‘X’ Is A New High Point For Artillery

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Veteran thrash metal outfit Artillery returns Friday with its latest album, X.  The title is a representation of the album being its tenth full-length studio recording.  Coming more than two years after the band released its ninth album, The Face of Fear, the band’s latest album will appeal to any of the group’s established audiences.  It will also appeal to any thrash metal aficionado.  That is proven in part through its featured musical arrangements.  They will be discussed shortly.  The record’s lyrical themes play just as much into its appeal and will be discussed a little later.  The album’s production rounds out its most important elements.  It brings everything together and will be discussed later, too.  Each item noted here plays its own important part to the album’s presentation.  All things considered, they make X a strong statement about Artillery ten albums and almost four decades into its life.

Artillery has seen a number of highs and lows over the course of its nearly 40 year life.  From the breakups and reunions, to the new albums and lineups, this veteran thrash metal act has been there and done that.  Now with its aptly-titled 10th album, X, the band shows that it still has more highs to reach.  That is proven in part through its featured musical arrangements.  The arrangements in question are everything that listeners have come to expect from the band.  Right from the album’s outset, the guitar riffs offer audiences influences of Slayer and Judas Priest in one in ‘The Devil’s Symphoony.’  The shredding solos and  the powerhouse verses pair with the equally solid time keeping, bass, and equally powerful vocals (including the choruses) to make the song a strong, familiar approach that will keep listeners engaged and entertained. 

The arrangement featured in ‘Force of Indifference,’ a late entry to the album, does just as much to show the power of the record’s musical arrangements.  As with the album’s opener, this song boasts a clear Slayer influence alongside a more melodic power metal approach.  The key to remember here is that while the noted influences are there, the song is not just a rehashing of ‘The Devil’s Symphony’ or any of the works that are presented between the two works.  It is its own intense thrash composition that boasts its own power.  Yes, the variances are subtle, but a close listen reveals them and in turn makes for plenty of appreciation for the song in whole.

‘Mors Ontologica,’ an even later entry to the album, is one more example of the importance of the album’s musical arrangements.  The thrash element is just as prevalent here as in any of the album’s songs.  In the case of this song though, the variance is more audible.  In the case of this song, the Slayer influence is replaced more by a vintage Metallica/Megadeth influence alongside the band’s equally prevalent power metal stylistic approach.  The result of the blending here is another unique work that will engage and entertain the band’s fans just as much as thrash fans in general.  When this arrangement, the others examined here and the rest of the album’s musical content is considered together, the whole of the record’s musical side leaves no doubt as to its role in the album’s success.  Even with all that the album’s musical arrangements do to keep the record appealing, they are only a part of what will engage and entertain the noted audiences.  The record’s lyrical content adds its share of interest to its presentation.

Lyrically speaking, X touches on a variety of topics.  From a social topic, such as that presented in ‘In Your Mind, to concerns about charitable giving in ‘Beggars in Black Suits,’ to religious fanaticism with Satanism in ‘The Devil’s  Symphony,’ the album proves to cover a lot of ground.  Front man Michael Bastholm said of ‘In Your Mind,’ that the song is “about the thoughts you have when you feel that the other person has an awfully specific assumption of you, which you know is wrong.”  Everybody has been in this position at least once, meaning this message is accessible.  The statement is made clear right from the song’s outset as Bastholm sings, “I guess it all makes sense/There is every proof and evidence/That all you think is true/That all is clear between me – me and you.”  The cynicism and frustration which Bastholm noted in his statement is made fully clear here.  Its clarity is increased in the song’s second verse, which finds Bastholm’s subject singing, “There is a need to be sure/You think there is a real good cure/To control under lock and key/To realize what makes – makes me, me.”  The song’s third and fourth verses add even more to the discussion as they continue in similar fashion.  All things considered, the song proves to be a work that will resonate with most listeners what with its relatable theme and presentation thereof.

‘Beggars in Black Suits’ takes on an equally real topic in the matter of knowing where one’s money goes when one makes charitable contributions.  This is a very real topic, as the media has raised questions in recent years about how much money contributed to, say, The Salvation Army, actually goes to benefit the needy.  Bastholm said of this song, “All these media persons and politicians beg us to pay for this or that cause, without us having any security that our money goes into the right pockets,” he said. “Often, we see this money end up in the wrong hands, and therefore the title, ‘Beggars In Black Suits.’”  Just as with the case of ‘In Your Mind,’ the topic broached here is presented in a relatively accessible fashion.  That is made clear in the song’s lead verse, which finds Bastholm singing, “You – hold your hands forth, honesty in your eyes/You – speak those soft words, all filled with lies.”  The song’s second verse makes the statement just as clear, as Bastholm sings, “How – can you wear those honest, pleading caring eyes/When – all you want is for us, to believe your lies?”  The song’s third and final verse puts the accent to the statement, as Bastholm sings, “Now – we really know you, despise you to the core/We – will make sure that you, shall be no more.”  Again, reports have made their way through various media outlets in recent years questioning just how much money given to charities actually benefits the needy.  This song voices the frustration that so many have felt when they learned that the money in question might not have gone to where they were led to believe it would go.  It makes this song just as accessible for listeners as ‘In Your Mind’ while also showing even more, the variety in the album’s lyrical content.

