Outlaws’ ‘Legacy Live’ Is One Of 2016’s Top New Live CD Recordings

Courtesy: Steamhammer/SPV

Courtesy: Steamhammer/SPV

Veteran county music act The Outlaws recently announced that it will release its new live recording Legacy Live next month.  The recording, the band’s fourth live recording, will come four years after the release of the band’s most recent full-length studio recording, It’s About Pride (2012).  There is plenty to say to the positive about this latest live effort from the Florida-based band beginning with its set list.  That will be discussed shortly.  The band’s stage presence throughout the course of the concert is just as important to discuss.  Last but hardly least of note in the record’s presentation is its audio mix.  It rounds out the record’s most important elements and is just as important as the show’s set list and the band’s performance thereof.  All things considered, Legacy Live shows itself in the end to be one more of this year’s top new live CD recordings.

The Outlaws’ new live recording Legacy Live is one of 2016’s top new live CD recordings.  That is due in no small part to the concert’s set list.  The twenty song set list is spread across two discs and totals 117 minutes.  That is just under two hours worth of Outlaws hits on two discs live.  The set list reaches all the way back to the band’s 1975 self-titled debut album and as recent as It’s About Pride, the band’s most recent full-length studio recording.  The band’s debut is one of the most heavily represented albums in this concert with five songs being pulled from that record.  The band’s sophomore record, Lady in Waiting (1976) gets a fair share of nods, too with four of its nine total songs being pulled for the show’s set list.  Hurry Sundown (1977), the band’s third record is represented by a trio of songs. It’s About Pride sees four of its songs featured in the show’s set list.  Some material from band member Henry Paul’s solo work is even featured in this set list including the title track from the band’s album Grey Ghost and the song ‘So Long.’  Obviously not every one of the band’s 12 total albums could be represented here.  That would dramatically increase the show’s length and likely would have caused legal issues with performance times for the band, etc.  However, the fact that so much of the band’s history is presented throughout the nearly two-hour set helps the concert’s title live up to expectations.  It truly does present a healthy portion of the band’s legacy.  Keeping this in mind the album’s set list clearly proves to be of the utmost importance to its presentation. It is not the recording’s only key element, though.  The band’s stage presence throughout the concert is just as important to note as the show’s set list.

The set list that is featured in this recording is in itself a clearly important portion of the concert’s presentation.  That is due to the quantity of the band’s work that is represented throughout the body of the show’s twenty-song set.  The set list reaches all the way back to the band’s 1975 self-titled debut and as recent as its 2012 album It’s About Pride with a number of albums in between represented along with one of Henry Paul’s solo records, too.  As important as the set list proves to be to the record’s presentation, it is not the recording’s only key element.  The band’s stage presence throughout the concert is just as important to note here as the show’s set list.  Audiences will be pleased to know that from beginning to end, the band’s members let their performances do the talking for them.  Little to no time is wasted between songs with banter between the band and audience or even between the band members themselves.  The energy exhibited throughout each member’s performance shows that the band gives its all throughout the recording, too.  Considering the fact that the band started recording and performing together some four decades ago (and has gone through a number of lineup and label changes since that time) the energy and chemistry exhibited—even in an audio-only setting—shows that the band is still well at the top of its game in this performance.  This is something that audiences new and old alike will appreciate.  Even with this in mind, the band’s stage presence throughout the concert is still not the last element to note in its presentation.  The concert’s audio mix is its finishing touch.

The set list that makes up the body of Legacy Live and the band’s performance thereof are both key elements to consider in this new Outlaws live recording.  While both elements are clearly important to the recording’s presentation, they are not its only key elements.  The concert’s audio mix is the recording’s finishing touch.  The audio mix is relatively stable from beginning to end.  Given, in the very rare moments when Henry Paul does take a moment to just talk, the audio is a little bit softer than that in the band’s overall performance.  But those moments are so rare that it becomes something of a non-factor.  This means that audiences will very rarely find themselves having to adjust the volumes on their radios (or whatever audio delivery system they may use) when experiencing this concert from beginning to end.  Considering this, it strengthens the recording’s presentation even more.  When it is set against the remainder of the discussed elements, the whole of the recording proves ultimately to be a presentation that is one more of this year’s top new live CD recordings.

