Blacktop Mojo’s New LP Is Set To “Burn” Up The Mainstream Rock Radio Realm

Courtesy: High Road Publicity

Courtesy: High Road Publicity

This time next week, Blacktop Mojo and its fans will be only a week away from the release of the band’s latest full-length studio recording Burn The Ships.  For those unfamiliar with the Palestine, TX-based band, it is a good fit for anyone that is a fan of Alter Bridge, Black Stone Cherry, Theory of a Deadman, Zakk Wylde and all of his various projects.  From start to finish, this record is set to *ahem* burn up the mainstream rock radio realm with its infectious, guitar-driven arrangements and equally interesting lyrical content.  The record’s hard rocking second song ‘End Of Days’ is just one of the songs included in this record that supports that statement.  It will be discussed shortly.  The much more reserved, yet heavy in its own right ‘Prodigal’ supports that statement in its own right.  The band’s own take on Aerosmith’s timeless classic ‘Dream On’ even serves to support that statement, too.  Between these songs and the album’s other ten songs, the whole of this record shows Blacktop Mojo to have great potential.  They show in whole that given the right support from mainstream rock radio, Blacktop Mojo could be one of the realm’s next big names.  They also show this album to be one of the year’s top new hard rock records as well as one of the year’s top new independent albums.

Blacktop Mojo’s new album Burn The Ships, its sophomore release, is one of this critic’s choices for the year’s top new hard rock records and new independent albums.  That is thanks to its mainstream accessibility, even being an independent act. Independent here, should be clarified, to mean not signed to a major label.  It does not necessarily mean independent in the unsigned sense.  From start to finish, it proves to be an album that is primed to “burn” up the mainstream radio realm.  ‘End of Days,’ the record’s second song is a strong example of what makes this album such a “hot” (yes, that awful pun was intended, too) new effort from Blacktop Mojo.  That is due in part to the song’s arrangement.  The hard-hitting, guitar-driven composition instantly conjures thoughts of Theory of a Deadman’s heavier works.  That is only one part of what makes the song so interesting. The song’s lyrical content is just as important to note here as the song’s musical arrangement. Front man Matt James sings in the song’s lead verse, “Has it all been an empty gesture/Has it all been a waste of time/World’s spinning into certain disaster/We never figured out the meaning of life/Don’t wait/To say/What’s on your mind/Don’t take/It with you/Leave it behind.”  He goes on to sing in the song’s chorus, “There’s a fire in the sky/There’s chaos in the air tonight/Stay with me…sit back and watch the end of days.”  Taking this all into consideration, one can’t help but interpret the song, lyrically, as a statement of the world’s current state of affairs.  The song’s second verse proves that just as much as James clearly sings about the events of September 11, 2011.  It should be noted here, too, that his statements in the second verse are not meant to do anything but add to the statement of the direction this world—not just America—is taking.  When such content is set against the driving energy in the song’s musical arrangement, the pairing of the two elements makes this song stand out clearly among BTS’ other songs.  They join to prove the song to be a clear example of what makes this record such a worthwhile new effort from Blacktop Mojo.  It is just one of the songs included in this record that exhibits what makes the record so impressive overall.  ‘Prodigal’ serves just as much to show what makes BTS stand out in this year’s field of new rock and hard rock records.

