Before some craziness happened in my life towards the last two months of 2020, I was on a roll posting about 2000, 1985 and 1977.
I have a lot of hard rock friends who really hated the 90’s (from about 95 onwards) and the first five years of the 2000’s.
For me, the start of the 2000’s gave rise to so much music.
The labels kept dishing out the new genres. Hard rock releases still kept coming. And we had Nu-Metal, Rap Metal, Rap Rock, Industrial Metal, Alternative Metal, Industrial Glam Metal, Alternative Rock, Melodic Death Metal, Metalcore, Art Rock, Math Rock, Math Metal, Djent, Industrial Rock, Acoustic Rock and so on.
It was different but still rooted to rock and metal.
Tool – Salival
It’s an 8 track CD made up of live songs and cover songs, and a 4 song VHS which had the film clips. There is also a 56 page booklet. It was a limited edition release. When it came out, I couldn’t get it, but a few years later, I picked this up in New Zealand when I visited there in 2003.
Linkin Park – Hybrid Theory
This album was introduced to me by a singer from a band I was in at the time and I became a fan instantly, in awe of the talent of Chester Bennington on vocals and the prowess of Brad Delson on guitars. And the unsung hero in metal and rock circles is co-vocalist/rhythm guitarist Mike Shinoda.
The drums kick it off, but as soon as the riff comes in for “Papercut” I was all in.
And that interlude/bridge/outro section when Chester starts singing “when the sun goes down”.
How good is it?
Then Shinoda starts singing over it in a rap fashion and it’s perfect.
“One Step Closer” has a head banging groove riff to kick it off.
That intro to “With You”, is heavy as lead. So is “Points Of Authority”. “Crawling” and “Runaway” are super melodic.
Check out the Chorus section in “By Myself” when Chester starts singing, “I can’t hold on”… The angst. You can feel it.
And then you have “In The End”. It’s sitting at 898 million streams on Spotify at the moment. The piano riff is iconic, as good as any riff by a guitarist.
This is the song when the tandem singing and rapping of Bennington and Shinoda came full circle. Just listen to those verses.
“A Place For My Head” starts off with a riff that could have come from a Mariachi band before it explodes with the distortion. “Forgotten” moves between clean tone U2 like verses into an aggressive pre-chorus and a melodic chorus.
One of my favourite songs is closer “Pushing Me Away” because its foundations are basically hard rock. It has that U2 delay like intro and verse riff, and a melodic chorus. It could even be a derivative version of “In The End” with the piano riff replaced by a digital delay guitar riff.
Limp Bizkit – Chocolate Starfish
The singer who introduced me to Linkin Park also introduced Limp Bizkit.
Wes Borland on guitars is a very unique individual. He has a unique way of decorating the songs. His distorted tone is fuzzed out and so defined, it sounds huge. Then his clean tone riffs with delays and palm mutes add the perfect contrast to the chaos of the distorted riffs.
Check out the syncopated riffs on tracks like “My Generation”, “Full Nelson”, “My Way” and “Take A Look Around” (which is their take on the “Mission Impossible” theme).
Rage Against The Machine – Renegades
The singer who introduced me to Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit also introduced me to RATM.
It’s a covers album, but each song has been Ragefied, for the lack of a better word. The only thing left from the original recordings is just the lyrics.
All the vocals are rapped/spoken and the music is by Morello, Commerford and Wilk and it takes the form of their blues based pentatonic grooves with a few chromatics chucked in here and there.
“The Ghost Of Tom Joad” is so far removed from Springsteen, but give it a listen as the intro riff is so similar to “Cochise”, which came a few years after. “Street Fighting Man” starts off with the guitar making a police siren sound with the Digitech Whammy Pedal and its nothing like The Rolling Stones, but still a very interesting listen. “Maggies Farm” begins with a haunting lick before the blues like grooves kick in.
A very interesting way to do covers.
Coldplay – Parachutes
They had a decent promo budget thrown their way by the label and there songs kept appearing everywhere.
A few of the tracks like “Don’t Panic”, “Spies”, “Yellow” and “We Never Change” resonated. But overall, I was interested to see what came next and still not a fan.
