The final post for April 2020.
And here are the songs from the first three months (Jan to Mar) who are still doing the rounds in April.
Circle The Drain
Up until last year, Machine Head had four members. Then drummer Dave McClain and guitarist Phil Demmel left. Actually they already left, but then committed to finishing off the tour as sort of a last farewell. I read some interviews where they said it was like “turning up for the pay check”.
Robb Flynn is the founding member of Machine Head and he continued the band after the departures.
Robb got drummer Chris Kontos and guitarist Logan Mader who played on the MH debut “Burn My Eyes” album (released in 1994) and they (with current Machine Head bassist Jared MacEachern) re-recorded that 94 album live in the studio. This iteration became known as the BME band. Then Robb did an acoustic cover of “Die Young” from Black Sabbath, released it on Spotify and it became my favourite track.
And Machine Head toured. But with two versions of the band. There was the BME band mentioned above and the “Classics” band, with the addition of Waclaw Kieltyka on guitar and Matt Alston on drums.
So the “Classics” band would play all the Machine Head classics, and then the “Classics” band would go off and the “Burn My Eyes” band would come to play that album in its entirety.
From a new song perspective, he dropped two songs with different musicians (yep different from the dudes mentioned above). I couldn’t even keep track of who is who and I like looking at the credits.
I didn’t like “Do Or Die”, but I do like “Circle The Drain” and I enjoyed watching the making of videos. I like how it all came together and how a conversation with a friend about his relationship “circling the drain” finally nailed the title down. The drummer on “Circle The Drain” is Navene Koperweis.
It’s a great song and when Robb Flynn sings melodically, it’s a pretty cool moment. I still remember when I was watching the making of “Through The Ashes of Empires” album in 2003, and Robb Flynn is playing an acoustic guitar and playing Tesla’s “Love Song”. And I was like F yeah”. This dude knows his shit.
It’s a cover of a Post Malone song about addictions and looking for that fix. The Post Malone version has more of a “Dust In The Wind” acoustic feel, while Royal Bliss turn it into a modern rock song.
Running Up That Hill
These two cover songs from Jorn would probably never go out of this playlist. The Kate Bush cover about making a deal with God to swap places is excellent and“Naked City” is one of my favourite cuts from the “Dynasty” album.
The Chorus on this song is so catchy.
Lyrically it’s not the best, about moving on to other partners but he can’t stop thinking about his ex. But the melody and the execution is excellent, and it’s melodic rock so who cares about the lyrical message.
Because Of You
I love the keys in the start, the nod to “The Who” as an influence and the major key 70’s feel of the verses.
And when the Chorus rolls around, it seals the deal.
Because of you I will climb a little higher
There is always someone there, who has your back, mentoring and supporting you. Remember that and never feel alone. It could be a parent, a sibling, a grandparent, a friend, a mentor.
The Night Flight Orchestra
Yep, the whole album is still doing the rounds.
“Transmissions”, “Aeromantic”, “Taurus”, “Carmencita Seven” and “Dead Of Winter” kept getting a lot of listens this month.
That’s not to say that the other tracks like “Divinyls”, “If Tonight Is Our Only Chance”, “Sister Mercurial”, “Servants Of The Air”, “Golden Swansdown”, “This Boy’s Last Summer” or “Curves” are no good. Because based on my mood anyone of them would become my favourite for a day.
Mr Big Shot
This song reminds me so much of the songs from Skid Row’s self-titled debut and it just keeps getting spins from me. And it’s also from the debut album of Collateral.
Since this song has been four months in my playlist, I thought I should find out more.
Clicking on their bio on their website, it tells me, “Ripped jeans, cowboy boots, long hair and make-up, Collateral are a band that look and sound like a stadium rock band”. I know most stadium bands didn’t wear ripped jeans and cowboy boots, but hey, who cares, its rock and roll so let’s go with that imagery.
I think I have mentioned before that Collateral are from South East Kent in the U.K.
Remember a time when the UK led the way for rock and roll, with Cream, Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin, Bad Company, Free, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Steppenwolf, Slade, Mott The Hoople and David Bowie. And then the U.K did it again in the 80’s with the NWOBHM and New Wave.