‘End of Days’ is a clear example of what makes Blacktop Mojo’s new record Burn The Ships an impressive new effort.  That is due to the combination of the song’s driving, guitar-centered musical arrangement and its thought-provoking lyrical theme.  The combination of the two elements makes it just one example of what makes the song (and album) stand out.  It is just one of the songs that so clearly shows where this record gets its *ahem* fire (yes, that awful pun was intended, too).  ‘Prodigal,’ with its far more reserved, yet still heavy arrangement and lyrical theme, stands on its own merits.  The song is a deeply contemplative work that harkens back to similar works from both Theory of a Deadman and Black Stone Cherry.  This is especially true in examining the song’s musical arrangement.  The song’s lyrical theme seems, at least to this critic, as a coming-of-age story of sorts.  That interpretation was made through James singing in the song’s lead verse, “Don’t call me/The prodigal son/Cause I ain’t comin’ back/I’ll make it/On my own/Let me walk my own path/And don’t worry/About me/I’ve got everything I need/I’m gonna see the world/through my own eyes/Climb the mountain, see the sky/Across the stars on the other side.”  He goes on to sing in the song’s chorus, “One of these days I won’t be around/I’ll rip my roots up from the ground/With wings of feathers…I’ll fly toward the sun/’Till they melt from my back.”  James continues on in similar fashion in the song’s second half, singing from the vantage point of a figure striking out on his or her own.  It is not one of those standard “oh woe is me” sort of songs, either.  But the mixed emotion of a person wanting and needing to grow and be one’s own person is there.  It is especially illustrated through the song’s musical arrangement.  When that emotionally powerful arrangement is coupled with the song’s deeply moving lyrical theme, the two elements together make this song heavy without being heavy.  That heavy without heavy presentation makes the song stand out from its counterparts just as much as ‘End of Days.’  It also serves to show even more why this record stands out in this year’s field of new rock and hard rock entries.  It shows the band’s ability to entertain audiences while not just sticking to one style of song.  It is just one more song that shows the band’s breadth of talent and influences.  The band’s take on Aerosmith’s timeless classic ‘Dream One’ is one more of the album’s inclusions that shows what makes this record stand out.

‘End of Days’ and ‘Prodigal’ are both prime examples of what makes Blacktop Mojo’s new record Burn The Ships stand out as one of this year’s top new hard rock records and one of its best new independent albums.  They show the band’s range in terms of its talent and influence—one song is heavy both musically and lyrically while the other is heavy musically without being heavy, and is also heavy lyrically.  While both songs show in their own ways what makes this album stand out, they are only two out of so many songs that show how much the band and album have to offer.  The band’s cover of Aerosmith’s timeless classic ‘Dream One’ is just one more of the songs included in this record that serves to show how much the band and album offer listeners.  The arrangement presented by the band here is one of the most powerful renditions that any band has presented to date.  It boasts the same moving vibe evident in the original rock ballad, but also infuses its own hard rock edge into the song here to add even more to the song’s impact.  That harder edge even gives the song’s lyrical theme its own new identity.  That in turn makes the song all the more powerful of a composition, showing once more just how much this new record from Blacktop Mojo has to offer audiences.  Between this cover of a true classic, the other songs noted here and the album’s other 10 tracks, this album in whole proves to be one that hard rock fans everywhere should hear at least once.  In doing do, those fans will agree that this record is indeed set to “burn” up the mainstream rock radio realm given the right support.  They will also agree that this record is an easy pick for one of this year’s top new hard rock records as well as one of the year’s top new independent recordings.

Blacktop Mojo’s latest full-length studio effort Burn The Ships is an easy pick for any critic’s list of the year’s top new hard rock records and one of the year’s top new independent albums.  That is exhibited both through the record’s musical arrangements—which conjure thoughts of Fuel, Alter Bridge, Theory of a Deadman, Zakk Wylde and Black Stone Cherry just to name a handful of more well-known acts—and the record’s lyrical themes.  From start to finish, both elements will keep listeners engaged in every song.  That includes the band’s cover of Aerosmith’s ‘Dream On.’  After taking in the 13 songs that make up the record’s body, listeners will agree, once more, that Burn The Ships is an easy pick for any critic’s list of the year’s top new hard rock records and the year’s top new independent albums.  They will also agree in taking in this album that given the right support, Blacktop Mojo is primed to be one of mainstream rock radio’s next big names.  Burn The Ships will be available March 10 in stores and online.  More information on Burn The Ships is available online now along with all of Blacktop Mojo’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.blacktopmojo.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/blacktopmojo

 

 

 

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Unblackened Is One Of BLS’ Best Live Releases

Courtesy:  EOne Music/Entertainment One

Courtesy: EOne Music/Entertainment One

Zakk Wylde and his Black Label Society brothers are back once again with a brand new live release.  Unblackened is another impressive live release from Wylde and company.  Whether one has had the pleasure of attending a BLS show live or not, it serves as an excellent example of what audiences get with a live Black Label show.  This live recording is something extra special for Black Label fans.  It is something extra special first and foremost because unlike with previous live releases, it is being released both on CD and on DVD and Blu-ray.  Audiences will appreciate the audio quality from the CD portion of the recording.  On a related note, the review for the video (Blu-ray) portion of the recording will come at a later date.  The audio mix on the CD was very well balanced, adding to the overall enjoyment.  One more reason fans will appreciate this latest release is that also unlike previous live releases, Zakk and his band mates were extremely selective in their set list for this show.  All of these factors taken into consideration, they make Unblackened a contender for one of 2013’s best new live recordings.

