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

The Record Vault – Audrey Horne

Their 2010 self–titled album and the song “Sail Away” hooked me in. So I went from downloading the band illegally, to being a buyer in 2013, when they released “Youngblood”.

And I liked it.

And I’ve liked the albums that have come after in “Pure Heavy”, released in 2014 and “Blackout” released in 2018 especially the songs, “This Is War” and “Audrevolution”.

And the lyrics in the “This Is War” chorus are perfect, “I’m fuel to the fire, Flame rising higher, This is war, We’ll never be silent or divided, This is war.”

And of course, “Audrevolution” has the lines, “Welcome to the Audrevolution, 666 our own constitution.”

I digress.

Back to “Youngblood”.

Every time I see the title “Youngblood”, two things come to mind. The Rob Lowe ice hockey movie and the song from Whitesnake from the “Saints and Sinners” album.

But “Redemption Blues” kicks the album off.

The harmony intro hooks me in right away and I love the 12/8 feel in the verses which reminds me of “Phantom Of The Opera” from Iron Maiden. And that riff after the solo, it’s metal all the way to the steel making factory.

And the way they sing “And I’m going nowhere” is perfect.

These bones of mine are dressed to kill

I’ve seen people in the throes of addiction and man, I couldn’t believe how wraith like they looked. You see when you are on a high, you don’t even think about eating or sleeping, unless you pass out.

I made myself what I am now and I lost myself

And there is no one to blame except yourself. The decisions you made in your past have all led to this destination. I read some research that said trauma is generational and it takes up to six generations for the trauma that their ancestors witnessed to pass. Maybe there is a scientific explanation as to why some people have a more addictive attitude than others.

“Straight Into Your Grave” is up next with its “Highway Star” merged with “Speed King” merged with “Neon Knights” kind of vibe.

Tellin’ lies as I look in their faces
I’ve got it all but I could always use some more

The people in your inner circle trust you. They will give you the benefit of the doubt and they will be there for you. You should think twice before you lie to them. It doesn’t work well and what you would end up doing is ruining a precious relationship. These people will tell you the truth and will challenge you to become a better version of yourself.

“Youngblood” at number three, keeps the knock out punches going and if the riff doesn’t grab you, then the vocal melody in the verses will and if that doesn’t do it, the chorus vocal melody will. And if none of those grab you, then this band isn’t for you.

Lyrically, “Youngblood” comes across as misfit, a rebel and an outcast, who even showed the devil how to steal.

And that lead break, especially the harmonies works so well.

“He learned to read between the lines and he carved the things he’s seen Into his skin” is a brilliant lyric line. The carving bit can be tattoos or self-harm or just picking at the skin.

“There Goes a Lady” starts off with a riff that reminds me of “Perfect Strangers” from Deep Purple and a simple connection like that hooks me in.

“Cards with the Devil” just rumbles in with a riff that is reminiscent of a David Lee Roth era Van Halen song and I love these little connections to the past.

The gravedigger got his eye on me
He carved my name with his bony hand
The footsteps in the hall
Are makin’ me feel uncomfortable
And I am runnin’ out of sand

“Pretty Little Sunshine” at track 7 has one of the most classic of drum beats to kick it off, and you get to hear how they are driven out of their minds by the pretty little sunshine. The lead break in the song reminds me of “Love Gun”.

“The Open Sea” is one of my favourite tracks. The exotic sounding riff in the verses is heavy as lead (and also reminiscent of “Stockholm Syndrome” from Muse) and the chorus is arena rock all the way.

“This Ends Here” is another classic track buried deep towards the end of the album and if you don’t have the patience to listen to a whole album you would have missed out on hearing it.

Musically, Audrey Horne is a cross between Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Thin Lizzy, Rainbow, Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Kiss, AC/DC, Bad Company, Van Halen, Ozzy (solo era), Judas Priest, Whitesnake and Toto and any other influence the guys in the band have been exposed to. So many different styles from so many different bands and eras, its pure eargasm.

