ACE FREHLEY RELEASES NEW ALBUM ORIGINS VOL. 2 VIA ENTERTAINMENT ONE

FEATURING JOHN 5, LITA FORD, BRUCE KULICK,
ROBIN ZANDER & MORE

Founding KISS guitarist and Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame member Ace Frehley released his highly-anticipated second collection of eleven rock ‘n’ roll covers, titled Origins Vol. 2, today via Entertainment One (eOne). The record acts as the sequel to Frehley’s 2016 album Origins Vol. 1 and continues his reflections on a lifetime in music and inspiration.

Frehley is joined by friends on guest appearances, such as Robin Zander of Cheap Trick, former KISS comrade Bruce Kulick, John 5, and Lita Ford. Frehley and company tackle high energy versions of deep cuts and classics by Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, and other musical touchstones of rock.

No stranger to cover versions throughout his musical history — having recorded, rebranded, and repossessed such notable nuggets as “New York Groove,” “Do Ya” and “I Wanna Go Back” throughout his eight previous studio efforts — this new collection presents a thoughtful and exciting selection of songs that inspired and helped shape the legendary guitarist.

ACE FREHLEY ANNOUNCES ORIGINS VOL. 2 DETAILS, EXTENDS ALBUM DEAL WITH ENTERTAINMENT ONE

“SPACE TRUCKIN’” OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO AND TRACK OUT NOW

PRE ORDERS AVAILABLE TODAY

Founding KISS guitarist and Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame member Ace Frehley announces the release of Origins Vol. 2, his highly-anticipated second collection of eleven rock ‘n’ roll covers, due out on September 18, 2020. Today, he also releases the first single, a flawless cover of Deep Purple’s 1972 hit, “Space Truckin'” available now on all streaming platforms, and as an official music video. 

Recorded at The Creation Lab in Turlock, CA, Frehley recorded guitar, bass, and vocals on “Space Truckin'” with long-time studio drummer Matt Star and keyboard player Rob Sabino (Peter Frampton,  Simon & Garfunkel). 

Ace offers,“‘Space Truckin’ was recorded years ago, and then I just re-recorded some parts and changed it a little. We never ended up putting it on a record, so it was just sitting around. It turned out very well. Rob Sabino is a very accomplished studio musician, and we actually grew up in the Bronx together, so we go way back.”

The official video for “Space Truckin’” was directed by eOne’s Ken Gullic (VP, Sales & Acquisitions, Music) and animated by Chris Fequiere, the same team behind the “Mission to Mars” music video from Frehley’s Spaceman album in 2018. 

Frehley has also re-signed with eOne for more new releases, which extends his original deal signed in 2013. During his tenure, he has released three albums worth of new material, Origins Vol. 2 is the fourth. A new studio album is planned for 2021 with two additional releases to follow.

eOne’s Scott Givens, SVP, Rock & Metal, Music says, “I am thrilled to extend our partnership with Ace Frehley.  He is a core artist for eOne and I look forward to more continued success with him.”

eOne’s Ken Gullic, VP, Sales & Acquisitions, Music, offers, “We were warned, before our first meeting with Ace in 2014, that he’d never deliver an album or get on the plane for that very meeting. He showed up with an early version of Steve Miller’s “The Joker” in hand and then cranked out eleven brand new songs at lightning speed for his first top 10 solo album ever, ‘Space Invader,’ just in time for his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction as a KISS member in 2014. With nine albums into his vibrant solo career, one that clearly stands on its own, it’s time for Ace to be considered as a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inducted solo performer too.

Frehley continues his reflections on a lifetime in music with this release of Origins Vol. 2. No stranger to cover versions throughout his musical history — having recorded, rebranded and repossessed such notable nuggets as “New York Groove,” “Do Ya” and “I Wanna Go Back” throughout his eight previous studio efforts — this new collection presents a thoughtful and exciting selection of songs that inspired and helped shape the legendary guitarist. That spirit of fun is carried through with exquisite execution, and guitar aficionados will enjoy Frehley’s fresh interpretations of these classic songs.

Origins Vol 2. features some extraordinary guests, including Robin Zander of Cheap Trick on Humble Pie’s “30 Days In The Hole,” and former KISS comrade Bruce Kulick on Jimi Hendrix’s “Manic Depression.” Origins Vol.1 alumnus John5 also returns, playing on Cream’s “Politician,” and The Beatles’ “I’m Down.” Finally, the exquisite Lita Ford returns on vocals, this time on The Rolling Stones’ 1968 hit “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.” Full track listing below.

Track List:
1. Good Times Bad Times (Led Zeppelin)
2. Never In My Life (Mountain)
3. Space Truckin’ (Deep Purple)
4. I’m Down (The Beatles)
5. Jumpin’ Jack Flash (The Rolling Stones) 
6. Politician (Cream) 
7. Lola (The Kinks)
8. 30 Days In The Hole (Humble Pie)
9. Manic Depression (The Jimi Hendrix Experience)
10. Kicks (Paul Revere & the Raiders)
11. We Gotta Get Out Of This Place (The Animals)
12. She (KISS) [Bonus Track]

Origins Vol. 2 will be the followup to 2016’s Origins Vol. 1, which hit #23 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, and was his second highest-charting solo album and his 4th Top 40 album. 

Pre-orders are available today at www.acefrehleyorigins.com — which includes an exclusive 180g Opaque Gold Double LP variant (limited to 1000 copies + download card).

