‘Of Kingdom And Crown’ Is One Of Machine Head’s Best Albums To Date

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Machine Head is back.  More than four years after the release of the band’s then latest album, Catharsis, the band released its 10th album, Of Kingdom and Crown Friday through Nuclear Blast Records.  The 13-song album is a solid return to form for front man and founder Robb Flynn, who is now the band’s only original member.  Over the course of the record’s 39-minute run time, its arrangements lift from all of the best of the band’s catalog, musically speaking, while also offering lyrical content that is engaging in its own right.  Flynn and his new band mates – Waclaw Kieltkya (guitar, vocals), Jared MacEachern (bass, vocals), and Matt Alston (drums) – released roughly half of the album’s body in the months leading up to the record’s release, with a total of six of its song debuting between November 2020 and June of this year.  One of the most powerful of those singles is ‘My Hands Are Empty.’  This song will be discussed shortly.   ‘Rotten,’ which comes late in the album, is another notable addition to the record and will be discussed a little later.  ‘Choke On The Ashes Of Your Hate,’ which comes early in the record’s run, is yet another notable addition to the album and will also be examined later.  All three songs noted are key in their own way to the whole of this album’s presentation.  When they are considered along with the album’s other entries, the whole makes this record one of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums and potentially one of the year’s top new albums.

Of Kingdom and Crown, the latest album from Machine Head, is easily among the best of this year’s new hard rock and metal albums.  There is no question about that.  That is made clear from the record’s beginning to its end in its musical and lyrical content alike.  One of the songs that does so well to make that clear is ‘My Hands Are Empty.’  While not recently considered the album’s lead single, it was, in hindsight, the first of the new songs that would end up on the album in its release way back in November 2020.  It should be noted here that while Matt Alston is currently handling drumming duties for the band, the drums in this song’s arrangement were handled by Navene Koperweis (Animals As Leaders, Whitechapel, Entheos).  The arrangement overall features a sound and stylistic approach that, as Flynn noted at the time of the single’s release, is comparable to works from the band’s 2003 album, Through The Ashes of Empires.  That is evidenced through Flynn’s distinct growling vocals and the richness created through the pairing of the guitar and bass alongside those pummeling drums.  The addition of the choral effect to the mix adds even more to that sense.

Lyrically speaking, Flynn explained that the song tackles the issue of opioid abuse.

“I have some family members who have beaten their opioid addiction, and have some still in the throes of addition,” Flynn said. “it is painful to watch, and I deal with it with great difficulty.  It is a song of sadness, but there is hope as well.  I have beaten my own drug addictions and we can fight through this together and share our pain with the world.”  The mention in the song’s chorus that “My hands are empty/Lies so pretty/Kill me gently” points directly to the emotional struggle.  It is an allusion to someone feeling left with nothing as a result of so many struggles.  In this case the struggles are with addiction, being at the bottom of that proverbial barrel.  The mention of powders and pills in the song’s second verse, along with watching someone slowly die is that direct reference to watching people Flynn knows struggling with addiction.  Seeing them “Disintegrate/You/Right before my eyes” and the emptiness haunting him makes that painful picture all the fuller.  That overall lyrical picture, along with the power and emotion in the song’s musical arrangement makes fully clear why this song stands out among the album’s singles.

‘My Hands Are Empty’ is just one of the songs that stands out in Machine Head’s new album.  ‘Rotten’ is another notable addition to the record.  Its musical arrangement immediately takes audiences back to the band’s debut 1994 album, Burn My Eyes.  The crunch of the guitars, and the pairing of the bass and drums really leads even more to that comparison.  Flynn himself is even quoted through Apple Music as saying the arrangement came about during the band’s recent tour in celebration of Burn My Eyes’ 25th anniversary while also making his own comparison to works from Exodus’ 1989 album, Fabulous Disaster.

Considering the fire in the song’s arrangement, it makes the song’s lyrical content all the more interesting.  That is because Flynn left interpretation of the song’s lyrical content to audiences.  The mention of sitting, holding the “gun in hand/Barrel to the temple” leads to the sense that this song is lyrically taking on the blend of anger and desperation that comes with such suicidal thoughts.  The anger comes as Flynn screams, “Everything is rotten to the core” in the song’s chorus.  His further mention of feeling such anxiety, “heart racing/My throat’s constricting” even more seems to hint at those mixed feelings.  If in fact, this is the picture that Flynn is trying to paint here, that of someone sitting there, feeling so much anger and sadness, anxiety and confusion all at once, then he has done quite well.  That is because mental health is such a prevalent matter, and that constantly deserves attention.  To that end, the overall picture painted through the song’s musical and lyrical content makes the whole here stand out just as much as ‘Empty Hands’ and the rest of the album’s offerings.

As much as ‘Rotten’ does to make Of Kingdom and Crown a powerful new offering from Machine Head, it is hardly the last of the record’s most notable works.  ‘Choke on the Ashes of Your Hate’ is yet another example of how much this record has to offer.  The musical arrangement featured in this song is, again, influenced by Exodus according to Flynn.  He compared the intensity of the song’s arrangement to that of works from Exodus’ debut 1985 album, Bonded by Blood.  Interestingly enough, that album’s title track (and much of the album) actually sounds more akin to early Metallica than Machine Head.  To that end one could argue that this song is just as much akin to early Metallica as early Exodus.  That is meant in the most complimentary fashion, too.

