‘The Face of Fear’ Shows Artillery Still Has Plenty Of Ammunition

Courtesy: Metal Blade Recprds

It’s hard to believe, but in a little more than a month, 2018 will officially over, and 2019 will be here.  It goes without saying that this year has been another impressive one for the metal community, with powerful new releases from acts, such as Soulfly, Tesseract and Nonpoint just to name a few acts.  Though the year is almost over, the year’s stream of new releases is not yet over.  Veteran metal outfit Artillery released its latest album The Face of Fear on Nov. 16, and it will make critics’ decisions on their year-ender lists that much more difficult.  That is because the Danish band’s ninth full-length studio recording’s far-reaching appeal among thrash and metal fans alike.  This is evidenced right from the album’s outset in its opener/lead/title single.  ‘Sworn Utopia’ does just as much as the album’s title track to support that statement, and will be discussed shortly.  Much the same can be said of ‘Preaching To The Converted,’ which will also be discussed later.  Each song shows in its own way, what makes The Face of Fear yet another strong addition to this year’s already outstanding list of new hard rock and metal albums.  When they are considered along with the album’s other songs not noted here, the whole of the record’s 11-song, 45-minute a work that every thrash and metal purist will appreciate.

Artillery’s latest full-length studio recording, The Face of Fear continues what is for the veteran Danish metal outfit, a long-running tradition of success.  It is a work that will appeal to a wide range of thrash and metal purists from the band’s homeland to America and beyond.  That is proven in part through the album’s opener/title track/lead single.  ‘The Face of Fear’ is an important opener and addition to the album considering the state in which the world currently exists.  As the band noted in a discussion on the song’s lyrical content, “the song is about dealing the end of man by himself.  We create our own phobia about the destruction of the world, but remain disrespectful to the globe.”  Front man Michael Bastholm illustrates that message here, singing right off the top, “The world is gonna fall,” adding in the chorus, “Under crimson skies/Our hopes and dreams, they die/This reality/Why can’t we see.”  Additionally, he sings, “No heeding the signs/No wait for tomorrow/Ready between the lines/the face of fear/The scenes will be erased/The trials that we face/Miasma amber mist/the face of fear/It whispers in your ear/It all will end in tears.”  From here, Bastholm reprises the song’s chorus, driving home even more, the song’s blatant warning of what we as a species are doing to the planet.  The song’s official video serves to illustrate Bastholm’s message even more, featuring images of warplanes dropping bombs, missiles being fired, power plants spewing gases into the atmosphere and mushroom clouds, clear-cut forests and mounds of trash piled up in a landfill.  The images, coupled with the song’s intense lyrical message makes The Face of Fear a star wake-up call of what truly is fear-inducing.

The coupling of the song’s straight forward warning in its lyrical content and the visuals, which drive the song’s message home even more does plenty to make ‘The Face of Fear’ an important addition to The Face of Fear.  That is because of the clarity that they create together.  While they are obviously an important part of the song, they are not its only important elements.  The song’s musical arrangement is just as important to discuss as its lyrical theme.  Bastholm’s power metal vocal delivery style set against the song’s old school thrash arrangement creates an interesting dichotomy for which audiences have already shown their appreciation.  One could argue that juxtaposition harkens back to a style made popular by acts, such as Megadeth, Metallica and Anthrax in the early 1980s.  Keeping this in mind, the combination of the song’s musical arrangement, its lyrical content and even its visual content clearly shows why ‘The Face of Fear’ is an important to its namesake album.  It is just one of the examples of what makes the album in whole another successful offering from the band, too.  ‘Sworn Utopia,’ which comes a little later in the album’s run, is another example of the album’s strength.

‘Sworn Utopia’ stands out in its own way in the overall picture of The Face of Fear in part because of its own musical arrangement.  As with the album’s title track (and so many of the album’s other songs), Bastholm’s power metal vocal delivery style couples with the thrash style approach that is so prevalent throughout the album for another powerhouse arrangement.  The song’s bridge conjures clear thoughts of Megadeth while the verses and chorus add a touch of Judas Priest influence.  Again, that collection of musical influences, which throws listeners back to the heyday and thrash (and power) metal cannot be ignored in its importance.  It is only one part of what makes the song, though.  The song’s lyrical content is just as important to discuss here as the song’s musical content.

