Gary Numan’s New Album Is Anything But An “Intruder” In This Year’s New Rock Albums Field

Courtesy: BMG

Veteran musician/singer/songwriter Gary Numan is scheduled to release his latest album, Intruder, Friday.  His 24th (yes, 24th) album, this 13-song record will come more than three years after the release of his then most recent album, Savage (Songs from a Broken World) appeal strongly to Numan’s established audience base as well as most fans of electronic and industrial rock and metal.  That is proven in part through the musical arrangements featured throughout the album.  They will be discussed shortly.  The lyrical themes featured alongside the album’s musical arrangements will make for their own share of interest.  They will be addressed a little later.  The album’s production rounds out its most important elements.  It will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is key in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation.  All things considered, they make the album another engaging offering from one of the rock and metal world’s most respected figures.

Despite its title, Gary Numan’s forthcoming album Intruder will not be viewed by audiences or critics as an intruder.  Rather, it is a presentation that most audiences and critics will welcome.  That is proven in part through the album’s collective musical arrangements.  The arrangements in question are largely everything that audiences have come to expect from Numan, with their electronic/industrial style approaches.  The same brooding, keyboard-driven sound and style presented in Savage (Songs from a Broken World) and its predecessor, Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind) are present here, too.  Though, a close listen reveals that even with that stylistic similarity, the arrangements are not just copy and paste works.  There are subtle variances in the songs between this record’s compositions and those of the aforementioned records.  The arrangements here are even more controlled and “softer” for lack of better wording, than the heavier but equally intense works in those albums.  That is really what listeners will catch in their close listens.  This aspect of Intruder is certain to keep the noted audiences engaged and entertained throughout the album.  It is just one part of what audiences will find appealing in the presentation.  The record’s lyrical content adds its own touch to the album’s interest.

The lyrical content featured alongside the album’s musical arrangements is of note because of their heavy nature.  This is an album that lyrically is not just an everyday listen.  Case in point is the lyrical content of ‘I Am Screaming.’  This song comes across as a person trying to comfort someone who is in a dark place, emotionally speaking.  That is inferred right from the song’s lead verse and chorus, in which Numan sings, “Do you regret the words you never said?/Do you feel lost like I do?/Do you regret the things you never did/As if time waited for you?/Can you see me?/Can you feel me?/Can you hear me?/I am screaming”  As the song progresses, the subject’s reassurance to the second person comes into play as Numan sings, “Do you regret the songs you never sang?/A love betrayed and broken/Do you regret the life you never lived?/A thousand dreams unopened/You’re welcome to walk with me/You’re welcome to walk alone/You’re welcome to stand with me/You’re welcome to stand alone.”  The song’s third verse follows in similar fashion.  To that end, what audiences get here is a song that touches so well on the deep emotions that people feel when they reach that “dark night of the soul” but reminds them that they are not alone and can get through things.

‘A Black Sun’ is another example of the importance of the album’s lyrical content.  In this case, Numan seems to the so-called loss of one’s influence.  In this case, that loss of innocence happens not through any criminal act, but through another existential crisis of sorts.  That is inferred in part in the song’s lead verse, in which Numan sings, “When I was a child my life seemed endless/Too far to see/When I was a child the world was waiting and called to me/And everyone I loved would live for eternity/And everything I dreamed would all come true for me/But now I feel the end come/My childish dreams are undone/I cry under a black sun/And every song is unsung/You will hear me when the wind sighs/You will feel me beside you always/You won’t see me but I’ll be with you.”  The song’s second verse plays out in similar fashion, so there is no need to continue there.  This is a state of mind in which everyone has found themselves.  To that end, it makes the song’s lyrical theme here that much more accessible.  The fashion in which the lyrics are delivered adds even more to that accessibility.  Keeping that in mind, audiences see even more here why the album’s lyrical content is important to its presentation.

‘Saints and Liars’ is one more example of the importance of the album’s lyrical content.  In the case of this song, it comes across as a commentary about religious fundamentalism.  In this case, it indicts those most pious individuals who claim to be anything but self-righteous.  This is inferred early in the song’s lead verse, which states, “Can you see your fallen God?/He’s standing next to me, far from home/Can you hear your broken promises?/I am what you’ve been waiting for.”  The seeming indictment continues in the song’s second verse, which states, “Can you feel your righteous anger?/It’s like a poison that feeds the soul/Can you hide from Saints and liars/When every word is the death of me?/And this is who you are.”  Between this seeming message, those presented in the album’s other noted works and those in the rest of the album, the whole makes clear why this album’s deep, heavy lyrical content is so important to its presentation.  It will grip listeners just as much as the album’s musical content with its ability to so richly translate so many familiar thoughts and feelings that people go through.  Numan is to be commended for all of this.  Even with this in mind, the album still has one more item to examine, its production.

As already noted, the arrangements featured throughout the course of Intruder are familiar for Numan’s established audience base.  The electronic/industrial sound that he has used for such a long time is present throughout the album.  Also noted is the controlled presentation of each arrangement here to make the songs distinguishable from those in Numan’s existing catalog.  That control is a tribute not only to Numan and his fellow musicians, but also to those behind the boards.  The keyboards and drums had to be balanced out just right with Numan’s vocals in each song.  The same is to be said of the guitars.  The attention to detail within song leaves the arrangements fully immersive from one to the next.  Each instrument and each vocal line is expertly balanced with its counterparts to make each song that strong even in their more subtle presentations.  This is a testament to the work put in to ensuring each presented arrangement.  The impact, along with that of the album’s overall content, makes the album in whole that much stronger.

Gary Numan’s latest album, Intruder, is a presentation that will appeal easily to any of his established audiences.  It will appeal just as much to fans of electronic/industrial music.  That is proven in part through its musical arrangements.  The arrangements prove familiar in comparison to the arrangements featured in most of Numan’s existing albums.  Of course there are subtle differences here that make the arrangements different from his other works, in terms of their sound.  The lyrical themes featured in this record add their own interest to the record.  That is because they touch on topics that are familiar to any listener.  They are deeply emotional and heavy statements, too, which adds to their impact.  The production of the record’s songs rounds out its most important elements.  It ensures that each song presents audiences with the fullest impact there, too.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album.  All things considered, they make the album another successful offering from one of the most respected names in the hard rock community.  Intruder is scheduled for release Friday through BMG. 

More information on Numan’s upcoming tour is available online now along with all of his latest news at:

Websitehttp://garynuman.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/GaryNumanOfficial

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/numanofficial

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.

Walking Papers Debuts New Single, Video

Courtesy: Carry On Music

Independent music duo Walking Papers debuted its latest single, ‘Creation Reproduction and Death’ this week.

The duo premiered the single and its video Friday. The song is the latest single from the band’s latest album, The Light Below, which was released in February through Carry On Music. The premiere of the new single and video comes more than four months after the premiere of the album’s then latest single, ‘Divine Intervention‘ and its companion video.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Creation Reproduction and Death’ is a heavy, industrial style composition that will appeal to fans of Gary Numan and Nine Inch Nails.. The heavy keyboards that form the song’s foundation work with the more airy secondary keyboard line and drums to make this work sound unlike anything else in the album.  That alone serves to show even more why the album in whole is so unique. It helps to show the vast diversity in the album’s musical content.  The lyrical content that accompanies the song’s musical arrangement adds to the song’s appeal.

