Every year, I see album of the year lists. And I’ve done em as well. But in truth, a large percentage of those top 10 albums that make it on lists are due to just a few songs that connect with people. Well that’s how it happens with me these days. Of course some albums are great from start to finish, but it’s a rarity.
So this year, my 2017 list is made up songs that I’ve come across in 2017’s Release Radar (in other words released in 2017) or Discover Playlist from Spotify that I’ve heard the first time in 2017 and have connected with me.
In order to compile the list before year-end, I stopped adding music to the playlist at the end of November. So here is my playlist of new music I heard in 2017.
Also in 2017, Spotify gave me a ton of stats.
So I listened to 66,157 minutes of music, which equates to 1103 hours, which equates to about 3 hours of listening each day.
7,084 different songs make up my listening habit for 2017, which is made up of 1,680 different artists. Hell, I even skipped 2,274 songs. Back in the 80’s I listened to less than 30 artists.
My five top artists for 2017 are The Night Flight Orchestra, Whitesnake, Coheed and Cambria, Trivium and Ozzy Osbourne. And here is my Spotify generated playlist of the top 100 songs I listened too in 2017 across all decades.
Life Ain’t Easy (For A Boy With Long Hair) – The New Roses
Who would have thought that a German act would sound better than the American acts that influenced them?
So what can I say
Things got that bad
I stood before the mirror
To shave my head
But then I looked into my eyes
And I knew right then
You’ll let your hair grow
And start a band
Hilarious but it doesn’t take away from the story setting. We don’t know what we should do sometimes. And when it comes time to make a life-changing decision and dealing with the unknown, it’s important to remind yourself of your true calling.
And as the years went bye
Fashion went and came
And everybody changed
But I’m still the same
Now you try to dress up
Like a rock and roll star
You don’t look cool
And you won’t get far
What you’re looking for
You can’t just buy and wear
There is so much truth in the above. I can put on a T-shirt from companies who endorse MMA fighters and it doesn’t mean I support the sport. The same goes for people who wear Harley Davidsons T-shirts while they drive around in 4WD’s. Rock and metal wear is an attitude as much as a lifestyle choice. It was never about looking cool or a fashion statement. It was about acceptance and being a member of the tribe.
Freedom – Revolution Saints
It’s the best song on the album. Deen Castronovo is one hell of a vocalist and he kicks off this song with a great drum groove. Musically it sounds like a Deep Purple song from the Coverdale era and there’s nothing wrong with that influence whatsoever.
Coming my way
It’s the mood the music sets that hooks me in and the way it builds in the verses.
Gemini – The Night Flight Orchestra
On each album TNFO have a disco pop metal rock track. “West Ruth Ave” took the spot on the first album, “Living For The Night-time” took the spot on the second album and “Gemini” takes the spot on the third album. So many influences are present in this song. It’s like Styx, The Police, Divinyls and Blondie got put into a blender and out came “Gemini”.
Blind Leading The Blind – Adrenaline Mob
Man the “Mob” has suffered on the road. AJ Pero didn’t survive the tour he was involved in and recently David Z lost his life when a truck slammed into their van parked on the side of the road.
The world is running out of time
We all think we know what’s wrong or right
It’s the blind leading the blind
Our governments work for the corporations who are only interested in making money. They don’t care about global warming or our natural resources. The debates between the two sides don’t even exist. How can one side argue their point if the other side doesn’t believe there is a point to argue.
Goodbye Forever – Volbeat
The mighty Michael Poulsen is one hell of a songwriter. As soon as the song starts off with his major key lead and 60’s rock feel, I’m hooked.
Did you say the thing you wanted?
Have you ever felt in love?
A moment where no problems would ever get you down
Free as an eagle but only for a day, yeah listen
Live every moment like it’s your last.
Take the arms that embrace, no more being afraid
Feel the sun on your face or goodbye forever
Live in the now, don’t be afraid.
We are the birth
We are the end
We are the souls
We have a name
We are the rising and fallen ones
We are the spirit forever more
This is my favourite part of the song. I dig how the military style drumming works with the syncopated guitar lines and the gospel backing vocals. Just brilliant.
They Don’t Care About Us – Saliva
It’s a great re-imagining of a Michael Jackson song in a hard rock context. It’s from their “Love, Lies and Therapy” album released in 2016. Hell I don’t even know who is in the band anymore. They sort of dropped off my radar after Josey Scott left.
Skin head, dead head
Everybody gone bad
In the suite, on the news
Everybody dog food
Bang bang, shot dead
Everybody’s gone mad
All I wanna say is that
They don’t really care about us
All I wanna say is that
They don’t really care about us
“Bang, bang, shot dead.” The two biggest man-made killers of people are guns and cars. So it’s not surprising that terrorists are using the two to cause chaos in major cities. But what about the home-grown madman, who takes bags of guns into a Las Vegas Hotel and then proceeds to play target practice at a Country Music Festival. Even though the song was in response to Rodney King’s beating at the hands of LA Police, the message remains the same, 20 plus years later.
