Machine Head Front Man Robb Flynn Debuts ‘Circle The Drain’ Acoustic Take, Companion Video

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Machine Head front man Robb Flynn has heard the pleas of the band’s fans.

Flynn debuted the acoustic take of the band’s song ‘Circle The Drain‘ Friday along with its video. The debut of the song’s acoustic take comes eight months after the band debuted the full, heavier version as an intentional anti-Valentines Day anthem.

Flynn talked about the creation of the song’s acoustic take in a recent interview.

““When the pandemic hit in March, and all Machine Head tours got canceled, I started doing free Acoustic Happy Hour shows on Machine Head‘s Facebook page to get out the pent-up energy, entertain some friends, have some laughs, and have a few drinks every Friday, “said Flynn. “As we had just released our new song “Circle The Drain” fans started asking for me to play it, so I started messing around with it and came up with a re-imagined version of it. It got a phenomenal response… People genuinely loved it, and were continually asking me to release it, and so I recorded it a few weeks back in my home studio, and here it is.”

The newly released acoustic take of of ‘Circle The Drain’ is a dramatically different take of the original, electric version of the song, and gives the song a completely new identity from that of the full version. The song’s original take presents someone who has been overwhelmed by the anger felt in realizing he has been deceived by his loved one. The acoustic take meanwhile, presents someone who is more torn. It makes for an interesting presentation.

Flynn talked back in February, about the inspiration behind the song’s lyrical theme.

“The song is inspired by an acquaintance of mine who returned from Afghanistan, only to have his relationship fall apart with his girl,” he said.  “She had messed around on him, then got paranoid about him messing around on her, and drove him crazy.  We had a conversation on Valentine’s Day and he said to me, ‘They were just circling the drain…’  The phrase struck me.  A few days later I incorporated it into the song I’d been working on.”

Flynn continued, “It was a strange parallel with my life at the time, having recently had two band members quit, and even more bizarrely, two long-time couple friends of my wife and I, also divorced.  It was breakup season, and it played out with friends taking sides, people not being invited to certain events anymore, social and emotional pressure and all the typical stuff that happens when a relationship goes bad.”

Flynn, referring back to his story about his friend who was in Afghanistan, said hearing the story and writing the song from the story was cathartic.

“Watching this guy pull through it helped me pull through my own upheaval,” he said.  “the lyrics to ‘Circle The Drain’ came out of that frustrating time.  It’s a sad song about relationships gone bad, but accepting that it’s over, and making yourself move on.  I wrote it in a more metaphorical tone, as I didn’t want it to be about my life, but to be about anybody’s life who may be going through a rough time like that.  It may not be a song that connects with everyone, especially those in a solid relationship.  But if the day ever comes when your life goes awry, this song will be a lifeline for you, something to help pull you up out of that dark place.  the irony that he and i had the original conversation on Valentine’s Day, and we are now releasing it on Valentine’s Day isn’t lost on me.  It really is the anti-Valentine’s Day song.”

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

The acoustic take of ‘Circle The Drain’ is just the latest song that Machine Head has released. The band also released two other new songs, ‘Bulletproof‘ and ‘Stop The Bleeding.’ The songs make up the band’s two-song single, Civil Unrest. Both songs are available to stream and download here.

‘Stop The Bleeding’ features guest vocals from Killswitch Engage front man Jesse Leach.  While Flynn said in an interview about the song, that he brought Leach on-board because the song has a KsE sound, a close listen also reveals an old school Machine Head sound.  The song’s lyrical content addresses the events that followed the death of George Floyd at the hands of a group of Minneapolis, MN police officers.

Flynn discussed the song’s inspiration in a recent interview.

“I wrote and sang the lyrics on Wednesday May 27th, 2020, the day that the four officers who murdered George Floyd were (originally) not charged with anything,” he said. “This day was engulfed in protests and riots across America. I drove into Oakland, past large demonstrations already happening and, in a fury, wrote down everything I was feeling after watching the horrific footage.  Within hours, what I wanted to say, what I needed to say had been recorded in the song.”

Additionally, Flynn talked about bringing Leach on for the song, noting that the collaboration was in the works even before the events of May 27.

“I had been speaking with Jesse for maybe 6 months about singing on the song, as it always had a little bit of a Killswitch vibe to me,” said Flynn.  “Unfortunately (or fortunately), our schedules hadn’t lined up, but with the subsequent lockdown from coronavirus, we had time to make it work. After what happened to George Floyd, I sent him the lyrics I’d written, and he replied saying he was “100% on board”. Jesse is someone I consider to be a pioneer and, in many ways, one of the men who changed the face of metal. His contribution to this song made it extremely powerful and it’s an honor to have him be a part of it.”

