Soulfly Working On Its Next Album

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Soulfly is officially back in the studio.

The announcement was made Friday through a news release distributed to the media. The document states the band is now working on the follow-up to its 2018 album Ritual. Additionally, it states the band is working with producer Arthur Rizk (Cavalera Conspiracy, Code Orange, Power trip) on the album. Expectations are that the album will release in late 2021.

According to front man Max Cavalera, work on the album was already underway prior to getting back into the studio.

“I’ve been working on this record with my son, Zyon, since June of last year,” he said. “We are in the studio now with producer Arthur Rizk, creating a really wild record. Expect the unexpected! No rules, no limits, not holding anything back, just pure SOULFLY!”

More information on Soulfly’s next record is available along with all of Soulfly’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.soulfly.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/SoulflyOfficial

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/TheSoulflyTribe

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

Five Iron Frenzy Drops New Album, ‘Until This Shakes Apart’

Courtesy: Earshot Media

Ska/rock band Five Iron Frenzy gave fans a big surprise this week.

The band released its new album Until This Shakes Apart Friday. The surprise release marks the first time in seven years that the band has released new music. The crowd-funded album features 13 songs and is streaming through all digital outlets here.

Front man Reese Roper talked about the album’s surprise release in a prepared statement.

“Friends. We all believe this is the best thing we’ve ever made as Five Iron Frenzy,” he said. “Thank you for being part of this, and for sticking by us all these years. Here’s to 25 more years of us loving you guys!”

The band released its new album after raising $287,764 through a Kickstarter campaign to make the album. The record comes more than seven years after the band’s then most recent album, Engine of a Million Plots.

More information on Five Iron Frenzy’s new album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: http://www.fiveironfreny.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/5ironFrenzy

Twitter: http://twitter.com/fiveironfrenzy

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

Blackmore’s Night Announces Release Date, Cover Art, Track Listing For New LP

Courtesy: earMusic

Blackmore’s Night will release its latest album this year.

The band is scheduled to release its new album Nature’s Light March 12 through earMusic (distributed by BFD/The Orchard). The record is the band’s 11th album. Pre-orders are open.

The album will release on CD, digital, 180-gram gatefold vinyl, limited edition heavyweight yellow vinyl gatefold and limited edition 2CD hardcover mediabook The second disc featured in the limited edition release will contain a variety of songs from the band’s catalog.

The album’s track listing is noted below.

TRACKLIST

1.) ONCE UPON DECEMBER
2.) FOUR WINDS
3.) FEATHER IN THE WIND
4.) DARKER SHADE OF BLACK (INSTRUMENTAL)
5.) THE TWISTED OAK
6.) NATURE’S LIGHT
7.) DER LETZTE MUSKETIER (INSTRUMENTAL)
8.) WISH YOU WERE HERE (2021)
9.) GOING TO THE FAIRE
10.) SECOND ELEMENT

In anticipation of the album’s release, Blackmore’s Night debuted the lyric video for the album’s lead single ‘Once Upon December‘ last month. The video features the song’s lyrics placed over the backdrop of a cold, snowy night as the song plays over the visualization.

The musical arrangement featured in the song presents the familiar Renaissance style sound for which Blackmore’s Night has come to be known over the years, complete with the semi-operatic style vocals of vocalist Candice Night. The lyrical content is itself a winter/holiday-themed presentation that even hints slightly at the narrator telling the story of Christ’s birth.

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

Website: http://www.Blackmoresnight.com

Facbeook: http://www.facebook.com/blackmoresnightofficial

Twitter: http://twitter.com/TruCandiceNight

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

Wreck-Defy Debuts ‘Scumlord’ Lyric Video

Courtesy: SubLevel Records

Wreck-Defy debuted the video for its latest single over the weekend.

The band — Matt Hanchuck, Aaron Dandall (ex-Annihilator), Greg Christian (ex-Testamant), Alex Marquez (ex-Malevolent Creation).– debuted the lyric video for its new single ‘Scumlord‘ Saturday. The song and its video are the third from the band’s 2020 album Powers That Be. Its premiere follows that of the album’s current singles, ‘Freedomless Speech‘ and ‘Skin.’

The video features the song’s lyrics playing over images, such as cocaine, people buying drugs, and people holding weapons as the song’s thrash style musical arrangement plays over it all. The imagery is used to help translate the song’s message about the dangers of drug use and the consequences of people buying and using drugs.

The musical arrangement, as noted, follows the band’s familiar thrash style approach that it has taken in its two previous albums. What’s interesting here is that Randall’s vocal delivery style is similar in sound to that of Dope front man Edsel Dope. So what audiences get is an old school metal sound from the instrumentation and a more modern touch with the vocals. The juxtaposition of those elements makes for a song that will appeal widely to audiences.

More information on Wreck-Defy’s new single, video, album and more is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://wreck-defy.bandcamp.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/Underground4560

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

Countless Thousands’ New LP Will Appeal To Countless Thousands Of Listeners

Courtesy: Independent Music Promotions

The independent music community is not wasting its time getting things moving in the new year.  The Soviet Machines and R.A.P. Ferreira have already given music lovers plenty to appreciate in this year with their new albums.  Now today, fellow independent act Countless Thousands added to the year’s already fast-filling field of new music with its new album …And The Triumph of Justice.  The 16-song record is a standout among its current counterparts within the independent and rock communities.  That is due in no small part to the diversity exhibited in the album’s musical arrangements.  This will be discussed shortly.  The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical arrangements add their own share of interest to the album’s presentation.  They will be discussed a little later.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements and will be discussed later, too.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album.  All things considered, they make …And The Triumph of Justice the first truly standout independent album of 2021.

