‘The Change’ Could Change The Course Of Awake At Last’s Life

Courtesy: Outerloop Records

Hard rock band Awake At Last has made a name for itself throughout the course of its life for presenting songs that promote positivity, spirituality and self-confidence.  That trend, which the band has held over the course of two EPs, continues on the band’s full-length debut album The Change.  The 12-song record presents those themes in various ways throughout the course of its 39-minute run time, complete with musical arrangements that will appeal to a wide range of listeners.  From one song to the next, the record’s musical arrangements and lyrical themes that make up its body ensure listeners’ continued engagement.  The album’s lead single ‘Dead Generation’ is just one of the songs that supports that statement.  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Bigger Picture,’ which comes later in the album’s run continues to support that statement in a similar fashion.  It will be discussed a little later.  ‘Fallen Stars,’ the album’s closer is yet another of the album’s entries that exhibits the band’s continued themes of positivity and self-confidence. It serves just as much as ‘Dead Generation’ and ‘Bigger Picture’ to maintain listeners’ engagement.  When these songs are considered along with the nine songs that make up the remainder of the record, the whole of The Change becomes a work that may well “change” the course of Awake At Last’s career to the positive.

Awake At Last’s debut full-length studio recording The Change is a strong new effort from the Delaware-based hard rock outfit.  It is a nearly 40-minute presentation whose themes of positivity, self-confidence and spirituality are certain to keep listeners engaged while at the same time, offering those same audiences plenty of musical entertainment and lyrical inspiration.  One of the songs featured in the record’s 12-song body that serves to support those statements comes early in the record’s run in the form of ‘Dead Generation.’  The album’s lead single, it presents a musical arrangement that will appeal to fans of bands, such as Three Days Grace, Shinedown and to a lesser extent, Set It Off.  That combination of influences makes the song’s musical arrangement a strong foundation for the song’s presentation.  That foundation is strengthened through the social commentary presented in the song’s lyrical content.

The song’s lyrical content presents a theme of…well…making a change.  It approaches the subject in this case, by forcing listeners to contemplate whether the current generation that has inherited the planet is in fact as bad off as it has been made to seem.  Front man Vincent Torres delivers that message, singing in the song’s lead verse, “With every moment/We’re drifting into defeat/We keep on living a lie/Like it’s what we need/When conversation is avoided to keep the peace/The silence pulling us under will never cease.”  He is saying here, that people need to stand up and speak up, rather than be passive and just let things happen.  That is because if we continue to remain silent, nothing will get better in the world, rather it will do the opposite and get worse.  This statement is heightened through the song’s chorus in which Torres and his band mates – Eric Blackway (guitar), Imran Xhelili (guitar) and John Finney (drums) – sing, “We beg the world to change/But fail to face it/Are we alive or a dead generation?”  He is saying, we keep calling for change, but are we doing anything to back up our calls to action?  As if that is not proof enough, Torres goes on in the song’s second verse, to sing, “Trapped in a moment/Perpetual hell/This life’s a coffin and we are the nails/Cut out the answers and disarm the scars/We always take, take, take/And forget who we are.”  Again, here is a statement of looking at the bigger picture.  We are the cause, not the effect, is essentially what Torres is saying here.  We are the “nails,” the cause.  We always take, take, take/And forget who we are.  It’s all about us.  We need to act for the bigger picture.  Torres speaks in metaphors here, but it is relatively clear what he is saying.  Keeping that in mind, along with the fire in the song’s musical arrangement, this first statement from the band this time out shows without doubt that noted positivity for which the band has come to be known during its life.  Given it is hardly the first time that any musical act has ever presented a call to action so to speak, but it still works even in this case.  In the process, it helps to establish the band’s identity and that of the album.  It is just one of the album’s most standout additions.  Speaking of bigger pictures, the song ‘Bigger Picture’ is another of those key additions to the record.

‘Bigger Picture’ comes late in the album’s 39-minute run time.  It stands out quite starkly from its counterparts included in the album, through its musical arrangement.  This song’s arrangement boasts a sound more akin to Set It Off and Fall Out Boy than the previously noted bands.  What is nice is that even with those influences, the song still maintains its own identity separate from those bands’ works.  That goes a long way toward making the song stand out.  The song’s lyrical content, which focuses on the importance of unity and seeing the forest for the trees, adds to the foundation formed through the song’s arrangement.

The message in question is delivered as Torres sings in the song’s lead verse, “Spent some time inside my mind/And found a way to re-align/My thoughts betray me, but it’s all in my head/Life is just a tapestry and I’m just a thread.”  Now this line in and of itself directly sends that message.  The song’s subject looked inside, and realized he/she needed to think differently because he/she was just one part of a much bigger whole.  The message continues as Torres sings, “People used to tell me ‘cause I doubted myself/Spent so much time tryin’ to be someone else/I know it’s not about me, but it’s plain to see/We’re losing ourselves to these selfish machines/Get into our bodies and out of our screens/If we’re all part of something bigger/Then I know who I am/If we’re all fragments of a picture/Then why can’t we see we’re all the same/Ignite the flame…You’re the same as you and I.”  Again, here we have a message that we need to see we are all part of something much bigger and we need to think of one another instead of ourselves.  Once again, this is not the first time that any band or act has ever presented such a message, but it is another message that can not be expressed enough.  Rather, it is a message that sadly, must continued to be presented to a public that needs constant reminders of this issue.  Keeping this in mind, this uplifting message couples with the song’s equally engaging musical arrangement to make the whole another song that shows how The Change in whole can potentially change the course of Awake At Last’s career.  It is not the last of the songs that serves to support that statement, either.  The song’s powerhouse finale, ‘ Fallen Stars’ is yet another way in which the album exhibits its strength.

