‘Step Into The Plague’ Is A Promising First Outing For Hard Rock Super Group Baron Carta

Courtesy: Baron Carta

Hard rock super group Baron Carta officially tossed its hat into this year’s field of new releases last month.  That entry came in the form of its independently released debut EP Step Into The Plague.  The four-song record is an interesting presentation is a work that likely will garner its own interest among the metal faithful.  That is proven through the record’s musical and lyrical content collectively.  ‘Devil to Send,’ the EP’s lead single is just one way in which the noted statements are supported.  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Act 1:  Duty’ is another way in which the EP’s musical and lyrical content proves important to its presentation.  It will be discussed a little later.  ‘Out of Time,’ the EP’s opener is yet another example of how the record’s musical and lyrical content comes together to make the EP stand out.  When it is considered with the other two songs noted here and the record’s one remaining work, the EP in whole proves to be a presentation that metal purists will agree is worth hearing at least once.

Baron Carta’s debut EP Step Into The Plague is a work that any metal purist will find an interesting presentation.  That is proven, as noted, through the record’s musical and lyrical content.  That collective content does plenty throughout the course of the record’s 22-minute run time to keep listeners engaged and entertained, as is evidenced in part through the record’s lead single, ‘Devil to Send.’  The musical arrangement featured in ‘Devil to Send’ is a high-energy, modern thrash composition that blends elements of Exodus and Testament with a touch of Anthrax to make a whole that will leave listeners breathless by the end of its four-minute, one second run time.  The energy in the song’s musical arrangement pairs well with the seeming commentary delivered in the song’s lyrical content.

The lyrical content in question here comes across as a social commentary about the current state of America.  This is inferred right from the song’s outset, in which front man Ralf Scheeps (Primal Fear, Gamma Ray) sings, “Gasp to breathe/Revealed by fear/Death infection heals a nation/Quarantine the weak to see/The demon teeth enslaves creation/Smash the door/Get the needle out back/I got my guns/Got my ammunition/Society, belief in me/The price of free, philosophy, ethical attrition/I step into the plague/The dogs are at war/Humanity is freed like never before.”  The inference continues in the song’s chorus, which states, “My visions fade into pain/As my body takes the fight to the end/Unshackled armies will maim/I will never take this devil to send/Don’t mistake my weakness for white flags in the air/I’ve stared down evil let the devil beware.”  The second verse follows in similar fashion as the lead verse, giving the seeming message more traction.  Adding even more to the argument is that the song’s lyric video presents the lyrics in a newspaper, hinting even more that it is sort of a “news of the world” type of presentation.  It is truly a unique way of lyrically delivering such a seeming message, which makes for its own share of interest.  When this is considered along with the entertainment that the song’s musical arrangement offers, the whole shows in and of itself what makes Baron Carta’s new EP worth hearing.  It is just one of the songs that displays the record’s strength.  ‘Act 1:  Duty’ is another key addition to the record.

‘Act I: Duty’ stands out in part because of the complexity in its arrangement.  The opening bars, with the distant, echoing coronets and singing birds immediately conjures  thoughts of a battle field once ravaged by combat.  The picture that this moment creates is so rich and vivid.  It is only a moment, though.  Roughly 90-seconds into the song, things change even though the mood remains the same.  The replacement of the coronets with full band and controlled, operatic vocals will turn listeners thoughts to comparisons to thoughts of Queensryche (and to a slightly lesser degree, Pink Floyd).  The Pink Floyd comparison comes primarily through the layered vocals in this section of the arrangement.  Interestingly enough, even this moment is only temporary, too.  From there, the mood gets more intense as the song’s arrangement turns to a more modern, hard rock style composition.  One could even argue that the aforementioned Nevermore style influence returns to a point here.  All things considered, the transitions between the song’s “movements” are solid and ensure the song keeps moving fluidly throughout.  The song’s musical arrangement is just one part of what makes it stand out.  The lyrical content that accompanies the song’s musical arrangement adds even more interest to its overall presentation.

