Wednesday, September 13, 2017

CD Review: Prophets Of Rage

There are few releases these days that can stir up feelings of excitement and hope for the future of music or the music industry. There are even fewer new releases that I consider exceptional and will find myself listening to multiple times over. With music being so much more accessible thanks to streaming services and the internet, it’s rare to lock into one release and spend an amount of quality time that ingrains the music into the listener until it becomes part of their DNA. Prophets Of Rage is a repudiation to that new trend of listen twice and move on. This album will continue to receive multiple plays for the foreseeable future and beyond.

Prophets of Rage is a supergroup blending Hip Hop and nu-metal that is changing the world of music by revisiting the past and injecting new rhythms into classic sounds. Tom Morello (Audioslave, Rage Against The Machine), Brad Wilk (Rage Against The Machine), Chuck D and DJ Lord (Public Enemy), and B-Real (Cypress Hill) have formed an incredible rap metal group that mixes both genres in a new and refreshing way while still remaining true to both styles of music. The band takes the best elements of both genres and blends them into a beautiful harmony of earful bliss.

Prophets Of Rage is the best mix of rap and rock since Anthrax and Public Enemy recorded “Bring The Noise.” Tom Morello’s guitar is front and center in the music. His unique style of guitar playing, which can’t be duplicated, sounds crisp and viable on Prophets Of Rage. His ability mixed with exceptional beats by Brad Wilk, amazing samples from DJ Lord, and powerful vocals from Chuck D alongside B-real makes for outstanding music. And while I feel the project might have been even more enjoyable with Flavor Flav in the mix, the message that is being delivered throughout these songs is done by the appropriate musicians. I love Flavor Flav, but he probably wasn’t right for this project.

The music is as hard and heavy as the message it delivers. “Unfuck The World” is a prime example. No hatred, fuck racists, blank faces, time’s changing, one nation, unification, the vibration, unfuck the world. A serious political statement that’s filled with hope, which is a rare accomplishment for any band. Most musicians who decide to infect their music with political statements miss the mark and try to sway the listener to their one-dimensional beliefs. Prophets of Rage is better than that. As heard on “Unfuck The World” the goal is unification. Can’t we find a way to unite the people once again? It’s a daring thought and in this modern age, it’s a welcome one.

Political statements are highlighted throughout the entire record. In most cases, I feel that musicians should never cross politics and music, they should entertain and enlighten but there is no need for a blatant placement of their political views inside of their music. There are rare exceptions that can pull this off without feeling preachy. U2 is one example. Rage Against The Machine and Public Enemy are two other examples. Both of those bands would create music that really made the listener think and wonder and understand the state of our nation with their music. Prophets of Rage understandably takes that ability and injects it into their self-titled debut release.

It’s great to have music that makes you feel alive return to the forefront. Expectations were high for this record but Prophets of Rage delivers and exceeds. And that’s understandable when there is such mega-talent as Chuck D and Tom Morello at the forefront of the album. Prophets Of Rage takes me back to a time in my life when the music just felt invigorating. As each song played out it was a joyous new discovery that couldn’t be compared with any other feeling. Prophets Of Rage brings that similar style of joy with each song unfolds.

There is no filler on this record. This self-titled debut from these masterminds of talent is a superb record that is worthy of multiple listens. Prophets Of Rage is available this Friday, September 15th. It would be in your best interest to pick up a copy of this album and let it wash all over you. I don’t know if there is going to be a better release this year.

Ryo’s Rating: 9 (out of 10)

Track Listing
Radical Eyes
Unfuck The World
Legalize Me
Living on the 110
The Counteroffensive
Hail To The Chief
Take Me Higher
Strength In Numbers
Fired A Shot
Who Owns Who
Hands Up

Prophets Of Rage
Tom Morello – Guitar
Brad Wilk – Beats
Chuck D – Vocals
B-Real – Vocals
DJ Lord – turntables

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Johnny Lang Releases Video For Stronger Together - New Album To Be Released on September 8th

Jonny Lang’s brand new studio album, Signs, will be released in North America on September 8th via SayRai / Concord Records.  The album (his sixth major label release) is his first in four years. Signs was released in Europe this past Friday via Provogue Records / Mascot Label Group.

Today, Jonny debuts the first video from the new album with “Stronger Together” directed by Norwood Cheek. You can watch the clip here:

This past Sunday, the Daily Express (UK) called Signs “…superbly written and constructed: kicking off with the raw stomp of Make It Move before settling into a series of compositions that effortlessly combine his hard-edged but soulful voice with a real feel for the sort of melodic blues that connects with a pop audience.”

Anyone who originally discovered Jonny Lang through his searing instrumental work will revel in the huge guitar tones and go for broke solos on Signs, while those who have appreciated his growth as an honest and passionate songwriter will find that honesty and passion unabated. Though he long ago left blues purism behind, Lang has never abandoned its spirit of universal catharsis through the relating of personal trials. Signs reaffirms his commitment to the blues and the guitar without sacrificing the modern approach that has made him such a singular artist. 