Legacy Live, the latest live recording from veteran country music outfit Outlaws, is one of this year’s top new live CD recordings.  That is proven in no small part through the extensive twenty-song set list at the center of the recording.  The band’s performance of that set list is just as important to note as the set list itself.  The high quality production values presented in the recording are the final touch to the recording. They leave listeners to very rarely have to adjust the volume on their music delivery system at any point throughout the nearly two-hour concert.  That solidifies the concert’s presentation and proves once and for all why this concert is one of this year’s top new live CD recordings.  Legacy Live will be available in stores and online on Nov. 18 in the U.S.  More information on Legacy Live is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:




Website: http://www.OutlawsMusic.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/outlawsmusic




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The Dead Daisies’ New LP Is A “Rock Solid” Record

Courtesy: SPV

Courtesy: SPV

It’s official.  There’s another new contender for the title of one of the year’s top new rock records.  The band’s name: The Dead Daisies.  The band’s album: Make Some Noise.  While the band’s name makes it sound like some dark, goth-rock act, the truth is that it is anything but.  It is a super group of sorts whose album, just as with Foghat’s new album Under The Influence, exhibits everything that is right with rock and roll.  It reminds listeners through both its musical arrangements and lyrical content that thankfully, there is still hope for real rock and roll even in the 21st century.  The album’s adrenaline-fueled opener ‘Long way To Go’ clearly exhibits that.  The same can be said of the album’s titles track and its cover of John Fogerty’s ‘Fortunate Son.’  All three songs show in their own way why this record gives hope for real rock and roll in the 21st century.  They are hardly the only songs presented in the album that could be cited in proving this.  There are nine other songs that could just as easily be used to prove that statement.  All things considered the album in whole is a *ahem* rock solid record that, again, gives full hope for the future of rock in the 21st century.

The Dead Daisies’ latest full length studio offering Make Some Noise is a record that will have listeners making noise of their own after hearing it.  That is because over the course of its twelve total tracks, it reminds listeners that thankfully there is still hope for the future of real rock in the 21st century.  The album’s opener is a clear example of why the album gives such strong hope.  That is exhibited both in the song’s musical arrangement and its lyrical content.  The song’s musical arrangement is a full-throttle, no-nonsense, guitar-driven rock and roll composition that conjures thoughts of AC/DC, and so many other pure rock and roll acts.  The catch is that even with those thoughts in mind, the song manages to maintain its own identity separate from those bands.  This makes the song all the more enjoyable.  It is just part of what makes the song stand out.  The song’s lyrical content is just as important to note here as its musical makeup.  The song’s lyrical content is a clearly socially conscious statement that addresses the unrest in the world today.  That is clear as front man John Corabi (ex-Motley Crue) sings, “There’s something going down on the streets right now/There’s hate in the air/We’re upside down/Guns and bombs/Blood on the floor/We’re killing ourselves and there ain’t no cure/Maybe tomorrow/Maybe today/No more enemies…Just more suffering.”  From here he and his band mates—Doug Aldrich (guitar), Marco Mendoza (bass), Bran Tichy (drums), and Davi Lowy (guitar)—drive home the song’s message in its chorus as they sing, “We’ve got a long way to go/And no time to get there/One step forward two steps back/There ain’t nobody to blame.”  The message is just as clear in the song’s second verse as Corabi sings, “Something’s going on/Times are changin’/Movin’ too fast/We’re all going crazy/Black man, white man…in the name of love open your eyes.”  The message is clear.  People have got to stand up and join together, not stand against one another.  We have got to overcome all of the violence and hate that are filling the world.  It is a wonderful message.  Given it’s hardly the first time that a band has ever presented that message.  The thing is that it is a message that the world needs to hear whether from The Dead Daisies or another band.  What’s more the fact that Corabi and company presented the message in such a straight-forward, blue-collar fashion makes it all the more important to note.  It isn’t presented in some overly philosophical fashion (as has been done by some bands) or even in any militant fashion either (as with certain other acts).  Audiences familiar with their music history will understand those references. It just puts the message out there: we have got to stand together against all of this negativity in the world.”  The band uses the same blue-collar rock and roll approach in the song’s musical arrangement, which adds even more to the message’s impact.  When the two elements are joined together as one, they work to show in whole just what makes the song (and the album in whole) such an impressive new offering from The Dead Daisies.  Audiences can see the song’s official video online now here.  It is just one of the songs presented in this album that makes the record so impressive.  The album’s title track is another clear example of what makes this record such a strong new offering from the band.