‘Fallen Stars’ changes things up from Awake At Last in terms of its musical arrangement once again, this time moving from the emo-core sound of Fall Out Boy and Set It Off to a more aggro-rock style sound that takes listeners back to the late 90s, right down to the screaming climaxes of the verses.  That sound alone serves to help the song stand out, but is just one part of what makes the song so notable.  The song’s lyrical theme once again is that continued uplifting positive theme that reminds listeners to not give up even in life’s most difficult moments.

Torres reminds listeners to note give up in the song’s chorus, singing, “Sometimes we hurt/Sometimes we break/But it’s times like these/We learn to create/Everyone fails/It’s part of the plan/We have to fall/To get up again.”  This is a powerful statement that is certain to inspire plenty of listeners.  It is just one of the statements that will inspire listeners.  He sings in the song’s lead verse, “I’ve seen the vision/As lightning cracks the sky/I’m gonna chase this dream/But something worth having will never come easy/So I’ll take the long road/Even if I pave it on my own/’Cause when the sky falls down/the sky is quiet with the silence/We stand together united by fallen stars/We’re stronger together.”  He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “Burning image/On the canvas of our lives/We’re gonna change this scene/It’s something worth having, so it won’t be easy/But they’ll remember/How the artists took a stand/As we live and breathe/The world is quiet with our silence.”  In the song’s finale, he adds, “We stand together united by fallen stars/So let the darkness divide us/Remember who we are/Brave the weather/We’re stronger together/Everything comes crashing down around us/Like a phoenix we’re reborn from the ashes.”  Once again, here is that message of perseverance and positivity coupled with the continued theme of unity, much as is presented in so many of the album’s other songs.  It is just another way in which the album’s lyrical content continues the themes presented in the band’s currently available two EPs.  Those themes are continued throughout the rest of the album’s entries, too, in even more diverse fashion.  That diversity in the delivery of the band’s positive messages and the power in the album’s musical arrangements makes the album in whole a positive debut for Awake At Last; a debut that could create a positive change for the band itself.

Awake At Last’s debut full-length studio recording The Change is a strong offering from the up-and-coming hard rock outfit.  As has been noted in this review, the positive lyrical themes presented in the band’s currently available EPs are continued throughout this record in various ways.  The musical arrangements that accompany those positive messages do just as much to make the album a success.  When they are coupled together and considered from the album’s opening to its end, the album in whole proves to be a record that could change the course of Awake At Last’s life in a good way.  It is scheduled for release June 21 through Outerloop Records.  More information on the album is available online now along with all of Awake At Last’s latest news and more at:

 

 

Website: http://www.awakeatlastrock.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/awakeatlastrock

 

 

 

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Bravo Delta’s Debut LP Might Be The Record That “Breaks” The Band Into The Mainstream

Courtesy: Bravo Delta Music/O’Donnell Music Group

Independent rock band Bravo Delta released its latest studio recording early this month.  The 13-song, 42-minute Unbreakable is the band’s third overall studio recording but its very first full-length album, coming on the heels of its EPs Sunset Wasteland in 2012 and Shutdown Sequence in 2013.  Considering that almost six years have passed since the band released its most recent studio recording, the band’s latest offering marks a good return for the band and a good way to start the year, too.  That is because this record holds its own easily against its more well-known counterparts, such as Three Days Grace, Avenged Sevenfold and Breaking Benjamin at least in terms of its musical content.  Its lyrical content helps validate it even more.  Each statement is proven in part through the song ‘Dark Room,’ which will be discussed shortly.  The collective that is ‘Lost At Sea’ and ‘Dreamless Sleep’ is another of the album’s featured moments that serves to show the strength of Unbreakable.  It will be discussed a little later.  Much the same can be said of the album’s opener/title track/lead single.  It will also be discussed later.  Each of the songs noted here is key in its own way to the whole of Unbreakable.  When they are considered along with the remainder of the album’s songs, the end result is a record that given the right support, can easily make Bravo Delta famous.

Bravo Delta’s debut album Unbreakable is a work that, given the right support, could be the work that breaks the band into the mainstream.  It is a record that will easily appeal to fans of bands, such as Avenged Sevenfold, Three Days Grace, Breaking Benjamin and other similar acts.  This is proven in part through the song ‘Dark Room.’  The song’s musical arrangement is a heavy, down-tuned composition that sounds very much akin to so many works from the noted bands – especially from Breaking Benjamin, with its down-tuned bass, mid-tempo guitar line and soaring vocals from front man Brandon Davis.  The song’s musical arrangement is just one part of what makes the song stand out.  Its lyrical content follows the album’s central theme of overcoming life’s obstacles, which Davis discussed in a recent interview.

