Combat Records To Rise Again

Courtesy: Combat Records/EMP Label Group/O’Donnell Media Group

Combat Records is coming back.

EMP Label Group head Dave Ellefson announced this week that the label, which was one of the seminal punk and thrash labels from the 1980s, has been resurrected and will be part of the EMP Label Group family. The one-time powerhouse label shuttered its doors in the mid-2000s after its catalogue was absorbed by Sony Music.

The label’s official re-launch will happen in 2018, with its first release being British hard rock act Raven’s next, as yet untitled album. It will also re-issue a number of classic thrash and metal albums from various acts once it officially opens as well as a new compilation piece from Helstar and new recordings from Dead By Wednesday and 80s progressive thrash outfit Wrath.

Ellefson said in a recent interview about the label’s re-launch that he was optimistic about its new life.

“Today is a really exciting day, as after over a year, it was finally announced that we will be re-launching the legendary Combat Records as a new label through EMP Label Group,” Ellefson said. “We are so excited and honored to be able to revive such an iconic brand that was so instrumental to my history. Even though we signed to Capitol after Killing is My Business, Combat’s logo was on all the Megadeth releases through Countdown to Extinction, and it was and is one of the most iconic metal labels of all time, even being home to some of the other artists who would end up on the EMP roster, like Helstar. The same independent spirit that drove Combat in those early days, is truly the same spirit that drives what we do with EMP, and we are honored to launch another amazing conduit to support new and established metal artists, with great respect to the legacy of the past.”

Ellefson added with Combat’s resurrection, it will only handle new material because Sony has control of the label’s back catalog.

“…And to clarify, we do not own any rights to the Combat Records back catalog,” Ellefson stressed. “That is owned and controlled by Sony, and they have done a great job of curating it through other imprints. Combat Records will solely focus on nre releases under the Combat banner. As always, thank you for your support and stay tuned for more details!”

Combat Records will be distributed through EMP Label Group via Amped Distribution domestically and via SPV in Europe.

More information on Combat Records, along with its latest news, is available online now at:

Website: http://www.combatrecs.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/combatrecs

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Mark Slaughter Announces Solo Sophomore Album’s Release Date

Courtesy: EMP Label Group/Amped/SPV/Universal

Mark Slaughter will release his new solo album next month.

The Slaughter founder’s sophomore solo album, Halfway There, will be released via EMP Label Group/Amped on Friday, May 26 in North America and EMP/SPV in Europe. It will be released May 10 via EMP Label Group/Universal in Japan.  Its release comes roughly two years after the release of Slaughter’s solo debut record, 2015’s Reflections in a Rearview Mirror.

Slaughter will support RATT next month in a Japanese tour in support of his new album.  The tour will include performances in Nagoya, Osaka and the Toyo Metal Summit on May 14 with RATT, Sebastian Bach E’Nuff Z’ nuff, and other veteran acts.

More information on Slaughter’s new album and tour is available online now along with all of his latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.markslaughter.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/markslaughter33

 

 

 

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The Dead Daisies Announce Release Date, Specs For New Live Recording

Courtesy: Spitfire Music/SPV

Courtesy: Spitfire Music/SPV

The Dead Daisies has a new live recording on the way this spring.

The band announced Friday it will release Live and Louder on Friday, May 19 in stores and online via Spitfire Music/SPV.  The recording culls a number of the band’s shows from its 2016 UK and European tour for its presentation and will be released in a variety of platforms.

Those platforms include CD/DVD combo pack, 2 LP Gatefold vinyl, Digital download and limited edition box set. The recording’s CD/DVD platform includes a picture booklet with pictures from the band’s tours, a bonus documentary, all of the videos from Make Some Noise’s singles and picture gallery.

The recording’s 2 LP Gatefold vinyl pressing comes in a multi-color 180-gram setting, 4-page booklet and bonus CD pressing of the recording.

The limited edition box set contains the recording’s CD/DVD combo pack and 2 LP pressing, exclusive 7” colored vinyl single, poster, sticker, button, patch and photocard.

Audiences can check out a trailer for the recording online now here.

More information on Live & Louder is available online now along with all of The Dead Daisies’ latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://thedeaddaisies.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheDeadDaisies

 

 

 

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.

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

 

 

 

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.

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.