‘Long Way To Go’ is in itself an impressive inclusion in The Dead Daisies’ new album.  It is an impressive composition in itself.  That is evident both in its musical arrangement and its socially conscious lyrical content.  The band’s blue-collar approach to both makes the song both a strong start for the band on its new album and a clear example of what makes the album in whole stand out.  It is just one of the songs included in the album that makes it stand out.  The album’s title track is yet another of the album’s most notable compositions.  It stands out because it is, plain and simple, a hard rocking, fist-pumping, arena rock song.  It is the polar opposite of the album’s opener.  The song’s musical arrangement is much slower in terms of its tempo than that of ‘Long Way To Go.’  And even despite that it still hits hard thanks to the work of Tichy and Aldrich.  Tichy forms the song’s musical foundation with his work behind the kit and Aldrich builds on that solid foundation with his simple yet so fun guitar line.  Mendoza’s low end expertly compliments their work.  All three lines join together to instantly make the song’s musical arrangement infectious and a song that is sure to be a fan favorite at the band’s live shows, even as short as it is (it clocks in at just under three-minutes).  The song’s lyrical content shows even more why the song stands out so clearly among the album’s other offerings.  That is because of its simplicity.  Corabi sings here, “Everybody stand/Get outta your chair/Lemme hear your sound/Put your hands in the air/Everybody on the left/Everybody on the right/Don’t hold back/Get crazy all night/Make some noise/Make it louder/Make some noise/Everybody now.”  Corabi goes on in similar fashion throughout the rest of the song, encouraging audiences to turn up the volume and just let loose.  No doubt they will, too.  That is regardless of whether audiences are listening in their cars, at home, or at the band’s live show.  It will leave listeners pumping their firsts in the air (and their horns) all the while with a wide smile on their faces.  Between that and the song’s musical arrangement, the song gives listeners plenty to enjoy.  When the pair is coupled it shows with full clarity why it is another important addition to the album’s whole and why the album in whole is an impressive new effort from The Dead Daisies.  It still is not the album’s only remaining standout composition either.  The band’s take on John Fogerty’s famed protest song ‘Fortunate Son’ is just as notable as the album’s title song and its opener.

‘Long Way To Go’ and ‘Make Some Noise’ are both key inclusions in The Dead Daisies’ new album Make Some Noise.  That is made clear both in the songs’ musical arrangements and their lyrical content.  The songs’ musical arrangements are both pure rock and roll compositions.  There’s pretense to either arrangement.  Nor does either one aim low.  Rather each song presents the band giving its best and its all.  The songs’ lyrical content shows just as much thought put into the record.  One song presents an important message about unity that, just as with the songs’ musical arrangements, lacks any pretense in doing so.  The other is the polar opposite, giving listeners a clear taste of a live Dead Daisies show.  Its approach is just as simple as that used in the message in ‘Long Way To Go.’  Both songs show in their own way what makes them stand out among their counterparts.  They also serve to show (both by themselves and together) what makes the album in whole such an impressive new effort from the band.  They are not the only songs that serve this end.  The band’s cover of John Fogerty’s famed protest song ‘Fortunate Son’ stands out just as much as those songs and the rest of the album’s compositions.  The band’s take is hardly the first time that a band has tackled the song.  What is important to note is that despite that, it is one of the better renditions of said song.  That is due in large part to the band’s approach to the song’s musical arrangement.  The band maintains the song’s original identity in its take on the song at the same time given the song its own extra touch.  The band does that through the use of its familiar no-nonsense rock and roll approach.  In essence the band takes Fogerty’s original tune and steps it up even more here with its own take on the song.  The end result is a song that is right up there with Dave Grohl’s take on the song (which was included in Fogerty’s 2013 album Wrote A Song For Everyone and Dropkick Murphy’s take on the song included in its 2005 compilation Singles Collection: Volume 2.  Keeping this in mind, it is just one more song that exemplifies what makes Make Some Noise another impressive effort from The Dead Daisies.  It is, again, not the only remaining song included in this record that could be used to show what makes the album so enjoyable.  ‘Song and a Prayer’ will take listeners back to the late 80s ad early 90s, when guitar rock was still king. ‘Last Time I Saw The Sun’ is a work that Buckcherry fans will appreciate. And ‘All The Same’ conjures thoughts of Sammy Hagar (both as a solo artist and with Van Halen).  They are just a few more songs include in this record that make it so enjoyable.  Whether for those songs, the songs more directly addressed here, or any of the album’s other compositions, listeners will agree that the album in whole is a *ahem* rock solid record and yet another clear candidate for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new rock records.

