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

September 2020 – Part 4

Seether

Originally from South Africa.

Seether these days are founding members Shaun Morgan on vocals and Dale Steward on bass. Drummer John Humphrey joined in 2003 and now they have Corey Lowery on guitar who has been in a few modern rock bands like Saint Asonia, Dark New Day, Eye Empire and Stuck Mojo and is the brother to Clint Lowery, the guitarist from Sevendust.

The album is called “Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum”. The title translates from Latin to, ‘If you want peace, prepare for war’.

There form of fuzzy rock always gets me interested. And man, Shaun Morgan can write riffs.

And the first track “Dead And Alone” starts. It’s doomy and very Sabbath like with a very Tool meets Rage Against The Machine vibe in the verses. Or Deftones.

On a side note, did you know that guitarists Tom Morello from RATM and Adam Jones from Tool were in a band together before they went and formed the bands that the world knows. These two dudes changed modern rock guitar.

And the bass guitar is always prominent in Seether like in “Bruised And Bloodied” with an addictive and melodic vocal melody showcasing the pipes on Shaun Morgan.

“Dangerous” is another melodic post grunge rock song. The bass guitar kicks it off again and the vocal line is catchy.

The last two minutes of “Buried In The Sand” are so doomy yet melodic.

“Failure” is another track that kicks off with the bass and a catchy melodic vocal line. And man, the lyrics.

And yeah I live my life like a broken-hearted failure / I’m trying to shed some light on the scars left by the razors

The feelings of depression, self-loathing, and anxiety are conveyed in the lyrics and the music builds in intensity at the right moment.

And the closer, “Written In Stone” keeps the melancholy going, with its clean tone arpeggio intro and slow build as it percolates. And I’m waiting for it to explode in intensity, but it doesn’t, which is also a good thing.

I read a Kerrang review of this album which said the “songs are either power-chorus cheese that’s still waiting to see if the invitation to appear on the Spider-Man soundtrack with Chad Kroeger turns up in the post, or mid-paced nu-metal with the volume turned down.

In other words the review states the album sounds dated.

But that’s exactly why I like em.

Needtobreathe

The first time I came across this band was via an Amazon referral when I purchased either a “Casting Crowns” or “Skillet” or “Thousand Foot Krutch” album back in 2012. So I went to the pirate sites and YouTube and sampled em. And I moved on. There was a lot of material there to digest and I wasn’t really in the mood to explore deep. My third child was under six months, I had surgery on my foot three times to put screws in and then to take the screws out and my mindset wasn’t on exploring new music.

Fast forward many years later and Mr Jon Snow at 2loud2oldmusic.com is a fan of the band and writes enthusiastically about em. You can read the review from 2loud2old here. The enthusiasm rubs off and I’m keen to explore, and my mood is very different.

“Alive” kicks the album off nicely and “Out Of Body” feels like a Springsteen song in the verses and I like it. “Riding High” sounds like a cross between Bad Company and The Eagles. And there are other songs to check out like “Who Am I”, “Banks”, “Bottom Of A Heartbreak” and “Seasons”.

Disturbed

“If I Ever Lose My Faith In You” is Disturbed trying to re-capture their “The Sound Of Silence” moment.

Stryper

Michael Sweet is working hard, writing and recording new music via his many different projects but the project which is his bread and butter and which led to him being who he is, is Stryper.

“Even The Devil Believes” is basically pushing the metal Stryper sound of the last few albums, which in reality was a return to their “Soldiers Under Command” sound from the 80’s and it showcases the influence of Judas Priest to their music.

Standout tracks are “Blood From The Above”, “Make Love Great Again”, “Do Unto Others”, “Even The Devil Believes”, “How To Fly”, “Invitation Only” and “For God & Rock ‘N’ Roll” which starts off with the same drum pattern that Robert Sweet uses for “To Hell With The Devil”.

Bruce Springsteen

Springsteen is always here and there with me. “Letter To You” means he’s back to being here. It’s one of those “My Hometown” style tracks which I like.

And theres this interview video of Springsteen doing the rounds on social media about “when Trump loses the next election”.

The Boss has spoken.

Mastodon

This is an old track that appeared on a new compilation album.

And how can you not like a track called “White Walker”?

But the tribal drum start that gets you. It makes you feel like you are in the snow, living the life of a Wilding with the threat of these ancient beings.

September became a big month for releases in 2020 because so many albums got pushed back to this month because of coronavirus, so there will be a few more posts to come.

