Corroded Will Leave Listeners Feeling Anything But Bitter On Its Latest LP

Courtesy: Despotz Records

Hard rock outfit Corroded released its latest full-length studio recording this week, and the album, Bitter, is another strong new offering from the veteran Swedish band.  Front man Jens Westlin explained the album’s title “comes from observing how the social climate is around the world right now…Everyone’s so dissatisfied and thinks that everyone else’s life is so much better than theirs, and if something goes wrong, it’s always someone else’s fault.  As a result of this, all power hungry leaders in this world thrive on the dissatisfaction of the people and gain power that way.”  He added that these views are what inspired the band’s new album both musically, and lyrically.  The band’s reaction to that situation is on full display early on in the form of the song ‘Cross,’ which will be discussed shortly.  ‘Scream,’ which comes later in the album’s run is another standout addition to Bitter, that shows quite well, the band’s response to everything going on.  It will be discussed a little later.  ‘Drown,’ which comes even later in the album’s run is another notable addition to the album’s overall statement about the world’s current social and political climate.  It will also be discussed later.  Each of the three songs noted here are key in their own way to the whole of Bitter.  When considered along with the other nine songs featured in the album not directly noted here, the end result is a powerful new offering from Corroded that will light a new fire within listeners and leave them feeling anything but bitter.

Corroded’s fifth full-length studio recording Bitter is another strong new offering from the Swedish hard rock outfit.  The new, 12-song record, which is the band’s second for Sweden-based Despotz Records, shows from start to finish, that the quartet can easily hold its own against its more well-known hard rock and metal counterparts.  This is proven early on in the form of ‘Cross.’  The song’s up-tempo, guitar-driven musical arrangement helps to support that statement.  The arrangement conjures thoughts of Five Finger Death Punch, Soil, Dry Kill Logic and other similar acts.  The fiery energy exuded through the arrangement, coupled with Westlin’s growling vocals does a commendable job of illustrating the anger and frustration that Westlin attempts to present in the song’s lyrical content.

That seeming mix of strong emotions is inferred as he sings, “Our mistakes…they have never ever been this clear/All the pain/And the misery/Every word that was said out of fear/Every thorn/In the side/The suffering we had to endure/We never stopped/It isn’t easy/There will never ever be a cure/Every breath that we take/Is a waste of the air we possess/All the s*** that we give….I won’t be nailed upon your cross/I will not take the pain for you/It’s time to own your mistakes/It’s time for you to fall.”  Westlin’s fire hardly dies in the song’s second verse as he sings of having to carry someone else’s agony and misery, and refusing to do so any longer before returning to the chorus’ powerful message pointing the finger back at the proverbial stone casters and finger pointers.  Guitarist Thomas Andersson, bassist Bjarne Elvsgard and drummer Per Solang are to be commended in their own right for their work throughout the song, and especially in its bridge as they work together to help illustrate that feeling of emotional strain that one goes through when one is blamed for something that happened to someone else.  Instead of being the fiery work that is exhibited through the rest of the song, it presents a certain vibe of someone trying to get over those feelings of self-guilt and realizing people cause their own problems in many cases.  It is a brief moment in the bigger picture of the song, but powerful in its own right.  When it considered along with Westlin’s unapologetic lyrical content and the rest of the song’s unflinching arrangement, the whole proves to be an unquestionably forceful response to that bitterness of which Westlin spoke, which led to much of the album’s creation.  It is just one of the album’s most standout entries.  ‘Scream,’ which comes later in the album’s run, is another notable addition to the album.

In regards to its musical arrangement, ‘Scream’ is a work that is certain to appeal to thrash metal purists out there.  Again, the similarities to Dry Kill Logic are front and center here.  At the same time, one can also argue influences from the likes of Overkill, Exodus, Anthrax and other similar acts, thanks again to the collective work of Andersson, Elvsgard and Solang.

The energy exuded through this thrash-style work does its own commendable job of illustrating the urgency in the song’s lyrics; an urgency that seems to center on the issue of self-determination and not letting the currently bitter state of the world bring one down.  This is inferred as Westlin sings with his band mates in the song’s chorus, “Scream/Until your lungs give out/Don’t roll over and die/Shout/Until everything is said/Don’t give up…”  This positive message is coupled with an equally positive vibe in the song’s verses.  Westlin sings in the song’s lead verse, “Inhale/Let everything around go down/Find a moment of peace/React/The perfect storm is here right now/You are the center of its eye.”  Westlin’s message is relatively clear in this verse, especially considering the song’s chorus.  He is saying that we create the storm that surrounds us, and the way to survive that storm is to find our inner peace, to jet let everything out, not hold it in.  he even comes right out in the song’s second verse and states, “Exhale/Let matters fall right into place/Find a calm inside yourself.”  He goes on to say, “you are the center of the mass.”  Yet again, here we have a relatively clear statement of how we are the source and solution to all of our problems.  This is a positive message, from which plenty of listeners can and hopefully will take some enlightenment.  When it is coupled with that previously discussed musical arrangement, the whole is a song that is therapeutic in the best way possible, and yet another wonderful response to the negativity that is polluting the world right now.  It is far from the last example of the album’s clear ability to respond to the world’s current climate.  ‘Drown’ is yet another example of how well the band has responded to everything going on around the globe.

