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.


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:






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






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:






More information on Devour The Day’s upcoming dates is available online along with the band’s latest news at

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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  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:






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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:






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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.


  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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‘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:









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Monster Energy Aftershock Festival Lineup Announced; Tickets On Sale Now

Courtesy: Danny Wimmer Presents

The Monster Energy Aftershock Festival is coming back to California this year.

The annual festival is scheduled to be held October 13 and 14 at Sacramento’s Discovery Park.  Now in its seventh year, the festival will be headlined this year by System of a Down, Alice in Chains and Deftones.  This year marks the first time that System of a Down has performed at the festival.

Along with being the band’s first year at the festival, System of a Down’s performance at the Aftershock Festival will also be the band’s first announced U.S. appearance in three years.  It is also part of the band’s 20th anniversary celebration of its landmark self-titled album’s release.

While System of a Down, Alice in Chains and Deftones are the two-day festival’s planned headliners, they are not the only bands on the bill.  Also scheduled for the performance are Godsmack (which is currently touring in support of its brand new album When Legends Rise), Incubus, Seether, Jonathan Davis (whose latest solo album Black Labyrinth is scheduled for release May 25), At The Drive-In and Slash ft. Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators (who are currently working on their latest album) as well as Bullet For my Valentine (whose new album Gravity is scheduled to be released June 29), Sevendust (whose album All I See Is War is out now) and many more.  The full lineup for this year’s festival is noted below.

The current band lineup for Monster Energy Aftershock is as follows: System Of A Down, Deftones, Alice In Chains, Incubus, Godsmack, Shinedown, 311, Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy And The Conspirators, At The Drive-In, Seether, Jonathan Davis, Bullet For My Valentine, Underoath, Black Veil Brides, Hellyeah, Asking Alexandria, Sevendust, Everlast, GWAR, Emmure, Stick To Your Guns, Dance Gavin Dance, Monster Magnet, Red Sun Rising, Bad Wolves, The Fever 333, Dorothy, Wage War, Plague Vendor, Hyro The Hero, Amigo The Devil, All Them Witches, Slothrust, The Dose, Viza, The Jacks and more to be announced.

Providing food for this year’s festival will be a variety of vendors including: Southern Hospitality Concessions LLC, Danny Wimmer Presents’ affiliate concessionaire.  Food trucks will also be on hand, providing savory and sweet treats from: Angry Bird Grill, Bacon Mania, Barrett’s Burgers, Barrett’s Sliders, Big Joe’s BBQ, Bubba’s BBQ, Cousins Maine Lobster, Dippin Dots Ice Cream, Dogtown, Drewski’s Hot Rod Sandwiches, Florez Bar & Grill, La Mex Taqueria, Mac Attack, Mount Olympus, Sausage King, Smokin’ Hot Pizza, Spicy Pie and Xochimilco Mexican Restaurant.

Beverages will be available from a variety of vendors, including vendors for festival-goers 21 and older.  Those vendors include: Caduceus Vellars & Merkin Vineyards Wine Garden (owned by Tool/A Perfect Circle/ Puscifer front man Maynard James Keenan) and the Belching Beaver Bar (featuring drafts from the Vista, CA brewer including the Phantom Bride IPA, a collaboration with the Defones).  Mrkt N Jolt will also be on site, offering hot coffee, cold brew and other items.

As if the music, food and drink isn’t enough for festival-goers, this year’s festival will also offer lots of entertainment options.  Those options include the Monster Energy Experience, which gives audiences the chance to meet and greet the bands while also sampling the festival’s various offered drinks, The Music Experience, which is an interactive exhibit and music instrument retailer.  Non-profit animal rescue organization Take Me Home will also be on-site along with Dyin 2 Live/FXck Cancer, a wish-granting organization.  Fans can buy music from the festival’s bands on site at the f.y.e. Fan Experience.

Festival-goers can win prizes and check out the latest products from Zippo Lighters at Zippo Encore and charge their phones at SWFTCharge.

