Bad Magic Casts A Great New Spell For Fans

Courtesy:  UDR/Motorhead Music

Courtesy: UDR/Motorhead Music

The rock community and the music community in whole suffered a sad loss last week when former Motorhead drummer Phil Taylor passed away.  While Taylor hadn’t been a member of the band since 1992, he was one of the most well-known and beloved, having recorded and performed with the band for a total of fourteen years.  That is second only to current drummer Mikkey Dee.  That means that he had quite the impact both on the lives of his band mates and on the music community in whole.  He will be sorely missed.  While Taylor’s passing this week is reason to mourn, there is still reason to celebrate as the current Motorhead lineup released its latest full-length studio recording late this summer.  The album, Bad Magic, is the band’s twenty-second full-length album.  And it is yet another solid slab of rock from this veteran act.  The trademark hard rock/punk hybrid sound that has made Motorhead a fan favorite for so many years is just as prevalent throughout the course of this record as in any of the band’s previous studio recordings beginning with the album’s full-throttle opener ‘Victory Or Die.’  It is just one example of how much this album has to offer audiences.  For all of the fire and energy exhibited throughout the record, it does have at least a couple of more reserved moments to change things up a little bit.  ‘Til The End’ is one of those moments.  It starts off not necessarily soft, but soft in comparison to most of the album’s other songs.  And even when it does pick up, it is still not the high-energy composition that the album’s other songs are.  Most surprising of all is the album’s other “reserved” song, its cover of The Rolling Stones’ hit song Sympathy For The Devil.’  At first thought, one wouldn’t necessarily associate Lemmy and company with The Rolling Stones.  But the band’s take on the classic tune works in so many ways.  And being the album’s closer, it makes for a perfect counterpoint to the album’s high-energy opener and the rest of its adrenaline-fueled compositions even being a cover.  It is just one more example of just how much this album has to offer audiences.  It is hardly the last example of how much it has to offer audiences, too.  ‘Thunder & Lightning’ comes across with the energy of a bolt of lightning.  ‘Teach Them How To Bleed’ cuts through just as solidly.  Yes, that awful pun was fully intended.  And ‘When The Sky Comes Looking For You’ could just as easily be used for a single—just as much as any of the album’s other song.  Each of those songs set alongside the pieces not directly noted here make Bad Magic an album that will cast its own hard rock spell on Motorhead fans and metal heads alike.

Motorhead’s latest full-length studio album Bad Magic is yet another solid slab of rock that will cast its own hard rock spell on everyone that hears it.  That is evident right from the thirteen-track album’s fiery, adrenaline-fueled opener ‘Victory Or Die’ right through to its surprisingly enjoyable cover of The Rolling Stones’ ‘Sympathy For The Devil.’  All things considered, it is a record that every Motorhead fan should have in his or her music library.  Speaking of ‘Victory Or Die,’ it is just one example of how much this record has to offer both Motorhead’s fans and metal heads around the world.  In regards to the song’s musical content, it displays the familiar punk/hard rock hybrid sound that has fueled the band for forty years and maintained its place amongst the rock community’s elite acts.  The band wastes no time launching right into the song with Lemmy singing, “Victory or death!” before he, guitarist Phil Campbell and drummer Mikkey Dee unleash the song’s full aural assault.  Dee’s time keeping is rock solid from start to finish while Campbell and Kilmister instantly get the blood flowing just as much with their respective lines.  The pure energy of the song’s musical content expertly compliments the commentary contained in the song’s lyrical content.  Lemmy sings in this song, “What have you done/What’s in your mind/What do you need/Where shall we go to let it out/What have you seen/We don’t know where you’ve been/Life so often blows your candle out/Believe in what is right/what’s right for you tonight.”  It comes across as a commentary telling listeners to think for themselves.  That argument can be made as he sings later in the song, “Look around and see the soldiers/See them marching off to war/Take a careful look as they swing by/They’re all heroes but they don’t know what they’re fighting for/That’s the spirit/Victory or die.”  He comes across as saying that these men are heroes, but they’re not really thinking for themselves.  All they know is that they are going off to fight.  The seeming concept of thinking for one’s own self is illustrated in this song even more as Lemmy sings, “Look up and see the flying saucers cruising in the sky/I saw one myself it ain’t no lie/Looks down and see the road you’re on/As if you are on a marathon/That’s the spirit victory or die.”  He goes on explaining about how we each have our own experiences and learn different things.  So no matter what we experience and learn, that is our own personal belief.  Of course that is just the interpretation of this critic alone.  As always, it could be completely off the mark.  Hopefully that isn’t the case and this critic is at least somewhere in the proverbial ballpark.  But it seems to be what Kilmister is trying to get across to audiences.  He would seem to be saying to people don’t let anyone tell you what to think.  It is definitely a strong message.  The addition of the song’s driving musical content helps to drive home that message as it helps to enhance the illustrate the feeling that someone should have in realizing that he or she should think for himself or herself.  It is just one example of how much this record has to offer the band’s fans and audiences in general.  ‘Till The End’ is another example of the album’s depth of content.

