Dee Snider, Lizzy Hale Partner For Hard Rock Holiday Tune

Courtesy: Atom Splitter PR

Dee Snider has partnered with Lizzy Hale for a new version of Snider’s holiday song, ‘The Magic of Christmas Day.’

The song is scheduled for release Nov. 13 through BFD/The Orchard. Pre-saves are open.

Snider offered some history behind his song during a recent interview.

“Originally written and recorded as a Christmas gift for my wife Suzette with no plan for commercial release, years later ‘The Magic of Christmas Day (God Bless Us Everyone)’ was discovered and recorded by Celine Dion for her holiday record These Are Special Times, which went on to become the biggest selling holiday album in history — and is the reason we refer to her as ‘Saint Celine’ in my house,” he said. “When it was recently suggested that I should finally record this song myself, I knew I needed to bring in a young powerhouse vocalist to not only duet with me, but light a Yuletide fire under my ass! I only knew of one rock vocalist who could deliver on all those fronts, and she did in spades: the incredible Lzzy Hale of Halestorm!” 

Hale offered her own comments, expanding on Snider’s statements.

“If you’re ever in your life gonna go full on, all gas, no brakes ‘Christmas Cheer,’ you do it Dee Snider-style. I was so honored to get the call from Dee on his holiday classic ‘The Magic of Christmas Day.’ After exchanging a few very affectionate ‘f@&k yous’ as we rediscovered our respect and admiration for each other’s talent, the final recording produced by the legendary Jeff Pilson is insanely epic. Thank you so much to everyone for having me. And considering we will ALL be experiencing a very different holiday season in 2020, I hope that this song brings you joy and puts a smile on your face. God bless us everyone!”

More information on the forthcoming release of Snider’s song is available along with all of his latest news at:

Websitehttp://deesnider.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/facedeesnider

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/deesnider

More information on Halestorm is available along with all of Lizzy Hale’s news at:

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/LZZYHALE

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

Devilskin’s New Album Could Be A Green Light For The Band’s Rise To Fame

Courtesy: Devilskin Ltd.

Independent hard rock band Devilskin is officially ready to break into the mainstream.  Given the right support, this Kiwi quartet could easily become one of the next big names in the hard rock community.  That is proven through the group’s brand new album Red, which offers audiences quite a bit to appreciate from its musical and lyrical content.  That is proven in part late in the album’s 48-minute run in the form of ‘Be Like the River,’ which will be discussed shortly.  ‘All Fall Down,’ which comes early in the record’s 12-song run, is another way in which the record proves its strength.  It will be addressed a little later.  ‘The Victor’ is an unexpected but welcome way in which the album shows its strength, too.  Together with ‘All Fall Down,’ ‘Be Like The River’ and the rest of the album’s songs, the record in whole proves itself to be worthy of being called one of this year’s top new independent albums.

Devilskin’s new album Red is a strong new offering from the independent hard rock outfit.  That is thanks to musical arrangements that will reach a wide range of hard rock and metal fans and lyrical themes that will reach just as many listeners if not more.  One of the most notable of the album’s songs comes late in the record’s run in the form of ‘Be Like the River.’  This song’s straight forward southern  sludge rock sound immediately lends itself to comparisons to the best works of Clutch, Corrosion of Conformity and Texas Hippie Coalition.  That is obvious in the sound from the combination of the song’s guitars and singer Jenny Skulander’s vocal delivery.  The result of those elements (and the solid time keeping and bass) is a work that will instantly grab listeners and keep them engaged and entertained right through the end of its four-minute, 15-second run time.  The heaviness and bite in the song’s arrangement is also notable because of how well it accompanies the song’s lyrical theme, which is clearly an encouragement to everyone to never give up.

