Fozzy Reaches Its Peak With ‘Judas’

Courtesy: Century Media Century Media Records

Veteran hard rock band Fozzy launched the latest leg of its “Judas Rising” tour on Friday.  The tour, which currently runs through September 29 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, includes performances in Charlotte and Jacksonville, North Carolina on September 19 and 20 respectively.  The tour’s launch also follows the release of the band’s latest single, ‘Burn Me Out,’ which is taken from the band’s most recent album, Judas (2017).  Judas is an interesting change of pace for Fozzy at least stylistically speaking.  That is not a bad thing, either.  In fact, the change in the band’s sound exhibited in this record is a big part of what makes the record such an interesting new offering.  ‘Painless,’ which comes a little early in the record’s run, is just one example of that welcome change.  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Elevator,’ which comes late in the album’s run, is another example of the change exhibited in the record this time out, and another of the most notable of those examples, too.  It will be discussed a little later.  The full-throttle ‘Wolves at Bay,’ which closes out the album is one more example of the change that is evident in this record that makes it another interesting new effort.  Of course it is not the last of the songs that shows the change from the band this time out.  Keeping that in mind, there are also some more familiar works early on in the record.  When those songs are considered along with the songs noted here and those not noted, the whole of Judas proves to be a record that presents Fozzy at the top of its game.

Veteran hard rock band Fozzy’s most recent full-length studio recording, 2017’s Judas is one of the best albums that this band has released to date.  Simply put, it presents Fozzy at the top of its game.  That is thanks to the growth and change exhibited by the band throughout the album.  The first real sign of that change comes early in the album’s run in the form of ‘Painless.’  Musically speaking, this song is one of the most radio friendly songs that the band has composed to date.  At the same time, it doesn’t sacrifice the hard rock edge for which the band has come to be known in its previous albums in order to achieve that accessibility.  It shows similarities to works from the likes of Breaking Benjamin, Five Finger Death Punch and other similar hard rock acts, showing again, that accessibility.

The song’s lyrical content shows a certain growth, too, as it presents a subject in a distinctly difficult place emotionally and psychologically.  What’s interesting here is that it doesn’t just come right out and give away the situation, perhaps intentionally leaving interpretation to apply to any difficult situation.  This is inferred as front man Chris Jericho sings in the song’s lead verse, “My life trapped in between/A whisper and a scream/A suicide machine of my own making/You medicate my brain/Like needles in my veins/Consumed in your embrace/There’s no escaping/My fix I the misery/Won’t stop till the end of me/I can’t feel anything.”  This alone comes across as perhaps someone dealing with the impacts of drug abuse.  That is just this critic’s own take on this verse, though.  He goes on to sing in the song’s chorus, “Killing me one breath at a time/Caught in your web/I’m paralyzed/So go on and lay me down to rest/You make it painless, painless.”  What’s even more interesting is that later in the song’s third verse, Jericho switches things up even more, singing, “Do you know what it’s like/To be hollow inside my life, my grave/Do you love me enough to finish me off/Don’t leave me here this way?” before reprising the song’s chorus.  At this point, it’s as if Jericho is hinting at a relationship issue making things even more difficult.  Simply put, this song is just as deep lyrically as it is musically.  Keeping that in mind along with the song’s musical arrangement, the song in whole shows quite a bit of positive and welcome growth and change from the band.  That growth makes this song just one example of what makes Judas another strong effort from Fozzy.  It is of course just one of the songs that serves to show that welcome change.  ‘Elevator,’ which comes later in the record’s run, is another example of the change that makes Judas an interesting new offering from the band.

The growth exhibited in ‘Elevator’ comes instantly in its musical arrangement, as it opens with the driving guitar and keyboard lines that open the song.  That combination, which runs through the course of the song, gives the song a little bit of an industrial sound.  It’s a sound that Fozzy has used very rarely, if at all in its past records.  The expert balance of the elements along with the solid time keeping (and Jericho’s vocal delivery) makes for an overall musical arrangement that itself shows even more the change in the band’s musical direction this time out.  When that change is coupled with the song’s lyrical content, the two elements make the song in whole another notable addition to Judas.