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

Things My Father Said

“It was all about rebellion”, my Dad once said to me. “Moving away from what’s expected”.

The things my father said
Would make me a better man,
Hard work and the love of friends
A woman that understands.

My dad was born in 1944 while Europe was still in War. It’s funny how people still continued to find ways to live with love and hope while madmen proceeded to kill millions and spread fear.

And once the war was done, the children of the war/post war became the twenty year olds in the 1960s, looking for a different kind of freedom and trying to find their place in life. They didn’t have the fear to live their lives to what others might think they should.

My Dad crossed oceans on a ship to come to Australia, even after his Dad threatened to kill the whole family if he left. He didn’t have to leave, he was comfortable but “then again no one ever accomplished anything from their comfort zone”.

When he arrived in Australia, he was close to death from sea sickness and when they made land in Melbourne, he was pale and waif like.

We lived in the best neighbourhood, surrounded by beaches and steel factories. We didn’t knock down or rebuild, we maintained what we had. The corrugated iron roof was rusted and leaking, so Dad changed that with terracotta tiles. Inside, the walls looked a bit tattered so dad went to work replacing those walls as well. Little did we know that the fibro on the walls contained asbestos. We broke it, stamped on it, played with it and what not. Not ideal knowing what we know now, however that’s how it was.

But when it came to food and entertainment, there was no limit. My dad was a muso and made decent money from it. For a few years in the 80’s he was making more money playing than working overtime in the steel factories. He would come home, I would count his cash and then he’d give me a $20 note for my efforts of counting. I went straight to Rings Music World or I kept it safe until the weekend markets, so I could buy vinyl.

And my dad is funny. He always looked for humour in life, plus he liked to get on the drink. But when it was time to get serious, he was. Fearfully serious. I feared him because as a kid growing up, I hardly saw him. He was too busy working and bringing money home to keep the roof over our heads. It wasn’t until I got older that I built a relationship with him.

When I got my license, Dad said I could drive his van, as long as I woke up early to take him to work and that I was home between 3pm to 3.30pm, to take his call and he would tell me if he was either finishing at 4pm and to pick him up, or he was working overtime and that he would call again at another time he selected for pick up. I know it sounds complicated but it worked.

For me, waking up at 6am to take him to work was no different to waking up at 7am. The “being at home” in the afternoon to wait for the phone call was hard (especially during summer) and this was in the era of pre-mobiles, so you HAD to be home to take the phone call.

One time I wasn’t home, so Mum took the call and Dad said to pick him up at 4pm. But she couldn’t pass on the message to me, because this was the pre-mobiles era and she didn’t know where I was. So Dad waited and when I was a no show he walked home. I got home at 5.30pm and Dad was there. My heart sank. He looked angry, disappointed and afraid.

“Are you okay, I was worried”, he said.

I replied back I was fine and started to stutter a response. He said there was no need to talk, he’s just happy that I’m safe.

He didn’t care for my reasons and to be honest I don’t really remember why I wasn’t home. It wasn’t for any earth shattering life altering experience.

And the stroke in February, 2006 should have killed him and if it didn’t kill home it should have paralyzed him according to the Doctors. But it just took his speech. He still rises each morning, drives, wipes his own arse and smiles when he sees his family.

And for some reason today “Things My Father Said” from Black Stone Cherry and “Father, Mother, Son” from The Scream played. And it got me thinking about Dad.

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

The Record Vault – Alter Bridge

 December 29, 2002 and Creed take to the stage in Chicago. Scott Stapp performs, rolling around on the stage floor, passing out and going missing for long periods between songs. In the aftermath of the show, a class-action lawsuit is filed against the band by fans, due to Stapp’s behaviour.

I watched their Sydney show months earlier and I thought Scott Stapp was acting weird, so it was no surprise to me that by the end of the year, the band was imploding.

