Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

2000 – Part 10

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.”

That one.

“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.

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1977 – Part 9

This is the last post for 1977, even though the 2000 and 1985 series will have a few more.

Steve Miller Band – Book Of Dreams

How good is the riff in “Jet Airliner”?

It’s a cover, an old blues song written by Paul Pena. And its a favorite.

“Book of Dreams” is the tenth studio album from Steve Miller using leftover material recorded for the “Fly Like an Eagle” album, but not released on the album.

“Winter Time” written by Miller is also a favourite along with “Wish Upon a Star”. These ones are more ballad like, slower tempo’s with moods and grooves.

“Jungle Love” is written by Lonnie Turner and Greg Douglass and those blues rock riffs bleed out of the speakers. Its more Boston and Bad Company than anything else.

“Sacrifice” is written by Curley Cooke and Les Dudek. It comes across as a progressive jazz fusion like song.

“The Stake” is written by David Denny. The main riff is the same as “Rocky Mountain Way” from Joe Walsh. Walsh released that song in 1973. But if you go back to 1969, there is a song from Sly & The Family Stone called “Sex Machine” which also has that same groove.

Black Oak Arkansas – Race With The Devil

As soon as I saw a live picture of these guys, I thought of DLR because I kept on reading stories about how DLR modelled his moves from Jim Dandy.

“Race With The Devil” blasts out of the gate with its harmony guitars and speed. “Freedom” has an intro riff that the Rolling Stones would use for “Start Me Up” a few years later. “Rainbow” is progressive like, but still rooted in that Americana vibe. “Not Fade Away” is a Buddy Holly cover and at 7 minutes it closes the album out.

Leo Sayer – Thunder In My Heart

The title track.

A perfect slab of melodic rock with a bit of funk and disco added.

“It’s Over” is a blues funk tune as it stomps and grooves its way from start to finish.

When you look at albums from the 70’s, especially from solo artists, it’s a who’s who of musicians as the backing band.

Larry Carlton. Tick.

David Paich from Toto. Tick.

Bobby Kimball from Toto. Tick.

There are other known musicians and songwriters from different genres who also do backing vocals or play bass or keys or some other instrument.

And the one footing the bill is the artist.

Throughout his career, Sayer had management rip him off a few times along with the labels. He settled out of court on a few and lost money on others.

Little River Band – Diamantina Cocktail

“Diamantina Cocktail” is the third studio album by the Australian rock group Little River Band.

The album was the band’s breakthrough in the United States.

A “Diamantina cocktail” is a drink invented in the area of the Diamantina River in Queensland, Australia. It consists of Bundaberg Rum, condensed milk and an emu egg.

Have ya tried it yet?

“Help Is On The Way” is a great way to kick off the album and it’s the only song that I like.

Peter Frampton – I’m In You

“I’m in You” is Peter Frampton’s fifth studio album. It did big business on the back of the live album “Comes Alive” that came out a year before.

In order to promote Frampton as a teen idol, his label, A&M Records, featured him on the cover wearing silk pyjamas.

Not sure how that went down with the serious hardcore fans, because I always saw Frampton as a serious guitar player, and when I saw the cover many years later, I thought of Billy Squier and a certain video clip.

And with that, 1977 is a wrap. Back to the year 2000, for part 10.

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1985 – Part 9

Exodus – Bonded By Blood

I didn’t hear this until the Napster era. I wanted to hear it a long time ago because it was Kirk Hammet’s origin band, but every time it came to deciding what to spend my money on, this wasn’t it.

“Bonded by Blood” was originally titled “A Lesson in Violence”, but had its name changed when a suitable cover idea could not be found. The song “Impaler” was originally to be featured on this album, but it was abandoned when Kirk Hammett took the main riff with him to Metallica and used it for “Trapped Under Ice”. The song however was resurrected on the “Tempo Of The Damned” album released in 2004.

