Music, My Stories, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, A to Z of Making It, Influenced, Unsung Heroes

2001 – Part 4.6: Within Temptation – Mother Earth

Within Temptation is a Metal band from Holland.

Their style of Metal has symphonic influences.

It was “The Heart Of Everything” album released in 2007 that made me a fan especially the song “What Have You Done”. And I wanted to hear more.

“Mother Earth” is the second studio album released on 24 December 2000 in the Netherlands, and 21 August 2001 in other parts of Europe.

It was a sleeper hit in Holland, reaching the number 3 spot, two years after it’s release and in the backs of the second single “Ice Queen”.

Wikipedia tells me how the band was enthralled by a movie at that time called “Braveheart” and the Celtic influences are very evident.

The band is Sharon den Adel on vocals, Robert Westerholt on rhythm guitar and vocals on “Mother Earth” and spoken words on “The Promise”. Michiel Papenhove is on lead guitar, Jeroen van Veen on bass, Martijn Westerholt on keyboards and Ivar de Graaf on drums.

Mother Earth

It’s soundtrack music. Medieval like “Braveheart”.

Ice Queen

It’s a hard rock song, with the symphonic elements. Vocally Sharon den Adel is very Kate Bush like and early Pat Benatar.

Our Farewell

It’s a piano piece. Evanescence would become famous on their “My Immortal” ballad, but Within Temptation was doing it earlier.

Caged

The start reminds me of “The Last Samurai”.

The Promise

When the distorted guitar riff kicks in with the Symphony, I am reminded of S&M from Metallica.

Never-ending Story

A piano riff that keeps reminding me of movies.

Deceiver of Fools

The symphonic choir starts it off. When the vocals come in, they are operatic.

But Press play on this to hear how the guitars kick in at the 2 minute mark. Powerful and emotive.

Intro

It’s like a horror/thriller soundtrack.

Dark Wings

This song is excellent. A mixture of progressive Metal with the symphonic

Arjen Lucassen from Ayreon plays the guitar solo.

But press play to hear Sharon den Adel do these exotic like ohs and ahs vocals between 1.50 and 2.20.

In Perfect Harmony

The song is in a Major key so it has that happy vibe to end the album. You know those end scenes in movies when the goodies have won and the end credits roll.

By the end of it, I felt like I was at the movies. The music is cinematic and grand.

And the rise was starting. Austria, Belgium, Holland, German, Norway and Switzerland were on board. This is how artists did it. A few places at a time.

In relation to certifications, the album was certified Platinum in Holland and Gold in Belgium and Germany.

Check em out.

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The Record Vault: Deep Purple – Machine Head

“Machine Head” is the sixth studio album released on 25 March 1972 on Purple Records.

The success of this album didn’t just happen. The band had been touring and recording in between live shows since 1969. Any new song they wrote would get debuted live before it was recorded.

But the band felt that these earlier studio albums did not sound as good as their live performances, and wanted to record in a stage environment.

As legend would have it, Deep Purple planned to record the “Machine Head” album at Montreux Casino in Switzerland during December 1971. But some “stupid with a flare gun burned the whole place to the ground”.

Deep Purple relocated to another hotel called “The Pavilion” however the neighbors kept calling the police over the noise and Deep Purple got evicted. The basic tracks to “Smoke On The Water” were recorded here.

They searched for other recording locations and settled with the empty Grand Hotel, on the edge of Montreux.

The band for the album is the classic line up of Ritchie Blackmore on guitar, Ian Gillan on vocals, Roger Glover on bass, Jon Lord on keyboards, Hammond organ and Ian Paice on drums.

The album is listed as being produced by Deep Purple with Martin Birch doing the engineering and the mixing with Deep Purple.

Highway Star

It’s a speed Metal song before it became a thing.

Written on the bus while touring. Management arranged for the band to travel to the gig with a group of music journalists who could interview the band at their leisure.

One of them asked Blackmore how he wrote songs and the opening riff was the result. The rest of the band completed the arrangement during rehearsals and it was added to the show on the evening of the gig.

Blackmore based his guitar solo around a figure that he learned from rockabilly artists Johnny Burnette who was active between 1952 and 1964 when he drowned.