The Dead Daisies’ new album Make Some Noise is a record that is certain to leave listeners making their own noise about it after listening through each of its twelve total songs.  That is because collectively they reassure listeners that even in the 21st century there is still hope for real, guitar-driven rock and roll.  The album’s socially conscious yet blue-collar opener clearly proves this. The confident arena rocker that is the album’s title track proves it just as much.  The same can be said of the band’s cover of John Fogerty’s ‘Fortnute Son.’  The song maintains the original song’s identity while adding a great additional touch through the band’s arrangement of the timeless tune.  These are just a few of the songs that show why Make Some Noise will leave listeners making their own noise about the record.  When they are set against the rest of the album’s songs, the album in whole proves, again, to be a “rock solid” record and another clear candidate for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new rock records.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on Make Some Noise is available online along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:




Website: http://thedeaddaisies.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheDeadDaisies




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Cage9 Set To Enlighten Audiences With Its New Album, ‘Illuminator’

Cage9 has officially been released.

One of the latest additions to Dave Ellefson’s EMP Label Group, the band released its new album Illuminator this past Friday, June 3rd.  The album was released via eOne in the United States and Triple Vision Entertainment in Japan.  It is schedule for release later this year in Europe via SPV.  The band unveiled the video for the album’s lead single ‘Everything You Love Will Someday Die’ earlier this spring.  The video is streaming online now via YouTube.  It features footage of the band’s members and fans singing the song.


Courtesy:  EMP Label Group

Courtesy: EMP Label Group


Front man Evan Rodaniche discussed the video in a recent interview.  He noted the song’s family roots in the interview and the video’s recording process.  “This song is dedicated to my father, who passed away about a month ago after a two year battle with cancer,” he said.  “But even when I first wrote these lyrics at the onset of his terminal diagnosis as a sort of comforting mantra, in the back of my mind I believed my dad was indestructible.  I never thought I’d be adding an “in loving memory” dedication at the end of this video.  But then he was gone.  And that’s what this is all about.  We spend our modern lives wrapped up in our first world problems, completely disconnected with the natural cycles of the planet around us.”

In discussing the video’s production, Rodaniche noted the cameras that were used and the band’s general approach to making the clip.  We shot the video DIY with a couple Canon DSLR cameras, a black sheet in our rehearsal room and about forty non-actor friends, fans, and family who showed up one sunny Los Angeles afternoon in 2015 to mouth the lyrics to a song they’d never heard.  We aimed to bring home the message that no matter who you are we’re all in this together.”  He went on to not the song’s roots and sound in his discussion, too noting, “As for the song itself, it’s a little bit of old school thrash mixed with something more melodic and a little piano and acoustic guitar wankery to push it over the 6 minute epic-metal-song mark. (Yes, there’s a radio edit.)  He linked this in to a discussion on [Dave] Ellefson discovering Cage 9 through ‘Everything You Love Will Someday Die.’  I was the 14 year old kid running around with a worn out cassette of Peace Sells in his Walkman, he said.  “So having the dude that brought us pretty much THE most recognizable bass riff of my (and half the planet over 30’s) youth dig our band is a huge honor.”  He went on further noting, “Cage 9 originated in Panama where I grew up playing in a band yet having pretty much never experienced famous bands performing live to learn from, not to mention any of our idols like Megadeth or Metallica.  This definitely makes this chance to work with Dave in a mentor/label situation that much more amazing.  Very excited to be releasing our new album Illuminator with EMP this summer.”

Ellefson shared his thoughts on the band and its song in a discussion of his own even echoing the Megadeth/Metallica influence in the band’s new single noted by Rodaniche.  “Cage9 is definitely the real deal,” he said.  When I first heard ‘Everything You Love Will One Day Die,’ it instantly struck me as the closest I’ve heard to a song with a true Metallica/Megadeth core, with the radio accessibility to really connect with a modern rock audience.  And with the band’s history, and everything they’ve accomplished, they were a perfect fit for what we were doing at EMP.”

Since moving to Los Angeles the band has released a total of six albums and more than one hundred songs.  One of those albums was completely in Spanish.  The band has sold 25,000 copies of its albums worldwide in that time and played over 50 dates across America just last year.  It has also toured Japan and Central America as direct opener for Ozzy Osbourne, Bad Religion, Seether, and In This Moment.  The band has also shared stage time with the likes of Sevendust, Hellyeah, Karnivool, and others.  Even Rodaniche himself spent some time in the past as a member of Powerman 5000.  He also helped to co-write, record, and mix some of PM5K’s most recent albums.  That isn’t Rodaniche’s only production credit.  He also worked on ex-Flyleaf singer Lacey Sturm’s new album and work from Boy Hits Car, and others.  As if all of this isn’t enough credit to Cage9, the band has also received glowing reviews from its much more well-known counterparts including: Pop Evil, Korn, Saving Abel, Asking Alexandria, Devil You Know, and 9Electric just to name a handful of acts.