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

September 2020 – Part 3

This post covers two good albums. One is melodic hard rock like the good ol 80s and the other is melodic modern rock like the good ol 00s.

Landfall

From Brazil.

Another melodic rock band signed to Frontiers. Their Frontiers press announcement says this about their sound.

“Landfall’s sound can be described as falling between classic melodic rock a là Journey with some slightly heavier influences, such as classic era Dokken, White Lion, and Extreme.”

I didn’t expect to like this as much as I did.

This album reminds me of the first two albums of Harem Scarem. It reminds me of Mr Big’s first two albums. It reminds me of Pretty Maids. It reminds me of acts like Tangier who came out in the early 90’s and never really had a chance. It reminds me of Cinderella, Winger and Skid Row. It reminds of Ratt. It reminds me of Van Halen. And I can go on and on and on. It’s basically the 80’s repackaged into an excellent album.

And they show their influences without copying.

“Rush Hour” takes me back to the late 80’s with a song which sounds like it came from a Pretty Maids album with Mr Big’s “Addicted To The Rush” chucked in.

“No Way Out” brings out the Bad English vibe.

“Jane’s Carousel” has this verse riff which puts me back into the 80’s but it sounds like the Paul Stanley song “Live To Win”, only lighter.

“Across The Street” has this Night Ranger feel.

“Taxi Driver” feels like it came from a Van Halen album with Steve Perry like vocals. And the lead break is very Vito Bratta like. Just listen to it and you’ll know what I mean.

“Distant Love” is basically a Journey cut. Hell, it can even appear on a Revolution Saints album with Deen Castronovo singing.

“Roundabout” took all the excellent things about Autograph and mixed in some Def Leppard and made a real cool track.

“Road Of Dreams” can be interchanged with any Revolution Saints track.

“Sound Of The City” closes the album and it makes me press repeat to re-listen to it again.

This album brings back that feel-good 80’s vibe with the window down, driving 100km on the highway and the wind licking my face on my way to the city with hopes and dreams.

Adelitas Way

From the U.S.

Adelitas Way has over 1m listeners on Spotify and songs like “Invincible” have 34m streams and counting. They have a fan base and they’ve been servicing this fan base for a decade. When it comes to Modern Rock acts, this band is up there.

When I pressed play on “What It Takes” I thought I was listening to Digital Summer. They are an independent band I’ve supported over the last 15 years.

And the album is full of that modern rock vibe, a cross between Shinedown, Three Days Grace and Nickelback. It’s a guilty pleasure and I like it.

“Stay Ready” could have come from a Linkin Park album, the ones with heavy guitars and melodic vocals. And it’s one of my favourites on the album.

“My Derailment” is the best song that Nickelback hasn’t written in the last 5 years.

Other tracks worthy of a listen are “What It Takes”, “All In”, “Shine On”, “Stay”, “Habit” and “Heartbreak”.

Part 4 is coming up.

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

September 2020 – Part 2

Sevendust

I purchased my first Sevendust record back in 99 because I read the reviews about crashing guitars and melodic vocals, so I was keen to check em out. I took the CD home, unwrapped it, and looked at the album credits and the thank you credits before hearing a note. And I saw a name I was familiar with.

Jay Jay French was their manager. The same Jay Jay French from Twisted Sister.

Their first three albums (the self-titled debut released in 97, “Home” released in 99 and “Animosity” released in 2001) all went Gold in the U.S. and they got some traction in Australia as well.

I have been on and off the Sevendust train over the last 20 plus years and “Blood From A Stone” the lead single from their upcoming album is good enough to get me back on the train.

Starset

Their most streamed song, “Trials” has been reimagined.

And I didn’t like the original cut of the song, but I like the reimagined one. Which could be strange for fans of the original cut, because when George Lynch reimagined the “Wicked Sensation” album, I hated it, but other people could hear that reimagined version first and like it.

I guess like me with this band.

Khemmis

From Denver, Colorado, USA.

They took their name from an Ancient Egyptian city and more or less their whole Spotify collection is on this list as I really got into em over the month of September.

It was the blog “The Great Southern Brainfart” that got me interested.

The “Absolution” album was released in 2015.

That down-tuned, sludge like, fuzzed out, doom is all over this album but it’s the last track, the sombre “The Bereaved” which grabs me. It starts off with clean tone arpeggios before moving to a doom riff conjured from the darkest places a person could find.