I am a Creed fan because of Mark Tremonti. Every time he was interviewed in the Guitar magazines I used to buy, he came across as very knowledgeable about his instrument and his influences which involved Randy Rhoads, Slayer, Metallica and shredders from the 80’s.

When I heard that he started a new project with a release ready for 2004, I was interested, and although the songs on the debut sound like Creed songs, the biggest difference is that “more guitar solos” started creeping in and vocally, Myles Kennedy has a bigger range, however I am also a fan of Scott Stapp’s baritone, Eddie Vedder style voice.

The single “Open Your Eyes” comes out first, and I am a first week buyer of it. Plus I always enjoyed buying singles that had non-album tracks, in this case, the song “Save Me” which appeared on the “Elektra” movie soundtrack.

Then the album “One Day Remains” comes out and I am a first week buyer again. And like the single, it’s advertised as “the guys from Creed with Myles Kennedy on vocals”, but hey, if this link to the past was needed to get them an audience, then so be it. Because the next album, “Blackbird” was just advertised as Alter Bridge.

“Blackbird” the song also has one of the best interludes I’ve ever heard, with two guitar solos, one from Myles Kennedy and another shred like solo from Mark Tremonti. And the way it all builds back up into the song, is excellent.

And “III” is dark, different. “Slip To The Void” kicks it all off with a sad synth riff. “Isolation” brings the speed metal, which they more or less touched on with each previous album.

The “Fortress” album is unpredictable and even Tremonti’s use of the wah, became non-existent, his use of descending legato licks got less and chicken picking came in.

“Cry Of Achilles”, “Addicted To Pain” and “Bleed It Dry” is a triple combo knockout punch and the piece d’resistance is the title track “Fortress”, especially that “Revelation (Mother Earth” influenced section.

And all of their albums are on Spotify to stream and by doing this post I realized I need to add “The Last Hero” and their new one to my collection.

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

The Record Vault – The Almighty

The Hot Metal magazine in Australia did a stellar review of the album which got me interested and the cover art was enough to get me to pick it up and stare it for a while, while the track titles sealed the deal.

Ricky Warwick is now the front man of Black Star Riders, but once upon a time he was the front man for a very underrated band called “The Almighty” who are from Scotland. “Soul Destruction” is the second studio album released by Polydor Records. 

“Crucify” kicks the album off with a double kick drum intro which brings back memories of “Overkill” from Motorhead.  Ricky Warwick vocally brings his Brian Johnson style instead of his Phil Lynott voice.

“Free ‘N’ Easy” is one of their best tracks. It should have been the catch cry of the Napster generation with the lyric line, “Everything is so free and easy, everything is so free and wild”.

“Joy Bang One Time” has a riff that reminds of “Psycho Love” from Skid Row, merged with “Welcome To The Jungle” and “My Michelle” from “Appetite For Destruction” and the song is telling you to lose your mind for that joy bang one time. 

“Love Religion” has this swampy delta blues riff to kick it off, which i dig.

“Friends won’t answer your phone call” kicks off the “Bandaged Knees” chorus and at 6 minutes long, it’s not a radio friendly tune, but it got more heart and soul and rock and roll attitude than anything that was doing the charts.

“Little Lost Sometimes” is like “Hey Jude” merged with “Let It Be” merged with “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”. And at track 8, this seven minute song is buried deep in the album. Press play and allow yourself to get a little lost sometimes.

“Devil’s Toy” is a classic Warwick cut, with “Love, only love, love is the devils toy” being the catch cry.

The song “Soul Destruction” never made it to the album, but there is a demo on YouTube which is raw, full of attitude and the rock and roll spirit. Crank it.

 

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

The Record Vault – Anew Revolution

“Rise”came out in 2008.

I downloaded it via a cyber locker like Rapidshare or MegaUpload.

The way cyber lockers worked was;

  • a normal blog site would put up links to the music.
  • The links would refer you to the cyber locker website.
  • You would wait 90 seconds or less for the ads to play and the download link would be made available to you.
  • Eventually the U.S government via the sponsorships of the RIAA and MPAA went after these cloud storage cyber locker sites.