Leach spoke highly of Flynn in discussing the song’s creation in his own comments, adding he was glad to take part in the song.

“Being asked to be part of this song is an honor,” said Leach.  “Yes, because it’s Machine Head, but more importantly, this is a message that needs to be heard and spread. These issues concerning abuses of power and racism are timeless. I have written about these previously and I’ll write about them again. I think Robb really nailed this one, both lyrically and sonically. My hope is this song helps awaken those who hear it. Robb has been a frequent voice of the voiceless in these times, so teaming up with him is a no brainer. We need more of our Metal Community to speak out on social issues and help raise awareness, especially during these crucial times. Music is the soundtrack to our lives, it transcends language and culture. This is the reason we as musicians need to do our part to spark thought and discussion on these types of issues. We can make a difference through music and we can help stop the bleeding.”

Flynn talked about the lyrical theme of ‘Bulletproof’ during a separate, recent interview.

“The lyrics for ‘Bulletproof’ were finished in the aftermath of not only the Ahmaud Arbery murder at the hands of white supremacist, but everything twisting out of control in our world,” he said. “The isolation and craziness of the pandemic, the lockdown protesters storming government buildings with AR-15‘s, as well as the blatant lies and conspiracies pouring out of our political leaders’ mouths, hour by hour, day after day.”

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

Websitehttp://www.MachineHead1.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/MachineHead

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/MfnH

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.

Unveil The Strength Covers Killswitch Engage With Its Latest Single, Video

Independent hard rock band Unveil The Strength is taking on Killswitch Engage for its latest single.

The band debuted the lyric video for its cover of KsE’s hit single ‘The End of Heartache‘ Wednesday.  Its take on the song takes Kse’s original in a whole new direction and in turn, gives the song a whole new identity and impact.

Unveil The Strength’s take on the song is much more subdued than its source material.  It is a gentle, yet brooding piano-driven arrangement.  The haunting vocal delivery takes Howard Jones’ vocal style and crosses it with a hint of that of Disturbed front man David Draiman for a whole whose impact is powerful in its own way.

Sean Townsend’s work on the piano couples with that vocal delivery style to make this take on the song just as powerful as its originator.  That is especially the case considering the song’s familiar lyrical theme, which focuses on a broken relationship.

Courtesy: The Label Group

Unveil The Strength’s take on ‘The End of Heartache’ is available to stream and download here.

More information on the band’s cover is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

 

Website: http://unveilthestrength.com

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

 

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.

 

Devildriver Debuts ‘Wishing’ Video

Courtesy: Napalm Records/Album art by Johnny Jones at COMA

Devildriver debuted the video for its latest single over the weekend.

The band debuted the video for its new single ‘Wishing‘ Friday.  The song is the fourth from the band’s new album Dealing With Demons I, which is scheduled for release Friday through Napalm Records.  It follows the debut of the songs ‘Nest of Vipers,’ ‘Iona,’ and ‘Stay Away From Me.’

The video for ‘Wishing’ features front man Dez Fafara in a secluded, dimly lit setting, almost like a cave of some sort as he sings.  That footage is coupled with footage of anonymous cloaked figures in a forested setting, which is presented in black and white.

According to information provided about the video, the visuals are meant to illustrate the song’s lyrical message about a person wishing a deceased loved one was not gone.  The noted information states of the visualization that it places each of the band’s members “in a nightmarish state, trying to physically reach their loved ones just to have them disappear once they’ve nearly grasped them.”

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Wishing’ will appeal to fans of Devildriver’s metalcore counterpart Killswitch Engage, with its flowing, heavy, and melodic guitar arrangement coupled with Fafara’s screams.  The drums and bass work with those noted elements to make the song even more engaging.

Pre-orders are open now for Dealing With Demons I on a variety of platforms.  All pre-order pre-orders enter fans into a giveaway for a Dealing With Demons 1 banner.  the album’s track listing is noted below.

Dealing With Demons I Tracklist:
1. Keep Away From Me
2. Vengeance Is Clear
3. Nest Of Vipers
4. Iona
5. Wishing
6. You Give Me A Reason To Drink (feat. Simon Blade Fafara)
7. Witches
8. Dealing With Demons
9. The Damned Don’t Cry
10. Scars Me Forever

The 10-song record was co-produced by [Devildriver guitarist Mike] Spreitzer and Steve Evetts.  It is also the first Devildriver record to feature a song co-written by Fafara and another individual — ‘Nest Of Vipers.’  The song was co-written by Fafara and Tiemann.

