Stray Train Debuts ‘Give It Away’ Video

Courtesy: Train Station/SAOL

Stray Train’s new video is officially here.

The Slovenian blues-rock outfit debuted the video for its latest single ‘Give It Away‘ on Nov. 30.  The song is the latest single from the band’s most recent album, 2017’s Blues From HellThe Legend of the Courageous Five. The band debuted the album’s debut single and video for ‘Heading For the Sun‘ on Nov. 17, 2017.

The video for the album’s second single, ‘Blues From Hell‘ followed seven months later on March 30, 2018.  The director’s cut of the ‘Blues From Hell’ video is streaming here.

The band said in a collective statement that the video was filmed as a recap of its recent tour with Poison and Nickelback in Europe.

“Hi friends and fans in the virtual world. We have a special treat for you,” the band said.  “We’re very happy to announce our new single called ‘Give It Away.’  Pay attention to the lyrics and tell us what you think!  A lot has happened for us this year.  Among other concerts, we played in Russia with Nickelback and with Scorpions in Slovenia in our hometown.  We appreciate every fan we have, and since a lot of you weren’t able to see us on those big shows, we decided to put together a video recap, so you can experience what we got to experience.  So turn your speakers up, sit down, press play, and enjoy it!”

 

Courtesy: Alpha Omega Management

Stray Train is scheduled to join Audrey Horne and The New Roses Dec. 12 – 15 for the latest leg in Stray Train’s tour in support of Blues From Hell: The Legend of the Courageous Five.  The weeklong tour take the groups across France From Strassbourg to Lyon to Limoes and then to Paris to finish the run.  The tour’s schedule is noted below.

December 12 – Strasbourg @ Laiterie
December 13 – Lyon @ Bloggg
December 14 – Limoes @ Xmass Festival
December 15 – Paris @ L’Empreinte

More information on Stray Train’s new video, tour dates and more is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.straytrainband.com

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

 

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.

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Nonpoint Debuts ‘Wheel Against Will’ Video

Courtesy: Spinefarm Records

Nonpoint released its latest music video this week.

The band debuted the video for its latest single ‘Wheel Against Will‘ on Wednesday. The song is the fourth single to be released from the band’s new album X since the album’s release on Aug. 24 via Spinefarm Records.

The band debuted the album’s first two singles, ‘Chaos & Earthquakes‘ and ‘Dodge Your Destiny‘ in June. The album’s third single ‘Fix This‘ debuted only weeks later in July via Loudwire, while the official video for ‘Chaos & Earthquakes’ followed in August.

The new ‘Wheel Against Will’ video places the up-tempo opus and its seeming sociopolitical commentary against a visualization of the band at work in the studio.  Mixed into the video is footage of front man Elias Soriano up close and personal reciting the song’s lyrics while friends recite the song’s chorus and drummer Robb Rivera practices his part in what looks like a hotel room.

Eagle-eyed audiences will note Rivera sporting a Machine Head pullover in some of the scenes as a bonus of sorts.  It is not known if these scenes were shot before or after Machine Head announced its breakup over the summer.

Nonpoint is currently wrapping its tour with P.O.D., which is touring in support of its own new album, Circles.  The remaining live dates on the bands’ tour are noted below.

NONPOINT ON TOUR:
12/11: Lynchburg, VA @ Phase 2
12/12: Greensboro, NC @ Cone Denim
12/14: Destin, FL @ Radio Show Club LA

More information on Nonpoint’s new video is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.nonpoint.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/nonpoint

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.

‘Voodoo Lounge Uncut’ Re-Issue Is Another Success For Eagle Rock, The Rolling Stones

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Eagle Rock Entertainment and The Rolling Stones have been quite busy in recent years, releasing a variety of live recordings from the veteran rock band.  The two sides together, have released no fewer than 10 live recordings from the band’s years on the road.  Late last month, the two sides partnered to release yet another live recording, this time from the band’s 1994 North American tour in support of its then brand new album Voodoo Lounge.  The second new live recording from the two sides so far this year, – the first was the band’s recording No Security: San Jose ’99Voodoo Lounge Uncut is yet another wonderful addition to the collection of any Rolling Stones fan and rock music lover in general.  This is proven in part through the concert’s set list (and the band’s performance thereof), which will be discussed shortly.  The concert’s production is also important to note in examining the recording, and will be addressed a little later.  The companion booklet that is included with the recording rounds out the set’s most important elements, and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Voodoo Lounge Uncut.  All things considered, they make Voodoo Lounge Uncut yet another must have for any fan of The Rolling Stones fan.

