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

Australian Method Series: Airbourne – Boneshaker

The method is simple.

Listen to an AC/DC album and write songs that have the vibe from that album. It’s been “Airbourne’s” template for the first four albums, so why change it for album number five.

But on the album, I would like to add a few other Australian bands like Rose Tattoo, Screaming Jets and The Angels to that list of influences.

“Boneshaker” was released on 25 October 2019, produced by Dave Cobb which was a surprise choice, considering his big production credits involve Chris Stapleton and “The Star Is Born” soundtrack. But the band wanted to work with Cobb based on an album he did for a small obscure band called “Black Robot”. Check out their 2009 album to hear a pretty cool slab of AC/DC, Aerosmith, Bad Company and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Airbourne is still underpinned by brothers Joel O’Keefe on Vocals/Lead Guitar and Ryan O’Keefe on drums. Justin Street is on bass and new dude Matthew Harrison is on guitar.

Boneshaker

This track wouldn’t be out of place on an early Y&T album. Maybe because they have the lyric, “Earthshaker” after “Boneshaker”.

Burnout the Nitro

It has a country twang to it, but played through a distorted amp, in sounds rock and roll.

“Racing down the highway” instantly brings back memories of “Long Way To The Top”. And that’s basically the vibe of the song, a cross between “Long Way”, “Shoot To Thrill”, “Let There Be Rock” and “Whole Lotta Rosie”. If you are going to be influenced by AC/DC, you might as well be influenced by some of their biggest songs.

This Is Our City

“This is our city, lets rock and roll”. And the live show is summed up in a simple line.

Sex To Go

Great title and perfect for the fast paced social media lives we live in. At 2 minutes and 34 seconds, it’s probably just enough time to have fast food take away sex. And how can you not go past a lyric like “all I want is your apple pie”.

In the words of Sammy Hagar in “Good Enough”, I’ll have some of that.

Backseat Boogie

“Long Way To The Top” makes another comeback. And I like it

Blood In The Water

A groovy “Whole Lotta Rosie”.

She Gives Me Hell

Being on the wrong side of a toxic relationship sets up the lyrical foundation over a musical influence from “Highway To Hell”.

Switchblade Angel

The speed rock and roll is back and I like it.

Weapon Of War

The slow blues grit and groove is back for a song about war vets.

Rock ‘n’ Roll For Life

The fast “Let There Be Rock” vibe is back.

Rock and Roll along with all things Metal is a life style. Once you are in. you are always in. You might dabble in other genres but you’ll always come back. Because Rock N Roll is for life.

After 30 minutes and 36 seconds the album is over like fast food. Music on the go. Concise and straight to the point, there is no confusion as to what Airbourne is. A highly efficient and lean rock and roll band.

With no ballads.

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

1996 – Part 5.4: Accept – Predator

Accept in the 90’s didn’t exist for me. It wasn’t until 2008/09 that I started to re-listen to Accept and check out their 90’s output.

But the big problem with anything to do with the 90’s was confusion. The 90’s just kept striking out 80’s bands because they felt lost and didn’t know how to fit in. Gone was the label support and the people left around just didn’t know what to do.

If you don’t believe me, press play on Dio’s “Angry Machines” or Dokken’s “Shadowlife” or “Generation Swine” by Motley Crue. Confused. Yep, so was Ronnie and Don and Nikki/Tommy.

And as a fan of hard rock and heavy metal music, I was even more confused why these popular 80s bands couldn’t keep on releasing great albums in the 90’s.

On this album, Accept is mainly staying true to their roots. They have incorporated some 90’s groove and sounds and a little bit of 70’s Scorpions, however their sound is still AC/DC meets Judas Priest.

I read some of the reviews of this album recently and man, people don’t like it. I can hear why people would hate this album as there are musical elements on this album that can be classed as “what the” moments. But this album shows a band trying to survive in a hostile musical climate towards them. And it didn’t matter to me what new musical element they brought in, as it still sounds like Accept and it still sounds like Metal.

So “Predator” is studio album 11, released in 1996. It was produced by Michael Wagener and it is their last recording with singer Udo Dirkschneider.

Joining Udo here is the great Wolf Hoffmann on guitars, Peter Baltes on bass and drums are played by Michael Cartellone, fresh from his Damn Yankees gig.

Hard Attack

This is Accept doing AC/DC and I like it. A lot.

Crossroads

A head banging riff like “Balls To The Wall” underpins this song.

Baltes and Udo do lead vocals on this and the vocals of Baltes just don’t work for me here.

There is also this country like open sting lick played between the Chorus and Verse which I like.

Making Me Scream

This song has a 90’s alternative metal groove as the rhythm, however the exotic lead over it makes it classic Accept.

You could almost say it’s like the embryo of “Black Label Society”. The heaviness also reminds me of the self-titled Motley Crue album.

Diggin’ in the Dirt

Remember that song “Three Little Pigs”, well it reminds me of that. It has a similar vibe.

Lay It Down

The music on this song is excellent.

Baltes does the lead vocals here and he does a great job.

The Chorus is a rocker and anthemic.

There is no way that Zakk Wylde can say he never heard this song, because it so Black Label Society and that band was a few years away, however Zakk had created his embryonic incarnation with “Pride And Glory”.

If this song doesn’t make you bang your head, check for a pulse.

It Ain’t Over Yet

Baltes does the lead vocals again on this sleazy rocker.

Predator

I’m not a fan of this song at all.

Crucified

Its speed metal, old school and I love it. Just press play to hear the wah riff between 1.08 and 1.12. It’s only four seconds but its excellent.

And the lead break is classic Hoffmann. Press play on that as well.

Take Out the Crime

The love for AC/DC is back here.

Don’t Give a Damn

And you get to hear AC/DC again. And I like it.

Run Through the Night

The intro riff reminds me of “Aint Talking Bout Love” from Van Halen. Press play to hear how a derivative riff is created.

Primitive

The drums sound like they belong on a Gloria Estefan or Janet Jackson album. The song “Black Cat” comes to mind. Baltes does the lead vocals here, but the song is a skip for me. A terrible way to end the album.

“Predator” was the last Accept album for 14-years. Udo would never return.

But I feel they are bigger now than they’ve ever been. “Blood Of The Nations” came first in 2010 and each release afterwards has built on their return.

Mark Tornillo on vocals is excellent and a perfect song writing partner for Wolf Hoffmann. That’s not to say that others didn’t contribute. Bassist Peter Baltes was also a song writing partner while he was in the band and new bassist Martin Motnik contributes along with long time lyricist Deaffy, otherwise known as Gaby Hoffmann.

