Industrial Metal Purists Will Appreciate Pig’s New EP

Courtesy: Metropolis Records

Late last month, Raymond Watts, the mastermind behind pioneering industrial act <Pig> returned with his latest opus in the form of the 6-song EP Prey & Obey.  The record came roughly a month after the release of Pig’s latest re-mix record Swine & Punishment.  Needless to say going such a short time between records is a big gamble since it doesn’t give audiences much time to digest one record before the next.  That aside, Watts’ latest effort under the <Pig> proves over the course of its six songs to be a work that any industrial metal purist will appreciate.  That is due in part to the record’s songs (including their arrangements), which will be discussed shortly.  The songs’ lyrical content plays another pivotal part in the record’s presentation, too.  It will be discussed later.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.  When it is joined with the previously noted elements, the whole of those items makes Prey & Obey a record that any industrial metal fan will be glad to own.

Raymond Watts’ latest <Pig> offering Prey & Obey is a record that any industrial metal purist will be glad to own.  Released June 16 via Metropolis Records, the 6-song EP’s foundation is formed through those songs in question.  Technically speaking, only three of those songs – its first three – are original.  The last three songs are re-mixes of the record’s title track and its follow-up, ‘Revelation.’  While the second half of the record is composed of re-worked versions of the originals, those re-mixes could easily be argued to be original in their own right, showing the importance of the songs’ arrangements.

The arrangements presented in each of Prey & Obey’s six tracks are critical to the record’s presentation because not one of the arrangements directly mirrors the others.  That is clearly evident, for instance, when comparing the title track’s original arrangement to those of its re-mixes.  The song’s original arrangement (or rather the final arrangement presented here vs. the demos), bears an easy comparison to works from Rammstein, which is one of so many bands worldwide that has gained its popularity by aping ’s sound.  At the same time, the song’s Leether Strip re-mix comes across more as something one might expect to hear from Juno Reactor (yet another act that rose to fame using ’s sound as an influence) with its EDM-centered arrangement.  Going even deeper, the song’s En Esh re-mix stands out just as much, establishing its own identity separate from the original mix and the Leether Strip re-mix.  That is because the arrangement presented here conjures thoughts (at least in this critic’s mind) of works that made Marilyn Manson a household name in the late 90s and early 2000s.  Simply put, the arrangement presented in this re-mix is completely different from that of the arrangement in the Leether Strip re-mix and that of the song’s original mix.  Keeping that in mind, it should be clear why the arrangements presented in this EP are so important to the record’s presentation.

As an additional explanation, the arrangements presented in ‘The Revelation’s’ original mix and its Z.Marr Electronic Mix are completely separate from one another.  Yet at the same time, one can easily make a comparison to works from Ministry in each arrangement.  This is even as the arrangements sound completely apart from one another.  One could even take the second arrangement and compare it to works from KMFDM, with whom Watts’ also worked early in his career, so it is only natural to hear that comparison.

If this is not enough of a comparison, one could easily compare the arrangement presented in ‘The Cult of Chaos’ to works presented in Nine Inch Nails’ landmark 1994 album The Downward Spiral, again showing the influence that Watts has had on the industrial realm throughout his career.  Keeping all of this in mind, it should be crystal clear why the songs presented in Prey & Obey are so critical to its overall presentation.  While only three of the record’s six songs may be technically originals, the re-mixes deserve their own attention, as they completely re-imagine their counterparts.  Even ‘the Cult of Chaos,’ the one song that did not receive a re-mix here, boasts its own original sound separate from those presented in each of the record’s other songs.  Keeping this in mind, the importance of the songs in this record and their arrangements is undeniable.  The songs and their arrangements are, collectively, not the record’s only important element.  The songs’ lyrical content is just as important to note as the songs and their arrangements.

The lyrical content presented in Prey & Obey is so critical to the record’s presentation because it comes across as being rather blatant.  The album’s very title track is solid proof of that with its clear commentary on organized religion.  Watts starts the song with a chorus yelling “Prey/Obey” as would a church’s congregation, before writing, “Look at the size of that monkey/Up on your back/Like a Jesus jerkin junky/I am the fly s*** will attract…wars/w****s/Apocalypse/Scores to settle/Fights to face.”  He continues on in the song’s second verse in similar fashion, expressing what come across as his own thoughts on the institution.

