Rob Halford Signs New Deal With SME, Legacy

Courtesy:  Sony Legacy

Courtesy: Sony Legacy

Sony Music Entertainment and Legacy Recordings made a big announcement today that involves Judas Priest front man Rob Halford. And for fans of both Judas Priest and Rob Halford, it is a very exciting announcement.

Officials with SME and Legacy Recordings have announced that they have inked a deal with the Judas Priest front man that will allow much of the material from his side projects to finally see the light of day. The precise terms of the deal were not released. However it is known that the deal guarantees that virtually all of his work with Fight Two, and his own eponymous recordings from 1992 forward will see proper releases. There will also be an “Essentials” compilation along with a “Playlist” compilation and definitive “Complete Albums” box set. The Essential Rob Halford will be released March 31st via Columbia/Legacy as part of the deal. The double-disc compilation will feature thirty tracks. A pair of live recordings in the form of War of Words: The Film and Live in Phoenix are also expected for eventual release as part of the deal.

Rob Halford’s catalogue includes the following releases:

Fight

Albums
War of Words
Mutations
A Small Deadly Space
K5 – The “War of Words” Demos

Audio/Visual
War of Words: The Film
Live in Phoenix

Two

Voyeurs

Halford
Metal God Essentials: Volume 1
Resurrection
Live Insurrection
Crucible
Live at Rock in Rio 3 (album and audio/visual)
Live in Anaheim (album and audio/visual)
Winter Songs
Made of Metal
Live at Saitama Super Arena (album and audio/visual)
Live in London
Live 2010 North & South America Tour (album and audio/visual)
Metal God Essentials: Volume 2

Rob Halford’s fans can keep up with his latest news online via Twitter at http://twitter.com/halfordmetal. 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.

Priest’s DOTF 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition Is A Must Have For Every Metal Purist And Judas Priest Fan

Courtesy:  Columbia Legacy

Courtesy: Columbia Legacy

Judas Priest. The very name is synonymous with metal. Regardless of whether or not audiences are familiar with the work of Judas Priest, they know the band’s name and its reputation among rock’s elite acts. The band has been making music together for almost half a century as of this year. To be more specific, the band has been making music for roughly forty-six years. Though its first full length album wasn’t actually released until 1974. Since that time, Judas Priest has churned out a surprising seventeen full-length studio albums. Those albums have sold millions of copies the world over including its most recent release Redeemer of Souls (2014). Considering that, it speaks volumes of the band’s longevity and its popularity. Now as the band comes another year closer to its fiftieth anniversary–this year marks the band’s forty-sixth year–it celebrates yet another important anniversary that just recently passed with the 30th Anniversary Edition of its 1984 album Defenders of the Faith. 2015 actually marks thirty-one years since Judas Priest originally released Defenders of the Faith. So why Columbia and Legacy would wait until this year to release the album’s 30th Anniversary Edition is anyone’s guess. It would have made more sense to have released it last year. That aside, Defenders of the Faith: 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition is still a must have for metal purists and Priest fans alike. The central reason that it is a must have for audiences is the very fact that it presents Defenders of the Faith in its entirety exactly as it was presented way back in 1984. All ten tracks are here and they sound just as they did in the album’s original release. The addition of a two-disc, twenty-one song performance from the band’s 1984 tour in support of DOTF makes this re-issue all the more valuable for metal purists and Priest fans alike. And while it may seem like a minimal element to some, the album’s packaging is just as important to the presentation as the original album and its newly included concert. By itself, the re-issue’s packaging plays its own important part in the album’s enjoyment and success. Together with the album’s extensive bonus live recording and its full presentation of the original album, all three elements together prove why every metal purist and Priest fan should have Defenders of the Faith: 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition.

