Derivative Works, Influenced, Music

St Anger

I was doing the endless Twitter scroll and I came across a post from a Twitter user called @BookOfMetallicA;

April 8th, 2003: Metallica finished recording the album “St. Anger”.

“There’s two years of condensed emotion in this. We’ve gone through a lot of personal changes, struggles, epiphanies, its deep. It’s so deep lyrically and musically”. James Hetfield.

So I thought, why not. Let’s go back there again.

I saw the band on the “St. Anger” tour when it hit Australia. In a live setting, “Frantic” and “St Anger” were not out of place when matched against the other songs from the band catalogue, but Lar’s didn’t play the fast double kick sections.

I remember picking the album up and it had the DVD of them jamming the album live in their rehearsal studio. I didn’t even play the album, I went straight to the DVD. I purchased the majority of the singles released because of the B-sides. James Hetfield singing off key is jarring, a throwback to the old days of speed metal when it was more about the aggression than being in tune.

The snare sound or the general drum sound didn’t bother me, as some of the music I was listening too had weird percussion drum sounds already like Slipknot, Spineshank and Mudvayne.

“Realistically though if you really think about it – it was the fact that there was NO real songs. That was because the guy who writes the songs – couldn’t write the songs because of where he was personally.

So, what St. Anger became was what the band could do at that point and it is exactly that. It was riffs strung together…

The way I look at it was like raw power or a garage band. It was just riffs… It was garage band and that was supposed to sound like that and what I learned out of it is that people in metal just don’t want it to change. So, it’s best that Rick Rubin continue the metal thing and not Bob.

Bob Rock on the making of “St Anger”

Hetfield still did a “master of puppets” like job manipulating and piecing together all of the lyrical streams of consciousness’s from the other guys into lyrics.

The title “Some Kind Of Monster” is more attached to the no holds barred documentary/film than the actual song. But the first two minutes of just instrumental music grooves its way into your brain and it would not be out of place on a “Corrosion of Conformity” album.

In “Dirty Window”, Hetfield is judge, jury and executioner while he finds ways to rhyme defecator and rejecter.

“Invisible Kid” has a lot of potential.

“My World” is “Frantic” part 2. And I feel like it’s a dig at their performance coach, with the lyric. “it’s my world and you can’t have it”. At one stage, the performance coach thought he was part of the band.

“Shoot Me Again” could have come from Alice In Chains.

How good does “Sweet Amber” start off?

That bluesy feeling.

“The Unnamed Feeling” has this “Outlaw Torn” feel with some slide guitar as Hetfield sings about something coming alive while he dies a little more. “Purify” is the only song that had nothing there to jam to.

“All Within My Hands” should have been titled “Control Everything, Kills Everything”. And it’s strange because Hetfield is singing on key but the music is downtuned chaos.

Overall, there is enough riffage on the album that makes it fun for me to pick up the guitar to jam to and for that, it still stands the test of time as Metallica always had the balls to do what they wanted to do.

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Australian Method Series – The Radio Sun

From Melbourne, Australia.

This album (their third in three years) came out in 2016. And since this release, they have released “Beautiful Strange” in 2018 and a few single song releases in 2019.

There is also a cool single called “Spaceman” released in 2015. Check out the cover.

Paul Laine is on production duties and does co-lead vocals on the song “Wink And Smile”. There’s a cool story as to how Laine got involved with the band. Go to the YouTube account of The Radio Sun and you will see a documentary called “Paul Laine And The Radio Sun”.

Laine also appeared on stage with the band on a small run of Australian shows.

Guitarist Brett Garsed from John Farnham/Nelson also appears on “Falling For You”.

The band is made up off Jason Old on lead vocals, Stevie Janevski on guitars, Robbie Erdmanis on bass and Ben Wignall on drums.

Their style is pure melodic rock. It doesn’t stray whatsoever in the same way that AC/DC doesn’t stray from their style.

“Can’t Get You Out Of My Head”

The guitar playing from Janevski gets me interested. The vocal melodies are layered and the Chorus sounds massive. Make sure you check out the singalong lead break.