More information on Dealing With Demons 1 is available along with all of Devildriver’s latest news at:

 

Websitehttp://www.devildriver.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/devildriver

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/devildriver

 

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.

 

Metal Blade Announces Release Date For ‘Killswitch Engage’ Vinyl Re-Issue

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Killswitch Engage will re-issue its 2000 self-titled debut album this fall.

The veteran metalcore band will re-issue the record on vinyl on two separate color variants: clear with mint splatter, and coke bottle clear/olive green split.  Additionally, it will feature expanded artwork by bassist Mike D’Antonio and four bonus tracks from the band’s 1999 demo.  Pre-orders are open now.

D’Antonio talked about the forthcoming re-issue’s artwork in a recent interview.

“I had a lot of fun taking this artwork apart and putting it back together,” he said. “I especially had a good time searching through all the old photos and reminiscing. It was a simpler time in 2000 and the ‘hunger’ in the music still shines through to this day.”

Front man Jesse Leach shared his thoughts on the re-issue’s songs in his own comments.

“I wrote lyrics and did vocals for this album in a handful of days,” said Leach. “From what I can I recall, it was raw, emotive, and filled with a certain cathartic power. This was us at our most primal and most stripped down stage. This was the beginning and still holds the core of what I believe to be the heart of what this band still is deep inside.”

“I am honored and privileged to be a part of this album,” added Leach. “Before any big labels, world tours, and even the term ‘metalcore,’ it was just us four guys playing metal steeped in hardcore roots. We had no regard for a career, ambition, or any thought of longevity or legacy.”

The track listing for the forthcoming re-issue of Killswitch Engage is noted below.

KILLSWITCH ENGAGE TRACK LISTING:
SIDE 1:
“Temple From The Within”
“Vide Infra”
“Irreversal”
“Rusted Embrace”
“Prelude”
“Soilborn”

SIDE 2:
“Numb Sickened Eyes”
“In The Unblind”
“One Last Sunset”
‘Prelude” (Bonus 1999 Demo)
“Soilborn” (Bonus 1999 Demo)
“Vide Infra” (Bonus 1999 Demo)
“In The Unblind” (Bonus 1999 Demo)

More information on the forthcoming re-issue of Killswitch Engage is available online along with all of the band’s latest news at:

 

 

Websitehttp://www.killswitchengage.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/killswitchengage

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/kseofficial

 

 

 

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

Machine Head Debuts ‘Bulletproof’ Lyric Video

Machine Head debuted the video for its recently released song ‘Bulletproof.’

The band debuted the song’s lyric video Tuesday.  The video’s debut comes less than two months after the band debuted the video for the companion to ‘Bulletproof,’ ‘Stop The Bleeding (ft. Jesse Leach).’  The songs were released in June on a 2-song digital single titled Civil Unrest.

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

The ‘Bulletproof’ lyric video features the song’s lyrics over footage of the protests and riots that have happened nationwide this year.  The song’s arrangement plays over it all in the meantime.  The song’s lyrical theme is illustrated through the noted footage while the furious riffing takes listeners back to Machine Head’s glory days.

Front man Robb Flynn talked about the song’s lyrical theme in a recent interview.

“The lyrics for ‘Bulletproof’ were finished in the aftermath of not only the Ahmaud Arbery murder at the hands of white supremacist, but everything twisting out of control in our world,” he said. “The isolation and craziness of the pandemic, the lockdown protesters storming government buildings with AR-15‘s, as well as the blatant lies and conspiracies pouring out of our political leaders’ mouths, hour by hour, day after day.”

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

 

Websitehttp://www.MachineHead1.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/MachineHead

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/MfnH

 

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.

 

NeverWake Debuts ‘Trapped Inside’ Lyric Video

Courtesy: Melodic Revolution Records/O’Donnell Media Group

Independent hard rock band NeverWake debuted the video for its latest single this week.

The band debuted the lyric video for its new single ‘Trapped Inside‘ Friday.  The video takes audiences on a through a house that serves as the top of a person’s body, its halls serving as the visualization for a person’s mind.  As audiences are taken through those halls and even around the outside of the house, the lyrics continue to be presented.

Front man Johnn DiCarlo discussed the song’s lyrical theme in a recent interview.

“When dealing with anxiety and depression every single day, there are a lot of thoughts and emotions that keep you circling around and around, trapped in your head,” he said.  “One thought makes you turn to another, which turns to another, etc.  Pretty soon you’re full circle back where you started. It’s hard to break that cycle.  With “Trapped Inside” we show those walls that keep us in place and we tear them the fuck down. The song is a rebellion against everything that keeps one inside their own head. This song stood out to each one of us because it has a lot of power, but it has a melodic way of ensnaring someone. It captures people in a way that they can relate. But when it gets to the bridge, people aren’t simply just relating to the concept, they’re a part of the rebellion.”

