TesseracT Claims Top Honors In Phil’s Picks’ 2018 Top 10 New Hard Rock & Metal Albums List

Courtesy: Kscope records

This year has been a truly productive time for the metal community.  Veteran acts, up-and-comers and even the underground have produced offerings that have given the metal masses more than enough reason to put their horns in the air all year long.  The most notable acts who have released standout albums this year include, and are not limited to  from All Hail The Yeti, Judas Priest and Artillery just to name a few bands.

Keeping this in mind, rock and metal critics the world over will have to agree that developing a list of the year’s top new hard rock and metal offerings was a monumental task.  That was especially the case for this critic.  This critic’s list of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums features new albums from bands from both sides of the Atlantic and from the mainstream and the underground.

Taking the top spot in this year’s list from Phil’s Picks is none other than the British prog-metal outfit TesseracT, Sonder.  The band’s latest offering is both musically and lyrically a truly in-depth offering that holds its own in the metal community and the prog community.

Second place this year goes to Florida’s own Nonpoint.  The band’s aptly-titled is a powerhouse offering from the veteran hard rock band that shows Nonpoint as a band at the top of its game both musically and lyrically.

Judas Priest takes the bronze this year with its new album Firepower.  This one was not an easy choice to make, as Nonpoint, Judas Priest and TesseracT are all outstanding bands in their own right.  Firepower harkens back to some of Judas Priest’s best work from days long gone, and is such a welcome album.  With lyrics that pay tribute to the military, that make a bold statement of standing up for one’s self and more, it is that much stronger, so it was not with ease that the album ended up in third.

Also featured in this year’s list are new albums from Artillery, All Hail The Yeti and Soulfly just to name a few more. As always, the top 10 albums are the main list while the five that follow are all honorable mention titles.  With all of this in mind, here is Phil’s Picks 2018 Top 10 New Hard Rock and Metal Albums.


  1. TesseracT — Sonder
  2. Nonpoint — X
  3. Judas Priest — Firepower
  4. Between The Buried and Me — Automata
  5. Soulfly — Ritual
  6. Sevendust — All I See Is War
  7. All Hail The Yeti — Highway Crosses
  8. Exmortus — The Sound of Steel
  9. Artillery — The Face of Fear
  10. The Amsterdam Red Light District — Sapere Aude
  11. Ice Nine Kills — The Silver Scream
  12. Black Label Society — Grimmest Hits
  13. Unearth — Extinction(s)
  14. Atreyu — In Our Wake
  15. Zardonic — Become

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.

Alvarez’s Latest Zardonic LP Is Sure To “Become” A Favorite Among EDM Metal Fans Alike

Courtesy: eOne

World-renowned producer Federico Agreda Alvarez, aka Zardonic, released his latest full-length studio recording Become late last month via eOne.  The album, his ninth full-length studio recording, comes three years after the release of his most recent recording, 2015’s Antihero.  The record’s musical arrangements, which boast a solid mix of dubstep and industrial metal creates a sound that will appeal to fans of Ministry, Gravity Kills, The Prodigy and other similar acts.  Its lyrical content adds just as much interest to the record as its musical content, with its engaging themes.  Keeping in mind the lyrical and musical content presented throughout, ‘Children of Tomorrow’ proves to be one of the album’s most powerful entries.  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Takeover’ is another notable addition to the album, and will be discussed a little bit later.  ‘Follow The Light’ is yet another of Become’s most notable entries.  Between these songs and the eight others that round out the rest of the album, the 11-song album in whole proves to be a surprisingly enjoyable effort for those unfamiliar with Alvarez’s work and just as enjoyable for his more seasoned audiences.

