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

2001 – Part 1.4: Megadeth – The World Needs A New Hero

The Evergrey – “In Search Of Truth” post, the Muse – “Origin Of Symmetry” by post and the Machine Head – “Supercharger” post were meant to be part of one 2001 – Part 1 post, however after I finished writing those posts they had a lot of words in there to be part of one, so they ended up as separate posts.

This post is 1.4 and the upcoming Ozzy post will be 1.5.

Megadeth – The World Needs A New Hero

I was excited for this album as I am a fan of Al Pitrelli. I like his work with Widowmaker, his session and song writing work with Alice Copper (plus touring), Y&T, Savatage, Danger Danger, TSO and many more. Plus in the few interviews he had in the guitar magazines, he shares a wealth of information about soloing and modes and what not.

“The World Needs a Hero” is the ninth studio album and a return to the metal and sometimes thrash of Megadeth between the “Countdown To Extinction” to “Cryptic Writings” era.

And to understand this album, you need to understand what a commercial disappointment “Risk” was in 1999 and how it eventually led to the departure of Marty Friedman and Nick Menza.

And it’s their first album on Sanctuary after they parted ways from Capitol Records with cover art by Hugh Syme.

Drummer Jimmy DeGrasso also features on this and the usual two Dave’s, but in this case, this would be the last album Ellefson would feature on until 2010. It was DeGrasso who actually recommended Pitrelli to Mustaine.

“Disconnect”

The intro riff reminds of “Trust”.

I like the interlude when it’s just bass and chords ringing out and then the lead break from Pitrelli starts. And I played air guitar to every note.

Lyrically the song deals with living a double life between the person we portray to people which is very different to the person’s inner thoughts or even Google search history.

“The World Needs a Hero”

If it’s a musical hero, a techie hero, a sporting hero, an author, a politician, whatever. We all need someone to look up to, to aspire to be like. Sometimes it’s a parent, a brother or a sister or another family member. It’s not my favourite song but I do like the title.

“Moto Psycho”

This song is about people who commute to work every day and spend a lot of time on the road.

In between 1997 and to the end of 2000, I drove 80 minutes to get to work and 80 minutes to get home. Then I changed jobs and commuted via a train, which took me 90 minutes to get to work and 90 minutes to get home.

Do the math.

160 to 180 minutes a day on travelling. That’s 800 to 900 minutes a week travelling. 41600 to 46800 hours in the year wasted on the road building someone else’s dream instead of my own.

“1000 Times Goodbye”

The intro riff is enough to hook me in. And then the drums come in, building the section until the verses explode.

And for some reason it keeps reminding me of “Tornado Of Souls”.

From about 3.57, the solo section begins. And after Mustaine says “you suck”, Pitrelli takes over for another guitar hero moment.

Check it out.

“Burning Bridges”

Check out the harmonized guitar riff in the Chorus.

“Promises”

The acoustic riff reminds me of “Dream On”. The violins make it haunting.

The song is about relationships that can’t be together in this life because of religion or social norms.

“Recipe for Hate… Warhorse”

It’s fast Intro gives way to a bass riff and spoken verse. And it’s a weird song with flamenco inspired passages. More like MegaZappa than Megadeth.

“Losing My Senses”

No one likes it when people speak the truth and that’s how this song starts off.

Check out the main riff. It puts all those alternate metal acts to shame.

Or the “When The Levee Breaks” inspired solo section which gets Pitrelli soloing with a Middle Eastern vibe.

“Dread and the Fugitive Mind”

My favorite song on the album. Especially the “what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine” section.

And don’t forget the whole interlude build up into the Pitrelli solo section.

“Silent Scorn”

An instrumental which gets played over the sound system at concerts.

“Return to Hangar”

The sequel to “Hangar 18” as the captive aliens from the first song escape and kill their captors. When I saw the band live, they played both songs back to back.

Make sure you check out the harmony lead break.

“When”

The main riff and structure of “When”, is reminiscent of “Am I Evil?” by Diamond Head, which Mustaine said was intentional.

After this album, the band was ended as Mustaine had to deal with a career ending arm injury. Then once he resurrected Megadeth, he had to deal with lawsuits from former members. But that story is for another day.

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The Record Vault: Coheed And Cambria – The Color Before The Sun

The album came out in 2015 and it’s the only non-conceptual album the band has released and easily there most accessible. Then again, with each release their old emo hard-core and metal roots got less and less as some prog rock influences came in and then classic rock.

I got the limited edition, deluxe box set which includes two CDs, the album and a disc of demo tracks, plus two hardcover books, one featuring album lyrics and artwork and another featuring a “behind-the-scenes look” of the album’s creative process, plus an in-studio DVD, and a clear 7-inch record of unreleased demo tracks.

I also got a custom house key, a lapel pin, a certificate of authenticity; as well as exclusive, members-only access to new music, videos, concert tickets, merchandise and commentary from the band to a special website that requires a log in and all that.