Social concerns are just a portion of what Artillery takes on in its new album’s lyrical themes.  The band also takes on religious fanaticism in ‘The Devil’s Symphony.’  According to Bastholm, while the song and its lyrics present a dark topic, it is not meant to make people think the band promotes Satanism.  Rather, it is about “that almost exhilarating feeling of being against established convictions and beliefs. It is not a song about us being Satanic or anything like that, though.”  The song examines that fervency by examining all the things that those types do, from using inverted crosses, to burning incense, to almost  making the writings of Levay and others their theology.  So on the surface, the song is an examination of the people who partake in the religion in question.  On a deeper level, one could argue that it is just as much about people in general who are so fanatical about their given religion, but at the same time so uneducated.  It is a truly unique way to approach a familiar rock and metal lyrical theme.  To that point, the song proves to be one more example of the album’s varied lyrical themes and the overall importance of said content.  To that end, this song, the others examined here join with the rest of the album’s lyrical themes to show clearly the importance of said content.  Even with that in mind, there is still one more item to examine.  That item is the album’s production.

The production of X is important because of its role in the album’s general effect.  As has already been noted earlier, the musical arrangements featured in this album are everything that audiences have come to expect from the record.  That means that they are rather intense from one song to the next.  In other words, there is a lot going on, between the instruments, vocals, and other noted additions to the songs.  The attention paid to every minute detail of each arrangement ensures that the songs are each expertly balanced.  The result is that every song is fully engaging and entertaining in terms of its musical and lyrical content.  The end result of that overall appeal is that listeners will agree X lives up to expectations and that it is among the best of this year’s new hard rock and metal albums.

Artillery’s new forthcoming album, X, is a solid new offering from the veteran thrash outfit.  It is a presentation that shows the band is still looking to reach plenty of highs.  Listeners will agree that the album is itself a new high for Artillery.  That is proven in part through its musical arrangements.  The record’s musical arrangements are everything that longtime fans have come to expect from Artillery, but are still original in terms of their sound from one to the next here.  A close listen proves that true through the subtle differences heard in each song.  The lyrical themes featured throughout the album are themselves important to the album’s presentation because of their varied topics and accessibility.  The record’s production rounds out its most important elements, bringing everything together.  This is done through the expert balance of every element in each arrangement.  It ensures listeners’ engagement and entertainment in its own right.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album.  All things considered, they make X another impressive offering from Artillery that is also among the best of this year’s new hard rock and metal albums.  X is scheduled for release Friday.

More information on X is available online now along with all of Artillery’s latest news and more at:

Websitehttps://www.artillery.dk

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/ARTILLERY.DK

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/artillerymetal

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

Artillery Debuts ‘Turn Up The Rage’ Video

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Artillery debuted the video for its latest single this week.

The band debuted the video for its single, ‘Turn Up the Rage’ Wednesday. The song is the second single from the band’s forthcoming album, X. The band premiered the album’s lead single, ‘In Thrash We Trust‘ last month.

The video for ‘Turn Up The Rage’ features the band performing its new single in what looks like a brewery type background. The song’s musical arrangement is a heavy, driving work that will appeal to any vintage thrash metal fan.

The lyrical theme featured in Artillery’s new single comes across as a statement about the frustration felt at discovering the reality of someone who does not seem to be who and what he or she seems.

X is scheduled for release May 7 through Metal Blade Records. The album will come less than three years after the release of the band’s then latest album, The Face of Fear, and less than a year after the release of its latest single, ‘The Last Journey.’

X will release on a variety of platforms, each listed below.

– ltd. digipak-CD (incl. 2 bonus tracks)
– 180g black vinyl (EU exclusive)
– blood red / blue marbled vinyl (EU exclusive – limited to 300 copies)
– viole(n)t blue marbled vinyl (EU exclusive – limited to 200 copies)
– blue / red / white melt splatter vinyl (limited to 200 copies)

The album’s full track-listing is noted below.

X track-listing
1. The Devils Symphony
2. In Thrash We Trust
3. Turn up the Rage
4. Silver Cross
5. In Your Mind
6. The Ghost of Me
7. Force of Indifference
8. Varg I Veum
9. Mors Ontologica
10. Eternal Night
11. Beggars in Black Suits

More information on Artillery’s forthcoming album is available online now along with all of Artillery’s latest news and more at:

Websitehttps://www.artillery.dk

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/ARTILLERY.DK

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/artillerymetal

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

Artillery Announces New Album Release Date, Specs; Premieres Album’s Lead Single

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Artillery will release its latest album this spring.

The band is scheduled to release its new album, X — its 10th album — May 7 through Metal Blade Records. The album will come less than three years after the release of the band’s then latest album, The Face of Fear, and less than a year after the release of its latest single, ‘The Last Journey.’

X will release on a variety of platforms, each listed below.

– ltd. digipak-CD (incl. 2 bonus tracks)
– 180g black vinyl (EU exclusive)
– blood red / blue marbled vinyl (EU exclusive – limited to 300 copies)
– viole(n)t blue marbled vinyl (EU exclusive – limited to 200 copies)
– blue / red / white melt splatter vinyl (limited to 200 copies)

In anticipation of the release of X, Artillery debuted the album’s lead single, ‘In Thrash We Trust‘ Thursday. The song’s musical arrangement is a full-on thrash metal opus, living up to the song’s title.