Countless Thousands’ new album …And The Triumph of Justice is a great early surprise from this year’s field of new independent and rock albums.  It is a presentation that will appeal widely to audiences thanks in part to its featured musical arrangements.  The arrangements in question present a wide variety of stylistic approaches and sounds.  Right from its outset, ‘The Triumph of Justice,’ audiences get a composition that immediately lends itself to the sounds of Queen from the late 1980s.  More specifically, the one minute, seven second instrumental composition immediately lends itself to comparisons to the songs that Queen crafted for the television adaptation of Highlander and for its work on the Flash Gordon.  It is so cheesy in its nearly over the top approach, but is so glorious at the same time for that power metal style approach and sound.  From there, the band immediately changes things up in the album’s second entry, ‘Game Change.’  That song is indeed a game change for the album, as it takes a more punk rock approach.  Speaking more specifically, the approach here, is akin to works from the likes of Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys.  That is evidenced in the use of the vocal delivery, guitar, bass and even drums.  It goes without saying that the whole makes for quite the contrast from the album’s opener and keeps things interesting.  ‘Space Nazis Must Die (ft. Professor Elementary)’ changes things yet again, giving audiences this time, more of a stoner rock style sound.  As if that change is not enough, the band takes on America’s National Anthem a la Jimi Hendrix but with quite the twist in the album’s next track.  Things only continue to change from here on to the album’s end.  The album turns more in a bluegrass vein in ‘The Rat’ before turning back in the punk direction in ‘Solidarity Forever.’  ‘Parts Unknown’ gives audiences yet another change, turning the album in a neo-folk style direction.  Stoner rock fans will appreciate the next few songs, ‘Fat Cat,’ ‘MASK OFF’ and ‘Lazar Wolf.’  The wildly crazy (no pun intended) ‘Murder Assassins from the Future’ is bizarre but one can’t help but listen to the jolly sounding song about a crazed killer.  This will be addressed shortly in the discussion on the album’s lyrical content.  The album turns back in the punk direction from there in ‘Parts Oiknown.’  Yes, that is really the title, not a typo.  The neo-folk approach returns once again in its cover of Stephen Foster’s timeless tune ‘Hard Times (Come No More) before closing out in two more unique fashions in the album’s last two songs.  Looking back through all of this, it becomes evident that throughout the course of its 45-minute run time, this album offers so much for listeners to enjoy.  It never sticks too long to one style of song, ensuring listeners’ engagement and entertainment just in this aspect.  For all that the diverse musical presentation of …And The Triumph of Justice does for its presentation, it is just one of the items that makes this record so surprisingly enjoyable.  The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s musical arrangements builds on the foundation built by the music and strengthens it even more.

The lyrical content that is presented throughout Countless Thousands’ new album will generate its own share of interest for listeners.  One prime example of that interest comes, as noted previously, comes in the uniquely titled and sounding ‘Murder Assassins From the Future.’  The playful song features a story about apparently a crazy guy who claims to be from the future on a mission to stop a future apocalypse by trying to kill a child.  Of course things don’t end up well for the nutjob.  What happens will be left for listeners to discover for themselves, but the overall sarcastic and light hearted nature in the story makes it stand out so much from the rest of the record’s lyrical content.

In direct contrast, the much more reserved ‘Parts Unknown’ (not to be confused with ‘Points Oinknown’) gives listeners something more reality-based.  It is sung from the standpoint of what seems to be a parent singing to his daughter, recounting his own past as he talks to her about herself growing up.  The parent tells the child that “you are the ripple in my water” and to “stay humble” as she grows up.  He ends the song telling her, “I love you how you are.”  It really is a touching moment in this record that is certain to become a fan favorite.

‘Game Change’ gives listeners even more interest in regards to the album’s lyrical themes.  A close listen to this song reveals a socio-politically charged work that seems to take on the lengths to which people will go against one another nowadays.  Additionally, it presents its own damning condemnation of how the Democrats and Republicans alike have abused their powers, going so far as to say of this topic, “It’s just rock, paper, scissors/Going around and around in circles/Winners eat the losers in a zero sum game.”  The whole things ends with the line asking listeners, “What are you willing to live with?”  That is a telling question.  Together with the other noted statements, it becomes clear that this song is meant to present a familiar topic (if not two topics) that are accessible to audiences.  When this is considered along with the themes addressed in ‘Parts Unknown,’ ‘Murder Assassins From the Future’ and the rest of the album’s entries, no doubt is left as to the importance and impact of the record’s lyrical content.  When the whole of the album’s lyrical content is considered together with the record’s musical content, the overall content make for more than enough reason for people to hear this album.  They are collectively still just a portion of what audiences will appreciate in this presentation.  The sequencing of the featured content puts the finishing touch to the record’s presentation.

