Independent, Established Acts Alike Provided Impressive New EPs In 2022

Courtesy: Sumerian Records

The old year is getting ready to finish once again and make way for a new year that is already starting to see a handful of new releases scheduled.  New material from the likes of Anti-Flag and The Winery Dogs are already scheduled for release in January and February respectively.  Mercury Studios (formerly Eagle Rock Entertainment) also has new archived live recordings on the way from Marvin Gaye and Ella Fitzgerald.  Even the independent music community has lots of stuff planned for next year, including a new release from indie rock band Starcrazy in for them of its new album, Another Day, Another Squalor.  Of course lots more music is sure to be announced in the coming days and weeks, meaning it won’t be long before things already start picking up.

While critics’ new music calendars will start filling up very soon, their 2022 calendars are finally done now that the last days of the year are here.  One category of new music that doesn’t get enough attention from one year to the next is the smallest release, the EP.  That is why this critic has made it a point each year to focus on the recording, which for some acts is a way to test the waters before releasing their debut albums and for others a space filler, for its own year-ender list.

This year’s list of top new EPs touches on a variety of acts.  From independent acts to more established acts, lots of EPs have been released this year.  From Saint Asonia to The Rumjacks to Black Veil Brides and more, acts across the musical universe have released interesting new EPs.  Black Veil Brides’ new EP, The Mourning tops Phil’s Picks list of top new EPs this year.  As with every year past, this list features the top 10 new titles in the given category along with five additional honorable mention titles for a total of 15 records.

Without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks’ 2022 Top 10 New EPs.


  1. Black Veil Brides – The Mourning
  2. The Rumjacks – Brass For Gold
  3. Hyro The Hero – Kids Against The Monsters
  4. Saint Asonia – Extrovert
  5. Genghis Nash – The Odyssey
  6. Classless Act – Welcome to the Show
  7. Liar Thief Bandit – Diamonds
  8. Saint Asonia – Introvert
  9. Twisted Mind – From Slave to Prophet
  10. The Guitar & Whiskey Club – The Guitar & Whiskey Club
  11. Them Damn Kings – Rise Up
  12. A Vulture Wake – Kingdom
  13. The Corps – From Oblivion
  14. Los Saints – Welcome to Confusion
  15. Darko – Sparkle

That’s it for this category, but there are plenty more to go before the year ends, including tomorrow’s list of the year’s Top 10 New Rock Albums.  Stay tuned!

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‘Kids Against The Monsters’ Proves It Was Mostly Worth The Wait

Courtesy: Better Noise Music

A little more than a year ago, Hyro The Hero announced to the world that he was working on a new project dubbed Kids Against The Monsters. The record was originally scheduled for release last year, but that obviously did not happen. Why that is the case is anyone’s guess. That is beside the point. The announcement came as part of a bigger announcement that he had released a new single titled ‘Legendary.’ Fast forward to this weekend. The long-awaited project (originally called a “mixtape,” now being marketed as an EP) was finally released Friday. The four-song record is an enjoyable albeit imperfect presentation from the up-and-coming rap-rock star. To its positive, it features three songs that the rap-rock star (a.k.a. Hyron Louis Fenton, Jr.) crafted in 2021. On the opposite side, it is lacking other songs that he crafted last year. This will be examined a little later. One last item to note is the record’s sequencing, which will also be examined later. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Kids Against The Monsters. All things considered, they make a record that although imperfect, gives hope for Hyro The Hero’s next record.

Kids Against The Monsters, the long-awaited “mixtape” project from Hyro The Hero, is a mostly welcome filler between his then latest album, 2019’s Flagged Channel, and his next studio recording. Hopefully that new record will come sooner rather than later, but that is entirely up to him. The record works in part because of the songs that it features. Four songs make up the EP’s body. They include the EP’s title song, which features a guest appearance by Slipknot/Stone Sour front man Corey Taylor, and three singles that he released last year, ‘FU2 (ft. AJ Channer),’ ‘We Believe (ft. David Draiman)’ and ‘Fight (ft. Chad Grey).’ All four songs are impressive in their own right, because each offers audiences something different from its counterparts. The EP’s opener, for example, is a heavily blues-tinged rocker that conjures thoughts of songs from Imagine Dragons and others of that ilk. Taylor’s vocals are almost indiscernible to be honest. The subtle use of the turntables and the beats makes for such a great hip-hop vibe. The whole here makes the song so enjoyable in its own right.

‘FU2 (ft. AJ Channer)’ takes audiences in a completely different direction with its high energy approach and its socially conscious lyrical theme. Fenton points the finger at what the world has become in the song’s lyrical theme. That and the energy in the intense nu-metal approach is certain to keep audiences engaged and entertained. Again, it is the polar opposite of the EP’s opener, and that is a very good thing.

‘We Believe (ft. David Draiman)’ takes Fenton’s modern rap leanings and pairs it with a melodic hard rock approach to make the song enjoyable right from the get go. The heavy bass used in the verses clearly exhibit those hip-hop leanings. Draiman’s vocals make for a positive counterpoint to those of Fenton here, making for even more engagement and entertainment. The whole becomes a song that holds its own identity separate from the record’s first two songs, again showing the importance of the record’s featured songs.