Remember Kim Dotcom from MegaUpload. His house was raided like he was a terrorist in the morning and all because he provided a service to people to store files in the cloud.

A lot of people used these sites to store their photos or work documents and they lost it all when the US Government went after these sites and took possession of their servers.

Anyway, going back to “Rise”. I liked it, so I purchased it. And the below is from a review a did a while back.

Done

You wanna try me you might be the one who goes down
I’ve had it up to here with your rule
You’re such a two face it’s too late to take back those words

We have all dealt with people like this. One thing life has taught me is nothing is forever, and that means relationships.

Nme

I can’t believe I finally see the enemy in you

Yes, that best friend, might scheme and lie. Yes, that great love, might scheme and lie.

Eventually all the lies come down like a house of cards and those people you trusted suddenly become untrustworthy. And it’s hard to take when it first happens. There is anger, a feeling of being wronged and disbelief that it’s happened for so long.

But, humans are resilient and we rise again, better and stronger than before.

Generation

We are the voice of our lives,
But no one’s listening.

Eventually people will listen. It just takes time, effort and commitment. We give up too easily.

And how long, how long,
Can I fake this?

How long can we really fake our lives?

We have so many tools at our disposal to connect with people and we remain even more isolated.

Rise

Hey you
Stand the fuck up and rise
I’m not afraid

It’s pretty simple. Stand up, don’t be afraid. Easier said than done, because of what could come after. Life is always a struggle. People in power versus the ones who work for them. Some abuse the power they have and others are more utopian.

I can’t fake the way I feel inside
Every one of those eyes judging me
It’s funny how things change
I redefine how messed up this life can really be

There was a time when every action and every word that came from me was so thought out because I didn’t want to be judged or questioned for my actions/words. As I got older, I ceased to care about those kind of social arrangements. Life is too short for me to care and there are too many other things I care more about now.

Let Go

There’s history there and no one wants to let go, even though it’s over. The thought of starting over again is too frightening. So you hold on to each other, playing games, blaming each other even more and eventually you both stop trying to save what can’t be saved anymore. So you let go.

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

Damn Yankees and Tangier

Oh, you young Spotify AI, recommending albums I have heard a hundred times before you were even born, but since, I haven’t listened to em on your service you need to recommend them.

So based on my Sammy Hagar listening a few weeks ago, the AI is telling me I need to check out “Contagious” from Y&T.

However I cannot stream the album in Australia, which is bizarre and why would the AI recommend an album which is unavailable to be played here. And really, would you say that Y&T is similar to Sammy Hagar?

I wouldn’t, but hey, the AI is slowly learning from me, until the time comes when its fully formed killer robotic version takes over the world in “Judgement Day”.

Since there was no “Contagious” to listen to, next up on the AI list of artists similar to Sammy is Damn Yankees. Um, again not similar, however it’s pretty easy to tell that the coders of the AI probably watched “School Of Rock” and that was enough for them to know the family tree of rock music.

When is Spotify going to realise that they need people who know the genre and blog about it, to tell them how it is done and how to make connections?

Anyway, Damn Yankees released one hell of good rock album in 1990. The brainchild of John Kalodner, it worked musically for two rocking albums. You take a piece of Styx, a piece of Night Ranger and a whole lot of Ted Nugent and you get the big bang, because no one really knew how it would end up. Well two plus million in sales is how it ended up.

“Coming Of Age” rocks straight out of the gate, and the Nuge delivers a stellar pentatonic lead break. The lyrics of a little sister, hitting the stage and coming of age didn’t do it for me, but hey rock and roll was never about making sense.

“Bad Reputation” in the first 30 seconds starts off with a power chord groove which gets me hooked, then the single note riff gets the foot tapping, before it goes into a clean tone bass groove for the verse, which reminds of Def Leppard. It’s a keeper.

