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

 

 

 

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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

 

 

 

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Gears Debuts ‘Stronger Than Pain’ Lyric Video

Courtesy: TAG Publicity

Independent hard rock band Gears debuted the video for its latest single over the weekend.

The band debuted the lyric video for its new single ‘Stronger Than Pain‘ Sunday.  The video features live footage of the band over which the lyrics for the song are superimposed. The band originally debuted the video for ‘Stronger Than Pain’ online through The Noise on May 1.

The song’s musical arrangement will appeal, much like its past works — ‘End This‘ and ‘Tango Yankee‘ and its cover of Living Colour’s ‘Cult of Personality‘ — to fans of Sevendust.

The song’s lyrical content delivers a theme of perseverance through life’s obstacles, according to a statement from Gears drummer Jimmy Wooten.

“We’ve actually been sitting on this song for a while now,” he said.  “With everything happening in the world today, it just seemed that now would be a good time to unleash it.  It’s meant to be a battle cry that empowers us and says, ‘We will overcome anything that comes our way.  We are stronger than everything we face.’  I think it’s more fitting now than we would like to admit.  We all hope everyone is staying safe, healthy and strong.”

‘Stronger Than Pain’ is scheduled for release May 8 on all digital platforms.  Audiences can pre-order/pre-save the song here.

Gears was founded in February 2014 by Trip 6, Eli Parker, Tommy Herres and Jimmy Wooten.  After its founding, the band released its debut EP Set In Motion in May 2014.  Some time later, the band parted ways with Parker, who had played guitar with the band, and replaced him with Bobby Thomas.

June 2015 saw work start on the band’s sophomore EP Pride Comes Before The Fall.  the band teamed up with guitarist Corey Lowery (Stuck Mojo, Saint Asonia, Stereomud, Dark New Day) and Troy McLawhorn (Evanesence, Seether, Dark New Day) for the EP along with Thomas and fellow new member Chris Dorame.

Following a run on the Riser Tour with I-Exist, the band debuted the lyric video for the EP’s lead single ‘Face Down.’  Its debut was followed by the EP’s release on Nov. 10, 2015.

Gears wasted little time releasing new music from there, debuting the video for another new single, ‘King,’ on Feb. 23, 2018.

Gears’ current lineup is composed of Trip Six (vocals), Jimmy Wooten (drums), Josh Routt (bass) and Jack Andred (guitar) according to information on its official Facebook page.  The band is in the studio now with Lowery, working on more new music.

All of the band’s latest news is available online at:

 

Website: http://www.gearsofficial.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/OfficialGears1

 

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ITM’s Seventh LP Not As Lucky As It Could Have Been

Courtesy: Atlantic/Roadrunner Records

Goth metal outfit In This Moment has, over the course of its life, proven to be a hit among the metal masses.  The band has released six largely well-received and successful albums and toured with some of the biggest names in the rock and metal community.  The band hoped to continue that success when it released its seventh album Mother on March 27.  The result has been the exact opposite with this album, though.  This 14-song record has proven to be the band’s most divisive record yet.  The reason being the band has clearly gone in a starkly different direction this time out than the band’s previous works.  That direction in question is what comes across as a much more mainstream direction.  Gone are the shredding guitars and powerhouse vocals that came to be a trademark of the band’s past albums.  They have been replaced by lots of electronics that at times lead to comparisons to work from the likes of Linkin Park at some points, to thoughts of Korn at others and even other well-known nu-metal acts at others still.  It goes without saying in listening to this record that it is hardly the band’s best album, but at the same time, the band should be applauded for taking a risk and changing things up.  The album is not a complete failure, though.  Late in the record’s 54-minute run, the band gives audiences something at least slightly memorable in the form of ‘God is She.’  This work will be discussed shortly.  ‘As Above So Below’ is another of the works that stands out in this record.  It will be addressed a little later.  ‘The In-Between’ is one more of the record’s most notable entries.  It will also be addressed later.  All three of the songs noted here are interesting work in their own right.  When they are considered along with the rest of the album’s works, the end result becomes an album that while clearly not the band’s best work, is still worth at least one listen.