“Island”

The acoustic single note riff to kick off “Island” is addictive. It reminds me of Rush and “The Spirit Of Radio”(not because the riffs sound the same, but because of its feel) and then a riff which reminds me of “Jessie’s Girl” kicks in with the same single note riff in distorted played over it. It’s upbeat and poppy, but lyrically the song deals with doubt and about “getting off the island”, in which this case the island is a metaphor for the comfort zone of our lives or the war we have within our head about starting something new or staying with the old.

I live inside this head, and I’m at war
Hero and villain, Same type, keeping score

“Eraser”

It has a groovy bass played in the verses and drums which dominate.

Oh Middle age, bring me a crisis
What am I worth, does the truth hurt?

Yes what are we worth and what are our lives worth. There’s nothing like age to get you reassessing and re-evaluating. In this case, Claudio wants the clocks to be turned back to the way things were.

I’ve been nostalgic recently, maybe because I am watching “Sopranos”, but when I think to turning the clocks back to the past, it might sound exciting, but I don’t want to live in a world with a few channels, no internet or slow dial up internet and listening to music based on purchases instead of leasing.

“Colors”

I lost myself along the way
Restless nights mixed with purposeless days
Counting forward, taking steps
To a better man, the one you can live with

The song deals with changes like selling a house, moving to a new house and spending time away from family. And until you get settled again, it takes weeks maybe months before you make sense of it all.

“Here To Mars”

It’s in the stars
And you’re my everything from here to Mars

A very upbeat love song from Claudio to his wife Chondra, like “Blood Red Summer” upbeat.

Make sure you check out the interlude section from 2.18 to 3.02 as it builds up into the Chorus again as Claudio sings, “I will never let you go”.

“Ghost”

The acoustic guitar riff keeps repeating like a metronomic grandfather clock. The song is simple, as Claudio’s vocal harmonies carry the song.

“Atlas”

That you’re the weight of his anchor,
The love that is guiding him home,

Written for Claudio and Chondra’s son, Atlas.

“Young Love”

The song is an apology to The Big Beige, Claudio’s old house in New York. And for those fans who always wondered why the demo releases are called the “Big Beige” versions, well it’s because he did them at home.

I like the repeating guitar lick.

“We leave for the coast/In the wrong hands/You where bruised, disposed”

I like the ending, as at it transitions into “You Got Spirit, Kid”.

“You Got Spirit, Kid”

It’s the first single released for “The Color Before The Sun”.

The plastic king of castle polyethylene
Go on, time to be a good little pig

Cause when the rug gets pulled out from underneath
Just embrace the fall
Oh you got spirit, kid
You’re number one
Go on living that farce
Cause nobody gives a f… who you are

Manufactured pop stars don’t have a long shelf life which is a shame, because there is talent there, but it’s never given a chance to be its own beast as others control it. And when it all goes bad, the people who control just move on to the next wannabe. In other words, you will come to a point in life when you realise that the problems you see as big aren’t that important in the grand scheme of things.

There is a nice little Pink Floyd jam at the end which makes an amazing segue into “The Audience”.

“The Audience”

This song became a favourite instantly with its Tool like groove. Just listen to the music in the verses. The guitars play an intricate riff, the bass syncs up with the bass drum while the drums free style and still keep a beat.

This is my audience
Forever one together
Burning Stars
Cut from the same disease
Ever longing, what and who we are

The fans of Coheed and Cambria have expectations as to how the band should sound, the industries who make money from Coheed and Cambria have expectations as to how the band should sound and the band members themselves as they grow older have evolving wants as to how they should sound. Sometimes they don’t align and sometimes they do.

“Peace To The Mountain”

It’s a simple acoustic, drum and vocal song.

I learned to keep quiet,
How to keep my distance.
Afraid to let strangers in,
How to keep my secrets.

I see this as Claudio hiding behind the characters and the Sci-Fi world he created because he was scared to express his own feelings in his songs. But he’s now older and wiser and at peace with who he is.

So if you were scared to check out Coheed and Cambria before, because of the Armory Wars saga, check out this album.

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2001 – Part 1.3: Machine Head – Supercharger

The Evergrey “In Search Of Truth” post and “Origin Of Symmetry” by Muse post were meant to be part of this large post, however after I finished writing all of the posts they had a lot of words in there to be part of one post, so they ended up as separate posts.

The Machine Head post will be 1.3, the upcoming Megadeth post will be 1.4 and the Ozzy post will be 1.5.

Machine Head – Supercharger

Supercharger is their fourth album.

It came out just weeks after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and it got lost in the aftermath. Roadrunner also gave them zero promotion and to this date, its considered a commercial failure by the label. They even went on tour for the album without any label support which was a slap in the face to the band as Robb Flynn has admitted that “The Burning Red” and “Supercharger” were albums that Roadrunner pressured them to do, so they could break into the mainstream.

But when the mainstream didn’t come, Flynn said that the band was going to return to “what we they did best”.

It is also the band’s last release to feature lead guitarist Ahrue Luster and as a by-product it set in stone the next 15 years.

For me, this was the first album I purchased from Machine Head.

