The Sword Launches New “Live” Series

Courtesy: Cosa Nostra PR

Stoner rock band The Sword launched a new weekly live series this week.

The band debuted a three-song “mini-set” Thursday through Consequence of Sound.  The first performance is streaming here, as well as through CoS.

Dubbed the “Conquest of Quarantine,” the three song set was recently recorded by the band during a virtual lockdown jam session.  It marked the first time since the band went on hiatus in 2018 that the band had performed together.

One more song will debut from the band each coming week as part of the “mini-set.”

The Sword’s recent jam session was the result of a tour with Primus that was halted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  That tour was is now rescheduled and expected to start June 9 in Houston, TX.  It is scheduled to run through July 19 in Cincinnati, OH and feature performances in cities, such as Raleigh, NC; Essex Junction, VT, and Philadelphia, PA.

The tour’s schedule is noted below.  Tickets are available here.

 

June 9 – Houston, Texas @ Revention Music Center*

June 11 – Irving, Texas @ The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory*

June 12 – Austin, Texas @ ACL Live at The Moody Theater*

June 13 – New Orleans, La. @ Saenger Theatre*

June 15 – Orlando, Fla. @ Hard Rock Live*

June 16 – Atlanta, Ga. @ Coca-Cola Roxy*

June 20 – Charlotte, N.C. @ Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre*

June 22 – Asheville, N.C. @ Exploreacheville.com Arena*

June 23 – Raleigh, N.C. @ Red Hat Amphitheater*

June 25 – Richmond, Va. @ Virginia Credit Union Live!*

June 26 – Baltimore, Md. @ MECU Pavilion*

June 27 – Pittsburgh, Pa. @ Stage AE*

June 29 – Essex Junction, Vt. @ Midway Law at Champlain Valley Expo*

July 1 – Westbrook, Maine @ Main Savings Pavilion at Rock Row*

July 2 – Wallingford, Ct. @ Oakdale Theatre*

July 5 – Lafayette, N.Y. @ Beak & Skiff Apple Orchards (no the Sword)

July 6 – Boston, Mass. @ Rockland Trust Bank Pavilion*

July 8 – New York, N.Y. @ Beacon Theatre*

July 9 – Asbury Park, N.J. @ The Stone Pony Summer Stage*

July 10 – Philadelphia, Pa. @ The Met*

July 13 – Toronto, Ont. @ RBC Echo Beach*

July 15 – Columbus, Ohio @ Express Live! Outdoor*

July 16 – Cleveland, Ohio @ Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica*

July 17 – Sterling Heights, Mich. @ Freedom Hill Amphitheatre*

July 19 – Cincinnati, Ohio @ PNC Pavilion*

 

In other news, The Sword released two hits collections from The Sword June 19, Chronology2006 – 2018 and Conquest of Kingdoms.  Chronology2006 – 2018 is a three-CD set features the band’s biggest hits, fan favorites, rarities and previously unreleased songs.  Its track count totals 52 (yes, 52) songs.  Additionally it features liner notes penned by the band’s members and some other well-known names — Lars Ulrich (Metallica), Mark Morton (Lamb of God) and Neil Fallon (Clutch).

Conquest of Kingdoms is a three-LP vinyl set that features previously unreleased songs, b-sides, oddities and live performances.  Its track listing totals 30 songs.

More information on The Sword’s new “mini-set,” rescheduled live dates and more is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

 

Website: http://www.theswordofficial.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Thesword

 

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.

 

Lamb Of God’s Self-Titled LP Lives Up To Expectations And Then Some

Courtesy: Epic Records

Lamb of God is one of the leading names in the metal and hard rock communities today.  The band did not earn that title overnight, either.  It took more than 25 years, nine albums and lots of touring around the world.  With the forthcoming release of its 10th overall album – and eighth under the Lamb of God moniker (the band was previously known as Burn the Priest, and has released two records under that name) – the band cements its reputation even more so.  The 10-song record is some of the band’s best work to date.  That is proven in part through the record’s musical content, which will be discussed shortly.  The album’s lyrical content does its own part to show what makes this record so strong.  It will be discussed a little later.  The record’s production and mixing put the final touch to its presentation.  Together with the noted content, all three elements make the album’s overall presentation such that it easily makes a place for itself among this year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