Front man Jefferson Angell talked about the song’s lyrical theme during a recent interview.

“I wrote ’Creation Reproduction and Death’ while contemplating how much time we have left, how we’ll spend it and who will we spend it with?,” he said. “It’s a question we can only answer for ourselves compounded by the pressure that we may not know if we made the right decision until there is no time left to do anything about it. After making three epic videos, we wanted to cut loose and have a good time. We hope people will enjoy watching the video as much as we had fun making it!”

The video for ‘Creation Reproduction & Death’ features Angell and his band mates performing the group’s new single against a green screen, and imagery, such as the band replacing its heads with television monitors, and video of an explosion’s shockwave hitting a forest setting.

Along with ‘Divine Intervention’ and ‘Creation Reproduction & Death,’ Walking Papers has also produced the singles, ‘The Value of Zero‘ and ‘What Did You Expect?

More information on Walking Papers’ new single, video and album is available along with all of the duo’s latest news at:

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/walkingpapersmusic

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/walkingpapers

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://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.

GATA’s New Remix EP Will Appeal To Any Goth, Industrial Metal Fan

Courtesy: The Label Group

More than two years after releasing its then latest album Alpha Bionic, independent goth/industrial band Gabriel & The Apocalypse is revisiting that album with a new EP of remixes from the record.  Released Feb. 26 through The Label Group, the five-song record is a presentation that will find equal interest among the band’s established audience base and goth/industrial fans alike.  That is due in no small part to the featured remixes, which will be addressed shortly.  The sequencing of those featured songs adds to the record’s interest.  It will be addressed a little later.   The songs’ lyrical content rounds out the record’s most important aspects and will also be addressed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of this record.  All things considered, they make the EP a rare case of the sequel being better than the original.  Yes, this is a discussion topic even in the music industry.

Remix records are commonplace presentations for industrial rock and metal acts.  From Gravity Kills and Nine Inch Nails, to Fear Factory and Ministry, the practice of remixing songs is nothing new.  So when it was announced that independent goth/industrial band Gabriel & The Apocalypse was going to release a collection of remixes from its 2019 album Alpha Bionic, the surprise was limited.  While the surprise was limited, the enjoyment is proving anything but.  That is due in no small part to the five-song record’s featured remixes.  Four of the featured songs are originals featured in the band’s aforementioned record while the fifth is a remix of the band’s cover of Midnight Oil’s hit 1987 single ‘Beds Are Burning.  Why these songs in particular were chosen from the original album’s 10 total songs is anyone’s guess.  That is beside the point.  What is important is that the featured remixes actually build on their source material (two-fold in the case of ‘Beds are Burning’ since that one was a cover to begin with) and improves on each song.  The band’s remix of its original song, ‘Systematic Chaos’ gives that song a completely different identity thanks to Mushroomhead founding member and drummer Rick “Stitch” Thomas.  Thomas’ “Burn It Down Remix” of the song gives this song more of a full-on industrial feel that is more akin to works from Mushroomhead and Ministry than the heavy, driving, guitar and keyboard-driven approach of the original.  What Thomas has done here to improve the song is focus more on the keyboard line in the original and really make it the center of the song.  That driving, percussive style approach from the  primary keyboard line pairs with an occasional secondary keyboard flourish and steady electronic bass drum beat to make the song just as good as its source material if not better.  It is a wholly different work from the original that ensures listeners’ engagement and entertainment, and is just one example of how the album’s featured remixes play such an important part to its presentation.   The ‘TIMELINES REMIX’ of ‘pointTHREE’ is another example of how these remixes ensure the EP’s engagement and entertainment.

The ‘TIMELINES REMIX’ of ‘pointTHREE’ stands out because while it does tend to stay more to its source material, listeners will note that it doesn’t maintain the ethereal approach of the original arrangement throughout the song.  Rather, as the remix progresses, the secondary keyboard line from the original takes center stage this time out.  What’s more, that now central keyboard line is more accented in its balance with the elements of the original.  The mix honestly gives this updated take something of a Nine Inch Nails style sound and approach that is certain to appeal to audiences of both acts.  It is just one more example of what makes the remixes here stand out.  The “(Up and Down Remix)” of ‘Electro-Mechanical’ is yet another way in which these remixes serve to make the EP so engaging and entertaining.

The “(Up and Down Remix)” of ‘Electro-Mechanical’ is a stark change from its source material.  Where the original work is grounded in its distinct keyboard line and guitar line, the remix relies more on more familiar electronic elements.  Front woman Lindey Gabriel’s vocals pair so with the light, bouncy drums and infectious keyboard line here.  What’s interesting here is that the keyboard line here actually replaces the guitar line in the original.  The rhythm is the same, but the unique effect once again conjures thoughts of Nine Inch Nails.  That aesthetic element and the subtle secondary keyboard line that joins the mix late in the song’s run pair with the steady electronic beat and vocals to make the song in general its own unique take on the song’s source material.  Keeping in mind the engagement and entertainment that this remix offers along with the record’s other arrangements, the whole of the collection proves without a doubt, the importance of the featured songs here.  They are just a portion of what audiences will like about the EP.  The songs’ sequencing adds its own appeal to the record.

The sequencing of Alpha Transendence’s songs is important because it plays directly into the record’s energy.  Just as in Alpha Bionic, this remix follow-up opens in high-energy fashion in ‘Systematic Chaos.’  Even with the change in the arrangement’s stylistic approach in the remix, the song still exhibits such a powerful, high-energy presentation.  It ensures just as much as the original record, that it immediately engages listeners, and succeeds in doing so.  The ‘pointTHREE’ remix maintains the EP’s energy, immediately following the remix of ‘Systematic Chaos.’  That is even considering the more reserved chorus sections.  The much heavier verses make for an impressive juxtaposition to those chorus sections.  The whole makes the song such an engaging work in itself that even with its slightly slower tempo, still boasts its own high energy.  That ensures even more, listeners’ engagement and entertainment.  ‘Electro-Mechanical’ keeps the EP’s energy moving with the swagger in its more up-tempo arrangement.   The band’s remixed cover of ‘Beds are Burning’ ups the energy even more with its steady keyboard line and beat.  Its arrangement here makes it sound like it came right out of the 1980s new wave movement, which is certain to appeal to a wide range of listeners in itself.  Staying on the matter of the song’s energy, it keeps the EP’s energy moving fluidly.  In turn, it ensures even more, listeners’ maintained engagement.  It is not until the EP’s closer, the “Acoustic Remix” of ‘Bleed Me An Ocean’ that the record’s energy truly noticeably pulls back.  The gentle, ballad style arrangement here is powerful in its own right.  At the same time, the general reserved nature of the arrangement is a clear stylistic departure from the rest of the record’s arrangements.  It shows just as much as at any point, how much time went into the EP’s sequencing.  Looking back through the EP’s sequencing, the high-energy start, straight through to its reserved finale shows defined crests and troughs throughout.  It shows that the sequencing was deliberate.  That deliberate effort paid off just as much as the remixes themselves.  Collectively, the remixes and their sequencing makes for even more engagement and entertainment.   Even as much as the noted items do for the record, they still are not the last of the EP’s most important aspects.  The lyrical themes featured in the songs put the finishing touch to the record.