‘Victory or Die’ is a solid opener for Motorhead in its latest full-length studio album.  The energy generated via the song’s musical content partners with its lyrical content that seemingly promotes individualistic thought to make a song that definitely makes quite the first impression for the band here.  It is of course just one example of just how much Bad Magic has to offer audiences over the course of its thirteen total tracks and forty-two minutes.  ‘Til The End’ is another example of how much this record has to offer listeners.  It shows that the band can have just as much of an impact playing more reserved material as the more upbeat stuff, too.  That is exemplified in the song ‘Till The End.’  In comparison to most of the album’s other material, this song starts off much slower and overall reserved in terms of its musical content.  Even when it does pick up, it is still reserved in comparison to most of the album’s other offerings. The song’s introspective lyrical content makes it stand out even more as Lemmy sings in his gravelly delivery, “In my years my life has changed/I can’t turn back the hands of time/I can’t tell you just what made me change/All I know is who I am/I’ll never let you down/The last one you can trust until the end.” There’s a certain vulnerability in his voice even as he belts out this verse that shows a wholly different side to Lemmy. The song’s musical content set against such contemplative lyrics and powerful vocal delivery makes this song one of the brightest of this record’s moments. If that doesn’t prove said argument then the song’s softer moments definitely will. He sings out about where he has been, and where and who he is. It is really a deep moment and welcome departure from the frantic energy exuded by the rest of the album’s featured compositions. Even as impressive as it is in the bigger picture of the album’s body it still is not the only remaining example of how much this album has to offer audiences. The band’s cover of The Rolling Stones’ ‘Sympathy For The Devil’ can also be cited as another of Bad Magic’s high points.

‘Victory or Die’ and ‘Til The End’ are both key examples of just how much Bad Magic has to offer audiences. That is because both songs show once again the band’s musical and lyrical abilities. The songs’ lyrical content will have any listener thinking. Their dramatically different musical styles show that the band can do more than just play loud and fast. They show that the band can also succeed in crafting something slower so to speak, yet still be heavy in its own right. As impressive as both songs are in the bigger picture of Bad Magic they are just a small part of the picture that makes this album yet another impressive addition to Motorhead’s catalogue. The band’s cover of The Rolling Stones’ ‘Sympathy For The Devil,’ which closes out the album, is one more example of just how much the album has to offer audiences as well as the band itself. While it stays largely true to the Stones’ original song, Motorhead has given it is own identity at the same time here. It really serves to exhibit the band’s blues rock roots and again the breadth of its abilities. Listeners will love Campbell’s soaring guitar solo in the song’s bridge and Dee’s rock solid time keeping. For those that don’t know, trying to keep time in the hi-hat, while executing a poly-rhythmic pattern on the toms is not easy. It requires its own share of concentration. Lemmy’s vocal delivery style gives the song even more of its own identity here in comparison to The Rolling Stones’ original take on the tune. That’s not a bad thing, either. In fact it makes Motorhead’s take that much more interesting to hear. All things considered the song is the perfect counterpoint to the album’s higher-energy opener and the rest of its featured songs. It was the perfect choice with which to close out the album since it could be argued that it sort of sets listeners somewhat gently back down after going through the musical adventure that was the rest of Bad Magic. Together with ‘Victory or Die’ and ‘Til The End’ it shows once more just how much Bad Magic has to offer audiences and how much Motorhead still has to offer audiences. And while all three compositions show in their own unique way just how much Motorhead has to offer audiences (as well as the band’s new album) they are hardly the only pieces in this collection that could be cited as examples of that offering. Any of the songs included in this album could be cited as examples of how much the album has to offer audiences. All things considered Bad Magic proves from beginning to end to be an album that will cast its own spell on Motorhead fans and metal heads alike and will have them agreeing that this album is one more of the best of the year’s new hard rock and metal albums.