“High Enough” has a cool minor key verse and a vocal melody which is memorable.

The song “Damn Yankees” could have appeared on a Guns N Roses album.

“Come Again” is one of those songs that stands out, moving between power ballad and rocker, with great vocals and a melody which sticks around long after the song has finished. And that lead break from the Nuge, is one of his best, by far. It’s a pretty big reason why I press repeat on the song. Plus you get a bonus outro lead break as well.

“Rock City” is “Turbo Lover” re-incarnated and I dig it. It’s also a blast to play on the guitar. And those G string tearing bends and whammy dives from the Nuge are huge. After the solo break, he plays a staccato lick that reminds me of John Sykes (Children Of The Night) and Jake E Lee (Waiting For Darkness).

And “Piledriver” could have ended up on a Van Halen album with Sammy singing. Maybe that is the connection. I doubt it.

Next up, the AI is telling me artists similar to Hurricane. And the two that caught my attention are Tangier and their album “Four Winds” and “Up From The Ashes” from Dokken.

Now Tangier was more Lynyrd Skynyrd merged with Bad Company than hair rock or hair metal, but hey, the record label and magazines decided, the band was a hair band and it got promoted as such. Hence the connection to “Hurricane”. And when I got this album on LP, I spun it regularly.

“On The Line” is Tangier’s best song. There is a familiarity to it, the melody is strong and the music rocks and wails when it needs to. The lyrics paint a picture of meeting your end walking the streets at night, and it was never going to break the charts, but, hey, music was never meant to chart.

“Four Winds” is worthy of a title track and the opening lyric of feeling a cold wind blowing and how it tells a tale of a thousand years still connects. If only nature could talk, what stories it would have to spin.

“Fever For Gold” could have come from a Bad Company album and “Southbound Train” continues that Lynyrd Skynyrd merged with Bad Company vibe and I was always wondering the destination of the southbound train. Since South is down, I guess the promised land for Tangier is hell. Nice touch, I must say.

And “Sweet Surrender” feels like it came from a 1972 album, or maybe it’s the similarity to “Tie Your Mother Down” in the riff which gets me, or the harmony leads after the Chorus that sound like they came from a Sweet record.

“Bad Girl” has this repeating lick which grabs you by the throat and drowns you in the swamp it was created in.

Finally, the highly anticipated, expensive and delayed solo album from Don Dokken comes up on my home page as an album I need to play, however it is not available to be played in Australia. The algorithm again doesn’t even know that. Anyway a big missed opportunity by Geffen and Don Dokken to earn some extra cents. Then again since the masters of this recording got burned, who knows what copy of the album is available.

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

Twisted Sister and Slaughter

“Love Is For Suckers” was released in 1987. It was meant to be Dee Snider’s first solo album. Instead it was the final Twisted Sister album.

Twisted Sister had released three career defining albums in “Under The Blade”, “You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll” and “Stay Hungry”. Then came “Come Out And Play” and it didn’t do as well as “Stay Hungry” however that didn’t mean it was a shit album.

But hey, when something doesn’t meet the sales expectations, someone needs to be blamed. The tour also had a lot of cancellations and half empty arenas.

One of my favourite songs is “Wake Up (The Sleeping Giant)”. A simple riff in the key of Am kicks off the song before it morphs into an A5 Power Chord groove like Acca Dacca.

Who the hell are they to say
What we can do and how we can play

Anyone who has the money or the power or the authority, will always be looking to control others. It happens at home, in school, in the workplace and in society. Even in your friends circle you will have someone who is like a pseudo leader.

We got the numbers, yeah,
We got the might
We got the strength and
We got the right
We got the reason, yeah,
We got the night
So wake up the sleeping giant

I always saw the WE in the song, as the metal heads.

But by 1987, we had woken up and we needed something else lyrically. We had been hearing this same message for the last 6 years. Metallica nailed it a year later when they released an album about the corruption in the justice system. Black Sabbath Ozzy era came back into the public conversation because we liked to “smoke the sky” and there’s no better song for it then “Sweat Leaf”. Motley Corabi Crue wrote a killer track as well in 1994 called “Smoke The Sky”.

