Falconer Debuts Lead Single From New Album ‘From A Dying Ember’

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Folk metal band Falconer will return next month with its first new album in six years.

The band is scheduled to release its new album From A Dying Ember June 26 through Metal Blade Records.  In anticipation of the album’s release, the band debuted the album’s lead single ‘Desert Dreams‘ Wednesday.

The song’s musical arrangement is a heavy power metal arrangement that is founded in its heavy guitar line and its drums.  The controlled vocals flesh out the song even more.  the song’s lyrical theme meanwhile comes across as being conceptual, telling is own unique story.

From A Dying Ember was recorded at Andy Laroque’s Sonic Train Studio.  LaRocque mixed and mastered the record.  The album will be available on a variety of platforms, all of which are noted below.


– jewelcase-CD
– ltd. digipak CD (incl. 3 bonus tracks – EU exclusive)
– 180g black vinyl (EU exclusive)
– turquoise green marbled vinyl (EU exclusive – limited to 200 copies)
– orange white marbled vinyl (EU exclusive – limited to 100 copies)
– light grey marbled vinyl (US exclusive – limited to 300 copies)


Pre-orders are open now for From A Dying Ember.  The album’s track listing is noted below.


From A Dying Ember track-listing
1. Kings and Queens
2. Desert Dreams
3. Redeem and Repent
4. Bland Sump Och Dy
5. Fool’s Crusade
6. Garnets and a Gilded Rose
7. In Regal Attire
8. Rejoice the Adorned
9. Testify
10. Thrust the Dagger Deep
11. Rapture
12. The Cauldron (Digipak Bonus Track)
13. Portals of Light (Acoustic Version – Digipak Bonus Track)
14. Long Gone By (Acoustic Version – Digipak Bonus Track)



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


Website: http://www.falconermusic.com

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


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.

Killswitch Engage Gives Audiences Lots Of Reason To Help Others With ‘Atonement II’

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Killswitch Engage is stepping up and doing its part to help those impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.  The released its new record Atonement IIB-Sides For Charity Friday to all digital platforms.  The widespread release of the six-song record b-sides collection, whose proceeds will go to benefit the Center For Disaster Philanthropy’s COVID-19 Relief Fund, comes a week after the band debuted the collection through its official Bandcamp page.  Considering it is a collection of b-sides and consists of only six songs, it will be considered by this critic to be an EP instead of an LP.  According to front man Jesse Leach, the songs featured in the recording were originally recorded during the sessions for the band’s 2019 album Atonement, but ended up not being included in the album’s final presentation.  The record presents plenty for audiences to appreciate in terms of its musical and lyrical content.  That is proven right from its outset in ‘To The Great Beyond,’ which will be discussed shortly.  ‘Killing of Leviathan’ is another positive addition to the EP since it is composed of only six songs.  That song will be addressed a little later.  ‘I Feel Alive Again’ is one more notable addition to Atonement IIB-Sides For Charity and will also be addressed later.  When it is considered with the other noted songs and the record’s other trio of songs, the whole of the record proves itself to be among this year’s top new EPs.

Killswitch Engage’s new EP Atonement IIB-Sides For Charity is a record that the band’s longtime fans will applaud just as much as metalcore and metal fans in general.  It is a work that, through its musical and lyrical content, proves itself to be one of this year’s top new EPs.  That is proven right from the record’s outset in its opener, ‘To The Great Beyond.’  This song shows real growth from the band in comparison to its past records.  Right from the song’s opening bars, audiences get a sound in the arrangement that is more of a death metal work than the metalcore for which it has come to be known over the course of its life.  The metalcore elements are still there throughout the course of the nearly four-minute work.  However, they are nicely balanced with the more energetic guitar riffs and rapid fire drumming, the steady low end from bassist Mike D’Antonio and vocals from Leach to make the song’s arrangement a powerhouse start for the EP and clear proof in itself why the record’s musical content is so important to its presentation.  The fire in the song’s musical arrangement works well with the equally engaging content in the song’s lyrical theme.