Along with crafting the song’s lyrics, DiCarlo also was the creative force behind the song’s lyric video.  He also discussed the video’s creation.

“I don’t like classifying myself as just a musician,” he said. “No one is ever just one thing. I like to have my hands in a lot of different arts; I like to create. That’s why I decided to go full force in creating the art and lyric video for “Trapped Inside.” If creating music is therapeutic to me, creating a 3D world around a song is straight up medicine. I was able to take the concept of the song and push it so much further. In a way I feel like that’s what it may take nowadays. Whether we like it or not, we are getting out of the age of print. Album art only goes as far as what your spotify single picture looks like. To make this 3D world for this song helped me pair artwork back with music in a new way that can be appreciated by everyone in the new world.”

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Trapped Inside’ is a heavy, metalcore style composition that will appeal to fans of bands, such as In Flames, Killswitch  Engage and Avenged Sevenfold with its clean vocals and screaming, and its heavy, melodic guitar lines and pummeling, precise time keeping.

The debut of NeverWake’s new single comes on the heels of a month-long tour with The Veer Union.  The band is working on a new EP.  It is unknown if the as-yet-untitled record will feature the band’s new single.

Audiences can keep up with the latest developments on the band’s EP and all of its latest news at:

 

Website: http://www.neverwakemusic.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.como/neverwakemusic

Twitter: http://twitter.com/neverwakemusic

 

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.

 

Mark Morton Shines Again On His Second Solo Record

Courtesy: Rise Records

When Lamb of God guitarist Mark Morton released his debut solo album Anasthetic last March through Spinefarm Records, he more than showed the expanse of his musical abilities and interests.  The record, which joined Morton with a number of well-known names, such as the late Linkin Park front man Chester Bennington, Alter Bridge front man Myles Kennedy and ex Screaming Trees front man Mark Lanegan, showed Morton as a truly original and creative musician, not just one of the members of Lamb of God.  He followed up that successful offering this past January with his debut solo EP Ether.  The five-song EP, released through Rise Records, will get a second life of sorts June 19 when it is released on vinyl through Rise Records.  Regardless of whether one prefers vinyl, CD or even digital, the fact of the matter remains that Ether is a positive follow-up to Anasthetic.  That is due to the record’s musical and lyrical content.  Its penultimate song ‘Love My Enemy’ is one of the songs that serves to support the noted statement.  It will be addressed shortly.  The EP’s opener ‘All I Had to Lose’ is another way in which Ether shows its strength.  It will be addressed a little later.  Its follow-up ‘The Fight’ is one more way in which Ether shows its strength.  Together with the covers of The Black Crowes’ ‘She Talks To Angels’ and of Pearl Jam’s ‘Black,’ ‘The Fight’ and the other noted songs make Ether a wholly enjoyable follow-up to Anasthetic and one more of this year’s top new EPs.

Mark Morton’s debut EP Ether is a strong follow-up to his debut 2019 album Anasthetic.  Much with that album, this EP shows once again why he is more than just a member of Lamb of God, but rather a talented, creative musician in his own right.  That is evidenced in part through the EP’s penultimate song, ‘Love My Enemy.’  The song, which features vocals by Howard Jones (Killswitch Engage, Blood Has Been Shed, Light The Torch), presents an interesting musical arrangement.  The verses conjure thoughts of Alice in Chains, what with the layered vocal effect and the subdued guitar and drum lines.  The chorus however, boasts more of an Alter Bridge type of sound as the guitars and vocals step up.  The song’s bass line adds its own touch to the whole to make the work’s composition quite engaging and entertaining in its own right.  What is important to note here is the pairing of that duality in the song’s arrangement and its connection to the emotion and message in the song’s lyrical theme.  The song’s lyrical theme serves to make that reason for that juxtaposition clear.

