‘EARTHANDSKY’ Shows Positive Growth From Of Mice & Men

Courtesy: Rise Records

Hard rock band Of Mice & Men is apparently a band that does not rest easily on its own laurels.  A little more than a year and a half has passed since the Orange County ,CA-based band released its fifth full-length studio recording Defy.  Instead of waiting the standard three years or so between albums, the band’s members – Aaron Pauley (bass/vocals), Valentino Arteaga (drums), Philip Manansala (guitar) and Alan Ashby (guitar) – decided instead to strike while the iron was still hot and release album number six this year in the form of EARTHANDSKY.  Released Sept. 27 through Rise Records, the 11-song 43 minute album shows the band’s decision to not wait was a wide choice.  That is proven through its musical and lyrical content alike, as is evidenced in part through the album’s opener, ‘Gravedancer.’  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Taste of Regret,’ which comes early in the album’s run, is another of the album’s featured works that serves to support the noted statement.  It will be discussed a little later.  The album’s title track, which comes just past the album’s midway point, can be cited in supporting the noted statement, too.  When it is considered alongside ‘Taste of Regret,’ ‘Gravedancer’ and the rest of the album’s entries, the whole of the album proves itself in whole, a powerful return from OM&M that is well-deserving of its own praise.

Of Mice & Men’s sixth full-length studio recording EARTHANDSKY is a solid follow-up to its predecessor, 2018’s Defy.  As a matter of fact, one could argue that it is a step up from that album in that it shows more comfort from front man Aaron Pauley — who took over vocal duties for the band from former front man Austin Carlile in 2017 – and his band mates ever since Carlile’s departure from the band due to his ongoing battle with Marfan syndrome.  That comfort among the band has resulted in a record that presents any number of engaging and entertaining songs in this outing, not the least of which being the album’s opener, ‘Gravedancer.’  Gravedancer stands out in part because of its musical arrangement. The song’s arrangement opens with a brief Middle Eastern introduction before launching into a heavy, blistering, almost thrash-style composition that holds most of the song.  There are also some decidedly doom rock style moments, including early on in the song, that add their own touch to the arrangement.  The combination of those slower, heavy moments and the more prominent upbeat moments makes the song’s arrangement in whole, a work that will appeal to a wide range of listeners in its own right.  The song’s musical arrangement is just part of what makes it so notable.  Its lyrical content adds even more to that notoriety.

The lyrical content featured in ‘Gravedancer’ is important to note because it comes across almost as a warning of sorts.  It comes across as a warning to the world of where things are headed.  Pauley sings in the song’s lead verse, “Slowly sinking/Headed for disaster/Filling our lungs while we’re circling the drain/Over and over/Around and around we go/Standing at the precipice of calamity/Just one step from the edge/In the end it makes no difference/’Cause we’re all hypnotized by the siren’s call/Then the song begins to play/As we dance around the grave.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Slowly sinking/headed for disaster/A sacrifice of self destruction/Around and around again/To celebrate the end/Then the song begins to play/As we dance around the grave/Knowing we will never change/We keep on dancing ‘round the grave.”  That cry of ‘We’re all hypnotized by the siren’s call’ is a brief statement, but so strong.  It is as if Pauley is saying, we’re letting ourselves be controlled by another force, which we as humans, are in fact doing.  The note of us “dancing around the grave” is a dark statement that strengthens the song’s overall statement even more.  For those who might not know their mythological history, sirens led sailors to their deaths.  We as a people are being led to our own demise because of the proverbial sirens that control society.  Pauley and company have presented an unmistakable message here, and one that will always be relatable.  When it is coupled with the song’s equally engaging and entertaining musical arrangement, the whole of the song becomes a clear example of why EARTHANDSKY is such a strong new effort from Of Mice & Men.  It is just one of the ways in which the album proves itself such a strong return for the band.  ‘Taste of Regret,’ which comes early in the album’s run, is another example of the album’s strength.

Much as is the case with ‘Gravedancer,’ ‘Taste of Regret’ stands out in part because of its own musical arrangement.  This song’s musical arrangement is another powerful thrash-style composition that once again incorporates the band’s familiar metalcore sound for another enjoyable, original work.  That metalcore sound includes the song’s more melodic moments, which create even more balance for the song, and in turn more engagement and entertainment.  As much as the song’s musical arrangement does for its overall presentation, it is just one part of what makes the song appealing.  The song’s insightful lyrical content adds its own share of interest and engagement to its whole.

