter.’  Rather it could be argued to be the closest to mainstream accessibility that the band reaches in this album.  Keeping that in mind, this arrangement could be the best chance that the band has at mainstream success in this album.  Of course the song’s arrangement is just one half of what makes the song stand out, just as with the other discussed songs.  The song’s lyrical content is just as important to note as its musical arrangement.

The musical arrangement presented in ‘Mazarine’ is a key part of what makes this song stand out.  It is perhaps the closest that the band comes to mainstream accessibility with its new album.  As important as the song’s arrangement is to its presentation, its lyrical content proves to be important in its own right.  Lyrically speaking, it will likely have audiences thinking and talking more than any other of the album’s songs.  At one point she sings what seems like an ode to someone else, but at other times the song seems to touch on a wholly different matter.  When that metaphorical language is coupled with the song’s semi-mainstream musical arrangement, the whole of the song becomes a work that would fit easily alongside the likes of Lacuna Coil, Evanesence and so many other more mainstream goth/industrial acts.  It is just one more example of what makes The Ghost Parade stand out.  When it is joined with ‘March of the Dolls,’ ‘Colour of Winter’ and the rest of the album’s offerings, the album in who proves without a doubt to be, again, a work that goth and industrial fans in general will appreciate just as much as the band’s more seasoned fans.

The Ghost Parade is a work that regardless of audiences’ familiarity with Gabriel and the Apocalypse, will appeal to goth and industrial fans in general just as much as it will the band’s more seasoned fans.  That is evident through all three of the songs discussed here.  It is also evident in the album’s other offering.  All things considered, The Ghost Parade is a work that goth and industrial fans will celebrate” right alongside the band’s fans.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on The Ghost Parade is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.gabrielandtheapocalypse.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/GATA_band

 

 

 

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Metallica’s New Album Is Well Worth The Wait

Courtesy: Blackened Records

Courtesy: Blackened Records

Eight years have passed since Metallica released its most recent album Death Magnetic.  That is a long time for any act to spend between albums.  It’s also a huge risk because the longer an act waits, the greater the odds it might not be relevant anymore.  What’s more, it also raises expectations greatly for said act’s new release.  In many cases, said albums don’t live up to expectations.  Guns ‘N Roses’ 2010 album Chinese Democracy is a prime example of that letdown.  So waiting for such a long time between albums is a gamble to say the very least.  For veteran hard rock outfit Metallica, the gamble to wait so long between albums paid off when it released its new album HardwiredTo Self-Destruct on Friday, November 18.  This record is the band’s best work to date.  It is a culmination of everything that the band has done over the course of its more than thirty year life.  That is evident first and foremost through it musical arrangements.  That will be discussed shortly.  The record’s lyrical content is just as important to note in examining what makes this record stand out.  It will be discussed later.  The bonus live disc that was included in the record’s extended edition is just as important to note in the album’s presentation.  Each element serves the record in its own positive way.  All things considered, they make this record, again, Metallica’s best album to date and one of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

Metallica’s new full-length album HardwiredTo Self-Destruct is the best work that this veteran hard rock outfit has released to date.  It is also one of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums without question.  That is saying a lot considering how many albums the band has released over its life (10 counting this record) and the number of outstanding hard rock and metal albums that have been released so far this year.  One of the elements that makes the album stand so proud is its collective musical arrangements.  From one song to the next, the arrangements present elements of the band’s past, present and even its future.  One of the songs that best exemplifies the arrangements’ reach is ‘Now That We’re Dead.’  Right from the song’s outset, its driving guitar line and drumming harkens back to ‘Enter Sandman’ from the band’s groundbreaking 1991 self-titled album (or more affectionately known by fans as The Black Album.  That similarity stands throughout the remainder of its nearly 7-minute run time.  Front man James Hetfield’s vocal delivery is just as powerful throughout the song as it was way back in 1991, too.  When his vocal delivery is coupled with that solid musical arrangement, it makes the connection to The Black Album even stronger.  It’s just one of the songs that serves to exemplify the reach of the album’s musical arrangements.  ‘Spit Out The Bone,’ the record’s closer exhibits the arrangements’ reach just as much as ‘Now That We’re Dead.’