Every time mass shootings happen, the Government fails to do anything. And it doesn’t matter who is President. Mass shootings happened under Trump and he has done nothing. They happened under Obama and he did nothing. They happened under Bush Jnr and he did nothing. They happened under Clinton and he did nothing. They happened under Bush Snr and he did nothing.
The Government is voted in by the people, but all they do is please the lobby groups and corporations.
Mass shootings happened in Australia under previous Governments; however when the “Port Arthur” massacre happened while the Liberal Government of John Howard was in power, we finally had a leader and a Government that stood up and made change. Since then, we haven’t had a mass shooting.
People always remember what people do.
Tell me what has become of my rights
Am I invisible because you ignore me?
Your proclamation promised me free liberty, now
I’m tired of being the victim of shame
They’re throwing me in a class with a bad name
I can’t believe this is the land from which I came
After 9/11, our rights all around the world disappeared as the democratically elected Governments passed a lot of laws to “try and prevent future disasters from happening” which in turn made these democratically elected governments similar to totalitarian governments.
The laws passed involved the invasion of our privacy. Our phone calls either could be or will be recorded, our emails would be stored and analysed by an algorithm, our Google searches would be reported for certain key words and analysed, our text messages and so much more.
We are the victims of Government corruption to protect the faceless people who pay the politicians to speak for them.
Periscope – Papa Roach
One of the bands I was involved with in the early 2000’s covered “Last Resort” because it had that “Bring Your Daughter (To The Slaughter)” riff.
I don’t want to dive in first
You don’t want to hear these words
It’s only going to make it worse
So the band with each album has been on my radar and with each album they surprise with their diversity. This is another surprise. There’s hardly any distortion but the song still rocks hard.
Black Rain – Eclipse
They are from Stockholm, Sweden. They formed in 1999 and currently they are on Frontiers Records. Singer/guitarist/bassist Erik Martensson also has a side gig writing songs for other artists. Frontiers Records constantly use him to write songs for other artists. If you don’t believe me, check out W.E.T and Revolution Saints even covered an Eclipse song on their debut album.
This song is here because of the lead break. The riff under it reminds me of “Hangar 18” by Megadeth, while the actual lead break itself is reminiscent of the “Mr Crowley” outro lead and the “Tornado of Souls” lead by Marty Friedman.
No Surrender – Art Of Anarchy
Changed Man – Art Of Anarchy
The Madness – Art Of Anarchy
I was really surprised by this release. Actually I was blown away by it. The lyrics more or less reference the schizophrenic breakdown of Scott Stapp. Hell you can call it a concept album.
“In ‘No Surrender’ I addressed those moments in life where you’ve reached a personal crossroads or crisis. That place where your back is against the wall and you’re left with two choices — to cave in and crumble allowing whatever circumstance to break you forever, or to rise up and fight through holding on to that never give up spirit that lies deep within. I detail in the verses personal experiences, as I lived them, that have taken me to that critical place of choice. Am I to give up, stay down and fade away or get up, fight on and never surrender.”
In “No Surrender”, Stapp is singing, “No way out, hit the flat line, we get up, no surrender, it’s your time, grab the lifeline, we get up, no surrender, no surrender”. There it is, the human spirit fighting for its place in society and the world at large.
In “The Madness”, Stapp is singing, “The madness keeps me from the other side”. And the other side is where he wants to be. Its greener, full of love and his family is there. He wants to be there with them.
In “Changed Man”, Stapp is singing, “Give me one more chance, cause I’m a changed man, it’s time to come back home”. You can hear the sorrow and regret in his voice.
You live, you make mistakes, you learn from the mistakes, you create memories and experiences and then you write songs about them. And while a lot of people I know pretend to be perfect and happy, reality is so much different.
The Violence – Rise Against
I came across this band via Guitar Hero. My kids had “Savior” up and man it was a pretty wicked song and I’ve been a fan since.
Are we not good enough? Are we not brave enough?
Is the violence in our nature just the image of our maker?
Are we not good enough? Are we not brave enough?
To become something greater
Than the violence in our nature?
I guess a few madmen who are in charge spoil it for the billions who don’t seek violence and war.
Pariah – Steve Wilson
Porcupine Tree or solo!
Does it really matter for Steve Wilson?
I’m tired of Facebook
Tired of my failing health
I’m tired of everyone
And that includes myself
Can we ever really disconnect from society and people in our current social media driven times?
Carry Me My Bones – Corroded
A Note To Me – Corroded
It’s the acoustic version from “The Nevo Sessions”.