While hated, do yourself a favour and check out songs like “Hard Attack”, “Crossroads”, “Lay it Down” and “Crucified”. From there you can make up your own mind.

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The Record Vault: Dream Theater – Once In A Livetime

“Once in a LIVEtime” was released in 1998.

This would start a trend with Dream Theater that after each studio album, a live album would follow from the tour. Kevin Shirley was on hand to produce and record it. But Shirley was stressed as he only had two days to mix and fix it. In the book “Lifting Shadows” by Rich Wilson, Shirley mentioned that on this live album there were a lot of fixes.

The show was recorded at the Bataclan Theater in Paris however the tour began September 1997 in Brazil. And before it even started, they had to get new management. Remember the manager who won the battle to remain manager, well he left. He wasn’t feeling it anymore. The management team that came in proved so much worse. The band was lost and needed direction. These new guys didn’t provide it, but they had no problem spending money. And when the band fired them the managers sued em.

Furthermore, Petrucci and Portnoy were at loggerheads. Portnoy still had a chip on his shoulder over Petrucci choosing to go with Shirley’s ideas and the disagreements they had over which manager would get the gig. During the tour, Portnoy even fired Petrucci’s guitar tech, which didn’t go down well with Petrucci.

Portnoy also announced to the band that he is quitting once the tour is finished. So in retrospect this live album could have been the last official release.

The album cover, one of two designed by Storm Thorgerson for the band, shows an overhead view of the ancient Roman theatre in Orange, France set into a head of a monk. Like “Falling into Infinity” it does not feature the band’s word mark due to Storm’s demand who sees logos as ugly.

This would also be the last album to feature Derek Sherinian on keyboards as his short tenure in the band would come to an end.

A Change of Seasons I: The Crimson Sunrise

So from a concert perspective, they split “A Change Of Seasons” into its separate parts and scattered them throughout the concert.

The acoustic intro gets the crowd singing along, ala Maiden like. Trust the Europeans (and the South Americans) to give a concert a football (soccer) like atmosphere. As soon as the band kicks in, its heavy and precise.

A Change of Seasons II: Innocence

They move into part 2 effortlessly. LaBrie is strained but does a great job. He’s a professional. Sometimes singers have 10 from 10 performances and some days they have 7 from 10. It’s still a good performance.

Puppies on Acid

Is basically “The Mirror” and a bit of “Lie” from the “Awake” album combined to serve as a segue into “Just Let Me Breathe”. Strange choice.

Just Let Me Breathe

From the “Falling To Infinity” album.

The song is great musically. I’m not a super fan of the vocal melodies, but I do like how they had the balls to try melodies like that.

Voices

One of my favourite tracks from the “Awake” album.

Press play to hear the intro, the way the Chorus crashes in musically and the excellent Petrucci solo. If anything, Petrucci’s playing live is even better than the studio recordings. He’s so precise, yet he still creates room for some improvisation. And that my friends is the meaning of a great musician.

LaBrie unfortunately is difficult to listen to, especially the high notes.

Take The Time

The first track from their biggest album so far, “Images and Words”.

Check out the funky first verses. You will feel like you are in the 70’s. It’s the beauty of the band, to be so diverse musically.

The ending contains the solo from Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Freebird” and the main riff from Led Zeppelin’s “Moby Dick”. This is the kind of improvisation I like.

Derek Sherinian Piano Solo

I hate individual solo spotlights without any backing music to it.

For the purists, the brief solo does contain portions of “Platt Opus” which would be released on the debut Platypus album, (a progressive rock supergroup to which Sherinian and John Myung were members of, and they released their first album a year after this album).

However Sherinian tries to make his solo spotlight tie in with “Lines In The Sand”.

Lines In The Sand

From the “Falling into Infinity” album.

This song works live and LaBrie doesn’t need to strain his voice here as this song is more in the lower registers.

Petrucci again delivers a killer a guitar solo. All the emotion he committed to tape is here, live. The bends, the vibrato and the fast legato lines. Even Labrie at the end, mentioned, “John Petrucci on guitar people”.

The solo segues into my favourite part of the song. A groove is established and LaBrie is in his Pete Gabriel element here. Petrucci decorates like Alex Lifeson on the guitar. Then at 9.36, Petrucci starts to build it up, taking parts of the intro, and adding a lot of grease and blues. Then his Lifeson decorating with power chords and ringing open strings is back. Portnoy gets busier and the band cranks into the main riff of the song.

Scarred

From the “Awake” album.

Ballsy move to play another epic track straight after an epic track, but then again, Dream Theater didn’t get to this stage, playing by the rules.

A Change of Seasons IV: The Darkest of Winters

And this is a perfect example of not playing by the rules. When they go into the instrumental section of “A Change Of Seasons”

Ytse Jam

And after 3 minutes of “The Darkest Of Winters”, they go into their instrumental masterpiece from “When Dream and Day Unite”, the “Majesty” spelt backwards “Ytse Jam”. And as soon as the intro riff kicks in, the crowd is chanting along with them.

This kind of set list is preaching to the converted.

Mike Portnoy Drum Solo

A 5 minute drum solo and the last 2 minutes is the ending of “Ytse Jam”.

But it’s a next for me.

Trial of Tears

From the “Falling into Infinity” album. The first two minutes has Petrucci playing “Close Encounters Of The Third Kind”, with Portnoy channelling Neal Peart from Rush.

Hollow Years

From the “Falling Into Infinity” album.

The “Live At Budokan” version is the definitive version for me. The flamenco Al DiMeola like noodling at the start which is present on the “Budokan” version is here as well, just a bit more embryonic. And the solo sticks to script here, it doesn’t have the long shred solo from “Budokan”.

LaBrie doesn’t need to strain much here, and vocally he’s bringing it.

Take Away My Pain

From the “Falling into Infinity” album. I didn’t think it would end up in a set list as it’s not one of the stronger songs from the album.

Caught in a Web

From the “Awake” album. The tempo is sped up just a little bit and it works perfectly. You can feel the energy hit you from the speakers.

Lie

From the “Awake” album. Like “Caught In A Web” before it, the tempo is sped up a little bit and its perfect for the song. It sounds more energetic and powerful.

Peruvian Skies

From the “Falling into Infinity” album and the band definitely shows which songs influenced the song as they go into portions of “Have a Cigar” from Pink Floyd and “Enter Sandman” from Metallica. Press play to hear it.