And the thrash metal acts which came from San Francisco, there was a lot of crossover of riffs, similar to the LA Sunset Strip crossover. The way the riffs flow on this album I expected to hear Hetfield’s or Araya’s or Mustaine’s voice. They are almost interchangeable.

Paul Baloff as a vocalist was different. He snarled, growled, spat and screamed his way through songs with his chainsaw like delivery. I got it, understood it, but I wasn’t a fan of it.

Anthrax – Spreading The Disease

I like Anthrax because they played hard and fast and had groove and melodic vocals. This is Joey Belladonna’s first album with them, having replaced Matt Fallon who replaced Neil Turbin.

After the blistering speed of “A.I.R”, its back to traditional metal with “Lone Justice”, my favourite track on the album. “Madhouse” continues the traditional metal vibe but with a lot of groove and at 32.5 million streams it’s their Spotify star.

“Stand Or Fall” is a speed metal track and with Belladonna’s delivery, it can be classed as the embryo to power metal. And it still sounds to me that they are singing “Sand The Floor” instead of “Stand Or Fall”.

The 1.18 minute intro to “The Enemy” is desk breaking stuff. “Armed And Dangerous” is armed with acoustic guitars and a tonne of melody for about 1.20 and then it explodes. “Medusa” has one of those head banging riffs which is synonymous with heavy metal.

Loudness – Thunder In The East

If you want your Loudness treatment, head over to mikeladano and read his reviews.

“Thunder In The East” is not on Spotify, so I had to head over to YouTube to hear it in full as I’ve only heard “Crazy Nights” from this album. It still amazes me how some music is missing from Spotify and other streaming services.

YouTube actually showed the labels and publishers what the people want when it started. Access to music and they also wanted to upload their catalogues, so others could listen and comment and so forth. And what we have is some bastardised version of that with Content ID.

This album from the outset reminds of Bonfire and their “Fireworks” album which came a few years after. Produced by Max Norman, it has all the bells and whistles of a quality production.

Akira Takasaki brings out his metal riffs. “Crazy Nights” kicks it off, but “Like Hell” is so like Judas Priest’s “Electric Eye” that it quickly became a favourite. And in the lead break, Takasaki leverages Malmsteen for the fast shred and Rhoads/Lynch tapped solos from “Flying High Again” and “Tooth And Nail” for the tapping sections.

“Heavy Chains” starts off with a clean tone arpeggio riff with a melodic lead over it. I’m always a sucker for these kind of songs as they move from these clean tone intros into an aggressive epic song. The vocals from Minoru Niihara are excellent. And the song is more power Viking metal than the Nordic bands. The whole interlude and lead break is worthy of your attention.

“Get Away” blasts out of the gates and so far it’s a four punch knockout. Especially when Takasaki goes into his “Burn” from Deep Purple inspired solo.

“We Could Be Together” is traditional heavy metal with Niihara delivering a Steve Perry like vocal in the verses and then going all falsetto in the pre chorus and chorus. Perfect.

And the album doesn’t really let up on the high quality song writing, with “Run For Your Life” kicking off side B, especially that palm muted arpeggio riff in the Chorus and it ends with the ballad “Never Change Your Mind”.

Alcatrazz – Disturbing The Peace

Alcatrazz with Malmsteen was like Rainbow. Alcatrazz with Vai was like Rainbow with alot more fusion added.

“God Blessed Video” kicks off the album and you hear the old Rainbow influences with the Vai fusion in the music.

“Mercy” is excellent musically, but Bonnet’s lyrics are a mess with killing queens in Africa and India or something like that. But check out the lead break from Vai.

“Wire And Wood” has Vai starring in the first 30 seconds. “Desert Diamond” again has Vai starring in the intro, using the guitar like a sitar. Musically the song is excellent. “Stripper” is speed rock in the vein of “Highway Star”. “Painted Lover” has a riff that has appeared in a DLR song here and there.

