Bad Magic Casts A Great New Spell For Fans

Courtesy:  UDR/Motorhead Music

Courtesy: UDR/Motorhead Music

The rock community and the music community in whole suffered a sad loss last week when former Motorhead drummer Phil Taylor passed away.  While Taylor hadn’t been a member of the band since 1992, he was one of the most well-known and beloved, having recorded and performed with the band for a total of fourteen years.  That is second only to current drummer Mikkey Dee.  That means that he had quite the impact both on the lives of his band mates and on the music community in whole.  He will be sorely missed.  While Taylor’s passing this week is reason to mourn, there is still reason to celebrate as the current Motorhead lineup released its latest full-length studio recording late this summer.  The album, Bad Magic, is the band’s twenty-second full-length album.  And it is yet another solid slab of rock from this veteran act.  The trademark hard rock/punk hybrid sound that has made Motorhead a fan favorite for so many years is just as prevalent throughout the course of this record as in any of the band’s previous studio recordings beginning with the album’s full-throttle opener ‘Victory Or Die.’  It is just one example of how much this album has to offer audiences.  For all of the fire and energy exhibited throughout the record, it does have at least a couple of more reserved moments to change things up a little bit.  ‘Til The End’ is one of those moments.  It starts off not necessarily soft, but soft in comparison to most of the album’s other songs.  And even when it does pick up, it is still not the high-energy composition that the album’s other songs are.  Most surprising of all is the album’s other “reserved” song, its cover of The Rolling Stones’ hit song Sympathy For The Devil.’  At first thought, one wouldn’t necessarily associate Lemmy and company with The Rolling Stones.  But the band’s take on the classic tune works in so many ways.  And being the album’s closer, it makes for a perfect counterpoint to the album’s high-energy opener and the rest of its adrenaline-fueled compositions even being a cover.  It is just one more example of just how much this album has to offer audiences.  It is hardly the last example of how much it has to offer audiences, too.  ‘Thunder & Lightning’ comes across with the energy of a bolt of lightning.  ‘Teach Them How To Bleed’ cuts through just as solidly.  Yes, that awful pun was fully intended.  And ‘When The Sky Comes Looking For You’ could just as easily be used for a single—just as much as any of the album’s other song.  Each of those songs set alongside the pieces not directly noted here make Bad Magic an album that will cast its own hard rock spell on Motorhead fans and metal heads alike.

Motorhead’s latest full-length studio album Bad Magic is yet another solid slab of rock that will cast its own hard rock spell on everyone that hears it.  That is evident right from the thirteen-track album’s fiery, adrenaline-fueled opener ‘Victory Or Die’ right through to its surprisingly enjoyable cover of The Rolling Stones’ ‘Sympathy For The Devil.’  All things considered, it is a record that every Motorhead fan should have in his or her music library.  Speaking of ‘Victory Or Die,’ it is just one example of how much this record has to offer both Motorhead’s fans and metal heads around the world.  In regards to the song’s musical content, it displays the familiar punk/hard rock hybrid sound that has fueled the band for forty years and maintained its place amongst the rock community’s elite acts.  The band wastes no time launching right into the song with Lemmy singing, “Victory or death!” before he, guitarist Phil Campbell and drummer Mikkey Dee unleash the song’s full aural assault.  Dee’s time keeping is rock solid from start to finish while Campbell and Kilmister instantly get the blood flowing just as much with their respective lines.  The pure energy of the song’s musical content expertly compliments the commentary contained in the song’s lyrical content.  Lemmy sings in this song, “What have you done/What’s in your mind/What do you need/Where shall we go to let it out/What have you seen/We don’t know where you’ve been/Life so often blows your candle out/Believe in what is right/what’s right for you tonight.”  It comes across as a commentary telling listeners to think for themselves.  That argument can be made as he sings later in the song, “Look around and see the soldiers/See them marching off to war/Take a careful look as they swing by/They’re all heroes but they don’t know what they’re fighting for/That’s the spirit/Victory or die.”  He comes across as saying that these men are heroes, but they’re not really thinking for themselves.  All they know is that they are going off to fight.  The seeming concept of thinking for one’s own self is illustrated in this song even more as Lemmy sings, “Look up and see the flying saucers cruising in the sky/I saw one myself it ain’t no lie/Looks down and see the road you’re on/As if you are on a marathon/That’s the spirit victory or die.”  He goes on explaining about how we each have our own experiences and learn different things.  So no matter what we experience and learn, that is our own personal belief.  Of course that is just the interpretation of this critic alone.  As always, it could be completely off the mark.  Hopefully that isn’t the case and this critic is at least somewhere in the proverbial ballpark.  But it seems to be what Kilmister is trying to get across to audiences.  He would seem to be saying to people don’t let anyone tell you what to think.  It is definitely a strong message.  The addition of the song’s driving musical content helps to drive home that message as it helps to enhance the illustrate the feeling that someone should have in realizing that he or she should think for himself or herself.  It is just one example of how much this record has to offer the band’s fans and audiences in general.  ‘Till The End’ is another example of the album’s depth of content.

‘Victory or Die’ is a solid opener for Motorhead in its latest full-length studio album.  The energy generated via the song’s musical content partners with its lyrical content that seemingly promotes individualistic thought to make a song that definitely makes quite the first impression for the band here.  It is of course just one example of just how much Bad Magic has to offer audiences over the course of its thirteen total tracks and forty-two minutes.  ‘Til The End’ is another example of how much this record has to offer listeners.  It shows that the band can have just as much of an impact playing more reserved material as the more upbeat stuff, too.  That is exemplified in the song ‘Till The End.’  In comparison to most of the album’s other material, this song starts off much slower and overall reserved in terms of its musical content.  Even when it does pick up, it is still reserved in comparison to most of the album’s other offerings. The song’s introspective lyrical content makes it stand out even more as Lemmy sings in his gravelly delivery, “In my years my life has changed/I can’t turn back the hands of time/I can’t tell you just what made me change/All I know is who I am/I’ll never let you down/The last one you can trust until the end.” There’s a certain vulnerability in his voice even as he belts out this verse that shows a wholly different side to Lemmy. The song’s musical content set against such contemplative lyrics and powerful vocal delivery makes this song one of the brightest of this record’s moments. If that doesn’t prove said argument then the song’s softer moments definitely will. He sings out about where he has been, and where and who he is. It is really a deep moment and welcome departure from the frantic energy exuded by the rest of the album’s featured compositions. Even as impressive as it is in the bigger picture of the album’s body it still is not the only remaining example of how much this album has to offer audiences. The band’s cover of The Rolling Stones’ ‘Sympathy For The Devil’ can also be cited as another of Bad Magic’s high points.

