‘Rock Believer’ Will Keep Audiences Believing In Scorpions

Courtesy: Spinefarm Records/Vertigo Records/UMe

A wait of more than seven years for new music from Scorpions officially ended Friday when the band released its new album, Rock Believer.  Released through Spinefarm Records and Vertigo Records (a subsidiary of Universal Music Group), the 16-song record is a presentation that the band’s established audiences and rock fans in general will agree is a mostly successful new offering from the band.  That is due in part to the album’s featured musical arrangements, which will be discussed shortly.  The album’s lyrical content adds to the album’s interest in its own way and will be discussed a little later.  The production rounds out the album’s most important elements and will also be examined later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation.  All things considered, they make Rock Believer a record that will keep audiences believing in Scorpions.

Rock Believer, the 19th (yes, 19th) new album from veteran rock act Scorpions, is a presentation that audiences will agree is mostly successful.  That is proven in part through its featured musical arrangements.  The arrangements are of note because for the most part, they continue to present the hard rock sound that first made the band a hit back in the 80s.  At the same time, the stylistic approach that the band took in each arrangement also clearly exhibits the band’s ability to evolve with the times while still staying true to its musical roots.  Case in point is the arrangement featured in the late entry, ‘Shoot For Your Heart.’  The production, which will be discussed later, comes fully into play here.  The band’s 80s rock sensibility is here.  That is fully evident.  At the same time, there is a certain edge to the arrangement that fits just as well into today’s rock community as it would into the scene back in the 80s.  It makes for its own interesting presentation.

On another hand, the blues-based rock sound of the album’s opener, ‘Gas in the Tank’ is another example of that ability of the band to so expertly balance elements of old and new.  The choruses in this song and even portions of the verses display plenty of classic rock sounds.  At the same time, the aforementioned edge that the band incorporated into so much of the album is just as much on display here.  It ensures the song (and album) will appeal to a wide range of audiences.  In turn, it keeps the band just as relevant today as it was in its early days.

‘Peacemaker,’ the album’s lead single, is yet another example of how the band has continued to evolve while maintaining its identity.  The hard rock approach taken here (which is very bass heavy) would fit perfectly into any modern, active rock radio programmer’s play list.  The heaviness and related depth to the instrumentation and its sound shows the band can still hold its own alongside any of today’s veteran and young, new acts.  When it is considered along with the other arrangements examined here and with the rest of the album’s arrangements, the whole of that content shows fully why this album’s musical arrangements make it worth hearing.  They are just part of what makes the record successful.  The album’s lyrical content makes for its own share of interest.

The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical content are important because of their accessibility.  From start to end, the album’s lyrical content touches on a wide range of topics, all of which will find appeal.  Right from the album’s outset, the band presents a positive message that perhaps is reflective of the uncertainty that the band went through following the release of its then latest album, Return to Forever, and the tour that followed.  The clear declaration in the song’s chorus, “Let’s play it louder/Play it hard/Laid back and a little dark/Give me a dirty riff, my friend/There’s gotta be more gas in the tank” does well to lead to such inference.  The additional mentions of hammer riffs and that “best friends will never part” continues to infer the noted theme.  It all collectively comes across as a first statement to audiences that even with what it went through after celebrating its 50th anniversary, is still going strong.  On a deeper level, that overt sense of determination inferred through this content could encourage others who might be going through tough times to push on through in their own situations.  To that end, it makes this song just one example of what makes the album’s lyrical content so important to the record’s presentation.

‘Call Of The Wild’ is yet another example of the importance of the album’s lyrical content.  In the case of this song, it is sung from the standpoint of a man trying to get a woman to stay with him.  This is clear right from the song’s outset as the lead verse states, “Hear the call of the wild, girl/I wanna spend the night, yeah/Right by your side.”  The attempt to win the woman over continues later in the statement, “Getting lost in the jungle, babe/In the shade of the night/You’ve got the funky rhythm, girl/I’ve got the rocking drive.”  It is pretty obvious what is happening here.  The man is trying to tell the woman how well they “move” together.  This is more of that attempt to flirt so to speak and get her to stay with him.  The bluesy approach taken to the song’s musical arrangement adds even more to the engagement that these lyrics (and the topic) ensure.  Overall, it is one more example of why the record’s lyrical content is so important to the album’s presentation.

‘When Tomorrow Comes’ is yet another example of the importance of the album’s lyrical themes.  In the case of this song, the band has opted to go socially conscious.  This is made clear as front man Klaus Meine states in his spoken word style approach, “Good morning, world/How do you feel/Sometimes I think you’re gonna stop turning ‘round/Who’s to blame but us/When half the planet caught on fire/And one more spark seems enough/To burn it down/Good morning, world/How do you feel/You look so sad/The clock is ticking/And precious time will fade away/Oh, the cyber war/A dirty ocean/The climate change/When tomorrow comes/We’ll pay the price.”  The song’s chorus adds even more to the clarity in the message as Meine and his band mates sing, “See the writing on the wall (The future calls)/Can I trust fate anymore (The world is yours)/Young is old and old is young (You are the ones)/Call me when tomorrow comes (When tomorrow comes).”  This is a familiar way to address a familiar topic.  In other words, it is fully accessible and shows even more, the diversity in the album’s lyrical content.  It also shows the depth of the record’s lyrical content.  When this is considered along with the themes in the other songs examined here and with that of the rest of the album’s songs, the whole makes clear, the importance of the album’s lyrical content. 