Motorhead’s twenty-second full-length studio recording is one of the best of this year’s new hard rock and metal albums. It proves this nonstop throughout the course of its thirteen tracks and forty-two minutes. Whether through the familiar punk/hard rock hybrid sound of the album’s opener, the more reserved tones of the introspective ‘Til The End’ or even for the surprising take on The Rolling Stones’ classic ‘Sympathy For The Devil,’ the band shows from beginning to end just how much it and its new album have to offer audiences. Those songs set against the rest of the numbers featured throughout the album’s body makes the album that much more impressive. The end result is an album that shows why Motorhead remains today one of rock’s elite and why the album in itself is one of the best of the year’s new hard rock and metal offerings. Bad Magic is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered in a variety of bundle packs online via the band’s online store now at Fans can also pick up Bad Magic now at any of the band’s upcoming live shows as it makes its way across Europe and the UK. More information on the band’s tour and album is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:






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This Is Your Life Is Not Just Another Throw-Away Tribute Album

Courtesy:  Rhino Records

Courtesy: Rhino Records

Tribute albums are a dime a dozen. So many tribute albums are released each year that one can’t help but feel that the labels that release them care more about their bottom line than about actually celebrating said artists being given tribute. That being the case, one can’t help but wonder why This Is Your Life, the new tribute album to iconic rock front man Ronnie James Dio, would be any different from those records. The answer to that is not a simple one. One reason that this tribute album stands out is the list of performers and bands that recorded songs for the compilation. It’s a who’s who of hard rock from the past, present, and even future of the genre. Another reason that this compilation stands out is its track listing. This record boasts some of the most beloved songs of RJD’s career. And last but definitely not least important to consider in this record is the fact that it isn’t just a means for the label distributing it to make money. It actually doubles as a fundraiser for RJD’s Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund. So it’s actually a record crafted to essentially help give back. How many bands, artists, groups, etc. can say that they have crafted an entire album simply to raise funds for charity? That–along with the list of songs and performers, bands, etc. on this album–makes This Is Your Life an album that stands well above the rest of the otherwise throw-away albums claiming to be tribute albums.

Courtesy:  Rhino Records

Courtesy: Rhino Records

The primary aspect of This Is Your Life that makes it stand out against all of the other tribute albums out there is the list of performers drafted to record songs for the record. The list of performers drafted for this record is a who’s who of hard rock’s past, present, and even future. It wasn’t just a mish-mash of bands, artists and groups tossed together. Everybody tapped to record for this tribute record is either a counterpart to RJD or someone that grew up idolizing him and his talents. Veterans such as Anthrax, Motorhead, Scorpions, Biff Byford, and Rob Halford perform alongside younger acts such as Adrenaline Mob, Killswitch Engage, and Halestorm over the course of the record’s fourteen total tracks. That collection of bands and artists singing Dio’s hits is in itself a musical history lesson. It introduces younger audiences that might be more familiar with the latter grouping of bands and artists to the veterans and to the music of Dio. To that extent, This Is Your Life quickly earns major points. Even more points come from the sampling of Dio’s music in question chosen for this compilation.

The list of bands, artists, and groups tapped to record RJD’s music for This Is Your Life is in itself a major boon for the record. As noted, it isn’t just a mish-mash of bands, artists, and groups. It is a collection of bands, group, and artists that played alongside Dio during his career, and those that have come since, growing up with the music of Ronnie James Dio. In short, it’s a collection of individuals that have the utmost respect for Dio and his music. Speaking of that music, the songs chosen to be included on this record are another part of the whole that makes it so enjoyable for listeners. Every song on this record is a classic in its own way. From the more well-known pieces such as ‘The Mob Rules’, ‘Neon Knights’ and ‘Holy Diver’ to slightly lesser known songs such as ‘Straight Through The Heart’, Egypt (The Chains Are On’, and ‘Temple of the King’ This Is Your Life does quite the job of chronicling the career of a man that was and is still even in death, one of the greatest vocalists and performers in the history of hard rock.