The noted theme is presented right from the song’s outset as Skulander sings, “Be like the river and cut through the stone/Fight like a lion defending his home/Be like the river and cut through the bone/Never afraid that you’re ever alone/Be like the river when your soul is free/Your body will follow the flow of the stream/Be like the river when these times are hard/And gather yourself in these times we’re apart/Beneath the veneer/They get close to the nerve/And the layers of lies/And the filth they deserve/beneath the veneer, they get under the skin/And the layers of lies/And the b****** they keep within.”  She continues in the song’s second verse, “Be like the river and the stars up in space/We’re touched by the beauty/And we’re touched by the grace/Be like the river and flow from the stream/And one day you’ll be a part of the sea.”  This is all very positive.  In a time when there is so much adversity around the world for a variety of reasons, a song, such as this, with its heavy music and its encouraging lyrical content is welcome and so needed.  It is just one of the songs that stands out in the bigger picture of Red.  ‘All Fall Down,’ which comes early in the album’s run, is another key addition to the album.

‘All Fall Down’ presents a musical arrangement that is distinctly different from that of ‘Be Like The River.’  Whereas ‘Be Like The River’ boasted a clear southern sludge rock sound, ‘All Fall Down’ presents a more modern hard rock tinge in its arrangement.  Its sound is easily likened to music from Halestorm.  The fire in the song’s musical arrangement plays well into the song’s seeming social commentary in its lyrical theme.

The seeming social commentary is inferred as Skulander sings in the song’s lead verse, “Fear will make you follow/Today into tomorrow/Pride too hard to swallow/Your heart and soul are hollow/Life’s a deadly game/Again, again, again, again/And now you play the sacrifice/Another life for Jesus Christ/We all fall down.”  She continues in the song’s second verse, “Where the hell’s the help/We need to break the spell/Release us from ourselves/And give us truth to tell.”  She adds in the song’s final line, “Tide is quickly drowning and we’re all about to drown/To a man we make a stand/And then we all fall down.”  It should be noted here that yes, Jesus Christ is mentioned here, but that does not mean this is an anti-religious statement, specifically.  Rather, it is more a commentary encouraging people just to think for themselves.  That is made clear as Skulander notes in both of the song’s verses, and even the chorus.  Any time people are encouraged to not become sheep, and to think for themselves, that is a good thing.  To that end, that statement, coupled with the song’s unique musical arrangement makes the song in whole another clear strong point from Red.  It is just one more of the album’s most notable works.  ‘The Victor’ is yet another key addition to the album.

‘The Victor’ is a very interesting song as its musical arrangement stands out just as much from the other songs noted here as they do from one another and from the rest of the album’s works.  This is another modern rock song arrangement, and while it boasts similarities to certain other acts, its arrangement, which is founded this time by Skulander’s vocal delivery, it still boasts its own identity apart from those songs and from the other songs featured in this record.  The guitars, bass and drums build on that foundation formed by Skulander’s vocals, fleshing out the song even more.  The approach taken, with its upbeat vibe, works well with the song’s lyrical content, which is intriguing in its own right.

The lyrical theme in this song is interesting.  It comes across as its own positive, uplifting piece, this time perhaps focusing on someone who has been through some kind of tragedy, only to be comforted by someone who responded to said tragedy.  This is inferred as Skulander sings in the song’s lead verse, “You hurt too much to understand/An instant and your life has changed/I whisper words to soothe your pain/A stranger’s arms to hold you now/An instant and your life has changed/I whisper words to soothe your pain.”  She continues in the song’s chorus, “And it’s so obvious that you’re so scared/You’re hurt too much to understand/’Cause I’m still here/You’re hanging on my every word/Broken, bleeding in the dirt/And you’re still there/Holding tight with all you’ve got/Clinging on to life and hope.”  Going back through this, that seeming message would seem to hold water.  It becomes even more possibly the case as Skulander sings in the song’s second verse, “Glass like diamonds on the road/An instant changes everything/I whisper words to soothe your pain/I hold your hand/I won’t let go/Brave as you could ever be/Hold on now and trust in me.”  It can be inferred at this point that maybe the inferred tragedy was perhaps a motor vehicle collision.  From here, the song returns to its chorus once again before adding in the final lines, “Heart to heart/We’re only human/Take my hand and we’ll get through this.”  That last line gives the song even more of a positive point.  It is as if that person is comforting the victim, reminding that person that it will be possible to get through the worst.  It is obviously a distinctly different matter from that presented in the record’s other songs.  When it is coupled with the song’s musical arrangement, the two elements together make the song in whole stand strong on its own merits and prove once more why the album in whole is well worth hearing.  That is proven even more when the song is considered alongside the rest of the album’s songs.  All things considered, they make Red one of this year’s top new independent albums.

