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

Australian Method Series: You Am I – Hi Fi Way

“Hi Fi Way” is the second album by Australian rock band You Am I, released in 1995.

Wikipedia tells me that “Hi Fi Way” reached #1 on the local albums chart and is one of the most influential and critically acclaimed Australian albums of the 1990s.

I remember this album being released and I also remember not being too enthralled by the singles at the time.

Coming off a decade plus diet of 80s hard rock, I was a bit destroyed when the labels started abandoning the genre in favour of grunge acts. So I went into a deep dive into the 70s. And that deep 70s dive became the reason why I ignored You Am I.

Main songwriter Tim Rogers later said that he was really high and drunk the whole time. And he wanted the album to sound huge but with the way that he sings and plays guitar it ended up sounding scrappier than he intended.

They had had seven days to make it, while living in New York.

The band is Tim Rogers on Vocals, Guitar, Mellotron, Hammond organ, Andy Kent on Bass and Rusty Hopkinson on Drums.

Lee Ranaldo from Sonic Youth is Producing. Stylistically it’s like punk and grunge.

Ain’t Gone And Open

It’s like a garage jam.

Minor Byrd

It’s a skip for me.

She Digs Her

Remember the lyrical theme from “Same Ol Situation” from the Crue.

A guy falls for a girl who is into girls and the guy is still thinking that’s okay, maybe he’ll get a threesome out of this.

Well, if you listen to the song; that also didn’t happen.

Cathy’s Clown

It’s almost like The Easybeats meets Radiohead meets The Who.

Jewels and Bullets

It’s a punk pop song and I like it.

There’s a drink you can drown in
Choose a blanket to die in

When you’re out on the streets only a few things matter.

Purple Sneakers

Folk Rock.

Found out what shame can mean
In purple sneakers and grey jeans

Yep to some people this look wouldn’t cut it and they’ll do their best to let the person know.

Pizza Guy

Grunge like.

Grab a six pack for the way home

Who doesn’t?

It’s a rite of passage. Well it used to be.

The Applecross Wing Commander

It’s got this Blue Oyster Cult and Free 70s vibe.

And although I have no idea what the song is about, the groove and attitude of the song grabs me.

Stray

I like the Soul Bluesy Intro on this.

The Vines would build a career playing songs like this.

Handwasher

It’s got this Hunters And Collectors vibe.

Wash my hands in shame
4000 times a day
And when I make it on home
There’s a smell that always stays

Sometimes the stain never comes out. When I used to be a fitter and machinist the grease was in the skin.

Punkarella

It’s high energy.

Coffee teeth and a cigarette heart for sale

Great lyrics.

Ken (The Mother Nature’s Son)

You’ve lived on beans and rice
And fell for Jesus Christ

Everyone is looking for some place to belong.

Gray

It’s a skip.

How Much Is Enough

It’s melancholic. My favorite song.

In the morning
When you’ve wiped his taste away
The last of the red and all the records you played
How much is enough?

Sometimes it’s enough for a few hours and then the night repeats.

There’s a review at Sputnik Music which summarizes the album as “The backyard gig, captured on CD”.

And I agree.

The album is mentioned by members of Jet and Wolfmother as an influence. And for a little while it looked like You Am I was going to break into the US, but that that never came.

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2001 – Part 4.6: Within Temptation – Mother Earth

Within Temptation is a Metal band from Holland.

Their style of Metal has symphonic influences.

It was “The Heart Of Everything” album released in 2007 that made me a fan especially the song “What Have You Done”. And I wanted to hear more.

“Mother Earth” is the second studio album released on 24 December 2000 in the Netherlands, and 21 August 2001 in other parts of Europe.

It was a sleeper hit in Holland, reaching the number 3 spot, two years after it’s release and in the backs of the second single “Ice Queen”.

Wikipedia tells me how the band was enthralled by a movie at that time called “Braveheart” and the Celtic influences are very evident.

The band is Sharon den Adel on vocals, Robert Westerholt on rhythm guitar and vocals on “Mother Earth” and spoken words on “The Promise”. Michiel Papenhove is on lead guitar, Jeroen van Veen on bass, Martijn Westerholt on keyboards and Ivar de Graaf on drums.

Mother Earth

It’s soundtrack music. Medieval like “Braveheart”.

Ice Queen

It’s a hard rock song, with the symphonic elements. Vocally Sharon den Adel is very Kate Bush like and early Pat Benatar.

Our Farewell

It’s a piano piece. Evanescence would become famous on their “My Immortal” ballad, but Within Temptation was doing it earlier.

Caged

The start reminds me of “The Last Samurai”.

The Promise

When the distorted guitar riff kicks in with the Symphony, I am reminded of S&M from Metallica.

