A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, Unsung Heroes

The Record Vault: Dokken – Under Lock And Key

Album number three, released in 1985. “In My Dreams” had MTV circulation, and it pushed the album to a Platinum certification in the U.S.

Neil Kernon and Michael Wagener are on hand to produce, engineer and mix. Don Dokken had a certain fondness to work with Wagener on his vocals. He met Wagener when he did a club tour of Germany in 1979.

Don then got a deal with Carrere Records in 1981 with the songs that Lynch and Dokken wrote and he did the Don Dokken “Breaking The Chains” album.

Fun fact, it was Gaby Hauke Hoffmann aka Deaffy who did the lyrics for those Accept records who got Don the record deal. There was another bass player who didn’t work out and Peter Baltes from Accept took over.

George Lynch and Mick Brown came over to Germany and did their bits and the album was re-released. It did good business in Germany and Cliff Burnstein from Q Prime picked the album up on import and liked it.

Burnstein then signed Don to a management deal. After a small tour in Germany with Juan Croucier on bass, they came back to the U.S. Lynch left the band and Croucier joined Ratt. It was just Don and Mick.

Don signed a deal with Elektra and Warren DeMartini was in the band for a short period before Lynch decided to come back in.

“Tooth And Nail” came out and the guys went back to their day jobs. But the album blew up. It started selling, “Alone Again” was in the charts and the label decided to put the band into the studio again.

According to Don, he wrote 80% of the songs for “Under Lock And Key” but got dipped on the credits as the band wanted the credits to state “all songs written by Dokken”. Lynch and Pilson also wrote a lot of music and A&R exec, Tom Zutaut had the most dangerous job in the world. To pick the songs to go on the record.

It was a time of excess. The album cost $150K to make and they then spent $250K on video clips.

Unchain The Night

The guitar intro immediately had my attention.

And Don was lost in the middle, running around in circles and unable to touch someone who had a knife in their heart.

Confused. Me too. Even the title confused me as I couldn’t understand how someone could chain something that isn’t an object.

But I didn’t care.

The music was excellent and the Lynch lead.

Wow. Its fast and shredalicious, but it’s got feel and emotion and melody.

And the outro, when the intro riff comes in, the power chords crash down around you and Lynch gets a chance to wail again. He’s playing for the song, its restrained and beautiful. Then the singing is back in and I don’t want to song to end. And they didn’t fade it out. They ended it like how they would end it live.

So I picked the needle up and replayed the song.

The Hunter

Lynch brought in the music and he wanted it to be his instrumental on the album. Don thought otherwise and he took the jam session home with him and wrote the lyrics. The instrumental then became “The Hunter”.

Don wrote a memorable hook for the Chorus and how good is the guitar lead from Lynch?

In My Dreams

According to Don, he wrote most of the riffs and lyrics for this song. With the opening vocal hook, this song was going to crossover into the mainstream. MTV loved it, played it and it pushed the album.

And for all its commercialism, you cannot take away the power of the metal lead break.

Slippin’ Away

After the first three songs, this was a letdown. The shining light here is Lynch’s “Journey – Neal Schon” like solo break.

Lightning Strikes Again

But they made up for the small slip previously.

This is my favourite song on the album and along with “Kiss Of Death” some of the most heaviest riffs committed to tape.

From the interviews I have read, this song is a collaboration.

The intro riff is part of the “One Riff To Rule Em All”. Just think “Power And The Glory” from Saxon and “2 Minutes To Midnight” from Iron Maiden.

And if you think the riff sounds similar to another Dokken song, it does. Check out “Unchain The Night”.

And also check out Lynch’s call and response lead break.

It’s Not Love

Don refers to this song as “their” song.

It’s got the Lynch like power chord to devils tritone kind of riff. The intro riff always gets me thinking of the “Warriors” movie.

And those street gang like vocals in the Chorus.

Jaded Heart

How good are the verses?

The acoustic riff, the vocal melody, everything.

Don’t Lie To Me

As soon as I heard this song, I thought of “Rock You Like A Hurricane”.

Will The Sun Rise

It’s like “The Hunter”. More mellow and subdued, about liberty, fighting to be free and how one mistake, could make it all go to hell.

Til The Livin End

It retains the metal edge of “Tooth And Nail” and “Turn On The Action”. If anything it’s a speed metal track. And I like how it finishes, like a live track. There’s no fade out.

P.S.
Pilson likes this album, but in a recent interview he said that “Tooth And Nail” is his favourite.

P.S.S
I also like this album a lot that I have it purchased it on three occasions.

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2001 – Part 2.7: Creed – Weathered

Released in 2001.

Bassist Brian Marshall was out after giving up on communicating with Scott Stapp, so Tremonti stepped up and did the bass parts for the album.

“I couldn’t pick a single player who’d be a blue print but Jimmy Page is one of those guys that’d be in there.

Even though his playing is 70% blues oriented, I still feel close to him. I didn’t get into Zep till I was in high school.