Pauley sings in the song’s lead verse, “You’re wretched/Spewing venom/In every single lie that you tell/Feigning all emotion/When facing the consequences/Of your own personal hell/And there’s no angel left to blame/When the devil on your shoulder/Who made you bolder/Is the one laughing in your face/What goes around comes around someday/And every time I think about the words you’ve said/I’m reminded just to bite my tongue instead/Until every last lyric’s left covered in red/Because the taste of blood is better than the taste of regret.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “So while you’re spitting into the hurricane/Trying to get rid of the bitterness/The acid from your tongue/Begins to erode again/While you sit and reminisce/So deep inside your own abyss/There is no feeling of misery/Like living in history/When you’ve been so poisonous/Karma comes back to sink its fangs right in your neck.”  This is a straight-forward, no nonsense indictment of one of those people who has tried to make others’ lives miserable, but got theirs in the end.  It is a statement from someone to that noted individual, letting them know that despicable figure will  not bring others down.  When it couples with the fire in the song’s arrangement, it gains even more power, as does the arrangement, with the two complimenting one another expertly and making the song stand out even more as one more example of why EARTHANDSKY is another positive offering from Of Mice & Men.  While it is another clear example of what makes EARTHANDSKY stand out, it is not the last of the album’s most notable songs.  The album’s title track is deserving of its own attention, too.

‘Earth And Sky’ stands out in part because its musical arrangement is such a start contrast to that of the album’s other arrangements.  The song opens with something akin to a power metal work, with its airy chord-filled opening riffs.  From there, it moves into the band’s more familiar metalcore sound once again.  Those moments couple with the song’s more melodic moments – which easily lend themselves to comparisons to works from The Veer Union — to make the arrangement in whole, a work that bears its own identity separate from that of the album’s other arrangements.  While the song’s arrangement presents its own unique point of interest for its presentation, that element is just one point of interest in this case.  The song’s lyrical content adds presents its own engagement and entertainment.

Pauley sings in the song’s lead verse, “I felt you dragging me into a shallow grave/The dirt became a place to rest/But it betrays/You’ll never stop me/Your reign has ended/You’ll never hold down that which has ascended/I won’t run/I won’t turn away/I won’t let you get the best of me/I won’t fall in your gravity/open your eyes/You’re the earth and I’m the sky.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “You are the single stone amongst infinity/I am the wind that blows/I am the voice inside the rain/Can you feel the cold wind blowing/unrelenting, everlasting/Do you feel it in your bones/Do you feel it in your soul/I won’t run/I won’t turn away/I won’t let you get the best of me/I won’t fall in your gravity/Open your eyes.”  This is another relatively straight forward message.  This is a proud, defiant stance against one who might try to make another’s life miserable; a message that even as much as said person might try, that person will not succeed in making him/her miserable and ruining another’s life.  Once again, the energy in the song’s arrangement comes into play in examining the lyrics alongside this lyrical message.  It helps to drive home the frustration of dealing with that negative influence and the defiance by the person standing up to that negative person.  The whole of it all makes the song that much more powerful.  When it is considered along with the other songs examined here and the rest of the album’s entries, they make the album in whole one more of this year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

Of Mice & Men’s sixth full-length studio recording, EARTHANDSKY is a positive new offering from the veteran metalcore outfit.  That is due to the album’s collective musical and lyrical content.  The album’s musical side continues to show growth from the band while the lyrical content is just as certain to keep listeners engaged and entertained with its sometimes relatable and other times thought provoking material.  The songs examined here are just the slightest way in which the noted statements are supported.  The rest of the album’s songs can just as easily be cited to support the statements.  Keeping all of this in mind, the record in whole provides plenty for audiences to appreciate.  In turn, they make the album in whole easily one more of this year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.  It is available now.  More information on EARTHANDSKY is available online now along with all of the band’s news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.ofmiceandmenofficial.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/OMandM

 

 

 

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Of Mice & Men Debuts Title Track From New LP, ‘EARTHANDSKY’

Courtesy: Rise Records

Of Mice & Men debuted the video for its new single this week.

The band debuted the video for its new song ‘Earth & Sky‘ Thursday.  The song is the title track from the band’s forthcoming album EARTHANDSKY, which is due out Sept. 27 through Rise Records.

