‘Powers That Be’ Is Another Success For Thrash Super Group Wreck-Defy

Courtesy: SubLevel Records

Metal super group Wreck-Defy is scheduled to release its latest album Friday.  The band’s third in as many years, Powers That Be is 50 minutes of full thrash/speed enjoyment.  The 10 songs that make up the record’s body will appeal to fans of the noted genre across the board.  That should come as no surprise, considering that the band’s members — Matt Hanchuck, Aaron Dandall (ex-Annihilator), Greg Christian (ex-Testamant), Alex Marquez (ex-Malevolent Creation) – all came from thrash acts before forming this band.  This latest offering from the band is everything that audiences have come to expect from the band, too.  That is proven in part through the record’s arrangements, which will be addressed shortly.  The lyrical content that accompanies the record’s musical arrangements are intense in their own right, and ensure just as much, listeners’ engagement.  They will be discussed a little later.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements and brings everything full circle.  It will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Powers That Be.  All things considered, the album proves to be an easy candidate in its own right for any critic’s list of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

Powers That Be, the third full-length studio recording from metal super group Wreck-Defy, is a work that transcends generations of thrash and speed metal fans.  That is proven in part through its featured musical arrangements.  The arrangements in question are everything that audiences have come to expect from Wreck-Defy over the course of its past two albums.  The arrangements featured here have all of the sound and fury of the compositions featured in those albums – Remnants of Pain and Fragments of Anger – without just rehashing them.  The band does attempt to give listeners something at least slightly new.  The most notable change here is that the band cuts back on the introspective material.  Whereas Remnants of Pain had three songs of that ilk (out of nine songs), this record cuts that number to just one.  It comes in the record’s finale, in the form of the very brief ‘On The Other Side.’  The rest of the album keeps the energy relatively high, much as in the band’s 2017 debut Fragments of Anger.  Its placement is a bit odd.  It will be addressed later.  That aside, the stylistic approach that the band takes to this record’s arrangements gives listeners a familiar approach and sound without just simply rehashing the band’s past compositions.  To that end, the arrangements serve as a solid starting point for this record.  The album’s lyrical content builds on the foundation formed by the musical arrangements and make the album that much more appealing for any thrash and speed metal purist.

The lyrical content that is featured in Powers That Be are important to examine in the bigger picture of the album because they play so directly into the album’s title.  Case in point is the lyrical theme of ‘Skin,’ which comes early in the album’s run.  Randall sings in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “I was born in a gutter/Holes in my shoes/Beat down and ridiculed/I was born to lose/“Just a punk assed white boy”/Was my pseudonym/Victim of circumstance/Due to the color of my skin /Black or white/We all bleed red/The essence of a man comes from within/Divide and conquer/The government/wants to separate based on the color of our skin/Ghettos are the same/No matter where you are/Filthy run down slums/you can see them from afar./Cultivating killers/Politically unjust/Segregate the people by the color of their skin.”  He continues, “All this pain and suffering/Inside the human zoo/Political manipulation

Through and through/They’re building up the wall/They wanna watch us fall/in line”    The chorus’ refrain puts the accent to the song’s message as Randall sings, “Just a punk assed white boy/I’m from the streets/Even I can see we’re heading for defeat/Cultivating killers/Armed to the teeth/Divided we stand, divided we’re weak.”  This is, plain and simple, a commentary about how divided the world (and especially America) has become in the current era.  It sticks right to the record’s title with its content.  it is just one of the songs that runs along the line of the album’s title.  ‘Freedomless Speech’ also addresses the powers that be.

‘Freedomless Speech’ is a direct indictment of those powers that be and how they have eroded free speech of people the world over.  This is made clear right from the song’s lead verse and chorus as Randall sings, “Your 1st amendment’s out the door/Your right to speak is a right no more/Censorship for the sheep today/Another flock is led astray/An uncertain future/A constant plight/As time goes on You lose the right/No free thinking/No voice of your own/Reverting back to the age of stone/Helpless and hopeless/Utopia has vanished/When genocide and death no longer seem outlandish/The tides have turned/Hate and division’s what they teach/The lore of Freedomless Speech.”  The song’s second verse adds to the statement, as Randall sings, “Communication a thing of the past/Demonization to speak a criminal act/Politically correct /A meaningless term/History repeats/We never learn/Archaic Government with plans to silence us/Disarm the populace so they don’t kick up a fuss/Put your faith in us…./Speak only if you’re spoken to/Shut you’re mouth and listen/This is the arm of the Government/Whistle blower/Nothing lower/Got no right to full disclosure/In the eyes of the Government.”  The noted erosion of freedom of speech is increasingly happening, too.  Just this week, another social media outlet announced that it will start removing negative comments from its feeds, thus eroding freedom of speech even more.  This makes the song that much more important in the bigger picture of Powers That Be since even those who run social media can be considered powers that be.  It’s just one more way in which the album’s lyrical content proves pivotal to the record’s presentation.  ‘Drowning in Darkness’ is another example of how the album’s lyrical themes follow the theme presented in the record’s title.