Lamb of God’s forthcoming self-titled album is one of the most anticipated hard rock and metal albums of this year.  The album lives up to expectations, too, as is evidenced in part through the record’s musical arrangements.  From beginning to end, this album’s musical content throws back to the sounds of the band’s 2003 breakout album As The Palaces Burn.  There is even some growth exhibited in the album in ‘Bloodshot Eyes.’  That song actually presents more of a melodic metal sound than the full-throttle, chainsaw-sharp sounds for which the band has come to be known throughout its albums.  Front man Randy Blythe even goes so far as to provide some actual clean vocals in the song alongside his trademark screams.  Meanwhile, the team of guitarists Willie Adler, Mark Morton and bassist John Campbell create the noted melodic hard rock sound that is a welcome change of pace here.  New drummer Art Cruz (Prong, Winds of Plague) adds his own distinct touch to the song, showing that he can play slow and controlled just as easily as he can while keeping time in the album’s more up-tempo works.  The whole makes this song one of the album’s most engaging songs, but definitely not its only notable addition to Lamb of God.  Campbell’s subtle bass intro in ‘Reality Bath’ does well to help set the searing tone that is revealed in the rest of the song.  It does that because of how contradictory it is to the sound in the rest of the song’s arrangement.  It serves as a sort of precursor or calm before the storm that is unleashed throughout the rest of the song.  That storm is intense, too.  Blythe’s vocal delivery gives audiences something rare as it feels and sounds so more focused than ever.  Speaking of focus, the band’s ability to switch so seamlessly between its trademark thrash/groove sound to the more hardcore sound of Hatebreed when that band’s front man Jamey Jasta joins in on ‘Poison Dream’ serves as another example of how focused the band is on this album. What has led the band to gel so well throughout this record is anyone’s guess.  Maybe it is the fact that Morton has recently been allowed to spread his own creative wings through his own solo recordings – Anasthetic and Ether.  Maybe that allowed him to come into the recording sessions with a clearer and more open mind.  Maybe it is that front man randy Blythe recently got sober, as is discussed in an interview that he recently conducted with Revolver magazine.  Audiences can read that whole interview here.  Maybe it is something else or even a combination of those elements and something else.  Whatever the case may be, the fact remains that the musical content featured throughout Lamb of God’s 45-minute run time builds a solid foundation for the record’s presentation.  It is just one of the elements that makes this record so appealing.  The record’s lyrical themes play into the album’s appeal, too.

The lyrical themes featured throughout Lamb of God largely address issues going on with society the world over.  Blythe addressed this, too in his noted interview with Revolver magazine.  He was cited late in the interview as saying that getting sober played directly into his approach to songwriting this time out.  Audiences will be left to read his comments for themselves, but the short and simple of his statement is that in getting sober, he had a clearer mind and realized the importance in the impact of the band’s music, so he took a more active approach to writing each song.  The result of his focus is clear from beginning to end.  ‘Gears’ is just one example of the positive payoff of Blythe’s sobriety.  He writes in this song’s lead verse and chorus, “You suffer from a manufactured sickness and envy by design/Pre-calculated status and patterns of desire/ Accumulation and adoration/Built to feed your ostentation/Perpetually unsatisfied, but you never question why/So hang it on the wall of your golden cage/Tell yourself that it means something/Empty actions to fill the time/Commercial gods keep you in line/Industry and empire thrive/While you’re dying for always more.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Your endless hunger automated/Industry defined/A systematic impulse, parametric lines/Subjugation and degradation the blueprint to your annihilation/You’re assets personified, a product of the times,” before eventually adding in the song’s third and final verse, “So you can’t take it with you but you don’t use it now/A shallow life to crush you, drive you into the ground/So scared to lose the nothings you acquire/Everything must fall, bones on a pyre.”  This takes on the issues of consumerism and social media, and how people allow themselves to be turned into essentially puppets for corporations while also fulfilling their own greedy natures.  Sure, it’s hardly the first time that any act has taken on such matters, but Lamb of God has given the topic a new twist in this case that is certain to resonate and stick with audiences.

‘New Colossal Hate’ is another example of the importance of this record’s lyrical themes.  The song addresses the mistreatment of people from ethnic minorities.  This matter has become a hot-button topic ever since Donald Trump rose to power.  His divisive comments about ethnic minority populations have fueled so much division and even criminal activity by white nationalist groups.  Now Blythe has taken on the matter, writing in the song’s lead verse, “The mother of exiles stands there weeping/As her children tear themselves apart/Knives are out, her thoughts are bleeding Blood runs down her welcoming arms/Her feral brood has turned neglectful/The chains she broke are rusting closed/Imprisoned lightning burns forgetful/Spoiled blind to the light that she holds/Lash the tired and kill the poor/The huddled masses ram the door.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Like brazen giants with conquering limbs/The herd manifesting all that she despised/Childish amnesia born of privilege/Selfish mob commits matricide/Her mild gaze gone stern, fire in her eyes/Watching her dreams turn into dust The beacon dropped, her hand raised up to strike/Cast them homeless into the tempest/Lash the tired and kill the poor/The coddled masses slam the golden door.”  The song’s third verse is the most telling in the noted statement as Blythe writes, closing out the song, “The melting pot is melting down/A pool of slag on poisoned ground/Choking from the venom’s sting/Pull the fangs, let freedom ring.”  That ironic statement at the end, “Let freedom ring” is a powerful final comment.  It heightens the sense of anger expressed throughout the rest of the song as it addresses the vile, hateful behavior of so many who want to keep ethnic minorities from coming to America.  It is yet another way in which the record’s lyrical themes prove the importance of the record’s lyrical content.  ‘On The Hook,’ the record’s finale, is yet another way in which the album’s lyrical themes prove so important to the album’s presentation.