In This Moment’s latest full-length studio recording Mother is an intriguing new offering from the veteran goth-rock outfit.  That is because stylistically speaking, it is such a stark departure from the band’s previously releases.  Rather than being the decidedly loud, shredding work that those albums were, the band largely opts here for a darker, more brooding approach for the majority of the band’s now seventh album.  While that approach makes up the majority of the album, the album does not stick to just that approach throughout.  There are some heavier moments, such as in ‘God Is She,’ which comes late in the album’s run.  The song’s arrangement does start with the noted brooding approach, but that approach is only used in the opening bars of the song.  Roughly 35 seconds into the song, the song goes full goth-metal, with  heavy, crunching guitars and eerie piano line.  The addition of the more melodic sound of front woman Maria Brink’s vocal delivery rounds out the whole to make this arrangement stand out even more.  The whole of the noted elements makes the song’s arrangement stand out as one of the album’s best compositions, if not the record’s best work.

As much as the song’s musical arrangement does for its presentation, it is just one part of what makes the song stand out against its counterparts.  The song’s lyrical content, set against that musical content, makes the song that much more engaging for listeners.  Bring sings in the song’s lead verse, “I am the God and the devil around you/I am the heaven and the hell you crave/I am the queens and the kings that you bow to/I am the name written on your grave/I am the sun that you bask and feed on/I am the moon that you howl to/I am the daydream bringing faith and conviction/I am the nightmare that you’ve been crawling through/So watch as I set fire to everything/Watch as I burn down everything/Anything/Watch as I destroy you/Watch as I turn into God/Watch as she/Watch as she turns into me.”  She continues in the song’s second verse, “I am the righteous/The touched and holy/I am the voodoo that you want to believe/I am the angels that hold and surround you/I am the demon you’re afraid to need/I am the temple that will bless and feed you/I’m the religion keeping you in chains/I am the cure that you pray will find you/I’m the disease running through your veins.”  This comes across as a female empowerment piece, all things considered.  The very note of “God is she – she is god” in the chorus refrain, along with all of the empowering other statements about burning it all down and essentially being the best and worst of all things, of being that which can give joy and which can give pain, is very powerful.  There is a lot of metaphorical language here, but at least in this critic’s mind, the metaphors come across as the noted statements of giving women a certain strength.  Going back to the song’s musical arrangement, the fire in that content couples with this seeming pro-female message to make this a work that lots of audiences will appreciate.

‘God Is She’ is just one of the works featured in this record that proves the album is worth hearing at least once.  ‘As Above So Below’ is another of the album’s most notable works.  The song’s musical arrangement boasts some of the fiery energy that made the band’s past works such appealing works, yet it goes in a decidedly different direction than those works this time out.  This arrangement is far more accessible for mainstream audiences, with its electronic elements and up-tempo aggro-metal sound.  The up-tempo arrangement boasts elements that make it comparable to songs from the likes of Linkin Park, Rob Zombie and even Sevendust.  Yes, that sounds like quite an odd combination of sounds, but it works here. When it is considered alongside the song’s lyrical content, which presents a seeming social commentary, the song in whole becomes even more powerful.

Brink notes at one point in the song’s chorus refrain what is the most telling portion of the song, “As above, so below/What you reap is what you sow/What you give come back three fold/As above, so below.”  That is pretty much the primary statement of this song.  It is complimented in the song’s lead verse as Brink sings, “I won’t lie/It’s quite tempting/Your handouts and your bones/I wont’ lie/They’re quite empty/Your promises and your stones/If you sell, they’ll buy/Don’t feel, just sign/If you sell, they’ll buy/Don’t think, stay blind/Give me control/Sign on the dotted line/Give me the control/She whispered softly/Give me the control/You’re crawling inside my mind/Give me the control/Don’t you fight me.”  She adds later in the second verse, “Watch me float away/I was never yours to save/It all comes back three fold/As above so below.”  This comes across as a seeming message of a person getting what a person gives.  That is illustrated in the statements about buying and selling, and doing things without thinking about the consequences.  It’s as if Brink is making a statement that whether a person tries to lie to others or lets one’s self be lied to, the consequences will happen.  Again, this is merely one interpretation.  Hopefully it is close to being correct.  The very fact that these lyrics can even generate discussion on such a topic (and discussions in general) shows the importance of said content.  When that seeming message about being aware of the consequences of our actions is coupled with the song’s mainstream radio friendly arrangement, it proves in whole to be another key addition to Mother.  It is not the last of the album’s most notable works.  ‘The In-Between’ is one more of the songs featured in this album that shows it deserves to be heard at least once.