“Carry Me My Bones” in distortion is a pretty good song, but man, the acoustic version is swampy and groovy and rawer and better.
Carry me my tired bones
If only our bones could talk and tell us the secrets they hold of how they kept our body together in times of stress, being overworked, being drunk or depressed.
“A Note To Me”
I’m just a coward who hates everything about me
Everything I’ve done was a lie
It’s hard not to cry
Self-assessment or awareness of invulnerability is what makes us better.
I stand before you in my nakedness
I admit that I was wrong
My only hope is that you will forgive
And that someday, someday, will forget
I’m not perfect. I’ve said words that have hurt people. Some of them have forgiven me and others haven’t. But I’ve learnt from every word said in spite to be better.
Light Me Up – Doom Unit
It’s got this swampy bluesy feel which I really dig. Plus the vocal melodies are addictive. And they are from Finland. I’ll be honest, there is something in the culture water’s around Northern Europe because there is so much good music coming out of the region.
When I start another day
I’m slowly drowning all the way
Light me up
When the day isn’t happening the way you planned and nothing is going right for you, you need to focus on what you can control.
Human (Jim Eno Sessions) – Ran’n’Bone Man
Elton John reckons Rag’n’Bone man has the best new music out there. If you haven’t heard “Human” then you should. It’s a hit and it’s getting there slowly, as all good music does its converting people like me into it. This version is a simple piano/acoustic guitar version. It’s raw and the vocals are emotive.
I’m only human
I make mistakes
We all make mistakes. And we get a lot of chances to make amends and learn from those mistakes.
Playing With Fire – I Am Giant
I’m through with playing with games in the presence of a liar
It’s the opening line of this groovy little number.
Are we dragging up the past when I’ve walked the line already
Yes, our memories can have a negative impact. There are always things in the past that we regret. But, for some, regretful words, choices and actions remain with them forever. Every single memory from the past comes with an emotion. Get stuck with a past emotion and you roadblock your future.
Lost – Death Angel
I thought this was Adrenaline Mob when I heard it. And even though the song came out in 2016 on “The Evil Divide” album, I only just heard it, so it’s in my 2017 list. And it’s that bridge section that comes in at 2.50 that hooked me in.
Rain down on me and wash this pain away
In every ancient text, rain is seeing as the great redeemer. It’s part of Mother Nature’s arsenal to destroy the sins of man-made structures.
From The Flame – Leprous
I had to Google to find out more information about Leprous. Wikipedia tells me that Leprous is a Norwegian progressive metal band formed in 2001 and the band gained prominence as the backing band for former Emperor front man Ihsahn’s live shows.
You’ll find me here when I’m gone
Where I made my surrender
There is always a street, a home, a beach, a park where something went down. A paradigm shift so big that the person’s life was/is changed forever.
Send In The Clowns – End Of Green
This song is so gloomy but I like it. I have no idea who End of Green is or how the album sounds. All I know is that this song came up on my Release Radar playlist and it’s been a save from the outset.
So I went to Google to find out more. Check out what Wikipedia tells me.
End of Green is a German gothic/doom metal band formed in Stuttgart in 1992. According to singer Michael Huber, the band’s name implies the end of the colour green, which typically symbolizes hope. This fits with the type of music the band produces. The band describes its style as Depressed Subcore. The lyrics are about loneliness, depression, pain and death.
Damn right it’s depressing and yet there is something hypnotic about it.
In this moment so painful
I’ll wear the chains of the past
When we feel down, it’s the memories of the past that keep us weighed down, unable to get out of the hole. The words said or not said and the actions taken or the lack of actions taken. And those memories of the past normally come with an emotion. It we allow that emotion to control us, our current days will be pre-loaded with pain and angst.
All my life they have pushed me around
At some point in time, we will hit the wall. Like it or not, endings are real and there’s nothing that can be done. But all endings serve a purpose and are necessary. An un-loving or over controlling or violent relationship prevents us from reaching our potential. So what do we do, when we take back control of our lives?
Basically, good things cannot start to happen unless the bad ends.
Promised Land – Sweet & Lynch
People who know who I am and what my faith is all about know that heaven is often referred to as the Promised Land. That’s exactly what the song is about. How we struggle through life yet through it all, we need to stay strong and focused. Eventually, we’ll see the Promised Land.
“Promised Land” is the opening track and the first single in the lead up to the album release. This song deserves more attention, but it’s hard to break through the noise. Each new track is competing against all the hit records plus everything in between.
“Take my hand, the promised land”.
The promised land can be any place or event that you have kept a discipline or focus to get to. It could be the home you built or purchased or a personal achievement or goal.
My Fate – Vimic
Is this Joey Jordison’s third or fourth post Slipknot band?
The reason why this song is here happens from 3.15 to the end. You need to hear it to appreciate it.
