Lowery Falls Short In His Follow-Up To His Debut LP

Courtesy: Rise Records

Sevendust has, throughout the course of its now 26 years in existence, been considered to be one of the hardest working bands in the rock community.  That is because of the band’s seemingly nonstop touring and its studio product.  Founding member and guitarist Clint Lowery added to that reputation Friday when he released his new EP Grief & Distance.  The five-song record was released as a surprise to everyone, as there was no buildup ahead of its release.  According to information provided by publicists, the record is a collection of songs that Lowery recently wrote following the recent death of his mother and the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.  The record, whose release comes less than five months after the release of his debut solo album God Bless The Renegades, is an interesting new offering.  That is due in part to the basis of the songs, especially as it relates to the arrangements.  This will be discussed shortly.  The record’s makeup is another important factor to discuss.  It will be addressed a little later.  It is both a positive and a negative for the record’s presentation.  All things considered, the EP is an interesting new offering, but in the bigger picture of Lowery’s body of work, comes up short, but not necessarily in the worst way.

Grief & Distance is an intriguing new offering from Sevendust guitarist Clint Lowery.  The five-song EP, which was one of those surprise releases that artists put out from time to time, is a powerful new offering from Lowery.  The catch is that because it is such an emotionally impacting record, it is not a presentation that audiences will find themselves taking in on a regular basis.  As noted already, press releases distributed Friday about the EP’s release, cited Lowery as saying the three original songs that make up the bulk of the EP’s body were crafted in response to the passing of his mother and to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.  To its defense, it isn’t the first record of its kind to ever be released.  Plenty of other albums and EPs (and even movies) have been released over the years that require audiences to be in a certain mindset in order to be appreciated.  However, just as with those other releases, taking such an approach ultimately reduces the frequency of play.  Keeping that in mind, these very reserved, melancholy musical works prove ultimately to be problematic for the EP, but it doesn’t necessarily keep the album from being heard.  It just limits the frequency with which audiences will take in the EP.

As much as the EP’s arrangements make it problematic, the record’s makeup makes up for that issue, at least slightly.  To the positive, it can be said that the record does have at least three original songs versus its two alternate takes of songs from his debut LP.  In other words, the original make up more than half of the record’s body.  Adding even more to that discussion is the fact that the songs are, as noted, original works.  They are not just songs that did not make the final cut for God Bless The Renegades.  Had these songs just been previously recorded but unreleased songs, that would have been another negative, but thankfully that was not the case.  To that end, the record’s makeup actually does justify it as a viable EP.  It is the record’s main saving grace

While the record’s overall makeup is a positive in its bigger picture, there is still a concern with the makeup in another sense.  The concern is that all three of the originals and even the acoustic takes of the previously released songs are all very brooding, moody songs.  In a time in which people need some kind of hope (even if it is false hope), people need that comfort.  This brings everything full circle back to the earlier discussion on the mood of the songs.  Had Lowery chosen acoustic takes perhaps of some of his heavier material from God Bless The Renegades in place of the two songs featured here, it might have helped things.  The mood and tone of the two acoustic songs only continues the very melancholy mood that permeates the EP’s originals.  If he was trying to make up for that mood with these two extras, the attempt failed.  Keeping that in mind, it detracts from the record’s presentation that much more.  Keeping this in mind along with everything else noted here, the end result of Grief & Distance is that it makes itself a record from which listeners may find themselves putting some distance.

Clint Lowery’s surprise EP Grief & Distance is a work that will appeal to a very targeted, specific audience base.  That is due in part to the fact that Lowery crafted the album while he himself was in a very specific mindset.  That understanding help lead to an understanding about the fact that the songs are musically and lyrically very melancholy and brooding.  While the EP’s content will impact the size of its listener base, one good thing that can be said of this EP is that it does qualify as an EP considering its overall makeup.  Sadly though, that is its one positive.  The two alternate takes of songs featured in God Bless The Renegades detract from the record’s presentation even more in that they do little to offset the very melancholy feel and sound that runs throughout the record.  Between this matter and the EP’s overall mood and sound, it becomes a presentation that will find a difficult time resonating with audiences, save for those who are in the same mindset that Lowery was in crafting the record.  To that end, it is worth at least one listen, but sadly not much more than that.

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

 

 

 

Websitehttp://www.clintlowery.net

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/clintlowery.net

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/clintlowerynet

 

 

 

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.