The lyrical theme presented in this song is intriguing in that Leach noted in a recent interview that the songs featured in this record were “written during a very difficult and uncertain time of my life.  They are written with two perspectives: that of a struggling, angry, frustrated man having a crisis of faith, life, and love and a man finding the will and the strength to change perspective, try again, and to fight through it all.”  This song’s lyrical theme would seem to have been written from the second perspective as he seems to be addressing his acceptance of his mortality, just as we all should.  This is a very difficult topic for anyone to address, but he has seemingly done so here, and done well in the process.  Leach sings in the song’s lead verse, “Suicide of the mental/In the mind, transcendental/Cauterized the wounds of a past life/Beckoning from the birth unto the afterlife.”  He adds in the song’s chorus, “I look beyond this mortal encasement/Severed beyond/beyond containment/I am prepared to die/Hear the battle cry/Feel the spirit fly/To the great beyond go I/I am prepared to die/As I testify/To the great beyond go I/Unafraid of my fate/From within burns the will to live.”  Leach adds to the discussion in the song’s second verse, singing, “Cut down this bitter dissension/Killing the path of ascension/We’re holding on to the fear of the next world/This fleeting location amid the many dimensions/I have escaped to death and resurrection/Unafraid of my fate/To the great beyond go I/I look beyond this life/I am prepared to die/Hear the battle cry/Feel the spirit fly/To the great beyond go I.”  This comes across as being quite the deep discussion, and one that could easily motivate and inspire many listeners to have their own change in mentality about such a difficult topic.  To that end, it is just one of the songs included in this record that serves to show the EP’s strengths.  ‘Killing of Leviathan’ is another notable addition to the EP.

‘Killing The Leviathan’ offers listeners another heavy, up-tempo work that shows its own sign of growth from the band.  This song actually boasts more of a thrash metal approach than the pure metalcore sound for which the band has come to be known.  The metalcore elements are there again.  But as noted, the thrash approach is more evident than the metal core elements, even as the two elements are relatively balanced.  That continued exhibition of growth from the band through the song’s musical arrangement is another positive sign for the band and for audiences as they take in the record.  What’s more, the energy in the song’s arrangement works well with the song’s lyrical theme, which comes across as being about overcoming one’s own inner demons.

The seeming theme of the noted internal struggle is inferred as Leach sings in the song’s lead verse, “Leviathan is now approaching/Seeping/Crawling on me/Drawing closer to the center/Anxiety torments me/I know you by name/It’s always the same/Fall from the light consumed within/Deep inside/My hell is closing in.”  The song’s chorus adds to the inference as Leach sings, “Crawl deep under my skin/Screaming/Leviathan, I’ll kill you within/You will not win against me/Leviathan, this is the end/This is the end.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “The voices in my head/This war is fought within/You can’t control me/I will destroy in the end.”  Leach puts the accent on his statement in the song’s third and final verse, singing, “Ever-changing circumstance/Triggering this dark war dance/I’ll fight against you/I will annihilate you/The killing of Leviathan.”  Again, this certainly would seem to be Leach making a statement about battling himself internally, and telling those inner demons, those negative thoughts, that he will succeed.  This is truly another inspirational statement for any listener.  It’s one more way in which this record proves itself so notable.  ‘I Feel Alive Again’ also proves the strength of KsE’s new record in its own way.

‘I Feel Alive’ stands out in part because its arrangement is yet another sign of growth and change from the band.  Instead of the death metal or even thrash elements, this song blends together the band’s familiar metalcore elements with a much more melodic side that could be argued to be more of an emocore sound.  That is evident in the balance of the screaming and clean vocals from Leach and the harmonics in the guitar work.  It is yet another welcome change of pace that the band’s most devoted listeners will appreciate.  It also does well in illustrating the emotions evoked through the song’s positive lyrical content.

