Motorhead’s Latest Live Recording Impresses On CD Despite Audio Issues

Courtesy:  UDR Music/Motorhead Music

Courtesy: UDR Music/Motorhead Music

2016 has not been kind to the entertainment industry.  Legendary actor Gene Wilder just passed away this week as did Mexican music star Juan Gabriel.  Noel Neill, who played Lois Lane in The Adventures of Superman opposite George Reeves, also passed away this year along with hockey star Gordie Howe and boxing legend Muhammad Ali and so many others.  That list also includes Motorhead front man and rock legend Lemmy Kilmister.  Not long after Kilmister died, UDR music released one of the final concerts that the band held as a way to pay tribute to Motorhead and to Kilmister’s legacy.  The recording, Clean Your Clock, released June 24th, is an interesting effort.  That is because while it is enjoyable in its own right, it is not exactly a perfect recording.  Even with that in consideration it is still a recording that any diehard Motorhead fan will appreciate.

UDR’s recently released live Motorhead recording Clean Your Clock is an enjoyable tribute to both Motorhead and while it is not perfect it is still a recording that any diehard Motorhead fan will appreciate.  That is due in part to the concert’s set list.  The concert’s sixteen song set list takes listeners all the way back to the band’s 1979 sophomore album Overkill and reaches all the way up to the band’s final album, 2015’s Bad Magic.  There are also bits and pieces of the band’s early albums peppered throughout the performance, too including the title track from the band’s 1979 album Bomber, ‘Rock It,’ from the band’s 1983 album Another Perfect Day, ‘Doctor Rock,’ from the band’s 1986 album Orgasmatron, and a number of other hits.  Considering the fact that the band released some twenty-two albums over its life, there was no way that one single performance could cover all of that ground.  Keeping that in mind, the sixteen songs that are included in the album are still a good snapshot of the band’s body of work if only that.  One can only hope that more live recordings are to come; recordings that have an even bigger amount of the band’s material if not at least another swath of the band’s catalogue.  While the set list presented in this recording is a clear positive for the recording’s presentation, that presentation also suffers from at least one con.  The con in question is the concert’s audio mix.

The set list that makes up the body of Clean Your Clock is a major high point to the recording’s presentation.  It isn’t the concert’s only positive either.  That will be discussed later.  While the concert’s presentation does have one more positive, it sadly does have at least one con.  The con in question is the recording’s audio mix.  Hopefully this only applies with the recording’s CD presentation since the recording is presented in multiple platforms.  The audio mix presented in the concert’s CD platform is “muddy” to say the absolute least.  Kilmister’s vocals sound almost completely overpowered by his own bass line and by band mates Mikkey Dee and Phil Campbell.  The only times during which he can be clearly understood is those moments between songs in which Kilmister takes time to interact with the audience.  Other than that, Kilmister’s vocals sound completely muffled throughout the majority of the set’s songs.  Again, this seems to be the case at least on the concert’s CD platform.  Hopefully that isn’t the case with the concert’s other platforms.  Speaking of those other platforms, they are the recording’s other major positive.  They collectively more than make up for the one con of the issues with the recording’s audio mix.

The set list that is featured in Clean Your Clock and the audio mix throughout the concert are both key elements to consider in examining the recordings overall presentation.  That is because they show at least in terms of the recording’s CD platform, it isn’t perfect. Though, it is still enjoyable.  While the concert’s audio mix is clearly an issue in terms of the recording’s CD platform, hopefully that is not the case in its other platforms.  Those other platforms are the recording’s other major bright spot.  Along with its availability on CD, the concert is also available on double vinyl gatefold presentation as well as CD/DVD combo pack, a digital download, Blu-ray/CD combo set, and two separate limited edition box sets.  This means that Motorhead fans have plenty of options from which to choose in terms of taking in the concert.  More often than not, most live recordings’ video presentations far outshine their audio only counterparts.  So it’s very possible that the DVD and Blu-ray combo packs present much more impressive audio mixes as well as their own impressive video mix.  Keeping that in mind, the fact that the concert is available in a number of platforms makes the concert’s overall presentation that much better.  That is because it offers audiences more options from which to choose, and in turn, better odds of a presentation with a better audio mix (as well as an impressive video mix).  When this is set against the positive of the concert’s set list and the one con of its troubled audio mix, the combination of all three elements still leaves Clean Your Clock one more welcome addition to any Motorhead fan’s collection.