Film Review “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”

Directed by: James Gunn
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan,
Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris Sullivan, Sean Gunn, Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Release Date: May 5, 2017
Running time: 136 minutes

Mike G’s Score: 4 out of 5 stars

When I left the advance screening back in 2014 for Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy”, I said to my wife that this movie is the “Star Wars” for our new generation and it will be HUGE! Fast forward to 2017 and here we are with Vol.2 being released and looking back at how much the first film affected Hollywood. The magic of the first film has tried to be copied since and the only film to get close was “Deadpool”. It is hard for me to scream that “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is better than the first. I really really liked it but I also watch the first film almost weekly or at least monthly, so to say I’m a big fan is an understatement. I even got my 5 year old daughter into the first film (I know I’m a terrible dad, but she LOVES IT!). Vol.2 is easily one of the best films I have seen this year and an amazing follow-up to the first film. I have a feeling as I see it a few times more my love will only grow.

Personally, I am bored with “The Avengers” in general, i.e. Iron Man, Captain America and their movies. I am more into Marvel’s releases like “Guardians”, “Doctor Strange” and even the new “Thor” looks fantastic! These are great superhero movies and I can easily add Vol.2 to that list! The sequel not only is action packed entertaining movie but also packs some mega emotional character driven dramatic moments. I love those moments. This movie has so much heart, literally so much. The jokes are funnier. I swear everything that Drax says is pure gold. Baby Groot was cute and really wasn’t overused like I assumed he would be to steal the show.

Everyone was talking about Kurt Russell’s role of Ego and Peter Quill’s father..and he was everything I wanted and more! Russell is just tearing it up with this and the “Fast and Furious” franchise. He is on fire. The star of this film is no question, Michael Rooker. His role of Yondu was expanded greatly from the first film and really gets some amazing screen time (cue Cat Stevens’ song “Father and Son”). Even Sean Gunn (James’ brother) got an expanded role and delivered some really great scenes. I really enjoyed Kraglin in this film! Sylvester Stallone popped up for a bit, cool to see him but didn’t do much. He was mostly just setup for future films playing the important character aka Starhawk. And if you are a Toby fan like me from the TV series “This Is Us” keep an eye out for Taserface! Love him! The girl power in “Guardians” was very strong, which makes me happy due to having an eager to see this 5 year old. Karen Gillan got a chance to expand Nebula more in this sequel and she was just brilliant. Zoe Saldan and her got some nice screen time together. Pom Klementieff joined on playing a very important character named Mantis and easily stole our hearts…even though she is really ugly…(according to Drax).

The songs from the first “Guardians” really made the film so special and unique. The second film doesn’t disappoint in terms of great picks and don’t feel forced like when “Suicide Squad” tried to copy. ELO’s “Mr. Blue Sky” is a great track. Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain” has great placement in the film. Sam Cooke’s “Bring it on Home to Me” was a great and very sweet moment. George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” is one of my favorite songs ever. I mentioned above Cat Stevens’ song “Father and Son,m which was just a perfect choice for this film. James Gunn’s band along with David Hasselhoff, yes David Hasslehoff even have a fun song in the end credits. The score is beautiful again from Tyler Bates. I’ve been listening to it for about a week now before seeing the film and I had a really great appreciation for the music when I saw it. Honestly this is the first Marvel film that really interested me with their score.

The visual effects are just beautiful. Ego’s planet is breathtaking for sure. This is a film that needs to be seen in the theater. Preferable the biggest IMAX screen possible. Please do not see this film at little theater. 3D was good didn’t really jump out too much. I could have gone either way on that. This franchise has a BIG future ahead of it and as long as it has James Gunn’s vision leading it down this path I am on board and very excited to see what is coming next! Hopefully Gunn will actually give Nathan Fillion a decent role in next film that won’t be cut 😉 I am just happy that Vol.2 doesn’t disappoint and I believe that it is because they didn’t just try and copy the first film. They took what worked from the first film, expanded it perfectly and ended up with one of the year’s best film.

Guitarist Alex Grossi talks Maps to the Hollywood Scars and their new EP “Vol. 1”

Alex Grossi is one of the busiest guitarists in today’s music scene. Some of his projects include the bands Beautiful Creatures, Hookers and Blow, Hotel Diablo and most notably Quiet Riot which he joined in 2003. Alex’s newest project Maps to the Hollywood Scars” recently released a new EP titled “Vol. 1” featuring former American Idol contest James Durbin. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Alex recently about the new project and the recent addition of James to the Quiet Riot lineup.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about the new project Maps to the Hollywood Scars and, how you and James Durbin came together?

Alex Grossi: I had met James back in 2011 through a mutual business acquaintance when he was doing American Idol. We became friends during that time but lost touch for a few years. It wasn’t until James was doing a residency in Las Vegas recently that we reconnected and I started sending him demos. He was recording some great melodies and lyrics and the more we worked the better things kept getting. Eventually we have almost a dozen songs done. We decided to put out an EP to see how things would go and that led to us doing a second one and so on. Things happened very organically and we are very happy where things are at.

AL: What was the process like for working on the new EP titled “Vol.1”?

AG: I had been working on songs as they came to me for about a year prior. When I sent them to James he immediately got it and was inspired. There was really no set plan for anything but I had been demoing songs for about a year and finally found the right outlet for them. Having James come in has been great and also working with our producer AJ St James and Dizzy Reed who played piano and strings.

AL: How did Dizzy Reed become involved with the project?