John Petrucci Guitar Solo

An 8 minute guitar solo which contains a portion of a song that would become “Paradigm Shift” from a side project called “Liquid Tension Experiment”, which Portnoy and Petrucci would form after this period with future Dream Theater keyboardist Jordan Rudess and bassist Tony Levin.

The ending of the album begins with “Pull Me Under”, “Metropolis” and “Learning To Live”. My three favourite songs from “Images And Words”. And they finish it off how they started, with the final chapter of “A Change Of Seasons”.

For a live album, it is the least favourite live album in the “Dream Theater” catalogue. I don’t go back to it much, however as the title states, it’s a capture of a time, a period. So enjoy it for what it is, a band on the verge of breaking up but keeping it all together for their love of music.

And a DVD release came out as well. But that review is for another day.

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1996 – Part 5.3: Michael Schenker Group – Written In The Sand

Every label head said Schenker was finished, washed up.

It’s 1991 and a supergroup called Contraband drop their debut album. And it keeps on dropping because it is so bad. The nice advance payment that Schenker got to be involved in the project didn’t do much to enhance or move forward his career. In fact his manager and ex-partner took most of it.

But he stays alive, because he’s a lifer. When you have been in the game for this long, the only thing you know how to do is play. And play he did. He jumped on board the unplugged bandwagon and released an album. He called up Robin McAuley and released another McAuley Schenker studio album.

Then he re-unites with Phil Mogg and they start writing. The songs got the labels interested and the “Walk On Water” album from UFO, released in 1995 surprised everyone. Suddenly Schenker was back on the agenda and he’s getting money thrown at him again. He had a lot of bad people in his life at this point in time, from managers and partners, so it was always going to happen that MSG would return.

I didn’t think it would be that quick. Because a year after “Walk On Water”, “Written In The Sand” is released, the eighth full-length studio album that falls under the MSG brand.

The only thing consistent with all of these MSG albums is the name and Michael Schenker himself. The other members are in a constant flux. For this album, Schenker is joined by Leif Sundin on vocals, Shane Gaalaas on drums, and Barry Sparks on bass. All the music is by Michael Schenker and all lyrics by Leif Sundin.

Ron Nevison is doing all the Producing, Engineering and Mixing.

It’s not on Spotify which irks me, but YouTube has it.

Brave New World

It’s got groove, swing and lot of rock and roll. And the first thing that grabs my attention are the vocals from Leif Sundin. His voice is very melodic, fluid and unique. I would say he’s up there as one of the best singers in MSG.

The lead breaks are impressive, with Schenker even soloing over a harmony solo which acts as a rhythm guitar.

Cry No More

Press play to hear the intro. Its heavy and a lot of acts who went alternative to survive weren’t doing riffs like this during this period. The song could have been on a Deep Purple album and it wouldn’t be out pf place.

I Believe

It’s a ballad that turns into a rocker. It’s not original, yet it is an easy listen.

Back to Life

No one was writing riffs like this in 1996. Its old school and I like it. Barry Sparks is massive on the bass here as well.

Written in the Sand

This track is essential MSG. It has a sleazy bluesy riff and a lot of melody. And Schenker delivers a tasty guitar-solo in the middle and for the outro.

Essenz

It wouldn’t be an MSG album without an instrumental. This one has an “Eruption” vibe before moving into a fast blues. Think of “Hot For Teacher” when it picks up.

Love Never Dies

Imagine “Finish What Ya Started” merging with the melodic rock genre. Well this is the outcome. Another close favourite with a killer Schenker lead break.

I Will Be There

Press play to hear the verse riff. Schenker makes it sound technical, yet it rocks so fluidly.

Take Me Through the Night

Its classic heavy metal while the singing is happening and the solo section is barroom blues brawling.

It wouldn’t be out of place on any metal album from the early 80’s.

Down the Drain

The album closer showcases how Schenker decorates in a creative way. You cannot ignore how good it is.

While Schenker’s North American career had stalled, he was still a big draw in Japan and certain European markets. And just like that, the whole “Contraband” affair was forgotten. That is if you heard the album. Which wasn’t easy to do.

Crank it.

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Australian Method Series: Lord – Set In Stone

2005.

A band called Dungeon is opening for Megadeth in Sydney. I knew of the name, but never heard any of their music. The band name just didn’t do it for me. It was my mistake. I listened with my eyes instead of my ears. Well that was to change.

After the gig, Dungeon was definitely on my radar and I did purchase a few of their albums. And as soon as I got into them, they called it quits.

Sort of.

You see, Lord was originally started as a side project for Dungeon guitarist/vocalist Tim Grose, which was meant as something different from his main band sound. Lord’s first album was released in 2003 and it wasn’t so different from Dungeon. After Dungeon disbanded in 2005, Lord just became a continuation of Dungeon’s sound with new members. You could even purchase Dungeon albums at shows Lord did.

“Set in Stone” is the third album released in September 2009 by the band’s own label Dominus in conjunction with Riot! Entertainment. The album was recorded in my home town of Wollongong, Australia. A small foot note in history, is that a band I was in at the time opened up for Lord when they played Wollongong touring on this album.

The band is Tim Grose (also known as Lord Tim) on vocals and guitars, Tim Yatras on drums, Mark Furtner on guitars and Andrew Dowling on bass.

Spectres of the Ascendant

48 seconds of sound effects to introduce “Redemption”.

Redemption

Written by Tim Grose and drummer Tim Yatras, who would depart the band after the album was completed.

Its face melting speed metal.

100 Reasons

Another Grose and Yatras track.

It’s hard rock, with a major key Arena melodic rock Chorus.

Eternal Storm

Co-guitarist Mark Furtner gets a co-write with Grose and Yatras.

Fast, Malmsteen like from the “Marching Out” album. The solo is very Vinnie Moore like, running through different scalar patterns.

Set in Stone

Another track written by Grose and Yatras.

My favourite song on the album. The intro riff is a brilliant mix of Classic NWOBHM and American metal. Judas Priest and Maiden come to mind, with vocals bordering between a cross between Dickinson and Tate at their classic metal best.

There is this “wo-oh-oh” chant after the solo. I can imagine thousands of people chanting it at a gig.

Someone Else’s Dream

Written by the band.

An 80’s sounding synth and a syncopated guitar line set the foundations. At stages it feels like it’s a song from the Gothenburg metal scene, but the Chorus is huge and melodic.

