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

1996 – Part 3.5: Victor

If you search for Alex Lifeson in Spotify, this album would not come up, because even though “Victor” is a solo album by Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson, its released under the name of “Victor” and filed away under V.

Released in January 1996 on Anthem Records and recorded between the Rush albums “Counterparts” and “Test for Echo”, two of my favourite Rush records of the 90’s.

The musicians behind “Victor” are Alex Lifeson on guitars, bass and keyboards, plus spoken vocals on a few songs. Les Claypool makes an appearance on bass for “The Big Dance” while other bass tracks are handled by Peter Cardinali. Bill Bell is a Canadian guitarist who has toured and recorded with Jason Mraz, Tom Cochrane, Alex Lifeson and Danko Jones to name a few, also appears on guitar and Blake Manning is on drums.

For vocalists, Lifeson speaks on a few tracks, and a singer called Edwin (who I found out later is from a Canadian Rock band called “I Mother Earth”) does vocals on “Don’t Care”, “Promise”, “Sending Out a Warning”, “The Big Dance” and “I Am the Spirit”.

Another Canadian singer called Dalbello (otherwise also known as Lisa Dal Bello) appears on “Start Today”

“Don’t Care”

The track is written by Alex Lifeson.

The sound is grungy. But take away the studio sounds of the day and play the riffs through a 5150 amp, you’ll hear how heavy metal they are.

Some of the open string riffs do bring back memories of 70’s Rush.

Lyrically it’s so different from what Peart would write for a RUSH album. Its crude, full of fuck words and it’s basically about sex. The Rush elitists crucified him on the Rush boards back in the day for the lyrics. But Lifeson didn’t care.

“Promise”

Written by Lifeson and Bill Bell, it’s got this REM/Tragically Hip feel in the verses with a bit of “Limelight” in the Chorus.

I like the solo section. It has a riff which keeps repeating, while Lifeson does ambient like guitar noises and various note bends. It’s not technical, but its more abstract and it fits the vibe of the song. Then again it could be Bell on the solo. I don’t know.

“Start Today”

Written by Lifeson, check out the intro riff on this. Its huge, simple and yet progressive.

And Dalbello sounds a lot of like Geddy Lee when she hits her highs. A young Geddy Lee.

“Mr. X”

An Instrumental written by Lifeson. It sounds like a King Crimson cut, very Avant-garde, but the lead breaks are like blues jazz fusion.

“At the End”

Written by Lifeson and his son Adrian Zivojinovich. Adrian actually provides most of the computer programming which gives the songs he’s involved in, that Industrial tone.

Check out the riff at 2.24. I went straight for the guitar.

“Sending Out a Warning”

Another track written by Lifeson and Bell. And the riffs are interesting enough to get me to try and jam along.

The main riff by the way is excellent.

“Shut Up Shuttin’ Up”

Written by Lifeson and Bell, along with Lifeson’s wife Charlene and a person credited as Esther who basically provide the talking voices complaining about their husbands.

Musically, its funky, a bit bluesy and full of soul and every time the female voice overs say “Shut Up And Play The Guitar”, Lifeson begins to wail.

By the end of it, Lifeson is screaming back at em to “SHUUUT UUUP!”

For some reason, “The Audience Is Listening” from Steve Vai comes to mind.

“Strip and Go Naked”

Another Instrumental written by Lifeson and Bell.

The intro riff is one of this “Copperhead Road” riffs. Even Maiden used a similar riff on “Writings On The Wall”. Aerosmith on “Hangman Jury”.

But a Lifeson song moves within different musical pieces and this song is no other.

Check out the bluesy licks from the 2 minute mark over an ascending like bass riff and a strummed acoustic riff. And at 2.48 it goes back to the “Earle/Maiden” like riff.

But from 3.28 to the end, Lifeson takes that simple riff and makes it sound progressive. Listen to it.

“The Big Dance”

Written by Lifeson and Adrian Zivojinovich.

Man, that intro riff, so heavy.

And Les Claypool is on this, so the bass is prominent, syncopated with the kick drum.

“Victor”

Written by Lifeson and W.H Auden as the song is based on a poem written by Auden.

Its more experimental, with programmed drums and synths being prominent throughout while Lifeson recites the poem to us. It does nothing for me.

“I Am the Spirit”

My favourite song on the album and a perfect closer.

Written by Lifeson and Bell, it’s the most Rush sounding song on the album but the heavy rock sounding Rush.

“Tragically Hip” comes to mind here for the Verses with the vocal delivery, but musically, its Rush through and through.

The Chorus shows “The Spirit Of Radio”.

At 2.40, it quietens down and you hear some synth chords being played. Then Lifeson comes in with a clean tone guitar riff and man, what a riff it is. Different variations of it are heard throughout the song, but the way its delivered in this section, really brings it to life. One of his best riffs for the 90’s.

Then he goes into a guitar lead, which is emotive and perfect. But too short.

A great way to close the album.

Overall it’s not a perfect album and the spoken work melodies don’t really do much for me, but it’s that outside the box thinking which also draws me in, plus Lifeson always includes a riff or two in a song which makes me want to pick up the guitar and play along.

Check out this eclectic mix of blues rock, soul, funk, progressive, grunge, hard, industrial and alternative rock.

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The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – September 20 to September 26

4 Years Ago (2017)

After three weeks of zero posts it was James Durbin that got me out of the rut.

His first album dropped in 2011 and its a hard rock album. “Higher Than Heaven” is my favorite track. It’s melodic and heavy enough to rock and a co-write with James Michael and Marti Frederiksen.

Then album number 2 dropped in 2014 and it was not what I expected, more in line with the Imagine Dragons style of rock.

