Stabbing Westward’s New EP Is A Welcome Surprise For The Band’s Fans

Courtesy: COP International

Stabbing Westward surprised fans Friday with the release of a new covers EP.  The four song record, Hallowed Hymns is an interesting presentation that will tide fans over while they wait for the band’s new album, Wasteland, which was scheduled for release this year, but has since been delayed until 2021.  The record proves itself as appealing as it is in part because of its featured covers.  This will be addressed shortly.  The arrangements connected with the chosen songs.  This will be addressed a little later.  The record’s production rounds out its most important elements and will also be examined later.  All three elements are important in their own way to the whole of the EP.  All things considered, they make the record an enjoyable musical treat for Stabbing Westward’s fans and for industrial rock and metal fans alike.

Stabbing Westward’s surprise EP Hallowed Hymns is a pleasantly surprising musical treat for audiences.  That is proven in part through the record’s featured songs.  The EP is composed of three covers and a remix of one of the covers.  The covers are that of The Cure’s ‘Burn,’ which was featured in the soundtrack to the movie The Crow, Ministry’s ‘(Every Day Is) Halloween,’ and Echo and the Bunnymen’s ‘The Killing Moon.’  Stabbing Westward’s “Devil’s Night Mix” of ‘Burn’ rounds out the record.  ‘Burn’ marked the second time that The Cure was connected to The Crow.  The first was when another of the band’s songs – ‘The Hanging Garden’ – had its lyrics featured in the comic book that spawned the movie.  That the movie’s creative heads would think enough of the band’s music and that connection to include a new song for the movie’s soundtrack is a statement in and of itself.  While ‘Burrn’ was not one of the main singles from The Crow’s soundtrack, it still has stood the test of time in its own right.

‘(Every Day Is) Halloween’ stands on its own merits.  It has been highly respected by Ministry’s fans and goth fans alike.  It, along with it’s a-side companion ‘All Day’ has become a fan favorite, too.

Moving on to ‘The Killing Moon,’ the song is considered by the band’s fans as its greatest song of its catalog.  It also proved to be one of the band’s highest-charting singles.  It reached #7 in Ireland, #9 in the UK and #12 in New Zealand.  It has also been featured in the soundtracks for famous movies, such as Donnie Darko, The Girl Next Door, and Grosse Point Blank.  In other words, this song has stood the test of time just as much as its counterparts also featured in this EP.  Simply put, between this record and the EP’s other featured works, Stabbing Westward has chosen here, a selection of songs that is well-known and beloved by the fans of the bands that crafted the works.  They are not unknown works.  To that end, they in themselves will ensure listeners’ engagement and entertainment.  They by themselves are just part of what makes the EP work as well as it does.  The band’s take on the songs adds its own interest to the record.

Stabbing Westward’s take on ‘Burn’ largely stays true to its source material.  A side-by-side shows that the only real difference between the renditions is that Stabbing Westward’s version just adds the band’s signature touch to the song.  That touch is the keyboard-driven approach that has made Stabbing Westward’s songs so unique within themselves and in comparison to other industrial/electronic rock acts out there.  This is certain to appeal to fans of The Cure because Stabbing Westward did not try to alter the song from its original form too much while also giving the song a nice added touch.

In comparison, the “Devil’s Night Mix” of ‘Burn’ gives the song even more of an extra punch.  Once again, the song stays largely true to its source material.  What is different in this case is that the band increases the prominence of the keyboards and electronics even more than in its initial cover of The Cure’s original work.  It’s something that audiences will appreciate even more.

Stabbing Westward’s take on ‘(Every Day Is) Halloween’ is another interesting presentation.  While it does stay somewhat true to Ministry’s original composition, the band’s influence is far more noticeable here than in the original work.  What’s more, Stabbing Westward’s cover is shorter than Ministry’s song by almost two whole minutes.  Just as noticeable is that the record scratching (very much a hip-hop element) that was so prominent in Ministry’s original work is nonexistent in Stabbing Westward’s update.  Odd as it may seem, that element actually adds to the song.  It is especially audible in the original song’s bridge.   Keeping all of this in mind, it is not to say that Stabbing Westward’s take is bad.  That is not the case at all.  It just is likely to split audiences even as enjoyable as it is.  In this critic’s ears, it is enjoyable.  It just has a unique identity separate from its source material.  That in itself makes the song worth hearing.

Examining the cover of Echo & the Bunnymen’s ‘The Killing Moon,’ that song may be well-known among audiences, but this is a case where Stabbing Westward actually improved on the original.  The addition of the keyboards and electronics here gives the original song a much fuller presentation.  Audiences will largely agree, too.  All things considered, the covers featured in this recording make for plenty of reason for audiences to hear the EP.  They collectively are not the last of the EP’s notable elements.  The EP’s production rounds out its most important elements.

