Louder Than Life Lineup Finalized

Courtesy: Danny Wimmer Presents/Ashton-Magnuson Media

The 2021 Louder Than Life festival will go on.

The event’s organizers announced the lineup and performance times for the festival Tuesday through a news release. The event, now in its sixth year, has expanded to four days from three — Sept. 23-26 — and will feature performances from approximately 70 acts. Single-day and weekend tickets/passes are available here.

Metallica is one of the most notable acts for this year’s festival. The band is scheduled to perform two separate acts on two of the festival’s nights. Also scheduled to take one of the festival’s four stages at this year’s event are acts, such as Another Day Dawns, Disturbed, Korn, Mudvayne, Cypress Hill, and Pennywise.

Along with lots of music, this year’s festival will also feature lots of food and drunk. The Kroger Big Bourbon Bar is the most notable of the features of this year’s food and drink options. It will have more than a dozen hand-selected bourbons from top distilleries nationwide.

Food and drink from a variety and local and regional restaurants (all of which are noted below) will also be available for festival attendees.

502 Café, Angry Bird Grill, Bangarang Bahn Mi, Barrett’s BBQ, Barrett’s Burgers, Bistro Italiano, Blackbeard Espresso, Bru Bros Coffee, Burger Factory, Cheese Louise, Dank Nugs, Ehrler’s Ice Cream, Eli’s BBQ, Gary’s Philly Cheesesteaks, Gelato Gilberto, Hole Mole Tacos, Island Noodles, Jammin Concessions, Longshot Lobsta, Mac Attack, Merle’s Whiskey Kitchen, Mike’s Kentucky Kitchen, My Olympus Greek Food, Overloaded, Phat Daddy’s Creole, Pie Baby Wood Fired Pizza, Pizza Lupo, Potato Tornado, Ramiro’s Cantina, Shady Grove Wraps, Spicy Pie, Strawberry Field, The Cookie Lady, Tica’s Tacos, Tickle Pickle, and Tumbleweed.

Additional bourbon, food & beverage, and other experiences available onsite include:

·       Caduceus Wine Garden

·       The Blackened Bar

·       Jack Daniel’s No. 7 Sports Bar, where guests can enjoy NFL and college football games

·       Heavy Tiki Bar presented by Jim Beam

·       Budweiser Beer Garden

·       Jim Beam Garden

·       The Well– IV hydration, juice bar and overall wellness lounge to recharge all weekend long

·       Silver Dollar Hunter’s Club- featuring vintage bourbons dating as far back as the 1930s, as well as contemporary selections

·       Mortus Viventi – Live Tarot Card Readings

·       Jack’s Char Housepresented by Jack Daniel’s

·       Milagro Cantina Bar

·       Larceny Trailer Lounge

·       Tito’s Handmade Vodka VIP Airstream

·       The Speakeasy

·       Fxck Cancer / Dyin 2 Live Dreams Program

·       Pegasus Experiences Louisville’s Finest Distillery Experiences

·       Take Me Home

·       The Music Experience

Louder Than Life is put on by Danny Wimmer Presents. The festival’s partners are noted below:

Bud Light, Bud Light Seltzer, Kroger, Marriott, Crowne Plaza, Jack Daniel’s, Jim Beam, Elijah Craig, Bulleit Bourbon, Angel’s Envy, Larceny, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Evan Williams, Milagro Tequila, Sailor Jerry, Pegasus, ESP, Mortus Viventi, The Music Experience, Louisville Tourism, Kentucky Venues, Ehrler’s Ice Cream, The Well, TickPick, Fxck Cancer, Revolver, Inked, Blackcraft, Fanatics, Headcount, TWOLA and Take Me Home.

Details Announced For Roadie Relief’s Latest Auction

Courtesy: TAG Publicity

An organization aimed at helping tour crews impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic will continue its efforts with another special event.

Roadie Relief is scheduled to hold its second music memorabilia April 14. The auction will feature items, such as a cymbal used at Rage Against The Machine’s last show and signed by the band’s drummer Brad Wilk; a signed skate deck and posters from 311, and Gibson Les Paul guitar used by Bon Jovi guitarist Phil X for sale. The full list of items that will go up for auction is available to see complete with pictures here.

KISS guitarist Tommy Thayer said in a prepared statement, road crews are crucial for the live music industry.

“Before I became the lead guitarist for KISS almost 20 years ago, I worked behind the scenes with Kiss on and off the road,” he said. “I have a unique perspective and appreciation for how hard our crew works day in and day out. I’ve been there.”

311 bassist Aaron “PNUT” Wills offered his own warm words about the work that roadies do for the live music industry.

“I’ve been a touring musician for over twenty eight years and roadies have made it possibly at every step of my career,” said Wills. “Roadies are free spirits who solve a myriad of problems daily while out on the road. I donated cause I love talking to awesome people and I thought it could motivate our audience to dig deep and help our industry get back on its feet.”