‘Fight (ft. Chad Gray)’ is yet another change of pace sure to keep audiences engaged and entertained. That is because it takes audiences back to the sounds and stylistic approaches that made Flagged Channel so enjoyable. The addition of Gray’s vocals to the song makes for another welcome contrast to those of Fenton, in turn adding even more to the song’s appeal. The song’s lyrical theme, which is yet another socially conscious message, adds even more to the song’s appeal.

For all of the enjoyment that the songs featured in this record guarantees, there could have been more music included in the EP. That is because it does not feature all of the songs that Fenton crafted last year. He also released another single, titled ‘Retaliation Generation’ alongside Ice Nine Kills front man Spencer Charnas. That song and ‘Legendary’ are each enjoyable in their own right because of their own musical and lyrical content. Why Fenton decided not to included the songs in this record is also anyone’s guess. It would have brought the record’s total song count to six, and in turn made the record even more enjoyable. That is because they are just as unlike one another as they are from the songs featured in the EP and as they are from one another. So to that end, not including these two songs in the EP is obviously not enough to make the EP a failure, but it certainly would have made the EP’s presentation so much more positive.

Keeping this in mind, there is still one more item to examine. That item is the record’s sequencing. There are, again, only four songs featured in the EP, but their sequencing ensures listeners’ engagement and entertainment just as much as the songs themselves. That is because from beginning to end, it ensures the record’s energy remains stable even as the song styles and sounds change. The whole thing opens with the noted bluesy hip-hop opus before really picking things up in ‘FU2’. The energy keeps flowing in ‘We Believe’ and continues in ‘Fight’. In other words, from start to end, the EP’s sequencing sees the record interesting because of its role in the general effect, doing even more to keep things interesting for listeners. When this is considered along with the songs themselves, the record proves even more worth hearing.

Kids Against The Monsters, the newly released EP from Hyro The Hero, is a welcome addition to this year’s field of new EPs. That is due in part to its featured songs. The songs featured in the record are singles that he released last year. Each is different from one another in its sound and style while their lyrical themes will resonate easily with any listener in their own way. From the socially conscious to the more personal, each theme has something worthwhile to offer. While the songs featured in the record do plenty to make the EP appealing, the lack of two other songs that he released last year detracts from the record’s presentation. It is not enough to make the EP a failure, but the record would certainly have benefited from their inclusion. That aside, the EP is still mostly successful. Its sequencing ensures that in its own right. That is because it makes sure the record’s energy stays stable even as the sounds, styles and themes change from one song to the next. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the EP one more of the best of its field so far this year.

Kids Against The Monsters is available now. More information on Hyro The Hero’s new EP is available online now along with all of Hyro The Hero’s latest news and more at:




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Chad Gray Joining A Killer’s Confession For New Single

Chad Gray (l) and Waylon Reavis (r) have partnered for A Killer’s Confession’s new single.
Photo credit: Wake Up! Music Rocks

Chad Gray is lending his talents to a new single from A Killer’s Confession.

Gray (Mudvayne, Hellyeah) has partnered with the band for its new single, ‘Tell Your Soul.’ The single is scheduled for release Aug. 6 through Wake Up! Music Rocks. It will feature in the band’s as yet untitled forthcoming third album, which is scheduled for release later this year.

Front man Waylon Reavis (ex-Mushroomhead) spoke positively of the new single and collaboration during a recent interview.

“This song was an amazing collaboration between Sahaj Ticotin (Ra), Chad Gray, and myself,” said Reavis. “It was an honor to work with such true professional artists on such a powerful song. I hope everyone can feel the raw emotion and are moved just like I am when they listen.”

Added Reavis, “This song is about forgiveness and acceptance of one’s own shortcomings. I want to thank Chad and Sahaj for being such great friends and recording this song with me. Wombat absolutely crushed this video. Amazing talent all the way around!”

Gray shared Reavis’ anticipation for the song and its video.

“Waylon has wanted to do a song with me for a very long time, and earlier this year, we tried, but the song just didn’t fit either one of us,” he said. “So we went back to the drawing board with Sahaj Ticotin. The song really spoke to me, so we went for it. Everything just seems to fall into place. I’m really excited about this release.”

Added Gray, “My boy Wombat absolutely killed the video. I’m stoked for this song to drop. It’s a nice prelude to some more solo stuff I have on the way. I can’t wait for you all to hear this. Enjoy.” 

Gray’s collaboration with AKC is just his latest. He worked with fellow rocker Hyro The Hero last year on his song, ‘Fight.’

In other news, A Killer’s Confession is on tour with Gemini Syndrome for that band’s headlining tour. AKC’s run with Gemini Syndrome is scheduled to run through Aug. 15 in Albuquerque, NM. Following that run, AKC will head out on its own headlining tour, which is scheduled to launch Aug. 18 in Houston, TX and to run through Sept. 10 in Mansfield, OH.

The band’s current tour schedule is noted below.

