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.

2014 ROCK ON THE RANGE BAND LINEUP

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 http://www.RockOnTheRange.com.  Additional information and updates on this year’s festival is available online at http://www.facebook.com/rockontherange and http://twitter.com/rockontherange.  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.

ESTK’s Latest LP Could Be The Band’s Breakout Record

Courtesy:  Century Media Records

Courtesy: Century Media Records

Arizona based metalcore band Eyes Set to Kill released its latest full length album back in September.  Masks is not the band’s first album.  But it is the first for the band on its new home, Century Media Records.  And it is more proof of why Century Media has gradually become the rightful leading label in the rock community.  The band’s new album is so impressive because it actually stands out among the far too overcrowded metalcore field.  One listen through Masks reveals Eyes Set To Kill to present a sound that fuses elements of Lacuna Coil, Kittie, and even Evanescence to a lesser degree in terms of its sound.  Lyrically, the songs collected for this album come across as having come from a very personal place.  That mix of personal lyrics and equally powerful music make the band’s latest effort one that every member of the Metal Nation worldwide should hear at least once.

Masks is not the first album from Eyes Set To Kill.  But for those that might be new to this Arizona based band’s music, it is an excellent introduction.  Singer Alexia Rodriguez noted of the title to the band’s new album that it was the result of essentially feeling fake.  She said of dealing with certain people through the band’s history, ”I felt like we were wearing a bunch of masks to impress people. At one point, I had a bit of a revelation. We have gone through so many changes over the years, but it wasn’t about anybody else. It was about us – we’ve really found the band’s face at this point. We aren’t wearing masks anymore.”  She couldn’t be more right.  Her response to those people is made clear on this album’s opener/title track.  The song clocks in at less than two minutes.  In that short time, she throws no punches, singing, “I love the ways they tell us/This is who you should be/We put our faces on/Just like a mask/While they’re trying to make a fool out of me.”  Sadly, this is the case with so many record labels out there even today.  They are controlled by people that are more concerned with the bottom line than actually helping bands and artists develop their talent.  Her response is exactly what so many other bands have felt as far as memory serves.  Making the song even better is the fact that she didn’t just go the classless route and put any one person or label on blast.  She just made a blanket statement that still expressed what she and her band mates felt.  The manner in which the song starts off, eventually building to its peak makes the combination of music and lyrics hit even harder.

As short as it is, the title track from Eyes Set To Kill’s new album is a proper way to open the album.  It’s just one of the songs that listeners will find enjoyable.  Audiences that might be new to the music of Eyes Set To Kill will find that singer Alexis Rodriguez shares vocal duties with fellow band mate Cisko Miranda throughout the band’s new record.  The side-by-side of the two vocalists’ talents is certain to draw comparisons to certain other bands.  Yet the pairing still manages to help make the band’s music stand out at the same time.  One example of how the duo’s vocal pairing stands out comes early on in the album’s third track, ‘Lost and Forgotten.’  Miranda handles the song’s verses while he and Rodriguez share vocal duties in the song’s chorus.  Miranda exhibits quite the power in his vocals as he screams, “We are the scum of the Earth/The voice in the crowd/Of a thousand mouths/The ones who fight on/Because we’ll always fight on/Oh, we’ll never back down.”  That opening verse leaves no room for interpretation.  The song itself is a no nonsense, fist-pumping anthem much along the lines of Slipknot’s ‘Pulse of the Maggots’ or certain songs from Disturbed and other hard rock acts.  That is to say it is similar to those pieces in terms of its defiant lyrics.  It serves to carry on the long-standing tradition of hard rock bands flipping the proverbial bird to those that would look down their noses at the metal minions around the world.  For that fact alone, and for its equally impressive musical side, this song becomes another highlight to ESTK’s new album.

‘Lost and Forgotten’ is easily one of the best of the best from ESTK’s new record.  It should be emphasized here that it’s just one of the album’s highpoints.  There are so many songs from which listeners will find to call their favorite(s).  This critic will provide just one more song as another of that mass of high points offered in this record.  That song is ‘Infected.’  This song lyrically seems to come from a personal place, as with many of the album’s works.  Rodriguez sings on this song, “How does it feel on the outside/Looking inside/Till you feel rejected/I watch you to see what it looks like/On the inside/You’re the one infected.”  She goes on to sing with just as much anger, “Now/Now I feel ambitious/I’m giving away/Giving away your secrets/Just to watch you burn!”  This is a very telling verse.  There were obviously some hurt feelings by someone when these lines were written.  And set against the driving guitars and drums of her band mates, it would be no exaggeration to say that given the proper support, it could easily help to spread Eyes Set To Kill to the mainstream masses.  Those wanting to hear those other songs can do so now.  Masks is available in stores and online now.  It can be ordered direct from the Century Media Records store at http://www.cmdistro.com/Item/Eyes_Set_To_Kill_-_Masks_-PRE-ORDER-/46364?Aff=cus.  After ordering or buying the album, fans can find out about the band’s latest tour dates and news online at http://www.facebook.com/eyessettokill.  And 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.

