Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Hump Day Hot Ticket: Seventh Wonder “The Promise”

Band photo

If you are a regular reader here, you might recall a couple of years ago I wrote a blog entry naming some bands and artists I hadn't heard from in a long time, that I would like to hear some new music from again. One of those bands was the Swedish progressive-metal band Seventh Wonder; who have been around for well over a decade, but who have gained a lot of recognition over the past several years ever since their vocalist Tommy Karevik took over frontman duties for the band Kamelot in 2012. Admittedly, this is also how I became aware of Seventh Wonder as well, but I also must confess that as much as I love Kamelot, I really enjoy Seventh Wonder's music too, and have wanted to hear more music from them. (Would it be wrong for me to admit that I actually would prefer a new Seventh Wonder album to a new Kamelot album right now?)

Because of Tommy's divided commitment between two bands, new music from Seventh Wonder has been slow to come, but the band has hardly been resting on their laurels! For the past couple of years, their main focus was their one-time performance in 2014 of their concept album Mercy Falls, at Atlanta's yearly festival for progressive and power-metal music, ProgPower (rehearsing for more than a year prior to the concert, and then putting the DVD footage together afterwards). This special concert would be filmed for a future DVD release, and a new song, “Inner Enemy”, was released shortly before the show to give fans something to look forward to. The wait was long, but 2 years after the concert in Atlanta, the DVD saw the light of day, and fans would finally get a proper release of “Inner Enemy” as a bonus track on the live CD for the live album, Welcome to Atlanta.

Not only that, but an entirely new song would be included on the live album: a 10-minute track called “The Promise”, which sounded like a perfect blend of the band's 3 albums with Karevik. It did not disappoint, and for many fans it was not only well worth the wait, but it was a great indication of what they could come to expect musically from Seventh Wonder once their long-awaited follow-up to 2010's The Great Escape was released (at the time of this writing, a new album is tentatively scheduled for sometime in 2017).

The positive feedback for the song prompted the band to create a lyric video, which you will see here. The design is fairly simplistic; not too much distraction to take away from the intensity of the music. The band's recognizable “SW” logo is shown in flames, and still photographs from the Welcome to Atlanta DVD are shown during the instrumental breaks. It's all the intricate progressive perfection you have come to expect from Seventh Wonder, and quite a good tide-over until a proper full-length album sees the light of day.

For more information, visit the band's official website. To purchase the Welcome to Atlanta DVD, visit

Special thanks to Jon Freeman at Frontiers Records.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Hump Day Hot Ticket: Secret Rule “I Have the Sun”

Photo courtesy of MCCN Photography

It's been a couple months since I last wrote about the Italian symphonic/gothic metal band Secret Rule, but they have a new video out and I really like their music so I feel inclined to write about them again.

If you read my last review of the band's previous video, then you already know that Secret Rule features an impressive guest list consisting of some of the biggest names in symphonic metal, from Delain to Within Temptation; proving that this band has the chops to become among the next breakout stars on the scene.

In the video for “I Have the Sun”, the concept is somewhat similar to the videos for Lacuna Coil's Delirium album, and the song has a bit of a Lacuna Coil feel to it as well: a blend of gothic and hard rock, yet with a little upbeat pop thrown in as well. A lot of “insane asylum” imagery: straitjackets, pale faces with dark, smudged eye makeup and blood-red lips and words scrawled across the wall. The band is also seen jamming in a dimly-lit room with clocks and photographs on the walls.

Secret Rule's latest album, Machination, is now available through Scarlet Records. For more information on Secret Rule, visit their official Facebook page.

Special thanks to Angela Di Vincenzo.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Hump Day Hot Ticket: Corners of Sanctuary “Hyde no More”

Band photo

Now that October is well under way, that means the Halloween season is in full swing; so I might as well share a video that will get us all in the spirit of the occasion. In the search for a video that invokes spooky imagery, I came across this week's pick from Philadelphia's own Corners of Sanctuary. Known more for brotherly love and for the fictional character of Rocky Balboa; Philadelphia doesn't exactly bring to mind anything “spooky” or “scary”; but it is known for a lot of kick-ass music, so it comes as no surprise to me that this band is continuing to live up to the city's reputation for producing top-quality musical talent.