Jones sings in the song’s lead verse, “Open wounds before the start/This is where we fall apart/It’s alright/Eternity can die today/It’s alright/It’s okay.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “We can greet the end alone/Sorrow needs an empty home/It’s alright/Years and pain can fade away/It’s alright/It’s okay.”  In the song’s third and final verse, “Jones sings, “There’s no replacing/The time we’re wasting.”  These verses are deeply introspective, needless to say.  That final verse is relatively clear, as it makes a statement about making the most of the time that we have.  The first and second verses meanwhile will generate their own hare of interest.  Maybe the lead statement of “open wounds before the start/This is where we fall apart” is a statement connected to the note of the wasted time.  It’s as if it is making a note about open wounds being a failure from the beginning.  The statement in the second verse years and pain being able to fade away seems to perhaps be a statement of hope, that the past can be just that.  This is of course all this critic’s own interpretation.  The song’s chorus adds even more impact to the song, as it comes across as perhaps someone battling with him/herself.  The chorus states, “I can’t live on memories/I can’ love my enemy/We cannot repair the past/A broken heart is made of glass/No, I can’t live on memories.”  This seems like someone who is torn with trying to overcome the thoughts of the past and look to the future.  It would explain why the song’s musical arrangement is so much more powerful in the chorus than the verses.  It would serve to illustrate the subject’s heightened emotion in this moment.  This leads the song’s more contemplative counter to those heightened emotions to make more sense along with its musical accompaniment.  Again this is all this critic’s own interpretation and should not be taken as gospel.  Hopefully it is somewhere close to being correct, though.  Keeping all of this in mind, the song’s lyrical content proves just as important as its musical content.  All things considered, the song in whole, with its engaging musical and lyrical content shows well on its own, why Ether is another strong offering from Mark Morton.  It is just one of the songs that serves to exhibit that strength.  ‘All I Had to Lose’ does its own part to keep listeners’ ears and minds.

‘All I Had to Lose’ is important to note because it presents its own unique identity separate from that of ‘Love My Enemy’ and the EP’s other songs.  The song’s fully acoustic arrangement is a radio ready composition that will connect easily to audiences.  The addition of Sons of Texas front man Mark Morales’ vocal delivery adds to that commercial viability for the opus.  The combination of those elements makes the song in whole a work that is comparable to works from so many mainstream rock bands.  The appeal created through the song’s musical arrangement will keep listeners engaged, and in turn, paying attention to the song’s equally engaging lyrical content.

The lyrical content featured in ‘All I Had to Lose’ generates its own engagement because of its own contemplative nature.  Morales sings in the song’s lead verse, “We were reckless for a season, now/Restless with a reason/I can’t tell/If we were victims of the vices/Or addicted to the crisis/Lived through hell.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “We laid with it/Dead and dying/Told ‘em all we were just trying/To be alive/Closed our eyes/I know that we could leave/The lies we didn’t want to leave behind.”  He adds in the song’s third and final verse, “Watched the colors fade away/Reached out by the sun/left her for another day/Prayed it would never come.”  The precise concept here is not clear at least to this critic.  It comes across as something of a statement about perhaps someone taking things for granted in life.  Whether that is in relation to a personal relationship or something else is up for discussion.  It would be interesting to learn the exact relation of that seeming message.  That Morales sings in the song’s chorus, “And when you came up for breath/I knew there wasn’t nothing left to do but choose/And everything I lost/Wasn’t much compared to all I had to lose” adds to the argument that the song’s lyrical theme is a personal message about taking for granted what one has in life.  Again, what exactly was being taken for granted – whether it be a personal relationship or something else – is something that is left for interpretation.  Either way, the fact that this seems to be the message makes the song’s musical content couple well with this half of the song’s content.  Taking everything noted here into account, the whole of the song shows even more why Ether will keep listeners engaged from start to end.  It is just one more way in which Ether proves its appeal.  ‘The Fight’ is one more way in which the EP shows its strength.

‘The Fight’ is an interesting addition to Ether.  That is due in part to its overall musical arrangement.  This composition is so starkly opposite of any of the other songs featured in this record.  The verses are distinctly subtle, but not necessarily reserved per say.  There is a certain Sevendust-esque sense to the song from the band’s more recent works, in listening closely to the arrangement.  The chorus meanwhile pack a little bit more of a punch, but it’s not a knockout punch.  Even in this case, there is a certain amount of control.  It makes for a very interesting listen.  It is not necessarily a radio ready work, but still is worth hearing.  That unique arrangement couples well with the song’s equally engaging lyrical theme, which comes across as one of those songs about someone driving along and having enough time to contemplate a lot of life matters.