Mark Morton Shines Again On His Second Solo Record

Courtesy: Rise Records

When Lamb of God guitarist Mark Morton released his debut solo album Anasthetic last March through Spinefarm Records, he more than showed the expanse of his musical abilities and interests.  The record, which joined Morton with a number of well-known names, such as the late Linkin Park front man Chester Bennington, Alter Bridge front man Myles Kennedy and ex Screaming Trees front man Mark Lanegan, showed Morton as a truly original and creative musician, not just one of the members of Lamb of God.  He followed up that successful offering this past January with his debut solo EP Ether.  The five-song EP, released through Rise Records, will get a second life of sorts June 19 when it is released on vinyl through Rise Records.  Regardless of whether one prefers vinyl, CD or even digital, the fact of the matter remains that Ether is a positive follow-up to Anasthetic.  That is due to the record’s musical and lyrical content.  Its penultimate song ‘Love My Enemy’ is one of the songs that serves to support the noted statement.  It will be addressed shortly.  The EP’s opener ‘All I Had to Lose’ is another way in which Ether shows its strength.  It will be addressed a little later.  Its follow-up ‘The Fight’ is one more way in which Ether shows its strength.  Together with the covers of The Black Crowes’ ‘She Talks To Angels’ and of Pearl Jam’s ‘Black,’ ‘The Fight’ and the other noted songs make Ether a wholly enjoyable follow-up to Anasthetic and one more of this year’s top new EPs.

Mark Morton’s debut EP Ether is a strong follow-up to his debut 2019 album Anasthetic.  Much with that album, this EP shows once again why he is more than just a member of Lamb of God, but rather a talented, creative musician in his own right.  That is evidenced in part through the EP’s penultimate song, ‘Love My Enemy.’  The song, which features vocals by Howard Jones (Killswitch Engage, Blood Has Been Shed, Light The Torch), presents an interesting musical arrangement.  The verses conjure thoughts of Alice in Chains, what with the layered vocal effect and the subdued guitar and drum lines.  The chorus however, boasts more of an Alter Bridge type of sound as the guitars and vocals step up.  The song’s bass line adds its own touch to the whole to make the work’s composition quite engaging and entertaining in its own right.  What is important to note here is the pairing of that duality in the song’s arrangement and its connection to the emotion and message in the song’s lyrical theme.  The song’s lyrical theme serves to make that reason for that juxtaposition clear.

Jones sings in the song’s lead verse, “Open wounds before the start/This is where we fall apart/It’s alright/Eternity can die today/It’s alright/It’s okay.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “We can greet the end alone/Sorrow needs an empty home/It’s alright/Years and pain can fade away/It’s alright/It’s okay.”  In the song’s third and final verse, “Jones sings, “There’s no replacing/The time we’re wasting.”  These verses are deeply introspective, needless to say.  That final verse is relatively clear, as it makes a statement about making the most of the time that we have.  The first and second verses meanwhile will generate their own hare of interest.  Maybe the lead statement of “open wounds before the start/This is where we fall apart” is a statement connected to the note of the wasted time.  It’s as if it is making a note about open wounds being a failure from the beginning.  The statement in the second verse years and pain being able to fade away seems to perhaps be a statement of hope, that the past can be just that.  This is of course all this critic’s own interpretation.  The song’s chorus adds even more impact to the song, as it comes across as perhaps someone battling with him/herself.  The chorus states, “I can’t live on memories/I can’ love my enemy/We cannot repair the past/A broken heart is made of glass/No, I can’t live on memories.”  This seems like someone who is torn with trying to overcome the thoughts of the past and look to the future.  It would explain why the song’s musical arrangement is so much more powerful in the chorus than the verses.  It would serve to illustrate the subject’s heightened emotion in this moment.  This leads the song’s more contemplative counter to those heightened emotions to make more sense along with its musical accompaniment.  Again this is all this critic’s own interpretation and should not be taken as gospel.  Hopefully it is somewhere close to being correct, though.  Keeping all of this in mind, the song’s lyrical content proves just as important as its musical content.  All things considered, the song in whole, with its engaging musical and lyrical content shows well on its own, why Ether is another strong offering from Mark Morton.  It is just one of the songs that serves to exhibit that strength.  ‘All I Had to Lose’ does its own part to keep listeners’ ears and minds.