And there is shred over the intro, so I wasn’t sure if this song is an 8 minute instrumental or if this was just one super long intro, because at 3 minutes in, no vocals had been heard.

And then they start at 3.11.

The “Hunted” album was released in 2016.

“Beyond The Door” and “Hunted” are the standout tracks. At 9 minutes and 12 minutes long, they roll along as an amalgamation of the “IV” album from Black Sabbath merged with the Gothenburg metal scene.

Especially the title track.

The “Desolation” album was released in 2018.

“Bloodletting” gets things off to a nice start but it’s the second track “Isolation” which gets me interested.

But “From Ruin” is the star of the album. That intro is so depressingly heavy it feels like lead on my shoulders.

Out of the darkest night / no one could help me find a way / but in the new spring dawn / I find the strength to carry on

Each new day is a new way to do things. To be seen, to learn, to own what you do and to do it better next time.

Then the song picks up with a 12/8 style riff that reminds me of “Phantom Of The Opera” with some killer leads.

“Doomed Heavy Metal” was released in 2020.

It’s a six song EP, with two originals, an awesome cover of “Rainbow In The Dark” (which sounds like how Ghost would cover it) and three live tracks.

And 2020 also gave us a doomy cover version of “Down In A Hole” from Alice In Chains as well.

They are a band on my radar. I’m interested, let’s see what comes next.

Andy James

From England.

One of my favourite instrumental guitarists going around at the moment.

He started off in the heavy metal band “Sacred Mother Tongue” between the years of 2004 and 2013. In between he also did some solo albums, instructional videos and classes and once he went solo, he also set up his Andy James Guitar Academy.

“Lock N’ Load” has this aggressive Five Finger Death Punch riff, with impressive leads, especially that sing along lead which appears in what I call the Chorus section.

Arctic Rain

From Sweden.

The album is very derivative which is okay for my taste, but “Night After Night” is a melodic rock song that really stands out.

Another act on Frontiers.

I’m also interested, let’s see what comes next.

Shiraz Lane

From Finland and another release on Frontiers.

“Broken Into Pieces” is the lead-off single from the soon to be released third album and I think this could be the album that makes me a fan.

Part 3 for September music coming up soon.

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Unto The Locust

9 years old yesterday.

I was a first day buyer and I got the CD/DVD deluxe version.

7 original tracks and two covers for the deluxe, which had a kick ass version of “The Sentinel” from Judas Priest and “Witch Hunt” from Rush. In addition, there is an acoustic track of “Darkness Within”.

The DVD has a making of documentary which I watched once and I don’t really remember much of except for a debate they had about a song.

Coming into this the album, the thrash tour de force “The Blackening” came out in 2007 and the band went on a three year victory lap with it. That’s right, a three year tour.

And then they dropped this album.

“I Am Hell” kicks it off.

Its a 3 part classical movement, consisting of the main thrash part, the classical outro, and the Latin intro of which Robb recorded 24 separate voices to create it. The Latin words chanted are “Sagre Sani” = Blood saint”, and “Bellator Inferni” = “Hell warrior”.

And I wasn’t all in.

But the last two minutes when the acoustic kicks in for the classical outro had me loosening up to it.

Then the finger tapped intro to track 2 begins and I was really in.

“Be Still And Know” is one of my favourite Machine Head songs.

In this struggle / Are we dead or alive?

What’s the saying, “the standard you walk past is the standard you accept” or something like that.

And life is a struggle, there’s no doubt about that. But it’s all down to the standard we accept. The one that brings change is uncomfortable and the other is comfortable.

And there’s heartache / As we search to connect

We like to say that we know what we are doing but in reality we don’t. We are just working and living off our best guess. So we have heartache and we keep on connecting.

Because relationships are not easy. They need work and sometimes they need downtime.

There is love / Know that we are one / We are all in this together / Weather the storm

If I have my best day or my worst day, that feeling will pass. And in time I’ll forget it because it doesn’t matter. And I’ll experience other days of highs and lows and those feelings will be forgotten as well.

And the fast double kick drum in the solo harmony section is so fast it makes me wonder how all the modern drummers do it so easily.

Glaciers will melt and the oceans rise / Waves will come crashing ashore

Maybe global warming will not pass and we’ll need to deal with the fallout.

And the sun will rise
Dawn will break through the blackest night
Distant in its glow
This shall pass be still and know

And if this was the only good song on the album it was worth it.