The video finds the band performing its new song inside a studio made to look like the inside of a spaceship.  The spaceship in question, is a pyramid-shaped vehicle that eventually shoots a giant laser beam onto Earth from outer space.  It is not known what the ray does to Earth, though what looks like shockwaves are visible blowing across a nondescript deserted highway as the spaceship sits in front of the sun.

The song’s musical arrangement is pure metalcore that is certain to appeal to fans of the band’s older material.  Bassist Aaron Pauley said in a recent interview, the song’s lyrical theme is meant to present a positive message.

“‘Earth & Sky‘ is a song about resilience,” Pauley said.  “It’s about understanding you can rise above whatever it is that keeps trying to drag you down, no matter what.  For me, a lot of the time, I’m writing about battling with my own mind.  For you, it may be a person or an obstacle or a circumstance.  Regardless of whatever it is is that’s trying relentlessly to drag you down, I hope I hope this song empowers you to rise above it with authority, like it does me every time I sing it.”

Earth & Sky‘ is just the latest song and video to come from EARTHANDSKY.  of Mice and Men most recently debuted the video for another of the album’s songs, ‘Mushroom Cloud‘ on May 2.  It was preceded by the debut of the video for the song ‘How To Survive‘ on March 6.  The audio-only stream of the song debuted Feb. 14.

All three songs are featured as part of EARTHANDSKY.  The album’s full track listing is noted below.

earthandsky TRACK LISTING:
“Gravedancer”
“As We Suffocate”
“Taste Of Regret”
“Mushroom Cloud”
“Pieces”
“Deceiver/Deceived”
“Earth & Sky”
“The Mountain”
“Meltdown”
“Linger”
“How To Survive”

Of Mice And Men will launch a tour in support of EARTHANDSKY on Sept. 23 in Los Angeles, CA.  The three-week tour is scheduled to run through Oct. 19 in Mesa, AZ and to feature performances in cities, such as Columbus, OH; Greensboro, NC and Houston, TX.  The tour’s current schedule is noted below.

OF MICE & MEN ON TOUR:
EARTH TOUR:
WITH FOR THE FALLEN DREAMS, THOUSAND BELOW, + BLOODBATHER:

9/23 — Los Angeles, CA — Teragram
9/24 — San Diego, CA — Soma
9/25 — Flagstaff, AZ — The Green Room
9/27 — Salt Lake City — Complex
9/28 — Denver, CO — Marquis
9/29 — Lawrence, KS — Granada
10/3 — Columbus, OH — Basement
10/5 — Ottawa, ON — Brass Monkey
10/6 — Toronto, ON — Lee’s
10/7 — Montreal, QC — Fairmont Theatre
10/9 — Philadelphia, PA — Volatage Lounge
10/11 — Virginia Beach, VA — Elevation 27
10/12 — Greensboro, NC — The Blind Tiger
10/13 — Manchester, TN — Exit 111 Festival*
10/15 — Houston, TX — Warehouse Live
10/16 — Austin, TX — Come And Take It Live
10/17 — Dallas, TX — Cub Dada
10/19 — Mesa, AZ — The Underground
*Festival Date

Pre-orders for EARTHANDSKY are open now.  More information on EARTHANDSKY is available now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.ofmiceandmenofficial

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/OMandM

 

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Memphis May Fire Debuts Linkin Park Cover; Announces New Live Dates

Courtesy: Rise Records

Memphis May Fire is paying tribute to Linkin Park and its late front man Chester Bennington.

The band debuted its cover of the band’s hit song ‘Fade‘ Friday.  The song stays very close to its source material with the lyrics staying the same and the musical arrangement giving Linkin Park’s original a slight change in its presentation.  Even with the variance in the musical arrangement, the song still stays very close to its source material.

MMF front may Matty Mullins talked about covering the song in a recent interview.

“A lot of times, when covering a song, you’re doing it for fun or to showcase your skills as an artist,” Mullins said.  “But this specific opportunity was a chance for us to honor a band that has had a profound impact on us.  There will never be another Linkin Park and there will never be another Chester Bennington.  We are forever grateful for the music they made and we hope this will encourage our younger fans to dive into the Linkin Park discography and discover the same inspiration that we did years ago.”

In other news, Memphis May Fire will tour this summer on the inaugural Disrupt Festival.  The band’s tour, which is in support of its latest album Broken (2018) is scheduled to launch June 21 in Dallas, TX and to run through July 28 in Albuquerque, NM.  It features performances in cities, such as Noblesville, IN; Mansfield, MA and Tinly Park, IL.