The musical and lyrical content that makes up the body of Rock Believer obviously does plenty to make the album worth hearing.  They are just part of what makes the album successful.  The album’s production puts the finishing touch to the presentation.  The production is important to note because of its impact on the album’s general effect.  From start to end, the production ensures that no one part of the songs’ instrumentations overpowers the others.  At the same time, it ensures that the band’s ability to balance its vintage rock sound with more modern influences cuts through just as clearly.  What’s more, the vocals are just as well balanced with the instrumentations, topping off the positive impact of the production.  All things considered here, the album’s production does just as much to make it engaging and entertaining as the album’s content.  To that end, all of the album’s noted elements make it an easy candidate for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new rock albums so far this year.

Rock Believer, the latest album from Scorpions, is a positive new offering from the veteran rock band.  That is proven in part through its featured musical arrangements.  The arrangements continue to exhibit the band’s familiar vintage 80s hard rock leanings while also displaying the band’s ability to evolve and adapt to the current rock scene without losing anything in either end along the way.  The lyrical themes featured throughout the album add their own appeal to the presentation.  That is because of their diversity and accessibility.  The record’s production puts the finishing touch to the presentation, ensuring its general effect is just as positive as its content.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album.  All things considered, they make Rock Believer a record in which Scorpions’ established audiences and rock fans in general will believe.

Rock Believer is available now.  More information on the album is available along with all of Scorpions’ latest news at:

Website: https://the-scorpions.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Scorpions

Twitter: https://twitter.com/scorpions

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Black Sabbath Live Is 2013’s Last Great Live Recording

Courtesy:  Universal Republic/Vertigo Records

Courtesy: Universal Republic/Vertigo Records

It’s getting ever more expensive to attend a live concert nowadays.  The cost of a pair of tickets alone can run a person well over a hundred dollars.  Factor in the cost of gas, food, souvenirs, and potentially even lodging, and a person can spend quite a bit on just one concert.  The cost of tickets alone is about to go up even more in 2014 for residents of one state thanks to a new tax law that will go into effect in 2014.  Taking all of this into account, it becomes increasingly wise to just pick up a live recording of one’s favorite band, musician, or musical group.  The question is which live releases are well worth the one-time cost for audiences that would rather save some money while enjoying a great concert?  One recommendation is Black Sabbath’s new live Blu-ray and DVD, Black Sabbath Live..Gathered in their Masses.  The first live recording from the band in many years, this live concert recording is one of the best live recordings of 2013. It is so worthwhile first and foremost because of its set list.  The show’s set list more than lives up to the oft-used term, career-spanning.  Just as important to note in this concert is the band’s very performance.  While one band member is noticeably absent, he is replaced quite effectively by another individual.  And his frenetic energy combined with that of the remaining original members exudes something almost magical.  Last but not least important to consider in this concert is the audio and video mix.  Both the audio and video are expertly mixed.  The camera crews take viewers up close with the band throughout the near two-hour concert.  It only adds to that magical sense, completing the overall presentation and making this new recording one that fans both of Black Sabbath and hard rock in general will enjoy time and again.

The term “career-defining” is far too often tossed around for live performances.  Far too many of those recordings are in fact anything but career defining.  In the case of Black Sabbath though, that term is more than deserved.  The band includes nearly every one of the hits that have continued to make it the paramount band that it has remained for decades despite being inactive just as long.  ‘War Pig’s’ opens the show as are the equally beloved ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Black Sabbath.’  It’s all bookended by another massive hit in ‘Paranoid.’  Those that are hoping for something more recent get that, too in the form of ‘Methademic’, ‘End of the Beginning’ and ‘God Is Dead?’  These songs comprise just part of the band’s extensive set list.  There are plenty more songs included in this show that play into its success.  Audiences will each have their favorites when they pick up the new recording for themselves on Blu-ray and DVD.

The set list chosen for this concert is part of the heart of the concert’s success.  Just as important to the success of the recording is the band’s onstage presence.  It’s incredible to think how many years had passed since Ozzy, Geezer, and Tony had performed together under the Black Sabbath moniker.  Drummer Bill Ward was not on hand.  Allegedly there are some hurt feelings between him and his now former band mates for some reason.  That’s not what’s important here, though.  Tommy Clufetos, who records and tours with Ozzy’s own band, handles drum duties on this concert.  And he more than handles his appointed duties, too.  He plays with the same intensity of a young John Bonham.  That’s evident both in the case of his work with the rest of the band and on his solos.  The rest of the band seems to feed off of Clufetos’ energy, too.  That energy is evident throughout the band’s performance, too.  The band may be years older, but they definitely got their audience just as energetic and excited.  Home viewers will feel it, too.  And that’s just one more aspect of this recording that makes it one of the year’s best.