One Of Filter’s Best Records “Comes Out” In Its New LP

Courtesy:  Wind-Up Records

Courtesy: Wind-Up Records

Filter’s first new record in three years is a solid release for the band.  Having undergone numerous lineup changes and seemingly almost as many label changes, this new record is a testament to the band’s ability to keep going and making music.  So many lesser bands would have already folded long before.  But Filter has taken the road less travelled and crafted what is arguably one of its best records to date in The Sun Comes Out Tonight.  The record largely keeps the energy flowing from start to finish, holding back only a small handful of times.  The times that the band holds back are so spread out that even when they do make themselves known, it luckily doesn’t take anything away from the rest of the album’s songs.

The energy starts flowing right from the album’s opener, ‘We Hate It When You Get What You Want.’  This slightly techno-infused song will take long-time audiences back to the days of the band’s 1995 debut record, Short Bus all while sounding quite a bit like Linkin Park.  There are those that might consider such a comparison to be musical heresy of sorts.  But if one hadn’t known that this was Filter, it would have been rather easy to think it was the latter of the two.  This isn’t such a bad thing though.  The song’s energy and front man Richard Patrick leads the onslaught, while drummer Jeff Friedl, guitarist Jonathan Radtke and bassist Phil Buckman come together to make a song that is a proper opener.  The drive of the guitar and drums make this song an obvious hit both on the record and in a live setting.  It would be easy to see any live audience taking in the song, fists high in the air, voices raised, singing along together.  Being that this is the first impression for the band since its last release three years ago, it is an excellent first impression for the band in its return.

The album’s next song, ‘What Do You Say’ takes over at the end of the LP’s opener and keeps the energy flowing at top level.  And just as with the album’s opener, it’s just as certain to have live audiences singing along and pumping their fists along as Patrick sings, “Hey, hey what do you say/It doesn’t really matter/Cause it’s all the same/Hey, hey what do you say/They’re just gonna blame us anyway.”  Lyrically, this song comes across in a slightly cryptic manner.  The really good thing about it though is that it isn’t just one of so many countless songs about one’s relationship issues.  And the equally powerful hooks and choruses make the song even better and another sure bet to be a fan hit.

The energy kicked up by the album’s first pair of songs pulls back just slightly in its third song, ‘Surprise.’  That pullback is only momentary, as the energy kicks back into high gear in the album’s rather electronica infused semi-title track, ‘What The Sun Come Out Tonight.’  And it doesn’t let up from there until the band gets just past its halfway mark in ‘First You Break It.’  Again, that reduced presence is only temporary as the band once again sheds its softer sound in favor of something with more kick in ‘Burn It’ and ‘Take That Knife Out Of My Back.’  By the time listeners reach the album’s final pair of songs, which is definitely the album’s calmest, they will be left almost breathless thanks to the musical rollercoaster on which they have been taken over the course of the album’s previous ten songs. By the time the last notes of ‘It’s Just You’ fade away, listeners will know that they have just experienced one more album that is more than deserving of being added to the ever growing list of the year’s best rock records.

Audiences will have the chance to experience the music from this brand new album as Filter will be hitting the road beginning next Thursday, April 18th in support of it.  The band will perform at the Black Sheep in Colorado Springs, CO that day.  Filter’s North Carolina based fans will also get the chance to experience the band’s new music live as the band will make not one but two stops in North Carolina on its tour.  The first of the band’s NC dates will be at the Red Hat Amphitheatre in Raleigh, North Carolina on Friday, May 31st.  The band’s second NC date is scheduled for Sunday, June 2nd at the Time Warner Cable Uptown Amphitheatre in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Fans can get a full listing of tour dates from the band’s Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/Filter.  Fans can also go to the band’s Facebook page to pre-order the album, which is due out June 4th.

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.

