A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Record Vault: Coheed And Cambria – The Afterman: Ascension

It’s a double album, released in two stages. The first part is “The Afterman” Ascension” and the second part is “The Afterman: Descension”.

It is the first Coheed and Cambria album since 2005 “Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness” to feature Josh Eppard on drums, and the first to feature Zach Cooper on bass.

I purchased the deluxe version of the album.

The original advertisement

In summary, “The Afterman’s” story takes place at the start of the saga. It follows Sirius Amory, an astromner and his All Mother spaceship as they explore a powerful energy source known as the “Keywork” which is powered by the souls of the departed, imprisoned in some form of purgartorial afterlife.

The Fan VIP allowed me to enter the venue early to watch an acoustic performance before the show as long as I had purchased a concert ticket.

There is an AUTHORS NOTE in the book which states that “the world within the Keywork is the first stop of the two levels of the afterlife.

The first, where Sirius is at the moment, is actually more of a purgatory, though the souls are unaware that this is not necessarily their final resting place. Once the souls stop looking out only for themselves, shirking the “me, me, me” attitude that leads to regret, unfinished business and unrest, they can move to the collective consciousness, to the perfect Utopian afterlife.”

And as Sirius explores this energy source he starts to encounter the souls of these people and their stories are told in the “Key Entity Extraction” songs I to IV.

The Hollow

A piano riff kicks it off. You can hear the keys hit the strings.

It gives you a visual of how the souls come at Sirius.

Claudio Sanchez transposed the “The Ring In Return” melody into this. The piece is meant to express the anxiety Sirius is feeling before he heads out into the Keywork.

There is a narrative between Sirius and Mother who is the onboard AI of his spaceship, who promises to be with him all the way as he enters this mysterious energy sournce.

Key Entity Extraction I: Domino The Destitute

You can see how Domino is controlled by a puppet master.

The intro which reminds me Dream Theater’s “Learning To Live” outro and “Wasted Years” from Iron Maiden was enough to get me to lose my shit.

Domino is one of the first lost souls Sirius encounters.

It’s a personal song about the troubles that former bassist Michael Todd was involved in, after falling in with a bad crowd and the addictions he had.

But its told in the story of a boxer named Domino, who had it all to be a champion, but fell in with the wrong crowd, throwing fights and using drugs. One day he convinced his brother Chess to help him and his gangster friends with an armoured car robbery, which went horribly wrong and Chess got shot. Domino unable to go on, took a gun to his mouth and ended it.

The Afterman

In the book you get a drawing with the lyrics on the next page, plus a blurb from Claudio who talks about the origins of the song and the personal inspiration.

The digital delay riff is excellent. A beautiful and tragic song.

It takes place on Valencine, the home planet of Sirius and how his wife Mary reacts to seeing a breaking news report which states: “Controversial researcher Sirius Amory feared dead after unexplained explosion, ending privately funded endeavour to self-professed “Keywork”

Mothers Of Men

The intro riff gets me interested to pick up the guitar and learn it.

Sirius discovers that the Keywork doesn’t discriminate against positive or negative energy. It’s all energy in the end and valuable at that.

Goodnight, Fair Lady

Can there be a pop rock song about a serious subject matter like date rape?

In “Goodnight Fair Lady”, Sirius’s wife is at a bar and her drink gets spiked. She is saved by an Officer called Graves Colten. The Officer will eventually become her love interest.

Key Entity Extraction II: Holly Wood The Cracked

The second entity is a wannabe starlet, fixated on celebrity culture who would go to dangerous lengths to feel she was connected to celebrities.

All the songs on this album are from personal experiences, which have been made to fit the narrative as in this case, Claudio also had some fan stalkers during his time.

Key Entity Extraction III: Vic The Butcher

The albums most rocking song.

Vic was a tyrant Army General who did anything to get into power and did anything to stay in power. He is rage in the Keywork.

He asked a promising soldier called Sentry to kill innocents, but Sentry refused (you will get his story in the next Afterman review) and Vic ordered other soldiers to kill Sentry.