‘Now That We’re Dead’ exhibits a clear connection to material featured in Metallica’s 1991 self-titled record.  It is just one of the songs included in this record that exhibits the reach of the album’s arrangements.  ‘Spit Out The Bone’ exhibits that reach just as much as ‘Now That We’re Dead.’  It is a direct throwback to the band’s very first album Kill ‘Em All (1983) with its speed/thrash metal riffs and drumming.  One could even argue to a point that there are hints of the band’s 1986 album Master of Puppets considering this arrangement and Robert Trujillo’s bass line.  His bass line instantly conjures thoughts of Cliff Burton’s work with its style and sound.  Obviously Burton died during the tour for that album, but would likely be as proud as the band’s fans to hear that similarity.  Even Hetfield’s own vocal delivery throws so far back, too. Sure he’s much older now.  But when he hits certain notes, audiences will instantly hear those hints of his days gone by.  That is a big compliment to him.  When each of the arrangements are brought together, they make this arrangement yet another standout composition.  Even more important to note is that just as with ‘Now That We’re Dead,’ the song’s arrangements harkens back to the noted albums but does so with a certain sense of evolution, too.  In other words, it doesn’t just repeat any of the songs from said albums.  Rather, it merely exhibits the stylistic approach used in the noted albums.  The same applies in the case of ‘Dream No More.’

‘Now That We’re Dead’ and ‘Spit Out The Bone’ are both clear examples of the reach of this record’s arrangements.  One throws back to the band’s Black Album while the other throws back even farther.  Both songs exhibit the influence of those albums through their arrangements, and do so without just repeating any of the songs included in those records.  That is extremely impressive.  They are just a couple of the songs that serve to exhibit the reach of this album’s arrangements.  ‘Dream No More’ is another example of the arrangements’ reach.  This song exhibits hints of the band’s much maligned albums Load and Re-Load.  More precisely, with its combination of guitar and drum lines, it conjures thoughts of ‘King Nothing,’ which was one of the few truly good songs included in Load.  But again, it doesn’t try to just rehash that song through its arrangement.  Love the album or hate it (and Re-Load) the fact of the matter is that through this song, Metallica has taken the best of the album and evolved it into this song.  It again shows the reach of the album’s arrangements.  As if that isn’t enough, there are a couple of songs included in this record that even hint at what is probably the band’s worst albums (if not its worst), St. Anger.  Even in those cases, the band somehow managed to take the best of the worst and make it something enjoyable here.  There are also hints of each of the band’s other albums in the likes of ‘Hardwired,’ ‘Atlas, Rise’ and ‘Confusion’ just to name a few other standout arrangements.  All things considered here, it is clear in listening to the album from start to finish that this albums’ arrangement present quite a reach.  They present the band’s past, present and possibly even future.  That reach will impress any long time fan just as much as any new fan.  The reach presented in this record’s arrangements is clearly an important part of the record’s presentation.  It is just one of the record’s key elements, too.  The album’s lyrical content is just as important to note in examining the record’s presentation as its musical reach.

The musical reach that is exhibited throughout Metallica’s latest full-length LP is a hugely important part of the record’s presentation.  That is because the record’s arrangements present influences from each of its previous albums and even hint at the band’s future.  To an extent, one could say that makes this record career-spanning.  While the record’s musical arrangements are so clearly important to its overall presentation, they are not its only important element.  The album’s lyrical content is just as important to note as its musical arrangements.  ‘Atlas, Rise’ is just one example of the importance of the record’s lyrical content.  Hetfield sings in this song, “Bitterness and burden/Curses rest on thee/Solitaire and sorrow/All eternity/Save the earth and claim perfection/Deem the mass and blame rejection/Hold the pose, feign perception/Grudges break your back/All you bear/All you carry/All you bear/Place it right on, Right on me.”  He’s not signing about the literary Atlas.  This comes across as using Atlas as a metaphor for someone who loves to put the problems of the world on himself or herself, but not for noble reasons.  That is evident as he sings, “Grudges break your back/All you bear/All you carry/All you bear/Place it right on, right on me.”  This becomes even clearer as Hetfield sings, “How does it feel on your own/Bound by the world all alone/Crushed under heavy skies/Atlas, rise!”  The song goes on very much in similar fashion in terms of its lyrical content.  It leaves just as little doubt as the song’s early lines.  It definitely is a powerful song considering all of that.  When the song’s equally powerful musical arrangement is set against those lines, the song becomes even harder hitting.  It is just one of the songs that exemplifies the importance of the album’s lyrical content.  ‘Moth Into Flame’ is another of the album’s songs that exhibits the importance of the album’s lyrical content.

