Memphis May Fire Debuts Linkin Park Cover; Announces New Live Dates

Courtesy: Rise Records

Memphis May Fire is paying tribute to Linkin Park and its late front man Chester Bennington.

The band debuted its cover of the band’s hit song ‘Fade‘ Friday.  The song stays very close to its source material with the lyrics staying the same and the musical arrangement giving Linkin Park’s original a slight change in its presentation.  Even with the variance in the musical arrangement, the song still stays very close to its source material.

MMF front may Matty Mullins talked about covering the song in a recent interview.

“A lot of times, when covering a song, you’re doing it for fun or to showcase your skills as an artist,” Mullins said.  “But this specific opportunity was a chance for us to honor a band that has had a profound impact on us.  There will never be another Linkin Park and there will never be another Chester Bennington.  We are forever grateful for the music they made and we hope this will encourage our younger fans to dive into the Linkin Park discography and discover the same inspiration that we did years ago.”

In other news, Memphis May Fire will tour this summer on the inaugural Disrupt Festival.  The band’s tour, which is in support of its latest album Broken (2018) is scheduled to launch June 21 in Dallas, TX and to run through July 28 in Albuquerque, NM.  It features performances in cities, such as Noblesville, IN; Mansfield, MA and Tinly Park, IL.

The band’s current tour schedule is noted below.  Broken spawned the singles ‘The Old Me,’ ‘Heavy is the Weight (ft. Andy Mineo)‘ and ‘You and Me.’

MEMPHIS MAY FIRE ON TOUR:
2019 DISRUPT FESTIVAL:

6/21 — Dallas, TX — Dos Equis Pavilion
6/22 — Austin, TX — Austin 360 Amphitheater
6/23 — The Woodlands, TX — Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion Presented by Huntsman
6/25 — West Palm Beach, FL — Coral Sky Amphitheatre
6/28 —Atlanta, GA — Lakewood Amphitheater
6/30 — Atlantic City, NJ — The Beach at Atlantic City*
7/2 — Syracuse, NY — Lakeview Amphitheater — Syracuse
7/3 — Toronto, ON — Budweiser Stage
7/5 — Mansfield, MA — Xfinity Center
7/6 — Holmdel, NJ — PNC Bank Arts Center
7/7 — Hartford, CT — The XFINITY Theatre
7/9 — Bristow, VA — Jiffy Lube Live
7/12 — Tinley Park, IL — Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
7/14 — Noblesville, IN — Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center
7/15 — Maryland Heights, MO — Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
7/17 — Denver, CO — Pepsi Center
7/20 — Irvine, CA — Five Point Amphitheater
7/21 — Mountain View, CA — Shoreline Amphitheater*
7/23 — Auburn, WA — White River Amphitheatre
7/24 — Nampa (Boise), ID — Ford Idaho Center Amphitheater
7/26 — Chula Vista, CA — North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre
7/27 — Phoenix, AZ — Ak-Chin Pavilion
7/28 — Albuquerque, NM — Isleta Amphitheater
*Warped Tour Weekend Date

More information on Memphis May Fire’s upcoming tour is available online now at:

 

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MemphisMayFire

 

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.

 

Sleep Signals Touring With Memphis May Fire, Ice Nine Kills As Support For Atreyu’s “In Our Wake” Tour

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

Sleep Signals has hit the road with Atreyu for its “In Our Wake” tour.

The band is serving as support for Atreyu for the tour, which launched Friday and is currently scheduled to run through Dec. 13 in Anaheim, California.  Also joining the tour as support are Memphis May Fire and Ice Nine Kills.

Sleep Signals is touring in support of its most recent release, its six-song EP At The End of the World, which was released independently  by the band on Sept. 8, 2017.  The band recently premiered the video for the EP’s latest single, ‘Edge of My Sanity.’ The song is streaming now via Spotify.

The schedule for Atreyu’s “In Our Wake” tour is noted below.  The tour is sponsored by Monster Energy and Spinefarm Records.  Tickets for Sleep Signals’ dates are available here.

Dates with Atreyu, Memphis May Fire, Ice Nine Kills:

11.9 Phoenix, AZ The Van Buren
11.10 Albuquerque, NM El Rey Theater
11.12 San Antonio, TX The Aztec Theatre
11.13 Houston, TX House of Blues
11.14 Baton Rouge, LA The Varsity Theater
11.16 Fort Lauderdale, FL Revolution Live
11.17 Tampa, FL The Ritz
11/18 Destin, FL Club L.A.
11.19 Atlanta, GA Buckhead Theater
11.20 Greensboro, NC The Cone Denim Entertainment Center
11.21 Baltimore, MD Baltimore Sound Stage
11.23 Harrisburg, PA Capitol Room
11.24 Sayreville, NJ Starland Ballroom
11.25 Boston, MA Paradise
11.27 New York, NY Gramercy Theatre
11.28 Rochester, NY Anthology
11.30 Detroit, MI Majestic Theatre
12.1 Fort Wayne, IN Pierre’s
12.2 Chicago, IL House of Blues
12.4 Denver, CO Summit Music Hall
12.5 Salt Lake City, UT The Depot
12.7 Seattle, WA El Corazon
12.8 Portland, OR Hawthorne Theatre
12.10 Sacramento, CA Ace of Spades
12.11 San Francisco, CA The Fillmore
12.12 San Diego, CA House of Blues
12.13 Anaheim, CA House of Blues

More information on Sleep Signals’ new tour dates, video and more is available online now at:

 

Website: http://sleepsignals.net

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/sleepsignals

 

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.