Eventually but at an older age, Vic was charged with war crimes and was due to stand trial for them, but he ended up burning the building he lived in, with both he and his wife inside and hundreds of others.

Key Entity Extraction IV: Evagria the Faithful

“Evagria The Faithful” is the opposite of “Vic The Butcher”.

The Yin to the Yang.

She rescues Sirius from Vic’s tight grip. She has shed her human consciousness and transcended into the Utopia. She operates on a part of the Keywork which is in perfect harmony and oneness. She keeps the other entities away from Sirius but she can only hold them off for so long.

Subtraction

This was supposed to be a Prize Fighter Inferno song (a Claudio Sanchez side project which also continues the story from a character in the earlier albums).

The song deals with the thoughts of Sirius and how with his relentless need to explore the uncharted territory, he is also driving his relationship with Mary to breaking point.

And the first part of the album ends with “The Afterman: Descension” next.

Standard
A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Albums That Influenced Jake E Lee

The great Martin Popoff released a book a while ago called “10 Albums That Changed My Life”.

Jake E Lee was one of the artists who gave Popoff his top 10.

The albums “Bark At The Moon” and “The Ultimate Sin” with Ozzy Osbourne introduced Jake E Lee to the masses, but its “Badlands” and “Voodoo Highway” which really showed what Jake E Lee is all about.

But that all ended by 1991.

Since Badlands, he became a recluse and did a few solo releases here and there and he sold some gear for extra cash. He eventually re-appeared with the “Red Dragon Cartel” which didn’t set my world on fire, but as a fan, it was great to have him back, recording and releasing music. And with every release he does I’m still interested to hear it.

So here are the 10 albums which changed Jake E Lee’s life?

Ozzy Osbourne – Bark At The Moon

His first album with Ozzy Osbourne, who told the world he wrote the album with one finger and a piano.

Lee said that this record changed his life. It was exciting to work with pro musicians like Bob Daisley and Tommy Aldridge and to write with Bob Daisley (but Ozzy is credited as the only songwriter on the album) and to record in a foreign country.

The song “Bark At The Moon” is almost at 72 million streams on Spotify. And who can forget that intro riff and the outro solo.

Scorpions – Virgin Killer

This is what Lee said about the album.

“I was in bands by this point. I was going through a lot of different bands.

I was in a funk band and we had a full horn section and I loved playing that stuff.

I was also in a fusion band, where we did a lot of Return To Forever and Mahavishnu Orchestra. It wasn’t a popular band, but it was a fun one to play in.

I was in a rock band and for me, at that point, Ted Nugent was huge but he was not really my cup of tea. He sort of simplified everything and it was making it less interesting and I was getting a little bit tired of rock.

So I think the only band I really enjoyed back then at that moment was Scorpions. Uli Jon Roth was a beast on guitar. But like I say, I was not 100% in rock. I was in other bands that interested me more.”

When “Bark At The Moon” came out, Lee came across as very accomplished and experienced, but when you look at the hours he put in with different styles and different bands, you get an idea of the work ethic in place to expand his mind outside of just rock music.

Led Zeppelin – III

Lee saved up his allowance to buy this album and it became his favourite Led Zeppelin album. This is what he had to say on it.

“I heard “Immigrant Song” on the radio and it was such a nasty riff and a spooky song and I was like, great, this album’s going to be bitchin’.

And I took it home and that’s the only song like it on the whole record. It pissed me off.

I tried to take the record back and they wanted to know why.

And I said, “Because I don’t like it”.

“You can’t bring a record back just because you don’t like it”. And I was stuck with it for the next month, until I could buy another new album. So it was the only new music I could listen to then.

And then it grew on me.

After a month, it was and still to this day is, my favourite Led Zeppelin record. And the reason I wanted to address that is, I kind of feel like our Red Dragon Cartel record “Patina” is like that, most of the songs on there aren’t immediately accessible.”

That’s how it was when you had to buy a physical album. Like it or not, you were stuck with it, so you listen to it a little bit more and you start to like it a little bit more. But from the mid 80’s, a lot of filler started coming onto records and it didn’t matter how many times you listened to the album, you just couldn’t like all of it.