Forever

It’s almost Maiden like with a lot of musical influences from the “Fear of The Dark” album.

I play air guitar to the harmony guitars.

Written by Tim Grose, Tim Yatras and Andrew Dowling.

The lyrical theme is pretty clear. Boy falls in love, gets rejected and goes all Michael Douglas “Falling Down” on the girl and the world.

The guitar playing in the lead break is brilliant.

Beyond the Light

Written by the band.

Judas Priest and UFO “Lights Out” era comes to mind, vocally and musically. It’s a great song to sing along to.

The End of Days

Written by Grose and Yatras.

It’s like a thrash metal song, with the vocals being a cross between Rob Halford and Tom Araya (in the verses).

Staying true to its title it ends with a nuclear bomb going off.

Be My Guest

Written by Tim Grose, Tim Yatras and ex Dungeon bassist Brendan McDonald.

This is like “Stars” on guitar with a lot of guest solos.

It’s an instrumental track featuring guest solos from Craig Goldy of Dio, Glen Drover from Eidolon, Olof Mörck of Dragonland, Yoshiyasu Maruyama of the Japanese thrash band Argument Soul, Angra’s Felipe Andreoli, the former Enter Twilight member Richie Hausberger, Chris Porcianko from Vanishing Point, Chris Brooks and former Dungeon members Stu Marshall and Justin Sayers.

New Horizons

Written by Grose and Yatras. It’s your typical power ballads.

Pete Lesperance from Harem Scarem plays a solo on this.

On a Night Like This

A Kylie Minogue cover as the bonus track.

The fact that the band would attempt such a cover shows the versatility of the members.

Reviews for Australian artists are difficult to do as I want to highlight influences of their sound without making them sound like copyists, and if people from other continents want to check them out, my aim is to give them a reference point as well.

If you haven’t dabbled in the power metal genre, then let Lord be your entry point.

It’s easy really.

Just press play on the melodic rock tracks first like “100 Reasons” and “Beyond The Light”.

If you like em, then press play on the classic metal track, “Set In Stone”.

If you like that, press play on the more ambitious tracks like “The End Of Days” and “Forever”.

Then you are at the fast speed metal with “Redemption” and “Eternal Storm”.

Enjoy.

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1996 – Part 5.1: Van Halen – Best Of – Volume 1

Roth’s Return Was Welcomed But I Was Cynical.

In 1996, Sammy Hagar left Van Halen. Both camps tried to set the record straight as to why things happened like they did. It made for great reading, the press had a field day and the fans just wanted new music.

Enter an old flame.

David Lee Roth re-joined briefly and recorded two songs with the band for the 1996 compilation “Best Of – Volume I”. There is a story about this saga as well, but other sites on the web cover it better. As is the norm, Roth and Eddie clashed again and Roth was out, eventually replaced by Gary Cherone from Extreme.

However we got a “Best Of” album. And it sold well. I guess the public’s appetite to hear Roth with Van Halen again was sky high. I know in Australia it got a Platinum certification and in the U.S it was 3x Platinum.

The album was released on October 22, 1996. I basically purchased it for the two newly recorded Roth songs, “Can’t Get This Stuff No More” and “Me Wise Magic” plus “Humans Being” which did appear on the Twister soundtrack, however my first hearing of the song was on this compilation.

And this review would focus on those three songs.

Can’t Get This Stuff No More

I got so used to Sammy Hagar and his melodies.

So I wasn’t totally enthused to hear Roth deliver his vocals about a “date with a super model and how he doesn’t need so much to remember”. But Roth is Roth, and it’s why I am a fan. He never conformed nor did he change his style. And the Chorus is as good as any Van Roth chorus.

Eddie was also getting a lot more progressive with his song writing and bro Alex, did a great job to put a beat and feel to it all.

Check out the lead break rhythms and EVH talk boxing his way before he breaks open the gates of shred. For progressiveness check out the outro that just came from left field as it’s a unique piece of music on its own.

Wikipedia also tells me that the music for this song was based on a track called “Backdoor Shuffle” which was originally part of the sessions for the “Balance” album.

Me Wise Magic

As soon as I heard the intro I was picking up the guitar to learn it. Not sure what came first. “Test For Echo” or this. I can Google it, but who cares, as the intro does remind me of Rush. Roth moves between spoken verse to a frantic pre chorus and a killer Chorus with Michael Anthony nailing the backing vocals.

Both of the Roth tracks were produced by Glen Ballard who had a renaissance of some sort in the mid 90’s thanks to Alanis Morissette and “Jagged Little Pill”.

The way the song started is how it ends.

An example of what I meant with EVH being progressive in his writing. You don’t hear the Intro riff again in the song, until it appears in the Outro.

EVH’s working title was “The Three Faces of Shamus,” for its three sections with “completely different vibes going on”.

Roth was also asked to work with Desmond Child on the lyrics after he discarded (or rewrote) the words that Ballard wrote. But Roth is Roth, and no one tells him what to do.

Humans Being

Produced by Bruce Fairbairn.

The intro Em riff (E to G to A) hooks me instantly. It’s almost Metallica like, but also like Alice Cooper (think “I’m Eighteen”).

My favourite part of the song is when Sammy sings “Shine On”, and of course EVH chimes in with a quick melodic lead, which quietens down and then builds up again, full of octaves, whammy bar manipulations, superhuman bends over a droning E note and legato slides. And none of it would work if it wasn’t for the time keeping of AVH.

And there is a story around this song’s creation, but Wikipedia covers it pretty good.

The only thing left to say, is to crank it.

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The Record Vault: Dream Theater – Falling Into Infinity

The “A Change of Seasons” EP from 1995, closed a chapter for Dream Theater that went back to those dark days without a deal.

After a short tour to promote the EP, they started writing songs in early 1996 for the follow up album to “Awake”. Derek Sherinian was a full-fledged member and was an extra addition to the song writing team.

Their label East West Records had folded into Elektra. Sylvia Rhone was now the President. Her interest in hard rock music was minimal. Nikki Sixx was also very anti-Sylvia, calling her from the stage on her mobile during Motley Crue concerts and getting the fans to scream “F U Sylvia Rhone.”

As written in the book, “Lifting Shadows” by Rich Wilson, Rhone wanted to drop Dream Theater or to transfer the contract to Warner International, however their success in Europe and Japan was bringing enough dollars to the label, so Elektra decided to keep them. However, they had to come up with more shorter tracks that radio could get behind.

