Draiman, Device Far From Being Disturbed

Courtesy:  Warner Brothers Records

Courtesy: Warner Brothers Records

David Draiman is one of the most well known vocalists in the rock community today.  His animalistic sounding growls and seemingly Maynard James Keenan inspired vocal style make his a voice that is instantly noticeable when listeners hear it.  The problem is that just as Keenan’s side project, A Perfect Circle, was instantly compared to Tool because of Keenan’s iconic vocal style, so has Draiman’s new side project, Device, been compared to Disturbed.  While the first pair of tracks on Device’s self-titled debut do bear some semblance to material recorded by Disturbed, that similarity begins to fade early on.  The album’s third song, ‘Vilify’ has more of a pure rock sound.  Right from its opening verse, it impresses just as much lyrically as musically.  Draiman sings defiantly as the song opens, “As you vilify/Every single move that I make/And try to bind me/In your insanity/You’ll come to know/That you never had control/from the onset/Go find another lapdog, f***er.”  The defiance doesn’t stop here.  The verbal assault against those who would run their mouths seemingly just to run their mouths runs nonstop through the song with full on intensity that is sure to get the blood and body flowing.

If there was still any question of comparison to Disturbed even in ‘Vilify’, then those comparisons will be erased even more in the album’s very next song, ‘Close My Eyes Forever.’ Some might cringe at this, but it almost comes across as a ballad style piece, especially with the addition of vocalist Lzzy Hale (Halestorm) give it even more of that sense.  And if that’s not proof enough, one need only look at the song’s lyrical content as argument for that comparison.  Lyrically speaking, it comes across as a song of lost love.  Draiman and Hale sing here, “I know I’ve been so hard to you/I know I’ve told you lies/If I could have just one more wish/I’d wipe the cobwebs from my eyes.”  This one song isn’t reason for anyone to worry, as it’s the only time through the course of the album’s ten tracks that the album’s intensity drops off. 

The intensity built early on in Device’s self-titled debut picks back up not long after ‘Close My Eyes Forever.’  What’s more, as the intensity rebuilds through the album’s second half so does the separation of Device from Disturbed.  It all starts on ‘Out of Line.’  This socio-political piece offers a solid mix of electronics and heavy, foot-stomping, head banging guitar breaks that would make any metal purist proud.  And the inclusion of Serj Tankian’s (System of a Down) equally distinct vocal style adds even more musical flavor to this song.  One can’t ignore the addition of Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath) on this track, either.  The mix of music, star power, and lyrical heaviness makes it just one more of so many tracks from which listeners will be able to choose as a favorite.  The intensity and separation from the band members’ primary bands builds even more in ‘Opinion.’  The guest guitar work of Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine) is surprisingly unlike what Morello has recorded with his other side projects.  And it definitely helps to maintain this song’s identity from anything even remotely related to Disturbed.  It is one of those pieces that has to be heard to fully understand this.

If the guest appearances from Tom Morello, Geezer Butler, and Serj Tankian aren’t enough to convince listeners as to the identity of Device, then perhaps ‘War of Lies’ and the album’s closer, ‘Through It All’ will do the job.  The heavy bass and vocals from Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple) mixed with Draiman’s vocals make this one of the album’s more surprisingly interesting songs.  That’s because of the fact that the song starts off very slow and deliberate.  But a little more than halfway through the song, it picks up, and carries the listener up to the song’s final fading moments.  Those moments are just subtle enough to allow listeners to catch their breath after the musical rollercoaster on which they have just taken a ride.  And having caught their breath, any listener that went into this album thinking it would be just another Disturbed record will have seen that that belief was in fact completely wrong.  While it might have started out with some similarity to Disturbed, that similarity is soon erased, and a new band with a sound that bears only the slightest closeness to the prior arises.  It definitely turns out to be a record that any fan of Disturbed and any hard rock fan in general will want to check out at least once.   