Moontooth front man John Carbone provides the vocals for this song.  His vocal delivery is comparable to that of Sevendust front man Lajon Witherspoon as he sings in the song’s lead verse, “Thundering down the cold, dark desert road/It ain’t the miles you’re looking at/Ain’t the pavement you see/But its ghost/And all the trials that lay ahead/Yeah, it becomes your only friend.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Rumbling ground/It shakes from the load/the burden that you live to bear/Deafening sound, it rings in your soul/Make you forget what brought you here/Now the ending ain’t so clear.”  While the song’s musical arrangement doesn’t quite do so, this portion of the song leaves one making comparisons to Bob Seger’s hit song ‘Turn The Page.’  It seems to have that same kind of lyrical approach; someone on the road, lots of thoughts on the mind, etc. etc. etc.  It is an interesting sort of update, although it likely was not intended.  The comparison is strengthened even more as Carbone sings in the song’s chorus, “When you live for the fight for too long/You burn for the bloody way out/But the only hope for a victory/Is to learn to lay it down.”  It’s as if he is saying, even with all the thinking and things on a person’s mind, a person may want a certain outcome, but the outcome we want may not always be the best outcome.  Again, this is all this critic’s interpretation.   Hopefully it is in the proverbial ballpark.  That aside, all of this is sure to generate its own share of discussion among listeners.  Together with its accompanying musical content, the engagement and entertainment ensured through the song’s musical and lyrical content shows once more why Ether succeeds overall.  Together with the two covers that join this work and the EP’s two other originals, the record overall proves itself to be a complete work and a complete success for Morton and company.

Mark Morton’s recently released EP Ether is a strong follow-up to his debut solo album Anasthetic (2019).  That is because it continues to exhibit Morton’s talents as more than just another metal guitarist, but a widely-versed musician and songwriter.  That is evidenced through all three of the record’s original works and its two covers.  The musical and lyrical content in each original as well as the adaptation of the covers do well to support those statements.  All things considered, Ether can be considered in whole, to be one of this year’s top new EPs.

More information on Ether is available online now along with all of Mark Morton’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Websitehttp://markmortonmusic.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/markmortonmusic

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/MarkDuaneMorton

 

 

 

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 in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Killswitch Engage Gives Audiences Lots Of Reason To Help Others With ‘Atonement II’

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Killswitch Engage is stepping up and doing its part to help those impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.  The released its new record Atonement IIB-Sides For Charity Friday to all digital platforms.  The widespread release of the six-song record b-sides collection, whose proceeds will go to benefit the Center For Disaster Philanthropy’s COVID-19 Relief Fund, comes a week after the band debuted the collection through its official Bandcamp page.  Considering it is a collection of b-sides and consists of only six songs, it will be considered by this critic to be an EP instead of an LP.  According to front man Jesse Leach, the songs featured in the recording were originally recorded during the sessions for the band’s 2019 album Atonement, but ended up not being included in the album’s final presentation.  The record presents plenty for audiences to appreciate in terms of its musical and lyrical content.  That is proven right from its outset in ‘To The Great Beyond,’ which will be discussed shortly.  ‘Killing of Leviathan’ is another positive addition to the EP since it is composed of only six songs.  That song will be addressed a little later.  ‘I Feel Alive Again’ is one more notable addition to Atonement IIB-Sides For Charity and will also be addressed later.  When it is considered with the other noted songs and the record’s other trio of songs, the whole of the record proves itself to be among this year’s top new EPs.

Killswitch Engage’s new EP Atonement IIB-Sides For Charity is a record that the band’s longtime fans will applaud just as much as metalcore and metal fans in general.  It is a work that, through its musical and lyrical content, proves itself to be one of this year’s top new EPs.  That is proven right from the record’s outset in its opener, ‘To The Great Beyond.’  This song shows real growth from the band in comparison to its past records.  Right from the song’s opening bars, audiences get a sound in the arrangement that is more of a death metal work than the metalcore for which it has come to be known over the course of its life.  The metalcore elements are still there throughout the course of the nearly four-minute work.  However, they are nicely balanced with the more energetic guitar riffs and rapid fire drumming, the steady low end from bassist Mike D’Antonio and vocals from Leach to make the song’s arrangement a powerhouse start for the EP and clear proof in itself why the record’s musical content is so important to its presentation.  The fire in the song’s musical arrangement works well with the equally engaging content in the song’s lyrical theme.

