Ellefson Debuts New Compilation’s Lead Single; Unveils Initial Track Listing

Courtesy: Combat Records

Audiences got their first preview of Megadeth bassist David Ellefson’s new eponymous rock project this week.

The band — Ellefson (bass), Thom Hazaert (vocals), Andy Martongelli (guitar), Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (guitar), and Paolo Caridi (drums) — released the song ‘Wasted‘ Friday.  The song, a cover of the Def Leppard song, is the lead single from the group’s debut record, No Cover.

Ellefson’s cover of ‘Wasted’ features guest appearances from Frank Hannon (Tesla), Jacob Bunton (Mick Mars, Lynam), and Dave McClain (Ex-Machine Head, Sacred Reich).

The famed names featured on ‘Wasted’ are just some of well-known musicians and performers who make appearances on this record.  Also lending their talents to the album are equally well-known figures, such as Charlie Benante (Anthrax), Al Jourgensen (Ministry) and Gus G. (Firewind).

Along with debuting its lead single, Ellefson has also unveiled the initial track listing for No Cover.  The initial listing opens with a cover of Judas Priest’s timeless hit song ‘Freewheel Burning’ and also features covers of songs such as AC/DC’s ‘Riff Raff,’ Queen’s ‘Sheer Heart Attack’ and Billy Idol’s ‘Rebel Yell.’

The album’s initial track listing is noted below.  Two tracks are still TBA. Pre-orders are open now.

 

Tracklist:
1. Freewheel Burning (Judas Priest) ft. Jason McMaster, Gus G, Andy James, Dave McClain
2. Tear It Loose (Twisted Sister) ft. Eddie Ojeda, Dave McClain
3. Love Me Like A Reptile (Motorhead) ft. Doro Pesch, Greg Handevidt, Chuck Behler
4. Holiday in Cambodia (Dead Kennedys) ft. Charlie Benante
5. Rebel Yell (Billy Idol)
6. Wasted (Def Leppard) ft. Frank Hannon, Jacob Bunton, Dave McClain, Bumblefoot
7. Riff Raff (AC/DC) ft. Jason McMaster, Dave Lombardo
8. Nailed To The Gun (Fight) ft. Andrew Freeman, Russ Parrish, Jimmy DeGrasso
9. Not Fragile (Bachman-Turner Overdrive) ft. John Aquilino
10. Say What You Will (Fastway) ft. Troy Lucketta, Mark Slaughter
11. LOVE Machine (W.A.S.P.) ft. Dirk Verbeuren, Dave Alvin
12. Love Hurts (Nazareth) ft. Brandon Yeagley, Chuck Behler, Tyson Leslie
13. Sheer Heart Attack (Queen) ft. Bumblefoot, Doro Pesch, Charlie Benante
14. Sweet FA (Sweet) ft. Todd Kerns, Bumblefoot, Shani Kimelman
15. TBA
16. TBA
17. Auf Wiedersehen (Cheap Trick) ft. Al Jourgensen, Brandon Yeagley, Charlie Benante

Bonus Tracks
18. Eat The Rich (Krokus) ft. Dead By Wednesday

 

No Cover was co-produced by Ellefson, Hazaert, and Martongelli.  The record was engineered by Alessio Garavello, Matt LaPlant (Nonpoint, Lil Jon, Skindred) and John Aquilino.  Alessio and Garavello mixed the album alongside Randy Burns and others.

Ellefson talked about the record’s genesis in a recent interview.

“Before any of us started writing our own songs, we all began playing cover songs by our heroes during our formative years as musicians,” said Ellefson.  “So, it’s fun to go back in time and revisit those songs which helped us to become the artists we are today, especially when, ironically, many of those artists have now become peers and friends. During the process of recording some covers for B-Sides and bonus tracks for the upcoming Ellefson solo LP, Thom and I just said, “This is a blast, let’s just do a whole album of covers!” Literally, within 2 weeks, we had the songs recorded, and began calling our friends to join us, many of whom we had just performed with on the MEGA-Cruise back in October. From there, the album just fell into place.”

“A lot of our buddies have been playing covers and quarantine jams on the Internet during the pandemic, so this is really just an extension of that, but we took it the next level and actually recorded a full studio album,” he added.” We’ve been working remotely anyway, as we’re all over the Globe, so it was easy to incorporate some guests jumping in with some outstanding performances of their own. It’s been a really fun nod to making great music with our friends, who are kick-ass players, and many legends in their own right, which is the whole reason we got into this in the first place!”

Hazert expanded on Ellefson’s comments with his own thoughts.

“It’s all songs and artists that really mutually influenced both myself and David, especially a lot of early “Metal” and harder Classic Rock,” he said. “Some stuff I picked, some stuff he picked, but for the most part is was all artists that we both loved. What’s funny, as there’s a bit of an age gap, we were sometimes more influenced by different eras of the same bands. But it was really him saying, “Let’s do this song”, and me saying, “Yes!!! And let’s do this song.” And before we knew it, we had over 15 songs. And it’s a lot of album tracks, deep cuts, early tracks, stuff people might not expect, which was what was so fun.”