‘All I Had to Lose’ is important to note because it presents its own unique identity separate from that of ‘Love My Enemy’ and the EP’s other songs.  The song’s fully acoustic arrangement is a radio ready composition that will connect easily to audiences.  The addition of Sons of Texas front man Mark Morales’ vocal delivery adds to that commercial viability for the opus.  The combination of those elements makes the song in whole a work that is comparable to works from so many mainstream rock bands.  The appeal created through the song’s musical arrangement will keep listeners engaged, and in turn, paying attention to the song’s equally engaging lyrical content.

The lyrical content featured in ‘All I Had to Lose’ generates its own engagement because of its own contemplative nature.  Morales sings in the song’s lead verse, “We were reckless for a season, now/Restless with a reason/I can’t tell/If we were victims of the vices/Or addicted to the crisis/Lived through hell.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “We laid with it/Dead and dying/Told ‘em all we were just trying/To be alive/Closed our eyes/I know that we could leave/The lies we didn’t want to leave behind.”  He adds in the song’s third and final verse, “Watched the colors fade away/Reached out by the sun/left her for another day/Prayed it would never come.”  The precise concept here is not clear at least to this critic.  It comes across as something of a statement about perhaps someone taking things for granted in life.  Whether that is in relation to a personal relationship or something else is up for discussion.  It would be interesting to learn the exact relation of that seeming message.  That Morales sings in the song’s chorus, “And when you came up for breath/I knew there wasn’t nothing left to do but choose/And everything I lost/Wasn’t much compared to all I had to lose” adds to the argument that the song’s lyrical theme is a personal message about taking for granted what one has in life.  Again, what exactly was being taken for granted – whether it be a personal relationship or something else – is something that is left for interpretation.  Either way, the fact that this seems to be the message makes the song’s musical content couple well with this half of the song’s content.  Taking everything noted here into account, the whole of the song shows even more why Ether will keep listeners engaged from start to end.  It is just one more way in which Ether proves its appeal.  ‘The Fight’ is one more way in which the EP shows its strength.

‘The Fight’ is an interesting addition to Ether.  That is due in part to its overall musical arrangement.  This composition is so starkly opposite of any of the other songs featured in this record.  The verses are distinctly subtle, but not necessarily reserved per say.  There is a certain Sevendust-esque sense to the song from the band’s more recent works, in listening closely to the arrangement.  The chorus meanwhile pack a little bit more of a punch, but it’s not a knockout punch.  Even in this case, there is a certain amount of control.  It makes for a very interesting listen.  It is not necessarily a radio ready work, but still is worth hearing.  That unique arrangement couples well with the song’s equally engaging lyrical theme, which comes across as one of those songs about someone driving along and having enough time to contemplate a lot of life matters.

Moontooth front man John Carbone provides the vocals for this song.  His vocal delivery is comparable to that of Sevendust front man Lajon Witherspoon as he sings in the song’s lead verse, “Thundering down the cold, dark desert road/It ain’t the miles you’re looking at/Ain’t the pavement you see/But its ghost/And all the trials that lay ahead/Yeah, it becomes your only friend.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Rumbling ground/It shakes from the load/the burden that you live to bear/Deafening sound, it rings in your soul/Make you forget what brought you here/Now the ending ain’t so clear.”  While the song’s musical arrangement doesn’t quite do so, this portion of the song leaves one making comparisons to Bob Seger’s hit song ‘Turn The Page.’  It seems to have that same kind of lyrical approach; someone on the road, lots of thoughts on the mind, etc. etc. etc.  It is an interesting sort of update, although it likely was not intended.  The comparison is strengthened even more as Carbone sings in the song’s chorus, “When you live for the fight for too long/You burn for the bloody way out/But the only hope for a victory/Is to learn to lay it down.”  It’s as if he is saying, even with all the thinking and things on a person’s mind, a person may want a certain outcome, but the outcome we want may not always be the best outcome.  Again, this is all this critic’s interpretation.   Hopefully it is in the proverbial ballpark.  That aside, all of this is sure to generate its own share of discussion among listeners.  Together with its accompanying musical content, the engagement and entertainment ensured through the song’s musical and lyrical content shows once more why Ether succeeds overall.  Together with the two covers that join this work and the EP’s two other originals, the record overall proves itself to be a complete work and a complete success for Morton and company.