Lyrically, the first thing that comes to mind in ‘Act I: Duty’ is a comparison to so many works from Sabaton.  That is because as the lyrical content would seem to infer, this is in fact a song about someone going off to war.  In this case though, it would seem to address the mental and physical impact of combat on that person.  This is inferred as Scheeps sings in the song’s finale, “A sickness feeds my hated every day/My honor fades/It fades away.”  The mentions of “hand made hand grenades” and family celebrating “my crusade/The fear of losing everything they made in me” adds even more to the interpretation that this song is meant to highlight the perhaps feelings of anger and maybe regret that soldiers feel in going off to war.  What’s more, considering the song’s title is “Duty,” there would be a sense of irony there, adding even more to the chance that the song is meant to deliver its own anti-war message.  The remainder of the song adds its own touch, making the song’s lyrical theme come across that much more as a statement about war and its impact on those who serve.  If in fact this interpretation is right, then it would not be the first time ever that any musical act has addressed the fallacy of war.  Even with that in mind, it is a message that (again if is right) is still as welcome here as from any other act past or present.  When this content is paired with the song’s musical arrangement, that whole of the song stands out even more, and shows even more why the EP in whole deserves to be heard.  It is yet another way in which the EP proves its power, too.  ‘Out of Time,’ which opens the EP, also does its own share to convince audiences of the record’s appeal.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Out of Time’ is another driving, modern rock piece that once more, is comparable stylistically, to works from Nevermore.  That is evidenced once again through the pairing of the vocals and the guitar line, as well as the production used on the guitar line and even the drums and bass.  Even more interesting is that the sound and stylistic approach in the song’s bridge could actually be likened to certain works from Van Halen. The comparison is subtle, but it is there.  The whole makes for a presentation that is certain to appeal to a wide range of listeners.  It is just one part of what makes this song stand out, too.  As with the EP’s other songs, this work’s lyrical content adds to the mix to make for even more interest.

The lyrical theme in ‘Out of Time’ comes across at least to this critic as delivering a message of overcoming life’s obstacles and persevering no matter what.  Again this is just this critic’s own interpretation.  It comes early in the song in the lead verse and chorus, which state, “Laid to ashes/A freedom up for sale/Design your lifestyle/The ancients will prevail/Rip apart the flesh that’s raw/I’ll have you kneel your satan/Stand your angel/Fall down to the floor/And I’ve never felt the same/They detained my will/And chained my right to say/ Take my words from me/Twist them on the ground/Out of sight and out of mind/My psychology, a jail you can’t unwind/I’m out of fight, not out of time.”  That last line, “I’m out of fight/Not out of time” almost seems to be the song’s  subject, stating that he is down but not out even despite everything.  It makes for an interesting metaphorical statement.  Especially as the subject makes the statement about being “Laid to ashes/A freedom up for sale.”  That note about having “your satan kneel” and “Stand your angel” comes across as more metaphorical language, this time talking about triumphing over any evil.  In essence, what the song seems to be addressing here is that things can and do get bad, but the song’s subject is not giving up the fight.  Again, that is just this critic’s own interpretation and should not be taken as gospel.  Of course as the song progresses, the seeming message seems to gain more traction as the subject tells listeners, “Brick by brick/Disintegrate the power/Take it/Fix by Fix/Repair a nation that decides by stamp and stick/The future is a place where honor will prevail.”  From there the song returns to its chorus, reminding listeners that “I’m out of fight/Not out of time.”  Looking back through all of this content and discussion, it would seem that the overall message in ‘Out of Time’ is one of perseverance.  If indeed that is the case, then that message and the presentation thereof makes for its own share of interest, too.  Add the song’s musical arrangement to its whole, and the song in whole shows without question what makes it another strong addition to Step Into The Plague.  When the song is considered along with the rest of the album’s content, the whole makes the EP in whole a presentation that leaves no doubt it is well worth hearing among the metal masses.

Baron Carta’s debut EP Step Into The Plague is a strong first offering from the hard rock super group that will appeal to a wide range of listeners. That is proven through its musical and lyrical content alike, as is evidenced in the songs examined here.  The EP’s musical content will especially appeal to fans of Nevermore, Anthrax, Exodus and other established acts as it will to fans of Pink Floyd and Queensryche to a slightly lesser degree.  The lyrical content is unique in its presentation, and will generate plenty of discussion in itself.  When this content is considered not just in the songs examined here, but also in the EP’s remaining song, ‘Truth to Power,’ the whole of the EP makes itself a presentation that the metal faithful will agree is worth hearing at least once.  It is available now. 