‘The In-Between’ is another nu-metal style opus that might surprise audiences.  Once again, the comparison to works from Linkin Park is distinct.  One could even argue that the song’s arrangement also boasts a comparison to works from Otep.  This might turn off some audiences, while it might appeal to others, especially considering it is a direction that the band has not previously taken.  Again, that the band was willing to take the risk to go in such direction is to be applauded, simply because it is not an approach that the band is known for taking.  The emotional theme in the song’s lyrical content couples with the song’s aggressive musical content to strengthen its presentation even more.

Brink sings in the song’s lead verse, “My mother said that I was holy/My father said that I would burn/My mother said I was an angel/My father said that I would turn/So I believed these words and I turned on myself/’Cause maybe he’s right/maybe I’m worthless/Or maybe he’s wrong and my mother was right/I got a killer in me to give me purpose/Oh, I can feel a holy war/I can feel a holy war within/No, I can’t take a holy war/No, I can’t take a holy war again/Is this what you wanted/I’m gonna bring a little hell/I’m gonna bring a little heaven/You just keep wanting more/With your blood and your whore/I’m gonna bring a little hell/I’m gonna bring a little heaven/It’s a beautiful tragedy/You wanna be sick like me/’Cause I bring a little hell.”  She continues in the song’s second verse, “I was told that I was nothing/yet I was told that I was so pure/And I was told that I was dirty/yet I was told I was the cure/I ask myself am I God or s***/Am I the high, the low/I’m f****** worth it/And I ask myself/Am I love or hate/You are the reason why I have and why I can’t quit.”  There is little doubt as to what is being addressed here.  This is someone who has gone through a difficult childhood, which is, of course, a familiar lyrical theme of so much rock music.  That aside, it still hits hard here.  That is especially the case as the theme is accompanied by the song’s musical content.  The whole of those elements makes the song that much more notable.  When it is considered with the other two works addressed here, the trio shows without doubt that while Mother may not be the *ahem* mother of all albums from In This Moment, it is not a total loss.

In This Moment’s latest full-length studio recording Mother is a work that is a loss at least for the moment for In This Moment, but not a total loss.  It is a work that despite falling short in taking its risk, still has some positive points, as pointed out here.  Keeping all of this in mind, the album will appeal to In This Moment’s most devoted fans.  In the same vein, more casual fans will find it worth at least one listen.  It is available now.  More information on the album is available online along with all of In This Moment’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.inthismomentofficial.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/OfficialITM

 

 

 

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‘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

 

 

 

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‘Retaliation’ Is A Strong New Musical “Strike” From Hyvmine

Courtesy: Seek & Strike Records

Hard rock band Hyvmine has made quite the impact on the music community since it released its debut album Earthquake in 2017. In the short time since its release, the band – Al Joseph (guitar, vocals), Bill Gerrity (drums), Alon Mei-Tal (guitar) and Chris Joseph (bass) – has continued to carve out its own place within the music community (and more specifically the hard rock community).  The band’s upcoming third full-length studio recording Retaliation serves to continue that impact through its heavy riffs and thought-provoking lyrical themes.  This is proven in part early on in the form of ‘Life in Fire.’  This addition to the album will be addressed shortly.  ‘Imitator,’ shows in its own way why Retaliation maintains Hyvmine’s success, and will be discussed a little later.  ‘Assassins’ is one more example of how Retaliation continues to show the collective talents of Hyvmine’s members.  When they are considered along with the remainder of the album’s entries, the end result is a record that proves in whole once again, that Hyvmine is one of the leading names in the next generation of hard rock.

Hard rock outfit Hyvmine is without question one of the leading names in the next generation of hard rock.  The band has already proven that over the course of its past two albums.  Its recently released third album Retaliation supports that statement even more, with its heavy musical arrangements and its equally powerful lyrical themes.  ‘Life in Fire,’ which comes early in the album’s 40-minute run is just one of the songs that serves to support the noted statements.  The song’s musical arrangement almost instantly lends itself to comparisons to the best works of Sevendust.  That is due to its heavy, crunching guitars and equally strong sounds from the drums, and front man Al Joseph’s vocal delivery.  Chris Joseph’s work on bass joins with the other noted elements to make a whole that is easily one of this record’s most notable arrangements.  The song’s musical arrangement is only one part of what makes it notable.  The song’s lyrical content adds its own share of interest to the song’s whole.