The music and performers chosen for This Is Your Life are both key components of the success of the album. As important as they are to the success of the record, there is still one central aspect of the recording that makes it so worth picking up. That aspect is the fact that a certain portion of the sales of the album will go to benefit Dio’s Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund, which was established by Dio’s wife Wendy Dio. Bands, groups and artists go out on tour every year or they take part in fundraising concerts. How many artists can say they were part of a recording project that was also meant as a way to pay tribute to one of their own, too? It’s just like bringing home a hard rock festival without having to pay the exorbitant prices for tickets, souvenirs, sodas and more. And at the same time, audiences that purchase the album will actually be helping to fund an organization that works to research and promote awareness of cancer, as well as educate people about early detection in hopes of one day stopping it.

This Is Your Life is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online via Amazon at and can be downloaded via iTunes at

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Ford Is As Ferocious As Ever On Her New Live Recording

Courtesy:  SPV/Steamhammer Records

Courtesy: SPV/Steamhammer Records

Lita Ford’s new live recording, The Bitch Is Back, is a good introduction to the veteran rocker’s music.  Ford, who started her career decades ago as a member of the famed Runaways, proves with this latest live release that she still has plenty left to offer her audiences.  From the show’s set list to the audio mix to her general presence, there is much to like about this new live recording.  All things considered, Ford should have titled this recording, The Bitch Is Here instead of its given title.  Regardless, it proves in the end to be one of the year’s top live CDs.

The set list chosen for Ford’s 2013 show at California’s famed Canyon Club is the first part of what makes The Bitch Is Back so enjoyable for audiences.  Most of the songs chosen for this show come from her 2012 album, Livin’ Like a Runaway.  However, there are some older tracks included in the set list presented on this recording.  One of the best of the songs included in this recording is ‘Can’t Catch Me.’ She explains to the audience in attendance that the song was spawned after a chance meeting at the Rainbow Room.  Who would have ever thought that Lita Ford and Lemmy Kilmister would collaborate?  Regardless, the result is a fun, high octane piece that bears all the trademarks of classic Motorhead.  It’s little tidbits such as this that Ford shares through her set that makes this recording even more fun.  But that will be discussed later.  Ford’s collaboration with Lemmy Kilmister is just one of the high points that fans will take away from The Bitch is Back.  She also includes ‘Hate’, which is just one of the songs that she pulled from Livin’ Like a Runaway.  The song’s lyrical side is a powerful social commentary about society’s seemingly growing obsession with violence and hate.  It’s not such a stretch.  One need just look at the content of today’s TV shows and movies and one will agree that Ford is right on the mark here.  Her driving guitar riffs expertly compliment the song’s lyrics, making it one more high point of the show.  There is so much more that could be discussed concerning the show’s set list.  Allegedly, there were even a number of songs from the show not included in this recording.  If that is indeed the case, then maybe fans will get the remainder of those songs in a future live release.  To that extent, one could argue that by not including all of the songs from her show, Ford has left fans wanting more in the best possible way.  Again, that just makes this recording all the more worth hearing.

The set list included in this recording is the center of what makes it so enjoyable.  However, it isn’t the only part of what makes it so enjoyable.  The recording and mastering work done by Bill Gall and Fernando Cavasos respectively makes the record all the more worth the listen.  Indoor venues always present their own set of challenges when recording live performances.  This is the case regardless of whether one is recording a pop star, rock band, rapper, or some other act.  So it goes without saying that Gall and Cavasos did an impressive job in making sure that Ford’s fans were presented with the best product possible.