Devilskin’s new album Red is a production that definitely is anything but cursed.  Rather, it is a strong new offering from the band that with the right support, could be the start of the band’s rise to fame domestically.  That is proven through the record’s musical and lyrical and musical content.  All three of the songs addressed here support that statement.  The same can be said of the album’s other works, too.  All things considered, they make Red a work that could be a bright green light for Devilskin’s rise to fame.  Red is available now.  More information on Red is available online along with all of Devilskin’s latest news is available online at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.devilskin.co.nz

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/devilskinNZ

 

 

 

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Devilskin Debuts ‘Corrode’ Video

Courtesy: TAG Publicity

Independent hard rock band Devilskin debuted the video for its latest single this week.

The band debuted the video for its new single ‘Corrode‘ Thursday.  The song is taken from the band’s forthcoming album Red.  The album is scheduled for release April 3.

The video for ‘Corrode’ presents the band performing its new single against a red, liquid wall of sorts, through which doubles of the band also perform the song.  At some points in the video, figures dressed in hazardous materials suits are seen walking down a hall, sometimes led by vocalist Jennie Skulander.

The song’s musical arrangement presents a sound that lends itself to comparisons to works from the likes of Halestorm.  The song’s lyrical content addresses the struggles of dealing with very negative thoughts and emotions, according to information in a news release distributed about the video.

The document states the song’s lyrical theme focuses on “being completely overwhelmed and submerged in grime and stress; Fighting your way through it all and rising to ask for help.”

‘Corrode’ is available to download and stream here. The song is the third single to come from Red.  The album has also spawned the singles All Fall Down’ and ‘Endo.’  The album’s full track listing is noted below.  The links to the videos for ‘All Fall Down’ and ‘Endo’ are included in the listing.

Track List:
1. Do You See Birds
2. All Fall Down
3. Corrode
4. Eyes Red Heavy
5. Same Life
6. The Victor
7. Bllod & Bone
8. Endo
9. Bright Eyes
10. Sweet Release
11. Be Like the River
12. Everybody’s High But Me

Devilskin bassist Paul Martin talked about the creation of Red — the band’s fourth full-length studio recording — in a recent interview.

“We really took our time with Red,” he said.  “We had the vision and we knew it had to be done right.  The songs each have so much life, and we felt a real duty to do them justice.  There are some really personal and very real moments on this album.  We absolutely did not hold back.  There are songs about struggle, depression, suicide and loss, and there are songs about strength, hope, victory and love.  We demoed almost 30 songs for this album, so we had a lot of work to do to narrow the list down.  One of the last songs we wrote, it almost missed the cut, too, but the throat punch we call ‘Do You See Birds’ opens the album and sets the tone on a real rollercoaster of a ride.  We felt it was especially important to give the listener a total immersive experience from start to finish.  There’s lots of mood, colour and texture in the songs as well as between them.  It’s a trip.”

Pre-orders are open now for Red.  The album will be available physically, digitally and on vinyl.

More information on Devilskin’s new single, album and more is available online at:

 

Website: http://devilskin.co.nz

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/devilskinNZ

 

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

Mark Morton Plots Release Of New EP, ‘Ether’

Courtesy: Rise Records/BMG

Mark Morton has another record on the way.

Morton, who spends most of his time with metal outfit Lamb of God, is scheduled to release his new EP Ether in January through Rise Records/BMG. The EP’s release date will be announced soon. The five-track record’s lead single ‘All I Had To Lose,’ which features a guest appearance by Mark Morales (Sons of Texas) is scheduled to debut Jan. 10.

The EP’s release comes almost a year after the release of his solo debut Anasthetic, which was released March 1 through Spinefarm Records.

Morton talked about the EP’s impending release in a recent interview.