‘Drown’ is the penultimate addition to Bitter.  Musically, this song is another interesting composition.  The verses are once again up-tempo, guitar-drive, adrenaline-fueled sections.  The choruses however, are far more melodic.  What is interesting is that the song does not lose any of its energy in the choruses.  It just changes style, in turn, keeping the work moving forward.  The song’s bridge hints at some 80s influences through Andersson’s guitar work, which is not an entirely bad thing.  Of course, the song’s musical arrangement is just one part of what makes it stand out.  Its lyrical content leads it to stand out just as much as its musical content.

Westlin sings in the song’s lead verse, “Wish I could break the spell that binds us here/You know to each his own…Just go and do/As you please…It must be done my way/It must be done your way.  Some of his wording is difficult to decipher without a lyrics sheet to reference, but the seeming message becomes partially clear.  Later in the song’s nearly five-minute song, he goes on to sing, of looking back on a chain that has been broken and will not leave any marks.  This is just this critic’s own take, but it would seem that Westlin is speaking metaphorically here to address social control, with the chain being that control, broken.  That would explain Westlin’s earlier statement of “It must be done my way/It must be done your way.”  There is that problem of everyone wanting things in life their way, but we as a people do not have to let it be one person’s way or another, but rather our own way, regardless of what everyone else says.  We can respect others’ ways, but we do not have to live by those ways.  That goes back to the initial statement of “Wish I could break that spell that binds us here/You know to each his own.” It all seems to come together in a statement of not giving in to what everyone says one should do and be.  Again, this should not be taken as the only interpretation, but merely that of this critic.  Hopefully this critic is at least somewhere in the ballpark with that interpretation, as it would seem to be another response to the world’s negativity, as addressed by Westlin about the album’s overall theme.  When it is considered along with the seeming messages presented in ‘Scream,’ Cross’ and the rest of the album’s offerings, the whole of Bitter becomes a work in whole that will leave listeners anything but bitter.

Corroded’s latest full-length studio recording Bitter is a record that is certain to leave listeners feeling anything but bitter about the world after they listen from start to finish, to the 12-song record.  That is because of the messages presented in the songs, which come across as various responses to the world’s bitterness – responses that are in fact not overly bitter themselves.  That is evidenced early on in ‘Cross,’ which points the finger back at the finger pointers, and again later in the album’s run in ‘Scream,’ which seems to encourage people to get their negativity out (of course in a positive way), and even later seems to encourage people to embrace their personal identity, rather than give in to social control in ‘Drown.’  These are just some of the songs featured in this record that clearly address everything going on in the world.  The Type O Negative-esque ‘Black’ seems to address’ people’s self-imposed misery while the In Flames-styled ‘Breathing’ comes across as sending a message of not giving up even in the most dire situations.  The old-school metal style work that is ‘Testament’ is a defiant anthem that comes across as encouraging people to stand up for themselves against all odds.  Again, this is all this critic’s own interpretation.  Hopefully it is somewhere in the ballpark in each case, including that of the songs more directly discussed.  If indeed this critic’s interpretations are right, then again, this record proves that much more to be quite the successful offering from Corroded, and easily one of the year’s first great hard rock/metal records.  It is available now.  More information on Bitter is available online now along with all of Corroded’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://despotz.se

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/corrodedsweden

 

 

 

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2017 Rock On The Range Festival Lineup Announced

Courtesy: Danny Wimmer Presents/AEG Live

Courtesy: Danny Wimmer Presents/AEG Live

The lineup for the 2017 Rock on the Range Festival has been announced, and once again it has proven to be quite the collection of acts.

The three-day festival will be headlined by Metallica, Soundgarden and Korn.  It will feature more than 50 bands over the course of that time along with some of the country’s top comics at the festival’s Rock on the Range Rolling Rock Comedy Tent.

The lineup for the 2017 Rock on the Range Festival includes: Metallica, Soundgarden, Korn, The Offspring, Volbeat, Primus, Bush, Chevelle, Papa Roach, Seether, Coheed & Cambria, Alter Bridge, The Pretty Reckless, Taking Back Sunday, Thrice, Amon Amarth, Pierce The Veil, Sum 41, Skillet, Dillinger Escape Plan, In Flames, Gojira, Biffy Clyro, Motionless In White, Nothing More, Beartooth, Starset, Every Time I Die, The Story So Far, Deafheaven, Zakk Sabbath, Rival Sons, The Amity Affliction, Attila, Norma Jean, Suicide Silence, Whitechapel, I Prevail, Turnstile, Dinosaur Pile-Up, Red Fang, Dorothy, Kyng, Radkey, As Lions, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Sylar, Fire From The Gods, Badflower, Wage War, Goodbye June, Cover Your Tracks, DED, Bleeker, Royal Republic, Mother Feather, Aeges and One Less Reason.

