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.

Gears Debuts ‘Stronger Than Pain’ Lyric Video

Courtesy: TAG Publicity

Independent hard rock band Gears debuted the video for its latest single over the weekend.

The band debuted the lyric video for its new single ‘Stronger Than Pain‘ Sunday.  The video features live footage of the band over which the lyrics for the song are superimposed. The band originally debuted the video for ‘Stronger Than Pain’ online through The Noise on May 1.

The song’s musical arrangement will appeal, much like its past works — ‘End This‘ and ‘Tango Yankee‘ and its cover of Living Colour’s ‘Cult of Personality‘ — to fans of Sevendust.

The song’s lyrical content delivers a theme of perseverance through life’s obstacles, according to a statement from Gears drummer Jimmy Wooten.

“We’ve actually been sitting on this song for a while now,” he said.  “With everything happening in the world today, it just seemed that now would be a good time to unleash it.  It’s meant to be a battle cry that empowers us and says, ‘We will overcome anything that comes our way.  We are stronger than everything we face.’  I think it’s more fitting now than we would like to admit.  We all hope everyone is staying safe, healthy and strong.”

‘Stronger Than Pain’ is scheduled for release May 8 on all digital platforms.  Audiences can pre-order/pre-save the song here.

Gears was founded in February 2014 by Trip 6, Eli Parker, Tommy Herres and Jimmy Wooten.  After its founding, the band released its debut EP Set In Motion in May 2014.  Some time later, the band parted ways with Parker, who had played guitar with the band, and replaced him with Bobby Thomas.

June 2015 saw work start on the band’s sophomore EP Pride Comes Before The Fall.  the band teamed up with guitarist Corey Lowery (Stuck Mojo, Saint Asonia, Stereomud, Dark New Day) and Troy McLawhorn (Evanesence, Seether, Dark New Day) for the EP along with Thomas and fellow new member Chris Dorame.

Following a run on the Riser Tour with I-Exist, the band debuted the lyric video for the EP’s lead single ‘Face Down.’  Its debut was followed by the EP’s release on Nov. 10, 2015.

Gears wasted little time releasing new music from there, debuting the video for another new single, ‘King,’ on Feb. 23, 2018.

Gears’ current lineup is composed of Trip Six (vocals), Jimmy Wooten (drums), Josh Routt (bass) and Jack Andred (guitar) according to information on its official Facebook page.  The band is in the studio now with Lowery, working on more new music.

All of the band’s latest news is available online at:

 

Website: http://www.gearsofficial.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/OfficialGears1

 

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.

Gears Premieres ‘Tango Yankee’ Video

Courtesy: TAG Publicity

Hard rock band Gears recently released the video for its new single.

The band debuted the video for ‘Tango Yankee’ on April 6 at tattoo.com.  The song features guest vocals from Sevendust front man Lajon Witherspoon. Witherspoon also took time to appear in the song’s companion video.

Gears drummer Jimmy Wooten said in a recent interview that the song is effectively a tribute to America’s military and emergency service personnel.

“With ‘Tango Yankee,’ we just really wanted to write something dedicated to several members of our families that have served in the military, law enforcement and first response,” Wooten said.  “We really wanted this to be special, so getting one of our favorite vocalists from one of our favorite bands was very exciting and made this track just that — special.  Lajon came in and absolutely crushed the track vocally.  I really love the way it turned out.  Trip [Six] — Gears front man — and LJ complimented each other so well. Put that together with Clint’s epic solo, and of course Corey [Lowery] at the helm, this really turned out something spectacular.  I believe that the thought behind the song is something that most Americans can relate to, as many of of have or have had loved ones who serve.  Maybe even a little something that can get us all past all of our political disagreements unify, recognize the sacrifice and just say a simple ‘Thank You’ to all those who fight for our freedom, protect us and keep us safe.”

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

 

Website: http://www.gearsofficial.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/officialgears1

 

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.