Where ‘Painless’ presented someone in a very low place, ‘Elevator’ is the polar opposite so to speak.  Jericho sings here, “Step in/We’re gonna take a ride/To the promised land/Heaven is in our hands/We’ve all been down/There’s only one way out/’Cause when you’re feeling low/There’s only one way to go/I’m your elevator.”  He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “We crawl through dirt/You know we’ve been hurt/Put your faith in me/’Cause I’ve got the golden key/So wave goodbye/I’m gonna get you high/High above the crowd/Nothing can stop us now/I’m your elevator.”  It goes without saying that unlike ‘Painless,’ this song is quite the uplifting piece.  Now whether the song was intentionally supposed to be religious in its wording or if that was purely metaphorical language is left for the band to explain.  That aside, the positive, uplifting message here, coupled with the song’s equally empowering musical arrangement shows even more the change in Fozzy in this record.  That exhibited change shows even more why the record in whole is some of the band’s best work to date.  It still is not the last of the songs to show that noted change and how that change is a positive for the album in whole.  ‘Wolves at Bay,’ the album’s closer, is one more strong example of that change and its positive impact on the album.

‘Wolves at Bay’ stands out – as with the previously discussed songs – in part because of its musical arrangement.  Its opening bars present a thrash metal style approach before switching over to the band’s more familiar melodic hard rock sound a la Sevendust, etc. in the verses.  That thrash metal approach, which again the band has rarely if ever, used returns in the chorus.  The driving energy in the song’s musical arrangement is echoed in its equally powerful and aggressive lyrics.  Jericho sings here, “You like to hunt/Your game is fear/I was the one, your souvenir/This is a fight/The one that you’ve been fighting for/You did incite the call for us to go to war.”  He goes on to sing in the song’s chorus, “Pushing and pushing/Giving me no choice/Humiliate/Intimidate/Until I hit the breaking point/Back to the wall/Keeping the wolves at bay/Fight my way out/’Cause it’s the only way.”  The song continues on lyrically in similar fashion from here.  Simply put, there’s a certain level of aggression and confidence here.  This is someone saying, “back off, you’ve caused me to be this way, and I won’t hesitate to attack if I have to,”  It’s a strong song and an interesting contrast to the album’s opener.  Those powerful lyrics and the song’s equally powerful musical arrangement shows again the change evident from the band in this album.  That welcome change also again shows what makes Judas such a strong new offering from Fozzy.  When it is considered along with the previously discussed songs and the rest of this record, the whole of the album proves to be not just a strong new album, but some of the band’s best work to date.

Fozzy’s new album Judas is some of the band’s best work to date.  That’s because while it does present some familiarity to listeners, it also exhibits continued positive growth and change from the band.  That is exhibited in the song’s discussed here clearly.  When they are considered along with the songs not discussed here, that change becomes even more evident and appreciated.  When it is considered in whole, the result is a record that every Fozzy fan will enjoy.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on Judas, Fozzy’s new tour, its latest news and more is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.fozzyrock.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/fozzyrock

 

 

 

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

Advertisements

Adelitas Way Signs New Management Deal With FM Music Management

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

Veteran rock band Adelitas Way has signed a new management deal.

The band signed a new deal this week with FM Music Management.  The artist management company’s roster includes other big names such as Nonpoint (whose new album X is scheduled to be released this Friday, August 24 via Spinefarm Records), Kataklysm, Through Fire, Royal Bliss, Deadset Society, Keith Wallen, Spoken and others.

FMM Partner/Manager Dino Kourelis talked about the band’s addition to the agency’s roster in a recent interview.  He said he was glad to have the band as part of the agency’s roster.

“We are excited to bring Adelitas Way in to the FM Management family,” Kourelis said.  “Adelitas Way continues to evolve and push the envelope in rock, and and Rick’s [DeJesus — Adelitas Way front man] passion and work ethic is unrivaled.  We look forward to helping them continue to climb.”

DeJesus shared Kourelis’ thoughts.

“My vision for Adelitas Way is clear and the mission is clear,” DeJesus said.  “We are going to continue to master our craft and grow to a point that is part of setting an example for all artists who see our story!  That takes a great team.  I’m excited for Fuel Music/the Vegas Syn to combine powers with an innovative, forward thinking company with my friend Frank Mastalerz leading the way with FM Music Management.  He has built an amazing team of music peers I’ve been working with for many years, and I’m looking forward to more exciting opportunities to grow.  Let’s do what we do best.”

