‘Of Kingdom And Crown’ Is One Of Machine Head’s Best Albums To Date

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Machine Head is back.  More than four years after the release of the band’s then latest album, Catharsis, the band released its 10th album, Of Kingdom and Crown Friday through Nuclear Blast Records.  The 13-song album is a solid return to form for front man and founder Robb Flynn, who is now the band’s only original member.  Over the course of the record’s 39-minute run time, its arrangements lift from all of the best of the band’s catalog, musically speaking, while also offering lyrical content that is engaging in its own right.  Flynn and his new band mates – Waclaw Kieltkya (guitar, vocals), Jared MacEachern (bass, vocals), and Matt Alston (drums) – released roughly half of the album’s body in the months leading up to the record’s release, with a total of six of its song debuting between November 2020 and June of this year.  One of the most powerful of those singles is ‘My Hands Are Empty.’  This song will be discussed shortly.   ‘Rotten,’ which comes late in the album, is another notable addition to the record and will be discussed a little later.  ‘Choke On The Ashes Of Your Hate,’ which comes early in the record’s run, is yet another notable addition to the album and will also be examined later.  All three songs noted are key in their own way to the whole of this album’s presentation.  When they are considered along with the album’s other entries, the whole makes this record one of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums and potentially one of the year’s top new albums.

Of Kingdom and Crown, the latest album from Machine Head, is easily among the best of this year’s new hard rock and metal albums.  There is no question about that.  That is made clear from the record’s beginning to its end in its musical and lyrical content alike.  One of the songs that does so well to make that clear is ‘My Hands Are Empty.’  While not recently considered the album’s lead single, it was, in hindsight, the first of the new songs that would end up on the album in its release way back in November 2020.  It should be noted here that while Matt Alston is currently handling drumming duties for the band, the drums in this song’s arrangement were handled by Navene Koperweis (Animals As Leaders, Whitechapel, Entheos).  The arrangement overall features a sound and stylistic approach that, as Flynn noted at the time of the single’s release, is comparable to works from the band’s 2003 album, Through The Ashes of Empires.  That is evidenced through Flynn’s distinct growling vocals and the richness created through the pairing of the guitar and bass alongside those pummeling drums.  The addition of the choral effect to the mix adds even more to that sense.

Lyrically speaking, Flynn explained that the song tackles the issue of opioid abuse.

“I have some family members who have beaten their opioid addiction, and have some still in the throes of addition,” Flynn said. “it is painful to watch, and I deal with it with great difficulty.  It is a song of sadness, but there is hope as well.  I have beaten my own drug addictions and we can fight through this together and share our pain with the world.”  The mention in the song’s chorus that “My hands are empty/Lies so pretty/Kill me gently” points directly to the emotional struggle.  It is an allusion to someone feeling left with nothing as a result of so many struggles.  In this case the struggles are with addiction, being at the bottom of that proverbial barrel.  The mention of powders and pills in the song’s second verse, along with watching someone slowly die is that direct reference to watching people Flynn knows struggling with addiction.  Seeing them “Disintegrate/You/Right before my eyes” and the emptiness haunting him makes that painful picture all the fuller.  That overall lyrical picture, along with the power and emotion in the song’s musical arrangement makes fully clear why this song stands out among the album’s singles.

‘My Hands Are Empty’ is just one of the songs that stands out in Machine Head’s new album.  ‘Rotten’ is another notable addition to the record.  Its musical arrangement immediately takes audiences back to the band’s debut 1994 album, Burn My Eyes.  The crunch of the guitars, and the pairing of the bass and drums really leads even more to that comparison.  Flynn himself is even quoted through Apple Music as saying the arrangement came about during the band’s recent tour in celebration of Burn My Eyes’ 25th anniversary while also making his own comparison to works from Exodus’ 1989 album, Fabulous Disaster.

Considering the fire in the song’s arrangement, it makes the song’s lyrical content all the more interesting.  That is because Flynn left interpretation of the song’s lyrical content to audiences.  The mention of sitting, holding the “gun in hand/Barrel to the temple” leads to the sense that this song is lyrically taking on the blend of anger and desperation that comes with such suicidal thoughts.  The anger comes as Flynn screams, “Everything is rotten to the core” in the song’s chorus.  His further mention of feeling such anxiety, “heart racing/My throat’s constricting” even more seems to hint at those mixed feelings.  If in fact, this is the picture that Flynn is trying to paint here, that of someone sitting there, feeling so much anger and sadness, anxiety and confusion all at once, then he has done quite well.  That is because mental health is such a prevalent matter, and that constantly deserves attention.  To that end, the overall picture painted through the song’s musical and lyrical content makes the whole here stand out just as much as ‘Empty Hands’ and the rest of the album’s offerings.

As much as ‘Rotten’ does to make Of Kingdom and Crown a powerful new offering from Machine Head, it is hardly the last of the record’s most notable works.  ‘Choke on the Ashes of Your Hate’ is yet another example of how much this record has to offer.  The musical arrangement featured in this song is, again, influenced by Exodus according to Flynn.  He compared the intensity of the song’s arrangement to that of works from Exodus’ debut 1985 album, Bonded by Blood.  Interestingly enough, that album’s title track (and much of the album) actually sounds more akin to early Metallica than Machine Head.  To that end one could argue that this song is just as much akin to early Metallica as early Exodus.  That is meant in the most complimentary fashion, too.

