LTE’s Latest LP Is The Latest Contender For The Top Spot Among 2021’s Best New Rock Albums

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

More than two decades after the release of its then most recent album, prog rock super group Liquid Tension Experiment officially returned Friday.  The band – Mike Portnoy (drums), Jordan Rudess (keyboards), John Petrucci  (guitar) Tony Levin (bass) – released its new aptly titled album Liquid Tension Experiment 3 Friday through InsideOut Music.  The eight-song instrumental album spawned three singles ahead of its release.  Those songs are but a glimpse into the album, too.  The 61-minute presentation offers hints of the band’s existing catalog and something in another direction throughout, too.  ‘Beating The Odds is just one of the songs featured in the recording that shows a new creative direction from the band in its latest outing.  It will be discussed shortly.  The band’s updated take on famed composer George Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ is another change in direction for the band in this outing.  It will be discussed a little later.  Showing even more, the change in direction in this record is ‘Chris and Kevin’s Amazing Odyssey,’ which comes just past the record’s midpoint.  It will also be discussed later.  Each note song proves the album’s growth, and in turn, engagement and entertainment.  When they are considered along with songs, such as ‘Shades of Hope,’ ‘Hypersonic,’ ‘The Passage of Time,’ and the album’s two remaining songs, the whole makes the album in whole a work that is a welcome return for Liquid Tension Experiment and that is among the best of this year’s new rock albums.

Liquid Tension Experiment’s latest album, Liquid Tension Experiment 3, is a presentation that will appeal to the band’s established audience base.  In the same note it will appeal to fans of the band’s members and their primary projects just as much.  That is due in large part to the songs featured in this recording.  The songs in question show evidence of songs from the band’s existing catalog as well as works that show some growth from the band.  One of the most notable of the songs that exhibits that growth comes in the form of ‘Beating The Odds.’  The six-minute-plus composition is not the wildly energetic style composition that audiences have come to know from the band.  Rather, it combines a variety of tones and influences, beginning with a very Rush style guitar intro to open the song.  From there, listeners can hear distinct influence from Dream Theater’s early days prior to Portnoy’s departure from the band.  At the same time, there is also a hint of Spock’s Beard influence through the combination of Rudess’ work on keyboards and Petrucci’s guitar performance.  At times the influences remain separate, and at others join together for one unique whole.  Through it all, the balance in the influences is handled expertly, a tribute to the record’s production.  The end result of that controlled chaos is a work that brings out the best of the bands that have influenced this band’s members in one complete work that boasts its own standout identity as a prog-rock opus.

‘Beating The Odds’ is just one of the songs that serves to exhibit the growth from Liquid Tension Experiment in its latest album.  The band’s updated take on George Gershwin’s timeless jazz classic, ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ is another clear example of the successful change in the band’s new album.  It is a complete change of pace for the band, taking on a jazz classic instead of any rock composition.  Gershwin’s original composition is present here.  There is no denial of that fact.  At the same, the song gets a nice change of pace in this rendition.  Petrucci’s subtle guitar opening mimics the piano line that opens the original so well.  The addition of the synthesized string arrangement at points throughout is a nice tribute to the original in its own right.  It actually does well to sound like the real thing, even being synthesized.  What’s more, the Joe Satriani-style approach that Petrucci takes along with his own style as the song progresses adds even more to the approach.  Much the same can be said of Rudess’ keyboard performance throughout, and that of Portnoy.  The whole of the group’s work here is such a rich presentation.  It is a dramatic change of pace for the band this time out and such a successful risk.  It is just one more example of what makes the album so successful.  ‘Chris and Kevin’s Amazing Odyssey’ — which comes in the record’s second half — is yet another example of the album’s strength.

‘Chris and Kevin’s Amazing Odyssey’ is notable because it is so starkly unlike anything that these musicians have ever crafted collectively and with their primary acts.  The whole thing starts off with Levin using what sounds like a bow on his bass, as if it was a standup bass.  Portnoy’s accents on the toms sound random, but are in fact complimentary to Levin’s work.  The subtle addition of the occasional keyboard effect makes for its own unique touch here.  The whole experimental work immediately comes across as a distinctly avant-garde type composition, yet is still so engaging because of that experimental, free form type composition.  It is another wonderful example of how much the band has branched out this time out and how that willingness to try something new has paid off.  When it is considered with the other two songs examined here and the more familiar sound exhibited through other songs featured here, such as ‘Shades of Hope,’ ‘Hypersonic,’ ‘The Passage of Time,’ and the album’s two remaining songs,  the whole of all of that content makes the album in whole a welcome return for Liquid Tension Experiment and an equally impressive new addition to this year’s list of top new rock records.

Liquid Tension Experiment’s first new album in more than two decades and first since the release of Spontaneous Combustion – released in 2007 (almost 15 years ago) by three quarters of LTE under the moniker of Liquid Tension Trio – is an impressive new offering from these  musical mates.  It proves that from start to finish with a solid combination of familiar content and plenty of material that takes chances and takes the band in new directions.  Those newer songs are all examined here.  When they are considered with the rest of the album’s works, the whole makes LTE 3 a work that every prog-rock fan will welcome.  It is proof positive that good things really do come to those who wait.  LTE 3 is available now.  More information on the album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at https://www.facebook.com/ltexperiment.  