More information on Roadie Relief’s forthcoming auction is available along with all of its latest news at https://www.roadrierelief.org.

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

Lord’s New Record Is A Covers Compilation That Is Actually Worth Hearing

Courtesy: Dominus Records

Independent rock band Lord released its latest record this week.  Its new covers compilation, Undercovers Vol. 1 released Friday through Dominus Records.  The 23-song (yes, 23 songs) comes less than a year after the trio released its then latest EP, Chaos Raining, and approximately two years after the release of its then latest new album, Fallen Idols.  This latest compilation stands out from so many other compilations already released this year in part because of its featured songs.  This will be discussed shortly.  The band’s take on the songs makes for its own share of interest and will be discussed a little later.  The songs’ sequencing puts the finishing touch to the record’s presentation.  When this element is considered along with the other noted items, the record in whole proves that while it is largely a space filler between albums, is still a positive addition to Lord’s catalog.

Lord’s new covers compilation, Undercovers Vol. 1 is a positive new presentation from the longtime independent hard rock band.  The record’s appeal comes in large part through its songs.  The songs are important to note in that they are not just a bunch of songs that the band recorded specially for this compilation.  Rather, they are mostly covers that the band has recorded throughout its life and has only now made available together.  Simply put, they were brought together as a way to entertain the band’s fans in lieu of a live recording and even new live dates while promoters and venue heads decide their next steps for live music.  They are not just some random space-filler used to appease contractual obligations.

Bassist Andy Dowling explained the songs’ collection during a recent interview.

“Covers have been a big love of ours since the early days of Dungeon right up to and including now,” said Dowling. “Over the years in Lord these tracks have ended up on limited edition releases, bonus tracks in isolated parts of the world and other weird and wonderful places. These songs have been scattered over so many different places that even we struggle ourselves to remember where on earth all of these songs can be found.” 

“While bands around the world continue to navigate these uncertain times, we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to release this collection of cover songs, as well as new recordings, to keep the LORD machine moving while we continue to write new music,” he added. 

Additionally, Dowling pointed out that two of the songs featured in the compilation —  Savage Garden’s ‘To the Moon and Back’ and Judas Priest’s ‘Reckless’ – were the only songs specially recorded for the compilation.  Those two songs are only a small portion of the 23 (yes, 23) total songs featured in this recording, and are important because they are a highlight of the diversity in the collection.  The band also took on The Police (‘Message in a Bottle’) here, as well as songs from Bon Jovi, Helloween, Metallica, and Little River Band just to name a handful of other acts featured in the compilation.  The short and simple is that the bands covered here come from a wide range of genres.  From hard rock –Metallica, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Anthrax – to classic rock – Little River Band – to 80s hair rock – Bon Jovi – to prog – Queensryche, Symphony X – to mainstream pop and rock – The Police, Savage Garden – Lord takes on music from so many influences.  That diversity in the bands and music featured here helps to build the band’s reputation and at the same time, perhaps even introduce audiences to music to which they might not have otherwise listened.  If for no other reason, that diversity in the bands and songs will keep audiences engaged and entertained.  It is of course just one of the elements that make this recording so interesting.  The band’s performance of said songs adds to the record’s interest.

Lord’s take on The Police’s ‘Message in a Bottle’ is just one example of the importance of the band’s performances.  Lord’s take on the classic song is interesting in that while it stays largely true to its source material, it essentially amps up that original in a sort of 80s power metal style work.  That updated take — complete with machine gun-fast bass drum work, melodic guitar lines, and operatic vocals – shows that the song strangely enough works just as well in this case as in the original presentation.  It is not one of those woks that hits listeners in its first listen, either.  Rather, it will grow on listeners with each listening, highlighting its longevity.

The band’s take on a-ha’s ‘The Sun Always Shines on TV’ is yet another example of the band’s performances here.  In the case of this performance, the band has opted more for an 80s hair metal style performance that makes for quite the contrast against a-ha’s keyboard-driven original composition.  There is the slightest touch of a power ballad early on in the original composition, what with the string arrangement, but that soon gives way to the band’s more familiar new wave approach, which is more present throughout the song.  Lord’s take on the song, as noted, is more of an 80s hair power ballad type work.  It gives a-ha’s original quite the unique new identity in this case with its amped up take on the song.  Where it ends up standing with listeners will be left for those audiences to decide.  That aside, it definitely makes for its own interest. 

W.A.S.P. is another of the bands whose work is covered in this compilation.  In this case, Lord took on the band’s hit song ‘Wild Child.’  In this case, the stylistic approach taken by Lord is largely the same as that of W.A.S.P.  The difference is that Lord’s cover is actually an improvement on the original.  It would seem here that is more due to the production.  The production makes the song sound so much fuller and richer here than the original.  It makes the song sound more modern with a throwback feel.  To that end, it is yet another example of the impact of the band’s performances here, and the importance thereof.  When it is considered along with the other performances noted here and the rest of the record’s featured performances, the whole of those performances makes for even more engagement and entertainment.  It is just one more example of what makes this compilation worth hearing.  The sequencing of the songs featured in this compilation rounds out its most important elements.