Musically the song reminds me of “Walk With A Stranger” from Skid Row, which was a song they played on the scene before they got signed and Trixter covered.

“Standing On The Edge Of Love”

It’s got that melodic rock riff that seems to appear in every melodic rock song. But. I don’t care. I like it as much as I like a 12 bar blues shuffle.

“You’ll Never Know”

The Chorus hooks me.

“Fall To Pieces”

It’s got a fast pedal point head banging riff to kick it off like a song from the “Surfing With The Alien” album by Satriani.

The outro is excellent.

“Wink And Smile”

A melodic lead kicks off the song. Paul Laine features on this.

“Falling For You”

Brett Garsed appears on this. Make sure you check out the solo section. It’s Garsed at his shredding best.

The band also covered “After The Rain” from Nelson. It’s on YouTube.

And for a melodic rock band they are not on Frontiers or from Sweden. But from Australia.

Check em out.

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The Record Vault: Coheed And Cambria – Year Of The Black Rainbow

Coheed and Cambria had released four albums that covered the story of Coheed and Cambria and their son Claudio against the villain Wilhelm Ryan. On “Year Of The Black Rainbow” you get to hear and read how Wilhelm Ryan became the villain.

This is from the book blurb that came with the deluxe edition, which I tried to get but it sold out so quick.

Welcome to the worlds of Heaven’s Fence, where a lattice of mysterious energy known as “the Keywork” binds and sustains life on a triangular network of planets–from the bleak and hellish Howling Earth to the spare beauty of Bendelesh.

Beneath the Keywork’s glow, under the governance of the twelve grey-skinned Mages and the watchful gaze of the winged Prise, humanity goes about it’s daily life unaffected by the goings-on of the higher powers at work in the universe.

Until the day when the ambitious Wilhelm Ryan, newest member to the brotherhood of Mages, acts on his growing discontent at being branded another ordinary Mage, ruling over one lowly Sector.

Shrewd and silver-tongued, Ryan launches the Mage Wars: a devastating campaign to win control of the entire Fence and take on the legendary mantle of Supreme Tri-Mage, a position likened to God himself.

Dr Leonard Hohenberger, the Fence’s top scientist is summoned by the Prise to stop Ryan. His creations, Coheed and Cambria, are thus born and lead the battle to save Heaven’s Fence.

Released in 2010.

This is the first and only album to feature Chris Pennie on drums and the last to feature Michael Todd on bass, after he was arrested on charges of armed robbery. Claudio Sanchez as usual is on lead vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboards and synthesisers, while Travis Stever does lead guitar and lap steel guitars.

Other songs to come out of this period is a cover of the ZZ Top song, “Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers”, for the tribute album “A Tribute from Friends” and a new song “Deranged”, which was released on the soundtrack for the video game “Batman: Arkham City” on October 18, 2011.

“One”

It’s a one minute, soft piano piece, with ambient and creepy noises as you hear the creaking noise of the piano keys when they are pressed down.

“The Broken”

The verses are technical and the Chorus rocks. The breakdown in the middle is as powerful as the band had gotten and the blah blah vocal chant after the Chorus is unsettling but it works.

“Guns of Summer”

This song divided the fans. Drummer Chris Pennie really shines on this. The whole Intro is like a drum solo with vocal melodies and electronica.

It showcases how technical the band can be. The verses are progressive (I saw a comment once that called the verses mind-bending) and the chorus soars.

“Here We Are Juggernaut”

Dark and heavy and progressive metal like.

Listen to the fuzzed out bass in the verses and the addictive vocal melody in the Chorus.

Also the “bodies breaking” vocal melody in the verses always gets me to pay attention.

“Far”

A dreamy electronica influenced ballad. It reminds me of My Chemical Romance and Smashing Pumpkins.

Check out the repeating guitar lick in the Chorus. Simple and effective.

And also check out the fuzzed out lead break from Travis Steer. Neil Young would be proud.