AG: I have been playing in a cover band we do called Hookers and Blow for the past twelve or thirteen years. When we wrote the song “Death” I could just hear the string parts and piano parts. I sent him the song and asked him what he could add and what he sent back is what you hear on the record. He did a great job and nailed it.

AL: Are there any plans to tour behind this release?

AG: There have been some offers that have come in but with the both of us now being in Quiet Riot we have to work around that schedule and we would have to put a band together. Right now we are only going to do what makes sense for everyone as it’s hard to schedule something for spring and summer when we already have commitments with Quiet Riot. There has been talk of doing some late night television appearance but as far as a full blown tour we will probably only do a show here or there. It’s a side project and something that we want to keep special. We have plans but we just have to wait for the right time when everyone’s calendars line up.

AL: Can you give us an update on the recent Quiet Riot line-up change?

AG: We just announced James as our new singer and we are currently recording the new album with him titled “Road Rage”. We have bunch of new tour dates that just went up on the Quiet Riot website which will taking us all over the country and also to Canada. More shows keep getting added to it hard to keep up with them all. (Laughs) We are very grateful for the support which keeps us going.

AL: How instrumental were you in bringing James into the Quiet Riot fold?

AG: I was demoing the songs with James and during that time I was sending the tracks over to Frankie to check out. He has been very supportive of the project since I started it so when it came time make a singer change I offered to call James up and see if he would be interested. I called him up; he said he was interested and about two weeks later things were on their way. We did rehearsals and a photo shoot and that was it. It all happened very quickly. James is such a pro in that he came in prepared knowing all the songs and was ready to go. I am very blessed to play with such a great group of guys. We all get along great and I am really excited to get out there with this new lineup.

AL: What other projects are you currently working on?

AG: Back in 2002 I joined Beautiful Creatures replacing DJ Ashba. We recorded an album called “Deuce” which we just got the rights back to. We remixed and re-mastered that album along with adding a few new things. That is going to be released March 31st. We are calling it “Deuce Deluxe” it’s going to have a bunch of new stuff on it and it sounds really great. I also do a fun cover band with Dizzy Reed called Hookers and Blow which we will be doing some shows here and there. I also am working still with Steven Adler. Getting to see him play with Gn’R this summer was amazing.

For more info on all of Alex’s projects visit: www.alexgrossimusic.com

Blu-ray Reviews “The Toho Godzilla Collection, Vol. 2”

Director: Okihiro Yoneda, Kunio Miyoshi, Shûsuke Kaneko, Masaaki Tezuka, Takao Okawara
Rated: Not rated / PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Release Date: September 9, 2014
Run Time: 306 / 193 / 107 minutes

Rebirth of Mothra I-III: 3 out of stars
Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack: 4 out of stars
Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla: 3.5 out of stars
Godzilla 2000: 4 out of stars
Extras: 1.5 out of 5 stars

With the new reboot of “Godzilla” streeting on Blu-ray this month, we are getting a second bunch of Blu-ray in the “The Toho Godzilla Collection”. This next set including “Rebirth of Mothra”, “Rebirth of Mothra II”, “Rebirth of Mothra III”, “Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack”, “Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla” and “Godzilla 2000”. Being a hardcore Godzilla fan, I couldn’t be happier to be receiving this latest bunch. I remember rushing out to the theater opening day first show to catch “Godzilla 2000”.

There are 28 films in “”The Toho Godzilla Collection”, even though The Mothra films really aren’t included in that number. After this patch of films that leaves us with only nine films that haven’t been released on Blu-ray including “Godzilla Raids Again”, “Mothra vs. Godzilla”, “Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster”, “Invasion of Astro-Monster”, “Son of Godzilla”, “All Monsters Attack”, “Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla”, “Terror of Mechagodzilla” and “Godzilla 1985”. Here’s hoping that Sony or anyone else has the rights to release these…it would be great to see the complete collection available to fans.

“Rebirth of Mothra I-III” make up the first Blu-ray. I know the Mothra films are super cheesy but they are just plain fun. But Mothra can still kick some major ass for sure. “Rebirth of Mothra II” has a bit of an environmental agenda but still a decent film. It definitely has a certain kid-version of “Indiana Jones” going on as well here, or at least I always thought it did. Same goes for “Rebirth of Mothra III”, which continues its focus towards kids. It is definitely still a decent film and packs a serious battle as well in the trilogy.

“Rebirth of Mothra” Official Premise: Mothra, one of Godzilla’s longtime allies (and sometimes foe) gets her very own movie series in this, the first of a trilogy. When the three-headed Death Ghidorah, an even fiercer cousin of King Ghidorah, begins to destroy the forests of Japan, Mothra leaves her island paradise to help save them. “Rebirth of Mothra II” Official Premise: Two young kids inadvertently unleash a giant sea creature which is somehow strengthened from the abundance of modern-day pollution. Mothra’s keepers, the tiny twins Moll and Lora, quickly rouse the gentle giant in order to combat this latest threat to peace. “Rebirth of Mothra III” Official Premise: In the final film in the new ‘Mothra’ trilogy, King Ghidorah, the most destructive of all the monsters, returns to destroy the Earth. In the end, Mothra is indeed triumphant and takes her place among the greatest of all monsters.

Each of these films actually delivered pretty unexpectedly great 1080p transfers. I was not expecting to see such a clean and impressive transfers. There are two DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 surround tracks for each film, the original Japanese and an English dub. I am going to stick with the Japanese track each of these films since they generally end up feeling much more natural and an overall a slightly better track, no question. The only special features includes for each film are three teasers (“Rebirth of Mothra III” only has two teasers) and a theatrical trailer included.