Never-ending Story

A piano riff that keeps reminding me of movies.

Deceiver of Fools

The symphonic choir starts it off. When the vocals come in, they are operatic.

But Press play on this to hear how the guitars kick in at the 2 minute mark. Powerful and emotive.

Intro

It’s like a horror/thriller soundtrack.

Dark Wings

This song is excellent. A mixture of progressive Metal with the symphonic

Arjen Lucassen from Ayreon plays the guitar solo.

But press play to hear Sharon den Adel do these exotic like ohs and ahs vocals between 1.50 and 2.20.

In Perfect Harmony

The song is in a Major key so it has that happy vibe to end the album. You know those end scenes in movies when the goodies have won and the end credits roll.

By the end of it, I felt like I was at the movies. The music is cinematic and grand.

And the rise was starting. Austria, Belgium, Holland, German, Norway and Switzerland were on board. This is how artists did it. A few places at a time.

In relation to certifications, the album was certified Platinum in Holland and Gold in Belgium and Germany.

Check em out.

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

The Record Vault: Deep Purple – Machine Head

“Machine Head” is the sixth studio album released on 25 March 1972 on Purple Records.

The success of this album didn’t just happen. The band had been touring and recording in between live shows since 1969. Any new song they wrote would get debuted live before it was recorded.

But the band felt that these earlier studio albums did not sound as good as their live performances, and wanted to record in a stage environment.

As legend would have it, Deep Purple planned to record the “Machine Head” album at Montreux Casino in Switzerland during December 1971. But some “stupid with a flare gun burned the whole place to the ground”.

Deep Purple relocated to another hotel called “The Pavilion” however the neighbors kept calling the police over the noise and Deep Purple got evicted. The basic tracks to “Smoke On The Water” were recorded here.

They searched for other recording locations and settled with the empty Grand Hotel, on the edge of Montreux.

The band for the album is the classic line up of Ritchie Blackmore on guitar, Ian Gillan on vocals, Roger Glover on bass, Jon Lord on keyboards, Hammond organ and Ian Paice on drums.

The album is listed as being produced by Deep Purple with Martin Birch doing the engineering and the mixing with Deep Purple.

Highway Star

It’s a speed Metal song before it became a thing.

Written on the bus while touring. Management arranged for the band to travel to the gig with a group of music journalists who could interview the band at their leisure.

One of them asked Blackmore how he wrote songs and the opening riff was the result. The rest of the band completed the arrangement during rehearsals and it was added to the show on the evening of the gig.

Blackmore based his guitar solo around a figure that he learned from rockabilly artists Johnny Burnette who was active between 1952 and 1964 when he drowned.

Maybe I”m A Leo

I like the blues rock riff on this which Glover wrote the song’s main riff after listening to John Lennon’s “How Do You Sleep?” Hell it could have been based on “Come Together” which was based on a Chuck Berry song.

It had a working title of “One Just Before Midnight”, which appears in a picture of a recording sheet on the album sleeve.

Pictures of Home

Montreux had become their home away from home and this song covers that period.

A fast drum solo Intro starts it off before the band crashes in. The major key pentatonic soloing reminds me of Thin Lizzy before Thin Lizzy became famous.

Never Before

I love the blues when it’s done right. And on this track Deep Purple nail it.

This style of blues rock would form the foundation of the Rainbow sound.

Smoke On The Water

The opening riff and the whole build up with the drums and then bass.

That’s why you press play on this.

Lazy

It was played live in 1971. Glover said the song was roughly based on an Oscar Brown song, “Sleepy”, while Blackmore stated it was inspired by Eric Clapton’s “Stepping Out”.

Either way, it’s how music is created.

Take our influences and create something new.

The song was designed for the live show with each instrument having a break to showcase the talents of the player. Even Ian Gillan got a harmonica spot.

Space Truckin’

“So come on”.

And the rest is history. Nonsense lyrics or not it’s a classic Deep Purple jam.

When A Blind Man Cries

No one called these kind of songs ballads back in the day. It was just a slower rock song.

Listen to the little leads and the lead break itself. So much emotion. Blackmore doesn’t get enough credit for being a great blues player.

In Australia it went to number 1, along with other countries like Denmark, France, West Germany as it was known back then, the UK and Holland.

Certifications will be viewed in the future as a small memory of the music business, the way the piano player is forgotten and vaudeville productions. Once upon a time they ruled. What happened to em?

But when people talk about this album, they talk about it’s 2x Platinum certification in the US and it’s Gold certifications in France, Italy, Japan and the UK.

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The Record Vault: Dare – Out Of The Silence

Dare was formed in 1985 by keyboard player Darren Wharton after Phil Lynott dissolved Thin Lizzy.