The final audio mix presented in The Bitch is Back works in tandem with the recording’s set list to make it a record that is a good introduction to first time fans.  The final product is just as good for those fans that are more knowledgeable of Ford’s body of work.   For everything already noted, there is still one more piece to this recording that can’t be ignored.  That piece is Ford’s own performance.  As with the set list, so much could be noted.  There just isn’t enough space or time for it all.  While this recording is only the concert’s audio portion, one can tell simply by listening, that even after so many decades, Ford has not lost a single bit of steam.  As a matter of fact, the level of energy that she exhibits throughout the performance echoes the energy and stage presence of her fellow veteran rockers in their heyday.  That stage presence is the final proverbial nail for this recording.  Alongside the expert audio mix and equally impressive set list, it makes this record that much more of a must hear for any Lita Ford fan old and new alike.  It is available now in stores and online.  After fans pick up her new live release, they can also make plans to see her live once she hits the road again in the new year.  She is currently taking some much needed rest and relaxation in order to get recharged before hitting the road again.  She is currently slated to kick off 2014 with a live performance on January 9th at the world famous Whiskey A Go Go in West Hollywood, California.  That show will be followed by performances in Nevada and more dates in California.  Fans can get the latest tour updates, news and more from Lita Ford online at and  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at

Motorhead Hasn’t Lost Any Steam Even After Twenty-One Albums

Courtesy: UDR

Courtesy: UDR

2013 has been quite the year for the metal community.  New releases from the likes of Chimaira, Kingshifter, and so many others have made the field among the metal community extremely crowded.  Enter veteran rock band Motorhead and its members’ twenty-first full length studio album, Aftershock.  With the release of Aftershock, Lemmy Kilmister and his band mates have made the choice of the year’s best new hard rock and metal even more difficult.  Kilmister left fans wondering when they’re hear the next new Motorhead album when it was announced earlier in the year that he was suffering from an illness.  So it only makes sense that he, drummer Phil Campbell, and guitarist Mikkey Dee would open the band’s twenty-first full length studio release with the pummeling ‘Heartbreaker.’  This song is a bold statement, letting the world know that not even illness will keep Motorhead from making music.  ‘Coup de Grace’, the album’s second song, keeps the energy flowing, proving more still why this trio of musicians is still collectively one of the rock world’s greatest bands nearly four decades after it was originally formed.  The band barely lets up even the slightest over the course of the album’s fourteen total tracks.  Simply put, the band leaves listeners breathless by the end of the album’s closer, ‘Paralyzed.’  By the time this song’s final notes fade, any purist metal head will agree that what he or she has just experienced in this album is a work that is far more than deserving of a spot on any rock critic’s list of the year’s best new hard rock albums.

Lemmy, Phil, and Mikkey waste no time getting things moving on Aftershock.  The album’s opener, ‘Heartbreaker’ is proof of that.  It’s a full on, no nonsense hard rocker much in the vein of the band’s much more classic records through the years.  Keeping in mind that Kilmister had suffered from an illness before this record was released, it makes this song all the more impressive return especially for him.  His voice sounds as pounding as ever as he sings, “Careful where you stand now boy/Everything has changed/Got to search and destroy/Everything has changed/Got to move/Stop the dreams/All protection gone/Listen to how the people scream/On and on and on.”  Lemmy has never sounded better.  His powerhouse vocals alongside the musicianship of Phil and Mikkey collectively make this an excellent first impression for anyone that is new to the music of Motorhead.  It’s just as impressive a return for the band’s more seasoned fans.

‘Heartbreaker’ is one heck of a way for the members of Motorhead to open the band’s new album.  The energy doesn’t let up after this song ends, either.  Lemmy, Phil, and Mikkey keep the throttle on high as they launch into the equally pounding ‘Coup De Grace.’  The song’s musical energy alone will have any purist metal head’s horns high in the air.  The defiant lyrical side serves to make it even more of a fan favorite.  Lemmy sings in this song, “Don’t believe a word/Don’t run with the herd/I don’t like the news/Watch it every week/Just because/I don’t believe it/Don’t make me a freak/If you knew the real stories/Can’t be fooled no more/You can kiss/Or you can tell/Parasite or whore.”  He goes on to sing in the song’s next verse, “Don’t believe the lies/Truth will make you wise.”  The statement being made here is largely clear.  That statement set alongside the song’s musical side exudes pure hard rock energy.  And the combination of the two elements will certainly make this another fan favorite.