The song starts off with the ringing of church bells before Bastholm and company launch into the song, with Bastholm singing, about altar confessions, priests’ celibacy, altar boys and faith put to the test.  He even goes so far as to directly indict the church (apparently the Catholic church) as he sings, “Your law’s religion/Dramatic and vile/Imprisonment…like a child/You must stay absent from glory and joy.”  Little doubt is left as to the song’s target, considering what can be deciphered from Bastholm’s rapid fire delivery.  If any doubt left at this point, his further statement of “For all I care/Make your peace/But don’t you take/It out on kids.”  At this point, there is no doubt left as to the song’s lyrical topic.  It is a full-on indictment of the Catholic church and the sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the church.  Given, it’s not the first time that a band ever took on any religious establishment, but considering the reality of the issue and its importance, it is another pressing matter.  To that end, the fashion through which Bastholm addresses the issue here is powerful in its own right.  The addition of the fury in the song’s musical arrangement helps to illustrate the urgency with which the issue must be addressed and the importance of the matter.  When both elements are considered together, they make the song another clear example of The Face of Fear’s strength.  Even with this in mind, ‘Sworn Utopia’ is still not the last example of what makes The Face of Fear another positive offering from Artillery.  ‘Preaching to the Converted’ shows just as much as ‘The Face of Fear’ and ‘Sworn Utopia’ The Face of Fear’s strength.

‘Preaching to the Converted’ is another full-throttle trash opus that fans of the genre will welcome with arms wide open.  Right from the song’s outset, the old school Megadeth and Metallica influences are on full display, as is even a touch of Exodus.  That is evident in the screaming guitar solos and solid time keeping from the drums.  Lyrically, the song comes across as a socio-political commentary of sorts.  This is inferred as Bastholm sings of people being “shackled” by politicians, those in positions of power “feeding lies” to the populous and mind control of sorts created, again, by those in power.  It is an interesting work that is certain to generate plenty of discussion if it has not already done so.  Discussions aside, it can be said with certainty that this is another work that indicts those in power for what they are doing to the masses.  That includes the world’s political leaders and maybe even military leaders.  Again, it is not the first time that a band has taken this road, but it is no less powerful here than in other acts’ presentations.  To that end, that message, coupled with the song’s full force musical presentation makes the song in whole yet another clear example of what makes The Face of Fear another welcome offering from Artillery.  It still is not the last song that can be cited in supporting that statement, either.  One could just as easily cite the seemingly tongue-in-cheek nature of ‘Dr. Evil,’ the direct discussion of what goes around comes around in ‘Crossroads To Conspiracy’ and the warning about the dangers of alcoholism in ‘Pain,’ the album’s strength becomes that much clearer.  The somewhat Dio-esque ‘Thirst For The Worst’ adds even more depth to the album as does the Metallica-esque sound of ‘New Rage’ and its seeming message about someone who has been wronged.  Between all of those songs and the works directly discussed here, the whole of The Face of Fear clearly shows itself to be another welcome offering from Artillery that shows this band still has plenty of ammunition.

Artillery’s ninth new album The Face of Fear is a strong new statement from the veteran metal outfit.  It is a work that from start to end, shows this band can still hold its own with any of today’s up-and-coming metal acts.  This is evidenced right from the album’s outset in the warning to the world about what it is doing to the planet, its equally stark musical arrangement and accompanying video.  ‘Sworn Utopia’ serves to support that statement even more, as it takes on the atrocities committed by so many members of the Catholic Church.  The seeming indictment of the world’s political leaders through ‘Preaching to the Converted’ supports that statement of the album’s strength even more.  When it is considered along with the likes of ‘Crossroads to Conspiracy,’ ‘Thirst For The Worst,’ ‘Pain’ and the rest of the album’s works, the whole of the record shows that artillery still has plenty of ammunition, and can still hold its own against today’s younger, up-and-coming metal acts.  It is available now.  More information on The Face of Fear is available online now along with all of Artillery’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.artillery.dk

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ARTILLERY.DK

Twitter: http://twitter.com/artillerymetal

 

 

 

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Judas Priest Reminds Listeners To Have ‘No Surrender’ With New Video

Courtesy: Columbia Records

Judas Priest is giving audiences another taste of its new album with another brand new music video.