‘On the Hook’ is a direct statement about America’s opioid epidemic.  It is a damning indictment of the legal drug industry, pointing out its role in people becoming addicted to drugs.  Blythe also addresses this in his interview with Revolver magazine, noting the song’s inspiration was something personal.  The revelation that he makes here is an eye-opener to say the very least.  He opens the song by writing, “A dead silver spoon with needles in his skin/Rode a pale horse down from Afghanistan/Tears in the suburbs/Mothers praying for their damned/Death has crept into their zone of the promised land/But just before each plague, the clearest prophecies/Pandora’s box in backwoods pharmacies/A contract to die.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Narcotic economics for the miner’s sons/The seams went bust so long ago/With nowhere else to turn/Strip mine the veins, drill the abscess dry/Incentives for the architects of their genocide/We’ve seen this all before in a different shade/The Dark Alliance shifts to the modern age/A contract to die.”  The song’s most damning statement comes again here in its third verse, in which Blythe writes, Hippocratic hypocrites/Breaking oaths and cashing checks/Wrote an oceans worth of ink/Scripting a nation’s disease/A systematic business plan/To broker death increase demand/So flood the ghetto and starve the hills/Kill them all with crack and pills/Kill them all/Vietnam/Iran Contra/Park Avenue/Oxycontin.”  This is a powerful overall statement that audiences will not soon forget.  Along with Psycle’s song ‘Last Chance for the Saints,’ Lamb of God’s work becomes hopefully just the latest in what is hopefully a growing trend of acts addressing the negative impact of the legalized drug industry.  Regardless, it can be said that it is one more hard-hitting example of what makes this record’s lyrical themes so important.  Taking it into consideration along with the other lyrical themes noted here and those in the rest of the album’s songs, the whole of the album’s lyrical content proves itself just as important as the LP’s musical content.  While the record’s musical and lyrical content collectively and completely ensure listeners’ engagement and entertainment, they are only a portion of what makes the record a strong new offering from Lamb of God.  The album’s mixing and production put the final touch to its presentation.

The production and mixing that went into Lamb of God’s presentation is noteworthy in that so much is going on in each song.  Between Blythe’s screams, Cruz’s powerhouse drumming, Morton and Adler’s double attack and Campbell’s low-end, each band member has something to bring in each song.  Whether in the more radio-ready aggro-rock styling of ‘Bloodshot Eyes,’ the intense ‘Reality Bath,’ which does an admirable job of expressing America’s frustration over all of the recent mass shootings at schools nationwide, the equally intense ‘Poison Dream’ or the arrangements in any of the album’s other songs, the fact remains that each song is expertly produced and mixed.  The fire burns bright in each arrangement, while also allowing each part to show why each said work has such powerful impact.  Producer Josh Wilbur and others involved in this process are to be commended in their own right for this result.  Keeping in mind the positive result of the record’s production and mixing, that element is what makes the record’s arrangements hit as hard as they do.  It is what leads the lyrics and music to come together and translate as well as they do.  To that end, it puts the finishing touch to this record and makes it a must hear for Lamb of God’s fans and metal/hard rock fans alike.  It all comes together to make Lamb of God one of this year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

Lamb of God’s forthcoming self-titled album is an impressive new offering from the band.  It is a work whose musical arrangements take audiences back in time and whose lyrical themes do their own part to keep audiences engaged and entertained.  The record’s production and mixing put the final touch to its presentation by balancing everything out and in turn making the album that much more appealing.  Each noted item is important in its own way.  All things considered, they make Lamb of God, without argument, one of this year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.  It is scheduled for release Friday through Epic Records.  Pre-orders are open now for Lamb of God.

More information on Lamb of God’s new album, its new album, single, news and more is available online now at:

 

Websitehttp://www.lamb-of-god.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/lambofgod

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/lambofgod

 

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.

Mark Morton Shines Again On His Second Solo Record

Courtesy: Rise Records

When Lamb of God guitarist Mark Morton released his debut solo album Anasthetic last March through Spinefarm Records, he more than showed the expanse of his musical abilities and interests.  The record, which joined Morton with a number of well-known names, such as the late Linkin Park front man Chester Bennington, Alter Bridge front man Myles Kennedy and ex Screaming Trees front man Mark Lanegan, showed Morton as a truly original and creative musician, not just one of the members of Lamb of God.  He followed up that successful offering this past January with his debut solo EP Ether.  The five-song EP, released through Rise Records, will get a second life of sorts June 19 when it is released on vinyl through Rise Records.  Regardless of whether one prefers vinyl, CD or even digital, the fact of the matter remains that Ether is a positive follow-up to Anasthetic.  That is due to the record’s musical and lyrical content.  Its penultimate song ‘Love My Enemy’ is one of the songs that serves to support the noted statement.  It will be addressed shortly.  The EP’s opener ‘All I Had to Lose’ is another way in which Ether shows its strength.  It will be addressed a little later.  Its follow-up ‘The Fight’ is one more way in which Ether shows its strength.  Together with the covers of The Black Crowes’ ‘She Talks To Angels’ and of Pearl Jam’s ‘Black,’ ‘The Fight’ and the other noted songs make Ether a wholly enjoyable follow-up to Anasthetic and one more of this year’s top new EPs.