Davis said of the noted theme, “Being broken, disconnected, kicked to the ground…and still having the will to get up, fight and learn from it is the spirit of Unbreakable, and I think you can feel that in the music, the artwork and everything about this new album.”  Again, the lyrical content at the center of ‘Dark Room’ follows that theme, as Davis sings, “I’m sitting in the dark room/Trying to find some air/asking myself questions/But I don’t seem to care/I’ve lost the taste for comfort/I’m wrapped up in this fear/To move would be a challenge/I need somebody here/Will you be there with me/Will you hear my call/Is anyone still breathing/Does anyone believe that we still care/Are any hearts still beating/I hope someone feels the same.”  Here in this lead verse is someone looking at the world and feeling alone, asking for help.  It is that very message of being broken, wanting to have that will to get up and fight.  The theme continues in the song’s second verse, as Davis sings, “I’m told to take the white pill/I’m told there is no way/It’s not a switch you turn off/It might not go away/Alone I’ll stand beside me/Nobody else is there/A world of interaction/An empty space out there/Will you be there with me/Will you catch my fall/Is anyone still breathing/Does anyone believe that we still care/Are any hearts still beating/I hope someone feels the same.”  He goes on in this second chorus to sing that “I choose to fight/to overcome” “when all is numb…”  From there, the song proceeds into its bridge and finale, complete with bombastic guitar solo in the bridge that, again, conjures comparisons to works from the likes of Avenged Sevenfold and Breaking Benjamin.  That noted lyrical content, again, plays right along with the album’s overall theme, clearly.  This is someone in a very dark, difficult position, questioning if anyone in the world still cares about anything, but no matter what, refusing to become one of the masses, instead standing defiantly and proudly.  The overall image from the musical and lyrical content is quite the “gloomcore” presence, yet is actually a very positive work.  That is because the music illustrates the feeling of desperation within the song’s subject.  Keeping all of this in mind, the song is a good example of what makes Unbreakable a good debut for Bravo Delta.  It is just one of the songs that serves to show the album’s strength.  The collective that is ‘Lost At Sea’ and ‘Dreamless Sleep’ is another way in which this record proves itself a solid start for Bravo Delta.

The collective that is ‘Lost at Sea’ and ‘Dream less Sleep’ is an important part of Unbreakable as they are in fact one whole work, just divided into the three movements.  The opus starts out with  the familiar “gloomcore” sound already noted of ‘Dark Room.’ However, as the song progresses, however as it moves in to the second portion of ‘Lost at Sea,’ the vibe changes to a more AX7 type sound that wastes no time getting listeners to put their horns high in the air.  The use of the harmonics and echo effects together in this full-on instrumental movement adds even more impact to the old school riffs.  The opus’ final movement, which is also an instrumental work, puts the finishing touches to the whole as it fades away, closing out the song.  The whole of the three movements together makes the overall composition a work that is one of this record’s highest points.  That arrangement is just one part of what makes the song stand out.  The lyrical content presented in the song’s first movement adds its own interest to the song.

Davis sings in the song’s lead verse, “Adrift/And half-asleep/But alive/the open water chills me/And I may not survive/the ocean floor is alive/I hear her calling my name/Well I’m lost at sea/She calls me in/Her voice it blinds my eyes/Haven’t slept for days/Now she’s close/I see her eyes beneath the waves/She’s bound to pull me in/My fears are growing like the rising tide/The ocean floor is alive/I hear her calling my name/When I’m lost at sea/She calls me in/Her voice it blinds my eyes/Beneath the crashing waves/I can hear her song/Draws me down beside her.”  The aggression that builds from that point on comes sans lyrics, but once can infer that the fiery energy in the arrangement is the song’s subject is not giving up despite a desperate situation.  The gradual reduction in the energy in the final movement seems to hint at perhaps success in that determination.  Hopefully that is the case, considering that only the first movement of this work boasts any lyrics.  Regardless, the energy in those instrumental movements and the feeling of desperation in the song’s lead movement definitely stands out collectively, and in turn proves to be another strong point for this album.  It is not the last of the album’s strongest points, either.  The record’s opener/title track/lead single is yet another of the album’s most notable works.

In terms of its musical content, ‘Unbreakable’ is just as radio ready as any of the other songs featured throughout the course of Unbreakable.  Its driving guitar line and equally solid time keeping conjures thoughts of plenty of other more well-known hard rock acts.  The energy in the arrangement helps to illustrate the urgency (of sorts) in the song’s lyrical content.  The song’s lyrical content once again runs that same line of the album’s overall theme.  This is proven as Davis sings, “True strength is found in time s we never thought we’d know/What defines us is how well we rise/After falling down/All that we take/Why can’t we live just to give it away/Long live the day/Long live the nights we are digging our graves/Unbreakable.”  This is a direct, straight-forward message.  He is saying here that we all have strength within ourselves, we just need to find it.  He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse to sing, “We’ve been down and buried…you’re not alone/There’s others just like you/You will fight together/All that we take/Why can’t we live just to give it away/Long live the day/Long live the nights we are digging our graves.”  Again, this is a message to listeners to not let themselves get down. Davis comes right out and tells listeners “you are not alone.”  Yet again, there is that message of overcoming adversity and life’s obstacles in general.  When one considers all of this along with the notes of the other songs discussed here — and those not directly discussed – the album in whole shows that it truly does follow that central theme of hope in dark and difficult times.  The album’s arrangements couple with that message to make the album that much more accessible to a wide range of audiences.  Overall, the accessibility of the record, thanks to its musical and lyrical content makes it a strong new effort from Bravo Delta, and a good start for the band in terms of full-length recordings.