‘Atlas, Rise’ is a prime example of the importance of the lyrical content presented in HardwiredTo Self-Destruct.  It comes across as a damning indictment of those people who prefer (for whatever reason) to put the world’s problems on themselves and make themselves virtual martyrs, all the while holding grudges against the world.  Everyone knows or has known someone just like that.  It is just one of the examples of the importance of the album’s lyrical content.  ‘Moth Into Flame’ is another example of the importance of the album’s lyrical content.  Hetfield sings in this song, “Blacked out/Pop queen, amphetamine/The screams crashed into silence/Tapped out/Doused in the gasoline/The high times going timeless/Infamy all for publicity/Destruction going viral/Light it up/Ah, light it up/Another hit erases all the pain.”  He goes on to sing, “Bulletproof/Ah, kill the truth/You’re falling, but you think you’re flying high/High again/Sold your soul/Built a higher wall/Yesterday/Now you’re thrown away/Same rise and fall/Who cares at all/Seduced by fame/A moth into flame.”  As with ‘Atlas, Rise,’ the lines presented here are their own damning indictment.  This time, it comes across as an indictment of celebrities and their lifestyles.  The lines presented here are just a portion of the support for that argument.  The song continues in similar fashion lyrically speaking, which strengthens this critic’s argument even more.  Keeping that in mind, this song’s lyrical content becomes yet another important example of the importance of the album’s lyrical content.  It’s hardly the first time that anyone has ever crafted a song that goes after celebrities and their lifestyles (if that is in fact the focus on the song’s lyrics).  But it is still a biting approach that audiences will appreciate greatly.  It isn’t the last song that exhibits the importance of the album’s lyrical content.  ‘Spit Out The Bone’ is one more example of the importance of this record’s lyrical content.

‘Atlas, Rise’ and ‘Moth Into Flame’ are both key examples of the importance of this record’s lyrical content.  Both songs come across as very biting commentary about their given topics.  While both pieces are key in exhibiting the importance of the lyrical content in Metallica’s new album, they are not the only songs that show that importance.  ‘Spit Out The Bone’ also serves to show the importance of the album’s lyrical content.  This song presents some very heavy content.  Hetfield sings in the song’s lead verse, “Come unto me and you will feel perfection/Come unto me and dedicate/Come unto me and you’ll never feel rejection/Come unto me and terminate/Remove your heart, it’s only good for bleeding/Bleeding through your fragile skin/Remove your thought cause it’s only for deceiving/Deceiving thoughts destroy within/Disappear like man was never here/Long live machine/The future supreme/Man overthrown/Spit out the bone.”  The technology theme continues throughout the song, but shouldn’t be misinterpreted.  This isn’t one of those songs that audiences have come to expect from Fear Factory or other similar acts.  It comes across more as a piece about people’s reliance on technology, not about robots overthrowing mankind.  That’s even despite the fact that Hetfield sings “Long live machine/the future supreme.”  It comes across more as a commentary about how mankind has allowed technology to become its new God.  That is evidenced in the song’s second verse in which he sings, “Plug into me, I guarantee devotion/Plug into me and dedicate/Plug into me and I’ll save you from emotion/Plug into me and terminate/Accelerate, utopian solution/Finally cure the Earth of man/Exterminate, speeding up the evolution/Set on a course, a master plan/Reinvent the earth inhabitant/Long live machine/the future supreme/Man overthrown/Spit out the bone.”  It comes across as saying man’s reliance on technology and devotion to technology will eventually turn man into machine.  It comes across as a sarcastic, yet still very biting commentary in its own right.  Again, when this content is coupled with the song’s musical content, the whole of the song stands out even more.  It is hardly the last song that could be cited in exhibiting the importance of the album’s lyrical content.  ‘Dream No More,’ ‘Confusion’ and ‘Am I Savage?’ could each be cited in exhibiting the importance of the album’s lyrical content along with the rest of the album’s songs.  All things considered, the album’s lyrical content proves in whole to be just as important to its presentation as its musical arrangements.  Even as important as its musical and lyrical content proves to be, these two elements are not the album’s only important elements.  The bonus third disc included in the album’s extended edition is just as important to note as its musical arrangements and lyrical content.