Lyrically, this song goes in a completely different direction from those of the other songs examined here.  Flynn said in an interview about the song, that it was influenced by the Japanese anime series, Attack on Titan.  He said the song is part of what is apparently a bigger semi-conceptual approach to this album that is based on that series and that the lead song focuses on two characters who both start out good but turn bad because of the bad things that happened personally to them.  It is an interesting concept of there really being that there is no real “good” or “bad” guy in stories or in life.  That concept, together with the song’s powerful musical arrangement, makes it stand on its own unique merits.  When it is considered along with the other songs examined here and with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes the album overall an unforgettable new offering from Machine Head that is among the best of the band’s albums to date.

Of Kingdom and Crown, the latest album from Machine Head, is an impressive return for the band, considering the stark departure that the band took on its predecessor, 2018’s Catharsis.  The album is a full-on return to form for Flynn and his current band mates.  That is evidenced through its musical and lyrical content alike.  The songs examined here each make that clear.  When they are considered along with the album’s other songs, the entirety of that body makes Of Kingdom and Crown one of Machine Head’s best albums to date and one of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

Of Kingdom and Crown is available now through Nuclear Blast Records. The band is scheduled to join Amon Amarth on the road this fall in Europe, with each band promoting its own new album.

The tour’s schedule is noted below.

SEPTEMBER
Thursday 8 – NOTTINGHAM, UK, Motorpoint Arena
Friday 9 – CARDIFF, UK, Motorpoint Arena
Saturday 10 – LONDON, UK, The SSE Arena, Wembley
Monday 12 – MANCHESTER, Uk AO Arena
Tuesday 13 – DUBLIN, Ireland, 3Arena
Friday 16 – ZURICH, Switzerland, Hallenstadion
Saturday 17 – VIENNA, Austria, Stadthalle
Sunday 18 – KRAKOW, Poland, Tauron Arena
Tuesday 20 – TALLINN, Estonia, Saku Arena
Wednesday 21 – HELSINKI, Finland, Ice Hall
Friday 23 – OSLO, Norway, Spektrum
Saturday 24 – STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Hovet
Monday 26 – COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Forum Black Box
Tuesday 27 – HAMBURG, Germany, Barclays Arena
Wednesday 28 – FRANKFURT, Germany, Festhalle
Friday 30 – OBERHAUSEN, Germany, König Pilsener Arena

OCTOBER
Saturday 01 – BERLIN, Germany Velodrome
Sunday 02 – AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands, Afas Live
Tuesday 04 – MILAN, Italy, Lorenzini District
Thursday 06 – BARCELONA, Spain, Sant Jordi
Friday 07 – MADRID, Spain, Vistalegre
Saturday 08 – LA CORUNA, Spain, Coliseum
Sunday 09 – LISBON, Portugal, Campo Pequeno
Wednesday 12 – PARIS, France, Zenith
Friday 14 – MUNICH, Germany, Olympiahalle
Saturday 15 – LEIPZIG, Germany, Arena
Sunday 16 – PRAGUE, Czech Republic, Tipsport Arena
Tuesday 18 – BUDAPEST, Hungary, Barba Negra
Thursday 20 – ESCH SUR ALZETTE, Luxembourg, Rockhal
Friday 21 – BRUSSELS, Belgium, Forest National
Saturday 22 – STUTTGART, Germant, Schleyerhalle

More information on Machine Head’s new album and tour is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.machinehead1.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/MachineHead

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/MfnH

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.

‘Totem’ Continues To Cement Soulfly’s Place In Metal’s Upper Echelons

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

A wait of almost four years for new music from Soulfly officially came to an end this month when the band, founded by former Sepultura front man Max Cavalera, released its latest album, Totem.  Released Aug 4 through Nuclear Blast Records, the 10-song record came more than three years after the release of the band’s then latest album, Ritual, which was also released through Nuclear Blast Records.  The band’s 12th album, it shows as much change in its content as the lineup that recorded the LP.  One of the record’s most notable entries comes early in its 40-minute run in the form of ‘Rot In Pain.’  This song will be examined shortly.  Also of note much later in the album’s run is ‘Ecstasy of Gold.’  It will be examined a little later.  ‘Superstition,’ which serves as the album’s opener and lead single, is yet another key addition to the album and will also be examined later.  When it is considered along with the other songs noted here, that collective joins with the rest of the album’s entries to make Totem in whole one of Soulfly’s best albums to date.

Totem, Soulfly’s latest album, is a powerful new entry from the band.  Coming almost four years since the release of the band’s then latest album, Ritual, the record shows a certain amount of growth from the band both in terms of musical and lyrical content.  ‘Rot In Pain,’ which comes early in the album’s run, is just one of the songs that serves to make that clear.  The song’s musical arrangement is unlike anything Soulfly (in any of its lineups) has crafted over the years.  It is a full-on death metal style composition that hits listeners right from its opening bars.  The pummeling (and sometimes shrieking) guitars pair with the drumming of Max Cavalera’s son Zyon and Max’s own vocal delivery to make the overall composition comparable to works from the likes of Morbid Angel and Entombed just to name a couple of bands in that vein.  Audiences could even make a slight comparison to works from the likes of Exodus along the way, too.  The overall musical presentation makes the song so powerful in itself.

The lyrical theme that accompanies the song’s musical content makes the song all the more powerful.  Max Cavalera talked about the song during a recent interview with Apple Music, noting that it is a song of pure anger.