While information was not provided about the song’s lyrical theme in the news release distributed about the song and album’s debuts, the theme is obvious. It is in its own right, a tribute thrash metal itself, nothing more.

Guitarist Michael Stutzer addressed the band’s approach to the song and album during a recent interview.

“We wanted to have the typical Artillery trademarks, like the riffs and hook lines in the usual combination together with aggression and melody,” he said. “We always try to combine melodic thrash metal with elements from the heavy sounds of the 70s and the 80s, and this time with new elements in some of the songs,”    “We don’t have to push ourselves hard when we’re writing a record because we love what we’re doing.”

‘In Thrash We Trust’ is just one of the 11 total songs featured in X. The album’s full track-listing is noted below.

X track-listing
1. The Devils Symphony
2. In Thrash We Trust
3. Turn up the Rage
4. Silver Cross
5. In Your Mind
6. The Ghost of Me
7. Force of Indifference
8. Varg I Veum
9. Mors Ontologica
10. Eternal Night
11. Beggars in Black Suits

More information on Artillery’s forthcoming album is available online now along with all of Artillery’s latest news and more at:

Websitehttps://www.artillery.dk

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/ARTILLERY.DK

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/artillerymetal

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

Transatlantic Announces New Album Release Date, Specs

Transatlantic will open the new year with a new album.

The prog super group is scheduled to release its fifth album, The Absolute Universe Feb. 5, 2021 through InsideOut Music. Its release will come more than six years after the release of the band’s then most recent album Kaleidoscope, which was released in Dec. 2014 through Metal Blade Records.

Drummer Mike Portnoy talked about the forthcoming album during a recent interview.

“We’ve got two versions of this album. There is a two CD presentation, which is 90 minutes long, and a single one – that’s 60 minutes,” he said. “However, the single CD is NOT merely an edited version of the double CD. They each contain alternate versions and even in some cases, new recordings. We wrote fresh lyrics and have different people singing on the single CD version tracks as compared to those on the double CD. Some of the song titles have also been changed, while others might remain the same, but compositionally what you’ll hear has been altered. You must appreciate that what we have done is unique. We revamped the songs to make the two versions different.”

Portnoy’s Transatlantic band mate Pete Trewavas expanded on Portnoy’s statements with his own comments.

“We did write some new music for the single CD,”he said. “What’s more, there are also differences in the instruments used on some of the tracks across the two records.”

Each presentation of Transatlantic’s album will be available on CD, digital, and LP. The platforms’ details are noted below.

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

‘The Absolute Universe: The Breath Of Life (Abridged Version)’

Special Edition CD Digipak

Gatefold 2LP+CD

Digital Album

‘The Absolute Universe: Forevermore (Extended Version)’

Special Edition 2CD Digipak

3LP+2CD Boxset

Digital Album

‘The Absolute Universe: The Ultimate Edition’

Limited Deluxe Clear 5LP+3CD+Blu-Ray Box-set – contained within a foil-finished lift-off box with extended 16-page LP booklet & 60x60cm poster

According to information provided about the album, it is a concept record. Portnoy said of the move and the album’s concept, “Well, the idea of Transatlantic deciding to do a concept record this time around won’t shock anyone, right? What we have is essentially one giant composition, split into chapters. The storyline is about the struggles facing everyone in society today.”

Fellow Transatlantic band member Roine Stolt (also of The Flower Kings) added to Portnoy’s comments.

“We didn’t start out with the idea of this being conceptual,” said Stolt.“The way things work with us is that we have a load of ideas, and these are developed spontaneously when we meet up. Everything happens in the moment.”

Initial tracking for The Absolute Universe started in September 2019 in Sweden. Portnoy had the following to say about the process.

“Over a period of 10-14 days, we mapped out the songs,” he said. “Then we all went back to our home studios and did the recording. That’s the way we always do it. At one point, though, it was suggested that instead of doing what was by that time going to be a double album, we should just be content to do a single CD.”

Stolt picked up where Portnoy left off.

“What happened was that everything kept expanding and expanding,”said Stolt. “Therefore we decided it made sense to make it a double album. It was Pete [Trewavas] and Neal [Morse] who then came out and said they felt this would be too long, and we should reduce it to one…But we were already recording, and it didn’t seem feasible to cut it back. There were so many pieces that each of us loved in what we were planning and didn’t want to lose. That’s when we ended up in discussions over the best way forward.”

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

Website: http://www.transatlanticweb.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/transatlantic99

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.