While the band describes themselves as “the New Wave of American Heavy Metal”, Corners of Sanctuary sounds to me like an awesome blend of stoner rock fuzzy guitars, coupled with the high, over-the-top vocal stylings of power metal. Their video for the track “Hyde no More” is just perfect for your Halloween playlist: it's filmed like an old-time horror movie from the ’20 or ’30s, though I can't be exactly sure if these are actual clips from classic films or if this is the band taking creative license by paying homage to those types of movies in their own way. The band is rocking out in a forested area, while we watch the video's storyline of a mild-mannered scientist turning into a monster with a penchant for ravishing the ladies. This is a slow, heavy, groove-laden track sure to please fans of Black Sabbath, with enough high-potency vocal power that is reminiscent of bands such as Grim Reaper. It's got something for everyone, and it's certainly something to get you in the Halloween frame of mind!

For more information on Corners of Sanctuary, visit their official website.

Special thanks to Benjamin at Lords of PR.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Hump Day Hot Ticket: Grim Reaper “Walking in the Shadows”

Steve Grimmett's Grim Reaper

So today is not only Wednesday (meaning it's time for another Hump Day Hot Ticket), but today is also my birthday! Naturally, I would like to choose a very special band to commemorate my special day, so I am both pleased and honored to review this week the brand-new video from Grim Reaper, a band who has been going strong since the ’80s, and a band whose music I have enjoyed for a long time.

Some of you younger readers (“younger”, in this case, meaning anyone in their early ’30s or so) probably best know Grim Reaper (or have even heard of Grim Reaper at all) from being the punchline to many jokes on the early ’90s animated MTV show Beavis and Butt-Head, where the titular characters mercilessly teased the band for their ’80s fashion and seemingly outdated music videos. In spite of being self-proclaimed metalheads, clearly Beavis and Butt-Head were not savvy enough to recognize the band's talent; however, it is common knowledge that the show's creator, Mike Judge, is a huge Grim Reaper fan; thus, the reason they even got mentioned on the show in the first place.

When it comes to the recognition his band receives to this day from the show, Grim Reaper frontman Steve Grimmett has a great sense of humor about it; sharing clips from the classic show every now and then on his social media sites. No doubt he recognizes that those few minutes of parody was a far better promotional tool for the band than anything else, and people still continue to associate the show with the band. Anyone who cares to listen past the jokes and actually pay attention to the music can hear for themselves that Grim Reaper, despite proclamations to the contrary, does indeed kick ass. Steve's glass-shattering vocals is Grim Reaper's trademark; the one thing that instantly identifies the band to listeners, and over 30 years later, Steve's killer voice is still rocking us to Hell.

In fact, Grim Reaper is one of the many classic metal bands still making new music and still rocking as hard as ever. The band's new video for “Walking in the Shadows”—the title track of the band's latest album—is an anthemic, hard-rockin', feel-good song that makes you want to bang your head and turn the volume up as far as it can go. Vocally, Steve's still got the chops to rock your face off, and he does!

The video is pretty straightforward: the band jams in a dim, smoky room, along with some shots of Steve standing near a brick wall. There are also clips of a figure in a black, hooded cloak—perhaps an acolyte or warlock of some kind—perusing through a very old book, as glass potion bottles (one of them shaped like a skull) sit on a wooden table nearby, as he mixes up some sort of concoction. Of course, the band's namesake makes a brief appearance here too!

For more information on Grim Reaper, visit the band's official website. North American tour begins on October 6th in Las Vegas, NV. Walking in the Shadows now available in stores and online.

Special thanks to Steve Grimmett for allowing me to review this video. What an awesome birthday gift for me, to be able to feature a band I consider legendary, on my little blog!