Defenders of the Faith: 30th Anniversary Edition is, as already noted, a must have for any metal purist and Judas Priest fan out there that does not already own his or her own copy of the album whether on CD or vinyl. The presentation of the original album in its entirety is just one reason for this. Thirty-one years have now passed since DOTF was first released to the metal masses around the world. Since that time, it has gone on to earn platinum status, selling over a million copies worldwide. Even selling so many copies, there are still those that do not own the album whether on vinyl or on CD. Now those same audiences and a whole new generation can finally enjoy this album including its hugely controversial track ‘Eat Me Alive.’ For those that don’t know, ‘Eat Me Alive’ became a point of contention for Tipper Gore and the then PMRC because of Mrs. Gore’s interpretation of said song. The band’s musical response to that song was pretty interesting in its own right. That’s a story for another time. But the fact that that song is present along with each of the album’s others, and that they still sound so clear to this day makes for plenty of reason for audiences to add this album to their music libraries.

The presentation of DOTF as it was originally presented thirty-one years ago in its new re-issue is within itself plenty of reason for metal purists and Judas Priest fans alike to add this re-issue to their music libraries. This applies to both the generation that might already own the album whether it be on vinyl or CD and to the current generation of metal legions around the world. The addition of the bonus concert recording to the package makes even more reason for metal legions and Priest fans alike to pick up this re-issue. The concert’s set list totals twenty-one tracks and comes in at just under two hours. More specifically, it clocks in at an hour and forty-three minutes. Thanks to the concert’s set list and the band’s stage presence, that near two-hour run time feels to be far longer. And that is meant in the best possible way. Simply put, the concert’s set list and the band’s stage persona leaves audiences not even realizing that so much time has passed. At the same time, it doesn’t leave audiences feeling short-changed in the end, either. Full discretion, there are some points throughout the concert in which the audio mix is a bit dicey. Simply put, at some points, it seems as if the dual attack of Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing overpowers front man Rob Halford’s vocals. It’s not terrible. But it is noticeable. And luckily this doesn’t happen throughout the performance. It only happens at points. So considering this, one can forgive whomever was originally at the audio boards. Even more Richard Kayvan and Tom Allom are to be commended for their efforts in remastering both the concert’s audio and the audio from the original album’s songs. The total of that work on both sides still makes Defenders of the Faith: 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition well worth adding to every metal purist and Judas Priest fan’s music collection.

The presentation of DOTF in its full, original entirety in its new 30th Anniversary Edition makes for reason within itself for metal purists and Judas Priest fans alike to add this re-issue to their music libraries. The addition of a never-before-released two-hour concert to the package makes for even more reason for those same audiences to add this re-issue to their music libraries. While both elements together do plenty to make this re-issue enjoyable, they still are not all worth noting that makes it a success. Believe it or not the re-issue’s packaging actually plays a part. So may record labels, when handling multi-disc sets, tend to use the case for a single album and add a plastic insert on which one or even two discs are placed, depending on the number of discs. This does help save space on CD racks. but it is also very problematic. The problem with this form of packaging is that the plastic insert in question can very easily be broken either at the hinge or on the insert itself when it is flipped out and pressure is placed on the insert to either remove or replace the CD(s). Columbia Legacy didn’t take that path with Defenders of the Faith: 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition. Instead they presented the album’s re-issue in a gatefold package. This places each of the re-issue’s three discs into their own trays. This practice protects not only the discs but the trays, too. This actually preserves the album and its companion concert discs for far longer than the standard plastic insert formula. While it may be slightly more bulky, it is also much smarter. Not only that but it also creates a certain sense of nostalgia especially among those that might have owned the original album on vinyl thirty-one years ago before the advent of CDs. People generally take for granted the packaging of CDs. But hopefully in reading this, audiences will see that packaging sometimes can indeed help make or break an album. And this is an instance in which the packaging has greatly helped the album in its re-issue. It is one more way that Defenders of the Faith: 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition proves itself a must have for any metal purist and Judas Priest fan around the world. Together with the bonus full-length concert and the re-mastered original album, all three elements are more than enough reason for every member of the Metal Nation worldwide to add this re-issue to their music libraries regardless of whether or not they already own the original album.