Mark Morton’s debut EP Ether is a strong follow-up to his debut 2019 album Anasthetic.  Much with that album, this EP shows once again why he is more than just a member of Lamb of God, but rather a talented, creative musician in his own right.  That is evidenced in part through the EP’s penultimate song, ‘Love My Enemy.’  The song, which features vocals by Howard Jones (Killswitch Engage, Blood Has Been Shed, Light The Torch), presents an interesting musical arrangement.  The verses conjure thoughts of Alice in Chains, what with the layered vocal effect and the subdued guitar and drum lines.  The chorus however, boasts more of an Alter Bridge type of sound as the guitars and vocals step up.  The song’s bass line adds its own touch to the whole to make the work’s composition quite engaging and entertaining in its own right.  What is important to note here is the pairing of that duality in the song’s arrangement and its connection to the emotion and message in the song’s lyrical theme.  The song’s lyrical theme serves to make that reason for that juxtaposition clear.

Jones sings in the song’s lead verse, “Open wounds before the start/This is where we fall apart/It’s alright/Eternity can die today/It’s alright/It’s okay.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “We can greet the end alone/Sorrow needs an empty home/It’s alright/Years and pain can fade away/It’s alright/It’s okay.”  In the song’s third and final verse, “Jones sings, “There’s no replacing/The time we’re wasting.”  These verses are deeply introspective, needless to say.  That final verse is relatively clear, as it makes a statement about making the most of the time that we have.  The first and second verses meanwhile will generate their own hare of interest.  Maybe the lead statement of “open wounds before the start/This is where we fall apart” is a statement connected to the note of the wasted time.  It’s as if it is making a note about open wounds being a failure from the beginning.  The statement in the second verse years and pain being able to fade away seems to perhaps be a statement of hope, that the past can be just that.  This is of course all this critic’s own interpretation.  The song’s chorus adds even more impact to the song, as it comes across as perhaps someone battling with him/herself.  The chorus states, “I can’t live on memories/I can’ love my enemy/We cannot repair the past/A broken heart is made of glass/No, I can’t live on memories.”  This seems like someone who is torn with trying to overcome the thoughts of the past and look to the future.  It would explain why the song’s musical arrangement is so much more powerful in the chorus than the verses.  It would serve to illustrate the subject’s heightened emotion in this moment.  This leads the song’s more contemplative counter to those heightened emotions to make more sense along with its musical accompaniment.  Again this is all this critic’s own interpretation and should not be taken as gospel.  Hopefully it is somewhere close to being correct, though.  Keeping all of this in mind, the song’s lyrical content proves just as important as its musical content.  All things considered, the song in whole, with its engaging musical and lyrical content shows well on its own, why Ether is another strong offering from Mark Morton.  It is just one of the songs that serves to exhibit that strength.  ‘All I Had to Lose’ does its own part to keep listeners’ ears and minds.

‘All I Had to Lose’ is important to note because it presents its own unique identity separate from that of ‘Love My Enemy’ and the EP’s other songs.  The song’s fully acoustic arrangement is a radio ready composition that will connect easily to audiences.  The addition of Sons of Texas front man Mark Morales’ vocal delivery adds to that commercial viability for the opus.  The combination of those elements makes the song in whole a work that is comparable to works from so many mainstream rock bands.  The appeal created through the song’s musical arrangement will keep listeners engaged, and in turn, paying attention to the song’s equally engaging lyrical content.

The lyrical content featured in ‘All I Had to Lose’ generates its own engagement because of its own contemplative nature.  Morales sings in the song’s lead verse, “We were reckless for a season, now/Restless with a reason/I can’t tell/If we were victims of the vices/Or addicted to the crisis/Lived through hell.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “We laid with it/Dead and dying/Told ‘em all we were just trying/To be alive/Closed our eyes/I know that we could leave/The lies we didn’t want to leave behind.”  He adds in the song’s third and final verse, “Watched the colors fade away/Reached out by the sun/left her for another day/Prayed it would never come.”  The precise concept here is not clear at least to this critic.  It comes across as something of a statement about perhaps someone taking things for granted in life.  Whether that is in relation to a personal relationship or something else is up for discussion.  It would be interesting to learn the exact relation of that seeming message.  That Morales sings in the song’s chorus, “And when you came up for breath/I knew there wasn’t nothing left to do but choose/And everything I lost/Wasn’t much compared to all I had to lose” adds to the argument that the song’s lyrical theme is a personal message about taking for granted what one has in life.  Again, what exactly was being taken for granted – whether it be a personal relationship or something else – is something that is left for interpretation.  Either way, the fact that this seems to be the message makes the song’s musical content couple well with this half of the song’s content.  Taking everything noted here into account, the whole of the song shows even more why Ether will keep listeners engaged from start to end.  It is just one more way in which Ether proves its appeal.  ‘The Fight’ is one more way in which the EP shows its strength.

