Solid Musical Arrangements, Inspiring Lyrical Themes Bolster Facing Fire’s Debut Self-Titled EP

Courtesy: Pavement Entertainment

This critic has noted time and again through so many reviews that independent musical acts, regardless of genre (or sub-genre) deserves just as much attention and credit as their mainstream counterparts.  That is because today’s independent band is only tomorrow’s potential mainstream superstar.  This includes, as also noted so often, unsigned bands and bands signed to independent labels versus major labels.  Hopefully this critic has managed to convince at least some audiences out there of this argument in the noted previous reviews.  For those who maybe are not yet convinced, they will hopefully be convinced after reading this critic’s review of Ohio-based agro-rock act Facing Fire’s debut self-titled EP.  Released this past February via independent label Pavement Entertainment, this four-song, 15-minute record is – in this critic’s ears – more proof of the importance of the independent music scene.  It is a record that will easily appeal to fans of Staind, Three Days Grace, Drowning Pool and even to a lesser degree, Linkin Park among many others.  That applies at least musically.  Lyrically though, it is a record that is certain to reach so many more audiences, as is proven right off the top in the EP’s opener, ‘Dying Inside.’  This powerhouse rocker will be discussed shortly.  ‘Overcome,’ the EP’s penultimate track, is another example of what makes this record so surprisingly appealing.  It will be discussed later.  The same can be said of ‘Filthy Life,’ the EP’s second song.  Each of these tracks plays its own important part in proving why Facing Fire is deserving of attention and credit.  When they are joined with the EP’s closer, ‘Fake,’ the whole of those songs proves Facing Fire to be a record and band that deserves its own share of attention and credit.

Facing Fire, the debut self-titled EP from Ohio-based agro-rock band Facing Fire is a good start for the Ohio-based agro-rock band.  It is a record that proves, like so many independent records out there, that independent acts deserve attention and credit just as much as their mainstream counterparts.  That is proven in part through the EP’s opener, ‘Dying Inside.’  As has been noted already, much of this record is, musically a presentation that will appeal easily to any agro-rock fan.  The combination of the electronics and guitars is instantly infectious, conjuring thoughts of Staind, Three Days Grace and other similar acts.  That is just one part of what makes this song such a strong entry for the record.  The song’s positive lyrical content, coupled with that infectious musical arrangement makes the song a solid start to the EP and a song that is certain to entertain and inspire listeners across the board.  As front man Scott Artis sings here, “Lost alone and slipping out of reach/The time is now to shed the hate you breed/With each breath I take, I see how much you suffer/The anger and the hurt it can’t go further/Raise your fists and fight/The hatred insight that’s stealing your life/Step across the line.”  He goes on in similar fashion in the song’s second verse, adding in at one point, “Realize it don’t have to be this way/With each step you take/I feel you getting closer/Well raise your hand/It’s not too late to start over.”  Little, if any doubt is left here.  This is Artis saying to listeners, things can change and for the better at that.  One just has to take that first step to make the positive change happen.  It’s a truly inspiring message from which listeners of every age can benefit.  The addition of the song’s infectious, guitar-driven arrangement strengthens it even more.  Both elements together make the song a work that that easily could make an impact on any mainstream rock radio station.  This, again, shows at least in part why the record and band deserve just as much attention and credit as its more well-known counterparts.  It is just one of the songs featured in the EP that serves to support that statement.  ‘Overcome’ proves in its own unique way why Facing Fire and the band deserve attention and credit.

Much like ‘Dying Inside,’ ‘Overcome’ proves to be another example of what makes Facing Fire a strong debut from Facing Fire because of the combination of its musical arrangement and positive lyrical content.  Musically speaking, the constant heavy/soft back and forth of the arrangement and its general sound conjures thoughts of Breaking Benjamin, Staind, Soil and Drowning Pool among other similar acts.  One could even argue that there is a touch of Three Days Grace and Five Finger Death Punch here.  Keeping that in mind, the song’s arrangement has plenty to offer audiences.  The song’s lyrical content offers just as much to appreciate, with Artis singing, “Falling in and out of life/Taking life one day at a time/Reaching out and holding on/Over and over, I step in/I will fight to the end/I feel alive/You can’t hold me down too long/I realize/That I’m not the only one/This life is mine/To make of it what I want/And I will find/I’ll rise up and overcome.”  This is just the song’s lead verse.  Again, it leaves little, if any doubt as to its message.  It is a positive message reminding listeners that no matter how bad things can be, they need to remind themselves to be strong, because they’re not alone in their struggles.  That’s all just the song’s lead verse, no less.  He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “Running toward the other side/Take a breath, don’t toe the line/Holding out for what is right/Falling faster, I slip in/I won’t let it happen again/I feel alive/You can’t hold me down too long/I realize, that I’m not the only one/This life is mine/To make of it what I want/And I will find/I will rise up and overcome.”  This is just a reiteration of what Artis was trying to get across in the song’s lead verse, driving home that message even more.  When that positive message is coupled with the sense of determination and self-confidence, it only becomes stronger and more impacting.  Keeping this in mind, it becomes clear why this song is yet another example of what makes the EP in whole such a strong start for Facing Fire.  It still is not the last of the songs that serves to support that statement.  ‘Filthy Life,’ the EP’s second song, is yet another way in which the EP shows itself to be deserving of attention and credit.