Tickets and VIP packages for this year’s festival are on-sale now.  Prices are listed below.  Service fees on all ticket purchases include a $0.50 charity fee for the T.J. Martell Foundation, a foundation aimed at researching and fighting cancer.  Active military personnel get discounts on their tickets through GovX.

Initial ticket prices will be as follows:

  • 2-Day Weekend General Admission: starting at $149.50 + fees
  • 2-Day Weekend VIP: starting at $299.50 + fees
  • Single Day General Admission: starting at $89.50 + fees
  • Single Day VIP: starting at $179.50 + fees

VIP tickets include: VIP entrance lanes to the venue, shaded VIP hang area with seating for dining, a VIP-only viewing area of main stage, video screens featuring a live feed of main stage inside the VIP hang area, upgraded food and drink selections, dedicated VIP restrooms and commemorative VIP Monster Energy Aftershock laminate.

A park & ride shuttle is being offered again for this year’s festival as parking at Discovery park is very limited.  Every ticket includes parking at Sleep Train Arena and non-stop shuttle directly to the festival site.

The Monster Energy Aftershock Festival is produced by Danny Wimmer Presents and fueled by Monster Energy.  It is sponsored by f.y.e., Coors Light, Jack Daniels, Zippo Encore, The Music Experience, SWFTCharge, Fxck Cancer, Ace of Spades, Take Me Home and Belching Beaver.  More sponsors will be announced later.

More information on this year’s Monster Energy Aftershock Festival is available online now at:






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‘Earthquake’ Is A Good First Impression For Hyvmine

Courtesy: Seek and Strike Records

The first impression is the most important that ca be made in any situation. From getting that coveted job to winning over a love interest to winning over audiences, that first impression is the best chance that one has to success in so many avenues. Taking this into consideration, it can be said that up-and-coming hard rock outfit Hyvmine has made a good first impression with its debut album Earthquake. Released Jan. 19 via independent label Seek & Strike Records (also home to Between The Buried and Me, Body Count, Gus G. and others), this first effort from Hyvmine is certain to reach a wide array of audiences. That is proven in part through the diversity in the album’s musical arrangements, which will be discussed shortly. The album’s sequencing also helps to prove its ability to reach audiences, and will be discussed later. The record’s production is also important to its ability to reach listeners and will also be discussed later. Each element is important in its own way to the whole of Earthquake‘s overall presentation. All things considered, the noted elements make Earthquake a record that while not earth-shaking, is still a good first impression for Hyvmine.

Hard rock outfit Hyvmine’s debut album Earthquake is a work that, as noted is not necessarily an earth-shaking record. It is however, a good first impression for the up-and-coming hard rock outfit. That statement is supported in part through the musical arrangements that are exhibited throughout the course of the album’s nine-song, 42-minute body. right off the top, audiences are treated to an arrangement in ‘Shift’ that boasts elements of Alter Bridge and Dream Theater. Yes, that’s quite the duality, but somehow front man Al Joseph and his band mates make that pairing of influences work. The slow build from the song’s opening piano line into the more contemplative moments that make up the early portion of the song builds a strong foundation for the song. The eventual growth from that vibe to the more power packed portions of the song shows definite thought put into the arrangement, and in turn is sure to keep listeners engaged. the same can be said of the joining those Alter Bridge and Dream Theater influences within those harder-edged moments. Joseph’s own vocal delivery boasts an eerie similarity to that of Alter Bridge front man Myles Kennedy, too, adding even more interest to the arrangement. Add in the song’s lyrical content, which seems to present the message of living life to the fullest, and audiences get an interesting first effort here. It is of course only one song that shows the importance of the album’s arrangements to its whole. The post-grunge vibe of ‘Fire Escape’ conjures thoughts of Korn, Staind and so many aggro-rock bands that rose to fame in the late 90s and early 2000s while ‘Mirror Master’ brings about thoughts of Sevendust and The Veer Union. The arrangement at the center of the album’s title track, which also comes virtually dead center of the album, will reach fans of Creed and other similar acts. Considering the diversity displayed throughout these songs and that of the songs not noted here, it becomes fully clear why that diversity helps to make this record a good first impression for this record. It shows the band’s ability to cover any type of rock, giving in itself reason for audiences to give it at least one listen. It is just one of the album’s most important elements. Staying on the same note as the songs, their sequencing proves just as important to discuss as their arrangements.