‘Victory or Die’ and ‘Til The End’ are both key examples of just how much Bad Magic has to offer audiences. That is because both songs show once again the band’s musical and lyrical abilities. The songs’ lyrical content will have any listener thinking. Their dramatically different musical styles show that the band can do more than just play loud and fast. They show that the band can also succeed in crafting something slower so to speak, yet still be heavy in its own right. As impressive as both songs are in the bigger picture of Bad Magic they are just a small part of the picture that makes this album yet another impressive addition to Motorhead’s catalogue. The band’s cover of The Rolling Stones’ ‘Sympathy For The Devil,’ which closes out the album, is one more example of just how much the album has to offer audiences as well as the band itself. While it stays largely true to the Stones’ original song, Motorhead has given it is own identity at the same time here. It really serves to exhibit the band’s blues rock roots and again the breadth of its abilities. Listeners will love Campbell’s soaring guitar solo in the song’s bridge and Dee’s rock solid time keeping. For those that don’t know, trying to keep time in the hi-hat, while executing a poly-rhythmic pattern on the toms is not easy. It requires its own share of concentration. Lemmy’s vocal delivery style gives the song even more of its own identity here in comparison to The Rolling Stones’ original take on the tune. That’s not a bad thing, either. In fact it makes Motorhead’s take that much more interesting to hear. All things considered the song is the perfect counterpoint to the album’s higher-energy opener and the rest of its featured songs. It was the perfect choice with which to close out the album since it could be argued that it sort of sets listeners somewhat gently back down after going through the musical adventure that was the rest of Bad Magic. Together with ‘Victory or Die’ and ‘Til The End’ it shows once more just how much Bad Magic has to offer audiences and how much Motorhead still has to offer audiences. And while all three compositions show in their own unique way just how much Motorhead has to offer audiences (as well as the band’s new album) they are hardly the only pieces in this collection that could be cited as examples of that offering. Any of the songs included in this album could be cited as examples of how much the album has to offer audiences. All things considered Bad Magic proves from beginning to end to be an album that will cast its own spell on Motorhead fans and metal heads alike and will have them agreeing that this album is one more of the best of the year’s new hard rock and metal albums.

Motorhead’s twenty-second full-length studio recording is one of the best of this year’s new hard rock and metal albums. It proves this nonstop throughout the course of its thirteen tracks and forty-two minutes. Whether through the familiar punk/hard rock hybrid sound of the album’s opener, the more reserved tones of the introspective ‘Til The End’ or even for the surprising take on The Rolling Stones’ classic ‘Sympathy For The Devil,’ the band shows from beginning to end just how much it and its new album have to offer audiences. Those songs set against the rest of the numbers featured throughout the album’s body makes the album that much more impressive. The end result is an album that shows why Motorhead remains today one of rock’s elite and why the album in itself is one of the best of the year’s new hard rock and metal offerings. Bad Magic is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered in a variety of bundle packs online via the band’s online store now at Fans can also pick up Bad Magic now at any of the band’s upcoming live shows as it makes its way across Europe and the UK. More information on the band’s tour and album is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:






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Saxon Shows It Still Has Plenty In The Tank In Its Latest LP

Saxon Battering Ram Cover ArtVeteran hard rock band Saxon is one of the most accomplished and respected acts in the rock community. For nearly four decades, the British hard rock band has been making music and entertaining audiences the world over. And if the band’s latest full-length studio recording is any indication Saxon has no plans of stopping anytime soon. The album, Battering Ram, is an aptly titled offering. That is because for the most part the eleven-song set comes across with the power of a battering ram. Even in its softer moments, such as the album’s penultimate composition ‘Kingdom of the Cross’ it offers a certain sort of punch (albeit an emotional punch). It is just one example of what makes this latest offering–the band’s twenty-first–such a strong offering, and one that is one of this year’s best new hard rock and metal albums. It will be discussed later. ‘Stand Your Ground’ is one of the album’s up-tempo examples of why it is such a fittingly titled album. Its lyrical content doesn’t hurt it by any means either. And then there is of course the album’s opener/title track. It launches audiences head first into the record with full precision. It is a tribute to the band’s fans around the world. So what better way to re-introduce the band to fans and to introduce new fans to its sound for the first time? All three songs noted here are in their own way clear examples of what makes Battering Ram another solid recording from Saxon. Those songs set against the album’s eight other songs make a whole that is as powerful as a battering ram and because of this is one of the best of this year’s crop of hard rock and metal albums.

Saxon is one of the hardest working bands in the rock community today. From its 1979 self-titled debut, the band has churned out a total of twenty-one albums counting its latest release, Battering Ram. Between said record and the band’s debut, the band has released one new album every one to three years all while making its way around the world to support each album at the same time. A lesser band would have already called it a career years ago. But Saxon isn’t a lesser band as it shows in its new album. That is obvious throughout the course of this record, beginning with the album’s opener and title track. This full-throttle rocker is a tribute to the band’s legions of fans around the world. The band’s members noted this in interviews conducted upon the song’s recent debut. As front man Biff Byford sings in the song’s opening verse, “Come worship at the metal church/Let your voices rise as one/Stand before the barricades/Prepare yourself for what’s to come/These walls will resonate tonight/To the sound of screaming hordes.” He goes on to sing, “Decibels will rise above/To fill this concert hall/Are you ready to begin/Then let the hammer fall/Like a battering ram.” From here, Byro goes on to sing of what fans feel and the overwhelming excitement of a live Saxon show. That excitement is thanks not just to Byro’s own powerhouse vocal delivery. The dual guitar attack of Paul Quinn and Doug Scaratt makes the song all the more powerful with their melody and countermelody. And Nigel Glockler’s time keeping is solid from start to finish. At the same time, Glockler displays so much creativity behind the kit. Nibbs Carter’s bass line rounds out the punch of the song’s musical content. The harmonies generated through Carter’s bass work perfectly compliment Quinn and Scaratt’s own guitar lines. What’s more the low-end generated via Carter’s bass work strengthens the song’s foundation even more. All five musicians’ work together with the song’s lyrical content makes ‘Battering Ram’ a clear example of Saxon’s continued drive and talent in its new record. It is just one example of that drive and talent, too. Stand your ground is another clear example of that talent and drive.