The sequencing of …And the Triumph of Justice is key to the album’s presentation because it takes into account the wide range of musical and lyrical content and the energies in the album’s songs.  As already noted here, the album’s musical arrangements are diverse.  At no point in the record’s nearly 50-minute run do the arrangements stay one way too long.  The longest span through which any one style remains is three songs late in the record’s run.  That constant change in the album’s musical arrangement styles does plenty in its own right to keep listeners engaged and entertained.  The energies in the arrangements change just as constantly as the styles in the arrangements.  The whole thing starts in the noted grandiose style in the album’s title track.  From there, the record’s energy picks up quite noticeably in its second track.  It is not until the band’s take on the National Anthem that the record’s energy pulls back.  From there, the energy gradually picks back up until it reaches its peak again in ‘Solidarity Forever.’  What’s so interesting here is that as energetic and frenetic as the arrangement is, its up-tempo take of the otherwise more solemn ‘Battle Hymn of the Republic’ in classic punk style makes for one heck of a dichotomy.  The band slams on the brakes again from there in ‘Parts Unknown.’  The energy gradually rises again from there, getting a little more upbeat in the hybrid stoner/swing style ‘Fat Cat.’  The band decides to go in a different direction from there in ‘Mask Off’ what with the plodding stoner/sludge/doom hybrid approach.  What’s interesting here is that while the brief opus is short – it clocks in at just under a minute – it is still heavy, and sets the stage for the much more up-tempo (and 80s Queen-eque) ‘Lazar Wolf.’  The energy gradually decline again from there, but not too much, as is evidenced in the light but still up-tempo folk take of ‘Hard Times (Come Again No More).’  The album goes out on a controlled note in its final two songs, landing listeners easily on a distant musical shore from where they started on the musical journey that is this record.  By the record’s end, audiences will find that the journey is one on which they will want to go again thanks to the clear attention to the rise and fall in the album’s energies.  That attention keeps things interesting from start to end, and in turns keeps the record moving and sounding so enjoyable.  Keeping this in mind along with the importance of the album’s content, the result is a record whose content and related presentation thereof is equally positive.  All things considered, they make …And the Triumph of Justice a triumph of an independent album and an album in general.

Countless Thousands’ new album …And the Triumph of Justice is itself a triumphant new offering from the unsigned, independent band.  That is proven in part through its musical arrangements, which are quite diverse to say the least.  The lyrical content that accompanies the record’s musical arrangements adds its own share of appeal to the album.  The sequencing of that collective content puts the final touch to the album’s presentation, bringing everything full circle.  Each item note here is key in its own way to the whole of the album.  All things considered, they make the album in whole a musical triumph.  The album is available now.  More information on the record is available along with all of Countless Thousands’ latest news at:

Website: http://www.countlessthousands.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/countless1000s

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

Pacing, Plot Hole Problems Aside, ‘The Deeper You Dig’ Re-Issue Proves Worth Watching At Least Once

Courtesy: Arrow Video/Wonder Wheel Productions

Independent cinema is more important than ever nowadays.  In an age when mainstream movies are primarily prequels, sequels, reboots, and movies based on actual events, independent movies offer audiences a much needed alternative to the general lack of originality being turned out by Hollywood’s Big Six studios.  To that end, any time that a new, independent movie is released, it is worth at least some consideration.  Such is the case with the independent horror thriller The Deeper You Dig.  Originally released in 2019 by Wonder Wheel Productions, the movie was re-issued late last year on Blu-ray by Arrow Video as part of a two-movie collection that also features the movie The Hatred.  Each feature was produced and directed by the husband/wife/daughter trio that is known as The Adams Family – John Adams, his wife Toby Poser and their daughter Zelda.  For the sake of this review, the attention will remain on The Deeper You Dig.  The 95-minute movie is a presentation that fans of paranormal stories and those of crime dramas find equally appealing.  The noted audiences will agree that this independent offering is worth watching at least once.  That is proven in part through its central story, which will be discussed shortly.  While the story at the heart of The Deeper You Dig offers at least some appeal for audiences, its pacing becomes somewhat problematic as it progresses.  This will be addressed a little later.  Considering that Arrow Video’s recent release of this movie is a re-issue, its bonus content is just as worth noting as its primary content.  It will be addressed later, too.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of The Deeper You Dig.  All things considered, they make this independent horror/crime thriller a moderately successful entry into its respective genres.

Arrow Video’s recent re-issue of Wonder Wheel Productions’ 2019 independent horror/crime thriller The Deeper You Dig is a presentation that fans of the noted genres will find worth watching at least once.  That is proven in part through its story.  The story centers on main character Ivy’s (Tobin) search for her daughter Echo (Tobin’s daughter Zelda) after she goes missing.  Echo’s disappearance is the result of Kurt (Adams) accidentally hitting her with his truck one night after a night of drinking.  Upon realizing that Echo has survived the incident, Kurt freaks out and decides to suffocate Echo so that she can’t go to the authorities to tell what happened.  This on the surface might seem outlandish to some viewers.  However, anyone who watches TV newsmagazine shows, such as 48 Hours, 20/20, and Dateline know better.  Kurt’s actions are actually quite similar to those of so many of the killers presented in the stories in those shows.  That even includes his heinous actions that follow after Echo’s ghost (or is it his own guilt?) gets to him.  This aspect of the story – whether it was really Echo’s ghost or just Kurt’s own guilt – echoes hints of Edgar Allen Poe’s timeless tale, The Tell-Tale Heart, in which the main character kills a man, but ends up confessing because of his own guilt.  Considering that there are people who have burned bodies to hide evidence, dismembered them, etc. in real life crime stories on the news, Kurt’s actions are heinous, but not unbelievable, sadly.  Now keeping all of this in mind, there is at least one major plot hole to the story, that of the lack of damage to Kurt’s truck following the initial incident.  Anyone who has ever heard and seen stories of people being hit by vehicles knows that regardless of how fast a vehicle is going, if it is going fast enough to even knock out a person, then there would be damage to a vehicle’s bumper, headlights, glass, etc.  Audiences who look closely will notice that Kurt’s truck shows none of those damage signs.  That damage is something that the police officers would have instantly noticed when they came to the house that Kurt was flipping.  What’s more, when Kurt buys the rope and tarp at the convenience store, the clerk says nothing and does not even take any action.  That aspect is not believable, either.  Considering that a person was missing, and someone buys items that people have so commonly heard about in crimes on the noted TV news magazines, suspension of disbelief here is impossible.  The whole thing ends in quite the unexpected fashion.  That finale will not be revealed here, but it will definitely leave audiences scratching their heads.  Yes, it turns the typical horror finale on its head, but also seems a bit convoluted at the same time.  One can only wonder why the family decided to close out the story how it did.  The lasting impression that it leaves will cause viewers to look back on the story and just be confused.  The family discusses this aspect and more in its extensive discussion about the movie in the bonus content.  That content will be discussed later.  Going back to the story, all things considered in the story, the plot hole and contrivances aside, the story’s setup is believable, so it in itself will leave audiences wanting to watch.  That it can be likened to Poe’s famed literary work makes for its own share of interest, too.  Now for all that the story does to make The Deeper You Dig worth watching, the story itself does suffer from one problem, that of its pacing.