Lee Aaron – Call Of The Wild

This album surprised me. It’s a brilliant piece of melodic rock.

Bob Ezrin is there as keyboardist and executive producer. Bob Halligan Jr has a co-write with Mark Ribler on the song “Line Of Fire”. The very underrated John Albani is on guitars and is one of the main songwriters on the album.

“Rock Me All Over” and “Runnin’ From The Fire” are a lethal 2 punch knockout.

And then there is “Barely Holdin’ On”. It’s written by a songwriter called Joe Cerisano and man the lyrics.

Growing up, you were taught to believe
That everyone was created equal in the master plan

Everything is about control. Go to school and study so you can memorise everything and pass the tests because you have a great memory. Then you get a chance to work. The higher your education, the better the pay. Well it’s a load of B.S

Oh I’m sick an’ tired of waiting for tomorrow
Promising me the world.. that I’ been hoping for..
Oh I wanna live, an’ I wanna feel
The things in my life, that I’ been searching, for.. so long….

Build your own dreams people and not someone else’s. It’s easier said than done.

The Bob Halligan Jr cuts, “Line Of Fire” and “Beat Em Up” are underrated songs.

“Paradise” is so Scorpions, its perfect. This track is written by Aaron, Albani with Dick Wagner. And those lead breaks after the solo, so Boston like and yet so Scorpions like.

“Danger Zone” continues with the melodic guitar leads and hooks.

Warlock – Hellbound

“Hellbound” is like a Motorhead meets Deep Purple “Highway Star” cut. Musically its ferocious and of course Doro Pesch on vocals is brilliant. And there is a “Burn” like solo which got me interested.

“All Night” is one of those fist pumping anthems. The embryo to “All We Are”.

“Out Of Control” has a traditional metal riff in the verses and a super melodic chorus with clean tone arpeggios over a distorted riff.

“Time To Die” sounds like “Stay Hungry” from Twisted Sister and I love it. And the good riffs keep on coming with “Shout It Out”.

April Wine – Walking Through Fire

It’s not on Spotify but it’s on YouTube.

A contractual obligation to the band’s record label, to whom they still owed one album. The album is a mixture of AOR melodic rock gems, hard rock and blues rock because of the different songwriters involved.

“Wanted Dead Or Alive” is written by Jeff Cannata and Michael Soldan. It has a keyboard riff which is AOR Heaven. Cannata and Soldan released this song with their own band, Arc Angel back in 1983. The U.S press dismissed the band as Boston/Kansas clones, while Europe took to em.

And then CBS dropped em.

The AOR Rock continues with “Love Has Remembered Me” which is written by vocalist/guitarist Myles Goodwyn.

“Open Soul Surgery” is written by Jim Vallance and it has a Robert Palmer “Addicted To Love” feel in the verses crossed with “All Right Now” from Free. “All It Will Ever Be” is written by Goodwyn and it sounds like a pop song that I cant remember right now but nevertheless I like it.

And just like that, the album came out and the band was done.

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John Sykes – Dawning Of A Brand New Day

If the album ever gets released remains to be seen, but what we have here is a 5 minute song of heaviness and melody.

Tony Franklin shared it on Twitter and I clicked on it. Franklin also mentioned that he didn’t play on the recording but has jammed the song with Sykes.

And the riff to kick it off.

Brilliant.

The Chorus riff and melody.

Brilliant.

The lead break is memorable.

That outro riff.

Brilliant.

And the track was recorded four years ago, for the solo album, “Sy-Ops”, which is way overdue but scheduled for release later this year.

The thing with Sykes is his variation.

There are metal songs with big riffs like this track, hard rock songs with big riffs, blues rock songs, sleazy rock songs and of course big guitar ballads.

And in case you are not aware, “Out Alive” and “Gates Of Hell” also got a YouTube release over the last three years.

“Out Alive” captures his Thin Lizzy and Judas Priest influences while “Gates Of Hell” continues his epic songwriting style from “Valley Of The Kings”.

