Joe Satriani Announces New Album Release Date

Courtesy: earMusic

Joe Satriani is scheduled to release his new album this year.

The famed guitarist is scheduled to release his new album, The Elephants of Mars April 8 through a partnership between Satriani’s own new independent label and earMusic. Pre-orders are open.

Said Satriani of the album’s creative process, “We did everything. We tried the craziest ideas. And we entertained every notion we had about turning something backwards, upside down, seeing what could happen.”

The track listing for The Elephants of Mars is noted below.

THE ELEPHANTS OF MARS Track Listing
1.         Sahara                                                  8. E 104th St NYC
2.         The Elephants of Mars                          9. Pumpin’
3.         Faceless                                              10. Dance of the Spores
4.         Blue Foot Groovy                                 11. Night Scene
5.         Tension and Release                           12. Through a Mother’s Day Darkly
6.         Sailing the Seas of Ganymede            13. 22 Memory Lane
7.         Doors of Perception                             14. Desolation

Joe Satriani released the third issue of his limited edition graphic novel, Crystal Planet in August. The graphic novel series is based on his 1998 album by the same name. The Elephants of Mars will be Satriani’s 19th album and will come less than two years after the release of his most recent album, Shapeshifting, which was released April 10, 2020 through Sony Music.

More information on Joe Satriani’s new album is available along with his latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.satriani.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/joesatriani

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/chickenfootjoe

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

‘Quantum Leap’ Is A Largely Successful New Offering From Gus G.

Courtesy: AFM Records

Firewind founder and guitarist Gus G. is quoted from a recent interview as saying of his new album, Quantum Leap, that he “didn’t make it with the intention of it being the next one in the cycle of solo albums.  It was more of a case of, ‘What else is there?’ I needed the creative outlet.”  One of so many albums created during the downtime forced on acts by the COVID-19 pandemic, audiences will be glad that he crafted the album regardless.  That is due in large part to its general presentation, which will be discussed shortly.  While the album’s general presentation makes the record a strong new offering, the recording is not perfect.  The production in the live content detracts from the presentation to a point.  This will be discussed a little later.  Speaking of production, the production of the album’s first half offsets the impact of the production in the album’s second half and makes the album that much more enjoyable.  The end result of this is that the album in whole proves to be one more of the year’s top new rock and hard rock/metal albums.

Gus G.’s new solo album, Quantum Leap is a mostly successful new presentation from the veteran guitarist.  That is due in large part to its general presentation.  The general presentation finds the 18-song record divided into two separate discs.  The first disc is composed of 11 original new songs that the guitarist (formally known as Konstantinos Karamitroudis) crafted during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The second disc is composed of seven live tracks, at least two of which are covers (one a Thin Lizzy cover, the other a Dire Straits work).  The live songs were all from a concert that Karamitroudis held in 2018 in Budapest.  Two of the songs – ‘Fearless’ and ‘Cold Sweat’ – were featured in his 2019 digital-only EP, Live in Budapest.  The other five songs are other performances featured in the concert, but just not in the EP.  Ironically, the other two songs from the EP are not featured among the live songs in this bonus live material.  Sure, it would have been nice for audiences to have had those songs, for a total count of nine live performances, but at least audiences get seven.  To that end, audiences cannot complain too much.