AKC Tour Dates:

With Gemini Syndrome

Jul. 27 – Clifton, NJ – Dingbatz

Jul. 28 – Pittsburgh, PA – The Crafthouse Stage & Grill

Jul. 30 – Stroudsburg, PA – Sherman Theater

Jul. 31 – Harrisburg, PA – HMAC

Aug. 1 – Baltimore, MD – Baltimore Soundstage

Aug. 3 – Fort Wayne, IN – Ft. Wayne Entertainment Center

Aug. 5 – Columbus, OH – The King Of Clubs

Aug. 6 – Akron, OH – Empire Concert Club SOLD OUT

Aug. 7 – Louisville, KY – Diamond Ballroom

Aug. 8 – Nashville, TN – Basement East

Aug. 10 – Tulsa, OK – The Shrine

Aug. 11 – OKC, OK – 89th St Collective

Aug. 12 – Lawrence, KS – Bottleneck

Aug. 14 – Denver, CO – Oriental Theater

Aug. 15 – Albuquerque, NM – Launchpad

Headline shows / Festivals:

Aug. 18 – Houston, TX – Scout Bar

Aug. 20 – Jacksonville, FL – Acchetype

Aug. 21 – Orlando, FL – Central Florida Metal Fest V

Aug. 24 – Memphis, TN – Growlers

Aug. 25 – Huntsville, AL – Sidetracks

Aug. 26 – Pipestem, WV – Metal In The Mountains

Sep. 10 – Mansfield, OH – Inkcarceration

A Killer’s Confession with Gemini Syndrome and its upcoming headlining shows are just its latest. The band most recently ran a headline tour from May 7-24 with support from Heartsick and The Failsafe.

A Killer’s Confession premiered its latest single, ‘Trapped Inside‘ and its companion video April 29. The premiere of the song and its video came less than a month after the premiere of AKC’s then latest single, ‘Light to Darkness‘ and its video.

A Killer’s Confession debuted another single, ‘Remember‘ and its video in January.

More information on A Killer’s Confession’s new tour dates, single, and video is available along with all of the band ‘s latest news at:




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Atreyu Debuts ‘Catastrophe’ Video

Courtesy: Spinefarm Records

Atreyu premiered the video for its latest single this week.

The band premiered the video for its latest single, ‘Catastrophe‘ Thursday. Its premiere comes more than a month after the band debuted the single by itself.

The debut of the single and its video follow the premieres of the album’s first two singles, ‘Warrior‘ and ‘Underrated.’ All three songs are featured on Atreyu’s forthcoming album, Baptize, which is scheduled for release June 4 through Spinefarm Records.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Catastrophe’ follows the sound and stylistic approach of ‘Warrior.’ That is evidenced through the juxtaposition of the heavier guitar riffs and screams and the more melodic harmonies presented in the choruses. That is not to say that the two songs are identical. There are clear differences in the songs. As a matter of fact, the heavier, screams and guitars conjure thoughts of works from Atreyu’s counterparts, Killswitch Engage, Of Mice & Men, and As I Lay Dying.

The band explained the lyrical theme in a prepared statement.

“‘Catastrophe’ is, in essence, an apocolyptic love song,” the statement reads. “We took a more imaginative approach to the feelings about that we as individuals and the rest of the planet were going through. The world felt like it was falling apart around us. Nothing was certain, and stress and darkness were coming in from every angle. But living through it all with someone who you truly love somehow made it all okay.” 

The new video for ‘Catastrophe’ pokes fun at all of the reaction videos that pollute the internet and the people who produce them. It features guest appearances from figures, such as Hyro The Hero, Trivium front man Matt Heafy, and Ice Nine Kills front man Spencer Charnas.

The track listing for Baptize is noted below.

“Strange Powers of Prophecy”
“Save Us”
“Broken Again”
“Dead Weight”
“Fucked Up”
“Sabotage Me”
“Untouchable” Feat. Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach
“No Matter What”
“Oblivion” Feat. Matt Heafy of Trivium
“Warrior” Feat. Travis Barker

More information on Atreyu’s new single, album and forthcoming album is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:




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Hyro The Hero Debuts New Single, ‘Retaliation Generation,’ Companion Lyric Video; Announces Livestream Show

Courtesy: Atom Splitter PR

Independent rapper Hyro The Hero debuted his latest single this week along with its companion video.

The rapper (a.k.a. Hyron Louis Fenton, Jr.) debuted his new single ‘Retaliation Generation’ and its lyric video Friday. The song features guest vocals by Ice Nine Kills front man Spencer Charnas. Charnas’ familiar vocal delivery style compliments Fenton’s own familiar flow as he raps about what today’s youth is going through. Meanwhile, the familiar Rage Against The Machine style musical approach for which Fenton has come to be known joins the noted vocal performances to make the song complete.

The lyric video for ‘Retaliation Generation’ places the song’s lyrics over a post apocalyptic backdrop, complete with images of zombies, a perfect fit for Charnas. That is because Charnas and his Ice Nine Kills band mates are known for crafting songs based off of horror flicks. In the case of this song though, the imagery is used to help translate the message in the song’s lyrical content.

Fenton talked about the song’s lyrical content during a recent interview.

“I think this song captures the emotion of what this generation feels in this crazy time we are living in,” he added. “It’s full on attack mode right from the beginning it’s such a great feeling when an artist like Spencer helps take a song like this to the next level. I want anybody who listens to this song to be a voice. Stand up for what you believe in.”

Additionally, Fenton talked about the song’s creation, including the addition of Charnas’ guest vocals.

“‘Retaliation Generation’ is a great song that represents the style of music I have come to be known for,” said Fenton. “Having Spencer sing the hook and Matt Good on production blasted this track into ‘anthem’ territory.”

Charnas added to Fenton’s thoughts with his own comments.

“I think with everything going on in the last several years, our generation is holding people accountable,” he said. “It’s a movement in terms of a ‘You ain’t getting away with this s*** anymore.’ It’s a battle cry. I think it’s got such a cool overall message of not letting trials and tribulations of the world get you down. I think people can be their own worst enemy, and this is a song of empowerment. You can fight for what you believe in. It’s up to you to put up or shut up.”

