Metal Purists Will Appreciate UDR Music’s Wacken 2015 Recording

Courtesy: UDR Music

Courtesy: UDR Music

The Wacken Open Air Festival is one of the most renowned hard rock concert festivals if the music industry.  The festival started 26 years ago in the city after which it is named.  Late this summer UDR Music celebrated the festivals 25th anniversary – marked in 2015 – with the release of the festival’s 25th anniversary recording.  Considering that the recording presents the show lineup from the festival’s 25th anniversary, its title is a little bit misleading.  That aside, it is still an enjoyable experience for any purist member of the metal nation worldwide.  That is due in no small part to the lineup presented in the recording.  This will be discussed shortly.  The bands’ performances are just as important to note in the recording’s presentation as is the recording’s presented lineup.  That will be discussed later.  The platforms on which the recording has been made available rounds out the most important of the recording’s elements.  Each element is clearly important in its own right to the recording’s presentation.  All things considered, Live at Wacken 2015 26 Years Louder Than Hell is one of this year’s top new overall live recordings.

Live at Wacken 2015 – ­26 Years Louder Than Hell is one of 2016’s top new overall live recordings.  It is hardly the first live recording that the festival’s organizers have ever released.  Even with that in mind, it is still an enjoyable recording for the festival’s fans and for the purist metal legions around the world.  That is due in no small part to the recording’s featured performer list.  A total of 107 bands performed on Wacken 2015 between the Bullhead City Circus, Party Stage and double main stage.  It goes without saying that considering that mass of metal, there’s no way that UDR or the fesitval’s organizers could have possibly featured every one of those bands.  Regardless, the featured performer list included in this recording is still impressive in its own right.  That list includes the likes of Judas Priest, Danko Jones, Uli Jon Roth, In Flames, Annihilator and so many others.  Simply put, the perfomer list featured in this recording pulls from a number of metal’s sub genres and from so many eras of metal’s history.  It goes to show the respect that the festival’s organizers and fans have for metal, its history and culture.  Sure, it would have been nice to have Dream Theater included in the featured performer list, or maybe Hellyeah, or even Prong (yes, even Prong performed at Wacken 2015).  But the performer list included in this recording is still impressive in its own right in the end.  Considering this, it should be clear why it is such an important piece of the recording’s presentation.  It is just one of the important elements to note.  The featured acts’ stage presence in their performances is just as important to note here as the acts themselves.

The acts that are featured in UDR Music’s new Wacken Open Air Festival recording are important in their own right to the recording’s overall presentation.  That is because while hardly every one of the bands that performed at the festival, they represent a wide swatch of the metal community and its history.  That means the recording will reach just as wide of an audience.  While the recording’s featured performer list is clearly an important piece of the recording’s presentation, it is hardly the recording’s only important element.  The bands’ stage presence in their performances plays an important part in the recording’s presentation, too.  Rob Halford and company prove the importance of the bands’ performances right from the recording’s outset.  They take the stage and own it with ease.  Halford is at the top of his game both in terms of his vocal talent and his very presence.  Glenn Tipton is just as enjoyable to take in as he works his way through the band’s performance of ‘Painkiller.  On another note, the members of Running Wild are just as impressive as they work through the high-octane ‘Under The Jolly Roger.’  Skindred’s performance of ‘Proceed With Caution’ will have home audiences on their feet just as easily as it did the audience in attendance of the festival.  That is because of the fire and energy exuded by the band throughout its performance.  It is just one more example of the importance of the bands’ performance to the festival recording’s presentation.  One could just as easily cite the performances from My Dying Bride, In Flames, and Death Angel as proof of that importance, too.  All things considered, it is safe to say that every single performance featured in this recording will keep home audiences just as entertained and engaged as the audiences that got to enjoy the festival in person.  Even with all of this in mind, the bands’ performances still are not the last element to note in examining this recording.  The platforms on which the recording has been made available are just as important to note as the previously discussed elements.