The production that was used in this surprise record is so important especially because this is a covers compilation.  Those behind the glass had to make sure that the elements of the original compositions were well-balanced with the elements that have made Stabbing Westward’s work so familiar throughout the years without losing either along the way.  The efforts that went into achieving that goal paid off, too.  It brings out the best of both worlds, as audiences will hear for themselves, to the result that the overall product’s presentation is completely rounded out.  When the production of Hallowed Hymns is considered along with the featured songs and arrangements, the whole of the EP becomes a welcome musical treat for any Stabbing Westward fan and any fan of the featured bands whose works are covered.

Stabbing Westward’s new EP Hallowed Hymns is a presentation that is certain to tide over audiences waiting for the band’s next full-length studio recording, which is expected for release in 2021.  That is due in part to the songs that the band covered in the record.  They are relatively well-known each in their own right.  The band’s take on each song stays true to the source material while adding its own trademark touch to the works.  The production that was used in melding the works brought out the best of both worlds.  Each element noted is important in its own way to the whole of the EP.  All things considered, they make the EP a pleasant musical Halloween treat for audiences.

More information on Hallowed Hymns is available along with all of Stabbing Westward’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.stabbingwestward.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/stabbingwestward

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/stabbingwestward

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Stabbing Westward Releases Surprise Halloween-Themed EP

Courtesy: FR-PR

Stabbing Westward is giving audiences its own special Halloween treat.

The band released a new covers collection Friday. The four-song EP, dubbed Hallowed Hymns, takes on covers of songs from The Cure (‘Burn’, from the soundtrack to the movie The Crow) Ministry ((‘Every Day Is) Halloween,’) Echo and the Bunnymen (The Killing Moon), and a remix (The Devil’s Mix) of one of ‘Burn.”

Front man Christopher Hall discussed the EP’s release and other items in a prepared statement.

“2020 has been a shit year,” the statement reads. “We were supposed to release our new album and tour the U.S. to support it. But clearly that’s not happening. We know Halloween is different this year with no parties and no Trick or Treating so we wanted to give fans something special …. something that will help tie you over until we can release some new music.”

“We picked these three tracks because, for us, they represent the feeling of Halloween and they were very important songs during our early musical stages,” the statement adds. “If there were ever two bands that I would say most influenced Walter and I to form Stabbing Westward it would be Ministry and The Cure. From the earliest days of Ministry’s With Sympathy through the evolution of Twitch, they were the band that opened our minds and hearts to industrial music. To be able to reimagine these songs as Stabbing Westward while still trying to pay homage to the brilliance of the original versions was a terrifyingly fun adventure.

“We have been working on the album so hard for so long that it was really a joy to take a break and explore all these tracks had to offer,” the statement continues noting. “As often as you listen to your favorite songs it’s a totally different experience to take one apart and see how it was built. It gave me such an immense appreciation for what these amazing artists created—especially the Ministry track knowing how primitive the gear was that Al Jourgensen had to work with back then with none of the modern tools we take for granted today. He literally created new techniques in the studio that we still use today. He was light years ahead of his time. We hope you enjoy listening to these tracks as much as we have enjoyed recording them.”

Stabbing Westward’s new EP comes nine months after the release of the band’s latest recording, its new EP ‘Dead and Gone.’ The band is hoping to release its new album Wasteland in 2021.

More information on Hallowed Hymns is available along with all of Stabbing Westward’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.stabbingwestward.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/stabbingwestward

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/stabbingwestward

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Ministry Launches New Effort To Get People To The Polls

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records/

Ministry is doing its part to get people to the polls.

The band launched a new single called ‘Get Out And Vote 2020‘ Tuesday, along with a companion video. The video features a variety of images connected to this year’s general election, such as speeches made by Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and Mike Pence, as well as footage from the first presidential debate.

The new, thrash style song plays over the noted footage as front man Al Jourgensen reminds listeners to get to the polls in this year’s election in order to save the soul of the nation.

In related news, Ministry recently launched a new effort to get people registered to vote. The campaign encouraged any fans who were not registered to do so and earn a chance to win free Ministry memorabilia. Fans who were already registered also had the chance to win the noted memorabilia by taking part in the efforts to save the nation’s live music venues.

In even more related news, Jourgensen has curated a playlist of songs titled “The Soundtrack To Your Election” on Spotify that is composed of politically charged songs from a variety of acts.  The playlist includes and is not limited to Fear Factory’s ‘Linchpin,’ John Lennon and The Plastic Ono Band’s ‘Power To The People’ and Johnny Cash’s ‘The One on the Right Is on the Left.’

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

Websitehttp://www.ministryband.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/WeAreMinistry

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/WeAreMinistry

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.

Sami Doll Debuts ‘AN OM IE’ Video

Independent industrial rock act Sammi Doll debuted the video for its latest video this week.

Sammi Doll premiered the video for her debut single ‘AN OM IE’ Wednesday. Directed by Ron Underwood, the decidedly goth-style video features Sammi Doll in a variety of settings, each one presenting her in her goth look, black hair, makeup and attire.