‘The Fight’ is an interesting addition to Ether.  That is due in part to its overall musical arrangement.  This composition is so starkly opposite of any of the other songs featured in this record.  The verses are distinctly subtle, but not necessarily reserved per say.  There is a certain Sevendust-esque sense to the song from the band’s more recent works, in listening closely to the arrangement.  The chorus meanwhile pack a little bit more of a punch, but it’s not a knockout punch.  Even in this case, there is a certain amount of control.  It makes for a very interesting listen.  It is not necessarily a radio ready work, but still is worth hearing.  That unique arrangement couples well with the song’s equally engaging lyrical theme, which comes across as one of those songs about someone driving along and having enough time to contemplate a lot of life matters.

Moontooth front man John Carbone provides the vocals for this song.  His vocal delivery is comparable to that of Sevendust front man Lajon Witherspoon as he sings in the song’s lead verse, “Thundering down the cold, dark desert road/It ain’t the miles you’re looking at/Ain’t the pavement you see/But its ghost/And all the trials that lay ahead/Yeah, it becomes your only friend.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Rumbling ground/It shakes from the load/the burden that you live to bear/Deafening sound, it rings in your soul/Make you forget what brought you here/Now the ending ain’t so clear.”  While the song’s musical arrangement doesn’t quite do so, this portion of the song leaves one making comparisons to Bob Seger’s hit song ‘Turn The Page.’  It seems to have that same kind of lyrical approach; someone on the road, lots of thoughts on the mind, etc. etc. etc.  It is an interesting sort of update, although it likely was not intended.  The comparison is strengthened even more as Carbone sings in the song’s chorus, “When you live for the fight for too long/You burn for the bloody way out/But the only hope for a victory/Is to learn to lay it down.”  It’s as if he is saying, even with all the thinking and things on a person’s mind, a person may want a certain outcome, but the outcome we want may not always be the best outcome.  Again, this is all this critic’s interpretation.   Hopefully it is in the proverbial ballpark.  That aside, all of this is sure to generate its own share of discussion among listeners.  Together with its accompanying musical content, the engagement and entertainment ensured through the song’s musical and lyrical content shows once more why Ether succeeds overall.  Together with the two covers that join this work and the EP’s two other originals, the record overall proves itself to be a complete work and a complete success for Morton and company.

Mark Morton’s recently released EP Ether is a strong follow-up to his debut solo album Anasthetic (2019).  That is because it continues to exhibit Morton’s talents as more than just another metal guitarist, but a widely-versed musician and songwriter.  That is evidenced through all three of the record’s original works and its two covers.  The musical and lyrical content in each original as well as the adaptation of the covers do well to support those statements.  All things considered, Ether can be considered in whole, to be one of this year’s top new EPs.

More information on Ether is available online now along with all of Mark Morton’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Websitehttp://markmortonmusic.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/markmortonmusic

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/MarkDuaneMorton

 

 

 

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

Lamb of God Debuts New LP’s Third Single, Single’s Lyric Video

Courtesy: Epic Records

Lamb of God has debuted the latest single from its forthcoming self-titled album.

The band debuted the new single ‘New Colossal Hate‘ Wednesday alongside its lyric video.  The song’s musical arrangement is everything that fans have come to expect from the band, with its powerhouse shredding and equally precise timekeeping.  Its lyrical content is just as powerful as its musical content, according to information provided about the new song.  The information states that the song’s lyrical content is meant to address the mistreatment of people from ethnic minorities.

Guitarist Willie Adler spoke in a recent interview about the creation of the song’s arrangement.

“‘New Colossal Hate’ came out of our very first writing session in Maine,” he said.  “[Guitarist] Mark [Morton], our producer Josh Wilbur and I were at a super cool studio in South Windham called Halo.  An absolutely beautiful spot run by some of the best people I’ve ever met.  I’m pretty sure ‘New Colossal Hate’ grew from a few different demos I had.  You know, like pats of a car. However, as it started to take shape, it quickly became my favorite song on the record.  Please enjoy this banger of a tune.  It holds a very special place in my heart.”

Audiences who are prone to epileptic seizures are cautioned against taking in the song’s lyric video due to the excessive flashing images.

‘New Colossal Hate’ is just one of Lamb of God‘s lyrically heavy songs.  According to the noted information, the album also takes on issues, such as the nation’s opioid crisis (‘On The Hook’), school shootings (‘Reality Bath’) and social injustice (‘Routes’) throughout the course of its body.