Next up is “Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack”, which easily wins the longest title in Godzilla history and “Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla”. “Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah” was made to basically reboot the series since it only pays attention to the original 1954 film and the (terrible) 1998 remake. The film packs a big budget compared to past installments. It is far from perfect but is a fun entry for sure. “Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla” is a bit cheesy but still fun and has some solid battle scenes.  Plus I am a big sucker for anything Mechagodzilla.

“Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack” Official Premise: Fifty years ago, the Japanese Defense Forces killed Godzilla or so they thought. When a series of terrifying natural disasters begin to plague Japan, including the inexplicable offshore sinking of a U.S. submarine, a mystic old man warns his nation that Godzilla has come back to destroy Japan as revenge for all the souls lost in the Pacific War. When mere military might cannot squash the monster, the mystic man awakens the Holy Beasts of Yamato — King Ghidorah, Mothra and Baragon, sleeping giants that protected Japan in ancient times. These untamed mammoth beasts take on Godzilla with frightening supernatural brute power that has been 2,000 years in the making. Tradition and technology collide in this chilling high-tech, cutting-edge fable.

“Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla” Official Premise: After four years of scrupulous preparation under the prime minister, a new invincible robot, Mechagodzilla, has now reached completion, armed with various weapons, including the most powerful gun in history that can destroy anything in the world. Akane Yashiro is transferred to join the Mechagodzilla team as an operator who controls the mechanical monster. As soon as Mechagodzilla starts on its test run, the huge shadow of Godzilla begins to rise from the depths of the ocean…The battle of the century is going to take place between Godzilla and Mechagodzilla.

“Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack” delivers yet another solid presentation on Blu-ray.  The 1080p is sharp with its colors and very clean of any grain. Same again goes for “Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla”, which is slightly less impressive but still quite solid. The same does not go for the audio track though, “Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack” includes the original Japanese track and an English dub. They are both actually good entries and just depends on your preference. “Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla” has the same specs but the English dub is not listenable since it is so poorly acted. The Japanese cut is the only way to go here. Both films only contain their film’s Original Trailers as a bonus feature.

Lastly but not least is “Godzilla 2000”, one of my favorites. It is a not a perfect film like many of the “Godzilla” films but is a blast to watch. This Blu-ray also  contains two versions of the film. The 107 minute Japanese cut has never been released in the US before this, so fans should be going crazy over this one. The shorter 99 minutes English dub cut is also included as well. So even though you are not getting a real double feature here like the others or triple in terms of “Mothra”, but we are getting 1.5 movies for the price of one here.

“Godzilla 2000” Official Premise: Get ready to crumble! The king of all monsters is back and bigger than ever! The action heats up when a UFO reveals itself as a massive alien monster with awesome destructive powers. The alien monster heads straight for the behemoth GODZILLA(r) who’s just crushed the entire city for the battle of the millennium. But Godzilla’s furious heat beam may not be enough to destroy the death-dealing alien, and the future of humankind is in jeopardy. Now, it’s a bang-up, threeway, no-holds-barred brawl as Godzilla, the alien monster and the courageous citizens of Japan fight an unprecedented battle for survival in this earth-shattering new sci-fi action adventure that will blow you away.

“Godzilla 2000” Blu-ray presentation is surprising the least impressive out of this new batch of releases. It is not horrible but doesn’t have that clarity that the “Mothra” films pack. The film does have really great DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 tracks. both original Japanese and English dub. This Blu-ray actually has some special features included unlike the rest. There is an audio commentary with Writer/Producer Michael Schlesinger, Editor Mike Mahoney, and Supervising Sound Editor Darren Paskal on the English version only. There is a very short “Behind the Scenes” featurette and of course, lastly there is an Original Trailer included.

Even though the special features on these three releases aren’t great. They do all include an Ultraviolet HD digital copy code, which is a worth the purchase of the disc alone. These films maybe not be perfect and some cheesy but Sony defintely still delivered good Blu-rays here. Like I said, I hope to see more of these in next year for sure. We have nine more films in the series and I hope that we can complete out the collection! Keep them coming Sony!

CD Review: Mathew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs “Under the Covers Vol. 3”

Mathew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs
“Under the Covers Vol. 3”
Shout Factory
Produced by: Mathew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs
Tracks: 14

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

Singer song writers Mathew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs are back with their 3rd installment of cover albums titled “Under The Covers Vol.3”. Like their previous two compilations which covered songs from the 60’s and 70’s the latest in the trilogy tackles the widely popular 1980’s. Produced by both Sweet and Hoffs the album is being released via Shout Factory and feature 14 tracks ranging from the obscure to the more popular of 80’s tracks.

When you hear the name Mathew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs it’s hard not to envision the sounds of Sweet’s classic album “Girlfriend” and the countless hits Hoff has sang/played on with her former group The Bangles. Though the two are quite different it’s easy to assume they wouldn’t mix very well however the result is the exact opposite. Since the duo’s first covers album “Under the Covers Vol. 1” in 2006 the two have been steadily releasing more work together. The latest “Under the Covers Vol.3” brings the listener back to the age of stone washed denim, hyper color t-shirts and teased hair. Though Sweet and Hoff chose to cover a few more obscure tracks like R.E.M.’s “Sitting Still” and “The Bulrush” by The Bongos each track is given a fresh spin featuring bubbling pop type arrangements making the album one of those that you can throw on and kick back to while looking through your old year book.