“I’m thrilled to announce the upcoming release of my new, five-song EP Ether on Rise Records!,” he said.  “Once again I’ve had the great pleasure of working with some amazingly talented artists and friends to assemble this collection of tunes, all of which feature a strong acoustic guitar component.  Inspired by the acoustic sets I had the opportunity to perform last spring and summer in support of Anasthetic, I began writing some new songs to reflect that more mellow vibe.  I’m stoked with the results and I can’t wait for everyone to hear what we’ve been putting together.  I’ll be debuting these tunes on my upcoming U.K. acoustic tour, so you can hear them live before they’re released anywhere else!”

Morton also discussed working with Morales and the EP’s other guests — Lizzy Hale, John Carbone and Howard Jones — on the EP.

“I continue to be honored to have the chance to work with so many incredibly talented people and I remain beyond grateful to the fans that have come alongwith me and supported these projects.  Thanks so much, everyone!”

Ether‘s track listing is noted below.  The record was produced by Josh Wilbur (Lamb of God, Soulfly, Gojira).

Ether tracklisting:
1. All I Had To Lose (featuring Mark Morales)
2. The Fight (featuring John Carbone)
3. She Talks To Angels (featuring Lzzy Hale)
4. Love My Enemy (featuring Howard Jones)
5. Black (featuring Mark Morales)

The U.K. dates that Morton mentioned are listed below.

MARK MORTON UK tour dates:
1/8 – Bristol, UK @ Thekla
1/9 – Manchester, UK @ Academy 3
1/10 – Glasgow, UK @ Cathouse
1/11 – Birmingham, UK @ O2 Academy 2
1/12 – London, UK @ Camden Underworld

More information on Morton’s new EP, tour dates and more is available online at:

 

Websitehttp://markmortonmusic.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/markmortonmusic

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/MarkDuaneMorton

 

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

 

 

 

Reign Of Z Debuts ‘Reflections’ Video

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

Alt-rock metal band Reign of Z debuted the video for its latest single this week.

The band debuted the video for its single ‘Reflections’ on Tuesday via PureGrainAudio.com and YouTube.  The single is taken from the band’s debut EP Mirrors and Memoirs.  The record, produced by Steve Sopchak (Ice Nine Kills), is scheduled for April 19.

Vocalist Zosia West talked about the EP in a recent interview.

“This is the most exposed songwriting I’ve written up to this point,” West said.  “Each song was written at different ages in my life and reformatted for listeners.  Experiences from 8, 16, 24 and present.”

West added, “Our experiences have allowed us to create a world where we find solace and comfort, and allows us to be who we are and whoever listens and follows.”

The video for the new song presents vocalist Zosia West being restrained on a table by her band mates — Steven Lords (guitar), Zach Cunningham (guitar) and Stephen Berg (bass) — as she struggles to be released.  Meanwhile, her band mates work to hold her back so that an unidentified fluid can be pumped into her.  That footage is crossed with footage of the band performing its new single against a darkly lit backdrop.

Musically, the song’s arrangement lends itself to thoughts of Halestorm, Amy Lee and even Otep to a slightly lesser degree.  Lyrically, the song comes across as a commentary about an emotional battle that West at one time fought with herself.

‘Reflections’ can be purchased now via Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon.

Reign of Z is scheduled to perform live Apr. 27 in Millvale, PA in support of Mirrors and Memoirs.  More information on the show is available along with information on the band’s new video, EP and more at:

 

Website: http://www.reignofz.com

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

 

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.

 

 

 

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.

This Is Your Life Is Not Just Another Throw-Away Tribute Album

Courtesy:  Rhino Records

Courtesy: Rhino Records

Tribute albums are a dime a dozen. So many tribute albums are released each year that one can’t help but feel that the labels that release them care more about their bottom line than about actually celebrating said artists being given tribute. That being the case, one can’t help but wonder why This Is Your Life, the new tribute album to iconic rock front man Ronnie James Dio, would be any different from those records. The answer to that is not a simple one. One reason that this tribute album stands out is the list of performers and bands that recorded songs for the compilation. It’s a who’s who of hard rock from the past, present, and even future of the genre. Another reason that this compilation stands out is its track listing. This record boasts some of the most beloved songs of RJD’s career. And last but definitely not least important to consider in this record is the fact that it isn’t just a means for the label distributing it to make money. It actually doubles as a fundraiser for RJD’s Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund. So it’s actually a record crafted to essentially help give back. How many bands, artists, groups, etc. can say that they have crafted an entire album simply to raise funds for charity? That–along with the list of songs and performers, bands, etc. on this album–makes This Is Your Life an album that stands well above the rest of the otherwise throw-away albums claiming to be tribute albums.