And what are people’s views of “Patina”?

I listened to it once and filed it away. It’s time to get it out and give it a re-listen.

Deep Purple – Machine Head

Lee listened to “Machine Head” a lot as he liked Ritchie’s blues influence and how he made a Strat sound so big and powerful. At this stage, Lee was a Gibson guy.

But when he made his debut to the world with Ozzy he was a Strat guy.

Montrose – Montrose

Lee talks about Ronnie Montrose and how he should have been more applauded than he was, because he was a monster guitar play, with a great tone who could write solid songs.

Aerosmith – Rocks

The first record he got from Aerosmith was “Get Your Wings”. It made him a fan, but it was “Rocks” that became his favourite because of the looseness in the guitar playing of Joe Perry.

Van Halen – Van Halen

Lee basically said, when Van Halen came along, they changed his life.

When this record first came out, he quit the other bands he was in and just stayed within the rock bands. They did a lot of Van Halen covers and he started to write songs in this style.

He goes on to say “Eddie’s playing really turned everybody’s thoughts on how to play guitar upside down”.

Long live the King. RIP. EVH.

Jimi Hendrix Experience – Band Of Gypsies

Lee mentions how “Are You Experienced” is the reason he picked a guitar up, but “Band Of Gypsies” is the album he can’t get enough of.

Lee mentioned how Hendrix was so much harder to learn than the other guys like Page and Clapton, and I agree with him. The other guitar players stuck within normal shapes and patterns when it came to leads and playing, whereas Hendrix was different. Lee called him “John Coltrane on guitar”.

Iron Butterfly – In A Gadda Da Vida

This was Lee’s first rock record he purchased. Before that, he was exposed to James Bond soundtracks. He thought it was the heaviest thing he ever heard.

Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath

Lee thought Iron Butterfly was the heaviest thing he ever heard and then he heard the Black Sabbath debut. Nobody sounded like that according to Lee.

I posted another post previously when Jake E Lee mentioned his Top 5 guitar solos in a July 1989 Guitar World interview. And he more or less has stayed true to what his top 10 albums are.

The list is Jimi Hendrix and “Red House” from the “Hendrix In The West” album released in 1971.

“Crossroads” from Cream’s “Wheels Of Fire” featuring Eric Clapton.

“Since I’ve Been Loving You” from Led Zeppelin “III” featuring Jimmy Page which shouldn’t be a surprise.

“Mean Town Blues” from Johnny Winter and “Stratus” from a Spectrum album featuring Tommy Bolin.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Released in 2010.

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

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

“One”

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

“The Broken”

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

“Guns of Summer”

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

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

“Here We Are Juggernaut”

Dark and heavy and progressive metal like.

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

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

“Far”

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

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

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

“This Shattered Symphony”

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

“World of Lines”

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

“Made Out of Nothing (All That I Am)”

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

“Pearl of the Stars”

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

“In the Flame of Error”

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

“When Skeletons Live”

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

“The Black Rainbow”

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

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

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

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

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

The Number Of The Beast

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And how good is that middle solo section?

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

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

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

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

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

Australian Method Series – Birds Of Tokyo

I’m keeping within the realms of Karnivool and “Birds Of Tokyo” is a byproduct or maybe main product these days which features Karnivool vocalist Ian Kenny.

“Human Design” is the sixth studio album. It was released on 24 April 2020 and debuted at number 1 on the ARIA Charts.

The lyrics reflect on the breakdown of singer Ian Kenny’s marriage in 2017. Kenny stated in interviews he started writing to keep himself sane, and that he probably could have said things better in the lyrics, but he kept the honesty as is.

The bitter split also led to some changes for him as well. He was living in Melbourne at the time and he returned home to Perth. He shut down from people and went into healing mode. Alcohol is always a welcome friend in times like these.

Songs started appearing as single releases a few years before. “Unbreakable” came out in September, 2018. “Good Lord” came out in February, 2019. “The Greatest Mistakes” came out in August, 2019. “Two Of Us” came out in January, 2020.