The pacing in The Deeper You Dig’s story starts off relatively stable, keeping the story moving along well.  However, as it reaches its second act, in which Ivy starts actually looking for Echo, things dramatically slow down.  It makes the movie’s 95-minute run time feel much longer.  Much of the time is spent with Ivy going into some alternate realm after visiting an old friend in hopes of getting him to help her.  The overly artsy approach and resultant look here greatly detracts from viewers’ engagement and entertainment.  Thankfully though, the pacing finally picks back up in the third and final act when Ivy finally realizes Kurt is responsible for Echo’s disappearance and death.  Though, that final sequence does get a bit too over the top in its weirdness.  That is a story for another time though.  It will be addressed in the discussion on the bonus content, too.  Getting back to the issue of the pacing, if audiences can force themselves to endure the plodding second act, then they will make it easily through the third act and end.  To that end, the pacing of The Deeper You Dig’s pacing is problematic, but luckily not enough to completely derail the story.  The bonus content that accompanies the movie’s recent re-issue does its own share to make the movie worth watching at least once.

The bonus content that accompanies Arrow Video’s recent Blu-ray re-issue of The Deeper You Dig is extensive to say the least.  There is a full, feature-length audio commentary that accompanies the movie, as well as a visual essay about the theme of family in this movie, and some smaller extras, such as a poster and music video.  They all do their own share to entertain audiences, but the roughly 45-minute featurette, “At Home With The Adams Family” is easily the most important of the bonuses.  This presentation reveals that Adams is an artist during one of the family’s discussions.  This revelation would explain the movie’s sometimes overly artsy look.  Adams also explains that “he likes violence” which would explain one of the movie’s most gruesome scenes in its final act.  Yet another discussion that the family takes on in this featurette is the story’s finale.  Poser explains that the unsettling finale was intentionally set.  She explains that the family did what they did with the finale because they wanted to do something different.  There is nothing wrong with doing something different, but this story’s finale will not leave audiences with a sense of fulfillment, but rather with confusion and even some anger at Ivy.  These are just some of the topics that the Adams family tackles in its extensive discussion.  There is also a discussion about the story’s overall lack of a soundtrack, which is itself another positive aspect to its presentation.  That ambient sound versus a constant musical soundtrack actually does much to make the movie engaging and entertaining in its own right.  Adams’ discussion on the use of sound in the movie is another interesting topic that will engage audiences.  When these topics and the others addressed in the family’s interview are considered along with everything noted in the feature-length audio commentary, the whole of that content works with the movie’s general story to make The Deeper You Dig worth watching at least once even despite the pacing problems and its one notable plot hole.

Arrow Video’s recent Blu-ray re-issue of Wonder Wheel Productions’ 2019 independent horror/crime thriller The Deeper You Dig is a presentation that will appeal widely to fans of the noted genres.  That is due in large part to the movie’s story.  The story mirrors so many of the real life murder stories that TV news magazine shows, such as 48 Hours, 20/20, and Dateline have run throughout their runs.  To that end, as brutal as the story is, it actually is believable at least to a point.  What happens to Kurt as a result of that central story shows influence from Edgar Allen Poe’s timeless tale, The TellTale Heart.  Of course for all the ability of viewers to suspend their disbelief in watching the story, it is not without its problems.  It does suffer from one major plot hole that otherwise negates everything in the story.  The pacing in the story’s second act detracts from its engagement and entertainment, too.  Even with those issues in mind, they are not enough to completely derail the movie.  Its collective bonus content makes for its own share of engagement and entertainment.  Keeping that in mind, that content and the movie’s story form a foundation for the story that makes it worth watching at least once.

More information on Arrow Video’s The Deeper You Dig re-issue is available along with all of the company’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.arrowfilms.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/ArrowVideo

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/ArrowFilmsVideo

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

Lessons, Price Save PBS’ Latest ‘Pinkalicious & Peterrific’ DVD

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Kids/PBS Distribution

The 2020 holiday season has officially come and gone once again, and with the season in the rear window once again, the focus for lots of retailers and others is already turning to Valentine’s Day.  A glance around any store reveals that.  It is only fitting that with the attention already turning to Valentine’s Day that PBS Distribution released a Valentine’s Day-themed collection of Pinkalicious & Peterrific episodes this year on DVD.  Titled A Pinktastic Valentine’s Day, the single disc collection  features five episodes whose stories present lessons that will resonate with audiences of all ages.  While the lessons featured in the stories are of positive note, the stories themselves detract slightly from the DVD’s presentation.  This will be discussed a little later.  When the episodes and their connected lessons are considered together, they make the collection’s average price point its own important element.  It will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the DVD’s presentation.  All things considered, they make the DVD a positive presentation, even with the negative of its episodes in mind.