Device is currently touring in support of its self-titled debut.  Among some of its more notable scheduled concert dates are performances at the “Welcome to Rockville” Festival on April 28th in Jacksonville Florida, the Carolina Rebellion Festival in Rockingham, North Carolina on May 4th, and the famed Rock on the Range Festival in Columbus, Ohio on May 19th.  The band has even more dates that audiences can find out about when they “Like” Device on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Devicetheband.  Audiences will also find a link to download the band’s album via iTunes on the Facebook page.  That link is http://smarturl.it/deviceitunes for those that may not be able to get to the band’s FB page.

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.

Rock on the Range Expands For 2013

Courtesy: MSO PR/Ashton-Magnuson Media

Organizers of the annual Rock on the Range music festival have made a big announcement.  The festival will expand in 2013.  The festival has typically been a two day event.  Next year, it will expand, adding one more day.  Organizers have announced that the festival will be a weekend long event, running from Friday, May 17th to Sunday, May 20th.  The festival will remain at the Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, OH. 

The official lineup for next year’s festival is still being firmed up at this time.  However, reports hint that some new very big name acts have been added to next year’s festival.  Pre-sale tickets for Weekend Field and Weekend Stadium will go on sale next Monday at 10am.  VIP packages, Hotel and ticket bundles, and Campaign packages will also be available.  They will be available beginning next Thursday, November 29th 10am.  Information on all packages as well as general admission ticket pre-sales is available online at http://www.rockontherange.com.  Fans can also keep up with all the latest news announcements regarding next year’s festival at http://www.rockontherange, and on the festivals’ official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/rockontherange and via Twitter at http://twitter.com/rockontherange

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

“Beneath The Scars” is 12 Stones’ best work yet

New Orleans, Louisiana based 12 Stones is likely one of the most underrated bands in modern mainstream music today.  Frontman Paul McCoy played a role in the debut hit from mega stars, Evanesence.  12 Stones also found a place on the soundtrack to the hit 2002 Dwayne Johnson movie, The Scorpion King.  And with three successful studio albums under its belt, one would think this band would be much more well known than it is.  With the release of its fourth full length studio, 12 Stones may have finally cemented its place in mainstream rock.

12 Stones’ new album, ‘Beneath the Scars’ is currently slated to be released May 29th via Texas-based Executive Music Group.  The band’s new album is the most rock solid (yes bad pun there) album that the band has released to date.  It opens with the hard rocking social commentary of ‘Infected.’  [Paul] McCoy sings on the album’s lead single, “I feel weak/I feel numb/Had enough/of this poison we’ve injected/living in this world infected.”  The song discusses how the state of things in the country and the world has really gone down.  He goes on to sing as part of the chorus, “Time is running out”, hinting that the world needs to change and soon.  It’s a statement that’s bold without being preachy.  Add in the guitar work of Eric Weaver, and the band has a great start to a great album.

The band hardly lets up after ‘Infected.’  From there, the band launches into the uplifting but equally rocking, ‘Bulletproof.’  This is one of those pieces that every listener will appreciate.  McCoy sings on this song, “The fight has made me stronger/I could never turn my back now/Don’t you point the finger/Your words no longer break me down/I’m finally taking over/The truth has surfaced all around/The days of going under/Have risen up and can’t be found.”  From there he breaks into the chorus singing, “love, hate, pride bottled up inside/let it go/gonna let it go!/I’m feeling superhuman/I’m invincible, I’m bulletproof/I’m on a revolution/I’m invincible, I’m bulletproof/Don’t you know I’m bulletproof?”  All said, it’s a great defiant, full throttle, adrenaline pumping anthem that tells would be bullies they won’t hold anyone down.  It’s the sort of anthem to which every listener can relate.