“It’s about having an enemy and wishing that he would rot in pain – not just die, but die in pain,” said Cavalera. 

This is a topic that is accessible to nearly everyone out there.  Whether it be in the workplace or somewhere else, we all have that one person that is just a complete enemy.  They live to make us (and others miserable) and we wish the absolute worst on them.  To that end, this theme will help any person deal with those despicable people without doing something that could land them in jail.  The full-on anger is presented right from the song’s lead verse in which Cavalera screams, “Arteries open/Festering wound/Bleeding out maggots/Lifeless tomb.”  Yes, that is a pretty graphic visual, but who out there has not had violent visions of what they would like to do to those people who are their enemies?  Again, allowing Cavalera and company to express the anger is therapeutic to a point.  The pure fury continues in the song’s second verse in which Cavalera screams, “Bodies on bodies/Flesh/Worm feasting now on human trash/Disintegrated mindless brain/Acid burns on a hollow face.”  It is all capped off in the song’s chorus, which states, “I feel the need/Wide as the world/Deep as the grave/Cursed be the death that you know/Rot in pain.”  Again, this is complete fury.  This is emotion that everybody has felt at one point or another in life.  Being able to vent that frustration through these accessible words and the equally powerful musical arrangement makes this song stand out so strongly.

‘Rot In Pain’ is just one of the songs that makes Totem stand out.  ‘Ecstasy of Gold’ is another key addition to the album.  It should be noted here that this song is not a cover of the song that was originally used in the timeless spaghetti western flick The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and then made even more famous through Metallica.  This is a completely separate song from that composition.  That is obvious in the song’s arrangement, which is another full-on death metal composition.  While it is a death metal style work on the surface, audiences could also argue that there is a touch of groove metal in the mix, too.  The blending of those separate but still similar styles makes the overall arrangement so impacting and at the same time unique from any of the album’s other entries.

The hard-hitting musical arrangement presented in ‘Ecstasy of Gold’ is just part of what makes the song worth hearing.  The song’s lyrical theme makes for its own engagement.  As Cavalera pointed out during his conversation at Apple Music, the song focuses on the greed that has driven so much of mankind throughout history.

“This one talks about human greed and what gold fever does to a person’s psyche,” said Cavalera.  “Countries were built by gold fever.  There are stories about the Portuguese going to Brazil and totally raping the whole side of a mountain for gold. It’s in all the cathedrals in Portugal right now.” 

In other words, the song is another sociopolitical commentary from Cavalera.  That is nothing new from him and to that end, is something that is certain to resonate with his longtime fans.  The message is most clearly delivered in the song’s chorus in which Cavalera states, “Pounding hate from my hands/My hands/Solar eyes have deceived you/Thirst for wealth bringing pain/Ecstasy of gold remains.”  He even mentions in the song’s lead verse, “Pounding hearts full of grief/Greed of lust has no relief.”  Again, this is a clear illustration of what Cavalera was talking about in his comments.  This is addressing that greed that humans have for not just gold but wealth in general.  It is a fully accessible theme that when paired with the song’s equally powerful musical arrangement, makes the song in whole another example of how much Totem has to offer audiences.

While ‘Ecstasy of Gold’ is a clear example of what audiences have to expect from Totem it is just another example of how much the album has to offer.  ‘Superstition’ is yet another positive example of the record’s positive marks.  The musical arrangement featured in ‘Superstition’ is impressive in its own right as it takes listeners back to Cavalera’s days with Sepultura.  That is evident in the full-on thrash approach taken here.  More specifically, it takes audiences back to the days of Chaos A.D., which is going back quite a way.  Cavalera’s more familiar tribal elements are most prominent in this arrangement than in any other point in the album. 

The lyrical theme featured in the song makes for its own interest.  That is because as Cavalera noted during his interview, it is based on his research into the Superstition Mountains, which he said are not far from where he lives in Arizona.  According to legends, the so-called Lost Dutchman’s mine is located in the Superstition Mountains.  Cavalera’s mention of “Superstition/Harder than stone” is an interesting play on words given the legends of the Superstition Mountains.  What’s more, the fact that few if any other act out there has crafted a song about this topic makes the son stand out even more.  When the song is considered with the rest of the record’s entries, the whole makes Totem an overall successful new entry from Soulfly.

Totem, the latest album from Soulfly is another successful offering from the veteran metal outfit.  That is made clear through its musical and lyrical content.  The songs examined here make that clear.  When they are considered along with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes the album yet another welcome addition to Soulfly’s catalog and to this year’s field of new hard rock and metal albums.

Totem is available now through Nuclear Blast Records.  More information on the album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.soulfly.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/soulflyofficial

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/TheSoulflyTribe

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

Amon Amarth Announces New Tour Schedule

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Amon Amarth will hit the road this fall in support of its new, forthcoming album, The Great Heathen Army.

The band announced Tuesday, it will launch the “The Great Heathen Tour” November 11 in Las Vegas, NV in support of the record, which is scheduled for release Aug. 5 through Metal Blade Records. The tour features support from Carcass, Obituary, and Cattle Decapitation, and is expected to run through Dec. 17 in Los Angeles, CA and also features scheduled performances in cities, such as Charlotte, NC; Cincinnati, OH and Seattle, WA.

The tour’s schedule is noted below.