Lyrically, this song goes in a completely different direction from those of the other songs examined here.  Flynn said in an interview about the song, that it was influenced by the Japanese anime series, Attack on Titan.  He said the song is part of what is apparently a bigger semi-conceptual approach to this album that is based on that series and that the lead song focuses on two characters who both start out good but turn bad because of the bad things that happened personally to them.  It is an interesting concept of there really being that there is no real “good” or “bad” guy in stories or in life.  That concept, together with the song’s powerful musical arrangement, makes it stand on its own unique merits.  When it is considered along with the other songs examined here and with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes the album overall an unforgettable new offering from Machine Head that is among the best of the band’s albums to date.

Of Kingdom and Crown, the latest album from Machine Head, is an impressive return for the band, considering the stark departure that the band took on its predecessor, 2018’s Catharsis.  The album is a full-on return to form for Flynn and his current band mates.  That is evidenced through its musical and lyrical content alike.  The songs examined here each make that clear.  When they are considered along with the album’s other songs, the entirety of that body makes Of Kingdom and Crown one of Machine Head’s best albums to date and one of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

Of Kingdom and Crown is available now through Nuclear Blast Records. The band is scheduled to join Amon Amarth on the road this fall in Europe, with each band promoting its own new album.

The tour’s schedule is noted below.

SEPTEMBER
Thursday 8 – NOTTINGHAM, UK, Motorpoint Arena
Friday 9 – CARDIFF, UK, Motorpoint Arena
Saturday 10 – LONDON, UK, The SSE Arena, Wembley
Monday 12 – MANCHESTER, Uk AO Arena
Tuesday 13 – DUBLIN, Ireland, 3Arena
Friday 16 – ZURICH, Switzerland, Hallenstadion
Saturday 17 – VIENNA, Austria, Stadthalle
Sunday 18 – KRAKOW, Poland, Tauron Arena
Tuesday 20 – TALLINN, Estonia, Saku Arena
Wednesday 21 – HELSINKI, Finland, Ice Hall
Friday 23 – OSLO, Norway, Spektrum
Saturday 24 – STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Hovet
Monday 26 – COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Forum Black Box
Tuesday 27 – HAMBURG, Germany, Barclays Arena
Wednesday 28 – FRANKFURT, Germany, Festhalle
Friday 30 – OBERHAUSEN, Germany, König Pilsener Arena

OCTOBER
Saturday 01 – BERLIN, Germany Velodrome
Sunday 02 – AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands, Afas Live
Tuesday 04 – MILAN, Italy, Lorenzini District
Thursday 06 – BARCELONA, Spain, Sant Jordi
Friday 07 – MADRID, Spain, Vistalegre
Saturday 08 – LA CORUNA, Spain, Coliseum
Sunday 09 – LISBON, Portugal, Campo Pequeno
Wednesday 12 – PARIS, France, Zenith
Friday 14 – MUNICH, Germany, Olympiahalle
Saturday 15 – LEIPZIG, Germany, Arena
Sunday 16 – PRAGUE, Czech Republic, Tipsport Arena
Tuesday 18 – BUDAPEST, Hungary, Barba Negra
Thursday 20 – ESCH SUR ALZETTE, Luxembourg, Rockhal
Friday 21 – BRUSSELS, Belgium, Forest National
Saturday 22 – STUTTGART, Germant, Schleyerhalle

More information on Machine Head’s new album and tour is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.machinehead1.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/MachineHead

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/MfnH

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.

Amon Amarth Impresses Once Again On Its 12th Album, ‘The Great Heathen Army’

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Veteran Viking metal outfit Amon Amarth is set to release its latest album, The Great Heathen Army very in less than a week through its longtime label home Metal Blade Records.  Scheduled for release Aug. 5, the 9-song record will come more than three years after the release of the band’s then latest album, Berserker.  The 43-minute presentation is everything that Amon Amarth fans have come to expect from the band both musically and lyrically.  At the same time, the record’s musical content actually shows some growth from the band this time out.  The record’s musical and lyrical content will each receive their own examinations here.  The album’s production rounds out its most important elements and will also be examined here.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation.  All things considered they make The Great Heathen Army one more of the greatest of this year’s new hard rock and metal albums.

The Great Heathen Army, the 12th new album from Amon Amarth, is another largely successful offering from the veteran metal outfit that has made a career of making songs about Vikings.  The record’s appeal comes in part through its featured musical arrangements.  The very first thing that the band’s established audiences will note through the record’s nine total arrangements is that they are not all the same semi-symphonic/death metal approach that the band has taken in so many of its albums.  Right from the record’s outset, its lead single, ‘Get in the Ring,’ the band takes more of a modern hard rock/metal approach.  It is a notable change of sound and style for the band considering the compositions that the band has crafted over its decades-long career.  It is just one of the songs that shows that branching out, too.  Late in the record in ‘Saxons and Vikings,’ the band goes in a vintage hard rock style approach, even bringing in famed Accept/U.D.O. front man Udo Dirkschneider to add to the mix.  Just as interesting is that the band does make sure to include some of its more familiar death metal riffs to mix things up a little bit along the way.  The pairing of those leanings together, complete with a powerhouse solo, makes this song’s arrangement yet another standout addition to the record that continues to show the band’s musical growth this time out.  The band offers up a little more of that vintage hard rock leaning in the record’s closer, ‘The Serpent’s Trail.’  The way in which the guitars are used here almost mimics some string arrangements, and the classical guitar approach here along the way just adds that much more to the record.  It is just one more way in which the musical arrangements feature in this record show their value to the album’s presentation.  When these arrangements are considered along with the works that lean more in the band’s familiar sounds and styles, the whole makes The Great Heathen Army a presentation that succeeds if only through its musical content.