2021 is already better.

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Derivative Works, Music, My Stories

The Record Vault – Cher

I don’t have any Cher albums, but I have heard em as a neighbor was a fan. So I purchased the single to “If I Can Turn Back Time” as the B side “Some Guys” hadn’t been released.

Now when it comes to Cher there is a bias towards her because of the outfits or the surgery. But she could rock with the best of em, and it’s that period of her career which I’m a fan off.

The people involved in making the “Heart Of Stone” album is a roll call of talent. Songs are written by Diane Warren, Desmond Child, Bob Halligan Jr, Michael Bolton, Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and Jonathan Cain.

Guitars on the album are played by Blues Saraceno, Steve Lukather, Michael Landau and John McCurry. Hugh McDonald appears on bass.

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Thunder Bay Down Under Summertime Spin Series – Rose Tattoo

Here is the usual prologue.

My blogger pal Deke over at Thunder Bay had a cool Northern Hemisphere Summertime Series between July and August. Each week, he wrote about albums he spun during the summer.

Well, the real Earth summer is between December, January and February in the Southern Hemisphere. So the good act that Thunder Bay is, boarded a Qantas plane, landed in Sydney, survived 14 days quarantine in a Sydney hotel and is finally here to present the “Thunder Bay Down Under Summertime Series”.

How good is Rose Tattoo as a band name?

The debut album dropped in November 1978, produced by Harry Vanda and George Young from The Easybeats, who also did double time for AC/DC up until they got their U.S deal.

And if anyone is not aware, George Young is the older brother of Malcolm and Angus Young.

Rose Tattoo was formed in 1976 by Peter Wells, bassist for Australian heavy metal band “Buffalo”, who wanted to create a tougher blues rock/slide-guitar band.

The band for the album is Angry Anderson on vocals. Peter Wells is on slide guitar and Mick Cocks is on lead guitar/rhythm guitar. Drums are by Dallas “Digger” Royall and bass guitar duties are by Geordie Leach on the majority of the tracks and Ian Rilen is on three of em.

“Rock ‘N’ Roll Outlaw” kicks it off, with its “Whole Lotta Love” influenced riff and some tasty slide guitar. Lyrically, it’s all about trying to make it in a rock and roll band. Bon Scott wrote about it in “Rock ‘N’ Roll Singer” and “Long Way To The Top” just to name a few.

Keel covered the song in 1987 for a movie soundtrack. LA Guns did it for a covers album. And this song went to number 1 in Switzerland and number 6 in Germany with the title as “Rock And Roll Gypsy” by U.S singer Helen Schneider.

The punky “Nice Boys” is up next, a track that Guns ‘N’ Roses used to cover in their early club days. It appeared on their “Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide” EP and it was later re-released on their 1988 EP “GN’R Lies”. According to Wikipedia, Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin have both claimed that Rose Tattoo changed their lives and the band confirmed to them that their own future would be in rock ‘n’ roll.

“The Butcher And Fast Eddy” has the groove of “The Jack” about a showdown between gangs. “One Of The Boys” is one of those 12 bar blues boogie songs common in the 70’s. “Remedy” has that “Long Way To The Top” pattern, sped up and whiskey’d up.

How good is the “Bad Boy For Love” guitar riff, a boogie woogie head banging blues riff?

If you like ZZ Top in all of their blues glory, then there is no way you can’t like this song.

“Tramp”, “T.V” and “Astral Wally” continue the 12 bar blues on punk steroids, while “Stuck On You” is as a subtle as the fish named Sam in the lyrics, who lived in a bowl, so Angry heated up the water so he wouldn’t get cold.

Underpinning it all is Angry Anderson’s voice, which can be rough like Lemmy and street ready barroom brawling like Bon Scott. A perfect combo.

Crank it up and let the sounds of Australia fill your room.