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Charlie Benante Announces New LP Release Date, Specs

Courtesy: Megaforce Records

Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante will release his new album this spring.

Silver Linings is scheduled for release May 14 through Megaforce Records. While the record sees Benante as the primary figure in its presentation, he stressed during a recent interview, that the album is not a solo record.

“This isn’t a solo album,” Charlie said, “This is a record of my favorite songs done with some of my friends during a very dark time.  We found a shining light and this is the result of that light.  I was really happy that my musician friends came on board and helped make this record what it is.  I appreciate all of them, and they all did such a fantastic job.  Despite all of the darkness we’ve experienced this past year, there are ‘silver linings,’ that’s why I chose that title for the album.”

He added, the album’s creation came about through the advice of someone close to himself.

“Back in February of last year, with COVID and all the other B.S. that was going on, I was glued to the 24-hour news cycle on the TV and my phone, and I started to get really depressed,” he said.  My girlfriend said I needed to turn off the news and suggested I do something creative, whether it was art or drumming or writing new songs, and she was right.”

According to information provided about the 14-song record, it will feature an all-star cast of guest musicians and performers, such as guitarist John 5 (Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson), Alex Skolnick (Testament), and Corey Taylor (Slipknot).

Also featured on the new record are Run DMC member Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, Rob Caggiano (Volbeat), and Ra Diaz (Suicidal Tendencies). The group recorded the song “Run-DMC Medley,’ which is one the songs featured in the album. The group premiered the song’s quarantine video in June 2020.

The whole of Silver Linings‘ track listing is noted below:

* “City of Blinding Lights”/U2 – Frank Bello, Mark Osegueda, Charlie Benante

* “Chloe Dancer / Crown of Horns”/Mother Love Bone – Mark Menghi, Mark Osegueda, Charlie Benante

* “Teardrop”/Massive Attack – Carla Harvey, Ra Diaz, Charlie Benante

* “Run DMC”/Run DMC – DMC, Rob Caggiano, Ra Diaz, Charlie Benante

* “Rhiannon”/Fleetwood Mac – Mark Menghi, Jennifer Cella, Randy McStine, Charlie Benante

* “Yer So Bad”/Tom Petty – Carla Harvey, Ra Diaz, Charlie Benante

* “Transylvania”/Iron Maiden – Snake Sabo, Frank Bello, Jon Donias, Charlie Benante

* “Presto Vivace”/U.K. – Ra Diaz, Alex Skolnick, Jordan Rudess, Charlie Benante

* “Bad Guy”/Billie Eilish – Ra Diaz, Charlie Benante

* “Jimmy James”/The Beastie Boys – Ra Diaz, Charlie Benante

* “All The Way”/KISS – PJ Farley, Joe McGinness, John 5, Charlie Benante

* “Mr Speed”/KISS – Joe McGinness, PJ Farley, Charlie Benante

* “Public Image”/Public Image – Hank Von Hell, Dave Brownsound, Jason “Cone” McCaslin, Charlie Benante

* “Funny Vibe”/Living Color – Ra Diaz, Corey Glover, Henry Flury, Charlie Benante

More information on Charlie Benante’s new album is available along with all of his latest news at:

Website: https://charliebenante.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CharlieBenanteOfficial

Twitter: https://twitter.com/skisum

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://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.

Liquid Tension Experiment Debuts New LP’s Second Single, Companion Video

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Liquid Tension Experiment debuted the latest single from its new album this week.

The band –Mike Portnoy, John Petrucci, Jordan Rudess, and Tony Levin — premiered its new single ‘Beating The Odds’ Friday, along with the single’s video. The song is the second single from the band’s forthcoming album LTE 3, which is scheduled for release March 26 through Inside Out Records. Its premiere follows that of the album’s lead single, ‘The Passage of Time.’

The band’s new six-minute-plus song is grounded in Petrucci’s performance on guitar. Portnoy’s time keeping and Rudess’ performance on bass deepens the song’s presentation even more. The video features the band members performing their respective parts to the song on a series of poker cards and chips.

Petrucci discussed the song’s construction during a recent interview with the band.

“This was a riff that I brought into the sessions that I thought was interesting because it’s in an odd time and phrased in a way that is hard to wrap your head around at first until you understand where the groove is,” he said. “When I first presented it to the guys, their initial reaction was “how are you feeling that?” When the band enters after the opening riff it probably sounds a little “odd” because the time signature is a bit unclear until the song gets going. If LTE ever had a ‘prog pop hit’ this would be it!”

Rudess respoded to Petrucci’s comments, noting the band members’ reaction to the arrangement.

“I remember the look of confusion on ALL our faces when JP started playing that opening riff!,” said Rudess. “It’s was seemingly so straight ahead but with a bizarre rhythmic twist! Took a while to internalize that but then we all loved it! One of the great things about LTE is the fact that we just let ourselves loose and have FUN!”

