Static-X Announces Release Date For New LP, ‘Project: Regeneration Volume 1’; Debuts Album’s Lead Single, Video

Courtesy: TAG Publicity

Static-X has announced the release date for its long-awaited album, ProjectRegeneration Volume 1.

The record is scheduled for release May 29.  It features 12 brand new songs from the band, which themselves feature the final vocal recordings of the band’s late front man Wayne Static.  Pre-orders for the album are open now.

In anticipation of the record’s release, the band debuted the album’s lead single ‘Hollow’ Feb. 6 through Liquid Metal. The video for the album’s lead single ‘Hollow‘ premiered on Feb. 7 through Billboard.

The song features an arrangement that is everything that fans of Static-x have come to expect from the band.  The song’s lyrics will engage audiences just as much as its musical content.

Band founding member Tony Campos explained the placement of the vocal track on ‘Hollow’ in a recent interview.

“The vocals for the song ‘Hollow’ were were originally recorded in 2005 for the Static-X album Start A War, but Wayne and I never felt like the music on the original ‘Hollow’ demo was fully realized,” he said.  “That is why it didn’t appear on Start A War or any Static-X album that followed.  The vocals sounded great, but some of the musical compositions from that time period felt a bit experimental.  The band was going through a lot of changes at that time and, in retrospect, it felt like we’d strayed away from that authentic Static-X sound that really defined us.”

Fellow band member Ken Jay expanded on Campos’ comments.

“When we began working on ProjectRegeneration, our producers advised us to ignore any of the old demo music, so we opted for the original band to re-enter the studio with nothing more than Wayne’s isolated vocal tracks and to just be ourselves, to be Static-X, and to make Evil Disco,” he said.  “The vocals sound really great, and I think that Wayne would be extremely happy with what we’ve done with the music, and to know that these tracks have finally realized their full potential.”

ProjectRegeneration Volume 1 is the first of two volume of new music from Static-X.  Work is underway on the second volume of songs.  The two volumes together will feature more than 20 songs.

As audiences wait for the release of ProjectRegeneration Volume 1, they can hear some of that new music live.  The band is scheduled to perform live March 12 and 14 at Brick By Brick and Hell & Heaven Fest respectively.

Brick By Brick is at San Diego, CA; the Hell & Heaven Fest is in Mexico City, Mexico. Dates in Flint, MI and Mansfield, OH follow in July 10 and 11.

Following its upcoming North American dates, Static-X will take its live show overseas to Europe starting July 31 at the annual Wacken Open Air Festival in Wacken, Germany.  The band’s European tour is scheduled to run through Oct. 4 in St. Pete, Russia.

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

 

 

Tour Dates:
03/12 @ Brick By Brick – San Diego, CA
03/14 @ Hell & Heaven Fest – Mexico City, Mexico
07/10 @ Machine Shop – Flint, MI
07/11 @ INKcarceration – Mansfield, OH
07/31 @ Wacken Open Air – Wacken, Germany
08/04 @ Durer Kert w/Life of Agony – Budapest, Hungary
08/06 @ Brutal Assault Festival – Josefov, Czech Republic
08/07 @ Schlachthof w/Life of Agony – Wiesbaden, Germany
08/08 @ Alcatraz Festival – Kortrijk, Belgium
08/09 @ Into The Grave – Leeuwarden, Netherlands
08/11 @ Melkweg w/Life of Agony – Amsterdam, Netherlands
08/12 @ Essigfabrik w/Life of Agony – Cologne, Germany
08/13 @ Summer Breeze Festival – Dinkelsbuhl, Germany
08/14 @ Reload Festival – Sulingen, Germany
08/15 @ Astra w/Life of Agony – Berlin, Germany
09/19 @ Blue Ridge Rock Festival – Appomattox Park, VA
09/25 @ Podzemka – Novosibirsk, Russia
09/27 @ Tele Club – Yekaterinburg, Russia
09/29 @ Zvezda – Samara, Russia
10/01 @ Arena Hall – Krasnodar, Russia
10/03 @ Glavclub – Moscow, Russia
10/04 @ Cosmonavt – St. Pete, Russia

 

 

More information on Static-X’s new album, tour dates and more is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.static-x.org

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/OfficialStaticX

 

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.