Eagle Rock Entertainment’s recent re-issue of The Rolling Stones’ Voodoo Lounge, aptly titled Voodoo Lounge Uncut, is a welcome new pressing of the recording, which was previously released in edited fashion on laser disc, DVD and VHS.  That is due in no small part to the concert’s set list.  The extensive 27-song set list is the complete presentation of the band’s classic concert, performed at Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami, Florida.  As is noted on the rear of the set’s packaging and in its companion booklet (again, that booklet will be discussed later), this release marks the first time that the expansive set list has been presented in whole.  The concert’s previous pressings featured significantly shortened set lists, which removed a total of 10 songs from the recordings.  In other words, audiences get in this set, the band’s entire show for the first time ever.  While not necessarily career-spanning, the set list featured here still pulls from a respectable portion of The Rolling Stones’ catalog.  Specifically speaking, it pulls from no less than a dozen of the band’s releases, including the band’s 1964 U.S. debut record The Rolling Stones (England’s Newest Hit Makers), its then latest album Voodoo Lounge and other albums, such as 12 X 5, Out Of Our Heads and Exile on Main StreetExile on Main Street is the most heavily represented of the albums featured in the set list, with four nods.  The bonus five-song set, which was recorded at Giants Stadium in New Jersey as part of the Voodoo Lounge tour, features two more songs from that album, bringing the total count there to six songs. Voodoo Lounge got a grand total of five nods between the two sets while Let It Bleed was represented by three songs.  The numbers vary from here, but simply put, the band reaches well back into its back catalog for this show, which is well-deserving of applause.

While the set list itself does a respectable job of representing The Rolling Stones’ catalog, it is just one part of the set list that deserves to be noted.  The set list’s actual order is just as important to the concert experience here as the set list itself.  Audiences will note that the set’s first seven songs are high-energy pieces.  From there, the band slows things down gradually, starting with ‘Beast of Burden.’  The band goes from there, to a short acoustic set that helps relax the concert’s mood.  The band’s performances of ‘It’s All Over Now’ and ‘Who Do You Love?’ – which features the one and only Bo Diddley joining the band for the performance – gradually pick up the concert’s set list again.  The show’s energy gradually increases more and more from there until guitarist Keith Richards takes the lead with performances of ‘Before They Make Me Run’ and ‘The Worst.’  That pullback is only brief, as things gradually pick back up again starting with the laid back vibe of ‘Sympathy for the Devil.’  Each song from there sees the show’s energy rise yet again right to the bombastic finale of ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash.’  Simply put, the energy in the show’s set shows that a lot of thought and time was put into its sequencing.  The band wanted to make sure that audiences got the most bang for their buck, and it goes without saying that they got that and more, over the course of more than two-and-a-half hours.

While the expansive set list featured in Voodoo Lounge Uncut gives audiences to enjoy and appreciate from this recording, it is only one part of what makes the recording so enjoyable.  The band’s performance – including that of the touring musicians – builds on the foundation formed through the set list to make the recording even more enjoyable.  Front man Mick Jagger has all of the swagger in his performance here that he has had at every other moment in his career while drummer Charlie Watts’ time keeping is just as solid as ever.  Guitarists Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood show throughout the course of the show that, like Jagger, they can still hold their own easily against their younger counterparts, working through every single riff and every single song with ease.  At the same time, the pair’s smiles and swagger as they make their way across the stage from song to song exude their own share of energy on which audiences will feed. Touring bassist Darryl Jones, who according to the recording’s notes joined the band for the first time in the Voodoo Lounge tour, adds his own interest as he shares some light-hearted moments with his fellow musicians as do touring vocalists Lisa Fischer and Bernard Fowler.  Horn players Kent Smith, Bobby Keys, Andy Snitzer and Michael Davis join with keyboardist Chuck Leavell to give each song even more energy thanks to the energy that they put into each performance.  Between their performances and those of the rest of the group, the whole of the musicians’ performances proves just as entertaining as any other performance that The Rolling Stones has presented to audiences in its previous live recordings because of the energy and effort put into entertaining the group’s audiences.  When the collective’s performance is considered along with the set recording’s featured set list the two related items come together to give audiences quite a bit to appreciate in this set.  They are only a portion of what makes Voodoo Lounge Uncut so enjoyable, too.  The concert’s production is just as important to examine as the show’s set and the band’s performance thereof.

