‘Under Cover’ Will Appeal To Motorhead, Rock Fans Alike

Courtesy: Motorhead Music

Almost two years ago, the rock world lost one of its great icons when Motorhead front man Lemmy Kilmister died from cancer.  When he died, that effectively put an end to one of the musical universe’s greatest acts.  That meant no more new Motorhead music.  Earlier this month though, Motorhead Music–the band’s own label–released a new collection of covers from the band to satiate audiences in the form of Under Cover. The 11-song record presents a rarely heard side of Motorhead that itself is certain to entertain listeners.  This is just one of the compilation’s key elements and will be discussed later.  The acts whose songs are featured here are collectively just as important to discuss as the songs themselves and will be discussed later.  The album’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.  Each element is important in its own right to this compilation’s overall presentation.  All things considered, Under Cover proves to be a record that is an entertaining new offering for Motorhead’s most devout fans.

Motorhead, with the passing of front man Lemmy Kilmister almost two years ago, may not be actively recording new music anymore.  With the release earlier this month of the band’s new covers compilation Under Cover, the band’s most devout fans were given an entertaining new release from Motorhead even if it is not a collection of new Motorhead music.  That statement is supported in part through the songs that make up the collection.  Considering that Motorhead, throughout the course of its life, was known for up-tempo blues-based rock that was tinged with some punk elements, the songs featured in this compilation show that the band was just as talented handling other styles of rock as its own brand.  That is proven clearly in the band’s cover of David Bowie’s hit song ‘Heroes,’ which comes early in the record’s run. Bowie’s original work bears more similarity to works from perhaps Paul McCartmey than Motorhead.  Yet, even in its slightly amped up take on the classic tune, Motorhead does Bowie’s classic justice while adding its own rock touch that is certain to get praise even from Bowie’s most devout fans.  The band’s take on The Rolling Stones’ ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ is yet another song featured in this record that shows the real reach of the band’s abilities.  Once again, the band largely stays true to its source material, while also adding its own respectable hard rock elements.  The expert balance of those two elements here will put a smile on any longtime Rolling Stones fan just as much as any Motorhead fan.  Much the same can also be said in examining the band’s take of another Rolling Stones standard, ‘Sympathy For The Devil.’  Those three songs alone show clearly the band’s reach.  Of course that is not to discount the band’s covers of Ted Nugent’s ‘Cat Scratch Fever,’ Rainbow’s ‘Starstruck,’ and The Ramones’ ‘Rockaway Beach’ as well as the album’s other songs.  Those covers show in their own way the band’s reach, though they are much closer to Motorhead’s style than the previously noted works.  Keeping this in mind, the bands whose works are featured here are just as important to note as the songs themselves.

Listeners will note that of the album’s 11 total songs, seven were crafted by British acts—Judas Priest, The Sex Pistols, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Rainbow and Ozzy Osbourne.  The other four songs come from American acts—Ted Nugent, Metallica, Twisted Sister and The Ramones.  That in itself is certain to create its own share of discussion.  Obviously Motorhead was itself a British outfit, but it could easily be argued that such an emphasis on its counterparts presents its own history lesson to listeners.  It shows the reach of the British hard rock scene between the 1960s and 1990s versus that of the American hard rock scene.  To that end, the acts featured here in themselves serve as a starting point on rock’s history on both sides of the Atlantic.  That might not have been the manifest intent with such a lineup, but it definitely will create those discussions.  On another level, it shows the band’s interest in so many different parts of the rock community at the time. Judas Priest was hard rock while the Sex Pistols were more punk (again, showing Motorhead’s roots). Rainbow was more of a progressive style hard rock while The Rolling Stones were that blues-based influence that Motorhead always added to its own music, too.  In the same breath, Metallica’s Whiplash shows where Motorhead perhaps got its harder almost thrash elements.  When this is all taken into account along with the influences from the other featured bands, Motorhead’s roots become even more evident.  In other words, the bands and songs featured in this compilation form a solid foundation for the record.  They collectively serve as a starting point for discussions about music history and about Motorhead’s history.  Both by themselves and together, they do plenty to make this record enjoyable and are not the record’s only key elements.  The album’s sequencing adds its own enjoyment to its presentation.