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Best Of February 2020

February had three parts on the new releases.

Part 1 is here.

Part 2 is here.

Part 3 is here.

A single song release from Machine Head called “Circle The Drain” got my attention.

That intro with the chorus vocal melody, gets me pumped every single time, especially when that riff kicks in after Robb Flynn sings, “bring that hammer down”. Its bone crunching mosh pit time.

Another single release that got me interested was “Feeling Whitney” from Royal Bliss, a cover of an acoustic song from Post Malone, which he released in 2016.

The chord progression reminds me of “Dust In The Wind”.

Jorn released “Heavy Rock Radio”.

Jorn Lande is one of the best singers to have come out in the last 30 years. His style is rooted within the classic signers of Coverdale, Dio, Dickinson and Gillan.

“Heavy Rock Radio” is a project which has Jorn Lande covering classic songs which inspired him. It’s another project funded by Frontiers, who are trying their hardest to get so many recordings under the label’s control.

One of my favourite Kiss songs is “Naked City” and it gets an updated rendition here. Which I certify as 100% excellent.

“Ride Like The Wind” from Saxon and “Lonely Nights” from Bryan Adams got taken out of the early 80’s and brought into the 2020’s as modern rock songs.

And there is no cover album from Jorn without a tribute to Ronnie James Dio material, in this case, “Die Young” and “Mystery”.

“The Final Frontier” actually sounds better than Maiden’s version and Jorn delivers on the vocal front.

“New York Minute” is a Don Henley cover and the intro highlights were “18 And Life” might have come from.

“Needles and Pins” is from the 60’s by The Searchers and the band Smokie made it a rock like ballad in the 70’s which sounds like the version that Jorn took and modernized even more into a melodic rock anthem.

“Love” is from Santana’s 1979 album, “Marathon” and this version is so good.  

I’ve include “Running Up That Hill”, a cover from Kate Bush, which appeared on Heavy Rock Radio Volume 1 from a few years before because Jorn has taken a really unique pop song and turned it into a beautiful rock track.

And a few albums got me interested like “Ordinary Man” from Ozzy Osbourne.

The people around Ozzy, like his family, the label, management and so forth, they know that Ozzy is marketable. If they surround him with creativity and good musicians/producers, it can’t really go that bad, could it.

“Under The Graveyard” has a clean tone intro which could end up on any pop song, that’s how much crossover appeal the riff has. The chorus is heavy, and that “Children Of The Grave” solo section fits.

“All My Life” is similar to songs that have appeared on previous Ozzy albums. The album “Scream” has a few songs with this major key vibe.

“Eat Me” came from the depths of Ozzy’s Delta Blues Sabbath past. “Straight To Hell” rocks out of the gate and “Goodbye” starts off like “Iron Man” but it sounds like a track from “Ozzmosis” which is an album I dig.

Ozzy should scrap touring and keep recording and releasing.

Another album that got me interested was
H.E.A.T II “ by H.E.A.T. It surprised me how good it is. I can’t even explain all the influences on the album that I hear.

Songs feel like they come from Harem Scarem, Skid Row, White Lion, Van Halen, Ratt, Bon Jovi, Kiss, Whitesnake, DLR, Dokken, Queensryche, Europe, Scorpions, Nelson, Lynch Mob, Firehouse, Ozzy “Bark At The Moon” and “The Ultimate Sin” era, Malmsteen “Trilogy” and “Odyssey” era, Judas Priest, Poison and Motley Crue albums.

If you really like the 80’s, then this album is for you.  

“Dangerous Ground” kicks off with the sound of an high performance motor vehicle starting. It’s perfect for a Mad Max movie. “Come Clean” has a Chorus which remains with me long after the song is finished.

“Victory” kicks off with an instantly memorable guitar lick before morphing into a heavy riff. “We Are Gods” sounds like it came from the movie “Rockstar”. “Adrenaline” has this Journey vibe, but the more rockier Journey than the ballad Journey.