In Junior High, I listened to Slayer, Venom, Mercyful Fate – real dark and heavy stuff.

Tesla was a big inspiration to me as well. I loved how they would have a little intro and a little outro like they do on “Love Song”. Those are the cool little tangents that took me away.”
Mark Tremonti: Guitar One – January 2002

I’ve written it and said it so many times. Mark Tremonti is the reason why Creed became a favourite.

He is the modern day Jimmy Page, as he can move between fast metal riffs, blues rock riffs, heavy groove rock riffs, to folk rock and even classical. There is a lot of variation on the albums he’s involved in. Similar to how Page moved between so many different styles on each Led Zeppelin album. And Page did it by using various open string tunings which Tremonti also employs.

Four years ago, Creed was looking for a record deal. And by 2001 they had become one of the biggest acts on planet Earth. During this time, Tremonti graced the covers of Guitar One on four occasions and Guitar World on three occasions, winning numerous “Best Rock Guitarist” polls.

The third album “Weathered” was anticipated. And they didn’t disappoint.

“Bullets”

It’s a great album opener and a concert opener. A “grab you by the throat” full throttle metal tune.

After the clean tone bass riff plays, a speed metal like riff kicks in. It’s angry and its perfect. After the big anthemic hits of “Higher” and “With Arms Wide Open”, this one is anti-anthemic.

At least look at me when you shoot a bullet through my head”.

If you’re going to talk trash, than do it to their face.

There is also an interlude/bridge section here which was only brief but excellent and it is similar to the “Weathered” interlude/bridge section which is fleshed out a little bit better.

“Freedom Fighter”

It has this Texan blues groove but done in a Pantera style for the verses.

“Who’s Got My Back?”

It’s typical of the style of the Creed songs I like (think “Faceless Man”), with atmospheric finger picked riffs in clean tone percolating in the verses, which leads to open string tuned chords and eventually crunching and distorted chords across different intensities.

“Signs”

How heavy is that verse riff in “Signs”?

At one stage its reminding me of Stone Temple Pilots and “Vasoline” or Disturbed “Down With The Sickness”.

“One Last Breath”

Then you are treated to the excellent finger picked lines of “One Last Breath”.

On YouTube it’s got a massive amount of views. On Spotify, it’s at 135.3 million streams, higher than “Higher” which is sitting at 110.1 million streams or “My Sacrifice” at 127.3 million streams.

In a Guitar World issue, Tremonti mentioned how he would have devoured all the Classical/Baroque stuff, but subliminally his style developed by devouring the acoustic pieces from metal and rock artists, like the style of Frank Hannon or the fingerstyle stuff from Metallica on their slower tempo songs and instrumentals like “Call Of Ktulu”.

If you’ve heard the intro to “Love Song” from Tesla, then you would have heard the main riff to “One Last Breath”.

“My Sacrifice”

This song doesn’t get the respect it should. The riffs are stellar and the vocal melody is iconic.

It pushed this album to multi-platinum status in Australia and the U.S

And while I liked the song when I heard it on the album, it wasn’t until I saw Creed live that I really enjoyed the song and the way they played it.

It was the closer, it was delivered with power and a lot of pyro and they made sure they left you wanting more.

“Stand Here With Me”

“Stand Here With Me” came next and its similarity to “My Sacrifice” made me ignore it initially, but the riff stands on its own.

And there is a lead break in this song, which got me paying attention.

“Weathered”

“Weathered” is my favourite track, especially that whole interlude/bridge section from the 3.27 mark and that riff. It reminds me of heavy metal from the 80’s.

And don’t forget the Bad Company/Led Zeppelin like intro and verse feel and groove.

But let’s talk about the section which gets the head banging and the foot moving.

The metal like interlude and bridge from the 3.27 mark. Think of the song, “Fighting For The Earth” from Warrior. That’s the song which used the riff prominently throughout, however the riff appears in so many 80’s music.

Even Bullet For My Valentine used the riff for “The Last Fight”.

But what makes the riff different in this song is the groove. Its slower, its menacing and Tremonti builds it nicely, starting off with single notes and by the end of it, he’s combining single notes and octaves, heightening the intensity.

“Hide”

It’s “My Sacrifice” part 3 and although it is derivative, it doesn’t get boring.

How good is the verse?

The drums and bass stop, and it’s just the guitar with Stapp’s vocals.

The Chorus riff reminds me of “Goodbye To Romance” from Ozzy and Randy Rhoads.

“Don’t Stop Dancing”

It has a nice little melodic lead from Tremonti, who really picks his small lead break spots to perfection.

If you haven’t heard this album get to it.

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Australian Method Series: Riff Raiders – Rock N Roll Daydream

A Hard Rock band from Melbourne.

What a cool name.

“Rock N Roll Daydream” is album number 2. It came out in 2020 on 30th March. By that time Australia had started its COVID-19 lockdown. Their tour from February to April was halted.

Riff Raiders are powerhouse vocalist Jenni Powell, Marty Powell on guitar and production, Ross Hetherington on drums, Josh King on guitars and Ron E. Smith on bass.