The production involved with this recording is important to examine because of its general effect for home viewers.  It is noted in the recording’s companion booklet that this recording was originally presented on pay-per-view in its very first presentation almost 25 years ago.  Taking in the recording here, the production is impressive.  Given there are some shots that are perhaps a little too short, leading to some feelings of dizziness.  Those shots are not enough to make the concert unwatchable, though.  The aerial shots at the concert’s end and the overhead shots from the crane cams give viewers a full sense of just how many people attended the concert.  The various angles from the stage and the crowd do just as much to keep audiences engaged and entertained as they make audiences feel as if they are right there with the rest of the audience.  At times, those behind the cameras even take viewers into the crowd, giving audiences a glimpse into what the audience saw and heard.  On yet another level, the timing of many of the shots even timed almost perfectly with the songs themselves, adding even more impact to each performance, and in turn ensuring even more, audiences’ engagement and entertainment.  Adding even more interest is the attention given to the concert’s audio mix.  The Joe Robbie stadium is a massively open venue, as any National Football League fan knows.  That means that a lot of work had to have been done and time taken to balance every single line.  That work and attention clearly paid off, as did the work and time put in by those who edited down the concert for its presentation here.  No one line overpowers that other at any point throughout the show.  Kudos are in order for all involved, considering this.  This positive joins with the positives in the show’s set and the band’s performance to strengthen the recording’s presentation even more.  It is still not the last of the recording’s most important elements.  The companion booklet, which has previously been noted rounds out the set’s most important items.

The recording’s companion booklet is important in part because of its liner notes.  Composed by Paul Sexton, the liner notes point out that the Voodoo Lounge tour marked the first time that Darryl Jones joined The Rolling Stones as the band’s bassist.  This is important to note because as previously noted, this concert took place almost 25 years ago.  That is a long time for him to have been with the band.  Sexton’s liner notes also point out Jagger’s interest in artist Santiago Calatrava played a part in the look of the set for the band’s show.  As if these notes are not enough, Sexton also highlights thoughts from Sheryl Crow, who joins the band on-stage for one of the show’s three guest appearances.  He quotes Crow as saying how frightened she was to perform with the band because of her respect for the band.  There is even mention of Richard’s time in the limelight and much more.  Between all of that extra and the items noted here, Sexton’s liner notes give audiences a solid, clear introduction to this concert, setting the scene for the performance quite well.  It offers its own enlightenment and entertainment for audiences.  When this positive is considered along with the positives exhibited in the recording’s set list, the band’s performance thereof and the recording’s production, the whole of the recording proves to be yet another standout live offering from The Rolling Stones and Eagle Rock Entertainment.  It continues that positive tradition that was started so long ago from the two sides, ensuring once again that audiences and Rolling Stones fans alike will have plenty to appreciate from beginning to end.

Eagle Rock Entertainment and The Rolling Stones’ latest live recording Voodoo Lounge Uncut is another successful live offering from the two sides in what is a long-running partnership between the two groups.  It is an offering that fans of The Rolling Stones will enjoy just as much as rock fans in general.  This is proven in part through the recording’s extensive 27-song (technically 32-song) set that lifts from a healthy section of the band’s catalog.  The band’s performance of said set list builds on the foundation formed via that list as does the show’s production.  The companion booklet that comes with the recording puts the finishing touch to its presentation, cementing its positive presentation.  Each element is important in its own way to the whole of Voodoo Lounge Uncut.  All things considered, they make this recording yet another wonderful addition to the collection of any Rolling Stones fan.  More information on Voodoo Lounge Uncut is available online now along with all of the Rolling Stones’ latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.rollingstones.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/RollingStones

 

 

 

More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.eagle-rock.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

 

 

 

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.