Al Joseph sings in the song’s lead verse, “You said something to me about live and learning/Oh, but you chose to take the back way while I was burning/Hey, don’t you see/How I’ve listened to your every word/Oh, and the fire that once consumed me/Has made its turn for the last time now.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “I buried my pain beneath distant nightmares/It ain’t about where I’ve been/But how I got there/Oh, don’t you see how I’ve been been forged in your every wake/Oh, endlessly I’m cleaning up for your past mistakes/For the last time now.”  He is joined by his band mates in the song’s chorus, in which the group collectively sings, “A day in the life/You would be looking for nothing/A life in the fire won’t be taken away from me/It’s time to face that fire.”  This collection of lyrics seems (this is only this critic’s own take) to hint at perhaps a story of someone recounting the trials and tribulations that he has faced through his life and realizing that despite the negativity that he has endured, he would not change it.  This is inferred as Joseph notes, “A day in the life/You would be looking for nothing/A life in the fire won’t be taken away from me.”  It almost seems like metaphorical language for the old adage that what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger, and what this song’s subject has gone through has made him that much stronger.  That is inferred even more as Al screams right after the song’s break, “Why don’t you know/It’s taken away, but I need to work harder/I’m facing defeat, but I need to work smarter.”  Considering all of this, the song can lyrically be inferred to be a work  that encourages people to not give up, even in life’s most difficult times.  Rather, people should use their negative experiences to become better, overcome and persevere.  When this is considered along with the song’s musical fire (no pun intended), the whole of the song’s musical and lyrical content makes the song in whole a powerful statement from Hyvmine in its latest recording.  It is just one of the album’s most notable entries, too.  ‘Imitator,’ the album’s latest single, is another of its most notable additions.

‘Imitator’ stands out in part because of its musical arrangement in that this arrangement boasts more of that previously noted Sevendust influence, but also boasts something else.  One could argue that there’s a bit of a Breaking Benjamin influence evidenced in this song’s arrangement as well as maybe even a light Alice in Chains influence in the stylistic approach to the vocals at times.  At the same time, there is a moment in the song’s bridge that conjures thoughts of Dry Kill Logic.  Yes, it seems like quite the amalgam of influences, but that complexity somehow works here and, in the end, makes this arrangement one more of the album’s most notable compositions.  The song’s composition is, of course only one portion of what makes it stand out.  The song’s lyrical content will appeal to a wide range of listeners, too.

The lyrical content presented in ‘Imitator’ will appeal to a wide range of listeners as it seems to center on the issue of a broken relationship, but in this case perhaps not a romantic, but personal relationship.  This is inferred as Joseph sings in the song’s lead verse, “Fear setting in beneath my skin beneath my skin/This twisted feeling/Caught up in the act again/Betrayed by my blood/My closest friend.”  As he continues in the song’s second song, the song’s subject seems to come to terms with the situation, but will not let the situation hold him down.  That is inferred as he sings, “This chapter ends/Closure begins/I’m taking over/Caught up in the act again/betrayed as another means to an end.”  That sense of determination as the song’s subject sings in the song’s chorus, “What is love without meaning/What is peace without feeling/I’m just getting this feeling you’re imitating/What is life without devotion/What is heart without motion/All these games that you play/I just can’t get it right.”  He continues in the song’s bridge, “Walls are closing down (this is the final act)/Crashing to the ground/How will you live knowing I’m not around/I’m taking control, now where will you go/It’s too late/Now your apologies can hit the f****** wall/Hit the road.”  Simply put, this is someone who has had a lot of wrong done to him, but is through letting it happen.  The song’s musical arrangement, set alongside this seeming concept, makes the song in whole a deeply emotional work that is certain to connect with a wide range of listeners.  That very real impact shows just as much as ‘Life in Fire’ why Retaliation is another strong offering from Hyvmine.  It is definitely not the last of the album’s most notable songs.  The album’s closer, ‘Assassins,’ which is also the album’s latest single, is yet another example of what makes the album stand out so positively.