And in relation to the album being a commercial failure, in a 2015 interview with LouderSound, this is what Robb Flynn had to say about it.

“Supercharger sold 250,000 copies. If that’s a disaster, I’ll take it.

We played nine shows in the UK, all sold out, and the US tour was mostly sold out, which was a first.

Every night when we play “Bulldozer”, that whole theory that everybody hates “Supercharger” gets completely stomped into the ground. We play “Bulldozer” and it’s one of the top five reactions of the night, every time”

After a minute of “The Declaration”, the iconic riff of “Bulldozer” kicks in. Listen to the drumming from Dave McClain in the intro. In the live arena, this song is powerful, mosh pit powerful.

“Full steam we go against the odds, headfirst we go against the grain”.

But the lack of solos is going with the grain, as between 1999 and 2005, there was a “no guitar solo” movement. This song was missing a ripping lead.

“Crashing Around You” is a great hard rock song. It was the only single from the album and it had a film clip with a burning San Francisco skyline and stuff crashing down around them.

It was pulled from MTV and rock radio because the term “crashing” was found to be offensive.

But the lyrics are excellent, the music grooves and having this song pulled from every promotional outlet definitely hurt the band. But the fans loved it.

When they pulled this song out for the concert, the place went nuts.

“Kick You When You’re Down” sounds like a track from the “Catharsis” album with its catchcry about believing in yourself and following your heart.

“Only the Names” deserves more attention. This Robb Flynn penned track is classic Machine Head merging all the doom from the early era. Tracks from the current era even sound like this song. That distorted riff would sink submarines it’s that heavy. Early Tool comes to mind here.

“All in Your Head” is one of my favourite Machine Head tracks. That intro, especially live, is head banging material and in its essence it’s basically a hard rock song.

“American High” kicks off with a Tarzan like vocal chant, which is actually the riff of the song. It sounds like the guys are having fun and Flynn brings out some of his spoken word raps in the verses but this song got slammed by the reviewers, for the Tarzan chant.

“Nausea” feels like a Deftones style track especially in the verses.

“Blank Generation” reminds me of early Tool. It’s Aggressive with a capital A.

“Trephination” has a cool bass riff to kick it off.

“Deafening Silence” keeps building until it explodes towards the end.

“Supercharger” has a great intro riff, but that dissonance Korn style riff in the first part of the verse didn’t enhance the song in anyway.

The Japanese version has a cover of “Hole in the Sky” from Black Sabbath as its bonus track. A lot of fans saw this as a weird choice considering the nu-metal style of the album.

But from a rhythm guitar point of view, there is a lot here to unpack.

And after being exposed to Machine Head by various band members this album was my first financial commitment to the band, so it holds a special place in my history.

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2001 – Part 1.2: Muse – Origin Of Symmetry

The Evergrey “In Search Of Truth” post from last week was meant to be part of this post, however after I finished writing it, it was close to 2000 words, so it ended up as a separate post.

And as I was writing the rest of the posts for Muse (which will now be 1.2), Machine Head (which will be 1.3), Megadeth (which will be 1.4) and Ozzy, (which will be 1.5), I started to realise that maybe it’s best for these posts to be separate as well.

So here we go with the rest of 2001 – Part 1 in various stages

Muse – Origin Of Symmetry

Matt Bellamy is on vocals and guitars and midi sound effects and piano and organs and everything else, Chris Wolstenholme is on bass and Dominic Howard is on drums.

At the time, this was officially album number 2, hot on the heels of “Showbiz” from a few years before. It’s a progression, putting the building blocks in place for “Absolution” which came out in 2004 which to me is the piece d’resistance in their catalogue.

“New Born”

It starts off with an arpeggio guitar/piano that is sort of classical/lullaby like.

The bitterness inside
Is growing like the new born

The titles of the songs are hidden in verses or not even mentioned at all in the songs. They are linking something beautiful (the new born) with something bitter.

Check out the double time drumming, octave bass lines from the 2 minute mark over a pseudo classical chord progression and falsetto vocals.

And at the 3:30 mark, Bellamy pulls out one of his normal tremolo picked leads that outlines the notes of the major and minor chords in the progression.

“Bliss”

It’s got that TonePad effect to start off which continues throughout the song, under a layer of distorted bass lines and crashing drums.

“Space Dementia”

The piano riffs are clearly influenced by Sergei Rachmaninoff and his “Piano Concerto No. 2 In C Minor Op.18.” And I hadn’t listened to Rachmaninoff at all, until I read an interview with Bellamy who mentioned him as a major influence on this album and that actual concerto.

“Hyper Music”

It has this Hendrix like riff to start off the song or “Snakecharmer” from Rage Against The Machine comes to mind, before it moves into the Muse pseudo classical like chord progressions before moving back into blues hard rock and back again.

“Plug In Baby”

It’s got a great arena rock chorus and a memorable single note guitar riff done in the Muse pseudo classical way.

“Citizen Erased”

The intro riff hooks me in immediately to pick up my guitar and jam it. It’s metal like and with a lot of groove.

