Early this past June, independent rock band The Zealots released its debut full-length studio recording Only Rocks Live Forever. Self-produced by the Iowa-based quintet, this 10-song record is a good fit for any fans of Nothing More, Adelitas Way and Highly Suspect. From start to finish, it offers plenty of interest for said audiences both musically and lyrically. This is evidenced right from the album’s outset in the record’s first full track, ‘Tangerine Dream.’ ‘Sweet Mississippi,’ the record’s closer is another song that supports that statement. It will be discussed a little later. ‘Medicine Man,’ which serves as the album’s midway point, is even more support to that statement. It will also be discussed later. Between the songs noted here and the others not directly discussed, the whole of Only Rocks Live Forever proves to be a record that shows The Zealots could have a very long life given the right and enough support.
The Zealots’ debut album Only Rocks Live Forever is a promising first effort from the independent rock band. It is a record that with the right support and enough support, could help the band have a very long life. This is evidenced early on in the album’s first full song, ‘Tangerine Dream.’ Musically speaking, the song is a solid hard rock piece that is just as radio ready as anything turned out by the bands already noted in this review. Lyrically, it’s just as certain to garner just as much interest and attention. As front man Micah Martin noted in an interview, the song’s lyrical concept centers on a familiar topic of relationships.
“’Tangerine Dreams’ is about the duality of relationships,” Martin said. “They can be amazing, but there are burdens and baggage that comes along with it.” That statement is illustrated in an interesting fashion as Martin sings, “I got the roof on fire/But at least I’m burning up/I’m on the telephone wire/Calling to calm you down/I wrote this down/To remind myself/That I was on the coast/The post-it note will never show the goal.” That duality is evident here as on one end, one person is “living the life” while also having to deal with the baggage of someone having to be calmed down. He goes on to illustrate that message even more in the chorus as he sings, “I will never know (we’ll never know)/Looking high/Looking low/Searching for my own gold.” Again, this is someone trying to live his own life. It is right in tune with the album’s overall theme of chasing one’s dream. When this lyrical element is coupled with the song’s easily accessible musical arrangement, the two elements together they make it a clear example of why this record could help The Zealots have a very long life. It is only one of the songs that supports that statement. ‘Sweet Mississippi,’ the record’s closer also supports that statement.
‘Sweet Mississippi’ closes The Zealots’ album just as solidly as ‘Tangerine Dreams’ opens the album, musically speaking. Looking at the song’s musical arrangement, it’s a good, steady hard rock opus that boasts just enough blues rock influence with its hard rock element to make it a piece that is sure to be just as infectious as any of the album’s other songs. In regards to its lyrical content, it offers just as much interest for listeners. Martin sings here, “Sweet Mississippi/How’s your water now/You take another body/And bury it deep down/Deep down/Digging around you…” He goes on to sing, “Lost and never found/here we are….” There’s even a note of “say it doesn’t hurt.” Now not having a lyrics sheet to reference, it’s difficult to precisely define the lyrics, but from what can be deciphered, this song lyrically is certain to generate plenty of discussion. On the one hand, one could argue that this is a literal statement, maybe talking about something very serious like a crime. On another hand, it could also be argued that the statement of “say it doesn’t hurt” maybe is another reference to a relationship. Regardless of the theme presented here, it can be said that the discussions certain to rise from these lyrics couple with the entertainment offered through the song’s musical arrangement to make the song in whole another strong addition to the band’s debut. It’s just another song supporting that noted statement that this record could help The Zealots have a long life. ‘Medicine Man’ is one more song that serves to support that statement.