By 1987, they got a record deal with A&M and “Out Of The Silence” was released in 1988.

The line-up for this album consisted of Darren Wharton (vocals/keyboards), Vinny Burns (guitars), Martin ‘Shelley’ Shelton (bass), James Ross (drums), and Brian Cox (keyboards) better know these days as Brian Cox, the physicist and TV star!

Abandon

A keyboard riff that reminds me of soundtracks starts it off and then the guitars kick in. It’s a great piece of AOR rock.

Into The Fire

Press play to hear the verses on this which are better than the Chorus.

Nothing Is Stronger Than Love

It’s hard to describe this song. It’s heavy on the keyboards but it has some cool guitar bits.

Jonathan Waite comes to mind when I think of the keyboard riffs and Boston comes to mind when I think of the cool guitar bits.

Runaway

A great melodic rock song which reminds me of Rick Springfield.

Under The Sun

My favorite song on the album.

As soon as the keyboard arpeggio riff and vocal melody started I was thinking of Marillion. And then I was thinking of Pink Floyd.

The Raindance

Another great song which reminds me of the Celtic influenced work that Gary Moore did on his last few hard rock albums of the 80’s.

King Of Spades

This song wouldn’t be out of place on the “Days Of Thunder” soundtrack. Stick around for the harmony guitars.

It’s also a tribute to Phil Lynott, who had died two years before the album was released.

Heartbreaker

This song is a hit.

And it should have been.

But their label was shit. Terrible at promoting and marketing hard rock acts even though they had some good ones.

Return The Heart

It’s a skip.

Don’t Let Go

An early ASIA like track which also wouldn’t be out of place in the “Cocktail” movie.

In the end the sound is dominated by the double keyboards but there is enough guitar to make it rocked

The follow up album “Blood From Stone” was more hard rock but the label advertised it as “Hair Metal’. Another shit decision by A&M. And when it didn’t sell, they dropped the band.

But Dare survived and is still in the game, touring and releasing new music.

Check em out.

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2001 – Part 4.4: Staind – Break The Cycle

Aaron Lewis has been in the news recently. He is touring in the U.S for his “Frayed At Both Ends” Country album, getting criticized for playing the same song at a gig twice and a few months ago he released a song called “Am I The Only One” in which he expressed his political views and questioned the patriotism of Bruce Springsteen.

Music industry blogger Bob Lefsetz didn’t like it and Lefsetz called out Lewis and his label boss Scott Borchetta. However Borchetta in an open letter back to Lefsetz, said that even though Lewis and Borchetta have opposing political views, Borchetta is not going to cancel or drop Aaron Lewis.

Moving away from “Politics 2021”, back in the early 2000’s, Lewis was busy writing and recording “Break the Cycle”, the third studio album by Staind. Released through Elektra and Flip Records in 2001, it is Staind’s most successful album to date, and it was the album that broke them into the mainstream.

Supported by Fred Durst who signed them to his Flip Records label originally, they had the fortunate or maybe unfortunate tag as Durst prodigies. The debut album, “Tormented” was ignored by the press, but Elektra wanted a piece of the action and “Dysfunction” is the result of major label support.

Then came “Break The Cycle”.

At 28 years of age, Aaron Lewis had lived and experienced enough sadness and happiness to put his life and thoughts into his lyrics.

A total of 5 singles were released from this album, “It’s Been Awhile”, “Fade”, “Outside”, “For You” and “Epiphany”, all of which did reasonably well.

On a side note, the album did cost $800K to make and Elektra along with Flip Records, just weren’t sure they would even get close to recouping.

But in its first three weeks, it sold over a million copies in the U.S. Currently it is certified 5x Platinum for U.S sales. In Canada and New Zealand it was certified 2x Platinum and in the U.K it was certified Platinum. In Australia and Sweden it was certified Gold.

And the label is still saying that Staind owe em money.

The band for the album is Aaron Lewis on Lead vocals and Rhythm guitar, Mike Mushok is on Lead Guitar, Johnny April is on Bass and Jon Wysocki on Drums.

Open Your Eyes

It’s like a Jekyll and Hyde. The lush strummed lightly dirty electric guitar which is the verse riff and part of the intro is calm and beautiful.

The riff that kicks in with the natural harmonics and downtuned riffing is aggressive and ugly. Sonically they just don’t go but the jarring difference works this time around.

Pressure

Written by Staind and producer Josh Abraham.

It has metal like riffs and a verse that is very Grunge like.

Fade

One of their best songs.

The bass groove is great and the way the guitar decorates the spaces shows the skills of Mike Mushok.

And of course, Aaron Lewis is more than capable of crafting and carrying a vocal melody.