Adelitas Way originally formed in 2006 and released its debut self-titled album in 2009 via Virgin Records.  That record was followed up in 2011 with its sophomore album Home School Valedictorian, which was released, also via Virgin Records.  Stuck, the band’s third album, was released in 2014, and would be its last for Virgin Records.

Its fourth album, 2016’s Getaway, was its first for The Vegas Syn/Fuel Music.  Notorious followed more than a year later in October 2017.  It was also released via the Vegas Syn/Fuel Music.

Adelitas Way’s music has been featured on television in various ways throughout its career.  That includes being featured in various WWE programs (and even in at least one WWE video game) and NFL programs on ESPN and FOX.  It has even been featured in an episode of CBS’ CSIMiami.

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group/Seek&Strike/Spinefarm Records

Adelitas Way will join Fozzy on the road starting this Saturday, August 25 in Birmingham, Alabama for the latest leg of Fozzy’s tour in support of its most recent album Judas (2017).  Also joining the band as suppor for Fozzy are The Stir and Stone Broken, which will be touring in support of its latest album Ain’t Always Easy (released April 13 via Spinefarm Records).

More information on Adelitas Way is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.adelitaswaymusic.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/adelitasway

 

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.

 

 

2018 Monster Energy Rock Allegiance Festival Lineup, Vendor List Announced

Courtesy: Live Nation/Danny Wimmer Presents

Labor Day is generally known nationwide as the end of summer.  It marks the start of fall, students’ return to school and the end of the summer concert season, but thanks to Live Nation and Danny Wimmer Presents, the summer concert series will extend beyond Labor Day this year thanks to one more concert festival this October.

The annual Monster Energy Rock Allegiance festival comes to BB&T Pavilion & Wiggins Waterfront Park in Camden, New Jersey on Saturday, October 6.  Now in its fourth year, the festival will be headlined this year by Avenged Sevenfold, Limp Bizkit and Papa Roach.

Also on this year’s bill are some of today’s and tomorrow’s most notable acts.  They include the likes of Fozzy, Skillet, Of Mice and Men, From Ashes To New, Blacktop Mojo and Stone Broken.  Fozzy’s performance is one of a current string of dates in support of its latest (and seventh) album Judas, which was released just this past October, while Skillet is touring in support of its ninth album, Unleashed (2016).

Of Mice and Men, which released the video for its latest single, ‘Instincts‘ late last month, is touring in support of its recently released fifth album Defy.  That record was released January 19, 2018 and includes the new single.

From Ashes To New’s performance is in support of its latest album, The Future.  The band’s sophomore LP, it was released April 20, 2018 via Better Noise Records.  It can be downloaded and streamed online through various outlets here.  the album’s lead single, ‘Crazy’ is streaming now here.

Blacktop Mojo is currently touring in support of its debut album Burn The Ships which is making waves on rock radio stations nationwide.  It was released December 15, 2017 via Cuhmon Records and includes a powerhouse cover of Aerosmith’s ‘Dream On.’  The band is streaming its full album online now here.

British rock outfit Stone Broken just released its sophomore album late last month via Spinefarm Records.  The album’s latest single, ‘Heartbeat Away,’ which addresses the issue of domestic violence, is streaming online now here.  It comes on the heels of the debut of the lyric video for the album’s lead single, ‘Worth Fighting For,’ which is streaming here.

Tickets for this year’s edition of the Rock Allegiance festival go on sale today, May 11, at noon eastern time at the official Rock Allegiance website. Hotel rates are also listed at the website. General admission lawn tickets start at $39.50 while Reserved Pavilion seating starts at $49.50.  VIP packages start at $169.00.  VIP packages include the following amenities.

Monster Energy Rock Allegiance VIP package amenities include:
  • Access to the GA Pit and/or 100 level tickets for the Main Stage / Pavilion for the headlining four band performances
  • Commemorative Rock Allegiance 2018 VIP laminate
  • Dedicated VIP entrance to the festival
  • VIP hang areas on the Battleship New Jersey and BB&T Pavilion lounge (space limited at each area)
  • Exclusive VIP restrooms and special food and beverage offerings (for additional purchase)

Along with lots of music, this year’s festival will also feature lots of food and drink including sweet and savory treats from: Tony Luke’s Cheesecake, Baby Blues BBQ, Chickies & Pete’s, Lil Trent’s Treats, Nico’s Pizza & More! and Sum Pig Food Truck.