Musically speaking, ‘Medicine Man’ is yet another of those songs that is so radio ready and accessible for any mainstream rock fans. Musically, there are touches of Breaking Benjamin coupled with elements of Theory of a Deadman and other similar acts. The balance of the dual guitar approach from Colton Menke and Ryan Housenga with Jeff White’s bass line adds even more enjoyment to the song. Lyrically, the song offers just as much interest as it does musically as Martin seems to present a theme of unity. That seeming theme comes through as he sings in the chorus,” Ear to ear and heart to heart/We’re not that far apart now.” He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “Don’t kick me while I’m down/I feel that victory is near/But I don’t want to be the one to say it/Everyone has lost someone that they can count on, but they can’t take it back now/You gotta look out for number one.” He goes from there to reprise the song’s chorus, singing again, “the fires are fleeting…” Overall this just seems to be a positive song in regards to its lyrical theme. When this is considered with the song’s overall musical arrangement, it presents itself as another of the album’s most notable songs. When it is considered along with the other songs noted here and the rest of the record’s songs, the album in whole proves to be a solid start for The Zealots and a record that could be the start of a long life for this band.
The Zealots’ debut album Only Rocks Live Forever is a strong, solid start for this Iowa-based quintet. From start to end, it offers musical arrangements that are just as radio ready as anything churned out by the band’s more well-known mainstream counterparts. Its lyrical themes are just as accessible and relatable to listeners as those musical arrangements. That is proven clearly in the songs noted here. When they are considered along with the album’s other entries, the album in whole proves to be an easy candidate for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new independent albums list. It is available now. More information on Only Rocks Live Forever is available online now along with all of The Zealots’ latest new and more at http://www.facebook.com/TheZealots.
A little more than a month ago, a little band by the name of Paul Johnson & The About Last Nights released its debut EP Give Up The Ghost. The five track record is the type of presentation that shows how easily today’s unsigned band could be tomorrow’s next big mainstream hit. It shows this through the diversity in its musical arrangements and the depth of its collective lyrical content. From the infectious southern rock riffs and happy-go-lucky lyrics of ‘Hollywood’ to the Foo Fighters-esque arrangement and equally playful lyrics of ‘American Story (Adrenaline)’ to the Jimmy Eat World style arrangement and thoughtful lyrics of ‘Burn It Down’ and beyond, this record is a solid start for Paul Johnson & The About Last Nights. It is a record that leaves listeners hoping this band won’t give up the ghost any time soon.
Paul Johnson & The About Last Night’s debut EP Give Up The Ghost is a strong start for the Mississippi-based unsigned rock outfit. That is due to the solid mix of musical genres on which the band touches over the course of the record’s five-song, 18-minute run and its lyrical content. The record’s penultimate song ‘Hollywood’ is just one of the songs included in this record that supports that statement. The song’s guitar-driven musical arrangement is easily likened to arrangements composed by Black Stone Cherry, Buckcherry, The Black Crowes and other similar acts. Band namesake and vocalist Paul Johnson even conjures thoughts of Buckcherry front man Josh Todd (at least in this critic’s ears) through his vocal delivery here. When that is set alongside the amalgam of musical influences evident in the song’s arrangement, it makes the arrangement instantly infectious and certain to be a fan favorite.
The song’s musical arrangement is only one part of what makes it notable. Its lyrical content, like its musical arrangement also conjures thoughts of the aforementioned acts and will put a smile on any listener’s face with its tribute to all of the things that make the south great. That tribute is evident as Johnson sings, “You know I like to see my toes in the sand/You couldn’t drag me away from Dixieland/Kinda got the feeling you won’t/Just take another breath/Don’t/Don’t take me to Hollywood/Keep me in the south where the weather is good/Southern girls doin’ like they should/Don’t take me/Don’t take me to Hollywood.” He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “I always see how they like to put us down/Don’t really care for the big town/Kinda got the feeling you won’t/Just take another breath/Don’t/Don’t take me to Hollywood.” Plain and simple, this is a tribute to the band’s home state and region, being that the band is from Hattiesburg, Mississippi. That upbeat, playful tribute, when coupled with the song’s musical arrangement makes the song in whole one of the record’s best offerings if not its best. Collectively, they make this song a clear example of what makes Give Up The Ghost such a standout offering and solid start from Paul Johnson & The About Last Nights. It is only one of the songs that serves to support these statements. ‘American Story (Adrenaline)’ is another song that shows why this record stands out.