In regards to its musical side, there is no denying the agro-rock influence of ‘Filthy Life.’  Instantly, this song conjures thoughts of Soil and Drowning Pool with its brooding musical arrangement.  More specifically, it conjures thoughts of Drowning Pool in its early days.  Those familiar with that part of the band’s body of work – and who appreciate that sound — will appreciate such a sound here.  Lyrically, the song is just as certain to garner some attention.  That’s due to the seeming counseling session of sorts that the song’s subject offers to another person as Artis sings,“You/You don’t have to be a victim of your upbringing/he was lost/You are found/Just let it out now/Scream and shout/Say/You never really found the time/in the midst of the life/To reach the ones who needed your filthy lost/You lost the ones you loved/Because nothing was ever enough/Washing my hands this time of your filthy life.”  He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “Stop/Don’t take the blame/It’s not your fault/Though you’re not the same/Just push/Out the pain/Just let it out now/Scream and shout, say/You never really found the time/In the midst of the life/To reach the ones that needed your filthy life/Lost the ones you loved/Cause nothing was ever enough/Washing my hands this time of your filthy life.”  This comes across as someone telling a friend or even family member who has been victimized in one way or another that they are a victim, but don’t have to be.  The assailant of sorts (or maybe just the negligent figure in the relationship) has to be addressed.  If this is what Artis and company were trying to get across, then they did a good job of doing just that.  There are so many people in this world who have been victimized in one way or another at the hands of a friend or loved one yet don’t’ stand up for themselves.  Having someone tell the victims that they can be strong instead of allowing themselves to be victims is really something welcome.  The song’s musical arrangement captures the emotion that must be felt in such discussions, too.  The two elements together make even more clear why this song is another important addition to Facing Fire.  When it is joined with ‘Dying Inside’ and ‘Overcome,’ that trio of songs shows without a single doubt why this is another independent album and band that deserves its share of attention and credit.  That’s not to ignore ‘Fake,’ the EP’s closer.  It offers its own interest, too.  All things considered, they make Facing Fire a record and a band that deserves just as much attention and credit as its more well-known, mainstream counterparts.  Keeping that in mind, it is worth at least one listen by any hard rock and agro-rock fan.

Independent hard/agro-rock band Facing Fire’s debut self-titled EP is a strong start for the Ohio-based band.  As has been discussed here, that is due in part to musical arrangements that will easily appeal to hard rock and especially aggro-rock fans.  The largely inspiring lyrical themes presented throughout the record add even more interest and enjoyment to the record.  This is proven throughout each of the EP’s four songs, and especially in the songs discussed here. When they are joined with the EP’s closer, the whole of the songs’ musical and lyrical content comes together to make Facing Fire a record that definitely burns bright at the start of Facing Fire’s life.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on Facing Fire is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.facingfire.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/facingfire

Twitter: http://twitter.com/facingfire

 

 

 

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Cavo’s Latest LP Is Sure To “Build Bridges” Among Rock Fans

Courtesy: Pavement Entertainment

Success is not an easy thing to come by in the music industry. From one genre to another, there are so many factors that play into the success of any musical act. For some acts, that success comes easily. For others it may never come, and for others still, it comes only with its own share of trials and tribulations. For rock act Cavo, success seemed to be all but gone after the release of its last album, 2012’s Thick as Thieves. This past year though, the band reformed after apparently having gone on a four-year hiatus, and recorded a new album, titled Bridges and even found a home for the album on independent record label Pavement Entertainment. Late last month, Pavement Entertainment released the 15-song, 61-minute album to the masses, giving Cavo a renewed chance at success — success that could easily happen for the band if it gets the attention and support that it rightfully deserves as is evidenced throughout the record. Right off the top, the band proves with ease that it deserves that support with the album’s opener ‘Nights.’ It will be discussed shortly. ‘On Your Own’ is another example of why Bridges deserves support whether from the mainstream radio realm or otherwise. It could help create success for the band just as much as ‘Nights.’ ‘Weather Rolls’ is yet another example of why Cavo is deserving of support and why Bridges in whole could help bring new success for Cavo. When each of the songs noted here are joined with the rest of the pieces not noted here, the result is a record that audiences will agree is a strong new effort from Cavo, and one that is deserving of every bit of attention that it gets.

St. Louis, Missouri-based rock outfit Cavo’s latest full-length studio recording Bridges is a record that, as noted, is deserving of every bit of attention that it gets. It is another of those recordings that shows clearly that independent labels and bands can and often do put out material that is just as good as that presented by their more well-known mainstream counterparts. This is proven right off the top of this album in the its opener ‘Nights.’ Musically speaking, ‘Nights’ is a work that instantly conjures thoughts of some of the biggest hits from The Killers, who themselves went from being an underground favorite to one of the mainstream’s biggest acts. Lyrically speaking, it grabs listeners with its seeming theme of knowing one’s limits and when to stop. This is inferred right from the song’s verse in which front man Casey Walker sings, “I know when it’s time to go/And I know when nobody knows/try to lay your money down/Lay your money down/I know when it’s time to leave/And I know what you want to be/Try to lay it on the line/Lay it on the line.” Walker seems to be commenting here on stopping before one gets ahead of one’s self, and does so through his own unique poetic way. There is little variance from here through to the song’s end. The only variance comes in the second verse in which Walker sings of an unidentified female being “lost in the shadows” because she “wont play in the sun.” Again, not playing in the sun and being lost could (doesn’t mean does) hint at not knowing one’s limits and the resultant effect. This is all just the interpretation of this critic and should not be taken as the only interpretation by any means. Regardless, that seeming theme of knowing one’s limitations seems to make at least some sense, and when coupled with the song’s musical arrangement, becomes very much a straight forward, matter-of-fact statement. If indeed it is the song’s theme, then it makes the song even more proof of why Cavo deserves every bit of attention that it gets and why the album is a strong new effort from Cavo. It is just one of the songs included in this album that shows what makes the record deserving of attention. ‘On Your Own’ is another of the album’s strong points.