Sammi Doll discussed the song’s video treatment in a recent interview.

“The video began as a concept of vignettes with director Ron Thunderwood,” she said. “I knew that I wanted to create something beautifully artistic and visually unsettling. We filmed the video over the course of four months due to quarantine restrictions, so we had the luxury of time to build on the characters. I really give my blood, insomnia, and tears to everything I do artistically and tend to think about the consequences later… but I knew I was committed when a frozen octopus from Seattle showed up at my front door…”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1R8qKZkfEo&feature=youtu.beCourtesy: TAG Publicity

The song’s musical arrangement features a stylistic approach that will appeal to fans of bands, such as Stabbing Westward, Gravity Kills, and Ministry. That is evidenced through the use the keyboards, electronic drums, and guitars.

The song’s lyrical theme is meant to be a social commentary, according to Sammi Doll.

“ANOMIE theory is the state of social disintegration,” she said. “We as a society, live within this theory; and we are our own worst enemy.”

‘AN OM IE’ is available to stream and download here.

More information on Sammi Doll’s new single and video is available along with all of her latest news at:

Website: http://sammidoll.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/SammiDoll

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.

Static-X Debuts ‘Dead Souls’ Video

Courtesy: Otsego Entertainment Group, LLC/TAG Publicity

Static-X debuted the video for its latest single this week.

The band debuted the video for its single ‘Dead Souls.’  The song is the fourth single from the band’s recently released album ProjectRegeneration Volume 1.  Its debut follows the debut of the album’s other singles ‘Bring You Down,’ ‘All These Years,’ and ‘Hollow.’

The band’s ‘Dead Souls’ video features a blindfolded woman in a forest setting seemingly controlling a masked figure in a city, who ends up capturing a man and bringing him to the forest for the apparent mystic.  The mystic ends up binding the man’s hands and leads him away as the video ends.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Dead Souls’ is an example of the change that Wayne Static displayed in his vocal performance style before his death as well as the approach to songwriting taken by Static’s band mates — Tony Campos, Ken Jay, and Koichi Fukuda since Static’s passing.  Ministry founder/front man Al Jourgensen provided a guest vocal performance for the song.

Campos discussed Jourgensen’s appearance on the song in a recent interview.

“This song has become one of my favorite tracks on the record,” said Campos.  “We had no intention on doing a video for it initially, but it came out so good, we had to do it.  I’m so grateful to Al Jourgensen for singing on the track with Wayne.  Ministry was a big influence on us, and I know Wayne would’ve been just as stoked as I am to have Al sing on one of our records.  I think the video fits the song really well.  It’s dark, creepy, with just a touch of humor.”

More information on Static-X’s new album, tour dates and more is available online now at:

 

Websitehttp://www.static-x.org

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/staticx

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/OfficialStaticX

 

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.

Blue Eyed Christ Debuts ‘Massive React’ Video

Courtesy: TAG Publicity/Distortion Productions

Blue Eyed Christ debuted the video for its new single this week.

The industrial/electronic rock act, founded by producer/engineer John D. Norten, debuted its new single ‘Massive React‘ Monday.  The song is the third single from the band’s latest album World on Fire.  Its debut follows the premiere of the videos for two other songs from the album, ‘World on Fire‘ and ‘America H.’

The song’s video takes a simplistic yet artistic approach in its presentation.  It crosses time lapse photography of people walking around in various city settings with footage of a single person running along various other backdrops.  Meanwhile, what is meant to look like glitches in a video surveillance camera are used to add to the video’s impact as it works to help translate the song’s lyrical message.

The song’s lyrical content puts forth a social commentary, also as with its predecessors, according to Norten.

“‘Massive React’ mixes a slick synth groove with processed guitars while tackling the effects that corporate greed, technology, and personal responsibility play within the world,” he said. “it was great having Jim Marcus (Go Fight, Die Warzau) on board to direct the video since we have a musical history reaching back to the 90s.”

As with the aforementioned singles, the musical arrangement at the center of ‘Massive React’ is another composition whose steady beat, electronics and vocals will appeal to fans of acts, such as Nine Inch Nails, Gary Numan, and Ministry.

World on Fire is available now through Distortion Productions.

More information on Blue Eyed Christ’s new single, video and album is available along with all of the act’s latest news at:

 

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/blueeyedchrist

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/BlueEyedChrist

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.

Ellefson Debuts New Compilation’s Lead Single; Unveils Initial Track Listing

Courtesy: Combat Records

Audiences got their first preview of Megadeth bassist David Ellefson’s new eponymous rock project this week.

The band — Ellefson (bass), Thom Hazaert (vocals), Andy Martongelli (guitar), Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (guitar), and Paolo Caridi (drums) — released the song ‘Wasted‘ Friday.  The song, a cover of the Def Leppard song, is the lead single from the group’s debut record, No Cover.

Ellefson’s cover of ‘Wasted’ features guest appearances from Frank Hannon (Tesla), Jacob Bunton (Mick Mars, Lynam), and Dave McClain (Ex-Machine Head, Sacred Reich).