‘The Revelation’ is just as powerful as the record’s title track in its lyrical content with Watts writing, “We’ve got a social suicide/It’s comin’ tonight/With the germ of genocide…I had a vision of an afterlife/But I’ve seen it before/With the gift from the magic man/before he took it all/Now rise up for the revelation/Rise.”  He goes on to write in the song’s second verse, “A new apocalypse, a revelation/Bet youre doing it right…Jumpin’ Jesus is ***********.”  One need not go on from here.  It is clear that Watts has some very interesting commentary to share needless to say.  Of course, what he writes should be taken with a grain of salt, much like the songs crafted by Marilyn Manson for his 1996 album Antichrist Superstar.  Lyrically speaking, this shock rock record comes across in very similar fashion.  Keeping that in mind, the record’s lyrical content is certain to cause some stir, needless to say.  That attention that it is certain to bring plenty of discussion.  That certain discussion proves why the record’s lyrical content is so critical to the record’s whole.  It should be noted here that this critic does not endorse this record’s lyrical content by any means.  Its musical arrangements yes, but its lyrical content no.  Keeping that in mind, it would be wise to move on to the last of the record’s most important elements, its sequencing.

The sequencing of the songs featured in Prey & Obey is critical to the record’s whole because it keeps the record’s energy flowing from start to finish.  From the guitar-driven opening of the record’s title song and its ensuing solid time keeping to the thrash sound of ‘The Revelation’ to the much more brooding, guitar-driven arrangement of ‘the Cult of Chaos,’ the first half of this record easily ensures listeners’ engagement.  While the last of that trio is brooding in nature, it still is a forward-driving arrangement that keeps the record’s energy flowing in its own right.  The re-mixes that make up the record’s second half keep that energy flowing just as much with their arrangements.  That is the case even as the arrangements stand on their own merits separate from those presented in their counterparts.  Considering this, it is clear that much thought and time was put into the record’s sequencing.  That thought and time paid off, as it ensures just as much audiences’ continued engagement.  When joined with the thought put into the record’s chosen songs and their arrangements, the whole of the record’s presentation ensures it to be a work overall that, once again industrial metal purists will appreciate.

<Pig>’s latest studio effort Prey & Obey is a work that any industrial metal purist will appreciate.  That is due in part to its six-song body and their arrangements, each of which stand separate from one another, ensuring listeners’ enjoyment.  While three of the songs featured are re-mixes, the fact that the re-mixes give the originals their own new identity makes arguing them as their own original that much easier.  The songs’ lyrical content definitely is certain to create quite a bit of discussion among listeners.  Whether one agrees or disagrees with that content, the discussions that are certain to be generated from that content proves its importance just as much as the songs and their arrangements. The songs’ sequencing rounds out the most important of the record’s elements.  The energy exuded in each song shows that much time and thought was put into the record’s sequencing, ensuring even more that previously noted maintained engagement. When all three elements are joined, they make the record in whole, once again, a whole that any industrial metal purist will appreciate.  It is available now online and in stores.  More information on Prey & Obey is available online now along with all of <Pig>’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.pigindustries.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/raymondwatts

 

 

 

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PBS Announces Release Date For Ken Burns’ Latest Documentary Series

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

Ken Burns and PBS have partnered to release the famed documentarian’s latest offering on DVD and Blu-ray late this summer.

Ken Burns: The Vietnam War will be released Tuesday, Sept. 19 on DVD and Blu-ray.  The 1,080-minute (18-hours) program examines the conflict in a previously untold fashion with interviews from almost 100 witnesses and uses rarely-seen, digitally re-mastered footage from historic news broadcasts, home movies and audio recordings from the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon administrations.

Audiences can see a preview of the program online now here.

Lynn Novick, who co-directed and produced the documentary alongside Burns and fellow co-producer Sarah Botstein, said some surprising revelations were made over the decade in which The Vietnam War was created.