So I just moved on.

And then “The Road” came up on the New Release Playlist as I was driving.

I’d like to tell you that I knew it was Durbin on vocals just from hearing him, but I had to google it to find out. Hell I had to Google who was in that version of Quiet Riot. 

Frankie Banali has been the drummer for the band since DuBrow reformed it in the 80s after the death of Rhoads. Bassist Chuck Wright replaced Rudy Sarzo and has been in and out of QR since the 80s. Guitarist Alex Grosso has been in a lot of hard rock bands and ended up in QR in 2006. 

I wrote back in 2017 to go and listen to “The Road” first, then “Renegades” and “Freak Flag”. They are songs that should remain around for a lot longer. And I still stand by that but looking at Spotify, these songs doesn’t even rate in the Top 10.

Unfortunately this version of QR would record one more album. But, drama surrounded that release. Durbin left before it’s release and Banali went missing, only for the world to find out that he was dying from cancer.

But QR continues.

Johnny Kelly from Type O Negative and Danzig joins on drums. Jizzy Pearl is on vocals again. Alex Grossi remains on guitar and Rudy Sarzo has rejoined.

8 Years Ago (2013)

DID PIRACY ASSIST THE COMEBACK OF TWISTED SISTER?

Young people today do not realise the impact that Twisted Sister had on the music business around 1984 and 1985. Sure, other bands had greater sales and bigger tours, however no one did MTV like Twisted Sister.

But by 1987 it was game over for Twisted Sister.

So how did they come back?

LAST MAN STANDING

The “Because We Can” tour should of been renamed to “Because I Can”.

Richie Sambora didn’t show up to work but the show went on as JBJ had a replacement for Sambora on the same day.

Then Tico Torres undergoes emergency appendectomy surgery and the band POSTPONES their Mexico concert. This would have pissed the Jovi machine.

Then Tico fell ill again, but JBJ had a back up plan this time in New Jersey native and Kings Of Suburbia drummer Rich Scannella, who filled in until Tico was cleared to play.

The show must go on for JBJ as those super large merchandise deals means that the tour cannot stop. Merchandise deals become very expensive to the artist if they are broken or if the sales do not meet targets or if the promised shows are not delivered. Just ask Dee Snider.

DREAM THEATER PREDICTIONS

It was almost September 24, 2013 and the new self titled Dream Theater album would be “officially” released on Roadrunner.

Going back a few more years, on September 13, 2011, “A Dramatic Turn Of Events” was released and it had 35,750 units sold in the first week.

With Roadrunner putting a lot of money into Dream Theater, they would want the above figures to increase by at least 20% but the market at that point in time was showing a shrinkage in sales compared to two years ago, due to licensed streaming.

But as album sales went down, concert attendances went up as well as ticket prices.

MOTLEY CRUE REVISION

“MOTLEY STILL SINGERLESS” is the headline from a news break item that did the rounds in an issue of Hot Metal from June 1992.

For anyone who wasn’t aware, Motley Crue and Vince Neil parted ways in February 1992. The actual argument took place on February 11, 1992, with Motley Crue issuing the official statement on Neil’s departure on February 14, 1992.

The Crue wanted everyone to believe that they started working with John Corabi immediately, from as earliest as February 17, 1992, however it wasn’t until September 27, 1992, that John Corabi officially signed a contract to be Motley Crue’s new lead vocalist.

Sebastian Bach’s claimed that he did in fact audition during that period which Nikki Sixx denied on Twitter.

The other vocalists that are known to have auditioned are Stevie Rachelle from the band Tuff, Marq Torien from the band Bullet Boys and Stephen Shareaux from the band Kik Tracee.

40 WORD REVIEWS – FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH

It is a pretty solid album, sticking to what they know best. I would rank it the same as “American Capitalist”, part two of what came before.

40 WORD REVIEWS – DREAM THEATER

Download “Illumination Theory”, “Behind The Veil” and “The Looking Glass”. “The Bigger Picture” also has some great musical sections.  As for defining what Dream Theater is about right now; technical wizardry comes first and the actual song comes second.

40 WORD REVIEWS – THIRTY SECONDS TO MARS

The women of the world will love this album and the majority of guys will love the track “Conquistador.” A grand experiment in orchestra style theatrics merged with rock and pop sensibilities. 

CERVELLO

I just heard Cervello’s debut album (released in 2011) in 2013 and I liked it. I wanted to find out more information, only to find that they had broken up.

40 WORD REVIEWS – CANDLELIGHT RED

This album is more or less “B” grade Sevendust except for the last track “Sleeping Awake” which sounds like an “A” grade cut that should have been on Red’s “Release The Panic” album.

40 WORD REVIEWS – WITHIN TEMPTATION

A brilliant hard rock covers album of pop songs. Songs that I originally dismissed as terrible suddenly have a new lease of life thanks to Within Temptation’s reinterpretation and Sharon’s wonderful voice. 

BURNING YESTERDAY

I have had some music laying around that I earmarked once upon a time for a re-listen in a proper way.

“Burning Yesterday” was one such band.

Their album from 2009, “We Create Monsters Not Machines” was an amalgamation of bands like Red, Papa Roach, Breaking Benjamin, Skillet and Disciple. And I liked it, so give em a spin.

And that’s another wrap for another week.

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Australian Method Series: Black Majesty – Stargazer

How can you pass up an album with “Stargazer” as its title?

Black Majesty is from Melbourne, Australia. The band is made up of John Cavaliere on vocals, Steve Janevski and Hanny Mohamed on guitars with Pavel Konvalinka on drums. There is no bassist listed.