The lyrical theme presented in this song is intriguing in that Leach noted in a recent interview that the songs featured in this record were “written during a very difficult and uncertain time of my life.  They are written with two perspectives: that of a struggling, angry, frustrated man having a crisis of faith, life, and love and a man finding the will and the strength to change perspective, try again, and to fight through it all.”  This song’s lyrical theme would seem to have been written from the second perspective as he seems to be addressing his acceptance of his mortality, just as we all should.  This is a very difficult topic for anyone to address, but he has seemingly done so here, and done well in the process.  Leach sings in the song’s lead verse, “Suicide of the mental/In the mind, transcendental/Cauterized the wounds of a past life/Beckoning from the birth unto the afterlife.”  He adds in the song’s chorus, “I look beyond this mortal encasement/Severed beyond/beyond containment/I am prepared to die/Hear the battle cry/Feel the spirit fly/To the great beyond go I/I am prepared to die/As I testify/To the great beyond go I/Unafraid of my fate/From within burns the will to live.”  Leach adds to the discussion in the song’s second verse, singing, “Cut down this bitter dissension/Killing the path of ascension/We’re holding on to the fear of the next world/This fleeting location amid the many dimensions/I have escaped to death and resurrection/Unafraid of my fate/To the great beyond go I/I look beyond this life/I am prepared to die/Hear the battle cry/Feel the spirit fly/To the great beyond go I.”  This comes across as being quite the deep discussion, and one that could easily motivate and inspire many listeners to have their own change in mentality about such a difficult topic.  To that end, it is just one of the songs included in this record that serves to show the EP’s strengths.  ‘Killing of Leviathan’ is another notable addition to the EP.

‘Killing The Leviathan’ offers listeners another heavy, up-tempo work that shows its own sign of growth from the band.  This song actually boasts more of a thrash metal approach than the pure metalcore sound for which the band has come to be known.  The metalcore elements are there again.  But as noted, the thrash approach is more evident than the metal core elements, even as the two elements are relatively balanced.  That continued exhibition of growth from the band through the song’s musical arrangement is another positive sign for the band and for audiences as they take in the record.  What’s more, the energy in the song’s arrangement works well with the song’s lyrical theme, which comes across as being about overcoming one’s own inner demons.

The seeming theme of the noted internal struggle is inferred as Leach sings in the song’s lead verse, “Leviathan is now approaching/Seeping/Crawling on me/Drawing closer to the center/Anxiety torments me/I know you by name/It’s always the same/Fall from the light consumed within/Deep inside/My hell is closing in.”  The song’s chorus adds to the inference as Leach sings, “Crawl deep under my skin/Screaming/Leviathan, I’ll kill you within/You will not win against me/Leviathan, this is the end/This is the end.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “The voices in my head/This war is fought within/You can’t control me/I will destroy in the end.”  Leach puts the accent on his statement in the song’s third and final verse, singing, “Ever-changing circumstance/Triggering this dark war dance/I’ll fight against you/I will annihilate you/The killing of Leviathan.”  Again, this certainly would seem to be Leach making a statement about battling himself internally, and telling those inner demons, those negative thoughts, that he will succeed.  This is truly another inspirational statement for any listener.  It’s one more way in which this record proves itself so notable.  ‘I Feel Alive Again’ also proves the strength of KsE’s new record in its own way.

‘I Feel Alive’ stands out in part because its arrangement is yet another sign of growth and change from the band.  Instead of the death metal or even thrash elements, this song blends together the band’s familiar metalcore elements with a much more melodic side that could be argued to be more of an emocore sound.  That is evident in the balance of the screaming and clean vocals from Leach and the harmonics in the guitar work.  It is yet another welcome change of pace that the band’s most devoted listeners will appreciate.  It also does well in illustrating the emotions evoked through the song’s positive lyrical content.

The lyrical content in question comes from that less positive perspective that Leach discussed in the noted interview.  That is inferred as Leach sings, “One last caress in a world so desperate/Holding on to a shred of hope only by a thread/Waiting for someone/Someone to be there/To remind us that we can heal our disrepair/Can we not see there is a need/A need to  disconnect this cycle of dismay/This desperation is now deeper than you know/Longing to hear a voice say you’re not alone/So with these words I’m reaching out/To say that I fought through and found my way again.”  This lead verse seems to show someone who is dealing with those difficult thoughts and emotions, but isn’t just ready to give up, which would explain the sound and feeling in the song’s arrangement.  Things seem to get better for him as he sings in the song’s chorus, “This is where it all began/I found the strength to try again/I feel alive again/I fight beyond the pain.”  It would seem that he found that inspiration and managed to fight those feelings and thoughts.  Of course that is proven in the other noted songs, that he won that inner battle.  Leach adds in the song’s second verse, “Looking through the darkness/The nothing/The worthlessness/Looking for the light/Beyond the grey of sorrow’s song/Before the fall is where the last hope is found/Desperate for a release/To give just a glimpse of peace/A fleeting clarity/A sense of things beyond our eyes/We may never be complete/but in this life we seem to feel alive.”  This would seem to be someone who was searching desperately for that help and clearly did find it.  Once again it goes right along with Leach’s noted discussion about the songs in this record reflecting his won personal struggles and his overcoming them.  Because these experiences and thoughts are so relatable, it makes them that much more ability to connect with listeners, and this song proves that just as much as the others featured in the EP.  When all three songs are considered along with these three songs, the record in whole proves itself to be another strong offering from Killswitch Engage that the band’s established fans will enjoy just as much as hard rock and metal fans in general.