‘On Your Own’ stands out first and foremost through its musical arrangement. Whereas ‘Nights’ boasts a relatively up-tempo arrangement at its center, ‘On Your Own’ is a more reserved composition. It is a work that clearly boasts a certain light, bluesy vibe akin to (believe it or not) music from John Mayer, Counting Crows, Marc Broussard and other similar acts. It is just a moving, gentle composition that is certain to touch any listener as it climes to its peak and then gradually declines again in its final moments. That impact is heightened even more as Walker sings here about what seems pretty obviously about a broken relationship. This is inferred as he sings in the song’s lead verse, “Turn down the silence/And just say what you mean/Some words unspoken/Are just falling between/And now that you’re leaving/Well, it’s calling me home/You say that’s a feeling/That nobody knows/No, you won’t get far on your own/No, you won’t get far all alone/So come on home.” That first statement in itself would seem to pretty clearly tell what is being discussed. If any doubt was left after that verse, then the second verse makes even clearer that pretty clear theme. Walker sings in the second verse, “If time is a healer/Turns water to wine/Changing your feelings/Like you’re changing your mind/I know you’ve got a reason/That it’s better off gone/but someday you’ll need it/When it matters the most/And I know the light won’t burn long.” There is a certain emotional pain that seems to be exhibited here and in the song’s lead verse. That pain is illustrated through the bittersweet vibe of the song’s musical arrangement. When the two are set alongside each other, the result is a song that just like ‘Nights’ stands out among the album’s other works, and shows even more why Bridges is another strong effort from Cavo. it is still not the last of the songs that shows the album’s strength. ‘Weather Rolls’ is one more example of what makes this album overall stand out.

‘Weather Rolls’ is another key addition to Bridges in part to its own musical arrangement. the heavy, guitar-driven arrangement easily likens itself to works (again, believe it or not) from the likes of Saliva, Audioslave, Alter Bridge and other hard rock acts. Considering the reserved vibe of ‘On Your Own,’ ‘Nights’ and so many of this album’s other songs, this arrangement can easily be said to be a stark departure for the band. That musical contrast makes the song stand out in the best way possible as part of the album. Of course its lyrical content can’t be ignored, either. Walker sings here, “I thought you were a city boy/I thought you made the loudest noise/Ahhh, but you don’t wanna see it go/Like the weather rolls/I fire round the countryside/I burrn through the darkest night/Ahhh, but you don’t want to see it go/Like the weather rolls/Tonight I’m chasing habits in the moonlight/I’m breaking promises in daylight/Go let it burn till they see it go/Ohhh fire in the city, nice/Ohhh safe until we see the light/Ahhh, but you don’t want to see it go/Like the weather rolls.” Walker refrains these lines throughout the rest of the song. This is certain to leave listeners thinking and talking perhaps more than any other song on the record. It seems like there’s a certain amount of personal strength and pride being displayed here. Again, this is just this critic’s own take, and could be wrong. Regardless, the power that seems to be displayed here alongside the power in the song’s musical arrangement makes this song stand out even more. When it is joined with the lyrical and musical content presented in ‘Nights,’ ‘On Your Own’ and the rest of the album’s featured songs, the end result is an album that, while not the band’s first effort, definitely is more proof that its reunion could have been the best decision that it made. That is because it could be the album that finally gets the band the attention that it obviously deserves whether from the mainstream or otherwise.

Cavo’s latest full-length studio recording, the band’s third so far and fourth overall (it released the EP Champagne early in its life), is some of the band’s best work to date and having been released some six years after its second album Thick As Thieves, was released, is a welcome return for the band. It is a record that proves the band to be one of the rock community’s underrated acts. As has been noted, that is proven through the likes of ‘Nights,’ ‘On Your Own’ and ‘Weather Rolls.’ Of course those are only some of the songs that serve to show how much Cavo still has to offer audiences nine years after the release of its debut album Bright Nights, Dark Days. When the noted songs are joined with the rest of the album’s works, the whole of Bridges proves to be a record that will “bridge” so many ranges of the rock realm. It is available now in stores and online. More information on Bridges is available online now along with the band’s latest news and more at:

Website: http://www.cavomusic.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/cavomusic

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Powerman 5000 Announces New Live Dates

Courtesy: Pavement Entertainment

Powerman 5000 is heading back on the road again.

The band will embark on the “New Wave 2018 Tour” next month.  The nearly month-long tour, which is in support of the band’s latest full-length studio recording New Wave,  is currently scheduled to start April 10 in Lubbock, TX and run through May 6 in Flagstaff, AZ with performances in Greensboro, NC; Wilmington, NC; Kansas City, MO and other cities along the way.  The tour’s current schedule is noted below.

New Wave Tour 2018 Dates
4/10 – Lubbock, TX – Jake’s Backroom
4/11 – Austin, TX – Come and Take It Live
4/12 – San Antonio, TX – Rock Box
4/13 – Tyler, TX – Clicks
4/14 – Dallas, TX – Trees
4/15 – Houston, TX – Scout Bar
4/17 – New Orleans, LA – Southport Hall
4/18 – Dustin, FL – Club LA
4/19 – Tallahassee, FL – The Warrior
4/20 – Tampa, FL – 98 Rockfest
4/21 – Orlando, FL – Earthday Birthday

4/22 – Cape Coral, FL – Rack ‘Em Billiards
4/24 – Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade
4/25 – Greensboro, NC – The Blind Tiger
4/26 – Wilmington, NC – The Reel Cafe
4/27 – Baltimore, MD – Fish Head Cantina
4/28 – Philadephia, PA – Voltage Lounge
4/29 – Clifton, NJ – Dingbatz
5/1 – Pittsburgh, PA – Crafthouse
5/3 – Kansas City, MO – Riot Room
5/4 – Springfield, MO – Outland Ballroom
5/6 – Flagstaff, AZ – The Green Room
New Wave was released October 27, 2017 via Pavement Entertainment.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on that album, the band’s upcoming live dates, news and more is available online now at:
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The Outfit Makes A Respectable Start On Its Self-Titled LP

Courtesy: Pavement Entertainment

The city of Chicago has what is one of the richest and most diverse musical histories of any American city. From rock band Smashing Pumpkins to blues legend Muddy Waters to jazz master Benny Goodman to R&B/funk great Earth, Wind & Fire and far beyond, the “Windy City” has produced (and continues to produce) so much great music. Now, yet another band by the name of The Outfit is hoping to one day add its name to that expansive list. Next week, The Outfit will have the chance to make a positive start in that effort when it releases its self-titled debut album via Pavement Entertainment. The nine-song record is a work that will appeal to any fan of the music that bridged the late 1980s and early 1990s. That sound is one of the album’s key items, and will be discussed shortly. The album’s production also plays into its presentation. It will be discussed later. Last but certainly not least of note is its sequencing. It rounds out the album’s most important elements. Each element is important in its own right, as will be pointed out through this review. All things considered, they make The Outfit a respectable first effort from its namesake.