‘The Silver Scream’ Will Be As Memorable For INK As The Movies From Which It Is Inspired

Courtesy: Fearless Records

More often than not, when people use the term “horror rock,” to define a certain act’s style and sound, thoughts generally tend to turn to the likes of Marilyn Manson, Alice Cooper, Mushroomhead, Cannnibal Corpse and other acts of that ilk.  Of course, while they are the more well-known acts within the horror rock realm, they are not the only bands of which audiences should take note.  The Boston, MA-based band has made quite the name for itself in the horror/theatrical rock realm since the release of its 2006 debut album Last Chance To Make Amends.  Now with the release of its fifth full-length studio recording – and seventh overall studio recording – The Silver Scream, the band has proven itself one of the leaders of the next generation of the horror/theatrical rock genre.  That statement is supported in part through an examination of the collective songs and their source material that make up the album’s 49-minute run time.  This will be discussed shortly.  The songs’ lyrical content is just as important to discuss as the songs and their source material, and will be discussed a little bit later.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements, and will also be discussed later.  Each item is important in its own right to the whole of The Silver Scream. All things considered, they make The Silver Scream a work that is certain to appeal to metalcore fans and horror fans alike.

Ice Nine Kills’ fifth full-length studio recording The Silver Scream is a positive new offering from the Boston, MA-based horror/theatrical rock quartet.  One could honestly say that even despite being the band’s fifth full-length studio recording, it displays the band close to its apex if not already there.  One can only hope that as good as this album is, the band will be able to top itself with its next album.  Part of what makes the album such a strong outing is its featured songs and their source material.  The songs once again delve into the horror realm, this time using the cinematic realm as their inspiration instead of the literary or other realms.  The original musical works were inspired by moves reaching all the way back to the 1970s (Jaws) and as recently as the 2000s (Saw).  Also included are songs inspired by A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), The Shining (1980), Edward Scissorhands (1990) and The Devil’s Rejects (2005) among others.  Simply put, the band takes listeners through four decades of silver screen horror with its own original musical works inspired by the featured movies.  This is important to note because on one side, it could be the starting point to an introduction to horror for a whole new generation of audiences.  On the other side, the originality of the songs puts on display the band’s creativity and originality, and in turn showing once again why it is so quickly becoming one of the leaders of the next generation of horror/theatrical rock acts.  While the songs and their source material are unquestionably critical to the overall presentation of The Silver Scream, they are collectively just one of the album’s important elements.  The lyrical content presented throughout the album is just as important to its presentation as the songs and their source material.

The lyrical presentations within the overall presentation of The Silver Scream is important to note because as previously stated, it shows once again the band’s ingenuity and originality.  Case in point is the album’s opener, ‘The American Nightmare, which again is inspired by New Line Cinema’s 1984 slasher flick A Nightmare on Elm Street.  While the movie the story at the center of the movie makes the kids the victims, the song crafted by Ice Nine Kills is presented from the vantage point of Freddy Krueger, the janitor who died as a result of the acts of the teens’ parents.  Front man Spencer Charnas gives Freddy a voice here, singing, “Fast asleep/It’s all in your head now/Past the street where they cursed my name/But I won’t be forsaken/Craven my revenge from the shallow/Grave, where I went down in flames/The beast has been awakened/When night comes creeping/My cruel hand will rock you to sleep/I’m the American Nightmare/With American dreams/Of counting the bodies while you count sheep/the American Nightmare/Yeah, I’m living the dream/I’m slashing my way through the golden age of the silver scream.”  It is an interesting new take with an infectious arrangement that gives the classic movie a whole new life (so to speak).  It’s just one of the interesting stories presented here.  The lyrical content presented in the album’s second entry, ‘Thank God It’s Friday’ is another example of the importance of the album’s lyrical content.

‘Thank God It’s Friday’ takes the classic line, typically used by people as a stress reliever of sorts at the end of the work week, is instead put on its head here as something very foreboding.  That foreboding goes full throttle as the band launches into the song, which finds Charnas providing audiences the overall plot of the original 1980 slasher flick from Paramount Pictures and Warner Brothers in just under four-and-a-half minutes.  The whole thing starts with the ghostly voices of the counselors that Jason Voorhees killed singing mournfully about Jason’s death before Charnas launches into his verbal assault, telling the counselors’ story and their afterlife revelations.  He screams, “We’ve all been laid to rest/Our epitaph reads, “Mommy knows best”/A word of warning from beyond the grave that must be understood/Throats get slit in this neck of the woods.”  From there, Charnas continues the counselors’ story, illustrating the story told by Jason’s mother (played in the movie by Betsy Palmer – Friday The 13th, Friday The 13th Part 2, Queen Bee) of what led to his death and her view of the scenario.  The band even incorporates Mrs. Voorhees’ own words into the song, as she tells one of the potential victims, “Did you know my son was drowned in this lake?  He should have been supervised, but the counselors were off having filthy sex. His name is Jason, and today is his birthday.”  From there, the deceased counselors’ continue their mournful revelations.  When they are coupled with the song’s musical arrangement, which expertly illustrates the emotion in the words, those words create a story that is so sad, yet just as powerful and fear-inducing as the original slasher flick from which the song was inspired. It is hardly the last song included in the album that serves to show the importance of the album’s lyrical content.  The lyrical content at the center of ‘The World in My Hands’ is yet another example of that importance.