Rock on the Range—fueled by Monster Energy—is billed as America’s largest and most acclaimed rock festival.  The festival will also feature in 2017 “The Music Experience,” art installations, and unique on-site activities over the course of the festival’s three days.

Tickets for the 2016 festival sold out more than two months in advance of the festival.  It marked the fourth consecutive year the festival has sold out in advance.

Weekend Field, new Weekend Field VIP, Weekend Stadium and a limited number of Weekend Stadium 4-packs are available now for purchase.  A layaway option is also available for concert-goers.  That option allows audiences to split the cost of their ticket/ticket packages into four separate monthly payments.

Fans can get a pre-sale password for Weekend Field VIP, Weekend Field GA, Weekend Stadium GA and Weekend Stadium GA 4-packs on the official Rock on the Range website, Facebook page and Twitter page.  The ticket prices are listed below.

 

  • Weekend Field VIP: starting at $349.50* + fees
  • Weekend Field GA: starting at $199.50* + fees
  • Weekend Stadium GA: starting at $99.50* + fees
  • Weekend Stadium GA Ticket 4-Pack: $380.00 + fees
  • * Phase One prices listed
  • *** Ticket prices automatically move to the next price level once the allotment sells out ***

General on-sale for tickets is Friday, Dec. 2 at 10 a.m. EST.  Tickets will be available online at the festival’s website, at Ticketmaster locations and the MAPFRE Stadium box office.

Audiences who want an even more special concert experience can purchase the new Uber Ranger Camping Package.  The package includes amenities for four people such as luxury RV on a double campsite at the Ohio Expo North Campground (May 18 – 21), a dedicated concierge with golf cart shuttle, 4 Weekend VIP Field Admission Tickets, a backstage tour, access to the stadium club (with catered lunch and dinner), access to the Side Stage Viewing Platform, access to the VIP Lounge and more.  More information on the new Uber Ranger Camping Package is available here.

Rock on The Range celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2016.  More than 120,000 people attended the festival from around the world.  As part of its 10th anniversary celebration, Columbus, OH mayor Andrew J. Ginther and the Columbus, OH city council presented festival organizers with awards of recognition.  A resolution was also announced from the Franklin County Board of Commissioners acknowledging the festival’s economic impact on the city.

The commissioners pointed out in their resolution pointed out the festival brought in more than $140 million for the city over the course of its ten years in the city.

Rock on the Range is produced by Danny Wimmer Presents, AEG Live and MAPFRE Stadium.  It is supported by Monster Energy, Bud Light and Zippo.  They and other partners will feature interactive experiences, meet & greets, and other special fan engagement opportunities throughout the festival.

More information on the 2017 Rock on the Range Festival is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.RockontheRange.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/rockontherange

 

 

 

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.

Metal Purists Will Appreciate UDR Music’s Wacken 2015 Recording

Courtesy: UDR Music

Courtesy: UDR Music

The Wacken Open Air Festival is one of the most renowned hard rock concert festivals if the music industry.  The festival started 26 years ago in the city after which it is named.  Late this summer UDR Music celebrated the festivals 25th anniversary – marked in 2015 – with the release of the festival’s 25th anniversary recording.  Considering that the recording presents the show lineup from the festival’s 25th anniversary, its title is a little bit misleading.  That aside, it is still an enjoyable experience for any purist member of the metal nation worldwide.  That is due in no small part to the lineup presented in the recording.  This will be discussed shortly.  The bands’ performances are just as important to note in the recording’s presentation as is the recording’s presented lineup.  That will be discussed later.  The platforms on which the recording has been made available rounds out the most important of the recording’s elements.  Each element is clearly important in its own right to the recording’s presentation.  All things considered, Live at Wacken 2015 26 Years Louder Than Hell is one of this year’s top new overall live recordings.

Live at Wacken 2015 – ­26 Years Louder Than Hell is one of 2016’s top new overall live recordings.  It is hardly the first live recording that the festival’s organizers have ever released.  Even with that in mind, it is still an enjoyable recording for the festival’s fans and for the purist metal legions around the world.  That is due in no small part to the recording’s featured performer list.  A total of 107 bands performed on Wacken 2015 between the Bullhead City Circus, Party Stage and double main stage.  It goes without saying that considering that mass of metal, there’s no way that UDR or the fesitval’s organizers could have possibly featured every one of those bands.  Regardless, the featured performer list included in this recording is still impressive in its own right.  That list includes the likes of Judas Priest, Danko Jones, Uli Jon Roth, In Flames, Annihilator and so many others.  Simply put, the perfomer list featured in this recording pulls from a number of metal’s sub genres and from so many eras of metal’s history.  It goes to show the respect that the festival’s organizers and fans have for metal, its history and culture.  Sure, it would have been nice to have Dream Theater included in the featured performer list, or maybe Hellyeah, or even Prong (yes, even Prong performed at Wacken 2015).  But the performer list included in this recording is still impressive in its own right in the end.  Considering this, it should be clear why it is such an important piece of the recording’s presentation.  It is just one of the important elements to note.  The featured acts’ stage presence in their performances is just as important to note here as the acts themselves.

