Sabaton is celebrating one-million subscribers on their popular YouTube channel by sharing a new animated music video in a surprise drop. “’No Bullets Fly’” is from their album Heroes, out now via Nuclear Blast Records. Their current album, 2019’s the Great War is also out now.
Supergroup Hollywood Vampires have shared their cover of David Bowie classic ‘Heroes’. The track, featuring Johnny Depp on lead vocals, was recorded last year at legendary Hansa Studios — the same place where Bowie wrote the original back in 1977. Check it out!Continue reading
Much of the excitement at this past weekends’ New York Comic Con was about DC Comics Entertainment/Warner Brothers studios film Justice League, uniting the heroes Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg in a team-up. With the new official trailer dropped, aside from the non-stop action, the standout was Gang of Youths’ cover of David Bowie’s classic track ‘Heroes’. Watch the trailer and hear the track below:Continue reading
The 2017 Wacken Open Air festival took place this past weekend in Germany, and did not disappoint. This year’s lineup included the likes of Megadeth, Alice Cooper, Emperor, Volbeat, Amon Amarth and Kreator, and over 70,000 people showed up to witness it all in person. Shortly after Alice Cooper‘s set, each and every one of those fans took part in a moving tribute to Motörhead’s Lemmy Kilmister. Continue reading
The remaining members of Motörhead have announced plans to release a new covers album in tribute to their late singer Lemmy Kilmister. Continue reading
Amanda Palmer, continuing to return from her hiatus after the birth of her son last year, has produced a tribute album to David Bowie with the help of multi-instrumentalist Jherek Biscoff and other noted collaborators. Dubbed Strung Out In Heaven, the EP was released with the help of Palmer’s Patreon supporters . You stream the lead track ‘Blackstar’ featuring (Anna Calvi), and buy it from her Bandcamp page as well. The minimum price is $1 – $.54 of which will go to Bowie’s publisher for the use of the songs. The remaining proceeds from the first month of sales (until March 5th) will go to the cancer research wing of Tufts Medical Center, in memory of Bowie.
There is special artwork for each track created by noted artists from around the world, which you can see below. Palmer continues to create projects and engage her audience via Patreon. You can support her there:
Strung Out In Heaven EP track listing
1. Blackstar (Featuring Anna Calvi) 08:32
2. Space Oddity (Featuring Neil Gaiman) 05:07
3. Ashes To Ashes 03:59
4. Heroes (Featuring John Cameron Mitchell) 03:37
5. Helden (Single Version) (Featuring John Cameron Mitchell) 03:38
6. Jherek Bischoff – Life On Mars? (Instrumental) 03:58
Amanda Palmer – Vocals
Jherek Bischoff – Double Bass/Arrangements/Conducting
Serena McKinney– Violin 1
Alyssa Park– Violin 2
Ben Ullery– Viola
Jacob Braun – Cello
Anna Calvi – Vocals/Guitar (Blackstar)
Jono Manson – Amanda’s Engineer (The Kitchen Sink)
Alex Thomas – Anna Calvi’s Engineer (Bruce Grove Studio)
Chris Fogel – Jherek/Strings Engineer (Hyperion Sound / ELBO Studios)
Bryan Carrigan – Jherek/Strings Asst. Engineer (Hyperion Sound / ELBO Studios)
John Cameron Mitchell – Vocals (Heroes and Helden)
David Mack (United States) – Ashes to Ashes
Sarah Beetson (United Kingdom) – EP cover and Space Oddity
Félix Marqués (Spain) – Life on Mars
HA-HA (Australia) – Helden (German Version)
Bill Sienkiewicz (United States) – Heroes (English Version)
I wasn’t ready for this. I wasn’t ready to hear this record right now or to write this review. I was not ready to learn David Bowie had died of cancer, and that this already rough start 2016 had already dealt my mental musical Parthenon another harsh blow. Before I was laid low by these events, I was intrigued by the ‘Lazarus’ music video and pre-ordered Blackstar (Columbia/ RCA) on Amazon. But I hadn’t played the album one time in a busy weekend. And then once the news came down, I retreated to what most do in these cases, share my sorrow publicly and played my favorites on a loop for a few days. Mainly relegated to what is on my old iPod Classic 160 GB, my portable Bowie collection is mainly the 70s albums I grew up on (Diamond Dogs, Station To Station, Low, Heroes, Lodger, my 1990s favorite Outside, and some obligatory hits here and there I’m sure everyone else knows well. I wasn’t sure how to approach this final album review from an artist I admired all my life, knowing this was the last new thing I would ever hear from him. I laid down in bed for the first few listens. Just in bed in the dark with my headphones on.