“We are all searching for some meaning in this terrible tragedy.  Ken and I have tried to shed new light on the war by looking at it from the bottom up, the top down and from all sides,” Novick said.  “In addition to dozens of Americans who shared their stories, we interviewed many Vietnamese on both the winning and losing sides, and were surprised to learn that the war remains as painful and unresolved for them as it is for us.  Within this almost incomprehensibly destructive event, we discovered profound, universal human truths, as well as uncanny resonances with recent events.”

Burns agreed, adding it remains a divisive topic even four decades after Saigon fell.

“The Vietnam War was a decade of agony that took the lives of more than 58,000 Americans,” Burns said.  “Not since the Civil War have we as a country been so torn apart.  There wasn’t an American alive then who wasn’t affected in some way – from those who fought and sacrificed in the war to families of service members of POWs, to those who protested the war in open conflict with their government and fellow citizens.  More than 40 years after it ended, we can’t forget Vietnam, and we are still arguing about why it went wrong, who was to blame and whether it was all worth it.”

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

This latest offering from Burns and company also features new music composed by famed Academy Award®-winning producers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.  Reznor has also won numerous awards and accolades as the creative force behind Nine Inch Nails.

It offers more than 100 minutes of bonus material, too, including a 45-minute preview program, two programs focusing on contemporary lives of two people involved in the conflict and much more.

As if that expanse of bonus material is not enough, the program, which will air on PBS stations nationwide between Sept. 17 – 21 and Sept. 24 – 28, a companion outreach and public engagement program – provided by PBS stations nationwide – aimed at giving communities the chance to take part in a national discussion about the war.

A website and educational initiative will also be launched online at PBS Learning Media aimed at engaging teachers and students everywhere about the war.

The program spans 10 discs on both platforms and will retail for MSRP of $99.99 on DVD and $129.99 on Blu-ray.  It will also be available via digital download. The sets can be pre-ordered online now at discounted prices of $94.99 (DVD) and $124.99 (Blu-ray).

A companion standalone book is also available for order for $59.99.  The book and box sets can be pre-ordered online now via PBS’ online store along with complete sets that include the box sets and book.

More information on this and other titles from Ken Burns and PBS is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org/

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/pbs

 

 

 

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Daniel Guaqueta’s New EP Speaks Volumes With Very Little

Courtesy:  Leuven Records

Courtesy: Leuven Records

Daniel Guaqueta is one of the busiest individuals in the underground music community. He has spent the better part of the 2000s working with a variety of acts including the likes of Storage 24, Buddy and the Squids, and most recently the multi-national act Questions in Dialect. Since first breaking into the music industry he also worked with a number of well-known individuals such as Roy Mitchell-Cardenas (Mutemath), and veteran producers Bob Weston (Nirvana) and Andy Baker (Drive By Truckers). That is just a small sampling of what he has done over the course of his career so far. Needless to say he is not the type to sit idly on his accomplishments. Case in point, last week he released his new EP Saying Is Only Saying So Much. The five track collection is easily one of the best of this year’s crop of new EPs. The main reason that it is deserving of such a title is its musical content. Guaqueta put quite the thought and consideration into the featured songs in regards to their musical content. That is clear in the depth exhibited in each song. The disc’s overall lyrical content makes it just as much of an interesting collection. Guaqueta takes the road less traveled with the disc’s lyrical content just as with its musical content. Just as worth noting to the record’s benefit is its sequencing. Just as much thought was put into the songs’ sequencing as was put into the composition of each song and the songs’ lyrical content. That is clear in listening to the progression of the songs over the course of the disc’s twenty-two minute run time. Such thought and consideration solidifies the record’s interest and makes it well worth the listen. In listening to it in its entirety, those that do so will agree that all noted elements prove that Saying is Only Saying So Much is again one of the best of this year’s new crop of EPs.