Fates Warning Proves Its Pedigree Once Again With Its Latest LP

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Fates Warning is scheduled to release its latest album next week.  The album, Long Day Good Night is the best work to date from the veteran prog-metal band  The musical arrangements and lyrical content that make up the body of the 72-minute (one hour, 12 minutes) record support that statement.  It is the heaviest record that the band has made in its 35 year history, even in its more subdued moments.  Its lyrical themes are heavy in their own right, too.  That is shown early on in the 13-song record in the form of ‘The Way Home.’  This song will be addressed shortly.  ‘The Longest Shadow of the Day,’ the album’s penultimate (and longest) track is another example of how the record’s musical and lyrical content comes together to make the LP such a strong new offering from the band.  ‘When Snow Falls,’ which comes late in the record’s run, is another important addition to the album.  It will be discussed later, too.  All three songs noted here are key in their own ways to the whole of this record.  When they are considered alongside the ten other songs that make up the rest of the record, the whole of the record proves itself to be a solid return for Fates Warning and, again, some of the band’s best work to date.

Fates Warning’s forthcoming album Long Day Good Night is unquestionably a statement record from the band.  It is a presentation that reminds audiences why Fates Warning is one of the elite acts in the progressive metal world, with its combined musical and lyrical content.  That is proven in part early in through the song ‘The Way Home.’  The song’s musical arrangement forms its foundation, starting off in a very relaxed, almost ballad-esque fashion.  This approach is deceiving, as the band eventually changes directions approximately two-and-a-half minutes into the song, though.  The band shifts from the noted saccharine sweet ballad type approach here to a more eerie, foreboding sound that then evolves into something very heavy a la Tool, believe it or no.  What is really interesting to note of that influence is that while it is there throughout the rest of the arrangement, the band members still manage to keep Fates Warning’s trademark stylistic approach at the fore, balancing it with the noted “dark prog” sound for a whole that stands strong on its own merits.  The change in stylistic approach works well with the song’s lyrical content, which seems to tell a coming-of-age type story.

The noted seeming story is presented with front man Ray Alder singing in the song’s lead and second verses, Say goodbye you’re going home/Your heart aglow/You think about the times you were/Holding on to those who’ve always shown/That the world is sometimes not so cold/And the time is come for you to go now/Stepping into the unknown/Hoping that you won’t feel alone anymore/So you put your faith blindly/In someone else’s hands to take control/But how were you to know/That something in the night was wrong/So you take your final step through the door.”  From here, the mood changes, with the song’s subject seeming to change quite a bit in the second verse, which finds Alder singing, “Innocence/Nothing remains/Indifference is hard to contain/One step away from falling from grace/Learn how to live without somehow/Vanity/Farewell to sacred sanity/It’s rusted, decayed/All that’s inside is eating alive/The damage is done, forget the way home.”  The song’s seeming chorus adds to the noted interpretation, as it states, “Waiting in vain, there at night/Silence the only answer/Fading away into the night, into the immense unknown/Those final words/That goodbye/Those thoughts you’ll hold forever/Escaping pain, forsaking light, can we find the way home?”  That final question, “Can we find the way home?” almost seems to hint at someone asking can we get back to that innocence that we as a people had before leaving that security and certainty of our little worlds, because the world has become such a negative place.  This is, as always, just this critic’s own interpretation.  Hopefully it is close to being accurate.  Regardless, the story that is told lyrically and musically here makes for a positive example of what makes Fates Warning’s new album itself such a strong new album.  It is just one of the songs that makes the album stand out, too.  ‘The Longest Shadow of the Day’ is another clear example of what makes Long Day Good Night an appealing new record.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘The Longest Shadow of the Day’ is unlike anything else featured in this record.  It goes I so many directions over the course of its nearly eleven-and-a-half minute run time, but still manages to keep listeners fully engaged and entertained throughout.  It opens with a bass-centered approach that comes across as a sort of jazz-fusion work.  Approximately three minutes into the arrangement, it evolves from that jazz-fusion style approach to a sort of hybrid prog/death metal style sound, as is evidenced through the guitar lines, bass, and drums.  It isn’t even until almost six minutes into the song (more than halfway through the multi-movement composition) that the song’s lyrical content comes into play.  Before getting to the song’s lyrical theme, it should be noted as the song enters this final movement, a distinct Pink Floyd influence becomes audible alongside the band’s trademark heaviness.  That and everything else noted here makes the arrangement in whole such a standout addition to this record.

The song’s musical arrangement is just one aspect of what makes the song stand out.  Its deeply metaphorical lyrical content adds its own punch to the composition.  The lyrical theme in question comes across as a philosophical discussion on at least one aspect of the human condition.  In this case that aspect would seem to be the fact that we as humans are imperfect and capable of failure.  This is inferred in the song’s lead verse as Alder sings, “The longest shadow of the day/Stretches out into the gray/Paints our flight in softening light/Bends our aim to the night/The longest shadow of the day/Reaches out along the way/Shrouds our sight in failing light/Turns our gaze to the night.”  The song’s second verse hints at the noted theme just as much as Alder sings, “We all will go down/We all fall prey/Lose the fight to the dying light/The longest shadow of the day.”