And that outro guitar solo. You need to hear that as well to appreciate it.
I am the author of my fate
One of the best lines I’ve heard. The buck stops with you. The place you are in right now is because of you and the decision you made. You are the author of your fate.
Here I Stand – In Whispers
I got no idea who this band is and how many albums they have released. But this song came up on a Release Radar or Discover playlist and it was good enough to end up in my 2017 playlist.
The song originally hit YouTube in 2011. The album “Sound The Alarm” came out in March 2013. The first time I heard the song is in 2017. It’s the way of the world. Things take some time to get our attention.
Are you still around when it happens?
The main riff hooks me in, a combination of Judas Priest style riffing made famous by Avenged Sevenfold and Black Veil Brides in their songs. ‘Knives and Pens’ by Black Veil Brides sounds like Avenged Sevenfold’s ‘Unholy Confessions”.
Here I stand
And I won’t fall down
With both my feet on the ground
Shame on me
Forever holding you down
Here I stand
And I won’t fall down
Every time I hear “Here I Stand” I think of standing before someone (a powerful entity, a corrupted employer or a loved one) to face judgement or punishment for some act in the past. Who gave the right to these people to judge upon me?
The Road – Quiet Riot
As soon as I heard the voice, it was familiar. I’d like to tell you that I knew it was Durbin on vocals just from hearing him, but I had to Google it to find out. Hell I had to Google who was in this version of Quiet Riot. It’s good to see that Quiet Riot is still releasing new music, even when the two founders in Rhoads and DuBrow have both left this Earth for astral planes far and wide and main songwriter from the 80s Carlos Cavazo is now bending strings for Ratt which looks like to be on hiatus anyway.
Feels like we just got back
I’ll kiss my family and I’ll be out the door again
We’re running around in the dark
We are together apart
Unless your family is travelling with you, the road is just you, the guys in the band, some members of the road crew and lonely miles between cities. A lot of artists don’t come back. Randy Rhoads didn’t come back home. Steve Ray Vaughan didn’t come back. A lot of the guys from Lynyrd Skynyrd didn’t come back. Cliff Burton didn’t come back. Kurt Cobain came back but didn’t want to go back out. Chris Cornell didn’t come back. Chester Bennington didn’t come back. AJ Pero didn’t come back. David Z didn’t come back and the other guys from Adrenaline Mob got pretty banged up.
American Rock ‘n Roll – Kid Rock
Greatest Show On Earth – Kid Rock
Stand The Pain – Kid Rock
From his newest album “Sweet Southern Sugar”. I can’t say I’m a huge Kid Rock fan, but I do check out his stuff from time to time. I also caught him live on the Bon Jovi “Because We Can” tour. He’s a showman and a very good one at that. These three songs are hard southern rock all the way and man, they are a joy to listen too. It’s like one big party jam committed to tape.
American Rock ‘n Roll
It’s the laid back rock of the 70’s which today is known as country rock.
“Headlights shining on rusted fences as I pass the rail yard”
I love the lyric. It brings back memories of the past regardless where you lived.
Fire up the lighter and a Lucky Strike
The radio’s saying “Take a walk on the wild side”
If you are a smoker today, you are seen as a fool.
Why would you put a cigarette in your mouth when you know how it kills ya? But once upon a time, smoking was a part of life, especially socially.
Give me that heart and that soul
American rock ‘n’ roll
Greatest Show On Earth
It’s the in your face album opener. Again, it’s dirtied up blues in Kid Rock’s own unique way.
I’m a full-blown
Down home rolling stone
I’m a cyclone
I’ll shit wherever I roam
The attitude, groove and lyrical phrasing in the verses hook me in. Like any rocker who hits the road, they come and leave like a cyclone.
The Chorus, is the best Chorus that Aerosmith didn’t write.
Welcome to the greatest
Love you when you hate us
Welcome to the greatest f….. show on earth
A showman Kid Rock is. I saw him opening up for Bon Jovi on the “Because We Can” tour and he nailed it. He had the stadium crowd in his hands and he took us on his journey. Even my wife, you never heard one single note from Kid Rock enjoyed the show.
Stand The Pain
It’s got the same message like all the rock anthems of the past. But it’s not a rocker. It’s a laid back rocker.
When it feels like you just can’t stand the pain
And when it feels there’s nothing left that you can do
Just bow your head down and plow right through
Working smarter is better than working harder. If the day’s events caused a massive change in your life, there is no use in attaching emotions to them because it will always end in pain. The best way is to move onto the new day and into new beginnings.
Sometimes life’s plans can be postponed
And it’s hard to step back out into the unknown
I’ve been in situations like this. I can plan for some future state but life is full of random variables which can never be foreseen. And suddenly, when these variables strike, I am navigating unknown roads, looking for answers.
