Black Ink Sky Debuts ‘Sulphur Sky’ Video

Courtesy: Infecting Cells PR

Independent rock band Black Ink River debuted the video for its latest single this week.

The band debuted the video for its new single ‘Sulphur Sky’ Thursday through Ghost Cult Mag.  The video puts the band in a church setting as a means to help translate the song’s lyrical theme, which takes on the world’s religious institutions, most specifically here, the culture of certain Protestant faiths that deal in faith healing, certain social controls and other mechanisms.

The song’s musical arrangement features a vintage garage rock sound.  It will appeal to fans of fellow neo-classic rock bands, such as Horisont and South of Eden (formerly Black Coffee).

‘Sulphur Sky’ is the second single from Black Ink River’s forthcoming album.  the band debuted the video for the album’s lead single ‘No No No‘ on April 29.

More information on Black Ink River’s new single and album is available along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.gmrmusic.se

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

 

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.

Horisont “Scores” Another Hit With Its Sixth Album, ‘Sudden Death’

Courtesy: Century Media Records

Audiences waiting to get their hands on Horisont’s latest album are going to have to wait a little bit longer.  The band announced Thursday through its official Facebook page, that delivery of the 13-song album – its sixth album – has been delayed as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.  While audiences wait to receive the album in its physical form, it will still be available to download starting Friday through all digital retail outlets.  The hour-long record is a strong new offering from the band that audiences will agree was worth the more than three year wait to receive.  That is proven through the album’s musical arrangements and lyrical content.  Hearing the album’s musical content is like unearthing a time capsule that is loaded with rock records right out of the 1970s while the lyrical content offers its own appeal, too.  Each item will be addressed here.  They are just two of the items that make the album stand out.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.  Each item noted here plays its own key role in the overall presentation of Sudden Death.  All things considered, they make Sudden Death another win for Horisont.

Horisont’s sixth full-length studio recording Sudden Death is astrong new offering from the veteran neo-classic rock quintet.  It is a work that classic rock fans and neo-classic rock fans will appreciate just as much as Horisont’s established fan base.  That is due in part to the musical arrangements that make up the record’s body.  As noted, putting this album in and listening to it is like unearthing a time capsule from days gone by and pulling out a group of classic vinyls untouched for so many decades.  The guitar-driven arrangements show clear influences from bands, such as Blue Oyster Cult, Kansas and even Rush to a lesser degree.  That sound is driven not just through the instrumentation, but also the actual production process for the record.  Audiences will note in listening to this record that the general effect in listening is like listening to something that would have been right from that bygone era.  It has all of that fuzz sound, instead of a spit-shined clean sound in every performance.  The drums themselves sound like they had heads that were right from that age, too.  It is a very distinct sound in comparison to the sound that drums put out today.  What’s really interesting is that the album’s opener, ‘Revolution’ actually lends itself to comparisons to works from John Lennon and Abba of all acts, with its piano line, choral vocal work and guitars.  Considering this, the other elements noted and the other musical influences and elements presented throughout this album, it becomes clear that the musical arrangements form a strong foundation for this work.  That foundation is in itself, more than enough reason to applaud the album, and is just one of the reasons that the LP works as well as it does.  The album’s lyrical content adds even more interest to its presentation.

The lyrical themes featured throughout the album are just as diverse as the record’s musical content.  ‘Standing Here’ comes across as one of those familiar songs about perhaps a broken relationship.  The song’s subject asks the other person at one point in the song, “What did I do to hurt you?”  Considering that earlier in the song, there was mention of the two people basically running off together, but then it would seem that something went awry along the way.  The relationship went sour it would seem.  Not having a lyrics sheet to reference makes the task of deciphering the album’s lyrics somewhat difficult, but just enough is decipherable that it can be guessed that a song, such as ‘Breaking The Chain,’ which comes late in the album’s run, is a coming-of-age sort of story in its lyrical content.  There is the mention of “when is it a good time to break the chain.”  There are also the mentions by the song’s subject early on, telling someone else not to worry about him.  Later in the song, there is a mention by the song’s subject that the subject’s father will not be a certain way to him anymore.  To that end, this would seem to support the inference that the song is focused on the matter of someone growing up and becoming his own person.  Again, that is just this critic’s interpretation.  ‘Free Riding’ is another example of the diversity in the record’s lyrical themes.  Thankfully, lyrics were found for this work.  The lyrics, found at genius.com, seem to hint at a theme of not giving up in life.  That is inferred through all three of the song’s verses.  Considering this, the rest of the seeming themes addressed here and the rest of the record’s lyrical themes, it is shown that the album’s lyrical content does in fact provide its own share of interest for audiences as the album’s musical content.  The two sides together make for plenty of reason for audiences to give this record at least one listen.  They are not its only notable items.  Its sequencing rounds out its most important elements.