“This Shattered Symphony”

Typical Coheed song which moves between pop rock like riffs and melodies and then switches to those art rock and Metal kind of riffs with frantic vocal melodies.

“World of Lines”

If you like rock music you should be able to get into this song. I was hooked from the intro. And the chorus is one of their best.

“Made Out of Nothing (All That I Am)”

Would not be out of place on “No Word For Tomorrow”. It’s a beautiful mix of pop and hard rock.

“Pearl of the Stars”

Chris Pennie brings some unusual percussion to this song and the guitar work is haunting, yet beautiful. Claudio moves between low pitched vocals to his normal pitch at the right times.

“In the Flame of Error”

Drummer Chris Pennie shines on this track as well. It’s heavy and dark. Check out the riff in the verse.

“When Skeletons Live”

This song is, plain and simple, awesome. From the keyboard led intro, to the brilliant chorus, this is one of my favourite Coheed songs of all time.

“The Black Rainbow”

A cacophony of noise rock, progressive rock and alternative metal. Make sure you check out the outro when Claudio is singing “It’s over” and there’s a fuzzed out decaying lead by Travis Steer with emotive drumming.

For the hardcore fans, the Deluxe edition bonus tracks are “Chamberlain”, “The Lost Shepherd” and the iTunes edition bonus track is “Hush”.

You’ll need to go to YouTube to check them out. The Chorus of “The Lost Shepherd” is worth your time to invest.

The DVD is pretty cool as it shows how the new tools and effects brought in my the producers allowed the guys to be more creative and to express themselves.

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The Number Of The Beast

You know it’s going to be a good day when you see “The Number Of The Beast” trending on Twitter. Without even seeing why it’s trending, I went straight to Spotify and pressed play on the album.

I wished I logged the hours I spent staring at the cover and I wish I kept the drawing journal of the many attempts to draw it. I eventually got there after a few years.

The 70’s fast blues rock of “Invaders” kicks off the album. It didn’t blow me away, but the next song did.

I heard the live version of “Children of The Damned” first. I lived with it for a long time. It felt a bit quicker and I liked it.

But the studio version is my definitive version now. The vocal melody from Bruce Dickinson is haunting and chilling. Only he can make “Children of The Damned”, repeated four times, sound musical.

Then from 3 minutes, the harmony guitar comes in. Drop whatever you’re doing and start to play air guitar. And Dickinson again takes centre stage, as he takes a simple “who oh” vocal and he makes it sound so musical. You want to know from which song Metallica took the ending for “Fade To Black” from, then here it is.

“Prisoner” continues the fast blues rock from “Invaders”. The Pre Chorus riffs from Adrian Smith/Dave Murray and the vocal melody are wicked. Make sure you check out the bass playing from Steve Harris and the major key chorus is the embryo for “Wasted Years”. And how good is the whole solo section. Listen to Clive Burr on the drums here.

“22 Acacia Avenue” is one of my favourite tracks. So many different moods and feels.

How good is the “Friday On My Mind” inspired intro?

“15 quid is all she asks for” Dickinson tells us.

And then the song changes from the minute and thirty second mark. It gets more aggressive, more metal like. Then at the three minutes and fifty second mark it changes again. It gets slower while the solos happen. And it builds up again to a new mood, a new groove and some more leads. My favourite part of the song. Especially the last 40 seconds. The band is in their element here, jamming it out to a finale.

Then we get the spoken word intro to “The Number Of The Beast” and that immortal intro riff. At two minutes and thirty seconds, a classic 70’s like riff comes in before it goes into a lead break.

“Run To The Hills” is way overplayed. It’s in that category for me to not listen to again. But if it comes on, I don’t turn it off or skip it. From 2.34, the riff comes in and Bruce starts doing his yeah and ahhs. I guess it’s time to sing along, out of key.

“Gangland” is speed metal. Maybe even thrash metal. A bit of “Overkill” from Motorhead merged with some Thin Lizzy sped up.

And how good is that middle solo section?

“Hallowed By Thy Name” closes the album. For me, one of the best Maiden songs ever. The “Live After Death” is the definitive version, as it is a bit quicker.