The Outfit’s self-titled debut full-length studio recording is a respectable first effort from the Chicago, IL-based band. Over the course of the nine-song album’s 28-minute run time, this band takes listeners back to a great age of music — that of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Of course, it is more prominently filled out by arrangements that were more fitting from the latter time frame than the prior. Right off the top in the album’s opener, ‘Wire,’ listeners get an arrangement that is closely similar to music from Foo Fighters’ early days. ‘Lucky One,’ the album’s second entry, boasts an arrangement that instantly leaves listeners making comparisons to Collective Soul’s early offerings. It is not the only time that listeners will find themselves making comparisons to Collective Soul or Foo Fighters. ‘TKO’ actually seems to combine elements of both for its whole while ‘Soldier Boy,’ with its welcome pro-military message, boasts an arrangement that again likens itself to early works from Foo Fighters as does ‘Just As One,’ which comes later in the album’s run. The Collective Soul comparisons continue, too as the album makes its way into ‘Miracle’ and ‘No Lights On.’

For all of the comparisons that can be and are made to Foo Fighters and Collective Soul, they are not the only comparisons that can be made here. As has been noted, there is at least one comparison that can be made to music from that very short time between the late 80s and early 90s. It comes in the form of the album’s closer, ‘Hot Love.’ The instant comparison that comes to mind in hearing this song is to Motley Crue. That is due in part to guitarist Matt Nawara’s driving riffs, which form the song’s foundation. Front man Andy Mitchell echoes Vince Neil in his vocal dlivery here while even hinting slightly at former Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler. It’s an interesting combination to say the very least. Drummer Mark Nawara keeps the song moving solidly through his time keeping while Mike Gorman puts the finishing touch to the song with his low-end. Considering that the band saved this song for last, it makes a lasting statement for the album, leaving listeners feeling wholly fulfilled by the time it ends. Considering the fulfillment that the album offers through its arrangements, it suffices to say that they do plenty to prove why this album is a respectable start for The Outfit. Of course, they collectively are only a part of what helps this album prove to be that good start for the band. Its production is also key to supporting that statement.

The production of The Outfit’s self-titled debut album is key to discuss because this is the band’s first effort and because of the names that were brought in to handle its creation. Matt Mercado (Emperors and Elephants, Mindbomb, SOiL) engineered the record while Ulrich Wild (Slipknot, SOiL, Deftones) handled mixing duties.  These two men are highly respected names in the music industry. It goes without saying that by and large, the pair’s work paid off throughout the album. However, one cannot deny that there were some minor issues at points, too. Case in point, ‘Unfolds.’ Listening though this song, it sounds as if there is a slight balance issue between Mitchell’s vocals and the work of his band mates. Listening to the song both on CD and in its MP3 format, it seems like both elements are on the same level, making the song feel like the two sides are competing with each other constantly. The end result is a song that while catchy, does lose something along the way. ‘Just As One’ also seems to slightly suffer from this balance issue, too. Luckily though, this issue — in both songs — is not enough to completely ruin the album. Again, by and large, the album’s production is impressive, with each band member shining in his own right. Keeping this in mind, the album’s overall sound impresses in its own right, too. That’s even with the couple of minor misses that are there. Now, having noted the album’s songs and their appeal to the band’s key audience, and the song’s overall production, it cane be said with ease that this record is a respectable start for The Outfit. There is still one more element to note that supports that statement. That last element is the album’s sequencing.

The album’s sequencing is so important to note because listeners will note how much time and thought was put into this element. From beginning to end, the album’s sequencing solidly maintains its energy. The only point at which the album ever really pulls back in its energy comes late in its run in ‘Miracle.’ Of course, the song is a song about a break-up. So naturally, it’s going to be more reserved than its counterparts. Other than that one single moment, the rest of the album solidly maintains its energy throughout. Add in some expected lyrical themes to compliment the production and the songs themselves, and audiences get in this record a work that is, once more, a respectable start for The Outfit. It shows that the band’s future is in its own hands,and that the sky is the limit for the band’s future. All of this being noted, The Outfit’s debut album is a work that deserves at least one listen. It will be available next Friday, Feb. 2 in stores and online via Pavement Entertainment. More information on The Outfit is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

Website: http://www.theoutfitrocks.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/theoutfitrock

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Dishwalla Is On A Good “Road” With Its Latest LP

Courtesy: Pavement Entertainment

California-based alt-rock outfit Dishwalla is set to release its first new album in more than a decade later this month.  The album, Juniper Road, is the band’s fifth full-length album and its first since the release of its self-titled album Dishwalla in 2005. Regardless of audiences’ familiarity with Dishwalla, listeners will agree in large part that this latest effort from Dishwalla is a positive re-introduction for the band to new fans and its more seasoned fans.  That is proven early on in the album’s second song, ‘Give Me A Sign,’ which will be discussed shortly.  ‘Don’t Fade Away,’ which comes a little later in the record’s sequence, also exemplifies what makes this record an appealing return for the band.  It will be discussed later.  ‘Darkness Conceals’ is yet another of the songs featured in this record that exhibits what makes the album a welcome return for the band. It most certainly is not the only other song that shows what makes the album such a surprisingly enjoyable new offering from Dishwalla.  It offers nine other songs that could just as easily be discussed in making that statement.  Considering this, the whole of this 12-song album proves to be potentially one of this year’s top new rock albums.