 

Time Travelers & Bonfires Boasts Some Of Sevendust’s Best Music To Date

Courtesy:  7Bros Records/Asylum

Courtesy: 7Bros Records/Asylum/In De Goot Entertainment/Alternative Distribution Alliance

Veteran hard rock band Sevendust is one of the most highly revered bands in the world of rock and hard rock. That is because every one of its now ten full length studio albums has exhibited the band’s growth while maintaining a certain familiar heavy vibe throughout each record. The band’s latest album Time Travelers & Bonfires is no exception to that rule. Even being a largely acoustic release (there are some non-acoustic elements spaced throughout the record), the band has somehow managed to maintain that familiar heaviness that is a trademark for Sevendust’s albums. That is evident right from the album’s opener, ‘Come Down.’ It’s just as evident late in the album with the band’s re-worked acoustic take on ‘Denial.’ This re-worked classic is especially interesting as it presents a whole new emotional vibe in its acoustic state. It makes the song even heavier in an emotional manner of speaking. And then there is the album’s closer, ‘Black,’ which is also the band’s first major hit. This song is just as heavy in its acoustic form as it is in its original take. What’s more it’s just as heavy as the other acoustic re-works that populate this album. Together with the other noted songs (and those not noted for reasons of space), it completes an album that any diehard Sevendust fan will enjoy no less with each listen.

The members of Sevendust have managed to make each of the band’s now ten albums sound different from the previous release all while maintaining a certain heaviness throughout each record. The band’s latest release is no different in that aspect. Even on an album that is mostly acoustic, the band has managed to maintain that heaviness while creating something different, both on its new songs and those that have been re-worked. This is evident right from the album’s opener, ‘Come Down.’ This piece could have fit on any of the band’s previous albums comfortably. Lyrically, it’s such a bold statement. Front man Lajon Witherspoon sings defiantly in the song’s opening verse, “I guess for now/I’m gonna up and run away/My mind’s made up/I’m not the flaw/I’m not gonna fall in the grave/Just to prove you wrong.” The verse here is pretty cut and dry. It’s stating that some things just aren’t worth the fight and all the trouble. That’s made even more clear in the song’s chorus, as Witherspoon sings “You know you’re wrong/So come down/You must be out of your mind/We’re staying here forever, yeah/Until we’re all done throwing life away.” It’s such a bold statement. Yet, the balance of power and gentility in both Witherspoon’s vocals and the song’s musical side make it such a heavy song in its own right. Yet again it shows the band’s continued ability to make a song that has its own identity from previous works yet still has that familiar musical and lyrical heaviness; This, even though it’s not one of the band’s full-on pieces.

‘Come Down’ is one of six new tracks included on Time Travelers & Bonfires. Audiences will find that just as with ‘Come Down’, the other five new tracks included on this record also manage in their own way to build a different sound while maintaining Sevendust’s trademark heavy vibe. ‘Under It All’, the second of the new tracks proves that as it starts off with a short, but foreboding piano riff that conjures thoughts of Nine Inch Nails circa 1994. It’s just one more example of how the album’s new tracks each continue to exhibit the creativity and talent of Sevendust as a whole. Of course the band’s re-worked classics do their own part in making this album enjoyable, too. One prime example of that is the re-worked acoustic take on ‘Denial.’ The song, which was originally part of the band’s 1999 album Home, takes on a whole new life in its acoustic format here. The song’s original take is heavy and defiant. This take on the song is totally different. The mix of the acoustic guitars and Witherspoon’s vocals maintain the song’s anger. But there’s a certain increased emotional depth to the song with that mix. It gives the image of a man feeling anger and sadness all at the same time as he sings, “You never say what you mean/All I hear is scream/Never say that to me/Never say that to me/Wipe that s&*% off your face/Let’s not stop till we bleed/The more you spit out your mouth/The less I believe/Denial seems it had to come/Relied on me to say it all/Denial has left you all alone.” The song really does develop its own identity separate from its original take in this format. It could almost be considered a whole new song because of that wholly different emotion exhibited here. Once more, it shows the creativity and talent of the band. It is definitely one more of this album’s highest of points. It’s not the last of the album’s high points, either.

Sevendust exhibits so much creativity and talent throughout the course of the songs that make up Time Travelers & Bonfires. That has been shown already in the band’s re-worked acoustic take on ‘Denial’ and its new song ‘Come Down.’ Fittingly, Sevendust closes out its new album with the song that started it all in a re-worked acoustic take on ‘Black.’ There was no better final touch to this album than the band’s first hit. Whereas ‘Denial’ and other re-worked songs included on Time Travelers & Bonfires develop a whole new identity in their acoustic versions, this song is much the same in its acoustic take as in its original heavier take. That’s actually a good thing in the case of this song. One can’t help but wonder if it could in fact be better than the original take. It has just as much ferocity as the song’s original take. But there’s a certain different punch about it that puts it over the top in this setting. That punch makes it the perfect last impression for this record. It leaves the album feeling complete in every sense of the word. And in turn, listeners will feel after having heard this last dose of acoustic heaviness just why Time Travelers & Bonfires is one of Sevendust’s best albums to date.