Jamieson’s New Comedy Album Is Another Reminder Of Why He Is Still One Of Today’s Top Comics

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Comedian and television personality Don Jamieson will release his fourth comedy album next week.  Jamieson, known for his time as co-host of VH1 Classic’s hit series That Metal Show and as host of SportsNet NY’s game show Beer Money, will release his new comedy album Denim and Laughter Feb. 21.  The album’s title and cover art is a direct tribute to Saxon’s 1981 album Denim and Leather.  The performance, captured Oct. 19, 2019 at an undisclosed location, is another example of why he is one of this generation’s top comic talents.  That is due in part to the content that makes up the body of his set.  This will be discussed shortly.  The pacing of the set is also important to note in examining the recording’s overall presentation.  It will be discussed a little later.  Jamieson’s stage presence rounds out the most important of the performance’s factors.  It will also be addressed later.  Each item noted here is key in its own way to the whole of Denim and Laughter.  All things considered, they make this latest stand-up offering from Jamieson another work that will bring any listener to tears of joy well beyond its first listen.

Don Jamieson is one of the elite comedians of this era. The three stand-up albums that he has already released – Live & Hilarious, Hell Bent For Laughter and Communication Breakdown – more than do their share to prove that statement.  His latest album Denim and Laughter cements that reputation even more.  That is proven in part through the material that makes up the body of the presented set.  Jamieson takes on a variety of topics,  including political correctness, bands who claim they are reuniting “for the fans,” and even VH1 Classic’s placement on most cable providers’ lineup and how that played into the show’s eventual demise.  As if that isn’t enough, he also takes on a familiar topic in the division between craft beer and original beer.  This bit immediately lends itself to comparisons to Denis Leary’s bit about beer.  It would be interesting to know if that bit played any part in Jamieson’s own bit about the topic.  Along with those topics, Jamieson also takes opportunities to poke fun at Sebastian Bach and  very famous song from 80s rock band Warrant among so much more.  Put simply, Jamie’s set runs the gamut from start to finish, even taking on media bias and politics, hinting that he might be a Trump supporter.  Hopefully he isn’t, but that aside, the hint alone that he might be is enough to warrant a notice for audiences.  Even with that in mind, Jamieson, again, presents a wide range of content throughout his set, most of which will still generate plenty of laughs from audiences.  To that end, the content alone makes this performance well worth experiencing.  It is just one of the aspects of the performance that makes it worth taking in.  The set’s pacing adds its own engagement and entertainment to the performance.

Jamieson’s set in this recording runs a total of 44 minutes.  Throughout the course of that run time, He never once goes too fast or too slow.  Rather, he finds just the right moments throughout the give audiences moments to take in the various punch lines and to prepare for the next bit.  That ability of the audience to prepare for the next bit is controlled by Jamieson himself as he works through each transition on his own time.  Case in point is his transition from his bit about tea tree shampoo to his jokes about the National Football League  and how it has changed over the years for the worse.  The two topics are completely unrelated, so Jamieson gives just enough time between the topics to make sure audiences make the transition with him.  As he makes his way through his ruminations about the NFL’s negative changes, the transitions from topic to topic are themselves just as smooth.  Another good example of the success of the pacing in Jamieson’s set comes as he transitioned from an anecdote about touring with Zakk Wylde to jokes about Black Sabbath, Gwar and how a Gwar concert tied into an alleged experience on a flight.  Jamieson’s timing and pacing throughout the roughly seven-minute-plus span is seamless, ensuring audiences’ engagement and entertainment in its own right.  In yet another example, Jamieson transitions just as easily from his joke about the impact of a celebrity roast involving Sebastian Bach to an equally funny bit about a well-known song from Warrant.  That bit, by the way, really leaves one wondering and laughing in hindsight.  It really is timely in a weird way.  Getting back on track, the examples presented here, when considered along with the rest of the show, make clear why the pacing of the set is just as important to its presentation as the set’s material.  It is not the last of the recording’s most notable items, either.  Jamieson’s stage presence throughout the performance rounds out its most important elements.