Earthquake‘s sequencing is important to note because as much as the songs’ arrangements do for the record’s presentation, if they had been poorly placed, they would have been completely useless. Luckily though, that didn’t happen. Again, noting the gentle, contemplative piano run at the start of the album’s opener and the manner in which it builds into the bigger picture of the song, it is just the first strong salvo from the band. The transition from that song’s raucous finale to the more controlled yet heavy riffs of ‘Mirror Master’ was a smooth and smart move. It keeps the heavy without being too stark of a change. The heavy continues into the album’s third track with the more up-tempo ‘Shogun,’ which also boasts a solo that would make John Petrucci proud. The heavy still doesn’t end there. From there, the album transitions into a rather Creed-esque radio ready rocker in ‘All of Creation’ before the album finally pulls back in ‘Earthquake.’ What’s really interesting here is that while it does finally pull back, that pull back is only partial as it starts off soft before picking back up a little bit in what is overall yet another Creed style work. ‘Fire Escape,’ the start of the album’s final trio of songs, brings the heavy back in full force before moving in a slightly more mainstream direction again ‘ Elysium.’ ‘Great Divide,’ the album’s penultimate track, gives listeners one last dose of heavy before closing out the record in another Creed-esque rocker in ‘Cliffhanger.’ Considering the direction that the album takes from beginning to end with its energies, it can be said after going through the whole of the 43-minute run time that the album’s energy stays relatively stable. That applies from song to song and even within the songs themselves. The stability of the energies within the songs and between songs creates a listening experience that even more certifies listeners’ engagement. When that insurance is considered along with the insurance generated through the songs’ very arrangements, that whole shows even more why Earthquake, while again not earth-shaking, is still a good first impression from Hyvmine. It is still not the last of the elements that makes this record a respectable start for the band. Its overall production is also worth noting.

The album’s production is important to note in examining Earthquake because while it does largely impress, there are at least a couple of problem points. ‘Shogun’ is one of those problem points. There are moments throughout the song when front man Al Joseph’s vocals are slightly washed out by the song’s musical elements. This means that interpretation of what he is singing becomes difficult without a lyrics sheet. There also seems to be a bit of a balance issue between Joseph’s vocals and the song’s musical elements here, too. This is, of course, just this critic’s own take. Others might hear it differently. The problem that this critic has caught here is that again, the music seems to slightly overpower Joseph’s vocals. That takes away at least something from the enjoyment here. The vocals in ‘Elysium”s chorus seem to bleed together a little with its musical side, too. Again, this is just this critic’s interpretation. Other than those directly noted elements, the album’s production proves relatively positive throughout. Keeping this in mind, it proves — despite the few problematic balance issues — to be relatively stable from beginning to end. When that is considered alongside the stability in the album’s sequencing and the variety of the album’s musical arrangements, the whole of these elements shows in full why Earthquake is a good first impression for Hyvmine.

Hyvmine’s debut album Earthquake is a good first impression for the band. While it may not be an earth-shaking start for the band, it is still respectable. That is thanks in part to the variety exhibited in the album’s musical arrangements. From Dream Theater to Korn to Creed and points even in-between, the album’s arrangements are certain to reach a variety of audiences. The album’s sequencing keeps its energy relatively stable from beginning to end. This is proven through the song transitions and even within the songs themselves. The album’s overall production is relatively stable, too, strengthening its presentation even more. Each element is important in its own right to the album’s whole. All things considered, they make Earthquake a good first impression from Hyvmine that, while it might not have everyone thinking the same, will impress plenty of audiences. It is available now in stores and online. More information on Hyvmine is available online now at:




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