The sequencing of Undercovers Vol. 1 is important to examine because of its role in the record’s general effect.  The record starts in contemplative fashion with its cover of Savage Garden’s ‘To the Moon and Back’ but very quickly after, it picks up with its take of Iron Maiden’s ‘Judas Be My Guide.’  It is not even until the record reaches its midpoint in its take of Cutting Crew’s ‘(I Just) Died In Your Arms’ that the album’s energy even remotely pulls back.  From that point on, the compilation’s energy remains relatively high, even as the band takes on what are some otherwise reserved songs.  Even in those cases, the band manages to amp up those songs, including their energies.  So overall, the sequencing ensures that the album’s energy remains relatively high throughout its 100-minute (one hour, 40 minute) run time.  That the record’s energy remains relatively high, and even gives a break point roughly halfway through ensures that the record will run fluidly throughout, ensuring even more, listeners’ engagement and entertainment.  When that certain engagement and entertainment is considered with the impact of the band’s unique performances and the variety of songs featured here, that whole makes the compilation overall, its own standout presentation.  Add in the fact that this compilation marks the first time that the band has ever united the previously recorded covers in one setting, and the compilation gains even more appeal.  It shows that this was not just some randomly recorded presentation used to appease contractual obligations.  Between this and everything else noted, the record in whole proves to be a covers collection that is actually worth hearing.

Lord’s new covers compilation Undercovers Vol. 1 is an interesting presentation that rockers and even pop music fans alike will find worth hearing at least once.  That is due in part to the songs featured in the recording.  The band does not just take on a bunch of hard rock and metal songs here, though there are a lot of those songs featured here.  The band also takes on songs from pop and pop rock acts, such as Savage Garden, The Police,  a-ha, and even Kylie Minogue.  That variety in itself makes for reason enough to hear this presentation.  That only two of the songs featured here were specially recorded for the compilation shows that this was not just some randomly thrown together presentation that was made to appease any contractual obligations for the band.  Rather, it was a way for the band to bring together so many of the covers that it has recorded over the course of its life.  That makes the presentation more special in itself.  The band’s performance of the featured covers makes for its own appeal.  That is because they give those originals their own unique identities from one to the next.  The songs’ sequencing rounds out the most important of the compilation’s elements.  That is because it ensures the record’s pacing remains stable throughout while also constantly giving listeners something interesting rather than redundant.  Each item noted here is unquestionably important in its own way to the whole of the compilation’s presentation.  All things considered, they make the record a work that despite being a covers compilation, still a presentation that is worth hearing, and at least once at that. Undercovers Vol. 1 is available now through Dominus Records.

More information on Undercovers Vol. 1 is available along with all of Lord’s latest news and more at:




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Metallica’s ‘S&M2’ Will Appeal Mostly To The Band’s Most Devoted Fans

Courtesy: Rhino/Blackened Recordings

Veteran hard rock band Metallica recently made headlines when its members announced they were working on new music.  The announcement came only months after the band released its latest live recording, S&M2.  The recording features a performance held by the band and the San Francisco Symphony.  The extensive concert was a two-night performance by the band and orchestra that marked the anniversary of the band’s original April 1999 performance with the collective, and of the opening of the symphony’s new Chase Center.  The recording likely will find itself appealing mainly to the band’s most devoted audiences.  That is due in part to its set list, which will be discussed shortly.  That the concert was released through various, separate platforms actually makes the recording appealing to a very targeted audience, too.  This will be discussed a little later.  The one positive on which all audiences can agree is the recording’s production.  It will be discussed later, too.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the recording.  All things considered, they make S&M2 a presentation that Metallica’s most devoted audiences will find more appealing than general audiences.

Metallica’s latest live recording S&M2 is a presentation that will appeal mostly to the band’s most devoted fans.  That is proven in part through its set list.  The 24-song set list is largely the same as that featured in the band’s 1999 recording S&M.  Rather than adding in some deep cuts, such as ‘The God That Failed,’ ‘King Nothing,’ or ‘Dream No More,’ the band largely played it safe here, essentially just cutting and pasting.  To the set list’s defense of course, there are four new songs that are likely among the songs that the band members announced it is working on for its next album.  There are also some relatively well-known classic compositions that will entertain audiences during a break by the band.  The compositions are performed by the members of the symphony.  But again, save for those compositions and the four new tracks, the rest of the concert’s set list is essentially a copy and paste from the 1999 show.  To that end, yes, the four new songs are motivation, but general audiences will find it potentially not enough motivation considering that they and the classical compositions are really the only changes to the set list.  It is just one of the concerns raised by the recording.  The varied platforms on which the concert was released add their own concerns.