Juniper Road is a surprisingly enjoyable new offering from Dishwalla.  That is due both to the decidedly 90s rock sound exhibited in each of the songs featured in the 12-song, 48-minute record and the lyrical content presented in each.  ‘Give Me A Sign’ is just one of the songs that serves to support that statement.  As noted it, like so many of the album’s other offerings boasts a decidedly 90s rock vibe in its musical arrangement. The gently-flowing arrangement, whose foundation is formed by Jim Woods’ keyboard work Rodney B Cravens’ guitar work and drummer  George Pendergast’s time keeping, is a radio-ready work that would be an easy fit at any mainstream rock and adult contemporary station.  The composition is that easy on the ears.

In regards to its lyrical content, that material is just as radio-ready as the song’s musical arrangement.  It comes across as a work steeped in the matter of relationships, yet is not one just a standard work.  That is inferred as front man Justin Fox sings, “You walked into the crowded room/On the first day of the past/I watched the conversations stop/Above the Earth you made your way/As the tide stood slowly/But/I knew from then I had no choice/From the darkness to the spotlight/I will keep you trained in my sights/Till I finally get the chance to know/How to find my way through the window.”  He and his band mates go on to sing in the song’s chorus, “Where do you go when the lights go down/Where do you scream when there’s no one around and waiting for you/For all of this time/Burning bright like a dying star/Setting fire through this endless sky/I’ve been waiting for you/Just give me a sign/Just give me a sign.”  Fox’s use of metaphor is just as thought-provoking throughout the rest of the song as he sings about a person having gone through so much while the subject continues to say, “give me a sign.” The subject is saying to that person, “give me a sign” about what he should do.  It’s not a pleading cry. Rather, it comes across more as a statement saying he’s been there all along for the other person.  The song’s musical arrangement adds to that statement, painting a picture that evokes great emotion even though neither it nor the song’s lyrical theme try to go over the top.  Considering this, the two elements join to show why the song in whole is just one of the ways in which Juniper Road proves to be such a surprisingly enjoyable return for Dishwalla.  It is not the only song included in this record that supports that statement. ‘Don’t Fade Away’ supports that statement just as much as ‘Show Me A Sign.’

‘Show Me A Sign’ clearly *ahem* shows in itself why Dishwalla’s new album is a welcome return for the band.  That is evident due to the song’s radio-ready and moving musical arrangement and its lyrical content.  It is not the album’s only key composition. ‘Don’t Fade Away,’ which comes slightly later in the album’s sequence, is another song that shows what makes Juniper Road enjoyable.  As with the prior song, that is evidenced in part through its musical arrangement, which is driven in large part through the combined efforts of bassist Scot Alexander and drummer George Pendergast. The pair’s rhythm combo keeps the song’s energy flowing from start to finish. Meanwhile guitarist Rodney Cravings adds his own special touch to the song along with Fox.  The joining of those elements led to a composition that is not only up-beat, but also just as radio-ready as that of ‘Show Me A Sign’ if not more so.  What’s more the group’s combined efforts make the song’s three-and-a-half-minute run time pass by effortlessly, leaving listeners feeling fulfilled by the time the song ends.  That arrangement is only one part of what makes the song stand out.  Its lyrical content is just as notable as its musical arrangement.

The lyrical content presented in ‘Don’t Fade Away’ is so important to note because of the seeming social commentary contained therein.  That is inferred as Fox sings in the song’s lead verse, “I al often stunned/By the world that we’ve become/Desperate isolation has us trying to hold on/Somehow in this place/We found a single light to start again to shine/Illuminate our hearts/Day after day after night/Time spins…” From there, he and his band mates sing in the song’s chorus, “Don’t fade away/You’ve got to set this night ablaze/And try to stay awake until/The morning light has turned the sky light.”  That message is repeated again in the chorus’ refrain following the second verse in which Fox sings, “You feel life’s illusion/Intoxicate your will/Waiting for the moment you will notice it’s true/Could you overtake it/And give in to the dark…But I know I won’t feel the same/Day after night after day.”  Some of the lyrics are difficult to decipher without a lyrics sheet to reference.  But the statement that can be understood, when set alongside the positive message in the song’s chorus seems to present a message of hope; a message that tells listeners not to give up in even the most difficult situations.  That positive upbeat musical arrangement that accompanies that seeming message strengthens it even more along with the song in whole.  Keeping that in mind, the seeming positive message of hope in the song’s lyrical content and its equally bright musical arrangement show in whole even more why Juniper Road is a surprisingly enjoyable return for Dishwalla.  It still is not the last of the songs included in the album that serves to show what makes it stand out.  ‘Darkness Conceals’ is yet another example of what makes the album a surprisingly standout return for the band.

‘Show Me A Sign’ and ‘Don’t Fade Away’ are both critical in showing what makes Juniper Road a welcome return for Dishwalla.  The songs’ musical arrangements are both fully radio-ready as are their lyrical themes.  Even with this in mind, they are not the only songs that serve to make the record stand out.  ‘Darkness Conceals’ is yet another example of what makes the album so strong.  As with the previously noted songs, this work stands out in part because of its own musical arrangement. The arrangement presented here stands out from those songs and the rest of the album’s offerings just as much as they stand out from one another.  It comes across as a sort of blues-based arrangement that is also just as radio-ready as any of the album’s other songs.  It is driven in large part through Fox’s vocals, with Cravens building on that foundation even more.  That infectious arrangement couples with words that make the song in whole even more intriguing for listeners.

The song’s lyrical content is so intriguing because it seems to present its own social commentary.  That is inferred as Fox sings in the song’s lead verse, “We’re not the shade we say we are/It’s the grey that lies between/In the light we hide our true desire/never know what darkness conceals/Or what might be revealed in the light.”  The song’s second verse hints at that social commentary just as much as Fox sings, “In this dream we’ve built aloud/Not ever what it seems/Lies inside you keep don’t make a sound/You never know what darkness conceals/Or what might be revealed in the light.”  The seeming commentary continues even more in the song’s final verse, though that verse seems to add a hint of a relationship matter, making the song’s lyrical content even deeper.  Whether the song is meant to be taken as a social commentary or as a song perhaps about lies kept in relationships, lyrically speaking, the way in which the lyrics were composed will certainly keep listeners thinking and talking long after the song ends.  That is a good thing, too.  When coupled with the song’s musical arrangement, the song will even more ensure listeners’ engagement and entertainment.  Considering this, the two elements show why the song in whole is such an important part of Juniper Road. When it is joined with ‘Give Me A Sign,’ ‘Don’t Fade Away’ and the album’s other nine songs, the end result is an album that proves to be potentially one of this year’s top new rock records.