Hyro The Hero’s collaboration is just his latest big name team-up. He most recently worked with Hellyeah and former Mudvayne front man Chad Gray on the inspirational song ‘Fight.’ Prior to that song’s release, he worked with Disturbed front man David Draiman on the song ‘We Believe.’

Courtesy: Atom Splitter PR

In other news, Hyro The Hero will host a livestream even at 4 p.m. ET today through his official Twitch channel. Charnas, AJ Channer (Fire From the Gods), and Ben Bruce (Asking Alexandria) will also make appearances during the livestream show. Fans can RSVP here. Additionally, Hyro The Hero will be a guest for Fire From the Gods’ own livestream even Jan. 30. Tickets for that event are available here.

More information on Hyro The Hero’s new single, video, and livestreatm is available online now along with all of Hyro The Hero’s latest news and more at:




More information on Ice Nine Kills is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:




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GNL Zamba’s New LP Could Make Him One Of The Next Big Names In The Rap-Rock Community

Courtesy: baboon Forest Entertainment

The Spear is a sharp new offering from international rap artist GNL Zamba.  Released Nov. 11 through Baboon Forest Entertainment, the 11-song album is one of the most unique rap albums released so far this year.  That is due in no small part to the album’s musical arrangements, which will be discussed shortly.  The lyrical content that accompanies the record’s featured musical arrangements adds its own share of interest to the 43-minute presentation.  It will be discussed a little later.  The sequencing of the record’s content rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed later.  All three items noted here are important in their own way to the whole of The Spear.  All things considered, they make the album a presentation that deserves  its own share of attention among rap and hip-hop audiences as well as World Music fans.

Rapper GNL Zamba’s new album The Spear is a presentation that any rap fan will agree is worth hearing at least once if not more.  That is due in no small part to the album’s musical arrangements.  The arrangements in question cross a wide range of styles.  The album opens with an arrangement in ‘Afrika,’ ‘’Zim Zim Bombo,’ and ‘Who Got The Power’ that will appeal to fans of bands, such as Skindred and Rage Against the Machine.  ‘Black Caesar,’ which immediately follows, is sort of like a Fort Minor style arrangement that offers audiences something of a nu-metal rap/rock approach.  Also featured throughout the course of the 43-minute record is a song in ‘No Borders’ that presents some very infectious African-infused jazz.  As if that is not enough, ‘Zamba The Great’ is a full-on modern rap style presentation, showing even more, the diversity in the record’s musical arrangements.  ‘Wake The F*** Up,’ another of the album’s entries, even offers some EDM style influence.  Between everything noted here and the other arrangements audiences get a lot to like about GNL Zamba’s new record at least in regards to its musical content.  Its musical content is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg.  The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s musical arrangements adds its own touch to the presentation.

The lyrical content that is presented throughout The Spear is sure to generate its own share of interest among audiences.  It features a lot of socially conscious content.  the album’s opener, ‘Afrika’ is itself a commentary about people needing to take price in their roots inn Africa.  The mentions of the great pharaohs, queens, and peoples of Africa across its many nations make that clear.  As fast as GNL Zamba raps, it can be heard at one point that he makes mention of his mother and grandmother telling him about the legacy of Africa.  ‘Who Got The Power,’ on another note, is a call to unity, urging people to come together and stand up to those in power.  ‘No Borders,’ on yet another note, is its own unique call for unity.  Audiences hear the statement here, “I imagine a world with no borders/One love/One world/No borders.”  It is a statement about bringing the world together among all the separation that is out there.  This is a statement that many listeners will find welcome.  It is just one more way in which the record’s lyrical content proves its importance to the whole of this album’s presentation.  On yet another level, GNL Zamba noted in a prepared statement, that the lyrical content featured in the album actually follows one central theme.

“People are waking up to something,” said GNL Zamba. “People are longing for more connection, more love, equality and wisdom. Many are realizing now that what you actually need is thriving relationships and community to stay functionally sane. We’re asking: Are we just tools for data mining, or where is this all going? We’re seeking a level of consciousness that improves us as human beings. It’s time to go back to where it all began.”

“This is the soundtrack to a human revolution, coming back full circle after completing the first journey of physical evolution to now start the elevation to a spiritual one!” added GNL Zamba …”This Universal Pan African album is inspired by the urgent need to remind the people of the world about what we have in common, an origin of the human race in Africa. Among so much divisions on basis of race, colorism and worship it is imperative to draw from the spiritual wisdom understood by ancient African societies; by looking at the past we predict the future. The oneness of “Obuntu” (The Human spirit).”

Everything noted here rings true with the songs addressed.  They all have that central theme of unity, just in their own unique way.    Keeping all of this in mind, there is no doubt as to the importance of this album’s lyrical content, both by itself and together with the album’s musical arrangements.  Even with all of that in mind, it is still not all that is worth examining in this album.  The album’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.

