Overkill Proves It Can Still “Wreck” It With Its New Live Recording

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Late this past May, veteran thrash metal band Overkill unleashed its latest live recording, Live in Overhausen, to the masses.  The recording, presented in a Blu-ray/CD combo pack platform, is not the band’s first live recording by any means.  In fact, it is the New Jersey-based band’s fourth live recording.  Wrecking EverythingAn Evening in Asbury Park was released separately on CD and on DVD in 2002 while the band’s first ever live recording Wrecking Your Neck was released in 1995.  Live at Wacken Open Air 2007 would go on to be released in 2008.  Now, audiences have this latest live offering from the band, and it proves to be another positive addition to the band’s live catalog.  That is proven in large part through the recording’s set list, which will be addressed shortly.  The

recording’s audio mix is somewhat problematic, sadly.  This cannot be ignored.  Luckily, as problematic as they are, they are not enough to make the recording completely unwatchable.  This will be discussed a little bit later.  Keeping that in mind, it is the recording’s only negative.  The band’s performance of the extensive set list rounds out its most important elements.  Each element is critical in its own way to the overall presentation of Live in Overhausen.  All things considered, they make this recording another welcome addition to any Overkill fan’s music library even despite the audio issues.

Overkill’s latest live recording Live in Overhausen, released just this past May, is not the veteran New Jersey-based thrash metal outfit’s first-ever live recording.  It is however, unarguably, a welcome addition to the music library of any of the band’s fans.  That is due in no small part to the recording’s set list.  The set list presents the band performing not one, but two of its classic albums – Feel The Fire, its debut 1985 record, and 1991’s Horrorscope – in their entirety.  This is not the first time that any band has used a live performance to present a studio album in whole, and not the first time this year, either.  However, getting two albums in their entirety takes things up another notch.  What makes this so important is that in a weird way, it actually saves audiences who might not already own those two classic Overkill albums the time and strain of trying to find those albums, and instead not only presents them here, but in a live setting.  It’s really a way of sweetening the proverbial pot so to speak while presenting two key moments in the band’s life.  It’s a more than 110-minute experience that audiences across the board will enjoy if only for the set list.  Staying on the matter of the set list, audiences will note that the recording’s CD presentation comes sans the interview segments included in the Blu-ray presentation.  That might not necessarily be a bad thing because those segments included in the recording’s Blu-ray presentation present the recording’s one negative, its audio.

As the concert progresses on its course on the Blu-ray presentation, the audio finds itself constantly rising and falling throughout.  In other words, audiences will find themselves holding their remotes in hand, finger (or thumb) on the volume button ready to adjust the volume.  This is the same issues that so negatively affected Styx front man Tommy Shaw’s latest live recording from Eagle Rock Entertainment, too.  It really serves to show that while audio mixes are so often overlooked in the importance of live recording’s they are far more important than one might think.  Getting back on track, considering that audiences get the same set list on the recording’s 2CD presentation as on the Blu-ray presentation of Overkill’s, one can’t help but wonder why if the audio on the recording’s CD was so well-balanced, such attention was not paid to the audio’s balance on the audio-visual presentation that included the interview segments.  Again, while definitely an annoyance in the viewing experience, it is not such that it makes the recording unwatchable.  Of course, hopefully those behind the recording’s production – both on site and in the post production process – will take into account this element for the band’s next live recording.  The interviews are positive additions to the recording, but because their volume is at a different level from the main feature, maybe they would have been better served as bonus material.  Again, it’s something for future consideration.  Keeping this in mind, the variations in the recording’s audio, while not debilitating for the recording, it does not make the recording unwatchable.  To that end, the recording still has one more positive to note.  That last positive is the band’s performance of its extensive set list.

Overkill has been making music and entertaining audiences around the world for nearly 40 years.  That’s a long time for any band.  Yet for as many years as this high-intensity act has been at it, a performance such as this shows that the band has no plans to slow down any time soon.  Front man Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth commands the stage with the same power as any of his younger counterparts throughout the show.  This is especially evident early on between ‘Blood Money’ and ‘Thanx For Nothin’’as he tells the crowd, “I’m in f****** charge tonight because I say so!”  That’s a pretty telling statement about his own presence.  That energy is just as high throughout the rest of the show, too.  Simply put, even as old as Ellsworth is, his presence is that of a much younger man, in turn making for plenty of entertainment.  His band mates – guitarists Dave Linsk and Derek Taylor — shred their way through ‘Live Young, Die Free,’ ‘There’s No Tomorrow,’ ‘Hammerhead’ and the rest of the recording’s extensive 21-song set.  Meanwhile, bassist D.D. Verni and drummer Jason Bittner solidly hold each song’s rhythm and time together, putting the finishing touch to each performance.  Overall, what audiences get in the band’s performance from start to end is a high-energy performance that rivals anything that the band’s younger counterparts put on today, proving that the veteran thrash outfit still has plenty in the tank.  With any luck it still will for at least the foreseeable future, as the world needs bands such as Overkill, who can continue to put on such engaging and entertaining performances.  When the power noted here in the band’s performance is coupled with the extensive two-album, 21-song set, they give audiences more than enough reason for fans to add this recording to their music libraries.  That is even with the issues raised by the audio variances between the concert and interview segments.