You and Me – Farmers Boys
It’s weird to explain this band. It’s like Muse went a bit heavier. Wikipedia tells me they are a heavy metal band from Stuttgart, Germany and have been active since 1994. They reached their peak of popularity with their album “The World Is Ours” in 2000. Wikipedia further tells me their musical style is a blend of Machine Head’s groove metal and Paradise Lost’s gothic metal. Add Muse to that list.
You and me against them all; this is how it ends
Humans are excellent at finding something to be afraid of. This ranges from our partners, to the people in the shadows, to the faceless network of people conspiring against us and what we stand for and so forth. However, if there is someone who lets us down, it’s normally ourselves. Our doubt cripples us. Because of doubt, we don’t trust in our own abilities to try to do something new. But a time comes in all of our lives, when we become brave enough to rise.
We never giving up giving in
That’s how we bring the system down.
You and me carry on
’till all the kingdoms fall
Redefined – H.E.A.T
Best Of The Broken – H.E.A.T
H.E.A.T is a Swedish hard rock group formed in 2007. These songs are from album number 5. Yep, back in the 80’s, if an artist went global or continental, they might get to album number 5. In the internet era of 1999 plus, artists are getting to album number 5 and above without getting out of their own continent.
You tell me what you want
And I give you what you need
We don’t realize we’re redefined
You tell me what you want
And I give you what you need
We don’t realize we are redefined
Our roles in society, relationships and our lives in general are constantly redefined. Sometimes by choices we made or by choices of others. And it’s okay if we make short-sighted bad decisions based on short-term thinking. Everyone does it. However not everyone can correct those decisions.
Best Of The Broken
Welcome, now, say goodbye
Good men will be sacrificed
We are the industry, running free
Wearing rings of cyanide
Damn right. The recording industry makes a lot of money. And that money buys them influence. When you have influence, you are basically allowed to run free and do whatever you want. However, when the internet introduced a new distribution system which the recording industry couldn’t control, they screamed and moaned and paid a lot of dollars to get laws written to give them back control.
Smalltown Boy – Apollo Drive
When I first heard the song I thought it was a Coldplay song from their earlier albums. It’s got an iconic piano riff and I’m thinking, this song is massive, why isn’t it a bigger hit. So I Google “Smalltown Boy” and I find out the original artist who performed it is Bronski Beat on their 1984 album “The Age Of Consent”. On their Spotify account, the song has 24 plus million streams, while the Apollo Drive account has only twenty thousand streams.
Anyway, I prefer the Apollo Drive. And it’s weird that in this day and age, I know nothing of the band. A quick Google search tells me they are from Sweden and they took their band name from a LA street where the deal was done to form the band.
You leave in the morning with everything you own in a little black case
Alone on a platform, the wind and the rain on a sad and lonely face
Mother will never understand why you had to leave
But the answers you seek will never be found at home
The love that you need will never be found at home
People had to escape their towns and head to the cities if they wanted to make something of themselves. Some succeeded, some failed and some just didn’t make it. It doesn’t have to be that way today. You can be somebody from the confines of your bedroom walls, while you still live with your parents.
Karma – Cyhra
Closure – Cyhra
Dark Clarity – Cyhra
I had to Google who Cyhra are. It’s like a Scandinavian supergroup. It features former Amaranthe vocalist Jake E., ex In Flames guitarist Jesper Strömblad, ex In Flames bassist Peter Iwers and drummer Alexander Landenberg from power metal outfit Rhapsody. The foundations are all based on friendship and a desire to create music.
Consumed by greed
You trade your hearts away
You don’t practice what you preach
Well you’re planting your own dismay
Is it about a band member that did them wrong or a manager or someone else that ripped them off? Either way, it’s a brilliant verse.
And the song is a cross between the Euro modern metal vibe of their earlier bands with Bon Jovi style Choruses. It’s brilliant and I’m a fan.
It’s got some wicked harmonies for a ballad.
And every single argument’s
Like walking on glass
Whatever the setback
I’ll never look back
Damn right it is. An argument is never fully finished because each party feels like they should have said more, so it just sits there until next time.
Again, harmony guitars kick off the song and once the drums come in, it’s moshing time.
I’m romancing a cliché
In this life we portray
We conduct our own demise
I want to break out
We wear so many masks in our daily lives. Sometimes it gets so much living a cliché, we just want to rip those masks off, before it’s too late.
Angel Of Mercy – Black Label Society
I don’t know what it is, but man this song gets the hairs rising on the back of my neck. It brings back memories. I can just imagine lying on my bedroom floor listening to this on headphones! For those that don’t know, the song appears on the album “Catacombs Of the Black Vatican” from Black Label Society. It’s not a 2017 release but it’s been in my playlist since it came out in 2014.