That note that “We all fall prey/Lose the fight to the dying light/The longest shadow of the day” is perhaps one of the clearest statement of all here about the noted theme.  It’s as if Alder is singing about the fact that we are all imperfect and that we all fail in life at points.  This, again, is this critic’s interpretation and should not be taken as the only interpretation.  One could actually argue just as much that maybe this song is actually lyrically about mankind’s refusal to accept his mortality.  Again, it is all open to interpretation.  Regardless of interpretation, the fact that Alder and company have crafted such a lyrical presentation that can generate so much discussion is a statement in itself.  When this is considered along with the discussions sure to come from the song’s musical arrangement, the whole shows without question even more why it is another of this album’s most notable works.  It still is not the last of the album’s most prominent works.  ‘When Snow Falls,’ which comes late in the album’s run is yet another example of what makes Long Day Good Night such a strong return for Fates Warning.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘When Snow Falls’ is another work that shows a clear Tool influence.  The subtle guitar lines and their layering couples with the equally controlled drums and vocals to give the song such a mysterious sense.  The addition of the vibraphone as a backing element adds even more interest to the composition.  As the song progresses, the already noted Pink Floyd influence becomes audible, too.  That the band balanced all of these influences for yet another original composition here is more than worthy of applause.  It makes the song’s arrangement in itself more than enough reason for audiences to take in this work.  The arrangement couples with the song’s introspective and contemplative lyrical content to make for even more interest.

The lyrical theme featured in this song is another deeply metaphorical message.  Alder sings here in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “We betray innocence/When we choose to stray beyond the fence/Now its dawn/Sky is gray/And the path before us fades away/And snow falls now blinding me/Through the dark we have to feel/Our way back home.”  He adds in the song’s second verse, “I felt safe in that bed/In a way I’m sure you’d understand/But snow falls now/I know I’m lost/Looking back I cannot count the cost.”  He adds in the song’s third and final verse, “Holding on desperately/To a world that’s wrong for me/And I know it’s cold outside/Just say goodbye.”  It is almost as if what this song is stating is that we make our own paths in life, and it is up to us to find our way through each situation, even with the obstacles.  That is once more just this critic’s own interpretation.  Hopefully it is close to being correct.  Regardless, that the song is so deep, lyrically, in its own right is worthy of applause, too.  The song is even more worthy of applause when this deep lyrical content is considered alongside the song’s musical arrangement.  When the whole of this work is considered along with the other songs examined here and the rest of the album’s works, the album in whole shows without doubt why it is such a strong new offering from Fates Warning.

Long Day Good Night is a welcome new return for Fates Warning.  The 13-song, 72-minute record is a presentation that once again shows why this band is to this day, one of the elite acts in the prog-metal community.  That is evidenced through the record’s musical and lyrical content alike.  All three of the songs examined here support the noted statements.  All things considered, Long Day Good Night is a record that prog-metal fans and Fates Warning’s fans alike will welcome into their home libraries.  The album is scheduled for release Nov. 6 through Metal Blade Records.

More information on Long Day Good Night is available online now along with all of Fates Warning’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.fateswarning.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/FatesWarning

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/fateswarning

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.

Armored Saint’s New LP Is Enjoyable, But Has A Kink In Its Armor

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Armored Saint is scheduled to release its next album Friday, but audiences will get to hear the album in full tonight, ahead of its release.  The band made the announcement Wednesday through its official Facebook page.  The stream is scheduled to take place at 7 p.m .ET through the band’s official YouTube and Twitch channels, and will feature the opportunity for audiences to chat with the band as the record streams.  The 11-song record has already produced two successful singles, each of which proves in its own way, why audiences will enjoy the album.  While the noted singles do paint a positive picture for Armored Saint’s new album, the record is sadly not a perfect presentation.  Its overall pacing proves somewhat problematic.  Thankfully that aspect is not enough to make the record a failure.  The album’s production counters the noted concern.  When this is considered along with the positive that is the overall musical arrangements, they make this record still a positive new offering from one of the greatest bands in the history of hard rock and metal.

Punching The Sky, the eighth album from veteran hard rock band Armored Saint is an interesting new offering from the band.  It is a record that while enjoyable, is imperfect.   Audiences will be glad to know that even with that in mind, the album boasts more positives than negatives, not the least of which is its musical arrangements.  The arrangements that are featured in this album are solid hard rock arrangements from one to the next.  Both of the singles that the record has produced serve clearly to support that statement.  They are just some of the songs that serve that purpose, too.  ‘My Jurisdiction,’ which comes early in the album’s run, stands on its own merits.  The heavy, blues-based and guitar-driven arrangement here is so infectious and unlike anything else on the album.  The early 90s hard rock influences are just as prominent throughout the work as are the more modern hard rock sounds.  On another note (no pun intended) ‘Bark, No Bite,’ which comes late in the record’s run, is another standout addition to the album.  The song is surefire favorite for any guitar rock purist.  There are influences of the vintage guitar rock sounds of the 80s alongside some 70s rock influence.  The result is an arrangement that is just as possible as a single as any of the album’s other entries.  It is hardly the last of the songs that can be used to show the importance of the record’s arrangements.  ‘Never You Fret,’ which closes out the album, is another powerful entry.  The full, rich sound from the guitar, bass, and drums is a full-on modern hard rock style composition.  Oddly enough, a close listen reveals a little bit of a jam band type of influence here, too.  The whole of these influences makes the song in whole just as solid a closer for the album as ‘Standing on the Shoulders of Giants’ is an opener.  Now while the songs noted here join with the album’s singles and the rest of its works to clearly show the power of the record’s arrangements, the arrangements do bring about at least one notable concern, that being the album’s overall pacing.