The famed names featured on ‘Wasted’ are just some of well-known musicians and performers who make appearances on this record.  Also lending their talents to the album are equally well-known figures, such as Charlie Benante (Anthrax), Al Jourgensen (Ministry) and Gus G. (Firewind).

Along with debuting its lead single, Ellefson has also unveiled the initial track listing for No Cover.  The initial listing opens with a cover of Judas Priest’s timeless hit song ‘Freewheel Burning’ and also features covers of songs such as AC/DC’s ‘Riff Raff,’ Queen’s ‘Sheer Heart Attack’ and Billy Idol’s ‘Rebel Yell.’

The album’s initial track listing is noted below.  Two tracks are still TBA. Pre-orders are open now.

 

Tracklist:
1. Freewheel Burning (Judas Priest) ft. Jason McMaster, Gus G, Andy James, Dave McClain
2. Tear It Loose (Twisted Sister) ft. Eddie Ojeda, Dave McClain
3. Love Me Like A Reptile (Motorhead) ft. Doro Pesch, Greg Handevidt, Chuck Behler
4. Holiday in Cambodia (Dead Kennedys) ft. Charlie Benante
5. Rebel Yell (Billy Idol)
6. Wasted (Def Leppard) ft. Frank Hannon, Jacob Bunton, Dave McClain, Bumblefoot
7. Riff Raff (AC/DC) ft. Jason McMaster, Dave Lombardo
8. Nailed To The Gun (Fight) ft. Andrew Freeman, Russ Parrish, Jimmy DeGrasso
9. Not Fragile (Bachman-Turner Overdrive) ft. John Aquilino
10. Say What You Will (Fastway) ft. Troy Lucketta, Mark Slaughter
11. LOVE Machine (W.A.S.P.) ft. Dirk Verbeuren, Dave Alvin
12. Love Hurts (Nazareth) ft. Brandon Yeagley, Chuck Behler, Tyson Leslie
13. Sheer Heart Attack (Queen) ft. Bumblefoot, Doro Pesch, Charlie Benante
14. Sweet FA (Sweet) ft. Todd Kerns, Bumblefoot, Shani Kimelman
15. TBA
16. TBA
17. Auf Wiedersehen (Cheap Trick) ft. Al Jourgensen, Brandon Yeagley, Charlie Benante

Bonus Tracks
18. Eat The Rich (Krokus) ft. Dead By Wednesday

 

No Cover was co-produced by Ellefson, Hazaert, and Martongelli.  The record was engineered by Alessio Garavello, Matt LaPlant (Nonpoint, Lil Jon, Skindred) and John Aquilino.  Alessio and Garavello mixed the album alongside Randy Burns and others.

Ellefson talked about the record’s genesis in a recent interview.

“Before any of us started writing our own songs, we all began playing cover songs by our heroes during our formative years as musicians,” said Ellefson.  “So, it’s fun to go back in time and revisit those songs which helped us to become the artists we are today, especially when, ironically, many of those artists have now become peers and friends. During the process of recording some covers for B-Sides and bonus tracks for the upcoming Ellefson solo LP, Thom and I just said, “This is a blast, let’s just do a whole album of covers!” Literally, within 2 weeks, we had the songs recorded, and began calling our friends to join us, many of whom we had just performed with on the MEGA-Cruise back in October. From there, the album just fell into place.”

“A lot of our buddies have been playing covers and quarantine jams on the Internet during the pandemic, so this is really just an extension of that, but we took it the next level and actually recorded a full studio album,” he added.” We’ve been working remotely anyway, as we’re all over the Globe, so it was easy to incorporate some guests jumping in with some outstanding performances of their own. It’s been a really fun nod to making great music with our friends, who are kick-ass players, and many legends in their own right, which is the whole reason we got into this in the first place!”

Hazert expanded on Ellefson’s comments with his own thoughts.

“It’s all songs and artists that really mutually influenced both myself and David, especially a lot of early “Metal” and harder Classic Rock,” he said. “Some stuff I picked, some stuff he picked, but for the most part is was all artists that we both loved. What’s funny, as there’s a bit of an age gap, we were sometimes more influenced by different eras of the same bands. But it was really him saying, “Let’s do this song”, and me saying, “Yes!!! And let’s do this song.” And before we knew it, we had over 15 songs. And it’s a lot of album tracks, deep cuts, early tracks, stuff people might not expect, which was what was so fun.”

“It was also great that we were able to work in a lot of nods to David’s [Ellefson] history, getting Chuck Behler to play with us, bringing in original Megadeth guitarist Greg Handevidt to play on “Love Me Like A Reptile”, a song they used to play in cover bands together before they moved to LA (which we wrote about in More Life With Deth), and Randy Burns is going to mix a track or two,” added Hazert.  “As a singer, these are literally bands I’ve listened to, and covered all my life, and for me, getting to play with Eddie Ojeda, the Tesla guys, Charlie Benante, Jason McMaster, Mark Slaughter, etc, and sing these songs that mean so much to me. I mean, literally, the entire record is my bucket list of people I’d love to play with, and some of my favorite bands. So, it’s truly an honor to put together something so fun, and really as effortless as this was. It truly is a love letter to Rock N’ Roll, an homage to what made us, musically, who we are today.”