“When the priest comes to read me my last rites”.

And with that, I close my eyes and let the music and melodies take me away.

Crank it and the reason why its trending, is because its 39 years old.

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The Record Vault: Coheed and Cambria – No World For Tomorrow

Released in 2007.

I know the album as “No World For Tomorrow” (from here on in, it will be referred as “NWFT”) but its official title is “Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume Two: No World for Tomorrow”. Another serious challenge to the length of Meatloaf’s song titles.

“NWFT” is the album that brought the story of Coheed and Cambria and their son Claudio to an end. Well that is what we as fans suspect, as no official story book or comic has been released, but in May 2020, Claude Sanchez announced that a story release for “NWFT” is in the works.

From a legacy perspective, after the “NWFT” album, we got a prequel story of how Wilhelm became the Emperor, an origin story of Sirius discovering “The Keywork”, an album not tied to the story at all and a new story post “NWFT”.

Changes in personnel happened for this album as well, with the previous drummer Josh Eppard departing and replaced by Taylor Hawkins from Foo Fighters for the album recording.

“The Reaping”

An ominous acoustic guitar arpeggio riff with an emotive vocal kicks off the album.

Purge these days
Will we accept the things we must?
The world will now learn of change to come, or no world

From reading about the story, Claudio has accepted that he is The Crowing, and as The Writer said on the previous album, all things must burn. Sort of like the Mad King in “Game Of Thrones”, “Burn em all”.

Accept the change, or there will be no world.

After 80 seconds the song ends.

“No World For Tomorrow”

And the iconic riff of NWFT starts. It’s a leaner and heavier “Welcome Home”.

“Bye, bye world, or will our hope still hold on?”

It’s dark as it deals with the end of the main character’s world.

“The Hound (of Blood and Rank)”

It starts off with a “Baba O’Reily” meets “Pinball Wizard” synth.

“Feathers”

I know CoCa fans will hate it when I say this, but the start of this song reminds me of “Fallen Angel” from Poison.

It’s one of their most underrated and forgotten tracks.

“The Running Free”

It’s those major key pop punk songs that Coheed and Cambria do so well.

“Mother Superior”

The single note acoustic guitar riff with ringing notes kicks off this ballad like song. It was actually a piano riff to begin with.

How good is the emotional vocal melody especially in the Chorus?

“Gravemakers and Gunslingers”

This one is hard rock all the way with the guitars smacking you awake.

“Justice in Murder”

The harmony guitars to kick off the song. Stick around for the interlude/solo section from 3 minutes in.

Then begins the highlight of the album, “The End Complete”, divided into five sections with a total running time of around 24 minutes.

“The Fall of House Atlantic”

The first is a short orchestral song built on a Spanish Flamenco guitar riff and syncopated drums/vocals chants, coming across as an orchestral hit.

“Radio Bye Bye”

The second is a short pop rock song, more Queen like.

“The End Complete”

The third has it all, heavy riffs, a great hook, some mellow moments, and the whoas from “In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth” come back in.

“The Road and the Damned”

The fourth is a short one. More Coldplay and The Verve like with the violin synths.

And that Guitar melody in the Chorus. Classic Rock Pentatonic perfection.

“On The Brink”

The fifth ends the album. It begins soft, with backwards music playing and a Dave Gilmour like lead.

And then it gets heavy.

The vocals are chanting “Hail” and all of this is followed by an ear piercing scream. This one is more Pink Floyd like, like a forgotten track from “The Wall”

Check it out.

P.S. In a tragedy of epic proportions, I cannot locate my CD of NWFT. Too many House moves and too many misplaced boxes. I’m hoping the book release they have planned will be packaged nicely with the album included.

I also haven’t mentioned the debut album “The Second Stage Turbine Blade” so far, because I don’t have it and have been waiting for a definitive edition to come out so I can purchase.

Onto “The Year Of The Black Rainbow” next.

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On Through The Night

“On Through The Night” has just turned 41 and it’s time for a few spins over a few drinks.