Bassist Joey Vera said in a recent interview that the run times of the songs featured in Punching The Sky are shorter than those of the album’s predecessor, Win Hands Down“I would have to say that this time, I was conscious about making the songs a little more to the point than the previous record,” he said. “As a result, most of the songs are a little shorter in length than they are on Win Hands Down (2015). ‘Standing on the Shoulders of Giants’ being an exception at almost seven minutes!”  Even with the shorter run times, the songs still suffer somewhat from a concern of pacing.  ‘Lone Wolf’ for example clocks in at just under four-and-a-half minutes (4:19 to be exact), but even at that time, there is something about the band’s approach here that makes the song feel like it runs five minutes in length, if not longer.  That is even with the song being a mid-tempo composition.  ‘Unfair’ by comparison, feels extra long, too.  Its run time is listed at four minutes, four seconds.  However, the slow, brooding nature in the song’s arrangement makes that run time feel stretched out even more.  Much the same can be said of the album’s other entries.  While the barely top the five-minute mark at their longest (with the exception of the one noted song from Vera), the songs each feel longer than they actually are.  Maybe that is the result in how they were composed.  Maybe it has to do with the songs’ energies.  Maybe it is both.  Regardless, this one aspect detracts from the record’s overall presentation.  Luckily, the impact that this element has is not enough to make the album a failure.  The record’s production couples with the songs to make up for that aspect of the songs’ pacing.

The production presented in Punching The Sky is positive in that it clearly take into account everything that goes on in each of the album’s songs and balances each arrangement expertly.  Each song is loud and bombastic, save for ‘Unfair.’  The songs liken themselves to the best works of Judas Priest with their ferocity.  That means that the guitars are full throttle and the bass and time keeping are just as strong in their own right.  The vocals offer their own impact along with the instrumentation of each song.  Considering how much is going on in each of the songs, it would have been so easy for each part to overpower the other.  Thankfully, those behind the glass did not allow that to happen.  The guitars are right there with the vocals, and even just below, allowing the vocals to be understood just enough while also allowing the guitars to shine.  At the same time, the harmonies created through the bass are just subtle enough but also just audible enough.  Meanwhile the drums maintain each song’s heartbeat, keeping everybody together without overpowering any of the other parts.  The result is a presentation that sounds just as good aesthetically as it does in terms of its overall presentation.  When this is considered along with the album’s one negative point, the whole of Punching The Sky proves itself a strong, successful new offering from one of the most respected names in rock and metal.

Armored Saint’s new album Punching The Sky is a positive new effort from the band.  That is despite at least one noticeable kink it its own armor.  The record’s arrangements are in themselves just as powerful as ever.  They bring in influences from the 70s, 80s and even 90s for a whole presentation that will appeal to longtime audiences and those less familiar with the band and its catalog.  The production of those arrangements adds even more appeal to the record.  That is because it led to the band members’ respective parts balancing out expertly from beginning to end.  These two elements together make up at least to a point for the record’s one negative, its overall pacing.  The pacing is worth noting in that as powerful as the songs are and as good as they sound, they do generally feel longer than they actually are.  Even with that in mind, the record is not a failure.  Rather, it is a work that is still worth hearing occasionally.  It will certainly still have listeners punching their fists to the sky when they do take it in.  Punching The Sky is scheduled for release Friday.

More information on Punching The Sky is available online along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

Websitehttp://www.armoredsaint.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/thearmoredsaint

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/thearmoredsaint

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.

Fates Warning Debuts ‘Now Comes The Rain’ Lyric Video

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Fates Warning debuted the video for its latest single this week.

The band debuted the lyric video for its new single ‘Now Comes The Rain‘ Wednesday. The song and its video are the second from the band’s forthcoming album Long Day Good Night, which is scheduled for release Nov. 6 through Metal Blade Records. The song’s debut comes more than two months after the band debuted the album’s lead single, ‘Scars.’

Fittingly, the video for the band’s new single features the song’s lyrics presented against the backdrop of the album’s artwork. Raindrops are present throughout the video, even being used in the video’s intro to make it look as it viewers are looking through a rain-covered window.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Now Come The Rain’ is a heavy, yet somewhat melancholy presentation. Its lyrical theme comes across as delivering a message of hope. It notes through its metaphorical language that for all the rain that falls, there is some sunshine. It is certain to engage and entertain audiences.

Pre-orders are open now for Long Day Good Night.  The album will be available through a variety of platforms, all of which are noted below.

– digipak-CD
– ltd. digibook-CD
– 180g black vinyl (EU exclusive)
– red / black marbled vinyl (EU exclusive – limited to 500 copies)
– dark goldenrod marbled vinyl (EU exclusive – limited to 300 copies)
– clear / black marbled vinyl (EU exclusive – limited to 200 copies)
– orange / black dust splatter vinyl (Kings Road exclusive – limited to 100 copies)
– orange / red marbled vinyl (US exclusive)
– clear w/ red & orange splatter vinyl (US exclusive)

Fates Warning signed a new deal with Metal Blade Records last year, through which it has released the majority of its albums, after having spent recent years signed to InsideOut Music.  The band was signed with Metal Blade Records from the release of its 1984 debut album Night on Brocken, releasing albums through the label until 2013, when it released Darkness in a Different Light through InsideOut Music.  Theories of Flight followed in 2016.  The band’s 1998 live recording Still Life was also released via Metal Blade Records, as was the band’s 2017 live recording Awaken The Guardian Live.