In the case of ‘Drowning in Darkness,’ the power that is, is drug addiction.  This is inferred as Randall sings in the song’s lead verse, “In this street of broken dreams/A million faces/I have barely seen the light of day/In this trap of my depression/I sleep the day away/Somehow I put on a smiling face.”  It is made even more clear in the song’s second verse, which states, “Grab the bottle, take the pills/Snort that line, get your fill/God is watching, God is the/Do enough, set me free/Me and my little creatures/We’ve formed a bond, I’d say/We live in sickness, that’s ok/Living down here on the frontlines/They’re all my friends they say/Turn my back and I turn in to pray.”  The final statement, which is short leaves no doubt about that vile power that is.  It states, “Medic/Start the car/911 CPR/Fentanyl/F 19/ ICD/T36.”  We all know the stories about the impact of fentanyl as has been addressed in the news.  To that end, it becomes clear that this song is approaching the topic of drug abuse as a power in its own right.  It takes a different path from the album’s other songs, but still is important in its own right.  When it is considered along with the other topics discussed here and the rest of the album’s works, the overarching theme of the powers that be develops more impact.  When that overarching lyrical content is considered alongside the record’s equally powerful musical arrangements, the whole of that content more than makes this record worth hearing.  They are collectively just one part of what makes the record so appealing, too.  Its sequencing rounds out its most important elements.

As has already been noted here, the music featured throughout the course of Powers That Be is largely intense.  It is fiery and full of energy from one song to the next, ensuring listeners’ engagement and entertainment.  The only concern that the sequencing raises comes in the record’s finale, the brief ‘On The Other Side.’  As short as the song is, and considering that it comes across as a eulogy of sorts, it might have been better served to be in another spot higher up in the record’s body.  By having it close out the album, it makes for such an abrupt finale for the record, especially considering the fiery energy of ‘I Am The Wolf.’  The change of pace as that song ends and ‘On The Other Side’ is just uncomfortable, considering their placement.  Had ‘On The Other Side’ been placed more as a mid-record presentation to break up the album’s energy, it would have worked much better and made the sequencing solid.  Even despite that concern, the sequencing still works for the most part. Keeping that in mind, it still works well with the overall content and maintains the album’s place among this year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

Wreck-Defy’s new album Powers That Be is a powerful new offering from the thrash/speed metal super group.  That is proven in part through the record’s featured musical arrangements.  The arrangements present the band trying noticeably, to avoid the more introspective, reserved songs that were more prominent in the band’s second album.  This time out, the band clearly kept the energy much higher, as in its debut album.  The lyrical content that accompanies the arrangements exhibits its own impact in that the themes follow the record’s overarching theme noted in its title.  The album’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.  Save for the one concern raised by the record’s finale, the sequencing keeps the record’s energy high from start through to that more reserved finale.  Even with the noted concern centered on the finale raised, the sequencing still works.  Together with the record’s musical and lyrical content, all three elements join to make the album in whole, a work that continues the success of the band’s first two records.  Additionally, it collectively makes the album a work that will appeal to the most devoted thrash and speed metal purist.

More information on Wreck-Defy’s new album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://wreck-defy.bandcamp.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/Underground4560

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Wreck-Defy Debuts ‘Freedomless Speech’ Lyric Video

Courtesy: SubLevel Records

Wreck-Defy debuted the video for its latest single this week.

The band debuted the lyric video for its new single ‘Freedomless Speech‘ Thursday.  The song and its companion video are the second from the band’s forthcoming album Powers That Be, which is scheduled for release Oct. 9 through SubLevel Records.  The band debuted the album’s lead single ‘Skin‘ and its companion video last month.

The video places the song’s lyrics over a television screen in which images of items, such as a law enforcement K-9, pointing fingers, and a person with a mouth covered in tape flash.  The visuals are meant to help deliver the song’s lyrical message about the corrosion of free speech worldwide.

The song’s lyrical content is timely and will resonate with any listener.  The song’s musical arrangement will connect with any thrash metal fan.  Its fierce shredding and precision time keeping couples with its vocals and bass to make it a work that will appeal to fans of bands, such as Megadeth, Testament, and Anthrax.  That should come as no surprise, as the band is composed of former members of Testament, Annihilator, and Malevolent Creation, which are counterparts to Megadeth and Anthrax.

The band’s members are: Matt Hanchuck, Aaron Dandall (ex-Annihilator), Greg Christian (ex-Testamant), Alex Marquez (ex-Malevolent Creation).

Powers That Be is the third full-length studio recording from Wreck-Defy.  It will come less than a year after the release of the band’s sophomore album, Remnants of Pain.  Pre-orders are open through SubLevel Records’ official Bandcamp page and through Wreck-Defy’s official Bandcamp page.

More information on Wreck-Defy’s new single, video, album and more is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

 

Websitehttp://wreck-defy.bandcamp.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/Underground4560

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like “it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Testament Members Make Plea For Aid To Nepal

Courtesy: Alpha Omega Management

Two of Testament’s members are asking the band’s fans to help the nation of Nepal recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Front man Chuck Billy and bassist Steve Di Giorgio are urging audiences to help the people of Nepal recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.  Billy posted a video to the band’s official Facebook page Wednesday asking fans to help those efforts.  Di Giorgio posted his own statement here.

Metal for Nepal works to help the people of Nepal deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Audiences can help the agency by purchasing art and merchandise from the agency at its official store.

Metal for Nepal is streaming a video here that appeals to audiences to help the nation recover from the pandemic.

More information on Metal For Nepal and its efforts is available at:

 

Website: http://metalfornepal.org

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/metal4nepal

Twitter: http://twitter.com/metal4nepalorg

 

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

 

 

 

Annihilator Proves Again Why It Is Thrash Metal Elite With ‘Ballistic, Sadistic’

Courtesy: Neverland Music, Inc.