More than two decades have passed since the quartet released its then most recent record Liquid Tension Experiment 2. That record, released in 1999, was followed up by the release of the album Spontaneous Combustion in October 2007 by three quarters of the group, which opted to call itself Liquid Tension Trio. Portnoy, Levin, and Rudess recorded the album while Petrucci and his wife welcomed their then baby.

The new album’s track listing is noted below.

Tracklisting:
 
1. Hypersonic (8:22)
2. Beating The Odds (6:09)
3. Liquid Evolution (3:23)
4. The Passage Of Time (7:32)
5. Chris & Kevin’s Amazing Odyssey (5:04)
6. Rhapsody In Blue (13:16)
7. Shades Of Hope (4:42)
8. Key To The Imagination (13:14)
 
Bonus Disc: Includes almost an hour of improvised jams.

The album will release on the platforms noted below. Pre-orders open now.

•Limited deluxe hot pink 3LP+2CD+Blu-ray Box Set (incl. a poster and 4 artcards, Blu-ray includes a 5.1 surround mix with visuals, and full band interview from the studio)
•Limited 2CD+Blu-ray Artbook
•Limited 2CD Digipak
•Gatefold black 2LP+CD
• Digital album (2CD)

More information on this and other titles from InsideOut Music is available along with the label’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.insideoutmusic.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/InsideOutMusic

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/InsideOutUSA

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Liquid Tension Experiment Debuts ‘The Passage Of Time’ Video

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Liquid tension Experiment fans are getting their first full preview of the band’s next album.

The band debuted the video for its new single ‘The Passage of Time‘ Friday. The song is the lead single from the quartet’s forthcoming album LTE3, which is scheduled for release March 26 through InsideOut Music.

The video features footage of the band members — Mike Portnoy, John Petrucci, Tony Levin, and Jordan Rudess — performing their respective parts to the song as images of multi-colored liquid plays over the noted footage. The musical arrangement that accompanies the video is everything that audiences have come to expect from Liquid Tension Experiment and from Dream Theater.

Two of the LTE’s members — John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess — are band mates in Dream Theater. Founding member and drummer Portnoy departed the band in 2010. To that end, it is understandable why this latest song sound stylistically so much like much of the body of work from Dream Theater.

Portnoy talked about the creation of ‘The Passage of Time’ during a recent interview with himself and his LTE band mates.

“‘The Passage of Time’ was the very first song we composed together when we reunited this past summer, he said. “It was so exciting to be back in a room creating together again after so long (22 years for all 4 of us and over 10 years for the 3 of us since being together in DT).  This serves as a great first taste for the listeners as it combines so many of the musical elements that makes LTE unique”

Petrucci expanded on Portnoy’s comments.

“This was the first song we worked on and when it was done, we all knew once again how amazing it was to be working together,” said Petrucci. “We knew we were on to something and that this was going to be a really amazing album. Nothing about the passage of over two decades could’ve done anything to change that. To me this song truly reflects the collaborative songwriting efforts of all four of us.”

Ruddess also shared his thoughts during the interview.

There is an undeniable chemistry that happens when the four of us are together,” he added. “Entering the studio and starting work on ‘The Passage of Time’ after 22 years literally gave me a whole new perspective on these important musical (and personal) relationships and the way time is so relative. We just jumped right in, it was like no time had passed at all, and we created a song that has so many of the elements that make LTE unique. Not a day has gone by since our last release when I wasn’t asked, “When is LTE getting back together again?” Now we can finally deliver, and I can’t wait for everybody to hear our creation.”

Levin put the accent to the discussion, noting there is more to come from Liquid Tension Experiment.

“From the murky depths of the lockdown, LTE has re-emerged, galvanized, dripping with ideas, and taking no prisoners,” said Levin. “‘The Passage of Time’ is just the beginning.”

More than two decades have passed since the quartet released its then most recent record Liquid Tension Experiment 2. That record, released in 1999, was followed up by the release of the album Spontaneous Combustion in October 2007 by three quarters of the group, which opted to call itself Liquid Tension Trio. Portnoy, Levin, and Rudess recorded the album while Petrucci and his wife welcomed their then baby.

The new album’s track listing is noted below.

Tracklisting:
 
1. Hypersonic (8:22)
2. Beating The Odds (6:09)
3. Liquid Evolution (3:23)
4. The Passage Of Time (7:32)
5. Chris & Kevin’s Amazing Odyssey (5:04)
6. Rhapsody In Blue (13:16)
7. Shades Of Hope (4:42)
8. Key To The Imagination (13:14)
 
Bonus Disc: Includes almost an hour of improvised jams.

The album will release on the platforms noted below. Pre-orders open now.

•Limited deluxe hot pink 3LP+2CD+Blu-ray Box Set (incl. a poster and 4 artcards, Blu-ray includes a 5.1 surround mix with visuals, and full band interview from the studio)
•Limited 2CD+Blu-ray Artbook
•Limited 2CD Digipak
•Gatefold black 2LP+CD
• Digital album (2CD)

More information on this and other titles from InsideOut Music is available along with the label’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.insideoutmusic.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/InsideOutMusic

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/InsideOutUSA

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Liquid Tension Experiment Announces new LP’s Release Date, Art, Specs

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

The members of Liquid Tension Experiment have released more information about the group’s new album.