Getting back to the topic of the main record, the material that makes up its body is both new and archived material that Karamitroudis had stored away unfinished from however long ago.  Karamitroudis composed and recorded most of the instrumentation in this record, save for the drums.  He was joined by drummer Vincent Velasco for the recording.  Velasco’s work is solid throughout and offers just the right musical “spice,” too.  Just as interesting is that Karamitroudis was quoted during an interview promoting the album, that he had to step back from his typical approach (IE lots of extensive guitar solos and work, really in-depth arrangements).  Instead, he allowed himself to write and create more freely.  The result is wonderful.  There are songs that fit just as well here on any Firewind album (E.g. ‘Demon Stomp,’ and ‘Enigma of Life’) as would fit on one of Joe Satriani’s albums.  The more Satriani work comes in the form of the album’s opener, ‘Leap Into The Unknown’ and ‘Not Forgotten.’  There is even some hint of influence from fellow guitar virtuoso Marty Friedman peppered in through songs, such as ‘Force Majure’ and ‘Exosphere.’  As if all of that is not enough, the sort of “new agey” approach and sound of ‘Night Driver’ with its keyboards, is a throwback to that familiar hair metal sound of the 80s.  It will appeal to specific audiences in its own right.  Simply put, the works crafted for the album’s main body are diverse and unique from one another throughout its run.  The wide appeal that it will certainly generate couples with the appeal from the record’s companion live material to make for even more engagement and entertainment.  In other words, audiences get the best of both worlds here in the best way possible.  They get a new, impressive studio recording, and a healthy compliment of live material in lien of a live performance, since the COVID-19 pandemic put Karamitroudis’ live plans on hold.  Keeping all of this in mind, the album’s general presentation creates a strong, solid foundation for the record.  Of course while the album’s general presentation is undeniably important to its appeal, the album is not perfect.  There is a slight issue raised as a result of the live material’s production.


The production is slightly problematic because of the lack of balance in the instrumentation and vocals.  The vocals in the live show were performed by Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69, Unisonic).  Maybe it is just this critic’s own hearing, but it seems throughout the songs with vocals, Ward’s performance is washed out by Gus G.’s work and that of drummer Johan Nunez (Firewind, ex-Kamelot).  Ward’s vocals sound so distant, as if his mic was not turned on.  Whether that was accidental is anyone’s guess.  Regardless, it forces audiences to turn up the volume and listen closely to be able to hear Ward.  This is disappointing, but is not enough of a dent to make the live material a failure.  That is because not every song has vocals.  To that end, the album’s live material still helps play into the album’s success, despite the one noted concern.

Considering that the production in the album’s live material is not enough to doom the record, there is at least one more item to note here to the record’s positive.  That item is the production of the album’s primary content.  As noted already, Karamitroudis admitted in an interview promoting his new album, that he had to take a new, unfamiliar approach to composing and performing in Quantum Leap.  That approach included not only taking different approaches in the songs, but also making sure that each part works well with each other.  That is because so much is still going on in each song.  Ward, who also mixed and mastered the album, deserves his own share of applause.  He clearly paid painstaking attention to each instrument’s place within each arrangement.  He made sure that every part complimented the others and balanced each song in whole.  That work and that of Karamistroudis came together and made the album in whole just as successful for its aesthetics as for its content.  When this and the album’s content are considered together, the whole makes Quantum Leap another impressive offering from Gus G. that is among the best of not only the year’s new rock albums, but hard rock and metal albums, too.

Gus G.’s recently released album, Quantum Leap is an impressive presentation that will appeal equally to his fans, those of Firewind, and rock and hard rock fans alike.  The record’s success is due in large part to its general presentation.  The general presentation gives audiences the best of both worlds with a new studio album and live recording in one.  The studio recording gives audiences a new studio presentation while the new live recording gives audiences a nice concert experience in lieu of a live, in-person show from Gus G. as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The general presentation gives the record a strong start, but the production in the live recording detracts from the presentation to a point.  The production proves problematic because there is an obvious problem with the balance between the instrumentation and vocals in the tracks that feature vocals.  Thankfully it is not enough to make the record in whole a failure or even the record’s live half.  The production of the record’s primary body makes up for the concerns raised through the production of the live content.  It ensures every instrument balances expertly with one another.  The result is that the studio content is fully engaging and entertaining from start to end.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s overall presentation.  All things considered, the album proves a mostly successful presentation.

Quantum Leap is available now through AFM Records.  More information on the album is available along with all of Gus G.’s latest news at:

Website: https://gusgofficial.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/officialgusg

Twitter: https://twitter.com/gusgofficial

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

John 5 Announces New Album Details; Premieres Album’s Lead Single, Companion Video

Courtesy: Cosa Nostra PR

John 5 will release his latest album this fall.

The guitarist (a.k.a. John Lowery) is scheduled to release his new album, Sinner, Oct. 29. Pre-orders are open.