Thrash metal is alive and well.  This critic has pointed this out more than once during the course of this year.  New, successful albums released this year from the likes of Testament, Warbringer and Sepultura have supported that statement without any doubt.  They are just a few of the albums that have served to support the noted statement.  They are just some of those examples of what has made the thrash world so strong this year.  They also were not the first of the year’s major thrash albums.  Annihilator beat all of them to the punch on January 24 with the release of its latest album Ballistic, Sadistic.  The band’s 17th full-length studio recording, its 10 total songs make the album everything that audiences have come to expect from the veteran metal outfit, musically speaking.  This will be discussed shortly.  The album’s lyrical themes work with that noted musical aspect to add to the record’s appeal.  It will be addressed a little later.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.  It will also be addressed later.  Each noted item is important in its own way to the whole of this recording.  All things considered, they make Ballistic, Sadistic another win for Annihilator and its fans.

Annihilator’s latest album Ballistic, Sadistic is a pure example from start to end of why this band has remained such a respected act both within the thrash and metal realms for more than 35 years.  That is proven in part through the 45-minute album’s overall musical presentation.  The album’s musical arrangements are, from one to the next, everything that audiences have come to expect from the band.  The shredding riffs are there as are front man Jeff Waters’ grinding vocals and drummer Fabio Alessandrini’s solid time keeping and fills.  From the full-throttle approach of ‘Out With The Garbage’ to the almost power metal approach of ‘Lip Service’ to the equally driving arrangement of ‘The Attitude,’ audiences get everything that they have come to expect from Annihilator on this latest offering from the veteran metal outfit.  What’s interesting to note in examining the arrangements is that for all of the familiarity present throughout the course of the 45-minute record, there are some aspects that audiences will find interesting in their own right.  That arrangement at the center of ‘The Attitude’ is just one of those moments that stands out.  The nearly five-minute song opens with what is best described as something of a doom sound with the slow, heavy guitars and equally impacting drumming.  This element lasts almost two minutes before the band launches into the more full-throttle, old school thrash sound for which it has come to be known.  ‘One Wrong Move’ is another  example of some changes from the band, that audiences will like.  Roughly halfway through the course of the nearly five-minute song, which in its overall presentation sounds a lot like old school Metallica circa 1991 (and old school Pantera for that matter), the song becomes decidedly subdued.  That change of tone is only temporary, though, as the song soon after, as the band gets right back to the song’s original heaviness after the brief respite.  Between these two changes, the more familiar aspects of the band’s musical work and the rest of the work not addressed, the album’s overall musical content creates a solid foundation for its presentation.  The record’s lyrical themes rest on that foundation, making the album even more appealing for audiences.

The lyrical themes featured throughout the course of Ballistic, Sadistic strengthen the foundation formed by the album’s musical arrangements.  That is because the themes in question are topics to which listeners can relate.  “The Attitude’ is just one of the songs that serves to support the noted statement.  The song comes across as addressing those people who live to make others’ lives miserable.  It is a familiar topic that has been covered many times from one act to the next and from one genre to the next.  But even in the case of this presentation, it still maintains its appeal to listeners.  Case in point is the song’s lead verse, which states, “Years of blood, sweat and tears/Under the belt/Disregard, disrespect for what you’ve been dealt/best defense, arrogance/You know it all/Enjoy your time while it lasts/Before you fall.”  The damning indictment of such behaviors from those people continues in the song’s second verse, “It’s dragging me down/Pessimist/What do you know/In a couple of years, wait and see/You’ve got nothing to show/telling me how/Teaching me how it’s done/Feel the need to educate everyone” and adds in the song’s third and final verse, “You’ll learn the lesson/Learn it well/Save your tears/I’d wish you luck/Don’t fuck a f***/get out of here.”  That final statement is the most telling, as the song’s subject clearly is taking on that negativist, telling that person that he/she is not wanted or welcome.  When that forceful statement is coupled with the song’s equally powerful musical arrangement, the whole of the song is certain to leave a lasting impact on listeners.  It is just one of the most notable examples of what makes the album’s lyrical content stand out.  ‘Dressed Up For Evil’ shows in its own way what makes the album’s lyrical content so important to its presentation.

‘Dressed Up For Evil’ does not come right out  and say it, but could very easily be considered a statement against none other than the “Mango Monster” himself, Donald J. Trump.  This is inferred right from the song’s outset as the song states, “Put on your best suit and pick out your tie/Cover up the hooves/A devil in disguise/Jump in your fancy car/Women, a plaything/Everyone’s inferior/All hail the king/Lake Damien from The Omen/A business camouflage/Hanging with your worshippers/Your phony entourage/Blending in with all of us/A smell of rotten flesh/Fending off the flies.”  The seeming statement about the wannabe dictator continues in the song’s second verse, “So condescending/Rotten to the core/Everyone’s beneath you/Put ‘em down some more/Tempting with currency/Preying on the greed/Extend the family/With demon seed/People are just property/Amassing your net worth/Building up the empire/Right here on Earth/Delusions, illusions/All a fantasy/No guilty conscience/A moral bankruptcy.”  The song’s third and final verse follows in similar fashion, but at least ends the song with a “happy” ending, stressing to that evil figure, “The reign is over/Good has overcome/Dealing with the aftermath/The healing has begun.”  One can only hope that the healing will begin come November when hopefully the giant cheeto will be gone from the White House.  Considering all of this, the song is a song that will certainly resonate with plenty of listeners.  It is just one more way in which the album’s lyrical content proves so important to its presentation.  ‘Lip Service’ is yet another way in which the album’s lyrical content proves so important to its presentation.