Atreyu Leaves A Positive, Lasting Impact With ‘In Our Wake’

Courtesy: Spinefarm Records

Veteran metalcore band Atreyu is wrapping up the current leg of its North American tour in support of its current album In Our Wake.  The band’s tour is currently scheduled to wrap Dec. 13 in Anaheim, California before the band takes some time to rest and recharge for the annual Shiprocked cruise that launches Jan. 26 from Galveston, Texas.  While the band’s current tour schedule is winding down, audiences can still hear the band’s new album when they order it or buy it in store.  The 10-song record is a record worth hearing, too, whether one is a longtime fan of the Orange County, CA-based band or just a metalcore fan in general.  That is proven in part through the album’s opener/title track.  ‘The Time Is Now,’ which also comes relatively early in the album’s run, also supports that statement, both musically and lyrically.  ‘Safety Pin,’ which comes later in the record’s run, is yet another of the works featured in this album that exhibits the album’s strengths, and is certainly not the last of the songs featured throughout the 45-minute record that makes the album so appealing.  Any of the other works included in the album can just as easily be cited in showing the album’s strengths.  Between those songs and the works more directly noted here, the album in whole proves to be another positive offering from Atreyu that will appeal just as much to the band’s fans as it will metalcore fans.

Atreyu’s latest full-length studio recording In Our Wake is another strong new offering from the veteran metalcore outfit that is certain to appeal just as much to the band’s most devoted fans as it will metalcore fans in general.  As the album’s title notes, its songs are works that look back on life in all of its positives and negatives, examining those outcomes.  Those ruminations make for a record to which plenty of audiences will be able to relate.  The album’s opener/title track is just one of the songs that serves to support those statements.  That is proven in part through the song’s musical arrangement, which is a radio-ready metalcore arrangement that instantly lends itself to comparisons with other similar acts, such as Ice Nine Kills, Set It Off and Bullet For My Valentine, just to name a few.  The more upbeat, melodic metalcore style here is driven by the time keeping of drummer Brandon Saller, who keeps the song moving forward solidly throughout the three-minute-plus opus.  The dual guitar approach of Dan Jacobs and Travis Miguel strengthens the foundation formed by Saller while front man Alex Varkatzas and bassist Porter McKnight put the finishing touch to the work.  The arrangement’s brooding sound is a good compliment to the song’s lyrical content, which finds Varkatzas asking outright, “Who will we leave in our wake?”  That opening line leads to an even deeper introspective presentation that is certain to generate plenty of discussion among listeners.

Varkatzas asks in the song’s lead verse, “Could I be more than flesh/Can I leave more than bones/Will these words have an impact/Can they be carved into stone/Force yourself to remember/Or choose to forget/You can leave this world as a lion/Or just fall asleep in it.”  This is someone asking, ‘what will I leave behind when I am gone?’ before going on to remind listeners that they can do one of two things – make the most of life or let it pass them by.  This is emphasized in the song’s second verse, in which Varkatzas sings, “We break like the ocean/We rise like the tide/We drown in emotion but reach for the sky/We’re moving the mountains/We’re making a change/Drink youth from the fountain before it’s too late.”  Again, this is the song’s subject reminding listeners that if they want to leave a positive, lasting legacy, then they need to make the most of life.  That way, those who we leave in our wake will have been impacted positively by us during our lives and theirs.  It is actually a very deep and positive lyrical concept.  When it is coupled with the song’s noted introspective musical arrangement, the whole proves to be a strong start for In Our Wake and just one of the album’s works that proves the album’s appeal.  Just as positive an addition to the record’s whole is ‘The Time Is Now.’