Zardonic’s new studio album Become is a powerful new offering from the Venezuelan producer/DJ/keyboardist that will appeal just as much to his seasoned audiences as his new fans.  That is due to the combination of the record’s powerhouse musical arrangements and its equally engaging lyrical themes.  ‘Children of Tomorrow’ is one of the most notable examples of how that joining of elements makes Become a strong new offering from Zardonic, aka Federico Agreda Alvarez.  This is proven in part through the song’s musical arrangement, which is a heavy, driving composition.  The brooding, contemplative vibe makes it even more impacting.  In the same breath, that engaging vibe is a good accent for the song’s equally brooding, contemplative lyrical theme, which focuses on those people who have and do stand against oppression.  As Alvarez pointed out in an interview, “ ‘Children of Tomorrow’ is an anthem for the resistance; for the people who have raised their voice as the system continues to oppress us.Many sadly took this fight to the streets and violence, leading eventually to riots and their death. This is our homage to them.”  As the song’s lead verse states, “Got a heart full of sorrow for the children of tomorrow/Fire in the sky/Beg, steal, kill or borrow/Their purpose is worthless/their days numbered/Can’t take the heat/Watch it rise to the surface/Death or dishonor/Grab the dog by its collar/Dog eat dog, let us fight over dollars/They don’t know/They will never ever show what we go through/Red lights on/Won’t stop until you do.”

The second verse illustrates that message just as much, stating, “We’re not safe/devastate when they legislate/Designate hate/Take the food off your plate/And the clothes off your back/We’re under attack/We’re under attack/Gear up/Rise up/Put on your gas mask/Take that Molotov/Blast counter attack/This is streetside manpower fighting back.”  The song’s chorus is just as direct in its message, following the wording in the verses closely.  What listeners get overall is a song that is not just another protest song or even just another industrial or Electronic Dance Music (EDM) work.  It is a work that sets a solid hybrid EDM/Industrial metal arrangement alongside a tribute to those who have fought against corrupt powers in Venezuela for a work that could just as easily inspire those fighting against corruption around the world.  Simply put, it is entertaining and inspiring all in one, and in turn, clearly one of Become’s most powerful entries.  Of course it is just one of the album’s most notable additions.  ‘Takeover’ is another of the album’s most notable compositions.

‘Takeover’ is its own important work because it bears its own identity separate from the rest of the songs included in Become.  This song, composed along with the work of the Qemists, does boast that noted familiar feel in its arrangement.  What is truly interesting here though, is that along with the clear influences from Nine Inch Nails and Ministry, Celldweller’s influence can be heard, too.  The joining of those influences makes this arrangement another powerhouse presentation that will definitely appeal to a wide range of listeners.  That hard-driving arrangement is only one part of what makes the song so worth noting.  Its lyrical content plays into its importance, too.  Alvarez pointed out in his interview about the album that the song, musically and lyrically is a tribute to Zardonic’s forefathers.  He said, “Takeover’ is a reminder to the world that before EDM and rock/metal became the trend it is today, we were pursuing this sound since 2004, and there were also many before us all the way back to the 60s…We pay homage to the great artists before us, those who made it big, those unsung – Pendulum, The Prodigy, Celldweller, Ministry, Linkin Park, and all other great artists that contributed to bring electronic-fused rock to the mainstream, and as the scene takes shape, you better be ready to brace for ‘Takeover!”

That tribute is clear in the song’s lyrics.  The song’s lead verse reads, “Oh, we’ve been doing this since the dark ages/With fast paces/Takin’ rock and metal/Throwin’ drum and bass in/And this one goes out to the cell dwellers/Who stood alone/metronome full force to the trendsetters/Rock the people/Rush the stage/keepin’ bodies movin’, yeah/But melting the face/Crushin’ the metal/Punchin’ the bass/Rockin’ the place as you brace for takeover.”  The tribute continues in the song’s chorus, reminding listeners to “be ready for takeover.”  It’s a message that the biggest and best is yet to come, and is sent defiantly and proudly, too.  That pride and positivity in the song’s message couples with the equally upbeat and infectious nature of the song’s arrangement to make it another standout addition to ‘Takeover.’  The end result is a song that clearly proves why it is another of Become’s most notable works.  It is not the last of the album’s most notable compositions, either.  ‘Follow The Light’ is one more of the record’s most notable works.