The lyrical content featured in ‘Lip Service’ presents a certain intentional double entendre.  On the one hand, there is a clear sexual aspect to the song, as it states at one point, “Sweat dripping from the skin/’m dancing with the ultimate done/Like a sweet peach dipped in honey/With a taste that’s second to none/Down we go/It’s just what you need/Your pleasure and my treat/I got dessert to eat.”  Again, the sexual nature is fully evident here, but at the same time, one can consider that lip service meaning someone lying to another, there is a commentary here about just that.  People so often will pay lip service to others in order to get what they want.  That could be what is being addressed here in the bigger picture.  It could be a man trying to woo a woman.  It could be a brown noser sucking up to a boss.  Overall, the song’s lyrical content, with that seeming commentary and double entendre will certainly reach listeners and keep them just as engaged and entertained as the lyrical content featured in the album’s other noted songs and those not directly addressed.  All things considered here, the lyrical themes featured alongside the album’s musical content, make the album that much more enjoyable for listeners.  While the overall content goes a long way toward making it worth hearing, it is not all that audiences will appreciate.  The album’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.

The sequencing of Ballistic, Sadistic is important to note because it does just as much to keep listeners engaged and entertained as the album’s overall content.  Clocking in at just over 45 minutes in length, a lot is going on in the album.  Yet even with so much happening, the album is well balanced in its energies and time.  The album’s two halves each run just over 20 minutes, with the longest of the record’s songs each running a little more than five minutes.  That means that at no point does the album let itself drag.  Even with the slight stylistic changes in some of the songs, each song still keeps the album’s overall energy moving throughout.  The result is a presentation that is just as appealing for its aesthetics as for its content.  Keeping that in mind, the album in whole proves clearly why it is another positive offering from Annihilator that is also among the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

Annihilator’s 17th album Ballistic, Sadistic is another successful offering from the veteran thrash metal outfit.  That is proven in part through it musical arrangements which present plenty of familiar sounds and stylistic approaches alongside a little something new.  The album’s lyrical themes will connect with listeners just as much as its musical arrangements, as has been pointed out here.  The album’s sequencing puts the finishing touch to its presentation.  Each item noted is important in its own right to the album’s presentation.  All things considered, they make Ballistic, Sadistic a presentation that the band’s established fan base will appreciate just as much as metal aficionados in general.  It is available now through Neverland Music, Inc.  More information on the album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.annihilatormetal.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/annihilatorband

 

 

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and ‘Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Lamb of God Debuts ‘Gears’ Video, ‘Reality Bath’ Lyric Video

Courtesy: Epic Records

Lamb of God has unveiled the video for its latest single.

The band debuted the video for its song ‘Gears‘ Friday.  The song is the sixth single from the band’s brand new 10-song self-titled album, which hit stores today. It comes alongside the premiere of the lyric video for another of the album’s songs, ‘Reality Bath,’ which addresses the mass school shootings that have happened nationwide.

The video for ‘Gears’ places the band members in a fenced in area that looks like an octagonal, almost UFC type ring and crosses that with footage of two professional men buying everything they can in order to feel complete.  The imagery is meant to translate the song’s message about consumerism and how companies control people.  The song’s musical arrangement is a sound that will appeal to fans of Lamb of God’s classic album As The Palaces Burn.

On a side note, front man Randy Blythe is wearing a shirt with the name En Esch printed along with a skull on a black backdrop.  En Esch just recently worked on Blue Eyed Christ’s new single ‘World on Fire,’ which is the title track from that act’s latest album.  Interestingly, ‘World on Fire’ is also a song whose lyrical content focuses on materialism and the impact thereof, so there is a direct correlation there.

Getting back to the topic at hand, ‘Gears,’ as noted, is just the latest single from Lamb of God to get a video treatment.  The band also premiered the lyric video for the song ‘Reality Bath’ today, also as noted.

Those two songs were preceded by the debuts of videos for ‘Routes,’ ‘New Colossal Hate,’ ‘Memento Mori’ and ‘Checkmate.’  All of the band’s videos are streaming through its official YouTube channel.

Lamb of God was produced by Josh Wilbur (Soulfly, Hatebreed, Megadeth, Gojira), and features guest appearances from the likes of Hatebreed front man Jamey Jasta and Testament front man Chuck Billy.  The album’s track listing is noted below.

 

Lamb Of God tracklisting:
1. Memento Mori
2. Checkmate
3. Gears
4. Reality Bath
5. New Colossal Hate
6. Resurrection Man
7. Poison Dream (feat. Jamey Jasta)
8. Routes (feat. Chuck Billy)
9. Bloodshot Eyes
10. On The Hook

 

More information on Lamb of God’s new singles, album, upcoming live dates, news and more is available online now at:

 

Websitehttp://www.lamb-of-god.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/lambofgod

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/lambofgod

 

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

 

 

Lamb Of God’s Self-Titled LP Lives Up To Expectations And Then Some

Courtesy: Epic Records

Lamb of God is one of the leading names in the metal and hard rock communities today.  The band did not earn that title overnight, either.  It took more than 25 years, nine albums and lots of touring around the world.  With the forthcoming release of its 10th overall album – and eighth under the Lamb of God moniker (the band was previously known as Burn the Priest, and has released two records under that name) – the band cements its reputation even more so.  The 10-song record is some of the band’s best work to date.  That is proven in part through the record’s musical content, which will be discussed shortly.  The album’s lyrical content does its own part to show what makes this record so strong.  It will be discussed a little later.  The record’s production and mixing put the final touch to its presentation.  Together with the noted content, all three elements make the album’s overall presentation such that it easily makes a place for itself among this year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