Sudden Death’s sequencing is notable in that it has just as much impact on the album’s impact as the record’s music and lyrics.  The first half of the record maintains a relatively stable mid-tempo feeling.  Things don’t change any until more than halfway through the record in ‘Graa Dagar.’  Roughly translated, that title means ‘Gray Days.’  It is a stark departure from the vibe in the record’s first half.  It makes for a good break from that higher energy that keeps things interesting for listeners.  The album’s second half is somewhat slower than its first half, but not as slow and reserved as ‘Gray Days.’  Compared to the record’s first half, though, the tempo and sound is distinctly different.  That variance between the record’s first and second halves, and that break in the “middle” does its own share to keep the record interesting in terms of the record’s aesthetics.  Keeping that in mind, it clearly is important in its own way to the album.  When it is considered along with the album’s musical and lyrical content, the end result is a work that the noted target audiences will agree is another victory for Horisont.

Horisont’s latest album Sudden Death is a positive new effort from the band that classic rock fans, those of the neo-classic rock movement and those of Horisont alike will appreciate.  That is due in part to the variety of musical arrangements that make up the record’s body.  The lyrical themes that accompany the songs add their own interest and will generate plenty of discussion among the noted audiences.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements, doing its own part to maintain the noted engagement and entertainment among audiences.  All three items are important in their own way to the whole of the album.  All things considered, these items make Sudden Death a win for Horisont.  The album drops Friday.  More information on Sudden Death is available along with all of Horisont’s latest news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.horisontmusic.com

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

 

 

 

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

Black Coffee Debuts ‘I Barely Know Her’ Video

Stoner rock fans have another new band to check out.

Black Coffee released its debut album Take One last month — April 21 to be exact — and now in celebration of its release, the band released the video this week for the album’s lead single, ‘I Barely Know Her.’  Shot at the Johnstown Opera House in Johnstown Ohio — only about 30 to 40 minutes from the band’s home town of Columbus, Ohio (depending on the route and traffic) — the video was directed and produced by John Payne of Payne Productions.

Courtesy: TAG Publicity

Payne’s treatment gave the video a decidedly grainy look, almost like the look one might get from an 8mm camera.  That was meant to go along with the clear classic stoner sound that the band generated in its composition.  Speaking of the composition, its sound is such that it will appeal easily to fans of Zodiac, Horisont, and to a slightly lesser degree, Black Stone Cherry among other similar acts.  The can be downloaded now via iTunes.

Even more interesting in this composition is the sound of front man/bassist Ehab Omran’s vocals.  Listening to Omran sing without hearing him, one might find one’s self making comparisons to the late great Chris Cornell or to BSC front man Chris Robertson, adding even more interest to the song.  Drummer Tony McCullough’s secondary vocals, when joined with Omran’s create some very nice harmonies here, too.

More information on ‘I Barely Know Her‘ is available online now along with all of Black Coffee’s latest news and more at http://www.facebook.com/officialblackcoffee.

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‘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.

Horisont Unveils New Single; Announces Live Dates

Courtesy: Century Media Records

Courtesy: Century Media Records

Horisont is giving audiences another glimpse into its upcoming album About Time.

The band has unveiled the latest single from its upcoming album, which is currently slated for release Friday, February 3, 2017 via Century Media Records.  The song is streaming online now via Century Media Records’ Youtube channel, Spotify, iTunes and Amazon.

Just as with the album’s lead single ‘Electrical,’ this song takes audiences way back to rock’s golden era of the 1960sa and 70s with its arrangement.  The song’s arrangement is centered on its keyboard line and dual guitar attack.  Even the tone in exhibited in the drums harkens back to another era.

Courtesy: Century Media Records

Courtesy: Century Media Records

About Time can be pre-ordered online now. It will be available as a special Edition Digipack platform exclusively in the EU, and as a Jewel Case CD platform in the United States and as gatefold vinyl and digital album.  Those who pre-order the album now will get ‘The Hive’ and ‘Electrical’ as instant grat tracks.