“Rock Brigade” and “Hello America” bring the standard blues hard rock vibes to the album. “Hello America” also has this Beach Boys style vibe, especially after the solo section.

It’s tracks like “Sorrow Is A Woman” (with its wonderful “Stairway To Heaven” inspired lead break and how good is that harmony solo section after it which leads to the outro), “It Could Be You” (shows their love of Mott The Hoople, Sweet and hard rock Queen) and “Satellite” (listen to that tasty palm muted arpeggio riff from Steve Clark in the verses after the first Chorus and how good is that “staring up at the sky” section) which shows the adventurous and melodic spirit of the band.

How good is the clean tone intro to “When The Walls Came Tumbling Down”?

And then it morphs into those galloping style riffs which was a big part of the NWOBHM and something Iron Maiden would use a lot, “The Trooper” comes to mind immediately.

Then the headbanging riff to kick off “Wasted” starts. For those who wanted to question the metal credentials of Def Leppard, I always pointed them to this song.

“Rocks Off” and “It Could Be You” are interchangeable, with very similar riffs being the main riffs. Then again the whole blues hard rock movement was based on the same riffs being re-used by each individual artist.

“It Don’t Matter” could have come from the fingertips of Michael Schenker as “Rock Bottom” comes to mind. And how good is that Chorus, just a simple, “It don’t matter” line repeated in a simple AC/DC style backing vocal.

How good are those harmony leads in the “Answer To The Master” Chorus? And the song has a little drum solo before it moves into a section that reminds me of U.F.O. Finally, the lead break starts, with an open string lick before it morphs into the pentatonic lines.

“Overture” is 7 plus minutes long and it doesn’t feel laboured and boring. At the 2 minute mark it starts to go into a Thin Lizzy style of song, full of energy and harmonies. And my favourite part is the stop start harmony section from the 4.20 mark and at 4.40, Joe Elliot starts singing a haunting melody, before a wah solo kicks in. And from here to the end, it’s that good, that the only thing I could do is press repeat.

For all the multi-platinum and Diamond certifications that came afterwards, there is something simple and organic about the debut.

Check it out.

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Australian Method Series – Karnivool

“Sound Awake” was released in 2009 and it peaked at Number 2 on the Australian Charts.

Karnivool is an Australian progressive band formed in Perth, Western Australia in 1997, with an interesting set list of Nirvana and Carcass songs.

The group currently consists of Ian Kenny on vocals, Drew Goddard and Mark Hosking on guitar, Jon Stockman on bass, and Steve Judd on drums.

The last album they did was “Asymmetry” released in 2013. Vocalist, Ian Kenny is also the lead singer in the highly successful pop rock act, “Birds Of Tokyo” which started off as a side project for him and I’m pretty sure it is now his main project as the Gold and Platinum and Multi-Platinum certifications mount up for em.

So, after touring in the US on the “Themata” album, Karnivool returned to Australia in 2008 and entered the studio to write their follow-up. While writing the album, they still toured around Australia, testing out some of the new songs in the live arena.

While “Themata” was written mostly by guitarist Drew Goodard, “Sound Awake” was much more of a collaborative effort from everyone.

“Simple Boy” and Goliath” show an influence from The Mars Volta and pack a one two punch to kick off the album.

“New Day” at 8 minutes long, is a must listen, with its melodic vocals and progressive structures and how it just keeps building. If you want to hear how Birds Of Tokyo sound then this is the bastard child of their sound. It even has a Live feel.

“Set Fire To The Hive” is a nod to Soundgarden’s “Badmotorfinger” days, a bit of modern “System Of A Down” and their Alternative Rock style from the first album.

“Umbra” has a catchy hook to start the song. The ending is excellent, stick around for it.

“All I Know” has an odd riff and a Tool like rhythm.

“The Caudal Lure” is the most progressive track, moving between time signatures and feels.

“Illumine” is a metal cut.

And the last two tracks are the piece d resistance with guitarists Drew Goddard and Mark Hosking shining.