Overkill’s new live recording Live in Overhausen is a welcome addition to the home music library of any Overkill fan.  That is due in no small part to a two-album, 21-song set list that takes audiences back to the band’s early days in its debut album and another key moment in its 1991 album Horrorscope.  The band’s performance of those two album in this setting presents Overkill as a band that still has plenty left in the proverbial tank; a band that can rival any of its current younger metal counterparts on the stage.  While both elements do plenty to the positive for the recording, one still can’t ignore the audio issue in the interview segments and main concert feature.  The lack of balance there is problematic, but still not enough to make it unwatchable.  Hopefully this will be taken into account in the band’s future live recordings so that it doesn’t become an issue again. To that end, the positive overall effect of the recording’s set and the band’s performance thereof makes this recording a presentation that while not perfect, is still a welcome addition to any Overkill fan’s music library.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on Live in Overhausen is available online now along with all of Overkill’s latest news and more at:




Website: http://www.wreckingcrew.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/OverkillBand




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Nonpoint Debuts New Single, ‘Fix This’

Courtesy: Spinefarm Records

Nonpoint is giving audiences yet another preview of its forthcoming album.

The band debuted the new single ‘Fix This’ from its new album on Thursday via Loudwire.  The song is now the third single to be released from the album, which is currently scheduled to be released Aug. 24 via Spinefarm Records.  It was preceded by the release of the singles ‘Chaos & Earthquakes’ and ‘Dodge Your Destiny.’

Audiences will get to hear all three songs and more from X on Nonpoint’s upcoming tour in support of the album, which is scheduled to launch Aug. 21 in Lexington, Kentucky.  The nearly month-long tour is scheduled to run through Sept. 19 in Nashville, TN and to include performances in Jacksonville, NC; Athens, GA; Syracuse, NY and a number of other cities along the East Coast.  The tour’s current schedule is noted below.

With He Is Legend + Letters From the Fire:

8/21: Lexington, KY @ Manchester Music Hall
8/23: Ft. Myers, FL @ The Ranch
8/24: Orlando, FL @ House of Blues
8/25: Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ Revolution
8/26: Jacksonville, FL @ 1904 Music Hall
8/28: Athens, GA @ 40 Watt Club
8/29: Greenville, SC @ The Firmament
8/31: Jacksonville, NC @ Hooligans
9/2: Lynchburg, VA @ Blue Ridge Rock Fest
9/6: Poughkeepsie, NY @ The Chance
9/7: Hartford, CT @ The Webster
9/8: Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall
9/11: New York, NY @ Gramercy Theater
9/14: Syracuse, NY @ Lost Horizon
9/15: Lancaster, PA @ Chameleon Club
9/16: Easton, PA @ One Center Square
9/19: Nashville, TN @ The Cowan

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


Website: http://www.nonpoint.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/nonpoint


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PBS Distribution’s New ‘Arthur’ DVD Is A Welcome “Present” In Any Family’s Home DVD Library

Courtesy: PBS Distribution

Later next month, PBS Distribution is bringing fans of PBS Kids’ hit series Arthur a special new present in the form of the series’ new DVD, Arthur: D.W. and the Beastly Birthday.  The DVD’s release will come nearly a year after the special first aired on PBS Kids—Aug. 2, 2017.  Why PBS would wait this long to release the DVD is anyone’s guess.  That aside, it proves to be a presentation that the whole family will enjoy.  That is due in part to the story at the center of the DVD’s main feature and its companion story.  This will be discussed shortly.  The bonus companion episode included in the DVD adds its own touch to the DVD’s presentation.  Its average price point rounds out its most important elements.  Each element is important in its own way, as will be discussed here.  All things considered, they make Arthur: D.W. and the Beastly Birthday a new Arthur DVD that was well worth the wait.