The bands that were featured in Live at Wacken 2015 26 Years Louder Than Hell and their performances are both key elements in examining the festival’s recording.  The featured performer list presents the past, present and future of metal while also presenting a solid cross-section proving what has made the festival so respected for now 26 years.  The featured bands’ performances are so important to note because they will keep home audiences just as entertained and engaged as the audiences who had the honor of experiencing the festival in person.  While both elements are clearly important both alone and collectively to the recording’s presentation, they are not its only important elements.  The platforms on which the recording has been made available are just as important to note as the previously noted elements.  Audiences will be happy to know that the recording has been made available on separate 2 DVD/2 CD and 2 BD/2 CD combo pack.  The DVD set averages approximately $22 and the BD set $23.  Considering that, the various platforms and their prices are relatively affordable for audiences.  The only downside to the sets is that their set lists don’t exactly match.  Not every song featured in the recording’s DVD and BD presentation is included in the recording’s CD platform.  To that end, it is the recording’s only major negative, which is actually a good thing.  That means that the recording’s varied platforms and other discussed elements more than make up for that one negative, as unavoidable as it is to note.  All things considered, Live at Wacken 2015 26 Years Louder Than Hell proves in the bigger picture to be one of 2016’s top new live recordings as well as one of the year’s top new live DVD/BDs and CDs.  It is available now in stores and online.

Live at Wacken 2015 26 Years Louder Than Hell is one of 2016’s top new live recordings.  That is the case even considering that it does have at least one unavoidable negative.  The recording’s featured performer list and the featured acts’ performances partner with the varied platforms on which the recording has been made available to make the recording an enjoyable experience for any purist member of the metal nation worldwide.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on this and other titles from UDR Music is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.udr-music.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/udrmusic

 

 

 

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Roth’s Scorpions Revisited Will Impress Scorpions Fans And Rock Purists Alike

Courtesy:  UDR

Courtesy: UDR

More often than not, when asked to name a song by veteran rock band Scorpions, the first answer given in response is the song ‘Rock You Like a Hurricane.’ It should be emphasized that this is the common response by those not familiar with the band’s extensive body of work. Those that are more familiar with the band’s catalogue will avow that its members have crafted far more songs worth hearing than that one over the course of the band’s life so far. As a matter of fact, this own critic’s view is that ‘Rock You Like a Hurricane’ is one of the worst of the band’s songs if not its worst overall. Now thanks to former Scorpions guitarist Uli Jon Roth, those audiences that are not so familiar with the band’s body of work will discover just how many great songs have been crafted by the German-based band over the years in the form of his new double-disc recording Scorpions Revisited. Those that are long-time fans will get to hear many of their favorite songs in a whole new light on this record thanks to Roth’s re-workings of no fewer than twenty classic Scorpions songs. Roth grabs audiences right off the top in his re-working of the band’s classic tune ‘The Sails of Charon.’ It’s not a short piece by any means. It comes in at nine minutes and nine seconds. But over the course of that near ten minutes, audiences new and old alike will find themselves being exposed to a work that even those not fond of full-on instrumentals will appreciate. Roth is just as impressive on his take of the bluesy ‘Sun in my Hand.’ It’s yet another song that listeners of all ages will enjoy from this new collection of classics. And even at just under the five-minute mark, Roth makes the song feel like it is much longer. That is meant in the best way possible, too. As if these two songs aren’t enough, Roth closes out his new double-disc album just as epically as he opened it if not more so with the near twelve-minute opus ‘Fly To The Rainbow.’ From its gentle opening minutes, to its gradual crescendo into its soaring bridge, to its bombastic closing measures, this song is one of the highest of points on Scorpions Revisited. And together with both of the aforementioned songs, all three works serve to show exactly why Scorpions Revisited is a record that any Scorpions fan will appreciate just as much as any rock purist.