There are plenty of audiences out there who are already familiar with Gabriel and the Apocalypse, and those audiences have likely already taken in Alpha Bionic.  At the same time, there are plenty of audiences who are less familiar with the band and its work.  To that end, if this EP is those latter audiences’ introduction to the band and its work, then the record’s lyrical content is just as important to note as anything else.  ‘Systematic Chaos’ for instance, comes across as a statement of pure disgust with the state of the world.  Given, socio-political commentary is anything but new to the world of rock.  The thing is that so many such songs take more of a plaintive approach.  In the case of the statement is less plaintive and more of a “screw it all” sense.  This is inferred right from the song’s outset (which is also the song’s only actual verse) as Gabriel sings, “I used to want to save the world/Let’s burn it down/I can see for miles, I can see for years.”  The chorus adds to that sense as she adds, “Systematic chaos, smoke and mirrors/Manipulated, calculated, hell bound, let’s burn it down/Do you feel what you say?/Do you say what you feel?”  Again, this is complete frustration with everything, and while it is a clearly angered view, the fact of the matter is that many of us get to (and likely have gotten to) the point from which this song comes.  To that end, that ability to relate to those very real thoughts and emotions will help listeners release their own frustrations.  This is just one way in which the record’s lyrical content proves its importance.   The lyrical content featured in ‘Electro-Mechanical’ does even more to show the importance of this element.

The lyrical theme that is seemingly featured in ‘Electro-Mechanical’ appears to take on the familiar topic of someone who is done with a toxic relationship.  That is just this critic’s interpretation of the content.  The inference comes right from the song’s outset as Gabriel sings, “I can’t feel/I can’t breathe/I’ll give you what you need/I can take it/I’ll fake it/You only need skin to bleed/Moving fast but standing still/A dark place turned so beautiful/Detached all my feelings/Now, I’m here for the killing.”  That mention of being able to “fake it” even despite the negative thoughts that open the verse points to someone who is putting up with a bad situation.  As the verse progresses, things change as the subject states, “A dark placed turned to beautiful/Detached all my feelings/Now, I’m here for the killing.”  Obviously the “killing” does not mean murder.  Rather it would seem to refer to the end of that bad situation, just in a metaphorical sense.  The seeming story continues in the song’s second verse, which states, “A part of me has died/Impressions liquefying/Peeling from these walls/Who will catch you when you fall?/Electro-Mechanical/I had to let you go/This wall I’ve built so tall/I’m not afraid no more to lose it all/Electro-Mechanical.”  That attestation that “I’m not afraid no more to lose it all” would seem to solidify the noted inferred statement.  It really makes it seem even more that this is, lyrically, a song that centers on someone who has ended a toxic relationship.  If in fact that is the case, then the manner in which the story is delivered is unique and powerful.  In turn, it would make the EP’s lyrical content that much more pivotal to its presentation.

As much as the lyrics in ‘Electro-Mechanical’ and ‘Systematic Chaos’ do to make the record appealing, they are just a pair of songs that meet that end.  The lyrical content featured in ‘Bleed Me an Ocean’ shows even more, the importance of the record’s lyrical content.  The song’s lead verse states, “I write at your fingertips/Beautiful insanity taking on me/I don’t mind, it’s only a lie/Just a matter of time before we blur the line.”  The second verse continues, “I know what moves the center of you/We crash and burn/Will we ever learn?/Is this all there is? Days into years/What’s done is done, still we run.”  This collectively seems to point to a relationship-based topic again.  It could very well be the wrong interpretation.  Regardless, the ability of these lyrics to generate what will assuredly be plenty of discussion shows its own importance here.  When that impact is considered along with the themes and impact of the other themes noted here (and those not noted), the whole leaves no doubt as to the importance of the EP’s lyrical themes to its presentation.  When that importance is considered along with that of the record’s featured remixes and their sequencing, the whole makes Alpha Transcendence one more positive new offering from Gabriel and the Apocalypse.

Gabriel and the Apocalypse’s recently released EP Alpha Transcendence is a positive new offering from the independent goth/industrial band.  That is due in part to its featured remixes.  The remixes take music from the band’s most recent album, Alpha Bionic (2019) and gives each song new life through the unique arrangements.  The sequencing of those arrangements adds its own appeal to the EP.  That is because the sequencing maintains the balance in the record’s energy.  The lyrical content that accompanies the lyrical content rounds out its most important elements.  It serves as its own added important element mainly for the band’s new audiences.  Its accessibility will ensure listeners’ engagement in its own right, too.  When it is considered along with the noted songs and their sequencing, the whole makes the record overall one more of this year’s top new EPs.  It is available now.  More information on Alpha Transcendence is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://gabrielandtheapocalypse.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/GabrielandtheApocalypse

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GATA_band

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://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.  

The Mercy Kills’ New LP Looks To Rock’s Past, Present To Potentially Make The Band Part Of Rock’s Future

Courtesy: Golden Robot Records

First impressions are everything. That is common knowledge. They are everything because it is those impressions that determine one’s reputation.  Keeping that in mind, The Mercy Kills’ debut EP New Rule is a positive first impression for the up-and-coming rock band.  Originally created and produced more than a decade ago in 2010, it was never officially released, that is until now.  The 18-minute record is scheduled for release Friday through Golden Robot Records.  The first impression that the band’s five-song record will leave listeners feeling that The Mercy Kills is a band that is well-deserving of its own share of attention from any guitar rock purist.  That is proven collectively through the record’s musical and lyrical content, beginning with its opener, ‘I Wanna.’  This song will be discussed shortly.  ‘Go,’ which closes out the record, is another way in which the EP’s strength is exhibited.  It will be discussed a little later.  ‘So Many Times,’ which serves as the EP’s midpoint, is yet another positive addition to the record, showing its appeal.  When it is considered along with the other songs noted here and the rest of the album’s entries, the record in whole becomes a presentation that is an unquestionably positive first impression from The Mercy Kills.

The Mercy Kills’ debut record New Rule is an interesting new addition to this year’s field of new EPs.  It is a work whose musical arrangements combine a variety of influences   and whose lyrical content will keep listeners engaged and entertained in its own right.  ‘I Wanna,’ the EP’s opener is just one example of how that collective content helps to make the record stand out.  The song’s musical arrangement stands on its own merits.  It is a guitar-driven work that boasts a modern hard rock approach.  At the same time, the song’s verses take a somewhat different approach than the choruses.  The verses incorporate some keyboard usage along with front man Mark E.’s vocals to create an intriguing comparison to Nine Inch Nails’ classic hit song ‘Head Like a Hole.’  Yes, putting industrial/electronic rock next to pure guitar rocks like quite the uncomfortable balance, but it actually works here.  It makes for so much intrigue that audiences cannot help but listen.  The lyrical content that accompanies the song’s musical arrangement builds even more on the song’s interest.