It is hard to believe that at only 36 years old Jonny Lang has already had a successful career for two decades. Easier to believe when you learn he released his first platinum record at 15—an age when many young people are just beginning to play music. Lie to Me revealed a talent that transcended the crop of blues prodigies floating around in the late Nineties. No flashy re-hasher of classic blues licks, even at that early age Lang was a full-blown artist with a style of his own. Also, setting Lang apart from the wunderkind crowd was a 15-year-old voice that sounded like a weathered soul shouter. Actual life experience was yet to come, and has been subsequently chronicled in a series of five uniformly excellent recordings.

Since the release of his debut album, Grammy Award winning Jonny Lang has built a reputation as one of the best live performers and guitarists of his generation. The path Lang has been on has brought him the opportunity to support or perform with some of the most respected legends in music.  He has shared the stage with everyone from The Rolling Stones and B.B. King to Aerosmith and Buddy Guy, who he continues to tour with today.

9/08     Aspen, CO                                                                 Belly Up+
9/09     Boulder, CO                                                                Boulder Theater +
9/10     Arvada, CO                                                                 Arvada Center +
9/12     Tulsa, OK                                                                   Cain’s +
9/14     Dallas, TX                                                                   House of Blues +
9/15     Houston, TX                                                                House of Blues +
9/16     Austin, TX                                                                  ACL Live +
9/18     Kansas City, MO                                                        Knuckleheads #
9/19     St. Louis, MO                                                             Pageant #
9/21     Milwaukee, WI                                                           Potawatomi Casino #
9/22     Milwaukee, WI                                                           Polawatomi Casino #
9/23     Chicago, IL                                                                 House of Blues #
9/24     Louisville, KY                                                            Bourbon & Beyond Festival 
9/26     Indianapolis, IN                                                          The Vogue #
9/30     Hartford, CT                                                               Infinity Hall +
10/01   Fairfield, CT                                                               Warehouse +
10/03   Boston, MA                                                                The Wilbur Theater #
10/04   Portland, ME                                                               Aura #
10/06    Cranston, RI                                                               Park Theatre #
10/07   Hampton Beach, NH                                                   Hampton Beach Casino #
10/08   Reading, PA                                                                Reading Blues Festival
10/19   Huntington, NY                                                          Paramount
10/22   Zwolle, NL                                                                  Hedon
10/23   Cologne, Germany                                                      Gloria
10/25   Berlin, Germany                                                          Columbia Club
10/27   Hamburg, Germany                                                    Mojo
10/29   Copenhagen, Denmark                                                Amager Bio
10.30   Oslo, Norway                                                             Rockafeller
10/31   Stockholm, Sweden                                                    Nalen
11/04   London, UK                                                                SBE (London Folk and Roots Fest)
11/05   Leuven, Belgium                                                         Hep Depot (Leuven Blues Festival)
11/07   Cleon, France                                                              La Travene (Blues de Travene)
11/09   Marseille, France                                                         Espace Julien
11/10   Six-Fours-les-Plages, France                                      Espace Malraux
11/11   Paris, France                                                               La Cigale
11/13   Prague, Czech Republic                                              Lucerna
11/14   Vienna, Austria                                                           Porgy and Bess
11/16   Sumperk, Czech Republic                                           House of Culture (Blues Alive Fest)
11/27   Spokane, WA                                                              Bing Crosby
11/28   Seattle, WA                                                                The Neptune
11/29   Vancouver, BC                                                           Commodore Ballroom
12/01   Grants Pass, OR                                                          Rogue Theatre
12/02   Tahoe, NV                                                                  Montbleu
12/03   Sacramento, CA                                                          Crest Theatre
12/05   Santa Cruz, CA                                                           The Catalyst
12/06   Solana Beach, CA                                                       Belly Up
12/08   Pasadena, CA                                                              The Rose
12/09   San Juan Capistrano, CA                                            Coach House
12/10   San Juan Capistrano, CA                                            Coach House
1/09     Buffalo, NY                                                                Tralf
1/10     Cleveland, OH                                                            House of Blues
1/12     New Buffalo, MI                                                        Silver Creek Event Center
1/16     Jacksonville, FL                                                          FL Theater
1/18     St. Petersburg, FL                                                       Palladium
1/19     Lake Buena Vista, FL                                                 House of Blues
1/20     Myrtle Beach, SC                                                       House of Blues
1/22     Atlanta, GA                                                                 Centerstage
1/23     New Orleans, LA                                                        House of Blues
1/25     Lafayette, LA                                                              Acadiana PAC
1/26     San Antonio, TX                                                         Aztek Theater
1/27     Oklahoma City, OK                                                    Diamond Ballroom
2/01     Agoura Hills, CA                                                        Canyon
2/02     Scottsdale, AZ                                                            Talking Stick Casino

# - Jack Broadbent – Direct Support
+ - Guthrie Brown – Direct Support