Courtesy:  Rhino Records

Courtesy: Rhino Records

The primary aspect of This Is Your Life that makes it stand out against all of the other tribute albums out there is the list of performers drafted to record songs for the record. The list of performers drafted for this record is a who’s who of hard rock’s past, present, and even future. It wasn’t just a mish-mash of bands, artists and groups tossed together. Everybody tapped to record for this tribute record is either a counterpart to RJD or someone that grew up idolizing him and his talents. Veterans such as Anthrax, Motorhead, Scorpions, Biff Byford, and Rob Halford perform alongside younger acts such as Adrenaline Mob, Killswitch Engage, and Halestorm over the course of the record’s fourteen total tracks. That collection of bands and artists singing Dio’s hits is in itself a musical history lesson. It introduces younger audiences that might be more familiar with the latter grouping of bands and artists to the veterans and to the music of Dio. To that extent, This Is Your Life quickly earns major points. Even more points come from the sampling of Dio’s music in question chosen for this compilation.

The list of bands, artists, and groups tapped to record RJD’s music for This Is Your Life is in itself a major boon for the record. As noted, it isn’t just a mish-mash of bands, artists, and groups. It is a collection of bands, group, and artists that played alongside Dio during his career, and those that have come since, growing up with the music of Ronnie James Dio. In short, it’s a collection of individuals that have the utmost respect for Dio and his music. Speaking of that music, the songs chosen to be included on this record are another part of the whole that makes it so enjoyable for listeners. Every song on this record is a classic in its own way. From the more well-known pieces such as ‘The Mob Rules’, ‘Neon Knights’ and ‘Holy Diver’ to slightly lesser known songs such as ‘Straight Through The Heart’, Egypt (The Chains Are On’, and ‘Temple of the King’ This Is Your Life does quite the job of chronicling the career of a man that was and is still even in death, one of the greatest vocalists and performers in the history of hard rock.

The music and performers chosen for This Is Your Life are both key components of the success of the album. As important as they are to the success of the record, there is still one central aspect of the recording that makes it so worth picking up. That aspect is the fact that a certain portion of the sales of the album will go to benefit Dio’s Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund, which was established by Dio’s wife Wendy Dio. Bands, groups and artists go out on tour every year or they take part in fundraising concerts. How many artists can say they were part of a recording project that was also meant as a way to pay tribute to one of their own, too? It’s just like bringing home a hard rock festival without having to pay the exorbitant prices for tickets, souvenirs, sodas and more. And at the same time, audiences that purchase the album will actually be helping to fund an organization that works to research and promote awareness of cancer, as well as educate people about early detection in hopes of one day stopping it.

This Is Your Life is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Ronnie-James-Dio-This-Your/dp/B00IACUO8S/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1396440364&sr=1-1&keywords=dio+this+is+your+life and can be downloaded via iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/ronnie-james-dio-this-is-your/id829325064.

More information on Ronnie James Dio, This Is Your Life and other RJD releases is available online at http://www.facebook.com/OfficialRonnieJamesDio and http://www.ronniejamesdio.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 reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

AX7 Makes Its Case For One Of 2013’s Best With Hail To The King

Courtesy:  Warner Brothers Records

Courtesy: Warner Brothers Records

Avenged Sevenfold has officially made its case for its place on the list of this year’s best new hard rock and metal albums with the release of its sixth full length release, Hail to the King.  The album is ten tracks of pure hard rock that will most certainly impress the band’s fans new and old alike.  The main reason for this success is the fact that this is very much a guitar driven record.  Front man M. Shadows’ vocals are as strong as they have ever been.  And the guitar work of Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance is equally impressive.  Whether in their solos or their primary duties, the pair exhibits its talent from one song to the next throughout the record.  Listeners should not forget new drummer Arin Ilejay more than holds his own, having taken over from the band’s former drummer Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan.  The unit as a whole has crafted an album that shows even in the face of its previous tragedy has overcome that tragedy to successfully reclaim its place in the hard rock community once more.