Time Travelers & Bonfires is available now in stores and online. Audiences can even purchase the band’s new album at its live shows. Fans might even get to hear these acoustic recordings live as Sevendust makes its way across the country in support of its new album. The band is scheduled to perform live May 24th in El Paso, Texas. It wraps up May with dates in Illinois, Michigan, and Indiana before to Council Bluffs, Iowa to start off the month of June. The band’s most current tour schedule is available online now at http://www.facebook.com/sevendustofficial and http://www.sevendust.com. All of the latest news and more from the band is available on both websites. 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.

Sevendust Announces Details For New Album, Tour

Courtesy:  ABC Promotions

Courtesy: ABC Promotions

The long wait for Sevendust’s new album is almost over.  The band—Lajon Witherspoon (vocals), Vince Hornsby (bass), Clint Lowery (guitar/vocals), Morgan Rose (drums/vocals), and John Connolly (guitar/vocals)—has announced that it will release its fan-funded acoustic album Time Travelers & Bonfires will be released nationwide in April.  The upcoming all-acoustic compilation will feature a collection of new songs mixed in with re-worked versions of songs such as: ‘Black’, ‘Gone’, ‘Denial’, ‘Karma’, ‘Trust’ and ‘Crucified’ just to name a handful of songs.  Time Travelers& Bonfires isn’t the first time that Sevendust’s members have delved into the acoustic side of their songs.  The band released the highly acclaimed live acoustic recording Southside Double-wide in 2004.  One writer with All Music Guide wrote of that recording, “Fans should invest readily in Southside Double-Wide…Sevendust’s famously confrontational sound smolders, and damn it if their sensitive side isn’t just as fiery.” The complete listing for Time Travelers & Bonfires is available below.

Time Travelers & Bonfires Track Listing

1. Come Down

2. Under It All

3. The Wait

4. Upbeat Sugar

5. One Life

6. Bonfire

7. Gone

8. Denial

9. Trust

10. Crucified

11. Karma

12. Black

In conjunction with the album’s release, the band has also announced a supporting tour beginning April 1st in its hometown of Atlanta, GA.  The band’s “An Acoustic Evening with Sevendust” tour spans twenty-eight dates.  The current tour schedule sees the band making its way from the south to the West Coast (including the Pacific Northwest) before swinging back through the nation’s heartland and back around to the Northeast.  The most current tour schedule is listed below.

AN ACOUSTIC EVENING WITH SEVENDUST TOUR

DATE               CITY                             VENUE

Tue 4/1             Athens, GA                   Georgia Theatre

Wed 4/2            Destin, FL                     Club LA

Fri 4/4               Houston, TX                   Scout Bar

Sat 4/5              Dallas, TX                      Trees

Sun 4/6             Austin, TX                     Emo’s

Tue 4/8             Tempe, AZ                    Marquee

Thu 4/10            El Cajon, CA                 Sycuan Casino

Fri 4/11             Los Angeles, CA            House Of Blues

Sat 4/12            Las Vegas, NV              Vinyl at Hard Rock

Sun 4/13           Reno, NV                      Knitting Factory

Wed 4/16          Sacramento, CA            Ace Of Spades

Fri 4/18             Seattle, WA                  El Corazon

Sat 4/19            Portland, OR                 Hawthorne Theatre

Sun 4/20           Boise, ID                       Knitting Factory

Mon 4/21           Salt Lake City, UT          The Complex

Tue 4/22            Denver, CO                    Gothic Theatre

Fri 4/25             Joliet, IL                        Mojoes

Sat 4/26            Madison, WI                  Orpheum

Mon 4/28           Detroit, MI                     Royal Oak Music Theatre

Tue 4/29            Cincinnati, OH               Bogart’s

Wed 4/30          Louisville, KY                 Mercury Ballroom

Fri 5/2               Baltimore, MD               Sound Stage

Sat 5/3              Washington, DC            The Howard Theatre

Sun 5/4             New York, NY                Highline Ballroom

Tue 5/6             Hartford, CT                   Webster Theatre

Thu 5/8             Patchogue, NY              Emporium

Fri 5/9               Portland, ME                 Asylum

Sat 5/10            Philadelphia, PA            Electric Factory

Before the band hits the road this Spring, it will be part of the annual ShipRocked cruise.  It will be in good company when the cruise leaves port.  Also scheduled to perform on the cruise are: Papa Roach, Five Finger Death Punch, Three Days Grace, In This Moment, Tremonti, Black Stone Cherry, and a slew of others.  The cruise will depart from the Port of Miami this Sunday, January 26th and will return next Thursday, January 30th.  While at sea, the cruise will take audiences to Great Stirrup Cay, a private island in the Bahamas. A small number of staterooms for this year’s cruise is still available.  Vacationers and audiences get info on that limited space online at the official ShipRocked website, http://www.ShipRocked.com.