From start to finish, Jamieson’s presence in his performance is just as solid as his pacing.  He presents a certain confident swagger, even connecting with certain audience members directly.  On the surface, that doesn’t seem overly important.  However, on a deeper level, this is important to note because it says to the rest of the audience that Jamieson wants to make sure his audiences knows that he cares what the audience thinks.  He does so by acknowledging those specific audience members.  That interaction, in its own way, translates to the rest of the audience, letting them know that he is not just up on stage, but on stage and really interacting on a personal level, as if the audience members were his best friends.  That personalization of the set, of sorts, reflects back on Jamieson, encouraging his confidence that much more.  The end result is a presence that, again, throughout the set never falters.  That confidence plays back into his pacing, and in turn, makes the performance that much more entertaining.  When this is considered alongside the overall content, the whole of the noted elements makes Denim & Laughter a presentation that ensures laughter from audiences.

Don Jamieson’s new comedy recording Denim & Laughter is an enjoyable new offering from the veteran entertainer and television personality.  That is proven in part through the material that makes up the body of Jamieson’s set.  It ranges from the timeless to the random and riotous to even some more dated material.  That whole provides plenty for audiences to enjoy.  Jamieson’s pacing throughout the course of the nearly 50-minute set does its own share to ensure audiences’ engagement and entertainment.  The same can be said of Jamieson’s stage presence throughout his performance.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of this recording.  All things considered, they make Denim & Laughter another positive performance from one of this generation’s top comic talents.  It will be available Feb. 21 through Metal Blade Records.  More information on the recording is available online along with all of Jamieson’s latest news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.donjamieson.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/realdonjamieson

 

 

 

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Whitechapel, Revolver Magazine Partner To Debut Three New Live Clips From Recent Whitechapel Concert

Courtesy: Metal Blade Reocrds

Whitechapel released some new live material this week.

The band, in partnership with Revolver magazine, debuted live performances of its songs ‘Forgiveness Is Weakness,’ ‘Brimstone’ and ‘When A Demon Defiles A Witch’ Thursday.  The songs were recorded at the band’s Nov. 19 performance at the Belasco Theater.  The presentation is streaming here.

All three songs featured in the recording are featured in Whitechapel’s most recent album, 2019’s The Valley.  The record is available now through the band’s official Metal Blade Records page here.

More information on Whitechapel is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:

 

Website: http://www.whitechapelband.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/whitechapelband

 

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.

Lamb of God Announces New Album Release, Tour Dates; Debuts LP’s Lead Single

Courtesy: Epic Records

Lamb of God returned this week with its first new music in five years.

The band debuted its new single ‘Checkmate‘ Thursday.  The song is featured on the band’s new self-titled album, scheduled for release May 8 through Epic Records.

The song’s musical arrangement is everything that Lamb of God’s fans have come to expect from the band over the years.  The same can be said of the song’s no nonsense political commentary presented in its lyrical content.

LOG guitarist Mark Morton talked about the album’s overall musical direction in a recent interview.

“‘Checkmate’ brings together all the components of the Lamb of God sound that we’ve been developing over the last two decades, but with the ambition and ferocity that comes with the start of a new chapter for our band,” he said.  “Re-energized and reignited, this is Lamb of God 2020.  We’ve never been more excited.”

Front man Randy Blythe shared Morton’s sentiments as he talked about the band’s new self-titled album.

“Putting only our names on it is a statement,” Blythe said.  “This is Lamb of God. Here and now.”

Lamb of God was produced by Josh Wilbur (Soulfly, Hatebreed, Megadeth, Gojira), and features guest appearances from the likes of Hatebreed front man Jamey Jasta and Testament front man Chuck Billy.  The album’s track listing is noted below.

 

Lamb Of God tracklisting:
1. Memento Mori
2. Checkmate
3. Gears
4. Reality Bath
5. New Colossal Hate
6. Resurrection Man
7. Poison Dream (feat. Jamey Jasta)
8. Routes (feat. Chuck Billy)
9. Bloodshot Eyes
10. On The Hook

Pre-orders are open now for Lamb of God.