The band — Mike Portnoy, Jordan Rudess, Tony Levin, and John Petrucci — announced Monday, the album’s title, cover art, and release date. Additionally, the band announced the album’s track listing and platforms on which it will release.

According to information sent from InsideOut Music, which will release the record, it will follow the track of the band’s first two albums and be called Liquid Tension Experiment 3. The album is scheduled for release March 26.

Petrucci was upbeat as he talked about the album’s pending release.

“After over 20 years since the last time we recorded together, the four of us stepped into the studio and it was as if no time had passed at all!,” said Petrucci. “All of the magic that made the first two LTE albums so special was still there and we had such a great time making this record. I’m extremely proud of what we created together and can’t wait for everyone to hear it!”

Portnoy, who previously recorded with Petrucci and Rudess as a member of Dream Theater, expanded on his fellow musician’s comments.

“The best thing to come out of 2020 was this long-awaited reunion!,” he said. “And it was surely worth the wait as after all these years, the magic chemistry was still there and stronger than ever!”

In anticipation of the album’s release, the quartet released a teaser trailer last month. The 55-second trailer features a snippet of what can only be believed to be a portion of one of the songs that will feature in the album. It is accompanied by a psychedelic style visual that presents various fluids mingling with one another.

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

More than two decades have passed since the quartet released its then most recent record Liquid Tension Experiment 2. That record, released in 1999, was followed up by the release of the album Spontaneous Combustion in October 2007 by three quarters of the group, which opted to call itself Liquid Tension Trio. Portnoy, Levin, and Rudess recorded the album while Petrucci and his wife welcomed their then baby.

The new album’s track listing is noted below.

Tracklisting:
 
1. Hypersonic (8:22)
2. Beating The Odds (6:09)
3. Liquid Evolution (3:23)
4. The Passage Of Time (7:32)
5. Chris & Kevin’s Amazing Odyssey (5:04)
6. Rhapsody In Blue (13:16)
7. Shades Of Hope (4:42)
8. Key To The Imagination (13:14)
 
Bonus Disc: Includes almost an hour of improvised jams.

The album will release on the platforms noted below. Pre-orders open Jan. 22.

•Limited deluxe hot pink 3LP+2CD+Blu-ray Box Set (incl. a poster and 4 artcards, Blu-ray includes a 5.1 surround mix with visuals, and full band interview from the studio)
•Limited 2CD+Blu-ray Artbook
•Limited 2CD Digipak
•Gatefold black 2LP+CD
• Digital album (2CD)

More information on this and other titles from InsideOut Music is available along with the label’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.insideoutmusic.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/InsideOutMusic

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/InsideOutUSA

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

‘Ascension’ Is A Strong Start For Paladin

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records

Up-and-coming metal outfit Paladin has kept busy this year.  The band opened the year with the release of its three song EP Anamnesis.  The band’s second-ever studio recording, it is a tribute to Nevermore.  Its release was followed by a short live run before COVID-19 started spreading across America.  The band did not let the virus’ spread stop the music though, instead performing through a series of livestream events.  As the old year bids farewell and the new year nears, the band recently announced that it is in the running to take part in another livestream event with other acts in the ‘iVoted Festival.”  The festival, which started during the 2018 midterm election, is a way to encourage voters in Georgia to get involved in the state’s two Senate races that will determine control of the senate at the federal level.  Audiences can vote for the band to take part in the festival now here.  Audiences who need convincing to vote for Paladin need only listen to the band’s 2019 debut album Ascension to make the decision.  The 11-song record is a presentation that will appeal widely among the metal masses.  That is proven equally through the album’s musical and lyrical content. ‘Carpe Diem,’ which comes early in the album’s run does well to support the noted statements.  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Shoot For The Sun’ also serves to show what makes Ascension such a strong debut from Paladin.  It will be discussed a little later.  ‘Genesis,’ which closes out the album, is one more way in which the record proves its appeal to so many in the metal masses.  When it is considered along with the songs noted here and the rest of the album’s works, the whole makes Ascension easy proof of why audiences should vote for Paladin in the “iVoted Festival.”

Paladin’s 2019 debut album Ascension is a powerful debut for the band, an convincing proof of why this up-and-coming metal outfit deserves to take part in this year’s livestream “iVoted Festival.”  The album’s musical and lyrical content go a long way to support the noted statements.  ‘Carpe Diem,’ which comes early in the album’s 49-minute run, is just one of the songs that serves to support the noted statement.  The song’s musical arrangement is a full-on vintage thrash style composition.  Its solid time keeping, equally powerful mix of death metal screams and power metal clean vocals pairs with the equally powerful guitar riffs to make the song in whole one of the album’s most notable works.  The death metal screams and guitar riffs lend themselves to comparisons to works from the likes of Arch Enemy while the clean vocals lend themselves to comparisons to works from Judas Priest.  The balance in those two sides makes for so much entertainment and engagement.  It ensures its appeal to a wide range of audiences.  When the song’s powerful musical arrangement is considered with the song’s lyrical content, which is powerful in its own right, the song in whole develops even more interest.