It’s our rights they’re abusing,
It’s our right to fight back
So rally the troops and
Let’s start the attack

It’s the war cry against the censorship that was taking place against heavy metal music. But the troops weren’t sure if they wanted to commit. A troop who was a rebel in 1983 and wasn’t gonna take it, had now graduated and is in college and are on their way to becoming part of the degree factory and another stat in the workforce.

“Tonight”, “Me And The Boys” with its “Summer Of 69” style riff and “Love Is For Suckers” are all strong songs.

“Hot Love” and “Yeah Right” are also cool and they round out the quality of the album for me.

The album had “Slippery When Wet” from Bon Jovi, “Girls Girls Girls” from Motley Crue, and “Whitesnake 1987” to compete against. All of those albums were in the Billboard Top 10. “Look What the Cat Dragged In” from Poison was just outside at number 13. “5150” was doing great business and “The Final Countdown” was also setting charts alight. To top it off, two 87 releases were slowly percolating lower down the charts getting ready to break through. Those albums being “Appetite For Destruction” and “Hysteria”.

Basically, a lot of competition for people’s ears and minds.

Going into 1995, Slaughter went from platinum darlings in 1992, to a band without a label. Their label Chrysalis Records was taken over by EMI and EMI didn’t have room for Slaughter.

How things change in three years?

The band also had issues within. Guitarist Tim Kelly was arrested on drug trafficking charges and had a legal mess up until 1997. A year later he would tragically die in a traffic accident. Main co-songwriter and bassist Dana Strum also injured his hand in a motorcycle accident so that delayed the writing and recording.

Lucky for the band a new label called CMC International was formed in 1991 and all they wanted to sign was hard rock and heavy metal artists.

So in 1995, Slaughter finally released “Fear No Evil” and no one even knew or cared. This is what its like when the record label doesn’t know how to compete in the current market place. Just because Grunge and Industrial Metal became mainstream it didn’t mean that hard rock and classic heavy metal had no audience. But the labels had no idea who and where the audience was. Most record shops would promote what was popular and only the ones who specialize in genres would have the rock and metal and even those stores would promote what was popular.

“Live Like There’s No Tomorrow” kicks off with an “Immigrant Song” vibe and wail, and you need to check out the solo section. And if you’re looking for a ballad like Slaughter, the opening track delivers a blistering speed metal song which I class as one of Slaughter’s best.

“Keep lookin’ forward don’t ever look back”, is one of the lines which stood out. And I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Mark Slaughter was thinking of Tim Kelly when he wrote the lines, “you’re livin’ everyday of your life like there’s no tomorrow”.

“Hard Times” is another song which is ignored but it shouldn’t be. Just press play to hear the intro riff which reminds me of “The Headless Cross” from Black Sabbath.

It also has cool lyrics like “so now you learn from the concrete and pavement, it’s hard to see through city lies” and those lines connected. Because failing leads to growth and the city lies shows how people are always scheming to get ahead to the detriment of others.

“Prelude / Outta My Head” is a great combination of an acoustical piece leading into a rocking track. These two songs wouldn’t light up the charts but they would become fan favorites. The riff is good and the lead break is excellent but the lyrics didn’t match the excellence.

“Unknown Destination” has a lead section which I dig and the lyrics about travellers from the East who don’t know where they’ll be tomorrow captures the gypsy life and maybe we all should be doing a bit of that. Instead we get up and get to our first destination, the office and then get to our next destination, home. In between, there will be other destinations like school drop off or pick up and getting some groceries from food outlets.

Anyway the messages I get from the two albums is don’t let people in power abuse your rights and don’t be afraid to fail, because if you want to live your life like no tomorrow you need to feel the concrete and pavement.

And both artists felt the concrete and pavement a few times in their careers.

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