My favorite of the 14 tracks were the renditions of Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin” and the always enjoyable Go-Go’s tune “Our Lips Our Sealed”. Even though both of those tracks have had their fair share of reworking by other artists these two renditions were packed with plenty of appeal. My biggest complaint about this album was again that some of the songs were a bit obscure for my liking however I certainly cannot fault the performers for wanting to do something different from an era over flowing with tons of great music.

Track Listing:
1.) Sitting Still
2.) Girls Talk
3.) Big Brown Eyes
4.) Kid
5.) Free Fallin’
6.) Save It For Later
7.) They Don’t Know
8.) The Bulrushes
9.) Our Lips Are Sealed
10.) How Soon Is Now
11.) More Than This
12.) Towers of London
13.) Killing Moon
14.) Trouble

Book Review “Birth School Metallica Death: The Biography Vol. 1”

“Birth School Metallica Death: The Biography Vol. 1”
Author: Paul Brannigan, Ian Winwood
Hardcover: 378 pages
Publisher: Da Capo Press

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

“Birth School Metallica Death: The Biography Vol. 1” written by former Kerrang! Editor Paul Brannigan and British rock journalist Ian Winwood is an in-depth look at arguable one of the greatest heavy metal bands of all time. The first in a two part series Vol.1 documents from the bands inception in 1981 up through 1991 and the release of the groups ground breaking “Black” album. “Birth School Metallica Death: The Biography Vol. 1” is being released via Da Capo Press and features 378 pages along with 8 pages of photos.

From the time I first saw Metallica’s video for “One” I was hooked. Anything and everything related to the band I had to check out (good or bad) and even though they had released 3 albums prior to “And Justice for All” the album spawning the single “One” and I was late getting to the party it didn’t hinder my quest for all things Metallica. Prior to reading this book my expectations were not very high as I had thought that I pretty much read everything about the band that was available. Upon delving in to the 378 pages you instantly realize that you are going to be in for a treat as the authors take you places normally off limits to the public. Weather they are talking with members of the band at their practice space known as “HQ”, Telling stories of speaking with Lars on a phone booth at 3am or covering the listening party for the “Black Album” “Birth School Metallica Death: The Biography Vol. 1” has a bit of everything. Even if you have heard some of these accounts before I found it quite interesting to hear different take. Along with some great writing are 8 pages packed with rare photos going back to when Dave Mustaine was in the band. I only wished that there had been a few more of these photo pages placed throughout the book to correspond with the subsequent chapters.

Fans of Metallica and or heavy metal music in general will surely enjoy “Birth School Metallica Death: The Biography Vol. 1”. Not only does it contain some really cool interviews and accounts but it’s a fairly straight forward and easy read. So even if you are terminally shaken from years of head banging and moshing I encourage you to put down your devil horns and stagger over to your nearest book store and pick up a copy of this book.

CD Review: Five Finger Death Punch “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Vol. 2”

Five Finger Death Punch
“The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 2”
Prospect Park
Producer: Kevin Churko
Tracks: 12

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Following hot off the heels of Five Finger Death Punch’s July 2013 release “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 1”, “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 2”
Picks ups where the previous album left off. The album like its predecessor is being released via Prospect Park and was produced by Kevin Churko.

I always have to question a bands decision when they decide to release multiple albums within months of each other. However after my first listen of “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 2” any preconceived notions I may have had were instantly thrown out the window. From the albums opening track “Here to Die” which goes from zero to sixty right out of the gate I couldn’t wait to hear the other 11 tracks. Vocalist Ivan Moody seems to have tapped in to a channel of aggression which seems to be the catalyst for every track. Songs like “Wrecking Ball” and “Matter of Time” rip through your speakers and assaults whoever maybe in the immediate listening area. Even when the band slows things down with the albums closing track a cover of the classic Animals song “The House of the Rising Sun” the band still maintains the consistency of the previous numbers. Producer Kevin Churko continues to show why he is the best producer for the job as he does a remarkable job captured all the nuances of each members playing while elevating their sound with a really great mix that was music to my ears.

If you already have “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 1” then “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 2” is a no brainer. However if you haven’t yet grab either copy I would recommend starting here with Vol. 2 as the album takes you on a rollercoaster ride filled with raw emotion an energy that keeps your attention from start to finish.

Track Listing:
1.) Here to Die
2.) Weight Beneath My Skin
3.) Wrecking Ball
4.) Battle Born
5.) Cradle to the Grave
6.) Matter of Time
7.) The Agony of Regret
8.) Cold
9.) Let This Go
10.) My Heart Lied
11.) A Day In My Life
12.) House of the Rising Sun

Dir En Grey’s Kaoru talks about US tour and new DVD “Tour 12-13 In Situ Tabula Rasa”

Kaoru is the guitarist for the Japanese rock band Dir En Grey. The group has a new DVD out titled “Tour 12-13 In Situ Tabula Rasa” and in November will be touring the United States for the first time in two years. With the help of Kaoru’s translator Media Mikes was able to talk with him about the bands new DVD, the upcoming tour and the groups plans for a new album.

Adam Lawton: What can you tell us about the bands new concert DVD?
Kaoru: The DVD is really a documentary about the band returning from a hiatus we took due to our singer having some vocal issues. The film covers everything from then up until the last date of our most recent European tour which concluded this past summer.