Front man Ray Alder addressed the reunion in an interview last year.

“All of us in Fates Warning are happy to announce that we are back with Metal Blade Records,” Alder said.  “Metal Blade has been there for us since the very beginning, and we are proud to call them part of our family.  The journey begins again, and we cannot begin to say how excited we are to work together once more.  A big thank to our fans for sticking with us through all these years.  We could not be here today without all of you.  That is a fact.  Thank you, everyone.  Here’s to making some new memories.”

Alder had the following to say of the band’s new album in a recent interview.

“The styles of music we’ve written distinguish this record from the rest of our catalogue,” said Alder. “There are some songs with electronics and some with a nice ethereal feel, as well as some pretty straightforward grooves, at least for us. And there are also some pretty heavy songs. We tried to give the listener a host of different things to listen to, as opposed to an album where every song sounds the same.”

Guitarist Jim Matheos expanded on Alder’s statements with his own comments.

“Like all albums, nothing comes easy,” said Matheos. “It’s quite a process to go from the idea to the actual finished song. Sometimes you think you’re done with it, then you hear something else and you have to try that. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but you at least have to try it just so you know that in the end you’ve done everything possible to make it as good as it can be. Jim and I spent practically every day for the last year writing this album. I am very happy with the outcome, and with the blend of styles. I guess I could say that this album represents all of the years that we have been together.”

Porcupine Tree/The Pineapple Thief drummer Gavin Harrison makes a guest appearance on Fates Warning’s new album in the songs ‘When The Snow Falls’ and ‘Under The Sun.’

Long Day Good Night‘s track listing is noted below.  The album’s total run time is one hour, 12 minutes.

Long Day Good Night track-listing
1. The Destination Onward
2. Shuttered World
3. Alone We Walk
4. Now Comes the Rain
5. The Way Home
6. Under the Sun
7. Scars
8. Begin Again
9. When Snow Falls
10. Liar
11. Glass Houses
12. The Longest Shadow of the Day
13. The Last Song

More information on Long Day Good Night is available online now along with all of Fates Warning’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.fateswarning.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/FatesWarning

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/fateswarning

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.

Armored Saint Debuts ‘Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants’ Video

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Armored Saint debuted the video for its latest single this week.

The band debuted the video for its new single ‘Standing on the Shoulders of Giants‘ Wednesday.  The song and its video are the second from the band’s forthcoming album Punching The Sky, which is scheduled for release Oct. 23 through Metal Blade Records.  The band debuted the song’s lead single ‘End of the Attention Span’ and its companion video last month.

The video was directed and produced by Costin Chioreanu for Twilight 13 Media.  It features silhouettes of the band as it performs its new single coupled with a vehicle passing power lines and lamposts. Robert Graves directed the video for A Shadow Beyond.

The footage of the forests and mountains that is also featured as part of the video was shot by a drone shot by Miluta Flueras.  The band performance was shot by Vince Edwards.  Additional credit for the video’s creation goes to Dan Marinescu.

The musical arrangement featured in Armored Saint’s new single presents a driving, modern rock sound and style while its lyrical content comes across as presenting a message of determination and perseverance.  That is especially inferred as front man John Bush sings in the song’s chorus, “As I grow older/I lift this boulder/With strength I chip it away/Standing on the shoulders of giants/Punching the sky every day/As life gets colder/Flames they smolder/Climb so I can survey/Standing on the shoulders of giants/Punching the sky every day.”

Pre-orders are open for Punching The Sky.   It will release through a variety of platforms, which are noted below along with the album’s track listing.

– digipak-CD
– ltd. digibook-CD/DVD (incl. 3 bonus tracks)
– 180g black vinyl (EU exclusive)
– clear purple / white marbled vinyl (EU exclusive – limited to 500 copies)
– dark violet marbled vinyl w/ 7″ & patch (Kings Road exclusive – limited to 300 copies)
– signal orange marbled vinyl (EU exclusive – limited to 200 copies)
– white w/ purple & red splatter vinyl (EMP exclusive – limited to 200 copies)
– purple / red melt vinyl (Kings Road exclusive – limited to 100 copies)
– deep purple marbled vinyl (US exclusive)
– lavender marbled vinyl w/ 7″ & patch (US exclusive)

Punching The Sky track-listing
1. Standing on the Shoulders of Giants
2. End of the Attention Span
3. Bubble
4. My Jurisdiction
5. Do Wrong to None
6. Lone Wolf
7. Missile to Gun
8. Fly in the Ointment
9. Bark, No Bite
10. Unfair
11. Never You Fret

Armored Saint will celebrate the release of its new album next month live online.

The band recently announced it will celebrate the release of its new album Punching The Sky at 4 p.m. ET on Oct. 10.  The ticketed event will broadcast live from Hollywood, CA’s famed Whisky A Go Go through the band’s official Facebook page.