Amon Amarth
THE GREAT HEATHEN TOUR
US HEADLINE RUN W/ CARCASS, OBITUARY AND CATTLE DECAPITATION
Friday, November 11 – Las Vegas, NV @ Brooklyn Bowl*
Saturday, November 12 – Phoenix, AZ @ Arizona Federal Theater
Monday, November 14 – San Antonio, TX @ Aztec Theater
Tuesday, November 15 – Houston, TX @ Bayou Music Center
Wednesday, November 16 – Dallas, TX @ Southside Ballroom
Friday, November 18 – Atlanta, GA @ The Tabernacle
Saturday, November 19 – Orlando, FL @ Hard Rock Live
Sunday, November 20 – Charlotte, NC @ The Fillmore
Tuesday, November 22 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Fillmore
Wednesday, November 23 – Boston, MA @ MGM Music Hall at Fenway
Friday, November 25 – Detroit, MI @ The Fillmore
Saturday, November 26 – Chicago, IL @ The Aragon Ballroom
Sunday, November 27 – Cincinnati, OH @ The Andrew J Brady Music Center
Wednesday, November 30 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE**
Thursday, Dec 01 – New York, NY @ Hammerstein Ballroom
Friday, Dec 02 – Toronto, ON @ History
Saturday, Dec 03 – Laval, QC @ Place Bell
Monday, Dec 05 – Madison, WI @ The Sylvee
Tuesday, Dec 06 – Minneapolis, MN @ The Fillmore
Wednesday, Dec 07- Kansas City, MO @ Uptown
Friday, Dec 09 – Denver, CO @ The Fillmore
Saturday, Dec 10 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex
Monday, Dec 12 – Seattle, WA @ Showbox SODO
Tuesday, Dec 13 – Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater
Thursday, Dec 15 – Wheatland, CA @ Hard Rock Live
Friday, Dec 16 – San Diego, CA @ SOMA
Saturday, Dec 17 – Los Angeles, CA @ Kia Forum

*No Carcass
** Non-Live Nation date

The new fall U.S. dates will follow a European run with Machine Head, that is scheduled to run from Sept. 8 in Nottingham, UK to Oct. 22 in Stuttgart, Germany. The Halo Effect is also scheduled to take part in the tour, dubbed the “Vikings and Lionhearts Tour 2022.”

The tour’s schedule is noted below.

SEPTEMBER
Thursday 8 – NOTTINGHAM, UK, Motorpoint Arena
Friday 9 – CARDIFF, UK, Motorpoint Arena
Saturday 10 – LONDON, UK, The SSE Arena, Wembley
Monday 12 – MANCHESTER, Uk AO Arena
Tuesday 13 – DUBLIN, Ireland, 3Arena
Friday 16 – ZURICH, Switzerland, Hallenstadion
Saturday 17 – VIENNA, Austria, Stadthalle
Sunday 18 – KRAKOW, Poland, Tauron Arena
Tuesday 20 – TALLINN, Estonia, Saku Arena
Wednesday 21 – HELSINKI, Finland, Ice Hall
Friday 23 – OSLO, Norway, Spektrum
Saturday 24 – STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Hovet
Monday 26 – COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Forum Black Box
Tuesday 27 – HAMBURG, Germany, Barclays Arena
Wednesday 28 – FRANKFURT, Germany, Festhalle
Friday 30 – OBERHAUSEN, Germany, König Pilsener Arena

OCTOBER
Saturday 01 – BERLIN, Germany Velodrome
Sunday 02 – AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands, Afas Live
Tuesday 04 – MILAN, Italy, Lorenzini District
Thursday 06 – BARCELONA, Spain, Sant Jordi
Friday 07 – MADRID, Spain, Vistalegre
Saturday 08 – LA CORUNA, Spain, Coliseum
Sunday 09 – LISBON, Portugal, Campo Pequeno
Wednesday 12 – PARIS, France, Zenith
Friday 14 – MUNICH, Germany, Olympiahalle
Saturday 15 – LEIPZIG, Germany, Arena
Sunday 16 – PRAGUE, Czech Republic, Tipsport Arena
Tuesday 18 – BUDAPEST, Hungary, Barba Negra
Thursday 20 – ESCH SUR ALZETTE, Luxembourg, Rockhal
Friday 21 – BRUSSELS, Belgium, Forest National
Saturday 22 – STUTTGART, Germant, Schleyerhalle

The announcement of Amon Amarth’s new tour came less than a week after the band debuted the second single from its new album, which is also the album’s title track. The band debuted the song and its video July 7. The band debuted the album’s lead single, ‘Get In The Ring‘ and its companion video June 2.

The track listing for The Great Heathen Army is noted below.

AMON AMARTH
The Great Heathen Army
Track Listing
1. Get In the Ring
2. The Great Heathen Army
3. Heidrun
4. Oden Owns You All
5. Find a Way or Make One
6. Dawn of Norsemen
7. Saxons and Vikings
8. Skagul Rides With Me
9. The Serpent’s Trail

More information on Amon Amarth’s new tour, single, video, and album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.amonamarth.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/amonamarth

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/amonamarthband

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

Machine Head Unveils New Single, ‘Unhallowed,’ Companion Video

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Machine Head offered audiences another preview of its new album this week with a new single and its companion video.

The band premiered its new single, ‘Unhallowed‘ and the song’s companion video Tuesday. The song is technically the sixth single from the band’s forthcoming album, Of Kingdom and Crown, which is scheduled for release Aug. 26 through Nuclear Blast Records. The premiere of the song and its video follows that of the album’s other singles, ‘Choke On The Ashes Of Your Hate,‘  ‘Arrows In Words From The Sky,’ Rotten,’  ‘Become The Firestorm,’ and ‘My Hands Are Empty’.