Saying is Only Saying So Much is a solid outing for Daniel Guaqueta. The Mississippi-born, Colombian-raised musician’s new EP is in fact one of the year’s best in its respective category. The main reason for such a title is its overall musical content. Listening through each of the disc’s five tracks, it is clear that Guaqueta put quite the thought and consideration into each composition. Each song is a deep work of electronic music that will keep listeners completely engaged from beginning to end of the record’s twenty-two total minutes. Most notable of that sound is that it’s not just some EDM-style sound. Rather it is more akin to the work done by Trent Reznor at many points than any of the major names in the world of EDM, electronica or other related electronic music sub genres. More specifically, it is especially similar to the music that Reznor crafted in his Nine Inch Nails remix albums. Though, there are similarities to his more recent NIN original recordings, too. For all of the similarities that Guaqueta’s work bears to that of Trent Reznor’s work, Guaqueta does boast his own original sound across the course of SIOSSM’s (as it will henceforth be known) body. There are so many subtle nuances incorporated (not just thrown in) into each song that collectively even with only five songs, the record in whole requires a close listen in order to fully appreciate not just those nuances but the effect of those nuances on the songs. In understanding and appreciating all of this, listeners will agree that the depth of the songs featured on this record form a solid foundation for SIOSSM and just one reason that the record proves to be one of the best of this year’s crop of new EPs.

The overall musical content that makes up the body of SIOSSM is in itself plenty of reason for listeners to hear Daniel Guaqueta’s new EP at least once if not more. Of course it is just one reason that listeners will appreciate this latest effort from the multi-national musician and performer. The record’s overall lyrical content is just as important to its enjoyment as its musical content. While Guaqueta is a bi-lingual performer, listeners will be happy to know that he performs only one of the disc’s songs (its opener) entirely in Spanish. The other four tracks are performed entirely in English. One of those four works–‘We Were’–even boasts a hip-hop vibe mixed in with the song’s electronic foundation. Not only that but rapper AJC even gets to put his skills on display rapping, “We’re just sitting here/I’m gettin’ tired of us all just bein’ here/For the things we did/Waitin’ on the call/amount to nothin’/But our sense be consumin’ us all/The people of the world are thinkin’ that we can live to be a thousand a thousand a thousand a thousand a thousand more.” He goes on to comment on how people go on to hate each other even more as they get older because of the inferred sense of self-entitlement that they have. It’s a deep message communicated in just one verse that together with the song’s musical content exhibits that much more clearly why the EP’s lyrical content is so important to the record in whole. The lyrical content of the EP’s title track is one more example of the EP’s overall lyrical content in its enjoyment. He sings in an ethereal fashion, “The breath we took from each other/We looked for reasons to understand/When we said we were loving/We stood saying different instead/We tell each other secrets/And tell the love we’ve had for others/We share our little fairytales/And tell each other that’s all I have.” Guaqueta goes on in the same fashion throughout the rest of the song with lyrical content that is just as introspective and thought-provoking. AJC puts his talents on display in the second half of the song, adding even more depth to the song’s lyrical side. The emotional depth of this song’s lyrical content makes the song so moving in and of itself. The equally moving musical content put on display makes the song even deeper. It is not only another example of the power and importance of the lyrics within the EP’s songs but of the songs’ lyrics coupled with the songs’ musical content. The combination of both elements paints a picture that in whole proves clearly why SIOSSM is more than deserving of being added to any critic’s list of the year’s best new EPs. For all of their importance they are still not all that listeners will appreciate about this release. Its sequencing rounds out the presentation, taking listeners on a journey that will keep them fully engaged right to the record’s end.

Both the musical and lyrical content exhibited throughout the course of SIOSSM are of the utmost importance to the record. While both elements play their own important roles they are hardly the only important factors to note in the disc’s success. Its sequencing is just as important as those elements. The sequencing displays just as much thought and consideration as the songs’ overall combined content. As listeners will note, the record starts in an upbeat fashion in ‘Emisora’ before gradually changing its overall vibe until finally ending in the deeply contemplative ‘Ryokan.’ That finale is a piece that is not for those with a short attention span. It is a composition that listeners absolutely must give their full attention in order to fully appreciate everything that it has to offer. By the time the song ends, those that really give the EP in whole their full attention will understand and agree that the disc’s sequencing is just as important as the record’s overall musical and lyrical content if not more so. Regardless of which of the noted elements is most important, it can be said that all three elements together will have listeners saying that SIOSSM is one of this year’s bet new EPs.