The lyrical content in question comes from that less positive perspective that Leach discussed in the noted interview.  That is inferred as Leach sings, “One last caress in a world so desperate/Holding on to a shred of hope only by a thread/Waiting for someone/Someone to be there/To remind us that we can heal our disrepair/Can we not see there is a need/A need to  disconnect this cycle of dismay/This desperation is now deeper than you know/Longing to hear a voice say you’re not alone/So with these words I’m reaching out/To say that I fought through and found my way again.”  This lead verse seems to show someone who is dealing with those difficult thoughts and emotions, but isn’t just ready to give up, which would explain the sound and feeling in the song’s arrangement.  Things seem to get better for him as he sings in the song’s chorus, “This is where it all began/I found the strength to try again/I feel alive again/I fight beyond the pain.”  It would seem that he found that inspiration and managed to fight those feelings and thoughts.  Of course that is proven in the other noted songs, that he won that inner battle.  Leach adds in the song’s second verse, “Looking through the darkness/The nothing/The worthlessness/Looking for the light/Beyond the grey of sorrow’s song/Before the fall is where the last hope is found/Desperate for a release/To give just a glimpse of peace/A fleeting clarity/A sense of things beyond our eyes/We may never be complete/but in this life we seem to feel alive.”  This would seem to be someone who was searching desperately for that help and clearly did find it.  Once again it goes right along with Leach’s noted discussion about the songs in this record reflecting his won personal struggles and his overcoming them.  Because these experiences and thoughts are so relatable, it makes them that much more ability to connect with listeners, and this song proves that just as much as the others featured in the EP.  When all three songs are considered along with these three songs, the record in whole proves itself to be another strong offering from Killswitch Engage that the band’s established fans will enjoy just as much as hard rock and metal fans in general.

Killswitch Engage’s new follow-up to its 2019 album Atonement, Atonement IIB-Sides For Charity is a strong new offering from the band and a work whose musical and lyrical content is certain to engage and entertain a wide range of listeners.  That is proven through the record’s musical arrangements and its lyrical themes.  All three of the songs featured here serve to support those statements.  The same can be said of the record’s other trio of songs.  All things considered, the record proves itself a great purchase for hard rock and metal fans and for KsE’s established fan base, and a great way to help others who have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.  It also proves itself to be one of the year’s top new EPs.  The record is available online through all major digital outlets.  More information on the EP is available online along with all of the band’s latest news at:









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

‘Floppy Disk Overdrive’ Is One Of The Biggest Hard Rock/Metal Surprises Of 2020

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Rock and electronic are perfect strangers.  While the two genres are polar opposites of one another when presented by themselves, their pairing results in what have become some of the most memorable songs in music’s modern history.  Case in point are songs from the likes of Duran Duran, Nine Inch Nails and Powerglove.  Another act, going by the name of Master Boot Record, added itself (the composer does not list his real name anywhere – clearly his marketing gimmick) to that mix of acts to make memorable hybrid electronic and rock sounds this week with the release of its new album Floppy Disk Overdrive.  Released Friday through Metal Blade Records, the 12-song, 68-minute record is a work that will especially appeal to fans of Zardonic with its use of Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) – the music that sounds like it was composed strictly for 8-bit video games – and more modern metal elements in one setting.  Throughout the course of the album’s hour-plus run time, MBR takes those elements and creates compositions that are in themselves unique from one another.  In the bigger picture of the album, they are equally unlike other similar songs past and present from MBR’s counterparts in the electronic rock world.  That is proven in part through the album’s opener ‘ANSI.SYS.’  It will be addressed shortly.  ‘RAMDRIVE.SYS,’ which comes a little later in the album’s run, is another example of how that hybrid sound makes this record stand out.  It will be addressed a little later.  EMM386.EXE is yet another example of what makes this album stand out.  It certainly is not the last of the songs that serves to show how the crossing of electronic and rock elements in this album makes it stand out from so much similar music out there.  All things considered in this album, proves to be one of this year’s most unique hard rock/metal offerings and potentially one of the year’s most standout records in general.