AL: Having filmed a few other DVD’s how does the new one differ from previous ones the band has been involved in.
Kaoru: We have in the past released a number of live concert DVD’s. The main focus of this one was to show the process of what the band had to go through and what we had to do to overcome our singers vocal problems. There was a period for the band after returning that everything was going well but then our singer was hit with more health problems. We didn’t know what to do as a band and this DVD shows all of that.

AL: What does the band enjoy most about releasing DVD’s as they do require quite a bit of work?
Kaoru: Every show that we do as a band is different. Even though the songs may be the same we still might do something different from night to night. Some of our previous releases are from one night of a tour while others are made up multiple shows edited together. We like to release a lot of different things which is something we as a band just realized.

AL: Can you tell us about the bands upcoming tour?
Kaoru: We are staring of with some shows in Japan and in November we will be touring the United States. This will be our first time there in quite some time. Having been two years since our last trip to the United States I am sure our fans there are waiting for us and we are all looking forward to meeting everyone again. This band is now at the point where we want to see just how far we take this so now is the time for us to do that. We are currently working on our stage set for the show and we are hoping that we can bring some of what we do at our shows in Japan over to the States. We will definitely be bringing something different for everyone to see.

AL: What do you feel is the biggest challenge when touring outside of your country?
Kaoru: Definitely the language barrier. Not so much when it comes to performing our songs but when it comes to interacting with people on a daily basis. If we all just spoke the same language things would be so much easier. (Laughs) You can actually one instance where we are on stage at a festival in Europe and some trouble occurs and because we don’t speak English this turned into a bigger trouble. We have the textbook knowledge of a lot of different places but we are missing some things due to the language barrier.

AL: Has the band begun talking about starting work on any new material?
Kaoru: We have been talking about starting work on some new songs. Nothing is concrete yet but after this tour concludes we will be starting work on a new album.

Five Finger Death Punch “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 1” Signed CD Giveaway [ENDED]

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED AND WINNERS HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED VIA EMAIL. PLEASE CHECK BACK EACH WEEK FOR NEW GIVEAWAYS!

Media Mikes has teamed up with SKH Music to giveaway 1 band signed copy and 3 regular copies of Five Finger Death Punch’s latest album “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol.1” If you would like to enter for your chance to win one of these great prizes, please leave us a comment below or send us an email with your favorite FFDP song. This giveaway will remain open until Sept. 6th at Noon, Eastern Time. This is open to our readers in US and Canada only. One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email.

Acclaimed hard rock band Five Finger Death Punch’s highly anticipated The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell Volume 1 (Prospect Park in North America / Eleven Seven in all other territories) has debuted as a global success. The album has achieved career highs for the band, with a mainstream chart debut at #2 in The United States, #3 in Canada, #4 in Germany, alongside impressive entries in other territories across the globe. The lead single “Lift Me Up” (featuring Rob Halford of Judas Priest) is currently #1 on the U.S. Active Rock charts for the third consecutive week. The successful debut exhibits that Five Finger Death Punch is challenging the notion that “Rock is Dead,” as they look poised to deliver a fourth consecutive Gold certified album following the successes of The Way of The Fist (2007), War Is The Answer (2009) and American Capitalist (2011). Cumulative single sales have now exceeded over 4.5 million.

Track Listing:
1.) Lift Me Up (feat. Rob Halford)
2.) Watch You Bleed
3.) You
4.) Wrong Side of Heaven
5.) Burn MF
6.) I.M.Sin
7.) Anywhere But Here (feat. Maria Brink)
8.) Dot Your Eyes
9.) M.I.N.E. (End This Way)
10.) Mama Said Knock You Out (feat. Tech N9ne)
11.) Dairy of a Deadman
12.) I.M.Sin (feat. Max Cavalera)
13.) Anywhere But Here
14.) Dot Your Eyes (feat. Jamey Jasta)

CD/DVD Review: Motorhead “The World is Ours- Vol. 2- Anyplace Crazy as Anywhere Else”

Motorhead
“The World is Ours- Vol. 2- Anyplace Crazy as Anywhere Else”
Motorhead Music
Producer: David Pattenden
Music Tracks: 28
DVD Tracks: 28

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Motorhead are back with a brand new live CD/DVD/Blu-Ray release titled “The World is Ours- Vol. 2- Anyplace Crazy as Anywhere Else”. The release features 2 audio CD’s and both the DVD and Blu-Ray formats of the concerts featured on the audio discs. Produced by David Pattenden and released via Motorhead Music “The World is Ours- Vol. 2- Anyplace Crazy as Anywhere Else” is jammed packed with one louder goodness from start to finish.

Picking up where the bands 2011 live release “The World is Ours- Vol. 1 Everywhere Further Than Everywhere Else” left off Vol.2 takes things a step further with the big bonus being the 4 disc packaging which includes both standard DVD and HD Blu-Ray formats of the concert footage. The release includes performances from the bands 2011 Wacken Open Air Festival, Sonisphere and Rock in Rio appearances. Though the track listings of Vol. 1 and 2 are quite similar there is still enough different material contained on Vol. 2 to make it worth picking up. A definite nod should be given to mixer Cameron Webb who did a wonderful job with each of the 28 tracks. Songs such as “Iron Fist”, “The Chase is Better Than the Catch” and “Killed by Death” jump out of the speakers making you feel like you are in the front row. Lemmy’s vocals sound crisp and clear which only adds to the listening experience. When it comes to the video portion of the release be prepared to go to 11. Both DVD and Blu-Ray versions of the corresponding shows feature stunning visuals and great camera angles which capture all the non-stop action from both the band and the audiences view points.