Defenders of the Faith: 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition boasts plenty of reasons for audiences to add this re-issue to their libraries. The original album is presented in its entirety. And thanks to the work of those charged with re-mastering it, it sounds as good as ever if not better. The addition of a full-length concert that comes in at nearly two hours makes this re-issue eve better even with the occasional audio imbalances between Rob Halford’s vocals and the guitarists K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton. The packaging is just as important to the whole of the re-issue. Despite being slightly bulky, the packaging protects the discs and their trays and even creates a sense of nostalgia among some audiences. The combination of all three elements together makes clear why every metal purist and Judas Priest fan should add this re-issue to their music libraries. It is available now in stores and online. More information on DOTF: 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition is available online along with all of the latest news from Judas Priest at:

Website: http://www.JudasPriest.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/judaspriest

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.

Saxon Announces Dates For U.S. Leg Of Its “Warriors Of The Road” Tour

Courtesy: UDR/Adrenaline PR/MEtal Blade Records/Chipster PR

Courtesy: UDR/Adrenaline PR/MEtal Blade Records/Chipster PR

Legendary British metal band Saxon is gearing up to hit the road in the U.S. this spring.

The members of Saxon announced this week that the band will embark on the “Warriors of the Road” U.S. Tour in May. The tour is in support of the band’s recently re-issued recordings Heavy Metal Thunder and The Saxon Chronicles. Both recordings were re-issued February 24th. Heavy Metal Thunder included a bonus live recording titled Live at Bloodstock. The double-disc DVD The Saxon Chronicles was accompanied by a bonus live recording titled Rock ‘n’ Roll Gypsies 1989 Live.

Saxon’s upcoming tour kicks off on Tuesday, May 12th at BB King’s in New York City and will run through Saturday, May 30th in Los Angeles, California. One of the scheduled dates is a performance at the annual Rock on the Range Festival on Saturday, May 16th in Columbus, Ohio. Saxon will be joined by Armored Saint for the majority of the tour’s scheduled dates. Judas Priest will join the band on a four-date string of shows from May 17th to May 21st. The complete “Warriors of the Road” tour schedule is listed below.

SAXON “Warriors of the Road” U.S. Tour w/ Armored Saint:

5/12 – New York City, NY @ BB Kings w/ Armored Saint

5/13 – Worcester, MA @ The Palladium w/ Armored Saint

5/16 – Columbus, OH @ MAPFRE Stadium (formerly Crew Stadium) @ Rock On The Range

5/17 – Cincinnati, OH @ The Shoe w/ Judas Priest

5/19 – St. Charles, MO @ Family Area w/ Judas Priest

5/20 – Council Bluffs, IA @ Harrah’s Casino-Stir Cove w/ Judas Priest

5/21 – Rosemont, IL @ Rosemont Theater w/ Judas Priest

5/23 – San Antonio, TX @ 210 Kapone’s Live w/ Armored Saint

5/24 – Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey Live w/ Armored Saint

5/26 – Mesa, AZ @ Club Red

5/27 – Las Vegas, NV @ Vinyl at Hard Rock

5/29 – San Jose, CA @ Rock Bar w/ Armored Saint

5/30 – Los Angeles, CA @ House of Blues w/ Armored Saint

More information on the “Warriors of the Road” tour and all of the latest news from Saxon is available online at:

Website: https://www.saxon747.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SaxonOfficial

MySpace: https://www.myspace.com/planetsaxon

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://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.

Eternal Voyager Channels Maiden, Priest, Other Classic Masters On Its Debut Album