It’s Been Awhile

I suppose this was the song that got a lot of people to check out Staind and at 194.497 million streams on Spotify it’s remained in the conversation and the various playlists.

Change

A huge metal like riff starts it off before the clean tone verses kick in.

The Pre-Chorus or is it the Chorus, feels like it could come from a Bush song.

Can’t Believe

Not a favourite. It sounds like the vocals are screamed through a loudspeaker and it does nothing for me.

Epiphany

An Aaron Lewis cut, as the acoustic guitar is prominent with a haunting vocal melody.

Suffer

It’s a hard rock riff however the down tuning and phrasing makes it sound like it isn’t.

Warm Safe Place

It’s just down-tuned too much, that the riff sounds like a muddled mess.

For You

My favourite track on the album.

That opening riff is good enough to challenge some of the best metal riffs from the 80’s.

Outside

Lewis again brings his acoustic guitar and melodies to the table.

The song has 95.057 million streams on Spotify.

Waste

A simple drum groove starts it off, almost jazz blues like. A clean tone guitar plays the riff and Lewis delivers his emotive vocal melody.

In the Chorus, the distorted guitar dynamic kicks in before it moves back to the subdued clean tone verses.

Take It

Another killer riff to start it off.

If there is a problem with the album, it’s the down tuning. On some songs it is excessive, to the point that it sounds muddled. But when they get it right, the songs elevate themselves and the slower acoustic pieces add a lot of variety.

Regardless of political alliances, Aaron Lewis does have a great voice. There are YouTube videos in which he covers “Black” by Pearl Jam and “Turn the Page” by Bob Seger live.

Lyrically, he’s copped a lot of flak for his lyrics to the point that people have called em depressive, but then again, no one said that life is all sunshine, happiness and smiling selfies in exotic locations.

Press play on this and start with “For You”.

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Copyright, Music, My Stories

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – November 14 to November 20

4 Years Ago (2017)

SYSTEMS

Everything we do today is controlled, stored and read by a machine.

Yes they’re making lists of people interested in this
And anyone who speaks their mind is labelled anarchist

“Are You Interested?” By Cog

There is no doubt that technology rules our lives.

For how long our data will be stored will never be known. What security our data has and who controls it, will never be known.

Up here in space
I’m looking down on you
My lasers trace
Everything you do
You think you’ve private lives
Think nothing of the kind
There is no true escape
I’m watching all the time

“Electric Eye” by Judas Priest

My Spotify.me algorithm tells me I must be a traveller.

Did it make that assertion based on the length of my playlists or is it taking into account my location/s when I’m listening to music.

My “Maps” app on the iPhone tells me if there is a traffic incident every Monday to Friday on my route to work. It tells me before I even leave home.

Should I care that an AI knows what time I leave home for work and what time I get to work.

At the end of the day I know,
That we work all our lives to pay for a cage they own
It ain’t no coincidence that the whole world is caught in an endless debt

“Problem Reaction Solution” by Cog

COPYRIGHT

It’s a mess.

Politicians introduce and pass Copyright bills and then refuse to pay the appropriate fees to use music in their ads.

And the Copyright industries, if they can’t get the politicians to pass new laws, they go to courts instead.

In the U.K, Copyright complaints take up most of the High Court’s time. The world is dealing with all forms of crime, but intellectual property crimes are more important.

1986/87

When you look back to the 1986/87 period, the artists who had their biggest hits and sales during that period, never replicated those numbers again.

Bon Jovi never topped “Slippery When Wet”. Europe never topped “The Final Countdown”. White Lion never topped “Pride”. Whitesnake never topped their “self-titled” album. Guns N Roses never topped “Appetite For Destruction”. INXS never topped “Kick”. Joe Satriani never topped “Surfing With The Alien”. Def Leppard never topped “Hysteria”. U2 never topped “The Joshua Tree”. Stryper never topped “To Hell With The Devil”.

RELEASE DAY FRIDAY

It was a good Release Day Friday playlist which included “This Is War” by Audrey Horne, “Beyond The Pale” by Machine Head, “Walk On Water” (Acoustic) by Thirty Seconds to Mars, “Miracle” by Story of the Year and “American Soul” by U2

You are rock and roll
You and I are rock and roll
You are rock and roll
I came here looking for American soul

NOV 9, 1985

The following albums came out;

  • Y&T – Down For The Count
  • Dokken – Under Lock and Key
  • Twisted Sister – Come Out And Play
  • W.A.S.P – The Last Command

In Australia, we had to wait. A geographical windowed release is the business name for it. And one of the main drivers of piracy was windowed releases. Fans of music in other parts of the world, wanted access to new music on the same day, U.S fans had access to it.