Pre-orders and pre-saves for Of Kingdom and Crown are open.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Unhallowed’ is a fully engaging and entertaining composition. Its mostly brooding nature and thrash style breakdown immediately conjures thoughts of the band’s hit single, ‘Imperium.’ At the same time, there is a certain sense of the band’s works from its landmark debut album, Burn My Eyes throughout the arrangement, too. The whole makes the song so enjoyable.

The song’s lyrical theme continues the story set in ‘Choke On The Ashes Of Your Hate’ according to front man Robb Flynn.

“Drowning in the deepest depression of his life, Eros is at a breaking point,” Flynn said. “Collecting heartaches, loss, and near psychotic isolation, ‘Unhallowed’ is the beginning of a powerful shift of our story. An introspective narrative starts the song lyrically, which is a collaborative effort written by myself, Guitarist Wacław “Vogg” Kiełtyka, and Bassist/Backing Vocalist Jared MacEachern and encapsulates the collective strength of this writing team.  

“Anchored by an absolutely monstrous groove, the vocals melodically mirror the state of mind of Eros as he reels from the loss of his mother to a drug overdose and begins a slow downward spiral into madness. However, the culmination of the track infuses some much-needed light, but will it be enough?”

As a refresher for those maybe new to the concept behind the band’s new album, Flynn talked early this spring about the topic.

“Thanks to my 2 teenage boys my family has become obsessed with this awesome Japanese anime series called “Attack On Titan,” he said. “The album’s concept was loosely inspired by the series in the sense that in the storyline, there is no “good” or “bad” guy, both characters believe they’re doing the right thing as it applies to their being, but make no mistake, both are committing acts of pure atrocity and evil. The opening track “SLAUGHTER THE MARTYR” is basically our character #1’s origin story.”

Flynn’s statement also outlined the lyrical theme in the album’s then new single. He said of the two men:

Character #1 Ares: (pronounced Aries), our main, who loses the love of his life (Amethyst) and goes on a murderous rampage against the vile sect responsible for her murder.

Character #2 Eros: (pronounced Arrows) the perpetrator, who loses his mother to a drug overdose and becomes radicalized in the aftermath. Eros goes off the deep end manifesting his own killing spree. 

The video for ‘Unhallowed’ features Flynn performing the new single alongside bassist Jared MacEachern. The space is also where Flynn and MacEachern have held so many live performances over the past couple of years online.

Of Kingdom and Crown will release on 16 separate vinyl pressings, deluxe vinyl box set, CD, cassette, and digital formats. The album’s track listing is noted below.

ØF KINGDØM AND CRØWN

MACHINE HEAD

Track Listing:

1. SLAUGHTER THE MARTYR

2. CHØKE ØN THE ASHES ØF YØUR HATE

3. BECØME THE FIRESTØRM

4. ØVERDØSE

5. MY HANDS ARE EMPTY

6. UNHALLØWED

7. ASSIMILATE

8. KILL THY ENEMIES

9. NØ GØDS, NØ MASTERS

10. BLØØDSHØT

11. RØTTEN

12. TERMINUS

13. ARRØWS IN WØRDS FRØM THE SKY

The now six singles released for Machine Head’s new album are just some of the songs that the band has released. The band also released the standalone singles, ‘Bulletproof,’ Stop The Bleeding (ft. Jesse Leach), ‘Circling The Drain‘ and its acoustic take in 2020.

More information on Machine Head’s new music is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.machinehead1.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/MachineHead

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/MfnH

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.

Bleed From Within Debuts New Single, ‘Flesh And Stone,’ Companion Video

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Bleed From Within debuted the latest single from its forthcoming album, Shrine, and its companion video this week.

The band debuted its new single, ‘Flesh and Stone‘ and its companion video Thursday. The song is the fourth single from the album, which is scheduled for release June 3 through Nuclear Blast Records. The album has also produced the singles, ‘I Am Damnation,’ ‘Levitate,’ and ‘Stand Down.’

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Flesh and Stone’ is everything that audiences have come to expect from Bleed From Within musically speaking. The intense screams are there, as are the equally powerful orchestrations and intense drums, guitar riffs and more. Comparisons can be made at points, to works from Ice Nine Kills, and at others, to works from the likes of Whitechapel. The blend of influences makes the song a heavy, intense work that will appeal to a wide range of metal fans.

Drummer Ali Richardson talked about the song’s lyrical theme and its connection to the song’s video in a prepared statement.

“‘Flesh And Stone’ was born from the idea that future generations will inherit a dying planet,” Richardson said. “The evidence to support this theory is overwhelming, but we are still met with people who choose to deny the fact that this world is finite. Avoiding the traditional performance style video, we instead wanted to create a cinematic fictional world that could no longer defend itself from the sun; a barren wasteland once full of life. In her isolation, our desperate protagonist has resorted to rituals in order to manifest some form of life on this dead world, but it’s too late.

Courtesy: Cosa Nostra PR

In other news, Bleed From Within has an extensive summer tour scheduled in support of its new album. The tour is scheduled to launch with a handful of festival shows between June 2 and Aug. 18.