Loaded Gun

As soon as the riff kicks in I was hooked. If you like the ZZ Top blues rock and you like how Jake E Lee composed the riffs on Badlands debut, you will like this song.

Stop Looking At Me

A great modern rock tune, more like Stone Temple Pilots (think “Vaseline”), Shinedown and Nu-Metal with an Aerosmith swagger. Yes, it’s possible as Riff Raiders made it possible.

Samantha Jones

It tells the true story of a fan who left a vinyl copy of their first album on a train, and the efforts Sammy J went to to get it back to him. Musically it’s hard rock.

Best Day Ever

It’s a Foo Fighters like tune and I like it.

Light

A cool rock ballad.

When I’m Dreaming

This song reminds of the power and energy of Jet merged with Queens Of The Stone Age. It’s a perfect blend.

Stepping On A Cloud

If you enjoyed that Oasis hard rock period in the 90s then you will like this one. A perfect psychedelic groove for a song about sky diving.

Standing On My Own

It’s got that AC/DC vibe and a familiar vocal melody. A perfect song for the live arena.

Sunset To Sunrise

It’s got that Led Zep III acoustic vibe. Or Whitesnake on their last few studio albums.

Shade

What a slow sleazy groove to kick it off, merging songs like “Still Got The Blues” and “She’s So Heavy“.

Check out the guitar lead. It’s got Gary Moore and Richie Blackmore influences.

A perfect closer for a worthy album that showcases there is a lot more to Australian rock than AC/DC like acts.

And you hear a lot of classic rock influences like Thin Lizzy, Cheap Trick, The Beatles and Led Zep, and modern rock influences like Oasis, Foo Fighters, Shinedown and Stone Temple Pilots.

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2001 – Part 2.6: Nickelback – Silver Side Up

The early 2000s were a great time to be making rock and roll, in the same way the ‘70s were a great time for rock bands. Labels just couldn’t stop signing rock bands. Rock festivals were gargantuan. It was a great time to be a singer in the rock band. And there were a lot of rock bands. Rock was at a pinnacle. Country music was nowhere to be seen and nowhere to be found.
Chad Kroeger – Billboard interview

“Silver Side Up” hit the streets on September 11, 2001. Yep, that September 11.

But nothing was going to stop this album from going 2x platinum in Australia, 3x platinum in the U.K, 6x platinum in the U.S and 8x Platinum in Canada. It was a monster album for the Roadrunner label.

And they had momentum.

Paying their dues since the mid 90’s, “The State” made inroads and their songs “Leader Of Men” and “Breathe” were doing the rounds on radio. In the guitar mags, those songs also got transcriptions, and those transcriptions got me interested in the band.

Rick Parasher is producing. He worked with Zakk on the Pride And Glory album in 1994, as well as “Ten” for Pearl Jam and “Sap” for Alice In Chains.

Never Again

The rumbling bass and drum groove kick off the song. It percolates until the octave guitar riff kicks in. It’s a riff that’s as good as any of the riffs that became Guitar Store staples.

Its metal, in the 2000 way.

Lyrically, it covers domestic violence. With all the knowledge available to people, it’s an issue that doesn’t seem to go away.

How You Remind Me

Billboard celebrated the 2001 year recently and they interviewed Chad Kroeger, asking him a lot of questions about this song and how it came to be.

Woke Up This Morning

Check out the intro/verse groove and riff.

Its heavy metal and a perfect fit for a song about feeling like crap when you wake up in the morning, because life has gotten the better of you.

Too Bad

It deals with abandonment from a child’s perspective. The Kroeger brothers had their father leave when they were young and like all relationships, the father came back into their lives after “Silver Side Up”.

Just For

This song would not be out of place on a Fuel album.

Nickelback had a knack for merging metal with hard rock with grunge with nu-metal with alternative. This song is living proof.

Hollywood

The riff is heavy, reminding me of the “Sad But True” groove. Vocally, its more alternative, grunge like.

Money Bought

It could have appeared on a Nirvana album. These crossover tracks got purists upset.

Where Do I Hide

It sounds like Shinedown took this sound for their debut. Check out the verses call and response vibe.

Hangnail

It’s got a real heavy blues groove. And this part of their style gets missed or forgotten.

And it’s got a chorus which sounds really similar to “How You Remind Me”.

Good Times Gone

Country blues rock before it became massive again in the mid 2000’s and way before Jovi took the “Lost Highway”. Goddamn, it could have come from the vintage fingertips of Tom Keifer and his 1990 “Heartbreak Station”.

In the end, Nickelback had an algorithm. “Physical Graffiti” + “Eliminator” + “Nevermind” + “Superunknown” + “Ten” + “The Joshua Tree” + “Metallica Black” = good popular songs and potential success.

And this album captures the algorithm nicely but “All The Right Reasons” in 2010 would perfect it.

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The Record Vault: Dokken – Breaking The Chains

I didn’t get this album in 1983. I got it much later.