Both the musical arrangements and lyrical content presented throughout HardwiredTo Self-Destruct are key to its overall presentation.  The musical arrangements take listeners to the band’s earliest days as well as its present and even future.  The album’s lyrical content addresses a variety of topics including celebrity, people who make themselves martyrs, and much more.  While both elements are clearly important to the album’s overall presentation, they are not its only important elements.  The bonus third disc included in the album’s extended edition is just as important to note in examining its presentation as the previously noted elements.  The disc features four more songs including a medley of Ronnie James Dio covers in the form of ‘Ronnie Rising Medley’ and ten live songs.  The studio songs bring the album’s total song count to 16.  That is counting the medley as one big song.  The live songs, recorded during the band’s 2016 – ’16 tour are important in their own right both because of the songs that are featured and the band’s performance thereof. The live songs featured in the record’s bonus disc are some of the band’s most beloved classics.  They include’ ‘Hit The Lights,’ ‘Ride The Lightning,’ ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls’ and plenty of others.  They are so important to note because they are a perfect fit with the album’s new studio tracks, which themselves lift from every era of the band’s life.  The band’s performance of the songs is just as impressive because of its energy throughout each song.  The band hasn’t lost even all these years later.  It is still just as enjoyable to experience here as it was when the featured songs were still new.  If that isn’t enough for audiences, the fact that the performances sound so good adds even more enjoyment to their overall presentation.  The proverbial cherry on top for the live recordings is that save for just one performance—‘Hardwired’ recorded live at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN—each of the songs featured here were all recorded at the same place, Rasputin Music in Berkeley, CA on April 16, 2016.  So rather than just having a group of random recordings, audiences get nearly a full live recording on this disc along with four bonus studio recordings.  It is a great finishing touch to an album that already stood out on its own musical and lyrical laurels.  When it is set against those elements, the whole of the elements leaves no question that HardwiredTo Self-Destruct is Metallica’s best effort to date and that it is one of 2016’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

HardwiredTo Self-Destruct is Metallica’s best new album to date.  It is also one of this year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.  That is evidenced through musical arrangements that will take listeners throughout the band’s body of work.  Its lyrical content is just as certain to leave listeners thinking and talking.  The bonus disc included in the album’s extended edition adds even more enjoyment to the record’s overall presentation with its four extra studio recordings and ten expertly produced and engineered live recordings.  The live recordings will entertain audiences not just because of how well they were handled but also because they run the gamut just as much as the songs presented in the album’s main body.  The band’s performance of the songs is just as important to note in their enjoyment, too.  Each element noted in this review is important in its own right to HardwiredTo Self-Destruct.  All things considered, they make this record the band’s best work to date and one of the year’s top new hard rock and metal offerings.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on the album is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.metallica.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/metallica

 

 

 

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.

Whitechapel Winning The “War” With Its New Album

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Tennessee based metal band Whitechapel released its fifth full length studio effort last Tuesday. That album, titled Our Endless War, has been met with mixed reviews from both fans and critics alike in the short time since its release. Those that are more experienced with will obviously be far more opinionated than those that might not be so familiar with the band’s body of work. One thing that both sides should be able to agree upon with this latest record is its heaviness both musically and lyrically. The album opens with the album’s absolutely searing title track that is an indictment of the country’s current state. Just as blistering is the Fear Factory style song ‘Worship The Digital Age.’ This song delves into the world’s overwhelmingly increasing obsession with things such as social media and all things digital. The band doesn’t let up an inch even as it reaches the last of the album’s dozen total tracks. The album’s closer, ‘Fall of the Hypocrites’ is brutal to say the absolute least. This applies both in terms of the song’s lyrics and its music. It will leave listeners breathless by the time it ends. Having experienced the album’s eleven other tracks, it will leave any naysayer agreeing that this is an album that any metal purist should hear at least once.