The musical content that is featured in The Great Heathen Army is just part of what makes the album worth hearing.  The lyrical content that accompanies that musical content makes for its own appeal.  That is because it is far more familiar to those noted established audiences.  From ‘Oden Owns You All’ to Saxons and Vikings’ to ‘The Serpent’s Trail’ and more, the themes featured in the record’s lyrics all center on the familiar topics of all things Norse and Vikings.  Now there are a couple of sings – ‘Get In The Ring’ and ‘Find A Way Or Make One’ – that do break that mold.  ‘Find A Way Or Make One’ delivers an all too familiar but always welcome message of pushing through life’s difficulties.  This is clear as front man Johan Hegg sings here, “Stand tall/And fight/The world will quake/Stand tall/And fight/I will never break.”  Some of the lyrics are a little difficult cult decipher fully sans lyrics, but he also makes note here of fighting the battle when all hope is lost and gone.  This is, again, a powerful and familiar message, especially as he adds that he will not kneel, no matter what the odds.  Yet again, here is more proof of the song’s message of personal strength.  The battles and situations do not necessarily have to be warfare, but just personal battles.  To that end, again, this familiar message is just as welcome from the band here as from any other band.  What’s more, that it is set here alongside so much other more familiar content shows growth, lyrically from the band. 

‘Get In The Ring’ meanwhile is actually a song for one of the rising stars of All Elite Wrestling (AEW).  It is fitting that it was crafted for a pro wrestler, as its lyrical theme is in fact a fight song.  It is an anthem that could and will get anyone pumped up who has ever been done wrong by someone.  It is that challenge to those people who would stand in our way metaphorically or lyrically.  To that end, it is another familiar lyrical theme in general that shows in its own way, why the lyrical themes in record are just as appealing as the album’s musical content.  All things considered the record’s lyrical content pairs with its companion musical content to make the album’s overall content a strong foundation for the presentation.  It is just one part of what makes the album so appealing.  The record’s production rounds out its most important elements.

The production that went into The Great Heathen Army is important to its presentation because of its role in the record’s general effect.  Every song in this record is loud and heavy.  Each work is so rich because of the pairing of the instrumentations and vocals.  Thanks to the time and effort that went into the production, no one part overpowers the others (including the vocals) at any one point in the album.  That is, again, due to the production.  Every part of each song is so powerful, leading each work to be fully immersive.  The result is that the album proves just as successful in its aesthetic presentation as in its content.  When all of this is considered together, the whole of The Great Heathen Army becomes one more of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

The Great Heathen Army, the 12th new album from veteran metal outfit Amon Amarth, is another strong new offering from the band that will entertain the band’s established audiences just as much as metal fans in general.  That is evidenced in part through the record’s musical content.  The arrangements featured throughout the album are familiar, but also show a certain level of growth.  The band tries its hand at some vintage hard rock and metal styles as well as some more mainstream sounding heavy rock at points throughout the record.  That diversity offers audiences something “old” and something “new” which along the way makes for plenty of engagement and entertainment.  The lyrical themes featured alongside the album’s musical content is just as important to its presentation.  That is because of its overall familiarity, too.  There are plenty of Viking themes once again, along with some themes of overcoming diversity, which the band has handled less, but is still familiar in the rock and metal communities.  The record’s production puts the finishing touch to the presentation, ensuring that the best of each song is brought out from one work to another.  Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of the record.  All things considered they make the album overall another welcome offering from Amon Amarth that belongs among the best of the year’s new hard rock and metal albums.

The Great Heathen Army is scheduled for release Friday through Metal Blade Records. Amon Amarth will hit the road this fall in support of its new, forthcoming album. The band will launch the “The Great Heathen Tour” November 11 in Las Vegas, NV in support of the record.

 The tour features support from Carcass, Obituary, and Cattle Decapitation, and is expected to run through Dec. 17 in Los Angeles, CA and also features scheduled performances in cities, such as Charlotte, NC; Cincinnati, OH and Seattle, WA.

The tour’s schedule is noted below.

Amon Amarth
THE GREAT HEATHEN TOUR
US HEADLINE RUN W/ CARCASS, OBITUARY AND CATTLE DECAPITATION
Friday, November 11 – Las Vegas, NV @ Brooklyn Bowl*
Saturday, November 12 – Phoenix, AZ @ Arizona Federal Theater
Monday, November 14 – San Antonio, TX @ Aztec Theater
Tuesday, November 15 – Houston, TX @ Bayou Music Center
Wednesday, November 16 – Dallas, TX @ Southside Ballroom
Friday, November 18 – Atlanta, GA @ The Tabernacle
Saturday, November 19 – Orlando, FL @ Hard Rock Live
Sunday, November 20 – Charlotte, NC @ The Fillmore
Tuesday, November 22 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Fillmore
Wednesday, November 23 – Boston, MA @ MGM Music Hall at Fenway
Friday, November 25 – Detroit, MI @ The Fillmore
Saturday, November 26 – Chicago, IL @ The Aragon Ballroom
Sunday, November 27 – Cincinnati, OH @ The Andrew J Brady Music Center
Wednesday, November 30 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE**
Thursday, Dec 01 – New York, NY @ Hammerstein Ballroom
Friday, Dec 02 – Toronto, ON @ History
Saturday, Dec 03 – Laval, QC @ Place Bell
Monday, Dec 05 – Madison, WI @ The Sylvee
Tuesday, Dec 06 – Minneapolis, MN @ The Fillmore
Wednesday, Dec 07- Kansas City, MO @ Uptown
Friday, Dec 09 – Denver, CO @ The Fillmore
Saturday, Dec 10 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex
Monday, Dec 12 – Seattle, WA @ Showbox SODO
Tuesday, Dec 13 – Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater
Thursday, Dec 15 – Wheatland, CA @ Hard Rock Live
Friday, Dec 16 – San Diego, CA @ SOMA
Saturday, Dec 17 – Los Angeles, CA @ Kia Forum

*No Carcass
** Non-Live Nation date

The new fall U.S. dates will follow a European run with Machine Head, that is scheduled to run from Sept. 8 in Nottingham, UK to Oct. 22 in Stuttgart, Germany. The Halo Effect is also scheduled to take part in the tour, dubbed the “Vikings and Lionhearts Tour 2022.”