Break me in
Teach us to cheat
And to lie, cover up
What shouldn’t be shared?

The concept that we are all born without any viewpoints and we are made to be who we are by culture, the family, society and institutions.

The whole quietened down section is haunting.

You also need to listen to the outro.

“Micro Cuts”

A simple arpeggiated guitar riff, with a locked in bass and drum groove starts off the song, before Bellamy’s falsetto vocals take over. Make sure to stick around for the blues like breakdown riff to close out the song.

I’ve seen what you’re doing to me
Destroying puppet strings
To our souls

“Feeling Good”

It’s a great hard rock cover of a Nina Simone song released in 1965. It’s sleazy, groovy and it follows the pseudo classical chord progressions that Muse are so well known for.

Check it out.

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The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – April 5 to April 11

4 Years Ago (2017)

I was writing about the labels and streaming services.

Spotify is a service, that provides music to users. It was created by techies because the record labels didn’t have the clout to do what was required for their artists and the vast copyrights they hold. But for Spotify to work, it needed access to the vast libraries of copyrights the record labels hold. And in the process the three major labels got a stake in Spotify.

And the labels still control the narrative. They have done such a great job with their fake news stories about streaming rates killing music, but at the same time their revenue goes up due to streaming payments.

8 Years Ago (2013)

It was a Bon Jovi week. I tracked how “What About Now” dropped from #7 to #34 in a week.

Sales had dropped from 101,000 to 29,000 to 16,000. And news happened about Richie Sambora dropping off the tour due to personal issues.

In comparison to sales with other acts, “Babel” from Mumford and Sons was still moving 37,000 units, and “Night Visions” from Imagine Dragons was moving 47,000 units. Both albums had been on the charts for 27 and 30 weeks respectively at the time.

Then I did another post which had “What About Now” dropping from #34 to #50 at week 4.

It only moved 2,383 units for the week but the tour was selling out. I wrote that the album is the worst Jovi album ever. It debuted at number 1, then went to number 7 and then it went to number 34 and then at 50.

I even got creative and asked the question what could have Bon Jovi done differently.

But reading back now, I went on a misguided rant which is embarrassing to read but still part of this blogs history.

Last Man Standing” from Bon Jovi is a classic song waiting to be rediscovered.

Everyone knows the hits. However, there are a lot of songs that deserve more attention than what they have received. 

“Last Man Standing” is written by Jon Bon Jovi and Billy Falcon. The studio version was meant to be on 2003’s “This Left Feels Right” greatest hits package, however, it ended up on the “100,000,000 Fans Can’t Be Wrong” box set released in 2004.  It was a laid back acoustic style ballad with slide guitar and all the country twang you can get into a song.  An acoustic live version of the song was added to the “This Left Feels Right” DVD.

It was then re-worked into a great rock song for the 2005 “Have A Nice Day” album.  The intro grabs you and makes you want to pay attention and the theme of the song is about kids turning up to a circus/freak show act to see the last real performer of live music.

I also wrote about “Undivided” which is another classic Jovi song waiting to be rediscovered.

“Undivided” was written by Bon Jovi, Sambora and Billy Falcon and it’s probably the heaviest song Bon Jovi has recorded. The producer was Luke Ebbin (who was introduced to JBJ by A&R legend John Kalodner) and the song was originally called “One”.

I wrote about how Black Sabbath was employing the same scorched earth marketing that Bon Jovi employed to promote their new album “13” and their first with Ozzy since 1978.

I got into Black Sabbath via Randy Rhoads and the “Tribute” album. The “Blizzard” and “Diary” albums became my bibles in relation to guitar playing. I needed to learn every riff, every lick, every bass line and every vocal melody line. It was an obsession.

On “Tribute”, I heard three songs that where not written by the usual Ozzy, Randy and Bob Daisley combination. I actually feel sorry for Bob Daisley. The Osbourne’s have tried hard to write Daisley out of the Ozzy history. 

It was “Children of The Grave” that got my attention. The way it’s done on “Tribute”, with faster tempo and the wonderful Randy Rhoads Guitar Hero solo.

I was listening to a lot of Periphery at the time as well. And I wrote a post about their song “Ragnarok”.

I saw Periphery live at the Annandale Hotel in Feb 2013, as a sideshow they did from the Soundwave tour. 

They were good. Very good. Technical and melodic. Technical and aggressive. Technical and progressive. Technical and rocking. Technical and serene. Technical and mechanical. 

Ragnarok. The end of the world in Norse mythology by submersion of the world in water. Afterward, the world will resurface anew and be repopulated by two human survivors. Does this sound familiar to all? 

This song explodes from the 2.20 minute mark to about 4.30. Check it out.

Andy Johns also passed away. He was a pretty big deal in my life as he was involved in quite a few influential albums for me.

Cinderella and the “Night Songs” and “Long Cold Winter” albums. Then came “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge” by Van Halen. Ted Templeman was on board to record Sammy Hagar, as Andy Johns was too demanding for Sammy.