Ellefson resurrected Combat Records in 2017 as part of the EMP Label Group family.

Combat Records was a seminal punk and thrash record label in the 1980s.  Its doors closed in the mid-2000s after its catalog was absorbed by Sony Music.  Combat Records’ official relaunch took place in 2018.

Ellefson said in an interview in 2017, Combat Records would handle only new music because Sony has control of the label’s back catalog.

“…And to clarify, we do not own any rights to the Combat Records back catalog,” Ellefson stressed. “That is owned and controlled by Sony, and they have done a great job of curating it through other imprints. Combat Records will solely focus on new releases under the Combat banner. As always, thank you for your support and stay tuned for more details!”

More information on Combat Records, along with its latest news, is available online now

at:

Websitehttp://www.combatrecs.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/combatrecordsofficial

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/combatrecs

\

Ellefson is scheduled to release its debut full-length studio recording in spring 2021.  More information on Ellefson is available along with all of the group’s latest news at:

 

Websitehttp://davidellefson.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/davidellefson

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/ellefsondavid

 

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.

Ministry Launches Efforts To Get Fans Registered To Vote, Save Nation’s Music Venues

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records/

Ministry launched two new campaigns this week that also give fans the chance to get memorabilia from the band.

The first campaign is an effort to get people registered to vote and the second is a campaign to push for support for America’s independent music venues.  In the first campaign, anyone who is unregistered can do so here and sign up to receive alerts.  Once that’s done, those fans who register can email a picture of the confirmation page to unclealforpresident2020@gmail.com along with their mailing address.  The mailing address will allow the band to send the noted autographed memorabilia as long as supplies last.

Fans who are already registered to vote can still get a chance to get some Ministry memorabilia through the nationwide Save Our Stages effort.  Fan who want to help in that effort can sign the petition here to help save the nation’s independent music venues that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Once that is done, fans should take a screenshot of the confirmation page and email it to the noted already noted email address for a chance to get some autographed Ministry memorabilia.

In related Ministry news, band founder Al Jourgensen has curated a playlist of songs titled “The Soundtrack To Your Election” on Spotify that is composed of politically charged songs from a variety of acts.  The playlist includes and is not limited to Fear Factory’s ‘Linchpin,’ John Lennon and The Plastic Ono Band’s ‘Power To The People’ and Johnny Cash’s ‘The One on the Right Is on the Left.’

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

 

Website: http://www.ministryband.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/WeAreMinistry

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.

Static-X Opens 2020’s Second Half With One More Of The Year’s Top New Hard Rock & Metal Albums

Courtesy: Otsego Entertainment Group, LLC/TAG Publicity

More than 11 years have passed since industrial metal band Static-X released its last album, Cult of Static.  Fans’ wait for new material from the band will come to its end Friday with the release of Static-X’s new album Project Regeneration Volume 1.  The 12-song record takes previously unused vocals from the band’s late front man Wayne Static and crosses them with new musical arrangements from the band’s original lineup of Tony Campos (bass), Ken Jay (drums) and Koichi Fukuda (guitar) to make the final product.

That mix of new musical arrangements and unused lyrical content combines for a record that is sure to appeal to longtime fans and those less familiar with the band’s catalog alike.  Each item will be discussed here.  Also of note is the sequencing of those arrangements and lyrical themes.  This will also be discussed as part of this examination of Project Regeneration Volume 1.  When it is considered along with the album’s overall content, the whole of the record becomes a presentation that is without argument, a work that kicks off the second half of 2020 on a high note for the hard rock and metal community.

With the countdown to the end of 2020 officially on, it did not take long for the year’s first great heard rock and metal album to see the light of day.  That album comes from veteran industrial metal band Static-X.  The album – Project Regeneration Volume 1 — is a strong new offering from the original Static-X lineup of Tony Campos, Ken Jay, and Koichi Fukuda.  That is proven in part through the album’s musical arrangements.  The arrangements in question do show some links back to Static-X’s early days, but also shows a certain amount of creative growth from the band in whole.  The most prominent point at which the album reaches back to its early days comes early in the album’s 39-minute run time in the form of its lead single ‘Hollow.’  That song’s overall stylistic approach, with its steady bass drum beat, guitars and percussive vocal delivery style from enigmatic front man “Xero” immediately lends itself to comparison to Static-X’s breakout hit single ‘Push It,’ featured in the band’s 1999 debut album Wisconsin Death Trip.  ‘Terminator Oscillator,’ which comes shortly after ‘Hollow,’ but still early in the album’s sequence, is an example of the latter statement.  It shows that noted growth from the band, as it relies more on keyboards and electronics than much of what the band has offered audiences in its past albums.  It and a number of other songs featured in the album, rely more on keyboards and electronics than works from the band’s past albums.  The noted songs lend themselves to comparisons to works from other industrial and electronic acts, such as Frontline Assembly, Ministry, and Juno Reactor.  That is just as evident late in the album’s run in ‘Otsego Placebo’ and in ‘My Destruction’ as anywhere else in the album.  The sampling is there right alongside the keyboards and the band’s more familiar metal guitar riffs.  Now given, the band did go through multiple lineup changes over its initial run, so naturally stylistic changes were to be expected.  This record on the other hand takes much of the stylistic approach used in Wisconsin Death Trip and builds on said approach.  Musically speaking, that approach makes Project Regeneration Volume 1 Static-X’s best album to date.  Of course the album’s musical content is just one part of what makes it so engaging.  The record’s lyrical themes add their own share of interest to its presentation, too.