Maybe I”m A Leo

I like the blues rock riff on this which Glover wrote the song’s main riff after listening to John Lennon’s “How Do You Sleep?” Hell it could have been based on “Come Together” which was based on a Chuck Berry song.

It had a working title of “One Just Before Midnight”, which appears in a picture of a recording sheet on the album sleeve.

Pictures of Home

Montreux had become their home away from home and this song covers that period.

A fast drum solo Intro starts it off before the band crashes in. The major key pentatonic soloing reminds me of Thin Lizzy before Thin Lizzy became famous.

Never Before

I love the blues when it’s done right. And on this track Deep Purple nail it.

This style of blues rock would form the foundation of the Rainbow sound.

Smoke On The Water

The opening riff and the whole build up with the drums and then bass.

That’s why you press play on this.

Lazy

It was played live in 1971. Glover said the song was roughly based on an Oscar Brown song, “Sleepy”, while Blackmore stated it was inspired by Eric Clapton’s “Stepping Out”.

Either way, it’s how music is created.

Take our influences and create something new.

The song was designed for the live show with each instrument having a break to showcase the talents of the player. Even Ian Gillan got a harmonica spot.

Space Truckin’

“So come on”.

And the rest is history. Nonsense lyrics or not it’s a classic Deep Purple jam.

When A Blind Man Cries

No one called these kind of songs ballads back in the day. It was just a slower rock song.

Listen to the little leads and the lead break itself. So much emotion. Blackmore doesn’t get enough credit for being a great blues player.

In Australia it went to number 1, along with other countries like Denmark, France, West Germany as it was known back then, the UK and Holland.

Certifications will be viewed in the future as a small memory of the music business, the way the piano player is forgotten and vaudeville productions. Once upon a time they ruled. What happened to em?

But when people talk about this album, they talk about it’s 2x Platinum certification in the US and it’s Gold certifications in France, Italy, Japan and the UK.

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2001 – Part 4.5: Skillet – Alien Youth

It was the “Comatose” album released in 2006 that made me a fan of Skillet and I followed em up to to “Rise” album released in 2013.

And although I listened to “Unleashed” released in 2017 and “Victorious” from 2019, I didn’t really feel the need to relisten to em.

And when I went looking at their back catalogue I was surprised how much their sound had evolved.

“Alien Youth” is their fourth album released in 2001. Their sound on this is like industrial rock.

The band for this album is John Cooper on vocals, bass, sampling and programming, Korey Cooper on keyboards, sampling and programming, Lori Peters on drums, Kevin Haaland on guitars (except “Earth Invasion”) and Ben Kasica on guitars (“Earth Invasion”).

Alien Youth

It reminded me of Motley Crue’s “Generation Swine” album. And I like that connection.

Vapor

It reminds me of the whole “industrial rock” movement.

Earth Invasion

The best song on the album.

Very “Smells Like Teen Spirit” like.

You Are My Hope

The usual ballad.

It’s catchy and derivative.

Eating Me Away

A fuzzed out bass riff dominates the verses and once the Chorus kicks in, it’s Stabbing Westward and Korn like.

Kill Me, Heal Me

I like it’s swinging drum groove in the verses. I’ve heard Good Charlotte songs with these kind of beats and melodies, but they came after this.

Otherwise it’s all grunge rock.

The Thirst Is Taking Over

My favorite song on the album.

The verses have a programmed drum beat with clean tone and lightly delayed guitars.

And in the Chorus, there’s a distorted and fuzzed out guitar.

One Real Thing

The Chorus is hard rock and it has this “Teenage Dirtbag” vibe.

Stronger

Nirvana meets Ministry.

It has some cool riffs to jam on but lyrically it’s a bit cliched with the repeating “my god is strong” melody.

Rippin’ Me Off

It starts off terribly, with programming and sampling. Then a Nirvana like riff kicks in.

It’s a response to Marilyn Manson and his views on God being dead.

Check out the chorus. It’s heavy and angry.

You say that God is dead but you’re rippin’ me off/ You can’t infect my mind with your vanity/ You’re rippin’ me off!

Will You Be There (Falling Down)

This is a great ballad.

It feels like Bryan Adams and Celine Dion are singing it.

Come My Way

The closer. it starts off with a piano riff that sounds like it came from a soundtrack.

And it’s more hymn “Hallelujah” like.