Majority of music lovers will remember the artists and the songs attached they wrote and the producers become forgotten.

I discovered a Swiss band called Polution that played a brand a rock I like, so I wrote about em.

I checked em out on Spotify to see if anything else has come out since and nothing has. So I guess another one bites the dust.

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Australian Method Series: Parkway Drive

Formed in 2003, Parkway Drive are from Byron Bay, New South Wales. From Sydney it’s a 8.5 hour drive North and close to the NSW and Queensland border. It’s a great place to visit. Thor himself Chris Hemsworth has set up residence there.

I didn’t get into em as the screaming was too much on the earlier releases but then they released “Reverence” in May 2018. It went to Number 1 on the ARIA Charts, and it was the melodic heavy metal sound that hooked me in. You can hear influences from Maiden, Judas, Metallica, Megadeth, In Flames and Sabbath.

The band is made up of Winston McCall on lead vocals, Jeff Ling on lead guitar, Luke “Pig” Kilpatrick on rhythm guitar, Jia “Pie” O’Connor on bass and Ben “Gaz” Gordon on drums.

“Wishing Wells” kicks off the album, in which McCall speaks the intro over a dark acoustic guitar riff as it builds into a massive melodic death metal piece.

I spoke a vow today and asked if God would come and play
I’ve dug a shallow hole for him to sleep
But I swear he just won’t answer me
I call on out is he afraid, I’ll bury him down with the ones he keeps
And if the devil is listening, I’ll come for him as well
If I suspect he had a hand to play
And if I see his face in town, there’s room for two down underground
Nothing’s gonna stop me ’til I’m done
Until I’m done!
Until I’m done!
Until I’m done!
Until I’m done!
‘Cause tonight I’m killing gods!
Killing gods!

There has been death within the band members circle and they are pissed. Pissed at everyone.

“Prey” has an intro riff that will hook you in. It’s the best riff that In Flames didn’t write. And at 42 plus million streams, its definitely a star for em on Spotify. Hell, their numbers on Spotify make all of the people whinging about Spotify sound lame.

Apart from “Prey”, “The Void” from the same album is at 33.3 million streams, “Vice Grip” is at 48.4 million streams, “Wild Eyes” is at 36.9 million streams and “Carrion” is at 34.8 million streams.

In comparison, I’ve been listening to a lot of Coheed and Cambria lately as I’ve been reviewing their albums and their streams for their Top 5 are “Welcome Home” at 76.1 million streams, “A Favour House Atlantic” at 25.8 million streams, “The Suffering” at 22.3 million streams, “Wake Up” at 12.4 million streams and “Blood Red Summer” at 10.1 million streams.

“Absolute Power” crushes with its intro riff, reminding me of Rage Against The Machine.

The truth drops like a bomb

What do we know as truth. Most people are afraid to speak up, for fear of standing out, for fear of being ridiculed, they just want to get along.

The past you know has been written by the victor
So I ask you now, who is it writing your future
The butcher, the liar, the thief or the killer
Your freedom died quiet in the halls of power

When you read and learn history you read a version of events from a certain point of view. Even our parents are guilty of changing the past to suit their point of views.

As the outro chorus sings, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely”.

“Cemetery Bloom” has a choir that gives me chills.

“The Void” is a hard rock song. There is a guitar hero moment in the song, but the overall feel of this song reminds me of “In Flames” at their melodic best.

“I Hope You Rot” has melodic leads and symphonic choirs.

“Shadow Boxing” has a phased/chorus guitar riff to kick off the song and McCall showcases his clean tone vocals. And the violin section is haunting.

All my life I’ve been told the same old
Don’t step out, don’t test the mould

It’s the same message from the 80s.

“Chronos” has guitar playing which is metal up your arse. The last two minutes are a must listen. So melodic and powerful.

The title deals with Chronos, the keeper of time and how everything within time returns to him.

“The Colour of Leaving” is the closer. It’s melancholic.

I saw death’s face today
As he led my friend away
So I’ll ask who I gotta pay
To bring him back
Bring him back to me
Bring him back to me

To release something like “Reverence” six albums deep, is to be commended. And they’ve cemented themselves as one of Australia’s great exports.

Check em out.

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

“The Afterman: Descension” is the seventh studio album by progressive rock band Coheed and Cambria and the second part of a double album, the first part of which is “The Afterman: Ascension”.

You can read my review on it here.

The deluxe version of the album was released with a coffee-table book co-written by band member Claudio Sanchez and writer Peter David, giving a song-by-song experience of the concept album. The album follows the Amory Wars storyline, and concentrates on the character Sirius Amory.

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.

“Pretelethal”

“WHO WILL REPAIR THIS HEART?” is the repeating lyric, as this song is the set up for the next one.

In the book, Claudio explains that the musical ideas came from him jamming with a lot of new gadgets that he picked up on the road.

And he stuck with the lyric because it represents loss and pain.

From a story point of view, a weakened Sirius is being protected by the energy of Evagria The Faithful, from the other entities. But Vic The Butcher, Domino The Destitute and Holy Wood The Cracked are bombarding Evagria, trying to get to Sirius, so they could possess his body and leave this place.