Check out my track by track breakdown.

8 Years Ago (2013)

HEAVY METAL

It doesn’t matter how many times the labels tried to kill it, mainstream it or commercialize it,

Heavy Metal has remained consistent from when it began. Whenever pop music becomes pretentious, heavy metal would rise up as an alternative answer.

Heavy Metal is the answer to all things corrupt. It is the soundtrack.

THE SLOW METAL HIT

The fan has the power as the fan could pick and choose what track they could listen too.

Alter Bridge released “One Day Remains” in 2004. “Open Your Eyes”, “Find the Real” and “Broken Wings” followed as promotional singles.

However it was the metal heavy “Metalingus” that the fans selected as the hits. On Spotify, “Metalingus” has 79 million streams and “In Loving Memory” has 25.37 million streams.

Metal and rock songs are always late bloomers. There is no formula as to why certain songs resonate more than others with fans.

In the end all artists need to do is create great music. The fans will latch onto it eventually.

PROTEST THE HERO

Every band wanted to be like Bon Jovi in 1987 and by 1988 every band wanted to be like Guns N Roses and by 1989 every band wanted to be sober like Motley Crue and by 1991 every band wanted to be Metallica and by 1992 every band started to incorporate grunge influences.

I started thinking about the above, after listening to the song “Underbite” from Protest The Hero and watching the hilarious puppet clip.

The song “Underbite” has lyrics like “An understanding between you and I that the ground that you stand on is somehow less than mine” and “Now you comprehend our complex relationship—consumer/consumed, You’re just some stupid kid and I’m a megalomaniac.”

The part in the film clip where the fan goes to purchase the merchandise is so spot on. I could relate as it happens to me all the time.

First, the merchandise stand rarely has the size that I want.

Then the prices are ridiculous. So as the clip shows, you end up forking out a decent amount of cash for a band t-shirt that doesn’t fit or is too large.

“Let’s not repackage the same old performance, Original content is so much more rewarding.”

I don’t agree with the viewpoints put out by some artists, that there is no need to create new music.

Listen to the song. There are some hard truths in there and Protest The Hero try to cover them all.

VOLITION

After the success of their debut album “Kezia” back in 2005, Protest The Hero was expected to go into a more commercially viable and poppy influence.

So what did the band do?

They released “Fortress” in 2008, which was less poppy and more technical. As lead singer Rody Walker put it, “a natural progression into further obscurity.”

My favourite song on the “Volition” album is “Mist.”

The song is basically talking about Newfoundland and Rody Walker’s love for it.

And “Skies” is what progressive music should be.

As an artist you have the power to make your own choices. Make them and live by them. Protest The Hero have. They are a special band. Support them.

And that’s another wrap for another week.

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

Australian Method Series: Eskimo Joe – Black Fingernails, Red Wine

Eskimo Joe are an Australian alternative rock band that was formed in 1997 by Stuart MacLeod, on lead guitar, Joel Quartermain, on drums and guitar, and Kavyen Temperley, on bass guitar and vocals.

Their road to fame started with a University Battle of The Bands contest. They won their local campus event, won the State event and then won the National event.

Released in 2006, this album is Number three and it’s noted for having the sound of the early 1980s Australian rock movement.

From the bands point of view they wanted to make a record as if they were stadium rock band. In other words if they were like INXS, what kind of record would they make.

The band recorded “Black Fingernails, Red Wine” on the central coast of NSW’s The Grove Studios. The Grove Studios were originally known as Mangrove Studio and were formerly owned by INXS bass player Garry Gary Beers.

In Australia it was certified 4× Platinum. It went to number one and spent 62 weeks on the ARIA Charts.

I never really appreciated this album when it came out. I was heavily into Progressive Metal, Nu-Metal and Metalcore bands at the time and I was devouring bands from those genres. I heard the singles and I liked em, but didn’t invest time.

A decade later, I finally did.

Comfort You

A great pop song with a piano line that reminds me of “Speed Of Sound” from Coldplay.

As soon as the drums and the fuzzed out guitar kick in, I was hooked. It’s almost new wave, but hard rock as well.

Lyrically there’s not much to it with a simple repeating line of “I will come, come to comfort you”.

But that’s all that is needed as the music and the groove is intoxicating.

If you’re not tapping your foot and nodding your head by the end of it, check for a pulse.

New York

This song is excellent.

It’s constructed with all the right atmospherics and ambient noises, plus an emotive piano melody and Temperley’s glimmering voice powers the melody.

Hey, hey, I know it wasn’t New York
Where I lost my mind.

The opening lines. A habit will always follow you regardless of which city you wake up in.