Mark E. sings in the song’s lead verse, “Your eyes follow me/And they go straight down/We try to break away/But we hit the ground/Followed again/And we don’t know why/It’s all a game we play/But to me/It makes me insane.”  Some of this could be an incorrect interpretation – primarily toward the end of the verse since no lyrics were available to reference.  Though, the majority is certain to have been correctly deciphered.  He continues in the song’s chorus, “I wanna tell you, baby/You’re taking me over/I wanna tell you baby/You wanna give in to me/I wanna tell you baby/You’re taking me over.”  This lead verse and chorus collectively hint at a story of a couple that is in a dysfunctional relationship of sorts.  The story continues in the song’s second verse, which states, “Sometimes I find another way/To take control/Sometimes we shed that skin/But it still takes hold/Under a lectured life/And we fade away/She’s on the other side/But…okay.  Again, some of this is tough to decipher without lyrics to decipher.  However, just enough can be understood, leaving listeners realizing that this is someone trying to get balance back in life even with the impact of that seeming toxic relationship.  That is inferred through that statement about trying to shed that skin, but it “still takes hold.”  It’s a metaphor for trying to grow out of that situation, but it keeps its grip on that person.  This seeming story, paired with the song’s infectious musical arrangement, makes it a strong start for the EP and an equally strong example of why this EP deserves to be heard.  It is just one of the EP’s most notable entries.  ‘Go,’ the EP’s closer, is another example of what makes the record stand out.

‘Go’ features a musical arrangement that is the polar opposite of ‘I Wanna.’  Whereas the EP’s opener blended elements of pure guitar rock with some electronic elements, ‘Go’ is a pure guitar rock composition.  The heavy, driving guitars echo the sounds of the late 80s and early 90s.  That includes music from the band’s Golden Robot Records label mates in L.A. Guns.  At the same time, there is also a modern rock touch infused into the arrangement a la Buckcherry.  The whole of those influences makes the song’s arrangement a strong starting point for the work, and just one part of what makes the song stand out.  The lyrical content that accompanies the song’s musical arrangement adds its own appeal to the song.

This song is slightly more difficult to decipher without a lyrics sheet to reference.  However, from what can be deciphered, there is a mention in the song’s second verse referencing “The things you said/Said too late/Just gotta get it straight.”  The chorus finds Mark E. making a statement that a person “Just can’t get enough.”  As to what the person can’t get enough, that is unknown. However, taking that line into account with the statement about “the things you said/Said too late” perhaps that is referring to the accused being told he/she is one of those types that likes trouble rather than trying to make things right in the relationship.  That is of course just this critic’s interpretation from what little lyrical content can be deciphered here without a sheet to reference.  Considering that the noted chorus makes up so much of the song’s body (roughly three quarters of the song), one cannot help but make such inference.    It also would account for the energy in the song’s musical arrangement.  The heaviness and energy in the guitars (and even bass and drums) works in partner with that seeming commentary to make the subject someone who is just fed up with the other person’s apparent unwillingness to do the right thing.  It all makes for another interesting addition to New Rule.  It is just one more of the songs that makes The Mercy Kills’ new EP notable.  ‘So Many Times’ is yet another important piece of this record that makes the EP worth hearing.

‘So Many Times’ is another straight forward guitar rock composition that is sure to appeal to audiences.  In the case of this arrangement, it is controlled more by a modern rock sensibility than older influences.  What is even more interesting here is that Mark E. vocal delivery here gives the song sort of a garage/pun vibe more than straight guitar rock.  Although there is a clear modern guitar rock influence, regardless.  The balance of the two elements together makes this record one of the most concrete examples of what makes the EP a success.  That musical element is just one aspect of the song worth examining.  The lyrical content that accompanies the song’s musical arrangement adds its own interest to the composition. 

The song opens with the defiant statement, “You can’t take this away from me/I’ve got…control/Every time/It’s the same/I can feel it all again.”  There is a small stretch there that is difficult to decipher without a lyrics sheet to reference.  The majority of the lyrics are understood though.  Just from this introductory line alone, it would seem that the song’s subject seems to be frustrated about having to go through some situation yet again that apparently has happened many times before.  The story continues in the song’s chorus (apparently there is no second verse here), which seems to note dealing with that person “so many times.”  What the situation in question is, is anyone’s guess.  That aside, the frustration in dealing with that seeming merry-go-round is clear enough here.  If in fact this interpretation is right, then it clearly makes the song accessible to a wide range of audiences.  Those listeners will appreciate the emotional feeling exuded through the musical and lyrical content in whole.  To that end, that appreciation will lead listeners to appreciate even more, the EP in whole.  When that appreciation, that of the other songs noted here and for the EP’s other two songs is collected in whole, it leaves no doubt that this EP could be the start of a new, bigger chapter for The Mercy Kills’ career.

The Mercy Kills’ new EP New Rule is a positive first outing for the band, which has spent many years working hard to make a place for itself in the rock community.  This record could very well be the culmination of that work and the presentation that finally breaks the band into the mainstream, given the right support.  It is the best of rock and hard rock’s past and present while also pointing to the future.  That is proven through the record’s musical and lyrical content together.  The songs examined here do well to support the noted statements.  When they are considered along with the EP’s two remaining songs, the whole makes this record yet another valid entry among this year’s top new EPs.  New Rule is scheduled for release Friday through Golden Robot Records.  More information on the EP is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: https://www.themercykills.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/themercykills

Twitter: https://twitter.com/themercykills

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://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.  

Walking Papers’ New LP Is One Of 2021’s Essential Albums

Courtesy: Carry On Music

Independent rock band Walking Papers’ forthcoming album The Light Below is one of the most welcome surprises in the very young year that is 2021.  Scheduled for release Friday through Carry On Music, the 12-song record succeeds because of its unassuming nature, both in regards to its musical and lyrical content.  From its start to its end, the subtleties in the 64-minute presentation make it such an interesting collection of songs.  It is not one of those records that will appeal to audiences expecting short, radio ready singles.  Rather, the album in whole is one of those works that requires listeners to give it their full attention.  In doing so, listeners will agree that there is a lot to like here.  ‘Rich Man’s War,’ which comes late in the record’s hour-plus run time, is just one of the many songs that this album has to offer audiences.  It will be discussed shortly.  On a completely opposite end of things, ‘California (One More Phone Call),’ which closes out the album, is another example of what makes The Light Below such an exemplary new offering from Walking Papers.  On yet another side of things is the deep electronic composition ‘Creation Reproduction and Death.’  All three songs noted here are crucial in their own way to the overall presentation of The Light Below.  When they are considered alongside other entries from the album, such as the Muse-eque ‘What Did You Expect,’ ‘Where Did I Go Wrong?,’ which conjures thoughts of The Doors,’ and the brooding instrumental ‘The Other Shoe (Reprise),’ as well as the rest of the album’s songs, the whole of this record becomes a presentation that is unquestionably one of this year’s first great overall albums.  In other words, it is one of year’s essentials whether listeners are fans of the mainstream or independent realm.

Walking Papers’ new forthcoming album The Light Below – the band’s third studio recording – is one of 2021’s first great overall albums.  That is the belief at least of this critic in particular.  The record’s musical and lyrical content alike fully supports the noted statements.  ‘Rich Man’s War,’ which comes late in the album’s run, is just one of the songs that support the noted statements.  The song’s musical arrangement is a funky, upbeat composition.  The fuzzed guitar effect immediately lends itself to work that famed guitarist Tom Morello has crafted throughout his career.  Listeners can immediately hear hints of his work with Rage Against The Machine and Audioslave right from the song’s outset.  The subtle addition of the keyboard in the chorus adds its own nice touch, especially what with the echo effect used for that line.  The drums sound so tight throughout, along with the bass line.  The overall instrumentation makes the song’s musical arrangement stand strongly on its own merits.  When that whole pairs with the clear socio-politically charged lyrical theme in the song, the song gains even more traction.