The lyrical themes presented throughout Project Regeneration Volume I are important to discuss because of the amount of ground that they cover.  From the personal to the peculiar (in a good way), audiences are offered quite a bit that will keep them engaged throughout.  One of the most notable of the album’s more personal lyrical themes comes late in the album’s run in ‘Bring You Down.’  The song comes across as being rather introspective as Wayne Static addresses a relationship that had apparently gone bad.  What situation is being addressed through the song’s lyrics is anyone’s guess.  That is especially considering how long Static’s vocals had been sitting unused.  That aside, it is a deeply personal work that will engage listeners.  Static sings in the song’s lead verse, “You were the one to be true/To be down/I was/Out of the black/You brought me/Into the light now/Now take your little pills/Headlong to overkill/Resent me/’Cause I represent what you hate/Don’t wait.”   He continues in the song’s second verse, “Bring me up until you bring me down/Take me to hell/Bring me back/I can’t tell/In the black and bring it back/I don’t wanna wait/So I’m gonna say this right now/I feel my mind is going/My discontent showing/And now I know, I know/I’ve got to bring you down.”  Obviously that last line, “I know/I’ve got to bring you down” is not Static saying he has to bring someone down, but rather, he is speaking sarcastically in a manner of speaking.  Everyone who knows about Static-X’s history can’t help but wonder if this had any relation to the band’s breakup or to something else.  Again, regardless, this content is certain to engage listeners and generate its own share of discussion among listeners.  It is just one example of what makes the lyrical content featured in Project Regeneration Volume 1 noteworthy.

‘Terminator Oscillator’ is another example of the key examples of the importance of this album’s lyrical content.  This song’s lyrics were penned by current front man Xero instead of Wayne Static.  While the song’s musical arrangement would be a good fit on Fear Factory’s 1997 remix album Remanufacture, the song’s lyrics are unique and quite intense.  The song’s lead verse states, “I am the senseless/The vicious/The wicked/Annihilate/Calculate/Devastate/Terminate/Obliterate/Incinerate/I am the vicious/Exterminate/Violate/Devastate/Decapitate/Assassinate/Exhilarate/I am the wicked.”  Its second verse, reads, “Suffocate/Desecrate/Devastate/Terminate/Obliterate/Disintegrate/I am the vicious/Exterminate/Violate/Devastate/Decapitate/Assassinate/Accelerate/I am the wicked.”  The song adds in its finale, “I want it/I need it/I’m gonna hunt you down/I am the senseless/The vicious/The wicked.”  Knowing that an oscillator is something that swings back and forth in a set pattern, and that a terminator is something that ends the operation of something, maybe this has something to do in the bigger picture, then, with maybe someone who apparently who has two distinct mindsets that are one.  Of course that likely is not precisely on point.  Being that this is such metaphorical (and intense) lyrical content, it is just as certain to generate its own share of interest among audiences, showing even more why the album’s lyrical content is so important to the whole of its presentation.  It is just one more example of what makes the album’s lyrical content so important.  ‘Something of my Own’ is one more example of what make the album’s lyrical content so important.

‘Something of My Own’ comes across as another personal commentary from Wayne Static, and is sure to keep listeners just as engaged as any of the album’s other songs.  Static, through his archived performance, sings in the song’s lead verse, “All my life a new beginning/All my life not understanding/All my life it’s you and me/And all my life we disagree/See through the dark/See through the light/See through the black and see through the white/And all night long/See through these shadows/All night long/You’re all that matters.”  He continues in the song’s chorus, “Leave me to burn/Out in the cold/Leave me to learn/Things on my own/I’ve been searching/Searching my soul/Looking for something of my own.”  He closes out the song in its second verse, singing, “Three years ago/I didn’t know her/Now she’s gone/I sit and wonder/What went wrong and couldn’t tell/And now I sit here/In my hell.”  It would seem that this has something to do with another relationship matter.  What’s interesting here is the power in the song’s musical arrangement.  The lyrics alone seem rather brooding, but the song’s musical arrangement makes the emotion anything but brooding.  Rather, it comes across as someone who is angry at one’s self for allowing a situation to reach the point at which it did.  It’s another interesting matter that will connect with a wide range of listeners even with its seemingly personal nature.  When it is considered along with the other noted lyrical themes and the rest of the album’s lyrical themes, audiences learn even more why the album’s lyrical content is just as important to its presentation as its musical content.  Music and lyrics taken into consideration together, they make for plenty of reason for audiences to take in this record.  They are just a portion of what makes the album worth hearing.  The album’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.