The band’s current tour schedule is noted below.  Broken spawned the singles ‘The Old Me,’ ‘Heavy is the Weight (ft. Andy Mineo)‘ and ‘You and Me.’

MEMPHIS MAY FIRE ON TOUR:
2019 DISRUPT FESTIVAL:

6/21 — Dallas, TX — Dos Equis Pavilion
6/22 — Austin, TX — Austin 360 Amphitheater
6/23 — The Woodlands, TX — Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion Presented by Huntsman
6/25 — West Palm Beach, FL — Coral Sky Amphitheatre
6/28 —Atlanta, GA — Lakewood Amphitheater
6/30 — Atlantic City, NJ — The Beach at Atlantic City*
7/2 — Syracuse, NY — Lakeview Amphitheater — Syracuse
7/3 — Toronto, ON — Budweiser Stage
7/5 — Mansfield, MA — Xfinity Center
7/6 — Holmdel, NJ — PNC Bank Arts Center
7/7 — Hartford, CT — The XFINITY Theatre
7/9 — Bristow, VA — Jiffy Lube Live
7/12 — Tinley Park, IL — Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
7/14 — Noblesville, IN — Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center
7/15 — Maryland Heights, MO — Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
7/17 — Denver, CO — Pepsi Center
7/20 — Irvine, CA — Five Point Amphitheater
7/21 — Mountain View, CA — Shoreline Amphitheater*
7/23 — Auburn, WA — White River Amphitheatre
7/24 — Nampa (Boise), ID — Ford Idaho Center Amphitheater
7/26 — Chula Vista, CA — North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre
7/27 — Phoenix, AZ — Ak-Chin Pavilion
7/28 — Albuquerque, NM — Isleta Amphitheater
*Warped Tour Weekend Date

More information on Memphis May Fire’s upcoming tour is available online now at:

 

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MemphisMayFire

 

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Of Mice & Men Debuts ‘How To Survive’ Video

Courtesy: Atom Splitter PR

Of Mice and Men premiered the video for its new single on Wednesday.

The video is the companion for its new single, ‘How To Survive,’ which it debuted Feb. 14.  Directed by Zev Deans, the video is a mock “how to” video which “instructs” people how to survive, apparently, a situation of seeming anarchy.  The video finds various people reading and following directions of “How to Survive,” and those instructions apparently include an intriguing range of situations.

OM&M front man/bassist Aaron Pauley explained the song’s lyrical concept in a recent interview when the single itself debuted.

“‘How To Survive’ is an anthem for those who have been the receiving end of unmerited unmerited and targeted hatred and abuse,” Pauley said.  “It’s for the kid who was bullied, beat up and ignored in school.  It’s for the teenager who was told they’ll never amount to anything and that their thoughts, feelings and opinions don’t matter to the world.  It’s for the person who has been told that they’re worthless, useless or not good enough time and again.  It’s for the person who has been repeatedly targeted by those who only seek to tear others around them down.”

He added, “This song is for them.  This song is for me.  I am them, and I’m still standing.  So, turn it up.  Feel the rage.  If you, too are that person, you will know it well, and it will greet you like an old friend.”

 

 

Courtesy: Rise Records/Atom Splitter PR

Audiences nationwide will get to hear ‘How To Survive’ and much more music from Of Mice & Men during the band’s current North American tour.  The tour started Feb. 21 and runs through May 18, with a short break between March and April to allow Of Mice and Men’s members to rest and recharge.

The tour’s current schedule is noted below.

OF MICE & MEN ON TOUR:
WITH NOTHING MORE:

3/7 — Pittsburgh, PA — Stage AE
3/8 — Philadelphia, PA — The Fillmore
3/10 — New York, NY — Playstation Theater
3/11 — New Haven, CT — Toad’s Place
3/12 — Boston, MA — House of Blues
3/13 — Silver Spring, MD — The Fillmore
3/15 — Charlotte, NC — The Fillmore
3/16 — Atlanta, GA — Buckhead Theater
3/17 — Tampa, FL — The Ritz
3/19 — New Orleans, LA — The Fillmore
3/20 — Houston, TX — Revention Center
3/22 — Dallas, TX — Southside Ballroom
3/23 — San Antonio, TX — Aztec Theatre