PBS Distribution’s new forthcoming Arthur DVD, D.W. and the Beastly Birthday is a DVD that was well worth the year-plus wait.  That is proven in part to the story at the center of center of the DVD’s main feature.  The story takes a page from the famed children’s book Where The Wild Things Are.  In the case of this story, it’s D.W.’s birthday, but Arthur doesn’t want to get pulled into the annual celebration.  That’s because every year, Arthur has to do everything that D.W. wants.  So he gets her a card, not realizing it’s for a boy, and then goes to a show at the planetarium with his classmates as an excuse to avoid her birthday party.  However, while he’s there, the Earth goes through a wormhole, aging everyone except for Arthur’s class by four years.  Of course, the whole thing is a dream sequence, just like D.W.’s trip to Ukubonga, where Arthur’s friends happen to look just like the creatures from the aforementioned book.  Both brother and sister learn their own valuable lesson in the process, obviously.  What’s really interesting to note, in a deeper examination, is that considering this story, one could even argue that the classic Jimmy Stewart classic movie It’s A Wonderful Life was a partial influence, considering the whole thing happens as a result of two dream sequences – the realization of what life would be like, etc.  Keeping in mind the dual influences in this story, and the story that results from those influences, what audiences get here is a story that will entertain audiences of all ages and also ensure said viewers’ engagement.  Sure, it’s not fully original, but there is enough originality here that it makes the story stand easily on its own merits.  To that end, the story at the center of the DVD’s main feature is reason enough in itself for this DVD to be in any family’s home DVD library.  It builds a strong foundation for the DVD’s presentation.  The companion episode Arthur’s Birthday strengthens that foundation even more.

The companion episode included in D.W. and the Beastly Birthday, Arthur’s Birthday strengthens the DVD’s presentation even more as it presents its own birthday-themed story that boasts its own identity separate from that of the DVD’s main feature.  Taken from very first season of Arthur, this story sees Arthur having to navigate some difficult waters when it turns out that Muffy is having her birthday party on the same days as his.  The problem comes when Muffy announces that anyone who doesn’t come to her party isn’t her friend anymore.  Obviously the whole thing has a happy ending after a compromise is made.  That lesson about compromise is in itself key to the episode’s whole from which the whole family will benefit in taking in.  Add in the fact that this episode comes from the series’ debut season and that not even one season of the hit series has been released to DVD or even Blu-ray in whole to this day from PBS Distribution, and the episode proves even more ,a present in itself for audiences. Maybe PBS’ people will read this and take this to heart.  A lot of people would like to see this series start getting proper full season releases from PBS Distribution.  That aside, just having this episode included as a thematically complimenting piece is a bonus.  Having a piece of the series’ origins adds to its positive.  Having noted all of this, the bonus birthday episode is still not the last of the DVD’s positives.  Its average price point rounds out its most important elements.

The average price point of Arthur: D.W. and the Beastly Birthday sits at $6.24.  That price was obtained using the DVD’s listing at PBS’ online store and online listings from Target, Best Buy and Amazon.  It didn’t seem to be listed at Wal-Mart’s online site.  Even with this in mind, a 70-minute presentation between the two features at $6.24 is not a bad price at all.  It’s actually quite affordable.  And considering that 70-minute run time, it’s a price that will more than pay for itself as families will enjoy the DVD time and again whether together or if younger viewers watch by themselves.  To that end, the DVD’s average price point proves truly critical in its own right to the DVD’s whole.  When this is considered along with the content in the features and the features themselves, what audiences get here is a DVD that, again will is a welcome present in any family’s home DVD library whether on birthdays or other days.

PBS Kids’ new Arhur DVD, D.W. and the Beastly Birthday is a welcome present for any family whether on a birthday or other day of the year.  That is due in part to the DVD’s main feature, which entertains audiences while presenting some valuable life lessons.  Much the same can be said of the DVD’s companion Season One episode, Arthur’s Birthday.  That episode is also a welcome look back at the history of Arthur since the series still has yet to get a proper full-season release from PBS Distribution.  The DVD’s fully affordable average price point proves to be another positive to the DVD.  Each element is key in its own way to the whole of this DVD.  All things considered, they make Arthur: D.W. and the Beastly Birthday a welcome present for the whole family whether on a birthday or any other day.  It will be available August 14.  more information on this DVD is available online now along with plenty of games, printables, activities and more at:




Website: http://pbskids.org/arthur

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




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‘All I See Is War’ Is A Welcome Return To Form For Sevendust

Courtesy: Rise Records

Veteran hard rock band Sevendust officially returned this summer with its 12th full-length studio recording All I See Is War.  Having been released May 11 via Rise Records, its release came almost three years since the release of the band’s 11th album, 2015’s Kill The Flaw.  The 12-song album, also the band’s debut for Rise Records, can be said easily, to be one of the Atlanta, Georgia-based band’s best works to date as it takes audiences back to the band’s early days while also adding in a more up-to-date sound in its arrangements.  The addition of the songs’ equally interesting lyrical themes to those arrangements makes the album that much more interesting.  This is evidenced early on in the album’s run in the form of ‘God Bites His Tongue.’  ‘Risen,’ which comes later in the album’s run, also serves to show what makes this record so interesting.  It will be discussed a little later.  ‘The Truth,’ which closes out the album is one more example of what makes All I See Is War such an interesting new offering from a group that is one of the hard rock community’s most respected acts, but is certainly not the last of the songs that proves the album’s interest.  ‘Medicated,’ another early entry to the album, ‘Cheers,’ the album’s midpoint, and ‘Moments,’ which boasts a similarity to the band’s more recent records, all show in their own way what makes this record stand out in Sevendust’s extensive catalog.  Between these songs, the pieces more directly noted and those not noted here, the whole of this 45-minute album proves to be a solid portrait of Sevendust’s past, present and future.  Keeping that in mind, it proves to be not only one of Sevendust’s best works to date, but also one of the year’s best new hard rock albums, too.