‘Battering Ram’ is in its own right a clear and solid example of just how much the members of Saxon still have in the tank even after nearly four decades making music. That is fully evident in the song’s musical content. The equally clear statement to fans of the band’s in the song’s lyrical content make it an even clearer statement from the band. It is just one way in which the band shows its continued talent and drive in its new album. ‘Stand Your Ground’ which comes just after the album’s midpoint, is another example of that drive and talent. In regards to its musical content, it is yet another adrenaline-fueled rocker that will have listeners on their feet their horns in the air. Its lyrical content is just as important to its whole as its musical content. The message sent in the song’s lyrical content is one of self determination and confidence. This is made clear as Byro sings, “If they try to put you down/Don’t let them turn you ’round/Remember what is right/And don’t give up the fight/Stand your ground.” If that isn’t proof enough of the song’s much-needed and welcome positive message, then the verse that follows will most certainly prove it as Byro sings, “If you’ve had enough and life is tough/And they don’t seem to hear what you say/Make a stand/Play your hand/Sometimes there’s no other way/If you’re giving in/And you can’t win/And there’s only one card you can play/You can fight against the odds/Stop praying to the gods/When you’re up against the wall/And you’re waiting for the fall/Stand your ground.” He is saying to the band’s fans, no matter what, don’t give up. If things get tough in life, don’t give up. Stand your ground against whatever odds may come one’s way. It is a message that will ring true for listeners of all ages and of any nationality. Considering this, the combination of this message and the song’s driving musical content make ‘Stand Your Ground’ another solid addition to Battering Ram and even more proof of the band’s continued drive and talent. And even alongside the album’s title track the two songs are not the only examples of what makes this record so impressive. The band’s military tribute in ‘Kingdom of the Cross’ is just as solid of an example of that continued talent and drive.

‘Battering Ram’ and ‘Stand Your Ground’ are both key examples of how much Saxon still has in its tank after nearly four decades of making music and entertaining audiences around the world. While both songs are key moments from the band’s new album, they are not the album’s only key moments. The military tribute in ‘Kingdom of the Cross’ is just as much of a key moment to the album as the previously noted songs. Unlike those songs, this one is far more reserved in regards to its musical content. However that more reserved approach is a perfect fit with the song’s equally somber lyrical content in which the band pays tribute to those that have paid the ultimate price for the freedom of thousands around the world. More specifically it comes across as paying tribute to those that served and died in World War I. That can be argued as Byro sings, “What is this place across the fields/Where poppies stretch and sway/In Flanders days of war are gone/But memories will remain/Comrades of their different coats/Came to fight and die/From all sides they stood and fought/And fell beneath the sky.” He goes on from here to sing about the fathers and sons who went off to fight and who never came home despite reports of their impending return from both papers and politicians. It is a powerful message that listeners will move listeners of any age. That emotionally moving message is strengthened even more thanks to the song’s somber musical content. The combination of both elements here makes this song one of the most important moments. Together with the likes of ‘Stand Your Ground’ and the album’s title track/opener, all three songs show clearly and collectively just how much Saxon still has in its tank even after nearly forty years. Of course that is not to ignore any of the other eight songs not noted here. Whether for those songs, for the ones directly noted, or all eleven tracks, it can be said that Battering Ram shows Saxon to be a band with plenty left for its fans and for itself. They show the band’s new album to be one more of the year’s best new hard rock and metal albums.

Saxon’s latest full length album Battering Ram is the band’s twenty-first full-length studio recording. Considering that this album comes only two years after the release of Sacrifice, and that frequency at which the band has released each of its previous albums, the power behind this album both in regards to its musical and lyrical content is quite the telling statement. It is a statement of the band’s continued talent and drive even after so many years making music and entertaining audiences. This is evident not just in the songs noted here but in each of the album’s eleven offerings. All things considered, it can be said of Battering Ram that its eleven-song, fifty-minute run time makes it one of the best of this year’s new hard rock and metal albums. Battering Ram is available now in stores and online. Saxon is currently touring in support of its new album. It is scheduled to be in Paris, France tomorrow, November 15th. More information on Battering Ram is available online now along with all of the band’s latest tour dates and news at:




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UDR’s New Rhoads Tribute Record Pays Proper Respect To Guitarist’s Memory And Legacy

Courtesy:  UDR

Courtesy: UDR

Cover albums and tribute records are a dime a dozen. It would be no surprise if it turned out that there are more covers albums and tribute records churned out every year than albums of actual new material. Considering the number of covers albums and tribute records churned out each year–most of which are little more than contractually obligated space-fillers–it means that most of the noted compilations will either sit on store shelves and fade into obscurity or they will just end up being shipped back to the record companies from whence they came. So that leaves the question as to which compilations are worth at least one listen. This past March, UDR answered that question at least to a point with its new tribute to the late guitarist Randy Rhoads Immortal Randy Rhoads – The Ultimate Tribute. The eleven track disc is one of those records that is worth at least one listen if no more. It features covers of some of the most famous songs on which Rhoads performed before his untimely death on March 19, 1982. That is just one of the reasons that audiences will want to give this record at least one listen. The lineup of artists tapped to re-work Rhoads’ songs is another reason that audiences will want to give this record at least one listen. And then there are the disc’s production values. Grammy award-winning producer Bob Kulich manned the boards for the project. Listening to the balance of each part within each song, it’s no wonder that the album’s production values are so noteworthy. All three elements on their own are worth their own share of attention. Combined, they show that Immortal Randy Rhoads – The Ultimate Tribute, while not immortal itself, is a compilation that fans of Rhoads’ work will want to hear at least once.