WITH BEARTOOTH, HANDS LIKE HOUSES, + DEAD AMERICAN:
4/19 — Fargo, ND — Sanctuary Event Center
4/20 — Sioux City, IA — Anthem at Hard Rock Casino
4/21 — Wichita, KS — Cotillion
4/23 — Des Moines, IA — Wooly’s
4/24 — Springfield, MO — The Complex
4/25 — Memphis, TN — Minglewood
4/27 — Houston, TX — So What?! Music Festival
4/28 — New Orleans, LA — Southport Hall
4/30 — Nashville, TN  — Cannery Ballroom
5/1 — Birmingham, AL — Iron City
5/3 — Jacksonville, FL — Welcome to Rockville*
5/— Pensacola, FL — Vinyl Music Hall
5/6 — Knoxville, TN — The Mill & Mine
5/8 — Louisville, KY — Mercury Ballroom
5/9 — Lancaster, PA — Chameleon Club
5/10 — Rockingham, NC — Epicenter Festival*
5/12 — Sayreville, NJ — Starland Ballroom
5/13 — Poughkeepsie, NY — The Chance
5/14 — Providence, RI — The Strand
5/15 — Buffalo, NY — Town Ballroom
5/17 — Columbus, OH — Sonic Temple Festival*
5/18 — Chicago, IL  — Chicago Open Air+
* No Of Mice & Men, Dead American
+Beartooth Only

More information on Of Mice & Men’s new single, tour dates and more is available online now at:

 

Websitehttp://www.ofmiceandmenofficial.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/ofmice

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/OMandM

 

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‘All I See Is War’ Is A Welcome Return To Form For Sevendust

Courtesy: Rise Records

Veteran hard rock band Sevendust officially returned this summer with its 12th full-length studio recording All I See Is War.  Having been released May 11 via Rise Records, its release came almost three years since the release of the band’s 11th album, 2015’s Kill The Flaw.  The 12-song album, also the band’s debut for Rise Records, can be said easily, to be one of the Atlanta, Georgia-based band’s best works to date as it takes audiences back to the band’s early days while also adding in a more up-to-date sound in its arrangements.  The addition of the songs’ equally interesting lyrical themes to those arrangements makes the album that much more interesting.  This is evidenced early on in the album’s run in the form of ‘God Bites His Tongue.’  ‘Risen,’ which comes later in the album’s run, also serves to show what makes this record so interesting.  It will be discussed a little later.  ‘The Truth,’ which closes out the album is one more example of what makes All I See Is War such an interesting new offering from a group that is one of the hard rock community’s most respected acts, but is certainly not the last of the songs that proves the album’s interest.  ‘Medicated,’ another early entry to the album, ‘Cheers,’ the album’s midpoint, and ‘Moments,’ which boasts a similarity to the band’s more recent records, all show in their own way what makes this record stand out in Sevendust’s extensive catalog.  Between these songs, the pieces more directly noted and those not noted here, the whole of this 45-minute album proves to be a solid portrait of Sevendust’s past, present and future.  Keeping that in mind, it proves to be not only one of Sevendust’s best works to date, but also one of the year’s best new hard rock albums, too.

Sevendust’s latest full-length studio recording All I See Is War is one of the veteran hard rock band’s best albums to date and also one of the year’s best new hard rock albums.  That is because its musical and lyrical content overall takes listeners from the band’s early days right through to its present and future.  What’s more it does this in convincing fashion throughout the course of the album’s dozen total songs, too.  This is evidenced early on in the form of the album’s second song, ‘God Bites His Tongue.’  Musically speaking, this song’s arrangement takes listeners back to the band’s sophomore 1999 album Home, with its heavy, crunching guitars, equally heavy low-end from bassist Vince Hornsby, front man Lajon Witherspoon’s familiar powerhouse melodic vocals and drummer Morgan Rose’s time keeping and familiar backing screams.  What is really interesting here is that while the song’s musical arrangement echoes the songs included in Home, it doesn’t try to just re-hash them, but rather show that the band’s members haven’t lost the edge presented in that album.  While the song’s arrangement builds a strong foundation for itself, the music alone only takes the song so far.  Its lyrical theme strengthens that foundation even more with its deeply philosophical nature.  Witherspoon sings in the song’s lead verse, “Face down/Feeding into you/Find the weakness/Holding it down till we kill it/Every once in a while, I get caught in the silver lining/No one ever lives it (what’s the meaning? What’s the meaning?)/Somewhere, we all lost the spirit (Lost it all)/So save us/Just so we know/That the bitter taste/We need it/And we forgive ourselves and leave it all.”  He goes on later to sing, “We forgive ourselves in the space that’s between right and wrong/The better days deceived us/And we let ourselves believe it all/And God just bites his tongue.”  It’s almost as if the song’s lyrical theme centers somewhat on mankind’s attempts to make himself feel superior while God meanwhile simply observes, letting humankind take its own course, consequences or not.  This is, of course, just this critic’s own interpretation of these words.  It could easily be wholly off the mark.  Hopefully it is at least somewhere in the proverbial ballpark.  Right or wrong, it is obvious in listening to the song’s lyrical content, that this song is quite the contemplative work.  When the depth in the song’s lyrical theme are coupled with the strength of the song’s musical arrangement, the whole of the song clearly shows by itself why All I See Is War is another standout offering from Sevendust.  It is of course just one of the songs included in the album that serves to prove the album’s strength.  ‘Risen’ which comes later in the album’s 45-minute run, serves just as much to show the album’s strength.