“Key Entity Extraction V: Sentry The Defiant”

A sombre acoustic guitar starts off with a droning open string and a high melody.

Then the song explodes into the riff and the whole band is in.

If you remember from the “Ascension” review, there is a character called Vic The Butcher, who wanted Sentry to kill innocents on his behalf, but when Sentry refused, Vic The Butcher organised others to kill Sentry by hanging, making it look like a suicide to Sentry’s family.

And now both their souls are trapped in the purgatory stage of the Keywork.

The feel of the song reminds me of “No World For Tomorrow”.

Sentry is the last entity that Sirius will encounter.

Evagria explained to Sirius that he had been in the Keywork for 547 days even though to Sirius it was no more than a week. Just think of the movie “Interstellar”.

For Sirius, it was time to go home, only if he could find a way. As the All Mother told him, his chance of survival to return was 30%.

And I saw Sentry as a pseudonym for “Claudio The Defiant” as the music and lyrics came after Claudio had an argument with his manager because the Manager requested that Claudio try and write more accessible music, which Claudio already thought he was. This was his response.

“The Hard Sell”

“You’re selling out to be in!” is the main hook on this song.

In “The Afterman” book, Claudio mentions how this song comes from a personal viewpoint about his struggles with record labels and managers who want him to write more accessible lyrics.

No one starts writing songs for em to become a hit. There is a need inside a person to create.

Sirius has now returned to Heavens Fence and is being questioned about what he saw and what happened. But he doesn’t tell the whole truth, scared as to the consequences that could come if everyone knows that an “afterlife” exists.

And his wife Meri has moved on with her life. She is in a relationship with the Police Officer who saved her at the bar in “Goodnight, Fair Lady” when her drink was spiked.

“Number City”

This is a different Coheed and Cambria with a groovy, funky, fuzzed out bass riff, taking control of the song. It’s almost disco rock and I like it.

And in the story there is a car accident with Sirius and Meri in which Meri is unconscious and taken to ICU.

“Gravity’s Union”

It’s the longest song on the album and it’s the moods that hook me.

And from the 5 minute mark to the end, it’s desk breaking stuff, with all the layered guitars, the emotive drumming, locked in bass and those infectious vocal melodies from Claudio.

It goes back to before the accident. Sirius and Meri are arguing in the car when it crashes.

And the song ends with a heart monitor beeping.

“Away We Go”

It reminds me of “Feathers” from “No World For Tomorrow”. It has a synth lick to kick it off which is memorable.

This song deals with Meri and her transition into the afterlife.

“Iron Fist”

This is Sirius dealing with the loss of Meri and how he ruins a lot of things.

And you don’t think that a song called “Iron Fist” would be an acoustic ballad, feeling like it’s recorded in the heartland of the country.

The lead from Travis Steer. Its bluesy and full of soul.

“Dark Side Of Me”

As soon as the drums start and the finger picked guitar intro kicks in, I am hooked.

There are bits and pieces from “Here We Are Juggernaut” in the Chorus and the build-up of “Mother Superior”.

It deals with Sirius facing Meri new partner who was also going to be a father. But Sirius ruined it all.

“2’s My Favourite 1”

This one also reminds me of “Feathers” from “No World For Tomorrow”.

Sirius makes the decision to go back to the Keywork and find Meri, to help her transition into the afterlife.

Both albums are different and worthy to be heard.

Check em out.

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

Subhuman Race

I’ve had this post in draft for about a week.

On March 28th, 1995 “Skid Row” released their third album “Subhuman Race” on Atlantic Records. 26 years ago.

This is the last Skid Row album with singer Sebastian Bach and drummer Rob Affuso, and the last one to be released on Atlantic.

No one in Australia even knew of the issues that the band was having with Sebastian Bach and his arguments with Rachel Bolan. And the album charted really well in Australia, reaching Number 5 on the charts.

Bolan many years later described the album as a nightmare to do because the band was pressured into doing the album, even though they had fallen apart internally, and the change of producers who had different ways of doing things didn’t help. Bolan wanted Michael Waegner to remain but Bob Rock was given the gig.

Sebastian Bach also said that the sounds are dated, which is no surprise that the album tracks which appeared on the greatest hits album got remixed and cleaned up.

The album didn’t have the same level of commercial success of their two previous albums.

But I still like it.

Because I first became a fan of the band because of the lyrics and Rachel Bolan is still a master at writing some kick ass lyrics.

My Enemy

Keep the peace when face to face with the scene
Got a hunch that ain’t what you really mean
Weather’s fair, does that change where you stand?
My back is turned and the knife is in your hand

Doesn’t it piss you off when people put shit on you to get ahead.

I always saw this song as a sign of the times.

I read interviews from Blind Melon, Pearl Jam and Kim Thayil from Soundgarden in Guitar World where they put shit on bands from the 80s and on guitar players who could shred. It didn’t need to happen as all of those bands operated in different sonics and different headspaces.