The acts that are featured in UDR Music’s new Wacken Open Air Festival recording are important in their own right to the recording’s overall presentation.  That is because while hardly every one of the bands that performed at the festival, they represent a wide swatch of the metal community and its history.  That means the recording will reach just as wide of an audience.  While the recording’s featured performer list is clearly an important piece of the recording’s presentation, it is hardly the recording’s only important element.  The bands’ stage presence in their performances plays an important part in the recording’s presentation, too.  Rob Halford and company prove the importance of the bands’ performances right from the recording’s outset.  They take the stage and own it with ease.  Halford is at the top of his game both in terms of his vocal talent and his very presence.  Glenn Tipton is just as enjoyable to take in as he works his way through the band’s performance of ‘Painkiller.  On another note, the members of Running Wild are just as impressive as they work through the high-octane ‘Under The Jolly Roger.’  Skindred’s performance of ‘Proceed With Caution’ will have home audiences on their feet just as easily as it did the audience in attendance of the festival.  That is because of the fire and energy exuded by the band throughout its performance.  It is just one more example of the importance of the bands’ performance to the festival recording’s presentation.  One could just as easily cite the performances from My Dying Bride, In Flames, and Death Angel as proof of that importance, too.  All things considered, it is safe to say that every single performance featured in this recording will keep home audiences just as entertained and engaged as the audiences that got to enjoy the festival in person.  Even with all of this in mind, the bands’ performances still are not the last element to note in examining this recording.  The platforms on which the recording has been made available are just as important to note as the previously discussed elements.

The bands that were featured in Live at Wacken 2015 26 Years Louder Than Hell and their performances are both key elements in examining the festival’s recording.  The featured performer list presents the past, present and future of metal while also presenting a solid cross-section proving what has made the festival so respected for now 26 years.  The featured bands’ performances are so important to note because they will keep home audiences just as entertained and engaged as the audiences who had the honor of experiencing the festival in person.  While both elements are clearly important both alone and collectively to the recording’s presentation, they are not its only important elements.  The platforms on which the recording has been made available are just as important to note as the previously noted elements.  Audiences will be happy to know that the recording has been made available on separate 2 DVD/2 CD and 2 BD/2 CD combo pack.  The DVD set averages approximately $22 and the BD set $23.  Considering that, the various platforms and their prices are relatively affordable for audiences.  The only downside to the sets is that their set lists don’t exactly match.  Not every song featured in the recording’s DVD and BD presentation is included in the recording’s CD platform.  To that end, it is the recording’s only major negative, which is actually a good thing.  That means that the recording’s varied platforms and other discussed elements more than make up for that one negative, as unavoidable as it is to note.  All things considered, Live at Wacken 2015 26 Years Louder Than Hell proves in the bigger picture to be one of 2016’s top new live recordings as well as one of the year’s top new live DVD/BDs and CDs.  It is available now in stores and online.

Live at Wacken 2015 26 Years Louder Than Hell is one of 2016’s top new live recordings.  That is the case even considering that it does have at least one unavoidable negative.  The recording’s featured performer list and the featured acts’ performances partner with the varied platforms on which the recording has been made available to make the recording an enjoyable experience for any purist member of the metal nation worldwide.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on this and other titles from UDR Music is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.udr-music.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/udrmusic

 

 

 

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Carolina Rebellion Organizers Announce Details For 5th Annual Festival

Courtesy:  Ashton-Magnuson Media

Courtesy: Ashton-Magnuson Media

The Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion Festival is one of North Carolina’s biggest annual music festivals if not the biggest. And this year, the festival will celebrate an important anniversary when it returns to the Rock City Campgrounds at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 2nd and 3rd.

This year, the Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion Festival celebrates its fifth anniversary with one of its biggest lineups to date. The fifth annual festival will feature no fewer than thirty-six acts over two days. The acts tapped to perform this year include some of the biggest names in rock’s past, present, and future. Those names include the likes of: Slayer, Slipknot, Queensryche, Hatebreed, Cheap Trick, Korn, Marilyn Manson, Rise Against, Jackyl, In Flames, Periphery, and many other major names. The current lineup for this year’s festival is listed below.

Saturday, May 2

Korn, Marilyn Manson, Rise Against, Sammy Hagar & The Circle, Chevelle, Cheap Trick, Papa Roach, Bush, Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts, Jackyl, Of Mice & Men, Live, Motionless In White, Periphery, Beartooth, Young Guns, Marmozets, Islander and more.