Bravo Delta’s debut album (and third overall studio recording) Unbreakable is a good new effort from the up-and-coming Las Vegas-based band.  That is due to a positive message of hope that is presented in a relatively accessible fashion through the record’s musical and lyrical content.  That statement is supported through each of the songs examined in this review.  The same can be said of the remaining 10 songs that make up the rest of the record.  Simply put, from start to finish, the album holds its own against works from Bravo Delta’s more well-known counterparts.  As a matter of fact, Unbreakable could be the record that, thanks to its overall content, breaks Bravo Delta into the mainstream.  More information on Unbreakable is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.bravodeltamusic.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/bravodeltamusic

 

 

 

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Chad Smith Lends His Talents To SAD’s Upcoming Debut LP

Photo Credit: Thierry Brouard

Photo Credit: Thierry Brouard

Independent rock band Screaming at Demons recently introduced itself to the world in a big way when it partnered with the nationally known charity group Homeless Rock Stars. The band combined the video for its new song ‘Rock Star’ with footage from a Homeless Rock Stars event to make an emotionally moving and powerful to help raise money for the organization and introduce itself to the music community at large at the same time. Now the band has taken another huge step in getting its name out there. The band has enlisted the help of one of the most talented and respected drummers in the music community today to help record a pair of songs for its upcoming debut record.

Screaming at Demons announced this week that it has enlisted famed drummer Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Chickenfoot) to record the drums for two of the songs to be included in the band’s upcoming album. Those songs are ‘Our Time’ and ‘All Of Me.’ Smith’s inclusion on the album, which currently has no set release date, is rooted in his friendship with AD bassist Chris Clemmence. Having previously performed live with Smith, Clemmence had a first hand understanding of and appreciation for Smith’s work behind the kit, leading to Clemmence asking Smith to lend his talents to the band’s new record. When asked about those talents, Clemmence responded telling reporters, “Chad is a legend and phenomenal powerhouse of a drummer. We are beyond honored to have him play on our two new upcoming singles. His feel and groove have brought our songs to a new level. We are so lucky to have him as well as an all-star team working on our music.”

Photo Credit: Thierry Brouard

Photo Credit: Thierry Brouard

Currently, Screaming at Demons is hard at work on its upcoming album. The album is being mixed by five-time Grammy Award-winning producer Chris Lord-Alge. Alge is no stranger to the music community and obviously to success within that community having those awards to his name. The roster of bands with which he has worked over the course of his career says plenty of his expertise behind the boards. That list includes the likes of: Eric Clapton, Tina Turner, Cher, Bon Jovi, Seal, Meatloaf, Three Days Grace, Aerosmith, Shinedown, Deftones, and countless others.  Alge was asked by reporters his thoughts on working with SAD.  his response showed just how excited he is to work with front man Shimon Moore and fellow SAD band mates Russell Ali and Chris Clemmence.  He had only positive things to say of working with the band, noting of the group, “A new level of excitement is coming from these boys and they are giving back to people in need and making music that instantly makes you wanna be a part of it!”  While fans wait for Alge, and the members of SAD to finish the band’s new album, they can check out the band’s video for its inspirational and infectious song ‘Rock Star.’ It can be viewed online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0g7QiwkAe4&feature=youtu.be. Audiences can also keep up with all of the latest updates from the studio and all of the band’s latest news online at:

Website: http://screamingatdemons.com

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

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Pop Evil Sits Among Rock’s Elite Again With Its Latest LP

Courtesy:  eOne

Courtesy: eOne

Last Friday, veteran rock band Pop Evil released its latest full-length studio recording Up. The album, the band’s fifth (and its third released via eOne), continues the band’s long-running tradition of producing top-notch mainstream rock albums. The album’s mix of hard rock arena anthems and equally radio-ready rock songs together make it an album that just as with its predecessors is one of this year’s best new rock records. That is evident right from the album’s outset. ‘Footsteps’ is one of those radio ready rock songs whose catchy hooks and choruses come together with its equally thoughtful verses to make for a solid opener for the album and an equally solid example of what makes Up yet another enjoyable new release from one of the biggest names today in mainstream rock. ‘Take It All’ is another solid example of what makes Up another success for Pop Evil. It is one of those aforementioned hard rock arena anthems that is sure to have fans singing along just as proudly by themselves as they would in an arena with thousands of their fellow fans. That is thanks both to its high-energy musical content and its equally inspiring lyrical content. Just as ‘Footsteps’ and ‘Take It All’ both show in their own way what makes Up such a solid slab of rock so does the ballad style song ‘If Only For Now’ show in its own way what makes this record so enjoyable, too. These are just a few examples of what makes Up yet another enjoyable recording from one of today’s leading names in mainstream rock. There are other songs included in this record such as the hard rock opuses ‘Vendetta’ and ‘Dead in the Water’ and the rather emotionally moving acoustic work ‘Seattle Rain.’ These three songs each do just as much by themselves and collectively why Up is yet another impressive album from Pop Evil. Whether for these songs, the prior trio noted or any of the others not more directly noted, fans and audiences in general will agree that this album in whole is one of the best of this year’s new rock records.