In anticipation of the album’s release, Lowery premiered the album’s lead single, ‘Que Pasa,’ and its companion video Friday. The song features a guest appearance by Megadeth front man Dave Mustaine. It features a musical arrangement that is easily comparable to works from fellow guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani.

The video for ‘Que Pasa’ features Lowery and his fellow musicians on stage in order to give audiences a look at what a live John 5 show looks like. Mustaine shows up on video singing the song’s only lyrics, “Que pasa, people/Que pasa.” Yes, it is that simple.

Lowery spoke highly of Mustaine during a recent interview.

“I have such an appreciation for Dave, and I love his voice, guitar playing and songwriting. And he kills it on ‘Que Pasa,'” he said. “It was such a joy to have him on this track.”

Lowery also discussed new album.

“When people hear this record, I want them to say, ‘Oh, that’s John 5,’” he said. “What you get with Sinner is the best of me. I just want to write memorable riffs that people will enjoy. When I sit on my couch and play my guitar, I play the same things you hear on the instrumental records. It’s honest. It’s real. It’s not a façade. This is how I play. This is what I love to do.”

The track listing for Sinner is noted below.

JOHN 5 | SINNER

Tracklisting

01. Welcome To The Island

02. For I Have Sinned

03. Euphoria (feat. Carla Harvey)

04. Que Pasa (feat. Dave Mustaine)

05. How High The Moon

06. Creepshow

07. Land Of The Misfit Toys

08. Crazy Little Thing Called Love

09. This Is How I Do It

10. Georgia On My Mind (feat. Peter Criss)

More information on John 5’s new album, single, and video is available along with all of his latest news at:

Website: https://www.john-5.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/John5official

Twitter: https://twitter.com/john5guitarist

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

Third Issue Of Joe Satriani’s ‘Crystal Planet’ Comic Book Coming

Courtesy: Heavy Metal Magazine/Incendium

The third issue of Joe Satriani’s Crystal Planet comic book series will release this fall.

According to information in a news release distributed Tuesday, the series’ third issue is scheduled to release in November through Heavy Metal magazine and Incendium’s Opus imprint. Pre-orders are open. A limited quantity of issues #1 and #2 is also available. Additionally, a very limited quantity of bundles — 250 total — featuring copies of issue #1 signed by Joe Satriani, sublimated hat, an art print of issue #2’s cover and an enamel pin is available here.

Along with the new issue of Crystal Planet, an accompanying action figure of Joe Satriani is also available to pre-order for $29.95. The action figure features Satriani in a Tri-Diver suit from the Crystal Planet comic book, complete with his signature Ibanez guitar.

The credits for Crystal Planet are noted below.

CREDITS:
CREATED BY: Joe Satriani, Ned Evett
SCRIPT: Tony Lee
PENCILS/INKS: Richard Friend
COLOR: Carlos Cabrera
LETTERS: Jacob Bascle
EDITOR: Llexi Leon

More information on Crystal Planet is available online now along with all of Satriani’s tour dates in support of Shapeshifting is available online now at:

Websitehttps://www.satriani.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/joesatriani

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/chickenfootjoe

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

Derek Sherinian Joins Up-And-Coming Guitarist Ballard For New Single

Courtesy: Ballard

Guitarist Paolo Ballardini (a.k.a. Ballard) debuted his latest single this week.

Ballardini debuted his new single ‘Too Soon‘ Friday. The full-on instrumental track features a guest appearance by keyboard wizard Derek Sherinian (Sons of Apollo, Platypus, ex-Dream Theater). The song’s energetic arrangement puts Ballardini’s talents on display, and at the same time is comparable to works from Joe Satriani.

The premiere of ‘Too Soon’ comes more than three months after Ballardini premiered his then latest single, ‘Changes’ and its video. That song also displays some Satriani influence. At the same time, it also features some notable influence from Satriani’s fellow famed guitarist, Marty Friedman.

Sherinian’s participation in Ballardini’s new single comes as he continues work on his next album, which will follow up his latest album, The Phoenix.