Sevendust’s latest full-length studio recording All I See Is War is one of the veteran hard rock band’s best albums to date and also one of the year’s best new hard rock albums.  That is because its musical and lyrical content overall takes listeners from the band’s early days right through to its present and future.  What’s more it does this in convincing fashion throughout the course of the album’s dozen total songs, too.  This is evidenced early on in the form of the album’s second song, ‘God Bites His Tongue.’  Musically speaking, this song’s arrangement takes listeners back to the band’s sophomore 1999 album Home, with its heavy, crunching guitars, equally heavy low-end from bassist Vince Hornsby, front man Lajon Witherspoon’s familiar powerhouse melodic vocals and drummer Morgan Rose’s time keeping and familiar backing screams.  What is really interesting here is that while the song’s musical arrangement echoes the songs included in Home, it doesn’t try to just re-hash them, but rather show that the band’s members haven’t lost the edge presented in that album.  While the song’s arrangement builds a strong foundation for itself, the music alone only takes the song so far.  Its lyrical theme strengthens that foundation even more with its deeply philosophical nature.  Witherspoon sings in the song’s lead verse, “Face down/Feeding into you/Find the weakness/Holding it down till we kill it/Every once in a while, I get caught in the silver lining/No one ever lives it (what’s the meaning? What’s the meaning?)/Somewhere, we all lost the spirit (Lost it all)/So save us/Just so we know/That the bitter taste/We need it/And we forgive ourselves and leave it all.”  He goes on later to sing, “We forgive ourselves in the space that’s between right and wrong/The better days deceived us/And we let ourselves believe it all/And God just bites his tongue.”  It’s almost as if the song’s lyrical theme centers somewhat on mankind’s attempts to make himself feel superior while God meanwhile simply observes, letting humankind take its own course, consequences or not.  This is, of course, just this critic’s own interpretation of these words.  It could easily be wholly off the mark.  Hopefully it is at least somewhere in the proverbial ballpark.  Right or wrong, it is obvious in listening to the song’s lyrical content, that this song is quite the contemplative work.  When the depth in the song’s lyrical theme are coupled with the strength of the song’s musical arrangement, the whole of the song clearly shows by itself why All I See Is War is another standout offering from Sevendust.  It is of course just one of the songs included in the album that serves to prove the album’s strength.  ‘Risen’ which comes later in the album’s 45-minute run, serves just as much to show the album’s strength.

Where ‘God Bit His Tongue’ lends itself to comparisons to Sevendust’s early works, ‘Risen,’ musically speaking, is more akin to the band’s more recent works.  More specifically, the heavy, crunching arrangement in this song is more akin to works from Alpha and Next than the melodic hard rock sounds of, say Home, Animosity and Seasons.  The song’s musical arrangement gains even more importance and strength and importance as Witherspoon sings here seemingly about someone’s personal relationship with another, and the issues that come with that troubled relationship.  That subject is inferred as he sings, “Turn round/Come down/Been stealing feeling from me/Burned down/No sound/Been killing the life within me/Step down/Last round/Live hating/Loving memory/Break down/We drown/To turn around is everything/It all comes down to what it takes to love/If I fall, would you pick me up/Or kick me down again (Would you stand there with me)/If I tell you my deepest thoughts/Would you hear me out And help me rise again?”  This leaves a little room for interpretation, but also less room than the room left in ‘God Bites His Tongue.’  It comes across as someone who has been anything but that supportive friend.  This is inferred even more in the second verse as Witherspoon sings, “Not long, so gone/We shame your useless pity/You failed us all/Keep spewing the s*** you tell me/Fall down/So proud/Love hating, living memory/Erase you now.”  Again, the song’s subject asks this figure, “If I fall/Would you pick me up/Or kick me down again (Would you stand there with me)/If I tell you my deepest thoughts/Would you hear me out/And help me rise again?”  Once again, this hints at the matter of a person dealing with someone who isn’t necessarily entirely supportive of others.  The frustration in having to deal with that sort of subject is illustrated powerfully in that aforementioned powerhouse musical arrangement.  When the two elements are set alongside one another, they make the song in whole yet another example of what makes this record one of Sevendust’s best albums to date.  Also as noted previously, it is not the last of the songs that can be cited in supporting that statement.  ‘The Truth’ is one more song that shows the album’s strength.