Steve Janevski on guitar lists George Lynch, Zakk Wylde, John Sykes, Michael Wilton & Chris DeGarmo, Warren Demartini, Ronnie Letekro as his favourite guitarists. All great influences to have.

And apart from playing in Black Majesty (Power Melodic Metal), he also plays in Wicked Smile (Heavy Rock) and The Radio Sun (AOR Melodic Rock).

“Stargazer” was released in 2012.

Falling

The lead breaks are excellent. Steve Janevski and Hanny Mohamed showcase their abilities from the outset.

Lost Highway

Harmony guitars and fast double kick start the song off.

Voice Of Change

A killer Chorus and another killer lead break section. Actually killer lead breaks as there are a few.

Killing Hand

It has a “Paris Is Burning” riff to start off and I like it.

Check out the Chorus. Great vocal melodies, fast double kick and the guitars just play power chords.

As it’s becoming the norm, the lead breaks on this album are guitar hero moments.

Journey To The Soul

How good are the harmony guitars in the intro, before it moves into a Maiden like groove?

Holy Hillers

Another great harmony guitar intro.

Symphony Of Death

The slow Intro reminds of Queensryche circa first two albums and once the gallop riff starts, Helloween and Maiden come to mind.

But the lead breaks. Guitar hero stuff again.

It starts off with an open string harmony lick, then each guitarist gets a chance to shred and tap away before coming back to the open string harmonies to close the solo.

Edge Of The World

It’s blasting fast and loud.

And when it comes to instrumental section, Janevski and Mohamed don’t disappoint.

Stargazer

As soon as the Intro leads start, the song could have appeared on “Brave New World” and people would think Maiden wrote it.

The lead section part of the song is essential listening. it starts off with a sing-a-long harmony lead before it goes into individual solos. And man, what solos they are.

By the end of it, you can only press repeat.

If there is a criticism, the drums seem to be on cruise control with the stock fast double kick patterns Power Metal music is known for.

Steve Janevski and Hanny Mohamed deserve special mention here on guitars.

Vocalist John Cavaliere is a multi-octave vocalist. His voice and style ranges between David Coverdale, Bruce Dickinson, Geoff Tate and Michael Kiske but still sounding unique enough to be original.

I’m not a huge Power Metal fan but I do listen to bands that play that style purely for the guitar playing.

If you like Power Metal, you’ll like this. If you like Melodic Metal you’ll like this. If you like Heavy Metal, you’ll like this.

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The Record Vault – Daughtry Debut

Daughtry dropped a new album recently and it’s great to hear the hard rock side kick back in after a couple of albums that lived in a popular rock/beats area. Even the metal sites are reviewing the new album.

A review of the new Daughtry will come soon, but it did get me in the mood to listen to earlier Daughtry and so let’s kick off the next Record Vault series with the debut album.

Daughtry is the debut album, released in 2006 by RCA Records. He came to fame by competing in American Idol, but he didn’t win Idol, however he’s had a bigger career then the actual winner Taylor Hicks. I guess the kiddies voting don’t really purchase records.

It’s Not Over

The Bm to A to G chord progression is familiar (think “Kryptonite” from Three Doors Down) but it’s the tone of Chris Daughtry’s voice which hooks me in.

Chris Daughtry, Gregg Wattenberg, Mark Wilkerson and Brett Young are listed as the songwriters and what a song they wrote, sitting at 90.325 million streams on Spotify. But it’s not the most streamed from Daughtry. That goes to “Over You”.

And if the songwriter names are familiar, well, if you own a Train or John Legend or Goo Goo Dolls album, you will see Gregg Wattenberg listed as a producer and writer. Mark Wilkerson was the lead singer and guitarist for Course Of Nature, a rock band which was also known as COG. The Chorus was written by Brett Young, a singer in the same season of American Idol as Daughtry.

It’s also certified 2x Platinum as a single in the U.S. Back in 2007, it got a Gold certification for CD physical sales of the single in the U.S.

Used To

Daughtry, Howard Benson and Zac Maloy are listed as the songwriters.

A simple drum and bass groove start the song, but it’s the repeating guitar arpeggios in the verse which moves the song along.

Another infectious chorus.

We used to have this figured out / We used to breathe without a doubt

So what changes as we get older. As we learn more, do we fear more.

Home

Sitting at 76.8 million streams on Spotify. Certified 3x Platinum in the U.S as a digital single, with its most recent certification happening in September 2019. Back in 2008, it got a Gold certification for CD physical sales of the single in the U.S.

And as an artist, this is exactly what you want. People still consuming your songs, many years after they’ve been released.

It’s written by Chris Daughtry.

My favourite song on the album. It crosses over to so many different styles and genres. If you like Southern Rock, you’ll like this. If you like Country Rock, you’ll like this. If you like Hard Rock, you’ll like this.

And the message of returning home after been away for a while is a message that everyone can understand and relate to.

Over You

This is the most streamed Daughtry track, at 116.8 million streams. And it also has a 2x Platinum in September 2019, for digital sales in the U.S.

Written by Daughtry and Brian Howes it could have appeared on a Jovi album at the time.

It’s a mid-tempo rocker and Daughtry’s vocals are excellent.

And Brian Howes is a Canadian songwriter who has written songs with Adelitas Way, Airbourne, Caleb Johnson, Halestorm, Hedley, Hinder, Nickelback, Rev Theory and Skillet to name a few. A lot of chart cred right there. So if the song sounds familiar, I’m sure some of the melodies from Howes would have been reused.

Crashed

Written by Daughtry, Nina Ossoff, Dana Calitri and Kathy Sommer and the Chorus is catchy.