After finishing its festival shows, the band will take some downtime before launching a full European tour Dec. 1 in Cologne, Germany. The tour is scheduled to run through Dec. 5 in Paris, France.

The tour’s schedule, including festival shows, is noted below.

Bleed From Within – Summer Festivals

June 2 – Gdnask, PL @ Mystic Festival

June 10 – Castle Donnington, UK @ Download Festival

June 24 – Gräfenhainichen, DE @ Full Force Festival

June 29 – Viveiro, ES @ Resurrection Fest

August 18 – Sulingen, DE @ Reload Festival

Shrine – EU Tour Dates

December 1 – Cologne, DE @ Club Volta

December 2 – Nijmegen, NL @ Doornroosje

December 3 – Eindhoven, NL @ Dynamo

December 4 – Hamburg, DE @ Logo

December 5 – Copenhagen, DK @ VEGA

December 6 – Berlin, DE @ Hole 44

December 7 – Frankfurt, DE @ Das Bett

December 8 – Stuttgart, DE @ Kulturguartier

December 9 – Vienna, AT – Arena

December 10 – Warsaw, PL – Hydrozagadka

December 11 – Prague, CZ – Underdogs

December 12 – Munich, DE – Feierwerk

December 13 – Aarau, CH – Kiff

December 14 – Lyon, FR – Warmaudio

December 15 – Paris, FR – Le Backstage

More information on Bleed From Within’s new single, video, album, and tour is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: https://bleedfromwithin.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BleedFromWithin

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.

‘The Symphony To End All Wars’ Is A Powerful Companion Piece To Sabaton’s Latest LP

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Only weeks after releasing its latest album, The War to End All Wars, Sabaton has dropped a companion record of sorts in the form of The Symphony To End All Wars.  The full-on orchestral/instrumental record released Friday through Nuclear Blast Records, and is a thoroughly impressive new presentation that is certain to bring together fans of Sabaton, metal, and classical music.  That is due in large part to the fact that it is a full-on orchestral presentation.  This will be addressed shortly.  The record’s production is without a doubt important to its presentation and will be discussed a little later.  The record’s sequencing rounds out the record’s most important elements and will also be examined later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album.  All things considered, they make The Symphony To End All Wars one of the year’s best new albums so far.

Sabaton’s newly released companion record to The War To End All Wars, The Symphony To End All Wars is a proof positive that music truly is the universal language.  It is a presentation that will bring together fans of not only the band, but power metal, metal in general, and classical music.  That is due in no small part to the approach taken to the record.  Instead of being the full-on power metal presentation that is its counterpart, this record is instead, a full-on orchestral/instrumental presentation. Gone are the powerhouse guitar solos and the vocals. Gone are the pounding drums and bass. In their place are full orchestra arrangements of the songs featured in The War To End All Wars complete with all the bombast of the original compositions and then some.  Each arrangement gives the songs featured in The War To End All Wars its own unique new identity while still staying true to the source material.  As a matter of fact, the arrangements not only give the songs new identities, but improve exponentially on what was already great.  It makes the overall presentation feel like something that would be a perfect partner to a bigger, cinematic event, whether it be a documentary style work or maybe even a historical fiction.  It is simply that powerful, engaging and entertaining.

While the general presentation of The Symphony To End All Wars forms a solid foundation for the record, it is just part of what makes it so successful. The record’s production builds on that foundation and makes for even more enjoyment.  From one song to the next, the production ensures such a powerful effect for audiences.  From the subtleties of the marimba in some of the songs, to the choral backing in others, to the use of the strings, horns, and woodwinds, every single performer featured in each song is highlighted just right.  No one musician and performer overpowers his or her counterparts.  Each part gets its own attention, with the result that, again, the whole thing creates such a moving cinematic feel.  In the same vein, it makes a person imagine seeing and hearing all of this live on stage.  Yes, that is a direct hint to Sabaton and everyone at Nuclear Blast Records.  The effect of the production is that immersive and powerful.  Keeping that in mind, the content featured in this record and its production go a long way toward making it a memorable presentation. 

The record’s sequencing rounds out the most important of the album’s elements.  That is because the sequencing keeps the original album’s track listing in order.  What this means is that audiences get the same experience here as in the original album.  The experience is that of what really comes across as a concept record of sorts, even though it isn’t.  It tells a story from beginning to end, of the war’s beginning, things that happened along the way, and the end.  Add in that the experience is presented in a full orchestral fashion, and it makes the album’s sequencing that much more important.  To that end, the sequencing brings everything full circle and completes the record’s presentation.  The end result is a record that is among the best of the year’s new albums in general.

Sabaton’s new album, The Symphony To End All Wars, is a not so surprisingly engaging and entertaining offering from the veteran power metal band.  It succeeds for so many reasons, not the least of which is its general presentation.  The full-on orchestral/instrumental approach taken here gives each of the songs from The War To End All Wars wholly new identities while staying true to its source material.  The arrangements take the source material and improve upon it from one song to the next.  The production that went into each arrangement builds on the success that the arrangements themselves create.  It ensures that each musician’s performance compliments those of his and her counterparts, further engaging and entertaining audiences.  The record’s sequencing ensures audiences get to hear the album in the same order in this case as in its counterpart.  This further ensures audiences’ engagement and entertainment because it takes audiences on the same musical journey.  Each item examined is important in its own right to the whole of the album.  All things considered, they make The Symphony To End All Wars easily one of the best of this year’s new albums.