Counting August, there are only five more months left in 2015. Over the course of the past seven months, audiences have seen quite a few impressive new mainstream rock records released in stores and online. Artists and acts such as Joe Satriani, Finger Eleven, Everclear, Barenaked Ladies and others have already proven themselves worthy of being added to the list of the year’s best new rock albums with their new recordings. That’s a pretty wide swath of names. So it is safe to say that Pop Evil is in pretty comfortable company with its latest full-length studio recording Up. That’s right. This album is, just as with Pop Evil’s previous albums, one of this year’s best new mainstream rock records. That is proven through every one of the album’s thirteen total tracks (fifteen in the case of the album’s Deluxe Edition) including its opener and latest single ‘Footsteps.’ ‘Footsteps’ is a solid opener and just one clear example of what makes Up one of this year’s top new albums. Just as with songs included in previous Pop Evil albums ‘Footsteps’ is one of those songs that is a perfect fit for any mainstream rock radio station. It isn’t one of those standard, formulaic, copycat pieces that sounds like so many others. For that reason alone, it is well worth the listen. It also doesn’t just rehash any stylistically similar songs from Pop Evil’s previous LPs either. It is just a good, solid mainstream rock song that will entertain audiences from its musical content alone. Its lyrical content gives it even more punch. Front man Leigh Kakaty and Dave Bassett teamed up to write this song’s lyrical content. Their efforts led to some rather inspiring material. The pair wrote for this song, “Starting over once again/This is where it all begins/It’s right in front of me/Down is not where I belong/This aching heart won’t turn to stone/There’s a fire inside these bones/It was meant to be/I see a world still full of light/How could I’ve ever been so blind/I still haven’t lost my fight/That haunts ne in my sleep.” Examining these lines alone audiences see just how powerful and inspiring these lyrics are. They are just part of that proof, too. The song’s closing verse is just as inspiring with Kakaty and Bassett writing of staying optimistic despite the uncertainty of the future. That parallel of that positive message and the song’s upbeat musical content makes clear why this song was chosen to open Pop Evil’s new album and why it is just the latest representation for the band’s new album, too. Audiences can hear the song for themselves and see the song’s new video online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXvkTuMyZpM.

‘Footsteps’ is in itself a solid example of why Up is one of 2015’s top new rock records. The mix of its upbeat musical content and optimistic lyrical content makes this clear. It is just one example of what makes Up such a solid collection of songs, too. ‘Take It All’ is another clear example of what makes Up so enjoyable. This high-energy song is an instant fan favorite that is just as certain to be a favorite at the band’s live shows as on disc. That is thanks to its own mix of musical and lyrical content. Musically speaking, ‘Take It All’ is the polar opposite of ‘Footsteps.’ It shows another side of the band with its much heavier riffs, low-end from bassist Matt DiRito, and concrete strong drumming from Chaci Riot. It shows musically that once again, the band refuses to rest easy on its laurels, opting instead to show the breadth of its abilities. While this song proves to be the polar opposite of ‘Footsteps’ stylistically, its lyrical approach is very much the same, which is in this case not a bad thing. Kakaty and Bassett co-wrote this song’s lyrical content, too. Kakaty sings here, “You got that fire burning your eyes/LIghting up the sky I see you coming/You got desire running through your brain/Ice in your veins I see you coming/So what do you say.” Kakaty and Bassett leave little room for doubt in examining this verse. It is someone addressing a rather strong-willed individual, motivating said person. It’s one of those pieces that is perfect for a workout session or game prep session especially with football season now under way at every level. If there is in fact any doubt left in any listener’s mind from that verse, the song’s second verse makes even clearer the message being presented by Kakaty and Bassett. That is the case as Kakaty sings in said verse, “Got that drive way deep inside/Keeping you alive it’s all or nothing/There ain’t no shame just playing the game/No pain and no game just rise about it/So what do you say.” The energy in those lyrics coupled with the energy in the song’s driving musical content is sure to get any listener’s blood and body moving. The same can be said of the partnering of the song’s lead verse and its musical content. All things considered here, ‘Take It All’ proves to be one of the best examples of what makes Up so enjoyable if not the single best example. Even as great of an example as it is, it still is not the last example of why Up is one of this year’s best new rock albums. The more reserved ‘If Only For Now’ is one more example of what makes it a solid record.

‘Footsteps’ and ‘Take It All’ each serve in their own way to show just how much Up has to offer audiences. It is not the first time that the band has ever included a ballad-style song in any of its albums. And while not being the first time that the band has ever included a ballad on any of its albums, listeners that are familiar with the band’s body of work will be happy that the band avoided repeating its previous ballads all the way around in the case of this song. That is made clear first and foremost through the song’s lyrical approach. The song, co-written by Kakaty, Bassett, Joshua Marunde, and bassist Matt DiRito, the song surprises by tackling the subject of a person hoping for love. As Kakaty sings, “Streets crowded with voices/Thousands of faces but you’re all I wanna see/Lights reflections of yesterday/Days thrown away cause you’re all I wanna keep.” These are the words of someone not longing for a lost love but of someone singing to another of his or her yearning for another. That person goes on in the song’s second verse to say to that person, “Here the world’s at our fingers/So live in the moment I’m not gonna say goodbye/So why don’t we for now forget tomorrow/Let me be the only thing you need/If only for now.” The song’s subject is saying, “Let me make this moment about us if only for now.” Sure, it’s mushy. But it could have been even more so. Thankfully Kakaty and company didn’t let that happen in the case of this song. because they didn’t it makes the song all the more enjoyable. Being that the subject of a person hoping for love is tackled far less than the subject of love lost, it becomes that much more enjoyable. The attention paid to the song’s musical content adds another level of enjoyment to the song. The band builds the song in each verse right up to the song’s chorus to make for the fullest possible emotional impact. It succeeds in this goal, too. The attention to the tone of the song’s musical content gives the song even more of a positive impact. It serves to even better illustrate the song’s upbeat, optimistic outlook. And in doing so it rounds out the ways in which this song shows itself to be another solid example of what makes Up so impressive in whole.