Black Fingernails, Red Wine

This song is huge. And the hook.

Black fingernails, red wine
I wanna make you, all mine

It reminds me of Icehouse, Eurythmics and INXS.

The Chorus is arena rock.

Breaking Up

An acoustic guitar and an addictive vocal melody.

And how descriptive is “A mouthful of glass / That cuts up your words”.

Setting Sun

The song was called “Forever Young”.

U2 comes to mind but press play on this track to hear the bass playing.

If your scared about the future,
I’m scared about the past

While you’re at it, check out the guitar melody which starts at 2.32.

London Bombs

Coldplay comes to mind. And I like it.

Sarah

Killers comes to mind with a bit of Rick Springfield.

This Is Pressure

An acoustic strummed passage starts the song.

There is no romance in suffocation

Truth right there.

Beating Like A Drum

If you like INXS, you will like this song. it’s not that it sounds like the band, it just has this spirit and attitude of Michael Hutchence.

I had a lot to drink last night
Now I’m feeling old
Is there anything that I can buy
That I have not sold

I’ve grown up with a father who likes to drink a lot and an older brother who likes to drink more. And all they think about is the next drink. Lucky for me they didn’t sell stuff to feed their habit.

Reprise

It’s a short instrumental, cinematic like piece.

Press play on it to hear the emotive piano melody.

Suicide Girl

Oasis and Radiohead comes to mind.

My social suicide girl
Poison in the wall
Razors in the apple core

These lyrics are hard rock. Nikki Sixx and Rachel Bolan would be proud.

How Does It Feel

A piano riff and a Muse/Coldplay feel.

You’re gonna lose everything / How does it feel

Not the best when it happens but as time goes on, a lot better.

There isn’t a song on this album that I will skip. It’s perfect from start to finish. So if you want to experience Australian Pop Rock, press play on this.

And the band is still active releasing new music and touring. But those reviews will be in other Australian posts.

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2001 – Part 4.2: Sevendust – Animosity

“Animosity” is album number 3 and it was released on November 13, 2001. Four months later it was certified gold by the RIAA.

This is their best album, a mixture of their Nu-Metal grooves with a lot of melody and head banging riffs.

Just think Rage Against The Machine riffs merging with Metallica riffs and melodies and Faith No More riffs and melodies.

Sevendust is Lajon Witherspoon on lead vocals, Clint Lowery on lead guitar, and co-lead vocals on “Xmas Day” and “Angel’s Son”, John Connolly on rhythm guitar, Vinnie Hornsby on bass and Morgan Rose on drums.

This album really highlights what a great talent Lajon Witherspoon is. His vocals are exceptional.

T.O.A.B.

Written by drummer Morgan Rose, it stands for “Tits On A Boar”.

In case you are not familiar with it, it means a person, place, event or item in which there is little or no value.

Musically and vocally it could have come from the debut.

And any song that starts off with “Die you piece of shit!”, well you know you ain’t gonna get a love song.

Praise

Written by Clint Lowery, Lajon Witherspoon and Morgan Rose.

A great riff kicks this off, something that Stone Sour would do a lot off.

Trust

Written by Clint Lowery and Lajon Witherspoon.

The power of the Intro riff hooks me in immediately.

Then it’s just bass and drums for the verses and Lajon delivers a killer vocal melody.

And if you are in any doubt, press play for the Chorus.

Also it wouldn’t be a Sevendust song with a head banging interlude.

Crucified

Written by Clint Lowery, Lajon Witherspoon and Morgan Rose.

It continues the standard set with “Praise” but the Chorus is more melodic. Very Disturbed like.

And lyrics like “Don’t you feel like a bitch / Don’t promise shit you’ll never be” set the aggressive tone.

Xmas Day

Written by Clint Lowery.

A ballad, which reminds me of Soundgarden, Alice Cooper 70s version and other

Don’t know how she gets by
Sleeps with a phone on her chest
And a bottle that’s totally dry
Forgets the day I was born
But if she saw me right now

The lyrics more or less sum up what the song is about.

But press play to hear the Chorus and the great vocal performances.

Dead Set

A Lowery, Rose and Witherspoon composition. It’s a heavy rocker with another killer Chorus.

I dodge the grave almost every day

Shine

A Witherspoon composition with a syncopated groove riff in the verses which is head banging material.

I’m on a free fall / So hard for me to shine

Follow

A Lowery and Connolly composition with Aaron Lewis doing additional vocals. Goddamn it could pass as a Staind or A Perfect Circle song.

And how good are the opening lyric lines.

Time can take everything that surrounds you

Damaged

It’s a Connolly and Rose composition.

How could you really know as your blood flows
The damage left inside

No one will ever know the damage done especially the mental damage.