One of the very first things that listeners will appreciate from this album is its obvious old school influences.  From the album’s hard rocking opener, ‘Shepherd of Fire’ to its final number, ‘Acid Rain’, the entire album exhibits hints of influences from the likes of Metallica, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and even Motley Crue to a lesser degree.  The driving guitars throughout the songs and the equally soaring solos from Synyster Gates and Vengeance show such a certain respect and reverence for their influences.  Listeners can hear obvious Metallica influences in ‘This Means War’ and ‘Shepherd of Fire.’  And the album’s lead single and title track is just one of a number that boasts influences from the likes of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest.  And fans of Motley Crue will appreciate the band’s seeming influence on the hard driving, semi-socially conscious, ‘Doing Time.’  Should audiences listen closely enough, they might even hear what sounds like the one and only Axel Rose guesting on the song.  It might not in fact be him.  But even if it isn’t him, it certainly sounds like him.  Regardless of whether or not it was him, the discussion that speculation would generate is enough to make this one more positive for the album’s overall effect.

The members of AX7 pay due respects to the bands that have come before them throughout all ten songs on its sixth new full length release.  Those influences are just one part of what makes this record so impressive whether this album is one’s first time being exposed to Avenged Sevenfold or one’s fiftieth.  It’s not all that audiences will appreciate from this album.  Along with the old school influences, audiences will also appreciate the lush orchestra arrangements included in a number of the album’s songs.  The album’s opening number boasts a solid horn arrangement alongside some very dark sounding church bells.  The effect of these elements combined with the rest of the song’s musical side makes it a solid and impressive re-introduction for the band.  Other songs tout some very moving string arrangements that make said songs so much more moving, even in the album’s less hard rocking moments.  The balance of these musical elements makes every song on Hail to the King worth the listen.  And in the long run, it’s that balance of musical elements and influences that makes this album one of AX7’s best yet.  It also makes this album an easy contender for a slot on the list of the year’s best new hard rock and metal records.

Avenged Sevenfold is currently touring in support of its upcoming album.  It will perform Monday in Los Angeles, California’s Hollywood Palladium.  It will follow up that performance with a performance next Friday, August 30th in Albuquerque, NM at the Isleta Amphitheatre.  It will join Korn, Device, and Halestorm for the show there.  A full list of the band’s current tour dates is available online now, along with all of the latest updates from the band at http://www.facebook.com/AvengedSevenFold and http://avengedsevenfold.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.

Draiman, Device Far From Being Disturbed

Courtesy:  Warner Brothers Records

Courtesy: Warner Brothers Records

David Draiman is one of the most well known vocalists in the rock community today.  His animalistic sounding growls and seemingly Maynard James Keenan inspired vocal style make his a voice that is instantly noticeable when listeners hear it.  The problem is that just as Keenan’s side project, A Perfect Circle, was instantly compared to Tool because of Keenan’s iconic vocal style, so has Draiman’s new side project, Device, been compared to Disturbed.  While the first pair of tracks on Device’s self-titled debut do bear some semblance to material recorded by Disturbed, that similarity begins to fade early on.  The album’s third song, ‘Vilify’ has more of a pure rock sound.  Right from its opening verse, it impresses just as much lyrically as musically.  Draiman sings defiantly as the song opens, “As you vilify/Every single move that I make/And try to bind me/In your insanity/You’ll come to know/That you never had control/from the onset/Go find another lapdog, f***er.”  The defiance doesn’t stop here.  The verbal assault against those who would run their mouths seemingly just to run their mouths runs nonstop through the song with full on intensity that is sure to get the blood and body flowing.