They are labeled as a Christian Rock act, but they delivered an album that people from all walks of life would like.

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The Record Vault: Dare – Out Of The Silence

Dare was formed in 1985 by keyboard player Darren Wharton after Phil Lynott dissolved Thin Lizzy.

By 1987, they got a record deal with A&M and “Out Of The Silence” was released in 1988.

The line-up for this album consisted of Darren Wharton (vocals/keyboards), Vinny Burns (guitars), Martin ‘Shelley’ Shelton (bass), James Ross (drums), and Brian Cox (keyboards) better know these days as Brian Cox, the physicist and TV star!

Abandon

A keyboard riff that reminds me of soundtracks starts it off and then the guitars kick in. It’s a great piece of AOR rock.

Into The Fire

Press play to hear the verses on this which are better than the Chorus.

Nothing Is Stronger Than Love

It’s hard to describe this song. It’s heavy on the keyboards but it has some cool guitar bits.

Jonathan Waite comes to mind when I think of the keyboard riffs and Boston comes to mind when I think of the cool guitar bits.

Runaway

A great melodic rock song which reminds me of Rick Springfield.

Under The Sun

My favorite song on the album.

As soon as the keyboard arpeggio riff and vocal melody started I was thinking of Marillion. And then I was thinking of Pink Floyd.

The Raindance

Another great song which reminds me of the Celtic influenced work that Gary Moore did on his last few hard rock albums of the 80’s.

King Of Spades

This song wouldn’t be out of place on the “Days Of Thunder” soundtrack. Stick around for the harmony guitars.

It’s also a tribute to Phil Lynott, who had died two years before the album was released.

Heartbreaker

This song is a hit.

And it should have been.

But their label was shit. Terrible at promoting and marketing hard rock acts even though they had some good ones.

Return The Heart

It’s a skip.

Don’t Let Go

An early ASIA like track which also wouldn’t be out of place in the “Cocktail” movie.

In the end the sound is dominated by the double keyboards but there is enough guitar to make it rocked

The follow up album “Blood From Stone” was more hard rock but the label advertised it as “Hair Metal’. Another shit decision by A&M. And when it didn’t sell, they dropped the band.

But Dare survived and is still in the game, touring and releasing new music.

Check em out.

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2001 – Part 4.4: Staind – Break The Cycle

Aaron Lewis has been in the news recently. He is touring in the U.S for his “Frayed At Both Ends” Country album, getting criticized for playing the same song at a gig twice and a few months ago he released a song called “Am I The Only One” in which he expressed his political views and questioned the patriotism of Bruce Springsteen.

Music industry blogger Bob Lefsetz didn’t like it and Lefsetz called out Lewis and his label boss Scott Borchetta. However Borchetta in an open letter back to Lefsetz, said that even though Lewis and Borchetta have opposing political views, Borchetta is not going to cancel or drop Aaron Lewis.

Moving away from “Politics 2021”, back in the early 2000’s, Lewis was busy writing and recording “Break the Cycle”, the third studio album by Staind. Released through Elektra and Flip Records in 2001, it is Staind’s most successful album to date, and it was the album that broke them into the mainstream.

Supported by Fred Durst who signed them to his Flip Records label originally, they had the fortunate or maybe unfortunate tag as Durst prodigies. The debut album, “Tormented” was ignored by the press, but Elektra wanted a piece of the action and “Dysfunction” is the result of major label support.

Then came “Break The Cycle”.

At 28 years of age, Aaron Lewis had lived and experienced enough sadness and happiness to put his life and thoughts into his lyrics.

A total of 5 singles were released from this album, “It’s Been Awhile”, “Fade”, “Outside”, “For You” and “Epiphany”, all of which did reasonably well.

On a side note, the album did cost $800K to make and Elektra along with Flip Records, just weren’t sure they would even get close to recouping.

But in its first three weeks, it sold over a million copies in the U.S. Currently it is certified 5x Platinum for U.S sales. In Canada and New Zealand it was certified 2x Platinum and in the U.K it was certified Platinum. In Australia and Sweden it was certified Gold.

And the label is still saying that Staind owe em money.

The band for the album is Aaron Lewis on Lead vocals and Rhythm guitar, Mike Mushok is on Lead Guitar, Johnny April is on Bass and Jon Wysocki on Drums.