The lyrical content featured in ‘Carpe Diem’ comes across as in fact encouraging audiences to indeed seize the day.  It opens with the lead verse stating, “Uncertain feelings coming through/The life you thought you always knew/Now seems so lost and far away/Time passing cannot be undone/Future and past become as one/No looking back, no backing down/This time around, this time around.”  The chorus adds to the positive sense in the song’s lyrical content, stating, “One desire, soaring higher, oh/Now it’s time for you to take the reins/Fall harder, reaching farther/You’ve so much left to gain/The prize is worth the pain.”  The song’s second verse solidifies the noted message of positivity, stating, “Lost in an existential haze/Trapped in oneself, an endless maze/Anxiety imprisoning my soul/Seeking the path I know exists/In search of truth, I must persist/A voice calls out from deep within/To take control is to begin.”  All things considered here, these lyrics are certain to connect with listeners.  When they are paired with the song’s equally accessible musical arrangement, the whole of the song proves in its own way why Ascension is such a strong start for the band.  It is just one of the songs that serves to make the album a success.  ‘Shoot For The Sun’ is another way in which the album proves its strength.

‘Shoot For The Sun’ presents a musical arrangement that is best described as presenting a stylistic approach and sound that is one part prog metal and one part classic rock.  It conjures thoughts of Liquid Tension Experiment on one hand, and of vintage Metallica and Motorhead on the other.  That juxtaposition and joining of sounds and styles makes for so much enjoyment an engagement in this full-on fist-pumper.  Right down to the solos, the song offers metal fans across the board something to enjoy.  When the power and energy exuded in the song’s musical arrangement is paired with its positive lyrical theme, the whole of the song becomes that much more enjoyable.

As is the case with ‘Carpe Diem,’ ‘Shoot For The Sun’ offers audiences another positive message of self-determination and confidence.  That is inferred in the song’s lead verse, which states, “You wanna know what it means to see/Just look around and let yourself be free/Set the world in your sights, we’ll prove it tonight/You’ve got a vision burning in your head/White hot, one shot, the prayer’s been said/Pull the trigger now, we’ll make it somehow.”  The song’s chorus adds to the seeming statement as it states, “There’s just no more I can take/It’s all building up, I refuse to break/There’s just no more I can bear/When everything’s all said and done/Shoot for the sun.”  That positive encouragement carries on through the song’s second verse, solidifying the message as it states, “You wanna know what it’s like to fly/Just spread your wings and you’ll touch the sky/No reason to wait, no time left to waste/You think you know how it all plays out/No one can save you from your own doubt/Feel the light that starts to shine/As it clears the heavy thoughts that cloud your mind/That cloud your mind, yeah, yeah, oh.”  Again, this comes across as a very positive message that any listener will welcome.  When it is considered with the composition’s equally enjoyable musical arrangement, the result is yet another work that will appeal to plenty of audiences.  Together with the whole of ‘Carpe Diem,’ the two songs collectively show even more why the album in whole is a success, too.  They are just a portion of what makes the album well worth hearing, too.  ‘Genesis’ is one more example of why audiences will enjoy Ascension.

‘Genesis’ presents a musical arrangement that is another full-on wall of sound metal presentation.  The dual guitar attack and guttural vocals pair with the seamless time keeping and bass work to make for its own share of engagement and entertainment.  The clean vocals are a near musical mirror image of those of Judas Priest front man Rob Halford.  The contrast of that sound to the screams joins with the full-on metal arrangement to make the song in whole even more appealing for audiences.  When it is considered along with the song’s unique lyrical content, the song becomes even more intriguing.

The lyrical content featured in ‘Genesis’ seems to come across as a sort of fantasy story.  It comes across as telling the story of a person’s story of growth and development.  It is sort of an existential type of story, which opens with the song’s subject stating, “The silent scream of the conscience of man/As we are brought to sentience/Given dominion over the sea and land/To rule as we see fit.”  That seeming story of development continues in the song’s chorus, which states, “The perfect form, born from the perfect image/We are the chosen/Yet as we prosper and we create/We yearn to know.”  The subject continues his discussion by noting where society has been and where it is going.  He states, “Thousands of years of progress/In search of a higher purpose/Unanswered questions to forces unknown/Our pleas are met with silence/And so we wander, blind to the way/Alone, abandoned and betrayed/Our stricken minds now led astray/Astray.”  Things continue from here, with the subject even pleading to the “Almighty one/Bringer of the winds and rain” for clarity on things.  That higher power responds, telling the song’s subject that “Even as your knowledge grows, your minds will never know/What lies beyond this world before it’s your time.”  Simply put, the song’s subject is every one of us.  We have all reached that point in which we ask what is the purpose in life and where are we going.  The reality is that we will never really know and that we are better off just living life and living it to the best that we can.  The whole of the story makes for a powerful addition to Ascension and yet another way in which the album is proven a success.  When it is considered along with the other songs noted here and the rest of the album’s works, the result is an album that proves without question, to be a powerful debut from Paladin.  To that end, the album is its own proof of why Paladin deserves to take part in this year’s “iVoted Festival.”