In celebration of its new forthcoming album, Lamb of God will perform a special free show Feb. 14 at the House of Vans in Chicago, IL.  Fans interested in attending need to RSVP here.

Following its upcoming House of Vans show, the band will kick off its worldwide tour in support of Lamb of God with a European run scheduled to launch March 27 in Stockholm, Sweden.  That tour is scheduled to run through April 25 in London, UK.

The band will return to North America on May 9 at the Welcome to Rockville Festival in Daytona, Florida.  The band’s current tour schedule is noted below.

 

LAMB OF GOD tour dates:
2/14- Chicago, IL @ House of Vans *Headline show
European tour with Kreator and Power Trip:
3/27 – Stockholm, SE @ Fryshuset Arenan
3/28 – Copenhagen, DK @ Forum Black Box
3/30 – Oulu, FI @ Club Teatria
3/31 – Helsinki, FI @ Ice Hall Black Box
4/2 – Kraków, PO @ Tauron Arena
4/3 – Berlin, DE @ Columbiahalle
4/4 – Oberhausen, DE @ Turbinenhalle
4/5 – Wiesbaden, DE @ Kulturzentrum Schlachthof
4/7 – Zurich, CH @ Samsung Hall
4/8 – Munich, DE @ Zenith
4/9 – Ludwigsburg, DE @ MHP Arena
4/11 – Hamburg, DE @ Sporthalle
4/14 – Barcelona, ES @ Razzmatazz
4/15 – Madrid, ES @ Sala Riviera
4/17 – Paris, FR @ L’Olympia Bruno Coquatrix
4/18 – Saarbrücken, DE @ Saarlandhalle
4/19 – Brussels, BE @ Ancienne Belgique
4/21 – Bristol, UK @ O2 Academy Bristol
4/22 – Manchester, UK @ Manchester Academy
4/23 – Glasgow, UK @ O2 Academy Glasgow
4/24 – Birmingham, UK @ O2 Academy Birmingham
4/25 – London, UK @ O2 Academy Brixton
5/9 – Daytona Beach, FL @ Welcome to Rockville *US Festival

More information on Lamb of God’s upcoming live dates, its new album, single, news and more is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.lamb-of-god.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/lambofgod

 

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.

Deepfall Joins Clint Lowery As Support For Alter Bridge’s Latest Live Run

Courtesy: TAG Publicity.Napalm Records/Spinefarm Records

Independent hard rock outfit Deepfall has joined Alter Bridge on its latest series of live dates in support of its latest album, 2019’s Walk The Sky.

Deepfall started its run alongside Alter Bridge on Saturday. The band’s new live dates are in support of its album Broken, which was released in October through Pavement Entertainment.  The album spawned the single ‘Wasted.’  The single’s video debuted Oct. 17, the day before the album’s release.

Deepfall’s run with Alter Bridge is scheduled to run through Feb. 27.  It will take Deepfall to cities, such as Denver, CO; Los Angeles, CA and Ft. Wayne, IN.  The tour’s schedule is noted below.  Tickets are available here.

 

Tour Dates:
02/08 @ War Memorial Auditorium – Nashville, TN
02/09 @ Egyptian Room at Old National Center – Indianapolis, IN
02/11 @ Mars Music Hall – Huntsville, AL
02/12 @ Clyde Theatre – Ft. Wayne, IN
02/14 @ The Apollo Theatre – Belvedere, IL
02/15 @ The Rave – Milwaukee, WI
02/17 @ Ogden Theatre – Denver, CO
02/18 @ The Depot – Salt Lake City, UT
02/20 @ House of Blues – Las Vegas, NV
02/21 @ Montbleu Resort – Lake Tahoe, NV
02/23 @ The Regency Ballroom – San Francisco, CA
02/24 @ The Wiltern – Los Angeles, CA
02/26 @ Moore Theatre – Seattle, WA
02/27 @ Knitting Factory – Spokane, WA

 

Also joining Alter Bridge for the tour is Clint Lowery, who is touring in support of his solo debut album God Bless The Renegades.  More information on Deepfall’s latest live schedule is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:

 

Website: http://www.deepfallband.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/DeepfallBand

 

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.