The Spear starts off strong in ‘Afrika’ with the aforementioned rap-rock arrangement that so conjures thoughts of Skindred and Rage Against the Machine.  While ‘Black Caesar,’ the album’s next song, changes stylistic approach, the song’s energy maintains the energy established in the album’s opener.  The album’s energy does not even begin to pull back until roughly halfway through its run in the ironically titled ‘Energy’ whose own energy is far relaxed in comparison to its predecessors.  The record’s energy slightly picks back up immediately after in ‘Sweet Uganda (Star Taffa).’  Things start to pick back up even more in ‘Wake The F*** Up’ and continues on through ‘Who Got The Power’ before pulling back again in ‘Zamba The Great.’  That song gives listeners a familiar modern hip-hop vibe, so its energy is not too reserved.  As a matter of fact GNL Zamba’s speed rapping is reminiscent of that of Eminem and certain other rappers.  The album goes on just as strongly as it opened in ‘Zim Zim Bombo’ with its heavy rap-rock style arrangement.  It may not be fast, but its heaviness closes out the album with noted same strong musical punch with which the album opened.  Looking back through the record, it can be said of its sequencing that it ensures the album does not get too monotonous at any point.  The stylistic approaches and their related energies change up just enough throughout to keep things interesting for listeners.  When this is considered along with the album’s overall content, the record in whole proves itself to be a successful offering that could make GNL Zamba one of the next big names in the rap and rock communities.

GNL Zamba’s latest album The Spear is a positive new offering from the veteran rapper who calls America and Africa home.  His album offers listeners musical arrangements that will appeal to fans of acts, such as Hyro The Hero, Rage Against The Machine, Fort Minor, Eminem, and even Skindred.  The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s musical arrangements follows one central theme of unity while in itself giving listeners something different with each song.  The sequencing of all of this content rounds out the most important of the album’s elements.  It brings everything full circle, ensuring the album never gets boring.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of The Spear.  All things considered, they make the album one “sharp” new record.  The Spear is available now.

More information on The Spear is available along with all of GNL Zamba’s latest news at:




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Hyro The Hero Announces Summer Tour Schedule

Courtesy: Century Media

Hyro The Hero has announced a new slate of live dates.

The rap-rock artist announced a new jam-packed summer tour schedule on Wednesday.  The three-month-long-plus tour schedule is set to launch May 3 in Jacksonville, Fla and to run through Aug. 25 in Brooklyn, NY.

The tour will feature performances at the Epicenter Festival in Rockingham, NC, Dreamhack Dallas Convention and Rocklahoma festival as well as performances in cities nationwide.  The tour’s current schedule is noted below.

Jacksonville, FL
Welcome To Rockville
Rockingham, NC
Rockingham, NC
Epicenter After Show
Chicago, IL
Bottom Lounge ^
Chesterfield, MI
Diesel Concert Lounge ^
Lexington, KY
Manchester Music Hall ^
Virginia Beach, VA
Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater ^
Lynchburg, VA
Phase2 Dining and Entertainment Club ^
Poughkeepsie, NY
The Chance ^
Sayreville, NJ
Starland Ballroom ^
Nashville, TN
The Cowan ^
Springfield, MO
The Complex ^
Pryor, OK
Dallas, TX
Dreamhack Dallas Convention
Dallas, TX
Dos Equis Pavillion #
Austin, TX
Austin 360 Amphitheatre #
The Woodlands, TX
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion #
West Palm Beach, FL
Coral Sky Amphitheatre #
Tampa, FL
MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre #
Atlanta, GA
Lakewood Amphitheater #
Charlotte, NC
PNC Music Pavillion #
Atlantic City, NJ
The Beach at Atlantic City #
Syracuse, NY
Lakeview Amphitheater – Syracuse #
Toronto, ON
Budweiser Stage #
Mansfield, MA
Xfinity Center #
Holmdel, NJ
PNC Bank Arts Center #
Hartford, CT
The Xfinity Theatre #
Bristow, VA
Jiffy Lube Live #
Clarkston, MI
DTE Energy Music Theatre #
Tinley Park, IL
Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre #
Thornville, OH
Legend Valley #
Noblesville, IN
Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center #
Maryland Heights, MO
Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre #
Englewood, CO
Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre #
Irvine, CA
Starland Ballroom #
Mountain View, CA
Shoreline Amphitheater #
Auburn, WA
White River Amphitheatre #
Boise, ID
Ford Idaho Center Amphitheater #
Chula Vista, CA
North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre #
Phoenix, AZ
Ak-Chin Pavillion #
Albuquerque, NM
Isleta Amphitheater #
Brooklyn, NY
Afropunk Festival
^ with P.O.D. & Nonpoint & Islander
# with Rockstar Energy Disrupt Festival Tour

Hyro The Hero’s upcoming tour schedule is in support of his most recent full-length studio recording Flagged Channel.  The album was released Aug. 31, 2018 on Century Media Records/Red Music.  The album has spawned the singles ‘Never Back  Down,’ ‘Bullet‘ and ‘Live Your F**** Life‘ since its release.

Along with those singles, Hyro The Hero is also featured on EDM artist Crankdat’s new single ‘Monster.’

More information on that single is available along with all of Hyro The Hero’s latest tour news and more at:






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Hyro The Hero Debuts ‘Never Back Down’ Video

Courtesy: Century Media

Hyro The Hero premiered the music video for his latest single this week.

The video for ‘Never Back Down‘ debuted on Tuesday. Directed by Brian Cox of Flarelight Films (Hollywood Undead, Bucher Babies), the video features the Houston, TX-based artist and his band mates performing their new single while also having to fight the powers that be who want to turn the band into just another cookie cutter group that is all too common on Top 40 radio today.

The video serves to illustrates the song’e lyrical message of standing up for one’s own self and never letting others determine who a person is or will become.