The band debuted the video for its single ‘No Surrender‘ on July 23.  The video sets the adrenaline-fueled single against footage of the band rehearsing in the studio and animated shots of the cover art from the band’s new album Firepower.  the band explained in a collective statement that the song’s lyrical theme is a call to action and unity of sorts.

“‘No Surrender’ captures the true metal fighting spirit, and metalheads around the world find a united voice within the message of this song,” the band said.  “When you honestly believe in yourself and live your life the way you have the right to, with no surrender, then nothing will ever stop you from living your dream.”

Along with the debut this week of its new video, Judas Priest also has announced an upcoming North American summer/fall tour with Deep Purple.  The tour is scheduled to launch Aug. 21 in Cincinnati, Ohio and to run through Sept. 30 in Wheatland, CA.  It includes stops in Charlotte, NC; Detroit, MI; San Diego, CA and many other cities nationwide.  The tour’s schedule is noted below.

JUDAS PRIEST TOUR DATES:

8/21 — Cincinnati, OH — Riverbend Music Center
8/22 — Chicago, IL — Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
8/24 — Detroit, MI — Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre at Freedom Hill
8/25 — Mt. Pleasant, MI — Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort
8/27 — Hamilton, ON — FirstOntario Centre
8/29 — Montreal, QC — Bell Centre
8/30 — Quebec City, QC — Centre Videotron
9/1 — Wantagh, NY — Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater
9/2 — Bethel Woods, NY — Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
9/5 — Darien Center, NY — Darien Lake Amphitheater
9/6 — Holmdel, NJ — PNC Bank Arts Center
9/8 — Virginia Beach, VA — Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater at Virginia Beach
9/9 — Camden, NJ — BB&T Pavilion
9/11 — Charlotte, NC — PNC Music Pavilion
9/12 — Jacksonville, FL — Daily’s Place
9/14 — Atlanta, GA — Verizon Amphitheatre
9/16 — Biloxi, MS — Mississippi Coast Coliseum
9/18 — Kansas City, MO — Starlight Theatre
9/20 — Welch, MN — Treasure Island Casino
9/21 — Council Bluffs, IA — Harrah’s Council Bluffs
9/23 — Denver, CO — Pepsi Center
9/26 — San Diego, CA — Mattress Firm Amphitheatre
9/27 — Irvine, CA — FivePoint Amphitheatre
9/29 — Mountain View, CA — Shoreline Amphitheatre
9/30 — Wheatland, CA — Toyota Amphitheatre

More information on Judas Priest’s new video, tour schedule and more is available online now 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 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.

‘Firepower’s’ Musical, Lyrical Ammo Easily Makes It One Of This Year’s Top New Hard Rock/Metal Albums

Courtesy: Columbia Records

Veteran hard rock outfit Judas Priest just got some positive news about its latest album Firepower. The album, released March 9 via Epic Records, debuted at the #5 spot on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums chart in its debut week. The only albums to top Firepower were Logic (from Bobby Tarantino II) at #1, Lil Boat 2 (from Lil Yachty) at #2, David Byrne’s new album American Utopia at #3 and the Black Panther soundtrack at #4. Those albums outperforming Firepower is a head scratcher to say the least. Though considering that it bested new albums from the likes of Three Days Grace, Jimi Hendrix, Between The Buried and Me and and so many others is a statement as to the album’s *ahem* power and the continued relevance of the band in whole. The album’s title track/opener is just one of the songs included in this record that serves to support that statement. It will be discussed shortly. Also of note here is the musically and lyrically powerful ‘Never The Heroes.’ It shows in its own way why this album is another strong effort from Judas Priest. ‘No Surrender,’ which comes late in the album’s run is one more example of what makes it a solid new record. Between these songs and the other dozen that make up the body of this nearly hour-long record, the whole of those works makes Firepower a work whose guns blazing approach makes it easily one more of this year’s top new hard rock & metal offerings.