‘Bulletproof’ is only one of many positive songs on “Beneath the Scars.”  Listeners will also enjoy songs such as:  ‘That Changes Everything’, ‘I’m With You’, and ‘Only Human.’  These tracks add that much more enjoyment to the album.  They’re only part of what makes this album so enjoyable.  One of the biggest highlights is the explosive arena anthem, ‘Psycho.’  It’s one of those songs that will undoubtedly become a major hit of the band’s live shows.  Mccoy sings to audiences, “Join me if you dare/’cause we’re gonna leave the rest behind/I’m feelin’ so alive/losin’ all control/I can feel it in my soul/We can finally let it go/Everybody’s going psycho!”  Psycho here isn’t meant in a bad way.  McCoy is just saying he feels great and in turn, has so much positive energy.  It’s just a great positive arena rock anthem that will get any fan moving whether at home, at a party, or in the arena.  It would be no surprise if this song becomes one of the album’s many potential singles.  Any of the songs on this album could potentially be used as singles.  It is that well balanced both musically and lyrically. 

“Beneath The Scars” is 12 Stones’ best work to date.  The only deciding factor in how well this album does is whether or not it gets the support that it deserves from mainstream radio.  And that rests squarely on the shoulders of the programmers at the stations nationwide.  Regardless of whether or not said programmers give the album its deserved airplay, 12 Stones has made the wait worth it for its fans and audiences in general.

The band is currently out on tour, getting audiences pumped for the release of “Beneath The Scars.”  It’ll head through Broussard, Louisiana and Mobile, Alabama this weekend.  Next week sees the band resting up in preparation for its performance May 20th at the famed Rock on The Range Festival.  Fans in Syracuse, New York will get to see the band live on the 27th.  More dates are likely to be announced.  And fans who want to keep up with those potential dates can do so online at http://www.12stones.com, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/12stones and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/12stones.

The Darkness announce new album, tour

British rock band The Darkness is back with its third full length studio release.  It has announced that its new album, “Hot Cakes” will hit see a Summer release.  It is currently slated to hit stores August 21st.  The new album wil be released on Wind-Up records both in North and South America.  It will be released via PIAS throughout the rest of the world.

The band will also kick off its world tour to support the album beginning today in Australia.  The tour will take the band through a handful of dates down under before bringing the band stateside beginning May 18th.  The U.S. leg of the band’s tour will take it through eight cities.  It includes stops at the famed Rocklahoma Festival and the Rock on The Range Festival. 

Following its brief U.S. leg, The Darkness will head overseas with Lady Gaga for a twenty-six date tour of Europe.  To keep up with The Darkness as it prepares to span the globe, go online to http://www.theactualdarkness.com, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/thedarknessofficial, and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/TheDarkness.

Performance times announced for Rock on The Range

Rock on The Range, one of the year’s biggest music festivals, has announced performance times for bands on the bill this year.  The festival runs May 18th  – 20th.  It all kicks off Friday, May 18th with a performance of Hells Bells on the f.y.e. second stage.  The band will perform at 7:00p.m.  Black Tide, Foxy Shazam and Hairball will follow at 7:45pm, 8:30pm and 9:30pm, respectively.

The big show starts Satuday morning with a performance by Emphatic at 11:30am on the f.y.e. Second Stage.  Adelitas Way will open the Monster Main stage at noon.  Also playing this year’s main stage are:  Halestorm, Theory of a Deadman, Chevelle, Slash, Five Finger Death Punch, Shinedown, and Incubus.  Lots of other big names will be playing other stages at this year’s show including:  P.O.D., Cypress Hill, Cavo, and Bobaflex.

Sunday, May 20th will open with shows by Ghosts of August and Aranda at 11:30am on the Jagermeister Stage and f.y.e. Second Stage respectively.  They’ll be joined Sunday by:  Trivium, Attack Attack!, Down, Anthrax, SOil, James Durbin, 12 Stones, and Lacuna Coil.  Rob Zombie closes out the festival Sunday night on the Monster Main Stage.  He takes the stage at 9:45pm.

A small number of weekend and single day tickets are still available.  Rock on The Range is also offering a “4-pack Special” for $199 plus fees.  This pack includes a lower service charge than standard tickets.  For more information on this year’s festival, go online to http://www.RockonTheRange.com, http://www.facebook.com/rockonthernage, or http://twitter.com/rockontherange.