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

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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2001 – Part 4.5: Skillet – Alien Youth

It was the “Comatose” album released in 2006 that made me a fan of Skillet and I followed em up to to “Rise” album released in 2013.

And although I listened to “Unleashed” released in 2017 and “Victorious” from 2019, I didn’t really feel the need to relisten to em.

And when I went looking at their back catalogue I was surprised how much their sound had evolved.

“Alien Youth” is their fourth album released in 2001. Their sound on this is like industrial rock.

The band for this album is John Cooper on vocals, bass, sampling and programming, Korey Cooper on keyboards, sampling and programming, Lori Peters on drums, Kevin Haaland on guitars (except “Earth Invasion”) and Ben Kasica on guitars (“Earth Invasion”).

Alien Youth

It reminded me of Motley Crue’s “Generation Swine” album. And I like that connection.

Vapor

It reminds me of the whole “industrial rock” movement.

Earth Invasion

The best song on the album.

Very “Smells Like Teen Spirit” like.

You Are My Hope

The usual ballad.

It’s catchy and derivative.

Eating Me Away

A fuzzed out bass riff dominates the verses and once the Chorus kicks in, it’s Stabbing Westward and Korn like.

Kill Me, Heal Me

I like it’s swinging drum groove in the verses. I’ve heard Good Charlotte songs with these kind of beats and melodies, but they came after this.

Otherwise it’s all grunge rock.

The Thirst Is Taking Over

My favorite song on the album.

The verses have a programmed drum beat with clean tone and lightly delayed guitars.

And in the Chorus, there’s a distorted and fuzzed out guitar.

One Real Thing

The Chorus is hard rock and it has this “Teenage Dirtbag” vibe.

Stronger

Nirvana meets Ministry.

It has some cool riffs to jam on but lyrically it’s a bit cliched with the repeating “my god is strong” melody.

Rippin’ Me Off

It starts off terribly, with programming and sampling. Then a Nirvana like riff kicks in.

It’s a response to Marilyn Manson and his views on God being dead.

Check out the chorus. It’s heavy and angry.

You say that God is dead but you’re rippin’ me off/ You can’t infect my mind with your vanity/ You’re rippin’ me off!

Will You Be There (Falling Down)

This is a great ballad.

It feels like Bryan Adams and Celine Dion are singing it.

Come My Way

The closer. it starts off with a piano riff that sounds like it came from a soundtrack.

And it’s more hymn “Hallelujah” like.

They are labeled as a Christian Rock act, but they delivered an album that people from all walks of life would like.

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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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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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The Record Vault: Dare – Real Love

Dare is an English rock band, formed in 1985 and fronted by former Thin Lizzy keyboard player Darren Wharton.

The “Real Love” single was the first thing I purchased from Dare in 1991. I liked it a lot, so I purchased the album before it, “Out Of The Silence” released in 1988 (and that review is next) but not the album “Blood from Stone” released in 1991, the single was on.

Why?

Because the album wasn’t readily available in Australia upon release. A&M Records wasn’t really renowned for their excellent release strategies. And the album isn’t on streaming services either. Go figure.

Back to the single, you get one album track in “Real Love” and two B sides, in “Killer Lover” and “Rideaway”.

Real Love

It’s a ballad.

The melodic lead in the Intro which also appears in the Chorus is excellent. Very singalong like and Wharton’s raspy/throaty voice adds the right emotion to it.

Killer Lover

It’s a generic hard rock track in the style of artists like Winger and Steelheart.

Rideaway

This is a great melodic rock track.

And I always wonder why some songs break through and become popular and some don’t.

“Real Love” has all the right ingredients to be a monster song, but it never came to fruition. But it got me interested to check out the debut album.

That review is up next.

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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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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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Australian Method Series and The Record Vault: Dragon – Bondi Road

The “Body and the Beat” album and the song “Rain” kept Dragon in the Charts between 1983 and 1986.

In 1986, they released the hard rock sounding “Dreams Of Ordinary Man” album which was certified Platinum in Australia and kept their comeback alive.

In 1987, they dropped a cover song, “Celebration” from Kool And The Gang. And it went to Number 1 on the Australian charts and stayed in the Top 10 for quite some time.

I’m not a real fan of that song but it made business sense to cover it because of it’s cross over appeal. It was played in night clubs, parties and everywhere you went in Australia, you heard Dragon’s version.

And then in April 1989, they dropped “Bondi Road”, their ninth studio album.

And no one knew it at the time but it was to be the last album of new material to be released during singer Marc Hunter’s lifetime, who passed away from throat cancer in 1998 at 44 years of age.

Bondi Beach is listed as a place to visit in Sydney for tourists. It’s also the place where the reality TV show, “Bondi Rescue” is filmed which shows the lifeguards basically saving tourists from the waters.

With a title that involves the word “Bondi”, summer always comes to mind, however they dropped the album in April, which in the Southern Hemisphere, is the second month of Autumn.

But by the time October rolled around (the second month of Aussie spring), the album had grown in momentum and really became a summer album for the months of December, January and February.

Young Years

It’s one of their best songs, a hard rock classic. And it’s not even written by the band, written by keyboardist Alan Mansfield and his partner, vocalist Sharon O’Neill, who as a songwriting team have written other songs for Dragon which became fan favorites.