‘The Truth’ shows All I See Is War’s strength in part through its musical arrangement, which — as with ‘Risen’ – can be likened easily to songs from Alpha and Next.  That is proven through its heavy, upbeat, guitar-driven arrangement.  It is a fitting finale for the album that shows once more, that while the band might have had some missteps in the forms of Chapter VII: Hope & Sorrow, Cold Day Memory and Black out The Sun, this album is Sevendust back on track and running at full steam.  The heavy, driving musical arrangement at the center of the song is just part of what helps its overall presentation.  Its equally scathing lyrical content adds to its power.  There is a lot of fire in this song’s energy – fire that plays once again into the album’s central theme of war in different ways as has been discussed by the band upon the album’s release.  Right from the song’s opening, that fire burns bright with Witherspoon singing so forcefully, “No more time for saving/What the hell did you give/What the hell did you do/Just more numb to waste it/You will men nothing/You will be nothing/One more tragic instant/Lost/Right underneath while you dream/We stay asleep now.”  From there, he asks, “Why does it always rain when I wanna see the sunshine/How come you never wanna play the game/Why does it always seem to fade when I wanna be defined/How come you never wanna try to say my name?”  The tension expressed in the chorus follows again from there, again leaving — while some room for interpretation – not too much room.  This song comes across lyrically as another type of war. A war between two people, one of whom has absolutely caused nothing but anger and frustration for the other, thus the song’s tense musical arrangement.  When the tension in that arrangement joins that in the song’s lyrical content, the whole is a song that is one of the album’s strongest and most notable entries, showing once more why this album is among the band’s best work.  When it is joined with the previously discussed songs and others not directly noted here, the end result is an album that is certain to impress Sevendust fans across the board.

Sevendust’s 12th full-length studio recording All I See Is War is a welcome return to form for the veteran hard rock band from Atlanta, Georgia.  After the release of Chapter VII, Cold Day Memory and Black Out The Sun, this record proves to be a welcome breath of fresh, heavy air from the band for fans.  As has been discussed here, that is proven in part through the seeming commentary of ‘God Bites His Tongue.’  It is a work that musically speaking, takes listeners back to Sevendust’s earlier records while its contemplative lyrical content is certain to generate plenty of discussion among listeners.  ‘Risen’ and ‘The Truth’ are more akin to more recent albums such as Alpha and Next.  Their lyrical content, which seems centered on personal “wars” between people adds even more to the record’s foundation.  The inclusion of ‘Medicated,’ Moments’ and ‘Cheers’ to the album strengthens that foundation even more.  Between that trio of compositions, the songs more directly noted here and those not discussed, the whole of All I See Is War is the Sevendust album for which so many fans (this critic included) have waited; An album that is easily one of the year’s top new hard rock albums.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on All I See Is War is available online now along with all of Sevendust’s latest news and more at:



Website: http://sevendust.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/sevendust




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Bonamassa’s Successful Growth Continues On His Latest LP

Courtesy: J & R Adventures

Blues great Joe Bonamassa is set to release his thirteenth full-length studio recording September 21 — a little more than two months at the time of this posting.  Redemption, his third consecutive album of all-original album (which also comes a little more than two years after he released his second consecutive album of all original songs – there’s a little something for all of the numerologists out there) is another successful offering from Bonamassa.  What’s really interesting here is that considering that meteorological fall starts September 23 – two days after Redemption is set to be released.  Keeping that in mind, it makes Redemption the last great album of this summer and the first great album of the fall music season.  Even more, it is a record that every one of Bonamassa’s fans will appreciate.  That is proven right from the album’s outset in the up-tempo opener ‘Evil Mama.’  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Self-Inflicted Wounds,’ which comes a little later in the album’s run, is another of the works that proves why listeners of all ages will appreciate this album.  It will be discussed a little later.  ‘I’ve Got Some Mind Over What Matters,’ which comes even later in the album’s run, is yet more proof of why blues fans of all ages will appreciate this record.  It will also be discussed later.  Between this trio of songs and the rest of the album’s entries – all of which offer their own positives – the album in whole proves to be a record whose appreciation will also lead listeners to agree that it is among the absolute elite of this year’s blues field and – in this critic’s ears – overall albums.

Joe Bonamassa’s latest full-length studio recording Redemption is some of the best work to date from the veteran blues guitarist.  It is a record that blues fans across the board will appreciate and agree is among the year’s top new blues and jazz records and even overall albums.  This is proven right from the album’s outset in the form of ‘Evil Mama.’  The song instantly conjures thoughts of Led Zeppelin thanks to the very familiar drum line that opens the song.  It’s a direct throwback to John Bonham’s drum line from Led Zeppelin’s timeless classic ‘Rock and Roll.’  What’s really interesting here is that the noted tribute is uber short, as the arrangement moves here from Zeppelin to a more pure blues style arrangement complete with horns, choral style backing vocals and subtle guitar and bass line.  The juxtaposition of that Zeppelin tribute and the bluesy body of the song is, at first, a little uncomfortable because of the distinct contrast in styles, but with each listen, it’s an arrangement that grows on listeners.  Keeping that in mind, it might have made a little more sense, in considering the album’s sequencing to have made the album’s title track its opener and switched that with ‘Evil Mama.’  Either way, it doesn’t make the song that bad.  It just means the song might have done better with a different placement.  Of course, the song’s musical arrangement is only one part of its whole.  Its lyrical content plays into its whole, too.