“Deadman” just keeps building up and the song ends around 10 minutes, with some ambient noise and then a re-recorded version of “Change (Part 1)”, starts. But when this song was on “Themata” it built and when we expected it to blast off, it ended. Now we finally hear what comes after the build-up.

“Change (Part 2)” has all the best things of Sabbath, Tool, Radiohead and hard rock.

Musically, Tool, Porcupine Tree and early Muse come to mind. There’s some Deftones and Radiohead there. There’s an Alternative Rock vibe from the debut that’s still there. It’s catchy, has heaps of melody because Ian Kenny is one of Australia’s best singers. The rhythm section of Judd and Stockman is excellent, creative and full of ideas to change it up. And Goddard and Hosking make a wonderful twin guitar outfit.

Check em out.

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As Daylight Dies

From Killswitch Engage, released in 2006.

It hasn’t stopped selling.

Not bad for an album that Dutkiewicz once said in a Guitar World interview, “had riffs in it, so he could play and drink beer at the same time”.

Last week it moved 2,000 copies on vinyl. It was already certified Gold in 2009 by the RIAA and the song “My Curse,” was certified Platinum in 2020. At the moment it has over 122 million streams on Spotify.

Howard Jones was on lead vocals with the usual crew of Adam Dutkiewicz on lead guitar, vocals, keyboards and Joel Stroetzel on rhythm guitar. Mike D’Antonio on bass and Justin Foley on drums.

“Daylight Dies” (the song) was also certified Gold in 2009 and their cover of “Holy Diver” was certified Gold in 2020 and at the moment it has over 75 million streams on Spotify.

“This Fire” is at 49.2 million streams. It’s basically “Fixation On The Darkness” just shorter. And it’s used as CM Punks theme song in WWE.

Combining all things great from the Swedish Melodic Death Metal scene with the American thrash scene and a nod to hard rock and classic rock bands, “As Daylight Dies” captures it all.

The album kept the band on the road for three years. But it also strained the relationship between Dutkiewicz and Jones, which eventually led to the departure of Jones and the return of original vocalist, Jesse Leach.

If you like your melodic metal then check out tracks like “Arms Of Sorrow” (it has this “Back In The Village” solo section) and “My Curse” (the big radio single) which has aggressive hardcore verses and a massive arena rock Chorus. Make sure you listen to the head banging verse riff.

“For You” moves between some of the darkest, progressive and heaviest riffs in the verses to the most melodic riffs in the Chorus.

Check out the intro to “Break The Silence” and if you’re not a fan of the screaming verses, stick around for the Chorus.

“Reject Yourself” is loaded with a lot of good riffs.

P.S. There is no way you could play the riffs on this album and drink beer at the same time, as there is a lot of LH movement.

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Heartbreak Station

I’ve written about this album many times.

As a Record Vault post.

At 30 Years Old.

The More Things Change

Well, as I normally do I was going through some old magazines and in this case, it was a May 1991 issue of “Guitar For The Practicing Musician”.

Inside the magazine I came across a review by Buzz Morrison of “Heartbreak Station”.

Here it is in italics.

PERFORMANCE: Raw, raspy, rootsy
HOT SPOTS: “Love’s Got Me Doin’ Time”, “Shelter Me”, “Dead Mans Road”
BOTTOM LINE: Knee deep in country-blues loudness

Cinderella is nothing if not daring.

On “Long Cold Winter” they spit in the face of pop metal success with a blast of kickin’ blues rock and still went double platinum.

On “Heartbreak Station”, Cinderella tries even more gender bending, roaming from hard funk to country rock on a visceral, raw record that pays homageto the band’s 60;s and 70’s influences.

Did Buzz mean genre bending?

Not sure, but he definitely had gender bending there.

In severeal places, its more rip-off than tribute, especially “Sick For The Cure” and its “Honky Tonk Woman” aural zerox.

What the fuck is an aural xerox?

Aural means relating to the ear or the sense of hearing.

Xerox is a copy of something written or printed on a piece of paper.

Is that another way to say influences or inspiration.