The noted socio-political commentary is inferred even before the song starts, in its title.  The very title ‘Rich Man’s War’ lets listeners where this song will take them.  Front man Jefferson Angell sings in the song’s lead verse, “It’s a rich man’s war/It’s a poor man’s blood/Things will never change/It’s understood/You can ask for help/It does no good/It’s a rich man’s war/It’s a poor man’s blood.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “To the powers that be/We think the convenience of reality/I find it hard to believe/That you’d still lift a leg…It’s a rich man’s war/A poor man’s blood/You can ask for help/It does no good/It’s a rich man’s war/It’s a poor  man’s blood.”   He adds in the song’s third verse, “I see the world differently/’Cause I can’t look up to people that look down on me/How are you supposed to compete…”  The line that follows is difficult to decipher without a lyrics sheet to reference.  That aside, enough of this verse and the song’s other verses are understandable that there is no mystery as to the song’s lyrical theme.  This is a protest of sorts.  Considering that, the RATM/Audioslave type musical arrangement makes that much more sense.  It also serves to strengthen the song even more.  That in turn shows in part what makes The Light Below stand out in whole.  It is just one of the songs that makes the album such a strong presentation.  ‘California (One More Phone Call)’ is another part of what makes The Light Below shine.  Yes, that awful pun was intended.

‘California (One More Phone Call)’ is completely unlike ‘Rich Man’s War’ and everything else featured in this hour-plus record.  The gentle, airy effect from the guitars and keyboards lends itself to comparison to the famed Eagles’ song ‘Desperado.’  It should be stressed here that said comparison is only stylistic.  The two songs sound nothing alike in general.  It is just the stylistic approach between the two that is so enjoyable similar.  Angell’s smoky vocal delivery, set alongside the almost ethereal instrumentation makes the experience in this song even more enjoyable in its own right.  All things considered in this aspect, the musical side of this song makes for quite the contrast from the album’s opener – ‘The Value of Zero’ – and its own example of why the musical content in this record overall stands out.

When the wonderfully moving musical arrangement featured in ‘California (One More Phone Call)’ is considered along with the song’s familiar lyrical story of a broken relationship, the song in whole stands out even more.  Yes, the way in which the story is told is a bit cliché and overly saccharine, but it still works thanks to its musical accompaniment.  The story opens with the subject singing about his romantic interest preparing to leave him.  He sings, “Give me just/One more phone call/One more kiss/Before you go and leave me alone like this/’Cause it’s gonna hurt to see you go/Put your dreams on hold to make/Mind control/Held your breath/Until your face turns blue/… gonna tell me/All I needed to know/She wants to move to California/She needs a change of scenery/She won’t take no for an answer/Who am I to disagree?”  He continues, stating, “I wish there was something I could say to make you change your mind…She won’t make it through another Winter/Who am I to disagree/Give me one more phone call/Give me one more kiss/Before you leave me alone like this/’Cause it’s gonna hurt to see you go.”  This song might not bring every listener to tears, but there is no doubt it will still move listeners.  That is especially when listeners take into account the noted lyrical content along with the song’s rich musical arrangement.  Collectively, they make the song another clear example of what makes the album in whole such a strong offering.  It is just one more example of what makes the album stand out, too.  ‘Creation Reproduction and Death’ is among the most unique of the album’s entries.

‘Creation Reproduction and Death’ is the longest song on Walking Papers’ new album.  It clocks in at nine minutes, 23 seconds.  So it only makes sense that the song is used as the album’s midpoint.  The song’s heavy, industrial musical arrangement immediately lends itself to comparisons to works from the likes of Gary Numan and Nine Inch Nails.   The heavy keyboards that form the song’s foundation work with the more airy secondary keyboard line and drums to make this work sound unlike anything else in the album.  That alone serves to show even more why the album in whole is so unique. It helps to show the vast diversity in the album’s musical content.  The lyrical content that accompanies the song’s musical arrangement adds to the song’s appeal.

Angell opens the song, singing, “I/Depend on the light/I know it ain’t right/I want you in the worst way, baby/My fate will wait for me there…I want you in the worst way, baby…If you got under my skin/You know I’d never show it…I bet you think you got a dark side, don’t you/What have I got myself into…You said you’d hold me ‘til  there’s nothing else/You said you don’t know who you’re f******  with/The beads of sweat…Creation reproduction and death.”  While much of the lyrical content here is difficult to decipher without a sheet to reference, it can mostly be inferred here that this song centers on a man who has gotten into quite the interesting relationship with a woman who is perhaps a bit of a drama queen.  The song’s second verse continues the story, which will certainly keep listeners engaged in itself.  When this seeming story is coupled with the song’s powerful, industrial style musical arrangement (again, which is unlike anything else in this record), the whole becomes even more powerful.  It shows even more what makes this record stand out.  When it is considered along with the other songs noted here and the rest of the album’s songs, the overall production becomes a work that is one of 2021’s essential albums.

Walking Papers’ new forthcoming album The Light Below is a production that shines from beginning to end.  Yes, that awful pun was intended.  That is evidenced through the album’s musical and lyrical content.  The songs examined here serve well to support the noted statements.  When they are considered along with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole proves itself to be one of this year’s top new independent and overall albums.  The Light Below is scheduled for release Friday through Cary On Music.

More information on Walking Papers’ new album is available along with all of the duo’s latest news at:

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/walkingpapersmusic

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/walkingpapers

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Post Death Soundtrack’s New EP Charts A Clear “Path” For Its New LP

Courtesy: Independent Music Promotions

Independent industrial act Post Death Soundtrack unveiled the first preview of its upcoming album It Will Come Out of Nowhere this week.  The duo – Jon Ireson and Steve Moore – offered up the preview Friday in the form of its EP Pathless Land.  More single than EP, the three-song record features one of the noted album’s singles – ‘Pathless Land’ – and two remixes thereof.  The 16-minute record is a presentation that will appeal to fans of the duo’s contemporaries, such as Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, and Gravity Kills.  That is proven in all three of the song’s takes as well as its lyrical content.  The production in each rendition brings everything today, completing the record’s presentation.  All things considered, the EP is a work that is a strong first impression for the duo’s album.

Post Death Soundtrack’s new EP Pathless Land is a positive first impression for the duo’s forthcoming album It Will Come Out of Nowhere, which is expected for release Feb. 15 on limited 2LP release.  It is such a promising preview of the record in part because of its musical arrangements.  All three takes of the EP’s title track gives audiences something different from one take to the next.  The rendition that features in the album is a keyboard driven work that opens, sounding like something out of the 1980s.  However, as the vocals (including the dual-lined chant of “Freedom”) are added to the mix, that sound turns more into something akin to the industrial sounds of the early  90s.  The comparison here to works from Nine Inch Nails is unavoidable.