Mark Morton’s recently released EP Ether is a strong follow-up to his debut solo album Anasthetic (2019).  That is because it continues to exhibit Morton’s talents as more than just another metal guitarist, but a widely-versed musician and songwriter.  That is evidenced through all three of the record’s original works and its two covers.  The musical and lyrical content in each original as well as the adaptation of the covers do well to support those statements.  All things considered, Ether can be considered in whole, to be one of this year’s top new EPs.

More information on Ether is available online now along with all of Mark Morton’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Websitehttp://markmortonmusic.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/markmortonmusic

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/MarkDuaneMorton

 

 

 

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 in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

‘God Bless The Renegades’ Is A Solid Solo Debut For Clint Lowery

Courtesy: Rise Records

Sevendust co-founder and guitarist Clint Lowery has spent the past two decades plus making quite the name for himself as a member of the Grammy® nominated hard rock band.  After spending so much time with the Atlanta, GA-based hard rock band, Lowery has struck out on his own for the first time this year with his debut album God Bless The Renegades.  Released Jan. 31 through Rise Records, the LP is a strong new effort from Lowery.  That is thanks to familiar and new musical arrangements that exhibit Lowery’s growth as an artist.  It is also thanks to lyrical content which will engage and entertain listeners just as much as the record’s musical content.  The album’s opener and title track is just one example of how the record’s collective musical and lyrical content plays into its appeal.  It will be addressed shortly.  ‘Kings,’ which comes early in the album’s run, is another way in which the album proves itself a strong solo debut from Lowery.  The album’s finale, ‘Do We Fear God’ is one more way in which the record proves itself so important to the album’s presentation.  When it is considered along with the other songs noted here and the rest of the album’s offerings, the whole of the record proves to be another early candidate for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

Clint Lowery’s solo debut record God Bless The Renegades is a positive offering from the longtime Sevendust guitarist and co-founder.  That is thanks to the record’s musical and lyrical content.  The album’s opener and title track is just one of the entries that support that statement.  The song’s musical arrangement instantly lends itself to comparisons to works that Lowery has composed as a member of Sevendust.  More specifically speaking, the heavy, crunching sound and the tempo lends itself to comparisons to works from the band’s sophomore album Home (1999).  It is instantly infectious and will certainly be a fan favorite.  It is just one part of what makes the song stand out, too.  Its companion lyrical content adds to its impact.

Lowery sings in the song’s lead verse, “What’s the meaning behind the broken heart/Watch your feelings/Try not to fall apart/I think we’re dying to play the victim card/You taste like chemicals/You are the one they want/What makes you feel good at the moment/What breaks you down/What makes you whole/Oh you know/You said it’s all the rage/Love dies and we relate/I hope you’re entertained/God bless the renegades/Let’s watch the superstars run from the cannibals/They think they’re gonna be saved/God bless the renegades.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “What’s the reason for the guilty one’s love/Go wash that blood off your hands/Oh, you won’t believe this/No matter what you are/We live like animals/And the cowards die alone/We die alone.”  He adds in the song’s third and final verse, “So tell me how do we change/We give ourselves away/No words can take the place/Beautiful lies we chase/Entirely erased.”  Lowery talked about the song’s lyrical content in a recent interview from the debut of the song’s lyric video.  He explained of the song, “I wanted to give thanks and praise to the people who step away from the ‘sheep’ mentality,” he said.  “The forward-thinkers and dreamers who create real change and evolution – the ones who don’t fear being different.”  Simply put, this song presents the tried and true topic of promoting individuality, which is a staple in rock music.  The fashion in which Lowery has approached the topic here lyrically is unique.  When it is coupled with the song’s familiar musical styling, the whole of the elements makes the song a strong start for Lowery’s new LP and an equally strong example of what make the album a positive solo debut from an already very accomplished musician.

‘God Bless The Renegades’ is just one of the songs that serves to show what makes Lowery’s solo debut such an engaging and enjoyable offering.  ‘Kings,’ which also comes early in the album’s 41-minute run, is another key example of what makes this record stand out.  The musical arrangement at the center of ‘Kings’ shows a slight hint of his work with Sevendust, but in larger part, there is more of a distinct, straight forward, mainstream rock sound.  That is evidenced in the song’s vocal harmonies and the general instrumentation.  It can be compared to works from so many bands out there, such as Finger Eleven, Default and Three Days Grace.  What is interesting in considering the song’s musical arrangement is that while the song’s mid-tempo arrangement is infectious in its own right, it doesn’t entirely match the song’s proudly defiant lyrical content, which focuses on overcoming diversity.  Typically such songs present much more fiery arrangements, but even despite that, this arrangement still works in its own right.