Project Regeneration Volume 1’s sequencing is important to note because of the aesthetic impact that it has on the album’s presentation.  From start to end of this record, the sequencing ensures that its energy remains at its highest point, barely letting up at any point.  The arrangements’ styles change slightly from one to the next, but even as they change, the album’s energy does not let up.  This means audiences will remain just as entertained and engaged through the stability in the album’s energies as through its arrangements and lyrical content.  To that end, the album wins for its aesthetics as much as for its overall content.  All things considered, the album in whole proves itself a strong return for Static-X and gives plenty of hope for Project Regeneration Volume 2, which is scheduled for release later this year.  Its release date will be announced soon.

Static-X’s new album Project Regeneration Volume 1, is the first great hard rock/metal album from the second half of 2020.  That is proven in part through the album’s musical arrangements, which echo some of the hints of the band’s past works but also show a certain amount of evolution from the band members, ¾ of which are the band’s original members.  The album’s lyrical content generates its own engagement and entertainment through its personal and otherwise themes.  Those themes will generate plenty of discussion among listeners as a result of that engagement and entertainment.  The album’s sequencing rounds out the most important of its elements.  It ensures that while the arrangements’ stylistic approaches change slightly from one to the next, the album’s energy never lets up too much.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album.  All things considered, they make Project Regeneration Volume 1 not only the first great hard rock/metal album of 2020’s second half, but one of the year’s top new hard rock/metal albums overall.

More information on Static-X’s new album, tour dates and more is available online now at:

 

Websitehttp://www.static-x.org

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/staticx

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/OfficialStaticX

 

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.

Blue Eyed Christ Continues To Cement Its Place In The Electronic/Industrial Realm With Its Latest LP

Courtesy: TAG Publicity/Distortion Productions

Electronic/Industrial music act Blue Eyed Christ released its latest album this spring.  The album, World on Fire is the fifth album from the act, founded by producer/engineer John D. Norten.   The 11-song record is a presentation that will appeal to any electronic/industrial aficionado.  That is due in part to the record’s overall musical content, which will be addressed shortly.  The album’s lyrical themes play into its appeal just as much as its musical arrangements.  They will be discussed a little later.  The album’s production and mixing round out its most important elements and will also be addressed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own right to the whole of the album.  All things considered, they make the album a presentation that holds its own in this year’s field of new electronic/industrial albums.

Blue Eyed Christ’s fifth full-length studio recording World on Fire is a presentation that fans of electronic and industrial music will find worth hearing at least once.  That is due in part to the record’s collective musical arrangements.  The arrangements in question are compositions whose use of electronics, keyboards, guitars and rums are easily compared to works from so many of BEC’s more well-known counterparts from the same world.  Among those most notable counterparts are acts, such as Nine Inch Nails, Gravity Kills and even Orgy.  One could also make comparisons to works from the likes of Ministry to a lesser degree.  The album’s lead single ‘America H’ is one of those works that likens itself to works from Nine Inch Nails.  This song, with its plodding bass line, drums and vocal delivery, make it most akin to Nine Inch Nails’ song ‘Down in It.’  At the same time, the harmonies in the vocals give it another touch that enriches the song even more.  ‘Take It To The Streets’ meanwhile features that noted comparison to works from Ministry.  The song’s arrangement stands apart from anything else on the record even with its stylistic approach. This arrangement sounds nothing like the album’s other works, what with its keyboards, string arrangements, electronics and news broadcast inserts.  Those broadcast snippets play directly into the record’s overall lyrical themes, which will be addressed a little later.  ‘The Wait Is Over,’ which comes late in the record’s run, is another example of what makes the record’s musical arrangements stand out as such an important collective part of the album.  This song’s arrangement is very rhythm oriented.  It takes Norten’s penchant for electronics and crosses that with actual drums – in this case what sounds like African drums – to make the song’s arrangement one of the album’s most unique presentations.  The whole of the arrangement is so controlled and subtle throughout even with all things considered.  The harmonies in the vocal deliveries adds its own touch to the whole and makes it that much more interesting.  It would be no surprise when and if this song becomes the album’s next single of one of its next singles.  It is that accessible in its musical approach and is just one of the album’s most accessible works.  ‘America H’ and ‘World on Fire’ are each accessible in their own right, too.  When they are considered along with this song and the rest of the album’s musical arrangements, the whole of the album’s musical presentation leaves no doubt why the musical aspect of World on Fire is so important to its overall presentation.  It is just one part of what makes this album an appealing presentation for electronic and industrial music fans.  The albums’ overall lyrical themes play their own part in that appeal, too.

