My end of year lists this year will be a simple post as I’m wrapping up each month this time around. And here we start with January.
Saint Asonia – The “Flawed Design” album
No one even knows the personnel in this band and the platinum awards they have had as previous members of “Staind” and “Three Days Grace”. It’s the times we live in. Everyone is unknown, unless you’ve released a sex tape.
So, in case you are not aware, Adam Gontier from Three Days Grace is on vocals and Mike Mushok from Staind is on guitars. And this time around, they have surrounded themselves with some heavy duty guest vocalists.
“Sirens” features Sharon Den Adel from Within Temptation (who have filled the void left behind when Amy Lee decided to put Evanescence on hold) to awesome effect.
Have we been standing on an empire?
When every floor is made of sand
That sinking feeling when you know that everything you owned or thought you had sinks and disappears. Because history always carries a lesson of empires falling and new opportunities arising, of people losing everything and finding hope to rise again.
“Beast” and “The Fallen” are all great songs along with “The Hunted” which features Sully Erna on vocals.
I’m fighting with this beast inside
Will it ever die? Will it ever leave me alone?
Leave me alone
That inner fire, the voice which whispers to get back up when you are knocked down, is the same beast that fires rage and hate when the fight or flight trigger is pushed. It never leaves us, its always there.
It’s the way life goes
When we are waken we get taken
From “The Fallen”, about a life who struggles to find clarity and purpose and once they find the answers, it’s too late as their time on this Earth is at an end.
The Hu – Wolf Totem
The version with Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach crosses over brilliantly.
The song isn’t original in its riffage, but its original in its sound, with the use of native Mongolian instruments. And if the feel and groove of this song doesn’t get you pumped up for a fight, nothing will.
If the lions want war we go fight em till the battle ends
If the tigers come running we go fight em till the battle ends
And the madness begins.
Smile Empty Soul – Hang Your Head
The main riff of “Hang Your Head” got me re-interested in the band. There was a period the band had me as a fan and then sort of lost me. But they got me back again.
The dark machine will crush your dreams again
I’m not sure what the song is about, but the lyric sticks with me because the dark machine can be our thoughts, our fears, our devotion to the family and to not disappoint them.
CrashCarBurn – Under A Falling Sky
It’s s a great song.
Suddenly we find ourselves faced with overwhelming odds
What a great lyric to kick off the verse. A snapshot of society and the pressures to survive in this fast paced world.
Undivided enemies, they come to change the way we see things
We cant escape the hive mind, manipulated and controlled by strings we cannot see who try to change and control who we are.
Mustasch – Go To Hell
“Go To Hell” sounds like it’s got elements of “Run Like Hell” from Pink Floyd.
And these moustached dudes from Sweden really take their love of hard rock and classic metal into the modern world with a metal kick up the butt.
And I love this song as they just sit on this groove which makes me want to break my desk in half with abilities I don’t really possess.
Archon Angel – Fallen
Zachary Stevens from Savatage has such a unique singing style and voice, its so easily recognizable for any fan who has owned a Savatage album from “Edge Of Thorns”.
Here along the distant road lie memories as thoughts unfold
We’ve all been there, cruising in our cars, thinking and contemplating and replaying events from the past and dreaming of a future.
Life is full of forceful lies
Do we really tell the truth to each other?
We are left alone to find our way
We might have mentors and parents and others to help us and provide advice, but the journey is lonely and the decisions are ours, and ours alone.
I’ve waited so long but the dream never came
Because utopia never survives reality. Our emotions and needs and wants always divert us from our paths. But then again, no one said the path to achieving dreams is all straight and easy.
The Night Flight Orchestra – Divinlys
I am a sucker for the melodic rock approach of TNFO. It’s another song which sounds like many of their songs that came before, but still pleasurable to listen to with its modern take on an old sound.
And I always love how most of their songs start off with that double time drum beat. I call it the “Strutter” beat.