Daniel Guaqueta’s new EP SIOSSM is one of this year’s best new EPs. That is exhibited through both the musical and lyrical content of each of the record’s songs. The sequencing of the EP’s songs is just as important in making an argument in favor of the disc. All three elements considered together, they paint a musical picture in this record that will give listeners something new to appreciate with each listen. That being the case, it can be said even more than before that SIOSSM is more than deserving of being added to any critic’s list of the year’s best new EPs. It is available now and can be ordered direct online via Daniel Guaqueta’s official website at http://www.danielguaqueta.com. More information on SIOSSM is available via Guaqueta’s website and his official Facebook page and Twitter account at:

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/TRmusicUSA

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NYVES’ Debut LP Is As Sharp As A Knife

Courtesy:  Spartan Records

Courtesy: Spartan Records

Ryan Clark and Randy Torres have spent the better part of their careers making some of the most intense music that the Christian music community has heard with Demon Hunter and Project 86. Now the pair has teamed up for a new project called NYVES (pronounced knives) that released its debut album Anxiety early last month. The music that makes up the body of Anxiety is unlike anything that fans of Demon Hunter and Project 86 have ever heard. At times it sounds like something straight out of the 80s new wave movement and at others like something akin to Daft Punk and others like a mix of both. Even with such sounds, Anxiety still maintains its own identity separate from its influences, resulting in eleven tracks that both electronica fans and those of Demon Hunter and Project 86 whose minds are open enough will enjoy. In listening to it, those listeners will agree that Anxiety is one of this year’s best new independent albums.

NYVES’ (pronounced knives) debut album Anxiety is one of this year’s best new independent albums. The side-project of Demon Hunter front man Ryan Clark and ex-Project 86 member Randy Torres, it is unlike anything that either musician has created. That is evident right off the top in the album’s opener ‘Fall Behind.’ In terms of its musical content, ‘Fall Behind’ sounds like something that could have been part of the soundtrack to Disney’s Tron or its sequel. Clark’s clean vocals placed over top of that sound makes it even more interesting. Listeners that are familiar with Clark’s vocal styling established in his time with Demon Hunter will enjoy it just as much here if not more so. That is because presented in this scenario, the deep tone of those vocals, with their powerful yet restrained sound give the song a wholly different emotional depth all its own. That is especially the case considering the song’s full-on metaphorical writing. Clark writes in this song, “When they have come to bleed us out/And the panic ascends/You take a look beyond this cold/For the light to blind/Unto a calm beyond our means/In the final divide/Where every hope collapsing in/Is a vibrant white/All I see is silhouettes/Try to close the distance/Hear your voice a fading thread/Don’t fall behind.” Even without a full, clear interpretation of the lyrics, Clark’s delivery gives the song such emotional depth. The lyrics taken into consideration, that depth is increased even more. It is just this critic’s own take, but this verse alone comes across as a statement similar to what Demon Hunter’s fans have come to know from that band, too. It almost seems as if Clark is commenting on a person looking for that sign of hope amid the most tying of times. The song’s second verse strengthens this argument as Clark sings, “If there’s a way to see this through/For the ever alone/To be a grave for our descent/I will find the way.” This critic could of course be entirely wrong here in interpretation. Right or wrong, the fact that its lyrics manage to generate so much discussion shows why it is such a great example of what Anxiety has to offer audiences. The combination of both the song’s lyrics and its musical content exhibits this even more. And it’s just the album’s opener, too. Audiences can hear the song for themselves online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQFV-ENL8g4. There are other equally impressive works throughout this record that show just as much what Anxiety has to offer listeners. One of those examples is the album’s second track, ‘Something Divine.’