The Phoenix produced the singles, ‘Empyrean Sky,’ ‘Dragonfly,’ and ‘Them Changes‘ (a cover of the Buddy Miles classic).

Sherinian followed up the release of The Phoenix with a guest appearance on Michael Schenker Group’s latest album, Immortal, which was released early this year. Now the band’s namesake, Michael Schenker will make his own appearance on Sherinian’s as-yet-untitled new album.

More information on Ballardini’s new single is available along with all of his latest news at:

Website: https://www.ballardmusic.net

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ballardmusic

Twitter: https://twitter.com/music_ballard

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

Details Announced For Second Issue of Joe Satriani’s Limited ‘Crystal Planet’ Comic Book Event Series

Courtesy: Incendium/Heavy Metal

Joe Satriani’s limited event comic book will see its second issue released next month.

Satriani launched the limited series, which is based on his album, Crystal Planet, in March. The second of the series’ five issues is scheduled to ship next month. An exact shipping date is under consideration.

The series’ presentation coms courtesy of Heavy Metal Magazine and Incendiary. Co-created by Satriani and Ned Evett, the new title is centered on lead character Satchel Walker.

Walker is caught between two factions vying for resources from a dying star. It is up to him to end the conflict and bring peace to the universe and time stream. The only way he can achieve the noted goals is through the use of music. Pre-orders for the second issue are open now.

Issue #2 picks up where Issue #1 left off. Walker has experienced a death in his family, and takes his first steps on the Crystal Planet. His lifelong friend Sarah Fortune joins him on his voyage in a banged-up old station wagon as the swarm is hot on the duo’s heels.

Satriani had the following to say of the second issue of the Crystal Planet comic book.

“Satchel Walker’s world is about to be turned upside-down in ways he could never have imagined, he said. “Issue #2 will bring his futuristic, battle-torn nightmares closer to reality and re-unite him with his father’s strange and powerful guitar.” 

The credits for the comic book are noted below.

CREDITS:
CREATED BY: Joe Satriani, Ned Evett
SCRIPT: Tony Lee
PENCILS/INKS: Richard Friend
COLOR: Carlos Cabrera
LETTERS: Jacob Bascle
EDITOR: Llexi Leon

Satriani’s new comic book will also feature a companion collectible figure of Satriani himself as an added bonus. The action figure features Satriani in a Tri-Driver suit from the comic book, along with his signature Ibanez guitar. The figure will retail for MSRP of $29.95. Pre-orders for the action figure are open.

More information on Crystal Planet is available online now along with all of Satriani’s tour dates in support of Shapeshifting is available online now at:

Websitehttps://www.satriani.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/joesatriani

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/chickenfootjoe

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

LTE’s Latest LP Is The Latest Contender For The Top Spot Among 2021’s Best New Rock Albums

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

More than two decades after the release of its then most recent album, prog rock super group Liquid Tension Experiment officially returned Friday.  The band – Mike Portnoy (drums), Jordan Rudess (keyboards), John Petrucci  (guitar) Tony Levin (bass) – released its new aptly titled album Liquid Tension Experiment 3 Friday through InsideOut Music.  The eight-song instrumental album spawned three singles ahead of its release.  Those songs are but a glimpse into the album, too.  The 61-minute presentation offers hints of the band’s existing catalog and something in another direction throughout, too.  ‘Beating The Odds is just one of the songs featured in the recording that shows a new creative direction from the band in its latest outing.  It will be discussed shortly.  The band’s updated take on famed composer George Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ is another change in direction for the band in this outing.  It will be discussed a little later.  Showing even more, the change in direction in this record is ‘Chris and Kevin’s Amazing Odyssey,’ which comes just past the record’s midpoint.  It will also be discussed later.  Each note song proves the album’s growth, and in turn, engagement and entertainment.  When they are considered along with songs, such as ‘Shades of Hope,’ ‘Hypersonic,’ ‘The Passage of Time,’ and the album’s two remaining songs, the whole makes the album in whole a work that is a welcome return for Liquid Tension Experiment and that is among the best of this year’s new rock albums.