A number of craft breweries will be on hand at the festival, providing refreshment.  They include: 21st Amendment (San Francisco, CA), Dogfish Head (Milton, DE), Foudners (Grand Rapids, MI), Neshaminy Creek (Croydon, PA), Oskar Blues (Longmont, CO), Spellbound (Mount Holly, NJ), Troegs Independent Brewing (Hershey, PA), Unibroue (Chambly, QC) and Victory Brewing Company (Downington, PA).

The Monster Energy Rock Allegiance festival is fueled by Monster Energy and sponsored by f.y.e., Roadrunner Records, Fxck Cancer and SWFTCharge.  More sponsors will be announced in the coming weeks.  The festival is produced by Live Nation and Danny Wimmer Presents.

More information on this year’s Rock Allegiance festival is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.RockAllegiance.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/rockallegiance

 

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.

 

 

 

 

‘inFinite’ Will Live Infinitely As One Of Deep Purple’s Best Works

Courtesy: earMusic

Christmas has officially come and gone.  So has Hanukkah.  The presents have been opened and decorations likely have started being put away.  Even despite that, Phil’s Picks still has some gifts of sorts for everyone out there in the form of some more year-ender lists.  Considering that time is so tight, some of the lists, it turns out, might have to be ignored in favor of some others.  One of the lists that definitely will not be ignored before the year lets out is that of the year’s top new rock records.

The titles included in this list are separate from the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.  Phil’s Picks has a list of those albums on the way. Before getting to that list though, the focus here will be on the year’s top new rock records.  Topping the list of this year’s best new rock records from this critic is Deep Purple’s latest (and likely last) full-length studio recording InFinite.  The album was just recently re-issued with the band’s latest live recording The inFinite Live Recordings Vol. 1 only months after the album’s original release.  The record’s oftentimes blues-based rock arrangements show this band is at the top of its game, even as it seemingly winds down its life.  The lyrical themes exhibited throughout the album are just as interesting as its musical arrangements.  It is definitely a memorable recording that deserves every accolade.

Also on this critic’s list of the year’s top new rock albums is Foo Fighters’ latest effort Concrete and Gold.  This record is more proof of the band’s willingness to try new things and grow on each album and the success that can and does come with that willingness to branch out, rather than churn out the same thing time and again.  It’s just one more of the albums on the list this year.  Also included in this year’s list are new albums from Scale The Summit, Prophets of Rage, John 5 & The Creatures and a number of others.  As with every list from Phil’s Picks, this list features the Top 10 best new albums in its category plus five honorable mention titles for a total of 15 albums.  Now with all of that having been said, presented here is Phil’s Picks 2017 Top 10 New Rock Albums.

PHIL’S PICKS 2017 TOP 10 NEW ROCK ALBUMS

  1. Deep Purple — inFinite
  2. Foo Fighters — Concrete & Gold
  3. Prophets of Rage — Prophets of Rage
  4. John 5 & The Creatures — Season of the Witch
  5. Scale The Summit — In A World of Fear
  6. KXM — Scatterbrain
  7. Dishwalla — Juniper Road
  8. Fozzy — Judas
  9. Hell or Highwater — Vista
  10. Gary Numan — Savage (Songs From A Broken World)
  11. At The Wayside — The Breakdown and The Fall
  12. Leprous — Malina
  13. Royal Blood — How Did We Get So Dark?
  14. Warrant — Louder, Faster, Harder
  15. Horisont — About Time

That’s all for this list.  It is not the last list, though.  There are still lists for the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums, the year’s top new albums and select DVD/BD lists.  As many lists as possible will be posted up from here on out, so stay tuned for all that and more.

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.

Fozzy Debuts New Video Ahead Of Tour’s Launch

Fozzy is giving audiences their first taste of its next album.