Little did they know, that they would be in development hell for almost a year. Most of the songs they submitted to the label for approval, were met with the request to write more songs. Progressive songs like “Lines In The Sand” and “Trial Of Tears” got a muted response from the label, while songs like “Hollow Years” and “You Not Me” got the label excited.

On top of this was the dissolution of their management team, which had the band divided. Petrucci picked one manager and Portnoy picked the other. Eventually, Petrucci’s choice Rob Shore was selected as the manager and Portnoy’s choice Jim Pitulski went to court to recoup some of his losses.

Further to this, their friend in label hell, A&R Rep Derek Oliver left and his replacement, Josh Deutsch was already fed up with the band. As far as he was concerned, the band was selling enough to not be a liability to the label, so as long as he could get the new record out, they would make numbers.

12 plus months passed before Deutsch gave the go-ahead to record the new album, in March 1997. The list of producers the band submitted was ignored and Kevin Shirley who just did Aerosmith’s “Nine Lives” was hired. Shirley also recommended that the band work with Desmond Child to re-write “You or Me”, resulting in Petrucci being flown down to Florida to work on the song with Child. Following the sessions, the song became “You Not Me”. This infuriated Mike Portnoy as he didn’t like how Desmond Child would re-write one of the songs with just one band member.

Originally, Petrucci and Portnoy wanted to call it “Stream of Consciousness”, but the rest of the band rejected the name although the phrase “Stream of Consciousness” is found in the song “Lines in the Sand” and would later become the title of an instrumental song on “Train of Thought”. Its eventual title was proposed by Petrucci, and its cover art was designed by Storm Thorgerson.

When you write for that long, there is enough material for a double album, but Elektra said the approved budget is for a single album.

As a side note, Portnoy released the double album, when he did the Ytse Jam Records Demo series for the “Falling Into Infinity” demos release. It also got a re-release with Dream Theater’s “Lost Not Forgotten” Archives releases.

If you are a fan of the band, the demo releases are must haves, as you get to hear songs like “Raise the Knife”, “Where are You Now”, “Cover My Eyes”, “Speak to Me”, “The Way It Used to Be”, and “Metropolis Pt. 2”, which was later expanded into its own album and the rest being included on the 1999 fan club CD “Cleaning Out the Closet”.

New Millennium

As soon as the King Crimson inspired intro kicks in with the keys and guitars in harmony, I was hooked. John Myung comes in with a bass riff which is very Tool like and I like the way John Petrucci decorates, very Adam Jones/Tool like.

Mike Portnoy is the lyrical writer here, as he looks at the music industry.

Press play for the Verse Riff. Its heavy, its melodic and its influenced by the times, but it doesn’t sound dated as there is funk and there is groove.

James Labrie cops a lot of flak from fans and I am one of them, but he shows his versatility moving between Peter Gabriel like vocals, to Maynard James Keenan vocals, to Bluesy Paul Rodgers style vocals and yet he makes it all sound hard rock in his own LaBrie way.

Derek Sherinian on the keys is more like Kevin Moore in style.

For an opening track it got my attention.

You Not Me

Musically it’s written by Dream Theater and lyrically it’s done by John Petrucci with small additions from Desmond Child. After hearing the demo of this song, I think Child’s additions are more like Holly Knight’s addition to change the title of “Rag Time” to “Rag Doll” by Aerosmith. The original demo is called “You Or Me”. After Child was involved, it changed to “You Not Me”. The vocal melodies are there on the demo.

The riff is nu-metal before nu-metal was even a thing.

And I like its big Chorus and simple Verse/Chorus structure. I am a hard rock fan first who likes progressive music, so this song is right up my alley.

Peruvian Skies

When they play this song live they go into “Enter Sandman” from Metallica as there a bits in the song that sound like they came from “Sandman”. If you get a chance to check out one of their live performances of this song, do it

Lyrics are written by John Petrucci. He is trying to tell an abuse story of person called Vanessa.

Musically, it’s got the dreamy arpeggios of Pink Floyd, with the metal crunch of Metallica. It’s a potent mix. And I like it.

Hollow Years

The “Live At Budokan” version is “the” version to listen to. This is where the solo is extended to include some shredding from Petrucci and the outro is also extended. One thing that is guaranteed when you watch DT live, is you don’t just get the studio version of the song. Which is a good thing. It irks me when bands play the studio version of a song live. There are no musical conversations happening on stage. For some bands it works, like Metallica and Iron Maiden, as their song structures are very rigid.

It was released as a single and you can tell why. It moves between flamenco-classical style acoustic guitars to a melodic soft rock Chorus. Petrucci wrote the lyrics to the song.

Burning My Soul

Mike Portnoy’s lyrics were inspired by his frustration at their A&R man, Derek Oliver. Once seen as a supporter who got them signed was now seen as a roadblock, a gear in the label machine pushing the label “sign em and drop em” agenda.

Overall, it’s a great song. It’s metallic, with a lot of groove. Metallica wasn’t this heavy during this time.

It also marks the beginning of an excellent middle section of the album, that involves “Burning My Soul”, “Hell’s Kitchen”, and “Lines in the Sand”.

Hell’s Kitchen

Producer Kevin Shirley made the decision to take out the middle section from “Burning My Soul” and turn it into a separate instrumental track.

Which I thank him for as “Hell’s Kitchen” is a 3 minute rollercoaster of emotions. Press play to hear John Petrucci at his melodic best.

Lines in the Sand

Lyrics are written by John Petrucci and press play to hear his guitar lead along with the verse/bridge section after the solo break.

King’s X’s Doug Pinnick also appears but James LaBrie stars here, twisting and morphing his voice across many different musical styles and genres.

At 12 minutes long, it didn’t feel boring at all.

Take Away My Pain

This is Dream Theater doing U2 while U2 was doing electro-techno rock.

Lyrically, John Petrucci writes about the death of his father and he decorates the song like “The Edge”.

And for people who said they sold out by writing a song like this, well they seem to forget that “Another Day”, “To Live Forever” and “Lifting Shadows Of A Dream” are very similar to this. So it was nothing new for Dream Theater to have songs like this on the album.

Just Let Me Breathe

Portnoy is throwing missiles at the music industry with his lyrics here. It deals with the media and how they purely exist to over report and sensationalise tragedy, like the deaths of Shannon Hoon and Kurt Cobain.

The drum and bass intro segues into the guitar riff kicking in. It’s heavy and groovy. Very “Liquid Tension Experiment” like which would come after this album.