But then “Locust” started.

Viewed by many critics at the time as a disappointing follow up to 2007’s “The Blackening”, “Locust” went on to become Machine Head’s #1 streamed song of the digital-era, racking up 25 million streams to date plus 11 million and counting YouTube views.

The clean tone dropped D (but in C#) arpeggio riff is now iconic. It’s a singalong riff in the live arena.

And the lyrical theme is different.

Behind an angel’s disguise, an insect preys
Mandibles cut like a knife, the reckoning

The Locust is an analogy for bad people in human relationships who come and rip you off, rob you off your affection and then leave you stripped and destroyed, the same way a swarm of locusts leave a crop stripped and destroyed.

And if these two tracks proved the best I was happy with the follow up.

But Robb Flynn had been practicing classical guitar and the classical intro to “This Is The End” starts. And I was all in over and over again.

When the harmony guitars come in, the 220bpm riff-a-thon begins.

But the centerpiece is “Darkness Within”. Just listen to it and you will know why. It’s a heavy hard rock song and the lead break from Phil Demmel is Randy Rhoads worthy, a song within a song moment.

Could this album get any better?

It does with the last two originals “Pearls Before The Swine” (think Metallica “Ride The Lightning” era) and “Who We Are” (think Judas Priest Classic album era).

And the cover songs.

Blistering and recorded live in the studio.

Happy 9th birthday.

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

September 2020 – Part 1

Protest The Hero

From Canada.

They just dropped an album a few months ago and now they dropped a 2 song single of tracks that didn’t appear on the album.

If you like technical progressive metal, with vocals ranging from clean tone to death metal, then Protest The Hero is a band you need to check out.

My favourite album is “Volition”. This is the album after they got dropped by their label and they went the fan funded route, which we (the fans) had no problem helping with. But that was almost 7 years ago. In between they did an innovative Bandcamp project.

“Gift Horse” has some serious playing, with clean melodic vocals while “The Duelling Cavalier” continues the technical playing with a memorable guitar intro and corny lyrics, but hey, these dudes write songs about dog laws, Star Trek vs Star Wars, artists ripping fans off at the merchandise stand while they mime on stage, playing a bar in Newfoundland and getting drunk there with the locals plus topics on philosophical and stoic viewpoints on life.

Smith & Myers

I’m a fan of this acoustic side project. If you don’t know, it’s Brent Smith and Zach Myers from Shinedown.

“Not Mad Enough” is a song of the times, living with lockdown, police brutality and protests.

I can’t forgive what I can’t forget
And I can’t forget

It resonates straight away. I can’t forgive what I still remember. It’s a scar, but I move on and I learn from what happened, because it’s easy to blame the moment when things go bad, but really it’s the system that needs to be overhauled. The system that got me to that place in the beginning.

Face down, I can taste the blood
It’s hard to breathe, someone let me up

Whoever lived and saw the footage of George Floyd face down on the pavement, screaming “help me please, I can’t breathe” will never forget it. Because the person who held him down was a Police Officer, a person meant to protect him. And the other police officers just watched on, without doing anything to stop it.

In Flames

They remastered their brilliant “Clayman” album. Musically they are a heavy rock and metal band and the riffs are so catchy and memorable.

Vocally they move between clean tone and death metal, hence the term melodic death metal.

“Bullet Ride” and “Pinball Map”, musically, will not be out of place on a Judas Priest album.

“Only For The Weak” is a doom metal cut. Think of the album “Draconian Times” by Paradise Lost.

“Square Nothing” has this clean tone arpeggio riff with harmony guitars that remind me of Scorpions pre 80’s.

“Clayman” musically is brilliant and at first, the crackled growl vocals didn’t capture me, but the music is that good, that the song became a favourite.

“Satellites And Astronauts” musically could have come from an Iron Maiden album.

“Swim” just makes me pick up the guitar to learn it and “Another Day In Quicksand” has this “The Fire Still Burns” from Twisted Sister groove and riff.

Corey Taylor

He’s one of the better vocalists to have come out in the last 20 years. He can destroy his voice with Slipknot and he can bring the melody, the attitude and the AC/DC barroom brawl whenever he wants to other projects like Stone Sour, various cover songs and now to his own name as a solo act.

“Black Eyes Blue” is basically a hard rock track and I’m interested to hear more.