Immortal Randy Rhoads is not the only collection of songs co-written at least in part by Randy Rhoads and recorded by Rhoads. Despite this, it still stands as a collection that fans of Rhoads’ work will want to hear at least once. The main reason for this is the fact that the eleven-track disc, which comes in at a total of fifty-two minutes, focuses not just one Rhoads’ short-time with rock legend Ozzy Osbourne, but on his career at large. Yes, the majority of the record’s body is composed of songs that Rhoads co-wrote and recorded with Ozzy. But, there is also a pair of songs featured here representing his time with Quiet Riot in the form of ‘Back to the Coast’ and ‘Killer Girls.’ Producer Bob Kulich heading the whole project, one can only imagine that he had a hand in the sequencing of the songs that make up the compilation. While there are only two songs representative of Rhoads’ work with Quiet Riot, they change things up just enough to keep listeners engaged. The same can be said of the overall mood of the songs in whole. The mood changes with each song just enough, too to keep listeners engaged. Both the changing mood of the songs and the compilation’s sequencing overall make for a solid foundation on which the rest of the record’s elements rest, thus making plenty of reason within itself for listeners to check out this compilation.

The songs that make up the body of Immortal Randy Rhoads – The Ultimate Tribute make a solid foundation for the record. Their sequencing and the overall changing mood of the songs from one to the next will encourage listeners to give the record at least one listen. The artists that were tapped to re-work the songs make for just as much reason for audiences to check out this collection of songs. Famed singer Tim “Ripper” Owens (Iced Earth, Judas Priest, Yngwie Malmsteen) handles vocal duties for much of the record save for just three songs–‘Crazy Train,’ ‘Mr. Crowley,’ and ‘Back to the Coast.’ Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath, Dio, Kill Devil Hill) shares drumming duties with fellow veteran drummers Brett Chassen and Frankie Banali (Quiet Riot) while Ozzy’s latest axe-man Gus G. shares duties on the guitar with Joel Hoekstra (Whitesnake, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Night Ranger), Doug Aldrich (Revolution Saints, Dio, Whitesnake), Brad Gillis (Night Ranger, Ozzy Osbourne, Rubicon), Alexi Laiho (Children of Bodom) and even Bob Kulich himself. Dweezil Zappa joins in on bass on one song while Rudzy Sarzo (Quiet Riot, Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake) handles bass duties on a number of the disc’s songs. There are other names included in the collection’s lineup. These are just some of the figures tapped to record and perform Rhoads’ songs. It’s not just a bunch of no-name individuals, either. It is a who’s who of rock’s past present and future. Some of them were friends of Rhoads. Others were closely familiar with his work. Such closeness with Rhoads and his work means a certain level of respect for both, which in turn leads to the product presented on this record. It isn’t just a bunch of material slapped together haphazardly save maybe for the disc’s opener. That one is self-explanatory. Other than that moment, the rest of the material presented in this record by the A-list of musicians shows true respect for Rhoads and his legacy. It translates clearly through to listeners, too. And in translating so well, it shows once more why this collection is worth at least one listen.

The songs that make up the body of Immortal Randy Rhoads – The Ultimate Tribute and the artists tapped to re-works Rhoads’ classic songs are equally important to the success of this record. Considering their importance, they would not be worth even the slightest mention without a mention of the work put in behind the glass during their recording. Grammy award-winning producer Bob Kulich is to thank in large part for making the songs sound as good as they do. Listening to the songs and hearing their balance, audiences will be pleasantly surprised at how well each song is balanced. The balance allows for every one of the superstars featured in each song to get his moment. Not only that but it allows for the full body of each of Rhoads’ songs to come through. The result is eleven tracks that sound equally solid from one to the next and ultimately eleven tracks that will keep listeners fully engaged from the collections’ first song to its last. In giving each song a chance and considering each of the noted elements, every listener will agree once again that among all of the covers albums and tribute records out there, this is one that deserves at least one listen rather than being left on store shelves.

Hopefully it has been proven by now that among all of the covers albums and tribute records that are churned out every year, UDR’s recently released tribute to Randy Rhoads, Immortal Randy Rhoads – The Ultimate Tribute is one that is deserving of at least one listen; this despite the fact that it is not the only tribute to Rhoads that has been released so far this year. It is not one those records that was just tossed together to make a little money for the label. That is made clear through the record’s collection of songs, its all-star cast of performers, and its production values. It is a record that Rhoads’ fans of all ages will appreciate. It is available now in stores and online. More information on this and other titles from UDR is available online now at:



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Saxon Announces Dates For U.S. Leg Of Its “Warriors Of The Road” Tour

Courtesy: UDR/Adrenaline PR/MEtal Blade Records/Chipster PR

Courtesy: UDR/Adrenaline PR/MEtal Blade Records/Chipster PR

Legendary British metal band Saxon is gearing up to hit the road in the U.S. this spring.

The members of Saxon announced this week that the band will embark on the “Warriors of the Road” U.S. Tour in May. The tour is in support of the band’s recently re-issued recordings Heavy Metal Thunder and The Saxon Chronicles. Both recordings were re-issued February 24th. Heavy Metal Thunder included a bonus live recording titled Live at Bloodstock. The double-disc DVD The Saxon Chronicles was accompanied by a bonus live recording titled Rock ‘n’ Roll Gypsies 1989 Live.

Saxon’s upcoming tour kicks off on Tuesday, May 12th at BB King’s in New York City and will run through Saturday, May 30th in Los Angeles, California. One of the scheduled dates is a performance at the annual Rock on the Range Festival on Saturday, May 16th in Columbus, Ohio. Saxon will be joined by Armored Saint for the majority of the tour’s scheduled dates. Judas Priest will join the band on a four-date string of shows from May 17th to May 21st. The complete “Warriors of the Road” tour schedule is listed below.