Derek Sherinian solos here with Petrucci kicking in some harmonies. Then they trade off each other. Overall, I like the song musically but the vocal melodies didn’t resonate with me, although I do like how Portnoy wanted to try something different with the melodies.

Anna Lee

James LaBrie has a lyrical contribution to a Dream Theater album. The song is a ballad, with a nice piano riff as its centrepiece but it wasn’t a favourite back then nor is it a favourite write now.

Petrucci does deliver a nice solo.

Trial of Tears

I wrote a whole blog post on this song. You can read it here. It’s in three sections but played as one complete 13 minute song. Bassist John Myung is the lyrical writer.

Section I is called “It’s Raining”, Section II is called “Deep in Heaven” and Section III is called “The Wasteland”.

James LaBrie again steals the show with the various vocal styles he exhibits here. And Petrucci is on hand to deliver some nice emotive lead breaks.

As mentioned in the book, “Lifting Shadows” by Rich Wilson, the album was considered a commercial failure, failing to break any new ground for Dream Theater or increase their sales despite its more commercial direction. As a result of the creative and personal tensions experienced during the album’s production phase, it has been described as the band’s “most difficult album”, and eventually led to their demanding to be free from record label interference for all future albums.

Regardless of commercial expectations, I go back to this album on a regular basis. Crank it.

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Australian Method Series: Andrew Stockdale – Keep Moving

Released on 7 June 2013 and recorded in various studios in Byron Bay, New South Wales. Coming from the Steel City of Wollongong, Byron Bay is a 9 hour drive up the coast.

The Producer is Andrew Stockdale.

It was written with the idea that it would be the third Wolfmother album, however the group was already in disarray after Stockdale fired the original band before the 2nd album, and any musicians that joined the fold afterwards were on Stockdale’s payroll, not the labels.

The album process started in 2010 with updates on social media and then it went silent. By February 2012, we knew that rhythm guitarist Aidan Nemeth and drummer Will Rockwell-Scott had left the band. Universal was also not really interested in what was been delivered at that point in time.

Remaining members Stockdale and bassist Ian Peres called in Vin Steele (rhythm guitar), Elliott Hammond (keyboards, percussion) and Hamish Rosser (drums) to complete the band line-up. Universal still wasn’t interested but Stockdale planned to re-record and self-release the album as a Wolfmother album.

By March 2013, front man Andrew Stockdale announced that he would be releasing the album under his own name.

The Personnel for the album is Andrew Stockdale on vocals and guitar, Ian Peres on all things bass related plus other instruments, with drums shared by Elliot Hammond, Hamish Rosser, Will Rockwell-Scott and Dave Atkins. Additional guitar tracks were recorded by Vin Steele and Alex “Rudy” Markwell.

All tracks are written by Andrew Stockdale, except where noted.

Long Way to Go

It could be a Bachman Turner Overdrive tune. It could a Rolling Stones tune as there is a riff in the song heavily inspired by “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking”.

And there is a solo here, brief but bluesy.

Keep Moving

Lenny Kravitz is going to come your way. You know what I mean. And I like it, with other influences from Hawkwind and a riff from the fingertips of Paul Kossoff (RIP).

Within the first two songs, Stockdale is making a statement. He is moving on from the past, but he has a long way to go to make the break.

Vicarious

The fuzzed out bass sets the groove. The drums thunder along with it. Its subdued and Stockdale croons over the verses, before lifting in the Chorus.

“You’re living vicariously / Tell me what’s it’s like to be me?”

Three out of three so far.

Year of the Dragon

It’s classic Wolfmother in riff, with a Bill Ward style swinging beat and a feel that gets the foot tapping and the head banging.

Somebody’s Calling

Stockdale co-wrote this with multi-instrumentalist Elliott Hammond who plays drums, electric piano and harmonica on this album.

Hand clapping Rock and Roll that reminds me of The Doors, Sweet, The Easybeats, Free and all of those great bands. And at 1.50, it goes into a half time feel, which I like and it picks up again at 2.16.

Meridian

Stockdale co-wrote this with bassist Ian Peres. My favourite song on the album and by far the heaviest song Stockdale has committed to release.

The Intro reminds me of Black Sabbath at their heaviest and the verse riff reminds me of Led Zeppelin at their heaviest. A pure classic old school heavy metal cut and although released on a Stockdale solo album, it is a worthy Wolfmother cut.

Ghetto

Another foot stomping groove. And it gets repetitive but hey, the reason why I listen to Andrew Stockdale is because he can jam on a familiar repetitive riff for ages.

Let It Go

“Symptom Of The Universe” has a love child with “Achilles Last Stand”. And I like it.

And if the album ended here, it would have been 8 from 8.

But it continued.

Let Somebody Love You

It’s got this rhythm and blues feel, maybe a little bit of Aerosmith.

Standing on the Corner

The “hit the road jack” vibe is prominent but more countryish than blues.

Country

The title says it all, a ballad.

Black Swan

Yeah, it’s a skip for me.

Everyday Drone

Hey Mr’s Robinson. Can Andrew Stockdale be influenced by you?

Yes, he can.

It Occurred To Me

The fuzzed out psychedelic riffs are back to close out the album. It’s got groove and sleaze, but coming off the acoustic like tracks, it doesn’t flow.

The Foo Fighters released a double album that had rockers and acoustic stuff on each disc. Stockdale suffers here because he released two distinct albums as one.

But for the first 8 tracks, press play on em.

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Destroyer Of Harmony History – May 31 to June 5

4 Years Ago (2018)

War Of Attrition

Back then I asked the question “If we stop using Spotify or Netflix, would we miss them?”

Since then a lot of other players have taken market share in the steaming world.

I am a heavy user of Spotify. For Netflix its hit and miss. Sometimes I could go weeks without using it and on other occasions it’s every day.

At the moment, in 2022, I also have subscriptions to Stan, Amazon, Paramount+ and Disney.

Being missed when you’re gone is a worthy objective for any organisation. It also should be an objective for any artist. If I stopped listening to music in general, I would miss it. If I stopped listening to music from certain artists I would really miss it.

And the ones who will survive are not those looking for short term profits, but those that realize it’s a war of attrition.

Who Should Be Listed As A Songwriter For A Song?

Metallica wanted to re-issue their 1982 demo “No Life To Leather”. Dave Mustaine on Twitter, said the talks broke down because Lars wanted song writing credits on two songs that Mustaine wrote every note and word to. So instead of agreeing to share the song writing, Mustaine passed.