Redemption

Tom Englund from Evergrey is on vocals for this live recording and as an Evergrey fan I’m all in to the music Englund puts out, but Redemption came on my radar in the early 2000’s because Ray Adler from Fates Warning was on vocals.

The self-titled debut was released in 2003, “The Fullness Of Time” in 2005, “The Origins Of Ruin” in 2007, “Snowfall On Judgement Day” in 2009 and “This Mortal Coil” in 2011. Then a five year gap, and “The Art Of Loss” was released, the last album with Ray Adler on vocals and in 2018 a “Long Nights Journey Into Day” came out with Tom Englund on vocals.

But the band isn’t built around vocalists.

It’s built around guitarist and songwriter Nick Van Dyk, who has Chris Quirarte on drums, Sean Andrews on bass, Simone Mularoni on guitar and Vikram Shankar on keys.

There is a cover of Megadeth’s “Peace Sells” with drummer Chris Quirarte doing an unbelievable Dave Mustaine impression, all the way to the snarls and Chris Poland also guests on the guitar.

“The Echo Chamber” is still a favourite as it has an intro riff that reminds me of “Ytse Jam” from Dream Theater and lyrics so relevant of the time, because the echo chamber phenomenon is real in today’s world, as people expose themselves to information from like-minded individuals and they refuse to believe any other view-points or to research other view-points. The 5G Covid Conspiracy, the No Global Warming outcomes, the QAnon rabbit hole and whatever else that comes out around anti vaccinations and other conspiracies.

Stay tuned for part 2.

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The Record Vault – Belinda Carlisle

Belinda Carlisle’s debut album got some traction in Australia. It for the ball rolling.

For album number 2, “Heaven On Earth” a roster of songwriters was on hand again to deliver the songs and stellar musicians to record.

Dan Huff and John McCurry did most of the guitars.

Huff was well known as a session player and then he got a recoding contract with Giant. Huff even appeared on “Here I Go Again” from Whitesnake as John Kalodner wanted a radio friendly version as well.

For those who don’t know, McCurry wrote and played on a few songs on “Trash” with Alice Copper, played on albums for Cher, Bonnie Tyler, Michael Bolton, Cyndi Lauper, Billy Joel and Taylor Dayne. And Kenny Aronoff did most of the drums. Many more contributed who also appeared on albums from other artists.

The Jovi like “You Give Love A Bad Name” renamed as “Heaven Is A Place On Earth” kicks off the album. And this song was huge in Australia. I guess we like to hear the same thing over and over and over again, with some subtle changes.

It’s written by Rick Nowels and Ellen Shipley and there is a chance you’ve heard there songs before if you’ve listened to Santana, Stevie Nicks, Kim Wilde, Celine Dion, Madonna and Lana Del Rey. And you know how I said that “Heaven Is A Place On Earth” sounds like a Jovi cut, well, Rick Nowels is married to Maria Vidal who was with Desmond Child in The Rouge and remained friends with Desmond long after. Connections everywhere.

“Circle In The Sand” is also written by Nowels and Shipley and it has this Police “King Of Pain” vibe which Gotye would use to great affect many years later with “Somebody That I Used To Know”.

“World Without You” and “I Get Weak” are written by Diane Warren.

“Fool For Love” has this “Dancing In The Dark” vibe and its written by Robbie Seidman who would write the song “Summer Rain” for her next album, with Maria Vidal.

“Nobody Owns Me” is a hard melodic rock song to rival Lita Ford and as a fan, I would have liked if Carlisle explored this style a little bit more. This one is written by Charlotte Caffey who played guitar in The Go Go’s and was one of the bands songwriters, along with Aussie, Mark Holden and Clyde Lieberman. In Hard Rock circles, Lieberman would write the song “Shout” on Hurricane’s “Over The Edge” album plus a range of other artists outside of hard rock and he also managed Rock Star Supernova, which had Tommy Lee on drums, Gilby Clarke on guitar, Jason Newsted / Johnny Colt on bass and Lukas Rossi on vocals.

The next album, “Summers Rain” also went crazy in sales in Australia and around the world and then Carlisle disappeared. She got no more promo in Australia and that was that.

“The Collection” released in 2002 and not to be confused with the other releases known as “The Collection” which came after, more or less, has all of the songs that charted and like all of her albums a who’s who of songwriters.

If you own this, there is no need to own anything else.

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The Record Vault – Choirboys

“Big Bad Noise” was released in 1988. 