If there was still any question of comparison to Disturbed even in ‘Vilify’, then those comparisons will be erased even more in the album’s very next song, ‘Close My Eyes Forever.’ Some might cringe at this, but it almost comes across as a ballad style piece, especially with the addition of vocalist Lzzy Hale (Halestorm) give it even more of that sense.  And if that’s not proof enough, one need only look at the song’s lyrical content as argument for that comparison.  Lyrically speaking, it comes across as a song of lost love.  Draiman and Hale sing here, “I know I’ve been so hard to you/I know I’ve told you lies/If I could have just one more wish/I’d wipe the cobwebs from my eyes.”  This one song isn’t reason for anyone to worry, as it’s the only time through the course of the album’s ten tracks that the album’s intensity drops off. 

The intensity built early on in Device’s self-titled debut picks back up not long after ‘Close My Eyes Forever.’  What’s more, as the intensity rebuilds through the album’s second half so does the separation of Device from Disturbed.  It all starts on ‘Out of Line.’  This socio-political piece offers a solid mix of electronics and heavy, foot-stomping, head banging guitar breaks that would make any metal purist proud.  And the inclusion of Serj Tankian’s (System of a Down) equally distinct vocal style adds even more musical flavor to this song.  One can’t ignore the addition of Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath) on this track, either.  The mix of music, star power, and lyrical heaviness makes it just one more of so many tracks from which listeners will be able to choose as a favorite.  The intensity and separation from the band members’ primary bands builds even more in ‘Opinion.’  The guest guitar work of Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine) is surprisingly unlike what Morello has recorded with his other side projects.  And it definitely helps to maintain this song’s identity from anything even remotely related to Disturbed.  It is one of those pieces that has to be heard to fully understand this.

If the guest appearances from Tom Morello, Geezer Butler, and Serj Tankian aren’t enough to convince listeners as to the identity of Device, then perhaps ‘War of Lies’ and the album’s closer, ‘Through It All’ will do the job.  The heavy bass and vocals from Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple) mixed with Draiman’s vocals make this one of the album’s more surprisingly interesting songs.  That’s because of the fact that the song starts off very slow and deliberate.  But a little more than halfway through the song, it picks up, and carries the listener up to the song’s final fading moments.  Those moments are just subtle enough to allow listeners to catch their breath after the musical rollercoaster on which they have just taken a ride.  And having caught their breath, any listener that went into this album thinking it would be just another Disturbed record will have seen that that belief was in fact completely wrong.  While it might have started out with some similarity to Disturbed, that similarity is soon erased, and a new band with a sound that bears only the slightest closeness to the prior arises.  It definitely turns out to be a record that any fan of Disturbed and any hard rock fan in general will want to check out at least once.   

Device is currently touring in support of its self-titled debut.  Among some of its more notable scheduled concert dates are performances at the “Welcome to Rockville” Festival on April 28th in Jacksonville Florida, the Carolina Rebellion Festival in Rockingham, North Carolina on May 4th, and the famed Rock on the Range Festival in Columbus, Ohio on May 19th.  The band has even more dates that audiences can find out about when they “Like” Device on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Devicetheband.  Audiences will also find a link to download the band’s album via iTunes on the Facebook page.  That link is http://smarturl.it/deviceitunes for those that may not be able to get to the band’s FB page.

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.

Performance Times Released For Annual Festival

Courtesy:  Ashton-Magnuson Media

Courtesy: Ashton-Magnuson Media

Organizers of the annual “Welcome To Rockville” Festival presented by Monster Energy have released more information on this year’s festival.  2013 is the festival’s third year being held.  Performance times for bands on each stage have officially been released.  The “Monster Energy Main Stage East” opens with a performance by Pop Evil at 12:40pm.  Pop Evil will be followed by All That Remains, Halestorm, Papa Roach, Stone Sour, and headliners Alice in Chains.  Alice in Chains takes the “Monster Energy Main Stage East” at 9:45pm.  The “Monster Energy Main Stage West” is just one of the many stages from which audiences have to choose during the festival.  A full listing of bands and performance times is available below.