Feels Like Tonight

Max Martin, Luke Gottwald and Shep Solomon are the writers. These guys wouldn’t come cheap. I would be surprised if Daughtry is listed as re-couped for this album. I am sure the record label creative accountants still have him in debt, even though its 6x Platinum in the U.S.

It starts off like “Chasing Cars”. That’s what writers of hits do. Take what came before and tweak it.

And of course, a Max Martin /Dr Luke song, isn’t a song without a massive Chorus.

What I Want

Written by Daughtry and Howes and features Slash.

Just by featuring Slash, the song already has a hard rock swagger to it more like the “Velvet Revolver” swagger. But it’s short. Just over 2 minutes long.

Breakdown

The songs which are solely written by Chris Daughtry highlight his skills and style as a writer. “Home” showcases his story telling and use of simple chords to deliver an emotive vocal melody.

“Breakdown” is also written by Chris Daughtry.

It’s actually a rewrite and combination of two songs “Conviction” and “Break Down” previously recorded by Daughtry’s former hard rock/alternative metal band, “Absent Element”.

This one percolates, living in the grey area between soft rock and hard rock.

Check out the head banging riff at 2.30.

Gone

Written by Chris Daughtry, it starts off slow, ballad like but by the end of it, it becomes a great melodic rock song.

There and Back Again

Written by Daughtry and Brent Smith from Shinedown who also plays guitar on it.

It feels like a track that would appear on “The Sound Of Madness”. It’s heavy and it rocks hard.

All These Lives

Written by Daughtry and Mitch Allan, it’s in the soft rock domain moving between acoustic verses and distorted choruses.

What About Now

Written by Ben Moody, David Hodges and Joshua Hartzler.

Moody and Hodges had a certain style of writing. They both came to fame via the “Fallen” album from Evanescence and when Moody left the band mid tour, he became a songwriter for other artists. Kelly Clarkson recorded a few of their songs, I think, “Because Of You” was written by Moody and Hodges.

Well this one follows in that vein. It has a piano riff which at the start reminds me of “Alone” from Heart.

Sorry

Written by Daughtry, Alexander Rethwisch, Christopher Langton, Konstantin Rethwisch and Matthias Weber. A lot of writers.

It lives in this acoustic Fuel/Alice In Chains space because it reminds me of Fuel’s “Something Like Human” album and “Sap” from Alice In Chains.

For a debut album from an American Idol contestant who came 5th, every cent was spent by the label on getting the correct songs as evidenced by the different songwriters on each song.

And he had a lot of musicians on the debut album. Phil

X who performs with Bon Jovi now, is on lead and rhythm guitars. The excellent Josh Freese is on drums. Paul Bushnell plays bass except on “What About Now” which is Chris Chaney. Producer Howard Benson also plays keyboards on the album and Chris Lord-Alge is mixing. These guys and production team don’t come cheap.

In an era of low sales, Daughtry also showed that great music can still sell. In Australia and New Zealand it went Gold. In the UK its certified Silver. In Canada its certified 2x Platinum and in the U.S, its certified 6x Platinum.

The album produced 7 singles. Yep, 7, but then again, every song on the album could be a single, hence the different writers.

And Daughtry sings for most of the album so his voice is left, front and right.

Critics did write, what is the point of having Slash appear on a 2 minute track. Or what would have happened if music took the lead in a song instead of Daughtry singing over everything.

But then again, critics don’t normally sell 6 million albums in the U.S.

Crank it folks.

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1996 – Part 3.2: Bryan Adams – 18 Till I Die

“Reckless” was massive and is still massive. The follow up “Into The Fire” was seen as a failure but “Waking Up The Neighbours” re-established Bryan Adam’s as a tour-de-force. Mutt Lange was on board for that album as co-producer and co-writer, with Jim Vallance only appearing on half of the tracks as co-writer.

Released in 1996 and five years after “Waking Up The Neighbours”, “18 Till I Die” hit the streets.

Bryan Adams and Mutt Lange are back at producing and writing most of the tracks but Jim Vallance is missing.

The band for the album is Bryan Adams is on rhythm guitar and vocals, Keith Scott is on lead guitar, Mickey Curry is on drums, Dave Taylor us on bass, Mutt Lange is on guitars, Michael Kamen is on piano and string arrangements.

The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me

It’s like a ZZ Top track. No blues purist would give them the credit but ZZ Top with “Eliminator” and “Afterburner” brought back the blues into the pop mainstream in a big way. And those little lead breaks and fills on this song are loaded with Texan spice.

The title is one of those cheesy pick-up lines, but hey, Adams makes it work as he sings about how they stick like glue and how she’s the only thing that looks good on him.

Do To You

It reminds me of a song called “What I Like About You” from The Romantics merged with a bit of “Love Shack” from the B-52’s and a little bit of punk from The Clash and somehow it still sounds like Bryan Adams.

And I like the harmonica licks that kick in between the vocal melodies.

Let’s Make A Night To Remember

This is a Def Leppard cut through and through about getting together and getting it on. It could easily be interchanged with a song from “Adrenalize” and people wouldn’t notice.

The video clip has various women posing for Bryan Adams as he photographs them, an attempt to change his image to fit into some voyeur playboy kind of image.

I like the lead break although its only four bars and way too short.

18 Till I Die

I like the arpeggios in the intro.

When the power chords come crashing in, I feel like it’s like a Rolling Stones or The Kinks like track musically. Lyrically it’s about maintaining youthful traits, even as you grow older.

Star

It’s different, more ballad like and very similar to another song he co-wrote called “Glitter” with Motley Crue. And melodic rockers from Sweden would start to have ballads like this in the mid 2000’s.

