Hammerfall Drops The Hammer On 2020’s Top New Live Recordings List

Courtesy: Napalm Records

Live music and live music venues took a big hit this year thanks to the global COVID-19 pandemic.  That goes without saying.  Music acts and venues from the independent level all the way up to the big names were force to put their live music plans on hold indefinitely as a result of the pandemic.  However a glimmer of hope rose this week when Live Nation head Joe Berchtold was quoted by major media outlets as saying that he believed live music would return by summer 2021.  One can only hope that Mr. Berchtold is right, and that when it does return, audiences will welcome its return rather than let the germaphobes control their minds.  Until then, audiences do have lots of live music to enjoy on CD, DVD and Blu-ray that was released this year.  Hammerfall released its latest live recording Live! Against The World this year.  Dream Theater also dropped its new live recording Distant Memories: Live in London.  Metallica even celebrated the anniversary of its landmark S&M show with the release of S&M2.  These are just some of the recordings that made Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 New Live Recordings.  They were joined by new live material from the likes of Myrath, The Rolling Stones, and Kamelot.

As with each list from Phil’s Picks, this collection 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 Live Recordings.


  1. Hammerfall – Live! Against The World
  2. Jimi Hendrix – Live in Maui
  3. Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra – A Swingin’ Sesame Street Celebration
  4. Def Leppard – London to Vegas
  5. The Rolling Stones – Steel Wheels Live
  6. Devin Townsend – Order of Magnitude: Empath Live Volume 1
  7. John Lee Hooker – Live at Montreux 1983 & 1990
  8. Waylon Jennings – The Outlaw Perrformances
  9. Myrath – Live in Carthage
  10. Kamelot – I Am The Empire Live from the 013
  11. Dream Theater – Distant Memories: Live in London
  12. Metallica – S&M2
  13. Delta Rae – Coming Home To Carolina
  14. Bush – Live in Tampa
  15. Dee Snider – For The Love of Metal

Up next from Phil’s Picks is one of the last three music categories of the year, Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 New Rock Albums.  After that will be the year’s top new hard rock & metal albums, and then last but not least, the year’s top new albums overall.  From there, it’ll be on to the DVDs and Blu-rays in all of their categories.  Stay tuned for all of that.

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Red Cain Debuts New LP’s Lead Single

Courtesy: Asher Media Relations

Independent rock band Red Cain debuted the first single from its new album this week.

The band debuted ‘Demons’ Friday through Sonic Perspectives.  The song is the lead single from the band’s forthcoming album KindredAct II, which is scheduled for release in October.  The song’s musical arrangement is a power metal style work that will appeal to fans of bands, such as Amaranthe, Kamelot and Symphony X.

Its lyrical content is heavy in its own right.  According to a statement from the band, the song — which is part of the group’s ongoing “Kindred” story line — deals with a demon summoning gone wrong.

The band discussed the song in a recent interview.

“In what is becoming a tradition, we remember our roots and continue our romp through “Kindred: Act II” with this goth rock anthem evocative of the delicious, bloody melancholy of Charon, 69 Eyes, Lord of the Lost, with a touch of Sisters of Mercy lost between the lines. This was a super fun track to write and play. It flowed naturally for us, and we put it into music with minimal changes – and haven’t stopped enjoying it since. Best consumed ice-cold, on moonlit night drives, an eldritch, forgotten places – with bloody abandon. Feast, friends!”

KindredAct I is available to stream and download through Shop Sliptrick, Apple Music, Spotify, and Bandcamp.  The release date for KindredII will be announced in coming days.  More information on the album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:


Website: http://redcain.bandcamp.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/RedCainArmy


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.