The Symphony To End All Wars is available now through Nuclear Blast Records. More information on Sabaton’s new album re-issue and upcoming tour is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.sabaton.net

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/sabaton

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/sabaton

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

Soulfly Announces New Album Details; Debuts Albums’ Lead Single, Lyric Video

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Soulfly will release its new album this summer.

The band announced Thursday, it is scheduled to release its latest album, Totem, Aug. 5 through Nuclear Blast Records. The record will be the band’s 12th album, and will come more than three years after the release of the band’s then latest album, Ritual. Audiences who pre-save Totem will have a chance to win a prize package that includes the new album, as well as t-shirt, Soulfly towel, socks, and bandana.

In anticipation of the album’s release, the band premiered its new single, ‘Superstition‘ Thursday, along with its lyric video. The song’s musical arrangement is everything that audiences have come to expect from Soulfly. The familiar thrash leanings from founder/front man Max Cavalera’s days in Sepultura add even more of a welcome touch to the arrangement.

No information was provided about the song’s lyrical theme in the press release announcing the pending release of the new album and the premiere of the single and video. While no information was provided, it can be at least somewhat inferred that maybe this song is a commentary about the damage that the belief systems incorporated into our belief systems. That is just this critic’s interpretation.

The lyric video features the song’s lyrics placed over imagery, such as a Native American chief on horseback, cave paintings, and a totem pole. The visualization seems to play even more into the implications of the lyrics.

Totem will release on a variety of platforms, all of which are noted below along with the album’s track listing.

Totem will be available in the following formats:

  • CD Jewelcase
  • Blue Cassette (Limited to 300)
  • Long Box 
    • CD Jewelcase
    • Sticker
    • Pin
  • Vinyl
    • Black
    • Gold
  • Bundle
    • Album Shirt
    • CD Jewelcase

Below is the Totem tracklisting:

  1. Superstition
  2. Scouring The Vile
  3. Filth Upon Filth
  4. Rot In Pain
  5. The Damage Done
  6. Totem
  7. Ancestors
  8. Ecstasy Of Gold
  9. Soulfly XII
  10. Spirit Animal

More information on Soulfly’s tour schedule is available online, along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

Websitehttp://www.soulfly.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/soulflyofficial

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/TheSoulflyTribe

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.

Neonfly Announces New Live Dates

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group/Noble Demon

Neonfly will join Epica on the road this spring.

The band announced Thursday, it will serve as support for a trio of upcoming dates with Epica. It will also perform a pair of headlining shows, and live on Sonidos Siniestros Metal TV. The TV performance is scheduled to take place May 11 while the live, on-stage dates follow immediately after.

The band’s performance schedule is noted below.

Dates as follows:

11.05. Mexico City – Sonidos Siniestros Metal TV (live TV appearance)

12.05 Toluca – Teatro Morelos (supporting Epica)

13.05 Mexico City – Pepsi Center (supporting Epica)

15.05 Querétaro – Black Dog (Neonfly headline)

21.05 León – Foro del Lago (supporting Epica)

22.05 Mexico City – No Somos Nada (Neonfly headline)

The performances are in support of Neonfly’s most recent album, 2021’s The Future Tonight. The record produced the singles, ‘Beating Hearts,‘ ‘Steal The World,’ and the album’s title track.

The track listing for The Future Tonight is noted below.

The album’s track listing is noted below.

TRACKLIST

  1. This World is Burning
  2. Last of Our Kind
  3. Flesh and Blood
  4. The Future, Tonight (ft.Bjord Strid)
  5. Beating Hearts
  6. More Than a Lifetime
  7. Another Eden (ft. Kaan Tasan)
  8. Steal the World (ft. Kaan Tasan)
  9. Final Warning
  10. The Things We Left Behind (And The Things That Slipped Away)

The Future, Tonight is available now through Noble Demon. More information on the album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.neonfly.net

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/NeonflyUK

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/NeonflyUK

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.

Machine Head Announces New Album Details; Debuts Album’s fifth Single, Video

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records/Imperium Recordings

Machine Head will release its latest album this summer.

The band announced Tuesday, it is scheduled to release its new album, Of Kingdom and Crown Aug. 26 through Nuclear Blast Records/Imperium Recordings. In anticipation of the album’s release, the band premiered what is technically the album’s fifth single, ‘Choke On The Ashes Of Your Hate‘ Tuesday, along with its companion video.

The song is technically the album’s fifth single as the 13-song record also features the songs, ‘Arrows In Words From The Sky,’ Rotten,’ and ‘Become The Firestorm,’ which the band premiered last June in a three-song digital exclusive single, and the song, ‘My Hands Are Empty,’ which the band premiered in November 2020. Both songs are part of the album’s overall 13-song body, which makes up what front man/founder Robb Flynn said is a concept story.

“Thanks to my 2 teenage boys my family has become obsessed with this awesome Japanese anime series called “Attack On Titan,” he said. “The album’s concept was loosely inspired by the series in the sense that in the storyline, there is no “good” or “bad” guy, both characters believe they’re doing the right thing as it applies to their being, but make no mistake, both are committing acts of pure atrocity and evil. The opening track “SLAUGHTER THE MARTYR” is basically our character #1’s origin story.”

Flynn’s statement also outlines the lyrical theme in the album’s new single. He said of the two men:

Character #1 Ares: (pronounced Aries), our main, who loses the love of his life (Amethyst) and goes on a murderous rampage against the vile sect responsible for her murder.