The band debuted the video for its new single ‘Judas’ today, which is taken from its next album, whose release date has not yet been announced.  The video features the band performing its new single as it stands surrounded by stacks of amplifiers.  It also boasts a certain element of humor with “stage hands” blatantly holding fans in front of the band to mimic wind while a pair of women stand in the background swinging lights around who eventually move to the fore to dance to the song.

The song itself is a heavy, guitar-driven work that is certain to impress any longtime Fozzy fan.  The lead single and title track from the band’s upcoming seventh full-length studio recording, it will also serve as the theme song for World Wrestling Entertainment’s upcoming NXTTakeover: Chicago pay-per-view on May 20th.  Audiences can experience the song and video online now here.

Courtesy: Century MEdia Records/Loudwire

Fozzy front man and WWE superstar Chris Jericho discussed the video in a recent interview, explaining how the video came to be.

“For such a dark and sexy song like ‘Judas’ we wanted a dark and sexy video to match..and and we got that and more,” Jericho said.  “In one take we filmed a unique, visually stunning masterpiece that combines an incredible song, psycho clowns, how chicks, a man on fire and a great rock n roll band, all I none tasty video morsel.  What more could you want…a giant rabbit holding balloons?  Oh yeah, we’ve got that, too.”

The band’s new song and video are just two of its efforts to promote its new album.  In anticipation of the album’s eventual release, the band will launch its “Judas Rising Tour” beginning Friday, May 5 in Virginia Beach, VA.

The nearly two-month-long tour includes performances at the annual Carolina Rebellion Festival on May 7, River City Rockfest on May 27 and many other dates.  The tour’s full schedule is noted below.  Sons of Texas will serve as support on select dates.

Courtesy: Century Media Records

FOZZY – “Judas Rising” Tour (U.S. Dates)

May 5th – Virginia Beach, VA @ Lunatic Luau*
May 6th – Canton, GA @ The Revival**
May 7th – Charlotte, NC @ Carolina Rebellion*
May 9th – Knoxville, TN @ The Concourse
May 10th – Louisville, KY @ Trixie’s Entertainment Complex
May 11th – Milwaukee, WI @ The Rave
May 12th – Ashwaubenon, WI @ Green Bay Distillery
May 13th – Dubuque, IA @ Courtside Sports Bar & Grill
May 14th – Somerset, WI @ Northern Invasion*
May 16th – Pittsburgh, PA @ Diesel Concert Lounge
May 17th – Lancaster, PA @ Chameleon Club
May 18th – Patchogue, NY @ 89 North Music Venue
May 19th – Asbury Park, NJ @ House Of Independents
May 20th – Winchester, VA @ Blue Fox Billiards
May 21st – Morgantown, WV @ Mainstage Morgantown
May 23rd – Flint, MI @ The Machine Shop
May 24th – Joliet, IL @ The Forge
May 25th – St. Louis, MO @ Fubar
May 26th – Pryor, OK @ Rocklahoma*
May 27th – San Antonio, TX @ River City Rockfest*
May 28th – Dallas, TX @ BFD Festival*
June 24th – Auburn, WA @ Pain In The Grass*

* – Fozzy Only
** – No Sons of Texas

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

 

 

 

Website: http://www.fozzyrock.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/fozzyrock

 

 

 

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.

Fozzy Announces New Live Dates

Courtesy: Century Media Records

Fozzy is returning to the road.

The band announced this week that it will hit the road this spring and summer for the “Judas Rising Tour” beginning May 5 in Virginia Beach, VA.  The band’s nearly two month-long tour will take it through the Midwest, northeast and Southeast and includes a performance a performance in North Carolina’s “Queen City” on May 7.  Kyng and Sons of Texas will serve as support throughout the tour.

The current schedule for the “Judas Rising” tour is noted below.