Uli Jon Roth’s new album Scorpions Revisited is an album that every Scorpions fan and every rock purist should hear at least once this year. That is because the re-workings serve as just as solid an introduction for those new to the veteran rock band as it is a re-introduction for those that have followed the band since its inception so long ago. This is proven right off the top with Roth’s take on ‘The Sails of Charon.’ The song opens in full, bombastic fashion with Roth and has fellow musicians absolutely exploding with energy before launching into the song’s Middle Eastern sound. It could be merely this critic’s own interpretation but at certain points throughout the song, it sounds like Roth is channeling Duke Ellington with a seeming take on Ellington’s ‘Caravan.’ Roth’s vocals are just as solid as his musicianship as he sings, “Dark night/There is no light/In the realm of the black magic man/Soul’s flight/Into the cold blight/Of the destroyer’s magic land/Poor man Whose spirits are stronger/They’re the ones who will reign/Your struggles are in vain.” Lyrically, the song comes across as a story of good triumphing over evil with the song equating the kingdom of evil to absolutely nothing and the good, bright side as the eternal victor. Such a positive story coupled with Roth’s musical update on the classic tune makes this take on the song its ow hit. It also serves as just one example of what makes Scorpions Revisited a welcome new record both for any Scorpions fan and for any rock purist.

Roth’s updated take of ‘The Sails of Charon’ is in itself a great addition to Scorpions Revisited regardless of listeners’ familiarity with the Scorpions’ body of work. Its message of good overcoming evil coupled with its upbeat musical side will keep any rock purist completely engaged throughout its nine minute-plus run time. Roth’s take on the bluesy ‘Sun in My Hand’ is just as certain to keep listeners engaged with its own mix of positive lyrics and infectious, bluesy riffs. Roth sings of the joys of music in this song against the backdrop of that bluesy sound, singing, “And when I touch the rain/Music will make you sane/Burn like you say ’em, oh…Look at the sun inside of my hand so bright/I call it music.” He comes across in the song’s central verses as if he is singing about those that worry about the little things in life, those that would complete with one another. He almost seems to question in his own way how people can let such things stay front and center in their minds when something as simple as music can bring such joy. It’s a really powerful message spoken in so few words. And used, again, alongside the song’s infectious bluesy riffs, it becomes another excellent example of what makes Scorpions Revisited a welcome record for any Scorpions fan and for any rock purist.

Uli Jon Roth’s updated takes on ‘Sun in my Hand’ and ‘The Sails of Charon’ are both impressive in their own right. And both serve in their own right as prime examples of why every Scorpions fan should hear this double-disc record just as much as any rock purist. While both songs are equally impressive in their own right, Roth’s take on the also classic ‘Fly to the Rainbow’ is the highest of points in this double-disc album. Its slow build from its gentle opening moments to its ethereal, almost Pink Floyd-inspired “B” section to the absolutely soaring closing moments of its “C” section paint a rich musical picture; a picture that coupled with the song’s rather intriguing lyrics makes for a fitting closer. Lyrically, the song comes across as a piece about someone who has lived a past life. This is interpreted with Roth singing in the song’s opening verse, “Life is empty/Can’t remember anytime before/On a plain lit cold December/See it evermore/Gliding through this life and another as a child/Ever doing games and losing things/Always playing games.” He sings of a subject that has lived somewhere else and some time else. He sings, “Somewhere in the blue distance/Are those long-forgotten trees of yore/A broken violin floatin’ alone in December/Darkness everywhere and nothing more.” He also sings of a subject that once saw the great, fabled city of Atlantis as it sank beneath the waves and much more. The pairing of such intriguing lyrics and equally deep musical content makes this piece the perfect closer to Scorpions Revisited and one more solid example of why every rock purist and Scorpions fan should hear this album.

All three of the songs noted here show in their own way just how enjoyable Uli Jon Roth’s new collection of Scorpions classics is. This is the case regardless of listeners’ familiarity with the veteran band’s body of work. They are also just a microscopic view of everything that makes this album a welcome listen for both the band’s long-time fans and for rock purists alike. Every one of the album’s nineteen total tracks exhibits its own positives. In hearing those positives, every listener will agree that Scorpions Revisited is an album that every rock purist and every Scorpions fan should have in his or her own personal music library. It is available now in stores and online. More information on this and other releases from Uli Jon Roth is available online now at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Uli-Jon-Roth/403059233077097. 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.