The message of the proud defiance is delivered in the song’s lead verse, during which Lowery sings, “I’m coming out breathing fire/You gotta love the thieves and liars/They’re hanging on every word/We’re tearing down the walls inside/We’re working up with dirt-filled eyes/And everyone knows it/Goes on and on and on again/Break it/Break it to see you can take it/Take it from me, you can make it/’Cause I’ll be right by your side/I’ve been through hell just for this/I’ve had my say/I found my way/Even though I came down for it/We’re dying at the bottom/But we lived like kings.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “I’m fighting off the angry hearts/They tear apart the things we love/I know you want blood/You can’t hide it/The worst part/We needed/The darkness, we feed it/The scars that you see/You know that it’s better to bleed.”  Again, here is that message of overcoming diversity and rising above, making the best of life regardless of the negatives.  This is a positive message that will resonate with audiences just as much as the song’s musical arrangement.  Both items together make the song in whole its own powerful presentation that once again, shows what makes God Bless The Renegades stand out.  It is just one more example of what God Bless The Renegades a positive debut from Lowery.  The album’s finale, ‘Do We Fear God’ is yet another example of the album’s strength.

‘Do We Fear God’ features an almost emo style arrangement at its core.  That is something that could not be farther from what Lowery has crafted as a member of Sevendust throughout his career.  It is a full on, melodic work that is the most stark departure possible from his signature style.  That is not necessarily a bad thing, either.  It shows his ability to handle more than just hard rock, and to do so successfully.  It meets with the song’s lyrical content quite well in its own way, too.

Lowery sings in the song’s lead verse, “The seconds taste like falling rain/It’s almost chemical/The dreams we chase/A nightmare race/We deem so critical/And I believe we’re all just scared/I see so much of me in them/The more we say, the less we grow/We use our words to close the doors/We’re in and out/We live and die/We breach the walls to save our souls/Do we fear God”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Would you ask my name/If my weathered face/Was less than beautiful/In this shallow place/We become the slaves/On a selfish pedestal/And I believe we’re all just scared/It takes so much from you to give/The less we say the more we hold.”  He adds in the song’s third and final verse, “We whisper something cruel/About everything and everyone/Am I the only one/I’m the only one/I’m not the only one.”  This is a relatively straight forward message.  Lowery is making a social commentary of sorts here, but in a more eloquent fashion than many other songs of its ilk.  It is addressing how selfish, self-centered and shallow we as a people have become.  When he notes that “the dreams we chase/A nightmare race/We deem so critical,” he is noting that we are chasing something inconsequential, adding “the more we say, the less we grow.”  That added note of asking if someone would talk to another person based solely on looks, that makes us the “slaves on a selfish pedestal.”  Again, Lowery has, here, presented another familiar lyrical topic that many groups and acts have crafted, yet he has done so in a unique fashion that stands out among its counterparts. When it is considered alongside its moving, companion musical arrangement, the whole of the song becomes one of the album’s most powerful works if not its most powerful in its subtlety.  When it is considered along with the other songs noted here and the rest of the album’s entries, the whole of the album shows Lowery has a bright future ahead of him whether it be with Sevendust, on his own or both.

Clint Lowery’s debut solo LP God Bless The Renegades is a positive new offering from the longtime Sevendust guitarist and co-founder.  That is due in part to its musical arrangements, which throw back to his work with Sevendust and show his own personal growth as a musician.  The album’s lyrical content is certain to keep audiences just as engaged as its companion musical content.  That is proven in part through all three of the songs featured here.  When they are considered along with the rest of the album’s entries, the album in whole becomes a solid solo debut for Lowery and a sign that his future as a solo artist is just as positive as it is with his band mates in Sevendust.  God Bless The Renegades is available now.  More information on the album is available online now along with all of Lowery’s latest news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.clintlowery.net

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/clintlowery.net

Twitter: http://twitter.com/clintlowerynet

 

 

 

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.