FOZZY – Judas Rising Tour (U.S. Dates)

May 5th – Virginia Beach, VA @ Lunatic Luau*
May 6th – Canton, GA @ The Revival**
May 7th – Charlotte, NC @ Carolina Rebellion*
May 9th – Knoxville, TN @ The Concourse
May 10th – Louisville, KY @ Trixie’s Entertainment Complex
May 11th – Milwaukee, WI @ The Rave
May 12th – Ashwaubenon, WI @ Green Bay Distillery
May 13th – Dubuque, IA @ Courtside Sports Bar & Grill
May 14th – Somerset, WI @ Northern Invasion*
May 16th – Pittsburgh, PA @ Diesel Concert Lounge
May 17th – Lancaster, PA @ Chameleon Club
May 18th – Patchogue, NY @ 89 North Music Venue
May 19th – Asbury Park, NJ @ House Of Independents
May 20th – Winchester, VA @ Blue Fox Billiards
May 21st – Morgantown, WV @ Mainstage Morgantown
May 23rd – Flint, MI @ The Machine Shop
May 24th – Joliet, IL @ The Forge
May 25th – St. Louis, MO @ Fubar
May 26th – Pryor, OK @ Rocklahoma*
May 27th – San Antonio, TX @ River City Rockfest*
May 28th – Dallas, TX @ BFD Festival*
June 24th – Auburn, WA @ Pain In The Grass*

* – Fozzy Only
** – No Sons of Texas

Front man Chris Jericho said in a recent interview that he was looking forward to getting back on the road after having so much time away from the road with his band mates last year.

“I’m so excited to get back on the lighted stage with Fozzy after taking all of 2016 off,” Jericho said.  “The Judas Rising tour sees a new Fozzy with new music and a killer new stage show, but with the same energy and party vibe that we’ve been bringing to our fans since day one! Come rock with us, drink a beer and show your boobs…whether you’re a girl or a guy!  Fozzy is back…don’tcha dare miss us!”

Tickets and VIP packages for the “Judas Rising Tour” can be purchased online now here.  More information on the “Judas Rising Tour” is available online now along with all of Fozzy’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.fozzyrock.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/fozzyrock

 

 

 

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.

Times Of Pride And Peril Is Another Welcome Return For Holy Grail

Courtesy:  Prosthetic Records

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records

Holy Grail. Has. Returned. Three years after it became one of the metal community’s biggest names with its sophomore album Ride The Void, the Los Angeles-based quintet has returned with an album in Times of Pride and Peril that builds even more on the fame and respect earned through its previous recording. The ten-track album does so by taking the old school, metal sound established on Ride The Void and expanded on it, including a more modern hard rock sound to its body. The combination of those two sounds here makes Times of Pride and Peril not just a solid follow-up to Holy Grail’s breakout sophomore album but also an album that is undeniably one of 2016’s top new hard rock and metal albums. Times of Pride and Peril is currently slated to be released in stores and online on Friday, February 12th.

Holy Grail’s latest full-length studio recording is a solid follow-up to its 2013 breakout sophomore album Ride The Void. It is an album that audiences will agree in hearing its ten total tracks that it is unquestionably one of 2016’s top new hard rock and metal albums. That is evident right off the top in the album’s opener ‘Crystal King.’ This song shows the band–James-Paul Luna (vocals), Eli Santana (lead guitar), Alex Lee (lead guitar), Tyler Meahl (drums), and Blake Mount (bass)–picking right back up where it left off with Ride The Void. The band opens the song with a short, building crescendo before launching full force into the song with Santana, Lee, Meahl, and Mount leading the way. The old school speed metal sound established by the band in this song once again harkens back to the heyday of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and others of that ilk with its dual guitar attack and equally expert time keeping by Meahl. When Luna joins in, his razor-sharp vocal delivery instantly conjures thoughts of legendary Judas Priest front man Rob Halford and Fozzy front man Chris Jericho. In other words Luna’s vocals make him one of metal’s next big true singers if not one of its current biggest. The song’s lyrical content sits against that powerhouse musical content to make clear why ‘Crystal King’ was the perfect choice to open Holy Grail’s new album and why it is also a prime example of just what audiences have to look forward to in this new record. Luna sings here, “It’s just another day out on the battlefield/Proclaiming victory/We conquer all/We’re on the top now/It’s time to strike/We must defend the crown/At any given price/Our dominion never ends/It keeps rolling on and on/And together we’ll ascend/To heights of grandeur/Majesty abound/The taste of glory/Is holier than thou/A heart of valor/Frees a mind of doubt/But if you always win the fight/Do you know wrong from right?” This plays right into the overlaying topic of the band’s new album. The topic in question is that of the rise and fall of an empire. That is not necessarily referencing one empire but different ones. That is especially clear as Luna sings, “The taste of glory/Is holier than thou/A heart of valor/Frees a mind of doubt/But if you always win the fight/Do you know wrong from right?” This comes across as Luna commenting on nations that patrol the world and play world police. Those nations that control everything around the world militarily tend to think that they are in the right. This happens even when there might be some shades of grey in the ethics or moral ground of their actions. This can be argued even more strongly as Luna sings in the song’s second verse, “We got it/We made it/We’ll overthrow/Once we’ve accepted/All the ones that died/We’ll repay the mercy when the enemy’s been crucified.” It is a very telling verse. It comes across as a commentary about brutality begetting brutality–accepting the death of others for the “greater good” and the violence aimed at others in the process. It furthers that discussion on the blind, perhaps clouded mindset of those that have been made to believe their actions are for the good of a whole people. It is a really thought-provoking concept and in turn quite the way to open the band’s new album. Audiences can hear the song for themselves online now via YouTube as the band has just premiered its lyric video online. It can be viewed online via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVn4ENCIy1w.