They had a break through with their self-titled debut in 1983 and then vocalist Mark Gable’s vocal cords ruptured and the band were in hiatus during 1984 and 1985, waiting for Gable to recover. The momentum gained was lost but it also gave the band time to write a lot of songs. 

Guitarist Brad Carr left the band, to be replaced by Brett Williams as they supported Bon Jovi on their 87 Aussie tour but his song contributions would live on forever.  

The single “Run To Paradise” (written by Gable and Carr) came out in December 1987.

And the song revived the pub rock movement just as it was dying. Suddenly DJ’s were out and live bands were in again. This lasted for another 5 or so years and the movement started to die off again.

For me, I couldn’t resist the A, E, D, E chord progression. 

Then the album dropped in February 1988 and by then the band had a lot of momentum. The Jovi September 87 shows went into the “Run To Paradise” single release in the December summer and now the album.

“Struggle Town” captured the regional areas as these thriving cities of the past, struggled to survive in the 80’s when the work went away. And no one wanted to go back to Struggle Town, but in the end we never really left it, living from pay to pay.

“Boys Will Be Boys” is up next. I guess we don’t have a choice, boys will be boys, and get up to fighting and what not.

Then you have tracks like “Guilty” and “Like Fire” which won’t set the charts alight, but that AC/DC like vibe in the intro/verses rocks hard and the choruses are melodic and catchy.

“Big Bad Noise” sounds like it came from a Def Leppard album.

And the rest of the album just rolls along while beers get downed, with “Fireworks”, “Gasoline” and the perfect summer cut, “One Hot Day”.

And this album gave them a three year victory lap. “Midnight Sun” came out in 1991 and it was rockier and better, but commercially it didn’t do the same business as “Big Bad Noise”. More band members came and went, with vocalist and guitarist Mark Gable and bassist Ian Hulme the mainstays from 1979 to the current day. 

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The Record Vault – Conception

“In Your Multitude” is the first album I heard from Conception but it’s their third album.

It’s not on Spotify Australia, but YouTube has it.

And the CD had an insert with advertising of those previous albums called “Parallel Minds” and “The Last Sunset” along with some other artists on the “NOISE” label. 

Conception is from Norway and they started off as a power metal band.

Record after record, the band slowly incorporated progressive elements to their music. But it’s not progressive like a thousand notes per minute progressive. Its progressive in its poly rhythms and the atmospheric song structures. It’s the progressive style I like. Even bands like Styx and Toto had these kind of progressive moments albeit more Rock than Metal.

“In Your Multitude” is a fine progressive metal album. And if a person was new to the progressive metal genre, this album is a good entry point.

“Under a Mourning Star” kicks off the album with a syncopated guitar riff which reminds me of the “Metropolis, Pt: 1” verse riff from Dream Theater. Guitarist Tore Ostby takes centre stage here and vocalist Roy Kahn delivers a great melody in the verses and the Chorus.

“Missionary Man” has a heavy palm muted riff under a Kashmir style drum beat. And the Zeppelin influences continue with the vocal delivery and the exotic scales used. It’s perfect.

“Retrospect” starts off with a progressive riff, before it moves into a Queensryche “I Don’t Believe In Love” verse.

“Guilt” is one of the heavy songs, with a groove straight from a Pantera album and melodic vocals.

“Sanctuary” is a short acoustic song, that gives Ostby a chance to play some nice arpeggios and flamenco styled licks, while Roy Kahn delivers a haunting vocal line.

“A Million Gods’’ is the most progressive track on the album. At 7.45 minutes, it doesn’t feel like it’s that long. And the chorus is memorable. Also check out the bass playing in the verse. It takes centre stage, the way Ostby took centre stage on “Under A Mourning Star”. 

“Some Wounds” has a heavy verse and an arena rock chorus. 

“Carnal Comprehension” is a hard rock song with some nice guitar hero moments. This would become the sound on the next album which alienated a lot of fans.

“Solar Serpent” has a great bass riff in the verse and a melodic chorus. It reminds me of Accept and Judas Priest, with acoustic guitars, fast bass and drums and fast electric guitar solos.

“In Your Multitude” closes the album with its Pink Floyd influences in the intro before the full band kicks in after a minute, sort of like Black Sabbath’s “Sign Of The Southern Cross”. Make sure you check out the guitar solo that goes on and on after 4 minutes.

And they did one more album in the 90’s called “Flow” and then disappeared for a long time. Members went into the band’s Kamelot, Ark and Royal Hunt.