Lamb of God’s forthcoming self-titled album is one of the most anticipated hard rock and metal albums of this year.  The album lives up to expectations, too, as is evidenced in part through the record’s musical arrangements.  From beginning to end, this album’s musical content throws back to the sounds of the band’s 2003 breakout album As The Palaces Burn.  There is even some growth exhibited in the album in ‘Bloodshot Eyes.’  That song actually presents more of a melodic metal sound than the full-throttle, chainsaw-sharp sounds for which the band has come to be known throughout its albums.  Front man Randy Blythe even goes so far as to provide some actual clean vocals in the song alongside his trademark screams.  Meanwhile, the team of guitarists Willie Adler, Mark Morton and bassist John Campbell create the noted melodic hard rock sound that is a welcome change of pace here.  New drummer Art Cruz (Prong, Winds of Plague) adds his own distinct touch to the song, showing that he can play slow and controlled just as easily as he can while keeping time in the album’s more up-tempo works.  The whole makes this song one of the album’s most engaging songs, but definitely not its only notable addition to Lamb of God.  Campbell’s subtle bass intro in ‘Reality Bath’ does well to help set the searing tone that is revealed in the rest of the song.  It does that because of how contradictory it is to the sound in the rest of the song’s arrangement.  It serves as a sort of precursor or calm before the storm that is unleashed throughout the rest of the song.  That storm is intense, too.  Blythe’s vocal delivery gives audiences something rare as it feels and sounds so more focused than ever.  Speaking of focus, the band’s ability to switch so seamlessly between its trademark thrash/groove sound to the more hardcore sound of Hatebreed when that band’s front man Jamey Jasta joins in on ‘Poison Dream’ serves as another example of how focused the band is on this album. What has led the band to gel so well throughout this record is anyone’s guess.  Maybe it is the fact that Morton has recently been allowed to spread his own creative wings through his own solo recordings – Anasthetic and Ether.  Maybe that allowed him to come into the recording sessions with a clearer and more open mind.  Maybe it is that front man randy Blythe recently got sober, as is discussed in an interview that he recently conducted with Revolver magazine.  Audiences can read that whole interview here.  Maybe it is something else or even a combination of those elements and something else.  Whatever the case may be, the fact remains that the musical content featured throughout Lamb of God’s 45-minute run time builds a solid foundation for the record’s presentation.  It is just one of the elements that makes this record so appealing.  The record’s lyrical themes play into the album’s appeal, too.

The lyrical themes featured throughout Lamb of God largely address issues going on with society the world over.  Blythe addressed this, too in his noted interview with Revolver magazine.  He was cited late in the interview as saying that getting sober played directly into his approach to songwriting this time out.  Audiences will be left to read his comments for themselves, but the short and simple of his statement is that in getting sober, he had a clearer mind and realized the importance in the impact of the band’s music, so he took a more active approach to writing each song.  The result of his focus is clear from beginning to end.  ‘Gears’ is just one example of the positive payoff of Blythe’s sobriety.  He writes in this song’s lead verse and chorus, “You suffer from a manufactured sickness and envy by design/Pre-calculated status and patterns of desire/ Accumulation and adoration/Built to feed your ostentation/Perpetually unsatisfied, but you never question why/So hang it on the wall of your golden cage/Tell yourself that it means something/Empty actions to fill the time/Commercial gods keep you in line/Industry and empire thrive/While you’re dying for always more.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Your endless hunger automated/Industry defined/A systematic impulse, parametric lines/Subjugation and degradation the blueprint to your annihilation/You’re assets personified, a product of the times,” before eventually adding in the song’s third and final verse, “So you can’t take it with you but you don’t use it now/A shallow life to crush you, drive you into the ground/So scared to lose the nothings you acquire/Everything must fall, bones on a pyre.”  This takes on the issues of consumerism and social media, and how people allow themselves to be turned into essentially puppets for corporations while also fulfilling their own greedy natures.  Sure, it’s hardly the first time that any act has taken on such matters, but Lamb of God has given the topic a new twist in this case that is certain to resonate and stick with audiences.

‘New Colossal Hate’ is another example of the importance of this record’s lyrical themes.  The song addresses the mistreatment of people from ethnic minorities.  This matter has become a hot-button topic ever since Donald Trump rose to power.  His divisive comments about ethnic minority populations have fueled so much division and even criminal activity by white nationalist groups.  Now Blythe has taken on the matter, writing in the song’s lead verse, “The mother of exiles stands there weeping/As her children tear themselves apart/Knives are out, her thoughts are bleeding Blood runs down her welcoming arms/Her feral brood has turned neglectful/The chains she broke are rusting closed/Imprisoned lightning burns forgetful/Spoiled blind to the light that she holds/Lash the tired and kill the poor/The huddled masses ram the door.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Like brazen giants with conquering limbs/The herd manifesting all that she despised/Childish amnesia born of privilege/Selfish mob commits matricide/Her mild gaze gone stern, fire in her eyes/Watching her dreams turn into dust The beacon dropped, her hand raised up to strike/Cast them homeless into the tempest/Lash the tired and kill the poor/The coddled masses slam the golden door.”  The song’s third verse is the most telling in the noted statement as Blythe writes, closing out the song, “The melting pot is melting down/A pool of slag on poisoned ground/Choking from the venom’s sting/Pull the fangs, let freedom ring.”  That ironic statement at the end, “Let freedom ring” is a powerful final comment.  It heightens the sense of anger expressed throughout the rest of the song as it addresses the vile, hateful behavior of so many who want to keep ethnic minorities from coming to America.  It is yet another way in which the record’s lyrical themes prove the importance of the record’s lyrical content.  ‘On The Hook,’ the record’s finale, is yet another way in which the album’s lyrical themes prove so important to the album’s presentation.