The album had momentum. And sonically it was a bit different, more acoustic rock than alternative rock.

“The Greatest Mistake”

It’s also about the marriage breakdown, but with some perspective after the event, such as “It was 13 months ago / When I went through hell alone”, whereas “Good Lord” is raw and more in the moment.

“I’m done wasting all my time on perfection / All my failures are the reason I am who I am”

Relationships are a compromise, but how much does a person need to compromise before they fail to recognise who they are.

“Two Of Us”

A single note moving guitar riff plays over the chords of a piano. The vocal melody from Kenny hooks you straight away.

The massive Gospel like backing vocals in the Chorus gives the song a healing feeling.

After going through a lot of searching, Kenny moved on. He eventually found a new partner and they have a son. “Two Of Us”, “When Home Calls” and “My Darling My Son” capture these positive moments in his life.

“The two of us / we got it all / Don’t need no designer distractions
Cause in the end / I found a friend / My one and my only obsession”

Be who you are people. If you like your music loud, listen to it loud. If you like to dress simple, dress simple. If you like to hang at coffee shops, do it. Others like you, will find you, eventually.

“Good Lord”

It’s the massive break up song. Certified 2x platinum in Australia. It struck a chord with people, at the honesty and openness in the lyrics, something Kenny rarely did as a lyricist.

The video clip is unsettling. Kenny starts off the video looking normal but as it progresses, his fave starts to get bloodier and bloodier.

As Kenny has said in every interview I’ve read, he’s not the first person to go through a marriage breakdown nor will he be the last. But he never saw it coming, thinking that everything was okay. And then one day, he saw his wife with someone else.

“Drinking in Fitzroy pubs till two / Singing those Fleetwood songs with you / But it all changed when I saw you with someone else”

If you’ve been to Fitzroy, you would know Brunswick St, Fitzroy St, Gore St and George St. If there isn’t a pub on the street, there will be a cafe or a restaurant or a night club to hang and socialize in.

“I fell so hard to my knees / My eyes said no this can’t be / Who was that guy, he ain’t me / Good lord, good lord, good lord”

Falling in and out of love is common. I don’t know why people can’t get with someone after they break up.

Why cheat on your current partner?

Break up, then go and do your thing.

“Designed”

This one is raw.

Kenny writes about how his self-confidence was destroyed.

“Borrowed lines from other guys / To make me sound good / Terrified to be myself / When I know that I should

We can’t help it. We always try to fit in and be liked. Hell, social media thrives on likes. And sometimes by “trying to be someone else”, we end up attracting the wrong people into our lives.

“I wish you could have loved me the way that I’m designed / I wish you could have seen how hard I had to try / To be somebody else in somebody else’s eyes”

I know a lot of people who said these things when relationships break down. I even said em to my wife when things weren’t going to good. And they got repeated back to me as well.

It’s important that we keep those special unique things about people in tact, instead of trying to make em fit some mold.

“When Home Calls”

From all the disaster of a break up there is always a new path waiting to be travelled.

“It’s 10.35 I’m on the last flight out of Sydney / Three thousand miles a little more wine and then you / I’m on a plane with two hundred souls / I can’t help but feel I’m alone

I’ve caught late planes before, and it’s bizarre. Some people are just too gassed from the day to be alive and others are too buzzed, looking forward to their destination.

“I stare at my phone at pictures of you and our new born / I wonder if he knows that I missed his birthday this year / This trip away’s been the hardest by far

Being on the road when you have a family is hard. A lot of people turn to addictions to cope with it. And you miss a lot of life, a lot of growing and you miss creating those memories with em.

And our phones are painful reminders sometimes of the things we miss. I have 13 years worth of photos available to me via my iPhone.

“Photo By The Lake”

“When you leave you have to take / That photo by the lake / In that place we were the best we’d ever been

When relationships end, there are too many memories. Suddenly your favourite artist reminds you of them, or your favourite book.

And photos, man, they hold the most memories. These days, each photo is just a delete button away but when photos are printed, it’s an albums worth of destruction.

