Kings X – Please Come Home Mr Bulbous
Creativity is all about experimenting and I like it when artists experiment. It alienates some and it might not even bring in anyone new, but as a fan of music, I enjoy it when artists try to grow out of the box that the record labels tried to fit them in.
I didn’t hear this album until 2012.
After feedback and noise, the opening track “Fish Bowl Man” finally kicks in with its groove orientated riff. It’s a product of its time, more alternative than the hard progressive groove rock the band is known for.
On the other hand, “Julia” could have come from a Bush album.
“She’s Gone Away” moves between clean tone arpeggios and syncopated palm muted riffs, with a Beatles vocal melody. That riff before the Chorus should have been repeated a lot more.
“When You’re Scared” has another Beatles like riff, from “She’s So Heavy” with another vocal melody inspired by the Liverpool legends. And it’s no surprise that a lot of artists during this time had Beatles like vocal melodies. I called it the “Oasis Phenomenon”.
Check out the lead break from Ty Tabor on this track. Emotive, bluesy and when he had to shred, he did.
“Charlie Sheen” has some great guitar moments in the opening arpeggio riff and the staccato clean tone verse riff.
Here is a review from Mike Ladano that I agree with (and if you are a Kings X fan, he has reviewed most of their stuff).
Babylon A.D – American Blitzkrieg
The first two Babylon A.D albums are great listens, especially the debut. Then the labels started dropping hard rock bands while they started chasing Alternative sounding bands and Babylon A.D was lost to me.
I saw that this album came out via the Metal Edge magazine, but I never really looked for it in Australian shops, nor did I have any interest at that point in time. It was about 2008 when I came across it via a torrent. I downloaded it and pressed play on my winamp player.
Musically, it sounded different, but it was still hard rock to me.
The title track kicks it off with a rap like vocal line which reminds me of the Beastie Boys and a certain song called “Fight For Your Right”.
Then it goes into the song “War”.
You know the one.
“War, what is it good for, absolutely nothing, say it again.”
“Magic Mary” has a voodoo power and a Charlie Manson smile. It’s hard rock but its sounding dirtier and grungier. It doesn’t matter what sound effects producers put on the guitars, a rock riff is a rock riff.
“I Wanna Live” has a Tool “Sober” like riff as inspiration for the Verses with a Cheap Trick inspired Chorus. A brilliant combination and one of my favourites on the album. “One Million Miles” from their newer album has a similar intro and verse which is like the Chorus.
“Sinking In The Sand” is one of their best tracks. Its heavy and melodic and the way the verses roll along with just the bass and the vocal line, it reminds me of “Lost Behind The Wall” from Dokken.
“The Sky Is Falling” is a slower tempo song and I like it. Other songs start to become interchangeable with previous songs and the album closers with “Superstar” a perfect hard rocker about seeking your fifteen minutes of fame. Its riffs remind me of songs like “Creepshow” and “Mudkicker” from Skid Row.
Cold – 13 Ways To Bleed on Stage
Released on Geffen Records.
“13 Ways To Bleed On Stage” is the album in which their spider logo made its first appearance.
It was a bargain bin purchase in Australia even though it was a Gold selling album in the U.S, as I always saw this album in discount bins. I picked it up in a 3 for $10 bin, so I paid $3.33 for it.
And I became a fan.
I really liked the Staind/Bush vibe of the album.
Scooter Ward on vocals sounded a lot like em but I didn’t care.
“No One”, “End Of The World” and “Confession” stood out right away. Modern rock songs.
“It’s All Good” has a vocal melody in the verses which is catchy.
“Bleed” has an acoustic arpeggio riff that reminds me of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”.
As the album closer it is my favourite.
On a side note, guitarist Terry Balsamo would depart after the 2003 follow up “Year Of The Spider” to fill the vacant guitarist spot left by Ben Moody in Evanescence.
Mudvayne – L.D. 50
The singer from a band I was in, who introduced me to Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit (mentioned in the 2000 – Part 9 post previously) also introduced me to Mudvayne.
I mentioned in the Kings X post that creativity is all about experimenting. Well, meet Mudvayne.
The press labelled em as “Slipknot Part 2” because they had painted faces. The press labelled em as Nu Metal as they released an album during the Nu Metal movement. But to compare Mudvayne to anything, you needed to listen to em.
They had progressive elements in their music and odd time signatures and because of these, another term came out of this debut which was “math rock”.
They had speed metal songs, jazz fusion breaks, and death metal vocals on some of the songs.
Pushing the boundaries of what is known as metal, that’s Mudvayne. To compare them to Korn, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park and Creed, who became the faces of Nu Metal was wrong.
Bassist Ryan Martinie is unbelievable. His bass lines don’t just compliment, they add and enhance the song, as he mixes slap funk bass lines with metal, jazz, rock, chromatics and whatever other musical style he could find.
Guitarist Greg Tribbett is from the era of being influenced by Randy Rhoads.
Drummer Matt McDonough makes sense of all the chaos by keeping time, with tom rolls and a lot of double bass, and some excellent cymbal work.
Vocalist Chad Gray, who formed Hellyeah with Vinnie Paul and Tribbett, after is unique as well, moving between screaming, growling, gravel chainsaw like and melodic and leaving his $40K factory job to chase his dream of being a rock singer.
The album’s title is short for “Lethal Dosage 50”. It basically means the level of toxicity needed in a drug to kill half of the population.
“Dig” blasts out of the speakers with a funky bass riff, drums, power chords and gravel-throated vocals. Its telling the music business suits that they don’t care about their two cents input into their art. And it sets the trend of the album.
My favourite is “Death Blooms”. Musically its perfect and vocally the song moves between clean tone vocals and Gray’s talking vocal lines with a melodic Chorus which wouldn’t be out of place on a Tool or A Perfect Circle album.
Mob Rules – Temple of Two Suns
How could you not give a band a listen who carries a name from a pretty cool Black Sabbath album?
I pressed play, only to be confronted with sounds of Rainbow and Deep Purple on the opening track “Pilot Of Life”.
And I liked it.
It’s basically 80’s Hard Rock with some nice acoustic classical moments and in one song, some violin folk. It all sounds metal and for their second album, it’s a band still finding their feet.
There was enough here to get me interested to hear what would come next.
Tad Morose – Reflections
From Sweden, who play a sort of dark melodic progressive metal. Evergrey is a well-known band who plays this kind of dark prog.
“Reflections” is a compilation album from their first three albums, “Leaving The Past Behind” released in 1993, “Sender Of Thoughts” released in 1995 and “A Mended Rhyme” released in 1997.
The “Sender Of Thoughts” album is a favourite and I’ve been a fan since. So if you want to get a feel for the band, then this compilation is it.
See ya in 1985 for part 10.