“It was also great that we were able to work in a lot of nods to David’s [Ellefson] history, getting Chuck Behler to play with us, bringing in original Megadeth guitarist Greg Handevidt to play on “Love Me Like A Reptile”, a song they used to play in cover bands together before they moved to LA (which we wrote about in More Life With Deth), and Randy Burns is going to mix a track or two,” added Hazert.  “As a singer, these are literally bands I’ve listened to, and covered all my life, and for me, getting to play with Eddie Ojeda, the Tesla guys, Charlie Benante, Jason McMaster, Mark Slaughter, etc, and sing these songs that mean so much to me. I mean, literally, the entire record is my bucket list of people I’d love to play with, and some of my favorite bands. So, it’s truly an honor to put together something so fun, and really as effortless as this was. It truly is a love letter to Rock N’ Roll, an homage to what made us, musically, who we are today.”

Ellefson resurrected Combat Records in 2017 as part of the EMP Label Group family.

Combat Records was a seminal punk and thrash record label in the 1980s.  Its doors closed in the mid-2000s after its catalog was absorbed by Sony Music.  Combat Records’ official relaunch took place in 2018.

Ellefson said in an interview in 2017, Combat Records would handle only new music because Sony has control of the label’s back catalog.

“…And to clarify, we do not own any rights to the Combat Records back catalog,” Ellefson stressed. “That is owned and controlled by Sony, and they have done a great job of curating it through other imprints. Combat Records will solely focus on new releases under the Combat banner. As always, thank you for your support and stay tuned for more details!”

More information on Combat Records, along with its latest news, is available online now

at:

Websitehttp://www.combatrecs.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/combatrecordsofficial

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/combatrecs

\

Ellefson is scheduled to release its debut full-length studio recording in spring 2021.  More information on Ellefson is available along with all of the group’s latest news at:

 

Websitehttp://davidellefson.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/davidellefson

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/ellefsondavid

 

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

Machine Head Takes On Police, Politics In New Two-Song Single

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Robb Flynn and his band mates in Machine Head are taking on issues facing the world with a pair of new songs.

The band released a new two-song single Wednesday titled Civil Unrest.  The single features the songs ‘Stop The Bleeding’ as its A-side and ‘Bulletproof’ as its B-side.

‘Stop The Bleeding’ features guest vocals from Killswitch Engage front man Jesse Leach.  While Flynn said in an interview about the song, that he brought Leach on-board because the song has a KsE sound, a close listen also reveals an old school Machine Head sound.  The song’s lyrical content addresses the events that followed the death of George Floyd at the hands of a group of Minneapolis, MN police officers.

Flynn discussed the song’s inspiration in a recent interview.

“I wrote and sang the lyrics on Wednesday May 27th, 2020, the day that the four officers who murdered George Floyd were (originally) not charged with anything,” he said. “This day was engulfed in protests and riots across America. I drove into Oakland, past large demonstrations already happening and, in a fury, wrote down everything I was feeling after watching the horrific footage.  Within hours, what I wanted to say, what I needed to say had been recorded in the song.”

Additionally, Flynn talked about bringing Leach on for the song, noting that the collaboration was in the works even before the events of May 27.

“I had been speaking with Jesse for maybe 6 months about singing on the song, as it always had a little bit of a Killswitch vibe to me,” said Flynn.  “Unfortunately (or fortunately), our schedules hadn’t lined up, but with the subsequent lockdown from coronavirus, we had time to make it work. After what happened to George Floyd, I sent him the lyrics I’d written, and he replied saying he was “100% on board”. Jesse is someone I consider to be a pioneer and, in many ways, one of the men who changed the face of metal. His contribution to this song made it extremely powerful and it’s an honor to have him be a part of it.”

Leach spoke highly of Flynn in discussing the song’s creation in his own comments, adding he was glad to take part in the song.

“Being asked to be part of this song is an honor,” said Leach.  “Yes, because it’s Machine Head, but more importantly, this is a message that needs to be heard and spread. These issues concerning abuses of power and racism are timeless. I have written about these previously and I’ll write about them again. I think Robb really nailed this one, both lyrically and sonically. My hope is this song helps awaken those who hear it. Robb has been a frequent voice of the voiceless in these times, so teaming up with him is a no brainer. We need more of our Metal Community to speak out on social issues and help raise awareness, especially during these crucial times. Music is the soundtrack to our lives, it transcends language and culture. This is the reason we as musicians need to do our part to spark thought and discussion on these types of issues. We can make a difference through music and we can help stop the bleeding.”

Both songs are available to stream and download here.  A portion of the proceeds from sales of the single will go to benefit grassrootslaw.org, which is representing the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.

The video for ‘Stop The Bleeding’ is streaming here.