The lead break is pure magic. It just explodes out of the speakers and builds and builds to the point where you cannot help but be in awe at the feel, the melodic phrasing and the disciplined technique on display. The song will never be a hit on the Billboard Charts and due to its mellow nature it might never get a live appearance, but god damn it, the song is a classic.
Til It’s Gone – Kenny Chesney
He’s a country rocker and this song sounds like those southern rock bands of the Seventies for some reason. It’s from his 2014 album, “The Big Revival”. I had to look him up to see what’s the go because to be honest I don’t follow country music. Wikipedia tells me he has recorded 20 albums, 14 of which have been certified Gold or higher by the RIAA. Goes to show that you could be king of your niche/genre but it doesn’t mean that everybody in the world knows who you are.
Got nowhere to go and all night to get there
But I’m going there with you
It’s the opening line of the song and it hooks me in.
The Doomed – A Perfect Circle
I really dig A Perfect Circle. “The Doomed” is their first piece of new music since 2013 and scheduled to appear on their fourth studio album, their first in 14 years. I suppose anything that involves Maynard from Tool, takes time to fruition.
Wikipedia tells me that the song’s origins go back to a small orchestral part written by guitarist/founder Billy Howerdel, who was writing the soundtrack for the indie film D-Love during the band’s downtime in 2015. The part didn’t end up making it in the film; however Howerdel sent the part to band vocalist Maynard James Keenan which Keenan then in return asked Howerdel to write a song around it.
And with anything involving Maynard, the lyrics generate a lot of debate. Howerdel mentioned that, to him, the song is about how power corrupts the people in control of the world.
Behold the new Christ
Behold the same old horde
It doesn’t matter who gets voted in or who leads a nation or a company. The people who forced out the previous leader are still there. The faceless horde is still scheming and plotting.
Blessed are the fornicates
May we bend down to be their whores?
Blessed are the rich
May we labor, deliver them more
I guess not much has changed in human history. The majority of People are still building the dreams of a few people.
Doomed are the poor
Doomed are the peaceful
Doomed are the meek
Doomed are the merciful
If you have a pure heart and a utopian vision, you are doomed. Lies and deceit rule the day. Ignorance and race rule the day. Money and power rule our lives.
You’re on your own!”
We are always on our own.
Rags to Riches – Babylon A.D
“Rags To Riches” is one of the singles released in the lead up and it hooked me in with its “Atomic Playboys” style riff. Musically its excellent and that solo break with that riff underpinning it, is just brilliant.
Rags to riches, young girl got her wishes
With the whole #METOO movement and people speaking up, maybe the young girl didn’t get what she really wished for.
Wanderlust – Black Country Communion
I dig this “super” group. First, I am a fan of Joe Bonamassa on guitar. Glenn Hughes on bass and vocals is a no brainer. Then when you add the rest of the personal, you can see it’s got some serious cred.
I don’t know what the song is about lyrically. I don’t really care, because the sounds, the groove and the feel hook me in.
Forever Alone – Bigfoot
I dig this. It’s got a cool Journey vibe circa 1980-1983. So I had to Google them to find out more and to be honest, the Google search didn’t give me back much information except they are on Frontiers Records (which is no surprise),
What I did find is they are a 5 piece Hard Rock band based in Wigan, England, formed in 2014. Their website tells me they have influences stemming from many different genres from The Eagles to Pantera.
And this song sounds like Journey.
The Outsider – Black Veil Brides
My Vow – Black Veil Brides
You either dig BVB or hate BVB. There is no in between. Personally, I got into the band because of the guitarists and by album number 3, the songs started to grow on me. These two songs are from album number 5, called “Vale” due to be released January 2018.
You know how A7X copped flack for cloning some great metal songs on “Hail to the King”. Well, I think BVB cloned the whole A7X album on this song. And that my friend is why I love music. The familiarity of the melodies and the sounds.
This wall of stone
That they built to cage our minds
No truths or facts will change a mind that doesn’t want to be changed. And our viewpoints from birth are shaped by the social tribes we grew up in. Eventually as we get older, we start our own research and start to form our own views. And some of us just remain with the views that we grew up with.
Say a prayer, every night
All we hear must be right
I am the outsider
The power of religion is huge. Those words in the Bible are treated like truth. But people are forming different views. I always say that the entities with the power get to rewrite history in a way that it suits them. The wealthiest entity in the world is religion.
The way the song starts off hooks me in. The riffs are classic heavy metal straight from the metal 80’s.
Like a bomb that ticks when my heart clicks
I’ll be left for dead with what I’ve said
Such a cool lyric about the moment when the words you say are like a bomb going off in a room.
And that lead break is shredalicious.
Bloodline Lullaby – Otherwise
As soon as it starts, I am reminded of “The Afterman” by Coheed and Cambria.