The song also had a massive resurgence in popularity following Marc Hunter’s death in 1998.

And on guitar they have the great Tommy Emmanuel. Apart from being an accomplished solo artist and an amazing guitar player at that, Emmanuel has amassed a lot of session credits here in Australia and in the U.S.

Plus a special mention to the awesome backing vocals of Mary Azzopardi and Wendy Matthews.

It’s a great opener and then I felt lost listening to the next songs.

“Blue Blue”, “Book of Love”, “Here Am I”, “Ice in this Town” and “Gold in the River” failed to capture the intensity and fire of the opening track.

Bondi Road

Then the Intro riff started for “Bondi Road” and I was back in. It’s all in clean tone but it’s got this rock blues funk groove which I like.

Written by Johanna Pigott and Todd Hunter, who also wrote “Rain”, however this time around vocalist Marc Hunter also has a songwriting contribution.

Summer

You couldn’t have an album called “Bondi Road” without having a song called “Summer” on it.

This one is written by David Hirschfelder, Marc Hunter and Wendy Hunter.

It’s major key riff, rocks hard but the way it’s delivered, it feels like I’m on the beach, soaking in the summer rays.

Then came “Family Man” and the album lost me again.

Runaway

It rocks out of the gate with a hard rock riff.

Another track written by the team of Alan Mansfield and Sharon O’Neill.

Good Time Girl

Mansfield and O’Neill contribute another song.

The rock sounds of Free and Bad Company start the song, and it moves into a riff similar to “Young Years”.

Stick around for the Chorus.

Celebration

And yes the stand alone single was given an album as well.

The album was Certified Gold in Australia, a bit lower than the previous albums and a sign of the changing times.

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The Record Vault: Drivin N Cryin – Smoke

“Smoke” is album number 5 from Drivin N Cryin, released in February 1993 on Island Records.

I got it a few years after as I was trying to get my hard rock fix circa 95/96.

And it was a purchase based on the song titles. When Grunge hit, a lot of the song titles had just one word as the title.

As soon as I saw titles like “Back Against The Wall”, “Turn It Up Or Turn It Off” and “Whiskey Soul Woman”, I was curious. Then I saw that Geoff Workman (RIP) is the producer and engineer so I purchased.

For those that don’t know Workman has been involved in either producing and engineering some massive albums for The Cars, Queen, Journey, Foreigner, Toto, Mötley Crüe and Twisted Sister.

I knew nothing about them and for quite some time, I presumed this album was their first.

But the band was formed in 1985 and had a deal the following year.

Kevn Kinney on vocals/guitar, Tim Nielsen on bass and Paul Lenz on drums are the original members.

The band’s name, Drivin’ N Cryin’, was chosen because it reflected the two directions of the band’s music. Good for driving and good for crying.

In 1987, Lenz left and was replaced by Jeff Sullivan. And rock history would have it that Sullivan was the drummer for a certain band called Mr. Crowes Garden, which later would became known as The Black Crowes.

Afterwards Rhythm Guitarist Buren Fowler joined the trio and this is the band as I know it.

While they released albums in the 80’s, it was “Fly Me Courageous” released in 1990 and with Geoff Workman as Producer, which is seen as “the album” from the band. Certified gold, the album is hard rock the way it should be, without zero hairspray and make up and no label interference. However I didn’t know this at the time.

And three years later, “Smoke” follows in the same direction with Geoff Workman behind the boards again and the same sound.

Back Against The Wall

It feels like a derivative version of “Ace Of Spades” with a “Wipeout” drum groove in between certain sections. And I like it.

She Doesn’t Wanna Go

One of my favourites, especially that Chorus riff.

Smoke

This one has a Van Halen feel in the Intro riff, but as soon as the Verse kicks in, it’s like Thin Lizzy and in the Chorus its AC/DC.

What is there not to like.

When You Come Back

It sounds like a cut from the “Lies” EP by Gunners.

Patron Lady Beautiful

At 7 plus minutes, it’s a jam out 70’s style cut, slow blues rock with a lot of guitar solos. Another favourite.

1000 Swings

It’s a blues rock tune with a metal like Chorus riff.

1988

It feels like some of the early Sabbath recordings when they just jammed the blues.

Whiskey Soul Woman

The Cult comes to mind when I think of this song.

And it’s got the “Strutter” beat which I like. I call it the “Strutter” beat, because the Kiss song was the first song I heard with that snare/high-hat and bass drum all at same time.

What’s The Difference

It’s very Petty/Dylan and I like it.

It’s just a light dirty electric and a vocal melody.

Eastern European Carny Man

It’s like a Bad Company meets Boston track.

All Around The World

Its sleazy in the riff department, very 80’s Motorhead like.

Turn It Up Or Turn It Off

It feels like a merge between “Do Ya” and “Whole Lotta Rosie”. Vocally, the melodies feel very Tom Petty like.

Once this track finishes there is 30 seconds of silence and “Can’t Fall Off the Mountain,” a hidden track begins like an acoustic camp fire tune.

And I enjoyed this album.

But I lost sight of em as I started getting into bands like Collective Soul, Tonic, Matchbox 20, and some of my 80’s and early 90’s favourites started to release some great recordings circa 97 and onwards.

So if you like hard rock with bluesy overtones and some Petty/Dylan/Lemmy/Lynott influenced like singing, call up Drive N Crying.

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