Dokken was introduced to me in 1986 via a dubbed VHS copy of their “Unchain the Night” video and it was a great introduction.

“Into the Fire”, “Alone Again” and “Just Got Lucky” from the “Tooth and Nail” album appeared.

“Breaking the Chains” appeared.

“The Hunter”, “In My Dreams” and “It’s Not Love” from the “Under Lock and Key” also appeared.

I was an instant fan.

At the same time, I started to buy various Guitar magazines and George Lynch was appearing.

Also in 86, a badly dubbed copy of “Heavy Metal Parking Lot” came my way and in that video, the filmmakers interviewed people before a Dokken and Judas Priest concert.

Then “Dream Warriors” came out via the “Nightmare on Elm Street 3” movie and suddenly Dokken was on my radar of bands I needed to purchase.

So my first actual purchase was the “Back For The Attack” album.

An accumulation of events via word of mouth and pirated video tapes led me to Dokken fandom.

I purchased the LP first via a used record and book store.

Breaking The Chains

Written by Lynch and Dokken.

The riff is excellent and far removed from the L.A sound that was happening at the time. But what I remember most about this song is the tacky camera angles on the chain like strings on Lynch’s guitar in the film clip, plus Don’s terrible lyrics.

“Breaking The Chains” had the title for another teen angst anthem however Don delivered very confused lyrics loosely based on heartbreak.

How can you take these lines seriously!!

Got this letter
Came today
From my baby
Who left me yesterday
Said she loves me
She’ll come back
She wants to try

But it was the 80’s and it was cool to be this tacky once upon a time.

In The Middle

Written by Lynch and Dokken.

This is more in the vein of the L.A sound. The groove of the song would feature prominently when RATT did “Lay It Down”.

In the middle
Of love

I dig the music, the vocal melodies, but not the choice of words.

Felony

Written by Lynch and Dokken.

Check out the swingy lead break.

Live To Rock (Rock To Live)

Another speed metal song. This one is written by Lynch, Croucier and Dokken.

Run out of breath
And I feel I’m moving too slow
Backwards and forwards
I don’t know which way I should go

You know the feeling. You worked hard all week and you spent so much time away from loved ones and things that you like. You get paid and nothings really paid off. Outstanding bills still remain and to top it off, your car broke down. And you ask yourself the question, “Did you live up to your promise?”

Live to rock
Rock to live
It’s all you got when
You’re down on the skids
Live to rock
Rock to live
One way or another
Survive until the end

When we purchased an album, we stayed up all night listening to it. Even though it had one good song on it. Our view was, if we gave our money, we had to get a return on our investment because we knew we didn’t have any more funds to purchase new music for at least another fortnight (if we were lucky), so we had to listen to it.

Feeling it flow through my veins
Rock will never get old

Damn right. It’s always been there in the undertow. And in some era’s it’s the raging river.

Nightrider

Musically it’s excellent, but the lyrics are stupid.

In the car, slam the door, turn the key and I’ll be free
On that highway tonight

See what I mean.

Paris Is Burning

The original studio version didn’t cut it, so a “live version” was used instead. Live is not really live, as all of the tracks get re-recorded in a studio, along with the vocals. So after some doodling by Lynch that made me want to go back in time and unplug his guitar cable, good ol’ Mick Brown blasts the song off.

I don’t get the lyrics but I love the music and the vocal melodies. I just wished they used better words for the melodies.

The first two lines in the opening verse deal with getting out of his town, sort of like “We Gotta Get Out Of This Place” and then the verse finishes off with two lines about a woman who became so hard and cold. Check it out for yourself.

This town I’m in can’t take no more
Decadence and sin
You were my woman
Why’d you have to be so hard and cold

And then we are into a Chorus that again doesn’t make sense or have any logical flow.

Paris is burning
Want to see it from afar
Paris is burning
Want to get to where you are

But that was the 80’s and it was allowed.

And there are two versions available. A 1981 version with a different bass player to the 83 version and the Elektra 1983 version.

And according to Lynch, 500 copies of exist that has Don Dokken as the band name.

Then sometime in the 2000s circa 2009, I purchased the CD via a box set.

It’s a carbon copy of the vinyl album.
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2001 – Part 2.3: W.A.S.P – Unholy Terror

I felt like I was the only W.A.S.P fan around during this period. Most of my metal head friends had jumped off the W.A.S.P train after “The Headless Children” or “The Crimson Idol”. But I kept going. Actually my cousin Mega and I kept going.

“Unholy Terror” is album number nine, released in 2001 and produced by Blackie Lawless, which from reading some of the reviews online recently, people hated, as they found the production flat. But I never did have a problem with it, as most productions circa 2001 sounded like this.

The band at this time is Blackie on vocals and guitar, Chris Holmes on lead guitar, Mike Duda on bass and Stet Howland on drums. But, the album was started in February 1999 and finished at the start of 2001. So during that two year period, the band was a bit different. Which means, you get some other players.