‘New Colossal Hate’ is the third single so far from Lamb of God.  It follows the release of the album’s second single, ‘Memento Mori‘ and the album’s lead single, ‘Checkmate.’

According to front man Randy Blythe, ‘Memento Mori’ presents its own social commentary.

“Months before the COVID-19 outbreak occurred, I wrote ‘Memento Mori’ as a reminder to myself to be not be consumed by the ominpresent electronic harbingers of doom that surround us – cell phones, computers and television screens,” he said.  “While these devices can be useful tools, and it is important to stay informed, it is equally important to remain engaged with the real, physical world we live in, not just digitally filtered representations of reality.”

Blythe went on to talk about the song’s video in his statement.

“I wrote the narrative video treatment a few months ago to illustrate how warped and myopic our mental states can become when we fail to remain engaged with that reality – if all you pay attention to is catastrophe, then soon you will begin to see monsters everywhere,” he said.  “The actual monsters we used in the video are Sinisteria, a local Richmond, Virginia haunted house/dark performance troupe I met on the street at our annual Krampus Nacht parade.  Richmond has a strong tradition of loud music and weird costumed monsters working hand-in-hand to make salient points (we are the birthplace of Gwar, after all), and I couldn’t be more pleased with the results.”

“Music has always been there for me, raising my spirits during hard times, and it is my hope that this song’s positive message will do the same for fans of our music right now and beyond,” he added.  “The release date for the tune was set a good while ago, but the timing seems eerily prescient to me now.  So enjoy the song and video, and remember to step away from the screens for a bit — real life is waiting for you.  We only get one shot, so don’t waste this day.  Everyone be well, keep a cool head, take care of yourselves and take care of EACH OTHER.”

Guitarist Mark Morton expanded on Blythe’s comments about the song’s creation.

“I had been sitting with the music for the intro and the post chorus for quite a while,” he said.  “I was trying to develop those two parts as separate songs altogether and was a little stumped particularly with the intro piece.  Me, Willie, and Josh Wilbur (producer) were doing demos in the studio, and the idea came up to try to mash those parts into the same tune, and everything just took off.  It was one of those times where once I knew what we were trying to do, the riffs just kind of fell out of me like they were writing themselves like they were writing themselves.  It’s always a crazy feeling when that happens.  Vocally, Randy heard the intro and said he instantly got a throwback Sisters of Mercy type vibe from it and he took off from there.”

In talking about ‘Checkmate,’ Morton had the following to say:

“‘Checkmate’ brings together all the components of the Lamb of God sound that we’ve been developing over the last two decades, but with the ambition and ferocity that comes with the start of a new chapter for our band,” he said.  “Re-energized and reignited, this is Lamb of God 2020.  We’ve never been more excited.”

Blythe expanded on his comments.

“Putting only our names on it is a statement,” Blythe said.  “This is Lamb of God. Here and now.”

Lamb of God was produced by Josh Wilbur (Soulfly, Hatebreed, Megadeth, Gojira), and features guest appearances from the likes of Hatebreed front man Jamey Jasta and Testament front man Chuck Billy.  The album’s track listing is noted below.

 

Lamb Of God tracklisting:
1. Memento Mori
2. Checkmate
3. Gears
4. Reality Bath
5. New Colossal Hate
6. Resurrection Man
7. Poison Dream (feat. Jamey Jasta)
8. Routes (feat. Chuck Billy)
9. Bloodshot Eyes
10. On The Hook

Pre-orders are open now for Lamb of God. The announcement was made recently that the album’s release date has been pushed back to June 19 as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 impact.

More information on Lamb of God’s upcoming live dates, its new album, single, news and more is available online now at:

 

Websitehttp://www.lamb-of-god.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/lambofgod

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/lambofgod

 

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.

 

Mark Morton Plots Release Of New EP, ‘Ether’

Courtesy: Rise Records/BMG

Mark Morton has another record on the way.

Morton, who spends most of his time with metal outfit Lamb of God, is scheduled to release his new EP Ether in January through Rise Records/BMG. The EP’s release date will be announced soon. The five-track record’s lead single ‘All I Had To Lose,’ which features a guest appearance by Mark Morales (Sons of Texas) is scheduled to debut Jan. 10.

The EP’s release comes almost a year after the release of his solo debut Anasthetic, which was released March 1 through Spinefarm Records.

Morton talked about the EP’s impending release in a recent interview.

“I’m thrilled to announce the upcoming release of my new, five-song EP Ether on Rise Records!,” he said.  “Once again I’ve had the great pleasure of working with some amazingly talented artists and friends to assemble this collection of tunes, all of which feature a strong acoustic guitar component.  Inspired by the acoustic sets I had the opportunity to perform last spring and summer in support of Anasthetic, I began writing some new songs to reflect that more mellow vibe.  I’m stoked with the results and I can’t wait for everyone to hear what we’ve been putting together.  I’ll be debuting these tunes on my upcoming U.K. acoustic tour, so you can hear them live before they’re released anywhere else!”