‘Assassins’ stands out in part – just as the previously discussed songs – because of its musical arrangement.  Once again here, the Sevendust influence is clear and present.  At the same time, there’s a certain agro-rock feel that lends itself to comparisons to works from Staind and other similar acts while also featuring a bridge that resurrects the band’s familiar progressive metal roots.  One might not think that such a combination of genres would work together, but once again, the band managed here to make it work.  When it is coupled with the song’s lyrical content, the song in whole proves even more appealing.

The lyrical content exhibited in ‘Assassins’ is certain to generate just as much discussion among listeners as the song’s musical arrangement, if not more so.  That is because of its deeply metaphorical nature.  Joseph sings in the song’s lead verse, “Welcome to the sanctuary/Come honor all that fell before/We’ve sharpened the blades we carry/We’re washed up on these bloody shores/Hold steady in place/the order that I give/We’re ready/We’re taking back the way we live.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Welcome to the mortuary/You’ve never seen this place before/legend as they speak/Be wary/Will shake you right down to the core.”  Joseph’s band mates join him in the song’s chorus, singing, “I’ve never wanted the blood you shed/I only wanted to chase the dead/I’m cutting you down for my sake/I’m spilling the blood as you wake/Forget all the prayers that you make/I’m sure you’ve heard I’m your assassin.”  Again, this is some very deep metaphorical language that even this critic cannot immediately decipher.  Keeping that depth in mind, it in itself is certain to generate plenty of discussion among listeners.  When the discussions generated by the song’s lyrical content is coupled with the enjoyment and discussion that the song’s musical arrangement will generate, the whole of the song proves even more clearly why it is one more of Retaliation’s most important songs.  When it is considered along with the other songs addressed here and the rest of the album’s works, the whole of Retaliation proves to be a strong new musical strike from Hyvmine.

Hyvmine’s third full-length studio recording Retaliation is another strong offering from the up-and-coming hard/progressive rock band.  It is a work that shows this band is definitely one of the next big names of the next generation of rock in general.  That is evidenced through 11 songs that show a definitive stylistic change of pace for the band.  The three songs discussed here are just a small example of that change.  The lyrical content featured throughout the album is just as certain to generate some interest among listeners.  The album in whole proves to be a step in a strong, positive direction for the band that is a strong new musical strike from Hyvmine.  The album is available now.  More information on Retaliation is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.hyvmine.com

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

 

 

 

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Sevendust, Skillet Announce Co-Headlining Tour

Courtesy: Atom Splitter PR

Skillet and Sevendust will embark on a co-headlining tour this summer.

The bands will launch the “Victorious War” tour Aug. 11 in Memphis, TN.  The tour, which runs almost one month in length, features performances in cities, such as Spokane, WA; Cincinnati, OH and Tulsa, OK.

Pop Evil and Devour The Day will serve as support for the tour on select dates. The tour’s schedule is noted below.

SKILLET + SEVENDUST ON TOUR:
WITH POP EVIL + DEVOUR THE DAY:

8/11 — Memphis, TN — Minglewood Hall
8/13 — Richmond, VA — Virginia Credit Union Live!
8/14 — Lancaster, PA — Freedom Hall
8/16 — Cincinnati, OH — PNC Pavilion at Riverbend
8/17 — Indianapolis, IN — The Lawn
8/18 — Peoria, IL — Peoria Riverfront
8/20 — Clear Lake, IA — Surf Ballroom
8/21 — Springfield, MO — Complex
8/24 — Salt Lake City, UT — The Complex
8/25 — Boise, ID — Revolution Center*
8/27 — Spokane, WA — Knitting Factory*
8/28 — Seattle, WA — Showbox Sodo
8/30 — Reno, NV — Grand Sierra Resort
8/31 — Las Vegas, NV — House of Blues
9/1 — Los Angeles, CA — Wiltern
9/2 — Phoenix, AZ — Marquee
9/4 — Tucson, AZ — Rialto Theater
9/6 — Houston, TX — Warehouse Live Ballroom
9/7 — Tulsa, OK — Brady Theater**
*No Pop Evil
**No Sevendust

Tickets for the tour go on sale at 10 a.m. local time Friday.  Pre-sale tickets are available here.

Skillet front man John Cooper talked about the tour in a recent interview.

“We’re thrilled to be touring with Sevendust,” Cooper said.  “The lineup is incredible and I think the fans will be very happy.  We can’t wait to play our new songs on the tour and connect with the Panheads out on the road.