Where ‘God Bit His Tongue’ lends itself to comparisons to Sevendust’s early works, ‘Risen,’ musically speaking, is more akin to the band’s more recent works.  More specifically, the heavy, crunching arrangement in this song is more akin to works from Alpha and Next than the melodic hard rock sounds of, say Home, Animosity and Seasons.  The song’s musical arrangement gains even more importance and strength and importance as Witherspoon sings here seemingly about someone’s personal relationship with another, and the issues that come with that troubled relationship.  That subject is inferred as he sings, “Turn round/Come down/Been stealing feeling from me/Burned down/No sound/Been killing the life within me/Step down/Last round/Live hating/Loving memory/Break down/We drown/To turn around is everything/It all comes down to what it takes to love/If I fall, would you pick me up/Or kick me down again (Would you stand there with me)/If I tell you my deepest thoughts/Would you hear me out And help me rise again?”  This leaves a little room for interpretation, but also less room than the room left in ‘God Bites His Tongue.’  It comes across as someone who has been anything but that supportive friend.  This is inferred even more in the second verse as Witherspoon sings, “Not long, so gone/We shame your useless pity/You failed us all/Keep spewing the s*** you tell me/Fall down/So proud/Love hating, living memory/Erase you now.”  Again, the song’s subject asks this figure, “If I fall/Would you pick me up/Or kick me down again (Would you stand there with me)/If I tell you my deepest thoughts/Would you hear me out/And help me rise again?”  Once again, this hints at the matter of a person dealing with someone who isn’t necessarily entirely supportive of others.  The frustration in having to deal with that sort of subject is illustrated powerfully in that aforementioned powerhouse musical arrangement.  When the two elements are set alongside one another, they make the song in whole yet another example of what makes this record one of Sevendust’s best albums to date.  Also as noted previously, it is not the last of the songs that can be cited in supporting that statement.  ‘The Truth’ is one more song that shows the album’s strength.

‘The Truth’ shows All I See Is War’s strength in part through its musical arrangement, which — as with ‘Risen’ – can be likened easily to songs from Alpha and Next.  That is proven through its heavy, upbeat, guitar-driven arrangement.  It is a fitting finale for the album that shows once more, that while the band might have had some missteps in the forms of Chapter VII: Hope & Sorrow, Cold Day Memory and Black out The Sun, this album is Sevendust back on track and running at full steam.  The heavy, driving musical arrangement at the center of the song is just part of what helps its overall presentation.  Its equally scathing lyrical content adds to its power.  There is a lot of fire in this song’s energy – fire that plays once again into the album’s central theme of war in different ways as has been discussed by the band upon the album’s release.  Right from the song’s opening, that fire burns bright with Witherspoon singing so forcefully, “No more time for saving/What the hell did you give/What the hell did you do/Just more numb to waste it/You will men nothing/You will be nothing/One more tragic instant/Lost/Right underneath while you dream/We stay asleep now.”  From there, he asks, “Why does it always rain when I wanna see the sunshine/How come you never wanna play the game/Why does it always seem to fade when I wanna be defined/How come you never wanna try to say my name?”  The tension expressed in the chorus follows again from there, again leaving — while some room for interpretation – not too much room.  This song comes across lyrically as another type of war. A war between two people, one of whom has absolutely caused nothing but anger and frustration for the other, thus the song’s tense musical arrangement.  When the tension in that arrangement joins that in the song’s lyrical content, the whole is a song that is one of the album’s strongest and most notable entries, showing once more why this album is among the band’s best work.  When it is joined with the previously discussed songs and others not directly noted here, the end result is an album that is certain to impress Sevendust fans across the board.