And in the last 4 years they have re-appeared.

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The Record Vault – Peter Criss

It’s filed under C.

The cover was interesting and that got me interested in the album. Todd Schorr is the creator and his take on surrealism fused with pop proved interesting.

Released in 1980 it did nothing commercially.

I don’t think the lack of sales had much to do with the album overall, but more because of the “too much of Kiss” marketing, as “Unmasked” also didn’t do great numbers.

The title track “Out Of Control” has a catchy piano riff and the bluesy voice of Peter Criss. “In Trouble Again” sounds like it could have come from the “Dressed To Kill” album.

“Where Will They Run?” was a surprise, with that hooky piano riff in the Chorus and subdued pop vocal.

And that is all for me.

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1985 – Part 6

Fates Warning – The Spectre Within

I picked up their first three albums really cheap in the early 90’s via a second hand record shop. The youthful exuberance approach to song writing is clear, with extravagant structures and riff-a-ramas in each song. Better albums and songs would come later however those songs would not be possible if they didn’t get these early albums and the styles out of the way. Put simply, this is Fates Warning, sounding heavier, faster and more complex.

The band is also different to the band that I would come to like. John Arch is on vocals, Victor Arduini and Jim Matheos are on guitars, Jim Arch is on keyboards, Steve Zimmerman on bass and Joe DiBiase on drums.

“Orphan Gypsy”, musically is an underrated progressive metal cut. If it appeared on a Megadeth or Metallica or Slayer album, it would be seen as a classic. Lyrically, the melodies are hit and miss, but the music is a thrash-a-thon. “Without A Trace” has an intro riff which could have come from Malmsteen’s “I’ll See The Light Tonight” before it morphs into a galloping riff like Iron Maiden.

But its “The Apparition” which fuses their Maiden influences (especially “Rime Of The Ancient Mariner”) with their other influences which really gets my attention. Even the vocal delivery, could be said to inspire Midnight from Crimson Glory.

Musically, the piece d resistance is “Epitaph”. It sounds like its inspired by “Heaven And Hell” from Sabbath. And at 12 minutes long, it has different movements and moods and it’s a great way to close the album. This song is a giant leap for progressive metal. 

Vocally, John Arch, is a tenor, a cross between Geoff Tate and Dickinson, with a bit of Robert Plant, Rob Halford falsetto and King Diamond chucked in for good measure. But his choice of melodies are a bit of a let down on some of the songs.

Loverboy – Loving Every Minute of It

If you listened to rock music, there is no way that you would have not heard of Loverboy and their songs. This is their first album to not feature Bruce Fairbairn in the producers chair, and Tom Allom was hired.

The album is not on Spotify Australia which irks me, but hey, YouTube has it.

Mutt Lange is on hand to write the big hit, “Lovin’ Every Minute Of It”. This dude couldn’t do nothing wrong for a long time.

Jonathan Cain from Journey is on hand to co-write the soft rock influenced “This Could Be The Night” with Paul Dean, Mike Reno and Bill Wray.

Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance are on hand to write “Dangerous”, a melodic rock classic.

The riff in “Friday Night” is to my liking. This one is written by Bill Wray, Paul Dean, Davitt Sigerson and Patrick Mahassen.

And the lyric, “Friday Night, I just got paid, no sleep till Monday”. Truth right there, folks.

The good songs keep coming, with the hard rocking “Too Much Too Soon” and the ballad like “Destination Heartbreak” (with its heartbreak emotive guitar solo). But it’s the Lange penned title cut that moved units.

Heart – Heart

This album was massive in the U.S with 5 plus million in sales and a who’s who of songwriters behind it. Not sure if that was the intention of the Wilson sisters or the label, but the addition of songs from outside writers enhanced the band. 

“If Looks Could Kill” is a perfect opener. There is a “Live In Memphis” release on Spotify which is recorded in 1985 for a radio broadcast, and this opens it. Its raw rock and roll without all the studio polish and perfect. It’s written by Jack Conrad and Bob Garrett. And Conrad played bass in The Doors after the death of Jim Morrison and became a songwriter later on.

“What About Love” is a cut written by Sheron Alton, Brian Allen and Jim Vallance. I like the verses more than the Chorus. “Never” and “All Eyes” are written by Holly Knight and Gene Bloch, along with Nancy Wilson, Ann Wilson and Sue Ennis. “These Dreams” is written by Elton John’s song writing partner Bernie Taupin and Martin Page. It was a hit, but it’s not on my radar.