Open Your Eyes

It’s like a Jekyll and Hyde. The lush strummed lightly dirty electric guitar which is the verse riff and part of the intro is calm and beautiful.

The riff that kicks in with the natural harmonics and downtuned riffing is aggressive and ugly. Sonically they just don’t go but the jarring difference works this time around.

Pressure

Written by Staind and producer Josh Abraham.

It has metal like riffs and a verse that is very Grunge like.

Fade

One of their best songs.

The bass groove is great and the way the guitar decorates the spaces shows the skills of Mike Mushok.

And of course, Aaron Lewis is more than capable of crafting and carrying a vocal melody.

It’s Been Awhile

I suppose this was the song that got a lot of people to check out Staind and at 194.497 million streams on Spotify it’s remained in the conversation and the various playlists.

Change

A huge metal like riff starts it off before the clean tone verses kick in.

The Pre-Chorus or is it the Chorus, feels like it could come from a Bush song.

Can’t Believe

Not a favourite. It sounds like the vocals are screamed through a loudspeaker and it does nothing for me.

Epiphany

An Aaron Lewis cut, as the acoustic guitar is prominent with a haunting vocal melody.

Suffer

It’s a hard rock riff however the down tuning and phrasing makes it sound like it isn’t.

Warm Safe Place

It’s just down-tuned too much, that the riff sounds like a muddled mess.

For You

My favourite track on the album.

That opening riff is good enough to challenge some of the best metal riffs from the 80’s.

Outside

Lewis again brings his acoustic guitar and melodies to the table.

The song has 95.057 million streams on Spotify.

Waste

A simple drum groove starts it off, almost jazz blues like. A clean tone guitar plays the riff and Lewis delivers his emotive vocal melody.

In the Chorus, the distorted guitar dynamic kicks in before it moves back to the subdued clean tone verses.

Take It

Another killer riff to start it off.

If there is a problem with the album, it’s the down tuning. On some songs it is excessive, to the point that it sounds muddled. But when they get it right, the songs elevate themselves and the slower acoustic pieces add a lot of variety.

Regardless of political alliances, Aaron Lewis does have a great voice. There are YouTube videos in which he covers “Black” by Pearl Jam and “Turn the Page” by Bob Seger live.

Lyrically, he’s copped a lot of flak for his lyrics to the point that people have called em depressive, but then again, no one said that life is all sunshine, happiness and smiling selfies in exotic locations.

Press play on this and start with “For You”.

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Australian Method Series: Eskimo Joe – Black Fingernails, Red Wine

Eskimo Joe are an Australian alternative rock band that was formed in 1997 by Stuart MacLeod, on lead guitar, Joel Quartermain, on drums and guitar, and Kavyen Temperley, on bass guitar and vocals.

Their road to fame started with a University Battle of The Bands contest. They won their local campus event, won the State event and then won the National event.

Released in 2006, this album is Number three and it’s noted for having the sound of the early 1980s Australian rock movement.

From the bands point of view they wanted to make a record as if they were stadium rock band. In other words if they were like INXS, what kind of record would they make.

The band recorded “Black Fingernails, Red Wine” on the central coast of NSW’s The Grove Studios. The Grove Studios were originally known as Mangrove Studio and were formerly owned by INXS bass player Garry Gary Beers.

In Australia it was certified 4× Platinum. It went to number one and spent 62 weeks on the ARIA Charts.

I never really appreciated this album when it came out. I was heavily into Progressive Metal, Nu-Metal and Metalcore bands at the time and I was devouring bands from those genres. I heard the singles and I liked em, but didn’t invest time.

A decade later, I finally did.

Comfort You

A great pop song with a piano line that reminds me of “Speed Of Sound” from Coldplay.

As soon as the drums and the fuzzed out guitar kick in, I was hooked. It’s almost new wave, but hard rock as well.

Lyrically there’s not much to it with a simple repeating line of “I will come, come to comfort you”.

But that’s all that is needed as the music and the groove is intoxicating.

If you’re not tapping your foot and nodding your head by the end of it, check for a pulse.

New York

This song is excellent.

It’s constructed with all the right atmospherics and ambient noises, plus an emotive piano melody and Temperley’s glimmering voice powers the melody.