When S&M2 was released, it was done so on a wide range of platforms.  There is the standard, least expensive 2CD platform; the standalone Blu-ray platform, the slightly more expensive 2CD/DVD platform and even a combo pack.  Considering all of the platforms on which the concert was made available, outlets, such as Target and Walmart only made the standard 2CD platform available in stores.  Audiences who wanted to hear and see the concert in full have to order the Blu-ray platform and 2CD/DVD combo pack.  That means spending extra money on shipping and handling as well as sales tax versus just paying a little bit of extra sales tax in store.  To that extent, it decrease motivation to purchase the full concert unless one is, again, among the most devoted fans of Metallica.  Considering that most major retailers are charging a maximum of approximately $15 for the Blu-ray, one cannot help but wonder why that was not made available in store along with the 2CD set or even in place of that set.  To that extent, the multiple platform availability of the recording does seem like a positive on the surface, but looking at the costs and availability in store versus online, it actually becomes more of a concern.  Together with the limitation in new material in the concert, again, general audiences become even less motivated to purchase this recording.  For all of the concerns that are raised by the concert’s set list and its availability, one positive can be noted of the recording.  That positive is its production.

Audiences who watch the full audio-visual presentation on Blu-ray or DVD will agree that the audio was balanced well in post production.  There have been some complaints about the 5.1 surround sound, but odds are the people who raised those concerns had their TVs improperly set up.  Many TVs are created nowadays so that audiences need just set their TVs to surround sound setting and they can enjoy the concert’s audio for live setting.  In the same breath, the cinematography is impressive in its own right.  Considering the construction of the symphony’s new facility, the cameras had to be adapted.  Audiences are often presented with wide angle shots, and even right up on stage with the band.  The transitions are stable from one to the next while the shots themselves give a positive view of just how expansive the concert hall is.  The cinematography also does well to capture the impact of the lighting, which helps to set the mood for the concert.  Keeping all of this in mind, those responsible for capturing the performance in person and in post production are to be commended for their work.  That is because it provides home viewers the best seat in the house and fully immerses those audiences in the concert experience.  Keeping that in mind, this is the one true saving grace for S&M2.  Together with the concert’s honestly limited set list and equally limited availability, it serves to make this presentation appealing mainly for the band’s most devoted audiences.

Metallica’s latest live recording S&M2 is an intriguing new presentation from a group that is one of the most respected bands in the music industry today.  It is a presentation that will appeal mostly to the band’s most devoted audiences.  That is due in large part to the concert’s set list.  The set list is a near mirror image from the band’s 1999 recording S&M save for four new tracks and a small handful of well-known classic compositions. That the band and its label made the concert available only in its 2CD platform in stores, and made the rest of its platforms available online only detracts even more from its appeal.  Had the standalone Blu-ray and/or the 2CD/DVD platform been made available in store, that might have helped the recording’s appeal at least somewhat, but that did not happen.  To that end, that division detracts even more from the recording’s presentation.  The one saving grace to this recording is its production.  Those who recorded the concert in person and those who handled its post production are to be commended for their work.  It gives home audiences the best seat in the house.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the recording.  All things considered, S&M2 proves to be a presentation that will appeal most to Metallica’s most devoted fans.  It is available now.

More information on S&M2 is available along with all of Metallica’s latest news at:

Website: http://www.metallica.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/metallica

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

Hammerfall Drops The Hammer On 2020’s Top New Live Recordings List

Courtesy: Napalm Records

Live music and live music venues took a big hit this year thanks to the global COVID-19 pandemic.  That goes without saying.  Music acts and venues from the independent level all the way up to the big names were force to put their live music plans on hold indefinitely as a result of the pandemic.  However a glimmer of hope rose this week when Live Nation head Joe Berchtold was quoted by major media outlets as saying that he believed live music would return by summer 2021.  One can only hope that Mr. Berchtold is right, and that when it does return, audiences will welcome its return rather than let the germaphobes control their minds.  Until then, audiences do have lots of live music to enjoy on CD, DVD and Blu-ray that was released this year.  Hammerfall released its latest live recording Live! Against The World this year.  Dream Theater also dropped its new live recording Distant Memories: Live in London.  Metallica even celebrated the anniversary of its landmark S&M show with the release of S&M2.  These are just some of the recordings that made Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 New Live Recordings.  They were joined by new live material from the likes of Myrath, The Rolling Stones, and Kamelot.

As with each list from Phil’s Picks, this collection features the Top 10 new titles in the given category and five additional honorable mention titles for a total of 15 titles.  Without any further ado, here is Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 New Live Recordings.