The tour’s schedule is noted below.

SEPTEMBER
Thursday 8 – NOTTINGHAM, UK, Motorpoint Arena
Friday 9 – CARDIFF, UK, Motorpoint Arena
Saturday 10 – LONDON, UK, The SSE Arena, Wembley
Monday 12 – MANCHESTER, Uk AO Arena
Tuesday 13 – DUBLIN, Ireland, 3Arena
Friday 16 – ZURICH, Switzerland, Hallenstadion
Saturday 17 – VIENNA, Austria, Stadthalle
Sunday 18 – KRAKOW, Poland, Tauron Arena
Tuesday 20 – TALLINN, Estonia, Saku Arena
Wednesday 21 – HELSINKI, Finland, Ice Hall
Friday 23 – OSLO, Norway, Spektrum
Saturday 24 – STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Hovet
Monday 26 – COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Forum Black Box
Tuesday 27 – HAMBURG, Germany, Barclays Arena
Wednesday 28 – FRANKFURT, Germany, Festhalle
Friday 30 – OBERHAUSEN, Germany, König Pilsener Arena

OCTOBER
Saturday 01 – BERLIN, Germany Velodrome
Sunday 02 – AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands, Afas Live
Tuesday 04 – MILAN, Italy, Lorenzini District
Thursday 06 – BARCELONA, Spain, Sant Jordi
Friday 07 – MADRID, Spain, Vistalegre
Saturday 08 – LA CORUNA, Spain, Coliseum
Sunday 09 – LISBON, Portugal, Campo Pequeno
Wednesday 12 – PARIS, France, Zenith
Friday 14 – MUNICH, Germany, Olympiahalle
Saturday 15 – LEIPZIG, Germany, Arena
Sunday 16 – PRAGUE, Czech Republic, Tipsport Arena
Tuesday 18 – BUDAPEST, Hungary, Barba Negra
Thursday 20 – ESCH SUR ALZETTE, Luxembourg, Rockhal
Friday 21 – BRUSSELS, Belgium, Forest National
Saturday 22 – STUTTGART, Germant, Schleyerhalle

More information on Amon Amarth’s new album and tour is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.amonamarth.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/amonamarth

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/amonamarthband

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

Amon Amarth Announces New Tour Schedule

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Amon Amarth will hit the road this fall in support of its new, forthcoming album, The Great Heathen Army.

The band announced Tuesday, it will launch the “The Great Heathen Tour” November 11 in Las Vegas, NV in support of the record, which is scheduled for release Aug. 5 through Metal Blade Records. The tour features support from Carcass, Obituary, and Cattle Decapitation, and is expected to run through Dec. 17 in Los Angeles, CA and also features scheduled performances in cities, such as Charlotte, NC; Cincinnati, OH and Seattle, WA.

The tour’s schedule is noted below.

Amon Amarth
THE GREAT HEATHEN TOUR
US HEADLINE RUN W/ CARCASS, OBITUARY AND CATTLE DECAPITATION
Friday, November 11 – Las Vegas, NV @ Brooklyn Bowl*
Saturday, November 12 – Phoenix, AZ @ Arizona Federal Theater
Monday, November 14 – San Antonio, TX @ Aztec Theater
Tuesday, November 15 – Houston, TX @ Bayou Music Center
Wednesday, November 16 – Dallas, TX @ Southside Ballroom
Friday, November 18 – Atlanta, GA @ The Tabernacle
Saturday, November 19 – Orlando, FL @ Hard Rock Live
Sunday, November 20 – Charlotte, NC @ The Fillmore
Tuesday, November 22 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Fillmore
Wednesday, November 23 – Boston, MA @ MGM Music Hall at Fenway
Friday, November 25 – Detroit, MI @ The Fillmore
Saturday, November 26 – Chicago, IL @ The Aragon Ballroom
Sunday, November 27 – Cincinnati, OH @ The Andrew J Brady Music Center
Wednesday, November 30 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE**
Thursday, Dec 01 – New York, NY @ Hammerstein Ballroom
Friday, Dec 02 – Toronto, ON @ History
Saturday, Dec 03 – Laval, QC @ Place Bell
Monday, Dec 05 – Madison, WI @ The Sylvee
Tuesday, Dec 06 – Minneapolis, MN @ The Fillmore
Wednesday, Dec 07- Kansas City, MO @ Uptown
Friday, Dec 09 – Denver, CO @ The Fillmore
Saturday, Dec 10 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex
Monday, Dec 12 – Seattle, WA @ Showbox SODO
Tuesday, Dec 13 – Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater
Thursday, Dec 15 – Wheatland, CA @ Hard Rock Live
Friday, Dec 16 – San Diego, CA @ SOMA
Saturday, Dec 17 – Los Angeles, CA @ Kia Forum

*No Carcass
** Non-Live Nation date

The new fall U.S. dates will follow a European run with Machine Head, that is scheduled to run from Sept. 8 in Nottingham, UK to Oct. 22 in Stuttgart, Germany. The Halo Effect is also scheduled to take part in the tour, dubbed the “Vikings and Lionhearts Tour 2022.”