The late Frankie Banali plays drums on “Hate To Love Me”, “Loco-Motive Man”, “Charisma”, “Raven Heart” and “Wasted White Boys”. Basically, my favourite tracks. And Roy Z plays lead guitar on “Who Slayed Baby Jane?” and “Wasted White Boys”.

But.

Chris Holmes left the band during the recording process for this album. And even though he is credited, Holmes has said in interviews he didn’t play a note on it.

Coming into this album, I didn’t like “K.F.D” and “Helldorado”.

So, I was skeptical.

In the CD booklet, Blackie writes that “this album is similar to “Headless” in some ways with the social and political references but “Unholy Terror” brings my religious upbringing into the picture”.

“Let It Roar”

It’s got that “Love Machine” vibe merged with “The Headless Children” solo section.

Come on and stand for what you believe
Oh you gotta get up on your feet
Or die on your knees
Let it Roar, cause I wanna be oh yeah

Before Kate Perry was telling people to roar, Blackie was doing it from way back.

“Hate To Love Me”

Blackie is channelling his Who and Jethro Tull influences.

“Loco-Motive Man”

It’s got that main theme from “The Crimson Idol” as its centrepiece. Think “Chainsaw Charlie” meets “Black Forever” from the “Still Not Black Enough” album. Its familiar, its flawless and I like it.

Oh God I’m coming
Read my words I’m coming
I got a gun I’m coming
You won’t hear me coming

Inspired by the recent rash of school shootings in America. Then again, it’s still relevant today. Nothing has really changed in that regard. If anything, they have gotten worse and worse.

“Unholy Terror”

Crowned messiah, I crucified him
And still ya don’t believe
I am Kings – I am queens
Unholy terrors me

It’s like a Tool song, with a repeating and percolating clean tone riff, sounding sinister as soon as Blackie’s whispered vocal line starts. As the vocal line builds in intensity, so does the guitar. And it bleeds into “Charisma” because “Unholy Terror/Charisma” is one song divided into two tracks.

“When I was writing the lyrics for “Charisma” and “Unholy Terror”, I was talking about the preconceived idea that most of us have about world figures such as entertainers, politicians or athletes that we admire.”
Blackie Lawless in the CD booklet to “Unholy Terror”.

“Charisma”

I’m hooked as soon as the John Bonham drum groove and Zeppelin like guitar groove (which reminds me of “When The Levee Breaks” merged with “Kashmir”) kick in. It’s probably one of Blackie’s best songs of the 2000’s era.

I wrap myself in the American Flag
And tell people I’m for which it stands
I’m coming back till you know I’m God
Till you believe, till you know my charisma

In the CD booklet, the first line is attributed to “Ronald Reagan” and the second line to “Richard Nixon and Al Gore”. Typical of politicians to proclaim themselves as Gods.

I’m a fear from a shadow land
I seduce you all
Here I come new messiah man
To bow to me, make me your God

In the CD booklet, these four lines are about “The Anti-Christ”.

I got them all marching to the rhythm
Believing me, oh yeah, their new religion
I’m a racist with a waving flag
Of domination with a fascist plan

These four lines are about “Adolf Hitler” which is bizarre, because if you didn’t have the CD booklet pointing that out and you heard this song for the first time in the last few years, you would attribute these to an ex U.S President that just got booted.

“Who Slayed Baby Jane?”

TELL ME NOW who slayed oh my Little Baby Jane
Rolling down the stairs
Her Little head has rolled away
Put it in my hands

This is the stuff that Alice Cooper writes. And it works in Blackie’s world as well.

“Euphoria”

It’s an instrumental.

It has this “Hold On To My Heart” feel merged with “Albatross” from Peter Green/Fleetwood Mac and “Planet Caravan” from Black Sabbath.

In the CD booklet, Blackie wrote that its “one of the greatest little tunes I’ve ever done. I love it. It’s music to get high by. Enjoy!”

“Raven Heart”

From the intro riff, which reminded me of “Schools Out”, I was hooked.

“Evermore”

It’s interchangeable with “Forever Free”. It’s actually an demo that goes back to “The Headless Children” album. The CD Booklet mentions that the song was originally titled “Circle Of Legend” and it was meant to act as a reprise to “Forever Free”.

Do the shadows of my memory
From a long ago time
Lead a path to the other lives of me
Souls of past great divides

The song is inspired by Native American Indian stories and mythology.

Who knows what kind of spirit world exists and if it does, how it all interconnects.

“Wasted White Boys”

Man, the whole W.A.S.P catalogue is in this song.

Throughout its six minutes, the song sounds like a derivative version of “Blind In Texas”, “On Your Knees”, “Dirty Balls”, “Mean Man”, “Arena Of Pleasure” and “I Am One”.

Wasted boys feeling no pain
Howl at the moon in the night
Just give me shooters and that demon cocaine
I’m the devil alright

And the outro is like “Free Bird”, with “Wild Child Holmes” allowed to spread his wings and fly on this one. Or was it Blackie wailing away or Roy Z. I guess we will never know the true story because those wasted white boys are keeping secrets.