The set list and stage presence of Ozzy and company are both extremely important in the overall enjoyment of Black Sabbath’s new live recording.  There is still one more factor to consider in examining this recording.  That factor is the recording’s combined audio and video mix.  The audio and video mix of any live recording is its foundation.  Far too often, people take this factor for granted.  But there are those recordings that suffer in these areas because of someone that is either inexperienced or simply doesn’t care to do their job the right way. Luckily for Black Sabbath fans, that isn’t the case here.  The video and audio were both expertly mixed.  Even as large as the venue was, the audio is crisp and clear.  The same can be said for the video mix.  It works with the set list and the band’s overall stage show to make Black Sabbath Live…Gathered in Their Masses a recording that is just as worth the money as going to see Black Sabbath live if not more so.  It is available now in stores and online.

More information on Black Sabbath and its tour schedule is available online at http://www.facebook.com/BlackSabbath and http://www.blacksabbath.com.  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.

Black Sabbath Members To Make Special Appearance At Grammy Museum

Courtesy:  Universal Republic Records

Courtesy: Universal Republic Records

Black Sabbath founding members Ozzy Osbourne and Geezer Butler are set to make a special appearance at the Los Angeles’ Grammy Museum next month.  The special appearance is part of a promotional tour supporting the release of the band’s new live DVD, Black Sabbath Live…Gathered In Their Masses

Ozzy and Geezer will take part in a Q&A session and special early screening of the band’s new live DVD during its appearance.  The whole thing will be held at the museum’s Clive Davis Theater.  During the Q&A session, Ozzy and Geezer will share with fans their thoughts on the band’s reunion, a #1 album in 13 and the band’s hugely successful world tour among other topics.  More information on the event is available online at http://www.grammymuseum.org.

Black Sabbath Live…Gathered In Their Masses will be available on Tuesday, November 25th.  It will be available on DVD, Blu-ray, combo pack, and deluxe box set.  The concert presented in the upcoming release was recorded April 29th and May 1st in Melbourne, Australia as the band kicked off its world tour in support of 13.  The band is currently on the road, touring across South America and Mexico.  Once that leg is done, the band will head overseas to tour Europe in November and December.  A full listing of the band’s current tour dates and more is available online at http://www.blacksabbath.com, http://www.facebook.com/BlackSabbath, and http://twitter.com/OfficialSabbath.    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.

Black Sabbath Announces Title, Release Date For New Live DVD

Courtesy:  Vertigo/Republic Records

Courtesy: Vertigo/Republic Records

Black Sabbath has officially announced that it will release a brand new live DVD this Fall.  The band, which just finished off the American leg of its worldwide tour, will release its new live DVD, titled Black Sabbath: LiveGathered in their Masses on November 26th,.  It will be released via Vertigo/Republic Records.  The performance contained on the new live DVD was recorded between April 29th and May 1st, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia.

Having wrapped up the American leg of its tour, Black Sabbath is set to make its way to South American next.  The South American and Mexican leg of the band’s tour kicks off Friday, October 4th in Santiago, Chile.  After wrapping its South American and Mexican tour, the band is expected to make its way across Europe through November and December.  A full listing of the band’s upcoming tour dates is available online at http://www.facebook.com/BlackSabbath, http://www.blacksabbath.com, and http://twitter.comOfficialSabbath.

The band’s new release, 13, debuted at #1 in thirteen countries.  That includes the United States.  The album’s #1 debut marks the very first #1 in the U.S.

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Black Sabbath Prepping First new LP In Nearly Thirty-Five Years

Courtesy:  Vertigo/Republic Records/MSO PR

Courtesy: Vertigo/Republic Records/MSO PR

One of the most legendary of metal’s bands is coming back.  The one and only Black Sabbath will release its brand new album titled, 13 in June.  Currently, the album has no definite release date.  However, it is known that original members Ozzy Osbourne, Tommy Iommi, and Geezer Butler will all be back for this record.  Drummer Bill Ward has been replaced on the album by Rage Against The Machine’s Brad Wilk.  The album was produced by iconic producer Rick Rubin.  It will be released worldwide on the band’s original label, Vertigo and on Vertigo/Republic in the United States.  The upcoming release will be the first for the band in nearly thirty-five years.

In celebration of the brand new upcoming album, Black Sabbath will embark on a European tour in support of the LP beginning Saturday, April 20th in Auckland, New Zealand.  The tour currently takes the band through May 12th at the upcoming Ozzfest Japan in Tokyo.  More tour dates are expected.  To keep up with all of the latest tour dates and news from Black Sabbath, fans can follow the band online at http://www.blacksabbath.com, http://www.facebook.com/BlackSabbath, http://twitter.com/OfficialSabbath, and http://instagram.com/officialsabbath.

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