“Beneath The Scars” is 12 Stones’ best work yet

New Orleans, Louisiana based 12 Stones is likely one of the most underrated bands in modern mainstream music today.  Frontman Paul McCoy played a role in the debut hit from mega stars, Evanesence.  12 Stones also found a place on the soundtrack to the hit 2002 Dwayne Johnson movie, The Scorpion King.  And with three successful studio albums under its belt, one would think this band would be much more well known than it is.  With the release of its fourth full length studio, 12 Stones may have finally cemented its place in mainstream rock.

12 Stones’ new album, ‘Beneath the Scars’ is currently slated to be released May 29th via Texas-based Executive Music Group.  The band’s new album is the most rock solid (yes bad pun there) album that the band has released to date.  It opens with the hard rocking social commentary of ‘Infected.’  [Paul] McCoy sings on the album’s lead single, “I feel weak/I feel numb/Had enough/of this poison we’ve injected/living in this world infected.”  The song discusses how the state of things in the country and the world has really gone down.  He goes on to sing as part of the chorus, “Time is running out”, hinting that the world needs to change and soon.  It’s a statement that’s bold without being preachy.  Add in the guitar work of Eric Weaver, and the band has a great start to a great album.

The band hardly lets up after ‘Infected.’  From there, the band launches into the uplifting but equally rocking, ‘Bulletproof.’  This is one of those pieces that every listener will appreciate.  McCoy sings on this song, “The fight has made me stronger/I could never turn my back now/Don’t you point the finger/Your words no longer break me down/I’m finally taking over/The truth has surfaced all around/The days of going under/Have risen up and can’t be found.”  From there he breaks into the chorus singing, “love, hate, pride bottled up inside/let it go/gonna let it go!/I’m feeling superhuman/I’m invincible, I’m bulletproof/I’m on a revolution/I’m invincible, I’m bulletproof/Don’t you know I’m bulletproof?”  All said, it’s a great defiant, full throttle, adrenaline pumping anthem that tells would be bullies they won’t hold anyone down.  It’s the sort of anthem to which every listener can relate.

‘Bulletproof’ is only one of many positive songs on “Beneath the Scars.”  Listeners will also enjoy songs such as:  ‘That Changes Everything’, ‘I’m With You’, and ‘Only Human.’  These tracks add that much more enjoyment to the album.  They’re only part of what makes this album so enjoyable.  One of the biggest highlights is the explosive arena anthem, ‘Psycho.’  It’s one of those songs that will undoubtedly become a major hit of the band’s live shows.  Mccoy sings to audiences, “Join me if you dare/’cause we’re gonna leave the rest behind/I’m feelin’ so alive/losin’ all control/I can feel it in my soul/We can finally let it go/Everybody’s going psycho!”  Psycho here isn’t meant in a bad way.  McCoy is just saying he feels great and in turn, has so much positive energy.  It’s just a great positive arena rock anthem that will get any fan moving whether at home, at a party, or in the arena.  It would be no surprise if this song becomes one of the album’s many potential singles.  Any of the songs on this album could potentially be used as singles.  It is that well balanced both musically and lyrically. 

“Beneath The Scars” is 12 Stones’ best work to date.  The only deciding factor in how well this album does is whether or not it gets the support that it deserves from mainstream radio.  And that rests squarely on the shoulders of the programmers at the stations nationwide.  Regardless of whether or not said programmers give the album its deserved airplay, 12 Stones has made the wait worth it for its fans and audiences in general.

The band is currently out on tour, getting audiences pumped for the release of “Beneath The Scars.”  It’ll head through Broussard, Louisiana and Mobile, Alabama this weekend.  Next week sees the band resting up in preparation for its performance May 20th at the famed Rock on The Range Festival.  Fans in Syracuse, New York will get to see the band live on the 27th.  More dates are likely to be announced.  And fans who want to keep up with those potential dates can do so online at http://www.12stones.com, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/12stones and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/12stones.

The Darkness announce new album, tour

British rock band The Darkness is back with its third full length studio release.  It has announced that its new album, “Hot Cakes” will hit see a Summer release.  It is currently slated to hit stores August 21st.  The new album wil be released on Wind-Up records both in North and South America.  It will be released via PIAS throughout the rest of the world.

The band will also kick off its world tour to support the album beginning today in Australia.  The tour will take the band through a handful of dates down under before bringing the band stateside beginning May 18th.  The U.S. leg of the band’s tour will take it through eight cities.  It includes stops at the famed Rocklahoma Festival and the Rock on The Range Festival. 

Following its brief U.S. leg, The Darkness will head overseas with Lady Gaga for a twenty-six date tour of Europe.  To keep up with The Darkness as it prepares to span the globe, go online to http://www.theactualdarkness.com, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/thedarknessofficial, and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/TheDarkness.