‘The World in My Hands’ was inspired by 20th Century Fox’s goth/romance 1990 flick Edward Scissorhands, and while the movie was a goth/romance hybrid, it also featured a story – from Edward (Johnny Depp, of Pirates of the Caribbean fame) of a figure trying to find his place in the world.  That journey of self-discovery is well illustrated in this song, as Charnas sings right from the song’s outset, “Lost on my own.In search of something real/How cruel to be exposed/To something I can’t touch, but still feel/How’d I end up here/So uncomfortable/I’m a stranger in this body/The world’s an ugly place/And that’s a fact that fate has brought me/I had to disappear/So will it all just go away/Now the end is drawing near/And God, I wish you would’ve stayed/It cuts deep, ‘cause our lives are still attached/A deadly touch spreads an itch that can’t be scratched/Sometimes I wish it would just fade to black/I won’t go back.”  From here, the story goes to Edwards thoughts of Kim (Winona Ryder – Alien: Resurrection, Little Women, Girl, Interrupted), and his thoughts of her versus everyone else in her town.  Given, the whole thing is rather emo, but in the bigger picture of things (no pun intended), this is a song to which so many listeners can relate because it is something that does not necessarily have to be from a movie.  It (and the story at the center of Edward Scissorhands) is something that can and does happen in the real world.  People try to find their place as they get older.  They see how the world is as they try to find their place.  To that end, this song’s lyrical content is doubly important to the album’s whole, and in turn shows even more the overall importance of the album’s lyrical content.  Of course it still is not the last of the content that shows the importance of the album’s lyrical content.  ‘Love Bites’ is itself a bittersweet love song inspired by An American Werewolf in London while ‘It Is The End’ (based on Green/Epstein Productions’ 1990 horror flick It) is another work that uses its lyrical content to tell the story of It, in turn introducing the band’s fans to the classic horror flick.  ‘A Grave Mistake’ takes inspiration from the groundbreaking 1994 goth/romance movie ‘The Crow’ to create its own Crow story about a vengeful spirit come back to avenge his death.  Between these songs, those more directly noted and those not directly addressed, it becomes clear throughout the album that its lyrical content is just as entertaining as the songs, their source material and their musical arrangements.  To that end, this album gives audiences quite a bit to appreciate.  Of course it is not all that stands out in this album.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.

Listening from start to end, audiences will note that the record starts and ends with the same haunting and powerful energy in their own original arrangements.  Along the way, the energy rises and falls at all of the right point, ensuring listeners’ maintained engagement.  Case in point, the energy continued in ‘thank God It’s Friday’ from ‘The American Nightmare.’  That energy is maintained (and even stepped up to a certain point) through the album’s third entry, ‘Stabbing in the Dark,’ which is inspired by Compass International Pictures’ 1978 slasher classic Halloween thanks to its Slayer- guitar breakdowns and story, which tells Halloween’s story.  At some points, those noted breakdowns show a certain Slayer influence, and at others a more distinct djent style presentation.  Things barely let up from there until the album’s midway point that is ‘A Grave Mistake.’  This song’s energy is much more reserved than its full-on thrash/metalcore predecessors.  The thing here is that while it is more reserved in its energy than those songs, it does still maintain a certain energy.  It is just not as heavy and frenetic as those songs.  Rather, it is more of a radio-friendly addition to the album, put more simply.  Of course, the respite that the band offers here is short-lived, as the band makes its way into the Jaws-inspired ‘Rocking The Boat.’

After the band works its way through ‘Rocking The Boat,’ it lets back off again slightly as it makes its way through the more radio-friendly works ‘Enjoy Your Slay,’ ‘Freak Flag’ and ‘The World in My Hands’ before gradually picking things back up in Merry Axe-Mas (inspired by Tristar Pictures’ 1984 holiday-themed horror flick Silent Night, Deadly Night).  Listeners get one last break before the record’s finale in ‘Love Bites’ before the band leaves listeners breathless at the album’s end in ‘It Is The End.’  By the time the song ends, listeners will realize they have been taken on quite the powerful and engaging musical and cinematic ride.  Looking back, listeners will agree that the record’s energy rises and falls at all of the right points, ensuring again that maintained engagement.  The end result is an album of horror-inspired songs that metalcore fans and horror flick fans alike will appreciate.