Live Again

Another Connolly and Rose composition. And if you press play on a track from this album this is it.

Look at yourself and live again

That Chorus. So emotive and catchy.

Beautiful

A Lowery, Rose and Witherspoon.

Another killer heavy Intro that gets me thinking of Faith No More with a Chorus that reminds me of Godsmack.

Redefine

A Lowery, Rose, Witherspoon with a heavy riff that reminds me of Disturbed.

But that Chorus riff. So cool to play with the octaves.

Angel’s Son

A Lowery and Witherspoon acoustic composition.

It was originally released on “Strait Up”, a tribute album of Lynn Strait, former lead-singer of the band Snot. Strait died in a car accident on December 11, 1998, at the age of 30.

If you thought Sevendust was just too heavy for ya, then check this album out.

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2001 – Part 4-1: Aerosmith – Just Push Play

Aerosmith had a way of making the blues sound current and modern but for them to do that, they needed to jam.

But on “Just Push Play”, released in 2001, the majority of the album is co-written with Marti Frederiksen and Mark Hudson. It was recorded at eight different studios, so it would have been impossible to get all the band jamming and financially irresponsible to get the whole bands gear set up and then packed up and then transported and then set up again.

Joe Perry hates it. The Wikipedia entry for this album carries a 2010 quote from Perry which states;

I don’t think we’ve made a decent album in years.

Just Push Play is my least favorite.

When we recorded it there was never a point where all five members were in the room at the same time and Aerosmith’s major strength is playing together.

It was a learning experience for me: it showed me how not to make an Aerosmith record”.

From a sales point of view, Aerosmith was on a spiral down. The gaps between albums started to become every 4 years.

But not a lot of 70’s bands had a renaissance like Aerosmith when it came to album sales.

It started with “Permanent Vacation” released in 1987 and it has a 5x Platinum certification in the U.S.

“Pump” released in 1989 has a 7x Platinum certification in the U.S and “Get a Grip” released in 1993 has a 7x Platinum certification in the U.S.

These two albums are the pinnacle of Aerosmith’s comeback.

“Nine Lives” released in 1997 showed a downward trend as it has a 2x Platinum certification in the U.S and “Just Push Play” only has a Platinum certification in the U.S.

Beyond Beautiful

It sounds heavy and exotic while Kramer is channelling John Bonham, with his Kashmir like groove.

And it doesn’t sound anything like the blues, but that verse riff is a bluesy groove. If you don’t believe me, check out that bluesy solo in the outro which is played over the verse riff.

Just Push Play

“Walk This Way” gets a rewrite.

Even in the Chorus, instead of saying “Walk This Way”, Tyler is singing “Just Push Play”. Replacing three single syllable words with three other single syllable words.

And I like it.

Jaded

Kramer lays down a groove, while Perry and Whitford bring out riffs that reminds me of bands like “The Foo Fighters”, “Filter”, “Matchbox 20” and “Tonic”.

Fly Away From Here

Piano ballads and Aerosmith go hand in hand.

While “Dream On” is my favourite, its “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” which is their streaming star, much to the disgust of Tyler and Perry.

While they were paid well for doing the song for the “Armageddon” movie, they didn’t think that it would become their most streamed song ever. Well they couldn’t have, because streaming didn’t exist back then.

For the numbers, “Dream On” is at 541.59 million Spotify streams and “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” is at 650.1 million Spotify streams.

And this one doesn’t have an Aerosmith member in the songwriting credits either.

But, there is this section which I call the Bridge, that reminds of a section in “Livin On The Edge”.

Trip Hoppin’

Its old school Aerosmith, jamming on a blues groove and writing about having a good time and getting laid.

With the addition of the horn section, the song takes on a Soul Rock feel.

Sunshine

I like this song.

The riff has this laid back feel which sort of reminds me of “Kings And Queens” and “Don’t Fear The Reaper” in the Verses.

And lyrically, Tyler is in his element here.

Under My Skin

Like the song “Beyond Beautiful”, this one is also a great example of taking the generic blues riffs and making em sound heavy and current.

The verses are my favourites here, how the guitar riff and the vocal melody are the same, and while they pause the horns mimic it.

In the Pre, there is a symphony, evoking memories of “Kashmir”.

Luv Lies

A ballad that reminds me of songs like “What It Takes” and “Crazy”. Perry is bringing out his repertoire of country licks here.

Outta My Head

Another attempt to recreate “Walk This Way” in the verses, with a more modern Alanis Morrisette style Chorus.

Drop Dead Gorgeous

Check out the groove that Hamilton and Kramer set up to allow Perry and Whitford to play blues/jazz like 7ths and 9ths triads.