In regards to the song’s lyrical theme, Bonamassa leaves little to the imagination as to the song’s topic right from its very title.  He sings of that troubling woman in this song, “Oh, mama/Sneakin’ up on me in the black of night/Oh, mama/Turn my back just when you twist the knife/Oh, mama/I see trouble brewing in your eyes/Oh, mama/I won’t ever let you in my life/Oh, you wreck me/With your lies and your greed/No, that ain’t nothing/Nothing that I need/Why would you think/I would ever wanna/waste my time on you, Evil mama.”  This is pretty cut and dry, and is only the song’s lead verse, too.  The rest of the song continues in similar fashion, lyrically with Bonamassa singing about knowing “where you been” to that woman, and not wanting to play that proverbial, emotional shell game with her in the song’s second verse.  This is a timeless blues topic, and when it is coupled in this fashion with the song’s catchy, mid-tempo musical arrangement, makes the song a positive addition to Redemption, proving in part why blues fans of all ages will appreciate this album.  The deeply moving ‘Self-Inflicted Wounds’ proves just as much how much audiences have to appreciate in this record.

Joe Bonamassa said of his work on ‘Self-Inflicted Wounds,’ that it is his best work to date in regards to song writing.  It is a work unlike almost anything that he has ever composed, and a risk that definitely paid off.  The slow, almost brooding, waltz-time arrangement uses a less-is-more approach, from the guitar to bass to drums for a general effect that wastes no time tugging at listeners’ heart strings.  The song’s lyrical content goes just as deep in its emotional impact, as is evidenced in the song’s lead verse.  Bonamassa sings here, “Yeah, it’s a put-on/Pretend you don’t know/The self-inflicted wounds/You did it on your own/You were first to draw the knife/And last to throw the stone…Take mercy on my self-inflicted wounds.”  This line is just so heart-wrenching, and it doesn’t get any less moving, either.  He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “You never get away holding back those tears/Try not to cry…I’m trying to explain…Trying to own all these pain/these self-inflicted wounds/I did ‘em on my own/I was first to draw the knife/Last to throw the stone/Your trust in me/I will abuse/Oh take mercy on my/Self-inflicted wounds/I’m looking for redemption…I’m praying for forgiveness…there’s none to be found.”  If this doesn’t move listeners to tear up even slightly, then said listeners are either way too hard-hearted or simply are not human.  Here listeners have someone who seems to be at the end of that proverbial rope, and is just feeling so much emotional pain.  It goes without saying that it is certain to generate its share of discussion while also adding even more appreciation for the album in whole.  The addition of the song’s somewhat Pink Floyd-esque bridge and finale add even more interest to the song.  All things considered here, this song stands out not only as one of this record’s most notable entries, but also one of the album’s most important entries, showing again why the album in whole is something that listeners will want to hear.  It still is not the last of the album’s most notable entries.  The classic blues style ‘I’ve Got Some Mind Over What Matters’ is yet another of the album’s most notable songs.

‘I’ve Got Some Mind Over What Matters’ immediately throws back to blues legends such as Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Junior Wells and other similar acts thanks to its light, 12-bar blues style arrangement.  That arrangement is only one part of what makes the song so notable.  Its lyrical theme adds to its interest.  The song’s lyrical theme is just as much of a throwback to the blues’ golden age as its musical arrangement as Bonamassa sings, “I can see the future/But that was yesterday/So my bag of tarot cards/And now I can’t see my fate/I’ve got some mind over what matters/And I’m deep down…She took a cabby/So I gotta hitch a ride/Left me in the dark/With daggers in my side/I’ve got some mind over what matters/But I’m still deep down in a hole”  He goes on in similar fashion throughout the rest of the song, even singing later in the song, “Might think I’m a bad man/’Cause I made her cry/But you ain’t lived with her/And seen the other side/I tried to get to the bottom of why I made her hurt/I maybe didn’t know, but I got here…I got my Jesus/In my heart/I went to church, and boy, I did my part/I’ve got some mind over what matters, but I’m deep down in a hole.”  He keeps going on about that woman even more, singing about trying to do right by her, but those efforts just not being enough.  It, again, conjures thoughts of so many similar style blues works that have come before, and in turn creates a deep appreciation for this song.  That appreciation, coupled with the appreciation for the previously discussed songs shows even more clearly why this record is such a strong new effort from Joe Bonamassa, and one that blues fans everywhere will appreciate.  Of course, it still is not the last of the record’s most notable entries.  The gentle, moving ‘Stronger Now in Broken Pieces’ will move listeners just as much as ‘Self-Inflicted Wounds,’ only in different fashion.  It’s just this critic’s own take, but in this critic’s ears, it seems the song’s musical arrangement bears some slight comparison to Christina Aguilera’s ‘Words Can’t Bring Me Down’ thanks to the subtlety of the bells added to the arrangement.  ‘Love Is A Gamble,’ the album’s closer instantly conjures thoughts of the one and only B.B. King while ‘the Ghost of Macon Jones’ – another break from style for Bonamassa on this album – will garner its own interest.  Country music star Jamey Johnson joins Bonamassa on guest vocals for the song.  ‘Pick Up the Pieces’ is one of those songs that one associates with a dimly lit night club back in the golden age of the blues.  King Bee Shakedown is another break from style for Bonamassa here.  It could rival the best works of the Brian Setzer Orchestra.  Considering all of these songs, the others not noted here, and those more directly discussed here, the whole of this record proves to be a brave new effort from Joe Bonamassa, and one that ultimately proves to be a work that blues fans across the board will enjoy.