More information on Cage9’s new album is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:



Website: http://www.cage9.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Cage9

Twitter: http://twitter.com/cage9



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.

Hammercult’s Sophomore LP Is An Intentionally Over The Top Slab Of Metal

Courtesy:  SPV/Sonic Attack Records

Courtesy: SPV/Sonic Attack Records

Anyone that keeps up with the news of the world each day knows that there is a lot of trouble going on in the Middle East right now. Tensions between the Palestinians and Israelis have really stepped up again in recent weeks as have the attacks. It’s really a sad state of affairs. For all of the negativity coming from that part of the world, at least one positive has come from that war-ravaged land this year. That one positive is the sophomore album from the Tel-Aviv, Israel-based band Hammercult. Steelcrusher, the band’s follow-up to its 2012 debut album Anthems of the Damned, is a full on assault on the ears that will make any purist member of the Metal Nation worldwide proud. The album’s songs are sung with tongue planted firmly in cheek. One look at the obviously intentionally over-the-top album cover, the cover photo on the band’s Facebook page and one listen through this album proves this to be the case. The band pokes fun at the stereotypes placed on metal and its legions of fans from start to finish. The end result is an album that will have audiences both laughing and rocking along throughout every song. One of the best examples of that satire comes in the form of the metal anthem ‘Metal Rules Tonight.’ There is also the full throttle song about the stereotypes of metal bands on the road in the album’s penultimate song ‘Heading For War.’ And then there is ‘Unholy Art,’ which seems to poke fun at the stereotypes of metal and hard rock in general created by certain groups. It’s one more example of the works on this record that will again, have audiences laughing and rocking along from start to finish.

Audiences will note in listening to Hammercult’s recently released sophomore album Steelcrusher, that there are some pretty dark sounding songs, lyrically and musically speaking. But the reality of the albums on this record is that they were obviously written with tongue planted pretty firmly in cheek. One look at the cover photo on the band’s Facebook page drives home the argument that the band is anything but the dark, evil entity that others such as perhaps Ghost, Emperor, etc. One piece of evidence in that argument comes in the form of the anthemic ‘Metal Rules Tonight.’ Not only does the band encourage the metal legions of the world to put their collective metal horns in the air, it also goes so far as to pay tribute to one of the biggest names in metal in the form of Metallica. Front man Yokir Shochat sings in this full-on anthem, “I’m so wasted/I can’t stand/Grab a *&$$%/Get some #&@%/Speakers blasting through the wall/Master of Puppets and Balls to the Walls.” He goes on later in the song singing to listeners, “Bang your head in full conviction/Raise your fists and show the horns/No remorse or lamentations/Play it loud/Or die/Metal rules tonight/Trends will come and fade away/Heavy metal is here to stay/We are damned but we are free/It’s our way of life/The way it should be/Metal!” That last line sort of echoes AC/DC’s ‘Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution’ in which front man Brian Johnson sings that “Rock and roll ain’t noise pollution/Rock and roll it will live on.” The song’s speed/thrash metal musical backing will have its fans putting their horns high in the air with pride as they sing along to this metal anthem.

‘Metal Rules Tonight’ is one of the highest of points on Hammercult’s new album. It is only one piece of evidence in the argument that despite the band’s speed/thrash metal sound and its seemingly dark lyrics, it should be taken with a relatively large grain of salt. Another piece of evidence in that argument comes late in the album in the song ‘Heading For War.’ Right off the top, Shochat makes that clear once again as he screams, “Thrashing hotels every day/Heads are banging/Ears are bleeding/Raise your hammers/Ready to explode.” He sings in another verse, “Racing to another city/Party hard tonight/Heavy drinking/Never stopping/It’s the only way we stay alive.” These two verses alone more than tell audiences everything that they need to know about this song. If that’s not enough, the song’s chorus makes painfully clear that there’s nothing evil at all about the band or its album. Shochat sings in the chorus, “Heading for the stage, heading for war/Yes, we live or the fight/And die for the cause we believe to be right/Giving it all with fury and force/Spreading the sound of destruction.” Shochat likens being on the road, performing on stage after stage to like being in a war. Though, interestingly enough, one could argue that there is a lightly veiled reference to the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians there and the lack of sense in it. Instead of being involved in that conflict though, the band lives and dies for metal in that “battle” to spread metal’s word to the world. If that veiled commentary on the war in the Gaza strip is in fact there, then that double meaning in this verse makes the song in whole all the more interesting. And along with ‘Metal Rules Tonight,’ it makes the album in whole all the more worth the listen, too.