‘Hollywood’ with its simple title, lyrical content and musical approach is a clear example of what makes Give Up The Ghost a solid first effort from Paul Johnson & The About Last Nights. It musical arrangement and lyrical alike are both so infectious thanks to their simplicity. As impressive as it is, it is only one of the songs included in this record that makes the EP stand out. ‘American Story (Adrenaline)’ is another example of what makes this record worth hearing. As with ‘Hollywood,’ that is due in part to the song’s musical arrangement. The alignment of the song’s guitar and keyboards couples with Johnson’s vocal delivery to instantly conjure thoughts of Foo Fighters. Drummer Zach Lewis’ time keeping adds to that comparison even more. From start to finish, the song’s arrangement easily keeps listeners engaged. It is only one part of what makes the song so enjoyable. The song’s lyrical content is just as important to note as its musical arrangement.
Unlike the lyrical theme presented in ‘Hollywood,’ this song’s lyrical theme clearly centers on a woman. That is inferred easily in the song’s chorus in which Johnson and his band mates sing, “She’s in love/With a fast car/Burn out…./She’s a new American story…little worry. Deciphering the full extent of the words is difficult without lyrics to which one can refer. However, between this and other elements that can be deciphered, it becomes clear that Johnson and company are singing about a woman. That is especially certified in the song’s final moments as the band sings in unison, “She keeps my fantasies alive” All things considered it is clear that the band is paying tribute to a woman or a certain type of woman. It stands completely apart from the theme of ‘Hollywood’ and the rest of the record’s songs, and is just as upbeat as those other themes. Keeping that in mind, when this tribute is set alongside the song’s equally upbeat musical arrangement, the pairing makes the song in whole stand solidly on its own merits; merits that make the song yet another example of what makes the EP such a surprise. It is not the last of the songs that stands out on the record either. ‘Burn It Down’ is notable, too.
‘Hollywood’ and ‘American Story (Adrenaline)’ both show in their own way that Give Up The Ghost is one of this year’s top new EPs. The songs’ musical arrangements and lyrical themes stand out from one another just as much as they do the record’s other featured songs. As much as they stand out, they are not its only key compositions. ‘Burn It Down’ is one more of the record’s key songs. As with the previously discussed songs, that is due in part to the song’s arrangement. This time around, listeners minds will go to Jimmy Eat World in listening to this arrangement right from the song’s outset. This critic easily could be wrong, but the song’s lyrical content seems like a coming-of-age story of sorts. That is inferred as Johnson sings in the song’s lead verse, “I dropped out of school to find my way/A dirty kid in football games/A loser on the street/Had a hunger for the underneath/A family divorced too much to bear/The misinformed will meet you there/Like the liars and the delphines/Is there nothing left for a kid to believe…the pain of knowing I may never feel better off than where I started.” The story continues in the song’s second verse and ends with a mention of a “21-gun salute to disobey” in the finale. The song’s chorus, in which the song’s subject seemingly looks back on the past in another way, adds even more depth to the song. When this is all considered along with the song’s musical arrangement, the whole of the song’s musical and lyrical content makes fully clear why this song stands out. Collectively, the depth of that musical and lyrical content—and its distinct identity separate from ‘Hollywood,’ ‘American Story (Adrenaline)’ and the record’s other two songs—shows even more why the EP in whole stands out, too. When it is joined with all of the EP’s other offerings, the record in whole proves, once more, why it is one of this year’s top new EPs, an equally solid start for Paul Johnson & The About Last Nights, and a record that will leave listeners hoping the band won’t “give up the ghost” anytime soon.
Give Up The Ghost is a surprisingly impressive first effort from Paul Johnson & The About Last Nights. The record only spans five songs and 18-minutes, but in that run, the record exhibits great musical and lyrical diversity. From start to finish, each song presents its own identity, separate from its counterparts. From fun-loving to truly in-depth, the songs present a wide range of emotions in both music and lyrics. All things considered, the record proves to be one of the year’s best new EPs, and gives hope that the band won’t “give up the ghost” any time soon. More information on Give Up The Ghost is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:
Fire From The Gods is giving its fans their first taste of its “new” album.