The energy exuded by ‘Coup De Grace’ and ‘Heartbreaker’ is incredible to say the least.  And it hardly lets up at any one point throughout the course of Aftershock. This is the case even with the album’s closer, ‘Paralyzed.’  The song’s lyrical side is interesting to say the least.  The song’s lyrics are obviously metaphorical.  Kilmister writes, “Looking for a temple/Looking for the gold/Looking like a hero/When the story’s told.” He goes on singing, “Flying over mountains/Flying over seas/Flying through a hurricane/Praying on your knees/Searching for a fortune/Searching for a clue/Flying in the face of death/Flying into view.”  It’s certain to lead to plenty of discussion as to what exactly is being said here.  Add the discussions in question to the song’s full throttle musical side, and audiences get a song that closes the album just as solidly as ‘Heartbreaker’ opened the record.  These songs, and those not mentioned all work together to make Aftershock one that Motorhead’s legions of fans will love whether it’s a first introduction or the twenty-first re-introduction.  It’s available now in stores and online.  As of right now, Lemmy is still fighting the good fight, trying to get back to full strength.  As long as everything goes as planned, the band will hit the road in Europe in 2014, beginning with a performance in Glasgow, Scotland on February 13th, 2014.  A full listing of the band’s most current tour schedule is available online at  More information on the band’s tour, all the latest news from the band, and on Aftershock is available online at and  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at

Saxon Shines On Sacrifice

Courtesy:  UDR, Columbia Records, Militia Guard Music, EMI

Courtesy: UDR, Columbia Records, Militia Guard Music, EMI

Thirty-four years is a long time.  It’s a long time any way that one thinks about it in terms of regular time.  IN terms of the world of music, thirty-four years is an exceptionally long amount of time.  That’s how long the British hard rock band Saxon has been making music.  In an era when the music world is top heavy with flash-in-the-pan bands, it says something special about Saxon that the band is still making music and is still a fan favorite.  Over the course of those three decades plus, Saxon has crafted some nineteen albums.  And now on its twentieth (yes, twentieth) full length record, Sacrifice, Saxon shows once again why it is still so popular and successful.

Sacrifice is pure guitar driven hard rock.  The album’s ten-song set will impress anyone that is a fan of the band’s British brothers in Iron Maiden and Judas Priest.  If there is one song that best exemplifies the album’s title, it would have to be ‘Made in Belfast.’  This song pays tribute to the Irish workmen who built so many of the world’s great structures.  That includes both buildings and sailing vessels.  The band sings proudly in the song’s chorus, “Pulling all together boys/Salving for the boss’s boys/Got to meet the deadline now/Pulling all together boys/Made in Belfast/Made in Belfast.”  The song goes on sounding more like something that audiences might expect more from the likes of Boston’s own Celtic punk rock band Dropkick Murphys than from any hard rock act.  Regardless of this, it proves that even hard rock bands can cover more than the standard lyrical themes in their songs.

Just as fitting an addition to Sacrifice as ‘Made in Belfast’ is ‘Walking the Steel.’  This song is an obvious tribute to all who lost their lives on September 11th, 2001 from the innocent victims to the first responders that died trying to save the innocents.  It also pays tribute to those that have made so much sacrifice to help “Ground Zero” return to its former glory as they build the aptly named “Freedom Tower.”  It’s a different form of sacrifice.  But it still fits quite well within the album title’s general theme.  Front man Biff Byford (who co-produced this album alongside famed producer Andy Sneap—Arch Enemy, Killswitch Engage, Fozzy) sings proudly in this song, “Rising from the ashes floor by floor/Reaching up into the sky/Where the eagles soar/The city sleeps/Life goes on/Hope is still alive/Born again the towers rise above the New York skies./Rising from the ashes for all the world to see.”  This single verse, which opens the song, is certain to become a fan favorite both on the record and in a live setting.  It is so easy to close one’s eyes and see fists breaking the air with pride, and the audiences in attendance singing along with the band as it reaches the chorus, “Walking the steel build them high/Walking the steel you touch the sky/Remember the heroes/Remember them all.”  Anyone that is left unmoved by this song is simply not human.