Judas Priest’s latest full-length studio recording Firepower is a record that presents the veteran hard rock outfit coming at audiences with guns blazing. This throwback to Judas Priest’s early days is a work that, true longtime Priest fans will agree is easily one of this year’s top new hard rock and metal albums. This is proven right off the top in the album’s title track and opener. Its full-throttle, guitar-driven musical arrangement, wastes no time at all grabbing listeners by the ear and pulling them along proudly. Scott Travis’ timekeeping, Ian Hill’s low-end and Rob Halford’s vocal delivery are collectively their own musical firepower. The song’s lyrical content offers its own strength as it comes across (at least to this critic) as its own socio-political commentary. That is inferred as Halford sings, “Empty the chamber/Lock and reload/This world thrives on danger/It’s bound to explode/Aim for the target/With laser red light/Releasing the trigger/Puts victory in sight.” He goes on to sing, “No time to pray or ask forgiveness/Those blessed souls are now deceased/There is no sense in this contrition/With open arms we fight for peace.” He closes out the song by singing, “Firepower, man’s demise.” It seems to be a statement about global conflicts in a way, and the dangers that this ongoing battle poses to mankind in whole. It’s a powerful statement and hardly the only impacting statement that the band makes over the course of this album. The musical and lyrical statement made in ‘Never The Heroes’ is just as powerful.

Halford (and his band mates) stated clearly in a recent interview that the message presented in ‘Never The Heroes’ centers on the men and women who go to war, but can also apply in daily struggles in people’s lives. “‘Never The Heroes’ is about the courageous men and women that enter war – never trained to be heroes, but becoming heroic due to their actions and sacrifices doing their duty for their people and country,” the band said. “It resonates as there is a hero in all of us, and in times of struggle, we can be strong and united – conquering our own challenges and helping others – It’s a traditional Priest mid-tempo powerhouse with a powerful message!” That is clear as Halford sings here, “Like a cobra they will strike/And like lions caged, we’ll fight/We were taken – not by choice/They put anger in out voice/We were fearless but so afraid/though in our hearts we still felt pain/We’re on fire – But on a leash/We only ever wanted peace/Never the heroes/We were made to fight/Never the heroes/We were just sacrificed at war.” He goes on in similar fashion throughout the rest of the song, reminding listeners once and again, “Never the heroes/We were made to fight/Never the heroes/We were just sacrificed.” This is one of those statements that any military veteran will appreciate, especially considering that was apparently the song’s direct message according to the band. The emotional point – counterpoint established through the two musical moods here strengthens that message even more, really capturing the essence of Halford’s words. The two elements together show fully why this song is another important addition to Firepower, and why the album is, in whole such a strong new effort from Judas Priest. It still is not the last of the songs included in this album that shows the album’s overall strength. ‘No Surrender’ is one more of the songs included in the album that displays its strength.

Much as with ‘Firepower,’ ‘Never The Heroes’ and so many of this album’s offerings, ‘No Surrender’ is yet another solid, driving work in regards to its musical arrangement. Again, the dual guitar Glenn Tipton and Richie Faulkner leads the way here, with their band mates building on the foundation formed by the pair to make the song in whole a solid, balanced wall of sound. That powerhouse arrangement is just one part of what makes the song stand out. Its lyrical content is just as wort discussing as its musical arrangement. This defiant fist-pumper comes across as presenting a message of determination and confidence. This is inferred as Halford sings, “You know that life isn’t set/I lead the pack/I ain’t no pretender/You give as good as you get/We live and we die/’Cause there’s no surrender.” He goes on to sing in similar fashion in the song’s second verse, “You know the way that I feel/If you’re with me you better hold on tighter/I’m only keeping it real/That’s who I am/I’m just a non-stop fighter.” The song’s chorus, adds to that inference as he sings, “Chasing a dream as I go higher/Playing it mean/My heart’s on fire/Livin’ my life/Ain’t no pretender/Ready to fight with no surrender.” It’s a proud, confident statement that is certain to reach plenty of audiences, impacting them positively. It’s just one more of so many songs that could be cited here in explaining why this album is another hard-hitting new effort. ‘Sea of Red,’ the album’s closer is supposedly based on poet John McCrae’s poem ‘In Flanders Fields.’ That is according to Faulkner as he discussed the song’s creation in an interview.