Unblackened, as noted, is an easy contender to be named one of the year’s best live recordings.  It earns this honor first and foremost as it is presented both with an audio and video portion.  This is different from previous live Black Label Society releases.  Previous live Black Label Society have been put out solely on CD (E.g. Live Brew-tality) or specifically on DVD or Blu-ray as in the live release, Boozed, Bruised, and Broken Boned.  This is a rare treat for long-time Black Label Society fans, to be able to take the recording with them anywhere that they want, including their vehicles.  Even with the audio and video portion being kept separate from one another, fans receive a treat as it allows audiences to decide which side of the show they want to get.  This is good in that maybe a given fan has the DVD or Blu-ray side of the show, but not the CD.  The CD could be purchased separate by said fan’s family or friends as a gift for a birthday.  Or since the holidays are right around the corner, said fan’s family or friends could purchase the CD as a gift idea without worrying about whether or not said fan already has the audio half of the concert.  Sure, it would be just as great to have both the audio and video portion of the show together.  But it’s just as good to have them separate.  The hypothetical situation noted here is just one example of why this is the case.  And it is for this hypothetical situation that Entertainment One’s staffers are to be commended for making the choice to present the show on separate formats.

The ability of fans to choose whether they want to take in Unblackened in its audio or video format or both is a major boon to any Black Label Society fan.  It’s just one positive to this new upcoming live recording.  In looking solely at the recording’s audio (CD) side, the CD’s audio mix is solid.  Believe it or not, there are some cases in which the audio mix of a live recording can turn out to be somewhat muddy to put it politely.  This is not one of those cases.  Those responsible for mixing the concert for home release did their jobs with expert precision.  The end result is a live double-disc CD release that will leave fans wanting the concert’s video side in the best possible way.  But alas, that is a review for another day.

The overall presentation of Unblackened is the biggest portion of what makes this live recording a candidate to be one of the year’s best live recordings.  The audio mix was finalized expertly on the CD.  And the very fact that fans can choose between the CD and DVD or Blu-ray (what BLS fan wouldn’t want both sides of the show?) makes it even more impactful for fans.  There is one more factor which fans should consider in this new live release.  That final factor is the show’s set list.  The set list makes the concert stand out from previous BLS live releases in the fact that it is much more album specific.  It pulls a song here and a song there from The Blessed Hellride and Mafia.  But the majority of this concert’s set list was pulled from Wylde’s older solo material and from BLS’ acoustic album, Hangover Music Vol. VI.  That album in question received mixed reception from both fans and critics alike.  Put into a live format as it is here though, many of the songs from that album are given a whole new life.  Perhaps after hearing the songs from Hangover Music Vol. VI in a whole new setting, fans that were critical of said album will gain a whole new appreciation for the record.  Older tracks such as the show’s opener, ‘Losin’ Your Mind’, ‘Sold My Soul’, ‘Road Back Home’, and ‘Sweet Jesus’ make the concert even more special.  That’s because these classics are far less visible on Zakk’s previous live recordings.  They show a side of Wylde with which many audiences might not be so familiar.  It proves, as Zakk said in one interview years ago, a song can be heavy without being heavy and crunching.  Fans that accept this will enjoy every minute of this recording when it is released on September 24th via EOne Music.  Fans will be able to purchase the double-disc in stores or order it online via iTunes at http://www.itunes.com/blacklabelsociety.  In the meantime, audiences can keep up with all of the latest BLS news on the official BLS Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/blacklabelsociety and its official website, http://www.blacklabelsociety.com.

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