Master Boot Record’s new album Floppy Disk Overdrive is a presentation that for those who might be new to MBR’s work, will want to hear.  That is especially the case for those rock and metal fans who are especially fans of the industrial metal realm. The album’s opener, ‘ANSI.SYS’ is just one of the songs that serves to show why those noted audiences will appreciate this record.  The song’s arrangement takes the noted keyboard and MIDI elements and crosses them seamlessly with an upbeat, guitar-driven composition for a whole that boasts its own unique identity.  The sound crafted through the song’s electronic elements immediately lends itself to comparisons to the work that Daft Punk did for the Tron: Legacy soundtrack.  The addition of the metal elements to the song gives the arrangement a whole new identity.  There are some moments, thanks to the metal elements, that sound like death metal, thanks to the guitars.  At other elements, listeners will get thoughts of music for some anime-based RPG video game.  On yet another level, the whole of the song’s elements lends itself to comparisons to works from the likes of Powerglove, who themselves have crafted music based on video games and cartoons, much  like Master Boot Record.  The whole of those noted elements sounds like a presentation that might not work, what with so much going on, but MBR makes it work, and with full expertise, too.  As already noted, it is a unique work that, because of the expert fashion in which way everything was crossed, stands strong on its own merits.  It develops its own identity within the album and in general, which so many listeners will appreciate.  It is just one of the album’s most notable entries.  ‘RAMDRIVE.SYS’ is another example of what makes MBR’s new album stand out .

‘RAMDRIVE.SYS’ opens its nearly nine-minute run with what is best described as a symphonic metal approach.  It has soaring keyboard runs that a little more than a minute in, are joined by some very heavy, crunching guitars that are certain to appeal to plenty of rock and metal fans.  As the song progresses, things move back to the more symphonic, keyboard-driven side before eventually going all out again with the heavy crunching guitars.  One could almost argue that, from a music theory standpoint, it’s a bit of an ABC setup.  The addition of the MIDI element, again, to the mix adds a touch that is rare to any well-known counterparts of Master Boot Record past or present.  In other words, what this digital composer has done with this song is crafted a work that is unique in and of itself and in the bigger picture of the rock and metal community.  It is just another way in which this album proves itself such a notable new entry in this year’s field of new hard rock and metal offerings.  It is hardly the last of the album’s most key entries.  ‘EMM386.EXE’ is yet another example of the strength of Floppy Disk Overdrive.

‘EMM386.EXE’ is important to address because it is unlike the other songs noted here and also unlike many of the other songs featured in MBR’s new album.  The song, which clocks in at a little more than five-and-a-half-minutes, opens with a decidedly introspective sounding MIDI keyboard line meant to sound like a guitar that in its simplicity, grabs listeners’ attention with ease.  That brooding opening section eventually gives way to something a bit more upbeat.  That more upbeat work does eventually go back to a more contemplative moment roughly three –and-a-half-minutes in, but is very brief to say the least.  It is just enough time for listeners to catch their collective breaths before the heaviness returns.  The whole thing eventually builds to a heavy, crunching finale in the song’s final minute or so.  By the time this opus ends, listeners will look back and know that they have heard something that is rarely if ever heard from any other hard rock and metal acts out there.  Those listeners will also know that they have heard a work that is another example of what makes Floppy Disk Overdrive one of this year’s most unique hard rock and metal albums. When it is considered along with the other songs noted here and the rest of the album’s works, the whole of the album proves itself a work that every hard rock and metal purist is recommended to hear at least once this year.

Master Book Record’s latest full-length studio recording is a presentation that rock and metal fans alike are certain to appreciate.  That is because it is more than just another industrial metal album.  It is more than just some kind of power metal album.  It is a hybrid of both and more.  Clearly each arrangement featured in the album was well-thought-out, too.  Each composition ensures listeners’ engagement and entertainment through those arrangements and the elements that compose each work.  That is evidenced in all three of the songs discussed here.  Those songs, considered with the rest of the record’s works, make the album in whole one of the biggest surprises so far this year for the hard rock and metal community.  The album is available now through Metal Blade Records.  More information on the album is available online along with all of Master Boot Record’s latest news at:




Website: http://masterbootrecord.bandcamp.com

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




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

Fight The Fight Debuts New LP’s Lead Single, Companion Video

Photo Credit: Therese V. Wangberg

Fight The Fight debuted the video for its new single this week.