The tour’s schedule is noted below.

SEPTEMBER
Thursday 8 – NOTTINGHAM, UK, Motorpoint Arena
Friday 9 – CARDIFF, UK, Motorpoint Arena
Saturday 10 – LONDON, UK, The SSE Arena, Wembley
Monday 12 – MANCHESTER, Uk AO Arena
Tuesday 13 – DUBLIN, Ireland, 3Arena
Friday 16 – ZURICH, Switzerland, Hallenstadion
Saturday 17 – VIENNA, Austria, Stadthalle
Sunday 18 – KRAKOW, Poland, Tauron Arena
Tuesday 20 – TALLINN, Estonia, Saku Arena
Wednesday 21 – HELSINKI, Finland, Ice Hall
Friday 23 – OSLO, Norway, Spektrum
Saturday 24 – STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Hovet
Monday 26 – COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Forum Black Box
Tuesday 27 – HAMBURG, Germany, Barclays Arena
Wednesday 28 – FRANKFURT, Germany, Festhalle
Friday 30 – OBERHAUSEN, Germany, König Pilsener Arena

OCTOBER
Saturday 01 – BERLIN, Germany Velodrome
Sunday 02 – AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands, Afas Live
Tuesday 04 – MILAN, Italy, Lorenzini District
Thursday 06 – BARCELONA, Spain, Sant Jordi
Friday 07 – MADRID, Spain, Vistalegre
Saturday 08 – LA CORUNA, Spain, Coliseum
Sunday 09 – LISBON, Portugal, Campo Pequeno
Wednesday 12 – PARIS, France, Zenith
Friday 14 – MUNICH, Germany, Olympiahalle
Saturday 15 – LEIPZIG, Germany, Arena
Sunday 16 – PRAGUE, Czech Republic, Tipsport Arena
Tuesday 18 – BUDAPEST, Hungary, Barba Negra
Thursday 20 – ESCH SUR ALZETTE, Luxembourg, Rockhal
Friday 21 – BRUSSELS, Belgium, Forest National
Saturday 22 – STUTTGART, Germant, Schleyerhalle

The announcement of Amon Amarth’s new tour came less than a week after the band debuted the second single from its new album, which is also the album’s title track. The band debuted the song and its video July 7. The band debuted the album’s lead single, ‘Get In The Ring‘ and its companion video June 2.

The track listing for The Great Heathen Army is noted below.

AMON AMARTH
The Great Heathen Army
Track Listing
1. Get In the Ring
2. The Great Heathen Army
3. Heidrun
4. Oden Owns You All
5. Find a Way or Make One
6. Dawn of Norsemen
7. Saxons and Vikings
8. Skagul Rides With Me
9. The Serpent’s Trail

More information on Amon Amarth’s new tour, single, video, and album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.amonamarth.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/amonamarth

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/amonamarthband

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

Machine Head Unveils New Single, ‘Unhallowed,’ Companion Video

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Machine Head offered audiences another preview of its new album this week with a new single and its companion video.

The band premiered its new single, ‘Unhallowed‘ and the song’s companion video Tuesday. The song is technically the sixth single from the band’s forthcoming album, Of Kingdom and Crown, which is scheduled for release Aug. 26 through Nuclear Blast Records. The premiere of the song and its video follows that of the album’s other singles, ‘Choke On The Ashes Of Your Hate,‘  ‘Arrows In Words From The Sky,’ Rotten,’  ‘Become The Firestorm,’ and ‘My Hands Are Empty’.

Pre-orders and pre-saves for Of Kingdom and Crown are open.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Unhallowed’ is a fully engaging and entertaining composition. Its mostly brooding nature and thrash style breakdown immediately conjures thoughts of the band’s hit single, ‘Imperium.’ At the same time, there is a certain sense of the band’s works from its landmark debut album, Burn My Eyes throughout the arrangement, too. The whole makes the song so enjoyable.

The song’s lyrical theme continues the story set in ‘Choke On The Ashes Of Your Hate’ according to front man Robb Flynn.

“Drowning in the deepest depression of his life, Eros is at a breaking point,” Flynn said. “Collecting heartaches, loss, and near psychotic isolation, ‘Unhallowed’ is the beginning of a powerful shift of our story. An introspective narrative starts the song lyrically, which is a collaborative effort written by myself, Guitarist Wacław “Vogg” Kiełtyka, and Bassist/Backing Vocalist Jared MacEachern and encapsulates the collective strength of this writing team.  

“Anchored by an absolutely monstrous groove, the vocals melodically mirror the state of mind of Eros as he reels from the loss of his mother to a drug overdose and begins a slow downward spiral into madness. However, the culmination of the track infuses some much-needed light, but will it be enough?”

As a refresher for those maybe new to the concept behind the band’s new album, Flynn talked early this spring about the topic.

“Thanks to my 2 teenage boys my family has become obsessed with this awesome Japanese anime series called “Attack On Titan,” he said. “The album’s concept was loosely inspired by the series in the sense that in the storyline, there is no “good” or “bad” guy, both characters believe they’re doing the right thing as it applies to their being, but make no mistake, both are committing acts of pure atrocity and evil. The opening track “SLAUGHTER THE MARTYR” is basically our character #1’s origin story.”