Another day, another moon
Any time you’re feeling lonely
Just listen to the wind, you’ll hear me
Sing your song across the sky
This is our bloodline lullaby
It’s about being a parent, the bloodline that ties father to child.
Crazy as it seems, love in the spotlight
Chasing out a dream, living through fault line
You are all I need, you’re my everything
Counting down the hours, so how the time flies
Running the miracle mile, crossing the state lines
I’m right here with you, always true
And that’s the truth. Once you become a parent, your priorities change. Suddenly the spotlight you craved ceases to be the most important thing in your life. And on tour, you are counting down the days before you get back home to see your son or daughter. Not all artists have those same feelings, only some.
God of the Sun – Sons of Apollo
Alive – Sons Of Apollo
Labyrinth – Sons Of Apollo
When I read that Portnoy/Sherinian started a project together I wasn’t interested. However as a fan of Ron Bumblefoot Thal, I was suddenly very interested. And when I read that Portnoy/Sherinian tapped Jeff Scott Soto to do vocals, I was very intrigued.
Any fan of progressive rock/metal will love this album. It has everything that all the great albums have. Even the musical interludes are memorable and hummable, which has become a forgotten art form over the last 15 years as bands play more technical and physically exhausting intricate passages in their songs.
God of the Sun
The Arabian Middle Eastern feel in the intro hooks me in right away and when Bumblefoot kicks in with the riff at 1.20, its breaking desk time. But it gets even better at the 2 minute mark with another head busting, desk breaking riff. And when JSS starts singing at the 2.30 minute mark, the feel is laid back and very Kashmir like in the groove.
Cause I am the light
I am the face of tomorrow
Now I’ve just begun
You can’t hide or run
Cause I am the god of the sun
JSS brings out his Dio influences in the chorus. Hell, this passage could have appeared on a Dio/Malmsteen album.
Then at the 5 minute mark, the song moves into a laid back solo section before going all proggy at the 7 minute mark.
Even though I am not a drummer, I remember watching a video of Mark Portnoy discussing how he drums certain songs and he spoke about a cool little technique called Stretch and Grow. It’s like they play a 4 bar riff, with a 1 bar melodic passage. Then they play the same 4 bar riff, but this time, the 2 bars of the melodic passage. Then they play the same 4 bar riff, and the now 3 bars of the melodic passage. You can see how they are stretching and growing the 1 bar melodic passage. Then they play the same 4 bar riff and 4 bars of the melodic passage.
Then they start contract the “Stretch and Grow” back to the 1 bar melodic passage. So it basically goes, 4 bar riff, 4 bar melodic passage, 4 bar riff, 3 bar melodic passage, 4 bar riff, 2 bar melodic passage and it all ends with the same 4 bar riff and 1 bar melodic passage.
And that my friend is Prog 101.
It’s about drug use. Hell, most of the addictions we have these days are legal ones. Prescription drugs, nicotine and alcohol are all-powerful legal drugs.
Colorize the sadness; the fear is black and white
Tunnel of denial, looking for the light
The devil on my shoulder, the master of disguise
Can you hear him singing?
The song is a power ballad.
Stare at the wall
Pray for reflection
The black mirror screens we stare at are the walls that reflect back at us.
Cause it takes me in
And I can’t let go
But I’ll never win
In this labyrinth
Social media is a labyrinth. Our quest in connection has created a labyrinth which takes us in and never lets us go. I know the song is not about social media, but making the connection is easy.
Time stands still in this virtual land
There’s no winning this losing hand
And the way the song weaves in and out of progressive rock and hard rock, is like a labyrinth.
Internal Masquerade – Galactic Cowboys
This band had a lot of promo from Geffen Records back in the day, but the audience just didn’t come. Eventually they got dropped and disappeared, only to return. And what a nice return it is.
As soon as the intro riff kicks in, I’m hooked. It’s a combination of natural harmonics and scalar runs, outlining the chord progression.
I’m your fear from deep inside
I’m the hate that you can’t hide
I’m the demons that comprise your very soul
I’m the rose amongst the thorns
I’m the angel with the horns
I’m the deeper darker side of you
How many times have you smiled but really felt like ripping the other person’s head off in rage. We all have that darker side.
The Sin And The Sentence – Trivium
Other Worlds – Trivium
Beyond Oblivion – Trivium
The Revanchist – Trivium
Endless Night – Trivium
It was the James Hetfield vocals on “The Crusade” that hooked me in. Fast forward almost 10 years later and Trivium is still at it and still kicking some butt.
The Sin and the Sentence
The first thing that comes to mind is the T1000 Cybernetic drummer. Wow, the speed and precision. Human capabilities never cease to amaze me.