‘Footsteps,’ ‘Take It All,’ and ‘If Only For Now’ are all prime examples of what makes Up yet another impressive release from Pop Evil. All three songs show a different side of the band both musically and lyrically. They are only a small handful of examples of that diversity, too. ‘Vendetta,’ ‘Dead in The Water,’ and the emotionally moving ‘Seattle Rain’ could just as easily be used to exemplify how much this record has to offer fans. The same could be said of any of the album’s other songs not directly noted here. Regardless of which songs one choose, listeners and long-time fans alike will agree that all things considered, Up proves to be not just another enjoyable record from Pop Evil but another one of this year’s best new rock records overall. Up is available now in stores and online. And the band is currently touring in support of Up. Its next slated date is Tuesday, September 8th at the Rose Music Hall (formerly Mojo’s) in Colombia, Missouri. The band is also scheduled to perform live at The Fillmore in Charlotte, North Carolina alongside Three Days Grace on Wednesday, September 16th. Tickets for that and all of the band’s other shows are available now. All of the band’s latest tour dates are available online now along with all of the latest news from the band at:

Website: http://www.PopEvil.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/popevil

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.

Finger Eleven Announces Details For New Album, Touris

Courtesy:  The Bicycle Music Company/Concord

Courtesy: The Bicycle Music Company/Concord

Finger Eleven has made it official. It will release its sixth full-length studio recording this summer.

Five years removed from the release of its 2010 album Life Turns Electric the Canadian rock group will release its new album Five Crooked Lines. The album is currently slated to be released on Friday, July 31st via The Bicycle Music Company/Concord. In regards to the album’s title, front man Scott Anderson explained that it stemmed from the lyrics to the album’s title track. He explained that five crooked lines can be used to make something ordinary or something extraordinary, and how that ability to use such lines is linked to the fragility of fortune and luck. “For me it’s symbolic of fortune and luck and how fragile those things are,” he said. “In one instance you’ve got five crooked lines, which in one position is just a heap of bent sticks. But in the right way, they make a star, which is the most glorious shape there is.” Fans can download Five Crooked Lines via iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/five-crooked-lines/id999975916 and order it via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Five-Crooked-Lines-Finger-Eleven/dp/B00YV9OIW2/?tag=concordreco0c-20.

In anticipation of the album’s upcoming release, the band has debuted the video for its lead single ‘Wolves and Doors’ online. The video, which cuts between shots of the band performing its new song and shots of other rather intriguing images, can be viewed online at http://www.vevo.com/watch/finger-eleven/Wolves-And-Doors-(Music-Video)/QMFMK1500155. The band also announced that it will hit the road ahead of the album’s release beginning Saturday, June 13th in Burlington, Ontario at the Sound of Music Festival. Three Days Grace will join the band on select dates. Finger Eleven’s current tour schedule is listed below.

Check out FINGER ELEVEN at any of the following stops, with more dates to be announced in the coming weeks:

DATE CITY VENUE

Sat 6/13 Burlington, ONT. Sound of Music Festival

Thu 6/18 Franksville, WI Krautfest

Fri 6/19 Newton, IA Iowa Speedway (NASCAR Camping World Truck Series)

Sat 6/20 Joliet, IL Mojoes

Sun 6/21 Traverse City, MI Ground Zero

Fri 7/3 Warwick, PQ. Festival Hommes Fort Warwick

Thu 7/9 Pittsburgh, PA Stage AE

* Fri 7/10 Lansing, MI Common Ground Music Festival

* Sat 7/11 Columbus, OH LC Pavilion

* Mon 7/13 Nashville, TN Cannery Ballroom

* Tue 7/14 Louisville, KY Diamond Pub Concert Hall

* Wed 7/15 Peoria, IL Limelight

Thu 7/16 Cadott, WI Rock Fest

Sat 7/18 Walker, MN Moondance Jam

* Tue 7/21 Stroudsburg, PA Sherman Theater

* Wed 7/22 Portland, ME State Theater

Fri 7/24 Dayton, OH Oddbody’s Music Room

Sat 7/25 St. Louis, MO Fubar

Sun 7/26 Springfield, MO Gillioz Theatre

Mon 7/27 Fayetteville, AR George’s Majestic

* Tue 7/28 Wichita Falls, TX Kay Yeager Coliseum

Thu 7/30 Clive, IA 7 Flags Event Center

Fri 7/31 Sioux City, IA Hard Rock Hotel

Sun 8/2 Fort Wayne, IN Piere’s

Mon 8/3 Cleveland, OH The Agora Ballroom

Tue 8/4 Buffalo, NY Iron Works

Wed 8/5 Manchester, NH Jewel

Fri 8/14 Mount Brydges, ONT. RockinWheel Fest Lion’s Park

* With Three Days Grace

All of the latest updates on Finger Eleven’s upcoming tour dates and album are available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: http://www.fingereleven.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Finger_Eleven

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.