Paladin’s debut album Ascension is a powerful first outing for the band.  The 11-song album is a presentation that will appeal widely to the metal masses.  That is proven equally through the album’s musical and lyrical content as noted here.  Its musical arrangements combine the best elements of prog metal, thrash, and even power metal for a whole that will bring the noted fans together.  The album’s lyrical content ranges from easily accessible to much deeper, as noted here.  All things considered, the album in whole proves that given the right support, Paladin could be one of the next big names in the metal community.  That support starts with voting for the band in the upcoming “iVoted Festival.”  More information on Ascension is available along with all of Paladin’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://paladinatl.bandcamp.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/paladinatl

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/PaladinATL

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

Liquid Tension Experiment Announces New Album Is Coming

Prog super group Liquid Tension Experiment will return in 2021.

The band — Mike Portnoy (drums), John Petrucci (guitar), Tony Levin (bass) and Jordan Rudess (keyboards) — will release its next album in spring. An exact release date for the as-yet-untitled record is under consideration. The album will release through InsideOut Music.

In anticipation of the album’s release, the quartet released a teaser trailer Thursday. The 55-second trailer features a snippet of what can only be believed to be a portion of one of the songs that will feature in the album. It is accompanied by a psychedelic style visual that presents various fluids mingling with one another.

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

More than two decades have passed since the quartet released its then most recent record Liquid Tension Experiment 2. That record, released in 1999, was followed up by the release of the album Spontaneous Combustion in October 2007 by three quarters of the group, which opted to call itself Liquid Tension Trio. Portnoy, Levin, and Rudess recorded the album while Petrucci and his wife welcomed their then baby.

More information on this and other titles from InsideOut Music is available along with the label’s latest news at:

Website: http://www.insideoutmusic.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/InsideOutUSA

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Petrucci’s New Solo LP Was Worth The 15-Plus-Year Wait

Courtesy: Sound Mind Music/The Orchard

Prog-metal band Dream Theater’s members are some of the hardest working musicians in the music community today.  Front man James LaBrie has kept himself busy in the past with his Mullmuzzler project.  Keyboardist Jordan Rudess has released any number of solo albums throughout his professional career.  Bassist John Myung has recorded with the likes of Platypus, Gordian Knot, and Explorer’s Club.  Even famed former Dream Theater drummer and founder Mike Portnoy has kept himself constantly busy during and after his extensive tenure with the band, recording and performing with Winery Dogs, Yellow Matter Custard, Transatlantic, and countless other projects. Fellow former members Derek Sherinian and Kevin Shirley also have kept themselves constantly busy.  This weekend, longtime guitarist John Petrucci, who has kept himself busy in his own right, released his latest solo recording in the form of Terminal Velocity.  The nine-song instrumental record is a positive new offering from Petrucci whose last solo record Suspended Animation was released 15 years ago.  Its success comes from the fact that just as with that record, it shows the depth and breadth of his talents.  ‘Happy Song,’ the album’s third track is one of the songs that serves to support the noted statements.  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Out of the Blue,’ which comes a little later in the record’s 55-minute run time does the same in its own fashion.  It will be addressed a little later.  Much the same can be said of ‘Snake in My Boot,’ the album’s penultimate track, as the other two songs noted here and many of the album’s other songs.  When those songs and the compositions addressed here are considered together, they make Terminal Velocity a welcome solo return for John Petrucci that is certain to find wide appeal.

John Petrucci’s sophomore solo album Terminal Velocity is a presentation from the famed guitarist that proves it was well worth the wait.  That is proven from the start to end of the nearly hour-long instrumental presentation.  One of the songs featured in this record that serves well to support the noted statements comes early in its run in the form of ‘Happy Song.’  ‘Happy Song’ is one of the most mainstream accessible works that Petrucci has ever crafted in his extensive career.  The six-minute opus opens with a driving, upbeat composition that is reminiscent of his work as a member of Liquid Tension Experiment, but then quickly shifts gears, transitioning into a more poppy punk rock vibe in its lead verse section.  The riff there is the kind of style that one would expect more from Sum 41, Blink-182 and other similar bands.  From there, the arrangement just as quickly shifts to a more ballad type work that is still catchy in its own right.  One could even argue that there is a touch of 80s hair metal infused into the sound in the chorus sections.  What is interesting about the whole of the song is that as much as these two stylistic approaches are unalike one another, they still blend so well here.  That is a testament to Petrucci’s talents as a musician and producer.  By the time the song ends, audiences will feel wholly fulfilled even despite the song’s length.  That in itself says a lot about the song and about Petrucci.  That he can take two sounds that are so starkly unalike one another and manage to make them work so solidly in one work and do so for six minutes is worthy of applause.  It definitely lives up to its title, as it will make any listener happy. To that end it is just one of the ways in which this album proves so impressive.  ‘Out of the Blue’ is another of the album’s strong points.

‘Out Of The Blue’ is a well-placed addition to Terminal Velocity.  It breaks up the high energy exhibited in the rest of the album’s songs.  It starts off with a nice bluesy approach akin to something one might expect from Joe Satriani, but then eases its way into an equally introspective work that is more along the lines of something that fits into Dream Theater’s 1997 album Falling Into Infinity.  Again, here is quite an interesting juxtaposition of styles, yet even with such a notable difference in sounds, the two styles manage to work so well alongside one another.  The end result is a work that is so unlike anything else featured on Terminal Velocity and that because of that difference shows even more why this album is well worth hearing.  It is just one more of the album’s most notable works.  ‘Snake in My Boot’ is yet another interesting addition to the album.