Joe Bonamassa’s forthcoming album Redemption is one of the most surprising and enjoyable works that the veteran bluesman has crafted to date.  That is because while it boasts some familiarity for listeners in its dozen total songs, it also takes a number of risks – risks that ultimately pay off, too.  The album’s opener, ‘Evil Mama’ presents some of that familiarity in its modern style blues arrangement and classic lyrical theme of a woman who is just trouble for a man.  ‘I’ve Got Some Mind Over What Matters’ presents just as much familiarity with an arrangement that goes back to the golden age of the blues and an equally timeless lyrical theme – again about a woman who has done a man wrong.  The risk came – at least in part – in the form of the deeply touching and moving ‘Self-Inflicted Wounds.  This powerful opus tugs at one’s heartstrings with the subtleties of its arrangement and the cry for help from someone who is in such a bad head space.  Other risks, which also pay off, include the country/blues hybrid style of ‘the Ghost of Macon Jones’ and ‘Deep In The Blues Again,’ which also boasts its own sort of country/blues hybrid sound.  The rest of the album offers plenty of familiarity, which listeners are certain to appreciate just as much as the risks, which (again) add their own interest to the album.  All things considered, the album proves from start to end, to be a strong new effort from Joe Bonamassa that proves easily to be one of the year’s best new blues records and potentially one of the year’s top new albums overall.  More information on Redemption is available online now along with all of Joe Bonamassa’s latest news and more at:




Website: http://www.jbonamassa.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/BONAMASSA




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Five Finger Death Punch, Breaking Benjamin Partner For Co-Headlining Summer Tour

Courtesy: MSO PR

Five Finger Death Punch and Breaking Benjamin have partnered for an extensive new co-headlining summer tour.

The 32-date tour launched July 16 in Seattle, Washington and runs through September 9 in Cleveland, Ohio.  It includes scheduled performances in Austin, Texas; Camden, New Jersey; Cincinnati, Ohio and many other cities.  The tour’s current schedule is noted below.   Nothing More and Bad Wolves are scheduled to serve as support for the tour.

Five Finger Death Punch + Breaking Benjamin Summer Tour Dates
* – 5fdp & Bad Wolves only/ ** – 5fdp, Breaking Benjamin & Bad Wolves only
7/18/18 – Spokane Arena – Spokane, WA **
7/20/18 – Taco Bell Arena – Boise, ID
7/21/18 – USANA Amphitheatre – Salt Lake City, UT
7/24/18 – Shoreline Amphitheatre – San Francisco, CA
7/25/18 – Mattress Firm Amphitheatre – San Diego, CA
7/27/18 – FivePoint Amphitheater – Irvine, CA
7/29/18 – Isleta Amphitheater – Albuquerque, NM **
8/1/18 – Austin360 Amphitheater – Austin, TX
8/3/18 – Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion – Houston, TX **
8/4/18 – Starplex Pavilion – Dallas, TX
8/6/18 – BankPlus Amphitheater at Snowden Grove – Southaven, MS
8/7/18 – Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre – St. Louis, MO
8/9/18 – Heritage Park Amphitheatre – Simpsonville, SC
8/11/18 – MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre – Tampa, FL
8/12/18 – Verizon Amphitheatre – Atlanta, GA
8/14/18 – KeyBank Pavilion – Pittsburgh, PA
8/15/18 – BB&T Pavilion – Camden, NJ
8/17/18 – The Pavilion at Montage Mountain – Scranton, PA
8/18/18 – Xfinity Center – Boston, MA
8/20/18 – Budweiser Stage – Toronto, ON
8/22/18 – Lakeview Amphitheater – Syracuse, NY **
8/24/18 – Jiffy Lube Live – Bristow, VA
8/25/18 – PNC Bank Arts Center – Holmdel, NJ **
8/28/18 – Riverbend Music Center – Cincinnati, OH
8/29/18 – Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre – Chicago, IL
8/31/18 – Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center – Indianapolis, IN **
9/1/18 – DTE Energy Music Theatre – Detroit, MI
9/3/18 – Darien Lake Amphitheater – Darien Center, NY
9/6/18 – Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater – Wantagh, NY **
9/7/18 – XFINITY Theatre – Hartford, CT
9/9/18 – Blossom Music Center – Cleveland, OH **