‘On the Hook’ is a direct statement about America’s opioid epidemic.  It is a damning indictment of the legal drug industry, pointing out its role in people becoming addicted to drugs.  Blythe also addresses this in his interview with Revolver magazine, noting the song’s inspiration was something personal.  The revelation that he makes here is an eye-opener to say the very least.  He opens the song by writing, “A dead silver spoon with needles in his skin/Rode a pale horse down from Afghanistan/Tears in the suburbs/Mothers praying for their damned/Death has crept into their zone of the promised land/But just before each plague, the clearest prophecies/Pandora’s box in backwoods pharmacies/A contract to die.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Narcotic economics for the miner’s sons/The seams went bust so long ago/With nowhere else to turn/Strip mine the veins, drill the abscess dry/Incentives for the architects of their genocide/We’ve seen this all before in a different shade/The Dark Alliance shifts to the modern age/A contract to die.”  The song’s most damning statement comes again here in its third verse, in which Blythe writes, Hippocratic hypocrites/Breaking oaths and cashing checks/Wrote an oceans worth of ink/Scripting a nation’s disease/A systematic business plan/To broker death increase demand/So flood the ghetto and starve the hills/Kill them all with crack and pills/Kill them all/Vietnam/Iran Contra/Park Avenue/Oxycontin.”  This is a powerful overall statement that audiences will not soon forget.  Along with Psycle’s song ‘Last Chance for the Saints,’ Lamb of God’s work becomes hopefully just the latest in what is hopefully a growing trend of acts addressing the negative impact of the legalized drug industry.  Regardless, it can be said that it is one more hard-hitting example of what makes this record’s lyrical themes so important.  Taking it into consideration along with the other lyrical themes noted here and those in the rest of the album’s songs, the whole of the album’s lyrical content proves itself just as important as the LP’s musical content.  While the record’s musical and lyrical content collectively and completely ensure listeners’ engagement and entertainment, they are only a portion of what makes the record a strong new offering from Lamb of God.  The album’s mixing and production put the final touch to its presentation.

The production and mixing that went into Lamb of God’s presentation is noteworthy in that so much is going on in each song.  Between Blythe’s screams, Cruz’s powerhouse drumming, Morton and Adler’s double attack and Campbell’s low-end, each band member has something to bring in each song.  Whether in the more radio-ready aggro-rock styling of ‘Bloodshot Eyes,’ the intense ‘Reality Bath,’ which does an admirable job of expressing America’s frustration over all of the recent mass shootings at schools nationwide, the equally intense ‘Poison Dream’ or the arrangements in any of the album’s other songs, the fact remains that each song is expertly produced and mixed.  The fire burns bright in each arrangement, while also allowing each part to show why each said work has such powerful impact.  Producer Josh Wilbur and others involved in this process are to be commended in their own right for this result.  Keeping in mind the positive result of the record’s production and mixing, that element is what makes the record’s arrangements hit as hard as they do.  It is what leads the lyrics and music to come together and translate as well as they do.  To that end, it puts the finishing touch to this record and makes it a must hear for Lamb of God’s fans and metal/hard rock fans alike.  It all comes together to make Lamb of God one of this year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

Lamb of God’s forthcoming self-titled album is an impressive new offering from the band.  It is a work whose musical arrangements take audiences back in time and whose lyrical themes do their own part to keep audiences engaged and entertained.  The record’s production and mixing put the final touch to its presentation by balancing everything out and in turn making the album that much more appealing.  Each noted item is important in its own way.  All things considered, they make Lamb of God, without argument, one of this year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.  It is scheduled for release Friday through Epic Records.  Pre-orders are open now for Lamb of God.

More information on Lamb of God’s new album, its new album, single, news and more is available online now at:

 

Websitehttp://www.lamb-of-god.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/lambofgod

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/lambofgod

 

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

Lamb Of God Debuts ‘Routes’ Video

Courtesy: Epic Records

Lamb of God debuted the video for its latest single this week.

The band debuted the video for its new single ‘Routes‘ Friday.  The song is the fourth single from the band’s forthcoming self-titled record, which is scheduled for release June 19 through Epic Records.

The video features a variety of images related to the oil industry, such as oil derricks, factories and images of smoke around the Earth.  The imagery is tied into the sociopolitical commentary in the song’s lyrics.

Front man Randy Blythe said in a recent interview, the song was crafted following a personal experience that he had in North Dakota.

“I went to Standing Rock because I had heard reports of violence committed on the peaceful protestors there by both state law enforcement and private security contractors, and this violence was not reported in mainstream media for the most part,” he said.  “I went to bring supplies and support these people, who were trying to protect their water, and thereby protect everyone, as everything in the natural world is protected. I was there a week, made some great friends, and learned a lot. It was a very profound experience in my life, and I knew one day I would write a song about it.”

Testament front man Chuck Billy, who is of Pomo Native American descent, added his vocal talent to the song.

Billy talked about taking taking part in the song’s creation with his own comments.

“It was a great honor as a proud Pomo Native American to be asked by LAMB OF GOD to do some guest vocals on this song,” he said.  “The No DAPL movement by the indigenous people of this country was a historic event. Being able to lend my voice to represent the Native American people, complementing Randy’s storytelling and lyrics, is something really special to me. I’m glad this movement was put in a musical message, and I am extremely happy to have been a part of it.”

Blythe said the decision to add Billy to the song was intentional.