Under Cover’s sequencing is an important to note in examining this record because of its ability to maintain the album’s energy from beginning to end.  The album starts out full throttle with the band’s cover of Judas Priest’s ‘Breakin’ The Law’ and keeps the energy flowing just as highly as it launches into its cover of The Sex Pistols’ ‘God Save The Queen.’  Even as the album progresses into the band’s cover of ‘Heroes,’ the energy still maintains itself even here.  Given, it isn’t as high as in the album’s first two entries, but still keeps moving.  The energy picks right back up as the album takes listeners through the band’s covers of Rainbow’s Starstruck’ and Ted Nugent’s ‘Cat Scratch Fever’ before pulling back again with two straight Rolling Stones covers.  From there on out, the energy picks right back and stays stable right to the album’s end even with the change in the songs’ styles.  Keeping this in mind, it is clear that plenty of time and thought was put into the record’s sequencing.  That time and thought ensures listeners’ engagement from beginning to end here.  That is because the record’s energy never lets up too much at any one point or even gets too high.  When this is taken into account along with the collective value of the record’s songs and their associated bands, it adds that much more depth to the collection.  That being the case, the whole of those elements make Under Cover a collection that will appeal not only to Motorhead’s fans from start to finish but to rock fans in general.

Motrhead’s recently released compilation record Under Cover is a collection of songs that will appeal both to Motorhead’s fans and to rock fans in general.  This is the case even though being a compilation record, it does not necessarily break any new ground in the way of compilation records.  The songs and bands featured on this record serve collectively as a solid starting point for plenty of discussions both on Motorhead’s history and on rock history.  They also do plenty to ensure listeners’ maintained engagement and entertainment.  The record’s sequencing does much the same.  All things considered, these elements make Under Cover a collection that while not exactly new to the compilation realm, is still entertaining in its own right.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on Under Cover is available online now along with all of the latest Motorhead news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.motorhead.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/myMotorhead

 

 

 

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‘The Grinding Wheel’ Shows Overkill Is Still “Grinding” It Out Successfully

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

The countdown to the year’s end is officially on, and that means for the music industry, the push is officially on to start assembling those annual year-end “Best Of” lists.  One of the lists that this critic in particular has seen overflowing with impressive titles is that of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.  New releases from the likes of Prong, The Haunted, Dragonforce and so many others have easily proven themselves deserving of a spot on that list by any critic.  No critic’s list of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums would be complete without the inclusion of Overkill’s latest album the Grinding Wheel.  Released this past February, this 11-song, 64-minute album is an offering that reminds audiences once again why even after more than 30 years, Overkill is still one of the elite acts in the hard rock and metal realms even.  That is even as the band continues to embrace the mantra of if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.  The old school thrash riffs that have made the band a constant fan favorite throughout its life combine with equally interesting lyrical content here to prove why this record is one more of the year’s top new hard rock and metal offerings.

Anytime that Overkill releases a new album, it will find its way onto critics’ lists of the year’s best new hard rock and metal albums.  The New Jersey-based thrash outfit’s 18th (yes, 18th) full-length studio recording The Grinding Wheel is no exception to that rule.  That is proven right from the album’s outset in ‘Mean, Green Killing Machine.’ The song’s arrangement boasts riffs in its verses that easily lend themselves to some of the greatest classic thrash works from fellow thrashers Exodus, Metallica, Megadeth and others of that ilk.  In the same breath, the combination of front man Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth’s vocal delivery with those riffs also conjures thoughts of so many classic Judas Priest songs.  The inclusion of the song’s more blues-based hard rock arrangement in its bridge adds even more interest to the song.  The sudden change between those two wholly separate styles is, needless to say, stark.  Yet at the same time, it still is not enough to ruin the song, musically speaking.  It only makes it that much more interesting.  Keeping that in mind, it is only one part of what makes this song proof of what makes The Grinding Wheel yet another standout record from Overkill.  The song’s lyrical content is just as important to discuss as its musical arrangement.

Ellsworth sings here, “Somewhere out where no one knows/Rusts a cool revolution fight/Way out there where no one goes/And it’s got to keep moving/Got to keep getting it right/So here’s to the piston charged/Combustible delight/The single-minded supercharged/That’s got to keep moving/Got to keep getting it/A call to arms/A call right through the dream/A call to action/Blow up the in-between/Feed, feed your engine/Feed, feed the wolverine/Feed, feed the tension/Mean green/Killing machine/C’mon, C’mon say what my name is/Mean green killing machine.”  Ellsworth goes on in the song’s further verses to deliver what seems like commentary perhaps about the world’s religious and business leaders, leading to the belief that perhaps while not a politically charged song, it is a lyrical worked aimed at reminding listeners to not just give in to the things being force-fed to them.  That is just this critic’s own take and should not be taken as the only interpretation.  Ellsworth could easily have been making a wholly different statement.  That ability of these lyrics to create so much discussion in itself is even more proof of the importance of the song’s lyrical content.  When that content is joined with the song’s rich musical arrangement, the end result is a song that clearly exhibits what makes The Grinding Wheel yet another solid offering from Overkill.  It is hardly the only of the album’s songs to support that statement.  The album’s title track is one more example of what makes The Grinding Wheel another standout album from one of metal’s true elite acts.