More information on Machine Head’s new single is available along with all of Machine Head’s latest news at:

 

Website: http://www.MachineHead1.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MfnH

 

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

 

 

BPMD’s ‘American Made’ Covers Collection Is Entertaining, But Hardly Memorable

Courtesy: Napalm Records

Covers collections are among the most peculiar releases that musical acts of any genre can release during their careers.  Unlike singles compilations, which in their own way, actually serve a purpose – that purpose being that they could lead new audiences to pick up an act’s albums in whole – covers compilations serve little if any purpose.  They are just collections of songs that acts put together to “pay tribute” to other acts and make money in the process.  They are really just space fillers that acts use in order to satisfy contractual obligations for album release numbers.  Keeping that in mind, one can’t help but wonder why respected and talented musicians, such as Bobby Blitz (Overkill), Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater, The Winery Dogs, Transatlantic, Sons of Apollo, Liquid Tension Experiment, etc.), Phil Demmel (ex-Machine Head, Vio-lence) and Mark Menghi (Metal Allegiance) would come together just to create a compilation of cover songs for what is right now its first and only release.  The 10-song compilation, titled American Made, is scheduled for release Friday through Napalm Records.  It does delve into music from some notable bands who have come before this hard rock supergroup dubbed BPMD.  That dichotomy of the bands whose music is covered versus the band performing said songs does make for at least some interest at best.  This item will be addressed a little later.  The specific arrangements of said songs is certain to be its own discussion point.  They will be discussed later, too.  Each item noted here is important in its own right to the whole of this compilation.  All things considered, American Made proves itself to be a record that while worth hearing at least once, is sadly anything but memorable.

Hard rock super group BPMD’s debut recording American Made is a recording that is worth hearing at least once, but sadly not much more than that.  One of the record’s only saving graces is the contrast of the bands whose works are covered to the band performing said covers.  The bands whose works are covered throughout this roughly 37-minute collection include, but are not limited to Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top, and Grand Funk Railroad.  Even Mountain gets its own recognition here.  Simply put, the bands whose works are covered here are in a realm that is completely opposite of the bands from which BPMD’s members have come.  Blitz is front man of the veteran thrash metal outfit Overkill.  Portnoy spent the majority of his professional career keeping time for the famed prog-metal outfit Dream Theater.  Even the other projects in which he has taken part have been in genres directly opposite of that of the covered bands.  Much the same can be said of Demmel and Menghi.  Considering the contrast of the resumes of BPMD’s members and the bands that they cover here, that in itself is worth at least engagement for audiences.  It shows that the band was willing to go out on a limb and do something different than what they normally do in their dayjobs.  One could also argue that maybe it is a display of the acts that influenced the band’s members.  If that’s that case, then the group has definitely gone far from those influences over the years, again making for its own share of discussion for listeners.  To that end, that contrast of the band’s collective background and the bands that this group covered does at best a little bit for the collection.  Directly tied to those discussions is the discussion on the collection’s one unavoidable negative, the very fact that it is a covers collection.

It has already been noted here that the members of BPMD have decidedly outstanding resumes.  So to that end, it is just baffling that considering the band members’ pedigrees, the group’s first impression of sorts would be a collection of songs that have been covered time and again by so many other acts.  These men are elite figures within the hard rock and metal communities.  It made audiences hope for something original right out of the gate so to speak.  Instead, the group opted to essentially phone it in and put out a covers compilation.  Had the group gone that route of releasing a debut loaded with original content first and then this record later, it would have made the compilation easier to accept. What’s more, unlike the case of Fozzy, which also started off with a collection of covers so long ago, it has to be assumed that BPMD is just a one-off project for its members.  At least in the case of a band, such as Fozzy, it was known that said band’s debut was just the beginning for that act.  This knowledge detracts from the draw of American Made.  It essentially makes the compilation come across as little more than a cash grab for the band and nothing more.  Keeping that in mind, this unavoidable aspect of American Made makes it difficult to call this record memorable.  While this aspect cannot be ignored, it does not make the album a complete failure for the group.  BPMD’s take on the record’s songs makes for its own share of engagement.

One of the most interesting updates that the band features in American Made is that of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Saturday Night Special.’  BPMD’s update does largely stay true to its source material by and large.  The amped up re-imagining also gives the song a new identity and feel, needless to say.  It gives the song more of a 1980s hair metal type of sense.  Whether fans love or hate this one will be left to them, but it is definitely an interesting take, needless to say.  BPMD’s update of Aerosmith’s ‘Toys in the Attic’ is another key addition to the collection.  As with the band’s cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Saturday Night Special,’ this cover also stays largely true to its source material.  It just once again gives the cover an amped up remake.  The song even goes so far as to include Joe Perry’s guitar solo from the original work.  It’s just weird hearing Bobby Blitz’s gritty vocals and the full-on hard rock re-imagining here.  That aside, this update actually works almost as well as the original.  BPMD’s cover of Grand Funk Railroad’s ‘American Band’ is another important addition to this compilation.  The band’s take once more does strive to stay true to its source material, and it is certain in its own right to create a lot of discussion among listeners.  That’s because while it does stay true to the source material, it seems to have trouble balancing its attempt to echo the song’s classic rock sound and the band members’ own hard rock and metal leanings.  It is definitely going to have listeners talking.  That is not to say that the song is a total loss or that any of the compilation’s works are losses.  The songs will certainly leave listeners talking, though.  Between the discussions insured through the musical updates and the very lineup of featured bands, which could actually lead some listeners to embark on musical journeys into catalogs of bands to which they otherwise might not have listened, the compilation proves itself worth hearing at least once.  To that end, the compilation is not a total failure.  However, one cannot ignore the fact that considering the resume of each of BPMD’s members, this just seems like little more than a cash grab.  To that end American Made makes itself worth hearing at least once, but anything but an American classic itself

BPMD’s covers collection American Made is a headscratcher of a record.  The first release from the hard rock super group, it will potentially lead some listeners to take their own journeys into the catalogs of the record’s featured bands.  The songs that are covered here play even more into that potential musical journey of discovery, as the covers will definitely lead to lots of discussion among audiences.  For all of the positives that the record’s featured bands and songs generate, one still cannot ignore the very issue that the band’s members are among the music industry’s elite figures.  To that end, coming together for potentially just one record and making said record a covers collection will leave a somewhat bitter taste in many listeners’ mouths, so to speak.  It leaves one feeling like this was just a rushed, phoned in work that was little more than a cash grab for the band’s members.  Keeping all of this in mind, the record proves itself worth hearing at least once, but sadly not much more than that.  American Made is scheduled for release Friday through Napalm Records.  More information on American Made is available along with all of BPMD’s latest news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://bpmdmusic.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/bpmdofficial

 

 

 

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.