Orgy – Vapor Transmission
As far as I’m concerned, Orgy is basically a hard rock band with new wave and grunge influences and they got all the newest production bells and whistles added to their sound by the producers of the day.
“Fiction – Dreams In Digital” is the star of this album. Other songs on the album like “Opticon” and “Suckerpunch” have some cool riffs.
Deftones – White Pony
This album was introduced to me by a bass player I had in a band.
And I kept “Change (In The House Of Flies) on repeat for a long time. The bass riff, the drums, the moods between the verses and the chorus and the angst in the vocals.
And the next star is “Digital Bath”. Like “Change” it’s the different moods that capture me, as the song moves between slow and melancholy to angst like aggression in the chorus, with soaring vocals.
“Rx Queen” also follows the same template as “Change” and “Digital Bath” as it moves between melancholic verses and angst ridden choruses.
I didn’t notice this before, but I guess I gravitated to these songs.
And “Knife Party” follows the same pattern of clean tone verses and an aggressive Chorus.
Then there is “Passenger” which has Maynard from Tool guesting on vocals. And what a song it is. Its progressive, moody, atmospheric and metal. One of my favourites still to this day.
I still don’t really know what the lyrics or the messages in the songs are.
It didn’t matter because Deftones is all about the different moods and textures.
Switchfoot – Learning To Breathe
How good is “Dare You To Move”?
It just rolls along with the acoustic guitar and a melancholic vocal melody in the verses, with a soaring melody in the Chorus.
The song was re-recorded for “The Beautiful Letdown” album three years later and it started to appear in movies.
And at 60.6 million streams, it’s their Spotify hit.
Radiohead – Kid A
How do you follow up some great albums in “OK Computer” and “The Bends”.
In the case of Thom Yorke, he just threw out the sound canvas of the previous albums and started fresh. This album is classed as a rock album, but it’s a rock album without the six strings of a guitar blaring out of the speakers. Guitarist Ed O’ Brien picked or strummed only a few notes on this.
“Everything In Its Right Place” has a keyboard synth lick that works well as a guitar riff.
“Kid A” has a riff that you can re-create on the TonePad app on your iPhone. It’s not a favourite, but the attitude to do something like this is what I like. As Thom Yorke said. “Kid A will be the name of the first human clone.
“The National Anthem” has a dominant bass riff and a drum riff. I don’t hear any guitars, but a lot of electronica. And then a brass band kicks in with a sax playing a melodic lead that would have sounded sweet on guitar. It starts to get more chaotic, but it’s all hanging in. It all still makes sense and sounds good.
And we are only 4 minutes in with another 2 minutes to go.
By the end of it, the song was so weird and it pushed the boundaries of what rock is or should be, it became a favourite.
“How to Disappear Completely” has a nice acoustic strummed riff, with a walking bass line and Yorke’s brilliant vocals. It’s melancholic and sad. Just listen to when Yorke sings “I’m not here”.
“Optimistic” has a strummed clean tone electric with a bit of a dirt in its sound.
“In Limbo” has this progressive arpeggio single note riff which I like.
If you want the Radiohead sound from the previous albums, forget it. The band abandoned that sound and started to experiment. They played the songs live before the album was released and encouraged their fans to bootleg it.
Collective Soul – Blender
“Blender” is the fifth and last album for Atlantic Records. It’s their most pop sounding album and in relation to sales, their least commercial. But it’s one of their most surprising, because it pays homage to their past and it also brings in some newer references.
“Why, Pt. 2” is the best song on the album. It’s got all the pop gloss, but it rocks along. “Boast” wouldn’t be out of place on the “Disciplined Breakdown” album.
“Turn Around” is classic Collective Soul.
“You Speak My Language” divided some of the fan base because of its heaviness and speed rock in the Chorus.
Elton John duets with Ed Roland on “Perfect Day” and it’s one of those iconic ballads from the band.
“After All” continues with the mid-tempo rockers and the album closes with the heavy, “Happiness”.
Overall, another solid effort from the band even though the sales didn’t come. Then again, it was up against some cultural defining albums for sales.
Like “Parachutes” from Coldplay. Or “The Marshall Mathers LP” from Eminem . Or “Hybrid Theory” from Linkin Park.