The band released the video for its latest single ‘Voiceless’ this week. The song is taken from the band’s upcoming album Narrative Retold, which is scheduled to be released May 19 via Rise Records.
Narrative Retold is a re-issue of the band’s 2016 album Narrative, and features the newly added single along with ‘The Taste’ and an acoustic take of ‘Excuse Me.’ It can be pre-ordered online now here. The album is Fire From The Gods’ second full-length studio recording and its first for Rise Records.
Directed by Ramon Boutviseth and produced by Korn front man Jonathan Davis, the video for ‘Voiceless’ crosses footage of the band performing its song in a small studio setting with footage of fans gagged used to illustrate the song’s message.
Courtesy: Rise Records
Front man AJ Channer explained the message presented in the album’s lead single centers on the desensitization of society. He added while he knows the message is nothing new, there is always a need to remind people they need to pull themselves out of that sense.
“‘The Voiceless’ is referring to the callousness of society,” Channer said. “This generation is exposed to so many shocking and graphic events. No one seems to bat an eye. There is no compassion or care for one’s fellow man. Violence toward each other is a normal occurrence factored into our lives these days. Speaking up about it is nothing new, but it needs to be said. Yes, the world will keep spinning, and life does go on, but we need to slow down and smell the roses once in a while.”
The message presented in ‘Voiceless’ runs throughout the album just in different ways with one common theme in each message as Channer explained.
“This album is the personal narrative of a minority man living in major cities and being American,” Channer said. “There’s a socio-economic theme throughout the whole record that carries from each song to song. It’s all about the underdog. We’ve all had to fight for everything we have in this band. The political climate in our country is quite racially and socially charged. There are a lot of issues and energy people are expressing along with misguided hate and anger. I want to channel this in music that can resonate. This is where we come from and who we are as a band. I want people to feel empowered by this record. Come out of the experience knowing somebody thinks like you.”
Fire From The Gods is currently touring in support of its upcoming record. It will be in Wichita, KS April 23, Springfield, MO on April 26 and Nashville, TN on April 27 to round out the month. The band will open May with a show in Birmingham, AL on May 2. Two performances in North Carolina are also included in the band’s current tour schedule on July 4 and 6 in Wilmington and Charlotte respectively.
More information on the band’s upcoming tour dates is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:
Killcode is giving its fans another taste of its latest album.
The New York-based rock outfit released the video for its new single ‘Kickin’ and Screamin’ today. The video, taken from the band’s upcoming sophomore full-length album The Answer, sets the new single against footage of the band’s performances on the “Spread The Code 2016” and debuted online via Revolver Magazine’s website.
The band released a collective statement, describing the song as “a real deal, classic, straight ahead rock and roll song.”
“It’s the type of rock that we grew up on that makes you want to drive a little faster, scream a little louder, and party a little harder with your fists in the air,” the band’s members said of the song.
Courtesy: High Road Publicity
‘Kickin’ and Screamin’ is available for download and purchase now via Killcode’s website and its Reverb Nation site. Advanced limited edition copies of The Answer can be purchased online now here.
In anticipation of The Answer’s upcoming release, the band will hit the road next month beginning April 14 in Poughkeepsie, NY. The tour runs through November 9 and includes a handful of European dates through the summer, too. The band’s current tour schedule is noted below.