PBS Distribution’s Pinkalicious & Peterrific DVD A Pinktastic Valentine’s Day is a gift that the whole family will appreciate.  That is proven in part through the lessons presented in its featured stories.  The DVD opens with the familiar lesson that the best gifts are the ones that are made versus those that are bought in the episode “Pink Love.”  The episode, which is the disc’s only Valentine’s Day-themed episode, also teaches an important lesson about problem solving when the Valentine’s Day cards that Pinkalicious made are ruined.  She stresses at first about how to make new cards for her classmates, but eventually comes up with an answer to the problem.  Whether on Valentine’s Day or any other holiday (such as Mother’s Day, which is also addressed in one of the collection’s episodes) making a gift from the heart will always be better than just buying something.  What’s more, the matter of problem solving is important to every young person’s development, so having that lesson incorporated into the episode in such subtle fashion helps the DVD’s presentation in its own way.

Speaking of personal development, that matter is addressed again in the central lesson featured in “That Unicorn Feeling.”  The specific lesson tied to the matter is in this case, that of the importance of using one’s imagination.  When Pinkalicious, Peterrific and one of their friends are paying a game together involving their imaginations, another friend comes along who can’t see the unicorn that the others see.  Over time, that friend learns how to use her imagination and eventually sees the unicorn, too.  Learning how to use one’s imagination is important not only in a child’s formative years, but throughout life.  After all, imagination is what leads to the creation of some of the greatest stage plays, movies, and television shows of all time.  To that end, learning early on, that importance of developing imagination is a welcome lesson for every young viewer.

Another important lesson that is presented in A Pinktastic Valentine’s Day is that of pet adoption.  Peterrific points out at one point, that he and his sister’s mom told the pair at one point, people are not supposed to keep wild things.  In this case, the reference being made is to the fact that it is not wise for people to adopt any wild animal.  That includes even stray animals.  That is because there is no telling what medical or other conditions stray animals might have and the liability connected with owning them.  Again, the subtle way in which this lesson is delivered is deserving of applause.  It is completely unrelated to the other lessons featured in the DVD, showing even more, the diversity in the DVD’s featured lessons.  Together with the emotional lesson about children being a mother’s greatest gift in “Mother’s Day Surprise” and whatever lesson is delivered in “Whale of a Song” (that episode’s lesson is not made so clear, unless it is just about appreciating nature), the whole of the DVD’s featured lessons forms a solid foundation for the DVD’s presentation.  If for no reason other than the lessons, the DVD proves worth watching at least occasionally.

While the lessons featured in A Pinktastic Valentine’s Day do much for the DVD’s presentation, the stories to which the lessons are connected detract from that presentation to some point.  As has already been noted, the only Valentine’s Day-themed episode featured in this DVD is it lead episode, “Pink Love.”  The other featured stories are anything but Valentine’s Day-themed.  To that end, the stories that are featured in this collection leave the DVD’s title to be somewhat incorrect.  It’s basically false advertising to a point.  Now even with that in mind, it is not enough to completely disqualify the DVD.  The lessons tied to the stories make up for that negative at least to a point.  Hopefully this is something that those behind the DVD will take into account when and if another Pinkalicious & Peterrific DVD is released.

Keeping in mind the value of the lessons featured in A Pinktastic Valentine’s Day, they in themselves make the collection’s average price point its own positive.  The average price point for A Pinkalicious Valentine’s Day is $5.96.  That point is obtained by averaging listings at Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and PBS’ online store.  It was not listed at Target and Books-A-Million at the time of this review’s posting.  The least expensive of the noted listings is $3.99.  It shows up twice, at Amazon and Best Buy.  The most expensive listing — $7.84 – is at Walmart while PBS’ online store and Barnes & Noble Booksellers each list the DVD at $6.99.  Considering again, that the majority of the DVD’s value rests in its lessons, that aspect makes the less than $10 average price point acceptable.  That is not to say that the stories in which the lessons are presented are bad by any means.  They are okay and are themselves worth watching occasionally.  But that only one of the stories follows the theme of the DVD’s title, it does detract the overall appeal.  To that end, the listings, which will not break any family’s bank, is worth paying even with the one noted negative.  It works with the content to make the DVD at least somewhat more appealing presentation for the whole family.

PBS Distribution’s Pinkalicious & Peterrific DVD A Pinktastic Valentine’s Day is a presentation that is at least somewhat appealing.  The lessons that are tied into the disc’s five featured stories play largely into that appeal.  They are life lessons that are accessible for boys and girls alike and viewers of all ages.  The stories themselves are slightly problematic in that only one of the stories follows the theme presented in the DVD’s title.  That creates a sense of false advertising for audiences.  Keeping all of this in mind, the average price point of less than $10 is a point that audiences will agree is worth paying for the content even with its one negative.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD.  All things considered, the DVD proves itself worth watching at least occasionally.  It is available now.  More information on the DVD is available along with games, activities, printables and more at:

Website: http://pbskids.org/pinkalicious

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


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‘Ascension’ Is A Strong Start For Paladin

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records

Up-and-coming metal outfit Paladin has kept busy this year.  The band opened the year with the release of its three song EP Anamnesis.  The band’s second-ever studio recording, it is a tribute to Nevermore.  Its release was followed by a short live run before COVID-19 started spreading across America.  The band did not let the virus’ spread stop the music though, instead performing through a series of livestream events.  As the old year bids farewell and the new year nears, the band recently announced that it is in the running to take part in another livestream event with other acts in the ‘iVoted Festival.”  The festival, which started during the 2018 midterm election, is a way to encourage voters in Georgia to get involved in the state’s two Senate races that will determine control of the senate at the federal level.  Audiences can vote for the band to take part in the festival now here.  Audiences who need convincing to vote for Paladin need only listen to the band’s 2019 debut album Ascension to make the decision.  The 11-song record is a presentation that will appeal widely among the metal masses.  That is proven equally through the album’s musical and lyrical content. ‘Carpe Diem,’ which comes early in the album’s run does well to support the noted statements.  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Shoot For The Sun’ also serves to show what makes Ascension such a strong debut from Paladin.  It will be discussed a little later.  ‘Genesis,’ which closes out the album, is one more way in which the record proves its appeal to so many in the metal masses.  When it is considered along with the songs noted here and the rest of the album’s works, the whole makes Ascension easy proof of why audiences should vote for Paladin in the “iVoted Festival.”