Flynn’s statement also outlined the lyrical theme in the album’s then new single. He said of the two men:

Character #1 Ares: (pronounced Aries), our main, who loses the love of his life (Amethyst) and goes on a murderous rampage against the vile sect responsible for her murder.

Character #2 Eros: (pronounced Arrows) the perpetrator, who loses his mother to a drug overdose and becomes radicalized in the aftermath. Eros goes off the deep end manifesting his own killing spree. 

The video for ‘Unhallowed’ features Flynn performing the new single alongside bassist Jared MacEachern. The space is also where Flynn and MacEachern have held so many live performances over the past couple of years online.

Of Kingdom and Crown will release on 16 separate vinyl pressings, deluxe vinyl box set, CD, cassette, and digital formats. The album’s track listing is noted below.

ØF KINGDØM AND CRØWN

MACHINE HEAD

Track Listing:

1. SLAUGHTER THE MARTYR

2. CHØKE ØN THE ASHES ØF YØUR HATE

3. BECØME THE FIRESTØRM

4. ØVERDØSE

5. MY HANDS ARE EMPTY

6. UNHALLØWED

7. ASSIMILATE

8. KILL THY ENEMIES

9. NØ GØDS, NØ MASTERS

10. BLØØDSHØT

11. RØTTEN

12. TERMINUS

13. ARRØWS IN WØRDS FRØM THE SKY

The now six singles released for Machine Head’s new album are just some of the songs that the band has released. The band also released the standalone singles, ‘Bulletproof,’ Stop The Bleeding (ft. Jesse Leach), ‘Circling The Drain‘ and its acoustic take in 2020.

More information on Machine Head’s new music is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.machinehead1.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/MachineHead

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/MfnH

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.

Amon Amarth Announces New Album Details; Debuts Album’s Lead Single, Video; European Tour Planned

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Amon Amarth will tentatively release its new album this summer.

The band announced Thursday, it is scheduled to release its new album, The Great Heathen Army Aug. 5 through Metal Blade Records. In anticipation of the record’s pending release, the band premiered the album’s lead single, ‘Get In The Ring‘ and its companion video Thursday.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Get In The Ring’ is a slight departure for the band, considering its familiar brand of death metal compositions. In the case of this song, the arrangement is more spit-shined for lack of better wording, than its existing songs. It has less of the somewhat symphonic elements that are so commonplace in most of the band’s catalog, though does still incorporate that element here, just more subtly.

The lyrical theme featured in the band’s new single also seems to be something of a departure for the band. In place of the familiar Viking conquest tales, the band instead has presented what comes across as simply an adrenaline-fueled fight song. According to guitarist Olavi Mikkonent, the song was written as an entrance theme for All Elite Wrestling (AEW) star Erik Redbeard.

That fight theme is amplified through the song’s video, which puts the band in a post-apocalyptic Mad Max style setting, performing its new single in a bunker setting as a group of fighters face off against each other. There are some Viking weapons incorporated into the visualization, but their presence is even minimalized here. It makes for even more interest in this case.

The track listing for The Great Heathen Army is noted below. The record was produced by Andy Sneap (Arch Enemy, Fozzy, Dream Theater). Audiences will notice in the track listing that the band’s most recent single, ‘Put Your Back Into The Oar,’ which debuted Feb. 17, is not included in the track listing. Why that is the case is left to ponder.

AMON AMARTH
The Great Heathen Army
Track Listing
1. Get In the Ring
2. The Great Heathen Army
3. Heidrun
4. Oden Owns You All
5. Find a Way or Make One
6. Dawn of Norsemen
7. Saxons and Vikings
8. Skagul Rides With Me
9. The Serpent’s Trail

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

In other news, Amon Amarth is scheduled to launch a European tour in support of its new album album Sept. 8 in Nottingham, UK. The tour, whose schedule is noted below, is set to run through Oct. 22 in Stuttgart, Germany. Machine Head and The Halo Effect are scheduled to join Amon Amarth for the tour.

SEPTEMBER
Thursday 8 – NOTTINGHAM, UK, Motorpoint Arena
Friday 9 – CARDIFF, UK, Motorpoint Arena
Saturday 10 – LONDON, UK, The SSE Arena, Wembley
Monday 12 – MANCHESTER, Uk AO Arena
Tuesday 13 – DUBLIN, Ireland, 3Arena
Friday 16 – ZURICH, Switzerland, Hallenstadion
Saturday 17 – VIENNA, Austria, Stadthalle
Sunday 18 – KRAKOW, Poland, Tauron Arena
Tuesday 20 – TALLINN, Estonia, Saku Arena
Wednesday 21 – HELSINKI, Finland, Ice Hall
Friday 23 – OSLO, Norway, Spektrum
Saturday 24 – STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Hovet
Monday 26 – COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Forum Black Box
Tuesday 27 – HAMBURG, Germany, Barclays Arena
Wednesday 28 – FRANKFURT, Germany, Festhalle
Friday 30 – OBERHAUSEN, Germany, König Pilsener Arena

OCTOBER
Saturday 01 – BERLIN, Germany Velodrome
Sunday 02 – AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands, Afas Live
Tuesday 04 – MILAN, Italy, Lorenzini District
Thursday 06 – BARCELONA, Spain, Sant Jordi
Friday 07 – MADRID, Spain, Vistalegre
Saturday 08 – LA CORUNA, Spain, Coliseum
Sunday 09 – LISBON, Portugal, Campo Pequeno
Wednesday 12 – PARIS, France, Zenith
Friday 14 – MUNICH, Germany, Olympiahalle
Saturday 15 – LEIPZIG, Germany, Arena
Sunday 16 – PRAGUE, Czech Republic, Tipsport Arena
Tuesday 18 – BUDAPEST, Hungary, Barba Negra
Thursday 20 – ESCH SUR ALZETTE, Luxembourg, Rockhal
Friday 21 – BRUSSELS, Belgium, Forest National
Saturday 22 – STUTTGART, Germant, Schleyerhalle

More information on Amon Amarth’s new single, video, album and tour is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.amonamarth.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/amonamarth

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/amonamarthband

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

Lions At The Gate Premieres New Single, Video

Courtesy: Cosa Nostra PR

Hard rock super group Lions at the Gate debuted its latest single and video this week.