Machine Head Debuts New Single, ‘Circle The Drain’

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Machine Head dropped a heavy new anti-love song this week.

The band debuted its new song ‘Circling The Drain‘ Thursday.  The song’s musical arrangement takes audiences back to the band’s early days, featuring a sound that would fit on Burn My Eyes and The More Things Change.  The song’s lyrical content tackles the issue of broken relationships,

Machine Head founding member and front man Robb Flynn talked about the song’s lyrical theme in a recent interview.

“The song is inspired by an acquaintance of mine who returned from Afghanistan, only to have his relationship fall apart with his girl,” he said.  “She had messed around on him, then got paranoid about him messing around on her, and drove him crazy.  We had a conversation on Valentine’s Day and he said to me, ‘They were just circling the drain…’  The phrase struck me.  A few days later I incorporated it into the song I’d been working on.”

Flynn continued, “It was a strange parallel with my life at the time, having recently had two band members quit, and even more bizarrely, two long-time couple friends of my wife and I, also divorced.  It was breakup season, and it played out with friends taking sides, people not being invited to certain events anymore, social and emotional pressure and all the typical stuff that happens when a relationship goes bad.”

Flynn, referring back to his story about his friend who was in Afghanistan, said hearing the story and writing the song from the story was cathartic.

“Watching this guy pull through it helped me pull through my own upheaval,” he said.  “the lyrics to ‘Circle The Drain’ came out of that frustrating time.  It’s a sad song about relationships gone bad, but accepting that it’s over, and making yourself move on.  I wrote it in a more metaphorical tone, as I didn’t want it to be about my life, but to be about anybody’s life who may be going through a rough time like that.  It may not be a song that connects with everyone, especially those in a solid relationship.  But if the day ever comes when your life goes awry, this song will be a lifeline for you, something to help pull you up out of that dark place.  the irony that he and i had the original conversation on Valentine’s Day, and we are now releasing it on Valentine’s Day isn’t lost on me.  It really is the anti-Valentine’s Day song.”

‘Circle The Drain’ was co-produced by Flynn and Zach Ohren (All Shal lPerish, Suicide Silence, Machine Head).  Joel Wanasek (Atilla, Bloodline) handled post-production duties on the song.  Russ Russell (At The Gates, Dimmu Borgir, The Wildhearts) mixed the song, while Greg Grimaldi mastered the composition.

Christian Sampson crafted the single’s artwork.  The artwork was based on his photography project based around mental disorders.  He compiled the images that he used in the project to form the artwork, which he dubbed “Panic.”

Two discussions on the making of ‘Circle The Drain’ are streaming now. The links to the discussions are noted below.

Watch “The Making of ‘Circle the Drain” Part 1 here.

Watch “The Making of ‘Circle the Drain” Part 2 here.

‘Circle The Drain’ is available to stream and download here.  It is Machine Head’s first new music since the release of its song ‘Do Or Die‘ last year.  The song’s video debuted Oct. 11.

More information on ‘Circle The Drain’ is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:

 

Website: http://www.machinehead1.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MfnH

 

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

Machine Head Debuts New Song, Video; Announces Winter Tour Dates

Courtesy: Atomsplitter PR

Machine Head is not dead!

The band, still fronted by Robb Flynn, now has a new lineup to replace Flynn’s recently departed members, who announced early this year that they were leaving the band.  Along with the new lineup, the band now has a new single and video to boot.

The band debuted the video for its new single ‘Do Or Die‘ Friday through its official YouTube channel.  The video presents the band performing its old-school thrash style song in what is meant to recreate a live setting.  The song’s lyrical content is pure aggression; perhaps a response from Flynn to everything that he had gone through since the release of the band’s most recent album, Catharsis (2018).

Bassist Jarred MacEachern talked about the song and its companion video in a recent interview, saying he was impressed by each.

“I’m blown away by how this video turned out,” he said.  “I was f****** pumped up after my first viewing.  A pissed off song deserves a pissed off video!  It’s a no-holds-barred, in-your-face, ‘f*** off’ kinda song…Ragers rejoice!”

Carlos Cruz, who played drums on the song, offered his own thoughts on the song as well.

“‘Do Or Die’ is by far the most extreme song in the Machine Head catalog,” he said.

Along with releasing its new song and video, Machine Head will launch its North American Winter 2020 Tour in January.  The tour, which is scheduled to launch Jan. 16 in Phoenix, AZ, will see the band celebrating the 25th anniversary of the release of the band’s debut album Burn My Eyes as well as a collection of some of the band’s biggest hits.

The tour’s schedule is noted below.  Tickets for the tour are on sale now.