Haven Is One Of Kamelot’s Heaviest Records To Date

Courtesy:  Napalm Records

Courtesy: Napalm Records

Kamelot’s eleventh full-length studio effort Haven is one of the heaviest albums that the band has released in its now twenty-four years together. Across the course of its thirteen total tracks, the band–Tommy Karevik (vocals), Thomas Youngblood (guitars), Sean Tibbetts (bass), Casey Grillo (drums), and Oliver Palotai (keyboards)–the band has crafted a record that is some of its heaviest not only musically but lyrically, too. The majority of the songs that make up the record come from an emotional point that most listeners would probably rather not visit. Interestingly enough it is that melancholy (and that’s putting it lightly) lyrical content that makes this album so heavily at least in part. The musical side of the songs expertly complements the lyrical approach of the songs, making them compositions that especially the band’s long-time fans will appreciate. While most of the record’s songs come from a deeper emotional place, there are at least a couple of pieces that counter the album’s general feel of melancholy. That being the case, they are also two of the album’s most noteworthy songs. The songs in question are ‘Under Grey Skies’ and ‘My Therapy.’ There is also an equally interesting piece that takes a completely different turn in the form of ‘Age of Innocence.’ This piece displays an emotion at the completely opposite end of those presented in the previously noted songs. It is a powerful piece both musically and lyrically that is just as heavy as those songs because of its mix of music and lyrics. All three of these songs show in their own way what makes Haven one that every one of Kamelot’s fans should hear if they haven’t already done so. Together with the remaining ten tracks that make up the rest of the album all thirteen tracks prove Haven to be a record that every one of Kamelot’s fans should have in their own personal music libraries.

Haven is one of the heaviest albums that Kamelot has put out since the release of its debut album Eternity nearly twenty years ago. That is thanks to the mix of the album’s musical heaviness and its lyrical heaviness. More specifically, it is thanks to the mix of the melancholy feel of the songs’ music and lyrics combined. It’s not all doom and gloom this time out, though. The band does offer at least a pair of more optimistic pieces for audiences. ‘Under A Grey Sky’ is the first of those songs. And while it is more optimistic than most of the album’s other songs, it is still no less heavy. The call and response of sorts used between front man Tommy Kariken and his female friend in this song makes the song deep in its own right. Karivek’s female friend sings with an almost restrained optimism here, “When I drown in my fears/In the darkness of sorrow/There’s a promise of grace/Under silver grey skies/And I’m drying my tears/In the blaze of the sunlight/A reviere sealed with a kiss.” Karivek responds in kind singing alongside his friend, “You may call me a dreamer/Call me a fool/Just a blue-eyed believer in you/But I’ll die for that someone/In the blink of an eye/So tell me/Please tell me/Just what kind of fool am I.” It is almost as if Karivek and his co-vocalist are saying, “I must be crazy for letting myself feel this way. But something about feeling like such a fool makes me feel good.” that is evident in the power of the pair’s vocal delivery in this chorus. It may be that not everybody has ever been in the situation presented here. But there are plenty of listeners out there that will be able to relate to the feelings of cautious optimism expressed through this song’s combination of music and lyrics. Being that so many audiences will be able to relate to the very heavy emotions expressed here, those audiences will agree that in juxtaposition to the album’s more melancholy songs, it is a clear choice for one of the album’s best works.

The cautious optimism expressed by Karivek and his band mates in ‘Under A Grey Sky’ is a very deep and heavy emotion to which many listeners will be able to relate. its ability to reach so many audiences with its lyrical content by itself makes it a prime example of why fans new and old alike will enjoy this record. Set against the album’s other songs, it shows even more just how heavy this album is both lyrically and musically. It is just one example of how truly heavy Haven proves itself to be, too. Much as with that song, ‘My Therapy’ also exhibits quite the depth and heaviness. The difference between the two songs is that while both express a certain rare hope and optimism on this record, this song expresses that hope in a more confident fashion. That confidence is displayed immediately through the song’s musical side. There is more power to this song, musically speaking in comparison to the more cautious and reserved nature of ‘Under A Grey Sky.’ Kerivek also exhibits even more power in his vocal delivery as he sings, “Come and take me off my daily dose of pain/Take me off and shelter me/From this static nothing.You’re the antidote/For solitude injected in my veins/May the touch of your hand/Forever be my therapy.” Despite writing in metaphors, the message is clear here. Karivek is singing from the standpoint of someone telling a romantic interest that the person in question is the one that makes the song’s subject feel alive. Even as Karivek’s subject essentially pleads with the romantic interest to not leave, that power is never lost. Because it isn’t, it makes the song that much enjoyable. It also makes even clearer why this song is one more example of why Kamelot’s fans should have Haven in their personal music collections.