‘The Grinding Wheel’ proves just as much as ‘Mean Green Killing Machine’ what makes Overkill’s latest album so enjoyable in part to its musical arrangement.  As with the previously discussed song, this composition also boasts an arrangement that is pure thrash at its finest.  It lends itself just as easily to comparisons to works from Judas Priest as the album’s opener, too.  Considering this, it goes without saying that this song’s musical arrangement is just as solid as those presented in the rest of the album’s songs.  That being the case, the next sensible step here would be to examine the song’s lyrical content.  This song’s lyrical content is just as intriguing as that in the album’s opener and the record’s other songs.  Ellsworth sings here, “A bed of nails/Cold, dark, deep refrigeration/I hear it calling me/A broken rail as he drools over the congregation/I hear it calling me/Now I won’t tell you how to live your life/I never saw the point in thinking twice/I turn the wheel by day, by night/Raise your flag/Here’s to the liberation.”  The song goes on in similar fashion with equally cryptic statements throughout that are just as certain to leave listeners talking and thinking as the song’s lead verse.  Again, that ability to so easily engage listeners, even just through its lyrical content, is another way in which the song proves an important part of the record’s whole.  When it is joined with the song’s musical arrangement, the two elements in whole support that statement even more.  Even considering this, it still is not the last of the songs included in this record that shows what makes the album stand out.  ‘Shine On,’ which comes early in the album’s run is one more example of what makes the record stand out.

‘Shine On’ is another key example of what makes The Grinding Wheel stand out, as with the previously discussed songs, in part due to its arrangement.  The up-tempo, guitar-driven arrangement.  The arrangement presented here is a polished composition that lends itself directly to comparisons to some of Metallica’s greatest thrash style works.  Even as the song turns more doom-sounding bridge, that slower–yet no less heavy–section is a perfect fit that gives listeners just enough time to catch their collective breaths without losing them.  It is only one part of what makes this song another key addition to The Grinding Wheel.  The song’s lyrical content is just as important to discuss as its musical arrangement.

The lyrical content presented in ‘Shine On’ is important to discuss because of its seemingly anthemic nature.  That anthemic nature is inferred, at least to this critic as Ellsworth sings in the song’s chorus, “We got no patience, but we get through/We got no patience, but we got you/All of the paraders shout no fear/All of the hurricaners with their fists up in the air/Someone else gave the order to the band/Someone else ignored us/Left the cat out in the rain/One more fire before I die/One more fire, get me high/Climb on down to the fire/Climb on down to the flame/Leave your battles behind you/Shine on Doomsday/Shine on Doomsday.”  This all comes across as the band paying tribute, lyrically, to its fans, inspiring audiences to never give up on anything in life as they thank their fans for their dedication.  Again, this is only this critic’s own interpretation and should not be taken as the only interpretation.  Either way, this song’s lyrical content comes across as a loud, proud statement from the band.  When that seemingly loud, proud statement is joined with the song’s equally heavy, driving musical arrangement, the whole of the song shows why it is an important addition to the album’s whole.  When the song is joined with the other songs noted here (and those not noted), the album in whole shows clearly why it is another powerhouse offering from Overkill, and an easy candidate for any critic’s list of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

Overkills’ 18th full-length studio recording The Grinding Wheel is a presentation of a band that more than 30 years into its life is still successfully grinding it out.  Yes, that awful pun was fully intended.  That is due to the solid, heavy musical arrangements presented throughout the course of the album’s 64-minute run time.  The record’s arrangements are everything that the band’s legions of fans have come to expect from its records throughout the years.  What’s interesting about them here is how polished they sound in each case.  The album’s collective lyrical content will have listeners thinking and talking just as much as its musical arrangements. From seeming commentaries (of sorts) to fist-pumping anthems and points in-between, the songs’ lyrical content gives listeners plenty to be happy about, too.  Keeping thin in mind, The album in whole proves to be a work that any Overkill fan will appreciate and agree deserves a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on The Grinding Wheel is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.wreckingcrew.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/OverkillBand

 

 

 

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.

Metallica To Perform Tonight On Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Courtesy: Blackened Records

Courtesy: Blackened Records

Metallica will be live on TV tonight.