Morton also discussed working with Morales and the EP’s other guests — Lizzy Hale, John Carbone and Howard Jones — on the EP.

“I continue to be honored to have the chance to work with so many incredibly talented people and I remain beyond grateful to the fans that have come alongwith me and supported these projects.  Thanks so much, everyone!”

Ether‘s track listing is noted below.  The record was produced by Josh Wilbur (Lamb of God, Soulfly, Gojira).

Ether tracklisting:
1. All I Had To Lose (featuring Mark Morales)
2. The Fight (featuring John Carbone)
3. She Talks To Angels (featuring Lzzy Hale)
4. Love My Enemy (featuring Howard Jones)
5. Black (featuring Mark Morales)

The U.K. dates that Morton mentioned are listed below.

MARK MORTON UK tour dates:
1/8 – Bristol, UK @ Thekla
1/9 – Manchester, UK @ Academy 3
1/10 – Glasgow, UK @ Cathouse
1/11 – Birmingham, UK @ O2 Academy 2
1/12 – London, UK @ Camden Underworld

More information on Morton’s new EP, tour dates and more is available online at:

 

Websitehttp://markmortonmusic.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/markmortonmusic

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/MarkDuaneMorton

 

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

 

 

 

Mark Morton’s Solo Debut LP Will Leave Listeners Anything But Numb

Courtesy: Spinefarm Records

It’s hard to do the same thing over and over for years at a time.  Everybody knows that.  It’s why people change jobs.  It is also why members of musical acts across the musical universe decide at one point or another to branch out and try their hands at something new (I.E. solo albums). Lamb of God guitarist Mark Morton joined those ranks in March with his debut solo album Anasthetic.  The 10-song, 42 minute record shows Morton as not just a metal guitarist, but rather a multi-talented musician who has the capability to succeed in any musical genre.  This is proven in part late in the album’s run in the form of ‘Reveal.’  It will be addressed shortly.  The surprisingly subdued ‘Axis,’ which comes early in the album’s run, is another way in which Morton’s wide range of talent is exhibited in this record.  ‘Save Defiance,’ the album’s mid-point is yet another way in which Morton’s full talents are put on display and will also be addressed later.  Each song noted here is important in its own way in proving Mark Morton is more than just another metal shredder.  When they are examined along with the rest of the record’s entries, the whole of the album creates a new and deserved respect for Morton and his abilities.

Mark Morton’s debut self-titled album Anasthetic is a strong first solo outing for the Lamb of God guitarist.  That is because it allowed Morton to fully put on display, his talents as a guitarist.  It allowed him to show he is talented at doing more than just churning out heavy, shredding riffs.  Rather, it shows he can handle his own in almost any genre of music.  ‘Reveal,’ which comes late in the album’s run is just one of the album’s entries that supports those statements.  The song, recorded with singer/songwriter Naeemah Maddox, is the polar opposite of anything that Morton has ever done as a member of LoG.  The work presented by Morton here, is gentle and bluesy.  It expertly compliments the Philadelphia-born vocalist’s delivery and the work of their fellow musicians.  His bluesy guitar solo lends itself so easily to comparisons to the best work of Derek Trucks and Carlos Santana.  It is a true, full departure from everything that fans of Morton’s work have ever known, and it is so in the best way possible.

The song’s musical arrangement is just one part of what makes it stand out.  Its positive lyrical content couples with its musical to make the song in whole even more interesting.  Maddox sings in the song’s lead verse, “Could be all for sale/Or could be smoke and mirrors/The end is growing near/Or could be smoke and mirrors/Say who you are/Go set your truth/Don’t be the rude in another’s fair/See how you feel/And the nreveal/You may not be who you are/Right at this moment in time.”  She continues in the song’s second verse, “Go and dig a well/And hide as you abide/See, I’m fragile as a shell/And echo like a bell.”  She adds in the song’s third and final verse, “Willing, you have your own mind/You can think for yourself.”  She is saying here that things aren’t always just black and white.  There are shades of grey, so be you and be the best you can be.  That is at least this critic’s own town on this.  It is just one interpretation.  Hopefully it is somewhere close to being right as it certainly seems to send a rather positive message to listeners.  That, taken into consideration with the song’s musical arrangement, makes the song just one of Anasthetic’s most notable tracks and just one of the most notable examples of Morton’s wide range of talent.  ‘Axis,’ which comes much earlier in the album’s run, is another key example of Morton’s abilities and, in turn, most notable additions.