‘The Time Is Now’ is one of the best, if not the best addition to In Our Wake.  That is due in part to the song’s arrangement, which expertly balances the talents of each band member for a work that is certain to become a fan favorite both on record and in person.  Saller’s pulsing drum line immediately conjures thoughts of an audience pumping its fists collectively in the air as it sings along to Varkatzas’ singing while Jacobs and Miguel’s infectious guitar line couples with McKnight’s bass line.  The whole of the band’s lines creates a nearly three-and-a-half minute opus that moves fluidly from start to finish.  It is so enjoyable that it feels like it ends before it should.  That is meant in the best way possible.  Simply put, it leaves listeners wanting more in the best way possible.  It is just one part of what makes the song stand out.  The song’s uplifting lyrical content couples with the musical arrangement to make it even more appealing for audiences

The lyrical theme at the center of ‘The Time Is Now’ is another statement that centers on someone celebrating life.  This is inferred as Varkatzas sings in the song’s lead verse, “Here at the starting line/Never-ending race/What I’ve got inside is commonplace/I’ve been dreaming ‘bout/Hope for better days/Time for dreaming’s done/Time to face the sun.”  Right off the bat here, Varkatzas is singing (seemingly) about someone who wants to make the most of life, singing, “Time for dreaming’s done/Time to face the sun.”  This inference is strengthened even more as he goes on to sing in the song’s chorus, “Flying high above the world/It’s a new life/It’s a new mind/And I will never fall.”  This is a statement of optimism, flat-out.  He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “I cannot stop/See another way/Am I looking for another cheap escape/I’ve been pushing forward/Crushing everything/It’s a push and pull/It’s a give and take.”  From there, he goes on to reprise the chorus, yet again emphasizing that positive outlook on life.  It’s a view that continues on through the second half of the song, right to its finale.  That positive lyrical theme, coupled with the song’s infectious musical arrangement is certain to put a bright smile on any listener’s face while proving once again its strength, and even more, the strength of In Our Wake.  Even with that strength noted, it still is not the last of the album’s most notable additions.  ‘Safety Pin’ is yet another important addition to In Our Wake.  It shows the other side of the noted ruminations on the impact that we and others have on one another, and does so in quite the fiery fashion.

Unlike ‘The Time Is Now’ and ‘In Our Wake,’ ‘Safety Pin’ is a fiery work that addresses the negative impact that another has had on someone else.  As with the album’s other works, this song’s arrangement is more of a melodic metalcore style work than standard screamo-style work in regards to its musical arrangement.  It is an upbeat work, yet maintains a certain middle ground that helps to illustrate the song’s lyrical content.  That content seems to focus on some wrong that has been done to the song’s subject.  That alleged wrongdoing has not beaten the song’s subject, though.  This is proven as Varkatzas sings, “I can feel you in the back of my skull/On my best days/Worst ways/I don’t wanna talk about it/I can see you waiting for me to fall/Casting black rays, wasting/I don’t wanna talk about it/I won’t let you in/No, I won’t let you in/I will rise to walk again/I won’t keep on listening/The sorrow, I won’t let it in/My life held by a safety pin.”  This comes across as the song’s subject saying life is fragile and he/she is not going to let another’s wrongdoing take advantage of that fragility, but rather will push on.  This is inferred even more as Varkatzas sings in the song’s second verse, “try to cut me from a walk to a crawl/I will get up, stand up/And now I wanna talk about it/Try to break me/I can still take a shot/I will wake up, stay up/Now I wanna talk about it/Let’s f***ing talk about it.”  That defiant declaration leads to a reprise of the song’s chorus, which again strengthens that sense of defiant optimism against life’s negativity.  It is another way in which the album addresses the question of who we will leave in our wake and how they will be left, just in a different fashion from the other noted songs.  When it is considered along with those other songs – both those noted here and those not directly noted – the whole of the album becomes a record that sends an important message, and hopefully leaves listeners contemplating a lot of things in their own lives.  To that end, this record is both musically and lyrically a solid new offering from Atreyu that is certain to appeal just as much to the band’s most devoted fan base as it will to metalcore fans in general.

Atreyu’s latest full-length studio recording In Our Wake is a strong new offering that is certain to appeal just as much to the band’s most devoted audiences as to metalcore fans in general.  As has been noted above, that is due in part to the album’s overall theme of considering the impacts of our and others’ actions on one another throughout life.  Thus the title, In Our Wake.  It presents that theme in plenty of varying ways from start to finish as has been pointed out in the discussions presented here.  When those discussions are coupled with those that will be generated from examining the album’s other songs, the end result is a record that listeners will agree, is a welcome return from Atreyu.  It is available now.  More information on In Our Wake is available along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.atreyuofficial.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/atreyuofficial

 

 

 

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.