More information on Sevendust’s upcoming tour, new album, and more is available online at http://www.sevendust.com, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sevendust/25493613958, and http://twitter.com/sevendust.  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.

Sevendust’s New LP One Of 2013’s Best Hard Rock Records

Courtesy:  asylum/7bros/ada

Courtesy: asylum/7bros/ada

Sevendust is one of the most respected and beloved bands in the world of both mainstream and hard rock.  That’s because this fan favorite band has proven itself time and again over the course of eight albums and nearly twenty years.  Now with its ninth full length record, the members of this Atlanta, GA based band have proven yet again why Sevendust has stood tall while so many other bands have fallen by the wayside.

Black Out The Sun is everything that a Sevendust fan could hope for.  It opens deceivingly with a short near ninety-second instrumental that harkens back to its previous album, Cold Day Memory before launching into a sound that echoes across the band’s catalogue of albums in ‘Faithless.’  It is a solid, hard rocking opus that as loud and heavy as it is, is actually quite the positive and uplifting piece.  Front man Lajon Witherspoon sings in this first full opening number, “The burning ends/You come around/So step back for the answer/Lift yourself up slowly/It’s taken everything/Don’t you throw it away/The burning ends at least for now/So I resist/You go on/Days are lost/Can’t change a thing/Life hangs on for all days/But no real place to go/But I forgive/Life hangs on.”  This is a song of personal perseverance through all of life’s most difficult situations.  The lyrics are anything but cryptic here.  They are saying, “Don’t throw away life.  Don’t give up.  Things get tough, but don’t give up.”  The song’s musical side is a fitting “companion” of sorts as it helps serve as a motivator of sorts.  The aggression of the music helps to illustrate the feelings of perseverance being expressed lyrically.  Together, they make for a fitting opener to this album, and equally fitting transition from the band’s most recent album.

‘Mountain’ offers a similar vibe.  It is another of this album’s high points.  It has that same high energy music.  When set next to the song’s equally defiant lyrics, it becomes a song that one could easily see becoming a fan favorite both on the album and in a live setting.  It would be easy to envision a thousand fists and more pumping in the air while the audience sings along to this song.  Lyrically, it’s even more defiant than ‘Faithless.’  Witherspoon sings in this song, “First on top of the mountain/Push back/Drop down/Broke you to pieces/I’m on top of the mountain/Save name/Save face/Keeps all of me away from you.”  While it comes across as being a more personal piece, this chorus alone makes no bones about it.  It is aimed at someone in particular.  And really, who out there hasn’t felt like that at one point or another.  Even this critic has felt something similar to this more than once.  That ability of listeners to so easily relate to the song’s lyrical side and enjoy its musical side is sure to make this song another favorite.

For all the high energy and aggression exuded through Black Out The Sun, the band actually does pull back some in the form of the song, ‘Got A Feeling.’  It comes across as a very introspective piece, lyrically speaking.  Witherspoon‘s gentility as he sings, “I gave a poor man a dime or two/He saved my soul with gratitude/And gave his life/Yes he did” is moving to say the least.  The semi-country/western vibe of the guitars and the piano’s dark tones really serve to add a whole extra depth to the song.  It’s one that is certain to grow on listeners more with each listen.  Of course it’s just one of many other pieces that Sevendust’s legions around the world will enjoy on what is some of the band’s best work to date.  As a matter of fact, the band’s members have collectively crafted in Black Out The Sun a record that has found a place on this critic’s list of the year’s Best New Hard Rock albums.  And now, three other lucky Sevendust fans can own this hard rocking record for free next week just by “Liking” the Phil’s Picks Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/philspicks.  Three lucky fans will win copies of Black Out The Sun when they finish lyrics from the band’s previous records.  One song lyric will be posted there Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.  The first person to correctly finish the song lyric each day will pick up a copy of the album.  All three copies are signed by the entire band.

Those who don’t manage to pick up the band’s new album can still catch Sevendust live on the road as it tours in support of Black Out The Sun.  The band will be in Auget, IL tonight and then in Milwaukee, WI and Minneapolis, MN over the weekend.  Fans in North Carolina will also get to see the band when it makes a stop at Charlotte, North Carolina’s Fillmore Charlotte on April 23rd.  Even more tour dates are listed online on the band’s official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sevendust/25493613958 and the band’s official website, http://www.sevendust.com.  Fans can order the new album online at http://bit.ly/BlackOutTheSun.