The band, which recently signed a new record deal with Metal Blade Records and its subsidiary, Blacklight Media, debuted the video for its song ‘Triggerfinger’ Tuesday.  The song is streaming at Blacklight Media’s official website and the video through Metal Blade Records’ official YouTube channel.

The video features the band performing its new single against a red backdrop, in a very simplistic studio setup.  The song’s musical arrangement is a distinct aggro-rock sound while its lyrical theme centers on a more introspective theme, according to the band.

The band noted of the song in a news release, “The song is about being at war with yourself, the mind and the alter ego.  Everything gets out of control, or maybe it all falls in part?  It’s up to you how you see it.”

‘Triggerfinger’ is the lead single from Fight The Fight’s forthcoming sophomore album Deliverance, which is scheduled for release Sept. 18.

The band explained the concept behind the album’s title in the noted release.

“You can say that in many ways, writing this album has been a path to set free our individual alter egos.  These are all coming out in the lyrics during the album.  It is not about cleansing, but realizing.  Always be true to yourself and everyone around you.  Sometimes you have to let that beast out and here it is, a beast of an album!”

More information on Fight The Fight’s new single, forthcoming album and more is available online at http://www.facebook.com/Fightthefightband.

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.



Jamieson’s New Comedy Album Is Another Reminder Of Why He Is Still One Of Today’s Top Comics

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Comedian and television personality Don Jamieson will release his fourth comedy album next week.  Jamieson, known for his time as co-host of VH1 Classic’s hit series That Metal Show and as host of SportsNet NY’s game show Beer Money, will release his new comedy album Denim and Laughter Feb. 21.  The album’s title and cover art is a direct tribute to Saxon’s 1981 album Denim and Leather.  The performance, captured Oct. 19, 2019 at an undisclosed location, is another example of why he is one of this generation’s top comic talents.  That is due in part to the content that makes up the body of his set.  This will be discussed shortly.  The pacing of the set is also important to note in examining the recording’s overall presentation.  It will be discussed a little later.  Jamieson’s stage presence rounds out the most important of the performance’s factors.  It will also be addressed later.  Each item noted here is key in its own way to the whole of Denim and Laughter.  All things considered, they make this latest stand-up offering from Jamieson another work that will bring any listener to tears of joy well beyond its first listen.

Don Jamieson is one of the elite comedians of this era. The three stand-up albums that he has already released – Live & Hilarious, Hell Bent For Laughter and Communication Breakdown – more than do their share to prove that statement.  His latest album Denim and Laughter cements that reputation even more.  That is proven in part through the material that makes up the body of the presented set.  Jamieson takes on a variety of topics,  including political correctness, bands who claim they are reuniting “for the fans,” and even VH1 Classic’s placement on most cable providers’ lineup and how that played into the show’s eventual demise.  As if that isn’t enough, he also takes on a familiar topic in the division between craft beer and original beer.  This bit immediately lends itself to comparisons to Denis Leary’s bit about beer.  It would be interesting to know if that bit played any part in Jamieson’s own bit about the topic.  Along with those topics, Jamieson also takes opportunities to poke fun at Sebastian Bach and  very famous song from 80s rock band Warrant among so much more.  Put simply, Jamie’s set runs the gamut from start to finish, even taking on media bias and politics, hinting that he might be a Trump supporter.  Hopefully he isn’t, but that aside, the hint alone that he might be is enough to warrant a notice for audiences.  Even with that in mind, Jamieson, again, presents a wide range of content throughout his set, most of which will still generate plenty of laughs from audiences.  To that end, the content alone makes this performance well worth experiencing.  It is just one of the aspects of the performance that makes it worth taking in.  The set’s pacing adds its own engagement and entertainment to the performance.