Ice Nine Kills has developed quite a name for itself over the course of now 12 years as one of the leaders of the next generation of metalcore and horror/theatrical rock thanks to its past four albums (and three EPs).  Now with the release of its latest album The Silver Scream last month, the band has certified its place in those genres even more.  That is proven in part through its 13 original songs, inspired by some of the most important horror flicks to ever make their way to the silver screen, as has been discussed here.  The lyrical content is just as original as the songs as they tell the stories of the movies and present brand new angles from those stories through that content.  The stories and angles create their own interest that, along with the arrangements and vast inspiration for the songs, ensures even more, listeners maintained engagement throughout the album.  When the album’s overall sequencing is considered along with the previously noted items, the balance in that sequencing shows plenty of time and thought was put into the album’s arrangement.  It paid off, too.  Each item is key in its own way to the whole of The Silver Scream.  All things considered, they make The Silver Scream a work that is certain to be just as memorable for Ice Nine Kills as the movies from which its songs were inspired.  The band is currently on tour with Sleep Signals and Memphis May Fire as suppor for Atreyu on its “In Our Wake” Tour.  The schedule for the tour, which just launched Nov. 9, is noted below.

 

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

Dates with Atreyu, Memphis May Fire, Ice Nine Kills:

11.10 Albuquerque, NM El Rey Theater
11.12 San Antonio, TX The Aztec Theatre
11.13 Houston, TX House of Blues
11.14 Baton Rouge, LA The Varsity Theater
11.16 Fort Lauderdale, FL Revolution Live
11.17 Tampa, FL The Ritz
11/18 Destin, FL Club L.A.
11.19 Atlanta, GA Buckhead Theater
11.20 Greensboro, NC The Cone Denim Entertainment Center
11.21 Baltimore, MD Baltimore Sound Stage
11.23 Harrisburg, PA Capitol Room
11.24 Sayreville, NJ Starland Ballroom
11.25 Boston, MA Paradise
11.27 New York, NY Gramercy Theatre
11.28 Rochester, NY Anthology
11.30 Detroit, MI Majestic Theatre
12.1 Fort Wayne, IN Pierre’s
12.2 Chicago, IL House of Blues
12.4 Denver, CO Summit Music Hall
12.5 Salt Lake City, UT The Depot
12.7 Seattle, WA El Corazon
12.8 Portland, OR Hawthorne Theatre
12.10 Sacramento, CA Ace of Spades
12.11 San Francisco, CA The Fillmore
12.12 San Diego, CA House of Blues
12.13 Anaheim, CA House of Blues

More information on The Silver Scream is available online now along with all of Ice Nine Kills’ latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://iceninekills.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ICENINEKILLS

 

 

 

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.

Sleep Signals Announces New Live Dates

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

Hard rock band Sleep Signals is headed back on the road.

The band announced this week that it will launch the “Fireproof Tour” on Sept. 7 in Lincoln, Nebraska.  The nearly six week tour will feature performances in Las Vegas, NV; Logan, UT; Tulsa, OK and other cities across the West Coast and Midwest.

The tour’s current schedule is noted below.  Ice Nine Kills will serve as support for the tour.

Fireproof Tour Dates:

9.07 Lincoln, NE The Keg
9.08 Fort Morgan, CO Break the Silence Festival
9.09 Colorado Springs, CO Rocks Sports Bar
9.11 Laramie, WY Ruffed Up Duck
9.12 Salt Lake City, UT Liquid Joes
9.13 Ogden, UT Funk N Dive
9.14 Logan, UT Eagles 3114
9.15 Jerome, ID Diamondz Event Center
9.18 Spokane, WA The Pin
9.20 Tacoma, WA The Valley
9.21 Portland, OR Paris Theater
9.22 Medford, OR Howiee’s on Front
9.23 Klamath Falls, OR Yesterday’s Plaza
9.24 Anderson, CA Firehouse Lounge
9.26 Reno, NV Jub Jub’s Thirst Parlor
9.27 Pacifica, CA Winters Tavern
9.28 Modesto, CA The Other Place
9.29 Pomona, CA PBW
9.30 Fresno, CA Full Circle Brewery
10.2 Las Vegas, NV Legends Bar
10.3 San Diego, CA The Merrow
10.4 Los Angeles, CA 5 Star Bar
10.5 Yucca Valley, CA Gadi’s
10.6 Cottonwood, AZ The Main Stage
10.8 Scottsdale, AZ The Rogue Bar
10.9 El Paso, TX The Perch
10.10 Lovington, NM Lovington Youth Center
10.11 Abilene, TX The Zone
10.12 San Angelo, TX The Deadhorse
10.13 McAllen, TX Yerberia Cultura
10.14 Corpus Christi, TX Boozerz
10.15 San Marcos, TX The Morgue
10.17 Tulsa, OK The Vanguard
10.18 Fort Smith, AR Hero’s
10.19 Kansas City, MO Aftershock
10.20 Des Moines, IA Lefty’s

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group/Spinefarm Records

Following its headlining tour, Sleep Signals will join Memphis May Fire and Ice Nine Kills as support for Atreyu’s upcoming headlining tour in support of its headlining tour.  That tour is in support of its forthcoming album In Your Wake.

Its schedule is noted below.  Tickets and VIP packages can be purchased here.