‘Metal Rules Tonight’ and ‘Heading For War’ are both prime examples of what audiences can expect from Steelcrusher. Both songs show that despite the album’s similarity to works from the likes of Exmortus, Arch Enemy, and others of that ilk, it actually stands out quite a bit from those bands. There is one more example of the band’s tongue in cheek delivery on this album. That example is the song ‘Unholy Art.’ The band’s commentary is perhaps at its strongest in this song as Shochat and company point the finger right back at those that would judge the metal community, singing, “The blackest hearts and darkest minds/You never know just what you will find/It’s not for the faint of heart/This is the Unholy Art/Dishonored/A branded kind/The masses will burn in the flames of our pride/We’ll rise to our own blackened skies/And devour the worlds/And we’re starting tonight. The band singing together, “It’s not for the faint of heart/This is the Unholy Art” is itself a sarcastic statement. It’s Shochat and his band mates almost laughing as they say, “oh it’s such evil stuff. It’s not for the faint of heart.” Again, it’s just one more example of how firmly in their cheeks the band members’ tongues are planted in this record. The statement of “The blackest hearts and darkest minds” is something of a statement against the stereotypes created by certain groups against the metal masses around the world. Those judgmental groups are so fast to throw the first stone even without knowing the full story or doing their research. It’s such searing commentary in so few words. It makes for one of the most powerful statements of the album’s entire body of songs. Of course together with the previously noted songs (and those not noted) it makes the entire collection of songs an album that any true-blooded member of the metal nation worldwide will enjoy and appreciate.

Steelcrusher is available now in stores and online. It can be downloaded via iTunes and Amazon or purchased at the band’s next upcoming performance. The band is currently scheduled to perform live August 9th at Brutal Assault in Jaromer, Czech Republic. Audiences can pick up Steelcrusher at that performance, too. More information and tour updates are available online via the band’s official Facebook and Twitter pages. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to the Phil’s Picks Facebook page and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog.

Ford Is As Ferocious As Ever On Her New Live Recording

Courtesy:  SPV/Steamhammer Records

Courtesy: SPV/Steamhammer Records

Lita Ford’s new live recording, The Bitch Is Back, is a good introduction to the veteran rocker’s music.  Ford, who started her career decades ago as a member of the famed Runaways, proves with this latest live release that she still has plenty left to offer her audiences.  From the show’s set list to the audio mix to her general presence, there is much to like about this new live recording.  All things considered, Ford should have titled this recording, The Bitch Is Here instead of its given title.  Regardless, it proves in the end to be one of the year’s top live CDs.

The set list chosen for Ford’s 2013 show at California’s famed Canyon Club is the first part of what makes The Bitch Is Back so enjoyable for audiences.  Most of the songs chosen for this show come from her 2012 album, Livin’ Like a Runaway.  However, there are some older tracks included in the set list presented on this recording.  One of the best of the songs included in this recording is ‘Can’t Catch Me.’ She explains to the audience in attendance that the song was spawned after a chance meeting at the Rainbow Room.  Who would have ever thought that Lita Ford and Lemmy Kilmister would collaborate?  Regardless, the result is a fun, high octane piece that bears all the trademarks of classic Motorhead.  It’s little tidbits such as this that Ford shares through her set that makes this recording even more fun.  But that will be discussed later.  Ford’s collaboration with Lemmy Kilmister is just one of the high points that fans will take away from The Bitch is Back.  She also includes ‘Hate’, which is just one of the songs that she pulled from Livin’ Like a Runaway.  The song’s lyrical side is a powerful social commentary about society’s seemingly growing obsession with violence and hate.  It’s not such a stretch.  One need just look at the content of today’s TV shows and movies and one will agree that Ford is right on the mark here.  Her driving guitar riffs expertly compliment the song’s lyrics, making it one more high point of the show.  There is so much more that could be discussed concerning the show’s set list.  Allegedly, there were even a number of songs from the show not included in this recording.  If that is indeed the case, then maybe fans will get the remainder of those songs in a future live release.  To that extent, one could argue that by not including all of the songs from her show, Ford has left fans wanting more in the best possible way.  Again, that just makes this recording all the more worth hearing.