Whitechapel makes quite the statement on its latest release. The album’s opener and title track is a solid speed metal piece. There’s no denying that it is more listener friendly than some of the other material on this album. But in the band’s defense, there is nothing wrong with reaching out to a wider audience. The three-guitar attack of Ben Savage, Zach Householder, and Alex Wade makes for so much depth to the song. While one provides the song’s primary line, the other two work in tandem with bassist Ben Harclerode and drummer Gabe Crisp for an absolutely pounding opus. Vocalist Phil Bozeman’s heavy growling vocals are among the most powerful of any vocalist within the band’s sub-genre as he screams, “America our wasteland/Where death is entertainment/The place where moving forward/Means you turn the other direction/A place where reality existed/And we still continue to bleed.” This seething indictment of the current state of the nation continues throughout the course of the song, going after both the people and the politicians all at once. It’s a full-on unrelenting piece that is certain to impress any metal purist with its mix of adrenaline-fueled music and standard socio-politically charged lyrics. It’s just the start of what Whitechapel has to offer listeners on its new record, too.

Our Endless War’s socio-politically charged opener is a solid reintroduction for the band on its fifth full length studio effort. Just as blistering as that piece is ‘Worship The Digital Age.’ This song comes across as the band’s commentary concerning the world’s ever-growing obsession with the 24-hour news cycle, celebrity gossip and all things linked to the digital era. Given, it’s not the first song to ever tackle such topics. But it will most definitely keep listeners engaged thanks to its combination of music and lyrics. Again, each member of the band does his part to make this song one of the album’s most pummeling, musically. Bozeman backs up that heavy, grinding sound with his equally grinding vocals, screaming to listeners, “I can’t find it in me to resist and look away/This is where civilization falls/We have been convinced we need this to be entertained/This disease has consumed us all.” If this is indeed an indictment of people’s obsession with the noted topics, Bozeman couldn’t be more right. It really has become a disease of sorts. We are constantly living our lives online more and more. We are becoming more and more obsessed with our favorite celebrities and political figures. It makes one believe that this is truly where civilization finds its end. Bozeman notes himself in the song’s final verse, “Don’t waste your time/We’re already numb/Programmed for the now/And the future is none.” That one line, “programmed for the now” says it all. Our obsession with staying up with all the latest trends, etc. is going to be civilization’s end. Burton C. Bell and his band mates in Fear Factory would definitely be impressed by this piece.

Those that hoped for Whitechapel’s signature death metal sound on this record will be happy to know that the band hasn’t completely branched away from that sound this time out. The band closes its new album with the song ‘Fall of the Hypocrites.’ The band as a whole is razor shard throughout this final salvo. The song’s final verse puts the proverbial nail in the coffin, with Bozeman screaming, “You know who you are/Everyone sees right through those hateful scars/It’s a matter of time before we start to right these wrongs/We can start by using my chainsaw/The tongues come out first/to prevent venomous words/Then we’ll cauterize them and hang you by your necks/Behold the 8th wonder of the world.” Violent? Yes. A bit sarcastic in those final words? Yes. There’ no denying the fury and certainty in Bozeman’s words, either. Together with the song’s equally blistering musical side, it collectively leaves a lasting mark for the band.

‘Fall of the Hypocrites,’ Worship the Digital Age’ and ‘Our Endless War’ are each strong samples of what Whitechapel has to offer listeners on its new album. They aren’t the only positives to this new record. Listeners will each find their own favorite songs when they purchase or order Our Endless War for themselves. It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct from the Metal Blade Records online store at http://whitechapel.merchnow.com/products/173521. It can also be downloaded via iTunes at http://itunes.apple.com/album/id828056300.