‘Crystal King’ is a powerful first statement from Holy Grail in its return to the top of the mountain. It is not the only powerful, noteworthy statement from the band either. ‘No More Heroes,’ which is another of the album’s singles, is another powerful, hard-hitting addition to Times of Pride and Peril (TOPAP as it will henceforth be known here). Luna noted of this song in a recent interview that it “is about the evils of tyranny and self-will, where only strength in numbers can persevere.” To be more precise he noted that the concept behind that song is that it is a commentary about the events going on around the world today as a result of tyranny. “Conspiracy or not, heavy s*** is going down in the world, he said, “and we can’t survive battling it alone.” That discussion is illustrated through the song’s lyrical content in which Luna sings, “We’ve reached the point where domination is the law/We’re on the brink of global darkness/No life is worthy/But a pawn in our noble cause/Stomp out the feeble/And the worthless.” While these words sound familiar, it should. It was the view of the brainwashed men who fought for the Nazis in WWII and even now today of those that take innocent lives in the name of terrorism. Again, it illustrates exactly what Luna was saying in his discussion. He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “A savage feast upon the weak at any cost/No sign of mercy for the masses/How about the dignity you had so long ago/Is blood upon your hands as gracious?” The message about the familiar, distressing state of the world in this song is in itself an important part of the song’s whole. That content, set against the song’s power metal musical content, makes the song in whole yet another impressive addition to the album and equally impressive example of what audiences have to look forward to in Holy Grail’s new album. Audiences can hear this song for themselves online now at http://noisey.vice.com/blog/holy-grail-heroes-premiere.

Both ‘Crystal King’ and ‘No More Heroes’ are both key examples of just how much Holy Grail has to offer audiences in its third full-length studio recording. That is thanks to the mix of the songs’ musical and lyrical content. Both songs continue to exhibit the NWOBHM influence on the band in terms of their musical content. In regards to their lyrical content, both equally powerful yet differing statements about what has and continues to happen to the world militarily and politically. While this all works collectively to make both songs important parts of the album’s whole, both songs are hardly the only examples of what audiences have to look forward to in this record. ‘Those Who Will Remain’ is yet another important example of what makes Holy Grail’s new album a welcome return from the band. What makes this song stand out among the album’s songs is that it boasts more of a modern rock sound than most of its counterparts. If one were listening to this song without knowing it was Holy Grail, one would almost think that one was listening to Fozzy. The similarities are that close between the two bands here. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though. It shows that the band has branched out musically in this record. And it isn’t the only song that exhibits that either. That is a story for another time, however. Staying on this song, its musical content is just one part of what makes it stand out so strongly. Its lyrical content is just as important to note as its musical content. Luna seems to sing about self-determination here as he sings, “how do you choose between life and suicide/I’ll try this anyway/And I couldn’t cope…Ready to fight/I will accept my fate/I’ve suffered enough/It’s time to change/Dark in the night/In our eternal flame/The freedom is yours/All the same/To those who will remain.” He goe on to sing in the song’s second verse, “Take it or leave it/The enemy’s nearing/Hungry to feed on the weak and the weary/Marching in stride is the secret to survive/Rise to the top with a fist full of fury…Carry the torch/Just to keep yourself alive.” Everything taken int consideration here, the song in whole could be interpreted as Luna singing about not giving up in life, no matter the difficulties that one faces, be they physical or emotional. Saying that he would rather “walk the maze than die alone” and that “I’ve suffered enough/It’s time to change” support that argument. Of course that is just this critic’s own interpretation. It could, as always, be completely incorrect. So it should not be taken as the only interpretation of the song’s lyrical content. Right or wrong, it plays against the song’s equally powerful musical content and in turn makes the song in whole one more clear example of just what makes TOPAP such a welcome return for Holy Grail and also for the metal and hard rock community in whole. Together with ‘Crystal King,’ ‘No More Heroes’ and the rest of the songs not directly noted here, the whole of TOPAP shows in the end to be a record that is not just a welcome return for the band and its audiences but also a record that is easily one more of this year’s best new hard rock and metal albums.