Hey, hey, I know it wasn’t New York
Where I lost my mind.

The opening lines. A habit will always follow you regardless of which city you wake up in.

Black Fingernails, Red Wine

This song is huge. And the hook.

Black fingernails, red wine
I wanna make you, all mine

It reminds me of Icehouse, Eurythmics and INXS.

The Chorus is arena rock.

Breaking Up

An acoustic guitar and an addictive vocal melody.

And how descriptive is “A mouthful of glass / That cuts up your words”.

Setting Sun

The song was called “Forever Young”.

U2 comes to mind but press play on this track to hear the bass playing.

If your scared about the future,
I’m scared about the past

While you’re at it, check out the guitar melody which starts at 2.32.

London Bombs

Coldplay comes to mind. And I like it.

Sarah

Killers comes to mind with a bit of Rick Springfield.

This Is Pressure

An acoustic strummed passage starts the song.

There is no romance in suffocation

Truth right there.

Beating Like A Drum

If you like INXS, you will like this song. it’s not that it sounds like the band, it just has this spirit and attitude of Michael Hutchence.

I had a lot to drink last night
Now I’m feeling old
Is there anything that I can buy
That I have not sold

I’ve grown up with a father who likes to drink a lot and an older brother who likes to drink more. And all they think about is the next drink. Lucky for me they didn’t sell stuff to feed their habit.

Reprise

It’s a short instrumental, cinematic like piece.

Press play on it to hear the emotive piano melody.

Suicide Girl

Oasis and Radiohead comes to mind.

My social suicide girl
Poison in the wall
Razors in the apple core

These lyrics are hard rock. Nikki Sixx and Rachel Bolan would be proud.

How Does It Feel

A piano riff and a Muse/Coldplay feel.

You’re gonna lose everything / How does it feel

Not the best when it happens but as time goes on, a lot better.

There isn’t a song on this album that I will skip. It’s perfect from start to finish. So if you want to experience Australian Pop Rock, press play on this.

And the band is still active releasing new music and touring. But those reviews will be in other Australian posts.

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2001 – Part 4.3: Alice Cooper – Dragontown

Alice Cooper did really well between the difficult periods of 1993 and 2003 for rock artists. It didn’t matter what kind of music came out, the Alice Cooper brand was known for doing things different. The 70’s output alone is very diverse. The experimental early 80’s period, although not commercially successful, introduced new wave sounds into the mix. His stage shows bordered on the horror and macabre, with a lot of theatre thrown in. And one thing I do know as a fan of the horror genre, you don’t just stop being a fan.

Then “Trash” came out with its slick “hair metal” production and Alice was really back. His stage shows got even more extravagant and he hasn’t looked back since.

“Hey Stoopid”, the concept album “The Last Temptation” and “Brutal Planet” which told us we are all going to die, continued his brand in the 90’s.

And then there is “Dragontown” was released in 2001.

The band is Alice Cooper on Vocals, Ryan Roxie on Guitar and Greg Smith on Bass.

The studio session Guitar players are Wayne Swinny from the band Saliva and Tim Pierce who did a lot of session work and can be heard doing guitar on songs like “Runaway” from Bon Jovi, “Don’t Dream It’s Over” from Crowded House, “Iris” from Goo Goo Dolls and “Black Or White” from Michael Jackson.

Producer Bob Marlette plays about every string related instrument like Rhythm Guitar, Bass, Keyboards and String Arrangements.

Sid Riggs is on Keyboards and programming and Kenny Aronoff on Drums.

Backing Vocals are provided by Teddy Andreadis, Eric Dover, Calico Cooper and Gionvanna Morana.

If the first two names of the backing vocalists look familiar, they should, as Teddy has done a lot of work with G’n’R and Dover was the singer in Slash’s Snakepit. And the third backing vocalist is Alice Cooper himself, making an appearance as Calico.

All tracks are written by Alice Cooper and producer Bob Marlette.

Triggerman

The sound is definitely on that industrial hard rock style that bands like White Zombie, Coal Chamber and Orgy did.

But in its essence, it’s still a rock song.

Just listen to the Chorus, its 60’s pop. And the ending is in the vein of “Paradise City”.