“Addison”

It starts off with this acoustic/banjo lick over an C to F chord progression.

“I felt a shift in the sand / As you pulled away from my hand”

Later on in the song, Kenny sings about holding on to her hand as long as he could, but she pulled away, breaking the connection.

“How could you leave me here my friend / Somewhere between alive and dead / I thought we’d make it to the end / Don’t leave me Addison”

Its weird how it’s all worked out. Kenny used music to cope with the separation, but after the success of this album and the songs as singles, he needs to relive the separation each night when he performs the songs live on stage.

And to finish off the posts on Ian Kenny, Karnivool (which is the reason why I am a fan of Birds Of Tokyo in the first place) are working on Album Number 4, due around May/June this year.

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

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

Released in 2007.

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

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

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

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

“The Reaping”

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

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

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

Accept the change, or there will be no world.

After 80 seconds the song ends.

“No World For Tomorrow”

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

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

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

“The Hound (of Blood and Rank)”

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

“Feathers”

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

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

“The Running Free”

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

“Mother Superior”

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

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

“Gravemakers and Gunslingers”

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

“Justice in Murder”

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

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

“The Fall of House Atlantic”

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

“Radio Bye Bye”

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

“The End Complete”

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

“The Road and the Damned”

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

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

“On The Brink”

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

And then it gets heavy.

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

Check it out.

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

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

Onto “The Year Of The Black Rainbow” next.

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

On Through The Night

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check it out.

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

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – March 8 to March 14

4 Years Ago (2017)

I was writing about 1983.

“Frontiers” from Journey is the response from a band at the top of the charts as the “Don’t Stop Believin” and Jonathan Cain era was in full swing.

“Separate Ways” is the piece d resistance. How good is the opening keyboard lick?

“Faithfully” inspired “Purple Rain”. In This Moment also use this song as an influence for the outro of their song “World In Flames”.

“Troubled Child” is one of those underrated gems on an album.

“Bent Out Of Shape” from Rainbow is how far MTV changed the way bands wrote albums. Suddenly experimentation, longer guitar solos or longer songs in general went out the window. Every band was trying to make that arena rock song.

But the single here should have been “Stranded” instead of “Street of Dreams”.

“Flick Of The Switch” from AC/DC is a solid album.

The producer of their holy trinity albums, Mutt Lange was also out. Their manager Peter Mensch was also out. Angus and Malcolm stepped up to give the world a live and raw version of AC/DC.

There is a lot of groove and swagger. The slower tempo’s make it sound HEAVY. But the songs don’t get played live, and the album remains largely forgotten to the masses.

“Never Surrender” from Truimph showed a band that could write ambitious and melodic tracks along with metal and rock tracks as well.

Yngwie Malmsteen was involved with Alcatrazz and “No Parole from Rock N’ Roll” with Graham Bonnet on vocals and “Steeler” with Ron Keel on vocals.

8 Years Ago (2013)

I listened to Bon Jovi’s new album “What About Now” and had a rant over it. And then I heard “That’s What the Water Made Me”.

Cause devils in heaven
There’s angels in hell

We live in a world of fakes, a world of avatars and the lines between good and evil are blurred these days.  

1994 (27 Years Ago)

“Superunknown” from Soundgarden and “The Downward Spiral” from Nine Inch Nails are released.

1987 (34 Years Ago)

U2 started their world domination era with the release of their fifth studio album, “The Joshua Tree”.

1986 (35 Years Ago)

Rick Rubin got Steven Tyler and Joe Perry to record parts of “Walk This Way” so that he and Run DMC could transform it into a hip-hop jam.

Both acts weren’t enthusiastic about the collaboration but money talks and the track resurrected Aerosmith’s career and pushed Run DMC’s name to a whole new audience as well.

1984 (37 Years Ago)

Ian Gillan’s days in Black Sabbath came to an end, just as Mark II of Deep Purple reformed.

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

Australian Method Series – Karnivool

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Illumine” is a metal cut.

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

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

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

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

Check em out.

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

As Daylight Dies

From Killswitch Engage, released in 2006.

It hasn’t stopped selling.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Standard