Jamieson’s set in this recording runs a total of 44 minutes.  Throughout the course of that run time, He never once goes too fast or too slow.  Rather, he finds just the right moments throughout the give audiences moments to take in the various punch lines and to prepare for the next bit.  That ability of the audience to prepare for the next bit is controlled by Jamieson himself as he works through each transition on his own time.  Case in point is his transition from his bit about tea tree shampoo to his jokes about the National Football League  and how it has changed over the years for the worse.  The two topics are completely unrelated, so Jamieson gives just enough time between the topics to make sure audiences make the transition with him.  As he makes his way through his ruminations about the NFL’s negative changes, the transitions from topic to topic are themselves just as smooth.  Another good example of the success of the pacing in Jamieson’s set comes as he transitioned from an anecdote about touring with Zakk Wylde to jokes about Black Sabbath, Gwar and how a Gwar concert tied into an alleged experience on a flight.  Jamieson’s timing and pacing throughout the roughly seven-minute-plus span is seamless, ensuring audiences’ engagement and entertainment in its own right.  In yet another example, Jamieson transitions just as easily from his joke about the impact of a celebrity roast involving Sebastian Bach to an equally funny bit about a well-known song from Warrant.  That bit, by the way, really leaves one wondering and laughing in hindsight.  It really is timely in a weird way.  Getting back on track, the examples presented here, when considered along with the rest of the show, make clear why the pacing of the set is just as important to its presentation as the set’s material.  It is not the last of the recording’s most notable items, either.  Jamieson’s stage presence throughout the performance rounds out its most important elements.

From start to finish, Jamieson’s presence in his performance is just as solid as his pacing.  He presents a certain confident swagger, even connecting with certain audience members directly.  On the surface, that doesn’t seem overly important.  However, on a deeper level, this is important to note because it says to the rest of the audience that Jamieson wants to make sure his audiences knows that he cares what the audience thinks.  He does so by acknowledging those specific audience members.  That interaction, in its own way, translates to the rest of the audience, letting them know that he is not just up on stage, but on stage and really interacting on a personal level, as if the audience members were his best friends.  That personalization of the set, of sorts, reflects back on Jamieson, encouraging his confidence that much more.  The end result is a presence that, again, throughout the set never falters.  That confidence plays back into his pacing, and in turn, makes the performance that much more entertaining.  When this is considered alongside the overall content, the whole of the noted elements makes Denim & Laughter a presentation that ensures laughter from audiences.

Don Jamieson’s new comedy recording Denim & Laughter is an enjoyable new offering from the veteran entertainer and television personality.  That is proven in part through the material that makes up the body of Jamieson’s set.  It ranges from the timeless to the random and riotous to even some more dated material.  That whole provides plenty for audiences to enjoy.  Jamieson’s pacing throughout the course of the nearly 50-minute set does its own share to ensure audiences’ engagement and entertainment.  The same can be said of Jamieson’s stage presence throughout his performance.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of this recording.  All things considered, they make Denim & Laughter another positive performance from one of this generation’s top comic talents.  It will be available Feb. 21 through Metal Blade Records.  More information on the recording is available online along with all of Jamieson’s latest news at:




Website: http://www.donjamieson.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/realdonjamieson




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



Whitechapel, Revolver Magazine Partner To Debut Three New Live Clips From Recent Whitechapel Concert

Courtesy: Metal Blade Reocrds

Whitechapel released some new live material this week.

The band, in partnership with Revolver magazine, debuted live performances of its songs ‘Forgiveness Is Weakness,’ ‘Brimstone’ and ‘When A Demon Defiles A Witch’ Thursday.  The songs were recorded at the band’s Nov. 19 performance at the Belasco Theater.  The presentation is streaming here.

All three songs featured in the recording are featured in Whitechapel’s most recent album, 2019’s The Valley.  The record is available now through the band’s official Metal Blade Records page here.

More information on Whitechapel is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:


Website: http://www.whitechapelband.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/whitechapelband


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.