There’s always room for all of em in my life.

Firesign

Walk all over what I believe
But I’m still here, you disappear

Only if it’s true. People who shit on you, are always around to shit on you a little bit more.

But.

Only if you let them.

Bonehead

If the weight of the world is on your shoulders
Then carry it for a day

Love that lyric.

Beat Yourself Blind

Pour me a chemical to take away the edge

Maybe I’ll pour a chemical to give me an edge.

Eileen

Eileen’s calling me to sit awhile and talk to trees

The mind is a fragile thing. But it can be trained to be tough but it can also make you disconnect from reality.

Subhuman Race

Taking liberties; burned by your dictation

Taking liberties means to “behave in an unduly familiar manner towards a person” while dictation means “the action of giving orders authoritatively or categorically.”

Conformity to someone else’s way of life who sees you as subhuman never ends well. Stand your ground and fight for your views and beliefs.

Into Another

Show me a sign
To a light that shines
One direction into another
Sheltered peace of mind

This song reminds me so much of Rush, in a musical sense.

And I’m always looking for new ways to make life better, but man, sometimes it would be great if there was a sign.

Iron Will

Life comes and goes, quick as does the day

Blink and you will miss it.

Time’s a breathing bomb, going with the flow
Stand atop it all outside the status quo

It’s easy to say “I will live outside the circle” but the status quo is a tough undertow to avoid.

Hide from all the hell and wash up with the tide
Wait and you commit psychological suicide

You need to be in the chaos to survive.

Break the molds of beg and submission

A brilliant line to be who you are. Don’t let anyone file down your rough edges that make you unique.

What’s peoples views on this album?

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

Australian Method Series – The Radio Sun

From Melbourne, Australia.

This album (their third in three years) came out in 2016. And since this release, they have released “Beautiful Strange” in 2018 and a few single song releases in 2019.

There is also a cool single called “Spaceman” released in 2015. Check out the cover.

Paul Laine is on production duties and does co-lead vocals on the song “Wink And Smile”. There’s a cool story as to how Laine got involved with the band. Go to the YouTube account of The Radio Sun and you will see a documentary called “Paul Laine And The Radio Sun”.

Laine also appeared on stage with the band on a small run of Australian shows.

Guitarist Brett Garsed from John Farnham/Nelson also appears on “Falling For You”.

The band is made up off Jason Old on lead vocals, Stevie Janevski on guitars, Robbie Erdmanis on bass and Ben Wignall on drums.

Their style is pure melodic rock. It doesn’t stray whatsoever in the same way that AC/DC doesn’t stray from their style.

“Can’t Get You Out Of My Head”

The guitar playing from Janevski gets me interested. The vocal melodies are layered and the Chorus sounds massive. Make sure you check out the singalong lead break.

Musically the song reminds me of “Walk With A Stranger” from Skid Row, which was a song they played on the scene before they got signed and Trixter covered.

“Standing On The Edge Of Love”

It’s got that melodic rock riff that seems to appear in every melodic rock song. But. I don’t care. I like it as much as I like a 12 bar blues shuffle.

“You’ll Never Know”

The Chorus hooks me.

“Fall To Pieces”

It’s got a fast pedal point head banging riff to kick it off like a song from the “Surfing With The Alien” album by Satriani.

The outro is excellent.

“Wink And Smile”

A melodic lead kicks off the song. Paul Laine features on this.

“Falling For You”

Brett Garsed appears on this. Make sure you check out the solo section. It’s Garsed at his shredding best.

The band also covered “After The Rain” from Nelson. It’s on YouTube.

And for a melodic rock band they are not on Frontiers or from Sweden. But from Australia.

Check em out.

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

2001 – Part 1.1: Evergrey – In Search Of Truth

It’s time to start a new year in review.

And I normally have about six to ten records on a post but in this case it had to be one album as it’s one of my favorite Evergrey albums.

So Part 1 is broken up into 1.1 and 1.2.

“In Search of Truth” is the third studio album and first concept album by Evergrey. It is the first album to feature guitarist Henrik Danhage and bassist Michael Håkansson, as well as the only one to feature keyboardist Sven Karlsson. Founder and mainstay, Tom Englund is on vocals and guitars with the very underrated Patrick Carlsson on drums.

Produced by Andy LaRocque, who had produced all the band’s previous albums up to now.

The album deals with alien abductions, based on the allegedly factual account of alien abduction victim Whitley Strieber’s book “Communion”.

The album cover was created by Swedish graphic designer Mattias Norén, who I once contacted for a possible album cover for an album I was involved in, before I decided to go with Brazilian artist, Gustavo Sazes.

An alien abduction story can be sort of blah, but Englund is the master at showcasing his personal side in the lyrics. So what we hear lyrically is how the main character struggles to understand what is happening and how scared and confused they are.

“The Masterplan”

Less than 5 minutes and what an opener. One of my favourite songs from Everygrey. Make sure you check out the live version on “A Night To Remember”. They do a Maiden “Running Free” singalong after the lead section which is perfect.