Tickets and VIP packages are available via 5FDP and Breaking Benjamin‘s official websites.  $0.50 of each ticket sold to the tour will go to benefit Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S. for short) and to Prevent Child Abuse America.  C.O.P.S. works with survivors and co-workers of officers killed in the line of duty. It does this through partnerships with law enforcement and the community.  PCAA provides services that improve child well-being and develops programs that prevent child abuse and neglect of all kinds.

The upcoming tour is key for both bands, as Five Finger Death Punch just recently released its latest album And Justice For None while Breaking Benjamin’s latest album, Ember was released just this past April.  And Justice For None, 5FDP’s seventh full-length studio recording, debuted at #4 on Billboard’s Top 200 Chart and has sold more than 100,000 copies while also generating 100 million U.S. on-demand streams and more than 250,000 digital song sales. It is also the fifth consecutive top 5 album release for 5FDP.

Adding to its marks, it has four other #1 placements on other charts, including: Top Digital Albums, Top Rock Albums and Top Hard Rock Albums of 2018.  Its lead single, ‘Sham Pain,’ currently sits at #7 at Active Rock.

Breaking Benjamin’s latest album Ember debuted at #3 on Billboard’s top 200 Chart.  In the months since its release, it has gone on to sell more than 200,000 copies, has charted in Top 10 lists worldwide, topped #1 charts across various genres, including: Top Alternative Albums, top Rock Albums, Top hard Rock Albums, and Top Digital Albums, and is the band’s fourth top 5 debut on Billboard’s top 200 Chart, following 2015’s Dark Before Dawn, which debuted at #1, 2009’s Dear Agony (#4) and 2006’s Phobia (#2).

Red Cold River,’ one of the album’s songs, has gone to #1 at Active Rock Radio, making it the band’s eighth #1 single.  ‘Torn in Two,’ the album’s latest single, has more than 10 million streams and currently sits at #12

Bad Wolves’ new album Disobey was released this past may via Eleven Seven Music.  It debuted at #22 on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums Chart and reached the #4 spot on Billboard’s Hard Rock and Rock charts.  It hit #8 on the Top Current Albums Chart.  The band’s cover of the Cranberries’ hit song ‘Zombies‘ — and tribute to the late Cranberries singer Delores O’Riordan — has been certified Gold in the U.S. and has received more than 125 million views across various platforms.  The song also has topped a number of charts, including iTunes’ overall and Rock charts, Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Songs chart, Spotify’s Global Viral 50 Chart and Active Radio Charts.

Nothing More will be touring on the back of its most recent album, 2017’s The Stories We Tell Ourselves, which debuted in the top 20 of Billboard’s top 200 Chart, and earned the band three Grammy Award nominations — Best Rock Album, Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song for the album’s #1 hit single ‘Go to War.’  The album’s latest single, ‘Just Say When‘ debuted this past April.

More information on the upcoming tour is available online at:


Website: http://www.livenationentertainment.com

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


More information on Five Finger Death Punch’s new album is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:


Website: http://www.fivefingerdeathpunch.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/FFDP


More information on Breaking Benjamin, its new album and latest news is available online now at:


Website: http://breakingbenjamin.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/breakingbenj


More information on Bad Wolves, its new album and for all of its latest news is available online now at:


Website: http://www.badwolvesnation.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/badwolves


More information on Nothing More’s new album is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:


Website: http://www.nothingmore.net

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/nothingmorerock


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.

Shout! Factory To Re-Issue ‘Saved By The Bell’ This Fall

Courtesy: NBC/Shout! Factory

It’s time to go back to Bayside!

For the first time in almost five years, NBC’s classic Saturday morning series Saved By The Bell is getting a full-series set on DVD, and it’s all thanks to Shout! Factory.  Saved by the BellThe Complete Collection is scheduled to be released Oct. 2, and for true devotees of the timeless series, this set gets right what the show’s previous series offerings have gotten wrong.

Whereas previous sets — including the most recent from Lionsgate — omitted the college years, this set includes those episodes and the previously omitted “Good Morning, Miss Bliss.”  The full, 86-episode series run spans 2,790 minutes across 16 discs and even includes the rare Saved by the Bell movies as an added bonus. They were previously omitted from the series’ most recent release.

Pre-orders are open now for the set at Amazon.  More information on Saved by the BellThe Complete Collecion and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:


Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory


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.