SAXON “Warriors of the Road” U.S. Tour w/ Armored Saint:

5/12 – New York City, NY @ BB Kings w/ Armored Saint

5/13 – Worcester, MA @ The Palladium w/ Armored Saint

5/16 – Columbus, OH @ MAPFRE Stadium (formerly Crew Stadium) @ Rock On The Range

5/17 – Cincinnati, OH @ The Shoe w/ Judas Priest

5/19 – St. Charles, MO @ Family Area w/ Judas Priest

5/20 – Council Bluffs, IA @ Harrah’s Casino-Stir Cove w/ Judas Priest

5/21 – Rosemont, IL @ Rosemont Theater w/ Judas Priest

5/23 – San Antonio, TX @ 210 Kapone’s Live w/ Armored Saint

5/24 – Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey Live w/ Armored Saint

5/26 – Mesa, AZ @ Club Red

5/27 – Las Vegas, NV @ Vinyl at Hard Rock

5/29 – San Jose, CA @ Rock Bar w/ Armored Saint

5/30 – Los Angeles, CA @ House of Blues w/ Armored Saint

More information on the “Warriors of the Road” tour and all of the latest news from Saxon is available online at:





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Saxon’s Latest Live LP Shows Why It’s Still One Of Heavy Metal’s Elite Acts

Courtesy:  UDR/Militia Guard Music

Courtesy: UDR/Militia Guard Music

British heavy metal band Saxon released its latest live recording St. George’s DaySacrifice Live in Manchester this past April. The band’s first live release since 2012’s Heavy Metal ThunderLive: Eagles Over Wacken and its ninth live recording overall, this live recording presents a band that is just as strong today as it was in its earliest days. There is plenty for Saxon’s fans to appreciate in this album beginning with the set list itself. While it obviously doesn’t cover every single one of the band’s now twenty (yes, twenty) albums, the concert presented here covers quite a wide swath of the band’s career. The band’s stage presence also plays a role in the overall enjoyment of the concert. Needless to say the band’s impresses in this arena, too. And last but not least is the concert’s audio mix. The audio mix starts out a little choppy. But it improves rather quickly, making the overall concert experience presented here enjoyable. All things considered the only downside to the whole presentation is that Saxon didn’t provide this concert in either a DVD or Blu-ray presentation. Perhaps the band and its label will take that into consideration and release the show’s video side for fans before 2014 winds down. Regardless, of whether or not that happens, it still remains that St. George’s DaySacrifice Live in Manchester is a must hear for any Saxon fan.

The central point of the success behind St. George’s DaySacrifice Live in Manchester is easily its expansive set list. It goes without saying that there’s no way the band could have possibly covered its entire catalogue of now twenty albums within the span of time allotted for this concert. However, the band does cover quite a bit of that catalogue. It goes so far as to go back thirty years to the band’s earliest days and as recently as the band’s latest full length studio album and all points in between throughout the course of the concert. The concert’s full run time barely tops the two hour mark. And every single second of that time is well spent by both the audience in attendance and the band. Much like film great Martin Scorsese can take a two-plus hour movie breeze by, so does Saxon make this concert full so much fuller without leaving audiences feel exhausted at the same time. It’s because of that factor and the show’s set list alongside that the band’s more seasoned fans will enjoy this record just as much as those being introduced to the veteran metal act for the first time.

The combined set list and run time of said concert in St. George’s DaySacrifice Live in Manchester together are collectively a solid foundation for this latest live recording from Saxon. Just as important to the enjoyment of any live performance by any musical act is the stage presence of the given act. In the case of Saxon, front man Biff Byford and company prove to be just as full of life and energy as when the band first performed live decades ago. The band shreds through numbers such as: ‘Rock N Roll Gypsies,’ ‘Crusader,’ and ‘Wheels of Steel’ just to name a few. And even in between songs, the energy is there as Byford interacts with the audience. He tells audiences brief histories of the songs, joking about some of those histories along the way. Audiences even get the chance to decide which songs they want to hear at least at one point in the show. Byford repay the audience’s enthusiasm with one of the best performances to date of ‘And The Bands Played On.’ These are only some examples of how the band’s stage performance in this concert makes the recording so enjoyable for audiences. There are far more examples than can be noted in one sitting. Audiences will get the full impact of that presence when they purchase this recording for themselves. It still isn’t all that makes this recording enjoyable for Saxon’s legions of fans, either. There is still one more factor to consider in the recording’s enjoyment. That factor is the show’s audio mix.

The last but hardly least important factor to consider in the enjoyment of St. George’s DaySacrifice Live in Manchester is the show’s audio mix. One has to think that what must have been an outdoor arena was rather large. That is because of the slight trouble at first in the balance of the recording’s audio mix. Byford’s vocals are muddled early on and covered by his band mates. But luckily, that is rapidly handled with the levels being more equaled as the first half of the first disc progresses. Since it would appear that there is no DVD or Blu-ray presentation to accompany the audio only portion of the concert, it is difficult to figure the size of the venue. One can only assume that the venue’s size must have been relatively large. If that is indeed the case, then those charged with the recording’s final product are to be applauded for the work put in to balance everything and in turn make St. George’s DaySacrifice Live in Manchester one of the best of Saxon’s live recordings to date.

George’s DaySacrifice Live in Manchester is available now in stores and online. That means that fans worldwide can enjoy the band’s live show even if it has already come and gone. Saxon is currently on tour in Europe in support of both this release and Sacrifice, its most recent full length studio effort. The band’s current tour schedule is available online now via the band’s official website, All of the latest news and more from Saxon is available online at the band’s official website and its official Facebook page, To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at

Last Tangle In Paris Is A Fitting Live Finale For Ministry

Courtesy:  UDR/13th Planet Records

Courtesy: UDR/13th Planet Records

Ministry is done. This is according to the band’s founder Al Jourgensen. While Jourgensen may have called it a career (at least with Ministry), fans have been rewarded for their loyalty once more with another new live recording in the form of Ministry: Last Tangle in ParisLive 2012. This new release follows up last year’s release of Enjoy the Quiet: Live at Wacken 2012. Anyone that missed that release will be pleasantly surprised to find much the same performance as is presented in this latest recording. That is the most important factor in the overall success of this release. Of equal importance is that once again, the concert presentation includes both an audio and visual presentation. The overall quality of the audio and video of the recording is the last but hardly least important part of the whole worth noting. All these factors together make Ministry: Last Tangle in ParisLive 2012 a lasting memory for fans of one of hard rock’s most important acts.