Dates with Atreyu, Memphis May Fire, Ice Nine Kills:

11.9 Phoenix, AZ The Van Buren
11.10 Albuquerque, NM El Rey Theater
11.12 San Antonio, TX The Aztec Theatre
11.13 Houston, TX House of Blues
11.14 Baton Rouge, LA The Varsity Theater
11.16 Fort Lauderdale, FL Revolution Live
11.17 Tampa, FL The Ritz
11.19 Atlanta, GA Buckhead Theater
11.20 Greensboro, NC The Cone Denim Entertainment Center
11.21 Baltimore, MD Baltimore Sound Stage
11.23 Harrisburg, PA Capitol Room
11.24 Sayreville, NJ Starland Ballroom
11.25 Boston, MA Paradise
11.27 New York, NY Gramercy Theatre
11.28 Rochester, NY Anthology
11.30 Detroit, MI Majestic Theatre
12.1 Fort Wayne, IN Pierre’s
12.2 Chicago, IL House of Blues
12.4 Denver, CO Summit Music Hall
12.5 Salt Lake City, UT The Depot
12.6 Boise, ID The Knitting Factory
12.7 Seattle, WA El Corazon
12.8 Portland, OR Hawthorne Theatre
12.10 Sacramento, CA Ace of Spades
12.11 San Francisco, CA The Fillmore
12.12 San Diego, CA House of Blues
12.13 Anaheim, CA House of Blues

Sleep Signals Edge of My Sanity Single Art

Sleep Signals debuted the video for its latest single ‘Edge of My Sanity‘ on Aug. 18.  The song is streaming by itself via Spotify.

More information on Sleep Signals’ music, its upcoming live dates and more is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.sleepsignals.net

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/sleepsignals

 

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.

Wovenwar’s Second Album Is A Solid Sophomore Effort

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

The end of the old year and the start of the New Year are traditionally the slowest times of the year in terms of new music releases.  While some new albums are released over the holiday season and the early part of the New Year, the real first push for new albums generally doesn’t start until early March.  Even as slow as the end of the old year and start of the New Year are, new albums are released.  However, they are few.  That gives audiences time to catch up on some of the previous year’s big albums.  It goes without saying that 2016 saw more than its share of big albums.  Wovenwar’s sophomore album Honor Is Dead is one of those big albums released this year.  The album, released Oct. 21, is a big step up for the band. The band took the melodic hard rock and metalcore elements presented in its 2014 self-titled debut here and stepped them up in a big way on this record.  The stepped up arrangements are sure to keep listeners fully engaged from beginning to end.  The same can be said of the lyrical themes presented throughout the record, and when those themes are set alongside the songs’ musical arrangements, the end result is a record that as this critic already noted, is one of 2016’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

Wovenwar’s sophomore album Honor Is Dead is only the band’s second full-length studio album, but it can be said that it is the band’s best work so far.  It is a big step up from the band’s 2014 self-titled debut.  The record’s powerhouse opener ‘Confession’ serves clearly to support that statement. The song’s guitar-driven arrangement instantly conjures thoughts of Killswitch Engage, Memphis May Fire, All That Remains and others of that ilk.  That is the case even in the song’s more flowing chorus.  The power in that arrangement is a good fit for the song’s equally powerful lyrical content, which seems to center on someone fighting alcoholism.  It can be inferred that the song’s lyrical theme focuses on said subject as front man Shane Blay sings in the song’s lead verse, “I call it a phase, I call it a phase/But bottoms of bottles are killing the pain/I call it a phase, I call it a phase/When no one’s looking I take in all I can/I kiss the bottle until I can’t stand/And wake up grieving/And by noon I won’t care/I’ll count the minutes til’ I start again.”  The song’s subject asks himself in pained fashion in the song’s chorus, “What have I become/Have I come undone?”  This illustrates even more that the song seems to be addressing someone battle addiction.

If the song’s simple but powerful chorus and lead verse aren’t enough to convince one of the song’s subject, one line in particular in the song’s second verse will most certainly convince listeners.  Blay sings in said verse, “You cannot hurt when you cannot feel a thing/The past has taught me I won’t remember a thing/I’ll trade a night cap for some apathy/And wake up grieving, and by noon I won’t care/I count the minutes til’ I start again.”  This is a powerful statement; one that is just as powerful as that in the song’s lead verse.  When the two are coupled with the song’s equally impacting musical arrangement, the end result is a work that is a solid opener for the record and a song that shows clearly what makes this album so impressive.  It is just one of the songs included in this record that is so powerful, too.  ‘Lines in the Sand’ is another of the album’s most standout songs.

‘Confession,’ Honor Is Dead’s opening composition is a solid opener for Wovenwar’s new album.  It is also a solid example of what makes this record so impressive. That is due both to its musical and lyrical content.  It is just one of the songs that stands out in this record’s overall body.  ‘Lines in the Sand’ stands out just as much as ‘Confession.’  That is due to its musical arrangement and lyrical theme, too.  The song’s musical arrangement is powerful in its own right thanks to the work of guitarist Nick Hipa, bassist Josh Gilbert and drummer Jordan Mancino.  Instead of the full on shredding assault presented in ‘Confession,’ the musicians have crafted here an arrangement that is more akin to arrangements crafted by the members of Sevendust, Shinedown, and others of that ilk.  Such a contrast shows the musicians’ reach even more and is just one part of what makes this song – and record – stand out.  The song’s lyrical content stands out just as much as its musical arrangement.