‘Never Back Down’ is taken from Hyro The Hero’s 2018 album Flagged Channel.  The debut of the video for ‘Never Back Down’ comes almost a year after the debut of the video for the album’s second single ‘Live Your F***** Life‘ and its debut single, ‘Bullet.’

Audiences can hear all three songs (and more) during Hyro The Hero’s upcoming live dates this summer.  Three dates are scheduled for May — May 3, 10 and 24 — along with two more dates are scheduled for June.

Hyro The Hero’s current live dates are noted below.

Jacksonville, FL
Welcome to Rockville
Rockingham, NC
Pryor, OK
Dallas, TX
Dreamhack *
Cadott, WI
Rock Fest
* with Trivium and Cane Hill

More information on Hyro The Hero’s upcoming live dates, new video and more is available online now at:






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Hyro The Hero’s Sophomore LP Is Certain To Be “Flagged” For All The Right Reasons

Courtesy: Century Media

Independent rapper Hyro The hero (nee Hyro da Hero) has made quite the name for himself since he released his debut album Birth, School, Work, Death back in 2011.  In the years since its release, the up-and-coming artist has made quite the name for himself, earning a nomination as Best International Newcomer by Kerrang! in 2011, performing with Wu-Tang Clan the same year, joining the lineups for the Soundwave Festival and Warped Tour in 2012, and more.  This Friday, June 29, Fenton will take the next step in building his name and reputation when he releases his sophomore album Flagged Channel.  The 12-song, 41-minute record is sure to accomplish those goals, too.  That is proven in part through the album’s musical arrangements, which will be discussed later.  Its lyrical content is certain to play into those goals being attained, too.  They will be discussed later.  The record’s overall sequencing works hand-in-hand with its songs and their lyrical themes to prove once more that the record is certain to achieve its goals.  Each element is important in its own way, and that will be proven here.  All things considered, the noted elements make Flagged Channel a record that is certain to be flagged by rock and metal fans, but only for the best reasons.

Hyro The Hero’s sophomore album Flagged Channel is a strong new effort from the up-and-coming rap/rock artist.  It is a work that is certain to build even more on the reputation and name that he has already built for himself since the release of his debut album Birth, School, Work, Death back in 2011.  That is proven in part through the album’s musical arrangements.  At times, more than living up to the old adage about imitation and flattery and at others, establishing his own musical identity, the album’s musical arrangements build a strong foundation for its presentation.  The adage about imitation and flattery comes into play a number of times throughout the album including early on in the blatantly Rage Against The Machine-esque song ‘We Ain’t Afraid.’  More specifically, it bears a very striking similarity to that band’s hit song ‘Bombtrack.’  That is obvious from the song’s beats to its guitar riffs and even Hero’s own vocal delivery style.  While Hero’s (a.k.a Hyron Fenton) arrangement here is not a mirror image of RATM’s song, the similarities are so close that the comparison can’t be denied.  It’s not the only song included in this album that can be likened to songs from RATM.  ‘Let The Snake Show,’ the album’s closer can easily be compared to another huge RATM him in the form of ‘Freedom,’  Again, the comparison is not precise, but it is close enough that one cannot deny the closeness of the songs’ arrangements.  Is this good or is it bad?  That’s left for listeners to determine, though it must be said the comparisons are so close that Hero definitely walks a fine legal line in these two arrangements.  ‘Sick Of It All’ could easily be compared, stylistically, to early works from the likes of Biohazard, more recent works from Body Count and other similar acts.  The comparisons are a little looser here, but still just enough to make the comparison obvious.  ‘Do Or Die,’ which comes late in the album’s run, can easily be compared to compositions from Flipsyde, Linkin Park and Fort Minor.  ‘Closed Casket’ is another of the album’s entries that can be compared to works from Rage Against The Machine while the agro-rock of ‘Killas Are Coming’ boasts influences of Hed Pe and Body Count as well as RATM.  Considering all of these comparisons, it can be said in short that Hyro The Hero’s influences in this record are varied.  That diversity of influences in itself shows why the album’s musical arrangements help to make this album a work that will help develop Fenton’s name and reputation.  They are, collectively, not the only element that serves that purpose.  Its lyrical themes also serve to show why this album is another positive effort from Fenton.