Catch KILLCODE Live:
04/14 @ The Chance Theatre – Poughkeepsie, NY
04/22 @ Mulcahys (w/ LA Guns) – Wantagh, NY
07/02 @ ROCK FEST BARCELONA 2017 – Barcelona, ES
07/13 @ Bang Your Head Festival – Balingen, HH, Germany
08/17 @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (w/Queensrÿche) – Englewood, NJ
08/26 @ Hull City Hall – Hull, UK
09/02 @ Switzerland-Riverside Aarburg Open Air Arena Festival – Aarburg, CH
11/09 @ Hard Rock Hell Festival UK – Wales, UK
More information on The Answer, ‘Kickin’ and Screamin’ and all of the band’s latest news is available online now at:
Hard rock outfit Eve To Adam has been on quite the voyage since originally forming in 2001 in New York. From lineup and label changes to struggles getting albums released to playing with some of rock’s biggest names past and present, this band has seen the highest of highs and the lowest of lows throughout its life. So it makes sense that with its latest album—its fifth full length album—the band opted for the title Odyssey. The 10-song, 37-minute album was released late last month via Rocktagon Worldwide Music, and shows both musically and lyrically how far this band has come in the now 16 years that it has been in existence. Its heavy emphasis on electronics and keyboards presents a sound that will appeal to fans of Orgy, Powerman 5000 and other similar acts. Its lyrical content is just as varied. It ranges from a commentary about the life in ‘The Price’ to a statement of self-confidence in the fist-pumping opener ‘Altitude’ to the anthemic closer ‘Day Drinkin’ and more. Between the varied lyrical themes presented throughout the record and its musical arrangements, the whole of those elements makes Odyssey a musical journey that is well worth taking.
Eve To Adam’s latest full-length studio recording Odyssey is a musical journey that proves well worth taking. That is exhibited through the record’s musical arrangements and its widely varying lyrical themes. ‘The Price’ is just one of the songs included in this record that serves to support these statements. The song’s up-tempo, guitar-driven arrangement will instantly have listeners pumping their fists as their blood flows so fast with the music. The intensity in that arrangement serves well to illustrate the emotion expressed in the song’s lyrical content, which seems to be a commentary of sorts of life. That is inferred as front man Taki Sassaris sings in the song’s lead verse, “The price is high/You know you were told/Oh darling let me go/Before my body’s cold/And my weary heart grows old/The memory/Now comes to me/So far removed/From a life I used to know/Suddenly you realize it/The time remaining has been bought and sold.” It is as is Sassaris is saying here, “let me make the most of my life.” That is inferred even more as he sings in the song’s chorus, “Money all day all day/You gotta get paid/Running around insane/No time to hesitate/Some days, some days/You never get ahead/Well I’m not your slave, no slave/The price will be paid.” Who precisely Sassaris is addressing as he sings, “I’m not your slave” would be interesting to learn. That aside, it seems even more through this and the song’s lead verse that he is singing about not letting life get the better of one’s self. The contrast of that chorus to the song’s second verse seems to hint at that message even more. Sassaris sings in that second verse, “The style instills/It makes this work/Consuming all my thoughts/Inside these fears stand tall/One by one the brave now fall.” The song’s chorus responds to that message with its message of making the most once again. When that seeming message of overcoming life’s difficult moments presented in the song’s lyrical content is set against the driving energy in the song’s musical arrangement, the two elements together make this song stand out against the record’s other offerings. It also serves to help show why this record in whole is a musical journey worth taking, and is just one example of what makes that trip worthwhile. ‘Altitude,’ the album’s opener, is another example of what makes journey taken through this record so worthwhile.