MACHINE HEAD ON TOUR:
1/16 — Phoenix, AZ —The Van Buren
1/18—Albuquerque, NM—El Rey
1/20—Dallas, TX —House of Blues
1/21—San Antonio, TX—Aztec Theatre
1/22—Houston, TX —House of Blues
1/26—Orlando, FL—House of Blues
1/27—Ft Lauderdale, FL—Revolution
1/28—Tampa, FL—Ritz Ybor
1/30—Atlanta, GA—Center Stage
1/31—Silver Spring, MD—The Fillmore
2/1—New York, NY—Webster Hall
2/4—Toronto, ON—Danforth Music Hall
2/5—Montreal, QC—Corona Theatre
2/7—Boston, MA—House of Blues
2/8—Buffalo, NY—Town Ballroom
2/9—Cleveland, OH—Agora Theatre
2/11—Indianapolis, IN—The Vogue
2/12—Louisville, KY—Mercury Ballroom
2/14—Detroit, MI—Crofoot
2/15—Chicago, IL—Metro
2/16—Minneapolis, MN—Skyway Theatre
2/18—Denver, CO—Gothic Theathre
2/19—Salt Lake CIty, UT—The Depot
2/21—Oakland, CA—Fox Theater
2/22—Anaheim, CA—House of Blues

More information on Machine Head’s new single, video and tour is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.machinehead1.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MfnH

 

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

Nonpoint Debuts ‘Wheel Against Will’ Video

Courtesy: Spinefarm Records

Nonpoint released its latest music video this week.

The band debuted the video for its latest single ‘Wheel Against Will‘ on Wednesday. The song is the fourth single to be released from the band’s new album X since the album’s release on Aug. 24 via Spinefarm Records.

The band debuted the album’s first two singles, ‘Chaos & Earthquakes‘ and ‘Dodge Your Destiny‘ in June. The album’s third single ‘Fix This‘ debuted only weeks later in July via Loudwire, while the official video for ‘Chaos & Earthquakes’ followed in August.

The new ‘Wheel Against Will’ video places the up-tempo opus and its seeming sociopolitical commentary against a visualization of the band at work in the studio.  Mixed into the video is footage of front man Elias Soriano up close and personal reciting the song’s lyrics while friends recite the song’s chorus and drummer Robb Rivera practices his part in what looks like a hotel room.

Eagle-eyed audiences will note Rivera sporting a Machine Head pullover in some of the scenes as a bonus of sorts.  It is not known if these scenes were shot before or after Machine Head announced its breakup over the summer.

Nonpoint is currently wrapping its tour with P.O.D., which is touring in support of its own new album, Circles.  The remaining live dates on the bands’ tour are noted below.

NONPOINT ON TOUR:
12/11: Lynchburg, VA @ Phase 2
12/12: Greensboro, NC @ Cone Denim
12/14: Destin, FL @ Radio Show Club LA

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

 

Website: http://www.nonpoint.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/nonpoint

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

Neither Its Best Nor its Worst Album, Machine Head’s New Album ‘Catharsis’ Deserves At Least One Listen

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

The day is finally here and the long wait is finally over. Machine Head’s new album Catharsis is finally here. The band’s ninth new album, it has faced a lot of scrutiny from audiences leading up to its release, with many comparing it to the band’s 1999 album The Burning Red and its follow-up, 2001’s Supercharger, and others even calling it worse than those efforts. Given, this may not be another master work from Machine Head — unlike The Blackening and Bloodstone & Diamonds — but it still deserves at least more of a chance than so many have given it. That is due in part to the very musical arrangements that have come under fire from audiences and critics alike. They will be discussed shortly. The album’s lyrical themes, which in many cases are not so dissimilar from those of the band’s past albums, will be discussed later, as they are just as important to discuss in examining this album. Last but definitely not least of note is the bonus concert recording included in the album’s deluxe expanded edition. It could be argued to be the album’s crown jewel. When it is set alongside (or in this case atop) the album’s musical arrangements and its relatively familiar lyrical themes, the end result is an album that while again not the band’s best work is still deserving of more respect than it has received.

Catharsis is one of the most interesting and important albums that Machine Head has put out in the course of its now 20-year life span. Not since the days of The Burning Red and Supercharger has the veteran San Francisco, California-based heavy metal band come under so much scrutiny from audiences and critics alike, splitting them almost down the middle. Many have even compared this record to those albums, unjustifiably no less. That is due in part to the album’s musical arrangements. As has been noted by so many critics — both professional and independent — the album’s musical arrangements run the gamut over the course of the album’s 15-song, 74-minute run time. The album’s opener, ‘Volatile,’ which was also the album’s most recent single, boasts an arrangement that can easily be compared to that of ‘Game Over,’ which was included in the band’s most recent album, 2014’s Bloodstone & Diamonds. The album’s title track, which was one of its earliest singles, boasts an equally solid arrangement that harkens back to the band’s earliest days while also hinting a little at its more recent albums, too. ‘Beyond the Pale’ meanwhile takes listeners back to the chugging sound that the band crafted on Supercharger, again presenting yet another piece of the band’s body of work. One could even argue that there’s a hint of Pantera in this arrangement. ‘California Bleeding’ goes back to the days of The Burning Red with its up-tempo arrangement. To an end, it could even fit in Supercharger’s body as could that of ‘Triple Beam,’ the clearly anti-drug anthem, and ‘Kaleidoscope.’ The much softer socio-politically-charged ‘Bastards’ could easily fit into any of the band’s albums stylistically speaking, despite what people would like to believe of the song. ‘Hope Begets Hope’ meanwhile reaches all the way back to Burn My Eyes (one of the band’s masterpieces)with its arrangement while ‘Screaming at the Sun’ sounds like it could just as easily fit into the body of The More Things Change. Considering how soft and contemplative ‘Descend The Shades of Night’ (from From The Ashes of Empires) was, ‘Behind A Mask’ could just as easily be argued to be a work that would fit alongside that song with its semi-acoustic arrangement. is it as good as ‘Descend the Shades of Night’ in regards to its arrangement? No, but it is still an interesting work nonetheless. The album’s final handful of songs also reaches back to the band’s early days. All in all, what audiences get in this album’s collective arrangements is in reality a tapestry of the band’s body of work up until now. Given, much of that body is the band’s earlier work, but it is still an interesting picture that is painted. It makes the album worth at least one listen if no more.