  1. Hammerfall – Live! Against The World
  2. Jimi Hendrix – Live in Maui
  3. Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra – A Swingin’ Sesame Street Celebration
  4. Def Leppard – London to Vegas
  5. The Rolling Stones – Steel Wheels Live
  6. Devin Townsend – Order of Magnitude: Empath Live Volume 1
  7. John Lee Hooker – Live at Montreux 1983 & 1990
  8. Waylon Jennings – The Outlaw Perrformances
  9. Myrath – Live in Carthage
  10. Kamelot – I Am The Empire Live from the 013
  11. Dream Theater – Distant Memories: Live in London
  12. Metallica – S&M2
  13. Delta Rae – Coming Home To Carolina
  14. Bush – Live in Tampa
  15. Dee Snider – For The Love of Metal

Up next from Phil’s Picks is one of the last three music categories of the year, Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 New Rock Albums.  After that will be the year’s top new hard rock & metal albums, and then last but not least, the year’s top new albums overall.  From there, it’ll be on to the DVDs and Blu-rays in all of their categories.  Stay tuned for all of that.

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.  

Metal Rock Films’ New Thrash Metal Retrospective Will Resonate With Thrash, Metal Aficionados

Courtesy: Metal Rock Films

Throughout their rich histories, the rock and metal communities have seen a lot of “hot spots” develop across America.  Seattle, during the 90s was the hub for the burgeoning “grunge” scene.  Atlanta, for decades has been its own hub for so many kinds of rock  and metal.  Sevendust calls Atlanta home as do the like of Stuck Mojo, The Black Crowes, and Mastodon.  New York City has often been known as one of the key cities (if not the key city) in which the hardcore punk movement started.  The San Francisco Bay area meanwhile is where the thrash metal scene got its start.  The Bay Area and the thrash scene that developed therein are the focus of the recently released independent “rock-umentary” Bay Area Godfathers.  Released Nov. 10 on DVD by Metal Rock Films, the 90 minute retrospective is a presentation that thrash metal fans will find worth watching at least occasionally.  That is proven in part through its central feature, which will be discussed shortly.  The pacing that results from the main feature’s presentation presented plays its own key part to the retrospective’s presentation and will be discussed a little later.  The bonus content that accompanies the main feature adds some appeal to the overall presentation and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Bay Area Godfathers.  All things considered, it is a presentation that serves as a good starting point in an examination of what is just one of metal’s many sub-genres.

Bay Area Godfathers is a presentation that thrash metal fans will find worth watching at least occasionally.  That is proven in part through the 90-minute program’s main feature.  The main feature follows the genre’s growth from its infancy in the early 80s to its growth in popularity in the late 80s.  Audiences learn through the presented history that the genre’s development was apparently somewhat unexpected.  That is because in the lat 70s and early 80s, pop, disco and other genres were still very prominent and popular in the San Francisco Bay area.  Even with those genres still being popular, audiences learn that there was a movement in the underground away from those more popular genres and acts and toward the heavier rock world.  The guerilla style presentation is not the spit-shined work that audiences might expect from say MTV, VH1 or ay of those well-known outlets.  The story is told through first hand accounts and stories of the musicians and bands that rose to popularity in the early days of thrash.  The interviews are captured with ordinary cameras.  There are no wireless microphones to amplify the speakers’ voices.  There is no editing to clean up the look and sound of the interviews.  They are presented wholly in a very distinct DIY fashion.  At the same time, the program is clearly segmented into specific portions (E.g. thrash’s early days, the division of punk and thrash, the growing popularity of thrash on rock radio and magazines).  That clear segmentation helps to keep viewers engaged and entertained throughout the course of the documentary.  Between this and the fact that the story is told mainly by those who were part of the genre’s evolution (in place of lots of third hand narration), and the video that helps tell the stories, this main feature in itself gives audiences quite a bit to appreciate.

While the main feature in Bay Area Godfathers mostly ensures viewers’ appeal, it is not a perfect presentation.  The pacing that results from the in-depth tale does suffer at points throughout the program.  While Bay Area Godfathers’ run time is listed at 90 minutes, there are times when it feels like it runs a little bit longer because of the pacing.  Whether that is due to the lack of that extra narration or maybe just a little bit too much in the way of anecdotes and stories is anyone’s guess.  Maybe it is the result of both of those elements.  Regardless, there are moments in the program that do feel as though they are dragging more so than at others.  Thankfully, that is not the case throughout.  That aside it is still noticeable, so it does detract from the documentary’s presentation at least to a point, just not enough to make the program fail.