You better practice your lines
You better practice your words
I know that real monsters lie
Between the light and the shade
Hell, this could be directed at any leader of a democratic country. Isn’t it funny how democratically elected leaders want to turn their country into a totalitarian state, like the same ones our grandfathers went to war to defeat?
You condemn me
Cause you don’t understand me
And that my friend’s is life in a nutshell. The politicians are so out of touch with society and reality, they don’t understand us. They are so wrapped up in their ivory towers I bet if a journalist asked any leader of the U.S, U.K or Australia for the price of bread and milk, they wouldn’t know the answer.
Matt Heafy sure knows how to write a catchy chorus.
(What have we done?) Creations devised
(What have we done?) To put an end to all life?
Have you seen the AI demonstration that Elon Musk put out on his twitter account. It’s scary. Very scary.
A dead road, a dark sun
Now waits beyond oblivion
Maybe in our quest to conquer nature and get other people to work for us, we create tools that will end up destroying us.
Cause we’re living in other worlds
Breathing in other worlds
Let me see how many worlds I live in. My home world, my work world, my sporting world, my music world, my social world, my parents world and to be honest I can keep on going forever.
The problem in relationships is when one person spends their time living in a world more than the other person. For example, one person is spending their time living in their home world, while another person is spending their time living in their social world. Suddenly we have a disconnect and a problem.
Hell I didn’t even know what “Revanchist” meant. Google dictionary tells me it’s “an advocate or supporter of a political policy of revanche, especially in order to seek vengeance for a previous military defeat.” Hell, World War II is a perfect example. The song is a perfect example of storytelling.
I’ve been waiting here on the outside
I’ve been watching you from afar
It sounds like the revanchist is vetting supporters.
You say you’ve lost your world, you say you’ve lost your faith
I’ll be the shelter in the dark, clothe you in my hate
Profiteers and preachers
Sycophants and leachers
It doesn’t matter from what social circle you come from. The Revanchist will accept and indoctrinate all.
The Revanchist, his thoughts become mine
How deep they become intertwined
He said, “Submit for salvation, submit for salvation”
The age old lie
The followers are ready to submit themselves to the war of the revanchist. It’s their salvation.
Thunder High On The Mountain – Joe Satriani
It’s one of Satriani’s stronger songs released recently. Just the way it starts it off, with the war like click drum, the orchestra hits and a finger tapped legato line, is brilliant. I’m hooked and I’m paying attention. And the movements between section works.
New World – Robert Plant
This song surprised me when I heard it. The mood, the groove and the vocal melody all work together.
In songs we praise a happy landing
On yet another virgin shore
Escape the booming world
Embrace the new world
Out here the immigrant takes hold
Across the planes and over mountains
Put flight to all who came before
They’re barely human
It’s time to move them
And let them kneel before the sword
Human’s quest for land and power led to cultures being eradicated or enslaved.
Find Your Way Home – King King
Broken – King King
There is a lot of good music out there and artists like “King King” are virtually unknown in the major music markets. It was their cover of Frankie Miller’s “Jealousy” that made me a fan.
Find Your Way Home
It’s a cool bluesy ballad.
How did it work out they we’d be enemies?
Where did everything go wrong?
When the sun goes down on your memories
Please find your way home
He’s basically saying, those memories with emotions attached are killing the relationship. When the sun goes down on them and basically kills em off, come home. He’ll be waiting there for you.
This world is broken
We can’t hold on
My hope is fading
Our faith is almost gone
We need something to change. The world and our governments of the free world have been hijacked by money.
This Is War – Audrey Horne
My favourite supergroup of extreme metallers (along with “The Night Flight Orchestra”) is back with a new album that brings back memories of the Seventies and Eighties. Once the harmony guitars that sound like “Fear Of The Dark” from Maiden kick in, I’m ready to throw my computer screen at the window.
We will never be silence or divided
This is war
My 2017 call to arms.
Miracle – Story of the Year
I Swear I’m OK – Story of the Year
This band is a favourite of mine. They can be rock, metal and pop all on one album. Their label stuffed em up, by labelling them that whole emo rock/hard-core tag.
I need this more than you know
I need a miracle
Tell me I’m not alone
Please don’t let me go
You are in the situation where change is needed. Your old self needs to be washed off and a new being needs to rise. But you need to make hard choices. Are you read for what will come after? Are you read to let go of what you know?
I’m not the man I promised I would be
It’s from “I Swear I’m OK”. I never make promises as they always lead to disappointment. I can try to commit to do things differently but promises can never be measured.
Nevermore (Acoustic) – Art of Dying
For some reason, when “Art Of Dying” goes acoustic, they rock harder.
Waking Lions – Pop Evil
Waking the lions in me
I’m waking the lions in me
We all have that grit and resilience inside of us. If we choose to do something with it, is a different story all together.
And that my friends brings 2017 to close.