The veteran hard rock outfit will perform live tonight on Jimmy Kimmel Live!  The performance marks the first time the band has ever performed on the hit late night talk show.

There is no word on which song(s) the band will perform tonight.  Along with its performance, the band will take some time to talk to Jimmy.  Jimmy Kimmel Live! airs at 11:35 p.m. EST/10:35 p.m. CST on ABC.

Tonight’s performance is part of Metallica’s tour in support of its brand new album HardwiredTo SelfDestruct.  The album was released last month on the band’s own label, Blackened Recordings.  It debuted at #1 around the world.  The record was produced by Greg Fidelman along with James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich.

HardwiredTo SelfDestruct is available now in stores and online on CD, vinyl, digital deluxe and double deluxe versions.  It can be ordered online direct via Metallica’s online store here.

More information on Metallica’s performance tonight on Jimmy Kimmel Live! is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.metallica.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/metallica

 

 

 

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.

Amon Amarth Conquers Phil’s Picks’ 2016 Top 10 New Hard Rock & Metal Albums List

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

The hard rock and metal community have collectively become a rather crowded field this year in terms of new albums.  It has made extremely difficult naming the year’s top new hard rock and metal records.  There have been that many outstanding records.  Metallica’s first album in eight years, HardwiredTo SelfDestruct is just one of the albums that has more than proven deserving of being on that list.  The same can be said of Amon Amarth’s latest offering, Jomsviking.  It is a rarity for the band, being a concept record.  The concept behind the record more than works.  And its musical arrangements work just as well.  On another note Prong, with its latest offering X No Absolutes has proven through its overall content (and sales) that it is another success for the band—and more specifically founder Tommy Victor, the band’s only original member.  So no doubt it belongs on the list of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums, too as do so many others.  It was not easy for this critic to assemble this year’s list of new hard rock and metal albums considering how many outstanding albums were released in that collective field.  But a decision had to be made.  That decision is presented below.

As a reminder, the list, as with each of Phil’s Picks year-ender lists, presents Phil’s Picks Top 10 picks for the year’s best plus five honorable mention titles for a total of 15 albums.  Honorable mention is not mean in a negative fashion by any means.  They were each deserving of being named to the year’s best.  It was just that tough assembling a list of the year’s best, so the final list ended as presented here.  Without any further ado, here is the Phil’s Picks 2016 Top 10 New Hard Rock and Metal Albums.

 

PHIL’S PICKS 2016 TOP 10 NEW HARD ROCK/METAL ALBUMS

 

  1. Amon AmarthJomsviking

 

  1. MetallicaHardwiredTo SelfDestruct

 

  1. All Hail The YetiScreams From A Black Wilderness

 

  1. NonpointThe Poison Red

 

  1. SpellcasterNight Hides The World

 

  1. WovenwarHonor is Dead

 

  1. ArtilleryPunishment By Perception

 

  1. ProngXNo Absolutes

 

  1. AnthraxFor All Kings

 

  1. DestrageA Means To No End

 

  1. WhitechapelMark of the Blade

 

  1. DevildriverTrust No One

 

  1. Oni – Ironshore

 

  1. Primal FearRulebreaker

 

  1. HatebreedThe Concrete Confesional

 

 

 

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.

2017 Rock On The Range Festival Lineup Announced

Courtesy: Danny Wimmer Presents/AEG Live

Courtesy: Danny Wimmer Presents/AEG Live

The lineup for the 2017 Rock on the Range Festival has been announced, and once again it has proven to be quite the collection of acts.

The three-day festival will be headlined by Metallica, Soundgarden and Korn.  It will feature more than 50 bands over the course of that time along with some of the country’s top comics at the festival’s Rock on the Range Rolling Rock Comedy Tent.

The lineup for the 2017 Rock on the Range Festival includes: Metallica, Soundgarden, Korn, The Offspring, Volbeat, Primus, Bush, Chevelle, Papa Roach, Seether, Coheed & Cambria, Alter Bridge, The Pretty Reckless, Taking Back Sunday, Thrice, Amon Amarth, Pierce The Veil, Sum 41, Skillet, Dillinger Escape Plan, In Flames, Gojira, Biffy Clyro, Motionless In White, Nothing More, Beartooth, Starset, Every Time I Die, The Story So Far, Deafheaven, Zakk Sabbath, Rival Sons, The Amity Affliction, Attila, Norma Jean, Suicide Silence, Whitechapel, I Prevail, Turnstile, Dinosaur Pile-Up, Red Fang, Dorothy, Kyng, Radkey, As Lions, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Sylar, Fire From The Gods, Badflower, Wage War, Goodbye June, Cover Your Tracks, DED, Bleeker, Royal Republic, Mother Feather, Aeges and One Less Reason.