Adage Could Be North Carolina’s Next Big Name In Music

Courtesy:  Pavement Entertainment

Courtesy: Pavement Entertainment

Austin, Texas.  Seattle, Washington.  Los Angeles, California. Atlanta, Georgia.  New York, New York.  Most people reading this right now are likely scratching their heads where this is going.  The answer is simple.  The cities noted here are some of America’s biggest hotbeds in the music industry.  They aren’t the industry’s only major hotbeds, though. Most people might not know it, but North Carolina as a whole state is a music hotbed within itself.  As a matter of fact, North Carolina could be argued to be one of the biggest musical hotbeds in America.  That’s because of the variety of major name acts that have called North Carolina home throughout the ages.  Jazz pioneers such as Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, and Max Roach all called North Carolina home as did fellow jazz great Billy Taylor. Taylor hailed from Greenville, North Carolina while Monk and Coletrane came from Rocky Mount and High Point respectively.  The Fabulous Corsairs, which featured famed singer-songwriter James Taylor called Chapel Hill home.  In terms of the world of rock, the world renowned Corrosion of Conformity is still performing and recording today.  As a matter of fact, COC released its latest album earlier this year.  The band calls The Old North State’s capital city Raleigh home.  Delta Rae, which is one of the biggest of North Carolina’s biggest acts today calls Durham home as does indie band Bombadil.  Of course one can’t forget the likes of The Avett Brothers, Parmalee, Between The Buried and Me, or Trioscapes among so many others.  Now another young up and coming band has added its name to that list of bands and artists that have made North Carolina the rich musical hotbed that it is for so many decades thanks to its new EP Defined.  The band’s debut for Pavement Entertainment presents great potential for the Winston-Salem based band even with only a total of five songs.  The songs included on this record exhibit influence from bands such as Breaking Benjamin, Three Days Grace, and to a lesser extent Trapt.  What’s more any of the songs included on this disc could easily be used as a single to promote the band.  That is obvious right off the top in the EP’s opening number ‘Anymore.’  It is just as obvious on the EP’s third and final songs, ‘Hold On’ and ‘By Myself’ respectively.’  ‘Best Of’ and ‘Growing Colder’ are also excellent examples of what audiences can expect from Adage’s new EP.  Collectively, the songs included on this record show Adage as a band that is on the brink of adding its name to the list of North Carolina’s biggest bands and artists.

The members of Adage show why the band is close to becoming another of North Carolina’s most well-known and talked about acts right from the outset of its new EP in the song ‘Anymore’  The song’s agro-rock stlye sound hints at influences both from the likes of Trapt and even Taproot to a slightly lesser extent.  Drummer Alex Hough’s timekeeping in this piece is exception especially considering the polyrhythmic patterns that he handles while keeping time for the band.  And the 1-2 punch of guitarist Luke and vocalist Justin Doyle heightens the song’s energy and emotion as well.  There is a certain furiousness in Doyle’s voice as he sings over the equally driving guitar line, “Everytime you look in my eyes you lie/And tell me everything’s alright/I know you don’t feel it anymore…I hate you/For all you’ve done to me/Some things you never see/And I don’t care.”  Songs about breakups are nothing new to the music industry.  They go back as far as the industry’s own beginnings it would seem.  But those songs that take the high road instead of the depression oh-woe-is-me angle are rather few and far between.  So when angrier, more aggressive pieces such as this one come along, they are a welcome change of pace.  That more aggressive lyrical and musical style that collectively make up this song makes it an instant radio ready song and a good representation of the band’s work on Defined.

As with ‘Anymore,’ ‘Hold On’ is also centered in the standard lyrical theme of relationships.  It also boasts the same agro-rock style that made so many bands in the late 90s and early 2000s fan favorites.  This song absolutely cries “LIVE” because of that sound.  Doyle sings Sorry that I’m not perfect/One day I will be worth it/To you/So hold on/I can’t ever find the right words/For saying nothing is so much worse to you/Hold on/All of this will come together/And I promise you/I promise you/Say goodbye for you.”  This song comes across as the polar opposite to the EP’s opener in that it seems more like his subject here is pleading for a woman to stay around versus the self-assured figure in ‘Anymore.’  He is trying his hardest to convince her to stay.  The musical comparison to the band’s bigger named counterparts only serves to make the song even more entertaining for audiences.  It goes to show the caliber of material the band is presenting here.  And that caliber is high, needless to say.  Together with ‘Anymore’ it makes for even more reason for fans to check out this EP when it drops August 19th.

Both ‘Anymore’ and ‘Hold On’ are good examples of what makes Defined an impressive new release from Adage.  Of the EP’s five songs, though there is still one more example of what makes this release the work that could potentially make Adage North Carolina’s next big name.  That song is the EP’s closer ‘By Myself.’  This song is a good way for the band to have closed out Defined.  It was such a good choice for a closer in that it shows the band’s softer side.  It’s a more melodic piece.  And among the EP’s five songs, it is perhaps the strongest candidate of all for the song that really breaks out the band.  Doyle sings in this song, “I’m crying out/Out for help/I just can’t be by myself/Remember how/How I felt/I just can’t see/By myself/I hear it from all sides/On how I should love you/I can’t make up my mind/On anything I do/Why am I here/Why won’t you just take me home/Why am I here/Why won’t you just leave me alone.”  The guitar breaks that follow the chorus are right up there with the likes of Mark Tremonti (Alter Bridge) and other top named guitarists.  That along with the power in Doyle’s vocals make this song just as fitting a closer as ‘Anymore’ is the opener for the record.  Such a powerful final statement along with the EP’s other noted songs (and the pair not mentioned) seals the deal for Adage and for Defined.  It is the final piece of musical evidence proving why Adage is on the verge of becoming North Carolina’s next big name.