Staying on the note of the arrangements’ importance here, the album’s lyrical themes are just as important to discuss in examining this record as are its musical arrangements. The album’s lyrical themes are even more diverse than its musical arrangements. ‘Volatile’ is a statement addressing the events of last year’s events in Charlottesville, VA that resulted in one person’s death. ‘California Bleeding’ takes on the elitist cultures that exist in that state, even going so far as to use the band’s 2007 row with Disney over the company’s refusal to let the band perform at the House of Blues in Anaheim (since apparently it was property at the time owned by Disney) as part of its argument. ‘Triple Beam’ meanwhile is clearly a statement about the dangers of drug use and the illegal drug trade. ‘Hope Begets Hope’ changes things up with a strong message of…well…hope in dark times as is the album’s closer. There’s even a musing about the person that so many of us have just below the surface in ‘Behind A Mask’ as well as plenty of other themes throughout the record’s other songs. All in all, the themes that this record tackles in its lyrical content adds even more reason to listen at least once. Are the lyrics themselves that deep? Sadly, no. To that end, the critics are right. There is a lot of simplicity in the album’s lyrical content for lack of better wording, but despite this, it does at least leave little room for interpretation. In other words, that simplicity makes understanding the songs’ themes that much easier. The band can’t be faulted for that. As a matter of fact, when one compares the lyrics in this album’s songs to those of the band’s previous works, one could argue that those previous works are simple in their own right. Flynn screaming “I hope you burn in hell” to a journalist who wrote about Dimebag Darrell’s death in ‘Aesthetics of Hate’ is simple. That cannot be ignored. Nor can Flynn yelling “Let freedom ring with a shotgun blast’ in the band’s timeless classic ‘Davidian.’ Keeping that in mind, though the lyrics in this album are simple, they are not the first time the band has presented something simple, and that simplicity does prove important at least in part to this record’s presentation, believe it or not. When the songs’ lyrical themes and general content are joined with the album’s musical arrangements, the whole of those elements gives plenty of reason for audiences to give this record at least one chance. They are not its only important elements. The record’s deluxe edition boasts an expansive 21-song live recording from the band’s 2015 tour that anchors the whole thing.

The bonus live recording that comes with Catharsis‘ deluxe edition gives more reason than anything else for Machine Head fans to give this record a chance. Originally recorded Feb. 21, 2015 at the Regency Center’s Grand Ballroom, the concert presents a set list that lifts from what was at the time every one of the band’s albums to date. The band’s more recent albums — Bloodstone & Diamonds, The Blackening, Unto The Locusts and Through The Ashes of Empires — are the most heavily represented of the band’s albums. Bloodstone & Diamonds and The Blackening each got four nods while the other two records each got three. Burn My Eyes, The More Things Change and The Burning Red were each represented with two songs while Supercharger got just one nod. That aside, the fact that the band pulled from every one of its albums up to that date gives the concert plenty of depth. The concert’s audio and video editing are deserving of their own credit as is the concert’s cinematography. That is especially the case considering that the fact that the Grand Ballroom was clearly not the largest venue. That seemingly relatively tight space had to have posed its own challenges in recording the concert, and those efforts paid off in the end. They paid off because they give home audiences the best seat in the house regardless of whether or not they were there at the concert’s taping. Keeping in mind the work put in by everyone behind the scenes to make this recording a reality, and of course the work put in by the band itself, this recording proves to be one that every Machine Head fan will appreciate. That being the case, it proves to be the anchor for the deluxe edition of Machine Head’s new album. If for no other reason than this recording, true Machine Head fans will give this record a chance. In doing so, hopefully those fans will also agree that the album’s musical arrangements and its lyrical themes make it worth at least one chance.