The “Sovereign Mix” of ‘Pathless Land’ maintains the noted Nine Inch Nails comparison, but also adds in a bit of a Ministry influence, too.  That is evidenced in t he steady, plodding keyboard line that hits with the force of a hammer.  The ambient vibe that the rest of the song exhibits also presents hints of Stabbing Westward and Gary Numan’s influence to a slightly lesser degree.  It is a take that holds its own against the album’s rendition and proves just as engaging as that take.

The “Lit Beacon” take of ‘Pathless Land’ is just as unique as the song’s “Sovereign Mix.”  What makes this version stand out so much is its semi-acoustic approach.  That subtle approach conjures thoughts of Nine Inch Nails’ more subdued works circa 1994, the year that the band released its landmark album The Downward Spiral.  The brooding nature in the arrangement makes this take one of those works that is so heavy without being heavy and will prove just as engaging for PDS’ target audience as the other two takes of ‘Pathless Land.’  All things considered, the three different takes on the song form a strong foundation for the EP.  The lyrical content that accompanies the song’s musical content (in all its forms) adds even more to the EP’s engagement and entertainment value. 

Not all of the lyrical content featured in the song is capable of deciphering without a lyrics sheet to reference.  However, from what one can understand, the song’s lyrical content comes across as being decidedly introspective.  At one point, the song notes, “From the need to fight/From manic desire/From climbing ever higher/From the mantis bride/From the human…From trouble…/From the fatal flaw/From temples of might…From the seekers of truth/From the altar of youth…”  There are mentions of Christ and Allah from there and “lifeless praise” here, too.  Simply put, what this song does lyrically is something completely unlike anything else out there today.  Thankfully, information provided about the song’s lyrical content does explain the cryptic language.  The information cites Moore as saying about the song that, “‘Pathless Land’ is a little song full of unlikely vitriol and resolve following loss and devastation. We’re thrilled to share this new release with you during dark times and hope it provides a moment of stillness where something fresh can take root.”  Taking that loose description into account, it is sure to generate plenty of discussion among audiences.  Together with the song’s musical content, in each of its iterations, the two elements collectively make for even more engagement for audiences. 

While the musical and lyrical content featured in the Pathless Land EP do quite a bit to make the record an interesting presentation, they are just a portion of what creates that appeal.  The record’s production puts the finishing touch to the presentation, bringing everything together.  As has already been noted, the EP (which again is in this critic’s view more single than EP – but that’s beside the point at this rate) features three very distinct takes on the song in question.  Each rendition presents its own unique take, too.  That means that a lot of attention had to be taken to make sure each take had the utmost impact.  Thankfully, those painstaking efforts paid off.  The brooding, subtle sounds of the song’s “Lit Beacon” mix creates such a deep emotion that will resonate with listeners long after the song’s end.  The balance in the subtle crescendos and decrescendos makes this take so rich.  The more driving, electronic “Sovereign Mix” with its sharp contrasts makes for its own powerful impact.  It would have been so easy to let the song get away with itself in the heavier moments in this mix, but thankfully that did not happen.  That heaviness, against the take’s more subtle side makes for even more power here.  The handling of the even more subtle approach to the song’s album take required its own attention to detail in regards to its production.  The layering of the chanting vocals causes that element to echo in listeners’ minds.  Meanwhile, the subtlety in the chants against the main lyrical line makes for even more of an interesting effect.  Much the same can be said in how that was all balanced with the keyboard line here.  All things considered here, the production works just as well in this case as in the song’s other mixes.  The end result is a record here from Post Death Soundtrack that industrial and goth audiences will appreciate just as much as works from the duo’s more well-known counterparts. It is a record that they will agree, also, is a positive first preview of the duo’s forthcoming album.

Post Death Soundtrack’s new Pathless Land EP is a good way for the duo to give audiences their first preview of the pair’s forthcoming album It Will Come Out of Nowhere.  That is proven in part, as noted here, through all three of the arrangements of the EP’s title track.  Regardless of which rendition listeners choose, the result is a song whose arrangement is fully engaging and entertaining.  The unique lyrical content that accompanies the record’s musical arrangements adds its own interest for listeners and is sure to create its own share of discussion and engagement.  The production of each of the song’s renditions brings everything full circle as it ensures every element of each take is balanced with the utmost precision.  That detailed attention to each arrangement’s instrumentation paid off, too.  It joins with the record’s content to make the EP sound appealing just as much as the content makes it appealing in that arena.  Each item noted is clearly important in its own way to the whole of the EP.  All things considered, they make Pathless Land a presentation that charts a clear, solid path for Post Death Soundtrack’s coming album.  Pathless Land is available now.  More information on the EP is available along with all of the duo’s latest news and more at:

Website: https://postdeathsoundtrack.bandcamp.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/postdeathsoundtrack

Twitter: https://twitter.com/postdeathsound2

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://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.  

‘Ghosts VI: Locusts’ Is Another Enjoyable Addition To Nine Inch Nails’ ‘Ghosts’ “Story”

Courtesy: Nine Inch Nails

When Trent Reznor announced early this year that he was going to release his then latest Nine Inch Nails records Ghosts V: Together and Ghosts VI: Locusts, the news came as a welcome surprise for his fans and those of Nine Inch Nails.  The albums lived up to the excitement generated over the news of their free release, with Ghosts V: Together carrying on the stylistic trend established in Ghosts I IV, which was released approximately 12 years ago this year.  Its companion, Ghosts VI:  Locusts takes audiences in a completely different direction, but that is not a bad thing.  This will be discussed shortly.  The sequencing of those featured songs plays into the album’s presentation in its own right and will be discussed a little later.  The production of the album’s featured songs puts the final touch to its presentation.  It will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here plays its own important part to the whole of Ghosts VI: Locusts.  All things considered, they make the album in whole yet another wonderful addition to Nine Inch Nails’ Ghosts “chapters.”

Nine Inch Nails’ album Ghosts VI: Locusts is a solid new addition to the bigger picture of the band’s Ghosts “chapters,” which started way back in 2008 with the extended album Ghosts IIV.  While it was released early this year alongside its companion record Ghosts V: Together, it is unlike that album and its other predecessors.  That is proven in no small part through the album’s featured musical arrangements.  The arrangements in question give listeners something familiar to longtime Nine Inch Nails fans but that is still unique even within the bigger picture of Nine Inch Nails’ catalog.  What’s more, they remain unique in comparison to any compositions from the band’s own catalog and in comparison to works from Nine Inch Nails’ fellow electronic/industrial counterparts.  At the same time, some of the record’s arrangements also take listeners back in time through the band’s catalog.  ‘When It Happens (Don’t Mind Me)’ is one of those songs that takes listeners in a new direction in this record.  The nearly three minute opus’ presents a stylistic approach and sound similar to that use in ‘The Perfect Drug,’ but at the same time still takes listeners in a new direction.  The high pitched tones and up-tempo approach couples with the expertly placed electronics to make the composition a work that conjures thoughts of someone perhaps going through a manic episode.  That is evidenced in the arrangement’s frenetic energy exuded through the whole.  It is truly a unique addition to the album.