Dishwalla’s first new album in a dozen years is an unexpectedly entertaining effort.  From start to finish, the album shows Dishwalla has not lost a step since the release of its last album.  It proves the band still has what it takes to stand with its counterparts in the mainstream rock realm.  That is evidenced in the radio-ready musical arrangements and thought-provoking lyrical content presented in ‘Give Me A Sign,’ ‘Don’t Fade Away’ and ‘Darkness Conceals.’  The same applies to the other nine albums that fill out the album’s body.  All things considered, this record in whole proves to be a work that could be one of this year’s top new rock albums.  It will be available in stores and online Friday, July 14 via Pavement Entertainment.  More information on Juniper Road is available online now along with all of Dishwalla’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.dishwalla.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/dishwalla

 

 

 

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

Goth, Industrial Fans Will “Celebrate” ‘The Ghost Parade’

Courtesy: Pavement Entertainment

Courtesy: Pavement Entertainment

This past October, underground industrial/goth metal outfit Gabriel and the Apocalypse released its latest full-length studio recording The Ghost Parade.  The Minneapolis, MN-based quintet’s new record is a good fit for anyone that is a fan of Otep and to a lesser extent Prong, Nine Inch Nails and other acts of that ilk.  That is due both to the album’s musical arrangements and its lyrical content.  The songs mix together Nine Inch Nails’ industrial elements with the hard-edged sound of Prong and Otep (even front woman Lindy Gabriel sounds eerily like Otep front woman Otep Shamaya at points) for a record that musically speaking, will easily entertain its key audiences.  Lyrically speaking, the record covers a number of topics, too including politics, world issues and more.  All things considered The Ghost Parade is a record that Gabriel and the Apocalypse’s fans will soundly celebrate.

Gabriel and the Apocalypse’s latest full-length studio recording (and its Pavement Entertainment debut) Ghost Parade is a record that the underground goth/industrial act’s fans are sure to celebrate.  Between its musical arrangements and its lyrical content, it presents plenty for fans to appreciate.  The album’s opener ‘March Of The Dolls’ is a prime example of how the album’s musical arrangements and lyrical content come together to make the album stand out.  In regards to its musical arrangement, the song is a powerhouse composition with a sound that takes the best elements of Otep, Fear Factory and (believe it or not) Type O Negative and binds them together into one work.  The end result is a work that will surprise audiences in the best way possible.  That is because of the manner in which the arrangement balances those elements.  It is just one part of what makes the song stand out.  The song’s lyrical content is just as important to note as its musical arrangement.

The musical arrangement presented in ‘March of The Dolls’ is important in its own right to the song’s overall presentation.  It balances a number of different influences throughout the course of its nearly three-and-a-half-minute run time, and does so expertly, too.  That in itself is certain to keep audiences entertained.  While the song’s musical arrangement plays its own important role in its presentation, it is just one part of what makes the song stand out.  Its lyrical content is just as important to note as its musical arrangement.  Gabriel sings in the song’s lead verse, “You want/You need/To beg and to please/Get on/Your knees/I’ll make you believe/I want/I need/I love/The taste/My sweat/Is smeared across your face/My god/My god/It’s all/The same/Another sinful/Another save/But I can’t/Resist/Cuts down my wrist/I put it back together/What matters is the ending.”  It’s a rather dark statement to say the very least.  What is interesting here, though is that considering such a statement, it would have been easy for the band to go more in the standard, brooding goth direction with the song’s arrangement.  But instead it went the aggressive route.  In hindsight it seems to serve the defiance seemingly exhibited in that lead verse.  The song’s second verse is very similar to its first with only one real minor change, which comes in the end of the verse.  The real power that matches the song’s musical arrangement comes in the song’s final moments as Gabriel sings, “I’ve found myself…in the Ghost Parade…What do you think of me now?”  That last group of lines is especially interesting because it has been noted that The Ghost Parade is a personal record for the band’s front woman.  That final statement perhaps illustrates how personal it is for her.  It is almost as if she is saying through this song, she has grown and become someone new through all of the negativity that she has experienced in life, so “how do you like her now?”  It is a bold, powerful statement that when coupled with the song’s musical arrangement becomes even harder hitting.  Considering this the song in whole proves to be just one example of what makes The Ghost Parade a record that the band’s fans will celebrate.

‘March of the Dolls,’ with its powerhouse musical arrangement and equally interesting lyrical content is solid proof of why Gabriel and the Apocalypse’s fans will celebrate the band’s new album The Ghost Parade.  It is just one of the songs that serves to show what makes the album stand out. ‘Colour of Winter’ is another of the album’s songs that serves to make it stand out.  This song is the polar opposite of ‘March of the Dolls’ both in terms of its musical arrangement and its lyrical content.  Speaking first about its musical arrangement, this piece is that dark, brooding composition that goth fans will appreciate.  It is driven largely by the work of drummer Zach Williams and guitarists Jake LaCore and Joey Connelly.  Keyboardist Figgles McGee (no, that’s not a joke) adds an extra touch to the song, too.  The end result is a work that instantly conjures thoughts of works composed by Marilyn Manson and his band mates.  That is especially the case when Gabriel’s vocal delivery is joined with the work of her band mates.  It is only one part of the song that should be discussed.  The song’s lyrical content adds even more depth to its presentation.