‘The Price’ is a clear example of what makes the journey taken through Odyssey worthwhile. That is due to the partnering of the song’s driving musical arrangement and its thought provoking lyrical content. It is just one of the songs that serves to make the trip taken through this record so worthwhile, too. ‘Altitude,’ the record’s opener is another example of what makes that journey so worthwhile. As with ‘The Price’ that is exhibited in part through the song’s musical arrangement. This song’s musical arrangement is heavy on keyboards. The combination of the keyboards with the guitars and vocal elements in the mid-tempo rocker makes the song a solid start to the record. The song’s lyrical content is just as interesting to take in. Sassaris sings in the song’s lead verse, “It’s now fast approaching/It’s my favorite time you see/The moment right before you reach/You feel this clarity/A painful total freedom/I have no anxiety/Anything that steals from this/Becomes an enemy/You’ll see. This is a statement of confidence, plain and simple. Considering the band’s *ahem* odyssey up to the point of this album’s release, it makes sense that it would be the record’s first lyrical statement. It is Sassaris saying, “I’m still here. Nothing is going to get me down.” That message is driven home even more as he and the rest of the band sing in the song’s chorus, “Free from me/I’m far above it all/Not a worry in my head/I’m free from me/I’m far above it all/For as long as I can be.” The song’s second verse solidifies that message of confidence and optimism even more as Sassaris sings, “Don’t you take for granted/This zero gravity/It’s never very easy/To escape captivity/Now try to remember/Why you fought for this release/This elevation’s beautiful/But it’s difficult to breathe/You’ll see.” He comes across as saying that getting that getting out on one’s own, so don’t’ lose sight of things on that personal journey. It’s a strong statement, and again is only this critic’s interpretation. Hopefully it is the correct interpretation, but should not be taking as gospel. That aside, that seeming message of self-confidence and determination, when coupled with the song’s hard-hitting musical arrangement, makes this song a solid first impression from the band on this latest effort. The combination of the two elements shows in its own way what makes the journey taken in this record is worthwhile. It is not the last song that serves to support that statement, either. The album’s closer, ‘Day Drinkin’’ supports that statement, too.
‘The Price’ and ‘Altitude’ are both songs that serve to show why the musical journey on which Eve To Adam takes listeners on its new album is so worthwhile. They are only two examples of what makes that journey worthwhile. The album’s closer, ‘Day Drinkin’ puts the proverbial exclamation mark on that statement. As with the previously noted compositions, that is due in part to the song’s musical arrangement. Unlike those songs, this song’s composition is more of a straight forward rock song. It can be argued that it is the album’s most radio-ready song, too, with its anthemic arrangement. The song’s lyrical content is just as infectious as Sassaris and company sing, “You know what we need right now/You feel it when we’re hanging out…So we’re day drinkin’/throw ‘em back till the morning light/Day drinkin’/Livin’ hard, but it feels so right/Numb the pain to fight the fire/Day drinkin’/There ain’t no shame in this way of life.” Such content, coupled with the song’s bombastic arrangement instantly conjures thoughts of Motley Crue. This should come as no surprise considering said band is one of the acts that ETA has emulated in its previous albums. It’s just a fun song and an equally fun final statement from the band on this record. It shows one last time why indeed the journey on which this record takes listeners is well worth taking.
Eve To Adam’s latest full-length album Odyssey sends listeners on quite the musical journey over the course of its 10 songs and 37 minutes. From the high energy and confidence expressed in its opener to the more contemplative yet still powerful content of ‘The Price’ to the fun, infectious content of the album’s closer and all points in-between, this record offers listeners plenty to appreciate. All things considered, they make the journey that listeners take this time fully worthwhile. Odyssey is available now in stores and online. More information on Odyssey is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:
Russia has been in the news quite a bit lately thanks to everything going on in Washington, D.C. – but for all of the negativity coming out of the news concerning the former Communist nation, some good musical news has been coming out of Russia lately.
Russian rock outfit Remark released its debut, self-titled album last year, and has been making waves overseas with the record. Now the band has its eyes set on the U.S. with its latest single ‘Falling.’
The released its lead single in its home county last year, and is now spreading the song across America with the song’s companion video. The video is streaming online now via the band’s official YouTube channel.
Courtesy: High Road Publicity
It is just one of the latest songs to be released from the band’s debut record. Also out now are the videos for the band’s singles ‘Vesna’ and ‘Wild Run.’
Remark’s name has been building over the years as it has shared the stage with major American acts such as Slash and Myles Kennedy, Tom Keifer, W.A.S.P., Dope and others.
More information on Remark is available online now at:
Blacktop Mojo has released another song from its latest full-length studio recording.
The band released the title track from its new album Burn The Ships this week via Revolver magazine. It is the second single to be released from the album, which has already garnered critical acclaim from fans and critics alike.
The song, the band said in a collective statement, is about the journey to the point of the song’s (and album’s) creation and the journey ahead.