Maybe the modern streaming age is seeing another revival. Sweden definitely has something special happening with their many different scenes focusing on different styles of rock and metal, like melodic rock, hard rock, progressive rock/metal, thrash metal and death metal. UK bands have also made their way into my playlists and my headspace as well.
Let’s see where it all goes.
Swallowed By The Machine
The Death Of Me
There are a lot of good cuts on Harem Scarem’s album and the guitar playing from Pete Lesperance is excellent. “Swallowed By The Machine” at this point in time and for the mood I am in, is getting a lot of attention.
We’re falling into dystopia
It’s crumbling before our eyes
Black mirror reflecting all our lives
I love technology, I work in technology and I am careful to switch off and not let those black mirror devices take control every single minute of the day.
Days of judgement upon us
Broken and demoralized
March into the vortex single file
It’s like a dystopian movie, where the human race is lined up, like cattle, waiting for their turn to walk into confusion and dizziness.
Because it feels like the world tries to do that.
With so much information at our fingertips, we don’t know what to click on and read sometimes. Every story has a point of view of the writer, and they are laced with some facts, a little bit of lies and a little bit of fiction. And then people try to pass it off as “truth”.
We all have dreams, we all have doubts
Be careful which you feed
And don’t get swallowed by the machine
Feed the correct hunger and walk the road you want to walk.
Watching “The Last Dance” and seeing those years roll by, man, it brings back some crossroads decisions. I can’t dispute the decisions made, because I am here today, with a wife and three kids. And I am content, happy.
I have no doubt that if I made a different decision, I wouldn’t have what I have today and I probably wouldn’t be in the same place mentally. But I still wonder, what if because the machine still rolls on, beckoning me to step inside.
Turn The Light On
The intro riff on “Fake News” reminds me of that GNR and Skid Row swagger.
And it’s good to hear these kind of influences, because Shakra (from Switzerland) are a band which defines the meaning of perseverance and grit.
Imagine a hard rock band, being formed in 1995, when the Grunge movement was on a decline and Industrial Metal like Ministry and NIN was becoming a thing, Tool was still a relatively unknown band, as “Aenima” was a few years away from being released and Korn was a few years away from their breakthrough and the start of the Nu-Metal movement.
25 years in the business and twelve albums down. Not bad at all.
These guys started off in 2005. They got signed and released two albums on a record label in 2007 and 2010. The band left their label and created a Kickstarter campaign for the next album, by asking their fans to donate a dollar.
That album is “The Sum Of Who We Are”, released in 2014.
They went on a break for three years between 2015 and 2018. And finally they have a new album out in 2020 and the song “Bubbles” just refuses to go away.
I Can’t Be The Only One
I like Killswitch Engage.
The riffs are a cross between melodic rock, hard rock, heavy metal and groove metal. On occasions there are thrash and black metal riffs and a nod to Sweden’s metal scene around 1992 to 1998.
The vocals move between screamed and melodic. And screaming the way they do, it takes a toll on the vocal chords.
During the album making, vocalist Jesse Leach had to have throat surgery to remove a polyp and then 3 months of speech, vocal and scream therapy. And no vocalist wants to hear, that there could be a chance they could never sing again.
And you know how much I hate labels. Here is what Jesse Leach said on the issue of being classed as Metalcore in an interview at the excellent Consequence of Sound website.
“You know how genres go. That term has been so bastardized, I don’t even know what it means. When I think of Killswitch, I don’t think metalcore, I think metal, in general. I get people gotta categorize it, I get that, but you ask me, I don’t know, because I don’t even listen to metalcore. We came from the hardcore scene. We were hardcore kids who were into metal. That’s where the ‘metalcore’ came.”
This is an alternate edit from the track released on 2019’s “Atonement” album. And I really like the below lyrics.
Divided we’ve become, this fight has just begun
But I can’t be the only one
Together we overcome with a truth they can’t outrun
But I can’t be the only one
United we overcome
“Habit” by Adelitas Way, “All Eyes On You” by Smash Into Pieces, “The First Time” by Khymera, “Shadowman” by One Desire, “Broken” by FM and “Fly Like An Eagle”, “Legacy” and “Lay Me Down” from In This Moment are also getting spins.
And that’s it for my April listening. It’s only taken me half a month to complete.