Character #2 Eros: (pronounced Arrows) the perpetrator, who loses his mother to a drug overdose and becomes radicalized in the aftermath. Eros goes off the deep end manifesting his own killing spree. 

The video for ‘Choke On The Ashes Of Your Hate’ is a familiar style presentation. The black and white presentation features the band performing its new single on a sound stage as the song plays over. Various video effects and edits are used to heighten the song’s emotion.

Of Kingdom and Crown will release on 16 separate vinyl pressings, deluxe vinyl box set, CD, cassette, and digital formats. The album’s track listing is noted below.

ØF KINGDØM AND CRØWN

MACHINE HEAD

Track Listing:

1. SLAUGHTER THE MARTYR

2. CHØKE ØN THE ASHES ØF YØUR HATE

3. BECØME THE FIRESTØRM

4. ØVERDØSE

5. MY HANDS ARE EMPTY

6. UNHALLØWED

7. ASSIMILATE

8. KILL THY ENEMIES

9. NØ GØDS, NØ MASTERS

10. BLØØDSHØT

11. RØTTEN

12. TERMINUS

13. ARRØWS IN WØRDS FRØM THE SKY

The five singles released for Machine Head’s new album are just some of the songs that the band has released. The band also released the standalone singles, ‘Bulletproof,’ Stop The Bleeding (ft. Jesse Leach), ‘Circling The Drain‘ and its acoustic take in 2020.

More information on Machine Head’s new music is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.machinehead1.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/MachineHead

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/MfnH

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.

Sabaton Announces Details For New LP’s Re-Issue

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Sabaton is set to re-issue its latest album less than two months after its initial release.

The band is scheduled to release The Symphony To End All Wars May 6 through Nuclear Blast Records. The record features symphonic takes of each of the songs from the band’s latest album, The War to End All Wars.

The Symphony to End All Wars will release on on two separate vinyl pressings: a black, single LP in gatefold and Winter Wind single LP gatefold. These pressings are limited to a total of 1,500 units. It will also release digitally.

Along with the forthcoming symphonic take of the album, the band has also released a special expanded history edition that features spoken historical background on each song. The expanded version is available to stream here.

In other news, Sabaton is scheduled to launch a tour in support of its new album Sept. 15 in Seattle, WA. The tour’s North American leg is scheduled to run through Oct. 23 in New York, NY and includes performances scheduled in cities, such as Atlanta, GA; Denver, CO and Cincinnati, OH.

Following some down time at the first leg’s finale, the band will launch the tour’s European leg April 14, 2023 in Leeds, UK. The tour is scheduled to run through May 20 in Kuopio, Finland. It includes performances across Europe in cities, such as Oslo, Norway; Paris, France and Hannover, Germany.

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

THE TOUR TO END ALL TOURS – NORTH AMERICA 2022:

September

15  Paramount Theatre, Seattle, WA 

16  Roseland Theater, Portland, OR 

17  Roseland Theater, Portland, OR 

19  Revolution Concert House, Boise, ID 

21  Fox Theater, Oakland, CA 

23  Hollywood Palladium, Los Angeles, CA 

24  Arizona Federal Theatre, Phoenix, AZ 

25  Brooklyn Bowl, Las Vegas, NV

27  The Complex, Salt Lake City, UT 

28  Fillmore Auditorium, Denver, CO 

30  South Side Ballroom, Dallas, TX

October

1   Bayou Music Center, Houston, TX 

3   Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, TN 

4   Tabernacle, Atlanta, GA 

6   The Fillmore Silver Spring, Silver Spring, MD 

8   The Andrew J Brady Music Center, Cincinnati, OH 

10 The Fillmore, Detroit, MI 

11 GLC Live at 20 Monroe, Grand Rapids, MI 

13 The Fillmore, Minneapolis, MN 

15 Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, IL 

17 Stage AE, Pittsburgh, PA 

18 The Fillmore, Philadelphia, PA 

21 MGM Music Hall at Fenway, Boston, MA 

22 Place Bell, Montreal, QC 

23 Hammerstein Ballroom, New York, NY

THE TOUR TO END ALL TOURS – 2023

presented by Cobra Agency

14.04.             UK      Leeds – First Direct Arena

15.04              UK      London – The SSE Arena Wembley

16.04.             UK      Cardiff – Motorpoint Arena

18.04.             UK      Glasgow – The SSE Hydro

21.04.             FR       Paris – Zenith

24.04.             DE      Hamburg – Barclays Arena

25.04.             LU       Esch / Alzette – Rockhal

28.04.             SE       Stockholm – Avicii Arena

29.04.             NO      Oslo – Spektrum

30.04.             DK      Copenhagen – Royal Arena

02.05.             DE      Hannover – ZAG Arena

03.05.             NL      Amsterdam – Ziggo Dome

05.05.             DE      Berlin – Mercedes Benz Arena

06.05.             DE      Leipzig – Quarterback Immobilien Arena

07.05.            AT      Vienna – Stadthalle

12.05.             DE      Cologne – Lanxess Arena

13.05.             BE      Antwerp – Sportpaleis

15.05.             DE      Munich – Olympiahalle

18.05.             EE      Tallinn – Saku Arena

19.05.             FI        Helsinki – Ice Hall

20.05.             FI        Kuopio – Kuopio Hall

More information on Sabaton’s new album re-issue and upcoming tour is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.sabaton.net

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/sabaton

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/sabaton

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