“We all quit our jobs at about the same time to make this record and play as much as possible—that was our all in, no going back moment,” the band’s members said. “It reminded me of a story we heard from the 1500s about a Spanish explorer that sailed to conquer a territory. Once they landed on the beach, he burned al the ships so all his men knew one thing was clear, there’s no going back. That’s what this song is about, and that’s the story of our lives at the point of the record being created.”
‘Burn The Ships’ is streaming online now via the band’s official YouTube Channel. Audiences can also hear the album’s lead single, ‘Pyromaniac’ while there, too.
Burn The Ships will be released in stores and online this coming Friday, March 10. It can be pre-ordered online now via the band’s official Bandcamp page.
More information on ‘Burn The Ships’ is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:
This time next week, Blacktop Mojo and its fans will be only a week away from the release of the band’s latest full-length studio recording Burn The Ships. For those unfamiliar with the Palestine, TX-based band, it is a good fit for anyone that is a fan of Alter Bridge, Black Stone Cherry, Theory of a Deadman, Zakk Wylde and all of his various projects. From start to finish, this record is set to *ahem* burn up the mainstream rock radio realm with its infectious, guitar-driven arrangements and equally interesting lyrical content. The record’s hard rocking second song ‘End Of Days’ is just one of the songs included in this record that supports that statement. It will be discussed shortly. The much more reserved, yet heavy in its own right ‘Prodigal’ supports that statement in its own right. The band’s own take on Aerosmith’s timeless classic ‘Dream On’ even serves to support that statement, too. Between these songs and the album’s other ten songs, the whole of this record shows Blacktop Mojo to have great potential. They show in whole that given the right support from mainstream rock radio, Blacktop Mojo could be one of the realm’s next big names. They also show this album to be one of the year’s top new hard rock records as well as one of the year’s top new independent albums.
Blacktop Mojo’s new album Burn The Ships, its sophomore release, is one of this critic’s choices for the year’s top new hard rock records and new independent albums. That is thanks to its mainstream accessibility, even being an independent act. Independent here, should be clarified, to mean not signed to a major label. It does not necessarily mean independent in the unsigned sense. From start to finish, it proves to be an album that is primed to “burn” up the mainstream radio realm. ‘End of Days,’ the record’s second song is a strong example of what makes this album such a “hot” (yes, that awful pun was intended, too) new effort from Blacktop Mojo. That is due in part to the song’s arrangement. The hard-hitting, guitar-driven composition instantly conjures thoughts of Theory of a Deadman’s heavier works. That is only one part of what makes the song so interesting. The song’s lyrical content is just as important to note here as the song’s musical arrangement. Front man Matt James sings in the song’s lead verse, “Has it all been an empty gesture/Has it all been a waste of time/World’s spinning into certain disaster/We never figured out the meaning of life/Don’t wait/To say/What’s on your mind/Don’t take/It with you/Leave it behind.” He goes on to sing in the song’s chorus, “There’s a fire in the sky/There’s chaos in the air tonight/Stay with me…sit back and watch the end of days.” Taking this all into consideration, one can’t help but interpret the song, lyrically, as a statement of the world’s current state of affairs. The song’s second verse proves that just as much as James clearly sings about the events of September 11, 2011. It should be noted here, too, that his statements in the second verse are not meant to do anything but add to the statement of the direction this world—not just America—is taking. When such content is set against the driving energy in the song’s musical arrangement, the pairing of the two elements makes this song stand out clearly among BTS’ other songs. They join to prove the song to be a clear example of what makes this record such a worthwhile new effort from Blacktop Mojo. It is just one of the songs included in this record that exhibits what makes the record so impressive overall. ‘Prodigal’ serves just as much to show what makes BTS stand out in this year’s field of new rock and hard rock records.