Machine Head’s brand new ninth full-length studio recording Catharsis is one of the most controversial records that the veteran metal outfit has released to date. The sad reality is that in going through this record, much of that controversy that has split audiences so clearly is unjustified. True, the album’s musical arrangements don’t fully live up to muster. That is only because they take audiences back through the band’s catalog, stylistically speaking. The album’s lyrical themes and general content are simple, yes. However, this album is not the first time that the band has crafted such simple lyrical material. That is not to talk down about the band, either. It is meant, instead to point out to the haters that their criticism of this album’s lyrical material is unjustified. Considering that much of the band’s previous work presents its own lyrical simplicity (including even some of its more recent albums), this album is just a little more simple. That being the case the album, again, still deserves at least one chance if no more. the bonus live DVD that accompanies the album’s deluxe edition gives more reason than anything for audiences to give this record a chance. The concert’s expansive 21-song set, joins with its equally laudable audio and video editing, the band’s own performance and the concert’s cinematography to make the experience one that every Machine Head fan will agree is enjoyable. Keeping this in mind, when this recording is joined with the album’s new studio material, Catharsis proves to be an effort that deserves more credit than it has gotten. That is the case even despite it clearly not being one of the band’s best albums. It still does not deserve as much hate as it has gotten and is getting. Catharsis is available now in stores and online in both standard and deluxe edition. More information on Catharsis is available online now along with the band’s tour in support of the album and more at:

Website: http://www.machinehead1.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MfnH

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

Machine Head Unveils ‘Volatile’ Lyric Video

Machine Head is stirring up the masses again with yet another single from the band’s upcoming album Catharsis and its lyric video.

The band unveiled today the album’s opener, ‘Volatile,’ which was written as a tribute to Heather Heyer, who was killed by a racist neo-nazi in last year’s Charlottesville, Virginia protests.  It is just one of the socio-politically charged songs included in the album.  The equally controversial ‘Bastards,’ which was also just recently released, is also included in the band’s new album.

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Also already released ahead of Friday’s release of Catharsis are the singles and videos for: ‘Kaleidoscope,’ ‘Bastards,’ ‘Beyond The Pale,’ and the album’s title track.’  As an added bonus, the band has already released full live clips of ‘Ten Ton Hammer‘ and ‘Now We Die,’ which are included in the full bonus live concert recording included in the album’s deluxe extended edition.

The full track listing both the album’s standard and expanded edition is noted below.

CATHARSIS TRACK LISTING:
1. Volatile
2. Catharsis
3. Beyond the Pale
4. California Bleeding
5. Triple Beam
6. Kaleidoscope
7. Bastards
8. Hope Begets Hope
9. Screaming At the Sun
10. Behind a Mask
11. Heavy Lies the Crown
12. Psychotic
13. Grind You Down
14. Razorblade Smile
15. Eulogy

BONUS CD/DVD DIGIPAK TRACK LISTING:
1. Imperium
2. Beautiful Mourning
3. Now We Die
4. Bite The Bullet
5. Locust
6. From This Day
7. Ten Ton Hammer
8. This Is The End
9. Beneath The Silt
10. The Blood, The Sweat, The Tears
11. Darkness Within
12. Bulldozer
13. Killers & Kings
14. Davidian
15. Descend The Shades Of Night
16. Now I Lay Thee Down
17. Take My Scars
18. Aesthetics Of Hate
19. Game Over
20. Old
21. Halo

Machine Head launches its tour in support of Catharsis today in Phoenix, Arizona.  The nearly six-week tour runs through March 7 in Seattle, Washington, and includes performances in Madison, Wisconsin; Oakland, California; Boston, Massachusetts and a number of other cities nationwide.  More information on the band’s tour, its new album and more is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.MachineHead1.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MfnH

 

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

 

Machine Head Releases More New Music From ‘Catharsis’

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Veteran metal act Machine Head will release its latest album Catharsis next week.  In anticipation of the album’s release, the band last week released the album’s latest single, ‘Bastards.’

‘Bastards’ is perhaps the band’s boldest composition to date because it is an extremely stark departure from everything that fans have ever come to know from the band.  Rather than being a full-on exhibition of anger and frustration, this song, musically, is a much more thoughtful work that still expresses its own share of frustration about America’s current political and social state.

What so many audiences are perhaps missing about this song is that it is sung from the standpoint of a parent trying to explain the things going on in the world to one’s child/children.  He clearly points that out in the song’s lead verse, which explains why this song is such a noticeable departure for the band from the rest of its works.  It also exhibits a certain emotional growth in front man Robb Flynn, too, to which true audiences should be happy.  It shows a willingness by Flynn and company to go out on a limb and try something that is completely alien to them.

Along with ‘Bastards,’ Machine head has also already released the singles ‘Beyond The Pale,’ ‘Catharsis,’ and live clips for ‘Now We Die‘ and ‘Ten Ton Hammer.’  The live clips are included in the full live recording included in Catharsis’ deluxe edition.  The concert is a full 20-song concert originally filmed from a performance the band held in 2015 at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco, California.

Pre-orders are open now for Catharsis.  The track listing for the album’s standard and deluxe edition is noted below.

CATHARSIS TRACK LISTING:
1. Volatile
2. Catharsis
3. Beyond the Pale
4. California Bleeding
5. Triple Beam
6. Kaleidoscope
7. Bastards
8. Hope Begets Hope
9. Screaming At the Sun
10. Behind a Mask
11. Heavy Lies the Crown
12. Psychotic
13. Grind You Down
14. Razorblade Smile
15. Eulogy

BONUS CD/DVD DIGIPAK TRACK LISTING:
1. Imperium
2. Beautiful Mourning
3. Now We Die
4. Bite The Bullet
5. Locust
6. From This Day
7. Ten Ton Hammer
8. This Is The End
9. Beneath The Silt
10. The Blood, The Sweat, The Tears
11. Darkness Within
12. Bulldozer
13. Killers & Kings
14. Davidian
15. Descend The Shades Of Night
16. Now I Lay Thee Down
17. Take My Scars
18. Aesthetics Of Hate
19. Game Over
20. Old
21. Halo

The band will hit the road the day before Catharsis’ release for a nearly six-week tour that includes performances in Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois and a host of other cities. The band’s current tour schedule is noted below.