“The Wolf” (the side 1 closer) and “Shell Shock” (the side 2 closer) are written by the band with Sue Ennis. Both songs are aggressive and loud and I like em, but they wouldn’t push the album past the 5 million mark in sales. 

DLR – Crazy From The Heat

Roth got a lot of money to go solo, but the real solo album would come with “Eat Em And Smile”, then again, that album also had a lot of cover songs on it as well, so the real solo album, free of covers was “Skyscraper”.

For “Crazy From The Heat”, I own it on cassette and LP, but I never play it.

Warrior – Fighting For The Earth

The title makes me laugh now, but in the 80’s it was badass. Even the band name referenced my favourite movie, “Warriors”. They had the whole dystopian metal look happening, and that intro riff, used in a million songs, but so effective in this song. 

And vocalist Paramore McCarty is one hell of a vocalist. If you haven’t heard Warrior, then you would have heard his singing with Steve Stevens Atomic Playboys. In 2017, he resurfaced with the band “Radiation Romeos” and released an album on Frontiers. If the name sounds familiar, well it appeared in the lyrics of the song “Atomic Playboys”. Musically, it sounds very similar to the song.

And when you want to talk about connections, Robin Crosby from Ratt kick started his career by getting him to sing in his pre-Ratt bands and getting him noticed. 

And Joe Floyd is an excellent guitarist/songwriter. If you’ve seen a Bruce Dickinson or Rob Halford album, well he is listed in the production credits as either a mixer or engineer.

Immortal enemy, has come to challenge man / Secret science out of control

Who knew the immortal enemy is a virus. We cannot eradicate it, so we need to learn with it.

We are fighting for the earth

But no one is listening. As long as money rules the game, the Earth suffers.

Blood and corruption, hideous crimes / Lying leaders, controlling our minds

It feels like the rich and powerful don’t have to answer to anyone. Rules don’t apply to them. Then you have the news outlets who no one seems to fact check, also spreading lies like our elected leaders.

“Defenders of Creation” starts off with a riff that reminds me of “It’s Not Love” by Dokken. What came first, we will never know.

Leatherwolf – Endangered Species

In Europe it was released as “Leatherwolf” and in America it was released as “Endangered Species”. To confuse matters even more another self-titled album was released in 1987, which is different to this one.

But it was “Streetready” released in 89 that really got me interested in the band and I couldn’t find any of their early stuff at that point in time. But many years later, the internet made sure I did.

And this album is not on Spotify Australia but it’s on YouTube.

Musically, it’s metal the way I know it from a band trying to find where they fit into things. The tracks I like are “Endangered Species”, “Season Of The Witch” and “Leatherwolf”. But better songs would come after.

Mr Mister – Welcome To The Real World

Like Loverboy, but lighter in rock and roll. Like Marillion, but more poppy. Like Toto and their Africa period. Like U2 but not big on the social conscience lyrics.

That’s basically how I described em.

And there was no denying “On Broken Wings”. It was everywhere and I liked it. 134 million streams on Spotify demonstrates how big it is. And maybe because it reminded me of U2, I gravitated to it.

“Kyrie” is another song which still does the rounds at 33 million plus streams. This one reminds me of “Africa” from Toto and Marillion and I like it.

The labels tried their best to break up the band by offering vocalist Richard Page the vocalist gig in Toto to replace Bobby Kimball and then to replace Peter Cetera in Chicago.

But Page refused both offers.

In the end, this album (their second) was its biggest.

Once album number three “ Go On” stalled in sales a few years later, the writing was on the wall. Guitarist Steve Farris left in 88 and the remaining members went to work on album number 4 with session guitarists.  This was ready for release in 1990 but the label refused to release it and that was that. 

John Fogerty – Centrefield

I had no idea at the time the troubles he had with the labels and his old CCR songs but there was no denying that John Fogerty is a star. And the songs, “Vanz Kant Danz” and “Mr Greed” sum it up nicely about his struggles.

That opening lick in “The Old Man Down The Road” gets the foot tapping. Its instant and memorable. “Rock and Roll Girls” transports you back to those 60’s movies, hanging out on the boardwalk. “Mr Greed” is a blues rock slap down of his former label boss and the title track is a 12 bar blues romp. 

And that’s a wrap for 1985 part 6, and I’m off to 1977 for part 6.

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