The overlying lyrical theme of World on Fire is a social commentary.  Norten mentioned that in a recent interview.  He said of the album’s lyrical theme, “World on Fire is a loosely based concept album about the state of the world that combines the energy and political anthems of my first album mixed with the personal themes I’m also known for.  It’s the combustion of everything I’ve done on the first 4 albums. When I started writing it, I really didn’t realize how prophetic it would become as things continue to unravel and become more polarized and extreme; I thought I was writing an album about the dystopian world we live in, but then realized I was also writing a deeply personal album about the collective human experience. It’s about trying to make sense of everything being thrown at you and finding out where you fit in.”  Norten’s comments noted here are supported in part in the lyrics in ‘America H.’  He writes in the song’s chorus, “America/I want you/To lie to me/Or tell me what to do/It’s in your point of view/What you see/It’s what you choose/It’s in the lens that you use/That will make up your truth.”  Norten said of this (and the rest of the song’s content), “’America H’ is about sifting through the noise of the media and content we consume every day, how everything we surround ourselves with influences us,” he said. “There’s also an Orwellian tone to it that I expect will seem more relevant as things progress like government surveillance, civil liberties, etc.”  That chorus alone is beyond relevant today, what with the Air Force using planes to track Black Lives Matter protests, illegal wiretapping controversies decades ago and more.  This is a topic that is certain to remain relevant.

‘Take It To The Streets’ is another way in which the album’s overlying socially conscious lyrical themes prove so important to its body.  As noted already, the song’s musical arrangement features snippets of news broadcast interviews that focus on discussions about protests.  The woman who is speaking sounds like perhaps she is from the Westboro Baptist Church as she states early on, “God is cursing America.”  As the song progresses, a man adds his own thoughts, noting that people have the right to protest.  Now whether this is a commentary about the Westboro Baptist Church or about protesting in general and having the right to protest, the fact that Norten would even broach either topic is brave.  It is certain to generate plenty of discussion among listeners.  That it would generate that discussion shows even more why the album’s overarching lyrical themes are so important to its body.

‘World on Fire’ is another key addition to the album, in terms of its lyrical themes.  This song focuses, lyrically, on humans’ focus on materialism and capitalism.  This is proven right from the song’s outset in its lead verse, which states, “They like to say that we are free/But it’s expensive/We’re addicted to the things we need/It’s so offensive/Victims of technology/Modern angel dressed in dollars/Just a passing memory/Here today and gone tomorrow.”  The song’s second verse adds to that statement, noting, “Paint the pictures and you fade away/Life is never like a magazine/You have enough but you still want more/Never satisfied at the core/Always looking for the next episode/Another way just to fix that hole/Try to accept the message/Making your mind elastic/Trippin’ the lights fantastic/Trippin’ the lights fantastic.”  Given, this is not the first time that any artist has ever taken on humans’ selfish behaviors, but it is still fresh and unique in this approach.  To that end, it will engage listeners just as much as any other song that takes on the topic.    When it is considered along with the other noted related lyrical themes and the rest of the album’s overlying lyrical themes, the album in whole shows that its lyrical content is just as important to its presentation as its musical arrangements.  For all that the album’s overall content does to entertain and engage audiences, it is only a part of what makes the record appealing.  The record’s collective production and mixing rounds out its most important elements.

The production and mixing that went into World on Fire is important to note because of the overall subtle nature in which each song is presented.  Norten’s vocals, those of his fellow performers and all of the album’s instrumental portions are well-balanced throughout the course of the album’s 38-minute run.  There is something about the balance in each arrangement that makes that 38-minute run feel wholly fulfilling ad the album longer than it is, in the best way possible.  It is often said that anyone can play fast and loud, but it takes a true musician to play soft and slow.  If that is the case, then Norten has proven once more with this record, thanks to its production, that he is a true musician.  He went to painstaking efforts to make sure the album had the biggest impact even as subtle as each song is.  When this is considered along with the album’s overall content, it brings everything full circle and in turn, makes clear why this album in whole is worth hearing.  It makes the album, along with its content, one more of this year’s top new independent album.

Blue Eyed Christ’s latest album World on Fire is a positive new offering from John D. Norten.  That is proven in part through its musical arrangements, which will appeal to a wide range of electronic and industrial music fans.  The album’s lyrical themes, which center on similar social commentaries, play into its appeal as much as its musical arrangements.  The balance in each song, in terms of the instrumentations and vocals, helps create a large impact for the tiny subtleties in each song.  Each noted item is important in its own way to the whole of the album.  All things considered, they make World on Fire a presentation that is one more of this year’s top new independent albums.  It is available now.

More information on Blue Eyed Christ’s album is available along with all of the act’s latest news at:

 

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/blueeyedchrist

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/BlueEyedChrist

 

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.