Paladin’s 2019 debut album Ascension is a powerful debut for the band, an convincing proof of why this up-and-coming metal outfit deserves to take part in this year’s livestream “iVoted Festival.”  The album’s musical and lyrical content go a long way to support the noted statements.  ‘Carpe Diem,’ which comes early in the album’s 49-minute run, is just one of the songs that serves to support the noted statement.  The song’s musical arrangement is a full-on vintage thrash style composition.  Its solid time keeping, equally powerful mix of death metal screams and power metal clean vocals pairs with the equally powerful guitar riffs to make the song in whole one of the album’s most notable works.  The death metal screams and guitar riffs lend themselves to comparisons to works from the likes of Arch Enemy while the clean vocals lend themselves to comparisons to works from Judas Priest.  The balance in those two sides makes for so much entertainment and engagement.  It ensures its appeal to a wide range of audiences.  When the song’s powerful musical arrangement is considered with the song’s lyrical content, which is powerful in its own right, the song in whole develops even more interest.

The lyrical content featured in ‘Carpe Diem’ comes across as in fact encouraging audiences to indeed seize the day.  It opens with the lead verse stating, “Uncertain feelings coming through/The life you thought you always knew/Now seems so lost and far away/Time passing cannot be undone/Future and past become as one/No looking back, no backing down/This time around, this time around.”  The chorus adds to the positive sense in the song’s lyrical content, stating, “One desire, soaring higher, oh/Now it’s time for you to take the reins/Fall harder, reaching farther/You’ve so much left to gain/The prize is worth the pain.”  The song’s second verse solidifies the noted message of positivity, stating, “Lost in an existential haze/Trapped in oneself, an endless maze/Anxiety imprisoning my soul/Seeking the path I know exists/In search of truth, I must persist/A voice calls out from deep within/To take control is to begin.”  All things considered here, these lyrics are certain to connect with listeners.  When they are paired with the song’s equally accessible musical arrangement, the whole of the song proves in its own way why Ascension is such a strong start for the band.  It is just one of the songs that serves to make the album a success.  ‘Shoot For The Sun’ is another way in which the album proves its strength.

‘Shoot For The Sun’ presents a musical arrangement that is best described as presenting a stylistic approach and sound that is one part prog metal and one part classic rock.  It conjures thoughts of Liquid Tension Experiment on one hand, and of vintage Metallica and Motorhead on the other.  That juxtaposition and joining of sounds and styles makes for so much enjoyment an engagement in this full-on fist-pumper.  Right down to the solos, the song offers metal fans across the board something to enjoy.  When the power and energy exuded in the song’s musical arrangement is paired with its positive lyrical theme, the whole of the song becomes that much more enjoyable.

As is the case with ‘Carpe Diem,’ ‘Shoot For The Sun’ offers audiences another positive message of self-determination and confidence.  That is inferred in the song’s lead verse, which states, “You wanna know what it means to see/Just look around and let yourself be free/Set the world in your sights, we’ll prove it tonight/You’ve got a vision burning in your head/White hot, one shot, the prayer’s been said/Pull the trigger now, we’ll make it somehow.”  The song’s chorus adds to the seeming statement as it states, “There’s just no more I can take/It’s all building up, I refuse to break/There’s just no more I can bear/When everything’s all said and done/Shoot for the sun.”  That positive encouragement carries on through the song’s second verse, solidifying the message as it states, “You wanna know what it’s like to fly/Just spread your wings and you’ll touch the sky/No reason to wait, no time left to waste/You think you know how it all plays out/No one can save you from your own doubt/Feel the light that starts to shine/As it clears the heavy thoughts that cloud your mind/That cloud your mind, yeah, yeah, oh.”  Again, this comes across as a very positive message that any listener will welcome.  When it is considered with the composition’s equally enjoyable musical arrangement, the result is yet another work that will appeal to plenty of audiences.  Together with the whole of ‘Carpe Diem,’ the two songs collectively show even more why the album in whole is a success, too.  They are just a portion of what makes the album well worth hearing, too.  ‘Genesis’ is one more example of why audiences will enjoy Ascension.

‘Genesis’ presents a musical arrangement that is another full-on wall of sound metal presentation.  The dual guitar attack and guttural vocals pair with the seamless time keeping and bass work to make for its own share of engagement and entertainment.  The clean vocals are a near musical mirror image of those of Judas Priest front man Rob Halford.  The contrast of that sound to the screams joins with the full-on metal arrangement to make the song in whole even more appealing for audiences.  When it is considered along with the song’s unique lyrical content, the song becomes even more intriguing.