Courtesy:  Eternal Voyager

Courtesy: Eternal Voyager

Eternal Voyager has been through a lot ever since its inception roughly a dozen years ago. Ever since its formation, the band has faced challenge after challenge throughout its life. From lineup changes and other changes, to multiple failed attempts to launch its debut album, the currently unsigned Minneapolis, Minnesota-based power metal band has managed to live on where other bands might have fallen apart after so much time and so much struggle. Now thanks to the dedication of its members (specifically front man Brian Blake) Eternal Voyager has finally released that long-awaited debut album and started on the path to potentially its first record deal. The band’s debut, The Battle of Eternity was released in November 2014. It is a work that fans of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and to a lesser degree Blind Guardian will enjoy with its storming vocals and precision musicianship. That is just one part of what makes this album worth the listen by any old school metal fan. The album’s sequencing and production are just as noteworthy. Audiences that give this album a chance will note the seeming connection of the album’s songs and by direct connection the lack of space between them. Both elements make The Battle of Eternity come across almost as a concept record of sorts, not to mention the songs themselves. The songs themselves are collectively the third element of the album worth noting. Looking at the album lyrically, each of the album’s songs seem to connect to one another directly ‘Holy Warrior,’ its follow-up ‘Army of Our Lord,’ and ‘The New Jerusalem’ contribute to that view. The same can be said of all seven tracks that follow. While not precisely linked to that first trio of songs, they each present a similar feel, thus showing why it would be so easy to think of The Battle of Eternity as a concept record of sorts even if it isn’t a concept record in the purest sense. Whether for this factor, for the album’s sequencing and production values, or for its musical similarity to some of the great names in metal, this album gives audiences plenty of reason for audiences to hear it at least once.

Eternal Voyager as a band has seen many ups and downs throughout the course of its roughly twelve-year life. Throughout it all, its member stuck to their guns and saw the band through to its current incarnation. And because of the determination of long time front man Brian Blake and his current band mates, the band finally released its debut album last year. The Battle of Eternity was released in November 2014. The album boasts a sound very similar to that of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest in their heyday. And to a lesser extent, purist metal fans will even be able to hear hints of Blind Guardian, Gamma Ray and others throughout the album’s eleven total tracks. That throwback to the golden era of metal is something that every purist metal fan will appreciate in listening to The Battle of Eternity. From Blake’s own storming vocal style to the occasional addition of his band mates’ own vocals to the precision work of guitarist Rob Nesco and bassist Jeff Igelsrud’s low-end, the band in whole has crafted a collection of songs on this record that any old school metal fan will enjoy. And it’s just the start of what makes The Battle of Eternity worth at least one listen. The album’s sequencing and general production values play just as important a role to the album in whole.

Eternal Voyager’s debut album is one well worth at least one listen by any old school metal fan. That is largely thanks to the album’s obvious influence from the likes of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Gamma Ray, Blind Guardian and others of that ilk. The similarity in sound to those bands is just part of what makes this album worth the listen, though. The album’s sequencing and overall production values are just as much to thank for its ability to reach its intended audiences. The first three full songs that make up The Battle of Eternity–‘Holy Warrior,’ ‘Army of Our Lord,’ and ‘The New Jerusalem’–instantly create a feeling of it being a concept album. While the songs that follow don’t necessarily seem directly linked to that first trio of songs, they do bear a certain link of sorts to them. And because so little time is wasted between songs, the argument is made even stronger that The Battle of Eternity could be seen as a concept album even if not in the purest sense of the term. The album’s overall production values tie in to its sequencing, balancing each line (vocals, drums, bass, and guitar) evenly with the others. Because each line is so well-balanced with the others, every guitar solo is crystal clear. The machine gun precision of the drumming is just as obvious. Believe it or not there are some records out there that are not at that caliber. The drums on those records sound like someone hitting a pillow over and over. The guitars and vocals seem to fight one another and the bass is next to nonexistent. That isn’t the case here. And audiences will hear that for themselves when they order The Battle of Eternity from Eternal Voyager’s online store.