Horisont will hit the road in support of About Time for a European tour beginning March 16, 2017 in Hamburg, Germany.  The band’s European tour currently runs through April 1, 2017 in Copenhagen, Denmark.  The band’s current tour schedule is noted below.

HORISONT Live Dates: 

16.03.2017 Hamburg (Germany) – Logo
17.03.2017 Siegen (Germany) – Vortex
18.03.2017 Düsseldorf (Germany) – Pitcher
19.03.2017 Helmond (Netherlands) – Cacaofabriek
20.03.2017 Nijmegen (Netherlands) – Merleyn
21.03.2017 Liège (Belgium) – La Zone
23.03.2017 Munich (Germany) – Backstage
25.03.2017 Pratteln (Switzerland) – Z7
26.03.2017 Vienna (Austria) – Das Bach
27.03.2017 Salzburg (Austria) – Rockhouse
28.03.2017 Weiher (Germany) – Live Music Hall
29.03.2017 Lichtenfels (Germany) – Paunchy Cats
30.03.2017 Berlin (Germany) – Privatclub
31.03.2017 Randers (Denmark) – Von Hatten*
01.04.2017 Copenhagen (Denmark) – Huset*

 

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

 

 

 

Website: http://www.horistonmusic.com

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

 

 

 

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.

Horisont Debuts ‘Electrical’ Video

Courtesy: Century Media Records

Courtesy: Century Media Records

Horisont has released a new video for its fans.

The band debuted the video for its latest single ‘Electrical’ this week online.  The song is taken from the band’s upcoming album About Time, which will be released Feb. 3, 2017.

The video features footage of circuit boards and electronics coupled with footage of the band members performing their respective parts.  The video’s overall vintage look makes it look genuinely like something taken right from the 1960s, and the song’s arrangement adds even more to that feeling, too.  Audiences can see the video for ‘Electrical’ online now here.

Along with its new video, the band also announced recently that it will hit the road alongside Electric Citizen for a string of live dates beginning Oct. 31.  The band’s tour schedule runs through Nov. 22 and is listed below.

 

HORISONT live 2016 
10/31/2016 Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall
11/1/2016 New York, NY @ Studio at Webster Hall
11/2/2016 Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop
11/3/2016 FT Wayne, IN @ Brass Rail
11/5/2016 Chicago, IL @ Reggie’s
11/6/2016 Rock Island, IL @ Rock Island Brewing Company
11/7/2016 Denver, CO @ Marquis Theater 
11/10/2016 Oakland, CA @ Starline
11/11/2016 Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom
11/13/2016 San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar 
11/14/2016 Mesa, AZ @ Club Red
11/16/2016 Dallas, TX @ Curtain Club
11/17/2016 Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall
11/18/2016 Austin, TX @ Beerland
11/20/2016 Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade
11/22/2016 Philadelphia, PA @ Voltage

More information on Horisont’s new video, its upcoming album and tour is available online along with all of the band’s latest news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.horisontmusic.com

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

 

 

 

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.

The Dagger’s CM Debut Is Pure Rock At Its Finest

Courtesy:  Century Media Records

Courtesy: Century Media Records

The self-titled debut record from The Dagger is a solid first effort for the Stockholm, Sweden-based four-piece. The Dagger isn’t the first band to ever take listeners back to rock’s golden era. But it still has done something special on its debut that other bands of its ilk (E.g. Horisont, The Sword, Gypsyhawk) have not done. What it has done on its first full effort for Century Media Records is crafted an album that exhibits one of the widest swaths of influences to date from any band of its kind. That’s one part of what makes this record one that purist metal heads will appreciate about this album. Also noteworthy about the album is its overall production values. That, too will be discussed shortly. And last but far from least are the lyrical themes that run through the album. All three factors together make The Dagger an album that any purist rocker and metal head will enjoy just as much with each listen.

The Dagger’s debut record is a good addition to the library of anyone that is a fan of The Sword, Horisont and Gypsyhawk. Much like those bands, The Dagger takes listeners back to the golden era of rock on its Century Media Records debut. As much as it carries a sound similar to those bands, it actually takes things a step further on its self-titled debut. Instead of focusing primarily on one specific classic rock sound, the members of The Dagger—Jani Kataja (vocals), Fred Estby (drums), David Blomqvist (guitar), and Tobias Cristiansson (bass)—exhibit influences from a rather wide swatch of veteran bands. Those bands include the likes of Judas Priest, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, and even Deep Purple among others. Such a wide array of influences having been exhibited here, it makes the album one of those rare albums that is actually worth listening through without skipping a single song. That’s truly saying something, especially in an era when audiences seem to be increasingly downloading single tracks from the likes of iTunes instead of purchasing entire albums. Taking this into consideration, it shows that The Dagger’s debut record could very well be one that older audiences will appreciate just as much as younger audiences. To that extent, it shows great potential for this record.