Whitechapel is currently touring in support of its new album alongside Devildriver, Carnifex, Fit For An Autopsy, and label mates Revocation and Rivers of Nihil. It will perform today at Plaza Condesa in Mexico City, Mexico before taking a short break to recharge for the next leg of its tour, which begins next Wednesday, May 14th in St. Louis, MO. The band’s tour schedule also brings it to North Carolina this Summer. The band is scheduled to perform at the Tremont Music Hall in Charlotte, North Carolina on Sunday, June 15th. The band’s current tour schedule, news and more is available online at http://www.facebook.com/whitechapelmetal, http://www.whitechapelband.com, and http://twitter.com/whitechapelband. 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.

Numan’s New Album Is A Musical Masterpiece

Courtesy:  Machine Music USA, Inc.

Courtesy: Machine Music USA, Inc.

Veteran musician Gary Numan has shaken up this critic’s list of the year’s best rock and hard rock albums with the release of his latest album, Splinter (Songs From a Broken Mind).  Numan’s new record, his twentieth full length studio release, takes listeners once again into the ever darkening world that he has crafted throughout his more recent releases.  Numan grabs audiences right from the album’s emotionally desolate opener ‘I Am Dust’ straight through to ‘My Last Day’, which closes out the album’s dozen tracks and never lets go.  It may not be the most uplifting album out there.  But the sonic landscapes crafted throughout this near hour-long record make it worth more than just a couple listens.  As a matter of fact, that landscape makes this album a darkhorse candidate to be one of the year’s best new rock or even hard rock albums.

Numan made the completely right choice opening his new album with ‘I Am Dust.’  There is so much that can be said of this song.  The first thing that listeners will take away from this song is the different musical and vocal influences obvious throughout the song.  Numan’s own vocal style in the verses conjures thoughts of Tool/A Perfect Circle/Puscifer front man Maynard James Keenan.  However, when he reaches the choruses, there is almost a mix of Peter Steele (Type O Negative) and Burton C. Bell (Fear Factory) in his voice as he sings, “We are yours/We’re waiting for you/We are yours/We’re waiting for you.”  The Fear Factory and Type O Negative influences can also be heard in the choruses in the song’s musical side.  Numan’s nihilistic lyrics in this song echo that of Trent Reznor circa The Downward Spiral.  He sings, “We all pray for the end/For the God to take us/We were falling down/One by one/We were weak/And the fear/Was all around us/The machines screamed from moon to sun.”  The musical and lyrical combination along with the obvious influences from across the rock world collectively make this song the perfect introduction to Numan for those that might be new to his music and an equally impressive re-introduction for those that are more familiar with his music.

For all of the dark, brooding songs that Gary Numan includes in his new album, he also tackles relationship issues in his own way.  He tackles the subject in the very Nine Inch Nails-esque ‘The Calling.’  Were a person to hear this song on the radio without knowing it was Gary Numan, one might actually think it was Nine Inch Nails because of how close it sounds to Trent Reznor’s work circa The Fragile.  The string arrangements and electronics set against Numan’s brooding lyrics make this song one of this album’s key moments.  Lyrically, there is little to this song.  But even in its few lyrics, Numan captures the emotion of someone that realizes that he or she has been nothing but a pawn in someone else’s game.  He writes in the song’s final verse, “You don’t love me/You don’t know me/Is this some kind of game for you/Is that why you’ve called me?” This is a situation to which plenty of audiences can relate.  Not everyone has gone through the situation presented in this song.