“My experience, although my own, was tempered and shaped by the hundreds of years of brutal oppression of Native peoples in our country,” says Blythe. “So, it was imperative for me to have a Native voice represented on the song, and Chuck Billy was happy to be that voice. At the end, there is a call and response section – Chuck calls and I respond. This is intentional. Musically, it is symbolic of my experience there. A native voice leads, bringing forth positive energy and calling to the people to unite, and I reply, providing support. That was my physical experience, and it is reflected in the song.”

Lamb of God debuted the album’s third single ‘New Colossal Hate‘ last month.  That song and this latest offering are just two of the lyrically heavy songs featured in Lamb of God.  The record also takes on the issue of school shootings in the song ‘Reality Bath’ and the opioid crisis in the song ‘On the Hook.’

Memento Mori‘ and the album’s lead single, ‘Checkmate‘ were released in March and February respectively.

Lamb of God was produced by Josh Wilbur (Soulfly, Hatebreed, Megadeth, Gojira), and features guest appearances from the likes of Hatebreed front man Jamey Jasta and Testament front man Chuck Billy.  The album’s track listing is noted below.

 

 

Lamb Of God tracklisting:
1. Memento Mori
2. Checkmate
3. Gears
4. Reality Bath
5. New Colossal Hate
6. Resurrection Man
7. Poison Dream (feat. Jamey Jasta)
8. Routes (feat. Chuck Billy)
9. Bloodshot Eyes
10. On The Hook

Pre-orders are open now for Lamb of God. The announcement was made recently that the album’s release date has been pushed back to June 19 as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 impact.

More information on Lamb of God’s upcoming live dates, its new album, single, news and more is available online now at:

 

Websitehttp://www.lamb-of-god.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/lambofgod

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/lambofgod

 

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

 

 

Lamb of God Debuts New LP’s Third Single, Single’s Lyric Video

Courtesy: Epic Records

Lamb of God has debuted the latest single from its forthcoming self-titled album.

The band debuted the new single ‘New Colossal Hate‘ Wednesday alongside its lyric video.  The song’s musical arrangement is everything that fans have come to expect from the band, with its powerhouse shredding and equally precise timekeeping.  Its lyrical content is just as powerful as its musical content, according to information provided about the new song.  The information states that the song’s lyrical content is meant to address the mistreatment of people from ethnic minorities.

Guitarist Willie Adler spoke in a recent interview about the creation of the song’s arrangement.

“‘New Colossal Hate’ came out of our very first writing session in Maine,” he said.  “[Guitarist] Mark [Morton], our producer Josh Wilbur and I were at a super cool studio in South Windham called Halo.  An absolutely beautiful spot run by some of the best people I’ve ever met.  I’m pretty sure ‘New Colossal Hate’ grew from a few different demos I had.  You know, like pats of a car. However, as it started to take shape, it quickly became my favorite song on the record.  Please enjoy this banger of a tune.  It holds a very special place in my heart.”

Audiences who are prone to epileptic seizures are cautioned against taking in the song’s lyric video due to the excessive flashing images.

‘New Colossal Hate’ is just one of Lamb of God‘s lyrically heavy songs.  According to the noted information, the album also takes on issues, such as the nation’s opioid crisis (‘On The Hook’), school shootings (‘Reality Bath’) and social injustice (‘Routes’) throughout the course of its body.

‘New Colossal Hate’ is the third single so far from Lamb of God.  It follows the release of the album’s second single, ‘Memento Mori‘ and the album’s lead single, ‘Checkmate.’

According to front man Randy Blythe, ‘Memento Mori’ presents its own social commentary.

“Months before the COVID-19 outbreak occurred, I wrote ‘Memento Mori’ as a reminder to myself to be not be consumed by the ominpresent electronic harbingers of doom that surround us – cell phones, computers and television screens,” he said.  “While these devices can be useful tools, and it is important to stay informed, it is equally important to remain engaged with the real, physical world we live in, not just digitally filtered representations of reality.”

Blythe went on to talk about the song’s video in his statement.

“I wrote the narrative video treatment a few months ago to illustrate how warped and myopic our mental states can become when we fail to remain engaged with that reality – if all you pay attention to is catastrophe, then soon you will begin to see monsters everywhere,” he said.  “The actual monsters we used in the video are Sinisteria, a local Richmond, Virginia haunted house/dark performance troupe I met on the street at our annual Krampus Nacht parade.  Richmond has a strong tradition of loud music and weird costumed monsters working hand-in-hand to make salient points (we are the birthplace of Gwar, after all), and I couldn’t be more pleased with the results.”

“Music has always been there for me, raising my spirits during hard times, and it is my hope that this song’s positive message will do the same for fans of our music right now and beyond,” he added.  “The release date for the tune was set a good while ago, but the timing seems eerily prescient to me now.  So enjoy the song and video, and remember to step away from the screens for a bit — real life is waiting for you.  We only get one shot, so don’t waste this day.  Everyone be well, keep a cool head, take care of yourselves and take care of EACH OTHER.”

Guitarist Mark Morton expanded on Blythe’s comments about the song’s creation.

“I had been sitting with the music for the intro and the post chorus for quite a while,” he said.  “I was trying to develop those two parts as separate songs altogether and was a little stumped particularly with the intro piece.  Me, Willie, and Josh Wilbur (producer) were doing demos in the studio, and the idea came up to try to mash those parts into the same tune, and everything just took off.  It was one of those times where once I knew what we were trying to do, the riffs just kind of fell out of me like they were writing themselves like they were writing themselves.  It’s always a crazy feeling when that happens.  Vocally, Randy heard the intro and said he instantly got a throwback Sisters of Mercy type vibe from it and he took off from there.”