‘My Therapy’ and ‘Under A Grey Sky’ both exhibit in their own way what makes Haven a record that every one of Kamelot’s fans should have in their personal music libraries. While they contradict the generally melancholy feel of the album’s other songs, it is that contradiction that makes them so enjoyable by themselves and in turn the album in whole so enjoyable. Next to those more melancholy pieces, the overall picture painted by the album’s songs is one tha is actually quite deep. One of those more melancholy pieces that makes the album’s overall picture so rich comes late in the album in the form of ‘End of Innocence.’ This piece comes across as being from the vantage point of someone that is at the deepest point of his or her depression. That is made evident as Karivek sings right off the top, “Tell me do you remember/The games and the laughter/Far from the choices we’d have to make/A kiss on the lips turned a toad to a prince/And the end was a lifetime away.” He continues on singing in the song’s chorus, “I pour myself onto this page/I am writing a swan song for ages/I will leave it behind/And just maybe you will/Remember me.” By no means is Karivek advocating what it sounds like this subject is considering. He is merely describing the feeling of utter emotional loss that the song’s subject feels here. It is a point at which so many people have reached. Those that have been at that level will be able to relate to this situation. They will especially appreciate the song because they survived and didn’t go through with what the song’s subject seemed to contemplate. Yet again the ability of the song to reach audiences and perhaps even provide a source of strength for some listeners shows even more why this song is another prime example of Haven’s overall strength. Together with the previously noted songs, all three compositions make a strong argument for Haven. They show collectively why whether by themselves or with the album’s other songs Haven is a piece that every one of Kamelot’s fans should have in their personal music libraries.

‘Under A Grey Sky,’ ‘My Therapy,’ and ‘End Of Innocence’ are all excellent examples of the strength of Haven. By themselves they are just a snapshot of the album’s strength, too. Together with the remaining ten songs that compose the rest of the album, the whole of Haven proves to be an album that is definitely one of the band’s heaviest and not just because of its musical side, either. The combination of its music and lyrics together make it a work that is heavy all the way around and again a piece that every one of Kamelot’s fans should have in their music libraries. Haven is available now in stores and online. More information on Haven and all of Kamelot’s current tour dates in support of Haven is available online now at:

Website: http://www.kamelot.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/kamelotofficial

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Dragonforce Announces Release Date, Specs For Upcoming Live Recording

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

It is finally official. Dragonforce’s new live recording will finally become reality this summer.

Officials with Metal Blade Records announced on Friday that Dragonforce’s new live recording In The Line Of Fire will be released on Friday, July 10th. That is the first official release day on the music world’s new “Global Release Day.” The recording will be released both on double-disc Blu-ray and double-disc DVD presentation. One disc of the DVD presentation will feature the band’s performance on DVD, The other will feature the performance on CD. Both presentations feature the band’s Ultimate Stage headlining performance from the 2014 Loud Park Festival at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan. Regardless of which platform fans choose, they can pre-order either or both right now online at http://www.metalblade.com/dragonforce. Audiences can check out the trailer for the recording online now along with one of the songs included in the show’s setlist–‘Three Hammers–via SoundCloud at http://www.metalblade.com/dragonforce. Fans can also see the band performing that same song via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIv3cmvZRTI.

Dragonforce is currently wrapping up a tour alongside Kamelot, which is also touring in support of its latest new release Haven. The bands will perform live today, May 23rd at Iron City in Birmingham, Alabama. Once that show is done, the band will take some much-needed time off before heading overseas for the European leg of its tour beginning with the famed Download Festival at Donington, U.K. It will begin the Asian leg of its tour in Bangkok, Thailand on August 29th. That tour runs through September 11th in Tokyo, Japan. As an added note, the band will return to the United States this fall on November 13th for the second leg of its tour with Kamelot. That tour includes a stop in North Carolina’s “Queen City” on November 17th at The Fillmore. Fans can keep up with the band’s latest tour updates and news online now, including news on its upcoming live recording, at:

Website: http://www.dragonforce.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/dragonforce

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.