‘I Just Wanna Love You, I Just Wanna Let You’ Is 2020’s First Great New EP

Courtesy: TAG Publicity

February 14 is Valentine’s Day.  Guys, don’t forget.  It’s a day all about romance and relationships, so it only makes sense the on the day that is all about those topics, KB & The Idyllwilde will release its new EP I Just Wanna Love You, I Just Wanna Let You.  The five-song record’s lyrical themes are all about relationships and romance, and are collectively just one part of what makes the 21-minute EP that listeners will *ahem* love.  Yes, that awful pun was intended.  The musical arrangements at the center of the record add to its appeal in their own way and will be addressed later.  The record’s production plays its own important part to the whole of the record, too.  When it is considered alongside the EP’s overall content, it makes the whole of the recording a work that is a good musical backing for couples on Valentine’s Day and any day.

KB & The Idyllwilde’s new EP I Just Wanna Love You, I Just Wanna Let You is one of this year’s top new offerings in its field.  That is due in no small part to its lyrical content.  From start to end, the 21-minute recording features lyrics that are readily accessible for audiences across the board.  Vocalist and band namesake Katie Burke (KB) addressed the EP’s lyrical themes in a recent interview upon the debut of the video for the record’s single ‘Drown.’  She said of the song’s theme and how it relates to the rest of the record’s songs, “It really sums up a big theme of the album – That anyone can get what they want in big, hard love.  Some of us want love, some of us want power, and some of us want to give it away.”

This statement is supported right from the record’s outset in the EP’s lead single ‘Madman.’  Burke noted in an interview about that song’s video, “That pervasive waiting for the other shoe to drop feel was real strong in me at the time.  The character in this song can’t accept love, They can’t see why anyone would stick around.  They’re covered in their perception that people must be crazy to stand being around them.  So, in the end, the character accepts that both she and this person must both be nuts for it all to work.  Good news, it works!  Bad news…is there bad news?  They’re nuts?  Yes, nuts and happy–Fun fact, I wasn’t satisfied with my vocal performance in the studio, so my producer Evan let me borrow a mic, and I tracked this in one take at home in my closet.”

‘Glories,’ the EP’s fourth track is yet another example of that central lyrical theme that runs through the record.  Burke sings in this song, asking the guy, “are you gonna/Be my lover/Are you gonna/talk real nice.”  She goes on from here putting out certain criteria for the man so to speak, but in a completely flirtatious fashion.  There is even more flirtation as the song progresses.  That additional flirtation adds to the song’s enjoyment.  Simply put, the song is a good dance number that is just as accessible for that positive lyrical content as for its musical content.

Speaking of musical content, that content plays its own important part to the whole of the the EP’s presentation.  What audiences get from this record, musically speaking, is a distinct variety of styles that at the same time are closely related in their history.  The EP opens with a funky, blues-tinged composition in ‘Mad Man’ that even adds in a touch of country/bluegrass with the subtle inclusion of the violin/fiddle line.  That arrangement is followed up with a more distinct southern rock style composition in ‘Drown.’  What’s important to note here is that while the style changes in the overall composition, that blues influence is still very much present.  The composition in whole easily lends itself to comparisons to works from Janis Joplin, especially keeping in mind Burke’s vocal delivery style and sound.  ‘Right Kind of Sickness’ again maintains that bluesy influence that is present in the EP’s first two songs.  It also changes things up again, offering listeners more of a unique, southern rock sensibility than ‘Drown.’  That song – ‘Drown’ — throws back to, again, the likes of Janis Joplin while this song boasts a more up-to-date touch that is more akin to works from The Allman Brothers Band featured in its most recent records.  ‘Glories’ changes things up even more, offering listeners an arrangement that is – in this critic’s ears and mind – the EP’s best musical work.  One again, the blues influence is here.  What is different is the rest of the composition.  It boasts Dixieland influences, as well as some funk elements and again that bluegrass/country hint thanks to the fiddle/violin.  The whole sounds like quite the oddity on the surface, but a close listen reveals it to be a unique work that really should have been the EP’s lead single and the record’s most notable entry.  ‘Heart Faulty,’ the EP’s closer, maintains the blues trend that runs throughout the record, but again Burke and company change things up in the bigger picture, ensuring once more that engagement and entertainment for listeners.  The arrangement here instantly lends itself to comparisons to The Animals’ timeless classic ‘House of the Rising Sun,’ yet still manages to maintain its own identity along the way.  That the group was able to balance that influence (whether intentional or not) while also giving the composition its own identity speaks volumes to the group’s talents and creativity.  It is just one more way in which the EP’s musical content proves itself just as important to its presentation as its lyrical content.  When that collective musical and lyrical content is considered in whole, the result overall is a work that substantively speaking, is a powerful offering from KB & The Idyllwilde.  Of course the impact of that collective content would not be what it is without the work put into the record’s production.