The band The band, which is composed of former members of Ill Nino, Machine Head, Westfield Massacre and Silence The Messenger, premiered its new single, ‘Find My Way‘ and its video Tuesday. The song features a guest appearance by Jinjer vocalist Tatiana Shmayluk.

The premiere of ‘Find My Way’ and its video comes more than a month after the band premiered its then latest single, ‘Bed Of Nails.’ The band premiered that single March 2.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Find My Way’ opens with a piano line that listeners who are well versed in classical music will recognize before launching into a full on Slipknot-esque aural assault. The intensity of that moment and the rest of the song’s verses is in direct contrast to the gentility of the song’s choruses, making for plenty of engagement and entertainment. The noted classical piano line bookends the arrangement, closing it out, too, making the song complete.

Front man Christian Machado talked about the song’s musical arrangement in a prepared statement, which also included a discussion on Schmayluk’s inclusion in the track.

“With ‘Find My Way’, we tried to break all the formulaic rules on this one,” the statement reads. Pushed the boundaries, took it to extremes. In the end, we realized how rewarding it was fitting intensely contrasting musical elements into one track. And it is a killer heavy track that also offers a beautifully haunting melody. From the onset it seemed perfect for Tatiana’s voice, the fact that she wound up on the track is mind-blowing. Her voice is absolutely stunning and it is a huge honor having her on.”

Machado said the song’s lyrical theme is a reference to his own mental health concerns.

“Lyrically the song walks the line between fear, surrender, and the will to overcome,” he said. “At the time of writing the album, I felt pinned by so many things gone wrong in my life. I remember I just held on to hope and faith long enough till I found a place of safe surrender. A place where I could slowly lift the weight off, finally be untethered.”

The video for ‘Find My Way’ is a familiar style presentation. It features the band performing its new single in a specially designed sound stage, complete with pyro. Shmayluk joins the band in the presentation.

Lions at the Gate released two other singles last year in the form of ‘Scapegoat‘ and its video, and ‘Not Even Human‘ and its companion video.

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

Websitehttps://latgofficial.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/lionsatthegate

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/lionsatthegate

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.

Machine Head Announces New Album Details; Debuts Album’s fifth Single, Video

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records/Imperium Recordings

Machine Head will release its latest album this summer.

The band announced Tuesday, it is scheduled to release its new album, Of Kingdom and Crown Aug. 26 through Nuclear Blast Records/Imperium Recordings. In anticipation of the album’s release, the band premiered what is technically the album’s fifth single, ‘Choke On The Ashes Of Your Hate‘ Tuesday, along with its companion video.

The song is technically the album’s fifth single as the 13-song record also features the songs, ‘Arrows In Words From The Sky,’ Rotten,’ and ‘Become The Firestorm,’ which the band premiered last June in a three-song digital exclusive single, and the song, ‘My Hands Are Empty,’ which the band premiered in November 2020. Both songs are part of the album’s overall 13-song body, which makes up what front man/founder Robb Flynn said is a concept story.

“Thanks to my 2 teenage boys my family has become obsessed with this awesome Japanese anime series called “Attack On Titan,” he said. “The album’s concept was loosely inspired by the series in the sense that in the storyline, there is no “good” or “bad” guy, both characters believe they’re doing the right thing as it applies to their being, but make no mistake, both are committing acts of pure atrocity and evil. The opening track “SLAUGHTER THE MARTYR” is basically our character #1’s origin story.”

Flynn’s statement also outlines the lyrical theme in the album’s new single. He said of the two men:

Character #1 Ares: (pronounced Aries), our main, who loses the love of his life (Amethyst) and goes on a murderous rampage against the vile sect responsible for her murder.

Character #2 Eros: (pronounced Arrows) the perpetrator, who loses his mother to a drug overdose and becomes radicalized in the aftermath. Eros goes off the deep end manifesting his own killing spree. 

The video for ‘Choke On The Ashes Of Your Hate’ is a familiar style presentation. The black and white presentation features the band performing its new single on a sound stage as the song plays over. Various video effects and edits are used to heighten the song’s emotion.

Of Kingdom and Crown will release on 16 separate vinyl pressings, deluxe vinyl box set, CD, cassette, and digital formats. The album’s track listing is noted below.

ØF KINGDØM AND CRØWN

MACHINE HEAD

Track Listing:

1. SLAUGHTER THE MARTYR

2. CHØKE ØN THE ASHES ØF YØUR HATE

3. BECØME THE FIRESTØRM

4. ØVERDØSE

5. MY HANDS ARE EMPTY

6. UNHALLØWED

7. ASSIMILATE

8. KILL THY ENEMIES

9. NØ GØDS, NØ MASTERS

10. BLØØDSHØT

11. RØTTEN

12. TERMINUS

13. ARRØWS IN WØRDS FRØM THE SKY

The five singles released for Machine Head’s new album are just some of the songs that the band has released. The band also released the standalone singles, ‘Bulletproof,’ Stop The Bleeding (ft. Jesse Leach), ‘Circling The Drain‘ and its acoustic take in 2020.