Galactic Empire Debuts ‘The Rise of Shredi’ Video

Galactic Empire is celebrating the alleged final chapter in the Star Wars Skywalker saga.

The band debuted the video for its Star Wars music compilation ‘The Rise of Shredi‘ Thursday.  The mashup features music taken from both of the theatrical group’s albums  Galactic Empire and its follow-up Episode II.

Courtesy: Rise Records

The completely tongue-in-cheek video for ‘The Rise of Shredi’ opens with one of the band members dressed as everyone’s favorite hated Star Wars character Jar Jar Binks walking up to the center screen, playing his guitar, before being utterly destroyed by Emperor Palpatine and a slew of other characters from the franchise.  At one point, a pair of stormtroopers tries to calm Palpatine down before he decides to run back and continue his wrath against Binks.

From there, audiences are presented with various shots of the band in full costume performing numbers, such as ‘Kylo Ren Arrives at The Battle,’ ‘The Emperor’s Theme and ‘Rey’s Theme.’  It is during ‘Rey’s Theme’ that audiences get one of the video’s biggest laughs, as a muscle-bound Kylo Ren, clad in only his helmet, tights and gloves, challenges Rey to a “shred-off” before the pair goes toe to toe in front of Palpatine.  The victor will be left for audiences to discover for themselves.  There is even a spoof of NBC’s karaoke contest The Voice incorporated into that scene.

The whole thing ends with a look back at the result of the attack on Binks, with Palpatine attempting (and failing) to play guitar next to Darth Vader as Binks lays lifeless on the ground.

More information on Galactic Empire’s new video is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/galacticempireofficial

Instagramhttp://www.instagram.com/galacticempireofficial

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.

Mark Morton Plots Release Of New EP, ‘Ether’

Courtesy: Rise Records/BMG

Mark Morton has another record on the way.

Morton, who spends most of his time with metal outfit Lamb of God, is scheduled to release his new EP Ether in January through Rise Records/BMG. The EP’s release date will be announced soon. The five-track record’s lead single ‘All I Had To Lose,’ which features a guest appearance by Mark Morales (Sons of Texas) is scheduled to debut Jan. 10.

The EP’s release comes almost a year after the release of his solo debut Anasthetic, which was released March 1 through Spinefarm Records.

Morton talked about the EP’s impending release in a recent interview.

“I’m thrilled to announce the upcoming release of my new, five-song EP Ether on Rise Records!,” he said.  “Once again I’ve had the great pleasure of working with some amazingly talented artists and friends to assemble this collection of tunes, all of which feature a strong acoustic guitar component.  Inspired by the acoustic sets I had the opportunity to perform last spring and summer in support of Anasthetic, I began writing some new songs to reflect that more mellow vibe.  I’m stoked with the results and I can’t wait for everyone to hear what we’ve been putting together.  I’ll be debuting these tunes on my upcoming U.K. acoustic tour, so you can hear them live before they’re released anywhere else!”

Morton also discussed working with Morales and the EP’s other guests — Lizzy Hale, John Carbone and Howard Jones — on the EP.

“I continue to be honored to have the chance to work with so many incredibly talented people and I remain beyond grateful to the fans that have come alongwith me and supported these projects.  Thanks so much, everyone!”

Ether‘s track listing is noted below.  The record was produced by Josh Wilbur (Lamb of God, Soulfly, Gojira).

Ether tracklisting:
1. All I Had To Lose (featuring Mark Morales)
2. The Fight (featuring John Carbone)
3. She Talks To Angels (featuring Lzzy Hale)
4. Love My Enemy (featuring Howard Jones)
5. Black (featuring Mark Morales)

The U.K. dates that Morton mentioned are listed below.

MARK MORTON UK tour dates:
1/8 – Bristol, UK @ Thekla
1/9 – Manchester, UK @ Academy 3
1/10 – Glasgow, UK @ Cathouse
1/11 – Birmingham, UK @ O2 Academy 2
1/12 – London, UK @ Camden Underworld

More information on Morton’s new EP, tour dates and more is available online at:

 

Websitehttp://markmortonmusic.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/markmortonmusic

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/MarkDuaneMorton

 

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 in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

 

 

 

‘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

 

 

 

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 at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

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

 

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.

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

 

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.

 

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

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.como/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.

‘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

 

 

 

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.