The nearly 10-minute ‘The Worriment Waltz’ is another work that takes listeners in a new direction in this album.  The subtle piano line in itself does lend itself to comparisons to works featured in The Fragile.  At the same time, the addition of the equally subtle, airy, distant trumpet line builds on that foundation to make for even more interest.  That coupling, paired with the almost eerie keyboards and electronics, enhances the arrangement even more and takes the song into a unique second direction within the whole of the song.  The way in which those directions were balanced in order to keep listeners engaged and entertained puts the finishing touch to the song.  This aspect – the production of the song – will be discussed a little later.  Of course, the droning sound that makes up the bulk of the song’s second half does become monotonous.  That aside, the song is still a unique work what with that aspect and everything in the song’s first half.

‘Temp Fix’ is one more example of the importance of the musical arrangements featured in Ghosts VI: Locusts.  Yes, the comparisons to works from The Fragile are there, but they are subtle at most.  The nearly two-minute composition is one of the shortest of the album’s 80-minute-plus body.  Even at such a short run, the song creates such a deep, rich emotional impact for listeners that is just as impacting as anything else that the band has ever crafted.  It is just one more way in which the record’s musical arrangements prove so pivotal to its presentation.  Together with the rest of the album’s arrangements, the whole of that content forms a solid foundation for the album.  That foundation is strengthened more through the sequencing of those arrangements.

The sequencing of Ghosts VI: Locusts is important to discuss for more than one reason.  On one hand, as noted already, the shortest song in this record comes in at just under two minutes.  Its longest composition barely tops the 13-minute mark.  In other words, some of the songs are super short, others are extensively long and others still are roughly average length.  If one takes a close look at the songs’ run times, one will notice that the album starts on one of those mid-length works.  From there, it jumps to a song that runs nearly 11 minutes.  From that point on until about ‘Temp Fix,’ the album’s midpoint, the songs’ run times gradually shorten.  The run times fluctuate up and down from there throughout the second half of the album, rising and falling more than once, with the longest of the second half’s songs coming in at just over 13 minutes in ‘Turn This Off Please.’  All of this amounts to clear thought put into how long each song runs.

The importance of the album’s sequencing in regards to its run times gains importance as that is considered along with the actual makeup of the arrangements.  As has already been noted, some of the arrangements featured in this record are composed of multiple movements.  Others are far more simple.  Case in point is ‘The Worriment Waltz.’  Coming in at just under 10 minutes, the composition largely maintains listeners’ engagement and entertainment.  However, as it enters its second half, does become somewhat monotonous.  Luckily, the run time and content eases up from there, ensuring audiences are not turned off too much by the arrangements.  Simply put, the run times of the album’s songs and their overall content are clearly connected.  Reznor wanted to make sure the album had as much impact as possible.  He did not just toss the songs in their randomly.  Rather, everything noted was done with the fullest of intentions.  That approach paid off, too.  When this is considered alongside the album’s featured songs, the end result is a record that presents that much more for audiences to appreciate.  Collectively, the album’s songs and their sequencing are still just one part of what makes the album so appealing.  Its production rounds out its most important elements.

The production of Ghosts VI: Locusts is important to examine because, as with its companion record Ghosts V: Together, some of the songs have so much going on, while others are more simple in their approaches.  The thing is that the more minimalist compositions still have a lot going on, in terms of ambience while the longer works use a lot to make them work.  The more “active” songs present audiences with multiple elements.  Those elements are expertly balanced, showing Reznor’s year’s of experience, with electronics, keyboards, vocals and other elements balanced so well.  The simpler songs meanwhile present so much depth even with their lesser instrumentation.  Reznor makes the most even of those situations and succeeds just as much as in the more complex compositions.  All things considered, the production put into Ghosts VI: Locusts does just as much to make the album engaging and entertaining as its sequencing and its featured songs.  Keeping all of this in mind, Ghosts VI: Locusts proves in the end to be another positive “chapter” in Nine Inch Nails’ Ghosts story. 

Nine Inch Nails’ latest addition to its Ghosts records Ghosts VI: Locusts is another interesting addition to the overall picture of Ghosts.  Its musical arrangements take listeners in a largely new direction from those presented in Ghosts’ first five entries.  At the same time it gives listeners a little something familiar to enjoy, too.  The sequencing of the album’s songs takes much into consideration, including the songs’ run times and content.  The album’s production brings everything full circle, completing its presentation.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album.  All things considered, they make Ghosts VI: Locusts an impressive addition to Nine Inch Nails’ Ghosts “story.  It is available now.  More information on Ghosts VI: Locusts is available along with all of Nine Inch Nails’ latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.nin.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/nonofficial

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/nineinchnails

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.  

A Dozen Years Later, Nine Inch Nails Continues The Success of ‘Ghosts I-IV’ with ‘Ghosts V’

Courtesy: Nine Inch Nails

Trent Reznor has made a career — and a successful one at that — of crafting unique musical landscapes with each song he creates that are unlike those of any of his peers across the musical universe. That applies to his work on movies, video games and under the Nine Inch Nails moniker.  His recently released album Ghosts V: Together is no exception to that rule.  The eight-song instrumental record is a presentation that Reznor’s established fan base will enjoy.  The record’s musical arrangements are the main way in which the album proves to be another success from Reznor under the NIN moniker.  They will be discussed shortly.  The arrangements’ sequencing ensures even more, that listeners will remain engaged and entertained in the albums.  The songs’ production rounds out the album’s most important elements.  It is because of this element that the album in whole sounds so appealing.  When it is considered along with the album’s songs and their sequencing, the album in whole becomes another impressive addition to Nine Inch Nails’ catalog and proves itself one of this year’s top new albums overall.

Nine Inch Nails’ recently released instrumental album Ghosts V: Together is another memorable addition to Trent Reznor’s already extensive and impressive body of work.  It picks up right where Ghosts I-IV left off way back in 2008.  Just as with that album – the band’s first independent release following its split from Interscope Records – Reznor (and likely his longtime collaborative partner Atticus Ross) pays such close attention to all of the most minute details in each song.  This will be discussed at more length when the record’s production is addressed.  The songs’ ethereal arrangements are so rich even in their simplicity.  ‘With Faith’ is a prime example of the songs’ depth even in that minimalist approach.  The song’s foundation is formed through a gentle, simple keyboard line that almost sounds like a toy piano.  That in itself makes for its own share of interest.  The use of the “choral” effect to the arrangement — that runs stably through the song’s nearly 10-minute run time — and the subtle keyboard accents make for so much engagement.  The mood that they collectively set is such that a person could use the song for a meditation session.  The progression happens through the subtleties throughout the song.  They work with the noted foundation and smartly-handled dynamics to make the song such a strong presentation in its own right.

‘Still Right Here,’ which comes in at more than 10 minutes in length, does its own share to show what makes Ghosts V: Together so impressive, in regards to its musical arrangements.  It starts off in a decidedly gentle, contemplative fashion, using only a soft keyboard line and even more subtle electronics.  As the song progresses, it gradually builds in intensity with the addition of the guitar line.  The dynamic control in the arrangement is solid throughout, evoking such strong emotions in listeners.  As the song builds into something more akin to works from With Teeth, the engagement and entertainment builds even more.  The transition back to something that sounds like it belongs in a science fiction movie builds up the arrangement’s presentation even more, showing once more why the arrangement (and album’s arrangements in whole) works so well in this record. 