In the case of the song’s lyrical content, front man Shane Blay comes across as presenting commentary on the nation’s division and the damage that said division is doing to the country.  The song’s first two verses are proof of that. Blay sings in the song’s lead verse, “Some men are born to reap the harvest/Some men are born to sow the seed/the lines between them are all drawn in/The lie between them is belief.”  He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “Does anyone know why we’re fighting/Does anyone know the other side/the lines between us are all drawn by/the lies that we choose to believe.”  These verses make a powerful statement; a statement of how easily people allow themselves to be divided because they don’t question. In the song’s chorus, Blay strengthens that statement even more as he sings, “If only we had eyes to see the lines blurring/Fall in line if you’re willing/Defend these shores to the bitter end/Everyone’s got a reason/to name the victims and the villains/But who drew the lines in the sand?”  He is saying people need to think for themselves rather than just let themselves be divided.  Again, it is a powerful message, and one that is as relevant today as in any era.  When that powerful message is joined with the song’s musical arrangement, the pair’s partnering exhibits fully why this song stands out in the bigger picture of HID.  They also serve to show even more why the album in whole is so impressive, too.  While the song serves to show in its own right what makes HID so impressive, it is just one more example of what makes this record work so well.  The record’s closer, ‘130’ stands out just as much as ‘Confession’ and ‘Lines in the Sand.’

‘Confession’ and ‘Lines in the Sand’ are both powerhouse pieces included in HID that show what makes this record so impressive.  That is due to the songs’ musical arrangements and lyrical themes.  The songs’ arrangements and lyrical themes stand out clearly from one another and from the album’s other compositions, too.  As important as those two songs are to the album’s overall presentation, they are only two of the songs that show what makes HID so impressive.  ‘130,’ the record’s closer, is one more example of what makes the album so impressive.  The song’s arrangement is a full-throttle work that conjures thoughts of Bullet For My Valentine, Trivium and other similar acts thanks to the combination of Blay’s vocals, Hipa’s guitar work, Mancino’s work on the drums and Gilbert’s low end.  The arrangement’s furious energy expertly catches the terror and fear that must have been felt at the November 2015 Paris attacks.  What’s more the guitar-driven composition captures just as well the anger that was felt by people around the world following those horrific acts.  The song’s lyrical content captures those emotions just as well as Blay sings, “Explosions shake the city/I thought it was part of the show/A craven is screaming prayers/In a tongue that I don’t know/Paris lights are winking out/I can hear the city scream/While the faithful are rejoicing in the sound of tragedy.”  The fire in Blay’s vocal delivery captures just as well the mix of emotions that must have been felt by those who were there.  That emotion is just as powerfully evident as Blay sings in the song’s chorus, “Find me one reason worth this hate/One reason worth this endless violence/Find me one more reason worth this hate/Because I have 130 reasons to change.”  The 130 reasons in question are the 130 people who were killed in the November 2015 terrorist attacks on Paris.  Blay goes on to directly address the attack at the Bataclan Theatre as he mentions the stage should be a safe place that brings everyone together “yet we one divided/Waging war over beliefs.” He is not making any indictment of the people there, but the people who committed the attacks at the club because of their beliefs.  It is a hard-hitting statement that when joined with the song’s musical arrangement, shows once more why ‘130’ stands out just as much as ‘Confession,’ ‘Lines in the Sand’ and the rest of the songs featured in this album.  Each song, with its arrangement and lyrical theme is important in its own right to the album’s presentation.  All things considered, they make Wovenwar’s sophomore effort a solid second effort.  They give great hope for another album from the band in the not too distant future.

Honor Is Dead is a solid new offering from Wovenwar.  The band’s sophomore record presents arrangements throughout its eleven songs that present sounds similar to so many of its current counterparts including Shinedown, Bullet For My Valentine, Killswitch Engage, and so many others.  In other words, the record’s musical arrangements don’t stick to just one style of hard rock and metal or another.  They clearly cross those lines from beginning to end, giving listeners plenty of diversity.  That in turn ensures listeners’ engagement in itself.  The lyrical themes presented in each of the album’s songs are just as diverse as the musical arrangements presented in each song.  From a subject battling addiction to an equally powerful statement of people’s blind divisions to an emotional composition about the 2015 attacks on Paris and so much more, the lyrical themes presented in this record give listeners just as much reason to take in this record as its musical arrangements.  Each element is clearly important in its own way to the album’s presentation.  All things considered, the album’s combined musical and lyrical content makes this record, once more, a solid new effort from Wovenwar.  They also give hope that it won’t be the band’s last album, either.  Honor Is Dead is available now in stores and online.  More information on the album is available online now along with all of Wovenwar’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.wovenwar.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/WOVENWAR

 

 

 

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Audiences Actually Saw Some Real Worthwhile Music Re-Issues In 2015