Once audiences have made their way through the main feature of Bay Area Godfathers (or even before), they also have some bonus content to watch.  The documentary’s writing/directing/producing team of Bob Nalbandian and John Strednansky discusses favorite memories of the early days of the thrash metal scene in the bay area.  The men also share their thoughts on topics such as the impact of the scene on the overall metal community and why the pair even got started making its “Inside Metal” film series.  The history behind this aspect is interesting as it takes listeners briefly into the bigger history of the rock ad hard rock scene in California.  The discussion on the roots of the metal scene in the Bay Area in the early 80s shows the seriousness of the team’s dedication to the genre.  It is refreshing to hear from the men, that this was not just some pet project, but something that stemmed from their own love for the genre.  On a completely random note, as the men are talking (apparently in a hotel lobby) a figure walks to the elevators behind them in what looks like the outfit of the Kansas Jayhawks mascot outfit.  All that is visible from the camera angle is from the waist down, but it certainly makes for a funny moment as the mascot stands there pacing a little, waiting for the elevator as the men talk.  In discussing the favorite memories, Stradnansky talks about his first “Metal Monday” show, seeing Motley Crue and how that changed his life.  It is its own continued testament about the love that these men had for their project.  There are even discussions about favorite clubs, which adds to the discussions about the clubs featured in the documentary.  This enriches that aspect of the presentation even more.  Between this, so much more in the nearly 10-minute bonus and everything featured in the documentary’s main feature, this presentation proves itself a relatively entertaining and engaging presentation for thrash and metal aficionados in general. 

Metal Rock Films’ recently released thrash metal retrospective Bay Area Godfathers is a presentation that rock and metal aficionados alike will find intriguing.  They will find it as a presentation that is worth watching occasionally.  That is proven in part through its main feature, which takes viewers back through the early history of thrash metal in the San Francisco Bay area.  The rich, in-depth story told in the main feature is presented largely through first hand stories and anecdotes from those who were part of the scene at the time.  Some are well-known names while others are less so, creating a rich starting point in the history of the genre.  For all of the content that the main feature offers audiences, there are some occasional issues with the feature’s pacing.  There are moments throughout the documentary in which the story feels like it slows down.  Thankfully those moments are not enough to derail the program.  The bonus content that accompanies the documentary’s main feature adds a little more enjoyment an engagement to the whole.  Together with everything in the main feature, the two elements join with the better elements of the program’s pacing to make the retrospective/history piece worth at least an occasional watch.  Bay Area Godfathers is available now.

More information on this and other titles from Metal Rock Films is available along with all of the company’s latest news at:




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.

Artilley Debuts New Single, ‘The Last Journey,’; Metallica Cover Accompanies Single

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Artillery is paying tribute to one of its own with its latest single.

The band kicked off the weekend Friday by debuting its new single, ‘The Last Journey.’ The song is a tribute to late Artillery member Morten Stutzer, who died in October 2019. The band announced last month that it was going to release the single, which features guest vocals from the band’s former front men, Flemming Ronsdorf and Soren Adamsen.

The band’s new single is an interesting new offering in part because of its musical arrangement. The arrangement takes a noticeably different turn from the band’s existing body of work. Instead of the heavy, guitar driven arrangements for which it has come to be known, this work instead takes elements of power metal and 80s hair metal to form its musical foundation.

On the surface, the combined elements again make for quite the intriguing presentation. Of course, considering that the song is a musical eulogy of sorts, it makes more sense that it would take a different approach from its existing works.

The song opens, stating, “I am looking at you for the last time/And I know you can’t stay/You are moving to a better place/So far away…Memories are strong/I never lose them/They can steal away your life forever/But they can’t steal your dreams/A dark cloud’s on my heaven/So far from me/Alone with you near me/The son runs deep/In my bones/Through the pain/I know you’re gone/But I will carry on.” Some of the lyrics here are slightly difficult to understand due to the manner in which the vocals are delivered, but the message is clear. The song’s second verse adds to the statement, with comments about “the loss of you” and more. Again, some of the lyrics are difficult to decipher sans lyrics to reference. Even with that in mind, enough is still understood along with the knowledge of the song’s lyrical theme, that the impact of the lyrical and musical content together is not lost.

‘The Last Journey’ is accompanied by a B-side, a cover of Metallica’s ‘Trapped Under Ice.’ This song is more along the lines of what audiences have come to expect from Artillery, stylistically speaking. Artillery’s take on the song stays true to its source material while also giving the composition a new kickstart with the more intense vocals and production.

The songs are available on vinyl in Europe and everywhere else digitally. The vinyl is available in three pressings, noted below.

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

Both songs were produced and recorded by Soren Andersen at Medley Studio. 

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




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Black Tree Vultures Debuts ‘The Unforeseen’ Lyric Video

Courtesy: Asteria Entertainment/BTV Records

Black Tree Vultures debuted the video for its new single over the weekend.

The band debuted the lyric video for its single ‘The Unforeseen‘ Sunday.  The song is the lead single from the band’s forthcoming EP III, which is scheduled for release Feb. 12, 2021.

The video’s debut came more than a week after the band debuted the song by itself.  The fully CG video features a woman making her way through a post apocalyptic setting, going to different settings, such as a church, a cold, wintery setting (that maybe is supposed to be London) and her own lair of sorts.