Ministry: Last Tangle in ParisLive 2012 is Ministry’s follow-up to its live 2013 recording, Enjoy The Quiet: Live at Wacken 2012. Audiences that might not have had the chance to pick up the earlier release will be happy to know that Last Tangle in Paris boasts largely the same set list as the band’s Wacken recording. It is largely the same because both recordings were part of the same tour. It boasts such hits as: ‘No W,’ ‘Psalm 69,’ ‘LiesLiesLies,’ and ‘Khyber Pass’ among so many others. The audio portion of the recording totals twenty-seven songs and nearly two hours of material. The recording’s DVD side comes in at nearly an hour and a half. That brings the total run time of the package in whole to nearly three and a half hours. So it goes without saying that audiences will be thoroughly entertained with so much material in one package.

The similarity of Last Tangle in Paris’ set list to that of Ministry’s Live at Wacken recording is just part of what makes Last Tangle in Paris another welcome recording for Ministry’s fans. Audiences will note in the recording’s visual portion (its DVD half) that they get more than just a concert. Audiences are actually treated to some behind-the-scenes extras. Audiences are treated to interviews with Jourgensen before and after the concert as well as one of his band mates. That interview includes a tribute of sorts to late band member Mike Scaccia who had passed away. Those extra interviews give audiences the chance to see another side of Jourgensen that they might not have otherwise gotten to see. Together with the concert footage, it makes the concert experience in whole even more complete.

Jourgensen and company impress on Last Tangle in Paris thanks in part to the similarity of this recording’s set list to that of the band’s performance at Wacken from earlier in the year. Making the recording even more entertaining is the bonus DVD included in the set. It includes not only a concert recording, but also bonus behind-the-scenes interviews of sorts as additional material. All of this together makes this recording well worth checking out for any Ministry fan. There is still one piece of the recording that must be examined before passing judgment on the package in whole. That final piece is the concert’s audio and video mix. Whether it be the double-disc CD side of the recording or the companion DVD, the audio and video in whole are balanced rather well. That is especially a feat for a band as intense as Ministry. At no point is Jourgensen covered by the guitars and drums or vice versa. Each part compliments the other from start to finish throughout both portions of the recording. The end result of this is an increased enjoyment of the recording’s songs on both sides of the set and an even deeper appreciation for what may be one of the last live recordings from one of the titans of the hard rock and metal community.

Ministry: Last Tangle in ParisLive 2012 is available now in stores and online. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at

ROTR Organizers Announce Early Details For 2014 Festival

Rock on the Range 2014 Logo

Courtesy: MSO PR

The 2013 edition of the annual Rock on the Range festival was one of the biggest that organizers of the annual event have ever experienced.  2013 saw the annual event completely sell out.  Seeing the success that the festival had in 2013, festival organizers have announced that the festival will now expand to three full days this year. The festival, which will run from May 16th – May 18th this year, will be headlined by three very big name acts.  Those acts are Guns N’ Roses, Avenged Sevenfold, and Kid Rock.

While the trio of aforementioned bands will headline the once again expanded festival (last year saw the festival expand to three nights) are big names in themselves, they won’t be the only bands to perform at this year’s show.  Also scheduled to perform this year are: Seether, Five Finger Death Punch, Slayer, Staind, Motorhead, Chevelle, Alter Bridge, Mastodon, Black Label Society and Killswitch Engage among many others.  The complete lineup of bands scheduled to perform at this year’s ROTR Festival is listed below.


Guns N’ Roses, Avenged Sevenfold, Kid Rock, Five Finger Death Punch, Slayer, Staind, Motorhead, Seether, Chevelle, Alter Bridge, Mastodon, Black Label Society, Killswitch Engage, Bring Me The Horizon, Theory of a Deadman, Down, Black Stone Cherry, Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience, Pop Evil, Of Mice & Men, Adelitas Way, Trivium, Gojira, Suicidal Tendencies, The Pretty Reckless, We Came as Romans, Fuel, Redlight King, Miss May I, Reignwolf, Thousand Foot Krutch, Texas Hippie Coalition, Rev Theory, Skindred, Kyng, Fozzy, Heaven’s Basement, Butcher Babies, Nothing More, Exodus, King 810, Devour the Day, We As Human, We Are Harlot, Kvelertak, Jim Breuer Band, One OK Rock, Twelve Foot Ninja, Avatar, WERM, Monster Truck, Wilson, Crobot and Truckfighters with comedians Jim Breuer, Jim Florentine and more.

Audiences will note that along with the lineup up some of the biggest names in the rock world, this year’s festival also boasts the return of the ROTR Comedy Tent.  Jim Breuer, Jim Florentine, and a number of up-and-coming comedians will perform at the ROTR Comedy Tent.

Weekend passes including Field General Admission, Stadium General Admission, hotel and VIP packages and a stadium four-pack go on sale Friday, January 24th at 10am ET.  More ticket information is available online at  Additional information and updates on this year’s festival is available online at and  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at

Saxon’s Semi-New Set A Solid Follow-Up To Sacrifice

Courtesy:  UDR

Courtesy: UDR

The members of veteran British hard rock band Saxon have been making real hard rock for over three decades.  The band released its twentieth new full length studio release in that span last year in the form of Sacrifice.  It was the second album from the band in as many years.  Sacrifice was received to much praise from fans and critics alike upon its release last year. Now, Saxon’s members have followed up the success of Sacrifice with an album that while not entirely new per se is still another solid release from the band in Unplugged & Strung Up.  Fans will appreciate in this pseudo hits compilation first and foremost the fact that it has been released both in standard edition and a special expanded edition.  Secondly, the band’s older fans will appreciate it in part because it will take them on that proverbial trip down memory lane thanks to the reworking of some of its more well-known classic songs.  Staying in that same vein, these reworked songs are just as enjoyable an introduction to those that might be new to the band’s music.  Fans that take all of this into consideration will agree after hearing this record that while it might not necessarily be a new album in its purest definition, it is still a great hard rock ride for any rock and roll purist.