Anxiety’s opener ‘Return’ is a great first impression from Ryan Clark and Randy Torres on the debut of the pair’s new project. The depth of emotion communicated through Clark’s vocal delivery coupled with the depth of the song’s lyrical and musical content makes it a song that is one of the record’s strongest moments. It is only one of those moments, too. ‘Something Divine,’ the album’s second track is just as impressive. In terms of its musical content, ‘Something Divine’ is the polar opposite of ‘Return.’ The sound established by the keyboards in this song is something more akin to works from Nine Inch Nails than anything from the 80s. Clark’s vocals set against that sound gives the song even more of an impact. In terms of its lyrics, it is just as deep as the album’s opener with Clark singing, “I want it all/The blood, the flesh, the soul/Give me the time/The guns, the peace, control/I wanna see/The tide begin to rise/Let me believe/The world within your eyes/Give me a sign/Something divine/I wanna feel there is something real/Down inside/Bring me the light/The words to bind the night/Keep me alive/To show the rest to die.” It is almost as if Clark is singing from the vantage point here of someone looking for that positive among all of life’s darkness and difficulties, much as with the album’s opener. He seems to be saying, “give me something to hope for. Something about which to feel good.” Again, this is just one person’s own interpretation. It could very well be incorrect. Hopefully it isn’t incorrect. Even if it is incorrect, such deep, thought-provoking lyrical content yet again shows just how much Anxiety has to offer audiences. That material set alongside the song’s musical content makes it even more of a standout work. And one more example of just how much Anxiety has to offer listeners. Audiences can hear the song for themselves online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhxMrlxOWao.

Both ‘Return’ and ‘Something Divine’ are prime examples in their own right as to just how much NYVES has to offer listeners in its debut record. Both songs exhibit true musical and lyrical depth that will have listeners talking quite a bit amongst each other. They are collectively just a glimpse into what makes this record such a surprisingly interesting collection of songs. ‘Idle Thoughts,’ is the penultimate song in this eleven-track record. But it, too serves as one of the best examples of how much it has to offer listeners. Just as with ‘Something Divine,’ this track sounds musically similar to something that one might hear from Trent Reznor. And that isn’t a bad thing. The fact of the matter is that despite the similarities, it still maintains its own identity separate from Reznor’s work and that of other industrial/electronic greats. The same can be said just as easily of the song’s lyrical content in which Clark sings, “When the call is all I feel/And the end it’s all I need/I embrace the coming bleed/In the void of disengage/I escape into my grave/Where the dream is all I save/Don’t let me violate your time/I will exhaust before you fade away/Fade away into the night/I was wrong to bring you here/But I can see/There is a place beyond the light for you and me.” He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “I await the silent draw/The erase of every wall/I embrace the coming fall/I’m afraid of all I’ve seen/In the darkest I have been/the eclipse of all I need.” From here, Clark goes back into the song’s chorus. There is one more verse included in the song. But there is no need going into that verse as it echoes the same sentiment echoed throughout the song’s first and second verse. The sentiment in question makes for just as much discussion as the song’s musical content. That same metaphorical language used in the album’s other songs is just as prevalent here. And once again it is the combination of that metaphorical language and equally interesting musical content that makes this song its own intriguing addition to Anxiety, proving once more why Anxiety is such an interesting and welcome release both for fans of Demon Hunter and Project 86 and for those that are fans of electronic music. Audiences can hear this work online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvTkir-EXrI. Together with the songs noted previously and those not noted, all eleven tracks that make up Anxiety show it to be in the end one of the best of this year’s crop of new independent albums and potentially even one of the year’s best new albums overall.

NYVES’ debut album Anxiety is one of this year’s best new independent albums, hands down. It could potentially be considered one of the year’s best new albums overall, too. That is taking into consideration the fact that it stands completely apart from anything that either Randy Torres or Ryan Clark has crafted in the course of their career. The songs noted here clearly exhibit that difference, too. They also exhibit–along with the album’s other eight tracks–the thought and time put into each song. The result of that thought and time is an album that will grow more on audiences with each watch. In growing on audiences, those same audiences will agree that Anxiety is without a doubt one of this year’s best new independent albums and potentially even one of the year’s best new albums overall. Anxiety is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct from Spartan Records’ online store at http://spartanrecords.limitedrun.com/products/550575-nyves-anxiety. More information on this and other titles from Spartan Records is available online now at:

Website: http://spartanrecords.limitedrun.com

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

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The Crystal Method To Appear On Last Call With Carson Daly Tonight

Courtesy: Tiny E Records

Courtesy: Tiny E Records

The Crystal Method will appear live overnight tonight on Last Call with Carson Daly

The hugely popular electronic duo—Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland— recently performed ‘Difference’ featuring Franky Perez and ‘Over It’ featuring Dia Frampton as part of a sold out show at L.A.’s El Ray Theatre.  The duo’s performance of those songs will be used for tonight/tomorrow morning’s broadcast of Last Call with Carson Daly.  Both songs come from The Crystal Method’s new self-titled album, which has reached the top spot on iTunes’ Electronic Albums Chart.  Those that won’t be able to catch tonight/tomorrow morning’s performance can still see the group’s performance of ‘Over It’ now online at https://soundcloud.com/#the-crystal-method/over-it-ft-dia-frampton-live.  The official video for ‘Over It’ featuring Dia Frampton can be viewed online now via YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9MpeKm-imE

Jordan and Kirkland were joined on their new album by some well-known names including: Danny Lohner (Nine Inch Nails) on bass, Brain (Primus, Guns N’ Roses) on drums and Richad Fortus (Guns N’ Roses, Gravity Kills, The Psychadelic Furs).  The Crystal Method is available now in store and online.  It can be ordered direct from The Crystal Method’s official website, http://thecrystalmethod.com.  And while the duo currently has no tour dates announced, fans can get the latest tour updates, news, and more on the group’s official website, Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/thecrystalmethod.  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

Numan’s New Album Is A Musical Masterpiece

Courtesy:  Machine Music USA, Inc.

Courtesy: Machine Music USA, Inc.

Veteran musician Gary Numan has shaken up this critic’s list of the year’s best rock and hard rock albums with the release of his latest album, Splinter (Songs From a Broken Mind).  Numan’s new record, his twentieth full length studio release, takes listeners once again into the ever darkening world that he has crafted throughout his more recent releases.  Numan grabs audiences right from the album’s emotionally desolate opener ‘I Am Dust’ straight through to ‘My Last Day’, which closes out the album’s dozen tracks and never lets go.  It may not be the most uplifting album out there.  But the sonic landscapes crafted throughout this near hour-long record make it worth more than just a couple listens.  As a matter of fact, that landscape makes this album a darkhorse candidate to be one of the year’s best new rock or even hard rock albums.

Numan made the completely right choice opening his new album with ‘I Am Dust.’  There is so much that can be said of this song.  The first thing that listeners will take away from this song is the different musical and vocal influences obvious throughout the song.  Numan’s own vocal style in the verses conjures thoughts of Tool/A Perfect Circle/Puscifer front man Maynard James Keenan.  However, when he reaches the choruses, there is almost a mix of Peter Steele (Type O Negative) and Burton C. Bell (Fear Factory) in his voice as he sings, “We are yours/We’re waiting for you/We are yours/We’re waiting for you.”  The Fear Factory and Type O Negative influences can also be heard in the choruses in the song’s musical side.  Numan’s nihilistic lyrics in this song echo that of Trent Reznor circa The Downward Spiral.  He sings, “We all pray for the end/For the God to take us/We were falling down/One by one/We were weak/And the fear/Was all around us/The machines screamed from moon to sun.”  The musical and lyrical combination along with the obvious influences from across the rock world collectively make this song the perfect introduction to Numan for those that might be new to his music and an equally impressive re-introduction for those that are more familiar with his music.

For all of the dark, brooding songs that Gary Numan includes in his new album, he also tackles relationship issues in his own way.  He tackles the subject in the very Nine Inch Nails-esque ‘The Calling.’  Were a person to hear this song on the radio without knowing it was Gary Numan, one might actually think it was Nine Inch Nails because of how close it sounds to Trent Reznor’s work circa The Fragile.  The string arrangements and electronics set against Numan’s brooding lyrics make this song one of this album’s key moments.  Lyrically, there is little to this song.  But even in its few lyrics, Numan captures the emotion of someone that realizes that he or she has been nothing but a pawn in someone else’s game.  He writes in the song’s final verse, “You don’t love me/You don’t know me/Is this some kind of game for you/Is that why you’ve called me?” This is a situation to which plenty of audiences can relate.  Not everyone has gone through the situation presented in this song.