The band had the following to say about the upcoming concert in a prepared statement:

“We are very excited about our new record Punching The Sky, and we’d be pleased if you’d join us in this virtual show to help celebrate the release date. In these strange times where none of us can go to see live music anymore, this is the closest thing we can do about that. We will be on stage, cranking it out as we always do. We will certainly be missing seeing all of you in the venue, but we hope you’ll Rock Out with us in the comfort of your own homes!”

The ticket prices come at three separate levels, one including a signed copy of the band’s new album, another a CD and t-shirt, and the other just the t-shirt with the concert stream.  The information on the three levels is noted below.  Ticket purchases will allow audiences to view the concert until Nov. 9.

–ticket plus signed CD of Punching the Sky [$30 (USA only)]
–ticket plus exclusive event tee and signed CD [$65 (USA only)]
–ticket plus exclusive event tee [$55 (USA shipping), $65.00 (Europe shipping)]

Punching The Sky‘s release will come more than five years after the release of the band’s then latest album, Win Hands Down and more than three years after the release of the band’s then latest live recording Carpe Noctum.

More information on Punching The Sky is available online along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Websitehttp://www.armoredsaint.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/thearmoredsaint

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/thearmoredsaint

 

 

 

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.

Artillery To Release New Single Next Month

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Artillery will pay tribute to one of its own next month.

The band is planning to release its new single ‘The Last Journey’ on Oct. 16.  The song is a tribute to its late member Morten Stutzer.  Its debut will come a year after the passing of Stutzer’s death.

Former Artillery front men Flemming Ronsdorf and Soren Adamsen make guest appearances on the song.  It will release on vinyl and digital.  The band’s cover of Metallica’s song ‘Trapped Under Ice’ will accompany the song as a b-side.

The vinyl release will be available on three different pressings, noted below.  Pre-orders are open in Europe.

–Black vinyl (300 copies)
–Blue vinyl (200 copies)
–Yellow vinyl (100 copies)

Both songs were produced and recorded by Soren Andersen at Medley Studio.  A teaser for the song is streaming here.

More information on Artillery’s forthcoming single is available online now along with all of Artillery’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Websitehttp://www.artillery.dk

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/ARTILLERY.DK

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/artillerymetal

 

 

 

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.

The Flower Kings Debut ‘Broken’ Lyric Video

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

The Flower Kings debuted the video for its new single this week.

The band debuted the lyric video for its new single ‘Broken‘ Friday.  The song and video are the first from the band’s forthcoming album Islands, which is scheduled for release Oct. 30 through InsideOut Music.

The video places the song’s lyrics over a variety of images.  The whole is a very psychedelic presentation.  The song’s musical arrangement will appeal to fans of Transatlantic while its lyrical content will reach audiences in its own way.

The upcoming release of Islands will come less than a year after the band released its then most recent album Waiting For Miracles.  That album was released Nov. 8, 2019.

Founding member  and guitarist Roine Stolt talked about the album’s release date in a recent interview.

“All shows and festivals were cancelled and the future didn’t really ‘unfold’ itself like we had hoped,” said Stolt. “To sit out the pandemic with no activities was not an option for us! We can’t be stopped by an evil virus! So, with members living in the USA, Italy, Austria and Sweden, the only way to realize this album, was to use the magic of the ‘net’, sending files around the globe and start building what now has become a mammoth-sized double album of 21 songs.”

The album’s track listing is noted below.

Disc One (49:40)
1 – Racing With Blinders On 4:24
2 – From The Ground 4.02
3 – Black Swan 5:53
4 – Morning News 4:01
5 – Broken 6:38
6 – Goodbye Outrage 2:19
7 – Journeyman 1:43
8 – Tangerine 3:51
9 – Solaris 9:10
10 – Heart Of The Valley 4:18
11- Man In A Two Peace Suit 3:21

Disc Two (43:01)
1 – All I Need Is Love 5:48
2 – A New Species 5:45
3 – Northern Lights 5:43
4 – Hidden Angles 0:50
5 – Serpentine 3:52
6 – Looking For Answers 4:30
7 –Telescope 4:41
8 – Fool’s Gold 3:11
9 – Between Hope & Fear 4:29
10 – Islands 4:12

The double-disc album will release on limited edition 3LP/2CD box; limited edition 2CD digipack, and standard digital.  Pre-sales for Islands are open.

Stolt said of the album’s concept, it is relevant to the world’s current situation.

“The theme of the album is isolation – so the title ‘Islands’ felt like a most relevant title – as much of it circulates around isolation, loss, and the fear of being disconnected,” he said. “Having to face this unexpected pandemic will leave marks on each one of us for a very long time and to lose loved ones forces us to soldier on, learning and growing a stronger version of ourselves in this fragile cycle of life.”

Musically, the aim has been to  create a bigger grand epic piece out of 21 songs – so they are all connected with themes that weave in and out – like the way ‘Sgt Peppers’ or ‘The Lamb’ were built on shorter songs,  but yet linked,” added Stolt. “So view it as one mega song or as 21 separate pieces, it is all  tailored to be listened to as one piece – like a cinematic 90-min. long ride.”

More information on The Flower Kings’ new album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

 

Websitehttp://www.roinestolt.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/TheFlowerKings

 

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.