UDR’s presentation of Motorhead’s new live recording Clean Your Clock is not a perfect recording.  That is clear in listening to the concert’s audio mix in its CD platform.  The concert’s set list and the variety of platforms in which it is available partner to make up for the CD’s one con.  Even with that one con, the CD presentation of Clean Your Clock is still a welcome addition to any Motorhead fan’s collection.  One can only hope that when Motorhead’s next live recording is released, its CD platform will have a better audio mix so that it can be said that it is a perfect recording.  In the meantime the CD presentation of Clean Your Clock still passes the test even if it isn’t perfect.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on Clean Your Clock is available online now along with more Motorhead news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.imotorhead.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/myMotorhead

 

 

 

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.

UDR Music Releasing New Live Motorhead Recording

Courtesy:  UDR Music/Motorhead Music

Courtesy: UDR Music/Motorhead Music

Earlier this year the rock community and the music community lost a legend when Lemmy Kilmister passed away.  His passing was a surprise to most.  Though, he had battled ongoing health issues in the last year or so of his life.  This understanding helped to reduce the shock of the Motorhead front man’s passing.  Now as a tribute of sorts to both Kilmister and to Motorhead UDR Music has announced that it will release a new live Motorhead recording next month.

UDR Music will release Clean Your Clock Friday, June 10th.  The concert presented within the recording is one of the band’s final live performances by the band before Kilmister’s untimely passing earlier this year.  It was recorded during a performance by the band in Munich, Germany in 2015.  The performance was recorded during the band’s two-night stand in Munich from November 20th and 21st, 2015.  In anticipation of the recording’s release, audiences can check out the band’s performance of the recording’s title song online now here.  Those that might be prone to epileptic seizures are cautioned about the video due to the continuous flashing lights used during the performance.

 

Courtesy:  UDR Music/Motorhead Music

Courtesy: UDR Music/Motorhead Music

 

Audiences can also check out the new live video for ‘Bomber’ here.

 

Courtesy:  UDR Music/Motorhead Music

Courtesy: UDR Music/Motorhead Music

 

Clean Your Clock will be available on a number of platforms including: standalone CD, Vinyl, CD/DVD combo pack, Blu-ray/CD combo pack, and Digital Download.  It will also be available in two exclusive limited edition box sets.  The first, a Limited Edition zinc allow Motorhead Forever edition, can be pre-ordered here.  The second, a Limited Edition Silver/Gold Pin edition will be available exclusively via UDR here.  The recording’s track listing is noted below.

Clean Your Clock Tracklisting:

Bomber / Stay Clean / Metropolis / When The Sky Comes Looking For You / Over The Top / (Guitar Solo) The Chase Is Better Than The Catch / Lost Woman Blues/ Rock It / Orgasmatron / Doctor Rock / Just ‘Cos You Got The Power/ No Class/ Ace Of Spades/ Whorehouse Blues / Overkill

 

More information on Clean Your Clock is available online now along with all of the latest Morothead news at:

 

 

Website: http://www.udr-music.com, http://www.motorhead.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/UDR.Music,                  http://www.facebook.com/OfficialMotorhead

Twitter: http://twitter.com/UdrMusic, http://twitter.com/myMotorhead

 

 

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.

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 https://shop.imotorhead.com/collections/bad-magic. 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:

 

Website: http://www.imotorhead.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/mymotorhead

 

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.

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 http://www.amazon.com/Ronnie-James-Dio-This-Your/dp/B00IACUO8S/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1396440364&sr=1-1&keywords=dio+this+is+your+life and can be downloaded via iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/ronnie-james-dio-this-is-your/id829325064.

More information on Ronnie James Dio, This Is Your Life and other RJD releases is available online at http://www.facebook.com/OfficialRonnieJamesDio and http://www.ronniejamesdio.com. 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 reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

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 http://www.facebook.com/litaofficial and http://www.LitaFordOnline.com.  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.

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 http://www.imotorhead.com/tour.  More information on the band’s tour, all the latest news from the band, and on Aftershock is available online at http://www.imotorhead.com and http://www.facebook.com/OfficialMotorhead.  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.

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 http://www.facebook.com/saxon and http://www.saxon747.com.

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