Rock on the Range—fueled by Monster Energy—is billed as America’s largest and most acclaimed rock festival.  The festival will also feature in 2017 “The Music Experience,” art installations, and unique on-site activities over the course of the festival’s three days.

Tickets for the 2016 festival sold out more than two months in advance of the festival.  It marked the fourth consecutive year the festival has sold out in advance.

Weekend Field, new Weekend Field VIP, Weekend Stadium and a limited number of Weekend Stadium 4-packs are available now for purchase.  A layaway option is also available for concert-goers.  That option allows audiences to split the cost of their ticket/ticket packages into four separate monthly payments.

Fans can get a pre-sale password for Weekend Field VIP, Weekend Field GA, Weekend Stadium GA and Weekend Stadium GA 4-packs on the official Rock on the Range website, Facebook page and Twitter page.  The ticket prices are listed below.

 

  • Weekend Field VIP: starting at $349.50* + fees
  • Weekend Field GA: starting at $199.50* + fees
  • Weekend Stadium GA: starting at $99.50* + fees
  • Weekend Stadium GA Ticket 4-Pack: $380.00 + fees
  • * Phase One prices listed
  • *** Ticket prices automatically move to the next price level once the allotment sells out ***

General on-sale for tickets is Friday, Dec. 2 at 10 a.m. EST.  Tickets will be available online at the festival’s website, at Ticketmaster locations and the MAPFRE Stadium box office.

Audiences who want an even more special concert experience can purchase the new Uber Ranger Camping Package.  The package includes amenities for four people such as luxury RV on a double campsite at the Ohio Expo North Campground (May 18 – 21), a dedicated concierge with golf cart shuttle, 4 Weekend VIP Field Admission Tickets, a backstage tour, access to the stadium club (with catered lunch and dinner), access to the Side Stage Viewing Platform, access to the VIP Lounge and more.  More information on the new Uber Ranger Camping Package is available here.

Rock on The Range celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2016.  More than 120,000 people attended the festival from around the world.  As part of its 10th anniversary celebration, Columbus, OH mayor Andrew J. Ginther and the Columbus, OH city council presented festival organizers with awards of recognition.  A resolution was also announced from the Franklin County Board of Commissioners acknowledging the festival’s economic impact on the city.

The commissioners pointed out in their resolution pointed out the festival brought in more than $140 million for the city over the course of its ten years in the city.

Rock on the Range is produced by Danny Wimmer Presents, AEG Live and MAPFRE Stadium.  It is supported by Monster Energy, Bud Light and Zippo.  They and other partners will feature interactive experiences, meet & greets, and other special fan engagement opportunities throughout the festival.

More information on the 2017 Rock on the Range Festival is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.RockontheRange.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/rockontherange

 

 

 

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.

Metallica’s New Album Is Well Worth The Wait

Courtesy: Blackened Records

Courtesy: Blackened Records

Eight years have passed since Metallica released its most recent album Death Magnetic.  That is a long time for any act to spend between albums.  It’s also a huge risk because the longer an act waits, the greater the odds it might not be relevant anymore.  What’s more, it also raises expectations greatly for said act’s new release.  In many cases, said albums don’t live up to expectations.  Guns ‘N Roses’ 2010 album Chinese Democracy is a prime example of that letdown.  So waiting for such a long time between albums is a gamble to say the very least.  For veteran hard rock outfit Metallica, the gamble to wait so long between albums paid off when it released its new album HardwiredTo Self-Destruct on Friday, November 18.  This record is the band’s best work to date.  It is a culmination of everything that the band has done over the course of its more than thirty year life.  That is evident first and foremost through it musical arrangements.  That will be discussed shortly.  The record’s lyrical content is just as important to note in examining what makes this record stand out.  It will be discussed later.  The bonus live disc that was included in the record’s extended edition is just as important to note in the album’s presentation.  Each element serves the record in its own positive way.  All things considered, they make this record, again, Metallica’s best album to date and one of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