The sequencing and production values presented in The Battle for Eternity collectively form a solid argument for it being at least something similar to a concept record. And that is not a bad thing. The lyrical content of the songs makes that argument even more concrete. It is one more reason audiences will appreciate the album, given the listen. Blake sings in the album’s opener ‘It has begun/The world’s in bleeding tears/Metal in our hearts/We don’t believe in fear/Our strength comes from the warrior within/So ride with us/We’ll crush their foolish sins.” He goes on to sing in the song’s final verse, “On the final day/When judgment comes to all/Corporate masters and/And world leaders all/A dark sun will rise up in the sky/Take wings of flight/It’s heaven sent tonight.” He and his band mates sing in the song’s chorus, “Holy warrior in chains/Open up your heart and heed the call/Make your stand and fight forever/On the call of glory they shall fall.” These lyrics taken into consideration with the album’s short opener, it seems all the more a concept album with lyrics similar to that of Amon Amarth and others. The songs that follow make that case even stronger. It pains a picture of the battle of Armageddon or at the least a huge battle of good versus evil. And the fact that it is followed by ‘The New Jerusalem’ in which Blake sings, “Now is the time we stand amongst the holy king/His power shines in us all like blades and silver wings/His blood was spilled like rain for us to set us free/And by his holy word we’ll stand eternally.” That same religious theme continues through the remainder of the song and almost as much in the songs that follow. That a seemingly similar lyrical theme runs through the course of each of the album’s songs even despite some minor differences makes even stronger the argument that The Battle of Eternity is a concept album to at least some degree. For anyone that is open to concept albums this is a good thing. Coupled with the album’s old school power metal vibe, The Battle of Eternity is made even more worth the listen. And when partnered with the album’s sequencing and production values, the end product of The Battle of Eternity is an album that any classic metal fan should hear at least once.

The Battle of Eternity is available now. It can be ordered online direct from Eternal Voyager’s online store at https://www.nimbitmusic.com/eternalvoyager. After ordering the band’s new album, audiences can keep up with the band’s latest news and tour dates online at:

Website: https://voyagermetal.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Eternal-Voyager/115519158479578

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://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.

Alpha Tiger Leading The Pack Early With Its Latest Full-Length LP

Courtesy:  Steamhammer/SPV

Courtesy: Steamhammer/SPV

2014 was a great year for the worlds of rock and metal acts. Major names the likes of Exodus, Machine Head, Judas Priest, and Black Label Society all released new albums alongside a number of equally impressive up-and-coming bands the likes of The Amsterdam Red Light District, Zodiac, Royal Blood, and others. Now with 2015 not even a full month old, this still very young year is already looking just as good for the metal masses the world over. One sign of this is the upcoming new release from Germany’s own Alpha Tiger. Alpha Tiger will release its new album iDentity in the United States next Tuesday, January 20th. The album, the band’s third is a solid follow-up to the band’s 2011 debut Man or Machine and its followup, Beneath The Surface. The band wastes no time re-introducing itself to audiences on its new album. The band launches into things right off the top in the full throttle, socially conscious ‘Lady Liberty.’ The song is a commentary of sorts on the current state of things in America. On the other end of the spectrum, the band offers an uplifting piece in the positively-charged ‘Closer Than Yesterday.’ The album’s lead single ‘We Won’t Take It Anymore’ is just as powerful a song with its driving guitar riffs and powerhouse vocals from front man Stephan Dietrich. It is another very socially conscious piece that is sure to become a fan favorite if it isn’t already. It, along with the other noted songs are just one part of the whole that makes iDentity a great start to 2015 for the metal masses. The other tracks not noted here each play their own part in iDentity’s enjoyment. Together with the compositions noted here, all ten tracks that make up Alpha Tiger’s new album prove it to be a solid new album and a good start to 2015 for the metal masses.