‘Follow The Light’ stands out in part because unlike the arrangements presented in the previously discussed songs, this song comes across as the most EDM-centered arrangement.  Yes, the industrial metal influences are there once again, but this time, they seem present more in a supporting sense, while the EDM elements take more of a center stage.  What really make the arrangement stand out is its sense of urgency, which makes the little lyrical content in the song more relatable.  The one real line of lyrics states simply, “We reunite as the worlds collide/Fear is an illusion/We are your salvation/By eventide our journey begins/So heed the call and follow the light.”  As Alvarez noted of that content, “The worlds collide is a perfect analogy to our manipulated society.  It pains me to see this, because I see the results of it in every aspect of our lives.  How through fear, people are led to create enemies out of fellow humans, and are capable of the worst atrocities against them.”  He goes on to note that because of the negativity and hate filling the world, he follows the light “that lets me see the with real eyes, what is going on once you look at the bigger picture.”  He is saying that people in general need to see that light and stop the evil and hate filling the world, thus that noted seeming urgency in the song’s arrangement.  That urgency and the urgency evoked through the song’s growing tension drives the message home even more.  When one takes all of this into consideration, the whole of the song proves even more important and notable.  When it is joined with the other songs discussed here and the rest of the album’s works, the end result is an album that is not just another EDM/Industrial presentation, but a work that combines those elements in a unique fashion while also presenting some equally engaging lyrical themes.  The combination of that engagement and entertainment makes the album in whole a presentation that is sure to impress Zardonic’s fans new and old alike.

Multi-talented producer/keyboardist/DJ Zardonic, aka Federico Agreda Alvarez’s latest full-length studio recording Become is a powerful new offering from the veteran composer, producer and performer.  It is a work that is certain to have a wide-ranging appeal.  That is proven in part through arrangements that solidly balance Alvarez’s EDM influences with his more rock and metal influences from one song to the next.  That in itself guarantees listeners’ sustained engagement and entertainment.  The record’s wide range of lyrical themes is sure to keep listeners engaged.  This is just as clear from start to end.  When all of this is considered in examining the album in whole, the record proves to be a solid new offering from Zardonic, and easily one of the year’s best new industrial and EDM offerings.  It is available now via eOne.  More information on Become is available online now along with all of Alvarez’s latest news and more at:




Website: http://www.zardonic.net

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/zardonic




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.

Corroded Releases ‘Defcon Zero’ Re-Mix; Announces New Live Dates

Courtesy: Despotz Records

Corroded has gotten the re-mix treatment.

The Swedish metal outfit’s latest album, 2017’s Defcon Zero has been re-mixed by Venezuelan producer/DJ Zardonic.  While the re-mix album’s release date has not yet been announced, the band is giving audiences the very first glimpse into the record with the re-mix of the album’s title track, which is streaming online now here.  The song can be purchased online now via iTunes.

The band said in a recent interview of the remix that it was excited about the new creation.

“We’ve been totally up for the idea of hearing a remix to one of our songs,” the band said in a collective statement.  “Zardonic came up with this brutal mix of all songs from the album and we all loved it after listening to it the first time. You still feel and hear the heart of CORRODED beating in this remix but Zardonic put it with his ideas onto another level. Great job.“

Zardonic said he was just as excited to work on the song as the band was to have it re-mixed.

“Putting this remix together was quite the challenge because unfortunately, I couldn’t count with the separate instruments as I usually do, but I decided to do what I did back in my early years and treat it like a bootleg, but with a bit more of what I’ve learned recently,” Zardonic said.  “I let my head run free creatively and literally wrote all the ideas as they were coming to me. You get sick of the same sounding dance music structure after you’ve done it forever, you know? So this is something truly special I put my heart and soul into, even did my own vocals which is something I don’t normally do in remixes, but Corroded is just too fucking badass and inspiring and it put my head in the right place to put together this monstrosity. You can call it a remix if you will. I call it an extreme dance music tribute to good fucking metal. Respect!”

Courtesy: Despotz Records

In anticipation of the album’s eventual release, the band has announced a series of new live European dates beginning Feb. 14 in Stockholm, Sweden.  The tour currently runs through March 2 in Nuremburg, Germany.  The current schedule is noted below.

2/14 – Stockholm, Sweden – Debaser Hornstulls Strand Bar Brooklyn och Calexio’s
2/15 – Gothenburg, Sweden – Sticky Fingers
2/16 – Copenhagen, Denmark – Pumpehuset
2/24 – Paris, France – Le Backstage by the Mill
2/26 – Zurich, Switzerland – Dynamo 21
2/27 – Munich, Germany – Backstage
2/28 – Wien, Austria – Chelsea
3/02 – Nuernberg, Germany – Z-Bau

More information on Corroded’s new single is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:\


Website: http://www.corroded.se

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/corrodedsweden


More information on Zardonic is available online now at:


Website: http://www.zardonic.net

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/djzardonic


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.