Halford’s words here are just as moving as those of McCrae. He sings, “As the sun goes down, the silence is profound/For they gave so much/So we might go on and live/Laying peaceful they forgive.” This is just one of the moving lines included in the song that exemplifies its emotional depth. He even goes so far as to indirectly quote McCreary’s poem as he sings, “In fields of wonder/those swallows soar/Our hearts are weary as we pray/The grass is greener from the tears that fall/For you on this remembrance day.” That line is one of the song’s most moving especially because of how closely it mirrors McCreary’s poem. That emotional depth becomes even deeper when set against the song’s gentle melody. The impact of that song, and every one of the others not directly noted here, combine to show even more why Firepower is some of Judas Priest’s best work to date and easily one of this year’s best new hard rock and metal albums.

It goes without saying that after just one listen, Judas Priest’s latest full-length studio recording Firepower is deserving of being called one of this year’s top new hard rock and metal albums. From start to finish, every one of the album’s songs supports that statement in its own way. From the album’s energetic opener/title track with its sociopolitical lyrical theme to the equally powerful military tribute that is ‘Never The Heroes’ to the fiery, defiant fist pumper that is ‘No Surrender’ to the deeply moving tribute to those who died in the line of service in ‘Sea of Red’ and beyond, every moment of this record offers something to appreciate. This applies both musically and lyrically, as has been pointed out. That being the case, audiences will agree that Firepower is a record that comes at audiences with guns blazing ready to take its place in this year’s list of top new hard rock and metal albums. It is available now in stores and online. More information on Firepower is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more 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.

Judas Priest’s ‘Firepower’ Shows Its Power With Top 5 Debut

Courtesy: Columbia Records

Judas Priest is making some big waves with its latest full-length studio recording.

Firepower, the veteran band’s 18th album debuted at #5 on Billboard’s Top 200 chart in its first week. That announcement was just made Tuesday. That placement is the highest ever domestic placement for any of the band’s albums.

The band, in a collective statement, said that it is proud of Firepower‘s early showing.

“This is incredible news, that our band, Judas Priest, of nearly fifty years standing, can stay popular and relevant enough to gain our highest first week Billboard Top 200 chart position ever!,” the band said in the statement.  “Good news for us and good news for metal in general!”

Judas Priest is currently touring in support of Firepower.  The band’s current tour schedule is available online now along with all of its latest news and more 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 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.

Judas Priest Releases ‘Firepower’; Debuts Album’s Latest Single, Video

Courtesy: Columbia Records

Judas Priest has officially returned again!

The veteran hard rock band has officially released its latest album Firepower in stores and online.  In celebration of the album’s release today, the band has also debuted the video for the album’s latest single, ‘Spectre.’  The song is just the latest, coming on the heels of the videos for ‘Lightning Strike‘ and ‘Never The Heroes.’

The full Firepower track listing is noted below.

‘FIREPOWER’ TRACKLISTING:
1. Firepower
2. Lightning Strike
3. Evil Never Dies
4. Never the Heroes
5. Necromancer
6. Children of the Sun
7. Guardians
8. Rising from Ruins
9. Flame Thrower
10. Spectre
11. Traitors Gate
12. No Surrender
13. Lone Wolf
14. Sea of Red

In celebration of the album’s release today, the band will take to the road beginning next week for an extensive tour.  The tour’s full schedule is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://judaspriest.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/judaspriest

 

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.

Judas Priest Premieres ‘Never The Heroes’ Lyric Video; Announces Signing Event

Courtesy: Columbia Records

There’s more good news from Judas Priest as fans await the release of the band’s new album Firepower.

The band, today, premiered the lyric video for its latest single ‘Never The Heroes.’  The song is just the latest to come from Firepower, the band’s 18th full-length studio recording.  The song is available now for purchase here via multiple outlets.  The band explained in a collective statement that the song centers on the men and women who go to war, but also can apply in daily struggles in everyday people’s lives.

“‘Never The Heroes’ is about the courageous men and women that enter war – never trained to be heroes, but becoming heroic due to their actions and sacrifices doing their duty for their people and country,” the band said.  “It resonates as there is a hero in all of us, and in times of struggle, we can be strong and united – conquering our own challenges and helping others – It’s a traditional Priest mid-tempo powerhouse with a powerful message!”

Firepower will be released next Friday, March 9 via Epic Records.  In celebration of its release, the band has also announced that it will hold a signing session March 19 at 6 p.m. at the Sony Square NYC on 25 Madison Avenue in New York City.