Splinter (Songs From a Broken Mind) is front loaded with more than its share of impressive new material from Gary Numan.  There is not one bad moment throughout the record’s near hour-long run time.  One of the highest of the records high points has already been noted here.  It isn’t the only of the album’s high points, either.  ‘We’re The Unforgiven’ is another of this album’s highest of points.  This song has a very obvious Nine Inch Nails influence both musically speaking and lyrically.  What’s so interesting about that is the contrast of the song’s musical and lyrical sides.  The song’s musical side is powerful to say the least.  That is thanks in large part to the manner in which each verse crescendos before dropping back.  That dynamic contrast alone would make this song work even without lyrics.  But set next to the song’s lyrical side, both the music and lyrics come together to make the song this album’s best song.  He writes about figures that were once great but are now pale shades of themselves.  He writes, “Once there was life/And we were strong/Full of pride/Once we bread fear/And we would take the flesh denied/Once we were gods/And all things knelt before our word/or died.”  Obviously, he is writing metaphorically here.  But the message is still the same. He goes on, writing in the song’s chorus, “Now we’re just a ruin/We were our undoing/We’re the unforgiven.”  This is a powerful statement.  And again, set alongside the song’s musical side, it becomes even more powerful.  Together, they make this song just one more of so many standout moments shared by Gary Numan throughout his new record.  Fans overseas in the Middle East and Europe will get to experience these songs and many more live beginning February 10th in Tel Aviv, Israel.  From there, Numan will make his way into Belgium and across Europe for the next leg of his tour in support of his new album.  Fans can get Gary Numan’s latest tour dates, news, and more online at http://www.facebook.com/GaryNumanOfficial and http://www.garynuman.com.  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.

Gojira Albums To Be Reissued On Vinyl

Courtesy:  Prosthetic Records

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records

Officials with Prosthetic Records have announced that the label is set to reissue the two albums that helped to establish the French tech-death metal band in the metal community worldwide.  The label will reissue From Mars to Sirius and The Way of All Flesh in gatefold double vinyl sets in very limited quantities beginning August 27th

gojira1

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records

Both albums will be reissued to the total number of one thousand copies each.  From Mars to Sirius will be released in three 180-gram variants:  “Eco-green” (600 copies), “Mars Red” (200 copies), and Sea Blue (200 copies).  The Way of All Flesh will be reissued on only two variants: 180-gram Clear (500 copies) and standard-weight blue-white split vinyl (500 copies).  The reissue of The Way of All Flesh marks the first time in three years that the album will be available on vinyl.  The album features a guest spot by Lamb of God front man Randy Blythe and was produced by Logan Mader (Five Finger Death Punch, Devildriver, Fear Factory).  The band toured alongside In Flames and All That Remains in support of this release.  There was even an arena tour with Metallica in support of the album.

Courtesy:  Prosthetic Records

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records

Both The Way of All Flesh and From Mars to Siruis can be pre-ordered now online at http://www.indiemerch.com/prostheticrecords/pre-orders.

To keep up with the latest news from Gojira, fans can follow the band online at http://www.facebook.com/GojiraMusic and http://www.gojira-music.com

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.

Honour Crest’s New EP Will Impress Industrial Rock Audiences

Courtesy: Indianola Records

Honour Crest’s new full length release, Metrics is a work that established fans of this band will likely enjoy.  The Virginia Beach, VA based band continues its tradition of melding electronics and heavier metalcore sounds to make a sound similar to that of Fear Factory, Spineshank, and Crossbreed.  One of the best examples of the band’s abilities on this release is in its new single, ‘Horcrux.’  Not only does it impress with its melding of electronic elements and its more metal side, but lyrically, it breaks the mold of the standard relationship based songs.  Front man Lucas Borza writes in this song, “We cannot give in/No matter what they will tell us/Our hearts were made to withstand/We cannot give in/No matter what/They will test us/and push us/To the very edge/We cannot give in.”  It’s a very empowering song that will appeal not only to younger listeners, but even to older audiences as there will always be those who will test us and push us to the edge, just as the song’s chorus notes.  The combination of this song’s lyrics and music makes it easily one of the best tracks on this release.

The band impresses just as much on the album’s opener, ‘Flux.’  Again, it carries a theme of personal strength mixed with a balance of electronics and harder edged metalcore sounds.  Borza writes in this song, “Stop/Hold your ground/Our enemies can never/Breach these walls/I persevere/In a place that has no cover.”  Again, there is that sense of self assurance and empowerment. That positive message, mixed with the musical backing of the song will make it another fan favorite.