Holy Grail’s latest full-length album is a welcome return both for the band and for its audiences. That is exhibited from the album’s opener ‘Crystal King’ right to its final number ‘Black Lotus.’ From beginning to end the mix of old school heavy metal and modern hard rock couples with lyrics that will get any listener thinking to make a record that will easily become a favorite of any true metal head. It will be available Friday, February 12th in stores and online. It can be pre-ordered online now via iTunes, Amazon, and the band’s official Bandcamp page. It is also available in a series of limited edition vinyl options. Those options include: Black, Limited-Edition Orange, and Limited-Edition Marble variants. Each vinyl copy of Times of Pride and Peril comes in a gatefold package that includes a color poster/lyric insert and download card. The band will hit the road next month in support of TOPAP beginning February 11th in San Antonio, TX. The forty-date-plus tour also includes a performance at The Milestone in Charlotte, North Carolina on Tuesday, February 23rd. The band’s current tour schedule is listed in whole below.

 

2/11 San Antonio, TX – Fitzgerald’s ^
2/12 Houston, TX – Scout Bar ^
2/13 Dallas, TX – Trees ^
2/14 Little Rock, AR – Juanita’s ^
2/16 Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade ^
2/17 Jacksonville, FL – Jack Rabbits ^
2/18 Orlando, FL – Backbooth ^
2/19 St. Petersburg, FL – The State Theatre ^
2/20 Ocala, FL – O’Malley’s Alley
2/22 Greenville, SC – Gottrocks
2/23 Charlotte, NC – Milestone #
2/24 Virginia Beach, VA – Shakas #
2/25 Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie #
2/26 Boston, MA – Once Ballroom #
2/27 Brooklyn, NY – Saint Vitus #
2/29 Burlington, VT – Nectars #
3/1 Quebec City, QC – Le Cercle #
3/2 Montreal, QC – Foufounes Electriques #
3/3 Toronto, ON – Hard Luck #
3/4 Detroit, MI – Berserker Fest #
3/5 Chicago, IL – Reggies #
3/6 Madison, WI – High Noon Saloon #
3/7 Minneapolis, MN – Triple Rock #
3/8 Fargo, ND – The Aquarium #
3/9 Winnipeg, MB – The Windsor Hotel #
3/11 Saskatoon, SK – Amigos Cantina #
3/12 Edmonton, AB – Brixx #
3/13 Calgary, AB – Palomino #
3/14 Kamloops, BC – The Office #
3/16 Vancouver, BC – The Biltmore #
3/17 Seattle, WA – El Corazon #
3/18 Spokane, WA – The Pin #
3/19 Portland, OR – Panic Room #
3/20 Bend, OR – Volcanic Theatre Pub #
3/22 Santa Cruz, CA – Catalyst #
3/23 San Francisco, CA – Thee Parkside #
3/24 Los Angeles, CA – Viper Room #
3/25 San Diego, CA – Brick by Brick #
3/26 Phoenix, AZ – Pub Rock #
3/28 Salt Lake City, UT – Metro Bar #
3/29 Denver, CO – Marquis Theater #
3/30 Kansas City, MO – Riot Room #
4/1 Indianapolis, IN – 5th Quarter #
4/2 Newport, KY – Southgate House #

^ with Marty Friedman
# with Black Tusk

More information on Holy Grail’s upcoming album is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and tour updates at:

Website: http://www.holygrailofficial.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/holygrailband

 

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.