The January 2020 Part 1 post is here.
There’s a worldwide revolution happening to the ears of music consumers and it’s all because of the internet.
You see, when the music distribution chain was decimated by Napster and not dominated by the US labels and their affiliates, suddenly everyone could play in this new world. But this new world didn’t really take off until Spotify started. This streaming tool and all the different digital distributors that have appeared in the last 10 years made this new world a reality.
And artists are coming up from every corner of the world to play.
My previous 2020 list had an artist from Mongolia on it. The list below has bands from Finland, Mexico, U.S, Sweden, England, Wales, Italy and Canada. And as a fan of music, it’s a great time to be alive because a lot of the music below would probably have been available via import in Australia.
Poets Of The Fall – King Of Fools
These dudes from Finland can rock but this is an acoustic piece from a Theatre session album released on Spotify.
Rodrigo Y Gabriela – Mettal EP
I love this EP and the work these two do.
They cover “Holy Wars…The Punishment Due” from Megadeth, “Battery” from Metallica and “Season In The Abyss” from Slayer.
How can you not like it?
Especially the way Gabriela percussively lays down a rhythmic foundation and flamenco’s her way through it all. The true star of this duo.
Khymera – Walk Away
I love me a dose of melodic rock Euro style. Nothing earth shattering original but a great listen and excellent musicianship, plus a keyboard lick that’s addictive like sugar.
H.E.A.T – Come Clean
Another melodic rock gem and the Frontiers label is cleaning up in this era. They have kept the style alive for so many years.
Asking Alexandria – Rise Up
This isn’t a January 2020 release song, but it came into my life this year via a Spotify “Rise Up” playlist. And I like it.
Pop Evil – Divide
Same deal with this song. It didn’t come out in January 2020, but it came into my life via the same “Spotify “Rise Up” playlist.
Allen/Olzon – Worlds Apart
Russell Allen is a great vocalist and so is Annette Olzon and this is another cool Frontiers project full of melodic metal.
“Worlds apart, no matter how close we are”
What a great line.
Because it happens, you can be in the same room and be worlds apart, even more so these days with our tech devices giving us access to communicate with people from all over the world, instantly.
Those Damn Crows – Never Win
From Wales and their new album “Point Of No Return” came out this year.
A solemn piano riff kicks off the song and I was interested.
Then the vocal melody starts and I pressed like.
If I worked to the bone, pay for all we own, would you let me in?
Sometimes the expectations of others is a chain around the neck. How can we measure up when the rules are made up every day and are constantly changing?
There’s no more I can do, I have proved to you, I will never win…
Relationships are a compromise. How much people are prepared to compromise determines how the relationship goes.
I know we were far from perfect but I fought so hard for you
I’ve had friends who told me they never argued, until they did and separated. Arguments are a part of life and relationships are littered with them. At first it’s towards each other and why things got said. Then when children come, the arguments are about them. And there is financial pressure and suddenly someone is suffering in the relationship.
I can never win
It’s better to walk away than stay.
Breaking Benjamin – Aurora album
I’m a fan of this band and have been since the “Phobia” album.
My friend once described their music as depressing, but it’s exactly why I like this band, because life is not perfect. If you want to hear Breaking Benjamin do some of their classic songs in acoustic format, then “Aurora” is a perfect album.
How dirty can Shirley get and how many more projects can George Lynch be involved in?
“I Disappear” is heavy foot stomper, “The Dying” sounds like it came from George Lynch’s “Sacred Groove” album and “Siren Song” sounds like a “Tooth N Nail” cut with just a mild distorted sound.
And its cool how the Frontiers label is getting people from different countries but with similar tastes, to write and create.
Dino Jelusick is one hell of a vocalist and from Croatia. There are YouTube videos of him doing “The Last Time”, a Badlands cover and his band “Animal Drive” released a covers EP of some hard rock gems along with a full length album.
But this dude needs more exposure and George Lynch is always up for a project because he knows that to survive in the current market it’s all about creativity. And once they added Will Hunt on drums Dirty Shirley became to be.
And the jury is out if these little projects are actually working or just a copyright grab from Frontiers to secure as many copyrights as it can, so they have a better negotiating position when it comes to streaming deals.
But like Revolution Saints, I would like to see Dirty Shirley get a few more chances to record albums on Frontiers.
British Lion – Last Chance
Do we listen to British Lion to hear Steve Harris recreate Iron Maiden or do we listen to this to hear Steve Harris do something different?
“Last Chance” is a good track. It starts off with an apreggiated riff which reminds me of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. At 55 seconds the song kicks in and Steve’s bass is rolling along.
How good is that lick from the 1.15 mark?
The verse riff is brilliant.
And the vocals are an acquired taste.
If you listen to this and expect Dickinson style vocals, then don’t bother.
I read a live review that blasted the vocals in a live setting and how the vocalist lacked any charisma and stage presence. Maybe so, but from the sound of the voice, the vocalist sounds more like an acoustic melancholic singer than a rocker. Even the debut had that same vocal vibe.
“Is this the end of me and you?”
Not really, I will give British Lion another chance.
Storm Force – “Age of Fear” album
This album surprised me and made me press like on a lot of songs and thanks to the Thunder Bay blog for sharing their music with us.
Opening track “Because Of You” has the symphonic keys for about 50 seconds before it goes into a “Won’t Get Fooled Again” style riff from The Who and once the verses kick in, I felt like I was listening to a seventies act.
“I heard on the news today, it’s all about to change, but I think well be okay”
The human spirit sees hope in all situations, because our DNA coding is to survive and we find that strength in ourselves and because of others.
“Age Of Fear” is a foot stomper of a title track with Scorpions like harmonies in the intro.
“It’s the age of fear, where you spread your made up stories”
It’s a sign of the times when everyone surrounds themselves in their own echo chambers and the people in power are trying to influence others by spreading fake stories.
“Breathe – Words” starts off ominous and the opening lyric sets the tone of depression.
“You’ve got nothing to live for, nothing to wish for, nothing to hold on”
There is always something to live for, something to wish for and something to hold on to. Resilience and survival go hand in hand.
“Breathe with me, just let it all go”
That’s all we want in life, someone to talk to and breathe with.
“Breathe with me, just take control”
Take control, let the past die and embrace the day, for you have everything to live for.
“Ride Like Hell” makes me want to jump in the car and speed 55. And there a lot other good tracks on this, so it’s worth the check out.
And this is a wrap for January 2020.