But the vocal melodies are pretty average.

Light Inside

Electronica drums start it off, but as soon as the fast bass riff from Hamilton kicks in, the song is anything but electronica.

Its heavy for an Aerosmith song. The Modern Rock sounds are different and I like it.

Avant Garden

I think this is one of Aerosmith’s better ballads.

It has a chord progression that reminds me of “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Werewolves In London” in the verses and a Chorus which has this Beatles feel.

Check out the Bridge, very ELO with the violins and the debop backing vocals.

And finally, Perry gets a chance to do a guitar solo longer than 5 seconds.

And Perry goes a chance to go again in the outro.

Press play on the album just to check out this track.

Overall, it’s Aerosmith trying to be modern, trying to be bluesy, trying to have Arena Rock choruses and trying to have a bigger ballad to rival the ballad that they didn’t write.

At times it comes across confusing, but it’s still Aerosmith and I’m okay when artists don’t stick to formula and try something different.

But it’s not an album I push play on a lot.

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The Record Vault: Dark Tranquility – Skydancer

Dark Tranquillity is a Swedish melodic death metal band from Gothenburg. They are considered one of the pioneering acts of the Gothenburg metal scene, which also includes bands such as In Flames and At the Gates.

The band was formed in 1989 and in August 1993, the band released this album.

And they never stopped releasing music.

But when you look at their catalogue of releases, it’s like this album doesn’t exist.

Wikipedia describes “Skydancer” as a “very weird album and there really isn’t anything else like it – for good and bad. Most of the songs contain 20+ riffs that never are repeated in the same way, and the integration of clear vocals and acoustic guitars were extremely unorthodox for its time, as were the advanced use of counterpoint and recurring musical motifs”.

And I agree.

If you got into the band, post 2010, the debut album would be very strange to your ears and you would be questioning if it’s the same band.

The recording process was stressful. They only had a budget for 10 days of studio time, and working with studio engineers who were clueless about extreme metal. Which tells as the production is definitely demo like.

The band for the album is Anders Fridén on lead vocals, Niklas Sundin on lead guitar, Mikael Stanne on rhythm guitar, backing vocals, Martin Henriksson on bass and Anders Jivarp on drums.

Vocalist Anders Fridén either left or was fired after this album as he joined In Flames and was replaced by then rhythm guitarist, Mikael Stanne on vocals.

And recording history would have it that Mikael Stanne was the lead vocalist on the first In Flames studio album, “Lunar Strain”.

And for all the accolades of being a melodic death metal band, this album is part of the death metal genre.

Nightfall by the Shore of Time

Well it starts off with a guttural scream of the word “Nightfall”. And for the almost 5 minute song, the riffs move between fast thrash riffs, tempo changes and melodic Maiden like riffs.

With guttural singing.

Crimson Winds

It’s mid-tempo rock intro has a sing-a-long melodic lead. Then at the 1 minute mark it goes into a progressive like riff reminding me of Thin Lizzy and Iron Maiden and the guttural vocals kick in.

The interlude/solo section is so Maiden like.

A Bolt of Blazing Gold

It has an acoustic intro that sounds like it came from a Spaghetti Western. At about the minute mark, distortion guitars kick in. And 90 seconds in, guttural vocals kick in. At approx. every 30 seconds there is a change in music or tempo or time signature and that’s how this song progresses.

At 2.40, it goes back into a slower doomier tempo and we get clean tone vocals along with the guttural vocals.

In Tears Bereaved

This one is fast. Blast beats everywhere, tempo changes, time changes and guttural vocals.

Musically, there are some cool bits but overall, it’s a skip.

Skywards

Its relentless, with riffs crashing into each other, guttural vocals everywhere and hard to follow.

Through Ebony Archways

It’s a classical guitar piece at the start, almost waltz like. The acoustic riff changes as the song moves into clean tone vocals.

Shadow Duet

There’s some good riffs in this and the singing moves between growling and melody.

My Faeryland Forgotten

Chaos is how I describe this song.

Alone

A slower more doomier groove for the album closer.

However the release I have has the 1994 EP, “Of Chaos And Eternal Night” added to it. And the sound is remarkably improved than the debut.

Of Chaos and Eternal Night

You can hear the fast melodic metal riffs more prominent in this track.

With the Flaming Shades of Fall

This one is a mid-tempo track and the riffs are excellent.

Away, Delight, Away

Press play just to hear the intro as the guitars play an open string lick in harmony that reminds me of “Wasted Years”.

Alone ’94”

An updated version with better production.

If you like melodic vocals, then you will hate this, as the vocals are more growling than singing.

If you want to hear youthful enthusiasm and creativity by putting in as many riffs as possible into a song, then press play.

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