In the world of the music business there are few releases that are more ardently frowned upon than the annual crop of album re-issues. From one genre to the next every genre sees its own share of re-issues released each year totalling some years close to a hundred if not more. That is counting re-issues from every genre of the mainstream and independent music industry. The reason that re-issues are so oft frowned upon is that nine times out of ten they are little more than contractually obligated space fillers that acts churn out between new albums in order to appease their bosses at their respective record labels. The result is that few re-issues (regardless of genre) ever really offer any real value to audiences. BUt then there are some that actually do bear at least some value. In fact some are surprisingly well worth the listen and even the purchase. This year, Judas Priest’s classic album Defenders of the Faith has proven to be one of those re-issues that actually stands out. Fates Warning’s classic album A Pleasant Shade of Gray is another one of those worthwhile re-issues at least for rock audiences. The same can be said of Anthrax’s re-issue of Spreading the Disease. The rock realm isn’t the only one that saw some worthwhile new re-issues this year. The R&B industry saw a worthwhile re-issue from British R&B star Rainy Milo in her album This Thing of Ours. Even the World Music realm saw at least one worthwhile re-issue in the form of Flavia Coelho’s Mundo Meu. These are just some of the rare worthwhile re-issues to be released this year. There are others, too. And they are all here on the Phil’s Picks list of 2015’s Top New Re-issues. Once again, fifteen total albums have been noted with the top ten being the best and the bottom five still being enjoyable enough to deserve honorable mention. All things considered 2015 saw some rather interesting and enjoyable re-issues. And they are listed here. For your consideration, dear readers, are 2015’s Best New Music Re-Issues.

PHIL’S PICKS 2015 BEST NEW MUSIC RE-ISSUES

1. FATES WARNING — A PLEASANT SHADE OF GRAY

2. JUDAS PRIEST — DEFENDERS OF THE FAITH

3. ANTHRAX — SPREADING THE DISEASE

4. THE ROLLING STONES — STICKY FINGERS

5. KELAKOS — UNCORKED: RARE TRACKS FROM A 70S BAND

6. EUROPE — WAR OF KINGS

7. SAXON — HEAVY METAL THUNDER

8. SAXON — THE SAXON CHRONICLES

9. MEMPHIS MAY FIRE — UNCONDITIONAL

10. RAINY MILO — THIS THING OF OURS

11. FLAVIA COELO — MUNDO MEU

12. RED LINE CHEMISTRY — CHEMICAL HIGH AND A HAND GRENADE

13. FREEDOM CALL — 666 WEEKS BEYOND ETERNITY

14. NIRVANA — NIRVANA

15. CROWBAR — EQUILIBRIUM

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Memphis May Fire’s Fans Will Appreciate Unconditional Deluxe Edition Unconditionally

Courtesy:  Rise Records

Courtesy: Rise Records

Early last year, Memphis May Fire released its fourth full-length album Unconditional in stores and online. The album was received to critical acclaim, debuting in the #4 slot on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums chart and selling more than 27,000 copies in its first week in stores. Now, a little more than a year after its release, the band has teamed with its label, Rise Records, to re-issue the album in a new Deluxe edition. Unconditional Deluxe Edition features two new songs and a pair of acoustic takes of songs included in Unconditional’s original release and its new re-issue. The acoustic renditions of ‘Beneath The Skin’ and ‘Need To Be’ close out Unconditional’s re-issue and are just two of the highlights of this record. Both renditions give the original songs from which they stemmed their own new identities yet lose none of the depth and power exhibited in the originals. ‘My Generation,’ which is one of the newly introduced songs on this record. While it may have the same name as The Who’s timeless composition, it is anything but that song. In other words it isn’t a cover. It is its own song completely separate from that work yet still boasts its own powerful musical and lyrical content. Regardless of whether fans go for the acoustic renditions of ‘Beneath The Skin’ and ‘Need To Be,’ the newly introduced anthem ‘My Generation’ or the album’s other newly introduced song ‘Stay The Course’ every one of Memphis May Fire’s fans will agree that the addition of all four songs makes Unconditional’s new re-issue one of this year’s best new re-issues.

Memphis May Fire’s newly re-issued 2014 album Unconditional is one of the best of this year’s crop of re-issues. Long-time fans of the veteran Dallas, Texas-based metalcore band will agree with this sentiment after hearing the four new additions to the album. One of those additions, an acoustic re-working of ‘Beneath The Skin,’ anchors the album’s bonus tracks. It can be argued that the song’s acoustic take gives the song a whole new identity as the heaviness of the original take is not there. That identity has been established as Kellen McGregor and Anthony Sepe have traded in the heavy, crunching sound that served as the basis in the original song for a much more emotional sound that is made even deeper and moving thanks to front man Matty Mullins’ equally toned-down vocal delivery as he sings, “She dreams of a day when she won’t have to cry herself to sleep/Staring at the scars on her wrists/She knows this is not who she wants to be/Another night all alone with her thoughts/Dwelling on the questions that race through her head/Scared to sleep/Scared to wake up and face the day/When she can’t forget the things that they said.” Whereas the heavier sound of the song’s original take gives it a feeling that exudes great tension and anger on the part of the song’s subject, this new acoustic take paints the picture of the young lady as a figure feeling so much sadness and pain. That is especially the case in the verse noted here. The gentility and fragility in Mullins’ delivery set against the equally reserved sound exhibited by his band mates makes it especially worth the listen by any young person, male or female. In being that much more worth the listen, it will hae a greater chance of relating to so many more young listeners and potentially helping make a positive in said individuals’ lives. That increased ability to reach and relate to a wider audience makes the acoustic take of ‘Beneath The Skin’ a clearly positive addition to Unconditional’s re-issue. That is not to say that the original, heavier take is any less significant in the bigger picture of the album. It just means to say that the new acoustic take presented here is just as powerful as the full-on, original take.