I am always out of sight
A shadow in the mist
I don’t need no alibi, cos
I don’t exist

Lyrically, it’s about a nobody, a person ignored by society, a person who doesn’t exist, but when that trigger is pulled, they do exist.

Deeper

A very heavy and down tuned chugging riff opens the song. The Pre-Chorus is haunting, with the symphonic Church sermon like voices.

Down and down and down we go
We’re in a deadly spin

Dragontown

An ominous like Intro begins it.

Then Alice starts his vocal melodies.

Well, here you are
Lying bleeding on a grimy street
See the broken glass sparkling darkly
As it cuts your feet

So descriptive.

The Pre Chorus is heavy and I like the vocal melody when Alice is singing, “come on, I’ve got something to show you”.

And the Chorus tells the story of how anyone can disappear in “Dragontown”.

This song is as good as any “metal” song released during this period.

Sex, Death and Money

This cut could have been on a Rod Zombie album. And the Alice sarcasm is back as by the end of the song, we are all going to fry because of our lack of morality.

Sex, death and money, sonny
Makes this wicked world go round
Sex, death and money
It’s the Gospel here in Dragontown

Amen to that.

Fantasy Man

You just want to squeeze my masculinity
Why can’t you leave it alone

It feels like a cut from “Hey Stoopid”, a mixture between “Hurricane Years” and “Feed My Frankenstein”.

Somewhere in the Jungle

From reading the lyrics, you get the idea that somewhere in the jungle the devil is laughing, as an African genocide takes place, making even the wild animals run away from the madness and slaughter while the million bodies are piled on top of each other, arms and legs, feet and hands.

It’s heavy like Ozzy’s “My Jekyll Doesn’t Hide”.

Disgraceland

Downtuned 12-bar blues. That’s what this song is.

An Elvis Presley inspired verse, which also reminds me of a cross between Johnny Cash, Chris Issak and George Thorogood.

And Alice is doing a commentary on the absurdity of how the greatest rock ‘n’ roll hero of all time died on a toilet.

Sister Sara

How low can a guitar go?

In this song, very low.

And like “Sister Mary” in Operation Mindcrime, “Sister Sara” is in a bit of trouble. While “Sister Mary” had issues with an terrorist organisation controlling sleeper cells, “Sister Sara” gets caught with the Bishop and many other cardinal sins to feed her habit.

Every Woman Has a Name

An acoustic guitar arpeggio riff starts it off and Alice tells the story how dreams of youth are taken away by the cold hard and unforgiven world we live in.

I Just Wanna Be God

A bone crunching intro riff starts it off reminding me of Godsmack, Monster Magnet, Mudvayne, Static X and I like it.

And there’s a killer solo as well.

It’s Much Too Late

Then this one kicks in, more Country Rock and totally out of leftfield.

Alice is in his demented “Steven” character voice.

The road to hell is littered
with nice guys with good intentions
But once you’re there, you’re there

The Sentinel

And the album is rounded out by another dose of massive industrial downtuned riffs.

I am the sentinel
I want the world to know
I’m sending you all to hell
I’m tired and I’m wired here to blow

Amen. The countdown has begun.

While none of the songs became concert staples, the album did what it needed to do. Get Alice Cooper on the road.

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The Record Vault: Dare – Real Love

Dare is an English rock band, formed in 1985 and fronted by former Thin Lizzy keyboard player Darren Wharton.

The “Real Love” single was the first thing I purchased from Dare in 1991. I liked it a lot, so I purchased the album before it, “Out Of The Silence” released in 1988 (and that review is next) but not the album “Blood from Stone” released in 1991, the single was on.

Why?

Because the album wasn’t readily available in Australia upon release. A&M Records wasn’t really renowned for their excellent release strategies. And the album isn’t on streaming services either. Go figure.

Back to the single, you get one album track in “Real Love” and two B sides, in “Killer Lover” and “Rideaway”.

Real Love

It’s a ballad.

The melodic lead in the Intro which also appears in the Chorus is excellent. Very singalong like and Wharton’s raspy/throaty voice adds the right emotion to it.

Killer Lover

It’s a generic hard rock track in the style of artists like Winger and Steelheart.

Rideaway

This is a great melodic rock track.

And I always wonder why some songs break through and become popular and some don’t.

“Real Love” has all the right ingredients to be a monster song, but it never came to fruition. But it got me interested to check out the debut album.