The lyrical themes presented throughout the course of Flagged Channel are familiar territory not only for Fenton (and his fellow musicians) but also for rock and metal fans.  That is proven right from the album’s outset in its opener/lead single ‘Bullet.’  This song comes across lyrically as a statement about the rather tense relationship between law enforcement and the African-American community in recent years.  This is inferred as Fenton makes not of a judge’s decision contradicting what was “the truth” and that decision leading to protests.  It is inferred just as much in the song’s lead verse, in which he notes, “They keep f****** with the innocent/Treat us different even though we citizens/Fight back now/They trynna call us militant when we just voice our opinion/Time to set fire to the flame they ignited/Either we get justice or you get a riot/We tried to be peaceful but all you know is violence/Any way it goes, we won’t be silent.”  He goes on later to offer up a call to action saying, “Wake up my people/Against the forces of evil/The collapse of the eagle.”  The eagle, one must assume is representative of America.  As noted, this is not unfamiliar territory for Fenton or for most rock and metal fans.  The fact that he doesn’t beat around the bush, but rather just outs it right out there is nice, too.  It leaves little to no room for misinterpretation.  This social commentary is not the only commentary included in this album.  He also addresses the obsession with social media by today’s generation in his new, latest single, ‘Live Your F****** Life.’  He addresses here, the problem that exists through this generation’s obsession with social media, and the consequences therein.  He writes in the song’s lead verse, “The whole generation needin’ instant gratification/Dopamine fiends addicted to the sensation/Short attention span/Needin’ addies for concentration/Overly dramatic and f*****’ impatient/Wastin’ our time postin’ highlights of our lives/Imperfections we constantly put on disguise/We lie to ourselves/This s*** ain’t good for our health/Chasin’ half the world to show everyone else we want and then bought it for ourselves/Live your f*****’ life!”  He goes on to write in the song’s second verse, “Addicted/Head down, stuck in that position/Alternate reality/They livin’ through a screen/Reckless/Zombie-like/No sense of direction/Duck and hide/Run for protection/They comin’ by the millions/Some are even children/That have been turned into dopamine fiends/Lookin’ for the next victim/They dangerous/Sound the alarm for the invasion of the zombie generation/Live your f*****’ Life!”  Again, there’s no doubt as to the commentary here.  He then encourages those who haven’t been turned into the proverbial “zombie” to “RUN” – in other words, don’t let yourself become one of them.  It’s a powerful and much-needed statement especially in this day and age.  To that end, Fenton deserves his fair share of applause here.  It is an issue that needed to be addressed and needs to continue to be addressed with the current generation of tech addiction, self-centered people.  While Fenton address very powerfully plenty of hot button issues throughout this record – as has been evidenced in the noted songs – he also offers listeners some personal motivation through the powerhouse single ‘Never Back Down.’  Rather than going after the establishment or addressing social issues, he instead uses this song to tell listeners to stay the path so to speak and be proud of themselves.  He writes here, “Confessions of a loose canon/Feel the flame from this giant a** dragon/Got a couple screws lose that’s danglin’/I’m just tryin’ to keep my head from hangin’/’Cause I gotta keep my head up…I will never ever let up…Never compromise/Can’t give up, give up.”  He adds in the chorus, “Never back down/Never back down/’Cause one thing, I’ve never been afraid.”  He goes on to write in the song’s second verse, “Okay/I’m reloaded/I want the whole world to take notice/I want everyone to stay focused/And hear the words that’s spoken/I’ve never been the one to be afraid to stir it up/Took my enemies and put ‘em in the dust/Tickin’ time bomb, and I’ve been ready to erupt/And I’m lookin’ for a reason to show ‘em what I’m made of.”  That equally strong statement is complimented again by a reprise of the song’s chorus, stressing again, “Never back down…I’ve never been afraid.”  On the surface, this song seems like it’s more about Fenton than anything else, but in reality, it’s a song that uses his own feelings to show listeners that they can be just as strong, emotionally and psychologically.  With that in mind, it becomes another welcome addition to this album and yet more proof of the importance of the album’s lyrical content to its overall presentation.  It most definitely is not the last example of that importance, either.  ‘We Ain’t Afraid’ takes a familiar lyrical path as it addresses all of the problems caused by the powers that be, telling those groups that the masses “ain’t afraid” when “they come together with their fists raised.”  Those same corrupt leaders are addressed in ‘Killas Are Coming’ as Fenton says of them, “Better beware ‘cause the killers are coming…blood on they hands from the greed and corruption/Your life is worthless to them/It means nothing.”  ‘Get The F*** Up’ ‘Do Or Die’ is another powerful entry, serving as a vessel for Fenton to express some deep personal thoughts and feelings about himself and how he feels about the world’s situation.  It is really one of the album’s most surprisingly moving moments that shows once again the importance of the album’s lyrical content.  When all of this is considered alongside the album’s musical content, both elements go a long way toward making the album well worth hearing.  They are still not its only key elements.  The album’s overall sequencing rounds out its most important elements.

From the album’s start to its finale the sequencing does just as much as the music and lyrics to keep listeners engaged and entertained.  That is evident in the fiery energy exhibited throughout the record both in its music and lyrics.  Even with their quick brooding entrances, the album’s first four entries waste little time getting in motion.  That energy is carried right through to the album’s midpoint right to that more moving entry that is ‘Do Or Die.’  What’s really interesting here is that while ‘Do Or Die’ may not be the full-throttle work that its counterparts are, it still boasts its own power through Fenton’s lyrics about his personal battle with himself.  That power is accented through an arrangement that certainly will move listeners in its own surprising fashion.  Of course, the reservation brought through ‘Do Or Die’ doesn’t last long, as the album’s energy comes right back in ‘Closed Casket,’ which seems to address the problem of gun violence in America.  That energy carries on right to the album’s RATM-esque finale that is ‘Let The Snake Show,’ which again addresses all of the social and political problems plaguing America.  When it’s all said and done, the record’s sequencing shows that it indeed keeps the album’s 41-minute run time move by with ease.  That constant energy and movement joins with the record’s musical and lyrical content to make the album in whole a record that listeners will agree has plenty to offer audiences.  In turn, it gives plenty of reason to be “flagged” for all the right reasons in this year’s crop of new rock and metal albums.

Hyro The Hero’s sophomore album Flagged Channel is a record that, when compared to all of its counterparts out there this year, is certain to be “flagged” for all of the right reasons.  From musical arrangements and lyrical content that is certain to keep listeners engaged and entertained to sequencing that does just as much to maintain that engagement, it offers plenty of positives.  To that end, it is a successful second effort from  a rap/rock artist who definitely deserves to be heard.  It will be available this Friday, June 29 via Century Media.  More information on Flagged Channel is available online now along with all of Hyro The Hero’s latest news and more at:










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Monster Energy Aftershock Festival Lineup Announced; Tickets On Sale Now

Courtesy: Danny Wimmer Presents

The Monster Energy Aftershock Festival is coming back to California this year.