The sound crafted by the members of The Dagger on the band’s self-titled debut is the most important factor in the overall enjoyment of this record. The band doesn’t stick to just one influence, even in taking listeners on a trip back in time to the golden age of rock. It exhibits all of its many classic rock influences. Just as important to the album’s success as its sound is the album’s production. The separation that was formed between The Dagger and other “modern classic rock” bands thanks to The Dagger’s extensive background of influences is made even wider thanks to the album’s production values. Painstaking efforts were made to not only bring out the band’s veteran influences, but to make the band’s album sound like it was itself a product of rock’s golden era. From Blomqvist’s powerhouse guitar playing to the almost hollow sound of the drums made popular in the 1960s and 70s to Kataja’s own vocals, and even Cristiansson’s bass work, each part was given special attention. When all four parts came together, those behind the glass exhibited expert talent, crafting an album that sounded like it came right from the era of so many great garage rock style bands. Credit is most definitely to be given in that area. It wonderfully compliments a sound from the band that is already impressive on its own.

The songs that make up The Dagger and the production values that make the album even richer are both integral parts of the album’s success and enjoyment. They are but part of the whole, though. There is still one more factor to consider in the album’s enjoyment. That factor is the variety of lyrical themes that run through the album. As [Fred] Estby noted in an interview with Terrorizer magazine, the influences behind the songs’ lyrical themes come from a number of sources. Those sources include the news, novels, and even lyrics from contemporaries such as Ronnie James Dio, Geezer Butler, and Blue Oyster Cult. That means that unlike so many rock bands out there, The Dagger tries its best to avoid the standard themes of relationships. Rather the themes on this album vary just as widely as the band’s musical influences. It’s a breath of fresh air, considering just how many bands even in today’s world of hard rock and heavy metal base their songs on that standard fare. That factor, alongside the album’s overall sound and production values make this record, once again, one that any purist rocker and metal head will enjoy just as much the fiftieth time around as the fifth.

The Dagger will be available in the U.S. Tuesday, July 22nd and June 30th in Europe.  It will be released both domestically and internationally via Century Media Records. The Dagger is currently scheduled to perform live September 18th and 19th in Stockholm Sweden as part of Close-Up Magazine’s Close-Up Baten Festival. Until then, audiences can keep up with the latest news and more from The Dagger through its official Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/daggerofficial. 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.

Horisont’s New Album Takes Listeners On Another Musical Trip Through Time

Courtesy:  Rise Above Records/Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Rise Above Records/Metal Blade Records

2013 has seen the music scene become increasingly crowded as each month has passed by.  This has made choosing the year’s best records in each category increasingly difficult.  Now with the impending release of its third full length album, Time Warriors, Swedish rock band Horisont has made making that choice even more difficult.  The band’s new album, released via Rise Records and Metal Blade Records, is an excellent follow-up to its 2012 album, Second Assault.  It is an excellent follow for the band’s fans as the band picks right up on Time Warriors where it left off with Second Assault.  That is to say that the band’s new album bears much the same sound and feel as Second Assault.   It takes listeners back in *ahem* time once again (pun fully intended) with this record, offering that full on stoner rock sound once again.  For those that appreciate this sound, Time Warriors becomes a solid listen from start to finish.  Whether for a party or for an upcoming holiday road trip, it is a solid record all the way through for any stoner rock fan.

Time Warriors opens with a solid classic stoner rock style piece in ‘Writing on The Wall.’  This song was a good choice to open the album as singer Axel proves that his vocals are as strong as ever.  And drummer Pontus nails the song’s polyrhythmic patterns throughout without missing a beat.  Guitarists Charles and Kristofer take listeners back to rock and roll’s golden era once again with their solos and general musicianship.  Lyrically speaking, ‘Writing on the Wall’ is just as interesting as it is musically.  Axel sings in the song’s chorus, “You know the writing was on the wall/When you decided to take us all/Give us your soul.”  It’s a little bit cryptic.  Though a closer look and listen reveals it’s something of a motivating piece.  This is revealed as Axel sings, “There’s a time when there’s nothing/Nothing that’s holding you back/You give it all you’ve got/But nothing comes close/So there’s still time to set things straight”  If this interpretation is correct, then it makes this song an even better way to start the band’s new album.