 

Sunday, May 3

Slipknot, Godsmack, Slayer, Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators, Breaking Benjamin, Halestorm, Queensrÿche, The Pretty Reckless, In This Moment, In Flames, Tremonti, Suicidal Tendencies, Testament, Hatebreed, Starset, Butcher Babies, We Are Harlot, Exodus, and more.

Slipknot front man Corey Taylor discussed the band’s addition to the bill and playing alongside other great names in rock in a recent interview saying, “We are very excited to be headlining Rebellion this year! We’re honored to be playing in the company of Cheap Trick, one of my all-time favorites, as well as playing with such good friends like Korn, Halestorm and Slayer!” Korn front man Jonathan Davis explained that the Carolina Rebellion festival plays a very important part in that band’s history as it served as the point of reunion for the band with guitarist Brian “Head” Welch in 2012. “Three years ago, we reunited with our brother Head on stage at Carolina Rebellion. Since then, we made a new album and toured the world together,” he said. He went on to note that the reunion means even more as the band plans on playing its debut album in its entirety at this year’s festival. And now we’re back to perform our first album in its entirety.  Rebellion is going to be a really special show for us,” he said.

Carolina Rebellion Festival Co-Executive Producer Gary Spivack of RockHouse discussed the importance of this year’s installment of what is the biggest of the Mid-Atlantic region’s rock festivals and of making it a special, memorable anniversary for audiences. “Rebellion is truly the Carolinas ’ biggest music party of the year,” he said. “For the 5th annual Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion, we wanted to acknowledge not only the best in current rock with the likes of Slipknot, Godsmack, Breaking Benjamin and more, but also celebrate some great iconic rock bands like Sammy Hagar & The Circle, Cheap Trick, Slayer and others to give the Rebels the widest range of Rock N’ Roll possible.”

A ticket pre-sale is currently underway for the festival. It runs until Friday, January 16th at 11:59am ET. The pre-sale offers a limited amount of tickets at early bird pre-sale prices (plus fees). Those prices are:

Weekend General Admission Ticket: $99

Weekend General Admission Ticket 4-Pack: $299

Single Day General Admission Ticket: $59.50

Those that purchase weekend general admission tickets during both the current pre-sale and the upcoming general on-sale period can purchase a VIP Lounge Upgrade for $110. Even bigger news for audiences, the Carolina Rebellion Festival is offering layaway packages for purchase through January 31st. This is the first year that this is being made available for audiences. A limited number of discount tickets for active military members via GovX.

Along with the general admission, weekend general admission, and VIP packages, hotel and camping packages are also currently available. Prices will remain the same through both pre-sale and general on-sale periods. All hotel packages are for three nights. They are available for couples and for groups of up to four. The packages include access to the Friday Night Campground Party in the campgrounds. Camping opens at noon on Friday, May 1st and closes at noon on Monday, May 4th. Camping upgrades include access to the Friday Night Campground Party. The Camping packages include a $25 merchandise voucher, access to VIP Lounge, a festival poster, and access to the Friday Night Campground Party.

The annual Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion Festival is sponsored by Monster Energy, Bud Light, Jack Daniels, Jagermeister, Crazy Dave’s Music Experience, Zippo Encore and others. It is produced by AEG Live, Danny Wimmer Presents, and RockHouse Presents. It is part of the World’s Loudest Month festival series. More information on the Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion Festival is available online at:

Website: http://www.CarolinaRebellion.com

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

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

Spiders’ Second Full Length LP Is One Of This Year’s Best New Pure Rock And Roll Records

Courtesy:  Spinefarm Records

Courtesy: Spinefarm Records

Sweden has for many years been considered one of the music world’s most well-known nations.  It has been called home by some of metal’s most aggressive names including: In Flames, At The Gates, Soilwork, Evergrey, and a number of other big name acts.  However in recent years, it seems that the tide has shifted somewhat, bringing other lesser known acts to the fore.  At one point some years ago, The Hives brought out Sweden’s more mainstream side.  The Flower Kings have represented the progressive rock world.  And this year alone, both Freak Kitchen and The Dagger have proven that Sweden offers more to the rock world than just death metal, black metal, and aggressive metal in general (I.E. At The Gates, Arch Enemy, Soilwork, In Flames, etc.)  Now another band has added its name to that growing list of bands proving Sweden has plenty to offer audiences. That band goes by the name of Spiders.  Spiders will release its second full-length studio effort tomorrow.  The album, titled Shake Electric, is even more ammunition in the argument that rock and roll is not dead nor will it be on its death bed anytime soon, despite what one Gene Simmons might like to believe.  The album’s ten total tracks will transport listeners back to rock’s golden era.  Vocalist Ann-Sofie Hoyles sounds like Janis Joplin at some points.  At others she sounds like a cross between Pat Benatar and Joan Jett.  And at a wholly other point, one could argue she sounds like Heart’s Ann Wilson.  The talents of Hoyles’ band mates–John Hoyles (guitar), Olle Griphammar (bass), and Ricard Harryson (drums)–add even more enjoyment to the songs on this record.  The end result is a work that every rock and roll purist should hear at least once.