The production of I Just Wanna Love You, I Just Wanna Let You deserves its own share of attention because of the impact that it helps each song have on listeners.  The dynamic changes in ‘Heart Faulty’ is one example of the importance of that production.  Throughout the song, the dynamics rise and fall throughout, illustrating clearly, the emotion in the lyrics.  Burke’s vocals are expertly balanced with the subtleties in the percussion and guitar lines to make the whole work such a strong presentation.  Those behind the boards are to be commended especially here for making this song so hard-hitting.  The same can be said of the balance in the more upbeat arrangement at the heart of ‘Glories.’  There is a lot going on in this song between the drums, the horns, the guitars, fiddle/violin and all of the vocal lines.  Yet again, those responsible for the record’s production (and mixing) put a lot of time and work into balancing all of those elements.  That work paid off tenfold here, with the result at times conjuring thoughts of some of Ben Harper’s best works.  At no point does any one line outweigh the others, again a tribute to those responsible for assembling the lines into one whole.  Much the same can be said of the production at the heart of ‘Drown.’  Getting just the right distortion from the guitar here and balancing that with Burke’s equally gritty vocal delivery had to have taken some time and effort.  That time and effort paid off here just as much as the work put into making the EP’s other songs so infectious and accessible.  Keeping this in mind, it should be clear why the production involved in the creation of I Just Wanna Love You, I Just Wanna Let You is just as important to address as the record’s overall content.  When that content is considered along with the work that went into making all that content one whole, that collective becomes a whole that is one of this year’s early picks for any critic’s list of the year’s top new EPs.

KB & The Idyllwilde’s new EP I Just Wanna Love You, I Just Wanna Let You is an easy, early candidate for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new EPs.  That is thanks in no small part to the record’s easily accessible and relatable lyrical content.  That content couples with the record’s equally accessible and entertaining musical content to strengthen its presentation that much more.  The consideration of the importance of the record’s production strengthens that presentation even more, and couples with the record’s content to make the EP that much more appealing for listeners.  All things considered, they make this latest effort from KB & The Idyllwilde a work that is its own wonderful work that audiences will appreciate not just on Valentine’s Day, but year-round.  More information on I Just Wanna Love You, I Just Wanna Let You is available online along with all of the band’s latest news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.kbandtheidyllwilde.com

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

 

 

 

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.

Universal Pictures’ ‘Black Angel’ Is One Of Hollywood’s Most Underrated Film Noir Flicks

Courtesy: Arrow Video

Arrow Video and MVD Entertainment Group will resurrect Universal Pictures’ little-known 1946 film noir flick Black Angel later this month.  The movie, starring Peter Lorre (20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, The Maltese Falcon, Arsenic & Old Lace), June Vincent (The Creeper, Shed No Tears, Can’t Help Singing) and Dan Duryea (The Flight of the Phoenix, Scarlet Street, Too Late For Tears) is scheduled for release January 28 on Blu-ray.  The movie’s central story proves that while it might not have been among the genre’s most well-known features in its initial debut, is still a work that every noir fan will appreciate.  The bonus content featured with the movie’s home release adds even more appeal to its presentation.  That combined primary and secondary content makes the movie’s average price point money well-spent by any classic movie buff and film noir aficionado.  Keeping all of this in mind, Arrow Video’s forthcoming reissue of Black Angel proves itself a presentation that is a must have for all of the noted viewers.