The musical arrangement featured in the new song is a heavy, no nonsense guitar-driven work that lends itself to comparisons to works from bands, such as Metallica, Stone Sour, and Megadeth.  Guitarist Aaron “Ham” Hammersley is to be applauded for his performance here. There is even a short run late in the song that sounds like it came right from one of Metallica’s classic albums.  Producer Will Maya (The Answer) is credited with helping the song have such a sharp, intense sound and impact.

Drummer Jono Smith’s time keeping and bassist James “Ched” Cheeseman add their own touch to the song while front man Celyn Beynon’s vocals at times echo the sound and style of Stone Sour/Slipknot front man Corey Taylor.  The whole of those parts alongside the guitars is a powerful first impression from the band.

The song’s lyrical theme is centered on the matter of a breakup, according to Beynon.

“This song started with the Chorus. “Ched” brought the riff to Aaron and Jonno and the song (though very different from what you hear today) grew from that,” he said. “Originally titled ‘Black Limousine’ the lyrical content was very different, but after a tough experience, I rewrote the lyrics to reflect this.”

“On a cloudy day on a Hill in North Dorset, amidst a break-up, I turned to a good friend for advice,” added Beynon. “They allowed me to view myself from the standpoint of someone else. In the song, I refer to a text or two I received in the middle of the break-up describing who I was and what I’d become. It made me realise that things are going to have to change and was a bit of a wakeup call! I think it’s important to write and draw from experience when it comes to music as it makes it genuine and people can connect with it.

Black tree Vultures is scheduled to release its single worldwide on Sept. 25.  .

More information on Black Tree Vultures’ new single and EP is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:




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Musical Arrangements, Production Save Orbit Culture’s New LP

Courtesy: Seek & Strike

Independent metal band Orbit Culture is working hard to make a name for itself within the bigger metal community.  The band released its new album Nija aug 7 through seek & Strike Records.  The 10-song album is a powerful entry that will appeal to the band’s target audience.  That is due in part to its musical arrangements, which will be addressed shortly.  Its lyrical themes do their own part to make the album appealing to the noted listeners.  The record’s production is just as much of note as its overall content.  When this item is considered along with the album’s content, the album in whole proves to be a presentation that the band’s target audience base will agree is worth hearing at least once.

Orbit Culture’s new album Nija is a strong new effort from the band that the group’s target audience base will appreciate.  That is due in no small part to the record’s collective musical arrangements.  From beginning to end of the 45-minute record, its riffs, seething vocal deliveries, bass and drums will appeal to a wide range of listeners.  Each arrangement exhibits touches of groove metal joined with death metal, thrash, and even a bit of black metal.  At the same time, there is also a hint of melodic metal and hard rock added to the mix for a result that is truly interesting.  The heavier arrangements will appeal to fans of bands, such as Whitechapel, Humanity’s Last Breath, and Gojira.  The album’s more melodic moments, such as in ‘Open Eye’ and ‘See Through Me’ take listeners in a completely different direction.  ‘Open Eye’ conjures thoughts of early Metallica at various points while the whole of ‘See Through Me’ is more of a metalcore presentation.  In the exact same breath, there are plenty of other moments in ‘Open Eye’ that are more akin to the noted heavier acts.  The two elements are very well-balanced here and make for quite the interesting composition.  ‘Sun of All’ is another of those arrangements in this record that balances the noted death and black metal elements with a distinct melodic hard rock sensibility.  It comes later in the record’s run.  The two sides are so well-balanced, too, that one can’t help but listen.  Add in the hypnotizing string arrangement and metalcore elements, and audiences get in this song what is musically, one of the album’s most standout moments.  It’s just one more way in which the album’s musical arrangements show their importance.  When it is considered along with the rest of the album’s arrangements (noted and not) the whole of the album’s musical body becomes a presentation that in itself makes the album well worth hearing.  For all that the album’s musical arrangements do for its whole, they are just one of the album’s notable aspects.  Its lyrical content is sure to generate its own share of interest among audiences.

The lyrical content featured throughout Nija is intriguing to say the least.  While the record’s musical arrangements guarantee far-reaching appeal, its lyrical content feels much more targeted with its dark, nihilistic overtones.  Case in point is the lyrical content featured in ‘North Star of Nija.’  The song’s lead verse states, “Combust/The opulence of all the human faults in flames/You’ve killed/But you see yourself for real in here/The serpent/Black god/The north star of Nija.”  The song’s second verse adds in, “Adjust the ornament/To fit the true king of our realm/You bow to a darker power that’s real in here…I’ve lived through some grey days/But I’ve never really given it a thought/How I live/How it’s feasting on me/How it’s taking me.”  The song’s third verse is just as heavy, stating, “I’m the leader of all that’s dead/I’m the crows that you witness next/I’m the leech that steals from the mother’s breast/I’m the serpent in Hell.”  The song goes on in similar fashion from here with the only real seeming glimmer of hope coming later in the line, “You’ll stay here for a long time/You’ll dry your tears from off your face/But you can’t look back now.”  Even that is questionable in its delivery.  It could be positive, but considering the next lines, it is difficult to say.  Ultimately the song ends with the line, “I’ve sent down the crows to Hell/To gather the bones of you/I’ve given the piece of skin/To the gods of the broken man/I am complete.”  So maybe, just maybe this is meant to send a sense of overcoming adversity.  It leaves even this critic bewildered.  Even with all of this in mind, that it has the potential to create so much discussion makes it stand out as just one example of what makes the album’s lyrical content important.  ‘Behold’ is another example of what makes Nija’s lyrical intriguing.