Strong Musical, Lyrical Content Makes ‘Atonement’ Appealing For KsE’s Fans, Metalcore Fans Alike

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

The members of Killswitch Engage received some positive news this week.  The band received a Grammy® Award nomination for “Best Metal Performance” for its single ‘Unleashed,’ which is featured in the band’s latest full-length studio recording Atonement.  The album, the band’s eighth overall album and first for Metal Blade Records, was released Aug. 16.  The band is in the midst of a tour in support of Atonement, which will see the band perform at the Ritz in Raleigh, NC on March 15. It is just one of the performances included in the band’s current tour schedule, during which audiences will get to hear ‘Unleashed’ and many other songs from the recently released 11-song album.  The nomination for ‘Unleashed’ is justified, as it is just one of the songs that puts the album’s overall strength on display.  ‘Know Your Enemy’ also serves to show the strength of KsE’s latest studio recording.  The same can also be said of ‘The Crownless King,’ which comes early in the album’s 39-minute run time.  Each of the songs noted here plays its own crucial part in exhibiting the overall strength of Atonement.  When they are considered with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole of the album proves the record to be an offering from KsE that holds its own with its fellow metalcore counterparts this year.

Metalcore outfit Killswitch Engage’s latest album Atonement is a record that will easily appeal to fans of the band and the genre in whole.  That is because both musically and lyrically, it is everything that audiences have come to expect from the Boston, MA-based band.  The album’s Grammy® Award-nominated single – and album opener – ‘Unleashed’ is just one of the songs that supports the noted statements.  The song’s musical arrangement plays its own part in showing why the song has proven so worthy of an award.  The fire and the energy in the heavy, guitar and bass-driven work wastes little time grabbing listeners’ attention as it builds quickly in its opening crescendo into its steady, familiar metalcore sound with measured guitars and steady time keeping. That full-on approach in the song’s arrangement couples well with the song’s lyrical content to accent the emotion in said content.

The song’s lyrical content is just as fiery as its musical content, with front man Jesse Leach sings/screams in the song’s lead verse, “Deceive me/Release me/Unleash me/You’ve unleashed the wild within/Welcome to the madness/That dwells inside these eyes/Pushed unto the breaking point/You’re running out of time/This innocent blood is on your hands (Deceive me)/Come face to face with the final stand (Release me)/It’s the part of me you can’t comprehend (Unleash me)/You’ve unleashed the wild within/The wild within.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “You who spoke defiance/You who spoke in jest/The last of all my tolerance/Has left this broken man.” He adds in the song’s third and final verse, “I remind you time and time again/You’ve broken the restraints against your heart/Against the dark/Can you feel the pain of those you’ve betrayed/The promises unmade/Broken hearts that fill with shame/And you’re to blame/Do they call your name?/There’s nothing left to say/Nothing left to say.”  There is little doubt here as to the focus of the song’s lyrical content considering all of this.  This is pure defiance against someone who has brought out the worst in someone else because that antagonist simply would not let up in their wrongdoing.  As Leach notes in the second verse, “The last of all my tolerance/Has left this broken man.”  This is someone who has put up with the noted wrongdoing for far too long and is saying to the antagonist, “no more.”  This is a situation to which so many listeners can relate.  Everyone has been in this point where they want to explode and say the same to certain people in their own lives.  By having this song to which they can relate, the composition will hopefully help listeners who have been or are in that situation so that they can release their own frustrations.  Considering the power in the song’s musical and lyrical content, it is clear why this song earned KsE a Grammy® Award nomination.  It is just one of the songs featured in this record that shows the album’s strength.  ‘Know Your Enemy’ also serves to who what makes the album appealing for audiences.

‘Know Your Enemy’ should not be confused with Rage Against The Machine’s ‘Know Your Enemy.’  The two songs are their own unique works.  KsE did not cover RATM’s work here.  However, it is definitely as defiant as RATM’s work in its lyrical content, which will be addressed momentarily.  The song’s musical arrangement forms its foundation.  This driving, upbeat work boasts its own identity unique from the rest of the album’s compositions, this time featuring a steady, driving guitar line instead of the djent style work of the album’s opener.  Rather, this arrangement boasts more of a melodic metal sort of approach.  That steady, driving arrangement forms a solid foundation for the song, with the noted lyrical content adding even more to the whole.