More information on Machine Head’s new music is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.machinehead1.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/MachineHead

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/MfnH

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.

Lockjaw Debuts New Single, ‘Living In My Head,’ Companion Video

Courtesy: TAG Publicity

Independent hard rock band Lockjaw debuted its latest single and video this month.

The band premiered its new single, ‘Living in my Head‘ and its companion video Jan. 9 through Spaceuntravel. The song came more than five months after the band debuted its then latest single, ‘Silence The Fear.’

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Living in my Head’ is largely unlike that featured in ‘Silence The Fear.’ Where ‘Silence The Fear’ is a heavy, pounding work a la compositions from Machine Head, Amon Amarth and others, this song is more of a melodic hard rock work. The combination of instrumentation and vocals likens this arrangement more to works from the likes of Trivium and Devildriver.

The band discussed the song’s lyrical theme in a prepared statement.

“‘Living in My Head’ was a song we felt had to be released early on this album because it really hits home with what the world is going through now,” the statement reads. “We felt we could connect with fans, and let them know, we are with you. We are all struggling together. We feel the pressure of this world, with the pandemic and uncertainty, it really causes stress, anxiety, mental health issues all around. I don’t think anyone is immune to it. We are really proud of the final product and are glad to send our brand of heavy music into the world. We hope everyone enjoys it as much as we do!”

The video for the band’s new single is a simple presentation. It features the band performing its single on a sound stage. Various, high-speed cuts and fades pair with the video’s darkened look to heighten the song’s emotion.

More information on Lockjaw’s new single and video is available along with all of the band’s latest news at https://www.facebook.com/Lockjawlive.

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.

Overkill Announces Details For Long-Awaited Re-scheduled Concert

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Overkill will finally return home this month to perform live.

More than seven months after being forced to cancel its performance at Wellmont Theater in Montclair, NJ, Overkill will make up the concert this month. The band is scheduled to perform live Nov. 13 as part of the support for its most recent album, The Wings of War. The band was originally scheduled to perform at the venue March 14, but complications arose, causing the performance’s postponement.

Phil Demmel (ex-Machine Head, Vio-lence) will fill in for guitarist Dave Linsk, who was unable to make the re-scheduled date.

Drummer Jason Bittner said he was looking forward to Demmel joining the band for the one-off show.

“Even though I am disappointed that our very own Dave Linsk can not participate in this show, I am more than psyched and confident that my longtime friend Phil Demmel will get the job done for us,” he said.  We have a long history together playing a bunch of NAMM events and have toured together in the past so this should be a lot of fun!”

Demmel shared Bittner’s excitement about the concert in talking about sharing his talents for the event.

“So excited to jam with my bros in OVERKILL in NJ!!,” he said. “I’m neck-deep in learning the parts and expect a raging show!”

Front man Bobby Blitz had the following to say about the re-scheduling and having Demmel lend his talents to the concert: “We had a few issues getting this rescheduled show together, but to hell with the issues, we all have problems! And wouldn’t you know it our bro and your’s, Phil Demmel to the rescue! The show must and will go on! See you at the Wellmont Jersey…” 

More information on Overkill’s new concert is available online now along with all of the band’s latest tour updates, news and more at:

Websitehttps://www.wreckingcrew.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/OverkillWreckingCrew

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/OverkillBand

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

Sunflower Dead Premieres New Single, ‘Falling Down,’ Companion Lyric Video

Courtesy: New Ocean Media

Sunflower Dead is giving its audiences some more new music to enjoy over the weekend.

The band premiered its new single, ‘Falling Down‘ and its companion lyric video Friday. The song and its video are the second from the band’s forthcoming album, March of the Leper, which is expected for release in early 2022. The band premiered the album’s lead single, ‘The Underneath‘ and its video last month.

An exact release date for Sunflower Dead’s new album is under consideration. Pre-orders are open.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Falling Down’ is just as heavy as that featured in ‘The Underneath’ if not even heavier. The gutteral screams and clean vocals pair with the intensity from the instrumentation to give the overall arrangement a sound that harkens back to the early days of Machine Head circa Burn My Eyes and The More Things Change…

No information was provided about the song’s lyrical theme in the press release announcing the premiere of the new song and video. In watching the song’s lyric video though, the theme comes across as a social commentary about the truths and lies that society tells itself. It notes in its own fashion that all humans lead themselves to lie to others for one reason or another. That is, as always, this critic’s own interpretation.

In other news, Sunflower Dead is continuing its tour in support of its new album, which launched last month. The tour continues tonight with a performance scheduled to take place in Janesville, WI. The band’s current schedule is noted below.

September Tour Dates

9/10 Janesville, WI – Back Bar +

9/11 Chippewa Falls, WI – Joels 4Corners +

9/12 Braidwood, IL – Top Fuel Saloon +

9/14 Omaha, NE – Reverb Lounge *

9/16 Lubbock, TX – Jake’s Backroom =

9/17 OKC, OK – Whiskey Nights =

9/18 Katy, TX – Wildcatter Saloon =

9/19 Dallas, TX – Gas Monkey =

   * SFD Only

   + The Lonely Ones & SFD

   ^ Sons Of Texas & SFD

   ~ SFD & Co-Op

   = Otherwise & SFD

More information on Sunflower Dead’s new single, video, album and tour is available online now along with the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.sunflowerdead.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/sunflowerdead

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/sunflowerdead

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