But the album that reigned supreme for me in February is Aeromantic from The Night Flight Orchestra.

The whole album is excellent.

Each song has enough of an influence from a previous song to connect with me and TNFO are excellent players, so the musicianship and song writing is excellent.

If you like your classic Deep Purple, then opening track “Servants Of The Air” will serve you well, kicking off the street opera about shattered dreams, broken illusions and glimmers of hope.

“Divinyls” is full of hooks, nice synths and pulsing bass riffs.

“If Tonight Is Our Only Chance” brings the disco rock melodies, handled masterly by the TNFO guys, with a dose of rock thrown in. And the lyric line of taking that last chance is inspiring and hopeful.

“This Boy’s Last Summer” has a pop punk feel merged with a melodic hard rock. “Curves” is a funk masterpiece in the vein of Steely Dan.

ABBA is all over “Transmissions” in the Chorus and the synth is just driving the song along, which makes me think of driving. The violin solo at the end is brilliant.

“Aeromantic” has a riff which came from their first album (the song “California Morning” comes to mind) which is basically a riff inspired by their love of Kiss, Free and Sweet.

The ballad ‘Golden Swansdown’ has two brilliant guitar solos. “Taurus” sounds like “Gemini” from their previous albums as it rolls along with its addictive chorus and melody. “Carmencita Seven”, “Sister Mercurial” and “Dead Of Winter” close the album, a triple punch combo knock out.  

Check out The Night Flight Orchestra.

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The Record Vault – Cold

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.

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.

So I went down a rabbit hole listening to their catalogue on Spotify.

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.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, Unsung Heroes

Thunder Bay Down Under Summertime Spin Series – Kings Of The Sun

Here is the usual prologue.

My blogger pal Deke over at Thunder Bay had a cool Northern Hemisphere Summertime Series between July and August. Each week, he wrote about albums he spun during the summer.

Well, the real Earth summer is between December, January and February in the Southern Hemisphere. So the good act that Thunder Bay is, boarded a Qantas plane, landed in Sydney, survived 14 days quarantine in a Sydney hotel and is finally here to present the “Thunder Bay Down Under Summertime Series”.

And all the acts will be Australian acts.

What do ya get when you cross AC/DC, first three albums Def Leppard, The Rolling Stones, The Angels, Rose Tattoo, John Cougar Mellencamp, The Cult and Georgia Satellites.

Well you get “Kings Of the Sun”, an Australian hard rock band formed by brothers Jeffrey Hoad and Clifford Hoad in Sydney in 1986.

The band got a deal with RCA Records.

In 1988 the band released their self-titled debut album “Kings of the Sun”, which was produced by Eddie Kramer and mixed by Dave Thoener.

The album kicks off with “Serpentine” which has that slide guitar blues riff that Cinderella used to kick off “The More Things Change” on their “Heartbreak Station” album a few years later. “Get On Up” sounds like a John Cougar Mellencamp cut. “Black Leather” has a bridge part which is catchy.

“Tom Boy” is a cross between AC/DC and Def Leppard.

“Hot To Trot” has an open string pull off riff that reminds me of Van Halen’s and Angus Young’s love child.

“Jealous” has a foot stomping riff.

“Bottom Of My Heart” feels like a Hanoi Rocks cut as it has that cross between 70’s pop and hard rock that Hanoi Rocks brought to the table. “Cry 4 Love” is a blues stomp ballad. “Medicine Man” has a more aggressive “When The Levee Breaks” riff and a memorable vocal melody.

The album closes with “Bad Love” (which has this funky blues riff in the verses that makes me pick up the guitar) and “Wildcat”

They opened for Guns N’ Roses in 1988 and got themselves kicked off the tour.

How bad can you be to get kicked off a Gunners tour?

Singer Jeffrey Hoad dropped his pants in front of the audience and bad-mouthed Guns N’ Roses in the process.