Movies today just are not what they were during Hollywood’s golden era.  Hollywood (and even so many independent studios) rely entirely too much on sex, violence and special effects than on anything with any real substantive content.   Thankfully, Arrow Video and MVD Entertainment Group are going to give audiences another alternative to all of that excess later this month when they reissue Universal Pictures’ 1948 noir flick Black Angel.  This movie is a work that classic film buffs and noir aficionados alike will welcome openly.  That is due in part to its story, which abounds in content.  The story, based on the novel by author Cornell Woolrich, centers on the murder of the fictional singer Mavis Marlowe and the search for her killer.  The man accused of her murder Kirk Bennett (John Phillips – 7 Men From Now, Heldorado, John Paul Jones) is accused of taking her life and is sentenced to death for the crime.  However, Kirk’s wife Catherine (played by Vincent) doesn’t believe her cheating husband is guilty, so she works with Marlowe’s estranged husband Martin Blair (Duryea) to prove Kirk’s innocence and save him from the gas chamber.  Female viewers especially will appreciate the story because as Martin and Catherine work to prove Kirk’s innocence, Kirk finds himself falling for Catherine, but she never gives into his charms, staying loyal (ironically) to her husband who himself had cheated on her with Mavis.  In the end, Kirk is proven innocent.  How he is saved will not be revealed here.  That will be saved for audiences to discover on their own.  During the course of the story, Roy Chanslor, who adapted Woolrich’s story for the screen, manages to keep viewers engaged and entertained as Catherine and Martin go undercover at a night club to investigate the crime.  He [Chanslor] does a good job with the use of his red herring in the investigation.  Viewers will agree that element adds even more enjoyment to the story since it does throw a bit of a proverbial wrench in the works.  As a matter of fact, it will leave eagle-eyed viewers to go back and recall a certain subtle element from earlier in the story that helps determine the identity of the true killer.  By the story’s end, audiences will know that they have taken in a story that even despite its changes from its literary source material (which is discussed in the movie’s bonus content), is still an enjoyable story in itself.

The story at the center of Black Angel does a lot to make it an enjoyable presentation for classic movie buffs and film noir aficionados.  It is just one part of what makes the movie’s forthcoming home release so appealing.  The bonus content included with the story builds on the foundation formed by the story to make the movie’s presentation even more appealing.  One of the bonuses featured with the movie’s reissue is a retrospective on the movie by film historian Neil Sinyard.  Sinyard has provided commentary for other reissues from Arrow Films and Arrow Academy.  He points out in this presentation’s commentary, Woolrich actually was not fond of Chanslor’s adaptation of his novel.  Maybe that is because of the changes that Chanslor made as he wrote the story’s screenplay.  This will be discussed a little more in-depth shortly.  Sinyard also makes note of the fact that Woolrich’s biographer ironically did like the movie.  Sinyard points out the reason for this was that it ‘caught something essentially about Woolrich’s personality both personal and artistic.”  The discussion on Black Angel as a possible reflection on Woolrich’s personality is just one of the interesting notes that Sinyard brings up in his roughly 20-minute retrospective.  He also goes into a discussion on the movie’s casting, noting that by the time that the movie came along, Duryea was already a very well-known actor, having played villains (or heavies as they are also known) in a number of films prior to this work.  Sinyard points out that Duryea is actually a presentation of Woorich himself, and that added to the reason for Woolrich’s biographer appreciating the adaptation.  Along with the note of Duryea and his possible connection to Woolrich, Sinyard also shares a funny anecdote about supporting actor Broderick Crawford (All The King’s Men, A Night Before Christmas, Born Yesterday), who portrays in this movie, Police Captain Flood.  He tells the story of an alleged run-in between Crawford, who also had a history of playing bad guys in cinema prior to this flick, and the late, great Frank Sinatra.  The story that Sinyard shares involves Crawford allegedly getting into an altercation with Sinatra and doing something peculiar with Sinatra’s toupee.  Lorre is also addressed by Sinyard, albeit briefly.  He jokes about not knowing how Lorre could deliver his lines while having a cigarette “dangling from his bottom lip.”  That in itself will bring its own share of laughs from viewiers.  Sinyard also addresses the movie’s soundtrack and its role in the story as well as director Roy William Neill, stressing Black Angel was actually Neill’s final film before his death.  He applauds (and rightfully so) Neill’s work behind the lens, citing specific examples for his praise of Neill in the process.