Metallica’s new full-length album HardwiredTo Self-Destruct is the best work that this veteran hard rock outfit has released to date.  It is also one of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums without question.  That is saying a lot considering how many albums the band has released over its life (10 counting this record) and the number of outstanding hard rock and metal albums that have been released so far this year.  One of the elements that makes the album stand so proud is its collective musical arrangements.  From one song to the next, the arrangements present elements of the band’s past, present and even its future.  One of the songs that best exemplifies the arrangements’ reach is ‘Now That We’re Dead.’  Right from the song’s outset, its driving guitar line and drumming harkens back to ‘Enter Sandman’ from the band’s groundbreaking 1991 self-titled album (or more affectionately known by fans as The Black Album.  That similarity stands throughout the remainder of its nearly 7-minute run time.  Front man James Hetfield’s vocal delivery is just as powerful throughout the song as it was way back in 1991, too.  When his vocal delivery is coupled with that solid musical arrangement, it makes the connection to The Black Album even stronger.  It’s just one of the songs that serves to exemplify the reach of the album’s musical arrangements.  ‘Spit Out The Bone,’ the record’s closer exhibits the arrangements’ reach just as much as ‘Now That We’re Dead.’

‘Now That We’re Dead’ exhibits a clear connection to material featured in Metallica’s 1991 self-titled record.  It is just one of the songs included in this record that exhibits the reach of the album’s arrangements.  ‘Spit Out The Bone’ exhibits that reach just as much as ‘Now That We’re Dead.’  It is a direct throwback to the band’s very first album Kill ‘Em All (1983) with its speed/thrash metal riffs and drumming.  One could even argue to a point that there are hints of the band’s 1986 album Master of Puppets considering this arrangement and Robert Trujillo’s bass line.  His bass line instantly conjures thoughts of Cliff Burton’s work with its style and sound.  Obviously Burton died during the tour for that album, but would likely be as proud as the band’s fans to hear that similarity.  Even Hetfield’s own vocal delivery throws so far back, too. Sure he’s much older now.  But when he hits certain notes, audiences will instantly hear those hints of his days gone by.  That is a big compliment to him.  When each of the arrangements are brought together, they make this arrangement yet another standout composition.  Even more important to note is that just as with ‘Now That We’re Dead,’ the song’s arrangements harkens back to the noted albums but does so with a certain sense of evolution, too.  In other words, it doesn’t just repeat any of the songs from said albums.  Rather, it merely exhibits the stylistic approach used in the noted albums.  The same applies in the case of ‘Dream No More.’

‘Now That We’re Dead’ and ‘Spit Out The Bone’ are both clear examples of the reach of this record’s arrangements.  One throws back to the band’s Black Album while the other throws back even farther.  Both songs exhibit the influence of those albums through their arrangements, and do so without just repeating any of the songs included in those records.  That is extremely impressive.  They are just a couple of the songs that serve to exhibit the reach of this album’s arrangements.  ‘Dream No More’ is another example of the arrangements’ reach.  This song exhibits hints of the band’s much maligned albums Load and Re-Load.  More precisely, with its combination of guitar and drum lines, it conjures thoughts of ‘King Nothing,’ which was one of the few truly good songs included in Load.  But again, it doesn’t try to just rehash that song through its arrangement.  Love the album or hate it (and Re-Load) the fact of the matter is that through this song, Metallica has taken the best of the album and evolved it into this song.  It again shows the reach of the album’s arrangements.  As if that isn’t enough, there are a couple of songs included in this record that even hint at what is probably the band’s worst albums (if not its worst), St. Anger.  Even in those cases, the band somehow managed to take the best of the worst and make it something enjoyable here.  There are also hints of each of the band’s other albums in the likes of ‘Hardwired,’ ‘Atlas, Rise’ and ‘Confusion’ just to name a few other standout arrangements.  All things considered here, it is clear in listening to the album from start to finish that this albums’ arrangement present quite a reach.  They present the band’s past, present and possibly even future.  That reach will impress any long time fan just as much as any new fan.  The reach presented in this record’s arrangements is clearly an important part of the record’s presentation.  It is just one of the record’s key elements, too.  The album’s lyrical content is just as important to note in examining the record’s presentation as its musical reach.