Defined will be available in stores and online Tuesday, August 19th via Pavement Entertainment.  Audiences can check out the songs from Defined online now via Adage’s ReverbNation website at http://www.reverbnation.com/adageband while they wait for the EP to drop.  They can also keep up with the band’s latest tour dates through that website and the band’s official Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/adageband1.  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.

Gus G.’s Solo Debut A Record That Every Rock Purist Should Hear

Courtesy:  Century Media Records

Courtesy: Century Media Records

Guitarist Gus G.’s solo debut I Am The Fire is an album that any hard rock and rock purist must hear at least once in 2014.  This record exhibits elements of the award-winning guitarist’s entire career over the course of its dozen total tracks.  From more modern sounding material similar to the likes of Three Days Grace to older classic Iron Maiden style shredding to anything in between, G. (a.k.a. Kostas Karamitroudis) offers his listeners a musical melting pot on this record.  Add in guest appearances from fellow greats such as Billy Sheehan and David Ellefson among many others, and audiences get a record that more than deserves a spot on any critic’s year-end lists of the best new rock and/or hard rock records.

I Am The Fire wastes no time grabbing the attention of its audiences.  That is exhibited in the album’s opener, ‘My Will Be Done.’  The song’s first few bars hint at what’s about to come before it really launches with its full, driving energy.  And the vocals of singer Mats Leven (Therion, Krux, Candlemass) add even more of a punch to the song.  Leven sings against G.’s full throttle guitar work, “I hit the gas out on the road/And I don’t care about tomorrow/I see the places that you don’t/I will command and you will follow.”  Those first few lines are classic rock anthem in every sense of the term.  And they perfectly complement the song’s energy.  They exude the attitude and energy of so many classic anthems that have come before.   Leven goes on in the song’s chorus singing, “Why not get on it/Life depends on it/I’m gonna survive /I felt your disgust/In myself I trust/I am right/You are wrong/My will be done.”  That presents even more of that defiant, self-assured attitude exhibited in so many far more classic rock songs.  And it doesn’t stop there, either as listeners will hear throughout the song’s remaining verses.  Having that attitude and energy exhibited so expertly throughout this  song makes ‘My Will Be Done’ the perfect choice with which to open I Am The Fire.

The classic rock and roll attitude and energy crafted and released in the opener of I Am The Fire made that song the perfect choice with which to open the album.  Just as welcome an addition to this album is the first of the album’s two instrumental tracks, ‘Vengeance.’  Coming less than halfway through the album, Gus G. really gets the chance to shine in this track.  Audiences can take their pick in terms of comparisons.  The veteran guitarist shows why he is more than deserving of having his name next to any number of other guitar greats.  He shows just as much why he was the obvious choice to take over guitar duties for Ozzy Osbourne on his 2010 album Scream.  Audiences will especially enjoy this song because it bridges so well, the classic shredding style of so many veteran guitarists and that of more modern rock.  It is one more well-chosen addition to the record as a whole.

For all of the intense energy contained throughout the songs on I Am The Fire, Gus G. does give listeners some more pulled back moments, too.  Case in point: ‘Long Way Down.’  Eyes Set To Kill vocalist Alexia Rodriguez handles vocal duties on this far deeper and emotional song.  If one were to hear this song without knowing Rodriguez was handling vocal duties, one would almost swear it was Evanesence singer Amy Lee with Gus G. and the rest of the musicians on hand for the song sounding like the rest of Evanesence.  She does quite the job of capturing the song’s emotion as she sings, “Nobody’s perfect/Is it really worth it/To let this go to waste/Just let me break away/Break away/Release my tension/Nothing left between the ledge and the ground/Take away/Take away/My regression/I’m on the edge/Another step/It’s a long way down.”  Obviously, these lyrics are meant in an entirely metaphorical sense.  She’s not actually singing about a subject jumping to one’s own death.  Most people likely would already know this.  But sadly, there are those that take things far too seriously even today.  So it necessitates that being pointed out.  The lyrics, it would seem, are meant to illustrate one’s own personal inner turmoil and how that turmoil is ripping said subject apart inside.  Yes, it’s a standard lyrical topic.  But the manner in which Rodriguez and Karamitroudis capture the song’s emotion is what makes it well worth the listen.  It is of course just one more of so many songs on I Am The Fire that makes this album one that every rock and hard rock purist should experience at least once before 2014 ends.  Gus G.’s European fans will get to hear his new music live as he kicks off his “”Unity 1” tour tomorrow, March 7th with Uli Jon Roth, Jorn Lande and Mats Leven.  The six-date tour begins in Kerkyra, Greece tomorrow and winds down in Athens next Wednesday, March 12th in Athens, Greece.

The “Unity 1” tour winds down a little less than a week before the release of I Am The Fire.  Fans don’t have to wait to get the album, though.  It can be pre-ordered online now via Century Media’s online store at  http://www.centurymedia.com/artist.aspx?IdArtist=715.  Fans can get more information on I Am The Fire, tour dates and more online at http://www.gusgofficial.com and http://www.facebook.com/officialgusg.  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.