Alpha Tiger’s upcoming new album iDentity is the band’s third full-length record in four years. Usually when an act releases so many albums in such a short amount of time, it can prove to be a bad thing. It can prove to be bad because in many cases there is a noticeable decline in the quality of said acts’ material. Said albums feel rushed for lack of better wording. In other cases, putting out albums so quickly also means that audiences can actually grow weary of said acts. This applies both to the bigger names in the music world and even to those signed to independent labels. In the case of iDentity, Alpha Tiger hasn’t suffered from any of those issues. The band impresses right off the top in its socially-charged opener ‘Lady Liberty.’ The very first thing that audiences will note in this song is the obvious influences from the likes of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest on its musical side. The dual guitar attack of Peter Langforth and Alexander Backasch coupled with drummer David Schleif’s solid timekeeping and [Stephan] Dietrich’s vocal talents will easily fool audiences. Anyone hearing this song and not knowing it was Alpha Tiger would instantly think they were hearing either of the aforementioned greats. Lyrically speaking, it is just as much a solid opener with it’s seeming commentary on the current state of America. The seeming message in question comes across as Dietrich sings with obvious sarcasm in his voice, “Come on over hear the news/the day has come/Now we are free to choose/I Choose the path that’s best for me/Thank God to live the American dream.” The message is made even clearer later in the song as Dietrich sings, “I’m free to shoot a stranger down/I claim my right, He trod my ground/I’ll raise the flag of liberty/The lady on her hill will shine down on me.” It is only this critic’s own interpretation, but the line “I’m free to shoot a stranger down/I claim my right, He trod my ground” seems to make reference to the Treyvon Martin case and others like it. Regardless of the intended reference, such lyrics make for quite the indictment of a nation in whole. And they are sure to make quite the discussion. That discussion itself makes ‘Lady Liberty’ the perfect choice to open iDentity. The song’s musical backing makes even clearer why this song was chosen to open the album.

‘Lady Liberty’ was the perfect choice to open Alpha Tiger’s latest full-length release. It instantly grabs listeners by the ear with its fire and energy and refuses to let go. It boasts a lot of fire and energy both musically and lyrically. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Alpha Tiger offers a different kind of fire and energy in the uplifting Closer Than Yesterday.’ This song is the polar opposite of ‘Lady Liberty.’ But it is no less powerful. This song offers a welcome ray of hope to anyone going through a rough time both musically and lyrically. The song opens with a solid, driving piano riff that eventually builds into a full on arena-style song, musically speaking complete with huge guitar lick. One could almost argue something of a Bon Jovi influence to this song when one really sits down and listens to it for its musical side. That’s not an entirely bad thing, either. Now are the song’s equally uplifting lyrics. Dietrich sings in this song, “So don’t say you try/Just say you will/There is enough you left behind/It’s time to live!” The control in his voice as he sings these lyrics is something special. That control and gentility in his voice as he sings is like getting a musical pat on the back, reminding listeners that as tough as life gets, everything will be okay. He even goes so far as to sing, “I will step into the great unknown/Where dreams are made to become real/Yes I know it’s still a long way to go/But I’m closer than yesterday.” He comes across as saying that we must embrace the uncertainties in life without fear. We must embrace it because with each step forward we are “closer than yesterday” to defeating those uncertainties that cloud our minds. It is quite the positive reminder to audiences of all ages. That it can reach audiences of so many ages makes it even more powerful and in turn one more way in which iDentity works so well.

Both ‘Lady Liberty’ and ‘Closer Than Yesterday’ show why iDentity is a solid new effort from Aplha Tiger. Both songs are key examples of what makes the album so enjoyable because of the power both in their music and lyrics. The album’s lead single ‘We Won’t Take It Anymore’ boasts much the same energy and fire in its music and lyrics, too. And as with those songs, it too exhibits an obvious influence from the great veteran metal acts that have come before in its examining its musical side. Looking at the song from a lyrical vantage point, there is just as much fire as Dietrich sings “You call us hopeless generation/’Cause we won’t play by your rules/Or it’s because you can’t control us/Like your money hungry fools.” The pure defiant and infectious energy exuded by the band here will have the song resonating in listeners’ heads long after the song has ended. This is proven even more as Dietrich sings, “We won’t take it/Take it anymore/’Cause we are sick of it all/We won’t take it/Take it anymore/We’ve had it up to here.” It’s one more strong statement from Alpha Tiger that is sure to have listeners singing along proudly, pumping their fists in the air. If such striking lyrics and powerful music haven’t already made this single a hit among the band’s European fans, it won’t be long before it is. And when iDentity is released in the U.S., audiences will agree with that sentiment. They will agree with the sentiment regarding not only this song but the others mentioned here and those not noted. In hearing all of the songs that make up iDentity American audiences will discover what the band’s European fans already know–Alpha Tiger is one of the leaders of the rock world’s pack this year.

iDentity is scheduled to be released in the United States next Tuesday, January 20th. It has already been released overseas. And the band is currently on tour in Europe in support of its new album. Audiences around the world can find out the band’s latest tour updates and news online now at:

Website: http://www.alphatiger.de

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

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.