‘Made in Belfast’ and ‘Walking The Steel’ are both excellent additions to Sacrifice.  They were perfect choices for the album, considering its lyrical themes.  There is much more for audiences to appreciate about this album, though.  There is the traditional song about living life on the road in ‘Stand Up and Fight’, and the completely original song, ‘Guardians of the Tomb’, which comes across as being about the famed “terracotta army” of China.  Go through the annals of hard rock and one will struggle to find many bands that have decided on this as subject matter for a song.  Saxon’s members get major credit for that originality and for crafting a song that rocks at the same time.  There are even more songs on Sacrifice from which listeners will be able to choose proving why these old dogs still have plenty of tricks up their sleeves.  They alone are more than worth picking up this album, which is available now.

If the songs on Sacrifice’s main disc aren’t enough for fans, then maybe the bonus EP will impress listeners.  The bonus EP boasts five re-recorded songs from the band’s catalogue, anchored by the beautiful orchestral take of ‘Crusader.’  The cellos used throughout the song conjure thoughts of Apocalyptica.  The album’s liner notes don’t’ make mention of whether or not it is the band in question.  Regardless, they are a nice touch.  The way that the song starts out with the gentle acoustic guitar alongside Byro’s vocals before building into the pounding rhythms of the re-recorded song makes for huge effect.  The effect of that mix is made even better with the inclusion of any number of string musicians.  It may not be the first time ever that a band has incorporated strings into a rock song.  But it still works nonetheless.  The bluesy ‘Just Let Me Rock’ is slower than ‘Crusader.’  But that doesn’t mean that it’s any less enjoyable.  There’s almost a certain ‘Ace of Spades’ vibe about this song.  Even Byro himself sounds a little like Lemmy Kilmister.  Were someone to hear this song without knowing that Byro was singing, one might actually believe for a moment that it was in fact Kilmister singing.  The guitar solos are just as blistering as anything that Motorhead could put out, too.  To say that this album is that impressive is a tribute to both Byro and his band mates.  It proves just how good this album is and how worth it is for any true hard rocker to pick up or order online.  The band is currently on the road in support of Sacrifice.   It is winding down the U.S. leg of its tour before taking a little time off in October to get ready for the European leg of its tour.  More information on this latest release from Saxon, its tour dates, and more is available online at and

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Queen V Hits Compilation A “Royal” Hit

Courtesy:  Royal Noise Records

Courtesy: Royal Noise Records

Ladies and gentleman, all hail her highness, Queen V.  For those rock and roll purists that haven’t yet heard the music of this heroine of hard rock, the New York based artist and her band mates are sure to impress with the new release, The Decade of Queen V.  This eleven track singles collection tracks the band’s now decade-long career together.  With any luck, the release of this brand new compilation will generate enough interest in Queen V to see her previous releases including her debut EP, Critical.  There is not one bad track on this compilation, which is a rare feat for a “hits” collection; this is especially rare considering that the band has flown just below the mainstream radar throughout the first ten years of its time together.

The first of the classic songs on this compilation, ‘Revolution Baby’ will instantly conjure thoughts of Joan Jett and Lita Ford with her gritty vocal style and hard driving music.  Her defiance as she sings lines such as: “You’ve got yours and I want mine”, “I’ve got every reason/to waste me time/Revolution baby/If you think you own me/Go to hell” is the mark of a strong confident woman who could care less about the reputation of the rock industry being marked as a man’s world.  The inclusion of this song as the compilation’s opener is simply put, a reminder of that confidence to first time listeners of her music.  The musical backing is just as solid as Queen V’s own vocals.  The bluesy harmonica backing wouldn’t seem to go with the harder guitars and drums.  But somehow it all melds nicely together to make a perfect introduction for first timers and re-introduction for those that might have otherwise forgotten about her and her band mates.

The energy doesn’t let up at all on the compilation’s next song, ‘America.’  This is pure, guitar-driven hard rock at its absolute finest.  The guitar solos are there.  The energy is there from each one of the band’s members.  And one can so easily close one’s eyes and imagine the band on stage, Queen V up front, fist in the air as she screams, “America/Can you hear me?”  What is most intriguing and interesting about the song is not so much it’s lyrical content, but its slow boil style.  It starts hard enough.  But audiences will notice how the song seems to build, musically increasingly with each verse until it all explodes with a massive guitar solo at the song’s end with Queen V hitting some of the highest notes of any female rocker of any era.  It’s like hearing Janis Joplin if she were a hard rocker, for lack of better comparison when she hits those high notes.  No doubt, long-time fans will appreciate all of this. And first-time listeners will be just as impressed with the talents exhibited here by the entire band.