The newly introduced acoustic take of ‘Beneath The Skin’ is a clear example of what makes Unconditional’s new re-issue an album that every Memphis May Fire fan will appreciate. While it may be an acoustic take of a much heavier song, that does not make the song any less heavy. As a matter of fact, the emotion and depth exuded by the much softer re-working of the song makes it just as heavy and in turn impacting. It is just one of the additions made to the album’s re-issue that makes it worth the listen. The acoustic re-working of ‘Need To Be’ adds even more reason for the band’s fans to check out the album’s Deluxe Edition. Just as with the acoustic take of ‘Beneath The Skin,’ the acoustic re-working of this song gives it just as much depth. The song’s original take is by no means heavy. Obviously neither is this take. But it still offers its own depth. The difference between the tracks is that this song maintains a certain reserved nature where the original adds a certain amount of punch as it proceeds. That control exhibited throughout the song in comparison to its original take makes the song’s lyrical content much more personal as Mullins sings, “My heart is heavy and torn/Weighed down by all my mistakes and the chains I’ve worn/A constant struggle with fear/Unsure if I was enough from the day I was born/But you see the beauty in my flaws/You pick me up when I fall/Show me the way when I am lost/In the eye of the storm/You show me I’m not alone/And give me strength to carry on.” The electronics removed from the song at this moment and replaced with the gentle tones of a piano, shaker, and drum set gives it a completely different feel that is still positive in its own right. It is just one change made in this song that makes it just as deep and powerful as the song’s original take and in turn yet another reason that Memphis May Fire’s fans will appreciate the new Deluxe edition of Unconditional.

Both of the acoustic re-workings presented in Unconditional’s new Deluxe Edition show in their own way why the band’s fans will appreciate this new re-issue. Of course for all of the value that they add to the record, they are not the only reasons that the band’s fans will appreciate this record. There are also two previously unreleased tracks included as part of the Deluxe Edition’s body–‘My Generation’ and ‘Stay The Course.’ Both songs are equally hard-hitting and memorable in their own right. The prior of the pair especially stands out. That is thanks in large part to its pounding musical content, driven by Jake Garland’s solid time keeping and the dual attack of McGregor and Sepe. The infectious, fist-pumping chant of “We are the youth/We are the future” in the song’s chorus makes the song even harder-hitting. One can easily imagine the band’s fans chanting these lines defiantly and in unison at its live shows. It’s just one aspect of the song’s lyrical content that makes the song such an important addition to the album’s re-issue. Mullens and company go on to sing in the song’s chorus, “Fight, fight, fight for the ones without a voice/Fight, fight, fight until they pay attention/Fight, fight, fight for the ones without a voice/Fight, fight, fight we’re gonna make ’em listen/Fight, fight, fight, we’re gonna fight ’till they hear us.” The defiance is clear and will definitely energize the band’s fans. The addition of the heavy, pummeling guitars and drums alongside Mullens’ delivery style adds even more power to the song. Whether for its pummeling musical content or for its defiant lyrical content, it can be said that the combination of both elements together presented here makes ‘My Generation’ one of Memphis May Fire’s best songs yet and even more proof of why Unconditional’s new Deluxe Edition is a record that any of the band’s fans will appreciate. That is not to discount the also newly added song ‘Stay The Course. That song will impress the band’s fans just as much with its message of perseverance. Both songs coupled with both of the acoustic pieces added to the album here make the album in whole a welcome addition to the library of any of the band’s fans and an album that proves itself to be one of the best of this year’s crop of re-issues.

Memphis May Fire released last year what has since proven to be one of its most successful albums to date if not its single-most successful album when it released Unconditional. Now with its new Deluxe Edition re-issue, which boasts two new tracks and two acoustic re-workings of songs featured in the album’s original release, Unconditional may very well surpass the mark set by the album in its original take. That is thanks in large part to the noted new additions included here. All four songs together will impress by the band’s long-time fans just as much as those that are less familiar with the band’s body of work. Each listener will agree in hearing those new additions alongside the original album’s songs, that Unconditional is, again, a welcome addition to the library of any of the band’s fans and a work that is one of the best of this year’s crop of re-issues. It is available now in stores and online. The band is currently touring in support of Unconditional. It will be live in Auburn Hills, Michigan tonight and Chicago, Illinois tomorrow. Fans can get the band’s full list of tour dates online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/memphismayfire

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