‘End of Days’ is a clear example of what makes Blacktop Mojo’s new record Burn The Ships an impressive new effort. That is due to the combination of the song’s driving, guitar-centered musical arrangement and its thought-provoking lyrical theme. The combination of the two elements makes it just one example of what makes the song (and album) stand out. It is just one of the songs that so clearly shows where this record gets its *ahem* fire (yes, that awful pun was intended, too). ‘Prodigal,’ with its far more reserved, yet still heavy arrangement and lyrical theme, stands on its own merits. The song is a deeply contemplative work that harkens back to similar works from both Theory of a Deadman and Black Stone Cherry. This is especially true in examining the song’s musical arrangement. The song’s lyrical theme seems, at least to this critic, as a coming-of-age story of sorts. That interpretation was made through James singing in the song’s lead verse, “Don’t call me/The prodigal son/Cause I ain’t comin’ back/I’ll make it/On my own/Let me walk my own path/And don’t worry/About me/I’ve got everything I need/I’m gonna see the world/through my own eyes/Climb the mountain, see the sky/Across the stars on the other side.” He goes on to sing in the song’s chorus, “One of these days I won’t be around/I’ll rip my roots up from the ground/With wings of feathers…I’ll fly toward the sun/’Till they melt from my back.” James continues on in similar fashion in the song’s second half, singing from the vantage point of a figure striking out on his or her own. It is not one of those standard “oh woe is me” sort of songs, either. But the mixed emotion of a person wanting and needing to grow and be one’s own person is there. It is especially illustrated through the song’s musical arrangement. When that emotionally powerful arrangement is coupled with the song’s deeply moving lyrical theme, the two elements together make this song heavy without being heavy. That heavy without heavy presentation makes the song stand out from its counterparts just as much as ‘End of Days.’ It also serves to show even more why this record stands out in this year’s field of new rock and hard rock entries. It shows the band’s ability to entertain audiences while not just sticking to one style of song. It is just one more song that shows the band’s breadth of talent and influences. The band’s take on Aerosmith’s timeless classic ‘Dream One’ is one more of the album’s inclusions that shows what makes this record stand out.
‘End of Days’ and ‘Prodigal’ are both prime examples of what makes Blacktop Mojo’s new record Burn The Ships stand out as one of this year’s top new hard rock records and one of its best new independent albums. They show the band’s range in terms of its talent and influence—one song is heavy both musically and lyrically while the other is heavy musically without being heavy, and is also heavy lyrically. While both songs show in their own ways what makes this album stand out, they are only two out of so many songs that show how much the band and album have to offer. The band’s cover of Aerosmith’s timeless classic ‘Dream One’ is just one more of the songs included in this record that serves to show how much the band and album offer listeners. The arrangement presented by the band here is one of the most powerful renditions that any band has presented to date. It boasts the same moving vibe evident in the original rock ballad, but also infuses its own hard rock edge into the song here to add even more to the song’s impact. That harder edge even gives the song’s lyrical theme its own new identity. That in turn makes the song all the more powerful of a composition, showing once more just how much this new record from Blacktop Mojo has to offer audiences. Between this cover of a true classic, the other songs noted here and the album’s other 10 tracks, this album in whole proves to be one that hard rock fans everywhere should hear at least once. In doing do, those fans will agree that this record is indeed set to “burn” up the mainstream rock radio realm given the right support. They will also agree that this record is an easy pick for one of this year’s top new hard rock records as well as one of the year’s top new independent recordings.
Blacktop Mojo’s latest full-length studio effort Burn The Ships is an easy pick for any critic’s list of the year’s top new hard rock records and one of the year’s top new independent albums. That is exhibited both through the record’s musical arrangements—which conjure thoughts of Fuel, Alter Bridge, Theory of a Deadman, Zakk Wylde and Black Stone Cherry just to name a handful of more well-known acts—and the record’s lyrical themes. From start to finish, both elements will keep listeners engaged in every song. That includes the band’s cover of Aerosmith’s ‘Dream On.’ After taking in the 13 songs that make up the record’s body, listeners will agree, once more, that Burn The Ships is an easy pick for any critic’s list of the year’s top new hard rock records and the year’s top new independent albums. They will also agree in taking in this album that given the right support, Blacktop Mojo is primed to be one of mainstream rock radio’s next big names. Burn The Ships will be available March 10 in stores and online. More information on Burn The Ships is available online now along with all of Blacktop Mojo’s latest news and more at: