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 3.4: Opeth – Morningrise

Opeth is a Swedish progressive metal/rock band from Stockholm, formed in 1989. The group has been through several personnel changes, including the replacement of every single original member. Lead vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Mikael Åkerfeldt has remained Opeth’s primary driving force since the departure of original vocalist David Isberg in 1992.

Opeth has consistently incorporated progressive, folk, blues, classical, and jazz influences into its usually lengthy compositions, as well as strong influences from death metal, especially in their early works.

The band rarely made live appearances supporting their first four albums, but since conducting their first world tour after the 2001 release of Blackwater Park, they have led several major world tours.

So “Morningrise” is part off the “first four” albums.

It’s the second one, released on 24 June 1996.

Opeth for this album is Mikael Åkerfeldt on vocals and guitars, Peter Lindgren on guitars, Johan De Farfalla on bass and Anders Nordin on drums, percussion. All lyrics are by Akerfeldt and music is by Akerfeldt and Lindgren.

Åkerfeldt has mentioned that “The Number of the Beast” by Iron Maiden and “Lick It Up” by Kiss made him a metal head, but he also was heavily influenced by “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” by Black Sabbath and his favorite metal album is “Sad Wings of Destiny” by Judas Priest.

Lindgren had a nice diet of Iron Maiden growing up and was heavily influenced by “Master of Puppets” from Metallica along with ’70s progressive rock band Camel.

So with similar influences as mine I was more than interested to listen.

I didn’t hear this album until 2005/06 as I started listening to em after “Blackwater Park”.

5 songs clocking in at 60 something minutes.

Advent

The song is almost 14 minutes long as it moves between sludgy grooves, acoustic guitars and fast double kick metal like passages.

Vocally, Opeth during this period was more death metal like with some clean vocal passages.

At 3.20, this acoustic guitar riff kicks in, arpeggio based and very Rush sounding and I’m like where did that come from.

It becomes abrasive again with death metal vocals which don’t impress but the music does impress.

At the 6 minute mark, a different acoustic arpeggio riff kicks in and this time, the vocals are in clean tone and I’m all in.

At 8 minutes a Thin Lizzy/Iron Maiden/Helloween like galloping riff kicks in which is great to play on the guitar.

But it gets better, there is this metallic riff at 9.20 which has a jazz like bass line behind it with double kick drums. It feels unsettling and jarring.

The Night And The Silent Water

At 11 minutes long, it’s another short song.

Im not a fan of the death metal vocals, but goddamn I really like the music and it’s movement between distortion and acoustic.

Around the 8 minute mark, this “Children Of The Grave” feel/gallop starts. It keeps building until the guitars explode into playing octave melodies.

Nectar

At 10 minutes long it’s maybe the shortest song on the album.

The music is very Iron Maiden”ish” like. There is this riff that kicks in at the 2 minute mark, which is excellent.

At 7 minutes there is another acoustic like arpeggio passage which comes out of nowhere and yet it fits nicely. And the last 90 seconds has a riff which appeared on a Dream Theater album in a few years’ time.

Black Rose Immortal

Almost 20 minutes long.

The song has a lot of harmony leads that feel like they are influenced by Thin Lizzy as it’s got that major key Celtic like vibe.

Check out the Maiden like instrumental sections from 7.30 and the excellent volume swell section around 9.30 to 9.43 which is way too short. But hypnotic and very violin line.

To Bid You Farwell

Another 11 minute song to close the album. A “Fade To Black” like arpeggio riff starts it off.

And the song percolates in the acoustic domain until it explodes into distortion at the 7 minute mark.

The amount of acoustic progressions in this song, another person could have written 10 different songs.

The vocals are clean tone and make sure you check out the bluesy kicks at the 4 minute mark.

And it returns back to the acoustics for the last 90 seconds to end the album on somber note. Like Empire Strikes Back.

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1996 – Part 3.3: Kiss – Unplugged

I wasn’t sure I needed a Kiss “Unplugged” album but after pressing play, I became a fan of it instantly. The songs they selected worked so well in an acoustic setting.

For a band that was trying to find a way to fit into the mixed up 90’s, the “Unplugged” setting was perfect for them.

Apart from Stanley, Simmons, Kulick and Singer, they are also joined by Ace Frehley and Peter Criss for a handful of songs. In Australia it went to Number 4 on the charts. Argentina and the U.S certified the album Gold.

Comin’ Home

I wasn’t a fan of the distorted version that appeared on the album “Hotter Than Hell”, but goddamn I really like this acoustic version. By far the best song on the album and my go to version for this song.

Plaster Caster

I think this is the weakest one.

Goin Blind

Acoustically, it sounds like a progressive rock song from ELP, something which seems to be lost with the studio cut.

Do You Love Me?

A good song works in any format.

Domino

This song works so good in acoustic format, as it brings out its sleazy swampy Delta blues influence.

And how good is Bruce Kulick.

Sure Know Something

One of my favourite Kiss songs. Hated by American fans and loved by the Australian disco rockers.

A World Without Heroes

A perfect song for the “Unplugged” format. Paul Stanley is an excellent rhythm guitarist and Bruce Kulick shines here with the leads.

Rock Bottom

I didn’t think this would translate well, but it did.

See You Tonight

It’s like the Beatles walked into the building.

I Still Love You

This song is a masterpiece in hard rock balladry. The acoustic arpeggio riff which makes up the Intro and Verse is haunting and it sets the tone of the song.

Stanley delivers a killer vocal but the unsung hero is still Bruce Kulick. And check out Eric Singer, as he pounds those drums like the track is electric.

Every Time I Look At You

I’m not a fan of the studio cut, but it really works here and I like the way the guitar lead break sounds. And Stanley is a crooner, he loves doing vocals like this.

2,000 Man

Some members of the family are back, in Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. And I’ve always seen this Rolling Stones track as a punk rock song.

Beth

The big hit. I prefer it as an acoustic guitar led cut, instead of a piano led cut and this version rocks, even though the song is a ballad.

Nothin’ To Lose

It sounds like a Motown cut in this format.

Rock ‘N’ Roll All Nite

It’s a campfire song and a perfect closer, sing-a-long to end the night.

The “REVENGE” band sounds great and this show along with the “Kiss III” release serves as a great testament to their abilities.

But the magazines I purchased at the time, hated it and didn’t write kindly about it. But good rock and roll was never meant to be the critics’ darling.

Here are some reviews that I agree with.

And if you want to check out the views of 2Loud2OldMusic, who gave it an easy 5.0 out of 5.0, then click here.

Or from Mr Mike Ladano who also gave it 5/5 stars, click here.

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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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Influenced, Music, My Stories

The Record Vault: Disturbed – M.O.L

M.O.L. stands for “Meaning of Life”, a song from “The Sickness” and it’s the title of a DVD released in 2002.

They all started off the same as other bands. Each member performed in various bands before hooking up.

But the vocalist spot was proving a problem. They put an ad out and Dave Draiman answered the ad. He was the anti-rock star with real short hair and sandals but he was onboard with focusing on originals.

And when Dan Donegan played an original riff and Draiman started singing a melody, that was it. That song became “Want”.

There is studio footage from November 25, 1999 and December 2, 1999 and its cool to see how “Bill Ward like”, Mike Wengren is on the drums, very groovy like with a bit of swing.

And Johnny K was not what I expected him to look like. I was thinking like another Kevin Churko. Even though I’ve seen his name on so many albums I never really googled him or read any interviews.

It’s always strange watching things back and the way bassist Fuzz talks about “how lucky the band got with David” but in the end it was the personality differences between Draiman and Fuzz which led to him getting fired.

In Australia this DVD release did good business and it was certified Platinum.

Check it out.

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Music, My Stories

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – September 13 to September 19

4 Years Ago (2017)

Another slow week for the site. Three weeks in a row and no posts. And I’m not sure as to why.

8 Years Ago (2013)

DREAM THEATER

Dream Theater broke through in 1992, it seemed that they just appeared overnight. Breaking through for Dream Theater still meant “obscurity from the mainstream” however with a “cult audience” that appreciated them.

And when they signed with Roadrunner in the 2000’s, a pile of money was thrown their way. Each new deal means a larger advance paid up front by the label which needs to be recouped in some way.

And for their self-titled release, Dream Theater partnered up with organizations that have nothing to do with their core audience like US Today and Grammy Awards websites as the first online sites to stream the new songs. Because the money they got needs to be recouped.

CREATIVITY

We are living in the era that is all about creativity. Artists need to be creating and releasing all the time, otherwise they are here today and gone tomorrow.

Metal bands have weathered the storm so far, as fans of these genre’s still tend to purchase albums, however the writing is on the wall. It’s about listens.

YNGWIE MALMSTEEN

The Fury was being clueless and talking about a music industry that didn’t exist because no one was buying his albums.

PIRACY

People
In
Revolt
Against
Copyrights
monopolY

STREAMS

I was constantly listening to the Avenged Sevenfold “Hail To The King” album as it connected with me. I admit that the connection comes from the similarities of the songs on the new album to the bands that I grew up on.

Spotify streams for the song “Hail To The King” at this point in time was 1,884,995. Today, 8 years later, the song has 336,620,443 streams.

Shepherd Of Fire had 495,889 streams in 2013 and now 128,897,165.

NIKKI SIXX

Is Nikki Sixx a revisionist?

THE LP

Going back in time, I remember going to the record store with about $20 to $30 in my back pocket. I always looked forward to those days. It was what I lived for. However as exciting as the experience was, it always had to end with me deciding which albums to buy at that moment and which albums to buy next time around as I could never afford everything that I wanted.

With the rise of the CD, this only got more expensive.

When I used to purchase albums, money was the factor as to what I decided to purchase and listen too. Fast forward to now, time is the factor as to what I decide to listen too.

THE PRODUCERS

What is it with artist’s dishing out hate on a producer that was involved in producing their greatest triumph?

1994 TOP 10

I was flicking through a Guitar World issue from 1995 that was talking about albums that came out in 1994.

I mentioned the magazines Top 10 and then provided my Top 10.

Motley Crue – Motley Crue

What can I say, Bob Rock killed it in the producer’s chair, capturing Motley Crue at their heaviest. It is groove rock, mixed with classic rock, mixed with heavy metal. Listen to the interludes of Droppin Like Flies and Hooligan’s Holiday for supreme Korn like heaviness.

Machine Head – Burn My Eyes

Robb Flynn’s vocal style is his life style. A lot of people have tried to imitate it however you have had to have lived his lifestyle in order to pull it off.

Leviathan – Deepest Secrets Beneath

A progressive metal band that deserves greater accolades. Think Geddy Lee vocals on a bed of technical metal riffs.

Dream Theater – Awake

Worthy follow up to “Images and Words” and the last album to feature the talents of Kevin Moore. Of course Jordan Rudess is a far more accomplished pianist, however to me Kevin Moore is a better band member, due to his lyrical and vocal melody writing.

Pantera – Far Beyond Driven

What else can be said about Pantera that hasn’t been said. They kept the flag flying for groove and thrash metal, while other leaders jumped ship or broke up.

Korn – Korn

Any album that has an ominous shadow of a man in a kids playground on the cover already has a lot to live up to. In this case, Korn delivered a brutal first album. Not bad for a band that got signed solely based on their demo and no live shows.

Savatage – Handful Of Rain

Dark and sorrowful. The best way to pay a tribute to a fallen brother is to keep the music alive. Savatage and especially Jon Oliva, did exactly that.

Megadeth – Youthanasia

Dave Mustaine and Megadeth never achieved the “success” in sales as Metallica however to me, they defined and pushed the boundaries of technical thrash metal. Can you ever imagine James Hetfield singing over the “Holy Wars” riff. With “Youthanasia”, Megadeth delivered a killer rock album, which if i had to pick between “Youthanasia” and “Load” from Metallica, “Youthansia” wins hands down.

Testament – Low

When a band is more or less written off by the press, that is when they deliver. However due to a lack of label support, the album didn’t get out of the gates properly.

Slayer – Divine Intervention

I was going to put Kyuss or Soundgarden here, however my loyalty to Slayer wins out in the end.

And that’s another wrap for another week.

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A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories

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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