The classic rock vibe established on the album’s opener doesn’t end with that song.  From one song to the next, the members of Horisont offer audiences a nonstop musical trip back in time right through to the album’s end.  From ‘Diamonds in Orbit’ to the up-tempo rocker that is ‘She Cried Wolf’ to the album’s two-part closer, ‘All Must Come To An End’, this album will impress the band’s fans new and old.  The driving drum part on ‘She Cried Wolf’ is one of the album’s highlights.  As soon as it kicks in, it’s sure to have listeners on their feet.  By contrast, ‘All Must Come To An End’ is just as impressive in its musical variance.  It goes from an up-tempo rocker in its opening segment to a second movement that could almost be argued to be a Pink Floyd influenced work.  The song’s third and final movement kicks the song right back into high gear.  By the time that final movement ends, listeners will find that it leaves them breathless.  It’s a fitting closer and excellent exclamation mark to the band’s third full length studio release.

Fans will get a chance to hear the band’s new material live when it takes Time Warriors on the road beginning September 27th.  That is the same day that the album is expected to be released overseas.  It’s currently set to be released stateside on Tuesday, October 8th.  More information on the album’s upcoming release and the band’s tour dates is available online at http://www.facebook.com/horisontmusic and http://www.horisontmusic.com.

Scale The Summit Impresses Once Again On Its New LP

Courtesy:  Prosthetic Records

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records

Metal Blade Records was a powerhouse of a record label in 2012.  It led this critic’s lists of the year’s best rock records, best Hard Rock/Metal albums, and Best Albums overall with releases from Horisont, O.S.I., Gypsyhawk, and Trioscapes, just to name a handful.  But with 2013 now halfway over, this critic’s list of the year’s best Hard Rock and Metal albums at least is being controlled by a different label.  This year, Prosthetic Records leads the way in the world of Hard Rock and Metal.  Holy Grail, which is being touted as the second coming of Judas Priest tops the list of the year’s best metal records with its sophomore album, Ride the Void.  And now with the upcoming release of its brand new album, The Migration, Scale the Summit becomes the second band signed to Prosthetic Records to make this critic’s list of the year’s best Hard Rock and Metal albums.

The Migration is an impressive introduction to this Houston, Texas based band for first-time listeners.  It’s just as welcome a return for long-time fans.  The band wastes no time getting right into the swing of things with this album.  Its opener, ‘Odyssey’ is a fittingly titled piece.  In its roughly five-minute plus run-time, the band—Chris Letchford (7 & 8-String guitars), Travis Levrier (7-String Guitars), Mark Michell (6-string bass), and Pat Skeffington (drums, percussion)—takes listeners on a three movement opus that boasts three completely different musical emotions.  Most interesting about this is that those listeners that are open minded enough will be able to close their eyes and truly take in all three movements and understand the emotion being presented in each one.  It is a song that more than makes for a solid re-introduction for the band after having spent the past couple years touring in support of its previous release, 2011’s The Collective.

‘Odyssey’ as a whole is an impressive opener to the Migration.  Looking deeper into the song, the transition from the song’s slower, more subdued third movement into ‘Atlas Novus’ is another factor to note in the success of the upcoming album.  The transition itself is notable as it’s not the only time on this album that this happens.  It is just one of so many transitions that make The Migration one of those rare albums this year, which audiences will enjoy taking in from start to finish without skipping songs.  That’s not to say that The Migration is some instrumental concept album.  It’s anything but.  It’s just that the sequencing (along with the equally impressive production and mixing) has made this album so easy on the ears.

Getting back to the songs as a whole, ‘Atlas Novus’ is more subdued than ‘Odyssey’ by and large.  But it also has its own kick.  Fans of fellow experimental rock band Animals as Leaders will appreciate this piece with its controlled guitar and bass runs throughout its run time that also comes in at just over five minutes.  In an odd way, it proves the old adage that less truly is more.  That’s because as impressive as the song’s runs are, Letchford and company prove in the song, that some of the best riffs are ones that are not loud, shredding riffs, but softer, more controlled pieces.  Drummer Pat Skeffington gets his own opportunity to shine here, too.  Skeffington shows that he’s just as good as Mike Portnoy (Adrenaline Mob, ex-Dream Theater) or any other far more experienced drummer here and throughout the album.  He shows that he can handle some extremely tough polyrhythmic patterns without missing a beat and even some simpler rhythms, too.    