I guess Adams was a bit ahead here.

(I Wanna Be) Your Underwear

Stupid title, but hey, management and the label were trying to alter Adam’s image from working class hero to playboy.

Keith Scott has got some Steve Vai talking guitar happening with the guitar whistles to kick off the song.

Check out the bass work in the verses from Dave Taylor. Excellent.

We’re Gonna Win

It’s a punk song, but a rock song. And I like it.

I Think About You

A ballad, but more in the country rock ballad arena, something which Mutt Lange was using a lot of Shania Twain.

I’ll Always Be Right There

Strings, an acoustic guitar and a Steve Perry like vocal delivery. It feels like a movie song but two ballads in a row, lost me.

It Ain’t A Party, If You Can’t Come Round

The cheesy titles are back which also reminds me of a Vince Neil song title and so is the loud country blues rock.

Black Pearl

The country blues rock from the Mississippi Delta continues with this one and a riff inspired by “Peter Gunn”.

The lead break (although brief) from Keith Scott is Grade A Nashville stamped.

You’re Still Beautiful to Me

I like the feel of this song. It’s a simple drum beat, a strummed acoustic guitar, a great Adams vocal deliver and how good are those licks in between the verses and Choruses and under the vocals.

Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?

Written by Adams, Lange and Kamen and featuring the excellent flamenco guitarist Paco DeLucia.

I came across DeLucia via Al DiMeola and the trio they had with John McLaughlin and became a fan with his acoustic guitar playing.

Featured in a movie I can’t remember but these movie placements ended up being huge promotional vehicles for Adams.

It was a Top 10 album in Australian, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Holland, Finland, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.K (which also had it go to Number 1).

In Australia and Canada it was certified 3× Platinum. In the U.K it was certified 2x Platinum. Platinum in the U.S, New Zealand, Japan and Switzerland. Gold in Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany and Spain.

And the label still saw it as a disappointment.

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Australian Method Series: AC/DC – Ballbreaker

I caught em live on the “Ballbreaker” tour and little did I know that would be the last time I would watch em live.

“Ballbreaker” is a favourite, the same way “Flick Of The Switch” is a favourite. It feels rawer and bluesier. Both albums came after massive periods of success in “Highway To Hell/Back In Black/For Those About To Rock” and “The Razors Edge”.

“The Razors Edge” was that popular that it gave the band a 16 year victory lap. In other words it was still selling when this album and others came out, along with the monster known as “Back In Black”.

Released in 1995, it’s album number thirteen based on the Australian releases. Otherwise its number 12 based on the international releases.

The only change to the band line up was the return of Phil Rudd on drums, replacing Chris Slade.

But the producer this time is Rick Rubin although most of the work is credited to Mike Fraser as Co-Producer, engineer and mixer. And many years later, Malcolm Young said it was a mistake to work with Rubin who was absent for a lot of the sessions.

Hard As A Rock

It’s a favourite. I like the clean tone, droning open string riff to start the song and then it explodes into distortion with the Young brothers jamming on a B5 chord.

Cover You In Oil

The walking guitar riff reminds me of “Ice Cream Man” from Van Halen. And while Brian Johnson was hard as a rock in the first song, now he’s asking if he’s allowed to cover someone in oil.

The Furor

I like the single note riff that Malcom plays in the Verse while Angus strums away in the higher register.

And when the Chorus kicks in, I like what Angus plays on the higher register. And the lyrics are simple, “I’m your furor baby”.

Boogie Man

The riff is derivative and the title is derivative of “Night Stalker”. But hey, AC/DC built a career on being derivative.

The Honey Roll

The riffs in this song are virtually unknown but they are as good as anything that came from the “Back In Black” album.

Burnin’ Alive

A simple riff on a lightly distorted electric kicks off the song. And I like how Rudd builds the intro.

Check out the groove on the verse riff.

Hail Caeser

How good does this start off?

It reminds me of all the things I like about AC/DC like “Dirty Deeds”, “Whole Lotta Rosie” and “TNT”.

I said “Hail”.

Love Bomb

I don’t know what kind of a bomb a love bomb is, but its Wikipedia definition has love bombing as an attempt to influence a person by demonstrations of attention and affection.

The Chorus is catchy, but the lead break is my favourite.

Caught With Your Pants Down

I like the Intro. Sleazy.

In the verses, “Whole Lotta Rosie” went around in the 90’s.

And how good are the chromatics in the Chorus.

Whiskey On The Rocks

This song subliminally makes me drinks whiskey.

Ballbreaker

The riff is excellent, iconic, but when the bass of Williams and Rudd kick in, that’s when you know it’s gonna be a great AC/DC song. A perfect song.

In the end, there are no bad songs here or a skippable track. And seeing em play most of this album on the tour, it’s definitely a favorite.

In Australia it went straight to number 1 (as most albums of AC/DC do here), along with Sweden and Finland.

It was a Top 10 album in Austria, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Norway, New Zealand, Switzerland, UK and US.

Certified 3x Platinum in Australia. 2x Platinum in the U.S. Platinum in France and New Zealand. Gold in Austria, Finland, Germany, Switzerland and the U.K.

In other words, the return of AC/DC was cemented.

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1996 – Part 3.1: Scorpions – Pure Instinct

Man, the Scorpions sure know how to cause a bit of controversy with their album covers. Remember “Virgin Killer” or “Lovedrive” and to a lesser extent “Animal Magnetism”. Well, you can add “Pure Instinct” to the list.

And all of this controversy generated an alternative cover, with the Scorpion guys acting like animals..