‘Axis’ is another key example of Morton’s talents and by connection another of this record’s most notable entries.  Crafted with vocalist Mark Lanegan (ex-Screaming Trees), the song’s subdued arrangement lends itself to comparisons to works from the likes of Tom Waitts and Bruce Springsteen.  That is most evident in Lanegan’s vocals and Morton’s guitar work.  Again, this is a stark departure for Morton from the intensity of the work that he has done over the years with Lamb of God.  It shows he can do so much more than jus play fast and loud, but rather also slower and with great dynamic control.  It makes for that much more respect for Morton and his abilities.  The song’s musical arrangement does a lot to make this work stand out, and is just one part of what makes it stand out.  The song’s lyrical content adds its own share of interest to the song’s whole.

Lanegan sings seemingly in this song, about someone who has been through quite a bit of adversity in life and is struggling to get through it.  What’s interesting here is that for all the adversity, the song doesn’t come across as some sort of emo type song.  Rather, it harkens back to the great blues songs of days long ago through its lyrical delivery.  He sings in the song’s lead verse, “I came down with a fever/The catacombs, they were filled/Lucifer within my larynx/Clothing a sarcophagus/Baby, set my head on fire/Every man is born to die/The Captain called me out on a carpet, boys/You know I got a tear in my eye/”  he continues in the song’s second verse, “I have been lost and wandering/A wanderer I remain/Met Judas in West Texas/Tried to take my name/Now I am lost and wandering/And wandering, I am blind/Will the moon come off its axis/Before I lose my mind/I came down with a sickness/Pouring down just like rain/Red, red sun in the evening/Red, red heart full of pain.”  He adds a touch more in the song’s third and final verse, but the song in whole is pretty clear.  Again, this is someone who has gone through so much.  It is just a classic, retro style country blues type work even in its lyrical presentation.  That content, coupled with the song’s musical arrangement, makes it a piece that is sure to appeal to plenty of listeners.  It will appeal so widely because of that aspect and because, again, it shows that Morton is not just a one-trick pony.  It shows he can do quite a bit more than just metal, and can do so quite well at that.  It still is not the last of the songs featured in this record that serves to exhibit that talent and interest.  ‘Save Defiance,’ the record’s mid-point, is one more example of Morton’s broad range of talent.

‘Save Defiance’ was recorded with Alter Bridge front man Myles Kennedy.  Fittingly, this song’s arrangement presents Morton as an able mainstream hard rock driver just as much as a metal guitarist.  What is truly interesting here is that the grouping of Morton, Kennedy and the rest of the song’s featured musicians immediately leads to comparisons to some of Alter Bridge’s best works.  Again, this is a good thing because it shows how much more Morton can do than just shred really fast and hard.  It shows here that he can create some really heavy, melodic riffs, too.  Morton’s ability to so easily liken himself to Mark Tremonti shows yet again just why he is such an important figure not just in the rock community, but in the music community in whole.  As much as Morton’s abilities do for himself and for the song, they are just one part of what makes the song stand out.  The song’s lyrical content plays its own important part to the whole of the song.

Kennedy sings in the song’s lead verse, “Into the last refrain/As your empire falls/World in decay/Our backs against the wall/Tell me, now/Is it too late/Tell me, now/Who’ll pay the cost/For all the times you’ve disengaged/Tomorrow could be lost/Stop what you started/Open your eyes/The truth is the hardest thing to deny.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Save defiance/And hope you’ve got one last shot/Blood of tyrants running cold/They will never stop/Save defiance/You alone will resist in time/Break alliance to behold shifting paradigms/There is no time to waste/This you can’t deny/The truth you embrace was only just a lie/Now do you see you’re betrayed/now you must keep your resolved/Or everything you sacrifice to keep/Will forever be dissolved/Stop what they started/Open your eyes/They’re reaping a harvest/And bleeding you dry.”  He reminds listeners in the song’s third verse, “This is your season/Take it and rise/The battle’s drawing/Fight for your lives.”  This is a call to action, point blank.  This is a socio-political commentary that is urging people everywhere to not sit idly by and allow those who do bad in the world to continue their heinous acts.  He is telling listeners to stand up and do something and make a difference.  That is at least this critic’s own take on this content.  The power and urgency in the song’s musical arrangement works to make this seem the case, so hopefully it is at least somewhere in the proverbial ballpark.  Thinking about the power of the song’s combined musical and lyrical content along with that of the power of the other discussed songs’ power and variety, they show clearly together just how talented Mark Morton really is.  When the variety and power in the songs discussed here is considered along with that of the rest of the album’s songs, the whole of the record becomes a strong solo debut for Morton.  It serves to show regardless of where his future takes him, Morton can and will be successful.

Mark Morton’s debut solo album Anesthetic is a strong first effort from the Lamb of God guitarist.  That is because while it does continue to display his metal chops throughout, it does more than that.  It also shows his abilities in other regions of the musical universe.  That, combined with lyrical content that is just as certain as the record’s musical content to keep listeners engaged, makes the record a positive offering from Morton and all involved.  All things considered, the album proves to be a presentation that will leave listeners anything but numb.  More information on Anasthetic is available online now along with all of Mark Morton’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://markmortonmusic.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MarkDuaneMorton

 

 

 

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