So much was done right with this album that one could ramble on for some time on everything right with this record.  As already noted, it’s not just the songs, but the album’s sequencing and its general production that makes it one more record that the band’s long-time fans will enjoy just as much as new listeners.  The variety of musical styles from harder edged prog-metal to a slightly progressive jazz sound to something a little softer make this album worth more than just one listen, too.  It will prove with each listen to be an album that grows on listeners more each time.  Considering all of this, it may end up even on this critic’s list of the year’s best albums overall.  The Migration will be available in stores and online Tuesday, June 11th.  It can be ordered online via the Prosthetic Records store at http://www.indiemerch.com/prostheticrecords/item/19303.

The band is currently on tour in support of its new album.  Fans in North Carolina will get to see the band live in Charlotte on Saturday, June 22nd at the Tremont Music Hall.  It will be joined by Intronaut and Mouth of the Architect.  The show is slated to start at 9:00pm.  Tickets range from $13 – $15.  They can be purchased online at http://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/244625?skinName=tfly&utm_medium=api&wrKey=AF9450BAA81C7D8C2DAA1CA5ED7CAC4F

For the most current list of tour dates, all the latest news and more from the band, fans can “Like” the band on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/scalethesummit.  Fans can also keep up with the band online at http://www.scalethesummit.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.

Metal Blade Keeps “Spreading Its Wings” With Firebird Re-Issue

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Metal Blade Records has made quite the name for itself in the world of hard rock and metal this year.  New releases from the likes of Horisont, OSI, and Six Feet Under have shown audiences what makes Metal Blade THE leader in hard rock and metal right now.  The re-issue of Gentleman’s Pistols’ debut self-titled serves as another reminder of that.  And now, the re-issue of Firebird’s fourth album, “Hot Wings” continues to show Metal Blade branching out, making itself that much more versatile and respected in the music community.

Firebird has allegedly disbanded.  But the band’s fourth album, “Hot Wings” will be re-issued by Metal Blade Records at the end of the month.  It is a fitting tribute to a band that could only be described as one of the best pure rock bands in recent memory.  “Hot Wings” opens with the guitar driven, ‘Carousel.’  Front man Bill Steer sings here, “How many times have you found yourself stuck on your own carousel?”  In other words, how many times have you found yourself going in circles?  Rather than taking the low rode, the energy of the song really captures what a person feels like when he or she is going in said circles.

The band slows things down a little bit after ‘Carousel’ with the King’s X-esque ‘Good Times.’  The guitar solo in the middle of the song will have any true rocker grabbing their air guita and jamming along to it.  Steer asks in ths song, “Where did all the good times go?”  But again, rather than making the song into what could have easily been quite the downer of a song, it’s more contemplative without losing its rocking energy.  The segue into the bluesy ‘Misty Morning’ will keep listeners locked on the album.  That the band can go from rocking to blues in a matter of songs without losing anything along the way is a real tribute to this band.

The mix of rock and blues in the first three tracks of “Hot Wings” make for an excellent listen.  But three tracks alone don’t make an album.  Those tree tracks are followed by the classic rock feel of ‘Play The Fool.’  There are hints of some very well known classic rockers in just this one song alone.  As with the previous tracks, this is one more that any fan of true rock won’t want to miss.

Perhaps the most intriguing track on the entire album is ‘Overnight.’  This straight forward jam band style song is unilke anything else on the album.  Set next to the remainder of the tracks on this brand new re-issue it shows once again how much talent Firebird’s members have.  It only makes fans wish the band hadn’t called it quits after just a handful of records.  One can only guess, after hearing this album, and its last, “Double Diamond”, how far Firebird could possibly have gone.  At least the band’s legacy will now live on thanks to this re-issue courtesy of Metal Blade Records.  Who knows, maybe the label will even re-issue the band’s other albums, too, and really pay homage to one of the modern era’s best little known rock bands.

“Hot Wings” will be re-issued via Metal Blade Records next week.  It will be available in stores and online at http://www.indiemerch.com/metalbladerecords/band/firebird.

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