Writer and film scholar Alan K. Rode (pronounced roadie) adds even more enjoyment to the movie with his feature-length commentary.  Right off the bat, Rode does actually get one fact wrong, noting that Catherine is trying to save her husband from the electric chair.  It is clearly pointed out during the story that he faces the gas chamber, not the electric chair, but he [Rode] can be forgiven for this misstep.  It is the only item that is misspoken through the course of the movie.  Rode expands on Sinyard’s commentary, noting that Duryea was paid as an outsider for his part in this movie since she was not a contract actor for Universal Pictures.  At another point, Rode points out that Vincent was not the first choice for the role of Catherine.  In fact, Ava Gardner was the initial choice for the role, he points out.  Rode also points out that Duryea actually played the piano in this movie, rather than just playing against a tape.  He points out that Duryea learned five songs so that he could actually perform them here.  This is important in that it added to the story’s believability.  Along the same line, the song ‘Heartbreak’ was sung by Vincent.  This adds even more to the story, both for its irony and the realism.  An extensive background history of Neill is also presented by Rode during his commentary, including his earliest days.  Rode points out that Woolrich’s original book was told from a first-hand perspective from Catherine and that there were four characters included in the book that were omitted in the screenplay adaptation.  Maybe that played into Woolrich’s dislike of how his book was translated to the screen.  Rode also points out the fact that Duryea was completely different off screen than his characters.  He notes that some women were such fans of Duryea’s characters that despite those characters’ despicable nature, his female fans liked that aspect.  He states that Duryea was so concerned by the fan letters that he took them to a psychiatrist friend of his and asked what to do.  Rode adds in, he was so concerned about the reaction of his fans to his characters that he and his wife went over the top in every day life to make sure people knew the characters he played were just that.  This shows that crazy fans today are nothing new.  Everything noted here is discussed within the first half hour of Black Angel’s 80-minute run time.  The rest of the movie offers audience just as much, if not more, commentary to appreciate.  That includes a funny recollection of an off-screen interaction between Lorre and another actor in a movie and how it led to a bit of a scuffle in the movie in question.  When all of this is considered alongside Sinyard’s retrospective, the whole of the bonus content proves to be more than worth the watch.  It adds so much to the movie’s overall presentation and makes the movie’s average price point that much more worth paying.

The average price point of Black Angel is $32.20.  That price was reached by averaging listings at Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Books-A-A-Million and MVD Entertainment Group’s store.  Considering that the movie’s reissue this time out is being handled by a British company, that makes it an import.  So to that end, that price is right about on par with most imports.  Amazon, Target, Best Buy and Barnes & Noble Booksellers each have listings below that average point.  Their listings do not even break the $30 mark as a matter of fact.  Walmart ($33.09), Books-A-Million $39.95) and MVD Entertainment Group (also $39.95) all break that average.  Again, audiences should keep in mind that this reissue is an import, so all of the prices are in line with most DVD and BD import prices.  Regardless of which retailer one chooses, the money paid is worth it considering everything that this presentation offers audiences.  Add in the general rarity of the movie’s release, it makes the price, which will not break anyone’s bank, that much more appealing.  Keeping this in mind along with the content, the whole of Black Angel becomes a presentation that lovers of classic film and especially film noir will enjoy.  It is also another example of why Arrow Films/Arrow Academy and MVD Entertainment Group are quickly becoming some of the leading names in home entertainment.

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