That review is up next.

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2001 – Part 4.2: Sevendust – Animosity

“Animosity” is album number 3 and it was released on November 13, 2001. Four months later it was certified gold by the RIAA.

This is their best album, a mixture of their Nu-Metal grooves with a lot of melody and head banging riffs.

Just think Rage Against The Machine riffs merging with Metallica riffs and melodies and Faith No More riffs and melodies.

Sevendust is Lajon Witherspoon on lead vocals, Clint Lowery on lead guitar, and co-lead vocals on “Xmas Day” and “Angel’s Son”, John Connolly on rhythm guitar, Vinnie Hornsby on bass and Morgan Rose on drums.

This album really highlights what a great talent Lajon Witherspoon is. His vocals are exceptional.

T.O.A.B.

Written by drummer Morgan Rose, it stands for “Tits On A Boar”.

In case you are not familiar with it, it means a person, place, event or item in which there is little or no value.

Musically and vocally it could have come from the debut.

And any song that starts off with “Die you piece of shit!”, well you know you ain’t gonna get a love song.

Praise

Written by Clint Lowery, Lajon Witherspoon and Morgan Rose.

A great riff kicks this off, something that Stone Sour would do a lot off.

Trust

Written by Clint Lowery and Lajon Witherspoon.

The power of the Intro riff hooks me in immediately.

Then it’s just bass and drums for the verses and Lajon delivers a killer vocal melody.

And if you are in any doubt, press play for the Chorus.

Also it wouldn’t be a Sevendust song with a head banging interlude.

Crucified

Written by Clint Lowery, Lajon Witherspoon and Morgan Rose.

It continues the standard set with “Praise” but the Chorus is more melodic. Very Disturbed like.

And lyrics like “Don’t you feel like a bitch / Don’t promise shit you’ll never be” set the aggressive tone.

Xmas Day

Written by Clint Lowery.

A ballad, which reminds me of Soundgarden, Alice Cooper 70s version and other

Don’t know how she gets by
Sleeps with a phone on her chest
And a bottle that’s totally dry
Forgets the day I was born
But if she saw me right now

The lyrics more or less sum up what the song is about.

But press play to hear the Chorus and the great vocal performances.

Dead Set

A Lowery, Rose and Witherspoon composition. It’s a heavy rocker with another killer Chorus.

I dodge the grave almost every day

Shine

A Witherspoon composition with a syncopated groove riff in the verses which is head banging material.

I’m on a free fall / So hard for me to shine

Follow

A Lowery and Connolly composition with Aaron Lewis doing additional vocals. Goddamn it could pass as a Staind or A Perfect Circle song.

And how good are the opening lyric lines.

Time can take everything that surrounds you

Damaged

It’s a Connolly and Rose composition.

How could you really know as your blood flows
The damage left inside

No one will ever know the damage done especially the mental damage.

Live Again

Another Connolly and Rose composition. And if you press play on a track from this album this is it.

Look at yourself and live again

That Chorus. So emotive and catchy.

Beautiful

A Lowery, Rose and Witherspoon.

Another killer heavy Intro that gets me thinking of Faith No More with a Chorus that reminds me of Godsmack.

Redefine

A Lowery, Rose, Witherspoon with a heavy riff that reminds me of Disturbed.

But that Chorus riff. So cool to play with the octaves.

Angel’s Son

A Lowery and Witherspoon acoustic composition.

It was originally released on “Strait Up”, a tribute album of Lynn Strait, former lead-singer of the band Snot. Strait died in a car accident on December 11, 1998, at the age of 30.

If you thought Sevendust was just too heavy for ya, then check this album out.

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Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories

2001 – Part 4-1: Aerosmith – Just Push Play

Aerosmith had a way of making the blues sound current and modern but for them to do that, they needed to jam.

But on “Just Push Play”, released in 2001, the majority of the album is co-written with Marti Frederiksen and Mark Hudson. It was recorded at eight different studios, so it would have been impossible to get all the band jamming and financially irresponsible to get the whole bands gear set up and then packed up and then transported and then set up again.

Joe Perry hates it. The Wikipedia entry for this album carries a 2010 quote from Perry which states;

I don’t think we’ve made a decent album in years.

Just Push Play is my least favorite.