As much an album rooted in Bowie’s entire oeuvre, ‘Blackstar’ is equally an album that would have come from a future timeline or reality. The epic title track opens things up and is almost like a little elctronica-based rock operetta. It chirps to life at once, but soon morphs into a gorgeous, almost Gospel rock-inflected anthem. The third motif in the middle section has the grit and grace of any great rock song the man ever put down on wax. Vocally and lyrically alone, the performance moved me to tears right away. Of course these ominous whooshing churchly vocals, swelling and brooding horns and reeds, right along side with lyrics about life, death, fame and rebirth heard in the context of knowing he had died surely hit me harder than it would have otherwise. That doesn’t make this track any less amazing.
The rest of the album flirts with an array of stylistic choices. The powerful uptempo beat of ‘Tis A Pity She Was A Whore’ comes with a subtle Sun-Ra style discordant beauty to it. A chaos that flirts with ruin, but holding together by a thread of greatness. David’s voice is just magical, and harkening back to his earliest work in a lot of ways. Donny McCaslin’s brass work just crushes on this track.
‘Lazarus’ is a song that along with its companion video will be analyzed, deconstructed and perhaps books will be written about for the next few decades I would imagine. The somber balladry of the tune can barely stand up to the titanic lyrics. It was hearing the collected writing of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross set to song. No doubt anyone who heard the track when it came out, saw it in a different light after David’s death. The eerie lyrics are not just prophecy, they are spooky real. Like a manifest from the before the grave. Many artists wrote with their own death as a specter in their life that was all too real to them. Hank Williams Sr., Warren Zevon, Frank Zappa, and hell, evenin the tragic case of Jeff Buckley; he must have “felt like he was dying since the day he was born” in the purest sense. Bowie was clearly leaving no illusions to chance with this track, so present and bare and raw about the sum of his life coming to a bittersweet end. And you never want the track to end, but it does as well.
At this point, after a track like ‘Lazurus’, it starts to be hard to even track quality on a real scale that has meaning, but I will press on. In a change of pace and tone ‘Sue (Or In A Season of Crime)’ is a slick blend of those killer collaborations with Brian Eno, but via the centrifuge of the many who followed in those massive footsteps too like Nine Inch Nails or more recently, Puscifer. ‘Girl Loves Me’ has a creeping rhythm and a call and response refrain. The full expanse of his singing range, including a not often enough heard vamp in his bass register is a thrill and treat. This song will find its fans, but really it’s just slightly above filler.
‘Dollar Days’ again finds us in familiar ground. Almost a call back to his earlier work: a deceptive, emotional, subversive, brilliant pop song. And lyrically again, so final and so very sad, it will break your heart to hear it. Special note goes to the piano work of Jason Lindner.
As the penultimate track evolves via a danceable beat into the beautiful final cut, ‘I Can’t Give Everything Away’. It is the sound of an acceptance an artist saying goodbye forever. It would seem that the sentiment of the title is quite the opposite in reality. On Blackstar, Bowie left nothing behind or unsaid; if anything it’s a bit esoteric. Not just in a sense of this album, but his career and his life. And I am still not ready for this. And neither are you.
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Over the top (in both senses of the term) and once more into the breach, Sabaton unleash their seventh war-themed opus Heroes (Nuclear Blast), another slab of bombastic power metal.
After the unbridled success of 2012’s Carolus Rex, Sabaton find themselves in a new position, feeling the pressure of following up a massive album, not only their career-best but a genuine genre-classic, and with an all new lineup; only band leaders vocalist Joachim Brodén and bassist Pär Sundström remain. When faced with following up truly great albums, many bands choose to tinker with their approach (think Slayer on South Of Heaven). Sabaton have puffed up their chests and roared “More of the same!”
Fans of the Swedish machine will not be disappointed. Choosing to focus on different heroes of war scenarios, each song has its own tale to tell. ‘Soldier of 3 Armies’, a standout, pounding, pacy track tells of Lauri Törni, soldier of the Finnish army, the SS and the US army; ‘No Bullets Fly’ recounts the Charlie Brown/Franz Stigler incident to a soundtrack that kicks off with a classic Judas Priest riff before strafing into a huge chorus enhanced by Peter Tägtgren’sslick, dynamic production; ‘Resist And Bite’ calls to mind AC/DC’s ‘Thunderstruck’ while celebrating Belgian resistance to overwhelming odds; ‘The Ballad Of Bull’ is epic and choral, reminiscent of Manowar’s ‘Crown And The Ring’, honouring Leslie “Bull” Allen who single-handedly saved 12 wounded comrades; ‘To Hell And Back’, with a distracting and odd Wild-Western whistle, fetes Audie Murphy; while ‘Inmate 4859’ is a fitting epic in the vein of ‘The Caroleans Prayer’, paying tribute to Witold Pilecki, who volunteered to be imprisoned at Auschwitz as part of an undercover mission.
Such stories are fittingly backed by the trademark Sabaton sound; powerful, everything louder than everything else with lashings of Ride-of-The-Valkryian drama, all topped by Brodén’s distinctive gruff melodies. While Heroes doesn’t quite live up Carolus Rex or The Art Of War, it is still definitely and defiantly Sabaton and will delight those who have already joined the army.