MACHINE HEAD ON TOUR:
1/25 — Phoenix, AZ —  Nile Theater
1/27 — Albuquerque, NM —  Sunshine Theater
1/29 — San Antonio, TX —  Aztec Theater
1/30 — Dallas, TX —  Gas Monkey Live!
1/31 — Houston,TX —  HOB
2/2 — Birmingham, AL —  Saturn
2/3 —Pensacola, FL —  Vinyl MH
2/5 — Orlando, FL —  Plaza Live
2/6 — Atlanta, GA —  Centerstage
2/8 — Philadelphia, PA —  Theatre of Living Arts
2/9 — New York, NY —  Playstation
2/10 — Boston, MA —  Paradise Rock Club
2/11 — Montreal, QC —  Club Soda
2/13 — Toronto, ON —  Danforth MH
2/14 — Buffalo, NY —  Town Ballroom
2/15 — Pittsburgh, PA —  Stage AE
2/16 — Cleveland, OH —  Agora
2/17 — Detroit, MI —  Majestic
2/20 — Des Moines, IA —  Woolys
2/21 — Madison, WI —  Majestic
2/22 — Minneapolis, MN —  First Avenue
2/23 — Chicago, IL —  Concord MH
2/24 — Saint Louis, MO —  Pops
2/27 — Denver, CO —  Summit MH
3/1 — Las Vegas, NV —  HOB
3/2 — Los Angeles, CA —  Fonda
3/3 — Oakland, CA —  The Fox Theater
3/5 — Portland, OR —  Roseland
3/6 — Vancouver, BC —  Commodore
3/7 — Seattle, WA —  Showbox Market

Tickets, VIP packages and dates are all available here.

More information on Machine Head’s upcoming live dates, music, and more is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.machinehead1.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MfnH

 

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

Project 86 “Among” Rock and Metal’s Best On Phil’s Picks 2017 Top New Hard Rock & Metal Albums

Courtesy: Project 86/TAG Publicity

For those about to rock, we salute you!

Yes, everyone knows that phrase from AC/DC’s classic song by the same name.  As popular as it is, it is more than just a song lyric and title.  It is a statement of honor for the acts and audiences who span the rock community.  This year, as with every year prior, there are so many bands to honor as the year nears its end, including hard rock and metal bands.  In case it hasn’t become clear by now, this article focuses on this critic’s choices for the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.  As with every list before, compiling it was not an easy task.  New releases from Project 86, Arch Enemy, Iced Earth, and so many others made this year’s field of new hard rock and metal albums very crowded.  That is putting it lightly.  Between well-known mainstream acts and their lesser-known independent counterparts, the two sides collectively offered so many impressive new albums.

Topping this critic’s list of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums is Project 86’s latest album Sheep Among Wolves.  The band’s 10th full-length studio recording in 20 years, this record takes all of the best elements of the band’s past — both musically and lyrically — and uses them to craft a work that is just as memorable and engaging as its predecessors.  Also on this year’s list from Phil’s Picks are new albums from — as already noted — Iced Earth and Arch Enemy — as well as new offerings from Overkill, Act of Defiance, Prong, Adrenaline Mob, Blacktop Mojo and others. As with every list, this list presents this critic’s Top 10 titles plus five additional titles for a total of 15 records.  That being noted, here for you is Phil’s Picks’ 2017 Top 10 New Hard Rock & Metal Albums.

PHIL’S PICKS 2017 TOP 10 NEW HARD ROCK & METAL ALBUMS

  1. Project 86 — Sheep Among Wolves
  2. Prong — Zero Days
  3. Act of Defiance — Old Scars, New Wounds
  4. Overkill — The Grinding Wheel
  5. Iced Earth — Incorruptable
  6. Blacktop Mojo — Burn The Ships
  7. Adrenaline Mob — We The People
  8. Marty Friedman — Wall of Sound
  9. Corroded — Defcon Zero
  10. Dragonforce — Reaching Into Infinity
  11. The Haunted — Strength In Numbers
  12. Doyle — As We Die
  13. Demon Hunter — Outlive
  14. 36 Crazyfists — Lanterns
  15. Arch Enemy — Will To Power

That’s all for this list.  Again, it was not an easy list to compile.  Acts the likes of Eve To Eve to Adam, Marty Friedman, Sepultura, Annihilator, Mastodon and so many others all deserve their own share of credit.  With that in mind, it becomes easy to see why no disrespect was meant to any one act or another here.  Every noted act released its own impressive album.  Only so many spaces were available, sadly.

2018 is already shaping up to be an interesting year in its own right, with new material from Ministry on the way alongside new albums from Judas Priest, Saxon, Machine Head, Corrosion of Conformity, Tool, Clutch and lots more.  Stay tuned for all of that in the new year.  To keep up with all of the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.