Song writing is always an issue with bands.

Van Halen had all the band members listed as songwriters on all of their albums. Suddenly, when the band re-negotiated their publishing deals for their earlier David Lee Roth albums, Michael Anthony was removed as a song writer.

Skid Row’s Dave Sabo and Rachel Bolan said that Sebastian Bach didn’t contribute to the Skid Row debut album as most of the songs were written before Bach joined. Bach countered to say, that the way he sung the songs, and the way he decided to hold certain notes was enough of a contribution to the debut album and he should be listed as a songwriter. Manager Doc McGhee said Bach has no idea how copyright works.

Nikki Sixx said one of the reasons for Vince Neil’s departure from Motley was due to his lack of song writing contributions, which Vince countered to say he had enough co-writes on Motley’s classic 80’s era to counter that.

100% of the time, when an individual writes a song, there will be music, words and melodies written at the same time.

8 Years Ago (2014)

Arrows To Athens

I went in cold to listen to “Arrows To Athens”.

I had no idea what style of music they played, who was in the band, who produced em and which label if any released it.

After listening to the album I was a fan. It’s simple and effective modern rock. Catchy.

So I Googled the band and I came across the name of David Hodges. He walked away from Evanescence before “Fallen” exploded and become a songwriter for other artists in the world of modern/pop rock.

David’s problem is that he is too talented. He can easily write hit singles and all the songs here are infectious.

Do yourself a favour and check it out. It’s on Spotify and on YouTube.

Ashes Divide

I went in cold on this as well. The first thing that came to mind was “A Perfect Circle”. So I Googled it and of course it is Billy Howerdel’s project. And he sings on it. The album came out in 2008 and the first time I heard it was May, 2014.

“Keep Telling Myself It’s Alright” is the album name and there is no filler here. Check it out.

Angel Of Mercy

“Angel Of Mercy” from Black Label Society always gets me to pay attention.

The song appears on the album “Catacombs Of the Black Vatican” from Black Label Society.

And the lead break is pure magic. Just listen.

It builds and builds to the point where you cannot help but be in awe at the feel, the melodic phrasing and the disciplined technique on display.

The song was never a hit on the Billboard Charts and due to its mellow nature it might never get a live appearance, but god damn it, the song is a classic.

Ozzy probably didn’t know it, but in Zakk, he had a guitarist who could do Black Sabbath better than Black Sabbath, do the works of Randy Rhoads justice. (Of course, as a diehard RR fan, no one could do RR better than RR himself) and Zakk could play Jake E Lee better than Jake E Lee. Zakk once called his Ozzy gig the most glorified covers gig ever, where he gets to play some cool shit written by others and he also gets to play his own shit.

Lynch Mob

The follow-up self-titled Lynch Mob album had Keith Olsen producing. I suppose anything to do with George Lynch, includes a saga with a lead singer.

It’s 1992.

Dokken was four years dead. In between that time George Lynch and Mick Brown shacked up together with Lynch Mob and remained with Elektra Records. Jeff Pilson went to War and Peace and lead singer Don Dokken got wined and dined by Geffen Records and jumped ship.

The first post Dokken battle between had Lynch scoring some points with the excellent “Wicked Sensation” coming first. However, Don Dokken and John Kalodner were still building their all-star cast for “Up From The Ashes” and even though the album was an exemplary piece of melodic hard rock, it failed commercially. I suppose Don’s $1 million advance sign on fee didn’t help the budget. But it is still a favourite to me.

And the great momentum built up by the Mark 1 version of Lynch Mob was taken back a few steps with the ousting of vocalist Oni Logan. The story goes that Lynch had a problem with the way Logan sounded live. So after letting Logan go, the band had Glenn Hughes come in. He would sing the songs on the demos and then new singer Robert Mason would record em.

Fun fact for the day is that Glen Hughes did co-write a few tunes with Don Dokken for the “Up From The Ashes” album, with “When Love Finds A Fool” making it to the final cut.

But the album failed to match the sales of “Wicked Sensation” even though “Tangled In The Web” was a Top 10 hit.

Lynch Mob went on tour and Lynch was “not feeling it” with Mason and he wanted to get another singer. That singer was Ray Gillen, who at the time wasn’t interested because he had just completed “Voodoo Highway” with Badlands and was keen to push and promote that album.

If only Gillen knew the fall out that would happen between him and Jake a few months later. Glenn Hughes was considered, however he was discriminated against because of his age.

And then George Lynch returned to Dokken for the already written “Dysfunctional” album and even though as a hard core fan, I thoroughly enjoyed it, the truth of the matter is the band was spent. And we can speculate or argue why or just revel in the greatness of what came before.

The New Nursery Rhymes

The recording industry tells us that we need more Copyright for music to thrive and survive. But nursery rhymes survived all this time without the recording industry and copyright.

Say bye-bye to the old and say hello to the new. Here is a list of the new nursery rhymes that my two-year old loves.

“We’re Not Gonna Take It”

Back in the Eighties, the PMRC listed “We’re Not Gonna Take It” as number 7 on their filthy fifteen list. And the reason why it was on the list. Violence. Yep, Tipper Gore and her housewives found the song to be violent while millions upon millions of adolescent teens found it empowering.

“Cum On Feel The Noize”, “Rock and Roll”, “Rock N Roll All Nite”

Songs about letting your hair down.

“Livin On A Prayer” and “Don’t Stop Believin”

Two songs are about never giving up and believing in yourself. And those people are still believing with billion plus streams for these songs.

“Eye Of The Tiger”

The “Rocky III” producers wanted to use “Another One Bites The Dust” however they could not get permission to use the song, so Sylvester Stallone hired Survivor to write an original song instead.

“We Will Rock You”

The boom boom cha. It’s undeniable.

And these songs get passed on via word of mouth. It’s how culture rolls.

What I Am Over Reading ….?

Metallica’s New Album

Six years had passed since Death Magnetic was released.

Led Zeppelin Reissue’s

Seriously. How many times can someone own the original three albums or the songs contained within those albums.

Piracy

Seriously. Is this still an issue in 2014?

Streaming Doesn’t Pay

It does pay. If you are not getting any of the pie speak to the label or the organisation that holds your rights.

Sales

They are irrelevant. All they do is give the old guard a way to measure something that is irrelevant because the new way to measure an artist’s reach is just too hard to fathom for them.

Are people listening to the album?