Leach sings/screams in the song’s lead verse, “Bow down to no one/resist the system/Lost in uncertainty/Divided in our strife/No comprehension of the conflict of our lives/become enslaved in a technological haze/In the crosshairs of a weapon/That dissuades our brains/The target is in site/Mental imprisonment/They’ll take you down from the inside (inside)/Self-destruction on command.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Resist – And fight back/Our minds – Under attack/Destroy – Their authority/And know your enemy/Protest – Demonstrate/We must – Retaliate/Bow down – To no one/An know your enemy.”  The song continues on in the same fashion as it progresses, with Leach even noting late in the song, “It runs much deeper than you think/You’ll never see who pulls the strings/You’ve got to know/Know your enemy/Force fed illusions/in this world of confusion/You have to know/Know your enemy.”  There is no doubt this is a sociopolitical commentary from the band that is urging people to be aware of everything going on and to (pardon the term) take the power back..  It definitely does not and will not fall on deaf ears, either.  It is just one more way in which Atonement proves to be another positive offering from KsE.

‘Unleashed’ and ‘Know Your Enemy’ are both key additions to Atonement.  Each song is distinct from the other both musically and lyrically, giving listeners collectively plenty to appreciate.  While they go a long way to show why Atonement will appeal to the aforementioned audiences, they are just a sample of the album’s positives.  ‘The Crownless King’ is another example of what makes this record another work that will appeal to the band’s fans and to metalcore fans alike.  ‘The Crownless King’ stands out in part because of its musical arrangement, which boasts another familiar sound from the band.  There is a certain old school thrash sound coupled with the band’s own metalcore sound and the mix of Leach’s growls and clean vocals to make the whole of the song one of the album’s most notable works.

The song’s musical arrangement goes a long way to make the song stand out among Atonement’s overall body of work.  It is just one important part of the song, though.  The song’s lyrical content is just as important as its musical content.  The song’s lyrical content comes across as another sociopolitical commentary, this time perhaps very intentionally directed.  Leach sings in the song’s lead verse, “Abolition to this illusion/And all the monuments of hypocrisy/Burn them – Burn them to the ground/Destroy them – They’re useless to us now/Tear down the reminders of a crownless king/this imposter claims authority/Indignation is closing in/You choose a war/A war you cannot win/No one – No one can save you now/Cast down – Where no mercy can be found/No willingness to bow to a king without a crown/Where the virtuous can’t be found/Defy you – To the depths you descend/I defy you – To the death we defend/Defy you – Your rule will come to an end/I defy you – You’ve become the crownless king.”  If this is not a song focused on everything going on in Washington, D.C. then it would certainly be interesting to learn of the real focus here.  The song’s second and third verses add even more strength to the argument that this song is focused on the happenings in Washington, D.C., with Leach singing in the song’s second verse, “The penitent pray for the downfall of your/Of your reign/The warrior soul shall break the hold of constraints/In the end you will suffer.”  He adds in verse three, “the storied confusion/Distorted and diluted/Will come undone when the balance shifts/And the framework breaks/The framework breaks.”  Once again, this certainly seems to be addressing the presidency of one Donald trump and what has happened as a result of his false presidency.  If in fact that is truly the focus of the song’s lyrical content, then it has been delivered in a unique fashion.  To that end, the combination of such strong lyrical content and equally strong musical content makes this song yet another important addition to Atonement.  When it is considered alongside the other songs discussed here, the whole of those songs and the rest of the album’s works makes Atonement in whole, yet another work that will appeal tto fans of Killswitch Engage and to fans of the metalcore genre.

Killswitch Engage’s latest full-length studio recording Atonement is another positive offering from the veteran metalcore band.  It is everything that audiences have come to expect from the group both musically and lyrically.  That is evidenced through all three of the songs discussed here and the eight other songs that make up the remainder of the album’s body.  The thoughtful lyrics and pummeling musical content combines from start to end to make the album in whole a work that holds its own in this year’s fild of new hard rock and metal albums.  More information on Atonement is available online now along with all of the band’s tour information at:




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