‘Snake in My Boot’ is distinct from so much of the material on Terminal Velocity just as much as ‘Out Of The Blue’ and ‘Happy Song.’  This time out, Petrucci offers audiences a song that is more deeply rooted in the hair metal of the 80s than anything progressive.  The opening bars, with their foot stomping, clapping and infectious guitar riff immediately conjure the noted thoughts.  That whole creates a fun vibe for listeners that will keep audiences fully engaged and entertained right to the song’s end.  The steady, solid time keeping, with its nonstop eighth note patterns and occasional flare from the cymbals enriches the song even more, as does the companion bass line.  The whole of all those elements paints so many pictures.  It goes without saying that this composition is one that will become a live favorite for audiences.  In fact, listening to the claps and foot stomping, one can immediately see an audience doing just that in person while Petrucci plays his riffs for the masses.  Keeping that in mind, that ability to pain such a rich musical picture and the ability to get stuck so easily in listeners’ minds while standing on its own merits makes clear why it is another important addition to Petrucci’s new album.  When it is considered along with the other songs addressed here and the rest of the album’s songs, the whole of the album becomes a work that though 15 years in the making, was well worth the wait.

More than 15 years passed between the release of John Petrucci’s new solo album Terminal Velocity Friday and its predecessor Suspended Animation.  Considering how busy Petrucci had kept himself in that time in his work with his band mates in Dream Theater, it comes as no surprise that so much time had passed.  Even with so much time having passed, this record shows that Petrucci had not lost his creative side by any means.  All three of the songs addressed here clearly support the noted statement.  Each song proves that Petrucci is more than just a talented prog-metal guitarist.  Rather, it shows the true depth and breadth of his talent.  From 80s hair metal to the blues to even pop punk and things in-between, the album shows Petrucci has quite the talent.  All things considered, this album shows once more why John Petrucci remains one of the elite guitarists in the music community in whole and why the this album was worth the wait.  It is available now.  More information on Terminal Velocity is available along with all of John Petrucci’s latest news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.johnpetrucci.com

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

 

 

 

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KXM’s Sophomore Album Is A Focused New Effort

Courtesy: Rat Pak Records

This past March, rock outfit KXM released its sophomore album Scatterbrain to the masses.  The album is a solid new effort from the “super group,” which is composed of Ray Luzier (Korn) on drums, George Lynch (Lynch Mob) on guitar and dUg Pinnick (King’s X) on bass and vocals. That is evident early on in the album’s prog-metal infused title track and opener.  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Calypso,’ which comes just a little ways into the record’s sequence, is another example of what makes Scatterbrain a solid new effort from KXM.  It will be discussed later.  ‘It’s Never Enough’ is yet another example of what makes this record so enjoyable and is hardly the last of the songs that could be cited in a discussion of what makes this record so impressive.  The ten songs not noted here could each be cited in their own right to support the aforementioned statement.  That applies both to the songs’ musical and lyrical content.  Keeping that in mind, the musical and lyrical content exhibited in Scatterbrain makes this record from start to finish a work that shows clear focus.  That focus, in turn, makes this record yet another record deserving of a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new rock records.

KXM’s sophomore LP Scatterbrain is a record that displays great focus both musically and lyrically from start to finish.  The result of that focus is a record that deserves a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new rock records.  Those statements are supported right off the top in the album’s title track and opener in part through the song’s musical arrangement.   The arrangement easily lends itself to comparisons to songs from Pinnick’s main band, King’s X as well as to Platypus and Liquid Tension Experiment.  That is not a bad thing, either.  That is because such comparisons form a solid foundation for the song; a foundation on which the song’s lyrical content rests just as solidly.

The lyrical content presented in Scatterbrain’s lead/title track is its own important part to this song because of its seeming commentary contained therein.  There is a mention of “people trying to kill you…when they don’t have the right” in the song’s lead verse and an added mention of time and life fleeting in the second.  Meanwhile Pinnick reminds listeners in the song’s final minutes “don’t be afraid, don’t cry, don’t let them scare you.”  One has to assume here that he is referencing the people noted in the song’s lead verse; those who would otherwise do others harm in whatever form.  It plays into the song’s second verse, too with Pinnick perhaps making note of how short life is.  If that is indeed the case, then Pinnick singing about not letting people scare them, that second verse would seem to be Pinnick telling listeners to not let life pass them by worrying about those people in question.  This is of course only this critic’s own interpretation and certainly not the only interpretation.  Regardless of the song’s true meaning, the manner in which Pinnick delivers the song’s lyrical content–and the content itself—makes for plenty of interest and discussion.  When it is joined with the frantic energy in the song’s musical arrangement, the whole of the song makes the song an impressive first impression for KXM in its second outing.  It also collectively makes ‘Scatterbrain’ just one clear example of what makes its namesake so impressive overall.  It is just one of the album’s most notable works.  ‘Noises in the Sky’ is yet another example of what makes Scatterbrain so impressive.