Press Releases for new albums

People can see through the hype. We don’t care when bands say “how great this new album is” or “how it is a definitive statement of the band right now”. All we care about is if we like it. If we do like it, we will talk about and we will push it. If it is crap, expect it to disappear.

Because if publicity does increase sales, then bands should be selling by the millions and selling out their shows. But they don’t.

And that’s another wrap of DoH history for a week.

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Evergrey – A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament)

There is always a track or two or three on each album from Evergrey that becomes an instant favourite.

On this album at the moment, it is “Call Out The Dark”, “Midwinter Calls” and “Blindfolded”. On the previous album and depending on mood, it was either “In The Absence Of Sun” and “Eternal Nocturnal”.

The whole COVID era of 2020 and 2021 got a lot of artists off the road, back into society, connecting with family and friends and then into the studios. After the brutality of “The Atlantic” in 2019, “Escape Of The Phoenix” came out in February 2021, a live recording “Before The Aftermath” on 28 January 2022 and in May 2022, “A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament)”.

I have the Vinyl Die Hard edition and a separate Limited Edition box set on its way from Napalm Records in Germany, which I will unbox when they get here.

Their five album run (made up of 4 studio albums and one Live Album) on AFM Records came to an end. And what a run it was, with some of their best work like, “Hymns For The Broken” and “The Storm Within” included in that run.

The sound of the band is made up of the low tuned guitars of Henrik Danhage who uses Charvel Guitars and Tom Englund who is loyal to Caparison Guitars. But not all riffs come from the fingertips of these two. Drummer Jonas Ekdahl is a riff-meister himself and so is bassist Johan Niemann. Rounding out the band is keyboardist Rikard Zander.

The writing of “A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament)” continued after the release of “Escape of the Phoenix”. Englund has even referred to the new album as “Part II”. In the producers chair is, Englund and Ekdahl again. These two have been producing the last few albums, so why change it. Keep it all within the band.

Save Us

A chugging downtuned metal like riff opens the album. It’s heavy and the octaves give it a sense of melody.

The fans participated in the gang like vocals.

The idea came to Englund while he was on a walk. He uses his iPhone to sing his ideas and the voice memos capture sounds pretty good as the phones have decent compression algorithm.

So they put a call out for their fans to sing the words based on a video guide the band provided into their iPhones and submit it. They got 700 plus submissions and those voices became the gang choir you hear when they say “Hey, save us”.

Lyrically, its Englund’s observation of watching people around him who feel they are not good enough to exist in this world, because they are hostages to the social media sites and feel like they need to portray perfection.

Midwinter Calls

“Midwinter calls…”

There is a slight pause.

“Home..”

And then the Chorus riff kicks in.

It’s my favourite part of the song.

The double kick is in unison with the riff from the fingertips of drummer Jonas Ekdahl.

This song also has a gang like vocal chant, utilising more voices from the fans. While in “Save Us” it was actual words, here it is wo-ohs.

Ominous

There is this four note progression played by another four note progression that underpins the main riff. It’s almost djent math like and progressive but very accessible.

Keyboardist Rikard Zander decorates nicely here over the thunderous groove set up by drummer Ekdahl and bassist Johan Niemann.

The guitar solos howl like wolves in the night.

Actually the whole guitar solo sections are guitar hero moments. I’m pretty sure both Englund and Danhage take turns here.

Call Out the Dark

As soon as the musical box piano sound riff started I was hooked. Once the guitars thunder in and the keys turn symphonic, I was ready to break desks. My favourite song on the album. By far.

The solo came is fantastic.

It’s got this classic “Rainbow In The Dark”, Vivian Campbell style from his Dio days. Initially there was a lot of tapping and shredding from Danhage and after receiving feedback from a friend about what he was trying to say with his lead coming after Englund’s lead, he rewrote the first half and kept the crazy shred ending. Press play to hear two virtuosos having conversations musically.

And it ends the way it started, with the musical box piano riff.

The Orphean Testament

Englund’s take on Greek Mythology where Orpheus had a chance to save his loved one from hell, by just walking away and never looking back, but he turns back to look.

Englund takes this view and applies it to modern life, where our ego’s get in the way of making good decisions and how it’s hard to fit in to a world which has different ideals to your own.

The song starts with fast double kick drumming and fast 16th note picking before it moves into a Dimebag style groove riff. Englund has a unique way of singing his melodies and this is no different.

Reawakening

I read on other reviews that the writers saw this track as filler. And I was like WTF. Its melodic heavy rock influences still remain with me after its finished.

The intro is melodic rock, with the keyboards in the lead. The song then quietens down, Queensryche like for the verses, while it builds up in the pre-chorus for the big Chorus.

I’m broken but breathing
I’m still alive but did a lot of bleeding
I’m open to reasons to feel alive

The Great Unwashed

The intro is made up single notes playing in an ominous way. Then a groove like riff kicks in, made from the fingertips of drummer Jonas Ekdahl. While they are chugging along on that riff, Zander plays the ominous intro on the keys and Englund does his vocal melodies.

There is a section after the Chorus that reminds me of “A Change Of Season” from Dream Theater.

And the lead breaks are killer, over a section that reminds me of “The Aftermath” from “Hymns Of The Broken”.

We’ll always unite in the end
We’re stronger than most just pretend
We never mind the dark

We’re the great unwashed

Heartless

Instant connection with the keyboard lick over the thundering distorting chords. The verse riffs are major key, hopeful, but the lyrics are dark, with words like “I can’t find reasons to keep feeding this soul”.

So tired of feeling
I’m tired of feeling you
And all this time that I’ve lost
I’ve lost to you

Relationships take up a lot of time and when they are over, there is regret at the time lost.

There is a section just before the 3 minute mark, with piano chords and Englund’s haunting vocal melody. Then the lead break crashes in, and I am playing air guitar.

Blindfolded

It’s classic Evergrey.

Powerful and technical.

And there is another arena rock chorus. Press play to listen to the phrasing of “Dark nights / coming / we are lost in fragile moments / falsehood / soulless / we run through this blindfolded”.

And if all of that isn’t enough, queue in some killer lead breaks in which the guitars and the keys trade off each other.

Wildfires

Evergrey have always had songs like these, and Tom Englund explores these kind of sparse arrangements even further with the “Silent Skies” side project. The only difference here is that the acoustic guitars replace the keys.

If the sun fell down
And burnt us down to the ground
Would the wildfires remind me of

The album is excellent.

And there is also a trilogy of video clips, released in reverse chronological order, so you would need to watch the last video first to experience the cinematic journey.

Press play on it.

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