The lyrical content featured in ‘Genesis’ seems to come across as a sort of fantasy story.  It comes across as telling the story of a person’s story of growth and development.  It is sort of an existential type of story, which opens with the song’s subject stating, “The silent scream of the conscience of man/As we are brought to sentience/Given dominion over the sea and land/To rule as we see fit.”  That seeming story of development continues in the song’s chorus, which states, “The perfect form, born from the perfect image/We are the chosen/Yet as we prosper and we create/We yearn to know.”  The subject continues his discussion by noting where society has been and where it is going.  He states, “Thousands of years of progress/In search of a higher purpose/Unanswered questions to forces unknown/Our pleas are met with silence/And so we wander, blind to the way/Alone, abandoned and betrayed/Our stricken minds now led astray/Astray.”  Things continue from here, with the subject even pleading to the “Almighty one/Bringer of the winds and rain” for clarity on things.  That higher power responds, telling the song’s subject that “Even as your knowledge grows, your minds will never know/What lies beyond this world before it’s your time.”  Simply put, the song’s subject is every one of us.  We have all reached that point in which we ask what is the purpose in life and where are we going.  The reality is that we will never really know and that we are better off just living life and living it to the best that we can.  The whole of the story makes for a powerful addition to Ascension and yet another way in which the album is proven a success.  When it is considered along with the other songs noted here and the rest of the album’s works, the result is an album that proves without question, to be a powerful debut from Paladin.  To that end, the album is its own proof of why Paladin deserves to take part in this year’s “iVoted Festival.”

Paladin’s debut album Ascension is a powerful first outing for the band.  The 11-song album is a presentation that will appeal widely to the metal masses.  That is proven equally through the album’s musical and lyrical content as noted here.  Its musical arrangements combine the best elements of prog metal, thrash, and even power metal for a whole that will bring the noted fans together.  The album’s lyrical content ranges from easily accessible to much deeper, as noted here.  All things considered, the album in whole proves that given the right support, Paladin could be one of the next big names in the metal community.  That support starts with voting for the band in the upcoming “iVoted Festival.”  More information on Ascension is available along with all of Paladin’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://paladinatl.bandcamp.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/paladinatl

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/PaladinATL

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

Death Dealer “Conquers” The Power Metal Realm With Its Latest LP

Courtesy: Steel Cartel

Power metal outfit Death Dealer officially returned this year with its latest album.  The band’s third album, Conquered Lands is a presentation that will appeal to the band’s fans just as much as to those of the power metal genre.  That is proven in no small part to its infectious musical arrangements.  This will be discussed shortly.  Its lyrical themes add their own appeal to its presentation, and will be discussed a little later.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements and will be discussed later, too.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album.  All things considered, they make the album a successful new offering that conquers the land of power metal.

Death Dealer’s third full-length studio recording Conquered Lands is a presentation that power metal fans will agree lives up to its name.  It definitely conquers the power metal realm.  That is proven in part through its featured musical arrangements.  From start to end of the 11-song presentation, the arrangements lend themselves easily to comparisons to works from the likes of Judas Priest, Blind Guardian, and Sabaton.  That is evidenced in the soaring guitar lines, front man Sean Peck’s equally powerhouse vocals, and rhythm section pairing of bassist Ross The Boss and drummer Steve Bolognese.  For the most part, the arrangements maintain a relatively high energy.  However, there are some moments that while slower, are still heavy in their own right.  Case in point is the album’s slower but still very heavy title track.  It is not until even more than halfway through the nearly five minute song that it picks up the pace.  That increase in tempo and energy is only temporary, though.  It does slow back down to the heavy, sludge style sound and style with which it opened.  ’22 Gone’ is another of the album’s slower tunes that is still so powerful even being a more introspective composition.  That these two slower moments are thrown into the mix gives listeners some variety in terms of musical arrangements, making for its own share of interest for audiences.  The whole of the arrangements forms a strong foundation for the record.  Building on that foundation is the equally diverse lyrical content that couples with the record’s musical content.

The lyrical content that is featured in Death Dealer’s new album is important because unlike its musical counterparts, is even more diverse.  From beginning to end, audiences get a lot of different topics.  The whole thing opens with a song about the famed Marvel Comics character Dr. Strange in the form of ‘Sorcerer Supreme.’  ‘Every Nation,’ the album’s second song takes things in a completely different direction with its proud, fist-pumping anthem that declares the strength of metal and its audiences.  Peck goes so far as to say here, “They don’t understand us/We’re kicked to the curb/Often we scare them/And leave them disturbed/We like it that way/We don’t care what they say.”  He goes on later in the song to note, “If the world was all metal/We never would fight/We would just bang our heads/And get drunk every night.”  This could not be more true.  Metal and hard rock actually does more good for its audiences than bad for any aspect of society.  Real scientific studies that have been done support Peck’s statements.  This is just one more way in which the diversity of the record’s lyrical themes is exhibited.  ‘Faith Under Fire’ and ’22 Gone Today’ take on some very serious social issues.  ’22 Gone today’ tackles the issues of PTSD that military personnel endure long after they leave battle, as well as the physical damage that they deal with.  ‘Faith Under Fire’ meanwhile takes on the topic of the religious divide in America.  Of course, the band also takes on some lighter issues, such as apparently the tales of King Arthur and his knights in ‘Hail to the King’ and even ancient Egyptian culture in the album’s title track.  Between all of that, the seeming fantasy-based ‘Slay or be Slain,’ the call to union among metal heads that is ‘Running With The Wolves’ and the vampire-esque tale in ‘Beauty in the Blood,’ no doubt is left as to the importance of this record’s lyrical content.  While the lyrical themes featured in Conquered Lands and their companion musical content collectively do a lot to make the album widely appealing, they are just a portion of what makes the album a success.  The sequencing of the collective content puts the finishing touch to the album’s presentation.

The sequencing of Death Dealer’s new album is important because as noted, the album stays largely the same stylistically and in terms of the songs’ energies.  Save for the two noted moments, the album’s energy remains relatively high.  What is really important to note of it all is that the changes in the arrangements are just subtle enough from one to the next to keep the album interesting.  The changes are not overpowering, but not too subtle.  They are just enough that audiences can hear them through a close listen.  That in itself is important to address because it shows in its own right, a certain attention to detail throughout the album.  What’s more, the sequencing also shows that the lyrical themes do not stay too closely related from one song to the next.  This adds even more enjoyment and engagement for audiences.  Between that and the impact that the sequencing of the album’s musical arrangements has, the whole of the record’s sequencing clearly presents its own importance to the album.  When it is considered along with the albums overall content, the result is a record that succeeds because of its content and the very presentation thereof. 