When we recorded it there was never a point where all five members were in the room at the same time and Aerosmith’s major strength is playing together.

It was a learning experience for me: it showed me how not to make an Aerosmith record”.

From a sales point of view, Aerosmith was on a spiral down. The gaps between albums started to become every 4 years.

But not a lot of 70’s bands had a renaissance like Aerosmith when it came to album sales.

It started with “Permanent Vacation” released in 1987 and it has a 5x Platinum certification in the U.S.

“Pump” released in 1989 has a 7x Platinum certification in the U.S and “Get a Grip” released in 1993 has a 7x Platinum certification in the U.S.

These two albums are the pinnacle of Aerosmith’s comeback.

“Nine Lives” released in 1997 showed a downward trend as it has a 2x Platinum certification in the U.S and “Just Push Play” only has a Platinum certification in the U.S.

Beyond Beautiful

It sounds heavy and exotic while Kramer is channelling John Bonham, with his Kashmir like groove.

And it doesn’t sound anything like the blues, but that verse riff is a bluesy groove. If you don’t believe me, check out that bluesy solo in the outro which is played over the verse riff.

Just Push Play

“Walk This Way” gets a rewrite.

Even in the Chorus, instead of saying “Walk This Way”, Tyler is singing “Just Push Play”. Replacing three single syllable words with three other single syllable words.

And I like it.

Jaded

Kramer lays down a groove, while Perry and Whitford bring out riffs that reminds me of bands like “The Foo Fighters”, “Filter”, “Matchbox 20” and “Tonic”.

Fly Away From Here

Piano ballads and Aerosmith go hand in hand.

While “Dream On” is my favourite, its “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” which is their streaming star, much to the disgust of Tyler and Perry.

While they were paid well for doing the song for the “Armageddon” movie, they didn’t think that it would become their most streamed song ever. Well they couldn’t have, because streaming didn’t exist back then.

For the numbers, “Dream On” is at 541.59 million Spotify streams and “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” is at 650.1 million Spotify streams.

And this one doesn’t have an Aerosmith member in the songwriting credits either.

But, there is this section which I call the Bridge, that reminds of a section in “Livin On The Edge”.

Trip Hoppin’

Its old school Aerosmith, jamming on a blues groove and writing about having a good time and getting laid.

With the addition of the horn section, the song takes on a Soul Rock feel.

Sunshine

I like this song.

The riff has this laid back feel which sort of reminds me of “Kings And Queens” and “Don’t Fear The Reaper” in the Verses.

And lyrically, Tyler is in his element here.

Under My Skin

Like the song “Beyond Beautiful”, this one is also a great example of taking the generic blues riffs and making em sound heavy and current.

The verses are my favourites here, how the guitar riff and the vocal melody are the same, and while they pause the horns mimic it.

In the Pre, there is a symphony, evoking memories of “Kashmir”.

Luv Lies

A ballad that reminds me of songs like “What It Takes” and “Crazy”. Perry is bringing out his repertoire of country licks here.

Outta My Head

Another attempt to recreate “Walk This Way” in the verses, with a more modern Alanis Morrisette style Chorus.

Drop Dead Gorgeous

Check out the groove that Hamilton and Kramer set up to allow Perry and Whitford to play blues/jazz like 7ths and 9ths triads.

But the vocal melodies are pretty average.

Light Inside

Electronica drums start it off, but as soon as the fast bass riff from Hamilton kicks in, the song is anything but electronica.

Its heavy for an Aerosmith song. The Modern Rock sounds are different and I like it.

Avant Garden

I think this is one of Aerosmith’s better ballads.

It has a chord progression that reminds me of “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Werewolves In London” in the verses and a Chorus which has this Beatles feel.

Check out the Bridge, very ELO with the violins and the debop backing vocals.

And finally, Perry gets a chance to do a guitar solo longer than 5 seconds.

And Perry goes a chance to go again in the outro.

Press play on the album just to check out this track.

Overall, it’s Aerosmith trying to be modern, trying to be bluesy, trying to have Arena Rock choruses and trying to have a bigger ballad to rival the ballad that they didn’t write.

At times it comes across confusing, but it’s still Aerosmith and I’m okay when artists don’t stick to formula and try something different.

But it’s not an album I push play on a lot.

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