CBS All Access’ New ‘Star Trek’ Series Fails In Its First Season

Courtesy: CBS Television Studios/Paramount

In a little more than a month, CBS All Access’ latest entry into the Star Trek universe – Star Trek: Discovery — returns for its second season.  While audiences count the days until the fledgling series returns, they have its debut season to take in on DVD and Blu-ray courtesy of CBS Television Studios and Paramount Home Entertainment.  Released in stores Nov. 13 on separate DVD and Blu-ray sets, Season One’s home release offers both pros and cons to note, beginning with the series’ very writing.  It will be discussed shortly.  The set’s bonus content is its own positive, and will be discussed a little later.  The set’s average price point is also important to discuss, and will be addressed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own right to the whole of the season’s presentation.  All things considered, the debut season of Star Trek: Discovery proves to be a new start for the Star Trek universe that is worth at least one watch, but sadly not much more.

The debut season of CBS All Access’ new Star Trek offering, Star Trek: Discovery is a rough new start for the Star Trek universe’s latest offering.  It is not the franchise’s worst entry, but definitely is not the franchise’s best entry, either.  That is due in part to the writing, which like Paramount’s 2009 big screen Star Trek reboot, is little more than just another revisiting of the Star Trek universe’s past.  It takes audiences into the past, attempting to show what led to the never-ending tensions between the Federation and the Klingon Empire.  The result is a presentation that conjures thoughts more of SyFy Channel’s most recent Battlestar Galactica reboot than any Star Trek entry, either on the big or small screen.  This is just the beginning of the problems with the writing, because the set-off is actually somewhat ambiguous.  Were the Klingons already planning to rise up before the incident with Michael Bernham and the Klingon warrior, or did it only happen after that incident?  Audiences know that said incident played at least in part to the conflict, but because of the dialogue featured throughout the early episodes of Season One, audiences will be left scratching their heads to a point as to that setup.

As season one progresses, it resurrects some ST story elements that are all too familiar to longtime ST fans.  One of those elements is a time loop arc. Another is the alternate universe story arc.  The time loop has been done already in Star Trek: The Next Generation while the alternate universe arc was used in Star Trek: TOS.  This series’ writers try to freshen up the time loop arc by setting it off through a character that fans of TOS will recognize, and while it does work to a point, the story starts to plod along after a while, getting lost in itself along the way.  The alternate universe arc proves even more problematic not only because it’s already been done, but also because it creates its own share of plot holes.  Not to give away too much for the sake of those who haven’t yet seen Season One, but if the alternate universe has the evil twins of the Discovery “prime” universe – the term “prime” is actually used by Berham in this arc – then where is the “good” twin of Capt. Lorca and the “evil” twin of Bernham?  Bernham’s doppelganger is mentioned by the “evil” Phillipa, but the writers never address where she is in a bigger sense.  Nor is it mentioned where the “good” Capt. Lorca is or if there even is a “good Capt. Lorca.  The writers try to explain it away in an early scene in the arc between Discovery’s Bernham and Lorca, but it is still ultimately left up in the air.  Even Paul Stamets’ double is introduced as he sits in a coma.  This is its own problem as one can’t help but make comparison to so many soap operas, as every major soap opera has done the coma “dream sequence” way too many times.  Getting back on track, even as Discovery gets back to its own universe, the whereabouts of the “evil” Discovery ship is not addressed, either.  Where is it?  Did it go back to its universe when Discovery jumped back to its universe?  Again, here audiences have a plot hole that is left wide open even as the writers struggle to address the situation in the story arc’s finale.

Another plot hole that is left wide open involves Bernham’s adoptive father, (who also proves to be the father of another even more well-known Star Trek character) Sarek.  Again, not to give away too much, but Sarek is rescued after his ship is sabotaged (in a moment that makes one think of something from Iron Man 3), but after his rescue, his character is ignored until the season’s final two episodes.  Audiences don’t hear from him after Bernham leaves him laying in sick bay, recovering from his wounds.  Next time he’s seen, he’s in full health.  This is problematic as it doesn’t take long after that instance for the problems to start again for Discovery.  Was Sarek still on the ship at that point?  When did he leave the ship?  Again, this is a plot hole that simply cannot be ignored.  It proves the writing that much more problematic.  This still is not the last of the issues raised through an examination of the writing.  The introduction of Lt. Tyler creates its own issue.