Sevendust’s 12th full-length studio recording All I See Is War is a welcome return to form for the veteran hard rock band from Atlanta, Georgia.  After the release of Chapter VII, Cold Day Memory and Black Out The Sun, this record proves to be a welcome breath of fresh, heavy air from the band for fans.  As has been discussed here, that is proven in part through the seeming commentary of ‘God Bites His Tongue.’  It is a work that musically speaking, takes listeners back to Sevendust’s earlier records while its contemplative lyrical content is certain to generate plenty of discussion among listeners.  ‘Risen’ and ‘The Truth’ are more akin to more recent albums such as Alpha and Next.  Their lyrical content, which seems centered on personal “wars” between people adds even more to the record’s foundation.  The inclusion of ‘Medicated,’ Moments’ and ‘Cheers’ to the album strengthens that foundation even more.  Between that trio of compositions, the songs more directly noted here and those not discussed, the whole of All I See Is War is the Sevendust album for which so many fans (this critic included) have waited; An album that is easily one of the year’s top new hard rock albums.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on All I See Is War is available online now along with all of Sevendust’s latest news and more at:

 

 

Website: http://sevendust.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/sevendust

 

 

 

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The Empire’s Rise Continues Strongly On Its Sophomore Album

Courtesy: Rise Records

Today is May the fourth.  For most of us non-Star Wars fans, that doesn’t really mean much.  However, for those devout (some perhaps a bit overly devout), it means a bit more.  It is a day for those fans to publicly celebrate their love of Star Wars.  Of course, that is just because May the Fourth is a sound-a-like for the noted franchise’s famed quote, “May The Force Be With You.”  A clear vision leaves one wondering why Star Wars fans would make such a big deal over it all.  Either way, Rise Records is celebrating, too with the release of Galactic Empire’s sophomore album Episode II.  The 11-song collection of amped up alternate takes of John Williams’ compositions is a good way for those overly devout fans to celebrate their love of Star Wars not only today, but any day.  That is due in part to the album’s song list.  It will be discussed shortly.  The collected arrangements within those songs are just as important to the record’s whole as the songs, and will be discussed a little later. The album’s sequencing puts the final touch on its presentation.  Between that element and the others noted, all three elements collectively make Episode II a record that any Star Wars fan will welcome into his or her music library.

Galactic Empire’s sophomore album Episode II is a compilation that any truly devout Star Wars devotee will welcome in his or her music library regardless of May the Fourth or any other day.  That is due in no small part to the record’s featured songs.  The 11 songs featured in this recording, cover a respectable amount of the Star Wars franchise.  While maybe not as extensive as the representation presented in the band’s self-titled 2017 debut, it still at least makes an effort to not alienate audiences.  The Force Awakens is the most heavily represented of the Star Wars movies in this collection, with a total of four of its songs featured.  The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi each get two nods while Episode I and Episode II each get one nod alongside A New Hope, which also got only one nod.  Considering that so far nine full-length Star Wars movies have been released, and at least a 10th (Solo: A Star Wars Story) is on the way, one cannot deny the importance of the movies covered here.  The only movies not represented in this collection are Episode III, The Last Jedi and Rogue One.  Other than that, this compilation once again reaches back into Star Wars’ original trilogy, its prequel trilogy and even The Force Awakens.  Keeping this in mind, the record’s featured songs prove to be critical to its presentation as they pay homage to such a wide swath of the Star Wars canon.  This is something that any Star Wars devotee will appreciate about this record just as much as Galactic Empire’s 2017 self-titled debut.  It is of course only one of the album’s important elements.  The songs’ collective arrangements are critical in their own right to the album’s presentation.