Judas Priest Reveals Release Date, Specs For Upcoming Re-Issue

Courtesy:  Columbia/Legacy

Courtesy: Columbia/Legacy

The members of Judas Priest made a big announcement regarding one of its classic albums this week.

Judas Priest just released its seventeenth full-length album Redeemer of Souls this summer. Fresh on the heels of that album’s release, the band has announced that it will re-issue its hit 1984 album Defenders of the Faith early next year. Defenders of the Faith will be re-issued on March 10th, 2015. While Defenders of the Faith will be re-issued next spring, this year marks the 30th anniversary of the album’s original release. The album, the band’s ninth at the time of its original release, is anything but just another re-issue. The upcoming re-issue will include Judas Priest’s original album re-mastered by producer Tom Allom and a complete live performance spanning two discs. The triple-disc package will be released via Columbia/Legacy.

The bonus full-length concert included with the upcoming re-issue of Defenders of the Faith was recorded at the Long Beach Arena in Long Beach, California on May 5th, 1984. The performance was part of the band’s tour in support of the then new release. Its set list features a total of twenty-one songs spread across two discs. Among those twenty-one songs are classic hits such as: ‘Metal Gods,’ ‘Breaking The Law,’ ‘Sinner,’ ‘ Electric Eye,’ ‘The Green Manilishi (Wit the Two-Pronged Crown),’ ‘Victim of Changes,’ and ‘You’ve Got Another Thing Coming’ among lots of others.

Defenders of the Faith was last re-issued in 2012 as part of a double album set alongside the band’s 1978 album Killing Machine. That album was known as Hell Ben For Leather in the United States. Before that release, Defenders of the Faith was also re-issued in 2001. The complete listing for the upcoming re-issue of Defenders of the Faith is noted below.

CD1 ‘Defenders of the Faith’ Re-Mastered 

1.   Freewheel Burning
2.   Jawbreaker
3.   Rock Hard Ride Free
4.   The Sentinel
5.   Love Bites
6.   Eat Me Alive
7.   Some Heads Are Gonna Roll
8.   Night Comes Down
9.   Heavy Duty
10. Defenders of the Faith

CD2 Live at Long Beach Arena, California 5th May 1984 

1.   Love Bites
2.   Jawbreaker
3.   Grinder
4.   Metal Gods
5.   Breaking the Law
6.   Sinner
7.   Desert Plains
8.   Some Heads Are Gonna Roll
9.   The Sentinel
10. Rock Hard Ride Free

CD3 Live at Long Beach Arena, California 5th May 1984 

1.   Night Comes Down
2.  The Hellion
3.   Electric Eye
4.   Heavy Duty
5.   Defenders of the Faith
6.   Freewheel Burning
7.   Victim of Changes
8.   The Green Manalishi (With the Two-Pronged Crown)
9.   Living After Midnight
10. Hell Bent For Leather
11. You’ve Got Another Thing Coming

More information on Defenders of the Faith’s upcoming re-issue and all of the latest news and tour updates from Judas Priest is available online at:

Website: http://www.JudasPriest.com

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

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.

Dragonforce’s New LP More Than Lives Up To Its Title

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Euro-metal band Dragonforce released its latest album to American audiences this week.  Maximum Overload, the band’s sixth full length studio effort, is an aptly titled record.  That is because the album pushes the envelope of power metal from start to finish on this album.  From the album’s pummeling opening number ‘The Game’ to the full throttle ‘Defenders’ to the album’s equally nonstop pounding instrumental closer ‘Galactic Astro Domination,’ the members of Dragonforce leave listeners breathless by the album’s end.’  Listeners will agree that by the time the album finally ends—it runs a total of fifteen tracks and just over an hour—they have on their hands some of the best work that the band has crafted to date.