Though I would have liked to have seen more in the way of special features in the video portion and possibly a bit more variation in the set lists the release is still a really great package plus I don’t think you can ever go wrong with multiple versions of “Ace of Spades” being included on the same album. If you want the live Motorhead experience without leaving the comfort of your living room “The World is Ours- Vol. 2- Anyplace Crazy as Anywhere Else” is going to be about as close as you can get.

Disc 1 CD Track Listing:
Wacken Open Air Festival
1.) Iron Fist
2.) Stay Clean
3.) Get Back in Line
4.) Metropolis
5.) Over the Top
6.) One Night Stand
7.) Rock Out
8.) The Thousand Names of God
9.) I Know How to Die
10.) The Chase is Better Than the Catch
11.) In the Name of Tragedy
12.) Just ‘Cos You Got the Power
13.) Going to Brazil
14.) Killed by Death
15.) Bomber

Disc 2 CD Track Listing:
Wacken Open Air Festival
1.) Ace of Spades
2.) Overkill
Sonisphere Festival
3.) Iron Fist
4.) I Know How to Die
5.) In The Name of Tragedy
6.) Killed by Death
7.) Ace of Spades
8.) Overkill
Rock in Rio
9.) Stay Clean
10.) Over the Top
11.) The Chase is Better Than the Catch
12.) Going to Brazil
13.) Killed By Death

DVD/Blu-Ray Track Listing:
Wacken Open Air Festival
1.) Iron Fist
2.) Stay Clean
3.) Get Back in Line
4.) Metropolis
5.) Over the Top
6.) One Night Stand
7.) Rock Out
8.) The Thousand Names of God
9.) I Know How to Die
10.) The Chase is Better Than the Catch
11.) In the Name of Tragedy
12.) Just ‘Cos You Got the Power
13.) Going to Brazil
14.) Killed by Death
15.) Bomber
16.) Ace of Spades
17.) Overkill

Sonisphere Festival
1.) Iron Fist
2.) I Know How to Die
3.) In The Name of Tragedy
4.) Killed by Death
5.) Ace of Spades
6.) Overkill

Rock in Rio
1.) Stay Clean
2.) Over the Top
3.) The Chase is Better Than the Catch
4.) Going to Brazil
5.) Killed By Death

Bonus Feature:
Festival Impressions W:O:A

 

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Blu-ray Review “Pixar Short Films Collection: Vol. 2”

Rated: G (General Audience)
Studio: Disney-Pixar
Release Date: November 13, 2012
Run Time: 75 minutes

Shorts: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

When it comes to Disney/Pixar, the Award-winning studio behind Toy Story 3, Up and WALL•E, they are the best when it comes to short films.  I get to the theater early for everyone of their films just to catch the shorts.  This Blu-ray release includes 12 short films, which are together for the very first time.  Obviously, this is the second volume of shorts and is a real step up from volume one.  The first volume includes the classics but these include some of my personal favorites.  If you are a fan of these shorts, then this a must purchase to get all these shorts in one place.

The following shorts included are “Your Friend the Rat” (2007). “Presto” (2008), “BURN-E” (2008), “Partly Cloudy” (2009), “Dug’s Special Mission” (2009), “George & A.J. (2009), “Day & Night” (2010), “Toy Story Toons: Hawaiian Vacation” (2011), “Cars Toons: Air Mater” (2011), “Toy Story Toons: Small Fry” (2011), “La Luna” (2011) and “Cars Toons: Time Travel Mater” (2012).

“BURN•E” is based on characters from “WALL•E”. “Dug’s Special Mission” and George & AJ” are both inspired from “Up”. “Air Mater” and “Time Travel Mater” are from “Cars Toons” featuring Mater. “Your Friend The Rat” features Remy and Emile from “Ratatouille”. The last two that are related to a franchise are  “Toy Story Toons” including “Hawaiian Vacation”, which was shown in front of “Cars 2” and “Small Fry”, which was shown in front of “The Muppets”. Original shorts included are Day & Night was shown before “Toy Story 3”. La Luna is the newest and was just shown in front of “Brave”. “Partly Cloudy” was shown before “Up”. “Presto” was shown before “WALL-E”. These areall previously on the respective Blu-ray/DVD releases. This is the first time that the shorts “George & AJ”, “Small Fry” and “Time Travel Mater” have ever been released on Blu-ray/DVD.

This release comes as a combo pack including both a Blu-ray and DVD included. There are several commentary tracks, as well as introductions for the shorts included. But the real draw for this release besides the shorts themselves are seven rarely seen student films from John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Pete Docter. These are worth the purchase of the disc alone. The student films that are included are “Nitemare”, “The Lady & The Lamp”, “Somewhere in the Arctic”, “A Story”, “Winter”, “Palm Springs” and “Next Door”. These just show where these creative geniuses have come from and how far they have come since their early days.

DVD Review “HitRECord Recollection Vol. 1”

Director: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Featuring: 471 Collaborators on HitRECord.org
Number of discs: 2
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: New Video Group
Run Time: 65 minutes

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

“Are you recording?” – This is not your typical DVD review. It isn’t even really just a DVD, it is a collection of art. On this release we get a DVD featuring 36 short films and videos, CD with 17 original songs and a book which includes 64 pages of drawing and writing. HitRECord.org was started by Joseph Gordon-Levitt…yes the same Joseph Gordon-Levitt from last year’s “Inception”. He started this website, which is now a production company, to develop art and media collectively over the internet. Users upload their work on the site and then remixed by its users adding in animation, sound, music, script and video effects. This is a really great idea and a great way to strum up original ideas.