And the music catalog of Scorpions is all over the place when it comes to streaming services. This album like many others from the Scorpions is not available on streaming services like Spotify, Deezer or Apple, but hey YouTube has it.

So “Pure Instinct” is album thirteen. Released in 1996 it’s basically forgotten.

Klaus Meine is on vocals, Rudolf Schenker on rhythm guitars, Matthias Jabs on lead guitars and Ralph Rieckermann on bass. For drums they used a session player (aka a “Hired Gun”) called Curt Cress.

The main Producer is Erwin Musper with 80s legend Keith Olsen, producing tracks 1 and 7.

“Wild Child”

Produced by Keith Olsen.

Bag pipes play a Celtic like melody before the crunchy guitars of Rudolf Schenker kick in. Its classic Scorpions delivering a kick ass rock song.

Check out the lead breaks from Mattias Jabs especially the outro solo.

And to close out, the bag pipe melody is back in. Musically it’s as good as any hard rock track from the Scorpions.

“But the Best for You”

Klaus Meine wrote the song.

It’s more Bryan Adams in the Intro than the Euro Scorpions Rock and the verses are very heavily influenced by ELP and the song “From The Beginning”.

What is it with that ELP track?

Dokken covered the ELP track a year before on “Dysfunctional”.

The Chorus also has that “You Give Love A Bad Name” vibe.

“Does Anyone Know”

Another Meine composition and its the first ballad on the album.

Another day has just begun
Life goes on there’s no return
How can I trust anyone
When honesty is such a dirty word

A breakdown in a relationship is not easy especially when you’ve been deceived.

The guitar solo from Jabs is excellent, reminding me a bit of a certain UFO guitarist who did time in Scorpions.

“Stone in My Shoe”

The hard rock of Schenker is back and its got that 70’s feel.

“Soul Behind the Face”

The intro remimds of the Uli Jon Roth era with a bit of Neal Schon.

And even though the acoustic guitar is prominent in the verses, i class the song as a rocker.

And Meine’s lyrics are better here, questioning who he’s real friends are.

And What a Chorus!.

“Oh Girl (I Wanna Be with You)”

A mix of “No One Like You” and “Passion Rules the Game”.

“When You Came into My Life”

A ballad written by Meine and Schenker along with Titiek Puspa and James F. Sundah.

The intro arpeggios remind me of something, but I cant remember what.

The acoustic lead break by Jabs is brief.

“Where the River Flows”

I thought of Collective Soul when I saw this title, even though their version came after. A rock song but with a strummed acoustic as the main focal point.

Under suburban skies
Where life is bleeding
Where concrete skies are grey
There’s plenty of room for dreaming

My hometown has sure changed. Suburbia has moved from the house into the apartment which goes up many levels.

“Time Will Call Your Name”

It’s like a long lost cut from Led Zep III.

“You and I”

A boring ballad to me but it got played live.

“Are You the One?”

A ballad to close the album with.

Skip.

And the album was a Top 10 album in Germany and Finland. It was also a Top 20 album in France, Switzerland and Austria.

It was also certified Gold in Germany, France and Finland.

In the end, it was a release to keep the Scorpions brand going. But the songs feel dull and uninspired. Other artists who had fame in the 80s ask struggled during this period, unsure of what to write, how to sound and how they fit in. Like when Slayer delivered a Nu-Metal album, you knew as a fan that bands were doing it tough.

Klaus Meine at 48 years of age was still writing about “Wild Child’s” and other irrelevant 80s cliches. But on some songs he showed us that there is a questioning human behind the rock star bravado.

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

Disturbed – Evolution

I don’t own it. Between 2016 and 2019, I didn’t buy a lot of music as streaming was becoming king.

Released in 2018 and after the success of “The Sound Of Silence”, it was inevitable that the sound of Disturbed would evolve to include a lot of acoustic guitars.

In the interviews leading up to the release, the guys in the band mentioned that the classic rock music they grew up with, influenced the writing of this album.

And this time around, Kevin Churko is also listed as a songwriter along with the band (like how Mutt Lange was listed as a writer with the bands he worked with) and the song “Uninvited Guest” has Dianne Warren as a co-writer. Yes the “I Don’t Want To Miss a Thing” Dianne.

Are You Ready

A throwback to the first two albums in musical style, lyrics and vocal phrasing with an anthemic Chorus.

No More

It’s got a riff and drum groove that reminds me of “The Beautiful People” from Marylyn Manson.

In the Chorus, if you like Swedish Hard Rock or Euro Hard Rock, then you’ll get your fix here.

A Reason To Fight

One of the first acoustic tracks on the album, about not giving up when the demon inside you wants you to. Not a favorite.

In Another Time

The start feels poppy, but then a “Kashmir” like riff kicks in.

The way the verses are delivered vocally is more in line with the popular charting songs.

And the Chorus. Huge.

Stronger On Your Own

A drum groove that reminds me of the first album from Imagine Dragons is prominent but the song still sounds like Disturbed with a bit of Shinedown.

Hold On To Memories

A simple strummed progression on the acoustic guitar starts it off, and then a melodic acoustic lead kicks in.

Draiman is hopeful, sending a message to take the ones you love and hold em close, and to make the most of your life.

And the song remains in the acoustic domain throughout, like “A Reason To Fight”.

Saviour Of Nothing

The heavy rock is back.

But the song was pedestrian, until the interlude section from 2.40 got me interested.

Then a lead break started, first with some Digitech Whammy effects and the shred kicked in after.

Watch You Burn

The acoustic guitars are back, more Led Zeppelin like especially the interlude.

The Best Ones Lie

Its back to the Disturbed Hard Rock sound.