Unplugged and Strung Up is another success from Saxon right off the top because of its dual format release.  It was released both as a standard single-disc compilation of re-worked songs and as a special expanded double-disc set.  The expanded double-disc set includes another collection of re-worked hits from the band.  That collection is the band’s 2002 compilation, Heavy Metal Thunder.  Regardless of which edition of this new compilation audiences order or buy, they can be guaranteed plenty of reason to put their horns in the air.  The LP’s expanded edition includes something of a bonus in that only ‘Crusader’ is repeated between the two discs.  Other than that, the re-worked songs that fill both discs in the expanded edition are completely different from one another.  This plays into the album’s final factor of the album’s success and will be discussed at such time.

The songs chosen for Unplugged & Strung Up are the very foundation of this compilation.  They will take more seasoned fans down memory lane again whether in the standard single-disc edition or the expanded double-disc edition.  The single-disc compilation offers audiences a solid set of amped up and reworked songs as well as some more stripped down pieces such as the emotionally stirring ‘Requiem’ and the compilation’s bluesy acoustic closer, ‘Coming Home.’  After the journey down memory lane on which Saxon’s members take fans on this compilation, ‘Coming Home’ is a fitting closer for this record.  Singer Biff Byford’s vocals are just as powerful here as at any other point.  And the”gritty-ness” of his vocals make his singing style a perfect fit for this take on the song, too. If that isn’t enough for audiences, then perhaps the power rock styling of ‘’Red Star Falling’, and ‘Crusader’, and the orchestral composition included in ‘Call To Arms’ will win over audiences.  Whatever song or songs audiences choose as their favorite from Unplugged & Strung Up (or UASU as it will henceforth be known) audiences are given plenty from which to choose on this record.

Staying in the vein of the solid song choices and sequencing of UASU that same choice of songs and sequencing that will impress more seasoned fans will also pull in listeners that are perhaps not as familiar with the veteran rock band’s rich musical history.  The band proves both with its standard edition and its expanded double-disc edition that there is still very much a place and a need for pure guitar driven rock and roll complete with actual singing.  At a time when it seems that so much of the rock world continues to be dominated by bands whose singers sound like cookie monster and guitar players make their guitars as “crunching” as possible, the songs included in this new compilation are a welcome breath of fresh air even being a group of re-worked “hits.”  The album is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct from Saxon’s official website,  Fans can also check out the band’s official website and its official Facebook page, for all of the latest news on the band’s current tour schedule.  The band is set to kick off its European tour beginning next month in Northampton, UK.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at

Motorhead Hasn’t Lost Any Steam Even After Twenty-One Albums

Courtesy: UDR

Courtesy: UDR

2013 has been quite the year for the metal community.  New releases from the likes of Chimaira, Kingshifter, and so many others have made the field among the metal community extremely crowded.  Enter veteran rock band Motorhead and its members’ twenty-first full length studio album, Aftershock.  With the release of Aftershock, Lemmy Kilmister and his band mates have made the choice of the year’s best new hard rock and metal even more difficult.  Kilmister left fans wondering when they’re hear the next new Motorhead album when it was announced earlier in the year that he was suffering from an illness.  So it only makes sense that he, drummer Phil Campbell, and guitarist Mikkey Dee would open the band’s twenty-first full length studio release with the pummeling ‘Heartbreaker.’  This song is a bold statement, letting the world know that not even illness will keep Motorhead from making music.  ‘Coup de Grace’, the album’s second song, keeps the energy flowing, proving more still why this trio of musicians is still collectively one of the rock world’s greatest bands nearly four decades after it was originally formed.  The band barely lets up even the slightest over the course of the album’s fourteen total tracks.  Simply put, the band leaves listeners breathless by the end of the album’s closer, ‘Paralyzed.’  By the time this song’s final notes fade, any purist metal head will agree that what he or she has just experienced in this album is a work that is far more than deserving of a spot on any rock critic’s list of the year’s best new hard rock albums.

Lemmy, Phil, and Mikkey waste no time getting things moving on Aftershock.  The album’s opener, ‘Heartbreaker’ is proof of that.  It’s a full on, no nonsense hard rocker much in the vein of the band’s much more classic records through the years.  Keeping in mind that Kilmister had suffered from an illness before this record was released, it makes this song all the more impressive return especially for him.  His voice sounds as pounding as ever as he sings, “Careful where you stand now boy/Everything has changed/Got to search and destroy/Everything has changed/Got to move/Stop the dreams/All protection gone/Listen to how the people scream/On and on and on.”  Lemmy has never sounded better.  His powerhouse vocals alongside the musicianship of Phil and Mikkey collectively make this an excellent first impression for anyone that is new to the music of Motorhead.  It’s just as impressive a return for the band’s more seasoned fans.

‘Heartbreaker’ is one heck of a way for the members of Motorhead to open the band’s new album.  The energy doesn’t let up after this song ends, either.  Lemmy, Phil, and Mikkey keep the throttle on high as they launch into the equally pounding ‘Coup De Grace.’  The song’s musical energy alone will have any purist metal head’s horns high in the air.  The defiant lyrical side serves to make it even more of a fan favorite.  Lemmy sings in this song, “Don’t believe a word/Don’t run with the herd/I don’t like the news/Watch it every week/Just because/I don’t believe it/Don’t make me a freak/If you knew the real stories/Can’t be fooled no more/You can kiss/Or you can tell/Parasite or whore.”  He goes on to sing in the song’s next verse, “Don’t believe the lies/Truth will make you wise.”  The statement being made here is largely clear.  That statement set alongside the song’s musical side exudes pure hard rock energy.  And the combination of the two elements will certainly make this another fan favorite.