Saturday, April 27

Monster Energy Main Stage East

12:40 PM         Pop Evil

2:05 PM           All That Remains

3:35 PM           Halestorm

5:25 PM           Papa Roach

7:25 PM           Stone Sour

9:45 PM           Alice In Chains

 

Monster Energy Main Stage West

12:05 PM         Young Guns

1:20 PM           In This Moment

2:50 PM           Asking Alexandria

4:30 PM           Bullet For My Valentine

6:20 PM           Three Days Grace

8:30 PM           Limp Bizkit

 

Emerging Artist Stage

Noon                Rockville Rumble Winner

1:00 PM           Hell Or Highwater

2:10 PM           Gemini Syndrome

3:20 PM           Whitechapel

4:45 PM           Otherwise

6:20 PM           Escape The Fate

 

Jax Live Stage

11:30 AM         Rockville Rumble Winner

12:30 PM         Edens Fill       

1:40 PM           Rockville Rumble Winner

2:50 PM           Rockville Rumble Winner

4:05 PM           Stars In Stereo

5:35 PM           MonstrO

7:25 PM           Rockville Rumble Winner

 

Sunday, April 28

Monster Energy Main Stage East

11:45 AM         Red

12:55 PM         Saving Abel

2:30 PM           Filter

4:10 PM           Skillet

6:05 PM           3 Doors Down

8:35 PM           Lynyrd Skynyrd

 

Monster Energy Main Stage West

11:15 AM         Farewell 2 Fear

12:20 PM         Nonpoint

1:40 PM           Steel Panther

3:20 PM           Hollywood Undead

5:05 PM           Buckcherry

7:15 PM           Shinedown

 

Emerging Artist Stage

11:20 AM         Nebraska Bricks

12:20 PM         Soulswitch

1:25 PM           Girl On Fire

2:35 PM           Saliva

3:45 PM           Motionless In White

5:10 PM           Device

6:50 PM           Nothing More

 

Jax Live Stage

11:50 AM         (N)ception

12:55 PM         The Apprehended

2:05 PM           Rockville Rumble Winner

3:15 PM           Rockville Rumble Winner

4:40 PM           Rockville Rumble Winner

6:15 PM           Rockville Rumble Winner

 

The whole party will be preceded by the “Rockville Downtown Experience presented by Corona Light” pre-party on Friday, April 26th.  Two post-show parties will be held Saturday, April 27th.  Admission to these parties is FREE.  Friday’s show will feature Saliva, Evergreen Terrace, and Victr as entertainment.  The bands will perform live at the Underbelly in Jacksonville, FL.  More information on this party is available online at http://www.jaxunderbelly.com.  Saturday’s after-parties will feature performances by DJ Monk and Robert Goodman at 1904 Music Hall in Jacksonville, FL (http://www.facebook.com/1904MusicHall, http://www.1904MusicHall.com) and Icey at the Underbelly.

Fans that attend the festival will have plenty of opportunities to get their CDs, shirts, and more signed by their favorite band(s) at the f.y.e. tent and other onsite locations.  There will also be interactive experiences such as a gaming area and Dave’s Crazy Music Experience.  This experience lets fans find out for themselves what it’s like to make music in a studio environment.  It includes actual guitars, drums, basses, and all the gear used by today’s top acts.

Tickets are still available for this year’s festival.  Prices are listed below.

Single Day General Admission – $59.50 plus fees

Single Day VIP – $134.50 plus fees
2-Day General Admission – $107 plus fees
2-Day VIP – $219 plus fees
2-Day Party Pack (4 weekend tickets) – $357 plus fees

Along with the listed ticket prices, “no service fee tickets” are available at specific Metro PCS locations.  More information on this is available online at http://www.welcometorockvillefestival.com/tickets.html.  A limited number of VIP tickets and hotel packages are still available.  They can be purchased online at http://www.WelcomeToRockvilleFestival.com.  VIP tickets include entrance to all concerts through a VIP entrance, access to VIP lounge featuring dedicated bar, beverage and food service, viewing of the Monster Main Stage (both seated and standing areas), a seated area with shade for dining, private bathrooms and laminated VIP guest pass.    

More information on the “Welcome to Rockville” Festival is available online at http://www.WelcomeToRockvilleFestival.com, http://www.facebook.com/welcometorockville, and on Twitter at @RockvilleFest.

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.