The set list included in this recording is the center of what makes it so enjoyable.  However, it isn’t the only part of what makes it so enjoyable.  The recording and mastering work done by Bill Gall and Fernando Cavasos respectively makes the record all the more worth the listen.  Indoor venues always present their own set of challenges when recording live performances.  This is the case regardless of whether one is recording a pop star, rock band, rapper, or some other act.  So it goes without saying that Gall and Cavasos did an impressive job in making sure that Ford’s fans were presented with the best product possible.

The final audio mix presented in The Bitch is Back works in tandem with the recording’s set list to make it a record that is a good introduction to first time fans.  The final product is just as good for those fans that are more knowledgeable of Ford’s body of work.   For everything already noted, there is still one more piece to this recording that can’t be ignored.  That piece is Ford’s own performance.  As with the set list, so much could be noted.  There just isn’t enough space or time for it all.  While this recording is only the concert’s audio portion, one can tell simply by listening, that even after so many decades, Ford has not lost a single bit of steam.  As a matter of fact, the level of energy that she exhibits throughout the performance echoes the energy and stage presence of her fellow veteran rockers in their heyday.  That stage presence is the final proverbial nail for this recording.  Alongside the expert audio mix and equally impressive set list, it makes this record that much more of a must hear for any Lita Ford fan old and new alike.  It is available now in stores and online.  After fans pick up her new live release, they can also make plans to see her live once she hits the road again in the new year.  She is currently taking some much needed rest and relaxation in order to get recharged before hitting the road again.  She is currently slated to kick off 2014 with a live performance on January 9th at the world famous Whiskey A Go Go in West Hollywood, California.  That show will be followed by performances in Nevada and more dates in California.  Fans can get the latest tour updates, news and more from Lita Ford online at http://www.facebook.com/litaofficial and http://www.LitaFordOnline.com.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

The Final Revolution Is The First Great Hard Rock/Metal Album Of 2014

Courtesy:  SPV/Steamhammer Records

Courtesy: SPV/Steamhammer Records

The Final Revolution, the latest release from veteran New York based hardcore band Pro-Pain, is the first great hard rock record of 2014. The band’s album, its fourteenth, displays a band that shows no sign of stopping, despite its title. The album dozen tracks total just over half an hour. Yes that’s short. But in that time, the band—Gary Meskil (vocals/bass), Adam Phillips (Lead Guitar), Marshall Stephens (Rhythm Guitar), and Jonas Sanders (drums)—offers its fans a collection of songs that will hit them like a musical megaton bomb. It all starts with the relentless ‘Deathwish.’ Meskil and company grab listeners by the ear from the opening moments of this speed/thrash metal style song and refuse to let go even after the song’s end.  Considering that this band has been running full steam since 1991, the merciless metal onslaught of this song as an opener is quite the re-introduction for Meskil and company.  The official video for the song is available online now at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2tEetO2eSU.

This critic has already noted that the members of Pro-Pain refuse to back down at any point in the band’s new album. Every song on this new record will have purist metal heads proudly raising their horns high.  ‘One Shot, One Kill’, the album’s second song exhibits this quite well.  It is just as brutal as ‘Deathwish.’  As brutal as it is, it doesn’t have the same speed/thrash metal style sound.  This song’s style is more straight hardcore. All four of the band’s members work with the same precision in this song, as the military figures that don the album. One can so easily see this being a fan favorite both on record and live. It would be so easy to see fans singing along, fists pumping in the air as Meskil and company scream, “One shot/One kill” in the song’s bridge and final moments. Guitarist Adam Phillips shines in the bridge as he drives through his solo. He shows that he is no lightweight. Listeners will note that Phillips’ solo is akin to the style of Arch Enemy’s Michael Amott and Slipknot’s own Mick Thompson.  And it isn’t the only spot on this album in which he and his fellow musicians so expertly exhibit their talents, either.

One more example of what makes The Final Revolution such a strong new album from Pro-Pain is the full on anthem that is ‘Want Some?’  Meskil screams in this song, “Can you see the hate and pain in my eyes/The way they seem to cut through you/The wrath of a billion tortured souls/Will come crashing down through/This God forsaken place called Earth/And leave a voice so well-deserved/In this life you get what you give/So listen up/For if you want some/You better come quick/And come clean/Before reality hits you like a brick.”  He leaves absolutely no question as to what he is saying here.  He doesn’t stop here, writing in the song’s second verse, “I don’t give a f*** what was said/I listen to the voices in my head/Before I take note of what you say/On this particular s***** day/Division has reached a feverous pitch/And in the end, we won’t be missed…”  This is full on defiance in every sense of the word.  The outright defiance mixed with the song’s pummeling musical side makes this song one of the highest of highs on The Final Revolution.  And it would again be no surprise if it becomes a fan favorite for this reason both in on record in a live setting.  The same can be said of the other songs noted in this review.  Fans will get to hear each of these songs and all of the album’s others when it drops on January 21st, 2014.  The band is currently touring Europe in support of its upcoming album.  More tour dates are planned.  Fans can keep up with all of the latest tour updates, news, and more from Pro-Pain while they await the album’s release on the band’s official website and Facebook pages at http://www.pro-pain.com and https://www.facebook.com/pages/PRO-PAIN-OFFICIAL-PAGE/215861125115781.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Stripped To The Bone Is ETG’s Best Yet