Dragonforce wastes no time getting things moving on its new album.  The band opens the album at breakneck speed in ‘The Game.’  The song initially comes across as being rather nihilistic.  But the reality of the song is that it is in fact a song that presents hope through all of the negativity in the world.  New front man Marc Hudson starts out singing of life’s difficulties, “Messed up once again/Told me it’s okay/But this path that I’m taking/I’m lost in the deep end…I tried/So hard/To reach for the stars/But I failed you all/Tried to keep standing tall/Never had a real chance at all/But I’m still searching.  That final line in which Hudson states “But I’m still searching” is a hint at the ability of the song’s subject to keep pushing on somehow despite so many negative thoughts.  That mix of emotions and strained thoughts continues late in the song as Hudson sings, “Ten thousand ways to say sorry/But life writes its own tragic story/Time marches onwards and nothing can ever be the same/But we’ll pray for a brighter tomorrow/Break free from this lifetime of sorrow/Years pass us by/But we’re all just a part of the game.”  In its own way, the song is presenting an image of someone pushing on through everything despite what seems like a battle with his or her own personal emotional demons.  Said figure won’t let those negative emotions take over no matter how many years pass.  This is just one critic’s own take on this song.  So it could very well be wrong.  If it is in fact incorrect, then apologies go out to the members of Dragonforce for the misinterpretation.  But it certainly seems to present that message of determination through the toughest of emotional odds.  That seeming positive lyrical message set alongside the pummeling dual guitar attack from Herman Li and Sam Totman, and drummer Gee Anzalone’s machine gun-like drumming makes even clearer why this song was chosen to open Maximum Overload.  The band doesn’t stop here, either.  Rather, it keeps the energy flowing well into the red and beyond right into the album’s midpoint, ‘Defenders.’

The seeming positive lyrical message presented by Dragonforce in Maximum Overload’s opener is echoed even more clearly as the album reaches its midpoint, ‘Defenders.’  Hudson sings in this song that there are those in this world that will try to bring others down.  But one can’t let those people win.  He sings of those people, “Life’s uncertain/A rat race of pain/Endlessly searching for more/Hopeless and aimless/Held back by the chains/Until we can’t take anymore.”  For all of the obstacles in life—both physical and emotional—Hudson reminds listeners that they should not give in or give up.  He goes on to sing, “Hold on/Stay strong/Breaking out from a past life fading/No more/What for/All we got is to keep on praying/Wait for their downfall/Their lives in dismay/Witness the final decay/Suffering in silence/For years we were blind/But now we got something to say.”  It’s almost as if Hudson is saying to the band’s audiences to let life’s obstacles destroy themselves whether they be other people or some other obstacle.  As with the album’s opener, the band keeps the energy going full throttle in this song.  That energy serves to make the song even more hard hitting and even more of a valuable addition to the album in whole.

The members of Dragonforce show time and again throughout the course of Maximum Overload their high level of talent. That is clearly evident in the songs already noted here. The album’s closer, ‘Galactic Astro Domination,’ more than exhibits that talent, though. Anyone that is familiar with the work of Dragonforce’s American counterparts in Powerglove will agree that Dragonforce takes the similar sound crafted by that band and ups it by a factor of at least one hundred in this full-on instrumental attack. And considering the nonstop adrenaline rush experienced throughout the songs that precede this one, it makes for a fitting final statement from Dragonforce on its new album. Whether it be for this full throttle finale, the other pieces noted or those equally driving pieces not noted here, fans of Dragonforce will find plenty of positives throughout this latest release from start to finish. Those fans will likely also find this album playing in their CD players and MP3 players quite a bit as a result.

Maximum Overload is available in stores and online now. It can also be purchased at any of the concerts on the band’s upcoming European tour. That tour will kick off Wednesday, September 17th at the Liquid Room in Edinburgh, United Kingdom. It runs through February 1st, 2015 in Brussels, Belgium. The band’s current tour schedule, news, and latest updates are all available online now at http://www.metalblade.com/dragonforce, http://www.facebook.com/dragonforce, and http://twitter.com/dragonforcehq. 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.