The band will also head out on the road in support of Firepower beginning March 13 in in Wilkes-Barre, PA.  the tour is currently scheduled to run through April 5 in Green Bay, WI.  The band’s full tour schedule is available online now along with its latest news and more 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 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.

 

‘Thunderbolt’ Is An “Electrifying” New Effort From Veteran Rock Act Saxon

Courtesy: Militia Guard (Silver Lining Music)

Veteran hard rock act Saxon has, for more than four decades, been entertaining audiences the world over with its own brand of music. Considered by most to be one of the leaders of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, the band has easily maintained a place for itself the entire time both in the rock realm and within the musical universe overall. Now with the recent release of Thunderbolt, its 22nd full-length studio recording, the band continues to show why it is still one of rock’s elite acts and just as relevant today as it was in its infancy. That is proven in part through the record’s musical arrangements, which will be discussed shortly. Its lyrical themes are just as worth noting here as its musical arrangements and will be discussed later. The album’s sequencing rounds out the elements that prove this album’s power. Each element is important in its own way to the whole of Thunderbolt. All things considered, they make the album another hard-hitting strike from Saxon.

Thunderbolt, the 22nd full-length studio recording from British hard rock outfit Saxon is a solid new musical strike from the veteran band. It is a record that proves Saxon is still one of rock’s elite acts and just as relevant today as it was in its infancy. This is proven in part through the album’s musical arrangements. Right off the top, the band takes audiences on a familiar musical ride with the up-tempo arrangement at the center of the album’s title track — a ride that instantly conjures thoughts of Judas Priest set alongside some of its own heavier material. The arrangement at the center of ‘The Secret of Flight’ meanwhile brings about thoughts of Metallica circa 1984 (the year that Ride The Lightning was released). Keeping in mind that Saxon has composed similarly styled arrangements throughout its history, this serves to show Saxon’s own likely influence on Metallica’s sound. The comparison to Judas Priest returns once again in the album’s third full-length song (and fourth overall since the album’s opener was only a 1:35 intro track) ‘Nosferatu (The Vampire Waltz.’ This time it is a comparison to Priest’s more recent work. One of the most standout arrangements presented in this record comes in the Motorhead tribute (yes, there’s even a Motorhead tribute here), ‘They Played Rock and Roll.’ From its driving guitar riffs to its bass work and solid time keeping, the song is a solid, wonderful tribute to yet another of the rock world’s elite. It goes without saying that this song is one of the album’s best works, musically speaking (and lyrically, but that will be discussed later). ‘Predator’ is another great classic hard rock/metal addition to this album that stands out not just because of its arrangement, but also because of the guest appearance by Amon Amarth front man Johann Hegg.’ Hegg’s familiar growl juxtaposed by Saxon front man Biff Byford makes quite the impact. That’s especially the case when their vocal deliveries are joined by the song’s musical lines. The end result is its own standout work that will keep listeners just as engaged as any of the album’s other works. That includes ‘Sons of Odin,’ which once again, bears some resemblance to works from Judas Priest (again, both musically and lyrically), ‘Sniper’ which brings about another comparison to Metallica stylistically speaking and ‘Speed Merchants,’ which boasts its own Motorhead comparison. Between all of these songs and those perhaps not noted here, it becomes clear that the stylistic comparisons to Saxon’s counterparts and its own prior works makes the musical component of this record critical to its success both in itself and when considering its role in Saxon’s overall history. The record’s musical arrangements are only one of the items to be discussed in examining the album’s whole. Its lyrical content is just as important to discuss as its musical material.

The lyrical themes presented throughout the album are so important to note because there does not seem to be one connecting theme from one to the next. From the tribute to Motorhead to the completely random piece about vampires to songs apparently about Norse mythology and even fantasy — ‘A Wizard’s Tale’ — and so much more, the lyrical themes that make up the body of this record run the gamut so to speak. ‘Sniper’ will have listeners talking just as much as those noted songs. The same can be said of ‘Secret of Flight,’ which apparently seems to follow the history of flight, and ‘Roadie’s Song,’ which is in fact about a roadie’s life. On one hand, the simplicity and range of the songs’ lyrical themes leaves one wanting to ask is Saxon just out of ideas. On the other hand though, at least little doubt is left as to the message in each song. There is no metaphor or anything of that mature to lead to misinterpretation. To that end, the band deserves credit for the songs’ lyrical themes. Keeping that in mind alongside the power of the songs’ musical arrangements and audiences get an album in Thunderbolt that again, shows why it is such a strong musical strike from the veteran rock outfit. That juxtaposition is just one more part of what makes this record another sign of Saxon’s solid spot in the rock realm today. The record’s overall sequencing rounds out its most important elements.