‘Your Touch’ is yet another example of the importance of the musical arrangements featured in Ghosts V: Together.  The song’s arrangement is one of those works that is so heavy without being heavy.  The subtlety in the combination of the keyboards and electronics alongside the once more ethereal vocal effects creates another deep emotional impact within listeners’ minds.  The arrangement in whole sounds like it would fit just as well on The Downward Spiral as on Fragile.  Its reach is that broad, what with the “instrumentation” and overall mix, which again will be discussed at more length a little later.  Between this song, the others noted here and the rest of the album’s featured works, it becomes clear at this point just how impacting the album’s musical arrangements are for listeners.  They form a solid foundation for the album; a foundation that is strengthened even more through their sequencing.

The sequencing of Ghosts V: Together is important to examine alongside the arrangements themselves in that it maintains a stable mood and energy throughout the course of the album.  The mood is melancholy, yes, but it is not an “oh-woe-is-me” melancholy.  Rather, it is more of a deeply introspective style of melancholy that still presents its own sort of positivity.  The dynamic changes within each arrangement also ensure that is understood while also making sure that the record never becomes monotonous at any point.  The result is that from start to end, audiences will remain fully engaged and entertained by the album.  Pairing this element with the album’s arrangements the album gains even more strength.  It is just one more aspect that makes the record so worth hearing.  The record’s production rounds out its most important elements.

It has already been noted here that much attention was paid to even the most minute of details throughout Ghosts V: Together.  That is made clear in different ways in each song.  Something as simple as the dynamic changes within the songs shows solid control and thought.  Case in point goes back to ‘Still Right Here.’  The song starts off so slowly and introspectively.  As the song progresses, it gradually picks up in intensity, a la songs from The Fragile before gradually following a decrescendo as the song enters its second half in the sort of ABA pattern.  The subtle progression that the song experiences not only in terms of dynamics, but also in terms of instrumentation shows even more, the impact of the albums’ production.  The use of the electronics, keyboards and vocals is expertly balanced, with each element complimenting the others.  Much the same can be said of ‘Out in the Open.’  Another composition that evokes thoughts of movies, such as 2001: A Space Odyssey and its sequel, the arrangement gently balances the keyboards and seeming vocal elements together for a unique whole that is just so powerful in its simplicity.  Much the same said of these two songs can largely be said of the rest of the album’s entries.  Whether the songs be simple or somewhat more complex in their instrumentation and even dynamics, the balance is near perfection if not full perfection.  Keeping this in mind along with the impact of the arrangements themselves and their sequencing, the whole of the album a powerful new offering from Nine Inch Nails that every one of Trent Reznor’s fans will welcome.

Nine Inch Nails’ Ghosts V: Together is another impressive addition to the band’s already impressive, extensive catalog that audiences are certain to enjoy.  That is proven in part through the record’s featured musical arrangements.  The full-on instrumental compositions continue the trend established in Ghosts IIV approximately a dozen years ago in terms of their stylistic approach.  The sequencing of the record’s featured songs adds its own share of appeal to the recording, as it ensures listeners will remain engaged and entertained.  The record’s production puts the final touch to its presentation, ensuring each element within each song is expertly balanced together, so as to produce the most powerful emotional impact for listeners.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Ghosts V: Together.  All things considered, the record is a strong continuation of its predecessor that Trent Reznor’s established fan base will enjoy from start to end.  Ghosts V: Together is available now.  More information on the album is available along with all of Nine Inch Nails’ latest news at:

Website: http://www.nin.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/nineinchnails

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.  

Pop Singer-Songwriter’s New LP Is The Best Of 2020’s Best In Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 New Albums List

Courtesy: Wicked Cool Records

The musical universe spawned so much great music this year. From rock to rap to pop to country, jazz, and even family music, the musical universe gave audiences a lot to like about 2020.  For all of the entertaining and engaging music that was released this year some proved to be the best of its given categories.  Not all of that music could be the best of the best though.  Only certain records could obtain that title, and they come this year from a wide range of genres.  The Okee Dokee Brothers and their new album Songs For Singin’ are here among the best of the best in Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 New Albums of the Year.  They are joined by new albums from the likes of Sons of Apollo, Ricky Byrd, and The Devonns among others.  Topping this year’s list of the best of the best is Jessie Wagner’s new album Shoes Droppin’. 

As with every other list from Phil’s Picks, the Year’s top new albums list features the year’s Top 10 new albums and give honorable mentions for a total of 15 titles.  Without any further ado, here is Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 New Albums of the Year.

PHIL’S PICKS 2020 TOP 10 NEW ALBUMS OF THE YEAR

  1. Jessie Wagner – Shoes Droppin’
  2. Chris Stapleton —  Starting Over
  3. Sons of Apollo – MMXX
  4. Yellowackets – Jackets XL
  5. U.D.O. – We Are 1
  6. Ricky Byrd – Sobering Times
  7. Deep Purple – Whoosh!
  8. The Devonns – The Devonns
  9. Nine Inch Nails – Ghosts V
  10. Nine Inch Nails – Ghosts VI
  11. Joe Bonamassa – Royal Tea
  12. The Okee Dokee Brothers – Songs For Singin
  13. The Tibbs – Another Shot Fired
  14. Ala.ni – ACCA
  15. Ben Harper – Winter is for Lovers

Now that all the music lists are done, it is on to the DVD and Blu-ray releases.  Up first in that side of things is the year’s Top 10 New Documentaries.  Stay tuned for 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.

Deep Purple’s Latest And Likely Last Album Tops Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 New Rock Albums List

Courtesy: earMUSIC

The year 2020 threw a lot of misery and negativity at the world.  Between the seemingly endless issues raised as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the political problems that plagued America and the world, and some of the most respected names in the industry passing, there has been more than enough for us to never speak of 2020 again when it ends.  For all of that negativity and misery that the world has seen this year though, there actually has been at least some positive in the form of new music from so many acts.  The lists compiled already recently by Phil’s Picks and other outlets have more than supported that statement.  That new music includes new albums from lots of new and established rock acts, such as Deep Purple, Faith & Scars, and even Nine Inch Nails.  All three acts are featured in this year’s list of Phil’s Picks Top 10 New Rock Albums.  Their musical and lyrical content collectively (and sometimes by themselves) prove them fully deserving of their spots on this (and any critic’s) list.

As with every other list from Phil’s Picks, this list 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 Rock Albums.

PHIL’S PICKS 2020 TOP 10 NEW ROCK ALBUMS

  1. Deep Purple – Whoosh!
  2. Nick Perri & The Underground Thieves – Sun Via
  3. Derek Sherinian – The Phoenix
  4. Ricky Byrd – Sobering Times
  5. Joe Satriani – Shapeshifting
  6. Pearl Jam – Gigaton
  7. Nine Inch Nails – Ghosts V
  8. Nine Inch Nails – Ghosts VI
  9. Soul Asylum – Hurry Up and Wait
  10. Shadow and the Thrill – Sugarbowl
  11. Faith & Scars – Revolver
  12. Jason Kui – Naka
  13. Michael Abdow – Heart Signal
  14. Horisont – Sudden Death
  15. Night – High Tides Distant Skies

Next up from Phil’s Picks is 2020’s Top New Hard rock & Metal Albums.  Stay tuned for 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.