Now if you haven’t heard W.A.S.P previously, go and checkout, “The Headless Children” and “The Crimson Idol” first. If you are a fan and liked those albums, you will like this album as well. It’s W.A.S.P or Blackie doing what they do best. Rocking out.

“The message here in this album is think for yourself, seek out answers for yourself and not be manipulated (as I was) by some guy, selling you “prepacked” beliefs whether they are religious or political (which often times go together)”.
Black Lawless in the CD Booklet to “Unholy Terror”

Crank it.

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Australian Method Series: Lord – Undercovers, Vol 1

I dig Lord.

The band is a natural evolution from the band Dungeon, who sounded more in the power and thrash metal style. Lord is like the classic metal and rock sound I grew up with, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

We did a some shows with em back in 2010 while they were out supporting their “Set In Stone” album in our hometown of Wollongong. Otherwise known as “The Gong”.

I’ve also seen Lord live a few times opening for overseas acts and on their own run of shows.

The band is currently made up of Lord Tim on lead vocals, guitar and keyboards, Andy Dowling on bass and Mark Furtner on guitar.

“Undercovers” is a 2021 release.

This review is based on the Spotify release. To get the full version (23 songs deluxe), you need to go to Bandcamp.

To The Moon And Back

From Savage Garden.

It’s an Aussie Pop classic. Darren Hayes co-write the song and on Twitter he mentioned how there is a section of fans who like heavy metal and Savage Garden and Lord has given em, an awesome Metal version of the song.

Judas Be My Guide

From Iron Maiden.

That’s how quickly Tim can change vocal styles. From pop rock to Bruce Dickinson.

“Fear Of The Dark” album was maligned for sounding too hard rock but I disagree. To me, it sounded like Iron Maiden.

Send Me An Angel

From Real Life.

There is an 80s like synth as the main riff that makes me think of “Sweet Dreams” from Eurythmics.

I remember this from the “Rad” soundtrack.

Shattered

From Pantera.

This song was Pantera doing Judas Priest on their major label debut. Even Anslemo’s vocals mirrored Rob Halford.

Well Lord Tim is an unbelievable vocalist, so his Halford vocal style was all on show to be heard.

Hard To Love

Readers of this blog know that I have a lot of time for Harem Scarem and their underrated and excellent guitarist Pete Lesperance.

This song is from their debut and Lord don’t mess with perfection much, nailing every part of the song musically and vocally.

(I Just) Died In Your Arms Tonight

Lord Tim passes the vocal duties to bass player, Andy Dowling.

This song is from Cutting Crew.

I always liked the melodic rock overtones of this song and I still like it to this day.

Reckless

From Judas Priest and the much maligned “Turbo” album.

But.

I like the “Turbo” album. And this version is as powerful as the original with a modern mix. If you like Judas Priest you would want to hear this.

I Want Out (Live)

From Helloween.

It’s faster and energetic. They always delivered in the live arena.

Touch The Fire

From Icehouse.

It’s an Aussie classic and Lord make it a melodic rock classic.

Break The Ice

From John Farnham.

This is an excellent cover of Farnham’s melodic rock era when he was cashing in and singing songs for 80s movies. Before “You’re The Voice” took over the charts around the world.

This song is also from the “Rad” soundtrack.

On A Night Like This

From Kylie Minogue.

Check out the hilarious piss take video clip on YouTube.

Bassist Andy Dowling also has a podcast running called “Nod to the Old School”. Here is the Spotify link.

Finally if you like your 80s hard rock and heavy metal than Lord’s music is waiting for you to invest some time.

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1976 – Part 1.6: Bob Seger – Night Moves

I always have time for a little bit of Bob Seger. “Old Time Rock N Roll” was the song that got his name into my consciousness. “Turn The Page” was another, but I heard the Metallica version first. Actually, that whole “Garage Inc.” album from Metallica, got me excited to check out bands that I wasn’t sure I should check out.

So “Night Moves” is album number 9. For a person who lived on the road, the cover is perfect, with his image and the spotlight in the background.

At the age of 30, Seger did good live business in middle America, but couldn’t break through nationally.

Then he dropped the “Night Moves” album, a road trip of nostalgia and a soundtrack for many growing up in the 70’s. I didn’t hear this album until the 90’s. Such a long time after its release but if I heard this in the 80’s I wouldn’t have liked it, as I was head over heels in love with hard rock and heavy metal.

“Rock and Roll Never Forgets”

It’s a 12 bar blues romp.

The catchcry of “come back baby, rock and roll never forgets” is truth. As fans of the music and its lifestyle, we can dabble our tastes in other styles but we always come back to our rock and roll roots like we never left.

“Oh the bands still playing it loud and lean / Listen to the guitar player making it scream”

“Night Moves”

When I was doing some reading on Bob Seger, a lot of reviews when the album came out, kept mentioning how his songs sound like other songs that came before. And I’m thinking, perfect, that’s just the way I like it.