Killswitch Engage’s new follow-up to its 2019 album Atonement, Atonement IIB-Sides For Charity is a strong new offering from the band and a work whose musical and lyrical content is certain to engage and entertain a wide range of listeners.  That is proven through the record’s musical arrangements and its lyrical themes.  All three of the songs featured here serve to support those statements.  The same can be said of the record’s other trio of songs.  All things considered, the record proves itself a great purchase for hard rock and metal fans and for KsE’s established fan base, and a great way to help others who have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.  It also proves itself to be one of the year’s top new EPs.  The record is available online through all major digital outlets.  More information on the EP is available online along with all of the band’s latest news at:

 

 

Websitehttp://www.killswitchengage.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/killswitchengage

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/kseofficial

 

 

 

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

Killswitch Engage Releases New Record To Raise Funds For COVID-19 Relief Efforts

Killswitch Engage is stepping up and doing its part to help those impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

The band released a new collection of songs Friday to help raise money for the Center for Disaster Philanthropy‘s COVID-19 Relief Fund.  The collection, Atonement II BSides For Charity, six songs recorded during the sessions for the band’s 2019 album Atonement.  the songs are available to download now through KsE’s official Bandcamp page for one week beginning May 1, and will be available at all other digital service providers May 8.

KsE front man Jesse Leach talked about the songs featured for the new record in a recent interview.

“These songs didn’t make the final cut for Atonement,” said Leach.  “Choosing which songs make an album remains a tough process for me.  While the songs that made the most sense appear on the album, I’m still very attached to every song I write.  So, when the idea came up to put these B-sides out and donate funds to a charity, I was relieved at the idea and the band unanimously agreed to the cause.  I am proud these songs get to see a release, and to help others in the process is a huge bonus.”

Leach additionally discussed the songs’ background during his interview.

“These songs were written during a very difficult and uncertain time of my life,” he said. They are written with two perspectives: that of a struggling, angry, frustrated man having a crisis of faith, life, and love and a man finding the will and the strength to change perspective, try again, and to fight through it all. Although these songs may not have made the cut for the album, they are deeply meaningful songs that I believe in whole heartedly. Lyrically, they are some of my favorites that I have written. From the very personal ‘Hollow Convictions,’ ‘No Devotion,’ and ‘I Feel Alive Again,’ to the battle cry songs of ‘Killing of Leviathan,’ ‘Prophets of Treason,’ and ‘The Great Beyond,’ it tells the story of my journey and my view of the world around me.”

Along with talking about the songs and the record’s release, Leach also offered gratitude to all involved for its release.

“Big thanks to Metal Blade for partnering up with us on this! Also thank you to Center for Disaster Philanthropy for their amazing work! Lastly, thanks to all of you for purchasing the songs and contributing to helping those who are in desperate need during these uncertain times.”

The track listing for Atonement II BSides For Charity is noted below.

 

 

Atonement II B-Sides For Charity track-listing:
1. To The Great Beyond
2. Hollow Convictions
3. Killing of Leviathan
4. No Devotion
5. I Feel Alive Again
6. Prophets of Treason

 

More information on Killswitch Engages’s new record is available online along with all of the band’s latest news at:

 

Website: http://www.killswitchengage.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/kseofficial

 

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.

Seasons Debuts ‘Violence Is A Virtue’ Video

Courtesy: TAG Publicity

Independent metal outfit Seasons debuted the video for its latest single last week.

The band debuted the video for its new single ‘Violence is a Virtue‘ April 21.  The song’s musical arrangement is a heavy work whose foundation is formed through its guitars, vocals and drums.  It crosses metalcore elements with some death metal sounds for a whole that will reach a wide range of metal fans.  The initial comparisons that can be made through the song’s musical arrangement is to works from the likes of Whitechapel, Killswitch Engage and August Burns Red.

The lyrical theme featured in the song will reach its own share of listeners, as it focuses on someone dealing with the difficult thoughts and emotions that lie just beneath the surface.

Front man Ken Stewart explained the song’s lyrical concept in a recent interview.

“This song is about how I feel about myself and the world around me to a degree,” he said.  “The overwhelming nature of the world and repetition of the day in, day out routine is stifling and limits us as creators.”

‘Violence is a Virtue’ is available to stream and download through Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon and Google Play.

More information on Seasons’ new single and video is available online along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/SeasonsRVA

 

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.