Metrics boasts even more interesting tracks than just this pair.  For example, the pairing of ‘Interlude’, which comes in at just under a minute and a half, and ‘Search and Seizure’ sound like they could have easily fit onto the soundtrack to Disney’s Tron Legacy.  Forget the lyrical content.  The musical side of this combination makes for another high point to this EP.  Metrics is available now in stores and online.  It can be downloaded via iTunes at http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/metrics/id564027702.  Fans will also get the chance to hear the band’s music live as it is touring in support of the new release.  The band will be performing in Richmond, VA today, and then follow that with a home town show tomorrow in Virginia Beach.  The band will also be in Raleigh, North Carolina for its NC based fans on Sunday, November 4th.Fans can get a full tour listing and all the latest from the band online at http://www.facebook.com/honourcrest

To get the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Fear Factory adds one more to the list of 2012’s best metal albums

Static-X, Rammstein, and Spineshank are all some of the bigger names in today’s world of industrial metal.  But if not for Fear Factory, none of those bands–or any other for that matter–likely would have become as famous as they are.  Fear Factory broke industrial metal through as an acceptable standard with the release of its 1992 debut album, “Soul of a New Machine.”  The band built a worldwide fan base from there on, with albums centered on stories of man versus machine.  Now two decades later, Fear Factory continues to pave the way as a leader in both the industrial metal community and the metal community as a whole despite both changes in labels and band members.  Fans will hear that loud and clear on June 5th with the release of the band’s eighth album, “The Industrialist.”

“The Industrialist” is one of Fear Factory’s best album’s to date.  Just as the band’s previous release, “Mechanize” has been compared to “Soul of a New Machine”, “The Industrialist” is easily compared to another of the band’s mega hit albums, “Demanufacture.”  The two albums are very similar both musically and lyrically.  While it doesn’t go the exact same route of man vs. machine, “The Industrialist” does take the route of man using machine to destroy himself and wipe himself off the face of the Earth.  Fans who pick up the special expanded edition of the album will get the full story written by frontman Burton C. Bell in a companion booklet.  The band’s website, http://www.feafactory.com also offers a trailer that explains the premise behind the album’s story.  It’s all the more motivation to pick up the expanded edition and get the entire story behind the album.

Musically, the album is just as crushing not only as “Demanufacture”, but as anything that Fear Factory has written.  The album’s opener sets the tone for what’s to come with its title track.  It’s clearly old school Fear Factory.  From the guitars to the bullet sharp work of new drummer Mike Heller, this track alone will bring out fond feelings of nostalgia among all Fear Factory fans.  As precise as his drumming is here–and throughout the album–one wouldn’t even know that Raymond Herrera wasn’t the man behind the kit.  Another of those moments comes in ‘Depraved Mind Murder.’  Heller’s work on the drums is just as tight on this song.  Of course, he isn’t the only one who impresses.  Vocalist Burton C. Bell and guitarist Dino Cazares have seemingly mended their fences.  And the pair are a force to be reckoned with.  Bells vocals are as strong as ever on ‘Recharger’ and ‘Depraved Mind Murder.’ 

“The Industrialist” is a top notch album from Fear Factory.  The entire band works like…well…a well oiled machine (yes that’s a bad pun).  However, as great as the band works together, the people behind the glass played a hand in the album’s creation, too.  Back on board again is long time producer Rhys Fulber (Frontline Assembly).  Fulber has had his hand on nearly every one of Fear Factory’s records.  That familiarity with the band obviously played a major role in how impressive “The Industrialist” turned out.  Greg Reely (Paradise Lost, Machine Head) mixed the album.  The combination of two such accomplished individuals made for quite the expectations from this album.  And the album more than lived up to said expectations.  Add in the album artwork of Anthony Clarkson (Devin Townsend), and long time fans of Fear Factory will have on June 5th, what is some of Fear factory’s best work to date.

The band is currently on tour in support of its upcoming tour, alongside Shadows Fall on the “Noise in The Machine” tour.  It will be in Winston-Salem tonight at Ziggy’s.  Fans can keep up with the band’s full tour itinerary and more on the band’s website, http://www.fearfactory.com, its Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/fearfactory, and on its Twitter page, http://twitter.com/fear_factory.