Spiders’ new sophomore album Shake Electric is, much like The Dagger’s new self-titled Century Media debut, a record that every rock and roll purist should hear at least once.  the album takes listeners on a musical trip back to rock’s golden age.   It all begins with the album’s opener ‘Mad Dog.’  Its old school stoner/garage rock sound coupled with Ann Sofie-Hoye’s vocals make it the perfect first impression for the band on this record.  The song opens with a bombastic attack from Hoyles’ band mates before she comes in singing, “I hear you barking at my door/See you crawlin’ on the floor/I know you don’t mind/But I know your kind/The way you scream/The way you howl.”  the term bad dog is obviously a metaphor for a really bad man.  That becomes especially obvious as the song progresses.  Even with this knowledge, the song still proves to be a great addition to this record.  The power in Hoyles’ delivery coupled with the talents of her band mates in this bluesy rocker will have every rock purist jamming along both by themselves and along with other fans at the band’s live shows.  Being such a solid song both on record and for a live setting proves even more why this song is one of so many great additions to this album.

The members of Spider made exactly the right call when they opted to open Shake Electric with ‘Mad Dog.’  the song’s bluesy rock sound  coupled with Hoyles’ vocals instantly take listeners back in time to rock and roll’s golden era.  Unlike so many other bands’ albums past and present, the enjoyment doesn’t end for audiences after this track.  Rather, the band keeps the energy flowing and listeners *ahem* shaking and singing along from start to finish.  One prime example of the band’s ability to maintain that energy comes in the form of ‘Control.’  The band’s members launch right out of the gate on this full-forward rocker with Hoyles’ exhibiting her Joan Jett/Pat Benatar-style vocals.  [John] Hoyles and drummer Ricard Harryson provide most of the driving force behind this song with bassist Olle Griphammar holding his own, too.  Musically speaking, there’s almost a sort of Led Zeppelin-style sound to the song.  The energy in Hoyles’ voice as she seems to sing about a woman that drives men crazy adds even more depth to the song.  She sings of a man “calling out her name/think I need control…here I go  again/Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.”  That could very well be the wrong interpretation.  It is merely the interpretation of this critic.  As always, apologies are in order if it is indeed the wrong iterpretation.  That aside, the song’s energy and its sheer power make it another leg of a wonderful musical trip back in time.

Both ‘Mad Dog’ and ‘Control’ serve as great examples of what makes Shake Electric one of the bestnew pure rock and roll records to be released this year.  As if those songs aren’t enough, the band’s obviously Heart-inspired ‘Bleeding Heart’ will definitely have audiences taking note.  That is because if audiences didn’t know any better, they would think that they were in fact hearing Heart in this song.  [Ann] Hoyles sounds almost identical to Ann Wilson.  Is it a coincedence that both women bear the name Ann?  Probably.  But it’s still fun to consider the possibility especically since Hoyles sounds so much like Wilson here.  The song in whole even sounds musically like Heart’s ‘Hit Me With Your Best Shot’ thanks to John Hoyles’ guitar line here.  Paying such homage to one of rock’s great names whether intentionally or not, it is one more part of the whole that makes Shake Electric a great new release from Spiders.  Together with the likes of ‘Mad Dog,’ ‘Control,’ and the remaining seven songs not noted here, the album in whole proves once again to be one that every rock and roll purist whould hear at least once before the year is out.

‘Mad Dog,’ ‘Control,’ and ‘Bleeding Heart’ are all excellent examples of what makes Shake Electric one of the year’s best new pure rock and roll records.  There are seven other tracks not noted here from which audiences will each find their favorite(s).  The album’s title track, the mroe reserved, bluesy tones of ‘Hard Times’ and the bombastic ‘Back on the Streets’ each offer their own share of enjoyment, too as do the album’s remaining tracks.  All ten tracks together make Shake Electric an album that while not a major label release, is still just as good as any other retro style rock record released via a major label this year.  The album’s songs prove collectively that this is truly an album that every rock and roll purist should indeed give a chance even if American radio stations won’t.  Spiders is curently on tour in Europe in support of Shake Electric.  The band is in Hamburg, Germany tonight and will be in Munster, Germany tomorrow.  Audiences can see the band’s current tour schedule and keep up with all of the latest updates from the band online now at:

Website: http://www.wearespiders.com

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

MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/wearespiders

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.