‘Noises in The Sky’ is another clear example of what makes KXM’s new album so impressive first and foremost because of its musical arrangement.  The arrangement presented here is the polar opposite of that presented in the album’s title track.  It is more of a blues-based rock arrangement that regardless, still boasts its own heaviness.  In the same breath, that comparison to King’s X is just as undeniable as in the case of ‘Scatterbrain.’  The song’s lyrical content is just as heavy in its own right with even more seeming commentary.  The commentary is inferred as Pinnick sings in the song’s lead verse, “Have you heard the noises in the night/Is this a warning/Sounds like a trumpet blowing high/Is this a warning/Whatever it is, is far and near/Is this a warning.”  He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “The sun is bright/The flares are high/Is this a warning/Only for those whose ears can hear/Is this a warning/Something is happening/It just ain’t clear/Is this a warning.”  The instant thought that comes to mind in considering all of this is that the song is making a religious statement.  On another level though, maybe it could be a response to all of the doomsayers out there who like to preach so much about the end times.  No matter the meaning, it is certain to lead to some heavy discussion.  When that heavy discussion is joined with the heaviness in the song’s musical arrangement, the end result is a song that is yet another example of what makes Scatterbrain such a solid, focused record.  It still is not the last song that can be cited in exhibiting what makes the album so impressive. ‘Angel,’ the album’s closer is one more prime example of what makes this record stand out.

‘Angel’ serves to make Scatterbrain stand out just as much as ‘Noises in the Sky’ and ‘Scatterbrain’ because it stands out both musically and lyrically from those songs just as much as they stand apart from one another and the rest of the album’s offerings.  Musically speaking, this song is not necessarily a ballad per se.  But in comparison to the record’s other arrangements it is comparably softer and gentler.  That softer, gentler approach works well with the song’s softer lyrical content, too, which seems to be a bit of a bittersweet message, making the song in whole a truly touching work. The seemingly bittersweet message is inferred as Pinnick sings in the song’s lead verse, “You’re not like the others/Who left me alone/You said the right things and I couldn’t breathe/I don’t want to give in/But the truth always wins.”  He goes on to sing in the second verse, “I don’t want to do this/But it’s all I can feel/In my heart as it heals/I’ve heard it’s been said/That three times is a charm/But four times/You’re just a fool/I asked an angel to watch over you/But it came back and asked me/Why/Because angels don’t watch over angels/I’m waiting on my angel.”  The juxtaposition of those verses comes across almost as a story of love lost.  Yet even in that seeming story of lost love, there is still some happiness, again making that bittersweet feeling.  Again, the combination of that deeply emotional story and the song’s equally touching musical arrangement makes this song its own outstanding work.  In the bigger picture, it is yet another example of what makes Scatterbrain a solid, focused new effort from KXM.  When it is joined with the previously discussed songs and those not noted here, the end result is an album whose focus makes it enjoyable from start to finish and one more clear candidate for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new rock records.

KXM’s sophomore album Scatterbrain is a record that is anything but scattered.  From beginning to end, this album shows great focus both musically and lyrically.  From seeming commentaries to more personal works, the album offers plenty for everyone to appreciate.  That being the case, it proves itself to be an easy candidate to be one of this year’s top new rock records.  More information on Scatterbrain is available online now along with all of KXM’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.ratpakrecords.com/kxm

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

 

 

 

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Nova Collective Unveils ‘Dancing Machines’ Video

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

The Nova Collective unveiled this week, the video for the lead single from its upcoming debut album The Further Side, which will be released March 10 via Metal Blade Records.

The band—comprised of members of Between The Buried and Me, Haken, Trioscapes and Cynic—unveiled an in-studio video featuring a performance of the album’s lead single ‘Dancing Machines.’ The video can be viewed online now here.

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

The song’s arrangement is a composition that will appeal to fans of Scale The Summit, Liquid Tension Experiment, Trioscapes and others of that ilk.

The Further Side will be available on CD, black 180-gram vinyl, and limited edition clear-red marble LP as well as via digital outlets.  The record’s clear-red marble pressing is being limited to only 200 copies, so supplies of that pressing are very limited.  Audiences can pre-order The Further Side online now here.

Nova Collective was born in 2014 when bassist Dan Briggs (Between the Buried and Me, Trioscapes) and guitarist Richard Henshall (Haken) starting discussing music via e-mail.  The pair fleshed out some demos not long after discussions started. Drummer Matt Lynch (Trioscapes, Cynic) and keyboardist Pete Jones (ex-Haken) came on board not too much later, helping to finish the album.

The band was written and composed on both sides of the Atlantic.  Session files were shared between the band’s members until it was possible for them to rehearse and record the music together.

Those joint sessions began in early 2015 with engineer Jamie King (Between the Buried and Me, The Contortionist) at the helm.  Rich Mouser (Transatlantic, Spock’s Beard, Neal Morse Band) mixed the record.

More information on The Nova Collective’s new video is available online along with all of the latest updates on its upcoming album and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.metalblade.com/novacollective

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

 

 

 

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