Not all of the songs on Queen V’s new compilation are older pieces.  She also includes a newer piece in ‘My Machine’ that features none other than Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave, The Watchman, Street Sweeper Social Club).  Morello sounds as strong as ever with his guitar wizardry.  As bizarre as this may seem, but the way that Queen V intros the song, bring about thoughts of John Lee Hooker.  It’s that familiar opening of “ha, ha, ha, ha.”  John Lee Hooker fans will get the reference.  It might not have been entirely purposeful.  But it’s a nice touch to the song.  And it only gets more intense from here.  The intensity developed throughout the compilation’s sequence of songs is right here, too. 

There is so much that could be written on Queen V.  But suffice it to say that whether for the songs noted here, or the compilation’s others, including its closer—which was co-written by and features none other than Lemmy Kilmister (Motorhead) on vocals—or any of the album’s other outstanding works, this compilation is an absolute must have for any hard rock purist.  Fans can catch the songs from this brand new release and even more of the band’s hits tonight when the band takes the stage at the Thunderbird Café in Pittsburgh, PA.  The band will be in Clifton, New Jersey on July 26thThe Decade of Queen V is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered direct online from the Queen V website at or via iTunes at  Audiences can find out more about the band’s live schedule and all of the latest news and more from the band online at,,, and

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Motorhead Moves To The Front Of The Live Class With New Release

COurtesy: UDR Music/Motorhead Music/EMI Label Services

Motorhead fans put those horns high.  The band has returned with the accompanying piece to its 2011 release, The World Is Ours Vol. 1 – Everywhere Further Than Everyplace Else.  This second half of the band continues to cover highlights of its 2011 tour in support of its most recent album, The World Is Yours.  It picks right back up where Vol. 1 left off with just as much metal mayhem as that aforementioned release.

What Motorhead has shown yet again here is that a band doesn’t have to have pyro and loads of special effects to put on a great stage show.  All this hard rocking three piece needs is a huge set of its greatest hits and nothing more.  From the opening moments of ‘Iron Fist’ to the mega-drum solo of drummer Mikey Dee on ‘In The Name of Tragedy’ to the final number from the band’s performance at Rock in Rio, Motorhead’s loyal legions will love every second of this live box set.  Dee’s solo is without a doubt one of the most incredible moments from the band’s Wacken performance.  And the angles by which the camera crew catches his solo make his solo that much more intense.  For someone of his age, it is absolutely incredible to see up close and personal his talent and ability on the drums.  A moment such as that is exactly why fans flock to live shows every year.  It’s one thing to hear a band on a record.  But to experience such a sight in person is what makes an average fan into a mega fan.

Speaking of the camera angles used to capture Dee’s drum solo, those are angles are just a tiny piece of what makes the DVD and BD pieces to this four-piece set such a wonderful addition.  The cameras capture the band’s performance from every possible angle as it performs.  They even get into the depths of the audiences to capture the show from the audience’s point of view.  There are also shots taken from high above the crowd that expertly capture the intense devotion of the fans to this legendary band’s performance, along with the sheer magnitude of the audience’s numbers.  Being able to capture this show from the comfort of one’s own home will make audiences feel as if they’re still right there at the show, just with the ability to control the volume.  But then again, someone once said, if it’s too loud, you’re too old!  So anyone with a surround sound system will get even more of a full-on concert experience.

The recordings of the band’s performances at Sonisphere and Rock in Rio are just as strong as at Wacken.  Considering the band has been making music for nearly four decades, and that it is still being invited to perform at some of the world’s top concert festivals shows the respect that the music world has for this band.  And seeing that fans continue to flock to see this band perform shows the love and respect that audiences have for the band, too.  For those who haven’t had the opportunity just yet to see the band live, this four disc set is an excellent chance to catch the band live without ever having to leave the comfort of one’s own home.  No worries about concert tickets.  No worries about lodging, food, etc.  Just you, your TV (or CD player) and Motorhead.  What more does a true metal head need?  The World Is Ours Vol. 2 – Anyplace Crazy As Anywhere Else is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online at

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