The musical reach that is exhibited throughout Metallica’s latest full-length LP is a hugely important part of the record’s presentation.  That is because the record’s arrangements present influences from each of its previous albums and even hint at the band’s future.  To an extent, one could say that makes this record career-spanning.  While the record’s musical arrangements are so clearly important to its overall presentation, they are not its only important element.  The album’s lyrical content is just as important to note as its musical arrangements.  ‘Atlas, Rise’ is just one example of the importance of the record’s lyrical content.  Hetfield sings in this song, “Bitterness and burden/Curses rest on thee/Solitaire and sorrow/All eternity/Save the earth and claim perfection/Deem the mass and blame rejection/Hold the pose, feign perception/Grudges break your back/All you bear/All you carry/All you bear/Place it right on, Right on me.”  He’s not signing about the literary Atlas.  This comes across as using Atlas as a metaphor for someone who loves to put the problems of the world on himself or herself, but not for noble reasons.  That is evident as he sings, “Grudges break your back/All you bear/All you carry/All you bear/Place it right on, right on me.”  This becomes even clearer as Hetfield sings, “How does it feel on your own/Bound by the world all alone/Crushed under heavy skies/Atlas, rise!”  The song goes on very much in similar fashion in terms of its lyrical content.  It leaves just as little doubt as the song’s early lines.  It definitely is a powerful song considering all of that.  When the song’s equally powerful musical arrangement is set against those lines, the song becomes even harder hitting.  It is just one of the songs that exemplifies the importance of the album’s lyrical content.  ‘Moth Into Flame’ is another of the album’s songs that exhibits the importance of the album’s lyrical content.

‘Atlas, Rise’ is a prime example of the importance of the lyrical content presented in HardwiredTo Self-Destruct.  It comes across as a damning indictment of those people who prefer (for whatever reason) to put the world’s problems on themselves and make themselves virtual martyrs, all the while holding grudges against the world.  Everyone knows or has known someone just like that.  It is just one of the examples of the importance of the album’s lyrical content.  ‘Moth Into Flame’ is another example of the importance of the album’s lyrical content.  Hetfield sings in this song, “Blacked out/Pop queen, amphetamine/The screams crashed into silence/Tapped out/Doused in the gasoline/The high times going timeless/Infamy all for publicity/Destruction going viral/Light it up/Ah, light it up/Another hit erases all the pain.”  He goes on to sing, “Bulletproof/Ah, kill the truth/You’re falling, but you think you’re flying high/High again/Sold your soul/Built a higher wall/Yesterday/Now you’re thrown away/Same rise and fall/Who cares at all/Seduced by fame/A moth into flame.”  As with ‘Atlas, Rise,’ the lines presented here are their own damning indictment.  This time, it comes across as an indictment of celebrities and their lifestyles.  The lines presented here are just a portion of the support for that argument.  The song continues in similar fashion lyrically speaking, which strengthens this critic’s argument even more.  Keeping that in mind, this song’s lyrical content becomes yet another important example of the importance of the album’s lyrical content.  It’s hardly the first time that anyone has ever crafted a song that goes after celebrities and their lifestyles (if that is in fact the focus on the song’s lyrics).  But it is still a biting approach that audiences will appreciate greatly.  It isn’t the last song that exhibits the importance of the album’s lyrical content.  ‘Spit Out The Bone’ is one more example of the importance of this record’s lyrical content.

‘Atlas, Rise’ and ‘Moth Into Flame’ are both key examples of the importance of this record’s lyrical content.  Both songs come across as very biting commentary about their given topics.  While both pieces are key in exhibiting the importance of the lyrical content in Metallica’s new album, they are not the only songs that show that importance.  ‘Spit Out The Bone’ also serves to show the importance of the album’s lyrical content.  This song presents some very heavy content.  Hetfield sings in the song’s lead verse, “Come unto me and you will feel perfection/Come unto me and dedicate/Come unto me and you’ll never feel rejection/Come unto me and terminate/Remove your heart, it’s only good for bleeding/Bleeding through your fragile skin/Remove your thought cause it’s only for deceiving/Deceiving thoughts destroy within/Disappear like man was never here/Long live machine/The future supreme/Man overthrown/Spit out the bone.”  The technology theme continues throughout the song, but shouldn’t be misinterpreted.  This isn’t one of those songs that audiences have come to expect from Fear Factory or other similar acts.  It comes across more as a piece about people’s reliance on technology, not about robots overthrowing mankind.  That’s even despite the fact that Hetfield sings “Long live machine/the future supreme.”  It comes across more as a commentary about how mankind has allowed technology to become its new God.  That is evidenced in the song’s second verse in which he sings, “Plug into me, I guarantee devotion/Plug into me and dedicate/Plug into me and I’ll save you from emotion/Plug into me and terminate/Accelerate, utopian solution/Finally cure the Earth of man/Exterminate, speeding up the evolution/Set on a course, a master plan/Reinvent the earth inhabitant/Long live machine/the future supreme/Man overthrown/Spit out the bone.”  It comes across as saying man’s reliance on technology and devotion to technology will eventually turn man into machine.  It comes across as a sarcastic, yet still very biting commentary in its own right.  Again, when this content is coupled with the song’s musical content, the whole of the song stands out even more.  It is hardly the last song that could be cited in exhibiting the importance of the album’s lyrical content.  ‘Dream No More,’ ‘Confusion’ and ‘Am I Savage?’ could each be cited in exhibiting the importance of the album’s lyrical content along with the rest of the album’s songs.  All things considered, the album’s lyrical content proves in whole to be just as important to its presentation as its musical arrangements.  Even as important as its musical and lyrical content proves to be, these two elements are not the album’s only important elements.  The bonus third disc included in the album’s extended edition is just as important to note as its musical arrangements and lyrical content.