More information on Baron Carta and its new EP is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:




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Michael Schenker Announces Release Date, Specs For New Michael Schenker Group Album

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Michael Schenker Group will release what will be its first album in more than a decade next year.

The announcement was made Monday through a press release from Nuclear Blast Records.  The document stated Schenker (ex-Scorpions, UFO, Michael Schenker Fest) is in the last stages of working on the album, titled Immortal.  Additionally, it states the album’s release is scheduled for Jan. 8, 2021 through Nuclear Blast Records, more than a year after Schenker released his latest Michael Schenker Fest album Revelation.

“It’s going very well,” said Schenker of the progress on the album’s work. “We have a lot of guest musicians, who will undoubtedly help to make it an exceptional success. First of all I want to say that I am very grateful to any musicians that have helped to create a fitting tribute to my long career on this special release. I want to thank all of them for their incredible contribution.”

Nuclear Blast Records Founder Markus Staiger said in his own comments, he was looking forward to Schenker’s forthcoming MSG album.

“I am really looking forward to releasing this brand new MSG album, after the two excellent Michael Schenker Fest records,” he said. “At the age of 14, the self-titled MSG debut completely blew me away and helped to shape my taste, since then I’ve followed and loved his music and unique compositions. Those ten new tracks are pure magic!”

Immortal was recorded primarily at Kidroom Studio in Germany with Schenker’s longtime partner Michael Voss.  Voss co-produced the album with Schenker and provided vocals for two of the album’s songs.

Schenker praised Voss for his work.

“It is always a pleasure to work with Michael Voss, who works around the clock and is a phenomenal musician and producer,” he said. “He was composing the melody and lyrics for a power ballad I had written the music for, and he ended up singing along. It turned out so amazing, I did not think anyone else could have done a better job for this song. Truly great.“

Voss is just one of the individuals who will provide vocals for Schenker’s new MSG album.  Ronnie Romero (Rainbow) will provide vocals along with Voss, Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear), and Joe Lynn Turner (ex-Deep Purple).  Joining the group for the album are musicians Steve Mann on keyboards, Barry Sparks (Dokken) on bass, and Bodo Schopf, Simon Phillips (ex-Toto), and Brian Tichy (Phill Rocker, ex-Godsmack, ex-Whitesnake) sharing drumming duties.

Schenker spoke highly of Tichy as he talked about the album’s lineup of musicians.

“Brian was thrilled to be part of it,” he said of Tichy’s involvement in the album. “He is a master of groove and ended up playing on six songs. I could not believe it: This man is something else. He is a true natural and very original. With his input, it made the album very solid and complete. So guess what – I am very happy.”

Also joining the collective for Schenker’s new MSG record is famed keyboardist Derek Sherinian (ex-Dream Theater, Sons of Apollo, Alice Cooper).  Schenker said of Sherinian’s performance on the album’s opener,”Derek and myself trading solos, it sounds unexpected and beyond my expectation. Absolutely fantastic!“

Immortal will feature 10 songs, including one composition that Schenker created when he was a child, titled ‘In Search of the Peace of Mind.’

Schenker spoke at length about the song during his recent interview.

“I wrote this song when I was 15 years old, it was my first ever written piece of music which I recorded with Scorpions on our first studio album Lonesome Crow in 1970, getting released in 1972 – when I had already left Scorpions to join the British rock band UFO in June of 1972 – when I was 17,” he said. “We re-recorded this song for my 50th anniversary as a celebration and it turned out to be an epic; with an extra extension at the end of the song, which turned out absolutely fantastic with Simon Phillips on drums, doing his usual amazing stuff.“ The result is a true highlight and features even more surprises: “Gary Barden sings the first verse,  continued by Ronnie Romero – and in the end we have Ronnie, Doogie White, and Robin McAuley screaming their heads off, as a tribute to my 50th anniversary. Absolutely amazing. Thanks to the guys for doing this!“

Immortal will release as a standard CD and a limited edition expanded edition complete with the Michael Schenker Fest live recording Bang Your Head.  Schenker said of the recording, which was recorded two years ago in Balingen/Germany, “Unfixed, raw, pure and great! There’s a couple of small mistakes, but because the show and recording went so well, I decided to keep it the way it went on the night. It’s live, magic and pure.“

More information on Immortal is available now along with all of Michael Schenker Fest’s latest news and more at:






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