The energy exuded by ‘Coup De Grace’ and ‘Heartbreaker’ is incredible to say the least.  And it hardly lets up at any one point throughout the course of Aftershock. This is the case even with the album’s closer, ‘Paralyzed.’  The song’s lyrical side is interesting to say the least.  The song’s lyrics are obviously metaphorical.  Kilmister writes, “Looking for a temple/Looking for the gold/Looking like a hero/When the story’s told.” He goes on singing, “Flying over mountains/Flying over seas/Flying through a hurricane/Praying on your knees/Searching for a fortune/Searching for a clue/Flying in the face of death/Flying into view.”  It’s certain to lead to plenty of discussion as to what exactly is being said here.  Add the discussions in question to the song’s full throttle musical side, and audiences get a song that closes the album just as solidly as ‘Heartbreaker’ opened the record.  These songs, and those not mentioned all work together to make Aftershock one that Motorhead’s legions of fans will love whether it’s a first introduction or the twenty-first re-introduction.  It’s available now in stores and online.  As of right now, Lemmy is still fighting the good fight, trying to get back to full strength.  As long as everything goes as planned, the band will hit the road in Europe in 2014, beginning with a performance in Glasgow, Scotland on February 13th, 2014.  A full listing of the band’s most current tour schedule is available online at  More information on the band’s tour, all the latest news from the band, and on Aftershock is available online at and  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at

Annihilator’s New Album Is A Tasty Metal Feast

Courtesy:  EMI/UDR

Courtesy: EMI/UDR

Annihilator’s latest full length studio release is a breath of fresh air for the metal community.   The veteran Canadian metal band released this past September, its fourteenth (yes, fourteenth) full length release.  It couldn’t have chosen a better name than Feast for its new album.  That’s because at a time when so many thrash and hardcore bands continue to rely on crunchy, down-tuned guitars and cookie monster growls to fill their audiences’ appetites, Annihilator has taken what is increasingly the road less travelled.  The band’s new album is pure thrash metal at its best.  From its speed metal riffs to the pounding vocals of front man David Padden and the songs’ lyrical content, every pure blooded metal head will find something to appreciate in this record.

Annihilator has seen its share of ups and downs ever since the release of the band’s debut record, Alice in Hell.  The band has changed labels and band members so much that one would seemingly need a program to keep up with it all.  Through it all, one thing has stayed constant for this band.  That one constant has been the band’s ability to make some of the best pure thrash metal out there.  While the metal community has leaned its focus more on the “metalcore” genre over the years, Annihilator has remained one of the few bands to not go that route.  This aspect alone makes Feast a must hear for any purist metal head.  Right from the album’s opener, ‘Deadlock’, listeners are transported back to the golden days of metal courtesy of guitarist Jeff Waters’ solid shredding and drummer Mike Harshaw’s time keeping.  And even vocalist David Padden’s vocals add their own positive element to the song, not to mention the song’s social commentary.  Padden writes in this song a piece that while somewhat nihilistic, also holds some truth.  He writes, “We face our extinction day after day/Oblivious to what we’ll become/Persist to exist in our pathetic ways/With nothing to show when it’s done/We take what they give/Complacency to the masses/Content to consume/The idiots outbreeding twenty to one/Ensuring our future is doomed.”  It comes across as a commentary on how people seem to be increasingly embracing the mantra that ignorance is bliss.  He doesn’t stop here, either.  He adds commentary on America’s blind consumerism and desire for the next big thing as he writes, “Standing in line for the latest release/An upgrade to s*** we don’t need/A fist full of cash/And a smile on your face/A wallet just dying to bleed.”  This couldn’t be truer.  Just look at how people in general clamor for the next big product from Apple and other major tech companies.  Such biting commentary set next to equally powerful music makes this song quite the tasty first course from Annihilator’s new musical “feast.”  And yes that bad pun was entirely intended.

The band doesn’t let up one bit after ‘Deadlock’ ends.  Listeners will appreciate ‘Smear Campaign’ just as much as the album’s opener.  They will once again appreciate it not just for the music but for its equally biting commentary.  Guitarist Jeff Waters wrote this song.  This full on defiant anthem will give strength to anyone that has ever been tormented by those that live their lives trying to make others’ lives miserable.  Waters writes in this song, “Demonize, jeopardize, spreading your disease/So glad you’ve had your fun/Making up your stories/Spewing them with ease/But now your time is done/Can’t look in my eyes/You won’t apologize/Judge you should not/But now I hope you rot/Sad, weak and insecure/Your life is just a fail bitterness and jealousy/Fabricate now too late/The coffin and the nail/It’s time for remedy.”  This song could not be more important to this album.  It is an important addition to the album because of its power.  Much like a number of songs crafted by Hatebreed, it’s one of those defiant fist pumpers that flips the proverbial middle finger at those defeatists that would do whatever they can to pull down those around them.  That combination of musical and lyrical intensity will most certainly raise the mindset of any member of the metal community in hard times.  So Waters and his band mates are to be commended for including this song on this album.

Waters exhibited quite a bit of writing and musical prowess in his crafting of ‘Smear Campaign.’  In the same vein, listeners will appreciate the longer but just as thrashing ‘Fight The World.’  This song is such an interesting addition to ‘Feast’ because it too is so powerful both musically and lyrically speaking.  Waters and his band mates fool listeners at first with this song by starting it off very slow and mournful for lack of better wording.  Set against the song’s lyrical content, it would actually be quite powerful had it maintained that slower more emotional sound.  But that slower, mournful sound doesn’t last long as the band very soon thereafter kicks into yet another full on thrash sound, making it just as powerful if not more so than the hypothesized sound.  That straightforward thrash sound set against Padden singing, “It’s easy to give up/To lose all hope/To use a substance to cope/I pick myself up/Turn this around/I’ll win this battle/You won’t take me down” makes it one more invaluable addition to the album’s sequencing.  It makes Feast that much better to take in no matter if one is new to the band’s music or a fan from way back when.

The songs included in Feast are definitely songs that any pure blooded metal head will appreciate.  That’s evidenced through just the three songs noted here.  They aren’t all that audiences will appreciate.  Just as wonderful to note is the musicianship of the band’s members.  Annihilator has seen its share of members over the course of nearly a quarter of a century.  But this most current lineup has shown with its musicianship that Annihilator is still very much a viable force in the metal community despite all of those changes.  And with any luck, it will remain a force for the foreseeable future.  The band is currently touring overseas in support of Feast.  Fans can keep up with the band’s latest tour dates and more on Feast online at,, and  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at