The annual festival is scheduled to be held October 13 and 14 at Sacramento’s Discovery Park.  Now in its seventh year, the festival will be headlined this year by System of a Down, Alice in Chains and Deftones.  This year marks the first time that System of a Down has performed at the festival.

Along with being the band’s first year at the festival, System of a Down’s performance at the Aftershock Festival will also be the band’s first announced U.S. appearance in three years.  It is also part of the band’s 20th anniversary celebration of its landmark self-titled album’s release.

While System of a Down, Alice in Chains and Deftones are the two-day festival’s planned headliners, they are not the only bands on the bill.  Also scheduled for the performance are Godsmack (which is currently touring in support of its brand new album When Legends Rise), Incubus, Seether, Jonathan Davis (whose latest solo album Black Labyrinth is scheduled for release May 25), At The Drive-In and Slash ft. Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators (who are currently working on their latest album) as well as Bullet For my Valentine (whose new album Gravity is scheduled to be released June 29), Sevendust (whose album All I See Is War is out now) and many more.  The full lineup for this year’s festival is noted below.

The current band lineup for Monster Energy Aftershock is as follows: System Of A Down, Deftones, Alice In Chains, Incubus, Godsmack, Shinedown, 311, Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy And The Conspirators, At The Drive-In, Seether, Jonathan Davis, Bullet For My Valentine, Underoath, Black Veil Brides, Hellyeah, Asking Alexandria, Sevendust, Everlast, GWAR, Emmure, Stick To Your Guns, Dance Gavin Dance, Monster Magnet, Red Sun Rising, Bad Wolves, The Fever 333, Dorothy, Wage War, Plague Vendor, Hyro The Hero, Amigo The Devil, All Them Witches, Slothrust, The Dose, Viza, The Jacks and more to be announced.

Providing food for this year’s festival will be a variety of vendors including: Southern Hospitality Concessions LLC, Danny Wimmer Presents’ affiliate concessionaire.  Food trucks will also be on hand, providing savory and sweet treats from: Angry Bird Grill, Bacon Mania, Barrett’s Burgers, Barrett’s Sliders, Big Joe’s BBQ, Bubba’s BBQ, Cousins Maine Lobster, Dippin Dots Ice Cream, Dogtown, Drewski’s Hot Rod Sandwiches, Florez Bar & Grill, La Mex Taqueria, Mac Attack, Mount Olympus, Sausage King, Smokin’ Hot Pizza, Spicy Pie and Xochimilco Mexican Restaurant.

Beverages will be available from a variety of vendors, including vendors for festival-goers 21 and older.  Those vendors include: Caduceus Vellars & Merkin Vineyards Wine Garden (owned by Tool/A Perfect Circle/ Puscifer front man Maynard James Keenan) and the Belching Beaver Bar (featuring drafts from the Vista, CA brewer including the Phantom Bride IPA, a collaboration with the Defones).  Mrkt N Jolt will also be on site, offering hot coffee, cold brew and other items.

As if the music, food and drink isn’t enough for festival-goers, this year’s festival will also offer lots of entertainment options.  Those options include the Monster Energy Experience, which gives audiences the chance to meet and greet the bands while also sampling the festival’s various offered drinks, The Music Experience, which is an interactive exhibit and music instrument retailer.  Non-profit animal rescue organization Take Me Home will also be on-site along with Dyin 2 Live/FXck Cancer, a wish-granting organization.  Fans can buy music from the festival’s bands on site at the f.y.e. Fan Experience.

Festival-goers can win prizes and check out the latest products from Zippo Lighters at Zippo Encore and charge their phones at SWFTCharge.

Tickets and VIP packages for this year’s festival are on-sale now.  Prices are listed below.  Service fees on all ticket purchases include a $0.50 charity fee for the T.J. Martell Foundation, a foundation aimed at researching and fighting cancer.  Active military personnel get discounts on their tickets through GovX.

Initial ticket prices will be as follows:

  • 2-Day Weekend General Admission: starting at $149.50 + fees
  • 2-Day Weekend VIP: starting at $299.50 + fees
  • Single Day General Admission: starting at $89.50 + fees
  • Single Day VIP: starting at $179.50 + fees

VIP tickets include: VIP entrance lanes to the venue, shaded VIP hang area with seating for dining, a VIP-only viewing area of main stage, video screens featuring a live feed of main stage inside the VIP hang area, upgraded food and drink selections, dedicated VIP restrooms and commemorative VIP Monster Energy Aftershock laminate.

A park & ride shuttle is being offered again for this year’s festival as parking at Discovery park is very limited.  Every ticket includes parking at Sleep Train Arena and non-stop shuttle directly to the festival site.

The Monster Energy Aftershock Festival is produced by Danny Wimmer Presents and fueled by Monster Energy.  It is sponsored by f.y.e., Coors Light, Jack Daniels, Zippo Encore, The Music Experience, SWFTCharge, Fxck Cancer, Ace of Spades, Take Me Home and Belching Beaver.  More sponsors will be announced later.

More information on this year’s Monster Energy Aftershock Festival is available online now at:






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