Liquid Tension Experiment’s latest album, Liquid Tension Experiment 3, is a presentation that will appeal to the band’s established audience base.  In the same note it will appeal to fans of the band’s members and their primary projects just as much.  That is due in large part to the songs featured in this recording.  The songs in question show evidence of songs from the band’s existing catalog as well as works that show some growth from the band.  One of the most notable of the songs that exhibits that growth comes in the form of ‘Beating The Odds.’  The six-minute-plus composition is not the wildly energetic style composition that audiences have come to know from the band.  Rather, it combines a variety of tones and influences, beginning with a very Rush style guitar intro to open the song.  From there, listeners can hear distinct influence from Dream Theater’s early days prior to Portnoy’s departure from the band.  At the same time, there is also a hint of Spock’s Beard influence through the combination of Rudess’ work on keyboards and Petrucci’s guitar performance.  At times the influences remain separate, and at others join together for one unique whole.  Through it all, the balance in the influences is handled expertly, a tribute to the record’s production.  The end result of that controlled chaos is a work that brings out the best of the bands that have influenced this band’s members in one complete work that boasts its own standout identity as a prog-rock opus.

‘Beating The Odds’ is just one of the songs that serves to exhibit the growth from Liquid Tension Experiment in its latest album.  The band’s updated take on George Gershwin’s timeless jazz classic, ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ is another clear example of the successful change in the band’s new album.  It is a complete change of pace for the band, taking on a jazz classic instead of any rock composition.  Gershwin’s original composition is present here.  There is no denial of that fact.  At the same, the song gets a nice change of pace in this rendition.  Petrucci’s subtle guitar opening mimics the piano line that opens the original so well.  The addition of the synthesized string arrangement at points throughout is a nice tribute to the original in its own right.  It actually does well to sound like the real thing, even being synthesized.  What’s more, the Joe Satriani-style approach that Petrucci takes along with his own style as the song progresses adds even more to the approach.  Much the same can be said of Rudess’ keyboard performance throughout, and that of Portnoy.  The whole of the group’s work here is such a rich presentation.  It is a dramatic change of pace for the band this time out and such a successful risk.  It is just one more example of what makes the album so successful.  ‘Chris and Kevin’s Amazing Odyssey’ — which comes in the record’s second half — is yet another example of the album’s strength.

‘Chris and Kevin’s Amazing Odyssey’ is notable because it is so starkly unlike anything that these musicians have ever crafted collectively and with their primary acts.  The whole thing starts off with Levin using what sounds like a bow on his bass, as if it was a standup bass.  Portnoy’s accents on the toms sound random, but are in fact complimentary to Levin’s work.  The subtle addition of the occasional keyboard effect makes for its own unique touch here.  The whole experimental work immediately comes across as a distinctly avant-garde type composition, yet is still so engaging because of that experimental, free form type composition.  It is another wonderful example of how much the band has branched out this time out and how that willingness to try something new has paid off.  When it is considered with the other two songs examined here and the more familiar sound exhibited through other songs featured here, such as ‘Shades of Hope,’ ‘Hypersonic,’ ‘The Passage of Time,’ and the album’s two remaining songs,  the whole of all of that content makes the album in whole a welcome return for Liquid Tension Experiment and an equally impressive new addition to this year’s list of top new rock records.

Liquid Tension Experiment’s first new album in more than two decades and first since the release of Spontaneous Combustion – released in 2007 (almost 15 years ago) by three quarters of LTE under the moniker of Liquid Tension Trio – is an impressive new offering from these  musical mates.  It proves that from start to finish with a solid combination of familiar content and plenty of material that takes chances and takes the band in new directions.  Those newer songs are all examined here.  When they are considered with the rest of the album’s works, the whole makes LTE 3 a work that every prog-rock fan will welcome.  It is proof positive that good things really do come to those who wait.  LTE 3 is available now.  More information on the album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at https://www.facebook.com/ltexperiment.  

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

Joe Satriani Launching New Comic Book

Courtesy: Incendium/Heavy Metal

One of Joe Satriani’s classic albums is getting a comic book adaptation.