The brooding musical arrangement at the heart of ‘Colour of Winter’ is its own key element to the song’s presentation.  As noted already, the combination of Gabriel’s vocal delivery and the work of her band mates gives the song a feel that instantly conjures thoughts of Marilyn Manson.  The brooding doesn’t end with the song’s musical arrangement, though.  There is just as much of that in the song’s lyrical content, too.  Gabriel sings right off the bat in such morose fashion, “I’m alone in the world today/I can’t take it/But I feel it anyway/It’s not enough that it was/It’s not enough cause it’s gone/I can’t breathe/I can’t stay here/I’ll numb myself all the way.  She goes on to sing about “burning yesterday,” “sinking into the void” and other brooding matters.  Simply put, there’s a lot of deep emotion expressed in this song’s lyrical content; emotion that, again, goth fans will appreciate.  When that deep emotion is set against the song’s equally brooding musical arrangement, the end result is one more of the album’s most standout compositions.  It is one more song that shows why fans of Gabriel and the Apocalypse will celebrate this record just as much as goth and industrial fans.  There are still other songs that serve to support that statement, too, including ‘Mazarine.’

‘March of the Dolls’ and ‘Colour of Winter’ are both key examples of what makes the Ghost Parade a record that Gabriel and the Apocalypse’s fans will celebrate.  That is due to the songs’ musical arrangements and their lyrical content.  Each song presents its own identity through its arrangement.  One arrangement is an aggressive, full-force composition that greatly enhances the defiant statement presented in the song’s lyrical content.  ‘Colour of Winter’ is the polar opposite (no pun intended) of ‘March of the Dolls.’  Both musically and lyrically, this song is the kind of work that any goth fan will appreciate just as much as the band’s more seasoned fans.  While both songs show clearly through their musical and lyrical content what makes The Ghost Parade a piece that audiences will celebrate, they are not the only songs that will do so.  ‘Mazarine’ shows in its own unique way what makes The Ghost Parade stand out, too, beginning with its musical arrangement.  This song’s arrangement is a mid-level hard rock piece that boasts a hard rock/industrial hybrid sound.  It isn’t the full-throttle piece that is presented in ‘March of the Dolls’ or even the more brooding ‘Colour of Winter.’  Rather it could be argued to be the closest to mainstream accessibility that the band reaches in this album.  Keeping that in mind, this arrangement could be the best chance that the band has at mainstream success in this album.  Of course the song’s arrangement is just one half of what makes the song stand out, just as with the other discussed songs.  The song’s lyrical content is just as important to note as its musical arrangement.

The musical arrangement presented in ‘Mazarine’ is a key part of what makes this song stand out.  It is perhaps the closest that the band comes to mainstream accessibility with its new album.  As important as the song’s arrangement is to its presentation, its lyrical content proves to be important in its own right.  Lyrically speaking, it will likely have audiences thinking and talking more than any other of the album’s songs.  At one point she sings what seems like an ode to someone else, but at other times the song seems to touch on a wholly different matter.  When that metaphorical language is coupled with the song’s semi-mainstream musical arrangement, the whole of the song becomes a work that would fit easily alongside the likes of Lacuna Coil, Evanesence and so many other more mainstream goth/industrial acts.  It is just one more example of what makes The Ghost Parade stand out.  When it is joined with ‘March of the Dolls,’ ‘Colour of Winter’ and the rest of the album’s offerings, the album in who proves without a doubt to be, again, a work that goth and industrial fans in general will appreciate just as much as the band’s more seasoned fans.

The Ghost Parade is a work that regardless of audiences’ familiarity with Gabriel and the Apocalypse, will appeal to goth and industrial fans in general just as much as it will the band’s more seasoned fans.  That is evident through all three of the songs discussed here.  It is also evident in the album’s other offering.  All things considered, The Ghost Parade is a work that goth and industrial fans will celebrate” right alongside the band’s fans.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on The Ghost Parade is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.gabrielandtheapocalypse.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/GATA_band

 

 

 

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

Into The Fire’s Self-Titled EP Is About To Set The Mainstream Rock Realm Ablaze

Courtesy: Pavement Entertainment

Courtesy: Pavement Entertainment

Hard rock act Into The Fire officially released its new self-titled EP to the masses today.  The record is a solid introduction for the super group of sorts.  That is because while the record boasts only three songs, all three songs are instant radio-ready compositions that will fit easily into any rock radio station’s daily rotation with their musical arrangements and lyrical content.  The disc’s opener ‘Spit You Out’ is evidence of that.  The brooding, hard rock sounds and lyrical theme of ‘From The Medicine’ proves this just as much as ‘Spit You Out.’  The alternate take of ‘Spit You Out’ varies very little from the original composition but still presents its own enjoyment.  All things considered this new offering from Into The Fire’s self-titled EP a record that is set to set this hard rock super group on fire.

Hard rock super group Into The Fire’s new self-titled EP boasts only three songs.  Even as few songs as it boasts it still proves in the end to be a record that is set to set Into The Fire on fire.  That is because the songs featured in this record are instant radio-ready compositions.  The record’s lead single ‘Spit You Out’ clearly exhibits this.  The song’s musical arrangement instantly conjures thoughts of both SOiL and The Union Underground.  While elements of SOiL are clearly present in the song’s musical arrangement, The Union Underground’s musical influence exhibits more prevalence here.  Considering the backgrounds of the band’s members, the presence of both bands’ work should come as no surprise, right down to the guitar solos.  Keeping this in mind, that catchy, driving arrangement makes the song an instant hit for the band.  It is just one part of what makes the song a hit.  The song’s lyrical content plays just as much of a part here as the song’s musical arrangement.