The new songs to which Cooper referred are songs from the band’s as  yet untitled new record.  A full announcement on the record is scheduled for May 7.

Sevendust front man Lajon Witherspoon shared Cooper’s enthusiasm for the tour in a separate interview.

“We are looking so forward to touring with Skillet,” Witherspoon said.  “What an amazing band — these shows are going to be amazing.  We can’t wait to share the stages with them.”

Sevendust’s new tour schedule announcement as the band wraps its current Australian tour.  That tour ends April 30 in Pert, Australia.  After a few days to rest and recharge, the band will head back to the U.S. for an almost three-week tour that launches May 5 in Atlanta, GA.  That run runs through May 24 and features performances in cities, such as Council Bluffs, IA; Silver Springs, MO and Louisville, KY.

Skillet is currently wrapping its own European tour schedule.  That tour winds down Sunday in Rostov-Na-Donu, Russian Federation.  the band will head back to the U.S. starting May 4 at the Welcome to Rockville Festival in Jacksonville, Fla.

Pop Evil is currently in the midst of its own North American tour while this summer’s tour will be just the latest for Devour The Day.  Pop Evil’s current tour schedule also features a string of dates with Disturbed in July before the band joins Devour The Day, Sevendust and Skillet for the “Victorious War” tour.

Sevendust will be touring in support of its most recent album, All I See Is War (2018). Skillet’s performances are in support of its 2017 album Unleashed.

Pop Evil’s performances are in support of its 2018 self-titled album.  Devour The Day joins the tour in support of its 2018 album Signals.

More information about Sevendust’s upcoming dates is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.sevendust.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/sevendust

 

More information on Skillet’s tour schedule is available online along with all of the band’s news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.skillet.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/skilletmusic

 

More information on Pop Evil’s run with Sevedust is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.PopEvil.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/popevil

 

More information on Devour The Day’s upcoming dates is available online along with the band’s latest news at http://www.facebook.com/devourtheday.

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Gears Premieres ‘Tango Yankee’ Video

Courtesy: TAG Publicity

Hard rock band Gears recently released the video for its new single.

The band debuted the video for ‘Tango Yankee’ on April 6 at tattoo.com.  The song features guest vocals from Sevendust front man Lajon Witherspoon. Witherspoon also took time to appear in the song’s companion video.

Gears drummer Jimmy Wooten said in a recent interview that the song is effectively a tribute to America’s military and emergency service personnel.

“With ‘Tango Yankee,’ we just really wanted to write something dedicated to several members of our families that have served in the military, law enforcement and first response,” Wooten said.  “We really wanted this to be special, so getting one of our favorite vocalists from one of our favorite bands was very exciting and made this track just that — special.  Lajon came in and absolutely crushed the track vocally.  I really love the way it turned out.  Trip [Six] — Gears front man — and LJ complimented each other so well. Put that together with Clint’s epic solo, and of course Corey [Lowery] at the helm, this really turned out something spectacular.  I believe that the thought behind the song is something that most Americans can relate to, as many of of have or have had loved ones who serve.  Maybe even a little something that can get us all past all of our political disagreements unify, recognize the sacrifice and just say a simple ‘Thank You’ to all those who fight for our freedom, protect us and keep us safe.”

More information on Gears’ new single and video is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.gearsofficial.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/officialgears1

 

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Lullwater Touring With Sevendust; Debuts New Video

Courtesy: TAG Publicity

Lullwater debuted its latest music video this month

The independent Georgia-based band debuted the video for its latest single ‘Empty Chamber‘ on Feb. 8.  The video, which originally debuted at Consequence of Sound, features the band performing its new single in the studio and crosses that with footage of the band at work on both sides of the glass in-between.

In regards to its musical arrangement, the song will appeal to fans of bands, such as Buckcherry, Stone Temple Pilots and Small Town Titans.  The song’s lyrical content focuses on a familiar topic, according to front man John Strickland.

“We all have experienced and been in a moment of excruciating emotional pain, and ‘Empty Chamber’ was written during one of those moments,’Strickland said.  “The song has an upbeat tempo and happy melodic vibe, but the lyrics are depressing and filled with anxiety.  Sometimes everything in life can be going great, but you still struggle with emotional pan and confusion.  I feel ‘Empty Chamber’ embodies that emotion.”