Heavy Metal magazine and Incendiary are set to release the new Crystal Planet comic book. Co-created by Satriani and Ned Evett, the new title is centered on lead character Satchel Walker.

Walker is caught between two factions vying for resources from a dying star. It is up to him to end the conflict and bring peace to the universe and time stream. The only way he can achieve the noted goals is through the use of music.

The comic book will start as a five-issue limited series. The first issue of each print will release as a prestige format limited edition collectible comic book, featuring cardstock covers, specialty foil treatments, glossy pages and individual numbering. each first printing will be limited to 1,998 copies at $19.98. Orders are open here, with the first issues scheduled for shipping March 21.

The credits for the comic book are noted below.

CREDITS:
CREATED BY: Joe Satriani, Ned Evett
SCRIPT: Tony Lee
PENCILS/INKS: Richard Friend
COLOR: Carlos Cabrera
LETTERS: Jacob Bascle
EDITOR: Llexi Leon

According to a statement from Satriani, the creation of the new comic book is more than two decades in making.

“Funny how things get their start” said Satriani “July 1994 I’m on tour with Deep Purple and I’m warming up with my guitar backstage in a bull’s isolation cell at the Plaza de Toros in Gjion, Spain. Then and there I start writing the opening riff to a song that will become “Crystal Planet” and a few years later it’s the title track for my ’98 album release.” 

He continues “Fast forward to 2013, friend and fellow guitarist Ned Evett makes an animated sci-fi video for my song “Lies and Truths” using artwork from my “Joe’s Art 2013” book. We projected that video on a 30ft. screen every night of the Unstoppable Momentum Tour. It was a hit with the fans which got us thinking we could expand the clip into a “Crystal Planet” sci-fi epic. Ned and I formed Satchtoons, a company focused on creating animated content, and we got to work on scripts and demos for the “Crystal Planet” pilot. Seven years later, thanks to Llexi Leon and Heavy Metal, here we are with our first comic book series! Llexi and I had worked together on his awesome “Eternal Descent” comics, and by coincidence we met again when Heavy Metal published a short excerpt of “Crystal Planet” adapted by Brendon Small for the magazine’s 2019 music issue. Both Ned and I love working with Llexi and the Incendium creative team, they bring so much artistry and expertise to our time-traveling adventure. I am thrilled to finally offer our fans the first full issue of what will ultimately be a three novel trilogy.”

Llexi Leon made reference to a pair of well-known science-fiction movies as he explained the approach taken for Crystal Planet.

 “Crystal Planet is a thrilling rollercoaster through space and time, it’s Mad Max Vs TRON – with guitars!,” he said. “This has been an incredibly rewarding project to bring to fruition, digging deep into the lore behind one of the greatest instrumental rock records. Working with Joe has always been a pleasure, having collaborated in comics with Eternal Descent years ago his love of the medium is well known. There was a treasure trove of concepts and character exploration compiled over decades by Joe and his writing partner Ned that formed the basis of this project, with the ultimate goal to take fans on a journey to Crystal Planet for the first time. Tony, Richard, Carlos, and Jacob have done a tremendous job realizing an incredible world and telling it’s story. It’s fitting that our publishing venture with Heavy Metal would begin with a space faring time travel adventure!” 

Satriani’s new comic book will also feature a companion collectible figure of Satriani himself as an added bonus. The action figure features Satriani in a Tri-Driver suit from the comic book, along with his signature Ibanez guitar. The figure will retail for MSRP of $29.95. Pre-orders for the action figure are open.

More information on Crystal Planet is available online now along with all of Satriani’s tour dates in support of Shapeshifting is available online now at:

Websitehttp://www.satriani.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/joesatriani

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/chickenfootjoe

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

Neal Schon’s Latest LP Is A “Universal” Success

Courtesy: Neal Schon Music, Inc.