Thunderbolt‘s sequencing is important because it plays just as much into listeners’ engagement and entertainment as the record’s musical and lyrical content. The sequencing, in regards to the record’s musical content is so important because of the energy maintained throughout the arrangements. ‘Thunderbolt’ and ‘The Secret of Flight’ give the record a solid, up-tempo start while ‘Nosferatu (The Vampire Waltz)’ boasts its own energy through its heaviness even though it isn’t the up-tempo rocker that its predecessors prove to be. Keeping that in mind, it still maintains the energy established in those songs even without being as fast-paced as them. that energy picks right back up though, in ‘They Played Rock and Roll’ and continues on through ‘Predator’ before the band again opts to go slower yet heavy again in ‘Sons of Odin.’ Considering the seeming pattern that is built through the up and down of the album’s tempos so far, one would be right to assume that from the slower, but heavy ‘Sons of Odin’ gives way to another more up-tempo piece in ‘Sniper.’ That energy carries on to the album’s end in the very 1980s-esque ‘Roadie’s Song.’ It ensures even more listeners’ maintained engagement. Considering this along with the balance of energies throughout the rest of the album, it can be said with ease that plenty of thought was put into this album’s sequencing in regards to the energies in its arrangements. When this is considered alongside the arrangements themselves and the songs’ lyrical content, the end result is an album that audiences will agree is — again — another solid musical strike from Saxon.

The sequencing in regards to the album’s lyrical content is just as important to discuss in examining the album’s overall sequencing as its musical arrangements. The album starts out with a song centered — seemingly — on Greek mythology in ‘Olympus Rising’ and ‘Thunderbolt’ before moving on to a commentary of sorts in the history of flight from its peaceful roots to its destructive current use. Considering that one of the refrains in ‘Thunderbolt’ states “unleash the Gods of war,” this can be argued to be a relatively smooth transition from one song to the next. Whether that connection was intended is anyone’s guess, but it is there. ‘Nosferatu (The Vampire Waltz’ and ‘They Played Rock and Roll,’ while totally separate from one another in their themes, make for an entertaining change of pace lyrically speaking. ‘Predator,’ ‘Sons of Odin’ and ‘Sniper’ all seem to have similar lyrical themes that while not exactly the same, seem close enough to understand why they might have been grouped together. ‘A Wizard’s Tale,’ like ‘Nosferatu (The Vampire Waltz),’ is another random transition that actually because of that randomness, still works in keeping listeners engaged. ‘Speed Merchants’ and ‘Roadie’s Song’ are about as separate as can be from each other and from ‘A Wizard’s Tale.’ This is important to note because it presents even more lyrical variety for listeners, in turn ensuring once more those listeners’ engagement. When this is considered along with the engagement insured through the album’s musical sequencing, its arrangements and lyrical themes, these elements all join together to present a record overall that is another electrifying new effort from one of the justifiably most respected hard rock bands out there today.

Veteran hard rock band Saxon’s latest full-length studio recording Thunderbolt is an electrifying new effort from one of the most respected bands in the hard rock community today. That is proven in part through arrangements that from start to finish will keep listeners engaged with their sounds and energies. The lyrical themes, as random as they can be throughout this album, leave little doubt as to their subject matter because they are so simple. While that might be bad to some point, it is also good being that so few bands take and have taken that route. The album’s sequencing, both in regards to its energies and its lyrical topics plays its own integral part to the album’s whole. Each element is important in its own way, as has been pointed out here. All things considered, they make this album one that will entertain Saxon devotees and hard rock aficionados alike. It is available now in stores and online and at the band’s current live dates. More information on Thunderbolt is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

Website: http://www.saxon747.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/SaxonOfficial

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