Splinter (Songs From a Broken Mind) is front loaded with more than its share of impressive new material from Gary Numan.  There is not one bad moment throughout the record’s near hour-long run time.  One of the highest of the records high points has already been noted here.  It isn’t the only of the album’s high points, either.  ‘We’re The Unforgiven’ is another of this album’s highest of points.  This song has a very obvious Nine Inch Nails influence both musically speaking and lyrically.  What’s so interesting about that is the contrast of the song’s musical and lyrical sides.  The song’s musical side is powerful to say the least.  That is thanks in large part to the manner in which each verse crescendos before dropping back.  That dynamic contrast alone would make this song work even without lyrics.  But set next to the song’s lyrical side, both the music and lyrics come together to make the song this album’s best song.  He writes about figures that were once great but are now pale shades of themselves.  He writes, “Once there was life/And we were strong/Full of pride/Once we bread fear/And we would take the flesh denied/Once we were gods/And all things knelt before our word/or died.”  Obviously, he is writing metaphorically here.  But the message is still the same. He goes on, writing in the song’s chorus, “Now we’re just a ruin/We were our undoing/We’re the unforgiven.”  This is a powerful statement.  And again, set alongside the song’s musical side, it becomes even more powerful.  Together, they make this song just one more of so many standout moments shared by Gary Numan throughout his new record.  Fans overseas in the Middle East and Europe will get to experience these songs and many more live beginning February 10th in Tel Aviv, Israel.  From there, Numan will make his way into Belgium and across Europe for the next leg of his tour in support of his new album.  Fans can get Gary Numan’s latest tour dates, news, and more online at http://www.facebook.com/GaryNumanOfficial and http://www.garynuman.com.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Korn Debuts Video For ‘Never Never’

Courtesy:  Prospect Park

Courtesy: Prospect Park

Veteran rock band Korn has released the video for the lead single from its new album, The Paradigm Shift.  The video for the song ‘Never Never’ can be viewed online now at http://www.vevo.com/watch/korn/never-never/US5Z51300396?syndicationid=bb8a16ab-1279-4f17-969b-1dba5eb60eda&shortlink=UaDV41&country=US.  For those that have yet to hear the band’s new single, it boasts an interesting mixed influence of Type O Negative throughout most of the song.  However, there is a slight Nine Inch Nails homage late in the song, too.  The Type O Negative influence can be credited to the work of returning guitarist David “Head” Welch and James Schaffer.  The video sees the band performing atop a CG clock that is turning and exploding all at once.  All the while a woman clad in an entirely black outfit that defies explanation sits in the center of the clock.

In celebration of the band’s tenth full length studio release, Jonathan Davis and company have announced the return of the “Family Values Festival.”  The festival kicks off Thursday, September 26th at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Currently, ten total dates are listed.  The most current tour schedule is listed below.

DATE

CITY

VENUE

Thu

9/26

Philadelphia,   PA

Electric   Factory

Fri

9/27

New   York, NY

Roseland   Ballroom

Sat

9/28

Worcester,   MA

The   Palladium

Mon

9/30

Toronto,   ON

Sound   Academy

Tue

10/1

Detroit,   MI

The   Fillmore

Wed

10/2

Chicago,   IL

Riv

Thu

10/3

Minneapolis,   MN

The   Myth

Sat

10/5

Denver,   CO

1st   Bank Center – Family Values

Thu

10/10

Los   Angeles, CA

The   Wiltern

Sat

10/12

Las   Vegas, NV

Pearl

 

The Paradigm Shift will be released Tuesday, October 8th, just as the band is wrapping up the “Family Values Festival.”  For more information on the release and the band’s upcoming tour, audiences can go online to http://www.korn.com, http://www.facebook.com/korn, http://twitter.com/korn, and http://www.myspace.com/korn.  And for all 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 http://phispicks.wordpress.com.