It goes without saying that guitarist Neal Schon is one of the most well-known and respected figures in the music industry today.  A founding member of legendary rock band Journey, Schon has also worked with fellow rock legend Carlos Santana, and is also a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee.  The band he helped found has sold millions of records the world over, too, thanks in part to his own performances on said records.  Schon added yet another proverbial notch in his belt this month when he released his new solo album Universe.  The 15-song record is a surprisingly enjoyable presentation that will appeal equally to fans of Journey, Schon and to real rock musicianship in general.  This is proven in no small part to the musical arrangements that make up the body of the 70-minute record.  They will be discussed shortly.  The arrangements’ sequencing builds on the foundation built by the songs themselves and will be discussed a little later.  The record’s production rounds out its most important elements.  It will also be examined later.  All three elements noted here are important in their own way to the whole of the album.  All things considered, they make Universe more proof of why Neal Schon is in fact one of the most respected and well-known figures in the entire musical universe.  Yes, that awful pun was intended.

Neal Schon’s new solo album Universe is a strong new musical statement from a musician who has already so many laurels over the course of his career.  It is a presentation that will appeal widely not only to his fans, but to those of Journey and of real pure guitar rock, too.  That is proven continuously throughout the course of the album’s hour-plus run time in large part because of its featured musical arrangements.  The arrangements are wide spread in terms of their influences and comparison.  The record opens with a decidedly Joe Satriani style composition in ‘Something in the Heart.’  The song finds Schon playing so subtly against an orchestral backing and slow, steady drum beat to open the song.  The picture that it paints is like something that belongs in the end credits of some blockbuster drama on the big screen (E.g. the sun setting on the lead characters, their silhouettes the only part of them visible following the events of the story).  The subtlety in Schon’s performance alongside that of the song’s orchestral element is such a powerful presentation.  On a distinctly different note, Schon takes listeners in a completely different direction in ‘She’s For Real.’  The use of the strings in this song’s arrangement pairs with the piano arrangement to create something of a vintage disco type of style approach.  The aforementioned Joe Satriani-esque guitar work and the solid time keeping that accompany the strings and piano come into play here to enhance the arrangement even more, and make it that much more engaging and entertaining.   Not only that, but it also adds to the discussion on the diversity of the album’s musical arrangements.  It strengthens that discussion and in turn the importance of that element.  Showing even more, the diversity in the record’s musical arrangements is the frantic ‘Be Happy,’ which comes late in the album’s run.  The high-energy composition clocks in at just under three-and-a-half minutes, and makes full use of that time, too.  Schon’s fingers run their way all over his guitar’s fret board while the bass line and time keeping add an extra layer to the work.  The ghost notes and cymbal crashes from the percussion give just the right accent along with the bass drum.  The repetition of the almost walking bass line makes for a solid counterpoint to Schon’s fiery guitar work.  The addition of the strings to the mix adds its own unique touch to the whole, too.  By the time the song ends, listeners themselves will be left feeling breathless just from hearing the whole of the noted elements.  The composition is that intense, but in the best way possible.  It is just one more way in which the diversity in the album’s musical arrangements come through so clearly.  Between this work, the others addressed here, the likes of others, such as the slow jam style ‘Silent Voyage,’ the powerhouse cover of Prince’s ‘Purple Rain,’ and the bluesy, almost Pink Floyd-esque ‘Caruso,’ that diversity becomes even clearer.  When all of this is considered along with the rest of the album’s works, that diversity shines through even more, leaving zero doubt as to its importance.  It is of course just one of the key elements that makes Universe such a surprisingly successful album.  The sequencing of the album’s featured musical arrangements adds even more impact to the album’s presentation.

The sequencing of Universe is important to examine because it plays directly into listeners’ engagement and entertainment.  As already noted, the album opens on a somewhat somber note in ‘Something in the Heart.’  From there, the album’s energy only barely picks up as it progresses through ‘The Eye of God’ and ‘The Universe.’  From there, ‘Caruso’ pulls things back again before finally really letting loose in the cover of ‘Voodoo Child.’  The energy in that song carries through to ‘Third Stone From the Sun’ before really pulling back again in Schon’s cover of ‘Purple Rain.’  Listeners will be glad to know that things do not stay reserved for too long, as the album starts to pick back up again immediately after in ‘She’s For Real.’  The rises and falls in the album’s energy continues from here with full stability, ensuring just as much, that noted engagement and entertainment for audiences.  The bigger picture, looking back, is that of sequencing that took into full account, the songs’ energies and impact thereof.  The result of that attention to detail makes an album that listeners will find just as enjoyable to hear for this aspect as for the songs themselves.  Keeping all of this in mind, now it is even clearer why Universe is such a successful new offering from Schon.  It still is just one more aspect of the album that listeners will appreciate.  The production of Schon’s new album puts the finishing touch to the presentation.