Amaranthe’s Latest LP Is Massively Addictive

Courtesy:  Spinefarm/Universal Music Group

Courtesy: Spinefarm/Universal Music Group

Euro/Industrial metal act Amaranthe released its latest full length studio effort this week.  Massive Additctive, the band’s third album is as many years is one that will impress audiences in its own right regardless of their familiarity with the band.  Anyone that is a fan of Within Temptation, Lacuna Coil and the ilk will enjoy this record from start to finish.  The combination of the band’s bombastic, old school shredding and solos, precision drumming, and the  vocal talents of the band’s co-vocalists make this a record that every member of the Metal Nation worldwide should hear at least once.  The songs’ lyrical content is just as important as their musical sides, too.  All things considered, the combination of each song’s music and lyrics makes Massive Addictive one of the best of the underground rock and metal community this year.

Audiences that are familiar with the sound established by Amaranthe on its first two records will appreciate that said sound is just as prevalent on this record.  What makes this latest full length effort worth the listen regardless of one’s familiarity with the band is the introduction of more and varied electronic elements.  The album’s mix of keyboards, sampling and other electronic elements show a certain amount of growth from the band this time out. That is evident right off the top in the album’s high-energy opener ‘Dynamite.’  This aptly titled song is a fitting opener for Massive Addictive as it launches the album with the furiousness and energy of a keg full of dynamite.  Yes, that was a cheesy cliché.  But hey, it works, right?  The song opens explosively with that electronic/keyboard mix alongside the solid guitar work of Olof Morck.  The influence of other Gothenburg bands such as In Flames and Soilwork in Morck’s performance.  The juxtaposition of Elize’s clean vocals to the screams of co-vocalist Henrik add even more intensity to the song.  The song’s lyrical content matches its energy quite well.  The vocalist pair Light the fuse/See the sign/Unbalanced heart/I’m in my prime/Get out of here while there is still time/I’m reaching overload/I’m going right on top/While you abide my dynamite.”  The message here is pretty clear. This is someone holding in a lot and getting ready to burst.  If that’s not proof enough, then consider the song’s second verse, in which Henrik screams, “No excuse/Break the bonds/A gasp of air/My will is strong/Get out of here/My mind is futile/I’m just a statuette/Without a timer set/While I apply my dynamite.”  This is someone that has a lot of pent up frustrations, it would seem.  And the song’s energy seems to present that message, too when set alongside such lyrical content.  If that interpretation is correct, then such combination makes this song an even more powerful opener for the band’s new album.  That’s because everybody has reached that breaking point and ready to blow.  Having a song such as this to which people can relate could serve to help diffuse that proverbial dynamite lit inside them.

‘Dynamite’ is a strong starter for Amaranthe on its new album.  It’s just one of so many examples of why audiences new and old alike will enjoy this record.  Another example of why audiences will enjoy this record is the album’s latest single ‘Drop Dead Cynical.’  This song comes across as the polar opposite of sorts from the album’s opener with Elize singing, “I need attention/Feed my addiction/I want the action/The satisfaction/You have to feed me/Worse that I inquire/So my discord someday takes me higher.”  While it comes across metaphorically, the message seems relatively clear here.  If this critic’s interpretation is right, that line alone describes the type of person that is full of himself or herself.  That same person has nothing to spread except for negativity.   Henrik’s response to this declaration is a powerful retort. He screams in response, “I hope to thrill you that expectations rise/I want to bring you/So that you can compromise/I’m coming at you like a killer now/So it’s the truth/You are drop dead cynical.”  That is a pretty strong response.  Everybody has met someone like the subject of this song.  There may be people even now that know someone like that.  If so, this song is a great way to deal with said person(s) without screaming at them or worse.  To that extent, it makes for another great positive to this record.

Massive Addictive’s opening tracks make for a solid first impression from Amaranthe on the band’s latest album.  As impressive as those two songs prove to be, the album’s title track proves to be one of its best.  On a side note, the song’s musical side actually bears a slit resemblance to the chorus of Imagine Dragons’ hit single ‘Radioactive.”  The song’s lyrical content aside, what really makes this song such a hit is its musical side.  The bombastic, old school style guitar solo is there alongside Morten’s drumming drive the song.  Elize’s hypnotic vocals and Henrik’s own vocal assault are not to be discounted here, either.   Lyrically, it is certain to create some discussion especially taking into account the song’s infectious chorus.  Elize sings in the song’s chorus, “Massive addictive/And suddenly I’m greatly affected/Like burning fire inside/My cyanide/Scared of losing my mind/Massive addictive/I’m totally completely afflicted/As I inspire the lie like a lullaby/Crawling around in my mind.”  On the surface one would think that the song makes no bones as to its lyrical topic.  It sounds like it is being taken from the standpoint of someone fighting addiction.  Elize singing “Suddenly I’m greatly affected/Like burning fire inside/My cyanide” sounds like what someone might feel in getting that high from whatever drug.  “Scared of losing my mind…I’m totally completely afflicted” sounds like the psychological and emotional effect of said high.  Again, this could be a completely incorrect interpretation of this song.  If it is indeed incorrect, it would definitely be wonderful to hear the story behind the song.  The very fact that it could garner so much discussion is itself reason that audiences will enjoy this song.  The addition of the song’s soaring musical side makes it even more enjoyable and proves why this is perhaps the best of the album’s songs overall.