“I used her, she used me / But neither one cared / We were gettin’ our share / Workin’ on our night moves”

The strummed acoustic guitar kicks it off, but it’s Seger’s phrasing and vocal delivery, almost “American Pie” like.

The narrative of the secret getaways of teenage lovers takes its cues from Van Morrison and his “Brown Eyed Girl” and the movie “American Graffiti”. Bruce Springsteen’s “Jungleland” from “Born To Run” can also be heard, a coincidence or a fact that both artists have the same influences.

“The Fire Down Below”

It feels like a song from The Eagles “Hotel California” album which came a few years after. Reading comments on the YouTube video of the song, led me to a 60’s R&B singer called Johnny Taylor, and his songs “Who’s Makin’ Love” and “Take Care of Your Homework”. And one comment even mentioned that the Silver Bullet Band is tight in the “Brown Sugar” style of the Rolling Stones.

All I can say is, take what has come before and make it better.

“Sunburst”

“Sunburst” has inspirations from the Beatles “Dear Prudence” and Rod Stewart’s “Handbags And Gladrags”.

Stick around for the change at the 2.10 minute mark when it gets a bit metal like.

“Gaze on the sunburst / His weapon at his side / He flashes it with pride / Before his legions”

What’s this. Lyrics about the wood finish on a guitar. Before the term “Guitar Hero” even existed.

“Sunspot Baby”

Another 12 bar blues romp, that he would really nail with “Old Time Rock’N’Roll”.

“She packed up her bags and she took off down the road / Left me here stranded with the bills she owed / She gave me a false address / Took off with my American Express”

Story telling at its best about a lover who did a number on him as she charged up a fortune on his credit card.

“Mainstreet”

It could be about any town in any part of the world, as we all have the same main streets and a story or two of someone who tried to make it out.

The guitar melodies and leads on this one are excellent.

“And sometimes even now, when I’m feeling lonely and beat / I drift back in time and I find my feet / Down on Mainstreet”

That’s right, you can never escape your hometown. You know every corner, every crack on the road, every curb and every smell. It’s in your DNA.

“Come to Poppa”

It smoulders along with its “Cocaine” groove.

“If you need a pacifier / Call me anytime”

This is more crude than any lyric that the PMRC found offensive in a decades time for their “Filthy 15” list.

“Suck on that”, I say.

“Ship of Fools”

The Eagles influence is present again with “Lyin’ Eyes” and “Take It Easy” combining to become “Ship Of Fools”.

“Mary Lou”

It’s a cover and it sounds like Seals and Crofts “Your Mama Don’t Dance” or “Jailhouse Rock” or “Smokin In The Boys Room”.

You know the riff I’m talking about.

In the U.S, six million copies were shipped, for a 6× Platinum certification. And “Night Moves” is the anchor to Seger’s most successful period which includes “Stranger In Town” in 1978 and “Against the Wind” in 1980.

How many artists can say that their ninth album broke em him to the masses?

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Australian Method Series: AC/DC – Powerage

I’ve already reviewed “TNT” and in The Record Vault post I had “High Voltage”, “Blow Up Your Video”, “For Those About To Rock”, “Let There Be Rock”, “Flick Of The Switch” and “Family Jewels” reviewed.

But.

No AC/DC discussion can be had without mentioning “Powerage”.

Released in 1978. A lot of discussions are had in Australia and around the world, if this is the “album”. It’s not their most famous work and it didn’t chart well but it is seen as their definitive work, like “Sgt Peppers” and “Exile On Main Street”.

Keith Richards and Slash call this their favorite album.

The personnel for the album is Bon Scott on vocals, Angus Young on lead guitar, Malcolm Young on rhythm guitar, Cliff Williams on bass guitar and Phil Rudd on drums.

The label wanted Bon gone as they believed his voice was the reason the band couldn’t get radio play but the Young brothers wouldn’t hear it.

“Let There Be Rock” didn’t do great numbers commercially and bassist Mark Evans was replaced by Cliff Williams, but he couldn’t get a Visa to enter Australia. So because of this, it’s believed that most of the bass tracks are played by George Young.

“Rock N Roll Damnation”

The riff that spawned a thousand copy cat bands.

“Take a chance while you still got the choice”

What a lyric line from a boozer, lover and party animal. AC/DC lost this art when Bon died. Johnson had it in him but the Young brothers took over most of the lyric writing and that was that as AC became sleeker and more corporate.

Burn all your self help development books and listen to Bon Scott’s lyrics in AC/DC. They will motivate you.

“Down Payment Blues”

It’s one of Slash’s favorite songs. And mine too. Especially the riff that would be reused a few years later for “Givin The Dog A Bone” riff.

Living on a shoestring
A fifty cent millionaire
Open to charity
Rock ‘n’ roll welfare

Bon Scott might have portrayed a certain confidence and strut, but he had a soft spot for the broke, bruised and the weak of society. Because he lived what he wrote and we understood what he wrote because we lived it as well.