The introduction of Lt. Tyler is a direct comparison to Battlestar Galactica.  This critic will attempt to not give away too much information here, but the revelation about who and what Tyler is makes that comparison far too easy.  The recent reboot of Battlestar Galactica saw the Cylons infiltrate the humans’ ranks by making them look like the humans.  This in itself was a lifting from Terminator 2 (if not other previous movies and TV shows).  What the writers did here with Tyler is very similar, but instead of making him a robot, they made him something else.  Audiences who have yet to see this season will be left to make that discovery themselves, but it goes without saying that it has been done before.  In this case, it is the same thing, just altered slightly and in more gory fashion.

As if the general story elements, the plot holes and that they create, and the rehashing of another element are not enough, the smaller items of the writing prove just as problematic for this presentation.  There is lots of overt bloodshed, gore, sexual content and foul language.  Given, maybe her and there, there has been some mildly suggestive material in previous Star Trek incarnations, but never was it to the point that it is here.  There are flashes of a sex scene between one of the lead Klingon characters and another character late in the season’s run.  There is also enough bloodshed and overt violence to appease the most bloodthirsty person.  It’s a disappointment because none of the Star Trek universe’s other series’ needed any of that in order to be even mildly entertaining.  So, why did the writers think it was needed here?  Have audiences really become that dependent on violence and sexuality?  If so, then that is in itself is a troubling statement.

While the writing exhibited in the debut season of Star Trek: Discovery does a lot to detract from its presentation, the set is not a total loss.  That is thanks to the bonus content featured throughout the set.  Throughout the set, audiences are treated to featurettes, which focus on the series’ sets, costumes, makeup and even the philosophical aspects of the storylines as well as other items.  The discussions on the stories’ deeper ruminations are interesting, and do create at least a little bit of appreciation for the work that the writers put in.  After all, this is not the only Star Trek entry that has striverd to use its stories to create dialogues on certain deep topics.  However, it sadly is not enough to make up for the bigger problems posed through the writing.  The discussions on the sets and costumes make for fun glances behind the cameras,  Audiences will be interested to see how the costume and makeup departments used modern 3D printing technology alongside more traditional methodology to create the look of the Klingons.  In the same vein, the thought and effort put into the sets is just as interesting.  This feature will appeal just as much to theater production specialists as it will to general audiences.

As the season comes to an end, audiences are treated to another, different type of feature in the season retrospective, “The Journey of Season 1.”  This roughly 20-minute featurette features discussions from the show’s cast and creative heads about their favorite episodes and the importance of those episodes to the season’s overall presentation.  This brings everything full circle in regards to the bonuses.  It brings back those discussions on the season’s philosophical elements while also letting more people offer their own perspective on those themes.  Of course it is just one more of the bonus features worth watching.  The bonuses, including deleted scenes (at least one of which gives a hint about Season 2), are spread throughout the season’s discs.  This is important in that it shows Paramount and CBS Television Studios did not try to just cram a bunch of random featuerettes onto the last disc, unlike what so many other studios do.  It shows the companies wanted to give audiences the biggest bang for their buck.  They succeeded at that, too.

Speaking of bang for the buck, the set’s average price point is respectable.  The average price point for the season’s Blu-ray presentation – using prices listed at Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million – comes to $39.86.  In other words it comes in at just under $40.  The DVD set’s average price – using those same outlets – comes to $32.14.  Both sets feature the same bonus content and the same episodes.  There is no real difference between the two platforms in terms of content.  Considering this, the pricing here is on part with other DVD and Blu-ray sets for other TV series, so there is that to appreciate.  Considering the entertainment that the bonus material (and to a slightly lesser degree, the primary content) offers, that makes both platforms’ average pricing respectable.  When this is considered alongside the noted bonus and primary content, the whole of Discovery: Season One proves worth at least one watch, but sadly, no more.