So let’s get to the 36 short films and videos, some of amazing and some are good, nothing bad. The most unique are called tiny stories, which run only a few seconds and rarely longer than a minute. My favorite tiny story was easily “The Hummingbird” and it has me laughing out loud. My favorite short film is easily “Morgan & Destiny’s Eleventeeth Date: The Zeppelin Zoo”, it is so fun and creative. I also really enjoy “Optimistic”, it was very inspiring for young filmmakers. There are a few music videos remixed on the disc as well, “Everything Is On Fire All the Time” is the most notable. Also includes are clips from RegularJoe’s (aka Joseph Gordon-Levitt) tour through colleges, SSW and Sundance.

If you think all that is great…I still haven’t got to the book portion yet with 64 pages of art, lyrics, poems and animation. Then we didn’t even get to the 17 original songs. Since this whole “Recollection” is a remix collection of very fun and interesting songs. They range from all types of music and are definitely some great jams. I enjoyed the music from “Morgan M. Morchestra”. All and all if you are fan of independent and new ideas this set will definitely inspire you. This is an all around hit and I am very anxiously waiting for Volume 2 to be released and I will be visiting hitRECord.org more frequently as well.

“The Lucille Ball RKO Comedy Collection Vol. 1” DVD Giveaway [ENDED]

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Celebrate the 100th Birthday of the queen of comedy, Lucille Ball, with MediaMikes as we would like to giveaway ONE  copy of “The Lucille Ball RKO Comedy Collection Vol. 1” DVD. If you would like to win this, please leave us a comment below or send us an email and let us know your favorite female comedian. This giveaway will be open until Monday August 8st at Noon, Eastern Time. Once the giveaway ends, Movie Mikes will randomly pick out winners and alert the winners via email.

THE LUCILLE BALL RKO COMEDY COLLECTION VOL. 1
Long before she was crowned the queen of TV, Lucille Ball reigned as the “Queen of the Bs” for RKO Pictures, appearing in over 43 films in under a decade. Although she had yet to find her niche, Lucy’s prodigious talents, grace and charm as a performer found her much in demand across a wide variety of movies. This collection brings together three rarely seen cinematic treasures from Lucy’s RKO days, giving modern audiences a chance to witness a star on the rise. 3 Films on 2 DVDs.

FILMS INCLUDED:
GO CHASE YOURSELF (1938) Before she hitched her hilarious antics to Vincente Minnelli’s The Long, Long Trailer, Lucy joined Joe Penner and a slightly shorter trailer in this madcap romp. After bank robbers use her husband’s camper to cover their getaway, Carol Meeley (Ball) sets out to prove her hubby is far too dumb to commit a crime.

NEXT TIME I MARRY (1938) Lucy moves up to leading lady in this screwball comedy, served up with inspired humor by Garson Kanin in one of his earliest directorial efforts. In order to claim her inheritance, heiress Nancy Crocker Fleming (Ball) must marry a “plain American Joe.” So she does what any self-respecting debutante would do ­ she hires a husband.

LOOK WHO’S LAUGHING (1941) An alluring and glamorous Lucy enjoys top billing in this feature length satire based on the long running Fibber McGee and Molly radio series. Joining Lucy and the McGees (Jim and Marion Jordan) in this rollicking satire are Edgar Bergen & Charlie McCarthy, who see Fibber try to persuade an aircraft company to set up shop in the small town of Wistful Vista. James V. Kern, who would later direct I Love Lucy, pens the tale, while screen pioneer Allan Dwan directs.

WarnerArchive.com is thrilled to announce the DVD release of The Lucille Ball RKO Comedy Collection: Vol. 1 in honor of Lucy’s 100th Birthday. You can purchase a copy at: http://bit.ly/WAC_Lucy

“Beyblade: Metal Fusion Vol. 4” Hitting DVD August

BEYBLADE: METAL FUSION VOL. 4

FEARLESS HEROES FACE THE POWERS OF DARKNESS IN THE EXCITING, ONGOING SAGA

The Epic Battle Continues As The Next Chapter In The BEYBLADE Story
Debuts On DVD August 23

DVD includes EXCLUSIVE CODE to unlock special features, including the
ability to battle other Beybladers on Beybladebattles.com

UNIVERSAL CITY, CA – Only the brave stand between the world and the forces of true evil in BEYBLADE: Metal Fusion Vol. 4, spinning onto DVD August 23 from Nelvana Enterprises and Vivendi Entertainment. From Nelvana and d-rights Inc., BEYBLADE: Metal Fusion chronicles the epic battle with the Dark Nebula in a fresh take on the original hit BEYBLADE. Only Gingka, the courageous hero with an in-depth knowledge of the Beyblade, and his loyal friends can prevent sinister forces from conquering their world.

BEYBLADE: Metal Fusion continues to grow in popularity, having already spawned a successful toy line from Hasbro and an action-packed video game for the Nintendo DS™ and Wii™. The new season of the popular series will debut this year on Cartoon Network, along with new toys from Hasbro and a new videogame.

The BEYBLADE: Metal Fusion Vol. 4 DVD includes an exclusive code unlocking special features, including the ability to battle other Beybladers on Beybladebattles.com. The DVD will be available for the suggested retail price of $14.97.

Synopsis:
The battle between good and evil is even more intense and dangerous than ever as Gingka and his friends face a villain with a plot to unleash a long forbidden Beyblade in his quest to take over the world.