Eat The Gun Stripped To The BoneOdds are that most American audiences are not familiar with the music of Eat The Gun.  However, the band—Hendrik Wippermann (vocals/guitar), Gereon Homann (drums), and Peter Bergmuller (bass)—has made quite the name for itself in its home country of Germany.  Eat The Gun has already released three full length studio albums and an EP since 2002.  The band released its fourth full length record this week.  Stripped to the Bone is an apt title for the band’s latest release.  That’s because of the band’s stripped down, straight forward, rock and roll sound on this album and its equally straight forward, stripped down lyrical content on this album, too.  Being that this is the band’s fourth full length release, this could very well be the one to break out the band, given the proper support from radio programmers and listeners.

Stripped to the Bone kicks off in proper rock and roll fashion with its opener, ‘At The End Of The Day.’  This song is just one of the many radio ready songs from this album.  The song’s driving guitar and drums tracks collectively make this song an instant fan favorite.  They give the song a certain straight-forward rock and roll vibe.  There’s no pretentiousness about it.  It’s just good, solid rock and roll.  Lyrically, it’s just as straight forward.  WIppermann sings in the song’s opening verse, “Been giving you a hard time/I had to find my way/Thanks for all your patience/One thing I guarantee/If you get along with me/I will get along with you/If you get along with me/You’ll see/It’s all about you/And me/At the end of the day/All the trouble/And the struggles/Are just stones in our way.”  This is quite the uplifting statement for listeners.  That uplifting and infectious chorus set next to the equally strong guitar breaks serves to make ‘At The End of The Day’ quite the impressive opener.  It sets the tone for what’s to come.  And what comes after impresses just as much, as audiences will hear for themselves.

‘Loner’, the album’s second song and lead single is just as strong an offering as ‘At The End Of The Day.’  It’s a social statement, yes.  But it doesn’t have the holier than thou attitude In its own way, ‘Loner’ is an allegory about individualism.  Its main character just wants to be himself.  He wants to get away from all the pressures that people place on one another and from their self-centered nature.  Just as with the album’s opener, this song boasts a high energy musical side that will more than certainly have listeners moving right off the bat.  The song’s lyrical side is just as certain to keep listeners engaged.  Wipperman is to be applauded for not being preachy unlike so many other bands out there trying to make statements in their music.  He writes in this song’s opening verse, “I had a dream/That one day/Life would be/Much easier/No crooked heroes/With beady eyes/Sellin’ us/A pack of lies.”  He leaves nothing to interpretation in this short line.  And to be honest, more songwriters need to be so straight forward.  Far too many songwriters write in metaphors.  This leaves far too much room for misinterpretation in songs.  Thank goodness that isn’t the case with this song or any other throughout this LP.

If ‘Loner’ and ‘At The End of The Day’ aren’t enough to convince new listeners to what makes Stripped to the Bone such a worthwhile listen, then perhaps the album’s penultimate song, ‘Hot Blood’ will convince said listeners.  This song is pure rock and roll in every sense.  From its hard rocking, hard driving musical side to its classic rock and roll lyrical fare, this is one of the highest of highs from this album.  Wipperman sings alongside the song’s full throttle guitars and drums, “She’s got/The hot blood/I’m at her mercy/When she is dirty/She’s got/The hot blood/No need to tease me/When she is sleazy.”  Seeing a live audience singing along, clapping their hands in unison to the high energy anthem is so easy here.

Speaking of the band’s live show, the band has a pair of dates in Germany currently set  for March.  Fans can keep up with all of the latest tour updates and news from the band online at http://www.eatthegun.com and http://www.facebook.com/eatthegun.official.  Fans can also go to either site to order Stripped to the Bone now.  It goes without saying that the songs noted here are just part of what makes Stripped to the Bone a record definitely worth hearing.  It is just as fitting to note that regardless of how much attention it may or may not get stateside or elsewhere, this record is more than deserving of a place on this critic’s list of the year’s best new independent releases list.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.