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Sevendust Announces Album Release, Tour Dates

Veteran hard rock band Sevendust is set to release its ninth full length studio album titled, Black Out The Sun.  The Atlanta, GA based band has already released the album’s lead single, ‘Decay’ online at billboard.com.  The full album is currently scheduled to be released in stores and online Tuesday March 26th.  The single will start airing on radio stations across the country very soon.  The band has also allowed fans the chance to pre-order the new album and tickets to shows online.  Fans just have to go online to http://tixx1.artistarena.com/sevendust

 Ahead of the album’s release, the band—Lajon Witherspoon (vocals), Morgan Rose (drums/vocals), Clint Lowery (guitars/vocals), Vince Hornsby (bass/vocals), and John Connolly (guitar/vocals)—will hit the road in support of the new LP.  The band will be joined by Lacuna Coil, the reformed Coal Chamber, and Candlelight Red (which is touring in support of its recently released Morgan Rose produced EP, Demons)  at various stops throughout its tour.  The tour kicks off Saturday, February 2nd at Ziggy’s in Winston Salem, North Carolina.  The band will be performing alongside Lacuna Coil at this show, and those following through February 23rd.  Sevendust’s Eastern Carolina fan base will also get to see the band live as it will make a stop at Hooligan’s in Jacksonville, North Carolina Sunday, February 3rd.  Fans who don’t get to see the band in its first run through North Carolina will get on more chance later in April as the band is set to perform at the Fillmore in Charlotte, North Carolina on Tuesday, April 23rd. As an added bonus, not only will fans in Charlotte get to see the band perform alongside Lacuna Coil, but they’ll also get to see both Coal Chamber and Candlelight Red at this show.

To get all the latest news from Sevendust on its new album and its tour and to check out the band’s music, fans can go online to http://www.sevendust.com, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sevendust/25493613958, http://twitter.com/Sevendust, and http://www.youtube.com/user/officialsevendust.

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Rock Supergroup’s Debut LP Great For Fans Of Sevendust, Alter Bridge

Courtesy: ABC-PR

Sevendust guitarist John Connolly stumbled onto something quite interesting when he decided to join forces with fellow Sevendust member Vince Hornsby and Alter Bridge/Creed members Scott Phillips and Erock Friedman.  The hard rock supergroup’s debut album is a familiar mixture of sounds brought collectively from their own primary projects.  The pinpoint precise guitar work that Connolly honed throughout the years with Sevendust is evident throughout the course of this record.  And drummer Scott Phillip’s chops are just as sharp here as if he was playing with Creed or Alter Bridge. 

What is perhaps most intriguing about this record is not so much the fact that the album boasts quite the similarity to material from Sevendust, but that Connolly himself has proven to be quite the vocalist.  He actually has some very strong pipes throughout the entire work.  And the addition of Sevendust’s Lajon Witherspoon on ‘Bring You Back’ adds that much more flare to the song.  Connolly especially shows his vocal abilities on ‘12804.’  Whereas he showed his pipes could withstand the fiercest growls on other harder rocking songs, this ballad-esque tribute to legendary guitarist Dimebag Darrell shows that he really is the real deal in terms of vocal proficiency.  This slowdown is only momentary, of course, as the band instantly launches back into the more adrenaline laced sound in ‘The Crown.’  He shows that he’s just as talented as Alter Bridge front man Myles Kennedy both with his guitar work and his vocals on this song.  It’s just one more of the album’s many highlights. 

Another of the album’s real high points comes on its closer, ‘Breaking Me.’  After the musical onslaught of the album, this final piece will leave audiences breathless, but at the same time, feeling like they’ve experienced more than just an album.  Phillips’ pounding drums and the absolutely demolishing guitar work from Connolly is like something from Sevendust’s 2007 Album, ‘Alpha.’  On the other end, the album’s opener, ‘Hello’ sounds like it could have easily fit into Sevendust’s early albums.  The same applies to ‘Watch it Burn’ and the majority of this record.  Anyone that’s a fan of Sevendust, Creed and/or Alter Bridge will easily find something enjoyable of their own regardless of which track they try from this disc.  ‘Human’ is available in stores and online now.  Fans who want to check out the band’s music and all the latest from Projected can go online now to http://www.projectedband.com, http://www.facebook.com/ProjectedBand, http://twitter.com/projected1119, and http://www.youtube.com/projected1119.

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.