In talking about ‘Checkmate,’ Morton had the following to say:

“‘Checkmate’ brings together all the components of the Lamb of God sound that we’ve been developing over the last two decades, but with the ambition and ferocity that comes with the start of a new chapter for our band,” he said.  “Re-energized and reignited, this is Lamb of God 2020.  We’ve never been more excited.”

Blythe expanded on his comments.

“Putting only our names on it is a statement,” Blythe said.  “This is Lamb of God. Here and now.”

Lamb of God was produced by Josh Wilbur (Soulfly, Hatebreed, Megadeth, Gojira), and features guest appearances from the likes of Hatebreed front man Jamey Jasta and Testament front man Chuck Billy.  The album’s track listing is noted below.

 

Lamb Of God tracklisting:
1. Memento Mori
2. Checkmate
3. Gears
4. Reality Bath
5. New Colossal Hate
6. Resurrection Man
7. Poison Dream (feat. Jamey Jasta)
8. Routes (feat. Chuck Billy)
9. Bloodshot Eyes
10. On The Hook

Pre-orders are open now for Lamb of God. The announcement was made recently that the album’s release date has been pushed back to June 19 as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 impact.

More information on Lamb of God’s upcoming live dates, its new album, single, news and more is available online now at:

 

Websitehttp://www.lamb-of-god.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/lambofgod

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/lambofgod

 

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

 

Testament Debuts ‘Night Of The Witch’ Video

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Veteran thrash outfit Testament gave audiences their first preview of its new album this week.

The band debuted the lyric video for the song ‘Night of the Witch‘ Friday.  The song is featured in the band’s forthcoming album Titans of Creation.

The album is scheduled for release April 3 through Nuclear Blast Records.  It was co-produced by Testament front man Chuck Billy, his band mate, guitarist Eric Peterson, and Juan Urteaga.  Urteaga also engineered and recorded the album.

Andy Sneap (Fozzy, Skinlab, Nevermore) mixed and mastered the record.  The cover art was designed by Eliran Kantor.

Testament front man Chuck Billy talked about the group’s new single and album in a recent interview.

“It has been months since the final mixing of Titans of Creation and we are eager for fans to hear it,” Billy said of the album.  “We feel that we put a lot into this record and at the end of the day it is a Testament record that stands on its own.  We are very proud of Titans of Creation.”

Speaking about the album’s lead single, Billy had this to say:

“‘Night of the Witch’ uses old school lyrics about witches chanting in the moonlight and casting spells.  The beauty of this song is that I worked [guitarist] Eric’s [Peterson] vocals into the chorus.  I wanted to incorporate him as he does Dragonlord, and this song was a perfect match.  It is a heavy song and a great way to introduce everyone to Titans of Creation.”

Pre-orders are open now for Titans of Creation.  It can be pre-saved digitally through various outlets here.  It will be available on a variety of platforms, all of which are noted below.

Titans Of Creation will be available in the following formats:
  • CD Digipak
  • Light Blue Cassette (Limited to 250)
  • DLP + CD Mail-order Box Set (Limited to 1500)
  • Includes Earth Element Vinyl
  • Vinyl
  • Fire Element Edition Vinyl (Limited to 2150)
  • Air Element Edition Vinyl
  • Water Element Edition Vinyl
  • Blue Vinyl (Limited to 500; Retail)
  • T-shirt
  • TS+ DLP bundle

The track listing for Titans of Creation is noted below.

 

Below is the track listing:
  1. Children Of The Next Level
  2. WWIII
  3. Dream Deceiver
  4. Night Of The Witch
  5. City Of Angels
  6. Ishtar’s Gate
  7. Symptoms
  8. False Prophet
  9. The Healers
  10. Code Of Hammurabi
  11. Curse Of Osiris
  12. Catacombs

 

More information on Titans of Creation is available online along with all of Testament’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.testmentlegions.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/testament

 

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

Nuclear Blast To Re-Issue Testament Recordings

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Veteran thrash outfit Testament will see a handful of its classic albums re-issued on vinyl this fall.

Nuclear Blast Records will re-issue five of the band’s records, including two live recordings, on Nov. 17, 2017. The recordings — Live at the Fillmore (1995), Demonic (1997), The Gathering (1999) [re-mastered by Andy Sneap), First Strike Still Deadly (2001) and Live at Eindhoven ’87 (2009) — will be re-issued on vinyl and as digi-packs. They will also feature new artwork.

Testament guitarist Eric Peterson said in a recent interview that he was looking forward to the recordings’ re-issues.

“I’m super stoked that Nuclear Blast, the best metal label on Earth, is re-releasing the re-birth of Testament era featuring Demonic and The Gathering,” Peterson said.  “These two albums brought us back to life with ultra heavy and unrelenting fury and melody.  Also, ‘87’s live classic in full Live in Eindhoven and re-recordings of our classic First Strike Still Deadly.  These classic records feature revamped art to boot that are unapologetic to their themes as they were.”

Front man Chuck Billy agreed.

“I am more than excited to have Nuclear Blast re-release part of our catalogue that has been in need of a good home,” Billy said.  “Nuclear Blast has taken these albums in and will help Testament bring something killer to our fans.”

Pre-orders are available now for each re-issue.  An associated merchandise collection will soon launch.

More information on Testament’s forthcoming re-issues is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.testamentlegions.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/testament

 

 

 

More information on these and other titles from Nuclear Blast Records is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.nuclearblast.de/en

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

 

 

Twitter: http://twitter.com/nuclearblasteu

 

 

 

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.