The songs noted here each make Massive Addictive enjoyable in its own way.  As enjoyable as they are, the album’s other songs not noted here should not be discounted.  At no one point does Massive Addictive fail listeners.  Every one of the album’s dozen total tracks makes this album enjoyable in its own way.  That is something difficult to say about most albums today regardless of genre.  So for Amaranthe to have crafted an album that shines from start to finish shows that this album is just as enjoyable as anything released by the band’s bigger-named counterparts across Europe.  That being the case, Massive Addictive proves in the end to be an album that every member of the Metal Nation worldwide should hear and an album that is one of the best in the underground metal community this year.

Amaranthe is currently wrapping up the North American leg of its tour in support of Massive Addictive.  The band’s audiences overseas will soon enough get to experience the songs from this album live.  They will even get to pick up the band’s new album at the band’s upcoming tour dates.  In the meantime, the band’s North American audiences can pick up Massive Addictive in stores now.  Audiences can check out the band’s current tour schedule and keep up with its latest updates now online at:

Website: http://www.amaranthe.se

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

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.

Of Conquest Is A Surprisingly Entertaining High Seas Hard Rock Epic

Courtesy:  Adrenaline PR

Courtesy: Adrenaline PR

Odds are that many American metal audiences have never heard of Scythia.  That all changes here and now.  Anyone that is a fan of Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Judas Priest, In Flames, and even Dream Theater will enjoy the latest release from the Canadian power/prog rock band.  Of Conquest, the band’s fourth full length studio release, offers audiences even more adventure from the four-piece.  Stylistically speaking, this new record presents a sound that fans have come to know from the band’s previous records.  In terms of its content, the band has offered its fans something new once again.  Instead of delving into the world of warriors, wizards, the band has opted this time for a high seas hard rock epic.  Those that might be new to the music of Scythia will enjoy this record first and foremost of its musical content.  While this record boasts a sound similar to Scythia’s previous records, the sound stands out because of its hybrid qualities.  This will be discussed later.  The story presented in Of Conquest is just as certain to entertain any pure blooded metal head that is open-minded enough to give the record a chance.  In giving it a chance, said audiences may very well themselves find this new record to be one of their own favorite rock albums.

The musical side of Scythia’s new record is relatively similar to that of the band’s previous records.  On the surface, it comes across as another power/prog rock record, stylistically speaking.  But a deeper listen reveals something even more intriguing. The band’s sound is actually a subtle hybrid sound.  While the power/prog element comes out above others, there are also some obviously Swedish metal influences, too.  That’s obvious in the performance of lead guitarist/vocalist Dave Khan and even drummer/backing vocalist Celine Derval.  As a matter of fact, if one were to listen to this record without knowing that Derval was a member of the band, one would swear that the screaming female vocals that are interwoven into certain songs were that of Arch Enemy vocalist Angela Gossow.  Speaking of Arch Enemy, Dave Khan’s prowess on the guitar is just as impressive as that of Michael Amott and other fellow Swedish shredders.  It just goes to show the influence of Swedish metal on the rock world.  Some might consider it musical heresy, but Khan’s own vocals are even on par with the likes of Rob Halford, Bruce Dickinson and others.  Considering that this band released its debut album only four years ago, that is saying something.  Audiences that give this new record a chance will be surprised to find themselves agreeing with this comparison, too.  The positives of Of Conquest  don’t end here, either.  Just as noteworthy with this latest release is the album’s lyrical side.

Scythia has given its audiences a new story with each one of its previous releases.  Those releases have been steeped in fantasy and legend somewhere along the lines of perhaps Amon Amarth and others, only toned down.  There is still plenty of myth on Of Conquest.  But this time, the myth is used in a high seas hard rock opera of sorts.  This album presents a young protagonist that decides to take to the high seas in the late 1500s.  At first things seem great.  But it doesn’t take long before the young unnamed subject finds himself on quite the adventure.  From getting caught in an unforgiving storm to battling a kraken to facing some unspeakable figures late in his journey, he has great odds to face.  Making the story all the more interesting to take in is the fact that despite the band’s hybrid hard rock/metal sound, Khan actually sings his way through each “chapter” of the story.  So it’s actually possible to understand what is going on without a dire need for a lyric booklet.  Don’t misunderstand that statement.  Lyric booklets are always a nice addition for any artist’s album, regardless of genre.  It’s just that easy to understand the story.  And that is the final piece of what makes this album a surprisingly enjoyable record.  The band currently has no live events planned.  But fans that want to hear the band live or those that want to check out the new album when it is released can keep up with the band online at http://www.scythia.ca and http://www.facebook.com/scythiametal.  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.