And the music video clip, with people painted to blend in the walls is unsettling as their eyes open, as the main character is being watched at all times.

“I have decided to keep this tape recorder with me at all times. Just so that I maybe one day can explain all the strange things happening to me. The lack of sleep…the loss of time. But most of all, the sensation of never being lonely…always being watched…”

And then the 7/8 syncopated intro blasts off.

Then that Chorus. The constant double kick, the power chords and the vocal melody which sings;

We are all a part off, forced to live within, a conspiracy for ages, the masterplan

The next time the second chorus rolls around, there is a little melodic lead before it. It’s a “why not” moment, to break up the verse and chorus structure.

The instrumental section in the interlude, the lead break and how they come out of this interlude and back into the Chorus. A masterpiece.

Make sure you check out Henrik Danhage’s outro lead break.

“Rulers Of The Mind”

It has another memorable intro.

The stomping drumming in the verses reminds me of “Kashmir”.

There is this orchestral choir happening over one of the lead breaks, which is unsettling.

And how good is the Chorus vocal melody and we had to live through an intro, two verses and a solo before we got to it. And then there is silence and a piano line. And slowly, it rebuilds up.

Make sure to check out the lead break at the 3.50 mark. Then at 4.21 those orchestral choirs come back in. They are cinematic and desperate. And the last 50 seconds, the Chorus reappears.

At 6 minutes long it didn’t get boring and I press repeat.

“Watching The Skies”

It feels like a Malmsteen or Dream Theater cut with the keyboard solo. And the double kick drumming from Patrick Carlsson is relentless, fast when it needs to be and syncopated when it needs to be.

Check out the section from 4.05 and the excellent lead break kicks in at 4.45.

“State Of Paralysis”

It has a haunting piano riff to kick it off and Englund is in theatre mode as he plays a fearful and confused abductee.

“They’re coming, they’re coming”

Englund keeps repeating those words.

“The Encounter”

“State of Paralysis” and “The Encounter” are basically the same song split into two different tracks. This one is progressive. Like Dream Theater “Awake” style of album.

Make sure you check out the guitar solo at the 3 minute mark and there is this ten second guitar melody that plays between 3.50 and 4.00.

And those same words, “they’re coming” keep reappearing.

“Mark Of The Triangle”

This is probably Evergrey at its progressive best, with tempo changes and technical playing. But still accessible.

The start alone has the bass locking in with the kick drum while the synth plays chords and the guitars play a lead.

This morphs into the guitars syncopating, with double kick drumming and the keyboard playing a melodic lead.

And it quietens down to the verse, which is just bass, piano and drums with a vocal melody.

At 1.30 the trademark Evergrey syncopated riff kicks in. It’s their style.

The whole guitar solo section from 3.55. Listen to the piano riff that kicks it off. All the pop songs from Max Martin use it. It’s a Sweden thing.

At the 5 minute mark the synths become dominant and its cinematic.

“Dark Waters”

The symphonic choir is haunting.

At 2.44 there is a different symphonic choir for a few seconds that reminds me of “Suite Sister Mary” from Queensryche. Which isn’t surprising as Queensryche is listed as an influence.

And the last three minutes of the song is epic, reminding me of songs like “The Aftermath” and “The Storm Within” from their recent albums.

“Different World’s”

How good is the piano intro?

And then Englund sings, with all his emotion.

The piano takes centre stage again at the 50 second mark with another iconic riff.

Then it goes back to the piano intro and an acoustic guitar with more vocals.

At 3.26, it’s the tape narrative again about, “oh god, it’s happening again”. The piano is haunting and at the 4 minute the guitar solo begins with big bends.

“Misled”

The album closer. It starts off with a piano riff and then the band cranks in.

Listen to the ahh choir before the Chorus and then there is a blast beat section of furious double kick before the Chorus kicks in.

Each verse has a different riff but within the same chord structure. Its creative and a progressive way of thinking.

At 2.59, it’s the style of Evergrey that they have carried to this day, syncopated staccato guitar riffs with a keyboard melody over the top.

The whole guitar solo section and coming out of it needs to be heard.

And then its silence, with a taped piano riff playing and Englund singing, “I’m crawling back to sleep” before the whole band kicks in.

I have to mention again that Tom Englund is a very underrated vocalist. Each song bears his emotion and soul. You hear anger, sadness, hope, fear and happiness. His voice is strong, ballsy, unique to him and it avoids sounding like a Geoff Tate or Ray Adler or Bruce Dickinson or David Coverdale copycat which a lot of artists started doing to get a break in the market. And throughout this album, his voice moves between strong and bold to panic, crying and whimpering in “Different Worlds” as he narrates, “Oh, god, it’s happening again / I don’t wanna be here / I wanna go home”.

This was also Evergrey’s first release on German label, “Inside Out”, a move up to a bigger label from their previous independent label. For the label, Inside Out, 2001 was a big year as they released “Burn the Sun” from Ark, “Terria” from Devin Townsend and “In Search Of Truth” from Evergrey, all seen as defining albums in the progressive metal genre.

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