Get myself a steady job
Some responsibility
Can’t even feed my cat
On social security
Hiding from the rent man
Oh it make me wanna cry
Sheriff knocking on my door
Ain’t it funny how the time flies

Eventually we all fall in line to what governments want. Obedient workers who enslaved to earn and pay taxes. And by the time you know it, your retired and then dying. Ain’t it funny how time flies when your doing routine 9 to 5.

“Gimme A Bullet”

How good is the verse riff?

And if the verse sounds familiar it’s basically the “Highway To Hell” verse riff.

“Riff Raff”

Those open string riffs with smashing power chords and that little riff towards the end that sounds like something that Mick Mars took for “Rattlesnake Shake”.

I never shot nobody
Don’t ever carry a gun
I ain’t done nothin’ wrong
I’m just havin’ fun

I thought of this song and lyric when I came across the video clip to “You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll” from Twisted Sister and how the anti noise or was it anti-fun police kept chasing em.

“Sin City”

One of the best riffs ever.

Where the lights are bright
Do the town tonight
I’m goin’ in
To sin city

And you believed every word of it.

“What’s Next To The Moon”

Lars ripped the drum groove from this song and “Dirty Deeds” for his “Enter Sandman” Intro.

Two awesome songs to use for inspiration in my opinion.

“Gone Shootin”

The tune is bluesy and not as heavy but the subject matter of losing someone close to you to heroin is anything but light.

“I stirred my coffee with the same spoon
Knew her favourite tune
Gone shootin’
My baby gone shootin’…”

“Up To My Neck In You”

It’s that Chuck Berry shuffle they used on “Jailbreak” and “Long Way To The Top”.

“Kicked In The Teeth”

It’s basically “Whole Lotta Rosie” and “Let There Be Rock” musically. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Bon Scott is channeling his Robert Plant voice.

In Australia it went 3x platinum. In the U.S only Platinum. But to me, it’s the AC/DC album. Here is a review I wrote for the album when I covered the 1978 year.

And for the Brian Johnson era “Flick Of The Switch” is his “Powerage” album.

Crank it.

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1976 – Part 1.5: Scorpions – Virgin Killer

The original cover gets more attention than the actual album. Even Wikipedia was embroiled in the controversy for showing it. I’ll go with the alternative cover.

For me, this album showcases the power of Uli Jon Roth. Four of the compositions “Virgin Killer”, “Hell-Cat”, “Polar Nights” and “Yellow Raven” are written solely by Roth (he even sings on two of em), while opener “Pictured Life” is written with Klaus Meine and Rudolf Schenker. “In Your Park”, “Backstage Queen” and “Crying Days” are Meine and Schenker compositions.

Rounding out the band is Francis Buchholz on bass and Rudy Lenners on drums, the underrated rhythm section of the band. Dieter Dierks is credited as assisting with the arrangements and production.

“Pictured Life”

It’s like a party is happening. There are leads all over this song courtesy of Roth.

In the intro, in the verses, in the Chorus and after the Chorus.

And one of their biggest songs, “Rock You Like A Hurricane” is very similar to this.

I also think that “Games People Play” from The Alan Parson’s Project sounds like this.

Make sure to check out the Chorus riff.

“Catch Your Train”

Rudolf Schenker delivers killer riffs on this, while Roth creates the Shrapnel label with his shred’a’licious leads.

Check out the lead break here and you will hear a lot of the 80’s players style. Kirk Hammet, Marty Friedman, George Lynch, Randy Rhoads and John Sykes.

“In Your Park”

It’s like a ballad before the word was overused by MTV and for some reason, I can’t stop thinking of “I’m Eighteen” when I hear this song.

“Backstage Queen”

They are doing the British Blues better than the Brits were doing it at this time.

Lenners and Bucholz are super locked in during the solo section and deliver an excellent groove for Roth to solo over.

“Virgin Killer”

How good is the intro riff to this?

When I heard it, I thought of “Too Fast For Love” which came 5 years later.

And the way Klaus Meine sings this, it sounds like an Aerosmith song.

Roth has mentioned that the meaning of “Virgin Killer” is “none other than the demon of our time, the less compassionate side of the societies we live in today, brutally trampling upon the heart and soul of innocence.”

And the record label thought that putting a naked 10 year old on the cover was a good idea and the guys in the band agreed.

“Hell-Cat”

Vocals are provided by Mr Roth for this bluesy number. Musically it sounds like Hendrix and vocally it should have been performed by Meine.

“Crying Days”

It has this arpeggio line in the intro, that appears on “Lords Of Karma” by Joe Satriani and “Hell Child” from Lynch Mob.

“Polar Nights”

This one also has vocals by Roth. Musically, it’s got a sleazy groove and some smooth legato playing from Mr Roth.

“Yellow Raven”

A ballad with some heavy classical overtones.

From the vocal point of view, I would have preferred Meine to sing on all the tracks, because as a fan of the 80’s Scorpions, it’s his voice I am used to.

Crank it for Uli Jon Roth.

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