Both the musical arrangements and lyrical content presented throughout HardwiredTo Self-Destruct are key to its overall presentation.  The musical arrangements take listeners to the band’s earliest days as well as its present and even future.  The album’s lyrical content addresses a variety of topics including celebrity, people who make themselves martyrs, and much more.  While both elements are clearly important to the album’s overall presentation, they are not its only important elements.  The bonus third disc included in the album’s extended edition is just as important to note in examining its presentation as the previously noted elements.  The disc features four more songs including a medley of Ronnie James Dio covers in the form of ‘Ronnie Rising Medley’ and ten live songs.  The studio songs bring the album’s total song count to 16.  That is counting the medley as one big song.  The live songs, recorded during the band’s 2016 – ’16 tour are important in their own right both because of the songs that are featured and the band’s performance thereof. The live songs featured in the record’s bonus disc are some of the band’s most beloved classics.  They include’ ‘Hit The Lights,’ ‘Ride The Lightning,’ ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls’ and plenty of others.  They are so important to note because they are a perfect fit with the album’s new studio tracks, which themselves lift from every era of the band’s life.  The band’s performance of the songs is just as impressive because of its energy throughout each song.  The band hasn’t lost even all these years later.  It is still just as enjoyable to experience here as it was when the featured songs were still new.  If that isn’t enough for audiences, the fact that the performances sound so good adds even more enjoyment to their overall presentation.  The proverbial cherry on top for the live recordings is that save for just one performance—‘Hardwired’ recorded live at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN—each of the songs featured here were all recorded at the same place, Rasputin Music in Berkeley, CA on April 16, 2016.  So rather than just having a group of random recordings, audiences get nearly a full live recording on this disc along with four bonus studio recordings.  It is a great finishing touch to an album that already stood out on its own musical and lyrical laurels.  When it is set against those elements, the whole of the elements leaves no question that HardwiredTo Self-Destruct is Metallica’s best effort to date and that it is one of 2016’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

HardwiredTo Self-Destruct is Metallica’s best new album to date.  It is also one of this year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.  That is evidenced through musical arrangements that will take listeners throughout the band’s body of work.  Its lyrical content is just as certain to leave listeners thinking and talking.  The bonus disc included in the album’s extended edition adds even more enjoyment to the record’s overall presentation with its four extra studio recordings and ten expertly produced and engineered live recordings.  The live recordings will entertain audiences not just because of how well they were handled but also because they run the gamut just as much as the songs presented in the album’s main body.  The band’s performance of the songs is just as important to note in their enjoyment, too.  Each element noted in this review is important in its own right to HardwiredTo Self-Destruct.  All things considered, they make this record the band’s best work to date and one of the year’s top new hard rock and metal offerings.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on the album is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.metallica.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/metallica

 

 

 

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.

Metallica To Mark New Album Release With “Blackened Friday” Events

Courtesy: Blackened Records

Courtesy: Blackened Records

The countdown to “Blackened Friday” is on.

Next Friday, 100 independent record stores across America will open their doors at midnight, giving audiences the chance to pick up Metallica’s new album HardwiredTo Self Destruct early.

The album is the band’s first new studio effort in eight years.  The select stores will carry not only the band’s new album but also prizes and lots of limited edition, exclusive items that will be given away free with purchase of the band’s new album.

On Friday, other independent record stores around the nation will join the festivities with their own special events.  Those events will include music and giveaways of limited edition items.

Items are all available only while supplies last.  So, audiences are encouraged to contact their local independent record store for more details on “Blackened Fridays” events.

HardwiredTo Self Destruct will be available on a variety of platforms including CD, vinyl, digital deluxe, and deluxe box.  It can be pre-ordered online now.  Greg Fidelman produced the album.  He also engineered Death Magnetic (2008), the band’s last album.

More information on “Blackened Friday” events is available online here.

More information on Metallica’s new album is available online now along with the band’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.metallica.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/metallica

 

 

 

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.