As has already been noted more than once here, there is a lot going on in many of the songs featured in Universe.  This means that a lot of attention had to be paid to detail in each song.  That is so that the sound is balanced to the best degree possible in each work.  Those efforts paid off, too.  Schon takes center stage throughout the album, and with good cause.  At the same time though, Schon’s fellow musicians each get their own attention in each song.  The string arrangements are balanced so well each time they are incorporated into the songs.  The bass line, which far too often is under used by bands across the board, gets its own time in the light throughout the album, too.  Even the drums sound so rich, but never overpowering at any point. Simply put, throughout the course of Universe’s one hour, 10-minute presentation, each instrument and performance is expertly balanced in each song.  The result is that the album sounds that much more appealing.  When this is considered along with the appeal just from the diversity in the album’s musical arrangements and the effect of the arrangements’ sequencing, the album in whole becomes a presentation that is another presentation from Schon that will appeal just as much to his fans as to those of Journey and guitar rock.

Neal Schon’s newly released solo album Universe is a positive new offering from the guitarist, whose accolades are already numerous.  Its diverse musical arrangements in themselves are certain to appeal to the noted wide range of listeners, along with the sequencing of those arrangements.  The production of the arrangements puts the finishing touch to the album’s presentation, giving them the aesthetic that makes their sound just as appealing as their general content.  It puts the final touch to the album’s whole.  When it is considered with the songs and their sequencing, that whole makes the album a presentation that will appeal just as much to Schon’s fans as to those of journey and pure guitar rock.  Universe is available now.  More information on the album is available along with all of Schon’s latest news at:

Website: http://schonmusic.com

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

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

Deep Purple’s Latest And Likely Last Album Tops Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 New Rock Albums List

Courtesy: earMUSIC

The year 2020 threw a lot of misery and negativity at the world.  Between the seemingly endless issues raised as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the political problems that plagued America and the world, and some of the most respected names in the industry passing, there has been more than enough for us to never speak of 2020 again when it ends.  For all of that negativity and misery that the world has seen this year though, there actually has been at least some positive in the form of new music from so many acts.  The lists compiled already recently by Phil’s Picks and other outlets have more than supported that statement.  That new music includes new albums from lots of new and established rock acts, such as Deep Purple, Faith & Scars, and even Nine Inch Nails.  All three acts are featured in this year’s list of Phil’s Picks Top 10 New Rock Albums.  Their musical and lyrical content collectively (and sometimes by themselves) prove them fully deserving of their spots on this (and any critic’s) list.

As with every other list from Phil’s Picks, this list features the Top 10 new titles in the given category and five additional honorable mention titles for a total of 15 titles.  Without any further ado, here is Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 New Rock Albums.

PHIL’S PICKS 2020 TOP 10 NEW ROCK ALBUMS

  1. Deep Purple – Whoosh!
  2. Nick Perri & The Underground Thieves – Sun Via
  3. Derek Sherinian – The Phoenix
  4. Ricky Byrd – Sobering Times
  5. Joe Satriani – Shapeshifting
  6. Pearl Jam – Gigaton
  7. Nine Inch Nails – Ghosts V
  8. Nine Inch Nails – Ghosts VI
  9. Soul Asylum – Hurry Up and Wait
  10. Shadow and the Thrill – Sugarbowl
  11. Faith & Scars – Revolver
  12. Jason Kui – Naka
  13. Michael Abdow – Heart Signal
  14. Horisont – Sudden Death
  15. Night – High Tides Distant Skies

Next up from Phil’s Picks is 2020’s Top New Hard rock & Metal Albums.  Stay tuned for that.

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