But the band’s ballsy rocking and bundle of dirty guitar work from Tom Keifer and Jeff LeBar mostly overpower lame songwriting and the big family sound of “Shelter Me” recalls the best of bands like Delaney and Bonnie and Let It Bleed-era Stones.

I had no idea what he meant by Delaney and Bonnie. Thanks to Google, I can tell ya that Delaney & Bonnie were an American duo of singer-songwriters Delaney Bramlett and Bonnie Bramlett.

In 1969 and 1970, they fronted a rock/soul ensemble called Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, whose members at different times included Duane Allman, Gregg Allman, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Leon Russell, Bobby Whitlock, Dave Mason, Rita Coolidge, and King Curtis.

So I’m calling em up right now on Spotify to hear what they are like.

While this Philadelphia band cops an Aerosmth like attitude, the Memphis funk of “Love’s Got Me Doin’ Time” and the misty mountain blues of “Dead Man’s Road”, along with the addtion of rolling organ and barking horns on many cuts, show they musical influences largely lie south of the Mason-Dixon line.

Led by Keifer’s straight edge vocals, Cinderella makes “Heartbreak Station” another memorable stop on its rootsy soul train.

I like that “rootsy soul train” comment. So if you haven’t heard “Heartbreak Station” yet, there’s no better time than now.

Get yer fix of gender bending rootsy soul train.

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Native Tongue

I was going through a few old mags today. This one takes me back to April 1993, Nuno Bettencourt and Brian May are on the cover and the magazine is “Guitar For The Practicing Musician”.

And reading reviews with the benefit of hindsight is always interesting.

In this case, its “Native Tongue” from Poison.

Here is the word for word review in italics by Vic Garbarini on page 150.

PERFORMANCE: Chliched and confused.
HOT SPOTS: “Bring It Home”, “Fire And Ice”
BOTTOM LINE: New axeman Kotzen breathes some life into faltering popsters

CC DeVille era Poison may have been nothing but ultra-light L.A pop-metal posing as glam and looking for a good time but they had one saving grace – they were fun.

Deville claims he wrote most of their catchiest material and his departure last year left the band without their linchpin just as the Seatle crew set off the alternative revolution. That left bands like Warrant and Poison sounding more marginal than ever.

“Native Tongue”, Poison’s first post DeVille effort, is a mixed blessing at best. The good news is that guitarist Richie Kotzen, when he manages to avoud the usual post-Eddie cliches, plays with a fluid volatility in the Jimi/Eddie/Randy tradition that lends desperately needed weight to the sound.

Unfortunately Bret Michaels posturing vocalsmake Joe Isuzu sound deeply sincer, whole the band’s cliched progressions and by the numbers choruses tend to disspiate Kotzen’s fiery eloquence. But when they hand the new guitarist the reins, as on the crunch’n’funk of “Bring It Home”, the band sounds fresh and renewed.

Who the fuck is Joe Isuzu?

That was the question I had after reading this review because I was buying this album regardless of whatever the review said.

I have Google today, but back in 93, all i had was this magazine and his name. So Google tells me that he’s a fictional salesman in a series of ads for Isuzu. In the ads, Joe Isuzu is a pathological liar who makes outrageous claims about the cars.

While Brett looked the pretty boy, he did have a blues soul voice and Kotzen’s blues rock playing definitely gets Michaels into gear on this album.

1993 reviews had a bias against 80s bands and were very unkind to 80’s artists known as glam metallers or hair metallers.

Case in point is the gospel influenced “Stand”. If U2 released it, the review would be glowing but Poison released it and its cliched.

This album is a must listen for any Poison fan. And since I’m a fan of Kotzen, and a fan coming into this album, his playing is excellent and I rate this album as one of the best guitar albums of that year.

This band didnt survive past this album and while Poison sold a lot of albums in the 90’s via their “Greatest Hits” release, they would be a shadow of their former glory, even after CC DeVille returned.

Make sure you check out the Hot Spots tracks first as I 100 percent agree, they are the best and then explore the rest.

Standard