CBS All Access’ latest journey into the Star Trek universe, Star Trek: DiscoverySeason 1 is a presentation that is nothing like its predecessors.  More akin to Syfy’s most recent Battlestar Galactica reboot and Disney’s most recent Star Wars movies, this latest revisiting of the Star Trek universe history’s past (it has already been done in 2009 with Paramount’s big screen Star Trek reboot) suffers severely from writing problems, such as lagging story arcs that are often times overflowing with plot holes and general lack of creativity.  Additionally, the overall cinematic nature of the season, and the knowledge that the series is a serial (unlike its predecessors) makes this season feel more like one big movie than a general TV series.  Some people will like it, but others – like this critic – will very much dislike these aspects.  The bonus content spread across the set’s discs does at least a little bit to make up for the problems posed by the writing.  The average price point for the set’s separate DVD and Blu-ray platforms lets audiences know that their money spent was not entirely wasted.  Despite that affordable price point and the positives in the bonus material, the problems posed by the writing are just too much to overcome.  In general, the positives of the pricing and secondary content makes this set worth at least one watch, but sadly no more than that.  Star Trek: DiscoverySeason 1 is available now in stores and online.  More information on Star Trek: Discovery is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.cbs.com/shows/star-trek-discovery

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/cbs

 

 

 

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The ACC Network Is Coming

Courtesy: ESPN

The ACC Network is going to become a reality next year.

ESPN announced this week that it will launch its new college sports network Aug. 22.  The network’s first college football broadcast will feature Georgia Tech on the road against Clemson on Aug. 29 for a Thursday night showdown.

According to a news release from ESPN, the ACC Network is expected to broadcast 1,300 live ACC events annually on its TV and digital platforms.  Those events will come from all 15 of the conference’s schools and 27 sponsored sports.

ESPN President and Disney Media Networks Co-Chairman James Pitaro said he is optimistically anticipating the network’s launch.

“With just under nine months until launch, we are all systems go with ACC Network preparations,” Pitaro said.  “The strength of the season-opening game between Georgia Tech and Clemson is indicative of the robust schedule and programming we have planned for ACC fans.”

ACC Commissioner John Swofford echoed Pitaro’s comments in a prepared statement.

“We continue to look ahead to the launch of the ACC Network with great anticipation,” Swofford said.  “Showcasing all of our outstanding programs remains a top priority, and our partnership with ESPN allows fans to have greater access than ever before.  I also commend our schools, who have done an outstanding job in their preparations for a successful launch.”

The ACC Network’s first TV spot is scheduled to air live Dec. 1 during the Dr. Pepper ACC Football Championship game.  The game is scheduled to air at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

More information on the ACC Network is available online now at http://www.getaccn.com.

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Overkill To Release New LP In February

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Overkill is starting the new year with a new album.

the veteran thrash metal outfit announced this week that it will release its new album The Wings of War February 22 via Nuclear Blast Records.  The 10-song record, when released, will be the New Jersey-based band’s 19th full-length studio recording.

Front man Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth said in a prepared statement that he is looking forward to the album’s release.

“It was a blast making The Wings of War!,” Ellsworth said.  “It is something old feeling new again, as our chemistry was altered by the addition of Jason Bittner.  I was curious from the get-go how would it pan out?  I think what we accomplished here is a new, upgraded Overkill that embraced the new chemistry, while taking our roots into the present.  The new formula produced not only more raw power, but more places to go with melody, a win-win.  The key is being not only interested in the change, but part of it.  I’ll tell you what, it’s still fun as hell making Overkill records.”

Overkill teamed with famed producer Chris “ZEUSS” Harris to create record.  Harris mixed and mastered the album, while the band self-produced the album.  Travis Smith (Nevermore, Opeth, Soilwork) crafted the album’s artwork.

The album’s track listing is noted below.

Below is the track listing for The Wings Of War
1              Last Man Standing
2              Believe In The Fight
3              Head Of A Pin
4              Bat Shit Crazy
5              Distortion
6              A Mother’s Prayer
7              Welcome To The Garden State
8              Where Few Dare To Walk
9              Out On The Road-Kill
10           Hole In My Soul

More information on The Wings of War is available online along with all of Overkill’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.wreckingcrew.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/OverkillBand

 

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.