Already Gone

Acoustic guitars are back again with a “Stairway To Heaven” like intro.

This is the best of the acoustic guitar songs and the only one that should have been included. The feel of it is almost Country Rock and Draiman’s bass/baritone like delivery is perfect.

Now for the bonus tracks.

The Sound Of Silence (Live with Myles Kennedy)

It’s a great track and Disturbed have done it justice with their re-interpretation.

This Venom

It’s a bonus track, but the Chorus is better than some of the album tracks.

Check out the whole interlude and lead section part.

Are You Ready (Sam DeJong Remix)

It’s an Imagine Dragons song with this remix and I like it.

Uninvited Guest

Another acoustic guitar led song.

Give it a listen just for the orchestra.

And the album at this point in time doesn’t have any certifications. Time will tell if people will keep listening to it. If I had to rank all the albums, this is my least favorite.

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

2001 – Part 3.7: Adema – Adema

Labelled as Nu-Metal. I never understood what that label meant. Even though I hated the “hair metal” tag back in the late 80’s, it was easily understood why the record labels and media outlets labelled bands with that term.

But Nu-Metal always had me confused. To me it’s all just music.

The bands that started to make inroads in the early 2000’s, had the same aggression and rage as a lot of the bands I grew up with. Just because they didn’t have guitar solos, had shorter hair, dressed differently and played syncopated riffs, it didn’t make them that much different.

And the majority of these bands had even bigger arena rock choruses than the bands who made it in the 80’s and still had a level of success without MTV pushing them, which was very different to the 80’s as all the bands then got to a million in sales on the back of the exposure MTV generated.

The vocal tones of singers in the 2000’s were different as well.

Growing up in the 80’s my ears got used to the Bruce Dickinson, Geoff Tate, Sebastian Bach, Ronnie James Dio, Tom Kiefer and David Coverdale style vocals.

And then in the 90’s with the advent of Grunge, Kurt Cobain, Layne Staley and Eddie Vedder (along with others) changed what a vocalist should sound like.

Rob Thomas, Trent Reznor and Jonathan Davis further changed the expectations. And I was like a pariah within my hard rock friends, who hated all of these singers because they didn’t have the range of the metal and hard rock singers of the 80’s.

Back to Adema, the album came out in 2001, but I didn’t hear it until 2003. I have written about them in a Record Vault post, previously.

Adema is Mark Chavez on vocals, Tim Fluckey on lead guitar and keyboards, Mike Ransom on rhythm guitar, Dave DeRoo on bass and Kris Kohls on drums.

Everyone

The Intro riff reminds me of P.O.D and Godsmack.

The Chorus reminds me of Korn. I like how songs do that.

Everyone is the same
Quick to point the blame
All I know is that life is a struggle

Truth right there.

Blow It Away

So many influences here.

The Intro music reminds me of Godsmack.

In the verses, there is a Nirvana bass feel, with Korn like guitar embellishments.

Lyrically, it’s a nasty song about a relationship gone bad and if you’ve seen American Psycho, you will know what the singer is thinking.

Giving In

The Intro hooks me in, with its combination of Deftones and “Come Undone” from Duran Duran.

And it’s one of my favourite tracks on the album, about giving in to your addictions or giving in to the darkness that loneliness brings due to your addictions.

Freaking Out

The rapped verses have enough melody to keep me interested and the music/feel of the song reminds me of New Order.

The Way You Like It

My second favourite and the flow of the song is great, with a catchy Chorus.

More Linkin Park like.

Close Friends

A bass riff in the verses which reminds me of “Smells Like Teen Spirit”.

Do What You Want To Do

Aggressive song about living the life you want to live.

Skin

Phased out chorused guitars shimmer and glimmer in the verses over a jazz-rock fusion drum groove. Then the Chorus riff kicks in, abrasive, compared to the verses.

Pain Inside

It’s got all the synth electronics that bands were using back in the day.

The chorus gospel effect on the guitars gets me interested and the verse drum and bass groove keeps the momentum going.

Once the power chords come crashing in for the Chorus, I’m sold.

Speculum

The acoustic guitar gets some use but it’s not a ballad.

There’s so many people dying
You complain about your situation

Death gives perspective.

Drowning

The intro riff reminds me of Muse.

It’s like a needle in my spine
It stings inside
Poisons me with time
I can’t deal with your lies

Relationships are tough. They could lift you up or bury you.

Trust

It feels like a song from “The Crow” movie with a bit of “Come Undone” by Duran Duran as an influence.

I’m so alone, empty and lost, it’s easier to let you go
Time will erode the shame and the fault, it’s easier to let you go

We become focused on achieving something and when we do, we realize we also lost something along the way, like a relationship that you didn’t want to lose.

And that’s the album.

The band was active up to 2009 and then disappeared, only to resurface in 2021 with a new song and possibly a new album.

But it all started here. The debut gave them the valuable rookie card.

Crank it.

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The Record Vault: Disturbed – Immortalized

It’s the last album I purchased and much later than its release date at a discounted price. At the time I was still endeavouring at keeping my Disturbed collection intact.

So “Immortalized” is the comeback album after the hiatus, released on August 21, 2015 by Reprise Records. It’s also the comeback album for “The Guy”, the Disturbed mascot.

Between “Asylum” and “Immortalized”, there is a five year gap. “The Lost Children” doesn’t count here as it was an album of leftover tracks.

One song defines this album and it’s the cover of “The Sound of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel. As soon as it was released as a single it went to Platinum, and by November 2017, it was 3x Platinum and right now its getting close to 4x Platinum.