But context is an important thing, so according to the good ole Hoad brothers, what they meant was “for the Australian press at the time, to stop making a fuss over the newest act in GNR and remember that bands like Rose Tattoo who actually influenced them, still exist”. Well that didn’t fly either and by then the Australian audiences had been taken under the GNR spell and started to turn away from the band.

I don’t let artists views affect my listening experience. For me to drop an artist, they would have to do something criminal and against my moral code.

Kings Of The Sun did rule for a few years, because they’re very good at delivering their brand of hard rock.

Open a beer and crank it.

And if you want to go down the rabbit hole with these guys, then check out the excellent follow up in “Full Frontal Attack”, released in 1990, and the powerhouse drumming from Clifford Hoad.

It’s on YouTube, not on Spotify, with stand-out tracks like “Lock Me Up”, “Drop The Gun”, “There Is Danger”, “Vampire” and “Full Frontal Attack”.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

November 2020 – Part 8

This will be the final post for November 2020 releases.

To put into context the volume of November releases that I had in my Spotify playlist, it came to 44 hours of music for the month.

All covered in 8 posts.

The most I have done for any month.

LA Guns

I liked the first two albums, and purchased a few more here and there after that. I was aware they had returned, at first in two different versions and now as just one version. While the previous album didn’t get me interested, “Renegades” does.

Listen to the riffs in “Crawl” and you will be pressing like and save. “Why Ask Why” is a cross between punk rock and hard rock. “Lost Boys” is essential listening. “You Can’t Walk Away” is a ballad, a cross between Southern Rock and The Beatles. The title track “Renegades” sounds like a Billy Idol cut with Steve Stevens.

The Night Flight Orchestra

“Paper Moon” is another single release from my favourite retro sounding rockers in the modern age.

And it’s perfect.

Kill The Lights

A smashing cover of “Battery” from Metallica. Press play and enjoy.

Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons

This is a good blues rock album with a mix of modern metal and rock chucked in. Check out songs like “We’re The Bastards” with its “For Those About To Rock” interlude and “Son Of A Gun” with its fast rockabilly metal feel.

“Promises are Poison” boogies its way into my brain and the vocal melody is reminiscent to Gavin Rossdale from Bush.

Firstborne

Chris Adler is a fantastic drummer and one of the best in the metal genre. His work with Lamb Of God, Megadeth and Protest The Hero is a masterclass in groove metal, thrash metal and progressive metal. Whatever went down with him and the rest of Lamb of God is between them and I’m still a fan of both artists.

Firstborne is a new metal and hard rock project from Chris Adler on drums, James Lomenzo on bass, guitarist Myrone and singer Girish Pradhan.

There’s an EP of songs plus a few stand alone singles and a cover of “Seperate Ways” from Journey.

Serj Tankian and Destind

“War” is the song. It’s fitting as Serj is a big activist for humanitarian issues and the recent war between Armenia and Azerbaijan has escalated his activism.

Diamond Head

They have re-recorded their classic album, “Lightning To The Nations 2020″ for the 40-year celebration.

Plus they’ve added some covers to the album, like Judas Priest’s “Sinner”, Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song”, Deep Purple’s “Rat Bat Blue” and Metallica’s “No Remorse”.

When you add the classic Diamond Head songs (which Metallica have covered) like “The Prince”, “Sucking My Love”, “It’s Electric”, “Helpless” and “Am I Evil”, you get a sense of DH’s influence to the sound of metal.

Hatebreed

Jamey Jasta has always been on my radar but since his solo album work and his work with Dee Snider, I’ve become a fan.

The riffs are metal and lyrically I think that writing lyrics for Dee Snider has rubbed off on Jasta as well.

Dream Theater and Volbeat also released live albums. There are so many doing the rounds these days, it’s hard to keep up. But I am biased when it comes to these two bands, so they will be getting spins well into Christmas and the New Year.

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