‘Behold’ comes across as a deeply introspective work in its own right.  Front man Niklas Karlsson sings in the song’s lead verse, “In the essence of the fire/I’m realizing that this is life now/I’ve tried so hard to keep this feeling/Of feeling sane/Mind and body/I tried so hard to keep the demons/The fallen society/The downfall of you and me/in the white halls we are searching.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “In the presence of the higher/The mesmerizing colors/I’ve tried so hard to find the healing/Being sane/Tired body/I tried so hard to keep the demons in me.”  At this point, it can be inferred that this is someone facing that age old battle with self.  Things don’t get much brighter from here.  As a mater of fact, the nihilism continues right to the end, with Karlsson stating in the end, “Death is certain/Nothing else more can be/No light in the tunnels of this force spinning wheel/The white robe ideal.”  Simply put, this is not the happiest of songs musically or lyrically.  It will appeal to a very targeted listener base.  Keeping that in mind, it is just one more way in which the record’s lyrical content proves its importance to its whole.  ‘Rebirth’ is just as nihilistic as ‘Behold’ and much of the album’s other songs in its lyrical presentation.

Much like ‘Behold’ and the album’s other songs, this is a work that will appeal to a very targeted audience.  That is because it is just as lyrically heavy as those works.  The song’s lead verse proves that as Karlsson sings, “My sun/It’s time to leave this world/It’s time to leave the daylight stream/It’s time to feel this rain/Through the fire hail/This is all I have to say/This is all that’s left of me/In this shell I’ve lived through Hell/Walking icy plains/I cannot take what this world gave me/I cannot live through this hell/I cannot take this life that I’ve been given/I’ve always sung the words and songs of death.”  Once again, things don’t get much brighter from here.  To that end, there is not a lot of need to go on from here about this song’s lyrical content.  Again, it is a presentation that will only appeal to a very targeted audience.  In other words, it’s one more example of why the lyrics play their own role in the bigger picture of Nija.  Needless to say the album’s lyrics require audiences to be in a very specific mindset in order to be appreciated.  To that end, whether it detracts from or adds to the album’s presentation all depends on the listener.  Regardless of which side one takes in that discussion, one thing on which everyone can agree is that the album’s production rounds out its most important elements.

The production of Nijia is important to note because it is that work that made the album sound so good.  As noted already, there is a lot going on throughout this record in terms of its arrangements.  There are moments in which the guitars and vocals roar alongside the bass and drums.  There are also moments throughout the album that are more controlled (for lack of better wording).  There are also moments in which both are incorporated into one song.  Regardless of which song is chosen, it can be said that the utmost attention to detail was taken throughout the album.  Each instrument is expertly coupled with its partners from start to end.  The result is a record that is worth hearing just as much as it is for the depth of the arrangements themselves.  Those two elements together make the album worth hearing even despite the issues raised by the album’s lyrical content.

Orbit Culture’s new album Nija is an intriguing offering from the independent metal outfit.  That is due in part to the record’s musical arrangements, which blend together so many different metal genres from one to the next and even within themselves.  They make the album worth hearing if only for themselves.  The album’s lyrical content poses a bit of a problem for its presentation.  That is because in looking at this aspect, it will appeal to a very targeted audience, unlike the album’s musical content.  Even with that in mind, the lyrical content does not detract so much from the album that it is not worth hearing.  The record’s production partners with the arrangements to make up for the problem posed by the album’s lyrical content.  The production and music work together to make Nija worth hearing at least among the metal masses.  It is available now through Seek & Strike Records.  More information on Nija is available along with all of Orbit Culture’s latest news and more at:




Website: http://www.orbitculture.com

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



Twitter: http://twitte.com/orbitculture




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The Sword Launches New “Live” Series

Courtesy: Cosa Nostra PR

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

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

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

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

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

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


June 9 – Houston, Texas @ Revention Music Center*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 26 – Baltimore, Md. @ MECU Pavilion*

June 27 – Pittsburgh, Pa. @ Stage AE*

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

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

July 2 – Wallingford, Ct. @ Oakdale Theatre*

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

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

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

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

July 10 – Philadelphia, Pa. @ The Met*

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

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

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

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

July 19 – Cincinnati, Ohio @ PNC Pavilion*


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

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

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


Website: http://www.theswordofficial.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Thesword


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