The album itself was certified Platinum in January 2018. So in an era of no sales, Disturbed is still pulling good numbers.

The band members David Draiman (vocals), Dan Donegan (guitar) and Mike Wengren (drums) perform on the album. Bass player John Moyer was not present, due to working with Adrenaline Mob and Art of Anarchy so Donegan did the bass. But Moyer is still pictured in the booklet.

Kevin Churko is producing and his run of certifications continues similar to Olsen and Werman back in the 80s.

The reviews at the time were not kind to the album with sentences like “It won’t change the minds of those who weren’t fans before” or “Immortalized” is fans-only release as it feeds the target audience”.

But hindsight is a wonderful thing and “The Sound Of Silence” for better or for worse brought in a whole new audience.

“The Eye of the Storm” (Intro)

You hear the sound of a vinyl record starting, all dusty and then a demented tremolo effect arpeggio starts, complemented by a guitar lead.

“Immortalized”

The Intro riff is classic Disturbed.

“Secure a legacy that will never die, be immortalized”

What kind of legacy is up to you?

“The Vengeful One”

It reminds me of “Louder Than Hell” from Motley Crue. And I like it.

The drum groove sets the pace and then one of my favourite riffs on the album just explodes the same way it does on “Louder Than Hell”.

Pure head banging bliss.

“The rabid media plays their role / Stoking the flames of war to no surprise / Only too eager to sell their souls / For the apocalypse must be televised”

There are no views for happy moments. Chaos, death and destruction gets people glued to their screens.

“Open Your Eyes”

It’s catchy and easily digestible.

This song has John Feldmann (from the band Goldfinger, plus he has a history of writing and producing other artists like Papa Roach, Black Veil Brides, 5 Seconds Of Summer) and Nick Furlong (another songwriter who has worked with Papa Roach, Good Charlotte, All Time Low, 5 Seconds Of Summer) as co-writers, along with Draiman, Donegan and Wengren.

But regardless of the songwriters, it’s still a Disturbed cut, through and through.

You’re hypnotized, demoralized
Believe every line that they sell you
Start channelling whatever will remains
Discern from what’s fiction and what is true

Open your eyes

People need to read more critically and research different point of views. But with social media being such a massive force of nature, it’s very easy to surround yourself in an echo chamber, hearing the same thing, over and over and over again, until you believe it is true and you refuse to see another point of view, which could be true.

“The Light”

A hard rock song, reminding me of “My Hero” from Foo Fighters in certain sections.

And how good is the vocal melody in the Chorus. Pure AOR Melodic Rock.

Four punch knockout combo right there.

“What Are You Waiting For”

I wasn’t surprised that they had a cut that sounded like Five Finger Death Punch on the album. The track is also co-written with John Feldman.

The lead break has a lot of the Digitech Whammy Pedal effects.

“You’re Mine”

The electronic element is back, then again, Draiman’s side project “Device” did sound like this.

“Who”

The riff is a derivative of “Indestructible” and the gang vocal chants are here.

“Save Our Last Goodbye”

It starts off with a person leaving messages on a phone.

The heavy songs were getting derivative at this point in time although I still enjoy listening to em, just to hear what Draiman does with the vocal melodies, or if there is a guitar lead or an interlude that makes me bang the head.

And this song from 3.07 has this Judas Priest like riff in the Interlude which definitely gets the head banging.

In the last minute, it breaks down to a piano and Draiman’s falsetto before building up again.

By the end of it, the person is still calling the number to leave a message and the number is no longer active.

“Fire It Up”

I feel like they started off with an idea to do a song like “We Will Rock You” but once it went through the Disturbed blender, it ended up sounding like “Fire It Up” and if anything it feels like a Godsmack track, with the lyrical line, “when I fire it up, it feels alright”.

“The Sound of Silence”

My brother was singing this song on the day he died from a brain aneurysm and he’s not even a Disturbed fan, but he heard the song on a TV show and it stuck with him.

And I didn’t really care about this song or this version, but a life experience has changed that.

“Never Wrong”

It’s a throwback to the debut album, with a repeating lyrical line done in the Draiman drawl.

“Who Taught You How to Hate”

A great title.

A long time ago I came across a quote like “a child’s life is like a blank sheet of paper, which every person leaves a mark on”.

So how did that child grow up to hate?

Now for the bonus tracks, “Tyrant”, “Legion Of Monsters” and “The Brave And The Bold”.

“Tyrant”

I like the lead break.

“Legion of Monsters”

Inspired by a Rolling Stone article on the Boston Marathon Bomber. It’s angry and energetic.

“The Brave and the Bold”

I like the Blues Rock riff to start off the song. The Chorus is pure Disturbed and the lead break is excellent as there are a lot of Randy Rhoads type licks chucked in and I like it.

For comeback albums, it was well received and while the reviewers said the album is for hard-core fans only, this album actually grew Disturbed’s fan base.

In Australia, Canada and the U.S, the album went to Number 1. In Austria, Finland, Germany, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.K, it was a Top 10 album. In Belgium, Holland and Portugal it was a Top 20 album.

For certifications, it was certified Platinum in Australia, Canada, Germany, Norway and the U.S. It was certified Gold in Austria, New Zealand, Sweden and the U.K.

The “Immortalized” tour was earning on average $200K in B level cities (using California as a guide, San Diego is classed as a B level city) and about $400K in A Level cities (like Los Angeles) a night.

Good or bad, acoustic guitar songs would become very prominent on the next album “Evolution” released in 2018.

The touring cycle was done and the bad was starting a trek of shows to commemorate “The Sickness” 20 year Anniversary before COVID-19 put a halt to proceedings.

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