The musical arrangement at the base of ‘Spit You Out’ in itself makes this song an instant hit for Into The Fire.  It alone makes this song a composition that any mainstream rock radio programmer should add to his or her station’s daily rotation.  The song’s lyrical content is just as important to note in its presentation as its musical arrangement.  The message presented in the song’s lyrical content leaves very few questions.  Front man Bryan Scott clearly addresses a certain unnamed woman in this song as he sings to her in the song’s chorus, “You take, take/everything you want until I break, break break…you’re a cold-hearted b****/But I can’t spit you out.  In other words, this woman means no good at all, but the song’s subject (whether it’s Scott or not) cant’ bring himself to rid himself of her.  That becomes more evident in the song’s second verse in which Scott sings, “Hey girl, you’re a beautiful liar/Hey girl, you’re the devil’s child/Your affliction/My addiction…”  This man cannot get the woman out of his mind and can’t get himself away from her.  When one considers this, it plays perfectly into the driving energy of the song’s musical arrangement.  When both elements are put together, they make listeners think certain songs from the likes of Buckcherry, Cold, and certain other bands, proving again why this song is a perfect fit for any rock radio station.  It is just one of the songs that makes Into The Fire stand out.  The EP’s other song ‘From The Medicine’ is just as important to note in examining the record as ‘Spit You Out.’

‘Spit You Out’ is a clear example of why Into The Fire is ready to set the mainstream rock realm ablaze.  Its high energy musical arrangement and equally charging lyrical content work in tandem to make this song an instant hit for any rock radio station across America.  It is not the only key song to examine in the band’s new self-titled EP, though.  ‘From The Medicine’ is just as important to note here as ‘Spit You Out.’  That is because it is a distinct change of pace for the band.  Whereas ‘Spit You Out’ boasts a nonstop, hard rock musical arrangement, this song’s musical arrangement is more brooding, for lack of better wording.  It starts off slowly with Scott and fellow guitarist Adam Zadel’s almost Alice in Chains style dual guitar attack.  From those opening bars, the song then switches to a slightly slower, but no less powerful, melodic hard rock arrangement.  Even the vocal approach taken in the song boasts a style similar to that of Alice in Chains in its heyday.  Considering all of this , it is clear why this song’s musical arrangement is an important part of its whole.  Its lyrical content is just as important to note as its musical arrangement.  That must be addressed here, too.

The musical arrangement presented in ‘From The Medicine’ is its own important piece of the song’s presentation.  That is because it stands out so clearly against that of ‘Spit You Out’ and in it similarity to that of Alice in Chains in its heyday.  As important as it is to note, it is only one part of the song’s presentation.  The song’s lyrical content is just as important to note in examining its presentation as its musical arrangement.  In regards to the song’s lyrical content Scott and company are less clear about the song’s subject.  Scott sings in the song’s chorus, “We’re suffocating from the medicine/All this consequence we’re buried in.”  When one takes into consideration the content of the song’s verses, one can’t help but wonder if Scott is not speaking about anything physical, but more in a metaphorical sense.  That can be assumed as he sings in the song’s second verse, “Hey let me pull you under (to the godless, take a little)/Hey let it go it’s over (so contagious, it’s over)/Blame it on the pills we’ve swallowed/Suck it down/Liars and their gods we follow/Wait it out, they’ll disappear.”  One could argue here that maybe the medicine in question is not physical, but the things that are supposed to make people better.  Considering that, one could argue that Scott is saying the things that are supposed to make us better are in fact doing us more harm than good.  The song’s lead verse would seem to hint at that, too as Scott sings, “Hey let me introduce you/Hey let me complicate you/Feeble from your own submission/Complacent till the end/Suffer from your good intention again and again and again.”  This is merely this critic’s own interpretation of the song’s lyrical content and should not be taken as the only interpretation.  It is just what makes sense to this critic.  Considering this interpretation, the emotion in the song’s musical arrangement has even more of an impact on the song’s overall presentation.  In the end, the combination of such introspective lyrical content works with the song’s equally well thought-out musical arrangement to make it another radio ready addition to Into The Fire’s new self-titled EP.  It is not the last example of what makes this EP stand out, either.  The EP also includes an “alternate version” of ‘Spit You out’ as a bonus of sorts.  It should be discussed just as much as the song’s original take and ‘From The Medicine.’

‘Spit You Out’ and ‘From The Medicine’ are both key additions to Into The Fire’s new self-titled EP.  That is due to the songs’ musical arrangements and the arrangements’ companion lyrical content.  The combination of those two elements within both songs makes each song an instantly radio-ready composition.  While each song is important to this record in its own right, they are not the only songs that are included in the record.  The band included a bonus “alternate take” of ‘Spit You Out’ with the original song and ‘From The Medicine’ to round out the record’s presentation.  There is, in reality, not a whole lot of difference between the original and alternate take of ‘Spit You Out’ to be noted when playing the two takes side by side.  The alternate take is about three seconds shorter than the original take. And, unless this critic is incorrect, the only discernable difference between the pair is a little guitar riff in the song’s final minute or so.  It would appear in a close listen that said riff is there near the song’s end in one take, but not in the other.  With or without that riff, it the song is still enjoyable regardless.  The very fact that the difference between the original and alternate take of the song is nearly indecipherable shows that with more clarity than the difference in the two takes.  Keeping this in mind, the “alternate take” of ‘Spit You Out’ is just as important to Into The Fire’s new self-titled EP as the song’s original take and as ‘From The Medicine.’  All things considered, Into The Fire proves in the end to be a record that is ready to set the mainstream rock realm ablaze.

Into The Fire’s new self-titled EP is a short record, boasting only three songs.  But even with its three songs, it shows it is ready to set the mainstream rock realm ablaze.  That is thanks in large part to the musical arrangements and lyrical content presented in the EP’s main songs, ‘Spit You Out’ and ‘From The Medicine.’  The pairing of those elements makes each song an instantly radio-ready composition.  The “bonus alternate take’ of ‘Spit You Out’ adds a little bit more interest to this record even though the difference between the “alternate take” and the original song is so minute that it is nearly indecipherable.  It still will leave listeners paying close attention to both takes, and in turn gaining even more of an appreciation for this new effort from the hard rock super group.  All things considered, the songs that are presented in this record prove it (and the band) ready to set the mainstream rock realm ablaze.  Into The Fire is available today in stores and online.  More information on Into The Fire is available online now along with all of Into The Fire’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://intothefire1.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/intothefire9

 

 

 

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