‘Empty Chamber’ is taken from Lullwater’s most recent album Voodoo, which was released Feb. 1.  The record is the band’s third full-length studio recording and fourth overall recording. Its track listing is noted below.

Track List:
1. Curtain Call
2. Dark Divided
3. Empty Chamber
4. Similar Skin
5. This Life
6. Godlike
7. Buzzards
8. Fight Of Your Life
9. Into The Sun
10. Yellow Bird
11. Suffer Not

The band released its self-titled debut album in 2012.  It was followed up by the LP Revival in 2015 and the band’s debut EP The Seattle Sessions in 2017.  That EP was a live recording from the band.

Lullwater is currently promoting Voodoo as it supports Sevendust on its headlining tour in support of its latest album All I See Is War (2018).  Cane Hill, Tremonti and Kirra are also serving as support on the tour.  The tour’s current schedule is noted below.

02/16 @ Starland Ballroom – Sayreville, NJ
02/18 @ Toads Place – New Haven, CT
02/19 @ The Chance Theater – Poughkeepsie, NY
02/20 @ The Rapids Theater, Niagara Falls, U.S.A. – Buffalo, NY
02/22 @ The Machine Shop – Flint, MI
02/25 @ Newport Music Hall – Columbus, OH
02/26 @ House of Blues Chicago – Chicago, IL
02/27 @ The Blue Note – Columbia, MO
03/01 @ The Cotillion – Wichita, KS
03/02 @ Diamond Ballroom – Oklahoma City, OK
03/03 @ VIBES Event Center – San Antonio, TX

Tickets are available here.

More information on Lullwater’s tour, music and more is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.lullwatermusic.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/lullwatermusic

 

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.

 

TesseracT Claims Top Honors In Phil’s Picks’ 2018 Top 10 New Hard Rock & Metal Albums List

Courtesy: Kscope records

This year has been a truly productive time for the metal community.  Veteran acts, up-and-comers and even the underground have produced offerings that have given the metal masses more than enough reason to put their horns in the air all year long.  The most notable acts who have released standout albums this year include, and are not limited to  from All Hail The Yeti, Judas Priest and Artillery just to name a few bands.

Keeping this in mind, rock and metal critics the world over will have to agree that developing a list of the year’s top new hard rock and metal offerings was a monumental task.  That was especially the case for this critic.  This critic’s list of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums features new albums from bands from both sides of the Atlantic and from the mainstream and the underground.

Taking the top spot in this year’s list from Phil’s Picks is none other than the British prog-metal outfit TesseracT, Sonder.  The band’s latest offering is both musically and lyrically a truly in-depth offering that holds its own in the metal community and the prog community.

Second place this year goes to Florida’s own Nonpoint.  The band’s aptly-titled is a powerhouse offering from the veteran hard rock band that shows Nonpoint as a band at the top of its game both musically and lyrically.

Judas Priest takes the bronze this year with its new album Firepower.  This one was not an easy choice to make, as Nonpoint, Judas Priest and TesseracT are all outstanding bands in their own right.  Firepower harkens back to some of Judas Priest’s best work from days long gone, and is such a welcome album.  With lyrics that pay tribute to the military, that make a bold statement of standing up for one’s self and more, it is that much stronger, so it was not with ease that the album ended up in third.

Also featured in this year’s list are new albums from Artillery, All Hail The Yeti and Soulfly just to name a few more. As always, the top 10 albums are the main list while the five that follow are all honorable mention titles.  With all of this in mind, here is Phil’s Picks 2018 Top 10 New Hard Rock and Metal Albums.

PHIL’S PICKS 2018 TOP 10 NEW HARD ROCK & METAL ALBUMS

  1. TesseracT — Sonder
  2. Nonpoint — X
  3. Judas Priest — Firepower
  4. Between The Buried and Me — Automata
  5. Soulfly — Ritual
  6. Sevendust — All I See Is War
  7. All Hail The Yeti — Highway Crosses
  8. Exmortus — The Sound of Steel
  9. Artillery — The Face of Fear
  10. The Amsterdam Red Light District — Sapere Aude
  11. Ice Nine Kills — The Silver Scream
  12. Black Label Society — Grimmest Hits
  13. Unearth — Extinction(s)
  14. Atreyu — In Our Wake
  15. Zardonic — Become

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