Much as with Galactic Empire’s debut album, the arrangements featured here stay mostly true to their source material in their own presentations.  However, there are obviously some differences, considering that they are all amped up takes on the original compositions.  Case in point is the band’s take of ‘The Emperor.’  The original, which was included in the soundtrack of Return of the Jedi, is an impressively ominous composition that expertly sets the scene for the really big introduction of Emperor Palpatine to Luke.  Galactic Empire’s take on the song presents its own ominous tone, except in a much different fashion.  The band’s take on the song is a rather, death metal-esque arrangement complete with the blast beats, shredding and ominous overtones.  At the same time that it displays that death metal sound in its arrangement, it also still maintains that power metal sound which made Galactic Empire a fan favorite on the band’s debut album.  ‘Hyperspace’ is another interesting addition to the album.  Originally included in the Empire Strikes Back soundtrack, this take on the song offers an arrangement that is just as energetic as its predecessor.  At the same time, though, there are obviously some elements added to GE’s version not included in the original tune.  Even with that in mind, it is still an interesting addition to the album.  ‘Love Pledge and The Arena’ is yet another example of the importance of the arrangements presented here.  Unlike the original song, this version opens with the arena and never even addresses the Love Theme movement.  Rather, it sticks solely to The Arena.  Considering this, it is somewhat mis-titled.  Even keeping this in mind though, the band does a respectable job of reproducing the energy exhibited in its source material, even if the softer side of the movement is missing.  One could prattle on from here.  Suffice it to say that comparing the arrangements of these songs to their source material overall, the arrangements are still an interesting and important part of the compilation’s whole that don’t disappoint.  Considering this along with the songs themselves, the two elements do plenty to make this compilation another enjoyable collection for any truly devoted Star Wars fan.  Of course, even as important as they are to the album’s whole, they are not its only important elements.  The record’s sequencing puts the final touch to its presentation.

Episode II’s sequencing is critical to its presentation because it does just as much as the songs and their arrangements to keep listeners engaged.  From start to end, the album keeps its energy up thanks to the thought and effort put into its sequencing.  From the high-energy opener that is ‘March of the Resistance’ to the tense energy of ‘Hyperspace’ to the authoritative energy of ‘The Droid Invasion and Appearance of Darth Maul’ and beyond, the album’s energy never lets up too much at any given point.  That’s the case even as Rey is first introduced to audiences in ‘Rey’s Theme’ from The Force Awakens.  There’s a certain tense energy there, too, that is certain to keep listeners engaged thanks to the band’s take on the song.  Of course, the death metal approach of ‘The Emperor’ is more proof of the album’s continued energy.  Even if one isn’t a Star Wars devotee, this one will certainly have one’s head banging like the purest, black and death metal fan.  Even as the album comes to a close with its djent style riffs at the end of ‘The Battle of Yavin,’ it still doesn’t let up, only allowing the album to let off in its final few seconds.  Keeping this in mind, it should be clear just how much thought and effort was put into assembling Episode II’s sequence.  That thought and effort, Star Wars fans will agree, paid off just as much as the effort put into assembling the songs’ arrangements and picking the songs themselves.  Keeping all of this in mind, all three elements in whole prove to make Episode II another fan favorite among any Star Wars fan.

Galactic Empire’s sophomore album, aptly titled Episode II in tribute to the Star Wars franchise’s history, is another entry from the musical cosplay collective that is certain to impress the most devoted Star Wars fan.  That is evidenced in part through the songs selected for the record.  They cover a healthy amount of the Star Wars franchise.  The arrangements largely stay true to their source material while giving each original an interestingly amped up new take.  The sequencing of the whole puts the finishing touch to the album’s presentation.  Each element is important in its own way in showing why this 11-song record will impress Star Wars purists.  All things considered, they make Episode II a record that those purists will happily add to their music libraries.  It is available now in stores and online courtesy of Rise Records.  More information on Episode II is available now along with all of Galactic Empire’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.galacticempireofficial.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/galacticempireofficial

 

 

 

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

Galactic Empire Debuts Second Single From Forthcoming Album ‘Episode II’

Courtesy: Rise Records

Galactic Empire is giving audiences another preview of its new album.

The band, today, premiered ‘Rey’s Theme.’  The song is the second single from the band’s sophomore album, aptly-titled Episode II, which is due out May 4 via Rise Records.  It follows the recent release of the album’s lead single ‘Scherzo For X-Wing.’

‘Rey’s Theme’ stylistically is very similar to the songs exhibited in Galactic Empire’s self-titled debut and to ‘Scherzo For X-Wing.’  It is a very progressive metal style arrangement that once again bears quite the similarity to works from Powerglove and other similar acts, yet also stays true to its source material.

Pre-orders for Episode II are open now. The album’s full track listing is noted below.  More information on Episode II is available now along with all of Galactic Empire’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.galacticempireofficial.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/galacticempireofficial

 

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