Death Dealer’s new album Conquered Lands is a successful new offering from the power metal super group.  That is proven in part through its musical arrangements.  The arrangements are mostly familiar up-tempo power metal anthems.  However, there also is some slower but still very heavy content added in to the mix for a whole that will keep audiences engaged and entertained just from this aspect.  The diversity in the album’s lyrical content adds its own level of appeal to the album.  As noted the lyrical content ranges from the real to the fantastical to something in-between.  This in itself is sure to keep listeners’ attention.  The sequencing of that collective content puts the finishing touch to the album’s presentation.  The subtle changes in the stylistic approaches to those high-energy arrangements do just enough to keep listeners engaged and entertained.  The constant change in the album’s lyrical content through that sequencing builds even more on the importance of the album’s sequencing.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album.  All things considered, the album proves that it lives up to its title.  It is available now.

More information on Conquered Lands is available online along with all of Death Dealer’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.deathdealermetal.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/deathdealerband

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

Delta Rae’s Debut Live Recording Is An Intriguing Presentation

Courtesy: Cleopatra Records

Late last month, Delta Rae released its debut live recording Coming Home To Carolina to the masses through Cleopatra Records.  The recording, captured in December 2019 at the Lincoln Theater in Raleigh, NC was a homecoming for the band following its big move “out of the nest” some years ago from its home town of Durham, NC to Nashville, TN.  The recording is an intriguing first live outing for the band.  That is due in part to the concert’s set list, which will be addressed shortly.  The band’s performance of its set list plays well into the overall presentation and will be discussed a little later.  The recording’s overall production is interesting in its own right.  It will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the recording’s presentation.  All things considered, the record is enjoyable, but does leave audiences wanting for more.

Delta Rae’s debut live recording Coming Home To Carolina is an intriguing new offering from the neo-folk-americana-pop act. That is proven in part through its featured set list. While not necessarily a career-defining performance, the 65-minute set list does do well to highlight the band’s albums past, present, and future.  It reaches all the way back to the band’s 2010 self-titled EP – its very first studio recording – and as recent as the band’s while also lifting from its then forthcoming album The Light and its then latest album Carry The Fire.  There is even at least one song from the band’s now forthcoming album The Dark featured in the set list.  The band’s 2017 EPs A Long and Happy Life and The Blackbird Sessions are omitted, as is its 2015 EP Chasing Twisters.  What’s more, a close look at the concert’s set list shows that the majority of the set’s featured songs – six to be exact – are from Carry The Fire, the band’s debut album.  The Light got three nods in this set while After It All was represented by just one song, along with the band’s noted 2010 debut EP.  All things considered, the set list gives audiences a good picture of where the band was at that time and where it was going.

The set list featured in Delta Rae’s new live recording is just one of the elements that deems examination.  The band’s performance thereof makes for its own enjoyment.  The band’s performance of its featured set list feels wholly natural throughout its hour-plus run time.  The energy exuded by the band members in each of the songs – some of which are light and others slightly more energetic – ensures audiences’ engagement and entertainment.  The band really makes it feel like it is working to give audiences something memorable in that performance, between the moments when the group is together on center stage and separated into its respective spots across the stage in the intimate venue.  If for no other reason than the performance, audiences will find the concert worth watching at least once.

For all that the performance put on by Delta Rae’s members does for the band’s debut live recording, it is just one more of the aspects worth noting in examining the recording.  The overall production of the recording is also important to address.

The production of Coming Home To Carolina is important to discuss because it is definitely unique.  There is no other way to put it here.  The production put into Coming Home To Carolina makes the concert look like a live concert that was used to look like a music video more than a normal live recording.  The grainy look throughout and the added video effects really do detract from the look.  Adding to the issue here is the lighting in the presentation.  The lighting was clearly not taken into account, as the picture overall was decidedly dark.  This could have been addressed in post production, but clearly was not.  It’s as if it was used to play into the concert’s overly artistic approach in terms of the production.

The audio is of its own concern along with the video.  Early on, there is a moment in which the audio level fluctuates.  It cannot be ignored.  From there, there are moments in which the audio seems a bit “airy” like the mic levels were not fully addressed in post, either.  Luckily, this does not happen enough to make the concert a failure, but it is just as audible when it does happen as the video issues are throughout. Keeping all this in mind, the production presented in Coming Home To Carolina proves to be interesting as the record’s set list and the band’s performance thereof.  All things considered, this first live offering from Delta Rae is a good try, but ultimately leaves audiences wanting for something more.

Delta Rae’s debut live recording Coming Home To Carolina is a good first try from the band.  It is a presentation that is worth watching at least occasionally.  That is due in part to the concert’s set list.  The 14-soong, hour-plus concert does pull from each of the band’s three albums, but it focuses largely on the band’s debut album.  The band’s performance of the set list actually is the strongest aspect of this presentation, as the group’s performance feels so natural and organic.  The production of the concert detracts from its presentation what with its artsy music video style presentation and audio concerns, but thankfully not enough to make the concert unwatchable.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the recording.  All things considered, they make Coming Home To Carolina a presentation that is worth watching at least occasionally.  It is available now.

More information on Coming Home to Carolina is available along with all of Delta Rae’s latest news at:

Website: http://www.deltarae.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/deltarae

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