Free Spirits Rising – I Would Love To Rock The World
Drums, bass and a call to the promoters trying to get a show kicks off the song about a person wanting to rock the world and who wouldn’t want to rock the world.
Sign me up please.
But then all the messages left are unanswered trying to give rock a go. Still, I would like to sign up because by the end of the song, he would do it all again if given a chance.
Sons of Apollo – Desolate July
The album is a disappointment compared to the debut. But that’s okay, the debut had enough there to keep me interested in the band. And the standout track is “Desolate July” as it kicks off with a massive bell ringing, which reminds me of “Hells Bells” and “For Whom The Bells Toll”, but it sounds like neither. Instead it’s a retrospective slower tempo rocker.
And “Desolate July” is about David Z, the bass player for Adrenaline Mob who died tragically when an out of control truck hit their touring van stopped on the side of a road.
Without reason / A dream becomes a tragedy / I’m still not believin’ / Is this reality?
And it’s reality, that someone who is doing what they love, like playing music for a living, loses their life.
Ozzy Osbourne – Ordinary Man
He’s coping flak for writing with Elton John, but he never wrote with Elton John. Elton just sings on a second verse. The song is written by other musicians like Duff, Chad and Andrew Watts. Plus Slash delivers a killer solo, while Duff and Chad Smith deliver a great foundation.
And it sounds like other ballads that Ozzy has done like “So Tired” and “Road To Nowhere” and “Old LA Tonight”. But it still rocks.
The Ragged Saints – Secret In Our Hearts
Another melodic rock gem which is a modern take on an old sound. And I’ve been a fan of this band from Melbourne, Australia, since their 2013 album called “The Sound Of Breaking Free” entered my life via a cyberlocker that specialised in melodic rock titles. Yes I obtained it illegally.
The album, “Sonic Playground Revisited” also came out a few days ago and “Absence Of Light” really stood out, with it’s Rainbow/Malmsteen (Odyssey) era feel along with “Turning Cold” which has this Aussie pop rock sound crossed with Euro melodic rock.
Mark Morton – Ether album
Mark Morton is really showcasing his diversity. He is so much more than just the guitarist in Lamb Of God.
“All I Had To Lose” and “Black” (Pearl Jam cover) feature Mark Morales on vocals, “Love My Enemy” features Howard Jones, “The Fight” features John Carbone on vocals and “She Talks To Angels” features Lzzy Hale. Here is a pretty cool review.
Shakra – Too Much Is Not Enough
The riffing has this Five Finger Death Punch vibe, and it connects and the vocals are melodic.
Apocalyptica – Rise
I felt like crying and I still felt hopeful at the same time.
Jasta, Howard Jones – Heaven Gets What It Wants
Jasta is another artist that is showing his diversity and songwriting chops. Hatebreed is what brought him to the masses, and he wrote and produced most of the songs for Dee Snider’s solo album “For The Love Of Metal” and his solo output is a who’s who of modern metal talents. And on top of that, he has his highly successful podcast.
Avenged Sevenfold – Set Me Free
When this band plays straight ahead metal and rock, I’m in.
And there is a lot of guitar here, which I dig especially when that open string lead break starts about the 4.10 minute mark.
This track also hooks me, because it was recorded for 2013’s “Hail To The King” album, which is my favourite album (their sort of “Black” album) and it’s just behind their self-titled “White” album.
Red – Sever
I really like this band. The moods they create with the music and the vocals just resonate.
Paralyzed the soul that I bared again
I gave more than I could give
We don’t know how much we have given until we are back on our own and doing all the things we stopped doing while we kept a relationship going.
Time won’t stop another setting sun
Facing this pain like a loaded gun
There is one thing certain in life, time always moves forward, never back. And unresolved emotions and memories from the past, will never go away unless they are settled and resolved.
With the turning of this knife
That’s it Part 1 done, Part 2 coming up.